The Mark of the Beast – Part Four (Rev 13)

On Monday, we began a new series in Revelation, starting with chapter 13. You really need to start there for this week’s material to make sense. We identified the mark of the beast as emperor worship, then saw how the beast from the sea represented the Roman emperor, and the beast from the land was the imperial cult. 

The mark of the beast today

So we come back to what we began the week with: the mark of the beast. The mark of this idolatry that society tries to force upon us. And it’s not really an outward mark. That becomes pretty clear when in the very next chapter, believers get their own mark written on their foreheads: the name of Jesus and of God the Father. A mark that shows who they belong to. Not to the  beast, not to the empire—but to God and his Son. It’s a sign of your inner allegiance.

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Overcoming the Beast – Part One (Rev 14-15)

Last week (Revelation 13), we identified the beast as the Roman emperor, and the cult of worship that surrounded him – the “mark” of the beast. To set up a human (or society in general) as a god to be worshipped robs God of his rightful place at the centre of his creation. Believers are called to resist the temptation to go along with what the rest of the world “worships”, and instead remain faithful to the one true God. This week, we’re looking at the question we finished with last week: how do we do this?

The next two chapters (Revelation 14-15) provide us with the motivation to resist the mark of the beast and remain faithful to God. And they do so by appealing to the four cardinal virtues of the Graeco-Roman world: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Or we might like to rephrase them in more user-friendly terms: doing what is beneficial (i.e to our advantage), doing what is right, being courageous, and being self-controlled. These were the four ways in which ancient orators would seek to persuade their audience to follow their advice.

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Overcoming the Beast – Part Two (Rev 14-15)

Last week, we looked at the mark of the beast – going along with the rest of the empire in worshipping the emperor as a god, in place of the one true God. And we saw how we, too, often go along with our world and its idolatry. This week, we’re looking at how Revelation encourages its readers not to go along with the world, by appealing to the four cardinal virtues of advantage, justice, courage, and self-control. Starting with chapter 14, we’ll first discuss what each paragraph means, and then step back to ask the question: how does this help us resist the mark of the beast?

The 144,000 reappear

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