(13.9-10)   9     If any man have an ear, let him hear.

10     He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. 

1.   If you keep in mind what is stated in verse 8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world,” then it becomes pretty obvious why Bible believing Christians have always strongly resisted ecumenicalism, and why liberals and others who likewise do not believe the Bible have always been eager to join ministerial alliances and other kinds of interfaith groups. The Word of God predicts a future world religion. Keep this in mind as we consider Revelation 13.9-10. 

2.   We cannot know for sure whether a future world religion will arise from a uniting of apostate Christian denominations, paving the way for a coming together of so-called Christians with others, such as Buddhists and Hindus and perhaps even Muslims before the rapture. But Sun Yung Moon’s Unification Church is laying the groundwork for such universalism right now. And by the time of the great tribulation a world religion will be realized which will feature the worship of a man chosen and empowered by Satan himself. When that happens, of course, true believers in Jesus Christ will be separated from this world religion and they will then be terribly persecuted. 

3.   Consider, if you will, verse 9: “If any man have an ear, let him hear.” This phrase, or one very much like it, is found eight times in the gospels, each phrase being uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. How many times has this phrase been used in the Revelation? Seven times. To each of the churches of Asia, the Lord Jesus Christ wrote, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Why is the warning issued to a wider group than just churches, as in Revelation chapters two and three? It is likely that the broader scope of this challenge is because at this time in the future the time of the church has past, all church age Christians having been raptured more than 3 ½ years before. Since there will be no churches anywhere on earth during the great tribulation this challenge is not addressed to churches. The scope of the message is therefore expanded to anyone who will hear. And what is to be heard is found in verse 10. 

4.   Though the Greek words are not, for some reason, translated into English by the King James translators, verse ten contains two statements that begin much like verse nine begins, with the Greek word for “if.” Allow me to paraphrase: “If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goes. If any man is to be killed by the sword, he must be killed by the sword.” So, these two verses really comprise three phrases, each a conditional statement that begins with the word “if”: 

If any man have an ear, let him hear.

If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goes.

If any man is to be killed by the sword, he must be killed by the sword. 

5.   What we have here is the law of divine recompense. These are God’s reminders and promises that, not only will He reward deed for deed, but that vengeance is His, as well. Is the antichrist imprisoning God’s children, tribulation saints who read this verse? He will be imprisoned. Does he murder God’s children with the sword, for no other reason than their refusal to receive the mark of the beast? Then he will be killed with the sword that cometh out of the mouth of the King of kings. 

6.   Let me read from John Walvoord’s fine commentary on this portion of scripture: 

Those who persecute the saints and lead them into captivity must in turn suffer the righteous wrath of God. In this ultimate triumph and judgment upon wicked men lie the patience and faith of the saints in their hour of trial. The Scriptures frequently mention this final vindication (Gen. 9:6; Matt. 5:38; 26:52; Rom. 12:19; Gal. 6:7). The same truth which serves as an encouragement to the saints acts as a warning to their persecutors. Their ultimate doom is assured as in this case at the end of their brief period of power (Rev. 13:5; 16:6; 18:2-3, 5-8, 20; 19:20).[1] 

7.   “Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” “Patience” refers to “the capacity to hold out or bear up in the face of difficulty, patience, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance.”[2] 

a.   James 1.3 tells us that “the trying of your faith worketh patience.” So we see, faith is the prerequisite. Of course, faith is God’s gift, Ephesians 2.8-9, so God gets the glory for anyone’s patience. That faith will be severely tested and tried during the Tribulation. When that happens believers will want to strike out against their oppressors and defend themselves, but the Spirit of God will minister to their needs, reminding them that they are not to respond as do unsaved Christ-rejecters retaliate. They are not to avenge themselves and try to “get even” as our sinful nature is so prone to want to do. Rather, they are to wait for the Great Day when their Lord comes again. He can be trusted to settle accounts. He will get even. He will execute His judgment upon the damned. He will vindicate Himself. 

b.   Has an unbeliever crossed you today? Perhaps another Christian is doing you wrong. Are you supposed to lash out and seek revenge against him who does you wrong? No. Be confident that the lost man will get his reward. Why so? Because when he persecutes you he persecutes the Lord Jesus. Remember what the Lord Jesus Christ said to Saul of Tarsus, in Acts 9.4, for persecuting Christians? “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Let vengeance be God’s. Romans 12.18-21: 

18    If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

19    Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

20    Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

21    Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. 

8.   What about the Christian who is doing you wrong? He is your Father’s child, too, is he not? Let your Father in heaven chasten and hasten His will to be known. God will deal with him. This does not mean you should not rebuke him when he does wrong. But it also means you should not seek revenge when he sins against you. There is a difference. Amen? 

9.   Friends, we endure so much less than the Tribulation saints will have to endure. Surely God’s grace, which will surely be sufficient for them, is sufficient for us. Is there any doubt about that? So, if you are down in the dumps and feel like giving up, why don’t you return to the throne of grace in prayer and get another measure of God’s wonderful grace to get you through the low spot in your life, Hebrews 4.16? “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Or, if you don’t feel like praying, consider the Lord Jesus Christ’s experiences, Hebrews 12.1-4: 

1      Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2      Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3      For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

4      Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 

10. Walvoord again: 

Taken as a whole, the first ten verses of Revelation 13 predict a future world government which from God’s point of view will be a continuation of the ancient Roman Empire expanded ultimately to cover not only the area of the ancient empire but the entire world. This government will be empowered by Satan, and its primary objective will be forcing the whole world to worship Satan and his human representative, the world dictator.

The purpose of Satan to take the place of God in this future great tribulation is the motivating power behind Satan’s activities today. Satan’s desire to be like God originally plunged the universe into sin (Isa. 14:14). His program has never changed, and he is seeking today as throughout his career to lure men to obey him instead of God. In the great tribulation this purpose will be transparently clear, and after its manifestation it will be brought into divine judgment.[3]

[1] Walvoord, page 204.

[2] Bauer, Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, Illinois: The University of Chicago Press, 2000), pages 1039-1041.

[3] Walvoord, page 204.

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