Revelation 13 is one of the most read chapters in Scripture concerning the Antichrist. It is here that we read about the False Prophet, the Mark, and Image of the Beast, and learn about many characteristics about the Antichrist himself. One of the most important questions that need answering concerning this chapter is if it says anything about the origins of the Beast. In previous articles, I have noted that there is a possibility that the Antichrist may be a Middle Easterner (see my articles are Daniel 2 and Ezekiel 38 and 39). Other articles have discussed the possibility of a Muslim Antichrist in the context of Daniel 7 and 9:26. The conclusions in those articles show that they are not inconsistent with the model. This article will discuss whether or not Revelation 13 is consistent with this theory.
1 And the dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. 2 The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. 3 One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. 4 Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” 5 The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. 6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. 7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast–all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. 9 He who has an ear, let him hear. 10 If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
In these verses, the Apostle John witnessed a beast rising out of the sea. This beast has ten horns and seven heads (v.1). The beast resembled a leopard but had the feet of a bear, and a mouth of a lion (v. 2). This beast was given authority, power, and a throne from the dragon (Satan) (v.2). One of the seven heads seems to have had a fatal wound, but the wound had been healed (v.3). Other aspects of the beast include:
- The whole world (“all inhabitants”) worshiped the dragon and the beast (v.3-4, 8).
- The people following the beast say, “Who can make war against him?” (v.4)
- The beast utters proud words and blasphemies and exercises authority for forty-two months (3 ½ years). (v.5)
- He makes war against the saints and even conquers them. (v.7)
- “And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation.” (v.7)
Interpreting the Beast of Revelation 13:1-10
There are a few different ways to interpret the beast of Revelation 13:1-10. First, the beast is taken to be a composite of the four beasts of Daniel 7 (the lion, bear, leopard, and the fourth beast with ten horns). It is believed that since all four are combined in Revelation 13, then the beast must symbolize all evil governments throughout history that are antichristian. That is, because of the symbolic nature of the book of Revelation, every empire and kingdom from Rome to Nazi Germany, from the Mongolians to the Japanese, and everything in between is believed to be represented by this beast.
Second, the beast represents the Antichrist, in that the Antichrist and his kingdom will be a combination of all the cruelty of every evil government that has ever existed (or at least the ones in Daniel 7).
Thirdly, a careful reader will notice that there are many similarities between the fourth beast of Daniel 7 and the beast in Revelation 13.
1) Both chapters say that the beast came up out of the sea (Daniel 7:2; Revelation 13:1). The sea in apocalyptic literature symbolizes Gentile (non-Jewish) or evil nations and peoples. So these four kingdoms are empires that are outside of the nation of Israel.
2) Both beasts have ten horns (Daniel 7:7-8, 20, 24; Revelation 13:1). The ten horns are the same as the ten toes in Daniel 2.
3) Both are destroyed by the second coming of Christ (Daniel 7:11-14, 26-27; Revelation 19:11-21).
4) Both make war against the saints and succeed (Daniel 7:21; Revelation 13:7).
5) Both utter blasphemies against God (Daniel 7:8, 25; Revelation 13:1, 5-6).
6) Both will wage war for a time, times, and half a time – 3 ½ years (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5).
These details suggest that the beast in Revelation 13:1-10 is the same as the fourth beast in Daniel 7. At this point, there are at least two ways to understand this combination. The first is that the beast is a revived Roman Empire. Second, the monster is Islam. Let’s now look to see if the Muslim Antichrist model fits the context of Revelation 13.
An Islamic Antichrist?
The most important piece of evidence is that if the beast of this chapter is the same as Daniel 7, then an Middle Eastern kingdom is likely in view. This is because, as I concluded in another article, the fourth beast in Daniel is the same kingdom as the kingdom of iron in Daniel 2. My conclusion is that the fourth empire in Daniel 2 is Middle Eastern in origin. Revelation 13 is dependent on Daniel 7 whereas that chapter independent on Daniel 2.
There is a second argument that is made in favor of the Islamic model as well. The Beast of Revelation 13 is not a composite of all four beasts in Daniel 7, but it is a composite of the first three beasts only: the lion, the bear, and the leopard. To know the significance of this, we must understand what the three beasts represent.
- The first beast in Daniel 7, the lion, signifies the Babylonian Empire (c. 626-539 BC).
- The second beast, the lopsided bear, represents the Medo-Persian Empire (539-332 BC) which destroyed the Babylonian Empire.
- The leopard represents the kingdom of Alexander the Great, the Greek Empire (c. 330-30 BC). The four heads signify the fact that after Alexander died (in 323 BC) his kingdom was divided into four different kingdoms headed by four of his generals.
It is argued that this leaves us with very important information concerning the beast of Revelation 13 and the fourth beast of Daniel 7. First, the beast in Revelation 13 is a mixture of three Middle Eastern kingdoms (Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This suggests that the Antichrist does not come from a revived Roman Empire.
|A comparison of the statue of Daniel 2 with the beasts of Daniel 7|
|Daniel 2||Daniel 7|
|Head of Gold||Lion with the wings of an eagle||Babylonian Empire|
|Chest and arms of silver||Lopsided bear||Medo-Persian Empire|
|Belly and thighs of bronze||Leopard with four wings and four heads||Greek Empire|
|Legs of Iron||Fourth beast||Roman or Islamic Empire|
|Feet and toes||Ten horns||Revived Roman or Islamic Empire|
Second, it is also significant that the beast of the Antichrist also has bronze claws in Daniel 7. The bronze is the same as the leopard (the Greek Empire). In Revelation 13, the beast resembles a leopard. The kingdom of the Antichrist will resemble (look like) the kingdom of Alexander the Great, which was a Middle Eastern empire.
These are interesting details that, although some may argue do not prove a Middle Eastern Antichrist, do show that the model is not inconsistent with Revelation 13. The chapter does support the theory especially in relation to the book of Daniel.
The beast in Revelation 13 is consistent with a Islamic Antichrist. All the details from Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation all conform together to give us a similar picture: a Middle Eastern origin of the antichrist.
What do you think? Leave a comment below on why you agree or disagree. Follow us on Facebook. Subscribe to the website to receive an e-mail every time we publish a new article (in the upper right-hand side of the site).
[This is a revised and updated edition of an article originally published on April 16, 2013.]
 Sam Storms. Kingdom Come (Ross-shire: Mentor, 2013). 477-479, 488. William Hendriksen. More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1940). 145-146.
 Grant R. Osborne. Revelation (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002), 491-492. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, Revised Edition (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1997), 246.
 Mounce, 244. Hendriksen, 145. Joel Richardson. Mideast Beast. (Washington D.C.: WND Books, 2012). 148.
 It is common to see the beast in Revelation to be the revived Roman Empire. See John Walvoord. The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966). 197.
 Richardson, 152, 154. Walid Shoebat, with Joel Richardson. God’s War on Terror (Top Executive Media, 2008). 356.