The False Prophet is called a “beast” in Revelation 13. The term beast in this context is best understood as a leader/ruler with authority and power over a designated group of people. His purpose is to promote allegiance and worship of the first beast — the human leader known as the Antichrist — and also to utilize the supernatural powers of the Dragon to deceive the whole world. Whereas the first beast — the Antichrist — is described in terms of a political/military figure, the second beast — the False Prophet — is portrayed as a religious/spiritual figure of significant influence.
In my last post I made the case that the False Prophet will be a renown religious leader who speaks lies and heresies “in the name of God,” which means that he will almost certainly emerge from within the modern Christian “church” as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He outwardly has the appearance of a lamb (false christ), while inwardly he is a ravenous wolf speaking like the devil himself [Revelation 13:11].
Authority and Idolatry
“It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.”Revelation 13:12
The False Prophet will exercise authority on behalf of the Antichrist, and his job will be clear. He is to use whatever means possible to cause the inhabitants of the world to submit and worship the Beast. As the verse above says, the False Prophet will “cause” or “make” the peoples of the earth bow down to Antichrist and pledge full allegiance to him.
Just as a side note, there is one primary belief system in the world today that gains “converts” by using force, intimidation, terror, and subjugation — Islam. The essence of Islam is jihad — or holy war — which is designed to introduce shariah law to every newly-conquered territory. Shariah forces infidels — those who do not believe in Allah or his prophet Mohammed — to convert, die or become a classless slave of the Islamic system.
Now while I do believe that the first “Beast” will emerge from an Islamic context and will rule over a Middle Eastern empire, I do not necessarily believe the False Prophet will be a Muslim imam. He most likely will use the terror of shariah law and exploit the authority of the Antichrist, causing many to worship the Beast for fear of their lives. All who would save his life, however, will lose it for bowing down to another god and worshiping this profane Beast. This is an assault of the first commandment of God. We are to have no other gods before Him.
Satan’s original sin was born out of his pride and arrogance and his desire to exalt himself above God [Isaiah 14:12-14, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4], and the False Prophet will be tasked with using whatever means necessary to make the whole world bow at the feet of the Dragon. Just as the Holy Spirit testifies to God the Son and points people to Jesus, the False Prophet will point the world to the Beast. The last days will reveal a wicked and corrupt generation that practices universal idolatry, blaspheming the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ, while giving glory to the devil.
The Scriptures reveal, however, that the False Prophet will use other means of influence to sway sinners to surrender to the power and control of the Beast.
Supernatural Signs and Wonders
“It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.”Revelation 13:13-15
You can read other posts that I have written about the coming deception and the dangers of the apostate church. The spirit of the age is sweeping through our world and the stage is being set for mass deception. Satan is using a strategic combination of moral relativism, political correctness, doctrinal compromise, sexual perversion and seduction, governmental corruption, occult fascination, academic indoctrination, technological isolation, and substance addiction — among other things — to keep the world in his grasp.
I believe the False Prophet will employ all of these methods of seduction and deception when he arrives on the scene, especially when it comes to using artificial intelligence, virtual reality, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology.
But the False Prophet will also have a secret weapon — superpowers!
There seems to have always been a fascination with being superhuman — godlike. It’s the oldest lie of the devil … you shall be like gods!
The False Prophet will be able to access supernatural powers to woo the crowds and wow the masses. Revelation 13 says that he will be able to make “fire come down from heaven” and somehow give “breath,” or life to the image of the beast. His power is reminiscent of Satan’s vicious attack on Job by bringing fire down from heaven to destroy his herds [Job 1:16], as well as an imitation of the prophet Elijah during his standoff with the false prophets of Baal.
Although the Bible calls these “false” signs and wonders, that does not mean that they necessarily are “fake” like an elaborate magic show. The power of the False Prophet will be quite real, but it will be false in the sense that it will be used to deceive and lead the world astray.
The Apostle Paul also speaks of this coming supernatural demonstration of power in the last days. Those who have refused to love the truth and be saved will be deceived. Only those sealed with the Holy Spirit and possessing the mind of Christ will be able to resist the unbelievable powers on display in those days.
“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Finally we see the unholy trinity in Revelation 16 — the Dragon, the Beast and the False Prophet — sending three unclean spirits to the kings of the earth to gather for the battle of Armageddon. Again, these spirits perform supernatural “signs” in order to deceive.
“And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.”Revelation 16:13-14
As God’s people, we must maintain a healthy balance between the supernatural power of God as demonstrated by the Spirit of God and the authoritative truth of God as revealed in the Word of God. Jesus warned the religious leaders of His generation, as well as ours, about being obsessed with signs and miracles and wonders and seeking those things above God.
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.Matthew 16:1-4
In other words, we have all the validation we need from God in His revealed word and the true testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is not to deny God’s ability to perform miracles and show mighty wonders. It is simply a warning about motivations. If we need a sign to validate God’s word, then we are dangerously setting ourselves up for deception.
Next time I will conclude this miniseries on the False Prophet by exploring the possible scenarios involving the mark of the beast and the image of the beast.