Revelation 13

Revelation 13 gives us a vision courtesy of John, of the pending “Beast” that will rise up on the earth.  It is described pretty hideously, and is bent on destruction which is no real surprise.  But while some of the characteristics of the beast are called out – it is what the beast does that jumps out at me.  “The beast has a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous….blasphemies against God, blasphemed His Name, blasphemed His church”.  So this gives us some idea of three things that are a very poor choice to get involved in – blasphemy agains God and His church or name.  The beast continues to challenge God and His authority.  He was given freedom to do “anything it wanted for 42 months”.  That is a pretty long time of rule.  He roamed the earth causing havoc for all, destroying things left and right.  His objective was to get everyone to worship himself – the beast.  “Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the beast”.  Only those who stand firm in their relationship with God will be spared.  I love how John records what the believers here at that time do: “God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground”.  They don’t give in, they don’t bow down, they remain faithful.

Two very key words in that last sentence – passionately and faithfully.  Does that describe your walk with God?  Are you passionate about Him?  Do you let the world know that He is the most important thing in your world?  Or is it just a hum ho relationship, great to have when you are in trouble or need a bit of help, but otherwise just something in the back pocket for emergencies.  We need to be passionate about our walk with God.  The time is coming when we will be challenged in our faith.  We better be ready to make it real.  And then that word faithfully.  Are you faithful to Him, or do you bounce about in the wind based on who you are with and what you want to do at any given moment?  Are you committed to a single relationship with the Father, or is He just another of the gods in your life?  He doesn’t share that spot by the way.  He won’t tolerate being one of your gods.  He demands to be God and God alone.  We need to be “people passionately and faithfully” in love with Him.  A second beast comes along as a servant to the first one.  That beast does “magical signs….to dupe earth dwellers”.  We have to be careful we don’t get duped in our faith.  There will be many things that will try and lead us away from God.  There will be lots of stuff that will draw us somewhere other than God.  We need to resist and stay faithful to the One True God.  The chapter ends with the reality that in those days all who are left will “have a mark on the right hand or forehead….without the mark…..impossible to buy or sell…’s a human number: six hundred sixty-six”.  There will be a mark of the beast.  It will be required to live life.  We need to resist the enemy, and live passionately and faithfully with our Lord.  Are you there?  If not, time to start that journey!

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