We do not know for certain how the false prophet will make his entrance into the world or what path to fame he will take. However, events may unfold as we have imagined in the preceding scenario. We also do not know the identity of this coming world religious leader, but we do know what he will look like, what he will do, and what his final destiny will be.

All this information is given to us in the Word of God, particularly in Revelation 13. It is there that we discover what the profile of the false prophet will be, as well as his purpose, his power, his program, and, finally, his punishment.

His Profile

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.” REVELATION 13:11

John describes this religious leader as a beast that he sees rising from the earth, which is evidently a metaphor describing his predatory nature. He is a man and is called the false prophet three times in the book of Revelation (16:13; 19:20; 20:10). John describes the false prophet as a blend of two opposing types of animals: the lamb and the dragon. As a lamb, he will appear gentle and humble—a counterfeit of the true goodness of Jesus. Notice that in our scenario, he seems humble and unassuming. Jesus warned his disciples against such impostors:

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15; see also Matthew 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; 1 John 4:1).

As a dragon, the false prophet will manipulate and deceive the crowds. “The dynamic appeal of the false prophet will lie in his skill at combining political opportunism with religious fervor, self-interest with benevolent philanthropy, high-sounding rhetoric with blatant sophistry, moral platitudes with unbridled self-indulgence. His oratory will be hypnotic, for he will be able to make the crowds either weep or rejoice. His deadly charm will lie in the fact that what he says will sound so right, so sensible, so exactly what unregenerate men have always wanted to hear.”

His appearance as a lamb and his speech as a dragon suggest a strong relationship with the devil and his evil accomplice, the Antichrist. Because of their cruel and vicious practices, all three are described as beasts in Revelation. All three are characterized by their eloquent but deceptive speech.

It is important to understand why Satan has recruited these two evil accomplices: together they form a hideous trinity. Just as God is a Trinity, so Satan has made himself a trinity. Donald Grey Barnhouse explains: “The devil accomplishes his final and greatest effort, a furious effort, to gain power and establish his kingdom on earth. He knows nothing better than to imitate God. Since God succeeded through His incarnation and the work of the Holy Spirit, the devil will work through an incarnation in the Antichrist and through the use of an unholy spirit.

Satan is a counterfeit of God the Father; the Antichrist is a counterfeit of God the Son; and the false prophet is a counterfeit of God the Holy Spirit. Thus, the beast rising from the earth, also called the false prophet, is the third person of the evil trinity.

His Purpose

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 healed.” REVELATION 13:12

The Two Trinities

Holy Trinity: The Father : The Son : The Holy Spirit.

Evil Trinity : Satan : The Antichrist : The False Prophet.

Just as the Holy Spirit has one main objective to glorify the Son so the false prophet has one objective: to make people worship the Antichrist. “As Christ received authority from His Father (Matthew 11:27), the Antichrist receives authority from the dragon (Revelation 13:4), and as the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ (John 16:14), the false prophet glorifies the Antichrist (Revelation 13:12).”

The false prophet will be a religious figure, but his religion will be demonic. His goal will be to unite the world around the Antichrist. At first, he will encourage all religious ideas because the multiplicity of religions will dilute the influence of Christianity. But at a certain point, Satan will attempt to force all worship to unite around himself.

It may seem strange that a religious leader could have such a central place in the midst of the Tribulation events, but we should not be surprised. The pattern has always been the same throughout history. Religious power and political power are the two forces that exert the most control over human lives. One acts as an authority imposed upon you, the other as a force that attracts you.

Combine the two, and the result is almost absolute power. W. A. Criswell writes: “I do not think that in the history of humanity, it has ever been possible to reign without the approval and devotion of religion… In the time of Pharaoh, when Moses and Aaron stood before the Egyptian ruler, he called Jannes and Jambres, his magicians, the religious leaders of the time, to oppose Jehovah. When Balak, the king of Moab, wanted to destroy Israel, he hired Balaam to curse Israel… Ahab and Jezebel were able to act as they did in Israel, in a kingdom founded on debauchery, because they were encouraged and assisted by the prophets of Baal.

At the end of this age, religion will be one of the tools Satan will use to unite the world under the leadership of the Antichrist, and that is why the false prophet will be so indispensable to his success.

His Power

He [the beast] performs great signs so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 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.” REVELATION 13:13-14

The power of the false prophet will not come from himself. It will be given to him by the Antichrist, who will have received it from the dragon, that is, from Satan. The Scriptures make this clear, reminding us five times in Revelation 13:2-8 that the power of the Antichrist comes from the devil himself. Then, three times in Revelation 13:12-15, we read that the Antichrist gives his power to the false prophet:

He [the beast] exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence… He deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast… He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast…”

These verses clearly establish that the power of the Antichrist and the power of the false prophet come from the dragon, Satan. All the power of the false prophet will be demonic. And in case there is any doubt about his ability to perform miracles, consider these words of Jesus:

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24-25.

John draws our attention to the three ways the false prophet will perform miracles by the power of Satan.


The first miracle of the false prophet will be to call down fire on the earth: “It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people” (Revelation 13:13). God has often used fire to reveal Himself or to manifest His judgment. He called fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah, punishing the population for its wickedness (Genesis 19:24). Fire came down from heaven to consume Nadab and Abihu for their carelessness in the tabernacle (Leviticus 10:1-2). And the end of the book of Revelation reminds us that one day God will destroy Satan’s army by fire coming down from heaven (Revelation 20:7-9).

When the false prophet calls fire down from heaven, he is trying to imitate God. But I also believe that another intention lies behind this act, namely that the false prophet intends to embody the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy:

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes” (Malachi 4:5). (…)

This text is an excerpt from the book “Agents of the Apocalypse” written by David JEREMIAH.

We invite you to read the next article “THE BEAST THAT RISES FROM THE SEA.”

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