A repeated phrase in Revelation 13 grabs my attention this morning. Though I would love for the original language behind it to be unique and special, it isn’t. In fact, it appears it’s more the ESV translators that, for some reason, have translated it in a special way.
It’s actually the word commonly translated as “give” in the NT. And sometimes in Revelation 13, the translators use the word give. But on four occasions they translate it slightly differently so that the nuance is that the giving is actually more of a granting.
And that’s what I’m chewing on this morning. That although evil runs rampant in Revelation 13, nothing happens that isn’t allowed to.
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. . . Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, . . . Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth, . . . and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
(Revelation 13:5, 7, 11a, 14-15 ESV)
It was allowed to. Whether talking about the beast, or the other beast, while the dragon is the source of their demonic, supernatural power and influence over the world, whatever they do they were allowed to.
Don’t know that it was the ESV translators’ intent, but what this guy is picking up from what these words are laying down is the reminder that our God is sovereign, and nothing happens on this earth apart from Him allowing it. He permits the first beast to exercise authority over the earth for a time and to make war on the saints and even conquer them for a time. He grants the lower ranking beast to deceive those on earth, even supernaturally bringing to life inanimate objects. Whatever they do, it’s because God lets them. God allows the beasts to be the beasts.
And while we can ponder the why’s and the wherefore’s and the what’s and the how’s of Revelation 13, it is the Who that captures my worship this morning. The God who allows it.
The God who is ever present and ever in control. The God whose purposes are ever being accomplished. The God whose promises will always be fulfilled. The God whose power is the ultimate power which allows all other powers to play out.
There are so many things which are allowed in and around our lives. So many of them which bring sorrow, suffering, and bewilderment. But nothing happens which He has not permitted to happen. No one is acting apart from how He has granted they should act. Nothing that touches this earth that hasn’t passed through His fingers.
So, writes John to those who read the vision given to him:
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
(Revelation 13:10b ESV)
Endurance and faith.
Believing God is good. Knowing God is great. Confident that God has allowed it.
Endurance and faith.
Only by His grace. Always for His glory.