The False Prophet - Part 1
he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven
on the earth in the sight of men." (Revelation 13:13)
One of the most mysterious passages in the entire book of Revelation
relates to someone who is called The False Prophet.
While the Bible tells us that in the present wicked age "many false
prophets are gone out into the world,"1. there is
apparently a singular, and primary False Prophet who will
deceive the nations of the world. This final False Prophet is a
global religious figure who will cause the world to worship the
Antichrist, call fire down from heaven, bring about the construction
of something called "the image of the beast," and much more.
After a careful examination of the scriptures, it will become clear
that this individual may be even more important than the Antichrist
himself - for much of the prophetic activity actually originates
with him during the tribulation period. The primary passage reads as
I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two
horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 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. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down
from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 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. And he had power to give life unto,
and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast
should be killed."2.
These verses are filled with complex information that is carefully
embedded in the spiritual imagery that God has recorded for his
saints, so we have to take this text apart very carefully. First and
foremost, we need to recognize that it's obvious that these verses
have some sort of symbolic content. To put it another way, it's
highly unlikely we're going to see some weird creature with two
horns climb up out of the earth.
Like so many other prophetic components found in scripture, each
aspect is intertwined with another. To identity any particular part of
the text, we sometimes need to use the process of elimination. For
example, the various dreams and visions in the book of Daniel have
already established that the first beast of Revelation 13, the
one whose deadly wound is healed, is a political empire. When
Daniel has his famous dream of four great beast empires (the
lion, bear, leopard, and diverse 4th beast), the interpreting angel
tells him "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon
the earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour
the whole earth...."3. This fourth and final
beast/kingdom is described as being "dreadful and terrible...and it
had ten horns."4.
Revelation 13 describes this same beast
- except it is now described as the first beast of two.
This final beast empire seen in Revelation is also
characterized by its ten horns. John's vision of the beast
empire seems to be at a later stage, for it has now somehow
assimilated the 3 empires that preceded it - Daniel's lion,
bear, and leopard empires:
I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the
sea, having seven heads and ten horns...And the beast which I saw was
like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear,
and his mouth as the mouth of a lion...."5.
Because Revelation 17 tells us one of the heads of this beast "goeth
into perdition,"6. we have further proof that this
first beast is the final empire because we know
that phrase is a key term that describes the Antichrist, who is also
known as "that man of sin...the son of perdition."7.
Furthermore, because Daniel establishes that the beast with ten
horns is the final "kingdom," and Revelation's first
beast is also the final kingdom that is ruled by Antichrist, it
is clear the first beast of Revelation 13 is the political
power that "devours the whole earth" at the end of the age. This
is a crucial understanding, for it means that the second beast
of Revelation 13, the one that causes the creation of the image of the
beast, is something other than a political power.
Many Protestant teachers have taught for centuries that the first
beast is the so-called "revived Roman empire" and the second beast
is the False Prophet - usually seen as the Pope of Rome.
Seventh Day Adventist and other Sabbatarian writers have
uniformly reversed the roles. They teach the first beast is the
Papacy and the second beast is the political power of the
United States - with America acting to cause the world to
follow the first beast - the Papacy. Although they each have parts
of it right, both views are in error; and as I previously stated, if
you get the two beast's identities wrong, you can't help but
misinterpret the true identity of the False Prophet (to say nothing of
the image and the mark of the beast).
Because we know the first beast must be the political
beast, simple process of elimination points us to the second
beast as some form of religious power. For instance, there is
a character known as "the false prophet" because later in
Revelation we see him thrown into the lake of fire with the
Antichrist. The internal textual evidence is powerful, for Revelation
19:20 plainly says "And the beast was taken, and with him the
false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with
which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast,
and them that worshiped his image." This proves the second beast
of Revelation 13, the one that causes men to "make an image to the
beast" and "deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of
those miracles"8. must be the religious figure
known as the False Prophet.
Actually, there is plenty of scriptural evidence indicating that Satan
seeks to duplicate more than just the work of Christ in the last days.
To put it another way, if there's a false Christ, there's probably
also a false John the Baptist to act as that false Christ's prophet.
After all, Satan seeks to counterfeit the kingdom of God with the
political empire he empowers. He apparently tries to counterfeit the
resurrection of Christ with his man receiving a "deadly wound."
During the tribulation, God places a seal on the forehead of His
saints - even as Satan has a mark for his followers, and so
The very fact that this individual's title includes the word "prophet"
is a further indication that the second beast figure must be a religious
power. Prophets are seen in the Bible in a religious context - not a
political one. Even though Seventh Day Adventist teaching also
identifies this second beast of Revelation 13 as "the False Prophet,"
they seek to assign his role to the political power of America as, in
their view, he "causes" the world to follow the Papacy. This view
is untenable and inconsistent, for America is clearly a political
power and the Papacy is clearly a religious power. In short, they
have the roles reversed.
The book of Revelation explicitly tells us that the role of the False
Prophet is to cause the world to "worship the first beast."
This brings us to the question as to whether this reference to the "first
beast" is to the beast empire, or the personification of that
empire, the Antichrist. Utilizing the "layered" approach to
prophecy that the Holy Spirit continues to confirm in my heart, I
believe it refers to both. What I'm suggesting is the False
Prophet "causes" mankind to follow and support (worship) the political
power that hosts the Antichrist, and then ultimately compels humanity
to worship the individual as well. Of course, few people will realize
that when they manifest an unqualified support of this man's every
move, they will, in effect, be worshiping him.
When the False Prophet convinces the world to follow the Antichrist,
the Bible tells us he is only able to accomplish it through the
working of an extraordinary power - what Revelation calls miracles.
Revelation expressly tells us he "deceiveth them that dwell on
the earth by the means of those miracles...."9. By
examining the actual miracles spoken of, we can discern some
interesting things about his mission.
The Revelator details several specific activities that the False
Prophet accomplishes - at least two of which appear to be in the
realm of the miraculous. John writes that this second beast "...doeth
great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven in
the sight of men."10. This is a very revealing statement,
for the only other biblical figure that was ever able to call down
fire from heaven was Elijah the Prophet.
The reader will remember that the False Prophet functions as an
imitation of John the Baptist, in his role as the herald, or
forerunner of the Lord Jesus Christ. This Satanically inspired
priestly figure is not so much patterned after John the Baptist, as he
is a counterfeit of Elijah, the major prophet that John the
Baptist is identified with. Remember, in referring to the Baptist,
Jesus specifically stated that "if ye will receive it, this is
Elias (Elijah) which was for to come."11. In short,
the False Prophet is an imitation Elijah.
It is not a coincidence that the most visible miracle mentioned in the
scriptures as coming forth from the False Prophet is the
singular miracle that Elijah the Prophet was most noted for. When
Elijah the Tishbite was being pursued by Ahaziah the king, he sent
troops to arrest the famous seer. The account in II Kings records the
well known interaction:
the king sent unto him a captain of fifty...And he spake unto him,
Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered
and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let
fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and they fifty, And
there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty."12.
This episode actually continues with a second captain with his fifty
men burned up, and then a third that survives when the Lord tells the
"fiery" prophet to go with them. Even in the New Testament, we
find that the knowledge of this particular miracle was foremost in the
minds of the people during the time of Christ - over 900 years after
the generation of Elijah. Luke records that after Christ was rejected
by a city of the Samaritans, the disciples came to Him and said "Lord,
wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume
them, even as Elias did?"13.
In yet another well known episode, Elijah challenges 450
prophets of Baal to a duel of sorts with his mysterious ability
to call fire down from heaven. The contest calls for whoever is
empowered by the true God to call fire down and burn up a
sacrificial altar. When Baal's men fail, Elijah says "Hear me, O
Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord
God...Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt
Note how the miracle is brought forth as a sign so "that this people
may know" who the true Lord is. Significantly, when the False
Prophet brings forth what is apparently the same miracle, it is
said that this miracle is how he convinces the people to follow his
god - the Antichrist.
By now, it should be apparent that the primary reason the Devil
chooses to emulate Elijah's ministry as part of his final deception
is because of Elijah's scriptural association in identifying who
the true Saviour is. Remember, when John the Baptist, who Christ
identified with Elijah, first sees Jesus coming towards him he said
"Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."15.
This is one of the reasons that, when confronted with the power of
John the Baptist, the Jews quickly began to wonder if he actually was
Elijah. The Gospels tell us they asked John "Art thou Elias?"16.
The reason that Elias (which is simply an alternate transliteration of
the name Elijah) was on everyone's mind during the ministry of John
the Baptist and Jesus Christ is the final prophecy
of the Old Testament. In Malachi, we are told that God says "Behold,
I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the
great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the
fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their
fathers, lest I come and smith the earth with a curse."17.
This prophecy is central to all people - but particularly to Jews
and Christians. It clearly states that Elijah must come before the
Saviour comes. Because the Jews failed to recognize John the Baptist,
who came in the spirit and power of Elijah, they also failed to
recognize Christ Jesus as their prophesied Messiah. This means they
are still expecting their Messiah, as well as Elijah. For
example, it is widely known that at the Passover meal, Jews that
observe the ritual leave on empty chair at their table - for Elijah.
Clearly, they are expecting Elijah before the appearance of the
When the False Prophet comes forth working his miracles, his primary wonder
of calling fire down from heaven will clearly indicate his claim to
the mantle of Elijah. Yet the text tells us he is a deceiver that will
actually cause the world to worship the Antichrist. It should be
obvious that the biblical expectation of the arrival of Elijah is
being manipulated by Satan in the office of the False Prophet.
It's important to see that Malachi specifies that Elijah will come before
the "great and dreadful day of the Lord."18. After
John the Baptist had already been identified with Elias, Jesus tells
us that "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all
things."19. This is an apparent reference to another
appearance of Elijah - shortly before the return of Christ - and
the terrifying period known as the "Day of the Lord."20.
Because the text qualifies the predicted appearance of Elijah before
the "great and dreadful day of the Lord," both Christians and
Jews are expecting Elijah to be physically present at some point before
the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The False Prophet will ultimately deceive members of every
religious group in the world, but the emphasis in prophecy appears to
be on the big three with claims to Jerusalem: Christians, Jews, and
Moslems. In short, this individual must draw the prophetic
expectations of all three groups and focus them on the Antichrist.
An early example of this religious merging may be found in the case of
the late Elijah Muhammed, the controversial leader of the black
nationalist group the Nation of Islam. His very name
bridged the gap between the Old Testament and the Koran.
Moslem writer Adib Rashad, writing in a biography of Elijah
Muhammed, states "His genius lay in the fact that he was able,
without formal education, to synthesize a Black Nationalist Christian
tradition, messianic-nationalism, and quasi fundamental Islamic
tenets. He also syncretized selected biblical versus (sic) with
selected Quranic verses...."21. While Elijah
Muhammed was most certainly not THE False Prophet, his life
proves the expectation of the prophet Elijah, as a heraldic figure
pointing towards a great messianic move of God, is an acceptable
component to Islamic theology. Of course, because the world currently
contains about 1 billion Moslems, common sense dictates that the False
Prophet's activities must also encompass Islam in his global embrace
of the Antichrist, and his beast empire.
Because Islam has never fielded a world leader that has sought to
assimilate Catholicism and Judaism into the Islamic paradigm through
anything other than military conquest, it is highly unlikely the
Moslem world could produce the False Prophet. So too with Judaism, for
no orthodox or liberal Jewish religious figure of global
stature has emerged since Israel became a modern state in 1948.22.
The only institution that could produce a viable candidate for the
office of the False Prophet is the Roman Catholic church with their
highly visible leader, the Pope.
When we look at the Pope to consider the possibility that his office
contains the desk of the Second Beast of Revelation 13, we find an
over-abundance of indicators that he is the culprit. Not only does the
Bishop of Rome enjoy a global visibility and prestige that is
unmatched in the religious arena, we find that the intelligence
gathering capabilities of his organization are second to none. His
wealth is believed by some to be the greatest of any organization on
Through the course of history, the Roman church has increasingly
amassed an incalculable fortune. For example, as the powerful
institution approached the first millennia and the year 1,000 AD,
large numbers of Europeans believed the return of Christ was imminent
and ceded their lands to the church. Needless to say, the Papacy didn't
return these lands to their rightful owners as the second millennia
began. Indeed, the entire history of the Roman Catholic church is
marred by abysmal financial charades such as the selling of
indulgences, confessional fines, and even the auctioning off of the
office of Pope!
Dozens of Catholic theological inventions such as the "miraculous
medal" of Mary, the "brown scapular," and the practice of
tithing to the church in order to have a deceased loved one released
from "purgatory" are just a few of the more imaginative revenue
generators. Eventually, Pope Innocent III devised the first "forfeiture"
statutes - installing them in the Corpus Juris, the official
law book of the Papacy. By pronouncing any theological opponent a
heretic, "the possessions of heretics are to be confiscated. In the
church's territories they are to go to the Church's treasury."23.
This economic leverage increased the power of the Romanists to the
degree that by the 16th century, "her economic stranglehold upon all
and sundry was no less massive than her spiritual dominion, and almost
paralyzed whole countries."24. By the time the church
entered the modern era, through banking, stocks, real estate, and
massive tax free revenues, it is no surprise that a Catholic prelate
boasted to a London newspaper "We are already a lot bigger than Ford
Motors, Shell Oil, and Bethlehem Steel put together."25.
In fact, as far back as 1960, Fortune Magazine estimated that
the revenues of just one archdiocese generated $150
million per year.26.
Another Catholic priest, Father Richard Ginder, writing in the
Catholic publication Our Sunday visitor summed it up rather
succinctly: "The Catholic Church must be the biggest corporation in
the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our
assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil,
AT&T, and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues paying
members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States
Clearly, the Vatican has the financial muscle necessary to field a
world class religious figure.
In seeking to find comparisons between the Papacy and the Antichrist's
herald, the False Prophet, we inevitably come to the centuries of
dynastic European rulers that were always coronated by the Pope. From
the time of Charlemagne, also known as Charles The Great
(742-814), the normative ritual for crowning a new king was always at
the hands of the Pope. Indeed, with the exception of the Church of
England which broke away from the Vatican, every shift in royal power
from the various European dynasties was always endorsed by the "holy
Here again we see the concept of the religious power giving his
support to the civil power - the beast government; in exchange, of
course for the maintaining of the ecclesiastical monopoly run by the
Vatican. In the realm of political power through the mechanism of
intelligence gathering, the Vatican is on a par with the Israeli
Mossad and the American CIA.
The notorious Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits,
is a 460 year old secretive order that has been the architect of
numerous national revolutions, political up-heavals, and the distorted
Marxist oriented theology known as liberaci�n. In Latin America, they're
associated with the communists seeking power. In the Philippines, they
were dubbed the "Jesus Mafia" when they were implicated in Corrie
Acquino's overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos. In China, one of
their key members is considered so dangerous to the Beijing government
that he's been in solitary confinement for 7 years. The mysterious
group of intellectuals is active from India to South America.
An expert on the Jesuits, British barrister Peter Rawlinson
describes the Jesuit order as that of a superior spy
of the rules of the Order is that each member has the right to
communicate directly and personally with the General himself in Rome.
This is a privilege of which its members have availed themselves from
the earliest days, and what the members had written to their General
from every quarter of the globe during four centuries was stored in
this house. The privilege to write direct to their General is one
which the 26,000 members regularly exercise. Since they are all men
holding doctorates from the major universities in the world and since
they serve in every continent, this provides the General of the
Jesuits with an information service which few states can equal. He is
probably better informed than most heads of government."28.
In addition to the Jesuits, the Papacy benefits immensely from the
support of Opus Dei, another low profile organization that is
exclusively devoted to the Pope on an individual level. Opus
Dei is comprised of laity that operates outside conventional
ecclesiastical channels with an intense loyalty not to the church
- but to the Pope. Along these same
populist lines, because of his peculiar devotion to the Virgin Mary,
the current Pope, John Paul II, is the favorite of
Marian devotees everywhere.
there any indication that John Paul II, or any subsequent Pope,
would embrace a theological view that fulfills the descriptions of the
False Prophet in Revelation 13? There can be no doubt.
January 6, 2003 - James Lloyd
Copyright © 2003 Christian Media Network
I John 4:1
Revelation 13:1, 2
II Thessalonians 2:3
II Kings 1:9, 10
I Kings 18:37, 38
I John 1:29
Malachi 4:5, 6
Malachi 4:5, Joel 2:31
Elijah Muhammed, The Ideological Foundation of the Nation of Islam,
Adib Rashad (James Miller), page 1, emphasis mine
the possible exception of the Rebbe, the late Menachem Schneerson from
the Habad movement in Brooklyn New York. Schneerson's followers
believed he was the Jewish Messiah.
Fundationis Eccles, M Magdal, 1422, Ludwewig I. Xi, pp 457-69; cited
in Vatican Billions, Avro Manhattan, Chick
ibid., page 69
Sunday Express, London, 2/27/66; cited in Vatican Billions, page 162
Vatican Billions, page 165
ibid., page 168
The Jesuit Factor, Peter Rawlinson, page 42