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A Call for Wisdom -35

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2022 2:00 am

A Call for Wisdom -35

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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Well contained in the passage that we're going to look at tonight is perhaps the most thought about and wondered about elements in the entire book of the Revelation. You hear people talk about the book of the Revelation. They are often making reference to the mark of the beast and 666 and that's in our text for this evening. I'd like to draw your attention to the last verse of the chapter because I think that it serves as an introduction to the entire section where John says this, here is wisdom and I do not believe that he is going to, he's making reference to what he's going to say in the remainder of that verse. I think when he says here is wisdom, he is relating that to what has gone before verses 11 through 18. In other words, John is portraying a time when the church will be under assault. There will be turmoil and persecution and difficulty for the church that is really unknown to the American church.

Not unknown to a large segment of the church scattered around the world by the terms of American Christianity. And I think what John is saying is going to take wisdom to know how to live in an environment that is being described here. We're going to need God's help.

We're going to need his wisdom. There were two men who were very close to Adolf Hitler. Their names are Major General Hennen von Tresco and Colonel Claus von Straupensburg. There were two principal figures in the German conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

These men were, history tells us, were professing Christians. They had come to recognize Hitler's beastly evil. And despite the oath that they had taken of personal, unconditional obedience that they had sworn to Hitler, they began to plot Hitler's assassination quite early in World War II in 1941. And without getting into a lot of detail, there were several attempts to assassinate Adolf Hitler under these men's scheming, and it seemed at every turn they were thwarted in their efforts. In July of 1944, von Tresco, his best attempt, took place when Straupensburg was a staff officer in Hitler's high command, and he put a briefcase in Adolf Hitler's bunker.

Another soldier, another person in that bunker, moved that briefcase under a large wooden table, and when that explosion went off, that table absorbed the thrust of the bomb, and Adolf Hitler was not harmed. Well, Straupensburg was killed the next day, and von Tresco committed suicide about a month later. Now, hard to know of the sincerity of their Christian profession, but they profess to be Christians, and also it makes one wonder how someone could pledge unconditional allegiance to somebody like an Adolf Hitler, but it does kind of remind us of the subtlety of him and his evil plans.

He was very, very subtle and very convincing, deceiving. But be as it may, although we would admire their courage, if we're thinking right, we would not admire their ways, because they took advantage of positions of trust and operated in deceit, and I don't think you're going to find anywhere in the Bible where that is justified or where that would be commended. It reminds me of a time I was teaching an adult Sunday school class in South Carolina.

There were maybe 40 adults in there, maybe a few more than that, and in the current news was an abortion doctor who was murdered by someone in Florida. And there was a man in the class, and at some point in the class while I was teaching, he made the comment, every Christian should applaud what that man did. Well, I saw a whole bunch of eyes looking back at me thinking, what are you going to do with that one? And I couldn't let that go, and so basically I said, God's opposed to murder. The Bible says, I will repay, thus saith the Lord, vengeance is mine.

And so I talked to him afterwards, but he thought it was a justified thing that he did, and perhaps there's some who might even think what these two men were attempting to do was justified. We might wonder, and they wondered I think at times, was God against us? We were about something that in their minds was noble, and it seemed that at every turn God was hindering them and carrying out the plan that they had. Well, the book of Revelation has an answer to us in situations like that.

And listen to what we've studied in the past. Chapter 12, verse 11, and you're going to have to think about this verse. It says, they overcame him. Overcame who?

Overcame the dragon. They overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. You say, they overcame? How did they overcome? They lost their life. Well, they overcame by bearing a testimony that was, they believed that their allegiance to Jesus Christ was worth more than their physical life. And their physical death translated them into the very presence of the one that they were being loyal to. So, there's difficult days ahead for the Church of Jesus Christ, and no one can predict exactly how difficult, but the winds are indicating trouble and storm ahead.

And we're going to need wisdom to know how to live in an honorable way in this world and to maintain our allegiance to Jesus Christ. John here in chapter 13 is describing in this last half of Revelation 13 history in the form of the dragon and Satan attacking the church. Two beasts. We were introduced to a beast in chapter 13, verse 1, a beast that John said he saw rising up out of the sea. And then he tells us here in verse 11, I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. So, two beasts who were in alliance with the dragon, the devil himself. It's as though we have an unholy trinity here set before us and all of their evil and all of their hatred and all of their opposition to God and Christ and the people of God.

John's purpose, I believe, in explaining this vision to us and God's purpose in giving this to him that it might be explained to us is that we might have wisdom imparted to us as we live and trust Christ and bear testimony in this world. Again, the first half of Revelation 13 showed that Satan is not alone in his dragon-like warfare against the church. He has allies and those allies are the beast that comes up out of the sea and the beast that comes up out of the earth.

And if you remember, it's been several weeks that it was rather clear. The language here is very similar to Daniel chapter 7 as Daniel described the empires of the world and he did not explain the fourth beast in his prophecy. And I believe John in Revelation here is picking up where Daniel left off.

And the beast is not a personage. The beast is a world empire and it is, I believe, and I think, rather clear that it is the Roman Empire in John's day. Now, we'll say more about application as we think about that because we say, well, the Roman Empire, how does a 21st century Christian relate to that? Well, we'll speak to that here in a little bit, but we're trying to understand what John's readers would have understood and how we should properly interpret this portion of scripture. So, the first beast represents evil, tyrannical government working in history against Christ and his church. And here's where we make this bridge between the Roman Empire and our day. Evil, tyrannical government working against Christ and his church.

You don't have to be too observant to realize that the laws of our land are becoming increasingly opposed to Christ and his church and the freedoms that we enjoy as believers. When we come to chapter, I'm sorry, when we come to verse 11 here of Revelation 13, we have the record of John seeing another beast, this time not coming out of the sea but coming up out of the earth. Now, if the sea beast represents tyrannical government powers, which in John's day was the Roman Empire, this beast that comes up out of the earth represents local forces who were collaborating with the Roman Empire, was in league with the first beast.

They were working in concert with one another and finding their power and authority from the dragon, the devil himself. The land beast that John's speaking to in verse 11, trafficked in lies and deceit with an eye to promote the worship of the first beast. Now, it's helpful to allow scripture to interpret scripture and in Revelation chapter 16 and in verse 13, this land beast, this second beast is identified as the false prophet. In my Bible, I don't need to turn a page, it simply says, and I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. So, the first beast is the tyrant who relies on power and might to subjugate people, government and its power and its authority.

And if we, I don't want to, probably best left unsaid at this point, maybe I'll say it later because if I say it, it may be too much of a distraction and we won't get back to the text of scripture. But this second beast is the false prophet who uses lies and deception to promote false worship and idolatry. Furthermore, John describes this second beast as having two horns in verse 11. Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth and he had two horns like a lamb. And what John saw was part of the subtlety, part of the deception, a lamb, a cute lamb, a harmless lamb. So, it has a very disarming appearance until he speaks. Notice what it says, he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke like a dragon.

He spoke like a dragon. His true character is exposed as he speaks and his aim or his ambition is revealed in verse 12. Notice, and he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence and he causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.

Now, there's some translations who call them earth dwellers, the earth and those who dwell in it. And that's a phrase that's used throughout the book of Revelation to identify those who are unredeemed, those who are unregenerate, they're earth dwellers. So, his true character is exposed, his ambition is revealed there in verse 12.

He's enabled by the authority of the first beast to promote and force the idolatrous worship of the first beast. Here is the wolf in sheep's clothing that Jesus warned us about. Matthew 7 verse 15, beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

What we have here is the government institution and the secular world compromising religious systems and co-laboring to promote false worship. As I was preparing, this imagery came to my mind, a famous TV preacher. When I tell you what he does at the beginning of his meetings, you'll know who it is I'm speaking of. He begins his program by holding up a Bible.

And he has the people sitting there, thousands of them, repeating after him. This is my Bible. I am who it says I am. I can do what it says I can do.

I have what it says I have. And then he puts his Bible down and everything he says afterwards has absolutely no bearing on the word of God. There's no reference to the word of God and I thought through that. I am who it says I am. Well, what does the Bible say you are? The Bible says you are a sinner under the wrath and condemnation of God in need of forgiveness. But this man says he didn't believe in sin.

Now think about the subtlety of that. People are sitting there and they go, Oh, my preacher, he believes the Bible. He preaches the Bible. Holds it up and has people recite this and then sets it down and never makes reference to it.

Deceit. So this calls for wisdom, to discern, to be able to ferret out deception. And the call is for the church to be Bereans, be Berean Christians.

And if you remember what the Bible says about them, they were more noble than the Thessalonicans because they examined what Paul said to see if it was true. I was in a Bible study one time and Dr. Dick Belcher was teaching and there was a woman in the meeting who had recently been converted. And she was excited about the doctrines of grace. And she I remember her saying, well, I went to work and I told so and so what you said, making reference to Dr. Belcher, what you said about this and what you said about that. And he very wisely listened to her and he said, well, I'm thrilled that you're so excited about truth and you're so interested in what we're teaching here. He says, but let me give you a word of caution. If you believe what you believe because you heard it from me, it's just going to be a matter of time before somebody else comes along and says something that you're going to then believe. And then you won't believe what I said.

You believe what they said. You need to believe what you believe because you've discovered it to be true in the word of God, not because I said so. And there's too many people in this world that couldn't tell you too much about the contents of the Bible. But boy, they're dogmatic.

No, we need to be Berean Christians. Been so many reminders of that, even as I've studied through the Book of the Revelation. So much is made of this mark of the beast.

And I've asked a few people, well, do you know that the Bible talks about a mark that God has on his children, even before the mark of the beast ever comes up in the Book of Revelation? Really? Really?

Oh, yes, really. How much press does that get? How much attention does that get?

You may be sitting there thinking, yeah, I remember when that was covered, I was a bit surprised to find that myself. Yes, the beast, this beast that comes out of the earth represents false shepherds in churches, college professors whose agenda is to indoctrinate and undermine biblical Christianity and morality. It's represented in songwriters and in politicians and in media pundits, all cultivating a seductive and attractive message that is ultimately satanic. The second beast is promoting the worship of the first with a false gospel.

He is a counterfeit Christ. His message is salvation through power and pleasure, but in rebellion toward God. And Satan is the mastermind behind it all. His strategy has not changed. He came to Eve in the garden very subtly, beguiling her, deceiving her.

Paul tells us not to be ignorant of Satan's devices. Well, he's the same. He operates very similarly. So the second beast, he uses deception to promote the worship of the first beast. He promotes lies and false teaching.

But John's going to tell us that he employs something else. And what is that in verse 13? He performs great signs so that it even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. Well, magicians and their craft were very commonplace in the Asian provinces where John's readers lived.

This is not new. When they read that, they knew exactly what he was making reference to. Their chief employees were the pagan temples. And the beast seeks to mimic the true signs and wonders that are recorded in the scriptures. You remember when Moses came before Pharaoh, Pharaoh had his magicians. They counterfeited the miracles that Moses performed. Moses threw his rod down, it became a serpent. The magicians threw a rod down, it became a serpent. Well, that's not the end of the story.

What happened then? Moses' serpent devoured the Egyptian magician's serpent. Counterfeit. Counterfeit.

And there's such counterfeit in this world in which we live. Again, as I've mentioned, he mentions earth dwellers there again in verse 14. They are those who are worldly people, unregenerate people, and they are taken in by this deception. And what are we to make of the reference to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived? Well, again, the beast, the first beast is not a personage. The beast is an empire. Well, what happened in the first century when the apostles took the gospel to the known world? And the Bible tells us they turned the world upside down. Rome's superiority and power and tyranny was threatened. The church had risen in power.

And then what happened? Well, Rome came to life again. It found new power, it found new enthusiasm, and it persecuted the church. All of John's contemporaries have died the martyr's death at this point as John is writing.

The churches that John is writing to are under siege as well. And in our day, it's not cheap magic tricks that are employed. What is the deception in our day? Well, it's the achievements of science.

It's the government's accomplishments that are heralded as the successes of secular humanism. Paul Gardner, one of the commentators in the book of Revelation, he puts it this way, man replaces God in Christ with himself, but in reality, he has succumbed to the full deception of the beast who is his true master. So this beast of the earth has a number of strategies, we've seen them. He lies, he deceives, he uses signs and wonders, the signs and wonders of secular humanism, and then he employs the use of violence, persecution against the people of God. And what's all that about?

It's about outward compulsion and threats. John says, verse 15, he was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name.

Here's the third strategy of the second beast to use to advance the worship of the first beast. And I think we're aware, maybe not as aware as we probably ought to be, but the voice of the martyrs helps us to be informed of the persecuted church around the world. It's easy to forget that because that kind of persecution hasn't come to the Church of America yet, but there is persecution. There are people who are losing their lives.

They're going from house to house in Afghanistan seeking out Christians that they might put them to death. And along with deadly force, we see the beast enforcing false worship by requiring everyone to receive the mark of the beast. Now notice how John states it. He states that in verse 16 that everyone faces this requirement, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.

What is this mark? Well, it is an allegiance to the beast. It's an allegiance to the tyrannical government.

And again, it's not allegiance to a personage. There's much speculation in our day about this. What could this possibly be? Could this be a computer chip?

Could this be some way that they can watch your goings and so on and so forth? And I'm not going to say it's not because as I described what was going on in John's day, this is not something from John's perspective that was ultimately future. It was something that had happened to Christians in John's day. So there is an application to first century Christianity.

Now I'm not saying that's all of it. I'm saying what John is describing and what John and believers were experiencing is similar to what perhaps is coming to you and I. The Greek word for mark there in verse 17 is karagmi. It was a technical term for the emperor's seal on official documents. The mark was the state's political and economical stamp of approval.

It gave authorization to people to participate in society and in the marketplace. Now here's some things that were very common in John's day. Slaves were tattooed on the forehead to mark their ownership. And what this is describing is the beast will in some way mark those who belong to him, who are under his authority, who are willing to claim allegiance to him.

Soldiers would receive a brand often on the hand to designate the generals that they were followers of. You know in Deuteronomy chapter 6 and verse 8 there's a reference to putting the scriptures on the forehead. Remember as parents were instructed to teach their children the word of God.

Well what is all that about? God's people were being instructed to ascribe God's word on their foreheads. It was a scripture box. Well what was that to communicate?

It was to communicate that they were submitted in their mind to the word of God. And what the beast is insisting on is submission. You will submit your mind to the beast, to secular humanism.

You will submit yourself to the classrooms of the universities. Let me alleviate your fear. I know there are people that are wondering, is it possible that the subtlety and the deception could be such that somebody could accidentally receive the mark of the beast and therefore forfeit so much of what they hold dear?

Well I don't think so. I think that the mark here is a formal outward sign of total allegiance. That's what's being referred to here by John. Allegiance to a person, to an institution, to a cause. It is to render devotion to those that only God deserves to receive devotion from.

Maybe it may help us to think about some of these things. In Nazi Germany, what was the mark? It was the Nazi armband. In communist controlled countries, what is the mark?

It is a membership to the communist party. We hear a lot in our day of the one world order. I don't think we should stick our head in the sand and ignore that and think, well I don't think that has any application or any effect on us.

I think we need to be aware that that's part of what's going on here. The mark of the beast boils down to this. It boils down to a choice of allegiance to the kingdom of this world or to the kingdom of Christ. I mentioned to you, let me just real quickly draw your attention to that reference where God seals invisibly those who are His saints. This is in Revelation 7.

Listen to the first couple of verses. After these things, John said, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.

Yes. The suffering saints are invisibly marked by an angel. So here's the challenge. The challenge is to cast your lot, to declare your allegiance. And in John's day, particularly to the church at Pergamos where he wrote, he wrote to the church there because it was the compromised church.

Pergamos was the city that was dominated by the trade guilds. And if you wanted a decent job, you had to join the union that required image worship to Caesar. Well, if you were a Christian and your allegiance was to Jesus Christ, you couldn't do that.

So it was going to cost you, and it was going to cost you dearly. Revelation chapter 2 verse 12 speaks of the church of Pergamos. Listen to what Christ said to the persecuted church of Smyrna. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. So what is it in our day? Let's try and make this contemporary so that we're not just talking in generalities. What's it going to mean?

What has it meant for some Christians in our day? Well, if you're a businessman, the government will and may exercise tyranny if you do not give abortion-providing insurance to your employees. It won't be a suggestion.

It will be a mandate. Military officers have lost career promotions because they have refused to hide their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The beast will paint followers of Christ as traitors to the governing regime. You say, well, I don't see that coming. Oh, really? Oh, really? Parents who show up at a PTA meeting to oppose critical race theory teaching and gender identity teaching are labeled as domestic terrorists.

This is closer to home than we realize. In Pergamon, if a person did not have the karagma, the mark, he was barred from the marketplace. This was in John's day. You could not enter the marketplace. You couldn't buy.

You couldn't sell. I don't think it should be too far-fetched for us to think that things would come to that in our day. John concludes this chapter with the point of his teaching. And what is that? Here is wisdom. This calls for wisdom.

The ESV renders it. This calls for wisdom. What we've just talked about, what I've just said, John says. Listen to an appropriate parallel passage. Ephesians chapter five says, See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is, and do not be drunk with wine in which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.

Good instructions for us. There is a price to pay for your fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ, for your faith in Him. So prepare yourself for that reality. Salvation is promised to those who persevere in faith. John is speaking of another aspect of wisdom here in verse 18. He says, Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666. And from this verse, I want to suggest to you that we need wisdom to see the enemy for what he is and for what he is not.

Why is that? So that we will not succumb to his deception, so that we will not be intimidated by his threatenings. What does that mean in verse 18? Let him who understand calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. There has been more time wasted in the misunderstanding of that verse than perhaps, I won't say anything else, but many think that the 666 is a coded reference using an ancient practice known as gematria.

Maybe you've never heard of gematria. If you know anything about the Greek and the Hebrew language, they do not have number systems. We have our Arabic numerals. They used letters. And gematria works this way. Every letter in the Greek and the Hebrew has a numerical value.

The first nines were the one, the second nines were the tens, the third nines were the hundreds. And you could take a name and calculate the numerical value of the name by adding up the value number of the letter. You say, that sounds confusing.

Well, I'm just trying to describe to you what gematria is. And the theory then is that John is helping us identify the antichrist when he comes. Take his name and apply it to the Greek alphabet, add up the numbers and thereby identify the antichrist. Because his number will add up to 666. Well, there's a problem with that theory.

What is the problem? There are too many candidates. With this system, we are overwhelmed with potential antichrists. Ronald Wilson Reagan was thought to be the antichrist because his name, using the gematria, comes up with 666. Henry Kissinger was thought to be the antichrist.

You want to find out something humorous? Google Henry Kissinger and the antichrist and get ready for an avalanche of information to come at you. Somebody said that Barney, the children's cartoon character, that cute purple dinosaur, he must be the antichrist because when you do the math, it yields the calculation 666.

Well, had to add a little humor there. The person most often thought to fit this numerical formula is the Emperor Nero. This is just a thought, speculation, take it for what it's worth. Perhaps instead of looking forward and wondering who the antichrist will be, this is resolved by looking back and realizing that Nero, that man, was the antichrist.

Some commentators point us back to John's day. And even that's a bit iffy. You have to take Caesar Nero and you have to drop a letter out of Caesar to make all this work to the 666.

So that seems very problematic to me. Some say a better approach is to understand the symbolism of the number six itself. And you know, as you study the book of Revelation, how important numbers are.

Twelve speaks of Israel and the prophets and the apostles. Ten is a number symbolizing wholeness and completeness. Seven is a number that speaks of perfection. What about six? Well, six falls short of seven.

It's imperfect, it's defective. Man in his sin aspires to be God, but he falls short of the glory of God. The dragon and his beast, they set themselves up as a fake trinity, but they fall short.

And Christ's victory will expose Satan and his cohorts as being fakery. Greg Beale in his commentary says this, quote, six repeated three times indicates the completeness of the sinful incompleteness found in the beast. The number six is kind of a pivot throughout the book of the Revelation. You have the seven seals, you have the seven trumpets, you have the seven vile judgments, bold judgments. But six, there's often a pause, and then that six serves as a transition. You get to the sixth seal, the sixth seal gives way to the six trumpets. You get to the sixth trumpet, it gives way to the sixth vile judgment or the bold judgment. And perhaps it's speaking of what John is revealing here.

So, if you're going to use gematria and apply it to the beast, the beast, it produces the 666. Here's my suggestion. We're always looking for entry points into people's lives. Carly ran into a lady, well, I didn't run into her, but she's involved in teaching her children piano. They don't go to church. She's been inviting her to church. And in the context of all that, she said, I've never heard anybody preach through the book of Revelation. Carly says, well, my husband is right now at church on Sunday nights. Well, the only thing this woman's ever heard about Revelation is the mark of the beast and 666, and she's in terror and petrified over it.

Use it as an opportunity to engage people in gospel conversation. You know, where Jesus Christ super bounds in perfection and completeness, the devil and his cohorts miss the mark. They're inferior. The devil, what is he? He is a liar and the father of lies. He's counterfeit.

That's what he is. What is he not? He's not the victor. He's not the winner. He's not the overcomer.

He's the loser in the end. He knows his time is short. So he's busy in what time he has short, just like you and I scurry around. Maybe some of you aren't this way. I know one person in this room who always has his work done three or four days ahead of time.

But most of us are. No, no. If you know you're planning to go away, you don't pack your suitcase until the night before or even maybe that morning, right? You put it off, you put it off, you put it off.

No. We need wisdom. And what is that wisdom that John is calling for?

It's wisdom to live in this world, to identify ourselves as Christ followers. We're willing to pay whatever price comes for our allegiance to him and knowing that there is going to be an increased price to be paid if he tarries his coming. Let's not be fearful about that. We are overcomers. Greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world. So let's not be fearful.

And let's not be given to suspicion. I don't know how satisfied you are this evening about my explanation of the mark of the beast and the identity of the beast, the number 666. I think most of us, because of our exposure to that number, it's a bit surprising how many times that number comes up.

Have you noticed that? It just comes up in weird ways. And whenever you see that number, it alerts you. It draws your attention. Like no other combination of numbers, right? At least I've seen that dozens of times, scores of times, that number will come.

And so what do I do? Do I think, oh boy, I wonder what that's all about? It drives me back to the scriptures.

What does the Bible say? So thank you for praying for me as we are making our way through the book of the Revelation where we have finished 13 chapters. And we have to make our way from chapter 4 on through chapter 22 yet.

It's been a challenging study for sure, but a very instructive one. Because you need the same study tools for the book of Revelation that you need for any other passage you're trying to study. It's not like, okay, this is something completely different. I've got to go to some other resource to be able to understand. No, it's the same hermeneutical principles. You're trying to understand what has God said, what does God mean by what He said, what is the application for us.

It's that simple each time. Not always easy and simple to work through those three points, but that's what we endeavor to do as we stand here and preach the Word of God. So let me bow in prayer. Father, we thank you tonight for your Word.

We thank you for its instruction. We ask our God that you wouldn't indeed give us wisdom to live in this fallen world that is becoming more increasingly opposed to you and your gospel and to those who declare to be followers of you. Lord, help us that you will fortify us, help us to remain steadfast and be unmovable, abounding in the things of the Lord, knowing that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Thank you for your church. Thank you for Christ, who is the head of his church. Thank you that the evil one and his cohorts are in submission, in subjection to your sovereign will. And we rejoice to be named among the saints, named among those who are of Christ. Bless your church, encourage your church, instruct your church, equip your church to live in these days, we pray in Christ's name. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-02 09:54:14 / 2023-03-02 10:09:24 / 15

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