“But the beast was captured along with the false prophet, who on its behalf had performed signs deceiving those who had the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. Both the beast and the false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”Revelation 19:20
When it comes to the study of eschatology, or end times, the Antichrist — aka the Beast — usually gets the lion’s share of attention. The Scriptures speak of another “beast,” however, who will play a significant role in deceiving the world in the last days.
The False Prophet
My aim is to use the next several installments to build a Biblical profile of the False Prophet in order to help the body of believers become better equipped to identify him and his deceptive powers. The Lord Jesus consistently warned us about the spiritual deception and false wonders that will characterize the last days. If God’s people are not spiritually and doctrinally prepared, we are in danger of being led like lambs to the slaughter.
False Prophets and the Spirit of Antichrist
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.”1 John 4:1-3
The Apostle John reminds us that the spirit of antichrist was at work in his day and that many antichrists have already come into the world [1 John 2:18]. John connects false prophets with the spirit of antichrist, which is the satanic spirit at work that blinds the minds of unbelievers and keeps the whole world in spiritual darkness.
John first heard this directly from the Lord Jesus Himself, when He taught his disciples about the coming dangers of the last days and the deceptive methods of the evil one. Concerning the signs of the end times, Jesus warned his disciples about false prophets and false “messiahs” more than anything else.
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray … And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray … For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24-25
Just as there have been many antichrists who have come into the world, there also have been many false prophets. All of the antichrists and false prophets up until this point have been precursors and predecessors to what the Bible identifies as “the” Antichrist and “the” False Prophet. These two dynamic and demonic leaders will emerge on the world stage in the last days as the very personification of evil and incarnation of the devil. We should only expect to see a rise in the satanic spirit of the antichrist and in the number of false prophets in these last days, leading up to the revelation of these two unique “beasts.”
And what are we seeing in our world today? Just a surface glance at the modern spiritual landscape of the world and the church at large reveals a mass departure from sound doctrine that has created a pseudo-religious culture with an obsession for occult spirituality, personal mysticism, and ecstatic, emotional experiences. Even more telling is how much the spirit of antichrist has infiltrated the “church” — aka modern Christianity.
The first thing we must understand about the False Prophet is that he will most certainly emerge from a Christian context as a representative of the church.
The Pseudo Prophet
The name “False Prophet” is one word in the Greek — pseudoprophétés — which means one who teaches what is false “in God’s name.” The same can be said of the term “false christ” — pseudochristos — which means a pretend Messiah. These terms are used purposely to convey to believers that these dangerous and demonic imposters will emerge from within the church itself.
A false prophet in general is someone pretending to speak the word of the Lord (prophesy) but in fact is phony (an imposter), acting as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. So when it comes to “the” False Prophet, spoken of in the book of Revelation, we can be sure that he will be speaking deceptive lies and heresies in the very name of Jesus Christ.
The first mention of the False Prophet in Revelation 13 provides imagery that confirms his true nature as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He may outwardly represent the “Lamb,” but inwardly He is a servant of Satan — the Dragon.
“Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon.”Revelation 13:11
Stay tuned for next time, as I will begin to look more closely at the power and authority of the False Prophet and his role during the great tribulation.