Revelation: Lesson 9: The Seven Signs, Parts 2-3

After the Apostle John observed heavenly worship, he saw Jesus, represented as a wounded but victorious lamb, receive a scroll with seven seals.  Revelation then moves into four successive visions of each seal that Jesus opens.  Last week, we looked at the first seal, which depicted the cosmic battle between good and evil, between the devil and Jesus, dealing with Christ’s incarnation and His survival to live and die for our salvation.  

Today, we look at the second and third seals.


2nd Seal

Revelation 6:3-4

And when He opened a second seal, I heard the living second being say: Come!

And there went out another horse, fiery red: and it was given to the one sitting on him to take peace from the earth, and that men should kill one another: and a great sword was given to him.


2nd Trumpet

Revelation 8:8-9

And the second angel trumpeted, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and a third part of the sea became blood; and a third part of the creatures  living in the sea, which have life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.


2nd Censer

Revelation 16:3

And the second angel poured out his bowl upon the sea; and it became like the blood of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.


–          What do these three visions depict?


John depicts a time of much violence and bloodshed.  When we finished in Revelation 12:16-18, we saw the Church being referred to (“remnant of her seed”).  Then it finished with, “And he stood upon the sand of the sea.”  We now see devil ready to wage war on the Church by bringing up a beast from the sea.


The 2nd Vision

Revelation 13:1-2

And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.  And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.


Last week, we saw the devil represented by a dragon, who had seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads (Revelation 12:3).  These symbols did not make much sense last week.  But today, we will see how the dragon connects with the beast rising out of the sea.

In this vision, the reader/hearer is expected to know the visions in Daniel 7. 


Daniel 7

Revelation 13

First beast: “like a lion” (vs. 4) “mouth as the mouth of a lion” (vs. 2)
Second beast: “like a bear” (vs. 5) “his feet were like the feet of a bear” (vs. )
Third beast: “like a leopard” (vs. 6) “like a leopard) (vs. 2)
Fourth beast: “it has ten horns” (vs. 7)

“ten horns” (vs. 1)


Daniel directly states the significance of the four beasts: “These four great beasts are four kings who will rise up from the earth” (Daniel 7:17).  They are: 1) Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon), 2) the Medo-Persian Empire, 3) Alexander the Great and His successors (Greece), and 4) the Roman Empire.  The four heads of the Daniel’s third beast represent the found kingdoms that Alexander’s kingdom separated into after his death.  The ten horns of the fourth beast may represent the many nations that were brought into the Roman Empire and the seven heads may represent the seven hills upon whichRomeis built.

The beast that John sees rising out of the sea is a combination of all the beasts that Daniel saw.  John sees the fourth beast as a climactic combination of all its predecessors.


Revelation 13:3-4

And I saw one of his heads like one having been slain to death; and his death wound was healed; and the whole world marveled after the beast.  And they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying, Who is like the beast?  And who is able to wage war with him?

–          If the beast represents the Roman Empire when John was writing Revelation, how invincible does Rome seem?


–          Instead of trusting in God, in whom are people trusting?


–          In what way had the Roman state become antichristic?  What can we learn from this?


Revelation 13:5-7

And there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and authority was given to him to continue 42 months.  And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and those who tabernacle in heaven.

And it was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and authority was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation.

In Chapter 12, we saw the dragon persecute Mary and Jesus (through King Herod, part of the power structure of Rome) for 1,260 days.  That equals 42 months (3 ½ years).  That was why the family of Jesus fled to Egypt for, perhaps, 3-1/2 years.

–          Who now is being persecuted for 42 months?


From what we know historically, Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome actually lasted about 42 months.


Revelation 13:8-10

And all those who dwell on the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life who was slain from the foundation of the world.  If any man has an ear, let him hear.  He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity: he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.


–          Again, who are people (that is, non-Christians) trusting in the place of God?


–          What is the eternal end for those outside the Church?


The Seven Signs, Part 3


3rd Seal

Revelation 6:5-6

And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living being say: Come!  And I looked, and behold a black horse; and the one sitting on him had a scale in his hand.  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say: A measure of wheat for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius; and hurt not the oil and the wine.


3rd Trumpet

Revelation 8:10-11

And the third angel trumpeted, and there fell a great star out of heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell upon the third of the waters; and the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.


3rd Censer

Revelation 16:4-7

And the third poured out his bowl upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.  And I heard the angel of the waters say, You are righteous, the One-Who-Is, and the One-Who-Was, the Holy One, because You have judged these things.  Because they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

And I heard another out of the altar saying, Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.


–          What does the third seal show with its use of a scale having to measure out wheat and barley?


–          What happens in the third trumpet? (Note: wormwood is a word with judgment overtones toIsraelin the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 29:18, Jeremiah 9:15, Lamentations 3:15, and Amos 5:7)


–          According to the third censer, to whom will the persecutors of the Church have to answer?


–          What double entendre is taking place when John writes, “You [God] have given them [the Church] blood to drink”?


–          Generally, speaking how are things looking for the Church?


The 3rd Vision

Revelation 13:11-15

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and having two horns like a lamb, and he was speaking as a dragon.  And he exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and those who dwell therein in order that they might worship the first beast, whose death wound of his was healed.  And he causes great wonders, and in order that he might cause fire to come down out of heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of those miracle which he was given to do before the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, to make an image of the beast, who has the wound by the sword, and lived.

–          Although the beast looks like a lamb, how does he speak?


–          If the earlier beast coming out of the sea represented the evil power of the state, what does this second beast represent?


–          Who is the beast trying to get the people to worship?


–          How does this second beast deceive?



Revelation 13:16-18

And he causes all, small and great, and rich and poor, and free and slave, in order that a mark might be given to them on their right hand, or on their foreheads: and in order that no man may buy or sell, except that he has the mark, which is the name of the beast, or the number of his name.  Here is wisdom.  Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666.


Using numbers to reference someone is called “gematria.”  This was not an uncommon thing to do in the ancient world.  In the ruins of Pompeii, archaeologists have uncovered one saying, “I love her whose name is 545.” 

So, John using 666 to refer to someone is not that strange.  The question before us is this: “Who is 666?”  

In both ancient Greek and Hebrew, letters represented numerals, with their values assigned according to the order of the alphabet.  So, alpha and aleph, for example, have the numerical value of 1.  By adding these values, words could be represented as the sum of their numbers.  If the Greek spelling of Nero Caesar (Neron Kaisar) is transliterated into Hebrew (nrwn qsr [remember Hebrews has no vowels]), the numerical equivalent is 666. 

So the mystery of who is 666 is resolved.


–          Wrap up what John is describing in the early Church, so far?



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