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Revelation 12 to 14 In Easy Terms

Posted by adventbiblestudy on October 8, 2014


Revelation 12 to 14 In Easy Terms

It seems we have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Bible. Looking over a few chapters in Revelation bring out one of the major details of this misunderstanding. You can begin in Revelation 12 and see how this theme begins to establish itself and flow from one contrast to the other. Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because of her labor pains and the agony of giving birth. (Revelation 12:1-2 NLTse). Anyone with a basic understanding of the Bible knows, this woman is not giving birth to a new concept or idea, but God’s Son, who came to this world to explain the age old concept of how to worship God. Jesus used His life here as an example to show people, all the nations, kings, and people of this world, an acceptable offering to God. In other words, how to worship God. It can also be explained as how to serve God.

We see a dragon using the number seven. That dragon is trying to offer an imitation. That dragon is offering a counterfeit. Then I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away one-third of the stars in the sky, and he threw them to the earth. He stood in front of the woman as she was about to give birth, ready to devour her baby as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:3-4 NLTse). That dragon used heads as a symbol pointing to his imitations and deceptions. While attention is placed on the heads, the real deception and wrath lies in his tail. See the connection to Genesis? “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 NLTse).

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” When the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (Revelation 12:12-13 NLTse). There is first a battle in Heaven. The dragon lost and was cast down to earth. That dragon went after the woman, Jesus’ followers who understand what Jesus came to teach. People who not only understand but follow the example Jesus set. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. And the dragon was angry at the woman and declared war against the rest of her children–all who keep God’s commandments and maintain their testimony for Jesus. Then the dragon took his stand on the shore beside the sea. (Revelation 12:16-18 NLTse). There was something in this world that will assist and protect the woman. What is in this world that can help that woman? There are only two things that can help that woman. God’s written word where Jesus’ testimony and God’s commands are found, and … well what covered this world before creation? In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2 NLTse).

As we move onto the next chapter we see a specific pattern the dragon follows. Pay attention to where the dragon stood. On the shore next to the sea. This is a symbol pointing to the dragon’s deception. Can you see the relationship between Genesis and Revelation? One of the greatest weapons in this spiritual warfare that began in Heaven and came down to this world is camouflage The dragon has been using camouflage a lot longer than this world has been around. The Bible explains this in detail in Revelation 13. Then I saw a beast rising up out of the sea. It had seven heads and ten horns, with ten crowns on its horns. And written on each head were names that blasphemed God. This beast looked like a leopard, but it had the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion! And the dragon gave the beast his own power and throne and great authority. (Revelation 13:1-2 NLTse). Leopards are masters of camouflage They rely on camouflage for survival. Notice another change. The beast introduced in Revelation 13 used the number seven and now added the number 10. Look back a few chapters in Revelation. Jesus consistently used the number seven to communicate with symbols. The dragon copied that number, and now the beast copied the number seven, and wants to show this world he can do better.

But there is a difference. It should be easy to see, but remember, the message from that beast and the dragon are camouflaged The Bible used symbols pointing to those deceptions. They worshiped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshiped the beast. “Who is as great as the beast?” they exclaimed. “Who is able to fight against him?” Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. (Revelation 13:4-6 NLTse). The battle in Heaven moved down to earth. Of course the Bible tells us simple details, a broad view of those deceptions. If we started writing a list of deceptions, we would never finish. By the time we wrote one out, the devil would invent a hundred more. But they fall into one major category, speaking great blasphemies against God which concentrate in two major areas, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven.

Since we see the dragon standing on the shore next to the sea, we see he is trying to imitate God’s Spirit. He also tried to copy symbols. When he does, those symbols will have a completely different meaning than what God intended. This should not be difficult to understand. The beast moved from seven to ten for a simple reason. The beast will introduce a few new symbols. Those are deceptions we see all the time. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. (Revelation 13:9 NLTse).

Next we see a series of deceptions. That dragon, the devil is hiding. First he sets up a beast. Then another beast, or symbol. Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. He had two horns like those of a lamb, but he spoke with the voice of a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. (Revelation 13:11-13 NLTse). This beast is one of the many symbols the devil will introduce. It followed the same pattern as the other beasts, using imitation and camouflage. This beast uses one of the deceptions pointed out earlier, speaking against Heaven. His deceptions are made to look like things coming down from Heaven. You can review previous chapters in Revelation to see what Jesus send us from Heaven like those in chapter 1. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:20 NLTse). These are a few things the dragon will have the series of beasts use to create their own imitations.

That form of control relying on simple deceptions and warfare worked for a while. But God found a way to put His Word in the hands of thousands and finally millions. The dragon needed another level of camouflage, so he created an image. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was then permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die. He required everyone–small and great, rich and poor, free and slave–to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. (Revelation 13:14-16 NLTse). There are a few clues here. After all, chapter 13 is summed up by telling us we should be able to figure this out. Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666. (Revelation 13:18 NLTse).

I don’t want to get into the number 666. Too many people claiming to figure that one out is part of the deception. But isn’t 6 a little short of the number 7 God used as a symbol? People who dedicate their life and time to study the beast are well, for lack of a better term, worshiping that beast. That is another key word introduced in Revelation 13 – worship. What does worship consist of? Previous chapters in Revelation explain what worship is like in Heaven. But do people study Heaven’s form of worship or the number of the beast? Get the picture? Revelation 13 gives us a few more clues. What is the image the beast is using to deceive people? What is an image? Something that looks almost like the original. At times something that looks exactly like the original. In this case the image looks like that first beast. What does that beast at the beginning of Revelation represent? Most people agree that beast represents Satan’s first great deception and continuation of that war in Heaven on earth. It took Satan about 300 years, but he was able to take that woman and make her into a church to serve and worship him. Did you see that in Revelation 13? Satan took a whole bunch of symbols, traditions, doctrines, and other garbage from this world and made a whole new religion out of it. Notice how the first beast appeared to come up out of the sea? It was trying to imitate God’s Spirit. The second beast that looked like a lamb came up out of the earth. In symbols the Bible showed us how Satan’s deceptions will create an imitation by blending a copy of God’s Spirit with doctrines, traditions, symbols, and worship services from the earth. Satan created this combination because it was easy for the world to accept.

So what did Satan create in his new religion? He created everything. Talk about the squeaky wheel in a church who has to get their own way in every detail. Satan was far worse than your worst nightmare about a control freak in church. His first deception was to place one guy in control. That way Satan insured he got his way on every detail. Then Satan copied the lust people had for elaborate buildings and applied that deception to the inside. Satan threw out everything in the Bible about worship services and came up with a service more along his liking filled with pomp, tinsel, and glitter. Eye candy replaced true worship. The direct connection with God Jesus died for was replaced by putting one man and people who worked for him, between this world and God.

Revelation 14 gives two choices, worshiping the image the beast set up, or worship the way God intended people to worship. Then Revelation moved onto the harvest. One group knew how to worship God. The other group fell for Satan’s deception and worshiped according to the rules and regulations he set up. And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world–to every nation, tribe, language, and people. “Fear God,” he shouted. “Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water.” Then another angel followed him through the sky, shouting, “Babylon is fallen–that great city is fallen–because she made all the nations of the world drink the wine of her passionate immorality.” Then a third angel followed them, shouting, “Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger. It has been poured full strength into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:6-10 NLTse). The good news is, some people can see the difference. Their job is to tell the world it ain’t worshiping God the right way. But are they getting that message right?

There’s one message repeated throughout the Old Testament. “You must not mistreat or oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. (Exodus 22:21-23 NLTse). Jesus explained the same lesson to His disciples. Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James 1:27 NLTse). So why can’t the world see through the dragon’s deceptions?

So far the world decided to take the beast’s form of worship and try to modify it a little bit, thinking a few changes will make it acceptable to God. This is the image Revelation 13 tells us about. They still resemble that form of worship Satan created because people copied it and did a few changes. Just about every Christian denomination in this world copied Satan’s greatest deception and created their own personal image out of it. It is the new patch of cloth on the old garment Jesus warned about.

Some churches simply replaced one man with another. Other churches thought a committee was a better idea. Neither choice fulfilled the direct connection with God, the direct access to God’s throne we’re shown in Hebrews chapter 10. Many churches continued to use the same symbols and grand buildings Satan introduced when it was simple for him to control one man. Some churches did borrow a few concepts out of Acts and Paul’s letters and tried putting a patch on the old garment by appointing people to help feed and look after the poor. But they do little to turn people over to God’s Spirit. Nor do they know how to teach people how to personally approach God’s throne. Most of them substituted much of God’s Word with so called church manuals with new rules and regulations so they can control who is in charge of what. Church committees decided they could stand between members and God’s Spirit by deciding who served in their churches and how they should serve. All of those are nothing more than images they built to worship the beast.

God’s plan was simple. Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.” You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches. As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” (Exodus 19:5-6, Isaiah 61:6, 1 Peter 2:6-10 NLTse). Time to get back to the ancient form of worship. Back to the day Adam received life and spent the entire day with God.
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