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“And I stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.  And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority”  (Revelation 13:1,2).

Chapter 12 ended with the dragon (Satan) frustrated and enraged that his attack on the woman had been thwarted. He “went to make war with the remnant of her seed.” In the next scene we see is  John[1] standing on the sand of the sea, and a beast that looks a lot like the dragon is rising out of the sea. “The sand of the sea” is a symbol of multitudes of people, either the people of God (“The number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered” Hosea 1:10) or the multitudes of the wicked (“the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog,…the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” Revelation 20:8). The sea itself is a symbol of “peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues” (Revelation 17:15), so the emphasis is upon the multitudes of nations and people that give rise to the beast.

The beast  closely resembles the dragon of chapter 12, which also had seven heads and ten horns. The main difference is that the dragon had crowns,[2] the sign of authority, on its heads, but the beast from the sea has crowns on its horns. The head symbolizes ruling, planning and directing,[3] showing that the dragon (Satan) is in charge and exercises authority by formulating and directing plans. Horns are a symbol of executive or military powers,[4] personified by kings,[5] which carry out the plans of the head. Thus the power and authority of the beast from the sea, as represented by the crowns on its horns, is its political and military power which it uses to carry out the plans of  Satan who "gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority."

The beast from the sea  is a terrifying composite of three ferocious predators: a leopard, a bear and a lion, and it has ten horns. These are the same animals which “came up from the sea” in the vision of Daniel 7. This implies that this beast somehow embodies a combination of the characteristics of the wild animals of Daniel 7. For a more detailed exposition see Appendix 11.

Continue to next section:    THE SEA BEAST AND THE WILD ANIMALS OF DANIEL 7

[1]  Some of the ancient texts (and English versions based on them) say that it was the dragon who stood on the sand of the sea.

[2]  The Greek word for crown used here is diadima, not the more commonly used stefanos crown of victory. It is the word used in 1 Macabees 12:39 “Then Trypho attempted to become king in Asia and put on the crown (diadima) and to raise his hand against King Antiochus.”  The diadima crown indicates a claim to power and authority, (in this case, a rebellious claim).  Satan likewise claims authority in rebellion to Christ, who truly has all authority (as indicated by the many crowns (diadima) that he wears (Revelation 19:12).

[3]  For example, Daniel 2:38 : He [God]... has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.

[4]  1 Kings 22:11, Zechariah 1:18-21.

[5]  Daniel 7:24, 8:20,21.

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