Revelation 12 has just given us a glimpse into the spiritual world, showing us the unseen battle that lies behind the sin and evil of this earth. It has shown us the spiritual evil fighting to lead men away from God. But in the end time this spiritual evil the led by the dragon, that old serpent, the devil is going to be cast down to earth. When he knows that he has only a short time left before God dooms him for eternity, he is going to launch a campaign of evil and terror unparalleled in human history. He will do this through the Antichrist. Satan is going to raise up a man who will be everything that Satan wants a man to be. The beast represents both a kingdom and a person.
The beast must represent a kingdom, because of the description of him in the latter half of verse 1. Yet he must also represent a person, since he is always described with personal pronouns (Revelation 13:1-8; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2, 10). Daniel (Daniel 7:25; 8:24-25; 11:36-45) and Paul (2 Thessalonians 2:4) also describe the Antichrist as a person. The Bible describes the final world empire as inseparable from its ruler, in the same way that Hitler was linked to the Third Reich.
In Revelation 13:1 we learn of his origin where we are told that he comes up “out of the sea.” There is debate over what the sea symbolizes. Some argue, based on Isaiah 17:12, 57:20, and Revelation 17:15 that it refers to the Gentile nations. But since Revelation 11:7, 17:8 states that the beast comes up out of the abyss, the sea could be the abyss. This harmonizes with the Old Testament, which also uses the sea as a picture of the realm of satanic activity (Job 26:12; Psalm 74:13–14; 89:9-10; Isaiah 27:1). Some of the demons are currently in chains in the abyss (Luke 8:31; Jude 6; Revelation 9:1-11), and Satan will be imprisoned in the abyss during the millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-3).
Horns in Scripture symbolize strength and power, both for attack and defense (1 Samuel 2:1, 10; 2 Samuel 22:3; Job 16:15; Psalm 18:2; 75:4-5; 89:17, 24; 92:10; 112:9; Jeremiah 48:25; Micah 4:13). Here they represent the power of the kings who will rule under Antichrist’s absolute authority. Ten fits the image of the fourth beast in Daniel 7:7, 24.
Antichrist will rise from among these ten (Daniel 7:16-24) and will not rule merely ten nations, but the entire world (Daniel 7:23). Unlike the seven heads, which represent successive world empires, all of the rulers symbolized by the ten horns will rule at the same time (Daniel 7:12). Daniel described this final coalition, headed by Antichrist, in Daniel 2:41-44.
The final world empire will be a revival of the Roman Empire (the iron legs and ten toes of the statue in Daniel 2), but will far exceed it both in power and extent. It will be much more than a European confederacy; it will cover the entire world. Antichrist’s empire will be crushed by Messiah (Daniel 2:34, 45) when He comes to establish His earthly kingdom. In addition to his ten horns, the beast is described by John as having seven heads.
In Revelation 17 we will see that these seven heads represent seven successive world empires: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and Antichrist’s final world kingdom. The ten diadems (royal crowns) speak of authority and power. The blasphemous names on the beast’s heads are an allusion to divine names and titles that Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar and Roman emperors have used that dishonor the true God. They will follow the pattern of their master, Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
Revelation 13:2 -there is the great political power of the beast or Antichrist. The Antichrist will have seven heads. The Antichrist will have enormous ability.
The number seven in the Bible means complete and full. The Antichrist will be full of ability. He will be a supernatural genius, possessing great knowledge and insight. He will be able to think, plan, act, respond, and react to situations quicker and more efficiently than any man has ever been able to do. The seven heads and ten horns also refer to the ten nations he will rule over.
In the beginning there will be ten nations, but he will take over or be given the power and rule of three which leaves seven. The heads of these seven will most likely surrender their governments to his rule. Therefore, the beast or Antichrist has the power of seven heads, seven heads of state. The Antichrist will have ten horns. This is the same number of horns that the dragon (devil) had (Revelation 12:3).
This again points to the Antichrist being the embodiment of the devil upon earth. Horns mean power, and the fact that there are ten horns means a confederated power of ten nations. He will be the political head over ten nations. Horns, of course, pierce, rip, and tear in the most fierce and vicious way. The picture is that of a confederation of ten nations that will be frightening and strike terror in the hearts of the world.
The Antichrist is said to wear ten crowns on his ten horns. Crowns mean authority and power: he will be the leader and ruler of these ten nations. He will hold the reigns of power and authority over the confederation of ten nations that are called the horns of beasts.
The Antichrist will have blasphemous names on his seven heads. He will be the embodiment of blasphemy, the abomination of desolation who will stand in the holy place of the temple in Jerusalem and blaspheme the name of God by demanding that people give their first loyalty to the state (Matthew 24:15). He will be the man of sin, who opposes all religions; all that is called God and that is worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:4). He will speak great and boastful words against the Lord. (Daniel 7:25). He will demand that all worship him and his state (Revelation 13:4).
The Antichrist will combine three of the world’s most powerful empires that had conquered and controlled most of the known world of their day. This is what is meant by his being like three animals: the leopard, bear, and lion. The picture being painted is that he will embody all the desire and lust for power, all the characteristics and traits of these three empires.
The Antichrist is said to look like a leopard; have feet like a bear; and have a mouth like a lion and a fourth will arise and possess those characteristics as well. The visions of Daniel help us understand the vision in Revelation. They both talk about the end time and the power the Antichrist and his government will have. Daniel definitely says that the first government empire is the empire of Babylon.
The visions or dreams in Daniel that match the vision of John in revelation:
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of the Great Image (Daniel 2:31-33)
Daniel’s Dream of the Four Beasts
John’s Vision of the Combined World Empire of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-2).
Note the four metals of the Great Image
Note the four great beasts:
• a beast—dreadful,terrible, and strong
Note the four great beasts:
• the beast of the Antichrist who combines all the others
The interpretation of the image and the four beasts in Daniel that match the combined world empires of the Antichrist
The Interpretation of the Image (Daniel 2:36-38).
The Interpretation of the Four Beasts (Daniel 7:4).
The Interpretation of the Combined World Empires of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-2).
The head of gold is the first world empire: Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar.
The lion is the first world empire: Babylon.
The Antichrist will combine the traits of the lion: Babylon.
The silver is the second world empire: Medo-Persia (Daniel 8:20; 2:38a).
The bear is the second world empire: Medo-Persia. (Daniel 7:5; 8:20).
The Antichrist will combine the traits of the bear: Medo-Persia. (Revelation 13:1-2).
The bronze is the third world empire: Greece (Daniel 8:21; 2:39b).
The leopard is the third world empire: Greece (Daniel 8:21-22; 10:20; 11:2-4;7:6).
The Antichrist will combine the traits of the leopard: Greece (Revelation 13:1-2).
The iron is the fourth world empire: Rome (Daniel 9:26; 2:40).
The terrible and strong beast is the fourth world empire: Rome (Daniel 7:23-24; 9:26; 7:7).
The Antichrist will be as the iron and the beast with the ten horns, Rome. He combines all the traits of Rome. (Revelation 13:1).
The interpretation of the ten toes of the image and of the ten horns of the fourth beast that match the combined world empire of the Antichrist.
The Interpretation of the Ten Toes of the Image
The Interpretation of the Ten Horns of the Dreadful, Terrible, and Strong Beast
The Interpretation of the Dreadful, Terrible, and Strong Beast of Revelation
The ten toes are part iron and part clay. They cannot mix; the Roman empire falls apart. But it is part iron, so certain parts of it can survive and revive (Daniel 2:41-43).
The ten horns give rise to a little horn that conquers and rules three of the ten horns. The little horn is a man who arises to power by conquering these three nations (Daniel 7:8).
The Antichrist will have seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns, and seven heads that will be full of blasphemy (Revelation 13:1). The idea is that certain elements and traits of the Roman empire will survive. Then later on in history the traits will revive with the seed of man. But these elements and traits will not mix to bring the perfect world or government.
The idea is that a leader will arise from a “little horn,” a small nation, and conquer three nations. Then the other seven nations will willingly submit to him and join him in his blasphemy of God and mankind.
The idea is that the Antichrist will be the head of seven heads or governments, that he will have ten horns, the power of ten governments. He will have conquered three governments himself (Daniel 7:8). All seven heads of state and the ten governments under him will blaspheme the name of God.