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football teams contest December 29 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Revelation 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

Spiritual Contests

It is the zenith of the American football season. The college bowl games have already started, and the professional playoff games are about to begin to determine who plays in the Super bowl. The contests to get in the most important game are fierce, and all kinds of strategies are used to win. There will also be fierce contests in the end times of the world, and these contests will be much greater than any football game. Satan will fight hard against God, and many people will be caught in the struggle. Have you ever felt caught in struggle? What can you do?

Revelation 10-14 records an interlude of events between the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments that will come upon the earth. A powerful angel declares, “There will be no more delay! But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets,” (Revelation 10:6b-7, NIV). We will see in tomorrow’s lesson that the seventh angel sounds his trumpet ushering in the final seven bowl judgments. Afterwards, Jesus Christ will come to conquer and to rule and reign over the earth, just as he predicted to the prophets in the Old Testament portion of our Bibles. But before Christ comes to conquer, there will be some contests between God and Satan.

In John’s vision, God told him to measure the earthly temple in Jerusalem and the altar (Revelation 11:1-2). Since there is no current temple in Jerusalem and no altar for sacrificing, we can only assume in the end times there will be a rebuilt temple in existence, and sacrifices will once again be instituted. By a treaty the Jews will be allowed to have their temple and worship in peace. In the middle of the Tribulation Period, however, the world peace treaty with Israel will be broken, and the holy city, Jerusalem, will be trampled on for the final forty-two months of the Tribulation (Daniel 9:26-27).

During this time, however, two witnesses will arise with power from God.

If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. These men have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them, (Revelation 11:5-7, NIV).

There will be great rejoicing all over the world at the death of these two menacing witnesses, but after three and a half days they will see them resurrected and then taken to heaven. John says of that day, “At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city [Jerusalem] collapsed. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the survivors were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven,” (Revelation 11:13, NIV).

What will be the response of Satan to this challenge? Satan will wage war with God in heaven. Again he will lose. The archangel of God, Michael, and his angels will defeat Satan and his angels. Satan will lose any place he had in heaven, and he and his angels will be hurled down to the earth. The heavens will rejoice! Satan will be enraged. If he can’t win against God directly, he will try to destroy His people. Satan will then attack Israel (the woman who gave birth to a Son, Jesus, who will rule and reign), but God will protect Israel, somehow, from a flood of destruction.

Satan will then change strategy. Having failed with Israel, Satan will wage war on the rest of the saints (believers) of God on earth, who will have become Christians after the rapture of the church. He will give power to a beast from the sea (this is probably a tyrannical Gentile world leader since he arises from the sea, probably referring to the sea of nations; versus the land, which would likely refer to Israel). He will be worshipped by the nations. He will capture Christians and put many of them to death. “This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints” [believers in Christ], (Revelation 13:10b, NIV).

Satan will also give power to another beast (possibly an antichrist figure from the earth). He will be a miracle worker and everyone will wonder at what he can do. He will be deceptive, however, and cause people to worship an image of the first world leader. Also, no one will be able to buy or sell without his mark on his right hand or forehead. This will put great pressure on the saints of God to sell out their profession of Christian beliefs so they can survive. God says by an angel, however,

If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name, (Revelation 14:9b-11, NIV).

Those who bow down and worship the beast will not be Christians, though they might associate with them. This will call for patient endurance for the true Christian believers at that time. False believers, whom they thought they could trust, will betray them. Christians will find it difficult to get food and shelter. They will have to endure persecutions, captivity, and even death. They will struggle to obey God’s commands and be faithful unto death, but God promises them future blessing and rewards if they do. In retribution for the martyrdom of the believers, God will destroy many wicked people of the earth with a very great slaughter.

Lessons to live by:

  • Beware, there are unseen spiritual contests being waged between God and Satan.
  • Rejoice! You are on the winning team if you have trusted in Jesus Christ for your salvation. Only he gives us forgiveness, peace, spiritual life, and victory over evil (more...)
  • If you are caught in the middle of a spiritual battle, be patient and endure it. It will not last forever. You will be rewarded for obeying God and staying faithful.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Revelation 14:7"…Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." (NIV)

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