Revelation 13 - It Seems Like We're Losing
It's hard to be optimistic after looking at the news, but tho' the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
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Revelation 13 (ESV)
1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea,
with ten horns and seven heads,
with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads
. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard;
its feet were like a bear’s,
and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth.
And to it the dragon gave
and his throne
and great authority.
3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound,
but its mortal wound was healed,
and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
4 And they worshiped the dragon,
for he had given his authority to the beast,
and they worshiped the beast,
saying, “Who is like the beast,
and who can fight against it?”
5 And the beast
was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words,
and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.
6 It opened its mouth
to utter blasphemies against God,
his name and his dwelling,
that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7 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,
8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it,
everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth.
It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
12 It exercises
all the authority of the first beast in its presence,
and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship
the first beast,
whose mortal wound was healed.
13 It performs great signs,
even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,
14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast
it deceives those who dwell on earth,
telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
15 And it was allowed
to give breath to the image of the beast,
so that the image of the beast
might even speak
and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
16 Also it causes all,
both small and great,
both rich and poor,
both free and slave,
to be marked
on the right hand
or the forehead,
17 so that
no one can buy or sell
unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom:
let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast,
for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
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Revelation 13 Summary
Chapter 13 introduces us to the first two of Satan's minions. Tomorrow in chapter 14 we will meet the third, the harlot of Babylon. Chapter 13, however is about beasts. The first is a conglomeration of multi-headed predatory animals (v2). One of these heads has received a mortal wound, but that wound has been healed.
This first beast represents the oppressive world orders & governments. It's not so important to try and figure out which worldly kingdoms are included in those seven heads (Babylon? Rome? Soviet Union?), or which of those kingdoms was mortally wounded but will be restored, rather, keep focused on the big picture. The point here is that there have always been, and as long as the earth endures, will always be kingdoms of man oppressing the Kingdom of God.
The second beast is not very scary at all. In fact, it has the appearance of a lamb (v11). This gentle appearance makes it much more dangerous. It represents the wisdom of the world. We can see in our day and age how it positions itself as being attractive and sophisticated, but it's always pointing people aways from Christ and towards the dragon.