Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders… 2 Thessalonians 2:9
Introduction; Part I The Two Beasts of Revelation 13
[This article has been updated since its original publication]
The oft quoted verse above about the man of sin, the one infamously known as Antichrist, was an eye opening conversation that totally shook our view of end time characters and events. It required us to throw down old thoughts that had been passed down for decades, if not centuries. We believe with conviction, that we found something that is so important, that if the old paradigm is not removed, it could lead to the falling away of many through deception which will lead to delusion; one of the powerful things the Antichrist will be known for.
In this article we will take a microscope and search the book of Daniel and its younger brother, the book of Revelation to drive home our thesis here; there is an identity crises in the tale of the two beasts.
Daniel 7; Four Beasts and a Little Horn
Many of the keys to understanding the Book of Revelation require us to look back to the Book of Daniel, so for this writing, we will begin our journey of discovery there.
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Daniel 7 starts with a vision of four beasts, each different from the other. It is the fourth beast that we are concerned with here as it will help us decipher the tale of the two beasts in Revelation 13. To do this, we need to look elsewhere in Daniel 7 to find the descriptions of the four beasts.
Daniel, wanting to know about the vision, is told later in verse 23 that the fourth beast is a kingdom that will come upon the earth. It will be so powerful it will tread all the beasts before it under its feet; it will virtually have power over the whole planet. On this beast we see ten horns of which we are told are kings (vs. 24). Then a little horn with eyes of a man arises from among them (vs. 8), the one we have come to know as the Antichrist. He is the one who speaks great words against the most High and wears out the saints. The clear picture in this passage is of a final beast kingdom which has ten horns representing ten kings, with one horn (an eleventh king) who rules above them all; this eleventh king is called the “little horn”. The little horn is a part of the beast but he, by himself, is not the beast. As we will see shortly, this little horn (king ) not only rules this final kingdom, he will also extol the glories and dominance of this kingdom.
Burned With Fire
Reading further down in the passage we see this of the fourth beast and his little horn…
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. Daniel 7:11
In Daniel 7 we see the first real outline of the Antichrist in the Bible; from his rise to power to his demise here in verse 11. He comes to power through a diverse and mighty kingdom (the fourth beast) but it is destroyed along with his kingdom by burning fire from God. At first glance it seems as though God has personified the beast kingdom as he says its body is burned with fire. Clearly a kingdom does not have a physical body so there is something deeper going on here! The only physical bodies we see on this kingdom are the 10 horns which we are told are kings along with the 11th little horn who rules over all of them! This is extremely important to remember as it will come into play later.
Revelation 13; The Two Beasts
In Revelation 13 we see two beasts; one out of the sea, and one out the earth. The consensus opinion of Revelation 13 is that the first beast is the Antichrist while the second beast out the earth is the false prophet. Before we move on, we should note here that the word antichrist does not show up once in the book of Revelation. The word(s) false prophet, however, do show up three times; Revelation 16:13, 19:20 and 20:10 , but not in Revelation 13. Though the overriding opinion is that the first beast is the Antichrist, it is just that; an opinion that needs further exploration to show whether or not it is true.
This is where the passage that led to the creation of this article comes in. Let’s look at it again:
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders…
2 Thessalonians 2:9
The him in verse 9 is the man of sin, the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2 deals in part with the timing of when the Antichrist will be fully revealed. It tells us his coming onto the scene will be with all power and signs and lying wonders. If we then look at the second beast in Revelation 13, (the beast out of the earth) we see something that should raise everyone’s eyebrows…
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast….
In the verses above, we see a lamb who speaks like a dragon, and he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth [lying] them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast. This is the description of the man of sin, the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2. This is the very man who will be a counterfeit Christ in that he looks like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon; the dragon who is Satan the devil as seen in Revelation 12. You ask, how can this be, this is the false prophet!? The answer is, you are correct! This lamb with two horns is the false prophet. But….here is the main point of the article…. the false prophet IS the man of sin, the Antichrist! They are not two separate individuals, they are one and the same! Remember, the word “antichrist” does not show up in the book of Revelation, so we must find him under another descriptor and false prophet is that very thing! When Satan makes his final play to be above God, he is going to counter the work of God the only way he can; counterfeiting the coming of the Messiah as a victorious conquerer. This is precisely what Israel and the Jews had expected for the coming Messiah. They did not get that with Jesus (or so they thought!) and so they keep looking.
Jesus the Prophet & Messiah
The argument here won’t be whether Jesus was the Messiah, that is a foregone conclusion! The question is, was Jesus a prophet and the answer of course is yes!!! Jesus was the Prophet as seen in the Gospel of John where Jesus is declared the Word of God. Jesus was and quite literally is the fulfillment of the word prophet because a prophet is one who delivers a true word from the LORD. Being the Word made flesh he came and lived among us speaking the truth from God because he is God!
Getting into specifics, Jesus is called a prophet in many verses in the Old and New Testaments; at least 24 times. One such clear example is found in Deuteronomy 18:15…“Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a PROPHET like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.” This was clearly speaking of the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, the Jewish people remembered this. They were looking for a messiah who was also a prophet. In John 6:14 we see this important point…. “When the people saw him do this miraculous sign, they exclaimed, “Surely, he is the Prophet we have been expecting!”. We know that the vast majority of Jews missed him the first time. So they are still looking forward to the coming of their Christ and Prophet. This will be how they are fooled… When the one man who is both anti Christ and False prophet appears on the scene to deceive many.
It is also important to note that Jesus did not have a prophet following him around during his ministry; he had disciples. If Satan is going to counterfeit the ministry of Jesus, he will not have a prophet following him around telling people to worship him. He will copy Jesus. And what will the Antichrist copy from Jesus? Jesus told us to worship the Father, but he also accepted worship himself. The Antichrist will be his own prophet; a false prophet who desires worship of his beastly kingdom and thus himself. He will change times and laws and throw truth to the ground. This is very reminiscent of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime; worship the Motherland or die. In Nazi Germany, a false Christianity was allowed of which Hitler dubbed positive Christianity; it had to be approving of the Third Reich or it led to imprisonment and death. Of course the main complaint here will be that the first beast of Revelation 13 is the Antichrist and not an empire building state like Nazi Germany (or any other kingdom), but is this really true?
Revelation 13 Beast Out of the Sea; Person, Kingdom or Something Else?
If we go back to our initial passage in Daniel 7, we are reminded that there were four beasts mentioned, with emphasis on the fourth beast. In this vision of Daniel’s, the beasts rose out of the sea (vs. 3). The fourth beast is specifically called a kingdom (vs. 23) and on that kingdom are 10 horns who are called kings and a little, 11th horn rising among them, the one we know as the Antichrist. This beast with 11 people on it is clearly not a single person. With that being said, let’s take a look at the first beast in Revelation 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. 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. 3 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. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
When we look at the opening of Revelation 13, we see that the first beast, just like the four beasts in Daniel, rises out of the sea. Though this beast is not exactly like the beasts in Daniel (it is described as one beast versus four), we can see that it appears to be a conglomeration of the four beasts in Daniel 7. The beast in Revelation 13 has seven heads, ten horns and is given a mouth to speak. The four beasts in Daniel have seven heads as well (with four heads on the third beast alone), ten horns and a smaller horn that rises up among them that had eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Using discernment, we can see that this beast out of the sea in Revelation 13 expounds upon what Daniel was shown. The mouth given to this kingdom is the Antichrist who like all leaders, good or bad is the mouthpiece of the kingdom, country or nation. That mouth is then defined in the next section of the chapter as the lamb with two horns whom speaks like a dragon; pointing us back to the mouth given to the beast out of the sea only a few verses before. Let us reiterate this point….the second beast that comes out of the earth – The lamb with two horns who speaks like a dragon- IS the mouth of the first beast out of the sea, just as the little horn is the mouth of the fourth beast in Daniel 7. This is exactly what the Antichrist will be known for as seen Daniel 7:8,11,20 and Daniel 11:36-37; his big boastful mouth!
The Demise of the Beasts
In Daniel 7 we saw the demise of the beast kingdom along with his little horn mentioned in verse 11; it is given to the burning flame. Again we quote…
11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
We then compare the fourth beast and the little horn to the demise of the two beasts of Revelation 13. We find this in chapter 19….
19And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
In Daniel 7, the angel gives the interpretation to the Prophet Daniel of the fourth beast as being a kingdom. The little horn is described as a person who is part of the kingdom; the Antichrist. They are treated as one whole with several parts. This whole beast (at the coming of Christ) is given over to the burning flame.
Likewise in Revelation 13, the false prophet whom we agree is a lamb that speaks like a dragon (the beast out of the earth), is tossed into the lake of fire along with the beast who had come out of the sea. The beast out of the sea can be seen as a closer look at the beast(s) Daniel saw in his vision and not the Antichrist himself, though he is in the picture! The Antichrist is the mouthpiece of the beast kingdom which can be seen in both Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. We can therefore exclaim, the only false prophet we see in Daniel 7 is the little horn; the Antichrist!
In all of the book of Daniel, there is no mention of this false prophet anywhere, not even using a different name for him; one man is in view, and he is the little horn! The only place in the New Testament you will see the phrase the false prophet is in the book of Revelation. As mentioned earlier, it happens only three times while the name “antichrist” is never seen. This character has become larger than life with many believing beyond the shadow of a doubt that a future Pope will be that guy! Well, if the Pope is the false prophet, then he is also the Antichrist!
The Deadly Head Wound; What It Isn’t!
As stated earlier, Satan is going to counterfeit the coming of the Messiah. He is going to pull out all stops to appear to be the long awaited Savior of Israel. Expositors and lay people alike have therefore concluded that the Antichrist will die and be raised to life by the false prophet (never mind Jesus wasn’t raised to life by a prophet!) because of the deadly head wound we see the beast out of the sea receive in Revelation 13:3. If the Antichrist had seven heads, this would be plausible, but that simply isn’t the case. Though we will not delve too deeply into what the heads are, it is important to understand that scripture defines heads as kingdoms and horns as kings. Scripture also shows us that kingdoms have principalities over them as seen in Daniel 10 with the prince of Persia and prince of Greece; a battle in the spiritual realm mentioned by the angel Gabriel. We also see Gog who is the chief prince or the realm of Meschech and Tubal in Ezekiel 38/39 as well as Revelation 20. All are principalities that have spiritual influence of a geographical domain. Without delving to far, the final beast kingdom is one of those areas that has the most powerful of these beings not named Satan. We will fully address this in the second part of this series…
Continuing, this beast out of the sea in revelation 13 has 7 heads (or kingdoms) and it is a single head that is wounded! This indicates that it is NOT a man (the Antichrist) raised from the dead as popular opinion had stated, but rather, it is a kingdom and its powerful principality that appeared to have been relegated to the dust bin of history that has been revived! This is why people are amazed at this beast and in the second part of our series, we will touch on this head that is wounded…
The Conquering False Prophet
The belief that the Antichrist will suffer a mortal head wound comes out of the notion that Christ died and rose again, thus the belief the Antichrist will do the same. Stop and think for a moment; what would be Satan’s motivating factor for faking the death of the Antichrist? We say faking, because it is impossible for Satan or any being to posses a dead human body, but we digress! What Israel is waiting for is a conquering Messiah. Death and resurrection are not part of what they are looking for and would serve zero purpose for the Antichrist; he isn’t trying to wash away sin as Christ did!
In Jesus’ first coming, those waiting for the Messiah were excited on Palm Sunday. They, including Jesus’ own disciples expected the Messiah to restore the kingdom to Israel! This is what the Jews of today are waiting for; a political savior who will allow for the building of their temple and restoration of the whole land of Israel. Since 1948, they have been fighting just to keep the little parcel of land they have! The false prophet, who speaks like a dragon, knows this and will use it to his deceptive advantage. He will make treaties and then break them. He will look like a hero, but he is really a goat! Identifying the head that is wounded is another story altogether and one that we will have to answer at another time. For now it is a digression because neither the boastful, little horn of Daniel 7 nor the two horned lamb that speaks like a dragon show any signs of injury; the false prophet will not raise himself from the dead!
The beasts out of the sea in Daniel 7 are highly important to understanding Revelation 13. We saw that on the fourth beast, a kingdom, had the infamous end time character called the little horn. He was not the beast itself, but a part of its kingdom. Moving to Revelation 13 we saw these four beasts as a conglomeration. We saw the seven heads and 10 horns from Daniel 7 and the mouth speaking great things that belonged to the little horn.
Expounding upon that mouth that speaks great things from Daniel 7, we see the lamb who speaks like a dragon coming out of the earth and requires all to worship the beast kingdom in Revelation 13. He does miracles and is deceitful just as 2 Thessalonians 2 says of the man of sin; the Antichrist. Because the word “antichrist” does not appear anywhere in the book of Revelation, we had to find which character name in Revelation fit. That name is the false prophet who is the antithesis of the Prophet, Jesus! The false prophet is synonymous with the man of sin, the man of lawlessness, the little horn, antichrist and so many name descriptors. Because Jesus came in the name of his Father and had no prophet by his side during his ministry, but was the Prophet, Satan will do the opposite; come in his own name (John 5:43), as the false prophet…
So what implication does this leave us with? We aren’t anticipating a false prophet who will force the mark and worship of the Antichrist. We are not anticipating a dying and rising Antichrist. Rather, what we will see geopolitically is the rise of a fierce kingdom with a dark spiritual power over it (the first beast out of the sea), with the mouth being the second beast out of the earth. This second beast is known as both the false prophet and the Antichrist. He will force everyone to worship the first beast….to worship a kingdom and the dark force behind it. To “pledge allegiance” to an earthly kingdom… A man made government which stands in opposition to the heavenly kingdom of God.
In part II of our series on The Two Beasts of Revelation 13, we will take a deeper look at the beast out of the sea and search for its true identity…