Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Hillcrest Church Office
June 16, 2004

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Here is this week's WINNING WAYS . . . .

“The 'Marks' of the Beast”
by Tom Goodman

Thanks for the many fine comments about our Sunday morning series, “Back to the Future.”  My aim is to introduce you to key characteristics of prophecy:  What does it mean when Christians talk about “The Great Tribulation,” or “The Rapture,” or “The Millennium”?  This week we will find out what it means when Christians talk about “The Antichrist.”

Irishman W.B Yeats is regarded by many as the greatest 20th century poet of the English language.  In\1921, he produced a short poem filled with foreboding.  Commenting on his own poem a few years after he wrote it, he said that what started out as a description of the 1917 Russian Revolution was in fact a prophecy of the rise of Fascism.  He wrote:

Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

In the midst of these images of chaos he speaks of being troubled by another image—one of a beast in the desert with the body of a lion and the head of a man.  He describes the beast as having

a gaze blank and pitiless as the sun
. . . moving its slow thighs while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

And he asks at the end

What rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Yeats was haunted by fears of what was being produced out of the chaos.  It’s remarkable that when he wrote what he considered a poem of prophecy, it struck close to the biblical prophecies.

Last week we looked at the chaos Jesus said would characterize the “Great Tribulation.”  It’s out of that chaos that a “rough beast” that the Bible calls “the Antichrist” will rise to prominence.  The world will place its last best hope in him.  This Sunday we’ll look at seven characteristics of the Antichrist as found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.


Yes, I’ve already been getting a little ribbing from scheduling a study of the Antichrist on Father’s Day!!  No more e-mails!

Seriously, let’s make this upcoming Sunday a special day for the dads of our church.  We’re planning a time of recognition and special prayer during this Sunday’s morning service, so make sure your dad is with you!

We’re holding a special called business meeting at 6:30 p.m. on June 27 to deal with the proposed schedule change.  I’m pleased to report that the Deacon Body will second the motion—thanks for your examination and prayers, guys!

Have you checked out the “Frequently Asked Questions” page on our website?  I hope the page will answer your questions regarding our proposed Fall schedule change.  Go online at  If you prefer, you can pick up a copy of the “Frequently Asked Questions” in the foyer at church this Sunday.



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