One insight:

  1. Chapter 12 provides a graphic depiction of evil in this world, of the spiritual battles that undermines everything. This seems like more of an historical chapter, the explanation of Satan and one-third of the angels being kicked out of heaven. It reminds me of the Lord of the Rings movie when Frodo puts on the ring and peers behind the curtain we call reality and into the spiritual realm where lives are truly won and lost.

    “They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11) struck me this morning as a phrase that honors the martyrs of our faith. As I scan the news and see more Christians brutally and publicly murdered in the Middle East, I wonder if they heard this verse. I wonder if I would stand this test myself. Many pacifists stand against the use of military force, even against having a military. Their rationale is solid: what gives us the right to kill another? But the sad reality is this: there is evil in this world and as long as there is evil, there must be those who are willing to stand against the crashing waves of those who would destroy the peace we enjoy. It takes those who do not “love there lives so much as to shrink from death” to be able to enjoy peace. May God help our military and there leaders be wise in judging the good from the bad in a place where it is difficult to see the difference. Especially during this Christmas when our men and women in uniform will stand in the gap while their families celebrate without them. Protect them Lord; honor them for their sacrifice.

    In Chapter 13, the antichrist appears and is given much authority over those “whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life” (13:8). Then a second beast appears to support the first. In our time, this might be considered secular humanism and its rise in popularity to support those who claim there is a creator of all we are. Perhaps. The chapter closes with an important note: “This calls for wisdom” (13:18). However we perceive the antichrist or its ally, we must pray for wisdom. Whether 666 is the triple imperfect number…three digits one short of the perfect number (7) or some code that reveals a name, wisdom must win the day. Lord, give us wisdom beyond understanding and help us see the battle that rages before us. Even more, Lord, give us a willing heart to stand against the tide and hold back the evil as long as possible to let others in your heavenly gates.

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