THE FALSE PROPHET (Part I)
Last week’s article on the Vatican’s designs to take over the building that houses King’s David Tomb highlighted the growing influence of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church in Israel and in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Would Papal jurisdiction over a site sacred to both the Jews and Christians (the upper room) have any future bearing on the religious and geopolitical interaction between the beast of Revelation, the woman who sits on that beast, and the ruler of Daniel 9 (the beast) who orchestrates a seven-year treaty with Israel? Let’s take a look at some crucial prophetic passages in Scripture to answer this question. Along the way, we’ll discover a second end-times Tribulation beast; a figure who wields a great deal of authority and power
First, let’s once again establish the identity of the (first) beast of Revelation and of the woman who sits on the beast. If necessary, please refer to my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666? Also Eye of Prophecy articles entitled: Modern Day Antichrist; Antichrist … Is He Alive Today; Reappearance of the Beast (the most popular of the forty-three Eye of Prophecy articles posted to date, in terms of number of visits); The Number of the Beast; The Beast and His Name, posted 9-7-13 through 10-5-13, respectively. All past articles can be accessed through Eye of Prophecy archives.
These sources provide an abundance of Biblical and secular historical evidence to accurately identify and name the Antichrist. As astonishing and unfathomable as it may seem, the supporting facts will, I believe, conclusively demonstrate that the man of lawlessness of II Thessalonians, the king/ruler of Daniel 7 & 9, the king/beast of Revelation 13 & 17, and the Antichrist of I John is none other than the ancient Roman Emperor, Nero. The mystery of the beast is distinctly and emphatically revealed in Revelation 17:8. This beast that John saw, “was once alive but isn’t now” … meaning at the precise time in the first century when John observed the beast from the isle of Patmos. Furthermore, the beast who had already died before John saw him (the beast is a man) will reappear from the dead to the amazement of the entire world!
The mystery of the woman on the beast is also clearly disclosed in Revelation Chapter 17. Concerning the identity of this woman, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles entitled: The Woman on the Beast (Parts I through VI), posted 10-12-13 through 11-16-13, respectively. Again, you’ll discover ample proof that the woman who is identified as, “the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18) is none other than Rome (Roman Empire) the great city of its time when Revelation was written.
During the rise, but particularly after the fall of the mighty Roman Empire, another city gradually, but inexorably assumed the mantle of “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World” (Revelation 17:5). This city continued the dominance of the ancient Roman Empire, but in a different form and with diverse methods of influence and intrigue. That city is none other than The Vatican, headquarters of the Holy See, of the Roman Catholic Church … which still exerts tremendous authority and political power through religion, i.e. The Holy Roman Empire.
On the final stage of history, just how will these players interact with one another, thereby, acting out their roles that will—for all intents and purposes—complete God’s final plan to judge the world and usher in the Millennial reign of His Son, our Messiah Jesus? To answer that question, we must include the second beast of Revelation, a man who will tip the scales in favor of the beast’s (Antichrist) inescapable 42-month Great Tribulation dominance over the woman and over Israel.
Before we take a look at the False Prophet, we need to again clarify some misconceptions about the first beast of Revelation who arises from the sea, which is the Antichrist. Modern scholars attribute much more credit to this beast that the Bible does … meaning the contemporary notion that the Antichrist will be an extraordinary political, economic, and military genius equipped with an unnatural, mystical ability to persuade billions with his oratory—far exceeding, for example, that of Adolph Hitler. This is a speculative presumption simply not found in Scripture; although this characterization of Antichrist at face value is logical, considering the world-wide impact he will have on the earth. In fact, I held to this view for many years, i.e. that the beast of Revelation would (naturally) be a modern-day man with super impressive skills.
What the Bible does say is this: “I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13: 3-4).
What is the miracle that, “the whole world marveled at,” and for this reason, “gave allegiance to the beast”? What was the power given to the beast by the dragon (Satan)? The text is crystal clear as to exactly what that miracle is and is not. “This miracle” is the recovery from a fatal wound. Followed by a return from the abyss as is later reinforced by Revelation 17:8 that says, “…The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit … and the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died.” Contextually the passage in Revelation 13 is equally clear that the power given to the beast by Satan is the same thing that the world marveled at … the phenomenal ability of the beast to recover from his mortal wound.
But the fatal wound is not inflicted after the Antichrist (Nero) returns; since he will have already recovered from that mortal wound before he (re)appears. How do we know that beyond any doubt? Because of the fact that the beast (Antichrist) had already died before John even saw him in the vision. That, and several other reasons as documented in my book and articles, is why the Antichrist simply cannot be a modern-day ruler. And why Nero fits every passage in Scripture that deals with this depraved man.
There is absolutely no other reference point or subject matter in Chapter 13, or Chapter 17, that causes such amazement and worship of the beast other than his recovery and return from the dead. There is no indication, either stated or implied, that people, “from every tribe and people and language and nation” (Revelation 13:7) will follow the beast for any other reason than this resurrection miracle … as they will see and consider it to be. The authority and power given to him (by Satan, as allowed by God) over tribes and nations does not originate from any inherent or innate mega personality attributes possessed or expressed by the beast.
The world isn’t astonished at nor worships the Antichrist because of his superior statesmanship or magnetic speaking ability or charisma or any other attractive trait common to a few dynamic world leaders. That’s the most common misunderstanding of the Antichrist even by astute Bible prophecy scholars. Instead, the world will be utterly mesmerized by a man (well-known and remembered down through history) who reappears when the world needs and wants him the most … a time of complete chaos, confusion, and consternation over the disappearance of a whole lot of people from the earth. (Rapture)
Consequently, billions will yield their allegiance because of one thing and one thing only: They will see the reappearance of the beast as a supernatural return from the dead … a resurrection to equal or exceed that of Jesus Christ. Which is why Nero will be hailed as a messiah, or even The Messiah. “Who is as great as the beast,” or who could possibly, “fight against him.” Meaning how could anyone (if they didn’t believe it was actually Nero and/or chose to oppose him whether he was a resurrected Roman Emperor or not) possibly resist, or kill, or even consider assassinating a man who was invincible … by virtue of returning from the grave. How can you vanquish a man who had already died some 2000 years ago! Forget it. Give up, give in, and take his mark!
This won’t be some imperishable, everlasting Mummy from some silly Hollywood movie! This time it will be as real as the reality that hundreds of millions of people have vanished from the earth.
The False Prophet
Another reason that the Antichrist (Nero) will not be the superman depicted by many prophecy scholars: Without another beast to assist him, not nearly as many people will yield their full allegiance and devotion. Other than the spectacular return from the Abyss, it is not the first beast (Antichrist) who performs miracles and signs or commands that a statue be erected for him; or that everyone must receive his implanted name or number. Rather it is the second beast or the False Prophet who does these things.
Let’s read the description: “Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth … He exercised all the authority of the first beast. And he required all the earth and its people to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. He did astounding miracles, even making fire flash down to earth from the sky while everyone was watching. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was permitted to give life to the statue so that it could speak. Then the statue of the beast commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die” (Revelation 13: 11-15).
It’s the False Prophet who demands that the first beast be worshipped and the text states again the reason: because of the fatal wound that had been healed. Further, that a statue must be erected and worshipped because the first beast who had been fatally wounded had come back to life.
How do we reconcile this with the Apostle Paul’s description of what the man of lawlessness will do? Listen to his words: “This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them” (II Thessalonians 2: 9-10, italics for emphasis). Notice that “this man” (who would later be called the beast of Revelation and the Antichrist) comes to do the work of Satan, “with” signs and miracles.
The passage doesn’t actually say that the Antichrist will be the one performing the signs and miracles; rather, that he will do the work of Satan with signs and miracles … meaning that the counterfeit miracles will come along side, be part of, accompany, or contribute to the power wielded by Antichrist. If this passage specifically stated that the man of lawlessness (Antichrist), himself, would perform miracles, then it would conflict with Revelation 13; which explicitly identifies who will handle the miraculous signs, why, and for whom.
As indicated, it’s the beast who arises from the earth (meaning through a natural birth, as opposed to the first beast literally ascending from the sea/Abyss, which is anything but natural) who performs these miracles, “on behalf of the first beast” (Verse 14). The ultimate power possessed and expressed by Antichrist will be directly and exclusively linked to his revival from the dead and return from a 2000-year old grave—actually from the Abyss which is not Hell or the grave, as is thoroughly explained and documented in my book, Out of the Abyss.
The False Prophet will enhance the power and authority of the Antichrist by demonstrations bordering on the supernatural to/for all those who oppose Nero and to those who simply doubt Nero’s actual identity. If people continue to resist worship of this evil man or his statue, they will be put to death. (Revelation 13:15).
The perceived oratorical skills attributed to the Antichrist are pretty much confined to arrogant boasting against and blasphemy of the true and living God and the one and only true Messiah, Jesus Christ. (See Daniel Chapter 7 & 11 and Revelation 13 for details). Otherwise, the Antichrist (Nero) will be mostly a behind-the-scenes dictator, much like he was as Emperor in the first century Roman Empire. The False Prophet and the statue erected by the False Prophet will do most of the talking for Mr. Six Hundred, Sixty-six. Yes, the statue speaks! And I seriously doubt it will do so merely by special effects. Unless you consider demons as special effects!
Of course, there’s one other huge accomplishment that will ingratiate Antichrist to many of those left behind after the Rapture: The Seven-Year Treaty (Daniel Chapter 9) with Israel, and the implied result of a rebuilt 3rd Jewish Temple. In fact, a treaty between Rome and Parthia arranged by Nero Caesar catapulted his popularity into the stratosphere, and endeared him not only to the common Roman citizen but also to the powerful Roman Senate. That treaty was probably his biggest accomplishment during his tenure as Emperor … his main claim to fame (at the time).
Interaction between Antichrist, the False Prophet, the Woman, and the Ten Kings
How then does the recent news of Israel’s potential release of King David’s Tomb to Vatican jurisdictional control in particular and the Roman Catholic Church’s influence in the Holy Land in general fit with the (temporary) alliance of the woman—the great city, which is the Holy Roman Empire’s contemporary replacement of the ancient Roman Empire—and the beast who returns from the Abyss? How might the dynamic duo of the two beasts of Revelation use the power and presence of the woman to accomplish their satanic objectives?
Conversely, how does the woman use the miraculous reappearance of the beast and the equally astounding statue that speaks for the beast, to gain even more prominence throughout the world, especially in Israel? Why does the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the ten kings who give their kingdoms to the beast turn on the woman and destroy her? And, in keeping with the main theme of next week’s article, who is, or from where does the False Prophet originate?
Don’t miss next week’s Part II article for more details!
Things to Ponder
(1) Do you find it pretty amazing that the Antichrist and his entourage will dare take on Christ, himself? But that’s exactly what he, the False Prophet, the Woman, the ten kings, and, of course Satan will do. The ten kings will agree to surrender themselves and their kingdoms to the Antichrist. “Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him” (Revelation 17:14).
That’s right folks. We, who have been redeemed, who will meet our Lord in the clouds at the Rapture, will return with the Lord when he victoriously defeats this unholy, ungodly, and seemingly indestructible force assembled by, “…the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14). Such a foolish thing for thus diabolical trinity to do … wouldn’t you agree? But then, that is the mystery of iniquity. Though Satan knows full well who will win, that won’t stop him from vainly trying to reach his ultimate goal of being like the Most High God. And, of all things, to use an Anti-Christ to accomplish this warped, but unattainable objective.
(2) I’d like to ask you to “wait and see for yourself” whether or not Nero is, in fact, the beast of Revelation and the Holy Roman Empire is the woman who uses and, in turn, is used by the beast. But I won’t do that; because if you would be watching those things unfold, you will have missed the Rapture. Believe me, you don’t want to be left behind. Please click on the Eye of Prophecy page entitled, God’s Plan of Salvation for detailed information on how not to miss the Rapture!