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How Will the Beast Conquer the Martyrs?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez
The Truth Network Radio
February 7, 2020 1:00 am

How Will the Beast Conquer the Martyrs?

Core Christianity / Michael Horton & Adriel Sanchez

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February 7, 2020 1:00 am

Episode 375 | Dr. Michael Horton and Adriel Sanchez answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

Key questions answered in today's show:

1.  I have a question regarding  Revelation 13.5-8. It talks about the beast and how all of the martyrs that have been saved in heaven and that he [the beast] will be able to conquer them. That doesn’t really make sense to me. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on what that is saying.

2.  Is it safe to use interpretation from the notes in my study Bible? Or should I try to interpret it on my own?

3. What happens when an infant dies? Do they go to heaven?

4.  What are the basics I need to know to be saved?

5. In Romans chapter 7, is Paul speaking as a Christian struggling with sin, or was he still unconverted?

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This is core Christianity, where answering your questions about the Christian life Monday through Friday. Your hosts are author and seminary professor Dr. Michael Horton and Pastor atrial Sanchez call right now with your question. At 1833. The core that's 1-833-843-2673 and now here's atrial Sanchez hello and welcome back to another episode of Christianity, we are here answering your questions about the fate we love being in the Scriptures together and we do with Prof. Michael Horton. He's a theology professor and Pastor atrial Sanchez. It's good to be together again. I want to share some sad news coming out of one news outlet. According to the UK-based nonprofit organization humanitarian aid relief trust heart over 1000 Christians living in Nigeria have been killed by terror group Bogle, hurrah, and for Lonnie extremists this year alone while additionally Islamic terror group Bogle hurrah has vowed to kill every Christian they encounter. They have displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Nigeria. Hart also reported that approximately 6000 Christians have been killed since 2015, while another 12,000 have been displaced from their villages. I know some of these people. Some of them are graduates of the seminary where I teach wow yeah yeah Mie churches burned down houses burned down low on it's a reminder to pray to it just helps to open our eyes to the fact that what the church is so much bigger than just us here in the United States and we have brothers and sisters throughout the world who are suffering for their faith in Jesus you think about what the author the Hebrews had to remember that Ms. though we were imprisoned with them in such an encouragement for you to pray today for your brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are suffering and we have a question related to persecution and martyrdom. Let's listen in court regarding Revelation 13, chapters 5 and it talks about the water and it talks about how all the martyrs that you are in heaven you will be able to convert so that this does not really make sense to me started touring what your thoughts are what exactly is that yeah thanks Caleb well yells look at the passage Revelation 13 verses five through eight. First let's start at the verse four we have the description of the beast rising out of the sea with 10 horns and seven heads, the seven heads probably symbolizes the Roman Empire, Rome was called the city of seven hills. In any case, we recall the book of Revelation was written with the express purpose of comforting persecuted saints in the first century that really helps with interpreting the book is difficult enough as it is, but we need to realize a everything is revealed through symbols its apocalyptic literature, like the book of Daniel. For example, the second thing is that it was written to persecuted saints in the first century just as Daniel was a series of revelations written for persecuted saints in Babylon 20 have so much comparison of the world system to Babylon.

In the book of Revelation. Daniel read Daniel cracked the book of Revelation makes a lot more sense. So verse two tells us that the Dragon Satan gave his power and his throne and great authority to the beast now again any first century Christian would've known what that meant. It meant Satan gave his own authority to the Roman Empire, but then what could be meant by saying in the next verse, one of its heads seem to have a mortal wound but it's mortal wound was healed. And the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast on earth well. One view is that it's narrow.

Besides being an insane murderer not only of Christians but his own family members, Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D. with the legend spread that he'd come back to life. I don't think that view is very convincing as a matter fact Nero didn't come back to life as we all know, and his death was generally greeted with a quiet mumble. Good riddance.

Another view more popular is that it's a revived Roman Empire sometime in the future and proponents of this view believe that we're living close to the time when there will be this revived Roman Empire, and it will be led by the antichrist but I think the main problem with this view is that a wooden been relevant to the primary audience that the Roman Empire would be revived after a couple of millennia and be there doesn't seem to be any temporal lag time between the beast's near fatal wound and recovery. I agree with those who think that the best explanation here is that the beast is indeed the Roman Empire but the Roman Empire of John's own day, the persecutions actually. During this time were intermittent we sometimes think well everybody was thrown the Lions every Thursday. It's not really the case. In fact there were whole generations in which there were rather infrequent or just local persecutions that led to people's deaths during the reigns of DCS and Valerian. Everybody was required by law to sacrifice to Roman gods and to Caesar as a God or be executed.

But these decrees were generally ignored under the next Emperor Galanis in 260 but when Diocletian came to power in 284 there was a massive empire wide slaughter of Christians between 303 and 313 Stephen called the great persecution. So here's what I think John's vision was prophesying at first it looked like the persecution has subsided. Maybe with the death of Nero. But then things will heat up again persecution will revive the beast will lash out again under the influence of Satan, the great Dragon Nero will die, but that won't be a fatal wound for the Roman Empire. It will come back with great vigor and violence up for us. I think it means that the whole. From John's data hours is going to be marked by Satan's attempt to use the world system and false religion is you are talking about a drill in Nigeria with Bogle. Hurrah to use all that to persecute the saints and keep the testimony of Jesus from conquering his kingdom of death state that CNN would say the most important part of the story.

There is the Christians dying from the perspective of Jesus and the book of Revelation. The most important thing is whether Jesus is being proclaimed. The reason you really need the saints not to die so they can go on proclaiming but if they die like that. They just pass the torch to the next proclaimer the message of the book of Revelation is relevant for all of us spoiler alert here because Satan and the beast. Indeed, the gates of hell couldn't and will not be able to prevail against the church's proclamation of the gospel to the ends of the earth, and that's why we read in verse 11.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints like one of the things that I think the book of Revelation does so wonderfully sister flips, everything on its head right like we think of conquering as being victorious, conquering nations, but in the book of Revelation, Jesus conquered through his death Ray suffering and in one sense, what you see throughout the book of Revelation is the saints in the same way. Following the footsteps of Christ there victorious in this sort of odd way through suffering. Yeah.

And boy does that speak to us today because so often. I think a lot of them, and in particular the united states. We think of the way the church is really to be victorious.

If we take everything over right if we have all the power and yet in the book of Revelation. It's like the church father said the blood of the martyrs is the seed out of the church. The church is spreading is not how much power we have in Washington DC.

It's how widely around the world. The Gospels being proclaimed, and this is a very important point, the Jews of Jesus day missed the kingdom because they were looking for an earthly geopolitical restoration basically of the old covenant chasing out the Romans. The way their fathers. It had been called by God to drive out the Canaanites and everybody else there a lot of Christians today who are also stuck on an earthly kingdom and earthly plot of great whether that kingdom is in Jerusalem. As if that is the fulfillment known or unknown book of Hebrews says know the truth. This is Jesus is the true temple. He's the true high priest. He's the last sacrifice. Then you have other people who say most if it's not Jerusalem, it's America. This is the kingdom of God. We gotta drive out all the all the non-Christian known or don't listen. Our kingdom is not of this world. The kingdom of Christ exists on this planet around the world where ever people even under great stress and persecution are gathering to hear the word of God to baptize to administer holy communion and to look after the sheep in body and soul. Wherever that happens, there is a faithful remnant on or around the world that forms a global international interethnic kingdom of God on earth. Amen.

Thank you for that question. Caleb Amber asked us on Facebook.

Is it safe to use interpretation from the notes in my study Bible, or should I try to interpret my Bible on my own and I think it depends on the kind of study Bible you have and there are some really great commentators on the Bible and there are some really not so great commentators on the Bible as I will say we should never interpret the Bible absolutely on our own and others a doctrine that many evangelicals embrace called the doctrine of Sola script Torah. I embrace it is the idea that God's word is our highest and final authority will sometimes I've seen people take that to mean I have the Bible, I don't need the church. The truth is if we take that approach were cutting ourselves off from the body of Christ. The body God is working for the last 2000 years. So from good Bible commentators we can get a lot of good information, we should study the Bible and read the Bible on her own, but never in isolation from the church so I recommend you read the Scriptures take notes asked questions form opinions but do that in the context of the worshiping community. The local church. A lot of people today don't have churches and they justify not being in church by saying things like, well, I have a personal relationship with Jesus. I read my Bible on my own. I read my Bible yet on my own. Every day looking for reading the Bible every day were going to get to the place where it calls us to submit to our elders and we can have a high view of the Bible and have a low view of the church where the Bible calls us to gather with other saints, let me recommend it a couple of study Bibles that I've benefited from my gotta know if you have some as well, but I think the ESV study Bible is embedding of some great nose historical background there for good on this new one that just came out coming more recently came out that the gospel transformation study Bible. There is also the Reformation study Bible.

Personally, I just I don't used to study Bible used to scatter that the plane pilot letter what you call it the plane by by the Bible without amen I like that I like to just read it and and think through it, meditate on the Scriptures, but but never in isolation right weights always in the context of the worshiping community work were learning from brothers and sisters in and under under the preached word with the Patterson think of yourself Amber as you're looking for a surgeon for a life changing operation lifesaving operation want credentials right.

You're not just going to go to any surgeon who not to say you know what I'm I'm in a do this myself.

Give me a scalpel.

You don't have the training for it now. There's a real danger in saying only those who are trained in the original languages and in biblical interpretation and doctrine and church history can interpret the Bible. That is a horrible view and it is it's a view that you hear out there, but the dangerous, the swing to the opposite side as a drill said and to not have the guidance of shepherds who have been trained to interpret the Bible, not for you, but with you and so come along side them the right interpretation. Generally speaking you a better chance of finding it in the consensus of the church than you do on your own and you know one of the things we also say is that the only infallible interpreter of the Bible is the Bible so you can get all these commentators as well and in none of them are going to be perfect. That's one of the reasons why we have to continue to dig in the Scriptures is because the Scriptures they provide the inspired commentary writing about reading the New Testament how it helps understand a lot of that Old Testament typology the types and shadows so the only infallible interpreter of the Scriptures is not your pastor is not the Pope is not it's the Scriptures themselves. But God uses people to help us better understand the Scriptures. I know you're at the ESV study Bible is fantastic gospel transformation study by which I have the privilege of working on. I think those are really helpful in not replacing the Bible but showing us where in Scripture you have that scarlet thread from Genesis to Revelation, leading to Christ. Amen. Thank you for your question Amber cynical Christianity, we are taking your calls and emails about the Christian faith about the Scriptures. It was a call if you have a question. The numbers 1-833-843-2673. That's 1833 the core. You can also email us at questions at core, Christianity.com and as always we have a special offer for you today. Mike yeah were excited to share brand-new resource on court, Christianity.com and you wrote it. It's called seven things you need to know about marriage and sex and it's free. When you sign up for our weekly newsletter. We get a lot of questions about this and all of our marriages couldn't use a little help and direction, especially if you're thinking about getting married. You want to have a godly marriage. This is a great resource to get your hands on. So head on over to court, Christianity.com/offers to download seven things you need to know about marriage and sex can also get a hold that by calling us at 833-843-2673. That's 1833 the court what we go to our first email question, this is Alex. What happens to infants who die they go straight to heaven because they haven't committed sin. Yet while you may be asking this out of personal pain and loss. If so, I'm I'm very sorry. My wife and I went through several miscarriages and it's a heart wrenching experience.

You never forget it, but nothing compares to the pain of losing an infant you've held in your arms, let me say first of all, according to my reading of Scripture. If you're a believer you have no reason to doubt that you'll see your child in heaven, David's son, that he had with the Sheba died in infancy. And David said second Samuel 723.

Can I bring him back again.

No, I shall go to him, but he will not return to me so he was confident that he would see his son again. In fact, the very next verse says then David comforted his wife, Beth, Sheba were told in first Corinthian 714 that one believing parent makes the children holy otherwise is Paul. Your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy.

The promise is always as as Peter said at Pentecost for you and your children were in the Abraham it covenant Jew and Gentile. Through faith in Christ. In fact, David lamented in sin. My mother conceived me. Psalm 51 five we are born into this world in Adam condemned corrupt and under the power of sin and death. Like the rest of us are children are saved by God's grace and mercy, not because they aren't sinners now as far as the infants of nonbelievers are concerned, we have no passages in Scripture on the subject. I happen to believe that the Lord's mercy encompasses these children to. I hope that encourages you, thank you for your question Alex go cynical Christianity were we are answering the questions you have about the Christian faith.

We want to let you know about a free download available on court, Christianity.com. It's called nine ways to know that you're really a Christian is free when you sign up for our weekly newsletter that a record Christianity.com and click on offers and the menu bar and download nine ways to know you are really a Christian doesn't want the best ways to share Christianity with your friends and families to share one of our articles or resources, and so that's a question we were always getting and how do I know that I'm really a believer. How can I have assurance it's a hope that resources helpful for you Mike, we have another email hear from Lisa. What does a person really need to know to be saved.

I'm asking because I want to better know how to share the gospel and I worry about it too simplistic gospel thanks rate will good for you Lisa I love your interest in sharing the gospel and in all its wholeness and integrity of Scripture teaches that Christ, of course, is the center of the gospel, specifically his life, death and resurrection, ascension, and bodily return. So maybe if you think in terms of those five aspects of his work that will be helpful. He lived a perfect life fulfilling the law in our place. He died as our sin bearer in our place. And he rose victorious as the beginning of the resurrection of the dead, the pioneer of the new creation sending to the father. He intercedes for us in heaven and he extends his kingdom by his word and spirit. One day he will return to make all things new. That really is the gospel that score Christianity. All of this is by God's grace alone in Christ alone. That's key. Nothing that we do or feel or experience makes us right before God. Our only hope is in what Christ has done for us.

That is pretty simple. You can present that just as briefly as I just did. But theologians obviously have unpacked it volumes so is that rich simple doesn't necessarily mean simplistic, but there are a lot of simplistic gospels out there.

As you know they they either leave out the center, namely Christ's saving work for us or they narrow it to something like going to heaven when you die.

Of course it's good news that when we die our soul goes to be with the Lord. But that's just the intermission. The main event is the resurrection of the dead and raining and ruling with Christ forever on a renewed earth in a redeemed cosmos.

What a joy that is is our hope as I said the main thing is to make it about God and his saving work in Christ rather than about us.

Stick to the plot of Christ's life, death, resurrection, ascension, and return. And even if you don't get to see the fruit. Thank the Lord that he let you plant a seed like one of the distinctions that I know were fond of making didn't originate with you or with me, but I think it's important, the question like this is the difference between the law and the Goss yell and a lot of presentations of the gospel today do tend to converge on law. I don't that unicorn contributors do. Yeah, confusing the gospel with the law. Happens all the time. Here are the steps that you can take to be born again. For example, will that's law do this and you will live know the good news the gospel is Christ has done all of this for us and even promised us that he will give us a new heart that he will regenerate us by his Holy Spirit through his gospel and give us the faith that is itself a gift of God were told in Ephesians 29 eliciting a core Christianity with theology professor Dr. Michael Horton gives a call with your questions about the Scripture we want to hear from you. The number is 183384326731833 the core. You can also email us with the question it questions at core, Christianity.com. I think we have time for one more email.

This is Claire and she asked in Romans seven is Paul a Christian struggling with sin or was he still unconverted Mike. I know there's a number of rotations on this passage from wise Christians. There are there are there for those who are wondering in this chapter Paul laments that in spite of Christ's victory, he doesn't feel victorious at all. First he says that the law itself is good, he wouldn't have known that he was a commentor for example unless the law had come to him and said, you shall not covet. He heard the outlaw, he says and he died law killed him, showing him his moral reflection in the mirror to the problem is he goes on to say were so sinful that the law just kind of us stirs up our sinful desires. The losses don't touch the cookies and what's the first thing we want to do. Go for the cookies so the law is good, but I'm not. So there are basically three views on the rest of the verses from verse 14 to verse 25. One is that Paul speaking representative Lee of the whole covenant people and that makes sense because Paul says in Galatians that the law was a schoolmaster to lead people to Christ. That's what happened. Paul says according to this view, Israel came to know it. Sin and died longing for Christ. A second view, agrees that Romans seven isn't talking about Paul as a believer. It's not autobiographical, but it does so for a theological reason they say Paul's description of so much defeat can't possibly be referring to a genuine believer. How can a Christian, much less an apostle say about himself right now I don't know what I do.

But the thing I don't want to do I keep on doing wretched man that I am, so Paul has to be speaking either in the persona of an unbeliever or as a carnal Christian. The third view takes this as a straightforward autobiographical account. Paul is struggling in his Christian life is describing the normal Christian life and here's why I think this view is correct. He describes a struggle for I delight in the law of God in my interbeing. Paul never says that about an unbeliever. In fact, he says that were born into the world, dead incense, loving the law agreeing with the law and nevertheless finding himself transgressing it again and again.

That's the normal Christian experience, even when our sanctification seems to be a roller coaster. Our justification is secure and that is a great walk to fight from. Thanks for listening to core Christianity to request your copy of today's special offer. Visit us@corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu for or call us at 1-833-843-2673 that's a 33, the court when you contact us.

Please let us know how you been encouraged by this podcast and be sure to join us next time. As we explore the truth of God's word together


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