THE SEVENTH TRUMPET IN DETAIL – PART II – CONTINUED
THE FALSE PROPHET OF REVELATION
THE SECOND BEAST OF REVELATION 13:11-18
The words zeal, devotion, allegiance, loyalty, and dedication are all appropriate to consider today. There is a desire within man to commit his life to something. Every person, no matter who he/she is, must have something to which he/she can devote himself, something which stirs him to rise in the morning and function and move and act throughout the day — something about which he can speak with excitement and commitment.
As we start today we are looking at the means of securing the loyalty and devotion of the people of the earth. This will be a great problem for the Antichrist if it cannot be done. The world cannot remain split into small regions all over the earth if the Antichrist is going to be successful in establishing a one-world government which, according to the Scriptures, he will be able to do.
So, how will he acquire the devotion and loyalty of people on earth? He will use several methods to secure the people’s loyalty.
1. The False Prophet will deceive people with great miraculous signs, especially with fire (v. 13). The false prophet will face a problem, however. How can he possibly convince the masses of the world that God will understand their act of showing loyalty and allegiance to the state? That God would approve an occasional act of worship and expression of devotion to the state and its leader? How is God going to look at this?
There will be only one way: the false prophet must prove that he is truly of God, that he has the approval of God in preparing the new worship. How can he prove his credentials; in other words, how can he prove that he and his proposal for a new worship are of God?
HE CAN DO SIGNS, MIRACULOUS SIGNS. Remember: the two great witnesses of God—the witnesses who will be in Jerusalem preaching the gospel—will be able to work miracles and to call fire down from heaven. The idea is that this miracle will cause people to fear them long enough to keep the government from killing them, at least for three and one-half years (Revelation 11:3-13).
These miracles will be duplicated by the false prophet. The devil will empower the false prophet to duplicate the miracles of God’s two witnesses who are in Jerusalem. People will then think that the false prophet is a true prophet, as much a prophet the two witnesses in Jerusalem. Just what the miracle involves is never said, but the idea is that it will be awe inspiring and assures the people of the earth that the false prophet is definitely a prophet of God and is speaking for God.
Therefore, whatever he suggests must be viewed as acceptable to God. Think how believable he will be if the mortal wound to the Antichrist (some assassination attempt) is actually healed, healed by the false prophet (Revelation 13:3). To the masses of the world, both the Antichrist and the false prophet will look like the next thing to God Himself. Because of the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments, the masses will be ready to follow the declaration of the false prophet, ready to worship or occasionally to show their support and loyalty as to the Antichrist and the state.
The point is this: the false prophet will prove, by performing miracles, that he and his declarations are of God. This is one way he will deceive and gather the support of the world’s masses, which the Antichrist has to have.
2. The false prophet will use universal religion to secure the loyalty of the people (v. 14-15). We must remember that the worship of the state and its leader is not a far-fetched idea. In every generation there have been dictators and leaders of government who insist upon the first loyalty and allegiance of the nation’s citizens.
Even today religion is subjected to the state and expected to support the state totally or else it and its followers are persecuted and often killed. Of course each of these is on a small scale compared to the whole world; nevertheless, they provide a small-scale example of what the end-time world government will do under the Antichrist.
An even better example is the old Roman empire. Rome instituted the worship of the state and the emperor as the unifying principle to hold the people of the vast empire together. William Barclay has an excellent discussion of this that shows how easily the situation can arise.
This is especially true in light of the fact that it has already been done, on somewhat of a world-wide scale. The leaders of the end-time government will certainly not be ignorant of history. They will know exactly what Rome did, and the history lesson will not fall on deaf ears.
In fact, Scripture teaches that the government of the end time will be a revival of the old Roman government; that is, the end-time government will have many of the traits and characteristics of the old Roman empire.
But more important than any of the facts, there will be one thing above all others that will stir a universal worship of the Antichrist and his state. What is it? It is the peace and economic recovery the Antichrist will bring to the earth. The political unrest and economic crises and chaotic mess of the world in the end time will be ready made for a leader with some answers. The introduction to this passage is being repeated here because of its importance to this study (see Matthew 24).
“Remember the chaotic mess of the world in the last days. There will be natural disaster after natural disaster: earthquakes, violent storms, and famine will be sweeping the earth in record numbers, unparalleled in human history.
There will be diseases and pestilences unheard of. In addition, nation after nation will be wrecked with war and rumors of war and overthrowing of governments and terrorist actions. Then, there is the sinful and evil behavior of man. There will be an enormous increase in drugs, assaults, murders, rapes, immorality, divorce, stealing, witchcraft, and on and on.
The world will be in a chaotic upheaval. There will be social crises all over the world. People will be frantic for some answers, for some leader to appear on the scene who can help and bring some order.
The Antichrist will be that man. Remember how he arose from a small nation, from the Middle East. He conquers three nations and then seven willingly come under his rule. He will at long last bring peace to that area of the world and possess enormous wealth and one of the largest military machines the world has ever seen. Somehow, some way, he will be able to propose some solutions to some of the problems of the world and to offer peace; he will be made the supreme chief of some organization that has enormous influence in the world.
From that position he will be able to maneuver and make power plays to secure more and more power. And all the time his idea and program for world peace and economic prosperity will be succeeding. He will be so successful that people will begin to say: “Who is like the beast? Who is able to match him or to oppose him?” (Revelation 13:3).
NOTE: The point is this: the Antichrist will bring peace and prosperity to the earth, and the people will be thankful and hold him in the highest honor and esteem. They will be willing to follow his policies and programs.
NOTE SOMETHING ELSE: Note how all of this reflects upon the Antichrist and his government, upon who he is and what he wants—the constant and permanent loyalty of the people to the state. The government and Antichrist will have loyalty of the people; but, they will have to come up with some way to assure the people’s continued support.
This is where the SECOND BEAST COMES IN; THIS IS WHERE THE IDEA OF THE UNIVERSAL RELIGION ENTERS. All the Antichrist and the state need is for the people to show up every so often, indicating that they do support and give their first loyalty to the state.
Rome had the people make only one act of worship a year, and when they bowed in worship to the state, some local authority would give the people a certificate to show that they honored the state. Now with this background to show us how it can easily happen in the end time, note two points:
A. The universal worship will center around an image of the beast. The false prophet will suggest that the people of the world make an image of the beast. Note the following two Scriptures, the first from Christ Himself.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation [the antichrist], spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)” (Matthew 24:15).
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
B. The temple of God is the temple of the Jews at Jerusalem. It is prophesied that it will be rebuilt in the end time. The false prophet will convince the people… of socialism…
- that the world has been blessed with peace and economic recovery brought by the Antichrist.
- that the Antichrist is the one who is bringing the utopian kingdom to earth, the utopian society where there is going to be perfect peace. Also he is the one who is solving the problems of society and providing plenty of food and housing and jobs for everyone.
- that everyone needs to show their support and loyalty to the utopian state that the Antichrist has brought.
- that the only way to keep the movement going and continuing is for everyone to honor the state and give their first loyalty and allegiance to the state.
- that the best way to show one’s loyalty is to have an image of the state (symbolized in its leader, the Antichrist) in the great religious center of the world. Then on a local basis have everyone express their loyalty (worship) to the state before some state authority. Of course, the person would receive some certificate showing that he had expressed his first loyalty to the Antichrist and his government. This will be very important.
The false prophet will have to convince the world and its masses that a state religion–symbolized in the leader of the state — is the best way to keep the utopian state continuing. He will be successful, for this passage says that the prophecy of Christ given above will come about. The false prophet will set up the image to the beast of the Antichrist and his government, and he will set it up in the temple of God.
“And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed” (Revelation 13:15).
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).
“And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God” (Revelation 15:2).
“And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Revelation 16:2).
“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 worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20).
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).
But note a second thing as well: the universal worship will center around some supernatural power that will enable the beast to speak (Rev 13:15). Just as there are all kinds of shrines and places where miracles are supposed to have happened today, there will be a spectacular miracle in the end time.
False prophet will cause a miracle to happen; some people, worshiping in the shrine build to the Antichrist, will hear the image speak or else it will speak periodically. Remember: the end times will be a day of mass deception and counterfeit religion for the ungodly and evil of this world. God is going to allow the world to be deceived and eluded as part of the judgment for their ungodliness and evil.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
3. The false prophet will use religious persecution to secure loyalty to the Antichrist and the state (Revelation 13:15b). Very simply, anyone who does not worship the state and the beast or Antichrist will be slaughtered, if they can be found and placed in custody pending their death.
NOTE: Now let’s stop and think about the fact that Satan and the Antichrist will be on earth in the latter days, but the true Christian has nothing to fear and will have PEACE with God through FAITH.
Lastly let’s consider Heaven and God’s eternal Blessing:
FACT: To go to heaven one must be saved; You must be born again. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [born from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, ESV).
“For God so loved the world [you], that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, ESV).
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have PEACE with God THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ. THROUGH HIM we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces ENDURANCE, AND ENDURANCE PRODUCES character, AND CHARACTER produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured in our hearts through THE HOLY SPIRIT who has been GIVEN to us” (ROMANS 5:1-5)
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