The False Prophet = the Antichrist
1John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour.
1John 4:1-3 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
2John 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.
These terms show conclusively that John, author of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, understood the terms false prophet and antichrist to be synonymous. He clearly used them interchangeably. It is ironic that we are so used to calling the one specifically prophesied Antichrist by that very title, that we ignore the fact that John is the only NT writer to even call him ‘Antichrist’ and yet he and Paul used other names for this figure.
As we can see from the first quote given, 1John 2:18, all Christians were expecting a particular Antichrist to come. Pauls refers to this figure as the ‘lawless one’ – the man of lawlessness and the son of destruction who should come: i) empowered by Satan; ii) with false signs and false wonders to deceive the wicked; and iii) blasphemously exalting himself, within the temple of God, to the title of God on earth (2Thessalonians 2:3-12).
i) In Revelation 13, we see the first beast, i.e. the Pagan Roman Empire. The dragon, later revealed to be Satan, is the one who gives this empire its authority (Revelation 13:2 & 4). Now the second beast of this chapter is also empowered by Satan, as it exercises the same power as the first beast (Revelation 13:11-12).
ii) The identity of this second beast is also revealed as ‘the false prophet’ who performed false wonders, creating an image of the first beast, seeming to give life to it and causing people to receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 19:20). This is precisely what the second beast of Revelation 13 does.
iii) The blasphemous names on the whore who rides the first beast (Revelation 17) are synonymous with the blasphemies that the False Prophet causes the revived first beast to speak (Revelation 13:5-6 & 15). Rather than a whore riding the ten-horned first beast, Daniel prophesies of the Antichrist as a ‘little horn’ which rises up amongst the ten other horns and has dominion over them. He also speaks blasphemously (Daniel 7:8 & 20) and like the False Prophet makes war with the saints and overcomes them (Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 13:7).
For now, the point is proven that the False Prophet is the Antichrist. But who is or was the Antichrist?
(All Scripture quotes from ESV unless specified otherwise)