This passage has me curious...

REVELATION 13:5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

I’ve always assumed that it was God who ‘gave’ this entity (the beast) the authority.

But now I see that this authority was given to the beast by the dragon. ...

REV 13:4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast;

When did the dragon get this authority to be able to delegate authority? Does he have this today? Or is this something he gains in the future?

  • 1
    they worshipped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast v4
    – Steve
    Jul 20, 2021 at 3:57
  • @User48152 Thanks! I was blind to the obvious. If you answered this as an answer, I would have ticked it. But now, after being shown ‘up’ I’m going to edit the Q. Cheers!
    – Dave
    Jul 20, 2021 at 4:15

2 Answers 2


When did the dragon get this authority to be able to delegate authority?

Apparently, it was around the time of Jesus as declared by the devil in Luke 4:6

"I will give You authority over all these kingdoms and all their glory," he said. "For it has been relinquished to me, and I can give it to anyone I wish.

Jesus didn't correct him. All authority came from God.

John 19:

10So Pilate said to him [Jesus], “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

Ultimately, the dragon got his authority from God as well.

1 John 5:19

We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.

Does he have this control today?

I think so until the return of Christ. Meanwhile, we are comforted by the words of Jesus in John 16:

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”


The description and activities of the sea beast can be seen in Rev 13;1-10 with the following literary structure


  • 13:1, 2a The sea beast introduced and described (similar to the dragon)


  • 13:2b, 3a Dragon gave power, throne and great authority to sea beast whose fatal wound that had been healed


  • 13:3b A: Whole earth astonished and wondered after the sea beast
  • 13:4a - B: They worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the sea beast
  • 13:4b -- C: They worshiped the sea beast - who can make war against him?
  • 13:5a --- D: Sea beast given mouth to speak blasphemies
  • 13:5b ---- E: Sea beast exercises authority for 42 months
  • 13:6 - - - D: Sea beast opens mouth to blaspheme God, His dwelling place and those in heaven
  • 13:7a -- C: Sea beast makes war on saints and conquers them
  • 13:7b - B: Sea beast given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation
  • 13:8 A: All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast except the faithful

Message to the Faithful:

  • 13:9, 10 If anyone has an ear, let him hear: If anyone leads into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. Here is the perseverance and faith of the saints.

Note that:

  • the structure of the main message is set out chiastically
  • we are twice told that it is the dragon that gave the sea beast its power and great authority in V2 & 4.
  • that authority only extends to those who worship the dragon and sea beast - only those whose names are NOT written in the Lamb's book of life, ie, the unsaved, V7, 8.

This means that the dragon's authority and its delegation to the sea beast only extends as far as the wicked unsaved on the earth. Put another way, the authority discussed here is clearly the choice of those who refuse to serve God and the Lamb and thus are deceived as per 2 Thess 2 -

9 The coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, 10 and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them. 11 For this reason God will send them a powerful delusion so that they believe the lie, 12 in order that judgment may come upon all who have disbelieved the truth and delighted in wickedness.


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