You might wonder why I write articles identifying mistakes other Christian teachers make, and why I instead don’t focus on what we can all agree on. The main answer is because I represent God. Is that all God wants us to do, all agree on what the Bible says? Because that’s what some brick and mortar groups of Christians do it causes their false conclusions to be bantered back and forth ad infinitum. The second answer is, I see no need to repeat correct information I know your teachers are already teaching you. A teacher’s job is to get new information into minds of students while correcting mistakes, constantly assessing students to see how well both those things are taking place. A teacher’s job is not to rehash what students already know, except when doing so to help retain information. And since your teachers constantly repeat the same information, I see no reason to repeat what they cover that is correct.
Despite the warning below, every teacher I’ve heard teach what this beast of Revelation 13:1,2 represents has failed to heed it:
I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy in this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words of this book of prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. Revelation 22:18,19
In their minds most Christians have combined this character with Bible characters from other books, turning this beast into something it isn’t. But maybe the biggest danger there is that diminishes warnings in those other books, getting believers to fail to heed those other warnings. Because they don’t even know what those scriptures are really warning them about. Other Christian teachers claim to have identified this beast, which means Christians following them won’t be able to recognize this beast once he actually appears. Who benefits from those outcomes, God or Satan?
The best identifying characteristics of this beast are described in Revelation chapter 18:
7 “Why are you so amazed?” said the angel. “I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and ten horns.”
8The beast that you saw—it was, and now is no more, but is about to come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. And those who dwell on the earth whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will marvel when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet will be.
9This calls for a mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.
11The beast that was, and now is not, is an eighth king, who belongs to the other seven and is going into destruction. 12The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but will receive one hour of authority as kings, along with the beast. 13These kings have one purpose: to yield their power and authority to the beast.
14They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and He will be accompanied by His called and chosen and faithful ones.
15Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute was seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.”
Setting aside scriptures that teach Satan gives this beast power, what is its source of power that people can see? Look at verses 12 and 13; the source is the power and authority of 10 kings. The number 10 in scripture does not always have a literal meaning. Sometimes it stands for the total number of something. So either literally ten governments or a complete representation of the earth’s governments will give this beast its power. Verse 11 says the beast is an eighth king that belongs to seven other kings. Who are the other seven? Look at verse 10. “There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.” Here John speaks of kings that dominate his area of the world in different ages. That’s why this beasts looks like a conglomerate of the beasts Daniel described, while Daniel was describing governments that dominated that part of the world in different eras. Read Daniel chapter 7.
The title king does not necessarily mean a single person, but a governmental institution. For instance, one of the kings this beast will spring from is ancient Greece. Verse 11 reads, “The beast that was, and now is not, is an eighth king, who belongs to the other seven.” While included as one of the kings of verse 10, the ancient Grecian government consisted of city states, each with their separate governing arrangements. So like ancient Greece, described as a king in verse 10, this eighth king which is the beast under consideration is not necessarily an individual. And that is one of the biggest mistakes most Christian teachers teach about this beast. Most of them claim he is some single individual and a special antichrist that gains control over the whole world. That might or might not be. But if it’s not, can you see how those believers might not even identify this beast, once it is given authority by those other kings?
Jehovah’s Witnesses teach this beast represents the United Nations. Ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses that comment and write articles online are still upset about the fact that for ten years Watchtower was a non-governmental organization member inside the United Nations. Their involvement was to help fight for religious freedom alongside other religious NGO groups. And I see nothing wrong with that. So are these ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses still buying into the Watchtower teaching about this beast, or is it they just despise its hypocritical involvement? I don’t know. But for illustration purposes let’s assume the first. If they believe the United Nations is this beast, but it turns out not to be the beast, won’t that belief make it difficult for them to spot the beast once he arrives, because of their preconceived notion? And why does that matter? Let’s go to Revelation chapter 13.
“1Then I saw a beast with ten horns and seven heads rising out of the sea. There were ten royal crowns on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2The beast I saw was like a leopard, with the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.
3One of the heads of the beast appeared to be mortally wounded. But the mortal wound was healed, and the whole world marveled and followed the beast. 4They worshiped the dragon who had given authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can wage war against it?”
5The beast was given a mouth to speak arrogant and blasphemous words, and authority to act for 42 months. 6And the beast opened its mouth to speak blasphemies against God and to slander His name and His tabernacle—those who dwell in heaven.
7Then the beast was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them, and it was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. 8And all who dwell on the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written from the foundation of the world in the Book of Life belonging to the Lamb who was slain.
9He who has an ear, let him hear:
10“If anyone is destined for captivity,
into captivity he will go;
if anyone is to die by the sword,
by the sword he must be killed.”b
Here is a call for the perseverance and faith of the saints.
11Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. This beast had two horns like a lamb, but spoke like a dragon. 12And this beast exercised all the authority of the first beast and caused the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed.
13And the second beast performed great signs to cause even fire from heaven to come down to earth in the presence of the people. 14Because of the signs it was given to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived those who dwell on the earth, telling them to make an image to the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet had lived. 15The second beast was permitted to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship it to be killed.
16And the second beast required all people small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, 17so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark—the name of the beast or the number of its name.
18Here is a call for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and that number is 666”
Since this beast hyperbolically will have everyone in the world following him while he blasphemes against God, it becomes critical that Christians living then can recognize what’s actually happening. It is obvious most of those following won’t realize who they are actually following.
The whole of Revelation is figurative. For instance the number 666 in verse 18 stands for something. It is not a literal number. So if Christians are waiting around thinking they will see, or get assigned, a number to follow this beast, they might start following it without realizing what they are doing. And that is the danger of false teachers. False teachers lead Christians to accept their teachings, as absolute truths, leading Christians after themselves.
And Christ warns, “Leave them; they are blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matthew 15:14