THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHETBack to Alphabetical Index | Back to Chapter Index
For centuries, the ability to identify the Beast and the False prophet who are mentioned in the Book of Revelation has eluded Bible scholars. Now, as the end of this age approaches and Christ's return draws near, many answers concerning the prophetic Beast of Revelation and the False Prophet have been revealed.
Who is the Beast?
The Beast is the leader of a powerful religious and governmental system that controls an alliance of nations called the Beast. This individual is extremely dynamic and charismatic and is described as a beast because he exhibits the characteristics of a beast as he ruthlessly leads the Beast system.
What is the Beast?
Besides being a leader, the Beast is also a system of government that controls an alliance of nations that will exist for a short time just before Christ's return. It is a system that merges religion and government in such a way that it gives those who administer it absolute authority, power, and control over all religious, philosophical, economic, and political aspects of the people's lives who come under its control.
This religious/political system of government has tremendous economic, industrial, military, and spiritual power at its disposal as it seeks to dominate the entire world. It is defined as a beast because it behaves as a powerful predatory animal, killing and destroying as it goes about satisfying its ravenous appetite for power and control.
Who is the False Prophet?
The False Prophet is the spiritual leader of both a powerful and wealthy religion called the Great Whore and the alliance of nations called the Beast. This spiritual leader denies the sovereign authority of God the Father. He also denies that Jesus Christ is the true Son of God and that the gospel proclaimed by the elect is a message from the true God.
This individual is the supreme spiritual leader of all those who submit themselves to the control and will of the Beast system and its leadership. He is called the False Prophet (Rev.13:11-12; 19:20) because he promotes a religious system that is diametrically opposite to the worship system of God the Father and Jesus Christ. This person has tremendous supernatural power, which he uses to deceive and control people into supporting the aims and goals of the Beast system.
Because of the complexity of the prophecies in the Books of Daniel and Revelation concerning the emergence of the Beast system, its leader, and the False Prophet, we recommend that you read the entire books of Daniel and Revelation before reviewing this study paper.
An Important Subject
The primary reason that an understanding of the books of Daniel and Revelation is important is that they were recorded for those living in the tumultuous time just before the return of Jesus Christ. If indeed this is the prophetic time spoken of in these two books, an understanding of these prophecies is literally a matter of life or death.
Although it is interesting to understand the historical fulfillment of the things written in the books of Daniel and Revelation, it is mostly a waste of time and energy to attempt to discover each minute detail of the past fulfillment of some of these prophecies. Moreover, this information is not necessary in order to understand the prophetic overview concerning the who, what, when, and where of these two books.
What is important, however, is that those who are called to salvation and live in the end of the age just before the return of Christ are able to recognize the times in which they are living. If one is able to recognize the prophetic meaning of the events recorded in the books of Daniel and Revelation as they unfold, one should be able to recognize the enemy and not be deceived into making the mistake of worshiping and serving a false god. Being able to recognize these things should also give one a measure of assurance and peace of mind as to the final outcome of the terrifying times spoken of in these prophecies.
The Physical and the Spiritual
As you review this study, it is important to remember that the symbolism recorded in these prophecies pertains to both the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence. It is for this reason that much of the symbolism and references concerning the various beasts and horns do not seem to make sense when applied to the physical realm of existence.
Although the things and events symbolized have an impact upon the earth and its inhabitants, much of what is foretold will be initiated in the spirit realm of existence and then be reflected in individuals and events on earth. Therefore, when analyzing these prophecies, one must keep in mind that events that take place in the spirit realm of existence may or may not be reflected in people and events of the physical realm of existence. Only when these prophecies are viewed in this light will they make sense.
The Wise Will Understand
After the prophet Daniel had seen all that he had seen and been told all that he had been told, he still did not understand the things that were revealed to him, because they were revealed for another time and another people to understand:
"And the angel said to Daniel, Go your way Daniel: for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand" (Dan.12:9-10 Para.). See also Rev.1:1-8; 17:8.
There is no doubt that the prophecies contained in the books of Daniel and Revelation are extremely difficult to understand. However, God has promised an understanding of these prophecies to those whom he will call to become his sons just before Christ's return. Does this mean that every single person who is called to salvation during the gospel age will have a complete understanding of prophecy? No, it does not mean this. What God has promised is that everyone he calls to salvation during the end of the age will have the amount of understanding necessary for their spiritual needs. However, each individual must do the things that God requires in order to have this understanding. See Eph.1:16-18; 2.Tim.3:16; Jms.1:15; Rev.13:8; 17:8. Therefore, in order to prepare themselves for the events ahead, each individual who is called should make a diligent effort to study and understand what God has had written for their benefit (2.Tim.2:15).
Proof and Speculation
Although we cannot prove beyond doubt that the things we state in reference to the Beast, its leader, the False Prophet and the nations that seem to be involved in these prophecies are true; historical and Biblical evidence does support our analysis of the symbolic meaning of the people, nations, and events. It is a fact that biblical prophecies surrounding the events just before Christ's return are primarily focused on the descendents of ancient Israel and the nations associated with them. Moreover, the tribes of ancient Israel and the other ancient nations mentioned in these prophecies are easily identified as nations existing today. We have attempted to explain these important prophecies in a clear, logical, and accurate manner. However, regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information presented in this paper, the events described in the books of Daniel and Revelation will occur as God's plan for the salvation of humanity goes forward. Please remember as you study this complex subject, that any errors contained herein are human errors and not errors of God.
THE KING'S DREAM OF THE IMAGE
The Prophet Daniel
The prophet Daniel was one of four men taken from among Jewish captives to serve in king Nebuchadnezzar's staff of intellectuals whom he used to advise him in various matters. On one occasion, the king had a troubling dream that he could not remember; therefore, Daniel, whom God had given the ability to interpret dreams and visions was called upon to recall and interpret the king's dream.
This first dream that Daniel interpreted for king Nebuchadnezzar is a major key to unlocking the meaning of the Beast which is both the ten nation alliance and its leader. Understanding the meaning of this dream is crucial because Nebuchadnezzar and his empire are symbolic of the beast system and its leader that will exist near the end of human rule on earth.
Daniel 2:27-44 Paraphrased
"Daniel spoke before the king and said, The secret which the king has demanded cannot be shown to the king by the wise men, the magicians, the horoscopists, or the fortune-tellers. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and makes known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. . ." (vs.27-28).
The first thing that we learn from the king's dream is that it was given to him by God in order to reveal events that would transpire in a time called the latter days (i.e., last or final days). The only latter, last, or final days that have any significance concerning humanity in biblical prophecy are the days just before Jesus Christ's return to establish his Father's kingdom over the earth. Therefore, this is the context in which the king's dream must be viewed in order to understand its significance in understanding the Beast.
The Great Image
"Behold a certain great image! That image stood before you with a brilliant brightness; and its form was dreadful. The head of this image was of fine gold; its breasts and its arms were of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze; its legs of iron, its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay" (vs.31-33).
The image that the king saw was extraordinarily bright and terrifying to look upon and was composed of metals of decreasing value, from a head that is very valuable to feet of less value, and from the weakness of malleable gold to the brittle strength of iron mixed with clay.
The 'You' and the Stone
"You continued until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were together broken into pieces; and they became like chaff on the summer threshing floors. And the wind carried them away, so that no trace was found of them. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain [government] and filled the whole earth" (vs.34-35).
There are a number of things that are interesting and important to understand in verses 34 and 35:
1. Who or whatever is referred to as 'you' in verse 34 could not be King Nebuchadnezzar, because by the time this prophecy takes place, the king would have long since died. Because the 'you' is to exist until the 'stone' comes to destroy the image, the implication is that whoever or whatever the 'you' is or was will exist during the last days.
2. The stone cut out without hands is a clear reference to Jesus Christ; therefore, the 'you' and the image will both exist when Christ returns to conquer this entity and/or being that is symbolized by the image.
Notice that the 'you' will continue until the stone strikes the image's feet (i.e., that which supports and moves it about) and that this Babylonian system of government will be completely erased from the face of the earth and replaced with the Stone's government—the Kingdom of the true God.
The King of Kings
"This is the dream, we will tell the meaning of it before the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. For the God of heaven and earth has given you the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the honor. And wherever the sons of men, the animals of the field, and the birds of the sky dwell, he has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are the head of gold" (vs.36-38).
Although it is clear that Daniel is speaking to the king, it is also clear that Nebuchadnezzar never ruled the entire earth nor all the life forms that inhabit it. Therefore, this king of kings to which Daniel refers is someone else. Although Jesus Christ is called the King of kings, this prophecy is not speaking of him because he only becomes king of kings at his return and this king of kings was ruling the earth at the time of king Nebuchadnezzar.
The only king of kings who has authority over all the earth until Christ returns to depose him is the present god of this earth, Satan the Devil, who is in authority over all the physical rulers of earth and millions of evil spirits. (Matt.4:8-8; 2.Cor.4:4; Eph.2:2). This is important to keep in mind as we progress through this study, because it is this powerful spirit-being who is the primary motivating force behind all who oppose God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the proclaimers of the gospel message.
The Second and Third Kingdoms
"And in your place shall arise another kingdom [the silver Kingdom] lower than yours, and another third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule in all the earth" (v39).
Here, we see two subsequent kingdoms that rule in the earth, which are both substantially weaker than and inferior to the Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar.
The Fourth Kingdom
"And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron: inasmuch as iron crushes and smashes all things: and as the iron that shatters all these, it will crush and shatter. And as for the feet and toes that you saw, these shall be partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it the strength of iron, because you saw the iron mixed with potters clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron, and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly fragile" (vs.40-42).
The fourth kingdom that will exist during the end of this age is of iron and is supported by a strange mixture of dissimilar materials that reduce its structural/organizational strength. The symbolism of the mixture of iron and brittle fired clay seems to imply that this powerful kingdom is divided in its aims and goals and has a very fragile balance between its weak and strong components.
"And as you saw this iron mixed with the clay of the clay, they shall be mixed with the seed of men: but they shall not adhere to one another, even as iron does not mix with clay" (v43).
The strange statement about the clay of clay not mixing with the seed of men seems to makes no sense in the context of a purely physical world. However, these prophecies are not in this pure context; they are in the context of both the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence. When we view verse 43 in this context, an interesting piece of information can be extracted concerning why there is both great strength and great weakness in this kingdom.
Things to Note
The Coming Kingdom of God
"And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Because you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and it broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold in pieces; the great God has made known to the king what shall occur after this. . ." (vs.44-45).
Notice that it is in the days of this evil alliance of nations that the God of Heaven (Jesus Christ) will set up a government on earth that will be governed by spirit-beings forever. However, prior to establishing his world-ruling government, he will destroy this alliance.
Although Nebuchadnezzar's dream has had a progressive historical fulfillment, his dream also has prophetic duality. Its central focus is on the people and events during a time when a powerful alliance of nations that has a powerful evil spirit leading it will exist. It is during the existence of this evil alliance that Jesus Christ returns to establish his Father's kingdom over the earth.
In the list below are a number of important pieces of information about the king of Babylon and its religious/governmental system that will help in understanding subsequent prophecies about the alliance of nations called the Beast and its leader that will exist before Christ's return.
DANIEL'S FIRST VISION
Many years after his interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's vision, Daniel himself was given a prophetic vision from God concerning the same religious and political system of government.
Daniel 7:1-28 Paraphrased
"In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions . . . And behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea" (vs.1-2).
The four winds who stir up the great sea are very likely the four angels mentioned in Revelation 7:1 who are responsible for causing great destruction on the earth and sea. See our study concerning the sixth seal of the Book of Revelation.
The Four Beasts from the Sea
"And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from another" (v3).
Here, we see four beasts rising out of the sea, and each has distinctly different characteristics, but all come out of the sea during the same time period. Because various bodies of water are sometimes symbolic of people (waters, floods, seas) in biblical prophecy, it is likely that these beasts represent existing nations or alliances of nations. See Isa.57:20.
Because of what the prophetic scriptures say concerning the power and control that evil spirits will exert over the nations of earth, it is more than likely that these four beasts who come out of the sea are also symbolic of the evil spirits who guide and control these physical, national leaders and the national entities that they represent.
The First Three Beasts
1. "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I watched until its wings were torn off, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it" (v4).
2. "And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear. and it raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth,: and they said this to it, Rise up and eat much flesh" (v5).
3. "After this I watched, and behold another, like a leopard, which had four wings like a bird on its back. For also the beast had four heads; and rulership was given to it" (v6).
Here, we see three beasts described as resembling animals; the first has its wings torn off and the third has four wings.
It is easily proven that these three beasts are symbolic of specific nations or alliances of nations, but who are they?
The lion is a regal animal that is pictured as the king of beasts. Having its wings torn off would seem to indicate that it has had its movement restricted from wherever the wings had once allowed it to go. The British Empire is a nation that has a standing lion as one of its national symbols and it is prophetically a nation of kings. It has attained great strength and control over the majority of all that it sought to conquer and has also lost much of its vast empire through the dismantling of its great war machine (navy and army). It has, in essence, had its wings torn off. Among all the nations of the world, the British empire most closely fits the description of the regal lion.
The bear is an animal that roams over and controls a vast amount of territory. It is extremely powerful and kills and devours most anything that it desires. The nation that best fits the description of the bear is the nation of Russia, which has methodically and powerfully controlled vast territories by killing and taking what it has desired.
The leopard is a very powerful and lethal animal that strikes with lighting speed. The wings of this prophetic beast give it great mobility and speed, allowing it to quickly kill and devour its prey. These wings are likely symbolic of its air, army, naval, and marine forces. The only combination of nation-states that fits this description is the United States of America.
Although these three beasts are symbolic of three great empires that exist on earth, it is likely that each animal is also symbolic of the nature of the evil spirit who controls each empire. See Dan.10:12-20; Rev.19-19.
The Fourth Beast
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold the fourth beast, fearful and terrifying, and very strong! And it had great iron teeth: it devoured and crushed, and stamped what was left with its feet: and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns" (v7).
Here, we see a beast unlike any of the other three. It is only described as being terrifying, very strong, having iron teeth with which to destroy and feet that trample anything that escapes its iron teeth. From this description, we can easily see that this empire is indeed powerful, destructive, and ruthless, and it shows no mercy to those it attacks.
Notice that it has ten horns. In biblical prophecy, horns are often symbolic of rulership, nations, and/or their national leaders (Dan.7:17, 23-24). It is important to keep this in mind, because understanding the symbolism of these horns is a key to understanding the Beast's alliance of nations and its spirit/physical leaders who are spoken of in the Book of Revelation.
The Little Horn
"And I was thinking about the horns, and, behold, another little horn came up among them, before whom three of the first horns were pulled up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (v8).
As Daniel is thinking about the ten horns (ten rulers of nations) upon the head of the fourth beast, three of these national rulers are torn out from among the ten. These three are removed from their positions of power and authority and replaced by the little horn (a national ruler) that does not appear as strong and powerful as the three that were removed. Although this individual appears to be weaker than the three he replaced, he is not, because he has eyes with which to see and a mouth with which to speak. The implication is that the other rulers are blind to the true purpose of the beast (the alliance of nations), but this individual is not; he sees and speaks, which means that he speaks for this beast and is, therefore, the one in authority over the beast. It seems that it is the little horn that controls and leads this alliance of nations. See Dan.8:8-9.
The Ancient of Days
"I looked until the thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days sat, whose robe was as white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool: his throne was like flames of fire; its wheels like burning fire [see Ezk.10:2-19]. A stream of fire went out and came out before him, a thousand thousands served him, and a myriad myriads stood before him: the court was set, and the books were opened" (vs.9-10).
Although verses 9 and 10 seem to have nothing to do with the subject at hand, they are very much a part of what is being described. Daniel just doesn't give the details of what he saw leading up to the things he recorded about the Ancient of Days. These two verses pertain to the time after Christ's return (Dan.2:44-45), the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, and what transpires during this time period concerning people's opportunity for salvation. See Rev.20:1-12 and our detailed studies concerning the day of salvation and the various resurrections.
The Fourth Beast is Killed
During the vision of the Ancient of Days and the events surrounding the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth, Daniel sees the little horn that replaces the three horns (vs.7-8). He also sees the killing of the fourth beast at Christ's coming:
"Then I was looking because of the voice of the great words which the horn spoke: I was looking until the beast was killed, and his body was destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time" (vs.11-12).
Verses 11 and 12 mention three distinct and different coming events concerning the fourth beast, the little horn, and the other three beasts.
In the first prophetic event, the fourth beast, which is the powerful alliance of ten nations, is destroyed by Christ when he comes to conquer the earth.
During the second prophesied event, the evil spirit (the son of perdition) who is the leader of the Beast alliance of nations is cast into the Lake of Fire to be tormented. The phrase, 'and his body was destroyed, and given to the burning flame' (vs.11-12) is speaking of the little horn who is the leader of the Beast and whose body is possessed of an evil spirit. See 2.Thes.2:3; Rev.17:8,11, 19:19-20 and our study paper concerning the flames of eternal torment.
In the third prophesied event, the other three evil spirits have their power and authority to rule taken away from them, but are allowed to continue to live for a time and a season (15 months) after which their existence will be terminated. The inference is that these other spirit-beings have their lives spared because God has some other task for them to perform at some future date.
"I was looking in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heavens: and he came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And dominion was given to him, and glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, that shall not pass away, and his kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed" (vs.13-14).
Here, we see the same event that was spoken of in Daniel 2:35,44, which refers to the entire image being destroyed with the stone (Christ) and the subsequent establishment of the Kingdom of God the Father over all the earth.
What do These Things Mean?
"And I came near one who stood by and asked him the truth of all this. And he told me and made me to know the meaning of the things" (v16).
The Beasts and the Kings
"These great beasts are four, they are four kings; they shall rise up out of the earth" (v17).
The angel reveals the key that unlocks the mystery of these four beasts and the overall theme that occurs over and over again in prophecies concerning the end of the age, especially in the books of Daniel and Revelation. These beasts are symbolic of four kings and one cannot be a king unless one has a kingdom; therefore, it follows that the kings must also represent nations or groups of nations just as the head, chest, belly, legs, and feet of Nebuchadnezzar's image represent four distinct empires. In these four beasts, there are also pictured at least four distinct and individual spirit-beings who are the real power that controls the four empires, which Christ will destroy at his coming. See Dan.10:11-20.
The great difference between Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the image and Daniel's vision of the four beasts is that the image has both a symbolic historical fulfillment as well as an end of the age fulfillment, whereas the four beasts only represent evil spirits, people, and events that surround the time of Christ's return as conquering King.
The Saints of God
"But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever" (v18).
Although these four kings and their empires are extremely powerful, they are no match for Jesus Christ who destroys them and their empires at his coming. He then gives the rule of the earth to the elect of God who are included in the first resurrection. See our studies concerning the first resurrection and the rewards of those who will be in it.
The Fourth Beast
"Then I wanted to know the truth of the fourth beast, which was different from all of them, very frightening, whose teeth were of iron, and its nails bronze; who devoured, and crushed, and trampled what was left with its feet. And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even that horn that had eyes, and a mouth speaking great things, and its look was greater than its fellow" (vs.19-20).
This fierce and powerful fourth Beast is an alliance of ten nations led by an evil spirit who is called the Beast and whose purpose is to bring all humanity under a one world government for the purpose of worshiping and serving Satan the Devil.
War With the Saints
"I watched, and the same horn made war with the saints, and overcame them; until the Ancient of Days came, and judgement was given to the saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom" (vs.21-22).
One of the primary goals of the little horn (the leader of the beast) is to kill all of the saints (God's elect). In order to accomplish this goal, he uses his position of authority over the alliance of nations (the fourth beast) to persecute and kill them. Although he is allowed to murder many of God's chosen, he will not be completely successful in totally removing the elect of God as a threat to himself and the alliance of nations that he rules. This is because the elect must proclaim God the Father's good news message before Christ comes to destroy the Beast's powerful alliance of nations, kill the beast leader's body, and cast him into the Lake of Fire.
The Devouring of the Earth
"This he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces" (v23).
The angel says that the fourth beast is the fourth kingdom and is different from anything that has ever come before it, and that it is an extremely powerful and fierce alliance of nations that devours the whole earth.
There are a number of questions that could be asked about this beast that can only be answered after certain events surrounding this beast occur. The following are very important questions:
We can only speculate that, whatever this unique thing is, it has something to do with the spirit world and/or things of God that he has held secret concerning his vast creation and how it interacts with humanity. However, what we do know for certain is that, whatever makes this kingdom unique, it will only be thoroughly understood by the elect of God. See Dan.12:9-10; Rev.1:1-8; 17:8.
There are many prophecies that show the primary focus of the fourth beast is on the Israelitish nations and those allied with it. There are also prophecies concerning Asia that clearly show that the beast does not conquer them. Therefore, it is logical to assume that this reference to devouring the whole earth has to do with some type of control of the world's leaders through demonic possession and/or influence and/or control of the world's economy and natural resources, rather than military conquest and control. Although the Beast may not totally militarily conquer the whole earth, the prophecies clearly show that this alliance of nations is so powerful that no other nation on earth has the military strength to challenge its authority. See Rev.13:7.
The Different Horn
"And the ten horns [rulers of nations] of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be different from the first, and he shall subdue three kings" (v24 KJV).
Out of this unholy alliance of nations will arise ten leaders who will assume authority over the beast for a short time before three of them are eliminated by one that is somehow uniquely different from the others and somehow manages to elevate himself to a position of authority over all the rest and becomes the supreme ruler of the ten nation alliance.
The Horn Hates God and His People
"And he [the different horn] shall speak words against the Most High [see verse 11] and wears out [persecutes] the saints of the Most High:, and he intends to change times and the law: and they [the saints] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and half a time [3½ years]" (v25).
Once again, we are shown that the leader of the Beast alliance of nations hates the things of the true God and speaks out against him and his son, persecutes God's followers, and attempts to change God's holy observances and laws. Here, we are also shown that the persecution against the elect of God by the leader of the Beast will last three and a half years before Christ's return. See Rev.13:5-7.
The Saints Will be Victorious
"But the judgement shall sit, and they shall take away his rulership, to cut off, to destroy until the end. And the kingdom and rulership, and greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey him" (vs.26-27).
Although the alliance of nations called the Beast and its leader conquer and control much of the earth and its inhabitants, they are not allowed to conquer all of humanity and kill all of God's elect. This is because the final outcome of all this war and carnage was decided ages ago by God the Father and Jesus Christ. In the end, the people of God will be victorious and gain control of the earth.
DANIEL'S SECOND VISION
What Daniel sees in this vision is similar to what he saw in his first vision. However, his second vision contains much more detail concerning the individual who becomes the supreme leader of the Beast alliance of nations, his persecution of the elect of God, his stopping of the daily sacrifices, and his desecration of the temple in Jerusalem:
Daniel 8:1-26 Paraphrased
"In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after that which appeared to me at first; and I saw in vision. And this happened to me when I was at Shushan the citadel which is in the province of Elam; and in the vision which I saw, I was by the canal Ulai" (vs.1-2)
"Then I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold a ram was standing before the canal having two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher that the other, and the higher one came up last. I saw the ram pushing west-ward, north-ward, and south-ward; so that no beast could stand before him, nor were any who could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great" (vs.3-4).
In verse 22 of this chapter, we are told that this ram's two horns represent the kings of Media and Persia. Therefore, the only questions that remain are whether these two kings will rule together or in succession over a unified Media and Persia, or will they rule separately over each individual nation, and are these beings spirit or physical? Eventually, time will reveal the answers to these questions.
What is clear, however, is that during the fulfillment of this prophecy, the kings of Media and Persia are in conflict with kings to the west, north, and south of their geographical area. It is also clear that these two kings are extremely powerful and go unchallenged until the arrival of the he-goat that comes out of the west.
"And I was considering, and, behold, a he-goat came from the west, over the face of all the earth, and did not touch the ground; and the he-goat had an outstanding horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram with two horns, which I had seen standing before the canal, and he ran to it in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close to the ram, and he was moved with great anger against him, and struck the ram and shattered his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him. And he threw him down to the ground, and trampled him: and no one could deliver the ram out of his hand" (vs.5-7).
There are two important things to note here:
1. A male goat is often associated with demon worship and powerful evil spirits; therefore, because this goat is obviously not God's servant, it must somehow be associated with Satan's evil empire.
2. Something causes the he goat who is the powerful ruler of Greece (Dan.8:21) to crush the kings of Media and Persia and impose his will upon these nations.
"Then the he-goat became very great: and when he was mighty the great horn was broken. And in its place came up four outstanding ones [four more horns] toward the four winds of the heavens. And out of one of them [the four horns] came a little horn, which became very great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the bountiful land [the holy land]" (vs.8-9).
Verses 8 and 9 show the same individual of Daniel 7:8, 24 (the little horn) who becomes the supreme leader of the beast alliance of nations rising to power over an alliance of nations that exists within the Beast system (four of the ten).
There are ten national leaders of the fourth beast in Daniel's first vision who come out of the same geographical area of the world. However, this part of the second vision only concerns four of these leaders. After the ruler who is represented by the great horn on the he-goat is either deposed or dies, four lesser individuals take his place and rule, and out of them comes an even lesser individual who assumes dominance.
The Physical and Spiritual
"And it [the little horn] became very great even to the host of heavens: and it made some fall of the host and of the stars [spirit-beings] to the ground and trampled them" (v10).
This little horn is the same individual that uprooted the three horns (other national rulers) noted in Daniel's first vision (Dan.7:8). The little horn is also the one who sets himself against the Sovereign of Heaven and Earth and persecutes his elect children. See Rev.13:5-7.
Here, we see a reference to battles that probably transpire in both the physical and the spiritual dimensions of time and space.
The Temple Desecrated
"Yet, he magnified himself even to the ruler [God] of the host, and the daily sacrifice was taken away by him, and the place of the sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given over to it along with the daily sacrifice because of transgression, and it threw the truth down to the ground; and it worked and prospered" (vs.11-12).
Notice that the little horn who is the supreme leader of the Beast alliance of nations is responsible for the daily sacrifices being stopped and the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem. Verses 13-14 show that this desecration of the temple will last 1,150 days after which God will bring about events to cleanse the sanctuary of the pollution brought in by this unholy man. Although the temple was desecrated in 168 B.C. by Antiochus Epiphanes, this prophecy will be fulfilled sometime in the fourth year before the return of Christ as noted in verses 15 to 19 and others scriptures.
"Then I heard a certain holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that one who spoke, Until when is the vision the regular sacrifice, and the desolating transgression, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled? And he said to me, For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings [1,150 days]; then the sanctuary will be vindicated" (vs.13-14).
An End of This Age Prophecy
"And it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, then I sought the meaning, and behold, the form of a man stood before me. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, and he called, and said, Gabriel, make this one understand the vision. And he came beside my place: and when he came, I feared, and fell on my face: but he said to me, O son of man: understand for the vision is for the time of the end. And while he was speaking with me I was stunned and fell on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and made me stand. And he said behold I shall make you to know what shall happen the latter end of the indignation: for it is for the time appointed for the end" (vs.15-19).
Here, we have very clear statements that show this entire vision concerns the time period very near to Christ's return, just as Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the image (Dan.2:28) and Daniel's vision of the four beasts (Dan.7:22).
"The ram which you saw with two horns is the kings of Media and Persia. And the shaggy goat is the king of Greece: and the great horn, that is between his eyes, is the first king. And as for that which was broken, four stood up in its place, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not with its power" (vs.20-22).
A review of historical and modern maps reveals that the modern counterparts of the ancient empires of Media and Persia are located to the north and east of the modern nation of Israel, and that ancient Greece is now modern Greece.
The Little Horn
"And in the latter time of their kingdom [Greece, Media and Persia] when the transgressions have come to the full, a king of strong face, and skilled at intrigues, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power [spirit power]: and he shall destroy marvelously, and he shall prosper, and work, and destroy the mighty and the holy people [the elect of God]. And also through his skill he shall make deceit succeed in his hand; and he will lift himself up in his heart, and be at ease: he shall destroy many: he shall also stand against the ruler of rulers [Jesus Christ]; but he shall be broken without hand" (vs.23-25).
This is a prophecy about the time when the earth will be full of lawlessness. These are as the days of Noah spoken of by Jesus Christ (Matt.24:37). During this time, a very crafty individual rises to prominence and leadership and becomes the he-goat (ruler of Greece) and then he becomes the fourth beast (an alliance of ten rulers/nations). It is during his dominance of these other three rulers/nations that he becomes the supreme leader of the alliance of nations called the Fourth Beast in Daniel 7:7,18-23. This individual will destroy nations and people, persecute the elect of God. Then, finally, he will have his authority and power taken away in the events that lead to Jesus Christ's return.
Daniel, chapters eleven and twelve, also speak of the emergence of the individual described as the little horn and the things he does to nations and people, including the Israelis (the Jews) and the elect of God who proclaim the coming Kingdom of God.
Although the ability to recognize the alliance of nations called the beast is extremely important to those who live in the times just prior to Christ's return, it is equally important to recognize the leader of the Beast once he comes to power, because he is the one whom the world will worship and give homage to as if he were a god in the flesh. See our study concerning the mark and image of the beast.
THE SCRIPTURES OF TRUTH
The introduction to the prophecy of Daniel eleven is very important to the understanding of the prophecies concerning the end of the age because it reveals some of the interactions among spirit-beings themselves and between spirit-beings and the physical world. Therefore, before proceeding with this study, it is advisable to read the first eleven verses of chapter ten.
Daniel 10:12-14, 21 Paraphrased
"Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten [fast] yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia held me back twenty one days: but, Michael, who is one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make you understand what shall befall your people in the latter days: for this vision is for far in the future" (vs.12-14).
This messenger from God was prevented from going to Daniel by another spirit-being who was the ruler of the kingdom of Persia. This means that, at that time in history, there was an evil spirit in control of the kingdom of Persia, and this spirit was at least as powerful as the messenger sent to Daniel. Notice also that the messenger was only able to continue his journey to see Daniel after Michael (a high ranking angel), came to intervene.
We are not told the details of what the messenger from God first reveals to Daniel. However, by his reaction to the things he heard and the things he saw happening to the house of Judah (the Jews) in the end of the age, we can assume that they must have been extremely horrifying and depressing (see vs.14-15). Although what Daniel saw will happen to the Jews, by extension, the House of Israel will be affected because they have a major role in the things that happen to the Jews in the end of the age.
After giving Daniel this message, the angel returns to fight with the spirit-being in charge of Persia. In the following verses we see that either evil or good spirit-beings can exert control and/or influence over the physical rulers and nations in order to further God's plan for humanity:
"And he said, Do you know why I have come to you? And now I will return to fight with the ruler of Persia: and when I have gone, then the ruler of Greece shall come. But I will tell you what is written in the Scriptures of Truth: and no one makes himself strong with me in these things except Michael your ruler. And I in the first year of Darius the Mede, I was his supporter and a fortress for him" (vs.20-21, 11:1).
Here, we see that there seems to be an ongoing battle between evil and righteous spirit-beings as the righteous beings carry out God's instructions. Notice that this messenger from God was the spirit power behind Darius and his kingdom, and that Michael was the angel who was responsible to God for the house of Judah.
This messenger from God tells Daniel what is written in the Scriptures of Truth. Because of the details of what this messenger reveals about these scriptures, it is likely that the Scriptures of Truth are written in a book in heaven which details the plan of God for humanity.
It is important to understand that, although some of what the angel reveals to Daniel does seem to have already had an historical fulfillment, the whole Book of Daniel is written from the perspective of revealing people, places, and events that surround the last few years before Christ's return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.
Daniel 11:2-43 Paraphrased
"And now will I show you the truth [what is written]. Behold there will stand up yet three kings in Persia; and the fourth will be far richer than they all: and by his strength through his riches he will stir up all against the realm of Greece" (v2).
At the time Daniel received this message, the Babylonian empire (the head of gold) was gone, and Persia was in power. The angelic messenger shows Daniel that there will be three more kings to come from the Persian Empire, and then there will arise a fourth Persian king who will be conquered by a mighty king from Greece (Alexander the Great).
"And a mighty king will stand up, that shall rule with great authority, and do according to his will. And when he will stand up, his kingdom shall be broken, and shall be divided to the four winds of the heavens; and not to his posterity, nor according to his authority with which he ruled: for his kingdom shall be pulled up, and given to others beside these" (vs.3-4).
The kingdom of Greece was to be divided into four sections and, out of these four, two kingdoms of the north and south would develop. Perhaps these are the two legs of Nebuchadnezzar's image. From verses 5 to 35, the prophetic account seems to relate to the historical activities between two ancient empires: the Seleucid empire, with its headquarters usually in northern Syria, and the Ptolemaic empire located in Egypt. However, these two empires are clearly only symbolic of nations that will exist in the end of the age as noted by the first few words in verse 6: "And in the end of years".
If in fact the Seleucid Empire and Ptolemaic Empire are symbolic of modern day nations located to the north and south of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, what we see explained in verses 6 through 26 of Daniel eleven must pertain to the political situation within and around the nations that surround the Jewish nation of Israel.
In verses 27 through 31, the messenger begins to reveal the political deception and intrigue that will transpire between two prominent leaders of alliances of nations to the north and south of Israel just before the last three and a half years before Christ's return.
What is clear from these scriptures is that, long before the final invasion and destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel that will occur approximately three and a half years before Christ's return, two prominent world leaders conceive a plot to destroy Israel. However, they are prevented from carrying out their plans, because God will not allow the destruction of Israel until other prophetic events transpire:
"And both these kings in their hearts shall seek to do evil, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper: for the end comes at the appointed time. Then shall he return to his land with great wealth; and his heart shall be against the holy covenant; and he shall act, and he will return to his own land. At the appointed time he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former, or as the latter. For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: And he shall be grieved, and turn back, and be furious against the holy covenant: And he shall act, and will return, and will heed those forsaking the holy covenant" (vs.27-30).
Notice that one of these national leaders has an intense hatred for the holy covenant. Understanding what this covenant is will make it easier to understand the prophetic events that surround the destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel. The English word 'holy' in these verses is translated from the Hebrew word 'qadash,' which connotes things that are sacred to God, and it can mean 'being set apart', 'holiness', and 'sacredness'.
The things that cause the destruction of Israel and the captivity of the Jews before Christ's return are directly tied to the proclaiming of the gospel by God's people, the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, and the two witnesses. Therefore, the holy covenant that is hated can only refer to the Mount Sinai Covenant that God made with national Israel and the institution of the sacrificial system of worship that will be taking place at a new temple in Jerusalem. The worship of the true God, through the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, will be a major source of irritation to all nations especially to the nations that surround Israel.
Notice also that, after a conflict involving the nations to the south of Israel that does not turn out well for the king of the north (the leader of the Beast alliance of nations), he finally takes the advice he has been given to eliminate Israel as a problem to other nations. Clearly, the people noted in verse 30 who forsake the holy covenant can only be Jews (the covenant people) who have been advising this national leader to either control or eliminate the Jewish nation of Israel and their worship system.
Two of the major things to look for just before the destruction of the Jewish nation of Israel are the establishment of the sacrificial system in Jerusalem, which will be officiated by the Levitical priesthood, and much military activity and political instability in the Middle East that can be attributed to the events surrounding the Jew's practice of the religion of their ancestors.
The Temple Desecrated
"And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries. . ." (vs.31-32).
Although Antiochus Epiphanes did desecrate the temple in Jerusalem by offering swine's blood on the holy altar, he in no way fulfilled the prophecy concerning the man of sin and son of perdition spoken of by Paul and Jesus (2.Thes.2:3-4; Rev.13:3-4). The son of perdition is to be the Antichrist/Beast. Antiochus cannot be this man, because he did not claim to be above all gods, nor was his fatal wound healed: he died in 168 B.C. Moreover, no king to this day has desecrated a temple in Jerusalem and exalted himself above every god and prospered greatly; therefore, this prophecy is yet to be fulfilled.
The People of God
"But the people that know their God shall be strong, and will work. And those who understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them through hypocrisy" (vs.32-34).
Just before Christ's return, the elect of God who truly know God and have spiritual gifts will perform great wonders and miracles, and the truth of God will again be taught by those gifted with understanding. Some of these people who proclaim the Father's good news message will be murdered because of their zeal for him and his truth.
Notice also that many people will attach themselves to the elect by pretending that they want to follow the truth of God or some other flattering reasons. This shows that within the body of the elect there will be people who are neither called nor converted, but attach themselves to the elect for reasons other than to obey God's truth. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, some of these people will be doing Satan's bidding (Satan's fifth column within the church). The parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt.13:24-30, 36-43) clearly shows that there are those who are plants of Satan. They cling to the elect with flatteries trying to divide and conquer. God encourages the elect not to be overly concerned about these tares, because he will deal with them at the time of Christ's return. The elect are to be totally focused upon their calling and doing their job.
"And some of them of understanding shall stumble, to refine and purge them, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for an appointed time" (v35).
The end of the age will be an extraordinarily difficult time in which to live. In the course of these events, some who truly understand the truth will make fatal or near fatal mistakes concerning their salvation. Some will fall prey to their own vanity, temptations of the flesh, and other things that will cause them to either forsake or compromise their calling. The failure of these who are gifted with understanding will not only bring major trials upon themselves but also in many cases, will bring a trial for those who know them. Although no trial is pleasant, if one has the right attitude and overcomes the trial, spiritual growth and eternal salvation will be the reward.
"And the king [Antichrist/Beast] shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the fury [the wrath of God] is accomplished: for that which is decreed shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, or the desire of women, nor love any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his place he shall honor the god of forces [Satan]: and a god whom his fathers did not know with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and desirable things. And he shall act in the strong holds of the fortresses with a foreign god [Satan], he shall increase in glory: and he shall cause them [evil spirits] to rule over many, and shall divide the land for a price" (vs.36-39).
These are clear references to the individual who will be the Antichrist/Beast and is the leader of the alliance of nations known as the Beast. This individual has no regard for the true God or any other god, because he is more powerful than most of the false gods that humanity has worshiped throughout the centuries; however, he does pay homage to the god of this world—Satan the Devil—who is more powerful than he. See Rev.13:3-4.
"And at the time of the end, the king of the south [south of Israel] shall push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him [king of the south] like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land [the holy land/Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps" (vs.40-43).
In verses 40 through 43 above, the king of the north is not speaking of the leader of the nations just north of Israel, but of the Antichrist/Beast who is of the leader of the Beast alliance of nations.
In the end of the age, a political agreement will likely exist between Israel and her neighboring nations to the north and south. In this same time frame, the Jews will build the temple. This agreement will also guarantee access to Jerusalem by the surrounding nations. The Beast's ten nation alliance is the guarantor of peace between these nations and Israel. Keeping the peace will be his excuse for intervening in the affairs of these nations; however, his true reasons are far more sinister.
"But tidings out of the east and out of the north shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to take away many. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas [Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, and the Mediterranean] in the glorious holy mountain [Zion]; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him" (vs.44-45).
The Antichrist/Beast uses the political turmoil in the Middle East as an excuse to invade and conquer Israel. The Jews and others who heed the warning that is going to be preached to them have a chance to escape when they see armies surrounding Jerusalem and the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place. Those who do not heed this warning will suffer horribly until Christ's return (Matt.24:14-16).
"And there shall be a time of distress, such as has not been from the existence of a nation until that time. . ." (Dan.12:1 Para.)
These will be the most frightening and horrifying times that will ever come upon humanity. Even though Daniel was given these prophecies, he did not understand them, because they were meant for another people and another time and that time seems to be now.
THE BOOK OF REVELATION
The central focus of the Book of Revelation is on the time just before the return of Jesus Christ as King of kings to establish his Father's kingdom on earth. In this book, there is much information that explains some of the major prophecies in the Book of Daniel, which pertain to spirit-beings, people, nations, and world events that will surround the people of God as they proclaim the Father's good news message to humanity.
An Evil Alliance
Just before Christ's return, there will be an evil alliance of nations allied with a great and wealthy religion. These two entities will use their great power and wealth to control the earth and its inhabitants. Moreover, this powerful religious and political alliance will be controlled by evil spirits who are ruled by Satan the Devil.
The Great Red Dragon, the Sea Beast, the Earth Beast, and the Great Whore are the four primary entities that are described in the Book of Revelation as being a part of an evil alliance that is in opposition to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the elect of God. The Book of Revelation also states these four entities cause the wrath of God to be poured out upon the earth.
These four entities are various aspects of Satan's physical and spiritual empire that interact with physical people, nations, and evil spirit-beings in order for Satan to control and influence the nations of the earth.
More than one thing is explained using the same symbolism in the Book of Revelation; therefore, a list of definitions is provided below to help eliminate some of the confusion concerning these four entities and their relationship to each other:
The Red Dragon
The Sea Beast
The Earth Beast
The Great Whore
THE DRAGON, BEAST, AND WHORE
As you review what is presented in this study, it is important to keep in mind that it is Satan the Devil (the red dragon) who controls all aspects of the evil alliance of nations and its wealthy and powerful religion. It is also important to realize that the leader of the Beast alliance of nations called the Beast and the leader of the Babylonian religious system called the False Prophet are both spirit-beings under the control of Satan masquerading in human forms.
A Spirit Empire
There are many scriptures in the Bible that prove Satan is the ruler of this present world (2.Cor.4:4) as well as the ruler of all evil spirits that are on earth (Rev.12:7-9). Below are two texts that give a small glimpse into his vast spirit empire:
"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet" (Rev.16:13 KJV).
Notice that the dragon, the leader of the beast alliance of nations, and the leader of the state religion of the beast alliance of nations are all mentioned as separate, individual entities who have the power to send forth evil spirits to perform tasks for them.
At the return of Christ, the only three individuals that are mentioned as being cast into the Lake of Fire are Satan the Devil, the Beast, and the False Prophet:
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and they shall be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev.20:10 Para.).
The Bible clearly shows that all wicked humans will be destroyed in fire, which is the second death. No human is going to be tormented in the Lake of Fire forever (Rom.6:23; Rev.20:14-15); therefore, it is clear that the Devil's two servants, the Beast and the False Prophet, must be spirit-beings, because they are not destroyed by this fire, but are tormented by it. See our studies concerning the resurrections and the fate of evil spirits.
Almost none of the Book of Revelation is written in chronological order, and the explanations of its many subjects and their symbolic meanings are scattered throughout the book; therefore, we must attempt to piece together as much of the information as possible in a way that makes it understandable.
THE GREAT RED DRAGON
"And another great sign was seen in heaven; and, behold, a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns! And on his heads were seven crowns. And his tail drew a third part of the stars of heaven, and he throws them to the earth. . ." (Rev.12:3-4 KJV).
John sees a great spirit-being coming out of heaven that looks like a red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns. It is clear from biblical symbolism that this spirit-being has great authority and power as symbolized by the heads, horns, and crowns. This red dragon is so powerful that it is able to force millions of angelic beings that are under its control to the earth.
War in Heaven
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought along with his angels, and did not prevail; neither was their place found in heaven anymore. And the great dragon was cast out—the old serpent being called the Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole inhabitable world was cast out onto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Rev.12:7-9 KJV).
At some point in time, there is war in the dimension of time and space known as heaven. During this war, the great red dragon who is Satan the Devil is cast out of heaven along with all the angels who are under his control.
Who is Satan the Devil?
In order to understand the true meaning of many prophecies in both the Old and New Testaments concerning the great evil religious and governmental system that will exist just before Christ's return, it is necessary to understand who Satan the Devil is and what kind of authority he has over the earth and its inhabitants.
In Matthew 4:1-10, we see the account of Jesus going to the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil prior to beginning his formal ministry of proclaiming the good news message from God the Father. The Devil came to Jesus and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth and offered to give them all to him if he would bow down and worship him.
Because he was able to offer all the kingdoms of the earth to Jesus Christ as a gift, the great red dragon who is Satan the Devil must be in control of the earth and all its inhabitants (except God's elect children) at this present time. Not only is Satan the present ruler of this world but also the ruler of a vast unseen empire of evil spirits (demons) who do his bidding.
The Symbolism of Revelation 12:3-4
The red dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns with crowns represents Satan and the leaders of various aspects of his empire, (Satan and his empire of evil spirits). More specifically, the seven heads represent seven powerful evil spirits who directly serve him.
The seven crowns either symbolize the authority of the seven heads or seven lesser evil spirits, and the ten horns are ten lesser evil spirits who are in control of nations and/or other evil spirits.
The Devil's Anger
"Woe to the ones dwelling on the earth, and in the sea, because the Devil came down to you having great anger, knowing that he has but a little time. . ." (Rev.12:12 KJV).
If Satan and his fellow evil spirits already control the earth and its inhabitants, why is he so angry at being cast out of heaven? He is so angry because he no longer has access to God the Father's realm of existence, which means that he has only a short time before he will be punished for his rebellion against God. Because Satan is denied what he wants and is about to be punished for his disobedience, in a rage, he comes to earth to take out his anger on God's physical creation.
As we will show, it is Satan the Devil who will empower and control the religious and political alliance of nations prophetically called the Beast. He will also empower and control the leader of this alliance called the Beast and the leader of the Babylonian religious system who is called the False Prophet.
THE SEA BEAST
Revelation 13:1-18 Paraphrased
"And I stood on the sands of the sea. And saw a beast coming out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on its heads names of blasphemy. And the beast that I saw resembled a leopard, with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion. And the dragon gave its power to it and its throne and great authority" (vs.1-2).
Notice that the beast who comes out of the sea (see Isa.57:20; Rev.17:15) is almost identical to the red dragon (Satan) who was cast out of heaven. We know that Satan has authority and control over the earth and its inhabitants until he is deposed by Jesus Christ (Dan.2:44; Rev.11:15); therefore, it is logical to assume that the beast that comes out of the sea (people) is not Satan, but represents something else.
What the apostle John sees is a beast very similar to the one Daniel saw. The beast comes out of the sea (out from among the nations) and it is like a leopard, a bear, and a lion and it has ten horns (Dan.7:4-6).
The red dragon (Satan) gives this Sea Beast its power and authority. Moreover, the Sea Beast represents national leaders and the nations of people whom they rule, and these national leaders are themselves ruled, influenced, and controlled by evil spirits who directly serve Satan. In other words, what we see is Satan's spiritual empire superimposed on the physical leaders and nations of this world.
The Sea Beast represents Satan's empire of evil spirits superimposed on people, nations, and an alliance of nations called the Beast.
A Wounded Head
"And I saw one of its heads, as if it had been wounded to death; and its fatal wound was healed. . ." (Rev.13:3).
It is important to note that a distinction is made between each of the seven heads of the Beast. One of the seven called the Beast sustains a fatal wound. Although this head could represent a nation of people who are controlled by a powerful spirit-being, when we look at other scriptures pertaining to the leader of the alliance of nations who is also called the Beast, it seems that this head is actually a national leader:
"And the earth marveled at the beast. And worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast: saying, Who is like the beast; who is able to make war with it?" (Rev.13:3-4). See also Rev.13:1-2.
It is important to understand that some extraordinary events are going to happen surrounding the dynamic and charismatic leader of the Beast system and the way in which he comes to power. The circumstances surrounding the death and resurrection of this individual will be so incredible that, when people see this event, they will be astonished.
Because of these incredible events, people will believe the proclamation by the False Prophet that this individual is a god in the flesh. Therefore, they will worship the red dragon (Satan) and because people will worship Satan, we can assume that, when this person comes on the scene, there will already be a religious organization in existence through which to perform this worship.
Will people actually worship Satan? The answer is yes. According to the Bible, most people have been both knowingly and unknowingly worshiping Satan and other evil spirits since Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, and people will continue to do so until God's plan for the salvation of humanity is finished.
"And a mouth speaking great things and blasphemes was given to it [the Beast's alliance of nations]; and authority to act forty-two months [3½ years] was given to it. And it [the Beast] opened its mouth in blasphemy toward God, and to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and those dwelling in heaven" (Rev.13:5-6).
This mouth represents the supreme leader of the alliance of nations called the Beast and is the same mouth spoken of in Daniel 7:8,11,20,25. He is the leader of the Fourth Beast (fourth empire) that Daniel was told would exist in the end of the age just before Christ's return.
War With the Saints
"And it was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them: and authority was given to it over every tribe, and tongue, and nation" (Rev.13:7).
This is also the same individual spoken of in Daniel 7:21,25; 8:24 who will make war with the saints of God. It is important to understand that it is God who allows this evil alliance of nations, which is led by this powerful evil spirit, to persecute and kill his elect children in order for some of them to be spiritually purified. God also allows the persecution of his elect so that they can perform a witness for him.
"And all those dwelling in the earth will worship him, whose names are not written in the Lamb's book of life who was slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev.13:8).
All the people on earth will give homage to this powerful alliance of nations and its leader, and as we will see in verses 14 and 15, many will bow down and worship an image that represents the Beast system and its leader. The only people who will not worship the Beast are those whom God the Father has chosen to become a part of his Family and Kingdom at the first resurrection and the coming of Jesus Christ.
Now that we have identified the Sea Beast as an alliance of nations that is led by an evil spirit who is masquerading as a human, and that this alliance and its leader are under the control of the red dragon who is Satan the Devil, we can explore some of the details that concern the Sea Beast and what it does during the end of the age.
THE BEAST WHO WAS, AND IS NOT, AND YET IS
In Revelation 17:8,11, there is a reference to the beast who was, and is not, and yet is. These scriptures are confusing because there seems to be a different personality being spoken of in each one: one is the beast who goes into perdition and one is the beast who is the eighth of the seven (Rev.17:11). However, both scriptures refer to the same individual.
The Beast Goes Into Perdition
"The beast that you saw, was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and go into perdition; and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, seeing the beast, that it was a thing, and is not and yet now is" (Rev.17:8 Para.).
There are a number of things that are important to take note of in verse 8 that will help to identify who and what it is that goes into perdition:
Although the first statement 'was, and is not' in verse 8 seems to contradict the last statement 'is not, and yet now is', it is not a contradiction, because the angel is referring to a future time in which people will be in amazement over the great power and accomplishments of this religious and political alliance of nations called the Beast. According to Revelation 13:8, the only ones who will understand the truth about the meaning and intent of this Beast will be those whom God has personally chosen prior to the existence of the earth (i.e., the elect of God who will be proclaiming the soon coming Kingdom of God).
There can be little doubt that the Beast who was and is not and is about to rise out of the abyss is a powerful evil spirit who will lead and control a religious and political governmental system (the Beast) and is, in fact, its supreme leader. However, keep in mind that this evil spirit is not Satan the Devil; it is another evil spirit who does his bidding. See Rev.16:13; 20:10.
Eighth of the Seven
"And the beast which was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven and goes into perdition" (Rev.17:11 Para.). See Dan.7:11-12; 2.Thes.2:3.
The Eighth Beast
Why is the Beast 'which was, and is not' referred to as the eighth beast of the seven? If you start with ten, then depose three, there are only seven left. But who dominates the seven? The little horn noted by Daniel who eliminated his opposition and became the leader of the Beast alliance of nations dominates the seven; therefore, he is in actuality the eighth leader in a succession of leaders.
What is not said in this prophecy is that, when this leader (the Beast) assumes the responsibility as the supreme leader of the Beast alliance, he probably does not continue in his former leadership responsibility and someone else fills his former position and becomes the eighth of the seven leaders.
This eighth Beast (national leader) also goes into perdition like the Beast noted in Revelation 17:8. This is yet another proof that both references are speaking of the same individual.
In order to understand verse 11, one must understand that the beast that was, and is not is the same seven headed beast that Daniel spoke of (Dan.7:23,24) and it is the same one that the woman who is symbolic of a Babylonian religion rides (Rev.17:3).
The primary reason that verse 11 is confusing is that the angel is not speaking of all seven heads of the beast as a whole, he is only speaking about the seventh head that is the last religious and political system under the control of Satan. The angel is also explaining something about one of its ten horns, which are symbolic of the ten initial leaders of the alliance of nations that is collectively called the Beast. Therefore, in order to understand who the eighth beast of the seven is, we must first understand the symbolism of the ten horns on the seventh head.
Although the two verses that follow verse 11 seem to be connected to the Sea Beast, they are not. These two verses speak of another group of ten nations, civil rulers, and evil spirits that serve the beast alliance of nations. See our studyThe Ten Horns of the Prophetic Hour.
Also keep in mind, while analyzing the Beast and the horns, that these are evil spirits that are being spoken of, and that these events may take place in the spirit realm of existence and may or may not be reflected in people and events in the physical realm of existence.
The Seven Heads
"And I stood on the sands of the sea, and saw a beast coming out of the sea, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on its heads names of blasphemy" (Rev.13:1 Para.).
"The seven heads are seven mountains [nations/empires] on which the woman [evil religious system] sits. And the kings are seven: five have fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain a little" (Rev.17:9-10). See also Dan.7:7.
Because the heads seem to represent seven successive religious and political nations/empires under the control of Satan and the great whore, and only one of these symbolic heads will exist just before the return of Christ (Dan.7:19-22), it seems logical that the 'beast which was, and is not' is the eighth and is of the seven, and is the one that will go into perdition. He must come out of the seventh and last great religious and political alliance of nations under Satan's control. See Dan.7:11-12; 2.Thes.2:3.
When the angel explains to Daniel what the beast and the goat are and that they will rise up and control the earth just before Christ's return, he says:
"And the ten horns of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be different from the first, and he shall subdue three kings" (Dan.7:24 Para.).
"Then the he-goat became very great: and when he was mighty the great horn was broken; and in its place came up four outstanding ones [four more horns] toward the four winds of the heavens. And out of one of them [the four horns] came a little horn, which became very great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the bountiful land [the holy land]" (Dan.8:8-9 Para.).
Although four of these ten were somehow allied with each other, the one called the little horn eliminates his three associates from their positions of authority in the process of becoming dominant over the entire beast alliance of nations.
The Beast 'who was, and is not' that goes into perdition and the eighth Beast of the seven who 'was, and is not' that goes into perdition are the same evil spirit who is the leader of the Beast's religious and political alliance of nations. See Dan.8:8-9.
The angel also says that this national leader had a past existence: 'he was'. But if this national leader is human, how could he have existed in the past? Think back to King Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image and recall that this symbolic image and the one who personified it would continue throughout the centuries and exist during the last days. Then the stone that was formed without hands would strike the feet of the image (its foundation) and destroy it. See Dan.2:27-34.
Because the individual mentioned in verses 8 and 11 had a past existence and is the leader of the last beast, he is probably not a human with the spirit of man; he is probably only in possession of a human life form. Moreover, he is the physical manifestation of a powerful spirit-being who has existed throughout the centuries as the leader of various nations/empires.
THE EARTH BEAST
"And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and it had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. And it executes all the authority of the first beast before it, and it makes the earth and those dwelling in it to worship the first beast, that was healed of its deadly wound" (Rev.13:11-12 Para.).
There are a number of important things revealed in verses 11-12 concerning the relationship between the Sea Beast and the Earth Beast (the second beast):
Because of the above facts, and because the seventeenth chapter of Revelation shows a great religious system that is patterned after the Babylonian religious and governmental system, we will make the following three assumptions:
1. Lamb and sheep normally symbolize Christ and those who serve him; however, the Earth Beast speaks like a dragon (lies and blasphemes against the true God), has the same authority and power as the Sea Beast that is authorized and empowered by Satan, and forces people to worship the Beast (idiolatry) who sustained the fatal wound.Therefore, we can assume that the Earth Beast represents the Babylonian religious system that is in opposition to the true God.
2. Because the Earth Beast seems to represents a state religion that is patterned after the Babylonian system and has two horns, we can assume that the two lamb's horns either represent two combined religious systems and/or people or their leaders who are highly influenced or possessed by two evil spirits under the control of Satan.
3. As with all Babylonian religious and governmental systems, both the civil and religious leaders share power and authority over all aspects of their subject's lives, and each of these leaders supports the aims and goals of the others. As we will see, this is the type of relationship that exists between the Sea Beast (an alliance of nations) and the Earth Beast (a Babylonian religion).
A Warning from Jesus and Paul
Jesus used the symbolism of sheep when he warned of false prophets who would masquerade as his servants in order to deceive the elect of God:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" (Matt.7:15-16 KJV). See also Jn.8:44; Rev.12:9.
The apostle Paul said to be aware of false apostles and deceitful workers who will preach a different Jesus and a different gospel from the one that brings true salvation. See 2.Cor.11:3-4; Gal.1:6-9.
2.Corinthians 11:3-4; 13-15 KJV
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [deceived] Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes [and is] preaching another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit [an evil lying spirit], which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted. . ."(vs.3-4).
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (vs.13-15).
"And it does great signs and even makes fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth before men" (Rev.13:13 Para.).
Although verse 13 seems to be speaking of the supreme leader of the state religion of the Beast's alliance of nations who is the False Prophet, it is important to understand that this evil religious system and its leaders have tremendous supernatural power that they will use to deceive people and to counter the supernatural works that the elect of God will be doing as they proclaim God the Father's good news message of his coming kingdom and the return of his son, Jesus Christ.
"And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the signs which were given to it before the beast . . ." (Rev.13:14 Para.).
It is very important to understand that many unrighteous and righteous individuals have had the ability throughout the ages to wield supernatural power. However, this ability only indicates that a person who has found a way to tap into supernatural power is possessed by a spirit who is directing this power through them or has been authorized by God or Satan to use this kind of power. The only way to tell if individuals are righteous or not is to look at the fruits of their life and their teachings in relation to the truth of God.
"Saying to those on the earth to make an image of the beast who has the wound of the sword and lived. And it was given to it to give a spirit to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could speak, and might cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed" (Rev.13:14-15 Para.).
This False Prophet has an image made of the leader of the alliance of nations (the Beast), which he empowers with an evil spirit, so that it has the ability to speak. The False Prophet then forces people to worship the image or suffer death for disobedience. This forced worship is reminiscent of king Nebuchadnezzar's forced worship of the image he made.
Anyone who seriously studies the Bible should understand that the forced worship of this image constitutes idolatry, and upon seeing or hearing of this forced idolatry, they should understand that they are indeed living in the end of the age, and that this alliance of nations and its worship system is indeed the evil religious and political government of the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation.
The Mark and/or Name
"And the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the freemen and the slaves, allow it [the beast's state religion] to give them a mark on their right hand, or on their foreheads: so that none could buy or sell, except they have the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of the name of it. Here is wisdom. Let him having reason count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and its number is six hundred and sixty-six" (Rev.13:16-18 Para.).
The mark and/or name of the Beast is a sign of allegiance to this evil religious and political system of the Beast. It is obvious that there are many undesirable physical consequences for not accepting this mark. For those who worship the true God, the threat of physical consequences for not accepting the mark are minimal compared to the eternal consequences for accepting it.
THE GREAT WHORE
"And one of the seven angels who have the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgement of the great whore that sits on many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants have become drunk through the wine of her fornication" (Rev.17:1-2 Para.).
The great whore and the mother of whores are both symbolic of the mother of all religions that are in opposition to the Sovereign God and his system of worship. This very ancient belief system combines both religion and government and has manifested itself in many different forms since Adam and Eve were cast out of Eden.
"And he [the angel] said to me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are people, and crowds, and nations, and tongues" (Rev.17:15 Para.).
Notice that this great evil religious system is practiced throughout the world, mingles itself with the civil rulers of nations, and is a system that, because of its deception, causes those who practice it to lose touch with the reality of God's truth.
The Woman Rides the Beast
"And he carried me away into the desert by the spirit: and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, filled with names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.17:3 Para.).
The woman is symbolic of a rich and powerful religion and the Beast is the Red Dragon who is Satan the Devil. The inference is clear; the woman and the beast are inseparable, one rides, the other carries—evil upon evil:
"And the woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and being gilded with gold and precious stone and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand filled with abominations and unclean things of her fornication: And on her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, The mother of whores and of the abominations of the earth" (Rev.17:4-5 Para.).
Because 'whores' and 'abominations' are symbolic of evil worship systems, the angel is revealing that this religious system is the source from which all evil religions sprang—the mother of whores. He also reveals that this religious worship system is extremely powerful, influential, wealthy, and evil, and it exerts control over nations and national leaders throughout the world.
Who is The Woman?
"And I saw the woman was drunk from the blood of the saints, and from the blood of the witnesses of Jesus: and I marveled, seeing her with a great astonishment. And the angel said to me, Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast supporting her, the one having seven heads and ten horns" (Rev.17:6-7 Para.).
The angel gives a number of keys that unlock the symbolism pictured by the mysterious woman and the Beast:
The Woman and the Seven-Headed Beast
"The seven heads are seven mountains [nations/empires] on which the woman [evil religious system] sits. And the kings are seven: five have fallen, and one is, and the other has not yet come; and when he does come, he must remain a little while" (Rev.17:9-10 Para.).
When we realize that the seven heads are symbolic of seven successive religious and political nations/empires that have been controlled by Satan and the Great Whore that will exist just before Christ's return, it becomes clear that verses 9 and 10 pertain to the coming of the seventh religious and political system.
"The woman you saw is the great city, that rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:18 Para.).
It is interesting to note that the only city in today's world that rules over kings of nations is Vatican City, which is within the city of Rome that sits on seven hills (Rev.17:9).
The Great Whore is Destroyed
"And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the whore, and will make her desolate and naked, and they will eat her flesh, and will burn her down with fire. For God gives it into their hearts to do his mind, and to act in one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the women who you saw is the great city, having a kingdom which rules over the kings of the earth" (Rev.17:16-18 Para.). See Jer. Chps. 50-51.
Very near the time of Christ's return and, perhaps, during the last two plagues that Christ pours out on the Beast alliance of nations and the world, the alliance of Middle Eastern nations of Psalm 83 that are to the north and south of Israel will be motivated by God to destroy the capital city of the Beast's Babylonian religious system.
Although the scriptures do not say why these ten nations hate the Great Whore, what takes place is probably just one more powerful evil religious system destroying another powerful evil religious system with which it has major unreconcilable theological differences concerning who and what to worship.
Revelation 18:1-23 Paraphrased
"And after these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was illuminated by his great glory. And he spoke in a strong great voice, saying, Babylon the great has fallen! It has fallen and it has become a dwelling place of demons, and a prison for every unclean spirit, and every unclean bird, even having been hated; because of the wine of the anger of her fornication which all nations have drunk, even the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth became rich from the power of her luxury" (vs.1-3).
This is the point at which the great religion that will have attached itself to the Beast's alliance of nations is destroyed by the ten Middle Eastern nations that have allied themselves with the Beast for one prophetic hour.
A Serious Warning
"And I heard another voice out of heaven, saying, My people, come out of her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues. Because her sins are joined together, even up to heaven, and God remembered her unjust deeds" (vs.4-5).
Although verse 4-5 are likely directed to the houses of Israel and Judah, after the first return of Christ to gather the elect of God, this is an extremely serious warning from Jesus Christ to come out of the evil religions of this world and remain separate from the things of this world that can pollute one spiritually. The plagues that God will pour out upon this evil religious system and the people who are associated with it will be terrifying and fatal; therefore, it would be wise to heed this serious warning.
The prophets continually warned Israel about spiritual adultery, which the apostles also did when they warned the elect of God to be aware of the ministers of Satan who would attempt to deceive them into worshiping false gods:
"When the Lord your God shall cut off the nations from before you, where you go to possess them, and you succeed them, and dwell in their land; Take heed to yourself that you be not snared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you; and that you enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? Even so will I do likewise. You shall not do so to the Lord your God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hates, have they done to their gods. . ." (Deut.12:29-31). See Ezk.8:16; Jer.10:1-5.
Paul warns the Church of God at Corinth not to become entangled or participate in Satan's religions:
"Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what concord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has he that believes with an infidel? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" (2.Cor.6:14-16 Para.).
Be Separate From Satanic Religions:
In a letter to the elect at Corinth, the apostle Paul exhorted them to avoid mixing the truth of God with paganism, and he told them to separate themselves from the religions of that day:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2.Cor.6:17 KJV).
The elect of God are not to participate in or be a part of this world's religions, because such participation constitutes spiritual adultery. The elect are the ambassadors of the Kingdom of God to this world (2.Cor.5:20). Anyone who is called to worship the true God and is associating with or dabbling in the religions of this world, would do well to heed the following extremely serious warning from Jesus Christ and remove themselves far from these evil practices:
"Give back to her as she also gave back to you, and double to her double, according to her works: in the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. By what things she glorified herself, and luxuriated, by so much give back to her torment and mourning. Because she says in her heart, I sit as a queen, and I am not a widow; and I do not see mourning at all. Because of all this, in one day her plagues shall come, death, mourning, and famine; and she shall be consumed with fire: for the Lord God judging her is strong" (Rev.18:6-8).
Christ says that the Babylonian system of religion that will be aligned with the Beast is extremely evil and that those who lead it are worthy of all the horrible and terrifying punishment that they will receive. The leaders of this great religious system are arrogant and self-important, believing that they are above the laws of God; therefore, Jesus Christ will totally destroy this evil system from off the face of the earth.
Destroyed in One Hour
"And the kings of the earth will weep for her, and will wail over her, those having fornicated and shared her luxury, when they see the smoke of her burning, Standing from afar, because of the fear of her torment, saying, Woe! Woe to the great city Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgement came" (Rev.18:9-10).
"And they [those who mourn over her] threw dust on their heads, and cried out weeping and mourning, saying, Woe! Woe to the great city by which all those having ships in the sea were rich, from her coast lines, because in one hour she is ruined" (Rev.18:19).
This great and powerful religion that has its capital in a city close to the sea will meet its fate in a very short time, perhaps in only 15 days (one prophetic hour).
"And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her: because no one buys their cargo any more: Cargo of gold and silver, and of precious stone, and of pearls, and of fine linen, and of purple, and of silk, and of scarlet, and of thyine wood, and every ivory vessel, and every vessel of precious wood, and of bronze, and of iron, and of marble, And cinnamon, and incenses, and of ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine meal, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and the bodies and souls of men" (Rev.18:11-13).
The merchants of the world weep and mourn, because this great religion was the lifeline of all commerce through its association with the Beast alliance of nations and it apparently controls the movement of goods through the positions held by its worshipers in the Beast system. Notice that this evil system also traffics in the lives (a reference to slavery) and corpses (bodies) of people as a saleable commodity.
"And the ripe fruit of the lusts of your soul went away from you, and all the fat things, and the bright things went away from you, and you will find them no more, not at all. The merchants of these things, the ones being enriched from her, will stand from afar because of her fear and her torment, weeping and mourning. And saying, Woe! Woe to the great city, having been clothed with linen, and purple, and scarlet, and having been gilded with gold, and precious stone, and pearls! For in one hour such great wealth was desolated. And every ship-pilot, and all company on the ships, and the sailors, and as many as work the sea, stood from afar, And cried out, seeing the smoke of her burning, saying What is like this great city!" (Rev.18:14-18).
"And one strong angel lifted a stone like a great millstone, and threw it into the sea, saying, This way on an impulse, Babylon the great city will be throne down, and it will never more be found. And the sound of harpers, and of musicians, and the flutists, and of trumpeters, will never more be heard in you; and every craftsman of every craft will never more be found in you; and the sound of the mill will never more be heard in you; And the light of the lamp will never more shine in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will never more be heard in you" (Rev.18:21-23).
From this scripture and others it is clear that the capital of this great religion will be completely destroyed and will never again be rebuilt.
The Elect of God Rejoice
When this great satanic religion and its capital city are destroyed, the elect of God will rejoice because one of the basic causes of all of humanity's problems will be removed. Now God the Father's righteous religious system will be established in Jerusalem as the only religion on earth and his plan for the salvation of humanity will go forward unimpeded by Satan's evil religions and those who lead them:
"Rejoice over her, heaven, and the holy apostles and the prophets; since God judged your judgments on her" (Rev.18:20). See also verse 24 (ibid).
These chapters of Revelation show the relationship between the alliance of nations called the Beast, the leader of this alliance called the Antichrist and the Beast, the Babylonian religious system called the Great Whore that is led by the False Prophet, and the elect of God who will proclaim God the Father's good news message in opposition to Satan's religious and governmental system.
As discussed in this section, the evil participants in the end of the age prophecy are as follows:
The Red Dragon
The Sea Beast
The Earth Beast
The Great Whore