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Wednesday: Identifying the Beast: Part 2 — 11 Comments

  1. The comment above that Pope Benedict made a speech to 15000 people needs a bit of comparison. Rome has several sports stadiums, the largest of which seats about 90,000 people and when soccer (football) finals are on it is regularly filled. My point is that if you are using crowd size as a metric for importance, if it came to the crunch, Italians would rather watch a soccer match than hear an old man reading a script about a worldview.

    Reading what real Catholics say in their blogs and forums is useful. The big concern for Catholics in Australia is how much the presence of the church has shrunk in the last 50 years. All the major seminaries and convents have closed. Very few priests are being prepared for the ministry and church attendance is sparse. The priesthood and sisters have decreased by about 25% in the last 20 years.

    There is also much concern for a Church administration that is seen as an old men's club that is corrupt, self-serving and out of touch.

    I am not saying that the Roman Catholic Church cannot become a significant political-religious power again. But at the same time, I don't jump everytime the pope sneezes.

    The big political-religious issue I see is that what we regard as conservative evangelical churches have become very politically active with their endorsement of political personnel an parties that are favourable to them. I became aware of this many years ago when I read Clinton's autobiography and realised how much policy (not just his) was shaped by the endorsement power of the conservative evangelicals.

    My big concern more recently has been the attitude of Seventh-day Adventists who are aligning their political attitudes with the conservative evangelical churches.

    I retain the idea that identifying the beast as a person/organisation that fits our perception of prophecy may be satisfying but if often blinds us to the principle that political-religious association in the real beast here and sometimes it comes close to home. Historically it has been the Papacy but at times it has also been the Protestants (read the history of Lutheranism, the Church of England, and Presbyterianism).

    There are two conclusions:

    • Do we spend more time building our relationship with Jesus than working out who the beast is? Focus in this job is important. If we know more about the workings of the beast than about how Jesus works on our hearts, maybe it is time to readjust our focus.
    • There are a lot of Roman Catholics out there who are disenchanted with their church. How many Roman Catholic friends do we have with whom we can share the love of Jesus?
    • I agree where you say: Seventh Day Adventist are aligning their political attitudes with the conservative evangelical churches (I have noticed it), it is also true, that we need to spend more time building our relationship with Jesus, but the other part that says... "than working out who the beast is" I think the author is right to bring in the study of the prophesies, which God considered important to give us, for us to situate ourselves in what has happened, is happening and will happen. What we do with this knowledge, I pray to God we each adopt the right attitude, that we discern spiritually all this things and to spring to action in the right direction with God's help and guidance. In the parable of the 10 Virgins, they all loved God, they all were church members but not all of them had the Spirit of God, we need that to be able to endure till the end and not lose our way in distractions of all kind.

  2. As I observe what is happening in the world, especially in the United States, and as I anticipate the impending religious conflicts, my focus is to get closer to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith. Let's ensure that we know more about the Lamb than the beasts of Revelation.

    • While it is absolutely necessary for us to develop, maintain and solidify our relationship with Jesus, Jesus himself has given us a more sure word of prophecy that we should heed as a light to guide us unto the perfect day.We should heed both the greater light(bible prophecy) ,as well as the lesser light(the spirit of prophecy as in the writing of sister white).Both agree on the who the sea beast is and it's activities together with the land beast; and how this will affect God's people. So let us not put other meanings to what the Bible has already clearly identify to us that we should keep a watch for and be mindful of.The more we become unaware and careless,the more the enemy will be able to take advantage of us to gain ground in thwarting our salvation. Let us watch (watch closely the prophecies) and pray so that we can remain in Jesus and be faithful.

  3. I have recently moved from a very secular California into an area of Georgia that is quite religious. My wife and I feel like we have moved back in time.

    My word of caution to the theme of the lesson study is in regards to individual Catholics. There are many Catholics around us and most of them are quite devout/good people. Any Church, Catholic or Protestant, may have Church dogma that is wrong but that does not make the people that attend them part of the "Beast". There is no one Church, even the SDA Church, that possesses all the "Truth".

    As we meet more of our neighbors we are praying that we are able to allow the Spirit to facilitate our participation in discussions with them. This lesson regarding spiritualism has impressed us to engage as the topic came up in conversation with a neighbor.

    EG White's comment from GC indicates those who do not understand the State of the Dead will be particular susceptible to being deceived in the end times,

    "Many will be confronted by the spirits of devils personating beloved relatives or friends, and declaring the most dangerous heresies. These visitants will appeal to our tenderest sympathies, and will work miracles to sustain their pretensions. We must be prepared to withstand them with the Bible truth that the dead know not anything, and that they who thus appear are the spirits of devils."

    May God grant us wisdom as we seek to engage with our neighbors.

  4. We may be in danger of underestimating the sleeping giant that is the Catholic church - an amalgam of religious and political power. When it awakes, it will be with no diminished power from having rested so long.

    Consider this: Approximately 1/3 of the world's population identifies as Christian. That is a greater number than any other religion. Of these, about 1/2 identify as Roman Catholic and another 10% as Orthodox Catholic (a form of Catholicism little changed since the 8th Century). That combined number of adherents of Catholicism is second only to adherents of Islam. But Islam joins Catholicism in the veneration of Mary. (She is mentioned 34 times in the Qur'an.) Since I'm currently reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, by Eric Metaxas, I understand better how crucial a part Mary plays in Catholicism, and the unifying power she can have among religions. (I've also seen references to Mary on spiritualistic sites in my recent research.)

    But the political power of the church is not tied to those numbers. Who is seen as the moral leader of the world? To whom will national leaders look for guidance in a great crisis?

    I think we know the answer. The "deadly wound" was healed long ago, and there is but one universally recognized spiritual leader in the world, and it's not the General Conference President.

    When the RC calls on them in a crisis, the "faithful," though currently non-attending adherents, will respond. We dill not have to wait for a decade for the church to regain her former power. The script is ready, the scene is set, and the actors only need the signal to "Action!" It can literally happen in a moment. (We have recently had a foretaste of how dramatically the world can change in a very short time.)

    The Lord is waiting with longing desire for His professed last-day people to reflect His character so that the difference between His people and Babylon will be clear and distinct.

    Are we ready to stand in our place?

  5. True – Sabbath is the 'Day of our Lord', and not Sunday, through to be honest, I am more concerned about the heart of the believer being turned away from loving the God of the Sabbath as well as their fellow man; loving God with all our heart is the saving principle and aspect of our Salvation.
    Prophecy and inspired wisdom is paramount when discerning the signs of time. The scheming of the adversary of God will employ anything and everybody to turn mankind toward seeking 'salvation/peace' using their own ‘frame of mind’.

    I am observing AI – artificial intelligence - becoming more and more integrated in all aspects of people's life; it is becoming a powerfully influencial source to be reckoned with as it can greatly aid the capacity of man's mind to find ‘the perfect solution’ to any problem.
    With the blessings of the Pope, in order to help societies live peacable with each other, I see its use to be focused toward bringing about peace through ‘bringing people together’; to follow the beast through the influence of its 'prophet'.

    How this is achieved might appear benign on its face, as everyone desires a peaceful living together of all peoples from all nations. I am reminded on the words from Matt.24:24-26; deception lurks everywhere and can employ anybody or anything.
    The antichrists 'undercurrent of deception' is lurking to 'pull under' anyone still seeking ‘outside’ counsel to help ‘clarify’ the Word of God. The 'spirit of antichrist' captures the mind and heart, and man does not notice the loss of the freedom to chose his own direction.

    Jesus fulfilled His promise when giving to believers the Holy Spirit to shed heaven’s Light on the Truth of God’s Word. He is the only source which we can rely on to lead us into all Truth – John 16:12-14.

  6. God knows the future. We need to trust Him today; whatever comes our way, quickly or not, we will be safe!


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