In this chapter, we are introduced to two beasts…one from the sea and one from the land.  Let’s begin by reading verse 1, “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”  Here is the first beast.  He rises up out of the sea.  He has seven heads and ten horns.  These ten horns are described to us in Daniel 7:24, “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”  This beast represents the revived Roman Empire.  We read also in Revelation 17:12-13, “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”  Of the seven heads of this beast we read, “…one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed…”. (Verse 3).  This one seems to be the one who reigns as the political leader.  Read Daniel 9:26-27 about this “prince that is to come.” 

Verse 4 mentions a dragon who gives power to the beast and causes people to worship the beast.  Who is this dragon?  Revelation 12:9 tells us plainly, “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…”  This shows us that the beast’s power is Satanic. 

We read in verses 5-6, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”  This marks the time for us in that the beast continues for 42 months, or the second half of the Tribulation period known as the Great Tribulation. 

This beast makes war against the saints on the earth, but we read in verse 8, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”  While all the earth worships this beast, the true believers (those whose name ARE WRITTEN in the Lamb’s book of life) do not bow down and worship the beast.

In verses 11-12, we read of a second beast, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”  In contrast to being “out of the sea” this beast comes up “out of the earth.”  This speaks of a religious leader coming out of the nation of Israel.  He has the appearance of a lamb but speaks with the ferociousness of a dragon.  He is the one who imitates the Lamb of God.  This is the false Messiah.  This is the Antichrist!  He comes doing wonders (verse 13) and speaking deception (verse 14). 

This second beast causes “an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.”  Then he demands that “that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” 

As to verses 16-18 concerning the mark of the beast, I will simply quote what we have written about this portion previously.

“What exactly is this mark?  We are told that the number of the beast is threescore, six hundred and six, or as most people pronounce it: 666.  What is the significance of this number?  Six is the number of man.  Reading Genesis 1:26-31, we learn that man was created on the sixth day.  We read in Exodus 20:9, “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work.”  We’re told that a Hebrew slave was to serve six years in Deuteronomy 15:12 which says, “And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.”  We have many examples throughout the scriptures showing that the number that represents man is the number six.  The number that represents perfection is seven, and man always falls short of that.

So what is the significance of three sixes?  As Walter Scott says in his book, Exposition of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, “It is the fullest, highest development of man under direct satanic control.  It is the combination of civil, religious, and political power satanically inspired.” The number of the beast, threescore, six hundred and six is probably a metaphor for this system controlled by the beast.  It could be a chip placed under the skin; it could be a tattoo.  We cannot be certain because scripture doesn’t elaborate on it.  We can be sure that all this takes place during the seven year tribulation period.  Before the tribulation period, the church is raptured out by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.””

What a terrible and tumultuous time to live in!  It is a time of God’s judgment upon the earth that rejected and killed His Son.  To those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are assured that we will not have to go through this Tribulation period.  We read in Revelation 3:10, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”  This “hour of temptation” is certainly speaking of the Tribulation Period of which the events of Revelation 13 are happening.  (415.4)