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Revelation Chapter 13
Beasts From Land and Sea

Revelation chapter 13 is a chapter that people might most often think of in the book of Revelation. It contains the mark of the beast and that mysterious number 666. The two beasts described are obviously evil powers who, it sounds like, will forcibly impose this mark of the beast on people. If we don't accept the mark we are in trouble (can't buy or sell - most people like to eat) and if we do we are in trouble with God (more on that in chapter 14). And most people don't even know for sure what the mark is! There are three questions we especially need to answer from this chapter:

Who is this beast?
What is his mark?
How do I avoid it?

Let's start our verse-by-verse examination of Revelation chapter 13.

"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast 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. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." (Rev 13:1-2)

John is standing on the seashore and watching a rather strange-looking beast come up out of the waters. We will see more of this beast later in Revelation but we have also seen it in Daniel. Let's compare the characteristics given in Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 13:

Daniel Chapter 7
Revelation Chapter 13
"came up from the sea" "rise up out of the sea"
lion - 1 head lion - 1 head
bear - 1 head bear - 1 head
leopard - 4 heads leopard - 4 heads
4th beast with 10 horns - 1 head 10 horns - 1 head of 4th beast?
total of 7 heads
total of 7 heads

While the equivalent of Daniel's fourth beast is not mentioned, we are actually told in Revelation 13:1 that there is a total of seven heads. The single beast of Revelation chapter 13 seems to be an amalgamation of what are named as four separate beasts in Daniel 7. Perhaps the four beasts being combined into one has some significance such as that they are united in their aims. We have heard of terms such as the "New World Order" or "One World Order."

In Revelation chapter 13, this first beast received a number of things from Satan (the dragon - Rev 12:9):

  1. the dragon gave the beast power etc (verse 2)
  2. the dragon which gave power unto the beast (verse 4)
  3. there was given unto him (the beast) (verse 5)
  4. power was given unto him (the beast) (verse 5)
  5. it was given unto him (the beast) to make war (verse 7)
  6. power was given him (the beast) (verse 7)

While Satan is giving to the beast - obviously a separate entity - he is also using the beast to further his own agenda.

The first beast in Revelation chapter 13 also has these characteristics:

  1. it rose out of the sea
  2. it had ten crowns on its heads
  3. it had the name of blasphemy on its heads
  4. it received its power, seat and authority from the dragon
An Important Word of Explanation

As readers go further in this page it will soon be obvious that the material included here points to the first beast of Revelation chapter 13 being the Papacy of the Roman Catholic church. This may sound rather strange to some who have never heard this before but there are many clues supporting this conclusion. Most people are not aware that the position of Martin Luther and many of the Protestant reformers about the first beast of Revelation chapter 13 was that it represented the papacy.

It is also very important to note that this not an attack against any individual. It is not Roman Catholics that are the problem but the system that is governing them - a system which, over the centuries, has departed from Bible truth. Our goal should be to be open-minded enough to consider another position and make our decisions upon what the word of God says. Our eternal destiny depends upon it.

Understanding the Symbols of Revelation Chapter 13

This chapter, along with the rest of the book of Revelation, includes many symbols. We need to allow the Bible to define those symbols for us rather than guessing what they mean or making up our own definitions.

What is the sea? One understanding comes from this verse:

"And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." (Rev 17:15)

This suggests that waters (or the sea) can represent people. To sit on it is to control as in the riders on the four horses of chapter 6 or the woman sitting on the beast in chapter 17.

Remember, from Daniel, that beasts represent kings or kingdoms:

"These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth." (Dan 7:17)
"Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces." (Dan 7:23)

We will see further connections between Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapter 13 later in this study.

The crowns are from the Greek "diademata" or kingly crowns as opposed to "stephanos" which indicated victory.

This beast has the names of blasphemy. This is a topic mentioned in a few places in this chapter and in other scriptures so I have made a separate page to deal with blasphemy and what it means.

"Seat" is from the Greek "thronos" meaning a throne which could be a reference to a right to rule over an area or people - their jurisdiction. How can the dragon give to the beast his power, seat and authority? The dragon, Satan, has all those things; scripture even refers to him as "the god of this world":

"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor 4:4)

Why would the beast want to receive this power, seat and authority? It is deceived as the verse above shows - "blinded the minds of them which believe not" - by the dragon.

"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 13:3)

Somehow, this beast power receives a wound either physical or in terms of a setback to its agenda. A healing that reverses the effect of the wound causes the people of the world to take notice and, it would seem from the wording, "get on board" with the beast. Various theories have been proposed about the nature of the deadly wound and its healing.

Of course, it is not the world as in the planet that is wondering after the beast but, rather, the people of the world.

Consider the next verse which seems to be linked.

"And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" (Rev 13:4)

The significance of the question: "Who is able to make war with him?" might be that this individual or power just received a deadly wound that would be expected to be fatal and recovered from it. Who can hurt or kill him or oppose him when he can recover from what would be expected to be a fatal wound?

That this is not necessarily speaking of a physical wound is supported by the use of the word "war" which is translated from the Greek word "polemeo." We get the English word "politics" from this. This could be a reference to the wound being something more like the effects the reformation had on the life and power of the papacy from which it has, by this time, recovered to a considerable degree.

We earlier identified the dragon as Satan himself. Verse 4 indicates that some are actually worshipping the dragon/Satan himself. There are some - Satanists - who do that even today. Satan will also be worshipped indirectly by those who worship his representative, the beast.

"War," of course, does include physical force and this may also relate to the concept of world-wide control as in a New World Order or One World Order. We have seen those term used more often recently.

"And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Rev 13:5-6)

Liberty or permission or power was given to the beast to speak great things and blasphemies. This beast power also blasphemed God's tabernacle which can be understood as its setting up a false system on earth to obscure the true tabernacle in heaven, the site of Jesus' ministry as high priest:

"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." (Heb 8:1-2)

Mention of a "true tabernacle" suggests the existence of a false one. There is a false tabernacle, a false priesthood; basically a counterfeit of many things heavenly which obscures what heaven is doing on our behalf.

"And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." (Rev 13:7)

Again, the word "power" is authority or permission. This sounds very similar to what Daniel said:

"I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;" (Dan 7:21)

It can also be related to the story of Job (Job chapter 1), where Satan was granted opportunity to afflict and thus test the character of Job and his loyalty to God. In this case, it seems that the whole world is involved as also suggested by the next verse.

Earlier, we compared the description of the beast from Daniel chapter 7 with that in Revelation chapter 13. Now let's compare them in terms of their activities described in the last few verses we have looked at:

Daniel 7 - Little Horn
Revelation 13 - First Beast
little horn speaks great words against the most high (v 25) first beast speaks blasphemy against God (vs 1, 5, 6)
little horn would wear out the saints (v 25) first beast would make war with the saints (v 7)
given into his hand until a time, times and the dividing of time (v 25) power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (v 5)

There are many links between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation chapter 13.

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear." (Rev 13:8-9)

This verse, thankfully, indicates that there will be some who manage to resist the beast and also stay loyal to God.

"Let him hear" is similar to the advice given to each of the seven churches of chapters 2 and 3. We, living near the end of time, do well to take heed and listen to this warning about the beast of Revelation chapter 13. We do not want to be seduced into worshipping the beast because we are ignorant of his deceptions.

"He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints." (Rev 13:10)

This can be applied to the first beast. During the Dark Ages it certainly lead many people into captivity. Then, in 1798, Napoleon's General Berthier led the pope into captivity to France where he died in exile. It sounds kind of like that expression: "What goes around comes around."

The Jewish Bible gives the last part of verse 10 as:

"... This is when God's holy people must persevere and trust."

That seems to be a good translation. We could think of the King James Version like this:

"Here is [where] the patience and the faith of the saints [will be needed]."
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