Revelation 13: The Beast
In Brave New World Aldous Huxley described a future too close for comfort: "As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator will do well to encourage that freedom." Faithful Christianity inevitably involves conflict, tension and suffering for followers of Jesus. We cannot be fully at home in our own culture. Even where we do not face open hostility, we are pressured—indeed seduced—by a seemingly friendly society. Revelation 13 demonstrates that the church must always deal with radical evil. In these visions John unmasks the powers of darkness at work in everyday life and at the end of history.
Warming Up to God
Why do you think it is so difficult for believers to make substantial changes in society? (For example, in the areas of justice, protection of the unborn or making peace.)
Discovering the Word
- In what ways is the beast a satanic imitation of Christ?
- What is the mission of the beast (vv. 5-8)?
- Why do you think John tells us about this formidable enemy of the soul?
- What new powers are given to the second best (vv. 11-18)?
- How does this beast ensure that people worship the first beast?
Applying the Word
- John seems to be describing a conflict with Satan and his puppets that is going on now but will one day be fully realized (see 1 Jn 2:18). How might we expect to see this satanic influence at work today?
- How can we prepare ourselves to face this conflict?
Responding in Prayer
Pray that you will be equipped to face Satan.