German Führer Adolf Hitler had his close associate, chief propagandist Josef Goebbels. The Third Reich and the Final Solution flowed as much from the demon-directed mind of Goebbels as from the satanic evil that infected his earthly master’s brain and soul. Together they set off on their hellish mission to enslave the world within the Nazi dictatorship.
Thankfully, they failed to accomplish their devilish goals. The ashes of both reside in the dust bin of history better left forgotten in the minds of many. However, the Jews living today whose parents somehow survived the Final Solution to produce them are reminded by the oldest of the surviving Holocaust victims or their immediate offspring.
“Never again!” is the declaration the House of Israel is exhorted to keep in the forefront of their minds. The Holocaust, in which six million or more of their numbers were burned in the furnaces of some of the killing centers among Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Majdanek must never be forgotten. To forget will, it is feared, bring about a repeat of the genocide against them.
Sadly, and tragically, this exact fate lurks in the future of the children of Israel, according to Bible prophecy. This time it will be worse than in Hitler’s Holocaust. Much, much worse.
The Jewish race will again appear in the crosshairs of a would-be world conqueror. The Jew will be the very object of his main focus of hatred, just as in the case of Hitler and his partner in genocide, Josef Goebbels. That final Führer will murder so many of God’s chosen people that the Lord, Himself, will secure a remnant of them in a special hiding place prepared especially for them.
Antichrist will be assisted in his demon-possessed rage by an associate even more hate-filled and evil than the dreaded chief propagandist of the Third Reich.
Both “beasts,” as they’re called in Revelation chapter 13 of the Bible, will at first appear to be the most benevolent and accommodating of all leaders. As a matter of fact, as we’ve seen already, the great leader will cause all antagonists of the wars raging around the world to sign on to a covenant that will bring all conflict to an end.
He will be almost universally hailed as a champion for world peace.
The assistant—Antichrist’s sidekick—will promote the great man in grandiose fashion that will make Goebbels’ proclamations of Hitler dim by comparison.
Bible prophecy foretells that the man of sin’s peacemaking, using his charm stemming from his perceived glorious persona, will eventuate in his associate, the False Prophet, presenting him as the world’s object of worship. We see the prophecy in the following:
And 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. (Revelation 13:11–12)
The first beast, Antichrist, will, John the Revelator tells us, suffer a head wound that is deadly. But, somehow, he will revive to survive the apparent assassination. This great display of supernatural power—appearing to come back to life—no doubt will cause the world to be in awe. Thus there will be a great, swelling desire among the people to obey the second beast’s direction to make an image to Antichrist and worship him by worshiping his image.
It isn’t known for certain exactly what this descriptive means in total, but the brutal regime will see to it that Antichrist’s associate, the False Prophet, will be obeyed. The whole world of earth dwellers, as God calls them, will wonder after the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
So this combination, Antichrist and his propaganda minister, the False Prophet, will make the world forget all about all other dictators of history. Theirs will be far and away more deadly and all-encompassing than the combined regimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and all the rest of history’s beastly reigns.
Yet those previous tyrants of history provide much prerequisite proof that people are more than capable of bringing down the cruelest of treatment upon fellow men, women, and children. Adolf Hitler and Goebbels are the prototype despotic regime to consider when thinking about what earth’s last and deadliest tyrannical regime will be like.
As we’ve looked at before, prophecy observers have assigned, erroneously, a number of men in leadership positions the title of the future Antichrist. All have passed into history. Today, there are some in Europe whom the people prone to set dates and name names think will be the first beast of Revelation 13.
But there is an even stronger candidate today who many believe fits the mold of the man who will be Antichrist’s sidekick. Pope Francis is that man.
We can see, from his many statements that run contrary to what the Bible says on salvation and other issues, how those who set dates and name names could believe him to be the future Antichrist’s chief associate.
We don’t ascribe to naming anyone to either of those two roles. God’s Word says that Antichrist—and, by association, the False Prophet—won’t be known until the time of the end. Again, here is the passage that clues us to this truth:
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, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4)
Some believe this passage foretells that Antichrist, the man of sin, won’t be known or “revealed” until the Rapture or “falling away” (departure) comes first. The same would also be said, then, for the one who will be his sidekick, the False Prophet, the Second Beast of Revelation 13. It is the second beast who apparently, according to this prophetic portion of Revelation, comes on the scene later than the first. We make that conclusion based on the following:
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth. (Revelation 13:11)
Certainly, he will have much power—the power of Satan, as a matter of fact. He will appear to be like a lamb, we’re told, but he will be anything but. He will come speaking like a dragon—telling lies, because Satan, known as the “dragon,” is called in “the father of lies.”
The people that endure the Tribulation will fall for the lies of the False Prophet and Antichrist. They will have so rejected God and His governance that they will believe the great lie these two minions from Hell will tell.
God will have given these people over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1: 28). God, Himself, the 2 Thessalonians passage tells us, will send the world of unbelievers “strong delusion that they should believe the lie.”
We don’t know what that lie will involve, but with the gullibility we see rampant today, even among believers, it isn’t difficult to understand how the world will one day fall for the satanic deception of a man who will likely be history’s greatest orator.
We can comprehend how mesmerizing Antichrist’s oratory powers will be by considering Daniel’s prophecy:
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished. for that that is determined shall be done. (Daniel 11:36)
Whereas Hitler and Goebbels mesmerized a nation, these future despots will captivate a world with their blasphemous rhetoric. They will be supernaturally endowed with the ability to seduce most of the world’s population. Their powers will come from their father, the devil.
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Let’s look deeper into the second beast, his prophesied rise to power, and his influence on Antichrist’s world of eternally lost followers.
The False Prophet comes onto the scene at some point after John sees the first beast, Antichrist, come out of the earth. It comes out of the sea of humanity, as John watches the composite animal emerge from his perspective of the vision somewhere high above the Aegean while exiled on Patmos. This animal is basically the same as the one Daniel saw in his vision (read Daniel 7). The beast John sees, like the one Daniel saw, is a merger of all the great world empires. However, it also includes the Antichrist world empire that will reign during the Tribulation period.
The next scene changes to the wicked personage called the second beast. He represents the third member of the infernal trinity. The dragon, Satan, is a master counterfeiter. He mockingly produces his version of the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In this evil consortium, Satan counterfeits God, Antichrist counterfeits the Son, and the False Prophet counterfeits the Holy Spirit.
The second beast, the False Prophet, will imitate God the Holy Spirit by mocking and mimicking the third member of the Godhead. Whereas God the Holy Spirit gives honor and glory to God, the Father, the third person of the unholy trinity, the False Prophet, will cause all of humanity to worship Antichrist and Satan.
He is called at first simply the beast that comes out of the earth. Later in Revelation, he is three times called the False Prophet, and is closely associated with the first beast and Satan (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10).
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)
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Dr. Henry Morris, one of the top scholars in biblical eschatology, writes the following:
John, from his vision-perspective at Patmos sees another beast—the same type as the first—very dangerous and fierce. But this one, rather than coming from the sea, comes from the earth. instead of from the sea like the first beast. Since the first beast is a man, so is the second, but their backgrounds are different. As noted previously, “the sea” probably refers to the Mediterranean, the implication being that the first beast comes from one of the Mediterranean kingdoms. In fact, Daniel 9:27 suggests that he comes from the people of the ancient Roman empire, possibly a direct descendant of the Romans. By the same token, the second beast must come from somewhere in the great land masses outside the Mediterranean nations, but we apparently have no other clue to his origin.
There has been much speculation as to the identity of this second beast. Since his is later called the false prophet, he apparently first comes to world attention as a miracle-working religious leader, professing to convey supernaturally inspired messages to mankind. His “prophecies,” of course, are not from God but from Satan, though it may well be that he will first become known (possibly before the tribulation) as a man supposedly receiving messages from God. He professes to be a true prophet but is in reality a false prophet. Jesus warned of false Christs and false prophets (Matthew 24:24) in the great tribulation, and these two (the Antichrist and the false prophet) are the very prototypes of these two classes of deceivers.
Actually the term “antichrist” occurs only in the epistles of John (1 John 2:18; 4:3; 2 John 7) and is applied to anyone who deceives men by professing to serve God while at the same time denying the supernatural incarnation and the divine/human nature of Christ. However, the concept of “the antichrist” does occur often in both ancient and modern Christian literature, usually referring to the great antichristian world dictator of these last days. The second beast is interpreted by some writes (as Scofield, in his reference Bible) as the Antichrist, but this seems arbitrary. In any case, John calls them the beast and the false prophet here in Revelation and it does seem significant that he, as the author of the only New Testament verses in which the term “antichrist” is used, does not apply it in Revelation to either of these men. He had already, in fact, said that anyone who denied the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh is “the antichrist” (the definite article is used this way in the 2 John reference).
This second beast is clearly a religious spokesman of some kind and possibly he is the leader of the world religious system as it will culminate in the last days, coming into its ultimate character as the great harlot of Revelation 17.
The modern ecumenical movement, active first among apostate Protestant churches in the first half of the twentieth century, then essentially combining (or at least fellowshipping) with the Catholic and Orthodox churches in the second half of the twentieth century, will eventually amalgamate with all other world religions, especially after the departure of all true churches to be with Christ.
This second beast, or false prophet, will most likely emerge as the patriarch (or pope, or ayatollah, or guru or, more likely, simply “prophet”) of this universal religion. He will originally counterfeit the gentle character of Christ (“two horns like a lamb”), but his “inspired” words will be those of Satan, the old dragon. First they will be sweetly deceptive words, soon they will become deadly tyrannical, dragon words.[i]
These two satanically empowered beasts within human personas will join forces at some point, probably before the Tribulation begins. The man who will become Antichrist will likely have solidified power to some extent within the world system. We can safely expect the one who will become the False Prophet to be a notable religious leader. It will be a match made in Hell.
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. (Revelation 13:12)
Again, Dr. Henry Morris weighs in on this evil duo.
The alliance of religion and state has a long and sad record of despotism and suppression, but the ecclesio-political union of these two human beasts will culminate in the worst period of persecution in the history of the world.
By the time the political power of the first beast is reaching its zenith, the syncretistic religious union of world religions is also being concentrated under control of the second beast. Each leader assists and supports the other, the king enforcing the religious authority of the prophet and the prophet persuading the world’s superstitious masses that the king should be worshipped and obeyed as a god.
With his worldwide reputation as a miracle-working prophet already established, he will see that the remarkable pseudo-resurrection of the beast is widely publicized and idolized in every church and temple around the world as the chief argument to persuade people to acknowledge him as divine and deserving of worship. The two will soon become an unprecedented team, working in partnership to establish universal control over all people everywhere.[ii]
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. (Revelation 13:13)
The second beast will be empowered by Satan to do great wonders and produce great signs that will hold spellbound the deluded people of earth. His reputation as a miracle worker will greatly enhance his power and authority over those under the regime of Antichrist’s Fourth Reich.
Among these miracles will be the power to call down fire from the sky. Dr. Morris believed that special understanding and control of atmospheric phenomena by satanic angels will probably be imparted to the False Prophet to enable him to accomplish this and other miracles. Undoubtedly, this wonder-worker will use his ability to produce fire from Heaven. He will likely want to reproduce the miracles involving fire performed by God’s two witnesses as given in Revelation.
These men will bring down fire and inflict other judgments of warning on rebellious earth-dwellers. The False Prophet will want to show those under his control that he has power equal to or greater than that wielded by God’s men (Revelation 11:5).
Dr. Morris offered that even though the beast had prevailed against Christ’s two witnesses and killed them, their resurrection was known around the world, and people still feared their power. It was important that people everywhere should see (perhaps on television) that the beast and False Prophet had powers similar to those of the witnesses.
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[i] Henry M. Morris, “The False Prophet,” The Revelation Record, p. 246.