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Revelation 13:7

It was granted to him
Now the Beast is given permission to overcome the saints. This disturbing reality has been on the prophetic agenda for thousands of years:

I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, . . . He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. (Dan. Dan. 7:21, Dan. 7:25)

How could it be that God would grant permission for the Beast to overcome the saints? Here is where our grasp of God’s sovereignty and His glory must be our sure support. As he used Pharaoh in the days of the Exodus, so too he uses the Beast in the time of the end. He has raised up the Beast for His ultimate glory.

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth. As yet you exalt yourself against My people in that you will not let them go. (Ex. Ex. 9:16-17)

to make war with the saints
The saints at the time of the end are under tremendous persecution. They are killed by the little horn (Dan. Dan. 7:21, Dan. 7:25), the Harlot (Rev. Rev. 17:6+), the Beast (Rev. Rev. 13:7+), and even the image of the Beast (Rev. Rev. 13:15+). See #20 - Saints . The saints are martyred during this period because they are unwilling to worship the Beast and his image (Rev. Rev. 13:15+). True believers of our age will not see this war:1

2 Thessalonians 2Th. 2:1-8 predicts that the rapture of the church must occur before the appearance of the Antichrist, and in Revelation Rev. 13:1-10+ (cf. Rev. Rev. 6:2+; Rev. 11:7+) he will have appeared. This negates the possibility that the church is in view in Revelation Rev. 13:7+, for it will have already been raptured.2

and to overcome them
See comments concerning the overcomer of Revelation 6:2.

authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation
This speaks of his global control—something which was never achieved by Rome in the days of Nero:

Daniel Dan. 7:23 clearly states that at some point the Fourth Empire devours the whole earth. This is something Rome never did. Some attempt to make the expression mean the “then-known world,” but it cannot be said that Rome even conquered the then-known world. . . . Rome did not even extend as far east as the empire of Alexander the Great. The Greeks went as far as the Indus River in India . . . Rome did not even extend that far. Furthermore, Rome never fully conquered the Parthian Empire, and that, too, was part of the known world. The area of Scotland was also part of the known world that Rome did not conquer. Rome had to build the Hadrian Wall in order to keep the nomads of northing Scotland from overrunning that part of Britain controlled by Rome.3

This speaks of the ultimate manifestation of Gentile power of the end as seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Remember that it is Satan who has authority over the kingdoms of the world prior to The Arrival of God’s Kingdom (see commentary on Revelation 13:2). Since Nero’s Rome has long passed and Christ has not yet come, it is evident that this final kingdom of Satan is yet to appear upon the stage of world history.

A totalitarian system of unbelievable scope and power is also predicted. Every new invention of man gives him one more tool by which he can control others and enforce his will upon them. These inventions under the power of an able leader could make him the undisputed tyrant of the earth. Such a rule is foreshadowed by the beast. . . The concentration of evil in one vast system ruled by an antichrist who will be the most powerful potentate the human race has ever produced.4


Notes

1 Wong also notes that the removal of the Restrainer (2Th. 2Th. 2:6-8), the Holy Spirit, suggests a pretribulational rapture.

2 Daniel K. Wong, “The Beast From The Sea in Revelation 13,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 160 no. 639 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, July-September 2003), 347.

3 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 35.

4 Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1957), 196-197.

Read Revelation 13:7