This Sunday @ RVPC

Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Sunday Morning Worship (9:30 AM)

Sermon Text (Revelation 13:1-18)

[1] And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. [2] And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. [3] One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. [4] And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

[5] And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. [6] It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. [7] Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, [8] and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. [9] If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

[10] If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

[11] Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. [12] It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. [13] It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, [14] and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. [15] And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. [16] Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, [17] so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. [18] This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (ESV)

This Lord’s day we are continuing our sermon series going through the book of Revelation.

Last Sunday we looked at Revelation chapter 12, where John tells us of a vision of two (2) “signs” or symbols in heaven. The first was a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (v.1). This woman was pregnant, and was in labor, and was to give birth to “a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne” (v.5).

That male child, of course, is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The pregnant woman’s male child is a symbol of the fulfillment of the promise of Genesis 3:15, where God promised that the “offspring” of the woman (i.e. the Christ who was to come) would crush the serpent’s head.

The second sign in heaven in Revelation chapter 12 was that of a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems” (v.3). The dragon is portrayed as being immensely powerful and evil, and is explicitly identified for us in the text as “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (v.9). The dragon is the devil.

And so in chapter 12 we were given a glimpse behind the scenes, so to speak. That vision of the woman and the dragon was given in order to help us understand why things are the way they are in this world of sin & misery.

Now we come to Revelation chapter 13, which speaks of two (2) “beasts,” the mark of the beast (v.16-17), and even the number of the beast (v.18). These things have, of course, been the subject of much fantastic speculation and confusion.

At the end of chapter 12 we are told that the dragon “went off to make war” on the church (v.17), now here in chapter 13 (as one writer puts it), “we are introduced to the two agents through whom Satans carries out his war against believers . . . .”1

So in speaking of these two beasts, John is continuing the same theme that he began in chapter 12 (Satan’s war against Christ and His church), and is now showing us the forms or instruments that Satan’s uses in this world in opposing the gospel of Christ and warring against His church.

We will be looking at what our text has to say about each of these beasts in turn, and then, Lord willing, offer some points of application regarding our Lord’s “call for the endurance and faith of the saint” (v.10) in his chapter.

We hope that you will join us for worship this Sunday as we look at this great passage of Scripture together!

Sunday Night Bible Study (6 PM)

We have just recently begun a brand new study through the Heidelberg Catechism. Please join us as we study through this great teaching tool and means of unity in the church that has stood the test of time for over 450 years!

The questions for Lord’s days #15 deal with the statement from the Apostles’ Creed wherein we confess that we as Christians believe that Jesus Christ “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried.”

Have you ever wondered why the Lord Jesus specifically had to suffer under Pontius Pilate (a Roman governor), and why He had to be crucified (rather than being killed in some other way) in order to save his people from their sins? Those are the very questions that we will be looking at this Sunday night!