A beast normally means a strong wild animal, but this beast is a special description of the antichrist. The antichrist is an evil ruler who will gain control over the whole world shortly before Christís return.
The antichristís power and authority will become very great, but then something terrible will happen. In the word-picture, John describes this as a terrible injury to one of the beastís seven heads. That could mean a physical injury or a loss of power. It will seem as if the antichrist cannot recover. However, the antichrist will recover by the devilís power; in fact, he will become even stronger. Now his authority over the whole world will be complete.
Daniel may also refer to this incident in the life of the antichrist. If so, this incident means either political trouble or a war. Daniel 7:8 tells about a little horn that overcomes three other horns on the head of a beast. A horn is the bony point on an animalís head; Daniel uses it as a word-picture for strength. The little horn means the antichrist; the three other horns mean three kings (Daniel 7:24-25). The antichrist defeats those kings. Daniel 11:2-32 also describes a long series of political troubles that end with the antichrist.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 speaks about astonishing acts that the antichrist will carry out. Unlike the other passages, it does not use word-pictures. It says that the antichrist will carry out all kinds of lying wonders. Wonders are acts that astonish people; they seem to have no natural explanation. The word Ďlyingí there does not mean that these things will not really happen. It means that these events will teach the people a lie. The lie is that they should serve the devil. Jesus called the devil Ďthe father of liesí (John 8:44). In the end, all lies come from the devil (see 1 John 2:18-26).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.