One Beast

In Daniel and Revelation, the “Beast” is a single history-spanning entity that has existed since at least the dawn of human civilization, beginning with the first attempt at global domination when humanity founded Babel and “SET UP a high tower to make us a name, lest we be scattered upon the face of the earth.” That incident is alluded to in the Book of Daniel as the Babylonian crown prince subjugated Jerusalem and took the “vessels of the house of God into the land of Shinar to the house of his god.”

As in Genesis, Nebuchadnezzar attempted to unite all nations under his rule by imposing the Babylonian language on them, and he summoned all the peoples from his domain to render homage before the “high image that SET UP” - (Genesis 11:1-9, Daniel 1:1-21, 3:1-9).

Dragon Heads - Photo by Vlad Zaytsev on Unsplash
[Photo by Vlad Zaytsev on Unsplash]

However, God is the one who “
removes kings and SETS UP kings.” Whatever world and national rulers may think, it is Yahweh who sets up political powers, and He is certainly able to remove any leader who displeases Him – (Daniel 2:21).

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

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

Only Daniel was able to interpret the King’s dream. The image’s golden head represents Nebuchadnezzar. Its other three sections symbolized three additional kingdoms that would appear later. The “stone cut without hands” symbolized the Kingdom of God that one day would supplant the kingdoms of this age and fill the entire Earth – (Daniel 2:31-45).

Although the image consisted of four parts, it was ONE IMAGE, and the entire thing was destroyed in one stroke when the “stone cut without hands” struck its feet.

We find the same reality pictured in Chapter 7 of Daniel. The prophet saw four “Beasts ascending from the Sea” representing four kingdoms, starting with Babylon. The Fourth Beast was the most terrifying one, especially its “Little Horn that was boasting of great things.” It attained political power and “waged war against the saints.”

In the vision’s interpretation, Daniel was told the “Four Beasts are four kings that will arise out of the Earth,” but in the end, the “saints will receive the Kingdom,” SINGULAR. This age-long conflict was and is about the dominion of the planet, but also the destruction of God’s people – (Daniel 7:15-27).

The Fourth Beast wreaked havoc on God’s people for a predetermined time, a “season, seasons, and part of a season,” but its reign of terror eventually ceased (“They took away his dominion to consume and destroy it unto the end.”

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

IN REVELATION


This perspective is also found in the Book of Revelation. In Chapter 13, John saw a SINGLE BEAST ascending from the Sea that had all the monstrous characteristics of Daniel’s four beasts, including the ten horns and the “mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.”

Like the “Little Horn” of Daniel’s Fourth Beast, this creature was authorized to operate only for a limited period, “forty-two months.” Its goal was to “wage war against the saints” - (Revelation 13:1-10).

When describing the rise of this ONE BEAST, John used a Greek participle in the present tense, signifying action in progress. It was in the process of “ascending,” and it still is to this day.

Moreover, John listed its animal-like features in reverse order from the ascent of the Four Beasts from the Sea in the Book of DanielDaniel saw the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the monstrous creature with ten horns ascending in that order. John saw ONE BEAST which had the features of the Beast with ten horns, the leopard, the bear, and the lion, described in that order, almost as if he was looking back in time over the history of former great empires.

In Chapter 17, John saw Babylon “being carried by the Beast with Ten Horns and Seven Heads.” This creature “was and is not and is about to ascend out of the Abyss.” The description refers to Chapter 13 where one of the Beast’s “Seven Heads” received a “death stroke but lived.”

Mountains - Photo by Anton Lammert on Unsplash
[Photo by Anton Lammert on Unsplash]

The “
Seven Heads” represent “seven kings” and kingdoms. Of the seven, by John’s time, “five were fallen.” They had come and gone. One existed, which could only have been Rome, and the seventh was yet to come. When it did arrive, it would continue for a “little while,” a reference to the same period as the “forty-two months” in Chapter 13.

The final kingdom was “an eighth and was of the seven.” It had the same nature as its predecessors, but it was also something beyond them. It would continue until it was cast into the “Lake of fire” by the “Rider on the White Horse” – (Revelation 19:11-21).

Thus, this imperial “Beast” is an ancient creature. It has been around since at least the Tower of Babel incident, and the power behind it, the “Dragon,” goes back even further, namely, to the Garden of Eden. It is no coincidence that in the twelfth chapter of Revelation Satan is called the “ANCIENT SERPENT” who persecuted the “Woman and her Seed” – (Genesis 3:15, Revelation 12:1-5, 12:17).

The “Beast” is a transhistorical reality that is focused on annihilating the people of God. In Chapter 20 of Revelation, after being released from the “Abyss,” the “Ancient Serpent” gathers the nations from the “four corners of the Earth” for one final assault against the “camp of the saints.” Thereafter, he is thrown into the “Lake of Fire.”

This “Beast” remains alive to this day, still waiting for the next opportunity to pursue global domination and the destruction of the “saints,” the latter being its real purpose.



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