The Great Apostasy and The Number of The Beast 666
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations…"Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."(Revelation 13:4-18)
In Revelation 13 we read about the BEAST with the number of 666. This is only one of a number of references in the Bible to a great APOSTASY (abandoning of the faith) that would develop. This "falling away" from the true faith actually started in the first century and it has continued into our own day. Many prophecies are written to warn us that this corruption of Bible truth would be very prominent in the last days, just before its final destruction at the return of Christ.
Some references to Consider
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." (Matthew 24:11-12)
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." (2 Thess. 2:3-4)
"Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come....Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."( 2 Timothy 3: 1-5)
What does it Mean to Us?
These prophecies of APOSTASY are of obvious concern to all of us. We owe it to ourselves to identify the errors and source of false religion so that we can escape from the judgments that are coming. (See 2 Thess 2:8-12)
"They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Paul's warning to Timothy
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy to warn him of the dangers of the coming APOSTASY. "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
(2 Timothy 4: 1- 4)
(2 Timothy 4: 1- 4)
Why would people prefer fables to Bible truth? Simply because the promises associated with false religion are more appealing to the flesh. By telling their followers what they want to hear, the false prophets maintain their livelihood. Religion can be a lucrative profitable business. Beware the message of those who are more concerned with donations than truth.
How do we identify the fables? First of all, we must follow the example of the disciples at Berea, who searched the scriptures daily to see if what the preachers were telling them was true. (See Acts 17:10-11)
The other thing that we need to be watching out for is a message that is just "too good to be true." Consider the church funeral for a deceased of questionable character who was now being commended to paradise with words of praise.
Watch out for those promises that no matter how much of a sinner we are, God loves us just the way we are, and He will reward us anyway. Sermons of this sort are far removed from the truth as revealed in the Bible.
What really happens when we die?