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The Beast from the Sea Part 2 – Ten Horns


By David Sheldon

Last Updated: May 25, 2022

As we continue learning about the beast from the sea with Part 2, let’s briefly review what we learned in The Beast from the Sea: Part 1 – Seven Heads. We saw that this beast:

1. Is a final world kingdom

2. Will come up in an unknown/mysterious/deadly manner

3. Possesses seven heads which represent kingdoms (Daniel 7:17 & 23). The seventh head is still in the future, the sixth was present when Revelation was written (Roman Empire), and the first five heads have already fallen: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. The last or seventh kingdom will come out of the 6th and will devour the whole earth.

We are now going to see that this beast from the sea has ten horns. What do these ten horns represent and how do they fit in with the final world kingdom?

We have the first glimpse of the beast’s ten horns in the Book of Daniel. Revelation 17 gives us further information about the purpose of the ten horns and their relationships. And Revelation 13 provides us with more specifics as to the authority this Beast from the Sea has in relation to the Beast from the Earth.

Who or What are the Ten Horns?

To begin understanding what the ten horns represent, let’s read portions of Daniel 7.

As you read, remember that the beast from the sea has as its sixth head the fourth beast in Daniel. (See Seven Heads Chart)

“After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Daniel 7:7 NASB
“Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed, and trampled down the remainder with its feet, and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head.” Daniel 7:19-20a NASB
“This is what he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and will devour the whole earth and trample it down and crush it. As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise;…” Daniel 7:23-24a NASB  [Emphasis mine]

The fourth beast is different from the previous beasts in a couple of ways. It is a “revived” beast from the Roman Empire. It is more dreadful than all of the others. It devours the whole earth. And, it has “ten horns.”

So, what are the ten horns? Notice the language in the above texts. “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom (meaning the fourth beast or the Roman Empire) ten kings will arise; and another (king) will arise after them.”

The ten horns are ten kings that will arise. These kings will have great authority.

Side Note: There is another ‘little horn’ that will arise after the ten. We will consider this horn in another article. In both Daniel and Revelation he is greater than the ten horns.

What is the Purpose of the Ten Horns?

We now look at Revelation 17 to see some of the specific functions and relationships of the ten horns.

“And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns……And they (the seven heads) are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.” Revelation 17:3, 10-13 NASB [Emphasis mine]

One thing is to be especially noticed in this text. The beast has “seven heads and ten horns” in verse 3. But in verse 12 the ten horns receive authority with the beast for one hour.

So the ten horns are both described as an integral part of the beast but also distinguished from the beast. They give their power and authority to the beast in a supportive role. But it would appear that the head of the beast is a greater authority. We might use the term coregents to describe the ten horns.

Please notice the language of an “eighth” beast/king in verses 10-11. He is the “eighth” but he is also “one of the seven”. This language is most likely not only distinguishing the ten horns from the seventh beast/head of which they are a part. It is also distinguishing the eighth beast as a “uniquely positioned” beast/king. In other words, one king is the seventh, but he is also the eighth. And he is especially described here as the one who “goes to destruction, just like in Revelation 19:20! The representative heads of the first six beasts were all pagan kings. But this one is different and we will see that in Part 3 – The Antichrist. (Also see Will Christians Know Who the Antichrist Will Be?)

So these ten horns are upon the final head (seventh) of the beast, but yet can be distinguished from the beast via their powerful and, yet, supportive role.

The Beast from the Sea

What Authority Do the Ten Horns Have?

We will now see in Revelation 13 that the ten horns have crowns. What does this mean?

“Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. Revelation 13:1-2 NASB [Emphasis mine]

The ten crowns (diadems in Greek) probably refer to a particular authority these ten horns possess. In one sense, they are of a royal nature from the perspective of the world. They are given authority by the world viewing them in a certain way.

On the other hand, God distinguishes them as in total rebellion to Him via their blasphemy in their association with the heads of the beast. This beast is swift like a leopard, powerful and methodical like the feet of a bear and intimidating like the roaring mouth of a lion. The great authority of this beast is seen in its power and position which is given to it by Satan, the dragon.

Now let’s look at the ‘beast coming up out of the earth’ which also has some relation to the beast with the ten horns.

“Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast (i.e. beast from the sea) in his presence….And he causes all, the small and the great, the rich and the poor, and the free and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, and he decrees that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:11-12a, 16-17 NASB [Emphasis mine]

We might describe this beast from the earth as the “Chief Implementation Officer” of the beast with ten horns. He exercises, i.e. carries out in practice, the will of the ten horns. He does this in his presence, that is, with seamless interface/interaction. He is in lock-step with the beast from the sea.

The great authority of the ten horns includes total control of a commercial system over the whole earth via a mark on the right hand or forehead. It is centralized, planned, controlled and purposeful administration of monetary power. It only works when both buyers and sellers accept how it is carried out. And the only way to be part of this great beast system is to give oneself in subjection to its requirements.

Chart of the Ten Horns

Below is a chart to visually display the beast’s ten horns. This chart is a continuation of the Seven Heads Chart from Part 1.

The Beast from the Sea with Ten Horns

What Do the Ten Horns Mean For Us?

In the ancient world, kings conquered, plundered, occupied, and set up their rule. It was diverse but local in that it only covered certain geographical territory. And other kingdoms would be able to carry out their reign in other places. But the main thrust of the authority of these two beasts is “over the whole world” and it is not, first and foremost, military or political. It is via a means of commercial submission/stranglehold across the entire face of the earth. This is beyond the scope of normal reasoning in the ancient world. But we have high-speed internet, and a massive banking system and potentially “virtual” money. There have been entities at work like the European Commission, the Club of Rome, the Council on Foreign Relations, Global World System, and the Millenium Development Goals to deal with all things “Global.” And we have instantaneous identification capabilities (QR Code) and “trading regions” (U.N. Regional Groupings) of the world. So it is not beyond normal reasoning in our present world! In our technological, interconnected and large corporation world it would not be out of the question for ten horns to reign monetarily.

Remember, God has ordained that these things happen for the purposes of His coming judgments. But we can ultimately take comfort in our Lord’s words: “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

There is yet more to learn about the Beast from the Sea. The “little horn” that will arise after the ten horns is known as the Antichrist, and we will see his purpose and characteristics in Part 3.

Who are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

We must correctly understand the four horsemen of the apocalypse in order to properly understand the rest of Revelation. Who are they and what is their mission?

Is Revelation in Chronological Order?

Revelation is more of a montage. Some of the chapters are in chronological order, but many overlap each other. Our charts give a visual explanation of this.

When and Where Will the Antichrist First be Seen?

2 Thessalonians 2:3 states specifically that the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist, will be revealed in the end times. Scripture tells us the circumstances.

Who are the Two Witnesses in Revelation 11?

The two witnesses of Revelation 11 proclaim a message of repentance and judgment for a period of 1,260 days during the first half of the end-time tribulation.

What are the Trumpets and Bowls of Revelation?

The trumpets and bowls found in Revelation are specific events of God’s judgments that will take place at the end of the age. They are very similar to each other.

Is the Rapture of the Church Found in Revelation 4?

Some believe John’s experience in Revelation 4:1-2 is representative of the rapture of the church before the seven year tribulation period. Is this the case?

When was Revelation Written?

It was towards the end of Domitian’s reign that John received the vision. We could surmise about 91-96 A.D. And he wrote Revelation while he was still on the island of Patmos.

Babylon in Revelation

The book of Revelation uses the term Babylon 6 times in 4 different contexts. Each use is pertinent in understanding the course of end-time events.

Laodicean and the Modern-Day Church

The Laodicean Church of Revelation is much like the modern-day church in its compromises with worldliness. Listen to this great sermon on Revelation 3:14-22!

The Beast from the Sea Part 1 – Seven Heads

Trying to understand the book of Revelation? This article explains the significance of John’s vision of the beast coming up out of the sea (Revelation 13).

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