The Book of Revelation
Chapter 13

(Part 1)   by: Ronald L. Dart

"I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I 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, {2} And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth was like the mouth of a lion, and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and his great authority."

We are in the 13th. chapter of the book of Revelation. Revelation chapters 12 and 13 and 14 are often called 'in-set chapters'. But they really belong here, because they continue as a part of a seamless description of the vision of John. They include history as well as prophecy, it is almost as though the holy spirit is going to bring us up-to-date on what is going on here, and the whole historical pattern of what is happening here.

Actually chapter 12 blends into chapter 13 this way, the end of chapter 12, after the dragon has pursued the manchild off up unto heaven, and has been cast out of heaven having lost this war, we are told, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. And I stood on the sand of the sea. and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea."

John continues right into chapter 13 and describes this terrible beast that rises up out of the sea.

Now the sea was in some ways seen as the home of Levithan, the great serpent, who was an image of the devil, just like the dragon was the image of the devil. In some sense the sea was the origin of things perhaps evil. That may have something to do later when the prophet says, "And I looked and there was no more sea." The idea of not doing away with the oceans, but as a source of all evil, evil will cease to exist.

Understand the Future

Now time has very little meaning in a vision. Some of what we read here will be past, some of it will be future and it will not always be easy to sort it out.

Our objective in studying this passage is not so much to foretell the future, as appealing as that might be, but to be sure that we understand the future as it plays out day by day, because there are going to be a lot of terrible things taking place.

Satan's Deception

In fact, the whole message of Revelation 12 and 13, as we make our way through this, is that the devil, the dragon, is going to practice some staggering deceptions. He is going to use the beast from the sea, and a later beast from the land, as instruments of this deception, and the deception, really to use the words of Jesus, would become so bad, that if it were possible, it would even deceive the very elect of God. There could come a time, when even the most faithful among us could doubt ourselves. Our faith may even begin to doubt our sanity. This is an effort to seduce the whole world by the devil and those who work with him. In fact, if it were possible, that he could deceive some Christians into worshiping the beast.

What is this beast?

What is this beast anyway? And what does it mean?

I could give you the quick and dirty answer, but what is the rush, you are interested in these prophecies or you would have quit reading this article. I am going to presume that you would like to know, not the quick and dirty answer, but the detailed answer and get some good background in the process.

By the time John had finished writing all of this up, he would have known assuredly that this vision was an update on an earlier set of visions described by the prophet Daniel.

Make a note of Daniel chapter 2 and when you get a chance, read the whole chapter.

History and Prophecy

I want to take a moment to sum it up for you. Before I do, let me remind you of something I have spoken of to you before. There is a tendency on the part of some people, to try to interpret prophecy in the abstract, or let's say without historical reference. They will give you an interpretation of a prophecy as though the prophecy hung suspended in mid air. Well, let's see, "Here's an image, a symbol, I think this symbol means ...." And they will give you some symbol connected to it, but the fact is, all these things exist in the Bible, firmly rooted in history.

A long time ago, I did a series of messages, that I titled "History and Prophecy." This laid the groundwork in very old history, without which, as you study Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, or the minor prophets, I am sorry but you are going to be totally at sea, as you make your way through. You are not going to understand the references, nor the players. In a way it is like trying to go to a ball game without a program. You are not going to know who is who, who is what, or what they are supposed to do.

King Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

Now back to Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar, the great Babylonian king who had taken Jerusalem captive and carried Daniel and his friends, Shadrach; Meshach; and Abed-Nego to Babylon captive, had a dream.

No one could interpret that dream but God. It's really an amusing story in a way. Nebuchadnezzar was nobody's fool. He had a dream that was so vivid that he couldn't get it out of his mind, he could close his eyes in the daytime and see it and he knew the dream was significant. This was no idle dream induced by indigestion. So he called together all of his soothsayers, prophets, seers and told them, "I have had this dream, and I would like for you to interpret it." And his soothsayers said, "No sweat King, just tell us what the vision is, and we will tell you what it means."

Of course, if you tell me what your dream is, then I'll give you an interpretation pretty quick right off the top of my head. Right? All we have to do is cast something around in our mind that we have read about Sigmund Freud, sex, and all the things connected with dreams. Anybody can interpret a dream, if you tell them what it is. They can just hang a meaning on whatever you had. King Nebuchadnezzar knew that.

Some of the fellows said "Okay. Fine, tell us a dream, and we will interpret it for you. The king said, "No, I don't think so! What I want you to do is to tell me what the dream was, and interpret it for me."

Well I would like to have seen their faces about that time, because the incredulous looks, their faces turning white, because they knew the power of this man they were talking to. This was a serious time.

One of the soothsayers spoke up and said, "Oh King, no one can do that!" The king said, "Well if somebody doesn't, you all are dead!"

The word passed through the palace about this terrible decision that had been made and Daniel who heard about it, was staggered by it, and wondered what is going on here. They explained it to him.

So he got his Hebrew friends together, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego and they prayed and fasted, and asked God about this matter, and asked Him to show the dream, because being a seer himself, Daniel might have been included in the loss of heads that were being contemplated by Nebuchadnezzar.

So Daniel received a vision from God, He showed him what the dream was, what the dream meant, so he could go in and tell Nebuchadnezzar exactly what this dream was all about.

Daniel Tells The King His Dream

They brought Daniel into the presence of King Nebuchadnezzar and he had this to say, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers cannot show to the King, but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets and makes known to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."

Okay, the whole idea behind this dream is, that it goes way into the future, beyond King Nebuchadnezzar's time, a long time after he is dead. God graciously has revealed to Nebuchadnezzar what is going to come. I suppose it's appropriate in a way because as you will see as the vision is interpreted, Nebuchadnezzar is kind of the head of all this thing, the beginner of it, for some reason God seemed to have cared about this man, and wanted to reveal something to him. He worked with him, in rather strange ways.

Daniel said, "Your dream and the visions of your head upon your bed, are these, as for you oh King, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter," in other words, you were wondering as you were lying there at night before going to sleep, you thought "I wonder what is going to be after me, what will happen to my kingdom, how are things going to come about?" And He that reveals secrets makes known to you what shall come to pass. Now as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living."

Important point that Daniel made was, "I am not the wisest man in your kingdom, that is not why this thing was revealed to me. It was revealed for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king."

In other words to save our necks, and our lives, God decided to make it known to us and also that you may know the thoughts of your heart so that you can understand what's going on inside of you.

What Did King Nebuchadnezzar See In His Dream?

"Now you, oh King saw." So here is what King Nebuchadnezzar saw.

"Behold a great image, this great image whose brightness was excellent, stood before you and the form thereof was awesome. It was some giant statue, that was standing in front of him. The image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms was of silver, his belly and thighs were of brass, his legs of iron, his feet of part of iron and part of clay."

So there's the whole picture, it's one image, which suggests it was one thing, one system, and yet it had differences. It proceeds from the top to bottom to change in quality and appearance as it makes its way down.

Continuing the dream before we get into the interpretation, he said, "You watched until a stone was cut out without hands and it smote the image upon its feet of iron and clay and broke them into pieces, then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, the gold, the whole image broken into pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor."

In other words it was like, when you get through threshing the wheat, and you have this very light fluffy chaff lying around on the threshing floor, and a breeze comes through, and takes it right on out of there. That is what it was like.

"The whole image, all of it, from top to bottom was destroyed as a result of this stone smashing into its feet, then the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth."

The Interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

"This is the dream," said Daniel. "And we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. You oh King, are a King of Kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, and power, and strength and glory."

King Nebuchadnezzar was an Emperor. He was a king and there were kings under him, he had dominion, really the whole world.

Now when the Bible speaks of the whole world, it does not mean the planet, it basically means the world that mattered. From a biblical point of view the only thing that mattered basically was what went on in the kingdoms down in the Middle East.

So King Nebuchadnezzar was the king of everything down there, and it says in verse 38,"Wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beast of the field, the fowls of heaven, has he given in your hand and has made you ruler over them all." You have the whole thing. "You are this head of gold."

So now we know exactly what the head of gold on the big statue symbolized. It was King Nebuchadnezzar.

"And after you, shall arise another kingdom inferior to you." Historians have looked at this and it is clearly identified as the Persian kingdom that followed on the heels of the Babylonian kingdom, but what is really interesting about this is that as we take a look at this giant image that Nebuchadnezzar saw, with its head of gold and his breast and arms of silver, we realize that the progression from top to bottom of this image is a progression in time. Although we go from kingdom to kingdom in a progression of time, we really haven't changed the system. The thing that underlies it all, the thing that holds it all together is the same, it is different in quality or the materials of which it is made.

Then there was another third kingdom of brass which historians are fully agreed

and that is Alexander the great and his kingdom which overcame the Persians. He bore rule over all the earth, once again, not the whole planet, but all the planet that mattered. Alexander's kingdom followed on the heels of the Persian Empire so that the historical succession, the time order of the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy is well attested to and you don't get this much agreement on many things by biblical commentators but the agreement is pretty well complete on the sequence of these kingdoms.

Then comes the fourth kingdom, in verse 40 of Daniel 2. The fourth kingdom is Rome, the Roman Empire. It says "It shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things, and as iron breaks all of these, so it shall break in pieces and bruise." It sure sounds a lot like Rome doesn't it, as they went through the known world at that time smashing countries and cities right and left and really becoming the strongest and most dominant power of the world that had ever seen at that time.

Daniel said, "Whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potter's clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided." One has to wonder a little bit when you read about this, what we know of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire and the internal decay, and rot that set in and the deterioration in the strength and quality of the Roman Empire seems to be a good image of that as it took place. He saw all this and said, "The toes and feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly broken or weak. For as you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they will mingle themselves with the seed of men but they will not cleave to one another just as iron really cannot mix with clay." It is a strange description in a way and only generally useful to us as we try to analyze the history of what has happened here.

God Will Set Up His Kingdom Which Will Never to be Destroyed

Here's the difficult part of this, in verse 44, Daniel says this, "In the days of these kings." Plural. He is looking back up at this one singular vision but he must somehow be talking about the feet, maybe with 10 toes representing 10 kings but the iron mixed with miry clay. "The days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed and the kingdom shall not be left to other people but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever."

Now, if you cast your eyes back at the page of verse 34, Daniel said, "You saw that a stone that was cut out without hands which smote the image upon his feet of iron and clay and broke them into pieces and all of it was swept away, the wind carried it away and no place was found for it. The stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth."

This is talking about the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the return of Christ, the setting up of His kingdom and all the power that is connected with it, and when does it happen, in the days of these kings.

So this giant image, this great statute, that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, that there is a continuity all the way from Nebuchadnezzar as the head to the feet that were finally destroyed by the arrival of the Kingdom of God which is one system through that whole period.

The Roman Empire

We have to figure out from history, who is that, how did it follow through and what ever happened to this great Roman kingdom that we sort of thought fell early on, but it didn't really. The history of the Roman Empire, the original Rome and Roman Empire fell. Rome found its way up into Europe and that there were Holy Roman Emperors and Roman emperors through Europe and that the whole Roman Empire put its roots down in Europe. Unless you're a student of history you probably don't have that conscious in your mind, the connection that was made there. But I'll bet you have seen newsreel footage of Adolph Hitler standing up on a podium with a great swastika in front of him and watched Roman legions, NO, Nazi legions, marching through the streets of Brandenburg and other places with their big Roman style Eagles at the top of their columns and you may not have known that the swastika was a Roman symbol and that the images of Rome came right up through the Third Reich in Germany.

By the way, it was the Third Reich, right? That means there was a second Reich and a first Reich. Did you know that the first Reich was a holy Roman Empire? Rather striking to consider what some of these things might mean.

"In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven will set up a kingdom will not be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it will stand forever. Forasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof is sure."

Now Daniel Has a Dream

Now one of the important things to notice here first is the fact that the world system that is presented here is one system, one image, one empire as it were, even though it has successive rulers and even though it deteriorates is still the same. The system then proceeds through time, one kingdom follows another and it deteriorates in quality while it increases in hardness and strength until finally the whole thing ages out in a lot of ways. It becomes deteriorated and brittle and breakable. The system continues intact though vulnerable until the return of Christ and is finally conquered or destroyed by Him. Keep this in mind as we go ahead. It's a world system, one image, one system that begins with Nebuchadnezzar and finally is destroyed by the return of Christ without going off some other part of the world or some other system or some other place. Now the odds are that our beast in Revelation is somehow a manifestation of that same old system.

But I'm not ready to go back to Revelation 13 yet, we can't leave Daniel yet, because Daniel himself has a vision this time. This time, it is not the king who sees it, this time it is Daniel who sees it. It is very plain as you study through it, that Daniel is talking about the same system, the same sequence through time of kingdoms, only with different images and perhaps with a different truth to come out of it.

The vision is in Daniel seven and Daniel begins the chapter by saying, "In the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon", (So king Nebuchadnezzar has passed from the scene), "Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed, so he wrote the dream down and he told the sum of the matters. Daniel spoke and said, Quote, "I saw in my vision by night and behold the four winds of heaven strove upon the Great Seas." So great winds swirling about coming from all directions. "And the sea is termultous and four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another." (They are different, and yet we already saw in Daniel 2 that though different they are a part of the same linear progression, the same system.)

So the first was like a lion and had eagle's wings, "I beheld until the wings were plucked and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it."

There is a long story behind that but in the short version is, it's talking about Nebuchadnezzar and being given a man's heart, a converted heart almost and Babylon is, the kingdom pictured by this lion with the eagle's wings.

"And I beheld," verse five, "another beast, a second like a bear and it raised itself up on one side and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it." So it has torn up something and killed it and eaten it. "And they said thus to it, "Arise and devour much flesh." Historians tell us this has to be the Persian Empire. Then it is followed by the third, "After this I beheld another like a leopard." Once again historians says it's Alexander the great. "He had upon the back of it four wings as a fowl." Alexander was succeeded by four kings who took his kingdom and carried on somewhat after him. "The beast also had four heads and dominion was given to it." So the division into four divisions of Alexander's kingdom. "Now after this I saw in the night visions and behold a fourth beast,"

This one is Rome, "dreadful and terrible, awesome, strong exceedingly and had great iron teeth and it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet thereof and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it and it had 10 horns."

Now there is something about this Rome that shows up in this vision and remember from the vision in chapter 2 the 10 horns, sounds like 10 seats of power, 10 kingdoms as it were that exists. It is comparable to the 10 toes of Nebuchadnezzar's vision which were destroyed by the actual return of Jesus Christ. "This one devours and breaks in pieces and stamps the residue with its feet and it was different from all the beasts that were before it. It had 10 horns and I considered the horns and behold there came up among them another little horn before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots. This little horn with the eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth speaking great things."

Now what in the world is all this? Now if you will recall that short initial reading that I gave you in Revelation 13, we read this, "The Dragon stood upon the sand of the sea and I saw a beast rise up out of the sea having seven heads and 10 horns and upon his head 10 crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, his mouth like the mouth of a lion and the dragon gave him his power and his seat and his great authority."

This beast of Revelation 13 absorbs the characteristics of all of the beasts that Daniel saw in his vision in chapter 7. So the little horn then spoken of in Daniel seven is going to show up in Revelation 13 as well, but that will have to wait for next time.

Until then, this is Ronald Dart reminding you, you were Born to Win.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This article was transcribed with

minor editing from a Born to Win Radio Program by: Ronald L. Dart

Titled: The Book of Revelation -Chapter 13 Part 1 - Program #16

Transcribed by: bb 6-10-22

Ronald L. Dart was an evangelist and is heard daily and weekly on his Born to Win radio program. 
The program can be heard on over one hundred radio stations across the nation.

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