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The False Prophet

John Hoole June 16, 2002

During the last four lessons, we have looked at the coming world dictator, called the Antichrist. He will be the second person of Satan's unholy trinity during the end-times. We looked at his rise and fall, as well as his kingdom. Today we will look at the 3rd person of this evil trinity.

WHAT IS THE MOST COMMON TITLE GIVEN TO THIS 3RD PERSON OF THE UNHOLY TRINITY?

The False Prophet.

As we learned in our last several lessons, the Antichrist will achieve the top spot in the Revived Roman empire on the basis of his own personality and abilities. But, in order to promote his programs more efficiently, the Antichrist will have an important lieutenant.

Three times in Revelation, this 2nd beast of Revelation 13 is called by the title False Prophet. -- Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10.

A couple of weeks ago, in a lesson titled "Satanic Counterfeits, I mentioned that Satan tries to imitate God's program in as many places as possible. The formulation of his evil trinity is one of those areas. Ever since the original sin of pride entered Satan's heart, and he said "I will be like the Most High," (Isaiah 14:14) he has been trying to imitate God wherever it might give him an advantage.

In this unholy trinity, Satan is the evil antitype of God the Father. The Antichrist is the evil person corresponding to God the Son, Jesus Christ. And the False Prophet is the antitype of God, the Holy Spirit.

What we are taught here in Revelation 13, is that the False Prophet does things on behalf of the Antichrist. He draws people into worshiping the Antichrist. That is very similar to the Holy Spirit, who draws all mankind to Jesus Christ. He lifts up Jesus rather than Himself.

John 15:26 (KJV) says,

26 But when the Comforter [= Holy Spirit] is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which comes from the Father, he shall testify of me:

One aspect of the Holy Spirit's ministry on earth today, is to point people to Jesus Christ. No one comes to Christ unless the Holy Spirit draws them.

John 16:13-14 (NAS) adds:

13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.
14 "He [the Holy Spirit] shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you."

Part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit today is to direct people and their worship to Jesus Christ. The False prophet tries to counterfeit this relationship by bringing praise and worship of the false Christ, the Antichrist. Everything the False Prophet does is calculated to increase the power and authority of the Antichrist. That is not surprising, since he receives his own power and authority from the Antichrist.

Every ruthless dictator needs a #2 man as his advisor. How many here have ever heard of Joseph Goebbels? He became the Minister of Propaganda for Hitler, beginning in 1933, when the Nazi came to power. He served Hitler faithfully until they both died in the same bunker in 1945. From 1933 on, Goebbels increasingly began to rule Germany's cultural life. He was a brilliant orator, and was able to shape public opinion in favor of Hitler. Almost single handedly, he was responsible for Hitler's early popularity. Goebbels allowed only one visions of the future to reach the masses - Hitler's.

But as masterful as Goebbels was at encouraging the German nation to embrace the "glorious third Reich," the Bible tells us that his skills and charisma pales by comparison to another powerful and dangerous side-kick, who is about to burst on the scene. The time is about here, and he may be alive right now.

Exactly when the False Prophet comes on the scene is not clear. The first time he is mentioned is close to the middle of the Tribulation. The Antichrist is mentioned in Revelation 6:2 entering the scene on a white horse. There is no hint of the False Prophet at that time.

WHERE IS THE FALSE PROPHET MENTIONED IN THE BIBLE?

The Old Testament is strangely silent about this person. Daniel wrote about the Antichrist becoming great by a power that was not his own. Yet it doesn't even hint about the False Prophet.

The apostle John is the only prophet in either the Old or New Testaments who tells us about this coming Goebbels-like figure. The man John describes fits very well with the warning Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 24:24.

Matthew 24:24 NIV

24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect - if that were possible.

In this passage, Jesus is describing all false Christs and false prophets. He tells us they will be present and active until He returns. But it also accurately describes the single individual who will be the coming False Prophet. This person is pictured and described as the 2nd beast of Revelation 13. He is called the False Prophet elsewhere in John's writings.

A few weeks ago, we read the entirety of Revelation, chapter 13. This morning, I want to again read Verses 11 - 18. Here, we will see John's description of the greatest and last of all false prophets.

Revelation 13:11-18 NIV

11 Then I saw another beast [False Prophet], coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.
12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.
13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.
14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.
16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead,
17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

This passage, in short order, lets us know a lot about this evil person. Let's quickly review what John tells us about the character and abilities of the False Prophet.

o He has 2 horns - like a lamb (13:11).

o He speaks like (or as) the devil (13:11)

o He is able to exercise all the power or authority of the Antichrist (vs. 12).

o He will cause the earth to worship the Antichrist (vs. 12)

o He is able to do great wonders or miracles (vs. 13, 19:20).

o He makes fire come down from heaven (vs. 13).

o His abilities makes it possible for him to deceive the whole world (vs. 14, 19:20)

o He commands people to build an image to the Antichrist (vs. 14).

o He is able to give life unto the image, making it able to speak (vs. 15).

o He forces ALL people to receive a mark (vs. 16).

o He does not allow anyone buy or sell, who does not have the MARK (vs. 17).

There is one more Passage, where John adds to this description and abilities of the False Prophet.

Revelation 16:13-14 NIV

13 Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.

From these two verses, we can add to our list above:

o He has the spirit of a devil (demon) (16:13-14).

o Along with the rest of the unholy trinity, he has the ability to influence all the kings of the earth (vs. 14).

o He goes forth to gather the people to the battle of Armageddon (vs. 14).

As we noted earlier, many commentators believe the False Prophet will be of Jewish descent.

WHY DO YOU THINK THEY HAVE COME TO THAT CONCLUSION?

Last week, we noted that the Antichrist and the False Prophet come from two different locations. In Rev. 13:1, we read of a "beast coming up out of the sea." This is speaking of the Antichrist.

In verse 11, we read of "another beast coming out of the earth." This is addressing the False Prophet, the Antichrist's right-hand man.

In prophetic literature, the sea often represents gentile nations. There are a number of passages in both the Old and New Testaments that confirm that analogy. Some within the Book of Revelation itself. By extrapolation, one may then surmise that the land represents the land of Israel. The sea is analogous to the Gentiles. The land is analogous to the Jews.

The problem is, unlike the prophetic analogy of the "sea," I can't think of another place in the Bible where that analogy corroborates the idea that the land represents Israel.

All this would seem to indicate that whereas the Antichrist is not a Jew, the False Prophet might be. If he is a Jew, this does not mean the False Prophet will be an Orthodox Jew. It only means that he may be of Jewish heritage.

The False Prophet has two horns

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING WE ARE TOLD ABOUT THE FALSE PROPHET AFTER INFORMING US HE COMES OUT OF THE LAND?

John says this beast had two horns - like a lamb.

WHAT IS THE PRIMARY SPHERE OF INFLUENCE OF THE FALSE PROPHET?

** AT LEAST AT HIS BEGINNING?

While the Antichrist is primarily a political figure, his side kick, the False Prophet, is primarily a religious figure.

Earlier, we learned that the 1st Beast of Revelation 13 - the Antichrist - had 7 heads, ten horns, and 10 crowns upon the horns. But here we find the False Prophet has one head and two horns. Also, notice that he wears no crowns on his horns. Most likely this indicates that this person is not a political ruler.

The fact that the False Prophet has two horns, like a lamb, confirms his religious nature. The lamb is a religious symbol, used in sacrifices. He may appear like a gentle lamb, but this is nothing but a sham, for he speaks "like a dragon."

The fact that he is likened to a lamb, and not a full grown ram, means that he is just beginning to sprout his horns. It does not say the False Prophet IS a lamb, but that his horns resemble - are like - those of a lamb?

Why is it two horns of a lamb? Why not two horns of a deer, or a goat? I don't think is coincident that he has two horns LIKE a lamb since we know that Jesus IS the lamb.

In addition to being a Prophet,……Jesus fulfills two positions of authority. He is Priest and King. One is religious - Priest. The other is political - King. This could be what the two horns of the False Prophet are trying to signify. In addition to being a false prophet, his influence will be both religious and political. While the Antichrist begins as a political figure, and takes on a religious connotation, the False Prophet begins primarily as a religious figure who takes on the political connotation.

Satan is not against religion

One way the False Prophet is able to influence the people of the world is through religious means. If he is Jewish, he will be an apostate Jew who will head up the One World Religion of the Antichrist.

Unfortunately, there will be many who attend churches who will not rise to meet Christ in the air. They have not personally given their lives to Christ. Undoubtedly there will also be pastors who weren't ready to go. The False Prophet will be able to bring all these pieces together. He will head up the apostate church, and will accommodate the other religions of the world. The False Prophet will use his religious influence to promote the agenda of the Antichrist.

It should not seem strange that one of the primary figure during the Tribulation will be a religious leader. Satan knows that man was created with an internal vacuum that can only be filled by God. Innately, men and women are religious people. Satan is not against religion. He is able to use it to his own ends and purposes. He deceives mankind with religion as surely as with any other method or device. This religious leader, the False Prophet, will speak as the dragon does, and deceives the people with his brand of false religion. The False Prophet will be the Antichrist's primary minister of propaganda just as Goebbels was for Hitler. Unlike Goebbels, however, the false prophet will have the power to do "great signs" while in the presence of the Antichrist (Rev. 13:14).

Deception through miracles

HOW WILL THE FALSE PROPHET CONVINCE THE JEWS THAT THE ANTICHRIST IS THEIR LONG-AWAITED MESSIAH?

Firstly, the False Prophet quite possibly could be a Jew. As such, he would be more believable and acceptable to the nation of Israel.

The second possibility is found in 1 Corinthians 1:22.

1 Corinthians 1:22 NIV

22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom.

The Jews will accept a person who can perform the miraculous signs and wonders that are attributed to their Messiah. Israel is ripe to accept a messiah - even a pseudo-savior. The False Prophet will convince the Jews, as well as the rest of the world, to worship the beast. One of his primary tool to influence people, is his ability to perform miracle.

Revelation 13:13-14 NIV

13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men.
14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth.

He is able to deceive the world by working miracles, and by what he says.

When a person who claims divine power is able to make fire fall from heaven at his command, who is going to step up and deny his abilities. Certainly not the people on the earth at that time. Because they had already rejected Christ, and did not believe the truth, they will be vulnerable to Satan's lie. The False Prophet's miracles are part of the deception. In the miracle of calling down fire from heaven, the False Prophet will be imitating Elijah, who will be one of the returning 2 witnesses.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 NIV

9 The coming of the lawless one [Antichrist] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

Former Israeli Prime Minister, Menachem Begin, insisted that Israel's greatest unending challenge is the achievement of peace and security. He stated that the "pressure" and the "price" of it are almost unbearable at times. Israel is surrounded by nations intent on annihilating them. So when the Antichrist offers the Israelis a guarantee of security and peace, the Jews will jump at the chance.

The Image

One of the greatest of the miracles of the False Prophet is found in Revelation 13:14-15.

14 Because of the signs, he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

The False Prophet does NOT build the image of the Antichrist. Rather, he has other people construct it.

Does this image, and the worship that was required, remind you of any other such example? I cannot help but relate the killing of those who refuse to worship the image of the Antichrist to a similar incident in Daniel 3. King Nebuchadnezzar had an image of gold erected and required all the people to worship it or be killed in the fiery furnace.

The Image Breathes and Talks

As I said, the population will be forced to bow down and worship this image. Then an incredible thing will happen - "He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Revelation 13:15).

Most premillennialists believe the image will be set up and placed in the rebuilt Jewish temple. In Matthew 24:15, Jesus mentioned that a time will come be they will see the abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place [the Temple]. When this unholy act takes place in the Temple, the true Jewish heart will be broken, because it flies in the face of the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 20. The second commandment states:

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth." (Exodus 20:4).

The False Prophet's religion, however, will have no qualms or conscience with respect to these idols and statues. Probably the majority of the people who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be killed for their faith.

Revelation 20:4 (NIV) says:

4 ……And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

One of the astounding things with regard to this image of the Antichrist, is that the False Prophet has the ability to give life to this image, even the ability to speak. This Scripture has puzzled teachers of prophecy for centuries. Satan and his demons do not have the power to create life or human beings. And yet, this passage say that "he was grant power to give breath to the image so that it could speak." Exactly how the Antichrist and False Prophet pull this off, I am not sure.

How many of you have been to Disneyland or Knott's Berry Farm? At Knott's Berry Farm, I can remember 25-years ago visiting a life-sized mockup of the Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Inside the building, there were life-size images of each of the Founding Fathers of our country. Each of these images had all the features that we ascribe to men. That were given the ability to speak, move their hands as we heard them talking about what should go into the U.S. Constitution. This display was remarkably lifelike. The mouths move as if they were actually saying the words coming from them. I believe that a deaf person who would not be able to hear what they were saying, would be able to understand by reading their lips.

That was a quarter century ago. Today, technology has advanced to the point that we could make images even more life-like.

Another possibility that has emerged the last couple of years is the idea of cloning. They have been able to clone several different animals. Will the False Prophet direct the development of a clone of the Antichrist? This is pure speculation, but these are possibilities.

The Eternal fate of the False Prophet

The eventual fate of the False Prophet is the same as that of the Antichrist. Their reign of evil will come to an abrupt end. Revelation 19 speaks of Jesus Christ and his armies descending from heaven to earth. This is a description of the Second Coming of our Lord, when, according to Zechariah 14, He will set his feet down on the Mount of Olives.

Revelation 19:19-20 NIV

19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.
20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

The Antichrist and the False Prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire.

For about 3˝ short years, the False Prophet will force the unredeemed multitude to worship the Antichrist. For this, he will be punished for eternity.

For 3˝ years, he will seek to usurp Christ's glory. For endless ages, he will be totally excluded from that glory.

For 3˝ years, he will wage war against the saints and take away their earthly lives. For an infinity of years he will suffer destruction and the agonies of the 2nd death.

That doesn't sound like a very good trade. It never is!

Don't forfeit your eternity with Christ for the pleasures of sin for a season.

   
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