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Revelation Chapters 13-19 are as complex and overwhelming to the human mind, just like Genesis Chapters 1-3 about the creation and the fall of Adam. They are Bible passages that speak about things that are not part of our everyday experience, and therefore we cannot perfectly interprete every line in these passages. No wonder both passages are taught in many different ways by Bible scholars.
In order not to add to the confusion, instead of seeking to interprete every single line in those six chapters, it is more helpful to ask what is the big picture in these chapters? Or stated differently, we can ask, what is the main message to us in the midst of all the symbols and all the activities taking place in these chapters.
Revelation 13 follows the vision of Satan’s failure to destroy Jesus and Israel in Revelation 12. Enraged by failure, Satan turns his attention to complete domination of humanity through a person referred to as the Beast with the number 666. Revelation 14 shows that even with heavy opposition to God, there is still a super faithful group, the 144,000 who stay with Christ no matter the situation.
Heaven responds to the reign of the Beast with more plagues in Chapters 15 and 16. The Beast responds by acquring more power to himself through forceful overthrow of more established rulers, referred to as Babylon in Revelation Chapters 17 and 18. Eventually, there is open warfare between Jesus and the Beast in Revelations 19, and Jesus wins; but Satan did not give up, coming back for a rematch in Revelations 20. Satan lost aagain and it becomes clear that Satan will not change.
Thus from Revelation Chapters 12-20, we see Satan the dragon wage one war after the other against heaven. In these wars, Satan partnered first with some of the Angels in heaven but failed; Satan later partnered with humans, twice, and still failed. God is not quick to condemn; God is patient even with Satan.
The Apostle says in 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV): “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Lord, thank you for your patience with all, Amen!