In his The Days of Vengeance: An Exposition of the Book of Revelation , David Chilton suggests that the dragon and two beasts of Revelation 12-13 constitute a demonic parody of of a modified Trinity. The Father is imaged by the dragon, the Son by the sea beast, and the land beast, which is the “image” of the beast, is the Spirit-filled church.

The argument for this is persuasive. The sea beast is obviously presented as an image of the dragon. According to 12:3, the dragon has seven heads and 10 horns, just as the sea beast does (13:2). Both wear diadems. The dragon makes war on the woman and the offspring (12:17) and so does the beast (13:7). 13:4 draws out the parallel: “they worshiped the dragon . . . they worshiped the beast.”

The sea beast is obviously a parody of the Son.

His head was crushed, as serpent heads are supposed to be, but this serpent also recovers and elicits worship from everyone. Both the beast and the Lamb have followers with names on their forehead, both have horns, both receive authority. James Jordan points out that the exclamation in 13:4 (“Who is like the beast?”) echoes the meaning of the Hebrew name Michael (“Who is like God?”), used for Jesus in 12:7.

Similarly, there are clear parallels between the land beast and the two witnesses, representing the martyr church, in chapter 11. The witnesses execute their enemies with fire from their mouths, perform signs and wonders, do the work of Moses and Elijah. The land beast makes fire fall from heaven, is able to raise the dead with his breath, and generally seems to be an infernal Elijah.

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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