Journey Through The Bible
Old Testament Reading: Joshua 13-15
New Testament Reading: Revelation 13
It deceives those who live on the earth because of the signs that it is permitted to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who live on the earth to make an image of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived (Revelation 13:14).
The dragon in chapter twelve is John’s description of the devil or Satan. Now two additional beasts take up his cause. The first beast comes up from the sea. Satan gives him authority to reign over the nations of the earth. The second comes up from the earth. Satan gives him authority to speak for the first beast and persuades the people of the earth to follow and worship him.
Satan is a deceiver, and he can only pervert and distort the purity of God. John provides us with this imagery to show us Satan’s attempt to imitate the true God. These three beasts comprise the Un-Holy Trinity. Satan is the dragon who models himself after the Father. The first beast coming up out of the sea is the counterfeit Christ, the Antichrist, given false authority from the counterfeit Father to rule over the earth. The second beast coming up from the earth is the False Prophet, the counterfeit Spirit.
Ever since John wrote these passages, Christians have tried to identify all the symbolism with events of their day. Identifying such events as Caesar of Rome, Attila the Hun, the seven Crusades of the middle ages, Hitler and the Holocaust, to name just a few. It seems like every time there is a new headline in World News, some Bible teacher tries to identify it with some image in Revelation.
Jesus said, Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son - except the Father alone (Matthew 24:36). Since we cannot know when the Tribulation will take place, it seems foolish to attempt to identify it with current events. It is best to understand these passages as John wrote them, a description of creatures that are like nothing John or any person has ever seen, an image that words cannot fully describe.
John wrote this Revelation of Jesus Christ not for us to determine the time or place, but to warn and encourage Believers.
First, we need to remember that Satan is the great deceiver, and he is out to mislead the world. Even though this description of Satan and his allies takes place during the Tribulation and the church will already be Raptured to Heaven, we still need to be aware of the schemes of Satan. The Apostle Peter wrote, Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour. Resist him, firm in the faith (2 Pet 5:8-9a).
The Apostle Paul warned us the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths (2 Tim 3:3-4). Christians today need to use discernment and know and understand God’s Word to resist and flee from the schemes of Satan.
Second, we need to be reminded that no matter how bad our circumstances are, God is on His throne and He is in control of all things. How encouraging it is to know that even if we experience pain and suffering in this world, it is only temporary, for Jesus Christ is the ultimate Victor!