A careful read of Revelation 13 leads us to understand that it is talking about a world system versus a godly system. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36b) Revelation 13 is primarily about kingdoms of man in conflict with the kingdom of God. This is the very heart of Revelation 13. There is no proper explanation of Revelation 13 apart from understanding kingdoms.
Contrast between Daniel 7 and Revelation 13
The first beast is mentioned in Revelation 13:1. It says, “Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.” Who is this beast? We know from Revelation 13:2 that it “was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion”. If you are familiar with the book of Daniel, you will notice that these same three animals (leopard, bear, and lion) are also mentioned in Daniel 7:4-6.
“The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.” (Daniel 7:4-6)
Four animals in this Daniel 7 passage correspond to three beasts. The first beast is a combination of two animals. “The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle.” (Daniel 7:4a, emphasis added) The lion is mentioned in Revelation 13, but there is no mention of the eagle – at least, not by that name.
When we get to Revelation 13:2, we see that the bear, lion, and leopard are mentioned, just like we see in the Daniel 7:4-6 passage quoted above. Compare Daniel 7 and Revelation 13:
The bear is in both. (Daniel 7:5, Revelation 13:2)
The leopard is in both. (Daniel 7:6, Revelation 13:2)
The lion is in both. (Daniel 7:4, Revelation 13:2)
But where is the eagle? Look carefully at the eagle and see how it comes out of the lion:
“The first (beast) was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it.” (Daniel 7:4)
What’s this all about? There is no question that I agree with Irvin Baxter on this, and that the lion represents England and the eagle represents the USA. The reason the wings are plucked off of the lion and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like man, is because the USA came out of England. The imagery is absolutely perfect. In Revelation 13, therefore, the reason the eagle is not mentioned with the first beast is it is entirely separate from it – it is the second beast (Revelation 13:11-17). Is the USA decimated by the time of the end, as some prophecy teachers have surmised might happen? Far from it.
The USA is not decimated, but “alive and well” in the time of the end
Rather than being decimated, the USA itself is mentioned as the second beast. Hence, Revelation 13:11a, “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth” (see “Is America Mentioned in Bible Prophecy? fcet.biblemessages.com/is-america-mentioned-in-bible-prophecy/). In Revelation 13, we see that this beast is referred to as “he“. Does this mean it’s a singular man? No. In Daniel 7:4b, we read, “it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it”. Notice the word “man” is used to describe the eagle, but it refers to a kingdom (Daniel 7:23) and not just the man who represents that kingdom (Daniel 7:17). What’s this “human mind” stuff all about? I believe it’s about the fact that many of the world’s greatest inventors have come out of the USA. From Thomas Edison (phonograph, light bulb), to Alexander Graham Bell (telephone), to Henry Ford (automobile), to the Wright Brothers (flight), to Robert Oppenheimer (atomic bomb), the list is truly impressive (http://inventors.about.com/od/famousinventors/a/american_invent.htm). Thomas Edison alone holds 1093 patents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison).The “human minds” of the USA is also reflected in its schools, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and many more.I believe the term “it was lifted up from the ground”, found in Daniel 7:4, is a reference to the fact that the USA has been given great authority. I don’t think there is any question that the eagle of Daniel 7:4 and the second beast of Revelation 13 (found in Revelation 13:11) therefore both refer to the USA. By the end time, therefore, the USA is “alive and well” – not decimated.
Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 are parallel passages
So the four beasts in Daniel 7 – the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the eagle, are, in fact, all found in Revelation 13. The eagle, though, is renamed as the “other (or “another”) beast” (Revelation 13:11). Why? Because Daniel only saw in his vision the plucking of the wings of the eagle from the lion. That was just the declaration of independence. It was not the great superpower that the USA is today. But by the time the events of the book of Revelation have come along, the eagle that Daniel saw in Daniel 7:4 has fully gained her superpower status. By this time, she is also acting in a very ungodly way. Though she started out “like a lamb” (Revelation 13:11b), yet she is now “speaking as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11c). What does this mean? Whatever it means, it means she comes to the point where she does Satan’s bidding. There are many things that could be mentioned in this regard, but I will simply mention two. We know that to “speak like a dragon” is evil, so speaking like a dragon must involve evil. I see this as panning out on two levels – the first on a level of permissive evil, and the second on a level of imposed evil.
Since 1973, an estimated 45 million children have been legally killed through abortion in the US (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_United_States). When people do not speak up for these children, and when the nation and its leaders remain silent, this would be equivalent, in my opinion, to “speaking as a dragon” (Revelation 13:11c). Of course, there are many good people who have tried to make a difference – and have. But when you consider 45 million legally terminated pregnancies – the killing of innocent children – you cannot escape the fact that a great cloud of darkness covers the USA. This, then, is the first level by which I believe it could be rightly construed that the USA has spoken like a dragon. She has spoken like a dragon in that, collectively (not individually), she has failed to speak up for those who needed help the most. She has mostly been concerned for other things, not the real things that matter to God. She has spoken up, all right, but not like Jesus would. Collectively, she has remained silent at the worst possible time. Thus, she has spoken in the manner of, or like, a dragon. “Hold back those stumbling to the slaughter,” the Scripture says (Proverbs 11:24b). But the slaughter continues.
I believe the next level which we are seeing today, is by way of imposed evil.
The Bible says that a day is coming when the second beast will cause (that is, force) all people to receive a mark on either their hand or their forehead. I would be careful not to take a mark anywhere, quite frankly, but this is where the Bible says the mark will be placed. As mentioned in my first article, “The Mark of the Beast, Part 1” (http://fcet.biblemessages.com/the-mark-of-the-beast-part-1/), I believe the mark could be a tattoo or possibly a microchip (my leaning is on the microchip, for reasons itemized in that article). When this becomes mandated, against the will of many people, then this, too, I believe, could be rightly construed as the beast “speaking as a dragon”. The beast will “speak” by way of a decree. The beast (the USA), and the other beast, too (Europe and Russia), who are all working together (Revelation 13:12,14,15), will decree that all people be required to receive the mark. This is the mark of the beast which we are forbidden, in Scripture, to receive (Revelation 14:11). Once again, this is a conflict of kingdoms. One kingdom (the worldly kingdom, controlled by Satan) will put it’s value on the mark which is equated as worship of the beast. The other kingdom (God’s kingdom) forbids receiving the mark. It’s value is on the worship of Christ. Imposed evil is not new, of course, but has been around for a long time in the world. I have much to say on this, but that will have to wait for another article.
What does it mean to worship the first beast?
In Revelation 13:12, we read, concerning the second beast (the USA), “He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.” (Revelation 13:12)
First, let’s do a recap. As per part 1 of this series, the “fatal wound (that) was healed” is the “death and resurrection” of Germany. The “fatal wound” occurred when the nation was cut in two after WWII. The “healing” of the fatal wound occurred in 1989 when the Berlin wall was torn down (see “The Mark of the Beast, Part 1,” http://fcet.biblemessages.com/the-mark-of-the-beast-part-1/).
I’ll present to you what appears to be very obvious to me and let you judge to see if you agree. First, you cannot escape the fact that there is a deliberate reference to the healing of the fatal wound in this verse (Revelation 13:12). Why? Well, do you remember what happened a few years before the Berlin wall was torn down? Ronald Reagan said those now famous words, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (http://www.reaganlibrary.com/reagan/speeches/wall.asp) At the time, he was standing at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, Germany. The date was June 12, 1987. Yet, as we read in the reference provided (from The Reagan Library), “This speech was delivered to the people of West Berlin, yet it was also audible on the East side of the Berlin wall” (see previous link).
Regan’s speech was a truly historic speech and, when the wall came down, “the whole earth was amazed” (Revelation 13:3). You will remember that Germany was the big war machine back in the second world war. At the end of that war, she was split in two. But then, ‘”I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”‘ (Revelation 13:3-4) This is a reference to the fact that the country that had been responsible for killing so many people through war is now reunited again.
All eyes were on Germany and Russia on that time. These are represented by the leopard and bear in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13. The words, “in his presence” (NASB), or “before him” (KJV), found in Revelation 13:12 are significant:
“He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed.” (Revelation 13:12, emphasis added)
The words “in his presence” denotes the first beast (as a kingdom rather than a man) standing in the presence of the second beast, causing the whole earth to pay great attention to the first beast – to the extent that the Bible calls this “worship”. I would like to take the time to slowly read that again, to see how that all fits together in this context. Remember, I am not referring to a beast as a man, but a kingdom, as per Daniel 7:23. Thus, we are not talking about Ronald Reagan, who gave the speech, but the USA, whom he was representing (note that while a beast can refer to the leader, it must also simultaneously refer to the kingdom that the leader represents in such a case, and does not have to refer to a specific leader. See Daniel 7:17, 23). Revelation 13 is about kingdoms. Thus, even if one leader comes and goes, yet thebeast remains. This will help you not to focus on a person, but the kingdom they represent, for Revelation 13 is really about kingdoms in conflict.
My interpretation of Revelation 13:12 boils down to the following:
“He (the second beast – that is, the USA) exercises all the authority of the first beast (Europe and Russia) in his presence (since the USA, though its leader, was standing right next to the Berlin wall at the time). And he (the second beast – the USA) makes the earth (who were focused on this event intently during that time) and those who dwell in it (from around the world) to worship (to intently focus on in a way that brings glory to the beast but not to God and in fact even puts a stumbling block in the way of people so that their focus is more on outwardly worldly events than on God’s kingdom) the first beast (Europe, and especially Germany in this case), whose fatal wound was healed (the outcome of it all was that Germany was reunited shortly after this time).”
Note that the NIV uses the words “on his behalf” instead of the words “in his presence” (NASB, NKJV) or “before him” (KJV). The NIV meaning is not quite the same as the NASB or KJV. I am using the NASB which is generally regarded as being a very rigid (almost word-for-word, non-paraphrased) translation. The NIV is a looser translation. Regardless of how you spell it, Revelation 13:12 and the context that follows clearly demonstrates that the second beast is causing people to worship the first beast. There is an emphasis placed on the healing of the wound in that verse which helps us to understand, in my opinion, that it is referring to the significant US influence in bringing down the Berlin wall and the subsequent exaltation of the first beast (particularly pointing to Germany and the European Union (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union), I believe, but also pointing to Russia).
But is this verse (Revelation 13:12) only about that one single event – the tearing down of the Berlin wall in 1989 – if indeed it is about that event at all? No, I think the event of the reuniting of Germany is alluded to only as a precursor of things to come. It’s a reference point for us who are doing the interpreting. To be sure, more things are coming down the road, and they appear to be coming rather quickly.
At the time of this writing (April 1, 2009), the G20 is meeting in England to discuss the world economy. These nations are all supporting one-another and working together, as the Bible predicts. Where is it all heading? The Bible tells us that it is heading to a one-world economic system which will eventually become The Mark of the Beast, as prophesied in Revelation 13.
Part 3 of this series is expected soon. Stay tuned.
Version 1.1, April 1, 2009
All Scripture references are taken from the NASB version of the Bible, unless otherwise noted.