Revelation 13 War!

Revelation 13

These chapters in Revelation meant something to the original readers. The seven churches read these chapters and were instructed in the moment for their current place as the church bearing the Gospel of the Kingdom and the King.

Remember that prophet texts are not given to satisfy the curious but to instruct the saint.

Many of us have had Revelation taught as a futuristic document having not bearing on today except that I’m intrigued and form some opinions about how the future is going to work out.

I don’t believe that is the primary mission of Revelation.

These texts are intended to instruct now and in the future. That is the nature of apocalyptic literature.

These chapters of Revelation are telling of what is and what will be again.

The identity of nations and rulers is almost irrelevant to the larger identity of the Dragon and who it is the Dragon is fighting and why.

Bible Study 101:

Don’t get caught up in terrible hermeneutics (bible interpretation) by asking questions the text does not answer. “Who is the identity of rulers and nations?” is a stupid question because the text never answers that question. It’s stupid because it will lead people to speculate rather than exegete, and this creates many idols and much to “undo” in one’s decision-making structure. Speculation leads to speculative theology, which can lead to error. Exegesis leads to a systematic theology, which can keep you in the bounds of orthodoxy.

The Dragon is Satan. Satan is fighting the church that bears the Kingdom and the eternal Gospel of the King. Our war is not against flesh and blood.

1. We are at war. We are not at peace Revelation 13-14

Any Christian living life as though there is no war and that the goal is to get something for the kids that we can tolerate is blind and helpless in this struggle and ignorant of the devastation leveled against unsuspecting bystanders.

2. Satan is deceptive and seeking to deceive Revelation 13

A. Satan seeks to imitate the Trinity Revelation 13:1-4; 11-18

The dragon, in his determination to annihilate the church, calls to his aid not one helper but two. The first beast comes out of the sea (1) showing its character as a sea monster like the dragon himself, and therefore demonic. The second beast comes out of the earth (11). This difference corresponds to that between behemoth the land monster (Jb. 40:15–24) and leviathan the sea monster (Jb. 41); in the prophetic and apocalyptic literature these creatures typify God-opposing powers (see e.g. Is. 27:1; 51:9; Ezk. 32). Consonant with this, the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the land form a kind of evil trinity (see 16:13). Satan claims to be God; the antichrist is the christ of Satan; and the beast from the earth performs the function of an unholy spirit. The antichrist persuades the world to worship the devil; he has a fatal wound but lives (3), in a monstrous imitation of the Christ of God. The second beast seeks to persuade the world to worship the antichrist by his witness in word and deed, as the Holy Spirit witnesses to God’s Christ; and through the mark of the beast (itself a parody of the seal of God) he creates a devilish imitation of the church of Christ. So John depicts the world as divided between followers of the Truth and followers of the Lie.[1]

1. Avoid and rebuke inter-faith validity

a. It’s ok to have inter-faith dialogue about common issues

b. It’s not ok to have inter-faith dialogue about equality of faith claims

2. Equating Jesus to other religions is the demeaning of Jesus and his claims

B. Satan often uses the political system to advance his rebellion

1. It appears that Satan’s un-holy Trinity takes the form of political leaders

a. Ask real good questions about political leaders such as theology

questions regarding who is Jesus and why do you call yourself

“Christian”.

b. Satan can even influence godly men if they are not careful to

stay in a war-ready state

1. 1 Chronicles 21:1 “Then Satan stood against Israel and

incited David to number Israel.”

2. Satan’s rebellion may take the form of strong-willed folks who just hate

the Gospel and you because you believe the Gospel and are faithful

a. Ever noticed those people who are just opposed to you or those

who come against you out of nowhere?

3. Satan is given leash space to influence nations and harm Christians according to Father’s mission plan. Revelation 13:5-10

A. Get on Father’s mission plan

B. Don’t buy the culture’s lies about the purposes of God

1. Prosperity

2. Health

3. Wealth

4. Rescue from all difficulty

5. Political deliverance from minority status

C. Don’t run from death for the sake of the Gospel toward the mirage of safety

4. The church is called to trust and persevere Revelation 13:9-10

A. Father’s purposes stand as good but sometimes bitter and sometimes sweet

1. Job 42:5

B. Don’t believe the thought(s) that questions the goodness of Jesus

C. Don’t believe the thought(s) that drive you away from the church

D. Don’t believe the thought(s) that question the Jesus love for you

E. Don’t believe the thought(s) that Jesus’ love for you must not be in the form

of discipline


[1] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 13:1–18.

Religious talk is deadly if definitions are not clear

One of the bothersome difficulties of talking about the Gospel in the context of today is “God” talk without defining who this “God” is. Much of Scripture deals with the problems of syncing the God of the Universe, Jesus, with other “gods” and their practices. Jesus went to lengths to define who he was. We must do this too and not assume that because someone is using “God” as their basis of agreement that we are talking about the same God.

Even in this southern context of Rome, GA many would say they mean the God of the bible, but the sad reality is they have never read their bible cover to cover, even once, and have made Jesus into a southern gentlemen with some divine power. This is a creation of their imagination.

Satan gets this. Satan is no fool. Paul warns the Corinthians about being aware of his schemes (see 2 Corinthians, yes read the whole letter).

Revelation 13 shows us the extent Satan will go to in order to deceive people, even in imitating the Tri-une God of the universe. Read Revelation 13 and this commentary by D.A. Carson on this chapter of the Revelation.

“The dragon, in his determination to annihilate the church, calls to his aid not one helper but two. The first beast comes out of the sea (1) showing its character as a sea monster like the dragon himself, and therefore demonic. The second beast comes out of the earth (11). This difference corresponds to that between behemoth the land monster (Jb. 40:15–24) and leviathan the sea monster (Jb. 41); in the prophetic and apocalyptic literature these creatures typify God-opposing powers (see e.g. Is. 27:1; 51:9; Ezk. 32). Consonant with this, the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the land form a kind of evil trinity (see 16:13). Satan claims to be God; the antichrist is the christ of Satan; and the beast from the earth performs the function of an unholy spirit. The antichrist persuades the world to worship the devil; he has a fatal wound but lives (3), in a monstrous imitation of the Christ of God. The second beast seeks to persuade the world to worship the antichrist by his witness in word and deed, as the Holy Spirit witnesses to God’s Christ; and through the mark of the beast (itself a parody of the seal of God) he creates a devilish imitation of the church of Christ. So John depicts the world as divided between followers of the Truth and followers of the Lie.”[1]

 

Do you know the difference between the truth and the lie?


[1] D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 13:1–18.

Revelation 12: Satan’s war agains the King and his church

Woman = Eve / Israel / the elect of God who would have or give birth to the one who would crush the head of the serpent / the people of God / the church

– See Joseph’s dream in Gen 37:9. Probably a reference to Israel (of which Christians are made

part of in the Gospel)

– See Gen 3:14-15. Enmity put between Satan’s offspring and the woman’s offspring. This is why

there is conflict between those outside the kingdom and those inside the kingdom. Satan’s

children have innate animosity toward the people of God.

 

Child who rules the nations with a rod of iron = Jesus / the Christ / promised one who would crush the head of the serpent who incited the rebellion

– See Gen 3:14-15

 

Michael and his angels = angelic hosts of heaven who fight against the evil one and his armies

– See Dan 10:1-14

 

Dragon = Satan / accuser of the brothers / murderer / liar and father of lies

– See Rev 12:3, 9; John 8

 

In this tribulation period the war will intensify. However, the war is still intense today and real today.

 

Again, John’s purpose is to reveal Jesus as he is to the churches engaged in the battle. Likewise, we are in need of seeing Jesus as he is as we are engaged in the struggle.

 

Contextually, this is taking place during the period of “great tribulation” however this does not change the fact that the church’s battles are different before the “great tribulation”. The period of greater tribulation only increases the measure of difficulty for the church. It’s difficult now for the church and it will only be more difficult.

 

Revelation 13:10c “Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

 

1. The church is engaged in a titanic struggle for worship 12 (overarching point)

Ministries exist to reach people. People exist to bring Jesus glory (Isaiah 43:7). As it stands many do not bring Jesus glory. Those who do not glorify Jesus are Satan’s property (see 1 John 3, Eph 2, Genesis 2-4). Therefore, when we engage in ministry, that is truly ministry, we are getting into a fight in which we will probably get bloodied.

 

2. Father has won and has brought history to his appointed ends 12:4-6 (see Genesis 3:14-15)

 

3. The church’s struggle is not against flesh and blood 12:7-17 (Ephesians 6:10)

A. Satan’s identity:

1. Deceiver of the whole world 12:9

2. Accuser 12:10

3. Conquered 12:11

a. Conquered by blood of the lamb

b. Conquered by the word of their testimony

4. Angry for his short time 12:12

5. Pursuing the church 12:13

6. Makes war on the church 12:17

B. Church’s identity:

1. Status with Jesus is guarded 12:6

2. Elected, Called, Justified, and Glorified 12:11 (Romans 8:29-30)

3. Testimony laden 12:11 (testimony occurs 27 times in Psalms “edot” – what God

testifies to be his will)

a. Testimony refers to the stories of God’s grace in revealed purpose that remind, encourage and instruct

4. Pursued by a hater 12:13

5. Protected from condemnation and slavery to the evil one 12:14

a. Two great wings bring Exodus 19:4 and the Exodus up metaphorically.

b. Jesus cares for his people, although exposed, they are not enslaved but cared

for.

6. Holding onto the truth of God and the Gospel 12:17

Will a show really attract non-Christians?

Let me get to the point. In my conversations with friends who are not followers of Jesus I have discovered that jacked up campaigns with great show and lights are not why people get connected to the Church and hear the Gospel. This has been done with people talking to people about Gospel and the reality of how the Gospel is the power of God for salvation.

My friends who are not Christians are smarter than that. By the way, I’m all for worship that is as jacked up as it can be as long as it is a true indigenous reflection of the church demographic that is gathered there. Driscoll in Seattle has Apple, Microsoft and about as much film and art population as there is in America, and their service reflects the skills of their redeemed population. That is called indigenous, and it is a tool that the Gospel can take advantage of in reaching that particular demographic.

My question is this: why do folks in the South keep thinking that if we imitate what others do that this will attract people? Oh it will attract people. People from other churches who want a cooler gig. But it will not attract the population that is unreached here.

What I want to see is what gathered worship will look like coming from a redeemed group of Romans who are not part of the cultural epidemic called “Christianity” as it stands. But people previously unengaged with the Gospel, transformed, gifted by the Holy Spirit, bringing their offering of a living sacrifice in song, skill and any other medium necessary.

This does not even begin to discuss the object of worship. By the way, worship is for Jesus, not people to consume and think it’s cool and come back for more. If we design services for people RATHER than for Jesus by people looking like that people’s expression of adoration, we are guilty of idolatry (read this sentence carefully before you come off half-cocked and post folly).

There is no doubt that there are examples of people who came to a mediocre show and engaged with Jesus there and were transformed. No doubt. However, is this the wholesale means by which out town will be won? Plus, we can’t keep up with the entertainment level of television. That is not our job. It is our job to make Jesus and the cross clear (see 1 Cor 2).

What do you think?