Beast from the Abyss

The Beast first appears as ascends from the Abyss to wage war on the Two Witnesses after they complete their testimony – Revelation 11:7. 

The “Abyss” was introduced when the “fifth trumpet” sounded and demonic hordes “ascended” from that dark place. It is referred to next after the “two witnesses” complete their “testimony.” On cue, the “beast ascends from the Abyss” to attack and slay both “witnesses,” but it cannot do so until they have finished their prophetic mission.

The pattern of satanic forces “ascending” from the “Abyss” to wage war against the “saints” repeats in the book of Revelation.

And the “saints” are identified as those who have the “testimony” and “faith” of Jesus. What distinguishes them from the “inhabitants of the earth” is their faithfulness in following the “Lamb wherever he does,” even if doing so results in their martyrdom.

Members of the latter group are branded with the “mark of the Beast,” but members of the former have the name of the “Lamb” and of his Father “inscribed on their foreheads.”


  • (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.”

Here, the “two witnesses” are identified as “two lampstands,” and elsewhere in the book, “lampstands” represent churches. If the book's symbolism is consistent, the “witnesses” represent churches – (Revelation 1:19-20).

After they complete their “testimony,” John sees the “Beast ascending from the Abyss” to wage “WAR ON THEM, AND TO SLAY THEM.”

The last clause echoes Daniel’s vision of the “four beasts ascending from the sea” when the malevolent “little horn” of the “fourth beast” persecuted the “saints of the Most-High”:

  • (Daniel 7:21) – “I beheld, and the same horn MADE WAR WITH THE SAINTS AND PREVAILED AGAINST THEM.”

In Revelation, each time something evil is said to “ASCEND” from a dark place, the English term translates the Greek verb anabainĂ´. This is NOT coincidental.

For example, in chapter 13, John describes the same “Beast ascending from the sea.” And at the end of the “thousand years,” Satan is released from the “Abyss” to lead the nations to “ascend over the earth” and attack the “camp of the saints.” The verbal links are deliberate – (Revelation 9:1, 11:7, 13:1, 17:8, 20:8-9).


But the “Beast” cannot “ascend from the Abyss” to kill them UNTIL they complete their “testimony.” Thus, the “Beast” is unable to overcome them before it is authorized to do so by an external power.

This does not mean the “two witnesses” do not suffer persecution, only that they cannot be killed before the appointed time.

As the passage states, previous attempts were made by the “inhabitants of the earth” to kill them, but they all failed (“If anyone desires to hurt them, fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies”).

The “two witnesses” represent churches. This understanding will be confirmed in the next vision when the same “beast” ascends from the “sea” to “wage war and overcome the saints”:

  • 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” - (Daniel 7:21, Revelation 13:7).

After the “Beast” kills the “two witnesses,” the “peoples and tribes and tongues and nations” refuse to bury their corpses, and the “inhabitants of the earth” rejoice over their deaths.

Likewise, after the “Beast from the sea” kills the “saints,” it is granted authority over “every tribe and people and tongue and nation,” and all the “inhabitants of the earth” render homage to it - (Revelation 13:8).

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” by the “Beast” against the “saints.” In either case, the “Beast” is unable to prosecute its war until authorized to do so (“it was given to it…”).

And this means that both the “Abyss” and the “sea” represent the same dark reality. It is the place where the “Dragon” is imprisoned until the appointed season when it is released to ascend and wreak havoc on the earth against the people of the “Lamb.”


Language of the New Testament

Two Little Horns?