The Beast Empowered by the Dragon (Revelation 13:1-2)


This post continues the series, “The Beast of Revelation Was Zealot-Led Israel.” The introduction and outline to this series can be seen here. So far in this series we have examined the four kingdoms of Daniel 2, the four beasts of Daniel 7 (and the little horn), and Revelation 11.

Revelation 13 is probably cited more often than any other chapter when it comes to “the beast” of Revelation, and rightfully so. As you may have noticed in the introduction to this series, 46 percent of the verses in the book of Revelation (16 out of 35) which speak of a beast are in Revelation 13. This chapter actually speaks of two beasts, [1] the one briefly introduced in Revelation 11:7 and [2] a second beast which works closely with the first beast and is later called “the false prophet” (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10).

The first eight verses of this chapter (Revelation 13:1-8), as well as verse 18, describe “the beast.” We already saw that this beast was responsible for hunting down and killing the two witnesses in Jerusalem. Here we will see that this beast:

-rose up out of the sea
-had seven heads
-had 10 horns with 10 crowns
-had a blasphemous name
-had body parts of a leopard, a bear, and a lion
-received its power, throne, and authority from the dragon (Rev. 12)
-had a mortally wounded head that was healed
-received worship
-was admired for its victories in war
-had authority to continue for 42 months
-blasphemed God, His name, His tabernacle, and His saints
-warred against and overcame the saints
-had authority over every tribe, tongue, and nation
-worked closely with the second beast, later called “the false prophet
-was represented by an image, a mark, a name, and a number

Verses 11-17 describe a second beast that:

-came up out of the earth (also translated “land”)
-had two horns like a lamb
-spoke like a dragon
-worked in the presence of the first beast
-directed those in the land to worship the first beast
-performed great, deceiving signs
-oversaw the creation of an image to the first beast
-granted power to give breath to the image, which could speak and cause people to be killed
-allowed buying and selling only for those who had the mark, number, or name of the first beast

Revelation 13:1

Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.”

John was “on the island that is called Patmos” when he recorded his prophetic visions (Rev. 1:9). Patmos is in the Aegian Sea, which “is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea” (Wikipedia). Did John see the beast rise up out of that sea? Recall that Daniel saw “the Great Sea” stirred up (Daniel 7:2) and all four beasts coming “up from the sea” (Daniel 7:3). So Daniel clearly saw the beasts rising up out of the Mediterranean Sea. The Babylonian, Persian, and Greek kingdoms all formed to the east, north, and south of the Mediterranean Sea. The western border of the Judean kingdom was also the Mediterranean Sea.

The term “sea” can represent Gentiles or nations, as it does in Revelation 17:1, 15. (See also Psalm 65:7; Isaiah 17:12-13, 57:20, 60:5; Jeremiah 6:23; Luke 21:25.) As we saw in our study of Revelation 11:1-2, it was not only the Romans in John’s day who were “Gentiles.” The Idumeans and Galileans were also considered to be Gentiles. In Wars 4.3.2-4, Josephus spoke of large multitudes from various regions that “crept into Jerusalem” as the Jewish-Roman War was about to begin, and these multitudes followed the lead of the Zealot movement. The three main Zealot leaders, Eleazar ben Simon, John Levi of Gischala, and Simon Bar Giora, were Galileans. When Simon came to Jerusalem in April 69 AD, he brought an army of 40,000 with him, including many Idumeans (Wars 4.9.3-12).

Revelation 13:1 describes the beast as having seven heads. This is the same number of heads that the dragon (“called the Devil and Satan”) also had (Rev. 12:3, 9). John provides more details about the seven heads in Revelation 17:9-11, and he singles out one of the heads in Rev. 13:3. So when we cover those verses we will explore who the heads were and what roles they played. I believe they were heads of the Zealot movement, some in the decades prior to the Jewish-Roman War and others during the war.

This verse also describes the beast as having 10 horns (Rev. 12:3). Again, this is the same number of horns that the dragon had. John likewise gives more details about the 10 horns in Revelation 17:12-17 than he does in Revelation 13, so we will have that discussion later in this series as well. In the meantime, please feel free to refer to a post I wrote in July 2016 in which I propose that the 10 horns were 10 Jewish generals who were given authority in December 66 AD (Wars 2.20.3-4).

Our study of Daniel 7 also discussed the three horns that were plucked out by the little horn – details that are not found in the book of Revelation. If you read that part of the series, you’ll recall that I proposed that the little horn was Eleazar ben Simon and that the three plucked horns were [1] Ananus ben Ananus [2] Niger of Perea, and [3] Joseph ben Gorion. Their deaths are recorded in Wars 4.5.2 and Wars 4.6.1.

Revelation 13:2

Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.”

Here John describes the beast as having the traits of the first three beasts that Daniel saw come up from the sea in Daniel 7:3-6. There are a couple of things to notice about John’s description:

1. The animals are listed in reverse order compared to how they were listed by Daniel.
2. The leopard trait is most dominant, representing the beast’s body. Only the feet and the mouth of the beast are like a bear and like a lion.

leopard-lion-and-bear

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In Daniel’s vision, the lion represented Babylon (Daniel 7:4), the bear represented Medo-Persia (Daniel 7:5; 8:20), and the leopard represented Greece (Daniel 7:6; 8:21-22). In John’s vision, these same animals are listed in reverse order, referring to Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon, respectively.

[The leopard = Greece]: As John saw the beast of his own time period, he also looked back into Israel’s history and first saw the kingdom which had most recently held dominion over Israel – Greece. That kingdom was represented in almost the entire body of the beast: “Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard…” It’s no surprise that the Greek trait was most dominant in the Jewish beast of John’s day, considering that Greece/Macedonia was the kingdom which had held dominion over Israel as recently as 323 BC – 142 BC. The Greek language was dominant in the Roman Empire, and was the language into which the Septuagint was translated and the language in which most of the New Testament was written.

A Greek influence was also seen near the beginning of the Jewish-Roman War. When Vespasian captured part of Galilee in the summer of 67 AD, he “sat upon his tribunal at Taricheae, in order to distinguish the foreigners from the old inhabitants; for those foreigners appeared to have begun the war.” Some of those foreigners were from Hippos, which was “a Greco-Roman city” in the Decapolis that was “culturally tied more closely to Greece and Rome than to the Semitic ethnoi around” (Wikipedia). Josephus said that “the greatest part of [those foreigners] were seditious persons and fugitives, who were of such shameful characters that they preferred war before peace.” Most of the other foreigners were from Trachonitis and Gaulanitis, in the region of Batanea near Persia (Wars 3.10.10).

batanea

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[The bear = Medo-Persia]: Only the feet of the beast were “like the feet of a bear.” It may be that the sicarii of John’s day best represented the Persian trait of the beast. The sicarii worked with the Zealots in rebelling, making war, and destroying Israel. As Josephus wrote about this group:

“And then it was that the sicarii, as they were called, who were robbers, grew numerous. They made use of small swords, not much different in length from the Persian acinacae, but somewhat crooked, and like the Roman sicae, [or sickles,] as they were called; and from these weapons these robbers got their denomination; and with these weapons they slew a great many; for they mingled themselves among the multitude at their festivals, when they were come up in crowds from all parts to the city to worship God, as we said before, and easily slew those that they had a mind to slay. They also came frequently upon the villages belonging to their enemies, with their weapons, and plundered them, and set them on fire” (Antiquities 20.8.10).

As we saw in the section just above, a good number of the foreigners that “appeared to have begun the war” (Wars 3.10.10) were from the region of Batanea, very close to Persia.

[The lion = Babylon]: Only the mouth of the beast was “like the mouth of a lion.” Mark Mountjoy of Atavist Bible Church said the following in a conversation in New Testament Open University:

“The Babylonian trait can be seen in the mouth of the Lion and can be explained by extreme pride and arrogance (big and pretentious talk – Wars 4.3.1:121-124) around the architectural beauty and security of Jerusalem (and in Josephus this attitude is attributed to John of Gischala – see Wars 4.3.1:126-127).”

Pride is what marked the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon (Daniel 4:37). Here is the quote from Wars 4.3.1 that Mark referred to above, which describes what happened when John Levi escaped from Gischala (in Galilee) and came to Jerusalem in November 67 AD:

“Now upon John’s entry into Jerusalem, the whole body of the people were in an uproar, and ten thousand of them crowded about every one of the fugitives that were come to them, and inquired of them what miseries had happened abroad, when their breath was so short, and hot, and quick, that of itself it declared the great distress they were in; yet did they talk big under their misfortunes, and pretended to say that they had not fled away from the Romans, but came thither in order to fight them with less hazard; for that it would be an unreasonable and a fruitless thing for them to expose themselves to desperate hazards about Gischala, and such weak cities, whereas they ought to lay up their weapons and their zeal, and reserve it for their metropolis… But for John, he was very little concerned for those whom he had left behind him, but went about among all the people, and persuaded them to go to war, by the hopes he gave them. He affirmed that the affairs of the Romans were in a weak condition, and extolled his own power. He also jested upon the ignorance of the unskillful, as if those Romans, although they should take to themselves wings, could never fly over the wall of Jerusalem, who found such great difficulties in taking the villages of Galilee, and had broken their engines of war against their walls. These harangues of John’s corrupted a great part of the young men, and puffed them up for the war.”

In this regard, we can also note that Eleazar ben Simon, the Zealot leader who was in Jerusalem for the entire war (until he was killed in April 70 AD), was known for his “tyrannical temper” (Wars 2.20.3). A man like that may also very well have had a mouth like a lion.

Mark Mountjoy provides this summary of the Greek, Medo-Persian, and Babylonian traits of the beast (New Testament Open University; January 24, 2017):

“Here are some fascinating tid-bits: The Zealots correspond to the leopard traits of the beast. As thorough-going Hellenists they warred against each other just like Alexander’s generals fought tooth and nail after he died. Leopards hunt at night and are swift and stealthy. The Sicarii correspond to the bear traits. The small knife they carried and were infamous for (and even named after) came from Persia (the bear). Unlike the Zealots (who were swift and prone to infighting), the Sicarii were slow and, after the initial wins in Jerusalem, retired to Masada for the duration of the war. I would say that John Gischala and his initial leadership of the beast corresponds to the Babylonians. His boast about the Romans being unable to fly over the walls of Jerusalem even if they had eagle’s wings (Wars 4.3.1:121-127) makes one think of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride for the grand architecture and gardens of Babylon. And John Gischala, (like Belshazzar) went into the Holy Place and used God’s utensils and the priestly oil and wine in a sacrilegious way (Wars 5.13.6:562-565).”

[The dragon gave its power to the beast]: In the last part of verse 2 we see the statement that “the dragon gave him [the beast] his power, his throne, and great authority.” This statement takes us back to Revelation 12, where John saw “a great, fiery red dragon” that had seven heads, ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads (Rev. 12:2) just like the beast (Rev. 13:1). That dragon had his own angels (Rev. 12:7), was kicked out of heaven (Rev. 12:8), and was cast to the earth (Rev. 12:9). He was also called “that serpent of old”, “the Devil,” and “Satan” (Rev. 12:9).

Notice that the dragon’s primary activity was accusing the brethren: “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down” (Rev. 12:10). This trait is another strong indication that the dragon gave his power, throne, and authority to a Jewish beast rather than to a Roman beast. The following Scripture passages demonstrate a repeated pattern among the Jewish authorities of accusing Jesus and His followers during the New Testament period (my thanks goes to Steven Haukdahl for initially sharing a similar list with me):

Matthew 12:10, 27:12, 27:37;
Mark 3:2, 15:3-4, 15:26;
Luke 11:54, 23:2, 23:10, 23:14;
John 8:6, 18:29;
Acts 22:30, 23:28-29, 24:2; 24:8, 24:13; 25:5, 25:11, 26:2, 26:7

Also note that Peter gave the following warning to his readers: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). Interestingly, the prophet Zephaniah said this about Jerusalem in his day: “Her princes in her midst are roaring lions; her judges are evening wolves that leave not a bone till morning” (Zephaniah 3:3). The Judaizers in Peter’s day, who were like “natural brute beasts,” apparently were known for bringing “a reviling accusation” against God’s people, which even the angels would not do (II Peter 2:11-12; Jude 8-10).

When the Zealots gained control of Jerusalem during the Jewish-Roman War, they displayed this same trait by frequently bringing accusations against the people, even killing those whom they merely suspected of having any sympathy toward Rome (Wars 5.1.5). During the Zealot siege of early 68 AD, the Zealots, with the help of the Idumeans, set up “fictitious tribunals and judicatures” to falsely accuse their enemies:

“And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of barely killing men, so they had the impudence of setting up fictitious tribunals and judicatures for that purpose; and as they intended to have Zacharias the son of Baruch, one of the most eminent of the citizens, slain, – so what provoked them against him was, that hatred of wickedness and love of liberty which were so eminent in him: he was also a rich man, so that by taking him off, they did not only hope to seize his effects, but also to get rid of a man that had great power to destroy them. So they called together, by a public proclamation, seventy of the principal men of the populace, for a show, as if they were real judges, while they had no proper authority. Before these was Zacharias accused of a design to betray their polity to the Romans, and having traitorously sent to Vespasian for that purpose. Now there appeared no proof or sign of what he was accused; but they affirmed themselves that they were well persuaded that so it was… So two of the boldest of them fell upon Zacharias in the middle of the temple, and slew him…” (Wars 4.5.4).

After the Zealots eliminated the prominent men whom they considered to be threats, Josephus described how they suspected, targeted, and accused anyone and everyone:

“…and indeed there was no part of the people but they found out some pretense to destroy them; for some were therefore slain, because they had had differences with some of them; and as to those that had not opposed them in times of peace, they watched seasonable opportunities to gain some accusation against them; and if any one did not come near them at all, he was under their suspicion as a proud man; if any one came with boldness, he was esteemed a contemner of them; and if any one came as aiming to oblige them, he was supposed to have some treacherous plot against them; while the only punishment of crimes, whether they were of the greatest or smallest sort, was death” (Wars 4.6.1).

The Roman siege of Jerusalem began in mid-April AD 70. As it heated up, Simon and John worked together in the most sinister way, falsely accusing people of plotting against them, attempting to betray Jerusalem to the Romans, or attempting to flee to the Romans. Josephus says that they passed these victims back and forth between each other:

“For the men that were in dignity, and withal were rich, they were carried before the tyrants themselves; some of whom were falsely accused of laying treacherous plots, and so were destroyed; others of them were charged with designs of betraying the city to the Romans; but the readiest way of all was this, to suborn [hire] somebody to affirm that they were resolved to desert to the enemy. And he who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon was sent back again to John, as of those who had been already plundered by Jotre, Simon got what remained; insomuch that they drank the blood of the populace to one another, and divided the dead bodies of the poor creatures between them; so that although, on account of their ambition after dominion, they contended with each other, yet did they very well agree in their wicked practices” (Wars 5.10.4).

Josephus recorded many other instances of the Zealots and Jewish leaders accusing their enemies, including the following examples: Wars 1.5.3; 1.9.2; 1.10.1; 1.12.4-5 (“accused the brethren”); 1.16.7; 1.22.3; 1.23.1, 3, 4; 1.24.6, 8; 1.26.2-5; 1.27.1-3, 5-6; 1.29.2-3; 1.32.4, 6; 1.33.4; 2.2.1, 4-6; 2.6.1-2; 2.9.5-6; 2.14.3, 5; 2.21.2, 7; 4.4.3; 4.5.4; 4.6.17.2.1; 7.3.3; 7.10.1; and 7.11.1-3.

In the next post we will look at Revelation 13:3, the mortal wounding of one of the beast’s seven heads, and the healing of that wound. I will also present an overview of the Zealot movement, the movement which I believe was led by those seven heads.

All of the posts in this series can be found at this page.

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15 thoughts on “The Beast Empowered by the Dragon (Revelation 13:1-2)

  1. Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus according to the New Testament, was believed to be a sicarius. Wikipedia.

    // And then it was that the sicarii, as they were called, who were robbers, // Josephus

    Judas was a thief – John 12:6

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  2. Adam–I appreciate your good mind and how you are using it. Your research is superb and so is your writing ability. I cannot add anything to your comments. I am learning from you and I look forward to all your posts. Thank you–Thank you! It would appear you have Jehovah’s help in your work.
    Dean

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  3. Adam, thanks for the mention of me. We agree — contrary to what Full Preterism teaches — that satan (small ‘s’, not a fallen angel, but Jewish adversary) was bound ca. 70 and not before, making Full Preterism (all prophecy fulfilled by 70) WRONG.

    I would like for you and others to give strong consideration to the idea that I think is fact, and that is that “the symbolic thousand years + the little while” of Rev 20:3ff = the time of the “First Resurrection” when all in Christ are raised, before the “rest of the dead.” (Rev 20:5, John’s parenthetical thought). Thus, if all in Christ are not yet raised, then the thousand years + the little while (that I think we are now in) is not over.

    So, the question becomes “If we are in the little while (Rev 20:3) that comes right after satan’s release) when was satan released?” and I think the understanding of “The Abyss” answers that question! ……

    http://thechristianmythbusterseries.com/the-abyss/

    Please give me your thoughts.

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    • You’re welcome. Yes, we agree that not all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. However, I don’t agree that we are now in the little while of Revelation 20:3. I read Lloyd’s article on the abyss, and I think there are some valuable insights in it. I tend to agree with him about the scope and location of the bottomless pit. I disagree with him, though, about the beast being the Roman Empire, Vespasian, etc. I believe the beast was Zealot-led Israel. In fact, it would seem that Lloyd’s insight on the identity of Satan would better fit that idea than the idea that the beast was Roman. This is because Satan gave his power, throne, and authority to the beast (Revelation 13:2), and Lloyd identified Satan as an adversary and accuser related to national Israel/apostate Judaism. I believe that the 1000 years was the time between the First Great Revolt (AD 66-73) and the Second Great Revolt (AD 132-135), and that “the little while” of Rev. 20:3 was the 3.5 years during the Second Great Revolt. When Satan was released, he once again gave his power, throne, and authority to the revived Zealot movement led by Simon Bar Kokhba.

      As an additional observation, I wonder why Lloyd identified “the camp of the saints” as “the Christian west.” If Revelation 20:9 is about this current time, why is the west given consideration over China and the east where there is much growth?

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      • Adam,

        I think I gave you the answers to these in my email to you yesterday, but I shared your remarks about Lloyd’s article to Lloyd and he said to ask you this::

        The answer to Adam’s question is right in the article he cites. If he actually read “The Abyss” he should know the answer.

        Adam also wrote: “I believe the beast was Zealot-led Israel” Ask Adam who/what does the “another beast” of Rev.13:11? And what do the “two horns like a lamb” on this beast represent?

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      • To answer Lloyd’s question about the second beast, I note that the second beast was introduced in Revelation 13:11-17 and was later called “the false prophet” in Revelation 16:13, 19:20, and 20:10. I believe the second beast was the false prophets, collectively.

        In Wars 2.13.4-6 Josephus wrote about various false prophets and deceivers who worked to persuade the people to revolt against the Romans and who killed those who refused to revolt:

        “There was also another body of wicked men gotten together… These were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty…

        for a company of deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly chose slavery ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus the flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.”

        In Wars 6.5.1-2 Josephus talked about how, when the temple was burned down, the number of people killed in that blaze was especially high because so many people listened to the words of a false prophet. Josephus also revealed that this false prophet was one of many false prophets who had been hired by the Zealots to control the people and keep them from fleeing from their control:

        “A false prophet was the occasion of these people’s destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great number of false prophets suborned [hired] by the tyrants to impose on the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting” (Wars 6.5.2).

        So I believe that Revelation 13 describes the close relationship between the Zealot movement and the false prophets who assisted them. They were cast into the lake of fire together at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction (Daniel 7:11; Revelation 19:20), which makes sense if the beast was Jewish but not if the beast was Rome.

        Regarding the “two horns like a lamb” on the second beast, I’m not 100% sure yet, but they may very well have been the two most prominent false prophets, perhaps [1] the “false prophet” mentioned in Wars 6.5.2 (quoted just above) and the Egyptian false prophet that Josephus singled out in Wars 2.13.5.

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  4. Hi Adam,

    Here are a couple of definitions, as I see them, related to some of the comments above:

    “A LITTLE SEASON”: (as in Revelation 20:3) The duration of the “little season” when Satan was released MUST be less than a “long season”. Check Joshua 24:7 for the definition of a long season. Speaking to the nation of Israel about their 40 years of wilderness wanderings, Joshua said, “…and ye dwelt in the wilderness a LONG SEASON.” Therefore, I believe the length of time for Satan’s release in Revelation 20:3 must be less than a 40-year term. This would mean that the 66 years you are proposing between the start of the Great Revolt in AD 66 and the Bar Kokhba revolt beginning in AD 132 is too long a time to qualify.

    A better fit would be the time from Christ’s First Resurrection in AD 33 until AD 66/67 when the demonic world was imprisoned in Jerusalem and then eliminated in AD 70 (Rev. 18:2). That’s a total of 33-34 years for Satan to operate at peak activity until his imprisonment…and his demise that followed. Definitely a little season, compared to the literal 1,000-year millennium that preceded AD 33.

    “TWO HORNS LIKE A LAMB”: (as in Revelation 13:11) Horns have usually represented a military-type power in scripture. If the Judean false prophet (the Land Beast) had two horns like a lamb, I’m convinced these were the #1) Sadducee and #2) Pharisee parties then in power, including their temple captains and guards like the ones that came to arrest Jesus in the garden (John 18:3, Luke 22:52). The horns on a lamb aren’t nearly as intimidating or as powerful as a ram’s, for instance: just as the temple captains didn’t play as large a role, for example, as the two high horns on the ram of the Persian kingdom in Daniel 8:3. The “lamb” imagery would have had an automatic association with the temple for John’s readers.

    “THE DRAGON’S THRONE” (as in Revelation 13:2) Adam, this throne of the dragon (a.k.a. Satan, the Devil, or that Old Serpent), which was given to the Sea Beast along with the dragon’s power and great authority, is one of the major reasons why this Sea Beast cannot be Zealot-led Israel.

    This Revelation 13:2 verse is not the first time we see Satan’s throne mentioned in Revelation. By the rule of first mention, Revelation 2:13 (Interlinear) defines what this throne was. Speaking to the angel of the Pergamos assembly, John says, “I know thy works and where thou dwellest, WHERE THE THRONE OF SATAN IS; and thou holdest fast my name, and not didst deny my faith even in the days in which Antipas my witness faithful [was] who was killed among you, where dwells Satan.”

    This “throne” many believe to be the famous alter of the temple of Zeus in Pergamos. It is about 40 feet tall, with intricate sculpted reliefs depicting the gods battling the Giants, and sat atop the steep 1,000 ft. hillside temple dedicated to Zeus, king of the gods. Since 1930, after being taken apart, this alter was reassembled and housed in the German Pergamum museum in Berlin. Even in Google pictures, it’s impressive.

    Pergamos, as a center of learning and governance, in ancient times contained a library second only to the one in Alexandria. And as with all cities of any level of importance, it had a theater. This theater seated 10,000, with an incline so sharp that it could have originated the “nose-bleed” description for its 80 rows of seats.

    It was briefly the capitol of all Asia before that capitol was transferred to Ephesus. And the city was the first in the east to become an authorized imperial cult center honoring the emperors as gods.

    The famous healing center, the Asklepion in Pergamos that even Roman nobility visited, was built in honor of the god of healing, symbolized by…a serpent.

    Pergamos was once the capitol of the kingdom of Pergamon during the Hellenistic period. It passed into Roman hands in 132 BC without a struggle, as a gift bequeathed to Rome by King Attalus III, who died without an heir. He wished the kingdom succession to be a peaceful one, and knew that Roman control would assure that happening. This gift of the kingdom of Pergamon to Rome is what Revelation 13:2 is speaking about when it says that Satan’s throne was given to the Sea Beast.

    The Sea Beast, therefore, represents the Roman empire – and could not possibly be Zealot-led Israel, since Satan’s throne in Pergamos was never given to Zealot-led Israel.

    I am still convinced there are three beasts portrayed in Revelation, with that Zealot element incorporated within the Revelation 17 wilderness beast with its Judean characteristics (but not the Revelation 13 Sea Beast). A total of three beasts and a dragon operating in the world in those first-century days are the opposing mirror image to the 4 beasts around the throne in heaven (Revelation 4:6-8) that cry “holy, holy, holy” without pause. If the Zealot cause and its leaders are included within the Revelation 17 wilderness beast, that need not eliminate the role Rome played in this end-of-the-age drama. There are quite a few other scriptural proofs of this, but those comments would fit better elsewhere.

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    • Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for your comments. I actually made a mistake in my comment above to “help8940” regarding “the little season” (or “little while”). I mistakenly said that I believe the little season was the period between the First Great Revolt (AD 66 – 73) and the Second Great Revolt (AD 132 – 135). What I meant to say was that I believe the 1000 years was the period between the First Great Revolt and the Second Great Revolt, and that “the little season” of Revelation 20:3 was the 3.5 years of the Second Great Revolt. I’ve edited my comment above to correct that mistake.

      That’s interesting about the history of Pergamos, and how it was given as a gift to Rome. I didn’t know about that. It seems to me that the timing of Revelation 13:2, though, would be very close to the outbreak of the revolt rather than as early as 132 BC. I base this in part on Revelation 12:7-12 and the devil being cast to the earth (“land”?) having great wrath and a short time. It seems that this was the time he gave his power, throne, and authority to the beast in order to act with urgency, having only a short time.

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  5. Hi Adam,

    It is not necessary for Satan’s throne to be given to the Sea Beast around the same time that Satan was cast out of heaven, simply because Rev. 13 follows Rev. 12. The book of Revelation, as you have said yourself, was not written as a strictly linear chronology from the first chapter through the last chapter. It has patterns of recapitulation, and some flashbacks that re-visit historical details of Israel’s past. This zig-zagging back and forth is a bit confusing for us as we read the book, but was a literary technique that John used for a purpose.

    What we have in chapter 13 when it talks about Satan’s throne being given to the Sea Beast is simply a detail from past history (i.e. the Pergamos kingdom being given to Rome in 132 BC) that helps identify who this Sea Beast is. It’s part of its biographical resume, just as the labor pains of the woman in Rev. 12 represent past centuries of distress until the incarnate Christ was born and ascended to His Father’s throne in heaven.

    As for pinpointing the time when Satan was cast out unto the earth, Jesus’ words tell us exactly when that time arrived on the calendar. He warned His disciples and the people of this event five days before the Passover (and His crucifixion). In the middle of speaking about His crucifixion about to come, in John 12:3 He said, “NOW IS THE JUDGMENT OF THIS WORLD:” (kosmos – This is not just the land of Israel alone. It is similar to the judgment in Rev. 12:12, which would be upon the inhabiters of the earth / Israel AND of the sea / Gentile lands.) “NOW SHALL THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD BE CAST OUT.” (This means Satan was cast out of heaven unto the earth with his angels, as in Rev. 12:9, after that first ascension of Christ on the day He was resurrected.)

    The reason why the war in heaven was waged by MICHAEL and his angels – NOT Christ – is because Christ’s body at that time was occupying the grave for 3 days and 3 nights – not yet ascended to the Father in heaven (John 20:17). His spirit was also occupied elsewhere during that time with preaching to the spirits in prison, etc., as in I Peter 3:19-20, and 4:6. Since Christ was not present in heaven during those 3 days and 3 nights, that left Michael to lead the battle with Satan in heaven.

    We have another text that pins down the exact time when Satan was judged and cast out of heaven. It’s found in John 16:8-11. Speaking of the Holy Spirit’s role that it would play, once Christ had gone back to the Father, Christ told the disciples that “WHEN HE IS COME (the Holy Spirit), he will reprove (or convince) the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: …of judgment, because THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS JUDGED.” This means that when Christ was about to depart and go to the Father, the Holy Spirit who was given as a comforter in Christ’s stead would convince the world that the prince of this world (Satan) HAD ALREADY BEEN JUDGED.

    That judgment on Satan occurred when he and his angels were cast out of heaven by Michael and his angels unto the earth (Rev. 12:7-13), after Christ had ascended. The moment that the blood of the Lamb arrived in Heaven, brought there by Christ the high priest, and offered to God on our behalf on heaven’s mercy seat, Satan lost any legal grounds he once had to accuse the brethren before God’s throne. This shed blood of the Lamb which overcame Satan was offered in heaven the morning after Christ’s resurrection, in AD 33.

    Once Satan and his angels were evicted from heaven’s realm for all time, his “short time” of “great wrath” began on earth, and I believe lasted until his imprisonment in Jerusalem along with “every unclean spirit” in AD 66 (Rev. 18:2). Remember the record of both Tacitus and Josephus about the remarkable AD 66 Passover phenomenon, when a great voice was heard from the temple saying, “Let us depart hence”. This, I believe, was the evacuation of every righteous angel, which left the temple and Jerusalem empty of their holy presence, and wide open for the imprisonment of every unclean spirit within its walls.

    These unclean spirits would also be joined by the living presence of the Scarlet Beast of the wilderness (with its Zealot groups), and the Judean False Prophet Beast (who had been aligned with the Roman Sea Beast earlier). Both of these were cast into the city to prey upon each other (Rev. 19:19,20). It was the “house” that had been swept clean by Christ and his disciples and left empty that the unclean spirits returned to in sevenfold numbers, making the last state of Jerusalem worse than its first condition. If these unclean spirits possessed the men who were part of the two Judean beasts, then in whatever location those men were concentrated, the unclean spirits possessing them were confined also. This is how God could “imprison” these unclean spirits in Jerusalem during those last days.

    As for the duration of the 1,000 years which you also touch on above, Adam; when you state that the 1,000 years of Rev. 20 is the block of time between the First Great Revolt (AD 66-73) and the Second Great Revolt (AD 132-135), you give yourself the same problem as every other interpreter who tries to make this thousand years any length of time except for a literal 1,000 years. If it’s not literal, then the meaning can never be nailed down with any confidence. Your interpretation can legitimately be challenged by anyone who thinks they have a better metaphor for this number than you do.

    Why not let it be the exact 1,000-year limited term that expired with the First Resurrection in AD 33, when Christ, the Firstborn / the Firstfruits / the First-begotten One ascended to the Father?

    It’s really simple: the millennium ended when Christ ascended, and the devil descended.

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    • Hi Patricia,

      Thank you for your further thoughts on this and for thinking through Jesus’ words about when Satan would be judged. The primary reason why I can’t see the 1000 years expiring in AD 33 is because of Revelation 20:4, which says,

      “And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.”

      It was the saints who refused to worship the beast who reigned for 1000 years. So the 1000 years couldn’t have ended several decades before allegiance to the beast’s mark and image was demanded. It seems that the 1000 years couldn’t have even begun, much less ended, before that time. To me, this verse gives every indication that the 1000 years began around AD 70 after the beast’s 42 months of authority and war on the saints (Revelation 13:5-8; Daniel 7:25). And Revelation 20:10 seems to confirm this idea by picturing Satan being cast into the lake of fire where the beast and false prophet already were.

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  6. Hi Adam,

    This passage about the millennium I suppose could be compared to the Gordian Knot that no one could unravel. There have been so many views on how it should be interpreted by so many godly men and women over the centuries. Just how I could have the utter presumption to think I’ve got it figured out when so many have wracked their brains in the attempt – I’m sure it appears to be a case of absolute vanity on display.

    What I have tried to do is to place the confiding hand of a child on God’s promise in Psalms 28:5 that “…they that seek the Lord understand all things”, and believe with all my heart that God will honor this promise to me – sooner or later – if I keep my eyes fixed on His face.

    I am so thankful, Adam, that words and writing are your stock-in-trade, and that you have the patience to slowly digest what you read. Did you also, like me, really enjoy sentence diagramming in English class? I hope so, because that is the process you need to use when parsing these critical sentences in Rev. 20:4-6 – particularly verse 4. And the version that has helped me the most to sift through this and make sense of it has been the Interlinear version.

    To set the stage in Revelation 20:4, these thrones with certain unnamed ones sitting on them, and with the power of judgment given to them, are none other than a post-ascension fulfillment of Christ’s promise to the disciples in Luke 22:30. “And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and SIT ON THRONES JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.” Notice, this was to be fulfilled at a time when there were still intact tribes of Israel in existence. Also, the same promise was given in Matthew 19:28, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration” (after Christ’s resurrection) “when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory” (as he was already sitting enthroned by the time of Acts 2:30-36) “ye also shall SIT UPON TWELVE THRONES, JUDGING THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL.”

    These twelve thrones of judgment that the disciples were to symbolically sit upon are merely an antitype reflection of an OT precedent. Look far back at Psalms 122:3-5 (LXX) as David described the original type for these thrones. “Jerusalem is built as a city whose fellowship is complete. For thither the tribes went up, the tribes of the Lord, as a testimony for Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. FOR THERE ARE SET THRONES FOR JUDGMENT, even thrones for the house of David.”

    David was speaking about the judicial process that OT Israel went through every time there was a case too hard for local leaders to settle. In Deuteronomy 17:8-13, the individuals with a controversy were to show up at the Lord’s house (whether Shiloh, Jerusalem, etc.), and let the priests and the judge in those days render a decision on the matter. This final decision was to be followed to the letter, or the individual who disobeyed the ruling would die.

    In the days of the early church, Peter and the rest of the twelve disciples rendered the same type of judgment on church matters of controversy. Ananias and Sapphira who literally died as a result of their deception were one such case. Another was the circumcision controversy after which a set of decrees on the matter was circulated among the assemblies. Acknowledging that Gentiles had been granted the gift of the Holy Spirit was another, setting up deacons to solve the question of widows’ care – and so on.

    All this was when the twelve tribes of Israel were still in existence. The fact that these were the twelve thrones of the disciples doing the judging of the twelve tribes helps to anchor the context of the Revelation 20:5-6 discussion of the “First Resurrection”. The context for that First Resurrection is centered on those days when Christ left them in charge of shepherding and judging church matters in Jerusalem after Pentecost in AD 33.

    Now for the next tricky clause of Revelation 20:4b (Interlinear) that would actually make better sense to us if we diagrammed this sentence. The subject of this sentence is “I” (John); the verb is “saw”; the compound direct objects are the “thrones” and the “souls”. The term “souls” indicates we are discussing those who have died. The Interlinear reads this way: “and the souls of those beheaded on account of the testimony of Jesus” (a group like John the Baptist) “and on account of the word of God” (ANOTHER type of group who were martyred before Jesus was incarnate, such as the prophets Queen Jezebel had slain) “AND” (here is yet ANOTHER third group that John saw who were not necessarily martyred or beheaded – they may have simply died of natural causes) “those who did not do homage to the beast nor his image” (this has to be the Roman Sea Beast, because of that transferred Pergamos throne of Satan which was given to Rome in 133/132 BC) ” and did not receive the mark upon their forehead, and upon their hand; and they lived and reigned with Christ the thousand years.” So, there are three objects of the preposition “of” which John saw: #1, souls of those beheaded for Jesus’ testimony, #2, souls of those beheaded for the word of God, and #3, souls of those who didn’t do homage to the beast. These three groups allow for a spread of witnesses over a literal thousand years of time.

    There are a couple presumptions made about the third group of souls that John saw who did not do homage to the Sea Beast. This Sea Beast, if Roman, (as I am positive it has to be) did not spring into existence 42 months before AD 70 ended. This Roman Sea Beast had homage paid to it long before then. I would say it probably dated from when Herod gave his fawning allegiance to Rome and was given senatorial sanction for his reign – a point at which the clay in the feet of Daniel’s image aligned itself with the iron Roman kingdom in a strained, forced amalgamation of elements that never quite bonded to each other.

    The second presumption made about all three of these groups of souls is that they all reigned collectively for 1,000 years total from start to finish. They didn’t. The context doesn’t demand that. The literal 1,000-year millennium of physical temple worship could be compared to a sort of drop-in party (from Solomon’s temple foundation in 968/967 BC through AD 33, when Christ the True temple foundation stone was laid down). Martyred souls of the prophets and saints periodically were added to the number of those martyred previously during this entire literal 1,000 years when Satan’s deception of the nations was bound. All these saints or prophets had a natural life term on earth, living and serving the reign of Christ – just not all simultaneously. Each “reigned in life” individually with Christ (as in Romans 5:17) at some time during The Thousand Year period, and then were martyred or died naturally in their turn, and were followed by others.

    You might want to take note of the various chapters in Psalms where the Lord’s reign is emphasized. There is a notable increase in the mention of the Lord’s reign starting in Psalms 93:1, “The LORD reigneth; he is clothed with majesty…”, and Psalms 96:10, “Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth:”, and Psalms 97:1, “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice…”, and Psalms 99:1, “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble…” Now, we could say that the Lord has ALWAYS reigned, and that would be true. But the main emphasis of the Revelation 20 millennium is not that the Lord’s reign has a stop and start point, but that SATAN had a stop and start point to his being bound with a chain, limiting his ability to deceive the nations.

    That starting point of the literal 1,000 years was alluded to by an aging King David in Psalms 102:11-15. “My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. But thou, O Lord, shalt endure forever; and thy remembrance to all generations. Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: FOR THE TIME TO FAVOR HER, YEA, THE SET TIME IS COME. For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof. So the heathen shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory.” (as they would do when the soon-to-come glory of his son Solomon’s kingdom was established along with the temple Solomon would build, starting in 968/967 BC).

    This “set time” that David mentions is not just any time, but a particular season (kairos) designed for a particular purpose. I believe that purpose was to launch the millennium in Zion / Jerusalem, with the foundation stone of Solomon’s temple being laid down. This date can be pinned down as closely as 968/967 BC by using the dates for the kings of Tyre (Hiram, to be exact, who helped Solomon with temple supplies). This list of Tyrian kings comes to us from Menander of Ephesus’ record as mentioned by Josephus in “Against Apion”. And that date comes precisely 1,000 literal years before Christ’s crucifixion and ascension in AD 33 – with no metaphors required to define this period of time.

    At the completion of this literal 1,000 years, the small remnant of the dead “lived again”. I like the way John bluntly explains this remnant living again after the millennium had expired – “This is the First Resurrection” – as if that brief statement by itself cleared up any uncertainty in what his audience was hearing. I can just see John’s readers slapping their foreheads as the light bulb went on, “Well, duhhh! – we all know what the First Resurrection was. It was Jesus and that bunch of saints we know about that came out of the grave the same time He did. Okay, John, now we get your point.”

    As for what that Sea Beast’s image and mark was in Revelation 13, it wasn’t the Roman Sea Beast who demanded homage for itself. The two-horned Land Beast (composed of the Pharisee and Sadducee parties) was the one who enforced this homage on behalf of the Roman Sea Beast. Whether their heart was in it or not, all those in Israel were required to give nominal submission to the Roman Sea Beast every time they paid their annual Temple Tax half shekel using the pagan Tyrian shekel. Adam, you can appreciate the significance of what minting coinage means. It is the symbol of a sovereign nation in operation, which is why the Zealots immediately started minting their own coinage during the years of the First Great Revolt (AD 66-70).

    The pagan Tyrian shekel had the image of Hercules / Herakles on the front, and on the reverse side the Roman eagle with the initials “KP”, standing for “Kratos Romaion”, meaning “Power of the Romans”. In spite of the forbidden pagan images on it, this coin was highly esteemed for the purity of its silver content. By Jewish law, the images on this coin were actually an abomination, as we find in Deuteronomy 7:25-26. Moses had originally given instructions to Israel when they were about to enter Canaan, saying, “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: THOU SHALT NOT DESIRE THE SILVER OR GOLD THAT IS ON THEM, NOR TAKE IT UNTO THEE, lest thou be snared therein; FOR IT IS AN ABOMINATION TO THE LORD THY GOD.” They were to “utterly abhor it, for it is a cursed thing.”

    Was this prohibition against using the silver or gold from pagan images ever enforced in scripture? We need only ask Achan, who hid silver shekels of Jericho and other treasure in his tent and suffered the consequences for it. Not only did Achan and his family and belongings all perish and get burned, but some 36 innocent Israelites also lost their lives in the battle of Ai before Achan admitted his guilt.

    Yet in spite of the Jews knowing God’s mind about this offense, this Tyrian shekel was not only used freely for buying and selling temple sacrifices – it ended up actually being the REQUIRED currency for that annual temple tax. This requirement was in place, giving nominal homage to the Roman Sea Beast, LONG BEFORE that last 42 months ending in AD 70. This violation of Moses’ law was operating in Christ’s days, as we see clearly evidenced in Matthew 17:25. That means the mark of the Roman Sea Beast had been imposed by the Judean Land Beast BEFORE the end of the millennium in AD 33 when Christ resurrected and ascended to the Father.

    The fear of running afoul of the two-horned Land Beast (the Sadducees and Pharisees) and being kicked out of the synagogue was a very real controlling factor for the Jews. Being banned from the synagogue was not only an extreme hardship, but could be a virtual death sentence as well. They were “cut off” from their fellow-Jews and could expect no support from them, which is what happened to the blind man healed by Christ on the Sabbath (John 9:34).

    Adam, I’ll have to give yet another apology for hogging your comment section. I hope this at least gives you a clear idea of what angle I’m coming from, whether you agree with it or not. You have put so much honest effort into your studies on the Beast that I feel a bit guilty for using your own webspace to post comments of disagreement on the two Beasts versus the three Beasts idea. You are still one of my most favorite websites, though :- ).

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