The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.
— Revelation 13:1
In Revelation 4-5, the apostle John describes a vision of heaven. He sees God the Father on the throne, the Holy Spirit in the form of seven torches, and Christ as a Lamb, looking like it was slaughtered. In front of the throne is a peaceful “sea of glass, clear as crystal.” Around the throne, creatures representing all animal life give praise to God.
Later John sees the spiritual reality behind events that take place on earth. There a dragon, Satan himself, stands on the shore of a chaotic sea, which brings forth monsters that have “power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them” (Revelation 13:7). These beasts represent a world turned upside down from what God intended. God had created humans to fill the earth and steward it (including its animals) with his authority and care. But instead humans turned away from God and sinned, worshiping idols and degenerating into beastly empires, brutalizing other people and nature.
As John received these visions, the Roman Empire had begun persecuting the church. But although the empire had crucified Jesus, the Lamb of God, he had come back to life and had taken his rightful place as King of heaven and earth. Further, the Spirit of God was now living in believers, united with Christ in the waters of baptism. And the dragon knew his time was short . . . (Revelation 12:12).
Lord and King, you are alive, and you rule over all things. Come quickly, Lord, to bring your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.