I now saw another beast. This one came out of the ground. It had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. It worked for the beast whose fatal wound had been healed. And it used all its authority to force the earth and its people to worship that beast. It worked mighty miracles, and while people watched, it even made fire come down from the sky.
This second beast fooled people on earth by working miracles for the first one. Then it talked them into making an idol in the form of the beast that did not die after being wounded by a sword. It was allowed to put breath into the idol, so it could speak. Everyone who refused to worship the idol of the beast was put to death.
The penalty is death for anyone who refuses to worship the idol of the beast! That sounds frighteningly contemporary! "If you don't worship like we want you to, then off with your head!"
My job as a Christian is not to "read the tea leaves" of the signs of the End, but rather to be ready to stand firm for Jesus if I am called upon to lose my head for Him!
You see, it really doesn't matter where we are on the prophetic time line when you are given the ultimatum to deny the Lord or lose your head. If it is moments before the return of Jesus or many decades before His return your response and responsibility remain the same.
And whether or not we are in the "End Times" there are those now who would like to cut off your head if you refuse to "convert" and deny Jesus! That can quickly make these the "End Times" for me, whether or not they are for anyone else!
A man who formerly believed that I should lose my head, heard the call of Jesus on his life and when I asked him, he told me that my response should be to love those who want to kill me and to pray for them!
So here is the challenge for me and for you. Make sure that anyone who is about to cut off your head, is someone you love!
"Lord Jesus, I don't know when You will return, but I know that I must never deny You even if I lose my head for refusing to renounce my love for You. Help me to love everyone that You love and died to save! Amen."