Summary: Message 24 in our exposition of Revelation dealing with the beasts in chapter 13.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ “Beasts Arising”” Revelation 13
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20 (Things you have seen)
II. Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
III. Last Days 4-22 (Things which are about to take place)
A. Heavenly worship around the throne 4-5
B. The Seven seals 6:1-8:1
C. The Seven Trumpets 8-11
D. Interlude 12-14
1. The Pregnant Woman and the Great Red Dragon 12:1-6
2. Great War In Heaven (Battle royal) 12:7-17
After banishment from heaven, defeat of his army by Michael and his army of angels, a thwarted attack on Israel, Satan concentrates his efforts on control over the remaining earthly inhabitants and confrontation of the remaining followers of Jesus who refuse to take his mark.
And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14 But the two wings of the great eagle were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness to her place, where she was* nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 12:13-17
The song of the angelic choir announcing the fact that the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ incites Satan to make his final move.
Just as God empowered two witnesses through the final days of the tribulation, Satan now empowers two witnesses of his own. This may also be viewed as the “Unholy trinity.” Their relationship bears similarities to the Holy Trinity. The dragon or Satan. The beast or the Antichrist who receives power from and serves the dragon. The False Prophet or second beast that performs wonders and promotes worship of the beast.
3. Two Beasts Rising 13:1-18
The two beasts described by John introduce satanically driven and empowered human powers. They reflect a coalition of kingdoms and leaders intent on world domination. They represent both specific individuals and nations or kingdoms they dominate. The designation “beast” is probably symbolic of their evil nature and intent.
a. The Beast out of the sea 13:1-10
1 And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems
John saw the first beast coming up out of the sea. Some interpret this as the rise of some world power out of the “sea of humanity.” This does not seem to carry over to the image of the beast coming up out of “the earth”. It is unclear whether this is a geographical reference.
The term “sea” is sometimes associated with the “sea of evil.”
This beast has similar characteristics as the dragon; the real power behind the beast.
• Seven heads
• Ten horns with 10 crowns
These are consistent with the idea of a consortium of nations ruled by one evil leader empowered by Satan. Crowns represent governmental authority. Some think that they are on the horns, not the head because it is a militarily imposed rule. If the beast symbolizes a governmental power, the question arises whether it is a new power or an old power that will come into prominence at the end times. Later in revelation (17), we’re told that the seven heads represent seven mountains or hills or governments. Revelation 17 indicates that five of the world powers have fallen, one was in power at the time of the writing and one was not yet on the scene. In relation to the dragon, we suggested that perhaps his heads were fellow demonic powers or princes controlling godless world governments. Perhaps the seven heads of this beast represent the human component of these political powers.
The 10 horns may represent political power or rulers who will reign under the direction of the Antichrist in the last days. This would harmonize with Daniel’s vision of the image with the ten toes of clay and iron thought to be a reemergence of the Roman Empire. The multiple heads seem to indicate that the beast represents more than a specific individual. It seems to be more complex. The beast represents devil-driven and empowered anti-God and anti-Christ political power. This would line up with many of the world powers that we mentioned before beginning with Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. These were not only anti-God and antichrist but also very anti-semantic.