How can we know that Christ’s return is near? (Part 7)
Revelation 13 describes the ancient Roman Empire and its ten European revivals. It also refers to the person of the end-time military leader, who is called the “beast” as well. (Revelation 13:8; compare also Revelation 16:13; 19:19-20). We already saw that the person, who is also identified as the modern king of Assyria or King Jareb (meaning “the contentious fighter”), is revealed as being of German or Austrian descent.
We also pointed out that the mark of the beast, which will be enforced on people, describes the general acceptance of the worship system of the revived Holy Roman Empire, and that it is clearly associated with the violation of God’s weekly Sabbath and His annual Holy Days and the observance of manmade pagan holidays. The mark of the beast is not a visible sign or a microchip, but it symbolizes allegiance.
In addition, Revelation 13:17 tells us that no one will be able to buy or sell if he does not have the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Verse 18 reveals that the famous “number of the beast” is the “number of a man.” We are told to “calculate” the number, which is 666. King Lateinos was the founder of Rome. In the Greek, every letter has a numerical value. The numerical value for “Lateinos” is 666. Therefore, the beast is identified as the Roman Empire—the number 666 identifying the founder of the Roman Empire—Lateinos.
In the Greek, L stands for 30, A for 1, T for 300, E for 5, I for 10, N for 50, O for 70, and S for 200. These total 666.
Since the designation of the word “beast” can also refer to the end-time representative or ruler of the final revival of that Empire, it is likely that the numerical value of the “name” of that final human leader of the revived Roman Empire will also be 666. The NAME can refer to a literal name, to an adopted name, or to a well-known expression associated with or describing the beast (such as “Heil Hitler” or “Il Duce”). In addition, when people accept his name, they accept what he stands for and what he does.
The number 666 has great meaning in the Bible. In the Greek, this number is written as 600 and 60 and 6. The number 6 is the number of a man who is far from God or alienated from Him. The combination of the number six in 666 stands for total separation from God and the unconditional submission to Satan the Devil. As we will show, most people will be so deceived that they will worship Satan and his human instruments—the beast and the false prophet—while rejecting the true God and His Law.
The sixth commandment forbids murder in all of its different forms (Exodus 20:13), but man, separated from God, thinks that some kinds of murder are permitted, such as killing in war. Those who will worship and follow the beast and the false prophet will be so deceived that they will not only want to fight against other human beings in war (compare Revelation 13:4), but they are even willing to fight the returning Jesus Christ, thinking perhaps that He is an Alien or “the Antichrist” (compare Revelation 19:17-21; Zechariah 14:1-5, 12-15).
Notice that the beast is referred to as a MAN (compare again Revelation 13:18). In other words, the reference is to a male and not to a female. Even though the general term “man” could refer to a human being in general (male or female), this is not the meaning in Revelation 13. We read in Revelation 13:8: “All who dwell on the earth will worship HIM whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
If the reference in Revelation 13:8 were strictly to the Roman Empire, then one would expect a statement to the effect that the people would worship IT—the Empire or the beast power. But in the Greek, it says “him” in verse 8. The Zuercher Bible points out that one would expect the statement that people would worship “IT”—rather than “HIM.” But saying that all the earth will worship HIM indicates that a MALE person is meant.
We will recall that the ancient Roman Empire received a deadly wound which was healed (compare Revelation 13:3). We find an interesting expression in Revelation 13:14 where reference is made to the “beast WHO [not “which”] was wounded by the sword and lived.” This might also indicate the fact that not only the Roman Empire received a deadly wound and was healed, but also, that the end-time human leader (“the beast”) will suffer a political defeat (so that one may think he has no future), but that he then will arise again from the historical abyss, so that many will marvel and follow him (compare again verse 3).
The Elberfelder Bible confirms in two footnotes their understanding that in verses 8 and 14, a MALE person is meant, as the pronoun is masculine (“he”), not feminine (“she”) or neuter (“it”).
The accuracy of these observations is confirmed by the Literal Translation of The Englishman’s Greek New Testament; giving the Greek Text of Stephens 1150. It says “which” in the text in Revelation 13:14, with the footnote: “os—who.” There is a similar footnote to Revelation 13:8.
In Revelation 13:1-4, 8, 11-12, we are told that it is Satan who will give power to the beast (the system as well as the end-time leader), and that the false prophet, who deceives the nations, causes the nations to worship the beast (Revelation 14:9; compare 20:4). This reminds us of past Greek, Roman and European leaders who were literally worshipped and looked upon as God or a god, and this will also be true for the final military leader. Hitler was perceived by many as a messiah, or the “Messiah,” while Mussolini was worshipped as a god by many Italians.
We read in Daniel 8:23-25 that a fierce king or a king “having fierce features” (verse 23); i.e., Antiochus, would arise with sinister schemes and cunning and deceit; and that he would be broken without human means. The New International Version says: “… a stern-faced king, a master of intrigues.” The Revised Standard Version says: “a king of bold countenance, one who understands riddles.” The Authorized Version says: “… understanding dark sentences.” The Living Bible interprets this as “an angry king… with great shrewdness and intelligence.”
Antiochus was a forerunner of the end-time beast. Antiochus died suddenly of a disease, but since this is a dual prophecy, it also refers to the death of the beast by the hand of Jesus Christ when the beast will be thrown alive into a burning lake of fire (Revelation 19:20). To point out a parallel with the king having fierce features in Daniel 8:23, we read in Deuteronomy 28:50 that the end-time army which will occupy the Middle East is described as a “nation of fierce countenance.”
Daniel 11:21-23 describes Antiochus Epiphanes as having supplanted the ruler and having come into power through intrigue. The end-time beast will act in a similar way. He might also obtain his rule over the ten nations or groups of nations through “intrigue” or “flattery.” In the Living Bible, Daniel 8:25 reads: “He will be a master of deception, defeating many by catching them off guard as they bask in false security.”
The duality of the prophecies in the book of Daniel has been clearly explained by Jesus Christ Himself. We saw already that the beast (also called the King of the North) will invade the Middle East and, together with the false prophet, he will suppress the daily sacrifices and bring about the abomination of desolation. Jesus Christ confirmed that the abomination of desolation, which Antiochus set up in the temple (Daniel 11:31), will be set up again (Matthew 24:15). The abomination of desolation has been understood as describing a devastating army occupying Jerusalem as well as the erection of an idol, a statue or an “image,” an ungodly presence such as the man of sin sitting in the Temple of God, or pagan worship services in the Temple.
The beast will be deeply anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-British. Antiochus, a forerunner of the end-time beast, hated the Jewish religion and tried to ridicule it (by offering swine’s blood on the Jewish altar) and attempted to wipe it out completely. The beast will try to do likewise.
We read in Psalm 83:4-9 about an alliance or a confederacy between Arabic nations and modern Assyria so that “the name of Israel may be remembered no more” (verse 4). The name of Israel would apply to both the modern descendants of the ancient house of Israel (mainly the USA and the UK) as well as the Jewish people. But God will view this as a confederacy against Him (verse 5).
We also read in Luke 21:20-24 that the beast and his armies will attack Jerusalem with wrath against the people of Judah.
Another statement about the King of the North is worthy of consideration. We read that he “does not regard the desire of women” (Daniel 11:37).
The old Luther Bible of 1964 translates that he does not care for the love of or have love toward women (“Frauenliebe”). This could be a reference to other than normal sexual preferences. The commentary of Henry speaks of “unnatural lust” in this context. This might indicate that the beast will be homosexual (compare Romans 1:24-28). If the reference is to the homosexual nature of the end-time beast, we could think, as a forerunner, of Emperor Hadrian who massacred the Jews. He was married, but he was also homosexual. The beast could very well be married and still be homosexual or he might be living in self-imposed celibacy.
The German Schlachter Study Bible says: “Desire of Women could mean that the [beast] is homosexual, but it surely means that he has no normal interest in women such as for example someone who lives in celibacy.”
Daniel 11:36-39 also states: “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.”
We read earlier that people will worship the beast and the false prophet. In the above-quoted passage in Daniel 11:36-39, we read that the beast will invite such worship. He will exalt himself mightily, above every god (compare Revelation 13:6). At the same time, he will honor with gold, silver, precious stones and pleasant things a god which his fathers did not know (Daniel 11:38), and he will act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god which he will acknowledge and advance its glory (Daniel 11:39). This might be a reference to the false prophet whom his fathers did not know and who will proclaim to be God. The beast will rely on his cooperation and psychological support in war by giving him much fortune, pretending to accept him as a god who will give victory in war—such as the false prophet will influence the masses to worship the beast (Revelation 13:12).
It is also implied that the beast will place much confidence in his own military capabilities. People will follow him and glorify him for his war-making abilities (compare again Revelation 13:4).
The Bible shows that the final resurrection of the Roman Empire and the manifestation of the beast will coincide with the end-time preaching of the gospel.
Habakkuk 1:5-10 reads as follows: “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astonished! For I will work a work in your days Which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans, A bitter and hasty nation Which marches through the breadth of the earth, To possess dwelling places that are not theirs. They are terrible and dreadful… They all come for violence… They gather captives like sand. They scoff at kings…”
Isaiah 23:13 tells us that the ancient Assyrians founded the land of the Chaldeans. It will be the modern Assyrians—mainly the German-speaking peoples—who will lead the final resurrection of the “Holy Roman Empire.” In ancient times, the Chaldeans were Babylon’s religious leaders, astrologers and magicians.
Habakkuk’s prophecy of Babylonian warfare is clearly awaiting an end-time fulfillment.
Paul later quoted these words and applied them as a warning to people who would reject the gospel message. We read in Acts 13:32-41: “And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers… let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man [Jesus Christ] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. BEWARE therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets COME UPON YOU [quoting Habakkuk 1:5]: ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’”
God said that His Work, the end-time preaching of the gospel, would be powerful, but short. Romans 9:28 states: “For He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the LORD will make a SHORT WORK upon the earth.”
The Bible prophesies that at the time when the powerful preaching of the gospel message is being revived, modern Chaldeans or modern Babylon will rise once again in Europe as the seventh and very SHORT-lived resurrection of the ancient “Holy Roman Empire”—a combination between church and state.
God will use modern Babylon in a literal SWIFT blitzkrieg to punish the modern houses of Israel and Judah for their transgressions (compare also Isaiah 29:13-14, referring indirectly to Habakkuk 1:5). But God will then punish modern Babylon (Habakkuk 2:8)—a system less righteous than modern Israel and Judah (compare Habakkuk 1:12-13).
In this context, we read in Habakkuk 1:11 that after the modern Babylonian/Assyrian leader—the beast—has come to power, his mind will change. This term could be a reference to demonic possession. Barnes’ Notes on the Bible says it could describe the invisible presence of a spirit (compare Job 4:15; the word for “passed” in that passage is the same word as for “change” in Habakkuk). We know, of course, from passages such as Revelation 16:13-14, that the beast (as well as the false prophet) will be demonically possessed, but this passage in Habakkuk seems to indicate that the possession will occur after he has received his authority and power from the ten core nations or groups of nations.
Daniel 8:24 says that: “His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power.” The Living Bible interprets this to mean: “His power shall be mighty, but it will be satanic strength and not his own.”
However, we would not expect that his entire personality and his way of thinking will change in that he will become anti-Semitic or anti-American/British even though he had been pro-Jewish and pro-American/British before. His latent hostile feelings towards Jews, Americans and Brits had been there all along. But when the demonic possession occurs, these feelings will magnify and lead to extremely violent conduct. For instance, Judas Iscariot was always a thief, craving for money; Satan used this problem and influenced and possessed him to betray Christ for money. The point is, Judas was not originally a giving person and only changed into a greedy thief, when Satan possessed him.
When we see the rise of modern Babylon, the preaching of the gospel and the manifestation of the beast with the characteristics and features as described herein, we will know that Christ’s return is imminent.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer: Norbert Link