There are three 7-headed, 10-horned beasts mentioned in the book of Revelation (Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:3). Additionally, the 7th chapter of Daniel speaks of four beasts rising up from the ocean. Are these beasts all the same, or are they different? Is it possible for us to identify who or what these beasts represent? In this article, we are going to examine these beasts and attempt to identify them in order to better understand end-time prophecies.
Let's start by looking at the 7-headed, 10-horned dragon spoken of in Revelation 12:
REVELATION 12:3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4 His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (NIV)
This great red dragon with 7 heads, 10 horns and 7 crowns is plainly identified in this passage as Satan, the devil (v. 9). The reference to "his angels" clearly is speaking of the fallen angels who followed his example of disobedience. Notice that this 7-headed representation of Satan has 7 crowns on its heads. The significance of this will become more evident as we progress in our study.
Now let's look at the beast in Revelation 17 to see if it also symbolizes Satan, or if it represents someone or something else:
REVELATION 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality." 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. 7 And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not [ouk estin], and is about to come up out of the Abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. (NASU)
In Revelation 17:8, the angel tells John that the "beast" he saw "WAS and IS NOT and WILL COME." The language used by the angel definitely implies a time element. Most scholars date this prophecy recorded by John to approximately the year 95 CE. The angel clearly tells John that, at that point in time, the beast "is not." The Greek phrase ouk estin is in the PRESENT tense. Yet the angel says that the beast "was" in the past, and he also says that the beast "will come up out of the Abyss" in the future. What does this mysterious statement mean?
First, let's see what this statement does NOT mean. Many Bible scholars and commentators teach that this beast represents a revival of the Roman empire and that the great harlot is the Roman Catholic Church. However, the time element shown here doesn't fit with this identification. At the time John received the vision, Rome was still the dominant power in the world. The angel could not have truthfully said Rome "is not" at the time this prophecy was given.
So who is this beast? To interpret this symbol correctly, it's first vital that we understand the identity of the one who comes "up out of the Abyss." Only when this is comprehended can the prophecy be correctly interpreted. Therefore, we have to start by determining what the Abyss is.
A passage from Luke helps set the context for the understanding the Abyss:
LUKE 8:26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when he stepped out on the land, there met him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!" 29 For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. 30 Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged him that he would not command them to go out into the Abyss. 32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged him that he would permit them to enter them. And he permitted them. 33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. (NKJV)
Here we see that the demons possessing this man were terrified of being confined to the Abyss. As other Scriptures indicate, the Abyss is a spiritual prison where some fallen angels and demons are currently being restrained.
The Bible teaches that there are at least two different groups of fallen angels and demons:
(1) Those who can move around freely, and
(2) those who are now locked up in "chains of darkness."
Several passages of Scripture speak of the Abyss and those spirit beings currently locked up there:
JUDE 6 And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day. (NRSV)
II PETER 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but condemned them to the chains of Tartarus and handed them over to be kept for judgment; (NAB)
I PETER 3:19 . . . He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (NKJV)
At the sounding of the 5th trumpet, this prison will be opened and the evil spirit inmates chained there freed:
REVELATION 9:1 Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from heaven onto the earth, and the angel was given the key to the shaft leading down to the Abyss. 2 When he unlocked the shaft of the Abyss, smoke rose out of the Abyss like the smoke from a huge furnace so that the sun and the sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss, 3 and out of the smoke dropped locusts onto the earth: they were given the powers that scorpions have on the earth: 4 they were forbidden to harm any fields or crops or trees and told to attack only those people who were without God's seal on their foreheads. 5 They were not to kill them, but to give them anguish for five months, and the anguish was to be the anguish of a scorpion's sting. 6 When this happens, people will long for death and not find it anywhere; they will want to die and death will evade them. 7 These locusts looked like horses armoured for battle; they had what looked like gold crowns on their heads, and their faces looked human, 8 and their hair was like women's hair, and teeth like lion's teeth. 9 They had body-armour like iron breastplates, and the noise of their wings sounded like the racket of chariots with many horses charging. 10 Their tails were like scorpions' tails, with stings, and with their tails they were able to torture people for five months. (NJB)
The king or ruler over these released evil spirits is known as Abaddon/Apollyon (Rev. 9:11); both these names mean "Destroyer." For additional information on this powerful angel and his activities in the end-time, see my article "Who Is The 'Destroyer'?."
This takes us back to Revelation 17:8 once more:
REVELATION 17:8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. (NIV)
Abaddon, the angelic king, "was" free on the earth at some time in the past. Yet because of his wickedness and sins, God saw that it was necessary to imprison him in the Abyss. At the time John received his vision, Abaddon "was not" because he was locked in the Abyss. However, as the angel makes clear, this "beast" will one day soon be freed from his confinement and "will come up out of the Abyss."
Why is Abaddon described as having the same form as Satan (7 heads, 10 horns)? Remember, Satan is the great deceiver (Rev. 12:9), a master counterfeiter. In the end time, he and his chosen one (Abaddon, commonly known as the Antichrist) will seek to replace God the Father and His Son, Yeshua. Just as Yeshua told his disciples that "he who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9), the one who sees the Antichrist will have, in effect, seen his spiritual father, Satan the devil.
Now let's go back to the passage in Revelation 17 for an interpretation of what the 7 heads represent:
REVELATION 17:9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. (NASU)
In the Bible, a mountain figuratively represents a kingdom or the ruler of that kingdom. The 7 mountains and the 7 kings referred to in Revelation 17:9-10 are one and the same. This beast is in the same form as Satan; the heads represent earthly kingdoms that Satan has (or will) rule over.
At the time John was receiving this vision (c. 95 CE), the angel tells him that 5 of the kingdoms represented by the heads of the beast had fallen, one head currently existed, and the other had not yet appeared. The angel is giving John (and us) a time sensitive clue. Five of the symbolic heads of the beast had already lost the power they once possessed. Those 5 were:
(4) Medo-Persia, and
Rome was the 6th kingdom, the one in power at the time the Apocalypse was written. Therefore, there remains only one more kingdom, the 7th, left to come.
The beast which arises from the Abyss is said to actually be the 8th, but he's of the 7 already mentioned. We will analyze the meaning of this mysterious statement in detail a little later when we examine Daniel 7.
The dream recorded in Daniel 2 which was given by the Eternal to Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar helps us to put the pieces of this puzzle together. This dream deals with the last five of the seven heads of the beast:
DANIEL 2:28 "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart. 31 You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 "This image's 1head was of fine gold, its 2chest and arms of silver, its 3belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its 4legs of iron, its 5feet partly of iron and partly of clay." (NKJV)
If we look at this description objectively, it's clear that we have 5 kingdoms described here, not the 4 usually identified by Bible scholars. Plainly the feet composed of an iron/clay mixture represent a different kingdom than the one symbolized by the legs of iron.
DANIEL 2:34 "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. 36 This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king." (NKJV)
Who or what does this "stone cut out without hands" represent? Clearly this is symbolic of the Messiah and his inauguration of the Kingdom of God at his second coming. Notice that the stone strikes the statue on its feet. This obviously indicates that the kingdom represented by the feet of this image will exist at the end of this age when Yeshua returns to the earth.
The prophets Isaiah (Isa. 2:2-4) and Micah (Mic. 4:1-4) both speak of the time when this stone will become a great mountain and fill the entire earth:
MICAH 4:1 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. 2 Many nations shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. 4 But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken. (NKJV)
Now let's begin to identify the 5 kingdoms represented by the different parts of the image:
DANIEL 2:37 "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all you are this head of gold." (NKJV)
We are clearly told that the head of gold on this statue is Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Remember, a king represents his kingdom in the Bible. What does the total image represent? Because we are given the starting point (Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian empire) and the ending point (the commingled empire represented by the feet and toes which is defeated by Messiah at his return), we can deduce that this image represents 5 of the 7 heads that John saw on the beast of Revelation 17. The 1st and 2nd satanic kingdoms (Egypt and Assyria) had already fallen at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Therefore, they were excluded from the image.
DANIEL 2:39 "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth." (NKJV)
Just as Daniel foretold, Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon was followed by the Medo-Persian empire. The Medo-Persian empire was conquered by Alexander the Great's Greek empire, which at its peak stretched from India to Europe.
DANIEL 2:40 "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others." (NKJV)
Although it had been around for several centuries, the Roman empire rose to prominence and great power on the world scene in the 1st century BCE. With their compelling military might, Rome crushed the remnants of the other kingdoms that had come before them. Just as the image had two iron legs, the Roman empire in its latter days was divided into the Eastern empire based out of Constantinople and the Western empire headquartered in Rome.
DANIEL 2:41 "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay." (NKJV)
This 5th kingdom, although composed partly of iron, is not part of the Roman empire any more than the Roman empire before it was part of the Greek empire. These kingdoms are grouped together because they are all earthly kingdoms that Satan has been (or will be) allowed to rule. This final, end-time empire will be a mixture of spirit beings (iron) and human (clay). This is the meaning of the mysterious statement "they will mingle with the seed of men" found in Daniel 2:43. At the end of this age, Revelation 9 shows that the sons of God (fallen angels) and their hybrid offspring will once again roam free on the earth, just as they did before the Flood.
The one overriding principle about the Bible is that it was written about and for the people of God. Daniel's interpretation helps us to correctly identify the kingdoms represented by the seven heads of the beast in Revelation 17. We can know that the kingdoms listed above are correct, because each of those seven has or will exercise authority and rule over God's chosen people Israel. That's the common denominator that ties these seven satanic human empires together and makes them representative of all the kingdoms of this world ruled by Satan.
DANIEL 2:44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the 1iron, the 2bronze, the 3clay, the 4silver, and the 5gold the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." (NKJV)
Once again, we see that 5 are indicated here, not the 4 normally identified. In verse 44, the phrase "in the days of these kings" refers to the ten kings represented by the toes of the statue. We know from Daniel 7:24 and Revelation 17:12 that these ten kings appear in the end-time and give their power to the Antichrist. This identifies the time period of the kingdom represented by the feet or iron and clay. The Messiah will destroy this entire satanic system, which has ruled the earth since the fall in the Garden, at his coming.
Now let's go back to Revelation 17 for confirmation of what we've just reviewed:
REVELATION 17:12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." 15 And he said to me, "The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth." (NASU)
Plainly we are told that the woman riding the beast represents the great city which rules over the kings of the earth. In Scripture, two spiritual cities are discussed:
(1) Jerusalem above (Gal. 4:26), and
(2) Babylon the Great.
This woman, a harlot because of her spiritual adulteries, represents Satan's entire religious-economic system, called "Babylon the Great." It is patterned after the Babel founded by the antetype of the Antichrist, Nimrod. It is called "Babylon the Great" because it is the culmination of the global government which was first attempted under Nimrod at the Tower of Babel. This system is supported and promoted by the earthly kingdoms Satan has been allowed to rule, represented by the beast with 7 heads.
Now let's look at the 3rd 7-headed, 10-horned beast mentioned in Revelation:
REVELATION 13:1 . . . And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (NIV)
This beast is said to come up out of the sea. In Scripture, the sea often symbolically represents the nations of the world. However, the sea can also represent the Abyss. In Jewish thought, the Abyss was associated with the ocean depths. Speaking of the Septuagint, which was the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures in use at the time of Christ, The New Unger's Bible Dictionary says: "The LXX renders Heb. tehom, 'the primeval ocean' (Gen. 1:2; Ps. 24:2; etc.) as 'abyss.'" (Abyss, p. 18). So while this aspect of the vision represents the rise of the beast from among the nations, it is likely dual in that it also represents the rise of Abaddon from the depths of the Abyss after his release at the 5th trumpet.
Verse 1 also tells us that each of the 10 horns has a crown, representing rulership and authority. In verse 2, we see that this beast has parts from a leopard, a bear, and a lion. This seems to tie the identification of the beast here with the 4 beasts Daniel saw in his vision recorded in Daniel 7. Let's now examine that prophecy in more detail, for it will help enlighten us on the meaning of Revelation 13.
DANIEL 7:1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, and told the sum of the matter. 2 Daniel said, "I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles' wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand upon two feet like a man; and the mind of a man was given to it. 5 And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side; it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, 'Arise, devour much flesh.' 6 After this I looked, and lo, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back; and the beast had four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrible and dreadful and exceedingly strong; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. (RSV)
Here we have the 4 beasts Daniel saw in his vision described. The 1st beast is a composite of two animals, a lion and an eagle. The 2nd beast was a bear, the 3rd a four-headed leopard, and the 4th an unnamed, terrifying beast with 10 horns. Most biblical scholars teach that these 4 beasts are the same 4 kingdoms identified in Daniel 2 (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome). The 4 beasts of Daniel 7 do correspond to these kingdoms in a way sometimes seen in the Scriptures, but they are not the same.
In this vision, Daniel sees the 4 beasts rise up from the sea, which symbolically shows that these kingdoms would arise to world power from among the nations of the world. However, Babylon had already risen up from the "sea" many years before "the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon" (Dan. 7:1). Indeed, the Babylonian empire only had a few years of existence left when Daniel received this vision. While Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome were certainly types of the 4 symbolic beasts, logically we must look elsewhere for the final fulfillment of this prophecy.
Before we identify the earthly kingdoms represented by the 4 beasts of Daniel 7, we need to understand the governing premise behind this matter. King Solomon gives us the guiding principle in the beginning of the book of Ecclesiastes:
ECCLESIASTES 1:9 That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. (NKJV)
Remember, as noted earlier, the Bible was written for and about God's people. With this principle and Solomon's admonition directing our understanding, the specific identification of these beasts becomes more certain.
Let's look at the first 4 kingdoms represented in Daniel 2 and establish the pattern presented there. The kingdoms started with Babylon and ran consecutively to Rome. When we look at the situation of the House of Judah at the beginning and end of the period when these 4 kingdoms ruled over the Holy Land compared to the situation of Judah during the reign of the 4 beasts of Daniel 7, a fascinating "mirror image" of events becomes evident.
Judah was an independent nation when Babylon (the head of gold) rose to power. Although the fortunes of the Jews changed several times during the intervening centuries, by the time Rome (the legs of iron) fell, the Jews had been scattered throughout the world by the Romans in what came to be known as "the Diaspora." Each of the 4 kingdoms of Daniel 2 (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome) played a large part (both negative and positive) in what happened to the Jews during this time period.
As we examine the identity of the 4 beasts of Daniel 7, you'll see how this pattern of events is reversed during the time of these 4 kingdoms at the end of the age of mankind. When the 1st beast rises up, Judah is still scattered in the Diaspora. After the 4th beast has arisen, Judah once again becomes an independent nation. By relating the beasts to the animals representing them and end-time events affecting Judah, we can identify who these entities represent.
The 1st beast, like a lion with the wings of an eagle, represents Great Britain and her offspring, the United States. The lion has long been the national symbol of Great Britain, and the eagle is the national symbol of the USA. The plucking of the eagle's wings from this beast represents the separation of the American colonies from Great Britain in 1776. With that event, the character of the British empire was changed, as the prophecy shows. Along with the eagle's wings, it lost the heart of a lion, and that heart was replaced by the heart of a man. No longer did Great Britain inspire terror in the world, as the brute power of a lion does. Instead, it used human cunning to hold onto power and territory. Since then, Britain has gradually lost its colonies and its might.
Being the 1st beast mentioned, Great Britain begins the story of the rebirth of the modern nation of Judah called "Israel." It was Great Britain that initiated the return of Jews to the Holy Land through the issuance of the Balfour Declaration in November 1917. This declaration, from British Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Lord Rothschild, head of the Zionist Federation in Great Britain, was written to show Rothschild that the British government supported the objective of a homeland for the Jews in the Holy Land. The British hoped to realize further Jewish support for the Allies in WWI. The Balfour Declaration became the cornerstone of international support for the founding of the modern state of Israel.
Five short weeks after the Balfour Declaration was published, British General Allenby captured Jerusalem from the Axis Turkish forces defending it. By December 9, 1917, the Turkish army had fled the city. On December 11, General Allenby entered Jerusalem on foot through the Jaffa Gate.
The bear is the national symbol of Russia. This 2nd beast that rises up has three ribs in its mouth, and these ribs tell the bear to "arise and devour much flesh" (Dan. 7:5). In Hebrew, the word for "rib" literally means "side" and can be used to refer to that which supports something. In Russia, the Marxist doctrines of the founders of modern communism, Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, and Vladimir Lenin have supported the aims and actions of Russia. All of these men promoted the worldwide spread of communist rule through force or violence. In their Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote: "The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win" ("Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties"). Hence the ribs' announcement to "devour much flesh." This Russia has done; since its founding in 1917, communist Russia has been responsible for tens of millions of deaths, many of them her own people.
Russia's part in the rebirth of Judah is much more negative than Britain's, but just as effective. Several pogroms (mob attacks condoned or encouraged by the czarist Russian authorities) had taken place against the Jews in Russia in the decades before the 1917 revolution, forcing about 2 million Jews to flee to the United States and Europe. Because of the oppressiveness of the czarist forces, most Russian Jews supported the Bolshevik revolutionaries.
However, both the Bolshevik Red Army and the counter-revolutionary White Army were guilty of mistreating and massacring Jews after the start of the revolution. After the victory of the communist forces, the Soviet regime came to regard assimilation and consolidation as the only solution to Russia's Jewish problem. In the face of Zionist calls for a Jewish homeland, Lenin declared that "there is no basis for a separate Jewish nation," and regarding a "national Jewish culture - the slogan of the rabbis and the bourgeoisie - this is the slogan of our enemies."
The Soviet government caused the financial ruin of most Russian Jews through the termination of private commerce and the seizure of property and goods. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish families lost their means of making a living. These policies caused about 300,000 Jews to leave the Soviet-controlled territories for the Baltic states, Poland, and Rumania.
Russia's new atheistic communist government also waged a fierce battle against Russian Judaism and its leaders. Heavy taxes were imposed on the rabbis and other religious officials to try and force them to leave their positions. A campaign was also initiated against the Hebrew language. The study of Hebrew was prohibited, and books could not be published in the language. These actions continued through World War II and were the motivation for many religious Jews to flee to the Holy Land after the War.
The 3rd beast, the leopard with four heads and four bird's wings on its back, is somewhat more difficult to identify. However, the characteristics of the leopard help us to recognize the entity it represents in this prophecy. Leopards are known for their swift and lethal attack. In a mechanical emulation of the fleet assault of a leopard, Adolf Hitler's Germany waged blitzkrieg ("lightning war") against its enemies using Panzer forces during World War II. These cat-quick attacks disorganized enemy forces through the use of speed, surprise, and superior firepower and led to the Third Reich's conquest of mainland Europe during the early years of the war.
Interestingly, another name for the leopard is "panther." The big cats - the lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar, and others - belong to the genus Panthera. Not coincidentally, the Germans have long displayed an affinity for the big cats. In fact, Germany's two main Panzer battle tanks in WWII were named the Tiger and the Panther. Now the Leopard tank is the backbone of Germany's armored forces.
While the symbolism of the wings is far from certain, we can draw a clue from the pair of eagle's wings on the first beast. Just as that pair of wings represented a nation (the United States), so also the two pairs of wings on the back of the leopard could represent the Axis nations which aligned themselves with Germany in WWII (Italy and Japan).
The four heads of the leopard represent the division of Germany into four regions after its defeat in WWII. The eastern half was controlled by Russia, while the western half was split between Great Britain, the United States, and France. Later these western sections were joined into what became West Germany.
History confirms that Hitler's Third Reich provided a great impetus for the formation of an independent Jewish nation. The death of approximately six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust, while tragic beyond words, was not in vain. Once WWII ended and the scope of the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews was grasped, there was much international sympathy for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in the land commonly known as "Palestine."
The 4th beast takes us to the point of the rebirth of the Jewish nation. This beast reverses the cycle originated at the time of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon. The 4th beast seen by Daniel, which appeared to be horrible, strong, and unlike any of the others, has to represent the entity which played the greatest role in the formation of modern Israel. This 4th beast represents the fledgling global government of the United Nations.
The following historical information comes from the United Nation's web site:
The name "United Nations" was devised by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was first used in the "Declaration by United Nations" of 1 January 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of 26 nations pledged their Governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers.
The United Nations Charter was drawn up by the representatives of 50 countries at the United Nations Conference on International Organization, which met at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. Those delegates deliberated on the basis of proposals worked out by the representatives of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States at Dumbarton Oaks in August-October 1944. The Charter was signed on 26 June 1945 by the representatives of the 50 countries. Poland, which was not represented at the Conference, signed it later and became one of the original 51 Member States.
The United Nations officially came into existence on 24 October 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signatories. United Nations Day is celebrated on 24 October each year. (History of the UN)
From the very beginning, the United Nations has had a great interest in the Holy Land, particularly Jerusalem. General Assembly Resolution 181, issued by the United Nations on November 29, 1947, outlined the formation of Jewish and Arab states in Palestine. Additionally, it called for Jerusalem to become an international city under the control of the UN:
The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations. The Trusteeship Council shall be designated to discharge the responsibilities of the Administering Authority on behalf of the United Nations. (A/RES/181(II) (A+B), Part III-City of Jerusalem, Section A-Special Regime)
The Jews accepted the UN partition of Palestine, eager to have a homeland of their own. However, the Palestinian Arabs rejected the planned division of the land; with the help of the surrounding Arab nations, the Palestinians sought to destroy the Jews and the hope of a Zionist state.
This Jewish/Arab conflict led to the declaration of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948, and the ensuing Jewish war for independence. Despite overwhelming odds, the Jews were able to defeat the superior forces of the invading Arab nations through the intervention of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Due to the Jewish victory over the Arabs, the resulting Jewish state ended up being larger than that planned by the UN.
From the beginning of the Jewish state, the United Nations as a whole has displayed an antagonistic attitude toward Israel. Israel became a member of the UN on May 11, 1949; however, Israel is the only member-state in the UN that has been prevented from belonging to a regional group. For this reason, Israel cannot be elected as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. This situation has also prevented Israel from participating in much of the standard work of the UN. Israel cannot vote for or be elected to many of the UN's central organizations. This condition violates Article 2 of the UN Charter, which outlines the principle of the "sovereign equality of all Member states."
Following the Six-Day War of June 1967, the Middle East situation was discussed by the UN General Assembly, which directed the issue to the Security Council. After lengthy discussion, a final draft for a Security Council resolution was introduced by the British Ambassador, Lord Caradon, on November 22, 1967; it was adopted on the same day.
Resolution 242, as it was known, established provisions and principles which were supposed to lead to a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. One of the provisions in this Resolution indirectly dealt with the city of Jerusalem. The Resolution stated that the acquisition of territory by war was inadmissible; therefore, the UN required withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from the territories it occupied in the conflict. Of course, this included the eastern part of the city of Jerusalem, which had been under Jordanian control.
From that point forward, Resolution 242 became the cornerstone of diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. Despite the fact that Jerusalem had been the ancient capital of Israel, and despite that fact that Israel was not the aggressor in the Six-Day War, the United Nations voted that Israel must return the territory it had taken while defending itself against the Arab invasion.
In the 1973 Yom Kippur War, after Israel had fended off the Syrian attack on the Golan Heights and established a bridgehead on the Egyptian side of the Suez Canal, international efforts to stop the fighting intensified. US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger flew to Moscow on October 20, 1973. Jointly with the Soviet Union, the US submitted a cease-fire resolution to the UN Security Council. The Council met on October 21 at the urging of both the US and the USSR, and by 14 votes to none, adopted Resolution 338.
This Resolution called upon the warring parties to immediately halt all military activities, and to start implementing all parts of Security Council Resolution 242 promptly after the cease-fire. Once again, even though Israel had been the victim of an attack designed to destroy them, the United Nations said they had to return the land they had acquired while defending themselves.
Resolutions 242 and 338 have been the foundation of all UN relations with Israel in the past three decades. Since the Oslo Accord peace talks began in 1993, Israeli leaders have done much to try and appease the Palestinian Arabs and the UN. The Arab people in general, and the Palestinians in particular, continue to assert a claim on Jerusalem. They maintain that the eastern half of the modern city, which includes the old city and the Temple Mount, is theirs. The UN agrees that Jerusalem is not the property of Israel.
On December 1, 1999, the UN General Assembly, by a vote of 139 to 1 (Israel), with 3 abstentions (Swaziland, Uzbekistan and US), held that Israel's imposition of its own laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem is illegal, null and void. Three thousand years of history apparently doesn't carry much weight with the United Nations. It won't be long before the armies of this dreadful beast encircle Jerusalem to enforce its mandates (Luke 21:20-24), just as the Roman army did in the 1st century.
The United Nations, the "terrible" 4th beast of Daniel 7, will soon supplant the governments of the other beasts (the United States, Great Britain, Russia, Germany, and the rest of the world) and will begin to rule the earth in their place. The United Nations reportedly has the world divided into 10 administrative regions. When the United Nations government begins ruling the world after the destruction unleashed by the opening of the 4th seal (Rev. 6:7-8), these areas will be headed by the 10 horns of the beast. These 10 kings (represented by the 10 horns on the 4th beast and the 10 toes on the statue of Daniel 2) will rule over these administrative regions.
DANIEL 7:8 I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots; and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things. (RSV)
The 10 horns we see in this prophecy correspond to the 10 horns we saw earlier in Revelation 13:1 and 17:3; additionally, they are the same as the 10 toes we see on the statue in Daniel 2. From these parallel prophesies, we know that the 10 represent end-time rulers of the "New World Order" which will arise under the framework of the United Nations. The little horn that ascends among them is commonly understood to be the Antichrist. We now know him also as Abaddon/Apollyon, angelic king of the Abyss (Rev. 9:11).
DANIEL 7:9 As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. 10 A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. (RSV)
Here we see a picture of God the Father on His throne in heaven. From what we are told, we can see that judgment is about to take place.
DANIEL 7:11 I looked then because of the sound of the great words which the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. (RSV)
The Antichrist, who was blaspheming the Eternal, is judged worthy of death and is destroyed, along with his kingdom. Interestingly, however, the other beasts which came up out of the sea before him were not totally destroyed. Instead, they had their power taken away from them, but they continued to exist as identifiable entities. Verse 12 clearly tells us that the first 3 beasts, or human kingdoms, will exist after the return of Messiah. Clearly the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece no longer exist and have not existed for many centuries. The first 3 beasts therefore cannot be Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
DANIEL 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (RSV)
Now the vision shows the Eternal giving all the kingdoms of the world to His son, the Messiah.
DANIEL 7:15 "As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious and the visions of my head alarmed me. 16 I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made known to me the interpretation of the things. (RSV)
Daniel didn't understand the vision, so he approached one of the angels standing nearby and asked him to interpret it. The rest of the chapter is the interpretation given by God through the angel:
DANIEL 7:17 'These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, for ever and ever.' (RSV)
Here we are plainly told that these beasts represent 4 human kingdoms that will arise. But the final outcome will be that the kingdoms of the world will be given to Yeshua the Messiah and his co-heirs, the saints.
DANIEL 7:19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrible, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze; and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped the residue with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up and before which three of them fell, the horn which had eyes and a mouth that spoke great things, and which seemed greater than its fellows. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the saints, and prevailed over them, 22 until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints received the kingdom. (RSV)
Daniel was so upset by the 4th of these 4 beasts that he skipped the first 3 and asked the angel to explain it, as well as the 10 horns on its head and the other horn that arose among the 10. This other horn is said to have made war against the saints and defeated them until God the Father pronounced judgment in the favor of the saints.
DANIEL 7:23 "Thus he said: 'As for the fourth beast, there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all the kingdoms, and it shall devour the whole earth, and trample it down, and break it to pieces.' (RSV)
This 4th beast, which is different from the first 3, consumes the whole world through violence.
DANIEL 7:24 'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise, and another shall arise after them; he shall be different from the former ones, and shall put down three kings.' (RSV)
The 10 horns are shown to be 10 kings that arise as a result of the ascendance of this 4th, global ruling kingdom. We are told the "other horn" arises after these 10 kings, and uproots 3 of the kings. It's clear that these 10 kings who rule the earth through the coming global government (the United Nations) will exist simultaneously. Clearly the Antichrist is different from them; whereas they are human rulers, he is an angelic king. He will put down 3 of the rulers of this global kingdom in his bid for power.
DANIEL 7:25 'He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, two times, and half a time.' (RSV)
A "time" in the Bible is generally a year (cf. Dan. 4:16, 23, 25, 32). The Antichrist will blaspheme God and will be given authority over the saints for 3½ years (Rev. 13:5).
DANIEL 7:26 'But the court shall sit in judgment, and his dominion shall be taken away, to be consumed and destroyed to the end. 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.' 28 "Here is the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly alarmed me, and my color changed; but I kept the matter in my mind." (RSV)
In the end, the Antichrist will be defeated, his kingdom destroyed, and the kingdoms of the world given to Yeshua the Messiah and the saints.
Now that we've looked in depth at Daniel 7, let's go back to Revelation 13 and use what we've found to better understand the beast described there.
REVELATION 13:1 Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name(s). 2 The beast I saw was like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear's, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion. To it the dragon gave its own power and throne, along with great authority. (NAB)
We see from Revelation 13:1 that this beast has 7 heads. If we count the total number of heads on the 4 beasts seen by Daniel, they add up to 7 also. Revelation 13:2 describes the 7-headed beast as a composite of the 4 beasts Daniel saw. The beast in Revelation 13 is the 4th beast Daniel saw (the United Nations), viewed by John after it had subdued and absorbed the first 3 beasts. Just as with Daniel's beasts, this one rises from the sea. This kingdom is given power, rulership, and authority by Satan.
If you will notice, the dominant characteristic of this beast is that of the 3rd kingdom Daniel saw, the German nation and its WWII conquerors, the United States, Russia, Britain, and France. It's said to be "like a leopard," and four of the seven heads are the heads of the leopard. Clearly these nations will have a large impact on the shaping of the "New World Order."
REVELATION 13:3 I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed. Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. (NAB)
Notice that one of the heads seemed to have been mortally wounded. Which head was it, and what was this apparently deadly injury that the beast suffered?
The deadly wound will seem to be inflicted on the head of Daniel's 4th beast when the 3 horns (kings) are uprooting by Abaddon, the little horn from Daniel's vision. This global empire, the United Nations, which will ultimately take over the entire world, will in turn be conquered by Abaddon, the king of the Abyss. But instead of totally destroying this satanic organization, Abaddon will appropriate it for himself and use it to rule over the earth. Remember, a king is synonymous with his kingdom in the Bible. That's why both Abaddon and his kingdom are called "the beast." The power of Satan will be granted to this evil angelic king and his kingdom, and his sudden rise to power will amaze and impress the whole world.
REVELATION 13:4 They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast and said, "Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?" (NAB)
The whole world will worship the dragon because of the power he gave to the beast. They will also worship Abaddon himself. Due to Abaddon's demonstrated power in taking control of the United Nations, the world will think nothing or no one can defeat this "Beast."
REVELATION 13:5 The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. 8 All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain. (NAB)
This passage clearly ties the "beast" back to the little horn spoken of in Daniel chapter seven. Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 25 mention the arrogant, blasphemous words spoken by the little horn, and Daniel 7:25 tells us that the little horn is given power over the saints "for a time and times and half a time." This is a year, two years, and a half year, which equals 3½ years, or 42 months.
It is evident that the beast of Revelation 13 is a world-ruling, satanically-inspired government which rises up in the end time. This government, the United Nations, will be dealt an apparently lethal blow by the appearance of Abaddon and the destruction he brings when released from the Abyss. However, this seemingly fatal wound will be healed when Abaddon commandeers the United Nations and begins to rule using its governmental structure.
There are a few other passages of Scripture which are relevant to this topic. Leviathan, a 7-headed beast from the sea, is a type of the beast discussed in several Old Testament Scriptures.
First, to get a little background on Leviathan, let's examine what some biblical scholars have to say about this sea monster. The New Unger's Bible Dictionary states:
Since the discovery of the Ras Shamra religious texts in Syria on the site of ancient Ugarit, it has become evident that there is a parallel between the seven-headed Canaanite monster Lotan of prevailing mythology, 1700-1400 B.C., and the biblical leviathan. Isaiah seems to employ this ancient mythological idea of the destroyed leviathan poetically (Isa. 27:1) to symbolize the Judgment Day when God will triumph over the threatening evil of this world system. (p. 73, "Animal Kingdom")
The Oxford Companion to the Bible records this of Leviathan:
A mythological sea monster who is one of the primeval adversaries of the storm god. In the Ugaritic texts, Baal defeats Lothan (ltn, a linguistic variant of Leviathan), described as a seven-headed serpent, apparently identified with Baal's adversary Prince Sea. . . . In Job 41, Leviathan is described as fully under God's control, a divine pet (vv. 4-5; cf. Ps. 104.26). Many commentators have equated the Leviathan of Job 41 with the crocodile, and some elements of the description seem to fit this identification. But others, like his breathing fire (vv. 19-21), do not . . ." (pp. 433-434, "Leviathan")
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia has this to say about Leviathan:
Lotan (or Litan . . .), the adversary of Baal and Anath in the Ugaritic myths, has long been recognized as the equivalent of OT Leviathan . . . Among the several references to Lotan in the Ugaritic literature . . . is one especially impressive parallel to Isa. 27:1 (UT, 67:I:1-3): "When you smote Lotan the fleeing serpent, you made an end of the twisting serpent, the mighty one of seven heads" (cf. also Ps. 74:14). (p. 109, vol. 3, "Leviathan")
Now that we have a little background on the ancient understanding of Leviathan, let's examine the description of him from the book of Job. We're going to read this Scripture from an English translation of the Septuagint Greek translation of the Tanakh. This Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was widely used at the time of Yeshua.
JOB 40:20 "But wilt thou catch the serpent with a hook, and put a halter about his nose? 21 Or wilt thou fasten a ring in his nostril, and bore his lip with a clasp? 22 Will he address thee with a petition? softly with the voice of a suppliant? 23 And will he make a covenant with thee? and wilt thou take him for a perpetual servant? 24 And wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or bind him as a sparrow for a child? 25 And do the nations feed upon him, and the nations of the Phoenicians share him? 26 And all the ships come together would not be able to bear the mere skin of his tail; neither shall they carry his head in fishing-vessels. 27 But thou shalt lay thy hand upon him once; remembering the war that is waged by his mouth; and let it not be done any more. Hast thou not seen him? and hast thou not wondered of the things said of him? 41:1 Does thou not fear because preparation has been made by me? for who is there who resists me? 2 Or who will resist me, and abide, since the whole world under heaven is mine? 3 I will not be silent because of him: though because of his power one shall pity his antagonist. 4 Who will open the face of his garment? and who can enter within the fold of his breastplate? 5 Who will open the doors of his face? terror is round about his teeth. 6 His inwards are as brazen plates, and the texture of his skin as a smyrite stone. 7 One part cleaves fast to another, and the air cannot come between them. 8 They remain united each to the other: they are closely joined, and cannot be separated. 9 At his sneezing a light shines, and his eyes are as the appearance of the morning star. 10 Out of his mouth proceed as it were burning lamps, and as it were hearths of fire are cast abroad. 11 Out of his nostrils proceeds smoke of a furnace burning with fire of coals. 12 His breath is as live coals, and a flame goes out of his mouth. 13 And power is lodged in his neck, before him destruction runs. 14 The flesh also of his body is joined together: if one pours violence upon him, he shall not be moved. 15 His heart is firm as a stone, and it stands like an unyielding anvil. 16 And when he turns, he is a terror to the four-footed wild beasts which leap upon the earth. 17 If spears should come against him, men will effect nothing, either with the spear or the breast-plate. 18 For he considers iron as chaff, and brass as rotten wood. 19 The bow of brass shall not wound him, he deems a slinger as grass. 20 Mauls are counted as stubble; and he laughs to scorn the waving of the firebrand. 21 His lair is formed of sharp points; and all the gold of the sea under him is as an immense quantity of clay. 22 He makes the deep [abusson, "Abyss"] boil like a brazen cauldron; and he regards the sea as a pot of ointment, 23 and the lowest part of the deep [abussou, "Abyss"] as a captive: he reckons the deep [abusson, "Abyss"] as his range. 24 There is nothing upon the earth like to him, formed to be sported with [marginal rendering "mocked"] by my angels. 25 He beholds every high thing: and he is king of all that are in the waters." (Brenton's LXX)
The Hebrew Masoretic text renders the final verse above in this way:
JOB 41:34 He beholds everything that is high; he is king over all the sons of pride." (RSV)
Clearly this beast is not simply a crocodile. Because of the identification of this creature with the Abyss, and his title as king of "all the sons of pride," we can determine who Leviathan represents. He is no other than Abaddon/Apollyon, the angelic king who will rise from the Abyss at the sounding of the 5h trumpet. A couple of other passages speak of him also:
PSALM 74:12 Yet God is my king from of old, who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth. 13 You divided the sea by Your strength; You broke the heads of the sea monsters in the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; You gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness. 15 You broke open springs and torrents; You dried up ever-flowing streams. 16 Yours is the day, Yours also is the night; You have prepared the light and the sun. 17 You have established all the boundaries of the earth; You have made summer and winter. (NASU)
The Oxford Companion to the Bible says of this passage:
In the Bible Leviathan is also identified with the Sea (Job 3.8) and has many heads (Ps. 74.14), and his defeat by God is a prelude to creation (Ps. 74.15-17). According to apocalyptic literature, that battle will be rejoined in the end time when the evil Leviathan will be finally defeated (Isa. 27.1; Rev. 12.3; 17.1-14; 19.20; 21.1), and, according to later tradition, given along with Behemoth as food to the elect (2 Esd. 6.49-52), another recalling of creation (Ps. 74.14). . . . (pp. 433-434, "Leviathan")
Let's look at one last passage about Leviathan in Isaiah, which definitely places him in an end-time context:
ISAIAH 26:21 See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer. 27:1 In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea. (NIV)
Regarding this passage about Leviathan, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary states:
Isa. 27:1 looks forward to the subjection of Leviathan, a figure for the future day when Yahweh will end the chaos of this present age (cf. 2 Bar[uch] 29:4, where Behemoth and Leviathan are to be destroyed after they have been temporarily released.)" (p. 652, "Leviathan")
As Revelation 19:20 shows, the beast (Abaddon/Apollyon/Leviathan) will be cast into the lake of fire only short time after his release from the Abyss. His armies will suffer defeat at the hands of the returning Messiah and the host of angels accompanying him:
REVELATION 19:20 And the beast [Abaddon] was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (NASU)
As this study has shown, we are rapidly approaching the fulfillment of many of the end-time prophecies of the Bible. In Revelation, we see several 7-headed, 10-horned beasts pictured. One of them, a great red dragon, is clearly identified as Satan the devil (Rev. 12). The other "beast" pictured is an end-time, world-ruling empire that is eventually ruled by Abaddon the Antichrist (Rev. 13, 17). His father, Satan, will give him great power and authority. The formation of this world-ruling empire is documented in the 7th chapter of Daniel. While some of the end-time prophecies of Daniel remain sealed, the Eternal is opening the eyes of the wise to see what is to soon come upon an unsuspecting world. May He have mercy upon us and help us to prepare spiritually for the tribulation that lies just ahead.
Bryan T. Huie
May 30, 1999