May 29 2022
Today, Sunday May 29
The Beast is Revealed
“Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
Right here, in the middle of the Tribulation, Satan is “unmasked” and we are given a vivid picture of who he really is and what he is really like! The “man of peace” (Dan. 9; Rev. 6:2), becomes the devil, “the beast”, that he really is. Once Satan presents his great "masterpiece," the counterfeit Christ, to the world, what will happen next?
First, there will be wonder (Rev. 13:3). Certainly a terrified world will wonder at Antichrist's power and his sudden rise to international fame and authority. But mankind will also wonder at the healing of his "wound." What is this "wound"? John does not explain it, but perhaps what he later wrote (Rev. 17:9-13) can help interpret the symbolism. This "wound" must be important, because John mentioned it three times (Rev. 13:3, 12, 14), including the fact that it was sword-inflicted.
Not only will there be wonder, but there will also be worship (Rev. 13:4). Worship is the one thing Satan has always wanted (Matt. 4:8-10), and he will receive it through "the beast." The second "beast," described in the last half of this chapter, will organize and promote the worship of Antichrist, making it the official religion of the world!
There will also be words (Rev. 13:5-6). Almost all dictators have risen to power by controlling people with their words. Remember when Adolf Hitler was rising to power, and how he mesmerized huge crowds with his speeches. Satan will make "the beast" a great orator, whose addresses will blaspheme God, His name, His tabernacle (heaven), and the saints in heaven. Since Satan will have recently been cast out of heaven, this blasphemy is to be expected.
Satan can do nothing without God's permission (see Job 1-2; Luke 22:31-32), so "the beast's" authority is delegated, not inherent. It will last for three-and-a-half years, the last half of the Tribulation. In his night vision, Daniel saw "the beast" as the fourth and final empire (Dan. 7:19-28). There, as in John's vision, is the same image of the ten horns with the added revelation that "the beast" must defeat three of the kings to gain control. Daniel also heard "the beast's" blasphemous words (Dan. 7:25).
Finally, there will be war (Rev. 13:7-10). God will permit Antichrist to war against His people ("wear out the saints," Dan. 7:25) and even to defeat some of them. John prophesied that some of the saints will be captured and some will be martyred. But because of their faith, they will have patience, or endurance (see Heb. 6:12; Rev. 1:9), and will not deny the Lord in spite of persecution and death. The world's population will be divided: those who are saved, with their names in God's book, will not submit to "the beast"; those who are lost—the earth-dwellers—will worship "the beast" and do his bidding. Certainly, in John's day, this was meaningful; for every Roman citizen had to acknowledge, "Caesar is Lord." Likewise in every age of the church, true believers have had to take their stand for Christ, come what may.
Keep in mind that "the beast" is a counterfeit Christ. The world would not receive Christ, but it will receive Antichrist (John 5:43). The world would not believe the truth, but they will believe the lie (2 Thes. 2:8-12). Jesus spoke (and still speaks) gracious words of salvation, and men turn a deaf ear; but they will listen to the blasphemous words of "the beast." The world will not worship the Christ, but they will bow down to Antichrist.
Today we can voluntarily choose to bow our knee to the Lordship of Christ, but there in coming a day when every knee will bow and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (Philippians 2:11)