Discourse 20 - The Antichrist: the first or the second beast from Rev 13?




The Antichrist: the first or the second beast from Rev 13? / Book W. J. Ouweneel 00, page 343

Who has the miraculous power, the first or the second beast from Rev 13? / Book W .J. Ouweneel 01, page 3558

Is the Antichrist a Muslim? / Lecture Tibor Zelikovics 00, 2001-04-06

The first and the second Antichrist / Death and resurrection of Antichrist - Discourse 86, 2007-02-05

Does the Bible say that the Antichrist will be a Jew? / Discourse 101, 2010-02-16

Will the last Pope be the false prophet of the Antichrist? / Discourse 115, 2013-03-01



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(The Antichrist: the first or the second beast from Rev 13? / Book WJO00, page 343*)

Every biblical interpreter who agrees that the Antichrist is an actual person is bound to identify him either with the first or with the second beast in Rev 13. The majority see him as the first beast, but some commentators, even at a very early date, identify him with the second (Andrew of Caesarea in the 6th century points to this interpretation). It depends on whether the Antichrist is taken to be a political or rather a religious world leader. In view of the Johannine Epistles and 2The 2,3-8, I favor the latter view, and would identify the second beast with the Antichrist.
* This extract is taken from the book “Das Buch der Offenbarung” [“The Book of Revelation”] by W. J. Ouweneel, Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung e. V. [Society for the Dissemination of Christian Literature].

(W. J. Ouweneel, “The Book of Revelation”, CLV)



In Rev 13 we are told about these two beasts. The first beast comes out of the sea, the second out of the earth.

The first beast from the sea.

A beast coming up out of the sea and the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.

Rev 13,1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.

13,2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. Rev 13, 1- 2;

They worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast.

Rev 13,3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 13,4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” Rev 13, 3- 4;


This first beast, coming out of the sea, is invested by the dragon with his own authority and with great power; it is even given the dragon’s throne. It derives its power therefore directly from Satan.

Now, although the devil appears to have divested himself of all his authority and mighty power, giving these to the beast, it is not the case that this first beast has replaced Satan. In Rev 13,4 we can see plainly that human beings know very well that the power of the beast comes from the dragon, and so they worship both the dragon and the first beast from the sea.

This fact is of great significance for the differentiation of the two beasts, as it shows that the dragon and the first beast are here worshiped as gods, in such a way that a clear “Father-Son” relationship can be seen to subsist between them, similar to that we know of from the Lord Jesus and His Father in heaven.

The second beast from the earth.

He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence.

Rev 13,11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. 13,12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13,13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 13,14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 13,15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Rev 13,11-15;


The second beast comes out of the earth, and it “exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence”. By contrast with the first beast, however, the second beast plainly does not receive its authority from the dragon, but by “inheritance” from the first beast. Its power therefore derives from the first beast, and this also emerges plainly from the text, where the second beast induces human beings to make an image to the first beast and compels them to worship it.

So we have here the first beast, coming out of the sea, which acts as the “son” of the dragon, so to speak, and along with the dragon is worshiped as a god; and then there is the second beast, coming out of the earth, whose task it is to impress human beings with its signs and wonders and to convince them of the authority of the first beast, from whom its own authority indeed is derived.

Although on this basis it cannot yet be determined beyond doubt which of the two beasts is the Antichrist, one can at least say that the first beast definitely has a greater affinity with the dragon than the second one. Besides, it is only the first beast that has religious worship paid to it, not the second. The second beast, by contrast, has the task of promoting the worship of the first beast. But in the text that we are considering the “Antichrist” is nowhere mentioned. This term is to be found only in the Johannine Epistles.

This is the Antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

1Jn 2,22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 1Jn 2,22;

This is the Antichrist who does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.

2Jn 1,7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist. 1,8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 1,9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 1,10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 1,11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 2Jn 1,7-11;


As John here says, the Antichrist will deny both the Father and the Son. And if the dragon really wants to simulate a Father-Son relationship with the Antichrist, the Antichrist has every reason to deny the true God the Father and the true God the Son. Nor will he want to admit that the Christ, the Messiah, has already come “in the flesh” in the person of Jesus of Nazareth and has therefore already lived on this earth. This allows us to conclude that the Antichrist, whose name, “against Christ”, could just as correctly be translated as “instead-of Christ”, will present himself in the guise of a “Messiah”. And as a result of the satanic power and authority that is conferred on him, he will be able to bring about signs and wonders, so that many human beings will have faith in him and be led astray. And this is precisely what Paul confirms, in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

The one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.

2The 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2,5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 3-12;


By contrast with these statements (note especially 2The 2,9) in which Paul warns us that the “man of lawlessness”, that is the Antichrist, acting in the power of Satan, will appear on earth with great power and with delusive signs and wonders, Ouweneel asserts in the course of his exposition (p.355) that the first beast from Rev 13 – that is, the Antichrist – will not perform any signs and wonders at all.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Who has the miraculous power, the first or the second beast from Rev 13? / Book WJO01, page 355)

“From a political point of view, the second beast is subordinate to the first; it does all it can to ensure that all the earth’s inhabitants will worship the beast ‘whose fatal wound was healed’, that is to say, the leader of the revived Roman Empire (compare the verse Rev 13,3). ‘And he performs great signs’ (verse Rev 13,3a). This characteristic feature is not to be seen in the first beast; what we really have to do with here is a ‘false prophet’ who will try to prove through miraculous signs that he is a true prophet (...)”

(W. J. Ouweneel, The Book of Revelation CLV)



Even though 2The 2,3-12 does not expressly speak of the Antichrist but rather of the “son of destruction” and the “man of lawlessness” (in Luther, “the evil one”), it is nonetheless impossible to doubt that the Antichrist is intended. On the one hand it is the beast from the sea and its kings against whom the Lord Jesus will fight on his Second Coming and whom he will (along with the second beast, the false prophet) finally annihilate (Rev 19,19-21). On the other, the expression “the man of lawlessness/evil one” could only otherwise refer to Satan himself; the latter, however, is mentioned explicitly and distinctly in the same sentence (2The 2,9). As John does in Rev 13,2, so Paul too here foretells that Satan will transfer his authority and great power to the “man of lawlessness”, to the beast that comes from the sea, to the Antichrist – who then will take his place in the temple and proclaim himself as a god.

(See also Discourse 86: “The first and the second Antichrist.”)

And just as John expressly tells us in his first letter (1Jn 2,22) that the Antichrist will be a liar, so Paul here too, in 2The 2,9, warns us that the Antichrist will try to lead humanity astray with his lying signs and wonders, inducing them to believe in the lie.

Even if one might be inclined here to object that these signs and wonders in Rev 13,13-14 are also performed by the second beast, one must take into account that the second beast derives its authority from the first beast after all, that is to say from the Antichrist; so that its signs and wonders, in consequence, are effected through his power.

The subsequent mention of these two beasts in the Revelation shows that the first beast occupies the position of precedence.

The dragon, the beast and the false prophet.

Rev 16,13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 16,14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. Rev 16,13-14;

And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet.

Rev 19,19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 19,21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev 19,19-21;

The lake of fire where the beast and the false prophet are also.

Rev 20,10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev 20,10;


Here we see from Rev 19,19-21 that it is the (first) beast which – with the support of the kings of the earth – will make war on the Lord Jesus. Now, it is agreed by all that the Lord at his Second Coming will fight against the Antichrist. Therefore in all consistency the first beast that comes out of the sea must be the Antichrist, and not the second one that comes out of the earth, which is also referred to in the above passage, at Rev 20,10, as the “false prophet”.

(See also Table 06: “The Antichrist, the ‘queen’ in the chess of the devil.”)

But it can also be seen that this false prophet in the Satanic trinity is always mentioned in the third and last place, and this allows us to conclude that he comes at the end of the hierarchy of these three, and so – for the same reason – cannot himself be the Antichrist to whom “authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given”.

And authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.

Rev 13,5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 13,6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 13,7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 13,8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. Rev 13, 5- 8;


Finally, what we are told here, in Rev 13,8, about the first beast – “And all who dwell on the earth will worship him” – confirms that this is the Antichrist, the “instead-of Christ”, who will be worshiped by human beings as the false Son of a false God the Father. The second beast by contrast is only a henchman who has received his authority from the Antichrist and whose task it is to get human beings to worship Satan and the Antichrist.

So we can see that just those scriptural passages which Ouweneel quotes in order to prove that the second beast is the Antichrist – the Johannine Epistles, that is, and 2The 2,3-8 – point without a possibility of doubt, when more closely examined, to the identification of the first beast with the Antichrist.

As for the fact that as early as the 6th century Andrew of Caesarea put forward the view that the second beast is the Antichrist, this only goes to show that an interpretation is not correct just because it derives from antiquity, or because it has been advanced by a famous person.

(See also Discourse 115: “Will the last Pope be the false prophet of the Antichrist?”)

For a serious biblical interpreter, moreover, it goes completely against the grain to base an interpretation on the answer to the question “whether the Antichrist is taken to be a political or rather a religious world leader”. That would not be an interpretation of Scripture, but rather an opinion poll. Any one who follows this course has already resigned his task as an expositor just at the point where it properly should begin.

So we do not have the option of selecting a specific interpretation on the basis of personal preference: on the contrary, we must take the trouble of examining the Scriptures so that we then may be in a position, in the light of scriptural testimony, to come up with an interpretation that the Scriptures will support.

Bearing in mind the connections we have established between the first and second beast from Rev 13, we now intend to examine another theory on the identity of the Antichrist that has been quite frequently advanced.



(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Is the Antichrist a Muslim? / Lecture TZ00, 2001-04-06)

At an event organized by the “Föderation für den Weltfrieden” [Federation for World Peace] and held in Vienna in April 2001, the Jewish metaphysical thinker Tibor Zelikovics declared that we already find ourselves at the turning point that heralds the last days. And he advanced the opinion that the Antichrist, whose activities are to introduce the last days, is already present on earth. He is said to be dividing his time between Egypt, the Arabian peninsula and Iran, but so far is only operating covertly. An individual with overwhelming charisma capable of appealing to the masses world-wide, he is expected to found a new ideology, a “spiritual socialism”, and elevate himself to the position of a world leader whom even the United Nations will recognize. Having established a world government with centralized economic control, he will then unite Europe and Russia against the United States. The Jewish thinker Zelikovics holds that the Antichrist is a Moslem, and claims to know his identity, but is unwilling to reveal it at this time

(From Tibor Zelikovics’ lecture at the “Federation for World Peace” conference in Vienna)



Muslims who were present on this occasion were understandably annoyed by this last assertion, and representatives of the Christian churches also pointed to Mt 24,42-44, where the Lord warns us to be constantly watchful, seeing that no one other than the Father knows when this time is to come.

Now it is true that the Islamic fundamentalists have done everything imaginable in recent years, and right up to the present day, to bring the displeasure, even to some extent the hatred of the world upon themselves. And one probably will not go far wrong in assuming that the individual whose name Zelikovics here declines to give is the famously notorious Islamic billionaire and terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden, who operates in just the geographical area he mentions.

If we consider the connections we have set out earlier, however, there are clear and convincing reasons why the Antichrist cannot be a Muslim. And these reasons apply with equal force to the idea that he might be the second beast from Rev 13.

In the light of the interpretation put forward here – which most adherents of the two views just mentioned likewise accept – the Antichrist will not just be an “against Christ” but (relying on an alternative translation of the Greek preposition “anti”) an “instead-of Christ”. Now “Christ” comes from the Latin “Christus”, which in turn derives from the Greek word “Christos” which was taken in the Septuagint (= LXX, the Greek translation of the Old Testament) as a translation of the Hebrew expression “Messiah” (in the original Hebrew “maschiach”, in Aramaic “meschicha”). “Messiah” literally means “anointed”, and in Jewish belief the term stands for the glorious king and descendant of David who in accordance with the prophecies of the Old Testament was one day to lead Israel to world dominion.

The Antichrist then will be above all an “Antimessiah”, who will proclaim himself to the Jews as the promised anointed one, the savior of Israel. This is likewise the light in which we must understand 1Jn 2,22, where we are told:

This is the antichrist who denies that Jesus is the Christ.

1Jn 2,22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 1Jn 2,22;


He has of course a vested interest in denying that Jesus has already come as the Christ, that is, the Messiah. And he will meet with a ready audience among the Jews, for the Jews have always known that the Nazarene could not have been the Messiah. Of their Messiah it is written that he will save the people of Israel and make it “chief among all peoples”, that is to say, raise it to a position of world power. While Jesus of Nazareth, on the other hand, could not even save Himself from dying on the cross.

It is easy now to understand the reasons – resulting from this position – why it follows that the Antichrist cannot possibly be a Muslim. The Jews would never, not in any circumstances, accept a Muslim as their Messiah. In this view, the Antichrist can only be Jewish. Jn 5,4-6 gives us a further indication:

If another comes in his own name, you will receive him.

Jn 5,41 I do not receive glory from men; 5,42 but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves. 5,43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, you will receive him. Jn 5,41-43;


Here the Lord expressly points to the fact that He has come in the name of God his Father, and the Jews have not received Him; but if another (the Antichrist) comes in his own name (for he cannot call upon God), then they will receive him.

The fact too that the Antichrist is to set up his image in the Temple in Jerusalem – not to speak of numerous other details – confirms that these events are to take place in Israel and among the Jews. And if among the Jews, then the Antichrist cannot be a Muslim.

And precisely this is the reason why, on this view, the second beast from Rev 13 cannot be the Antichrist. In that passage the second beast coming out of the earth, the false prophet as he is also called in Rev 19,20 and 20,10, is represented as an auxiliary to the first beast, so to speak:

o  it induces all human beings on earth to worship the first beast,

o  it performs signs in the power given it by the first beast,

o  it tells the people dwelling on earth to make an image in honor of the first beast,

o  it causes all to be put to death who do not worship the image of the first beast,

o  it allows no one to buy or sell unless they have on them the mark of the beast, the name of the first beast or the number of his name.


From these statements in Rev 13,12-17 it is plain to see that this second beast cannot be a world leader, seeing that it serves the first beast to the best of its ability – the first beast, from which it has received all authority. It is inconceivable in consequence that the Jews would accept this lackey as their long expected Messiah.

Finally it is also plain from the scriptural passages cited that it is the first beast that is worshiped. So it is the first beast that will proclaim itself as the “Son of God” to whom worship is due. The second beast, on the other hand, does everything in its power to compel the inhabitants of the whole world, under pain of death, to worship its lord in this way.

The one who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached. 

2Cor 11,3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. 11,4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. 2Cor 11, 3- 4;


As we can now see, the question which of the two beasts in Rev 13 is the Antichrist can be unambiguously answered on the basis of what we are told in this very chapter. The reason why many expositors get the idea into their heads that the second beast – the beast that comes out of the earth, the false prophet – might be the Antichrist is presumably either because they want to support some preconceived opinion by means of this interpretation, or else, quite simply, they have not taken the trouble to read the text right through to the end.