In a wonderful little book entitled Tales of the End, David Barr has a striking description of what happens in Revelation 13. “One of the most shocking things about this third story is that God is no longer the main actor,” he says. A power that is not God takes center stage, and it is almost as though God retreats to the sideline. “The dragon acts and God reacts,” Barr notes. “This is the dragon’s story.”
The author captures the chess game being played. Just as lots were thrown over Jesus robe, now Lucifer having lost to Jesus wants to play games with His followers as pawns. We see evangelicals as money grabbers and the Vatican as a brothel even Adventism is testing its power. We are approaching a test of our faith in the Gospel plus nothing. The universe has accepted God’s perfect love.Now can we? What are we willing to live for at the point of death. Good to know The devils game plan ahea of Time.
Rather than God reacting, I would propose that God reveals and releases his pre-planned and pre-pared counteraction.
This is no chess game between 2 equal opponents. It is a chess ‘game’ between the Grand Master and, by contrast, a desperate novice. The Grand Master knows all and is surprised by nothing. He has, from the outset, flawlessly anticipated every move the novice can and ever will make. A master-strategy is being played out that has already guaranteed the outcome regardless of any attempted moves by the novice to have the ‘game’ end otherwise.
I think the cosmic conflict point is well made. what I have seen in many interpretations is to almost make the serpent just a cosmetic addition, an interesting little addition to the story but not an important player. In SDA intepretations the devil is introduced into the story in chapter 12, but totally unrepresented before that. Even when he is introduced, yes he is a problem but he will not receive more attention, no. that is reserved for the pope, and others who are presumably more important than the dragon. we must in many ways say less and less about the dragon’s puppets and try to see him behind the beasts, I think if we did that we would probably be on more stable ground and not be so dogmatic about keeping a certain interpretation and that freedom will enable us to move closer to the truth more and more.
Thank you Dr. Tonstad for your thoughtful commentary on Revelation. It seems to me that heaven formulates mostly defensive responses to evil. While human lives and prayers lie under siege.
The book of Revelation appears to be a graphic account of the destructive evil beast’s actions on earth, in conflict with the wounded Lamb in heaven. Does it answer the ageless question–why bad things happen to praying Christians?
Does God formulate solutions to evil as they arise? God’s solutions do not appear to be short term, but instead long term. More often the confrontation with evil, even inside churches, leaves the Lamb wounded and evil just re-appears. In the mean while, extremist sweep into Christian villages resulting in death, blood and tears soaking the ground. As an example of unanswered prayers calling out to God from “Souls under the Altar” demanding justice from God. God’s response is not immediate but very long range giving space for further triumph of evil over human lives.
Here’s the dragon of Revelation; that serpent of old called the devil and Satan. No mystery really. You can find him in your local newspaper in the horoscope section. You can find him celebrated every year in the darkest time of the year, when the North Pole is shrouded in the darkness of night. The world loves and adores him.
Be the kind of Christian that isn’t asleep like the rest of the world. Be the kind of Christian that pleases the Lord.
Actually, that is not Biblical. God allows Satan freedom to show his thoughts and actions, but a God is always ready ahead of time to respond to what Satan does. This is not God being reactionary although it may appear that way at first glance, but God must allow Satan to show his hand first so that a God can move in and show Satan that He is in charge. In the book of Job, God reprimands a Job by telling him that He, God, is in full control of not only the Great Controversy, but Satan personally as well.