Soon we will be reading the beast of the land but for now we focus on the beast of the sea. It looks exactly like the dragon, 7 heads and 10 horns with a crown on each horn. The dragon and 2 beasts form a trinity.
The dragon is chasing the offspring of the Women, you and me. This is where we are right now, the world we live in. The dragon is using the empires of the world to put pressure upon the Church. Our nations are becoming even more godless. As it was in John’s day so in ours.
What is John seeing and why?
“The dragonstood 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.” (Revelation 13 v 1-2)
As we have already discovered, John is seeing what Daniel saw in his exile, 600 years before Jesus in chapter 7. Again the connection is very close. Daniel’s beasts are a winged lion, a bear, a leopard and a 4th greater beast than all the previous ones.
So though the first beast of Daniel is most probably the empire that put Daniel and Gods people in exile, namely King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and then moving into subsequent empires of Medes, Persians and the Greeks. The empire that John and God’s people are struggling under is the Roman Empire. Rome was built on 7 hills it was known as the city of 7 hills and the 7 headed beast from the sea is probably a reference to this.
Rome’s Emperors were anti- Christ. Augustus (27 BC- 14 AD) demanded worship to him. Caligula (37-41 AD) demanded to be known as god. It was Nero (54-68 AD) who was the worst, blasphemous to the extreme! By the time of John, the Emperor, Domitian (81-96 AD) wanted the whole world to worship him as God.
These Christians lived in a culture soaked with a system and values far-removed from their lives. “Saviour, lord, god or son of god” were titles banded around for men who wanted to be treated as divine, celebrity cult-like figures. They knew the penalties for not complying. It isn’t hard for Christians in North Korea and other anti-Christ regimes to understand this, they are in it right now. In fact maybe you will agree that even in the West some governments are also rising with their blasphemies.
Behind it all, “The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority”. The dragon or Satan lies behind the scenes of these anti-Christ empires and governments. There is an unseen manipulative agenda by the dragon to move you from your worship of Jesus Christ. We must not be oblivious and simply rollover when we are being silenced or being led into more secularism. We must not get caught up in the hedonistic desire for more.
One final thought. On each head of the beast was a blasphemous name, that’s what John saw. The dragon’s beast comes with blasphemy and this doesn’t mean that he commits blasphemy against Almighty God through Empires and governments. It can also mean he uses blasphemy as a way to attack the followers of Jesus.
It seems more Christians are being killed under blasphemy laws than for any other reason. That is certainly view of the Christian Association of Nigeria (check them out online) who say that blasphemy is even being charged against women who refuse sexual advances from men of another religion!
What are we to make of all this? Revelation 13 is going to be tough reading. But it will open our eyes and call for us to be aware and alert that all is not what it seems. Let’s not be taken in. Let’s pause and ask who is manipulating, who is behind the scenes, who is lurking in the shadows. As time goes on this is going to intensify for us in the West. For much of the rest of our Christian family it already is. They are already facing the beast every day.