[This is the tenth in a series of sermons in interpreting America in the 21st century in light of the Book of Revelation. The series will continue, monthly for about two years.]
Shalom Mennonite Congregation—October 14, 2012—Revelation 13:1–14:5
In my sermon series on Revelation we are now to chapter 13. We will spend some time with one of the most famous of the characters in the book—the Beast that rises out of the sea. There is something important to remember as we think about this character—obviously highly symbolic. With whatever it is that is being symbolized, not everyone would see it as beastly. One person’s beast might be another person’s buddy.
Beast or Buddy?
I think of my tiny sweetheart of a dog, little Sophie. Talk about gentle, sweet, affectionate, and kind. But to our cats, Zorro, Silver, and Ani, Sophie is most certainly the Beast. Vicious, aggressive, loud, and obnoxious. Sweetheart? Bah!!
Likewise, in Revelation there would have been people in the book’s audience with a quite positive view of what John is calling the Beast. John’s agenda, in part, is to challenge his readers to recognize the Beast here as a beast.
And thus he challenges us. What is like the Beast of Revelation in our world? Does this vision speak to us at all? Continue reading