This name the Beast contrasts the Antichrist from the true Christ as the Lamb; and it is a significant fact that by far the great majority of passages where the Lord Jesus is so designated are also found here in the Apocalypse. The Lamb is the Saviour of sinners; the Beast is the persecutor and slayer of the saints. The Lamb calls attention to the gentleness of Christ; the Beast tells of the ferocity of the Antichrist. . . Under the Law lambs were ceremonially clean and used in sacrifice, but beasts were unclean and unfit for sacrifices.4Revelation mentions two different beasts: Antichrist (Rev. Rev. 13:1+) and the False Prophet (Rev. Rev. 13:11+). Which beast is in view here? Evidence indicates it is Antichrist who slays the witnesses.
The beast most probably refers to the future Antichrist. Five facts support this view.
First, the persecutor of the witnesses is not a beast but the beast (τό θηρίον [to thērion] ). This use of a definite article indicates that he is a figure well known to the writer. Since teaching on the Antichrist was so familiar to Jews and Christians through Old and New Testament prophecy (Dan. Dan. 7:2-25; Dan. 9:27 ; Dan. 11:35-45 ; Mtt. Mat. 24:15; Mark Mark 13:14; 2Th. 2Th. 2:3-12; 1Jn. 1Jn. 4:1-6), it is not impossible that John was thinking of him here.
Second, since the word beast (θηρίον [thērion] ) in the Apocalypse is always used with reference to the future Antichrist or his system (Rev. Rev. 13:1+ ; Rev. 14:9+, Rev. 14:11+ ; Rev. 15:2+ ; Rev. 16:2+ ; Rev. 17:3+ ; Rev. 19:20+ ; Rev. 20:10+ ) [we note one exception: Rev. Rev. 13:11+], the beast in Rev. 11:7+ should be seen in the same light.
Third, the beast will come up out of (ἐκ [ek] ) the abyss, that is, it will have a satanic, demonic source and character (cf. Rev. Rev. 9:1+). This feature corresponds with that of the coming Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2Th. 2:9-10.
Fourth, the description of the beast as coming up out of the abyss (ἀναβαῖνον έκ τῆς ἀβύσσου [anabainon ek tēs abyssou] , Rev. Rev. 11:7+) corresponds with the beast about to come from the abyss (ἀναβαίνειν ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου [anabainein ek tēs abyssou] ) in Rev. Rev. 17:8+ (cf. Rev. Rev. 13:1+ ). This correspondence is illuminating, for since the beast in Rev. Rev. 17:8+ probably refers to the future Antichrist with his kingdom, the same is probably the case in Rev. Rev. 11:7+.
Fifth, νικάω [nikaō] (to overcome) is used three times in the Apocalypse with reference to the enemy of Gods people (Rev. Rev. 6:2+ ; Rev. 11:7+ ; Rev. 13:7+ ). Since other occurrences of the term are related directly to the coming Antichrist (Rev. Rev. 6:2+ ; Rev. 13:7+ ), the same may be true in Rev. Rev. 11:7+.5
This beast was not mentioned before, yet he is introduced as the beast, because he had already been described by Daniel (Dan. Dan. 7:3, Dan. 7:11), and he is fully so in the subsequent part of the Apocalypse, namely, Rev. Rev. 13:1+; Rev. 17:8+. Thus, John at once appropriates the Old Testament prophecies; and also, viewing his whole subject at a glance, mentions as familiar things (though not yet so to the reader) objects to be described hereafter by himself. It is a proof of the unity that pervades all Scripture.6The individual before us is found in many passages of Scripture and given many different titles. Across the varied scenes depicted by prophecy there falls the shadow of a figure at once commanding and ominous. Under many different names like the aliases of a criminal, his character and movements are set before us.7
It is unfortunate that the great variety of names bestowed upon him has led some brethren to the conclusion that they must belong to separate persons, and has caused them to apportion these out to different individuals; only confusion can result from this. There is almost as much ground to make the Devil and Satan different persons, as there is to regard (as some do) the Beast and the Antichrist as separate entities. That the Devil and Satan are names belonging to the same person, and that the Beast and the Antichrist is the selfsame individual, is proven by the fact that identically the same characteristics under each is found belonging to the one as to the other.8Pink cites the Teaching of the Apostles (said to be dated to the beginning of the 2nd century), the writings of Cyril (Bishop of Jerusalem in the fourth century), and Gregory of Tours (who wrote at the end of the 6th century) as evidence of the early view that the Beast is an individual rather than a system. He attributes the idea that the Antichrist was the Roman system to the Waldenses: It is not until we reach the fourteenth century (so far as the writer is aware) that we find the first marked deviation from the uniform belief of the early Christians. It was the Waldenses,so remarkably sound in the faith on almost all point of doctrinewho, thoroughly worn out by centuries of the most relentless and merciless persecutions, published about the year 1350 a treatise designed to prove that the system of Popery was the Antichrist.9 This shows that these Witnesses are upon the earth during the thirteenth chapter; and that the Beast is on the Earth during the eleventh chapter.10 See The Beast.
That this incident will happen after his resurrection from the dead is clear from the statement, the beast that comes up from the abyss, and he will come back from the Abyss by means of his resurrection by Satan. Along with his resurrection, the act of killing the Two Witnesses will provide another reason why mankind will worship him. All previous attempts to kill the Two Witnesses fail.12
Immediately upon his resurrection, he kills . . . the Two Witnesses. Consequently, their 1,260 days must just overlap into his 42 months. They must have witnessed, therefore, for nearly 1,260 days during his mortal stage, before his assassination.13See Events of the 70th Week of Daniel.
1 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 361.
3 Therion describes the Antichrist in Rev. Rev. 11:7+; Rev. 13:1-4+, Rev. 13:12+, Rev. 13:14-15+, Rev. 13:17-18+; Rev. 14:9+, Rev. 14:11+; Rev. 15:2+; Rev. 16:2+, Rev. 16:10+, Rev. 16:13+; Rev. 17:3+, Rev. 17:7-8+, Rev. 17:11-13+, Rev. 17:16-17+; Rev. 19:19-20+; Rev. 20:4+, Rev. 20:10+. Arnion describes the Lamb in Rev. Rev. 5:6+, Rev. 5:8+, Rev. 5:12-13+; Rev. 6:1+, Rev. 6:16+; Rev. 7:9-10+, Rev. 7:14+, Rev. 7:17+; Rev. 12:11+; Rev. 13:8+, Rev. 13:11+; Rev. 14:1+, Rev. 14:4+, Rev. 14:10+; Rev. 15:3+; Rev. 17:14+; Rev. 19:7+, Rev. 19:9+; Rev. 21:9+, Rev. 21:14+, Rev. 21:22-23+, Rev. 21:27+; Rev. 22:1+, Rev. 22:3+.
6 A. R. Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 11:7.
8 Ibid., s.v. Names and Titles of the Antichrist.
9 Ibid., s.v. The Papacy Not the Antichrist.