1. Last week we saw how the two witnesses represent the church of Jesus Christ and those who have been anointed or ordained to minister the truth to them. That includes us. We saw how those would seek to harm them , would not effectively do so, unless they could make us waver in our testimony or deny Christ. And yet we have a power to kill those who would harm us. Not physically but spiritually kill them. That is by the fire that comes out of our mouths, which symbolically represents the word of God (Jer. 5:14). The truth will condemn those who oppose it and defeat their cause.
2. When the two prophets finished their testimony, they are attacked by the beast. Notice that John says THE beast, not A beast as the two beast in Rev. 13 are described.
3. Who is this beast? We see that he comes from the abyss. The same place the demonic powers of the 5th and 6th trumpets came from. His origin and his power is demonic. The beast is also known as the anti-christ.
4. The beast is further described in Daniel 7. And as we look at some verses in Daniel 7, we will see that there is a historical and a symbolic representation of the beast. And I wish we could tie up a nice neat explanation of how it all comes together. But remember how many historical events, especially those mentioned in the Bible have a symbolic aspect of a spiritual reality and of present age and later end-time events. For instance the temple is symbolic of the church. And the rebuilding of the temple we saw in Zechariah 4 is an actual event but also points to the rebuilding that takes place through the present age of the church and especially at the end -time.
5. The beast is the fourth of four beasts that Daniel saw in a vision.
Dan 7:4-7 "The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule. After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast--terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns."
6. What were these four beasts?
Dan 7:17 The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth.
And many have shown how historically these four beast represent the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Greek and the Roman empires.
7. The fourth beast had ten horns and another little horn came up among them. Daniel asked what this meant and was told:
Dan 7:23-25 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time."
8. There will be ten kings or political powers that arise out of or after the fourth beast. And then an evil power will arise .
9. Notice the saints, we could say the two witnesses, the church will be handed over to him for a time (1), times (2), and half a time (½). Add these up and this comes to 3 ½. Could that be the same as the 3 ½ days that the bodies of the prophets are laid in the streets?
10. We could say the anti-christ is a demonic power in earthly form or operating through an earthly power. And this beast exists through this age and is battling the work of the church. Could it be through governments or economic forces and power? Is he behind the persecution of the church and the deluding of the church’s message?
11. Toward the end he will be allowed to gather his strength and battle the saints.
12. But if you look in more detail at Daniel 7 you will see that God is in control and God hold back the anti-christ so that he can openly appear before the time set by God Himself. And this time will not occur until the work of the church is finished. He will attack when they have finished their testimony