Revelation 13:2 “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.”
Feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
In the last section, John described a beast with multiple heads, horns, and crowns that will arise from the sea. The beast’s seven heads represent the seven global empires directed by Satan and ruled by seven kings who oppressed Israel. In this section, John gives further description of the beast – his body is like a leopard, his feet are like bear’s paws, and he has a mouth of a lion. In addition to the imagery of the heads, horns, and crowns on the beast, the different features of the beast’s body help describe characteristics of the beast. We find similar imagery in Daniel’s dream of four separate beasts who also emerged out of the sea of Gentile nations like the beast in Revelation:
Daniel 7:2-4 – Daniel spoke, saying, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
Daniel 7:5-7 – “And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: ‘Arise, devour much flesh!’ “After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.”
Daniel sees four kingdoms as separate beasts in his dream, while John sees one beast with different body parts from the same beasts Daniel saw. As discussed in Revelation 12:3, these four beasts are four kingdoms which are of the seven kingdoms represented by the heads of the dragon and beast in Revelation as shown below:
In short, the beast in Revelation has characteristics of three of the beasts in Daniel’s dream, which shows that the beast and its king will exercise authority over all the other kingdoms of the world like a lion, it will crush the enemy like a bear, and it will swiftly move to take out the enemy like a leopard. The passage below about the antichrist’s conquests shows these same characteristics of the beast – a conquering king that crushes and devours his enemies with swiftness like a whirlwind:
Daniel 11:40-44 – “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many.”
God allowed the former heads or kings of the beast to conquer their enemies to judge the nations. In fact, God described Himself having characteristics of a lion, a leopard, and a bear when He judged Israel, which concurs with the fact that He would punish Israel through the beast kingdoms described with the same characteristics:
Hosea 13:4-10 – “Yet I am the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt, and you shall know no God but Me; for there is no savior besides Me. I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. When they had pasture, they were filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore they forgot Me. “So I will be to them like a lion; like a leopard by the road I will lurk; I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs; I will tear open their rib cage, and there I will devour them like a lion. The wild beast shall tear them. “O Israel, you are destroyed, but your help is from Me. I will be your King; where is any other, that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges to whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?
The different body parts of the beast also show that the former kingdoms influenced future kingdoms, with the last kingdom having attributes of them all. This continuing influence is evident when God destroys the last kingdom, because the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows that the different body parts that represent different kingdoms stay intact until a stone destroys the last kingdom which crushes the entire statue consuming all influences of all the kingdoms:
Daniel 2:31-35 – “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
Daniel 2:44-45 – And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will 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 consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
As an aside, Daniel sees the beasts in the reverse order that John sees the corresponding parts of the same wild animals on the beast in Revelation, because Daniel’s dream looked forward in time and John’s vision looks back in time.
Incidentally, Nebuchadnezzar saw these same kingdoms in the form of a beautiful statue in a dream (Daniel 2), in contrast to God’s prophets who saw the kingdoms as beasts shown to the right.
His resemblance to a leopard, a bear, and a lion refer to the first three beasts in the vision of Daniel 7 (representing the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). This Beast includes the people and cultures of the three previous empires, and is an outgrowth of the Roman Empire itself.
“Leopard”: A metaphor for ancient Greece, alluding to the Greeks’ swiftness and ability as their military moved forward in conquest, particularly under Alexander the Great (compare Dan. 7:6). The Leopard and subsequent animal symbols were all native wildlife in Palestine, familiar to John’s readers.
“Bear”: A metaphor for the ancient Medo-Persian Empire, depicting that kingdom’s ferocious strength, combined with its great stability (compare Dan. 7:5).
“Lion”: A metaphor for the ancient Babylonian Empire, referring to the Babylonians’ fierce, all consuming power as they extended their domain (compare Dan. 7:4).
The description of the Beast connects it closely both to the dragon (Satan, 12:3), and to the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (the Roman Empire; Dan. 7:7, 23), though his actions show him to be somewhat distinct from both. The horns and heads are identified (in Rev. chapter 17).
As the first scripture indicated a beast with seven heads, the other two earlier empires were Syria and Egypt. To make the next scripture easy to understand, I will name the 6 again. They are Syria, Egypt, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. These are the 6 empires of the past.
We will revisit this again (in Rev 17:8-14), which begins:
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is”.
Be sure to read the next 5 verses as well (in chapter 17).
“The dragon gave him his power” (see notes on verse 1; 12:9).
Just so you know, the sixth beast is Rome. They were, and then they weren’t as they were no longer a force, but will be prominent again during the end times.
Verses 3-5: The “wound” may refer either to the apparent death of the Antichrist himself or to the decline and apparent disappearance of the Roman Empire. The healing of the “wound” may be either the apparent resurrection of the Antichrist or the revival of the Roman Empire.
“One of his heads” is apparently the Roman Empire (compare 17:10-11). This revival causes amazement throughout the “world”. The “mouth” depicts the blasphemy of the Antichrist against God (compare 2 Thess. 2:4). He will gain some type of worldwide authority for “forty and two months” (three and a half years, the last half of the Tribulation; compare verse 7).
Humans tend to magnify and put hope in human governments to fix the world’s problems, but God sees human authority for what it truly is – a beastly rule. Human governments rarely seek to serve like a domesticated servant animal unless God in His sovereignty requires it. Instead, world governments are generally self-serving establishments like wild animals, which makes sense since Satan directs these kingdoms and he seeks to destroy men like a roaring lion – the king of the beasts!
1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
On that note, John tells us that the dragon gives the beast his power, his throne, and great authority. This is a counterfeit of God, as God the Father also gives all authority, power, and His throne to Jesus (Matthew 28:18, Revelation 5:11-13, Acts 2:30).
Though God is still sovereign, Jesus said that Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11) and he directs global affairs through human agents who rule over earthly kingdoms (Ephesians 2:2). The antichrist is Satan’s final human agent whom he will give power and authority to rule over the whole world from his throne (click here for more on Satan’s throne). In other words, the antichrist will take Satan’s offer that Jesus rejected in the wilderness, and sell his soul to the devil to gain global dominion by worshipping Satan instead of God:
Luke 4:6-8 – And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.'”
Daniel 11:36-39– “Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain.”
So we see that the antichrist will rule with the authority and power of Satan over the last Gentile kingdom on Earth. John’s description of this beastly kingdom shows that it has attributes influenced by former Gentile kingdoms who ruled the world and oppressed Israel. And since the antichrist is also called the beast, its different body parts which represent previous kingdoms may also point to the origin of the antichrist, as discussed in the study: “Nationality of the Antichrist.”
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.