We continue this week with #2 of the six descriptive characteristics of the “beast” in Revelation Chapter 13.
Test # 2: Descriptive characteristic, “coming out of the sea.” This phrase also appears in Daniel. So, the angel’s interpretation of Daniel’s vision can be used to understand John’s vision. Daniel writes, “Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea” (Daniel 7:3). Daniel’s four beasts (Daniel 7:1-7) refer to a succession of world powers from Daniel’s day that shaped Israel’s history before the time of Christ and Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD. These include the Babylonian Empire, Media-Persian Empire, Greek Empire and the Roman Empire.
In Daniel’s account, a succession of peoples from different geographic bases conquered one another, bringing together people from Africa, Asia and Europe in a mixture of customs, cultures and languages. From this historical review, we can infer that “coming out of the sea” involves a culturally and ethnically diverse empire or nation. This fits with Revelation 17:15, which reads, “The waters you saw …are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.” As a nation of immigrants, the United States fits this description.
The “melting pot” was once a popular image of American assimilation. The largest single ethnic strain is of European ancestry, the region of the old Roman Empire. Daniel prophesied in chapter 7 that another power, a new country, would rise up out of the people of the old Roman Empire. It would become stronger than any of the other powers. He even states this new power will defeat three of the other powers that develop from the old Roman Empire area, which we did in our country’s early years; namely, England, France and Spain.
Daniel prophesied about superpowers that affected the history of Israel. Therefore, he would not have prophesied about any superpower after the Roman Empire until soon after World War II when Israel again became a nation. We are the modern day superpower that has been heavily involved in Israel’s history. Not only that, there is no other power in these Last Days that fought against and defeated three other powers that had developed from the old Roman Empire. To identify this “beast” it must fit every detailed characteristic God gives in Scripture. America fits this descriptive characteristic of this “beast” or superpower of “coming out of the sea.”
Test #3: Descriptive Characteristic, “ten horns.” Bible scholars have written entire books on the meaning of numbers in Scripture. “Ten” stands for all encompassing: Ten Commandments, ten plagues, ten virgins and so on. Throughout the Bible, “horns” are a common symbol of strength. In the book of Daniel, the word represents nations. Presumably, in the book of Revelation, John too, is using “horns” to mean nations. These would be nations with substantial power and influence but less than that of a “beast” or superpower. The “beast” or superpower in Revelation 13 has “ten horns,” this suggests this superpower has great influence over many other powerful nations, which, in fact, we do. Don’t be fooled by the number ten to mean an exact number when used in prophecy. For example, in a prophecy found in Revelation 12:3, which refers to the Roman Empire, the phrase “ten horns” is used. However, in my research I found the Roman Empire ruled about 27 other countries. In Revelation 13:1 this prophetic phrase “ten horns,” ten means all encompassing not an exact amount of ten other nations that we strongly influence.
Test #4: Descriptive Characteristic, “seven heads.” The word “seven” throughout Scripture denotes completeness. God completed creation in seven days. The walls of Jericho did not fall until Joshua marched around the city for seven days and on the seventh day, seven times. The military captain Naaman was healed only after he dipped seven times in the Jordan River.
The word “heads” simply means leadership. For this “beast/superpower” to have “seven heads” would mean its leadership would be complete in all areas of world affairs. It would be number one in commerce, industrial output, production of goods and services, agriculture, military power, political influence, economic wealth, and so on. Since World War II, we have developed the position in world affairs that would cause the Holy Spirit to inspire John to use this prophetic phrase to describe one of our characteristics. No other country comes close in being number one in every one of these world affair categories.
Test #5: Descriptive Characteristic, “ten crowns on its horns.” Of all the characteristics of the “beast/superpower” in Revelation 13, I found this one to be truly unique. It is an extremely demanding characteristic. The word “crown” (or “diadem” as some Bible translations read) was a distinctive mark of royalty among the early Greeks and Romans. If the word crown or diadem is used, something is being said about its political position.
To use the word crowns with horns indicates this prophetic phrase is describing the political position of these horns or nations that the superpower in Revelation 13 influences. Allow me to break down this phrase. Ten means all-encompassing, crowns means political position, and horns references various powerful countries. When John writes that the crowns (political control) were positioned on the horns (each nation), he is saying that each country this “beast/superpower” influences keeps its own governing political body. This superpower in the Last Days is unique in that it allows those nations under its influence to retain political autonomy.
If the superpower described in Revelation 13:1 politically controlled other countries, then prophetic Scripture would have used the phrase, ten crowns on its head, to reflect the beast’s political leadership over these countries. It would not have placed the crowns on the horns.
The U.S. government is the only superpower I could find that has ever met this distinctive characteristic. For example, we defeated both Japan and Germany in World War II, yet we allowed each country to retain political autonomy. In fact, we helped rebuild the countries we conquered. How aptly John’s phrase of crowns and horns describes our position. I again refer to Revelation 12:3 to see where the crowns are located when describing the Roman Empire. The crowns are located on its heads, which means Rome politically controlled those countries under its influence, which history records they did.
It is inspiring to see how accurately Scripture makes this true distinction.
In my next BLOG, I will continue with the final Test #6.
Be sure to visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to find several other books and booklets written by Bob Fraley. The FREE DOWNLOADS page contains complete .pdf files that you may read and download absolutely FREE! Go to: http://www.bobfraleychristianlifeoutreach.com and click on the “FREE DOWNLOADS” button!Tags: Babylonian Empire, characteristics of the "beast", coming out of the sea, Daniel, Four great beasts, Greek Empire, Israel's history, John's vision, Media-Persian Empire, nations, political position, prophetic Scripture, Roman Empire, seven heads, succession of world powers, superpower, ten horns