The beast, a symbol of a huge civil / religious power, is introduced in Revelation 13; And following it, in the same line of prophecy, “another beast” is seen “coming up,” [Revelation 13:11-14.] Which exercises “all the power of the first beast before him,” that is, in his sight. This other beast must, therefore, be a persecuting power also; and this is shown in that “it spake as a dragon.” This huge religious beast / nation, received all its power from Satan, and the two-horned beast that followed, exercises the same power; it also becomes the direct agent of Satan. And its Satanic character is further shown in that it enforces the worship of the image of the beast, by means of false miracles. “He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do.”
The first persecuting power is represented by the dragon itself; in heathenism there was open alliance with Satan, and open defiance of God. In the second persecuting power, the dragon is masked; but the spirit of Satan actuates it,—the dragon supplies the motive power. In the third persecuting power, all traces of the dragon are absent, and a lamb-like beast appears; but when it speaks, its dragon voice betrays the Satanic power concealed under a fair exterior, and shows it to be of the same family as the two preceding powers. In all the opposition to Christ and his pure religion, “that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan,“—“the God of this world,“—is the moving power; earthly persecuting powers are simply instruments in his hands. We know who this last nation is!