The Beast with Seven Heads

14 Nov
Beast of Revelation 13

from Google Images

As mentioned previously, the seven-headed beast of Revelation 13 has been interpreted by some to be the Roman Empire with its first seven emperors: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, Claudius, Nero and Vespasian (excluding the three emperors who rose to power for a short time between Nero and Vespasian. It’s not a perfect fit, since three are subjectively eliminated from the interpretation, but this is one of its interpretations. A more widely accepted but also a modern interpretation is that the seven-headed beast represents seven resurrections of the Roman Empire (1-Justinian; 2-Charlemagne; 3-Otto the Great; 4-Charles V; 5-Napoleon; 6-Hitler), with the seventh and final resurrection being yet future.[1] There are other variations of the above, but in essence these are the interpretations of most modern end-time enthusiasts. What can be said of these things?

According to Revelation 13:1, John stood upon the sand of the sea, and he saw a beast rise out of the sea. This same beast had seven heads and ten horns with crowns upon its horn, and upon the heads was written the name of blasphemy. The sand on the seashore represents the great number of people in the nations (Revelation 20:8), and the sea represents the wicked of the land: “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20). The sea, therefore, represents the loud cries of those in rebellion (Isaiah 17:12).[2] It is out of such a context as this that the beast arises (Revelation 11:7; 17:8),[3] and it was out of such a context that Daniel’s four great empires arose (Daniel 7:2-3).

This beast appears to be somewhat like the dragon of Revelation 12, but the two are different, at least in some respects. The beast of Revelation 13 also bears a resemblance of the beast of Revelation 17, but they, too, are different in some respects. Nevertheless, all three beasts have seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:3), so in other respects they appear the same. What can be said of these things?

If we are able to believe what the Scriptures say about Scripture more than what men interpret history to say about Scripture, then we may get a different picture from this chapter of the Apocalypse than what we have been told. In the words of Sir Author Conan Doyle: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”[4] In the context of the beast of Revelation 13, how could we apply this concept? Well, the bear’s feet Revelation 13:2 probably represent the second kingdom of Daniel 7, while the leopard’s (body), no doubt, represents the third kingdom of Daniel 7, but the mouth represents the first kingdom. These have been interpreted to be Babylon (first kingdom), Persia (second kingdom) and Greece is the third kingdom, and I have no reason to take issue with this interpretation.

Nevertheless, the Apocalypse presents them differently from what we can see in Daniel 7. Only parts of these kingdoms are mentioned in Revelation 13, and not at all in Revelation 12 or 17. Notice that the dragon of Revelation 12 has the crowns upon the heads, while the beast of Revelation 13 have the crowns upon the horns. Clearly, the 10 horns represent the same 10 horns mentioned in Daniel 7 for the fourth kingdom, and most scholars interpret the fourth kingdom to represent Rome. Horns represent power, so they point to the power of the Roman Empire in some manner, in the context of Daniel’s fourth beast being Rome.

What this tells me is without the power of the horns, or the authority vested in the horns by the dragon, the beast would have no power or authority over “all tribes, and tongues, and nations” (Revelation 13:7), which included the power to persecute the saints. It would be impossible for the beast of Revelation 13 to be Rome, because, in the context of the Apocalypse being fulfilled not long after it was written in the first century AD (Revelation 13:1, 3; 22:10, 12, 20), the beast was destroyed in the lake of fire (Revelation 19:19-20; cf. 20:10, 14).[5] Yet, Rome was not destroyed in the first century AD.

Well, this is what we know to be impossible, according to the Scriptures,. What is left to consider? The only Biblical entity left that was, indeed, destroyed in the first century AD (70 AD) was Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jewish nation in her apostate, unbelieving condition. No matter how improbable this is to believe, this **must** be the truth, if the Apocalypse was fulfilled in the first century AD. This understanding should become clearer in succeeding studies.


[1] For an example of this interpretation, see the Trumpet.

[2] See my previous study: The Birth of the Beast of Revelation 13.

[3] The sea or the “troubled sea that cannot rest” is not The Bottomless Pit, per se, but it is due to the efforts and cries of the wicked (viz. the troubled sea of Isaiah 57:20 and the rebellious people of Isaiah 17:12) that the beast arises out of the bottomless pit.

[4] Quote from: The Sign of Four; chapter 6, page 111; a mystery about the investigations of Sherlock Holms (1890).

[5] For studies on Jesus’ Second Coming being cir. 70 AD see my numerous studies linked to my AD 70 Eschatology page.


Posted by on November 14, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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10 responses to “The Beast with Seven Heads

  1. Eddie

    November 30, 2019 at 08:06

    Greetings Patricia, and thank you for your comment. Lord bless you.

    You are correct. I remain unconvinced that the 10 generals of Josephus could be the ten horns of Revelation 17 who hate Jerusalem. A zealot may use his patriotism unwisely and destroy what he loves, but the fact remains he loves his country. He is willing to die for it, so he loves it. He may be wrong in his tactics and in his loyalty to the Lord, but the tears he sheds at the fall of his beloved land are no less real or sincere.

    My Thanksgiving was spent quietly with my wife, and I enjoyed the day very much. Glad to see yours was good, as well. We all have much to be thankful for. Lord bless you, Patricia.

  2. Patricia Watkins

    November 29, 2019 at 19:21

    Hi again Eddie,

    I hope you and yours enjoyed a blessed Thanksgiving holiday together. All of our family were present and able to sit together at one table, which does not happen very often these days.

    This is a response to your Nov. 16 reply to me, stating that there seemed to be a huge flaw in my interpretation of Josephus’ ten generals as the ten horns on the Scarlet Beast of Rev. 17. Since Revelation’s ten horns were said to “hate the whore” and would end up “eating her flesh and burning her with fire” (just like the governors in Zechariah 12:6 would burn and devour the people of Jerusalem), it probably seems contradictory to you that the ten generals would HATE Jerusalem and end up devouring her and burning her if they initially were selected in AD 66 to DEFEND Jerusalem against the Romans.

    This is not the contradiction that it seems to be, because the Scarlet Beast of Rev. 17 (independent Israel under the Zealot leadership) was OPPOSED to certain factions present in Judea at the time. It was a “kingdom divided against itself” as Christ would have described it. CIVIL WAR was a plague on Judea and within Jerusalem in particular throughout the AD 66-70 era. The ten horns / ten generals were selected in AD 66 to OPPOSE the state of affairs that had existed in Rome-dominated Jerusalem until that time.

    Remember, the harlot riding in a DOMINANT position on the back of the Scarlet Beast was said by John to be then presently “reigning over the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 17:18). The “kings of the earth” were the land of Israel’s high priests – not your typical enthroned royalty. As John was writing Revelation some time between late AD 59 to early AD 60, Rome-dominated Jerusalem was then presently keeping the high priesthood under its thumb; it was “reigning over the kings of the earth” by keeping the high priesthood in Israel answerable to its requirements.

    In AD 66 with the Zealot uprising, that situation changed. Up until then, however, appointments to serve in the high priesthood had been made according to Rome’s approval. Also, the Tyrian shekel and half-shekel had Rome’s sanctioning initials of “KP” (meaning “power of the Romans”) stamped on every one of those particular minted coins. The high priests had agreed with Rome’s demands for these initials and the other pagan images to be stamped on their coins when Rome first allowed that currency to be minted in Jerusalem after 19 BC. The Tyrian shekel and half-shekel became the only currency that the high priests allowed for temple transactions. Every time an Israelite paid his annual Temple Tax or paid for sacrificial offerings, he was reminded once more by that Tyrian shekel coin in his hand that Rome ultimately held the power over the high priesthood. Additionally, (and most insulting of all), the holy vestments of the high priest which from old time used to be stored in the Temple were being held in the Roman fortress of Antonia according to Josephus, to be doled out on the feast days (provided the high priests toed the line).

    The harlot riding the Rev. 17 Scarlet Beast’s back was symbolic of Jerusalem “prostituting” herself under Rome’s oversight in order to keep her place and her nation, and to maintain an uninterrupted flow of treasure into the Temple’s collection – and also into the corrupt high priest’s pockets.

    This subservient status of a prostituted Jerusalem was what the Zealots hated, and consequently launched the rebellion against it. Anyone in Israel who wished to remain in that subjected status under Roman authority was the Zealots’ enemy – even if it was one of the selected 10 horns / 10 generals themselves that was suspected of wanting to return Jerusalem to Roman control once again. (Which is why one of the 10 generals themselves, the former high priest Ananus, ended up being slain by them, and why they despised Josephus – also one of the 10 generals – for supposedly becoming a traitor to their cause when he was captured by the Romans.)

    This is how the 10 horns / 10 generals could simultaneously “hate” the whore and also be charged with defending Jerusalem at the same time. They hated the Roman-controlled system In Jerusalem as it had been operating up until AD 66, and yet wanted to defend the newly-independent Jerusalem as it had come to be under the Zealot uprising. No contradiction.

    You may still be convinced otherwise, Eddie, but just as you have said, I don’t mind the differences. Revelation is fascinating book and a joy to study, no doubt about it.

  3. Eddie

    November 16, 2019 at 10:45

    Good Morning, Patricia, and thank you for your comment and for your continued interest in my studies. Lord bless you.

    We disagree about the importance of the 10 generals. We agree that the beasts of Revelation 13 & 17 are different, but we probably disagree about their respective identities. A huge flaw in your interpretation is that the Scripture claims that the horns (the generals, according to you) will hate the woman (Revelation 17:16) which is that great city (Revelation 17:18), where Christ was crucified (Revelation 11:8). I think it is a lot of fun trying to figure the Apocalypse out. I’ve studied it for years and the time passed unnoticed. It was always great fun. I understand your commitment to your studies, and that’s fine with me. I do differ with you, but, as I said, I don’t mind, and I hope you don’t either.

    Lord bless you, Patricia,


  4. Eddie

    November 16, 2019 at 10:31

    Good Morning, Bill, and thank you for your interest in my studies. Lord bless you.

    We disagree on a few points, but I don’t mind such things anymore. Sometimes I’ll state the differences, but you seem comfortable with what you believe about the fourth kingdom, and, obviously, I disagree. I see the meaning of the Apocalypse very differently than how I understood things at the very beginning. I think I confessed to you (perhaps it was someone else) that I didn’t know where this study would lead, but I felt I needed to do it. It is now finished, but not completely published. I am pleased with how it has turned out, and barring a really convincing argument to the contrary, I’ll be publishing my studies as I’ve written them in my files on my computer.

    Lord bless you, my friend,


  5. Bill

    November 15, 2019 at 17:52

    Hi Friend. To me, the 10 simply represent the attempt to hang on to the old covenant system that was centered in Jerusalem. They are mentioned again in Rev 17 as only having authority for one hour.

    Rev 17:12  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 
    Rev 17:13  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 
    Rev 17:14  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. 

    Daniel prophesied that 3 of these 10 would be killed (Dan 7:8, 20, 24). Josephus writes that #1, #2, and #5 were killed by the Zealots in Jerusalem (Wars 4.6.1 (Joseph), 4.5.2 (Ananus), 4.6.1 (Niger). Could just be coincidence that 3 of these 10 were slain…or not.

    As to the 4th kingdom, Daniel specifically lists Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece (Dan 10:20). After the Maccabees liberated Judea from Greece, Rome recognized the Hasmoneans as sovereign over the territory.
    “The ensuing revolt by the Jews (167 BCE) began a period of Jewish independence…”
    “The dynasty had survived for 103 years before yielding to the Herodian dynasty in 37 BCE. The installation of Herod the Great (an Idumean) as king in 37 BCE made Judea a Roman client state and marked the end of the Hasmonean dynasty. Even then, Herod tried to bolster the legitimacy of his reign by marrying a Hasmonean princess, Mariamne, and planning to drown the last male Hasmonean heir at his Jericho palace. In 6 CE, Rome joined Judea proper, Samaria and Idumea (biblical Edom) into the Roman province of Iudaea. In 44 CE, Rome installed the rule of a procurator side by side with the rule of the Herodian kings (specifically Agrippa I 41–44 and Agrippa II 50–100).”

    The tie-in between the Hasmonean and Herodian dynasties as the 4th kingdom of Dan 2:41 is Mariamne, the Hasmonean princess of Herod the Great.

    Jesus, too, identifies the Jews as the 4th kingdom (following Greece) when he makes reference to Daniel 2:45 regarding the transfer of a kingdom…

    Dan 2:45  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold;

    Mat 21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 
    Mat 21:44  And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 
    Mat 21:45  And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 

    …then, from the kingdom Jesus referenced that was controlled by the Pharisees, it would transfer one final time, upon the destruction of Jerusalem…
    Dan 2:44  And in the days of these kings, the God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 
    Dan 7:27  And the kingdom and rulership, and the greatness of the kingdom under all the heavens shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And all kingdoms shall serve and obey Him. 

    This transfer is revealed again in Rev 11…
    Rev 11:13  And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven. 
    Rev 11:14  The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly. 
    The Seventh Trumpet
    Rev 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. 

    IMO, Rome was not one of Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdoms of the statue in the dream.

    Thanks for the reply and the study. You challenge us and keep us reading our bibles.


  6. Patricia Watkins

    November 15, 2019 at 13:39

    Hi Eddie,

    Those 10 generals selected at the beginning of the war around AD 66 were the 10 HORNS (representing governing or military power) of the Rev. 17:12 Scarlet Beast. (Which is NOT the same Beast as the Roman Sea Beast of Rev. 13, or the other Rev. 13 Land Beast.). As of the time John was writing, the ten kings”/horns had not received a kingdom as yet, but they would all SIMULTANEOUSLY receive power for ONLY ONE HOUR, (the same “hour” in Rev. 18:10 & 17 that it took to bring Babylon/Jerusalem down). This power of the 10 “kings”/ horns was AS IF they were a king (even though they really were NOT kings in actuality) because they were each granted power over a certain region or group of cities to help establish defenses against the anticipated Roman invasion.

    They were united in purpose to begin with (“These shall have one mind…”) and to start with, they all gave their power and strength to serve the Scarlet Beast, which was the newly-independent kingdom of Israel started by the Zealot uprising.

    This Rev. 17 Scarlet Beast had been brought to existence once before by the Maccabean “Zealot” uprising against Antiochus Epiphanes, when Israel’s hard-fought victories won an approximate 80-year period of independent freedom as a nation. That’s when the Scarlet Beast “WAS” in existence. Then this Scarlet Beast “WAS NOT” in existence when Pompey subjugated Israel to Rome and put them under tribute.

    Later, the Scarlet Beast then re-emerged in AD66 due to the Zealots throwing off the yoke of Rome by attacking the Antonia fortress and the Roman troops at Masada, and stopping the daily sacrifice for Rome and the emperor. At that time the Scarlet Beast “IS” once more in existence, just as Rev. 17:8 talked about this fluctuating state of the Scarlet Beast that “WAS, and IS NOT, and yet IS”, once it arose from the abyss in AD 66. It was “ABOUT TO ARISE” from that abyss (Rev. 17:8) when John was writing Revelation in late AD 59 to early AD 60.

    These 10 generals selected to defend Jerusalem and the major cities against the anticipated war with the Romans were also referred to in Zechariah 13:5-6. “And the GOVERNORS OF JUDAH” (“ captains” in the LXX) “shall say in their heart, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God.’ In that day will I make the governors of Judah” (“captains of thousands of Judah” in the LXX), like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”

    This passage in the context of Zechariah 12-14’s prophecy for Israel is describing the conditions surrounding the AD 70 siege of Jerusalem and the period immediately preceding it. It was a time when Jerusalem would independently “dwell again by herself” (as the LXX phrases Zech. 12:6) after the AD 66 Zealot uprising.

  7. Eddie

    November 15, 2019 at 08:38

    Greetings Bill, and thank you for the link and your continued interest in my studies. To be honest, though, I don’t see the Hasmonean Dynasty as part of Daniel’s fourth Kingdom. In fact, I see the Herodian Dynasty as still part of Daniel’s third kingdom. I see Herod as the fourth head of the third beast. The fourth kingdom must be Rome, in my opinion, and each of the four beasts are different from one another. I have read about the 10 generals mentioned by Josephus, although I never listed them as you have done in your comment. What significance, if any, do you see that these ten have in the Apocalypse?

  8. Bill

    November 14, 2019 at 17:17

    Greetings Eddie. Enjoying the study!

    You may have seen it already, but Josephus presents an list…
    “…appointed a great many generals for the war.
    1) Joseph also, the son of Gorion, and
    2) Ananus the high priest, were chosen as governors of all affairs within the city,

    They also chose other generals for Idumea;
    3) Jesus, the son of Sapphias, one of the high priests; and
    4) Eleazar, the son of Ananias, the high priest; they also enjoined
    5) Niger, the then governor of Idumea,

    Nor did they neglect the care of other parts of the country; but
    6) Joseph the son of Simon was sent as general to Jericho, as was
    7) Manasseh to Perea, and
    8) John, the Esscue, to the toparchy of Thamna; Lydda was also added to his portion, and Joppa, and Emmaus. But
    9) John, the son of Matthias, was made governor of the toparchies of Gophnitica and Acrabattene; as was
    10) Josephus, the son of Matthias, of both the Galilees. Gamala also, which was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command. ”
    Wars 2.20.3-4

    The 4th kingdom had to follow Greece…and had the 2 parts. Maccabees 1 and Josephus tell us the next kingdom was the Hasmonean Dynasty (the Maccabeans)/Herodian Dynasty….Israel/Edom.

    You will find this link fascinating, I hope. It is a list compiled about the leadership of the Zealot movement. There were 7…
    (it’s on page 332, if the link doesn’t take you directly to the page)

    Keep up the good work. Best regards.


  9. Eddie

    November 14, 2019 at 13:00

    Hi Dave, and thank you for asking, but I don’t mind whatever you want to do with my studies, as that pertains to your own private studies. Concerning a list, you can click on the Archives tab at the top of the page and you can get a linear list of all my published studies from the most recent (top) to my very first study several years ago (bottom). For what you want, you’ll have to scroll down to my first study in the Apocalypse, which is: “The Apocalypse and the 70 Weeks Prophecy”. On the other hand, you could also click on the ‘Apocalypse’ tab on the top of the page and you will be taken to a list of seven links to 7 pages, which contain my complete study, including my unpublished titles, but only the published studies have live links.

    Thanks again for your interest in my studies. Lord bless you.

  10. Dave White

    November 14, 2019 at 10:53

    Greetings Eddie. There is just too much research and learning in these Revelation blogs for them to just disappear into the ether. Therefore I would like to compile them into a single file so I can study them in more detail. Do you already have them compiled? If not do you mind if I do? It would be for my own study anyway. (My church might run me out on a rail if I tried to propagate it!)

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