Daniel 7 and Revelation 13: the antichrist beast
Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 13 present ‘beasts’ that parallel the kingdoms prophesied in Daniel chapter 2 (see study: ‘Daniel 2, kingdoms in advance’) but with emphasis on the end time, and most importantly, with emphasis on the power that is Satan’s instrument in his attempt to eradicate truth. Thus it is critically important to study and understand these Scriptures.
NB. Revelation chapter 13 introduces two ‘beasts’. The study of the second beast (of Revelation 13) introduces the concept of the mark of the beast. Because of its importance, this topic is addressed separately in the study: ‘The mark of the beast and the Seal of God’.
2. The Four Beasts of Daniel chapter 7
Da 7:3-7 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
First beast identity: Lion with eagles’ wings: a winged lion is the symbol of ancient Babylon (a relief of a winged lion from the gate of ancient Babylon may be seen in the Louvre museum, Paris); the first beast is therefore Babylon.
Thus we have the same historical starting point as the Daniel 2 head of gold.
The wings represent swift conquest; that they were plucked off represents Babylon’s fall.
Having identified the first beast, we may now confirm the identity of the remaining beasts (see study: 'Daniel 2: kingdoms in advance')
Second beast: Bear raised on one side = Medo Persia (Persians dominant over the Medes)
- the three ribs in its mouth refer to Medo Persia’s three major conquests: Babylon, Lydia (in Turkey), and Egypt.
Third beast: Leopard with four wings and four heads = Greece under Alexander the Great
- the four heads represent the four leading Greek generals, who, after Alexander’s early death, divided the kingdom between themselves.
The leopard's wings represent Alexander’s very swift conquest of the then known world.
Fourth beast: strong with iron teeth. This beast corresponds to the Daniel 2 image's iron legs and feet of iron and clay mixed. Thus the fourth beast corresponds to the period of pagan Rome (the strongest kingdom of all time) and its modern successor.
The fourth beast is therefore the beast that is of most interest to us.
2.2 The fourth beast explained
Dan 7:19,23,24 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;
23 Thus 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.
24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise ...
The fourth beast has ten horns (horns in prophecy represent powers). As we have seen, the beasts of Daniel 7 parallel the kingdoms of Daniel 2.
Thus the ten horns are equivalent to the toes of the Daniel 2 image, i.e. the tribes that defeated pagan Rome’s western empire, out of which grew modern Europe.
Throughout the history of post pagan Rome, Europe has influenced the whole world.
Next, a new power is introduced - represented by a little horn
Da 7:8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.
A little horn arises after the ten horns, and plucks out three of the ten horns. Thus the little horn is placed after pagan Rome.
The little horn explained
Da 7:24,25 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Characteristics of the little horn power
- eyes and mouth like a man, indicating a power headed by a man.
- assumes supremacy
- thinks to change times and laws
- wears out the saints of God
- speaks against the Most High
- key identifying factor: has power for a Time, Times, and dividing of Time. This statement of a time period is widely understood to mean 1 year, 2 years, and 6 months, totaling 3.5 years.
The little horn plucks out three of the ten horns
History tells us that three of the tribes that conquered Pagan Rome, and which occupied Rome itself: the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, were finally defeated, and the little horn power became dominant.
The little horn’s characteristics identify it as representing a major ungodly power whose seat is Rome (indicated by its ‘plucking out’ of the three tribes that ruled Rome) and which is personified in a man.
To better understand this power, we must examine the parallel prophecy in Revelation chapter 13.
3. The First Beast of Revelation chapter 13
Re 13:1-8 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
3.1 Characteristics summarized
Arises out of the sea, signifying that it comes out of existing peoples and nations (see Re 17:15)
Combines the characteristics of all four beasts of Daniel 7, indicating that it arises after the previous four beasts and is influenced by their beliefs and practices. Thus the Revelation 13 beast's prophecy is for the end time.
Given power by ‘the dragon’ (Satan, Re 12:9; 20:2)
Satan (the dragon) is represented in Re 12:3 as having 10 horns and 7 crowned heads. These are conquering powers and nations through which Satan has worked throughout history.
key identifying factor: has power for ‘forty and two months’ (3.5 years)
Speaks great things and blasphemies (blasphemy is claiming to be God, see Jn 10:31-33)
Has 10 crowned horns (kingly powers), and 7 blasphemous heads
As the beasts prophecy of Revelation 13 is for the end time, the ten crowned horns are analogous to the ten toes of the Daniel 2 image, which represent the nations that succeeded pagan Rome (see study: 'Daniel 2, kingdoms in advance').
The blasphemous heads represent the historical manifestations of a blasphemous religious power existing at the same time as the crowned horns.
One head received as it were a deadly wound that was healed.
Note, only one head was wounded, not the whole beast, confirming that it is the manifestation of the beast at the end of its allotted time span that is the focus of the prophecy.
Worshipped by all not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, which contains the names of those who repent of sin (the Book of Life and who appears in it is discussed in study: ‘The cleansing of the Heavenly Sanctuary’,4.1).
4. The Full Picture - combining characteristics
It is plain that the Daniel 7/4th beast’s ‘little horn’ and the Revelation 13/1st beast share attributes. Thus they represent the same power.
Consequently we can combine their characteristics to give us a full picture, as follows.
Key common identifying characteristic
Has power for 3.5 years/42 months (the same amount of time). Each of the 12 biblical months consisted of 30 days. Thus each prophetic time period amounts to 1260 prophetic days (see study: 'The 70 weeks prophecy',2).
Blasphemies - persecution of the saints - worshipped by those not written in the Lamb’s book of life - thinks to change times and laws - apparent deadly wound that was healed - all the world wondered after it.
The antichrist power
Thus we have a detailed picture of a power which is clearly antichrist in its nature. To be able to exercise such power and authority the earthly system that exhibits all these characteristics must be both a political and a religious system.To identify such a power we must look for a system that emerges at the right prophetic time.
Only one such system exists: the Papacy.
In study: ‘confirming the identity of the antichrist beast’ we examine the Papacy to confirm whether it indeed qualifies as the antichrist beast.
Scripture twice, in the form of beasts, presents an end time system that is clearly antichrist in its nature - a system that is given its power by the Devil.
In Scripture, the antichrist beasts' characteristics are comprehensively presented. Only one system fits these characteristics perfectly, a system both religious and political in its nature: the Papacy.
God has forewarned the last day generations, so that none may be deceived. He has granted us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (Jn 16:13). Thus by prayerfully comparing Scripture with the historical record we may readily identify the antichrist power.