Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Clever Imitator

Jesus warned his disciples of coming deceivers - “false prophets” and “false messiahs,” satanic agents bent on hoodwinking the “elect,” and in the Book of Revelation, this group finds its ultimate expression in the “Beast from the Earth,” also appropriately called the “False Prophet.” He is a clever imitation of Christ’s true servants and is part of the Dragon’s final “war” against the church.

John saw the second “Beast ascending from the Earth.” His purpose was to trick men into giving allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea,” the Dragon’s surrogate. The latter is characterized by political power, and the former by his ability to deceive through impressive “signs” and to use economic power to punish anyone who refuses to give absolute loyalty to the first “Beast.”

Chameleon - Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash
[Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash]

The “
inhabitants of the earth” render homage to the “Beast from the Sea,” but it is the “False Prophet” who promotes political devotion to the Dragon’s representative and gives it concrete expression by encouraging men to erect an “image” of it - (Revelation 13:4-8).


The first “Beast” had “ten heads” and “seven horns,” and one of the “heads” appeared “slain unto death.” However, its “death stroke” was healed. The same description was applied previously to the “Lamb.” The “Beast from the Sea” was wounded “and lived,” just as Jesus “died and lived” - (ezésen - Revelation 2:8, 5:6, 13:3-4).

Thus, the restoration of the Beast’s wounded “head” mimics the death and resurrection of Jesus, and this causes the “inhabitants of the earth” to render homage to it. Thus, the “Beast from the Sea” is a counterfeit of the Lamb - (Revelation 13:3-6).

Similarly, the “False Prophet” has two “horns like a lamb.” It also counterfeits the “Lamb” by imitating his true prophets. It has the power to summon fire from heaven, making it the satanic counterpart to the “Two Witnesses” who consumed their opponents with “fire from their mouth.”


The “False Prophet” employs religious devices to direct the “inhabitants of the earth” to erect an image to the first “Beast.” And it uses economic pressure to punish anyone who resists, especially the saints who, like the three Jewish exiles in Babylon, refuse to render homage to the Beast’s “image” (Daniel 3:13-14 – “O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, you serve not my god or worship the golden image that I have erected!”).

The attempts to deceive the followers of Jesus were anticipated in the letters to the seven churches when Jesus warned about “false apostles,” the “Nicolaitans,” the “prophetess Jezebel,” and the “teachings of Balaam.”

Already, the “Beast from the Earth” is active in the churches. The economic attacks by the “False Prophet” are also reflected in the economic deprivations suffered by the congregation in Smyrna - (Revelation 2:2-6, 2:14-15, 16:13, 19:20).

The stress in Revelation is on the use of religious deception by the “False Prophet” to seduce men into giving their allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea.” However, when coercion becomes necessary, his tool of choice is economic sanctions.


The “Beast from the Earth” and his activities imitate the “Lamb” and his efforts to spread the gospel throughout the Earth. It employs a counterfeit of the true faith  of Jesus to deceive men and cause them to swear allegiance to the first “Beast.”

But his goal is to destroy the church, either through deception and apostasy or more directly, through economic pressure and outright persecution - (“It made war against the saints”).

The marginalized congregations of Asia would have recognized the pretensions and hubris of Rome in these visions, especially the demand to venerate the emperor. At the time, local magistrates were pressuring citizens to participate in the imperial cult.

If there is a lesson for today, it is that the “Beast” will imitate the true faith in order to deceive the “saints,” and he will mix it with the political ideologies of this age. It will look and feel all too familiar, and very likely, it will direct us to give the allegiance that belongs to Jesus ALONE to someone or something else, especially to a particular government.

The best preventative medicine is to give our allegiance to Jesus alone, and daily deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow him “wherever he goes.” Christians must learn to view themselves as citizens of the kingdom of God rather than as loyal servants of the Almighty State.

The Book of Revelation calls this consummate deceiver the “False Prophet.” He will provide a seductive and convincing imitation of Jesus, one that may very well hoodwink large numbers of Christians into giving allegiance to the “Beast from the Sea” during History’s final stages.