Section: Chapter Twelve - The Beginning
THIRTEEN - THE BEGINNING OF THE END
(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.
Chapter 13 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.
2. 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 familiarthe 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 kings).
In 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.
However, 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.
The 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.
4. Having 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.
The heads 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,
I was 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
The 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 dragons 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 birth.
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.
(1) And 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 terror.
What John 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/kingdomsthe
prevention of the temporal reign of the Son. What Daniel saw individually,
John sees in composite.
Absent from Johns
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 Daniels prophecy of ten horns is finding
fulfillment. Daniels fourth beast empire with ten horns is Johns
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 beasts power. Literally, the Greek says, "And
the dragon gave it his power
." The dragon (singular) empowers
the composite beast. All that 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.
This 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
(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.
2. His (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 death.
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 beasts ability to come back
to life after death. The reader will notice that the phrase and
followed is in italics in the NASB. Thats 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
4. They worshiped the dragon
because he gave his authority to the beast = explains the result of
the peoples amazement and commitment to the composite beast.
The dragon gave the rule of earth to the beast and the people respond
with worship to it.
5. They worshiped the beast
= also receives worship from the people on the earth. He is worshiped
for his sovereignty. They express their attitude by saying, "Who
is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with it?" The
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. An enemy 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.
1. There 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. That is, 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 (Louw-Nida, § 33.105). Who gave 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.
2. 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.
This is 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 beasts
arrogance. Unfulfilled by the worship of men that the creator alone
should receive, the composite beast hurls insults to God.
2. To blaspheme His name
and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in heaven = explains
the precise nature of the composite beasts blasphemous speech.
To blaspheme Gods name is to break the third commandment"You
shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Exod 20:7)."
That is, to use Gods name for evil purposes. To blaspheme Gods
tabernacle is to speak evil of Gods temple. John clarifies what
he means by adding, "those who dwell in heaven." Gods
tabernacle refers symbolically to Gods holy ones (angels). What
exactly is said about the angels is not explicitly stated, but it
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 womans children
who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
4. Authority over every
tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him (it) = defines
the precise limits of the composite beasts 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. This 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.
2. 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 clearthe
elect. The elect will not worship the beast, which also means they
will not take his mark. Thus, they are objects of his wrath.
(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 saints.
1. If 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.
Scholars are somewhat agreed
that this hearing formula is rooted in Isaiah 6:9-10. Isaiahs
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 wicked. Those who were faithful still
very much needed Gods 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.
This is 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.
The highly 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.
2. If 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 Gods perfect will.
3. If 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.
The NASB translates the
verse: "if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must
The KJV says, "he
that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword."
The NIV says, "if
anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed."
This author prefers the
New International Versions translation because it naturally
follows the previous statement. While some saints are destined for
captivity, others are destined for martyrdom. The sword is
the instrument of death by the State (Romans 13:4). God has destined
certain ones to be martyrs by the state/government of Antichrist.
This is Gods 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 Gods 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 captivityperseverance will win the day. For those
God has destined to physical deathfaith 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 average.
3. He spoke as a dragon
= indicates as with the composite beast that this second beast is
also given a mouth "speaking arrogant words and blasphemies."
(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.
1. He 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.
2. He 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.
3. Whose 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.
1. He 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
(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 beasts
campaign of impressive miracles. His miracles convince the living
earth-dwellers to obey his commands.
2. Because 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 beasts commands. The first beast authorized
(empowered) the second beast with the ability to do great miracles.
3. Telling 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.
It is 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.
In the 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).
In the 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 ten kings. This conquering king will then
persecute the people of God for three and a half years. Absent from
Daniels 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? A second question concerns how
long the two events the death and restorationare separated?
It is 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. That such 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.
Since both 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. Given 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.
Yet, 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 Satans 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 clear.
(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 beasts 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 happen. The 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 beasts
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.
3. Cause 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 killed." Another 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 the earth.
2. The small and the great
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.
4. He 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.
5. Except 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
6. The name of the beast
or the number of his name = indicates what the specific mark will
(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 and sixty-six.
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.
The apostle Paul writes
in II Thessalonians 2:8-12,
And then 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. And for 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.
Deception, the lie, and
false wonders indicate unparalleled deception.
Section: Chapter Fourteen - The End of the Beginning