There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is those who dwell in heaven.
 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In Revelation Chapter 13, a beast that rules the whole world appears on the stage.
This beast refers to the antichrist.
And this beast also refers to an ultimate computer system which the antichrist uses to secure the command of the world.
The antichrist stores all kinds of information about all nations and individuals, and then strictly controls the world.
Through this, the antichrist enjoys absolute authority by sizing power over world politics, economy, and the military.
This authority is given by the enemy devil and Satan.
The antichrist is subject to the enemy devil and Satan. They help the antichrist secure its power over the world to do as they please.
And so, during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, the antichrist comes to have immense power and authority that no one can stand against.
And this power and authority is used to stand against God and to persecute the God-believing people.
Regarding this, verses 5 and 6 say, “There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is those who dwell in heaven.”
The antichrist is active throughout the 7 Year Great Tribulation, but during the latter 3 and a half years, the activity of the antichrist begins in earnest.
Of course, as the 7 Year Great Tribulation begins, the antichrist starts to acquire power gradually.
And when the time enters the latter 3 and a half years, the process of its securing power over the world drastically speeds up.
The authority of the antichrist becomes so powerful that world dominion is finally grasped.
Of course, this process of acquiring the authority is allowed under the supervision of God.
However, it doesn’t mean that God gives the authority to the antichrist purposely to allow it do evil.
The enemy devil and Satan are just playing their roles with the authority that is allowed only in the providence of human cultivation.
And it is allowed only to a limited extent according to the justice of God.
That’s why it is under the supervision of God.
The Bible says that this beast of authority is given a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies.
Here, ‘arrogant words’ means that great power is contained in its words.
The world moves according to its words.
The forces of antichrist unite and control the whole world in almost every field including economy, politics, military, transportation, and communication.
When the force of the antichrist gives an order, the whole world immediately moves perfectly according to the order.
Even today, when a powerful nation justifies itself and wages war, it exercises its influence over neighboring nations to make them partake in its action.
Then, small and weak nations send their soldiers at the request even though they have nothing to do with the war.
That’s because they have some relations with the powerful nation.
They partake of the war in order to avoid disadvantages that they may face if don’t participate.
However, not all nations cooperate with the powerful nation unconditionally.
Some nations make a pretense of cooperating or actually refuse to help the powerful one while evaluating the situation and their position.
Though during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, especially during the latter 3 and half years, there is no nation that would dare to stand against the authority of the antichrist.
Since the whole word is under the authority of the antichrist, if the antichrist asks a nation for help, the nation cannot just consider the situation or refuse the request.
The small nations must follow the order unconditionally.
In addition, the force of the antichrist controls every corner of the world precisely and strictly through computer networks.
At a word of its mouth, the price of oil and other materials is decided. And it absolutely controls each nations’ politics, and economies.
That’s why the Bible says its words are arrogant words.
Since the situation is like this, the God-believing people fall into all the more difficult situations.
The force of the antichrist sets up many plans to strike at Christians, and convey these plans to every nation of the world.
And every nation must follow the plans.
Therefore, when someone is trying to flee from the force of the antichrist, as long as the force of the antichrist wants to arrest him, there is no place to hide anywhere in the world.
In the same way no one can get out from under the power and authority of the antichrist no matter where they are.
Once they are identified as a rebellious element, the hounds of the antichrist will chase after them around the world.
They will utilize all sorts of information resources to hunt them no matter where they are – airports, terminals, cities, or country-sides.
The fact is that, as you can see, the forces of the antichrist come to have ultimate power and authority during the latter 3 and a half years of the 7 Year Great Tribulation.
Now, ‘blasphemies’ means their words are seriously standing against God.
Every word of the antichrist is a word that is in reproach of the work of God, and it is the word that leads people to sin and destruction.
It is also the word of speaking against the God-believing people.
And these words are conveyed around the globe.
Now, when the forces of the antichrist speak against God with blasphemies, they use sly methods.
They form a religious group with some people who also proclaim that they believe in God. And they make this group stand before them, and cunningly deceive the other in their standing against God.
Dear brothers and sisters.
When a political power secures great authority, it doesn’t use only physical force.
It sometimes uses a religion or an ideology to unite people, and uses them as a basis of control.
For example, the Roman Empire made ‘gods’ of their emperors and forced subjects to worship the emperors.
When people refused to worship the emperors, they were executed as traitors.
It is especially true of this time that many Christians died in martyrdom.
Likewise, when the forces of the antichrist secure their power, they rule people using a religion group as glue.
They use this religion to unite and control the world.
The religion that they cause to stand before them also proclaims that Jesus Christ is the savior and that they believe God.
But, it actually deteriorates the doctrine so that people may withdraw far from the will of God.
It adds strange ideas to the word of God so that its doctrine becomes different from the true will of God.
And then, it eventually makes its followers to stand against God and the Lord.
The fact is that, this religion already has many aspects that are contrary to the word of God in many fields.
It generously accepts things that God will never tolerate.
For example, God tells us never to bow down before idols.
It is an extremely important command of God.
Just how many forefathers of faith have died in martyrdom rather than worship idols?
Since Christianity was introduced into Korea, countless people were persecuted for not bowing down in sacrificial rites.
That’s because the Bible clearly says that you should not partake of the table of demons as written in 1 Corinthians 10:21.
However, this religion justifies an idea of bowing down in sacrificial rites even though it says that it surely believes God.
It says that partaking in sacrificial rites is unique to Korean culture, and also one of Korean social morals and proper etiquette.
This religion makes people consider accepting this culture generously and broad-mindedly.
People with no faith find it somewhat plausible.
They think it’s reasonable and rational.
But, from the viewpoint of believers, it is definitely partaking of the table of demons, and also deteriorating essence of faith.
And it is also compromising with the world.
This religion gradually changes and adulterates the truth according to the thoughts of men.
And then, during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, it unites with the antichrist to degenerate all the more.
Eventually, it comes to craftily deny God, the Lord, and the works of the Holy Spirit.
Instead deifies its leader and forces people to bow down before him.
It forces people to worship him as if he were a god, and persecutes others who don’t follow in suit.
It tries to get rid of those who don’t acknowledge its religion and those who don’t submit to its religion.
The antichrist secures its power over the world even taking advantage of this religion, and finally acquires the authority, which they will enjoy for the next 42 months.
And the antichrist utters the arrogant words that blaspheme God.
And the antichrist craftily reproaches and persecutes people so that they cannot live by the word of God.
The antichrist changes and alters the faith of the forefathers, and dishonors their names.
Regarding this situation, Revelation 13:6 says, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is those who dwell in heaven.”
Now, Revelation 13:7-8 says, “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Revelation 13:7 says, “It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” It means that the antichrist uses its authority to persecute the God-believing people during the latter 3 and a half years.
It is given the authority to arrest, torture, and even kill those who are God-believing people.
However, it doesn’t take place in just one country.
The rest of Revelation 13:7 says, “and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.”
As I explained earlier, the antichrist controls all nations with different tribes, cultures, and languages.
And the antichrist hunts down the God-believers in every nation of the world, and it persecutes them to get them to submit.
At this time, those who don’t keep faith – those who will not be saved – can’t help surrendering to the authority of the antichrist.
They think following the doctrine and idea of the antichrist is the only way of survival.
Because they are afraid and full of fear, or because they think it’s beneficial for them, they accept the doctrine of the antichrist.
Of course, some people keep their faith, even in this situation, and die in martyrdom.
But they are very few in number.
Some people follow the way of the antichrist even though they know it is the way of destruction, but some others try to keep their faith and walk in the way of salvation.
Regarding this, Revelation 13:8 says, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.”
Tonight’s scripture tells us what will take place in the future in great detail, and then adds in verse 9, which reads, “If anyone has an ear, let him hear.”
This verse applies to all of those who read and listen to Revelation, no matter where they are and no matter when they read it.
If they hear this verse before the 7 Year Great Tribulation, they must try not to fall into the Tribulation.
If they hear it during the 7 Year Great Tribulation, it is a warning not to be deceived by the temptation of the antichrist.
Now, Revelation 13:10 says, “If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”
Here, those described as “anyone who is destined for captivity and anyone who kills with the sword” are the forces of the antichrist and their followers.
Throughout history, when a dictatorial government had power, there were many informers around.
During war, when an area comes under the control of an enemy force, there are collaborators who work with the enemy from the inside locally.
In this kind of a situation, you could not trust your neighbors or friends. You cannot even your own family.
To avoid any harm, a member of your family might betray you and report you to the authorities.
You can picture this situation when you read Mark 13:12-13.
Jesus says, “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”
They betray those who are pursued not only because they are afraid of being harmed.
They also report people to authorities who have done nothing in order to ingratiate themselves with those in power.
Even among those who are trusted as fellow believers, some will betray others.
And they give up their fellow believers who will then be killed by the forces of the antichrist.
They are the ones described as ‘those who are destined for captivity, and those who kill with the sword’.
But they will surely pay for what they have done.
The authority of the antichrist is not forever.
Even though its authority is powerful enough to control the whole world, when a period of time what was previously set is over, the antichrist will fall into eternal destruction.
And those who follow the antichrist will be judged by God according to what they have done.
Revelation 2:23 says, “I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.”
Also, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 says, “For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”
Likewise, those who follow the forces of the antichrist and do all kinds of evil will surely face judgment.
Even though they may enjoy the fame and honor following the forces of the antichrist for a moment, an eternal punishment is waiting for them in the end.
The period of 3 and a half years seems very long to those who are persecuted by the antichrist.
They are living under the uneasy situation of having no idea when they will be arrested and a time of hiding all the time. If they are caught, they will suffer from all sorts of torture.
However, only when they endure the sufferings with perseverance by faith will they be able to receive salvation.
That’s why Revelation 13:10 ends by remarking, “Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.”
This perseverance and the faith are not easy to keep.
It’s rather a great blessing if they are killed with one stroke when they are caught by the antichrist.
However, most of them are not killed quickly; they have to overcome serious terror and severe torture.
Only when they overcome such pain and cruelty that cannot be endured by normal people, can their perseverance and faith be acknowledged.
I hope that you will be thankful for not falling into such afflictions, but are receiving salvation in the age of the Holy Spirit.
In the next lecture, we will look into the mark of the beast; 666.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
In most cases, those who are deceivers, craftily hide their identity.
For example, they tell a plausible story to approach people.
Among the deceivers, none of them will say, “You can make easy money this way, but it’s illegal, and it will do harm to people. You will be seriously punished if you get caught.”
“They will rather approach you and say, “It’s completely legal. Other people don’t do it because they don’t know how to do it,” or “Anyone can do it. Isn’t it OK if you use this money wisely?”
At this moment, if you have selfish desires, you will be easily deceived.
And then, you will later say, “I didn’t mean to do anything unlawful. Since he said it is not wrong, I just trusted him and did it. That’s it.”
It is the same when the antichrist deceives people.
What the forces of the antichrist do is to stand against God.
In front of people, however, they hide their identity and try to win the people over.
They persuade the people by saying, “We also believe God and the Lord. What we do is not to forsake the faith or to betray God.”
They deceive the people by saying, “We just ask you to cooperate in order to keep the law and order of this country.”
If carefully examined, however, it is easy to find that their words are lies.
They speak as if they followed Christianity outwardly, their religion is completely adulterated and against the will of God.
However, this temptation seems very plausible to those who are suffering from the horror of death and facing terrifying torture.
Even though they know it’s a lie, then want to believe it.
They think, ‘What they insist may be right.’
Or, they justify themselves by saying, “So many other God-believing people are also cooperating, so adding me to the group will not make a big difference.
However, once they forsake their faith, it’s of no use to feel sorry later.
No matter what kind of excuse they make, it is selling their soul to seek personal benefit.
This will be applied the same to Christians of today.
Among many churches, chances are that there are some churches which deteriorate and teach the will of God improperly.
Even though the Bible clearly shows what the will of God is, they teach exactly the opposite.
For example, they teach that the salvation is fixed, and that you can be saved once you believe in the Lord (that is to say, ‘once saved, always saved’)
In other words, it means that you can be saved even after you continue committing sin.
Of course, if you repent after you commit sin, you will be saved. But the Bible clearly lists the sins for which there is no repentance.
Therefore, ignoring this fact and teaching that once you believe in the Lord then you can be saved is like a blind man leading another blind man.
Take this example, suppose that there are people who degenerate the truth according to their own thoughts, and that they cause others to compromise with the world.
In addition, even though it’s surely idol-worshiping, they deceive others to believe that it is just showing respect for the common social morals.
They enjoy getting drunk and debauchery associated, but they don’t know it is sin.
But still, they speak as if what they are doing is in accordance with the law, it is orthodox, and they speak most authoritatively.
Surprisingly enough, many people are deceived by this teaching even today.
And it’s because they have a mind to accept the temptation and willingly compromise with them.
Those who are too weak to live by the Word of God feel that it is burdensome when they are taught and things in the Bible are pointed out.
They feel it burdensome even with just the basic commands such as “Give whole tithe,” and “Keep the Lord’s Day holy.”
Because they feel this is burdensome, they can be deceived by people.
Some people approach them and say, “Living by the word of the Bible as it is was done in the days of the Old Testament. All you have to do is say, ‘I believe,’ in this day of the New Testaments. Even if we commit sin, God understands our weakness.”
Then, they accept this temptation as if they were a fish that took the bait.
At the end, they leave the church which teaches the truth according to the word of God.
And they live in sin along with those who teach wrong things, and they eventually fall into destruction.
When they are not caught up into the air but left on the earth, isn’t it useless to tear your heart and regret?
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 says, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.”
None of you should be foolish to be deceived by the temptation of darkness.
Only discern it by the word of God!
May you be awake all the time to discern the will of God clearly!
When the Lord, our Bridegroom, comes back, may you have finished adorning yourself as a bride, and be in the bosom of the Lord, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!