We can’t resist it. It draws us without fail. Light was the first element of creation — the first thing spoken by God into the visible world. Though sinful men love darkness, we were made for light. We may scoff at the foolish moth, incapable of resisting it. But we are the same. Light draws us. We can’t resist it.
Light reveals what the darkness conceals. When we are afraid, we turn on the light. When we are lost, we look for lights. When we need safety, we find a well-lighted place. All life on planet earth depends upon light. And we are comforted by the fact that with God, even the darkness is light. We are counseled to walk in the light as He is in the light. Jesus described himself as the ‘light of the world.’ “If any man follows me,” he said, “he will never walk in darkness.” And the Bible describes heaven as a place where, “night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light.”
Light brings life, comfort, clarity, truth. But it sometimes brings danger as well. For there are counterfeit lights, lights that are not what they seem. When someone says they finally see the “light at the end of the tunnel” the pessimist opines, “I hope it is not a train.” The Bible warns us of counterfeit lights when it tells us that the devil “masquerades as an angel of light.” Ironically, the name Lucifer means ‘light-bearer.’ But the light he bears brings darkness and death to everyone who approaches. He is like the deep-sea anglerfish.
The Deep-Sea Anglerfish is a deceiver. In the deep dark places of the ocean, it attracts both prey and mates with a bioluminescent lure. Unsuspecting victims are drawn to its light and beauty in a place where darkness makes all else invisible. Yet this light is not a place of beauty or refuge, but a place of death. Enormous teeth and a cavernous maw make this ‘Black Sea-devil’ a grotesque and lethal light post.
Through trickery and deception, they lure and devour their prey. Like many things in the physical world, the devilfish mirrors the spiritual world. Satan is like the devilfish. He appears as an angel of light only to devours us. He draws us with subtlety and rationale. Consuming us with his lies. And when temptation and deceit falter, he tries despair.
The devil, tries repeatedly to overthrow God’s redemptive plan. He fails at every turn. Yet his failure never wearies his fury. Revelation 12:17 warns us of his attacks.
Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.
Revelation 13 then unfolds what this fury looks like. Two beasts emerge. One from the sea and one from the earth. An unholy Trinity of counterfeits to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit emerge in the persons of the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the Beast from the earth. They are poor counterfeits indeed, but they lead the world astray and mobilize the cultures to make war against the Church.
In this well-known narrative, the Lord Jesus calls us to endurance and faith. Conquest belongs to the Church, but it comes at a cost. Satan’s fury is intense. His warfare unrelenting. When we face his rage, it is easy to despair. Revelation 13 drives this home, but makes it clear that this counterfeit trinity will never conquer. Martin Luther put it well.
And though this world with devils filled, should threaten to undo us
We will not fear for God hath willed, His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him
His rage we can endure, for lo his doom is sure
One little word shall fell him
That Word above all earthly pow’r, no thanks to them abideth;A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever!
We are all afraid of the dark, but sometimes what appears to be light is even darker. Join us this week as we examine Revelation 13:1-10 and unpack God’s comfort for trying times.