Morning Bible Study
John found himself caught up into heaven before the throne of God.
He saw Jesus
take a scroll from the hand of God that had been sealed with seven seals.
As Jesus broke each seal and unrolled the scroll a little further, events begin to take place
on the earth and the time that we call the Tribulation begins to unfold.
The Tribulation is a time when God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving
world and God begins to make right all the things that have been so wrong.
We’ve now begun
a chapter that looks at one of the key figures of the Tribulation period – the
“antichrist”, which we saw pictured as a beast coming out of the sea.
But the antichrist isn’t the only “beast” that rises up in the Tribulation.
13:11-18 The False
: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.
:11 another beast
This beast is the individual we will come to know throughout Revelation as the “false
prophet”. (Rev. 19:19-20)
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their
armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and
against His army. 20
This “false prophet” will apparently be some sort of religious figure whose
role it will be to support the political figure we call the “antichrist”.
In a way, this
“false prophet” is sort of a “sidekick” to the antichrist.
We are familiar with sidekicks. The Lone Ranger wasn’t
really alone, he had
Tonto. Batman, that troubled cape crusader, had Robin. And Inspector Clouseau had Cato. Play Clouseau v. Cato clip
Think of the
false prophet like Kato, but not as funny.
:11 out of the
The first beast (antichrist) came up out of the “sea”. This one comes out of the earth.
the “earth” might be a reference to Israel.
translated “earth” here (Grk: ge) is often the translation in the Old
Testament for the Hebrew
word eretz, which is synonymous to
those in Israel for the nation of Israel.
One of their major
news publications is called “Haaretz”, or, “the land”.
:11 two horns like
The horns might
indicate that this “beast” has some sort of authority, but since he doesn’t
have crowns (like the antichrist and Satan), his authority is not political.
Who do you think of when you hear the word “lamb”? You think of Jesus.
There will be something about this man that will remind people of Jesus.
:11 spoke like a
This beast might “look” like a lamb, but he sounds like Satan.
Looks are deceiving
We don’t have to be around during the Tribulation to learn the lesson that
things aren’t always what they seem.
hearing about a Sunday School teacher who wanted to teach her students about
the deceitfulness of sin.
for class by taking some of those small pearl sized onions and covered them
In class she asked if anyone wanted some chocolate treats.
You can imagine
the surprise of the students as they bit into the chocolate, only to taste the onion.
Some of us need
to learn that there are deceptive people in this world.
They will do and say things in order to get you to do what they want.
Jesus warned of “false prophets” who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.
7:15–20 NKJV) —15
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but
inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men
gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good
fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can
a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that
does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their
fruits you will know them.
How did Jesus teach us to recognize a false prophet? Look at their fruits – look at the kinds of things that come out
of their lives.
Fruit doesn’t happen all at once. It takes time for a tree to develop fruit.
Sometimes it takes time to see what people are really
One of the “fruits” of this false prophet will be killing
people who don’t agree with him. Does
that sound like Jesus? The One who died
so we might live?
Do not judge
according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
:12 And he exercises
all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and
those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was
The dragon gave him
his power, his throne, and great authority.
:12 worship the
The “false prophet” will have the job of pointing people to the antichrist.
You can see a sort of perverted counterfeit of the Trinity at work.
We worship the
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Father sent
The Son died
and rose from the dead.
The Holy Spirit comes
to glorify the Son.
trinity is the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
The devil empowers
the antichrist with his power.
The antichrist has a deadly
wound and is healed.
The false prophet glorifies
the beast. Satan has no originality.
:13 He performs
great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in
the sight of men.
– semeion – a sign, mark, token; of
miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him
This is the word we saw throughout the gospel of John connecting Jesus with
the amazing miracles that he did while on earth – things that proved He was the
20:30–31 NKJV) —30
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are
not written in this book; 31 but these are
written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that
believing you may have life in His name.
“Signs” are an
important part of the Jewish mindset.
They want to know what kind of proof a person offers who claims to be
the Messiah. Jesus performed signs. The antichrist and false prophet will also perform
:13 makes fire come
down from heaven
We usually look at this to mean that lightning comes down at his command.
This is a miracle
that seems connected to God being at work.
When David purchased what would become the Temple Mount as a place to
present a sacrifice to God to atone for his sins …
21:26 NKJV) And David built there an altar to the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings, and
called on the Lord; and He
answered him from heaven
by fire on the altar of burnt offering.
When Solomon set up the first Temple and the first sacrifice was made,
Solomon prayed …
(2 Ch 7:1
Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt
offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.
This is one of
those “signature miracles” of the prophet Elijah, like when he challenged the
prophets of Baal (1Ki. 18:38)
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt
sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water
that was in the trench.
So Elijah answered
and said to the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, then let fire
come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men.” And fire came down
from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.
We saw back in Rev. 11:5 that the two witnesses
will have been doing this as well.
And this is one
of the miracles that the false prophet will perform??
It’s kind of like what Pharaoh’s magicians did when Moses performed a
sign. They tried to copy it.
The two witnesses will be calling down fire, and now so will the false
Perhaps the false prophet will also call down fire to simulate God’s
acceptance of David and Solomon’s sacrifices on the Temple Mount.
: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, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to
the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
:14 he deceives
those who dwell on the earth
Can you see how confusing it will be?
Miracles can be deceiving
Jesus said this would happen:
(Mt 24:24 NKJV) For false
christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to
deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The Old Testament has a warning about people who show up performing
13:1–3 NKJV) —1 “If there
arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a
wonder, 2 and the sign or
the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after
other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not
listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, 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.
We live in a day an age where miracles can be faked.
ago a fellow named Peter Popoff deceived many people by pretending to
hear from God about people in his miracle crusades. It was found out that he had a little receiver in his ear, and his
wife was transmitting information from people she had interviewed. The sad
thing is that Popoff is back. People are
still falling for his tricks.
The false prophet
will probably be a little more sophisticated than Popoff.
Satan has great power and it would not surprise me that
some of the things done by the false prophet won’t be tricks.
One of the keys
to tell who is a false prophet is what they say about God.
Jesus pointed to the worship of the One True Living God.
The false prophet will be pointing people to worship the
:14 to make an
image – eikon (“icon”) – an image, figure,
Jesus used this
word to describe the “image” of Caesar on a coin (Mark 12:16)
suggested it might be some sort of a statue, or perhaps a robot.
suggested the magic of computer animation – cgi – like the people in Avatar. This is no longer some sci-fi dream, we
understand and now accept this kind of technology.
Play “Avatar” animation clip.
:15 He was granted
power to give breath to the image of the beast, 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.
:15 to give breath
to the image
It will look like this “image” is alive. (literally given “spirit”)
It would be
giving the image the ability to talk and interact with you in real time, intelligently.
It not only “speaks”,
but also causes non-beast-worshippers to be killed.
What if the
“image” was a human “clone” of the antichrist? It would have “spirit”.
:15 worship the
image or be killed
The image will be given the ability not only to speak, but to put people to
death who do not worship the image.
Just say “no”
This idea of making people worship an image or die sounds strangely
This is what three young Jewish men heard in Babylon a long time ago:
(Da 3:4–6 NKJV) —4 Then a
herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages,
5 that at the time you
hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony
with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that
King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 6 and whoever does not fall down and worship
shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”
Meshach, and Adeb-nego were those three young men who chose not to bow to the
image. This is what they told
3:17–18 NKJV) —17
If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to
deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from
your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it
be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship
the gold image which you have set up.”
They were thrown
into the furnace, but they were not alone.
Old Neb said:
(Da 3:25 NKJV) “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of
the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of
You and I may
not be around during this time in the Tribulation, but we are always being faced with the
world telling us to fall into line and do things its way.
2:15–16 NKJV) —15
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves
the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all
that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and
the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
The world wants you to sell out and to bow in love before things of the
flesh, things we lust after, things that make us proud.
can say no. You might lose friends.
You might face difficulty. You
might be tossed into a fire. But you won’t be alone.
:16 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,
:16 a mark
– charagma – a stamp, an imprinted
The word is
used for engraving (Act 17:29)
It was also
used for official stamps, seals, or even cattle branding.
:16 a mark on their
right hand …foreheads
the placement be tied to the wounds
that the antichrist will sustain (Zech.
11:17) where he will be injured on the arm and the right eye?
“Woe to the worthless shepherd, Who leaves the flock! A
sword shall be against his arm And against his right eye; His arm shall
completely wither, And his right eye shall be totally blinded.”
There is a sense in which this too is another counterfeit.
The Jews were
supposed to wear God's law in little boxes (phylacteries) on their hands and
foreheads as a reminder of what He had done for them. (Ex. 13:9,16)
It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial
between your eyes, that the Lord’s
law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.
It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between
your eyes, for by strength of hand the Lord
brought us out of Egypt.”
The antichrist will have his “mark” put in the place where God wants His
: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.
:17 mark … name …
These will be
the requirements to conduct financial transactions. Either will do – the mark,
the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Over the years
I’ve seen people raise all sorts of concerns about the use of ATMs, credit cards,
and all types of electronic funds transfer.
concerned about social security numbers, checking account numbers, and bank
The fact that
we now have technology to see all financial transactions requiring some sort of
mark or number simply shows us that we are living in the time when this could
But the system itself, so far, isn’t evil of itself.
:18 Here is wisdom.
Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the
number of a man: His number is 666.
:666 – χξς (chi, xi, stigma) – six
hundred and sixty six. Three letters
from the Greek alphabet used as numbers.
:18 for it is the
number of a man
simply be a way of describing this Satanic trinity, with six being the number of man (created
on the sixth day), and the
and false prophet
being pictured as 6-6-6.
The Alphabet Codes.
In the ancient
world, letters of the alphabet were used for numbers, both in Hebrew and in
Some ways people work this is to put a name into Greek or Hebrew and figure
out the total for their name. Other
systems are more complicated.
Here are some of the many proposed antichrists over the years:
1. Caesar Nero – Put his name into Hebrew
it adds up.
2. Kissinger - using English alphabet,
numbering 1-26, then multiplying each number by 6 (man's number).
3. Hitler - a favorite during WWII, using
the English alphabet again, but starting at 100 and going up to 125.
4. Ronald Wilson Reagan (six letters in each name, hence,
See how ridiculous
this gets. Don’t spend too much time on
The Solomon connection
The “number” does show up in another
place in Scripture:
10:14 NKJV) The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six
talents of gold,
Could there be a
connection between the antichrist and Solomon?
I wonder if it
has anything to do with building the temple?
Solomon he will be known as a “king” who will restore the kingdom of Israel to
:17 one who
has the mark
“mark” of the beast will have eternal consequences.
14:9–11 NKJV) —9 Then a
third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the
beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his
hand, 10 he himself shall
also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength
into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of
the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment ascends forever
and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his
image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Those who receive the mark will end up in hell forever.
Will it be possible for someone to accidentally “take the mark”?
This will not be some trick that the antichrist will pull on the world
where you wake up one day and find that you’ve been tattooed with the mark
against your will.
mark will be clearly tied to the worship of the beast, the antichrist.
We don’t need to be afraid of being tricked if we already believe in Jesus
Jesus is the
one who came to save us from hell.
He died to pay for our sins so we could be saved.
(Jn 3:16 NKJV) —16 For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.