The Weekend Word
- We must remember that Satan is a creature and that he is not the creator – in fact he is not even ‘a’ creator. He cannot do any new thing like God can – he is a fallen angel.
- What he can do and does do is a distortion or a twisted copy or imitation of the real thing. Behind all of Satan’s glamour and glitz is not truth – but simply a parody of the truth.
- The kingdom of Satan is nothing more than a Hollywood film set that looks like magnificent buildings but are only frontal facades. Behind the façade is empty space and Satan himself is just an empty windbag.
- What we are going to see in this chapter is Satan enlisting the help of the two beasts. Who are these two beasts – Godzilla and King Kong?
- The dragon has been foiled in trying to destroy the child (Christ) and the woman (the Church) so he will now settle for attacking the offspring of the church – the individual believer.
- Let me get to the punch line early. These two beasts represent the institutions the devil will use against the believers. We face these beasts daily.
- To help clear up what the dragon is doing, think back to the great theology of Walt Disney. Remember Mickey Mouse in Fantasia – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice where Mickey is orchestrating the activities / events? Mickey creates chaos – here comes the mops – here comes the water.
- This is the kind of image you get with the beast from the sea and the beast from the land.
The First Beast
1 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
- He rises out of the sea. The sea = the abyss, the bottomless pit (Rev 11:7). Throughout the OT the sea has symbolized chaos and evil. Is this the reason that Rev 21 says “and the sea was no more.”? Was there to much pain and evil in the sea to make it past the final judgment?
- We will see in Daniel 7 that 4 beasts appear – where did they come from – “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea.”
- Where else have we seen the OT refer to the sea in a similar way?
- Gen 1:2 we see that God created the sea. The waters before were without form, no order.
- Psalm 74:13 – You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
- Job 41:11 – Job speaks of Leviathan.
- Noah and the Flood = destruction.
- His description is a clone of the Red Dragon, but in a strange way he is also an evil parody of Christ in his claim to universal rule – which we will see in Rev 19.
- What do the heads and horns etc represent? Any guesses to the blasphemous names? (see v.6)
2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.
- A note about the description – this is not about his appearance. It is about who he is and what he does.
- Note, just as all power and authority have been given to Jesus, so too has the Dragon given such authority and power to this beast – the anti Christ.
- Do the descriptions sound familiar? Are they something that the original hearers would connect to right away? See Daniel 7:1-11 – the same four described beasts – the lion – the bear – the leopard and the Tin Man … oh, wrong story – the beast with Iron Teeth.
- We know from other studies that the four being described in Daniel are the political institutions of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.
- John is seeing this beast as the 4th beast that has swallowed up the previous three and has morphed into the super beast – the Roman Empire and Emperors of that day. What is John saying? “We are living in the time of the fourth beast – Rome.”
- However, I do not think that we can limit this to the Roman Empire. I would extend it to all earthly powers, authorities and institutions throughout time and history that stand opposed to the church until Jesus returns. So, once Rome goes away (and it did), we do not think that we no longer need to worry about the beast – do we?
- This is referring to the state that opposes the church – every system that opposes the church – government – every institution or power or authority or philosophy or educational system that is working against the church – THIS is Daniel’s beast – it is not an individual person although a person may spearhead the opposition.
- Opposing the church can come in the form of uniting the two so they seem compatible. Harry Smith at ABC had this to say about the first Obama inauguration:
- “Politics, patriotism and the presidency – it is the place where the secular and the religious merge. One of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration, and so it was the 2 million pilgrims made their way to the Washington Mall to witness this most sacred event.”
- At this point Harry Smith went on to use more religious talk to describe the event. “As the speech was delivered, emotions were laid bare, tears were shed – an inauguration is a renewal of faith, a confirmation that the republic and our belief in it endures.”
- His concluding statement was this; “and with the agenda and problems you just hope that some of the momentum and some of the inspiration of yesterday can continue to filter through the culture.”
- The point? This is what is being unveiled here in Rev 13 – ‘watch out for the political authority / power who present themselves as if they are the savior.
3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.
- Now for more mimicry and deception – just as Jesus died and rose from the dead – now the beast does a similar act. Is there a political example? I don’t know. Nero committed suicide June 8th 68AD – There is legend that he did not die and rose to escape to join up with his enemies the Partheons and fight against Rome.
- What is to become of this ‘risen’ beast? Next week.