As the third major section of Revelation opens in Revelation 12, we are shown the real enemy of God and His people: Satan, represented by a dragon. He is the cause of all the misery on the earth.
Satan, however, does not always do his dirty work himself. He has henchmen, and they are introduced to us in chapter thirteen: the beast of the sea and the beast of the land. The sea beast resembles the dragon in that they both have seven heads and ten horns. Both the sea and land beasts get their authority from the dragon and work in his behalf, and they are a motley crew if ever there was one. In contrast to the descriptions of the lamb of God, the sea beast is a hodgepodge of different animals, looking rather cobbled together by committee and wounded at that. The sea beast is an earthly manifestation of the devil, revealed later to be the devil dominated culture of the world which, at the time, was Rome. The land beast works to get all humans to worship and respect that culture and he is supremely evil, signified by the name 666. The number 6 was considered in the ancient world to represent evil. “3″ represented deity, thus 666 represented supreme evil.
Here is something to be remembered: There is no worldly culture worth preserving. The only culture of value is that which pursues holiness, and you can’t do that and fit in with the world. Anyone who tries will fail, and anyone who chooses holiness will find himself outcast and restricted by the world.
But not for long.