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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Week - 22 The Beast and the False Prophet Revelation 13:1-10 Part One

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Authored by Jerry Marshall Introduction:

In times of great calamity and tribulation in world history, people naturally seek a leader, a deliverer who would rescue them from their times of trouble and provide a strategy for relief and restore peace and prosperity to their world, or to the nation of their heritage. They look with hope for one to come on the scene who is powerful and influential demonstrating the kind of competent leadership that will unite the people, promote harmony among the nations, and someone who will restore a sense of security in unsettled times.

There is a leadership vacuum in our day. From our recent history as a nation, we have now adopted the notion that character in leadership is not as important as competent leadership. We want a problem solver rather than a person of virtue solving the world’s problems.

From the annals of history we learn that such leaders have come on the scene during chaotic times of economic uncertainty and social unrest only to give the people they rule much more than they bargained for. In the 1930’s the nation of Germany was experiencing such conditions.

When the Great Depression struck in 1929, a man named Adolph Hitler explained that this economical circumstance was a Jewish-Communist plot. He promised that if he was given the reigns of leadership he would restore a strong Germany, provide jobs, and restore national glory. He attracted millions of voters.

In 1933 Hitler was appointed chancellor. Once in power, Hitler quickly established himself as a dictator and banned all political parties except his own. All aspects of society were brought under Nazi authority, and thousands of anti-Nazis were taken to concentration camps. And millions of Jews and others were exterminated. Societies in turmoil are the best context for the rise of rulers like this to come to power.


1 Encarta® 98 Desk Encyclopedia © & # 1996-97 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

During the time of the Great Tribulation, the world will be plagued with problems such as it has never experienced before. The world’s ecological, economical and astronomical systems will be virtually destroyed by the expression of God’s wrath upon this world. Millions of people will have lost their lives, war between nations, famine, pestilence and chaos will characterized this world in its final days.

Oh that one would come on the scene that could turn the tide, stay the hand of an angry God, restore peace, and provide security. At this point, the world leaders during the time of the Great Tribulation are hiding out in caves and calling for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from wrath of the one who sits on the throne and His Lamb. Where is a leader of courage who will face down the Almighty God? Right in the middle of this tumultuous time of Great Tribulation, the world will get what it hoped for.

A leader will come on the scene, one who will at first provide practical solutions to the world’s problems. And in addition, they will get an extra bonus, in that this world leader will be assisted by a powerful spiritual leader. But the world of the future will soon find out, that they have gotten much more than they bargained for.

When we last studied the twelfth chapter of Revelation, we saw that Satan suffered a major defeat in which he and his demonic host were hurled down to earth. In his anger, he sought to destroy the believing community of saints, and to derail the ultimate purposes of God. In his last desperate attempt, he empowers one who will come on the world scene as the leader they are seeking.

In Revelation thirteen, John is giving to his readers, the details of a vision that God granted to him of a Beast that came up out of the sea, and a Beast that comes up out of the earth.

For our purposes this morning, we will concentrate on the Beast who comes out of the sea. In the first ten verses of this chapter there is a revelation of five points of information about this first Beast.

I. The Appearance of the Beast (Revelation 13:1-2a)

The first sentence of this chapter really is the last sentence of the previous chapter giving us the concluding remarks about the Dragon who is earlier identified as the serpent of old who is Satan, who is the Devil. (12:9)

As a stated previously, the twelfth chapter describes the war of Satan against God and His people during the three and a half year period called, “The Great Tribulation.”

If you have the K.J.V., the first part of chapter thirteen, verse one reads, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea,” implying that this is a reference to the Apostle John.

However, the older and more reliable manuscripts read, “He stood.” The N.A.S.B. and N.I.V. rightly translated this phrase, “The dragon stood,” because the antecedent to the verb translated “He stood” is the Dragon just mentioned in the final passage of chapter twelve.

The symbolism of the Dragon standing on the sand of the seashore has been widely understood by many scholars to be a reference to Satan’s stance of world domination at this time. In (Revelation 20:8), the metaphor of sand on the seashore is used to describe those who will join Satan in his final battle against God.

Having identified the Dragon in our previous studies (Revelation 12:9), we must now turn to the main character of this aspect of John’s vision - and that is the Beast!

A. What the Beast had (1)

The word Beast is a translation of the Greek word, therion { thay-ree’-on} which refers to a wild animal, and figuratively speaks of a brutal savage or a monster. There has been much discussion about the Beast coming out of the sea. Some have suggested that this is a figurative reference to the sea of humanity living during this yet future time. The idea being that the Beast will emerge from the sea of humanity as a dominant world power or leader.

Still others interpret the sea in this context as a reference to “the disturbed and stormy social and political conditions out of which tyrannies commonly arise.” (Erdman)

Both (11:7) and (17:8) state that the Beast comes up out of the Abyss. The Abyss is that subterranean place of incarceration for fallen angels. The Abyss is the place that Satan himself will be held for one thousand years during the time of the millennial reign of Christ (Revelation 20:1-3). It is the place that the Legion demons pleaded with Christ not to send them (Luke 8:30-31). Since both (11:7) and (17:8) describe the derivation of the Beast as the Abyss, it is best to equate the sea mentioned with this passage with the Abyss.

This beast that John saw coming out of the sea, had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

Satan was described in a similar fashion earlier (12:3).

1. Ten Horns

“Horns” in the Scriptures, commonly refer to strength, might, and power, both for offense and defense. Power and might to attack and strength to defend against an attack. The ten horns are described as being adorned with ten crowns which is the insignia of royal authority.

Fortunately, the meaning of the ten horns wearing ten crowns is revealed to us in (Revelation 17:12-14) by an angel of judgment. This understanding of the ten horns correlates with Daniel’s vision of the final kingdom of this world (Daniel 7:23-25).

And so it seems, that the ten horns with ten crowns diadema { dee-ad’-ay-mah}, refers to ten kings who will rule under the Beast who will rule not just ten nations, but the entire world during the time of the Great Tribulation.

2. Seven Heads

The Beast also had seven heads and each head bore a blasphemous name.

(Revelation 17:9-10) provides a scriptural explanation for this aspect of John’s vision.

We know that the seven heads then are symbolic of seven kings. But this passage also tells us that the seven heads refers as well to seven hills on which the women sits. Seven hills is commonly associated with the city of Rome which is famous for being the city of seven hills. The kings then would be a reference to seven actual kings of the Roman Empire. The Beast will be like these kings.

Roman emperors frequently assigned themselves divine titles that dishonored the true and living God. For example, the Roman emperor at the time of the writing of the book of Revelation, who was Domitian, was the first emperor to have himself officially titled in Rome as "God the Lord." He insisted that other people hail his greatness with acclamations like "Lord of the earth," "Invincible," "Glory," "Holy," and "Thou Alone."

Nero was called by his subjects, “the savior of the world.” Such titles, which should be directed to the only true God, were falsely assumed by these emperors and would account for the blasphemous names on each of the seven heads.

The Beast, like these Roman emperors will also assume a title of deity. He too will declare himself God and bear the titles of such a declaration. Such a blasphemous title correlates with Paul’s description of the coming Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). This is nothing new, during the Second World War, the emperor of Japan was considered to be a god.

B. What the Beast Resembled (2a)

The body parts of this Beast form a composite of three out of the four creatures of Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:1-7). Each creature characteristically represented world empires.

1. A Leopard

The leopard in Daniel’s vision symbolically referred to the Greek empire under the rule of Alexander the Great. Like a leopard, the conquests of this empire were swift and vicious.

2. A Bear

The bear in Daniel’s vision, symbolically referred to the Medo-Persian empire with its strength, stability and yet voracious power to conquer and kill.

3. A Lion

The lion symbolically represented the Babylonian empire which was characterized by its fierce consuming power. What is being conveyed by the fact that this coming Beast resembled the leopard, with feet like that of a bear and mouth like that of a lion is that the Beast will be a composite of these world empires that long ago preceded this monster.

The rule of the Beast over the world will be voracious, vicious, swift and strong bearing the characteristics of the Greek, Medo-Persian and Babylonian empires.

II. The Authority of The Beast (Revelation 13:2b,5b, 7)

A. Satanic Authority (2b)

The power source of this Beast will be the Dragon who is Satan. That means that the Beast will possess power that is greater than any human power or even the power of any human government. This will give the Beast the ability to do extraordinary things and perform extraordinary acts.

The Beast for a short time, will occupy the throne of Satan. John tells us in

(1 John 5:19) that the whole world functions under the control of Satan.

The Beast will also possess the great authority of Satan. Which refers to the ruling power and authority of Satan over this fallen world and Satan’s fallen angels. The Beast will answer to no one on this earth.

B. Adversarial and Global Authority (7)

In the allowable sovereign purposes of God, the Beast will be given power to make war against the Saints who live during the reign of the Beast and the Beast will conquer them.

Unlike previous world empires that controlled large portions of the world and its’ people, the Beast will conquer the actual entire planet. Every tribe, people, language and nation will be under his authority.

C. Limited Authority (5b)

The reign of the Beast will be short lived. Only forty two months - three and a half years. Then it will come to a swift end; although the Beast possesses the power and the authority of Satan, and the Beast rules the world, the Beast will not possess the ultimate power necessary to rule the world indefinitely.

At this point in our study, it would be good to clarify the identity of this Beast that comes up out of the Sea or the Abyss.

Who is this Beast?

1. The Beast is representative of a coming world power and its primary leader (Revelation 17:12-13). This notion is reflected in how the Beast is described in the passage that we have studied thus far. This ten horned, seven head, leopard like Beast, with feet like a bear and a mouth like a lion are all Scriptural symbols of kings, rulers and world empires.

Yet, the Beast is frequently described using personal pronouns

(e.g., “he,” “him,” “his,” cf. vv 1-7); note (Revelation 19:19-20).

The Prophet Daniel spoke of this Beast using personal pronouns.

(Daniel 7:25)

25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.

(Daniel 8:24-25)

24 He will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. 25 He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior. When they feel secure, he will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes. Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power.

The Apostle Paul refers to this coming world leader as “man of lawlessness” and “the man doomed to destruction” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).

This Beast then is descriptive of the final world empire but also the dictator of this concluding kingdom of mankind.

2. The Beast refers to a future world leader rather than a historical one.

The context of this revelation regarding the Beast is the last three- and one-half years referred to as the Great Tribulation, which culminates with the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 17:12-14; 19:19-20).

3. The Beast is also known in Scriptures as the “Antichrist.” (1 John 2:18).

“Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”

The Beast is the second person of a Satanic parody of the triune God.

4. Since in both (Revelation 11:7 and 17:8), the Beast is described as coming up out of the Abyss, it is my contention that the Antichrist is perhaps one of the highest ranking fallen angels who takes upon himself the form of a man for the purpose of fulfilling Satan’s desire “to be like the most high.”

Others see the Antichrist as a demon possessed man. But there are no Scriptural statements that indicated that.

Practical Implications

1. The hunger for leadership in times of crisis should not cause us to narrow the qualifications for such leadership to one of quick solutions for difficult problems. Chaotic times of confusion, uncertainty and unrest serve as the right conditions “out of which tyrannies commonly arise.”

The best leaders are people of integrity, driven by virtuous principles. They are able bodied people who are capable of influencing others toward noble and commendable goals. These are the kind of leaders needed for troubled times. The best leaders are those who live in submission to the leadership of the Lord.

2. Even when it seems that Satan and his ultimate agent are in the zenith of their power, God will still be in control and will limit their reign.

3. In the allowable will of God, Satan and his agents are allowed to war against the saints. They may kill their bodies, but they can never harm their souls.


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