Is there an end times unholy trinity? Who is part of the unholy trinity?
Some students of Bible prophecy refer to an "unholy trinity." This concept comes from Revelation 12 and 13, which describes three evil beings who will deceive many in the end times. These three beings are Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
Satan is a mimic and impersonator. One way he deceives people is by putting forward inferior copies of the real thing. In the last days, Satan will form a sham trinity. He will play the part of God the Father; the Antichrist will stand in for the Son, even to the point of being healed of a "mortal wound" (Revelation 13:3); and the False Prophet will take the role of the Holy Spirit, glorifying the Antichrist. Satan has always wanted to be "like the Most High" (Isaiah 14:14), and this false godhead is another attempt to fabricate godhood for himself.
Satan is found in the Bible from beginning to end. In Genesis 3, he is the serpent in the garden. In Revelation 12:9, Satan is "the great dragon . . . that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world."
The Antichrist is also discussed in Revelation 12 and 13, but there he is pictured as the first of two beasts; the Antichrist is "the beast" that comes "out of the sea." The name "Antichrist" is only used in 1 John and 2 John. There we find that:
-the Antichrist is coming: "Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).
-the Antichrist denies the Father and the Son: "Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son" (1 John 2:22).
-The spirit of the Antichrist denies Jesus is from God: "Every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already" (1 John 4:3).
-Antichrist denies Jesus came in a physical body: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 John 1:7).
Revelation 13:1-8 describe the Antichrist's activities:
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?"
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.
Many interpretations have been offered regarding the ten horns, seven heads, and ten diadems on its horns. However, what is clear is that during a 42-month period (half of the future seven-year tribulation), this Antichrist will serve as a global leader who blasphemes God, His name, and heaven. Empowered by Satan himself, he will persecute the "saints" (probably people who turn to Christ during the tribulation period) and "conquer" them (resulting in the deaths of many believers). Not only will he rule the earth, but he will also demand that every person worship him.
The False Prophet is the "second beast" which rises "out of the earth." The False Prophet is described in Revelation 13:11-18:
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.
This False Prophet will appear to be gentle (like a lamb) but will speak evil (like a dragon). He will make people worship the Antichrist, perform great signs, and force people to worship an image of the Antichrist. Finally, he will require all people to obtain some sort of a mark on the right hand or forehead. Without this mark, people will be unable to buy or sell anything.
This unholy trinity—Satan, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet—is the opposite of the true Triune God consisting of the Father, Son, and Spirit. The evil beings comprising the unholy trinity will cause much devastation, but their power will be limited to a short period of time. At the end of their rule, Jesus will return in victory and ultimately establish a new heaven and new earth. All evil will be removed, and God will dwell with His people forever (Luke 1:32-33; Isaiah 60:21).
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