The book of Revelation is a strange book to understand in any sensible way I have found. But that is not to say that it makes no sense at all! In today’s passage the dragon, or Satan, is joined for a time by the beast and the dragon gives the beast his power. And in this time of forty-two months the beast has authority to do whatever he wants, and all the people will worship him. On first reading through today’s passage I had to stop and read it again because I thought it meant that just prior to God’s day of judgement, all of us on earth were destined to worship Satan and so be lost to God forever on the day of The Lord. Then I realised it actually says, “and all the people who BELONG to this world.” The word ‘belong’ could not be more significant. Christians, although they live in the world, do not belong to it, they belong to God. In just the same way as children who live in a certain town do not belong to that town, they belong to their parents. It is comforting to know that come what may in future, in terms of evil reigning on earth, we who are believers, belong to God and as such will be safe from the enormous power of evil. (See John 17:13-15)
Revelation 13:1-8 NLT
Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marvelled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his dwelling—that is, those who dwell in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made—the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered.
My goal is to pray for the wisdom to know evil when I encounter it, and for the strength to resist it. My hope is in Jesus who has already won the ultimate victory over death and all evil. My salvation is in my faith that Jesus died for me so that I might be given eternal life instead of death. It would be easy to forget about Jesus in the face of great evil, I pray that if I should find myself faced by the beast, I would remember where to turn for courage.
Zechariah 2:1-3:10, Revelation 12:18-13:18, Psalms 141:1-10, Proverbs 30:18-20