The Great False Prophet

Rev 13:11-18

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

As John sees this next beast it comes from the earth. Some have supposed that this means that the beast comes form Israel. Although the Anti-Christ no doubt is a Jew, the false prophet may not be.

He has two horns as a lamb which speaks of the different character he is from the first beast. The two horns represent power or authority. We see later that the false prophet not only is a religious leader but that he also has miracle working power. There are no crowns on his head so we might think that he has no political power as would a king.

Although he has a meek appearance as a lamb yet his power is in his speech. For when he speaks it is as a dragon. This tells us where the power that he has really comes from. It comes from Satan.

There is a sense in which this character finishes our the Satanic trinity. God is a trinity of beings. And we do not have time or space to try to explain that here. But the Father, Son and Holy Spirit make up what is referred to as the Godhead. There is but one God but there are three persons who are equal in all of their characteristics, such as eternal, powerful, omnipresent, etc.

Seiss puts it this way. "The Eternal Power and Godhead is a Trinity. "The true Christian faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Spirit uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal. Also there are not three incomprehensibles (or, infinities), nor three uncreated; but one Eternal, and one incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Spirit Almighty; and yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God; and yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; and yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Christian religion to say, there be three Gods or three Lords. The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other, none is greater or less than another; but the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal; so that in all things, as aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity, and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped." (from Seiss' Apocalypse)

Satan also has a trinity. Satan has a desire to immediate God. Remember his fall was associated with wanting to replace God. In this Satanic trinity Satan stands in for the Father. The Anti-Christ stands in for the Son of God. While the false prophet represents the Holy Spirit. As the Father has sent the Son so Satan will send and commission the Anti-Christ. As the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, so the false prophet comes to bring glory to the Anti-Christ and the dragon from whom they receive their power.

"Thus, we perceive three distinct personalities, the Devil, the antichrist, and "The False Prophet;" and these three are one-- one vital essence, one economy, and one administration. The Dragon sets up as the anti-God; the ten-horned Beast, his son, is the anti-Christ; and the two-horned Beast, proceeding from and operating in the interest of both, is the anti-Holy Spirit. And these three together are Hell's Trinity in Unity, the Devil's Unity in Trinity, as revealed and operative in our world, when iniquity has once come to the full." (from Seiss' Apocalypse)

12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

Herein do we find the purpose of the false prophet. Although he has all the authority of the Anti-Christ yet his purpose is not to be worshiped but to cause the world to worship the Anti-Christ. As God's will for mankind is that they would worship Him so Satan desires that the world would worship him. Through the persons of the Anti-Christ and the false prophet Satan will finally bring that to pass.

Once again we have the mention of the deadly wound of the Anti-Christ that is healed. Some have thought that it will be the false prophet with his miraculous powers that will either raise the first beast from the dead or at least heal a fatal wound.

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

We now notice that the false prophet's power goes far beyond normal. He is able to do what the two witness also do. It reminds me of the miracles that Moses did when he came before Pharaoh but the magicians were able to also do the same powerful signs for the first three plagues.

The purpose of the signs and wonders of the false prophet is to bring attention to the Anti-Christ. To by what Paul refers to as lying wonders, deceive the whole world. II Th 2:9-10 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

We find that as the people are succored into the worship of Satan through these two beasts that they are persuaded to build an image of the Anti-Christ so that they might worship it. This image is nothing more than an idol like those of old that men would bow down to worship. That is why God gave the second commandment. That we are not to make any objects of worship even if they supposedly represent God Himself.

15 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.

But this appears to be no ordinary image. For the false prophet has power to make the image both breathe and speak. In our day with computers and virtual reality, holograms and the like, it is not difficult to understand how this might happen.

But we need to also understand that this is not necessarily voluntary worship. Those who refuse to worship the beast are put to death. So much for religious tolerance. It will be during this time that untold millions of believer will face death for their faith.

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

As a part of the worship of the beast and his image, the worshipers will be required to obtain a mark of some sort. They may take the mark on the their right hands or on the forehead. We must remember that this mark is token that they belong to Satan. It is also a symbol of their devotion to the beast and his image. Gill tells us this may refer "to the practices of the Heathens, in putting the mark of the god they worshiped upon their bodies."

Dozens and dozens of explanations have been attempted concerning this passage. Today we have bar codes, cellular chips that can be embedded under the skin and many other things. When the Social Security system was developed with the numbers being assigned to everyone, many Christians thought it was the mark of the beast. But I think we can be sure that it was not. It is best understood as a sign of homage and worship for the beast.

17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Now although it is a sign of worship, the Anti-Christ in his attempt to control and cause all to worship him will make it so that people cannot enter into commerce without the mark. It will be an economic thing it that people will be excluded from the market place unless they are followers of Satan. This is not simply a way to keep people from buying what they need but it is also a way to keep them out of business for they cannot sell without the mark.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

This passage has more interpretations than any other in the Bible. Essentially what people do is they take any combination they need to get the name they want in this place. Either they use the Greek and Hebrew letters that also stood for numbers, or they use English letters assigning their own combination of numbers to letters. Some even use what in computer language is called ASCII number-letter correlations. I do not think that we will be able to forecast the name of Anti-Christ but those who have wisdom who are living in his day will be able to figure it our for the number of the beast is 666.

The Great False Prophet

Revelation 13:11-18

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.

12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.

15 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.

16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,

17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

  1. He is the great false prophet but not the only false prophet.
    1. Jesus said that false prophets would come.
      1. Matt 24:11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. (NKJ)
      2. Matt 7:15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (NKJ)
    2. Paul also spoke of these false prophets.
      1. Acts 20:29-30 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. (NKJ)
      2. 1 Tim 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (NKJ)
    3. Peter also
      1. 2 Pet 2:1-2 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. (NKJ)
    4. The problem is today that the church just doesn't think that there are any false prophets.
      1. We have the tendency to believe everyone.
      2. We do not realize the danger.
      3. Children must be taught to not trust strangers.
      4. Christians need to be like the Bereans who search the Scriptures to see if what they were being taught was so.
  2. He is part of the Satanic trinity.
    1. God is a trinity.
      1. We cannot explain this because you cannot comprehend God.
    2. Satan has his trinty.
      1. Satan - father
      2. Anti-Christ - son
      3. False prophet - spirit
  3. His purpose is to cause people to worship Satan.
    1. All worship that is not directed to God is wrong.
    2. Satan has always sought people to worship him.
      1. In the OT it was through idols.
      2. Sometimes it was through the creation.
        1. That is they worship the creation rather than the creator. Rom. 1:25
        2. Today they refer to this as mother earth.
        3. Even among Christian groups you will hear this phrase.
  4. He has miraculous powers.
    1. Satan has always had power to work miracles.
    2. The power of the occult and witchcraft is still the same today as it was in Jesus' times.
    3. The false prophet will have power to do the miracles that Jesus would not do.
      1. The Jews kept asking Jesus to perform a sign to prove He was the Messiah.
      2. He would not but the Anti-Christ will.
    4. Paul spoke of this time.

II Th 2:8-12

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,

12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (NKJ)

  1. He kills those who will not comply.
    1. Persecution of believers is nothing new.
    2. It continues today.
    3. We could even face it in this country.
      1. We live in a place where every ideology is tolerated accept the one who thinks they are correct.
      2. We have become so tolerant that we can't find too many things that are unacceptable except the intolerant.
    4. But the worship system of the last days will allow no rival.
  2. As a sign of the homage everyone is to receive a mark in their hand or forehead.
    1. I do not think anyone has this figured out yet.
    2. In pagan times the people would receive the mark of the idol they worshiped so everyone would know who they worshiped.
    3. This also is counter to the sealing of the 144,000 we saw earlier.
  3. The number of his name.
    1. So many explanations of this have been given that it could fill a large book.
    2. But I doubt that any one before the last days will be able to figure it out.

       

What we need to see is that there are many false prophet in the world. Not everyone who calls himself a Christian is one. Not everyone with a Bible in his hand believes and practices it.

Last night I was talking with someone who was telling me that he thought that the end was coming soon. He seemed to indicate that within the next 30 years it could all be over. Since he was not a professing Christian and did not attend church and he was riding in my car, I told him that the approaching car could swerve over and hit us head on and it would be all over right there.

People who are waiting for a sign will never see any sign except the ones that the false prophet does and then it will be too late.

 
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com