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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Image of the beast / Image of God comparison

by NIKOLA DIMITROV

“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” Revelations 13:14-15
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Revelation 14:9-11

I know these verses are speaking for a time yet to come. Some say that this is speaking about a human being that will be manifested in the Earth, and that will have nature of the devil in himself, e.g. Antichrist. Others say that is speaking of a whole system, and not just a mere man. Whatever the case might be, there are spiritual principles we can draw from these verses.

1. The devil has an image. Of course, it’s exactly contrary to God’s image. 2. The devil will impose that image of his upon this human being (AntiChrist), or upon a whole demonic system (kingdom), trying to rule upon the Earth. We see that this human representation and extension of the devil is Anti-Christ, Anti-God, Anti-The Anointed One, Anti—The Savior, Anti-His destiny, purposes and intentions. 3. The devil’s final purpose is every person to receive the same image of the beast in themselves – some because of deception, others because of fear. This image was given power to speak, act and perform miracles (Revelations 13), so it does require the people that have received it to act accordingly, speaking its language, doing his works, even receiving its supernatural power.

It’s main purpose – the self to be promoted and rise against and above Almighty God Himself.

We know that the devil fooled many angels to join him in his battle against the Lord in Heaven and they were all cast out. Now, in the Revelation events, we see him trying to do the same thing with men on Earth, gathering an army that is meant to attack the Lord when He comes from Heaven to the Earth (Revelations 19:19, 20; 20:7-8). That will be an army consisting of totally deranged, mentally distorted and emotionally destroyed people. Why? Because they will have all accepted the beast’s image and that’s exactly what the devil is.

Somebody will say, “Well, what does that have to do with us? The AntiChrist (man or system) is not yet manifested and nobody has yet accepted the image (mark) of the beast as Revelation says”.

Here’s the spiritual parallel we must draw. It’s point number 4.

4. The Bible says in (1 John 4:3 and 2:18-22) that the spirit of the AntiChrist is already working in the world.

“and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:3

It is definitely trying to creep into the Church, into all it’s structures and to respectively permeate every area of the Church life, Christian thought patterns, ways of behavior, ministry ethics, Christian moral, Bible standards and all else.

That’s the spirit of religion we are dealing with. Not the pure religion that Apostle James is speaking about in James 1:27. This pure religion is actually a lifestyle of hearing God’s word of truth and obeying it; it’s a lifestyle of being pure, holy, separated and trustworthy. It’s a lifestyle of doing good and breaking every yoke of the devil (Acts 10:38). It’s a lifestyle of following the Lord every step of the way, receiving His image in us and exercising His authority in doing His will by bringing His purposes and destiny to fulfillment on the Earth, as it is in Heaven.

The spirit of religion and of the Anti-Christ I’m talking about is exactly the opposite. It’s being hearers only, but not doers of God’s word (James 1:22-25). It’s going to Church, but not actually being an integral part of the Body of Christ. It’s being like the Priest and the Levite that saw the wounded man lying half dead on the ground and that passed by him, without helping him. It’s being religious politicians, deceiving ourselves and the others. It’s saying, but not doing, being a Pharisee, a religious fanatic, a fault finder, seeking always to find faults in others, but never checking ourselves at the same time, beholding the mote in our brother’s eye and ignoring the plank in our own one. The examples are endless. That’s the image of the beast – the image of self-righteousness, raising its ugly head above and against God’s humility and grace.

Now these 4 points show the devil’s side of things. But we all know that the devil is not a Creator – He is a counterfeiter. he takes from the Lord’s principles and thwarts them, perverting them. So, let’s look at the original structure:

1. The Lord has an image. It contains all Himself, His Glory, His power, His authority, His Character, His gifts and fruit, His ministries, His dreams, purposes, intentions and destiny. 2. The Lord sent His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ (as opposed to Anti-Christ). Jesus was the human representation and extension of God. We can see that clearly in the following Scriptures:

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:3- 4

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell” Colossians 1:12-19

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:1-17

3. The final purpose of God is to place that same image of Christ on the inside of every one of us, so we can be, speak and act as God is speaking, acting and being.

The main purpose – God’s Character to be developed in us in full humility, grace and peace, so we can be mature sons and daughters of God, ready to enter into the inheritance the Lord has for our lives, our families, our children, our ministries, our Churches, our jobs and careers, our neighborhoods, our cities, our nations, and to the ends of the Earth.

4. God’s Holy Spirit has been working in God’s people ever since Genesis 1:1-2 when He was hovering above God’s Planet Earth. In our new birth, He even came to live in us. Will we ever be able to grasp what the Lord has done for us? We have the Lord of Glory living in our hearts, through His Holy Spirit.

Nikola Dimitrov is a Pastor and Bible teacher and is also part of Life in Glory Church in Bulgaria. Dimitrov is also the director of In depth쳌Media ministry, editor-in-chief of Roma Destiny National Media, and the owner of the Metamorphu publishing company which focuses on the publication of Christian children material. More info at: Life of Jesus

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