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by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 26
English Standard Version
11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.
12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people,
14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.
16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead,
17 so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18 This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. 
Lucifer the Dragon intends to replace God in your life with himself. He wants to build into your life his own unholy character. He wants your heart to be angry at God. He wants you to lie for personal gain. He wants you to be comfortable taking from others without working for it.
The Dragon wants you enslaved to his vices, grateful for the freedom from God that he provides, loyal to his unholy agenda, and consumed with earthly things.
You will either serve God or the Devil. There’s only two choices on the shelf, to serve God or to serve self. The Dragon is judged. His time is short. Don’t throw your lot in with the Devil.
Lots of people live happy lives on the outside, but are enslaved to sin in their heart. They promote the corruption in the world and don’t live separate from the dark path. By their life and example they convince others that the godless path is an acceptable way to go. They are all walking together into destruction.
The First Beast is full of pleasures and distractions. He works to establish a secular world free from God. The First Beast is hard to keep from worshipping with your time and talent.
The leader of this secular world is the anti-Christ. He appears to overcome the mortal bruise on His head as promised in Genesis. The resurrection of Jesus was that strike on the head of this godless world, yet it recovers and seems for a time to triumph over the Kingdom of Heaven.
This week we see the third person in Lucifer’s Trinity: the False Prophet. This prophet is the opposite of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God points people to Jesus that they may worship Him. The False Prophet points people to the Secular World, the Beast, that they may worship him.
What tools might the False Prophet use to consume our time and keep us connected to this world instead of being connected to God? Have you ever seen a good looking couple, maybe at a romantic dinner table, and one of the spouses is texting on their cell phone?
God is sitting across from us right now looking to engage us in fellowship and communion. And too often we are distracted. Our Bible’s are dusty and our prayers are rusty.
Yet we are all very busy looking at our cell phones, television, movies, the internet, newspaper reading, science, hobbies, exercise, work and other distractions which all serve to keep us from looking to Jesus and spending time with Jesus.
The job of the False Prophet is to whisper in your mind all the other good and noble things that are more important than time with God. He gets the world between you and Jesus. The Second Beast, is also known as the spirit of anti-Christ. He inspires you to all sorts of things, all things except time with God.
He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is meant to look humble and non-threatening. He comes out of the Earth like other good fruits and blessings of God.
There’s nothing threatening about a television, mobile phone or a good work ethic. Those are good things that come up from the Earth. They are part of God’s blessings within the Creation. They are common grace even. Good stuff.
But the spirit of anti-Christ wants us to be consumed by these good things. The Dragon wants us doing social good and community service, not worship. The Dragon wants us feeling morally superior by our good deeds.
The False Prophet wants us to believe that we can create a world utopia. If we work hard enough we can solve the Palestinian conflict, end world hunger, cure Breast cancer and cure Aids.
God is never part of the solution. In fact, the False Prophet paints Christians as radicals who hold back science and progressive social issues.
Our children are taught that the world needs to be saved by not burning fossil fuels.
The False Prophet would have us believe that Christian America has enslaved the world in our promotion of oil. Salvation is promised those who replace coal and oil with wind farms and solar power.
All these false gospels inoculate the masses from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
They worship the Creation over the Creator. They despise the image of God within Humanity. They will bend to the point of breaking to save a polar bear or a tree, but then bend just as far to rationalize killing babies before they are born.
Al Gore’s political action group got the EPA to officially label the carbon-monoxide that we exhale a poisonous toxic gas that needs government regulation. If only we could stop breathing we could heal the planet!
What could be more noble than saving ourselves and the planet? The spirit of anti-Christ inspires the world with these false promises of salvation.
The world holds their lies with such reverence that they gave President Obama a Noble Peace Prize for promising to bring world peace and lower the oceans. They gave the reward to him for amplifying the False Prophet’s message.
Let me sound a little nutty for a second. Almost every movie ends with the False Prophet’s version of Heaven: a Christ-less Utopia.
How does The Little Mermaid end? The conflict is done, there’s no suffering, no poverty and no pain. As the camera pulls away from happy souls, the music lifts your heart into feelings of euphoria and joy. What a wonderful imaginary escape!
This is the problem with television shows like the Cosby’s. It was good family television, but it amplified the message of the False Prophet that a healthy home and a blessed life can be found pursuing good moral values, not Christ.
So the unique characteristics of Heaven (peace, joy, love, hope, beauty, family, no tears or suffering) are added to the end of most feel good movies and television series.
The False Prophet is trying to sell you a godless New World Order, ruled by the anti-Christ, where there is never a mention of Jesus in the public square and where man saves himself.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:15 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Let me illustrate with a more pointed example.
There is a great idea for getting children to read called the Scholastic Book Club. I think it’s great that our public schools work to place books in our homes for our children to learn.
How about these two books: Conversations with God and Conversations with God for Teens. Sounds like a sweet lamb right? But as Jesus warned, these two books are ferocious wolves.
The books are a fictional discussion between children and God. Children ask questions, and the “voice of God” answers.
Here’s a for instance: one young girl asks, “Why am I a lesbian?” the answer is “You were born that way.” Then she is told to go out and “celebrate” her differences.
Another girl asks, “I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I should marry him because I am living in sin. Should I marry him?” The voice of God replies, “Who are you sinning against? Not me, because you have done nothing wrong.”
Another teen asks if God forgives sin. The voice of God replies, “I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong.”
These are not the words of a lamb, it is the voice of the False Prophet. These are not the words of an educator, it is the voice of the anti-Christ. These are not the words of people who love children, it is the voice of the Dragon.
It is the work of the False Prophet who whispers that the tissue mass in a womb is only an extension of a woman’s body. You can keep it or abort it. It makes no difference.
The False Prophet demands absolute adherence to the philosophical theory of evolution. Any variation on that social dogma is used to disqualify Christians from teaching in academia.
The False Prophet animates the Beast with these lies. The secular world increases its power through political correctness and “group think.”
Where are these things headed? Tyranny and Despotism. Like the German concentration camps, the False Prophet always leads society into rationalizing the killing of their neighbors.
The False Prophet tells our culture that we must find a way to give legal permission for nurses and doctors to end the life of anyone suffering without a cure. And if the person is unwanted, if medical treatments are unfunded, if the person is too young to argue for their rights, or too old to live out the value of the surgery, then “let them take a pain pill.” Life isn’t sacred. It is discarded as an inconvenience.
This False Prophet creates a new moral code which insulates the masses from the call of the Gospel. People feel good about themselves because they joined good causes. They did community service so they are morally superior. They feel like they have atoned for their sins. They have saved themselves.
Churches like ours are becoming the thorn in society’s foot. The False Prophet claims that our call for repentance and faith hurts a sinner’s self esteem. California will now imprison any Christian counselor who tells a teenager to repent of their homosexuality. Our Gospel is fast becoming hate speech.
All these illustrations are the work of the False Prophet, who wants us to worship the Beast of secular power and materialism, that we might live for the glory of the Dragon.
The first horn of power is lies and shades of truth. The second horn of power is deception through supernatural tricks. Moses saw the supernatural tricks of the Egyptian magicians who threw down their sticks which became snakes after Moses threw down his staff and it became a serpent.
Simon the Magician wowed the crowds in Acts 8.
Since the Revelation has lots of allegory, I don’t think there will be a real statue for worshiping the anti-Christ. Not that a statue can’t make people worship. People flock to worship when they think a Catholic statue has shed tears. Some people venerate a picture of Jesus that they claim magically appeared on the backside of a grilled cheese sandwich.
I think the meaning is more like what Jesus said in Matthew 24:24 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Finally, God says that the Dragon gives his followers the mark: 666.
You might remember that God gave His people a mark. We are branded by His holy name and marked for eternal life. You can’t see this mark. I don’t know a single Christian who has ever found God’s mark on their skin.
We can’t see the Dragon’s mark either, yet the mark we wear determines the wrath that we escape. You can escape God’s wrath or the Dragon’s wrath.
Why is it 666? I am going to give you an answer that is so simple, it stretches credulity. I hope you find it beautiful in it’s simplicity.
6 is less than 7. There are 7 churches, 7 stars, 7 lamp-stands, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 bowls, 7 horns. There’s the 7 days of Creation. Seven is the number of fullness, the number of completeness. We enter God’s rest on the seventh day.
The cycle of work never stops without the seven. To be short of seven is to miss God. To be short of seven is to be Earthly and temporal. You are short of a blessed union with Christ without ever getting to seven, and you are missing God’s eternal Sabbath rest in Christ.
The number of the Dragon, Beast and False Prophet are all 6. Three sixes.
They can’t offer rest, peace, comfort, eternal happiness or health. They can only offer you more work, more enslavement and more suffering.
These three are all part of the Creation. They are not eternal or all powerful. They are limited and will be judged by Jesus. You will lose your soul living for them or the Earthly things they promote.
The Dragon is a fry short of a Happy Meal. He is a day late and a dollar short. He doesn’t measure up to God. This Demonic Trinity will leave you empty and lost.
God is a seven. He is holy and perfect. He brings the true blessings without sorrow added to it. Jesus Christ is a seven. He is a suffering servant. He is eternal and the blessed Begotten Son. The Holy Spirit is a seven. He lights the way to the holiness of God. He leads you to Jesus and sustains you in truth.
And Humanity is a six. We are created in God’s image on the sixth day. We are less than the perfections of Divinity, yet we were created to glorify God.
And we have a decision. We can affirm our condemned Earthly condition and live for the things that the Dragon promotes, or we can ask forgiveness, receive transforming power and have the image of God grow through obedience to His commands.
Friends, don’t fill your life with things that are less than God. Don’t invest your life in temporal things. If you don’t live for Jesus, then you will be marked by the six, six, six of this temporal world.
Rather, look to Jesus! Fill your ears with the Words of Scripture. Don’t give heed to the lies of the False Prophet. Give your life to Jesus. Make God your life. Pursue His glory and trust Him to carry you into the seventh day of His eternal rest.
May God give us all the grace to know Jesus and pursue Him with all our hearts.
 The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
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