Summary: There are those destined for eternity with Christ and those destined for eternity without Christ; those whose names are in the Book and those whose names are not.
7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
The entire Revelation of Jesus Christ to John the Apostle is a demonstration of God’s plan for the very end of the age and the return of the Son in glory. Every event is decreed by God; every character, whether angel or demon, saint or pagan is acting a role that God the Author has written.
As the prophesied events and personal behaviors exhibited in the Great Tribulation will not be new to earth or to mankind but only intensified, these four verses I have selected for today’s text serve to highlight the sharp contrast between those who are God’s children and those who are His enemies – those who will serve Him and those who will oppose Him – those who are destined for glory and those who are destined for wrath.
Let’s focus on these various characters today and see what they are destined for.
The Beast from the sea. That is how he is introduced in Revelation 13:1.
He is the Antichrist. I will not go into a detailed teaching on the Antichrist here, but we should take note of just a couple of truths concerning this term and this person.
John the Apostle, in his first letter to the churches, warns about the antichrist, (small ‘a’) and he is speaking of the spirit of antichrist which is already in the world. He states that any teaching that denies that Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of that spirit. He is not speaking specifically there of this man – this person that will rise to power in the Great Tribulation.
In a very real sense, the spirit of antichrist has always been in this world since the Fall of man when Adam succumbed to the temptations of Satan in the Garden of Eden.
Satan is the ultimate ‘antichrist’, and it is he who will be the power behind the person of the Antichrist during the Tribulation. But that spirit is in the world and manifests in false teachers, in false prophets, and even in the words and actions of unbelievers everywhere and in every time, who openly defy and deny Christ. The spirit of antichrist is behind every other religion in the world. Any religion, any system of beliefs that denies the Christ of the Bible is false, it is of the enemy, it is of the spirit of antichrist.
An important truth to realize in our own day is that in 1 Jn 2 the Apostle taught that the growing prolifery of false Christs, or antichrists, in the world is an indicator that we are in the last days and the end is growing near.
But here in Revelation 13 we are introduced to a man. This man could very well be in the world today. He could be a child right now. He could be a fully grown man right now. Since we cannot know when the Tribulation will begin we cannot know who or where this person is. But he will be a man, born of a woman, and at the time he is destined to be revealed he will rise to power and deceive the nations.
He may not even know that of himself until it happens. He may be a politician or a wealthy philanthropist or a successful business man.
But when the time comes for him to fit into God’s plan for the final days, he will be the Antichrist who is spoken of in Revelation 13, and he will be Satan’s man of the hour.
What I want you to see today in our text is the phrase ‘it was given to him’.
Now first let me make clear that this past tense terminology that John employs is typical of prophets of God when they are speaking of future events that God has revealed to them. They are speaking for God; they are speaking God’s words. And when God speaks of that which He has decreed, although it may be in our future in that it is something that has not yet transpired in history, yet God refers to it as though it has already taken place, because what God has decreed cannot be changed, cannot be thwarted, cannot be avoided or resisted. It is as good as done.