Why is Revelation 13 such a frightening chapter in the New Testament? Is there a solution to the problem of fear?
This is the second of a three-chapter story that encompasses all of salvation history.
Chapter 13 introduces two more characters that are under Satan’s control.
- A beast coming out of the sea: Most often this beast is identified with the Papacy, especially during the Dark Ages.
- A beast coming out of the earth: Not as terrible looking as the first beast, but even more dangerous. This beast is particularly identified with economic persecution.
What makes Chapter 13 so frightful is that Satan is in charge of these two beasts. If you ever doubted that Christians would be killed, this chapter should convince you otherwise. This is NOT God’s wrath, but Satan’s.
Parts of the Story Rarely Pointed Out
- Verses 1- 10: Note the characteristic of this beast – Powerful, authoritative, miraculous, arrogant, blasphemous, in charge of the whole earth, waging war on and overcoming the saints.
- Verse 8: The only way not to worship this beast is to have your name written in the book of life. Note that salvation is no guarantee of earthly comfort or safety.
- Verse 10: The word for perseverance or endurance means to bear up under circumstances. This isn’t about being patient with other people, but resting in Christ regardless of the trials.
- Verses 11-18: Note the characteristics of this beast – Lamblike, but speaking like a dragon, exercising all the authority of the first beast, miraculous, deceiving, etc. Critical to this beast is that it creates an image to the first beast; like it, but not like it. It is murderous and it wages economic war on everyone who is saved.
- Verse 18: The key to understanding this beast is NOT the number (whether 666 or 616), but that this is a man, or a representative of humanity. Whoever he is and whatever he does is fully and completely within the context of human effort and ability as controlled by Satan himself. No one could be more anti-Christ than this person. No one could be more opposite of Jesus than him.
Revelation for You
Does this chapter scare you? Why?
What is the solution to the problem of fear?