v8: Dwell on the earth: They don’t have a covenantal relationship with Yeshua, and their allegiance is to satan – they will worship him. The beast will tell them exactly what they want to hear, and give them short term prosperity and security.
· Book of life: G-d puts the names of all people into the Book of Life. In Exodus 32v32 Moses seems to imply that his name was written in the book, presumably the book of life. In the next verse (v33) G-d says to Moses that ‘Whoever has sinned against Me I will blot out of My book.’ Those who sin (everyone) need a new way to be part of the Kingdom. This is, of course, through faith in Yeshua, the Lamb of G-d; and through faith in Him, our names are now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Only those whose names are found in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be saved.
v9: This is a phrase that was repeated at the end of each of the letters to each of the seven congregations in Asia Minor (chapter 2 and 3) This is a literary device where John is communicating to us that he is talking, here, to the believing community.
v10: In the last days unbelieving Israel is going to flee into the wilderness. G-d is going to sustain the Jews there in order to bring them to faith. To flee is not G-d’s message to the church. We, as believers, are called to stand strong (Luke 21v19). Believers are called to endure, not to flee.
· Saints – sanctified and set apart for a purpose. We need to be willing to die for our faith. (Matt 24v9-14 – Believers are going to be persecuted because of the name of Messiah)
v11: An empire/government will rise up, out of instability, and rule the world (Rev 13v1). This empire will bring short term stability and is going to bring about the means for the manifestation of the antichrist.
· This beast, rising up from the land, is the antichrist. He is going to emerge from out of this empire. The antichrist is going to create stability out of instability, and it is because of this that he will be put into power. His words are not like the words of G-d, but are the words of satan.
v12: The antichrist will take a leadership position over this empire. The mortal blow is referring to an empire that the world thought was totally destroyed, but it is going to manifest itself again. This empire was one that was disastrous, wicked and one that the world did not want. The world is going to stand amazed as it revives itself and they will feel helpless against it. It has supernatural power and so the world will follow after it, submit to it and worship it.
If we live to the end of this age, there will be no sitting on the fence – we will either worship the true Lamb or we will worship the false one – the antichrist.
v13: G-d allows strong delusion, in the end, for those who refuse to believe in Him (2 Thess 2v11, Matt 24v24-25). satan is going to do counterfeit presentations of supernatural things. He is the father of lies and deceit. satan’s works are going to confirm his unrighteousness. G-d’s works are going to confirm His righteousness.
v14: Biblically, it is forbidden for us to make idols (Ex 20v4-5). Making an image is a pledge of loyalty. There will only be two ways to live – loyal to Messiah or forced to be loyal to the antichrist. Loyalty to the antichrist (false Messiah) will lead to a transgressing the basic things in the laws of G-d.
v15: Reminds me of Daniel 3. In Dan 3v28 we learn that Daniel’s friends were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own G-d.
When this empire first arises, it will have a very pluralistic, inclusive, attitude toward worship. Shortly after assuming power all forms of worship will be outlawed – except for the worship of the antichrist.
v16: satan is a counterfeiter and wants people to put his mark where the tefillin are meant to be – on the arm or forehead. He wants people to think of, and do, his will.
v17: True believers are going to be put into a situation where they are forced to depend on G-d – and not their own resources. G-d wants us to know that He is trustworthy, and He can sustain us.
v18: When these things come about, at that time, those who have wisdom will be able to discern the significance of that number and who it points to. Because it points to a man.