So honestly, knowing that the monster is Rome takes most of the fun out of this passage. Seeing how everything in Revelation is so historically grounded makes it feel increasingly disconnected from my experience today. While commentaries bringing Revelation into today’s theater never convinced my skeptical mind, I find myself disengaging from this explanation which seems to take the meaning far away.
Or is there a modern Rome? Do we as Christians face forces in our culture that drive everyone to worship them instead of God? What about the god of Entertainment? What about the god of the Easy Life? Maybe the god of Whoever Dies With the Most Toys Wins? What god distracts you from serving the One True God?