The Seven Headed Beasts

There are three beasts in Revelation that are described as having seven heads and ten horns, namely:

  • the Dragon (Revelation 12);
  • the Sea Beast (Revelation 13) and
  • the Scarlet Beast on which the harlot sits (Revelation 17)

Commentators agree these are not literal beasts.  Because they all have seven heads and ten horns there must be some relationship between them.  What are these beasts?  How they relate to each other?  Are they the same, or do they symbolize different things?

DANIEL 7

While the beasts of Revelation each have 7 heads and 10 horns, the beasts of Daniel 7 have, in total, 7 heads and 10 horns.  The beasts of Daniel 7 are:

  • a lion (7:4);
  • a bear (7:5);
  • a leopard with four heads (7:6) and;;
  • a “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” beast with ten horns (Dan 7:7).

The 7 heads and 10 horns of the beasts of Revelation means that they have some relationship to the beasts of Daniel 7.  It implies that they are part of the series of beasts in Daniel 7.  This series of beasts of Daniel 7 are represented by a single image of a man in Daniel 2, where each body part represents an empire.  The head is the first (the ancient Babylonian empire) and the feet are the last, to be destroyed by the return of Christ.  Where-as the beasts of Daniel 7 emphasize their individuality, the image in Daniel 2 indicates that, from God’s perspective, they all form part of a single entity.  It may be more appropriate to compare the beasts of Revelation to this image of a man.  It is proposed that all three seven headed beasts in Revelation are different perspectives on the image of Daniel 2.

To make the relationship between Daniel’s and Revelation’s beasts completely clear, Revelation 13 tells us that the Sea Beast “was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the Dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority” (13:2 NASB).  The leopard, bear and lion are the first three beasts of Daniel 7, while “Dragon” would be a good description for the fourth beast of Daniel 7.  This means that the Sea-beast inherits something from each of the four beasts of Daniel 7.  It seems therefore abundant­ly clear that the beasts of Revelation are part of the series of beast-kingdoms described in Daniel.  They provide additional information about the empires represented by Daniel, and as we shall see, particularly about the last empire.

The discussion of Daniel 7 identifies the beasts as follows:

  1. Lion = Babylonian Empire
  2. Bear = Mede-Persian Empire
  3. Leopard = Grecian Empire
  4. Dragon = Roman Empire

However, the main actor in the drama of Daniel 7 is neither of these four.  Most of the verses in Daniel 7 describe a fifth power, namely the 11th horn that grows out of the fourth beast (Dan 7:8).  An analysis of Daniel 7 will show that this chapter allocates more verses to this 11th horn than perhaps of all four beasts put together.  This 11th horn is the focal point of Daniel 7, and the four beasts are described as its predecessors merely so that we may be able to identify this horn.

Initially there are 10 horns that grow on Daniel’s fourth beast.  This is explained as “out of this kingdom (Roman Empire) ten kings will arise” (Dan 7:24).  The Roman Empire came to its end over hundreds of year as its territory was systematically eroded.  The ten horns represent the nations that were formed as the Empire dissolved.  Since “king” and “kingdom” are synonyms in Daniel (Dan 7:17, 23), each of the ten horns may be understood as a kingdom; a series of kings.

Then an eleven horn will arise from the Roman Empire.  It dominates the other kingdoms (Dan 7:20, 24), “speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One” (Dan 7:25).  Daniel 7 predicts that this 11th horn will be the most significant opposition to God and to His people of all time.  It will become so important that a court that will sit in heaven to judge between this horn and God’s people (7:26, 9-11 and 14).  At the return of Christ this 11th horn will be destroyed (7:26, 11), and the everlasting kingdom will be given to the saints (7:27) and to the Son of man (7:13-14).  This 11th horn will therefore be a continuation (horn) of the Roman Empire in some way, and will exist until the return of Jesus.

It is proposed here that this 11th horn is the Church of Rome.  About 200 years ago arguably all Protestant commentators accepted this interpretation.  Today more or less nobody believes it anymore.  Over the last 200 year the Church of Rome has not been able to destroy Bibles and persecute the saints, but it has been able to erase from human memory most of what it did during the Middle Ages.  Today it is no longer socially acceptable to identify this Church with the great persecuting power of Daniel.

In academic circles Antiochus Epiphanies IV has been awarded this honour, based on the assumption that Daniel was not written, as the book indicates, in the time of ancient Babylon, in the sixth century before Christ, but that it was written in the time of Antiochus in about 165 BC.  This view is not accepted here.  The present author has made a study of when Daniel was written, and sufficient evidence exists in the book itself, such as the amazing historical accuracy of the fifth chapter, and outside the book, such as in the Dead Sea scrolls, that Daniel was written in the sixth century B.C.  A lengthy article is available on this topic.

In non-academic circles the dispensationalist view is dominant, postponing the Antichrist to a future seven year period after a secret rapture.

Today there is considerable resistance against any conspiracy theory.  People do not want to believe that there exists today a massive conspiracy to brain wash the peoples of the world.  People, even Christians, no longer believe in the existence of Satan, and therefore they do not believe in any form of conspiracy.  But Revelation warns us “those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality” (17:2).  It is maintained here, against the massive resistance, that the Roman Church is the 11th horn of Daniel 7.

Just think about the macro sequence of the Daniel 7 prophecy.  Four empires are described, the fourth being Rome.  Rome will break up into a large number of nations, and the Antichrist will be among them; stronger than the others, but still among them.  This requires an Antichrist that fit this sequence.  Neither the Antiochus nor futuristic theories fit this pattern.  It has been proposed above that we are informed of this sequence of beasts in order that we may be able to identify the 11th horn.  But the Antiochus and futuristic interpretations separate the 11th horn form its ancestry.

Also consider the continuity between Rome and the Antichrist; Rome will continue to exist until the return of Christ.  In Daniel 2 Rome is represented by the legs of iron.  In the feet Rome continues because the feet are made partly of iron and partly of clay, until the image is struck at it feet by Christ’s return, which vaporises the whole image (Dan 2:45).  In Daniel 7 the great persecuting power is a horn that grows on the fourth beast, and this horn continues its evil work until the return of Christ.  Antiochus and an Antichrist that will exist after a secret rapture do not satisfy the requirement of continuity with Rome.  But the Roman Church does.  It is a direct descendent from the Roman Empire.  As Rome became weaker and weaker, the Church grew stronger and stronger.  In this way, over time, the Pope replaced the Caesars, and inherited many of their titles.

Today people do not want to think any more about the history of the Roman Church, how it actively destroyed Bibles and killed God’s people.  The Roman Church is not the continuation of the early church.  The Roman Church developed in the church in Rome, and in an effort to become acceptable, it adopted heathen theories.  It became strong.  It even became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and was able to systematically destroy the remnant of the true church.  It replaced the gospel with a different religion; one where one is able to buy salvation; one that is based on the ancient mother-child religion from the time of Nimrod and Semiramis.  It has become a church that is based on wealth, splendour and power, mesmerizing the world with it dignity, power and wealth.

Since the reformation the Roman Church has been able to institute a counter reformation, and both theories, namely Antiochus and the futuristic Antichrist, have been developed by the counter-reformation.  It has been so successful that today very few people identify the Roman Church any longer as the Antichrist of Daniel.  However, consider the identifications provided by Daniel:

TEN KINGS:  According to Daniel 7 “ten kings” will arise out of “this kingdom”  (Rome) (v24).  Rome did break up into a large number of nations, such as the Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Vandals.  This, by itself, was a remarkable prophecy, made long before it happened, even if one assume Daniel was written in 165 BC, because each of the previous empires were conquered by one single mighty nation.  Babylon was conquered by Mede-Persia, Mede-Persia by Greece, and Greece by Rome.  In contrast, Rome’s end came over hundreds of years, as the “barbarian nations” eroded it from all sides.  This break-up happens before the 11thhorn became dominant.  How does this fit the Antiochus or the futuristic interpretations?  The text of the prophecy is completely incompatible with these interpretations. The Antiochus interpretation is based on the proposal that Media is the second empire, Persia the third and Greece the fourth,  which is contrary to the direct statement of the angel in Daniel 8:20, and contrary to the consistent information in Daniel that Mede-Persia was a single empire.  But even if we accept their proposal that Media and Persia be split, what are the 10 horns on Greece?  In Daniel 8 Greece is represented as a goat with four horns, not ten.  And where to you find 10 horns that fit the futuristic interpretation?  Remember that this Antichristian power of Daniel 7 subdues three of the horns.  What three horns are subdues by Antiochus or by an end time Antichrist?The point is that there are identifying marks in Daniel, and we have to use them to identify the Antichrist, and not be guided by politically acceptable notions.

AFTER THEM:  The eleventh horn will arise “after them” (v24).  Initially the Roman Church was purely a church.  It was only later that it also assumed political authority over other nations.  After what ten horns did Antiochus or will an end time Antichrist arise?

DIFFERENT:  “He will be different from the previous ones” (v24), which the Roman Church was, being partly religious, partly political.

SUBDUE THREE:  The 11th horn “will subdue three kings” (v24).  Certain Arian nations (Heruldi, Vandals and Ostrogoths), not believing in the deity of Christ, opposed the Church.  They were subdued before the Church was able to become dominant.  But these nations did continue to exist.  In the end all 11 horns existed simultaneously.  How does this satisfy the Antiochus or futuristic interpretations?

LARGER:  The 11th horn is “larger in appearance than its associates” (v20).  During the long dark period of history known as the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church dealt with a high hand.  She made and unmade kings:

Emperors and kings had to … be in communion with the Pope, as essential conditions of their reigning lawfully; if these conditions were broken, of which the Pope was the judge, then … he could … declare their ruler unfit to reign. [Cath Dic, 257]

Sixtus V (Cath. Ency. I729) excommunicated Protestant Henry of Navarre, and sent an army to unseat him.  Sixtus promised the Spanish King a subsidy for the Armada, with which England was to be subjugated.  Let’s take a look at how Pope Gregory compels King Henry to freeze three days before he would receive him:

Striped of his royal robes, and clad as a penitent, Henry had to come barefooted mid ice and snow, and crave for admission to the presence of the pope. All day he remained at the door of the citadel, fasting and exposed to the inclemency of the wintry weather, but was refused admission. A second and third day he thus humiliated and disciplined himself, and finally on 28 January, l077, he was received by the pontiff and absolved from censure, but on condition that he would appear at the proposed council and submit himself to its decision. Cath. Ency. VI, 794

Imagine the head of a significant nation today having to ask the pope for forgiveness in this way.  All of this shows how arrogant the Catholic Church was during the dark ages and how she ruled over the kingdoms of Europe.

WAR WITH THE SAINTS:  The 11th horn was “waging war with the saints and overpowering them” (v21).  Rome’s long history was marked with the shedding of the blood of saints.  In 1208 Pope Innocent III warred against the Waldines and Albigines (Bohemian Brethren), in which one million perished. From the beginning of the Jesuits 1540-1580 it is estimated that 900,000 were destroyed through papal cruelty.  One hundred fifty thousand perished by the inquisition in thirty years.  In the low lands 50,000 persons were hanged, beheaded, burned alive or buried alive for the crime of heresy (Christianity).  Within 38 years from the edict of Charles V, 18,000 were executed.  The Popes tried to put down the reformation in Germany and Switzerland.  One might consider the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Martyrdom of John Calas, John Wycliff, John Huss, Jerome of Prague, Tyndale, Luther, Persecutions in Germany, France, Scotland, England, Ireland, persecution of Quakers. The historian W.E. H. Lecky says, “The Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a complete knowledge of history.” Some historians have estimated that the persecuting hands of Rome have been reddened by the blood of fifty million saints. I doubt that anyone can come close to the exact number.

SPEAK AGAINST THE MOST HIGH:  It will “speak out against the Most High” (v25).  This may be found in statements by the Church claiming what belongs to God, for instance: “we (popes) hold on this earth the place of God Almighty.”  Christ “is the head of the body” (Col 1:18), but the pope claims to be head of all churches.  “Christ Jesus … will judge the living and the dead” (2 Tim. 4:1), but the Pope claims to be the Judge of the Living and the Dead.  Jesus promised “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth. (John 14:16-17), but the Pope claim to “hold upon this earth the place of God almighty”.  Jesus said ” do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers” (Mat 23:8), but the church claims that the supreme teacher in the church is the Roman Pontiff.  For more information and references see the section on the Roman Church in the article on Babylon.

ALTER LAW:  It will “intend to make alterations in times and in law” (Dan 7:25).  The Church allows worship of images, and legalised many other sins, such as the forgiveness of sins for a price.  She changed the laws with respect to the Lord’s Supper and enacted celibacy of the clergy.  In 1075 Gregory VII declared all clerical marriages invalid.  This was the greatest mass divorce in history.  She changed the 10 commandments.  The deification of Mary is really the continuation of the ancient Semiramis religion.  The picture of the woman with the child in her arms is really a picture of Semiramis with a child (Tammuz).The Catholic Church acknowledges that its doctrines are not based on the Bible, but on “traditions”.  First Timothy 4:1‑5 gives us one of the primary doctrines of the Antichrist, namely celibacy among the priests.  This has led to horrible atro­cities in the Roman Catholic Church.  In Chiniquy’s book, Fifty Years in the Roman Catholic Church, he says that a young student priest was question­ing a superior about this doctrine of Rome and received the following reply: “You have spoken as a true heretic…you speak of the Holy Scriptures just as a Protestant would.  You appeal to them as the only source of Christian truth and knowledge. Have you forgotten that we have the holy traditionsto guide us, the authority of which is equal to the Scriptures?”Such a position nullified Scripture on the basis of human tradition(Mark7:13).  It refuses to allow people to carry out their responsibility to func­tion as Berean believers, “examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

TIME, TIMES AND HALF:  The “saints … given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time” (v25).  Because the “time, times and half a time” is the period of the prominent horn of Daniel 7 (v25), and because the horns of Daniel 7 are the kingdoms of Europe after Imperial Rome broke up, it is proposed that the “time, times and half a time” is a symbol for the Middle Ages.  The only place outside of Daniel where the phrase “time, times and half a time” appears, is in Revelation 12.  A study of the sequence of seven wars confirms that this is the Middle Ages.  Please read the article “Overview of Revelation 12 to 14” for more information.

It is therefore concluded that the Roman Church fits the identifying marks provided by Daniel, and that the alternative theories do not

The next question is; how do the beasts of Revelation relate to the five empires of Daniel?

DRAGON

The first seven-headed beast that we come across in Revelation is the “great red Dragon having seven heads and ten horns” (12:3).  It is also the seven-headed beast that disappears last from the scene.  The Sea Beast disappears before the Millennium into the lake of fire (19:20, but the dragon is only thrown into the lake of fire after the Millennium (20:10).

Revelation 12 provides a high level overview of various wars between God and Satan, from the war between the woman and the serpent since the Garden of Eden, until the final great conflict of Revelation 13.  In each of these wars the dragon is the antagonist, even the war in heaven (12:7-12).

In the context of the war in heaven, and when imprisoned during the Millennium, the dragon is specifically identified as Satan (12:7-9; 20:2) and as such exists for all human history.  In this sense it continues to exist beyond the return of Christ (20:2), and only vanishes only from the pages of Revelation when it is thrown in the lake of fire after the Millennium (20:10).

However, when first introduced as standing before the woman, it is presented as having 7 heads and 10 horns (12:3).  Both the heads and the horns are “kings” (17:10, 12).  The dragon therefore also represents kingdoms.  Because it has exactly 7 heads and 10 horns it is part of the continuum of beasts of Daniel 7.  Therefore, when in conflict with the woman’s Child Jesus (12:5), it represents the specific earthly authority at the time of Jesus’s earthly life, namely the fourth kingdom (beast) in Daniel 7, which is the Roman Empire.  This is supported by the observation that “dragon” would be a good name for the fourth beats of Daniel 7.

The article titled “overview of Revelation 12 to 14” indicates that the dragon is involved in various others wars, such as:

  • The war against the woman before the “time, times and half a time” (12:13)
  • The war against the woman during the “time, times and half a time” (12:14, 15)
  • The war against the woman’s “other children” (12:17), which follows after the “time, times and half a time”, and is the war of Revelation 13

As discussed in the article on the overview of Revelation 12 to 14, some of these wars are beyond the time of Imperial Rome.  “Dragon”, in these wars, may then represent either Satan or the continuing influence of the Roman Empire.

SEA BEAST

The Sea-beast is frequently mentioned as working with the Dragon (e.g. 16:13), which means it is not the same as the Dragon.  The Sea Beast is here identified as the 11th horn of Daniel 7, namely the Roman Church, for the following reasons:

  1. Because the Sea Beast also has 7 heads and 10 horns (13:1) it must, like the dragon, be part of the continuum of empires of Daniel 7.
  2. The Sea Beast inherits something for each of the first four beasts of Daniel 7 (compare Rev 13:2 with the beasts of Daniel 7):
    • like a leopard (Greece);
    • feet were like those of a bear (Medo-Persia);
    • mouth like the mouth of a lion (Babylon);
    • throne and great authority from the dragon (Rome)  (13:2)

Because the Sea-beast inherits something from each of the four animals of Daniel 7, it must come in existence after them.  Therefore it is the fifth; namely the 11th horn.

  1. It is the Dragon that calls up the Beast from the Sea (13:1) and the Dragon gave the Sea Beast his power and his throne and great authority (13:2).  This implies that the Sea Beast is the Dragon’s successor.  Since the dragon is the Roman Empire (when represented as having seven heads and ten horns), and since the 11th horn is the real successor of the Roman Empire (Daniel 7), the Sea Beast is the 11th horn.
  2. Further comparisons of the 11th horn with the Sea-beast will verify this conclusion.
    • Both persecute the saints for “a time, times, and half a time” (Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5).  (Comparing 12:6 to 12:14 proves that “a time, times, and half a time” is equal to 1260 days, and 42 months x 30 days = 1260 days.)
    • Both overpower the saints (Dan 7:21; Rev 13:7).
    • Both blaspheme God (Dan 7:8, 20; Rev 15:5).

The Sea Beast goes through three phases.  It first arises from the sea, then dies and then is resurrected (13:3, 4).  After its resurrection “the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast” (13:3).  All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain (13:8; 17:8).  We have therefore now effectively identified seven phases:

  1. Babylon
  2. Mede-Persia
  3. Greece
  4. Rome
  5. 11th horn after it arose from the sea
  6. 11th horn after it died
  7. 11th horn resurrected

THE SCARLET BEAST IS DIFFERENT

The Scarlet Beast of Revelation 17 is mentioned briefly in 11:7, but is described more fully in Revelation 17.  The Scarlet Beast is not the same as the Sea Beast of Revelation 13:

They differ in terms of associates:

  • The Sea Beast receives it power from the Dragon (13:2) and gives his authority to the Land Beast (13:12).  In Revelation we often find this evil trio working together (e.g. 16:13; 19:20-20:2).  In contrast the Scarlet Beast is never mentioned as working with or having a relationship with any of this trio.
  • The Scarlet Beast is mentioned with Babylon, while the evil trio (Dragon, Sea Beast and Land Beast) is never mentioned in the same breath as Babylon.  It almost seems as if different sets of symbols are used in Revelation 13 and 17.

In Revelation 13 the people worship the Sea Beast (13:3-4).  The Sea Beast therefore reigns.  In contrast, in Revelation 17 the harlot sits on the Scarlet Beast (17:3).  She therefore rules over the Scarlet Beast (17:18), while the Scarlet Beast is presented in a subservient role.  Therefore, while the Sea Beast rules, the Scarlet Beast is ruled over.

The relationships between the beasts and the peoples of the world are also different.  In Revelation 13 the Sea Beast is worshipped by the people, and is therefore something apart from the people.  In contrast, in Revelation 17 the harlot (Babylon) sits on both the beast and the waters (people—17:1, 15), indicating a close relationship between the beast and the people.

SCARLET BEAST IS …

It is therefore clear that the Scarlet Beast is something very different from the Dragon and the Sea Beast.  But the Scarlet Beast must relate in some way to the beasts of Daniel 7 because it has seven heads and ten horns.  So what is going on?  Observations from the text include:

  1. The Scarlet Beast exists for all of human history:The harlot is identified in the article on Babylon as “false religion”.  The harlot (Babylon) exists for all of human history because “in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (18:24), and because she is the “mother (origin) of harlots” (17:5).  If she exists for all human history, the same must apply to the scarlet beast.In contrast, the Sea Beast of Revelation 13 is a specific organisation, coming into existence at a specific point in time, when it comes out of the sea (13:1) of the human population (Daniel 7:3, 17).
  2. The Scarlet Beast represents the “kings of the earth”:The harlot (Babylon) sitting on the Scarlet Beast is explained in 17:18:

“The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth”.

Because the Scarlet Beast represents the “kings” and kingdoms of the world, and because it exists for the whole of human history, it must represent all the kingdoms of Daniel 7.  It cannot be limited to only one of those kingdoms.  It therefore includes both the Dragon and the Sea Beast.

  1. The Sea Beast includes Babylon. This is clear when the Sea Beast “make war with the saints and to overcome them” (13:7), while actually Babylon must carry the blame for all martyr deaths of God’s people (18:24).  This is also indicated by the fact that the Sea Beast is in charge, similar to Babylon.

Revelation 17 therefore presents the anti-God powers for all of human history, but shows that it consists of two components; a political (beast) and a religious (harlot) component, with the religious component reigning over the political.  It is further proposed that the Sea Beast represents that same anti-God power, consisting of both the political and religious components, but limited to one specific organisation in one period of human history.

The symbolism of Revelation 17 informs us that the kingdoms of the world are always under the control of the deceiving influence of Babylon.  Babylon corrupts the minds of the people (17:2) and kills the saints (18:24).  Babylon exists during all the empires of Daniel 7.

One thought on “The Seven Headed Beasts”

  1. Thank you for the good work done by vividly breaking through the prophesy, backed by historical facts concerning the Roman Empire. But I have one issue concerning the SEA being described as a kingdom because Rev13:1 clearly states that the Beast came out the Sea, and the Sea has been described in Rev 17:15, so i wonder how the Sea itself became a kingdom whilst the Beast rose out of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>