Summary: Man of Sin, Beast, Antichrist. Many titles, one man. Not a series of men. Not an office. A man. Read carefully, let no one deceive. He is coming. Chapters 13, 17, and 19 furnish a combined portrait of the man.
The man of sin and his helper
(13, 17:7-17, 19:17-21)
Perhaps the most obvious of the long-term background descriptions is the one regarding antichrist. It is proper so to refer to him, but John never does, in Revelation. He here calls him the beast. In Daniel 7, he is the little horn on the final of a series of beasts in his prophecy. That horn rises up to supplant some of the ten horns originally on that beast. It is this conquering horn that makes war against the saints and prevails against them (Daniel 8:9-12). He controls the beast of which he is a part.
But in Revelation 13:2, the same man is described in terms of all the animals in Daniel’s vision. He is especially reminiscent of the ferocious fourth beast. Notice that both the revelator (13:1) and Daniel (Daniel 7:1-8) see ten horns, and they both see seven heads. While in Revelation the seven heads are on one creature, it takes four creatures in Daniel: The lion has one, the bear has one, the leopard has four, and the fourth creature has one. Seven heads. Note also that John says the beast is like a lion, bear, and leopard. That is, he is like the three beasts of Daniel. Then there is the mouth given the beast (13:5), as in Daniel 7:8, 11, 20, 25. He continues 42 months (13:5), paralleling Daniel’s “time, times, and half a time” (7:25). He overcomes the saints in both descriptions (Daniel 7:21, 25 and Revelation 8:24). And he receives worship (Revelation 13:4, Daniel 8:11). There is no question that both visions speak of the same offender.
He sits in the Temple claiming to be God, according to Paul, II Thessalonians 2:4. Daniel 8:11 discusses the way a certain prince, not necessarily the final world ruler, will take away the daily sacrifice, i. e. break the covenant with Israel, as in Daniel 9:27: “In the middle of the week (seven-year period) he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.” Then, after that man, comes one who makes desolate. It seems in that Daniel passage that the man of sin picks up where the “Prince” leaves off. We conclude from his aversion to worship rituals that from then on, worship is to be centered on Satan’s man only, much like in the days of the Roman Emperors. In Revelation 13:8, 14, worship of the Beast is seen, and by 13:15, it is required by law.
In Daniel 8, he is a latter-day outgrowth of one of the 4 successors of Alexander the Great. This means that he can only come from somewhere within the ancient Greek Empire: southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa. A most impressive clue!
Paul knows him as “the man of sin.” Once more it is easy to get carried away with imagery and history, much of which can fit. But when it’s all over, this man and his partner are thrown into a lake of fire (19:20). Literal lake. Literal man. Literal partner. In Scripture it is nearly always better to take the Word as it is. A close study of Daniel and II Thessalonians reveals that only one man is being talked about here. His profile is laid out so clearly that no end-time saint will have any trouble recognizing him. Yes, previews have shown up in men like Hitler and any number of Popes, but one man is still to come. Let no one write him off before his time. Everything written of him will be fulfilled.
What of the numbers describing the “beast from the sea” (13:1)? “Seven” and “ten”. The seven seems to be world empires and/or mountains, as in chapter 17, where the same beast is described in his relationship to Mystery Babylon (17:10). Traditionally, Christian scholarship has pointed to Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and revived Rome as the empires that have ruled mankind with their severe politicians and religious poison. A closer look at Daniel 7 reveals another possibility. We’ll look at it shortly.
Whoever the past kings/kingdoms are, this person represents them all in one man, one final rule. The ten corresponds to Daniel’s “ten toes” and the “ten horns” of the beast of Daniel 7, and the ten horns of John’s later revelation in chapter 17. There is general agreement that there is a ten-nation confederation, perhaps akin to Common Market nations, that holds the final rule of this planet with the “beast” (17:13).
He appears following a falling away from the faith, a time when the world will easily believe anyone who will save it from its mess (II Thessalonians 2:3). He is Satan-inspired (13:2), as Christ was Spirit-inspired. He dies, but is resurrected, as was Christ. The world accepts him as its own, anticipating Christ’s reception when He returns. As to the blasphemies that are said to come out of his mouth (13:5), this point is underscored in Daniel 7:8, 11, 25 and 11:36-37. Paul makes note of it in II Thessalonians 2:4. His persecutions are successful (13:7), and are the reason for a great populating of heaven during this 42-month period (7:9-14). He not only has authority over the world, but over the saints! This too is borne out in Daniel, 8:24. He will be the object of worship, as stated above, aided by a false prophet described in 13:11-18. All will be commanded to make an image of the beast, perhaps something as simple as watching him on television or the internet. Those who do not worship his image must die. Perhaps, by then, TV/computer will have become fully interactive.