Church of God, New World Ministries

Who Is The Beast?

If you have this Mark, you must suffer the seven last plagues! Is he a mysterious superman world dictator, yet to appear? Is he the antichrist, or a government or a church?

A most important question of the hour is: What, or who, is the beast, the image of the beast, and the mark of the beast? Whatever this weird beast – whatever the baffling image, whatever the mysterious “mark,” it behooves you and me to find out! For it is possible that those of this very present generation who shall be worshiping this “beast” or his “image,” or shall have received his “mark,” will suffer the unspeakable tortures of the seven last plagues!

Ignorance will not be an excuse! “My people are destroyed for lack of wisdom (or knowledge),” say the Eternal in Hosea 4:6. And the illustration of Ezekiel’s watchman shows that those who are ignorant, because they are not warned, will suffer just the same (Ezk. 33:6; and 3:18).God expects His people to be His watchmen and to warn the people, and unless we do, He will require their blood at our hand!

The time is at hand! The plagues of God’s wrath will soon be poured out, unmixed and undiluted, full strength upon a heedless God-defying world, and a careless, lukewarm, indifferent Christianity!

The Apostle John describes the last, final, warning message: “If any man worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture” (Rev. 14:9-10).

John who was carried forward in vision into the terrible “Day of the Lord,” sees these plagues beginning to fall! “And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven last plagues and the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image” (Rev. 15:6; 16:2).

Every sign tells us these things will happen, plunging the world into the most frantic, frenzied state of anguish ever known, within a matter of years! Those who suffer the indescribable wrath of Almighty God are described as those who worship the beast, or his image, or have his mark. It is futile to try to imagine, as so many are doing, what the “Mark of the Beast” may be. Too many are trying to fix this all up in their imaginations. But God says “My thoughts are not your thoughts.”

We can’t work this out in our minds. We are face to face with a stern reality, not an imaginary fairy tale! There is only one way to learn the Truth. That is to study carefully, cautiously, prayerfully, with an open mind yielded to and guided by the Holy Spirit, all the testimony of all the scriptures that bear on this question.

We can’t determine what the “mark” of the beast may be, until we have learned what, or who, the beast is! For, of course, the Mark is the Beast’s mark, who, what, then is the Beast?

The beast, the image of the beast and the mark of the beast are all described primarily in the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation. Notice carefully the Bible description:

“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 head 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” (Rev. 13:1-2).

Now most of those who are teaching and preaching to others on these subjects overlook entirely this description. For this description will identify the “Beast.”

If the “Beast” is some mysterious superman, or Antichrist, soon to appear as world dictator, he will be a peculiar-looking person, for he will have seven heads, and ten horns! Now these, of course are all symbols. The very word “Beast” is a symbol. And our problem is to interpret these symbols, for they stand for real, literal things. And when we know what the head and the horns are, what the feet of the bear, the mouth of the lion, and likeness to a leopard all mean, then we can know what, or who, the ‘beast” really is!

The point we want to stress is that the Bible interprets its own symbols! If we want the truth, we must be guided solely by the Bible interpretation, not man’s imaginations. The Bible itself tells us what they represent!

In the 7th chapter of Daniel, we find exactly these same symbols described. Here again are the beasts, with the “seven heads,” the “ten horns,” and here also is the “lion,” the “bear,” and the “leopard.” And here the Bible tells us what these symbols represent.

God had given Daniel understanding in dreams and visions (Dan. 1:17). And Daniel had a dream and a vision (Dan. 7:1) in which he saw four great beasts (v. 3). And notice, as in Revelation, the “beasts” came up out of the sea.

The first was like a “lion” (v. 4), the second was like a “bear” (v. 5), and the third like a “leopard” (v. 6), and the fourth was so dreadful and terrible it could not be compared to any wild beast known to inhabit the earth!

Now there was only one head described on the lion, one for the bear, one for the fourth beast, but the third beast, the leopard, had four heads, thus making seven heads in all! And out of this great and dreadful fourth beast grew ten horns!

Now notice verse 16, latter part. Here comes the interpretation of these things! The question is, will we accept this Bible interpretation of the seven heads, the ten horns, the lion, the bear, and the leopard? “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings which shall arise out of the earth,” is the interpretation of verse 17.

And the word “King” is synonymous with Kingdom, and used only in the sense that the king represents the kingdom over which he rules, for in verse 23 we read: “the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon the earth.” Notice also the word “kingdom” is used to explain the beasts in verses 18, 22, 24, and 27.

Now what do the “horns” represent? Notice verse 24: “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.” Notice the ten horns, or ten succeeding kingdoms or governments, come out of a kingdom, not out of a man, or a superman. This alone makes plain that the beast is not some mysterious personal superman yet to come. Also that the beast is not a Church, for no ten kingdoms ever did, or will, come out of any church. And since king in these prophecies only stands for the kingdom he represents, and since the words are used interchangeably, it follows that these ten horns are ten succeeding kingdoms growing out of the fourth kingdom, which was to rule the earth from the time of Daniel!

These same four world-ruling Gentile kingdoms are described in the 2nd chapter of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldean Empire, who had taken the Jews captive, had a dream, the meaning of which God revealed to Daniel.

The dream is described in verses 31-35.The king saw a great image. Its head was of gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron and its feet and toes were part of iron and part clay. Finally, a stone, not in men’s hands, but supernaturally, smote the image upon his feet and toes. It was broken in pieces and was blown away like chaff. Then the stone that smashed it became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

“This,” Daniel says, beginning in verse 36, “is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof to the king (verses 36-40). The interpretation of the stone smashing the image at its toes is found in verse 44:

“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” The Stone is Jesus Christ and His kingdom. The interpretation of the Stone is given many places in the Bible. “Jesus of Nazareth is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become Head of the corner” (Acts 4:10-11).

And so we see that here are four universal world-ruling Gentile kingdoms. They begin with the Chaldean Empire, when the Jews were taken captive to Babylon, 604-585 B.C. They continue thru four great universal kingdoms and out of the fourth grow ten succeeding governments. These carry to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and the setting up of the Kingdom of God to fill the whole earth and last forever.

Plainly, here are described the same four universal world-ruling powers that are described by Daniel’s four beasts. And this dream-image identifies who they are. The first was Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, the Chaldean Empire, called “Babylon” after the name of its capital city, traditionally dated 625-538 B.C.

The second kingdom which followed we know from history. It was the Persian Empire, 558-330 B.C., often called Medo-Persia, composed of Medes and Persians.

All ancient history students know the third world kingdom was Greece, or Macedonia under Alexander the Great, who conquered the great Persian Empire 333-330 B.C. But Alexander lived only a few short years after his swift conquest, and his four generals divided his vast Empire into four regions: Macedonia and Greece, Thrace and Western Asia, Syria and territory east to the Indus River, and Egypt. So these were the “four heads” of the third beast of Daniel.

And the 4th kingdom, which, developing from Rome, spread out and gradually absorbed one after another of these four divisions – “dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly,” was the Roman Empire (31 B.C. to A.D. 476).

The Roman Empire had absorbed all the others, occupied all their territory, and was greater and stronger than all. It included all the royal splendor of ancient Babylon, thus having the head, the strongest part of the “lion.” It has all the massiveness and numerically powerful parts of the bear. It was the greatest war-making machine the world had ever seen, and it also possessed the swiftness, the cunning, the cruelty of Alexander’s army, symbolized by the leopard.

And thus, this fourth beast was unlike any wild beast of the earth. It was stronger, greater, and more terrible, than any.

And so, John, in Revelation 13, sees not four beasts, but one beast. Not a leopard, but like a leopard, possessing all its cunning, cruelty, and speed. But it also possessed the dominant characteristics of the two other most powerful beasts, the feet of a bear, and the mouth of a lion. Daniel’s 4th beast, the Roman Empire, had absorbed and therefore it included, the three beasts before it. Thus it included all seven heads. And John’s beast also has seven heads. It was Daniel’s 4th beast, only, which had ten horns and John’s beast has ten horns.

So, if we are willing to be guided solely by the Bible description of this “beast” and to let the Bible interpret the symbols used to describe it, we come to the conclusion that the Beast of Rev. 13 is the Roman Empire, of 31 B.C. to A.D. 476!

Nebuchadnezzar’s image, by the two legs, describes the two divisions of the Roman Empire, after A.D. 330, the West with its capital at Rome, and the East with its capital at Constantinople.

John pictures this beast, not as a Church, or as an individual man, but as a powerful government having a great army. For they worshipped the beast by saying: “who is able to make war with him” (Rev. 13:4)?

Let us now notice the symbolism of the horns of the 4th beast of Daniel 7 and of the beast of Revelation 13.

The ten horns symbolize the same thing, the ten stages of government continuing out of the Roman Empire after its fall, 476 A.D. “The ten horns out of this kingdom (the 4th – the Roman Empire, 31 B.C. to 476 A.D.) are ten kings that shall arise and the kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High” (Dan. 7:24).

The ten horns, then, are ten kingdoms to arise out of the 4th kingdom, the Roman Empire. These kings, also called kingdoms, continue from 476 A.D. until the time when the Stone, Jesus Christ and His kingdom, smashes the image on its toes and the kingdom is given to the saints. Therefore, since in actual history, there have never been ten contemporaneous kingdoms that have continued out of the Roman Empire, side by side, down to the present, and since there have been nine successive kingdoms ruling that territory, which we shall explain, from 476 to the present, therefore we know that the kingdoms represented by the horns are successive, and not contemporaneous.

Now let us return to our description of the beast in Revelation 13: “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. 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? 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” (Rev. 13:3-5).

The beast here symbolized is the one which included the royal splendor and kingly power symbolized by the mouth of the lion (Babylon); the ponderous strength symbolized by the feet of the bear (Medo-Persia), and the speed, cunning, and cruelty of the leopard (Greece). Since the interpretation of these symbols is found in Daniel 7, and since the 4th beast had ten horns, the Bible interpretation of the beast of Revelation 13 is the 4th beast of Daniel 7, the Roman Empire of 31 B.C. to 476 A.D. The beast described by John in Revelation 13 included 7 heads, but the only head existing at the time John wrote was this nondescript beast, which included the most powerful characteristics of all the beasts symbolizing its predecessors, was the 4th beast of Daniel, containing the 7th head, and also the ten horns. So the specific “one of its heads” that was wounded to death was the 7th head of the Roman Empire, the head out of which ten horns grew. The ten horns, then, as Daniel interprets, represent ten successive governments out of the Roman Empire, which were to continue until the setting up of the Kingdom of God at the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The deadly wound, then, was the one administered to the Roman Empire, when, in its last decaying stages, the barbarians overran it, ending its government in 476 A.D.

Notice the dragon gave his power to the beast. Who is the dragon? The dragon is a symbol which means Satan the Devil, Revelation 12:9 and Rev. 20:2

They worshipped the beast (Rev. 13:40. Therefore some hastily conclude, from this one statement alone, that the beast must be the Papacy, not knowing that the people worshiped the Roman Empire and its Emperors! Notice how they worshiped the beast, saying who is able to make war with him? The Roman Empire was the greatest war making power the world had ever known, but no church ever had a real army. This beast killed by the sword (v. 10) but no church ever did. The church used the State to kill heretics. History is full of accounts of the worship of the Roman Emperors, for paganism was a state religion. The following is from Robinson’s “Medieval and Modern Times,” a college text book, p. 7, chapter 1:

“The worship of the emperor: In a word the Roman government was not only wonderfully organized but everyone was required to join in the worship of the emperor because he stood for the majesty and glory of the dominion. And, all were obliged, as good citizens, to join in the official sacrifices to the head of the state, as a god.”

But when the seventh head of this great beast received its deadly wound in 476 A.D. was that the end? No, the prophecy says “his deadly wound was healed and power was given unto him to continue 40 and two months.” The ten horns represent ten successive kingdoms out of this kingdom to follow. So, thru the ten horns growing out of this head (the Roman Empire), the beast continues on until the second coming of Jesus Christ.

This verse doesn’t say the whole beast died, but one of his heads was wounded to death. The beast included the 7 heads and the ten horns. John sees the beast living in the days of its 7th head, the Roman Empire. And when the head of the beast had its deadly wound, his, the beast’s deadly wound was healed. The head was dead, but the beast continued. The horn now reigns, one by one.

By 476 the Empire was overrun by the Vandals of Northern Africa, who had previously sacked Rome in 455. Then Odoacer set up his government at Rome, called the Heruli. But it did not heal the deadly wound, for this was government in Rome, but not a Roman government, but one of foreign barbarians.

Then came the kingdom of the Ostrogoths, 493-554, another outside foreign people who ruled in the territory. But they were driven out of Italy and disappeared. These three kingdoms, sweeping into the Roman territory, filled the period known in history as the “transition age.” That is, a transition between the wound and the healing.

Now Daniel saw a “little horn” coming up among these ten, before whom these first three were “plucked up by the roots.” That leaves 7 horns to come. And of the little horn, Daniel 7 says “his look was more stout than his fellows.” The Papacy, according to the record of history, dominated completely all the horns to follow.

It was the 4th kingdom (after the rule of the three barbarian governments) succeeding the fall of the Empire in 476, which really healed the deadly wound, and restored the Empire. In 554 A.D., Justinian, Emperor of the East from Constantinople, moved to Rome and brought about what is known in history as the “Imperial Restoration” of the Empire.

Now, notice verse 5, of Rev. 13. Power was given to this beast, once healed, to continue 42 months. In the prophecies pertaining to the times of Israel’s punishment, each day represents a year in the actual fulfillment (Ezk. 4:4-6), Num. 14:34). Thus, the “healed” beast is to continue 1260 years.

Following the healing, in 554, came the Frankish Kingdom (French), the “Holy Roman Empire” (German), the Hapsburg dynasty (Austrian), and Napoleon’s kingdom (French). But, when Napoleon was crushed in 1814, the healed beast continued no longer. “So closed,” says West’s Modern History, p. 377), “A government that dated from Augustus Caesar,” it went into abyss!

And from 554 to 1814, the duration of the “healed beast,” was exactly 1260 years. At that time, eight of the “horns” having appeared are gone, the beast itself went into the non-existent condition symbolized in Rev. 17:8 as the “bottomless pit.” Shortly before the year 1870 Garibaldi united the many little divisions in the peninsula of Italy into one nation, and the kingdom thus established began the 9th horn, which culminated in the Nazi-Fascist rule of Mussolini-Hitler.

We shall deal later more specifically with the 17th chapter of Revelation in this connection. Then we shall prove beyond doubt that the “harlot woman,” Babylon the great, is a great false church. But let us note that the “woman,” this church, never rode on any part of this beast of Rev. 13 excepting its last seven horns! She is the “little horn” of Daniel 7, whose “look was more stout than his fellows,” and who caused the first three to be plucked up by the roots. Justinian was the first ruler who ever acknowledged the supremacy of this church, and bowed to its dictates!

And since, in the 17th chapter, the “woman” rode on all seven of the heads of the beast there pictured, and since she rode none of the “heads” but on the last seven of the “horns” of the 13th chapter beast, it follows that the last seven horns of the healed beast of the 13th chapter form the seven heads of the beast of the 17th chapter.

Notice, at the time John sees the beast, five are fallen, one is, and one is yet to come (Rev. 17:10). The five that are fallen are the 5 during the 1260 years in which power was given, by the false church, for the “healed beast” to continue. The one that is, is the kingdom from Garibaldi to the down-fall of Hitler and Mussolini. It was not in any sense the old Roman Empire, so during the stage of this 9th horn (of Daniel’s prophecy and Rev 13), or 6th head (Rev. 17), John speaks of it as the beast that was, and is not, and yet is, and shall arise once more out of the bottomless pit.

The last 7 of the 10 horns of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are symbolized by the 7 heads in the 17th chapter of Revelation. But notice that the last of these seven revivals is formed by ten horns! The final ten horns, yet to come, will be, as the 17th chapter explains, the revival of the beast, the Roman Empire, “out of the bottomless pit by a “United States of Europe,” or federation of 10 European nations within the bounds of the old Roman Empire (Rev. 17:12-18). This is actually beginning today! When Jesus Christ comes, the Roman armies of the beast will be ready to fight him at Armageddon.

The entire beast of Revelation 17, the revivals of the Roman Empire, is “of the seven” heads of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 because it comprises the last seven horns of those heads. Yet this revived Roman Empire is “the eighth” system differing from the seven before it (Rev.17:11).

Thus the beast of Revelation 17 is an 8th system, a Church-State system, but it is a part “of the seven” heads of Daniel’s prophecy. Notice also that in Revelation 17 and the word “beast” refers sometimes to the man who leads the revival of the Roman Empire, but it also refers to the entire system. (Send for our free article 666).

 
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