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Discernment and Demonic False-Teaching
Bethel Church | Jackson, Michigan | Ken Pierpont, Lead Pastor | February 28, 2021 AM
Introduction: Like it or not we are at war with spiritual evil. We live in spirally dangerous time and they are going to become more dangerous until Jesus returns… You will see that in the text again today in graphic terms.
Review: I. The Beast from the Sea (1-10)
Last week as we studied the first ten verses of this chapter we saw that during the Tribulation a man would rise to power, he will be the antichrist. He will represent and control and godless evil empire. He will be wounded and resurrect or fake a resurrection. He will gain the worship of people all over the world. He will be a powerful orator. He will make war on God’s people and more than any other time in the history of the people of God they will need to be prepared to suffer and die. [END REVIEW AND READ 11-18]
II. The Beast from the Earth. (11-18) four things
1—The Beast from the Earth is the False Prophet. (11-12)
—He identified three times later in the book as the False Prophet. 16:13, 19:20; 20:10
—The First Beast—from the sea is a great political ruler. This Beast is not from heaven or hell but earth and he is a religious and economic ruler. The horns indicate rule, but the absence of crowns shows his rule is not political but religious rule. v. 11
—He is a member of the “Satanic Trinity” of the Tribulation. Satan, the Beast, and the False Prophet.
—impersonates meekness but is demonic—like a lamb
—he is from the earth—the land—not heaven… this is key—man not God.
2—The False Prophet will be allowed to perform signs to deceive. (13-14a) False signs and wonders will deceive many into deadly loyalty to Satan especially as the world as we know it comes to its close. Not all religion is good. Hideous evil will continue and increase until Jesus returns.
Christianity today is a zoo of bizarre false-prophets and false prophecies. [ill] four hour video documenting all the bizarre predictions that did not come to pass in 2020 and all he earth-shattering events that none of the so-called prophets saw. These errors are dangerous to our faith, churches, loved ones.
Social Media Platforms are Exploding with False Teaching Right Now. When I was a boy I regularly heard warnings about false teaching coming from main-line seminaries because of the influence of theological liberalism coming from higher-criticism. That does not seem to be the predominant face of theological error in our time. Now that face is a more attractive face. It is winsome, deceptive, nuanced, but it is every bit as demonic and we cannot be lulled to sleep and let down our guard of discernment our our churches, our families, our very souls will be damaged. When we read a passage like this it should stimulate our abhorrence for evil. It is a spiritual minefield out there.
3—The False Prophet will make an image of the anti-Christ (14b-15)
When an image of the Beast is erected in the Temple (14) this is what the OT prophet Daniel referred to as the Abomination that Desolates... It is mentioned in Daniel 9:27; 11:36. Jesus quotes Daniel’s prophecy in Matthew 24:15; and Paul mentions it in 2 Thess. 2:4... (14) people will be forced to worship the Beast on pain of death!
4—The False Prophet will force the worship of the Beast and the Image of the beast. (16-17)
Satan knows that unprincipled and unregenerate men will chose their own personal gain over what is right. This second beast, the False Prophet, will also have authority to institute economic measures to pressure people into compliance. The majority people try hard to remain neutral when the pressure comes down.... But in this time there will be no neutrality.
What About the Number 666 (18) what is plain?
Who is the Anti-Christ. What does 666 mean. Is the Anti-Christ alive today? Main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things. What is plain is that this antichrist is a man who is influenced by Satan or demons.
What About the Number 666? What does that mean? In the ancient world letters had numerical equivalents. This is called gematria This is true in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, so through the years much ink has been spilled with possible identifications. Problem is if you work hard enough you can almost make any name fit. Hundreds of eager but embarrassed students of prophecy before us would tell us that that is not a prudent way to handle this text...
Here is my council: Avoid sensationalism, speculation, and superstition lest you miss the plain truth. What we know now is that it will be a man. Tribulation saints will be able to take what the word says here and they will know who not to worship
Maybe the best way to understand the number, until things come into focus later, is this way: In Revelation and in the Bible it is very clear that 7 is the number of completion. 6 is just short of that. 6 is the number in the Bible that is symbolic of man. He was created on the sixth day of creation. The text says; It is the number of a man... Note vs. 11 he comes from the land and vs, 18 he is a man…
The Mark of the Beast and a Universal Personal Identification System. We do know that in modern times a universal personal identification system based on numbers is possible. It seemed speculative in the 70s. No one doubts it now.
Let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast…. Means: The antichrist will be a man not God. This will be obvious to those who are discerning when the time comes. Be prepared to be discerning in that time.
Close: What does the passage say? What does it mean? What does it mean to me? Give me your heart for a moment while I share an important application of this truth for our church and our time and our families and for you:
The Reality and Danger of False Religion to the Very End. False teaching and false living and false profession and false prophets will increase until Jesus returns. They will use the name of Jesus and they will deceive people with false signs and wonders. This passage should warn us, shock us with the reality of false religion, false teaching, false profession, and false teachers and false prophets. Satan is alive and well and at work and he works in irreligious circles, but he commonly works in religious circles and he will to the very end.
Condemn Everything? Endorse Everything? How Do We Find A God-Pleasing Balance? Keep from error. Keep from being judgmental heresy hunters? Practice “Theological Triage”
Every truth in the Bible is important, but some truths are more important than others. They are mentioned more often and with greater gravity. Greater judgments or warnings are attached to them. We should work to give the proper “weight” to the truth we tell. Preach though books a lot
1st order: most important.. without which we are not saved.
2nd order: different churches. baptism, etc. ordination of women.
3rd order: disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations. Timing of the rapture, etc.
Two Dangers We Must Avoid: In my experience there are two very real dangers when it comes to false teaching. Subtracting from Scripture and adding to scripture. When a group our person adds to the Bible or has an extra-biblical source of authority—this will lead to error. When a group or person subtracts from the Bible, error will occur.
Other Related Dangers:
—Holding to sound doctrine, but not living a holy life.
—Teaching truth but not all truth. Whole council Acts 20
—Teaching truth but putting and unbiblical emphasis. When one fixates on a narrow range of things and lightly emphasizes other truths that are given more weight in the Scriptures. No warning. All warning?
We are commanded to expose and reject error. Those who criticize everything. Heresy Hunters. Eager to condemn. Those who endorse everything. Undiscerning.
Bethel People. Let’s know the Word. Let’s trust the Word. Let’s build Your Lives and Families on the Word. We will be safe from error and faithful, even if you have to suffer in the evil days that will come before the Lord returns.