Readings

  • Revelation 13
  • Revelation 16
  • Matthew 24:1-35

Prayer

Pray… for comfort and clarity as we read today’s of the dark events to come.

Day 357 – Revelation & the Tribulation

God’s judgement will be poured on the world

8 days to go!

 

  • Revelation has some tough stuff in it, and you may be relieved to hear that this plan doesn’t cover all of it. Today, however, we focus in on the judgement of God. I don’t know what understanding or images you might have had about Revelation before you came to study it One Story, but for many, these sorts of chapters are what they think of first. Today’s readings are quite long so take your time, and be sure to speak to someone if you find the text unsettling or scary.
  • We read about Satan’s diabolical attempts to wage war on mankind and God today. He does this by imitating the Trinity. Satan is pictured as a dragon in chapter 12 (which we didn’t read, but you can if you’d like) and styles himself as the “Father” of his false satanic trinity. He stands and watches as a beast rises from the sea. This beast is described as a corruption of many of God’s creatures – can you see which?
  • Which person of the Trinity does this beast try to picture? What sort of things does the beast do try to emulate attributes of Jesus? There are lots in Revelation 13:1-4 (i,e. Jesus is the king, and this beast wears ten crowns). You could also think about the image of Jesus we saw in Revelation 1.
  • Can you remember which book in the Old Testament had similar imagery about judgement?
  • The second beast (in Revelation 16:11 onwards) has similarities to the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. The chief task of this demonic beast is to deceive the people on earth (which is why it comes like a lamb but speaks like a dragon), and to make them think the first beast was divine (instead of Jesus). I can understand if you find these words troubling.
  • Have you heard of the “number of the beast” before? It’s often talked about, and probably too much. We see it in Revelation 13:18. Some people think that you can get 666 by attributing a number to each letter in the Hebrew word for “beast” and counting them up. Perhaps you can. But the Greek word for “Jesus” comes in at 888. If 777 is perfection, then Jesus is beyond, and the devil falls short! Don’t worry too much about this though – it’s a distraction.
  • Revelation 16 talks about seven plagues in bowls, indicating God’s coming wrath against people. Look through each of the first six. How is God’s wrath poured down? What do these plagues remind you of?
  • Verse 16 shows the devil assembling his demonic army at “Armageddon” for his battle against Christ. The devil won’t last for long when the time comes for this battle to actually happen!
  • The seventh bowl gives graphic imagery about the final day when God’s great plans reach their culmination, His anger is finished and His kingdom has come. What happens to the sin (pictured as the city of Babylon) at this moment?

 

We’ve looked at Matthew 24 before, so I’ll not write full details about this, but it’s worth just taking a deep breath and putting these mind-bending passages into focus.

 

Spiritual warfare is very real and the devil will (increasingly) do all he can to battle in his attempt to pull people away from God. We see his attempts at masking the work of the real Trinity by offering his own evil version, to confuse us. These passages show God’s righteous anger at all He sees.

 

How can we prepare ourselves in the knowledge that Satan’s unholy trinity is going to be making war on our souls? Jesus’ quiet words, hidden in Revelation 16:15 remind us, from the gospels, to be ready and vigilant.

 

Jesus is on our side, fighting for us.

 

He knows how to deal with the devil and his schemes. Whatever comes, with Jesus on our side, we have nothing to fear. If today’s readings have confused – and maybe scared – you, then be sure to end your time today considering that Jesus loves you, and is completely in control. He has already beaten death for us, and his victory to come is assured.

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