THE BEAST FROM THE SEA – And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints. (Revelation 13:1b-10)
The Coming of the Beast, Second Person of the Unholy Trinity – The Greek word used here for Beast means wild beast. Man becomes beastly when he severs himself from God, in whose image he was first made. World leaders and powers seeking their own glory, and not God’s, are represented as beasts. A classic example was
Nebuchadnezzar, who in self-deification “failed to give glory to God,”(1) and lived like a wild beast for a number of years.
This symbolic description of the beast enables us to learn something about his origin and character. God does not view him as a man, made in His divine image, but as a wild animal, under the control of Satan. While he will be a human (Revelation 13:18), he will be energized from hell, for he comes out of the pit (Revelation 11:7; 17:8). Just as Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, so the beast will be Satan in a human body (see John 13:2, 27),(2) an imitation of God the Son, the second person of the Trinity.
The word anti-Christ occurs only four times in the Bible. All occurrences are in John’s epistles (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7), none are in Revelation. 1 John 2:18 refers to “many anti-Christ’s.” John described any person or message that did not “confess Jesus” as being the spirit of the anti-Christ (1 John 4:3). In his Second Epistle, John referred to “many deceivers” who would not “acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh” (2 John 7). Such a person, he wrote, was “the deceiver and the anti-Christ.” John warned that a final anti-Christ, who, like the others, would deny that Jesus is the Christ, would yet make an appearance. John apparently assumed that his Christian readers knew about the anti-Christ and had been taught to expect his coming (1 John 2:18–27).(3)
Up Next – Possible “Beasts” from the past that, perhaps, foreshadow the end times’ anti-Christ.
- Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 2, p. 582). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 604). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
- Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (pp. 118–119). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.