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Wednesday: The Image of the Beast — 17 Comments

  1. I am going to digress a bit this morning because the news that broke overnight in Australia is significant and closely related to the lesson study. Cardinal George Pell, for many years Australia's most senior Roman Catholic was convicted of child sex crimes. The trial took place last year but a suppression order meant that nothing could be said about it publically until now. It was reported overseas and while most of us in Australia knew about it, the media was silent. The reason for the suppression order was that there were to be two trials and the judiciary did not want the second trial to be influenced by the outcome of the first trial. The second trial was deemed not necessary in the last few days and the suppression order was lifted.

    There is no doubt that the outcome of this case is significant for Catholicism in Australia but it has ramifications for the world too. George Pell was regarded as a theologian who understood finance and management as well and was considered a man of integrity. He was called by the Pope to clean up the mess of Vatican finances. As such he was widely regarded as the third most powerful cardinal in the Catholic hierarchy. He was a powerful personality and his influence in the Vatican was significant.

    The conviction of George Pell comes about as the result of a Royal Commission into institutional child sexual abuse here in Australia that has exposed the coverups and lack of action on the part of the Church on the issue. Such findings echo similar actions taken in other parts of the world as well.

    There are a lot of Catholic Christians who are hurting and who feel let down by the institution of their church. As Seventh-day Adventist Christians we should recognize the pain that these Christians are suffering and extend to them the love of Jesus. We sometimes focus on the prophecies that we apply to the papacy and ignore the plight of those who belong to the church. It too easy for us to say, "We told you so!" We don't need to - the judiciary and the media have said that loudly enough already. What these folk need right now are non-judgemental Christian friends. Are we up to that? Has our study of the book of Revelation prepared us for that task?

    Amen!(37)
    • The prophecy of the two beasts of Revelation 13 does not give us any right to denounce and to judge the individuals from these institutions however we are given this message to share and to warn the world about which institutions will be responsible to bring about last day events.

      Amen!(8)
    • Yes, they are hurting. And, sadly, our church has is own issues with child abuse, so pointing fingers is doubly wrong. Child predators lurk where ever broken human beings gather. It would be in order to pray for the victims, their families and the perpetrator and their kin. Having had to turn in child molesters as a pastor, these issues hit home for me.

      Amen!(17)
    • People are losing/have lost trust in business, government and religious institutions in light of a never-ending increase in revelations of abuse and exploitation perpetrated by each of these sectors - with corresponding blatant denial and claim of innocence by those accused.

      And in the wake of this there is an increased appetite for escape-based 'entertainment' as well as a documented increase in the level and expression of interpersonal forms of violence in general. The lack of restraint shown by institutions that people once looked up to is now being reflected in the increasing lack of restraint across society. By beholding, 'society' (which is now referred to as an economy) has become changed.

      What do we have to offer a world that is becoming more and more skeptical of talk that isn't matched by the walk and is correspondingly losing its care-factor?

      What do I have to offer?

      Amen!(11)
    • How do we comfort them? Are they feeling let down by an institution or worse does the failings by the priests who stood in the place of God to them affect their picture of God? Would the knowledge that their salvation and relationship with the LORD does not depend on the institution be comforting? As I understand it the Catholic church teaches one can only be saved through participating in the sacraments of the Church (am open to correction on this)
      This is a hard lesson, we look up to leaders as role models only to discover they are fallible. Jesus is the only role model who was tempted to the same extent we are because as a human He didn't rely on His own will power to resist temptation but on His relationship with and power from His Father.

      Amen!(6)
    • The Revelation describes the workings of powers, and who is behind them. We see that Satan himself is the leader of all who openly and defiantly oppose God and His Word, this opposition being directed at God’s faithful people, who will be faithfully calling God’s people out of Babylon(Rev 18:4).

      Yes Maurice, God’s faithful servants will be “up to that” task of taking the gospel “to every creature” as their Lord Has commissioned them.

      Won’t this reveal to each of us just where we stand?

      Amen!(4)
  2. The news in South Africa is what at first appeared to be a resurrection in front of a huge gathering by a pastor. A man who was said to have died on Friday was driven up to a church on Sunday in a coffin in a hearse and then "brought back to life" to the wonder of the crowd. Many are asking- did it really happened or was it a trick? Is it possible? Does God bring people back to life these days? Can Satan do it? How can I tell? Does it matter? Yes if it convinces people to believe falsehood.

    Amen!(13)
    • The "resurrection" has been proven to be a hoax. Our African people are so easily led astray by 'signs and wonders'. Here in Namibia we have a real 'United Nations' in our Central church and within our small group we have a family from Zimbabwe, Donwell studied at Anderson and he and his family are a blessing. No signs, no wonders, just the sincere love of fellow Adventists will bring the harvest in. The spectre of 'apartheid' has fragmented our small congregation but God still has His children and Love heals all wounds.

      Amen!(6)
  3. Brother Maurice, it doesn't look like you disagree with the interpretation of the scriptures. I am with you in this. I have many catholic relatives and friends who are committed Christians. It's true they need our sympathy but still we should not shy away from telling them what they need to know and help them in their own individual spiritual journeys.

    Amen!(9)
  4. There is more going on here that RCC/American reciprocation. It is the language of counterfeit. As the Holy Spirit promotes Jesus and does the forming of His image in the believer (or the true prophet speaking and honoring God), the same is taking place here. The counterfeit holy spirit (false prophet) is promoting the sea beast and forming it among the people. Especially interesting is the breathing into the image by the land beast making it live. More garden imagery. Mimicking God's making Adam in His image, and breathing into him life. Hence, the claim to worship in this case.

    It is an issue of being self made, rather than God fashioned. The issue of Babel, really. Men striving to reach God in their own way and through their own collective power and abilities. You get into this part of Revelation and you are more appreciative of the promise that we have overcome by the blood of the lamb. It is a humbling thought.

    Amen!(7)
  5. Phew... Today's lesson reassures me that the image of the beast is a certain nation and a certain religious institution. And because I am not a part of either of these, I can sit back and relax because it doesn't involve me. After all, I am part of the remnant.

    Or is there perhaps a more vital personal application that I am missing by merely accepting traditional Adventist interpretation of prophecy - an application that might not leave me so comfortable and relaxed?

    Surely there can't be things in my life that are an image to the beast, can there?

    Amen!(17)
    • Phil, I recall that Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21) or "in your midst."

      I wonder if the same could be said for Babylon or the kingdom of darkness? Could Babylon be within us, as well as in our midst?

      To answer that question, perhaps we should think of what characterizes Babylon. Since God looks at the heart, what heart conditions characterize Babylon?

      Amen!(16)
      • Since God looks at the heart, what heart conditions characterize Babylon?

        Any and all forms of self-referenced desire: self-exaltation; self-indulgence; self-gratification; etc.

        And any methods (ranging from seduction to coercion) that attempt to cultivate such desires.

        Amen!(2)
    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing that out! It is too easy to point elsewhere and ignore Jesus' ministry in the most holy place! He is there to cleanse His people - that's you and ME. The rest of this is to strengthen my faith so that when I see it come true I will believe.

      Amen!(2)
    • Phil, notice verse 8 of Revelation 13. Notice also how the remnant are defined(Rev 12:17), which includes no denominational name.

      Those who are Christ’s are called “the branch of the Lord”(Isa 4:2), signifying a vital connection(to the Vine), not simply a denominational name.

      Amen!(7)
  6. vs 12"and he EXERCISES ALL THE AUTHORITY of the first beast in his presence, and causes THE EARTH AND ALL WHO DWELL IN IT TO WORSHIP the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."

    -this verse confirms that the beast power will be a combination of nation/state with worldwide religion (papacy)....nation/state being USA....force of worship of the State (removing religious liberty in law) is the characteristic of this beast power.

    Amen!(5)
  7. Been thinking of this study and I believe it does well to review what has been covered in chp 12 to understand the setting of 13 and make some personal applications

    In chp 12 there are four periods of time mentioned: woman and dragon takes us to the Garden up to the early Christian period, or the time of John and Jesus. The Christian period being the man child born, lived then caught up into heaven. The third period is the 1260, times time and a half, and 42 months (all the same period) which is the section of history that covers the dragon's pursuit of the woman that flees to the desert. And the fourth stage of history in chap 12 is the remnant, or end time. The remnant time sets up what is coming in 13.

    Too, in chp 12 Satan is seeking mostly head on force to try and destroy God's plan and people. But it doesn't work. The flood out of the mouth of the serpent is at once an act of force, but also hinting at deception.

    Having been defeated in heaven, at the cross, and the woman escaping, the dragon turns away from direct force to working through two allies in the act of deception. The counterfeit trinity brought out in chp 12 and 13 is suggesting this. The acts of the land beast is also acts of deception. In reality, both force and deception are kind of a blend in chp 13. The two beasts are set in the end time period.

    Finally, the acts of the dragon through his allies are the subject of chapter 13, while the acts of the Lamb are chp 14, in this war that the dragon is making on the remnant. Two sides are facing off beginning in chapter 12 to the end as the outplay of the great controversy is the main narrative of the bulk of the last half of Revelation. The commandments of God become a theme, too, having been introduced for the first time in chp 11:19. The commandments factor into God's authority/character for which the dragon has attacked.

    We are in the end time period and the battle that rages between the two camps presented is being waged internally, straight down the middle of our hearts. Hence, the need of the renewing of our minds and hearts so that we don't give divided allegiances. Allegiances in 13 and 14 are wholehearted. The presentation of the great controversy is given in part, or maybe primarily, to allow us the opportunity to examine the characters of either camp and decide as to which side we want to be a part of in a wholehearted manner.

    Maybe this is helpful. I hope so.

    Amen!(6)

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