Friday, 19 March 2021
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8
This continues to refer to the beast rising out of the sea mentioned in verse 13:1. It is an entity led by the antichrist. Of this beast, John now writes, “All who dwell on the earth will worship him.” The authority and scope of rule of this entity will presumably cover the entire planet. As of today, independent nations follow their own paths, and they connect to, or disconnect from, other nations as they see fit.
However, at the time of this beast, nations will become a part of this main leadership whether they like it or not. It is certain that some will participate even if they don’t agree with the overall direction of authority because Jesus speaks of separating the sheep from the goats after this time of tribulation is over. Matthew 25:32 shows that these terms are not referring to individuals, but to nations. The nations will become a part of this ruling system.
A good example of what will occur might be the nations subdued by Nazi Germany. They became a part of the alliance, but they also remained sovereign nations and often had underground fighters working against the Nazis. However, an outward allegiance to the Nazis was professed by those in leadership. This may be a similar scenario as to what lies ahead. As John says, “whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
It should be noted that the words “from the foundation of the earth” could be referring to either “Book of Life” or “Lamb slain.” If the former, it would agree with Peter’s words –
“but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.” 1 Peter 1:19, 20
If it refers to the book, it would correspond to Revelation 17:8 –
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”
In the end, both are true. Christ was ordained from before the foundation of the world, and God also knew before the foundation of the world who would believe and be saved. With that understanding, the Bible is making both explicitly clear, that God is omniscient. As this is so, all will come out exactly as His word is written, and we have no worry that things today, or into the future, are somehow out of control.
Christ was ordained to die for our sin, He has died for our sin, and therefore our sin is atoned for in Him. As this is so, we are forever free from condemnation. This is true with any who believe. Even in the tribulation period, God knows who are His and who are not.
Life application: There is an important lesson to remember in this verse – “Not every ‘every’ in the Bible means every, and not all ‘all’s’ in the Bible mean all.” In other words, it is important to take seemingly absolute claims in context. A good example is Matthew 2:3 –
“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Obviously, from the context of this verse, it is speaking of the general leadership of Jerusalem. At the time of the announcement of Jesus’ birth, probably very few in Jerusalem had heard a thing, and they went about their lives untroubled by the events that occurred in the king’s palace.
In Revelation 13:8, the words “all who dwell on the earth” refer to the vast majority who will worship the great beast – not every person. How can we know this? Because the previous verse says that “it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them.” There can’t be a war with the saints unless there are saints to make war with.
These saints will be a part of this battle, even until the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation. For those who are not saints, meaning those “whose names have not been written in the Book of Life” there will be a casting away of the truth of the Creator to follow the beast, headed by the antichrist.
Because the power of the antichrist comes from the devil, these people will actually be worshiping and giving allegiance to Satan. This is the state of the world even today. All false religions are of the devil. The tribulation period will merely magnify this rebelling against “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
The amazing truth of this verse, a verse which must be carefully contemplated, is that even before the world was created, God knew that His Son would have to go to the cross and die to pay our sin debt. Because this is so, the willful rejection of Him can only lead to one thing – eternal separation from God and being cast into the Lake of Fire.
God has shown us what is right and how to obtain eternal life. We reject this at our own destruction. Be wise and discerning. Call out today to God for salvation. Call out for His provision as is found only in JESUS.
O God, it is simply beyond our ability to fully comprehend, even though we know it is true –before You created a single thing, You knew what would have to happen – that Your Own Son would need to die for the sins of the people not yet created. And yet You created us anyway. What a wonderful love You have expressed for the work of Your hands, even your wayward children. May all come to realize this, and may all hail the name of Jesus! Amen.