It was the beast from the land of Israel (in the religious leaders of the Jews) that colluded with the beast from the sea (in the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate) to nail Jesus to a tree and inspire the crowd to chant, “Crucify! Crucify!”
Through all of them, the Dragon thrust a spear into the side of the Messiah as he hung in the garden on the tree.
In Revelation 13, John watches the dragon summon these beasts.
The first is political power. The second is religion—human religion.
This beast looks like a lamb but talks like a dragon.
It chants, “We have no king but Caesar.”
The number of the beast is 666—it’s a human number.
It clearly symbolizes the emperor Nero, but not just Nero.
It is the number of fallen humanity.
Daniel saw the beast 500 years before John, and still, we battle the beast today.
The beast is hard to kill. If you kill it in one form, it often just returns in another.
And when politics and religion combine, it becomes most evil.
Conservatives often battle the Communist beast, and in their fervor, they can be a bit beastly.
Liberals often battle the Fascist beast, and in their fervor, they can be a bit beastly.
To battle the beast, we often become a new beast, and even beasts within beasts, battling more beasts until each and every one is a tired old lonely beast.
“God is testing them,” wrote Solomon, “that they may see, that they themselves are but beasts.”
Some even believe that Life is the result of being beastly.
But Life is not “the survival of the fittest.”
Ask any biologist: Life is the sacrifice of the fittest.
The beasts are politics and religion, “the rulers and authorities of this present darkness.”
“God instituted the authorities,” writes Paul in Romans.
And yet, it appears that the authorities have fallen, just as humanity has fallen.
The authorities are like a babysitter. (Read Galatians 3 and 4)
Christians who argue over politics are like parents arguing over the babysitter.
It’s important! … But if those parents divorce over an argument about the babysitter, they’re worse than the babysitter; they have become the beast.
“God instituted the authorities.”
And “God triumphed over the authorities, at the cross, in Christ Jesus,” writes Paul in Colossians . . . Perhaps He wanted us to watch . . . and learn?
“We battle not against flesh and blood,” writes Paul in Ephesians, “but the rulers and authorities (same word).”
We battle as the Lamb battles; His blood flows in our veins.
He is the Light, the Way, the Truth and the Life.
When the beast takes His Life, He gives His Life.
If you really want to tear down the wall, you don’t need the approval of the beast—Mexican or American.
Just love a frightened foreigner. And if he takes your life, forgive your life.
That’s how we battle the beast.
We conquer by “the blood of the lamb, the word of our testimony, loving not our lives even unto death.”
It was precisely when the beast plunged the spear into the body of the Lamb that the Lamb conquered.
It was then that the Roman soldier dropped to his knees and confessed, “Surely this was the Son of God.”
It was precisely then, that the fountain was opened on Mt. Zion, and God began to fill all things with Himself.
It was Beauty killed the beast.
*Discussion questions are available for this sermon here: Discussion Questions “How to Battle the Beast”