And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names 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 throne, and great authority. And I saw one of the heads as though it had been smitten unto death; and his death-stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after the beast, and they worshipped the dragon, because he gave his authority unto the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? and who is able to war with him? and there was given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and there was given to him authority to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, even them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. And all that dwell on earth shall worship him, every one whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain. If any man hath an ear, let him hear. If any man is for captivity, into captivity he goeth: if any man shall kill with the sword, with the sword must he be killed. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. Revelation 13:1–10
The Apostle John was given visions of the things that shall be at the end of time. The purpose of these visions is to warn the church and give her a revelation of the things which God does to fulfill his counsel.
In his vision the Apostle sees a beast coming up out of the sea upon the dry land. It is a monster! It is described in such a way that the emphasis falls on the cruelty and power of this beast. It has ten horns and seven heads. It is a composite beast. It has the characteristics of a leopard, a bear, and a lion. This beast is the picture of world government near the end of time. It comes up out of the sea, which in Scripture is often the symbol of peoples or nations (Ps. 65:7, Ps. 93:3–4, Is. 17:12, Rev. 17:15).
This beast is not only a monster in appearance; its nature corresponds to its appearance. The dragon, Satan (see chapter 12), gave his power, his throne, and great authority to this beast. The beast is in league with Satan. It is Satan’s tool. The governments of the world will be in the employ of the evil one.
Then John sees something strange happening to the beast. One of the seven heads of this beast receives a deadly wound. Yet, even though it was a wound which would normally prove fatal, it was healed. This causes the whole world to stand in awe of this beast.
Varied explanations have hccn given of this wound and its miraculous healing. This world government has revealed itself time and again in the history of the world. This is shown by the seven heads and ten horns. Sometimes it seemcd as though the power of godless government had been crushed. But near the end of time its wound is healed and it reveals itself in all its brutal power.
What is the reaction of the people to this form of government? They worship itl They worship both the devil and the government he inspires. They stand in awe of and worship its power.
Now we are given a description of the things this beast does. A mouth is given him to speak great things. He boasts of his great power and his achievements. At the same time his is a mouth that blasphemes. That is naturally the next step. One who boasts of his own power and achievements will seek to minimize the power and greatness of the Almighty. The beast has been successful in conquering every power here below. Now he opens his mouth against God. He blasphemes his name and his dwelling place and those who dwell in heaven. Here is pictured a ruthless and godless power.
This beast is given power over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. The world is unified under one rule! He is also given power to make war against the saints. Now that he has the rule of the whole world he must seek to stamp out the church. Not only does he make war with them, he also defeats them! This is a terrible time for God’s people. The devil seems to be on the throne! Where is their God, their Protector?
However, the final victory does not belong to the beast. Even though it seems as if no power will ever be able to overthrow the beast, God is still ruling. A very definite time has been given the beast. He can continue forty-two months. God will call a halt to his raging. Though all the people of the world will worship him, this is not true of the true believers. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life worship God only. They will suffer. Their faith and patience will be tried, hut they will remain standing. They will form the unconquerable element in the regime of the beast. God’s work triumphs while the devil’s fails.
1. What other explanations have been given concerning the wound of the beast which was healed?
2. Why do people worship such a government as here portrayed?
3. On the basis of Scripture, is it possible that the whole human race will be blotted out by nuclear warfare?