The Picture of Two Beasts
Revelation Thirteen

   We have already seen a war in heaven. Satan lost in the battle with those fighting for the child that brought redemption. Nothing Satan did could prevent the church from being established and salvation being made available to mankind. In fact, the early church grew rapidly as many became Christians. Having failed in destroying the church as a whole Satan now turns his attention to "the seed of the woman" or to the individual Christians. 

   Revelation Thirteen looks at what the Devil is doing to hinder Christianity and what God is doing to insure victory for His faithful people. In this section of Scripture we see that the Devil used the evil powers of Rome against the cause of Christ. Likewise he used false worship as many were forced to worship the Roman Emperor.

   The Devil had been given a "great sword" with which he could persecute the people of God. (Revelation 6:3-4) Now the Devil has the civil persecuting power of Rome and Emperor worship as allies in his battle against the righteous. What the Devil and all that follow him must learn is that he can never win because God also has two even more powerful forces on His side. Who could stand against the Blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11), and the final judgment of the Almighty? (Revelation 14:7) The battle may be difficult but victory belongs to the people of God.

   The beast out of the sea – Revelation 13:1-5: John pictures a beast coming up out of the sea. "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy." (Revelation 13:1) This sea beast represents the civil persecuting power of Rome.

   In Isaiah 17:12 nations are pictured as rising from the sea. "Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!" The beast from the sea is pictured as a dangerous animal, a venomous and wild beast.

   The sea beast had ten horns. Horn represents powers and ten horns represent complete power. "And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the LORD, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them." (I Kings 22:11) The seven heads represent perfect authority. This one has power and authority only as had been given unto him. The sea beast had ten crowns or diadems. These symbolize rule or power. The power of rule of the wicked Roman Empire was to blaspheme God and His children. This terrible beast was much like that described in Daniel 7:1-8. The fourth beast of Daniel 7 was exact in description to the sea beast. The message in Daniel was that the saints of God would be victorious. God wanted his people to know that Rome will be destroyed. "In this beast the persecuting power of Satan becomes visible." Many evils, worldly governments have directed this poisonous venom against God's people, but the saints of God always win. 

   The power of the sea beast – Revelation 13:6-10: The sea beast was so powerful that he had caused many to worship Rome. However, the Christians would only worship the God of heaven. The nation of Rome blasphemed God, blasphemed God's name, and His tabernacle. (Revelation 13:6) The Christians exalted God, even at the cost of their own lives.  

   The sea beast was not all-powerful. The truth is that God is still the sovereign in His universe. The Devil will never be able to destroy God's faithful people. (Romans 8:31-39) He will, however, use many methods to destroy the saints. He will use murders, massacres, and bloody punishments of all sorts. Those not written in the book of life will worship him. It is through the sacrifice of the life of Christ that victory over Satan is possible.

   The expression "If any man have an ear, let him hear" is found several times in the book of Revelation. Here it has specific reference to recognizing God's enemy and the followers of this enemy, and avoiding them completely. The enemies of God must be avoided because they will certainly be overthrown. If they live by the sword, by the sword they will die. The essential thing is for God's people to simply hold fast regardless of the circumstances. 

   The beast out of the earth – Revelation 13:11-14: The beast out of the earth was Emperor worship or false religion. This earth beast had two horns "like to the Lamb." The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. This is a picture of one attempting to take His place. The lamb being a picture of religious sacrifice, therefore the land beast had the outward appearance of religion. The problem was that it was false religion.

   This earth beast spoke spake as a dragon. His sound was the damning, horrible sound of Satan. The proud, arrogant tone of this beast gave the appearance of greatness, as from God. This beast has all the authority of the Roman government. The wicked power of Rome was poured forth in every possible way to attempt to turn Christians from true worship and the true God. The beast desired the worship, and even attempted to force, himself, the worship that belonged only to God. People were driven into a state religion and force to worship the emperor.

   The Devil also used false sings and wonders to deceive the righteous. 2 Thessalonians 2:9 says, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders." The Devil used seemingly great, lying wonders to draw people to false worship. The Devil even desired that they would make an image of the beast and worship it.

   The mark of the beast – Revelation 13:15-18: The mark of the beast takes us back to look at the problem of economic discrimination. The Devil desired to control the ability of man to make a living and to control his thought process. Thus the mark was on his right hand and his forehead. God had sealed His people and the Devil had marked his.

   God's number is seven. Six is a number that promises greatness but always falls short. The further man moves from God the further he moves from perfection. Man has moved many steps from His maker. But thankfully the book of Revelation does not end with such a hopeless picture. Remember God's faithful people win!

   God's destructive power will come against those that do not obey the gospel and serve Him faithfully. To obey the gospel one must hear God's truth (Romans 10:17), be­lieve in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (I Peter 3:21) After baptism one must serve God faithfully regardless of circumstances. Under any condition, we are always better off to serve God.