Revelation 13:11-13

The False Prophet

Rev 13:11
two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon – he looks “Christ-like” but his message is full of the destructive power of Satan. He distorts the Gospel and leads people away from the power of salvation.

Rev 13:12
all the authority of the first beast in his presence – God allowed the performance of lying signs and wonders to testify to false teachings, because “they did not receive the love of the truth” (2Thes 2:10).

Paul wrote:

“The Coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders…”  2 Thessalonians 2:9

The power of Satan came through the spirit of the Montanists, which Tertullian received. Tertullian, was the “father of Latin Christianity.” He was apparently the first writer to:

  • state that baptism in living water had no significance
  • clearly refer to Sunday as “the Lord’s Day”
  • propose rest on Sunday, and
  • the Trinity doctrine

Montanism, was a false experience of speaking in tongues and prophecy, which lasted from 180 AD until the 6th century. Scholars debate the exact beginning of it, but Eusebius, the Bishop of Constantine in 324 AD, in his Church History, placed the whole controversy of it after 180 AD. He began his account of Montanism in Book 5, Chapter 14. The mainstream Church considered it to be a cult. The early Church believed that the Montanists were possessed by evil spirits. Its founders, Montanus and Maximillia, were each said to have “died a different death, a mind-destroying spirit, driving each to a separate suicide.” 1

Tertullian, being possessed by the spirit of Montanism, said the Bible was full of “heretical subtleties” and there was no way to refute the teachings of those he thought were heretics because the Bible itself supported them. But, he believed that the Holy Spirit was now correcting the explanation of the mystery through “the New Prophecy.” Tertullian wrote:

“He (the Holy Spirit) has accordingly now dispersed all the perplexities of the past, and their self-chosen allegories and parables, by the open and perspicuous explanation of the entire mystery, through the new prophecy, which descends in copious streams from the Paraclete.”2

Rev 13:13
so that he even makes fire come down to earth in the presence of men – this is another allusion to the mighty works of Elijah. Lying signs and wonders have supported the teachings of the false Christ, from the beginning. In the “miracle of Fatima” in 1917, 40,000 people watched the sun zigzag towards the earth, which sounds much like “fire coming down to earth in the presence of men.”

Gill’s Commentary of 1776 summarized some of the Reformation era interpretations of this verse:

Pope Zachary, (741 to 752 AD) once on a journey to Ravenna, had in the daytime a cloud to protect him from the heat, and in the night time armies of fire appeared in the clouds to go before him; and as Pope Innocent was at Mass, a golden crown was seen, and on it a dove, and under it a smoking censer, and hard by them two burning firebrands: and it is reported of Pope Hildebrand, that, whenever he pleased, he could shake his sleeves, and sparks of fire would come out; and by these miracles deluded the eyes of the simple with a show of holiness, which, with other instances, are taken notice of by Napier, Brightman, and other writers:

  1.  Eusebius Church History 5.16
  2. On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Chapter 63