THE BEASTLY BEAST
Lord, open my eyes to what it means to be faithful. Guard me against the longing just to be liked.
Read REVELATION 13:1b–10
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“In any age the two things essential for Christ’s followers in persecution, and even martyrdom, are endurance coupled with faith” (Paige Patterson).
Satan needs earthly associates if he is to harm the people of God—and he has found them. The beast that comes out of the sea here is a hostile kingdom that is to come, and reflects a combination of the worst of all Daniel’s beasts (Dan. 7). The kingdoms represented by Daniel’s vision—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome—had one thing in common: they demanded worship and ultimate allegiance to an emperor, as did the empires of Assyria and Egypt before Daniel’s time. These six world empires along with the final seventh which will ‘resurrect’ this cult worship, are the seven heads, or manifestations of the kingdom of this world, the beast that has stood in opposition to God through history.
Revelation sets these politics in their theological context. It is aligned to satanic power. Its persecution of the church was part of its claim to be the center of humanity’s belief and adoration. Throughout history there have been, and are, similar ideological claims from the state. Totalitarian regimes clearly expect their leaders to be worshiped, and it is very easy for political leaders to forget that they are “God’s servant[s]” (Rom. 13:4). When an anti-God agenda rises against biblical ethics and social justice; when righteousness (Prov. 14:34) is no longer the aim of the political leaders; when loyalty to a humanistic agenda sets out to suppress the authority of God and the Gospel—then Satan is active in a nation.
John has an encouragement for the beleaguered believers who are going to suffer: they are eternally secure because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
What are some “beasts” or “idols” in your life that test your devotion to Christ?
Sovereign Lord, through all the turbulence of life, thank You for being the stabilizing center.
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