Thoughts on the “False Prophet”

 

 

We sent the following thoughts out to various brothers and sisters a couple of weeks ago on the subject of the False Prophet.  The effort was not put into the organization of these comments as one would do in putting together an article or lecture but we thought a few passing remarks were in order considering the fact that there seems to be a growing number of brethren who are making careless assumptions regarding the true identity of the False Prophet.  It was felt that maybe a few observations would be in order.  Since sending this message out we have not had the time to develop these thoughts into a “true” article but offer these remarks for posting on our ecclesial web-site just the same.  We appreciate the comments that we have received back from some of the recipients of the original message and have provided a couple of the responses at the end of this message.

 

 

 

Brothers and Sisters,

 

This is by no means meant to be an article or an exhaustive dealing with the matter at hand, but these are things I felt needed mentioning.   In recent years there has been a tendency by some, and maybe by some of you who receive this e-mail, to identify the “False Prophet  (Rev. 16:13; 19:10; 20:10) as “militant Islam” rather then the Papacy.  A growth in “Islamic radicalism” lately has led some Christadelphians to believe that the more traditional view of the issue is outdated.  It needs to be realized that a belief that “Islam” is to be identified as the “False Prophet” is not a new idea.  I came across a quote from the Encyclopedia Britannica that states in relation to this matter:

 

When Islam was founded in the 7th Century as a new, higher religion, it considered the revelation received by the Prophet Muhammad to be superior to the former levels of Old and New Testament revelation.  Christianity fought Islam as a Christian heresy…this new threat was seen as the fulfillment of the Apocalypse concerning the coming of the False prophet.  (Emphasis added.)

 

So is was the Catholics who first identified Islam as the “False Prophet”, which should be no surprise that they would be very quick to identify the concept with someone else rather then themselves.  The Catholics continued this method (as you all know) of turning around prophetic passages that were in fact referring to them, especially with the formation of the Jesuit sect to defend the honor of the Papacy against the actions of the Protestant movement who were loudly and correctly (despite their own doctrinal shortcomings) pointing the finger at the Catholic Church as the “False Prophet”, “Harlot”, “Man of Sin”, etc.  The idea of “Islam” as the “False Prophet” is not supported in the scriptures and unfortunately risks falling prey to the Roman Catholic diversion itself.

 

It also should be understood that to be a “False Prophet”, in relation to the way it is used in the scriptures, such a one needs to have had roots in the Truth or certain relationship to it as to be any real spiritual threat to the Truth.  A false prophet is one who deceives and promotes error while pretending to be representative of God’s will.  We have to remember that Catholicism came out of the True Ecclesia and in fact deceived and promoted error – hence a “False Prophet”.  True believers, as well as many close to the Truth, have understood this identification through the centuries.  Islam does not share the same relationship to the early ecclesia, though no doubt it also teaches error.  Catholicism is the Apostasy or falling away spoken of in the scriptures and one of the main subjects of the Apocalypse.  There are many false religions in this world besides Catholicism including Islam, Buddhism, and other various isms.  But no other world religion can trace its roots out of the True Ecclesia except for the Catholic System, which is why the terms “harlot”, and “false prophet” are so fitting.  And Islam did not have a hand in distorting and apostatizing the true Faith.  It was not a deceiving or "false prophet" element in making a mess out of Christ's ecclesia.  Islam does not have a central leader that claims to be "the vicar of Christ", "infallible", "The Holy Father", and etc. - a claim of a "false prophet".   And there is no other religious system that has persecuted both natural and spiritual Israel the way the Catholic system has, nor has made a wreck of "the truth as it is in Jesus".  There is also no other religious system, including Islam, which fits the description given to the “False Prophet” in Rev. 19:20 “that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worship his image.”   No one has wrought fraudulent “miracles” on the scale that Catholicism has claimed and still claims.  It also should be noticed that this passage takes us directly back to Revelation 13, which has no reference to Islam whatsoever, but is a symbolic and detailed account of the Catholic System and the Holy Roman Empire.

 

We know that the rise of Mohammedism is spoken of in Revelation 9 as a punishment on both the Eastern and Western portions of  Apostasy, which became a painful thorn in Catholicism’s side for centuries, having a profound affect on the course of world history.  "Militantism" has always characterized this movement so this is really nothing new.   By no means do we wish to minimize the role of the Islamic religion, nor the role that some of the Arab nations have played in history and are playing in current events.  But that does not mean that we force interpretations on symbols in the scriptures that just do not fit the evidence and clues that the scriptures themselves give us.  Unquestionably many of the Arab countries and greater Islamic world are anti Israel.  And no doubt the Divine hand will take care of that.  But it cannot be forgotten that the Catholic system is anti Israel as well and very much has visions of grandeur in regards to one day ruling over Jerusalem as an “international city”.  The sins of the Catholic Church against the Jewish people over the centuries are utterly profound, and her political influence against current Jewish interests is in overdrive as we speak.  Her anti Israel and humanistic policies (spirits), along with the “dragon”, and “beast”, are bringing the world ever closer to the Armageddon that is promised Rev. 16.  We have to be careful not to lose sight of these important facts.      

 

One final quote I think is interesting comes from Bro. Thomas who was very aware during his time of those who thought that the “False Prophet” should be identified with Islam.  He states: 

 

“Protestant and papal scribes are in the habit of applying the epithet “false prophet” to Mohammed, and therefore do not perceive its applicability to the Roman bishop.  But neither Mohammed, nor his successors, are termed the “false prophet” in the apocalypse.  The Arabian was false enough doubtless; but he was a far more respectable character than any pope that has ever reigned; and were I to choose between the two superstitions, I would rather be a Moslem than a papist.  It was the glory of Mohammed to destroy idolatry; it is the infamy of the popes to be the high priests of the “queen of heaven”…The epithet “false prophet” is singularly applicable to the Roman bishop.  It is a part of his function to preach or prophesy; that is, to “speak unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.”  From him these blessings are supposed to flow to all “his children.”  Aaron was given to Moses to be his prophet because he could speak well. As Aaron then, was speaker, mouth, or prophet, to Moses; so the pope is now mouth, or prophet, or speaker, of the papacy, and no more.  He is virtually stripped of his dominions; he can prophesy, but his rule is a thing of name, and not a fact.  A false prophet is he; truthless as Satan; sporting himself with his own deceivings, and thereby provoking a speedy fate, which is “capture and destruction.””     

-Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Volume I, pp. 73, 74

 

These are just some things to consider.  Much more could be said on the matter.

 

 

 

 

Here a couple of additional comments from our correspondence that provide points that are of interest in regards to the subject:

 

 

§         I think that it is interesting to note the consistency in the Scriptures concerning prophetic identifications. Also, I imagine that under the Messiah's leadership it will be much easier for the Muslim nations (the largest growing religion on earth today) to accept his rule since they will not have the same struggle rejecting the superstition of the trinity that the apostate and pagan world will have.

 

This has some background historically since the churches in the East under the Byzantine Empire were already strongly affected by the iconoclastic controversy not too long before the rise of Islam. Some scholars believe that the local population found it easy to accept Islam because there was already a grass-roots background in the East rejecting much of the papal trappings, icons and the trinity and the like. And in fact, quite allot of the East fell to Islam without hardly a fight.

 

We know from the Scriptures that the Arab nations (with the exception of the Palestinians in my view) will survive the Messianic invasion after being subdued. I think that they too will fall easily, nothing like the opposition that Europe will put up.

-Faith Erickson Gini

 

 

§         …among the things left unsaid would include the fact that according to latter-day prophecy Syria (Iraq) will be part of a, pardon the expression, ( triune) of nations that will share in the glory of Israel....Egypt being the other nation.  These nations will not be utterly destroyed...In fact, I believe this other son of Abraham will have a significant role to play as a servant to Israel..... 

 

This, however, is not the fate of the false profit.....a bottomless pit and utter destruction is what I gather from John.....the "harlot" will no longer be a problem to her....

            -Stuart Sanders