Seven ways to identify the false prophet

In part one of this three-part series, I introduced Satan's unholy trinity, which was followed by 12 ways to identify the Antichrist. In this message, you'll learn seven ways that the false prophet can be identified when he arrives on the world stage during the seven-year tribulation.

False prophets will come

Jesus warned us to watch out for false prophets because they come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15). He went on to say that you can recognize them by their fruit. He also said that many false prophets will appear and deceive many people (Matthew 24:11).

During the sermon on the mount, which is hailed as the greatest sermon of His ministry, Jesus again warns that false prophets, as well as false messiahs, will attempt to deceive even the elect (believers).
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
Matthew 24:24
The apostle Peter also warned of false prophets.
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2 Peter 2:1
In the book of Acts, we’re even told of a specific Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus (Acts 13:6).

As bad as all the false prophets have been who’ve come before, the book of Revelation says that a man will arrive on the scene during the tribulation who is the false prophet, also referred to as the second beast in Revelation 13.

How to identify the false prophet

Because God loves us, He’s told us in advance how to identify the false prophet so that we can avoid falling prey to his deceptions. The book of Revelation, especially chapter 13 provides many specific details about what he will be like and what he will do.

He will be a deceiver

The false prophet will have the predatory nature of a wolf but his outward appearance will be like a peaceful lamb. In other words, he will be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
Revelation 13:11
Notice that verse 11 says he’ll speak like a dragon. Satan is referred to as the dragon (Revelation 20:2), which means that the false prophet will speak like Satan himself. How does Satan speak? He is a deceiver and a liar. What he says will sound right to many who are on the earth in the last days because he’ll say exactly what they want to hear. His words will align perfectly with their sinful desires.

He will form a one world religion

The false prophet will form a one world religion and he will cause the inhabitants of the earth to worship the antichrist (Revelation 13:12). Do we see any signs of a movement towards a one world religion in the world today? I’d say we most certainly do. Not only is there a movement to bring all of the Christian denominations together but there’s also an attempt, which is condoned by the current Pope, to find common ground with all the world’s religions. I’m not saying that the Pope is the false prophet but he certainly is showing some of the same characteristics.

Unlike the movement we see today to bring the world religions together, the false prophet will cause everyone to worship the antichrist and the image of the antichrist. Put simply, the one world religion will be centered on worshiping the antichrist as god.

He will call down fire from heaven

The false prophet will perform great signs. For example, he’ll make fire come down from heaven to the earth. This was done before by the prophet Elijah (1st Kings 18:20-40).
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 which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
Revelation 13:13-14
Perhaps the false prophet will try to make the people of the earth believe that he is Elijah whom the Lord said he would send before the great and awesome day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5-6).

He will set up an image to be worshiped

For anyone who’s read the bible, this one should be a dead giveaway because the bible tells us clearly that God detests idolatry. In fact, the false prophet causes people to violate not just one but two of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:3-4). As we saw in Revelation 13: 14 (above), the false prophet will cause an image to be made that will be used to worship the antichrist (the first beast). By his demonic power, he will make the image come to life.
The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.
Revelation 13:15 (NIV) 

He will cause Christians to be put to death

Notice in the last half of Revelation 13:15 (above) that those who refuse to worship the image that the false prophet sets up will be killed. These will be the people who accept Jesus as Lord and savior after the rapture. We see in Revelation 20:4 that they will be beheaded. But their reward for being faithful to their faith in Christ is that they will come to life and reign with Him for 1,000 years, which is the millennial period that follows the great tribulation.

He will cause people to take the mark of the beast

During the last half of the seven-year tribulation, the antichrist will control all buying and selling on earth. In order to accomplish this, the inhabitants of the earth will be caused to receive a mark that identifies them.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Revelation 13:16-17
The false prophet will be the one who causes the inhabitants of the earth to take the mark of the beast. Those who refuse will be killed (Revelation 20:4). I wrote about this in detail in my earlier message: The mark of the beast.

He will cause the world powers to assemble for battle

The false prophet, along with the antichrist and Satan himself will release demonic spirits that will cause the rulers of the earth to assemble to battle against Israel. This is referred to as the battle of Armageddon.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
Revelation 16:13-14

The fate of the false prophet

I’ve read to the end of the book, and it says that God wins. In other words, this story doesn’t end well for the antichrist and the false prophet. Their reign of terror will not only be short-lived (42 months) but they will be cast into the lake of fire, which is hell. The lake of fire is a place that no one returns from. Once you’re there, you’re there forever.
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:20
About 1,000 years later, after the millennial reign of Christ that follows the great tribulation, Satan joins the beast (antichrist) and the false prophet in the lake of fire.
The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:10
Notice that by this time, the antichrist and the false prophet have been tormented day and night for a thousand years where they will remain forever and ever.

Final thoughts

I know that this is not a pleasant subject but it is an important one. After all, God warned us about this in advance so that we can be motivated to stay alert and ready for Christ’s imminent return.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I encourage you to get on your knees right now and repent of your sins and ask him to be the Lord of your life. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior but you’re not sure that you are right with Him or if you’re willfully repeating the same sins over and over, I pray that you’ll repent and ask God to cleanse your mind, and purge everything from your life that He despises. Please don’t be someone who believes that Jesus is who He claims to be but misses the rapture of the church because you haven’t made Him the Lord of your life.
Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Matthew 7:21
If you are living your life in God’s will, please don’t just sit on the sidelines and wait for the Lord to call you home. Share the good news of the gospel with your unsaved friends and family. Let’s pull as many people out of the fire as we can while there’s still time!

May God shower you with his love and blessings.

Your brother in Christ,