Two powerful beasts appear. They speak arrogantly and deceive Christians. They launch a war on godly people and kill anyone who does not comply. [UPDATED]
A BEAST EMERGES FROM THE SEA
SUMMARY: A beast emerges from the sea. Satan gives it power and authority. It recovers from a fatal wound. The whole earth worships Satan and the beast. It speaks arrogantly and launches a war against godly people.
VERSE 1. Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names.
I saw a beast. This is the first beast mentioned thus far. There is a second beast mentioned in verse 11, below.
coming up out of the sea. This beast rises out of the sea. The beast mentioned in verse 11 rises out of the earth.
blasphemous names. The beast has a compulsion to blaspheme God.
Some people are like that as well. Every word is a blasphemy of some kind or other.
These blasphemies of the beast continue in verse 5, below.
VERSE 2. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
The dragon. This is the large red dragon identified in Revelation 12:9 as Satan. It tried to devour the baby the woman was giving birth to.
VERSE 3. One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast.
one of his heads. This suggests that the beast has more than one head.
His fatal wound was healed. Recovering from a fatal wound is a remarkable thing.
Of course it is nothing compared to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
VERSE 4. They worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
the dragon. That is, Satan.
worship. The Greek word is προσκυνέω (“proskuneó”), which means to fall down and prostrate oneself, or to adore on one’s knees, or to do obeisance.
and they worshiped the beast. The Greek word for worship is the same προσκυνέω (“proskuneó”) as above.
VERSE 5. A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy was given to him. Authority to make war for forty-two months was given to him.
A mouth speaking great things. That is, arrogant things.
Arrogant words are not commensurate with walking with God.
Of course, many church leaders are quite arrogant. Their arrogance does not mean that arrogance is justified.
and blasphemy. More blasphemies. That’s just what we all need. As if the blasphemies in verse 1, above, weren’t enough.
forty-two months. That is, 3.5 years.
VERSE 6. He opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his dwelling, those who dwell in heaven.
and his dwelling. Those who dwell in heaven are the tabernacle of God.
those who dwell in heaven. To blaspheme God is not enough. The beast also needs to blaspheme those who are saved.
VERSE 7. It was given to him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them. Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation was given to him.
to make war with the saints. The beast attacks godly people.
This is not an attack on individual believers, but rather an all-out assault on faith in general. It is an attempt to exterminate faith itself.
and to overcome them. The beast overcomes Christianity itself.
Authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. The beast becomes the ruler of the entire world.
Some people say this power is already given to the leader of the United Nations. However, the United Nations has very little actual power over its member-nations.
This verse describes the beast as having total control of the entire world.
VERSE 8. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed.
All who dwell on the earth will worship him. Having total control over every person on the planet is not enough. The beast requires that everybody worship him.
This is the ultimate expression of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
VERSE 9. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
VERSE 10. If anyone is to go into captivity, he will go into captivity. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, he must be killed. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints.
the endurance and the faith of the saints. Christian believers are to persevere. Perseverance is our strength.
THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH
SUMMARY: A second beast emerges from the earth. It is an unholy evangelist for the first beast, doing miracles, deceiving Christians, and killing anybody who does not worship the first beast. He imprints a mark on everyone on earth.
VERSE 11. I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon.
I saw another beast. This is the second beast. It is different than the one mentioned in verse 1, above.
coming up out of the earth. This beast arises from the earth, unlike the beast mentioned in verse 1, which rises out of the sea.
VERSE 12. He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.
to worship the first beast. This second beast is an unholy evangelist for the first beast. It requires people to worship the first beast.
VERSE 13. He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people.
He performs great signs. The second beast can do miracles. They make his message more convincing for his hearers.
VERSE 14. He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs he was granted to do in front of the beast, saying to those who dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived.
He deceives my own people. This second beast goes after Christian believers. His goals:
- Stop them from worshipping the One God
- Get them to worship the first beast
because of the signs. The second beast convinces believers to abandon God by means of the miraculous signs he does.
that they should make an image. The second beast commands people to make an image of the first beast.
Of course, ever since the time of Moses, the One God has forbade his people from making graven images and bowing down to them.
VERSE 15. It was given to him to give breath to it, to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause as many as wouldn’t worship the image of the beast to be killed.
It was given to him to give breath to it. Everybody is required to have this image of the first beast.
The second beast causes those images to become alive.
that the image of the beast should … speak. Some people say this “image” is on a television. Through the TV that many people have, the beast could speak to all the people on earth.
Of course, not everybody has a TV. So it is something else.
as wouldn’t worship the image. The image monitors whether people worship it or not. Most televisions do not monitor the activities of viewers.
However, some modern video game consoles do.
to be killed. Televisions are not capable of executing people.
VERSE 16. He causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slave, to be given marks on their right hands, or on their foreheads;
He causes all … to be given marks. This is the famous mark of the beast. The term “mark” suggests that is is visible.
on their right hands, or on their foreheads. The location of the mark is quite specific. It is either on the right hand or on the forehead.
Later, in Revelation 14:9, this “mark of the beast” will be very important.
VERSE 17. and that no one would be able to buy or to sell, unless he has that mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.
no one would be able to buy or to sell. For a while, some preachers were saying the “mark of the beast” was a credit card. They saw credit cards as replacing currency.
the name of the beast or the number of his name. Now we know what the mark is. It is either the name of the first beast, or else it is the number of the name of the first beast.
VERSE 18. Here is wisdom. He who has understanding, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is six hundred sixty-six.
Here is wisdom. That is, figure this out.
calculate the number of the beast. People put forth a great amount effort to interpret the number of the beast.
His number is six hundred sixty-six. This is the origin of the famous number: 6-6-6. A whole superstitious subculture has arisen, where the number 6-6-6 is viewed as dangerous.
However, some Greek manuscripts say the number is 6-1-6. In any case, it is not the number itself that matters, Rather it is that it is the number of the beast.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.