THE ANTICHRIST BEAST OF REVELATION 13
PROPHECY SEMINARS – LESSON 3
This subject is one of the most important in the Bible. Who is this Antichrist Beast? What does it represent? How can we be sure we are not deceived by it?
The most serious warning God sends to His people in the last days is found in Revelation 14:9, 10, “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.” All who worship the beast, or worship its image, or receive the Mark of the Beast will be lost. We know that God loves us, and if He has sent such a serious message, He has also made it abundantly clear who and what this beast represents. It is a life and death matter.
In Bible prophecy we are dealing with symbols, and therefore all things must be correctly interpreted. 2nd Peter 1:19 tells us, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” This is important. A sure word of prophecy. That means if it is Bible prophecy it will be clear, simple and sure. No guessing, no speculations.
One of the great problems in today’s Christian world is that speculation is often called “prophecy“. A large percentage of what you hear on Christian television or in Christian literature is speculation. It is built on sensationalism and people can make a lot of money selling it. For example: Whenever there is a great crisis everyone jumps on the bandwagon to try to fit it into prophecy. I World War II, everyone said Hitler was the Antichrist. During the cold war, Russia was considered the Beast. During Desert Storm Sadam Hussein was the Antichrist. In each event many ministers cashed in with with a proliferation of videos, books and cassettes. When the event passes, all the books and videos are proven false, but no one seems to care. That’s sad.
True Bible prophecy is sure. It stands on its own and cannot be privately interpreted. Verse 20, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” The Bible must be its own interpreter. It’s an amazing principle that you can make the Bible say anything you want if you only use two or three verses. This is why there are so many conflicting beliefs in today’s Christianity. Two or three verses are used out of context, while hundreds of verses are ignored and people build personal beliefs. A “truth” however, is always verified by many verses all saying the same thing.
Let us illustrate: Suppose you have a puzzle with 50 pieces. Say you find three pieces that fit together and make a picture of a barn. Brother A. excitedly tells everyone the puzzle is a picture of a barn. However if you fit another three or four pieces you see a cow, so sister B. says, “No, it’s of a cow!” The brother C. puts together another five or six pieces that form a truck with a sign that says, “Hershey Milk Chocolate.” Finally as the pieces are all put in we see a small farm in the background with a Hershey truck delivering milk to the factory where Hershey Kisses are made. The picture is a promotion for the goodness of Hershey Kisses. Now all three individuals were right, but wrong. They had to get the whole picture.
It is the same with the Bible. The Bible was written by 36 authors, from 3 continents, using three languages, written over a period of 1,500 years. Each author contributed to certain truths. As you get all the texts from all the authors, then you get the full picture.
With that background we can now safely go into this critical subject. Let’s go to Revelation 13 and read about this Beast power God has warned us about. Revelation 13:1-3, “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. 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.” Now this is a strange beast! Is this a literal animal? No, it’s symbolic, it represents something. The Bible tells us what it is. Let’s get the Bible interpretation of each part.
First it comes from the water or sea. What does water symbolize? In Revelation 17:15 we get the answer. “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” The sea always symbolizes many nations of people that speak different languages.
Now what about those other strange parts? The body of the leopard, feet of a bear, the head of a lion, and the 10 horns? We must go to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament to understand. Daniel and Revelation explain each other. You cannot understand either book without the other. Keys are in each. So we will spend a little time in Daniel, and you will see something amazing when we go back to Revelation 13. Let’s turn to Daniel 7. Here we have another prophetic vision. Daniel 7:2, 3, “Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.” Remember, “water” or the “sea” represents multitudes of people.
Then verse 3 says, “Four great beasts came up.” What do beasts represent in prophecy? The answer is in verse 17, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” Then verse 23 says, “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.”
That means the first four beasts represent the first four kings and their kingdoms.
We still follow this practice today – animals representing kingdoms. There is the American eagle, the former Russian bear, the Japanese dragon, etc.
God says then that four kingdoms will come up. And it’s a fact today that since the days of Babylon when Daniel penned his book there have been only four world kingdoms. Let’s look closer.
Daniel 7:4, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” Who was the first world empire? Babylon, represented by the king of beasts. Wings, in prophecy mean speed (Habakkuk 1:8). Babylon began to rule in 606 B.C. The prophecy begins where our last chapter did, with Babylon, the kingdom Daniel is living in. In the Bible Babylon is referred to as a lion. Compare 2 Kings 24:1, Jeremiah 4:7, and Jeremiah 51:37-38. Also as the ruins of Babylon have been excavated we see still today many winged lions carved on the walls of that ancient city.
Daniel 7:5, “And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.” Here is the second world empire of Medo-Persia, “raised on one side.” It came up as a joint empire, however, the Persians were stronger than the Medes. The three ribs no doubt symbolize the three Babylonian provinces it conquered of the then known world-Babylonia, Egypy and Lydia. Medo-Persia ruled from 538-331 B.C.
Daniel 7:6, “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.” In 331 B.C. the third beast arose. It had four wings representing double speed, a fitting expression of the swiftness of Alexander the Great who quickly conquered the world, and established the empire of Greece. The four heads represent the four temporary kingdoms after Alexander’s death, divided by his four top generals. To the Northen terrotory went Lysimachus; to the South, Ptolemy; to the East, Seleucus; and to the West, Cassander. Greece ruled from 331 – 168 B.C.
Daniel 7:7, “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.” The fourth beast was strange, Daniel had never seen anything like this! He knew a lion, leopard, and a bear, but this was unique. The dreadful iron kingdom was the fourth and final verse 23, “Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” It represents Rome, which ruled from 168 B.C. to 476 A.D. Rome was dreadful, terrible and strong. Jesus died when Rome ruled the world. He died on a Roman cross. Of all the kingdoms Rome was the most evil and ruled the longest.
What about the 10 horns on the fourth beast? Let’s see what they represent. Daniel 7:24, “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, and he shall subdue three kings.” The 10 horns were 10 kings. We discovered that in the previous chapter. When Rome fell, it divided into 10 parts as the Barbarian tribes swept in. Those 10 tribes were the ALAMANNI (Germany), VISIGOTHS (Spain), FRANKS (France), SUEVI (Portugal), BURGUNDIANS (Switzerland), ANGLO SAXONS (England), LOMBARDS (Italy) and the HERULI, VANDALS, and OSTRO-GOTHS which no longer exist. To find out why they no longer exist let’s read Daniel 7:8, “I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Suddenly there comes up another “little horn” or little kingdom.
These three kingdoms were destroyed by another “little kingdom” arising. Now, who is the little horn? If you really want to know, you could ask your history teacher and he could probably tell you what kingdom destroyed the Ostergoths, Vandals and Heruli. But you’re going to discover a lot more about the little horn as we go on. You will discover that the little horn kingdom is the Antichrist power – the same as the beast power God warns us about in Revelation 13.
Now we must be careful and clear in identifying this little kingdom and power. And God has done that. In the next few verses, God will give is ten marks of identification as to who this power is so we wont speculate, or guess at all. He makes it so clear that there is no room for speculation. God gives ten marks and these ten apply to no other power in history but one. So we must accept these ten points. Let’s list these points one by one so we can see it’s God’s words. I know we all love God’s words. God’s words however are not all flattering. Sometimes they are as sharp as a two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). But we must accept truth, sweet or sharp. It is all given in love.
TEN IDENTIFYING POINTS
1. Daniel 7:8. This power comes up “among them”. So now we have it located geographically. The other 10 horns, or kingdoms were in Western Europe. So if it comes up “among them”, it would have to come up somewhere in Western Europe.
2. If it came up among them it had to come after the year 476 A.D., because the 10 kingdoms were not there till 476 A.D., after Rome, the fourth beast fell.
3. It would be a “little horn” verse 8 or a little kingdom.” Not a big empire like the others, but a little one.
4. Daniel 7:8 “It uproots three kingdoms.” We already established that the Ostergoths, Vandals and Heruli were these three kingdoms.
5. Daniel 7:8 (last part) It has a man at its head and this man speaks for it. Unlike the other horns.
6. Daniel 7:24. It was “diverse” or different. How? He would not only be a government like the others, but different from any system ever before.
7. Daniel 7:25 It would speak “great words” or “blasphemy“. Revelation 13:5 says “great words and blasphemy.” Let’s look at two Bible definitions of blasphemy. John 10:31-33 says blasphemy is when a man claims to be God. Mark 2:5-7 says blasphemy is when a man claims to have the power to forgive sins. So this “man” at the head of this kingdom would “speak great words and blasphemy.”
8. Daniel 7:25. He would “wear out the saints.” This power would fight against God, against God’s people, and be a persecuting power. God’s people would be martyred and slain by it.
9. Daniel 7:25. He would “think to change times and laws.” This power would think to try and do away with God’s holy times and laws. That can’t be done, but this power would “think to” and try to change them.
10. Daniel 7:25. tells us how long it would rule. It would rule for a “time, times, and the dividing of time.” Now that is a prophetic term. The Bible tells us how long it is though. Compare Revelation 12:14 and 12:6 and it equals 1260 days. That means time is one year, times is two years and the dividing of time is a half a year, the total is three and a half years. How many days are in three and a half years using the Bible calendar of 30 days to a month? Twelve hundred and sixty days.
Now here’s another key of prophecy. Remember in prophecy we are dealing with symbolism. A “day” is also symbolic. It is symbolic of a year (Ezekiel 4:6, Numbers 14:34). Whenever God spoke prophetically as in these texts, the day for a year principle was followed. This only applies in prophetic Scripture. So this power will rule for 1260 days or years.
Now we have ten points. All these came from the Bible alone.
You can probably guess what power it is already. The fact is that there is one and only one power that meets these ten requirements. God is precise. However God also wants us to realize He is talking about a system, a kingdom, not sincere people who may be part of the system. Truth is not against sincere people. Truth is against error. God does not intent to hurt anyone. He loves us and gives these ten points so that we will not be deceived. It is indisputably clear that these points apply to one power only in the history of the world, and that is the Holy Roman Empire, the Vatican and the Papacy.
Now notice that God is not speaking of the Catholic Church in a derogatory way. There are many priests, nuns, and Catholic people, who love the Lord with all their hearts, and have dedicated their lives in service of humanity. There are good, sincere people in all churches. God simply identifies the political kingdom of the Papacy because like all nations it had a very influential past history with the Christian church. Before we go into that though, let’s take a closer look at the ten points to be sure.
1, 2. It came up among the other 10 horns or kingdoms, after 476 A.D. There is only one little kingdom that fits that discription and that is the Vatican City and the Holy Roman Empire.
3. It is still today a “little kingdom.” The Vatican City is only 109 acres in size, but it is a powerful kingdom and the wealthiest kingdom in the world. No other power fits this description.
4. It “uproots three kingdoms.” Clearly documented in history is the eradication of the Heruli, Vandals and Ostrogoth’s in 538 A.D. The same year, Roman Emperor Justinian gave the Bishop of Rome authority over the kingdom.
5. There would be “a man at its head.” To this day the Vatican City is the only kingdom that has always had a visible man at its head, the Pope.
6. “It would be different.” All the preceding kingdoms had been simple governments set up in normal political manner. Papal Rome, however, was and still is unique and different because it is a church that rules. Policies are dictated by the Bishops and Popes.
7. It “spake great words and blasphemy.” The Bible definition of blasphemy is composed of two things. 1. A man claiming to be God. 2. A man claiming to have the power to forgive sins. There is only one power today that fits that description. The Papal power. Let’s get documented proof of this from the pages of Catholic books. Ferraris’s Ecclesiastical Dictionary under The Pope says”:
“The Pope is of so great dignity, and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were, God, and the vicar of God. The Pope is called ‘Most Holy’ because he is rightfully presumed to be such. The Pope alone is deservedly called by the name ‘Most Holy’ because he alone is the Vicar of Christ, who is the fountain and source and fullness of all holiness. He is likewise the divine Monarch and Supreme Emperor, and King of Kings. Hence the Pope is crowned with the triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions.. Moreover the superiority, and power of the Roman Pontiff, but by no means pertain only to heavenly things, to earthly things, and to the things under the earth, but are even over angels, of whom he is greater. So that if it were possible that angels might err in faith, or might think contrary to the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the Pope. The Pope is as it were God on Earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having plenitude of power.”
From the Catholic National, July 1895: “The priest does really and truly forgive sins in virtue of the power given to him by Christ.” Another from The Catholic Priest, pages 78, 79: “Seek where you will, through heaven and earth, and you will find but one created being who can forgive the sinner, who can free him from the chains of hell, that extraordinary being is the priest, the (Roman) Catholic priest. Yes, beloved brethren, the priest not only declares that the sinner is forgiven, but he really forgives him. The priest raises his hand, he pronounces the words of absolution, and in an instant, quick as a flash of light the chains of hell are burst asunder, and the sinner becomes a child of God. So great is the power of the priest that the judgements of heaven itself are subject to his decision.“
Truly no other power on earth can fulfill this.
8. “He would war against God’s people and persecute them.” Although this is now past, all people of the earth are aware of the millions of martyrs put to death during the Dark Ages by the Papal armies. The most conservative estimates are 50 million men and women were put to death. One only needs to read the pages of hundreds of history books available to document this. Pope Innocent III, 1198 – 1216 was responsible for thousands of martyrs. The Spanish Inquisition, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and the history of the Waldenses are a few examples. We do not cite this for the purpose of casting reflection, these things are past, however, we must discuss them to see the fulfillment of prophecy.
The very fact that we are in North America today is due to this fact. The pilgrim fathers set sail for a new world where they could worship God in freedom. So persecuted were God’s people they risked all to find a land that was free. For more documentation on this read Foxes Book of Martyrs.
9. “He would think to change times and laws.” In a future lesson we will deal with the “times” but what about the “laws.” Again let’s quote from the Catholic Dictionary article under The Pope.
“The Pope is of so great authority and power, that he is able to modify, declare, or interpret even divine laws. The Pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth with most ample power of binding and loosing his sheep.”
In the Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, page 49, we find that God’s law has been changed. Exodus 20 contains God’s law. However the Convert’s Catechism law omitted the second commandment and split the tenth into two. No other power on earth has done this.
10. It would rule 1260 years. This is the most dramatic prophecy! Beginning in 538 A.D., Papal Rome finally destroyed the Ostergoths. Emperor Justinian gave the kingdom over to the Bishop of Rome that year. Add 1260 years to that and you come to 1798. The year of the French Revolution. In 1798 Napoleon’s armies overthrew the Papal power, confiscated all the property of the kingdom, declared a republic, and took the Pope off the throne where in France he died in exile. Exactly 1260 years as prophesied.
Now that the Bible has clearly established this, let’s go back to the beast kingdom of Revelation 13 and notice the comparisons. The little horn kingdom of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation 13 are one and the same. In Revelation 13, the beast who speaks great words and blasphemies, also rules for 42 month which equals 1260 days. In Revelation 13:7, it also makes war with God’s people. Revelation 13:3 says it receives a deadly wound. Comparing the little horn and the beast, we see the same power. And it is this power that God says not to worship, nor worship its image, nor receive its mark.
Notice something else now. The beast of Revelation 13 is made up of the four beasts of Daniel 7. It has the body of a leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of a lion and the 10 horns of the fourth beast.
Why does God represent this Papal kingdom as being made up of these four pagan kingdoms? And furthermore, notice Revelation 13:2 ” 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.” Who is the dragon? And what about Revelation 13:18, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” What does “666” mean? Who is this man? In our next chapter we will learn the answers to these questions, and see how we are each personally involved. God says in Revelation 13:3,8, that all the world is worshiping the beast. God loves us and doesn’t want us to be deceived in these last days. That is why hHe gives us the warning of Revelation 14:9, 10, “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.”