Revelation: The Two Beasts

Peter Barnes: Revelation 13

(18 March 2018)


The dragon’s two henchmen: The sea beast is political and persecutes (13:1-10); the land beast is religious and deceives (13:11-18).
1. The political beast from the sea.

– 13:1-2. He resembles a composite beast from the beasts of Daniel 7 – Dan.7:4-6, 7, 8. The beast has been wounded – Rev.13:3, 12, 14. The Lamb had been wounded too – Rev. 5:6. All this is the language of Genesis 3:15. On his coins, Nero called himself ‘the saviour of the world’.

– 13:8. Only the elect, predestined from the foundation of the world, will not be drawn into this false worship. In the face of this persecution, compared in verse 10 to the exile in Jeremiah’s day – Jer.15:2 – the Christian is to exhibit patient endurance and faithfulness.
2. The religious beast from the land.

– 13:11. This is the one who looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon. It is the false prophet – 16:13; 19:20; 20:10.

– Rev.13:13-17. There are signs and wonders, and there is persecution. The religious beast is any false religion.

– 13:16-17. The symbolism of ‘marks’ is figurative – 14:1. You are not allowed to fly on QANTAS if you say the wrong thing.
3. Who is 666?

– 13:18. The Jerusalem Bible is misleading: ‘There is need for shrewdness her: if anyone is clever enough he may interpret the number of the beast’. At Pompeii a cryptogram has been discovered where one romantic had written: ‘I love her whose number is 545.’ ‘Jesus’ in Greek gives 888.

– Not likely to be Nero, but the sign of incompleteness, falling short of 777