Lesson 13

The End of the Great Controversy

(Revelation 13, 14 & 19)
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Introduction: This quarter we have been studying the conflict between good and evil. In our last lesson, we turn our attention to the final events that wrap up the great controversy. What are the key issues in the final conflict? Are they the same as they have always been? Where do we fit into those issues? Will Jesus win in the end? Let's jump in and find out!

  1. The Mark

    1. Read Revelation 12:17. Whom do you understand to be the "dragon?" ( Revelation 12:9 makes it very clear that the "dragon" is Satan.)

      1. Who is the dragon attacking? (Us. He is attacking those who obey God's commandments and believe in Jesus.)

      2. We have discussed this text several times during this quarter. What is the timing of this segment of the war? (If you read through chapter 12 you will see that the battle begins in heaven. When Satan is cast down to earth, he goes after Jesus ( Revelation 12:5). When Jesus escapes Satan's grasp, he turns his attention to the followers of Jesus. The timing of Revelation 12:17 appears to be after Jesus' resurrection.)

    2. If you continue to read through the next chapter, Revelation 13, you will see that the dragon works in association with a couple of "beasts" with the results reported in Revelation 13:16-18. Read these three verses. How is the controversy going for those who obey God's commandments and believe in Jesus? (This looks like the low point. The dragon, through the beasts, has great economic authority.)

      1. What do you think it means to have a "mark in the forehead or the hand?" (Your forehead is where you think and your hand is what you use to work. This suggests that people either believe in the dragon/beast's "mark" or they accept the mark just to get along.)

      2. Revelation 13:16 tells us that "everyone" received this mark? If that is so, does it mean Satan has won the victory? (Compare Revelation 20:4 with Revelation 14:11. This makes clear that not everyone receives this "mark" of Satan. Those who do not reign in heaven, those who do are burned.)

      3. How important is this issue of the "mark?" (It determines our outcome in the final conflict!

    1. What do you think is this "mark?" Does it have anything to do with the issues in Revelation 12:17? (It must. We need to explore this further.)

    2. In Revelation 14:6-12 we read about three angels who have the "end-time" judgment message for the world. Let's read these verses. Does this give us more information on "the mark?"

      1. Let's list what we learn about those who have "the mark" and those who do not. What clues do we have about this mark? (Verse 9 reveals this is an issue of worship. If we worship the "beast and its image" we get the mark. Verse 12 reveals the "saints" have the same qualities as the group that was the target of the dragon ( Revelation 12:7). It is logical to conclude, then, that those who are avoiding the mark are those that "obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.")

        1. We often discuss "faith and works." How do faithfulness to Jesus and obedience to God's commandments fit into our "faith and works" discussion? (Remaining faithful to Jesus is the faith component and obeying God's commandments is the works component. The inescapable conclusion is that God's people who are faithful during this end-time battle have both faith and works. This is not a "either/or" situation.)

    3. Let's go back and explore the issue of the mark and the end-time message a bit further. Look again at Revelation 14:7. What is the "issue" raised by this angel? What "alert" is God's messenger sending the earth? (He says that the "hour" of the final judgment is here. As a result, we must "fear God and give Him glory.")

      1. How do we fear God and give Him glory? What answer does this angel give? (Worship Him as the Creator. I was in a Bible book store this week and was looking at two books by John MacArthur. One book argued that the Genesis account was a critical part of most Christian doctrines - that if you did not believe the Genesis story of Creation, you did not have a proper view of God. The second book was about how Christians should relate to government. I agree completely with MacArthur's point about Creation - so I bought the second book to see if I could learn something!)

      2. Do you find any support in this message of the first angel for MacArthur's view that Creationism is fundamental in the controversy between good and evil? (A description of the first angel's message begins in Revelation 14:6 and there it is described as the "eternal gospel." That sounds fundamental. If you tie this into the mark, then it becomes even more important.)

    4. Look at the second angel again: Revelation 14:8. What is the message of this angel? (Fallen is "Babylon" which made the nations commit adultery.)

      1. What do you think is "Babylon?" (If you look at Revelation 18:1-4 you find a similar description of "Babylon" with a call to "come out of her my people.)

        1. How can God's people be in "Babylon?" (In Revelation 12 the "woman" refers to the church. If this symbolism continues, then "Babylon" would be a church in which God's people are found.)

        2. What ( Revelation 14:8) would be the "wine" of "adultery?" (This should cause every one of us to pause. This points to church teaching that turns us away from God. We need to be careful that our beliefs are based on the Bible and not the teachings of the world. At the end of the controversy between good and evil, those churches which undercut the gospel are going to "fall" and God's people will come out of them.)

    5. Look again at the third angel of Revelation 14:9. Do you see a link in the message of this third angel and the two prior angels? (Taken together they depict two groups. Those who worship God as the Creator and those who worship Satan and his allies. During the time of this message, God's people realize the alternatives and they come out of false teaching. At the same time those Christians who are really allies of Satan, or those who are unwilling to take a stand for Jesus, move closer to Satan to the point that they receive the "mark.")

  1. Worshiping the Creator

    1. If we are right that the three angels have an important end-time message about worship and judgment, and this message includes how to avoid getting "the mark," what should you do to be sure you were properly worshiping God as the Creator?

    2. Read Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11. How do these verses suggest that we properly worship the God of Creation?

    3. Is Sabbath observance essential to the proper worship of God the Creator? Is this the focal point of the end-time controversy over who are the "saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus" (Revelation 14:12)? (Sabbath observance is the part of the Ten Commandments which specifically is tied to memorializing God as our Creator. It makes perfect sense that the focus of the end-time controversy comes to rest here.)

    4. Friend, how does your life measure up on this critical issue of worship for God? Does your worship life reflect your faith in Jesus?

  2. The Rider

    1. Read Revelation 19:11-13. Who is the rider? (Verse 13 tells us His name is "the Word of God." We know from John 1:1-2, 14 that Jesus is the Word of God. The fact that His robe is "dipped in blood" (Rev. 19:13) and that He is "Faithful and True" (Rev. 19:11) is further evidence of Jesus' identity.)

    2. Read Revelation 19:14-16. Is this what the disciples expected - Jesus to come as a mighty warrior? (As we have seen in past lessons, the disciples expected Jesus to overthrow the Romans. John the Baptist had this same view. That was not His mission then. However, this time around, Jesus comes as King and Warrior.)

    3. Read Revelation 19:19. What do you think it about to happen? (The stage is set for the final conflict in the controversy between good and evil. Jesus comes with His armies and the forces of evil prepare for battle.)

    4. Read Revelation 19:20-21. Who wins this battle? How, exactly, are the forces of evil defeated? (It says that most of them are killed "with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider.")

      1. What do you think this statement means? Jesus has a sword in His mouth? (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8; Psalms 33:9; Genesis 1:3. The battle is won just the same way the world was created - Jesus just spoke it into existence. He will just speak the wicked out of existence too.)

        1. What does this add to your understanding of Jesus being called the "Word" of God? (God acts through mere speech. Jesus is the power of God.)

        2. Is there a lesson in righteousness by faith in this? (The army does not have to fight. Jesus just speaks and ends the controversy. Praise God!)

    5. After all that, the forces of evil are spoken away? Incredible! Friend, you have seen the outcome of the great controversy between good and evil. If you haven't chosen sides, or if you are not on the side of God, will you make your decision today? If you have already made your decision to be on God's side, remember whatever your difficulty in life, whatever the problem, the Word of God can make it right. He is a great God!

  3. Next Week: We start a new quarter, entitled "Great Apocalyptic Prophecies."

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Lessons on The Cosmic Conflict Between Christ & Satan

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