Read verses 11-13
Q: What is the difference between coming from the sea versus “coming up out of the earth”?
A: Whereas the biblical metaphor of the sea is the Gentile nations, coming from the land like this is the biblical metaphor for Israel. This indicates that the figure we have come to call the “False Prophet” is ethnically Jewish.
Q: Does that automatically disqualify him from having any non-Jewish connections?
A: No. The Church is composed of both Jew and Gentile. In 1 John 2:19 it is stated that antichrist figures go out “from us, but they were not really from us”. In the character of Herod he can cross over into many other things in spite of his ethnicity.
Q: Why do you suppose at least one of these two beasts has to be ethnically Jewish?
A: Judaism has historically experienced false christs, both before and after Jesus, and they are always Jewish. They are spiritually disposed toward following a Jewish Antichrist.
Point: Those who insist that the Antichrist is exclusively Gentile (many even say of Islamic origin) and those restricting the possibility to his only being a Jew may both be technically correct, but not taking into account that there are two beasts who are BOTH Antichrist.
Q: How is the theme of a counterfeiting Christ continued in this second beast?
A: “…he had two horns like a lamb”, so that there is a visible resemblance, but “he spoke as a dragon”—that is, he is spiritually motivated by Satan.
Q: How is this working of Satan illustrated in John’s vision?
A: By the fact that Satan is standing on the shore between the two. What is essentially illustrated is a counterfeit Trinity attempting to effect a substitute for the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Q: What does the second beast lack when compared to the first?
A: He has horns, but no crowns, which symbolize authority. This is explained by the fact that “He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence”.
Point: The False Prophet does not operate outside the Antichrist’s presence in a visible example of his devotion and service to him.
Q: What is the chief responsibility of the False Prophet?
A: To get everyone to “worship the first beast”.
Q: Who is the False prophet counterfeiting in not just performing “great signs”, but even making “fire come down out of heaven”?
A: The Two Witnesses effect many authentic signs from God including “fire come down out of heaven”. (Rev. 11:5) This also replays the Exodus motif when, to a point, Pharaoh’s magicians duplicated the first few signs of Aaron and Moses.
Q: Why might it be important that the biblical text here indicates that the signs the False Prophet performs takes place “in the presence of men”?
A: This proves that these are literal, real miracles which take place in the earthly realm and that they cannot simply be allegorized or spiritualized away as something else.
Q: However, how does the text also indicate that he is limited in what he can do?
A: They are qualified as “the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast”, whereas the Two Witnesses “have the power…to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire”. (Rev. 11:6)
Observation: Another significant difference between the Two Witnesses and the False Prophet is that whereas they “will prophesy” (Rev. 11:3, 6)—that is, speak the Word of God, the False Prophet “spoke as a dragon”—speaks the word of Satan.
Point: The primary purpose of the second beast—the False Prophet, is to deify and engender worship of the Antichrist, the first beast.