666 and the Image of the Beast

The number of the beast is 666, and it is the number of a man. John of Patmos introduces these two important points with “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number…” In order to understand what it means, we must first ask the question: What is the “wisdom” John writes of in Revelation 13:18? The Bible speaks of more than one type of wisdom. Sometimes it is a “foolish” wisdom – Paul calls it the “wisdom of this world” in 1 Corinthians 3:19. Other times, wisdom is a gift from God, like the wisdom given to Solomon in 1 Kings 3:28. One thing is for sure: being that the Bible is inspired by God, it could not possibly be inviting the reader to employ foolishness to understand what follows.

“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666].” (Revelation 13:18)

Here is Wisdom…

The number of the beast is 666, and it is the number of a man. John of Patmos introduces these two important points with “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number…” To understand what it means, we must first ask the question: What is the “wisdom” John writes of in Revelation 13:18? The Bible speaks of more than one type of wisdom. Sometimes it is a “foolish” wisdom – Paul calls it the “wisdom of this world” in 1 Corinthians 3:19. Other times, wisdom is a gift from God, like the wisdom given to Solomon in 1 Kings 3:28. One thing is for sure: being that the Bible is inspired by God, it could not possibly be inviting the reader to employ foolishness to understand what follows.

If we can discern what nature of wisdom John is writing about, then we might know how to begin deciphering the message. Nineteenth-century professor Moses Stuart of Andover Theological Seminary explains what John might have meant by “Here is wisdom.” In his essay he calls attention to the cultural context, noting John’s Hebrew dialect (despite the fact that Revelation was written in Greek).

Here is wisdom conveys an idea somewhat different, according to Hebrew usage, from that which the words in English seem to suggest. The Jews, as appears by the Rabbinical dialect, were accustomed to call any thing חָכְמָה wisdom, which was said summarily, obscurely, or in the way of a mere hint… when the writer exclaims: Here is wisdom, he evidently means to say, that here is a matter which is somewhat enigmatical [difficult to understand] or obscure, for the explanation of which wisdom is needed… ‘Let him who has the requisite intelligence (νοῦν being an equivalent for the preceding σοφία,) reckon the number,’ etc. In other words: Not every person can read and understand what follows; but let him who is skilled in matters of this nature, compute what name the letters which may designate 666 will make; for this is the name of the beast.” (Prof. M. Stuart, The Number of the Beast in the Apocalypse, an essay from Bibliotheca Sacra: Or, Tracts and Essays on Topics Connected with Biblical Literature and Theology, 1843)

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Prof. Moses Stuart

To sum up Stuart’s commentary, the first part of Revelation 13:18 means what it says. We ought not to read too much into the “Here is wisdom” saying because computing the number 666 is simply reserved for “him who hath understanding.” If there are some who are wise enough to “count” the number 666, John exhorts the reader to leave it up to them to do the counting. But seeing that John presents the number with a preceding hint, “it is the number of a man,” it would only encourage us to seek out what it means. And what we seek is the truth of God’s inspired Word, so the meaning of it is no secret if God will grant us the wisdom it requires.

The Mark of the Beast

As Stuart mentioned in his essay, the number 666 is a designation of the name of a man, not just the number of a man. In Revelation 13:16-17 we read that the beast causes everyone to receive one of three things to buy or sell: the mark, the name, or the number of his name.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

Clearly, in verse 17 the “number of his name” is 666 (the same number in verse 18). And the “name of the beast” is undoubtedly the name of which the number is designated. The number and the name are equivalent, or rather, they are no different in what they represent. We know the mark is also equivalent to the number because it is called “the mark of his name” in the chapter that follows (Revelation 14:11) – a clear example of the writer using the terms ‘mark’ and ‘number’ interchangeably. Therefore the mark of the beast, his name, and the number of his name all represent the same thing.

So what is the mark of the beast? Will it be a physical marking of the name and number? Rev. George Floyd Taylor, founder of Franklin Springs Institute (now Emmanuel College), believed this to be true. Taylor wrote in The Second Coming of Jesus that the number, the name, and the mark all indicate a literal marking on the flesh.

second-coming-of-jesus“…this mark will be a literal, visible, indelible [permanent] badge stamped upon the very flesh of the one receiving it. The Word is very positive at this point. There is absolutely nothing in the record that indicates that this mark is to be taken otherwise than literal… this mark is an index to the character of Antichrist. “Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.” – Rev. 13:18. It seems clear that the mark itself is the written number “666”; for we read: “No man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” This does not mean that his mark, his name, and the number of this name are three different things; but that the same symbol is a mark, a name, and a number, all at the same time.” (Rev. G. F. Taylor, The Second Coming of Jesus, 1916)

Strong’s Concordance seems to back this up as well. It defines the Greek root word for ‘mark,’ χάραγμα (charagma), as an ‘engraving’ or a ‘stamp’ (or a ‘sign’…). It could be true that the mark will be an engraving, a stamp, or some chip implanted under the skin. But the physical application of the mark (or whether it is even physical at all) is of little consequence. It may be of greater importance to understand why the “mark” required to buy or sell will be “in their right hand, or in their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). In Revelation 22, the saints in the presence of God’s throne are said to have God’s name “in their foreheads” (Revelation 22:4). In addition to this, a whole array of meanings are given to the “right hand” symbolism all throughout scripture that would be much too lengthy to cover here. The point being, there is a spiritual interpretation of the mark of the beast which deserves further study.

The Bible says that anyone who receives the mark will be cast into the lake of fire burning with brimstone (Rev. 14:9-11, Rev. 19:20). If the mark is merely a physical chip or engraving, anyone could be pinned down and forced to take it against their will. God is too merciful to allow any man to take away the salvation of another man. So a physical marking could never separate a man from his salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:38-39). Nonetheless, the physical mark could still be in the form of a chip/engraving, if it is merely an indication that a man has denied the Lord by choosing to “worship the beast and his image.”

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Revelation 14:9-10)

The Bible gives plenty of evidence that the worship of the beast, or the image, is indispensable to receiving the mark. Every time the mark is mentioned, it is preceded or accompanied by the worship of the beast or his image (Rev. 13:15-16, Rev. 14:9, Rev. 15:2, and Rev. 20:4 are just a few examples). The mark would then be a sign of beast/image worship and a token allowing men to take part in commerce. So it is much more important for God’s people to understand the image, for it is the object of idolatrous worship that merits retrieval of the mark. The real questions we should be asking are: what does the number 666 mean, and what is the image of the beast?

What Is the Image of the Beast?

To understand the image, let us begin with an examination of the beast’s character. The second beast is the one “saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the [first] beast,” (Rev. 13:14). Notice what the beast does here: it is his act of speaking that prompts the people to make the image. Before this, the same beast is described as “speaking like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). It is the nature of his speaking that characterizes him as a dragon, and the dragon is, of course, Satan, a.k.a. the “serpent” (Rev. 12:9, Rev. 20:2). Prof. Stuart says it well and provides us with a key to understanding what his speech will be like.

“The second beast is represented as “speaking like a dragon,” Rev. 13, 11. The meaning of this simile is not obscure. A dragon, according to the idiom of the New Testament, means a huge old serpent. The sly cunning and deceitfulness of the serpent have been proverbial, from the time when Satan, under the guise of a serpent, misled our first parents in paradise. The second beast, then, speaks as the dragon did on that occasion; that is, he speaks craftily, deceitfully, in a manner adapted to allure and ruin those whom he addresses.” (Prof. M. Stuart, The Number of the Beast in the Apocalypse)

958cc-hel-fenrir-jormungandrAccording to Stuart, the beast’s dragon-like speech is a reference to the third chapter of Genesis. That is where the serpent speaks to our first parents in paradise (Adam and Eve). Remarkably, it happens to be the only other chapter in the Bible where Satan speaks as a serpent. Let us examine the infamous words of Satan in Genesis 3:4-5. It may give us an idea of what the beast will say to the people that prompts them to make an image to worship.

“…And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?…And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1, 4-5)

The core of the serpent’s message is the deceitful assertion that men can become “as gods” through the obtaining of knowledge (allegorized by the “tree of knowledge of good and evil,” Genesis 2:17). Satan asserts that the object of man’s worship should be man, because he can become as a god. In other words, man is the image.

If the speech of the beast will be anything similar to the message of the old serpent, there is only one type of image the beast will tell the people to make. The “image to the beast” (Rev. 13:14) will be the image of a man. It is also worth noting that the “number of the beast” is called “the number of a man” in Revelation 13:18.

Many scholars believe the image of the beast will be a statue like the one erected by Nebuchadnezzar in ancient Babylon (Daniel 3:1 – not to be confused with the image in his dream). Their argument is a valid one, as Strong’s concordance defines the Greek root word for ‘image,’ εἰκών (eikwn), as a ‘statue.’ But it also defines the word as a ‘profile,’ a ‘likeness,’ or a ‘representation.’ So Strong’s definition of εἰκών image is much too vague in itself to prove the statue theory.

In Revelation 13:15, three things are written about the beast image that make the statue theory a difficult case to prove:

  1. The beast will “give life unto the image.”
  2. The image will “speak.”
  3. The image will “cause” anyone who does not worship the image to be killed.

“And he [the second beast] had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)

On the surface, one would think it absurd that a statue could come alive, or even speak, except through supernatural power – or by some illusion using technology. Prof. Stuart attempts to prove the statue theory, explaining how it could be made to breathe or speak by means of trickery and illusion. He refers us to the historical example of the Colossi of Memnon in ancient Egypt:

“”It was given to him [the second beast] to communicate breath (πνεῦμα) to the image of the first beast, so that this image might even speak, and might cause that those who did not worship the image of the beast, should be slain,” Rev. 13, 15. Trickery of this sort has long been well known, and often practised. The statute[sic] of Memnon, on the banks of the Nile, as Strabo tells us, was accustomed to utter a melodious sound when the sun rose, and a moaning one when it went down… the cause of this has been discovered only in recent times. It was apparently occasioned by the striking of a stone in the lap of the colossal image, which gave forth the ringing sound.*
How easily the like might be done in regard to other statues… Even the lips of a statue may easily be made to move by machinery nicely adapted to this purpose. Easier still is it to give the statue the appearance of breathing or expiration. A tube connected with the mouth or nostrils, and managed by an adroit person behind the scenes, would make the delusion complete.” (Prof. M. Stuart, The Number of the Beast in the Apocalypse)

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The Colossi of Memnon in 2015

Stuart makes an excellent argument for the beast image being a phony living statue that breathes and speaks. But all of it is based on the assumption that the root word for ‘life’, πνεῦμα (pneuma), can only mean ‘breath’ or ‘current of air’. Strong’s concordance not only defines it as ‘breath,’ but also as “spirit…(by implication) [the] vital principle,” meaning the actual life force that one would usually visualize when reading “he had power to give life unto the image” – the life force in a living, breathing, speaking human being. So once again, a Greek word study, in this case, does not provide us with sufficient proof.

The Beast Will “Give Life Unto” the Image

If the life given to the image of the beast does not represent a breathing/talking statue, then what does it represent? It is interesting how the same exact phrase in English, “give life unto” is only found in one other verse in the Bible, John 6:33. This is where Jesus speaks of the eternal life he gives to the world. The Greek word translated ‘life’ in this verse is a different one, ζωή (zōē), which of course means eternal life. The same word is used in many other places as well, all meaning the eternal life given by Christ (John 6:27, John 10:28, John 17:2, Revelation 21:6).

It should come as no surprise that the Bible uses two different terms for the eternal ‘life’ (zōē) given by God and the counterfeit ‘life’ (pneuma) given by the beast. With God’s gift of eternal life, man is shaped into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29, Colossians 3:10), while Satan’s artificial version of life will be given to the beast image.

If the beast’s power to “give life unto the image” in Revelation 13:15 is understood to be eternal life (or immortality), it will certainly not be anything like the true immorality that God gives to those who believe on His son Jesus. But assuming that the beast will have power to give immortality to the image, and man is the image: what will this man-made, false immortality look like? The answer may lie in the advent of transhumanism.

Ray Kurzweil (appointed as a Director of Engineering at Google in 2012) stated in his 2001 article, The Law of Accelerating Returns, that mankind will soon achieve immortality via the technology of software-based intelligence – the merging of biological man with nonbiological machines, otherwise known as transhumanism.

“Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and non-biological intelligence, immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.” (Ray Kurzweil, The Law of Accelerating Returns)

Dmitry Itskov, founder and chair of 2045 Initiative and president of the Global Future 2045, made a statement in a video interview that affirms Kurzweil’s theories. He said that the next stage of human evolution will be a controlled evolution; a pursuit of technology that enhances the human lifespan by making a new body for the human being.

“Now we are facing the time where [the] unconscious evolution period has almost finished. And we come to the new era when a new period of controlled human evolution can happen. I think that [the] main efforts of their scientists and main technological progress will be concentrated on their making new body for the human being.
So the first step is to make human-like robot, which we call avatar, and to make their perfect control system via brain computer interface.
Their second step will be to develop their system of human brain life support and to connect it to the avatar so disabled people and people who are at the edge of dying can enhance their lifespan.
And the third one… finally making the artificial brain to which we can transfer the individual consciousness. And we have one more project which is actually our dream. It is producing [a] hologram-like avatar body.” (Dmitry Itskov)

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Dmitry Itskov (left) and Ray Kurzweil (Right) at Global Future 2045

Furthermore, Michio Kaku seems to share sentiments with Kurzweil and Itskov. Kaku is a professor of theoretical physics at the City College of New York and CUNY Graduate Center, and author of New York Times best sellers: Physics of the Future (2011), and The Future of the Mind (2014). He also believes the future of technology will be marked by mankind achieving immortality.

My point of view is that in some distant point in the future, when robots do become gradually more intelligent… instead of fearing them, we should either put a chip in their brain to shut them off if they become murderous or we should merge with them. Because our descendants may have a choice: (A) get older and older every year and die, or (B) wake up in an enhanced, genetically enhanced body of silicon and glass and live forever. So if you were faced with that choice: live a decrepit life aging year after year, or be a superman, young, handsome, [inaudible], and immortal, which would you choose?” (Michio Kaku)

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Michio Kaku

Remember what Satan in the form of a serpent said to Eve: “…Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). The beast’s dragon-like speech (Rev. 13:11) that tells the people to make an image (Rev. 13:14) will not only be a message of man’s apotheosis (becoming as gods – Genesis 3:5), but also an empty promise that man can live forever outside of God’s gift of eternal life (John 3:16).

The Worship of the Beast and His Image

As we covered earlier, the worship of the “first beast” (Revelation 13:12), or his “image” (Revelation 13:15), will be indispensable to receiving the mark of the beast. Considering that the beast and his image are two different things, we can expect that the people on earth at that time will be required to pay homage to the beast in one of two ways.

The first requirement for the people to take the mark will be to worship the first beast. In two previous articles, The Antichrist Unveiled and Sea Beast / Earth Beast: Unlocking Revelation 13, we established that the beast is always a symbol of an empire or system of government. And the first beast of Revelation 13 is identified as Rome. This must mean that the worship of the first beast will be a form of statism; the worship of the Roman-style world government. Even though the people will worship the first beast (Rome), we know the second beast will be the one in power by the time of its inception. Because the second beast will “causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast,” and he exercises “all the power of the first beast before him” (Revelation 13:12).

Many people on earth at that time will deny God and pay homage to the world empire in exchange for a guarantee of food on the table, security on the streets, etc. They will obey the dictates of the empire and look to government for their sense of peace and security, hence the worship of the state. It will be much like what occurred in the days of the old Roman Empire under the reign of Nero. Christians were persecuted and killed for many reasons, some being their refusal to offer sacrifices to the Emperor, or to offer incense to his images. They would not because to do so would mean denying their Lord before men (Matthew 10:33).

The second requirement for receiving the mark will be to worship the beast image (Revelation 13:15). Examples of idolatrous image worship are scattered all throughout the scriptures. Many times they were “graven images,” carved idols, or “molten images,” which were idols cast from metal (Isaiah 42:17). The Bible frequently dubs these images the “work of men’s hands” (Psalms 135:15, 2 Kings 19:18, 2 Chronicles 34:25). In contrast, Jesus Christ the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4, Colossians 1:15), was called the “stone” cut out “without hands” when Daniel interpreted a prophetic dream (Daniel 2:45). And Jesus prophesied of his own body being raised from the dead after three days, calling it the temple “made without hands” (Mark 14:58).

Seeing that the beast will say to “…them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast…” (Revelation 13:14), we obviously know the beast image will be the work of men, like the graven and molten idols. At the same time, there is absolutely nothing in the text to suggest the beast image will be molten or graven from sculptors’ material of any kind. The fact that the image will “both speak, and cause” others to worship it (Revelation 13:15) strongly suggests that it will be human, evidenced by its ability to communicate. But if the image is simply a man, there still exists a problem with our interpretation: a man cannot be the work of men’s hands; otherwise he is not ‘man’ (אָדָם in Hebrew transliterated ‘Adam,’ God’s creation). The man image that people will worship would, therefore, have to be an enhanced or perfected state of man’s physical form, or intelligence – both of which are the work of man. And as we covered earlier, the fact that the beast will “give life unto” the image implies it has something to do with mankind’s pursuit of immortality.

Nazi Germany was an obvious example of this type of man image worship. On the surface, the rise of the Nazi Party (the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, NSDAP) resulted in a worship of the state, in that the Fuhrer’s following regarded him as a type of messianic figure. But at its core was a religious order that aimed to perfect humanity into a super race.

waffenssexample_big“”We do not want to have any other god, only Germany,” proclaims Adolph Hitler, and in the doctrine of National Socialism, Germany is the race. Already the priesthood of the Aryan empire of the future is in the process of creation. It is to come the mystical brotherhood of the SS.” (From the documentary, The Occult History of the Third Reich, Part One: The Enigma of the Swastika, narrated by Patrick Allen, 1992)

So chillingly similar is how the beast will (1) mark those who worship “the beast” (2) and “his image” (Revelation 14:9) and (3) kill those who will not comply. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf that his future for Germany would also be divided into three social categories: the “founders” of the race, the “maintainers,” and the “destroyers of culture.” The “destroyers” he spoke of were the Jews, Christians and others who stood in the way of the plan and met the terrible fate that is known to history.

“If we divide the human race into three categories: founders, maintainers and destroyers of culture, the Aryan stock alone can be considered to represent the first category.” (Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf)

Counting the Number of the Beast (666)

Our last question yet remains unanswered: what is the meaning of the number of the beast? Albert Ernest Stafford Smythe, co-founder and president of the first Toronto branch of the Theosophical Society, wrote an extraordinary admission of what the number means in the world of occultism. Theosophy – an esoteric movement founded in the late 19th century combining religion, philosophy and occult sciences – is not to be considered an authority on interpreting the Bible, because of its anti-Christian foundation. Nonetheless, it is worth noting what the occult world believes the number to mean; because it is after all the number of antichrist.

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Beginning in 1910, Smythe wrote hundreds of columns under the title Crusts and Crumbs, many of them with the intent to proselytize for the cause of the movement. In his January 26, 1918 issue, he wrote:

“Hence the absurd efforts, for example, made in every generation to identify the ‘beast’ of the book of Revelation whose number is 666, a figure recognized long before Christianity in the Pythagorean table of numbers which is based on magic squares, and indicates the key numbers of evolution. It evidently refers to the critical state when the evolution of the animal passes over into the human, a stage of transmutation.” (Albert Ernest Stafford [Smythe] – from his column Crusts and Crumbs, January 26, 1918 issue of Theosophical Outlook)

It is not our purpose to learn every detail about the kabbalistic science of numbers mentioned by Smythe. At the same time, he made an important admission in his attempt to dazzle the readers with hidden knowledge. He said the number 666 indicates the stage of “transmutation” when the animal passes over into the human. The transmutation he spoke of is not the natural biological evolution of an animal changing to human. This transmutation is a practice in Philosophical Alchemy; an initiatory practice of transforming the animal in man (the lower self) into what they believe it really means to be human (the higher self), becoming as a god.

Deborah Harkness, an American historian, confirms this to be true as she writes about the 16th-century occultist, John Dee. Here is what she says about the purpose of transmutation in philosophical alchemy:

“Dee linked the seven rotations or revolutions in the alchemical process of transmutation to the ultimate goal of philosophical alchemy: the divinization of the alchemist. While ‘vulgar’ alchemy was concerned only with the material transformation of base metals into silver and then gold, ‘philosophical’ alchemy attempted to transform the alchemist’s soul from human to divine.” (Deborah E. Harkness, John Dee’s Conversations with Angels: Cabala, Alchemy, and the End of Nature)

An article published in the Jan. 1920 issue of The New Age Magazine quoted another occultist magazine titled Azoth. Therein it referenced the work of James M. Pryse, The Apocalypse Unsealed. James Morgan Pryse, another Theosophist, puts forward virtually the same admission made by Smythe:

“”Azoth,” a magazine devoted to mysticism and occultism, printed the following on “The Mark of the Beast” (August, 1917): …Mr. James M. Pryse, in his book, The Apocalypse Unsealed, has very clearly shown that the whole story is of man’s regeneration, and the stages of initiation upon the path to illumination or Christhood. The number 666, as this gifted author points out, is but the value of the letters composing the Greek words, Hé phrén, meaning the lower mind of man, which is the Beast to be conquered.” (A Corner of the Library: The Mystical Relations of Numbers and LettersThe New Age Magazine, January 1920)

Again we see the number 666 associated with transforming man’s animal nature (“the beast to be conquered”) into a state of becoming like god. Here he calls the god-like state “Christhood,” a heightened state of mind known to the New Age movement as the Christ Consciousness. It is a concept that carries the messianic title of Christ but in fact, has no biblical basis other than how it perverts the teachings of Christ. The only doctrine in the Bible that could parallel with the Christ Consciousness is the doctrine of antichrist (1 John 2:22). It is based on a belief that Jesus was not God; that he was only an illuminated master of the ancient mysteries who taught us how to perfect the mind (which they believe is the soul). The spirit of antichrist (1 John 4:3) denies that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God who “is come in the flesh.” And what better example of antichrist is anyone who claims to have attained a status equal to Jesus Christ?

Conclusion

So the number of the beast, as it relates to the lie told by Satan (the serpent) in the Garden of Eden (“…and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5) has much to do with the universal esoteric philosophy of men becoming as gods. We provided clear examples of this philosophy in our present world, and this is the extent of what we conclude on the matter. As we showed earlier as well, the image of the beast shares this same relation with Satan’s lie to mankind. In coming to this conclusion, we are not exempt from error. But until there is reason to believe otherwise, the premise remains as is. If any reader can make known a better way of understanding the scriptures, let them speak. But let us not have conjecture instead of argument, nor private interpretations in the place of illustrations from analogy and history. Most of all, let the Holy Spirit continue to lead us to a greater understanding of God’s Word. Amen.

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The Antichrist Unveiled

Scripture provides evidence that the man of sin and the son of perdition are synonymous with the antichrist. These are all three titles signifying a man who denies that Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7, KJV), thereby denying the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22, KJV). The beast (equated with a horn or a king/kingdom) found in the prophetic writings of the Bible may correctly be labeled antichrist because it is characterized spiritually by its denial of God’s divinity (Daniel 11:36, KJV; Revelation 13:4-6, KJV) – this being no different from the character of the antichrist spirit (1 John 4:3, KJV).

In this article, we will embark on a quest to remove the veil of confusion surrounding the antichrist. The aim is not to project a prophetic insight into the future or a personal interpretation of symbols in the apocalyptic language. You will not find that here. The purpose of this article is to make light of how the prophecies relate the antichrist to the man of sin, the son of perdition, and the various beasts. My wish is to allow the Bible to interpret itself, but I have also injected some of my own reasoning. I encourage you to search the scriptures and verify whether or not my logic is correct.

The Antichrist by Definition

There are only four verses in the Bible that mention the term, antichrist. These are contained in the two books of 1 John and 2 John (1 John 2:18,22, KJV; 1 John 4:3, KJV; 2 John 1:7, KJV). Given that the Bible is the inspired word of God, these four verses state four indisputable facts about the antichrist:

1. There are many antichrists.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18)

2. An antichrist is defined as anyone who “denieth the Father and the Son” or all “who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.”

“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22)

“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

3. There were already many antichrists in the world, even as early as the first century when the epistles of John were written.

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7)

4. There is a “spirit of antichrist” which was also in the world already. This spirit is defined as “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh”.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3)

So, how can the antichrist be one man, but also many? What are the implications of the plurality of this antichrist? The fact that there are many antichrists in the world already poses a contradiction to the conventional idea of it representing only one world leader in the future – if we are true to the text. The truth is, the antichrist (strictly speaking of the term used in 1 John and 2 John) is not only one man. The antichrist is a spirit that indwells any person or group/system of people that rejects the core doctrine of the Christian faith – that Jesus is the Son of God who “is come in the flesh”(1 John 4:3, KJV). This is why the Bible says there are “many antichrists” (1 John 2:18, KJV; 2 John 1:7, KJV).

As I explained in a previous article, The Antichrist Temple Revealed, the human body is the temple of the antichrist spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:4, KJV). A man possesses that spirit when he denies Christ, thereby dethroning God in his own mind. From a biblical standpoint, this man leaves room in his heart for no other god but himself, because there is only one true God.

The Antichrist and the Beast

And this leads us to how the antichrist relates to the beast in scripture. The king demonstrates the same denial of God’s divinity in Daniel 11 and the beast in Revelation 13. (I will explain more later how a “king,” a “beast,” and a “horn” can all represent a government or a kingdom.)

“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.” (Daniel 11:36)

“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 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. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Revelation 13:4-6)

The common characteristic that unifies the beast and the antichrist is found in the behavior of the beast. The blasphemy committed by the beast – when he speaks great things and exalts himself above God – is a manifestation of the antichrist spirit in him. His relationship to the antichrist is spiritual.

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist…” (1 John 4:3)

We have already gone over the definition of antichrist, and the spiritual relationship it has with the beast. But, what is the beast? Concerning the apocalyptic language used in the prophetic books of the Bible, the beast is a symbol for a king or a kingdom – specifically a kingdom that opposes God and Jesus Christ – an antichrist kingdom. There is evidence of this found in Daniel 7:16-17. Here, Daniel starts out by saying the four beasts in a dream “are four kings,” but further clarifies in verse 23 that the four beasts also represent four “kingdoms.”

“I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.” (Daniel 7:16-17)

“Thus he said, the fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” (Daniel 7:23)

The Four Beasts and Four Horns of Daniel and Zechariah

The four symbolic beasts written about in the book of Daniel are well known to be the historic empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (not to be confused with the four beasts in the midst of God’s throne). These same four beasts are also in the first chapter of Zechariah. History has long confirmed that these four gentile empires were the four horns that scattered the Jews. It is known to historians as the Jewish Diaspora (“diaspora” = “dispersion, scattering”).

“Then lifted I up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me, What be these? And he answered me, These are the horns which have scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 1:18-19)

The “four horns” prophesied in Zechariah 1 could literally be interchangeable with “four kings” or “four beasts,” (not that we would want to interchange words) because the Bible consistently uses symbolic imagery of horns to prophesy of kings. And as I mentioned earlier, a beast can signify either a king or a kingdom (Daniel 7:17, 23, KJV). Quoted below are two of the most explicit examples where horns represent kings.

“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” (Daniel 7:24)

“And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.” (Revelation 17:12)

So the four beast kingdoms that scattered the Jews all rose and fell long ago. Rome became the fourth to scatter them when it crushed the Jerusalem Temple to pieces in 70 AD. However, the Roman Empire did not altogether fall in 476 AD like much of mainline history gives account. As the pseudonymous author John Daniel wrote in his book, Scarlet and the Beast, the Roman Empire continued to reign as the Holy Roman Empire long after its fall.

“We could possibly understand the fourth horn mentioned by Zechariah as indeed the horn of the Roman Empire. But of Rome, as it extended to medieval Europe where the old Roman Empire became known as the ‘Holy Roman Empire’, Europe’s Babylonian system of united church and state continued to be governed [spiritually, at least] by Rome.” (Scarlet and the Beast by John Daniel)

This beast, identified as Rome, is further described in Daniel 7:7 as having ten horns of its own. Revelation 13 describes two more beasts: one “having seven heads and ten horns” which did “rise up out of the sea,” and another after it that “had two horns like a lamb” which was “coming up out of the earth.” The first of these two beasts – the one which rose up out of the sea – had one of his heads “wounded to death” and “his deadly wound was healed.” Some researchers believe the deadly head wound (Revelation 13:3,12, KJV) represents the fall of Rome, and his healed wound was the continuation of the Holy Roman Empire. It’s an interesting interpretation, but I cannot say for sure if it’s correct.

The Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition

As for the ‘man of sin’ and ‘son of perdition,’ there is no denying that these two names are both synonymous with each other. The proof text for this is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. You can see the two names are stated back to back, as in listing two titles for the same person.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

So they are no doubt the same, but are the man of sin and the son of perdition the same as the antichrist? We’ve already established that there are many antichrists, meaning there is a spirit of antichrist that dwells in many people. There is no indication that the Bible uses the word, antichrist, to refer to only one person. So how can the son of perdition be the same as the many antichrists? There is only one son of perdition. Right?

Wrong.

In the 17th chapter of John, Jesus is praying to the Father. This entire chapter is known as the High Priestly Prayer. Starting from John 17:2, you may notice a common thread throughout the chapter. He repeatedly mentions how believers in Christ are given to Him by the Father. When we reach John 17:12, Christ is still praying about believers, referring to them as “those that thou gavest me.” In this verse, Christ also states in prayer that “none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12)

Keep in mind that the context of this entire chapter is Jesus praying about all of his believers. We can be sure that He is not only talking about the twelve disciples – even though the previous chapter is a conversation between Him and his disciples, and that John 17:9 may sound like his prayer is exclusively for them. We can be confident that He prayed for all believers because of what He said in verse 20.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;” (John 17:20)

It appears as if Jesus was so thoughtful as to include this identifying statement for anyone who might ask the question, ‘who was he praying for?’ He was not only praying “for these alone” (the disciples who were near him at that moment), but “for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” This is important because it further identifies who He was talking about earlier in John 17:12 when he said, “…and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition…” He was not only talking about his disciples, and the son of perdition was not only Judas Iscariot, the lost one of the twelve. The son of perdition is not only one man, and there is not only one man in the world who is lost. All who are not in Christ are lost. The same is true about all who possess the spirit of antichrist. Every man who denies the Father and the Son, or confesses not that Jesus came in the flesh, is an antichrist. He is the man of sin and the son of perdition.

Some may still argue that Jesus was only talking about Judas Iscariot when he mentioned the son of perdition. This could be said because it is true that he was the only lost one of the disciples, and his betrayal of Jesus took place so “that the scripture might be fulfilled.” My final argument against this is simple: the apostle Paul talks about the revealing of the son of perdition in as a future occurrence (2 Thessalonians 2:3). And Paul wrote his epistle to the Thessalonians long after Judas Iscariot’s death. Therefore, the son of perdition cannot be only a title for Judas. Jesus may have been calling Judas an antichrist when he mentioned the son of perdition in John 17:12, but Paul was certainly not speaking of Judas in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

Scripture provides evidence that the man of sin and the son of perdition are synonymous with the antichrist. These are all three titles of a man who denies that Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7, KJV), thereby denying the Father and the Son (1 John 2:22, KJV). The beast (equated with a horn or a king/kingdom) found in the prophetic writings of the Bible may correctly be labeled antichrist because it is characterized spiritually by its denial of God’s divinity (Daniel 11:36, KJV; Revelation 13:4-6, KJV) – this being no different from the character of the antichrist spirit (1 John 4:3, KJV).