Bullies are everywhere. They are in our schools, alive and well in the hallways, on the playground and on the school buses where they do their best “undercover” work. As adults, they are at our places of work, lurking behind the scenes, especially if you are doing a good work. They play nicely with others but only to get more information so they can use it against you when you need to be brought down from doing your work well.
And now, here comes the really bad news, bullies are in our churches. Yep, I wrote it and said it out loud. The “dragon” or satan is working overtime to tear down God’s people. He wants God’s church (her people) to turn away from God and everything of God. Satan wants us to be a lot less loving and kind and think only of ourselves. Satan wants to pull us away from joining God and God’s work. This evil who works though weak humans teaches us to lie, cheat, steal, have envy, be jealous and seek power of position over someone else and over everything else. This bully hates Christians on their knees crying out in the Name of Jesus Christ. He hates those who stand firm. He hates that he cannot and will not win…but he tries once last time to destroy as many as he can.
The Beast from the Sea
13 1-2 And the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name. The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion’s mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority.
3-4 One of the Beast’s heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast. They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, “There’s never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!”
5-8 The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God’s holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world’s foundation in the slaughtered Lamb’s Book of Life will worship the Beast.
9-10 Are you listening to this? They’ve made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.
The Beast from Under the Ground
11-12 I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke. It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow.
13-17 This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything.
18 Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It’s a human number: 666.
What do we learn?
–When the corrupted church joins the political “state”, worshiping the charismatic dragon and his henchmen the beasts, things will get a lot worse before they get better.
–Stand firm. Jesus is the Victor. “God’s holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground.”
–Don’t allow satan to bully us through the lives of others. Stand firm.
–Don’t allow the “beast” in us to rise from the sea of emotion and failures to hurt others. Stand firm in God’s love, compassion, kindness, love. Be spiritually tenacious.
Dear Heavenly Father, Even though leaders of this world will appear to have much power and charisma, all of love, faith, trust is in YOU alone. We worship and bow down to ONLY YOU! In Jesus Holy Name, and By His Power, Amen. I believe.