Many well-known Protestant reformers, including Calvin, Knox, Luther, Wesley, and Zwingli, recognized that the beast of Revelation was mentioned under various synonyms in Scripture. He is the "little horn" of Daniel; "the man of sin," and "the son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians; "the antichrist" of 1 and 2 John; and "Babylon," "the whore," and "the scarlet beast" of Revelation.
In the dream of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:31-35, 36-45), the third empire, Greece (Dan. 8:21; 10:20; 11:2), is defeated by the fourth unnamed empire. We know from history that the empire which defeated Greece was Rome. It was Rome that crucified Christ (Dan. 9:24-26). We also know "the prince that shall come" refers to the antichrist, who will rule over the same empire which was guilty of putting Jesus to death, because both are composed of iron (Dan. 2:33; 9:26). In other words, the revived Roman Empire.
In John's vision, we learn that the fourth empire in Nebuchadnezzer's dream is actually the sixth (to control the nation of Israel). Revelation 17:10 says, "And there are seven kings: five are fallen (Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece), and one is (Rome), and the other is not yet come (the revived Roman Empire); and when he cometh ("the prince that shall come," the antichrist, or the beast), he must continue a short space." It is not clear as to how long he rules before making a peace covenant with Israel, but we know that once that occurs, he has just seven years left to live (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:4-28; Rev. 6 - 18).
We know "...that the dragon (Satan - Rev. 12:9) gave him (the antichrist) his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (Rev. 13:2-3). Revelation 17:11 says, "And the beast that was (the seventh king, the antichrist), and is not (he had a mortal head wound and died), even he is the eighth (he recovered), and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition." Remember from Part Two of this series, the antichrist is known as the "son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3).
In Daniel 12:8-9, Daniel asks, "...what shall be the end of these things? And He said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." It is obvious from the Gospels that believers were still asking that question: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the (age)?" (Matt. 24:3). After His resurrection, His disciples were still asking (Acts 1:6). The believers in Thessalonica had to be reassured by Paul that His return had not already happened, but that it would be some time in the future. He wrote, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thes. 2:3). And in Revelation, John is told to "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter" (v. 1:19). Believers are still asking.