17.5 Revelation – Not just Counterfeit, Not just Tricked

Not just Counterfeit – Not just Tricked

I used to think that the warnings Jesus gave about false prophets and false messiahs referred to the end times and the role that the dragon and beasts would play.  But in our reading this week it became clear to me that this isn’t the case.

I know there have been false prophets and false messiahs.  I know it is important to know scripture so as not to be confused and to test their prophecies and signs against what actually happens, what is true, what is the word of God.

But the beast, while deceiving people, is not masquerading as Jesus.  He/It does not desire to be like God or like Jesus, he doesn’t want people to think he is those things.  He wants to replace God and Jesus.  He doesn’t want confusion.  He blasphemes God and wants to be worshiped in His place.  The people who bow down to the beast know he is the beast – they don’t think he is Jesus.

I understand where BSF is coming from with their discussion of the false trinity and false messiah and false lamb, but I don’t see that to be the desire of Satan.  I don’t think he wants to be a conterfeit God, where people think they are actually worshiping God, but in fact are worshiping him instead.  I think he wants to replace God.

We see this even in our times.  God is ridiculed and denegrated, while evil is positioned as fun and hip and attractive.  To quote an old Billy Joel song, there is still a belief that ‘I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, the sinners are much more fun.’

But that is a lie, perpetrated by the father of lies.  Hell is not more fun – it is hell.  An eternal life apart from God is not a party, it is agony and hatred.  Evil does not ever love – it only lies and hates and decieves.

I do not think believers will be tricked by the beast to believe it is the messiah returned.  I think those who read, hear and heed the word of scripture will know the beast is the beast.  The biggest challenge is not head knowledge, it is an adequate faith and hope and confidence to endure 42 months of persecution and agony.  But what Satan and the world can dish out, the elect can transform into honor for God:

Acts 5:40-41 – They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.  The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.

Rev 3:10 – Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

In the end, Jesus Wins and Satan is left with nothing.

 

My Answers:

12.
a.
Dragon, Beast, Second Beast

b.
To take on the appearance of Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world – this one brings the world to sin

c.
the trinity of God is one of unity (between the elements of God and mankind), for peace, teaching, wisdom, gratitude.  The trinity of evil is to deceive, conquer, contrive war and cause mankind to fall and be denied peace and love

13.
a.
Test by the truth, by prophecy occurring, by consistency with the scriptures and prophets, will never draw you from God, good bears good fruit, evil does not – look at the fruit of the words.  Stay on guard – Revelation tells what will happen, don’t be amazed

b.
By studying the word, wonderful signs are seen only as fulfillment of what God has promised and confirmation of the truth of God and wickedness of those who bring about the signs.  The signs, instead of demonstrating their authority and power, confirm their identity.

17.4 Revelation – No Agnostics

No Agnostics

The beast and second beast come into the world to deceive.  But, in particular, I think the second beast is allowed to force a choice.

Jesus has paid the price of sin for all.  The gift of the spirit and of eternal salvation is free and available to any human.  But, many sit on the fence.  They don’t openly oppose God, nor do they side with Him.  By not accepting the gift, they, have in essence, rejected it, but this leaves an element of doubt, of possibility.

Satan does not desire to leave things to the grace and mercy of God.  God is the judge.  He is just and jealous.  But Satan wants no doubt and God desires to allow each individual to choose (not simply to choose not to choose as many try to do today).

The mark of the beast eliminates this.  Unlike the inward mark of the Holy Spirit, this is an outward and visible sign of a decision.  Those with the mark, chose it.  Those without, chose Jesus.  Those without chose hardship, starvation, poverty, being subjected to war and oppression and hatred.  It would not be an easy decision to choose this for yourself, let alone for your family, but the everlasting pay-off is beyond huge.

And, let’s face it, no one would have the strength to choose this path on their own.  It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit, to strengthen, to guide and to feed faith, that someone would have the strength to make this choice.  But, Jesus promises exactly this provision.  His promise is firm and true.  The power of God is absolute.

So for those you know (yourself?) who have not yet committed your life to Jesus Christ, who are trying to keep one foot in both light and darkness, there is urgency.  Now is the time.  IMHO it would be impossible for anyone to make the decision not to receive the mark of the beast without the presence of Jesus in his or her life.  Without the power of the Holy Spirit how could anyone make the choice to starve their family, enter poverty and face daily and constant hatred?

My Answers:

9.
all authority of the 1st beast on its behalf, made the earth worship the beast, performed great signs (fire from heaven), to deceive

10.
a.
To deceive, to force a choice

b.
Moses: To speak truth as commanded, so that the egyptians will know that I (God) am Lord
Elijah: let it be known You are Godin Israel and I am your servant, done as commanded
Jesus: They may believe, receive life, call on name of Lordfor salvation

11.
a.
a mark (the name of the beast and number of its name) on right hand and forehead, could not buy or sell unless had the mark, the number of a man (humanity’s number), 666

b.
The Holy Spirit, gifts of the spirit, knowledge of God, ability to accept the gift of faith, eternal life, written in the book of Life

c.
Scriptures speak the truth – Revelation is a gift to those who hear it, read it aloud and heed its words and warnings.

17.3 Revelation – Prayer Journal

Prayer Journal

Reading about the names written in the book of life made me think about what books my name is written in.  I’ve signed my own name in a few different books over the years, assignment books, note books, year books, books that were gifts to others.  But, these are different than someone else writing your name in a book.

I am blessed with a prayer warrior as a wife.  Not only does she diligently spend time in prayer with God every day, but she also journals her prayers and records praises for answered prayer and the protection and provision God has provided far beyond what she had asked or known to seek.  As I sat on the side of the bed one morning this week, glancing at the chair where she sits and spends quiet time with God, I realized that her prayer journal is probably the main book in the world where my name appears repeatedly over the years.

It then made me think, what if the Book of Life is not an invitee list, but Jesus’ own prayer journal.  We know from scripture that He is our main advocate for us to the Father consistently through time.  We know Jesus prays, as He modeled prayer to us in the gospels.  What if the reason our names appear in the book is because, having accepted the gift of faith, we have become part of Jesus’ family, and, like my wife, He is chronicling the wondrous work of the Father and Spirit in our lives?

 

My Answers:

6.
to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them, authority over every TPLN, All inhabitants of earth worshiped the beast (except those whose name had been written in the Lamb’s book of life)

7.
Those who have been saved.  Yes.  Through Faith, a gift of the Father received through the power of the Holy Spirit

8.
a.
John: worlds hates you, first hated christ – hates you because you are not “of the world”
Roman: everything written was to teach, hope comes from endurance and encouragement of word
2 Cor: As servants of God we are commended by the hardships bestowed on us
Col: Prayerfully be strengthened and will and understanding of spirit, bear fruit, grow, strength
1Tim: flee from evil, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness

b.
by always being present, by being constant and true,  by calling me to repent and return during times of sin

17.2 Revelation – But everyone is doing it

But everyone is doing it

How often do we base our decisions and direction on “conventional wisdom”.  We look at trends of what is hot in fashion.  We pay attention to polls for the direction of the populous.  We pay attention to ratings and reviews of what others think about vacation sites, restaurants and shops.  We have never lost the argument we used as kids that everyone else is doing something.  And, we continue to ignore our mom’s argument that if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it as well.

The fact is, we live in a fallen, broken, sinful world.  If the majority is doing something, odds are it is wrong or sinful.  As followers of Christ we are promised trials and difficulties, not majorities and power.  If Jesus was hated and unfairly condemned, why should we expect more.

That does not mean we just throw up our hands and say, “oh well.”  It doesn’t mean we give up and go along with what everyone else is doing.  We are foreigners on this earth and our home and kingdom is in another place, in the heavenly realms.

Our direction should come not from what everyone else is doing, but what the bible commands and what Jesus gave.  We follow the spirit of the Holy Ghost, not popular opinion or polls.  We take definitions of truth from what God commands in His Holy Word, not by what is trending in popularity.

When the beast emerges from the waters everyone follows him, everyone worships him.  There is a remnant that does not and for 42 months they suffer and endure.  Right is right, now and then, but it is seldom what is popular.

 

My Answers:

3.
a.
10 horns, 7 heads, 10 crown on its horns and on each a blasphemous name.  resembled a leopard but had feet like  of a bear and a mouth like a lion.  one of the heads had a fatal wound had been healed.  dragon gave power, throne, authority, people worshiped

b.
that people were so accepting and worshiped the beast – this is weird and strange.  Why would this be worshiped (right now people reject worship of anything but themselves)

4.
Jesus spoke with authority (Mar 1:27), authority he received from God (authority to forgive sins Luk 5:24, drive out demons cure disease Luk 9:1, The Father living in me who is doing his work Jhn 14:10).  But Jesus used his authority to teach and help and cure and support, not as a means of power or control over people.  He was worthy of worship, but chose to submit to persecution

5.
a.
By testing it against scripture, by counsel with other believers, through prayer

b.
I have gotten myself back on track of being detoured by sinful thinking and enticed by things such as greed or self-worth by being confronted by the truth of the scriptures and the words of Godly people.