Sun, Aug 20, 2000

The False Prophet: Revelation 13:11-15

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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In our last study we saw the rise of the Antichrist. It was Satan himself who brought this man out of the nations of the world. And it is this man who will rise up to be the world leader as he is able to answer the multifaceted problems of the world. The Antichrist, if you remember from chapter 6 of Revelation, comes riding into town on a white horse and is able to subdue the nations of the world through peace. The masses will be drawn to him, they will worship him.

It is said of this first beast that his coming " according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders." Today the world is seeking after the experience, the excitement. And when that fades or doesn’t produce the same feelings, they move on to the next experience. Understand that this first beast will draw the nations unto himself by these deceptions.

And you can understand why the world would fall prey to these lying wonders. They are looking for answers, but in all the wrong places. In the church today we see a growing trend toward "experiences" at an alarming rate, instead of standing firm on the Word of God. And, interestingly enough, Jesus said in Matthew 12:39, "...‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it...And yet, many today are seeking after signs and wonders instead of the truth that is found in God’s Word. Don’t go looking for signs and wonders, but understand that these things will follow after those who love the Lord, they will be manifested in their life. We have put the cart in front of the horse!

One example of this is seen in South African "evangelist" Rodney Howard-Browne, and he has been the one who is generally credited with the launching of the American "laughing revival." This "revival" is characterized by a number of manifestations. "Holy Laughter is loud, uncontrollable laughter that breaks out among members of the congregation...The second is...being ‘struck dumb’ in the spirit...saying absolutely nothing becomes the testimony, The third...being ‘slain in the spirit’...for just a few minutes...(or) people can be out for several hours." And the fourth is acting like an animal, even crawling down on the ground and making animal noises. And there are others that keep coming because you need to make it new, you can’t laugh forever!

These are supposedly new moves of the Spirit of God which are not substantiated in God’s Word. And that doesn’t seem to bother Rodney Howard-Browne, for he said, "But I’d rather be in a church where the Devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything...and if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either. Rejoice, because at least something is happening!" (Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival, 1991). That is a dangerous theology to hold on to, and the reason so many are drawn to this is they are EXPERIENCE SEEKERS!

But God does not tell us to give in and accept everything that blows our way! In I John 4:1 we read "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." We, as Christians, have become lazy. Many refuse to search the Scriptures and thus they believe whatever is being taught. These false doctrines that are out there, that we are little gods, that Jesus purchased our redemption in Hell as He was being beaten by Satan, that you must think only positive thoughts because you can create your own reality, and many others, are not of God but they are doctrines of demons. Now you may be thinking I am taking this to the extreme, but listen to what Paul had to say in I Timothy 4:1-2, "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron." We have lost discernment today in the body of Christ because we have become Biblically illiterate! That is why so many fall prey to these things, and others are just looking for the experience instead of a relationship with the Lord!

Now as we move back to the tribulation period, we see the Antichrist come on the scene and this morning we are going to look at the one who will promote this man, the false prophet. As we said before, this is the unholy trinity, Satan being the unholy father, the Antichrist being the unholy son, and now the false prophet being the unholy spirit. And even in the tribulation period deception will flow like a roaring river and many will be swept into its water and drown in its false doctrine. The only way to tell the truth from the lies is by God’s Word!



Now we see another beast arise on the scene, this time from out of the earth. John uses the phrase "another beast," ALLOS THEERION in the Greek, which speaks of another beast of the same kind and nature as the first beast, which was the Antichrist who came out of the sea.

John uses the same Greek word for "another," ALLOS, in John 14:16-17, which is speaking of the Holy Spirit. We read "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever– the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you."

The Father sent us another of the same kind and nature, that is the same as Jesus. The Holy Spirit, like Jesus, is God. Thus, He represents God to the believer and teaches us the truths of God. Thus, this beast that comes out of the earth will have the same nature as the first beast, the Antichrist. He will also be empowered by Satan himself, as the first beast will be.

The two horns speak of his authority, but he has no crown, which tells me he is not a political leader. In fact, I believe this beast is the ultimate false prophet, a religious leader! John tells us this in Revelation 19:20, which says "Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone." (Also see Revelation 16:13, 20:10).

This religious leader’s role is to support the political ruler, the Antichrist. And we are told that his appearance is that of a lamb, but evil comes flowing from his mouth. This is not a man of God, but a false prophet! Jesus warned us of these characters when He said "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."Matthew 7:15.

Jesus is warning us of the wickedness of these men as they deceive many. You see, they look like sheep, otherwise we would recognize them easily. But their true nature is that of a ravenous wolf who comes in to destroy the souls of men. And like today, only on a more intense level, we will see these false prophets come on the scene, with the ultimate one being the second beast.

Jesus said in Matthew chapter 24, in speaking of the tribulation period, "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand." Matthew 24:24-25. This political leader and this religious leader, will turn the hearts of the people away from the true and living God. Their deception will be so good that many will be deceived by it, by the lying signs and wonders they are doing.

It is the fruit of the beast that gives him away. He may look good outwardly but his words give him away. He speaks words showing us who he is aligned with. I think if we truly listen to what many of the false prophets of today are saying, we would reject them in an instant! But we get caught up in the charisma of the person instead of hearing what they are saying. Like the beast, many act like a lamb, but they speak like a dragon! Now we will see the purpose of this beast. The function of his ministry.

VERSES 12-13

Thus, just as the Holy Spirit draws men to Christ, so this false prophet draws men to the Antichrist. And the event that ignites this worship is the Antichrist’s false resurrection. We then see the earth dwellers cry out "...‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" Revelation 13:4.

To authenticate his ministry he does "great signs" in the sight of men. That phrase "great signs" POIEO in the Greek, indicates a repeated action. Many, many miracles will be accomplished by this beast. But it is not just doing miracles or great signs that authenticate a ministry. Let me illustrate this point. Remember Moses going before Pharaoh to let the children of Israel go. We read in Exodus 7, "So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods."Exodus 7:10-12.

You see, the magicians of Egypt I don’t believe used trickery to make their rod’s turn into serpents. They had power, but not from God. Their power came from Satan and his demons. But as much power as they had, it was still limited, for we see Aaron’s rod swallow up their rods. So understand that signs and wonders will increase in the last days, we are seeing them today. Many say they were healed by praying to Mary, or by spirit guides, or rocks, or crystals, or by positive thinking, and-so-on. Does that mean that God is using them to work these miracles?

Of course not! God does not need Satan’s forces to do His miracles by. Nor does He have to go through His mother to do them! He is God, she was a sinner saved by the grace of God. The key to knowing if it is from God or not is found in Deuteronomy chapter 13 where we read beginning in verse 1, "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, 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,’ 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 allyour heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him,and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast toHim." Deuteronomy 13:1-4.

You see, if the miracle does not draw you to God, but to someone or something else, then we must reject it from coming from God. And understand this, miracles don’t save people, Jesus does! I’m sure we have heard of the many healings done by Mary, and the end result is that people are worshiping Mary, even though they may not say they are, their prayers, their adoration is towards her and not the Lord. And thus, we must reject those things coming from God, for they are not. Notice what God says in Isaiah 42:8, "I am the LORD, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images."

Today, in the church of Jesus Christ, we see men and women following after signs and wonders, and they have it all wrong. We should not be seeking after signs and wonders, these experiences. You see, signs and wonders will follow those who believe, and not the other way around. They will be manifested in a believers life. They are the fruit that is produced in the child of God’s life. The Youth Group just returned from a missions trip to Mexico and they saw the power of God work in them and through them. They saw some 75 to 100 people get saved in the communities and in the prisons! They didn’t go seeking after these signs and wonders, but went as servants of God and God blessed their socks off! God worked mightily and He desires to do that in us and through each of us.

But here in Revelation we see that not only is the world drawn into this worship of the beast, but the apostate church will join in the worship of the beast as well. They were deceived and believed the lies instead of the love of the truth that is found in Jesus!

Remember, the miracles that Jesus did were to authenticate His ministry by fulfilling the things that were prophesied about Him. When Jesus was teaching out of the book of Isaiah, as He began His ministry, He said "‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointedMe to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaimliberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who areoppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.’ Then He closed the book, andgave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagoguewere fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in yourhearing." Luke 4:18-21.

Jesus stopped in the middle of the verse he was quoting from the book of Isaiah, and said that these Scriptures are fulfilled today. Why would He say that? Because in His first coming He came to send good news to a lost world. To heal those who have become broken-hearted over their sin. To open the prison gates and set our souls free!

The part of the verse that Jesus left off from Isaiah reads, "...and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn." Isaiah 61:2. It is in His second coming that we see His vengeance poured out upon a Christ rejecting world. Also, in Matthew chapter 11 we read beginning in verse 2 "And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me." Matthew 11:2-6. You see, His miracles authenticated His ministry because they were prophesied beforehand. He fulfilled what was spoken of Him and His ministry. Seek after the Lord and as Jesus said, these things will follow after you, you will leave blessings behind, wherever you go!

VERSES 14-15

We see here the instrument for which the Antichrist receives his deadly wound. It is a sword, or MACHAIRA in the Greek, which speaks of a dagger or a small sword. It is this weapon that blinds his right eye and paralyzes one of his arms, according to Zechariah 11:17. And again, it is this event which draws the masses into the worship of this beast, they are amazed at this pseudo-resurrection that they see.

Also understand who is being deceived by these beasts, "...those who dwell on the earth..." or the "earth dwellers.That is those who have rejected Jesus Christ and have now made an allegiance with the Antichrist, they are not citizens of heaven but of earth. It is these men and women who make this idol image of the beast.

Now it says that life was given to this beast, and with that many today say that this is a computer that has artificial intelligence. To tell you the truth, I don’t know for sure, but it does not sound good! Obviously whatever happens here, this demonic image will not only be able to speak but put to death those that refuse to worship him and the one he represents, the Antichrist! It may have something to do with the mark and those who refuse to take it, that without this device this image will automatically put to death those that refuse to take it. In fact, in Revelation 20:4 we are told that those who refuse to worship the beast or his image will be beheaded! As technology increases, I think we will be amazed at how far we have come and what we can do, even having this image come to life!

In Daniel chapter 3 we read of another image that was set-up by king Nebuchadnezzar, in the plain of Dura, in Babylon. It was a huge image some 90 feet tall, made of gold, for all to see and worship. And this image was built in direct opposition to what the Lord had told the king through a dream. In this dream the king of Babylon saw this multi-metallic image and the dream and its interpretation was given to the king by Daniel the prophet. It spoke of the Babylonian kingdom and the succeeding gentile world kingdoms until the Lord returns to set-up His kingdom. But now the king was saying that his kingdom would last forever and all must come and worship him.

In Daniel chapter 3, beginning in verse 4 we read "Then a herald cried aloud: ‘To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 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 falldown and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fieryfurnace.’ So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, andlyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell downand worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up." Daniel 3:4-7.

This image of course was not able to kill those who did not fall down and worship it, but the king was able to do that task. And like the image in Daniel chapter 3 being in direct opposition to God, so too is the image that is set-up here in Revelation chapter 13. Notice what Hosea has to say in Hosea 4:12, "My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them [diviners’ rod]. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God."

Instead of seeking after God for direction, they went to their carved images, and sorcery. They sought demonic help when God was waiting for them to cry out to Him. Thus, they were involved in spiritual adultery. They were married to God and yet they sought after another! How about you? Where is your relationship with the Lord? What is competing for your attention? What is drawing you away from the Lord? It doesn’t have to be something that is evil, but what is causing you to be so busy that you don’t have time to sit at His feet and seek Him for direction?

I am always amazed at the number of people that call these Psychic Hotlines! They are not using it for entertainment, which it is not, but for serious things. Serious questions. And they look to these people for answers and yet, these people that are giving all these answers out to help people did not see that they were going bankrupt and that the Psychic Hotline went into bankruptcy! Let us wise up and seek the Lord and not fall prey to the schemes of the devil!

Now with the Antichrist and the false prophet on the scene, we see the establishment of a One World Government through the Antichrist and a One World Religion that will be established through the false prophet, the religious leader.

We have already spoken of the One World Government in our last study and so this morning we will look at how this One World Religion is coming together. This push for a One World Religion is seen in the document that was put out by the Parliament of the World’s Religions, 1993. The title of this document is "Towards a Global Ethic (An initial declaration). The reason they are calling for this unity is because of the utter chaos this world is in. They state:

"We affirm that a common set of core values is found in the teachings of the religions, and that these form the basis of a global ethic...There already exist ancient guideline for human behavior which are found in the teachings of the religions of the world and which are the condition for a sustainable world order...Of course religions are credible only when they eliminate those conflicts which spring from the religions themselves, dismantling mutual arrogance, mistrust, prejudice, and even hostile images, and thus demonstrate respect for the traditions, holy places, feasts, and rituals of people who believe differently...Armament is a mistaken path; disarmament is the commandment of the times. Let no one be deceived: There is no survival for humanity without global peace!...A human person is infinitely precious and must be unconditionally protected. But likewise the lives of animals and plants which inhabit this planet with us deserve protection, preservation, and care...We pledge to work for such transformation in individual and collective consciousness, for the awakening of our spiritual powers through reflection, meditation, prayer, or positive thinking, for a conversion of the heart."

Beginning this past August 28 of the year 2000, there was a conference entitled Millennium World Peace Summit of Religious and Spiritual Leaders. They said "The World Peace Summit is being convened to coordinate religious and spiritual leadership as an interfaith ally to the United Nations and its quest for peace, global understanding and international cooperation...The summits outcome - a signed Declaration for World Peace and the establishment of an ongoing international advisory council of religious and spiritual leaders -will serve as a resource for the United Nations in its conflict prevention and resolution efforts."

Who attended this conference? "Expected to attend the meeting are Cardinal Francis Arinze, representing the Vatican; Samdech Preah Maha Gosananda, a Buddhist nominee for the Nobel prize; Abdullah Salaiah al-Obaida, secretary-general of the Moslem World League: Rabbi Israel Mier Lau, chief rabbi of Israel; and Mustafa Ceric, the grand mufti of Bosnia."

What we are seeing today is the coming together of many faiths for prayer. The idea is we are all praying to the same god, just in a different form or a different way. Thus, we see Witches, supposedly Christians, Catholic’s, Muslim’s, Indian’s, Buddhist, and the list goes on, coming together to pray for peace. The one problem to all of this is the Biblical Jesus, for He is a stumbling block for these things to take place. You see, many call Jesus a great teacher and yet don’t follow what He taught. He said in John 14:6, "...‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.No one comes to the Father except through Me." And yet all these other religions, all these other religious leaders are calling for an ecumenical movement for there are many ways to God, and all you have to do is find the path that you want to go down, all roads lead to the same place.

And yet the leader of this conference, Ted Turner, a American media mogul, as he began to address those in attendance at this conference, began to put down his childhood faith. And the crowds began to laugh and give Ted Turner approving whoops as he explained why he left the faith. He said that Christianity "...was intolerant because it taught we were the only ones going to heaven. That confused the devil out of me since that would have left heaven a very empty place." Darren Logan said of Turner’s new beliefs, "Turner believes true tolerance means doing away with the uniqueness of all faiths and marginalizing all faiths that profess an exclusive component, like Christianity and Islam." You see, if you are not following their views, they become intolerant!

But Jesus once again tells us in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are fewwho find it." Thus, not all roads lead to life, not all roads lead to God, but the narrow road that is through Jesus Christ!

Jesus said that He is the way, the way to the Father and that no man can come before the Father except through Him, while the world is telling us there are many ways to God. Jesus said that He is the truth while the world is trying to tell us that there are no absolute truths to be found! Jesus said that He is the life, but the world is telling us that Christianity doesn’t bring life, but it leads to bondage, we need to be free, "If it feels good, do it!" mentality. The problem is that without Christ there is no conversion of the heart. It still remains cold and wicked. You still are lost in your sins, and you only think you have life. The tragedy is that one day as you stand before the Father you will see the lies you have believed and it will be too late! I challenge you that if you don’t know the Lord, that if you are living in a backslidden condition, get right with God before you leave here this morning. Don’t be deceived, you search the Scriptures because they testify of Jesus who gives us life!

It is amazing at what the world will unite over and what they will fight over, but here we will see the false prophet unit the world’s religions together and they will worship the beast and his image. The world is becoming more and more anti-Christian. In fact the New Age people feel that we are the bad people and we are holding back this world from moving forward and once we are removed, there will be a new age ushered in of peace and prosperity. Sound far fetched? Listen to some of the UFO reports and you will see that these so called "space brothers" are speaking of a One World government, a One World Religion and the removing of the bad people so they can be re-programed you might say. As Christians we call it the rapture of the church, but they already have an explanation of where all these people disappeared to! We are moving quickly towards the days the Scriptures spoke of, may we awaken out of our sleep and stand up for the truth, even when it is not popular!

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