Good Friday morning. I just read that this is the first January with no below zero temperatures. That is quite amazing. It has certainly been mild and is predicted to be in the 30’s this weekend. Perfect for our tubing event that Shawna is taking the youth on.
Revelation 13 Here comes the beast!
This chapter is the center and the essence of Revelation. We saw how Satan was cast out of heaven. On earth, he comes in rage and fury, death and destruction. He wants to do as much damage as he can in his allotted time so he delegates his power to the two beasts who are the central figures in this chapter.
The first beast, according to Barclay, the beast from the sea, stands for the Roman Empire. To John, the Roman Empire was the incarnation of evil and satanic power. This beast is described in Daniel 7:3-7. In Daniel, the beasts are the symbols of the great empires which have held world power and are so savage and cruel and inhuman they could only be symbolized by creatures. Jews knew this image well. In the Revelation, John puts together all four of Daniel’s beasts into one. For John, the Roman Empire was so satanic and terrible that it was the sum of all of the evil terrors of the past.
The beast has seven heads and ten horns which stand for the rulers and emperors of Rome. Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian. 7 heads of the beast. The ten horns represent some other less significant rulers of the time. The blasphemous names are the titles which the emperors took to themselves. They were self proclaimed to be divine, Lord, Son of God, Savior of the World. Some even went so far as to call themselves God. Can you imagine how offensive this was to the Jewish people?
My study guide by N.T. Wright poses this question for chapter 13: “What deception or cover-up do you recall that affected many people on a personal, national, or worldwide scale?” Oh dear, where do I begin?
Blessings on your day,