November 13, 2019
Well-loved broadcasters David & Karen Mains launch their ninth podcast with a conversation about David’s insights into the book of Revelation, chapters 12-14.
Revelation isn’t a book in the Bible I would normally go to read or study. It’s dense with symbolism. But having to do it and to think about it and to communicate what we’re discovering in those pages, particularly what I’m discovering because you’ve been studying it for I think it’s 15 years now. I find it to be extremely current to where we are as a global community.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife noted author, Karen Mains. Our subject for today, the last book in the Bible, The Book of Revelation. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: Hi friend, David and Karen Mains here. Presently we’re in a series on the book of Revelation. You may be thinking, David and Karen Mains, I assumed you two guys died a long time ago. How do you respond to that, Karen?
Karen: Well, we’re still around and that’s why we’re doing these podcasts called Before We Go because we still have lots to say. We have things we think are crucial for people to hear in our time.
David: And every day is a gift, isn’t it?
Karen: Oh, it is. It’s really a gift.
David: In this present series on Revelation, I’m doing most of the talking. We will get to my presentation. But what are your thoughts as you follow along with what I’ve been saying?
Karen: Well Revelation isn’t a book in the Bible I would normally go to read or study. It’s dense with symbolism. But having to do it and to think about it and to communicate what we’re discovering in those pages, particularly what I’m discovering because you’ve been studying it for I think it’s 15 years now. I find it to be extremely current to where we are as a global community.
David: I’m talking about what you mean by current.
Karen: Well, I think there are things that are occurring in our time in history that have never occurred before that make us vulnerable to a, for instance, a world order rising such as Revelation talks about. An international kind of persecution of people of faith. So, I think of all the books in the Bible it is one of the most crucial ones we need to pay attention to. And this is coming out of, you know, not my natural inclinations because of where we are in our time. I’m also aware that every generation has felt that way. You know, I can remember your parents, my parents, that generation talking about end times.
David: I’m the same. I can remember that. And preachers talking about it.
Karen: And preachers talking about it.
David: And there was Second World War for them.
Karen: And they, you know, survived it and with great, great loss, particularly in Europe. But I think there are things that are, and that’s what we’re going to talk about, things that are particular to our age that have never existed before that make, these make the prophecies of Revelation much more apropos, much more potential.
David: Give just an example.
Karen: Well, one of the things I’ve been looking at is the rise of the web, of social media. And the book I’ve been looking at, which we’ll talk about more is like war, the weaponization of social media. You know, in China, they can control almost 92% of their population through very strict applications of social media and the use of cell phones all across the country. So that’s what a world order can do if it eventually takes over the world. So, we have things in our time that we have never had in history before. And one of them would be well, the weaponization of social media.
David: Well, just weaponization is another thing. I’ve been reading, I’m not finished, but I’m 200 and some pages into it. The Doomsday Machine by Daniel Ellsberg. You recognize his name?
Karen: Yeah, Daniel Ellsberg in the Pentagon papers. Now a lot of listeners may not know what that was about. Can you tell what the Pentagon papers was about?
David: He released government papers that revealed the United States leaders had been lying to their people.
Karen: About the Vietnamese war.
David: Yes, right.
Karen: And so, the Pentagon papers were released. He did this. It’s a great act of moral valor, actually. He released them to the public because he felt the public deserved to know the lies that were meshing us in the Vietnamese war. And at great risk to himself, he was a nuclear planner, an official nuclear planner.
David: He’s Jewish.
Karen: Jewish, great risk to himself, to his freedom. I mean, he literally could have gone to jail for doing that, but he felt that there was a need-to-know reality.
David: The Doomsday Machine. I’m kind of a latecomer to the book. It was released in 2017. And again, I’m into the 200s as far as pages that I have read.
Karen: It’s powerful though. The first 200 pages are really very powerful in themselves, aren’t they now?
David: It’s saying things to me that I didn’t know. And this goes back to you talking about living in a day that’s unlike any previous day. For example, I thought, and until I read this just this last week, you drop a bomb on New York and then maybe Moscow and such.
Karen: A nuclear bomb or an atom bomb.
David: Yeah, and it wipes out those cities, which is horrendous when you think about it. But that’s about the extent of it. But he writes in terms of once this reaction begins to unleash itself, it’s not only the bombs that are doing the damage, but the whole change as far as the world itself with the smoke and the clouds that go into the stratosphere and block off the sun. And they talk about nuclear winter. I never knew what that was, but the sun isn’t able to get through so that plants can grow, and people starve to death. So, he’s talking about the possibility of wiping out all but just…
Karen: …a remnants of civilization.
David: Civilization, exactly, right, which is incredible. It’s really incredible. And it brings some of those images that St. John writes about in the revelation of life in a way that’s just horrifying.
David: And you think, oh, my goodness,
Karen: …this is possible. And we can see how it can happen in our generation in a way that other generations could not because these things do not exist. The nuclearization issue is what you’re talking about.
David: Yes, right.
Karen: Mine is the weaponization or the use of the social media to control populations.
David: Yeah. And as people listen to the presentations I’ve put together; they’ll go back into Christ in the Olivet discourse and him talking about the seas rising and all this. These are things that are in the newspapers all the time now and they are frightening. But the purpose of John, the revelator, was not to frighten people. It was to prepare them for what he saw coming and the worst of which was the rise of evil. That’s what the book of Revelation is all about. It’s the conflict between the forces of good and evil.
Karen: Well, I think whenever there is chaos in society, that’s why a society that’s built on law and order is so important. When there’s chaos in a society that gives opportunity for evil to enter. And evil, the source of evil, loves that chaos, loves the suffering that goes with it, loves the dehumanization that goes along with that kind of chaos. So, when there is chaos, such as the dropping of a bomb or someone taking over the internet, the fake news now that we have on the internet, where we’ll get to a point where we can’t tell what’s true and what’s not true. These are things that are crucial elements that are occurring in our society and our culture that we need to watch and be aware of and be careful about.
David: The section of messages that I’ve done in Revelation, what is the part of the book that is the one that all people turn to? They want to know more about it. So, all of a sudden, I think there’s going to be great interest in what I have to say. You are reviewing them yourself?
Karen: I am. I’m reading them. I’m getting a lot out of them. I’m surprised at how much I’m getting out of them. So we recommend highly that those who are listening to this emphasis, particularly in Revelation, on Before We Go prepare themselves by reading the Scriptures, reading Revelation in chunks. Then you’ll have a much better feeling for what you’re saying, actually, as you begin to unfold those pages.
David: I think that sets up being able to just sit back and listen now. All right.
Revelation chapter 12 begins, A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven. A woman clothed with a sun, with a moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
So, who is this? Fortunately for us, the next three beings mentioned are easy to identify, so let’s nail them down. The first is an enormous red dragon with seven heads, seven crowns, ten horns, and a tail that sweeps a third of the stars to the ground. We don’t have to wonder about his identity because he’s named in verse 9. The great dragon was hurled down that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the world astray. We aren’t used to symbolic language like this, but earlier generations would probably find some of our storytelling techniques a bit strange. For instance, in our movies we use music to set a scene. In reality, orchestral strings don’t play when two people fall in love, but in the movies they certainly do.
When a sequence is going to be scary, early on the music lets us know something spooky is about to happen. The apostle John didn’t have an arranger, and conductor, and musicians. All he had was words. Even so, I’d say that he used them quite effectively.
The second personality we can identify is a baby to whom the pregnant woman gives birth. Certain clues make it obvious that this is Jesus. The last of the three identifiable characters is the archangel or chief angel Michael, who according to Daniel 12:1 is also the guardian angel of Israel. It’s apparent the woman is on the side of the good. So, is she the virgin Mary, the nation Israel, the church?
My opinion is that she represents Israel, and that’s mainly because that makes the most sense with the surrounding verses. There is war in heaven at some undefined point, and the dragon is defeated and hurled to the earth along with his angels. So, in one broad sweep we’re presented with a heavenly conflict between the forces of good and evil, and also the entry of Jesus, the promised Messiah, into the fray. As you can tell, this is a major change subject-wise and timewise from the material about the seven trumpets. So let me just say that we have moved beyond the scroll of the future to a three-chapter section I’m calling the Unholy Trial, which includes chapters 12 through 14 of Revelation. A curious factor remains in verse 6.
After giving birth, the woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for a thousand two hundred and sixty days, or for a period of intense hardship and persecution, if you recall what I said in an earlier session. Verses 10 to 12. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say, Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, for the accuser of our brothers who accuses them before our God Day and night has been hurled down.
Therefore, rejoice you heavens and you who dwell in them, but woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you. He is filled with fury because he knows that his time is short. Verse 17. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring, those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
And now we have come to chapter 13, undoubtedly the most studied passage in all of Revelation. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon, Satan, gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon, Satan, because he had given authority to the beast and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him”?
There are many questions we can now ask, but the most critical one is obviously who or what is this beast? To help answer that I want to do a little exploring in the book of Daniel. Daniel is considered the prototype of all Jewish apocalyptic writers. Resed, he is the originator of this type of material. So, we are asking what the beast back in Daniel 7 represents. And that is to help us identify Revelation 13’s beast.
For the sake of time, I’m now reading edited parts of Daniel 7: 2-7. In my vision at night, I looked in there before me were four great beasts. The first was like a lion, a second beast looked like a bear, another like a leopard, and a fourth beast terrifying and frightening and very powerful, and it had ten horns. I’m sure you picked up the similarities between the passage in Revelation 13 and this one back in Daniel 7, but again the big question is what are these beasts in Daniel?
Well, the answer is given in verse 17. These four great beasts are kingdoms that will rise from the earth. Today’s reporters don’t use the word kingdom all that much. Your favorite news anchor would probably refer to these as superpowers. Anyway Revelation 13 obviously draws on the imagery of Daniel 7 even incorporating in the verse 2 the leopard, bear, and lion characteristics into this final kingdom or superpower the writer John is describing. So here is an emerging world power to which the dragon Satan actually gives over his throne and authority. Because of this people worship not only the dragon Satan but also the beast or this superpower asking who is like the beast who can make war against him. Him because it’s assumed that the antichrist will be the evil figure who rules this great empire.
Now does this world power sound like any nation or a group of nations to you? I doubt you’re going to answer with the name of some small country like Denmark, Jamaica, or Djibouti. So what superpowers are there in the world today?
For much of the previous century the former Soviet Union was truly a world power. Since that breakup Russia has been trying to regain her former status but most experts would say she’s not there yet.
On the other hand, China is often talked about as an emerging giant world power. Maybe someday the many Islamic nations will come together. Even though from their history this would appear unlikely if it were to happen that alignment were be formidable. At present the United States is certainly a world superpower. Could the US be the beast in Revelation 13? What about America and her allies? These are all questions worth considering.
What would have seemed a foolish notion 50 years ago now needs to be carefully thought through. At present there is no military power that begins to compare to ours. America has also to a large degree moved away from her Christian roots. Where she will be in another 15, 20, or 25 years is anybody’s guess. If I were the devil, I would seriously consider infiltrating this nation with the intent of someday taking it over for my own evil purposes. I don’t know what superpower Revelation 13 is describing in John’s vision. What’s fascinating to me however is the way Jesus employs this apocalyptic approach to get us to consider all possibilities.
In other words, there’s no way our Lord would have named a modern country like the United States in the book of Revelation. America wouldn’t be founded for close to 1700 years after this prophecy was written. And because Mohammed wasn’t born until almost 500 years following when John penned this final book of the Bible, mention of any Islamic blocs or nations wasn’t going to happen either, but by using symbolic language Jesus is able to warn us about possibilities that would not have been an option at the time through the use of conventional language.
My approach will be to deal with only the most significant questions. So, let’s leave unanswered at least for this visit the matter about the fatal wound to one of the beast’s heads. at topic surfaces again later anyway. Here’s the Revelation text once again, verses 5 through 8. The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies, and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name in his dwelling place in those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints, and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast, all whose names have not been written in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. It’s a frightening passage. Satan has combined forces with a great superpower or beast. Blasphemies are spoken against God, and war is waged against his followers. Everyone is commanded to worship the beast, no exceptions.
Verses 9 and 10. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword with the sword, he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. That’s what God’s followers were alive should demonstrate. Patient endurance, dogged tenacity, sticking in there. And there’s also faithfulness. Unshakable loyalty to the Lord. Regardless of the cost, they are to remain true to Christ.
This won’t be easy. But in doing so, believers will not only protect their own souls, but serve as a powerful testimony to onlookers, still contemplating becoming followers of the cross. Along with keeping a watchful eye on what’s happening in terms of governments and world powers, we are also given a second front to carefully observe. That’s because another beast is now introduced. Quote, he had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a lion. Think wolf in sheep’s clothing. See this as camouflage that disguises beast number two in religious trappings.
This could be a false religion that already exists, or one yet to be revealed. When the early church heard these passages read aloud in their churches, I’m sure they were convinced that the Roman Empire was the first beast, and the second was the supportive priestly system that demanded worship of the emperor. Throughout much of the Roman world, emperor worship was a cult that once again, as with the earlier Greeks, helped cement a vast and diverse empire. As our coins read in God, we trust Roman coins frequently declared their rulers to be divine. On his coins, Nero called himself, quote, the savior of the world. Many Romans worshipped their emperor and burned incense on his altar. Christians refused to do so. Bless them for their unshakable loyalty to Christ. From Rome’s perspective, this was a subversive act that put the two religions on a collision course. Early Christians, like believers throughout the ages, soon found that hostile governments knew how to bring pressure to bear on those who didn’t obey their decrees.
Here’s Revelation 13:5 again. The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies, and to exercise his authority for 42 months. 42 months. Time, times, and half a time. A thousand two hundred and sixty days, three and a half years short in terms of history, but dreadful, frightful, horrible in real time. I believe the two revolting beasts mentioned here will be responsible for the death of millions and maybe even billions of believers. In Revelation 1312 it states that the Brutus creature number two quote exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast. So, beast one is the superpower. As leader the Antichrist is the executive who runs all governmental affairs including the military and the police. This second loathsome creature provides the Antichrist with the religious trappings he needs.
What a pair they make. The civil and the religious intertwined. The Antichrist and if you please his high priest. Later references in Revelation refer to him as the false prophet. But this religious figure is apparently quite good at what he does. For example, verse 13 he performs great and miraculous signs even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Verse 14 because of the signs this second beast was given to do on behalf of the first beast he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. That’s a Satanic specialty deception. And as you probably already suspected the devil is involved with these two in an unholy trio Satan the beast the false prophet.
Again, it’s the name I’ve given these three chapters unholy trio and they reveal a warning about Satan at his worst. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10 the apostle Paul wrote the coming of the lawless one, the Antichrist will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. Going back to our Lord’s Olivet discourse which I talked about in an earlier message you might recall Jesus prophesying for false Christ and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect if that were possible.
C says Jesus I’ve told you ahead of time. An example of such a miracle is then given here in Revelation 13. This is the last half of verse 14 and also 15. He ordered them, the inhabitants of the earth, to set up an image and honor the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. He, the second beast, the religious one was given power to listen, to give breath to the image of the first beast so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the beast to be killed. We learned about worship in the third message in this Revelation series: worship of the Lord anyway. Hopefully you’ve been growing in your private practice of commending God the Father for his many outstanding attributes of telling him this is what I really like about you but now all who truly love the Lord who take their face seriously are being told they have to worship this image of the beast that been set up or otherwise be killed.
Maybe you’re thinking Christians could just avoid visiting the area where the image can be seen. Stay low profile, keep out of sight. Verses 16 and 17. To make sure this edict is obeyed, listen to what’s next. He, the beast also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. The Bible reads if anyone has insight let him calculate the number of the beast for it is man’s number that number is 666. I’m not able to do the calculations that will reveal for you what that number 666 means though many before me have tried.
But I don’t think it’s all that important anyway. When that dark time comes, I’m sure things will all make sense for whatever believers are still alive. What is bottom line in my mind, however, is to know that the day is coming when Christians are going to be caught between facing a fast death or a slow one. Over the years, man has perfected any number of ways to kill people. It doesn’t take very long to cut off someone’s head or to shoot a bullet into the back of one’s cranium. Methods such as these quickly resolve matters. They are a fast death.
That again, I’m sure some Christians won’t give in that easily. Young folk can be especially resourceful when their life is on the line. During the Second World War, there were any number of Jews who escaped the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Belzec and Treblinka. It wasn’t easy, but many fled Germany. That option will be harder for Christians under the two beasts because there won’t be any locations not under their control. But some Christians, I’m sure, will still go on the run. They’ll live like fugitives, wanderers, vagabonds, trying to avoid the bounty hunters.
With no way to buy or sell anything, that kind of life will be extremely difficult, especially if you try to stay together as a young family. I see this going into hiding as a slow death. But I’m sure some will make it for a while. A year. Even two years. Three years, bless them. Some even three and a half years. Distrustful of the two beast, wise believers pledge their loyalty to the lamb, even if it means a slow or a fast death. Shall I say it again? Distrustful of the two beasts, wise believers pledge their loyalty to the lamb, even if it means a slow or a fast death.
Tough choice. Tough message. Tough prophecy. Not all that hard to understand. Hard to process, though. Had this to the mix. Next chapter, Revelation 14, verses 9 to 13. This is an angel of God speaking in a loud voice. If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on their forehead or on the hand, he too will drink of the line of God’s fury, which has been poured out full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the lamb, and the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name. This calls for a patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Wow. Listen to me. On an adult level. I believe that in families this is an adult topic that should be seriously talked about. It’s like Jewish Christians in the first century discussed what Jesus had said about fleeing to the mountains when you start seeing Jerusalem surrounded by armies. Let those in the city get out, Jesus said, and let those in the country not enter the city. As I told you in an earlier presentation, during the interim between the changing of Roman generals, many of the believers in Jerusalem did just that; they left most everything behind and fled the city to Pella in Transjordan where they were safe.
Do not take seriously what’s being said in this series of sermons and never even discuss your options. I believe it would be foolish. Couldn’t Jesus return before this time? Some might wonder out loud. I believe scripture teaches we should be prepared for our Lord’s second coming at any time. So I try to live in such a fashion that my immediate response would always be, come, Lord Jesus has Revelation 22:20. But it’s also possible our Lord will delay His return, and that believers in various parts of the world, including ours, will first experience some incredibly difficult days of persecution. Therefore, I am attempting to prepare myself and those I love for that possibility as well.
My children, and or grandchildren, could be alive when these days unfold. If they know ahead of time about Satan’s planned deception, they shouldn’t for a moment believe his lies. And above all else that’s the lesson these verses are teaching. All too many people will be deceived, including no doubt some of the companions of my loved ones.
I know it’s never easy to go against what a group that includes your friends embraces. But once again, heed this warning to never believe the devil’s lies, not now or in the future. In spite of the miraculous powers of his false prophet, do not be deceived into worshiping the beast. Finally, before chapter 14 is finished there is a gospel invitation and two end time harvesting visions. Then I saw another angel flying in midair and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth. That’s the just under the wire gospel invitation.
The first harvesting vision is like the gathering of a great harvest of grain. I looked in there before me was a white cloud and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man, a Jesus reference, with a crown of gold on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. Another angel called and allowed voice to him, take your sickle and reap. So, he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth and the earth was harvested.
The second harvest is of the ungodly. Verse 17. Another angel came out of the temple in heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathering its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the wine press outside the city and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horse’s bridles for a distance of a thousand six hundred stadia or about a hundred and eighty miles. At the end of this three-chapter section of Revelation we have once again come to the closing out of history as we know it, which makes for a good stopping point, both time wise and outline wise.
For our next visit, read the next two chapters of Revelation 15 and 16. It’s about the seven bowls of God’s wrath. Revelation 15 plus 16 are your reading assignments before we meet again. All along I have said that history is moving toward a showdown between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, God and Satan, which Satan wins, evil triumphs, but only temporarily, only for a time, times and half a time, to whom will you pledge your loyalty if you are alive during this time. My loyalty is to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father, to him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go podcast. If you enjoy this podcast please remember to rate, review, and share on apple podcast or on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2019 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60189.
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