and he stood upon the sand of the sea.
And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of blasphemy.
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 throne, and great authority.
And I saw one of his heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after the beast; and they worshipped the dragon, because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying,
Who is like unto the beast? and who is able to war with him? and there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and there was given to him authority to continue forty and two months.
And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, even them that dwell in the heaven.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.
And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain.
If any man hath an ear, let him hear.Revelation 13:1-9 ASV
Revelation 13 has the two visions of the two remarkable beasts which rose out of the sea and out of the earth as allies and helpers of the dragon Satan.
“He stood upon the sand of the sea” (Revelation 13:1) suggests the summoning of these beasts by Satan to aid his war against the saints of God; but it is incorrect to suppose that Satan, in any sense, either created or produced these monsters, polycephalous brutes.
The beast out of the sea symbolically represents the great earthly governments which repeatedly in human history have exalted themselves against God and against his people (Revelation 13:1-10)
The beast out of the earth represents false, blasphemous religion reaching from the shadows of Eden to the end of time (Revelation 13:11-18).
THE BEAST OUT OF THE EARTH
In a word this beast is false religion opposed to God and persecuting God’s people.
The widespread willingness of scholars to identify this beast as the pagan priesthood of the “emperor cult” is apparent in almost every commentary one may pick up; but such a limited view does not fill the bill at all and cannot possibly be the correct interpretation.
This is surely correct; and views like that of Barclay who limited it to the organization of Caesar worship are much too restricted, as are also those interpretations that would make this beast self-deceit, the proconsul sent yearly by the emperor to govern the province, etc.
All such interpretations are focused upon details that in the large view are unimportant.
This vision represents a great movement already in progress, it represents the “capture of organized religion to help promote the aims of the first beast, it includes the papacy (2 Thessalonians 2), but does not portray it separately but combined with all forms of a similar nature in the whole world. We shall deal with the papal aspect of this beast later.
This was the period of the first beast’s operation (the sea-beast); and the operation of the land-beast is coextensive with that of the first.
Thus it is no isolated or provincial event which could be signified. No.
These two beasts, both instruments of Satan, are the two great enemies of God’s people throughout history; namely,
(1) the wicked, PERVERTED GOVERNMENT, and
(2) FALSE OR APOSTATE RELIGION.
Neither the world nor the church will ever be through with either one of these beasts until the end of time.