At the end of chapter 12 we read that
Satan stands on the seashore, and then with the beginning of chapter 13 we see
him call up the first beast to continue his war on the saints. Chapter 13 is
divided in to two parts, the first beast (v. 1-10) and the second beast (v.
11-18). The two beasts are Satan’s trusted followers, who are called upon to
carry out his plan.
This Sunday we will look at verses 1-10. The first beast represents persecution that will come from the hands of anti-Christian governments. That is, Satan empowers human rulers, sets them up in positions of power and grants them their authority to carry out his evil will against the church (v.2).
In verse 3 it looks as if the beast is defeated, but he rises up to the amazement of all. People give their loyalty to the dragon and the beast. Their attitude is that of seeing the beast as being without equal (v. 4). The beast is granted this authority for the entire period between Jesus’ resurrection and his second coming, and he blasphemes God and reviles believers (v. 5-6). The beast wages war against the church and puts believers to death. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life will worship the beast (v.8), but believers are called upon to prepare for suffering, to remain faithful to Jesus (v.9-10).
Chapter 13 is a call to the church to resist the institutions that call for allegiance and worship of anything other than King Jesus. We must be willing to suffer, to give our all for Jesus, to persevere until the end in order to take hold of the final reward.
Great Is Thy Faithfulness – Chris Rice
His Mercy Is More - Matt Boswell and Boyce College Choir
Behold Our God – Sovereign Grace
O Praise The Name – Hillsong
Living Hope – Phil Wickham