Beast or dragon mentioned in the Bible are symbolic beings that represent the forces, the spiritual powers or influences of satan the devil. The book of Revelation is speaking symbolically, figuratively, and metaphorically about what is about to take place in the end times.
God has made mankind with spirit, soul and body. Spirit is what allows us to come to know God, believe in God, have connection and relationship with God, and become heirs of the kingdom of God. But through philosophies, satan causes human beings to consider themselves as sovereign wonderful and supreme in themselves, without God’s involvement. Let us carefully think about the beasts and their influences upon our lives.
I. Let us think about these 2 beasts that appeared in Revelation chapter 13.
1) Beast that comes out of the Sea – Rev 13:1-10
Sea in Revelation especially represents the nations, people and tongues over which the harlot sits. It is the corrupt world. The Sea represents the world of sin (Rev 17:15, Isa 17:12-13).
This First Beast has 10 horns and 7 heads, which represent the authorities, leadership, kings, and rulers of history, of this world (Rev 17:10).
It further describes that it has the image like a leopard, with feet like a bear, and mouth like a lion. These animals also appeared in Daniel’s prophecy in Daniel chapter 7. And Daniel was prophesying about Babylon. Persian and Greece, and later Rome. There were 4 allied kingdoms that Abraham fought against and pushed out from the boundary of the land that God had given him. Four nations ruled over Israel before Jesus came, during the intertestamental times and in the end as well.
The source of their authority was the dragon.
It is the dragon that wages war in the spiritual realm (Rev 12). But he gives his authority and power to the beast that appears in this world.
Its activities on this earth are lies, deceptions, arrogant words, blasphemous words.
Then it is wounded, and it is healed. There is a miracle taking place here. And people start to worship the dragon for giving this beast the authority. And the beast deifies itself, causing people to worship itself. It will speak against God, blaspheme God’s name, and His Church, persecute saints and wins. So it takes the global power and authority. People will start to worship and follow him and he’s given 42 months, 3.5 years.
Then comes up the Second Beast.
2) Beast out of the earth – Rev 13:11-18
This Second Beast is from the earth. Earth is a place between Heaven and the Sea, so it can go the good way or the bad way. It is a place where the water has abated. And there is a possibility of the seed to be sown and bear fruit.
It has the image of the Lamb.
The Lamb is the Messiah; it’s a good image. So it makes people think he is a good Christian leader. But he is a false prophet, he’s the deceiver. He speaks as the dragon; his teaching, philosophy, his nature, from satan but covered up. We need to pray for God’s discernment and for the Holy Spirit to protect us. We need to know the true Word of God, we need to be aware so that when we hear something that is not the true Word of God, we will know that it’s fake, it’s the words of the dragon (Matt 24:23-24).
Its role; he deceives men and buys the hearts of the people.
Because he has the image of the Lamb, he will intimate the signs and power as God indicated in the Bible. Bringing down the fire in front of the people, breathing into an image and makes it come alive. It gives the mark and the number of the beast to all people. The small, the great, the rich and poor, the freemen and slaves. And that mark will cause many people to give up their faith in God.
What is the mark of the beast?
It’s a symbolic number of the fallen ones. Those who reject God and His sovereignty. Its significance: anti-Christ, disbelief, apostasy, destruction, rejection of God’s Word. The mark is received on the right hand and on the forehead.
(i) Right hand represents the deeds, everyday works of the people. The mark on the right hand means their ways of life and works will follow the ways of the beast.
(ii) Forehead represents the philosophies and beliefs, the thoughts of man. The mark on the forehead means their thoughts and beliefs will change to coincide with the thoughts and the beliefs of the beast.
Revelation talks about the seal of God and the seal of the Holy Spirit, also given on the forehand and on the hand.
May we receive the seal of God and seal of the Holy Spirit, that we will do the works of God, have our thoughts, and beliefs following the ways of God. God tells the 4 angels that are holding the wind: hold until the people of God are sealed! May we take this chance right now to receive the seal of God and the seal of the Holy Spirit.
When people reject God’s rule and God’s Word over their lives. When God’s Spirit leaves, the Bible tells us they become like beast and the beast will perish (Ps 49:20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish).
II. Let’s think about the spiritual influence of the beasts in our lives, especially in Christianity and in the church.
We need to understand the power and influence this beast has on our lives, our children, and in our church currently. Before the physical things happen, the beast will mark its people spiritually first.
We need to think about our religiosity.
In other words, the reason why we worship God, the reason why we find God, and believe in God. It determines whether we keep our faith in God in the end.
Religion or Christianity, for a lot of people, stops in the philosophy level, teaching about what good is. But most important thing is for us to know God, meet with God and have relationship with God.
Satan is working very hard to keep Christians or believers of God only at a certain level and to make them think they have spirituality when they only have superstitious beliefs and false sense of spirituality. They are only seeking for the supernatural powers for the sake of their happiness and well-being on the earth in a physical way:
(i) They call upon God only when they are in desperate need.
(ii) They base their belief on realism and materialism; unless God proves to me visibly, I cannot believe.
(iii) Their prayer is not a conversation with God for relationship, but like making an order in a restaurant or on the Internet.
(iv) They put in something so that God can provide something in return; it’s give-and-take kind of relationship with God.
But True Christians will come to know and understand the personal and living God through studies and reading of the scriptures. Because it is the scripture, the special revelation that God has given us, that allows us to come to know Him. Hosea 4:6. Then He will give us wisdom to lead our lives. He will allow us to understand the beginning and the end of His work and redemption and give us hope in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Ephesians 5:7-11 is telling us to become children of Light. The fruit of the light consists of all goodness, righteousness and truth. And the children of Light are the ones who are trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
In the end, the influence of the beast and human logic will start to make people doubt that Jesus is God (Col 2:8). We need the help of the Holy Spirit to keep our faith (1 Cor 12:3). Remember the Truth will not change, even if the world cannot believe it.
A sound study of the Bible does not only tell us story but will provide framework in which we will observe and understand God’s Word, and be able to see what God is doing currently. The only way to survive this trial and this deception is to make sure that the Word of God is in us and rule over us. When we are sealed by God and the Holy Spirit, the beast cannot touch us. Remember the beast will perish in the end.