Bible prophecy Biblical doctrines The Papacy

Who are the false Prophet?

The “false Prophet,” assists the AntiChrist by directing people to worship him. So, who is the false Prophet, or, more precisely, what do the words “false Prophet” symbolise in the Revelation?

A lot of discussion nowadays revolves around the identity of the AntiChrist. Some believe he is a world leader who will arise in the not-too-distant future, and allegedly unite all countries of the world, establish world peace, bring in a global currency and ultimately dictatorially control the world, persecuting all true Christians, especially those who do not worship him as God. That interpretation of Bible prophecy I once believed but no longer, because it is wrong. It has been a very skillful ploy of Satan and the Roman Catholic church to divert the Protestant and evangelical churches attention away from the simple truth in the Bible. That interpretation, developed and promoted by Jesuits, has diverted the believing churches attention away from the Papacy and onto some future, yet unknown, world leader. It is called the futurist interpretation of Bible prophecy. The correct way to interpret Biblical prophecy is from a continuing or historical perspective. That is how the Reformers understood it and how we should also.

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood church

The question here is: Who is/are the false Prophet? To answer that question lets look at where false prophets might be found.

2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable [destructive] heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious [ruinous, hellish] ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  3 And through covetousness [avarice, greed] shall they with feigned words [formed as needed] make merchandise [trade] of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingers not, and their damnation slumbers not. (emphases added)

God the Holy Spirit via the Apostle Peter has laid it out. False prophets will be among the people, meaning among the church, the believers. During the Early Church period there were many heresies and false prophets abounded. But why not the same today, among the so-called believers in the protestant and evangelical churches?

Many will follow their destructive ways. Where are the greatest numbers following any one leader or pastor in the church? In the mega-churches, like those of Rick Warren (Saddleback church), Joel Osteen (Lakewood church), Brian Houston (Hillsong church), T.D. Jakes (The Potter’s House church), etc.

In the large “seeker sensitive” mega-churches it is easy to imagine that the leaders could be so lifted up in pride, self-importance and greed that they be led away from the gospel of truth. They they could fall under the Devil’s control, making merchandise of those who pay the big money for the front row seats. There are those preachers who often boast of the abundant life that they have, presumably because they have the faith, and by inference the rest of us don’t. They have become merchants of the earth, trading in the souls of men (Revelation 18:13), and having intercourse with the Whore.

Isaac Newton wrote:1 (my emphases added)

This is the substance of what Peter says in the first chapter; and then in the second he proceeds to describe, out of this sure word of Prophecy, how there should arise in the Church false Prophets, or false teachers, expressed collectively in the Apocalypse by the name of the false Prophet; who should bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, which is the character of Antichrist: And many, saith he, shall follow their lusts [ασελγειας, in many of the best MSS, meaning lewdness]; they that dwell on the earth [Revelation 13:7,12.] shall be deceived by the false Prophet, and be made drunk with the wine of the Whore’s fornication, by reason of whom the way of truth shall be blasphemed; for [Revelation 13:1,5,6.] the Beast is full of blasphemy: and thro’ covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandize of you; for these are the Merchants of the Earth, who trade with the great Whore, and their merchandize [Revelation 18:12,13.] is all things of price, with the bodies and souls of men: whose judgment—lingreth not, and their damnation [Revelation 19:20] slumbreth not, but shall surely come upon them at the last day suddenly, as the flood upon the old world, and fire and brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrha, when the just shall be delivered [Revelation 21:3,4] like Lot; for the Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished, in the lake of fire; but chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, [Revelation 9:21; 17:2.] being made drunk with the wine of the Whore’s fornication; who despise dominion, and are not afraid to blaspheme glories; for the beast opened his mouth against God [Revelation 13:6] to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. These, as natural brute beasts, the ten-horned beast and two-horned beast, or false Prophet, made to be taken and destroyed, in the lake of fire, blaspheme the things they understand not:—they count it pleasure to riot in the day-time—sporting themselves with their own deceivings, while they feast [Revelation 18:3,7,9] with you, having eyes full of an [μοιχαλιδος] Adulteress: for the kingdoms of the beast live deliciously with the great Whore, and the nations are made drunk with the wine of her fornication. They are gone astray, following the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, the false Prophet [Revelation 2:14] who taught Balak to cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel. These are, not fountains of living water, but wells without water; not such clouds of Saints as the two witnesses ascend in, but clouds that are carried with a tempest, &c. Thus does the author of this Epistle spend all the second Chapter in describing the qualities of the Apocalyptic Beasts and false Prophet: and then in the third he goes on to describe their destruction more fully, and the future kingdom. He saith, that because the coming of Christ should be long deferred, they should scoff, saying, where is the promise of his coming? Then he describes the sudden coming of the day of the Lord upon them, as a thief in the night, which is the Apocalyptic phrase; and the millennium, or thousand years, which are with God but as a day; the passing away of the old heavens and earth, by a conflagration in the lake of fire, and our looking for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

The second Beast, which rose up out of the earth, was the Church of the Greek Empire: for it had two horns like those of the Lamb, and therefore was a Church; and it spake as the Dragon, and therefore was of his religion; and it came up out of the earth, and by consequence in his kingdom. It is called also the false Prophet who wrought miracles before the first Beast, by which he deceived them that received his mark, and worshiped his image. [Revelations 19:20]

It is well known that Billy Graham worked with the Roman Catholic church in many of his evangelistic crusades. Many souls would have been directed to local Romish churches after those meetings. The Reformers would turn in their graves if they knew how the Bishop of Rome (the Papacy) has so lowered the defenses of the protestant and evangelical churches to believe that the Roman Catholics are a Christian church. Some now even to the point of making pilgrimages to Rome and making obeisance (homage, worship, reverence, veneration and submission) to the pope.

Rick Warren with the man who claims to be the representative of Jesus Christ on earth, Pope Francis. Francis visited Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families. The World Meeting of Families is a Vatican-sponsored event held every three years to promote family ideals.

Pastor Rick Warren has said he will work with the pope and has made the pilgrimage.2 Billy Graham has preached in Roman Catholic churches. He, denying that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father,3 has infamously said that there are many ways to be saved, contradicting the scriptures (Acts 4:12). These type of pastors have opened the door to the idea of Chrislam,4 and the ecumenical movement, to unite all religions, which is strongly promoted by the current pope.5

Billy Graham with pope Francis
Pope John Paul II is kissed by the Archibishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams during a private audience in his library at the Vatican, October 4, 2003. REUTERS/Vatican/Handout
Pope John Paul II is kissed by the Archibishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams during a private audience in his library at the Vatican, October 4, 2003. REUTERS/Vatican/Handout

Some evangelical leaders are starting to promote the idea that there is little difference between the teachings of the Roman Catholics and the evangelical faith, when, in fact, one is damnable heresies. Rick Warren, through para-church agencies, is promoting a unity with Islam,6 as has the current pope been doing.

Revelation  13:11,12 And I beheld another beast [the false Prophet] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he [the false Prophet] exercises all the power of the first beast [the AntiChrist] before him, and causes [makes, leads] the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

From this perspective it is easy to see who or what the false Prophet is. The institution of the Papacy is the AntiChrist, and those who direct the protestant and evangelical churches back to Rome must collectively be the false Prophet. This is the same type of application of the words “false prophet” as with the word “the beast” to the AntiChrist in the book of Revelation. The pope is one man but the Papacy (comprising many successive popes) is the dynastic leadership of the first beast, the Roman church. Thus the false Prophet is not one man, but many who lead the church back to Rome. Note also (v.11) how they appear harmless like a “lamb” but speak words as from the “dragon”, Satan.

Revelation 19:20,21 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The end is certain for those who lead the church astray; both for the AntiChrist and the false Prophet. Those who followed the false Prophet joined the Roman Catholic Church rejecting the true faith and hence received the mark of the beast. The true believers were sealed by God the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:13 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel [good news] of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

We are sealed by the true Spirit of God. The Devil makes a counterfeit of this by sealing his followers with the mark of the beast, the Roman Catholic church. The false Prophet is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. These church pastors, collectively as the false Prophet, are directing their followers back to Rome. In this case the mark is symbolic as is the seal of salvation, which is obtained by trusting in the living God.


  1. Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John by Sir Isaac Newton
  2. Rick Warren to Co-Preach Keynote Address with Priest for Pope’s Visit
  3. Billy Graham Denies Jesus Is The ONLY WAY To The Father YouTube Video
  4. Pope Francis and Rick Warren to unite for global Chrislam conference
  5. Pope Francis now urges all religions to unite
  6. Chrislam’s Rick Warren partnering with mosques to teach that God and Allah are the same

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.