The Beast From the Sea - Page 1 (series: Lessons on Revelations)

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Commentary on the Book of Revelation

By: Tom Lowe Date: 9/12/16



Lesson: IV.A.2: The Beast From the Sea (13:1-10)


Revelation 13:1-10 (KJV)

1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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?
5 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.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
7 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.
8 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.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
10 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.


Commentary

1 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.

Chapter 13 presents a most important public figure of the end time—a “beast” coming “out of the sea.” His “10 horns” and “7 heads,” with “10 crowns” on his horns depict the revived Roman Empire which was also represented by the fourth “beast” of Daniel, which also had “10 horns” (Daniel 7:7-8; 13:3; 17:3, 7). In Revelation 13 and 17 the “beast” is the world ruler whereas in Daniel 7 the little horn on the “beast” was the world ruler.
Many have said that the “beast” refers to some character in past history, but the context clearly refers to the final three and one-half years before Christ’s second coming. Under the control of this central ruler in the Middle East during the Great Tribulation will be 10 nations (Daniel 7:24, “The 10 horns are 10 Kings”).

“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea.” John’s next vision is of a “beast” emerging from the “sea.” The fact that the “beast” comes out from the “sea” indicates that he is a ‘Gentile,’ for the sea of humanity is involved as his source (17:15). In the ancient world “the sea” was seen as hostile and chaotic. The four great beasts of the book of Daniel also came from the “sea” (Daniel 7:1-8). In fact, many of the descriptors of Revelation’s “beast” from the “sea” are similar to those associated with the four beasts in Daniel. For example, Daniel’s fourth beast has 10 horns, which represent 10 kings of the Greek empire (Daniel 7:7-8, 23-24). In Revelation the diadems (crowns) on the 10 horns also represent kinship.

Let’s keep in mind that everything reported by the Apostle John was seen in a vision sent by God. Were there really sea monsters? If you go far back in history you will discover that whales were called sea monsters. I saw a picture that shows a whale destroying a small boat, while sailors hurl harpoons at it. Many people will tell you that there is no such thing as a sea monster; that it is pure fiction. But the Old Testament records the story of Leviathan which is part of Jewish tradition (see Job 3:8; 41:1; Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 27:1), who often played a role in Jewish apocalyptic documents. It is clear from 13:7 and 17:3, 9-10, 18 that the “beast” represents the “Roman Empire.”

“Having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns. “Seven heads” as explained in 17:9, refers to “seven emperors.” Notice that the

English phrase “head of state” is used for a ruler.

“Ten horns” are minor kings who have not yet received power (17:12). The imagery, associates the “seven heads and ten horns,” with the dragon of chapter 12 and with the fourth beast of Daniel 7:7-8, 19-25.

“And upon his heads the name of blasphemy.” “Blasphemous names” are names that belong only to God, but are ascribed to mere men. The Roman emperor referred to himself as “son of God,” “Lord,” “Savior,” “King of Kings” and “Lord of lords.” Especially Domitian, emperor during John’s time, insisted on being addressed as “Lord” and “God.”

2 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.

“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.” “Leopard . . . bear . . . Lion”: See Daniel 7:1-8, 15-20, where the beasts represent four successive world empires. The beast of John’s vision combines and sums up all four. Since one of Daniel’s beasts has four heads, the seven heads of John’s beast are the sum of the heads of all four of Daniels beasts. In John’s view the Roman Empire inherits and brings to a head the evil of all previous empires.

Other aspects of Revelation’s beast of the sea appear to relate to the first three of Daniels beasts: the body of a leopard (3Daniel 7:6), the feet of a bear (3Daniel 7:5), and the head of a lion (3Daniel 7:4). In the book of Daniel these three beasts represent three of the great empires of history—the three preceding empires beginning with the oldest—the Babylonian empire (winged lion), the Medo-Persia empire (bear), and the Greeks (leopard). Thus, given John’s apparent familiarity with Daniel, we should conclude that Revelation’s beast of the sea also symbolizes a very powerful empire. In John’s historical context, this would be the Roman Empire (see 6:1-8).

John describes the beast of the sea in considerable detail, but the details are to be understood metaphorically. Its seven heads (13:1) describe the fullness of power. The blasphemous name on its heads (13:1) probably refers to titles regularly given to the Roman emperors of John’s day—“Lord,” “Lord and God,” and “Savior of the World”—all of which the Christian believer would have considered to be blasphemies against God. The blasphemies it utters (13:5) refer to its offenses against God and the Christians who worship God.

“And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.” This accords with Paul “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) who refers to “the lawless one” (i.e., The Antichrist, this first beast of Revelation 13) as working “all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders.”
In a perversion of Christ receiving power from God and sharing his throne (3:21; 5:5-12; 12:5; See 2Matthew 28:18), Satan confers “power” and “authority” on the beast. As a parity of the revelatory chain of 1Revelation 1:1-2 the demonic “chain of command” is dragon (Satan)>beast from the sea (Antichrist)>beast from the land (false prophet). The first beast, There will be a second beast appear in the last part of Chapter 13. whose horns and crowns represent power, is energized by Satan.

3 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.

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.” “One of his heads,” or rather, “One of the emperors,” probably the seventh, seemed to have received a death blow caused by a sword (413:14), but was miraculously healed, causing astonishment in the entire world.

Many have attempted to identify this beast as someone in the past or present who is to become the final world ruler. Among the suggestions have been Nero, Judas Iscariot, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Kissinger, and many others; but such men obviously do not fit the details of this yet-future ruler.
After being deposed by the Roman senate in 68 CE, Nero, the first emperor to persecute Christians, had committed suicide by stabbing himself in the throat. Sacrificial lambs were killed by cutting their throats. This is a parody (picture) of Jesus the Lamb “that seemed to have been slain” 5(5:6).

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