The Bible gives a severe warning against worshiping the beast and receiving his mark.
“If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath.” Revelation 14:9,10
If you worship the beast and receive his mark you will receive the complete wrath of God. So, who is this beast that we are warned against worshiping?
“And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name." Revelation 13:1.
This is a very unusual beast. He has seven heads and ten horns. The only place in the Bible this strange creature with seven heads and ten horns is mentioned is in the book of Revelation in chapters 12, 13 and 17.
In chapter 12 he is called a dragon, and in chapters 13 and 17 he is called a beast. In each case the same creature is being described. Whenever you see a creature with seven heads and ten horns you can know immediately it is the beast.
“And another sign appeared in heaven, behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.” Revelation 12:3.
The great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns is the Devil himself. He is an angel. He used to live in heaven and was the commanding angel of all the angels in heaven. But he became proud and selfish. He convinced 1/3 of the angels in heaven to worship him instead of God.
God was very patient with the Devil and loving towards him. But the Devil persistently refused to repent and return to God. Eventually the Devil and his evil angels started a war against Michael (Jesus Christ) and His angels.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9
The dragon with seven heads and ten horns and his evil angels were thrown out of heaven and came to our earth. For thousands of years the Devil and millions of his demons have been living on planet earth. But to a great degree they have been invisible to people. The Devil and his demons tempt people and deceive them and prompt them to do a wide range of evil things. But they are mostly confined to live in the spirit world, which is invisible to people. This is soon to change dramatically!
Very soon the Devil and his angels will be allowed to inhabit physical, visible bodies that can be seen and heard by people. But they won’t appear as hideous demons. They will appear as God and glorious angels from heaven. They will deceive most of the people on earth. When the Devil appears on earth in a beautiful, shining body he will claim that he is God. This is who the beast is. The beast is the Devil appearing on earth as a radiant, heavenly being, claiming to be God.
Revelation 13 describes the Devil coming to earth claiming to be God. It calls him the beast. Notice that he still has seven heads and ten horns just like he did when he was the dragon. Anytime you see a creature in the Bible with seven heads and ten horns you know that it is talking about the Devil.
“1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. 2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. 4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’"
"5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Revelation 13:1-8
In verse 1 we see a beast with seven heads and ten horns. We recognize this creature as being the Devil because he has seven heads and ten horns.
Each of the seven heads on the beast has a blasphemous name. Blasphemy is claiming to be God when you are not God. His seven names will each be a variation of the name God. But each name is blaspheming because he isn’t God. He really is the Devil.
The dragon transfers all his power, his own throne and great authority to himself as the beast. (v 2) He is exactly the same devious, evil angel as before, but now his appearance is visible and beautiful. He looks like God.
Notice how people respond when they see this marvelous being. First they marvel. Then they follow the beast and worship him. They are impressed and overwhelmed and so totally convinced that the beast is God that they worship him. When they worship the beast they worship the dragon as well since it’s the same creature, just in a different form. Then, in complete awe and adoration they say, “We have never seen God on earth before. He is so powerful that all the armies on earth could not fight against him.” (v. 4)
The Devil, appearing to be God, is allowed to speak and to blaspheme. (v. 5) He talks in a gentle, melodious, loving voice. He talks about his mighty power and his love for people. He will be allowed to continue this charade for 42 months. That is 3 ½ years. (v. 5) He tells people that he is God and he has come from the temple of God in heaven down to this earth to rescue and save the people of earth. (v. 6)
There will be a tiny minority of people who will refuse to worship the beast. These are the people who love and worship Jesus Christ (the Lamb). Their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life and they follow Him.