And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;
 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
As the 7 Year Great Tribulation progresses, the antichrist secures its control over the world all the more firmly.
And the (suppression and) persecution of the believers in the Lord and the people of Israel becomes increasingly more severe.
By the way, as I explained to you before, the Book of Revelation is not necessarily written in chronological order.
An incident recorded in the latter chapters is not always happening ‘after’ an incident in the earlier chapters.
An event that is recorded in a latter chapter may take place before something that takes place in an earlier chapter, or two or more situations may take place simultaneously.
An incident recorded a latter chapter may also be explaining the occurrence of an incident in the earlier chapter.
Chapter 13 is such an expatiation of the situation that is described in the Chapter 12.
It provides detailed information regarding how the antichrist practices its power.
Revelation 13:1 says, “And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.”
This verse mentions a beast, and it refers to the force of the antichrist.
A necessity for the forces of the antichrist to seize power and exercise control over the world is a computer system.
In order to control the world, the force of the antichrist stores enormous amounts of various kinds of information in a huge computer, and then makes use of it.
Through this computer, they watch, control, and operate everything in the world as they please.
Therefore, the beast in this verse refers not only to the force of the antichrist but also to the computer system they use.
Now, why is it that the force of the antichrist and the computer system that is used described as a ‘beast’?
It’s because they have all the attributes of the flesh that God detests.
If a person is described as a ‘beast’, or ‘worse than a beast’, it means that he has completely departed from his duties as a human being.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person.”
Just as written, the duty of a man is to fear God the Creator, keep His commandments, and accomplish goodness in heart, and recover the image of God.
However, the antichrist controls the world through a computer system, and stands against God.
The antichrist adds evil on top of evil, which is in the opposite of goodness.
That’s why the force of the antichrist and the computer system which is used as a controlling device are described as a beast.
Now, the scripture says this beast is coming up out of the sea.
The sea refers to the world, and thus it refers to the peoples of the nations.
Therefore, ‘a beast coming up out of the sea’ means that the antichrist controls all nations and world leaders.
Furthermore, the force of the antichrist seizes complete control over the world economy.
It becomes an enormously powerful force that has all the wealth, honor, and authority of the world under its control.
As I explained in Chapter 12, the force of the antichrist completely secures control over the nation of Israel. It even extends its power into the Holy Temple.
The antichrist completely seizes the initiative in the midst of the intense conflict among the world forces in the area of Israel and the Middle East.
The world situation will then come under the complete control of the EU politically, economically, and militarily.
The EU will also now have control over the oil of the Middle East, which is one of the world’s greatest resources for world economy. They will also control other resources in many parts of the world.
It means that EU’s economical influence becomes especially powerful.
Since the force of the antichrist seizes the control over the world economy and leads the world situation like this, the scripture refers it to ‘a beast coming out of the sea.’
Now, this verse says this beast has ‘ten horns and seven heads.’
It means that the EU is a union of many nations.
And there are forces that lead the EU, and other supporting forces for the leading force.
In order for this union of nations to practice its united power, the heads of all nations must cooperate.
This verse says ‘on his horns were ten diadems.’
It means that the heads of many nations which have power and authority gather together and establish a union.
The heads of many nations gather, and they elect one as their leader; the leader becomes the leader of the whole union.
As long as the heads of the nations cooperate to help the leader, the leaders will naturally be able to execute command over the whole union of states.
The force of the antichrist gives respective rights to each nation, and assigns power and authority to their leaders.
It is in this way that the leaders become united in support of the force of the antichrist.
And then, verse 1 says, ‘on his heads were blasphemous names.’
‘Being blasphemous’ is ‘being impiously irreverent’ or ‘expressing or involving disrespect for God or sacred things of God’.
Lucifer stands against God, and the evil spirits that belong to Lucifer are ‘blasphemous.’
And, the force of the antichrist, who are instigated by the evil spirits, and the people who follow the antichrist are also blasphemous in their involvement in standing against God.
It is this “beast” that is controlled, supervised, and operated by these blaspheming people.
Now, Revelation 13:2 says, “And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”
Just by reading this verse, you can realize just how ferocious and fearful a being this beast is.
A leopard is a very fierce and ferocious wild animal.
It means that the antichrist ravages and destroys those who resist against its authority, even a little, with no mercy.
A bear is also a fierce animal. Its limbs are very strong.
Just one blow of its forearm can easily kill a man.
When the scripture says the feet of the beast are like those of a bear, it means its supporters have very strong power.
In other words, it has very strong economical and military power as the world’s leader.
The scripture also says ‘his mouth is like the mouth of a lion.’
Just a bite of a lion can break the bones of an animal into pieces.
Once mortally bitten, the prey has no chance of survival.
The scripture means that the beast is of such great force it is comparable to the mouth of a lion.
Can you imagine how fierce and fearful a creature it would be to see a beast which is as ferocious as a leopard, with the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion standing before your eyes?
Such is force of the antichrist that persecutes God-believing people using all its power and authority.
Now, the scripture says ‘the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.
Here, ‘the throne’ refers to a position which receives respect and worship.
If someone sits on this throne, he is a highly positioned man, and he is respected and served by others.
The dragon, namely Lucifer stood against God in order to be lifted up like God, and he loves to be worshipped by people.
Therefore, the scripture means that the dragon gives the beast the throne so that the beast can also be worshipped as is the dragon.
Since the authority of the antichrist and the ability of the beast are so powerful, people come to greatly respect them.
While watching the antichrist do many things that are beyond the scope of the ability of a man by using a computer system, people not only fear them, but also respect them.
By the way, all such power and authority of the beast originally come out of Lucifer.
Lucifer provides them with evil wisdom and power so that they can control the world as they please.
The people under the 7 Year Great Tribulation come to depend on the antichrist and its computer power more and more.
Dear brothers and sisters.
Today, the more civilization develops, the more convenience machines provide to people and civilization.
However, if you look at it from a different perspective, the more people depend on machines, the more they become subordinate to them and dependent upon them.
When these contributions to civilization are used for the good, it makes things convenient, but when not, they become very threatening.
For an easy example, many offices of today are networked together, and connected to the Internet to do their business.
Thanks to this, their business flow has become fast and precise. However, if the computer system malfunctions, they cannot do their business.
Chances are that their whole business may stop.
In old days, even though the efficiency was low, many businesses required manual power.
But nowadays, those businesses cannot function without the machines.
As the business became mechanized and computerized, it brought convenience. At the same time however, it means that people cannot do anything without the help of machines.
Naturally, people come to depend on machines more and more, and thus the controlling power of computer systems is getting greater and greater.
If someone can have these entire computer systems under his complete control, he will have tremendous power, and at the same time, he will be able to use it as a threat.
Let me give you another example.
Many people use a ‘smart-card’ to pay for public transit.
The smart card has an electronic chip in it, which contains the personal information such as a bank account or credit card number.
When you use this smart card for a transportation charge, you don’t need to pay the transit fee on the spot; you can settle up the payments later.
You don’t need to carry cash. You don’t need to pay a transit charge in cash each time you use the transport.
Now, whenever you use this smart card, your expenditures are all recorded.
Then, you can settle up the accounts later.
It means, however, that your activities using this card are all recorded.
Someone can see when and where you took a bus, what number of bus that was, and where you transferred to a subway.
What if someone uses this record as means to observe and control your whereabouts?
Of course, for a long time, many people have raised arguments about this question concerning the smart card use.
However, nowadays, more and more people are enjoying this convenience of civilization in more and more fields.
Now, try to imagine the situation where all the computer networks and all the individual information are under the control of the antichrist.
The antichrist can do whatever it pleases.
Furthermore, when the time comes, the antichrist will force people to use a device, with which it can exercise control over the people.
For example, the antichrist will force people to use a specific electronic chip to use transportation or to engage in a specific business.
When people enter a building, even a house, when they use any form of transport, or whatever they do, they must use the chip.
Then, the chip user’s activities can be tracked 24 hours a day.
The world is already getting closer and closer to this phase.
Even though you may think it is a very trivial matter now, it means, in other words, even the very most minute activities can be controlled.
Despite this fact, however, people don’t recognize its risk because of the convenience they are enjoying now.
Even if they recognize it, they soon consider it pointless, and the situation becomes worse and worse.
People increasingly come to depend on machines for even the smallest things, and they submit to the controls by themselves.
Therefore, if someone grasps the power over this (convenience of) civilization to control the people, he will have a tremendous level of power and authority.
It is this beast that is given such power and authority by the dragon.
As I will explain later, the mark of the beast, 666, is a means to secure and control the power over the people’s lives.
Now, something strange takes place to this beast.
Revelation 13:3 says, “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.”
One of the heads is fatally wounded as if it were slain.
And then the wound is healed.
Then the whole people are amazed and follow the beast.
What does it mean?
I explained that the heads of many nations come together and choose a single leader as the head of the EU.
And each of the leaders is assigned to a different field according to their power.
However, although these many nations work together, they don’t always agree with each other.
They become united when it seems beneficial to them. However, even in this situation, they always seek their own benefits and for their own country.
Therefore, it is natural that the nations of equal power come to have checks and balances toward each other and conflicts arise among them.
Let’s say, the national leads of two of the strongest nations compete with each other to become the leader of the union of their two states.
Even though they initially seem to have equal power, one of the two will eventually become the single leader.
Then, the other must become subordinate to the leader, but he will feel uncomfortable in such a situation.
Subordinate leaders may not completely be obedient to the leader, or complain against the leader, or even raise constant objections to the actions of the leader so that a schism stems from it and order is disrupted.
Then, the leader will naturally apply checks on the other who is insubordinate.
At first, the leader will persuade the other, but when it doesn’t work, it will try to oppress by force.
Then, the other will eventually yield to the leader or follow the leader.
That’s because, even though individually one leader may have a chance to defeat the leader, he cannot compete with all the leaders of the entire EU.
He may have to submit to a sanctioning charging that the EU is broken up because of him. He may be disregarded by the entire EU.
Therefore, even though not completely from the heart, he shows his obedience by offering his hand in reconciliation.
Even though the EU may face severe crisis, they return to the original place.
They show themselves off as a union, and flaunt the united power and authority.
Regarding this situation, tonight’s scripture says, ‘I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed.’
Like this, the EU becomes united seeking for their benefit, and stores up great power.
And they become a force which has absolute economical and military power.
Even though a somewhat strong nation opposes and the EU seems to be disrupted, they cannot help being united for their own benefit.
After the Union faces a crisis of disruption, they show their united power again, and the power becomes even stronger.
While watching this process, people come to fear them all the more, but they also come to trust them more.
The feelings that move and motivate a man are like this
When people are about to lose something that they didn’t value before, they feel more anxious about it.
And when they restore what they almost lost, they value it all the more than before.
Tonight’s scripture describes a similar situation.
When the antichrist, which controls the world through their computer system, faces a crisis of disruption, many people become nervous.
That’s because they worry about the after-effect from it.
What does it mean?
When the force of the antichrist leads the world situation, the justification of their conduct is for world peace and stabilization.
During the 7 Year Great Tribulation, people’s lives become devastated.
Due to extreme natural disasters and the Third World War, the natural environment is in chaos as well as economy and politics.
Due to the total lack of public security, burglars and rioters are everywhere.
Many people suffer because they are unable to receive electricity and water services.
However, when the force of the antichrist controls the world, the outward situation seems to improve.
People are then able to live a more stable life than before.
Even though they enter the more strictly controlled society, as long as they obey the force of the antichrist, they can live much better lives than they could before controls.
Of course, severe oppression and persecution are practiced against Christians or those who resist the control of the antichrist.
However, those who submit to the control become more familiarized with the control of the antichrist.
They even think it’s better since there is a strong force to control disorder.
Even in a strictly controlled situation where they have to draw their rations, they consider it rather fortunate because they can at least get food.
It is in this way that the antichrist is able to deeply brainwash and indoctrinate the people.
When those who become accustomed to this controlling situation see the EU facing a crisis, they become worried and anxious about the future.
However, they see the EU become united all the more strongly after facing the crisis. When they see the power of EU even stronger, they have a sense of relief and they follow the EU all the more.
As they gain increased trust in the EU while watching the EU recovering and overcoming a crisis, they increasingly feel that the EU will not be divided again.
And those who try to take the advantage of the EU’s disruption do not dare resist further while watching the EU unite again.
This situation is described in tonight’s scripture, which reads ‘the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.’
Likewise, the force of the antichrist becomes an all the more absolute entity.
Now, Revelation 13:4 says, “they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?””
In means that there is no one who will wage war against the beast since his authority is so great.
As explained earlier, all the authority this beast possesses is given by the dragon.
Evil people are instigated by Lucifer to play a role as a beast.
Therefore, when people obey and follow the beast, it is like worshipping Lucifer and the dragon which are the origin of the authority.
People start to worship the dragon which gives the beast his authority, and they also follow and worship the beast.
Likewise, as it is getting closer to the latter half of the 7 Year Great Tribulation, the force of the antichrist enjoys much stronger power and authority, and controls the world.
In the mean time, those who believe in the Lord endure the persecution and try to hold on to a ray of hope.
We will look into the situation and the oppression of the antichrist during the latter half of the 7 Year Great Tribulation in the next lecture.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
When the force of the antichrist begins to take the initiative in the world situation, there are people who worry about it.
Even though the force of the antichrist advocates the peace and stability of the world, they know the terrible consequences that will result if its power and authority are not used appropriately.
Despite the fact, though, people gradually submit to the influence of the antichrist.
They submit because, in the situation that confronts them they will suffer all kinds of disadvantages and threats if they don’t cooperate.
Even though they know they should not, they cooperate with the force of the antichrist seeking for their benefit.
Among those who say they believe in the Lord, some people give themselves up to the control even though they know they are the force of the antichrist.
They rather justify themselves making an excuse, “I’m not actually denying the Lord.”
The same thing is happening these days.
The enemy devil and Satan don’t openly deceive people to go the way of destruction; instead they enable the people to gradually indulge in it.
They make the people think, ‘Well, it is OK. It’s no big thing.’ They make the people gradually look out into the world and indulge in the flesh.
Some people just give in to the desires even though they clearly know it’s sin.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Now, don’t you have even the slightest chink (in your armor) that the enemy devil and Satan watch for?
Do you still have something you love more than God, or do you still have a heart for the world?
Do you have a decisive weak point that lets you down?
The enemy devil and Satan will use it as bait to seduce you.
And they will cause you indulge in it gradually.
You must know this scheme of the enemy devil and Satan.
And you must keep your faith so that you will never compromise with untruth in any situation.
Do not let yourself be led by mistaken faith without love or compassion, and of course do not persist in righteousness in your own sight.
May you always walk on the right path with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!