What does the beast in Revelation 14 represent? There is a beast of the earth and a beast of the sea and the beast that is the anti-Christ. Which is it?
Revelation 13:11-17 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.
From the book of Daniel we understand that beasts are used to represent political powers or kingdoms.
Daniel 7:3-7 And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5 And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ 6 After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
The explanation is given:
Daniel 17-23 Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings (i.e. kingdoms) which arise out of the earth. 18 ‘But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.’ 19 Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet; 20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows. 21 I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom. 23 Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast shall be A fourth kingdom on earth, Which shall be different from all other kingdoms, And shall devour the whole earth, Trample it and break it in pieces.
We understand that the beasts represent 4 kingdoms that in turn subjugate Israel.
In Revelation we first encounter a dragon (Greek drakon – a serpent) with seven crowned heads and ten horns, then a beast composed of parts from Daniel’s four beasts with seven heads and ten crowned horns. These we understand to represent Rome, firstly in its pagan form (a dragon) then in its apostate Christian form. The heads are consecutive forms of government and the horns co-exist as separate kingdoms arising out of the Roman Empire.
When John sees the beast he is told that five heads have been and gone, the sixth head is in power in John’s day and the seventh is yet to come and will continue for a short time.
Revelation 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
This describes the fall of the Roman Empire and its breakup into separate kingdoms.
Next we are introduced to a two-horned beast which comes on the scene as the Roman Empire fails.
Revelation 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
This represents the rise of Papal Rome in the guise of a ‘Christian’ lamb but which takes upon itself the trappings of the pagan priesthood.
Papal Rome allies itself with the Franks – Pepin and then Charlemagne – to become a two-horned political power. Together they constructed an ‘image’ of the ten horned beast. This became known as the ‘Holy Roman Empire’ which lasted for 1000 years. It constisted of the kingdoms of western Europe who recognised the Papacy as their spiritual head. ‘Christianity’ was enforced by secular laws.
This was the time when men received the ‘mark’ in their right hand (consenting to do as the Church required) and in their forehead (consenting to believe what the Church taught). Without this, they were not allowed to buy or sell – to listen to the true gospel being preached or to preach the true gospel, or being able buy and sell in markets. All was governed by subservience to the apostate Church.
The ‘man of sin’ described by Paul to the Thessalonians is an apt description of the Papacy, arising from a ‘falling away’ from the true Gospel.
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
The Temple of God is not a building. The Temple building was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans and will not be rebuilt (as described in Ezekiel 41-42) until Christ returns. The Temple, that the man of sin (not one man but a succession of men) sits in, is a description of a body of believers (howbeit believers in his false version of Christianity).
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God...
We are not waiting for the anti-christ to arrive. John tells us that antichrists were already at work in his day.
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
The most powerful antichrist – the Papacy - has been with us for centuries persecuting those who understand the truth. The Roman Church is described as ‘Babylon the great’, the ‘Mother of Harlots’ in Revelation 17. She reigned over the kings of Western Europe during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The Holy Roman Empire ceased to be a political power in 1806.
The Beast no longer exists, but it is to arise again.
Revelation 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
The bottomless pit represents a state of non-existence. Whilst it is ‘in there’ it ‘is not’. When it ‘ascends out of the bottomless pit’ it comes into being again. The beast will be brought into being by the ‘ten kings’ of Western Europe. This is the aim of the EU – a confederation of states under a single government with its own army – nominally Christian – hence the strong Papal support. This will take place prior to Christ’s return.
Revelation 17:12,13 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
As a confederated kingdom their army will be drawn to Armageddon.
Revelation 16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
I hope you find this helpful.