Main article: Key Players and Terms in Prophecy
Related: Antichrist; Revived Roman Empire
The Personal Beast is a reference to the future leader of the Revived Roman Empire. He will come to power in the middle of Daniel’s 70th week, and he will reign for the last 3 1/2 years. We refer to this man as the "Personal" Beast to distinguish him from the empire he controls, which is also called the Beast. The two are very closely connected, "...as we might say, that Napoleon was the French empire, because he wielded all its resources."1
His rise to power. The Personal Beast is a leader who will emerge at the middle of Daniel's 70th week. His character is described in Rev. 13:4-8; he will derive his power from Satan, he will be characterized by blasphemy, he will persecute the faithful viciously, and he will exalt himself as an object of worship. He will take control of the Revived Roman Empire by first overthrowing three out of the ten kingdoms (the "little horn", Dan. 7:8). Then, the remaining kings will voluntarily "give their power and authority to the beast" (Rev. 17:13). In some way he will maintain control over the ten kings while at the same time empowering them. The "horns" do not receive "crowns" until the Personal Beast comes to power; they "receive authority as kings one hour with the beast" (Rev. 17:12).
His worship. One of the most striking things about this man is that Satan makes him an object of worship for the "earth-dwellers". The one who will foster, encourage, enforce, and direct this idolatrous worship is the False Prophet, or Antichrist. You can read all about this evil system of worship in Rev. 13:12-15. Those who refuse to take part in this idolatry will be persecuted or martyred.
The covenant with Israel. One of the first things he will do is breach the terms of the covenant set up by the coming prince. It says "in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease" (Dan. 9:27). This means that he will put a stop to Jewish worship, which the Jews will have resumed in their rebuilt temple. He needs to abolish Judaism (and Christianity) in order to set up his own religion. This will be a warning to Israel to abandon human protection and turn to the Lord... but they will not heed the warning.
His end. We read from Rev. 17:11 that the Personal Beast "goes into destruction". After the attack of the King of the North, the Personal Beast will come across the Mediterranean to defend his "territory". He will be accompanied by a vast navy (Num. 24:24) and army consisting of captains, kings, cavalry, and infantry (Rev. 19:17-19). He will not meet the King of the North, but will instead meet the King of kings and Lord of lords descending with the armies of heaven! The Lord will meet him like "a thief in the night"; totally unexpected. Shockingly, the Beast will attempt to "make war against him that sat upon the horse, and against his army." The battle will begin and end in the same instant. The only weapon in play will be "the sword of him that sat upon the horse" (Rev. 19:21). The Beast's armies will be slain, and he, with the False Prophet, will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20). Proverbially, the other kings and world leaders who have died will then begin to mock him from their waiting place, saying; "Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? ... How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!" (Isa. 14:10, 12). So ends the Personal Beast.
Five Names of the Personal Beast. This important figure in prophecy goes by a number of names in scripture. Here are five of them, but there may be more:
- The First Beast (Rev. 13:1) - stressing his base character.
- The Little Horn (Dan. 7:8) - stressing his humble beginnings.
- The [2nd] coming prince (Dan. 9:26) - stressing his affiliation with Rome.
- The God of Forces (Dan. 11:38) - stressing his vast military might.
- The King of Babylon (Isa. 14:4) - stressing his seeming invulnerability to defeat.
Most dispensational teachers today do not understand the difference between the head of the Revived Roman Empire (first beast) and the Antichrist (second beast). As a result, they take the first beast to be Antichrist, and relegate the False Prophet to some unimportant role. In fact, John Nelson Darby, who those teachers got prophetic and dispensational truth from, himself saw the Beast and Antichrist as one person until around 1845. When he discovered the great difference between the two actors, Darby corrected his position, but it was too late to change the minds of those who had gotten the truth from him.