Read for This Week’s Study: Revelation 13, Rev. 17:8, Dan. 7:24, 2 Thess. 2:2-12, Rev. 12:14-16, 1 Kings 18:38.
Memory Text: “Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and he went to wage war with the remnant of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17, MEV).
Revelation 12 describes Satan’s attacks against God’s faithful people, including persecution by pagan Rome and later papal Rome during the 1,260 day/years (A.D. 538-1798; see Rev. 12:6, Rev. 12:13-14 and Lesson 7, Tuesday). Chapter 13 describes in more detail Satan’s attacks during Christian history with the help of two allies, both portrayed as beasts. Under Satan’s direction, the dragon and these two beasts will unite at the end of time to oppose God’s redemptive activities and seek to win the allegiance of the world.
A word of caution is necessary. It is easier to interpret prophecies already fulfilled in the past. But when we come to prophecies yet to be fulfilled, as we do in Tuesday’s study, we need to be more cautious. God shows us what will happen at the time of the end so that we will not be surprised, but He does not tell us every detail we would like to know.
We must always remember that while these prophecies tell us what will happen at the end, they do not tell us when and exactly howthe final events will unfold. We must, therefore, be careful not to speculate beyond what prophecy tells us. Let us not forget that the prophecies of Revelation have practical purposes: to teach us how to live today and to be prepared for the future.