Everyone whose name has not been written in the book of life of the Lamb
Revelation 13 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast;4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.
Trying to discern who the beast is or will be has been a focus of many people throughout history. Almost every evil and even many other charismatic world leaders have been associated with the beast of Revelation. The reality is, if it were so easy to recognize the evil in a person to identify them as the beast, they would not be able to deceive so many people. In the same way, many people focus on the mark of the beast, which is spoken of in today’s text. It says: He causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six. Previously it was difficult to understand how it would be that people could be prevented from buying and selling. But, with today’s cashless society and the technology of microchips, rfid chips, retina scans and thumbprint signature recognition, it is certainly easier to believe that it could happen. Still that should not be our focus.
Here is the thing that we need to know and understand. We should worry and focus less on who the beast might be and what the mark of the beast may be. As the psalmist says in Psalm 56:11, so should we say: In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Or in Psalm 118:6: The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? In truth, what is the worst they, man or the beast, can do to us? They can only take our mortal life. They can only affect the temporal things of this temporal world. Rather than focus on the beast and the anti-Christ, we should focus on Christ. The text says: It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. Rather than trying to avoid the mark of the beast, we should avoid worshipping the beast. We should focus on making certain that our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
If we worship the things of the world and of the beast now, we will not avoid the worship of the beast when he comes. James 4:4-8 says: Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Our greatest; in truth our only defense against the mark of the beast, when he comes, is to draw near to God now; then to remain submitted to Him.
In Matthew 24:4-13 Jesus says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” The best way to not be mislead by those who come to mislead is to know the true Christ intimately. Jesus says that the greatest commandment is that we would love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind.(Matthew 22:37; Luke 10:27) He says that because of lawlessness, most people’s love will grow cold. If we embrace the lawlessness of the world, our first love, our love for God is reduced. We need not to be as concerned with recognizing the beast if and when he comes, as we are with maintaining our first love. We need to not worry about the mark of the beast. We need to be certain that our names are written in the Lambs book of life. We need to endure whatever the world might bring against us, standing firm in the love of God and the overcoming power of the cross and the resurrection.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; like the psalmist I say: In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is for me; I will not fear; What can man do to me? I desire to know You fully and intimately so that nothing can mislead me. I choose to endure to the end, loving You with my whole heart, soul and mind. I will not focus on the evil that is coming, but rather I will focus on the victory that has already come and will come again. I will focus on You: The Alpha and the Omega, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. Amen.