Faithfully Awaiting Our King
The first recipients of John’s revelation were well acquainted with the arrogance, pride, and blasphemy associated with the Roman rulers of their day. Caesar readily accepted divine titles and required Roman citizens to offer worship to him. The worship of local deities would have been allowed, but only if worship was offered to Caesar, as well. In the original context of Revelation, John’s first audience most probably understood the beast as representative of the emperors who required citizens to worship them. Failure to willingly engage in such emperor worship would have meant persecution, and in many cases, death.
So, John encourages his audience to patiently endure suffering and remain faithful to Jesus Christ (Revelation 13:10). As we celebrate Christmas and the first coming of Christ our King, we are reminded that Jesus will once again return to our world. This time, Jesus will once and for all destroy all demonic and earthly powers who oppose His plans and His purposes in this world. In the meantime, Christians can expect to be faced with varying levels of opposition and persecution because of our unwillingness to bow our knees or offer our worship to anyone other than Christ. Such a life of faithfulness will require us to remember that there is no one like our God and that no one, no matter how powerful or impressive they may seem, will ever be able to thwart His purposes in our lives.
As you conclude your time in the Scriptures this morning, ask God to show you the ways you are tempted to give your allegiance to anyone or anything other than Jesus Christ. Also, ask God to give you the courage and faithfulness you will need to follow Him faithfully every day between today and the Second Coming of Christ.
Revelation 13:1-10 (ESV):
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
5 And 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. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:
10 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.