“…and saw a beast rise up out of the sea… “ ~ Revelation 13:1
Why is the symbol of a beast used in Revelation?
Man without the grace and help of the Almighty is no better than a beast. And so God chooses to use a beast in Revelation chapter 13 to describe how low man can go when he pretends to be Christian, but really has a corrupted heart.
God has a very strong distaste for anyone that highly esteems religious hypocrisy. Jesus plainly told us so:
“…Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” ~ Luke 16:15
An abomination is like an idol: something of the utmost disgust. Completely corrupt and distasteful!
And so it should be no surprise to us that the scriptures in a number of places will compare sinful man to a beast:
- “Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.” ~ Psalm 49:20
- “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption” ~ 2 Peter 2:12
It is the way they reason and behave that is similar to a beast. A beast has no conscience toward eternal rewards. Consequently it lives selfishly for the here and now, and makes decisions based upon that purpose.
“If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:32-34
Man will behave and make decisions with the mindset of a beast when he is without a spiritual connection with the eternal Savior! And so in Revelation 13 we are introduced to what God identifies as “the beast.”
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea… “ ~ Revelation 13:1
Revelation does everything for a reason, so here it specifically identifies where this beast comes from: the sea.
But why does the beast come from “the sea”? What does this symbolize?
Often the answer comes right out of Revelation. And so if we look earlier in Revelation, we see something that went down into the sea.
“And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood” ~ Revelation 8:8
In an earlier post I explain in much more detail concerning this burning mountain that was cast into the sea. But in a “nutshell” this is exactly what happens when a large number of people who at one time where filed with the burning love fire of the Holy Ghost, but then later they allow hypocrisy to take up residence. Their collective burning love is quenched in the sea.
So what spiritually is this “sea” that quenched their love?
Again, Revelation let’s us know.
“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth (note: she is sitting on the beast), are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” ~ Revelation 17:15
So, when a formerly “burning mountain” people become just religious, they then go down to the carnal, fleshly thinking and political ways of common people. Then they come up out of those waters looking very different. In fact they look very much like the way the fleshly thinking people carnally think and reason: like a beast.
“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.” Revelation 13:1
Is the beast and the dragon the same creature?
It is amazing how similar this beast’s body structure is to the dragon that preceded it in Revelation the 12th chapter. And there is a reason for this, because essentially it is the same creature, but with different clothing. And so, there are some distinct “outer” differences.
First: the dragon had the crowns on the heads. But this beast has the crowns on the horns. And on his seven heads now is one name, or one identity: one that blasphemes (or blatantly disrespects) God.
First let’s talk about where the crowns are, and why. (See an earlier post that also explains this at https://revelationjesuschrist.org/2019/05/12/the-final-trumpet-reveals-the-kingdoms-of-the-beasts/)
Heads represent the spiritual/intellectual leadership of a people. Even today we use the term “head” to describe the one in a lead role in a government agency, corporation, or a religion.
Horns represent the ones with the power to do harm and wage war.
Crowns are a symbol of sovereignty. The authority vested in the king to speak a command and have his order immediately followed.
So now, in the previous chapter, the dragon had the crowns on its heads, because it represented the Roman Kingdom which had its sovereign power vested within the heads, or the leadership, of the Roman Kingdom.
But this beast of Revelation chapter 13 represents the power that later manifested itself through the Catholic Church when it rose in power to resist the true Christians. This beast has the crowns on the horns, because the Catholic Church used the kings of the countries it influenced so that those kings would use their horns (or power to do harm and wage war) to get the Catholic Church’s dirty work done.
Consequently this beast of Revelation 13 only has a single identity on its heads, and that is a name of blasphemy, or flagrant disrespect for God. They claimed the identity of being God’s one Church, but their leadership was nothing more than a bunch of power hungry hypocrites! Consequently God identifies them, and those that follow them, as they collectively are: a carnal selfish beast!
“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.” ~ Revelation 13:2
Is the beast made up of other beasts?
So now we are given even more insights to the characteristics of this beast. It is an amalgamation of carnal beast kingdom powers that went before it. These kingdoms were already identified in scripture long before – by the prophet Daniel.
Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, (note: the Revelation 13 beast has a mouth “as the mouth of a lion”) and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, (note: the Revelation 13 beast has the “feet of a bear”) and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, (note: the Revelation 13 beast is “like unto a leopard”) which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. ~ Daniel 7:2-7 (Note: the red dragon of Revelation 12 representing the pagan Roman kingdom, also had ten horns, and this ten horned dragon gave the ten horned beast of Revelation 13 “his power and seat and great authority.”)
The four beasts of Daniel represent four earthly, carnal kingdoms, which are described in Daniel three different times:
- First: As one great image of a man made up of four parts representing four kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Roman) – Daniel 2
- Second: As four beasts that would rise out of the sea – Daniel 7 (with great detail concerning how the last Roman beast would give rise to a power that would speak great things and seek to overthrow the saints – speaking of the Catholic power that would follow the Roman kingdom).
- Then finally: very much prophetic detail is given concerning the kingdoms that would rise up after the ancient kingdom of Babylon – Daniel 8 – 12
So we see that these beasts that represent the carnal kingdoms of man, just morph from one form to another, but yet each is still no better than the beast before it. And the spirit of their beast nature’s continue, even beyond the continuance of their earthly kingdoms.
Daniel’s prophesy of these beasts confirms this spiritual continuance.
“As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.” ~ Daniel 7:12
And so in the description of the beast of Revelation 13, we also see the ability of one beast to continue the beast spirit of another.
“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.” ~ Revelation 13:3
As mentioned before, this beast of Revelation 13 is essentially the red dragon clothed in religious “Christian” robes of self righteousness. These heads, which are seven, show a wicked leadership force at work in every church age (there are seven church ages). And one of these heads was wounded to death (by a spiritual sword, the Word of God – see verse 14 of this same chapter). But this head was later healed.
The gospel wounded Roman paganism so badly that it had to go into hiding as if it had died. But it’s life was prolonged, or healed, by the rise of the Roman Catholic Church beast. So essentially the people continued to worship in the same spirit of the Roman pagan dragon/beast.
“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?” ~ Revelation 13:4
They are saying, you defeated the dragon, but who is able to defeat the beast?
Or again, who is able to defeat the Christian form of hypocrisy?
Again, remember we are speaking particularly of spiritual warfare. Revelation is a spiritual book that looks into the hearts of people to show us the conditions on earth that matter the most!
So we see that the power of pagan Rome was defeated. But this new beast has the power and authority to work self righteousness under the false robes of hypocrisy! Therefore the question is asked: “who now can defeat the beast?”
“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.” ~ Revelation 13:5
42 months, or approximately 1,260 days. A very specific time mentioned numerous times within Revelation (and also referenced within the Old Testament). As I have covered many times before, this time prophetically covers a period of time covering 1,260 years, substituting a year for a day as was done in Numbers 14:34.
For reference, here are the Revelation scriptures addressing this same time. A time when God would provide a way to sustain the spiritual life of his true people who would be living amongst the hypocrisy of the beast. He would sustain them by his two faithful witnesses: his Word and his Holy Spirit.
- “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” ~ Revelation 11:2-3
- “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” ~ Revelation 12:6
- “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” ~ Revelation 12:14
And so this beast, with enormous powers to control and persecute, would come often into conflict with God’s true people. God’s true people spiritually dwell in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, because of the Lord’s very presence helping them. So Satan needed a vehicle of hypocrisy leadership to get at them.
“And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 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.” Revelation 13:6-7
The spirit of this hypocritical power persecuting the saints was even foretold in the Old Testament.
- “Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law? They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.” ~ Psalm 94:20-21
- “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” ~ Daniel 7:25 (Note the mention of this time period again: a “time and times and the dividing of time” represents three and a half years, or 42 months, or approximately 1,260 days, standing for 1,260 years.)
And so Revelation also identifies the spiritual condition of those who would worship the church rather than worship God.
“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.” Revelation 13:8-9
Do we today have an ear to discern the difference? Do you know the difference between living for the church, and living for God? Do you fear and respect the commandments of men more than the commandments of Jesus Christ?
Even during such a time as this, God has his way of executing his righteous judgements upon the wicked.
“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.” ~ Revelation 13:10
Jesus said that he that lives by the sword must die by the sword. The very weapon hypocrites use against the humble saints, shall be used against them. If they manipulate the Word against the saints, the same Word shall judge them. If they manipulate the Word to control people, the same Word shall bring them into bondage.
Prophetically, the beast power of hypocrisy had always been around in different forms. Because it is Satan’s principle method “as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” ~ 1 Peter 5:8
“O god, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps. The dead bodies of thy servants have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth. Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and there was none to bury them.” (Psalms 79:1-3)
And so the power of the Catholic Church would continue, until the days of reckoning with the published Word of God would come. And then Satan would have need for another beast to do his dirty work. And this next beast would fight in direct opposition to both the Word of God and the Spirit of God.