The Beasts Of The Apocalypse
The description of the beast is found in Revelation chapters thirteen and seventeen. Chapter thirteen gives the fullest description. John saw it "rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." (Revelation 13:1) It was like a leopard, with feet like the feet of a bear, and had a mouth like a lion. One of its heads had a mortal wound which healed itself, causing people to wonder at it and follow it. (Revelation 13:1-10) This description draws many parallels with a vision in the Book of Daniel where four beasts symbolizing a succession of kingdoms come out of the sea in the forms of a lion, bear, leopard and a beast with ten horns.
The Beasts of the Apocalypse
Revelation 13:7 speaks of the power given to the beast to make war with the saints. Nero was the first of the imperial authorities to persecute Christianity. Tacitus records the scene in Rome when the persecution of Christians (or Chrestians) broke out: "And their death was aggravated with mockeries, insomuch that, wrapped in the hides of wild beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or fastened to crosses to be set on fire, that when the darkness fell they might be burned to illuminate the night."
In this view, the beast from the sea is interpreted as the state or any human kingdom that is in opposition to God. This would include the Roman Empire but would broadly apply to all empires. Scholars take their cue from the parallels between Revelation 13 and Daniel 7, noting that in Daniel 7:17 that the beasts are revealed as kingdoms. Therefore, given that the beast of Revelation thirteen is a composite of the beasts of Daniel, one should similarly interpret this beast as a kingdom, more specifically a composite of all kingdoms. Similarly, in some idealist circles, it is suggested that the beast represents different social injustices, such as exploitation of workers, wealth, the elite, commerce, materialism, and imperialism. Various Christian anarchists, such as Jacques Ellul, have associated the State and political power as the beast.
Futurism interprets the beast from the sea to represent a revived Roman empire that will oppose Christians in the last days. Futurists would admit the symbolic ties to Rome and would interpret that the recovery from the fatal head wound would refer to a revival of this empire in the last days. It is usually understood that this revived empire will be ruled by the Antichrist, though some refer to the beast as the Antichrist. Futurist scholars, such as John Walvoord, identify this beast not as the individual ruler but as the revived Roman empire, noting that the reference to Rome's seven hills and the connection to the beasts in Daniel seven indicate that the beast represents a kingdom.
This guy is a little different. Whereas the Antichrist is a monster in human form, the Beast of the Apocalypse is a literal monster, who also happens to be a harbinger of the end times. This is the kind of beast who gives the gods themselves nightmares, and in action it's liable to be a veritable engine of destruction, trampling over mortals, gods, and anything else that gets in his way. If this thing slips its leash you may as well turn out the lights and lock the universe behind you when you go, because there won't be much left. And even if the creature doesn't actually attack anyone, the simple fact of this creature's appearance means that things are about to get a whole lot worse. If the apocalypse prophesized was not the first time the Beast of the Apocalypse attacked and it ravaged the world earlier in its history, expect it to also be a case of Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs.
Comic Books Hellboy: Depending on how you class demons, Hellboy himself is either this or the Antichrist. Much of the imagery associated with him is taken from descriptions of the Beast in Revelations.
The Ogdru-Jahad aka The Seven Who Are One, representing the Dragon of Revelations, are definitely this, as are their 369 children, the Ogdru-Hem, who seek to free their parents so that they might reduce the planet to a smoldering cinder.
The Conqueror Worm, a Lovecraftian being summoned by Hermann von Klempt as part of his plan to unleash the Ogdru-Jahad, is also an example. Created by allowing a being from the void between the stars to infest the body of a dead Nazi rocket scientist, the Worm will transform all of humanity into their final, reptilian state, and then devour them, causing so much death and destruction that the Ogdru-Hem and then the Ogdru-Jahad will awaken and burn the world.
Used in an oddly technopunk style in East of West where Death's son is raised to be the beast of the apocalypse. However the three horsemen (there are three because Death no longer works with them) have their doubts as to who the beast really is.
The Incredible Hulk: In the Planet Hulk storyline, some of the inhabitants of planet Sakaar believe "The Green Scar" to be their prophesised saviour Sakaarson, and others a demonic being called the Worldbreaker. Initially the latter title seems to be metaphorical and referring to more of an Antichrist figure... until both Hulk and Banner become so angry that for the first time in his life the Hulk crosses the line into Tranquil Fury, at which point it becomes horrifyingly literal.
Live-Action TV The Beast on Angel, a huge, horned monster made out of rock, and prophesied to bring about an apocalypse. It's eventually revealed to be The Dragon to the season's real Big Bad, Jasmine, though this does little to detract from its status as an example of the trope.
In the series finale of Ash vs. Evil Dead, the Dark Ones kickstart The End of the World as We Know It by summoning Kandar the Destroyer, a massive demon whose only purpose is to destroy everything. And worse, any attempts to stop him with conventional weaponry just makes him stronger.
Star Trek: Picard: In Romulan mythology, Ganmadan is a great pale hellbeast whose name means "the Day of Annihilation."
Supergirl (2015): Ancient Kryptonian mythology speaks of the Worldkiller. First, she leaves her mark (it resembles the House of El symbol, but with the "S" replaced with a skull) all over. Second, she kills all sinners. Third, she destroys the world. The genetically engineered being Reign was modeled after the story of the Worldkiller. She proves much more powerful than the average Kryptonian, beating Supergirl to a bloody pulp in their first battle. Later episodes introduce three more Worldkillers: Purity, Pestillence, and a human woman named Oliva who willingly lets herself get possessed by Yuda Kal.
Web Original In Bravest Warriors the Aeon Worm. Beth's father escapes and uses his sticker pet device to try and summon it.
Toyed with, like everything else is, in The Salvation War. The Beasts of Revelation are unleashed by Yahweh and Satan with the intent that they end the world... and are cut down by the human military, albeit with more difficulty than most of the demons they've faced up to that point. They're also Yahweh's pets and named Fluffy and Wuffles. And they're apparently not house-trained.
Subverted with the False Prophet/Lamb Beast and the Dragon of Revelation, which are metaphorical titles for Michael-lan-Yahweh and Yahweh himself.
To a lesser extent, Uriel. He's Yahweh's right-hand man, and the threat of him being released upon earth is enough to terrify even the demons. When he finally gets going, we see why: he has the power to essentially will living beings to die - and any human killed this way doesn't appear in Heaven or Hell.
The Archangel Roxanne has one eternal, unkillable enemy: Therion, The Beast from the Pit, the Seven-Headed Dragon, the King of Demons. He appears on worlds across the multiverse, single-handedly causes apocalypses, and then either moves on or is captured by Roxanne and imprisoned on their homeworld of New Jerusalem, until he gathers his strength and breaks free again.
The second beast also enforces the power of the first through economic discrimination. No one, no matter his social class or influence, will be able to buy or sell unless he has a mark upon the forehead or hand to signify devotion to the beast. The number signifies the name of the beast (cf. 14:11; 15:2). Many interpreters take this literally, as if a literal mark will be imprinted in some fashion on foreheads and hands, but the language is likely symbolic. Just as the seal on the foreheads of the 144,000 (7:3) is not literal, neither should this mark be understood literally. In any case, the two beasts conspire to exclude believers from the marketplace.
The first and second Beast gather the kings of the earth and their armies to prepare for war against "He who sits on a white horse". The battle results in the beasts being seized, along with the false prophet, where they are thrown alive into "the lake of fire". Those against the "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords" are killed and left for the fowls. In the lake of fire, the Trihexa and the false prophet are tormented day and night for all eternity. Satan joins them a little more than a millennium later after the great war, raising the armies of Gog and Magog only to be later defeated himself.
In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream: the four winds of the heavens fought upon the great sea, and four different great beasts rose from the sea. The first, like a lioness, had wings of an eagle; a beast, like a bear with three rows of teeth; another, like a leopard with wings and four heads; and a fourth, exceedingly strong, with great iron teeth, but with ten horns; and another little horn sprung up in the midst of the horns, with eyes like those of a man and a mouth speaking unnatural things. Then the ancient of days sat on the throne. The throne was flames of fire; and a river of fire rushed forth from his presence. Thousands upon thousands ministered to him. The trial began, and the books were opened. An attendant explained that "These four great beasts are four kingdoms, which will rise from the earth, yet it is the saints of the Most High God who will receive the kingdom, and they will hold the kingdom from this generation, and forever." And he said, "The fourth beast will be the fourth kingdom on earth, which will be greater than all the kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth, and will trample and crush it. And the ten horns will be ten kings, but another and mightier will rise up, and bring down three kings. (Dan. 7) 041b061a72