Week 51 The Faithful Know His Voice

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 51

Scripture Readings: Revelation 12-17

Key Scripture Verses: Revelation 13:14-18 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

“Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.”

This section of Revelation speaks of the mark of the beast—the number 666—which will identify those who follow the antichrist. This number will be on the foreheads and right hands of those who have rejected God and who have been deceived into following the antichrist in the last days. Christians who are faithful in worship and know the scriptures will not have to worry about being deceived.

This second beast in the scripture is the false prophet, the one who is a counterfeit and poses as the Holy Spirit, but is actually a deceiver. He may seem to be good on first glance and if not carefully discerned, but his intention is to dupe people to follow him.

This number—666– this mark– is meant to be a mockery of the seal that Jesus has said will be on the foreheads of his believers. Satan’s goal is to deceive believers into following him and so he mocks the very symbols and teachings of Christ, mimicking them as a means of deception.

Because we live on Satan’s turf and in a fallen world and have to interact with it, Christians need to be forever vigilant in prayer and worship and in study of God’s Word. We need to remember to “be in the world, but not of the world.” If we are faithful in our worship and study, we will know the voice of our Shepherd and we will be able to discern the truth without being deceived, as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Ours is a spiritual existence. There is a spiritual warfare going on behind the scenes and we are in the midst of it. Those who remain faithful to the living God, Jesus Christ, will inherit the kingdom of God and live with him forever. May we be forever vigilant in our love and praise of him, for he is pure love and the giver of all love and all that is good. May we not be deceived by the pleasures of society and shallow pursuits, forsaking that which is holy and good. If we are faithful, we need not worry–we will know the voice of Jesus when he calls.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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