Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
It is clear from John’s visions in this book that God is in control. We know this from the fact that God would let John record in “the words of the prophecy of this book” the visionary details concerning the future. We also know this from the way in which the leaders of a worldwide resistance against God are described. In the case of the first beast mentioned in chapter 13, it’s blasphemies and persecutions are “allowed” by God. He takes ultimate responsibility for the sovereign control of even the outcome of this rebellion against Him. Nothing takes God by surprise.
The first beast leads the world in blasphemy and idolatry, receiving worship from all those who have not turned to Christ. But God will ultimately conquer those who have rejected Him. Even as they are described, it is in terms of their elect status. Some have been written in the Lamb’s book of life. Others have not. But all made a free choice to obey either God or the beast.
The doctrines of sovereignty and free will are never in conflict. I really am disappointed by those who want to treat them that way. It is clear that man’s free will is a reality for all of us. as is God’s absolute sovereignty. And in these future descriptions, we see one way of seeing them free of the tensions we tend to assign them. The beast rages against God, but not outside His controlling power. The people worship Him, but not those who have been written in the Lamb’s book. God is in control, even when the world is at the worst it will EVER be!