Who is the False Prophet of Revelation – the one who is also referred to as the ‘second beast’? The apostle John referred to him in chapters 13, 16, 19 and 20 symbolically as follows:
1. He comes out of the earth. [Rev 13:11a]. This could mean he comes up from hell or maybe from earthly obscurity – no-one is certain.
2. He has horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. [Rev 13:11b]. This probably means he doesn’t appear dangerous because a lamb’s horns are very small , but his message is dangerously evil and originates from Satan (the dragon) himself.
3. He directs all worship to the first beast or antichrist. [Rev 13:12]. He has great authority but defers to the antichrist.
4. He uses great signs such as calling down fire from heaven. [Rev 13:13]. These may be supernatural or manufactured.
5. He gets the world powers to set up an image in honour of the antichrist who had been wounded and survived. [Rev 13:14].
6. He is able to get the image to speak (supernaturally or through television or some other means). [Rev 13:15].
7. He, along with the antichrist, is eventually captured and consigned to the fiery lake. [Rev 20:10].
This man is obviously still in the future, but there is no doubt that the deceivers and false teachers we see today are the forerunners of the antichrist and the false prophet, themselves embodied by Satan, the ‘great dragon’, himself.
There is an interesting development taking place at the moment concerning the present Pope Francis. A number of websites by Catholic authors have been set up declaring that the False Prophet of Revelation is the Pope Francis. Certainly many of the Protestant reformers believed this, or that the Pope could be the antichrist, but there are some problems with such a premature judgment.
Certainly there is a sense in which all Catholic Popes have been false prophets. The whole RC system is inextricably bound up with a mixture of truth and man-made error. But as all serious Bible prophecy students know, prophecy is always seen in terms of a series of partial fulfilments and as repetitions of history rather than as one prediction-fulfilment event. There have been many ‘types’ of antichrist and false prophets in the past – eventually the ultimate ones will emerge for the final fulfilment described in Revelation.
The present Pope has certainly been active in the first two of the descriptions above:
1. He certainly has originated from obscurity in South America and was elected quite unexpectedly.
2. He speaks peacefully, he condemns violence and acts as St Francis of Assisi, but has been openly accepting the followings of deluded protestants like Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland and others; he courts homosexuals and atheists as followers and he is finding ways to draw Muslims to him while all the time promoting an unbiblical ‘two-state’ solution for Israel in defiance of God’s Word.
We are living in very interesting times, but I would advise Christians not to fall into the trap of either of the two extremes: The first of discounting all of this information and to continue to slumber all the way to the Rapture and miss out, or secondly, to claim to understand what is happening in detail without realising that events are coming into line with the Bible prophecies but THE END IS NOT YET!
The Rapture may occur at any time – we are told to encourage one another and to ‘WATCH AND PRAY.’ To embark on foolish conjecture is just as bad as passing it all off as too hard.