Are you marked?Bro. David Chancellor
4/28/2002 6:00 PM
There are two beasts in this chapter. The beasts described here are used to portray that which opposed the people and work of God. The beast described in this verse looked like a lamb and talked like a dragon - a wolf in sheep's clothing. This beast had horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon.
- The beast
- The dragon
- The one having horns like a lamb
The dragon gave power to the beast; the one having horns like a lamb speaks like a dragon. There is a common thread going throughout. Protestantism built up Catholicism, the very thing it had come to tear down. Every religion has a message. We need to be sure to have our ears tuned to know the voice and message of God, and refuse the message of the beast. Mankind has picked out all kinds of things as the mark of the beast. What is the mark of the beast? "It is the number of a man..." It doesn't refer to the pope. The words on his mitar do tell us something about what this is about, though. "Vicar of Christ" Religion that tries to put a man between you and God is religion that you need to be concerned about. Christ put us in a place to go directly to God. If your religion is based on man, or on acceptance from man, be concerned. Don't look for A man; look for a religion based on man. If a religion tries to establish a man between you and God, recognize the image of the beast. "All ye are brethren." We have equal access to God through Christ. God is equally accessible to all of us. He never ordained that a man would stand between you and Christ. You can live and work for God whether men bless you or not (and this is not promoting arrogance or independence, but recognizing that man is not where our approval and direction lies. It lies in God.). When men start assigning titles it should concern us. Man-based religion is concerned with appearances. If you have to look to man for doctrine and acceptance, it is a man-based religion. Worldly religion is marked by manrule, where one must work to be accepted by other men. It is politics in the place of pleasing God. God's church does not operate on politics! The religion of Christ is not based on politics. This gives a picture of men out to win the world, not saving souls. Christ said, If a man gets the smile of the whole world and loses his soul, what does he gain? We need to keep our eyes open. Be careful of that which would pull you from a spiritual religion and authority to a carnal religion and authority. Revelation is warning us to keep our eyes on God. People have so twisted Revelation so as to miss what it is all about. Man-based religion will cause you to miss out on some things you really should have a part in.
The question is: "Who will you worship?" Fear God! Worship him! Follow the one that made all things! Keep your eyes on Jesus! If anyone tells you different, regardless of their title, don't listen. By keeping your eyes on God, should it so happen that your pastor goes off, you will still be straight if you stay with God. Whose wrath are you most worried about? It better be God. There is no escaping the wrath of God. You don't have to be independent, rebellious, or stubborn to put God first. You just have to keep God first. Peter said, Who are we to obey, God, or you (man)? They weren't rebels. They were standing for what God said. Whatever the consequence, they were following the Lamb. If you want rest in your soul, don't find man-based religion. Stay with God. When Martin Luther left the Catholic church it was because he couldn't condone the sale of indulgences. There comes a point when you must leave the man-based religion to stay with God. Keep things clear between you and God. The danger of man-based religion is that it tells you that you are ok doing a thing, and you don't obey the commandments of God. The one that keeps God to the end will be saved. Our religion can't be based on the reformers. Our faith is based on Christ. We can learn from the reformers, but we don't base our faith on them. Have a right relationship between you and God. Will you worship God, or will you worship man?
"The beast [who received power from the dragon] and the false prophet [the beast having horns like a lamb that spoke like a dragon]" The war is between God and man-based religion. If you can understand this, you can understand what you need to make it through. Make sure your claims are based on faith in God. Each side in this war is marked; the children of God are sealed by God, the others are worshipping man.
This pictures people standing on the cleansing that is in Christ, and the fire of the Holy Spirit. If you would have victory over the beast, stand on the cleansing that is in Christ.