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3.2.16. Beast

The Beast is probably the most confusing entity in a consideration of the symbols representing kingdoms and individuals of the visions given to both Daniel and John. This confusion stems from several overlapping aspects of the revelation concerning the Beast:
  1. The term “beast” is used by Daniel to describe several kings (Dan. Dan. 7:17). Of these four, the last is unique and especially terrible.
  2. The term “beast” is used both to denote the final kingdom and the final king which leads the kingdom among the ten horns (Dan. Dan. 7:11; Rev. Rev. 16:10+; Rev. 17:11-13+).
  3. The revival of the Beast makes him both a ruler of the seventh kingdom (Rev. Rev. 16:10+) and the final eighth head. The Beast is said to have seven heads and ten horns, yet he is also “of the seven” heads and “himself also an eighth” (Rev. Rev. 17:11+).
  4. Sometimes the term “beast” denotes a kingdom (Dan. Dan. 7:7, Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:19; Rev. Rev. 13:1-2+). Other times an individual (Rev. Rev. 11:7+; Rev. 13:4+, Rev. 13:12-14+, Rev. 13:17-18+; Rev. 16:10+, Rev. 16:14+; Rev. 19:19-20+). Elsewhere, the same individual is represented as a horn (Dan. Dan. 7:8) and a head (Rev. Rev. 17:11+).
  5. John sees two “beasts,” one rising from the sea (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) and another from the earth (Rev. Rev. 13:11+). The first, more prominent beast is the one whom we describe here. We refer to the second beast from the earth using his alternate title as the False Prophet.
Because of these complexities, our diagram of Symbols of Kingdoms is necessarily imprecise in some aspects because it is nearly impossible to accurately capture all the relationships between the various symbols which denote the Beast and his kingdom in a diagram. In our diagram, #13 - Seventh King, #16 - Beast, and #25 - Little Horn all appear with the same color since we believe each symbol denotes different aspects of the reign of the same individual: Antichrist. The Beast has seven heads and ten horns [#16-#4] [#16-#22] (Rev. Rev. 13:1+; Rev. 17:3+, Rev. 17:7+). In this characteristic, he is identical with the dragon who gives him his power, throne and authority [#16-#15] (Rev. Rev. 13:2-4+; Rev. 16:10+). This empowerment likely also includes the healing of the fatal wound resulting in the Beast’s rise from the Abyss to be marveled at by the world (Rev. Rev. 13:3+; Rev. 17:8+). He also is identified closely with the dragon in that he and the dragon both receive worship (Rev. Rev. 13:4+). The beast is, “like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion” (Rev. Rev. 13:2+). The leopard denotes attributes of the leopard beast [#11-#16], the bear denotes attributes of the bear beast [#10-#16], and the lion denotes attributes of the lion beast [#9-#16] (Dan. Dan. 7:12; Rev. Rev. 13:2+). Two aspects should be noted:
  • Terrible Beast Missing - In Revelation Rev. 13:1+, no mention is made of the terrible beast which followed these three beasts in Daniel’s vision (Dan. Dan. 7:2-7). This is an indication that the Beast is an embodiment of that final terrible beast—consisting of the revival of the seventh king from his fatal wound out of the abyss [#17-#16] (Rev. Rev. 13:3+; Rev. 17:8+, Rev. 17:11+, Rev. 17:14+). The Beast ascends from the Abyss both temporally and physically (see Supernatural Origin?).
  • Sequence of Beasts Reversed - In Daniel’s vision of the four beasts which are said to be kings, the sequence is first lion, then bear, then leopard, and finally the terrible beast. John relates the first three in opposite order. This reflects the different vantage points of Daniel and John. In Daniel’s day, the lion, bear, and leopard had not yet fallen. In John’s day, they have all fallen, but contribute to the final Beast. Daniel looks forward in time, whereas here John looks back.
The Beast is said to have ten horns, which are ten kings, but will rule over them: they are of one mind and give their authority to the beast [#16-#22] (Rev. Rev. 17:12-13+, Rev. 17:17+). The ruler of this final beastly kingdom was seen by Daniel as a little horn (Dan. Dan. 7:8). See #25 - Little Horn. The description of the Beast is remarkably similar to the little horn.1 This is because the Beast is the final eighth head (kingdom) and the little horn is the prominent horn (king) of the time of the end. The final kingdom is ruled by the prominent king of the end:

Daniel’s Little Horn versus The Beast of Revelation
CharacteristicDaniel’s Little HornBeast of Revelation
Mouth Speaks pompous words (Dan. Dan. 7:8, Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:20, Dan. 7:25; Dan. 11:36). Blasphemes against God, His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven (Rev. Rev. 13:6+).
Duration of Authority2 Saints given into his hand for time, times, and half a time (Dan. Dan. 7:25). Given authority for 42 months (Rev. Rev. 13:5+).
Persecutes the Saints Prevails over saints [#25-#20] (Dan. Dan. 7:21, Dan. 7:25). Overcomes saints [#16-#20] (Rev. Rev. 12:11+; Rev. 13:7+, Rev. 13:15+; Rev. 20:4+).
Global Rule Dan. Dan. 7:21-25Rev. Rev. 13:7+ [#16-#1]
A King Dan. Dan. 7:24Rev. Rev. 17:10-11+
A ManEyes like a man (Dan. Dan. 7:8, Dan. 7:20). The number of a man (Rev. Rev. 13:18+).
Destined for Perdition Dan. Dan. 7:112Th. 2Th. 2:3; Rev. Rev. 17:8+, Rev. 17:11+; Rev. 19:20+; Rev. 20:10+
Time of DestructionWhen saints receive kingdom (Dan. Dan. 7:26-27). When saints receive kingdom (Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+).

A key difference between what John sees concerning the Beast and what Daniel is shown about the little horn is the relationship between the Beast and the False Prophet (or second beast from the earth, Rev. Rev. 13:11+). The Beast supports the False Prophet and apparently is the source of his power (ultimately derived from the dragon). Scripture mentions that the False Prophet “exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence” [emphasis added] [#16-#18] (Rev. Rev. 13:12+a). Although initially, the Harlot is supported by (rides upon) the Beast [#16-#21] (Rev. Rev. 17:3+, Rev. 17:7+) and she rules over the kings of the earth (Rev. Rev. 17:18+), the ten horns who receive authority with the Beast (Rev. Rev. 17:12+) eventually join forces to turn on her and consume her [#22-#21] (Rev. Rev. 17:16+). (The MT and NU texts indicate that the Beast also turns on her [#16-#21]. See commentary on Revelation 17:16.) If she includes an apostate religious system (as her title as mother of harlots and of abominations infers), then this opens the way for the Beast to garner all worship in her absence. As the final form of all world kingdoms, the Beast receives global worship (Dan. Dan. 11:37; 2Th. 2Th. 2:4; Rev. Rev. 13:4+, Rev. 13:8+, Rev. 13:12+; Rev. 14:9+; Rev. 16:2+; Rev. 19:20+; Rev. 20:4+) which involves his subjects taking his number, the infamous mark of the beast (Rev. Rev. 13:17+; Rev. 14:9+, Rev. 14:11+; Rev. 15:2+; Rev. 16:2+; Rev. 19:20+; Rev. 20:4+; see commentary on Revelation 13:18.) This probably occurs shortly after he overcomes the two Jewish witnesses (see commentary on Revelation 11:7 ) and installs himself within the Holy Place in the Temple (2Th. 2Th. 2:4). See Temple of God. In the reign of the Beast, the heads (sequential kingdoms spanning history) and the horns (contemporary kings of the last kingdom) intersect in a single individual. He is Daniel’s little horn which puts down the three horns, but is also “the eighth head, and is of the seven heads,” having been wounded as the seventh and revived as the eighth (Rev. Rev. 17:11+).

So as one of the seven, the beast is a kingdom, but as an eighth, he is the king of that kingdom who sustains the wound and ascends from the abyss after his wound (cf. Rev. Rev. 17:8+). When this occurs, he is king over an eighth kingdom because his reign following his ascent from the abyss will be far more dynamic and dominant than before. This is the sense in which he is one of the seven, but also an eighth.3

When destroyed, he is bound for perdition (Dan. Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:26; Dan. 8:25; Dan. 9:27; Dan. 11:25; 2Th. 2Th. 2:3-8; Rev. Rev. 17:8+, Rev. 17:11+; Rev. 19:20+; Rev. 20:10+).4 For additional background concerning the Beast, see The Beast and Nero. See commentary on Revelation 13.

Notes

1 “Both will have a worldwide kingdom (Dan. Dan. 7:7, Dan. 7:23; Rev. Rev. 13:8+); both will speak blasphemies against God (Dan. Dan. 7:8, Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:20, Dan. 7:25; Rev. Rev. 13:5+); both will have victory over the saints for forty-two months (Dan. Dan. 7:25; Rev. Rev. 12:14+; Rev. 13:5+); both will be destroyed by Christ at the Second Advent (Dan. Dan. 7:11, Dan. 7:26; Rev. Rev. 17:14+; Rev. 19:20+); and immediately after their destruction the kingdom will be given to God’s saints (Dan. Dan. 7:22, Dan. 7:27; Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+).”—Daniel K. Wong, “The Beast From The Sea in Revelation 13,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 160 no. 639 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, July-September 2003), 338.

2 See Prophetic Year.

3 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1995), Rev. 17:10.

4 “Destruction, ruin, or waste, especially through the eternal destruction brought upon the wicked by God (Heb. Heb. 10:39; 2Pe. 2Pe. 3:7). Jesus contrasted the broad way that leads to life with the difficult way that leads to destruction (Mtt. Mat. 7:13). The apostle Paul contrasted perdition with salvation (Php. Php. 1:28).”—Ronald F. Youngblood and R. K. Harrison, eds., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1995), s.v. “Perdition.”