Beastly Warfare

In the book of Revelation, Satan attacks the Lamb by persecuting his followers, those who have the testimony of Jesus

At times, there may be so many “trees” that we find it difficult to see the “forest” - details distract us from seeing the obvious. This is often the case when dealing with the visions of Revelation. According to its very first verse, it is intended to “reveal what things must come to pass,” not to conceal them or mystify its readers.

Such is the case with the “war” of the “Great Red Dragon” and his earthly agents. Very often in popular preaching, his “Beast from the Sea” becomes an all-powerful global political leader who wages war against any nation that resists his will.

But this common interpretation ignores the plain words of the book. In chapter 12, Satan is represented as the “Dragon” and the “Ancient Serpent” who sets out to “war” against the “seed of the woman,” and her offspring are identified plainly as those men “WHO HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS.”

BEAST FROM THE SEA


Chapter 12 concludes with the “Dragon” standing on the seashore where he summons his own “seed” to wage war against the woman’s seed. And the first of his offspring is the monstrous “Beast” seen by John “ascending from the sea.” This creature wages “war against THE SAINTS.” And the passage makes no bones about his intention “to overcome them.”

Whether that means he kills them or causes them to apostatize makes little difference. His goal is to destroy the people of God in one way or another. And Revelation leaves us in doubt as to the identity of the “saints.” They are those “who have the faith of Jesus” – (Revelation 13:1-10, 14:10-12).

And this “Beast” has “seven heads and ten horns” just like the “Dragon.” He operates with all his authority. Thus, when the “inhabitants of the earth” give their total allegiance to him, effectively, they “render homage to the Dragon” – (Revelation 13:1-6).

DRAGON’S VICTIMS


To state the obvious, the victims of this “war” are the men and women who follow Jesus, those who remain faithful in their “testimony” and overcome the “Dragon.”

Whether the “beast” also wages war against other nations or even the state of Israel, is never stated in the book, although all the “inhabitants of the earth” give their allegiance to this creature. Of course, if “all” the nations submit to him, what would be the point of conducting war against them? They are NOT the enemies of the “Beast,” and if anything, they are accomplices of the “Dragon” and his plot to destroy the church.

Previously, in chapter 11, the same language was used to describe the “war” by the “Beast from the Abyss” against the “Two Witnesses,” and the latter are identified as the “two lampstands.” And in RevelationLAMPSTANDS SYMBOLIZE CHURCHES – (Revelation 1:20, 11:4-7).

In each of the preceding passages, the clause used to describe this “war” is derived from Daniel’s vision of the “little horn” that “made war on the saints, and prevailed against them”:

  • I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” - (Daniel 7:21).

Hence, Revelation is making a clear point, and more than once, but are we listening? Before the end, Satan will launch his last attempt to annihilate the church, that is, the “brethren” who have the “testimony of Jesus” and follow the “Lamb wherever he goes.”

DECEPTION AND PERSECUTION


And this makes perfect sense from the book’s perspective. The “Dragon” fails to destroy the messianic “son” who, instead, is taken to his “Father’s throne.” Following his exaltation, the Devil is “expelled from heaven” and loses his prosecutorial power.

The “son” whom he attempted to devour is now beyond his reach, so he does the next best thing – he prosecutes his “war” against the followers of the “Lamb.”

The earlier letters to the “seven churches of Asia” provide excellent examples of precisely how Satan conducts this war – by means of deception (“false apostles, Nicolaitans, teachings of Balaam, Jezebel”), economic deprivation, and persecution.

Whatever the “Dragon” and the “Beast from the sea” may do to the nations of the earth, their purpose remains fixed – to destroy the “saints” – and Satan’s control over the political and economic spheres of the earth is employed to accomplish this purpose.


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