You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.
Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at harvest.org. Go ahead and do this thing. He'll say it'll be fun. And he'll whisper into our ears these things that are not true. And the only way to know the life from the truth is they have a good working knowledge of the Bible. Our minds come with built in baloney filters. We hear something that's too good to be true and we think baloney.
The trouble is our adversary has some pretty sneaky ways of dressing up lies to look like the truth. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie helps us tune up our spiritual discernment so we can spot the lies as they escape from the devil's mouth. It's an important study and one of the messages our listeners requested the most over the past 12 months. This is the day, the day when life begins. The title of my message is what is the mark of the beast? Revelation 13 verse 16 says he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads. And no one can buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him to this understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man and his number is 666.
So here's the thing. We wonder why would anybody take the mark of the beast? And the answer is given to us in 2 Thessalonians chapter two verse nine which says, speaking of antichrist, this evil man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and wonders. He will use every kind of wicked deception to fool those who are on their way to destruction. Listen, because they refuse to believe the truth. It's not that they haven't heard the truth. They refuse to believe the truth that would save them so God will send a great deception upon them and they will believe the lie.
They'll believe the lie. What is the lie that people in the tribulation period will believe? The lie is pretty much the same thing that goes back to the Garden of Eden. Satan was peddling this thing way back when. Remember our first parents Adam and Eve were there at the garden and there at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the snake comes to them, the serpent, the devil and says has God said you can't eat of every tree in the garden?
Go ahead and eat of this fruit for in the day you eat you will become as a god knowing good and evil. They ate of it and then sin entered the world. But what is the lie that Satan was propagating? The lie is simply this. Don't believe the word of God. Believe something in its place. Hey we believe the lie sometimes too. The devil will whisper in our ear God doesn't love you.
Why do you even follow him? He's against you. That's a lie. Sometimes the devil will say go ahead and do this thing. No one will ever find out.
You'll get away with it. Well that's certainly a lie. He'll say it'll be fun and he'll whisper into our ears these things that are not true and the only way to know the lie from the truth and to know good from evil is to have a good working knowledge of the Bible. All of us have been deceived by sin at some time in our life. All of us have known something was wrong but we went for it anyway right and if you did that means you listen to the lie.
You know in life some people believe the truth and some people believe the lie. As you know I've written a book called Billy Graham the Man I Knew and one of the stories I tell in the book is about Billy Graham and a man named Charles Templeton. You've heard the title of the book by Charles Dickens which was A Tale of Two Cities. This is a tale of two evangelists. One was Billy Graham who went on to change the world. The other was Charles Templeton who has been mostly forgotten. In the late 1940s Billy Graham and Charles Templeton were both evangelists for youth for Christ and some even felt that Templeton was the more effective of the two.
Very handsome, eloquent, great communicator, intelligent. Billy was a great communicator as well but he was a son of the south. In his own words he would often say I'm a country preacher. Templeton was more sophisticated but as time passed Templeton began to doubt his faith and he encouraged Billy to do the same. Templeton said to Billy Graham you can't really believe the scripture. It's not really reliable and Billy continued to believe the scripture but this did create sort of a crisis of faith in the life of Billy Graham.
And so one night Billy was up at Forest Home Conference Center here in Southern California in the San Bernardino Mountains. Billy went out to a tree stump and he took his Bible and he placed it on the stump and he made a commitment to believe what the scripture said. He said Father I accept this as your word by faith.
I'm going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts because I believe this is your inspired word. So Billy made a choice to believe what scripture said even when he had occasional doubts. Leaving that place Billy went on to preach in Los Angeles at a tent that had been erected and that basically was the launch of his inner national ministry. Meanwhile Templeton walked away from his faith. He even wrote a book with the title Farewell to God.
But the story doesn't end there. My friend Lee Strobel told me the story of when he went to visit Charles Templeton who was quite a bit older and was in very poor health. And Lee Strobel who used to work for the Chicago Tribune and was a well-known atheist who came to faith after watching how God transformed his wife was researching a book he was writing. So he went to interview this famous atheist Charles Templeton and he brought up the subject of Jesus Christ. And much to Lee's surprise Templeton said of Jesus he was the greatest human who ever lived. And then Templeton went on to say to Lee Strobel and you know what this may sound strange but I adore him. And I even would put it this way I miss him. And then Lee told me he was really surprised when Charles Templeton began to weep. But the story continues on. A little bit after that Charles Templeton was on his deathbed and his wife said that while he was there he said to her he saw angels. He said they're so beautiful. I see them now and they're waiting for me.
I'm coming. So thank God Charles Templeton the evangelist who became the atheist and wrote a book titled farewell to God came back to God and believed. But Billy Graham never stopped believing. You have the same choice before you right now. You can believe the truth or the lie.
And every day when you go and watch television or you listen to music or you go on social media the lie is hitting you the lie is hitting you. That's why you need to fill your mind and heart with God's word to counteract that. So Antichrist. He emerges on the scene as a peacemaker. And he does something that wins him the approval of many Jewish people in Israel. He rebuilds their temple. Now as you recall King David wanted to build a temple for the Lord because up to this point they would meet with the Lord in what they call the tabernacle or the tent. But David wanted something fitting for the Lord and as he drew up the plans for this temple the Lord said no. So David's son Solomon ended up building this incredible temple which was ultimately destroyed and rebuilt by King Herod. King Herod was not a devout man at all but he was a great builder and so that second temple became known as Herod's temple. That was the temple that was standing when Jesus had his public ministry. And one day Jesus pointed to that temple and he says you see that temple? I'm telling you right now there will not be one stone left upon another. He said that temple will be dismantled. And they thought he's out of his mind. We've been building this temple for 47 years.
How could that happen? Well it did happen when Titus and the Roman legions came in and destroyed the temple and dismantled it stone by stone exactly as Jesus said would happen. So that's the second temple. But the Bible predicts a third temple.
That has not been built yet. So Antichrist will come and effectively erect this third temple and then he will commit what the Bible calls the abomination of desolation. Matthew 24 Jesus says when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the holy place let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
And so what is the abomination of desolation? This is after the third temple is rebuilt Antichrist erects an image of himself in it and commands people to worship this image. And so commenting on that 2 Thessalonians 2, 4 says of Antichrist he opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshiped. So he is as God sitting in the temple of God whose coming is after the working of Satan and pretended miracles all of them lying wonders. This marks the second half of the tribulation. So again the first half of the tribulation Antichrist seems like a good guy bringing peace rebuilding the temple. Then he commits the abomination of desolation erecting this image and that brings the second half of the tribulation when he begins to hunt down followers of Jesus.
Hunt down Jewish people and a series of plagues come upon the planet and on it goes. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of today's message in just a moment. You know Pastor Greg you've talked about the Jesus movement, the Jesus revolution of the 60s and 70s. It was an incredible move of the spirit, a true spiritual awakening.
That's right. But as we see the cultural decay in our cities and a moral decline across the culture, a Jesus revolution really has to be a part of our future doesn't it? It really does. You know back in the 60s we used the phrase deja vu a lot.
And deja vu is sort of like oh whoa I've been here before. Well almost in a technical sense it seems like hey we've been here before, riots on the streets, failing economy, hopelessness in the air, young people searching for meaning in life, a drug epidemic. It was called the late 60s and early 70s. But I'll tell you what turned things around. It wasn't a political revolution. It wasn't a moral revolution. It was a Jesus revolution.
It happened before, it can happen again. Now listen we can't make a revival happen. But perhaps we can prepare the ground or let me restate it, prepare the ground by praying for another Jesus revolution. Praying for another spiritual awakening.
I really think we're long overdue. And so please let's all be praying for this in our nation. And here at Harvest Ministries I want you to know that we're committed to the cause of proclaiming the gospel. That's one of the earmarks of the Jesus movement. There was a lot of evangelism. And I feel in many ways the church as a whole has maybe lost sight of the importance of preaching the gospel. We want to get the gospel to as many people as we can as quickly as we can in these critical days in which we're living.
And we want to see another spiritual awakening in America. Will you join us in that endeavor? Will you stand with us in your prayers and with your finances and help us to attempt to fulfill the great commission in our lifetime? Yeah you play an important part in that. So pray about being a partner with us as we share the hope of the gospel across town, across the nation and even overseas. Your investments make a real difference in so many lives.
And it's an eternal difference. So prayerfully consider a year-end investment. Won't you do that? You can call us anytime 24 hours a day at 1-800-821-3300. That's 1-800-821-3300.
Or go online to harvest.org. Well today Pastor Greg is presenting an eye-opening look at Bible prophecy in his message, What is the Mark of the Beast? Let's continue. Now we shift gears from Revelation 13 to Revelation 14. We go from horrific things happening on planet earth to some amazing things happening up in heaven. So look at your Bible again. Revelation 14 starting in verse 1. John writes, then I looked and behold a lamb standing on Mount Zion and with them 144,000 having his father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the voice of many waters and like the voice of loud thunder.
And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps and they sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures and the elders and no one could learn that song except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. These are ones who have not defiled themselves with women for the virgins. They are the ones who follow the lamb wherever he goes. They have been redeemed from among men being first fruits to God and the lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit and they were without fault before the throne of God.
So 144,000. Remember them? We read about them earlier in the book of Revelation. And God had protected them in Revelation chapter 7. Wherever they went God watched over them. And they're proclaiming the gospel. Who are the 144,000?
They're Jewish people who have put their faith in Jesus as their Messiah. But now we see they're not on earth. They're in heaven. Notice it's not 143,999 that made it to heaven.
No. All 144,000 make it to glory. And it reminds us of the statement of Jesus in John 18. Of those whom you have given me I have not lost one. God doesn't lose his children. Have you ever lost sight of one of your children?
Maybe in an amusement park or a supermarket. That is terrifying is it not? God never loses sight of you. He always has his eye on you because you belong to him. Now they have the mark of the Father in heaven. Not the mark of the antichrist.
So all marks are not bad. Revelation 14 one. Having his father's name written on their foreheads. The father's name. You know you have a choice as to who your father will be. You can either make God your father or you can be as Jesus said of your father the devil. You know when I was growing up I had a lot of dads.
I'll put that in quotes. My mother was married and divorced seven times and had a bunch of boyfriends in between. And so there was my biological father and then there was other guys she met.
And she would literally say this is your new dad. And they were all very similar. These men my mother married. The kind of guys that would hang around in a bar with maybe a few too many of their buttons on their shirt undone.
And kind of swinger type dudes you know. And I became very cynical even as a young man about a father. And then my mother married this guy in New Jersey whose name was Oscar Laurie. He was an attorney. He didn't drink.
He didn't smoke. I don't know what my mom saw in him. He was an honest man. A law abiding man. A very moral man. And I remember that he took an interest in me.
And cheated me as a father ought to treat a son. So one day when I was coming out of school there in New Jersey my mom had the Cadillac filled with all of our luggage. And I said what's going on? She says we're going to the airport. I said where are we going? She said to Hawaii.
I said oh that's so exciting. Where's dad? She said he's not coming. And I never saw Oscar Laurie after that until many many years later.
So we land in Hawaii. And here's a guy I've never seen before that my mom had married. And she said this is your new dad. And this man was abusive and violent. In fact one night in a drunken brawl he hit my mother with a wooden statue and almost killed her.
And so I became very hard against all of these things. But later in life after I came to Christ I sought out Oscar Laurie who was still alive and had remarried. And I had the privilege of sharing the gospel with him and leading him to the Lord.
That's another story for another time. But I chose his name. I had a lot of names I could have chosen.
As my daddy. Oh I had all of these names. I chose Laurie.
Which I was mocked for in school by the way. I also went to military school where you go by your last name. So everyone called me Laurie. But I carried that name with pride because of the man that gave it to me and the man that adopted me. I chose him because he chose me. He chose to adopt me. I chose to carry that name. In the same way we choose who our father will be. You choose God as your father.
Or by default you effectively choose the devil. This mark on the foreheads of the 144,000 is something that identifies them as God's children. It's sort of like an ID tag. Other people won't see it but the Lord sees it. And by the way God has put his ID tag on you. What does that mean? It means you belong to the Lord. Do you find that comforting?
I do. 1 Corinthians 6 19 says you're not your own. You've been bought with a price.
Therefore glorify God with your life. In the Greek it's you're not your own property. You've been bought with a price. You know when I travel I'll take luggage on the plane and I have a little ID tag. So I was on a trip recently and I was getting up and I had my little piece of luggage that I was wheeling away. And some lady comes running after me saying you took my suitcase. I said no ma'am this is my suitcase.
I know. She goes no it's my suitcase. Open it. And I open it up and it was filled with women's clothing.
I'm really glad she chased me down. And the problem was I didn't check the ID tag. And sure enough those two suitcases, mine and hers, were very similar. If I would have checked the ID tag I would have known the difference.
And I'm glad she told me because I did not want to wear women's clothing for my trip. So we have an ID tag on us. God can read it and the devil can read it. And when he sees that ID tag he has to back off because you are God's property and the Lord will protect his investment.
The Bible writes on the 144,000 and how they're identified as God's own. And there's more to come from this study here on A New Beginning. And then it's such a pleasure to have Kathy Laurie in the studio with us today along with renowned children's author Sally Lloyd-Jones. We're making available Sally's brand new book called Known. Details in just a moment.
Kathy? If you could explain to us why the subject matter of this book that you've written based on Psalm 139 that you titled Known is more significant perhaps now than it has ever been in a time when which with all the social media everybody feels like they know everything they need to know and they can find out anything they need to find out. But yet we're in a time where loneliness is just rampant and even little children may be feeling it.
You know that their lives, they may feel their parents are too busy, no one sees them, no one knows them. And to bring them the biblical truth that God knows us completely, cares deeply about us, understands us fully, and loves us. And I think that bringing that truth to a little child is so important and significant that I think that that speaks to the need for a book like this on a subject like this at a time like this. And what better place for a parent and a child or a grown up and a child to sit together and be reminded of that truth that we all need and especially the little ones because little ones get lost in the mix don't they and everyone's doing the best they can and we're all overextended and there are so many demands on our time that it's easy to put a little child in front of a screen. But here's an alternative for both of us, you know, adults need to not be in front of screens. And that's the beauty of a book in the turn of a page and the voice of the grown up.
It's all doing more than what it seems to be doing and it's building a bridge between you and it's also giving you a sort of place to rest in God's presence. And however short and it doesn't take very long to read, obviously, but even that's enough, isn't it? Just a moment to go. Let's just take a breath and let's sit down and let's remind ourselves of what's really true and the reality that God is caring for us every single day and he made us and he's in charge, not the news.
And that's good for us all to know as an adult, isn't it? And that will convey itself to the child in the peace that you have together as you read. That's our special guest Sally Lloyd-Jones, author of the new children's book we're making available called Known, Psalm 139.
Can we send a copy your way? It's our thank you gift to those who can partner with us as we reach out with the gospel in some innovative ways right now. And your partnership makes all the difference. So thanks for your investment in sharing the gospel.
And when you invest, please ask for the new book called Known, Psalm 139 by Sally Lloyd-Jones. And we won't be mentioning this much longer, so contact us soon. You can call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to take your call.
That's 1-800-821-3300. Or go online to harvest.org. Hey everybody, what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home?
It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well next time, Pastor Greg brings more revealing insights from our studies of the end times in the book of Revelation. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher, Greg Laurie.
This is the day, the day when life begins. Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this podcast. To learn more about Harvest Ministries, follow this show and consider supporting it. Just go to harvest.org. And to find out how to know God personally, go to harvest.org and click on Know God.
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