13:11–18 The beast from the earth, also called the false prophet (16:13; 19:20; 20:10), functions as a propagandist for the beast. His actions counterfeit the witness of the Holy Spirit (see Introduction: Characteristics and Themes: Other Features). In first-century Asia Minor, the main propagandists would have been priests of the emperor cult and the “Commune of Asia,” a council of distinguished city representatives promoting loyalty to the emperor. In modern times as well, totalitarianism enlists propagandists. Just before the Second Coming, counterfeit miracles will accompany the appearance of the “man of lawlessness” (2 Thess. 2:3, 9). The false prophet embodies a repeatable pattern (Introduction: Interpretive Difficulties).
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