“Then I [he] stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” Revelation 13:1.
The word “he” has been inserted above because some manuscripts say “he stood”, referring to Satan; which is possible because the end of the preceding chapter, see Revelation 12:17 below, is speaking of the dragon, Satan.
“And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17.
Be advised though that either word, “he” or “I” does not do damage to the verse itself.
The sea here is the Mediterranean, which is what the world at that time was most familiar with. It also indicates that the beast arises out of the area surrounding this sea and not out of the western hemisphere or the Far East.
This is confirmed in chapter nine of the book of Daniel.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself [Jesus was crucified for the sin of the world John 3:16]; and the people of the prince [beast] who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary [Titus and the Roman legions did this in 70 A.D.].” Daniel 9:26a.
It is this destructive incident that the Lord was speaking of when he said this of Herod’s temple.
“…Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Mark 13:2.
Some have felt that the beast would be a Jew because it just does not make sense for the people of Israel to follow a messiah who was not of Jewish lineage.
However many Jews today are either atheists or so liberal that the whole Bible thing is just good Jewish myths, beautiful psalms, and wisdom in the Proverbs.
Many, too many, are much like the average American today, totally ignorant of what the Scriptures have to say.
We can affirm from the passage above in Daniel 9 that the beast (Antichrist) will be of Roman descent; whether he has Jewish blood in him is anyone’s guess. Perhaps he will be a closet Jew as Adolph Hitler was supposed to have been.
Dr. Tim LaHaye has expanded the beast’s bloodlines a little bit in his “Revelation Illustrated and Made Plain” and in his “Left Behind” series of books, you may find these interesting.
“…I saw a beast rising up out of the sea” Revelation 13:1a, in order to save a lot of confusion always remember that this beast is not just the man the Antichrist, but it also represents the revived Roman Empire.
The more you study the man known as the beast, the more you will understand that he becomes the empire. It then becomes necessary to know which beast is being referred to in a particular verse.
This beast corresponds to the fourth beast in Daniel 7, so we know that this monster is the fourth kingdom of Daniel’s visions, the Roman Empire, which quickly changes into the revived Roman Empire of the near future.
The beast has seven heads, and since he is one of the four kingdoms described in Daniel 7 these heads have to relate to the Roman Empire in some way.
This distinction must be made to avoid confusing the beast with the fiery red dragon with seven heads mentioned in Revelation 12:3, the dragon is Satan and his career goes way back before the beginning of any of these kingdoms.
The identities of the beast’s seven heads may be seven emperors of the empire; Julius Caesar, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Domitian, and the future beast (Antichrist) would make seven.
While these emperors’ names could be a bit subjective, the seven different forms of government which Rome has gone through during her existence is a little more concrete. These are king, consul, dictator, decemvir, military tribunal, emperor, and the future revived Roman Empire makes seven.
Along with seven heads, the beast has ten horns and ten crowns; these horns and crowns bring us into the tribulation period, for they represent ten kings who have no kingdom at this time.
This part of the Roman Empire is seen in Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a statue recorded in Daniel chapter two.
Once again the dream concerns four world empires, to reiterate, they are: head of gold, the Babylonian empire, silver chest and arms, Medes and the Persians, the belly and thighs of bronze, represent the third empire the Greeks.
While the legs of iron represent the fourth, the Roman Empire, with the feet partly of iron and partly of clay being the revived Roman Empire. The feet with ten toes correspond to both the ten kings and the ten horns with crowns.
As for the ten kingdoms, represented by the horns and crowns, there has been speculation for years, ranging from the League of Nations, to the United Nations, and on to the European Common Market as to what will make up these ten kingdoms, all have led to disappointment.
The latest and best of all of these, is the plan conceived by the Club of Rome, a think-tank, which according to them, started in April 1968.
Their view is that the world cannot continue to survive using up its valuable natural resources while continuing the population explosion. So a comprehensive plan is in the process of being put together by these self-appointed experts to save the planet.
Part of this plan is by limiting population growth, and another is to unite the world in fighting a mythical common enemy, global warming; now being called climate change.
The former global warming did not happen, and the latter climate change has no credible scientific foundation.
With the world united in this manner the earth can be, and this is their stated plan, divided into ten different regions.
Each region will need leadership – ten kings, and ten crowns.
“Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.” Revelation 13:2.
The attributes of the beast are now described. He is like a leopard; this speaks of his speed in battle. The feet are like those of a bear, represent his power to do whatsoever he wills. And the mouth of a lion portrays his greediness and tells us that he speaks with unquestioned authority.
If you refer back to Daniel 7:3-7, you will see that this beast has all the attributes of the other three nations mentioned in the vision.
It should be noted that when Daniel describes these four different beasts, he puts them in chronological order; the first was the current one in his time, the Babylonians, next came the Medes and the Persians, then Alexander the Great and the Greeks, and last the terrible Roman beast.
However, when John lists them here in Revelation he does it in reverse order; these beasts that he is describing are, the revived Roman Empire, then looking back, the Greeks (leopard), the Medes and the Persians (bear), and last the Babylonians (lion).
Satan, the dragon, gives the beast “his power, his throne, and great authority”. Satan would have nothing to give if it were not by God’s permissive will which can be seen in Daniel’s prophecy concerning the revived Roman Empire shown below.
“…The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings. He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time.” Daniel 7:23-25.
“I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” Revelation 13:3-4.
There have been attempts to spiritualize the beast’s mortal wound but the wording is pretty clear and stated in different manners, ruling out anything but a person with a deadly wound.
“Now when they [the 2 witnesses] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.” Revelation 11:7.
The fact that the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit indicates that there had to be a death.
Revelation 13:12 speaks of the beast “…whose deadly wound was healed” and in verse 14, “…the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived”, further study will confirm that this is a person and not a government or any other speculation given by individuals who refuse to believe in the supernatural.
It says that the world marveled, so this was not just some sleight of hand trick, for the world has seen many people brought back from the dead. You may have read stories about folks falling into a frozen lake and dying then reviving after 45 minutes or so.
This man had to be obviously dead, perhaps even having lain in state for all to see for days.
Satan is going to imitate the resurrection of Christ, just as he is going to imitate the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and by these imitations he will gain worship for himself, “so they worshiped the dragon”.
And they will worship the son, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
“And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And it was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.” Revelation 13:5-7.
This passage is nearly identical to Daniel 7: 23-25 quoted earlier above. The forty-two months is the same as time and times and half a time, 3 ½ years.
The old bumper sticker that states that, “It is hard to be humble when you are the best” certainly rings true of this person. He speaks great things, pompous words, and blasphemies, and grinds down the saints and overcomes them. This is not a person to be respected much less worshiped, yet the world grovels at his feet.
“And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Revelation 13:8.
There are at least two books in heaven, the Lamb’s Book of Life and the Book of Life. This will be seen on Judgment Day when the books are opened.
“And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.” Revelation 20:12.
The Book of Life is first mentioned when Moses pleaded for the children of Israel who had sinned in the wilderness as recorded in the book of Exodus.
“Yet now, if You will forgive their sin – but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” Exodus 32:32-33.
There is a book with the name of everyone ever born written in it; the blotting out of the book comes when a person says no to God for the last time. Since a name is erased, it will not be found in the Book of Life on Judgment Day.
“Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20.
And Paul wrote the following.
“And, I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:3.
The Lamb’s Book of Life seems to be a bit different, instead of having the name in it already; the names are added when an individual accepts the Lord Jesus as their Savior.
This would be the case here in Revelation 13:8; the people who worship the beast have not had their names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
This brings up the question, would it be possible for them to accept Christ as their Savior at a later date and have their names written in; that is providing it has not been erased from the other Book of Life.
Another interesting aspect to this is the fact that if a person takes the mark of the beast (666, to be discussed later) they are lost forever, and their name has been blotted out of the Book of Life.
It is obvious that it would be impossible to come up with an interpretation of this passage that will satisfy everyone, or even many folks.
But look at this beautiful phrase at the end of the verse, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”; God was so confident in the integrity of Christ that He could say that the Lamb was slain before the world was.
“If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Revelation 13:9-10.
Once again we see the familiar words, he who has an ear, let him hear. Jesus would often call this out during His ministry here on earth, and again in His letters to the seven churches.
Now He calls to the suffering tribulation saints, listen! Really listen! The tribulation will go on for 3 ½ more years, but those who torment you will be tormented in the same manner.
Take comfort in the knowledge that your torment does not go unnoticed and that there is an end to all this; yet the Lord Jesus also said this.
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8b.
Revelation 13:1-10 taken from godisrevealed.com updated on 1-8-17, reposted on 8-25-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.