“Here is wisdom: Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast. For it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Revelation 13:18).
Who is the Beast of Revelation?
According to the Apostle John in Revelation 13:18, the Beast is a reprobate villain of the most ultimate depravity. The Beast is the very incarnation of evil and the persecutor of God’s people.
The Beast is believed by many Christians to be the same figure as the “Man of Sin” in 2 Thessalonians and the “Antichrist” mentioned in 1 John. And according to John, the Beast must be alive in the Last Days. It is no wonder that some of the most noted Bible experts in our day are trying to identify him.
Numerous candidates have been advanced throughout the years by noted Bible experts. These have included Pope Leo, Napoleon, Lenin, Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Henry Kissinger, Mikhail Gorbachev, and even Ronald Reagan. The theories and predictions about the Beast go on and on.
According to Newsweek magazine, 19 percent of all Americans and nearly half of all evangelical Christians “believe that the Antichrist is on the earth now.”
The popularity of this theorizing on the identity of the Beast is seen in the many books on the market which have sold tens of millions of copies. One title, Left Behind by Tim LaHaye, became the New York Times number one Best Seller in 1999.
The Beast of Revelation is the main character in many films which paint him as a diabolical world dictator who will bring about a New World Order, who will unite all world religions in order to worship him. According to some Bible prophecy experts, the Beast will control the destiny of every individual on the planet through hand-implanted computer chips with personal identification numbers. And finally, it is believed that the Beast will seal his own destruction by bringing the late great planet earth to the brink of Armageddon through a nuclear holocaust.
But let me be frank with you. Many of the scenarios painted by Bible prophecy experts in “end-times” seminars, best-selling books, and feature films are conjecture at best. And much of what is being presented is pure fantasy. Many of these “end-times” theories are simply that theories having nothing to do with the plain meaning of the text of the book of Revelation.
The problem is that many Christians, having not seriously studied the Bible, don’t know the difference between sensationalism and sound doctrine, between fiction and biblical theology. Many sincere Christians accept some wild theories about end-times prophecy as though this loose style of Bible interpretation has the same authority as the infallible Word of God itself.
As a young Christian, I too accepted many of the popular theories on the end-times without question, that is, until I began to become more serious in my study of the Bible.
As I began to look more carefully at the popular eschatology of our day a viewpoint (by the way) known as dispensational premillennialism many questions began to be raised in my mind questions that had no easy answers.
When I looked to the dispensationalist view of Bible prophecy to answer these questions, but I soon found that it created many more problems than those it solved.
The main point of conflict between the historic view of the church and the pop-eschatology of today centers around the question of good versus evil. Will Christ or the Anti-Christ prevail in history in the time prior to the Lord’s return? The eschatological view of many Christians today puts much more emphasis on a coming Anti-Christ, than on the victory of Jesus Christ.
Most evangelical Christians do not know that this popular end-times theory today is actually a recent idea. The dispensational interpretation of the book of Revelation dates from the time the 1800s. It was formulated by J.N. Darby in 1830 and then made popular by William Miller and C.I. Scofield in the next 100 years. In the latter half of the the 20th century, the dispensational view of eschatology has been brought into the popular consciousness by authors such as Hal Lindsey and Tim LaHaye who have sold tens of millions of books on the topic.
It’s odd, but most Christians today know less about their eschatology from a careful study of the Bible than they do from the conjecture of The Late Great Planet Earth, the Left Behind series, and the wild conjecture of films such as The Omen, The Seventh Sign, and even a more recent Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, End of Days_.
However, there is another view of Bible prophecy that has had many adherents in church history, but is too frequently ignored in our day. This historic view is being developed today by many well-known conservative Bible scholars, such as, R.C. Sproul, Dr. George Grant, Loraine Boettner, J. Marcellus Kik, R.J. Rushdoony, Ian Murray, Dr. Greg Bahnsen, and the speaker featured in this presentation, Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.
Dr. Gentry is a pastor, Bible scholar, and author of many books on eschatology (the theology of the last days). Through his life’s work in exegeting the scriptures, he has constructed a compelling case for calculating the number of the Beast.
Finally, after many years of confusion, the Beast of Revelation has been identified! Now this video is likely to create as many questions in your mind as those it answers. So we’ve included a question and answer session at the end of this one hour teaching you won’t want to miss.
You might also want to you dig deeper into this view of eschatology, so we’ve also included a reading list at the end of some good materials you can order through Reel to Real Ministries.
But right now, I encourage you to pay attention and carefully consider Dr. Gentry’s case with an open Bible and an open mind. If you will do so, this teaching is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation and even more importantly to radically alter your entire Christian worldview as well.
We join Dr. Gentry at the 1999 Ligonier conference in Orlando, Florida for his keynote address on The Beast of Revelation: Identified.