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The Time of the End

A Study About the Book of Revelation

Arlen L. Chitwood


Chapter Twenty-three


The Beast — In the Psalms, the Prophets


(Material in the Psalms, in three of the Major Prophets, and in several of the Minor Prophets will be dealt with in this chapter.  The Prophets are designated either “major” or “minor,” not because of importance, but because of length.  Also, the twelve Minor Prophets make up one book in the Hebrew canon.  


No one book classed among the Major or Minor Prophets is more important or less important than any of the others.  All have their unique, individual place in Scripture; and each presents part of one complete word picture, exactly as God would have man view the matter.


Because of the vast amount of material pertaining to the beast and/or his kingdom in the book of Daniel [a Major Prophet], this book will not be dealt with in any special way in this chapter.  Rather, the beast, as he is seen in the book of Daniel, is dealt with in the next chapter, chapter 24.)

The Psalms

A number of the one hundred fifty chapters in the book of Psalms call attention to the beast.  This man, in the Psalms, is always seen in connection with Israel, and often with Gentile powers.  And he is invariably presented in a descriptive manner (e.g., “the bloodthirsty and deceitful man” in Psalm 5:6) or in a somewhat indirect manner by the mention of the national powers that will form this man’s kingdom in that coming day (e.g., the kings of the earth” in Psalm 2:1-3).


The beast is never named in the Psalms, though he can be easily identified in the different Psalms that depict Israel during the Tribulation, leading into the Messianic Era.  In these Psalms he is seen as Israels final and most horrific persecutor, appearing on the scene during Daniels Seventieth Week, at the end of the Times of the Gentiles.


And occupying this ignominious role, though his efforts will be directed toward destroying the Jewish people, God will use this man’s efforts to turn the matter completely around.  Because of sin, God drove the Jewish people out among the nations to effect their repentance by and through Gentile persecution.  That was 2,600 years ago, with untold periods of Gentile persecution occurring since that time.  Jewish graves dot the landscape throughout Gentile countries worldwide, but repentance on Israels part has yet to occur.


The persecution and slaying of 6,000,000 Jews in modern times under the Third Reich in Europe didn’t bring about Israel’s repentance.  But the man who is about to appear, described so vividly in the Psalms, will bring the persecution of the Jewish people to a level without parallel in history (cf. Matthew 24:21, 22), a level that will result in the Jewish people being left without a place to turn other than to the God of their fathers.  And it will be in that day, after over two and one-half millennia of Gentile dominance and persecution, that Israel will be brought to the place of repentance.


Then, following Israel’s subsequent national conversion, God will place the Jewish people back in their own land, within a theocracy, with the nations being blessed through Israel.  And many of the Psalms depict the type of persecution at the hands of the beast that will allow God to bring this to pass.


The Psalms, when dealing with this man, always present part or all of the same picture.  Descriptions and actions of the beast are seen.  This is then followed by his overthrow and the subsequent elevation of the Jewish people to their rightful place as both Gods firstborn son and the restored wife of Jehovah.


Taking certain verses from different Psalms, note some of the ways this man is presented.  As previously seen, Psalm 5:6 presents this man as “the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.”  Then, Psalm 7:4 presents this man as an individual who was at peace with Israel, but has now become their enemy (which could only be an allusion to his making and then breaking the covenant in Daniel 9:27).


Psalm 10:2-11 presents one of the most complete descriptions of this man in the PsalmsHe is seen filled with pride, boastful, giving heed to that which God abhors, and giving no thought to Gods ways at all.  His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit, he lies in wait to murder, to draw any and all into his net, and he will say in his heart that God has turned the other way and forgotten.


In other Psalms one finds Israel’s cry for deliverance and/or God’s deliverance of His people from this man, who is described in different ways in different passages (cf. Psalm 17:8-13; 37:7ff; 43:1; 71:4; 74:8-10; 140:1, 4, 8).


Then, the second and eighty-third Psalms form two places where the beast is presented in an indirect manner by and through dealing with the actions and/or aspirations of Gentile military powers at the end of Man’s Day, which this man will command.


Verses one and two of Psalm chapter two were quoted in unison by a group of the followers of “the way” after Peter and John had experienced persecution at the hands of Israel’s religious leaders.  And, by so doing, an application of the Psalm was made concerning the past actions of Gentile powers of that day, along with the Jewish people, against Gods firstborn Son, Christ (Acts 4:23-27). 


The Psalm though, evident from the context, has to do with events surrounding Christ’s second coming, not His first.  And the Psalm has to do with the actions of Gentile powers against both Christ and Israel, Gods firstborn Sons.  Thus, the fulfillment of this Psalm waits for a future time.


The second and eighty-third Psalms both deal with exactly the same thing — Gentile powers, forming the armies under the command of the beast, coming into the land of Israel for particular purposes.  The time when they will come into the land of Israel is evident from material in both Psalms, with each Psalm presenting matters from a different perspective.


Both Psalms picture these Gentile powers coming into the land of Israel during days immediately following the Tribulation, with a common goal.  Part of this goal (seen in Psalm 2) will be to do away with the restraining and authoritative power of the Father and the Son (v. 4), and the other part of this goal (seen in Psalm 83) will be to do away with the Jewish people (v. 4).

(Psalm 2 refers to these armies as “the kings of the earth,” and Psalm 83 adds more detail, listing ten Middle East nations that have planned and plotted together, foreshadowing the beasts ten-kingdom confederacy.)

At the time these armies come into the land, Gods Son will be seated on the throne in Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6, 7; cf. Joel 2:27ff; Luke 1:32, 33), and the Jewish people will have been re-gathered back to the land (Psalm 83:4), which places the matter at a time following the Tribulation.


Then, at that time, a dual scene presented in Scripture will be brought to pass.  On the one hand, the Gentile armies of the earth will willingly and defiantly march into the land of Israel, as seen in both the second and eighty-third Psalms.  On the other hand though, they will have no choice, for, in the words of Scripture, God will put hooks in their jaws and bring them into His land (Ezekiel 38:4, 16; Joel 3:2).


And when the beast with his armed forces marches into the land (cf. Ezekiel 38:8-11; Joel 3:7-16; Zechariah 14:1ff; Revelation 19:11-21), seeking to do away with the restraining and authoritative power of the Father and the Son, along with seeking to do away with the Jewish people, God is going to laugh at the very best that man, under Satan, can put forth.

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision [i.e., the Lord will mock, scoff, at them and their vain efforts]. (Psalm 2:4)

The thought of God laughing in the preceding verse has to do with a type of laughter where the recipient of that laughter is held in contempt, a mocking type of laughter exhibited toward an individual who is seeking to do something but is unable to do anything.  And though the beast and his armies will be left without a choice concerning coming into the land, when they do come into the land with their lofty goals and aspirations, Gods fury, as He laughs at them in a contemptible and mocking manner, is going to mount up in His anger (Ezekiel 38:18).


Then He [God] shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure [produce dismay, panic, terror as He exhibits His fiery wrath]” (Psalm 2:5; cf. Psalm 83:9-18 to see the utterly complete manner in which God will take care of the matter in that day).

At this time, Gods purpose for bringing these armies into the land will be realized.  Following God’s fury mounting up in His anger, Gentile world power will be destroyed on the mountains and plains of Israel (cf. Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21), allowing the scepter to be placed back in Israel’s hands where it belongs, with the theocracy restored to Israel.  The Jewish people will be elevated to the head of the nations, and all the Gentile nations will then be ruled by and blessed through the one nation, separate from the Gentile nations, which God called into existence to occupy this role.

The Prophets

The Prophets continue God’s revelation of the beast in the Old Testament Scriptures, presenting this revelation after a different fashion than that which is seen in the types or in the Psalms.  And viewing the matter from a different facet in the Prophets is simply God’s way of continuing to add to a developing word picture of this future end-time world ruler.


But the Prophets, though presenting the matter from a different perspective, deal with exactly the same thing as seen in the types or in the Psalms.  The Prophets deal with Israel’s disobedience, the condition of the nation as a result, and the nation being uprooted from her land and driven out among the Gentile nations to effect repentance by and through Gentile persecution.  And the Prophets, in turn, deal with Israel’s last great subjugator and persecutor, whom God will use to effect repentance on the part of His people.


Material from three Major Prophets and several Minor Prophets will be developed in this chapter.  And as previously stated, material from the book of Daniel (a Major Prophet) — which deals with the beast more than any of the other Prophets — is dealt with in a separate chapter in this book, chapter 24.

1)  Isaiah


Verses in a number of chapters in Isaiah deal with the beast; and each deals with this man after a different fashion, revealing a number of things about him.


He is seen throughout much of the fourteenth chapter as the last king of Babylon and as the Assyrian (vv. 4, 25).  This chapter deals principally with how this man will reign, the end of his reign, and the subsequent reign of Christ.


Typical of the way Scripture is often structured, revelation in this chapter moves back and forth from the beast’s reign to Christ’s reign.  Verses one through three picture millennial conditions. 

Then verses four through six picture conditions immediately preceding the Millennium.  Then verses seven and eight bring the reader back to millennial conditions, with verses nine through eleven describing this man’s overthrow preceding the Millennium.  And the remainder of the chapter is structured after the same fashion.


Descriptions of the reign and subsequent overthrow of the beast are seen in a number of different verses in this fourteenth chapter, providing a wealth of information:

that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, the golden city ceased!


The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers;


he who struck the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he who ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted and no one hinders.” . . .


Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.


Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: “Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms,


who made the world as a wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?”. . .


The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand:


that I will break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains tread him underfoot. Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden removed from their shoulders.” (Isaiah 14: 4-6, 15-17, 24, 25).

This man is seen as an oppressor (v. 4), one with other rulers exercising regal power with him (v. 5 [his ten-kingdom confederacy]), and one who will smite the people in anger, not only continually but in an unrestrained manner (v. 6).  He is seen as a man who will make the earth to tremble, who will shake kingdoms, who will make the world as a wilderness, who will destroy cities, and imprison individuals in an unmerciful manner (vv. 16, 17).


But this is also the man who is seen overthrown and trodden under foot in the land of Israel, exactly as the Lord had decreed (vv. 24, 25).  Then, he is seen in the place of the dead with all that appertained to him destroyed, pictured as one with maggots beneath him and worms covering him (vv. 9-11).


In Isaiah 16:1-5, this man is presented in connection with the Jewish people as a spoiler, an extortioner, and an oppressor.  And particular reference is made to those Jews who will escape his wrath by fleeing to a specially prepared place in the land, which is stated in the text to be in Moab, which lies southeast of the Dead Sea (v. 4). 


Then, once this man is overthrown (v. 4b), the Messianic Era will follow (v. 5).


The same sequence of events is presented again in Isaiah 24:21-23; 26:8, 13, 14, depicting a different facet of the picture.


Then in Isaiah 28:14-18, the same sequence of events is presented yet another way.  Reference is made to the covenant that the beast will make with “many” in Israel (cf. Daniel 9:27).  It is referred to as a covenant with death, an agreement with Sheol, the place of the dead (vv. 15, 18). 


This covenant made by the beast though will be “annulled [Hebrew: kopher, meaning ‘atonement.’  God will provide ‘atonement’]” (v. 18), followed by the Lord Himself making a new covenant with the house of Israel (Jeremiah 31:31-33).  And the Messianic Era will then follow (Isaiah 28:16-18a).


Then note Isaiah 33:8, 9, in a chapter that again moves back and forth between the beast’s reign and Christ’s subsequent reign.  In these two verses, reference is made to the broken covenant, with nothing but destruction lying in this mans wake, as he regards no one.  


Thus, Isaiah, in different places, presents the same overall picture of the beast from a number of different facets.

2)  Jeremiah


Most of Jeremiah chapter four deals with the beast in relation to the havoc and destruction that he will be allowed to bring to pass throughout the land of Israel, particularly upon the Jewish people’s cities and land.  Then, verses in chapter six deal with and shed light on the whole of the matter.  Thus, these two sections of Scripture will be viewed together; and they will be the only ones dealt with in Jeremiah, though there are other sections pertaining to this man in the book.


The fourth chapter begins with the reason for that which God is about to allow the beast to do as he moves against the Jewish people.  He will be allowed to move against God’s people in this manner because of their “abominations” (v. 1; cf. v. 14), abominations that will have been occurring over millennia of time.


That which is about to occur because of these abominations, in a climactic sense, is in perfect keeping with God’s promised warning to the Jewish people in Leviticus 26:14ff and Deuteronomy 28:15ff.  If God did not do as He had previously promised that He would do in these two sections of Scripture, which is seen carried out in Jeremiah chapter four, then He would not be true to His own Word.


The man who will be God’s instrument to carry out God’s promised warning, in a climactic respect, will be the beast.  He is referred to in Jeremiah 4:7 as “the destroyer of nations [the Gentiles],” who will move against Israel in this same destroying way, making their land “desolate” and laying their cities “waste, without inhabitant.”


In chapter six of Jeremiah this man is referred to as “the plunderer” (KJV: “the spoiler”) whom God will have placed as “an assayer and a tester” (NASB) among the Jewish people, to “know and test their way” (vv. 26, 27).  The thought here is the same as that which God stated about the Pharaoh of Egypt in Exodus 9:16, quoted in Romans 9:17:

But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.

God will raise up the beast, exactly as He has raised up all of Israel’s persecutors over centuries of time (cf. Isaiah 10:5, 6).  The matter begins with Israel’s abominations, and it will end with God demonstrating His power (one way — by effecting Israel’s repentance through Gentile persecution) and bringing matters to pass after such a fashion that His name will be declared throughout all the earth (cf. Ezekiel 36:17-36; 39:21-29).


Note how the end result of the matter is described in Jeremiah chapter four, following that time when the beast breaks his covenant with and turns upon the Jewish people:

Destruction upon destruction is cried, for the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, and my curtains in a moment.


How long will I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?


For my people [the Jewish people] are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly [stupid] children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.


I beheld the earth [the land, the land of Israel], and indeed it was without form, and void; and the heavens, they had no light.


I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth.


I beheld, and indeed there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens had fled.


I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the LORD, by His fierce anger.


For thus says the LORD: “The whole land shall be desolate; yet I will not make a full end.


For this shall the earth [the land] mourn, and the heavens above be black, because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent [i.e., God will not change His mind], nor will I turn back from it.” (Jeremiah 4:20-28)


(The words “land” and “earth” [vv. 20, 23, 27, 28] are both translations of the Hebrew word erets, which can be understood as either “land” or “earth,” depending on the context.  Erets should be translated “land” throughout the preceding passage, for the land of Israel is in view, not the earth as a whole.)

These verses need little comment to see what God is going to allow this man to do to both the Jewish people and their land.  And this will be because of their abominations on the one hand, and to effect their repentance on the other hand.


Then the chapter ends with Israel in travail, experiencing birth-pangs (v. 31), about to realize a national birth following their being brought to the place of repentance (cf. Isaiah 66:7, 8; Matthew 24:8; Revelation 12:2).


Thus, God is going to raise up and use the beast for His own glory, to bring His plans and purposes regarding Israel and the nations to pass.  Then, God is going to judge and destroy this man, for the unchangeable principles of Genesis 12:1-3 cannot be violated.

3)  Ezekiel


There are a couple of classic references to this man in Ezekiel, in chapters twenty-one and thirty-eight.  And in the thirty-ninth chapter the kings ruling under him are mentioned.


In Ezekiel 21:25 he is seen as the “profane wicked prince of Israel,” who is about to be replaced by Another, “whose right it is” to rule and reign (v. 27):

Now to you, O profane, wicked prince of Israel, whose day has come, whose iniquity shall end,


thus says the Lord GOD: “Remove the turban [the mitre], and take off the crown; nothing shall remain the same. Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted.


Overthrown, overthrown, I will make it overthrown! It shall be no longer, until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.” (Ezekiel 21:25-27).

The “mitre” (v. 26) has to do with the headdress of Israels high priest, and the “crown” denotes a ruler.  This man will be Satan’s counterfeit of the true Christ, a king-priest in relation to Israel, one who had previously sat in the temple of God, “showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).


His end is in view in the passage.  “Iniquity,” referring particularly to Israels abominations, is to be brought to an “end” (v. 25; cf. Daniel 9:24).  And the mitre and crown are then to be removed and given to the One whose right it is to wear both — the true King-Priest in Israel (vv. 26, 27).


Then note four verses in Ezekiel chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine:


Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,


and say, “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.’”. . .


And as for you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD, Speak to every sort of bird and to every beast of the field: assemble yourselves and come; gather together from all sides to My sacrificial meal which I am sacrificing for you, a great sacrificial meal on the mountains of Israel, that you may eat flesh and drink blood.


You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, drink the blood of the princes of the earth . . . .” (38:2, 3; 39:17, 18a; cf. Revelation 19:17-21).

The word translated “prince” (38:2, 3; 39:17) in the Hebrew text refers to a king or a leader.  This is another picture of the same thing seen in the second and eighty-third Psalms, with the prince leading them (38:2, 3; cf. Psalm 2:1-3), and the princes of the earth and their armies destroyed upon the mountains and plains of Israel and left for the ravenous birds and animals to feed upon (39:17, 18a; cf. Psalm 83:9-18).

4)  The Minor Prophets


This man is mentioned throughout a number of the Minor Prophets.


In Joel he is seen heading the northern army, pictured in Ezekiel chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine (2:20).


In Amos he is seen as “an adversary” who will destroy the Jewish people and their land (3:11).


In Micah he is seen as “the Assyrian” who will come into the land and tread it down (5:5, 6).


In Nahum he is seen as “a wicked counselor,” set in opposition to the “Wonderful Counselor” of Isaiah 9:6 (1:11-15).


And in Zechariah he is seen as “the worthless [KJV: “idol”] shepherd” who will conduct affairs in an opposite manner to that of the true Shepherd (11:16, 17).


The extensive attention that the Old Testament gives to this future world ruler need not be further dealt with in the Minor Prophets.  The preceding, in conjunction with that which is covered in the Psalms and Major Prophets, should suffice to illustrate how revelation concerning this man can be seen extending from one end of the Old Testament to the other.