Jeremiah 33-34, Proverbs 3, Revelation 13 (NIV)

In Jeremiah we once again see the promise of God to bring his people back and restore Israel.  Then we read about what happens when the leaders and the people refuse to follow God’s way of life.  After many opportunities to repent and change and come back to the Lord, when there is no change, finally God punishes them.

In Proverbs wisdom is always something that comes from God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Prov. 3:5-6).  These are much loved and often memorized verses that encourage us to be in relationship with the Lord. 

Now for Revelation 13.  Basically this chapter is a call for “patient endurance and faithfulness” for the followers of Christ in a time of terrible persecution. Christians in the seven churches in Asia Minor are being persecuted during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian.  The book of Revelation reminds us that the worst things are not the final things in life.  Although followers of Christ Jesus, The Lamb, do suffer; in the end God will deliver, reclaim, restore, save, and resurrect his people, all whose names are written in “the Lamb’s book of life.”  No one can take a name away from the Lamb.  Paul puts it this way in Romans 8, Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  John, who is exiled on the island of Patmos, a Roman penal colony, is encouraging the members of the seven churches to endure in Christ.

May we all know the enduring power of Christ Jesus this day and always.

For those who wish to know more about the details in this chapter I will quote from R.C. Sproul’s Reformation Study Bible (which can be found in Bible Here’s the Link.

13:1-10 A beast rising out of the sea represents persecuting power, especially the power of a demonized state.

13:2 leopard . . . bear’s . . . lion’s. This beast combines features from the four beasts of Dan. 7:1–8, 17–27, which represent idolatrous kingdoms. This beast in Revelation must be a worldly kingdom summing up all of them. In this way the state persecutions of Daniel and his friends suggest the nature of the persecution that the seven churches must face from the Roman state—and possibly persecutions of later ages.

13:7 war on the saints. The beast compels worship (v. 8), and when the saints refuse to submit, they are martyred. But despite their apparent defeat, martyrs enjoy victory with Christ both immediately (6:9–11) and when their prayers for the final defeat of the beast are answered (19:11–21).

13:11-18 The beast from the earth, also called the false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), functions as a propagandist for the beast. His actions counterfeit the witness of the Holy Spirit.  In first-century Asia Minor, the main propagandists would have been priests of the emperor cult and the “Commune of Asia,” a council of distinguished city representatives promoting loyalty to the emperor. In modern times as well, totalitarianism enlists propagandists. Just before the Second Coming, counterfeit miracles will accompany the appearance of the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3, 9). The false prophet embodies a repeatable pattern.

13:16 The mark of the beast is a counterfeit for the seal of God’s name on the saints (7:2–8; 14:1; Ezek. 9). The beast owns those who are marked, and they are his slaves (14:9; 19:20; 20:4). Speculations about a visible mark miss the main point of the spiritual distinction between the two groups.

13:18  666. By the time of Domitian, the earlier emperor Nero had become a traditional antichrist figure, and 666 was probably already known to be the numerical value associated with the name Nero Caesar in Hebrew. The number then designates either Nero himself (who was to rise from the dead and lead an invasion against Rome according to a widespread belief during Domitian’s reign) or a later figure imitating Nero’s godlessness. Many have tried to identify the final Antichrist on the basis of the number, but its connections with Nero may well be its only significance (see text note). We need to be always watchful for Christ’s coming, without falling into trying to set dates (Matt. 24:36–51).