The Great Counterfeiter

Discussion Guide for Revelation 13

“Falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after it…” – Jonathan Swift

There is one important truth that defines the Book of Revelation: God is victorious in the end. The reason we must keep this in mind is that Satan is the great father of lies and his falsehoods seem to carry the day for a very long time.

This should come as no surprise to anyone acquainted with humanity.

  • Marriages are wrecked by total breakdowns of trust.
  • Employers cannot give their employees the benefit of the doubt.
  • Investors lose their life savings to banking schemes and credit ratings that were built on lies.
  • Parents have to discipline children who can tell a lie as easily as they tell the truth.
  • Teachers have to remind students not to trust all the information they read on the internet.
  • Voters try to make important decisions without the ability to trust much of what they read or see in the media.

We don’t have to look very far to see the effects of the reign of Satan in the world around us.

People replace the truth and goodness of following Christ with the false experiences of Satan. The specifics of what Satan offers will follow in weeks to come. But, the focus of Revelation 13 is to identify the source of all of falsehood and counterfeiting in the world.

Sinful man will always be willing to pursue an idolatry that imitates God but doesn’t demand the absolute allegiance that God demands.

We need to note that Satan is ultimately trying to offer an alternative to God. He will never be successful in this mission because there is only one God with ultimate sovereignty and majesty.

Satan will, however, be successful in deceiving men. This is possible because men, blinded and cursed by sin, do not have the desire or the ability to know or understand the true God. Wherever there is an absence of the knowledge of God, it will always be replaced with an idol.

The idolatry in Revelation 13 even goes so far as to counterfeit the Son and the Holy Spirit. Satan will mimic the cross and resurrection of Christ and mimic the supernatural acts of the Holy Spirit.

We live in a day and age where many Christians are deceived into thinking that because something is spiritual or supernatural then it must be from God. We must be careful to also understand that Satan is a spiritual being who has the ability to do great signs and wonders in the spiritual world. Only knowing and trusting God for who He truly is (having one’s name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life) and pursuing Him daily can offer protection from being deceived into worshipping idols.

One way that we can identify the beast is that he is at war with the church (those who confess Jesus as Lord). He will use the economic systems of the day to exert pressure on faithful Christians to either renounce Jesus or be killed. But rest assured, all who truly belong to Christ will persevere in the faith, even if it costs them their lives.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you noticed that people are far more willing to follow a lie than the truth? Why do you think that is? Does Revelation 13 give clues to explain why that is the case?
  • What clues from the text lead you to see that Satan is trying to offer an alternative to God?
  • Why is the world so willing to accept Satan’s alternative?
  • How do you understand the mark of the Beast? (use sermon notes)
  • Does being a follower of Jesus bring us closer to the world economic system or drive us away from it?
  • How can we be faithful followers of Jesus while working in a fallen world economic system?
  • How can the believers in Revelation 13 trust in God for sustenance instead of the beast, given that they are shut out of the economic system?

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Jonathan Pugh

Associate Pastor: Life Groups & Church Partnership

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