Scripture Reading: Revelation 13:1-18
“And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten diadems on his horns and blasphemous names on its heads…It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and His dwelling, that is those who dwell in heaven. And it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them.” (Revelation 13:1,6,7a)
In the previous chapter we saw the dragon (Satan) being thrown down from heaven. He became frustrated and enraged. In his fury he makes was on the people of God. As Chapter 13 begins, the dragon is standing on the sand of the seashore. We are introduced to two new characters — both hideous beasts who are allies of Satan in his war with the people of God. One beast comes out of the sea; the other beast comes out of the earth. The dragon with his two allies does all he can to overcome the people of God and to deceive the unbelieving people of the world to worship him.
The first beast, the beast of the sea, represents peoples, nations, and their governments. In particular this beast represents political and secular forces that seek to destroy the testimony of Jesus Christ and oppose the building of the kingdom of God on earth. This beast claims to possess great authority and power. The beast’s intentions are clear — to blaspheme God (v. 6) and to make war with the people of God (v. 7). Thus, the first ally of Satan represents the political and secular forces in culture that oppose God and His people. We see this beast at work in our day. Think of all the ways Christians here and around the world are being affected by political and social forces. Be prepared, for it could get even worse.
The second beast comes out of the earth (v. 11). The beast’s appearance is deceptive for it looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. The fact that the beast has two horns like a lamb indicates that it is a religious symbol. The beast of the earth is a representation of the false religions of the world that stand in opposition to the one, true God. This beast is the lie of Satan dressed up like the truth. Think of the hatred that exists on the part of some religions toward Christianity.
Satan’s allies, political and secular forces (the beast of the sea) and false religions (the beast of the earth) are constantly at work. They are deceitful and destructive. The dragon and his two allies form an unholy trinity — a counterfeit to the true Trinity.
In spite of their attempts to destroy the people of God, God protects His own from the ultimate doom and destruction that this unholy trinity brings upon those who dwell on earth. The next chapter begins with a vision of the Lamb standing on Mount Zion with His people. They have His seal and they have the victory.
Lord Jesus, I see this unholy trinity at work, attempting to hinder my faith and my testimony. I know that Christians are being persecuted by Satan and his allies every day. I pray for my brothers and sisters who are in danger from political and religious forces. I pray for our country — that we will continue to have religious liberty and the ability to worship You freely.
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