The Beast

Last modified 2016-01-17

There are three beasts in the book of Revelation 1) The Sea Beast (The Roman Empire, personified in Nero), 2) The Land Beast (King Herod), 3) the Beast from the Abyss.

The Beast, as the Roman Empire:

Revelation 11:9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

This is the imagery of the Beast with seven heads (Rev. 17:3, 7,9; q). 13:2). (2) These seven heads are said to represent both seven mountains and seven kings (17:9, 10). (3) Of the seven kings, ‘five have fallen,” “one is” reigning, and one is to come to rule for a little while” (17:10).

Because the Book of Revelation was written to 7 actual (not symbolic, or fictional) churches which ARE in asia (at the time of Johns writing Rev., i.e. 62 AD) and because God sets up an implied time frame of SOON TO HAPPEN events (that will directly affect these churches in THEIR lifetime, not 2000 years later in our lifetime), e.g.:

Rev 1:1 to show unto his servants things which must SHORTLY come to pass Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is AT HAND.

Rev 2:5 (Church of Ephesus) or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. Rev 2:10 (Church of Smyrna) Do not fear what you are about to suffer... Be faithful until death

Rev 2:16 (Church of Pergamum) Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly,

Rev 2:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth (should be "land", i.e. tribes of Israel) will mourn over (because) Him. Even so. Amen. This "coming" was not the physical 2nd coming of Jesus back to earth, but a coming in judgment against the Jews in 70 AD in the form of sending "his armies" to destroy the apostate Jews by having Titus sweep across the land of Judea, conquering every city (to cover his back side) and end up at Jerusalem to besiege it and conquer it, destroying the temple, to end the age, and end Jewry, and end the spiritual "old world creation". Matt 22:6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7"But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. "every eye will see Him" does not mean literally EVERY EYE on planet earth, but virtually every person in the known world, civilized world, Roman empire, etc. would "see" as in know or hear about, or perceive that God had rendered a judgment on the Jews. The slave markets all over the Roman empire were glutted with Jews after this, all knew that their temple got torn down and as the rebel leaders were paraded through the streets of Rome (John who led the zealots and held the temple area) and formally executed, everyone knew, everyone "saw" what had happened. This is the "soon coming day of the Lord" spoken of everywhere else in the New Testament", the "day of wrath", it is why John says in Rev 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, which should be translated "I was on the day of the Lord, by the power of the Spirit" i.e. I saw a vision of what would happen in the future, on the coming day of the Lord.

Rome was known throughout the ancient world as the "seven hilled city" or "city that sits on seven hills".

Dan 7: “In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream...I saw in my vision...the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea 3) and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another 4) The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a mans heart was given to it.” This clearly is a reference to Babylon, the first beast or kingdom, and to Nebuchadnezzar who was given the heart of a man (regenerated). 5) And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6) After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also 4 heads; and dominion was given to it. 7) After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. Few commentators deny that Daniel’s 4th beast is the Roman Empire. Now compare it to the Beast of Revelation below (they both even have 10 horns), and see that the Roman Empire had subsumed all the characteristics of all its predecessor kingdoms (remember the metal man in Daniel, of Gold head, silver chest, bronze legs, and iron/clay feet).

Rev 13:1,2 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name 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 seat and great authority.”

It is hard to miss the parallels between John’s beast and Daniel’s. The metal man in Daniel (the whole man, representing all 4 empires, over time) got smashed into pieces (as one unit) by a rock hewn without hands (i.e. Jesus). Jesus promises his saints (in 62 AD when John wrote the book of Revelation) who were going through the tribulation (Rev 1:9 I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation ...) that He would judge their two great enemies (the Harlot, drunk with the blood of the saints) and the Beast (Nero/Rome). The beast (Nero/Rome) started persecuting Christians shortly after Neros burning of 1/3 of the capital city, to remake it after his artistic taste (many Romans died in this fire). When Nero saw that he could not quell the rumors, that He had set the fire, he decided to blame it on the Christians.) so in the latter part of November 64 furious persecution broke out upon the innocent church. This persecution finally ended with the death of Nero, which occurred on June 9th, A.D. 68. Except for a few days, (assuming 30 day months) this period represents a period of exactly 42 months, as predicted in Revelation 13:5,7 (see below, under Nero). Jesus terminated this persecution by having Nero kill himself with the sword and with a head wound as predicted by John in Rev., and by plunging the Roman Empire into it’s most severe revolt ever (the empire was far too busy fighting for it’s life to continue the unjust persecution of a now dead emperor founded upon a lie, as everyone knew that Nero started the fire). From June, A.D. 68 through December, A.D. 69, the Roman Empire suffered through a gruesome and severe Civil War that almost brought the Empire down, and that had reverberations throughout the Empire. This era witnessed the remarkable and unique “Year of Four Emperors” (AD. 68-69) Tacitus in his Histories writes: “The history on which I am entering is that of a period rich in disasters, terrible with battles, torn by civil struggles, horrible even in peace. Four emperors failed by the sword (Nero died in June 8, AD 68; Galba was murdered Jan 15, AD 69; Otho committed suicide April 17, AD 69, and Vitellius was slain on December 20, AD 69). there were 3 civil wars, more foreign wars and often both at the same time. There was success in the East (the Jewish war generaled by Vespasian/Titus father/son reduced Judea to submission but also devastated it) misfortune in the West. Illyricum was disturbed, the Gallic provinces wavering, Britain subdued and immediately let go. The Sarmatae and Suebi rose against us; the Dacians won fame by defeats inflicted and suffered; even the Parthians were almost roused to arms through the trickery of a pretended Nero. Moreover, Italy was distressed by disasters unknown before or returning after the lapse of ages. Cities of the rich fertile shores of Campania were swallowed up or overwhelmed; Rome was devastated by conflagrations, in which her most ancient shrines were consumed and the very Capitol fired by citizens hands. Sacred rites were defiled; there were adulteries in high places. The sea was filled with exiles, its cliffs made foul with the bodies of the dead. In Rome there was more awful cruelty... Besides the manifold misfortunes that befell mankind, there were prodigies in the sky and on the earth, warnings given by thunderbolts, and prophecies of the future, both joyful and gloomy, uncertain and clear. For never was it more fully proved by awful disasters of the Roman people or by indubitable signs that gods care not for our safety, but for our punishment.”

The last act of the Roman Empire as Gods Beast was to burn the harlot with fire, and devastate her. This Rome did to Jerusalem and to the temple, in 70 AD. The Roman Empire continued on past 70 AD, but she was no longer Gods Beast, just as some racial Jews continued on past 70 AD till they died out, but they were no longer Gods covenant people.

The Beast, as Nero.

Rev 13:18 “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and this number is 666”.

The Beast by Gentry states on p. 34 “Interestingly several scholars of the last century Fritzsche, Holtzmann, Benary, Hitzig and Reuss each stumbled independently upon the name Nero Caesar almost simultaneously. (see Charles Revelation 1:367 and Farrar, Early Days p. 471, n.4 for proof of this). We have seen that the Greek spelling of Neros' name has the value 1005. A HEBREW spelling of his name was NRWN QSR (pronounced Neron Kaiser). It has been documented by archaeological finds that a first century Hebrew spelling of Neros' name provides us with precisely the value of 6661 Jastrow’s lexicon of the Talmud contains this very spelling.2 NRWN QSR added up to 666 in Hebrew, (as you know, back then their alphabet was also their number system, so 1-2-3 was represented alef, beth, gimmel in Hebrew). Everyone’s name (in Hebrew) added up to some sum.

Who was the chief ruler/representative of this empire at the writing of Revelation? It was Nero. He spoke for the empire. Rev 13:2 tells us that Nero was dragon influenced and empowered. Whether Nero was conscious of the dragon’s help or not (I doubt that he was an active Satan worshiper, or warlock) This verse tells us that the devil aided Nero and Rome in their evil doings, and in maintaining their power. We might then, look for a certain degree of moral corruption in Nero. Nero committed suicide in June, A.D. 68. Why would the ruler of the World (the man who has everything), suicide, you might ask? Well, it has to do with reaping what he had sown, due to his lack of character. Nero murdered his brother, wife, and mother, burned 1/3 of the capital city to remake it after his artistic tastes (during which fire, many Romans died), then, no matter how he tried, he could not rid himself of the rumor that he had done it (in the eyes of the Roman people). So he blamed the fire on the Christians, and started persecuting them. Christians were punished in huge numbers, throughout the empire. Tacitus speaks of an “immense number” Annals 15:44, and Clement of a “vast multitude of the elect.” 1 Clement 6.

Nero would pour oil on these Christians and use them to light his garden parties at night, or wrap them in animal skins and set wild animals on them in the arena during the public games. “The spectacle ultimately elicited pity from the Roman populace” according to Tacitus. Nero accepted the worship of an image of himself 120 feet high, two of their key 10 provinces Germany and Judea were currently in Revolt, which Nero failed to put down during his lifetime. Neros' favorite sport was to dress himself in animal skins, be let out of a cage and attack the private parts of men and women (chained to stakes). Nero divorced his first wife Octavia (daughter of former Emperor Claudius who was poisoned to death by Agripina [Neros' mother] so Nero could ascend to the throne). Neros' mother tried to control her son first through power struggles, and later on, through personal seduction. Octavia was banished to an island upon Poppae’s orders (Poppae was the Jewess mistress that convinced Nero to divorce Octavia) and Octavia was soon beheaded (A.D. 62). Three years later, while pregnant and ill, Poppae was kicked to death by Nero. So Nero found a young boy who looked like her, had him castrated, and took him for his wife. He took off for a 2 year leave of absence from emperor duties to go to Greece (67-68) to appear in their music festivals, he fancied himself quite the singer, and even gave recitals back in Rome where senators and prominent citizens were required to attend. This artistic tour took place even though 2 provinces were currently in revolt.

He is suspected of murdering Burrus his first tutor, and he ordered Seneca his second tutor to suicide. By enormous, self-glorifying building projects and profligate living, Nero exhausted the imperial treasures inherited from Claudius. Thereupon he began to accuse Roman nobles falsely of various crimes in order to confiscate their estates. He openly stole lands and property from Roman Senators and Noble families, and “compelled 400 senators and 600 Roman knights, some of whom were well to do and of unblemished reputation, to fight in the arena” Suetonius, Nero 7:1. He lost the support of much of the army when he ordered the death of one of it’s most beloved, and virtuous generals (Thrasea Paetus and/or Barea Soranus, Tacitus, Annals 16:21) Disgusted with these abuses, a revolt against Nero began in Gaul, but it was quickly put down. Shortly after that, the revolt broke out anew under Galba in Spain in 68.

Torn with indecision as to what to do, Nero hesitated in acting against Galba. When the revolt had gathered too much strength, Nero talked of suicide, but was too cowardly to do it. Finally when he learned that the Senate had voted to put him to death by cruel and shameful means, (he was to be tied behind a chariot and drug to death in the streets of Rome), he secured the assistance of Epaphroditus to run a sword through his throat. Before dying, he lamented aloud “what an artist the world is losing”. Remarkably, the Neronic persecution of Christianity lasted almost precisely the length of time mentioned in

Revelation 13:5,7 “and there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months... 7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them, and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”

Stay tuned, as this article grows, in the future to document all the other ways the Roman Empire qualifies as the Sea Beast of Revelation, and how Nero qualifies as the Beast (individual man) of Revelation in other places, how Herod qualifies as the Land Beast (the word Gamma Epsilon "pronounced gase, rhymes with case" in Revelation is mistranslated "earth" in several places, where it should be translated "land" i.e. land of Israel. The land in the Book of Rev. often symbolizes the Land of Israel, i.e. the Land Beast is the ruler over the land of Israel (who receives his power from Rome) at this time. There is also a connection of The Beast symbol to Rebel Emperors throughout time, which David Chilton has put forth in his book "Days of Vengeance" a commentary on the Book of Rev.