The Sea Beast as a Counterfeit of Christ (Thirteen 4)

The sea beast is the second member of a satanic trinity made up of the dragon, the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth. The sea beast is a counterfeit of Jesus Christ. This is confirmed by the text of Revelation 13. First of all, the sea beast looks just like the dragon. Both beasts have seven heads and ten horns, which would be an unusual species if one located them in the wild. Jesus said, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Likewise, if you have seen the sea beast, you have seen the dragon. The parallel between the sea beast and the dragon recalls Jesus’ statement in the Upper Room just before the cross.

Second, the sea beast receives its power, throne and great authority from the dragon. It does not operate on its own. Likewise Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” Just as the Father delegated Jesus’ role on earth, so the dragon has delegated the role of the sea beast in history. Third, the sea beast experiences a “wound unto death” in Revelation 13:3. The Greek word for “wound” (esphagmenên) is the same word used for the death of Christ in verse 8 (esphagmenou). When a wound that kills is healed we call that resurrection. In other words, the beast from the sea has a death and resurrection like that of Christ (Rev. 13:3, compare 13:8 and 13:14). That a counterfeit of Christ is intended in this passage could not be clearer.

Fourth, the cry, “Who is like the beast,” recalls to the Hebrew mind the name of Christ in the previous chapter, Michael. The name Michael is actually a question in the Hebrew, “who is like God?” (Rev. 12:7). When the inhabitants of the earth ask the question, “Who is like the beast?” they are echoing language that appropriately applies only to Christ in the book of Revelation. So this question is further support for a counterfeit Christ motif in the first part of chapter thirteen.

Finally, the beast’s operation before it rises out of the sea for the final conflict lasts 42 prophetic months (Rev. 13:5). This period is, of course, the same as three and a half years. echoes the three and a half years of Jesus’ earthly ministry. While the length of Jesus’ ministry is not spelled out anywhere in the New Testament, the time indicators in the Gospel of John are compatible with a ministry of three and a half years. So the duration of the beast’s history is built prophetically on the ministry of Jesus Christ. This, combined with the evidences listed above, indicate that the beast from the sea is a counterfeit of Jesus Christ. This in no way contradicts the traditional Adventist understanding that the medieval church is particularly in view in the activities and history of the sea beast.

2 thoughts on “The Sea Beast as a Counterfeit of Christ (Thirteen 4)

  1. Meluleki Maphosa

    Great points raised there I see it clearly now although the traditional interpretation is more sensational and more appealing to a lot of people. But thanks for making it relevant for our age. The controversy is a struggle between the genuine and the counterfeit that is concealed very well through deception. Copying even the fatal wound that Christ received! It takes wisdom to differentiate between the two – identifying the power behind it.

    Reading the historical interpretation in the 21st century I have little to gain from knowing the 1260 years starting in 538 AD than understanding that this is an ancient controversy and ultimately Jesus wins. Also that the beast from the earth will make things very difficult in the future. How exactly I don’t know, but I doubt it will be the same as what was done in the dark Ages.

    That should strengthen my faith just like it would have done to John and the early Christians facing a bleak future. Whilst things are going to get very bad for us ultimately good will triumph over evil and the good times will roll in.

    1. Jon Paulien Post author

      Good points. At this place in history it doesn’t matter so much the exact dates in which prophecy was fulfilled in the past, what counts is to trace God’s hand in the past, which gives us confidence in His control of our future. The purpose of prophecy is to motivate our engagement today.


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