In the previous installment, we discussed Simon Magus and other historical forerunners of the end-time “false prophet.” In this final installment, we will point out the biblical revelations about the false prophet who will manifest himself soon on the world scene, as well as the final destiny of the religious system that he represents.
We have seen that the last seven revivals of the ancient Roman Empire constituted a collaboration between religion (the Roman Catholic Church) and state (the political empires under military leaders), while the first three revivals of the ancient Roman Empire were not supported by the Catholic faith. The false prophet will be the end-time leader or last pope of the Catholic Church.
We read in Revelation 16:13-14 that an unclean spirit or demon will come out of the mouth of the false prophet who will perform signs to affect the kings of the whole world. Revelation 19:20 confirms that the false prophet will work signs in the presence of the beast, deceiving those who receive the mark of the beast. Ultimately, the false prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire, when Christ returns (Revelation 20:10).
In our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” we state the following:
“This religious leader—the false prophet—will receive power to do miracles from Satan himself (compare Revelation 19:20). He, and the system that he represents, is described in Revelation 13:11 as a beast with ‘two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.’ He ‘performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs’ (verses 13–14). This system is also described as engaging in ‘sorcery’ (Revelation 18:23)…”
2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 identifies the “false prophet” as “the lawless one” or the ”man of sin.” According to that scriptural passage, the lawless one will sit in the temple of God (apparently a literal temple which will still be built by the Jews prior to Christ’s return). He will claim that he is a god, or better, God Himself. He will come according to the working of Satan, with power, signs and lying wonders and strong delusions to deceive those who did not receive the love of the truth and who did not believe the truth, but the lie, and who had pleasure in unrighteousness. Christ will consume him with the breath of His mouth and destroy him with the brightness of His coming, by throwing him into the lake of fire.
In describing the lawless one, the Ryrie Study Bible comments that he “will desecrate the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem by placing himself there to be worshipped… This will be the climax of man’s great sin of self-deification, in open defiance of God.”
The Nelson Study Bible adds: “The man of sin will proclaim himself to be divine and will sit in the temple of God, acting as if he were a god… The man of sin will probably stand in a physical temple in Jerusalem, and declare himself to be a god, the ultimate fulfillment of the ‘abomination of desolation’ spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 7:23; 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11) and Jesus (Matt. 24:15; Mark 13:14)…”
In the book of Ezekiel, more is revealed about the false prophet or the man of sin. Ezekiel 28 speaks of a very rich “prince of Tyre” who sits in the midst of the seas. He says he is a god, but he will be killed. We read that he will die the death of the uncircumcised in the midst of the seas “by the hand of” aliens, strangers or the most terrible of the nations.
In our free booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” we explain that in the 28th chapter of Ezekiel, the prince of Tyre is primarily referring to the religious leader (or false prophet) of the modern European system. Ezekiel 28:2 identifies this modern leader as follows: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: Because your heart is lifted up, And you say, I am a god [or, I am God], I sit in the seat of gods, In the midst of the seas, Yet you are a man, and not a god [or, not God], Though you set your heart as the heart of a god [or, Though you make your heart as the heart of God]…”
This personage is none other than the “false prophet” or the man of sin who will claim that he is sitting “as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (compare again 2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).
The religious leader (the modern prince of Tyre) will originally sit “in the midst of the seas.” Italy, with its capital of Rome, is located between, and surrounded by numerous seas or oceans—the Ligurian Sea, the Tyrrhenian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Ionian Sea, and the Adriatic Sea. Also, some of the inhabitants of [ancient] Tyre migrated to Italy, where they settled in Rome. The name “Tyrrhenian Sea”—one of the seas or oceans surrounding Italy—has derived its name from the inhabitants of Tyre who settled in Italy.
But other Scriptures reveal that this religious leader—together with the military leader or the “beast”—will move their residence to the city of Jerusalem. By that time, it seems, the Jews will have built a third temple—maybe on the Temple Mount—where they will bring sacrifices, but the European system will take away those daily sacrifices (Daniel 8:11–14; 11:31; Matthew 24:15–22), perhaps in order to pacify the Arab nations.
Ezekiel 28:4 describes this religious power as being very rich, prosperous and wealthy (compare Revelation 17:4). Verse 7 predicts that strangers will come against it and against the religious leader himself: “And they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, And defile your splendor.” Those foes are identified as “the most terrible of the nations” or “the most violent nations.”
We know that the European army will attack and enslave the modern nations of Israel and Judah. They are described, in Ezekiel 7:24, as the “worst of the Gentiles.” We must, therefore, conclude that the “worst of the Gentiles” will, indeed, include European armies which will participate in destroying the European religious system.
Confirmation that the term “worst of the Gentiles” or “most terrible of the nations” does, in fact, refer to the armies of Europe under the leadership of modern Assyria, can be found in Ezekiel 30:10–11. There, the term “the most terrible of the nations” applies to the ancient Babylonians in their fight against Egypt. Both Ezekiel 31:12 and 32:12 use the same term, also applying them to the ancient Babylonians. In the same way, the Bible applies this term to the modern Babylonians—the modern European system.
Revelation 17:16–17 reveals: “And the ten horns [ten final political leaders or leading nations or groups of nations in continental Europe] which you saw on the beast [the resurrected ancient Roman system], these will hate the harlot [a religious power called “Babylon the Great” (verse 5), but also a city (verse 18) sitting on seven mountains or hills (verse 9)], make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast [both a system, as well as a political leader, ruling the system], until the words of God are fulfilled.”
We are told in this passage that the European military power will ultimately help in destroying the European religious power and confiscate her riches and burn her with fire. One possibility for the conduct of the ten political powers could be that they might feel betrayed by the fallen woman riding the beast, as she had been promising them peace on earth and invulnerability. When they see, instead, that they themselves are going to be overrun by Asiatic hordes (see below), they might change their minds about the woman. In any event, we are told that it is God who will move their hearts to fulfill His purpose (Revelation 17:17).
As will be explained below, the ten horns will not destroy or kill the false prophet. The ten European military leaders may find enough courage to use that part of their armies which is still stationed in Europe (the majority will be in the Middle East by that time) to attack the city of Rome and burn her with fire (Revelation 17:16, 18), while lacking courage to attack the false prophet (who will have the power to work “miracles”). We may recall that Adolph Hitler was persecuting institutions and personnel of the Catholic Church in Germany, as well as in occupied countries, but he did not fight directly against the Pope himself.
But these ten nations will not be the only ones which will rise against the religious power of the modern Babylonian system.
We state in our free booklet, “Biblical Prophecy—From Now Until Forever”:
“…even prior to that final battle [at the time of Christ’s return], these ten [European] kings or kingdoms will turn against the religious power and ‘make her desolate’ (verse 16), apparently confiscating her property. This depicts the coming strong European alliance between church and state, which is prophesied to crumble. Ultimately, modern Babylon—the religious and economic European system, as well as the city of Rome (Revelation 17:9, 18)—will be destroyed in one day (Revelation 18:8) and in one hour (verse 17)… The Bible shows that after the ten European nations, under the authority of modern Assyria (‘the Babylonian system’) subdue and conquer many nations, they themselves will be defeated in war by the modern Medes. Compare Isaiah 13:17, which describes the destruction of modern ‘Babylon’ through the hand of the modern ‘Medes’ or Russians and Ukrainians. Verses 6, 9 and 13 designate the timing as occurring during the ‘day of the LORD.’ Compare also Isaiah 21:2 and Jeremiah 51:11, 27-29.”
To interject, in ancient times, the Medes lived in present-day Iran. Originally, under Assyrian rule, they revolted against and expelled the Assyrians and imposed their rule over the Persians. They then attacked Niniveh and overthrew the Assyrian Empire. Under Cyrus the Great, the Medes and the Persians were considered as one people. The Encyclopedia Britannica (ed.1959) points out that at least some of the Medes were not Iranians or Indo-Europeans, but perhaps connected with the numerous tribes of the Caucasus. The modern Medes, then, are to be found in modern Russia and surrounding areas.
Continuing with the above-quoted booklet:
“It appears that before or while moving toward the place called Armageddon in the Middle East (after the Euphrates river has dried up)—depicted by the sixth plague of the seventh trumpet—at least parts of the armies of the kings of the east will apparently sweep through Europe, creating devastating havoc there and destroying the city of Rome [but remember that we also read that the ten kings will burn the city of Rome with fire]. Jeremiah 51:27-28 refers to horses as coming up against Babylon like bristling locusts, indicating that they will use some of their tanks and their air force to destroy modern Babylon. They will be led primarily by the modern ‘Medes’ or Russians and Ukrainians. At that time, the beast and the false prophet will apparently be dwelling in Jerusalem, so they will not be personally affected by these attacks on Europe. Neither will the ten kings and their armies. They, too, will apparently be in or move towards Jerusalem at that time, as they will fight with the beast against the returning Christ (compare again Revelation 17:15).”
The Bible does not give us all the specifics as to how, exactly, the destruction of the religious system and the city of Rome will occur; that is, whether or not the Medes or the kings of the east and the ten nations or its leaders will independently from each other turn on the “fallen woman” (the religious power), or whether there will even be some limited collaboration between those powers, even though united Europe—not just the religious system–will be overrun by the Asiatic hordes. But stranger things have happened in the past—remember that Christian nations such as the USA, Britain and France collaborated with Communist Russia and its evil leader Stalin against the common enemy of Germany under its evil Fuehrer Adolf Hitler, leading subsequently to a hostile atmosphere, the building of the Berlin Wall and a cold war with the treat of a nuclear confrontation between these “allies”; and note too that at the very end of his life, Hitler commanded his generals to utterly destroy the country of Germany.
We have read that the false prophet or “the man of sin” will be slain by Christ Himself. Christ will throw him alive, together with the military leader—the “beast”—into the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). God asks this religious leader (the prince of Tyre) in Ezekiel 28:9, “Will you still say before him [better, “Him,” Jesus Christ] who slays you, I am a god? [better, “I am God?”]. But you shall be a man, and not a god [or, “God”], In the hand of him [better, “Him”] who slays you.”
God prophesied the following in Ezekiel 28:8 about the end-time religious leader: “They shall throw you down into the Pit, And you shall die the death of the slain In the midst of the seas.” Verse 8 explains that the “prince of Tyre” or the “false prophet” will be thrown into the pit—the abyss. His influence on the nations will cease and he will die the deaths of those that are slain in the midst of the seas. In other words, as they die, so he will die.
Verse 10 continues, reading from the Authorized Version: “Thou shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hands of strangers.” This religious leader will die in disgrace. Christ will throw him into the lake of fire. In other words, the prince of Tyre shall die a disgraceful death, as the uncircumcised do when they die by the hands of strangers.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible confirms the foregoing conclusion and explains:
“Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised… by the hand of strangers… it may denote the various kinds of death which the inhabitants of Rome will die when destroyed, some by famine, some by pestilence, and others by fire; when these plagues shall come upon her in one day, Revelation 18:8. [F]or I have spoken it, saith the Lord God; and therefore it shall surely come to pass; strong is the Lord that will judge, condemn, and destroy mystical Babylon, or Tyre.”
Matthew Henry’s Commentary agrees, stating:
“They shall bring thee down to the pit, to the grave; thou shalt die the death. And, (1.) It shall not be an honourable death, but an ignominious one. He shall be so vilified in his death that he may despair of being deified after his death. He shall die the deaths of those that are slain in the midst of the seas, that have no honour done them at their death, but their dead bodies are immediately thrown overboard, without any ceremony or mark of distinction, to be a feast for the fish. Tyre is likely to be destroyed in the midst of the sea (ch. 27:32) and the prince of Tyre shall fare no better than the people. (2.) It shall not be a happy death, but a miserable one. He shall die the deaths of the uncircumcised (v. 10), of those that are strangers to God and not in covenant with him, and therefore die under his wrath and curse.”
We see, then, that the false prophet is none other than the man of sin and the modern prince of Tyre, as the beast is also identified as the king of the North or King Jareb of Assyria. Both will be demon-possessed and work false and lying “sins and miracles,” and both will try to fight Jesus Christ at His return, and be thrown alive into the lake of fire to be burnt up. The final revival of the ancient Roman Empire—the modern European political and religious system that the beast and the false prophet will represent and lead (Babylon the great)–will be totally destroyed. We are warned not to be deceived, but to “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Lead Writer: Norbert Link