Comparative Analysis References to Beasts and Abyss
by Dave Brown
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Comparative Analysis References to Beasts and Abyss
Bible quotes are from the American Standard Version (ASV)
by Dave Brown
The following are all verses that contain a reference to Beast, Beasts or the Abyss. And with the exception of Chapter 12, it also covers all references to the Dragon, which is Satan. The purpose of these verses is to help in identifying what the Sea Beast and the Earth Beast are and who they represent both in the first century and today. It is not intended to present a “story,” which is largely impossible because of the many verses that are omitted, and we discourage any attempt to use it in that way.
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen unto the earth: and there was given to him the key of the pit of the abyss.
2 And he opened the pit of the abyss; and there went up a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
They have over them as king the angel of the abyss: his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek (tongue) he hath the name Apollyon.
[These words mean destroyer, and it is fairly obvious that this alludes to Satan being cast out of heaven. A falling star of a hero (or major figure) is a sign of ruin and imminent destruction. The abyss here is clearly hell, not hades, the realm of those awaiting the judgment; but the ultimate place of punishment for all of those who are not saved.]
Abyss and Beast
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that cometh up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.
[This is speaking of the two prophets of Chapter 11. There is no definition of this beast at this point. It could be a generic description for the dragon that is given more detail in Chapter 12 as he persecutes the figurative holy woman and her seed after being defeated in a war in heaven. Clearly this is the devil, also called Satan, positively defined in 20:2. After Chapter 12, you can trace all references to the dragon below in 13:2, 4, 11; 16:13; and 20:2.]
The Sea Beast
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns, and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy.
2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as (the feet) of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.
3 And (I saw) one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after the beast;
4 and they worshipped the dragon, because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? And who is able to war with him?
[All references to the beast in the verses above are to the sea beast, which we will see is corrupt leadership, be it political or military power. As we go on we will see that all unqualified references to the beast is to the sea beast. A second beast it introduced below, but as the thought progresses there seems to be a merging of these two into a single general “living beast nature.” This is similar to the word “God” being often used to refer to combinations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (deity) because there are in such total complete agreement that they can be referred to without qualification.]
The Earth Beast
11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like unto a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.
12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his sight. And he makes the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose death-stroke was healed.
13 And he doeth great signs, that he should even make fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the sight of men.
14 And he deceives them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which it was given him to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who hath the stroke of the sword and lived.
15 And it was given (unto him) to give breath to it, (even) to the image of the beast , that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon their forehead;
17 and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save he that hath the mark, (even) the name of the beast or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six hundred and sixty and six.
[We expect those of the first century would have a good idea who this number would be assigned to. But when we check historically we see the speculation of about a dozen possibilities. Our conclusion is that this was understood by the faithful but not by those who record such things. This article is not concerned with any specific person, but rather the understanding of the beasts and the abyss. See the commentary for more discussion on 666.
Verse 15 would seem to be pivotal, as the earth beast (false religion) is able to “give breath” to the diminishing political powers. This was probably akin to the time when “Christianity” was made the state religion of Rome. The merging of the two beasts discussed in this chapter into a single “beast” is thus reasonable if not expected. The beast is given without qualification from this point forward, and we will assume that it refers to the sea beast who has now been joined by the earth beast in their evil ways.]
9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great voice, If any man worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand,
10 he also shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed in the cup of his anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 and the smoke of their torment goes up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, they that worship the beast and his image, and whoso receives the mark of his name.
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the number of his name, standing by the sea of glass, having harps of God.
And the first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it became a noisome and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the beast, and that worshipped his image.
And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast; and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores; and they repented not of their works.
12 And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the (river) Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might be made ready for the kings that (come) from the sunrising.
13 And I saw (coming) out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, as it were frogs:
14 for they are spirits of demons, working signs; which go forth unto the kings of the whole world, to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.
[In verse 13. the dragon, the beast and the false prophet are here differentiated. We might conclude that there is no difference between the earth beast and the false prophet, and we have identified the earth beast as the false religious establishment, quite comparable in intent to corrupt political leadership. Clearly this is not restricting the description to a single false prophet, but rather and entire class of “clergy and priests” who have essentially taken over the remains of the corrupted church at this point.]
3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness: and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
[The definition of this beast and the woman will be given below.]
Beast and Abyss
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee 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; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition. And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, (they) whose name hath not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, how that he was, and is not, and shall come.
[As we can see from the key events associated with the Roman Empire at this time that there were many defeats in various places. The Empire was weakened, but far more than a remnant kept it somewhat intact. Christians at this time who were hoping for a complete defeat of this beast would tend to be discouraged, and these words were given to them to keep them faithful until death.]
9 Here is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits:
10 and they are seven kings; the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a little while.
[This defines aspects of the beast since the woman was sitting on the beast from verse 3.]
11 And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goes into perdition.
[See verse 8. Is this a contradiction? Can the beast be a figurative seven mountains and an eighth mountain at the same time? The answer is yes. One entity can be described by two different metaphors without any contradiction. The two metaphors would just be describing two different aspects (in this case) of the beast.]
12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour.
13 These have one mind, and they give their power and authority unto the beast.
[Considerable turnover in leadership, as can be seen by the Roman empire timeline for this time.
14 These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they (also shall overcome) that are with him, called and chosen and faithful.
15 And he said unto me, The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
[This is a very important metaphor. While we cannot conclude that anything having to do with water is referencing the masses, it would be good that whenever we see waters, seas, rivers, etc., we should consider this possibility.]
16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire.
17 For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.
18 And the woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.
[Here again is a potential contradiction: if the beast is corrupted leadership, how can the corrupt “great city” (generally accepted to be Rome at this time) also be described as the harlot? This is applying the same metaphor (corrupt governments) to two separate entities. In this case we have a simple precedent for this language construct. Compare 4:5 with 5:6. There we have the seven Spirits of God assigned to two separate entities. The purpose of metaphors is to describe aspects of the entity and several metaphors may be applied to several entities, or several entities may be described by the same metaphor.]
Final Disposition of Beast and False Prophet (Earth Beast)
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army.
20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped his image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone:
Dragon and the Abyss
1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut (it), and sealed (it) over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a little time.
Destiny of the Saved and the Dragon (Devil); Beast is Mentioned
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and (I saw) the souls of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
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