Monday, September 8, 2008

The Coming of the Beast

Today's Daily Soap {Scripture | Observation | Application | Prayer}
  • SAnd the Dragon stood on the shore of the sea. I saw a Beast rising from the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads—on each horn a crown, and each head inscribed with a blasphemous name. The Beast I saw looked like a leopard with bear paws and a lion's mouth. The Dragon turned over its power to it, its throne and great authority. One of the Beast's heads looked as if it had been struck a deathblow, and then healed. The whole earth was agog, gaping at the Beast. They worshiped the Dragon who gave the Beast authority, and they worshiped the Beast, exclaiming, "There's never been anything like the Beast! No one would dare go to war with the Beast!" The Beast had a loud mouth, boastful and blasphemous. It could do anything it wanted for forty-two months. It yelled blasphemies against God, blasphemed his Name, blasphemed his Church, especially those already dwelling with God in Heaven. It was permitted to make war on God's holy people and conquer them. It held absolute sway over all tribes and peoples, tongues and races. Everyone on earth whose name was not written from the world's foundation in the slaughtered Lamb's Book of Life will worship the Beast. Are you listening to this? They've made their bed; now they must lie in it. Anyone marked for prison goes straight to prison; anyone pulling a sword goes down by the sword. Meanwhile, God's holy people passionately and faithfully stand their ground. I saw another Beast rising out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb but sounded like a dragon when it spoke. It was a puppet of the first Beast, made earth and everyone in it worship the first Beast, which had been healed of its deathblow. This second Beast worked magical signs, dazzling people by making fire come down from Heaven. It used the magic it got from the Beast to dupe earth dwellers, getting them to make an image of the Beast that received the deathblow and lived. It was able to animate the image of the Beast so that it talked, and then arrange that anyone not worshiping the Beast would be killed. It forced all people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to have a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without the mark of the name of the Beast or the number of its name, it was impossible to buy or sell anything. Solve a riddle: Put your heads together and figure out the meaning of the number of the Beast. It's a human number: 666. Revelation 13 [MSG]
  • O: The Beast will wage war on the inhabitants of Earth. His False Prophet will use magic he gets from the Beast to dupe them. They will worship the image of the Beast.
  • A: Our current political climate is intense. Presidential elections always create quite a stir, but it seems especially so this time around. Many Bible scholars predict that we are now in the "last days," the times leading up to the Second Coming of Christ and the Great Tribulation. My wife and I had a political discussion as we drove home from church yesterday. Interestingly enough, this discussion seemed to cross the divide between politics and religion. We spoke of the coming of the Beast -- the Antichrist. We spoke of the Bible prophecies of this event. We spoke of the current political scene in America. We have two Presidential candidates in America who have a viable chance of winning the election in November. One candidate who has given his entire life to the service of his country. Another candidate who has only recently risen to national prominence. One candidate whose rallies bring chants of "USA! USA!" The second candidate whose rallies bring chants of his name, over and over and over. One candidate who has a loyal following of similarly-minded people. The second candidate who is surrounded by the masses of the disillusioned looking for a savior, a candidate whose image is plastered on tee-shirts and signs everywhere you look, emblazoned with promises of hope and change. One candidate who is a national hero. The other candidate who is more like a rock star. I'm not implying that either of these two candidates could be the up-and-coming Antichrist. I'm not saying that the False Prophet is among us. Biblical prophecy of the end times makes no mention of the United States, nor of any country that appears to be the U.S. Could that be because the U.S. will have seen it's demise before the coming of the Beast? A patriotic America led by a Conservative Christian who believes in Jesus Christ as his Savior might conceivably take a stance in opposition to the Beast. It stands to reason that prophecy might require the elimination of that opposing American force before the rise of the Antichrist. My wife and I spoke of these things, and how today's political landscape could to some appear to be the beginning of the end. I'm no doomsayer. I'm not afraid of the Antichrist, because I've been saved by the blood of Christ. But it sure does make for some interesting discussion.
  • P: Father, as we draw one day closer every day to the return of the Messiah and the rise of the Antichrist, help us to weigh carefully and to choose wisely, both as we choose our next President and -- hopefully -- as we choose Your Son as our Savior.
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