Advent with Revelation (Ch 13)
December 09, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.


Chapter 13 (Friday of the Second Week of Advent)

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have received a death-blow, but its mortal wound had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the beast. They worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’ 

The beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered. 

Let anyone who has an ear listen:
If you are to be taken captive,
   into captivity you go;
if you kill with the sword,
   with the sword you must be killed.
Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. 

Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all; and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is six hundred and sixty-six.


The remaining time is short; the end is imminent (10:6). Previously God and Jesus were referred to as “He who is, who was and who is to come” (1:4, 8; 4:8): from now on, the third attribute, “who is to come”, is omitted, because “the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (11:15). Now the Messiah steps forth explicitly. This increased prominence of events corresponds to the seventh trumpet blast and the third “woe”, which now follows. The content of this “woe” is the immediate reality of God’s mighty power and wrath and his judgment upon the dead (11:17-18); it extends, therefore, up to 20:15.  The visions of chapters 12-13 give further concreteness to the contrast already described. Thus the heightened “woe to the earth” (12:12) and the devil’s redoubling of efforts (20:2) in his war against the civitas Dei are seen to follow from the fact that he has already been judged. It represents a tremendous step into the open when the devil comes forth in person (as opposed to the mere smoke from the abyss and his demonic offspring in 9:1-21); a further stage is reached when he assumes concrete shape in the two beasts (13:1-18), unmasking himself as the perverse mimic of the divine Trinity. The first beast, rising out of the sea, is the anti-Christian incarnation of evil: thus its wound heals, in contrast to the marks of the Lamb’s wounds; in 17:3, it is shown to be one with the Great Harlot, the opposite to the community of Christ. The second beast, which arises out of the earth, is the spiritual and ideological form of the first; it is the lie, which has antipneumatic power to lead men astray, holding them spellbound under totalitarian rule. The appointed span for the beasts’ domination is the same as that appointed in 11:2 for the “trampling of the holy city” and in 12:14 for the community’s sojourn in the wilderness: it is always a time span (“time”) that, because of its intensity, seems to stretch out (“times”) but is again shortened (“half a time”) by the imminent approach of the end. These three measurements are not to be added together as a series: all three interpenetrate. 

Musical Selection

A vile, enormous dragon with heads and horns and crowns
And a tail that swept the stars from heaven and cruelly cast them down
He lurked before the woman about to bear her Son
The One who'll rule the nations with a rod of iron


Now has come our salvation
The power and the kingdom of God
For the dragon is defeated
By the Word and the blood of the Lamb

Behold, a war in heaven reflected here on earth
And Michael and his angels fought for all their worth
That wicked ancient serpent who leads the world astray
The accuser of the brethren was beaten from the fray

Rejoice then, oh ye heavens
But woe to the earth and sea
For he is filled, filled with fury
He knows his time is brief
'Cause he knows his time is brief (Michael Card)


Almighty God,
keep your people ever vigilant
as we await the return of your only Son,
that, mindful of our Saviour’s teaching,
we may be ready with lamps burning
and hasten to greet him when he comes.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.