THE FALSE PROPHET (Part II)
To be sure, the scarlet beast of Revelation who would dare to be Anti-Christ will garner most of the Tribulation headlines. He will dazzle the world’s Post-Rapture population through his remarkable return to the earth from the Abyss; although the world will see this reappearance as a miraculous resurrection from the dead … not a release from the bottomless pit normally reserved for wicked, fallen angels. The world will worship Satan and the Antichrist, as though they had performed this miracle of recovery from a mortal wound; when, in fact, it was Christ who providentially struck down Nero, then revived him and banished him to the Abyss, to be freed at the appointed time.
But there is another prominent, malevolent figure who will accomplish as much or more than the Beast himself. In last week’s article we examined exactly what it is the second Beast, known as the False Prophet, will do, “on behalf of the first beast.” (Revelation 13). Of special interest, however, is that this man is not labeled as a false prophet until much later in the Great Tribulation. Let’s read what will happen in the last few days before the magnificent return of Christ.
“And I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs leap from the mouths of 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 … And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Revelation 16: 13-16).
This final call that galvanizes even the enemies of Antichrist against the true Messiah occurs after the 6th (next to last) bowl judgment, which obviously is near the end of the Great Tribulation. Only then will the world, by and large, realize that this man is a false prophet—as well as the first beast a false messiah and Satan a false god. By then it will be too late. The vast majority of the world’s population will understand that they have been duped, when Jesus Christ begins to soundly defeat them in the greatest battle of all time. Great only in terms that the armies of the entire world will be aligned against Christ Jesus; not in the actual disposition of the battle … which borders on being anticlimactic.
“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19: 19-21).
When this false prophet initially arrives on the scene (early in the Tribulation), he is simply called, “another beast” who “exercised all the authority of the first beast.” (Revelation 13: 11-12). He is the False Prophet, but the world sees him as a true and powerful prophet (the image of a beast for both the Antichrist and the False Prophet is used to convey power, terror, and ability … to destroy). Not until their fate is irreversible—when billions have taken the mark of the beast, which is his name or his number 666, and their two magnificent leaders are unveiled for what and who they really are—will people lament their tragic but deliberate decision to follow the Antichrist and his (false) prophet.
Who or What is the (a) False Prophet?
First, a reminder that Scripture not only permits identification of the Antichrist, but actually encourages the unveiling of the “mystery of the beast with seven heads and ten horns….” (Revelation 17:8). In fact, during the first introduction of the beast (Antichrist), the angel challenges John and, therefore, all readers of Revelation with the following examination: “Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18).
Can we do the same with the False Prophet? Can we determine who he actually is/will be by name? No, we can’t, because Scripture doesn’t give us any clues as to his actual identity. However, we do know that he will be a modern contemporary man born through a natural birth (beast that arises from the earth); and he will rocket to fame when he dramatically asserts himself as a prophetic representative of and spokesman for the first beast … Antichrist.
Can we, at least, determine the origin or nationality of the False Prophet? The answer to that is, Yes … with a great deal of confidence, but with a disclaimer that it is not an absolute certainty. As always, we will let Scripture do this for us. Regarding the identity of Antichrist, Scripture and history eliminates virtually all speculation as to his identity and his origin … none other than Nero Caesar, the fifth Roman Emperor of the first century. (See my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666?) Concerning credentials of the false prophet, Scripture reduces suppositions and speculations, and enables us to narrow down the candidates.
The best and most (historically) accurate way to characterize and ascertain a false prophet, including The False Prophet, is to first define a true prophet. That’s why the Bible identifies some prophets as false; because they distort, modify, subtract from, add to, and otherwise falsify the truth. All real truth comes from God, because He IS Truth. By definition, a prophet is false if he declares or prophesies something on his own … not directly from God. Moreover, if the prophecy (meaning with a 100% standard of fulfillment) does not happen, that prophet is a false prophet, not sent by God. (See Deuteronomy Chapters 13 & 18).
Many know about the (true) prophets of God, such as Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Zechariah and Malachi. All prophets proclaimed the truth, most predicted the truth of future events, some did both, and others actually performed miracles, such as Elijah and Elisha. They came from all different backgrounds, and served in different times over hundreds of years. But they had one thing in common: Beginning with Moses, whether they prophesied to the Jews or to the Gentiles, they were all Jewish prophets. God would not choose a gentile, pagan prophet any more than he would select a gentile to be a king or priest in Israel. Likewise, with the prophesied Messiah … he must be a Jew from the tribe of Judah, from the lineage of King David.
That’s what the nation of Israel is all about: To disclose to the world the one and true living God, and to give to the world God’s truth through his Word, which becomes light, life, and salvation to both Jews and Gentiles. The final, ultimate light was Jesus of Nazareth, the very living Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, italics for emphasis).
During the last half of the Great Tribulation, I’m convinced that Moses and Elijah will be the two prophets (witnesses) boldly serving the Lord for 3 ½ years with mighty miracles and judgments to rival or exceed those of the False Prophet. Moreover, I believe these two great prophets will go face to face, toe to toe with the False Prophet in a titanic struggle over the allegiance and very souls of millions on the earth. Who will the people choose: Christ or Antichrist? Whose miracles will be believed—those of Moses and Elijah or the (counterfeit) miracles of the False Prophet?
Will they believe the lie that Nero arose from the dead on his own, with a resurrection power given to him by Satan; facilitated and proven by the miracle of the talking statue and fire brought down from heaven by the False Prophet? Or will they fall back in shock and awe, and respond with a righteous fear of Almighty God and turn to his Messiah, Jesus Christ, when confronted by God’s two commanding witnesses who will, “prophesy during those 1260 days” (Revelation 11:3).
Will they choose Christ over Antichrist when they see the awesome power displayed by Moses and Elijah? Will they even acknowledge that these two men from the ancient past have returned to the earth to testify and, “stand before the Lord of all the earth” (Revelation 11:4)? Will people watch in dismay, the death of anyone who dares oppose these two prophets who are granted divine power by means of, “…fire (that) flashes from their mouths and consumes their enemies … they have power to shut the sky so that no rain will fall for as long as they prophecy. And they have the power to turn the rivers and oceans into blood, and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they wish” (Revelation 11: 5-6)? Or will they harbor fear of the False Prophet as the greater prophet?
(Scripture warns us that today is the day of salvation. It’s far better to choose Yeshua now while there is time. When you die it’s too late. If you are left behind at the Rapture—which could happen any hour of any day—it will be much too hard to choose. Many (most) will choose Antichrist and the False Prophet to avoid deprivation, hunger, and death. If you choose Christ then, you will be put to death for refusing to take the mark of the beast. You will not be able to remain neutral … if you don’t choose, then Antichrist and the False Prophet will choose for you).
What Do False Prophets Have in Common?
Time/space does not permit the dozens of references in the Old Testament that tell about prophets who claimed they were sent by or spoke for God or references in general about false prophets. Except—for purpose of this article—to state that these false prophets also had a common denominator: In addition to being FALSE, they were also Jewish. Or, if they might have been pagan Gentiles (such as some of the prophets of Baal in the story of Elijah on Mount Carmel), they still served and prophesied to/for Jewish kings, such as the wicked King Ahab and his equally wicked wife, Queen Jezebel; who was not Jewish, but, co-reigned because her husband was a Hebrew.
The evidence here is leading to what I believe is a Biblically and historically supported premise: The End-times Tribulation False Prophet will be a Jew.
Because I love the Jewish people, the land of Israel, and the holy city of Jerusalem, I am loath to say that a prominent Jewish politician, priest, or rabbi will most likely assert his popularity, prestige, position in embracing the reappearance of a late/great pagan Roman Emperor. But why not? We’re talking about more than just political expediency; we’re looking at the compelling incentive to acknowledge, esteem, serve, support, and even worship a man who has returned from the dead! Many Jews will be astounded but nevertheless deceived (indeed, people the world over) by the incredible return of Nero Caesar. Many more will be deceived by one of their own, a prominent Jew who will persuade both Jews and Gentiles that Nero is Nero arisen from the dead, not some imposter who thinks he’s clever enough to convince even the intellectuals that he should be worshipped as the Savior of mankind.
Which is why billions left behind (after the Rapture) will not flinch at all when Nero hurls one blasphemous insult after another at the true and living God and His Messiah, Jesus Christ. (See Revelation 13: 5-6). Nor will they blush with embarrassment at trying to cover up or explain away the technological special effects that would normally be necessary in order that a monumental statue to/of/for Nero could talk. They won’t have to find excuses because this statue will actually speak and will order the death of all who think otherwise, i.e. that the statue isn’t actually alive, or that Nero isn’t truly Nero, or that the False Prophet doesn’t really have power to inflict serious harm (and death) on those who resist these diabolical emissaries of Satan. (See Revelation 13: 13-15).
*Note: According to Jesus, there would be false messiahs and false prophets who would deceive many in the end-times (see Matthew Chapter 24). Likely, a few of these prophets will be Gentiles; however, I’m convinced the majority will be Jews, especially THE False Prophet. Let’s read the words of Jesus to support my premise: “For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:24, italics for emphasis—some translations read, elect).
The chosen ones identified by Christ are, beyond reasonable doubt, his chosen people, the Jews. For the following reasons: (1) the context of this passage refers primarily to Israel and the Jews, i.e. the sacrilegious object that desecrates the (rebuilt) Temple signaling the immediate need for, “…those in Judea must flee to the hills” (Verse 16). Also, “…pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath” (Verse 20, italics for emphasis). (2) When the phrase chosen ones is used, it refers to God’s chosen people, the Jews. (3) As indicated throughout Scripture, it is the Jews who need/want signs and wonders to validate their belief, not the Gentiles. (4) To a Jew (or even to a Gentile Christian) a prophet isn’t really false unless that prophet is a Jew; because, by definition, a pagan prophet is not even a prophet. Of course there are so-called priests and prophets in other religions, but they represent man-made gods that don’t exist. Thus, the prophecies of those would-be prophets who don’t exist by definition are meaningless. Or, saying it another way: They may call themselves prophets, but because they are pagan, they are presumed to be incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial when it comes to prophesying; therefore, they are not genuine prophets and don’t even merit classification as false. (5) Whenever God warns about false prophets, whether in Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Jeremiah, or anywhere else in Scripture, he is referring to false prophets in/among the Jews. Many of them are identified by name throughout the Old Testament.
Certainly none of the observant/religious Jews in Israel or anywhere in the world, and definitely not very many secular Jews will acknowledge, let alone worship, so-called miracles performed by a Muslim or Christian (in name only as the true Christians will have been taken from the earth in the Rapture) or Hindu or Mormon, or any other religious figure, other than from or on behalf of Judaism. But they would gladly and quickly respond to one of their own, even if that “brother” is promoting a Roman Emperor! If their Jewish prophet can perform such miracles as described in Revelation 13, why shouldn’t/wouldn’t they believe in and surrender to a messiah that the False Prophet endorses?
The Woman and the False Prophet and the Beast
There’s more. As previously demonstrated, the woman (that great city of Rome represented now by the Vatican) will endorse the Antichrist beast. As a result, she will also reach out to the Jewish prophet who performs miracles in order to further convince and subjugate all doubters that Nero is for real. It will be an alliance never before seen on the earth and (thankfully) never will again. It’s quite likely that the Holy sites of Jerusalem will be shared by the Vatican and by orthodox Jewish groups. Through the political and religious alliance of the Antichrist, False Prophet, and the Woman (Rome), even Muslims will be coerced to cooperate; to the extent that a third Jewish temple will be erected on Temple Mount alongside of the Dome of the Rock … or perhaps even in place of it!
The current dialogue, negotiations, and intensified cooperation between the Roman Catholic Church and Jewish officials is a precursor to these remarkable end-times events. Both Catholic and Jewish leaders will give their allegiance to the resurrected beast. So will leaders of Islam, but more reluctantly. And, of course: where leaders lead, followers follow.
However, Nero will overcome Muslim resistance by acknowledging Islam’s god, and even feign worship of Allah. (Refer to Antichrist’s worship of “the god of fortresses” in Daniel Chapter 11, as explained in my book, Out of the Abyss). In the godless period of the Great Tribulation, there will be little problem in reconciling or blending the beliefs of the False Prophet with the Antichrist with the Catholic woman on the beast. Eventually, all of these “religions” will be swept aside in favor of unadulterated worship of a man who has, “no respect … for any other god” (Daniel 11:37). A man, who will proclaim himself as both God and Messiah.
Though there will be national, international, racial, religious, and political liaisons never before seen, this doesn’t mean a one-world religion or one-world government will arise. There will still be many dissenters, especially the Kings of the East. A one-world government means exactly that: All nations of the earth will yield to and participate in a global alliance, which is simply not found in Scripture. A cross-section group of people from all races, languages, nations will blindly follow Antichrist and the False Prophet, just like they follow Jesus Christ, the true Messiah in today’s world; but not necessarily entire governments. Remember there are only ten kings who yield their kingdoms (nations) to Antichrist and his prophet as found in Revelation Chapter 17 … and three of those nations will be forced to surrender (see Daniel 7). On the other hand, Antichrist will have many enemies and dissidents. This is clearly presented in Daniel Chapter 11.
Not until the very last part of the Great Tribulation will the Kings of the East join with Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation, but only for the purpose of doing battle with Jesus Christ, with the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan at stake.
What then is the role of the False Prophet? What will he accomplish that no false prophet in Israel’s history or the history of the gentile nations has accomplished? As summarized in Revelation Chapter 13, this False Prophet will validate the identity of the beast (Nero) and help consolidate the (temporary) alliances between the Antichrist’s ten-nation confederation and the Vatican. Because he is Jewish, the False Prophet will persuade Israel to allow Nero to assume control over the outer court of the Gentiles in the rebuilt Temple (Revelation 11:2). This will lead to the cessation of Temple sacrifices half way through the Tribulation, followed by Nero’s desecration of the Holy of Holies near the end of the Tribulation.
Furthermore, the False Prophet will be permitted to perform miracles that no Old Testament false prophets could do, such as calling down fire from heaven. His miracles will further enhance and validate the original miracle that captivated and amazed the entire world … the resurrected return of an ancient Roman Emperor. Most Jews, particularly observant Jews, understand to varying degrees the difference between their true and false prophets as recorded in the Tanakh (the Old Testament). They remember that the 850 prophets of Baal were no match for God’s true prophet, Elijah.
Which is why the False Prophet will so successfully deceive and persuade millions of Jews (probably the same 2/3s of Jews who will be cut-off according to Zechariah 13:8), before the Antichrist breaks his treaty, turns on the Jews, and begins an all-out war against them. How sad … that so many will believe the False Prophet rather than Moses and Elijah.
But it won’t be a cakewalk for this unholy, ungodly coalition. In addition to oriental countries like China and Japan (Kings of the East), other nations such as Egypt, and the two witnesses who will pose a formidable opposition to the Antichrist and his prophet, there will be a continual succession of divine judgments never before experience by mankind. These seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments will disrupt and disprove and erode the power claims made by Nero and his false prophet, as well as the Roman Catholic Church—to the point that the beast and the false prophet will turn on and destroy their Catholic ally. Thereby, revealing their true agenda which has been Satan’s warped, unattainable goal from the beginning: To be like the Most High God by replacing the Kingdom of Heaven with Satan’s kingdom on earth ruled by Satan’s messiah and prophet.
Things to Ponder
You might want to read for yourself the amazing and utter destruction of the Woman (that great city) as explicitly depicted in Revelation Chapter 18. And the precursor of that destruction, vividly described by these graphic words: “The scarlet beast and his ten horns all hate the prostitute. They will strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire. For God has put a plan into their minds, a plan that will carry out his purposes. They will agree to give their authority to the scarlet beast, and so the words of God will be fulfilled. And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:16-18, italics for emphasis).
What is God’s purpose? His words that will be fulfilled?
“Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven: ‘The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever’” (Revelation 11:15).
“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens: ‘It has come at last—salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ….’” (Revelation 12:10).
IT’S ONLY A MATTER OF TIME. AND THAT TIME IS VERY SHORT!
“Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!” (Hebrews 12:25).