Battling the Beast
Battling the Beast
Text: Revelation 13
Big Idea: Pledge allegiance to Christ.
Purpose: To explain the story of Revelation and to encourage people to pledge allegiance to Christ, and avoid the mark of the beast.
Two Christians were driving through an area where the road was being widened. At the end of the repair zone, a sign informed travellers, “Construction Ended. Thank You for Your Patience.”
“I think that would make an appropriate epitaph for my life,” said one of the Christians.
Life requires patience
-to endure the battle described in the middle of Revelation (12-14)
We have been looking at this story – seeing God’s work to reclaim creation.
-rightfully belongs to Christ
-dispersed his troops
-7 angels blew trumpet of battle
-Satan tossed out of heaven
-and defeated – took out frustrations on God’s children
Today – see the ongoing battle
-with the central thought of the entire book of revelation.
1. The dragon sets up a beast to be worshipped.
-beast has been wounded but not killed (like the dragon)
-earlier in this text, the dragon was identified as Satan
-satan is setting up puppet “gods”
2. Beast reigns for 42 months and makes war against saints.
-familiar 42 - short time (three-and-a-half years, 1260 days)
-question to be asked at this point – is this a chronological story?
-or is this a repeated story – going back and looking at different points
-during the same time frame
-that number – three and a half years – is repetitive – suffering
-repeated short periods of suffering
-has been consistent with world history
-has been true in the lives of many here
3. Saints are called to patient endurance. – this is the central verse of the text
-Perhaps the central verse to the entire book of Revelation
-Chapter 6:10 – the saints cried out , “how long”
Beast begets "puppet beasts" to lead to deception.
4. Beasts call for all to take mark
-mark required for engaging in life
-people ostracized for holding allegiance to Christ
-without beast’s mark – you are on the outside of society
-if you have Christ’s mark – you feel a sense of loss
-not being on the inside of the happenings
-Unable to make a dent - frustrating
The number of the beast is a riddle - 666.
Movement 1: *Satan is working to draw people away from Christ
His is not a pro-active strategy, but a desire to take away from God.
-trying to destroy saints, harm Christ's Kingdom.
-he doesn’t care whether you worship him, Allah, Buddha, Confucius, Sumn-Yung Moon
-as long as you are not worshipping God
Satan will work to get us to volunteer to move away from God
-by making things look beautiful
-think of the temptations that we volunteer for
-illicit drugs – not shoved down us, we volunteer
-telling lies – rarely under compulsion – we think there is a benefit
-(especially if we don’t caught)
Let’s take a brief self assessment
-most of the sins we commit – we volunteer
-can’t blame it on anyone else
-if we are honest – we will admit
-in moments of weakness, rebellion
-the way of sin looks appealing – we struggle to refuse
-in volunteering, we come closer to taking the mark of the beast
-submitting to its ways
-and abandoning God
Movement 2: *We are called to patiently endure the battle.
The battle belongs to the Lord.
Even though Satan will battle
When desperation sets in – no longer mere volunteering
-but will use compulsion
-and if we are weak, we may give in
-some have been asked to deny Christ at gunpoint
-some have been denied friendships based on their faith
-people in Asia Minor – were often outcasts – if they honored Christ
Trials endure for a period of time
-not often comforting in the middle of struggles
-but Christ is giving us His perspective
-He will succeed.
The question we have – how do we avoid volunteering
-whether by rebellion
-or through weakness
Action Steps for endurance:
Getting ready – putting on armor – Eph. 6:10-19
Truth – confession – who you really are
-not merely who you wish to be
-a realistic self assessment
-many people believe illusions about themselves
-they are funny, smart, flaws are minimal
-truth gives true assessment
Righteousness – handle yourself according to God’s guidance
Readiness from the gospel of peace – to move, act, follow Christ
(See also faith, salvation, word of God, prayer)
Movement 3: *Evil may seem to thrive, but it will be short-lived.
This is the hope we have – that we are looking forward to better days
The format of this book – revolves around three sets of 7
7 seals that are broken
7 trumpets – that sound the battle cry – usher in calamities – Christ comes
7 bowls of wrath – yet to come in our reading – Christ’s judgment
If you look at 666 - corresponds to the three sets of seven
-the nature of the beasts ruling is this: it’s not yet over
-if you look closely at the 6th seal, trumpet, bowl, you will see
6th Seal – Chapter 7 – brings earthquake, and then a pause
-Kings ask to be hidden
-God pauses to mark the 144,00 – (His children)
6th Trumpet – Chapter 9:13-21 – 200,000,000 troops fight
-great plague – people to not repent
-a pause before the 7th trumpet
-angel says the time is now
-witnesses are killed
-and the trumpet sounds
-the 6th was a pause – followed by final victory
6th bowl of wrath – Chapter 16:12-15
-6th bowl of wrath is poured out
-demons come forward to perform miraculous signs
-rally all of God’s enemies to make one last stand
-to pave the way for God’s ultimate victory
-it is a
666 – has often been a number of fear – devilish
-Here, it is a number of comfort
-represents the final times – brief time
-but right before the victory of Christ
Similar to a light bulb – brightest before it pops and burns out
Similar to a gas engine – revs highest on fumes, before it dies
666 – high intensity – that is a signal of doom
No good human rationale – why the church has endured
-no weapons, military, land
-sometimes persecuted, slandered
-yet outlasted the greatest nations, empires
Today – we may feel the battle – Satan’s attacks
-to draw us away, compel us to rebel
But his time is limited – 666, near the end, pause in movement
-But God’s plans will endure even longer
And when we come to the perfect 7 – we will reign forever.