1 The Facebook Commentary on Revelation Jon Paulien Revelation ...

Page 1. 1. The Facebook Commentary on Revelation. Jon Paulien ..... creating the “unholy trinity” (see previous comments on Revelation 13 as a whole). If the.
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The Facebook Commentary on Revelation Jon Paulien Revelation Chapter 13 Rev 13 Introduction– Revelation 12 offers a comprehensive view of human history going all the way back to the beginning of the cosmic conflict in heaven, which spilled out onto the earth and climaxes in an end-time battle. Centering on the impact of the cross (Rev 12:10-11) the chapter follows human history all the way to the final events, which are summarized in 12:17. But Revelation 12:17 is not just the climax of the chapter, it is a summary in advance of chapters 13 and 14. As such it is a duodirectional passage, much like 1:19, 3:21 and 6:9-10 before it. In duodirectional passages John embeds the introduction of the following portion of the book into the climax of the preceding portion. The dragon's war against the remnant is summarized first in Revelation 12:17. Then the dragon’s side of the war is elaborated in chapter 13. The remnant’s side of the war, their message and the result of the conflict, is elaborated in some detail in Revelation 14. The final battle is described once more in even greater detail in chapters 16-18. So Revelation 12:17 is a crucial passage, introducing the final battle of earth’s history, and setting the foundation for the visions in chapters 13 and 14. In Revelation 12:17 the final events of human history are summarized as a battle between two sides, the dragon on the one hand and the remnant of the woman’s seed on the other. The battle is introduced as a summary in a nutshell of what follows. The dragon’s side of the final conflict is then elaborated in chapter 13, where he collects two allies, a beast from the sea and a beast from the earth. On the other hand, the remnant’s side of that conflict is elaborated in chapter 14, where the remnant is described first (14:1-5-- using the language of 144,000), then its mission is described (14:6-13), then the chapter concludes with the outcome of the conflict (14:14-20). So chapter 13 as a whole is to be seen as an elaboration and “exegesis” of the dragon’s strategy and activities in the pursuit of its agenda at the end of history. This chapter develops a counterfeit “trinity.” In the Book of Revelation God is often spoken of in terms of threes (Rev 1:4-6, etc.). In this chapter the dragon adds a pair of allies, the beast from the sea and the beast from the land, making up an unholy three. The dragon has the fundamental authority (right to rule) and is the one who gives authority to the others. He counterfeits the position of God the Father. The sea beast (Revelation 13:1-10) looks like the dragon, receives authority from the dragon, has a three-and-a-half year ministry, and also a death and a resurrection like Christ’s. So the beast from the sea is portrayed as a parody or counterfeit of God the Son, Jesus Christ. The land beast (Revelation 13:11-18) gives breath (“spirit”) to the image of the beast. He does not promote himself, but rather promotes the sea beast, reminding of the Holy Spirit’s 1

work in pointing to Christ (John 16:13-14, KJV). Like the Holy Spirit did on Pentecost, the land beast brings fire down from heaven to earth (Rev 13:13-14). So the dragon, sea beast and land beasts together counterfeit Father, Son and Holy Spirit. No one would likely want to follow a monster or a dragon, so Satan disguises the true nature of evil in order to get people to follow him and his minions. As stated by Paul, Satan transforms himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14). The unholy trinity is an apocalyptic parallel to the text in 2 Corinthians. The idea of a counterfeit trinity is one of several cosmic contrasts in the Book of Revelation. There is a counterfeit trinity here in chapter 13 (and in 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) and a true trinity elsewhere in the book (1:4-6; 4:8, etc.). There is the pure woman of Revelation 12 and the prostitute of Revelation 17. There is the contrast between end-time Babylon (Rev 1718) and the New Jerusalem (Rev 21-22). There is the sea of glass (4:6; 15:2) and the lake of fire (19:20; 20:10,14,15). There are the marked (13:15-17; 20:4