The Beast from the Sea
After introducing us to the war in heaven and its extension to war on earth, the Book of Revelation introduces us to the two main proxy powers that Satan works through, to fight his war against Jesus on earth. The beast from the sea, and the beast from the earth. These two powers conspire together against Jesus and His people. They manage to deceive the world into trusting and worshipping the beast from the sea. And continuing the war against God’s people, they attack and destroy whomever opposes them. They eventually build a one-world government, exercising world-wide power over religion, politics and economics and finance. This one-world government is described in Revelation chapters 17 & 18, where the combination of beast from the sea and beast from the earth, is repeated and enlarged upon.
The Sea Beast is a Composite Power
Prophetically a ‘beast’ is a symbol of a political power. However, the beast from the sea is also a religious power, because it is involved in acts of blasphemy and acts of worship. Therefore, our first principle for identifying this beast is to recognize that it is both a religious and political power. It is also a composite power, made up of components of three different beasts:
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… Rev. 13:1, 2.
As mentioned, many times already, the Revelation prophecies are built on the principle of repeat and enlarge and type and antitype. The type for this beast is found in Daniel’s prophecies and Revelation is repeating and enlarging what was revealed to Daniel. In Daniel’s prophecies we have a succession of beasts, each beast symbolizing an empire. Daniel did not understand what he was shown in vision, so he asked an angel for an explanation:
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. Dan. 7:15-17.
The first three beasts that Daniel saw were a lion, a bear and a leopard. The beast that John saw was made up of components of a lion, a bear and a leopard. This means that whatever this sea beast represents it is a composite, of these previous beasts. In other words, the first three beasts continue to live on, in the beast from the sea. This conclusion, that the first three beasts live on in the beast from the sea, is a sound conclusion, when we consider what Daniel was also told about these beasts. Daniel was particularly intrigued by the fourth beast. Therefore, he requested further information about it. He was told the fourth beast would eventually be slain, but the other beasts would live on:
I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame. As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time. Dan. 7:11, 12.
Daniel was told that even though these beasts would “have their dominion taken away” – meaning as empires they would fall – yet they would still live on in another form. We understand how they ‘live on’ in another form, when John is shown the beast from the sea. The beast from the sea is a composite of the empires of Babylon, Persia and Greece (see Dan.2:36-38, 8:16-21). [A fuller explanation of these empires living on in the sea beast, will be given in the exposition of Revelation chapter 17].
The Beast from the Sea is Satanic
The beast from the sea is a religious political power, carrying within its bosom the principles and spirits of Babylon, Persia and Greece. We only need to compare Scripture with Scripture, to know that the sea beast belongs to Satan. We need to compare what Scripture says about the dragon, with what Scripture says about the sea beast:
The Dragon of Revelation 12
The Beast of Revelation 13
|Having seven heads||Having seven heads|
|And ten horns||And ten horns|
|And seven crowns upon his heads||And upon his horns ten crowns|
|And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days (1260 years). …where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.||…and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months (1260 years)|
|And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make was with the remnant of her seed.
|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.|
Not only are the descriptions of the two the same (with slight variation), the prophecy goes on to confirm that the dragon establishes the sea beast, and is the power behind the sea beast:
…and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. Rev. 13:2.
What is Satan’s Power?
We are told that the dragon, gives the sea beast his power, what is Satan’s power? Satan’s power is twofold. Originally, Satan usurped the kingship of the world from Adam. Henceforth, he claimed to be the king of the world. And Jesus and heaven, did not deny his power:
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. Lu. 4:5-7.
Satan won the kingship of the world, by deceiving mankind to commit sin. And it is sin that is the basis of another form of power that Satan is able to wield over mankind:
For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. Rom. 7:14-25.
The war between Jesus and Satan, is very much a war for ‘the hearts and minds’ of mankind and God’s universe in general. It is sin that enables Satan to ‘capture’ the hearts and minds of all that sin. This means that all sinners serve Satan (see Ps. 102:20, 142:7, 146:7; Isa. 42:7, 49:24, 61:1; Lu. 4:18; Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:16; Eph. 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:26; 2 Pet. 2:19).
Therefore, Satan’s grip on mankind is twofold. He has ‘infected’ the human race with a kind of ‘spiritual virus’ called sin. It is through this ‘virus’ that mankind does his bidding and makes him king over the world. Because the inhabitants of the world have been ‘hacked’ by the ‘virus’ that makes them pre-programmed to desire what Satan is able to give them (e.g. power, wealth, celebrity, sex, inflated ego, etc.). This is Satan’s power. Power over the minds and actions of mankind. Mankind is the orchestra and Satan is the conductor.
What is Satan’s Seat?
The prophecy says that Satan will give the sea beast his power, and his seat. What is Satan’s seat? As is often the case, we find the solution to antitypical references by examining the type. Therefore, we need to ask, “is there a reference to Satan’s seat somewhere else in the Bible? Yes, there is:
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. Rev. 2:12, 13.
Here we are told that Satan’s seat was originally in Pergamos (aka Pergamum, Pergamon). The reason why Satan’s seat was in Pergamos, was because this is where the temple of Zeus was located. And Zeus was the premier ‘god’ of the pagan world, and the model for all other pagan ‘gods.’ Therefore, Pergamos was the premier city in the pagan world and historical events only increased its power and prestige. In the first instance pagan priests and cults of all kinds flourished there. Then, in addition, geo-political events caused the premier pagan priesthood to move to Pergamos.
When the Persian/Median Empire, conquered the Babylonian Empire and converted the city of Babylon into their new capital. The Babylonian priesthood had to take orders from new masters and the Babylonian ‘gods’ were now subordinate to the Persian/Median ‘gods.’ The Babylonian priesthood did not appreciate the demotion, therefore, they decamped. They took their brand of paganism and moved to Pergamos:
Pergamum (Pergamos) was also the center of Oriental mystery religions transplanted from Mesopotamia (Babylon), and contained many pagan temples. Its designation as the place “where Satan’s seat is” was thus appropriate indeed. SDABC Vol. 7, p. 749.
Why did the Babylonian priesthood choose Pergamos to move to? Because, it was the premier pagan city of its time. The premier pagan priesthood now resided in the premier pagan city, further increasing the prestige of the city.
As history rolled forward, the geo-political world kept changing. Rome began its rise to supremacy. Rome was soon the neighbor to the west of Pergamos. Consequently, the king of Pergamos, Attalus III faced a dilemma. His kingdom was surrounded by enemies – he was getting old – but he had no heir to inherit the kingdom – therefore he decided to cede the kingdom to Rome upon his death. Therefore, in 133BC, Pergamos became the Roman province of Asia.
When Rome took over Pergamos they not only inherited the most prestigious pagan city in the Mediterranean world, they also inherited the Babylonian priesthood. The Babylonian religion did not take long to penetrate and predominate in the city of Rome itself:
The penetration of the religion of Babylon became so general and well known that Rome was called the New Babylon. Cardinal Gibbons (Roman Catholic), Faith of our Fathers 1917 ed. p. 106.
It is through this chain of events over a long period of time, that the seat of Satan moved from Pergamos to Rome:
Pergamos, which was built on a lofty hill, fitly represents that period following Constantine’s conversion to the setting up of the Papacy with its seat of authority in Rome. Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 5, (1902 ed.).
This is why, when prophecy deals with the period of Roman Catholic supremacy (the 1260 years), it speaks of Jezebel being in the Roman Catholic Church:
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. Rev. 2:19-22.
In the Old Testament, it was Jezebel who ushered paganism into the nation of God’s people. She was so persuasive and paganism was so pervasive and the people were so persuaded, that Elijah thought he was the only faithful person left (see 1 Kings 18:22, 19:10). Thus, it was the same when the newly ‘converted’ Emperor Constantine set up the Roman Catholic Church, those who remained faithful, had to run into the wilderness, just as Elijah did (see 1 Kings 19:1-4; Rev. 12:6, 14). Thus, the faithful fled from Jezebel in Old Testament times, and the faithful fled from Jezebel in New Testament times (type and antitype). Wherever Jezebel reigned/reigns, that was/is where Satan’s seat was/is. In the time of literal Jezebel, Satan’s seat was in the capital city of the Northern Kingdom, Samaria. In the time of spiritual Jezebel, Satan’s seat was and still is, the city of Rome.
What is Satan’s Great Authority?
The prophecy says that Satan gives the sea beast, his power, his seat and great authority. What is Satan’s authority? As already noted, Satan holds the sinful human race in captivity (see Ps. 102:20, 142:7, 146:7; Isa. 42:7, 49:24, 61:1; Lu. 4:18; Jn. 8:34; Rom. 6:16; Eph. 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:26; 2 Pet. 2:19). Satan is the prison master and the grave is where he keeps his prisoners, therefore Satan claims authority over the human race (because all have sinned) and he claims to have all sinners locked as prisoners, in the prison house of death. There are incidences in Scripture, where one can see Satan staking his claims and trying to assert his authority. For example, when he disputed the right of Heaven to resurrect Moses (see Jude 9). Therefore, when the prophecy says that Satan gives great authority to the sea beast, it means that the sea beast will claim to have authority over, sin and death.
But wait there is more, much more. All these ‘gifts’ of Satan, the power, the seat and the great authority, come with conditions. Whoever, he gives these ‘gifts’ to, must bow down and worship him. Jesus was offered all these ‘gifts’ on the condition that he bowed down and worshipped Satan, but Jesus refused (see Lu. 4:5-8). Therefore, since he gives these ‘gifts’ to the sea beast and they are accepted by the sea beast, this must mean that the sea beast has complied with the conditions and bows down and worships Satan. Therefore, the sea beast is not just an instrument in the hands of Satan, it is an instrument that actively, knowingly and willingly worships Satan. This conclusion is confirmed by the Scriptural depiction of the sea beast:
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? Rev. 13:4.
The pronoun ‘they’ in this verse is referring to the people of the world. The people of the world have been, and are worshipping Satan. They are not only worshipping Satan, they are worshipping the sea beast as well. They are worshipping Satan, because they are worshipping the instrument or proxy power of Satan. In fact, the whole concept of worship, is a dominant theme in the depiction of the sea beast:
And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. Rev. 13:3.
And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? Rev. 13:4
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. Rev. 13:8
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. Rev. 13:12.
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. Rev. 13:15.
It is because of these verses that many commentators believe that the Book of Revelation’s main theme is worship. That Revelation is about who will worship the beast and who will not worship the beast. And to a degree they are correct. But Revelation is about much more than worship. It is about identifying who the beast is. It is about identifying who helps the beast. It is about the agenda of the beast. it is about who escapes from the beast. It is about how one escapes from the beast. It is about the judgment of the beast. And ultimately it is about the assurance that the beast will not triumph over God’s people.
The Identity of the Sea Beast
The prophecy provides us with all the features and facts regarding the sea beast, that we need in order to conclusively identify the beast. These features and facts include the following:
- It rises out of the sea.
- It is a composite beast.
- It is a religious and political power (church and state)
- It has seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns on the horns.
- It blasphemes God.
- Satan bequeaths his power, seat and authority to the beast.
- The sea beast is a pagan power.
- One of its heads receives a deadly wound.
- The deadly wound is healed.
- All the world ‘wonders’ after the beast.
- The world worships Satan and the beast.
- The beast wields power for 1260 years.
- The beast makes war against God’s people.
- The beast will go into captivity.
- The beast will be destroyed by the sword.
- The prophecies in Daniel are the type and the sea beast is the antitype.
There is only one possible institution and power that all these features and facts can be applied to. All these features and facts point in one direction only. The sea beast must be the Roman Catholic Church.
The sea beast is a monolithic and complex counterfeit institution, masquerading as a Christian Church. It is the instrument that Satan uses to wage war against the True Church. It wages war against the True Church on a multitude of fronts. In the first instance it masquerades as the only true representative of God on earth, secondly in masquerades as the only priesthood that can offer salvation to fallen mankind. Thirdly it wages war by deception.
It has erected such an effective façade that very few can see the paganism and satanism, behind the exterior. However, the Book of Revelation tears down the façade and exposes the dark interior.
Note: The next chapter will deal with the 16 facts and features of the sea beast and offer conclusive proof, that the sea beast is of a certainty the Roman Catholic Church.