The False Prophet
Now in Revelation 13:11-18 we see the harlot church-- seen as that beast with lamb- like horns or the false prophet-- head of the Antichrist's whole church system.
We see the image and the power of the devil released through the false prophet who has power to make the whole world worship the Antichrist. He will be the Antichrist's power man of power men. He will lead the people into the worship of the Antichrist. We know that the devil has always used religion to serve his purposes-look at Babel. He has always taken advantage of man's desire to worship something other than or greater than himself to get man to worship him. Now chapter 13 of Revelation takes place during the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 13:11 "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon."
Another beast coming up out of the earth. There are two different Greek words for another, "Allos and Heteros." The one used here is allos. Allos has more of the idea of another of the same kind. Heteros is more meaning another of a different kind or a different beast. But, here it says another beast of the same kind. So there's a second beast here. But this beast rose at the same time as the first beast even though it is only spoken of down in this verse. It rose at the same time.
Because it says here in verse 12 he causes them that dwell on the earth to worship the first beast. He is the source and he causes them to worship him. But the first beast was worshipped back up in verse 4: It says that they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? So the false prophet is causing them to worship the Antichrist right up at the beginning of the Tribulation period.
Now this beast is coming up out of the earth. The earth, is probably meaning the human religious system; the stable human religious system. It is not heavenly; It is earthly and stable like the earth is stable. And so the human religious system produces this man: the false prophet. And it produces the false church that he is the head of. Psa.10:18 (Read) possibly an allusion to the false prophet. Matt.7:24-27 (Read)
And it says here that he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. So he had two horns, horns meaning power and therefore he had two arms of or two aspects to his power. He had two horns. Possibly the meaning is that he has religious power, and he has political power (Revelation chapters 17&18). Just as today the Catholic Church has both religious and political power. It doesn't have that much economic power. That is really in other hands, although it does have some. But, it does have political and religious power.
It says that it has two horns like a lamb, and yet what we are talking about is a wild beast. Now these two horns like a lamb, the Greek indicates that it is the horns themselves which are like a lamb. It has two horns, and these horns are like a lamb. How can a horn be like a lamb? It doesn't say that the beast itself is like a lamb, but that the horns were like a lamb. Well they are lamb-like horns. Horns are power, and lamb is a symbol of purity or gentleness or innocence. Therefore, this is talking about power that is being exercised and yet it appears to be exercised in a very gentle, innocent lamb-like way.
See, it has great power and yet the way it comes on, this false prophet, this second beast, is with all gentleness and innocence and appearance of sincerity with soft speeches about love and unity and let's all become one. Yet on the other hand, ruthlessly crushing all that oppose his system. (Matt.7:15; 2 Cor.11:14,15; Rom.16:18 (Read).
And he spake as a dragon. So the truth comes out. His power looks like lamb-like power, but when he speaks, he speaks like a dragon. In other words, when he opens up his mouth what comes out are the words of the dragon; they are the words of Satan. He speaks like Satan speaks, with all subtleness and all deception and yet using elements of truth that are so appealing-like love, unity, etc.. It is the voice of Satan speaking through him. He's Satan's minister.
Rev.5:8 (Read). Those in a great high and powerful position can say powerful things without even raising their voice. (speaking of the true Lamb, Jesus Christ). They don't have to thunder and roar and rant and rave. They can just calmly speak with all humility, and yet their object is dominion. But Satan is just the opposite, he does. And so Satan is working through this false prophet as he will be working in the antichrist. Now the reason I haven't really told you why I'm saying that this second beast is the false prophet yet is because we have to tie several other scriptures into this to see why that is true.
Rev.13:14 (Read). So he is doing miracles before this first beast, the Antichrist, causing the world to worship him.
Rev.19:20 (Read). So he's talking about the same person. Rev.16:13 (Read). So again they are tied together as working hand in hand. Rev.20:10 (Read). So they are tied together, the first beast and the second beast.
Now I've given you all the references that speak about the false prophet, that use that word false prophet. That is all that the book of Revelation has to say.
Revelation 13:12 "And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed."
He exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him. And that word power is the word authority. He is exercising all of his authority before him. And so he is one with the Antichrist and his system. And before him means in the sight of the first beast. He exercises all of his authority in the sight of him, not before him in time but rather, in his presence, in front of him.
That is, the false prophet turns the world toward the worship of the Antichrist. The healed seventh head is the government of the Antichrist which, when it was healed, caused the world to wonder after the beast. And so he's causing them to worship the beast that was healed, the Antichrist system that came back to life.
Revelation 13:13 "And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men."
Now some of the great wonders are referred to in 2 Thess.2:9, and the Antichrist himself comes after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
So this second beast also works wonders before him. The false signs will be done by the false prophet to convince the world that the Antichrist and his system is worthy to be worshipped.
Kenneth S. Wuest says in this verse and following: "The coming and presence of whom [the man of lawlessness] is according to the operation of Satan in the sphere of miracles demonstrating power and attesting miracles and miracles of a startling, imposing, amazement-wakening character which deceive, and whose coming and presence is in the sphere of every kind of wicked deception geared to [the gullibility of] those who are perishing, [this gullibility being] caused by the fact that they did not accept the love for the truth to the end that they might be saved."
This is mainly talking about the Antichrist, but the false prophet will be working hand in hand with him doing signs and wonders as well.
Revelation 13:14 "And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live."
Notice miracles, plural. So he does more than call fire out of heaven. In Rev.11 we see the two witnesses also calling fire out of heaven. So in the Tribulation period there's going to be an all out spiritual warfare for the hearts of men. One last effort for the hearts of men, either you follow God or Satan.
2 Thess.2:9-12 speaks about this same deception. Also read Isa.44:20. It says here that he tells them they should make an image to the beast, which had a wound by the sword, and did live.
Now this image may mean, and I'll give a few possibilities here
1. I don't think that the image is speaking of the worship of the Antichrist, because in chapter 13 the beast is spoken of as both the system and the man. This image may mean the fact that they are worshipping and submitting to the system of the Antichrist. That is, that they should make an image to the beast, that they should do their part in cooperating and make this image of the beast of putting it together-- submitting their lives to it and becoming part of the works to keep it going. They are therefore making an image of the beast by submitting to it; the Antichrist and Satan and the philosophy of the devil is being reflected then in their lives and their institutions. In other words, the Antichrist and the spirit of the devil are being manifested in their lives, and so they become, their lives become, an outward reflection of the beast, the image being the system as it affects their lives. I don't think this is talking about the Antichrist himself, because he is already the beast and that is clear from scripture. The beast has to be both the system and the man. And it says they worshipped the beast, so that takes care of the worship of the Antichrist in their hearts. But then there is something else that they worship: the image of the beast. And the reason I feel that way is because in chapter 13 the beast is spoken of as both the system and the man. Just as in Nebuchadnezzar's day. Nebuchadnezzar saw an image of gold-- the head was of gold. The head represented Babylon. The shoulders, etc. were Medo-Persia, then came Greece in the stomach, and the thighs were Rome, etc. He had this image, he said it and the head of gold represented both Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar, "Thou, oh king art the head of gold." So it was both the kingdom and the king over the kingdom.
It's the same in Revelation 13 concerning the beast. It is both the kingdom and the man. For instance, verse 8 says that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him. There "him" can't refer to the beast system because the word beast is neuter. Him doesn't agree grammatically with a neuter; it's a masculine form in the Greek, so it has to point to the man.
Another thing is that in chapter 19, verses 19-20, it talks about the beast and the kings of the earth, how they gathered to make war against the Lamb. The beast there can't be the system again because, otherwise, the kings of the earth would be included in it. It has to be the beast being the man, and the kings of the earth who are coming with him.
Another point is that in chapter 19:20, it says the beast and the false prophet were taken and cast alive into the lake of fire. Clearly here it's the man-- the beast and the false prophet. The beast who had come with the kings of the earth. Here it says that there were those who had worshipped his image. So the image can be the man; it has to be something representing him. Something representing both his system and him. It's not fully tied down. We do know concerning the image of the beast, not the mark, that it's the people of the earth who are told to make this image.
That's in 13:14. And we also know that the image is somehow a visible representation or a representation of something that is real. Whether the image is in their hearts or whether it's something outward; it's the representation of something real. Of something living and it's something that represents the man and his system. And we do know, of course, that the image is worshipped. And that it's worshipped along with the worship of the beast. They worship the beast and his image. Beyond that I don't think I can get more specific.
Now it could be the worship in their hearts of the man. That is a possibility, but again it already says in the scripture that they worshipped the beast and his image. So they are already worshipping the beast in their hearts without bringing the image into it. So it has to be some representation of him and of his system.
2. Now there is another possibility that there is an actual idol that they make, an actual image of some kind. I don't think that is as strong because there are already emperor worship cults in the world today. And notice here that it says that the false prophet says to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast. And that means that the people of the earth are going to make this image. And I don't think it is a case of Iran will contribute jewels for the eyes and another nation will contribute gold for the breast plate of the image and such things. I think rather what we're talking about is that the false prophet and his church system by persuading the people to submit and to worship the beast are causing them to build this image in their lives and in their hearts. There is already worship of man in the world, etc. For example, Russians actually in effect worship Lenin, and there is emperor worship such as the Pope is in effect worshipped as God. And so they don't have to make an image, they just worship the man and his system.
Revelation 13:15 "And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed."
"And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast." So he, the false prophet, gives life or spirit or breath to this image. He had power to give life unto this image, so the image of the beast is speaking and causing that as many as would not worship it should be killed. It is doubtful that this is talking about some kind of image or a statue which suddenly begins to talk. It would make more sense to talk about the system itself being given life or spirit, being brought to life by the false prophet's activity. It would make more sense to speak of the system being brought to life and given power through the effect of the demonic signs and wonders that the false prophet does, and through his lamb-like persuasion and pseudo-love causing the people to trust in this beast system and in the Antichrist. And in that sense, because he causes the people to come into line and to support it, he's giving life to the image of the beast.
Notice it says in verse 16, and he causeth all both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And we're still talking about the false prophet. So it is he that causes the people to receive the mark of the beast. Again that has a part in making the beast system work, because he is causing people to submit to it.
Now another possibility is that we could be talking about T.V. and therefore all over the world the image of the beast is speaking. It's given life. But I don't think that is the strongest possibility because that is not really a notable deed. There's already thousands of images speaking on T.V. screens all over the world. And so there is nothing notable really in that. There wouldn't be anything notable about the false prophet causing the Antichrist to appear on T.V. If he is the world ruler, he certainly would appear on T.V. He would use any means that he could. But then again, with the technology the way it is today, who knows.
But I think we are talking about the false prophet using his influence on the hearts of people through religion and through the area of control to give life unto the beast. Because he causes them to throw in their support to the beast system and to cooperate fully and therefore this brings spirit or life to the image of the beast, that is, to the system. They have given their hearts over to the system.
He-- again this could be it, because we are talking about the second beast. It could very well be it. So we could be seeing both the system of the world church and the man who is at the head of the world church.
Interestingly where it says and he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, the literal Greek says: it was given unto him to give life or spirit unto the image of the beast. It was given to him. I'll go one step farther, some manuscripts (Westcott and Hort) say: it was given unto her to give spirit unto the image of the beast.
If that is the correct reading, then we would see the world harlot church in this scripture. The second beast then would represent both the false church and the false prophet over it. But here we would be particularly speaking about the church. Westcott and Hort says her. But the UBS text says him. There is some division about it in the manuscripts.
The beast is both the false prophet and his church. Of course, when it says it is given unto him, you are back to the source of this whole beast system and that's the devil. Satan gives this power unto him.
Notice that later when the world church is destroyed the false prophet remains. So this shows that he has some power besides religious power. He has political power and probably economic power as well.
You can see that by comparing Revelation 19:2 with 19:20. In verse two, it shows that the harlot church had already been destroyed. But in verse 20, the false prophet is still there with the Antichrist and he's taken at the Second Coming of Christ and cast into the Lake of Fire. So he stays on even after the church system is destroyed.
So he gave life unto the image of the beast. This is not, I believe, a robot or something like it being made to live or speak. Again, I feel that it is the reflection of the system in their lives as they give themselves over to it-- they are worshipping and committing to the system and to the man.
Now his cooperation gives spirit, breath, strength, life to the system
Because of his great "love", his great psuedo-love that he says "let us join together in love, the brotherhood of man under God and we'll be one as God created us to be one. He didn't want us to be all different. We're all seeking the same God. We're all the same, etc." The devil's a liar! And the false prophet will persuade them to join in. Possibly saying things like: "You know, this is what the world needs; to lay down our bias and traditions and our narrow thinking so that we can all join in and accomplish the plan of God on this earth."
And he will quote scripture. "Jesus prayed that they all may be one, Father, even as thou and I are one," along with other scriptures along those lines. You can see the strength that this deception is going to have, a combination of demonic wonders and miracles, loving persuasions of psuedo-love. And people can't always distinguish between false love and true love.
The soul of man is meant to need love, and need protection and need approval, and need something to submit to. And people's soul and flesh can't always distinguish between true love and false love if they are craving love; they will take whatever love seems to be available. Read 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
Also they are being pressured by the fact that their world is coming down around them and they need to find a way out. If some man offers them that way, they will grab it. So if the church supports it, then the people will follow.
Notice that the world is said to worship both the beast and the image of the beast.
Now let's compare verse 4 with verse 15 to see what facts we can draw out. Verse 4 says that they worship the beast, verse 15 says that they worship the image of the beast. Chapter 14:9 says that they worship both the image of the beast and the beast. Remember behind all this they are actually worshipping Satan whether they know it or not, but there will be those who know it and are knowingly worshipping Satan. Remember Satan is the one empowering the whole system and energizing the man. So in effect they are giving their allegiance over to Satan.
They are becoming in the image of Satan, as the children of God are becoming in the image of God. You are becoming like the one you yield your members to as it says in Romans chapter 6, and also read Genesis 3:22-- "us" = God and Satan (both knowing good and evil). So they are reflecting Satan as they are yielding to this system and the Antichrist/False prophet.
Now verse 15 says that the image of the beast speaks and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. So the image of the beast seems to be saying worship me, and this could be the people of the system saying worship me, "I am god". This is just a possibility. You know that that's what the new agers are saying, "I am god", so it is possible that the image could be the people reflecting the system and saying worship the system, and in effect they are saying worship us-- because they are the system.
And so the people of the system are speaking and causing them (the Christians) to be killed, as they are submitting to the system and the Antichrist/false prophet.
In chapter 11:7, it says the beast comes out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. So its the beast here that kills (the system-- the people). So it looks like the image that causes them to be killed is possibly the system-- the people as they are submitting to the Antichrist/False prophet, and ultimately Satan himself.
Revelation 13:16 "And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads."
As I said, this might be part of the giving of life or spirit to the image of the beast. So he causes them to receive a mark. This could very well be a literal mark in their hand, or in their foreheads. It is not necessarily a literal mark because there are other scriptures that we see where there is a mark in the forehead, or in the hand and it is not literal; it is a spiritual sign.
We see this in chapter 3:12 (Read). So there you see a writing upon him as a symbol that he belongs to me; he's mine, I own him. Chapter 7:3 and 14:1 says that the 144,000 have his name and his Father's name written in their foreheads. Again it shows that they belong to Him. They are His. Their minds are full of His truth. They know Him and they belong to Him. So this could be a spiritual thing we are talking about. Also you can read Genesis 4:15; Ezekiel 9:4,6; Revelation 22:4.
The Greek word for mark is literally: An engraving, a brand, or a tattoo, or a print. It's an engraving. This could be a system of identification involved in the world monetary system of the Antichrist and therefore could be quite literal. Even now I think most of us have heard they have the technology to put a number upon a person's body that is not visible unless it is exposed to a certain kind of light that would show it. It is possible that that is what we are talking about. On the other hand, it is possible that it rather has a spiritual significance and I'll tell you what that is.
It says that it is either in their right hand, or in their foreheads. And in the right hand may speak of those who consent by working and by submitting to and working with the system without full knowledge or full agreement, but merely consenting because they have to. In other words, to keep their belly full and to keep their baby having milk and to keep their job-- they'll submit. They'll submit by the works of their hand, you see, so that they may still live.
On the other hand, there are those who receive it in their foreheads. Again it could be literal, or it could refer to those who consent with a full mental knowledge of what this system is all about, knowing the philosophy behind it and knowing the heart behind it, they agree anyway and say "Yes, I know what is going on here but I'm willingly going to submit to it." That would be an even greater sin, a more actively wicked sin. So they agree by actual mental consent in their mind, without any reservation. They give themselves over fully and knowingly to the intentions of the beast and to the philosophy behind his system. They say "Yes, I worship this. I love this thing, I'm glad it is here and I give myself over completely." So he puts his mark on him spiritually. Saying they are mine, I own them. I own their souls. Of course, he owns them all.
Now if this is the meaning, and I'm not teaching this as a fact, I think it could very well be a literal mark, personally. I'm only giving possibilities. But if this is the meaning, it would be similar to what we see in communist countries to a degree. That is, the majority of the people give themselves over to the system, not because they are in full agreement with it or love it, not because they love the restrictions it places upon them, but because they find they have to cooperate with the system in order to live. They want to have as nice of a life as they can, and so they submit and co-operate. But then there is a core group who are truly one in heart and purpose with the communist system in their country.
A couple reasons why the people will except this
1. Because of the fear and necessity for a world super man to solve all their problems, and because their hearts are crying out for a man to bring them peace.
2. Second, because of the conditioning that has been preparing the people for world government for years. And that's been subtly building for years and years, the brainwash to bring them into agreeing we all should have a world government. And most of all, because of the intensity of the demonic deception that's going to come to persuade them to submit. And we read about that in 2 Thess. 2:9-12.
Revelation 13:17 "And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."
So this shows that the financial system is involved with this mark because if they don't have it, they can't buy or sell. And if you take it spiritually, then those who do not submit and cooperate and agree to the principles of this system will not be able to buy or sell. They'll be excluded, namely and particularly Christians.
And it says in verse 17 (Read). So 3 things are spoken of and there is some question in the original language whether there are 3 separate things or not, because that first, "or" is not in the Greek. It says, "save he that had the mark, the name of the beast, or the number of his name." So it could be saying that the mark is either the name of the beast, or the number of his name, or it could be saying that they are 3 different things.
But they all speak of the same control over people and of the fact that no man might buy or sell without yielding to this Antichrist system. I think that's as much as I can say about these 3 different aspects right now.
Revelation 13:18 "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
"Here is wisdom" So those who have wisdom and understanding in the last days can understand this by the word of God and by the wisdom that He gives us through His word. And this wisdom will be particularly needed by the saints in the Tribulation. And I mean they're not going to just need to know it; they're going to need to implement it. And say, "O.K., this is the wisdom of God, I know who the beast is. I know what this system is. I know that the mark of the beast is here. I'm not going to submit, Lord, give me strength." And they'll go through and give their lives.
"Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast" So that implies that there's some interpretation involved because they won't really have to count if there's a mark on their hands, for instance, and it says, "666-- and their personal I.D. number", let's say. They really wouldn't have to count it. "Let him that hath understanding". I mean, anybody who even reads this scripture doesn't need wisdom to know 666 is there. That's just it. You don't have to count it; that's what it is.
But it implies, in my mind, that there's an interpretation of the number involved here. In other words, he that hath wisdom, see how this 666 applies.
"For it is the number of a man" Or you could read it, "Is the number of man." There's no article; there's no indefinite article in the Greek. It just says, "It is the number of man." Or you could translate it, "Of a man". We do know that 6 is the number of man. And 666 therefore could represent the number of man brought to his ultimate fleshly glory and accomplishment, false perfection; the number of man brought to the full, because it's 3 sixes. Or it could be a special number of the Antichrist.
Now as far as this 666 goes, some in the past have counted Roman numerals for 666, that is, they've counted the Roman numerals in different people's names, etc. There have been many, many conjectures about this number, but I'm going to look at it from a different standpoint. 600 plus 60 plus 6 = 666 could refer to 3 stages or 3 aspects of man's glory in the flesh.
It could be political, financial, and spiritual power. Three sixes, man brought to the full in every aspect of life
1. Political, it's the time of man. Man is in charge; man is in full control.
2. Financial, man through the world system and the international banking system. It's man bringing his ultimate system in.
3. And spiritually we have a man being worshipped. And that's a possible interpretation: Religion.
Now these are only possibilities, and I definitely do not rule out a literal mark.
A couple of side notes: Whether it's literal or spiritual, I feel that if the mark is literal, then you're safe even if you believe it is spiritual because if the literal mark comes, you can always change your mind and say, O.K., there really is a literal mark. They're putting 666-- something on everybody.
On the other hand, if the mark is spiritual and you think it's literal, and you're a Christian who's really under heavy temptation to compromise, you may already be taking the mark of the beast without knowing it. Well, I'm O.K. as long as they don't put a mark on my hand, or on my forehead; I can still cooperate. You may go right into it and already have the mark of the beast in your heart or spirit, and not even know it. And so, I think it's wise to leave the door open when there's some possibility it could be either one.