“And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Anyone who is destined for prison will be taken to prison. Anyone destined to die by the sword will die by the sword. This means that God’s holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.”
Revelation 13:7-10 NLT
We are spending a second day considering these verses from Revelation 13. “God’s holy people” were having a hard time, with the devil and his minions waging war against them, conquering them, imprisoning them and murdering them. But the scriptures describing John’s vision continue with a reference to those who weren’t Christians. John described them as being those “who belong to this world”. But surely that applies to everyone who lives on Planet Earth, whether Christian or not. Well, actually, it doesn’t. Because the word “world”describes the societal secular values with their anti-God bias.
A person of the world in the context of these verses is someone who is not one of “God’s holy people”. And we know exactly who these people are because their “names were not written in the Book of Life”. So what is this Book? There are references throughout the Bible to a register kept in Heaven. Every one of God’s children has his or her name recorded in it. Jesus once said to His disciples, as recorded in Luke 10:20, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Moses was recorded as having a conversation with God about the Israelites’ bad and sinful behaviour. This is how the conversation went, “But now, if you will only forgive their sin—but if not, erase my name from the record you have written!” But the Lord replied to Moses, “No, I will erase the name of everyone who has sinned against me.” (Exodus 31:32-33 NLT). In the Book of Revelation, the register is referred to as the “Lamb’s Book of Life”. (Revelation 21:27). So it is fair to assume that all of God’s holy people, Christians in the true sense, will have their names recorded in this register in Heaven.
But those people whose names are absent from the “Book of Life” are not off the hook. Everything they do is recorded, also in a book. And there will come a day when these books are opened in God’s presence, but more about that when we get to Revelation 20. By default, those people who are not God’s people will be considered to be worshipping the beast. Though that does not necessarily mean that they set up an idol representing the devil and run a pseudo-religious service of worship to it, it does mean that they accept and endorse the world governmental system of which they are a part. A system a.k.a. the beast. It is a black and white scenario. Mankind is allocated into one of two kingdoms – God’s or the devil’s. There are no other options. And the gulf between these two kingdoms is getting wider and wider. Our verses today from Revelation 13 describe the ultimate position where the gulf between the two is almost impossible to bridge.
Once again, we face into the situation that we must pray without ceasing for our loved ones and those in our communities, for our leaders and our society. We pray that God’s grace will continue and that His love will touch them and draw them away from the kingdom of the devil, the kingdom of darkness, into God’s kingdom, the Kingdom of Light. We remember how we made that transition and share our testimony of grace with those whose ears are open to hear our message. 1 Peter 2:9-10 – “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
Dear Father God. We thank You once again for Your love and grace, for we are now Your very own possession. Help us to share our messages of hope with those around us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.