Beast from the Abyss

Swamp Beast - Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

The first appearance of the “beast” was at its ascent from the “Abyss” when it rose to make “war” on the “two witnesses” – Revelation 11:7.

John observed the “Abyss” for the first time after the “fifth trumpet” sounded, a dark pit from which a cloud of smoke and demonic creatures “ascended” to afflict the “inhabitants of the earth.” - [Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash].

Several times satanic forces were seen “ascending” from this place to wage war against the “saints.” In the vision of the “two witnesses,” the “beast ascended” from this pit to “slay” the “two witnesses” after they “completed their testimony.
  • (Revelation 11:4-7) – “These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the Lord of the earth. And if any man desireto hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies; and if any man desires to hurt them, in this manner he must be killed...And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.”
The “two witnesses” are identified by the passage as “two lampstands.” Elsewhere in Revelation, “lampstands” represent churches. If the book's symbolism is consistent, then the “two witnesses” symbolize churches.

After the “two witnesses” completed their “testimony,” John saw a “beast ascend from the Abyss” to make “war on them, and to slay them.” The clause alludes to a passage from Daniel’s vision of the “four beasts ascending from the sea.” A malevolent “little horn” grew out of the “fourth beast,” and then persecuted the “saints of the Most-High”:
  • (Daniel 7:21) – “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.”
The theme of something evil “ascending” from a dark place occurs several times in Revelation, and each time it translates the Greek verb anabainô. For example, smoke and the beast “ascended” from the “Abyss.” Later, John saw the “beast ascending from the sea,” and Satan led the nations to “ascend over the earth” to attack the “camp of the saints” – (Revelation 9:1, 11:7, 13:1, 17:8, 20:8-9).

But the “beast” did not “ascend from the Abyss” to slay the “two witnesses” until they had completed their “testimony.” An inference from the context is that the “beast” was unable to overcome the "witnesses" until it was authorized to do so by an external power. Prior to its “ascent,” attempts were made by the “inhabitants of the earth” to kill the “two witnesses,” but each attempt was thwarted - (“If anyone desires to hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies”).

The very same “beast” appeared again when it “ascended from the sea.” The “sea” represents the same dark reality as the “Abyss.” As before, the “beast ascends” to prosecute its war against the “saints.” Both visions use the same language from Daniel - “The horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 13:1-10).

To reiterate, the “two witnesses” represent “lampstands” - churches. Just as the “beast” ascended from the “Abyss” to “wage war and kill” the “two witnesses,” so the “beast” also “ascended from the sea” to make war on the “saints”:
  • (Revelation 13:7) – “And it was given to it to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to it authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.”
After the “beast from the Abyss” killed the “two witnesses,” the “peoples and tribes and tongues and nations” refused to bury their corpses, and the “inhabitants of the earth” rejoiced over their deaths. Likewise, when the “beast from the sea” killed the “saints,” it was granted authority over “every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and the “inhabitants of the earth” rendered homage to it.

Thus, the “beast from the Abyss” and the “beast from the sea” are one and the same, and the “war” against the "two witnesses" is the same reality as the “war” of the “beast from the sea” against the “saints.”


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