The False Prophet
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.
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).
“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
- propose rest on Sunday 1 , and
- the Trinity doctrine
The Bible gives us three measures of doctrine that must be adhered to, in order to be saved. All of these were broken by Tertullian’s preaching.
- We must “know…the one true God” (John 17:3).
- We must “obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). This includes the need to be baptized and remember Christ’s death “in like manner” to Christ, and the Apostles.
- We must do the will of God, and keep His commandments (Matthew 7:21).
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.” 2
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.”3
- Tertullian, On Prayer, Chapter 23, “In the matter of kneeling also prayer is subject to diversity of observance, through the act of some few who abstain from kneeling on the Sabbath; and since this dissension is particularly on its trial before the churches, the Lord will give His grace that the dissentients may either yield, or else indulge their opinion without offense to others. We, however (just as we have received), only on the day of the Lord’s Resurrection ought to guard not only against kneeling, but every posture and office of solicitude; deferring even our businesses lest we give any place to the devil.” ↩
- Eusebius Church History 5.16 ↩
- On the Resurrection of the Flesh, Chapter 63 ↩