Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. Revelation 13:6
There are a couple of variations in source texts for this verse. One is that the word “blasphemy” is plural in some of them. The other is that the word “and” is not included in the final clause. Thus, it would say –
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.” NASB 1977
This would make the final clause an explanation of the previous clauses rather than a second category.
Concerning the words of the verse as rendered by the NKJV, the conduct of the antichrist referred to in the previous verse is now detailed. Of him, John says, “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.”
The antichrist, who speaks for the great beast of verse 13:1, will openly defy the true God through his blasphemies. This is a railing against the God who is revealed in nature as Paul proclaims in Romans 1. His attacks will defame the character of the Creator – His grace, mercy, truth, love, righteousness, holiness, justice, and so forth. He will proclaim that which is contrary to these eternal and unchanging standards.
Only God, as revealed in the Bible, can truly be God, because only He can atone for sins as was accomplished through Jesus Christ. Any other “god,” made up by man, will compromise at least one of these unchanging attributes, thus proving he is not God at all. Only the Creator, through Jesus, is both Just and the Justifier of the people of the world.
To speak against the true God is to speak blasphemy against Him. But the antichrist will go further and also “blaspheme His name.” This is a direct attack against the very nature of who God is, because God’s name is a self-revelation of His eternal and unchanging character. When God spoke to Moses, “I AM who I AM,” He was stating that He is – without change of any kind. He is the self-existent, timeless, perfect God from whom creation finds its source and its continuation because the created order came from nothing by His spoken word.
But more, this certainly means that He will speak against the name of Jesus, the full and perfect expression of who God is, as He has revealed Himself within the stream of time and human existence. Jesus (Yeshua in Hebrew) means “Salvation.” The antichrist will certainly proclaim that he is God (2 Thessalonians 2:4) and claim that he, rather than Jesus, is the way of salvation. He may do this by jointly denying all religions, or he may do it by speaking out against the exclusivity of the Christian gospel. Either way, it is certain that he will deny the premise of Christianity.
The antichrist will also blaspheme “His tabernacle.” This is a specific and direct reference to the Person of Jesus Christ. The word “tabernacle” means the place where God dwells. In John 1:14, we read, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In this verse, a literal translation of “dwelt” would be “tabernacled.”
God’s true tabernacle is the Person of Jesus. Jesus is the One who reveals the unseen Father to us, and He is the One through whom we receive the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to blaspheme God’s tabernacle is to defame the Person and the work of Jesus Christ – speaking against His atonement, His all-sufficiency, and that He is the only way to be restored to God – His exclusivity. Instead, the antichrist will proclaim falsities about these things in order to establish his own supposed avenue to heaven.
Finally, the verse says he will blaspheme “those who dwell in heaven.” As noted above, if this is an explanation of the previous clauses, it simply reaffirms what they have already stated. He is speaking blasphemy against God, His name, and His tabernacle. If this is another category, it would refer to the entire heavenly host – from the highest archangel to the last saint taken to glory. All who are in heaven stand sinless before God because of the work of Jesus Christ – either directly, such as the angels who were created by Him and who never sinned, or the humans redeemed by His atoning sacrifice, having their sins washed by His precious blood.
If the latter, the antichrist will make claims that what occurred in these people wasn’t of any value and that Christians aren’t the people of God. His claims will be very similar to those of cults, false religions, and even liberal “Christians” of today. Anyone who denies the fundamental tenets of the faith, and the work of Jesus Christ in its fullness, is already of the spirit of the antichrist as stated by John in His first epistle (1 John 2:18).
This person in Revelation will be the ultimate example of such a person, having been filled by the power of Satan. His blasphemies will be great.
Life application: Among other things, the Bible is a message to the people of the world about God. It reveals who He is, what He is like, and how to have a personal, restored, relationship with Him. This message of restoration, however, is one of absolute exclusivity. There is one way, and one way alone, for the people of the world to be reconciled to Him. Before the coming of Christ, it was faith in God’s promise of a coming Messiah. Since the coming of Christ, it remains faith – but it is properly directed faith in the Messiah who has come.
There is this one path to salvation, and it comes by one means only – faith in what God has done in the giving of His Son. Have faith. Call on God’s Messiah today. Call on JESUS.
Heavenly Father, it is beyond comprehension how merciful and patient You are. You allow us to strive against You, speak against You, and bring great blasphemies against You, and yet You don’t destroy us. Your patience is incredible as You wait for us to turn and call out to You. Thank You for Your mercy on those of us who have acted this way in the past but who have now had a change in heart. Thank You for the forgiveness that comes through faith in Jesus. Amen.