The Beast and the Signs of the Times
by Don E. Haney
Many of us owe thanks to God for those who have preached the gospel before us, for the truth imparted thereby. However, as Mr. Armstrong used to say, we need to continue studying and growing in God s truth. Even the scriptures demonstrate that the full truth of the gospel is not, and has never been, complete in any one man. Only God and His Word are Truth and in Him alone is completeness. Let s maintain respect for those who have taught before us, but avoid treating them like idols by being fearful to grow in scriptural truth beyond what they taught us. Otherwise, if a person is not cautious, they can tend towards lazily making a habit of taking their church leaders words in place of God s by only believing what their church tells them to believe. This takes less study and less heart. Yet some think it is the way to be sure that we all speak the same thing. But is that what God meant when He said we are to STUDY to be able to rightly divide His Word and to PROVE ALL THINGS (1 Thess.5:21 & 2 Tim.2:15)? God and His Word should ALWAYS be our primary teacher. Further, true unity of doctrine comes only when each one humbly looks to the same reliable and unchangeable source for Truth the Word of God then follows it. Only then have we really fully submitted to God as our supreme King. Only then can we be truly sure we have not unwittingly committed the sin of idolatry by fearing or following men more than God. Only then will true unity, truth and freedom become possible (Jn.8:32).
Jesus testimony is the spirit of prophecy (Rev.19:10). Respectfully I ask, do you read and believe Jesus words, or do you let someone interpret them for you and tell you what to believe? One of the titles of the Pope is Vicar, which in Latin means substitute , or in place of . Many view the Pope as being the substitute for, or in the place of, Christ on earth. Has your church leader become your vicar, whose words or interpretations you believe in place of studying and believing God s words yourself? Is that not akin to idolatry? Do your biblical teachers interpret scripture for you or do they plainly EXPOUND GOD S WORDS?
With loving brotherly concern, I
have noticed that many in the Church of God are NOT THINKING for themselves! For
too many, true Bible study and meditation has been replaced by a blind following
of men, and the doctrines of men. Sometimes this is accomplished by an abuse of
so called Church Government. This has led some to be fearful to study
or believe what they see in scripture, if it is not exactly what their church
has taught them. Other times people do not truly study, think and meditate or
act on God s Word, because of spiritual lethargy. Regardless of the reason,
the result often leads to erroneous assumptions
as to what God s Word says. Many believe it says what those who have interpreted
it for them, told them it says. This scenario
has led to many churches and church leaders, in effect, becoming idols to those
who have made it a habit to blindly follow and submit. Well meaning or not, this
is dangerously close to a Kool-
As the time of Christ s return to save mankind from himself draws nearer, we need to know what the signs are that God Himself in His Word tells us to look for. Do you consider reading church booklets and articles Bible study? Please be careful, as their teaching are sometimes slanted to uphold their traditions and interpretations, or to fit their church policy, etc., but may not accurately reflect the teaching of the Holy Scriptures! When carefully checked with scripture, biblical articles and booklets can be very educational and profitable, but they should never replace a thorough study of the Holy scriptures.
For example, many have been taught to look for a union of ten European nations as a sign of the times. Many believe this to be a time marker telling the wise that the beginning of the Great Tribulation is near. This is, of course, because they have been told that the final revival of the Beast will be made up of a union of ten European nations represented by the ten toes of Daniel 2 and the ten horns of Revelation 17. They have been taught this so many times, they come to believe it. Is this what you too have been taught and have come to believe?
What do God s words in your Bible actually say about the Beast and the ten horns? Could it be that your mind and conscience has been trained to believe something other than what the Bible actually says, so that when you read a passage, you read into it what you already believe it says? Since Jesus said the truth shall make you free (Jn.8:32), let s take off the VEIL of blindly following the traditional teachings of men, and see what God s words actually say.
We all know that no one wants to
be misled or mistaken on important issues of God s Truth, including many
sincere and godly ministers who have been mistaken in their teachings. Notice
now God s words -
Rev. 17:9 "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 "And 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. 14 "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (NKJ).
Notice what verse 12 actually says. Please take time to carefully read it again, before going on in this article.
Verse 12 clearly says the Beast
already exists (at that time), but that the ten kings -
Since the Tribulation is 3½ years
in length (Dan.12:6-
Again, since God tells us these ten kings will ONLY have authority as kings for one hour, and then they are to be destroyed by Christ at His coming, this hour must be at the END of the Tribulation since that is when Jesus returns! Therefore they will NOT be kings with the Beast power before the tribulation, or even well into it but only at the climax of the great tribulation and the close of this age. Those who are looking to a union of 10 nations to know when the hour (tribulation period) is near, will find it really is a marker of when the hour is NEARLY OVER! It would then be TOO LATE for the ten kings to be an effective warning of the impending times of the gentiles!
Rather, the alliance of the ten
kings with the Beast are an EFFECTIVE MARKER OF HOPE, that the end
of this pain and suffering is near, as Jesus
will soon come and destroy the Beast power and the ten kings with it. We can
read about Jesus destroying both the Beast and its loose amalgamation with
ten kings in Rev.19:19-
So how does the actual account in
Revelation fit with Daniel s account of the ten-
Rev.17:12 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.
Remember, the beast is already in power and is making havoc all through the great tribulation, before the ten kings ever come into power. Their power only lasts the last hour of the tribulation period and they give this authority over to the beast for that time. Could it even be that it is the beast that gives them their authority (allied nation building) as a means of strengthening itself and enlarging its empire? Now let s do some basic math.
Ruling governing authority of 10 kings + ruling governing authority of 1 beast = union of 11 nations.
It s easy to make the mistake of focusing and counting only the ten kings. This is like looking at the toes, while ignoring the foot that they are attached to! Also remember that in the past, the beast power was made up of more than one nation or king at a time, as with the axis of power between Hitler and Mussolini. This will likely be the case in the end of the beast s reign as depicted by the image that stood on TWO legs and TWO feet of Daniel 2! Just as Justinian healed the breach between the eastern and western legs of the Roman empire in 554 A.D., we have long expected an eastern and western alliance to form, bringing about the final rise of the beast power. With that being likely, we would have:
Ruling kingdom of 10 kings + ruling authority of at least 2 legs of beast s kingdom = 12+ Nations!
We know that the beast empire will
be led by a single strong man who will be heavily influenced by a soon-
If the beast is an alliance of
several nations combined into one -
May God open our eyes, wake us up, and help us to understand so that we can indeed be forewarned, can humbly repent, and then receive the true mercy of God, and His Son, the Great Revelator (Rev.1:1).
What does God s Word tell us IS
the time marker that we can look for to know when the prophesied time of
the gentiles is about to begin? What are the signs that the BIBLE says we
are to look for as time markers? Watch our website http://www.GodsLawIsLove.org
for a soon-
God s Word is chock full of jewels of Truth for us to learn from. It is filled with God's love for us. It can warn us leading to repentance and life, it can prepare us, it can sharpen us, and it can enlighten us with hope and promises that we can count on!
With the widespread misunderstanding among God s people regarding this important topic and Revelation 17, it was necessary that this article be written. It is as if the minds of many have been trained in their traditions so deeply, that they have not been able to see what would otherwise seem obvious and clear. God has given us plain teachings in this regard. Will we believe Him or tradition?
This article is written in love
and concern for all of the scattered people of God. In
order to be a faithful servant of Christ, a minister must respectfully and
faithfully teach the gospel of God s Word
(1 Pet.3:16 & Gal.6:1) -
My words or the words of
other men -
As covered in Part I of this
article, we saw that the Holy Scriptures clearly do not say that the beast power
of Revelation will be made up of ten nations only that the beast will be
joined by ten additional nations, 10 + the beast = more than 10. (See part I for
further explanation.) Further, the ten nations join with and submit to the beast
power only for the last hour of the great tribulation therefore
they are NOT a time marker of the beginning of the tribulation, but of it s
nearing end (Rev.17:9-
Should not a shepherd and teacher
of God s word teach God s people to THINK, instead of telling them
what to think? Should not true ministers teachings better ENABLE God s
flock to rightly divide God s word of truth for THEMSELVES (2 Tim.2:15)?
God s word says each member of God s body is to learn for themselves
how to study the scriptures (Acts 17:11), even to the point of being able to
teach it to others (Heb.5:12-
Now let s see the special awesome encouragement that God gives His faithful saints in the end time; and what God says are the signs we are to watch for as a time marker for the end of this age. Let s begin in Matthew 24.
Notice these words of Christ are in response to His being asked about the sign of His return and of the end of the age verse 3. Jesus begins by warning the disciples of many false religious teachers and of many wars and rumors of wars but then He says the end is not yet (verse 6). Jesus said we should not allow ourselves to be troubled by wars and false teachers as if they were a sign of the end time, for they are NOT! This is true, regardless of all the warnings some of our religious teachers give us every time our nation is involved in another war! God said when we see these false teachers and wars the end is not yet. From there Jesus goes on to detail many other things in the world that will also span the time from the apostles to the time of the end, so that we would not be confused by them either. He tells us of famines and diseases and earthquakes and ethnic or racial wars (Gk ethnos = nation) and wars by alliances of nations or kingdoms, in verse 7, but again, in verse 8, He says these things are the beginning of sorrows but not yet the sign of the end, as there have always been wars, diseases and earthquakes, etc&
Next Jesus warns that some will
suffer tribulation (trial) and martyrdom as a testimony. This began to happen
very soon after Jesus death. In verse 14, Matthew says that the preaching
of the gospel to all nations will also precede the end, and He mentions this as
happening before the abomination of desolation which he discusses in the next
verse. Now let s go to Luke s account for greater clarity. Time and
space prevent us from covering this topic in the kind of detail it deserves. But
scholars who study Matthew have noticed that Matthew s accounts are
accurate but not always listed in a step-
Mark s account is taken largely from Peter s eyewitness account, with Mark acting like Peter s scribe. Mark is more helpful sequentially, but it does not have as much detail as Matthew s account. Mark was also the first gospel written. Papyriologists have verified papyri fragments of Mark dating to 60 A.D., so Mark was likely written only a few years after Christ s resurrection. Luke leaned heavily upon Mark in his writing. Mark is sometimes more sequentially accurate, but Mark is the shortest summary version of the gospels. Mark seems to have been written with both the Hebrew and gentile reader in mind.
Luke on the other hand, wanted to
complement the foundational gospel of Peter s eyewitness accounting via
Mark, but he wanted to put a more technically detailed sequential step-
Luke 1:1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; (NAS)
Therefore, if we want to understand better the sequential consecutive nature of events leading up to the return of Jesus and the timing of the actual sign of the end time and of His return, we need to read carefully Luke s account, then with the extra information Matthew provides and the foundation of the first Gospel from Peter s account, we get the clearest picture. Let s now notice the parallel account of Matthew 24 in Luke 21.
Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and
donations, He said, 6 "These things which you see-
Notice the time order of the question in verse 7 was in response to the conversation about the stones that adorned the temple. Putting Matthew and Luke together we see that Jesus was NOT ONLY ASKED about the sign indicating the end times and His return, but also about the destruction of the temple which took place in 70 AD.Jesus was asked about the events from 70 AD up to His 2nd advent!
This makes much more sense, given the context and answers Jesus gave. Now we can see, that not all of Matthew 24 or Luke 21 is detailing end time prophecy! It is a prophecy that spans the time of the destruction of the temple to the end. Can you accept this? It is what your Bible teaches.
Luke s account shows Christ s answer begins with the perversion of the gospel of Christ (a false Christianity) and with the wars that would bring about the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem which happened in 70 A.D.. No wonder He told us not to be troubled, for the end is not yet!
Luke 21:10 also details the ethnic wars or wars between ethnic nations as well as alliances and kingdoms at war, earthquakes in various places, famines, pestilence, and fearful sights. But notice the words of your Bible in verse 12. BEFORE all these things BEFORE the famines, BEFORE the fearful sights, BEFORE the disease or pestilences, they will lay hands on some of the saints delivering them up to the leaders of the synagogues and bringing them before kings, so they could give testimony to them (verse 13)! The prophecy of the saints being persecuted for their religious beliefs was to take place BEFORE the tribulation not as part of it BEFORE the signs of the end time, not as part of it. This persecution is now a historical fact. This fact is also born out in the verbiage of all three of the synoptic gospels. Notice the terms you referring to the saints, and those referring to the unconverted in Judea. The verbiage detailing the persecution of the saints is long before the end time. Then the verbiage changes, to those who suffer as those not the saints. This ought to be a very encouraging truth. Sadly, many have taught that God is going to allow His punishment to harm the righteous with the unrighteous in the coming tribulation. Many even believe that God would not have you go back to your home for your children or wife, when the time to flee these trials comes. That too is not what the Bible says, but many have believed it because it is what they have been led to believe by their teachers. But notice the verbiage:
Matt 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
The clear verbiage is any THING
not any person! This is about not being
greedy, about not having time to worry about clothing or physical possessions.
It is not about being a calloused, selfish -
Matt.24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray you that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: (KJV)
WOW! Notice the difference in verbiage from them , those who would suffer in Judea, to you when God is talking about those who would escape! God is love and HE REWARDS THOSE WHO LOVE AND SERVE HIM you must believe this to please God (Heb.11:6)!
Many or most have confused the persecution of the saints with the end time as they have not paid close attention to the verbiage. Further, most do not seem to understand the difference in the time line, i.e., they do not understand that Christ s answer was in response to what would happen at that time prior to and especially in 70 A.D. up unto His return and the time of the end. Even when a Christian is persecuted today, they are not hauled before a Jewish synagogue. That persecution was for a different time! Study your Bible. It is an awesome source of knowledge and encouragement.
After Jesus resurrection, the temple did fall in 70 A.D., just like God detailed in Luke, Matthew and Mark. That part of the prophecy was not about the end time, but about the soon coming destruction of Jerusalem and persecution of the saints while the synagogues still stood as symbols of authority in Judea. As we saw, Jesus was not only asked about the end, so His answer was not only about the end. Later Luke gets to the prophecies that are specifically concerning the end time and return of Christ in verse 20. Notice again the verbiage of you the saints and those in the world.
Luke 21:20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 "Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 "for these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled (NKJ).
That little word translated but or and in verse 20 is known as an adversative in the Greek, meaning adversely, but, or the antitheses. The previous things listed were not the sign of the end time, but or adversely the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, i.e. the surrounding of Jerusalem by the armies AFTER these other things have already happened IS THE SIGN!
The sign of the end time and of
Jesus soon return is WHEN JERUSALEM IS SURROUNDED BY THE ARMIES OF THE KING
OF THE NORTH, and the taking away of the daily sacrifice. (Dan.11:31-
Now notice Mark s account of the same events listed in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, for more clarity yet.
Mark 13:9 "But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 "And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (NKJ).
Notice again, Mark, like Luke, connects the preaching of the gospel as being part of the testimony before the gentile kings and the rulers of the synagogues, and says it is something that must happen FIRST , i.e., BEFORE the end time of the great tribulation. It is FIRST, before the sign Jesus gave of the coming tribulation. The sign of the end time is not listed for four more verses. Mark 13:14 so when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains (NKJ).
Thus the preaching of the gospel as a testimony is not listed as a sign of the end time, but is mentioned as something that happens long BEFORE the sign of the end takes place. By comparing Luke s consecutive narrative with Mark and Matthew, we are able to make these important distinctions which clarify for us which things are for the end time, and which are not. They help us, as they teach us what the real sign is to look for, identifying when the end time tribulation is. It is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel, standing where it ought not! It is NOT a 10 nation beast power in Europe. Nor are our important efforts in preaching the gospel given as a sign.
This fact does not alter our commission to preach the gospel (good news) unto the end. That is detailed in Matthew 28 and Mark 16, as the ongoing commission of the church. Nothing can change that. But that is not listed as part of the sign of the end times, nor is the coming of the end dependent upon our efforts today to first witness. We are dependent upon God, not Him upon us. Further, the Bible shows the testimony referred to in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 has now already largely taken place. We need not exalt our own importance by trying to read into the scriptures that our efforts today are part of the sign of His return or that WE must reach the whole world or the end cannot yet come.
Remember it was in the context of those listed events surrounding Judea, that Jesus said WATCH. Watch Judea for the real sign of the end and of the soon to follow great tribulation. Europe, the church s efforts in preaching the gospel and this worlds wars and rumors of wars (threats of war) are not given as the sign to identify the end times that we are to watch for. Watch Jerusalem. Watch for the daily sacrifices to be set up in Jerusalem again, and later stopped; and watch for the abomination of destruction in Judea that Daniel spoke of. Study God s words and watch world events in light of prophecy especially those affecting Israel. WATCH. And please remember, this writer s words are not important, nor that of any man. I am only a man, a teacher and fellow servant, trying to stimulate you to study, pray and think! Only God s words can be relied upon as truth. Learn to study God s words for yourself, love God deeply and learn to be kind, humble and loving to your neighbor and fellow Christian even if they are in a different fellowship, as Christ and His truth is more important than the organizations we set up. And pray always for God has promised us a way of escape (Luke 21:36)! Let’s do it.