You probably have studied the Book of Revelation many times by now, and have read many commentaries and books on it. So have I. And every time I did, a little bit of veil was removed and more dots were connected. But, what produced the most fruit has always been my own verse-by-verse, and word-by-word, study of the book, going to and fro all over the Bible as well to make sense of phrases and sentences. Recently caught my attention was, the term, “the Bottomless Pit,” which appears throughout the Book of Revelation. I wanted to know what the phrase really meant and understand it in more depth. I felt that it was pointing to something, and thought it might give me a better perspective of the story progression of the book, connecting events and characters making them more clearly identifiable. I am glad I pursued it.
This article will show you who and what “the beast” that comes out of “the Bottomless Pit,” how it is connected with the forth beast in Daniel 7, and how these two beasts merge with each other to form more complete image of “the beast,” which is the Anti-Christ, in the Book of Revelation. Furthermore, I will present what “the beast” will finally become and what role it will play in the Last Days. And, it is also my hope that this article will help you understand how studying key words in the Bible can help us to unlock many mysteries that are encoded in it.
It may be a slightly tedious process in the beginning, but I encourage you to stick to it. The knowledge will build up nicely. I hope that the following menu system will also help you navigate the page according to your needs.
The Book of Revelation is not an easy book to decipher. I am sure you would agree with me on this. There are many words and phrases that we need to have the knowledge of from throughout the Old Testament. Without them, we would not be able to understand majority of the mysterious words and expressions in the Book of Revelation. I usually call them, “code words.” It is my own term. It does not mean they are esoteric and “secret” words, but we can learn them by studying the Bible. Those who are familiar with my writing know that it is one of my favorite things to do, to find code words in the Scripture. They are not allegorical expressions either, because their meanings are defined by the Scripture and not by our imagination. Furthermore, they are not spiritual symbolism either, but are key words that carry actual prophetic meanings, which can be translated into literal events. They are woven into the Scripture like threads, surfacing at key points to connect and relate things and events. I call them “code words” because, when I find one, I feel as if YHVH has granted me a key code to unlock a mystery He had hidden in the Bible. With the knowledge of the “code words,” deciphering the biblical prophecies becomes much easier and more fruitful. I am sure you have heard the saying: “The Bible interprets itself.” That is what I am talking about.
For example, the word, “woman,” implies a body or a group of people which is united by their religious beliefs. Most famously, Israel is likened to a woman in Revelation 12:1, who gave birth to a male child, the Messiah. The Church is also likened to the bride of the Messiah, and especially in this case, she actually is going to re-marry Him (“Why Yeshua Had To Die” – Part 4: Messiah’s Marriage and Divorce). There are numerous examples throughout the Bible.
Also, some key words give us the hint for the timing of the events, and they are often according to the agricultural cycle and the Feasts of YHVH. A good example would be the “barley” and “wheat” harvesting time, and the “grape” harvesting time; when you see barley mentioned, you are looking at the time of the firstfruits, after the Pesach in spring, and wheat implies the time of Shavuot, early summer, and the grapes is the time of Tabernacle, autumn. I will not get in to a detailed discussion, but all these timings also have specific prophetic meanings for people groups, and literal events, in the Last Days also.
A third example may be the “titles” of YHVH and characters that appear in the Bible, such as the Ant-Christ. “The Son of God” (Dan 3:25; Jn 1:49, et al.), “the Son of Man” (Dan 7:13; Rev 1:13 et al.), “the Branch” (Is 4:2; Zec 3:8; et al.), who comes “on the cloud” (Dan 3:25; Lk 21:27; Rev 14:14-16), and many more, are identifying the Messiah. “The little horn” (Dan 7:8; 8:9), “the man of sin” (2 Th 2:3), the “prince who is to come” (Dan 9:26), and more, are the Anti-Christ. And, “the beast” is one of the main titles for him in the Book of Revelation. Satan also has many titles as you all know, such as “the serpent” (Gen 3:1; Rev 20:2: et al.), “dragon” (Rev 12:3, 4; et al.), “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2) to list a few. They are not just names, but are also describing their attributes, characters, and actions, and what they really are and will be in the future.
In this article, we will learn about a unique code term, “the Bottomless Pit,” which appears only in the Book of Revelation as I understand, and is not directly related to any obvious word or terms in the Old Testament. Probably, there are some hints or allusions in the Old Testament, but I have not been able to find exactly the same word or the term used in the same manner at least yet. Nonetheless, it seems to have its own clearly definable function in the Book of Revelation itself, on which we are going to focus in this article. And, when we understand the role and the purpose given to this term in the book, it is a tremendous help in understanding the time sequence of the events, and in identifying the character, “the beast,” to which the term is attached, even helping to connect it with other parts of the Bible.
The “Bottomless Pit,” a combination word that appears in the Book of Revelation (Rev 9:1; 9:2; 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1; 20:3), is translated as such in KJV, NKJV, and in many other popular versions. It is also translated as “the shaft of the abyss” in NIV, and “the pit of abyss” in ASV, YLT and Darby. The NKJV is used for the scriptural references in this article.
The original Greek words are:
“abyss” (ἄβυσσος; abyssos); <G12>
3) the abyss
a) the pit
b) the immeasurable depth
c) of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons
(Used in Lk 8:31; Ro 10:7; Rev 9:1; 9:2; 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1; 20:3)
“pit” (φρέαρ; phrear); <G5421>
1) a well
2) the pit of the abyss (because the nether world is thought to increase in size the further it extends from the surface of the earth and so resemble a cistern, the orifice of which is narrow)
(Used in Lk 14:5; Jn 4:11; 4:12; Rev 9:1; 9:2; 9:11; 11:7;17:8;20:1; 20:3)
The word, “abyss” (ἄβυσσος; abyssos), seems to be a relatively unique word for the Book of Revelation. Only place other than in Revelation where it is used, in a similar sense, is in Luke 8:31 (which will be discussed below). The usage in Romans 10:7 is a very different one as it is a translation from Deuteronomy 30:14, where the Hebrew Word, יָם “yam” <H3220>, which means “sea,” was translated to the Greek word, “ἄβυσσος; abyssos,” as “the deep,” according to an alternative meaning of the word. It is not used in the same context as in Revelation. Nevertheless, it also has the same implications: very deep and bottomless.
I have also checked similar words in the Old Testament and found the word, תְּהוֹם “tehom” <H8415>, having the closest meaning to “ἄβυσσος, abyssos.” But, it does not seem to be related to hell and demons in most cases, meaning 35 out of 36 occurrences. Only in Ezekiel 31:15-18, the same word is used to mean the place deep in earth where the dead dwell. But, it is still not the same way as it is used in Revelation; it is not the special place to imprison fallen angles and demons.
“Abyss” in the New Testament
How about Luke 8:31, where the word “abyss” is used? It is the famous account of the demon-possessed man in Gadarenes:
(28) When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” (29) For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. (30) Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. 31And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.
Demons are seriously afraid of being sent to “the abyss,” we can tell from this account.
We also know that YHVH put away and imprisoned fallen angels that crossed the boundaries He defined for them, which actually means that they had carnal relationships with human females, which produced giants called “Nephilim” (Gen 6:4; The Book of Enoch). Jude explains:
And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
Let us summarize: We see so far that the word “abyss” is used in a few places in the New Testament, but it appears that the phrase, “the bottomless pit” or “the shaft of the abyss,” is not used other than in the Book of Revelation. We can safely say, therefore; that the terminology, “the Bottomless Pit,” is exclusively used in the Book of Revelation. It is a special terminology for this particular book (this is one of the reasons why I was intrigued by this term). And the nature of it seems to be self-explanatory, although imagining how it may be is another thing. In addition, according to Luke 8:31 and Jude 1:6, it is where some misbehaving fallen angels and demons are sent and kept in chain by YHVH at His will, and it is from where the demons beg to stay out with trembling. The worst of the worst are there.
In the Book of Revelation
Now, let us look at the usage of the term in Revelation. There are 7 occurrences starting from the 5th Trumpet, where the Great Tribulation begins, in my opinion (more explanation later).
But, first, let us be aware of the backdrop of all the things we will discuss in this article: We are in the Last Days. Specifically, the time period on which we are focusing is the Last Week of Daniel 9:27, which is prophesied to be completed in the Last Days, which is still to come. Biblically, “a week” could mean 7 days, 7 years, or 7,000 years, and in this case, the Last Week is a 7-year period. It has been traditionally called the “Tribulation” period. But, it is not very accurate, because the Great Tribulation will be the last 3-1/2 years of it. So, let us call it “the Last Week” or “the 7-year period” to avoid the confusion. For more detailed definition of it, please read my other article on the topic: The Last Week of Daniel 9:27: Beginning in 2017?
The first appearance of the term, “the Bottomless Pit”:
Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit.
“A star fallen from heaven to the earth”: A star is called “him,” and the word, “star,” in the Bible, often is a code word for “angel,” and he fell from heaven to earth. Who is an angel who fell from heaven to earth? It sounds like Satan to me. That is another code word that identifies Satan. So, the key to the Bottomless Pit was given to Satan.
And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit.
Then, as he opens “the Bottomless Pit,” it kicks off the Great Tribulation. Great smoke arises from the pit, and the locusts of fierce appearances along with it (Rev 9:3-10), tormenting men who do not have the seal of God. And the “king” of the locusts also has names.
And they had as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.
So, Satan has now released another angel, a fallen angel, “the angels of the bottomless pit,” also called “Abaddon/Apollyon,” which is the “king” of the locusts, which are probably demonic or hybrid beings.
Names of the Angel
“Abaddon” אֲבַדּוֹן <H11>, means “place of destruction” and “perdition.” There is only one place in the Old Testament where the same word is used, in Job 31:12. It is nearly synonymous to “sheol” שְׁאוֹל <H7585>, which means “grave,” “hell,” “pit,” and “underworld.” According to the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon, it also means “abyss”:
I believe, this is the same Hebrew word for “the bottomless pit” in Revelation, therefore; it is the name of the fallen angel, the evil spiritual being that was just released from the abyss.
“Apollyon” (Ἀπολλύων) <G623> means “destroyer.” It seems that this is what this evil spirit is specializes in: destroying.
The fallen angle that represents the place of destruction, perdition, and hell, and who specializes in destroying, has just come out from the pit, and with it, the smoke and the locusts, out of the underworld.
Moving on . . . , and after Chapter 9, where the term next appears is in Chapter 11. “They” in this verse is the Two Witnesses who are first described in this chapter.
When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
This is a verse from the passage where the Two Witnesses’ ministry is described (Rev 11:3-13). “The angel of the bottomless pit,” “Abaddon/Apollyon,” is now called “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” in this passage, and it is allowed to overcome the Two Witnesses. We can say they are the same angel because the same term as in Revelation 9:11, “the bottomless pit,” is attached to it. The term is used as an identifier here. Also, after this point, the Anti-Christ and “the beast” will become synonymous as we read on, except when “another beast,” the false prophet, appears on the scene also out of the earth in Rev 13:11. But, let us focus on the first beast for now.
The event in Revelation 9:2 and this event in Revelation 11:7 … these 2 events are connected and the same. It will be explained more in detail as you read on.
Please also notice that this is the first time the word, “the beast,” is used in the Book of Revelation. It is not well defined yet, but as we follow this name, “the beast,” along in the book, its identity will become better defined and more information will be added to it. For now, we know that it is a fallen angel that was released from “the Bottomless Pit” at the 5th Trumpet, and will kill the Two Witnesses at some point in the Last Week (7 years) of Daniel 9:27 (the 70th Week). That is the time period all these things are happening.
The Beast = Anti-Christ
You may be saying to yourself, “But, I thought it was the Anti-Christ that would kill the Two Witnesses . . . ??”
You are correct! Who else is going to do that but the Ant-Christ? Absolutely. So, how is it that this fallen angel, which is a “spirit,” is said to do it in this verse . . ?
It is because the person of the Anti-Christ will be controlled, or possessed, by this spiritual being from that point on. It will be the person of the Anti-Christ controlled by “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” who will war against the Two Witnesses and defeat them.
|The man of Anti-Christ + the angles of the bottomless pit
=> THE BEAST
This possession of “a man” by the spirit called “the beast” is prophesied in Daniel:
Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him.
This verse is from the account of Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon’s vision where an angel decrees his judgment for his pride and blasphemy. The immediate fulfillment came 12 months later, and he became like a beast with overgrown hair and nails, and roamed around the grass field like an ox (Dan 4:28-33). In addition, there is a prophetic meaning to this vision for the end-time future. A man is to become like a beast, which is an evil spirit. “Seven times” means 7 years, which is alluding to the Last Week of Daniel 9:27, during which the Anti-Christ is allowed to behave as he wishes. That is the time period the Book of Revelation, especially after Chapter 4, is mainly discussing.
There is another allusion, or implication, for the demonic possession of the Anti-Christ figure in Daniel:
(24) His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power; He shall destroy fearfully, And shall prosper and thrive; He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. (25) “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; And he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; But he shall be broken without human means.
Here, in this passage, the timing of his demonic empowerment is associated with his dominating and destructive behavior, even against “the holy people.” He will get supernaturally evil at this point, greatly surpassing his original evil nature. This short passage is also one of the many descriptions of the Great Tribulation we find throughout the Bible, and here, the events, which will unfold in the period of 3-1/2 years plus 10 days, are neatly packed in a nutshell. But, it is clear: His end will come by the power of YHVH, the Messiah, and not by human means.
In Relation to the Timing of the Two Witnesses
In the Middle of the Week
Now, I would like you be clear that Satan and “the beast” are not the same spirit. “The beast” is a fallen angel, which was released by Satan in Revelation 9:1. And, the timing of which is when the Two Witnesses are finished with their 1260-day mission (Rev 11:3). The term, “the Bottomless Pit,” connects the two events, indicating that the beginning of the Great Tribulation, when this Abaddon/Apollyon will rise out of the pit, is the same as when “the beast” rises out of the pit and wars against the Witnesses (Rev 11:7). It is also when “the abomination of desolation” will be placed in the sanctuary (Dan 11:31; 12:11), as our Lord Yeshua spoke of during the Olivet Discourse (Mat 24:15; Mk 13:14). This is in accordance with Daniel 9:27 that says it will be “in the middle of the week.” We can discern from what our Lord told His disciples, “flee immediately,” that the behavior of the Anti-Christ will turn much worse and deadly at this time.
I realize that I condensed as much material as it could fill a book in the previous paragraph. But, my main point I would like the reader to take away from it is that, at one point in the Last Days, there will be this event, where this fallen angle called, “the beast,” will enter into the person of the Anti-Christ. And, at that point, this Anti-Christ figure becomes the evilest man on earth and the most destructive ruler in the entire history of the mankind, taking over Israel and the Middle East with his unprecedented destructive power, and after 3-1/2 years of rampage, he will be brought to his own destruction by the power of YHVH. This rise of “the beast,” I believe, is the beginning of the Great Tribulation, which our Lord Yeshua warned us about as the horrible day to come. And, I also believe it is “in the middle of the week,” mentioned in Daniel 9:27. In this case, the term, “the abomination of desolation” connects these two passages, meaning, it will be placed in the sanctuary “in the middle of the week” of Daniel 9:27, and that is the exact timing Yeshua told His disciples to flee when they “see ‘the abomination of desolation’ spoken by Daniel the prophet” (Mat 24:15). They are the same events.
(Update: The Book of Revelation: Timelines Sequences of the Seals, Trumpet, and Bowls and Video published)
The Beast, Two Witnesses, and Great Tribulation
Returning to the timing relationship between the beginning of the Great Tribulation and the end of the Two Witnesses’ ministry, I realize that some of the readers many not agree with my assertion that they are practically at the same timing. Actually, some believe that the Witnesses will be killed at “the end” of the Great Tribulation. This idea seems to be based on the fact that, in the text, the death and resurrection of the Witnesses are followed by the 7th Trumpet (Rev 11:15), which appears to be the end of the Great Tribulation. But, let me assert that the text is not strictly linear in chronology. The prophecies in the Bible are not usually written in linear formats, but are often layered like cascades, which we need to reveal layer-by-layer with much care. We need to take all the information we can gather to determine the time sequence, and not simply by the location the event is written. That is why it is crucial to understand this terminology, “the Bottomless Pit,” and how it is used in the Scripture, because, as you will see, it helps us to connect the timing of the events written in different places in the text. And, that is what I am trying to show in this article. We have just discussed in regards to “the abomination of desolation” as a good example.
The term, “the Bottomless Pit,” in the case of the Book of Revelation, is a timing connector, as well as an identifier and definer of the Anti-Christ, and according to what we have discovered so far, the term, “the Bottomless Pit,” is indicating that the beginning of the Great Tribulation is the same timing as the Two Witnesses are to be killed by “the beast,” which is supposed to rise out of the pit at that timing. That is when they collide.
To rephrase it, when “the angel of the bottomless pit” is released (Rev 9:2), the Great Tribulation begins, and that is the exact time when “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” (11:7) first appears and enters into the person of the Anti-Christ, and wars against the Two Witnesses, and then, it will be allowed to defeat the Witnesses. The name of the sprit changes from “the angel” to ”the beast” when it becomes one with the Anti-Christ, a man, because that is when it starts its function as “the beast,” right then.
Since this is a somewhat controversial issue, I am presenting three more supportive evidences below, and summarizing it with a graphic aid.
The Two Witnesses will be appearing in the first half of the Last Week, because ….
Let us examine the two verses, Revelation 9:11 and 11:7, from a slightly different angle. It was “the angel of the bottomless pit,” in 9:11, and it becomes “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” in 11:7, with a new action verve, “ascend,” ἀναβαίνω, (anabainō) <G305>, which also means, “go up” and “spring up.” This contains the meaning of “it is happening at that point.” Instead of “ascends,” something like, “will be ascending,” might have been closer to the actual meaning in Greek, and an addition of a phrase, “at that time,” might have helped even more . . , it is just my opinion, however. But, it certainly is not “ascended” or “has ascended,” is it? It might be helpful to highlight what I am suggesting to clarify my points.
Starting with the original Scripture in the NKJV:
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.”
Instead of the above, with my suggestions, Revelation 11:7 might have been expressed in this way:
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that will be ascending out of the bottomless pit, at that time, will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.” (my addition in Italic)
I am no Greek scholar. So, instead of explaining Greek grammar without expertise, I will present a copy of the verse from a Greek Interlinear Bible. Please notice the 10th word of the verse, “ANABAINON” <G305>, is translated as “one-ascending” or “one-up-stepping,” as it is a “Present Active” verb:
So … it is happening right at that time, at the mid point of the Last Week. And, that is when the Two Witnesses will be overcome by the beast.
Further supporting the argument, when the same verb, “ascend,” is used in Revelation 17:8, which is the only place it is used other than in 11:7, it is in a future tense: “will ascend,” describing it as a future event, because when John saw the vision, the event had not happened yet, nor was it happening at the time of the vision. Let us look at the usage of the verb:
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. ….
Also, the event in 11:7 had not happened yet either, albeit a “Present Active” verb is intentionally used there. It suggests that the action verve in 11:7, ἀναβαίνω, (anabainō), is purposefully used, rather than in the future tense, to show that “the beast” is actually ascending at that point in time.
Another important supportive evidence for the Two Witnesses’ mission being in the first half of the Last Week, and not in the last half, is the prophetic meaning of their death and resurrection. They, who represent “the Two Olive Trees,” which are the Houses of Israel and Judah, will be dead for 3-1/2 days on the street of Jerusalem (Rev 11:9), corresponding the time period of the Israel’s death during the Great Tribulation, that is 3-1/2 years. Their main mission will be to “warn” people of the impending tribulation, calling for repentance, and their death and resurrection will be the sign for the beginning of the Great Tribulation, so it must happen “before” the Great Tribulation. It is to prophesy how long it will last and the fact that the renewed Israel will be also resurrected by the power of YHVH. Or, their death would be meaningless.
I discussed this in much more detail in two sections of another article: 1) One New Man; 2) The Last Week of Daniel 9:27: Beginning in 2017? Especially, when you read the second article in its entirety, it may also help you to have a better perspective of it in relation to the 7-year period.
Please also watch the Revelation Timeline video for graphic presentation.
I envision the Last Week of Daniel 9:27, which is also called the 70th Week of Daniel 9:24, in a way that is expressed in the following diagram. And, “in the middle of the week” (Dan 9:27), “the beast” will ascend out of the pit (Rev 9:2, 11) to war against the Two Witnesses (Rev 11:7):
Between the Books of Revelation and Daniel
Returning to the main theme of this article . . . Now, 6 chapters later, after the account that describes the Mystery Babylon, the term, “the Bottomless Pit,” is used for the 5th time. We could call the previous appearances of the term as introductions of “the beast,” setting up the stage for it to be fully revealed.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
We know by now, by the identifying phrase, “will ascend out of the bottomless pit,” this name, “the beast,” in the beginning of the sentence is the same “the beast” we have been following. And, in this verse, there is another identifying and descriptive term, “go to perdition,” is added, which you will see again later, and some more encoded information about it. Don’t worry, because we will crack the codes later.
Let us begin that by first going back a little in the book, and study more about “the beast” in Chapter 13. Remember, the “layers” and “cascade” of prophecies?
The beast is described without the term, “the Bottomless Pit,” in Chapter 13. The reason for this seems to be that “the beast” is connected by other code words to the “four beasts” in Daniel 7. Then, after that, this beast in Daniel 7 will be merged with “the beast” of Revelation by all the code words used in both locations. Of course, I will show you how it is done in the following sections. I will do my best. It always excites me to find this kind of hidden (meaning not so easy to find) connections between the books and encoded hints in the Bible. It is my hope that you will feel the same excitement as you see what I see.
First, let us read the beginning of Chapter 13:
(1) Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. (2) Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
Now, “the beast,” which was simply described as that which “ascends out of the bottomless pit” in Revelation 11:7 started looking like some kind of a “mystical monster” here, with 7 heads, 10 horns, and like a leopard, a bear, and a lion. But, in the minds of those who study the biblical prophecies, immediately flashes is the image of the 4 beasts in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 7.
I will break up the passage below to make it easier for the reader to identify different beasts. And, please keep in mind, this following passage is from Daniel in the Old Testament, not from Revelation we have been studying. The scene is changing for a section. And, there are 4 different beasts described. Let us see how similar they are with “the beast” of Revelation.
I have prepared a table comparing the two passages side-by-side. If you wish, you can download a PDF file posted at the end of this section (scroll down just a bit) for your aid as you follow my commentaries.
“And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
#1: (4)”The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
#2: (5) “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’
#3: (6) “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
#4: (7) “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. (8) “I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words.
Obviously, these 2 passages, Revelation 13:1-2 and Daniel 7:3-8, are talking about something very similar. Both are coming out of the sea (multitude of people), have lion (#1), bear (#2), and leopard (#3) in them. Then, the beast #4 has 10 horns, plus “a little horn,” which seems to turn into a human like figure with eyes of a man and a pompous mouth. A “horn” in prophetic scriptures means power, authority, and particularly in Daniel and Revelation, a prince of demons, which is a principality, such as the “prince of Persia” in Daniel 10:20. It is also interpreted by the Bible itself in Revelation 9:2 and 11, where “the angel of the bottomless pit” is called “king,” and in 17:10-12, the 10 horns as “ten kings.” But, the “little horn,” the Anti-Christ spirit, which is “the beast,” will “pluck out” 3 of them, therefore; there will be 7 kingdoms (heads=mountains in Rev 17:9).
Revelation 13 and Daniel 7
Most scholars and many prophecy students agree that “the beast” in Revelation 13 is the same one as the beast #4 in Daniel 7. When you put the information of both passages together, we can see clearer picture of “the beast” of Revelation we have been studying. These beasts, #1 to #4, also represent “empires,” that have been raised up in the Middle East, which are Babylonian (#1; lion), Mead-Persian (#2; bear), Grecian (#3; leopard) empires, and most likely candidate for the beast #4 is the Ottoman and Islamic Empire. This progression pattern of the same empires can also be seen in the statue of the Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2, as the head of gold (Babylon), chest and arms of silver (Mead-Persia), belly and thighs of bronze (Greece), legs of iron and feet of partly clay and partly iron (Islamic). The feet of the statue, with ten toes, also correspond with the “ten horns” of the forth beast.
But, when you turn to Revelation 13:1-2 and 5, it appears that “the beast” has all the attributes of the previous 3 beasts (empires) in Daniel 7, with likeness of a leopard (#3), feet of bear (#2), and the mouth of a lion (#1). In addition, it has the clear identifier of the beast #4, such as “rising up from the sea” (cf. Dan 7:3), “seven heads,” and “ten horns” (cf. Dan 7:8), and “a moth speaking great things and blasphemies” in (cf. Dan 7:8), which is in Revelation 13:5. This is indicating that both beast #4 and “the beast” in Revelation 13 are the same beasts (empires). Particularly, according to Daniel 7:7, it appears that the fourth beast (empire) will be much more powerful and destructive than the previous three, and the fierceness certainly matches with the descriptions in Revelation 13.
It is not easy to follow and grab the entire picture by going through just once. I have gone through the same process many times, so that I was finally able to put it in writing. I believe it would be helpful to go over this section again with the print out right next to your computer screen, comparing each step.
Now, there is another problem. Is “the beast” the Anti-Christ, as we learned earlier in the Book of Revelation, or an empire, as Daniel Chapter 7 says . . . ? You must have wondered about that too.
Then, when this term, “the Bottomless Pit,” appears next time in Revelation 17, it will be even more evident that this “angel/beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” is the same, “the beast,” as the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and that of Revelation 13. All the previous details will come together, or “merge,” and create a better and more complete image of what this beast is really about. And, you will understand that “the beast” is the leading and powerful evil spirit that, through the person of the Anti-Christ, will rule the rest of the evil spirits, described as 10 horns (10 kings), for a short period of time in the Last Days, which will manifest as a coalition of 7 nations (7 heads) of the modern days in the earthly realm, destroying Israel and everything in its paths.
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Now, “the beast” first came out of “the Bottomless Pit” in Revelation 9:1, which wars against the Two Witnesses, and then will eventually go to perdition (hell), is what we are reading about here in this verse. Then, some more information is added. In addition to it’s power to “marvel” those who “are not written in the Book of Life,” the Bible says, “the beast” “was” (which means it had been once existed before), and “is not” (which means it was not in existence at the time of John’s writing this book), and “yet is” (means not yet there but will be again).
The 7th and the 8th Empires
Now, let us see what more is explained about this beast in the next few verses. You may be a bit intimidated by the apparent complexity of the next passage. But don’t worry. I will unpack it step-by-step.
Here, in this passage, an angel is giving John the interpretation of the vision he was given:
(9) “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. (10) “There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. (11) “The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. (12) “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. (13) “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
Verse 9: “’The seven heads,’ which are the same as ‘seven mountains,’ meaning 7 kingdoms or nations, where “the woman sits,” — which is the description of the Mystery Babylon John saw in the vision from the previous section in the chapter, that is the following:
So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
We can see now that Mystery Babylon, AKA: the Mother of Harlot (Rev 17:5), is seemingly controlling “the beast” that has “seven heads” and “ten horns,” being very defiant, confident, blasphemous, and drunk with the power. According to the definition we learn from the Bible, the word, “woman,” is most likely a nation or a group of people who are united by a religious belief, functioning in sync for a common purpose. Therefore, that is what is controlling the 7 Islamic nations led by the Anti-Christ in the earthly realm.
Verse 10: The “five fallen” empires are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Mead-Persia, and Greece; all have oppressed Israel throughout her history. But, they are in the past. The empire, “one is,” at the time of John is the Roman Empire. And, the one that “has not yet come,” which is the 7th empire, the Ottoman Empire. The history tells us that the Ottoman Empire occupied Israel, along with a significant area of the Middle East, from 1832 to 1917, for less than 100 years. This historical fact supports the last part of Revelation 17:10, “he must continue a short time,” making the Ottoman Empire the best candidate for the 7th empire.
And, in verse 11: “the beast” that “was, and is not,” and “is going to perdition,” which is obviously “the beast” we have been keeping track of, is said to be “from” the 7th and “will be” the 8th empire in the last Days. Remember, “the beast” is the leader of the powerful coalition of 7 nations with 10 princes of demons, which will receive the authority from Satan to rule as kings (Rev 13:2) for “one hour” (Rev 17:12). Therefore, “the beast” will likely to manifest in the earthly realm as an Islamic nation and an Islamic Anti-Christ leading the 7 Islamic nations; in another word, possibly an Islamic Caliphate.
Here is a summary of what we just discussed.
Summary of Revelation 17:10-11
“Has not yet come (7th), and “must continue a short time”:
Islamic Empire with 7 nations (3 plucked out) and 10 horns
Verse 12 and 13: These 10 kings, princes of demons, have not received their kingdom yet, but will in the Last Days, apparently when “the beast” comes in power for 3-1/2 years. They will follow “the beast” in “one mind” giving him the authority and the power. This means, in the earthly realm, that the 7-nation coalition will follow the Anti-Christ, who is controlled by “the beast,” as their leader, and oppress and destroy Israel and probably inflict a significant damage on the Middle Eastern area. It is not clear from the Bible how extensive his power would be over the rest of the world, and it is yet to be seen.
I digress for a minute, because you may be wondering about the identity of the Mystery Babylon. I have a good idea about it, and plan to write an article with much more information and explanation to back it up. But, in hope that it will help your study, I will mention some facts that are written in the Bible about the Mystery Babylon.
She will be first “riding” the beast of the coalition of 7 Islamic nations led by the Anti-Christ, as it is described in the John’s vision. However, she is not an Islamic body of people, because the Anti-Christ led coalitions united by Islamic religion in “one mind” will eventually “hate” the Harlot and destroy her.
Here is where that is written:
Revelation 17:12-13, 16-18
(12) “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. (13) “These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. … (16) “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (17) “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (18) “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
As you find in the last part of the passage, the Mystery Babylon is defined as “the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” The current Muslim population is less than a quarter (23%) of the world population, reportedly about 1.6 billions as of 2012, according to Pew Research Center. The population is small, and the Islamic religion is not even a centralized ruling or “reigning” organization. It is hardly considered as reigning “over the kings of the earth,” and also unlikely to become such a power, let us say, in 10, or even 20, years. And, the Anti-Christ led Islamic nations will hate her, turn against her, and severely damage the crucial city of the Mystery Babylon. It is also revealed in verse 17 that the Islamic nations will destroy the Harlot according to the will of YHVH, and to fulfill His purposes. I also see this evidence in the embedded prophecy of the Armageddon in Genesis 14 (Genesis 14 War: The Prophecy of the Armageddon) It fits the pattern of the way of YHVH. He raises up a fierce enemy of His people to try, test, and judge them, but at the same time, He uses the same to judge another enemy. He did that with Assyria vs. Babylon, Babylon vs. Mead-Persia, and so on. And, at the end, He will judge them all.
So, the Mystery Babylon is not Islam. But, who?
Satan in the Bottomless Pit
(1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. (2) He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; (3) and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
This angel in Revelation 20:1 is “coming down,” not “falling,” as another angel was in Revelation 9:1. He is in control, and with “the key” and “a great chain.” So it is not Satan, but an angel of YHVH. Now, Satan is cast into “the Bottomless Pit,” in chain, where his demons and the fallen angels that crossed the boundary and mingled with human females are kept. He will be there for a thousand years. Remember, the Bottomless Pit seems to be a temporary place to imprison them. Satan will be kept there temporarily also.
Then, what happened to “the beast?” — the Anti-Christ and his false prophet were “cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone” in Revelation 19:20, before this passage, as our Messiah, Yeshua, returned to earth with His saints to execute the Judgment earlier in Chapter 19. The most glorious part of the Bible, I would say.
Now, that is the permanent damnation, this time, of the both beasts: “the Ant-Christ + the angel of the bottomless pit (“the beast”) and “the false prophet + the spirit that possessed him.” The “lake of fire” means the place of permanent punishment.
And, as so Revelation Chapter 20 begins, Satan, “the dragon” and “the serpent of old,” who is “the Devil,” will be bound in “the Bottomless Pit” for a thousand years, and yet again, will be released “for a little while” (Rev 20:3) to test the nations on the earth with deceptions. At that time, “Gog and Magog,” will also appear again (Ez 38:2; 39:1;Rev 20:8). I have been wondering for some time if they were the same spirit as “the beast” we have been studying. But, when you read Revelation 20:10, “the beast” and the false prophet seem to have been tormented in the lake of fire throughout the Millennium, waiting for Satan.
It remains to be researched and studied who or what “Gog and Magog” in this Chapter would be in the earthly realm. I would just mention some facts, such as Magog is recorded as a son of Japheth (Gen 10:2), and “Gog of the land of Magog” is also recorded as the prince (prince of demons) of the Meshech and Tubal (Ez 38:2), and both were sons of Japheth (Gen 10:2). And they all have been identified as the peoples who lived in the current Turkey and adjacent areas. It would be an interesting study.
To avoid any confusion, also in order to make this article readable, I have skipped some events. I did not mention the identifier of the beast everyone knows, “666” (Rev 13:18), either, because that alone is another big topic to study on. But, by having examined the term, “the Bottomless Pit,” throughout the Book of Revelation, and even in connection with the Book of Daniel, we were able to focus on one of the very important factors: Who and what “the beast” is. Once we have a firm foundation, we can add more information to it. I believe what we learned from this article can be helpful in establishing such foundation to build on.
The storyline we have confirmed is as following: “The beast” is a powerful and evil fallen angel, which is being temporarily kept in chain in “the Bottomless pit,” as we speak at this very moment. And, it will be released in the middle of the Last Week of Daniel 9:27, to possess the person of the Anti-Christ, and defeat the Two Witnesses at that time. And, it will be given the authority to control as the leader a coalition of 7 Islamic nations with 10 kings of demons during the 3-1/2 years of the Great Tribulation, destroying the Mystery Babylon who would be initially controlling them in the course of it. Nonetheless, at the end of the Armageddon, it will be defeated by the power of Yeshua our Messiah, only to be thrown into the lake of fire for the eternal damnation with its sidekick, the false prophet. Then, Satan will be kept in “the Bottomless Pit” also starting at the end of the Armageddon for the next thousand years, until he gets released to test the nations again for a little while, and finally joins the other two for the eternal punishment.
Of course, we have only scratched the surface of the entirety of the Book of Revelation. But, I hope that this article helped, in any way, to deepen and expand your understanding of the Book of Revelation. It is amazing that, when you study one word, or a term, in the Bible, it will inevitably take you to other accounts and books that are related, connecting the thread meaningfully. This time, our study connected “the beast” in Revelation and the fourth beast in Daniel 7, creating a better and clearer picture of “the beast” over all. I recommend that you try this method of study sometime.
Lastly, I will continue studying the Book of Revelation, chipping away the mysteries, and share with the readers as I find new things and learn more. Next on Revelation, I am planning on putting together what I have learned about the time sequence of the Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls, and their relationship to one another, and I will present it with some graphics.
Update: It has taken me a bit more than I had expected due to my work on the other project, but I am gladly announcing that the article on Seals, Trumpets, and Bowls has been published. It is with 4 graphics I personally created and with minimum commentary, so that the readers can visually orient themselves first, or integrate them into their own understanding. Hope it will be helpful in advancing your prophecy study.
Copyright © 2017 Olivet Journal
- This word is translated as “abyss” by JewishEncyclopedia.com, and roughly equated to “gehinnom” and “sheol” (both mean “hell”). According to this article, it is also a place where certain demons abode, referring to the “Book of Enoch” (xviii 11-16, 19; xxi 1-6; xc 21-25), where it is mentioned as the place for impure angels to be imprisoned (“Abyss of Fire”). It also refers to the “Prayer of Manasseh,” vs. 3, which states that the abyss was closed and sealed up by YHVH by His “awful and mystic name”; also to the cosmography of the rabbis (Midrash Konen), which locates the abyss beneath the ocean and as a part of Gehenna. It seems reasonable to assume that the abyss is somewhere deep inside the earth. <↩>
- Ezekiel 31:15-18: (15) “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘In the day when it went down to hell, I caused mourning. I covered the deep <H8415> because of it. I restrained its rivers, and the great waters were held back. I caused Lebanon to mourn for it, and all the trees of the field wilted because of it. (16) ‘I made the nations shake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to hell <H7585> together with those who descend into the Pit <H953>; and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the depths of the earth. (17) ‘They also went down to hell <H7585> with it, with those slain by the sword; and those who were its strong arm dwelt in its shadows among the nations. (18) ‘To which of the trees in Eden will you then be likened in glory and greatness? Yet you shall be brought down with the trees of Eden to the depths <H8482> of the earth; you shall lie in the midst of the uncircumcised, with those slain by the sword. This is Pharaoh and all his multitude,’ says the Lord GOD.” <↩>