13:2leopard . . . bear’s . . . lion’s. This beast combines features from the four beasts of Dan. 7:1–8, 17–27, which represent idolatrous kingdoms. This beast in Revelation must be a worldly kingdom summing up all of them. In this way the state persecutions of Daniel and his friends suggest the nature of the persecution that the seven churches must face from the Roman state—and possibly persecutions of later ages. Interpreters disagree about which particular persecution the beast most directly represents (Introduction: Interpretive Difficulties). In Asia Minor, local officials threatened to kill Christians if they refused to worship the Roman Emperor. A similar opposition to godly worship will crop up just before the Second Coming (2 Thess. 2:4). Persecutions come sporadically in the period between these two times (Matt. 24:9; 2 Tim. 3:12, 13; 1 Pet. 4:12–19). Both a repeated pattern of Satanic opposition and a final, climactic outbreak are apparently suggested in 2 Thess. 2:7, 8. Christians must not be surprised by these pressures. They must face martyrdom, if necessary, knowing that God is in control and that His triumph is certain.
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