Wednesday, February 8, 2023

One Beast

In the books of Daniel and Revelation, the “Beast” is a single entity that has existed since the dawn of human history, beginning with the first attempt at global domination when men founded the city of Babel in a former swamp and “SET UP a high tower to make us a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the earth.”

Dragon Head Rock - Photo by Tiraya Adam on Unsplash
[Photo by Tiraya Adam on Unsplash]

That ancient incident is alluded to at the start of
Daniel when the Babylonian crown prince subjugates Jerusalem and takes exiles and the “vessels of the house of God into the land of Shinar to the house of his god.”

As in Genesis, Nebuchadnezzar attempts to unite all nations under his rule by imposing the Babylonian language on the population under his rule and summons all nations and peoples from his empire to Babylon to render homage before the “great high image that i SET UP” to glorify his kingdom - (Genesis 111-9, Daniel 1:1-21, 3:1-9).

But the God of Israel is the one who “removes kings and SETS UP kings.” The choice of the verb “set up” is deliberate. Whatever kings, dictators, and presidents may think, it is Yahweh who sets up rulers and kingdoms regardless of their pretensions and conceit, and He is certainly well able to remove any nation or tyrant whenever it may please Him to do so – (Daniel 2:21).

And Nebuchadnezzar got a taste of this when he was troubled by a dream in which he saw a massive image in the shape of a man with a golden head, a torso and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of brass, its legs of iron, and its feet a mixture of iron and clay.

The entire edifice was struck down at once by a “stone that was cut out without hands.” It struck the image’s feet, but the whole structure “became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors. And the wind carried them away… and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”

Only Daniel, the servant of Yahweh, was able to interpret the dream. The image’s golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian Empire, and its other three sections symbolized three additional kingdoms that would appear afterward. The “stone cut without hands” is the kingdom of God that one day will supplant the kingdoms of this age and fill the entire world – (Daniel 2:31-45).

Noteworthy is that, although the image consisted of four parts, it was ONE IMAGE. Moreover, the entire thing was destroyed in one stroke when the “stone cut without hands” struck its feet. It all turned into dust in one moment.


We see this same reality again in the seventh chapter of Daniel. The prophet saw four “beasts ascending from the sea” in quick succession. They represented four kingdoms, again, starting with Babylon. The fourth beast was the most terrible of the lot, especially its “little horn boasting of great things,” and it “waged war against the saints of the Most-High.”

In the interpretation, Daniel is told that the “four beasts are four kings that will arise out of the earth.” But in the end, the “saints of the Most-High will receive the kingdom,” SINGULAR. This age-long conflict is about the dominion of the entire planet, but also the destruction of God’s people. But unlike all presumed world-rulers, past, present, and future, the saints will possess the kingdom forever – (Daniel 7:15-27).

The fourth beast will wreak havoc on God’s people for a predetermined time – a “season, seasons, and part of a season” – but its reign of terror will cease. And they will “take away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end.”

However, the preceding three beasts will continue to live in the fourth kingdom until it is destroyed (“as for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away. Yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time”). As before, the entire structure is not vanquished until the very end.


This understanding becomes more explicit in the book of Revelation. In chapter 13, John sees a SINGLE BEAST ascending from the sea that has all the monstrous characteristics of Daniel’s four beasts, including the ten horns and the “mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.” And like the “little horn” of Daniel’s fourth beast, this creature is authorized to operate for a limited period – “forty-two months” – (Revelation 13:1-10).

Just like the “little horn” in Daniel, the goal of this beast is to “wage war against the saints, and to over them and kill them.” Controlling the nations and “inhabitants of the earth” may be a necessary tactic, but the objective remains what it has always been – to eradicate the people of God.

It is no coincidence that when describing the rise of this ONE BEAST, John uses a Greek participle in the present tense to signify action in progress. It is, even now, “ascending” from the sea. Moreover, John lists its animal-like features in reverse order from the ascent of the four beasts ascending from the sea in Daniel.

Daniel saw the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the monstrous creature with ten horns ascending in that order. John, on the other hand, describes the ONE BEAST as having the features of the beast with ten horns, the leopard, the bear, and the lion. It is almost as if John is looking backward in time over history.


And in chapter 17, John sees Babylon the Great Whore “riding the beast with ten horns and seven heads.” This beast “was and is not and is about to ascend out of the Abyss.” The description refers to chapter 13 where one of the beast’s “seven heads” received a “death stroke but lived.”

The “seven heads” represent “seven kings” and kingdoms, including the one “head” that received the death stroke and lived. Of the seven kingdoms, by John’s time, “five are fallen.” They have come and gone already in his past. One exists, the sixth, which can only be the Roman Empire. And the last or seventh head is yet to come. And it does, it will continue for a “little while,” a reference to the same limited period as the “forty-two months” and the “season, seasons, and part of a season.”

And this final kingdom is “also an eighth and is of the seven.” It is of the same nature as its predecessors, but it is also something beyond them, and presumably, far worse. It will continue until it is defeated by the “rider on the white horse” who will cast it and the “false prophet” into the “lake of fire.”

The point is that the “Beast” is an ancient creature that has been slithering around since the beginning, since the Garden of Eden. It is no coincidence that in the twelfth chapter of the book the power behind the “Beast,” the “Great Red Dragon,” is also called the “Ancient Serpent” who persecutes the “woman and her seed.”

The “Beast” is a transhistorical reality, but one focused like a laser beam on its goal of annihilating the “saints.”

In chapter 20, for example, after being released from the “Abyss,” the “Ancient Serpent” gathers the nations from the “four corners of the earth” in one last assault against the “camp of the saints.”

And this “Beast” is still alive today, and perhaps the beast that “was, and is not, and shall be again, and is going to destruction” will appear in its final incarnation in our time.

In chapter 13, the foundation of the Beast’s power over nations and people is economic control. Its vassal, the “False Prophet,” uses its authority to level economic sanctions on any man, woman, people, or nation that refuses to render homage to its Master.

And so, today, there is a government on the earth that unilaterally imposes sanctions against governments, nations, peoples, corporations, and individuals that do not obey its “rules” or acknowledge its overlordship. It does not take the gift of prophecy or a degree in rocketry to figure out its identity.

Will this regime become the final incarnation of the “Beast”? Only time will tell. But it certainly fits the description and is headed in the “right” direction. It is all a matter of timing. But buyers beware, especially followers of Jesus.