Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the second beast, the beast out of the earth (13:11-18).
Revelation 13:11 says, “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth.” This beast is the false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10). Since the earth, the land, signifies the nation of Israel, this beast, the false prophet, will come out of the Jewish nation. Some students of prophecy believe that the false prophet will be Judas Iscariot. I believe this view is correct. According to Acts 1:25, after his death Judas went “to his own place,” rather than to “his people,” as was the case with others recorded in Scripture (Gen. 25:17; 35:29). Although there have been many false persons in history, no one was as filled with Satan as Judas was. Jesus said, “Did not I choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil? Now He spoke of Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, being one of the twelve, would betray Him” (John 6:70-71). Here we see that the Lord Jesus even called Judas a devil. Because Judas was filled with the Devil, he was one with the Devil. No one other than Judas matches the description of the false prophet.
Let us consider further the significance of Judas’ going “to his own place.” According to the record in the Bible, Elijah was raptured to God, and the body of Moses was kept by God for a specific purpose. In addition, we have seen that the spirit of Nero is being kept in the abyss. Undoubtedly, the spirit of Judas is also being kept in a particular place. Only when we come to the book of Revelation do we see why the Bible gives us this particular record of these four people.
During the time of the great tribulation, the Lord’s people on earth will need strengthening. Because God foreknew this, He has sovereignly kept Moses and Elijah for His testimony during that time. God is also keeping Nero and Judas, but, in contrast to Moses and Elijah, they are not in a pleasant place. One is in the abyss, and the other is in “his own place.” Although I do not know what this place is, I am confident that it is not a place of joy. Hence, two people have been kept by God for His positive purpose and two others have been kept for His negative purpose. The spirit of Nero is being held in the abyss until the time it will fully constitute the last Caesar of the Roman Empire as Antichrist. Judas is kept in his own place until he appears as the false prophet. By God’s sovereign keeping of these four people, we can see that the whole universe and the entire human race is under God’s sovereign hand. Nothing happens accidentally. Rather, everything takes place according to God’s sovereign arrangement.
Centuries ago, God prepared Moses and Elijah. As we have pointed out, Moses represents the law, and Elijah, the prophets. In ancient times, the Jews referred to the Old Testament as “the law and the prophets.” Because Moses and Elijah are two witnesses, they have been purposely kept by God. One day, after Satan has been cast down to earth and embodied in Antichrist, who will exercise satanic power to persecute God’s people, God will send these two witnesses back to strengthen His people. At that time, Satan will call out Judas to work for him as he did once before. Just as the spirit of Nero will emerge from the abyss to become Antichrist, so Judas will come out of his own place to become the false prophet. Therefore, during the three and a half years of the great tribulation, four special persons will be on earth—Moses, Elijah, Nero, and Judas. Probably all four will meet one another face to face. I wonder what Moses and Elijah will say to Judas. Moses and Elijah will be the anti-testimony to Antichrist and the false prophet. Imagine what a situation that will be when these four confront one another!
Revelation 13:11 says that the other beast, the false prophet, will come up out of the earth. Geographically, he will come from underneath the earth, and symbolically he will come from the nation of Israel. We have seen that the land signifies the nation of Israel. For this reason, the false prophet will certainly come out of the nation of Israel. He must be one of the Jewish people.
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