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by Steve Ashburn


In Part 1 of this series, we saw that the false prophet was a religious leader who arose from Israel, was deeply trained in the occult, and who was able to force people worldwide to receive the mark of the beast and to worship the Antichrist as God. This mark—required by everyone in order to buy and sell and to demonstrate loyalty to the beast—was probably both an electronically readable (RFID?) implant underneath the skin of the right hand, and a visible tattoo (swastika?) on the forehead. This scheme facilitated both ecommerce and also easy identification of those loyal to the beast. 

The effect of all this is that everyone on earth—whose names have not been written in the book of life—will take the mark, knowing full well what they are doing and thereafter suffering the judgments of the second half of the tribulation, which Jesus called “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). Once a person has taken the mark, they are eternally lost and cannot ever be saved, as Revelation 14 indicates. 

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:9–11) 

Not everyone will take the mark. Revelation 7 specifically mentions 144,000 Jewish witnesses who will be sealed with “the seal of the living God . . . in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:2–3). These saints—who are divinely protected during the tribulation—function as evangelists during this terrible time, warning people to repent of their sins and not to take the mark of the beast. As a result of their witness, many people will refuse to take the mark. Revelation 7:9, 14 mention “a great multitude, which no man could number” which “came out of great tribulation.” Revelation 9:4 indicates that each person who repents of their sins and receives Jesus as their Savior during the tribulation also will have “the seal of God in their foreheads.” 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4) 

Apparently, the penalty for not taking the mark of the beast will be death by beheading. However, those who refuse to worship the beast or to take his mark will be resurrected at the end of the tribulation, and will thereafter be given thrones (authority) and will live and reign with Christ during the millennium. 

The false prophet also will be a religious leader, and perhaps the head of the world’s religious system in the years before the Antichrist sits in the temple and demands to be worshipped as God. Many evangelicals have identified this religious system as “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth” in Revelation 17:5, which is seen as riding on the world’s political empires from the time of ancient Babylon until the tribulation.  

The traditional interpretation has been to assume that the entire world will have one religious system, which will be destroyed at the midpoint of the tribulation in favor of worship of the beast himself. This false religious system is assumed to be headquartered in Babylon, the capital city of the beast. Many Bible prophecy scholars have assumed this woman to represent false religion because Revelation 17 identifies her as a “whore”—a common epithet for false religion. This great system, representing worship of a false god instead of the true God, is responsible for “the blood of the saints, and . . . the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” and “of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 17:6; 18:24).  

While the false prophet indeed may be a prominent religious leader, the term “Mystery Babylon” in our text passage implies more than just false religion. This term clearly is defined in Revelation 17:18 as, “that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” This city is the Antichrist’s capital, the head of world commerce and trading. The very same woman in Revelation 17:5 which symbolizes this global financial system also is presented in Zechariah 5:5-11 as “wickedness” and is pictured being carried to “the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.”  

In proper context then, the woman seems to represent central banking, i.e. the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland and its subsidiary central banks, who, in fact, dictate national policy to their respective sovereign governments through the mechanism of debt. Operational control of worldwide markets then is executed through the proprietary trading desks of secondary banks, hedge funds, and high-frequency trading (HFT) firms, which are closely linked to these central banks.  

Apparently, BIS (or its future form) will be moved to Babylon sometime shortly before or during the tribulation. Revelation 17:3 pictures it being established in the “wilderness,” which in context seems to be the same “wilderness” as Isaiah 23:13 where the Antichrist (“the Assyrian”) will build his capital city, Babylon. We saw in the previous series on “Who is the Antichrist” that this would be located in the vicinity of present-day Mosul, Iraq (ancient Nineveh). 

While there is nothing inherently wrong with commerce and trading by itself, the Bible says that covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). The woman pictured in our Scripture verses, in fact, seems to refer to the worldwide worship of money (and its corrupt manipulation and control) rather than the true God of creation. Quite frankly, the whole basis of war and murder has been to take other people’s property, in that “ye kill, and desire to have . . . ye fight and war, yet ye have not” (James 4:2). Therefore, the woman is pictured holding a cup full of blood, “drunken with the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:6).  

In this connection, there is considerable evidence that the global conflicts of the twentieth century, and the formation of central banks and of income tax, was instigated by a small cabal of financial elitists through the agency of BIS and like organizations, for the purpose of destroying national sovereignty and establishing world government and finance. Income tax is basically a mechanism for stripping the public of their money, while central banks are basically a slush fund to pay for wars and other schemes planned by the global elite. 

Down through the centuries since Babel, God has refrained from judging the entire world for worshipping money. However, during the tribulation, this all will come to a head, resulting in a series of judgments upon the world for their idolatry. Ironically, it is tribulation saints who will be blamed for these judgments and killed, while the rest of the world repented not “of their thefts” (Revelation 9:21). Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3), and the worship of money very subtly turns people away from God toward this idol. This is a major theme of Revelation and of the Bible as a whole, since men must be saved by spiritual conversion by faith in Jesus Christ, and idolatry greatly interferes with the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. 

We see evidence of “Mystery Babylon” in our world today, in the form of manipulation of stock, bond, and commodities markets, and in financial repression by central banks so that interest rates remain essentially zero, or even negative. This has resulted in worldwide markets continuing to melt up despite negative economic fundamentals, because of ongoing, continuous debt monetization and currency dilution by central banks. In addition, corporations selfishly have raised the price of their own stock by carrying out massive stock buybacks financed by borrowing money at zero percent interest, instead of investing that capital in plant equipment and research & development.  

During the tribulation, this corrupt system of financial manipulation and control—carried out by central banks and their financial partners—will become even more centralized in the world capital of Babylon. Finally, at the midpoint of the tribulation, the governments of the earth will destroy this corrupt financial system, appropriate all her assets, and do away with money completely in favor of worship of the beast himself: “these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16). Thus, the worship of money will be transferred to the worship of the Antichrist—and to Satan directly. Instead of money, men will have the mark of the beast—an electronic credit card implanted in their forehead or hand—so that “no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:17). 

Other religions probably will be allowed—or even encouraged—by the Antichrist, just as they are now. Remember, it’s the corrupt system of financial manipulation (“Mystery Babylon”) which will be destroyed by world governments, not false religion. This means, for example, that during the great tribulation a person could take the mark of the beast and practice his or her own false religion at the same time. After all, the devil doesn’t care how a person goes to hell, as long as he or she gets there eventually.  

This subtle system is similar to that during the persecution of early Christians by the Romans: Their government at the time did not exactly prohibit the practice of Christianity; they just required all citizens to worship Caesar as well (and executed those who refused). This requirement, of course, violated the First Commandment and proved that those who compromised with it were really pagans to begin with. Thus, the rally cry of tribulation saints will be the same as their first century brethren: “Jesus is Lord, and none other!” 

Another false religious leader is described in Zechariah 11. Like the false prophet, he also arises from the land, neglects his flock, and treats them with force and cruelty. 

And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For, lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that that is broken, nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened. (Zechariah 11:15–17) 

He is described as devouring the fat sheep (spoiling the wealthy of their possessions) and tearing their claws in pieces (stripping their power and privilege). He is then described as “the idol shepherd” who leads Israel to worship an idol (the image of the beast) instead of the true God. It seems reasonable to conclude that this malignant destroyer is the same as the false prophet of Revelation. 

Zechariah also indicates that his right arm will be withered and his right eye blinded because of a sword wound. The description given here in Zechariah of the false prophet is of a malignant Jewish religious leader—deeply trained in the occult—arising from Israel in the end times, who will become wounded somehow by sword or armament and will have a paralyzed right arm and be blind in his right eye. This should provide more than enough information for those living in the end times to identify this man, along with the Antichrist. 

The false prophet plays an important role in deceiving the world into worshipping the Antichrist as God during the great tribulation, through the occultic signs he is allowed to perform. Those people so deceived by their own sin will be subject to the awful judgments of the tribulation.  

I have provided a concise summary of these judgments in my recently published book, END TIMES DAWNING: Get Ready! (available from Please read it! Also if you would, please leave a book review on Amazon!  

Yours in Christ, 

Steve Ashburn



[This article was published on September 27, 2020]


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