(1) And the dragon stood on the sand of the (2) seashore. (3) Then I
saw a beast coming up out of the sea, (4) having ten horns and seven heads, and
on his horns were ten diadems, and (5) on his heads were blasphemous names.
1. And the
dragon stood on the sand = opens Revelation 13. Some translations include this
verse in chapter 12. Other translations understand John to be the seer standing
on the sand, thus the translation in the NKJV “And I stood.” However,
given the relationship between chapters 12 and 13, it is more probable that the
dragon is standing on the seashore. Having failed to destroy the Male-Son at
birth, he brings together the final Beast Empire that will attempt to prevent
the reign of the Son by resisting His takeover of earth.
continues the reasons John must prophesy against “peoples, nations,
tongues and kings.” He will now focus on the kings, particularly, the
kings who will form the power base of the final restored Beast Empire.
Seashore = or sea as the Greek literally says.
3. Then I
saw a beast coming up out of the sea = seems to be the reason the dragon is
standing on the seashore. John has already referred to one beast in Revelation
11:7. There he indicated that that beast (ruler) comes up out of the abyss and
finally is able to kill the prophetic witnesses of God. In Revelation 11:7 John
says “the beast.” Here, in Revelation 13:1, John says, “a
beast.” This has led some to conclude that John is not referring to the
same entity as in Revelation 11:7. Revelation 11:7 refers to a beast (an
individual) with whom the people were very familiar—the eschatological beast of
prophecy who comes from the abyss. The people were familiar with his role, but
they did not know his name just as we do not know his name, but are familiar
with his role. Revelation 13:1 refers to a beast (a composite of all beast
Revelation 11:7, John is referring to the beast with whom his audience was
familiar as to his eschatological role, not the particular individual himself.
In Revelation 13:1 John has a different agenda, which controls his description.
Like Revelation 12, John opens with a composite figure that parallels the
individual. Like the composite dragon, the composite beast is composed of
heads, horns and diadems. The composite beast is a personification of the final
beast (Antichrist) as was the composite dragon of Satan.
there is a difference. The composite dragon had seven diadems on seven heads
and ten horns. The horns of the dragon did not have diadems. Daniel 7:24 tells
us, “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom (fourth kingdom in Daniel
and the seventh kingdom of the dragon) ten kings will arise; and another will
arise after them….” The strategy of the ten-horn phase of the dragon is
different from the strategy of the seven satanically inspired Beast Empires.
composite beast has seven heads and ten horns with ten diadems. The emphasis of
the composite dragon is the seven satanically inspired kingdoms whose primary
intent was the prevention of the temporal reign of the Son by killing the Male-Son
soon after birth. The primary emphasis of the composite beast is the ten kings
that arise out of the final Beast Empire.
ten horns and seven heads and on his horns were ten diadems = is the same
characteristics ascribed to the composite dragon in Revelation 12:3 with a
different emphasis. Not only is the word order different, but this composite
beast has ten diadems on the horns.
represent empires. The horns represent kings. As in Daniel 7, the beasts (four
king/kingdoms) and ten horns (ten kings) have eschatological significance. The
beasts (kingdoms) follow one after the other, however, the ten horns (kings)
rule at the same time.
Daniel 7:8 states,
considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among
them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots.
ten-horn phase of the fourth Beast Empire is directly connected with the
end-time scenario that eventuates into the kingdom of God. The composite beast
of Revelation 13 pictures the second phase of the dragon’s plan. The fourth
Beast Empire of Daniel 7 (the seventh empire of the dragon) is part of the
first phase. The fourth Beast Empire eventuates into ten horns/kings. This is
the second phase, which is pictured in the Revelation as “the beast who
rises from the sea.” This explains why the composite beast has ten crowns
on the ten horns. The kings are in focus and not the seven satanically inspired
kingdoms that failed to prevent the rapture of the Male-Son to heaven after His
5. On his
heads were blasphemous names = is a new characteristic for the composite beast
that is not included with the composite dragon. What the names are is not
indicated, but each of the seven heads has a name. The names are blasphemous,
which indicates that they violate the name of the one true God. Since the seven
satanically inspired empires failed to prevent the rapture of the Male-Son to
heaven the blasphemous names probably express the contempt they have for God.
the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his (its) feet were like those of
a bear, and his (its) month like the mouth of a lion. (2) And the dragon gave
him (it) his power and his throne and great authority.
1. And the
beast which I saw = continues a description of the composite beast who comes
from the sea. The Greek word tharion (beast) is neuter in gender; that is it is
not a masculine beast or feminine beast. Therefore, all the pronouns that refer
to it are neuter until we get to verse eight. That this beast is a composite is
proven by this description. This beast is the sum total of the previous
kingdoms hostile to the eternal rule of God. John says that the beast he saw
“was like a leopard.” He had feet as a bear and a mouth like a lion.
These animal-like-characteristics are not literal but symbolical. They
represent characteristics that the beast has. The leopard is known for its
speed. The bear is known for its powerful feet to kill and the lion for its
sound of terror. This beast is speedy. He is both powerful and has a sound of
ascribes to this single composite beast, Daniel individualized to three beasts.
Daniel 7:1-9 recounts a vision involving four king/kingdoms: A lion (Babylon),
a bear (medo-Persia), a leopard (Greece), and an indescribable iron teeth beast
(Rome). The biblical importance of these kings/kingdoms relates to Israel. The
eschatological agenda of the composite beast involves the historical agenda of
each of these previous kings/kingdoms—the prevention of the temporal reign of
the Son. What Daniel saw individually, John sees in composite.
from John’s composite beast is an explicit reference to the indescribable
fourth kingdom with feet of iron and clay. However, the ten horns with diadems
indicate that Daniel’s prophecy of ‘ten horns’ is finding fulfillment.
fourth beast empire with ten horns is John’s composite beast with seven heads
and ten horns with diadems. Daniel emphasized the fourth beast kingdom and John
emphasizes the ten horns. Daniel emphasized the original beast kingdom. John
emphasizes the restored beast kingdom, which is evidenced in the ten kings.
2. And the
dragon gave him his power…throne and great authority = indicates the source of
the composite beast’s power. Literally, the Greek says, “And the dragon
gave it his power….” The dragon (singular) empowers the composite beast.
the composite beast is, he owes to the dragon/Satan. Luke 4:6 states, “And
the devil said to Him (Jesus), “I will give You all this domain and its
glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I
wish.” What he promised to Jesus, he gives to the composite beast. On
earth, there will be no equal to the composite beast.
section is confusing because at first glance it appears that John is describing
the conduct of the beast instead of the conduct of the composite beast. As
well, it appears that what John ascribes to the composite beast is what
actually happens to the beast. However, the composite beast and the
beast/Antichrist are synonymous. After the beast/Antichrist subdues three of
these kings, he and the remaining seven become one in purpose and intent.
(1) I saw one of his (its) heads as if it had been slain, (2) and his
(its) fatal wound was healed. (3) And the whole earth was amazed and followed
after the beast; (4) they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to
the beast; and (5) they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the
beast, and who is able to wage war with him (it)?”
1. I saw
one of his (its) heads as if it had been slain = is perhaps not the best
translation of the original Greek. This translation might give the reader the
impression that the head was not really slain. However, this is not the case.
Literally, the Greek says, “and one of its heads as it had been slain to
death, but the wound of its death was healed.” The phrase “as having
been slain” is the same phrase used for the Lamb (Jesus) in Revelation
5:6. As Jesus was truly put to death, so will one of the heads of the composite
beast. How the head was put to death is not indicated at this point.
(its) fatal wound was healed = confirms that a literal death occurred.
Literally, the Greek says, “but the wound of his death was healed.”
As the reader is no doubt aware, the Greek language is much more precise than
the English translation. For example, the possessive pronoun his in the
sentence, “the wound of his death was healed” does not refer to his
head, but the beast. That is, the beast was healed. The issue is not the
healing of the wound itself, but the fact that the composite beast lived after
3. And the
whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast = further confirms that
something supernatural happened to the composite beast. The whole earth is a
figure of speech. It does not mean every single individual to the last man on
the face of the earth. Rather, it means mankind in general. An overwhelming
majority of the living earth-dwellers will be amazed by the composite beast’s
ability to come back to life after death. The reader will notice that the
phrase and followed is in italics in the NASB. That’s because it does not
appear in the original Greek. The sense of the text is this: a majority of the
people became followers of the composite beast following his restoration.
worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast = explains the
result of the people’s amazement and commitment to the composite beast. The
dragon gave the rule of earth to the beast and the people respond with worship
worshiped the beast = also receives worship from the people on the earth. He is
worshiped for his sovereignty.
express their attitude by saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able
to wage war with it?”
rhetorical question suggests that no one (human) is like the composite beast.
The second rhetorical questions states, “who is able to wage war with
it.” Since the composite beast is restored from the dead who would wage
war with it.
that cannot be killed cannot be defeated. War is useless. Notice, “who is
able to wage war with it?” This reflects the fact that the pronoun it is
neuter in the original Greek text. The composite beast is referred to here and
not the beast/king.
(1) There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and
blasphemies, and (2) authority to act for forty-two months was given to him.
was given to him (it) a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies = is a
direct allusion to Daniel 7:8, 20 where the little horn is given a mouth so
that it can speak and say blasphemous things. However, here the composite beast
has a mouth like a lion.
he is able to terrorize the people with its mouth. So the phrase, “was
given to it a mouth” is a figure of speech. It means the composite beast
is given something to say .
the composite beast the things to say is not explicitly indicated. However,
since the dragon gave the composite beast everything else, it is safe to assume
that he gave it the blasphemous language as well.
Authority to act for forty-two months was given to him (it) = is the second of
two gifts from the dragon to the composite beast. The dragon is only able to grant
forty-two months because that is the limit God set upon him.
also taken directly from Daniel 7. The composite beast fulfills Danielic
prophecy. John is clear that the rule of the composite beast, the rule of the
beast-king from the abyss, the protective custody of the woman and the ministry
of the two prophetic witnesses occur at the same time.
(1) And he(it) opened his (its) month in blasphemies against God, (2)
to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven.
(3) It was also given to him (it) to make war with the saints and to overcome
them, and (4) authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was
given to him (it).
1. And he
opened his month in blasphemies against God = is the height of the composite
beast’s arrogance. Unfulfilled by the worship of men that the creator alone
should receive, the composite beast hurls insults to God.
blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven =
explains the precise nature of the composite beast’s blasphemous speech. To
blaspheme God’s name is to break the third commandment—”You shall not take
the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exod 20:7).”
to use God’s name for evil purposes. To blaspheme God’s tabernacle is to speak
evil of God’s temple. John clarifies what he means by adding, “those who
dwell in heaven.” God’s tabernacle refers symbolically to God’s holy ones
(angels). What exactly is said about the angels is not explicitly stated, but
it insults God.
3. It was
also given to him (it) to make war with the saints and to overcome them =
indicates that the saints will not be given a blanket protection from the
composite beast. He will overcome or be victorious over the saints. The saints
are previously defined as “the rest of the woman’s children who keep the
commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him
(it) = defines the precise limits of the composite beast’s authority. It is
(1) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, (2) everyone whose
name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life
of the Lamb who has been slain.
1. All who
dwell on the earth will worship him = indicates a significant change. It is not
evidenced in the English translation. The pronoun him is masculine. This is the
first time the composite beast is referred to with a masculine pronoun.
indicates that the relationship between the kings and kingdoms that constitute
the composite beast and the final ultimate beast is such that they can be
spoken of interchangeably. One accomplishes the purpose of the other. Another
significant change is the tense of the verbs from past time to future time.
Everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in
the book of the life of the Lamb who has been slain = defines the all of the
previous clause. This verse is similar to Revelation 17:8. In both cases, those
who do not worship the beast is clear—the elect. The elect will not worship the
beast, which also means they will not take his mark. Thus, they are objects of
(1) If anyone has an ear, let him hear. (2) If anyone is destined for
captivity, to captivity he goes; (3) if anyone kills with the sword, with the
sword he must be killed. (4) Here is the perseverance and the faith of the
anyone has an ear, let him hear = begins a two-verse commentary on the conduct
of the saints. This hearing formula so often heard in the gospels and
concluding each of the prophecies concerning the seven churches of Asia helps
establish the identity of the saints.
are somewhat agreed that this hearing formula is rooted in Isaiah 6:9-10.
Isaiah’s message to Judah regarded their unwillingness to hear, understand and
repent of their idol worship. For this, God refused to give His word, lest it
fall upon those who despise it. God, in His wisdom, saw some faithful among the
were faithful still very much needed God’s word. Therefore, the Lord gave His
word in parabolic sayings. This enabled those who were spiritually minded to be
enlightened while those who were not remained in blindness.
the significance of the hearing formula in the Gospels. It also serves as a
textual indicator that figurative language is employed and the reader will need
to see beyond the obvious.
figurative language depicted in Revelation 13 requires the spiritually minded
readers to see, hear and understand the significance for believers. Normally,
the hearing formula follows the parabolic statement to which it refers.
However, that is not the case in Revelation 13:9-10. Here the reader is alerted
to the need for spiritual understanding before the parabolic statement is made.
anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes = is the first statement
that the enlightened reader must accept. Having outlined the career of the
composite dragon and beast, John has instructed the reader that saints will be
the target of both. God has destined certain ones to captivity during the reign
of the composite beast. The captivity will probably include severe persecution,
but not necessarily death. Those so destined must seek no other route. It is
God’s perfect will.
anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed = is the third
if-statement and probably the most difficult to interpret. The difficulty is
created by the very difficult Greek constructions in this verse.
saints are destined for captivity, others are destined for martyrdom. The sword
is the instrument of death by the State (Romans 13:4).
destined certain ones to be martyrs by the state/government of Antichrist. This
is God’s will. Those destined to die will die. This is the sense of the text.
That believers will die by the sword is confirmed in Revelation 20:4. Both
captivity and death by beheading is a part of God’s sovereign plan.
4. Here is
the perseverance and the faith of the saints = completes the parabolic
statements. This statement clarifies for anyone who might not understand how
believers will face the persecution of the composite beast. For those God has
destined to captivity—perseverance will win the day. For those God has destined
to physical death—faith will win the day.
(1) Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and (2) he had
two horns like a lamb and (3) he spoke as a dragon.
1. Then I
saw another beast coming up out of the earth = begins a second unit concerning
the beast empire. This is the only occasion where John will call this person a
beast. He will later be identified as “the false prophet.” Unlike the
composite beast that arises from the sea, this beast comes from the earth. The
significance of his earthly origin is not known.
2. He had
two horns like a lamb = is a second characteristic of the second beast. It is
generally known that lambs do not have horns. However, a ram does have horns
and is the preferred translation here. Horns symbolically represent power and
authority. Thus, this beast has power and authority. Two horns indicate above
spoke as a dragon = indicates as with the composite beast that this second
beast is also given a mouth “speaking arrogant words and
(1) He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence.
And (2) he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first
beast, (3) whose fatal wound was healed.
exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence = is the fourth
characteristic of the second beast. This sentence is a bit misleading. One
might think that the second beast only works in the physical presence of the
first beast. However, the point is this. The second beast operates, having been
empowered and authorized by the first beast.
makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast = is the
fifth characteristic of the second beast that is given. The second beast makes
the living earth-dwellers worship the first beast.
fatal wound was healed = identifies the composite beast.
(1) He performs great signs, (2) so that he even makes fire come down
out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.
performs great signs = is the sixth characteristic of the second beast. Notice
that “great signs” is plural indicating that more than one sign is
done. The second beast is able to do great or impressive miracles. How he does
these miracles is not explicitly indicated.
2. So that
he even makes fire come down out of heaven = indicates the limit of this beast.
His ability to call down fire from heaven indicates the greatness of his power.
He certainly has the ability to imitate Old Testament prophets. If not for his
words, his actions alone would prove him authentic.
(1) And he deceives those who dwell on the earth (2) because of the
signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, (3)
telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast (4) who had
the wound of the sword and has come to life.
1. And he
deceives those who dwell on the earth = is the outcome of the second beast’s
campaign of impressive miracles. His miracles convince the living earth-dwellers
to obey his commands.
of the signs which was given him to perform in the presence of the beast =
explicitly indicates that the miracles convinced the living earth-dwellers to
follow the second beast’s commands. The first beast authorized (empowered) the
second beast with the ability to do great miracles.
those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast = is the outcome of
the convincing miracles. The living earth-dwellers are instructed to make an
image to the beast. To the beast indicates that the purpose of the image is to
honor the beast. What the image is is not made explicit in this passage.
4. Who had
the wound of the sword and has come to life = is the third attempt to identify
the composite beast. Twice, the author has referred to the wound of the
composite beast. However, this is the first time the instrument itself is
indicated. The sword was used to cause the death of beast. The sword is the
instrument of death in capital punishment.
difficult throughout chapter 13 to distinguish between the composite beast
(kings) and the singular beast (Antichrist). Revelation 13:3 indicates that one
of the heads of the beast was wounded to death. But here in Revelation 13:13,
the beast itself was wounded. This only adds to the difficulty.
statue dream of Daniel 2, Nebuchadnezzar is told by Daniel that the toes of the
statue would be iron and clay mixed (Dan 2:40-43). During the iron phase of the
statue, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed
with a stone cut of the mountain (Dan 2:44-45).
futuristic beast kingdoms of Daniel 7, we learn that a fourth beast kingdom,
the most dreadful of all, with its feet would trample down other kingdoms. The
fourth beast kingdom will eventuate into ten kings. During the ten-king phase
of the fourth beast kingdom, a final king will arise and conquer three of the
conquering king will then persecute the people of God for three and a half
years. Absent from Daniel’s account is any indication that the eleventh king is
killed. This is a major point detailed in the Revelation, but absent from
Daniel. The critical question at this point is this: when is the beast put to
death and raised up?
question concerns how long the two events – the death and restoration—are
extremely difficult for this author to believe that Satan has the power to
actually raise a man from the dead. It is argued by some that Antichrist will
be killed and raised from the dead. However, this requires more power than
either Satan or Antichrist has.
a major point is absent from Daniel 7 is compelling. There is no biblical basis
that supports the notion that Satan has the power to raise the dead. Why would
Satan be content with the restoration of only one person? Why would Satan stop
with the restoration of Antichrist? Why not raise all sinners? This would be a
compelling reason to follow the dragon.
the composite beast (Roman Empire) and the individual beast (Antichrist) come
to life, it is better to understand that a kingdom is restored rather than
resurrection from the dead.
that Daniel 7 indicates explicitly that there is a relationship between the
legs of iron and the toes mixed with iron and clay, a restored indescribable
fourth beast empire in the form of ten toes makes sense.
Revelation 17 will make clear that the eighth beast/king will be restored from
the dead. Therefore, both the king and his kingdom are restored from the dead.
This will be Satan’s greatest act of deception. How he will deceive the whole
world into thinking that the beast/king has been restored from the dead is not
(1) And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast,
(2) so that the image of the beast would even speak and (3) cause as many as do
not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
1. And it
was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast = signals another
significant component of the second beast’s job description. Whom the second
beast receives the ability from to give breath to the image of the first beast
is not explicitly stated. Neither is it explained how such a thing could
impossibility of humans or angelic beings giving life to inanimate objects
makes a literal intent highly unlikely in this text. That some type of demonic
hocus pocus is utilized is self evident. This will be a second greatly
deceiving event connected with the beast/king.
2. So that
the image of the beast would even speak = seems to be one goal of the second
beast’s efforts. The image speaks. Whether this is the only human quality
vested in the image is not explicit. Whether the image walk about, sit, or
engage in any other human activities is not indicated. There is no reason to
reject the notion that the speech of the image is the same as that of the first
and second beast i.e. blasphemous.
as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed = is a difficult
clause to understand. Logically, the image of the beast both speaks and causes
the non-worshipers to be put to death. However, in this case, one would expect
the clause to say, ” and it causes as many as do not worship it to be
way to translate this verse is this: “and he (the second beast) causes as
many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” This makes
the better sense of the verse. In this case, the image does not give the order
of execution, but the second beast does.
(1) And he causes all, (2) the small and the great, and the rich and
the poor, and the free men and the slaves, (3) to be given a mark on their
right hands or on their foreheads and (4) he provides that no one will be able
to buy or to sell, (5) except the one who has the mark, (6) either the name of
the beast or the number of his name.
1. And he
causes all = continues the job description of the second beast. Most agree that
the he here refers to the second beast. The all refers to the inhabitants of
small and the great…the slaves = defines the perimeters of the all. These
inclusive lists indicate that no segment of society will escape the notice of
3. To be
given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads = indicates the place
of the mark. Clearly, the intent is for the mark to be easily seen.
provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell = is the purpose of the
mark. Economic sanctions will be a major issue during the persecution by the
beast of the people of God.
the one who has the mark = limits who can purchase food. Starvation or worship
of the beast will be the only alternatives for those who inhabit the earth.
name of the beast or the number of his name = indicates what the specific mark
(1) Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number
of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred
1. Of all
the verses in the Revelation, this is the most difficult to understand. The
wild speculative articles written over the centuries can easily document that
this is the case. There is no agreement among scholars concerning the meaning
of this verse. I am content to leave it as it is. However, I am more convinced
by this verse that Satan will pull off his greatest deception in connection
with the eschatological beast/king.
apostle Paul writes in II Thessalonians 2:8-12,
that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of
His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one
whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs
and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who
perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.
this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might
believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe
the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.
the lie, and false wonders indicate unparalleled deception.