|Well, back to the future (Revelation 13:11-18) I encourage you to read Revelation for yourself. There is a blessing that comes from reading revelation, Revelation 22:7 Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book. Please don’t let anyone make you believe it is too hard of a book to understand, the plan and outline is in Revelation 1:19. Frankly, Genesis is a more challenging book for me because it contains all that is in Revelation and every Biblical principle has its origin in Genesis.
When last we were in Revelation we went over the prophecies of Daniel, about the beast.
Now we are going to meet his side-kick, another beast – this one will come up out of the earth and he has two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. This beast is unnatural, no lamb has horns, and this other beast will speak like the dragon (satan).
He will have all the authority of the first beast (antichrist), in the presence of the antichrist. So the power the second (another) beast has is dependent on the antichrist. And this second beast will cause all who dwell on the earth to worship the first beast who had a deadly wound that was healed.
This second beast will perform great signs (imitations of what Christ and the prophets do), and will make fire come down from heaven. (Remember Elijah prayed and God made fire come down from heaven, and the two witnesses had fire that proceeded from their mouths – so this second beast’s job will be to fool those who are on the earth and keep them from the truth of God). He will v. 14 DECEIVE those who dwell on the earth by the signs which he can do IN THE SIGHT OF THE BEAST. And will tell those who dwell on the earth (notice how often that phrase “dwell on the earth” is used) to make an image to the beast, and the second beast will give breath to the image that should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed (remember that God breathed life into Adam, here the second beast is breathing “life” into the image, and causing men to worship the image. ) Verse 16 “He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.”
No one will be able to buy or sell if they do not have the mark or the name of the beast or his number. The number of a man, 666.
Again, the mark is not an original idea. Cain had a mark put on his forehead by God so that people would not kill him after he was banished by God. The 144,000 had a mark put on their foreheads by God. In Leviticus 19: 28 it mentions marks, “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you. I am the LORD.
We will see in Revelation 14:9 A third angel will announce, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Oh, take heed of this, again, it is not God’s heart to do this to those on the Earth, but if they choose, given all the chances that they have had to pick God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, it is a choice they have to live with eternally.
When I first met Pastor Don, the Holy Spirit had led me to read the Bible through to give God one last chance (praise God He did give me that prompting), but I remember being stuck on the Moses/Pharaoh story, where I read, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. I pointed that out to Pastor Don because I felt that God had it in for Pharaoh, that God hardened hearts at will, and of course inferred that perhaps God had hardened my heart. We took a careful look at this story in Exodus – First encounter in Chapter 5, Pharaoh says, Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice, and Pharaoh makes the life of the Israelites harder. God sent many plagues to Pharaoh and his people, and pharaoh hardened his own heart, (God saw that his heart was hardened, but it was pharaoh who hardened it in spite of the warnings, river of blood, plague of frogs (why did pharaoh when asked when to remove the frogs say “tomorrow”, if I had frogs coming out of everywhere I would have said now.), the lice v. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. Then there was a plague of livestock, and the heart of Pharaoh became hard (Exodus 9:7), the seventh plague hail and he hardened his heart again in verse 34. Exodus 10, plague of locusts in verse 1, here God says, “..I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants.” Up until the 8th plague Pharaoh hardened his heart, finally God gave him his desire, and hardened Pharaoh’s heart. But there were many signs and chances for Pharaoh to do the right thing. (an aside, have you noticed how the plagues of Pharaoh and the plagues of Revelation are similar?)
It is the same thing with those who dwell on the earth, they were given the 10 Commandments as a proving ground to show them they needed a savior, they were given the Prophets to warn them, Jesus who sacrificed Himself and rose from the dead, the Apostles, 2000 years of church history, the rapture, the 144,000, the two witnesses, and as we will see in Chapter 14 the warnings of the angels flying in mid-heaven. Chance after chance after chance after chance. God stayed His hand, hoping, wanting all to be saved. At some point though the disease of sin must be eradicated from the earth. When God saw that the people gave themselves over to the antichrist, taking the mark, they made their choice. It was not God’s best for them, but they made the choice.
God cannot force anyone to love him, forced love is rape, and God had to give us the choice to pick and choose. He begged in Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live…”
God wants us to choose life, eternal life, not death, but if we want death, he is honor bound to give us our choice. Oh how hard He tried to get us to choose life, to the point of sending His son to us, sacrificing His son to forgive our sins, if we reject this great love of God and choose satan, at some point God will say, so be it.
Choose life today!
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