Revelation 13:1 - Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Bible Comments

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and 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.

I stood. So B, Coptic; but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Syriac, 'He stood.' Standing on the sand of the sea, Satan gave his power to the beast rising out of the sea.

Upon the sand of the sea - whence could be seen the four winds striving upon the great sea (Daniel 7:2).

Beast - `wild beast.' Man becomes "brutish" (Jeremiah 10:14), severed from God, the archetype, in whose image he was made, which ideal is realized by the man Christ Jesus. Hence, the world-powers seeking their own glory, not God's, are beasts; Nebuchadnezzar, when in self-deification he forgot that "the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men," was driven among the beasts. In Daniel 7:1-28 there are four; here the one expresses the sum total of the God-opposed world-power in its universal development, not restricted to one manifestation, Rome. This first beast expresses the world-power attacking the Church from without; the second, a revival of, and minister to, the first, the world-power as the false prophet corrupting the Church from within.

Out of the sea (Daniel 7:3; note, Daniel 8:8) - out of the troubled waves of peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues (Revelation 17:15). The earth (Revelation 13:11) means the ordered world of nations, with its civilization.

Seven heads and ten horns. 'Aleph (') A B C transpose, 'ten horns and seven heads.' The ten horns are now put first (contrast Revelation 12:3), because they are crowned. They shall not be so until the close of the fourth kingdom (the Roman), which continues until the fifth, Christ's shall supplant it: this last stage is marked by the ten toes (five on one foot, five on the other) of the image, Daniel 2:1-49. The seven implies the world-power assuming Godhead, and caricaturing the seven spirits of God; its God-opposed character is detected by ten accompanying the seven. Dragon and beast both bear crowns-the former on the heads, the latter on the horns (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 5:1). Both heads and horns refer to kingdoms: in Revelation 17:7; Revelation 17:10; Revelation 17:12, "kings" represent kingdoms whose heads they are. The seven kings-the great powers of the world-are distinguished from the ten, represented by the horns (simply "kings," Revelation 17:12), The ten mean the last phase of the world-power, the fourth kingdom divided into ten parts.

They are connected with the seventh head (Revelation 17:12), and are yet future (Auberlen). The mistake of those who interpret the beast Rome exclusively, and the ten horns kingdoms which took the place of Rome in Europe, is, the fourth kingdom in the image has TWO legs, the eastern as well as the western empire: the ten toes are not upon one foot (the west), but on the two (east and west) together. If the ten kingdoms were those which sprang up on the overthrow of Rome, the ten would be known; whereas 28 different lists are given, making in all 65 kingdoms! (Tyso in DeBurgh.) The seven heads are the seven world-monarchies-Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, the Germanic empire. Under the last we live (Auberlen); it devolved on Napoleon, after Francis, Emperor of Germany and King of Rome, resigned the title in 1806. Faber explains the healing of the deadly wound to be the revival of the Napoleonic dynasty after its overthrow at Waterloo. That secular dynasty, in alliance with the ecclesiastical papacy, "the eighth head," yet "of the seven" (Revelation 17:11), will temporarily triumph over the saints, until destroyed in Armageddon, (Revelation 19:1-21.) A Napoleon thus would be the Antichrist, restoring the Jews to Palestine, accepted as their Messiah, and afterward fearfully opening them. But the mention of the leopard, bear, and lion, answering to the first three kingdoms (Daniel 7:4-6), and the little horn of Daniel 8:1-27, and "wilful king," Revelation 11:1-19, arising out of the third, make it likely that the Antichrist about to oppress Israel is to arise from the east, the Greek empire, rather than the west: Gog, Meshech, and Tubal (Ezekiel 38:1-23, notes). The sea-beast comprises both the east and west: the earth-beast comes from the east.

Crowns - `diadems.'

Name of blasphemy. So 'Aleph (') C, Coptic, Andreas; but A B, Vulgate, 'names,' etc.-namely, a name on each of the heads; blasphemously arrogating attributes of God (note, Revelation 17:3). A characteristic of the willful king (Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Revelation 13:1

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and 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 namea of blasphemy.