Vs. 1, “The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.” Question: Who is this beast? This is the human Antichrist (Daniel 7:16-24) who will rise up from the future ten nations (ten horns). The Antichrist will come with charisma and power to influence many (vs. 3). Notice how it is the Lord God who gives the limited authority during this time (vs. 5). Question: Why would God do this? There is a war that has been going on since our creation. We are in this battle and in many ways these tribulations are tests from God to us. While the Antichrist plays a political role, there is another beast who will rise up in the position of a false prophet (vs. 11-18). You will recall how Jesus often warned us of false prophets who would rise (Matthew 24). He will come using signs and wonders and will require a mark on their forehead or right hand (vs. 15-18). The mark of the Beast (666) has confounded many over the years. Since seven is the perfect number, than six would sort of make sense. Certainly as mentioned before, some believe that these events are more symbolic. Regardless of our stance on symbolic or literal, we will have opposition.
Regarding application…Patient Endurance. Vs. 10, “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.” Jesus warned us that evil will increase in the last days (Matthew 24:12). It is not easy to endure trials and suffering. Yet, often sufferings around us can bring a church together. If things were always on the bright side, we would find we don’t need each other. Let us endure in our current trials and remember that we are not alone in this. We have the Holy Spirit, His word and the church to come alongside of us. Keep fighting the good fight!