Characteristics of First-Century People
Believed in many gods who influenced daily life
Were arrogant and powerful
Believed in one God who must be obeyed but who didn’t bother them often
Were arrogant but felt powerless
Believed in one God and knew God personally because of Jesus’ influence in their lives
Were humble and felt defeated
When a first-century Roman read Revelation, he figured that the Antichrist and the Beast were two of the mischievous gods they had always heard about. When a first-century Jew read the book, he figured that the Antichrist was Caesar and the Beast was the Roman governor of the province of Palestine.
But, to a first-century Christ-follower, the Antichrist was not a person at all. It was an attitude – an attitude that had enslaved them and made them feel guilty, shameful, and powerless for centuries.
Questions to Ponder
Who had the most conflict with Jesus’ teachings?
How did the Jewish priests hold power over the Jews?
Why did the Jewish priests hate Jesus?
What guiding principles did Jesus teach?
How would that be a new way of life for the Jews (or anyone, for that matter)?
What kind of attitude must a person have to be able to engage in that way of life?
What changes would you need to make in your life to begin that journey?