Question: Who are the ten horns of the beast in Revelation 13: 1-2?
From revelationsmessage, Revelation Chp. 13:1&2:
V.1 And (a)he (Satan i.e. “the Dragon”) stood on the sand of the sea, and I saw a (b)wild Beast coming up out of the sea, having (c)ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads (d)names of blasphemy.
V.2 And the Beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet as the feet of a bear its mouth as a lion’s mouth, and the (e)Dragon gave it this power, also its throne, and great authority.
(a) "He"; this is translated in AV as "I". However, as this verse in the original undivided text follows V.17 of Chapter 12, the reference is certainly to Satan. (Chapters and verses have only been inserted into the Bible since the 13th Century, Chapters in the 13th Century; verses in the 16th Century). Therefore Satan oversees (as the god of this world) as he stands on the edge of the sea the rising of the Beast. Sea is often used in Scripture as a metaphor for peoples / Nations (Isa. 57:20); so here "he" (the Dragon), watches the rising of a particular grouping of peoples, or personage, or both! Satan oversees this birth; whereas Almighty God oversaw the birth of Christ from Israel (Chapter 12:1-5), also see: Israel's Rebirth - Prophecy - The Last Days.
(The reference in Isa. 57:20, alludes to the “sea”, throwing up “mire and dirt”; which fits the descriptions of the “Beast”!)
(b) "Wild Beast"; this is the first reference in Scripture to such since Daniel (B.C. 495). In his day, the Nation of Israel was in exile in Babylon from his youth for 70 years, and he was a man (Prophet) much loved by God (Dan. 9:23), and (Dan. 10:19). Daniel was given the ability to interpret dreams, in the Power and Permit of Almighty God, to which fact he always paid homage and witness to God’s power; and did so on a number of occasions in his early captivity. One of those dreams much troubled Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2) and concerned the image of a man. Daniel, after witnessing to the source of the dream (Dan. 2:28) gave its meaning (Dan. 2:29-45). The man's image represented 4 Kingdoms.
1) The head of gold represented Babylonian Empire, symbol LION B.C. 626 -539.
2) The chest and arms of silver, Medo - Persia, BEAR B.C. 539 - 330.
3) Belly and thighs of bronze, Greek Empire, LEOPARD B.C. 330 - 63.
4) Legs of iron, Roman Empire, Eagle? (Terrifying Beast) B.C. 63 - to: (A.D. 70 as regards Israel)!
* Note: The feet are discussed in verse 8 notes.
The important principle in the above for the purpose of the Almighty, and the record made by the Holy Spirit in the Bible, is not the Kingdoms as such, but the fact that they impinge on ISRAEL when the history of Israel is current (defined as "Ammi", My people) as opposed to the history of mankind generally. Such is the present success of Satan, that mankind is blinded to the importance of the Divine Clock regarding Israel. Israel is special to God, and are called such on many occasions in Scripture, because God chose Abraham, because He knew his heart, and that he would be prepared to stand against the Satanic idolatry around him, Abraham responded in faith, and all the promises of God in the Old Testament relate to Abraham, and subsequently Israel; (not the Christian Church, as is so often taught)! (See: Replacement Theology (Spiritual Israel)?).
Because of this fact, only events affecting Israel in human history, and the purposes of God are the subject of Prophecy and record in the Bible. For example; in item 4) above, the Roman Empire ceased to be important in the Divine Plan at A.D. 70, BECAUSE ISRAEL HAD BECOME "LO-AMMI", (NOT MY PEOPLE) (HOSEA 1:9), and that was as a consequence of the rejection of Christ as their Messiah!
At some stage in the future, Jewish history as defined above will re-commence. There is however only a short time left in the Divine prophetic time scale, as laid out to Daniel in Dan. 9:27; which gives only 7 more years of that Prophecy to run. In between Dan. 9:26 and V.27, already approximately 1,930 years have elapsed. These however are not Jewish years of 360 days, but a mixture of Julian and Gregorian, which gives variation on the Jewish calculations of 360 day year; and the Gentile Calendar. In short it is probably not possible to know the exact Jewish year which we are now in, although some claim to know (i.e. on the 1/10/00, the Jewish new year of 5,761 begins according to Jewish "Rabbinical wisdom").
Even if it was known, it is irrelevant, as only God the Father knows the time when the Jewish Nation will become "AMMI" (MY PEOPLE), again, (Hos. 2:23), (Zech. 13:9), (Rom. 9:26) and (1Peter 2:10).
In Dan. 9:27 the statement of "a Covenant", gives the clue as to the commencement of the final 7 years of the Prophecy, as that "Covenant", will be for peace for Israel. When they think they have "peace and safety"; Satan in the guise of the Beast in V.2 will strike (Ezk. 38:14), and (1Thess. 5:3), for the last time against Israel, (prior to the Millennial Reign); "in the midst of the week”, i.e. half way through the 7 year period described above; which leaves 3½ years in which the “Beast” will inflict on Israel much persecution and suffering.
However, turning now to the Beast described in V.1 and V.2; put into its context in Chapter 13 of Revelation, and bearing in mind the above, a few comments can be made with some certainty.
1) The symbols of Empires, Leopard, Lion, Bear, are repeated from earlier Empires, affecting Israel as a Nation. I.e. there have been other Empires in that area since, but Israel was not a Nation in their land, under Jehovah; when their prophetic progress is current! So the “Beast out of the Sea”, is clearly an amalgam of Babylonia (Syria and Iraq); Medo – Persia (Iran and farther east); Greece (Part of Turkey and Caucuses); [See: Dan. 7:1-8]; and other of the Roman Empire surrounding Israel.
The fact of the “feet of clay and iron”, of Dan. 2:41-42; which is the “Kingdom” in question; drawn from all the previous, and its instability Dan. 2:43-44; is emphasised due to its short tenure as a powerful entity; as it will be destroyed, with all the influences of the previous Empires in that whole region by Christ Jesus Himself as He rescues the “remnant” of His people Israel; who are part of “Jeshuran” (Dan. 7:9-14 and Dan. 2:44-45); at the end of the last 7 years!
2) Since 1948 Israel has officially been recognised as a Nation (by the then League of Nations, now the U.N.). That was the first time since A.D. 70, and the Jews kept their unique identity wherever they were scattered, although very few know their tribe of origin, but their Jehovah God does!
In 2018 Israel will have been a Nation again for 70 years! The fact of the number 70 augers an event regarding their Nation’s stability and for recognition! (See: Biblical 7 and 70 Significance).
3) The fact that they are now a Nation in the eyes of the world, probably augers the re-commencement of their Divine History, i.e. the last 7 years of Dan. 9: 27, in the near future.
4) The identities of the Leopard, Lion and Bear are known from Dan. 2, and this last "beast" is certainly in the Prophetic Geographical Area, and in characteristics shows an amalgam of these and the previous Roman Empire. These Empires covered and overlapped each other, and in the crossroads to Asia, Africa and Europe in what was known as Palestine, Israel is central. The yet future Empire (Beast) (described as "feet and toes") in Dan 2, has Israel at its focal point, and is further described in Dan. 2:41-44.
5) The specific Nations involved are given in Ezk. 32, 38, and Psm 83, all of which fit the above criterion, and are in the "Prophetic Area", i.e. the known world of Old Testament Prophecy, and directly affecting the chosen people, Israel.
6) The animal symbols given show characteristics of this Beast, again referring to Daniel 2:29-45. The "Leopard"; speed, Alexander's Empire from Macedonia to the Indus river, was conquered and formed in 8 years! (It must be remembered that approx. half of present day Turkey (western half), was Greece in the past).
The "Bear"; Medo-Persia, present day Persia (Iran and farther east), Iraq, Caucuses peoples, and half of Turkey.
The "Lion", the Babylonian Empire, with the, now defunct Ancient city of Babylon at the centre, is present day Iraq/Syria, of recent infamous history, (these Countries are the “Prophetic Area” of the Old Testament”).
- To summarise; this Beast will form very quickly, "Leopard". It will also consist of part of Ancient and modern Greece, part now Turkey, (the area of the 7 Churches (Ekklesia) see above notes, (the area of the 7 Churches, "Ekklesia").
(c) "Ten horns and seven heads"; these are well described in Dan. 7:7-8, and Dan. 7:19-28. This end time Empire Confederation (Beast) will be of the Nations described above, (who are all at the moment mainly Islamic). The horns are ten kings (Dan. 7:24), three will be replaced by one who is more powerful (V.20). They are located in 7 Countries (or areas) of the above mix.
(d) "Names of blasphemy"; this fact underlines him whose power reigns in this Empire; Satan. His throne (power base) will be in Pergamum (Ancient Greece) (Rev. 2:13), (i.e. in present day Turkey), and his whole effort will be to attempt to annihilate Israel with all the power available to him. The "names of blasphemy", will show in part in his attempt to persuade the people of Israel and the world that he is God, and he will show much power and wonders to that end, his is the unforgivable sin (Matt. 12:31) and those that follow him appear to suffer the same fate. See note 14:1(c).
(e) Satanic beyond all previous, with Satan's power and authority beyond description. As we know from Rev. 12:12 Satan knows his time is short, and he will condense the evil and terror.