Good Wednesday morning. I read that the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. Well, what do you know? I thought winter was over. Yeah, right. We needed a groundhog to tell us that?
The attitude about Rome changes in the Revelation to John. Previously, Paul had received help from the Roman government. He wrote a number of times to be a good citizen, to fear God and honor the emperor. But, now, Caesar worship has begun and Rome has begun its persecution of Christians.
In 13:4, there is a grim and terrible parody. “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” From Exodus 15:11–“Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the gods?” Any empire which is founded on brute force and not on moral greatness is anti-God according to Barclay. God is always asking for our hands and feet to do His work; so is Satan. We have a choice to make!
13:5-6 5 “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.”
This may simply mean that the general power of the empire and Caesar worship is a blasphemy against God. Or, some theologians posit that is might be specifically the Emperor Caligula who was an epileptic and a little mad. He took his own divinity very seriously and insisted that altars be built all over the empire and that he should be universally worshipped! Caligula refused to acknowledge the rights of the Jews to worship their God and insisted that an image of himself be set up in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. Can you just imagine how the Jews felt about that? This may have been the insult that John imagined.
Good stuff, eh?
Blessings on your day,