Saturday, November 11, 2023

Holy Men of God - Revelation 13 (part 1)

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "Holy Men of God - 2 Peter 1:19-21"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Often when we read the Bible, new information comes along, and we can be left with more questions than answers. This is why the nature of the Book of Revelation is so important. As we read through it, it is as though an artist was unveiling his latest sculpture during a museum opening. As the covering over the sculpture is removed, we see it a bit at a time, more and more as the covering comes off. The Book of Revelation is the unveiling of God and His ultimate plan for all of Creation. We not only see God’s handiwork a little at a time, but His purpose(s) for everything in the history of His Creation: the whole world and its universe.

Just as gasps from the museum crowd convey their wonder and awe for the Artist’s handiwork and skill, Earth’s population will be in awe of God’s power and skill in guiding us through history and make us wonder why Satan ever thought he could be like the Most High (Isaiah 14:12-14).

How did God allow THAT? What was His purpose for THIS? Why did mankind have to CHOOSE? Where did THEY go? When will THAT happen!? Will we see THEM again?

As we go through Revelation 13, we will see shadows of past prophecies, and evidence of Solomon’s words, ‘There is nothing new under the sun.”  We will see the brush strokes and the chisel points, and the sanding of severe cuts to smooth out God’s plan to create some new things and restore others. All things shall be reconciled to Himself. Questions invariably will arise, followed by either more questions, or the answers we seek.

God is unveiling the works of His hands. We will eventually see the entirety of His glorious work, and the reasons for every use of His chisel or brush. We shall be awed at His Masterful ability to fend off His enemy from destroying His exquisite work. It’s not just a sculpture, but His Kingdom that He is building, and all shall eventually bow to Him, to the exclusion of all others.

From Job 34:19 -

“How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they all are the work of His hands.” 

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
"Holy Men of God" - 2 Peter 1:19-21 and Revelation 13:1-10

Summary/Bible Notes

The title of today's message may throw you off a little bit because Revelation 13 is about the coming Antichrist, or "the beast rising up out of the sea," and the False Prophet, or "the beast coming up out of the earth." 

The title of this message is taken from our morning re
ading in 2 Peter 1:19-21.  It is to remind ourselves that God's Word came to us by His prophets of old, His witnesses, those who experienced a supernatural relationship with Him, and who were also given supernatural revelation. God, by means of the Holy Spirit, superintended the recording of all of their experiences and all of their writings so that they, in effect, were the revelation of God Himself. 

As the time draws nearer to the Second Coming of the Lord, this world will wax worse and worse.  Deceivers and Deception will abound, and Believers need the spiritual gift of discernment. 

Remember, the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to John by God “to show his servants what must soon take place.” It is the final warning that the world will surely end, and judgment will be certain. The nature of the Book of Revelation is so important, that God promises to bless all those who read it, and who hear it (understands), and who keep it. It is the unveiling of God and His ultimate redemptive plan for all of His Creation. It is the ultimate battle of Good and Evil, between God and Satan, between the Kingdom of God, and the kingdoms of this world. So, as we plow through the incredible visions given to John by Jesus Christ, remember God's Word is sure, it is everlasting, and it is true.

Despite the terrifying picture painted in Revelation 13, it ultimately serves as a reminder that, even in the face of great tribulation, faith and perseverance are our callings. This chapter isn't intended to frighten, but to warn, to inform and prepare, emphasizing the importance of remaining vigilant and faithful to God's word. It's a testament to God's sovereignty and the ultimate victory that awaits His faithful servants.

Sunday Morning Audio Message - Pastor Bob Lawrenz

The Beast from the Sea (Revelation 13:1-10)

John describes a beast rising from the sea, endowed with the dragon's power, throne, and authority. It has seven heads and ten horns, with blasphemous names on its heads. This beast is likened to a leopard, a bear, and a lion. It receives a deadly wound that is healed, causing the whole world to marvel and worship the beast and the dragon. For forty-two months, the beast speaks blasphemies and wages war against the saints, exerting authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. Those whose names are not written in the book of life will worship it. Here, John calls for the endurance and faith of the tribulation saints.

During the tribulation period, the world will be ruled by a godless man presiding over the political kingdoms of this world, as well as the religious kingdoms of this world. 

The Sand (vs. 1) - The imagery of the sand of the seashore depicts the nations of the world (20:8).  In John's vision, the dragon (Satan) will take command over the kingdoms of this world, as if they were his rightful possession.  Yet we know that he is a liar and a thief, a usurper who is seeking the world's worship and adoration.  

The Dragon summons the Antichrist, described as "a beast rising up out of the sea."

The Beast (vs. 1) - Literally "a monster" (see 11:17).  This describes a vicious, killing animal.  This beast is not the dragon, but a man.  This term represents both a person, (the Antichrist), and his system, (the world). His characteristics are almost identical with that of the dragon, indicating that he is in a distinct sense related to the dragon.  He is called "the son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, as well as "the man of sin." Daniel calls him "the prince that shall come" (Daniel 9:26).  Isaiah calls him "the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4), and Christ calls him "the abomination of desolation" (Mark 24:15). The final satanic world empire will be inseparable from the demon-possessed man who leads it. 

Seven Heads and Ten Horns (vs.1) - This description is very much like that of Satan in 12:3. The heads may represent successive world empires - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome... and the final kingdom of Antichrist (see 17:9-10).  This final kingdom is made up of all the kingdoms represented by the horns.  Ten is a number that symbolizes the totality of human military and political power assisting the beast (Antichrist) as he controls the world.  The ten kingdoms of the last days remain to be identified in the future.  Horns always represent power, as in the animal kingdom.  Daniel shows that the human Antichrist will rise up from these ten kings (Daniel 7:16-24).  John picks up the numerical imagery of Daniel 2:41-42, which refers to the ten toes on the statue's clay and iron feet.  The apostle sees the beast as the final world government - the anti-Christ, anti-God coalition - headed by a revived Roman Empire, having the strengths of various world powers, yet mixed with weakness and ultimately crushed (see Daniel 2:32-45; 7:7-8, 19-25).  The crowns represent the regal dominion of this confederate kingdom... Satan is the prince and the power of the air.

Name of Blasphemy (vs. 1) - That is, the whole power was blasphemous in its claims and pretensions. The word "blasphemy" here seems to be used in the sense that titles and attributes were claimed by it which belonged only to God. On the meaning of the word "blasphemy." The meaning here is, that each one of these heads appeared to have a frontlet, with an inscription that was blasphemous, or that ascribed some attribute to this power that properly belonged to God; and that the whole power thus assumed was in derogation of the attributes and claims of God.

The Beast Which I Saw (vs. 2) - This hybrid beast - part lion, part bear, part leopard, part dragon is a composite of the three beasts of Daniel 7:1-6, being itself the non-descript four beast of Daniel 7:7.  It will have gained supremacy over the other three, which seem to represent the western confederacy, the northern confederacy and the eastern confederacy.  

Pastor Bob expounds and offers more interesting insight as to who these nations are.

Wounded to Death (vs. 3) - Both the beast and the head of the beast (both the man and the ancient kingdom) will appear to have been mortally wounded, but both will seemingly be miraculously restored.  This "beast" the Antichrist is said to have ascended "out of the bottomless pit" (11:7).  Satan had enabled him to counterfeit a resurrection from death, creating such great admiration in the world eliciting global submission and worship.  This is part of his lying deception (see vs. 12, 14; 17:8, 11; 2 Thess. 2:9).   His deluding powers will cause the world to follow him unquestioningly (vs. 14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). 

Worshipped the Dragon (vs. 4) - Those ungodly men and women still living on the earth will not only be aware of the war between God and Satan but will have deliberately chosen to cast their lot with Satan and the beast rather than with God.  They will all become Satanists, worshiping Satan as god. 

Was Given (vs. 5) - Our Sovereign God will establish the limits within which the Antichrist will be allowed to speak and operate.  God will allow him to utter his blasphemies, to bring the rage of Satan to its culmination on earth for 3 1/2 years. 

In verses 5-6, something important is revealed, please note: It says twice there “there was given to him.” There was given to him a mouth that spoke arrogant words and blasphemies, and there was given to him forty-two months to function. In both these cases, it was given by God, and He has established the limits. And so, it is God who gives him the authority to act during this period of time, the last three and a half years of the time of the tribulation. Literally, God steps out of the way and lets him say whatever he wants to say, and Satan is primarily an arrogant blasphemer. It will be characteristic, then, of the unhindered Antichrist who will be free to do whatever he wants and say whatever he wants for this period of time to blaspheme continually... his days are numbered.

Blasphemy Against -

His Name (vs. 6) - "His Name" identifies God and summarizes ALL His attributes.

His Tabernacle (vs. 6) - This is symbolic of Heaven.

Those Who Dwell in Heaven (vs. 6) - The angels and glorified saints who are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night.

To Make War with the Saints (vs. 7) - The Antichrist will be allowed to massacre tribulation Saints (see 6:9-11; 11:7; 17:14).

Book of Life (vs. 8) - 
Revelation 20:15 declares, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Book of Life, in this context, is the set of names of those who will live with God forever in heaven. It is the roll of those who are saved. This Book of Life is also mentioned in Revelation 3:5; 20:12; and Philippians 4:3. The same book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life because it contains the names of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 13:8; 21:27).

Lamb Slain (vs. 8) - The Lord Jesus who died to purchase the salvation of those whom God had chosen, fulfilling His eternal plan.

From the Foundation of the World (vs. 8) - According to God's eternal purpose, before the creation, the death of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever.  Antichrist can never take away the believer's salvation, never.  (See John 17: 5, 24; Acts 15:18; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20.)

Let Him Hear (vs. 9) - The interjection of Revelation 13:9-10 in the midst of the beast rising and allowed unimaginable power during this time takes us back the messages to the seven churches (2:7).  It is a note of exhortation and encouragement to the tribulation "saints" (13:7, 10) who will shortly be facing either submission to the beast or martyrdom.  This is not the church, but those who have thus far have survived and are still living during the tribulation. 

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