What does the beast of Revelation 13:1 symbolize?


And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Revelation 13:1 - King James



⚪ The papacy

Rev. 13 [...]
And I saw a beast. — "This character is very forcibly delineated even in the names applied to it by the inspired writers. Paul calls it 'That Wicked One,' 'The Man of Sin,' 'The Mystery of Iniquity,' 'The Antichrist,' and 'The Son of Perdition;' the Prophet Daniel calls it 'The Abomination that maketh desolate' (Dan. 11:31; 12:11); and our Lord refers to the same character as 'The Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet' (Matt. 24:15). This same character was also prefigured by a little horn, or power, out of a terrible beast that Daniel saw in his prophetic vision, [...] John also saw and warned the Church against this character, saying, 'Ye have heard that Antichrist shall come.' [...] These various appellations and brief descriptions indicate a base, subtle, hypocritical, deceptive, tyrannical and cruel character; developed In the midst of the Christian Church; claiming, to the last, peculiar sanctity and authority and power from God." (B271.)
"We need not look long to find a character fitting all the requirements perfectly. But when we state that the one and only system whose history fits these prophecies is Papacy, let no one misunderstand us to mean that every Roman Catholic is a man of sin. Popes, bishops and others are at most only parts or members of the Antichrist system, even as all of the Royal Priests are only members of the true Christ." (B277.) Antichrist now finds its expression in the "Christian" governments of the world founded upon its teachings—Christendom.

Source : 🇺🇸 1917 - Studies in the Scriptures, Vol 7, The finished mystery, page 193 + Cover

Verse 2

Rev. 13 [...]
13:2. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, — "The body of the Papal beast was like a Leopard. The Leopard was the third beast seen by Daniel, viz., Grecia. Greece was noted as the center of learning, piety and wisdom (Acts 17:23); so Papacy's chief claim, to be the ruler of all kingdoms, is based on the claim that It Is the center of wisdom, learning and piety. Other peculiarities of the Leopard are its activity, vigilance and secretiveness; so with Papacy. Again, a Leopard is spotted irregularly, so too Papacy's in various parts of the earth." (Z.79-12-2.)

Source : 🇺🇸 1917 - Studies in the Scriptures, Vol 7, The finished mystery, page 194 + Cover

Z.79-12-2 : page 1 + page 2

Source : Studies in the Scriptures Vol7, The finished mystery page 192c


⚫ Satan's visible organization (world powers)


Rev. 13 [...] - "WILD BEAST"

The "wild beast", which John saw arise out of the sea, is shown by his description thereof to be not only wild, but unclean, cruel and vicious. [...] This is further proof that that which came out of the sea is a product of the Devil. It is the kind of ravenous beast symbolizing that which will not be permitted to be on the highway and live in God's kingdom. (Isa. 35:9; Ezek. 34:25) The"wild beast" therefore symbolizes Satan's visible organization that rilles the peoples of the earth. [...] The term "beast" symbolically represents Satan's visible organization, whether it appears in the form of one or in the form of many beasts. [...] We may lay it down as a rule without exception that the term "wild beasts" always stands for that part of Satan's organization which is on the earth. The number "seven" seems to refer also to seven different world powers, each one of which at a time certain holds the place of preeminence in the world, and all under Satan as the invisible lord.

Source : 🇺🇸 1930 - Light, Vol 2, page 263, page 264 + Cover

Then John further deseribes the "beast": "And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority." (Vs. 2) This description of the "wild beast" shows that it would not be limited to anyone world power, but that it is the complex or composite of the 'seven' or entire number of world powers that go to make up the Devil's earthly organization.

Source : 🇺🇸 1930 - Light, Vol 2, page 267 + Cover