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The False Prophet

01 Dec
Beast

from Google Images

This second beast or the false prophet exercises or executes (poieo – G4160) all the power (G1849 – exousia) of the first beast (Revelation 13:12). John seems to be saying that the false prophet is the leader or head of state of the “first beast,” which in an earlier study I showed was apostate Israel or apostate Jerusalem. In other words, the power and authority “over all tribes, tongues and nations” that was given to the first beast (Revelation 13:7), was the false prophet’s to use as he deemed was good for the well being of the beast.

This second beast was able to cause everyone under his authority to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. The context of this worship is not the same sense as religious worship, although it was worship. The Greek word points to either worship or a healthy respect that is good to have (viz. respect to the king), or that which is not good and dishonors God (viz. respect given a rebel against the king). In the context of the first beast being apostate Israel or Jerusalem, this worship was an inordinate, zealot type of patriotism that concludes: “My country, right or wrong!” After all, wasn’t the fatal wound of the beast healed (Revelation 13:3)? The false prophet, therefore, taught that the beast had the Lord’s unending stamp of approval. The attitude was: “Whatsoever was good for the beast, must be the will of God. Otherwise, why would the Lord have caused the great empire of Persia to release his people, just as the Lord had done with Pharaoh centuries before? Sure, the Lord judged his people, but “he is also irreversibly committed to them—whether they are good or whether they are evil” (cf. Malachi 2:17).

According to Revelation 13:13, the second beast, that is, the false prophet, was able to do “great wonders” (semeion – G4592). Paul speaks of one who would act like an enemy (viz. speak as a dragon, Revelation 13:11), who set himself above God, in that he sat in the Temple of God, acting as though he were God (2Thessalonians 2:4). He is that wicked one, whom the Lord would destroy at his coming (G3952 – parousia, i.e. at the false prophet’s coming; 2Thessalonians 2:8). because the coming (G3952) or parousia (presence) of the wicked one (i.e. the false prophet / second beast in Revelation 13:11) is after the working of Satan. In other words, the false prophet is also a deceiver and a slanderer, exercising his authority (G1849) through signs (semeion – G4592), even “lying wonders” (2Thessalonians 2:9).

The Greek word semeion (G4592) translated wonders in Revelation 13:13 is so translated only there in the KJV. While it does mean miracle, it also has the meaning of a special sign offered to folks for the purpose of identification. For example, Paul used the same Greek word (G4592) in 2Thessalonians 3:17 to indicate that his own signature at the end of all his epistles identified him as their author. Paul and other writers of the New Testament often used the services of well educated brethren scribes, who actually wrote their epistles. Although Paul was well educated, himself, his need for a scribe was probably physical, i.e. poor eyes or something of that nature. Therefore, Paul’s own signature was his semeion (G4592) that the epistle, though written by another man, was authentically his.

Matthew also mentions that Judas offered a sign, a semeion (G4592), to identify Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas’ semeion was a kiss![1] Therefore, the false prophet’s great wonders (semeion – G4592) mentioned in Revelation 13:13 do not necessarily need to be great miracles. Rather, they were probably signs, offered in the context of false prophet’s testimonial of the beast that **seemed** to prove what he said was really so. An example of a wonder might have been the idea that, simply because the beast’s wound was healed, this was a sign (G4592) that the Lord approved of what the beast did. To speak against the beast, therefore, was to speak against God, himself, who expressed his approval of the beast by healing his wound.

So, what did John mean by saying of the false prophet, “he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Revelation 13:13)? Fire falling from heaven to consume a sacrifice (1Kings 18:38) or to consume the enemies of God (Numbers 16:35; 2Kings 1:10-14) was the signature of God. After all, what man could do such a thing. However, knowing that Paul says the false prophet’s “signs” are “lying wonders”(2Thessalonians 2:9), the false prophet probably pointed to an event that occurred, saying it was “fire” from God or the “signature” of God, indicating his will or his judgment. For, such things were believed to be signs from God among the people, in that they approached Jesus with questions regarding the people Pilate killed during one Passover season, and regarding the people who were killed through the accidental collapse of the Tower of Siloam (cf. Luke 13:1-6). It was probably things such as these that were used by the false prophet, claiming they bore the signature of God, which he interpreted to support his own agenda.

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[1] Besides Matthew 26:48 and 2Thessalonians 3:17, see also Matthew 16:3; Luke 2:12, 34; Romans 4:11. None of these scriptures point to miracles. Yet, they are referred to by the writers’ use of the same Greek word, which may indicate that the false prophet doesn’t use miracles but is rather adept to using signs or symbolic works etc to magnify his importance before the people.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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