Also called the lawless one, man of sin, Antichrist, and son of perdition in 2 Thessalonians 2—who is this false prophet of the end times who will work lying wonders to deceive the whole world, cited in Revelation 13:13?
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
The Book of Revelation warns us that a man is coming who will inspire the entire world to embrace a false and deceptive version of Christianity. Aided by supernatural signs and wonders, he will help usher in an era of death, destruction, and devastation the likes of which the world has never seen.
The false, deceptive system he represents is already in place—enjoyed by the deceived faithful every week. And that system is destined to grow in power and influence until it impacts the lives of every human being on the globe.
Who is this man? What does the Bible reveal about him and what should we do with that knowledge? Join us today on Tomorrow’s World as we uncover the great False Prophet of Revelation.
Greetings, and welcome to Tomorrow’s World, where we help you make sense of your world through the pages of the Bible! It’s good to have you here.
Your Bible describes certain individuals who are prophesied to arrive on the world scene in the days just ahead of us and who will have a devastating impact on life as we know it, for literally every human being on the globe.
These individuals and their actions WILL impact you and your family, and me and my family—no living, breathing soul on earth will be able to avoid their power and influence. Frankly, they will wield the most destructive powers earth has ever seen unleashed by mankind, and they will be servants of Satan the Devil.
One of those individuals is called, in the book of Revelation, the “False Prophet.” This individual will deceive billions—and the religious system he supports is already in place today. On today’s edition of Tomorrow’s World, we’ll examine what the Bible has to tell us about the False Prophet of Revelation and how we might recognize both him and the false Christianity he will promote.
The name “False Prophet” first appears in the book of Revelation in chapter 16, and Revelation 19 tells us that the False Prophet will be tossed, along with the infamous Beast of Revelation, into the lake of fire at the return of Jesus Christ.
But the False Prophet is introduced to us in chapter 13 of Revelation. In the first portion of that chapter, we read of the Beast of Revelation—used to refer to both an individual and the political entity he controls, a world-ruling, end-time, Satan-inspired political entity that will possess astonishing economic and military power. On our program, we often refer to this entity as the “Beast power,” and verse 4 of Revelation 13 says, “they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’”
We will read more about this Beast today, since his role in the end times is intimately entwined with the False Prophet’s. However, Revelation 13 then speaks of a SECOND beast. We read about this separate person, symbolized by a second beast, beginning in verse 11:
“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.”
THIS beast is the partner of the Beast of Revelation mentioned just before, and is called elsewhere the False Prophet! And this description given in verse 11 is crucial to understanding his nature! Notice, he LOOKS like a lamb, Jesus Christ, but SPEAKS like the dragon, Satan the Devil! If one LISTENS CAREFULLY to his teachings and doctrines, one can discern that they are the teachings not of Christ, but of the Devil.
But please note: That doesn’t mean that those teachings are OBVIOUSLY evil! Satan is the master of deception, and the old King James Version of the Bible says of Satan in Genesis 3:1, “the serpent was MORE SUBTIL than any beast of the field….”
His twists of true, biblical doctrine are subtle, hard to discern, and convincing.
In addition to describing his teachings, Revelation 13 continues:
“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast…” (vv. 12–14).
It might surprise some of our viewers that such supernatural signs and wonders could be worked by a False Prophet. Aren’t such works only possible by God’s power? The Bible says NO, that is not the case!
In fact, a miracle-working precursor to the False Prophet in the first century was Simon the Sorcerer, often called Simon Magus. He is described in the book of Acts in chapter 8:9–11:
“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.”
Simon Magus was a sorcerer, and not a man of God at all, though the people thought he was so. His power to work signs and wonders came not from God, but from the devil.
The False Prophet will follow in Simon’s footsteps! And the wonders he will work will grab the attention of the entire world in the days just ahead of us!
In fact, verse 12 of Revelation 13 says that the False Prophet “causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the FIRST beast”—that is, the Beast of Revelation. Verse 15 says that he will cause all who are unwilling to worship that Beast “to be killed,” and verses 16 through 18 talk of how the False Prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13, will cause all people to obey the first Beast, symbolically taking his mark on their right hand or forehead. This is tied, in verse 18, to the mysterious number 666.
It is the Beast of Revelation—a political entity and its leader, wielding unfathomable economic, political, and military power—that provides the muscle. But we see here that it is the False Prophet who is USING this Beast for his own purposes, as well, in an unholy union of church and state power.
We see this relationship DRAMATICALLY pictured in Revelation 17:3–6.
There, the Apostle John is told in vision by an angel that he will show the apostle the religious system controlling affairs in the end times:
“So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”
This monstrous beast corresponds to the end-time economic and military powerhouse Beast of Revelation we’ve already discussed. But riding that beast and influencing it is a GREAT HARLOT, drinking in abominations and drunk on the blood of persecuted true followers of Jesus Christ—much like the bloody Inquisitions of ages past, but far surpassing them.
In the Bible, God uses women to symbolize religious systems and prostitution to symbolize corruptions of the true faith with pagan religious practices. Ancient Israel did this with the faith God had given them, and this end-time false Christianity does this with the faith of the Bible—MIXING it with sinful, pagan practices God does not approve, endorse, or command.
This harlot pictures the deceptive religious system headed by the False Prophet, and we see it influencing the Beast and benefiting from its power.
The union of these two powers and their institutions will be a tempestuous one, yet they will NEED each other. Chapter 2 of the book of Daniel describes the kingdom of the Beast of Revelation as being like a mixture of iron and clay, noting that the peoples of this entity do not mix well together. This political entity will need the religious influence of the False Prophet to keep the people bound together.
And the False Prophet uses the Beast for his OWN purposes, as well! Several prophecies of the Bible explain how this deceptive end-time religious leader desires to suppress the true understanding of God, His commandments, and His laws, and to persecute the true Church of God. As Daniel 7:25 says of this individual,
“He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.”
This time, times, and half-a-time—or three-and-a-half years—represents the period of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord to come upon the earth, during which many true Christians will be martyred at the command of this false religious leader, and he will use the raw military power and political resources of the Beast to accomplish his diabolical purposes! (And notice the False Prophet’s desire to “change times and law”—we’ll come back to that later.)
Ultimately, the selfish dance of these two devil-inspired despots does not end well. Prophecy says that as their plans begin to fall apart during the events accompanying Christ’s return, the Beast will ultimately turn on the harlot who rides it and devour her, as we see in Revelation 17:16:
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”
In the next portion of our program, I want to explain how the religious system of this False Prophet is in place TODAY, RIGHT NOW, and already has multiple millions in its sway.
Many think the False Prophet will rise on the scene and create something that is completely NEW, but the Bible says otherwise. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 that “the mystery of lawlessness is ALREADY AT WORK….”
“Lawlessness” is important, because we saw earlier in Daniel that the False Prophet and the faith he presents seeks to “change times and law.”
That is, the fundamentals of this counterfeit Christianity that would seek to eliminate and replace the laws of God were ALREADY PRESENT IN PAUL’S DAY, fighting against the true faith and attempting to displace it. The presence of this hijacked version of Christianity, worming its way into the congregations of true followers of Christ, is part of what motivated Jude, one of the brothers of Jesus, to write to his fellow Christians,
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (vv. 3–4).
It is not a coincidence that the Apostle John wrote of the coming ANTICHRIST and his religion in similar terms!
Look in 1 John 2. We see there that John also wrote in the first century to say that this lawless, false Christianity was already being put in place back in his day!
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (v. 18).
That’s right! Even in John’s day, shortly after the very foundation of the true Church, another FALSE version of Christianity was ALSO being founded! And here, we see John naming those who come in its name, including the False Prophet to come, by a word many have heard before: “antichrist”! The prefix “anti” can imply “against,” “in opposition to,” or “in place of,” and the False Prophet will be the climactic, end-time antichrist and the leader of the religion that well deserves the label “antichrist”—a religion that, from the beginning of TRUE Christianity in the first century, has been working to replace it with a lawless counterfeit!
In fact, in 1 John 4:3, the Apostle says that the counterfeit spirit of antichrist was already in the world IN HIS TIME.
And we must remember, this counterfeit WILL LOOK CHRISTIAN IN APPEARANCE! Revelation 13 says that the False Prophet APPEARS TO BE LIKE THE LAMB! The Apostle Paul spoke of those teaching such deceptive forgeries of the true faith when he warned those in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 11,
“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (v. 4).
And many HAVE put up with it for centuries. The writings of Paul, John, and others make it clear that this false, deceptive system that began in their day would continue throughout time into our OWN day—and that it would be, by far, the dominant version of “Christianity” at the end!
While the False Prophet of Revelation, the final head of this religious institution, will perform amazing signs and wonders before Christ’s return, these verses make plain that the religious teachings He will spread and enforce are being taught TODAY in the guise of Christianity! Those teachings will lay the foundation of ultimate deceit in the days just ahead, and without God’s protection, those who resist them will be mercilessly martyred—and they are being taught in pulpits and religious services all across the world RIGHT NOW by those claiming the name of Jesus Christ!
But how would you know the difference? How would you recognize such a servant of the spirit of antichrist, spreading the counterfeit faith that will one day support the False Prophet of Revelation?
The False Prophet of Revelation will be one of the most powerful men to have ever lived. Yet, as we saw at the beginning, his end will be to be cast by God into the Lake of Fire and be destroyed as an enemy of Jesus Christ. But before then, he will contribute to more devastation and death than the world has ever seen before.
We’ve seen that he speaks the teachings of the devil—yet that he will appear very Christ-like, and his false, Christian religion very much like what one might expect of a “good” Christian faith.
This is the Devil’s M.O., as the Apostle Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 11. Speaking of those who preach this alternate version of Jesus Christ, who looks so believable and so close to the “real thing,” Paul says,
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (vv. 13–15).
So, if these false ministers of Christianity are at work today, how can you identify them for what they are?
We’ve seen, for instance, that the religious system of this False Prophet, at work in his day and ours, is called by Paul the “mystery of lawlessness.” It’s not a religion that teaches against the laws of man—like speed limits or tax laws—but against the laws of GOD. And we’ve seen that the False Prophet’s religion represents “chang[ing] times and laws.”
Ask yourself, how many “Christian” churches teach obedience to the Ten Commandments—ALL ten, including the fourth about the seventh-day Sabbath—versus only some of the Commandments, or no need for obedience at all? And how many “Christian” churches teach the times and holy days given in the Bible, such as Passover, the Days of Unleavened Bread, and the Feast of Trumpets, versus times and holidays with pagan origins and traditions hidden behind a veneer of “Christian” reinterpretation?
And recall that Revelation 17 not only describes the False Prophet’s religious system as a harlot or prostitute, corrupting true worship with heathen falsehoods, but also says in verse 5 that she is the “MOTHER OF HARLOTS”? What religious organization in the world not only claims the authority to change the laws and commandments of God, substituting its own ecclesiastical laws and ordinances, but has ALSO spawned countless DAUGHTER HARLOTS, each with their own differences, yet each still carrying with them corrupted ideas and heathen influences?
When you find this so-called “Christian” religion in the world, you have found the great harlot or one of her daughters! And you have found the counterfeit Christianity that the False Prophet will use to spread deception around the globe, persecuting those who are described in Revelation 12:17 as those “who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
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Can you prove, from the Bible, who or what the prophesied Antichrist really is? This is not some esoteric topic. Your correct understanding may affect whether or not you will be able to fulfill the role that God has planned for you in His kingdom!