For centuries, the ability to identify the Beast and the False Prophet 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 who controls an alliance of nations called the Beast. This extremely dynamic and charismatic individual is described as a beast because he exhibits the characteristics of a beast as he ruthlessly leads a religious and governmental system.
What is the Beast?
The Beast also identifies the governmental system that controls an alliance of nations, which will exist for a short time just before Christ returns. The Beast 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 lives of people 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. This individual is called the False Prophet (Rev.13:11-12; 19:20) because he promotes a religious system, which 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 reading the other sections on this subject .
Understanding Daniel and Revelation
An understanding of the Books of Daniel and Revelation is important because they were recorded for those living in the tumultuous time just before Christ returns. If indeed this is the time spoken of in these two books, an understanding of these prophecies is 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, this information is not necessary to understand the prophetic overview concerning the who, what, when, and where of these two books.
What is important is that those who are called to salvation and live in the end of the age just before Christ returns 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.
We have provided study aids in the form of tables that correlate the major topics presented in various sections of this chapter to help clarify the interrelationships between the Beast system, its leader, the False Prophet, and events contained within these prophecies. We recommend that you use these tables as guides along with your study of this subject.
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 caused to be 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 seem to 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 descendants 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, 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 in God's word.
By B. L. Cocherell and Charles E. Barrett b2w14a