I will be preaching today about the second Beatitude in the Book of Revelation, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on?” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them” (Revelation 14:13). Many times you hear this Beatitude preached at funerals. It is the passage from which I preached my mother’s funeral. Much of what I know about the Bible and the seeds of faith in my heart were planted and nurtured by the teaching of my Godly mother. I certainly know she is a part of that “Blessed” congregation that now worships in the presence of Jesus in heaven.
Don’t miss today what this Beatitude says, “…FROM NOW ON…” The message of this Beatitude should be viewed in the “Here and Now” of our daily lives. Being “BLESSED” is an everyday promise from God’s word that happens to everyone who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus. It is a mark of our relationship with Jesus and it stays with us forever. Think about it: We can live today like we are “BLESSED” forever. That is a world view that is worth preaching and sharing with everyone.
You’re going to need a pencil today, because we are going to cover a lot of territory in Revelation. Here’s a preview of what we are going to learn:
- The Work of the Beasts (Revelation 13)
- The Place Called Heaven (Revelation 14)
- The Lamb of God (Revelation 14)
- The 144,000 (Revelation 7 and 14)
One point I will not have time to cover this morning is the Mark of the Beast in Chapter 13 of Revelation. You know that number to be 666. What does that number mean? There have been many theories. Some have attempted to use these numbers to decode the name of the antichrist. Names like Euanthas, Lateinos, and Nero Caesar have been suggested. Nero is the best known. Other names have surfaced like Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon and even the Pope. Other ideas about the number 666 make it more symbolic as a depiction of evil and imperfection. People have suggested these numbers represent a signal of the end times.
My own feeling about the number is that it is a counter influence to the number 7 in Revelation. The number 7 is used 52 times in Revelation. It represents a holy number and is God’s favorite number. The influence of the Beast in chapter thirteen is anti-God and anti-church. The number 6 falls short of God’s number and thus, demonstrates the work of the Beast in our world. The number 666 is not merely a symbol for the end times, but for any time the evil of Satan’s influences are at work against the things of God.
Jesus told us that in the judgement the sheep will inherit the eternal reward prepared for all who are, “…blessed by my Father” (Matthew 25:24). But, on the His left hand are those 666 folks who are a part of Satan’s dominion, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The best news about the number 666 is that there is a pathway out of its influence. Trust Jesus. Live for Him and you will not ever have to worry about the number 666.