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Beast from the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 11:1-13) - Study Guide


Bible Passage:

Read the prophecy in Revelation 11:1 to 11:13.


The attack on God's Word.


This prophecy is actually a subset of the 7 Trumpets and one of the interlude prophecies depicting events leading up to and during the 7th Trumpet. It focuses on events fulfilled in France during the Revolution of the 1790s, a time of great religious and political turmoil. It outlines a war on God's word as it was suppressed for hundreds of years, then it was killed, and then it rose back to life and went on to be very successful. The beast that ascends from the bottomless pit in Revelation 11 has several characteristics:
  • It rises at the end of the 1260 years (538-1798 AD) of Papal ecclesiastical supremacy (they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days).
  • It would seek to eliminate the Word of God (killed the two witnesses) for 3-1/2 years (3-1/2 prophetic days) around 1798 (the end of the 1260 years of witnessing in sackcloth or being suppressed).
  • It would exhibit the characteristics of Sodom (licentiousness).
  • It would respond to God like Egypt (daring rebellion).
  • It would behave like those who crucified Jesus (persecute and kill).
All of these specifications occurred as predicted during the French Revolution (1789-1799). This was a period of massive changes in France as it transformed from an absolute monarchy into forms based on ideas from the Enlightment and citizen rights. It caused upheavals throughout Europe as every other major European power became involved in the resulting wars. Let's look at all these specifications in more detail.


Revelation 11:1-2 "1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months."

Measure the temple = Pre-Advent Judgment (1844 to close of probation). To measure means to judge by a fixed standard. Here again, the symbolism of the earthly sanctuary is used to illustrate the reality of Jesus' ministry for us in the heavenly sanctuary. As seen in multiple other prophecies, Jesus is currently conducting the final phase of His ministry from the Most Holy Place of the heavenly sanctuary. This phase began in 1844 (see Dan. 8) and involves a court scene and judgment (see Dan. 7). This time of judgment is also seen in multiple other prophecies (see "Pre-Advent Judgment Parellels"), which altogether unfold an amazing view of the important work Jesus is doing for us.

Them that worship therein = Those who have accepted Jesus. The final phase of Jesus' ministry is a work for those who have accepted Him ("them that worship therein"). Their name has been written in the book of life. Now, they are examined ("measure") to see if they have continued on to follow the Lord and allowed Him to write His law on their hearts and to change them from the inside out as He promises.

Gentiles = Those who have never accepted Jesus. In contrast with "them that worship therein", are those who have never professed to be Christian and therefore have no part in this phase. In the earthly sanctuary system, only those who had brought a lamb (accept Christ) to be sacrificed (confess) had their sins symbolically transferred to the sanctuary (forgiven) and received the benefit of the priest's work in sprinkling the blood inside (cleansing the conscience).

Forty and two months = 1260 years. There are 30 days in the Jewish month. Calculate the time by multiplying 42 by 30, which equals 1260 days. The 1260 symbolic days represent 1260 literal years. This corresponds to the time period during the Middle Ages when the papacy was ecclesiastically dominant and joined with state powers to persecute God's people and obscure God's Word and Jesus' ministry ("holy city shall they tread"). This was similarly described previously as a time when the "sanctuary and the host" would be "trodden under foot" (Dan. 8:13). This time period is repeated in several prophecies (see the 1260 Days).

Revelation 11:3-4 "3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. "

Thousand two hundred and threescore days = 1260 years. This corresponds to the 42 months. For more information see the 1260 Days.

Two Witnesses = The Word of God; the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the law and the prophets. These witnesses are only seen/effective when they are active by the Holy Spirit's influence (John 16:13,7-8, Acts 1:8) through His people, as represented by the system of the "olive trees" that produce oil (Holy Spirit) to enable the "candlesticks" (churches) to burn (witness) (Zech. 4, Rev. 1:20) (note: the word translated to candlestick in Rev. 11:4 is the same word translated to lampstand in Rev. 1:20). This produces light, which is God's Word as read, preached and seen in the life (Psalm 119:105, 2 Cor. 4:1-6, Jn. 1:1-14, Mt. 5:14).

Clothed in sackcloth = Obscurred. The Word of God was suppressed and obscurred by the papal church-state system for 1260 years ("forty and two months").

Revelation 11:5-6 "And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will."

These verses emphasize how harmful it is to obstruct God's word. Rejecting its truths or interferring with those who are sharing its truths result in plagues and death.

Revelation 11:7-10 " 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth."

War against them = Fighting against God's Word. Near the end of the 1260 years (when the Word finishes it testimony in sackcloth from 538 - 1798 AD), a new power arises that doesn't just suppress the Word any longer, but outright kills it. This occurred as predicted during the French Revolution (1789-1799). The power behind the French Revolution, represented by the "beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit", rose at the end of the 1260 years ("a thousand two hundred and threescore days" - v.11:3) of papal ecclesiastical supremacy (538-1798 AD).

France had long been united with the papacy in suppressing the Word of God and persecuting those of who didn't go along with papal beliefs. France was responsible for conducting some of the cruelest slaughters in the Roman realm. They were instrumental in enforcing the papacy's beliefs for the 1260 year time period. But now, a new power rose within France and waged open war upon the Bible. During the revolution, there was rebellion and over-reaction to their former religious zealotry. They threw religious constraints completely off.

"When fifty thousand French priests and one hundred and thirty-two French bishops refused to accept the Constitution of 1791, which Louis XVI. had felt constrained to approve, the pope issued a Bull denouncing the Constitution and prohibiting its acceptance by the French clergy. The French National Assembly retaliated by confiscating Avignon and Venaissin, papal possessions in France, and the pope was helpless. Excommunication and interdict had lost their force, for the people no longer believed that their temporal or spiritual well-being was in the hands of pope or priest, and they could smile at papal and prelatical anathemas. The confiscation of the estates of the church, the complete abrogation of ecclesiastical privileges, the proscription and persecution of the clergy because of their opposition to the revolution, and finally the legislative annihilation of the Christian religion with the attempt to obliterate all Christian institutions by changing the calendar, etc., grew out of the widespread popular conviction that the dominant form of Christianity, with which Christianity itself was identified, was the arch-enemy of human rights and the enslaver of men's bodies, minds, and consciences" (Albert Henry Newman, A Manual of Church History, (Philadelphia: The American Baptist Publication Society, 1931), page 443).

France's war on God's word culminated in 1793, for the time period defined in the prophecy as 3-1/2 years (3-1/2 prophetic days), when religion was officially outlawed in France. A heaven-daring, rebellious and atheistical attitude was displayed as efforts to de-Christianize the nation commenced. The worship of the Deity was abolished by the National Assembly. It was declared that they had no god but Reason and devoted themselves to the homage of liberty, equality, virtue, and morality. It is estimated that up to 250,000 lives were taken during the revolt in 1793. The pope was taken prisoner in 1798 and the papacy declared at an end ("wounded/killed" - 13:3,10).This was a period of massive changes in France as it transformed from an absolute monarchy into forms based on ideas from the Enlightment and citizen rights. It caused upheavals throughout Europe as every other major European power became involved in the resulting wars and additional revolutions.

Kill them = Bible is outlawed. Near the end of the 1260 year period ("when they shall have finished their testimony"), in 1793, the French Assembly decreed the Christian religion abolished and Bibles were burned ("kill them").

Great City = Spiritual Babylon as manifested in France during the Revolution. In other words, the Bible was outlawed and these actions displayed publically (dead bodies in the street) and celebrated by those who were part of apostate churches (Babylon) in France. The "great city" is used 8 times in Revelation to refer to Babylon. In Revelation 14:8, Babylon is called that "great city". In Rev. 16:19 the "great city" is again associated with Babylon. In Rev. 17, the woman is named "Babylon" in verse 5, and then later in verse 18 the woman is named that "great city". In Rev. 18:10 and 21, it twice clearly reads "that great city Babylon", with the additional mention of "great city" several more times in relation to the judgment of Babylon. The "great city" is used once in Revelation to refer to the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10). This verse in Revelation 8 is referring to the sinful and persecuting city, which is Babylon.

Sodom = Licentiousness. A remarkable licentiousness was displayed in France as the population unleashed its restraints. The ruling government that took over in 1794, called the Directory, was particularly known for its corruption and politicians who enjoyed living luxuriously and beautiful mistresses (Jasper Ridley, The Freemasons, page 141).

Egypt = Daring rebellion. France would show an atheistical attitude similar to the Egyptians when Pharoah said "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go" (Ex. 5:2).

Where are Lord was crucified = Where Christians were persecuted. France had especially persecuted and killed Jesus' followers during the Middle Ages. It was the Franks who enabled a church-state system to form in their territories in 508 AD (see Daniel 8) and persecuted God's people in enforcing papal religion during the Middle Ages. But during the Revolution persecution came forth in unprecedented fury against religion. It is estimated that up to 250,000 lives were taken during the revolt in 1793.

Tormented them = Conviction and guilt. The revolutionaries tried to silence the convicting voice ("tormented them") of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God ("two prophets").

Beast from the Bottomless Pit = The Roman realm led by Freemasonry as manifested in France. This beast symbolizes a realm (kingdom - Dan. 7:23), just like beasts in other prophecies. The beast cannot just symbolize an idea, doctrine, or theory of social organization, such as atheism or communism, but must represent a realm/kingdom/political entity with an identifiable ruling power, such as Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece or Rome, or a realm under a specific phase of leadership, such as papal-led Rome.

In order to identify this power, we need to identify the power that ruled France during the revolution.
'The beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.' The atheistical power that ruled in France during the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, did wage such a war against God and His holy word as the world had never witnessed. The worship of the Deity was abolished by the National Assembly. Bibles were collected and publicly burned with every possible manifestation of scorn. The law of God was trampled underfoot. The institutions of the Bible were abolished. The weekly rest day was set aside, and in its stead every tenth day was devoted to reveling and blasphemy. Baptism and the Communion were prohibited. And announcements posted conspicuously over the burial places declared death to be an eternal sleep (The Great Controversy, Ellen G. White, 273.2).
History shows that Freemasonry is inseparable from the French revolution (as well as the American and European revolutions of the 1700s and 1800s). The ideas of Freemasonry, with its slogan of "liberty, equality, and fraternity" were at the heart of the French revolution. The key leaders in the revolution were Freemasons, or members of various factions/clubs started by Freemasons (e.g. Girondins, Jacobins), including many of the army, Lafayette (commander of National Guard) and approximately 40% of his officers, Louis Philippe II, Robespierre, Voltaire, Dr. Guillotine, Marat, Mirabeau, election committees members, 247 of 749 members elected during the third parliament, and at least 320 of 1,336 delegates to the Estates-General, and others. The resulting leadership under Napoleon was predominantly made up of Freemasons. They were involved throughout the political spectrum, so what may have started out as a noble fight for freedom, descended into chaotic, bloody anarchy and infighting.

This same power would play an increasing role in the realm, and rule during the 7th Trumpet time period (see Rev. 13 and Rev. 17).
At the same time anarchy is seeking to sweep away all law, not only divine, but human. The centralizing of wealth and power; the vast combinations for the enriching of the few at the expense of the many; the combinations of the poorer classes for the defense of their interests and claims; the spirit of unrest, of riot and bloodshed; the world-wide dissemination of the same teachings that led to the French Revolution - all are tending to involve the whole world in a struggle similar to that which convulsed France (Education, Ellen G. White, 228.2).
More details about Freemasonry and the French Revolution.

Revelation 11:11-13 "11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven."

Three days and an half = Three and a half years. After 3-1/2 years, the decree outlawing religion was rescinded. The Bible was reinstated ("stood upon their feet").

Ascended up to heaven = Bible promoted. During the 1800s, the Bible went on to become widely available as Bible Societies formed to publish and propagate the Bible all over the world. The message of the Bible is seen in "heaven" in a similar way to the 3 angels' message being given from "in the midst of heaven" (Rev. 14:6). These are messages from God that do their work throughout the earth.

Tenth part of the city fell = The unfaithful churches of France, one-tenth of the Roman realm that Babylon rules, fell Spiritually (all of Babylon would fall by 1844 - Rev. 14:8). As will be seen in Revelation 17, the woman named Babylon represents unfaithful churches, which control the Roman realm (woman sits on the beast - Rev. 17). The realm is made up of 10 tribes (10 horns on the beast). Seven tribes remained by the time of the Revolution, with one of them being the French. So, the unfaithful churches of one of the 10 tribes (the French), after repeatedly rejecting God's truth, finally fell and was given up to reap the consequences. All of Babylon fell off the cliff, so to speak, by 1844 and finally completes its fall, or hits the ground, at the end of time just before the 7 last plagues that destroy it.

Time Line

Prophecy timeline of the Beast in Revelation 11
(click on image to enlarge)

Return to 7 Trumpets.