Once the dynamic duo – the two beasts of Revelation – rise to prominence, all the prophetic warnings of complete totalitarian control of the world come to pass. The preparation that has long been planned for this time sees its full completion. Since the beginning of man’s existence outside the Garden, Satan and his minions have dreamed of such a day. This is the point that all the evil in their black hearts is exercised against man and God in the hopes of overthrowing their perceived chains.
The 1st Seal opens the door for Antichrist – the 1st Beast – to be revealed upon the world stage. At that time he is seen as a savior, both of the Jews and of the unbelieving Gentiles remaining after the Rapture. It is very likely that sometime between the 1st Seal and the 4th Seal that the False Prophet – the 2nd Beast – also arises. While Antichrist is consolidating political power, the False Prophet is bringing all religions into ecumenical agreement. Working together they introduce the final version of the New World Order and the One World Religion. These demonic agendas aren’t something that simply come about overnight; they are years in the making. Proof of that is what we see today as leaders of national governments exercise their totalitarian instincts, all in lockstep with a master plan to subject the peoples of the earth to the bondage. At the same time, Pope Francis continues gathering the heads of major religions into the anti-Christ coalition under the Vatican that morphs Catholicism into its new all-inclusive form. This is a long-planned scheme that finally comes to fruition during the Tribulation.
Revelation 13 gives us more details about these two satanically-inspired men, but also leaves us a question to ponder. Consider Revelation 13:11-12:
Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed.
We know from this description that Antichrist as the 1st Beast to be worshiped is the culmination of the world governments that rose and fell from the time of Nebuchadnezzar. He has the characteristics of the beasts that rose out of the sea in the vision of Daniel 7:4-6:
The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’ After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
But then the final beast came into view in Daniel 7:7-8:
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
Why is this beast different? For this reason: And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. This beast – Antichrist – is possessed by Satan and in the earthly realm is given all his power and authority. Who he is and what he does for the remaining 42 months after he “comes out” when he desecrates the temple will be horrendous. For those who become followers of Jesus in these days, great persecution will ensue as noted in Revelation 13:10:
If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.
We see that Antichrist is possessed by Satan. He is the demonic presence inhabiting this man of perdition. That’s clear enough. But, doesn’t it make sense that some demonic personage would also possess the False Prophet, i.e. the 2nd Beast? Given the supernatural capabilities he shows in Revelation 13:12-14, isn’t there also a dark spiritual being animating him?
It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived.
Although the text doesn’t tell us who is operating behind the scenes of this powerful man, i.e. the 2nd Beast, is there another mighty prince of the spiritual realm that we’ve seen elsewhere? It can’t be Satan. He is not omnipresent and can’t possess two people at the same time. Who else has been revealed that may fit the bill? Consider Revelation 9:1,11:
And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit… They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.
Apollyon is this star, one member of the heavenly host in rebellion against God. He is shown to have power and authority over the demonic locust-like hordes released from the abyss of Tartarus. Interestingly, although he is present as Revelation unfolds, he is never mentioned again. When we argue from silence, we can never be sure if what we determine is correct or not. With that caveat, is it possible that Apollyon is the guiding dark light behind the False Prophet? Who is this fearsome, divine being with such strength? What he is capable of makes one think of the Prince of Persia that Gabriel encountered on his way to the prophet in Daniel 10:13:
The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia…
The Prince of Persia was one of the sons of God. Could Apollyon likewise be one of these bene Elohim who could even resist an angel of Gabriel’s stature?
Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 prophetically show us Satan as the animating influence behind the kings of Babylon and Tyre. In Ezekiel 29-32 we see extensive prophecies against Pharaoh of Egypt. Was there also a demonic influence behind him? Probably, but one that isn’t shown as clearly as with the other kings. There isn’t space or time to elaborate on this, but it may be that Ezekiel 31:3 in the KJV holds the answer:
Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs.
Other translations muddy this verse by speaking of Assyria – the nation – as opposed to a possible supernatural being known as the Assyrian, i.e. the Prince of Assyria, similar to the Prince of Persia. This is the only other named divine entity aside from the Prince of Greece who is also noted in Daniel. There are some clues in this very cryptic prophetic passage that this Assyrian might be one and the same as Apollyon. If that’s so, then we have the connection from the Old Testament to the New Testament that helps tie together the entire Biblical narrative.
What we’ve explored here and speculated upon are mysteries. God gives us Bible prophecy, and He also wants us to explore hidden things in Scripture. It’s why He gave us good minds, clues, and the encouragement to pursue these things in speaking of the men of Issachar who knew the times (1 Chronicles 12:32) and of the Bereans because they searched the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).
Yes, Bible prophecy can be daunting in its depth and scope. However, never forget what Revelation 19:10 tells us:
… For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
If we want to appropriate the full testimony of Jesus, we must pursue Bible prophecy. I think God looks upon our efforts to do so with favor.