16:10-11 The fifth angel poured out his bowl
on the throne of the beast,
and his kingdom became darkened;
and they gnawed their tongues because of pain,
and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains …;
and they did not repent of their deeds. (NASB)
These verses use the pronoun “they” for “his kingdom,” rather than “it.” The kingdom, therefore, refers to the SUBJECTS of the beast’s kingdom; not to its territory. This confirms what we saw in the first plague (16:2), namely that the plagues SELECTIVELY target the subjects of the kingdom of the Beast. His subjects are the people with the mark of the beast.
THRONE OF THE BEAST
“The beast … was like …
And the dragon gave him his power and his throne
and great authority” (Revelation 13:2).
Here we see that the beast received its throne from the dragon. “Power,” “throne,” and “authority” are understood to be synonyms. The beast’s throne is, therefore, his authority, namely that which gives him the power to rule.
To understand what its throne is, we need to know who the dragon is, for it receives its throne from the dragon (13:2).
Both the beast and the dragon have seven heads and ten horns. The article that discusses the Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation, concludes that when the dragon stands before the woman, ready to devour her Child (that is, Jesus – see Revelation 12:3-4), it represents the FOURTH KINGDOM of Daniel 7. (The word ‘when’ is important, for when the dragon wages war against Michael and his angels, it represents Satan (12:7).)
That fourth kingdom is identified in the study of Daniel 7 as the ROMAN EMPIRE, which ruled the known world when Jesus was born. It is therefore concluded that, in Revelation 12:3-4, the dragon is the Roman Empire.
This identification of the dragon can be confirmed from Revelation 13, where the Beast appears for the first time:
“1 And the DRAGON stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a BEAST coming up out of the sea,
having ten horns and seven heads …
2 … the beast … was like a leopard,
and his feet were like those of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.
And the dragon gave him his power and his throne …“
The sea, from which it arises, is a symbol for the peoples of the world.
Daniel 7 represents a series of kingdoms with animals. The four animals listed in Revelation 13:2 are exactly the same as the animals that we find in Daniel 7. The Beast inherits characteristics from each of them (Rev 13:2; compare Daniel 7). It inherits:
Its appearance from the leopard.
Its feet from the bear.
Its mouth from the lion.
Its throne from the dragon.
These four animals are identified in the article on Daniel 7 as:
Ancient Babylon (lion);
Greece (leopard) and
Rome (non-descript beast in Daniel 7—Dragon in Revelation).
This confirms that the dragon is the Roman Empire and that the beast, therefore, receives its throne (authority) from that empire.
The question then is, what type of authority did the beast receive from the dragon? In the article dealing with this question, it was concluded that the throne of the beast is religious authority. In summary, this article provides evidence that the throne of the beast is Christian religious authority. This is based on the flow of thought in the plagues, the general nature of conflict in Revelation as a war of worship, the description of the persecuting powers as a woman, a lamb and a false prophet performing wonders and signs, intent on changing God’s law, and the fact that it always is false religion that persecutes true religion.
To explain this in historical context:
In the fourth century, the Roman Empire made Christianity its sole religion. The Emperor became the de facto head of the church and had both military and religious authority. When the military might of the Western Empire was conquered by the barbarian tribes, particularly in the fifth century, the Emperor’s religious authority continued to exert its influence in the West through the church.
THE MIGHTY ANGEL
A further article compares the call made on God’s people by the mighty angel in Revelation 18 with the fifth plague. It concludes that the mighty angel’s message of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague. In summary:
In Revelation 18 a mighty angel cries out “Fallen, fallen is Babylon … Come out of her, my people.” This is a message proclaimed on earth by God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit.
By analyzing the time sequence of the end-time events, this article shows that the fifth plague is the mighty angel’s powerful message. That message convinces the peoples of the world that light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness.
The beast’s throne is a symbol of its power and authority, which it receives from the dragon, which is the Roman Empire. But that was Christian religious authority; not financial or military power.
The beast’s kingdom is his subjects, namely the people with the mark of the beast. The plagues target them selectively.
The first four plagues seriously eroded the beast’s authority, for these plagues ONLY affected its followers; the people with the mark of the beast.
The fifth plague is also the loud cry, namely the mighty angel of Revelation 18 that cries out “Fallen, fallen is Babylon … Come out of her, my people.” This is followed by “another voice from heaven, saying,’Come out of her, my people‘” (v4).
This is a message proclaimed on earth by God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit. This message convinces the peoples of the world that light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness. This completely destroys the beast’s reputation and therefore its authority (throne). Consequently, in the sixth plague, the people of the world withdraw their support from the beast. (See Sixth Plague)
These conclusions are based on a number of articles, including:
The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
The beasts of Daniel 7
The animals of Daniel 7 and 8 identify the Evil Horn.
The throne of the beast is religious authority.
The mighty angel of Revelation 18 is the fifth plague.