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  • Writer's pictureLou Hernández

THE UNHOLY TRINITY - REVELATIONS 12-13 February 26, 2023



So last week we got into some very complicated material – looking at things like Daniel’s prophesy about 70 weeks and then some numbers and expressions like 1260 days, 42 months, time, times and ½ a time. Justifiably some of you wondering, what on earth? What are we to make of all these? Some believe things like these numbers etc are representative, more symbol than literal. In essence, describing times in which we live and with that, putting a challenge before us as to how we are to live as Christians in a culture that is opposed to God. Others see these numbers and expressions as literal descriptors of times and events that are still to come. Not yet but coming. As stated, I am in the ‘still to come’, the numbers mean what they say camp. That said, let me suggest, that in some ways both views are correct. By this I mean – if we hold to the latter view with an, ‘I’m in, they’re not’, that doesn’t take us into a deep embrace of how we are to lovingly speak into and live out hope in our here and now, speaking care and living love. If these things aren’t on display, we miss the imperative of where prophesy needs to take us.

So hopefully this morning, our understanding doesn’t get mired in which camp we’re in, rather it focuses on increasing our passion for Jesus, so others will experience His love and grace, so others will have life everlasting with Christ. With that said, let’s see if we can connect some dots from last week and this one, as we look at Revelation 12 and 13. The primary focus of these chapters is an introduction to a cast of characters, chief among them, Satan’s ‘unholy trinity’ – Satan, the beast or antichrist, and the false prophet, - a trio that, in their actions, in many ways tries to replicate God’s Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

To understand these 3 enemies of God, we need to see the stage on which we are introduced to them. That stage is given us in the opening of Rev 12 where we are shown the scene of a woman who is clothed with the sun, has the moon under her feet and on her head 12 stars. With this descriptor, it feels like we are thrust back into another, ‘what on earth?’ but we’ve actually seen a description like this in Gen 37:9-11 that gives us more than a hint of who this woman is. That account tells of Joseph and his dream where he sees his father, mother and brothers, described as the sun, the moon and the stars bowing down before him. His brothers, who will later be known as the tribes of Israel, not happy with Joseph’s audacity to suggest they would bow before him. Rev 12:4 and 5 give us other clues of who this woman is - she is with child who will rule the nations, a child our lead character in this passage hates with a passion. This child hater is described as the great red dragon who we’re told, wants to devour the child.

So that’s the stage – Israel and her child, to which God’s 3 enemies come. And the dragon? none other than Satan himself.

This child, Jesus, standing in the way of everything Satan wants. But if he can eliminate the child, God’s promise is dead. We’re well familiar with the countless ways, Satan has tried to destroy the child, first by destroying the Messianic line, then on various occasions trying to bring His life to an end. When these failed, he was determined to eliminate the ones to whom the promise was given and that meant attacking everything to do with God, the line of Judah and any people or thing God loves.

All explaining why, Israel, a small and seemingly insignificant nation garners so much hatred that fundamentally this isn’t a political issue, or an ‘they’ve got wealth, we don’t’ issue as it is a spiritual issue. :9-12 tells us that Satan who accuses us day and night before God has been cast down and hating God, he attacks Israel with great wrath. :13 he persecutes the woman pouring water like a river after the woman to sweep her away like a flood :15. :17 tells us, he is enraged because he knows his time is short. So now Satan is completely unmasked, revealing himself for who he is and the actions he is committed to take.

With the mask off, we see he is the evil one – the great dragon 12:9 - serpent of old, Devil diabolos - slanderer, Satan – adversary, accuser, murderer from the beginning Jn 8:44 and a foe of everything and everyone who serves God :7 That is why when Satan lures us into sin – never forget, his intent is to destroy. :17 tells us, he makes war on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Yet we’d be wrong to only characterize him in negative descriptors because he’s also, the deceiving one. 2 Cor 11:14 tells us he transforms himself into an angel of light; Lucifer - star of the morning and :4 informs that he is very charismatic - drawing 1/3 of the angelic host with him, sweeping them into his rebellion. But Satan has never and will never, thwart God’s purposes.

:14 Israel, intended to be obliterated is given wings of an eagle to escape to the wilderness 3½ years to be nourished. :16 waters intended to sweep away will be swallowed up by the earth

We don’t need to know much history to see attempts made over the years to obliterate Israel. Way back we saw it in the action of Haman whose plan was to kill all Jews. We saw it in the incomprehensible evil of the Holocaust and we see it in the everyday attacks from this nation’s hostile neighbours but Israel, miraculously regathered and rebirthed as a nation to whom God will fulfill His promises, is still standing. That said, I believe, this chapter describes an attempt still to come that will muster overwhelming spiritual force to forever put an end to God’s purposes.

The one who will step onto the stage to accomplish this will be the 2nd member of Satan’s unholy Trinity who we are introduced to in Rev 13. This one is called the Beast who arises from the sea. In the same way Genesis helped us with our identification of the woman, Daniel 7 and Revelation 17 help us with some of what we are told in Rev 13:1 of this ruler with 10 horns, 7 heads, 10 diadems that these 10 horns and 10 diadems describe 10 nations and kings who join ranks with the Beast.

We’ll get to that but first an unveiling of this Beast, or as better known, the antichrist. :5 tells us he is arrogant, blasphemous, powerful. Daniel tells us he is a king of fierce features; one who understands sinister schemes, a destroyer Dan 8:23, one who makes desolate Dan 9:27, physically impressive – with appearance greater than his fellows Dan 7:20. Paul tells us he is a man of sin 2 Thess 2:3; and a lawless one 2 Thess 2:8. That’s his character but his ‘physical’ attributes, power and methodology are described using animals of prey.

:2 he is: like a leopard – acting with stealth and speed; attacking with the feet of a bear – pursuing with determination, and devouring with brute strength; with the mouth of a lion – his authority established with the use of great fear and terrifying power :3,4 tell us this one is fatally wounded; and his fatal wound is healed. The world is in wonder and worships the dragon who gives him his power. 13:5-8 tells us, And authority was given to it over every tribe and people and language and nation and all who dwell on the earth will worship it – everyone whose name has not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain.

So these, a miraculous event and some strange descriptors. 1st, the event – fatally wounded yet given life after death leaving the world in wonder. On this occasion, I believe God giving Satan this ability. We also know that God allows Satan to deceive many with signs and wonders, as they choose Satan over God.

So what are we to learn from these descriptors of a lion, bear, leopard and a terrifying beast?

Well we’ve actually seen likenesses of them before in the pages of Daniel. And 4 great beasts were coming up from the sea …. The 1st like a LION, had the wings of an eagle BABYLON. And behold, another beast, a 2nd one, resembling a BEAR MEDO-PERSIA. Ii was raised up on one side, and 3 ribs were in its mouth between its teeth… After this and behold, another one, like a LEOPARD GREECE; the beast also had 4 heads, and dominion was given to it. After this ROME & a 4th BEAST, DREADFUL AND TERRIFYING and extremely strong …. It devoured and crushed and trampled down…; it was different from all the beasts before it, and had 10 horns. While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and 3 of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, his horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. Dan 7:3-8

As Daniel elaborates, The 4th beast will be a 4th kingdom and …. will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the 10 horns, out of this kingdom 10 kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue 3 kings. He will speak out against the Most High … they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him. Dan 7:23-27

Rev 12:3-6 introduces us to this time of which Daniel spoke. Of a time God is cast aside, where the Beast takes center stage and Satan is worshipped Rev 13:4. On center stage we’re told, the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for 42 months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, EXCEPT everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. Rev 13:5-8.

How on earth did we get here? And perhaps some of you still wondering, where exactly is here?

Daniel 11 tells us that - He the Beast will come in peacefully and seize the kingdom by intrigue then this king shall do everything according to his own will; he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god and speak blasphemies against the God of gods…. Forces shall be mustered by him and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Dan 11:21,31, 36

He shall confirm a covenant with many for one week then shall destroy fearfully, and shall prosper and thrive; he shall destroy the mighty. Dan 9:27, 8:24.

As Daniel elaborates, The 4th beast will be a 4th kingdom and …. will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. As for the 10 horns, out of this kingdom 10 kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue 3 kings. He will speak out against the Most High … they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the mountains” Matt 24:15,16 – don’t stop to get possessions, in the field - don’t return to gather those you love – flee!

It's a time when at the beginning of the Tribulation, the day of trouble, the antichrist will come and provide answers the world so desperately needs. He will solve what no one else can solve, he’ll settle the chaos and bring peace others haven’t been able to bring. For Israel, he will make it possible for their religious sacrifices to be restored and their Temple to be rebuilt. For Israel, peace so she can finally live in safety from enemies that surround. And Israel buys it. Just like they did many years in their past – 167 years before Christ with Antiochus Epiphanes.

He giving Israel gifts and promises until the day came when he was ordered by Rome, whose fleet was anchored in Cyprus, to turn back from his planned attack on Egypt. Infuriated he entered Jerusalem, waited for Sabbath then loosed his vast army to slaughter the Jews. During this time, Antiochus, self-proclaimed as the glorious one entered the Temple and erected a statue of Zeus as god, then sacrificed a pig, an unclean animal, on the altar and forced the priests to eat. That day was declared the abomination of Desolation.

Notably, three centuries before Daniel 11:30 had written, Ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage.

What Antiochus did in small measure, the antichrist will do in totality at the midpoint of the Tribulation, 31/2 years or 42 months where he will demand that the whole earth worship him. 2 Thess 2:4 tells us that he will sit in the Temple and declare himself to be god. All pretenses stripped away, his power an amalgamation of leopard, bear and lion – but far more terrifying, the devastation far greater than can be imagined. Jesus described this time, obviously much later than Antiochus, saying, there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world Mtth 24:21.

Which brings us to the 3rd and last person in our cast of characters. We’ve had Satan and his antichrist and now the 3rd person of Satan’s unholy trinity that raises a religious fist against God.



This beast or False Prophet’s role is to bring glory to the antichrist. 13:11 tells us he enters like a lamb yet his speaks like a dragon. Harmless in presentation, demonic in execution. This false prophet will perform great signs and wonders not unlike what Elijah did even to the point of commanding fire down from heaven.

We’re also told that he makes everyone worship the beast and later will bring to life an image of the beast that he has instructed people to make. For us, unlike readers of Scripture 100s of year before, this might conjure up images of AI or animatronics but this is demonic with far more in play than technological wizardry. In these and in so many other ways, he counterfeits the Holy Spirit. Initially he appears with a spirit that embraces any and all religion (other than Jesus) until all worship is redirected to the antichrist. John tells us that in the last days many antichrists have come but there will be one that is unlike any that have been seen. 1 Jn 2:18.

Christ’s warned in Matt 24:24, 25 False prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders to deceive…. See, I have told you beforehand. In an age where we are prone see signs and wonders as the authenticating evidence of the work of God, be very careful.

Revelation 13 leaves us with a grim reality that, It causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name… It is the number of man – 666. 13:16-18 So no speculating on that about microchip implants, Big Brother surveillance or laser etched identifiers – just realities of what is to come.

This is where Scripture leaves us this morning but let me leave you with one assurance – in the same way, God has outlined the things that are to come, He has also outlined what the final outcome will be and what happens when all this is done. So be assured - There is more story to be told in our To Be Continued look. So - Do Not weep, See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David HAS triumphed Rev 5:5.

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