Revelation 13 describes two beasts that will rise up and take power in the end times. The first beast, referred to in the Bible as the beast, is a political power that will rule over the earth in the end times. The second beast is the Antichrist.
Read more about the Antichrist here.
Revelation 17:8-12 contains a more in-depth description of the beast. It is clear that the beast will be a kind of union of different nations and political powers that work together as one. Their goal is to rule the earth independently, completely free of God.
The beast and the harlot
The beast works together with the harlot, a spirit power who works to corrupt the gospel and turn people away from the truth. The harlot mixes Christianity with the world, preaching that people can live both for God and for themselves at the same time. She represents all of the false churches in the world. The relationship between the beast and the harlot is mutually beneficial but at the same time they hate one another. The harlot gives the peoples of the world a nice, feel-good religion and helps pacify them and keep them in line. In return the beast gives the harlot money and support from the government.
Read more about the harlot here.
The beast and the Antichrist
The beast also works closely together with the Antichrist (the beast from the earth, Revelation 13:11-12). The Antichrist exercises the authority of the beast and aims to make all the people of the earth worship the beast.
Both of these spirits are at work in our time today. (1 John 2:18) However neither of them has reached their full strength. As long as theis at work on the earth she will limit the development of Satan’s servants.
The mind of the bride of Christ is the path of humility; serving God in all things instead of doing her own will. (Philippians 2:5-8) The mind of the beast and the Antichrist is the path of exaltation; serving their own interests only and rejecting God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) When the bride is raptured then the Holy Spirit, who works to restrain the beast and the Antichrist, will also leave the earth. (2 Thessalonians 2: 6-8) This gives the beast and the Antichrist the opportunity they need to seize absolute power on earth.
In the years leading up to the rapture the beast will develop more and more and grow in power. He will seemingly solve many of the world’s problems and show the world that the people “do not need God.”
“For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3. It will seem like the beast is fixing a lot of the world’s problems but at the end, destruction will come upon them.
After the rapture
After the bride of Christ is raptured up to heaven the beast will see his opportunity for total power. Now there is nothing stopping him from casting off the harlot and all forms of religion once and for all and seizing the world for himself. (Revelation 14:8, Revelation 17:16) He will speak “great things and blasphemies” against God, and will be permitted to do so for three and a half years. Now, together with the Antichrist, he will declare himself as the ruler of the world and force everyone to bow down before him. (See Revelation 13-14 for more.
This is when the beast will show his true colours and the destruction will come upon the people. The beast will go from a seemingly benevolent and capable superpower to a worldwide dictatorship. He will openly persecute and makeagainst God’s servants on the earth and he will receive absolute authority over the entire earth. (Revelation 13:7, Revelation 17:15-17)
The beast will force everyone to reject God and worship him. Those agreeing to this demand will receive a mark on their hand or their forehead to signify that decision. Without this mark nobody will be able to buy or sell. (Revelation 13:16-17) It will be a terrible and difficult time for anyone who wishes to serve God. Their greatest hope for salvation now is to die as a martyr. (Revelation 14:13)
Read more about the Great Tribulation here.
The ideals of the beast
Christians will be persecuted and pressured to abandon God. The ideals that the beast preaches to the masses are complete and total humanism.
The “religion” of the day will be to worship humanity, and by extension, the beast himself. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) The goal will be the instant gratification of base human desires and instincts. When God created man He created the body out of the earth but the spirit was breathed into the body by God. It was a separate part and just as the body needsnourishment to live, the spirit needs spiritual nourishment.
It is written that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4. However the beast is only concerned with bread and not the spiritual nourishment. All thoughts of God will be forgotten or outlawed. The beast’s goal is to show that humanity does not need a god, that they can manage quite well without one.
The fall of the beast
The beast will be permitted to rule over the earth for three and a half years. (Revelation 13:5) But when this time is up, it is enough. Jesus will come back to the earth with the armies of heaven and tear down the beast’s regime. Both the beast and the Antichrist will be thrown alive into the lake of eternal fire. Their followers will be killed with Jesus’ sword. (Revelation 19:20-21) Satan, the beasts’ master, will be captured and bound with chains in the bottomless pit for a thousand years.
Read more about the second coming of Christ here.
This marks the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity called the Millennium.
Read more about the Millennium here.
Preparing for the end
It is not difficult to see that the conditions of the world are growing steadily worse as time goes on. The governments of the world are also growing more and more united. Though this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, the spirit in this “unity” is that humanity ultimately will unite and manage by itself, without God. This means they will follow their own, thus in reality carrying out Satan’s will and purpose. It is a spirit of absolute godless pride.
What a wake-up call this should be for us! The world teeters on the brink of utter ungodliness but now is still the time of grace. Now there is still time for us to serve God and to live according to His laws while we are able.
Life under the reign of the beast will be a terrible ordeal and the best thing a servant of God can expect in that time is to die as a martyr. That is really a terrible consolation prize when you think about the offer we have now! To be a faithful servant of Christ, to prepare ourselves as His bride and to be raptured up to heaven to be with Jesus!
You may be interested in reading more in our series of articles on the end times.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.