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Adolfo wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Would you please explain Revelation, Chapter 13?


  { Would you please explain Revelation 13? }

Richard replied:

Hi, Adolfo —

First, I recommend reading the Navarre commentary for Revelation 13.

I hunted for it by searching through Manuel Tuazon's Scripture postings for the past year or so, but didn't find Revelation 13. (Revelation 12 and 14, yes, but not 13!) — I guess it hasn't turned up in the Lectionary schedule.

Here's my personal take on Revelation, Chapters 12 to 13:

In general, John, the writer of Revelation, is presenting a message of reassurance and consolation to Christians undergoing persecution in various parts of the world. The visions he describes depict the earthly persecutors of the Church, and put that persecution in the context of the whole rebellion of Lucifer and the other fallen angels against God, rebellion against the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and against God's whole plan to save us.

In Chapter 12, John depicts Satan as a "dragon" who tries to kill and destroy Christ when he comes into the world; the dragon tries to persecute the woman who bears Christ, but (in verses 5-6) Christ is taken up into glory (the Ascension) and the woman escapes to be sheltered by God.

After Christ has completed his saving mission on earth and ascends to God and
His throne, the evil angels are defeated and God's victory over evil is declared (verses 10-12). The dragon, powerless to fight God directly, wages war on the woman and her offspring (verses 13-17); that can be seen as: the Church and the believers who belong to Her.

In Chapter 13, we see that Satan makes trouble for believers through earthly persecutors. St. John describes two "beasts" who set themselves against God, with the help of the devil. They are depicted as possessing worldly power conferred by the dragon: power over an empire of many nations, persecuting believers in various ways: by imprisonment, by economic means, etc., and they openly blaspheme God. The believers are pretty much helpless against these earthly powers (verses 9-10), so St. John counsels fortitude and faithfulness. The two beasts (verses 3-4 and verses 12-14) even put on a show of impressive power and seeming miracles, to delude people.

The description of the beasts includes a lot of colorful detail (horns, heads, and the number 666) which may have served as clues for believers to identify just who St. John was talking about — if he indeed was talking about someone particular:
for example, certain Roman emperors or other despots, but I'll leave the interpretation of that to people with more historical knowledge about the time the book was written.

Hope this helps —

Richard Chonak

Mike replied:

Hi, Adolfo —

I found this piece on the Book of Revelation from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

I hope it helps.

Your brother in prayer, your brother in Christ,

Mike Humphrey

Please report any and all typos or grammatical errors.
Suggestions for this web page and the web site can be sent to Mike Humphrey
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