End Times - Putting the Pieces in Place
Chapter 6: The Beast and False Prophet
Revelation 13:1-2 (NKJV) Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
The Beast and False Prophet are the two primary causes of persecution during the Great Tribulation. The Beast is sometimes called the Antichrist. In the Book of Daniel, he is referred to as a little horn. The Beast is probably an individual, but he may be an organization or system. Daniel 7:7-11 describes a beastly kingdom in which several rulers are depicted as horns. One of these rulers (horns) excels the others and becomes the Beast. The False Prophet is an associate of the Beast.
The Great Tribulation begins when the Beast establishes the Abomination of Desolation. Prior to this time, the Beast will be advancing in position and power in preparation for his activities during the Great Tribulation. The Beast’s power and authority is granted to him by Satan (the dragon, Rev. 13:2-4).
Until the Abomination of Desolation, the Beast may not be readily identified for who he is. One possible advance clue is that the Beast will suffer some kind of physical, political, or other fatal wound to the head (Rev. 13:3). This temporarily knocks the Beast out of commission according to Revelation 17:8, "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit ... the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." It seems that this wound occurs before the Great Tribulation.
When the Beast sets up the Abomination of Desolation, his identity and purpose will be exposed to those who heed the Gospel writer’s warning to understand Daniel’s prophecy (Mat. 24:15). At that time he will blaspheme the true God and declare that he (the Beast) is God. He will intensely persecute and kill those who oppose him fulfilling the prophesied Great Tribulation.
During the reign of the Beast during the Great Tribulation, the False Prophet will perform signs and wonders to deceive people (Rev. 13:13-14). He will also make an image of the Beast which he will bring to life. Those who refuse to worship the image of the Beast will be killed (Rev. 13:15).
The False Prophet will also institute a special mark often called the mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:16-18). People will not be able to buy or sell in the economies controlled by the Beast without the identifying mark in their hand or forehead. Apparently, this mark is only given to those who are willing to worship the Beast or his image. All who take the mark will suffer severe punishment during the Wrath of God (Rev. 14:9-11).
Some Christians and possibly some non-Christian nations will oppose the Beast (Dan. 11:32-35). Some who oppose him will be killed. Many nations, including Israel and Egypt, will be conquered by the Beast. Some, including Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon, will escape his efforts (Dan. 11:41-43).
The main purpose of the Beast will be the same as Satan’s—to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). His rantings and ravings against the true God and God’s people will be particularly intense during the majority of the Great Tribulation.
For the entire 3½ years of the Great Tribulation, things will seem to go well for the Beast. Many will believe that the Beast and Satan are unconquerable (Rev. 13:3-4). Suddenly, his reign will be brought to an end by the coming of Jesus (2 Thes. 2:8). At that time, the people of God will be gathered from the earth and the people left behind (i.e., those who do not belong to God) will mourn because of the coming Wrath of God (Mat. 24:30-31; Rev. 6:15-17).
During the Wrath of God, the Beast will suffer along with the other people on earth (Rev. 16:10-11). Between the sixth and seventh plagues, the Beast will attack and kill the two witnesses of God (Rev. 11:7-14). There will be much rejoicing over the death of the two witnesses. The people probably will think that the death of these two witnesses will bring an end to the severe plagues of God’s wrath. Three and a half days after the two witnesses are killed, they will be brought back to life and called up to Heaven.
Also prior to the last plague of the Wrath of God, the Beast will gather the people of the earth together at Armageddon for battle against God (Rev. 16:14-21; 19:17-21). Apparently, it will not be much of a battle. After this, the final plague of the Wrath of God will fall (Rev. 11:14-19; 16:13-21). The Beast and False Prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire where they will remain forever (Rev. 19:20).
The Beast refers to the individual or government that is empowered by Satan during the Great Tribulation (Rev. 13:1-8). He is also called the Antichrist (1 John 2:18; 4:3), the little horn (Dan. 7:8; 8:9-11), the lawless one, and the son of perdition (2 Thes. 2:3,8).
The False Prophet refers to an individual who assists the Beast, performs false signs, and demands that people worship an image he makes of the Beast (Rev. 13:11-17; 20:20). He is also called a beast and is demon possessed (Rev. 13:11; 16:13-14).
Significance of the Beast:
The Beast is the earthly source of the persecutions and problems of the Great Tribulation. His activities will produce great problems for God’s people on the earth.
Source of the Beast:
The Beast comes out of the bottomless pit (in the sea?) (Rev. 11:7; 13:1). His source of power is Satan (2 Thes. 2:9; Rev. 13:2,4) through a demon that dwells in him (Rev. 16:13-14).
Length of the Beast’s Activity:
The Beast has authority to act with blasphemy for 42 months during the Great Tribulation (i.e., 3½ years, Rev. 13:5). The Beast is active before the beginning of the Great Tribulation as he maneuvers himself into a position of power and authority, but the total length of time is not specified (Dan. 11:21-31). He also suffers punishment after the Great Tribulation during the plagues of the Wrath of God (Rev. 16:10-11). Finally, the Beast and the False Prophet gather the people against Jesus for battle at Armageddon where they are defeated and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:19-20).
Events Prior to the Beast’s Activity:
Since the Beast’s primary activity occurs during the Great Tribulation, all events that precede the Great Tribulation also precede his primary activity. Before the start of the Great Tribulation, the Beast will work to obtain a position of authority and power (Dan. 11:21-31). When the time is right, he will set up the Abomination of Desolation. This is the primary identifying event for the Beast and the start of the Great Tribulation (Mat. 24:15, 21).
Events Associated with the Beast:
The Great Tribulation is primarily a result of the persecutions, blasphemies, and wars of the Beast. A few events are associated with him during the Wrath of God, but that is a time when he is suffering from the plagues of God’s wrath rather than functioning from a position of power.
God During the Beast’s Activity:
God is not the source of the troubles during the Beast’s reign and the Great Tribulation. He will provide some assistance to those who are persecuted by the Beast during that time (Dan 11:33-34; Rev. 12:6, 13-16). Jesus will rescue His people from the Beast and bring an end to the Beast’s reign when He cuts the Great Tribulation short by gathering His people (Mat. 24:21-22, 29-31; 2 Thes. 1:6-8; 2:8).
Christians During the Beast’s Activity:
Christians will oppose the Beast and explain to many other people the meaning of certain end-time events (Dan. 11:32-35). Christians will suffer the worst persecution that has ever been launched against God’s people (Mat. 24:15-22, Dan. 7:25; Rev 13:7). Some will lose their lives (Dan. 11:33-35; Rev. 13:7-8), yet many will find a place of protection provided by the Lord (Dan. 11:34; Rev. 12:6, 13-16).
Satan During the Beast’s Activity:
Satan is the primary source of power for the Beast (Rev. 13:2-4).
Non-Christians During the Beast’s Activity:
Some non-Christians will apparently falsely claim to be Christians in an attempt to join with the people of God (Dan 11:34). Many people will worship Satan (the dragon) because of the great authority he gives the Beast (Rev. 13:4). They will be required to worship an image of the Beast and to take a mark in their hand or forehead (Rev. 13:15-18). Because of their lack of love for the truth they will be easily deceived by the Beast and False Prophet (2 The. 2:9-12; Rev. 13:14). The people of Edom, Moab, and Ammon will escape the attacks of the Beast (Dan. 11:41).
Events Following the Beast’s Activity:
Since the Beast’s primary activity occurs during the Great Tribulation, all events that follow the Great Tribulation also follow his primary activity. After the Great Tribulation, certain signs will be seen in the sun, moon, and stars and Jesus will return to gather the church. After those events, the Wrath of God will be poured out on the Beast and all who followed him (Rev. 14:9-11; 16:10). Eventually, the Beast and False Prophet will be thrown alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20).
Scripture references for the Beast and the False Prophet:
Mat 24:15, 21; 2 The. 2:1-12; 1 Jn. 2:18, 22; 1 Jn. 4:3; 2 John 1:7; Rev. 13:1-8, 11-18; Rev. 16:10-11; Rev. 17:3-14; Rev. 19:19-20; Rev. 20:20; Rev. 14:9-11; Rev. 11:7-14; Rev. 16:13-21; Dan. 7:7-8, 11, 19-27; Dan. 8:9-14, 23-26; Dan. 11:21-45
Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. NKJV indicates quotations taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. KJV indicates quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible. Numbers associated with Greek (italic) or Hebrew (upright) words refer to the corresponding words in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, by James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D.
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