King David was the greatest king over God’s people in the Old Testament. But David’s kingdom did not come out of nowhere, it was actually more than 1000 years in the making.
Really, the idea of David’s kingdom was first conceived in just one small chosen family, living in slavery under an empire in the far east, an empire centered around the Tower of Babel, centered around the idea that they could conquer the world and replace God.
Well, God cursed that empire’s blasphemy, and took away its power. He also sent a messiah named Abraham to lead his chosen family out of that empire’s wreckage to a new land, a land where God promised to establish an eternal kingdom: David’s kingdom — though no one knew David’s name yet, of course.
So Abraham’s family lived in that new land for several generations. And looking back, we could call those centuries the time of pregnancy — the incubation of David’s kingdom — as that small family grew up into the beginnings of a nation.
Then came the generations of slavery under an empire in the west: the Egyptian empire. And looking back, we could call those centuries the time of birth for David’s kingdom, because those years began well, became gradually more difficult, and then ended with a brief period of intense labor pains as God sent another messiah named Moses to judge Egypt, take away its power, and midwife his newborn nation out of that empire’s wreckage into the wilderness — a great exodus back to the land where God had promised to establish David’s kingdom.
So Moses’ nation lived in their land for several generations. And looking back we could call those centuries the “coming of age” for David’s kingdom as the nation grew up, finally reaching full maturity when God crowned David king over the entire land.
Unfortunately, only a few people out of the nation submitted to David’s authority at first. Those few people began to experience the blessings of David’s kingdom, they began to experience a sort of mini Golden Age. At the same time, their King David was also fighting to bring the rest of their nation into submission, and so David’s people were also experiencing a time of war.
But finally, after suffering that tribulation for a time, times and half a time — seven years and six months, to be exact — David finished his work: the rest of the nation submitted to him. And then began the great united Golden Age of David’s kingdom, during which the capital city of Jerusalem was established, with God’s temple at its center: finally, a fixed connection between heaven and earth, just as there had been in the beginning.
But then another great empire grew up in the far east, an empire centered around a rebuilt Tower of Babel, centered around the same idea that they could conquer the world and replace God. This was the Babylonian empire.
Well, God also cursed that empire’s blasphemy, and took away its power. But this judgement did not arrive in time to save David’s kingdom, because the Babylonian empire had already swallowed up God’s people, digested them, and scattered them throughout the nations of the earth.
And looking back, we have to say that Babylon’s conquest marked the death of David’s kingdom.
And, really, this should not have been a shock to God’s people. Human kingdoms, just like human beings, all follow the same natural course: they are conceived, born, grow up, grow old, and die. David’s kingdom was a human kingdom. Sure, his kingdom was more righteous than all the other kingdoms on the earth at the time, but still: it was not yet perfected. It was not yet incorruptible. Therefore it had to follow the natural course of all corruptible things.
Still, this death did come as a terrible shock to God’s people, because — way back at the very conception of David’s kingdom — God had promised that David’s kingdom would be an eternal one!
And as a result of this shock, many of God’s people abandoned their faith and allowed themselves to be completely absorbed into the Babylonian empire, never to return.
However, a small remnant clung to their faith in David’s kingdom. Why? Because, during the last few generations, when it became obvious that David’s kingdom was going to die, God’s prophets had begun to promise that David’s kingdom would one day be reborn under the rule of one, final, great Messiah, a Son of David who would conquer the world and rule it forever in peace.
Basically, the prophets concluded that the corruptible, temporary physical body of David’s kingdom needed to die so that the truly incorruptible, eternal spiritual body of David’s kingdom could be born.
So, looking back now, we have to say that the death of David’s physical kingdom in the belly of the Babylonian empire also marked the conception of David’s eternal kingdom. The redemption story reset, back to the beginning: God sent a messiah — named Zerubbabel, this time — to lead the remnant of his chosen nation out of Babylon’s wreckage back to their old land, the land where God had promised to re-establish David’s eternal kingdom as Jesus’ kingdom — though no one knew Jesus’ name yet, of course.
So Zerubbabel’s people lived in that land for several generations. They rebuilt the city of Jerusalem and its temple. And looking back, we can see that those centuries marked the pregnancy — the incubation — of Jesus’ kingdom.
Then came the generations of slavery under another empire in the west: the Roman empire this time, not the Egyptian empire. And looking back, we realize those centuries marked the birth of Jesus’ kingdom, because those years began well, became gradually more difficult, and then ended with a brief period of intense labor pains as God sent his final Messiah named Jesus to judge Rome, take away its power, and midwife his reborn spiritual nation out of that empire’s wreckage into the wilderness — the final great spiritual exodus leading to a new earth where God has promised to establish Jesus’ eternal kingdom.
So Jesus’ people have been filling the earth for several generations now. And looking back we realize these last 20 centuries have been the “coming of age” of Jesus’ kingdom as Jesus’ Church has been slowly growing up. And we will finally reach full maturity when Jesus returns to kick off the eternal Golden Age.
But more that that, we realize these last 20 centuries have also been the beginning of Jesus’ Golden Age: because God has already crowned Jesus king over the entire earth, and everyone who submits to Jesus’ rule during this age begins to experience the blessings of his kingdom in this life.
At the same time, as we know, only a few people out of every nation have submitted to Jesus’ authority so far. And so, over the centuries since Jesus was first crowned, he has been fighting to bring the rest of the nations into submission — which means we have also been experiencing a time of war alongside him: preaching, praying, planting churches, expanding in every direction to fill the earth with the Good News of Jesus’ eternal kingdom.
And we endure this war because, as John has already promised us in previous chapters, we are only going to have to suffer this tribulation for a time, times and half a time — 42 symbolic months, to be exact. Soon, at exactly the right moment, Jesus is going to finish his work: the nations of the earth will submit to him. And then will begin the great eternal Golden Age of Jesus’ kingdom, during which the eternal city of Jerusalem will be established, with Jesus’ throne as the temple at its center: heaven and earth perfectly united once and for all.
But…we are not there yet.
And we know now that we are not going to get there until after Jesus’ earthly kingdom has been swallowed up and digested by one last world-conquering empire, just like what happened to David’s earthly kingdom in the Old Testament.
And the reason for this final death of Jesus’ Church is actually the same as the reason for the original death of David’s kingdom: the corruptible physical body of Jesus’ Church needs to die so that the incorruptible, spiritual body of Jesus’ kingdom can be born again into an incorruptible world.
And, really, this should not come as a shock to us. Sure, Jesus’ Church is more righteous than all the other kingdoms of the earth, but still — I think we can all freely admit — Christianity is not yet perfected. Not even close! We are already enjoying the first-fruits of the Golden Age of Jesus’ kingdom, but we know this mini Golden Age cannot last because, in a way, we are still in the physical womb of the world, we are still waiting to be born again incorruptible.
Still, this does come as a shock to us. Speaking for myself, anyway: again and again I find myself shocked and reshocked by this knowledge.
And perhaps that is because Jesus’ Church lives in this world a lot like we do as individuals: we don’t walk around thinking about death all the time. We live, we marry, we have children, we are not without troubles but generally we enjoy the fruits of this life our Father has given us. But every now and then we have that moment where we go, “Oh yeah!…death” — that final, great mystery that is a mystery simply because none of us have experienced it. And there is always some sense of apprehension that comes with those thoughts about the unknown. At least: there is for me.
So it is comforting to realize that part of Jesus’ purpose in asking John to write this Book of Revelation is to help us conquer our fear of the unknown by revealing the unknown.
Now, granted, in some ways a known fear is worse than an unknown one. For instance, when I get on a plane I might wonder if this is my final flight, and that thought results in a certain kind of sensation, right? But if the captain comes on in the middle of the flight and says, “Well, folks, I regret to inform you that in three and a half minutes we are all going to be dead!”…well, I imagine that would result in a whole different set of sensations.
But if the captain turned out to be Jesus Christ himself, and if he were to finish that announcement by saying, “So, I guess this is good-bye for the moment. But I will see you all again at the beginning of the fourth minute when we all get up and walk out of the wreckage reborn and unharmed!”…well, then I think — I hope — I would be able to face those first traumatic three and a half minutes with more courage and calm. Who knows? I might even have time to order another drink! if the flight attendant is not busy, of course.
That second announcement of hope — that promise of resurrection — is what John wants us all to be focused on now as, today, he begins to describe the agents of our death. He has already made that promise of resurrection several times during the course of his book, most clearly back in Chapter 11 when he told us that, when Jesus’ witnesses have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower them, and kill them — but then, after three and a half days, the breath of life from God will enter them and they will be lifted up to heaven in a cloud. If we can keep our eyes fixed on that fourth day, we should be able to face the first traumatic three and a half days with more courage and calm.
So let’s do that now.
If you recall from last week, John’s vision in Chapter 12 told the story of the early Church as it was born under the enslaving power of the Roman empire. The Satanic dragon at the foundation of the empire tried to drown infant Christianity with a flood of false accusations and false teachings, and to the Christians of that time those tribulations felt like the beginning of the end. But John assured them that these were actually the pains of childbirth, they were just the beginning of Church history. Jesus has already passed judgement upon Rome, he has already crushed the head of the dragon, and he has already begun to draw his Church out of the wreckage of that empire to fill the wilderness of the world with life.
But the very last sentence of Chapter 12 told us that the dragon is not yet dead. Which makes sense, since at the beginning of Chapter 12 we were told this dragon has seven heads. And, as we might expect, after losing just one of his seven heads the dragon is angrier than ever: he has now committed himself to total war against those on earth who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus. That is us.
And here, now, John describes how the dragon conducts his war against us:  The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
And right away, if we are familiar with the Old Testament, this whole scene takes us back to the Book of Daniel, to a vision he received in which he saw four great beasts, each different from the others, coming up out of the sea. The first was like a lion with the wings of an eagle, the second beast looked like a bear, the third looked like a leopard with four heads, and then there was a fourth one, more terrible than all the rest, that had ten horns and a mouth that spoke boastfully — a beast that was destined to wage war against God’s holy people and actually defeat them.
And as Daniel’s vision continued, it became clear that these beasts symbolized a series of empires that would rise up out of the Abyss and be released like plagues upon the earth, a series that must end with one last world-conquering empire, one last death of God’s people…one last Judgement and the beginning of a new creation.
Now, quite naturally, over the centuries that followed Daniel’s vision, people were very interested in figuring out the names of these bestial empires — especially that fourth one, because then they would be able to predict Judgement Day.
And as time went on it became obvious that the first beast symbolized the Babylonian empire, because one of Babylon’s symbols was a winged lion. Babylon was conquered by Persia, so the bear must symbolize Persia. Persia was conquered by Greece, so the four-headed leopard must symbolize Greece. And then, Greece was conquered by Rome, the greatest empire of all — therefore, the Roman empire must be the fourth beast, the one destined to wage war against God’s holy people and actually defeat them.
And this belief only got stronger when Roman armies completely destroyed Jerusalem, along with its sacred temple. It really did look like Daniel’s prophecies were being fulfilled: the last Judgement was just around the corner.
But, as we noticed last week, this was incorrect. The Roman empire had destroyed the rebuilt physical infrastructure of David’s Old Testament kingdom — but it could not destroy the Holy Spirit of David’s New Testament kingdom. In fact, by destroying Jerusalem, the empire had actually sealed its fate by helping deliver God’s reborn people from captivity to the idea of centralized political and religious power!
So, in Chapter 12, John spent some time demonstrating that the Roman empire cannot be the fourth and final beast from the Abyss that Daniel saw in his vision, the one that will rise up and be defeated just before Judgement Day.
And John’s description of this beast from the Abyss today makes it even more clear that the Roman empire cannot be that fourth and final beast from Daniel’s vision.
Because, as we look at the details here, we see that John’s vision actually combines all four of Daniel’s beasts into one: the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the fourth beast with the ten horns have all been woven together here into a fifth meta-beast that contains all of the monstrous qualities of the original four.
In other words: even if the four beasts in Daniel’s vision were meant to symbolize Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome…still, in light of John’s vision here, we have to realize that those four historic empires were really just previews of this final one.
Basically, this vision is revealing that, as the dragon goes to war against Jesus’ Church on earth, he is going to do what he has always done from the beginning: he is going to summon a spiritual beast from the Abyss and empower it to build an earthly empire that will have all the combined predatory features of every historic empire that has ever blasphemed God by trying to replace God: Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Majapahit, Aztec, Ottoman, British, German, Japanese, American, Malaysian — you name it, it is in here.
That is why this beast has ten horns and seven heads and ten crowns: these numbers and features all symbolize how this beast is the collective embodiment of every nation that has refused to submit to the rightful King over all the earth.
Now, if we are paying attention, we remember that the dragon also has seven heads, just like this beast. But where the beast has ten crowns on its ten horns, we look back and see that the dragon has seven crowns on its seven heads…what does this difference mean? Is there some deep and profound symbolism going on here that we are supposed to figure out?
For instance, do the dragon’s seven crowns symbolize seven empires, while the beast’s ten crowns symbolize ten kingdoms that make up those seven empires? Or, do the dragon’s seven crowns symbolize the seven continents, while the beast’s ten crowns symbolize the ten nations in the European union…?
Well, Christians have played those decoding games almost from the very beginning. The problem with this game, however, is that there are no rules to it, which means it is impossible to tell which interpretation wins. Besides:
John — just like Daniel in the Old Testament — does not tell us that we are supposed to decode these symbols here. They are symbolic, but they are symbolic in a general way, not in a hyper-detailed way. Basically, the fact that the dragon and the beast both have seven heads but slightly different conformations of horns and crowns is simply meant to show us that the dragon and the beast are the same…but also different.
We could almost say it like this: the dragon and the beast are of the same spiritual substance, while at the same time they are different persons…
Tuck that away in the back of your minds for now, because we are going to revisit this idea next week, as Satan’s secret plans for rebellion are fully revealed to us.
Going on now:
 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed.
Ah! So this is more evidence that the dragon and the beast share one substance: the dragon’s wounded head, crushed by Christ in the heavenly places, manifests on earth in one of the beast’s heads. And most likely this fatal wound suffered by the beast here symbolizes the defeat of the Roman empire, or the death of some particular Roman emperor — something like that.
But, unlike in heaven, where the truth about the dragon’s crushed head cannot be denied, on earth the truth about the beast’s crushed head is covered up: the dragon makes it look like the fatal wound had been healed.
Do you hear the contradiction in that statement there? A “fatal” wound cannot be healed, because it is fatal! One of the beast’s seven heads is dead, it suffered a fatal wound. But the dragon deceives the world into believing that that the beast only seemed to have had a fatal wound. He makes the historic defeat of this empire or emperor look like a victory.
And so, as a result, the whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.
Because, after all, this beast has survived a fatal wound, hasn’t it? Bravo! Bravo!
And, of course,  people worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?”
To the citizens of the earth, this bestial empire looks indestructable, undefeatable. So of course they want to join it!
But it is also interesting to notice that the citizens of the earth also know, in their heart of hearts, that this great bestial empire is connected to some deeper Satanic force; they know that by joining themselves to this beast they are also joining themselves to the dragon — and they are happy to do it.
And now, John gives us some background on how the beast operates:  the beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months.
…this mention of forty-two months is interesting.
Because, back in Chapter 11, John was told that the Gentiles would trample the earth for 42 months. He was also told that God’s two witnesses will prophesy throughout the earth for 1,260 days — which is also 42 months, to be exact — at the end of which they are to be killed by the beast that comes up from the Abyss, a beast that — now we are told — will exercise its authority for forty-two months.
So, putting all these images together: it appears that this beast from the Abyss is some kind of collective manifestation of the Gentiles — the foreign nations — that are allowed to trample the earth for 42 symbolic months, the same span of time during which Jesus’ Church is expanding throughout the earth.
In other words, the dragon summoned this beast from the Abyss at the same time Jesus’ Church began its ministry of preaching almost 2000 years ago! Which means that this fifth and final beast from the Abyss has also been exercising its authority for the last 2000 years!
But how is that possible? Isn’t this beast supposed to represent some final, monstrous empire that will devour the whole earth, that will combine all nations into one? How have we missed seeing this empire over the last 2000 years?
Well, the answer is: we actually have not missed seeing it. It’s just that we haven’t known what we were looking at. And that is actually what John is revealing to us now:
Look again at exactly what kind of authority this beast was given here, in verse 5: a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies. And this idea is simply repeated and reinforced in verse 6, when the beast begins to act on the authority it has been given:
 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven.
We are physical, earthly creatures. And so, when we think of bestial, world-conquering empires, we naturally think about political and military conquest: we think very visually and physically. And that is why, over the centuries of Church history, many Christians have been watching out for the rise of some kind of physical, political, military empire, some sort of “One World Government”.
But John’s vision is revealing that the beast’s foundational weapon against Jesus Church is not actually political or military power, but words: deceptions that fool people into worshiping the government as a god, and false accusations that turn people against Jesus’ Church. Basically, the beast is, first and foremost, a master of propaganda.
Basically, just as Jesus’ Church has been given the authority to preach the true Gospel for 42 months, the beast has also been given the authority to preach a false gospel for 42 months.
And, again, tuck this away in the back of your minds, because we are going to come back to it next week.
So: a minute ago we were wondering how we have missed seeing this world-conquering empire over the last 2000 years. But now that we know what we are looking for, we realize that this beast from the Abyss is actually impossible to not see!
Sure, the beast has ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name, which means that it has manifested itself in hundreds or even thousands of governments over the last two millennia, each government different in details and appearance, and that diversity is confusing to those who have not been taught how to recognize the truth.
But underneath all that complexity is this very simple reality: all of the diverse kingdoms and cultures and civilizations of mankind are actually united and driven by the same bestial spirit of blasphemy, by the same unrelenting Satanic rage against Jesus Christ and his Church.
…okay! we’re all thinking…but is that it? This terrifying beast from the Abyss is nothing more than words? Nothing more than propaganda? The false appearance of victory on one hand mixed with false accusations against Christians on the other?
Well, ummm…no. There is more:
Propaganda is how the beast from the Abyss got its start, and is continuing its work even today. But the history of empires teaches us that, while every ambitious empire does get its start through propaganda, that propaganda eventually does result in real physical power over real physical people. And so we can expect that the beast from the Abyss is making the same preparations: one day the more subtle and pervasive power of deception will suddenly turn into some kind of more overt and obvious grab for power over all the peoples of the earth. We can also expect that this power grab will be for one purpose and one purpose only: to attack, overpower and finally kill Jesus’ Church.
And this is, in fact, the moment John describes next: finally — in verse 7 — the beast was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And that is also when it was finally given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. Finally,  all inhabitants of the earth will actively and purposefully worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
Daniel’s visions foretold an empire that will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth. And John’s visions have foretold that, when Jesus’ Church has finished its testimony, the holy people will be delivered into the beast’s hands for a time, times and half a time — times that will result in the death of Jesus’ kingdom on earth.
And, over the weeks to come, John’s book will reveal much more about what all this will look like, so make sure to keep coming back for that.
In the meantime, however:
 Whoever has ears, let them hear.
Because our names have been written in the Lamb’s book of life, we have been given ears that hear. We know now that the beast from the Abyss has been at war with God’s children for 2000 years. We know now that its foundational weapons are actually blasphemous words of deception and false accusation. We know now that, when we have finished our work on this earth, some kind of many-headed earthly empire will rise up and crush the Gospel and the Church that preaches it. We know all this because we have ears that hear.
But simply having ears that hear is not enough: we have got to also use them.
This is our application for today: Whoever has ears, let them hear. Now that we know the truth about this beast — what it looks like, how it is operating in our world even today — we need to listen and act. It is not enough to simply know, we also have to do something with our knowledge.
Now, I think we are all open to that concept. But what, exactly, ought we to do? What is our practical application?
Well, we find that in verse 10: “If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.”
These words are actually quotations from the prophet Jeremiah. In the first place, they are a prophecy that Babylon will crush God’s people in order to purify them for their sins. In the second place, they are a prophecy that Babylon will crush the other great nations in the world in order to make one great superpower.
John is now re-applying those Old Testament prophecies to the situation that must arise at the end of this age, when a reborn “Babylon” will arise.
Soooo…our practical application for today is: “Submit to imprisonment and execution”?!
That’s weird, isn’t it?
But, then again, as we learned last week from Jesus’ words to the ancient church of Smyrna: we are about to suffer. “I tell you,” Jesus said, “the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
So this is not the first time we have heard this kind of thing. And really, John’s application here in verse 10 matches Jesus’ command to the church of Smyrna:
This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
Okay. But what does this “patient endurance and faithfulness” look like for us, today, in the great city of Kuala Lumpur, as we live in exile under the enslaving power of this empire in the far east: the empire of Malaysia?
Brothers and sisters, as we noticed last week, global Christianity is in crisis. Thanks to modern technology, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is filling the earth at an ever increasing rate. Unfortunately, through that same technology, the blasphemy of the beast appears to be filling the earth at a far faster rate! Even though the voice of the Church is greater than it has ever been, we are actually losing market share.
For instance, 400 years ago — thanks to the invention of the printing press — probably 50% of all the published literature in the whole world was being written by Christians. Today — thanks to the invention of the internet — Christian writing probably makes up what: 1%, 2% of the conversations going on in our world?
The crisis we face is this: what should we do about this catastrophic loss of market share? The voice of Jesus’ Church is being drowned in an ever-increasing flood of blasphemy, deception, and false accusation. What should we do about this?
Now, a lot of global Christians today seem to believe it is our job to shout louder. To take over the internet. To take over our cultures. To take over governments. And this belief seems to be inspired especially by western Christianity. It is western Christians who are more likely to preach an optimistic, triumphal kind of Christianity, because western Christians are able to look back into their own history and say, “Look! We did it once! We can do it again! And so can you!”
The problem is: this is a different age. We are not living 400 years ago. We are living today. And scripture clearly teaches that things are going to get worse toward the end, not better!
Here, for instance, is what Paul says in one of his letters: “Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Western Christianity is well past its high-water mark; the mini Golden Age of the printing press is over — if that ever was a Golden Age. It could be that global Christianity is passing the high-water mark now. It could be that we have almost finished our testimony, that our 42 month long journey through the wilderness is coming to an end, and we are about to completely lose our voice in the world.
But we do not know for sure! Therefore, since we do not know, we ought to obey the commands of the one who does know: our king, Jesus Christ. And does he command God’s people to just shout louder? No. He commands us to practice patient endurance and faithfulness no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.
So, when Christians are unjustly imprisoned and executed, of course we should speak up, of course we should preach the Gospel of true justice, of course we should warn governments that they are bringing a terrible judgement down upon themselves. However, we should not be surprised when our preaching has no effect except to make the persecution worse. We should not stand up in public and start whining about how we have “a right to be heard” — because, the truth is: we don’t! The nations of the earth, the political and judicial systems of the earth have been given over to be trampled by the beast for 42 months, and the beast has purposely rigged those systems to slander us with false accusations and deny us a voice in the world!
In closing here, let’s summarize what we have learned:
In the Old Testament, David’s kingdom was conceived in the empire of Babel; born in the empire of Egypt; then, after growing up into the start of a Golden Age, killed by a reborn empire of Babel.
To tell that same story from Satan’s perspective, we would say it like this: Satan’s empire of Babel was defeated in its attempt to keep David’s kingdom from being conceived. So Satan took a few centuries to re-center his power in Egypt, which was then defeated in its attempt to keep David’s kingdom from being born. So Satan took a few more centuries to re-center his power back in the land of Babel, creating the empire of Babylon — and this time he won! He finally managed to kill David’s kingdom after its Golden Age fell apart, thinking that this would keep Jesus’ kingdom from ever being conceived.
But Satan screwed up: by killing David’s kingdom, he actually prepared the way for David’s kingdom to be reborn as Jesus’ kingdom.
So, Jesus’ kingdom was conceived in the empire of Babylon; then it was born in the empire of Rome; then, after growing up into the start of a Golden Age, it will be killed by some kind of reborn empire of Babylon.
Which means that the same pattern holds true from Satan’s perspective: his ancient empire of Babylon was defeated right at the moment of its greatest victory, trying to keep Jesus’ kingdom from being conceived. So Satan took a few centuries to re-center his power in Rome, which was then also defeated in its attempt to keep Jesus’ kingdom from being born.
And now, for the last twenty centuries, as Jesus’ Church has filled the earth with its decentralized Golden Age of the Gospel, Satan has also been filling the earth with blasphemy, redistributing his power into every king and kingdom, every society and civilization, every political and economic system. And the moment Jesus’ Church has finished her testimony, the moment the 42 months of protection are over — ! some kind of global, decentralized, many-headed bestial empire will make one last attempt to wipe out Jesus’ kingdom once and for all.
Now, what are we going to do with this knowledge? We are going to keep preaching it, of course. But we are also going to obey our Lord’s command here: we are going to accept the consequences of our preaching with patient endurance and faithfulness. If we go to prison, we go to prison. If we die, we die. If someone insults us online, we are insulted la! So what? We are not going to turn aside to pissing and moaning about how unfair it is, we are not going to turn into noisy internet Christians agitating for our earthly rights, because we know we are not citizens of this bestial empire, we are the citizens of Jesus’ eternal kingdom, we are looking forward to a Golden Age that will never end.
Brothers and sisters, our plane is going down! Three and a half symbolic minutes from now we are all going to be dead. But we are the children of God. So we are not going to shame our Father by screaming and crying. We are going to face our end with courage and calm, knowing that, in just a minute after the disaster, we are all going to stand up and walk out of the wreckage as if it never happened.