|THE REIGN OF THE BEAST||
Revelation 13:5 indicates that "authority to act for 42 months was given" to the beast. The starting point for this reign, has been assigned to the midpoint of the 7 year time period known as Daniel's 70th week, thus coming to an end "officially" when that time period is over; or to a point 30 days after the midpoint, thus coming to an end at the battle of Armageddon. However, I will demonstrate that the beast's reign does in fact begin right at the midpoint and ends after the 1260 days of ministry by the two witnesses; which is also the 42 months assigned to him.
The seven year period of time known as Daniel's 70th week ends when the two witnesses complete their testimony. According to Revelation 11:1-3, they begin their ministry at the midpoint of the 70th week, which is also the beginning point of the beast's reign, during which he will control Jerusalem (the holy city) for the 42 months allotted to him (Rev. 13:5).
It is at this time that the beast has them killed and their bodies will lie in the street for 3 1/2 days. These days extend BEYOND the 1260 and are the first of the 30 day period that Daniel 12:11 mentions, "And from the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished, and the abomination of desolation is set up (middle of the week), there will be 1290 days.
It is at this time, the end of the 70th week, that the 7th trumpet will sound to officially begin the outpouring of God's final end-times wrath upon the world, which will culminate at the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation chapter 10 is a parenthetical section that reaffirms John's commission to proclaim truth throughout the remainder of his life. But in the middle (at verse 7) there is a reference to the 7th trumpet and the fact that when it sounds, "the mystery of God is finished."
The mystery of God is that which was proclaimed by the prophets. The fact that this revelation is assigned specifically to "the prophets" and not the "apostles and prophets," as at Ephesians 3:5, strongly suggests that Old Testament revelation is in view. In that case, "the mystery of God" refers to God's 6-point plan for the nation of Israel as outlined at Daniel 9:24.
The first 3 factors in God's 6-point plan for Israel were fulfilled at the Messiah's first advent through His success as the sin bearer. The completion of that plan revolves around the seven years of Daniel's 70th week and the end of that seven-year period. It is at that time that the last three points of God's plan for Israel will be carried out as the Messiah begins -
(1) His righteous reign and "brings in everlasting righteousness."
(2) Fulfills the Old Testament "vision and prophet."
(3) And "anoints the most holy" in the Millennial temple which temple is described in Ezekiel chapters 40 through 43.
Since Revelation 10:7 introduces the end of the week, the vision of John next records that end by focusing on the specific 1260 day ministry of the 2 witnesses who prophesy from the midpoint of the week until its end. The passage in view (Rev. 11:1-13) is thus, parenthetical as it "backtracks" to the midpoint of the week and moves to the end, at which time (actually 3 1/2 days later) the 7th trumpet will sound (Rev. 11:15).
The ministry of these two witnesses begins at the 2nd half when the beast begins his reign and they minister for the duration of the 2nd half of the week, exactly 1260 days. The end of the ministry of the witnesses and the "mystery of God being finished" is the same point in time, which is the end of the 70th week.
From the 7th trumpet come the bowls of the final wrath of God, and the language at Revelation 16:10 and 13, indicates that the beast is still in authority - or at least, still alive. In view of this, it is reasonable to conclude that the beast will still be trying to carry out his own plan during the 30 days of the bowl judgments, and of course is then dethroned at Armageddon and placed into the lake of fire. But "officially" his kingdom is defunct, and the kingdom of the world has "officially" become Christ's (Revelation 11:15-17).
We learn from Daniel 12:11, that the presence of the abomination of desolation will remain in the temple for 1290 days. And since it is the midpoint of the week, that the covenant is broken and the sacrifices are ceased (Daniel 9:27), and that it is the man of lawlessness, the beast, who initiates this abomination, then it is clear that his reign begins at the midpoint. This means that the fatal wound and the healing occur very shortly before the midpoint, so that the official start time of the beast's reign can be calculated according to the PRECISE amount of time assigned to the 7-year covenant of Daniel 9:27.
Thus, his "official" reign of 42 months begins at that midpoint and extends to the end of the 70th week, even though he will remain alive for the following 30 days. However, having a functional reign of authority and influence is quite different from simply being alive and fighting for your life against the outpouring of God's wrath upon one's kingdom, which is what will happen during the bowl judgments.
However, a more important issue, is the actual geographical extent of the beast's reign from its onset until the day-of-the-Lord judgments begin to fall right after the second coming.
The great tribulation (affliction) administered by the beast upon the world is first seen at Revelation 13:3-17. However, since it is Satan, "the dragon," who is the instigator of this oppression, we actually see it referenced in chapter 12:12-17, and indirectly at chapter 6:3-8.
When Satan is defeated by Michael's Marauders (angels) and is kicked down to the earth, he begins his persecution of national Israel (the woman) which is centered in the Palestinian area. After she is given protection by fleeing into the wilderness area of Edom, the dragon redirects his persecution efforts towards the church, those who "hold to the testimony of Jesus." This would begin locally in Palestine, but then extend to the rest of the world to the degree that the beast is able to deploy his troops.
Revelation 13:7, tells us that the beast is given authority in the execution of the "war with the saints" over "every tribe, and people and language and nation."
When the beast recovers from his fatal head wound in the middle of the 70th week, he dramatically gains the attention and awe of the whole world. At Revelation 13:3, we are told that "the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast." According to verse 4, "they worshipped the dragon . . . and the beast, saying . . . who is able to wage war against him?" This suggests that the beast has dominance over the whole earth as already seen at verse 7.
In verse 8, it says that "all who dwell on the earth will worship him, that is, whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life." That is, those who had not and were not going to trust in Christ as the Savior, would instead direct their spiritual focus onto the beast and Satan. Now, this use of "all" is certainly hyperbole, but it emphasizes the huge number of people who will be deceived into following after the beast.
At the same time, it needs to be recognized that there will be a great presence of idolatry throughout the world, whether related to beast worship or not. We know this because at Revelation 9:20-21, after the great slaughter of people by the military machine released by the 6th trumpet judgment (Probably the king of the North), the survivors are totally unmotivated to repent of their spiritual rebellion, and
Based on Matthew 24:15-21, the beast's reign will begin and be centered in Jerusalem, when he places the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place of the temple. At 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul describes it as the revealing of the man of lawlessness, who "takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."
This of course accounts for the expression of worship that is extended to him, for after the miracle of coming back to life and the self-proclamation of deity (being God's Messiah), as well as the fact that his "coming is according to the energy of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of unrighteousness (2 Thes. 2:9); along with the miracle activity of the false prophet, who "performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men" (Rev. 13:13), it would be difficult for the unbeliever to resist.
In fact, Paul tells us that "God sends upon them a working of deception so that they might believe the lie" (2 Thes. 2:11).
At Revelation 6:8, we learn that during the great tribulation, 1/4 of the earth (that is of the land area of the earth, and not the population) will be placed under the authority of "physical" death and the grave (hades), "to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth."
These killing "effects" will be a result of the beast's attempt to control the world.
1. Those individuals who do not willingly comply with beast worship will be killed with the sword (Rev. 13:15).
2. Those land areas that are not under the beast's authority will suffer great economic hardship and experience famine because they will have very limited resources.
3. As a result of famine there will be great outbreaks of plagues.
4. And as a result of shortages in food and other resources, the wild animals will begin to encroach into the civilized areas.
This strongly suggests that the jurisdiction of the beast will extend to about three fourths of the world, and only fail to reach one fourth. And if the beast's reign and the great tribulation that he will be conducting, is not interrupted, then the death toll would become worse so that there would be no "elect" (believers in Christ) who would physically survive. But in order to have people alive who will later become believers, and then enter alive into Messiah's earthly kingdom, that tribulation will be cut short by the second coming of Jesus and the time period known as the day of the Lord (Matthew 24:21-22). All the believers at that time will be removed from the earth through the rapture (Mat. 24:31; 1 Thes. 4:13-17; 2 Thes. 1:6-7), and there will still be plenty of unbelievers left to trust in Christ later, starting with the 144,000 Jews of Revelation 7:1-8).
So, although authority is given to the beast over the whole earth, it
does not mean that he is ABLE to implement beast worship en toto. It is
After scrambling to survive during the bowl judgments, the beast will collect his armies into the valley of Megiddo to confront the king of the North and his allies, and the king of the East (Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19), and there they shall all perish by the sword of Christ (Rev. 19:21). And the beast will be assigned to the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20).
İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
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