Monday in the Fourth Week of Easter

Revelation 13:1-18

The Call for Faithfulness in a Dreadful World

If we know anything from the Book of Revelation, it is that in the end time things are going to get worse before they ever get better.  Indeed, matters are going to get downright awful.  But we are still reminded that our Lord is on His throne, the same one He was on at the beginning of Revelation, and we are called to heed and obey His sovereign will when He says: “If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain.  Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”

Chapter thirteen is another that has lent itself to varying interpretations, but it seems to tell us that at the end of time, a world system will arise that will have immense authority and power over all the earth.  This is the first beast.  The description fits what other passages of Scripture identify as the Antichrist who exalts himself, speaks great blasphemies, and calls himself divine (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).  A second beast presents himself as well and directs people to worship the first beast.  If the first beast is an all-powerful government led by a terrible Antichrist, the second beast seems to be the ministry of propaganda whose task is to deceive people into following the first beast.  This second beast is sometimes called the “false prophet.”

We have seen such things before – tyrants who frighten or awe people into worship, or at least near worship, of their power.  The history of the world is littered with Hitlers, Stalins, and Maos.  But the appeal of the Antichrist will be far greater, and his powers in this technological age of ours far more vast.  What is truly terrifying and sad is the way the world will follow him, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”  All who dwell on the earth will worship it, and even receive a mark identifying their loyalty to the beast; that is, all except those whose names were written in the Lamb’s book of life “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

And why will so many follow the beast?  Because they “refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore, God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).  God justly hands the wicked over to their own darkened imaginations (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).  Let the Church of God pray for discernment, for the time is short, and the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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