From the introduction onward, we have seen how the final end-time crisis will center around the question of worship. The issue of worship is not a small matter. The eternal destiny of souls hangs on it. This crucial truth becomes more apparent in what unfolds in Revelation 13 and 14.
Read Revelation 13 and answer the following questions:
- What is the historical context of these verses? What are they talking about historically and prophetically?
- How often does the theme of worship appear in this chapter? What does that tell us about how central it is?
- Where is the gospel, the salvation offered to us in Christ, presented in this chapter?
From the beginning of the great controversy, Satan sought to subvert the authority and power of God. The battle that he started in heaven is now being played out on the earth. This chapter shows the enemy’s work through history, through the powers presented there, and how it will climax in the final crisis surrounding the issue of worship: all those who do not worship the beast and his image will face economic and physical persecution. Even though Satan knows that he is defeated, even though at the Cross it was over for him, he still continues to fight, still continues to seek deceiving as many as he can, and he will do so right up to the end.
Yet, in the midst of all this, we have Revelation 13:8, which refers to Jesus as “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”; that is, even before all this began on earth, the “everlasting covenant” (Heb. 13:20) had been in place, offering all humans the opportunity for salvation. Those who truly have accepted that salvation, whose names are in the book of life, shall not worship the beast or his image. They are worshiping, instead, the one who “washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Rev. 1:5), and we will no doubt be doing the same, worshiping Him, in heaven, as well.