BEAST OF THE SEA Part 1
I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea,
having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads
a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were
like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave
him his power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as if
it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world
marveled and followed the beast. Revelation 13:1–3.
learned at the end of chapter 12 that the great red dragon was enraged against
the woman and went to war with the rest of her offspring. Realizing that the
internal flood of heresy and ritual did not destroy the church built by Jesus
Christ, the dragon now goes into the church business.
the description of this beast that comes up out of the sea: It has seven heads
and ten horns and it has crowns on its horns. This is exactly the same
description of the dragon in chapter 12 verse 3. The only difference in the
description is that this beast has a blasphemous name on his heads.
had just seen the great sign appearing in heaven, which was the church built by
Jesus beginning on the Day of Pentecost. Upon the appearance of the church a war
consisting of two great battles breaks out in heaven. The first battle being the
persecution of the church and the second battle being the struggles against
heresies. The war came to an end when the great red dragon spewed out a flood
that was swallowed up by the earth.
chapter 13 that flood turns into the sea, which gives rise to a monstrous beast
that demands worship and makes war against those who do not worship it.
Beast Rises Up
will recall from chapter 12 that when the literal persecution of the church
failed a woe was pronounced in verse 12, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth
and the sea! For the devil had come down to you.” We have learned that the
earth symbolizes the unregenerate. Isaiah 57:20 tells us the sea symbolizes the
wicked, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose
waters cast up mire and dirt.”
waters spewed out to the mouth of the dragon gave rise to this beast whose
foundation is the state of sin, the unregenerate life, and wickedness that
continuously generates spiritual unrest and destruction. The creature is a
beast. The word beast indicates a wild, ravenous animal. This is not a pet; it
is a dangerous beast of prey. Coming up out of the unregenerate earth and
causing spiritual unrest and destruction, it is evident that this beast it is a
belligerent power that gains its strength and growth by preying upon feebler and
Heads and Ten Horns
this we learn that no matter how the beast tries to disguise itself, it is
really the great red dragon of chapter 12. Its nature has not changed; it is
still a Christ-less persecuting form of religion. This beast is the third in the
systems of religion. The first two systems we identified as the church built by
Jesus Christ in its struggles during the first two eras of church history. This
third system of religion says it is the church built by Jesus but it is a church
that dishonors Christ and effectively denies Him in the work of salvation.
learned that the heads of the great red dragon were the persecuting power of
Satan through the history of the Christian church. The beast of the sea attempts
to disguise itself as the church of God by placing a blasphemous name on its
heads. Blasphemy in the Bible means any and all impious or immoral speaking
applied to God and the things of God. A name of blasphemy is the wrong use of
the sacred name of God given to an evil and unholy use. In the letter to the
church at Philadelphia in Revelation 3:9 that Christ places judgment on “those
of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not.”
beast of the sea attempts to disguise itself as the church of God by simply
calling itself the church of God, saying it is Christian when in reality it
denies Christ and substitutes ritual and confirmation for faith and salvation.
wild beast of the sea developed some other traits in its attempt to disguise the
great red dragon.
chapter seven records the vision of the four world-empires leading up to the
coming of Messiah. Each empire is depicted by a beast. First, a lion depicting
the Babylonian Empire. Second, a bear depicting the Persian Empire. Third, a
leopard depicting the Greek Empire. Fourth, a terrible beast with 10 horns
depicting the Roman Empire.
beast of the sea has characteristics of all four of these beasts. While these
were political empires, there are attributes of each of these beasts to be found
in the beast of the sea. First, it has a trait of the leopard. Daniel’s
leopard, the Greek Empire, had dominion. The beast of the sea exercises dominion
and rule over people as part of its nature. Daniel’s bear, the Persian Empire,
devoured flesh. The beast of the sea devours people through its spiritual
dominion over their lives. Daniel’s lion, the Babylonian Empire, was human.
The beast of the sea is a human religion and not God’s religion. Daniel’s
terrible beast, the Roman Empire, was exceedingly strong and it spoke pompous
words. The beast of the sea is exceedingly strong and it takes a blasphemous
notice at the end of the description, we are told that “the dragon gave him
his power, his throne, and great authority.” The great red dragon, Christ-less
religion, gave the beast of the sea its power, throne, and great authority. This
third system of religion had great authority. From where does this authority
come? This authority was revealed in chapter 12 verse 9 as the authority of the
serpent of old, the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole world. The Devil
gives this system of religion his authority to deceive the whole world. Through
that deception the beast of the sea convinces mankind that it alone is the
church built by Jesus even though it is a Christ-less religion.
beast of the sea sits on a throne, a place that emblemizes his authority to rule
over people. Historically, chapter 13 moves into an era that follows the decline
of the Roman Empire. It is in Rome that this throne was usurped by the beast of
the sea so that it could effectively rule over the peoples of the then-known
world. The dragon gives the beast of the sea his power. The power of Christ-less
religion is fear—fear spirits, fear of witch doctors and supposed holy men,
the power of superstition and outright violence.
3 reveals an ominous fact about the beast of the sea. “And I saw one of his
heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And
all the world marveled and followed the beast.”
know that the great red dragon has seven heads, which we learned were its
persecuting power during the history of the church. As the dragon dons the
disguise of the beast of the sea, it is not one of the dragon’s head that is
wounded; it is one of the heads of the beast of the sea. How many heads does the
beast of the sea have? In English when we read the word one,
we think of either the number one or any digit in a sequence. To us, in the
context of seven heads it could be any one of the seven heads, not necessarily
the first one. The Greek word one indicates one or first. So, again, how many
heads does this beast have? The answer is two.
12 ends sometime around the fifth century after the battle against heresies is
effectively concluded. At this time the church has two cities that are looked to
as the seats of authority: Rome and Constantinople. The Roman Emperor
Constantine moved the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople on May 11,
330 A.D. The bishop of Rome and the bishop of Constantinople vied for complete
domination of the church and it seemed with the Nicene Creed having been
developed and adopted in Asia Minor that the bishop of Constantinople was in the
lead as far as influence.
mortal wound began with the jealousy and desire for preeminence between the
churches of Rome and Constantinople. In the mid fifth century there were
disagreements between the two factions over teaching concerning the
consubstantial relationship between the Father and Son in the Trinity. During
the 8th and 9th centuries there were strong disagreements over the use of images
in the church: Rome being in favor and Constantinople being against. And finally
1054 the churches split over the authority of the pope.
was the separation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church
that was the deadly wound of the beast of the sea. The deadly wound was healed
in the sense that after the separation the Roman Church became the predominant
church in what was the western Roman Empire. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne
Emperor of the Western Roman Empire on December 25, 800, which revived the
empire after the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D. The term Holy Roman Empire
was adopted during the 13th century. This empire in its religious/political
identity established the Roman Catholic Church as the ruling political power in
Europe for centuries. The Greek Church, also known as the Orthodox Church,
subdivided into national churches in Asia Minor and Eastern Europe and never
achieved the political power of the Roman Church. The Orthodox Church as also
overshadowed when Islam conquered the Ottoman Empire.
Awe of the Beast
views the beast of the sea and stands in awe of its accomplishments. It is
almost as if he cannot believe his eyes. The great red dragon has devised a
church constructed on the basis of a false salvation that has become the
dominant religion in the realm where the church built by Jesus had won
multitudes to true salvation. He has seen the political and religious battle
waged by Rome to accomplish this end and there is a sense in which he stands
amazed that God has allowed this to happen.
church has the power, rule and authority given it by the dragon and it has
succeeded in producing a Christ-less church that uses a statue of Jesus on the
cross to deceive people into a false sense of security.
the world marveled and followed the beast.” Rome had displaced God’s church
and the world saw only this beast and followed it according to its dictates.
But, as we read further in chapter 13 we will find that Jesus still had His
church even though it existed in the shadows of Rome.
is important that we deal with real history, some of which is very unpleasant.
This beast of the sea represents the Roman Catholic Church as a religious
system. There are very evil at unpleasant things that happened in the history of
the Roman Catholic Church and many of its Popes were wicked and evil men. While
the Church gradually changed the gospel into rituals with no spiritual value,
there were people that came to the church and were brought to Christ by the Holy
Spirit in spite of the darkness of the church. As we look into the history of
this church it must be remembered that the judgment seen in the Revelation is
against the Catholic Church, not necessarily against Catholics. There have been
noble and godly people associated with the Roman Catholic Church that are
examples of piety and godliness.
church, denomination, and movement has its history, some of which is just as
evil and ungodly as the Roman Catholic Church. None of us are in a position to
feel superior to anyone else.