War on the Saints

In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, the “Beast from the sea” is authorized to launch its war against “saints.” In describing the event, the book employs language from Daniel that the latter applies to the “little horn” that is unleashed to “make war with the saints and to prevail over them” - (Daniel 7:21).

The book of Revelation frequently alludes to passages in the book of Daniel, several of which are employed repeatedly.

Battlefield - Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash
[Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash]

For example, the prophet Daniel’s declaration to King Nebuchadnezzar that God had shown him “
what things will be in latter days.” This same clause occurs at several key literary junctures in Revelation, including its very first verse - (Daniel 2:28, Revelation 1:1, 4:1, 22:10).


A passage in Daniel that is key to the visions of Revelation is from the vision of four beasts “ascending from the sea” and the “little horn” of the fourth beast that “made war with the saints and OVERCAME them.” This precise clause is used several times by Revelation to portray Satan’s “war” against the saints who follow the “Lamb” - (Daniel 7:21).

In the vision of the “Two Witnesses,” after they complete their “testimony” before the world, the “Beast that ascends out of the Abyss will MAKE WAR WITH THEM AND OVERCOME THEM and kill them.” The two witnesses are identified as “two lampstands,” and in Revelation, lampstands represent churches – (Revelation 1:20, 11:7).

In the twelfth chapter, enraged from his failure to destroy the “woman” who gave birth to the messianic “son,” the “Dragon” proceeds to “MAKE WAR with the rest of her seed - those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus” - (Revelation 12:17).

Next, we see “Dragon” standing on the seashore as he summons his own “seed” to arise from the sea and execute his “war” against the “seed of the woman”; namely, the beasts from the sea and the earth. The first one is seen “ascending from the sea,” a verbal and conceptual parallel to the “Beast” seen previously “ascending from the Abyss” to destroy the “Two Witnesses.” Thus, the same conflict is in view in both visions - (Revelation 13:1, 13:11).

The single “Beast ascending from the sea” combines the animal characteristics of all four of Daniel’s beasts, including the “mouth speaking great things” that was seen on the “little horn” in Daniel. And in Revelation, this “mouth” is opened to “slander God and His tabernacle, even those who are tabernacling in heaven” – (Revelation 13:1-6).

The slandering activity of the “Beast” is interpreted in verses 7-10 where it is authorized to MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS AND TO OVERCOME THEM,” again alluding to the passage in the seventh chapter of Daniel. Not only are the targets of his persecuting activities named – the “saints” – but their suffering is described as the “patience and the faith of the saints.” And the next chapter leaves us in doubt about their identity when it defines the “patience of the saints” as “they who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”

The same clause from Daniel is used again in the seventeenth chapter only in an ironic fashion to highlight the victory of the “Lamb” in this war. Thus, the “Beast” and its allies will “MAKE WAR with the Lamb, and the Lamb OVERCOMES THEM, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him, called and chosen and faithful” - (Revelation 17:14).


The Lamb’s victory over the “Beast” and its armies is detailed in the vision of the Rider on the White Horse who defeats his enemies with the “sword that proceeds from his mouth,” the “word of God.”

At the final battle, the “Beast and the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together TO MAKE WAR AGAINST him that sat upon the horse, and against his army.” However, the “rider on the white horse” simply cast the “Beast” and the “False Prophet” into the “lake of fire,” and the rest of his opponents were “killed with the sword which came forth out of his mouth” - *(Revelation 19:11-21).

Hence, in Revelation, whether the “Dragon” and his servants wage war against Michael, the “Lamb,” the “saints,” the “seed of the woman,” or “they who have the testimony of Jesus” amounts to the same thing. The Devil attacks the “Lamb” by persecuting anyone who follows him.

The war against the “saints” in chapter 13 is the same “war” waged against the “Two Witnesses” by the “Beast from the Abyss” in the eleventh chapter, and it is the same war waged against the “seed of the woman” by the “Dragon” at the end of chapter 12.

And Revelation says nothing about the “Beast from the sea” launching conventional wars and attacks against nation-states or the modern nation of Israel. Instead, the “inhabitants of the earth,” the “kings of the earth and their armies” ally with the “Beast” in its war against the “Lamb” and the men who “follow him wherever he goes.”

Thus, the book of Revelation uses images and language from Daniel to portray the final assault against the church by Satan and his servants prior to the end of the age and the return of Jesus.