This chapter continues with two more major players who are accomplices of the dragon (Satan):
Beast out of the sea - The sea is thought to symbolize the Gentile nations (Revelation 17:15). Out of this will rise a ruler whom Satan gives political power. The resemblance to a leopard, bear, and lion remind us of what we learned while reading Daniel 7. Please read that post for the similarity in description to the fourth beast in Daniel 7:7-8 too. There is a fatal wound that had been miraculously healed on one of the heads of this beast. This brings praise and worship from unbelievers for Satan (setting himself up like God the Father) and his beast (setting himself up as the king of kings as a substitute for Christ). Satan's assumption of the role of God lasts 42 months during which time he blasphemes God and those who live in heaven. During this time, the saints are to exercise patient endurance and faithfulness.
Beast out of the earth - Satan gives this beast the power to do great signs. His power deceives the people of the earth. He has been indicated as the "false prophet" of 19:20 and 20:10. He sets himself as a false religious leader who supports the first beast. He requires worship of the first beast and a mark of "666" on the right hand or forehead as evidence of this. Without this, one could not buy or sell. One explanation for the number "666" is that six is one number less than the perfect number seven (notice how many sevens there are in this book), and the three in a row indicate Satan, the beast of the sea and the beast of the earth. The beast of the earth is like the Holy Spirit in this "unholy trinity" of evil! The 666 falls short of the perfect Holy Trinity of 777!
There will be one world government, one world religion, and one world economic system in this time. This threesome holds a last ditch effort to overthrow God, but we will find out what happens to them in 19:19-21 and 20:10. Stay tuned.
REFLECTION (written in 2010)
Let's summarize what we have learned about Satan's work in the world:
12:13 His hatred for Christ
12:17 His hatred for God's people
13: 2 His power and authority
13: 4 His popularity among unbelievers
13: 6 His blasphemy against God
13: 7 His war against believers
13:14 His ability to deceive
(From The Life Application Bible, p. 2319)The Chilean miners were rescued this week. With all this exhausting work of getting through Revelation and Satan, it was the highlight of my time at the coast to read this quote and be reminded that God wins:
"I think I had extraordinary luck.
I was with God and with the devil.
And I reached out for God."
~Mario Sepulveda, the second miner rescued
The miners held prayer meetings two times a day at 12:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.! They listened to Scripture, and they decided to each wear shirts with Scripture displayed on them. Read the full article here:
We just heard from our friends who are in the Middle East about this situation:
As you probably heard, there were 33 miners trapped in Chile during all the last two months. One of those miners was from the same church as one of our team members, a Chilean. As they were brought out, the rescued one said, “No somos 33, somos 34. Dios está con nosotros. El número 34 estuvo con nosotros desde el principio.” Meaning something like “There were not 33, but 34. God was with us. The 34th was with us from the beginning.”
God is with us. Hallelujah.
God, Your victory is sure. Help us to exercise patient endurance and faithfulness to the end. Thank You for safely delivering the Chilean miners home. Help them never to forget the powerful way You met them in the depths of the earth. I pray that You would work out, by Your great power, all the details of some of their messy lives. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.