The Beast Out of the Earth: The False Prophet

13: 11-15

   DIG: What will the beast from the earth be like? If the first beast exercises political power, what does the second beast exercise? Can anyone by God create something from nothing? Then how will the false prophet deceive the inhabitants of the earth?

   REFLECT: How do you discern false religion or a false prophet? What tools has the Lord given us to discern truth from error, truth from lies?

   The major weapon that Satan uses in his attack on us is deception. Jesus stated that Satan is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), who masquerades as an angel of light (Second Corinthians 11:44) to deceive people. From when he first appeared in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:2-6), until his final appearance at the end of the Messianic Kingdom (20:7-8), Satan is a liar and a deceiver. He constantly tries to confuse people, blinding the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel (Second Corinthians 4:4).

    The apostle Paul warned us that Satan’s followers will masquerade themselves as servants of righteousness (Second Corinthians 11:15). It is precisely because they spread wicked lies that Satan aligns himself with deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (First Timothy 4:1). Therefore, the Bible continually warns us of the danger of false prophets (Numbers 22-24; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; Isaiah 9:15; Jeremiah 28:1-17; 29:8-9; Ezekiel 13:17; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14).

    As He concluded the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua warned us: Watch out for false prophets. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves (Matthew 7:15, also see Second Peter 2:1 and First John 4:1). False prophets have afflicted God’s people from the beginning of history, but they will increase as the return of the Messiah becomes imminent. Just as all the false christ’s who have plagued mankind will culminate in the final antichrist, so will all the false prophets culminate in a false prophet.307 Therefore, after discussing the counterfeit father and the counterfeit son, the counterfeit trinity is completed with the introduction of the counterfeit holy spirit in the person of the false prophet.

    Following the rise of the first beast, or the antichrist, John saw another beast of the same kind come out of the earth (opposed to Heaven), thus emphasizing his humanity. He will probably come into prominence as a miracle-working religious leader. This is the one who separates himself from the Torah (Second Thessalonians 2:3-10). Elsewhere in the book of Revelation he is called the false prophet (16:13, 19:20, 20:10). He will appear like a lamb, giving the appearance of a true religious leader, but in reality he will speak like a dragon, and so will reveal his true nature (13:11 KJV).308

    What is the standard for a prophet of ADONAI? Since God’s people were to obey His prophet without question (Deuteronomy 18:19), to prophecy falsely was, in effect, to take the LORD’s place. For this, the false prophet was to be put to death. Moses describes this process: But a prophet who presumes to speak in My name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death (Deuteronomy 18:20). In the 70th seven of Daniel, this commandment will be reinstated. The false prophet will fail to meet this standard and as a result will face the second death and be thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity (20:14).

    Just as the Holy Spirit exercised equal authority with the true Son, the false prophet will exercise equal authority with the counterfeit son. The two Satan-empowered men will become great allies. By the time the political power of the antichrist is reaching its peak, the syncretistic union of the world religions will be concentrated under the power of the second beast to coexist. Each one will support the other. The antichrist will enforce the religious authority of the false prophet, and the false prophet will persuade the world to worship the antichrist. Just as God the Holy Spirit will testify about God the Son (John 15:26), the false prophet will testify about the counterfeit son. The second beast will exercise all the authority of the first beast and will make the earth and its inhabitants worship the antichrist, whose counterfeit fatal wound seemed to be healed (13:12). They will become an unbeatable team for a season, working together to take control over all people everywhere.

    In order to fully carry out the deception, the false prophet will have the power of counterfeit miracles by the power of Satan (Job 1:16). Just as the Egyptian magicians counterfeited the miracles of Moses and Aaron with their secret arts (Exodus 7:8-13), the false prophet will perform great and miraculous signs. One of the most impressive signs the counterfeit Holy Spirit will perform will be causing fire to come from heaven to earth in full view of all the people (13:13). Just as Elijah caused fire to come down from heaven (First Kings 18:17-46, Second Kings 1:9-12), the false prophet will do the same. The two witnesses used the same phenomenon to intimidate the unbelieving world (11:5). Even though the antichrist had killed them, their resurrection had been seen around the world and people still feared their power. It will be important to Satan that the world will see and know that the beast and the false prophet will have similar powers.309

    Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the antichrist, he will deceive unbelievers, or the inhabitants of the earth (13:14a). This is just as Yeshua predicted when He said: Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:11). The word deceive comes from the Greek word plano, which means to wander. It is the basis for the English word planet, since planets appear to wander through the heavens. During the Great Tribulation, the world will be utterly vulnerable to the deception of the false prophet. There will be unparalleled disasters and unimaginable horrors, leaving many people desperate for answers. Having rejected the true Gospel and blasphemed the true God, the inhabitants of the earth will be eager to believe the deceiving lies spread by the false prophet.310

    The purpose of the counterfeit miracles will be to carry out the work of deception. The coming of the lawless one, or the antichrist, will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. The phrase miracles, signs and wonders is the exact phrase used to describe the miracles of Messiah (Acts 2:22) and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:2). Those unbelievers will perish because they will refuse to love the truth of the preaching of the 144,000 and the two witnesses and so be saved. For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they will believe “the lie,” Satan’s particular lie, and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (Second Thessalonians 2:11-12). Having rejected God’s offer of repentance, the unbelievers will be lured by a deception so great that only true believers will be able to see through the illusion and, as a result, stand firm in the face of persecution.

    After convincing the world of the supremacy of the antichrist, the false prophet will set up an image in honor of the beast (see Dr – The Abomination That Causes Desolation) who was wounded by the sword, appeared to die, and yet lived (13:14b). The image set up in the Tribulation Temple will deceive many when it appears to come to life. He will give breath to the image of the beast by the power of Satan, so that the image of the beast would seem to be alive and even speak (3:15 NASB). The word breath comes from the Greek word pneuma, not zoe or bios, the Greek words normally translated life. The false prophet will animate the image of the antichrist so that it will give the appearance of being alive.311  Only ADONAI can create life out of nothing (Genesis 1:1).

    The end result will be that all who refuse to worship the image will be killed (Revelation 13:15 and see Exodus 15:18; Daniel 2:44-45, 7:13-14 and 27). Once again, Yeshua prophesied that this would happen when He said: Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me (Matthew 24:9).

 

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