God In The Background (Rev. 13) by John Stapleton

YouTuber John Stapleton shares Part 3 of his Advent series. He opens up and unpacks Revelation 13:11-18 and The Mark Of The Beast. Bringing up topics of government, history, false miracles and deceptions.

1). The Satanic Government (Rev 13:1-4)

The first character that Revelation 13 introduces us to is the Sea Beast. This beast a an absolute parody of the Lion of Judah. It “was like a leopard… its mouth was like a lion’s mouth” (Rev 13:2).

It also mimics the Lamb in worship. The people, blinded by their zeal, ask, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev 13:4). This line of praise is stolen verbatim from the exodus story, after God rescued Israel from Egypt: “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11).

Thirdly, it mocks the Lamb by the appearance of power: “To it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev 13:2). Again, a similar verse appears earlier in Revelation in reference to the Lamb: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Rev 5:12).

2). Blasphemies Against God (Rev 13:5-8)

The next thing to notice is the blasphemy, the blatant disrespect, irreverence for God. In an intriguing cross-reference, Paul describes the man of lawlessness (also known as the antichrist) as one “who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God” (2 Thess 2:4). Perhaps the blasphemy of the beast is claiming that he himself is god. The point is, that this beast is extremely sacrilegious; the repetition of blasphemy demonstrates the point that this beast hates anyone and everything that is affiliated with God.

3). A Call for the Saints (Rev 13:9-11)

Church and state will never get along. As long as a government does not worship Jesus, we will have trouble. The devil hates God and he hates us; it is not lost on me that even though God placed government over us, these governments often serve Satan, as he uses them to beat up and harass God’s Church. This historically leads to many Christians dying for their faith (like the story we find in Daniel 3).

This “is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints” (Rev 13:10). Faith is confident assurance that God rules and has victory and power over Satan. The idea behind endurance is courageously bearing up under suffering. The point is, death is how we conquer. Dying in faith is actually a victory!

4). The False Prophet (Rev 13:11-18)

The first beast represents godless governments. The second beast here represents the false prophet. Read this passage and you’ll see that he is quite the evangelist for Satan.

  • “It exercises all the authority of the first beast” (Rev 13:12).
  • It “makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast” (Rev 13:12).
  • “It performs great signs” (Rev 13:13).
  • “It deceives those who dwell on earth” (Rev 13:14).
  • “It was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast” (Rev 13:15).
  • It causes “those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain” (Rev 13:15).
  • “Also it causes all… to be marked… (with) the number of its name” (Rev 13:16-17).

Conclusion

Satan mimics everything God does. It looks like he is winning because of all the evil and because we don’t see God.

I challenge you to consider all the times the text today said that the beast was allowed to something. He was allowed to deceive, allowed to kill the saints, allowed to be powerful – allowed. Nothing, not even the most primal evil, happens apart from God’s permission. God is the only one with true and enduring power!

Advent Series Part 1

Advent Series Part 2

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The King Is Born by John Stapleton

The King Is Born- John Stapleton brings us into the Christmas season with a deep look into what it’s all about. The focus scripture is Revelation 12:1-6 with references to John, Micah and Daniel.

Notes are available below:

1 – The King Is Born

1) SIGN #1

#1) The Woman we are introduced to in this text is “a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:1). Perhaps the simplest, most widely accepted interpretation is that the woman mirrors God (Ps 104:1-2). She was pregnant with the tribes of Israel, which is why the crown of twelve stars on her head are the 12 tribes of Israel. It’s also interesting to note that this woman stands in direct contrast to the prostitute in Rev 17 that symbolizes Rome.

2) SIGN

#2) A Great Red Dragon (Rev 12:3) Satan goes by many names in the Bible. Here, he appears as a dragon (similar to the “scarlet beast” in Rev 12:3). Other times, he is leviathan or a serpent (Is 27:1). But here, this text is cryptically referring to King Herod.

3) The Male Child

#3) Rev 12:4-5 summarizes the life of Jesus and King Herod is the “dragon” who tried to “devour” Jesus when he ordered the death of all boys 2 years old and under in Judea. However, Jesus was taken to Egypt where he was kept safe from Herod. Jesus was ultimately successful in his mission of destroying sin by dying on the cross; he then ascended to sit at God’s right hand of power. He is the true King from Ps 2 who is to rule all nations (see also Matt 2:6).

4) The Woman Is Nourished

#4) Rev 12:6 says that she will be nourished for 1,260 days (Rev 11:3 and 13:5, the number is 42 months, which is the same amount of time). The 42 is always used in context to the Gentiles and 1,260 in context to God’s people.

The big idea behind these numbers is that Israel will be nourished by the ministry of the Church, and by implication, the whole world.

THE GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY

Jesus successfully destroyed sin. After his triumph (Col 2:15) there was war in heaven (that’s next week). But for now, we can be confident that the devil can no longer appear before God and accuse us like he did with Job and Joshua (Job 1:6-12; Zech 3:1). He is a maimed foe whose judgment is pending.

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