Turn to and read Revelation 13:1-18.
According to the International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition, counterfeiting is a federal and state crime, involving the manufacturing or distribution of goods under someone else's name, and without their permission.
Counterfeit goods are generally made from lower quality components, in an attempt to sell a cheap imitation of similar goods produced by brands consumers know and trust.
In Fiscal Year 2013, the Department of Homeland Security seized counterfeit goods valued at over $1.7 billion at U.S. borders.
The International Chamber Commerce estimated that, in 2015, 1.7 trillion dollars worth of pirated and counterfeit merchandise was globally traded.
While we most often think of counterfeiting in terms of counterfeit money, industries that are affected include Apparel, Footwear & Accessories, Cosmetics & Personal Care, Electronics & Appliances, and Entertainment & Media.
Should it then come as any surprise that Satan is the greatest counterfeiter that the world has ever known.
And, we see his greatest work here in the verses of Revelation chapter 13.
The Unholy Trinity
In Revelation chapter 13 we are fully introduced to the unholy trinity which is made up of the dragon, Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
In chapter 13 both the antichrist and the false prophet are introduced as “beasts.”
Many writers have noted the parallel between this unholy trio and the divine Trinity.
The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet seem almost intentionally to be counterfeiting the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, respectively, in a last-ditch effort to remove God from His throne and destroy the saints of God.
The Dragon - Satan
We were introduced to the dragon in chapter 12.
Satan is the power behind the unholy trinity.
Satan, at this point, is getting what he has always wanted - to be worshipped.
However, this worship will be short-lived, as we will see as we continue our study of the Revelation.
Do you remember the scene right before Christ’s earthly ministry begins when He is tempted by the devil?
I want you to notice the admission of the devil there in Luke 4:6...
Even the devil understands that what he is able to “give” is not his but was given to him!
I like this that has been said...
“Though [Satan] would like people to think so, he is not the opposite of God.
God is all-powerful, everywhere present, and all-knowing.
Satan is none of these.
He does not have unlimited power, he cannot be everywhere at once, and he does not know everything.
He is a created, limited being.
He depends upon God for his existence.”
There is coming a day when even the devil himself will bow the knee before Jesus Christ!
Satan is a counterfeit!
The First Beast - The Antichrist
This first beast which John sees is the antichrist.
He is the consummate politician.
He will be everything that every other world leader from Nimrod to Nero to Hitler has ever hoped to be.
He will be the political leader who will unite all the world’s national powers together against God!
From vs. 2 we see that this beast is a combination of all of the world powers that Daniel saw in Daniel chapter 7.
The Lord Jesus could say of Himself.
“He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”
Here is Satan’s imitation of the incarnation.
He conjures up a man, a beast, who bears all the characteristics of Satan himself.
Whatever Satan is in his person, his nature, and his personality, so is the Beast.
He is the visible expression of the invisible devil.
He who has seen the Beast has seen the father of lies himself in his outward manifestation.
Every line of Satan’s character is faithfully reproduced in the character of the Beast.
He and his father are one in family likeness.
Just as Jesus Christ was and is the visible manifestation of God the Father so the antichrist will be the visible manifestation of the devil himself.
Now, when we come to vs. 3...
The anitchrist is a counterfeit and, in Revelation 13:3, we see the devil’s counterfeit of Christ's resurrection.
The time of the tribulation will be a time of supernatural activity and miracles.
Think back to Revelation chapter 11 where we are introduced to God’s two witnesses.
For three and half years they have been the enemy of the antichrist.
The two witnesses, perform miracles for their protection.
Could it be possible that, as the devil deals the final blow to the two witnesses, causing their deaths, that the two witnesses are able to strike the antichrist with a deadly wound from which he dies?
Then, through the power of the Satan, the antichrist is brought to life again.
As God raised Jesus from the dead, Satan could raise his representative from the dead, for he does have a certain power over death.
Some additional passages of Scripture that you can consider in this regards would be Revelation 11:7; 17:8,11.
Notice, the dwellers upon earth say, “Who is like unto the beast?” and they worship the antichrist!
“Conceive, if you can, the most attractive features of the great world leaders combined in one man.
Satan has such a man, and when he comes the leaders of nations will yield their thrones to him.
Men will not flee from him but instead will idolize him.”
- Lehman Strauss
But we must remember that he, the antichrist, is merely a counterfeit!
The Second Beast - The False Prophet
While in this chapter he is referred to as “another beast,” he is three times later in Revelation called “the false prophet.”
(You’ll remember one of those passages being Revelation 16:13.)
This beast - the false prophet - will be the leader of a one-world religion.
I believe that this false prophet will unite all of the world’s religions under the banner of the Roman Catholic church.
The modern ecumenical movement, active among apostate Protestant churches in the first half of the twentieth century, then essentially combining (or at least fellowshiping) with the Catholic and Orthodox churches in the second half of the twentieth century, will eventually amalgamate with all other world religions, especially after the departure of all true churches to be with Christ [in the rapture].
- Dr. Henry Morris
I would like you to notice what this false prophet does..
He points the world’s population to worship the antichrist.
That is exactly what the Holy Ghost does.
He points people to worship Jesus Christ.
This false prophet deceives the world’s population through miracles.
Turn to and read 1 Kings 18:21-24, 36-39.
This fire, sent by God from heaven, was confirmation that God was God and that Elijah was his prophet.
In Revelation chapter 13, the world’s population will accept this false prophet as a real prophet and will accept the devil as god.
The dragon, the antichrist, and the false prophets are counterfeits!
The devil has been able to fool countless millions of people straight into a Christ-less eternity.
That deception is going to only get worse.
What is amazing to me is the fact that while the world has rejected God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit - and will continue to do so even throughout the tribulation - there is coming a day when the world will readily accept this counterfeit trinity - the devil, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
There is one last thing regarding this unholy trinity that I would like to point out...
During the tribulation, the world’s population will swallow this unholy trinity “hook, line and sinker” to the point that they will willingly lay aside everything to be identified with the dragon, the antichrist, and the false prophet.
They will willingly take the mark of the beast, the number “666.”
Aside from the Jewish remnant, there will no longer be any hindrances to the devil to use politics and religion to unite all of mankind for one final battle against God!
A battle that will be as quick as it is decisive in vindicating the Lord God.
Our Defense Against the Unholy Trinity
I would like for all of us to understand that, even now, the devil is alive and feverishly at work.
Our only defense, to keep us from experiencing Revelation chapter 13 is found in vs. 8 of our text.
Our defense is to have our names written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Our defense is salvation.
But, as I said, the devil is at work even now.
How do we defeat the devil tomorrow morning as we head to work?
Turn to and read Ephesians 6:10-18.
Is there hope for the unsaved?
Just as Bro.
Prettyman reminded us in his update video this morning, we must constantly be sowing the seed of the Gospel!