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Revelation 12

The Four Beasts of Revelation

#1.   The Great Red Dragon


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Thus far, we have covered the first 11 chapters of Revelation, verse by verse.

 

We have carefully studied the seven churches,

The seven seals,

The seven trumpets,

The 144,000 and The Two Witnesses

 

If you have studied all of these segments, you know that the book of Revelation is not simple or shallow, but you should also know that it can be understood. The ways of God are profound and there is nothing more wonderful and intricate than studying His Word.

 

We have to give God’s Word “due diligence” if we are going to understand anything about Him. Today, we are beginning a new segment on Revelation. I call this segment “The four beasts of Revelation.”

 

As this section unfolds, you will behold a compelling story, you will learn about a great contest between Jesus and Lucifer that has been ongoing for a very long time. You will also see this ancient conflict transformed into an end-time story that involves you and me!

 

Apocalyptic prophecy is a process that has been unfolding for thousands of years. We are living at a time when Jesus will declare there is no more delay, the 144,000 will be selected and sealed, the fourth seal will be broken, The Two Witnesses empowered, the censer thrown down and the first trumpet will sound. I hope you have already noticed the marvelous harmony that comes from the sum of all of these prophetic parts.

 

The books of Daniel and Revelation, when properly understood, produce one huge harmonious story. This story is so wonderful and comprehensive; it is very difficult to tell. If you do not believe me, just try telling it!  

 

Our study on the four beasts begins with Revelation 12. This chapter contains a short prophecy of six verses and verse 7 marks the beginning of a long prophecy that ends with Revelation 14:5.

 

When these two prophecies are put together, they allow us to see and understand things about the devil that would otherwise be impossible to know.

 

As you know, I rarely say anything profound, but I have something profound to say today. The origin, nature and work of the devil is a complicated topic and it is not often discussed by Christians because it is just too complicated!

Here are three obstacles that make any investigation of the devil difficult:

 

1.   We can’t physically see the devil and his demons at work, so it is very difficult to determine what they are doing and how much they actually contribute to the rebellion and suffering that we see everywhere.

 

2.   When studying the behavior of human beings, it is difficult to determine the devil’s participation. We know that human beings have the power of choice and we know that everyone is born with a carnal heart. So, people can choose and do choose to do wicked things on their own without any help from the devil.

 

For example, when it comes to murder, we can ask: “What role did the devil play – if any?” Did the devil manipulate the murderer’s emotions to a point where the man committed the murder or did the man commit murder without any influence from the devil? We can also ask, “Was the murderer under demonic control or influence when he committed the murder? You can see from these questions that it is almost impossible to sort out valid answers.

 

3.   Human being are no match for the devil and his demons – either in strength or intelligence. Since the devil and his angels are hidden from eyesight, human beings would be the easy targets except for one thing. God has a host of angels on Earth constantly battling with the devil and his angels to ensure that human beings are free to exercise their power of choice.

 

 Make no mistake about this, the devil and his demons do not sleep or rest. They work around the clock – 24/7’s. When one time zone goes to sleep, the devil and his angels move on to the next. The devil and his demons don’t sleep. They are in motion, constantly moving around and round the world – stirring up trouble, hatred and evil passions.  

 

I might add there are some cities that never sleep – cities like Chicago, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Houston. In these cases the devil keeps “a den of demons” in such cities at all times.

 

Many people do not believe in a devil. Many people do not believe in demonic possession. Many people who believe in a devil have no idea that Lucifer and his angels were once in Heaven. Even worse, many people do not believe the coming Antichrist will be Lucifer. Nevertheless, the Bible tells us the devil will play a very visible role during the Great Tribulation.

 

Down through the centuries, artists have rendered the devil as an evil manlike creature. He is red and has horns, a tail and a pitchfork. This imagery, no doubt, rises from Revelation 12 where the devil is portrayed as a great red dragon having heads, horns and a tail. However, the devil was once a most beautiful and glorious being.

 

And it delights the devil when people think that he is ugly and scary looking, because he usually presents himself to us robed (or disrobed as the case may be) in beauty and innocence. He is the master of illusion and deception and he and his demons are the most underrated force on Earth today.

 

In fact, many scientists think that Satan and demons are myths, figments of uneducated imagination, and a superstitious holdover from the Dark Ages. They reason, if there is no God, there can be no devil.

 

Look at the logic: If the Creator of Heaven and Earth – the Creator of everything that exists can’t be proven to exist, then how can a devil – who has created nothing but trouble – be proven to exist?

 

Truth is, the argument that there is no God is another deception by Lucifer. Lucifer never stops lying or doing everything possible to separate mankind from God. The Bible teaches there is a devil and has a lot to say about him. Unfortunately, very few sermons are actually presented on the devil because of ignorance or fear.

 

Christians do not like the idea of being told they are being stalked by invisible intelligent beings. If we could see as God sees, the actions of Lucifer and his demons would make us so furious and angry, that we would be moved to immediately terminate his existence.

 

But, God permits the devil to live and prosper on Earth because God has a higher purpose. Once this purpose is accomplished, the devil and his angels will be destroyed. You might ask, what purpose is so large and important that God allows the devil to remain alive?

 

Actually, two purposes dovetail together to make one:

 

1.   Before Lucifer was created, God foreknew Lucifer’s evil actions, He foreknew the loss of one-third of His angels, He foreknew the fall of Adam and Eve, so He predetermined the duration of sin on Earth before it began. (Revelation 17:8)

 

Think about the possibility: Before sin began, God did some basic math and He calculated it would take 6,000 years to produce enough born-again sinners to repopulate Heaven. I believe this is why He created the Earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Jesus could have created the Earth in one day, but He chose seven because He wanted to give us a template. The weekly cycle is a template of Earth’s duration! Seven days translates into seven thousand years. (We discussed this at length in our March, April, May and June 2004 segments on the Jubilee Calendar.}

 

2.   God understands from the beginning that sin must be allowed to mature to the point that created beings would never want to sin again. God foreknew that if he had enough time, a watching universe would be so offended and disgusted with sinful behavior that sin would not occur again! Remember from our study on the seven seals, that preventing a second rise of sin is God’s greatest problem. So, God is waiting for His larger purpose to be accomplished before bringing sin to an end and destroying the devil.

 

Earlier, I made this point: When studying the behavior of people, it is difficult to determine the devil’s efforts on mankind since we already have a carnal nature. Does the devil really influence people to do things they would not otherwise do?

 

 

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