Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
B. Great Conflict between God and the Forces of Evil (12:1-16:21) pp. 451-602
- “Conflict between the Dragon and God as Well as His People (12:1-13:18)” pp. 454-522.
- “The Beast from the Sea - the Antichrist (12:18-13:10)” pp. 488-509
Osborne finds Revelation 12:18-13:18 as a description of two satanic agents at war. One, in 12:18-13:10, is a beast from the sea. The other is a beast from the earth. They are not free agents, as they would have no power if it were not from God (Osborne 2002, 487). They are able to deceive those who do not believe Christ.
In the vision of Revelation 12:18-13:10, the dragon introduced earlier gives power to a beast arising from the sea. The beast receives worship, speaks blasphemies, and wages war against the saints, finally receiving worship from those who do not believe Christ (Osborne 2002, 489). Revelation 12:18 is classed with this, although the rest is in chapter 13, since the idea flows more naturally with 12:18 introducing what follows. The dragon stands on the shore to call out his servant, the beast. This beast ascends from the sea, a reference to Daniel 7:3 (Osborne 2002, 490). Osborne finds the dragon stealing the role of God, but the beast taking the role of the Christ, brought forth by the Father. This beast claims deity and demands worship. putting himself in the place of God (Osborne 2002, 491). Osborne, with numerous other commentators, thinks this may have been understood as a reference to the imperial cult. The beast appears as a hideous composite - many heads, only one mouth, a summary of various beasts (Osborne 2002, 492). In imitation of God the Son, this beast is given power by the dragon, a father figure who called him forth.
Osborne interrupts his narrative to speak to the term “antichrist” which is used only in the epistles of John (Osborne 2002, 493). Elsewhere, as here, the concept exists without the name. The beast exalts himself instead of the Christ. Osborne traces the idea in numerous biblical passages (Osborne 2002, 493-495).
Revelation 13:3 speaks of one of the beast’s heads bearing a fatal wound, another imitation of Christ (Osborne 2002, 495). There is an apparent healing which attracts attnetion. Osborne notes that based on Revelation 17:9-11 there is discussion of the beast’s heads which may equate them with Roman leaders and a legend suggesting a resurrection of Nero (Osborne 2002, 496). There is certainly a possibility that readers would assume this to be such a reference, though Osborne considers it to be a real reference to the real person of an Antichrist (Osborne 2002, 497).
The events surrounding the beast serve to amaze the people, who then turn to worhsip the beast in place of the true God (Osborne 2002, 497). Despite this exaltation of the beast, Osborne notes the passive verb, “it was given” is again used for the beast’s power. This signifies divine control over even his demands for inappropriate worship (Osborne 2002, 498). Here the beast is allowed to foast and commit blasphemy, one of the common ways Scripture portrays Satan working. This authority is brief, for forty-two months, a time period used frequently in biblical apocalyptic passages (Osborne 2002, 499). The abuse of the beast even comes against God’s people, in 13:7 even apparently conquering them. However, as Christ overcame Satan by his death, the saints overcome the beast by their death (Osborne 2002, 501). The beast still has control over the earth dwellers for a period of time. Osborne notes that he only has ultimate power over htose who worship him, even that is subject to a time limit (Osborne 2002, 502). Each of those worshiping the beast has no hope in Christ. There is no final hope to be found outside of Christ. The beast’s deception leaves those individuals no worse than they were before, a sobering thought (Osborne 2002, 503). Gos’e plan to redeem the world through Christ is seen as entirely successful in this passage, despite the best efforts of the enemy.
Despite the apparent safety of all who believe on Christ, Revelation 13:9-10 makes a call to believe on Christ. It is necessary to heed the warnings and not fall away. Osborne takes this as an interruption so John can warn people of his time who are not clearly and finally the “earth dwellers” (Osborne 2002, 504). It is important to call people to repentance as long as possible. The call is a pair of couplets, oddly enigmatic and lacking in verbs. Osborne finds a reference to Jeremiah 15:2 and 43:11, as well as other warnings to follow Christ faithfully (Osborne 2002, 505). Osborne is clear that the way Christians follow Christ is not through a call to arms but by leaving the battle to God (Osborne 2002, 506).