THE BEAST OUT OF THE SEA – Revelation 13

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.

He simply encouraged and organized the emerging tendency of a human creation in rebellion against God.

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).


This beast is PERVERTED GOVERNMENT used by Satan as an instrument against God’s people, especially the seven great universal dominions in which the saints of God were persecuted.

Despite the certainty with which so many identify this beast as the Roman Empire, we are certain that much more is meant.

While true enough that this beast was indeed the Roman Empire at the time John wrote, the mention of the “seven heads” indicates a wider meaning.

Some have viewed these as seven Roman emperors; but the fatal objection to this is that, It was not merely one of the heads that was slain, but the beast himself received the mortal wound (Revelation 13:3,12,14).

There were a hundred emperors, but only seven heads.

The notion of some scholars insist that the effect of the mortal wound of this beast was, Nero’s death with the bloody interregnum after it (a wound to the state)! But this is totally inadequate.

Nero’s death was not fatal to anything except himself. It certainly was not a mortal wound of the Roman Empire, but a blessing!

The empire was not harmed at all by his death, but benefited.

The true identity of the beast which recovered from the fatal wound is discovered in two considerations:

(1) the connection of the prophecy with Daniel 7, and

(2) the identity of the seven heads.

Regarding Daniel 7, Daniel’s vision of the four beasts like a lion, a leopard, a bear, and then another “diverse from the others” (Daniel 7:4-7) must be interpreted as four successive world governments, such as Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.

John’s vision here is of a beast who is a composite of those in Daniel, requiring the conclusion that a great, continuous world government is meant, exercising an authority stretching over a period of centuries, with hundreds of rulers and emperors.

To limit these visions in Revelation to a bare sixty-five years of European history is to ignore the cosmic dimensions of this prophecy.

Of course, this is to be expected of those who deny any cosmic dimensions and repudiate any conception of predictive prophecy in the New Testament.

This writer believes that we are here studying a divine book, that it is inspired, and that every word of it is God’s truth.

To this point in our interpretation of Revelation, we have refrained from citing historical fulfillments of earlier portions of the prophecy, despite the fact of there having been many such fulfillments.

But this plain and undeniable connection with Daniel’s prophecy of the setting up of God’s everlasting kingdom in “the days of those kings” (the days of the Roman kings) (Daniel 2:44); that is, during the time of the fourth great world empire, requires the discernment that future history is emphatically prophesied in this chapter.

Nor does this rob the chapter of its relevance to the generation first addressed by the apostle. They were living in the days of Daniel’s fourth beast, that of the Roman Empire; and “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7) which would ultimately culminate in the second beast (the one out of the earth) was already working.

The identity of the “seven heads.”

The seven forms of government under which Rome existed; however, there were only six of these!

Seven prominent emperors of Rome during the latter part of the first century B.C. and the first part of the first century A.D. Of course, there is no agreement whatever on which seven!

The seven heads are to be understood not numerically, but symbolically. Rome must have its full complement of kings.

The seven heads are seven world-kingdoms hostile to God and to his people, namely, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and a seventh to arise at a future time after Revelation was written.

The heads represent the great world empires of which five were past and the sixth was flourishing when the book was written.

No other explanation ever offered fits the prophecy so exactly and circumstantially as does this one.

These seven world empires are indeed what is symbolized by the seven heads.

Like practically everything else in Revelation, the seven heads are symbolical; and the interpretation of them here does not rule out the possibility that at some future time another world empire could develop; but significantly only seven have appeared in the entire history of the world up to the present time, a fact that certainly supports the view we have accepted.

“The ten horns” specifically identified later as ten future kingdoms (Revelation 17:12) represent this sea-beast in his final phase, not any longer as a worldwide empire, but as many multiple states (the ten is symbolical), none of them able to wield universal authority like the “seven heads,” but still exercising great authority and power to persecute and destroy God’s people.

These are called the eighth head (Revelation 17:11).

Nations like Russia and China today are just as much a part of this beast as was Nebuchadnezzar when he commanded all people to fall down and worship a golden image of himself (Daniel 3:5,6).

An essential element in the personality of this beast is humanism, man worshipping himself.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned.
Mark 16:15‭-‬16 ASV
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