The First Beast of Revelation 13
chapter of Revelation presents an intriguing account of history and last
day events. Here two beasts are brought to view. We move to this
chapter, not by way of a diversion from the little horn of Daniel 7, but
in order to better understand and identify the little horn. We will
discover that the first beast of Revelation chapter 13 and the little
horn of Daniel chapter 7—two strikingly different symbols—are
representative of the same power.
The following description is given of this strange
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.
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were
as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the
dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
(Revelation 13:1, 2)
What is the basis upon which we dare to state that
the little horn and this first beast of Revelation chapter 13 are
identical powers? A summary of their identifying features will
demonstrate a remarkable concurrence, a similarity too close to ignore.
First, however, we let the Scripture speak of the identifying features
of this first beast, as we term it for brevity.
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.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome
them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and
nations. (Revelation 13:5—7)
Once more we note the following parallels:
Little Horn of Daniel 7
First Beast of Revelation 13
|1. Speaks great words against the most
High (Daniel 7:25)
||1. Possesses a mouth speaking great
things and blasphemies (Revelation 13:5, 6)
|2. Makes war with the saints and wears
them out (Daniel 7:21, 25)
||2. Makes war with the saints to
overcome them (Revelation 13:7)
|3. Rules for a time, times and the
dividing of time (Daniel 7:25)
||3. Continues 42 months (Revelation
Many nations have blasphemed God, and many have
persecuted God’s people. But only one has ruled for a period of 1260
years. Since identifications 3 (above) are equivalents, as we have seen
in the chapter entitled "Time, Times and the Dividing of Time," this is
the most compelling evidence that the little horn and the first beast
are one and the same power.
Yet the descriptions of this power in Daniel 7 and
Revelation 13 not only demonstrate a remarkable concordance, they also
provide complementary features.
Let us turn our attention to this weirdly composite
beast. We notice six features are set forth.
1. It possesses seven heads.
2. The name blasphemy is upon its heads.
3. The beast possesses ten crowned horns.
4. It has the body of a leopard.
5. It possesses the feet of a bear.
6. Its mouth is that of a lion.
At the initial reading this first beast must appear
to be an incomprehensible mishmash. But Scripture can guide us through
these various features and present us with a remarkable fusion of
history and prophecy.
In our later view of Revelation chapter 17, where a
beast of the same features is described, we will discover that the seven
heads represent the seven mighty powers from the period following the
Noachian Flood until the Second Coming of Christ, which have stood and
will stand in mighty opposition to the God of heaven. Thus these heads
represent a succinct historical summary of the violent opposition to the
pure faith of God over a period of more than 4,000 years. That these
heads are all located upon the first beast is indicative that all
features of the previous opposing nations are to be found in this fierce
opponent of God. The dominant feature of each of these powers has been
blasphemy against Almighty God.
We have seen that the ten horns represented the
nations into which the Western Roman Empire fragmented in the fifth
century. That these horns, located on the first beast, bore crowns,
indicates that the ten nations of Western Europe would be ruling when
this power arose. As we have seen in the chapter, The Little Horn Among
the Ten Horns, history confirms this fact.
The significance of the leopard’s body, bear’s feet
and lion’s mouth is not to be lost. Here the first three beasts of the
prophecy of Daniel 7 are represented, confirming the fact that this
beast power incorporated the features of previous nations which stood in
bold defiance of God—Babylon (lion), Medo-Persia (bear) and Greece
This power would closely reflect Greek
intellectualism, religious practices and culture, since it is
represented primarily as a leopard. It would eventually emerge from the
fourth nondescript beast of Daniel 7 which, akin to this nondescript
beast of Revelation, represented Rome in its pagan state. As we have
seen in chapter 2, the Papacy was to seize the scepter of imperial Rome,
following the transfer of the capital to Constantinople. Both its
theology and its political authority, the two mighty pillars of Roman
Catholicism, are rooted in paganism. The two great influences on the
theology of the Roman church were Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, in the
fifth century and Thomas Aquinas of the thirteenth century.
That the beast of Revelation 13 incorporated all the
elements of the four beasts of Daniel 7, as it stood in mighty
opposition to the God of heaven, is signified by the fact that it
possessed seven heads and ten horns.
The four beasts contained precisely the same total
number of these features.
|Rome (Nondescript Beast)
Clearly the first beast of Revelation 13 represented
a power which was the culmination of the opposition to God exhibited by
the four empires which preceded it.
We shall now examine the reason God chose to
designate this first beast of Revelation 13 as a leopard—Grecian in
Scholasticism reached its height in the writings of
the Dominican friar, Thomas of Aquinas, "The Angelic Doctor." His
systematic exposition of the Catholic faith in terms of Aristotelian
philosophy produced a revolution in Christian thought, for Augustine
and Anselm, the Christian thinkers in general before Aquinas, had
regarded Platonism as the specifically Christian philosophy. (Henry
Bettenson, Documents of the Christian Church, p. 199)
Here we see that Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
(354—430), whose grossly faulted theology dominated Roman Catholic
thinking from the fifth century, brought the Greek pagan concepts of
Plato (428 b.c.—348 b.c.) into the Christian Church. Anselm (1033—1109)
who served as Archbishop of Canterbury is regarded by Roman Catholics as
the greatest theologian in the 800-year period between Augustine and
Thomas Aquinas (1225—1274) merged the views of the
pagan Greek philosopher, Aristotle (384 b.c.—322 b.c.), with
Christianity. As we shall later document, it was he who advocated death
for heretics as just, and the use of the state to enforce the church’s
punishment of heretics.
Thus, in describing the first beast of Revelation 13
as a leopard beast, Christ revealed to the apostle John a faith built on
Greek philosophy intermixed with Christianity. The use of the symbol of
the leopard power, Greece, from Daniel 7 is a most important and
accurate clue to the identity of the first beast of Revelation 13. God’s
symbols are always full of meaning.
This beast possessed the feet of a bear, the symbol
of the empire of Medo-Persia. It would crush opposition underfoot as did
Medo-Persia. In what way was Medo-Persia able to crush opposition under
its feet? The kings of Medo-Persia were deified and so, as gods, they
were declared to be infallible in their decision making. Thus we read
that their laws could not be altered once they were enacted by the king.
We cite two instances of this from Scripture.
Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the
writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and
Persians, which altereth not. Then they came near, and spake before
the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree,
that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within
thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of
lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the
law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. (Daniel 6:8, 12)
Then the king Ahasuerus said unto Esther the queen
and to Mordecai the Jew, Behold, I have given Esther the house of
Haman, and him they have hanged upon the gallows, because he laid his
hand upon the Jews. Write ye also for the Jews, as it liketh you, in
the king’s name, and seal it with the king’s ring: for the writing
which is written in the king’s name, and sealed with the king’s ring,
may no man reverse. (Esther 8:7,8)
The long tradition of papal infallibility in the
Roman Catholic Church and its proclamation by Pope Pius IX, in 1870 as a
dogma to be believed by all, is in the tradition of the bear
(Medo-Persia) and is a powerful weapon designed to crush all dissent
from Papal proclamations. How appropriate that this power be
represented, in symbol, to possess the feet of the bear!
This beast would speak the words of Babylon. This
last feature must be remembered, for the book of Revelation represents
this powerful entity as spiritual Babylon in chapters 14, 16, 17 and 18.
Thus it was appropriate for God to depict this power possessing the
mouth of the lion, the symbol of Babylon in Daniel 7.
There is yet a deeper and even more sinister meaning
in the designation of the beast’s having the mouth of a lion. Babylon
enforced worship by the issuing of a death decree designed to quell all
dissent. This decree was issued as the leaders of the nation were
compelled to assemble on the plain of Dura to perform an act of worship
before the image set up by this beast (lion) power. Daniel recorded this
disgraceful breach of the principle of religious liberty in his
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold,
whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six
cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the
governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the
counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to
come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had
set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the
treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the
provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image
that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the
image that Nebuchad-nezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To
you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what
time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery,
dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden
image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not
down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a
burning fiery furnace. (Daniel 3:1—6)
Thus the mouth of the beast of Revelation 13
represented fearful persecution of God’s people as a death decree was
invoked for conscientious dissenters to the king’s decree.
The second beast of Revelation 13, we are informed,
uses its mighty power to enforce the worship of the first beast.
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. (Revelation
How appropriate that this coerced worship is said to
involve the making of an image to the beast, paralleling that
which happened under Babylon, the lion power, on the plain of Dura.
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the
means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the
beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make
an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the
image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would
not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation
Thus the first beast of Revelation 13 is identified
as a power—
1. The very theology of which is based upon Greek
2. which proclaims its infallibility;
3. and which utilizes death decrees in order to
exterminate all dissent from its dictated worship.
Such identifying features greatly narrow the search
for the identity of the beast of Revelation 13.