In the previous Chapter we saw elision as a narrative mode employed by the Spirit while he sets up a vision. What we see in this chapter is the Spirit holding the vv.10-11 in the previous chapter to show what must happen hereafter on the earth. I shall cite these verses for ready reference:
“…For the accuser (Satan) of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night./And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death( 12:10-11)”.In the chapter 20 we are given a similar action with which we can date when. In the verse 2 we see the Satan being bound at the end of the great tribulation.
The Beasts mentioned in this chapter are consequence of the man-child being caught up to the throne of God. From heaven the action moves to the earth. Considering there were great many Jews and Jewish Christians about the Spirit is addressing vision from the Jewish angle as well. Therefore the Spirit is exhorting them to buck up their spirits since Satan knows his days are numbered.
The beast mentioned in the v.1 is shown arising out of the sea. Whereas the second beast is seen arising out of the land and these are as distinct and dissimilar from one another, and by this detail, the Spirit is stating the total hold these have on the earth. Already we have seen a kind of degradation whereby nature is affected. Man’s actions have caused severe damage to the earth. The oceans are much warmer than before and marine life is depleted. This is merely a starter. Satan shall not have much to do but keep sinful man continue taking his mismanagement to its logical conclusion. In Costa Rica rainforests are disappearing overnight to make room for pineapple cultivation. It is lucrative for farmers so why would the government want to reverse the trend? Creating wealth is what rational governments do, is it not? But is it ethical? Ideology of wealth like all ideas, when these are allowed with out any checks and balances are playing into the hands of Satan. In the chapter 10 the mighty angel came down from heaven. The Spirit shows him with one foot on the sea and the other on the land reveals an important point. God’s judgment is upon the land as well as the earth. This ought to warn us how long Satan shall deceive man. “For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (12:12)”.
“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(v.1)”.
The beast arising out of the sea is not a sea-creature. His power is real as the sea in spiritual parlance denotes nations. Wickedness of people make it a raging sea(Is.57:20, “murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words(Jude.16” which they aver is what free speech would mean.
Note the number of heads and horns and crowns. Obviously the numbers establish where his powers comes from.
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority(v.2)”.
The incongruous assortment of body parts do tell the truth: “Folly is set in great dignity (Eccles.10:6)” and do we not see how those who are lacking in sense speak from high office and tear out the unity of their nations by their intemperate and stubborn nature? ,
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: (v.3)”.
Death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection had dealt a great blow to Satan, which is referred here. His loss in heaven was certainly a severe blow but in his chance to work through the two beasts is indicated by wound almost healed.
(To be continued)