The central issue that arises over and over again in Revelation 13 and 14 is worship. Seven times in these two chapters there is a reference to worship of the dragon, the beast or the image to the beast. Five of those references are in chapter thirteen. The dragon and the beast are worshipped in Revelation 13:4. All who dwell on the earth “will worship” the sea beast 13:8). The land beast forces the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast (the sea beast—13:12). In 13:15 the image of the beast desires that all who refuse to worship it will be killed. Two more references to negative worship occur in chapter fourteen. Revelation 14:9 warns against worshipping the beast and his image and in 14:11 those who worship the beast and his image have no rest day or night.
So there are a total of seven references to worship of the dragon, the sea beast and the image of the sea beast. The overall story in these two chapters concern a counterfeit trinity (the dragon, the sea beast and the land beast), which invites the worship of the entire world in the place of God. This invitation helps to precipitate a worldwide contest regarding the character of God and whether He is truly worthy of worship. This is the central theme of this part of the book.
Ironically, while there are seven references to worship of the dragon and his allies in Revelation 13 and 14, only one time in the same narrative is there a reference to worship of the true God, and that is the call to worship the Creator in Revelation 14:7. That single reference cements the impression that worship is the central focus of the entire section. And since Revelation 13 and 14 is at the very center of the book, it is likely that the call to worship the creator states the central point of the entire book.
This call to worship is given in the language of the Sabbath commandment of the Decalogue (Rev. 14:7, cf. Exod. 20:11—this point will be elaborated in a future blog). This reference to the fourth commandment in the context of the final proclamation of the everlasting gospel (Rev. 14:6), makes the Sabbath the crucial issue in the final crisis of earth’s history.