5 The Revelation of the Beast


We turn now to a subject that occupies a very important place in the book of Revelation — that of the beast. Perhaps an earlier warning should be repeated here: the prophecies of Revelation point to some startling conclusions. Bible prophecy is given to prepare God's servants for unexpected developments. There would be no great advantage in receiving predictions of events that one could have guessed about. We of all people ought to know that Bible prophecies about the fate of ancient cities, the history of the Jewish nation, the birth, life and death of the Son of God, read like fantasy. Yet these unlikely predictions have become facts; unbelievable things have come to pass. So do not dismiss too lightly the interpretations that follow if they should seem unlikely by human reckoning. The book of Revelation invites us to expect the unexpected. For example:

"... they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life . . . when they behold the beast . . ." (17:8).

A challenge indeed!

Here the reader must come to terms with the fact that from now on progress is bound to be much slower. There are long passages of Scripture to be read and details to be scrutinised; parallels to be noted; conclusions to be drawn. It will help if, before following the arguments and pondering the conclusions offered here, the reader prepares himself by reading the relevant scriptures very carefully. Obviously only those who are thoroughly acquainted with the parts of Scripture expounded are in a position to assess the exposition.

The Old Testament background

Most students of prophecy would agree that there is a parallel between the 'image' prophecy of Daniel 2 and the 'four beasts' prophecy of Daniel 7. The first section of Nebuchadnezzar's image — the head — corresponds to the first beast — the lion; the second section of the image to the second beast, and so on. The four parts of the image and the four beasts are symbols of the same four empires. Following this thought through, the fourth part of the image, the iron 'leg' portion corresponds to the fourth beast; and the horns of this fourth beast answer to the toes of the image.

This points to an important conclusion. Because the horns of the fourth beast correspond to the toes of the image, it can be said of the 'horn' kingdoms of chapter 7, as it is written of the 'toe' kingdoms of chapter 2: "In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom". So the horns are there when Christ comes to reign.

The little horn

There is one significant difference between these parallel prophecies of Daniel 2 and Daniel 7. Chapter 7 includes one important item that is omitted from chapter 2 — the little horn. (The word "little" probably describes its small beginnings. Certainly this seems to be true of the little horn of Daniel 8 — "and out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great".)

Now note the information given concerning the time of the little horn. It is expressly stated that the little horn emerges after the ten horns:

"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first . . ." (verse 24).

Remembering that the ten horns are there when the God of heaven sets up a kingdom, and taking into account the fact that the little horn emerges after the other horns, we can only conclude that this power holds sway right at the end of the times of the Gentiles. (This does not entitle us to say that it has not existed before; but if it has been before, it will have disappeared from the scene, only to erupt suddenly in the last days.)

This latter-day power is a blasphemous power — "he shall speak great words against the most High"; it is also a persecuting power — "the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them". Notice too that this persecution lasts "until the Ancient of days came" — "the same horn made war with the saints . . . until the Ancient of days came" (verses 21,22).

One further point. This little horn has power "until a time and times and the dividing of time" (verse 25). This seems to add up to three and a half; and a comparison with other scriptures, to be examined later, seems to indicate that it is three and a half years.

It cannot be emphasised too much that because we are living in the last days, we are the people who can most profit by this information. It is there chiefly for our sakes.

The man of sin

Now to Paul's second epistle to the Thessalonians. Already we have taken account of the fact that in chapter 1 of this epistle Paul speaks of the revelation of the Lord Jesus — "And to you who are troubled [God will recompense] rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven . . ." (I:?).1

Then in chapter 2 Paul explains that the coming — the revelation — of the Lord will not take place until something else happens. Indeed two things are to be expected, not just one, as is so often imagined:

1. "... a falling away first";

2. "and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition". Paul's actual words are:

"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition . . ." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).

The falling away is a process. It is commonly thought that this refers to the great apostacy — the corruption of Christianity — and this makes good sense.

The revelation of the man of sin is not a process. It is an event which must not be confused with the protracted decline of Christianity.

The following description is given of the man of sin: "... who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God . . . And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved . . ." (2 Thessalonians 2:4 and 8, 9,10).

Two revelations

So there are two revelations in the second epistle to the Thessalonians — the revelation of the Lord Jesus (referred to in chapter 1) and the revelation of the man of sin. Paul explains that before the revelation of the Lord Jesus, the man of sin must be revealed. The fact that there is a confrontation, and that the Lord Jesus destroys the man of sin, implies that this power will appear immediately before the Lord Jesus sets up the kingdom of God.

Does this suggest a connection with another scripture? To say the least, it should alert us to the possibility that this is the same power as the little horn of Daniel 7, which also appears at the end of the times of the Gentiles.

Other facts concerning the man of sin are: like Judas, he is called "the son of perdition"; he sets himself against "all that is called God, or that is worshipped"; he claims all worship for himself. Further reminders here of the arrogant, loud-mouthed little horn of Daniel 7.

To some readers the next proposition may come as a shock. This power cannot be the papacy. Whereas the "falling away" refers to the corruption of Christianity that becomes the papacy, there are good reasons for believing that the man of sin refers to something quite different.

Although this power employs deceit to gain control of people, its opposition to Christianity, and indeed to all existing religion is direct, whereas the papacy never formally rejects Christianity. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that the papacy is too good to answer this description, but rather that the abomination described as the papacy does not match this description. A different kind of abomination is here described.

The papacy has counterfeited Christianity. Although it has retained the names and titles associated with the Christian religion — indeed, the Pope claims to be the vicar of Christ — it has presented the world with a false Christianity, a contemptible substitute for the real thing. But the man of sin is different. Formally and deliberately he repudiates Christianity and the worship of God. The "falling away first" is certainly a forecast of papal apostacy, but the eruption of the man of sin is dramatically different. It is atheistic and humanistic, and presents a direct challenge to God.

A further point. The man of sin is destroyed by Christ, but the great whore of Revelation 17, which most of us take to be the papacy, or at least the city where the Pope is enthroned, is destroyed by the beast and the ten horns (Revelation 17:16-18).

The fact (stated in Revelation 17 and developed in Revelation 19) that the beast is subsequently destroyed by Christ could, however, be an indication that the man of sin of Thessalonians is another name for the beast.

Revelation 13

There are many references to a special beast — the beast — in Revelation, but the two chapters that provide most of the information concerning this monstrous latter-day power are chapters 13 and 17. There are excellent reasons for believing that the power described in these chapters is the same, though to some extent different symbols are employed. The emergence of the beast is described as follows:

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (13:1,2).

Here is a beast that has features of each of the four beasts of Daniel 7. It is like a leopard; has the feet of a bear; the mouth of a lion; the ten horns of Daniel's fourth beast. This beast has seven heads and ten horns — the sum of the heads and horns of Daniel's four beasts.2

One detail of this beast of Revelation 13 should not be missed. There are crowns on the horns. (Compare this with the dragon of Revelation 12, where there are also seven heads and ten horns, but the crowns are on the heads.) Horns bearing crowns: this means that the kings represented by the horns have secured their power by this time. A quick glance at Revelation 17 can help us here: "And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast" (17:12).

Here then, in Revelation 13, we are brought to the time of the ten 'horn' kingdoms — or, in terms of Daniel 2, it is the time of the 'toe' period of the image. So we are witnessing things that take place immediately before the God of heaven sets up His kingdom.

Out of the sea

The spotlight is not on the horns, although it is the time of their power. The beast itself commands the greatest attention. He has climbed out of the sea — what does this mean? Bible students hardly need to be told that the sea represents the unregenerate nations — "the wicked are like the troubled sea . . ." (Isaiah 57: 20). A nation that has been submerged amongst the other nations suddenly emerges.

The deadly wound that is healed

The beast recovers from a deadly wound and the world is filled with astonishment and admiration:

"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (13:3).

It will be appreciated that the heads of this composite monster represent phases of its political existence. One only sees seven heads when viewing the beast 'panoramically'. The heads usually appear one at a time. When therefore one of the heads is seen "as it were wounded to death" (13:3), the beast itself is suffering from a deadly wound. Hence the reference later (verse 12) to the beast whose deadly wound was healed.

There are impressive points of correspondence between the beast described in Revelation 13 and the little horn of Daniel 7. It has been noted that the little horn erupts at the end of the times of the Gentiles; and we have also seen from the crowned horns that the beast whose deadly wound is healed appears at the time of the end. Ten horns are associated with both powers. Furthermore, both are spoken of as being blasphemous, and both are persecutors of saints. The language used to describe these features in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 is strikingly similar — indicating surely that the same power is being described. A comparison of two sets of passages will establish the fact that the little horn of Daniel 7 is the beast of Revelation 13:

Daniel 7

Revelation 13

"... a mouth speaking great things" (verse 8) "And he shall speak great words against the most High ..." (verse 25)

"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed a-gainst them" (verse 21)

"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies . . . And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven" (verses 5,6) "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them" (verse 7)

Notice that the little horn of Daniel 7 is actually called "the beast":

"I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame" (Daniel 7:11).

One further point concerning the beast from Revelation 13: his domain is exceedingly great, and the respect that he commands is immense:

"... and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life . . ." (verses 7,8).

We have now looked at three passages of Scripture that describe the same latter-day power: Daniel 7 (the little horn); 2 Thessa-lonians 2 (the man of sin); Revelation 13 (the beast whose deadly wound was healed). Two important extra pieces of information that we have gathered from Revelation 13 are that this power recovers from a fatal wound, and that his domain is very extensive.

The beast of the earth

"And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon" (Revelation 13:11).

These words come straight after the description of the beast whose deadly wound is healed. From all the information given in Revelation 13, it can be seen that this second beast is not an independent political power that exists at the same time as the beast. Rather, it is a publicity agent for the first beast. It "causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed" (verse 12).

This second beast conies up out of the earth. Three sets of people are referred to in Revelation: those that dwell in heaven; those that dwell upon the earth; those that live in (or are symbolised by) the sea. Earth dwellers are in the middle position in their relationship to God. The faithful saints are figuratively in heaven, as expounded in Ephesians and Colossians;3 the unregenerate nations are symbolised by the sea; and earth dwellers could well be those who, while professing to believe in God, are not numbered amongst the saints. People like orthodox Jews, backsliding Christians and Moslems could perhaps be categorised as earth dwellers. This beast has two horns like the ram of Daniel 8. In Daniel an explanation is provided: "The ram which thou sawest having two

horns are the kings of Media and Persia" (8:20). Whereas this hardly entitles us to interpret the two horns of the second beast of Revelation 13 in precisely the same way, it may at least indicate an approach to the problem. Here is a publicity agent for the beast that represents two groups of people. This thought may be worth keeping in mind.

From the position that the description of the second beast occupies in Revelation 13, and from the way this beast is introduced, one gets the impression that it flourishes after the healing of the deadly wound of the first beast. This may provide us with another clue.

This second beast works by deceit. Looking (in one respect, at least) like a lamb, it speaks like a dragon. From Revelation 12 we learn that the dragon — also called the devil and satan — speaks words of condemnation against the people of God. It is implied therefore that the two-horned beast does the same.

It is a powerful and deceitful wonder-worker. Like Elijah of old, he makes fire come down from heaven. Moreover he creates an image to the beast whose deadly wound is healed, and compels people to worship this image. In the kingdom of the beast, he imposes a system of registration designed to make life impossible for those who do not worship the beast.

"And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and 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" (verses 16,17).

All this bespeaks a ruthless, totalitarian power, and implies a severe testing time for the people of God.

The false prophet

The terms by which this second beast is described, and its special relationship to the first beast, are sufficient reasons for believing that the beast that comes out of the earth is the organisation that is also called the false prophet. Revelation 19:20 establishes this:

"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."

The beast of the earth, or the false prophet — to use its other name — must therefore be thought of as an organisation that arises in the latter days and gives great publicity to that power called "the beast". Its philosophy is humanistic — a conclusion confirmed by 2 Thessalonians 2. Humanism, or communism, breeds on apostate Christianity and apostate Judaism and virtually persuades people that man is himself God. Here then is an organisation that propagates an atheistic philosophy and that impresses people by its startling scientific and technological achievements. Those who are not impressed by the philosophy and the technology of the false prophet are compelled by his ruthlessness — all except those whose names are written in the book of life.

The beast from the bottomless pit

So to Revelation 17 and still more information concerning the beast. Seven heads and ten horns again! Successive phases of God-defying world government are symbolised by the series of heads. The spotlight of interest is first directed to the phase when the beast carries, and is controlled by, an infamous woman; and ultimately to the last, or 'eighth head' phase when the woman is destroyed.

During the final phase the beast is associated with ten kings, represented by ten horns. Reference is first made, in Revelation 17, to a time when the kings have not received their kingdom. Then, during the last phase of the beast's power, these kings are, in the language of Revelation 13, wearing their crowns:

"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast" (verse 12).

Although the ten kings are crowned, they soon become puppets, acknowledging the leadership of a greater king. They "give their power and strength unto the beast" (verse 13).

The beast has seven heads. Yet the last head is called the eighth head. Seven equals eight: how can this be? The answer is found in the chapter. The eighth head is not a new head — it is one of the seven revived. Hence the statement that "the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth; and is of the seven" (verse 11).

The sudden emergence of the final, or eighth head phase of the beast is a feature calling for special attention:

"The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names are not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is" (verse 8).

The bottomless pit — what does this represent? The original Greek word is abussos from which the English word "abyss" is derived. In Luke 8:31 the same Greek word is translated "deep" — "And they besought him that he would not command them to go into the deep" — and obviously refers to the sea. Moreover the same word is used several times for the sea in the Septuagint.4 Would it not be reasonable then to regard the bottomless pit of Revelation 17 as the sea? In view of the fact that it is stated in Revelation 13 that the same beast comes up out of the sea, the conclusion seems inescapable.

Returning to the thought that the sea is a symbol of unregen-erate nations: here then is a further reference to the fact that a power that has been obliterated by submergence in a sea of other nations emerges again. In this part of Revelation the sheer unexpectedness of this emergence is highlighted. The amazement of earth dwellers who witness this revival is the measure of its unexpectedness. It is utterly unpredictable.

When a nation is swallowed up by other nations it ceases to exist as a separate power. In the language of Revelation 17 it "is not". Thus there is a time when the beast is; then he is not; then he emerges from the sea of nations (the equivalent of "is not") and bursts on the scene again.

Readers will remember that the symbol of "the deep" — the bottomless pit — is used in the same way in Revelation 20. It is the place where the dragon is bound for a thousand years.

We have taken note of the fact that the final phase of the beast's existence, after its remarkable recovery, is the eighth head phase. The eighth head of Revelation 17 is thus to be equated with the little horn of Daniel 7. For the benefit of any who might want to protest that it is unreasonable to equate a horn with a head, it is recalled that the Scriptures themselves provide a precedent; indeed Daniel does, for that which is symbolised by the four heads of a leopard in Daniel 7 is represented by the four horns of a he-goat in Daniel 8.5

One point must be stressed: this prophecy of Revelation 17, like the others just considered, brings us to the end of the times of the Gentiles. The defeat of this power by the Lord Jesus Christ establishes this fact. It is at the Lord's hands that the beast goes into perdition — an expression that brings to mind the fact that the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2 is called the son of perdition.

The very words that speak of the beast's fate are instructive. First comes the statement that the ten horns "give their power and strength to the beast". This means that ten kings ask the beast to be king over them. Because they are themselves kings, they virtually invite the beast to be king of kings. Hence the comment: "The Lamb shall overcome them: for he [not the beast] is Lord of lords, and King of kings" (verse 14).

The fate of the beast is described in more detail in Revelation 19. There, as may be remembered, the Lord is represented as the rider of a white horse. Accompanied by an army of men riding on white horses, he routs the army of the beast and the false prophet, who are then cast into the lake of fire. Irrevocable destruction is their destiny.

The great whore

Before the beast is destroyed by Christ, this God-defying power performs a destructive work himself. In assocation with the ten kings, the beast destroys the great whore:

"And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled" (17:16,17).

Thus the whore is completely annihilated. Let it be noted that this destructive work is done by a political power, and not directly by the Lord Jesus. After this the destroyer of the whore is destroyed by the Lord. The sequence is therefore this: 1) the beast and the ten horns destroy the whore; 2) the beast itself is destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

For the moment we shall defer detailed discussion of the question of the identity of the woman. A separate chapter is devoted to this theme —chapter 7 (Part One).

To summarise this portion of our study, our findings concerning this latter-day power called the beast are tabulated. (See the table on page 66.) Reference is made to the information provided in Daniel 7, 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13,17 and 19.

It will be seen from the table that there is a vast web of interconnections between the passages relating to the beast. And further information from Daniel 8 and 11 and other parts of Revelation has not been taken into account.

Particularly impressive is the fact that the same language is used to describe this power in widely-spaced parts of Scripture. Not only does this remind us that the Bible is one book, written by one Author, but it also tells us that the subject of the beast is an exceedingly important subject.

A number of questions are still outstanding. The identity of the beast; the associations of the false prophet; the identity of the whore; the meaning of the image of the beast; the mystery of the number of the beast; the status of Christians in a beast-worshipping world — these are questions that suggest themselves immediately. The present writer does not claim to know all the answers, but a few suggestions can perhaps be offered.

References and Notes

1. Part 1, chapter 3, page 42 - The title of the book.

2. Lion = 1 head; bear = 1 head;leopard = 4 heads; 4th beast = 1 head. Total = 7 heads. See also Part 1, chapter 9.

3 Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 3:1-5.

4. e.g. Septuagint-Job 28:14; Psalm 33:7; 77:16; 106:9; 107:26.

5. See Daniel 7:6 and 8:8.


Daniel 7

2 Thess. 2

Rev. 13

Rev. 17

Rev. 19



The beast

The beast

The beast

The beast

Also called:

The little horn*

The man of sin

The eighth head


Comes out of the sea

Comes out of the deep (i.e. the sea)


Associated with 10 horns

10 horns

10 horns

10 horns


Emerges at end of Gentile times

End of Gentile times

End of Gentile times

End of Gentile times

End of Gentile times


Amazing recovery

Amazing emergence


A mouth speaking great things against the Most High


Opens mouth in blasphemy against God

Full of names of blasphemy


Deceitful signs and lying wonders

Deceitful signs and lying wonders t

Deceives them that had received the mark of the beast t


Given publicity by the beast out the earth

Given publicity by the false prophet(i.e. the beast of the earth)


All deceived who do not believe the truth

All that dwell upon the earth worship the beast, whose names are not written in the book of life

They that dwell on the earth, whose names are not written in the book of life, wonder at the revival of the beast


Persecutes and overcomes saints

Intolerant of all religions

Persecutes and overcomes the saints

Persecutes the saints t Destroys the whore


Duration of 3V2(?) years

Duration of 3 Vi years


The son of perdition

Goes to perdition


Destroyed by Christ

Destroyed by Christ

Destroyed by Christ

Destroyed by Christ

* When the little horn holds sway, he is the beast — Daniel 7:11.

t According to Revelation 13 the deceitful signs and wonders are done by the publicity agent of the beast, called the beast of the earth (the false prophet of Revelation 19).

* The beast of Revelation 17 comes out of the bottomless pit; and according to Revelation 11 the beast from the bottomless pit persecutes the witnesses.

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