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Revelation 13:12

all the authority of the first beast
As the Holy Spirit in relation to Christ, so the False Prophet has the full authority given by the dragon to the Beast (Rev. Rev. 13:2+). Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the False Prophet is his refusal to obtain worship for himself even though he has the full authority of the Beast. Outside of the altruistic example of the Holy Spirit in relation to Christ, this is unheard of. The answer lies in the pregnant phrase which follows.

in his presence
The authority of the False Prophet is very closely controlled. He is only granted his power “in the sight of the beast” (Rev. Rev. 13:14+ cf. Rev. Rev. 19:20+). He is on a leash, as it were. During the end, it is the dragon’s intention that ultimate authority and attention be directed to the Beast. If the dragon enters the Beast, as he did Judas (Luke Luke 22:3), then worship of the Beast becomes the worship of Satan. If the False Prophet’s authority were in any way independent of the Beast, then he could potentially direct attention to himself. The dragon is very aware of this possibility since he was the subject of the same corrupting influence of power (Isa. Isa. 14:13-14; Eze. Eze. 28:17). “It is particularly noteworthy that the second beast will have to exercise the Beast’s authority in his presence—there just can be no trust between the forces of evil!”1

The alliance of religion and state has a long and sad record of despotism and suppression, but the ecclesio-political union of these to human beasts will culminate in the worst period of persecution in the history of the world. . . . Each leader assists and supports the other, the king enforcing the religious authority of the prophet and the prophet persuading the world’s superstitious masses that the king should be worshiped and obeyed as a god.2

causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast
Note that it is the first beast which is worshiped (Rev. Rev. 13:4+) in accordance with the predictions of Daniel (Dan. Dan. 11:36) and Paul (2Th. 2Th. 2:4). The second beast directs worship toward the first and is dependent upon him for his power (Rev. Rev. 13:12+). Hence the first beast is the “man of sin . . . the son of perdition,” not the second. 3

Pink notes the relative ease with which a supreme military leader such as the Antichrist is able to step into the position of assumed deity:

At first sight it appears strange, if not incongruous, that a military despot should be found filling the character of a religious impostor. But history shows that there is a point at which one character readily merges into the other. Political ambition, intoxicated by success, finds it an easy step from self-glorification to self-deification, and the popular infatuation as easily passes from the abject adulation of the tyrant to the adoration of the god.4

The False Prophet’s main focus is to direct worship to the Beast. This is his key role among the world’s religions at the time of the end, made all the easier by a large reduction in Christians beginning with the disappearance of the true Church in the Rapture prior to the time of God’s wrath (Rev. Rev. 3:10+):

True children of God are to be found in many varying shades of Christianity, sprinkled throughout Christendom. There are undoubtedly born-again individuals in the midst of all churches. They are saved in spite of the organizations and not because of the organizations. What is going to happen to all of these organizations when the true believers are removed from the world? Already, in our own day, we see indications that much of the guiding force of these great organizations is in the hands of those who would deny essential truths of Scripture. This tendency will increase, and at the coming of Christ for the believers, the tares in the midst of the wheat will go on functioning as usual, all moving rapidly into one great church union, with one head of all. This religious leader will work together with the political dictator.5

Eventually, even a universal ecumenical religion proves to be a threat to the worship of the Beast. The Beast (empowered by the dragon) desires all worship personally. This may be a contributing factor in the demise of the Harlot (Rev. Rev. 17:16+), for she is the mother of worldwide spiritual idolatry and abomination (Rev. Rev. 17:5+) and could otherwise compete with the Beast in the area of religion. See The Great Harlot. The prominence of the False Prophet prior to her demise is not revealed, but we do know he is the ultimate religious figure directing worship to the Beast at the end. His role as religious leader may also fulfill Israel’s expectation of a prophet (Deu. Deu. 18:15-18; John John 1:21; Luke Luke 7:19). “The false prophet arises to play the part expected of the prophet who had been announced for so long, and his role will be to tell Israel that their Messiah has come.”6 Those who worship the Beast are the Earth Dwellers.

whose deadly wound was healed
Deadly wound is Ἡ πληγὴ τοῦ θανάτου αὐτοῦ [Hē plēgē tou thanatou autou] , the wound of his death. This recovery was not from a serious wound, but from actual death. The connection between the miraculous recovery of the Beast and his worship is emphasized again (Rev. Rev. 13:3-4+). This rules out Nero and all previous people of history as candidates for the Antichrist because only after his revival and ascent from the abyss does the Beast receive worship as god. The only man prior to Antichrist who arose from the dead to receive worship is Christ, not Antichrist. See commentary on Revelation 13:3. See Supernatural Origin?.


Notes

1 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 13:12.

2 Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983), Rev. 13:12.

3 “Just as the Holy Spirit calls all men to worship the resurrected Son, the False Prophet will call men to worship the resurrected counterfeit son.”—Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 254.

4 Arthur Walkington Pink, The Antichrist (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1999, 1923), s.v. “The Career of the Antichrist.”

5 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 243.

6 Ibid., 244.

Read Revelation 13:12