YouVersion Devotional

 

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Path
Unlike the fictional beer commercials, the most interesting man in the world has yet to come. Dynamic, persuasive, and a breath of fresh air, this leader’s diplomatic skills will be off the charts. On one hand, he will be everything the world has been waiting for; on the other hand, he will be its biggest nightmare.

Points
Wickedness (v. 1)

In his vision, John saw the Antichrist as an insidious man–a beast.
Though starting as a man of peace (see Revelation 6:2), the Antichrist will reveal his true colors halfway through the tribulation.
In 1 Thessalonians 2, Paul called the Antichrist “the man of sin” (v. 3), “the lawless one” (vv. 8-9), and “the son of perdition” (v. 3).
World Dominance (vv. 1-2)

The Antichrist will pull together one world-governing empire (see Daniel 7).
He will rise from the sea, or the nations (see Isaiah 17; Revelation 17).
He will promote globalism: a global network of political alliances with a single law and economy.
Wonder (v. 3)

The Antichrist will be fully possessed by Satan. People will wonder at his ability and be mesmerized by his talent.
Many will see him as a political savior, the bringer of peace in the Middle East and the world.
Worship (vv. 4, 8)

People’s fascination with the Antichrist will turn to adoration.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul said the Antichrist will “oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God” (NIV).
The prefix anti means against, but it also means instead of.
The Antichrist will be a counterfeit Christ, part of an illegitimate and unholy trinity: Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
Words (vv. 5-6)

The Antichrist will sway people with his words.
Daniel 7:8 describes him as “a mouth speaking pompous words.”
War (vv. 7-10)

Once the Antichrist succeeds in dominating the world, he will seek to eradicate the Jewish people and new believers (tribulation saints: those saved after the rapture).
Daniel 7:25 states that he “shall persecute the saints of the Most High.”
Practice

Connect Up: The first three and a half years of the Antichrist’s reign will be peaceful, but the last three and a half years will bring about an abomination during which two-thirds of the Jewish people will die (see Zechariah 13:8-9). Why will God allow such desecration on the earth?

Connect In: Read Matthew 24. How can the church protect itself from deception?

Connect Out:

Antichrist is called the man of sin; Jesus is the Sinless Man.
Antichrist is the idol shepherd; Jesus is the Good Shepherd.
Antichrist is pictured as a beast; Jesus is the Lamb.
Antichrist’s false death will be meant to deceive; Jesus’ death was meant to save.
Pray for friends and family who are not yet Christians.

YouVersion Devotional

 

Satan’s Global Conflict

Path
The Bible reveals the startling truth about Satan: he is real, he has access to heaven, and he is not in charge of hell, nor will he ever be. There are two major themes in Revelation 12: war in heaven and wrath on earth. In considering them, we learn a few character traits about the Devil:

Points
Satan Is Persistent (vv. 7-12)

In the future, heaven will be a war zone. Satan fell from heaven and failed to destroy God’s Messiah (see Revelation 12:4), but he will try once again during the tribulation to conquer heaven and thwart God’s plans.
Satan doesn’t give up easily. He wants to create as much chaos and destroy as many lives as he can–like a “roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
When God said, “Have you considered My servant Job?” (Job 1:8), He acknowledged that Satan had been watching Job, looking for weaknesses.
One of Satan’s biggest lies is that he is the evil opposite of righteous God. God does not fight battles; He wins them. Satan will fight a losing battle against God’s angels–particularly Michael, an archangel associated with Israel’s protection (see v. 7).
Satan Is Perverse (vv. 9-10)

Dragon (a fierce tyrant)
Serpent of old (his subtle treachery)
Devil (slanderer, gossip)
Satan (adversary, enemy)
Deceiver (false religion, security, and hope)
Accuser (spews accusations against us)
Satan Is Pernicious (vv. 12-17)

Heaven will rejoice at Satan’s banishment from heaven, but the earth will recoil.
The tribulation includes not only God’s judgment against the earth but also Satan’s great wrath as he and his minions are confined to earth for three and a half years.
Satan will vent all his outrage on the earth, specifically against Israel. Through the Antichrist, two-thirds of all the Jews will be killed (see Zechariah 13:8), and the abomination of desolation will occur (see Matthew 24).
God will protect His people from the flood of Satan’s wrath; Israel’s darkest hour will lead to its brightest dawn.
Satan Is Preventable (v. 11)

Believers in the tribulation “overcame [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb” (v. 11). Satan has built a case against us, but our defense attorney, Jesus, makes a stronger case by His blood (see 1 John 2:1).
Like the martyrs, we overcome Satan by the word of our testimony (see v. 11).
Our spiritual loyalty is more important than our physical life.
Once we know how to die, we know how to live (see John 12:25).
Practice
Connect Up: Satan studies how to harm us, but he operates within strict parameters–by God’s permission and for God’s purposes. What battles do you need to give over to God, trusting that His ultimate victory is sure?

Connect In: The solidarity of Christians is important in resisting Satan’s influence. How can you support other believers in the challenges you face?

Connect Out: What is your testimony? Prepare a brief account of how God has changed your life.

YouVersion Devotional

 

Cosmic Conflict

Path
Revelation 12 reveals to us things that are happening around us; it provides a briefing about an invisible war in the spiritual realm.

Points

This Conflict Involves a People (vv. 1-2)

The woman symbolizes the nation of Israel (see Genesis 37:9-10; Jeremiah 30; Daniel 10).
The Child is the Messiah (the Seed of the woman; see Genesis 3:15).
Probe: Consider the importance of the Jewish nation throughout history. Why has Satan attacked it with such vehemence?
This Conflict Includes a Perpetrator (vv. 3-4)

The dragon symbolizes Satan (see Revelation 12:9).
He is cruel, vile, and fierce.
He has seven heads. Seven symbolizes completeness; Satan’s intellect is comprehensive and vast.
He has ten horns and seven diadems, symbolizing Satan’s strength and authority in dominating the world.
We see Satan as the dragon he truly is, not his deceptive disguise as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
Probe: Consider how Satan disguises himself in our world. What are some of the evil things happening in our culture that drive people from God’s goodness?
This Conflict Entails a Pursuit (vv. 4-6)

Why does Satan hate the woman? Because the Messiah will come through her–the Anointed One, the Christ who will crush Satan’s authority (see Genesis 3; Isaiah 9).
All of Israel and the church’s history centers on Satan’s attempts to destroy God’s people in order to prevent the Messiah’s birth and stop His mission of salvation.
Satan’s quest began with the first murder: Cain killing his brother Abel. Satan further induced others to murder (see Genesis 4; Genesis 6; Genesis 27). All murder and hateful violence toward the Jews is a sign of Satan trying to rid the world of God’s chosen people and, ultimately, the Messiah.
Satan thought he won the ultimate victory at the crucifixion, but then Christ took up His life and rose from the grave.
Probe: How can the church participate in crushing Satan in our society? What can we do to proclaim the victory of Christ and His resurrection?
This Conflict Ends in Primacy (v. 5)

Primacy means dominance and superiority.
The Child will return as King, and He will reign (see Isaiah 9).
Rod of iron: Christ will quell Satan’s rebellion and rule absolutely, shepherding and guiding the Jewish nation.
Probe: Christ is the shepherd and guide for Israel and the church. How has Christ guided you, showing His primacy for your benefit?
Practice

Connect Up: We are part of the war that began in heaven and moved to the theater of the earth. How does this reality draw you close to God?

Connect In: How is the church to participate in the drama of the end times? What role can we play now to minister to the church?

Connect Out: How can the church better proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ as we enter the final stages of history? How can we declare the primacy of Jesus’ victory to the world?