#35 The False Prophet And The Mark Of The Beast
Today we come to the section dealing with the second beast. This one is known as the false prophet. He, along with the antichrist will deceive the world with a cleverly concocted lie. And they will fall for it, hook, line and sinker; all because of their blindness to the truth.
It is interesting to me how blind people are. That evil exists in our world should be a given but with moral relativism ruling the day, no one seems to see anything wrong. Men can commit heinous crimes and go unpunished by the law. I believe that the situation we are in today began with baby steps; literally.
You all remember Dr. Spock. He taught that we should never punish, discipline, spank our children for that would wound them and cause irreparable damage. We don’t want to tell them they are doing anything wrong because they would be destroyed, emotionally speaking, and we wouldn’t want to do that.
This led to other blunders such as the New Age teaching in the classroom where there is no wrong answer. “If you believe 2 + 2 equals 11, then that’s good enough for us!” This caused further damage in the form of making everyone the same, clones, no standouts. If someone were to excel in a math test for instance, and the rest of the class just got by, the one who excelled received no recognition, no encouragement to improve still more. And so children had no incentive to improve.
Furthermore, with the violence on T.V. in the movies, and through video games, we have a nation of people whose consciences have been seared with a hot iron. They can kill with no feeling, no remorse: no nothing. There is no reality except for what you create!
Into this scene will step the antichrist and the false prophet who will cater to this mindset, feed it, nurture it; exploit it. Should the beast tell his followers to go out and kill the hated Christians, they will do it with all the cold callousness and heartlessness they exhibit playing a video game. Then too there are the Muslims who believe they are doing “Allah’s” work!
Part of ‘Allah’s work includes killing the infidel; said infidel being anyone who is not a Muslim. We watched a list of Muslim men and boys on T.V. Friday night who had shot, beaten or run over ‘infidels’ in the name of Allah during the last 5 years. They all claimed to be grateful to have been allowed to do ‘god’s work!’
With such twisted thinking is it any wonder that the world is in the shape it’s in today! And this is only a foreshadowing of what is to come. Dark days are in our future. We see horrible things today but what about when the Restrainer is taken out of the way, there is a great falling away from the true faith, and the man of sin is revealed! In other words, we ain’t seen nothin yet!
Our text for this morning is found in (Rev 13:11-18). We read in verse 11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, Remember that the first beast came from the sea and there are two ideas about this. There are those who say that the sea is the masses of people: that is, the restless nations. Others, like John MacArthur believe this to be the abyss.
True enough the beast will be a creature straight out of hell, empowered by the devil himself. But remember this truth; we don’t know exactly who he is, how he will rise to power, or where he will come from. This is exactly why we must be on the alert. We must be watchful, aware of what is going on in the world so that we will not be caught by surprise.
Now the second beast arises, coming out of the earth! He is known as the “False Prophet” and this is spelled out in Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10. There are those who believe this ‘coming out of the earth’ refers to a Jew! I’m not sure why that is. At best it is speculation for again, we don’t know who it will be or where he will come from!
What we do know is that he is called, “another beast. And as we look to the Greek language we find the word allo]: which generally refers to another person or thing of the same kind. What that means is that, while the second beast is different in appearance, he will be like the first beast in purpose. He has come at the bidding of the devil to do his will, to exalt his name and glorify him.
While the first beast will be the political leader, the second will be his priest. He will come to preach the message of salvation in the antichrist. Unlike the horrifying description of the Antichrist, the false prophet is almost harmless in appearance. We read “and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing he is gentle in appearance but bold and arrogant in speech. The false prophet will be Satan’s mouthpiece and thus his message will be like the dragon, Satan—the source of all false religion.
His message will be full of blasphemies against the true God, His only Son Jesus Christ, and against His people who love the truth so as to be saved. In the book of (Da 7:8) there is a further description of this beast. We read “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great (boastful, blasphemous, proud) things.
This is in keeping with the heart of the devil. Look with me at (Isa 14:12-14). There we read…“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. How true it is that “Pride goes before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Pr 16:18)
And yet, like his followers, the antichrist will be blind to the truth, believing himself to be a match against the King of kings and Lord of lords!
While in this place of deception, he is full of arrogance and pride, 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, that is, he displays the devil’s handiwork before the world. He is a person of great authority which is seen in the fact that he…causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. We were told in verse 4 that the world worshiped the devil and his servant the antichrist.
Here we are told that the false prophet will cause, could it be force, make, delude people in to worshiping the antichrist? This is my speculation! Note that it is the first beast which is worshiped (Rev. 13:4) in accordance with the predictions of Daniel (Dan. 11:36) and Paul (2Th. 2:4). The second beast directs worship toward the first and is dependent upon him for his power. (Rev. 13:12). Hence the first beast is the “man of sin . . . the son of perdition,” not the second. Pink notes the relative ease with which a supreme military leader such as the Antichrist is able to step into the position of assumed deity: “At first sight it appears strange, if not out of place, that a military tyrant should be found filling the character of a religious impostor. But history shows that there is a point at which one character readily merges into the other. Political ambition, intoxicated by success, finds it an easy step from self-glorification to self-deification, and the popular infatuation as easily passes from the abject adulation of the tyrant to the adoration of the god.
The false prophet will fuel the fire of worship and devotion to the antichrist as He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. Who would not be impressed at such a miracle as this! Think of it. You’re going about your normal business when suddenly everyone is shouting that “you’ve gotta come and see this!” So you go to the television (knowing the bloodthirsty monsters that T.V reporters are it is not a stretch to think they too will be in cahoots with the new regime). And as you’re watching, the false prophet says something and suddenly fire is coming down from heaven. If this wouldn’t stun you then I’d probably check your pulse to see if anything is going on.
That there will be miracles, (pseudo-miracles) is foretold by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24 and verse 24 where He said…“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This will be no amateur magicians’ hour. This will be the “hold onto your seats and get ready to be blown away hour!”
But we need not be caught unaware for all of this is foretold in the scriptures. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th. 2:9-12)
There is a key word in verse 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth— by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, God has smeared over their eyes so that they cannot see what is happening. They are blind to the truth and dead to the things of the Spirit and are ripe for the picking. They will do anything they are told.
This includes building idols! Now except for some Indian tribes and the Catholic Church, there isn’t much idolatry going on and I’m referring to classic idolatry where you bow before a statue, burn incense, worship it, burn your sacrifice to it… such things just aren’t the norm in our “modern society.” But here we see that there will be a revival of idolatry and on a grand scale. The world is wondering after the beast, worshiping him. The false prophet is performing stupendous signs before men and winning them over to the devil. What’s left but to say, “Hey lets build a statue of the antichrist and worship it!”
Now I must bring up the Catholic Church again. They have statues whom they designate as Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the saints, Father Kino, and who knows who else they have deified. And their parishioners come in without question and bow before these idols worshiping them as if they were actually in the presence of Jesus, Mary, Joseph…
It is not a stretch to believe that the world who hates Jesus and loves the antichrist will go for this! He will be their hero, their idol! And so when the false prophet is telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived… they will do it!
Here is the icing on the cake! They are already blown away by the false prophets amazing feats of daring do but he’s not finished. We read in verse 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, does this mean that the image is alive? I would say that it is a pseudo-life. This is different than what you would normally see in the average Catholic Church.
Now there have been reports of statues of Mary bleeding and crying, that is tears are coming out of the ‘eyes’. But the antichrist will one up the Catholics. While they get snippets of action, this image will speak. I am reminded of the days of the Roman Empire when there would be a statue of, say, Domitian in front of the temple. An official priest, (under orders from the emperor) would stand before an altar and tell those who passed by that they prove their loyalty to the Emperor. They were required to take a pinch of incense and throw it into the altar fire and say “Caesar is Lord”. If the man or woman complied, all was well. But if they refused, the Priest would order the execution of the individual.
Now this image needs no priest. It has its own mission. We read that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. All of these ‘miraculous signs’ will be very powerful, very convincing, except for the elect. Our faith is based upon God’s inerrant Scriptures. Each and every experience is to be tested against Scripture. When and if an experience fails the test of Scripture, it is rejected for we know that the Spirit of God speaks consistently. That which is of the Holy Spirit is in agreement with that which is authored through the Holy Spirit:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1Jn. 4:1). The biblical believer evaluates the fruit of his experience against the measure of Scripture and thus avoids deception.
It is by the signs that the False Prophet deceives the earth dwellers to receive the mark of the Beast and worship his image (Rev. 19:20). Yet the signs are false—not in their miraculous ability, but in what they attest to.5 Signs alone are not trustworthy. Wicked men and women have been pulling off signs for centuries.
Consider (Acts 8:9-11) where we read of Simon the Sorcerer. “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.
(Ac 13:6-8) tells of the wicked Elymas. Paul was following the direction of the Holy Spirit who led them where He wanted them to go. We read… “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: (son of Jesus) 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
The Scriptures are clear as to what we are to do when confronted by these ‘signs and wonders!’ Moses told us in (Deu. 13:1-4) that “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you…and then says ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, he will have tipped his hand, revealed exactly who and what he is, a false prophet. And we see that this is a test of our faith…for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.
Whoever is on the Lord’s side will follow Him. When he came down from the Mountain with the tablets of stone, Moses saw the wickedness of the people. And he issued a challenge. “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let Him come to me.” Elijah issued a similar challenge on Mount Carmel. He said, “If Jehovah is God, worship Him! If Baal: then worship Him.”
The true child of God will not be so easily swayed from the path of life (Ps 1:2-3) “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
Unfortunately for The ungodly, they are not so, they have no anchor for their soul, no firm foundation upon which to stand. 4 but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. They are the clear picture of uncertainty and instability. They are ripe for all manner of deception. They are ripe for the arrival of antichrist! And when he comes, they will do whatever he says. “Yes Master!”
Verse 16 tells us that He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. People have a lot of problems with this passage. There are those who say, “I know it says that they receive a mark on their right hand or forehead…but that just can’t be the case…it just can’t be right!” I ask, WHY? Why wouldn’t people want to show their allegiance visibly? Charles Manson’s followers carved an X into their foreheads to show their love and devotion to him! You could call it the mark of Charley. Satanists love the number 666! Some cults have that number burned into their skin as a way of identifying them as followers of the devil. So why can’t there be a literal mark of the beast! Why can’t this happen for the antichrist?
The scripture says He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, the word mark comes from the Greek word charassō, which means “to engrave. It speaks of a mark or stamp” and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Now this mark has nothing to do with credit, as is often taught today. In a credit system, everyone must have a different number. In this case, everyone has the same number. The purpose of the mark will be to serve as a sign of identification of those who will own the Antichrist as their god. Only those who have this number will be permitted to work, to buy, to sell, or simply to make a living. The verse does not speak of credit cards, banking systems, a cashless society, a one-world money system, or computers, etc. Basically if you want to live in the world of the antichrist, you’d better get the mark!
And what is this mark? It is a mark that identifies them as those who love the antichrist, and who hate the true Christ. It is a mark that declares devotion to the devil and his ‘gospel’. Verse 18 says “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a (certain) man: (the man of sin) His number is 666.