The Time of the End
A Study About the Book of Revelation
Arlen L. Chitwood
The Beast — In Revelation
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (Revelation 13:1-4)
The book of Revelation is an unveiling, from the Old Testament Scriptures, of God the Father’s Christ — the anointed One, the One whose right it is to rule and reign, the One whom the Father will give “dominion and glory, and a kingdom . . . .” (Daniel 7:13, 14; Revelation 1:1). And, to set forth different regal aspects of the unveiling of the One whom the Father will place on the throne, the book of Revelation also has to do with a parallel counter unveiling, from the Old Testament Scriptures, of the one whom “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), Satan, will give the same thing — “his power, his throne, and great authority” (Revelation 13:1, 2).
Satan will give the scepter to his Christ, his anointed one, three and one-half years before his overthrow at the hands of the One to whom God will have given the scepter. This is the scene foretold at the beginning of Scripture, immediately following Adam’s fall, when God announced the whole of the matter to the one responsible for the fall — to Satan:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Over and over in the Old Testament vast amounts of information concerning both God’s Christ and Satan’s Christ can be seen. And time and again the end of the matter is clearly presented as well. Thus, when one arrives at the closing book of Scripture he should immediately know what to expect, particularly when the book begins with a clear statement relating the subject matter of the book — “The Revelation [unveiling] of Jesus Christ . . . ” (Revelation 1:1a).
Then there is the matter of Israel and the nations occupying a central place in the book of Revelation, exactly as is previously seen throughout the Old Testament Scriptures. And, to complete the unveiling of Jesus Christ, the matter surrounding Israel and the nations is fully opened up and revealed in this last book of Scripture as well.
There is nothing new in any realm in the book of Revelation. The book is simply an opening up and amplification of that which is previously found in the Old Testament. And the more one understands the Old Testament Scriptures, the easier it will be for that individual to understand the book of Revelation. Scripture, moving from the Old Testament to the New Testament, is self-interpreting in this respect.
God’s Sovereign Control
God exercises sovereign control over all things. Nothing takes God by surprise, for nothing occurs apart from His sovereign control. And God’s ways are quite different than man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8, 9). God sees the future the same way that He sees the past — as being present (Ecclesiastes 3:14, 15). God views matters from the perspective of an eternal present. And, to effect His plans and purposes, with His omnipotent power and sovereign control of all things, God can move men and nations as one might move pawns on a chessboard.
God’s plans and purposes, made known in the Old Testament, invariably take a course that man might find unimaginable and would find unattainable. And one such course of action that God will use, made known in the Old Testament and brought to pass in the book of Revelation, has to do with the counterpart to God’s Christ — Satan’s Christ.
God will have raised this man up to accomplish His plans and purposes, and this man will be little more than a pawn in His hands. God will use this man as a chastening rod in order to bring His plans and purposes regarding Israel to pass. This man, who will seek to destroy Israel, will be the person whose actions God will use to bring about Israel’s deliverance — something that is seen in different places in the Old Testament and is fully opened up and revealed in the book of Revelation.
God will use this man to that end, though once matters have been brought to a conclusion, God will express extreme displeasure with this man’s actions and then judge this man for his actions — a judgment completely commensurate with his actions.
Note two verses from Isaiah chapter fifty-two that reflect on this matter:
For thus says the Lord GOD: “My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause.
Now therefore, what have I here,” says the LORD, “That My people are taken away for nothing [in the later Babylonian captivity]? Those who rule over them make them wail [wail in distress] . . . .” (Isaiah 52:4, 5a)
Verse four depicts the Assyrian in Egypt during Moses’ day, foreshadowing the future Assyrian in the world during the days of the Son of Man. Then verse five forms a prophecy that moves from Isaiah’s time to the days of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian captivity.
Then note Exodus 9:16, which not only relates God’s dealings with the Assyrian in history but would reflect on God’s dealings with the first and last kings of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles (Nebuchadnezzar and the beast):
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. (Exodus 9:16)
The same distressful wailing to be heard in the camp of Israel in Babylon was heard in the camp during the days of the Assyrian in Egypt and will be heard again during the days of the future Assyrian. And this resulted/will result from persecution at the hands of individuals whom God had raised up and will raise up.
The distressful wailing yet future though will result from an intense persecution without parallel in history. And, through this latter persecution, the Jewish people will be brought to the end of themselves, resulting in their repentance.
And, as the Assyrian and the first king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles were judged in history after God had used them to accomplish His own plans and purposes (Exodus 14:13-15:12), so will it be with the future Assyrian, the last king of Babylon, whom God will use to accomplish His own plans and purposes (Revelation 19:17-21).
Note the same thing again in Jeremiah chapter six:
O daughter of my people, dress in sackcloth and roll about in ashes! Make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation; for the plunderer will suddenly come upon us.
I have set you [the plunderer] as an assayer and a fortress [an assayer and a tester (NASB)] among my people, that you may know and test their way. (vv. 26, 27)
This future world ruler, “the plunderer” (“spoiler” in the KJV) is seen as the one whom God Himself will place in power for a central purpose, as revealed in these verses. God will place this man in the regal position that he will occupy (cf. Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Matthew 20:23), as the earth’s ruler, with a view to using this man to bring about His own revealed plans and purposes.
And these plans and purposes must begin with bringing Israel to the place of repentance, for the whole of the matter of God bringing things to pass in His Son’s kingdom is dependant on Israel occupying her God-ordained place in this kingdom.
Then, note how the matter is described another way in Zechariah chapter one:
. . . I am zealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with great zeal.
I am exceedingly angry with the nations [the Gentiles] that are at ease; I was a little angry, and they [the Gentile nations] helped — but with evil intent [“helped forward the affliction” (KJV)]. (vv. 14b, 15)
The scene, in the light of the manner in which the book begins (1:2-6), has to do with God seeking to bring about correction involving His son, Israel. Then, the nations seeing what is happening, though undoubtedly not understanding the matter, step in and seek to help God bring about this correction. The nations help “forward the affliction,” with God then becoming very displeased with the nations’ actions.
God though will only allow the nations to carry their actions so far — to the degree necessary to bring about the needed correction. Then, once this correction has been effected, God will put a stop to the matter and judge the nations that He used to bring matters to this predetermined goal (cf. Genesis 12:1-3).
Prominence of the Beast in Revelation
Thus, the culmination of 2,600 years of Israeli persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations will be brought to an end through God using the beast and his ten-kingdom federation of nations from Revelation chapter thirteen. This is the man who will “shake kingdoms” and make “the world as a wilderness” (Isaiah 14:16, 17). But this is also the man whom God will use to bring His plans and purposes surrounding Israel to fruition — Israel’s last and greatest enemy during the Times of the Gentiles, the one who, under Satan, will seek to destroy Israel. God though will bring matters to pass in such a manner that the end result of this man’s actions will be just the opposite of that which he set out to accomplish.
This man is not introduced in the book of Revelation in chapter thirteen but much earlier, in chapter six, when the first four seals of the seven-sealed scroll were broken. He is the one seen riding forth on a white horse, then a red horse, then a black horse, and then a pale horse (vv. 1-8). And the scene presented by this man riding forth on four different horses, each a different color, covers events during the whole of the seven-year Tribulation (refer to Chapter 13 in this book, “The Four Horsemen”).
The breaking of the remaining three seals, which includes the trumpet and bowl (“vial” [KJV]) judgments (the judgments of the seventh seal), simply presents details and commentary for that which is seen when the first four seals were broken. Thus, this man, his actions, and the result of his actions are seen throughout chapters six through twelve, before even arriving at chapter thirteen. Chapter thirteen is simply an aside in the book, relating a number of details about this man so that other parts of the book can be better tied together and understood. Then, beyond chapter thirteen, this man is seen throughout chapters fourteen through twenty as well.
Two beasts are seen in chapter thirteen. The first arises out of “the sea,” and the second arises out of “the earth [KJV: ‘the land’]” (vv. 1, 11).
(For information on “the sea” and “the earth” in relation to the appearances of these two beasts, refer to Chapter 22 in this book.)
The first beast will be a political leader — the one seen riding forth on the four different horses in chapter six and the one seen throughout parts of the Old Testament, beginning with Nimrod in Genesis chapter ten. The second beast is then seen doing things on behalf of and calling attention to the first beast, directing everything (worship, etc.) toward the first beast.
1) An Unholy Trinity
There will be a father-son relationship between Satan and the beast, comprising the first two individuals in an unholy trinity. The first beast will be the actual son of Satan — as the “giants [Hebrew: Nephilim, ‘fallen ones’]” in Genesis 6:4 and Numbers 13:33 were the offspring of fallen angels under Satan (cf. Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 26:13, 14). Then, to complete this trinity, the second beast will function in a counterfeit realm to that which is seen in the work of the Holy Spirit. As the Spirit calls attention to Christ, the second beast will call attention to the first beast, the Antichrist.
Miraculous signs will be performed through power exhibited by the second beast, as he calls attention to the first beast (Revelation 13:12-14). And it appears evident that this will be a counterfeit work paralleling the work of the Spirit during Christ’s earthly ministry at His first coming. The miraculous signs that Christ performed were done through the power of the Spirit, as the Spirit called attention to Christ (Matthew 12:27, 28; John 16:13-15); and the miraculous signs being manifested by the second beast will be performed through the power of the first beast (to whom Satan will have given his power), and attention will be called to the first beast through these signs (cf. Revelation 13:2, 12ff).
2) Mortally Wounded (“Wounded to Death” in the KJV)
In conjunction with all of this, as God’s Son died and rose again, with all attention then directed toward Him by the Spirit, the same thing will occur within this unholy trinity. Satan’s son will receive “a deadly wound.” He will be “mortally wounded,” and his wound will be “healed” (Revelation 13:3, 12, 14; 17:8-11). Then, all attention will be directed toward him by the second beast.
The expression “mortally wounded” could refer to this man being brought to the point of death and then miraculously healed, without actually dying. But that really doesn’t fit the complete picture, particularly when considering how this is dealt with in chapter seventeen (vv. 8-11).
This man will be the seventh head commanding a ten kingdom federation of nations, as seen in Revelation 12:3; 13:1. And, according to Revelation 17:9, 10, these seven heads have to do with “seven mountains” denoting “seven kings” with kingdoms.
(The KJV rendering of the first part of Revelation 17:10 somewhat obscures the issue. Rather than the text reading, “And there are seven kings . . .,” it should read, “And they [the seven heads, seen as seven mountains in the previous verse] are seven kings.”
The oft taught ideology that Revelation 17:9 has to do with the city of Rome, built on seven hills — resulting in no small part from the KJV rendering and the thought from Daniel that the fourth part of the great image and the fourth great beast have to do with Rome — cannot possibly be derived from a correct rendering of the text and the subsequent explanatory interpretation from the context.
Aside from the preceding, a reference to Rome, with its inseparable state Church [the Roman Catholic Church], cannot possibly be seen in the text or context. In fact, seeking to associate this verse with Rome and the Catholic Church would be completely out of place in Revelation chapters seventeen and eighteen, for the dispensation in which God deals with the Church will be past at this point in time. In these chapters God is seen dealing with Israel and the nations, not with the Church in any form.)
This seventh head (the seventh ruler, the beast) in Revelation chapters thirteen and seventeen, will be slain and then will be raised from the dead shortly after he comes into power, near the middle of the Tribulation (cf. 13:3, 5). In chapter seventeen he is seen ascending out of “the bottomless pit [Greek: abussos, ‘the abyss,’ ‘the underworld,’ a place where only the dead or angels would be confined]” (v. 8; cf. Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7 [“deep” in these two verses, KJV, is a translation of abussos]; Revelation 9:1, 2, 11). Then, once the beast ascends out of the abyss — once he has been raised from the dead — he is seen as an eighth beast, though still of the seven (17:11).
This man will be slain, descend into the underworld, and then be removed from this place as the unholy trinity is given power to raise the man from the dead. And after he has been raised from the dead he becomes the eighth beast, though he is still seen connected with the original seven beasts.
And it will be at this time that “all the world,” seeing that which has occurred, will become engaged in Satan worship and beast worship, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” (13:4, 8).
3) Seven Heads
The seven heads in connection with Satan in Revelation 12:3 and of the beast in Revelation 13:1 must be interpreted from other Scripture to properly understand that which is in view — in the same manner that the identity of the three subdued horns in Daniel 7:8 can be seen from Daniel 8:8-10 (the three kings forming the other three parts of the four-way division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom at the time of his death).
And it is really a continuation of the conquest of these three horns in Daniel 7:8 that is seen when the beast is described as being the seventh and last king among a succession of kings (cf. Revelation 13:1; 17:9-11). An allusion to the conquest in Daniel 7:8 and a continuation of this conquest through three more kings, with the beast emerging as the seventh king, is seen in Daniel chapter eleven.
Beginning with Daniel 11:3, the next nineteen verses are about the rise and fall of six kings (vv. 3-20), followed by the rise of a seventh (v. 21). Then, details concerning this seventh king begin in this same verse and extend throughout the remainder of the chapter (25 more verses), with his fall and end seen in the concluding verse (v. 45b).
Daniel chapter eleven begins with the Babylonian kingdom under the dominion of the Medes and the Persians (vv. 1, 2) and progresses to the kingdom under Alexander the Great and the four-way division of the kingdom following his death (vv. 3, 4). Then, beginning with verse five, all is future.
From verse five through verse twenty, three kings rise and are put down, with a fourth rising in verse twenty-one (the little horn from Daniel 7:8, the beast from Revelation 13:1ff). And these things will occur “in the end of years” (v. 6 [v. 13 reads very similar in the Hebrew text]), which is an apparent reference to the end of the time in Daniel 9:24-27.
Then this beast was previously seen subduing three other kings (cf. Daniel 7:8; 8:8-10; 11:3, 4) before he subdues the three kings seen in Daniel 11:5-20 (cf. vv. 5 to 12 [the king of the south], vv. 13 to 19 [the king of the north], and v. 20 [a raiser of taxes]). Thus, the beast becomes the seventh, completing the seven heads, seven mountains, and seven kings, seen in Revelation 12:3, 13:1.
(Many commentators teach that Daniel 11:5-35 has to do with a continuing time in history following Alexander the Great’s death and the four-way division of his kingdom [323 B.C.], extending to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian ruler who sat on the throne from 175 B.C. to 164 B.C. Other commentators though teach that beginning with v. 5, all is future.
The latter, not the former, is in perfect keeping with the way that the book of Daniel is structured elsewhere. Things having to do with the fourth part of the great image [chapter 2] or the fourth great beast [chapter 7] immediately follow things pertaining to the third part of the great image or the third great beast. Things pertaining to the third part of the great image and/or the third great beast are seen in Daniel 11:3, 4, and that which is seen beginning in verse five, which moves beyond that which is seen in verses three and four, could, contextually, only have to do with that which is depicted by the fourth part of the great image or the fourth great beast.)
Image, Mark, Name, Number
Four things are mentioned in Revelation 13:14-18 — the image, mark, name, and the number of the beast — but, in reality, there are only three things mentioned. “The image” is one thing, but “the name” or “the number” of the beast form his mark (cf. Revelation 14:11).
1) Image of the Beast
The second beast introduces image worship by causing an image of the first beast to be built and then giving life to that image. The image is then given the ability to both speak and cause those on the earth to worship the image, under penalty of death (Revelation 13:14, 15).
The beast and his image are then seen in a somewhat inseparable sense. The image of the beast would undoubtedly be an object to keep the attention of the world fixed upon the beast, with worship of the image being beast-worship through the image (cf. Revelation 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4).
The Old Testament counterpart to this image would be the image set up in the plain of Dura by the first king of Babylon during the Times of the Gentiles, by Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:1ff). All were commanded to worship this image, under penalty of death (vv. 5, 6). Three Jews whom the king had placed over affairs in the province refused, and they were cast into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal — so hot that it slew the men casting them into the fire (vv. 8-22). But the three Jews were protected in the fire after a manner that not a hair on their head was singed (vv. 23-27).
Then, after these Jews had been removed from the fire, the king realized what had occurred and who had protected them in the fire. He then decreed that all peoples, nations, and languages were to recognize and honor the God of the Jews (vv. 28-30).
These events foreshadow that which will occur during and beyond the Tribulation — the world caused to worship an image under the penalty of death, the Jewish people refusing, divine protection provided for them in the fires of the Tribulation, deliverance of the Jewish people at the end, and the final result being the same as in the type — the God of the Jews recognized and honored by the nations of the world (cf. Ezekiel 36:33-36; 37:21-28; 39:21-29).
2) Mark, Name, Number of the Beast
The “mark” of the beast would consist of either his name or his number. A correct rendering of Revelation 13:17 from the Greek text would be: “. . . save he had the mark, [which is] the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
The name of the beast is not given, though his number is provided in verse eighteen — “six hundred three score and six,” 666, the number of man.
The name or the number of the beast will be placed on the right hand or the forehead (possibly an implanted computer chip, we’re not told). And without this mark, no one will be able to “buy or sell” (v. 17).
This is what is about to come upon the whole world, and the time in view can only be very near at hand.