The Ancient Beast

The Beast of Revelation is the embodiment of the ancient power that has been stalking the saints since the fall of AdamHistory repeats itself. It is littered with past efforts by tyrants and regimes to dominate the Earth. Each may experience some success, but so far, every empire that has appointed itself sovereign over humanity has floundered in the end. For example, the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar and Caesar’s imper9al realm both ceased to exist thousands of years ago.

Unfortunately, the imperial effort never ceases, and today, we find the latest incarnation of the World Empire marching across the globe, imposing its will, seducing Christians, and subjugating nations that refuse to bow to its demands.

Roman columns - Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash
[Photo by Tom Podmore on Unsplash]

All this raises the question - 
Why? Why does this pattern repeat? Why do men embrace corrupt and tyrannical powers again and again despite the lessons of History? Is it because, collectively, humanity never learns? That is certainly the cynic’s answer. Or perhaps nefarious groups of conspirators are working behind the scenes from one generation to the next as they attempt to impose a New World Order.

The Bible provides a clear explanation. There certainly is a conspiracy in operation, but it is the ancient strategy of the Devil at the heart of his cosmic war against the Creator of all things. His tactics and puppets vary, and he rebrands ideologies as needed. But his objective remains the same – to destroy the people of God.

In the Book of Daniel, the Neo-Babylonian Empire is called the “Land of Shinar,” a reference to the first attempt at starting a global government recorded in the Book of Genesis, namely, the Tower of Babel incident.

Like the original Mesopotamian Kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar tried to impose one language on the many peoples of his domain, and he erected a great high “image” in the “plain” outside the city where he assembled all the nations and peoples of his realm to pay homage to his majesty and sovereignty – (Genesis 11:1-9, Daniel 1:1-4, 3:1-9).

In the second chapter of Daniel, the King dreamed of a great image consisting of four sections. Each was composed of a different material. Its head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar, and the remaining sections symbolized three kingdoms that would rise in succession after Babylon - (Daniel 2:1-48).

But Nebuchadnezzar saw ONLY ONE FIGURE. Each of the four kingdoms was a part of a single whole. In the end, the Kingdom of God represented by the “stone cut without hands from a mountain” struck the image on its feet, turning the entire edifice into dust - ALL FOUR KINGDOMS PERISH TOGETHER at the end of the age.

We see this same reality in the seventh chapter of Daniel when the prophet saw four “beasts” ascending in succession from the sea. They symbolized kingdoms, beginning with Babylon. The first three possessed the characteristics of known animals – the lion, the bear, and the leopard – (Daniel 7:1-25).

But the fourth beast is so horrific it has no analog in the animal kingdom. It was a monstrosity, a mutant with “ten horns,” and it was “diverse” from all four of its predecessors. It waged “war on the saints,” and for a time, “it prevailed against them.” Nevertheless, the fourth kingdom was destroyed when “judgment was made FOR the saints” by the “Ancient of days,” and the saints came to “possess the Kingdom.”

What is striking is that despite their previous demise, the lives of the first three “beasts” or kingdoms continued in the fourth one. “But a lengthening of life was given to them” until the fourth kingdom was thrown down and “given to the burning fire.” As in Chapter 2 of Daniel, the entire age-old structure was destroyed at once by divine intervention.

THE BEAST FROM THE SEA


In the Book of Revelation, Satan is pictured as the “Great Red Dragon,” the “ANCIENT Serpent” who is determined to destroy the “woman” and her messianic “Son.” This image echoes the old story in which the “Serpent” tempted and overcame Eve in the Garden.

However, though the “Dragon” bit the heel of the “son,” the latter defeated the former when God raised him to His “Throne” and installed him as the heir and the “Shepherd of the nations.” The context makes clear that the “Son” was none other than Jesus who “overcame” the Devil through his death and resurrection - (Revelation 1:4-7, 12:1-17).

At that time, the “Dragon” was expelled from Heaven, having lost his prosecutorial powers. But he was not done, and he set out to “wage war” against the “Seed of the Woman, those who have the Testimony of Jesus.” He was then seen standing on the seashore as he summoned his own “seed” from the Sea, the single “Beast” with seven heads and ten horns that John saw in the process of “ascending from the Sea” - (Revelation 13:1-10).

This “Beast from the Sea” featured the same animal characteristics as Daniel’s four “beasts from the sea” – the “ten heads,” the leopard, the bear, and the lion. However, John saw them ascending in reverse order from Daniel’s vision, almost as if he was looking back through time from the first century.

Furthermore, John saw only ONE CREATURE that combined all the features of Daniel’s four separate beasts. It was related to them, but it was also something beyond them, and very likely, far worse.

John’s single “Beast” exercised all the authority of the “Dragon.” Satan was (and is) the power behind the imperial throne, which the “Beast” used to “wage war against the saints, and to overcome them and kill them.” This last clause echoes the language from Daniel where the “Little Horn” waged war against God’s saints - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 13:7).

BEASTLY ECONOMICS


The preferred weapon of this “Beast” was not military might, but ECONOMIC control. It sanctioned any man who refused to give it the total allegiance. The World Empire demands the level of loyalty and veneration that belongs to God alone. All men who chose not to pay homage to the “Beast” and its “image” were excluded from the ECONOMIC life of society. No man could “buy or sell” without the Beast’s “Mark” or “Number,” 666.

This makes perfect sense since the “Beast” was allied with and “ridden by” ancient Babylon, the “Great Whore” who has been seducing the nations from time immemorial with her false religion and ECONOMIC delights. She was and is integral to world commerce, and no presumptive empire can operate against the people of God without her – (Revelation 18:1-23).

Washington in Winter - Photo by Yohan Marion on Unsplash
[Photo by Yohan Marion on Unsplash]

This imperial monstrosity was something the world has seen many times before and since. Its “
seven heads” represented seven “kingdoms.” At the time of John’s writing, five of them had fallen in the past. The sixth was alive and well, and that could only be Caesar’s domain – (Revelation 17:7-12).

But Rome, also, fell. However, before the end of the present age, the world will see the rise of the last “kingdom.” It will be the “seventh” but will also be an “eighth.” It will be from the same imperial lineage as its predecessors but also something beyond them.

This final incarnation of the “Beast” will include all the combined ambitions and inhumanity of its predecessors - Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Babylon, Greece, and Rome, only fueled by the rage of the “Dragon” who will lash out against the people of God in his death throes as his destruction draws near.

Throughout human history, there has been one imperial power driven by Satan to execute one primary objective - To destroy the people of God. History “repeats” itself because the “Dragon” has been pushing the same agenda since at least the Tower of Babel incident. While its latest form varies over time, the World Empire continues to live and pursue this same agenda.

Today, we see a vast imperial power once again marching across the globe, a regime that uses economic sanctions promiscuously against entire nations, peoples, and even individuals who do not acknowledge it as their overlord. It is a monstrosity that manifests many of the characteristics of its predecessors, but especially those of the old Roman Empire ruled by Caesar.

Will it succeed? Will it become the “seventh” kingdom that is also “an eighth”? Only time will tell. Empires come and go, and they often fall suddenly and unexpectedly. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to ignore the dangers posed by this latest “Beast” that is lurking in plain sight.



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