Study 27: Revelation 13:11-18

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1 Study 27: Revelatin 13: Then I saw anther beast, cming ut f the earth. He had tw hrns like a lamb, but he spke like a dragn. The Lrd pened Jhn s eyes t see the reality f evil and its intelligent nature. The kingdm f darkness is pwerful and clever. The first beast was mre fierce lking, but this beast was mre like a lamb. If the first beast desn t verwhelm, then the secnd beast may we the earth with its mre gentle appearance. But this secnd beast spke like a dragn, fr it was speaking ut f its true nature. The devil is religius in nature. He understands spiritual things and even qutes the Bible. Let s lk at the temptatin f Jesus, where the devil appeared t be spiritual but spke like a dragn : Then Jesus was led by the Spirit int the desert t be tempted by the devil. After fasting frty days and frty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came t him and said, "If yu are the Sn f Gd, tell these stnes t becme bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man des nt live n bread alne, but n every wrd that cmes frm the muth f Gd.'" Then the devil tk him t the hly city and had him stand n the highest pint f the temple. "If yu are the Sn f Gd," he said, "thrw yurself dwn. Fr it is written: "'He will cmmand his angels cncerning yu, and they will lift yu up in their hands, s that yu will nt strike yur ft against a stne.'" Jesus answered him, "It is als written: 'D nt put the Lrd yur Gd t the test.'" Again, the devil tk him t a very high muntain and shwed him all the kingdms f the wrld and their splendr. "All this I will give yu," he said, "if yu will bw dwn and wrship me." Jesus said t him, "Away frm me, Satan! Fr it is written: 'Wrship the Lrd yur Gd, and serve him nly.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him (Matthew 4:1-11) The tempter was persuasive and persistent. He was ffering great pwer that wuld have enabled Jesus t d sme gd things. But Jesus understd that pwer wasn t the issue, but rather the surce f the pwer. Jesus resisted the devil and gives His church the same ability. The Hly Spirit gives the Church discernment t understand what evil is ding. There is n need t fear: Therefre put n the full armr f Gd, s that when the day f evil cmes, yu may be able t stand yur grund, and after yu have dne everything, t stand. Stand firm then, with the belt f truth buckled arund yur waist, with the breastplate f righteusness in place, and with yur feet fitted with the readiness that cmes frm the gspel f peace. In additin t all this, take up the shield f faith, 1

2 with which yu can extinguish all the flaming arrws f the evil ne. Take the helmet f salvatin and the swrd f the Spirit, which is the wrd f Gd. And pray in the Spirit n all ccasins with all kinds f prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep n praying fr all the saints (Ephesians 6:13-18). Evil days will cme, but Gd equips His peple fr victry, even in death. That is the message f Revelatin. What s mre, Revelatin is nt a bk abut the devil. It is a bk abut the pwer f Gd! 12 He exercised all the authrity f the first beast n his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants wrship the first beast, whse fatal wund had been healed. The devil is relentless. His aim is t keep and draw as many peple away frm Gd as pssible. And remember what was said in the last study: all this is abut wrship; that is what he is after. The devil wants the wrship that nly belngs t Gd. He is a usurper wh wants Gd s psitin. There is nly ne pwer greater than the devil s and that is the pwer f Gd. Yu will either succumb t ne r surrender t the ther. There are n ther ptins. There is nly ne thing that will defeat the devil ne and fr all, and that is the Secnd Cming f Christ. At ther times, he will appear defeated, nly t reappear in the frm f sme new gvernment r philsphy. That is what is meant by the image f the fatal wund that had been healed. 13 And he perfrmed great and miraculus signs, even causing fire t cme dwn frm heaven t earth in full view f men. Gd will accmmdate peple wh chse repeatedly t reject Him and pen themselves t cunterfeit gds. D yu remember the stry f when Mses first came t see Pharah t secure the release f Israel? S Mses and Aarn went t Pharah and did just as the LORD cmmanded. Aarn threw his staff dwn in frnt f Pharah and his fficials, and it became a snake. Pharah then summned wise men and srcerers, and the Egyptian magicians als did the same things by their secret arts: Each ne threw dwn his staff and it became a snake. But Aarn's staff swallwed up their staffs. Yet Pharah's heart became hard and he wuld nt listen t them, just as the LORD had said (Exdus 7:10-13). Mses and Aarn did just as the LORD had cmmanded. He raised his staff in the presence f Pharah and his fficials and struck the water f the Nile, and all the water was changed int bld. The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled s bad that the Egyptians culd nt drink its water. Bld was everywhere in Egypt. But the 2

3 Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharah's heart became hard; he wuld nt listen t Mses and Aarn, just as the LORD had said. Instead, he turned and went int his palace, and did nt take even this t heart (Exdus 7:20-23) The Egyptians had secret, evil arts that were able fr a seasn t imitate the things that Mses and Aarn wuld d. That gave Pharah cnfidence that he culd resist Mses and Gd. Pharah hardened his heart but then Gd tk ver: But the LORD hardened Pharah's heart and he wuld nt listen t Mses and Aarn, just as the LORD had said t Mses (Exdus 9:12). When Gd hardens smene s heart, it is nly they have made repeated chices t harden their wn heart. 14 Because f the signs he was given pwer t d n behalf f the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants f the earth. He rdered them t set up an image in hnr f the beast wh was wunded by the swrd and yet lived. All f life is a matter f bedience. Sme will bey Gd, thers the anti-gd. The beast rdered the peple t set up an image. The earth is full f images that claim t be Gd, t have pwer t heal, prvide r save. But the early chapters f Revelatin establish that there is nly ne is wrthy f wrship and that is the Lamb f Gd, Jesus. I am nt insinuating that this pwer struggle is an easy ne, fr the enemy f Church is cunning and able t deceive. I have faith, hwever, that the Lrd is able t prtect me and bring me int what He has prmised. That is what I have chsen t believe and stand in at this time. 15 He was given pwer t give breath t the image f the first beast, s that it culd speak and cause all wh refused t wrship the image t be killed. Martyrdm is a fact f life and histry. Many wh have served the Lrd have given their lives t His service. Lsing yur life fr Gd is nt a sign f weakness n His r yur part. We cannt lve ur lives mre than Gd. That was the message t the Revelatin churches; that is the message t the mdern Church. I suppse the basic questin is: Can yu trust the Lrd, even in death? There are many places tday that if yu prclaim faith in Christ, yu will lse everything and perhaps even die. 16 He als frced everyne, small and great, rich and pr, free and slave, t receive a mark n his right hand r n his frehead, 3

4 N ne can escape making a decisin abut wh their Gd is? N ne can stay neutral. They will either serve the Lrd r His cunterfeit. Everyne will be frced t make a decisin. The Church must reach ut t the wrld, fr many still dn t knw that there is anther ptin t what and whm they are serving. The mark f the beast as described in these last few verses f chapter 13, have cnsumed the imaginatins and attentins f many peple. There is speculatin f when and hw that mark will cme and be administered. I hpe by nw that I have established that Revelatin is a bk f symbls, given t a persecuted peple s that their persecutrs wuld nt understand what was being said. I als hpe yu understand that Revelatin is a bk f victry: Our Gd wins. With s much that is symblic, why wuld we nw take this mark f the beast t be literal? It is incnceivable t me that this culd be the case. I d cnceive, hwever, f great pressure being brught upn the Church and her members t publicly prclaim faith in Christ r face great deprivatin and even death. The Rman Empire certainly required that peple wrship Caesar r die. Other gvernments and systems, mst recently the Sviet Unin, Nrth Krea and China, have fund ways t mark peple wh dn t serve their ttalitarian systems. They have dne this withut putting a literal stamp r mark n their citizens. Many peple have been martyred by their effrts. 17 s that n ne culd buy r sell unless he had the mark, which is the name f the beast r the number f his name. In fundamentalist Islamic systems, Christians cannt wn prperty and their ability t make a living is greatly hindered. I am a marked man; my faith in Christ marks me. I must always maintain allegiance t Him. N gvernment, emplyer r system prvides fr me. Gd des. That will ffend thers systems, cntrlled by evil, wh want t be seen as my surce. S be it. 18 This calls fr wisdm. If anyne has insight, let him calculate the number f the beast, fr it is man's number. His number is 666. I received an article this week claiming that Bill Gates, wner f Micrsft and the richest man in the wrld, is the s-called antichrist. In my lifetime, I have heard the same said abut Henry Kissinger, the Ppe, Saddam Hussein and Michal Grbachev. This is silly speculatin and bviusly thse reprts were incrrect. It is a waste f time t try t figure this ut. If the Bible wuld have wanted us t knw, it wuld have tld us. Because this cncept resides alne, then we must leave it alne. There is n way man can figure this ut nr is it imprtant. If yu reflect n the cmmentary n the verses abve, yu will understand that persecutin and death fr believers has been part f every generatin smewhere n the earth. Thse wh belng t Gd can be easily distinguished; thse wh dn t can as well. 4

5 I wear the mark f faith, and thse wh dn t serve my Gd wear a mark f wrks r sme ther religius system. I wear the mark f jy and peace, and thse wh dn t serve my Gd must wear the mark f sadness and trment. There is n questin that there is a systematic plt t wipe ut Christians. That is nthing new. It was true in the days when Revelatin was written; it was true tday. What is als true is that Gd is still n the thrne, the Church f Jesus is still here, and that the devil is still trying, by every means pssible, t thwart the wrk f Gd. The gd news fr us is that he has always and will always fail. T Gd be the glry! 5

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