Who is the Second Beast?
(1) According to commentators of all stripes (dispensational, reformed, liberal), the first Beast must be understood both generically and specifically. That is, as the Roman imperial government and as the particular emperor on the throne, much like the “body of Christ” can be either generic (the Church) or specific (Jesus himself). So the first beast is fulfilled in Nero Caesar as he exercises his imperial powers.
(2) The second beast is a subordinate of the first: (a) He exercise the authority of the first beast in his presence, and makes men worship the first beast (13:12). (b) He only has two horns (v10) rather than ten (v. 1), thus a more limited authority. (c) He arises from the “earth/land” (v11) and operates there; the first beast arises from the sea (v1) and has authority over all nations (v7).
Theological Debates Today (5 CDs)
Conference lectures on contemporary theological issues:
1. The Great Tribulation; 2. The Book of Revelation;
3. Hyperpreterism; 4. Paedocommunion; 5. God’s Law
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
(3) The identity of this beast is not as clear cut as the first beast. But it would seem that it refers to the imperial authority of Rome exercised in the Land, i.e., the Procurator. In light of the circumstances of Revelation and the time-frame, this would appear to be Gessius Florus who cruelly oppressed the Jews and goaded them to revolt against Rome. This causes the historical judgments of Revelation.