I am not sure why most translators have chosen to render 13:1 as “And he stood on the sand . . . ” In Greek the pronoun is often not used with the verb unless it is needed for emphasis. The verb in this case can be translated as “he stood” or “I stood.” As “I” is the subject of the following line it would seem to make sense that it was in the preceding as well. I stood and I saw. Heads may be symbols of intelligence, though later in Revelation they are explained as representative of kings, which in turn represent nations. Horns are representative of power. The term “beast” does not denote merely an animal, like a rabbit, but it is used for a deadly, nasty predatory animal, or even a depraved human. Diadems or crowns generally represent authority (to rule) or are given to those who have competed and won. The animals this beast is “like” merely show his ferocity, his power source shows his evil.
We encounter the forty-two months again at 13:5. It has also been expressed as twelve hundred sixty days. That this is an indefinite period and not exactly three and a half years is shown by the fact that any forty-two month period will be several days longer than twelve hundred sixty days. Remember that this book is HIGHLY symbolic. We must be very careful trying to make the symbols fit our schema.
The beast from the earth is a deceiver (13:11-18) who leads even his followers astray. The number six hundred sixty-six “is that of a man” (13:18). Remember the gematria (or numerology) I mentioned earlier? The early Christians to whom John wrote were mostly Jews who also spoke Greek. Taking “Neron Cesar,” their way of saying “Nero Caesar” they would have come up with the number 666. This number, composed of three sixes, representing hundreds, tens, and ones, falls short of perfection, which would have been 777. Taking “Ihsous Xristos” which is translated from the New Testament into English as “Jesus Christ” what number do you think we come up with? For those who say 777, I will say, good guess, but no. The number is 888, He exceeds perfection! And He exceeds perfection by every bit as much as Satan’s minions miss it.
Chapter fourteen tells us that those who try to go along with evil will burn in hell forever. But those who stand for Christ, even if it means death (and perhaps a horribly painful death) will be blessed–also forever (14:9-13).
The imagery of the winepress in the latter verses of chapter fourteen is that of God’s wrath on those who had crucified Jesus. Instead of the “blood” or juice of wine which would have signified the blessing of a great harvest, there is the blood of His enemies and there is so much that it runs bridle deep on a horse for one thousand six hundred stadia. As a Greek stadia was roughly equal to a furlong (an eighth of a mile) this figure is equal to about two hundred miles. But when our translators use 200 miles instead of 1600 stadia, we perhaps get the distance factor better, but miss John’s use of numbers. Sixteen hundred is forty squared. Forty is the length of a generation in years, it is also often a time of testing in the Bible (Jesus’ forty days in the wilderness, the nation of Israel’s forty years in the wilderness).
Have you noticed that especially in this book that “sign” is never a “good” term? Note again that those who are really opposed to God curse Him when He punishes them, but those who love Him repent and serve Him (16:8-9).
Christ warns again of the soonness and suddenness of His coming (16:15). My translation rightly has in 16:16 “Har-Magedon” rather than “Armageddon” as most do (which shows a lack of understanding of both the Greek and the Hebrew, or worse yet, a desire to promote false teaching). The former term is the Greek transliteration of the Hebrew meaning mountain of or Mt. Megiddo.
The “It is done” of 16:17 is reminiscent of the “It is finished” of Jesus (John 19:30). Although the verb tenses are similar, quite different verbs are used in these two verses. That used in Revelation is a verb of being, whereas that used by in John is a verb speaking of reaching a goal.
Proverbs: King Lemuel’s mother told him that wine women and song are NOT what a king needs, in fact these will ruin you. Be true to God, protect those who need your protection. And don’t be excessive in anything.