Thursday, 29 December 2011

The False Prophet?

 ...and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them...(Dan 7:20-21)

The False Prophet is one of the primary antagonists of the Book of Revelation, and alongside the Dragon and Beast, forms part of the "unholy trinity" - the antithesis of the Triune Godhead presented throughout the Apocalypse as the One seated on the Throne, the Lamb and the Seven-fold Spirit. The False Prophet is depicted as anti-Elijah type figure who paves the way for the coming of the Beast/Antichrist to "make his paths straight". Although the storyline cycle concerning the appearance of the Beast/Antichrist precedes the narrative concerning the False Prophet, this should be considered as for thematic reasons rather than a proper chronological ordering. The Beast is introduced first to highlight his prominence amongst the persons of the unholy trinity.
There are many other indicators in both public Revelation and private revelations which suggest that the False Prophet is a precursor to the Antichrist. If we begin by looking at the Bible, the fact that the role of the False Prophet deliberately echoes characteristics of the prophet Elijah - such as calling fire down from heaven (see 2Kings 1), suggests that just as Elijah prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah, so too would the False Prophet, or "anti-Elijah", prepare the way for the coming of the Antichrist.
The beast from the sea and the beast from the land described in the Apocalypse (who represent the Antichrist and False Prophet respectively) are modelled on the Old Testament mythological creatures Leviathan and Behemoth. But the imagery of the beast from the land/False Prophet in Revelation also contains an allusion to the narrative of the Ram and He-goat in Dan 8, which tells of the rise of the "Little Horn" that would persecute the people of God. If we compare both passages side-by-side below, we can see that the Book of Revelation's depiction of the land beast is derived from this section of Daniel:

Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. (Rev 13:11-15)

 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at the first. And I saw in the vision; and when I saw, I was in Susa the citadel, which is in the province of Elam. And I saw in the vision, and I was at the Ulai canal. I raised my eyes and saw, and behold, a ram standing on the bank of the canal. It had two horns, and both horns were high, but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. No beast could stand before him, and there was no one who could rescue from his power. He did as he pleased and became great.
 As I was considering, behold, a male goat came from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground. And the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. He came to the ram with the two horns, which I had seen standing on the bank of the canal, and he ran at him in his powerful wrath. I saw him come close to the ram, and he was enraged against him and struck the ram and broke his two horns. And the ram had no power to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled on him. And there was no one who could rescue the ram from his power. Then the goat became exceedingly great, but when he was strong, the great horn was broken, and instead of it there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
 Out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the glorious land. It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them. It became great, even as great as the Prince of the host. And the regular burnt offering was taken away from him, and the place of his sanctuary was overthrown. (Dan 8:1-11)

In a style typical of the Apocalypse, the source material in the Old Testament is given a new twist, and the figures of the Ram and He-goat are combined into the person of the land beast/False Prophet, who has two horns like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. Daniel's parable of the Ram and He-goat undoubtedly originally referred to the rise of Alexander the Great and the divsion of his empire at his death. As such, the "Little Horn" described here represents Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who subjected the Jewish people to a fierce bout of persecution before the Maccabean revolt.
The Apocalypse uses this template of historical events to build upon its portrayal of the False Prophet - the end-time figure who precedes the Antichrist and constructs an image resembling the reality of the seven-headed and ten-horned sea-beast which is still to come.
In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the image fashioned by the False Prophet in honour of the beast from the sea is to be identified with the beast with ten horns described in Dan 7 - from which arises the Little Horn who persecutes the people of God before their kingdom is restored to them. I go on to further suggest that the False Prophet of the Book of Revelation is one and the same person as the Little Horn of Dan 7-8. So just as the Antichrist is prefigured in the Roman emperor Nero - the first persecutor of Christians (hence the equation of the number 666 with his name), so too is the False Prophet prefigured in Antiochus IV Epiphanes - the ultimate persecutor of Jews in antiquity.
As I argued in the previous post Daniel and the Jewish Restoration, this particular portion of the Book of Daniel appears to have been a prediction of the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, after the Holocaust claimed the lives of almost six million Jews.

“Then I desired to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet, and about the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn that came up and before which three of them fell, the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and that seemed greater than its companions. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
 “Thus he said: ‘As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings. He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.’
(Dan 7:19-27)

The only end-time restoration of a kingdom belonging to the people of God after a period of persecution this passage could refer to is the long prophesied revival of the land of Israel. This interpretation would thus then make Adolf Hitler the Little Horn of the Book of Daniel and the False Prophet of Revelation, who is modelled after Antiochus Epiphanes - the ultimate persecutor of Jews in antiquity.
The prophecies of Our Lady of La Salette also suggest that Hitler is the forerunner of the Antichrist described in Scripture. The later versions of the secret mention a forerunner to the Antichrist:

"A forerunner of the Antichrist, with his troops gathered from several nations, will fight against the true Christ, the only Savior of the world. He will shed much blood and will want to annihilate the worship of God to make himself be looked upon as a God." (1879 version)

The original secrets of La Salette unearthed from the Vatican archives in 1999 also refers to the coming of an Antichrist type figure no later than 100 years from when the visions were first received by Melanie and Maximin in 1846 - which at the very latest then would take us to the year 1945 - the year Hitler claimed his own life:

That time is not far away, twice 50 years will not go by.
(See the earlier post Our Lady of La Salette)

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich also predicted the date of the Second World War, and related it to events described in the Apocalypse:

In the centre of Hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after being first strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000. The dates of many other events were pointed out to me which I do not now remember; but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the divine vengeance. I should think that some must be loosened even in the present day, and others will be set free in a short time.

And of course 60 years before the year 2000 takes us to the year 1940 - the beginning of the Second World War. Some commentators see parallels between this prediction and the Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. But while the prophecy of Pope Leo focuses on the increase of Satan's power during a set period of time, it seems that Blessed Emmerich's primary concern is dating the outbreak of the Second World War - which may be considered to be the apex of Satan's power in the 100 years allotted to him. The above prophecy of Blessed Emmerich also echoes the rise of the locusts from the Abyss described in Rev 9 - which I have earlier argued was fulfilled in the invention of military aircraft at the turn of the 20th century (see The Apocalyptic Locusts).

The Second Secret of Fatima also appeared to link the Second World War with apocalyptic events:

The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father.

The Second Secret here refers to the unusual aurora borealis which was visible throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere - an occurrence which took place just before the outbreak of the war. Many viewed this event as an omen warning of the horrors to come. In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the World Wars of the 20th century were the "wars and rumours of wars" which Jesus foretold would take place before his Second Coming:

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
(Matt 24:6-8)

If Hitler is to be equated with the False Prophet/Little Horn, then the ten horns of Daniel's beast would thus refer to the ten nations of the Axis Powers during the Second World War - Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Croatia and Thailand. And if we are to accept this interpretation, it gives us a key to unlock the meaning behind many other portions of the Book of Revelation - such as the meaning of the Four Horsemen, and how both the Apocalypse and the Book of Daniel appear to have foretold the Jewish Holocaust (which I will discuss in future posts).
At the same moment the False Prophet was coming to power as the most influential person on the planet in January 1933, Our Lady was appearing at Beauraing in the very same month to the humblest of individuals - poor European children of no influence whatsoever who would be greatly affected by the war.
Just as the False Prophet is modelled after Antiochus IV Ephiphanes, so it seems that the Antichrist is be modelled after the most notorious persecutor of Christians - the Emperor Nero. Does this suggest that there will be a future persecution of Christians still to come under the Antichrist? A persecution similar in nature to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust? Or are we already enduring an invisible persecution in the present Great Apostasy - a persecution which seeks to destroy our souls rather than our physical bodies? The present situation is vastly more destructive to the Christian faith than any physical act of persecution could ever hope to accomplish. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. But when the persecution of Christianity takes place invisibly, through social engineering via the medium of modern communications technology, then it becomes a lot more insidious indeed.


Anne said...

A great piece. I wish you abundant Blessings in 2011.

Anne said...

Sorry! Blessings for 2012 and beyond!

Emmett O'Regan said...

Thanks Anne!
An easy mistake to make - I can't believe it's almost 2012 already myself! I hope to be able to write something on the significance of the year 2012 sometime soon. Although I don't go into it in the book, I thought it is an interesting topic in its own right. I have been in regular correspondence with an author who has a compelling alternative to this date, based upon the the actual length of the Mayan time unit of a baktun - which is different from the symbolic time unit people use to calculate the 2012 date.
Happy New Year!

Anne said...

I can't wait to read that Emmett.

Peace and All Good to you in 2012.

Maureen said...

Great work, Emmett. Amazing really... Thanks for sharing your insight!

Emmett O'Regan said...

Thanks Maureen!

Gretchen said...

How's this for social engineering:

I am very concerned about the implications of this latest attack on human life and the church.

Emmett O'Regan said...

Thanks for the link Gretchen.
It is of deep concern that persecution can take such subtle steps, so as to creep up on believers unaware - as a lion stalks its prey (1Pet 5:8). It seems that the prophesied persecution of Christians is already taking nascent form in the guise of such liberities, which I'm sure will have even wider implications in the future...

Anonymous said...

Pope Francis is the false prophet.