Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads.
The great dragon.., that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan.I. OUR FOR IS A PERSONAL ONE (ver. 9).
III. HE IS A DARING ONE.
IV. HIS ATTEMPTS ARE OFTEN FAILURES. The dragon warred and his angels, and they prevailed not (ver. 8).
V. HE IS AN ANGRY FOE. "He hath great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time" (ver. 12).
VI. HE IS A MALICIOUS ONE (ver. 13).
VII. HE IS A WATCHFUL AND CRAFTY ONE (vers. 4, 13, 15), varying his methods according to the case in hand.
VIII. HE IS A CIRCUMSCRIBED FOE. This chapter tells us of three limits put to him and to his power.
1. One, of space. He is cast down to earth. He is "the God of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
2. A second, of time. "A time, and times, and half a time."
3. There is yet a third limit, that of force. "The earth helped the woman," etc. (ver. 16). We are taught in Scripture that there are five ways by which his power is restricted and his intention foiled.(1) There is providential dispensation (vers. 6, 14, 16; 1 Corinthians 10:13).(2) There is angelic ministry (ver. 7).(3) There is the direct exertion of Christ's commanding word (Matthew 17:18).(4) There is the counteracting power of Divine grace (2 Corinthians 12:9).(5) There is the intercession of our Redeemer (Luke 22:31, 32).
IX. HE IS A FOE WITH WHOSE DEVICES WE HAVE TO RECKON IN FIGHTING THE BATTLE OF LIFE (ver. 17). Note —
1. He is one at whom we cannot afford to laugh, and whose existence we cannot afford to deny.
2. He is a foe before whom we need not quail.
3. He is a foe to whom not an inch of room should be given (Ephesians 4:27).
4. He is a foe for whose onsets we should prepare by a survey and appropriation of heavenly forces.
5. He is a foe on whose ultimate defeat and complete discomfiture we may surely and confidently reckon if we look to Jesus.
(C. Clemance, D. D.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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