Summary: Antichrist and the head wound
Last Week In Revelation...
It often amazes me how much information and doctrine can be packed into a single verse or two of God's Word. Sometimes, I feel like an NFL referee; when I look at a passage of Scripture I form one opinion but "upon further review" I overturn the previous decision! I love God's Word.
When we started in chapter 13, we reviewed how chapter and verse divisions are man made; this makes it most often easier for the reader. That being said, sometimes these divisions of chapter and verse are not correct; God's Word is true, but the divisions are sometimes not. Such is the case with the first sentence in chapter 13; many scholars feel that it should be the end of chapter 12. Also, the manuscripts vary in that some translations state "Then I stood on the sand of the sea" (NKJV, KJV, ESV, HCSB) while the older manuscripts translate as "And he stood on the sand of the seashore" or something similar (NASB1977, NASU). The difference is that it is either John looking on (Then I) or Satan (And he); I lean more toward the latter version as do many scholars.
We then saw a terrifying beast arise out of the sea (summoned by Satan), this beast being a symbol, not literal; this beast symbolizes Antichrist. Each part of this symbolic beast represents a quality or characteristic of the Man of Sin (2 Thess 2:3). Coming up out of the sea refers to the Mediterranean Sea (the region of origin of Antichrist), the ten horns referring to ten kingdom government that Antichrist will rule, and the seven heads being either the seven hills of Rome or seven great kingdoms from antiquity to and including the future kingdom of Antichrist. Each country will be rotten and "antichrist" in nature, and will blaspheme God in word and deed.
The three animal attributes (body of leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of lion) refer to characteristics of Antichrist and his rule. He will come to power quickly, will have brutal strength and his voice and even his name will dominate and strike fear into the hearts of men. He will gain his power, throne and authority from Satan, the "god of this world" and "prince of power of the air".
This week, we will see one of the great deceptions of all time and how the people of the earth--for the most part--will be duped into believing the greatest lie ever told.
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:3-4 (NKJV)
The Great Deception
As Christians, we "serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today" (from the hymn "He Lives"). We know what millions of men, women and children have come to believe over the millennia since Jesus Christ: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. (1 Cor 15:3-8, NKJV). Any other faith is believing "in vain" (1 Cor 15:2).
However, there are many false teachings in the world today. All you have to do is turn on the TV and you will see plenty of them. Although I do believe that God can and does indeed heal people, sometimes miraculously, I do think that many of the supposed healings on TV are fake. In fact, there have been different reports from news agencies and TV network news shows that have exposed some of these men and women for the charlatans that they are: greedy, self centered, power seeking people. If the healing brings glory to the preacher, it's probably bogus.
One of the biggest whoppers I have ever heard was that some evangelist somewhere here in the United States raised someone from the dead. Now let's be clear that an immediate resuscitation is much different than bringing someone back from the dead. An immediate resuscitation is when someone dies from a heart attack, drowning or has quit breathing and is brought back to life by means of CPR, defibrillation or by mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; being raised from the dead means that the person was not dead for a few minutes but instead has been dead for hours or days. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead had been dead for four days (xxx). In fact, when Jesus arrived at his good friend Lazarus' grave, Lazarus' sister said "surely by now he stinketh" (John 11:39KJV) referring to the decomposition of his body. Jesus wept, then brought Lazarus back from the dead. Both are different from resurrection, as only Jesus was truly resurrected from the dead; one whom is resurrected from the dead has a body that is metamorphosed from our current, mortal, fragile body to one that is impervious to injury or death, can go through walls, and more. For someone to make the claim that they have raised someone from the dead is absolutely ludicrous.