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2 THESSALONIANS 2:7-12.... For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until he who restrains is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming. [Isa. 11:4.] The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels--[all of them] lying wonders–and by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false, in order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.
The way that we are going to explore this subject is to read the major portions of Scripture touching on the development of Satan’s world system, and the Antichrist’s end-time exploits – highlighting events to comment on; then we will try to summerize and comment on the Scriptures we have read. You may find it helpful to skip about two-thirds of the way through this article and read the comment section before reading the following Scripture text.
DANIEL 7:1-28.... IN THE first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions in his head as he was lying upon his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the gist of the matter. Daniel said, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of the heavens [political and social agitations] were stirring up the great sea [the nations of the world]. And four great beasts came up out of the sea in succession, and different from one another. The first [the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar] was like a lion and had eagle's wings. I looked till the wings of it were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand upon two feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it. [Dan. 2:37,38.] And behold another beast, a second one [the Medo-Persian empire], was like a bear, and it raised up itself on one side [or one dominion] and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I looked, and behold, another [the Grecian empire of Alexander the Great], like a leopard which had four wings of a bird on its back. The beast had also four heads [Alexander's generals, his successors], and dominion was given to it. [Dan. 2:39; 8:20-22.]
7After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast [the Roman empire]--terrible, powerful and dreadful, and exceedingly strong. And it had great iron teeth; it devoured and crushed and trampled what was left with its feet. And it was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns [symbolizing ten kings]. [Dan. 2:40-43; 7:23.] I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things. I kept looking until thrones were placed [for the assessors with the Judge], and the Ancient of Days [God, the eternal Father] took His seat, Whose garment was white as snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame; its wheels were burning fire. [1 Kings 22:19; Ps. 90:2; Ezek. 1:26-28; Dan. 7:13,22; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4.] A stream of fire came forth from before Him; a thousand thousands ministered to Him and ten thousand times ten thousand rose up and stood before Him; the Judge was seated [the court was in session] and the books were opened. I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. I watched until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. And as for the rest of the beasts, their power of dominion was taken away; yet their lives were prolonged [for the duration of their lives was fixed] for a season and a time.
13I saw in the night visions, and behold, on the clouds of the heavens came one like a Son of man, and He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And there was given Him [the Messiah] dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and His kingdom is one which shall not be destroyed. [Rev. 5:1-10.]
15As for me, Daniel, my spirit was grieved and anxious within me, and the visions of my head alarmed and agitated me. I came near to one of those who stood there and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High [God] shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever. [Rom. 8:17; 1 Peter 2:9; Rev. 3:21.] Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast--which was different from all the others, exceedingly terrible and shocking, whose teeth were of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke and crushed, and trampled what was left with its feet–and about the ten horns [representing kings] that were on its head, and the other horn which came up later and before which three of [the horns] fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things and which looked greater than the others. As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them [Rev. 13:7-9.] until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the Most High [God], and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom.
23Thus [the angel] said, The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms and shall devour the whole earth, tread it down, and break it in pieces and crush it. And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be different from the former ones, and he shall subdue and put down three kings. And he shall speak words against the Most High [God] and shall wear out the saints of the Most High and think to change the time [of sacred feasts and holy days] and the law; and the saints shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time [three and one-half years]. [Rev. 13:1-6.] But the judgment shall be set [by the court of the Most High], and they shall take away his dominion to consume it [gradually] and to destroy it [suddenly] in the end. And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heavens shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions shall serve and obey Him. Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my [waking] thoughts troubled and alarmed me much and my cheerfulness of countenance was changed in me; but I kept the matter [of the interpreting angel's information] in my heart and mind.
REVELATION 12:1-17.... AND A great sign (wonder)--[warning of future events of ominous significance] appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and with a crownlike garland (tiara) of Twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and she cried out in her birth pangs, in the anguish of her delivery. Then another ominous sign (wonder) was seen in heaven: Behold, a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns (diadems) upon his heads. [Dan. 7:7.] His tail swept [across the sky] and dragged down a third of the stars and flung them to the earth. And the dragon stationed himself in front of the woman who was about to be delivered, so that he might devour her child as soon as she brought it forth. [Dan. 8:10.] And she brought forth a male Child, one Who is destined to shepherd (rule) all the nations with an iron staff (scepter), and her Child was caught up to God and to His throne. [Ps. 2:8,9; 110:1,2.] And the woman [herself] fled into the desert (wilderness), where she has a retreat prepared [for her] by God, in which she is to be fed and kept safe for 1,260 days (42 months; three and one-half years).
7Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels went forth to battle with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought. But they were defeated, and there was no room found for them in heaven any longer. And the huge dragon was cast down and out--that age-old serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, he who is the seducer (deceiver) of all humanity the world over; he was forced out and down to the earth, and his angels were flung out along with him. [Gen. 3:1,14,15; Zech. 3:1.]
10Then I heard a strong (loud) voice in heaven, saying, Now it has come--the salvation and the power and the kingdom (the dominion, the reign) of our God, and the power (the sovereignty, the authority) of His Christ (the Messiah); for the accuser of our brethren, he who keeps bringing before our God charges against them day and night, has been cast out! [Job 1:9-11.] And they have overcome (conquered) him by means of the blood of the Lamb and by the utterance of their testimony, for they did not love and cling to life even when faced with death [holding their lives cheap till they had to die for their witnessing]. Therefore be glad (exult), O heavens and you that dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in fierce anger (fury), because he knows that he has [only] a short time [left]! [Isa. 44:23; 49:13.]
13And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he went in pursuit of the woman who had given birth to the male Child. But the woman was supplied with the two wings of a giant eagle, so that she might fly from the presence of the serpent into the desert (wilderness), to the retreat where she is to be kept safe and fed for a time, and times, and half a time (three and one-half years, or 1,260 days). [Dan. 7:25; 12:7.] Then out of his mouth the serpent spouted forth water like a flood after the woman, that she might be carried off with the torrent. But the earth came to the rescue of the woman, and the ground opened its mouth and swallowed up the stream of water which the dragon had spouted from his mouth. So then the dragon was furious (enraged) at the woman, and he went away to wage war on the remainder of her descendants--[on those] who obey God's commandments and who have the testimony of Jesus Christ [and adhere to it and bear witness to Him].
REVELATION 13:1-18.... [AS] I stood on the sandy beach, I saw a beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. On his horns he had ten royal crowns (diadems) and blasphemous titles (names) on his heads. And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, but his feet were like those of a bear and his mouth was like that of a lion. And to him the dragon gave his [own] might and power and his [own] throne and great dominion. And one of his heads seemed to have a deadly wound. But his death stroke was healed; and the whole earth went after the beast in amazement and admiration. They fell down and paid homage to the dragon, because he had bestowed on the beast all his dominion and authority; they also praised and worshiped the beast, exclaiming, Who is a match for the beast, and, Who can make war against him?
5And the beast was given the power of speech, uttering boastful and blasphemous words, and he was given freedom to exert his authority and to exercise his will during forty-two months (three and a half years). [Dan. 7:8.] And he opened his mouth to speak slanders against God, blaspheming His name and His abode, [even vilifying] those who live in heaven. He was further permitted to wage war on God's holy people (the saints) and to overcome them. And power was given him to extend his authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, [Dan. 7:21,25.] And all the inhabitants of the earth will fall down in adoration and pay him homage, everyone whose name has not been recorded in the Book of Life of the Lamb that was slain [in sacrifice] from the foundation of the world. If anyone is able to hear, let him listen: Whoever leads into captivity will himself go into captivity; if anyone slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Herein is [the call for] the patience and the faith and fidelity of the saints (God's people). [Jer. 15:2.]
11Then I saw another beast rising up out of the land [itself]; he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke (roared) like a dragon. He exerts all the power and right of control of the former beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell upon it to exalt and deify the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed, and to worship him. He performs great signs (startling miracles), even making fire fall from the sky to the earth in men's sight. And because of the signs (miracles) which he is allowed to perform in the presence of the [first] beast, he deceives those who inhabit the earth, commanding them to erect a statue (an image) in the likeness of the beast who was wounded by the [small] sword and still lived. [Deut. 13:1-5.] And he is permitted [also] to impart the breath of life into the beast's image, so that the statue of the beast could actually talk and cause to be put to death those who would not bow down and worship the image of the beast. [Dan. 3:5.] Also he compels all [alike], both small and great, both the rich and the poor, both free and slave, to be marked with an inscription [stamped] on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that no one will have power to buy or sell unless he bears the stamp (mark, inscription), [that is] the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is [room for] discernment [a call for the wisdom of interpretation]. Let anyone who has intelligence (penetration and insight enough) calculate the number of the beast, for it is a human number [the number of a certain man]; his number is 666.
REVELATION 17:1-18.... ONE OF the seven angels who had the seven bowls then came and spoke to me, saying, Come with me! I will show you the doom (sentence, judgment) of the great harlot (idolatress) who is seated on many waters, [Jer. 51:13.] [she] with whom the rulers of the earth have joined in prostitution (idolatry) and with the wine of whose immorality (idolatry) the inhabitants of the earth have become intoxicated. [Jer. 25:15,16.] And [the angel] bore me away [rapt] in the Spirit into a desert (wilderness), and I saw a woman seated on a scarlet beast that was all covered with blasphemous titles (names), and he had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was robed in purple and scarlet and bedecked with gold, precious stones, and pearls, [and she was] holding in her hand a golden cup full of the accursed offenses and the filth of her lewdness and vice. [Jer. 51:7.] And on her forehead there was inscribed a name of mystery [with a secret symbolic meaning]: Babylon the great, the mother of prostitutes (idolatresses) and of the filth and atrocities and abominations of the earth.
6I also saw that the woman was drunk, [drunk] with the blood of the saints (God's people) and the blood of the martyrs [who witnessed] for Jesus. And when I saw her, I was utterly amazed and wondered greatly. But the angel said to me, Why do you wonder? I will explain to you the [secret symbolic meaning of the] mystery of the woman, as well as of the beast having the seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is going to come up out of the Abyss (the bottomless pit) and proceed to go to perdition. And the inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been recorded in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they look at the beast, because he [once] was, but [now] is no more, and he is [yet] to come. [Dan. 7:3.]
9This calls for a mind [to consider that is packed] with wisdom and intelligence [it is something for a particular mode of thinking and judging of thoughts, feelings, and purposes]. The seven heads are seven hills upon which the woman is sitting; and they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one still exists [and is reigning]; the other [the seventh] has not yet appeared, and when he does arrive, he must stay [but] a brief time. And as for the beast that [once] was, but now is no more, he [himself] is an eighth ruler (king, head), but he is of the seven and belongs to them, and he goes to perdition. Also the ten horns that you observed are ten rulers (kings) who have as yet received no royal dominion, but together they are to receive power and authority as rulers for a single hour, along with the beast. [Dan. 7:20-24.] These have one common policy (opinion, purpose), and they deliver their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them; for He is Lord of lords and King of kings--and those with Him and on His side are chosen and called [elected] and loyal and faithful followers. [Dan 2:47.]
15And [the angel further] said to me, The waters that you observed, where the harlot is seated, are races and multitudes and nations and dialects (languages). And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will [be the very ones to] hate the harlot (the idolatrous woman); they will make her cheerless (bereaved, desolate), and they will strip her and eat up her flesh and utterly consume her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to carry out His own purpose by acting in harmony in surrendering their royal power and authority to the beast, until the prophetic words (intentions and promises) of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is herself the great city which dominates and controls the rulers and the leaders of the earth.
DANIEL 11:20-45.... Then shall stand up in his place or office one who shall send an exactor of tribute to pass through the glory of the kingdom, but within a few days he shall be destroyed, [yet] neither in anger nor in battle. And in his place or office [in Syria] shall arise a contemptuous and contemptible person, to whom royal majesty and honor of the kingdom have not been given. But he shall come in without warning in time of security and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries, intrigues, and cunning hypocritical conduct. [Dan. 8:9-12,23-25.] Before him the overwhelming forces of invading armies shall be broken and utterly swept away; yes, and a prince of the covenant [with those who were at peace with him] also [shall be broken and swept away]. And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall work deceitfully, and he shall come up unexpectedly and shall become strong with a small people. Without warning and stealthily he shall come into the most productive places of a province or among the richest men of a province [of Egypt], and he shall do that which his fathers have not done nor his fathers' fathers; he shall distribute among them plunder, spoil, and goods. He shall devise plans against strongholds--but only for a time [the period decreed by God].
This contemptible conqueror is generally identified as Antiochus Epiphanes, the younger son of Antiochus the Great, king of Syria, and is a type of the final antichrist referred to in Dan. 11:36; 2 Thess. 2:3-12; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7; and Rev. 13:5-8. "He [Antiochus Epiphanes] stirred up the Jews by robbing the temple and setting up a statue of Jupiter in the Holy of Holies. He also pulled down the walls of Jerusalem, commanded the sacrifice of [forbidden] swine, forbade circumcision, and destroyed all the sacred books that could be found" (John D. Davis, A Dictionary of the BIBLE).
25And he shall stir up his power and his courage against the king of the South [Egypt] with a great army; and the king of the South shall wage war with an exceedingly great and mighty army, but he shall not stand, for schemes shall be devised against [the king of the South]. Yes, those who eat of his rich and dainty food shall break and destroy him, and his army shall drift or turn away to flee, and many shall fall down slain. And as for both of these kings, their hearts and minds shall be set on doing mischief; they shall speak lies over the same table, but it will not succeed, for the end is yet to be at the time appointed.
28Then shall [the vile conqueror from the North] return into his land with much booty; and his heart and purpose shall be set against [God's] holy covenant [with His people], and he shall accomplish [his malicious intention] and return to his own land [Syria]. At the time appointed [God's own time] he shall return and come into the South, but it shall not be successful as were the former invasions [of Egypt]. For the ships of Kittim [or Cyprus, in Roman hands] shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved and discouraged and turn back [to Palestine] and carry out his rage and indignation against the holy covenant and God's people, and he shall do his own pleasure; he shall even turn back and make common cause with those [Jews] who abandon the holy covenant [with God]. And armed forces of his shall appear [in the holy land] and they shall pollute the sanctuary, the [spiritual] stronghold, and shall take away the continual [daily burnt offering]; and they shall set up [in the sanctuary] the abomination that astonishes and makes desolate [probably an altar to a pagan god]. And such as violate the covenant he shall pervert and seduce with flatteries, but the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong and shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]. And they who are wise and understanding among the people shall instruct many and make them understand, though some [of them and their followers] shall fall by the sword and flame, by captivity and plunder, for many days. Now when they fall, they shall receive a little help. Many shall join themselves to them with flatteries and hypocrisies. And some of those who are wise, prudent, and understanding shall be weakened and fall, [thus, then, the insincere among the people will lose courage and become deserters. It will be a test] to refine, to purify, and to make those among [God's people] white, even to the time of the end, because it is yet for the time [God] appointed.
Amplified Footnote: The antichrist is in view from this point in the prophecy to the end of the Chapter. The details listed here do not fit what is known of Antiochus Epiphanes. See 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:5-8.
36And the king shall do according to his will; he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished, for that which is determined [by God] shall be done. He shall not regard the gods of his fathers or Him [to Whom] women desire [to give birth--the Messiah] or any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all. But in their place he shall honor the god of fortresses; a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honor with gold and silver, with precious stones, and with pleasant and expensive things. And he shall deal with the strongest fortresses by the help of a foreign god. Those who acknowledge him he shall magnify with glory and honor, and he shall cause them to rule over many and shall divide the land for a price.
40And at the time of the end the king of the South shall push at and attack him, and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots and horsemen and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries and shall overflow and pass through. He shall enter into the Glorious Land [Palestine] and many shall be overthrown, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom, Moab, and the main [core] of the people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand also against the [other] countries, but the land of Egypt shall not be among the escaped ones. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver and over all the precious things of Egypt, and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall accompany him [compelled to follow his steps]. But rumors from the east and from the north shall alarm and hasten him. And he shall go forth with great fury to destroy and utterly to sweep away many. And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the seas and the glorious holy Mount [Zion]; yet he shall come to his end with none to help him. [2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:5-8.]
As the Amplified footnotes above, and the McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia comments below indicate, there can be found in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes of ancient Syria (B.C. 175) an individual who could very well be the one who in the last days is the beast or Antichrist who ascends out of the bottomless pit. Scripture does not name this person, but the verses which seem to describe Antiochus (Dan. 11:20-35) continue without interruption to describe the Antichrist (Dan. 11:36-45), seemingly describing the characteristics and exploits of the same person and making him a likely candidate for the Antichrist. The angel told Daniel "And as for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise; and another shall arise after them, and he shall be different from the former ones, and he shall subdue and put down three kings" (Dan. 7:24); this difference may refer to his ascension from the pit instead of being a normal person, or the ascension of a like spirit to motivate this person.
The Lord has revealed to us that John the Baptist would be energized or motivated, either by the spirit or in the likeness of the spirit and power of Elijah. The angel of the Lord told the father of John that John would "turn back and cause to return many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will [himself] go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn back the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient and incredulous and unpersuadable to the wisdom of the upright [which is the knowledge and holy love of the will of God]--in order to make ready for the Lord a people [perfectly] prepared [in spirit, adjusted and disposed and placed in the right moral state]" (Luke 1:16-17). And Jesus, when explaining the prophesy about the coming of Elijah said, "And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom]" [Mal. 4:5.] (Matt. 11:14). So, it is quite possible that the spirit of Antiochus could arise out of this bottomless pit and motivate the Antichrist in the same way that John was motivated.
Quote from Barnes' Notes
Rev. 9:1: And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
[And I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth] This denotes, as was shown in the notes on Rev. 8:10, a leader, a military chieftain, a warrior. In the fulfillment of this, as in the former case, we look for the appearance of some mighty prince and warrior, to whom is given power, as it were, to open the bottomless pit, and to summon forth its legions. That some such agent is denoted by the star is further apparent from the fact that it is immediately added, that "to him (the star) was given the key of the bottomless pit." It could not be meant that a key would be given to a literal star, and we naturally suppose, therefore, that some intelligent being of exalted rank, and of baleful influence, is here referred to Angels, good and bad, are often called stars; but the reference here, as in Rev 8:10, seems to me not to be to angels, but to some mighty leader of armies, who was to collect his hosts, and to go through the world in the work of destruction.
[And to him was given the key of the bottomless pit] Of the under-world, considered particularly of the abode of the wicked. . . . Here it refers to Hades-the region of the dead the abode of wicked spirits-as a deep, dark place, whose bottom was unknown. Having the key to this, is to have the power to confine those who are there, or to permit them to go at large. The meaning here is, that this master-spirit would have power to evoke the dead from these dark regions; and it would be fulfilled if some mighty genius, that could be compared with a fallen star, or a lurid meteor, should summon forth followers which would appear like the dwellers in the nether world called forth to spread desolation over the earth. (from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
Of course the reference to the Beast ascending from the bottomless pit may only refer to the emergence of Satan’s beastly world system to power in the last days, with the Antichrist being a man that Satan chooses and empowers to lead his organization; either way, the results are the same.
Quote from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia
ANTICHRIST: The Beast from the Sea. The Apocalypse symbolizes the final opposition to Christianity as a beast out of the pit (Rev. 11:7): "And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them;" out of the sea (13): "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" (comp. the whole chapter, and Rev. 17). The "beast" is here similar to the Little Horn of Daniel. "The Beast whose power is absorbed into the Little Horn has ten horns (Dan. 7:7), and rises from the sea (Dan. 7:3): the Apocalyptic Beast has ten horns (Rev. 13:1), and rises from the sea (ibid.). The Little Horn has a mouth speaking great things (Dan. 7:8,11,20): the Apocalyptic Beast has a mouth speaking great things (Rev. 13:5). The Little Horn makes war with the saints, and prevails (Dan. 7:21): the Apocalyptic Beast makes war with the saints, and overcomes them (Rev. 13:7). The Little Horn speaks great words against the Most High (Dan. 7:25): the Apocalyptic Beast opens his mouth in blasphemy against God (Rev. 13:6). The Little Horn wears out the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:25): the woman who rides on, i. e. directs, the Apocalyptic Beast, is drunken with the blood of saints (Rev. 17:6). The persecution of the Little Horn is to last a time, and times and a dividing of times, i. e. three and a half times (Dan. 7:25): power is given to the Apocalyptic Beast for forty-two months, i. e. three and a half times (Rev. 13:5). " These and other parallelisms show that as the Little Horn was typical of an individual that should stand to the Church as the leading type of Antichrist, so John's Apocalyptic Beast was symbolical of a later individual, who should embody the elements of a similar Antichristian power with respect to the Christians. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)
John is shown a scene revealing the spiritual entities behind events that had transpired on earth down through history and unto the end, 12:1-17:
Down through history, God has often given us snapshots of the then existing or future world powers. Some of the best glimpses can be found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. The very fact that God gave them to us means that they can be understood and are meant to be a useful resource for our well-being.
In Daniel chapter two we are given a brief account, through Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, of the major world powers and their final end. In chapters seven and eight, Daniel also has a dream of the same world powers, and is given an explanation by an angel in much greater detail than is found in chapter two. The fourth part or world power of Nebuchadnezzar’s image is represented by the legs, feet and ten toes, and Daniel is told by the angel that his fourth beast or world power [Rome] has ten horns. We will see these same world powers and ten horns figure prominently in John’s account in the book of Revelation.
In the twelfth chapter of Revelation we find God’s description of Satan as a huge, fiery-red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven kingly crowns upon his heads. Chapter thirteen gives us a description of the world powers under the control of Satan -- slightly different but very similar, a beast coming up out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. "On his horns he had ten royal crowns and blasphemous titles on his heads. And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, but his feet were like those of a bear and his mouth was like that of a lion. And to him the dragon gave his might and power and his throne and great dominion. And one of his heads seemed to have a deadly wound. But his death stroke was healed; and the whole earth went after the beast in amazement and admiration."
Satan’s likeness has seven crowns on seven heads, the world’s likeness has ten crowns on ten horns, but both have seven heads. The leopard (Grecian), bear (Medo-Persian), and lion (Babylonian) parts are described and identified in Daniel. In this thirteenth chapter we have the first mention of one of the heads having a deadly wound that was healed. The whole end-time world system, accumulating all the power formulas and technics from the past, is represented by this beast, and will eventually be lead, for a short time, by Satan’s man the antichrist.
Another beast is mentioned in the thirteenth chapter in verses eleven through fourteen having two horns like a lamb, but speaking like the dragon. This beast preforms the functions of a priest, deceiving the world into worshiping the antichrist represented by the beast. So here we have Satan’s unholy trinity; Satan, the antichrist, and the priest and his false religious system.
This dragon and the beast of Rev. 13:1 both are pictured as having seven heads and ten horns, thus showing that they are closely associated one with the other. This dragon is identified as Satan, and the heads and horns represent the power he gives to those he rules over – the first and second beast of Rev. 13.
This scene is in heaven, whereas the two beasts of Rev. 13 come up out of the sea and the earth respectively. The third of the stars flung to the earth are believed to be the angels that rebelled with Satan.
The woman pictured here is either the nation of Israel or the Church of all ages. The dragon is Satan and his world powers that have always fought to destroy Jesus and His people. Evidently God will find a place of safe refuge in the wilderness for a remnant of His people during the last three and one-half years of the tribulation.
John is shown a beast that represents the world empires of past history and unto the end, 13:1-18:
This is a composite beast representing the major world empires that Satan has controlled and energized throughout history. The seven heads are commonly identified as the Egyptian, the Assyrian, the Chaldean or Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Grecian, the then existing Roman, and the head that was wounded and then healed is believed to be the antichrist who comes up out of the abyss and eventually rules over the revived Roman Empire of the last days. The second lamb beast is the Antichrist’s false prophet and the head of his religious system.
Numbers in the Bible, at times, seem to portray a special significance. The number three is sometimes used to represent a complete and ordered whole, the number seven completeness and perfection, and the number six being short of seven indicates imperfection and sometimes the number of man. What may be indicated by 666 is a man who is as close to perfection as Satan can possibly make him.
If we were to try to assign a number to Jesus, we would probably use the number 777 representing ultimate perfection. Satan, trying to get the world to accept his man the antichrist in the place of Christ, will raise up a man who has seemingly achieved human perfection, almost godlike. We know this because the Bible says that he will have authority over all the world, and all that are not recorded in the Lamb’s book of life will fall down and worship him (Rev. 13:5-8). He will undoubtedly have great appeal and ability, and will probably be presented when his special abilities as an able ruler will be most appreciated by a troubled world.
Satan’s political and religious system combined, 17:1-18:
This chapter seventeen describes the world’s false religious system and its destruction by the political system. It is seen as an idolatress harlot riding or having a controlling influence upon the political and commercial world system. Here at this end-time they seem to be working together very well, but it will not last long. As we consider the past efforts of the world’s political, commercial, and religious groups to merge and work together for world dominion against God, and the efforts of God’s people to impose instead a Godly and restraining influence, we can begin to understand this tug-of-war and why it could be said that there was one of the beastly heads that seemed to have received a death wound, but will be healed or brought back to life in the future. The Protestant Reformation and the struggle for independence that followed seemed almost to destroy the Roman Catholic dream of a revived Roman Empire, but God has shown us here that it will again appear.
The beast that once was and is to come (vv. 8-12), is described in this seventeenth chapter as colored scarlet, covered with blasphemous names, and having seven heads and ten horns. This beast came up out of the sea or nations (Rev. 17:15) and represents the past, present and future governments that Satan has set up and used in an attempt to take over control of this world that God created and controls. The seven heads are said to be seven hills as well as seven kings; five had already come and gone, one existed at the time John recorded this, and one was to come. There is a part of this beast (the eighth head or king) that appeared to have been destroyed, but will again be established; this could be the Occult system that was part of Nimrod’s government at the tower of Babel incident (Gen. 11:1-9), there is even the possibility that Nimrod could be the eighth king that is mentioned who is "going to come up out of the Abyss" to indwell the antichrist of the new world order. It is interesting to note that when the angel called this beast by name (v. 8), he calls it "The beast that you saw [once] was, but [now] is no more" -- the antichrist will at that time become so dominant that the beast will be called by his name. This seems to be a snapshot of world powers that Satan has used in the past in his attempt to usurp control and will again use in the near future. Although Satan’s future world government will be successful, it will only be for a short time (Rev. 13:5-8). "Also the ten horns that you observed are ten rulers (kings) who have as yet received no royal dominion, but together they are to receive power and authority as rulers for a single hour, along with the beast" (Rev. 17:12". Paul tells us in 2 Thessalonians chapter two that there is a person, probably the Holy Spirit residing in the Church, restraining this beast from fully manifesting itself at the present time. When the Church is removed by the Rapture, then this form of world power will come into full existence and prominence.
The description of this woman riding the beast perfectly describes the apostate Church as it exists today, the Roman Catholic Church being the most prominent, with the city of Babylon being its prototype or mother (Gen. 10:8-12). The Roman Catholic Church tried to establish this kind of world system during the Mediaeval or dark age, but was unable to complete it as the age of enlightenment gradually threw-off the deception and bondage of the popish system. But today that system which seemed to have been destroyed is once again coming to life through the Dominionist, ecumenical, psychological, and other movements along with the Roman Catholic Church in an attempt to realize their greatest ambition – world dominion.
Fortunately, when that New World Order is finally established, it will only last a short time (vv. 12-18). Although the world leaders need the religious leaders to bring this New World Order into existence, they really don’t share a like-minded desire or result, and the world rulers end up destroying this great city and it’s establishment, as described in Revelation chapter eighteen. When man once gets in control, he no longer needs a god or gods to help him, and they become repugnant to him.
Notice that the various images are used to describe more than one object of reality: the beast is spoken of separately from the kings and horns and yet they are one, the seven heads are seven hills but they are also seven kings, the revived beast in its last form will be lead by the eighth king who is of the seven and belongs to them (17:11). The Woman is the world’s horrible religious system, but she is also a great city (Rev. 17:18).
The eighth ruler, who is called "the beast that [once] was, but now is no more" (Rev. 17:11) seems to ultimately take over the reigns of government so thoroughly that he is recognized and called and identified as the beast himself. Thus we have a picture of the antichrist coming to the forefront, probably after a weak and unstable world government has already been established. After he subdues three of the ten kings, he will then be in a position to establish a seven-year peace treaty with the nation of Israel which will be the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel or the Tribulation period. A one-world government is progressively becoming viewed as the only hope of world peace and progress, which means that the rapture could occur at any time – everything seems to be lining up with what the Bible describes for the end times.
In light of the above Scriptures, there is a real possibility that the United States, with the present attempt to establish a North American Union, is well on the way of becoming one of the ten earthly kings, or regions. If the United States and the European Union should come to some agreement or arrangement along with the other eight regions of the world suggested by the Club of Rome, we would have in place the 10 rulers of these regions that make up the seventh head of this composite beast.
Considering Scripture, Gary Kah’s book En Route to Global Occupation, the National Security Strategy of the neo-conservatives, and now the financial crisis of 2008, it is quite likely that the words and actions of our present government are a calculated scheme to frighten the people of the United States into demanding more UN cooperation and eventually joining the one-world movement.