We heard that the book of Revelation is all about Jesus, and it is altogether true. But upon reading Revelation 13, where Satan’s final blow against God and His faithful is illustrated, one will only find the word ‘God’ once in the chapter, and it is in relation to whose side will be persecuted. Jesus and the Holy Spirit seem nowhere to be seen.
Beginning from Revelation chapter 1 to 12, the great controversy between good and evil is a roller coaster ride where either side is winning over the other in the course of human history. In Revelation 13, God appeared to back off a bit, allowing Satan and his legions to take their course against the inhabitants of the earth. In the middle of persecution and horrible blows against God’s faithful in the last days, Jesus seems silent.
Of course, we all know that a day will come when good shall forever and finally prevail against evil. Revelation 14 and onwards show us this hope. Knowing where Jesus is, and what He is doing, during those ‘silent’ times where the saints are persecuted will give us solid trust, patience, and comfort from our Savior.
What’s in Revelation 13?
The identification of Satan’s final plan in the last days will help us see where Jesus is throughout those troubling times. We will see later that Satan’s final act has been exposed as early as the time of the prophet Daniel, centuries before the Apostle John saw the vision of Revelation 13.
Revelation 13 is where we can read the most feared mark of the beast – 666. Here, Satan uses human agents to accomplish his evil mission. He uses the beast from the sea, the beast from the earth, and the image of the beast to persecute and kill those who will not worship him. All these are symbols which pertain to literal groups of people helping Satan do his final attack against God and His remnant church before Jesus’ second coming.
Whoever exactly these groups are is not the focus of this article; we want to focus on the events. Satan’s plan is that the beast from the earth, through the initiative from the people, will make an image of the first beast. This image of the first beast will then be given “life” and will be able to “speak [and] cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Revelation 13:16).
By miracles, deception, persuasion, and persecution, Satan and his agents will try to cause all the inhabitants of the earth to submit and worship him.
Because all the previous Bible prophecies have been fulfilled, this gloomy scenario against God’s faithful in the very near future will surely happen as predicted. Prophet Daniel mentioned that this persecution had never been witnessed by anyone ever since.
“…and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time…”Daniel 12:1, NIV
“End times!” What do we know about it? And how must we prepare?“But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another..."
Be like the prodigal son, come back with your smartphone in hand!What do we do with those talents after God nourished it? Do we go to "another country and squander it" again and again? or use it to help strengthen His Church and contribute to the proclamation of the three angels messages (Revelation 14:6-9)?
But again, where is Jesus during those difficult times?
The answer can be found in Daniel 3. But wait, isn’t it that we are studying Revelation 13? Why then we go to Daniel 3? Because these two chapters are similar in many ways; you’ll see.
In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar built an image and commanded everyone to worship that image and that those who will not bow down will be thrown into the fiery furnace. This is not an ordinary furnace but was heated seven times. Sounds like Revelation 13? No doubt about it!
This is how the Old Testament writings help in understanding the New Testament prophecies. This is one way of properly learning Bible prophecies, by taking into consideration the Classical Prophecies in the past. Classical Prophecy is where literal and local events in the past become a typology of another event in the timeline of human history and/or the global events that will soon take place.
Continuing with the story in Daniel 3, three Jewish friends (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) refused to bow down and were thrown into the fire. Now, this is where we can see Jesus in that severe persecution. As the three friends where inside the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar saw another Being together with the three. All unharmed!
“Look!” he answered, “I see four menDaniel 3:25 NKJV
loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”
We have no doubt that this fourth man is Jesus Himself. Safe and unmindful of the things around them, Jesus was with the three in the middle of the fire! This tells us that despite the coming severe persecution, Jesus will be in the midst of His faithful ones to protect and comfort them.
Saints will remember the old Psalm 23: “though I walk through the valley and shadow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me.”
We may not find Jesus in Revelation 13, instead, God seemed to back off a bit in that chapter, but the experience of Daniel’s three friends in the furnace teaches us that Jesus will be in our midst during that imminent time of trouble.
We also learned a method of understanding Bible prophecies and that is the use of Classical Prophecies to better grasp the themes and messages of the book of Revelation. This is why we do not take for granted the literal events and stories we read in the other books in the Bible. They will surely help us better understand the prophecies for the end times.
We mentioned only a few of the similarities of the events in Daniel 3 and Revelation 13. Can you add more? Do you think there’s a reason why only three heroes are there in Daniel 3? Have you read about the three angels proclaiming the end time messages in Revelation 14? Were both accounts persecuted as recorded? What characteristics do they have in common?
There are more to these two chapters of Daniel 3 and Revelation 13. Share your thoughts to us using the comment box below. Praise God for His guidance.
This article is based on ‘Revelation 13’ sermon by Kameron DeVasher which can be heard at audioverse.org.