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I find the description of the Beast in Revelation confusing. Can you explain it to me?
Thank you for your question about the image of the beast. As Revelation was a vision of the future as seen by John, we are only able to give some general information about the beast. The specific chapter and verse I believe that you are referring to is Revelation 13:13-18:
It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Revelation 13:13-18)
Some Christians believed that the number 666 was a code for the Roman Caesar Nero who persecuted the early Church. Others believe that the number 6 represents falling short of perfection and that the beast represents organisational oppression throughout the present age. Still other believe that there will be a future world leader in a time of tribulation who will persecute God's people.
Add to that the many films made and books written about the number 666 or the end times - they have to flesh out what the Bible says for the sake of making, say, a Hollywood movie, and all it does is make the confusion worse! To be honest there are almost as many different views as there are people to give them. I want to encourage you to prayerfully read through the book of Revelation with the help of a local Church leader who can present their view alongside the other options.
Also consider how Jesus spoke about being prepared for these times in Matthew 24:
“See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:4-13)
Many different Christians hold differing views about these end times. On that I want to encourage you to speak to a local Christian leader about them.
What can be said with absolute certainty despite all the disagreement there is on those things, all Christians agree that Jesus will ultimately defeat whatever the beast of Revelation 13 represents and that he will take his people to be with him in heaven.
We can know peace in this life, whether the end times are approaching or we are in them now. If our trust is in Jesus' death and resurrection... we 'will be saved'.
As a Christian I know that I am marked by and covered by Jesus Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit (see Romans 14:1, Galatians 3:27). The Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30) and I know that I do not have to worry about the image or mark of the beast because I am covered by Christ.
Jesus' death on the cross defeated sin, death and satan. He won victory over all of the evil. Jesus paid the price for my sin so that I can be free from a lost eternity in hell. Jesus will gather all of his people in heaven.
Hell was made for a place to punish the devil and all of the people who do not believe in Christ for forgiveness. The devil will try to take people away from Christ and cause pain on the earth, but when Jesus returns that will be no more. The devil is a wounded foe who keeps on battling, but the war has already been won by Jesus.
I implore you to put your trust in Jesus and know peace in this life and the life to come. Do not worry about the end times, but be prepared for them.
I do hope this general answer to your question goes some way to helping you find peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: www.lookingforGod.com
In closing, I want to encourage you to get more involved with your local church. It would be good to speak to a Christian leader or another trusted church individual regarding your question. I know they would be delighted to further answer you as well as offer prayer and support as you continue your spiritual journey:
Please use our Interactive Answer Matrix and feel free to ask another question. Our helpful staff are praying for you and waiting to try and answer to you from the Bible, and will be delighted to tell you more about Jesus Christ the Lord, the Saviour of the world.
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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