Today’s Reading: Revelation 12-13
Today’s Reflection: Revelation 13:1-4
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. 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. 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. 4) And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
Revelation chapter 13 tells of two beasts who would exercise power over the earth from after the post-Bible era right up until the second coming of Jesus Christ. The first beast, with it’s names and words of blasphemy against both God and Heaven and war against the saints of God would captivate the world and convince all peoples of it’s invulnerability. But what’s interesting is what is said in versus 3 and 4 of chapter 13. Those who marvel and follow after the beast are also considered to be worshipers of the dragon who gave the beast it’s power and authority. The dragon, we are told in Revelation chapter 12, is the devil.
What is wicked? What is evil? Most people don’t think of themselves as either. And while there are literal devil worshipers, and a literal church of satan, most people aren’t members of either of these groups. Yet, scripture tells us that one doesn’t have to knowingly worship the devil in order to worship the devil. If one is unwittingly following after the beast who gets his power from the devil, it’s the same as worshiping the devil himself.
I’m not going to get into the identity of either of the beasts here—that is much too serious and involved a topic for a simple devotional post—but scripture gives much to identify the first beast by: blasphemy; proclamations of eternal power and authority; war against God’s people. More importantly, the beast is embraced by most of the world, and highly regarded. Marveled at. Wondered after. The beast is seen as admirable and is respected by most.
Many people do things they think aren’t that bad, or may even believe to be good, but if they are doing them in subjection or obedience to the beast as described here in Revelation, they may as well be worshiping satan. In fact the Word says they actually are.
This again highlights the importance of studying scripture for yourself—how else will you be able to identify blasphemy? Or God’s true people versus those who claim to be? Without reading, studying and understanding the word of God, through guidance of the Holy Spirit and a relationship with Jesus Christ as your lord and saviour, you’ll have no way of seeing the beast at work and risk falling under his thrall—and the influence of the devil—along with the rest of the world.
James 4:4 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.