I am concerned for us. Interpreting Revelation 13:11 to only mean that the lamb-like beast (USA) “will speak” like a dragon sometime in the future, when it only pertains to persecuting us, blinds us to the historical and present fact that it has been “speaking” like a dragon (while trying to appear lamb-like/Christian) since its inception. Just read the text carefully. Such a futurist interpretation leaves us blind, silent and unengaged when it comes to the dragon-like speak and actions of racial, economic and social injustice and oppression that has been happening right in front of our eyes. When we are not concerned about when it happens to “them“, what will happen when it happens to “us”? The prophesied dragon speak doesn’t happen overnight, but has been developing and is getting louder as we near the end. And what is more concerning, is that some of us support, endorse or promote by our complicit silence the political systems emboldening injustice, while pushing back on issues of social justice! The astounding irony is that this very interpretation of Revelation 13:11 was historically the catalyst to our pioneers’ strong abolitionist engagement to end slavery! We cannot profess to be hastening the second coming of Jesus by preaching “the Gospel of the Kingdom” while avoiding social justice, when the Kingdom of God has justice as a core attribute. The Gospel, or said more fully by Jesus in Matthew 24:14, “the Gospel of the Kingdom”, is not merely about personal salvation as ticket into Heaven, without any concern about how people are treated here on earth. Just listen to the very words of Jesus when He announced the Good News of the Kingdom He was ushering in…
Did you hear the Lord we claim to be preaching? The Good News is to the poor, an announcement of release to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, the setting free of those who have been oppressed and the year of the Lord’s favor! Never mind the fact that He spoke about this in a worship setting (synagogue) on the Sabbath! That’s a blog for another time. When He was done talking about His Kingdom of justice for all (read the larger context) the people in this synagogue of the home town He grew up in, that claimed to be God’s chosen people, tried to throw Jesus off a cliff!!! My friends, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Messiah, which did secure our salvation by grace through faith, is what ushered us into the life of the Kingdom now, on earth, until fully realized at the return of the King. And if we truly are followers of the King, we will continue His work of establishing His Kingdom now, which has justice for all at its heart. One cannot claim to preach the Gospel and be against or just plain silent when it comes to issues of justice! This is why I am concerned for us.
Follower of Jesus, Husband, Father and Associate Pastor for Younger Generations at Vienna SDA Church.