Reflection Questions – Satan File 9: The Antichrist – His Mark and His Name (Revelation 13.11-16)
by Pastor Gene
Daniel 11:36b: “What is decreed shall be done.”
- How have you been doing lately? Weve been talking a lot about the end times. We’ve also been witnessing astonishing events in our own nation, as well as in the Israel/Hamas War – things which speak to the ‘lateness’ of the hour (Matthew 24:33). Believers look to the Rapture with a sense of expectation, but it is complicated. There are people we love who don’t know Jesus – people who would have to endure terrible suffering were the Rapture to occur today. Discuss your concerns. Does thinking about these things encourage you or discouraged you? Share your honest thoughts with the group. Help one another. 1 Thessalonians tells us to “encourage one another” (4:18) and to “build one another up” (5:11), especially those who are “fainthearted” or “weak” (5:14) – and we are ALL weak and fainthearted at times! So, let’s do that as we begin this week’s group. Encourage one another with the promises of Scripture. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 out loud. Ask someone to pray that God would strengthen our discouraged brothers/sisters with these words.
- Think about the people in your life you most desire to know Jesus. Have someone jot these names down, then take a few minutes to pray for them by name as a group (Romans 10:1). Ask Jesus to open their eyes and to draw them to Himself.
- Having considered these loved ones who don’t know Jesus, think about your own evangelistic efforts toward them, or the lack thereof. Have you been purposeful in warning them about the consequences of their unbelief? Why or why not? Have you given up on them? How might you renew your efforts to compel them to run to Jesus for salvation (Luke 14:23)? Share your thoughts/ideas with the group.
- At the end of Sunday’s sermon, I mentioned some things we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic we lived through together. What did this ordeal teach you about yourself? About those around you? About the world at large? Do you agree that the pandemic was a giant step forward in preparing the world to receive the coming Antichrist? Why or why not – and in which ways? Cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11 & Ephesians 2:2.
- In 2 Thessalonians 2:11, Paul made a statement that troubles many believers. He said that, during the Great Tribulation, “God sends them [unbelievers] a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” What do you think God is doing here? Does this make Him deceptive? Read and discuss Psalm 107:1, James 1:13, & 1 John 1:5. How does 2 Thessalonians 2:11 square with 1 Timothy 2:4 (that He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”)?
- What does this “strong delusion” tell us about God’s sovereignty and the consequences of those who mock the Gospel? Consider Galatians 6:7 in this context – the concept of reaping what we sow. Why does Paul begin this statement by saying, “Do not be deceived.” What’s the possible deception Paul is warning against?
- Some think that if only the world would turn itself around, it could avoid the terrible events predicted in Scripture. But is that true? Is it possible that the Antichrist might not come? Consider Daniel 11:36, “What is decreed shall be done.”
- Theologian Robert Shaw writes: “By the decree of God is meant his purpose or determination with respect to future things; or, more fully, his determinate counsel, whereby from all eternity, he fore-ordained whatever he should do, or would permit to be done, in time.”1 Think about this statement. Do you agree with it? If true, what are its implications? With respect to God’s decrees, consider these verses: Psalm 33:11, 115:3, 135:6; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 46:9-10; Zephaniah 2:1-2; John 19:11; Acts 15:15-18; Ephesians 1:5, 11.
1 Shaw, Robert, The Reformed Faith: An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith (Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2008) p.81.
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