This lesson is a bit of a parenthetical as we look back to the Rider on the White Horse from the 1st Seal. Here, though, John gives us much more detail into the spirit behind the rider and the character of the rider as he describes the Beast from the Sea…
Where does this beast come from? John describes him as arising out of the sea, but we know that this is obviously not literal, so we must ask what this imagery means. In order to properly understand Revelation, we need to understand a little about Jewish literature. In Jewish literature, the sea is a metaphor for the Goyim (literally the nations) or as we call them, gentiles. The beast will come from the Gentile world. However, he also arises out of the abyss. In several passages, we see that the sea is also a metaphor for the abyss (Job 26:12; Psalm 74:13-14; 89:9-10; Isaiah 27:1), so the beast is also from the abyss.
A unique description paralleling the dragon
The old saying goes, “like father like son” and there is no one who will be more a son of Satan than the beast. If you look back to chapter 12, you will see that the dragon is also described as “having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems.” Much as a son comes in the name and likeness of his father, so the beast will come in the name and likeness of his father, the devil.
Let’s consider some of the comments from the ESV Study Bible…
“As the dragon stands on the seashore (12:17), a beast emerges from the sea. This beast is sometimes identified with the Antichrist (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7) or the man of lawlessness (2 Thess. 2:3–12). Its blasphemous words and demand for worship reinforce the connections between these predictions of a final, future opponent to Christ’s reign. Yet the imagery of Daniel 7 that appears in the description of the beast shows that it represents not only a future individual but also present world powers that wage Satan’s war against the Lamb and his church. Most dispensationalists, and many other futurists, think the first beast (Rev. 13:1–10) is a political world leader and the second beast (vv. 11–18) is his religious counterpart, who enforces worship of the first beast.”
We need to be abundantly clear: The Antichrist Spirit is already at work in the world today, the system of lawlessness that will enable the Antichrist is present already, but the Antichrist (person) is not yet here. The Bible uses the term Antichrist to speak of a person, his kingdom, and the spirit behind them both.
Calling forward the imagery from the prophet, Daniel we see The beast looks like a leopard but has feet like a bear’s, a mouth like a lion’s mouth, and ten horns, and it wages “war on the saints” (v. 7). Thus it resembles all four beasts that Daniel saw emerge from the sea before the Son of Man appeared (Dan. 7:1–8, 21). As those beasts symbolized kingdoms (Dan. 7:17, 23), so this beast, a composite of them all, represents every human empire—Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and their successors—that demands absolute allegiance and trust, enforcing its demand with coercion. To be sure, the beast IS a person, but he is clearly associated with the fallen world system.
One of his heads was wounded as to death but the deadly wound was healed.
Literally, is says the head was slain to death. Talk about a show stopper. In a way which we do not yet know, the beast will suffer a fatal wound and die. He will be resurrected from that death and, at that point, declare himself to be God. Having parroted the defining moment in redemptive history, the beast will declare himself God and demand the whole world worship him. The technology exists today for the entire world to see these events and possibly watch them live. It will be no small wonder when the world follows after him. After all, dead men do not usually rise up and walk.
I am purposely ending the study notes, here. I do not want to fuel the rampant speculation and nonsense that frequently comes along with this chapter