02 February 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 13

Remember last week in chapter 12, Satan was about to wage war against God’s people. Now in chapter 13, he called forth two evil agents to blaspheme God, fight against believers, and deceive the world into following him instead of God.

John described a beast coming out of the sea. Since we know that the dragon is symbolic of Satan, we can deduce that this beast is symbolic of the Antichrist. This beast had a healed mortal wound on his head. He appeared as the real Messiah but actually was a false Messiah. This is the same beast that came out of the Abyss in chapter 11. He is not Satan but is under Satan’s control.

This powerful beast had global rule and authority. He deceived people into believe he is the real Messiah. He was given a mouth to blaspheme God. To blaspheme God is to curse Him, to disrespect Him, and to use His name in vain. This beast will exercise his authority over 42 months. This may be a literal time, or it may be a symbolic time. The bottom line is this beast will have a limited amount of time to deceive people and turn them away from God.

The beast will have power to wage war against God’s people and to conquer them. But he will not destroy them because their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. This book is a registry of everyone who has a heavenly citizenship because they trust in Jesus’ death for their eternal salvation.

Next John described a beast coming out of the earth. This beast is symbolic of the False Prophet (a counterfeit Holy Spirit). He appears to tell the truth but actually tells lies.

He leads people to worship the first beast. At this time, all people will be forced to receive the mark of the beast in order to buy and sell. The mark is 666, just shy of the perfect 777. As a contrast, believers are already marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit.

Satan and the two beasts are an unholy trinity. Satan is a counterfeiter and deceiver – he makes himself appear to be God.

The world is becoming increasingly hostile toward God and His people. Believers must expect and prepare for Satan’s attacks. God gives His people wisdom and endurance to resist Satan’s evil power.

God calls us to patient endurance (perseverance, continue in the faith, trusting God completely, not wavering) and faithfulness (being steadfast and loyal to God). How do we stand firm? Remember that we’re on the winning team. Pray. Know the truth of the Scriptures. Memorize God’s Word. Guard against false teaching.

While it appears that Satan is winning now, God’s people have already won through Jesus’ death on the cross. Our God is more powerful than Satan. Look away from the lying beast and dragon and instead look at Christ.

Things to Think About
  • Godly wisdom comes from reading and studying God’s Word. Do I evaluate everything according to God’s Word?

This Week’s Memory Verse
“All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” Revelation 13:8 NIV