By Todd Strandberg
One of the greatest misconceptions in Bible prophecy is the belief that the Antichrist and his sidekick, the False Prophet, will be people of an unmistakable evil nature. This view is so strong that some of history’s greatest mass murders have been labeled as Antichrist contenders.
The Bible actually paints a picture of men who are initially, extremely well-liked. The Antichrist will come and magically solve most of the world’s economic and political problems. Revelation 13:4 says that the people’s approval of him will so great, they openly, “Worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'”
The False Prophet also will be a very likeable individual. He is described as a lamb that speaks like a dragon, which means he will be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. His primary end-time roll is to act as the Antichrist’s main cheerleader, but will also have special powers that allow him to perform miracles deceiving vast numbers of people:
“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast” (Revelation 13:12-14).
I’ve always found it unproductive to speculate about the identity of the Antichrist. The Bible says he will not be clearly known until the second half of the Tribulation. Since he is a political figure, he could appear out of nowhere.
I think the False Prophet is more likely to be spotted-ahead of the Tribulation hour. Because religious organizations are generally static keeping their leadership in office for several years, there is great chance of a current religious leader fulfilling this role.
I have been truly amazed at how strongly Pope Francis comes on as a possible candidate for the role of the False Prophet. He hasn’t even been in office for one year and he has achieved a rock star following. In fact, he was just on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. On a wall near the Vatican is a graffiti image of the pope as superman, flying through the air with his white cape billowing out behind him.
Actor, Kirk Douglas, regularly writes editorials for newspapers and in one of his articles he called Pope Francis, “A good man for all religions.” When considering that the False Prophet will head a harlot church-an amalgamation of all world religions-the Douglas title takes on an ominous nature.
My problem with Pope Francis is not just with how he may fit into Bible prophecy. His doctrinal beliefs are what have me most concerned. When asked about his views on same-sex marriage he responded, “Who am I to judge?” He has openly asked atheists to join the prayerful in promoting peace. He has also been one the ecumenical popes holding ceremonies with leaders of other religions.
The most troubling sign is the warm relationship he has developed with the liberal media. The Bible warns that the true gospel message will normally cause people to be offended. The “love” gospel message that Pope Francis promotes is music to the ears of a press that hate any moral guidelines. The Pope has become the king of religious fluff with headlines like: “Pope Francis Warns Unemployment Can Lead to Suicide” and “Pope Francis Gladly Blesses Parrot Belonging to Male Stripper.”
A few days ago, an interesting thing happened while Pope Francis was addressing tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. He had two white doves released by children standing next to him-while he prayed for a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the Ukraine. Once the doves where let go, both were immediately attacked by a crow and seagull; I can only wonder if God was trying to show that empty symbolism is no match for evil forces that wish to devour us.
We must be close to the Tribulation hour because there are several people that have me wondering if they have some end-time role. Putin has the perfect characteristics of the Gog leader. Last week, the anti-Israeli President Obama said, lasting peace requires, “Access to holy sites [Temple Mount] for all faiths.”
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).