Revelation 13

The Beast from the Sea

1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a 1beast coming up out of the sea, having 2ten horns and 3seven heads, and on his horns were 4ten diadems, and on his heads were 5blasphemous names.
2 And the beast which I saw was 6like a leopard, and his feet were like those of 7a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of 8a lion. And the 9dragon gave him his power and his 10throne and great authority.
3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his 11fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth 12was amazed and followed after the beast;
4 they worshiped the 13dragon because he 14gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "15Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?"
5 There was given to him a mouth 16speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and authority to act for 17forty-two * months was given to him.
6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, 18those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was also given to him to 19make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over 20every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
8 All who 21dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone 22whose name has not been written 23from the foundation of the world in the 24book of life of 25the Lamb who has been slain.
9 26If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 27If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; 28if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is 29the perseverance and the faith of the saints.

The Beast from the Earth

11 Then 30I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had 31two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a 32dragon.
12 He 33exercises all the authority of the first beast 34in his presence. And he makes 35the earth and those who dwell in it to 36worship the first beast, whose 37fatal wound was healed.
13 He 38performs great signs, so that he even makes 39fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men.
14 And he 40deceives 41those who dwell on the earth because of 42the signs which it was given him to perform 43in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the 44wound of the sword and has come to life.
15 And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause 45as many as do not 46worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16 And he causes all, 47the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a 48mark on their right hand or on their forehead,
17 and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the 49mark, either 50the name of the beast or 51the number of his name.
18 52Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that 53of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six *.

Revelation 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

A wild beast rises out of the sea, to whom the dragon gives his power. (1-10) Another beast, which has two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon. (11-15) It obliges all to worship its image, and receive its mark, as persons devoted to it. (16-18)

Verses 1-10 The apostle, standing on the shore, saw a savage beast rise out of the sea; a tyrannical, idolatrous, persecuting power, springing up out of the troubles which took place. It was a frightful monster! It appears to mean that worldly, oppressing dominion, which for many ages, even from the times of the Babylonish captivity, had been hostile to the church. The first beast then began to oppress and persecute the righteous for righteousness' sake, but they suffered most under the fourth beast of Daniel, (the Roman empire,) which has afflicted the saints with many cruel persecutions. The source of its power was the dragon. It was set up by the devil, and supported by him. The wounding the head may be the abolishing pagan idolatry; and the healing of the wound, introducing popish idolatry, the same in substance, only in a new dress, but which as effectually answers the devil's design. The world admired its power, policy and success. They paid honour and subjection to the devil and his instruments. It exercised infernal power and policy, requiring men to render that honour to creatures which belongs to God alone. Yet the devil's power and success are limited. Christ has a chosen remnant, redeemed by his blood, recorded in his book, sealed by his Spirit; and though the devil and antichrist may overcome the body, and take away the natural life, they cannot conquer the soul, nor prevail with true believers to forsake their Saviour, and join his enemies. Perseverance in the faith of the gospel and true worship of God, in this great hour of trial and temptation, which would deceive all but the elect, is the character of those registered in the book of life. This powerful motive and encouragement to constancy, is the great design of the whole Revelation.

Verses 11-18 Those who understand the first beast to denote a worldly power, take the second to be also a persecuting and assumed power, which acts under the disguise of religion, and of charity to the souls of men. It is a spiritual dominion, professing to be derived from Christ, and exercised at first in a gentle manner, but soon spake like the dragon. Its speech betrayed it; for it gives forth those false doctrines and cruel decrees, which show it to belong to the dragon, and not to the Lamb. It exercised all the power of the former beast. It pursues the same design, to draw men from worshipping the true God, and to subject the souls of men to the will and control of men. The second beast has carried on its designs, by methods whereby men should be deceived to worship the former beast, in the new shape, or likeness made for it. By lying wonders, pretended miracles. And by severe censures. Also by allowing none to enjoy natural or civil rights, who will not worship that beast which is the image of the pagan beast. It is made a qualification for buying and selling, as well as for places of profit and trust, that they oblige themselves to use all their interest, power, and endeavour, to forward the dominion of the beast, which is meant by receiving his mark. To make an image to the beast, whose deadly wound was healed, would be to give form and power to his worship, or to require obedience to his commands. To worship the image of the beast, implies being subject to those things which stamp the character of the picture, and render it the image of the beast. The number of the beast is given, so as to show the infinite wisdom of God, and to exercise the wisdom of men. The number is the number of a man, computed after the usual manner among men, and it is 666. What or who is intended by this, remains a mystery. To almost every religious dispute this number has yet been applied, and it may reasonably be doubted whether the meaning has yet been discovered. But he who has wisdom and understanding, will see that all the enemies of God are numbered and marked out for destruction; that the term of their power will soon expire, and that all nations shall submit to our King of righteousness and peace.

Cross References 53

  • 1. Daniel 7:3; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 13:14, 15; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 17:8
  • 2. Revelation 12:3
  • 3. Revelation 12:3
  • 4. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 17:12
  • 5. Daniel 7:8; Daniel 11:36; Revelation 17:3
  • 6. Daniel 7:6; Hosea 13:7
  • 7. Daniel 7:5
  • 8. Daniel 7:4
  • 9. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:4, 12
  • 10. Revelation 2:13; Revelation 16:10
  • 11. Revelation 13:12, 14
  • 12. Revelation 17:8
  • 13. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:2, 12
  • 14. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:2, 12
  • 15. Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 46:5; Revelation 18:18
  • 16. Dan 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  • 17. Revelation 11:2
  • 18. Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:12
  • 19. Daniel 7:21; Revelation 11:7
  • 20. Revelation 5:9
  • 21. Revelation 3:10; Revelation 13:12, 14
  • 22. Revelation 3:5
  • 23. Matthew 25:34; Revelation 17:8
  • 24. Psalms 69:28
  • 25. Revelation 5:6
  • 26. Revelation 2:7
  • 27. Isaiah 33:1; Jeremiah 15:2; Jeremiah 43:11
  • 28. Genesis 9:6; Matthew 26:52; Revelation 11:18
  • 29. Hebrews 6:12; Revelation 14:12
  • 30. Revelation 13:1; Revelation 16:13
  • 31. Daniel 8:3
  • 32. Revelation 13:4
  • 33. Revelation 13:4
  • 34. Revelation 13:14; Revelation 19:20
  • 35. Revelation 13:8
  • 36. Revelation 13:15; Revelation 14:9, 11; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4
  • 37. Revelation 13:3
  • 38. Matthew 24:24; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20
  • 39. 1 Kings 18:38; Luke 9:54; Revelation 11:5; Revelation 20:9
  • 40. Revelation 12:9
  • 41. Revelation 13:8
  • 42. 2 Thessalonians 2:9
  • 43. Revelation 13:12; Revelation 19:20
  • 44. Revelation 13:3
  • 45. Daniel 3:3f
  • 46. Revelation 13:12; Revelation 14:9, 11; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:4
  • 47. Revelation 11:18; Revelation 19:5, 18
  • 48. Galatians 6:17; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 20:4
  • 49. Galatians 6:17; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 14:9; Revelation 20:4
  • 50. Revelation 14:11
  • 51. Revelation 15:2
  • 52. Revelation 17:9
  • 53. Revelation 21:17

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Lit "sea"
  • [b]. Lit "slaughtered to death"
  • [c]. Lit "great things"
  • [d]. Or "tabernacle"
  • [e]. Or "holy ones"
  • [f]. Or "written in the book...slain from the foundation of the world"
  • [g]. Or leads "into captivity"
  • [h]. Or "steadfastness"
  • [i]. Or "holy ones"
  • [j]. Or "by his authority"
  • [k]. Or "by the authority of"
  • [l]. One early ms reads "speak, and he will cause"
  • [m]. Lit "causes all,...that they give them a mark"
  • [n]. One early ms reads 616

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a description of the Romish antichrist, under the figure of two beasts, the one representing him in his civil power, the other in his ecclesiastical power. The first beast is described by its origin, the sea, and by the monstrous shape its several parts; its heads seven, in which were the name of blasphemy; its horns ten, on which were crowns; its skin like a leopard, its feet as a bear, and its mouth as a lion; and by its state and condition, having power, a throne, and great authority; and having one of its heads wounded, and healed; and by the great regard had unto him, being wondered at, and worshipped by all the world, and declared to be more powerful than any, and none to be like them, Re 13:1-4. Next an account is given of what he was suffered to have, a blaspheming mouth, and power to continue forty two months, Re 13:5; and of what he said or uttered, his blasphemy against God, his name, tabernacle, and the inhabitants of heaven, Re 13:6; and of what he did by permission, made war with the saints, overcame them, and had power over all people, Re 13:7; and of the worship given him by the reprobate part of the world, Re 13:8; and the whole is concluded with an exhortation exciting attention to what had been said, with a threatening to the beast, and a word of comfort to the saints, Re 13:9,10. And then follows the description of the second beast, by its original the earth; by its likeness to a lamb, and a dragon; to the former for its two horns, and to the latter for its speech, Re 13:11; and by the actions ascribed to it, which are many; as exercising all the power of the first beast; causing all the inhabitants of the earth to worship that; doing miracles, of which one is mentioned, thereby deceiving the men of the world; ordering them to make an image to the wounded beast; giving life to it, so that it could speak; putting to death all that refused to worship it; obliging men of all ranks and degrees to have a mark in their right hands or foreheads, and forbidding such that had not to buy or sell, Re 13:12-17. And the chapter is concluded with an epiphonema, exciting men of understanding to search out, and count the number of the beast's name, since it is possible to be done, being the number of a man, and easy to be done, consisting of three Greek letters, c x v, which are numerically 666, Re 13:18.

Revelation 13 Commentaries