Lesson 6

Crisis of Loyalty

(Revelation 14:8-12, Ephesians 1 and Daniel 7)
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Introduction: This week we have more angels with a message! Last week we studied the message of the first angel of Revelation 14 and this week we continue our study by considering the messages of the second and third angels. Let's jump into our study!

  1. The Second Angel


    1. Remember last week we learned that the first angel came with the message that the time of judgment is at hand. Read Revelation 14:8. Does this message seem to be related to the message of the First angel? Can you think of any possible connection? (When lawyers speak of a "judgment," they mean the court entered a ruling in which one party won and the other party lost. This seems to say that Babylon lost.)


    2. When I watch any sports contest, I like to know who is playing. Who is this "Babylon" that lost in the judgment? (Babylon was historically a city. Unger's Bible Dictionary links it to the "ancient city-state in the plain of Shinar." Genesis 11 contains the story of how Babylon began with the intention of building a tower that could survive another flood. Thus, the original philosophy of this city was about man trusting himself and not believing God. Later, in 587 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, destroyed Jerusalem. Thus, it was also a city-state that was opposed to God's people and His city, Jerusalem.)


      1. Isn't this second angel a little late with its news? Did it get lined up in the wrong order when leaving heaven? The city of Babylon does not exist now. How could the angel refer to it as part of the end time message of the judgment time? (While the city may not exist, the philosophy of man trusting in himself and not in God is alive and well today.)


      2. Was the message of the first angel partially responsible for Babylon falling? (The first angel had a message that, because the judgment is at hand, we should worship our Creator God. The philosophy of Babylon is completely opposed to the message of the first angel. Thus, those that espouse the Babylon message will fall in the judgment.)


    3. Revelation 14:8 tells us that Babylon made "the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries." What do you think this means?


      1. Let's break it down. What is "maddening wine?" (Wine that makes you loose your sense of what is right to do.)


      2. How can adultery be compared to "maddening wine?" (Hosea 1 is an example of God comparing His unfaithful people to an adulterous wife. This is a common analogy that God makes in the Old Testament. Thus, the idea is that "Babylon" causes people to turn from God. Why? Their sense of right and wrong is lost - which results in turning away from God.)


    4. In summary, how would you describe this "Babylon" of the last days? (It is a power or philosophy that says that man can do things on his own. Man does not need God. This thinking, which causes us to turn away from God, is a loser in the final judgment.)

  1. Third Angel


    1. Read Revelation 14:9-11. Some awful stuff, right? How are the people identified who have these terrible things happen to them? (They have the beast's mark on their head or hand.)


    2. What causes us to get the mark? (Worshiping the beast and his image.)


    3. Once again we have a "players" problem. We were curious to know who this "Babylon" was which had fallen. Knowing how to avoid being burned is a lot more urgent! Who is this beast? Let's work through this and see what we can learn.


      1. Does this beast seem to have something to do with "Babylon?" (Remember our judicial analogy? We said that Babylon was the loser in the judgment. The third angel seems to be describing the "remedy" part of the judgment. Logically, "Babylon" then, is somehow related to those who follow the beast and are punished in the judgment.)


      2. Where have you seen "beasts" before in the Bible? (Revelation speaks of them and so does Daniel.)


      3. Do any of these beasts you have read about in the Bible before seem to be linked to the final judgment?


    4. You should read all of Daniel 7. Let's focus on reading Daniel 7:9-10, 19-27. Is this a courtroom scene? (Yes, indeed!) Is this beast connected with the final judgment? (Yes, Daniel 7:26-27 refers to a heavenly judicial decision in favor of the saints.)


      1. What is the characteristic of this beast? (Verse 25 tells us that it is in rebellion against God, oppresses the saints, and tries to change "set times and the laws.")


      2. Now that we have more information about this beast from Daniel, can we tell who is this fourth beast that seems to be such a problem? (Matthew Henry, in his commentary on these verses in Daniel, says there are a number of possible interpretations, which include the Roman kingdom (which he specifically links to the beast of Revelation) and papal Rome. Adam Clarke's commentary agrees with Henry that this could be the Roman empire or the Roman church. Our lesson (Monday) says this beast "symbolizes the church-state union that controlled the Christian world for centuries." Our lesson, being discrete, does not mention any names. Matthew Henry goes on to say that he is uncertain who has the right interpretation because "[He] cannot prove either side to be wrong", but goes on to say, "since prophecies sometimes have many fulfillings," both could be right.)


      3. If this beast is the Roman empire, does it have any relevance to you today? If it is the Roman church, does that have any significance to you today? (One conclusion (Roman empire) does not seem to have much relevance today. The other conclusion (Roman church) isn't much more helpful. (In fact, Jesus discourages attacking fellow Christians. Luke 9:49-50) Aside from pointing fingers at a church that deserves a great deal of praise for leading the battle against abortion, what would be your conclusion? Not join? No one is going to be saved in the final judgment by "not joining" a specific church!)


      4. What do you think you should do in response to the message of this third angel? (Matthew Henry's advice is golden. Since prophecy can have several specific applications, we need to look at the nature and attitude of this Babylon beast and be ever alert not to worship anything of that nature. This is a far safer course then being absolutely sure we have such a correct, infallible, understanding of prophecy (and the identity of this beast) that we need not worry about being on the wrong side of the judgment.)


      5. What do you think is the "image" of the beast? (An image is something that is a reflection of something else.)


        1. Should the warning about not worshiping the image of the beast make us more or less careful about what we do? (The idea that worshiping even a reflection of the beast should cause us to keep our eyes wide open. We can be on the wrong side not only by worshiping the "Babylon beast," but even by following anything that reflects its philosophy!)

*

  1. The Seal vs. the Mark


    1. Read Eph 1:13-14. We just learned in Revelation 14:10 that those who receive the mark are burned with sulfur. As opposed to burning, here in Ephesians we find described people who are redeemed. What are these people marked with? (Verse 13 tells us we have a seal.)


      1. What is the seal? (The Holy Spirit.)


      2. And how do we get it? (Verse 13: Believing the word of truth.)


      3. Did you notice that verse 14 says that the Holy Spirit seal is a "deposit?" (KJV says "earnest".) In real world terms, what is a deposit? (A current payment to guarantee that you will do as you promise.)


      4. What is God promising His people? (To save them!)


  2. What Should We Conclude?


    1. So we have two groups: one having the seal of the Living God, and another having the mark of the beast. What do you see as the fundamental reason one group gets the mark and the other the seal? (Whether they have an attitude of believing in God ( Ephesians 1:13) or believing in themselves (Babylon).)


    2. Read Revelation 14:12. What conclusion does this text give to the message of the three angels? (That we have to patiently endure.)


      1. Endure what? (It seems that we are enduring the sinful world around us.)


      2. What characterizes those saints who patiently wait for Jesus to come? (The obey the commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.)


    3. Friend, is that you? Are you faithful to Jesus? Do you demonstrate your faith is real by obeying Jesus' commandments? If not, the message of the three angels is that the time for decision is now because the hour of the judgment is here!


  3. Next Week: God's Gift of Immortality

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