BEASTS OF REVELATION
All Bible quotes are from The New International Version unless otherwise noted

 

The book of Revelation is a prophecy from Jesus Christ that was given to the apostle John after Christ's ascension to heaven (Revelation 1:1-2). The Apostle John wrote it while exiled on the Isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Revelation spends a significant amount of time speaking about certain symbolic beasts that will appear near the time that Christ comes back. This article examines these beasts and what they mean in biblical prophecy.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE BEASTS

A portion of Revelation is devoted to the account of four symbolic beasts:

1) A Leopard-like beast
2) A Scarlet coloured beast
3) A dragon, a.k.a. serpent
4) A dragon-like beast with lamb's horns.

The first two, the Leopard-like beast ("Leopard Beast") and the Scarlet Beast, seem to be the same entity that was given power through the Dragon/Serpent, as we will explain. Meanwhile, the dragon-like beast with the lamb's horns ("Dragon-Lamb") seems to be working with the Leopard/Scarlet Beast. This is what Revelation states in relation to these beasts:

Revelation 13:1-17 : Speaks of a Leopard-like beast that ascends out of the sea. It has seven heads with blasphemous names written on it, ten horns, a leopard's body with bear claws, and a lion's mouth. The Dragon, a.k.a. Serpent, gives its power, throne, and authority to this Leopard beast. One of the beast's heads receives a death stroke, which heals. As a result of this wonderous event people begin to follow this beast with great admiration. The Dragon and the Leopard Beast are worshiped. A mouth speaking blasphemous things is given to the Beast as well as authority to act for three and a half years. The Beast wages war with the Holy Ones, and everyone living on the earth must receive the Beast's mark, name or number on their hands or foreheads.

Revelation 13:11-15 : Introduces us to the "Lamb-Dragon". It ascends out of Earth with two horns like a lamb, but speaking as a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the Leopard Beast in sight of the Leopard Beast, making people worship the Leopard Beast. This Lamb-Dragon performs great signs to mislead the earth while telling people to make an image of the Leopard beast. Next, it gives breath to that image, so that it will speak and kill those who will not worship it. It is also the one who puts people under compulsion to have the mark of the Leopard-Beast.
It is possible that this passage is warning us that this entity masquerades as Christ -- the Lamb -- although it is actually a puppet of the Dragon, speaking for the Dragon. Part of its masquerade would include the performance of great signs and miracles, seducing people to believe it is the true Christ, when in reality it is a deception from the Dragon (Matthew 24:24-25).

Later in Revelation, we are told about the Scarlet Beast:

Revelation 17:3 Speaks of a Scarlet Beast that also has seven heads and ten horns and is full of blasphemous names. It has a harlot riding on its back, and the name upon the harlot's forehead is "Babylon The Great." Verse 8 states that this beast ascends out of an abyss. When it ascends, those on earth will wonder admiringly.

Now, here are the connections between the Leopard Beast and the Scarlet Beast:

1. Leopard beast has seven heads, blasphemous names, and ten horns. (Rev.13:1). Scarlet beast also has seven heads, blasphemous names, and ten horns (Rev. 17:3).

2. Leopard beast emerges from the sea (Rev. 13:1)(KJV). Scarlet Beast emerges from an abyss (Rev. 17:8). It is notable that in prophecy the global population is symbolized as waters, i.e. the sea (Revelation 17:1, 15 ).

3. Leopard Beast's revival from death stroke causes the earth to follow it in admiration (Rev. 13:3). Scarlet Beast's revival causes the earth to wonder in admiration (Rev. 17:8).

4. The Lamb-Dragon that belongs to the Leopard Beast performs signs and misleads people, causing them to worship Leopard-Beast (Rev. 13:11-15). Scarlet Beast's false prophet performs signs and misleads people causing them to worship Scarlet Beast (Rev. 19:20). (This is carried over from chapter 17, because after the Scarlet Beast deals with the harlot, details concerning the harlot are written, and then there in chapter 19 it picks back up about the Scarlet Beast again) This connects Dragon-Lamb and False Prophet as being the same entity.

5. Leopard-Beast wages war with the holy ones and conquers them (Rev. 13:6-7). Scarlet Beast wages war with the holy ones and conquers them (Rev. 11:7and 17:8 ). (According to Scripture the Holy Ones get conquered only once, therefore they must both be speaking of the same thing)

6. Leopard-Beast gets thrown into the fire (Rev. 14: 9-11). Scarlet Beast gets thrown into the fire (Rev. 19:20).

It is obvious that the Leopard Beast and the Scarlet Beast are actually the same entity, only shown in slightly different ways. And, interestingly, Revelation isn't the only place that speaks of these beasts. In the Old Testament -- in the prophetic book of Daniel -- there is a similar reference to these beasts. Let's take a look:

 

DANIEL'S PARALLELS TO THE BEAST

The Beast of Revelation is paralleled in Daniel's prophecy at Daniel chapter 7. This chapter describes a succession of four beasts emerging from a sea:

1 - Lionlike
2 - Bearlike
3 - Four headed, Leopardlike
4 - Ten horned beast (vs. 4-8).

Notice, these four beasts collectively have the same features as The Beast in Revelation: Emergence from the sea, leopard body, bear claws, lion's mouth, ten horns, and seven heads collectively. According to vs. 17, these four beasts represent four kingdoms. It is notable that there is also another prophecy in Daniel regarding four kingdoms as shown at Daniel 2:31-40, represented by a great statue made from four kinds of metal. It is possible that the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7 parallel the four kingdoms of the statue in Daniel chapter 2. According to Daniel 2: 37-38, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was represented by the statue's head of gold. After him, a second kingdom would come as represented by the statue's silver arms and chest. After this kingdom would come a third kingdom, as represented by the statue's copper belly and thighs. The remainder of the statue was made of iron, representing the fourth kingdom. Note that Daniel 2:40 describes this fourth kingdom as being of iron, strong and crushing and grinding, much like the fourth terrible beast with the iron teeth at Daniel 7:7. The iron legs of the statue terminate in feet and toes made of iron mixed with clay, showing that this kingdom will eventually become divided, as indicated at Daniel 2:40-42. It is stated that God will put an end to these kingdoms and establish His own Kingdom - a Kingdom which will never be conquered (Daniel 2:44). A boulder -- symbolizing God's end to all of these kingdoms -- comes crashing into the statue's feet and toes, toppling and destroying the entire statue (Daniel 2:45). It is reckoned that the ten toes of the statue parallel the ten horns of the fourth beast in Daniel 7, as well as the Beast in Revelation. This is because each of these prophecies state the toes/horns represent a collection of kingdoms gathered into one.

It is interesting to realize how History follows the succession of Daniel's beasts, as well as the metals in Daniel's statue:

1. Nebuchadnezzar/Babylon was the head of the statue (Daniel 2:38), making it the first of the four kingdoms in these prophecies. We believe it is reasonable to determine that Babylon would correspond with Daniel's first, Lion-like, beast. Babylon was eventually conquered by king Darius of Medo-Persia (Daniel 5:25-31).

2. This would make Medo-Persia the second kingdom represented by the bear-like beast and the silver arms and chest portion of the statue. Medo-Persia was later conquered by the Greek empire through Alexander the great, as foretold at Daniel 11:1-4.

3. This is believed to be Alexander the Great because he is described here as a mighty king with extensive dominion whose kingdom is divided into four during his prime. This is represented by the four-headed leopard as well as the copper belly and thighs portion of the statue (Some refer to the copper as brass). Later, as is evident in the Bible (Luke 2:1), the Roman Empire came along and swallowed up these four dominions, making it the fourth kingdom in the series.

4. The Roman Empire crushed all the previous kingdoms, effectively eliminating them. This is much like the descriptions that connecting the statue's iron legs with the fourth beast that trampled the earth. The Roman Empire was vast, covering all of Europe, parts of northern Africa and a large portion of the Middle Eastern section of Asia.

5. Although most resources agree with the above correlations, this last part of the statue, the feet made of mixed iron and clay, tends to receive varying interpretations. Some believe that, since the feet also contain iron, then they must be a continuation of the Roman Empire (i.e. The Catholic Church and Vatican City). Others believe that these feet represent the rise of Islam, when it defeated the Roman Empire. Admittedly, the world's Islam nations are very powerful in these modern times. And yet others believe that these feet represent modern day Europe, which is a mix of governments trying to work together. We here at CommonTruth hesitate to give a verdict on any of these lines of thought, but we do encourage you to investigate the matter at your own leisure.

COMPARISONS

The ten toes of the Daniel statue, the ten horns of the fourth Daniel beast, and the ten horns of the Revelation Beast all mean the same thing, as can be seen by comparing them:

The Ten Horns and Ten Toes represent different human rulerships :


Daniel 7:20 -- [speaking of a beast] I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell—the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
Daniel 2:41-43 -- [speaking of the statue] Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

Revelation 13:1,2,5 -- And the dragon stood on the shore of 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. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.

Some of the Beast/human rulership makes war with God's Holy People:

Daniel 7:21 -- As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them

Revelation 13: 7 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.

The Holy Ones eventually defeat The Beast:

Daniel 7: 22 -- ...until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.

Revelation 17:14 They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."

The Beast is an unusual, never-before-seen kind of rulership:

Daniel 7:23-24 -- He gave me this explanation: 'The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it. 24 The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.

Revelation 17:12 -- The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.

The Beast utters blasphemies against God and dominates for 3 1/2 years:

Daniel 7:25 -- He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. [generally taken to mean 3 1/2 years].

Revelation 13:4-5 -- 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?" 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. [which is 3 1/2 years].

Thus, we see a tight comparison among the beasts mentioned in Revelation and Daniel. As we continue to read in Revelation we also see more detail regarding this upcoming political system. However, we must realize that -- at this point at least -- these details aren't completely understood yet:

Revelation 17:8 -- The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come.
(Some believe this means the changes in the Roman Empire, others believe this is the League of Nations which reincarnated into the United Nation.)

Vs. 9 -- This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman (at Revelation 17:3-6) sits.
Vs. 10 -- They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.
Vs. 11 -- The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.
Vs. 12 -- The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.
Vs. 13 -- They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.
Vs. 14 -- They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers."
Vs. 15 -- Then the angel said to me, "The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.
Vs. 16 -- The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
Vs. 17 -- For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled.
Vs. 18 -- The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth."

Why would God put this into their hearts to collect their rulerships together like this? Because, as the Bible shows, God plans to gather the nations and people of the earth together in order to pour out his denunciation upon them, after which he installs pure worship into the world, as stated at Zephaniah 3: 8-9:

8 Therefore wait for me," declares the LORD, "for the day I will stand up to testify. I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them— all my fierce anger. The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger. 9 "Then will I purify the lips of the peoples, that all of them may call on the name of the LORD and serve him shoulder to shoulder.

Interestingly enough, the Bible also speaks about a Dragon or Serpent (depending on the Bible version you're using) also having seven heads and ten horns (just as the beast has) at Revelation 12 3-4:

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. 4His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born....

This Dragon, a.k.a. Serpent, is actually Satan himself as revealed at Revelation 12:9

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

It is this Dragon/Serpent who gives authority to the seven-headed-ten-horned beast as shown at Revelation 13:2 :

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. 2The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.

Since the beast, and everything involving it, is under Satan's authority, this explains why God will be destroying everyone and everything having to do with The Beast. This is why it is important that we do not take on the "Mark of The Beast" in later times.

Let's discuss this "Mark" that we must all beware of:

 

MARK OF THE BEAST

What is this "Mark of the Beast"? Although it isn't clear yet what exactly this mark will be, it is still best explained from Revelation 13: 11-18:

11 Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. 14 Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. He ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, 17 so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. 18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

Notice that it isn't only the mark/stamp of the beast that enslaves us; it is also its name or its number: 666.

Revelation 14:9-12 states all who worship the beast and receive the mark will be the target of God's wrath:

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.

Revelation 16:2 goes on to relate that those who received the mark of this beast would get a grievous disease:

The first angel went and poured out his bowl on the land, and ugly and painful sores broke out on the people who had the mark of the beast and worshiped his image.

Lastly, at Revelation 19:20 we are told that this Beast and its false prophet who performed signs that misled the people with the mark were to be hurled into the lake of fire:

But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.

These are all pieces of information that we need to be aware of. In order to preserve our precious salvation through Christ we need to be aware that these beasts will appear to lure us away from God's kingdom.

Therefore, it would be in one's best interest to be very careful of what one becomes involved in, as no one wants to be thrown into everlasting death along with the satanic beast. This Beast of Revelation may not be completely understood at this time, however it's important to keep ourselves awake to possibilities in order to keep our clean standing before God.

 

CONCLUSION

Although we don't know all of the details at this time, we do know that the beasts in Revelation are tied to the beasts in Daniel. These beasts will originate from political entities and turn against God's true worshippers during the End, just before Christ returns. When Christ returns, the beastly political systems and their followers will be destroyed, and Christ's true followers will be saved.

May God grant you peace and comfort until that day arrives.

 

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