We will be doing something a little different in this series and cite The Complete Jewish Bible – a uniquely Jewish translation that I have come to appreciate – for our study on the Revelation 13 passages.
This article will be looking at the famous beast coming out of the sea that the Apostle John witnessed while receiving the Revelation of Jesus Christ on the island of Patmos.
As always, there are many interpretations that have been submitted by many godly, respectable, and capable men – especially in these first three verses we are going to look into – and I try not to be dogmatic when it comes to future prophecy. I only offer to the reader my view for their consideration in addition to the many other interpretive views that have been submitted down through the centuries.
A Note on Kings and Kingdoms
When it comes to prophecy, it must be noted that the terms “kings” and “kingdoms” are used interchangeably throughout Scripture. To make this point, I’d like to offer the reader this one example found in Daniel chapter 7.
In this chapter are seen four beasts – the lion with eagle’s wings, the bear, the leopard, and the “diverse” beast – referred to in different verses as both “kings” and “kingdoms.”
“These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth” (Daniel 7:17, KJV). (emphasis mine) [Greek 4430 “melek“]
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces” (Daniel 7:23, KJV). (emphasis mine) [Greek 4437 “malku“]
Therefore, “kings” and “kingdoms” are most often synonymous in their usages. While it is true that different words are often used (and sometimes not even used in the original language yet implied in the text by the translators) – as in the verses I cited in Daniel – the words are shown by these passages to reflect both a king and a kingdom at the same time. That is, in prophetic symbolism, a beast and/or the features of a beast can be both symbolic of a king as well as a kingdom, usually with the kingdom more in view than the king.
We must always keep this truth in our minds when we are studying future prophecy.
With the aid of Revelation 17, here are the verses we are studying:
“[A]nd I saw a beast come up out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads. On its horns were ten royal crowns and on its heads blasphemous names. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, but with feet like those of a bear and a mouth like the mouth of a lion. To it the dragon gave its power, its throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed after the beast in amazement” (Revelation 13:1-3). (emphasis mine)
Having Seven Heads – Revelation 17
Revelation chapter 17 helps us to identify these “seven heads”:
“[the seven heads]… they are seven kings — five have fallen, one is living now, and the other is yet to come; and when he does come, he must remain only a little while. The beast which once was and now is not is an eighth king; it comes from the seven and is on its way to destruction” (Revelation 17:10-11).
The most important key to unlocking this prophecy is the phrase, “one is living now.” This sets the stage for understanding the seven heads of this beast and the beast itself. If it were not for this phrase, the sky would be the limit in interpretations.
Therefore, what king or kingdom was “living now” when John wrote the book of Revelation? Thankfully, we know the answer: Domitian, Emperor of Rome. And because of this historical fact, we now have a foundation to move backward in history to identify the first five kings and/or kingdoms and move forward in time, with the aid of other Scriptures, to identify the seventh and eighth – or at the very least, to take an educated guess.
Another key, I believe, to this prophecy is that of Daniel’s 70 “weeks” – or better, 70 7’s – prophecy. It is my contention that these kings and their kingdoms are only for Israel’s past and future, and has to fit into Daniel’s 70 “weeks” prophecy going forward. Therefore, the time period in between Israel’s destruction and dispersion by the Roman Empire up until the signing of the seven-year covenant with Antichrist (Daniel 9:27) – also known as the church age or age of grace – is omitted from this prophecy.
Now, I’m no historian, but I do have a decent grasp of Biblical history. Being as “kings” is mentioned in this passage, I’m going to take a stab at trying to identify who these past kings (and their kingdoms) may have been, keeping in mind that they must have Antichrist characteristics. That is, a hatred for God’s people.
Here is the order of the first six heads (“… five have fallen, one is living now …”) of the beast and who I suspect the kings the passage is referring to:
- Egypt: Pharaoh – Whichever Pharaoh was in power during Israel’s exodus from Egypt and pursued them to the Red Sea, which has not been settled by history or scholarship.
- Assyria: The three kings of Assyria, Pul, Tiglath-pileser, and Shalmaneser V, each had a role in sending the northern 10-tribe nation of Israel into captivity in separate campaigns.
- Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar – Keeping in mind that Nimrod’s Babel is an important link into this empire’s past history.
- Medo-Persia: Haman the Agagite from the book of Esther – Even though he wasn’t a king, per se, he was very high up in the Persian court and tried to annihilate the Jews.
- Greece: Antiochus Epiphanes.
- Rome: Domitian – Emperor who ruled at the time John wrote the book of Revelation (he also may have had him exiled to Patmos) and was a ruthless persecutor of Christians, many of whom were Jewish.
“… and the other is yet to come; and when he does come, he must remain only a little while” (Revelation 17:10b).
The seventh head, I believe, is the United Nations (UN) with the ten horns and ten crowns upon the head – the 10 worldwide regional kingdoms – with the European Union (EU) as the most influential of the 10 kingdoms.
The question of who this king that “must remain only a little while” is, is up for debate and conjecture. The two most realistic candidates, for me, would be the President of the European Union (one of the 10 kings) or the Secretary General of the United Nations.
During this period of time, between the rapture and the middle of the Tribulation, Antichrist will be ascending to power, probably in the European Union and especially at the United Nations. Obviously, he will make a name for himself when he expands, improves, and signs the covenant with Israel and the many (Dan. 9:27) which, I believe, will take place soon after the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel (Possibilities: The Ezekiel 38 Invasion and Possibilities: The Ezekiel 39 Aftermath).
The Role of the Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic church’s role in the seventh kingdom is unique and, as the Bible clearly states, will be quite contentious on the world stage.
Because the Pope will not be a member of the 10 kings, doesn’t mean his role is not powerful and influential – it most certainly will be – but this brief ecumenical empire will not be so much political as religious.
From the rapture of the body of Christ until the 10 kings destroy the Roman Catholic church, the world will be in desperate need of a uniting force. The Antichrist will, of course, be that political entity that rises in power during this interim utilizing the United Nations and the European Union, and consolidating power with – or usurping that power from – the leopard, bear, and lion. (We’ll be addressing this in more detail below).
“… I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast” (Revelation 17:3).
This “woman” – the Great Whore (Rev. 17:1) – is the Catholic church.
The world, after the rapture, will still have its many false religions to contend with and will seek to find a remedy and refocus these religions into some form of ecumenical unity and cooperation after the chaos that ensues. This has been the mission of the Catholic church for many, many years. “Catholic” means “universal,” and universality will be this ecumenical empire’s function and reality during this period of time as she unites the world’s religions in unity of purpose under her banner of leadership.
Concerning those taken from the earth at the rapture, one could bet – that with the Vatican’s inherent sorcery and unhealthy obsession with extra-terrestrial life – that alien abduction will be one of the major claims of explanation coming from the Catholic church and in concert with the Antichrist, European Union, and United Nations. (Please see Isaiah 47: The Daughter of Babylon for more details on this subject). Evolutionary purge could very well be another explanation.
But the Antichrist and the 10 kings hate her!
“The beast which once was and now is not is an eighth king; it comes from the seven and is on its way to destruction.”
Now we move on to the Antichrist’s kingdom, which will reign during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, also known as the Great Tribulation.
Babel/Babylon, I believe, is “the beast which once was and now (during John’s time) is not.” A rebuilt Babel/Babylon will be the location and base of operations of the “eighth king” (Antichrist and his kingdom), which “comes from the seven and is on its way to destruction” at Christ’s Second Coming.
[This is where I veer from conventional wisdom, in that I believe this last empire – once the 10 kings destroy the Whore of Babylon (RCC/Vatican City/Rome) and hand their kingdoms over to Antichrist – will relocate to Babel/Babylon for the remaining three and one-half years known as the Great Tribulation. My articles Zechariah 5:5-11 – Homecoming: Babel Returns Home and Revelation 14: Tribulation Outline give more insight into why I believe this to be the case.]
Ten Horns and Ten Crowns
We know who the ten horns are, as they are also revealed to us in Revelation 17:
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet begun to rule, but they receive power as kings for one hour, along with the beast” (Revelation 17:12).
As I’ve been noting, the ten crowns represent the authority these kings have over their kingdoms – 10 regional world empires established by the United Nations and, possibly, in conjunction with the Antichrist and European Union after the rapture of the church going into, and through, the first half of the Tribulation – until they destroy the Whore of Babylon (RCC/Vatican City/Rome) and hand their kingdoms over to the Antichrist:
“They have one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:13).
“As for the ten horns that you saw and the beast, they will hate the whore, bring her to ruin, leave her naked, eat her flesh and consume her with fire. For God put it in their hearts to do what will fulfill his purpose, that is, to be of one mind and give their kingdom to the beast until God’s words have accomplished their intent” (Revelation 17:16-17).
Leopard, Bear, & Lion
Let’s look at this passage:
“The beast which I saw was like a leopard, but with feet like those of a bear and a mouth like the mouth of a lion” (Revelation 13:2a).
There are many who believe these beasts – the lion with eagle’s wings, the bear, and the leopard – represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece, respectively. But as I pointed out in my article, Medo-Persia and Greece already have beasts ascribed to them in Daniel chapter 8, and their stories are told there. Daniel chapter 7, on the other hand, is all about the end-times, and these beasts represent powerful empires that will exist in the last days. The reason Babylon doesn’t have a beast for her representation in Daniel 8 is because Babylon was the reigning power of Daniel’s day.
Another important point on this is that Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome are all depicted in the seven heads of the beast in Revelation 13, as noted above. It would be redundant to have them also represented on the beast itself and would make no sense as they are all but forgotten powerful nations of past history.
In summary, I believe the lion with eagle’s wings is England and the United States, the bear is Russia, and the leopard is China.
Interesting is how the order of the beasts in Daniel 7 is reversed in Revelation 13, suggesting the difference of perspective; Daniel is seeing them in order from the past looking into the future, and John is seeing them from the future looking back into the past.
Obviously, this would show that China will be the predominant empire uniting in the final beast empire, along with Russia who will lose predominance in the aftermath of the Gog/Magog invasion of Israel, and England/The United States will also have lost influence – particularly the United States – as we are witnessing today and especially after the rapture of the church.
But all three, still influential on the world stage, will unite with the European Union for the initial formational phase of the Beast empire. In other words, I believe that these three kingdoms of the end-times will unite with the European Union to form the foundation of the Beast empire in the first three and one-half years of the Tribulation under the leadership of the United Nations, with the Roman Catholic church establishing an ecumenical one-world religious order, in concert with a rising Antichrist.
Another fascinating and important point is that all of these nations – England (the United Kingdom), the United States, the Russian Federation, and China – are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (the only other permanent member is France), the seventh head or kingdom of the beast out of the sea.
As far as these 10 regional kingdoms, many globalist elite organizations have worked diligently in this pursuit and, lo and behold, have come up with exactly 10. Here is a map of what that “kingdom” may look like as proposed by the Club of Rome and many other globalist entities, including the UN.
Once the 10 kings destroy the Whore of Babylon (RCC/Vatican City/Rome), and the European Union will no longer be needed by the Antichrist, this foundational empire will, in turn, be changed into the Beast’s final empire of the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation with the seat of the Antichrist relocated to a rebuilt Babel/Babylon, soon to commit the Abomination of Desolation and usher in The Mark of The Beast economic and worship system. I don’t believe there will be much to this rebuilt Babel/Babylon kingdom other than the Antichrist’s palace and temple, as well as a relocated United Nations to assist the Antichrist’s absolute rule.
“To it the dragon gave its power, its throne and great authority” (Revelation 13:2b).
The Antichrist’s Mark of The Beast kingdom will have received “its power, throne and great authority” from Satan himself.
“One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed after the beast in amazement” (Revelation 13:3).
Most would say that this is referring to the person of Antichrist as being killed and resurrected, whether actually or staged. Others would say that it is referring to a past kingdom that will have been resurrected, so to speak. Could it be both?
We have many instances of duality in future prophecy, and I have shown this to be the case before, but I thought it would be acceptable to offer yet another example.
“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt” (Hosea 11:1). (emphasis mine)
This verse in Hosea not only speaks of God calling Israel out of Egypt but was applied to the Lord Jesus when Joseph and Mary fled into Egypt – being warned by God in a dream – just before Herod killed the children two years and younger in Bethlehem and surrounding areas and, afterward, calling them back to Israel after Herod’s death, showing us prophetic duality:
“And [Joseph, Mary, and Jesus] was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son” (Matthew 2:15).
So, I’ll offer my views on this verse and, as always, when it comes to future prophecy and interpretation, let the reader be the judge.
“One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed after the beast in amazement” (Revelation 13:3).
If we are right in our assessment that the heads are kings and their kingdoms and, as of today, six have fallen, and those kingdoms were Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, then, by the interpretation we are looking at, the United Nations with the 10 kings and Antichrist’s Mark of The Beast kingdom will be the final two kingdoms after the rapture of the church.
“The beast which once was and now is not is an eighth king” (Revelation 17:11a).
“One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed” (Revelation 13:3a).
Both are saying the same thing. That is, according to our interpretation, the eighth king (the beast itself) comes from one of the heads that previously had a kingdom, and I believe the kingdom that is being referred to is Babylon.
Could this, as we point out above, be a dual prophecy that also applies to the person of Antichrist “receiving a fatal wound” and will be “healed” or “resurrected”? Probably, and we’ll get into that more in our study on the False Prophet and The Mark. But I don’t think this is the clear and original intent of this particular verse.
And, of course, “the whole earth followed after the beast in amazement” (Rev. 13:3b). The world follows after this eighth king and his kingdom – the Antichrist and his Mark of The Beast kingdom in the last three and one-half years of the seven-year Tribulation, known as the Great Tribulation.
“[A]nd I saw a beast come up out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads. On its horns were ten royal crowns and on its heads blasphemous names. The beast which I saw was like a leopard, but with feet like those of a bear and a mouth like the mouth of a lion. To it the dragon gave its power, its throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast appeared to have received a fatal wound, but its fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed after the beast in amazement” (Revelation 13:1-3).
The seven heads are Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the United Nations and the 10 kings (with a prominent European Union as one of the 10 kings/kingdoms). The Antichrist’s worldwide Mark of The Beast kingdom based in Babel/Babylon being the eighth king and kingdom (the entirety of the beast itself), with the United Nations, very probably, still at his side.
The ten horns with ten crowns are the 10 kings who reign in 10 worldwide regional kingdoms – created by the United Nations – who, after they destroy the Whore of Babylon (RCC/Vatican City/Rome), will hand their worldwide empires to Antichrist in the middle of the seven-year Tribulation.
The leopard, bear, and lion are China, Russia, and England handing their sovereignty over to and/or uniting with Antichrist, providing him with the foundation to begin his beast empire while he rises to power in the European Union (alongside the RCC), and in cooperation with the United Nations.
The head that had received the fatal wound and did live again is Babel/Babylon as the new base of operations for Antichrist, his kingdom, and his Mark of the Beast economic and worship system.
I’ll conclude each article in this series on Revelation 13 with a friendly reminder:
All future prophecy is mainly aimed at those who will be going through it. While it can be a challenge and often exciting trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, all of us prophecy enthusiasts would be well-served to humbly admit that although we may believe our interpretations and views to be correct, at the same time, we must confess that we may also be wrong.
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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