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Revelation: The Second Beast and the Prostitute

May 22, 2011

As the first beast rose up out of the sea, a second beast rose up out of the earth:

(Rev 13:11) Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon.
(Rev 13:12) He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.

This second beast seemed harmless enough (a lamb) but it spoke with the voice of the dragon (Satan). It caused people to worship the first beast, under penalty of death. It performed miraculous signs to deceive. All this was in alliance with the first beast. It seems evident that the second beast is the same being as the “false prophet” (Rev 16:13, Rev 19:20), both because of its deceptive, satanic speech, and because otherwise it is not mentioned in the remainder of the prophecy. So the second beast arose with the first in chapter 13, and went to its destruction with the first in chapter 19.

The second beast would have been easily identified by the first recipients of this prophecy. Under Domitian, emperor worship was instituted in the Roman Empire, complete with temples, incense, sacrifices… and the demand to profess “Caesar is Lord!”. This obviously brought trouble upon the faithful Christians who refused to make such a blasphemous statement. The second beast was the cult of emperor worship.


(Rev 17:3) Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.
(Rev 17:4) The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.
(Rev 17:5) This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
(Rev 17:6) I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

The angel explains that the woman in the vision is the “great city” that rules over the kings of the earth (vs 18). She rides on the beast having seven heads and ten horns — which we have already identified as the Roman Empire. The seven heads are seven hills where the “great city” sits — a clear reference to Rome. Below is a picture of a Roman coin dating back to AD 71 during the reign of Vespasian (69-79 A.D.) depicting Rome as a woman sitting on seven hills — something the early Christians would have been very familiar with. Surely they would have recognized the prostitute seated on seven hills as representing Rome.

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4 comments

  1. […] 3) The second beast is the cult of emperor worship. […]


  2. […] blood would be avenged. We previously identified the ten-horned beast as the Roman empire, and the woman riding on the beast as the city of Rome. She sat on seven hills, and she was drunk on the blood of the saints. She was the great city that […]


  3. Great stuff! Do you know where you came across that image of the coin? I’ve been trying to find a higher resolution copy of it, but can’t.

    Thanks!


  4. The pic came from here:

    http://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=184449

    Still there five months later… The coin apparently has sold, so I guess it will eventually be taken down and the link will be broken.



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