Satan and His Allies (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 9)

by admin admin February 24, 2019

Satan and His Allies (2019, Quarter 1, Lesson 9)

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Sabbath (February 23)

Revelation 12 and 13 predict an end-time alliance between three evil powers: the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the earth. Our study this week will reveal that these symbols point, respectively, to Satan (Revelation 12:7-9), the papacy (Revelation 13:1-10), and apostate Protestantism, especially in the United States (Revelation 13:11-14). Together, they work to force all people on earth to accept the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:15-17). In the end, God destroys all three of these powers (Revelation 19:20; 20:10).

Satan’s allied forces are, in many respects, a counterfeit of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit in heaven:

  • The dragon is a symbol of Satan (Rev. 12:7-9). It is not surprising that the dragon counterfeits God the Father, for Lucifer wanted to be like God in heaven (Isa. 14:12-14).  Like God the Father, the dragon has power, a seat (or throne), and authority.

  • The sea beast imitates Jesus Christ and everything it does is shielded in deception. Christians, in particular, need to prayerfully ask for discernment regarding the beast power because it counterfeits God the Son (Jesus Christ) in many ways:

    • The beast looks like the dragon (Satan), just as Jesus reflects the image of God (compare Revelation 12:3; 13:1 with John 14:9).

    • The beast gets its authority and power from the dragon, just as Jesus relied on God’s power (compare Revelation 13:2 with Matthew 28:18).

    • The beast sits on the dragon’s throne, just as Jesus will sit on the Father’s throne (compare Revelation 13:2 with Revelation 3:21).

    • The beast comes out of water, just as Jesus came out of the water in baptism to begin His ministry (compare Revelation 13:1 with Matthew 3:13-17).

    • The beast works signs and wonders, just as Jesus did (compare Revelation 13:13,14 with Acts 2:22).

    • The beast “ministers” for 3.5 prophetic years, and Jesus ministered for 3.5 literal years between His baptism and death (Revelation 13:5).

    • The beast receives a mortal wound and is resurrected, just as Jesus was (compare Revelation 13:3 with 1 Corinthians 15:3,4).

  • The beast from the earth counterfeits God the Holy Spirit in two primary ways:

    • He directs worship to the beast, just as the Holy Spirit directs worship to Jesus Christ (compare Rev. 13:12 with John 15:26; 16:13,14).

    • He makes fire “come down from heaven” just as the Holy Spirit did on the day of Pentecost (compare Rev. 13:13 with Acts 2:1-4).

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Matthew 24:4, 11, and 24. In what ways do Satan and his allied forces present a fulfillment of Christ’s warning?

  • Read Revelation 12:9. For what reasons is Satan so successful at deceiving “the whole world”? (Compare 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12.)

  • What character qualities of God are revealed by the fact that He has revealed these great end-time powers and movements?

Sunday (February 24): The Beast from the Sea

The beast from the sea in Revelation 13 is a major persecuting power used by the dragon (or Satan) to attack God and His church on earth. That this power points to the papacy and its uniquely effective and long-lasting blend of religious and political power is a well-established fact of Biblical, historicist prophetic interpretation, and has been understood for hundreds of years since the Protestant Reformation.

It is interesting to realize that this church-state power appears in numerous Bible passages with different names, including the Beast (Revelation 13), the Little Horn (Daniel 7 and 8), the Man of Sin, the Mystery of Iniquity, and the Son of Perdition (2 Thessalonians 2), and the Antichrist (1 John 2 and 3). The chart below summarizes and compares the characteristics of these various prophetic figures and shows that they indeed point to the same power.

 

 

Characteristic

Antichrist
(1 & 2 John)

Man of Sin, Son of Perdition, Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess. 2:1-12)

The Beast

(Rev. 13)

The Little Horn

(Dan. 7)

1

Already begun in John’s day

Antichrists in John’s day

Mystery of iniquity already at work

 

 

2

An apostatized Christianity

Went out from among Christians

Appears after a falling away

 

 

3

Denies Jesus Christ

Denies Father & Son, that Jesus came in the flesh

 

 

 

4

Works by error and deception

Spirit of antichrist is spirit of error

Works through deception

 

 

5

More than one man

Many antichrists in world

 

 

 

6

Spirit of error must be overcome by believing truth

Christians can overcome by abiding in doctrine of Christ

Believing the truth is the only way to not be deceived

 

 

7

Speaks in blasphemy

 

Exalts himself above all that is called God

Speaks blasphemy

Speaks blasphemy

8

Works by Satan’s power

 

Works after Satan’s power

Given authority by dragon/Satan

 

9

Continues until Christ’s coming

 

Continues until Christ’s coming

Destroyed at Christ’s coming (19:20)

Destroyed when kingdom given to saints

10

Attacks law

 

“one destitute of law”

 

Changes times and laws

11

Attacks God’s temple

 

Places himself in God’s temple

 

Attacks sanctuary (ch.8)

12

Appears after Babylon, Persia, Greece at set time after 476AD

 

Is revealed in his time

Composite beast: Leopard, bear, lion

Appears after lion, bear, leopard; Appears after 10 horns

13

Appears among European nations

 

 

10 horns

Appears among 10 horns

14

1260 years of power

 

 

Reigns 42 months

Reigns for 1260 days

15

Makes war against saints

 

 

Makes war with saints and overcomes them

Makes war with saints and overcomes them

16

Part of Roman Empire; is political

 

 

beast

Part of Roman empire (beast); Little horn

17

Plucks up 3 nations

 

 

 

Plucks up 3 horns

18

Small geographically

 

 

 

A little horn

19

Relies on human wisdom/reason

 

 

 

Eyes of man

20

Appears to die but is “resurrected”

 

 

Fatal wound healed

 

21

Worldwide power and influence

 

 

Power over all nations

 

22

Number of name is 666

 

 

666

 

23

Church connected with political power

 

 

Woman rides beast

 

24

Purple and scarlet colors

 

 

Purple and scarlet

 

25

Has “daughter” churches

 

 

Mother of harlots

 

Discussion Questions:

  • For what reasons might God have identified this power by a variety of names? (For the same reason that Jesus Christ is given so many names—in order to reveal various aspects of its character and work.)

  • Read Revelation 13:2. From where does the beast get its “power,” “seat,” and “authority”? Why is this important to realize and remember?

  • Read Revelation 13:8. What is the key to not worshipping the beast, and to remaining faithful to God? What does it mean to have our names written in the book of life?

Monday (February 25): The Activities of the Sea Beast

Among the most dangerous and deceptive activities of the sea beast is its attack on heaven, the heavenly sanctuary, and Christ’s work of intercession there. Numerous Bible passages reveal that Satan works through this power in an attempt to destroy and counterfeit Christ’s work in the heavenly sanctuary.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Daniel 8:9-12. What is revealed in these verses about the little horn’s activities? What two things does it “cast down”? (It seeks to expand its influence and control even to heaven, it casts down “the place of his sanctuary” and “the truth”.) How successful is it in these endeavors? (It “practiced” and “prospered”.) Why is this important to remember?

  • Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4. Where does the “man of sin” set himself up? (In the temple of God.) Why is this such a big deal? (He is “shewing himself that he is God,” or is attempting to take God’s power, position, and authority.)

  • Read Revelation 13:6. Where does the sea beast direct its attacks? (Against God, God’s tabernacle, and those “that dwell in heaven”.) Who might be included in those “that dwell in heaven”? (Compare Revelation 13:8 and Hebrews 11:10 and 16. Those that are written in the book of life dwell in heaven by faith!)

  • Read Revelation 13:10. For what reasons do you think God allows His truth to be attacked and His people on earth to be persecuted?

Tuesday (February 26): The Beast Arising Out of the Earth

The beast that rises out of the earth in Revelation 13:11-12 points to a political power that professes Christianity (he “had two horns like a lamb”) but ends up as a tool of Satan (he “spake as a dragon”). A number of clues in Revelation 13 identify the United States as the beast from the earth.

  • It arises around 1798. Seven parallel Bible prophecies predict the Papacy’s 1,260 years of rule from 538-1798 ad (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2,3; 12:6, 14; 13:5). At the end of this prophetic time period the Papacy suffered a “deadly wound” (Rev. 13:3).  This was fulfilled when Napolean’s General Berthier took the Pope captive in 1798, effectively stripping the Papacy of its political power. Revelation 13:11 predicts that the beast from the earth would arise around 1798 at the end of the 1,260 years of Papal rule.  Bible students understood this before it happened; in 1754 John Wesley wrote, “He [the beast from the earth] is not yet come, though he cannot be far off; for he is to appear at the end of the forty two months of the first beast” (John Wesley, Notes on Revelation 13 (1754). The United States did indeed arise in the final years of the 18th century. 

  • It comes “up out of the earth” (verse 11). Since “water” in prophecy refers to people and nations (Isa. 17:12; Rev. 17:15), “earth” must denote an unpopulated area. The last time “earth” was mentioned was in Revelation 12:15, 16, where the earth opens its mouth to protect the woman (God’s church) from religious persecution by the Papacy.  Therefore, “earth” must refer to an unpopulated area of the world that offered religious freedom around the year 1798.  This description perfectly fits the United States in the year 1798.

  • It has “two horns like a lamb” (verse 11). Throughout the Bible Christ is symbolized by a lamb (Rev. 5:6). Therefore, this new nation professes Christianity.  There are no crowns on its horns, signifying that no king rules here.  In contrast, the sea beast, or Papacy, has 10 crowns on its seven heads, indicating the presence of kingly power in Europe during the “dark ages.”  The United States was founded as a nation free from monarchical control, built on the Protestant principles of religious and civil freedom.  These are the “two horns” without crowns, and for more than two centuries the Constitution and Bill of Rights have protected these freedoms.

  • It attains global power and economic influence. The beast from the earth grows in strength to eventually exert worldwide influence (he “deceiveth them,” verse 14), military power (“he causeth all,” verse 16) and economic strength (“that no man might buy or sell,” verse 17). The United States today possesses all of these.

Just as the sea beast goes by many names in Scripture, the beast from the earth is also referred to as the false prophet. A number of comparisons make it clear that the beast from the Earth is the same as the false prophet:

  • both work with the beast to implement the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:11-17; 19:20);

  • both use miracles to deceive the world (Rev. 13:13, 14; 19:20);

  • both lead people to worship the “image of the beast” (Rev. 13:15; 19:20);

  • both are directed by the spirit of Satan (Rev. 13:11; 16:14); and

  • both fight against God and His people (Rev. 13:15; 16:14).

Discussion Questions:

  • For what reasons might Scripture refer to the United States, and more specifically, the influence of apostate Protestantism within that nation, as the “false prophet”?

  • Read 1 Corinthians 14:3. What are some duties of a prophet, in addition to predicting the future? How do these duties relate (or not relate!) to the activities of the false prophet?

  • Read Deuteronomy 13:1-5. How might this passage relate to Revelation’s “false prophet”?

Wednesday (February 27): The Image of the Beast

The sea beast of Revelation 13, the Roman Catholic Church, controlled many, if not most, aspects of civil and religious society during much of the dark ages. In his book Great Empires of Prophecy, A.T. Jones identifies Constantine’s Sunday worship law as the tool that gave the Church so much power in the medieval world:

“In [Constantine’s] Sunday law, power was given to the church to compel those who did not belong to the church, and who were not subject to the jurisdiction of the church, to obey the commands of the church. In the Sunday law there was given to the church control of the civil power, so that by it she could compel those who did not belong to the church to act as though they did. The history of Constantine's time may be searched through and through, and it will be found that in nothing did he give to the church any such power, except in this one thing—the Sunday law” (A.T. Jones, Great Empires of Prophecy, pp. 491-492).

Revelation 13:14 predicts that the second beast, or the United States, will someday form an “image to the beast,” a replica of the medieval church-state union that flowed primarily from Constantine’s Sunday law. As early as the 1890s the papacy had identified the United States as its future partner to re-establish its church-state beast status. Here is how it happened. In 1888 a bill almost passed through the United States Congress that would have protected Sunday as a day of worship and rest. It’s known today as the Blair Bill and can be easily found online. Although it was defeated, it caught the attention of the pope in Rome, and in 1892 he wrote a letter to a newspaper in New York in which he identified the United States as its future ally. He wrote:

In his [Pope Leo’s] view, the United States has reached the period when it becomes necessary to bring about the fusion of all the heterogeneous elements in one homogeneous and indissoluble nation…He wants America to be powerful, in order that Europe may regain strength from borrowing a rejuvenated type…What can we borrow, and what ought we to borrow from the United States for our social, political, and ecclesiastical reorganization? …the Church ought to be the chosen crucible for the molding and absorption of races into one united family. And that, especially, is the reason why he labors at the codification of ecclesiastical affairs, in order that this distant member of Christianity [the USA] may infuse new blood into the old organism (Letter from the Vatican to the New York Sun, July 11, 1892; quoted in A.T. Jones, Ecclesiastical Empire, p. 858).

This letter, of course, was written well over 100 years ago, and while the complete fulfillment of Revelation 13 is still in the future, a decided shift in American attitudes toward the papal power can be clearly seen when statements from its early leaders are compared with those of recent presidents.

  • John Adams: “I have long been decided in opinion that a free government and the Roman Catholick [sic] religion can never exist together in any nation or Country,” and that “Liberty and Popery cannot live together” (John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, February 3, 1821, Cappon, Adams-Jefferson Letters, 2:571; quoted in James Hutson, The Founders on Religion: A Book of Quotations, 41.)

  • General Marquis de Lafayett: “It is my opinion that if the liberties of this country — the United States of America — are destroyed, it will be by the subtlety of the Roman Catholic Jesuit priests, for they are the most crafty, dangerous enemies to civil and religious liberty. They have instigated most of the wars in Europe” (Rev. Dr. Vanpelt, quoting General Marquis De Lafayette; in Martin John Spalding, Miscellanea: comprising reviews, lectures, and essays, on historical, theological, and miscellaneous subjects, pp. 641).

  • Abraham Lincoln: “I do not pretend to be a prophet. But though not a prophet, I see a very dark cloud on our horizon. And that dark cloud is coming from Rome. It is filled with tears of blood. It will rise and increase, till its flanks will be torn by a flash of lightning, followed by a fearful peal of thunder. Then a cyclone such as the world has never seen, will pass over this country, spreading ruin and desolation from north to south…Neither I nor you, but our children, will see those things” (Carpenter, Six Months in the White House, p.86; quoted by Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899), Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, The Wickliffe Press, Protestant Truth Society, 1885, p. 715).

  • George W. Bush: “The best way to honor Pope John Paul II, truly one of the great men, is to take his teaching seriously; is to listen to his words and put his words and teachings into action here in America. This is a challenge we must accept” (George W. Bush, March 21, speech to delegation of U.S. Catholic cardinals at White House).

  • Barack Obama: “I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis’ encyclical, and deeply admire the Pope’s decision to make the case—clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position—for action on global climate change” (Barack Obama, “Statement by the President on Pope Francis’ Encyclical,” (June 18, 2015), www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/06/18/statement-president-pope-francis’s-encyclical).

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 13:13,14. What factors will influence and lead people to accept and worship the image of the beast? (Wonders and miracles.)

  • Read Acts 2:1-4 and 1 Kings 18:37-39. What might these two stories tell us about the deceptions that will be worked at the end of time? (In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit falls like fire, so the counterfeit in Revelation 13 would seem to indicate a false spirit working false unity among the churches. In 1 Kings 18 fire falls from heaven as the true prophet prays, and all the people recognize and worship God. The counterfeit of this experience in Revelation 13 would seem to indicate that a false fire will fall in response to the “false prophet’s” prayer and lead people to worship a false god.)

  • How can we avoid these deceptions and ensure that we are worshipping the true God?

Thursday (February 28): The Mark of the Beast

Seventh-day Adventists have long understood that the mark of the beast points to the passage of Sunday worship laws, starting in the United States, but eventually enforced in all nations. Today there are some that question whether this interpretation is still valid, yet we have been told,

“The light we have received upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, nor will it be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1 (E.G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 17).

It is important to remember that Seventh-day Adventists are not the first to Biblically identify the mark of the beast with the Sunday issue. In 1657 an English minister named Thomas Tillam published a book with the long title,

“The Seventh-Day Sabbath Sought out and celebrated. Or, The Saints last Design upon the man of sin, with their advance of God’s first institution to its primitive perfection, being a clear discovery of that black character in the head of the little Horn, Dan. 7:25. The Change of Times & Laws. With the Christian’s glorious Conquest over that mark of the beast, and recovery of the long-slighted seventh day, to its ancient glory…”

For a thorough study of enforced Sunday worship as the mark of the beast, see chapters 35-39 of The Great Controversy.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Revelation 13:16 and compare it with Revelation 7:3. What is the significance of the mark of the beast being placed in the same location as the seal of God?

  • Read Deuteronomy 6:6-8 and Hebrews 8:10. What does God want to place in, or on, our foreheads, and how does this relate to the mark of the beast?

  • Compare Revelation 13:17 with Christ’s statement in Matthew 6:31-33. What key does Christ reveal regarding avoiding the mark of the beast?

Friday (March 1): Justification by Faith in Verity

The third angels’ message (Revelation 14:9-11) warns emphatically against receiving the mark of the beast. Yet this message goes much deeper than a mere warning about what not to have. It’s most important aspect is a message about what we should and must have. Consider this statement from the first volume of Selected Messages, “Several have written to me, inquiring if the message of justification by faith is the third angel’s message, and I have answered, “It is the third angel’s message in verity” (Selected Messages 1:372). In another place Ellen White likewise connected the third angels’ message with the message of righteousness by faith:

The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgments for disobedience and transgression until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel (E.G. White, Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 19, emphasis added.

Discussion Questions:

  • Read Romans 4:1-9. How was Abraham counted righteous, and how only can we be counted righteous? (Through faith.)

  • Since righteousness by faith is the heart of the third angels’ message, then what does this indicate about the world’s religious and spiritual condition at the time that the mark of the beast will be enforced? (It will be void of faith.)

  • Recount the story of Abraham’s test of faith in Genesis 22. What does it reveal about true faith? (It must be accompanied by works, see James 2:17,20.) What lessons can we learn from Abraham about exercising true, saving faith in Christ?

 

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