The Beasts of the Apocalypse
by Tom Stewart
March 11, 2002
In the study of the Book of Revelation, several beasts dominate
the narrative, which, if not properly identified, will give the reader much confusion
in the interpretation of this timely book. "Blessed
is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this Prophecy, and keep those
things which are written therein: for the time is at hand"
First, the four angelic seraphim around the Throne of God (Revelation 4:6-9; 5:6, 8, 11, 14; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4) are the godly "four beasts" (6:1)-- "second beast" (6:3), "third beast" (6:5), and "fourth beast" (6:7)-- who are delegated the task of announcing, i.e., "Come and see" (6:1, 3, 5, 7), the first four Seal Judgments (6:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8), and opening the Second, Third, and Fourth Seal Judgments. The Greek word zoon speaks here of living creatures, not wild animals (Greek, therion). And, these are the same "four living creatures" (Ezekiel 1:5), i.e., living creatures like a "lion... calf... a man, and... a flying eagle" (Revelation 4:7), of the prophet Ezekiel's vision.
Second, actual wild animals (therion) or "beasts of the Earth" (6:8) are described as part of the instruments used by the Almighty in connection with His killing of one-fourth of the human population of the planet under the Fourth Seal Judgment. "Beasts" (18:13) are also listed as part of the "merchandise" (18:11-12) of the "merchants of the Earth" (18:11), who "were made rich by [Babylon the Great]" (18:15).
Third, Satan is the "Beast that ascendeth out of the Bottomless Pit" (Revelation 11:7), who martyrs God's Two Witnesses (11:3)-- Moses and Elijah. In this instance, the Greek word therion describes Satan like a wild beast. "And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the Bottomless Pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon" (9:11). However, the Saints are reminded that Satan is a present foe that resides in this world-- coming and going from the Pit-- "whom resist stedfast in the faith" (1Peter 5:9), knowing that if you "resist the Devil... he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Satan's empowering of the Antichrist is for the selfish end that he will thereby gain the worship that he so fervently desires. "And they worshipped the Dragon ["the Great Dragon... that Old Serpent, called the Devil, and Satan" (Revelation 12:9)] which gave power unto the Beast [the Antichrist]: and they worshipped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him?" (Revelation 13:4).
Fourth, in the overwhelming majority of instances, the Antichrist is the Beast of the Apocalypse (13:1-4, 12, 14-15, 17, 18; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2, 10, 13; 17:3, 7-8, 11-13, 16-17; 19:19-20; 20:4, 10) "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" (Revelation 13:1). When distinguishing the difference between the person of the Antichrist and the Antichrist system that produces him, the Antichrist will be a specific human at a future time; whereas, he will arise out of the religious, political, economic, and social power structure of the world, which is the Antichrist system. "And the Beast [the Antichrist] 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 [Satan, the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2)] gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority" (Revelation 13:2). Keep in mind that whatsoever portion of this world, which is willfully kept in disobedience of King Jehovah, is the world or Antichrist system of Satan. "15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (1John 2:15-16).
Fifth, the significant and twin beast of the Antichrist is the False Prophet. "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). The False Prophet embodies the desire for worship that Satan has always possessed since his fall. "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north" (Isaiah 14:13). Satan's imitation of the Trinity is the Dragon, the Beast, and the False Prophet. "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the Dragon, and out of the mouth of the Beast, and out of the mouth of the False Prophet" (16:13). The certain doom of the Antichrist and the False Prophet is that they will be "cast alive into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone" (19:20) at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, while Satan's final judgment will be held in abeyance until his Post- Millennial Revolt is crushed by King Jesus. "And the Devil that deceived them was cast into the Lake of Fire and brimstone, where the Beast and the False Prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (20:10). Hallelujah!
Only through an active faith in the LORD Jesus Christ may the Saints overcome the Antichrist system. "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1John 5:4). This faith only "cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). In particular, the weakest Saint has the overwhelming benefit of the weapon of the "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" (2Peter 1:3) of God's Word, that must be claimed in prayer at all times; but especially, when the "enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him" (Isaiah 59:19). May our understanding of the Apocalypse not cause us to be puffed up, but "in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves" (Philippians 2:3). Thus, the Scripture may be fulfilled that the "meek shall inherit the Earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Psalm 37:11).
Commentary on the BOOK of REVELATION
Chapter 13: The Antichrist and the False Prophet ---New Window
Chapter 17: Revealing the Mystery of Babylon the Great and the Beast ---New Window
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