As a new Christian l was concerned that our new telephone number began with 666, but I need not have been. The mark of the beast is unlikely to be a literal 666 stamped on our forehead or our hand, or a telephone prefix, a microchip, or the Covid vaccine passport, but rather, represents symbolically a theological worldview that exalts man over God. As Dr. Campbell explains, the forehead represents our mind, and the hand, our actions. This number also represents the opposite of the seal that God gives to believers, assuring them that no one can take them out of His hand. We, as His own, think and act differently than those in the world. And we must persevere in this, and not be conformed to the world if we are to be unashamed before Him at His coming. This is a daily battle. I am helped by the morning and evening habit of confession and repentance, for though I am redeemed, I am also so prone to wander, and so I pray:
We must also pray this for the body of believers, the True Church, for we too, historically, have been prone to wander. Consider how the church founded all our Ivy League colleges, yet today, they are indoctrinating their students in the ideology of the beast. The same, so sadly, is true of many churches. In watching the documentary on the prosperity gospel, I learned of the deceptiveness of practices of many television preachers, such as Benny Hinn, in faith healing and causing people to be slain in the spirit.
The cost for not thinking and acting like the world, that is, “receiving the mark,” may be high. Respected theologians such as R. C. Sproul recommend this documentary by Ben Stein that shows how professors who teach “Intelligent Design” as an option for understanding creation lose their jobs. You may want to watch it on You-tube this week. Here is the trailer:
This week you will read this article:
Last year one of my Advent highlights was the musical production from The Gospel Coalition. They have another this year — it airs live tonight, but afterwards you can still see it on you-tube. Here is the link:
This second Sunday in Advent, the candle lit represents peace. Though we are “at war,” though there is a dragon in our Nativity who rages against us, we can have a peace the world does not know because of Jesus.
- What stands out to you from the above, and why?
- Where are you prone to wander? How can you pray for yourself? For your local church?
Monday/Tuesday: The Counterfeit Church
The beast from the land arises to attack true believers. Instead of an outright attack of persecution, it uses deception. How we see this today with both the prosperity gospel (health and wealth) and progressive Christianity (progressing beyond the fundamentals of the faith like the blood and the inerrancy of Scripture).
3. Read Revelation 13:11-15 aloud to yourself.
A. How is this beast’s appearance like a lamb — and how does his speech differ? (11)
B. How does this beast support the beast from the sea? (12)
C. What methods does he use to deceive the earth dwellers? (13) How might you see this today?
D. What other way does the beast of the land help the beast of the sea? (15)
4. Read In Mystery Explained, under The Second Beast Arises, everything up to The Mark of the Beast.
A. What confirmation does Campbell see in the fact that this second be30-37ast is later called “the false prophet?”
B. What is this beast’s goal?
C. In what ways do you see churches conforming to the unbiblical teachings of your government?
D. Campbell refers to Dan. 11:30-37. How do these two beasts work together?
E. In his final paragraph, explain how Campbell describes how true believers will be seen by the world.
Wednesday: The Mark of the Beast
5. What have you thought the mark of the beast meant in the past and why?
6. Read Revelation 13:16-1
A. What does the beast force people to do, and what helps him in his persuasion? (16-17)
B. If this mark represents our thinking, our worldview, how could having it cause us to experience worldly loss?
C. What is the number and what does it represent? How is God’s number different?
7. Read the first paragraph under “The Mark of the Beast” and stop at “The number of the beast…”
A. How does Campbell explain the mark?
B. How did the church at Smyrna exemplify financial loss due to not going along with the beasts?
C. How might you lose money or power or reputation by following Christ and refusing to be lukewarm?
D. Why is it vital that we be loving, kind, and upright when God calls us to disobey the state or express our views that are contrary to the state or the counterfeit church? (1 Peter 3: 13-17)
Thursday: The Number of the Beast
8. Read the paragraph in Mystery Explained that begins with “The number of the beast” and stop at “In support” and explain the problems with taking the number 666 literally.
9. Read the paragraph that begins “In support” all the way up to THE FOURTH VISION
A. How is the first beast the counterfeit of the Son?
B. How is the second beast the counterfeit of the Spirit?
C. What encouragement does Dr. Campbell give to the believer at the close of this section?
Friday: Article or Documentary
10. Read the article from the Gospel Coaltion on the Mark of the Beast or watch the documentary Expelled and share what you learn.
11. What is your take-a-way and why?