Summary: Christ followers can survive the Antichrist by waging war with the right tools – endurance and faith.
I don’t know about you, but I’m really glad that the election is over. I’m really tired of the signs, the mailbox filled with postcards every day and the never ending stream of television and radio ads. But I’m also very grateful for the privilege that we have in this country to participate in the selection of our governmental leaders.
The political process in this country over the last several years certainly demonstrates how man is constantly looking for leaders who will bring peace and order in the midst of conflict and chaos. And it also demonstrates the fickleness of the electorate when they don’t get what they are expecting.
It’s hard to believe that only two years ago, Barak Obama and the Democrats were swept into office by promising hope and change. And this week, only two years later, many of those same people were removed from power because in the eyes of the voters they hadn’t produced that which they had promised.
But those setbacks won’t keep man from continuing to search for that one leader who can solve our problems and provide us with a sense of security and order. The passage we’ll read this morning confirms that one day we are going to get what we long for, a leader who will bring worldwide peace and prosperity – at least for a time. But then that same leader will be revealed for who he really is – a puppet of Satan who will demand to be worshipped and who will pour out his wrath on those who refuse to do so.
Go ahead and turn in your Bibles to Revelation 13 and follow along as I read. Because it provides the transition from chapter 12 to chapter 13, I’m going to begin reading with the last part of verse 17 in chapter 12:
…And he stood on the sand of the sea.
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?”
5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
Last week in chapter 12, we were given a look, through the eyes of John at a great cosmic battle which is going on behind the scenes. We see that there is coming a time when Satan and his demons will be permanently cast out of heaven to the earth. Knowing that His time is short, and having been thwarted in his attempts to prevent the coming of the Messiah, Jesus, he will turn his attention first to Israel and then to the church. In chapter 13, we get to see the means by which he is going to operate. Satan forms an unholy trinity with two horrific beasts for the purpose of waging war against the followers of Jesus. This morning, we’ll focus on the first beast and then next week, we’ll examine the second in more detail.
Although we won’t have time to look at them in any detail this morning, chapters 7 and 8 of Daniel provide us with some relevant background regarding this first beast. We looked at both of those passages in much more detail in February of this year and if you’d like to go back and review those messages this week, you can find them on our website. In both those chapters, we learned about the nature of the one we usually refer to as the Antichrist and the descriptions that we found there are completely consistent with how he is described here in Revelation 13.