The Allies of the Dragon
Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 9: The Book of Revelation
The Allies of the Dragon
Revelation 13:1-18
Rubel Shelly, teaching

1. The key players in the second half of Revelation were introduced in Chapter 12. Briefly
remind yourself of the identifications given for the woman, her child, and the dragon. What
two additional figures come into view in this chapter? What does their identity as “beasts”
tell you about their character and the behavior readers should expect from them?

2. The first beast (vs.1-10) appears out of the sea. What does a “sea” typically represent in
apocalyptic literature? What features are described that make it clear that this is a
dangerous enemy to all who are holy?

3. This beast stands for the far-reaching authority and death-dealing power of Rome’s
emperors. What does verse 4 say about the ultimate origin of the beast’s power? What
does it say about the reason why most people simply submitted to the beast?

4. The extraordinary feature that one of the beast’s heads had suffered a mortal blow but
appears healed – perhaps imitating and mocking Christ’s resurrection – is almost certainly
an image of the Nero Redivivus legend that grew up after the death of Nero in A.D. 68.
What was the myth? How does it relate to the emperor as John was writing?

5. The second beast (vs.11-18) appears from the earth and leads men to worship the first beast.
It represents the cult of emperor worship that was so widespread and powerful. How does
this beast (who will be known also as the “false prophet” in Rev 16:13 and 19:20) deceive
people into worshipping the emperor?

6. Just as the people of God received an identifying mark in Chapter 7, here the followers of the
beast who demands worship are given a mark or brand of allegiance – the curious mark of
the number “666.” How does the video suggest defining this number? Is that helpful to you?
Do you have an alternative idea for its meaning that you prefer?

7. Verse 17 indicates that people in the Roman Empire would need this special mark to conduct
business in the empire. You might find it interesting to Google “Roman Libellus” and read
about the certificates of emperor worship that were required under Decius. Although later
than our period, there may be some connection to the situation referenced at Rev 13:7.

The first beast is frequently called “Antichrist” because he appears as a rival deity to Christ. The term is
not used in the book of Revelation. The futurists expect to find him in some exceedingly wicked ruler at
the end of the age just before the second coming of Christ. Such a system calls for a restoration of the
Jewish nation, the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of sacrificial worship, and then the breaking
of the Antichrist’s covenant with the Jews. Space cannot be given here to refutation of this bizarre system
which is at opposites to the New Testament teaching. Such a presentation would have been meaningless
and, hence, comfortless to John’s readers. (Ray Summers)