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Worthy is the Lamb: Awhh ... What a Cute Little Beast!

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Text: Revelation 13:11-18
Theme: As we continue our study Revelation we learn that a coming deceiver called the False Prophet will aid and abet the antichrist and will force the world to worship him strengthening his global leadership.
Date: 09/16 /2018 File name: Resurrection30.wpd ID Number:
It's hard to deceive somebody who knows the truth. When it comes to truth those of us who know the real Jesus Christ know that the time is coming when a False Christ will appear upon the world seen. He will deceive the whole world.
Already, in the world, there are those men claiming to be the second Advent of the Savior, or a reincarnation of Jesus, and are leading multitudes of people astray. The Bible tells us this would take place. In the late first century, when the apostle John is living, and writing, and ministering, he tells us that "already there are many antichrists in the world."
In our studies in the Book of Revelation the letter predicts a future ruler who will be a false Messiah — he will present himself as another Christ. This morning’s text tells us that he will not act a loan.
As we arrive at the second half of Revelation 13 we see that the devil's agenda includes raising up a compatriot to the antichrist — someone who will aid him in his agenda of deceiving the whole world in turning men to the worship of Satan. In chapter 13 the apostle John refers to him as "the beast out of the earth" but in later chapters he is identified as the False Prophet.

I. THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH — HIS PERSON

“Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.” (Revelation 13:11, NIV84)
1. having seen the terrifying vision of the first beast in 13:1–10 — whom we know better as the Antichrist — John then sees another beast
a. this beast comes out of the earth
b. in the ancient world, the earth was less mysterious and foreboding than the sea
2. that this beast arises from the earth suggests that he will be subtler, gentler, less overpowering and terrifying than the Antichrist
a. this is a gentler kinder beast ... but he’s still a beast
b. he will be winsome and persuasive, the epitome of the wolf in sheep’s clothing

A. HIS DESCRIPTION

1. the description of the first beast, with its ten horns, seven heads, ten crowns, and seven blasphemous names, is grotesque and frightening
a. in contrast, the second beast is said to be a lamb with two horns
1) this indicates that he is not characterized by the same massive might as the Antichrist
b. and unlike the savage, ferocious, fierce, and deadly Antichrist, who is likened to a leopard, bear, and lion, the false prophet seems as harmless as a lamb
1) compared to the description of the first beast, how scary is a lamb; right?
2) he does not come as a conquering dictator, but on the surface appears as meek and gentle, though not without great authority
2. this second beast will aid and abet the antichrist and this second beast will force the world to worship the Antichrist thus strengthening his global leadership
3. this second beast is better known to us as the false prophet
a. we know this from other verses in Revelation
b. Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10 all identify this second beast as the False Prophet
“Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” (Revelation 16:13, NIV84)
4. as in the case of the first beast, many believers and bible students view this second beast as an institution, a form of government, or an ideology
a. I’m in that group of interpreters who take these events more literally, even while recognizing they are highly symbolic
b. as with the first beast, I believe that the false prophet will be a real person who leads a real religious movement, and that they will be so closely identified that you’ll not be able to think of one without the other

B. HIS DECEPTION

1. despite his deceptively mild appearance, the false prophet is no less a child of hell than the Antichrist
a. that is evident because he spoke as a dragon
1) that means that the false prophet, whoever he is, will be a mouthpiece for Satan
2. false prophets often appear meek, mild, and harmless
a. they offer hope and solutions to the problems troubling men and women
b. yet they are ever the voices of hell, and when they open their mouths, Satan speaks
c. so it will be amid the unspeakable horrors of the Tribulation
3. the false prophet will come like a lamb, speaking false, deceptive words of comfort
a. he will promise the suffering, tormented people of the world that all will be well if only they will follow the Antichrist
b. but those who fall for his subtle lies will face the terrifying judgment of God
4. The Coming False Prophet Will Be a Person and He Will Be Personable

II. THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH — HIS POWER

“He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. 14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.” (Revelation 13:12–14, NIV84)
1. though primarily a subtle deceiver, the false prophet will not be impotent
a. John notes that he exercises all the authority of the first beast, that is the Antichrist
b. what John is saying is that the false prophet will exercise the same kind of demonic power and authority as the Antichrist does, since both are empowered by the same hellish source
2. there seems to be a symbiotic relationship between these two beasts
a. symbiotic relationships are a special type of interaction between species that benefits both
b. in nature these symbiotic relationships are essential, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together
1) the false prophet performs all its miracles and signs on behalf of the Antichrist which encourages the inhabitants of earth to worship the Antichrist
“Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. ... .” (Revelation 13:14, NIV84)
a) by doing so the False Prophet exercises the authority given him by Satan — an authority equal to the Antichrist’s
2) the Antichrist is able to deceive the whole world because of the wonder-works of the False Prophet
3. the first beast could not exist and could not exercise his authority and would not be worshiped without the work of the second beast
4. and the second beast would have no reason to exist and to work, were it not for the fact that this first beast must reach his full power

A. THE FALSE PROPHET WILL DECEIVE THROUGH POWERFUL SIGNS

1. the false prophet “ ... made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.” (Revelation 13:12, NIV84)
a. how will he accomplish such a feat?
2. he will perform great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men
a. does that miracle sound familiar? ... it’s right out of the Old Testament and the ministry of Elijah
ILLUS. Do you remember the story of Elijah and his contest with the prophets of Baal? The people of the nation of Israel had fallen into idolatry. Very few have remained faithful to the Lord. As a result the prophet Elijah is at King Ahab’s palace and tells the king that because of Israel’s idolatry there will be no rain or dew for three years. Elijah’s prophecy comes true. Israel becomes desperate. At the end of those three years Elijah appears once again and challenges Ahab’s profits to a contest. They will go to the top of Mount Caramel. The prophets of Baal will build an altar and sacrifice an ox upon the altar. Elijah will do the same. Neither side shall light the fire to consume the ox as a burnt offering, but instead each side will pray for God to send fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice. Elijah will let the prophets of Baal go first. They pray and chant half the day. They even mutilate themselves to encourage their god to send fire. He doesn’t. Then Elijah prays, and God sends fire from heaven. The fire not only consumes the sacrifice it consumes the rocks the sacrifice is laid upon and even licks up the dust around the altar. The people of Israel fall on their faces saying, “The Lord he is God, the Lord he is God.”
b. whatever kind of fiery miracle the false prophet creates it causes the world to fall at the feet of the Antichrist and worship him as Lord and god
3. but as if calling fire down from heaven were not enough, the false prophet also has one more spectacular miracle to unleash upon mankind
“ ... He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.” (Revelation 13:14b-15, NIV84)
a. like Nebuchadnezzar before him (Dan. 3), but on a global scale, the Antichrist, aided by the false prophet, will set up a statue of himself as a symbol of his deity and worldwide worship
4. how will it be possible that sane, rational people will be so spectacularly deceived?
a. the first 3½ years of the tribulation witnessed unparalleled disasters and unimaginable horrors, unleashed upon the world leaving people desperate for answers
b. having rejected the true gospel and blasphemed the true God the unbelieving world will be eager to believe the deceiving lies propagated by the false prophet
5. The Coming False Prophet Will Be a Person of Great Power and Great Persuasion Point Humanity to the False Christ Is the Answer to Their Problems

III. THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH — HIS PROGRAM

“He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.” (Revelation 13:15–18, NIV84)
1. the false prophets program to a the Antichrist in world domination will include a coerced worship, and coerced allegiance

A. THE FALSE PROPHET’S PROGRAM WILL EMPLOY A COERCED WORSHIP

1. the idolatrous image of the Antichrist will be different from any other idol in human history
a. in another display of his power to deceive, the false prophet will give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak
b. now there is something interesting going on here in vs. 15
1) John does not tell us that he caused the image to live, but simply that he gave it breath
2) the False Prophet will supernaturally animates the image so that it gives the appearance of being alive
2. again, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Dan. 3:6), the death sentence will be decreed for those who refuse to worship the image of Antichrist
a. I think that many of the martyrs mentioned earlier in Revelation 6:9–11 and 7:13–14 are those who will be killed during this terrible time of persecution
b. I think the reason the Antichrist will make war on the saints (Rev. 13:7) is because of their refusal to bow the knee to his image

B. THE FALSE PROPHET’S PROGRAM WILL EMPLOY A COERCED ALLEGIANCE

1. as part of his plan to enforce the worship of Antichrist, the false prophet will require all categories of unbelievers, summarized as the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead
a. just as God sealed His people with a mark on their forehead to preserve them from His wrath against the unbelieving world (7:2–3), so the false prophet marks the unsaved to preserve them from Antichrist’s wrath against God’s people
1) the mark will signify that the person bearing it is a worshiper and loyal follower of the Antichrist
ILLUS. In much the same way, the Roman emperors required their subjects to prove their loyalty by offering sacrifices to Caesar. Once a year residents would have to appear before a local magistrate, and declare “Caesar is Lord.” Those who refused were subject to imprisonment or execution. Many Christians were jailed and executed because they would only declare that “Jesus is Lord.”
2. besides the constant threat of death, refusing to take the mark of the beast will have dire practical consequences in daily living
a. no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark
1) no wonder the world’s inhabitants say, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Rev. 13:4)
2) it will be a time of one world government and one world religion, with one world economic system
b. Antichrist’s empire will maintain strict economic control over the world
1) food, clothing, medical supplies, and the other necessities of life potentially in demand in the devastated earth, which has felt the judgment of God (6:5–6), will be unobtainable for those without the mark
ILLUS. Over the centuries Christians have debated what that “mark” might consist of. Up until the last 50 years the most common assumption was some kind of tattoo. In an era of electronics where microchips are becoming increasingly smaller many believe that some kind of microchip implanted within the human body is a distinct possibility. All around the world, manufacturers are using Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to track packages. Dozens of nations are imbedding them in their Passports. RFID chips are what they implant in livestock and pets to allow for positive identification of animals. I’ve jokingly been telling people that both of my pets are followers of the antichrist because they’ve both been “chipped”. And yes, the same kind of chips can be implanted in people. Our own Food and Drug Administration approved the use of RFID chips in humans in 2004.
2) bottom line, we don’t know what the “mark of the beast” may involve, but we live in an era where the possibility of electronically tagging and tracking every human on the planet is real
3. this will be a time of testing of every confessing believer’s faith
a. it will be a time when Christian martyrs will outnumber the believers who survive
“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31–39, NIV84)

IV. APPLICATION

A. THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT SPECULATION

“This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18, NIV84)
1. perhaps no detail in Revelation has intrigued people more than this number
a. there has been no end to the speculation as to its significance and how to calculate it
b. since the days of the early church, scholars, and theologians, and end-time enthusiasts have claimed to have identified the Antichrist by the number
ILLUS. In Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, letters had numerical equivalents. An example would be our own alphabet where the letter “A” represents the number “1" and so on. Summing up these numbers gives a numeric value to a word or name. My whole name adds up to 210 (so I guess I’m off the hook). Over the centuries a myriad of schemes to associate the names of historical individuals with the number 666 have been put forth. The Roman emperors Nero, Caligula, and Domitian were all considered the Antichrist. Dictators Napoleon, Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and a host of others have been proposed, based on some sort of convoluted mathematical rendering of the letters in their name. Every American President since John F. Kennedy — with the exception of Gerald Ford — has been considered a possibility. Every Pope since Leo X, (the Pope who excommunicated the Reformer Martin Luther), has been considered by many Protestants as the coming Antichrist. Catholics considered Martin Luther the Antichrist (only fair, I guess). Martin Luther had an interesting interpretation of Revelation. He believed there were two Antichrists ... a spiritual antichrist, which was the Pope, and a physical antichrist, which was the Islamic Turks who were then making incursions into Europe.
2. who is the Antichrist? ... the Apostle Paul seems to indicated that Confessing Christians will recognize him when he comes on the scene
“Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, NIV84)
3. the best “wisdom” I can give you as we wait for the beginning of all these things, and the identity of the Antichrist to be revealed is “Don’t sweat it.”

B. THE CHURCH NEEDS TO BE VIGILANT FOR FALSE PROPHETS

1. the church needs to be vigilant
“ “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15, NIV84)
“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” (2 Peter 2:1, NIV84)
ILLUS. In 1848 James Marshall discovered gold in California’s American River, and the stampede was on. The cry of Eureka! by a miner meant that he had found gold.
But would-be prospectors quickly learned that not everything that appeared to be gold actually was. Riverbeds and rock quarries were full of golden specks that were entirely worthless. They called it "fool's gold." It was iron pyrite, and miners had to be careful to distinguish it from the real thing. Many an amateur miner would labor for days only to be told by the local assayer that his pouch full of golden dust was worthless.
Experienced miners could usually distinguish pyrite from gold simply by looking at it. But, in some cases, the distinction was not quite so clear. So, they developed tests to discern the real from the fake. One test involved biting the rock in question. Real gold is softer than the human tooth, whereas fool's gold is harder. A second test involved scraping the rock on a piece of white ceramic. True gold leaves a yellow streak, whereas the residue left by fool's gold is greenish black. In either case, a miner relied on tests to authenticate his finds.
2. as was true in the gold rush, just because something glitters doesn't mean it's good
a. Christians need to be equally wary of spiritual "fool's gold"
b. we must not accept something as true without first testing it to see if it passes the test
3. there are two simple tests we need to perform
a. the Truth Test ... does what we’re hearing conform to the inerrant, infallible, authoritative Scripture?
“Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1, NIV84)
1) What Does an Honest and Systematic Study of the Bible Teach?
b. the Jesus Test ... does the person teaching believe the Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?
"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:2–3, NIV84)
1) What Does a Preacher, Prophet, Priest or Group Teach about Jesus?
2) if a group doesn't get their teaching about Jesus right, nothing else matters
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