1 Corinthians 3:16-17 ESV “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
Our bodies do not belong to us like some think. Did we create them? Our bodies belong to God. Believers are God’s Temple, the place God dwells by His Spirit:😊
2 Corinthians 6:16 KJV “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I WILL DWELL IN THEM, and WALK IN THEM; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
What great intimacy we have with Almighty God!😃 God Himself lives and walks in us!
John 14:22-23 KJV “Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and WE will come unto him, and MAKE OUR ABODE WITH HIM.”
God lives with and makes himself manifest in a special way only to those who love Him and keep His commandments. The world doesn’t keep God’s commandments hence they cannot know Him. They know of Him but not intimately.
The temple of God is Holy and devoted to the worship of God. (Romans 12:1-2) We are that temple. As in the past there will always be rivals to the worship of God and defilers of His temple because the Devil hates the worship of God.
THE IMAGE THE BEASTS AND THE MARK
Revelation 13:15-17 KJV “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.  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
God foretold a time would come right before Jesus’ return when a certain beast would have power to give life to the image of another beast. The image would be empowered to speak, and cause as many as would not worship the image to be killed. The beast causes ALL from the least to the greatest, rich and poor, free and slave (that’s everybody) to receive a mark IN their right hand or IN their foreheads.😳 The pressure would be so great to receive this mark that no one can buy or sell unless he/she has this special mark of the beast. As bizarre as this sounds remember it all starts with worship of the image and of the beasts. The beasts and the image want worship. They are rivals to the true worship of God. They require absolute allegiance or suffer the consequences; economic sanctions, and death.
But we are the temple of God. And God’s temple has nothing to do with the worship of other gods. GOD LIVES IN US! If we worship other gods or defile our temples He will leave us. So the real test imposed by the beast is, “Who really is our God? This world? Money? Food? Clothing? Shelter? Or is the God of Heaven and earth our God?🤔
Whoever receives this mark of the beast or worships the beast or his image is in a world of trouble. How do we know this? God’s word says:
Revelation 14:9-11 KJV “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.”
Whoever worships the beast, his image and receives the mark of the beast is doomed! They are tormented day and night in the lake of fire forever and have no rest. It behooves us to seek our God so that we will never wind up in this predicament.
I’ve heard Christians (or folks I thought was Christians) say things like, “There’s nothing to worry about you can’t be deceived into taking the mark.” Hmmmm🤔, though I agree with them we should not worry (about anything) I believe the nonchalant approach regarding this is a serious mistake. Because as we just read whoever receives the mark of the beast or worships the beast and his image is damned in the lake of fire FOREVER!😳 That should be a cause of great concern.
CAN SOMEONE BE DECEIVED
TO TAKE THE MARK?
Is it true that a person cannot be deceived or tricked into receiving the mark of the beast? God’s word says:
Revelation 19:20 KJV “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which HE DECEIVED THEM THAT HAD RECEIVED THE MARK OF THE BEAST, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
God says EVERYONE who receives the mark of the beast and worships his image IS DECEIVED into doing it. For further discussion as to how this could happen and encouragement regarding this topic please check out the article, “Can You Be Deceived To Take The Mark?🤔” Since God’s word says those who receive the mark of the beast are deceived into doing so we must be vigilant and pray earnestly that we are not deceived and fall into temptation:
Matthew 26:41 HCSB “Stay awake and pray, so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
SHADRACH MESHACH AND ABEDNEGO
This all reminds me of something that happened during the days of king Nebuchadnezzar the ruler of the Babylonian empire—the dominant kingdom in the world during that time. One day king Nebuchadnezzar set up an image of gold and held a dedication ceremony for his image. He summoned all of his top officials throughout his vast kingdom to come to this ceremony. When they all were gathered together these instructions were given:
Daniel 3:4-6 HCSB “A herald loudly proclaimed, “PEOPLE OF EVERY NATION AND LANGUAGE, you are commanded: When you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, you are to fall down and worship the gold statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.””😳🔥
‘Bow down to the image or die!’ These were the instructions given to all the king’s distinguished guests. Sounds familiar?🤔 There were 3 men in the audience who refused to bow down. Yes, their names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These men worshipped The Most High God, the God of heaven and earth. Bowing down to an image of gold or anything was unthinkable to them. Imagine yourself as one of them as the instructions to bow down were given. The music starts playing and everyone bows except you. Some who have already bowed are looking at you like you’re crazy. Maybe someone tells you, “You fool, you better bow down or else!” Everyone is bowing down and worshipping the golden image and there you are standing out like a sore thumb with nowhere to hide. Sounds familiar?🤔
Of course it was reported to the king that 3 men refused to bow down. Let’s see what happened next:
Daniel 3:13-15 HCSB “Then in a furious rage Nebuchadnezzar gave orders to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar asked them, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is it true that you don’t serve my gods or worship the gold statue I have set up? Now if you’re ready, when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, drum, and every kind of music, fall down and worship the statue I made. But if you don’t worship it, you will immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire — and who is the god who can rescue you from my power?””
King Nebuchadnezzar offered them a second chance to defile themselves and worship other gods.👎🏽 How will our dear brothers respond to this?
Daniel 3:16-18 HCSB “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.””
What a bold answer!😊 While their reply obviously upset the king, can you imagine how glad Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made the King Of Kings heart feel by their answer?😊👍🏽 Can you imagine how glad we too make God feel when we refuse to bow down and worship other gods?😊👍🏽
Let’s see what happened next:
Daniel 3:19-25 HCSB “Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He gave orders to heat the furnace seven times more than was customary, and he commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. So these men, in their trousers, robes, head coverings, and other clothes, were tied up and thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. Since the king’s command was so urgent and the furnace extremely hot, the raging flames killed those men who carried Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego up. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego fell, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire. Then King Nebuchadnezzar jumped up in alarm. He said to his advisers, “Didn’t we throw three men, bound, into the fire?” “Yes, of course, Your Majesty,” they replied to the king. He exclaimed, “Look! I see four men, not tied, walking around in the fire unharmed; and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.””
GOD ALWAYS REWARDS FAITHFULNESS!!! ALWAYS!!!😊
King Nebuchadnezzar never expected this! God rescued his servants from the fire!😃 The 3 of them were in the fire unharmed and with them was a 4th person. God allowed the king to see this 4th person whom he said, “Looks like a son of the gods.” The Lord was with them in the fire.😃
Daniel 3:26-30 HCSB “Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and called: “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, you servants of the Most High God — come out! ” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire. When the satraps, prefects, governors, and the king’s advisers gathered around, they saw that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men: not a hair of their heads was singed, their robes were unaffected, and there was no smell of fire on them. Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent His angel and rescued His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I issue a decree that anyone of any people, nation, or language who says anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego will be torn limb from limb and his house made a garbage dump. For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this.” Then the king rewarded Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.”
All the officials of the kingdoms of the world got to see God’s power that day. You think they spread the news about what they saw when they got home in their own countries? Yeah.😊 What a witness this was for The True God Of Heaven And Earth.😊 What great courage God gave Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. Can you imagine all the questions they were asked about their God that day? You think someone may have come to know the true God after all this? Even king Nebuchadnezzar had a change of heart.
A FEW FINAL WORDS
Luke 9:24 KJV “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.”
How was Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego able to boldly lay down their lives for God? Because they lived for Him!🤔 A person unwilling to live for God will not have the courage to do what they did. Living for God means loving Him, loving one another, and obeying His commands. (1 John 5:1-3)
Ecclesiastes 1:9 GNT “What has happened before will happen again. What has been done before will be done again. There is nothing new in the whole world.”
Our loyalty; who we really serve, will be tested just like Shadrach Meshach and Abednego. Now is the time to be building ourselves up in our most Holy Faith. (Jude 1:20-21) Now is not the time to be falling away like many are.😪 (Matthew 24:9-10) Remember, if you truly believe in Jesus Christ your body is His temple. Do not defile yourself and sell out for a few temporary trinkets here on earth.
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John 3:16 HCSB “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
There are people who say, “If God would just show me a miracle I would believe in Him.” And others who say, “If God really cares about us why does he allow so much suffering?” It sounds like the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus Christ wasn’t enough. This reminds me of a parable Jesus told about a poor man named Lazarus who suffered much in this world. After Lazarus died angels took him to heaven where he was comforted FOREVER!😊
Luke 16:19-31 NET “There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. But at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus whose body was covered with sores, who longed to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. In addition, the dogs came and licked his sores. “Now the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. And in hell, as he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far off with Lazarus at his side. So he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in this fire.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus likewise bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us, so that those who want to cross over from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ So the rich man said, ‘Then I beg you, father – send Lazarus to my father’s house (for I have five brothers) to warn them so that they don’t come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to them.’ Then the rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
What Jesus said here confirms that God does love us.😊 Lazarus had a tough life on earth but he knew God. God more than made up for his troubles by allowing Lazarus to be comforted in heaven FOREVER!😊The rich man enjoyed his life of wealth here on earth but he did not know God. He later found himself tormented in hell.😳 There he looked up in heaven and saw the once poor Lazarus with Abraham living comfortably. He begged for help but got no relief. Finally he asked Abraham to send Lazarus to his five brothers thinking they would believe someone who has risen from the dead and repent. Abraham explained to him it doesn’t work that way. If they don’t believe Moses and the prophets Abraham said they won’t believe someone who rises from the dead. If anyone knows how this works it’s Abraham. Abraham is the father of all who have faith.😊 (Romans 4:16-17)
Jesus’ sacrifice of His sinless life and rising from the dead to pay for our sins (so we won’t have to in hell) isn’t enough to touch the hearts of the masses.
Jesus paid our sin debt by giving His sinless life as a blood sacrifice for our sins. He died and rose on the third day. He was seen by witnesses afterwards and still reveals Himself today. Some believe He exists or once existed but reject Him. Abraham told that man in hell the truth; if people don’t believe what God says through Moses and the prophets they won’t believe even someone who rises from the dead.
Have you ever wondered what makes one person accept Jesus and another flat out reject Him? Jesus says:
John 3:19-21 HCSB “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
People reject Jesus and His sacrifice for sins because people love sin. People love darkness (Satan) over the light (Jesus Christ), and will not come to the light because they fear their evil deeds will be exposed. People love putting on airs of goodness (hypocrisy) rather than practicing what is good.
2 Corinthians 11:14-15 KJV “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Jesus’ sacrifice of His sinless life and rising from the dead to pay for our sins (so we won’t have to in hell) isn’t enough to touch the hearts of the masses. They’re hearts are darkened. (Ephesians 4:18-19) May we never be in that number.
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John 16:13-14 KJV “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and HE WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME.  HE SHALL GLORIFY ME: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The Holy Spirit leads into all truth. No amount of human effort or intellect can do this. No Bible college or ministerial schools can do it. The Bible is a supernatural book and can only be understood supernaturally, with the help of the Holy Spirit. This is why a person can read the Bible regularly, join this or that church/religion and never come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) One needs the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 KJV “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”
Spiritual discernment comes from the Holy Spirit. Spiritually dead persons cannot know and do the things of God, not even the basic teachings. What must one do to come to life?
RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT
Acts 8:14-17 CSB “When the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. After they went down there, they prayed for them so that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit because he had not yet come down on any of them. (They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”
The passage we just read shows a person can be baptized in water, even receive the word of God, and not yet be spirit-filled. I don’t know at what point each person receives the Holy Spirit, but scripture says that hearing the gospel about Jesus Christ, and believing in Jesus is a prerequisite:
Ephesians 1:13 NET “And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.”
JESUS SAYS ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
Luke 11:11-13 CSB “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?””
Once we hear the gospel; the good news about Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins, and we believe the message by putting our faith in Christ, we can ask God to fill us with His Holy Spirit.😊 He will teach us and guide us into ALL TRUTH Jesus says. He will show us future things to come also. And He will only glorify Jesus. He will never speak anything of His own initiative or glorify Himself. Only what He hears directly from Jesus’ mouth will He reveal to us. The Holy Spirit can be trusted.😊
COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE SPIRIT
The Holy Spirit is a person. He is one with God and Jesus Christ. He’s not an, “it,” or just a force as some teach. This is important to know. How can we walk in the Spirit or live in the Spirit if we don’t know Him?
Galatians 5:16-26 KJV “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
AMOS 3:3 KJV “CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER, EXCEPT THEY BE AGREED?”
Can any relationship last if the parties are not in agreement? No. Being that the Holy Spirit is the Lord (they are one) we have the privilege of agreeing with Him.😊 This gives us freedom. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
John 14:26 CSB “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.”
Again, the Holy Spirit teaches us all things and reminds us of what Jesus has already taught us. What a friend to have; someone who ALWAYS accurately teaches us about God and helps us remember what God says.😊
SOMETIMES IT’S HARD TO PRAY
Romans 8:26 ESV “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Ever felt so troubled you didn’t know what to say to God, you didn’t know how to pray? The Holy Spirit knows how. He takes those groans, aches, and pains straight to God in words we cannot express. God still hears our prayers as if we knew what to say to Him by the power of the Holy Spirit.😊 What a friend! Our hurt feelings or inability to express ourselves in words don’t stop our prayers! When we make those inexpressible groans to God we are praying in the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 14:15 ESV “What am I to do? I WILL PRAY WITH MY SPIRIT, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”
Let us take time out to get alone in prayer, meditation, and study of the word of God, that we may hear what the Spirit is saying to us. (Revelation 2:29) He will teach us, guide us, encourage us, remind us, correct us, even bring our groans to deep for words to express to God. He will also lead us to eternal life in the very presence of God our Father. The Holy Spirit loves us and is our friend.😊 He will never tell us anything wrong. He is the only person who always gets it right. May we be a friend to Him too and not grieve the Holy Spirit:
Ephesians 4:30-32 ESV “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
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