Clarence L. Haynes Jr.
As you come to Chapter 13 of Revelation John introduces and describes in great detail two beasts: one beast coming up out of the sea and one beast coming up out of the earth. Maybe you have asked the question what are the two beasts in Revelation 13? The short answer is they represent the Antichrist and the False Prophet. These two, empowered by Satan, set out with a mission to deceive many during the Great Tribulation. Let’s consider the roles these two will play in End Times prophecy.
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What Is Happening in Revelation 13?
The scenario in Revelation 13 begins in the previous chapter. The story is of a great dragon hurled down to earth who is identified as Satan, the one who leads the world astray.
“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” (Revelation 12:9).
Within this chapter, you see the imagery of a woman. There are differing views on who the woman represents, some say Israel or possibly even the church. Satan tries to attack this woman but she is protected for a period of 1,260 days, which is approximately three and a half years. Because Satan is unable to destroy the woman, he proceeds to turn his attention to the offspring of this woman.
“Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring — those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 12:17).
This offspring may represent Israel or the Gentile believers who come to faith during the tribulation. Either way Satan seeks to destroy those who trust God and put their faith in Jesus Christ. As the next chapter begins, Satan proceeds to call forth two beasts, one from the sea and one from the earth. With this information, let’s take a more detailed look at who or what the two beasts in Revelation 13 are.
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What Are the Two Beasts in Revelation 13?
There are two very vivid descriptions that mark the introduction of these two beasts. Here is the first one.
The Beast out of the Sea
“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its 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. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 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 filled with wonder and followed the beast” (Revelation 13:1-3).
One of the symbolisms seen often in biblical prophecy is that of a horn. In Scripture, horns represent power and authority.
There are two things to notice about this beast in Revelation. First, there is a great parallel between this beast in Revelation 13 and the one described in Daniel 7. If you have not done so I would encourage you to read Daniel 7 and you will see many of the parallels. Simply put, it’s easy to see that Daniel and John in Revelation are referring to the same beast.
Second, this beast in Revelation will come out from the sea, which represents the Gentiles. So this leader will be a Gentile ruler. He will rule over a ten-nation confederacy. This beast will have great power and authority given to him by the dragon or Satan. The identity of this beast is viewed by many to be the Antichrist. Before I give further analysis let’s identify the other beast and then put it all together.
The Beast out of the Earth
“Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people” (Rev. 13:11-13).
This second beast comes out of the earth, which many agree means that it is coming out of Israel. This beast will also have power and if you notice they will cause people to worship the first beast or Antichrist. Because this leader will be some type of religious leader he is often referred to as the False Prophet.
Let’s look beyond what the two beasts are in Revelation 13 and consider how these three work together.
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What Is the Relationship Between the Dragon and the Two Beasts?
Let’s look at what we know. We have answered the question of what the two beasts in Revelation 13 are, seeing that they are the Antichrist and the False Prophet. We also know that the dragon is Satan.
One of the things Satan loves to do is to mimic, imitate or copy God. Remember Satan was kicked out of heaven because he desired to pursue God’s throne and that desire to be honored or worshipped has never left him. During this period of the Great Tribulation he forms this version of an unholy trinity. Satan goes so far as even mimicking the death and resurrection of Jesus because this Antichrist will be struck with what appears to be a fatal blow and will then be resurrected.
Because Satan is a deceiver and does not have the power to bring people back to life, I believe this will not be an actual death and resurrection, it will only appear to be. This is in line with Satan’s deceptive ways.
One of the things you will also notice about the False Prophet is that he will direct people to worship the Antichrist. In essence, he is pointing people to worship and follow him. I hope this sounds familiar to you because this false prophet is mimicking one of the works that the Holy Spirit does. The Holy Spirit points and directs people to Jesus. In effect this unholy trinity will take center stage during this period of the Great Tribulation and as true to form will deceive many, especially those who have turned their hearts away from the true and living God.
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Should We Be Worried about This?
I heard Pastor Greg Laurie say this a very long time ago. He said “We shouldn’t be looking for the Antichrist, we should be looking for Jesus Christ.” With that there should be no worries or concerns about who or what these beasts are in Revelation 13. As a believer in pre-tribulation rapture, I don’t believe that those who are in Christ now will be present during this time.
However, even if I am wrong and the rapture doesn’t happen before the tribulation, then you can be confident that God will guard and watch over you, even in the midst of great tribulation upon the earth. Either way I believe we should look to the return of Jesus Christ because he is our true eternal hope and savior, regardless of what happens in the earth.
It is not uncommon for people to be worried or fearful about the prophecies of Revelation or the condition of the world we live in. However, as important as it is for us as Christians to know these things, they should not be causes for worry, they should be reasons for rejoicing.
When you get to the end of Revelation Jesus wins and if you are on his side that means you win too. That is reason for comfort and rejoicing because as the days draw nearer, the time of our redemption and ultimate victory is truly at hand.
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
As we look forward to Jesus’ return and the signs become more imminent, let’s not look with heads down but with heads up. That great day draws closer every moment and that my friend is reason for great hope and great rejoicing.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.