Although we will study much of the book of Revelation as we progress through the prophecies of Christ’s return, chapter thirteen is especially important for the discussion at this time. In one relatively brief passage, the Lord adds considerable detail to Daniel’s original predictions concerning the rise and fall of the last world empire. The book of Daniel is the springboard which takes us directly to the prophecies of Revelation. If the Lord did not provide through Daniel the background information necessary to comprehend the last book of the Bible, then most of the words that the Apostle John first wrote over 1,900 years ago would still be symbolic mysteries.
In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation, John’s words can be seen to draw heavily from those of the prophet Daniel, both in style and in the symbolism he uses. As we begin to study this prophecy, see if the imagery is familiar:
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
“And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion; and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority.”
Over six hundred years after both King Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel had visions concerning future world powers, the Apostle John caught a glimpse of these same mysteries. While he was being held prisoner on the Isle of Patmos, the Lord had come to John in spectacular glory to give him visions of things to come at the end of the age. One of these visions, found primarily in chapter 13, contains pertinent information related to the final political power which will reign supreme for a brief period just before Jesus returns.
John begins to write of his vision in verse one by describing how he was standing along the shore next to the sea when suddenly a great beast arose out of the waters. Whether John was in some kind of dream state or had actually experienced this event along the Mediterranean coastline, we can’t say for certain. One thing, however, is obvious: The imagery that symbolizes the prophecy is virtually identical to that which Daniel employed centuries before. Daniel previously saw four beasts rising out of a stormy sea, the last one of which had ten horns. Now John sees a beast coming out of a sea having seven heads and ten horns. The immediate similarity between these two prophecies is just too great to ignore. Let’s carefully look at the details of this symbolism…[more]