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The Beast And The Antichrist

The seven heads of the beast, described in Revelation (Rev. 13:1-10; 17:8-18), are a key attribute in understanding the meaning of the beast itself and the identity of the Antichrist. The beast personified, is Satan's attempt to control history through world powers and to undermine God's plan of redemption. [Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. Click here to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.]

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 "And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction" (Revelation 17 NASB).

Clearly, the seven heads represent seven kings or kingdoms. "Mountains" is a term that can often symbolically represent kingdoms (Is. 2:2, 3; Jere. 51:25; Dan. 2:35, 45; et al). During John's vision one empire reigned. It was Rome. Five had previously existed: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media-Persia and Greece. This totals six. The seventh empire, which is still future, consists of ten powers ("horns") or nations. Each of these ten nations will have its own king ("crowns") that will give their allegiance to the Antichrist. It is erroneous to suggest that the Antichrist's kingdom sits on seven hills. These are mountains, representing kingdoms throughout history, and not merely hills where the woman or harlot (religious Babylon) sits.

Now the "beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven..." (v. 11). In other words, the kingdom of the Antichrist existed once before, but not during John's time ("is not"). The Antichrist is the eighth "king" that comes out of one of the seven "kingdoms." Since it's not the Roman, which existed during John's time, nor likely the last (seventh), yet future kingdom of ten nations, then it has to be one of the first five kingdoms that is revived and is also the nation from which the Antichrist (king) comes forth when released from the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). The book of Daniel has more to say about this nation from which the Antichrist comes forth.

The four "great beasts" of Daniel chapter seven (a parallel to the "great statue" of chapter two) chronologically represent four great empires in history, beginning with the Babylonian empire during Daniel's time, followed by the Median-Persian, then the Greek and finally the Roman. The forth, "exceedingly dreadful" great beast, the Roman empire, has ten horns (v. 7). These ten horns represent ten confederate "powers" or nations. This ten nation world empire, also seen described in Revelation, will come out of the ruins of the ancient Roman empire. Then "...another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings" (v. 24; cf., v. 8). This other one (horn), the Antichrist, who will come to power after the consolidation of the ten nation empire, will take control of the ten nation empire by subduing three of them. But which nation will he, the Antichist himself, come from? Daniel, chapter eight, reveals this mystery. But first, a hint while we're still in chapter seven: "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time" (Daniel 7:12 NASB). Interestingly, these kingdoms will again play a role at "an appointed period of time" in the future.

Daniel chapter eight begins by describing the ram with two horns and the male goat with a large horn. The ram with its two horns represent the Median-Persian empire. The Greek empire, represented by the shaggy, male goat, conquers the Median-Persian empire. The large horn (vs. 5, 21) of the male goat represents Alexander the Great who dies early in his life shortly after obtaining greatness. His kingdom is succeeded by four of his generals represented by the four horns that came up in its place (vs. 8, 22). A small horn then came out of one of the four horns (v. 9). This small horn is understood to be Antiochus Epiphanes (or Antiochus IV), a king of the Assyrian portion of the Grecian empire (v. 23). Yet interestingly, the rest of the description of his character in chapter eight quickly merges into describing the Antichrist himself!

10 "And it (horn) grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.
11 It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down.
12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper" (Daniel 8 NASB).

And again:

23 "And in the latter period of their rule, When the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise Insolent and skilled in intrigue.
24 "And his power will be mighty, but not by his own power, And he will destroy to an extraordinary degree And prosper and perform his will; He will destroy mighty men and the holy people.
25 "And through his shrewdness He will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; And he will magnify himself in his heart, And he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency" (Daniel 8 NASB).

This same example can be seen in chapter eleven of Daniel. Verses 21-35 are said to describe the events involving Antiochus Epiphanes while verses 36-45 clearly are the events describing the Antichrist in the last days! So what is the meaning of this sudden transformation from first describing the events with Antiochus Epiphanes then immediately changing to the events with the Antichrist?

Only one conclusion can be arrived at to resolve this mystery. Antiochous Epiphanes is an archetype of the future Antichrist and therefore the Antichrist must come out of the nation of Assyria. "And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven..." (Rev. 17:11 NASB). Today Assyia is known as Syria (AsSyria). Syria is the only nation on Israel's border not to yet have a peace treaty with Israel (with the exception of Lebanon which is under Syrian occupation). Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1978 and Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1993. When the peace treaty is made between Syria and Israel this will, I believe, begin the seventieth week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27) thus beginning the final countdown of prophesied history of the Gentile nations, God's judgment of these nations and the entry into Christ's millennial kingdom on earth for Israel! But first a ten nation confederacy must arise out from the ashes of the ancient Roman empire that the Antichrist, the (present or a future) king of Syria, can conquer and use as his power base.

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