3

Continuing on from my previous question, I’m after some further understanding of this same section in Revelation.

Consider this ... 1st - Here the beast was given authority ..

REV 13:5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

And 2nd - the dragon gave him this authority...

REV 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast;

And, 3rd - included in this authority was authority over the nations ...

REV 13:7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

So far pretty simple, no problems. And besides, we know from Jesus’s temptation in the wilderness that Satan did have authority over the nations.

But ... there is one problem I am having with understanding this ... because 2 chapters earlier we see this ...

REV 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”

How to reconcile this?

(Edit) In chapter 11 Jesus has (or rather gets/takes) authority over the kingdoms - but then later in chapter 13 the dragon seems to have that authority. When, or at what point (in Revelation) does this authority swap over? And also, if relevant, how or where does this ‘authority’ rest prior to Revelation.

8
  • Can you clarify why you think these verses need reconciliation? If you are assuming the chapters of Revelation are chronological, make that assumption explicit, and we can see if it holds up. If you are claiming that Satan having authority over the earth is impossible if Christ has ultimate authority over all, then make that assumption explicit and we can examine it. But if you don't disclose the assumptions that cause conflict in your mind, you will get lots of meandering revelation answers.
    – Robert
    Jul 20 at 19:18
  • @Robert I am assuming the chapters are chronological. But would consider arguments presenting other options or views. In c11 Jesus has authority over the kingdoms - but then later in c13 the Dragon seems to have that authority. When, or at what point (in Revelation) does this authority over the earth swap over? And also, if relevant, how or where does this ‘authority’ rest prior to Revelation.
    – Dave
    Jul 20 at 20:48
  • Until one sees that Revelation consists of seven sections which are seven different aspects of the Church Age (ascension of Christ to the return of Christ) and which are layered, one above the other, as it were, all covering the same period, it is incomprehensible. I thoroughly recommend John Metcalfe's book Revelation the most comprehensive, the most intelligent and the most organised book that I have ever read on the subject.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 20 at 21:48
  • @Nigel J Appreciate the reference. I accept that some form of ‘guidance’ helps with this book (Revelation). I was hoping for some (brave?) folk to give a succinct answer to my specific Q, but accept that you might need ‘the bigger picture’ first in order support any specific answer- and (due to size/complexity/etc) that would take the answer outside the scope offered here.
    – Dave
    Jul 21 at 2:12
  • @Dave Yes, indeed. The difficulty regarding the book is that many interpretations are based on an unsatisfactory 'bigger picture', as you say, and this means that often I see ludicrous conclusions being reached which contradict other scripture (particularly the tone and content of Jesus' words regarding the imminence of the end of time and its immediate conclusion). So when people answer from an unsatisfactory framework, the conclusions often have to be discounted.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 21 at 7:46
3

The question is predicated on the erroneous assumption that Revelation's chapters are Chronological. I know of no school of prophecy that suggests this. It appears, taking the book of Daniel and his parallel prophecies as a precedent, that many of the sections of the book of revelation are parallel; that cover the same things but from different perspectives.

For example, here is one way to see the book of revelation (there are many more). By its own assertion, the Book of Revelation is about and by Jesus. Thus, we may see the contents of the Revelation as a series of visions about Jesus.

Prologue: Rev 1:1-9

  1. Seven Churches (Rev 1:9 - 3:22) begins with a vision of Jesus in Rev 1:9-20
  2. Seven Seals (Rev 4:1 - 8:1) begins with a the enthronement Jesus in Rev 4:1-5:14
  3. Seven Trumpets (Rev 8:2 - 11:18) begins with Jesus as intercessor at the altar of incense in Rev 8:2-6
  4. Cosmic Conflict (Rev 11:19 - 15:4) begins with a scene in the Most Holy Place in Rev 11:19 (ie, Jesus appears to have moved into the MHP as High Priest??)
  5. Seven Bowls (Rev 15:5 - 16:21) begins with the glory of God filling the temple in Rev 15:5-16:1)
  6. Evil Destroyed (Rev 17:1 - 20:10) begins with the angel guide
  7. New Jerusalem (Rev Rev 20:11 - 22:5) begins with Jesus on the great white throne who makes all things new (Rev 20:11-21:8)

Epilogue Rev 22:6-21

There are many other ways to classify the literature of the apocalypse including several large and elaborate chiasms (especially the great central chiasm, etc). But this should be enough to show that the chapters of revelation are not all chronological.

3
  • Thanks! appreciate this outline. But, if attempting to take Revelation Chronologically is an “erroneous assumption”, I’d argue that doing so (seeing the book of Revelation as chronological.) might be the logical path to follow. It certainly seems to start off that way, so where does it stop? And are you suggesting that chapter 11 (seventh trumpet.) is sounded after the beast has exercised his authority for those 42 months? (As outlined in chapter 13).
    – Dave
    Jul 21 at 0:02
  • @Dave - that will again depend on your overall scheme of prophetic interpretation. The Futurists think that the 42 month are half of the final 7 years of tribulation (or some variant). Historicists think the 42 months correspond to the medieval period somehow, etc. In any case, both (usually) believe that the 7th trumpet is after the 42 months and ushers in very last scenes before the return of Jesus.
    – Dottard
    Jul 21 at 0:24
  • Mmmm, interesting. You seem to be saying that because many place the 7th trumpet after the 42 months, so therefore Ch11 must be after Ch13. [sigh] One issue I have is that many seem to make this book so incredibly difficult that only those with academic ability can ‘get it’. Nevertheless thanks for the answer, but let’s leave this here, else this discussion will just go on.
    – Dave
    Jul 21 at 0:45
3

How do we reconcile Satan's authority over death with Christ's authority?

First, I would suggest that the sequence of who has the "power of death" is irrelevant: only God has the power of life and death.

From Revelation 12:9, it seems very clear "the dragon" = "the serpent of old" = the Devil and Satan". It should be relatively common knowledge that the Devil influences events all over the world. And, that hasn't ceased one iota since the Fall in the Garden of Eden.

Many may take comfort that Satan is bound for a thousand years (Rev. 20:2), but we need to understand that such "binding" does not mean the Devil has no ability to rain terror all over the earth, just as he has ever since the beginning. What it means is that Satan's authority over spiritual death — the death of the saints — has been taken away.

As we walk in the Light of Christ, Satan has no authority over our eternal destiny. We read the following passage in John's Gospel (there are others):

John 12:31: "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out."

Exactly what does this passage mean? What changed between Christ's death, burial, and resurrection that affected the pervasive evil on earth whatsoever? Well, nothing, if your perspective is a worldly one. In fact, you might think things got much worse for the faithful, given the extreme persecution that followed.

However, from a spiritual perspective, there is this: Prior to Christ's Sacrifice, everyone on earth was subject to death in eternal flames. That was the authority of Satan — the power to send all humanity to Hell. Christ's Sacrifice took that authority away from the Devil to those who would accept Him into their lives. It also retroactively fulfilled every previous sacrifice dating back to Adam, Eve, and Abel.

Everyone would still physically die, but they were no longer captive to eternal, spiritual death. Note this too: All who reject Christ's offer are "dead people walking", that is, they are dead to God and are lost forever the moment they physically die (unless they change).

Irrespective of the sequence of Revelation 11 and 13, we should understand that if the Devil truly had authority over our death, no saints would remain alive because he would immediately murder them all.

Naturally, this is exactly what he tried and failed to accomplish using first the Jews, then the "beast" that sat on many waters: Rome, as his instruments.

3
  • Xeno, thanks for your generalised overview. But saying that it doesn’t matter about the Dragon having authority because overall God is in control doesn’t really answer my query. Nevertheless thanks for the overview
    – Dave
    Jul 21 at 0:51
  • @Dave Here's what I didn't add. Satan, the dragon, uses people and nations to carry out his deeds. There are quite a few reasons why we can know the "beast" is Rome: 1. Rome was the 1st-century great world power. 2. As a heathen nation, it was the equivalent of Babylon. 3. Peter refers to Rome as "Babylon" (1 Pet. 5:13). 4. Rome is the city that sits on many waters. 5. Rome is the city on 7 hills. 6. All the nations of the earth were subservient. 7. They all "drank" of Rome's immorality. Etc. That's just a start. When we begin to identify things, we're much closer to appreciating the Book.
    – Xeno
    Jul 21 at 1:52
  • Xeno Thanks for the follow up. This Q of mine was somewhat to ‘test’ my ‘view’ - namely regarding the ‘order’ of events in the book of Revelation - canvassing to ‘see’ how others might see this. (I suspect most don’t really want to go too far down this track.) But, now you’ve brought up ‘Rome’ - and I’d love to debate that view! But that’s another question - and besides, ‘comments’ aren’t the way to do this - so I’ll leave that :-)
    – Dave
    Jul 21 at 2:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.