Thursday, December 13, 2012

Revelation Bible Study - Lesson 42 - Revelation 17:9-18

This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind and hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful."

And the angel said to me, "The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth." (ESV)

The Beast

Back in Rev 17:3, the beast is described as scarlet and covered with blasphemies. What does this description bring to your mind? 

 The first thing that I think of is the common description we have of Satan. He is often shown in a red suit or a red being. Back in Rev 13:1, the blasphemies were on the beast’s heads. Now they are covering its body. Blasphemy is a very serious business. In the Old Testament, people were stoned for blasphemy (Lev 24:13-16). The religious establishment of Jesus’ time accused Him of blasphemy when He claimed to the Son of Man (Matt 26:63-66). In their eyes, it was worthy of death. Jesus affirmed the seriousness of blasphemy when it is directed against the Holy Spirit. 

 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (Matt 12:31 KJV)

Satan is obsessed with blaspheming God. This can be seen in the way Paul attacked the Church before he came to Christ. He did everything possible to try to get believers to blaspheme (Acts 26:9-11). Perhaps the names on the beast represent the lengths to which Satan goes to get people to blaspheme.

God’s name being blasphemed isn’t something new, for those who do not know Him have blasphemed His name continuously (Isa 52:5-6). Yet there is going to be a day when all will also know the Lord. He has foretold it and will bring it about. When that occurs, the beast will have gone down to his destruction and all his blasphemy will no longer be heard. 

How do believers living sinful lives fit into Satan’s plans? 

You, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." (Rom 2:21-24 NIV)

We do exactly what these verses describe. When we act this way, we cause God’s name to be blasphemed because we carry the name of Christ. Many people claim that they don’t want anything to do with Christians because we are only a bunch of hypocrites and Satan couldn’t be happier. We don’t want to be pointed at as the cause for people to blaspheme the name of God. Satan is doing a good enough job as it is without our adding names to the beast’s body.

Does God intend for the lost to be astonished by the beast? Explain why or why not.

John was mildly rebuked for being astonished. However it is God’s intent for the lost to be astonished. As we look at Rev 17:8, the key to this is found when it says that those who dwell on the earth, those whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world are astonished or marvel.

They will be astonished because the history of the beast and his so-called resurrection. “It was” probably refers to the Roman Empire and its might. We have gone over this before so we don’t need to rehash the statues in Daniel and other prophesies. What is important now is to see the reaction of the lost and understand that this is what is ordained by God for them.

First we can see that they have never been saved. It is God’s clear intent from the beginning of creation not to save them. This statement is big shock for many people. You are asking if I just said that it was God’s intent not to save these people. You are wondering because you have always been taught that everyone has an opportunity to be saved. To explain why this is biblically accurate, we’ll need to look up some verses.

Let’s look first at the reason why we believe that everyone has an opportunity for salvation. I’m not going to use the usual verses because I want to approach this at a different angle since most people are familiar with John 3:16 and other verses.

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. (Ps 69:28) 

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Rev 3:5)

These are references to names being blotted out of the book of life, which means they had to be there in the first place, an argument for the opportunity for all to be saved. In the first case, David asks that God remove his enemies (people who appear to be enemies of God as well) from the book of life. In the second case Jesus is assuring overcomers that they will never be blotted out. It seems that there is a possibility that people start with their name in book of life but it is blotted out when they die without having been born again (or before if God answered David’s prayer). It’s as if the ink is still wet as long as a person is alive but not a Christian. When a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, the ink is dried in the book of life and can never be blotted out. Other verses to look up are Ex 32:33, Dan 12:1, Rev 13:8, Rev 20:11-15, and Rev 21:27. As we’ll find later, only those whose name are in the book of life can enter heaven.

On the other hand, Rev 13:8 and 17:8 are clear that these people have never, ever, had their names in the book of life. The implication is that they were never called or chosen. Jesus explained that they have the opportunity, but God has already know that they will not respond so He has made sure they wouldn’t by making them dull of hearing.

Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, “YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES, OTHERWISE THEY WOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES, HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM.” (Matt 13:13-15 NASU)

In God’s predetermined knowledge, there are some who are destined for destruction. If you have a problem with this, then you need to read Rom 9:10-26. Paul clearly declares that some are objects of His wrath, prepared for destruction. It is a hard doctrine to explain, understand, or accept.

Back to the beast – when Rome rises to power again, these people will be astonished. It is part of the delusion that God sends them.

And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess 2:11-12 KJV)  

It is done so that all who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness will be condemned. This sounds harsh to us until we realize and accept the fact that we are saved by grace only. It doesn’t sound fair, and it isn’t. We should be condemned along with them. It isn’t that they should be saved. At this point, what can we do but praise, worship, and thank God for His salvation?

Power from the Abyss

Earlier, the beast is described as coming from the sea (Rev 13:1). Now it says it is coming from the abyss. How do you explain this? 

The previous description of the beast was not complete. We understood that the churning sea represented mankind in our unsaved state. The beast coming from this sea shows that it requires masses of unsaved people in order to be manifested. Now we find that the power of the beast or the source of evil comes from the abyss assuring us that it is inspired by Satan or is a representation of Satan. It is important to remember that the beast comes out of the abyss and goes to his destruction.  

How does this description of the beast demonstrate the complexity of the spiritual forces of evil?

The spiritual world is tied together in ways we can’t fully comprehend. These explanations in the Bible give us a glimpse into this world. The beast is described as the hills on which the woman (a city) sits. The hills are then a representation of a series of nations or empires, and finally as specific kings. And verse 18 tells us that the city has dominion over the kings. Behind it all is the power that comes from the abyss.

While we see nations and rulers who are sometimes demonic in their decadence or hate of other nations, especially Israel, it can only be explained by the spiritual forces of evil that are behind them. Daniel was told in the clearest terms about these powers. 

But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

… and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia [Greece] shall come. KJV (Dan 10:13, 20 KJV) 

There is a realm of order in the spirit world that can rule over entire cities and nations. They are in a current battle with angles for control of these systems. But as we will see later, the kingdom of Satan is not perfectly in order and rebellion can take place. Neither is the kingdom of Satan powerful enough to sustain this battle forever. 

How does knowing about this spiritual hierarchy help us in our own lives? 

 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:10-12 KJV)

The first thing we need to understand is that we can’t do anything in our own power or might. We must depend on the Lord and His strength to live a Christian life. Whether we are battling the forces of evil or our own internal lusts, it is by the Holy Spirit living in us that we are able to overcome.

We also need to recognize that there are battles going on around us in the spiritual realms. We can’t ignore them and pretend that they don’t exist. Neither can we become so preoccupied with them that we lose our focus on Jesus and the work that He wants us to do. Paul provides the balance in Eph 6:13-18.

Paul urges us to put on the full armor of God. When we are out of balance, we don’t have the full armor of God. We dwell or obsess with one issue or another. Many times, when people work through the book of Revelation, they obsess with the end-times and forget all of Jesus’ warnings about watching and continuing to do what we are supposed to do. Others fixate on politics and how terrible our country has become. Some look for demons under every rock to explain all their problems and don’t look at their own desires that drag them away.

The following weapons of spiritual warfare are import if we are going to be alert and be found doing what Jesus wants.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth … (Eph 6:14NKJV) 

What is important about the belt of truth? 

We need to start with the truth. Jesus taught that we need to worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We can’t worship God when we don’t know the truth about Him. We can’t battle spiritual forces if we don’t know the truth about them. The most important truth is that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). All religions are satanic attacks when they teach there are many paths to God (all of which are forms of works) or that there is no God to reach (atheism). 

… and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Eph 6:14 KJV) 

What is important about the breastplate of righteousness? 

 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matt 5:6 KJV)

We put on the righteousness of Jesus when we are born again. This is the desire to be morally good. It is at this time we are declared morally good in Jesus. By hungering and thirsting to be good, we are satisfied in the righteousness of Jesus. We aren’t looking for other ways to become good. His righteousness gives us the desire to live holy lives for Him and by His resurrected power living in us. This protects our heart from evil that the satanic forces are throwing at us every day.  

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Eph 6:15 KJV) 

How does the Gospel help us when battling demonic forces? 

There are some words in this short verse that answer the question. Two words are preparation and shod. The Gospel prepares us for battle. The seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out a demon when they weren’t prepared (Acts 19:14). They suffered a terrible beating as a result. The demon said it knew Jesus and recognized Paul because Jesus was living in and through Paul. We need not only know the Gospel, but also have it applied to our lives (shod) by knowing and being a disciple of Jesus.

The third word is peace. As evidenced in the book of Revelation, the demonic forces will not bring peace. When we have the Gospel, we will have peace and we will also be able to offer that peace to lost people as well as the demon possessed.  

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked [one]. (Eph 6:16 KJV) 

How does faith enter into battling demonic forces? 

The first thing to remember is that we are saved by faith and not by our own works (Eph 2:8-9) or even by our own desire (Rom 9:14-16). Since we are saved by faith, we must understand that battling evil, whether it is our own temptations or those that are thrown at us by Satan, we are protected by faith. When doubts or anything else attacks us, we fall back on faith. 

 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 RSV)

We have the assurance of eternal life because the Lord has shown us over and over in the Bible that we can trust Him. We are convinced that the things of the spiritual world, both holy and demonic, are true because of God and what He has revealed in the Bible. 

And take the helmet of salvation … (Eph 6:17 KJV)

Why is a helmet related to salvation when we battle demonic forces? 

We hear a lot about head knowledge and heart knowledge. The terminology comes from the Bible because Rom 10:9 says we need to believe in our hearts. From a biological standpoint this makes no sense so it is a figure of speech that represents the difference between knowing facts and accepting that the facts are true with application to our lives that make a difference. The helmet protects our head, our brain. We process the thoughts in our brain but Satan prevents us from understanding until God gives us the ability to reach the right conclusion and be saved (2 Cor 4:3-4). Once we reach the right conclusions, we must still act on the conclusions which demonstrate our salvation. We rely on our salvation so that our thoughts and our reasoning are in alignment with Jesus (2 Cor 10:3). If we start to doubt our salvation then our faith is in danger of crumbling. Satan would love to have us doubt and that leads to a shipwrecked faith (1 Tim 1:18-19). 

… and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Eph 6:17 KJV)

How do we use the Word of God to battle Satan? 

In Matthew 4:1-11 we see from the temptations of Jesus the best example of using the Word of God to battle Satan. Satan used the basic needs and desires of mankind to try to tempt Jesus to sin. He tried physical needs, doubt of His purpose, and promises of power. In each temptation Jesus spoke directly to Satan and quoted Scripture. There are many arguments among people of great learning. Some support the idea of rebuking Satan directly and other believe it unnecessary or even sinful.

Those who reject the need to do battle in this way have many points that are used to build their argument. They start with saying Satan isn’t omnipresent so he can’t tempt everyone at all times so the likelihood of him tempting any one Christian is unlikely. They say Satan can’t read our minds because he isn’t omniscient. They also say that he can’t plant thoughts in a person’s mind to tempt him or talk to him so there is no need to direct rebuke at him (1 John 4:4). They say that since the angels don’t rebuke him, neither should we (Jude 9). They compare rebuking Satan with praying to Satan and thereby rebuking him verbally would be giving him worship, which if it were true would definitely be sinful. They also say that there is nothing in the Bible that tells us to go around rebuking Satan or demons.

Among those who support rebuking Satan there are some abuses that lend credibility to those who oppose it. There are many who are so demon-centric that they attribute many temptations to Satan that should be attributed to a person’s own evil desires (James 1:14, 4:1-4). There are also some who first rebuke Satan before they will start a worship service, prayer meeting, or other group-related church activities. Their error is turning attention to Satan before they turn attention to God. James 4:7 tells us to first submit to God, then resist the devil.

This study endorses rebuking Satan or demons directly when they attack. It is based on Jesus’ example when he was tempted. It means that we must acknowledge that Satan is more powerful than most people suspect. This power is demonstrated in the way Satan took Jesus to different places to tempt him. It doesn’t matter whether it was physical or in the spiritual realm. Either way it demonstrates Satan’s abilities.

Satan is able to plant thoughts and desires in even a Christian’s mind. Ananias and Sapphira were by all accounts Christians who allowed Satan to fill their hearts (minds) with a deception (Acts 5:3).

He is able to disguise himself as an angel (2 Cor 11:14) and that means he has the ability to appear to people in a physical form. He may not be omnipotent but there is no biblical reason to say that he and his legions are not able to appear and disappear rapidly in many different parts of the world. He could very well operate at speeds faster than we can imagine and multi-task to accomplish his evil.

Is there any reason to suspect Satan can read our thoughts? 

There isn’t any direct biblical evidence that Satan can read our thought, but when we look at Job, Satan certainly had observed him (Job 1:8-11). However, science is making progress and using our brainwaves to operate computers which are now becoming commercialized.[1] If Satan is as powerful as we suspect, doesn’t it stand to reason that he is capable of using brainwaves of individuals to know what they are thinking? Remember, he is operating in the spiritual realm and brainwaves may be readily available to him. I know it is a stretch for people to admit this, but if we open our minds to this possibility then we will be much more able to defeat temptations that come from Satan. It will make taking every thought captive to obey Jesus (2 Cor 10:5) a higher priority in our lives.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 KJV) 

How do we resist the devil?  

Satan isn’t a physical being. We can’t hit, kick, or block him. We can try to ignore him and that is certainly implied if we are submitting ourselves to God. But we need to look at Jesus’ example. It wasn’t written just to let us know that Jesus was tempted in every way as we are, but was written so that we would have an example of how to resist.

Jesus audibly spoke and quoted a verse that applied directly to the temptation. The third time, he told Satan to leave. 

Do we need to speak aloud? Is this considered praying to Satan? 

We don’t need to speak aloud if Satan can read our thoughts. Whatever you may think, this is absolutely not praying to Satan! We aren’t asking him for anything. We aren’t giving him honor. We are using the power (Acts 1:8) and authority (Matt 10:1, Luke 10:19), that Jesus has given us to tell him to leave us alone and why when we quote the Word of God along with our demand to leave us alone. 

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus, whom Paul proclaims." (Acts 19:13 ESV) 

What else do we need to be careful to do? 

Jesus had the authority to tell Satan directly to leave but we aren’t Jesus. Therefore we should make sure that we aren’t doing this in our own power. It was well known that the Apostles were exercising authority over demons in the name of Jesus (Mark 9:38). It was so well know that the seven sons of Sceva were doing this without the authority of Jesus because they were not Christians. The results were devastating as the demon gave them a severe beating (Acts 19:13-17).

God has so ordained it that the demons must obey the authority structure He has established. We can only depend on that structure if we are walking with the Lord. Therefore, when we speak or non-verbally rebuke a satanic attack, it should be in the name of Jesus.

For instance, if you feel that you are being tempted by Satan to become angry you could speak or think, “Satan, in the name of Jesus, be gone for it is written, ‘A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control.’” (Prov 29:11 NIV)

If you have an impure thought or are tempted to commit some impure action you could speak or think, “Satan, in the name of Jesus, be gone for it is written, ‘Be holy because I am holy .’” (1 Peter 1:16 NIV)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Eph 6:18 NIV) 

How does prayer enter into battling demonic forces? 

Especially, if we have addressed Satan telling him to vamoose, we should then direct prayers to the Lord. However, this command to pray is not limited to times when we know we are being or have been tempted. This is all occasions.

We don’t know what kinds of battles are going on around us. We may not be the object of the battle at the moment. When Daniel prayed, it was revealed to him that there was a battle going on at a national level. His prayer was for the people of Israel and the battle extended to Persia and Greece.

Occasions could be when we need wisdom (James 1:5), when we are afraid or in distress (Ps 118:5-6). Giving thanks is a kind of prayer and we should be doing that in all circumstances whether we are joyful or not (1 Thess 5:16-18).

We don’t even need to know what the battle is. Praying in the Spirit suggests that we are prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray. There may be times when we don’t even have the slightest idea of what to say but we can simply tell the Lord that we’re offering up a prayer for what is needed. The Holy Spirit will interpret that prayer to accomplish God’s will (Rom 8:26).

With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph 6:18 NIV)

Are you alert to the battles or the needs of others? Who are you praying for?  

We can stick our heads in the sand and pretend that the spiritual warfare isn’t happening. We can ignore the needs and afflictions of others. Job was afflicted by Satan and it was manifested in the loss of family and property. Then it got worse when he lost his health. Not all of these things happen to us as a direct attack by Satan as it did with Job. However, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray. Satan may try to use the trials that God intends for good to destroy our Christian family or us.

We need to be alert to the circumstances because it may very well be a spiritual battle. We need to be alert to the suffering of others so that we can respond with prayer. When we pray, we may even become part of the solution to the problems.

Seven Heads and Seven Kings

Getting back to the beast, summarize what you know about the seven heads and seven kings.

The seven heads are seven hills and seven kings. The kings then relate to the historical kingdoms described in Daniel, continue where Daniel left off, and end up pointing to Rome. The fact that the angel mentioned one that is currently ruling would point directly to Rome when John wrote this. The last revival of the Roman Empire will not last long. It will go into the hands of the beast that comes from the abyss. In other words, it appears that the last Roman Empire will be in charge of a demon-possessed man.

What is the meaning of the beast’s ten horns?

At the same time that the seventh king (who turns into the eighth) gets his power, ten others will also receive power. This power is very temporary considering the span of history. It is only to set the stage for the beast to take control. Dan 7:19-27 greatly expands on this and fills in enough gaps to make some sense out of it. As we have seen before, there will be Christians around to see this happen. The beast will persecute them for a while, for three and a half years. But again, the Bible clearly speaks of the ultimate victory of Jesus. Rev 17 fills in the detail that the purpose of the ten kings is to pave the way for the beast. Without their support the beast would not be able to overthrow the false religion and prepare to make war against Jesus.

Who is in Control?

How do we know that God is still in control? Is it the beast, the kings who have one purpose, or is the woman in control? 

Verse 17 clearly states that God put it into their hearts. Even in this mess of evil, He has His purpose and uses whomever He wills to accomplish it. In 2 Kings 19:22-28, the Lord made it clear that even the king of Assyria was acting only as the Lord had planned. In the king’s pride, he thought he was conquering and controlling of the nations around him. He was doing as he pleased, where he pleased. Yet the Lord reminded him and Israel that He had planned it from the beginning. Think about the imagery that the Lord uses to show how He controls even the kings of nations. 

I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back … (2 Kings 19:28 KJV) 

 The Lord may have given us free will, but He is still able to accomplish His will as easily as we lead a bull with a ring in its nose or a horse with a bit in its mouth. The people were dismayed before the power, probably even the atrocities, which this king imposed as he stormed through nation after nation. Yet the Lord is very clear that He guided the king. 

How much control does God have over Satan? 

The kings of the earth, even the ones that are ruled by Satan, are under the ultimate control of God (Prov 21:1). It brings up a deep theological question. Does this mean that even Satan’s evil plans and work are under the control of God? We can look at Mark 1:12-13 and the parallel verses in Matthew and Luke to help understand this question.

When Jesus was tempted in the desert it was God’s plan. The Holy Spirit led or sent Him into the desert. Matthew and Luke say led, Mark says sent or in the NAS, it says the Holy Spirit impelled Him to go into the desert. The only conclusion I can draw is that this is where Jesus had to be to keep the plan. So even Satan, thinking he is doing his own thing, is falling into God’s plan.

Isa 44:24 - 45:13 is a lengthy passage that confirms that God is in complete and ultimate control. He reaffirms it with His constant reminders that He has created all things and is active in forming each and every person before they are born. If He has created anything, He can run it. The words of His servants are His words and He will bring them about just as He foils the words of false prophets. How He brings them about is not what we are to question.

If He chooses to have ten kings give their power to the beast, it will be done. If He chooses a heathen king to rebuild Jerusalem, He will. He used Cyrus to subdue the nations and He can use the nations to back the beast. If there are any obstacles to doing this, He will remove them.

How does confidence in God’s abilities help us correctly understand the Book of Revelation?

Without confidence in God’s abilities, people don’t look for a literal fulfillment of the book of Revelation. They see things like a one world religion, a strange dictator that basically rules the world and they say that it couldn’t possibly happen. They don’t realize that it is God’s plan. He will remove any obstacles that would prevent it. They only see it as Satan’s plan to try to take over. They see the evilness of the system and assume that God has nothing to do with it. Yet God says He brings prosperity and creates disaster. 

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. (Isa 45:7 KJV)  

We must not limit God by our own understanding. The point is that His purpose is accomplished. Cyrus did not even acknowledge God, yet God used him and because he didn’t know the Lord, he served God and didn’t get any reward for doing so. Woe to the person who quarrels with his Maker. How much better is it to accept God’s will and give Him the glory for all things?  

How do we apply this knowledge of God’s control to our lives? 

In some sense we rebel against God’s will when we doubt His working or method. In a sense we are gathering to do battle against the Lamb. Certainly not the way these kings are, but we can unwittingly be trying to go against His plan. It is a constant effort to maintain the right attitude when the circumstances are not going the way we think they should. We judge and become the authority. On the other hand, we have the responsibility to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and effect change at His will. It isn’t blindly walking around but it involves the whole idea of being led by and filled with the Spirit so that we may not sin against Him. It includes the attitude that Joseph had toward his brothers. 

But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. (Gen 50:20 KJV)  

Only an attitude like this will keep people from becoming bitter and filled with hate as they see things occurring, especially as the end draws near.

War against the Lamb

What do the titles of the Lamb in Rev 17:14 reveal about Him? 

For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (1 Tim 6:15 NLT)

The Lamb is called the King of kings and Lord of lords, and so is God the Father. This is no surprise since Jesus is also God. There are many Christian cults and most if not all of them deny this. They want to keep Jesus from being recognized for who He is. This goes back to the spiritual battles. If the forces behind these cults can convince the followers that Jesus is not God, but only a god, an angel, or a good man, then they have negated everything that Jesus has done to save us. If Jesus isn’t God, then He has no power to save us from our sins. If we put our faith in a Jesus who isn’t God, then our faith is in vain.  

Who are the faithful and chosen followers? 

In 1 Tim 6:3-16 besides seeing that God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, faithful follower and those caught in cults are described. The man of God is the one that flees from teaching false doctrine but agrees to sound instruction about Jesus. He flees unhealthy interests in controversies leading to a number of divisive things, but he attends to the truth so that it will not be taken from him. This is similar to making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (Eph 4:3)

He is content with the things he has and does not desire riches. Those who desire riches fall into many foolish traps. Instead, the faithful pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness instead.

But the faithful also fight for their faith. This fight entails hanging on to the promise of eternal life. This is focusing on Jesus. Becoming like Him. He did not forsake His confession even at the cost of death. The faithful do not forsake their confession. If Jesus holds us in His hand, He will give us the strength to keep our confession regardless of the circumstances. If He does that, He also gives us the grace to pursue all of these things. Yes, some may slip and backslide for a while, but He restores them. As the Lamb is able to conquer, so are his faithful and chosen followers.

God’s faithful followers are chosen. Just as we saw the truth hidden from the lost, God has also chosen believers out of every age to follow Him. Peter calls us elect or chosen (1 Peter 1:2). Paul tells us we were chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). Jesus says that the end of all things will be shortened for the sake of those who are elected (Mark 13:20).

God is the King of kings and Lord of lords because He is immortal. He is invisible to all except through Jesus. His holiness is such that none can approach Him, except through Jesus. To Him belongs all honor and might. Since He has the honor and deserves it, He also has the might to accomplish all that is happening and to bring destruction to sin.

Double Cross

What is the meaning of the prostitute’s demise in Rev 17:16? 

And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. (Mark 3:23-26 KJV)  

Jesus’ words are not just a parable but also a prophecy about Satan’s eventual downfall. What we see in Revelation is Satan shooting himself in the foot. His desire to come out from behind the scenes and get into the limelight causes him to overthrow the religious system that he has so carefully built up over the ages. Even this would not be possible if God had not put it into the hearts of the kings to cooperate with him. What a person sows they will reap. The woman gets just what she has dished out over the years and particularly against the saints in the last times. The city that supported this system and fed off it will be destroyed. The description of this will appear in the next chapter. Once the center of this religion is destroyed, Satan thinks he can come into his own glory through the beast. 

What can we do while we wait for all this to happen? 

Let’s not be astonished by evil in the world. Instead, let’s do everything we can to align ourselves with God’s will and His perfect plan. For some of us it may mean letting go of anger or disappointment when things don’t go the way we expect. For others, it may mean forsaking foolish desires for money. Maybe we need to get rid of unhealthy interest in controversies. We need to continue to fight the good fight of faith, fleeing all these things. For others (and you know who you are), it means taking the first step to surrender your life to Jesus. Don’t wait – make sure the ink is dry in the Lamb’s book of life today.

[1] Higginbotham, Stacey. "Mind Over Machine: Use Your Brain Waves to Control Your Computer." Http:// Bloomberg Businessweek, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

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