The Two Beasts of Revelation 13
What is the difference between them?
What do they signify?
What does the number 666 represent that is found in the last verse of the chapter?
The first beast comes out of the sea. It has ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns or diadems upon its horns, and a blasphemous name upon its head. And it “was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.” Now this is our first clue, that really teaches who this first beast is. “The dragon gave to it his power and his throne and great authority.”
The dragon is Satan. Again and again in the Bible God speaks about the dragon as Satan, or Satan as the dragon. And the beast therefore would be the kingdom of Satan, totally synonymous with Satan himself. But it is the kingdom of Satan as it is found in the world throughout time. The seven heads refer to the rule of Satan throughout time.
In Revelation 17 we find another reference to this beast, and we find in verse 8: “The beast that you saw was and is not, and is to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to perdition.”
It says that “the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated. They are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen. One is and the other is not yet come. And when he comes, he must remain only a little while.”
Therefore, it’s speaking already in the past tense of seven of the heads, five of the seven heads representing kings who had already reigned. Now this simply is indicating that it is going all the way back into time, wherever the kingdom of Satan has been. It is the rule of Satan as it is found in the earth.
The ten horns more particularly relate to the rule of Satan right at the end of time, and tie very closely, incidentally, into the second beast, or in some respects to the second beast, as I’ll show in a moment. But the ten horns do refer to the rule of Satan at the end of time because again, when we read Revelation 17, it says in verse 12, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.”
The interesting thing is that in the Book of Daniel God makes reference to ten horns, out of which the little horn comes. And when we look at the Book of Daniel carefully, we find that in this reference to the ten horns and the little horn, it is really speaking about the false prophets, or it’s talking about the church itself. The fourth beast spoken of in Daniel seven has ten horns:
“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.”
“Eyes like the eyes of a man” is a figure of speech speaking about prophets. If we tie that back into Isaiah 29:10, we can see this.
For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.
The beast, therefore is the kingdom of Satan that rules throughout time, although particularly the period that’s in view here is the whole New Testament period, the forty-two months of Chapter 5. And in verse 3 it says that one of its heads seems to have had a mortal wound, indicating that at the cross Satan was dealt a death blow. The kingdom of Satan was dealt a death blow because of Christ’s victory on the cross.
But yet, “his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” (Revelation 13:3)
The kingdom of Satan still goes on, even though the destruction of Satan and all the wicked was guaranteed because of Christ’s work at the cross. Yet the kingdom goes on.
Then in verse 4 it says, “and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
This beast is what unsaved man is totally involved in. Any unsaved man is a worshipper of the beast, a worshipper of the kingdom of Satan, a worshipper ultimately of Satan himself.
In verse seven it says that this beast was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer/overcome them. And this of course is pointing to the end of time, just before Christ returns, when Satan will be able to silence the Gospel.
Beginning in verse 11 it speaks about a second beast coming out of the earth, that had “two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.” Now the minute it says that it spoke like a dragon, we know that again it is totally related to Satan.
This beast is Satan in his religious rule, particularly, as he works through false prophets and false christs. “Two horns like a lamb.” You see, he appears like Christ Himself. Christ is the Lamb that was slain. Remember, in 2 Corinthians 11 it speaks about Satan going about as an angel of light. Well, that’s another figure that is tied in with this other beast that rose up out of the earth. The phrase “out of the sea” or “out of the earth” is a figure relating to hell itself. Hell is sometimes spoken of as the heart of the earth, or the heart of the seas.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Now you see, Satan, as he controls the minds of unsaved men, normally does not show himself to be of any life, or the giver of any life, or of having any life characteristics. A political kingdom ultimately is a fairly dead kind of a kingdom. It exists, and then it doesn’t exist. It has no supernatural power.
But when Satan comes through his emissaries, false prophets and false christs, who come with signs and wonders, as predicted in Matthew 24:24, as he comes through occult activity of one kind or another, this makes the worship of Satan far more glorious and marvelous. Now of course those who are worshipping him don’t understand that they’re worshipping him. They are deceived, because Satan is the great deceiver. But nevertheless, ultimately they are worshipping him.
And they give breath to the image of the beast. They make the worship of the kingdom of Satan a live venture, as if through this there is a vital, energetic eternal relationship with the god that they are worshipping failing to realize that their god is Satan, and that he is doomed to eternal damnation.
Those who worship the beast are spoken of in verse 18 as having a number, the number of man. In your King James Bible you’ll find that it says, “It is the number of a man.” But the word that is used here, the Greek word, is the identical word that is used in the Bible repeatedly where it speaks of Christ being the Son of Man. Now under no circumstance would that be translated the “Son of a Man,” because Christ under no circumstance was the Son of a man. He was the Son of Man. He was of mankind. In other words, He was a human being.
And here also the same word is used, so it would have to mean that it is the number of man, the number of mankind, the number of the human race. In other words, anyone at all who is unsaved symbolically has the number 666 on his forehead. It is the number assigned to an unsaved man, who is destined for hell, because he is a slave of Satan.
This number originally had its beginning in Zechariah 13, or at least it’s referred to there, where it says in verse 8: “Two-thirds I will cut off and destroy, but one-third” And it goes on to speak about the redemption of the one-third. The number two-thirds, if written as a decimal, is .666666. And if we just use the first 3 numbers, we get 666.
And there are at least two illustrations in the Bible where this is put forth. We read about David, when he defeated the Moabites, that he caused them to lie down in three lines. Two of the lines he put to death. One line he spared, and they served him. David there was a type of Christ as Messiah, the two-thirds a figure of those who are under the judgment of God, the one-third a figure of those who are saved.
In 2nd Kings chapter 1 we read of Elijah, that he was sent for by the wicked king of Israel. And a company of men came to take him, and he called down fire from heaven, and they were destroyed. A second company of men came to take him, and he called down fire from heaven, and they were destroyed. A third company of men came to take him, and plead for mercy, and they were spared. Again we have two-thirds being destroyed, one-third being spared.
The two-thirds representing the reprobate – the unsaved of mankind and the one-third represented those who are saved – the elect of God.