The Satanic Trinity
Revelation 13:11-12 couples the three evil personages of the Tribulation that counterpart the person of God. Just as the dragon has already been anti-God and the first beast is anti-Christ, so the second beast will be anti-Spirit. His capacity in working for the worship of the Antichrist will correspond with the present ministry of the Holy Spirit. He will not seek to cause people to worship himself. He will not court his own personal prestige but will work purely for the purpose of getting others to worship the Antichrist. This evil scheme will be used by the devil and his two cohorts to deceive people during the Tribulation. They will victimize many individuals because they will traffic in immorality.
Supernatural Powers of the False Prophet
Every tribal witch doctor, false religious teacher, and false prophet has tried by magic, voodoo, trickery, or demonic power to deceive people by a display of supernaturalism. Religious of the world are bound by superstition. Only Jesus Christ is able to give us peace and confidence before God, and this is not dependent on supernatural displays or signs.
None of the false teachers to the present time has ever possessed the supernatural powers that will be exhibited by the False Prophet on behalf of the Antichrist during the Tribulation period. Notice their description in this text.
“And he performed great and miraculous signs” (Revelation 13:13). The word translated “miraculous signs” is the same word used by the Apostle John in his Gospel, describing the ministry of Jesus. This leads us to believe that the False Prophet will be equipped by Satan and the Antichrist with authority and power to do such supernatural miraculous signs as to “deceive the inhabitants of the earth” (Rev. 13:14). This should come as no surprise to Bible students, for the devil has great power. When Moses threw down his rod before Pharaoh, it turned into a serpent. The false magicians of Pharaoh, however, were also empowered to make their rods turn into serpents, thus duplication the miracle of the man of God. However, God caused Moses’ serpent to eat up their serpents. Missionaries have told us of phenomena so fantastic that they can only be explained on the basis of supernatural power.
During the Tribulation period the Antichrist will have the power to perform “counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders” (2 Thess. 2:9). It does not seem surprising that the False Prophet will be able to reproduce everything that the special witnesses of God, described in Revelation 11, will be able to do, even to the point of reproducing the miracles of Jesus. This predicted demonstration of supernatural miraculous power should warn us of the significant truth that the mere display of supernatural power does not suffice as evidence that a matter of practice originates with God.
All supernatural power is for the purpose of giving credentials to the person or a teaching. We have something far more important to stand as a test of all teaching, regardless of its accompanied signs—the Word of God. If a teaching is not in accord with that Word, it is false!
“And…even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men” (Rev. 13:13). The fire test of Elijah the prophet, which proved to the children of Israel that the prophets of Baal were powerless to communicate with God, will probably be repeated during the Tribulation period. That may be one of the reasons for the coming of Elijah at the time. The difference between this confrontation and the previous one is that the False Prophet will be able to call down fire from heaven. Lest this take us by surprise, we should be reminded that Satan, the real force behind the False Prophet, brought fire down from heaven and burned up Job’s sheep and servants in Job 1:16.
We may ask ourselves, Why will God permit such power to be in Satan’s hands?
It is because even during the Tribulation period people will be forced to worship God by faith. If all the supernatural power were on one side, it would not take faith but merely common sense to recognize the source of power. But the principle of salvation as a gift of God will still rest on the basis of faith: “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6).
The False Prophet will cause an image of the Antichrist to be built and will have power to “give breath to the image of the first beast” (Rev. 13:14-15). In the mist of the Tribulation, after the Antichrist has been slain and resurrected, the False Prophet will cause people to build an image like Nebuchadnezzar’s image and will demand that it be worshiped. By some mysterious means unknown in this previous history of the world, he will give life to the image. How long it will manifest life we are not told. What characteristic it will have we are not told. Possibley the only characteristics it will manifest is that it can “speak” (vs. 15). This speech will be caused by the False Prophet, who in turn will get his authority from the Antichrist and the dragon, Satan himself. He will issue an order that all who do not worship him will be killed. Revelation 20:4 tells us that many will be slain by the guillotine.
This scene is so similar to what happened to the Israelites as a result of Nebuchadnezzar’s image that we begin to realize Satan’s tactics do not vary significantly.
Once again, an order will be given that those who do not bow down and worship him will be killed; instead of confronting a fiery furnace, they will be beheaded (Rev. 20:4).
This certainly establishes the high cost of knowing Christ as personal Savior during the Tribulation. I have heard unthinking people make such statements as “I am going to wait until the Tribulation to receive Christ.” What they do not understand is the personal suffering and persecution that believers will endure during the Tribulation period because of the animosity of Satan against God and those who worship Him.
Both the fifth seal and Revelation 20:4 indicate that martyrdom of true believers will exceed even that of the Dark Ages, when the Roman Catholic Church persecuted those who held to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Part 4—to be continued. Topic: The False Prophets us of the mark of the beast.
—-Tim LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My names sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-14)