The Seven Heads are Daniel’s 4 beasts plus the 3 phases of the 11th horn.

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

There are three beasts in Revelation with seven heads each. The article on the Seven-Headed Beasts identifies them as follows:

    • The Dragon (Rev 12:3) is the Roman Empire.
    • The Sea Beast (Rev 13:1) is another symbol for the 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire.
    • The Scarlet Beast on which the harlot sits (Rev 17:3), is not a specific organization but symbolizes the political governments of the world in general; always dominated by false religion (symbolically, sat on by Babylon).

Another article concluded that these three beasts are three of the seven heads. (These two articles should be read before the current one.) The purpose of the current article is to identify all seven heads. 

The NASB translation of Revelation 17 explains the seven heads as seven consecutive kings:

“The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits,
and they are seven kings;
five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come;
and when he comes, he must remain a little while”
(Rev 17:9-10).

SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

FIVE FOUNDATIONAL PRINCIPLES

(1) Revelation 17:9-10, quoted above, explains the seven heads as seven “kings” that reign ONE AFTER THE OTHER.

(2) In Daniel, and therefore in Revelation, a king represents a kingdom or even AN ENTIRE EMPIRE.

(3) Since each of the three beasts has exactly seven heads and ten horns, the three beasts share THE SAME SEVEN HEADS.

(4) In reality, there is no beast. Only the heads exist. The beast is simply the sum of the heads. The seven heads are seven consecutive phases of Satan’s oppressive rule on earth.

(5) The heads of the beast must be limited to the beasts in Daniel. The first kingdom, therefore, must be the ancient Babylonian Empire, and not Assyria, as some suggest. 

FIRST FIVE HEADS

The comparison of the beasts in Daniel 7 and Daniel 8 identifies the four beasts of Daniel 7 as follows:

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Medo-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire

Based on the principles above, these are the first four of the beast’s seven heads.

Great Red DragonPrevious articles in this series in another way confirm that the dragon is one of the heads. One article identifies the Dragon, WHEN it stands before the woman, ready to kill Jesus as soon as He is born, as the Roman Empire.  Another article concluded that the beasts of Revelation are three of the seven heads. It follows that the Roman Empire is one of the seven heads.

The article on the Seven-Headed Beasts identifies the Sea Beast as another symbol for the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth kingdom, which has been identified as the Roman Empire.  This organization is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation. For that reason, we count the 11th horn as a fifth “kingdom” in Daniel 7. On that basis, the 11th horn is the fifth head. The first five heads, therefore, are:

      1. Babylonian Empire
      2. Medo-Persian Empire
      3. Greece
      4. Roman Empire
      5. The 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire

LAST TWO HEADS

According to Revelation 13:3-4, the fifth kingdom (the Sea Beast or 11th horn) goes through three phases :

1. ALIVE – It exists for a time.
2. DEAD – After receiving a deadly wound.
3. ALIVE – It recovers from the fatal wound).

Revelation 17:9 identifies that the DEAD period as the sixth head.  We, therefore, have the following seven heads/kingdoms:

      1. Babylonian Empires;
      2. Mede-Persian Empire;
      3. Greece;
      4. Roman Empire;
      5. 11th horn that arose from the Roman Empire;
      6. 11th horn mortally wounded (13:3) / In the abyss (17:8);
      7. 11th horn resurrected (13:4); This is when the False Prophet arises “out of the earth” (13:11).

 – END OF SUMMARY – 

THE SEVEN HILLS OF ROME

In the NASB translation, the seven heads are the seven kings:

The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits,
and they are seven kings
(Rev 17:9-10).

In the popular Preterist interpretation—generally the view of Critical Scholars:

      • The seven heads are seven mountains, interpreted as the Seven Hills of Rome.
      • The seven kings are not related to the seven mountains but symbolize seven literal Roman emperors. 

In this interpretation, therefore, the heads and kings are DIFFERENT THINGS. The KJV and NKJV translations of Revelation 17:9-10 do give this impression. For example:

The seven heads are seven mountains,
on which the woman sitteth.
And there are seven kings” (KJV).

The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits.
There are also seven kings.” (NKJV).

However, the words “there” and “also” in these translations do not exist in the Greek. The NASB translation, therefore, is to be preferred. In the NASB, the heads do not exist all at the same time but one after the other:

The seven heads are seven mountains
on which the woman sits,
and they are seven kings;
five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come
(Rev 17:9-10).

This means that the heads/mountains/kings cannot be the the seven hills of Rome, for these hills all exist at the same time.

MOUNTAINS ARE KINGDOMS

This conclusion can be supported by noting that the Bible often uses mountains as symbols for kingdoms and their kings (Isaiah 2:2-3; Jeremiah 17:3; 31:23; 51:24, 25; Ezekiel 17:22-23; Zech. 4:7).  In Habakkuk 3:6, the mountains are the nations that God scattered. 

The stone in Daniel 2 becomes a great mountain (Dan 2:34-35).  This is explained as “a kingdom which will never be destroyed” (Dan 2:44). Also:

In the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills, And all the nations will stream to it” (Isa 2:2 NASB). 

The seven heads, the seven mountains, and the seven kings, therefore, all refer to the same seven things.

PRINCIPLES TO IDENTIFY THE SEVEN HEADS

KINGS ARE EMPIRES.

As discussed in a previous article, in prophetic symbolism, the term “king” represents a “kingdom” or even a world empire, consisting of many kingdoms.

ONE AFTER THE OTHER

Revelation 17:10 (quoted above) explains the seven heads as seven kings (kingdoms) that reign one after the other.

THE SAME SEVEN EMPIRES

Since each of the three beasts has exactly seven heads and ten horns, the three beasts share the same seven heads, pointing to the same seven world empires

THE BEAST IS THE SUM OF THE SEVEN HEADS.

As also discussed in a previous article, apart from the seven heads, there is no beast.  It is only the heads that exist.  The beast is simply the sum of the headsConversely, the seven heads are seven consecutive phases of Satan’s oppressive rule. Everywhere that Revelation says that a beast does something, it is one of the heads (kings) that are doing it.   

ONLY FROM DANIEL

Many interpreters find heads by looking at empires that precede the ancient Babylonian Empire.  It is proposed here that such a procedure is inconsistent with the principle that Revelation is built on Daniel.  According to this principle, ONE SHOULD NOT LOOK OUTSIDE DANIEL for the interpretation of the heads. 

This approach is confirmed by the fact that the beasts of Revelation all have 7 heads and 10 horns, while the beasts in Daniel 7 also have, IN TOTAL, 7 heads and 10 horns. This implies a close relationship between the beasts of Daniel and Revelation. The beasts in Revelation are a continuation of the beasts in Daniel. 

That, however, does not mean that the seven heads of the beast in Revelation are the same as the seven heads in Daniel 7.  For example, Daniel’s third empire (Greece) had four heads (Dan 7:6).  If the seven heads of Revelation’s beast were the same as the seven heads of the beasts of Daniel 7, then the third to sixth heads would be the four Grecian empires, which existed simultaneously.  This would be inconsistent with Revelation 17:10 which indicates that the sixth head follows in time after the fifth.

FIRST FIVE HEADS

Based on the principle that we should identify the heads from the beasts in Daniel, the first kingdom must be the ancient Babylonian Empire and not Assyria.  Then, based on the principles above, the four beasts in Daniel 7 are the first four heads.  They are:

      • Babylonian Empire
      • Medo-Persian Empire
      • Greece
      • Roman Empire (See the article on Daniel 7)

DRAGON

Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon, which is one of the three beasts with seven heads (Rev. 12), as Satan. However, that is in the context of the war in heaven.  When it stands before the woman, ready to devour Christ as soon as He is born, it has seven heads (12:3-4).  That means that, in that context, it is an earthly power.  It then must be the Roman Empire, for that empire ruled when Jesus was born. 

Based on the principle that the beasts of Revelation are heads, this confirms that the Roman Empire is one of the seven heads.

SEA BEAST

The beast that comes out of the sea, with its seven heads (13:1) inherits its characteristics from four other animals:

And the beast which I saw 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.  (Rev 13:2 NASB)

The leopard, bear, and lion are explicitly the first three animals in Daniel 7 (7:3-5).  Daniel 7 does not say what kind of animal the fourth is but describes it as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” (Dan 7:7).  However, for the following reasons, Revelation’s “dragon” is the fourth beast in Daniel 7:

      • It is mentioned together with the first three beasts of Daniel 7.
      • The description of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 (“dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong”) sounds like a dragon. 

The Sea Beast, therefore, inherits something from each of the four beasts in Daniel.  For that reason, as argued in the article on The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation, the Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of Daniel’s fourth empire (the Roman Empire).  These are two different symbols for the same power; the Antichrist. Since it is the main anti-God power in both Daniel and Revelation, and we must regard it as a separate kingdom.  Furthermore, since the beasts of Revelation are heads of the beast, the 11th horn (the sea beast) is the fifth head.

LAST OF THE SEVEN HEADS

Revelation 13 mentions something about the Sea Beast which Daniel does not say about the 11th horn, namely that this beast receives a deadly (13,3), but recovers from that wound to become Satan’s primary agent on earth.  It is the mark of this beast which people will receive in the end-time (13:16).  The deadly wound implies three phases:

1. ALIVE – It exists for a time before receiving the wound.
2. DEAD – After receiving the deadly wound.
3. ALIVE – After it recovers from the fatal wound.

Revelation 17 identifies the wound-period as the sixth head:

Revelation 17:8-10 explains both the seven heads and the beast in terms of the past, the present, and the future:

PAST PRESENT FUTURE
BEAST WAS IS NOT /
IN ABYSS
COME UP FROM ABYSS
HEADS FIVE WAS ONE IS OTHER HAS NOT YET COME

The sixth head is the ‘present’ head, but at ‘present’ the beast is in the Abyss, for it is “about to come up out of the abyss” (v8).  The Abyss-period is, therefore, the 6th head.

It is quite unusual for the powers that oppose God to go through a period of incapacity.  It is therefore likely that the period of incapacity in Revelation 13 (the period of death) is the same as the period of incapacity in Revelation 17 (the “is not” or Abyss-period).

We can prove this, for the following two verses describe what will happen AFTER the beast in Revelation 13 recovers from the deadly wound and after the beast in Revelation 17 comes out of the abyss:

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” (13:8).

Those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast” (17:8).

The similarity of these two verses implies that they refer to the same event, which means that the DEAD-period in Revelation 13 is the same as the Abyss-period in Revelation 17, which is the sixth head.  

CONCLUSION

The foregoing results in the following seven heads:

      1. Babylonian Empires
      2. Medo-Persian Empire
      3. Greece
      4. Roman Empire
      5. 11th horn arose from the Roman Empire
      6. 11th horn mortally wounded (13:3) / in abyss (17:8) / in wilderness (17:3)
      7. 11th horn resurrected in the end-time (13:4) — The time of the False Prophet and Image of the Beast

THE TIME PERSPECTIVE

In Revelation 17, the sixth head of the beast presently “is” (17:9-10). The conclusion above means that the ‘present time’ in Revelation 17 is a long time after Christ’s ascension. This creates a challenge because many commentaries hold that the explanations of the vision in Revelation are always given from the perspective of John’s time, which would require the sixth head (17:8) to be in John’s time.  

However, the article on the fifth seal has concluded that both the seven seals and the seven trumpets have a ‘present time’ with events in the past and events in the future, and in both this time perspective is much later than John’s time:

In the fifth seal, the souls under the altar receive their white robes after many Christians have already been slaughtered but before many more will be killed (Rev 6:9-11). This point in time, when they receive their robes, is much later than John’s time, for it is part of the fifth seal, and the starting point for the seals is Christ’s ascension.

In the trumpets, John has to eat the little book and “prophesy again” (Rev 10:11). This implies that he also prophesied before. Since this is part of the sixth trumpet, and because the trumpets also begin at the Cross, it means that the little book comes down out of heaven (Rev 10:1) much later than John’s time.

THE TIME OF THE END

The article on the fifth seal concluded further that the time perspective in both the seven seals and the seven trumpets is the beginning of Daniel’s “time of the end,” when Daniel’s prophecies will be understood (Dan 12:4). At that time, both the seal of God (Rev 7:1) and the little book (Rev 10:1) comes down out of heaven, causing the subsequent sealing (Rev 7:1-8), prophesying (Rev 10:11) and final persecution (Rev 6:11).

It is further proposed that the entire book of Revelation is presented to us from the time perspective of the beginning of “the time of the end.” This would also be the time perspective of Revelation 17, when the beast “is about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev 17:8).

AVAILABLE ARTICLES ON REVELATION

INTRODUCTORY
   Why is the title of this website Revelation BY Jesus Christ?
   Are events described in chronological sequence? 
   Is a consistently literal interpretation appropriate?
   Does Revelation present Jesus as God?
   God’s throne – the center of the universe.
BABYLON
   Babylon; the mother of harlots
   Babylon’s merchants are her false prophets.
   Babylon is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.
   How does Babylon relate to the beast?
SEVEN-HEADED BEASTS
   The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
   The three beasts are three of the seven heads.
   The Seven Heads Identified
REVELATION 13
    13:1-2 – The Beast relates to Daniel 7.
   13:3-4 – The fatal wound
   The identity of the beast
SEVEN SEALS
   Introduction to the Seven Seals – What book is this?
   Seven seals explained
   Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?
SEVEN PLAGUES
   The Plagues of Revelation – 16 articles

For further reading, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.

 

 

 

 

The identity of the beasts with seven heads of the Book of Revelation

PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE

Ten horns of the beastIn the Book of Revelation, there are three beasts that each has seven heads and ten horns, namely:

    • The Great Red Dragon that stands before the woman, ready to devour her child as soon as He was born (Rev 12:3-4);
    • The beast that comes up out of the sea (Rev 13:1); and
    • The Scarlet Beast, on which the harlot sits (Rev 17:3).

Given their strange appearance, they cannot be LITERAL beasts. Because they all have seven heads and ten horns, they must be somehow RELATED. Since they are different beasts, they represent different things. What are these beasts? How they relate to each other? Do they symbolize the same or different things? The purpose of this article is to answer these questions.

SUMMARY

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT DANIEL’S BEASTS

Revelation’s beasts provide more information about the beasts of Daniel 7.  This conclusion is based on the following:

Firstly, it is a general principle that later prophecies provide more detail about earlier prophecies.

Secondly, each of the beasts of Revelation has the same number of heads and horns as the beasts in Daniel 7 have in total. This implies a relationship between the beasts in Daniel and Revelation.

Thirdly, the successive beasts in Daniel, finally in the form of the 11th horn, exist until Christ return. Consequently, the beasts in Daniel and Revelation exist simultaneously.

Finally, Revelation 13:2 describes the Sea Beast as inheriting something from each of the four beasts of Daniel 7. 

THE GREAT RED DRAGON

THE DRAGON IN REV 12

In the context of the war in heaven, the Dragon is explicitly identified as Satan (Rev 12:7-9). However, when the dragon is first introduced in Revelation 12 as standing ready to devour Jesus as soon as He is born (Rev 12:4-5), it has seven heads and ten horns (Rev 12:3). Both the heads and the horns represent “kings” (Rev 17:9-10, 12) or kingdoms (Dan 7:17, 23). The dragon, therefore, also represents the earthly kingdoms through which Satan works. In the context of the birth of the Messiah (Rev 12:5), the dragon represents the specific earthly empire at the time when Jesus was born, which is the Roman Empire.

THE DRAGON IN REV 13

The dragon in Rev 13:2, in the context of the birth of the beast (Rev 13:1-2) is also the Roman Empire. For the following reasons, this dragon is the fourth kingdom of Daniel 7:

      • This verse mentions the dragon with three other beasts that are explicitly three of the beasts of Daniel 7 (Dan 7:3, 5, 6).
      • The dragon has the same number of heads and horns as the beasts of Daniel 7 have in total, implying that it is part of the continuum of beast-kingdoms of Daniel 7.
      • The description of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 sounds like a dragon: “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” (Dan 7:7).
      • The fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the dragon of Rev 13 give rise to the same world power, namely the church of the middle ages. (See the detail for an explanation.)

Since the fourth beast in Daniel 7 has been identified as the Roman Empire, the “dragon” in Rev 13:2 represents the Roman Empire.

However, in Revelation 12, the dragon represents Satan and his forces in various times and places. The dragon does not always the Roman Empire. In other settings, it represents later organizations, including the beast itself and the end-time image of the beast.

THE BEAST FROM THE SEA

The Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn of Daniel 7. This conclusion is based on the following:

Firstly, since the sea beast has 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 13:1), while the beasts of Daniel 7 have, in total, the same number of heads and horns, the sea beast is part of the continuum of beasts in Daniel 7; similar to the 11th horn.

Secondly, since the sea beast is described as looking like the four beasts of Daniel 7 (Rev 13:2), it exists after those beasts; similar to the 11th horn. 

Thirdly, the sea beast receives its throne and great authority from the dragon (Rev 13:2), which is the fourth beast of Daniel; just like the 11th horn that grows out of the dragon in Daniel 7:8.

Fourthly, both the sea beast and the 11th horn blaspheme God and persecute the saints for a time, times, and half a time.

Finally, the sea beast is the main anti-God force in Revelation. The 11th horn, similarly, is the main anti-God force in Daniel.

Revelation’s beasts with seven heads, therefore, provide more information about the fourth beast in Daniel 7, and particularly about the 11th horn that grows out of the fourth beast. It is, consequently, important to study Daniel to determine the identity of that horn. The article on the beasts of Daniel 7 identifies the 11th horn as a kingdom that came into existence when the Roman Empire was divided into many kingdoms. One of the articles on Rev 13 identifies the 11th horn further as the church of the middle ages.

THE SCARLET BEAST

The Scarlet Beast symbolizes the people of the world divided into kingdoms. While the Sea Beast symbolizes a specific organization that comes into existence at a specific point in time, the Scarlet Beast exists for all human history. 

The Sea Beast, which is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire, is a religious organization, for it persecutes God’s people (Rev 13:7), blasphemes God (Rev 13:5), and deceives the people (Rev 13:14) through its assistant; the beast from the earth (Rev 13:12). The Scarlet Beast, in contrast, since it represents mankind that is ruled over by religious forces, has no religious authority. 

The Scarlet Beast is specifically associated only with Babylon; the mother of harlots. She sits on it, which is explained as that she “reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:3, 18). Babylon and the Scarlet Beast, therefore, symbolizes a general principle, namely that false religion, in all ages, rules over mankind.

THE SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS

In Daniel 7, the seven heads represented specific kingdoms. The four heads of the leopard, for example, are the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s Greek Empire was divided after his death. The Ten Horns in Daniel were the various nations into which the Roman Empire was divided in the fifth century. 

In the Book of Revelation, the heads and horns take on a new meaning. As explained in another article, the three seven-headed beasts of Revelation are three of the seven heads. The Ten Horns, in Revelation, are something that will come to exist in the end-time.

– END OF SUMMARY –

THE BEASTS OF DANIEL 7

This article argues below that Revelation’s beasts are a further explanation of the beasts of Daniel 7.  A study of Revelation’s beasts, therefore, requires knowledge of Daniel’s prophecies. Several articles are available for this purpose, including:

The following is a brief overview of the conclusions of those articles: Daniel 7 uses four ferocious beasts as symbols to predict that four empires will arise one after the other:

1. Lion (Dan 7:4) = Babylonian;
2. Bear (Dan 7:5) = Medo-Persian;
3. Leopard with four heads (Dan 7:6) = Grecian (Macedonian);
4. Dragon with ten horns (Dan 7:7) = Roman Empire

Actually, Daniel 7 does not say what kind of beast the fourth one is but describes it as “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong.” “It had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet.”  Furthermore, Rev 13:2 lists four beasts. The first three are the first three beasts of Daniel 7; the lion, bear, and leopard. The fourth is called “the Dragon.” For this reason and because of its description in Daniel 7, I refer to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 as the ‘Dragon’.

Notice that these four beasts have, in TOTAL, seven heads and 10 horns, while the beasts in Revelation EACH have the same number of heads and horns. The heads and horns in Daniel symbolize individual kingdoms, as explained in the articles listed above.  The four heads of the leopard Grecian Empire, for example, are the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s Empire was divided after his death. The question is, do the heads and horns in Revelation have the same or different meanings? 

THE ELEVENTH HORN

However, the MAIN ACTOR in Daniel 7 is neither of these four empires.  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).  Daniel 7 allocates more space to this 11th horn than perhaps to all four beasts put together.  The only reason that these four beasts are described is so that we may be able to identify this 11th horn.

Initially, 10 horns grew out of Daniel’s fourth beast.  They are explained as that “out of this kingdom (the Roman Empire) ten kings will arise” (Dan 7:24).  The Roman Empire came to its end over hundreds of years as ‘barbarian tribes” assumed control of more and more of its territory.  (See, The Fall of Rome confirms the Book of Daniel as true prophecy.) The ten horns symbolize the nations that were formed in the process.

Then an eleven horn grew out of 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 predicted 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 (Dan 7:26, 9-11, and 14).  At the return of Christ, this 11th horn will be destroyed (Dan 7:26, 11), and the everlasting kingdom will be given to the saints (Dan 7:27) and to the Son of man (Dan 7:13-14). This 11th horn will, therefore, be a continuation of the Roman Empire in some way and will exist until the return of Christ. 

There are, therefore, actually, five main powers depicted in Daniel 7:

1. Babylonian Lion;
2.
Medo-Persian Bear;

3. Macedonian Leopard;
4. Roman Dragon; and
5. The 11th horn of the Roman Empire

INFORMATION ABOUT DANIEL’S BEASTS

As mentioned above, for the reasons listed below, the seven-headed beasts of Revelation provide more information about the beasts in Daniel 7:

      1. It is a general principle that later prophecies expand on earlier prophecies.
      2. The beasts of Revelation have the same number of heads and horns as the beasts in Daniel 7.
      3. The beasts of Revelation exist simultaneously with the beasts in Daniel 7.
      4. The Sea Beast looks like the beasts of Daniel 7.

These considerations will now be explained in more detail:

GENERAL PRINCIPLE

It is a general principle that later prophecies explain and expand on earlier prophecies. Daniel 2 is the base prophecy.  Daniel 7 and later Daniel 8 and Daniel 11 expand on that prophecy.  Revelation, itself, is grounded on Daniel’s prophecies. Given this principle, Revelation’s beasts provide even further detail of the empires portrayed in Daniel.

SAME NUMBER OF HEADS AND HORNS

As already noted, while the four beasts in Daniel 7 have, in TOTAL, seven heads and ten horns, the beasts of Revelation EACH have seven heads and ten horns: 

This does not mean that the heads in Daniel are the same as the heads in Revelation. Neither are they the same horns. In fact, the fourth beast in Daniel 7 actually has 11 horns (Dan 7:8). 

Rather, it means that the beasts in Revelation are THE SAME TYPES OF THINGS as the beasts in Daniel, namely kingdoms or nations (Rev 17:9-12). It is understood to indicate that the beasts of Revelation are further instances of the same species of beasts as in Daniel.

EXIST SIMULTANEOUSLY

The seven-headed beasts of Revelation exist simultaneous with the beasts of Daniel 7:

As mentioned above, the four beasts of Daniel 7 cover the time from the Babylonian to the Roman Empires. The 11th horn, which grows out of the Roman Empire, then continues to exist until Christ returns (Dan 7:26-27).

The prophecy of Daniel 2 confirms that the 11th horn will exist until Christ returns. While Daniel 7 shows the four beast-empires as four separate entities, Daniel 2 combines them into a single symbol; the image of a man.  Different body parts represent the successive empires.  The head of the man is the first (the ancient Babylonian empire). The feet, representing a “divided kingdom” (Dan 2:41) are equivalent to the horns that grow out of Daniel’s fourth beast and include the 11th horn. These will be destroyed when Christ returns (Dan 2:44).

Revelation’s three seven-headed beasts exist from before Christ’s birth (Rev 12:5) to His Return (Rev 19:11-20).

LOOKS LIKE DANIEL’S BEASTS

The Sea Beast looks like the four beasts of Daniel 7. It “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” (Rev 13:2). These are the four beasts in Daniel 7. It means that the Sea Beast inherits something from each of the four beasts of Daniel 7.

CONCLUSION

For these reasons it is proposed that Revelation’s seven-headed beasts provide more detail on the beasts of Daniel 7. Exactly what Revelation’s beasts symbolize, and how they relate to Daniel’s beasts will now be discussed.

THE GREAT RED DRAGON

THE FIRST AND THE LAST

The first seven-headed beast to appear in Revelation is also the last to disappear from the pages of Revelation, namely the “great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 12:3). The sea beast disappears into the lake of fire before the Millennium (Rev 19:20), but the Dragon is thrown into the lake of fire only at the end of the Millennium (Rev 20:10).

THE DRAGON IS SATAN.

In the context of the war in heaven, the Dragon is explicitly identified as Satan (Rev 12:7-9; cf. 20:2). As Satan, the Dragon exists for all of human history and continues to exist even until after the Return of Christ (Rev 20:2). He only vanishes when he is thrown in the lake of fire after the Millennium (Rev 20:10).

THE DRAGON IN REV 12:3 IS THE ROMAN EMPIRE

However, when the dragon is first introduced in Revelation 12 as standing before the woman, ready to devour her Child (that is, Jesus – see Rev 12:4) as soon as He is born, it is described as having seven heads and ten horns (Rev 12:3). Both the heads and the horns represent “kings” (cf. Rev 17:9-10, 12) and “kings” denote earthly kingdoms (Dan 7:17, 23). Given that it has heads and horns, the dragon ALSO represents the earthly kingdoms through which Satan works.

In the context of the birth of the Messiah (Rev 12:5), the dragon represents the specific earthly empire at the time when Jesus was born, namely the Roman Empire.

THE DRAGON IN REV 13:2 IS ALSO THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

The context in Rev 13:2 is the birth of the beast (Rev 13:1). It arises out of the sea (Rev 13:1). The sea is a symbol for the peoples of the world (Dan 7:3, 17; cf. Rev 17:15). In other words, the beast was formed out of the peoples of the world.

Rev 13:2 mentions four animals from which the Sea Beast receives something. Three of them are explicitly the first three of the four beasts used by Daniel 7 to symbolize a series of kingdoms from Daniel’s day to the end of time, namely the lion, bear, and the leopard (Dan 7:3, 5, 6).

The fourth beast in Rev 13:2 is called a “dragon.” For the following reasons, this “dragon” is the fourth beast of Daniel 7:

(a) The dragon has 7 heads and 10 horns (Dan 12:3); the same number of heads and horns as the beasts of Daniel 7 have in total. This implies that the dragon is part of the continuum of beast-kingdoms of Daniel 7.

(b) Rev 13:2 mentions it with three of the four beasts of Daniel 7.

(c) The description of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 sounds like a dragon: “dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong” (Dan 7:7).

(d) The fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the dragon of Rev 13 give rise to the same world power. (See explanation below).

The dreadful and terrifying and extremely strongfourth beast in Daniel 7 is identified as the Roman EmpireThe “dragon” in Rev 13:2, therefore, represents both Satan and the Roman Empire.

GIVE RISE TO THE SAME WORLD POWER.

The third argument above requires further explanation:

In Daniel, the fourth empire, which has been identified as the Roman Empire, give rise to 11 horns, meaning that it subdivided into 11 different kingdoms (Dan 7:24; cf. 8:20, 22). But the 11th horn is really the main character of this entire chapter.  It will become the great Antichrist of the ages (Dan 7:25) and only be annihilated when Christ returns (Dan 7:26-27).

In Revelation, the dragon calls the beast out of the sea (Rev 13:1) and gave the beast “his power and his throne and great authority” (Rev 13:2). These descriptions imply that the dragon gave birth to the beast. This beast will become the great Antichrist of the ages (Rev 13:6-8) and only be annihilated when Christ returns (Rev 19:20).

Another article shows that the beast of Revelation and the evil horn in Daniel are two symbols for the same world powerSince the dragon and the Roman Empire give rise to the same world power, the dragon is the Roman Empire. Incidentally, the world power to which it gives rise is the church of the middle ages.

THE DRAGON IS MORE THAN THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

However, in Revelation 12, the dragon represents Satan and his forces in various settings from the time of Christ (Rev 12:5) to the end of time (Rev 12:17). The dragon does not represent the Roman Empire in all these settings.

THE FIVE BATTLES IN REVELATION 12

Revelation 12 describes five battles between God and Satan. In each of these battles Satan’s powers are symbolized by the Great Red Dragon:

      1. First, the Dragon confronts the woman who is about to give birth to Christ (Rev 12:3-4). This woman was not Mary but is a symbol for God’s people (Rev 12:17).
      2. Once her Child is born, the Dragon attacks him but fails (Rev 12:5).
      3. After the Child is “caught up to God and to His throne” (Rev 12:5), war broke out in heaven between the Dragon and Michael and their angels (Rev 12:7).
      4. But the dragon also suffers defeat in the war in heaven and is thrown down to earth, where it again attacks the woman (Rev 12:13-14, 6). (To see why I combine verses 6 and 14, refer to the article on Revelation 12.)
      5. But the Earth helps the woman (Rev 12:16) and the Dragon “went off to make war with the rest of her children” (Rev 12:17).

These five battles occur at different times and places and involve different combatants. In these wars, God is represented by:

      1. The woman (Rev 12:4, 13),
      2. Christ (Rev 12:5),
      3. Michael and his angels (Rev 12:7), and by
      4. The woman’s other children (Rev 12:17).

But in all of these battles, the antagonist is the Dragon. It represents the Roman Empire in the time of Christ (Rev 12:3-5) and when the beast arises out of the sea (Rev 13:1-2). But in other settings, it represents later organizations, including the beast itself (cf. Rev 12:14; 13:5) and the end-time image of the beast (cf. Rev 12:17; 14:12).

THE BEAST FROM THE SEA

The Beast from the sea in Revelation 13 is frequently mentioned as working with the Great Red Dragon (e.g. Rev 16:13), which means that it is not the same as the Dragon. 

This article proposes that the Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn of Daniel 7 because BOTH:

      • Are part of the continuum of beasts in Daniel 7,
      • Come into existence AFTER Daniel’s four beasts,
      • Receive their AUTHORITY from the Roman Empire,
      • Persecute the saints for a time, times and half a time,
      • Blaspheme God, and
      • Are the main powers in Daniel and Revelation respectively.

These points will now be explained:

PART OF THE BEASTS OF DANIEL 7

This is obviously true for the 11th horn. Since the Sea Beast has 7 heads and 10 horns (Rev 13:1), while the beasts of Daniel 7 have, in total, the same number of heads and horns, the Sea Beast is also part of the continuum of beasts in Daniel 7.

AFTER DANIEL’S FOUR BEASTS

This is, again, obviously true for the 11th horn. As for the Sea Beast, it looks like a leopard, has feet like a bear, the mouth of a lion (Rev 13:2), and receives its throne and great authority from the Dragon (Rev 13:2). These are the four beasts of Daniel 7. The Sea Beast, therefore, inherits something from each of the four beasts of Daniel 7.  That means that it must come into existence AFTER them. 

AUTHORITY FROM THE ROMAN EMPIRE

In Daniel 7, the 11th horn grows out of the fourth beast; the Roman Empire. This means that the 11th horn, somehow, is a continuation of the Roman Empire. The Sea Beast, similarly, receives its power, throne, and great authority from the Great Red Dragon (Rev 13:2), which also represents the Roman Empire when described as having seven heads and ten horns. In other words, both the Sea Beast and the 11th horn are the Dragon’s successors.

PERSECUTE THE SAINTS

Both persecute the saints for “a time, times, and half a time” (Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5).  Both overpower the saints (Dan 7:21; Rev 13:7).  (To see that “a time, times, and half a time” is equal to 1260 days, compare 12:6 to 12:14.  Furthermore, 42 months is equal to 42 x 30 = 1260 days.)  

BLASPHEME GOD

Both blaspheme God (Dan 7:8, 11, 20; Rev 13:5).

MAIN CHARACTERS

The main power in Daniel is the 11th horn. Similarly, the main power in Revelation is the Sea Beast.  For example, the active persecuting force at the end-time is the Image OF THE BEAST (Rev 13:15) and it gives the Mark OF THE BEAST to his followers, which is the name OF THE BEAST or the number of his name (Rev 13:17).

On the basis of the principle that Revelation provides more information about Daniel’s prophecies, the main character in Daniel must also be the main character in Revelation. This supports the view that the 11th horn is the same as the Sea Beast.

CONCLUSION

For these reasons, this article proposes that the Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn of Daniel 7.  A separate article identifies the 11th horn as the Church of the Middle Ages.

It was argued above that the beasts with seven heads in Revelation provide more information about the beasts in Daniel 7. We have now seen that the Dragon is Daniel’s fourth beast and that the Sea Beast is the 11th horn that grew out of Daniel’s fourth beast. We are, therefore, able to refine our conclusion and say that the seven-headed beasts in Revelation provide additional information particularly about Daniel’s fourth beast.

THE SCARLET BEAST

The Scarlet Beast is mentioned briefly in Rev 11:7 but is described more fully in Revelation 17. This section compares the Scarlet Beast to the Sea Beast for that makes it easier to understand what that beast is.

ASSOCIATED WITH THE HARLOT

The Sea Beast works with the Red Dragon and the Earth-beast. It receives its power from the Dragon (Rev 13:2) and gives its authority to the Earth-beast (Rev 13:12).  In Revelation, we often find this evil trinity working together (e.g. Rev 16:13; 19:20-20:2). 

The Scarlet Beast, on the other hand, is never associated with this evil trinity.  It is only mentioned together with the harlot Babylon (Rev 17:3-5).

All five of these symbolize specific aspects of the anti-God forces on this earth, but from two different perspectives. The purpose of the next paragraphs is to explain what that difference is.

SUBORDINATE TO THE HARLOT

In Revelation 13, the people worship the Sea Beast (Rev 13:3-4).  The Sea Beast, therefore, reigns.  It receives “his power and his throne and great authority” from the Great Red Dragon (Rev 13:2), but then it becomes the main power. There is no mention of a power controlling it.  On the contrary, the false prophet works under the supervision of the Sea Beast (Rev 13:12).

In contrast, in Revelation 17, the harlot sits on the Scarlet Beast (Rev 17:3). This is explained as that:

The woman whom you saw is the great city, which REIGNS OVER the kings of the earth” (Rev 17:18).

Sits on,” therefore, means to reign over and the Scarlet Beasts symbolizes “the kings of the earth.” In Revelation 17, Babylon rules over the Scarlet Beast.  The Scarlet Beast is subordinate to her. 

HAS NO RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY

In Revelation 17, the harlot (Babylon) sits on both the beast and the waters (Rev 17:3, 15). The waters are identified as the people of the world (Rev 17:1, 15). Since the Scarlet Beast is a symbol for “the kings of the earth,” it symbolizes the people of the world as they are divided into “nations” (Rev 17:15).  The Scarlet Beast represents mankind that is ruled over by religious forces (Babylon). That means that the Scarlet Beast, itself, has no religious authority

Both the Sea Beast and the Scarlet Beasts have seven heads and ten horns. This indicates that they relate to the series of kingdoms (empires) in Daniel. Nevertheless, it does seem as if the Sea Beast, which is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire, in contrast to the Scarlet Beast, is a religious organization, for it persecutes God’s people, blasphemes God, and deceives the people through its sidekick; the Beast from the Earth:

The Beast from the Earth “deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast” (Rev 13:14).

A GENERAL PRINCIPLE

In Revelation 12, the Dragon represents Satan’s forces at different times and places. The Dragon can, therefore, also represent Satan’s powers in all times; even Satan himself. But the Sea Beast and the Earth Beast are specific organizations that come into existence at specific points in time, namely when they come out of the sea and the earth respectively (Rev 13:1, 11).  

The Scarlet Beast, in contrast, is not a specific organization.  The harlot is identified in the article on Babylon, the mother of harlots, as ‘false religion’.  She 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” (Rev 18:24), and because she is the “mother (source or origin) of harlots” (Rev 17:5).  If she exists for all human history, then the Scarlet Beast, on which she sits, must also exist for all human history. 

The Harlot and the Scarlet Beast, therefore, depict a general principle, namely that the anti-God powers in all of human history consist of two components; a political (beast) and a religious (harlot) component, with the religious component always reigning over the political. 

The Sea Beast represents that same anti-God power, consisting of both the political and religious components, but limited to one specific organization in one period of human history. For example, the Sea Beast will “make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Rev 13:7) but Babylon is guilty of all martyr deaths of God’s people (Rev 18:24).

Babylon existed during all the empires of Daniel 7, corrupting the minds of the people (Rev 17:2) and killing the saints (Rev 18:24).  This was also true during the Middle Ages and it will again be true during the end-time crisis, when the Earth-Beast, also called the false prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20) deceives the people to form an image of the Beast (Rev 13:14). It is that “Image” that will persecute God’s people (Rev 13:15).

CONCLUSION

The Sea Beast symbolizes a specific organization that comes into existence at a specific point in time. It receives its authority from the Dragon and gives its authority to the Earth-beast.

The Scarlet Beast, on the other hand, is never associated with this evil trinity.  It is only mentioned together with the harlot Babylon. It symbolizes the people of the world as they are divided into “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (Rev 17:15). It does not include religious authority, for the harlot Babylon—identified as false religion—reigns over it. 

The Scarlet Beast is not a specific organization but exists for all human history. Babylon and the Scarlet Beast, therefore, represent a general principle, namely that false religion, in all ages, rules over mankind.

THE SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS

Given what was said above, what does it mean that all these beasts have seven heads and ten horns – the same number as in Daniel 7?

In Daniel 7, the seven heads represented specific kingdoms.  The four heads of the leopard, for example, are the four kingdoms into which Alexander’s Greek Empire was divided after his death. The Ten Horns in Daniel were the various nations into which the Roman Empire was divided during the fifth century.  See, the Fall of Rome confirms the Book of Daniel as a true prophecy.

In the Book of Revelation, the heads and horns have lost their original historic meaning and became symbolic in meaning, saying that the seven-headed beasts in Revelation are instances of the same species of things, namely empires and kingdoms (Rev 17:15).

However, the heads and horns also took on new specific meanings in Revelation:

Another article explains that the three seven-headed beasts of Revelation are three of the seven heads.

The Ten Horns, in Revelation, will “hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire” (Rev 17:16).  This refers to the seventh plague, when “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (Rev 16:19). In other words, in Revelation, the Ten Horns are something that will be formed in the end-time. Contrary to the typical artist’s representation of these beasts, all ten horns are on the head.

FINAL CONCLUSIONS

Revelation’s three seven-headed beasts provide more information about the beasts of Daniel 7. 

When the Dragon stands ready to devour the woman’s Child as soon as He is born, it represents the Roman Empire.

The Dragon represents both Satan and the Roman Empire.

The Sea Beast is the same as the 11th horn of Daniel 7.

The Scarlet Beast does not symbolize a specific organization but represents the people of the world, for all human history, divided into kingdoms.

The Sea Beast, which is the same as the 11th horn that grows out of the Roman Empire, is a religious organization. The Scarlet Beast, in contrast, since it represents mankind that is ruled over by religious forces, has no religious authority. 

Babylon and the Scarlet Beast symbolize a general principle, namely that false religion, in all ages, rules over mankind.

The seven heads and ten horns in Daniel are not the same as the seven heads and ten horns in Revelation.

AVAILABLE ARTICLES ON REVELATION

INTRODUCTORY
   Why is the title of this website Revelation BY Jesus Christ?
   Are events described in chronological sequence? 
   Is a consistently literal interpretation appropriate?
   Does Revelation present Jesus as God?
   God’s throne – the center of the universe.
BABYLON
   Babylon; the mother of harlots
   Babylon’s merchants are her false prophets.
   Babylon is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.
   How does Babylon relate to the beast?
SEVEN-HEADED BEASTS
   The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
   The three beasts are three of the seven heads.
   The Seven Heads Identified
REVELATION 13
    13:1-2 – The Beast relates to Daniel 7.
   13:3-4 – The fatal wound
   The identity of the beast
SEVEN SEALS
   List of articles on the Seven Seals 
   The seven seals explained verse by verse
   Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?
SEVEN PLAGUES
   The Plagues of Revelation – 16 articles

For further reading, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.