Saturday, November 18, 2023

The False Prophet - Revelation 13 (part 2)

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The False Prophet"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In recent weeks, we have been introduced to “The Dragon,” and to “The Beast.” These are roles for Satan and the Antichrist during the coming period of the Great Tribulation. Today we will be introduced to the third and final member of the Unholy Trinity. There is a pattern of deception and copycat fulfillment of God’s promises among false religions.

In the Bible’s historical Books, we learn of the many false prophecies made by a Jewish priesthood that led the people astray into idolatry. Our reading today covers one of the false prophets during the time of the Babylonian Captivity. False prophets were as numerous then as they are today. God has already judged them all. Their only hope today’s fakes is to repent, and convert to a belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. False prophets are the bane of God’s Word.

With the Babylonian captivity looming ahead for the Jews, all was falling down around them in Jerusalem. The false prophets told the people that all was OK.

God has no use for liars. And this third member of the Unholy Trinity is a religious leader who will lead people astray. He is known as The False Prophet in the coming chapters.

He is the final character in the copycat Unholy Trinity. The title of last week’s message was “Holy Men of God.” After today, we will have a picture of Satan empowering two “unholy men of Satan.” They receive their power and position from the highest member of their group, Satan, playing the role of The Dragon.

As we think of the advancements in technology, especially in the field of Artificial Intelligence I believe this is how the Unholy Trinity will dupe people to leave God behind, and worship a false god. When I think of AI, I can’t help but think of silk flowers. 40 years ago; they were introduced as artificial flowers. Fakes, Without a fragrance. Artificial. Easily identified upon inspection as not real! But today?

The coming deception will be easy for an already Christ-rejecting world to accept, as they bow and worship the Antichrist. It is the grand deception.

From 1 John 2:18,

“Little children, it is the last time: as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version:

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 13 (part 2) - "The False Prophet"

Summary/Bible Notes:  

Today we will be looking at part 2 of Revelation chapter 13. The message today is titled, "The False Prophet," the third and final evil character of the unholy trinity.

During the tribulation period, the world will be ruled by a godless man presiding over an evil governmental and religious system. This chapter associates this ruler with the terrible beast in Revelation and Daniel.

Revelation 12 brought the introduction of the Dragon, Satan, as he attempted to thwart God’s plan of redemption. He failed to destroy the promised Redeemer, the Messiah, and Jesus Christ the Son of God was born. Consequently, in anger, Satan declared war against the children of God.  Who are the children of God?  They are Believers, the Followers of Jesus Christ. The scene ends in Revelation 13:1 with the summoning of two beasts.  What is coming next? What is about to happen to those left upon the earth?

Last week we read about the first beast who rises out of the sea, the Antichrist.  This week we will read of the second beast who rises out of the earth, the False Prophet.

In the absence of the Church and the Holy Spirit, the unholy trinity will commit blasphemy against the Lord continuously and will establish the Antichrist's system, a one world system that will raise up the Antichrist as the false Messiah.    

This week, just as the false christs who have plagued mankind will culminate in the final Antichrist, so also will the false prophets culminate in a final false prophet.  He will be Satan's last and most powerful lying deceiver.  

Along with Satan, the counterfeit of the Father, and Antichrist, the counterfeit of Jesus Christ, the False Prophet will form the satanic false trinity.  He will be the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.  The false prophet will be Antichrist's partner in Satan's massive final deception of the world. The False Prophet, like Antichrist, will be Satan's mouthpiece, speaking his words.  He will speak winsome, deceiving words of praise about the Antichrist, luring the world to worship the satanic dictator. 

This unholy trinity takes control of the earth.  Their sole purpose is to deceive and destroy the completion of God's redemptive plan.   We will read about their counterfeit miracles, a mock resurrection, the beast of the sea (the Antichrist) secures economic and political control of the world. The beast of the earth, the Antichrist’s prime minister of propaganda and high priest.  He will install a false religious system requiring worship of the beast. A worldwide identification scheme, the infamous number 666, is implemented. Only those who bear the number can buy and sell. 

This blasphemous trio, Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, will control every aspect of the world, but only for a limited time.

Another Beast (vs. 11) - This is the final false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10) who promotes Antichrist's power and convinces the world to worship him as God.  This companion beast will be the chief, most persuasive proponent of satanic religion (16:13; 19:20; 20:10).  The Antichrist will be primarily a political and military leader, but the false prophet will be a religious leader.  This beast will consolidate all the religious systems of the world in one world religion of satanism.  Politics and religion will unite in a worldwide religion of worshiping the Antichrist (see 17:1-9, 15-17). 

Out of the Earth (vs. 11) - This is likely another reference to the abyss that lies below the earth.  The false prophet, a child of hell, will be sent forth and controlled by a powerful demon from below.  The earth imagery, in contrast to that of the foreboding, mysterious sea in verse 1, may imply that the false prophet is subtler and more appealing than the Antichrist.

Two Horns Like a Lamb (vs. 11) - This describes the relative weakness of the false prophet compared to the Antichrist, who has ten horns.

Like a Lamb (vs. 11) - The false prophet will appear like a lamb, gentle and winsome, only later will he reveal his satanic character. 

Spake Like a Dragon (vs. 11) - The False prophet will be Satan's mouthpiece and thus his message will be like the dragon, Satan - the source of all deception and false religion.

Exercises All the Power of the First Beast (vs. 12) - The false prophet excercises the same kind of satanic power as the Antichrist because he is empowered by the same source.  He too will have a worldwide influence and reputation as a miracle worker and speaker. Worship (vs. 12) - He wields influence to establish a false world religion headed by the Antichrist and to entice people to accept that system.

Whose Deadly Wound Was Healed (vs. 12) - Referring to a false resurrection after a false murder to inspire allegiance from the world.  A satanic imitation of resurrection, a blasphemy against Christ.

Great Wonders (vs. 13) - The false prophet performs signs and wonders, signs that counterfeit the miracles of Christ.  Satan has used this deception before (Exodus 7:11).  These false miracles will be used to convince the world that Antichrist is more powerful than God's true witnesses, including Jesus Christ.

Fire Come Down from Heaven (vs. 13) - Undoubtedly a lying wonder, indicating that the false prophet continually does counterfeit atmospheric electrical phenomena.  The two-witnesses, like Elijah, will have been able to call down real fire from heaven, and the false prophet will desire to demonstrate to the world that he has similar powers.

Image to the Beast (vs. 14) - This refers to replication of the Antichrist that is related to the throne he will erect during the abomination of desolation, halfway into the Tribulation period.  This will happen in the Jerusalem temple when the Antichrist abolishes the former false world religion and seeks to have people worship him alone as God.  The false prophet and the Antichrist will again deceive the world, with a clever imitation of Christ, who will later return and reign from the true throne in Jerusalem.

Speak (vs. 15) - The false prophet will give the image of the Antichrist the appearance of life, and the image will seem to utter words - contrary to what is normally true of idols (see Psalm 135:15, 16; Hab. 2:19). be Killed (vs. 15) - His gentleness is a lie, since he is a killer (7:9-17).  Some Gentiles will be spared to populate the kingdom (Matthew 25:31-40) and Jews will be protected (12:17). 

Give Life (vs. 15) - In another display of his power to deceive, the false prophet will "give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak..."  The false prophet will animate the image of the Antichrist so that it gives the appearance of being alive.  With today's AI technology, this is not out of the realm of possibility.  Add to that the world's desperate need, amid the carnage of the tribulation, to believe in a death conqueror. 

A Mark (vs. 16) - In the roman Empire, this was a normal identifying symbol, or brand, that slaves and soldiers bore on their bodies.  Some of the ancient mystical cults delighted in such tattoos, or markings, which identified members with a form of worship.  Antichrist will have a similar requirement, one that will need to be visible on the hand or forehead.  This is the mark of the beast.  It will be universally required for all transactions.  It will assure their loyalty to the beast, but will also assure an eternal destination in hell for all who accept it (14:9-11). 

Buy or sell (vs. 17) - The Antichrist's mark will allow people to engage in daily commerce, including the purchase of food and other necessities.  Without the identifying mark, individuals will be cut off from the necessities of life.

Number of His Name (vs. 17) - The beast (Antichrist) will have a name inherent in a numbering system. 

His number is (vs. 18) - This is the essential number of a man.  The number six falls one short of God's perfect number, seven, and thus represents human imperfection.  Antichrist, the most powerful human the world will ever know, will still be a man, that is, a six.  The ultimate in human and demonic power is a six, not perfect, as God is.  The threefold repetition of the number is intended to reiterate and underscore man's identity.  

The exclamation "Here is wisdom" is a warning to those alive at the time to be wise and discerning.  They will need to recognize what is happening and understand the significance of the number connected with the Antichrist's name, and the eternal consequences for branding it on their bodies in allegiance to him.

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