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Friday: Further Thought ~ The Seal of God and Mark of the Beast – Part 1 — 13 Comments

  1. I want to turn the tables a bit on the second question in the lesson today:

    How do you respond to those who argue that the idea of a literal Satan is a primitive superstition that educated, or at least intelligent people, can’t take seriously? What arguments could you use in response?

    This is my question: Do we sometimes use the notion of a literal Satan to diminish our own role in the battle between good and evil?

    As most of our readers would know by now, I have a background in physics that somehow gets mixed up in my spiritual journey. There are two extreme areas in physics. At one end of the scale, we have the cosmos where we study objects that are light-years across and interact on a grand scale. We describe such things as gravity fields warping the behavior of galaxies. At the other end we are concerned with quantum behaviour and how infinitesimally small particles interact. In my lifetime, physicists have realised that what happens at the sub-nuclear particle level has an influence on what happens at the cosmos level.

    In the battle between good and evil, if we externalise evil to a supernatural being without acknowledging the role of evil in our own lives, we miss half the picture. We have the power of choice and can choose between good and evil. We need to understand the connection between the macro and micro worlds of evil.

    Satan has set us on autopilot mode. It is called "self". And the only way to turn the autopilot mode off is to make the decision that we are going to exercise free choice and choose who will direct our lives.

  2. Arguing about something such as faith is a waste. Suppose I believe in a personal God, Who even offers me three different perspectives of Himself to fit precisely in any moment I live. Why wouldn't I believe in the existence of personal evil?

    Just by observation, it is natural to see creative and astonishing things co-existing with suffering and destruction on this planet.

    Although I may be somewhat blind to this spiritual conflict, responsibility must always be taken seriously! My actions result from my choices, with nothing to blame on Go-o-d or evil.

  3. RE: proof of Satan’s existence
    The way I see it is that most people will agree that Satan represents all that is evil in the world. And most people will agree on a certain basic standard of morality (killing is bad, lying and cheating are bad, etc.). If you believe in a God who is good, then you would naturally have to accept the existence of an adversarial being who is the source of what has been defined as evil.
    Quite frankly, if you think Satan is a fable, then you’re likely to believe the same about God, so it may be a futile conversation; but ultimately, it all goes back to the Bible and the origins of the great controversy.

  4. We can become experts at the interpretation of prophecy and be knowledgeable about bibical writings on the topic, but it is equally important that we have a personal relationship with Jesus. To have this relationship, we need the Holy Spirit to change our carnal nature into a spiritual nature. Only the Holy Spirit could do it for us. However, we must not only want it, we must hunger and thirst for it.

    We should remember that Lucifer was the one who led the worship service in heaven. He was the chief angel created to lead the other angels into doing God's bidding. However, although he was performing his task, he was doing it for himself and not to the glory of God. This is the same trick the devil is pulling on us today. To be good church going members and leaders, our motives and actions (in all our ways acknowledge him ....) should always be to give God glory, because that is the reason for our existence. Our daily prayer should be, "Holy Spirit, teach me how to live a truly Godly life, so that in everything that I do, it will be done to give honor and glory to God."

  5. I agree with the lesson writer’s conclusion, wanting to emphasize how essential it is to reflect on recognizing that our life’s existence is at stake in this battle. My concern is that we neglect to reflect deeply enough on the fact that we are made in our Creator’s Image for a specific purpose, and that our life receives its value only through that. Daily confirmation of our relationship with Him and His purpose for us is paramount before we rush into meeting all our worldly obligations.

    I think the greatest danger is in neglecting to seriously reflect on our design as a living soul which is made in the Image of its Maker. There is no other way possible that our life can be sustained outside of living His design’s purpose as guided by His Spirit.

    God’s design and purpose for us includes to grant us to live forever, and this is why His adversary has chosen to make God’s Way of Truth and Light his battlefield through causing confusion, strife, and mayhem amongst the Father's children. His goal is to separate us by any means possible from the influence of God's Holy Spirit and to replace it with his own.

    His most fervent effort's aim is to confuse the believer, attempting to disconnect our faith from the influence of our heavenly Father in order to replace it with His lies and deceptions using our senses. His claim is that man can live forever without any help from anyone just by being 'good'; influencing mankind to think that ‘self-made’ man is a good enough human being.

    Establishing religions based on ‘fables and traditions’ is just one way to separate us from our Creator God's direct influence. Satan's efforts are to eliminate our worship based on our personal relationship with God. He wants mankind to believe that any formal religiosity is good enough and sufficient to improve man's life by.

    The adversary’s handbook of tricks uses everything under his influence to eliminate the knowledge of in Whose Image we are made. Yes, His Son Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Sabbath, though it is not enough that we ‘observe’ His Sabbath; we need to live it to be saved.

    • I believe that you are spot on, Brigitte! Today I was reading Romans 8, and marvelling at how directly it seems to address the matter of how we should be anticipating earth's final crisis. Let me share just a few snippets.

      "Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Romans 8:5-6 NKJV

      To me this is saying that, if we allow our fears to drive us into "wrestling against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12), with a focus on who might be conspiring against us and how, this carnal approach will only debase our character and lead to our demise. Whereas, if we take a spiritual view of things, and aim at honouring God with our lives, both now and in the future, we shall experience life and peace.

      "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." Romans 8:11 NKJV

      From this I'd say that it won't matter even if we are called to die for Jesus. Our resurrection is assured.

      "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Romans 8:15-17 NKJV

      So, why all the angst? If we suffer with Jesus, that's just a step toward receiving our inheritance!

      "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28 NKJV

      So, if we are wondering how things will play out, shouldn't it be with anticipation of all the good that will come to us?

      "What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" Romans 8:31 NRSVA

      Satan who?

      "Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies." Romans 8:33 NKJV

      We know they will try to condemn us. So what? I can see how justification by faith is "the third angel's message in verity!"

      "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Romans 8:35 NKJV

      I'll leave the rest of the chapter (Romans 8:36-39) to the reader, to see how we are "more than conquerors." Let perfect love cast out fear.

      • Dear R.G. – thank you for providing God’s Word to enhance my comment and to illuminate His Truth. I appreciate your diligence in finding the appropriate Scriptures to convey the message that we need not to be discouraged when trials and tribulations befall us.

        It is given to us to maintain our faith in the completed work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ so that we can stand at the time when He calls the faithful to meet Him and inherit the life promised to them who will endure to the end.

  6. So then are we involved in the great controversy or not. Or Is this just a figment of the revelators mind?

    • I am not sure what prompted your question Lloyd. But, even if Revelation had never been written, we would have to admit that there is a "great controversy". Part of the problem is that the extent of evil is something that stretches over the horizon of our understanding.

    • We are involved in the great controversy without a choice Lloyd. The good news is we have a choice to be on one side or the other. And the super good news is that on God's side we win without fighting a battle. Christ won and is still fighting for us against Satan. R.G. pointed that out. Epheasians 6:12.

      Related is my answer to discussion question 2. Satan is literal. The Bible speaks of him as literal. The evil and corruption in this world is all the evidence we need to see that He has an influence on the world. Satan is still doing as much damage as he can,¹ even though he knows he lost, and that is his charactor. Joshua said before you is life and death, choose life. In other words we are in the great controversy, and we have a choice of our destiny. I recommend choosing life. Deuteronomy 30:19.

  7. Discussion Questions:

    What are the basic principles behind the sea beast's claim to authority? In what ways can those same attitudes be lodged in our hearts without our knowing it?

    Rev. 13:2 the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
    4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast.

    The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority. Just as the Father has given His throne and authority to Christ (John 5:27), so Satan invests the beast as his coregent and representative on earth -- and uses scripture to make it sound authentic.
    "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church."
    But Peter is not the church's foundational stone, Christ is.

    Satan has counterfeited everything. A counterfeit is NOT an opposite, a counterfeit looks very much like the true but is false. He is busy setting up a system that brings to him the worship that belongs only to God. It is a demonstration of his style of government. A kingdom that makes the created the foundation, instead of the Creator.

    Papal Rome felt they had the authority to rule, in a large measure because they were in the imperial city of Rome, they were groomed for that power by the Roman emperors, and finally given the authority as the head of all churches with the "duty" to persecute "heretics" by Justinian in the newly formulated "code of Justinian".

    How do you respond to those who argue that the idea of a literal Satan is a primitive superstition that educated, or at least intelligent people, can't take seriously? What arguments could you use in response?

    It is only by the knowledge of the great conflict between Christ and Lucifer (Satan) that the serious question is answered, "Why is there so much trouble and misery in the world, if there is a God of love?"
    When the existence of Satan and his angels is denied, it tends to follow that a loving God is soon also denied.
    This world was taken hostage by a usurper, the gospel is the good news that Christ came to redeem and rescue a people held hostage.

    The reason God allows this suffering, is NOT because He uses evolution to develop a new species of better humans, that's basically what thiesitic evolution teaches, but which wholly distorts the character of God! The conditions in this world is definitely not due to lack of God's love.

    God allows Satan to demonstrate his program of freedom from God's law, so all created beings can see the folly and terror that results from living in rebellion to God's law.
    His law was challenged as being restrictive, taking away freedom and the ability to find and advance in happiness and knowledge. How can created beings find out the truth of God's law and love? By seeing the results of such a course.

    In stark contrast one can see the beauty, holiness, in a God of love. Yes, he allowed His created beings to try to find greater happiness outside His law, but then, instead of saying "you chose that path don't come crying to Me", NO, He gave Himself to redeem mankind and bring them back into a perfect life of holiness and pure love and joy which is found only in Him and the law that is the real law of freedom and happiness!

  8. As part of God's end-time team I aim to stay obediently in His word. Through the grace of the risen Christ, I aim to keep the faith, believing and looking forward... I aim to endure to the end, bearing the seal of my Loving Creator.
    Looking forward to the reality of Revelation chapter 22 and verse 7, as I've been kept worthy, only through my Lord's benevolence. Praise Him!

  9. Maurice, I was intrigued with your reference to physics. The concept that the sub-nuclear actions influence the entire cosmos. At first it challenged my thinking since I'm not academic having no degrees in higher sciences. However, a thought came to me that coincides on a more spiritual level.

    Consider a speck of dust in the sunlight that could represent our milky way galaxy from the perspective of God. Smaller still is planet earth located on a minor arm of this galaxy. Place eight billion humans on this "subatomic" planet and we see just how insignificant we are in the vastness of space.

    However, when Adam and Eve fell, shock waves shook the cosmos and even greater shock waves were felt throughout the universe as the scenes unfolded at Calvary.
    God cares so much for those rebellious people He would die for them?? This insignificant planet became the theater of the universe.

    God's cosmos watches as we face the choice of who we will serve and how that service impacts us and those around us. God has provided a warning message of love that needs to go to all people. Considering what Jesus has done for us to provide salvation can we do less than share this message? There is no place for arrogance or ego or for watering down the message to make it popular; the love for our Savior and our fellows should motivate us to share, with enthusiasm, hope and joy this message of love and warning. It's a message of life vs death, purchased for all at great cost.

    When we fulfil this commission and Jesus comes, think of the great, majestic, vibrational energy flooding through the universe as the redeemed, ascending with Jesus, sing in rapturous praise to the Savior, "Worthy, worthy is the Lamb, that was slain, and has redeemed us to God by His blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation." Even so come, Lord Jesus!


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