- The dragon featured in chapter 12 is standing at shore of a sea as a beast with 10 horns and 7 heads comes out of the sea. A blasphemous name is on each head. The dragon gives the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
- The whole world was astonished and followed the beast and worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast and they worshipped the beast as well as they asked who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?
- The beast was GIVEN a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and exercises his authority for 42 months
- The beast blasphemies God, slanders his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven
- The beast was GIVEN power to make war against the saints and to conquer them and he was given authority over every tribe, tongue, people, language and nation.
- All inhabitants who’s name are not written in the book of life and belonging to the lamb will worship the beast
- If anyone is to go into captivity then they will go and if anyone is to die by the sword then they will die. This calls for faithful endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints
- John then sees another beast coming out of the earth with two horns like a lamb but speaks like the dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast
- And the second beast performed great and miraculous signs—even fire coming down from heaven. Because of the signs he was GIVEN power he was given to do on behalf of the first beast he too deceived the inhabitants of the earth.
- The second beast ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast that had been wounded yet lived. He was GIVEN power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed
- He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, slave and free, to receive a mark in the right hand and on the forehead so that no one can buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the mark of his name
- This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight , let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.
- When the dragon and beasts blaspheme God and make war against the church there’s no middle ground or fence sitting. Either one will have their name written in the Book of Life or they will worship the beast. This war requires endurance and faithfulness from the saints. This not only runs against my instant gratification and “mission accomplished” dna, it seems like life will be harder for the saints than for those who worship the beast. There will be constant temptation to end one’s suffering by denying Christ as Lord and worshipping the beast as Lord.
Holy Father, thank you for the example of your early church and so many other saints that have endured persecution and have stayed faithful to you, even if it cost them their lives. Father, it seems like persecution often strengthens the faith of your saints. May you give your church family such faithful endurance no matter what may come our way. Please unify your saints and make us one in spirit and purpose. Father, we lift up those saints today who are enduring persecution. Fill them with your hope and peace that they may not battle flesh and blood but may they battle in prayer and loving their enemies well. In Jesus name we ask, Amen.
Posted on Thu, December 17, 2015
by Brian Landers