Revelation 13:7 is a stern and important warning to everyone living in these Last Days. It reads, “Also it (the beast or superpower) was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer (overcome) them” (Revelation 13:7a RSV).
The word conquer as used in this verse means to defeat or subdue like one army by another; just as we did to Germany and Japan in WW II. It does not mean to obliterate or eliminate. I again refer to Dr. Billy Graham’s research a few years ago that discovered around 90% of American Christians are living defeated spiritual lives. We know what to say in Christian circles, but our actions or fruit has been broadcasting our weakness to the world and its standards. That is, deception.
Deception is a terrible thing! One of the greatest warnings Jesus gave about the Last Days was about deception. He said, “For false Christs and false prophets (teachers) will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible” (Matthew 24:24).
Remember, deception is determined by the fruit produced as compared to the teachings in the Word of God. The fruit produced in recent years by our society is the true barometer of our deception. This deception is a result of the overpowering ability our society has developed to influence and teach us its humanistic values and lifestyle.
In II Thessalonians chapter two we find a prophecy about how those who claim to be Christians will be conquered or overcome in these Last Days. It says, “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (II Thessalonians 2:1-4).
In the first two verses of this prophecy, we learn that Paul is referring to the Last Days and the second coming of Jesus. Verse three proclaims a rebellion will occur. The Greek word Paul used for rebellion in verse three is apostasia. It means there will be a defection or falling away by some that say they are Christians near the second coming of Jesus. They will no longer follow many of the standards of biblical Christianity. The Greek word used for man in the phrase “man of lawlessness” is the same word often used in Scripture to refer to mankind. In other words, it is more than one person that will rebel from following true biblical Christianity. Verse four reveals the cause of this falling away or rebellion against following many of the biblical values and teachings in these Last Days. The reason is as stated in verse four, “He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.”
The common teaching of this verse is the word temple refers to the temple in Jerusalem. For that to happen however, the temple must be rebuilt and at the time of this writing the temple area is controlled by the Arabs, and a Muslim mosque stands there. Knowing that Paul was writing to Christians, and in Christianity the word temple refers to the human body, I did a word study on the word “temple” used in this verse, and this is what I found.
There are two different Greek words used in Scripture for temple. One is hieron, which refers to the temple building. The other is naos, which can be used for the inner sanctuary of the temple where the priests could enter. In Christianity however, Christians are the temple of God since everyone who is born-again receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). In fact, that is one of the key distinctions between Christianity and all other religions. The Holy Spirit actually lives within each true born-again Christian. That is the meaning of being born-again. It is a spiritual rebirth.
In every verse that teaches Christians become the temple of God, the Greek word used for temple is naos. For example, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple (Greek word naos) and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16). There are other verses in Scripture that also teach we are the temple of God, and they too use the Greek word naos for temple. Jesus used the Greek word naos in John 2:19-21 when he told the people if they destroyed this temple, referring to His body, that He would raise it in three days.
In my next BLOG, I will continue to discuss the use of the Greek words naos vs. hieron, and what that means to us.
Be sure to visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to find several other books and booklets written by Bob Fraley. The FREE DOWNLOADS page contains complete .pdf files that you may read and download absolutely FREE! Go to: http://www.bobfraleychristianlifeoutreach.com and click on the “FREE DOWNLOADS” button!Tags: apostasia, beast, biblical Christianity, conquer, deception, defeated spiritual lives, hieron, Holy Spirit, humanistic philosophy, last days, lawlessness, naos, rebellion, Revelation 13:7, superpower, temple building, war on the saints, warning