Well, I hope everyone had a good and pleasant holiday season. For the last two weeks we’ve had special services – but this Sunday we’ll be returning to our normal schedule of a 9 and 11 o’clock service. We’ll also be returning to our study of the book of Revelation! We’ll be reading chapter 13.
This is probably one of the most famous chapters of this whole book because it contains the infamous and mysterious sequence of numbers: 666.
In order to really get the full effect that John’s vision is seeking to evoke, it would serve you well to read Daniel 7, because it contains very similar imagery. Daniel’s dream of a series of beasts rising from the sea is usually, and certainly by John’s day, considered a forecast of the successive empires that ruled the ancient world. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and finally Rome.
Given that idea – what do you suppose the beast from the sea in John’s vision might represent? What similarities are there between Daniel’s dream and John’s vision? Who is it that is said to give this beast his power and authority? What main characteristic of the sea-beast stands out to you?
John then sees a monster from the earth. He has horns like a lamb but the voice of the dragon (chapter 12). Who can you think of that is described as a “lamb” earlier in this book? What significance to you see in having the appearance of a “lamb” but the voice, or words of a “dragon”? What is the earth beast’s mission? Count how many times the word “worship” is repeated in this chapter. Do you find that significant? What is it that is withheld if a person does not worship the beast?
Politics, religion and money. It appears to be a toxic combination, doesn’t it? If you were to read this as an encouragement in following Jesus, what message would you take from it?
The number 666…..what does it mean? I’ll get into my thoughts on that Sunday morning. Hope to see you there!