10 July 2021

Beast from the Abyss

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

Abyss - Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash
The “
Abyss” appeared first when the “fifth trumpet” sounded, a dark pit from which demonic hordes “ascended,” and several more times in Revelation, satanic forces are described as “ascending” from lower places to attack the “saints,” including the “sea” from which the “beast” ascended - [Abyss - Photo by Juan Davila on Unsplash].

In the vision of the “two witnesses,” John saw the “beast ascend” from the “Abyss” to attack and “slay” both “witnesses.” But it was only able to do so after they had “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 desires to 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 from the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them.”
The passage identifies the “two witnesses” as “two lampstands,” and elsewhere in the book, “lampstands” represent churches. And if its symbolism is consistent, then the “two witnesses” symbolize churches in some capacity – (Revelation 1:19-20).

After the “witnesses” completed their “testimony,” the “beast ascended from the Abyss” to wage “war on them, and to slay them.” This last clause echoes the passage from Daniel’s vision of the “four beasts that ascended from the sea.” When the malevolent “little horn” grew out of the “fourth beast,” it persecuted and conquered the “saints of the Most-High” (Daniel 7:21).

In Revelation, each time something evil “ascends” from a dark place, it uses the same Greek verb or anabainô to describe the event. For example, in chapter 13, John saw the “beast ascending from the sea.” At the end of the “thousand years,” 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” was not able to “ascend from the Abyss” to slay the “two witnesses” until after they had finished their “testimony.” Thus, it could not overcome them until authorized to do so by some external force. Prior to its “ascent,” attempts were made by the “inhabitants of the earth” to kill the “two witnesses,” but each time they failed (“If anyone desires to hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies”).

The same “beast” appears again when John saw it “ascending from the sea.” The “sea” represents the same dark reality as the “Abyss.” As before, the “beast ascends” in order to prosecute the Dragon’s 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” or churches. Just as the “beast” ascended from the “Abyss” to “wage war and kill” them, so it likewise “ascended from the sea” to attack 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” 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. Similarly, 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 and to its image.

Thus, the “Beast from the Abyss” and the “beast from the sea” are one and the same, and the “war” against the "two witnesses" represents the same reality as the “war” of the “beast from the sea” on the “saints.” In either case, the “beast” cannot prosecute its war against the church until authorized to do so - (“it was given to it…”).

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