Mystic Figure, the Sea Beast, Revelation Chapter 13 Verses 1-10 (NASB)

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    And he stood on the sand of the seashore.
This sentence according to the best old manuscripts belongs with the last verse of the previous chapter. The devil is contemplating his next move.
    And I saw a BEAST coming up out of the SEA,
While this may be a literal sea creature ugly as it is described, the most likely interpretation is that a demonic leader will come up from the "container of evil spirits", the SEA. The description of SEA in Revelation 17:15 would also indicate that the SEA means someone from among the world's nations.
  • having ten horns and seven heads, and

  • The ten horns may be the ten toes in Daniel 2:36-45 and thus are ten kingdoms. Much has been said which countries these kingdoms may be. It probably will not be revealed until the tribulation time which of the then existing nations make up the 10 countries. Since the Bible is an "Abraham book", one would think these are from Abraham's seed. Thus, the 10 nations most likely are those with a majority of "Ishmael peoples".

    Symbolically, the seven heads may be seven demonic realms. Each country has its own culture where the country is known for some social value (or lack thereof). There is a list of evil realms in Revelation 21:8 which may define these demonic realms. Contrast this SEA BEAST (counterpart of Christ) to what Christ is:

    Sea Beast (Antichrist) Christ
    "cowardly and unbelieving" - faithless believe - John 3:16-21; Matthew 21:18-22
    "abominable" - things not right from a priestly standpoint. perfect High Priest - Hebrews 5:1-10
    "murderers" - purveyors of death at all levels (fetus through old age) Life - John 11:25-26; John 6:48-58
    "immoral persons" - sexual impurity No sin though tempted - Hebrews 4:14-16
    "sorcerers" - use of power gained by divination from evil spirits Authority or power derived from God the Father - John 10:7-18
    "idolaters" - worshiping something or honoring someone other than God Honored the Father - John 8:48-59
    "all liars" - the inability to say the truth. Jesus is the Truth - John 14:1-11
  • on his horns were ten diadems, and

  • The ten nations will have someone in authority with special demonic powers. These do not necessarily have to be political leaders. they could be spiritual (Hebrews 5:7-10), economic (1 Timothy 6:10), or judicial (Luke 6:37-38).
     
  • on his heads were BLASPHEMOUS NAMES.

  • This prominent feature shows up again in Revelation 17:3. There the sea beast is scarlet and still spouting off those BLASPHEMOUS names.

    Note that the devil has a thing for NAMES. If you are looking for a build up of your pride, someone has to know your name to brag about you. Apparently it is very irritating to the devil that OVERCOMERS (Revelation 2:17) have a name which no one knows, the 144,000 have a name on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1) known to Jesus and the Father, and the Book of Life contains the names of people the devil cannot get to (Revelation 3:5).

    And 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.
Many scholars equate this imagery to that shown in Daniel 7:1-8. Here, though, John sees the description of the BEAST's attributes in reverse order. This may indicate that John is looking back into the past from the Tribulation time, while Daniel saw the BEAST into the future.

Likewise, these attributes have been equated to great empires: leopard (Greek), bear (Medo-Persian), and lion (Babylonian). This is not a real satisfying equivalence because the BEAST, in fact, as a whole entity comes up out of the Abyss to try to defeat "the Lamb" one more time (Revelation 17:8,14).

If the SEA BEAST is a counterfeit of Christ, as put forth in the previous verse, then the leopard is spotted or blemished (sin - Jeremiah 13:23) versus Christ the spotless One (1 Peter 1:19); the bear is a lumbering destroyer (mocking God's anointed prophet destroyed 42 lads by a bear - 2 Kings 2:23-25) versus Christ the restorer (Mark 1:21-28); and lion's mouth (roaring to strike fear into people turning them into cowards - Revelation 21:8) versus Christ's words so different, so life giving (John 7:37-52).

If you want to look at directional equivalents:

     Leopard = peoples from the south
    Bear = peoples from the north
    Lion = peoples from the west
    6th bowl (Revelation 16:12) = peoples from the east.
    And the DRAGON gave him
       
    • his POWER and
    • his THRONE and
    • GREAT AUTHORITY.
This SEA BEAST is a super-human being with great demonic POWER like Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:1-6) to betray; a THRONE to govern over a following of peoples or nations (Luke 4:1-6-13); and GREAT AUTHORITY -- not ALL AUTHORITY, that was given to Christ (Matthew 28:18-20). The SEA BEAST will look to Israel as the long awaited Messiah, and they will follow the BEAST because of these three attributes. Oh, that we may pray for our Jewish brothers that they may see it is a GREAT DECEPTION!
    And I saw one of his heads as if it had been SLAIN, and his fatal wound was HEALED.
It is most important to understand that this is a DECEPTION pulled off by the Dragon (verse 2) to make it look like this Sea Beast is the Messiah. Consider that if the believers have been taken up (pre/mid tribulation), that those persons remaining will want to have (wish for) a second chance. So here is my chance, they rationalize.

There are several candidates for this "as if slain" head: 

  • It is one of the leaders of a revived Roman Empire which was in power at the time of the Revelations' original writing. (This view has difficulty inasmuch the "whole earth" was not involved at that time. See the rest of this verse.)
  • It is one of the leaders of the Moslem coalition. Babylon was a great country/city and has since disappeared (fatal wound). It could be rebuilt (healed) (Revelation 18:1-10 would be possible literally).
  • It is a "revived" Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot, from being in the presence of Jesus, knew that the Messiah would rise in three days after death (Matthew 20:17-19). Also Judas and Antichrist are the only two referred to as son of perdition/destruction. (John 17:6-12-19; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3-12).
  • It is one of the nations undergoing a "plague" -- the original Greek word here translated as wound, is usually translated as "plague" (a divinely inflicted judgment). This country recovers and comes back very powerful (verse 14; Revelation 17:7-18)
  • It is a spiritual kingdom here on earth, cult like with wealth and a mercenary force (verse 7).
    And the whole earth was amazed and FOLLOWED after the (Sea) BEAST;
The deception worked! Compare this verse to Revelation 5:6. This is the best the Dragon can do.
    and they worshiped the DRAGON,
The devil thinks he finally has succeeded! The people are worshiping him. But verse 15 indicates not all do. However, most people who are left do (believers are gone if you believe in pre or mid tribulation rapture (Revelation 4:1); the two witnesses are gone (Revelation 11:12); and the 144,000 witnesses apparently are gone too (Revelation 14:3)). So there are very few whose names are written in the book of LIFE who are left. For what purpose, one can only ponder.
    because he gave his authority to the (sea) BEAST;
How or why people gravitate to authority and power is an interesting psychological study in its own rite.
    and they worshiped the (sea) beast, saying,
This is the sea beast who got his power, throne, and great authority from the devil (verse 2).
    "Who is like the (sea) BEAST, and who is able to wage WAR with him?"
Why is it that the world thinks that conquering by force means victory? Could it be that when the devil only has the earth as his domain, then he will "defend" it by force? Apparently, he has discovered (or bought) the ultimate weapon (probably the atomic bomb or some other doomsday weapon) so powerful that no one wants to wage war with him. Interestingly, a similar expression is used about God (Exodus 15:8-11-18 and Micah 7:14-18-20).
WHO IS LIKE GOD?

 This verse begins the fourfold purpose of the "sea" beast. It is to

  1. Defy the God of heaven (verse 5).
  2. Destroy the saints of God (verse 7).
  3. Dominate the nations of the earth (verse 7).
  4. Delude the masses of mankind (verse 8).
    And there was GIVEN to him a MOUTH speaking ARROGANT WORDS and BLASPHEMIES;
It is not enough that the "sea beast" (Antichrist) exists, but now it is given a mouth. Remember that the devil has been kicked out of heaven (Revelation 12:9), and therefore has no more access to God. So the most that he can do is SPEAK OUT on earth. He will be a slick orator, and people will hang on every arrogant and blasphemous word.

Check out the influence that his word will have (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

    and AUTHORITY to act for forty-two months WAS GIVEN to him.
God permits this kind of talk to go on for 42 months (Revelation 11:2). The time period is the same as 3 1/2 years (Revelation 12:14) or 1260 days (Revelation 12:6).

Watchman Nee points out in his book "Come, Lord Jesus" that 42 is 7 times 6. Seven is the perfect number (creation completed, etc.), while six is the Satanic one (verse 18). Hence 42 as a conflict between these two numbers results in wandering (during the Exodus, Israel passed 42 stations as written in Numbers) and judgment (42 lads killed (2 Kings 2:23-25)). This 42 month period during the tribulation is no different.....people deceived (wandering, verse 14), and if not deceived, killed (judgment, verse 15).

    And he opened his MOUTH
This mouth is the one given to him in the previous verse
    in BLASPHEMES AGAINST GOD,
This was the same accusation which lead to Christ's crucifixion (Matthew 9:3, Mark 14:53-65).

Jesus indicated that even blasphemy can be forgiven except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-30). Since the Holy Spirit is part of the triune God, the BLASPHEMY AGAINST GOD seals the "sea beast's" doom.

to BLASPHEME  
    1. HIS NAME and

    2. His NAME encompasses all that is Christ from his humanness to the fulness of Deity (Colossians 2:8-15).

    3. HIS TABERNACLE, that is, those who dwell in heaven.

    4. His TABERNACLE is the believer's place of worship. It is appropriate to identify the tabernacle as those who dwell in heaven (1 Corinthians 3:16), because believers have been removed from the earth in the GREAT UPTAKING.

And it was GIVEN TO HIM to MAKE WAR with the SAINTS and to overcome them;

This is the second reason (see verse 5) for the existence of the "Sea Beast".

The SAINTS referred to in this verse are those people after the rapture event who realize who Christ is and the price Christ paid for their sins. These SAINTS make a commitment to follow Jesus Christ. Perhaps they heard the two witnesses (Revelation 11) or someone from the 144,000 sealed Jews talked to them (Revelation 7) or they dug out and read their Bible or they may have pulled up this web site. Some way or other, they make a commitment to Jesus Christ.

While the "Sea Beast" is GIVEN the great power to make war (not necessarily military but perhaps economic, health, or legally with euthanasia laws (Daniel 7:25)) to overcome the SAINTS (Job 1:6-12) and kill them, the SAINTS do "win" in the end as Revelation 7:9,14 points out.

    and AUTHORITY over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was GIVEN TO HIM.
This is the third reason (see verse 5) for the existence of the "Sea Beast".

The devil tried to get AUTHORITY over all the nations before in Luke 4:5-8. He didn't succeed then, but this time he accomplishes it because he is permitted to have this authority (for a short time).

This will be the last attempt to establish a devil-controlled world empire. The first attempt by Nimrod (Genesis 10:6-14; Genesis 11:1-9) resulted in the "tongues" referred to in this verse. But, as this verse points out, even the diversity of spoken languages will be overcome by the "Sea Beast".
    And ALL who dwell on the earth WILL WORSHIP HIM (sea beast or AntiChrist),
This is the fourth purpose (verse 5) for the AntiChrist. The delusion is complete (or is it?). The "sea beast" is a creature and so convincing that what Paul writes about in Romans 1:24-25 takes place. He becomes the object of worship (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) above all other gods. But not all were deluded, but only
    everyone whose name has not been written from the FOUNDATION of the WORLD in the BOOK OF LIFE of the Lamb who has been slain.
This verse really is about CHOICES. God's perfect plan included the Savior and believer's redemption even before the world was created (1 Peter 1:13-21).

Thus everyone has been "saved" or "written" in the Lamb's Book of Life because Christ died for all. Then by a person's own CHOICE, their own name is removed from the Book (Revelation 3:5).

This is not a new concept: Moses understood it (Exodus 32:30-32-35) and Daniel understood it (Daniel 12:1-3). The question becomes What is your CHOICE? Don't wait until the tribulation to choose NOT to worship the AntiChrist!
    If anyone has an ear,
In nature, only living things have ears. Humans have ears to use as one of their senses. It is not the most powerful of senses. In fact, the eyes overpower the ears most of the time. When a person must concentrate on what he is hearing, he usually shuts the eyes to force listening.

An interesting sidelight in the description of the current Jesus, Revelation 1:12-16, the facial features are given spiritual equivalents. But the ears are not discussed, perhaps because they are covered by white hair. Consider that Christ doesn't need the ears, as such, because He goes right to the thoughts, which do not make any sounds (Luke 11:14-17-26).

    let him HEAR.
Hear now because the consequences in the next verse are coming soon. This is the last time we read this expression in the Bible. Previously, Jesus used it to say "PAY ATTENTION" to prophesy (Matthew 11:15 and Matthew 13:16) and about the sowing of seed, the Word of God - Jesus, Himself (Luke 8:8). How appropriate for John to use this expression after discussing the fake Jesus, the Sea Beast!
    If any one is DESTINED for CAPTIVITY, to CAPTIVITY he goes; if anyone KILLS with the sword, with the sword he must be KILLED.
How interesting that in between two of the most evil beasts this earth will ever see, we get a recap of an everlasting "God TRUTH". This principle is first stated in Genesis 9:6, and was used later by the prophets (Jeremiah 43:8-13; Jeremiah 15:1-4; and Zechariah 11:4-14). Here John points out that the very few believers who make a commitment to Christ during this middle of Tribulation time, will be held captive or killed. These believers already sense that they will be asked to take the mark of the beast (verse 17).
    HERE is the PERSEVERANCE and the FAITH of the saints.
The use of 'HERE' implies that at this very point before the "earth beast" appears, the saints must take a passive stand. E.W. Bullinger indicates that there are "three great requisites for those 'times of trouble'". At this point in the tribulation, "flight" is not an option; only PERSEVERANCE and FAITH remain. But we only need to look at our Example (Hebrews 12:1-2) and the reward (Hebrews 10:32-39).
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE, Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only