A common view is that the beasts of Revelation 13 are Behemoth (the beast from the land) and Leviathan (the beast from the sea), the creatures described in Job 40 and 41.
Behemoth is described by God in placid terms in Job 40. It is powerful and exacts tribute. It hides among the reeds, meaning it hides its true intent. In Revelation 13 it is described as resembling a lamb but speaking like a dragon. That may mean that it retains the trappings of Judeo-Christian tradition but has sunk into apostasy and idolatry. It maintains a facade of law and order, but those laws are increasingly unjust.
Leviathan, on the other hand, is described as chaotic. It has no shred of allegiance to Christian tradition. In ancient religious writing, the sea is the source of chaos, death and destruction. It also stands for people in general. Thus anything that arises from the sea arises from the sea of unsaved mankind.
Many theologians associate the fourth beast of Daniel's sequence with Rome. If you consider all the empires with overseas empires that sprang from Rome (including America, its grandchild), the count is ten, and they collectively conquered the whole world, with the exception of a handful of nations, but even those nations were not unscathed. Those empires are Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, France, England, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy and America. Part of Denmark was arguably a vassal state of Rome; Denmark was part of the later Holy Roman Empire. Russia and Greece are excluded as they have their own place in prophecy, Greece being the third beast. Other empires to arise within Europe did not acquire overseas territories. The world's uncolonized lands are (according to one Internet list): Liberia, Ethiopia, Japan, Thailand, Bhutan, Iran, Nepal, Tonga, China, and possibly North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia. However, part of China was "leased" by England, Japan was nuked and occupied by the USA and had a new form of government imposed upon it. The US also occupied South Korea for a long time, Liberia was settled by free slaves from America and Italy briefly held Ethiopia. So pretty much the whole world was conquered by those ten horns from the beast.
Curiously, if you go through the prophets, you often find sets of beasts listed. The lists keep changing. By comparing them all, it is clear that there is a master list.
- Daniel 7: lion, bear, leopard, terrible beast.
- Revelation 13: leopard, bear, lion
- Jeremiah 4:7, 5:6: lion, wolf, leopard
- Lamentations 3:10-13: bear, lion, arrows
- Hosea 13:7-8: lion, leopard, bear
- Isaiah 11:6-7: wolf, leopard, lion, bear, lion again (excluding the meek lamb, yearling, cow, ox)
- Habakkuk 1:8: leopards, wolves, eagle
- Zephaniah 3:3: lions, wolves
- Ezekiel 22:18: copper, tin, iron, lead, silver. (Note that bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and lead is similar in weight to gold. Similar metallic list to Daniel, reordered.)
- Ezekiel 22:25-27: lion, wolves
Habakkuk's eagle is interesting, as it ties to Daniel 7:4, where "the first was a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle". Then the "wings were torn off". Daniel 7:7 associates the metal iron with the fourth beast. (I imagine that some will see in this prophecy a reference to America. England is symbolized by the Lion and America through its revolution was torn off from that Empire, and has the symbol of an eagle.)
I go to great lengths in the chapter "Timeless?" of my book Peace, like Solomon Never Knew to use textual clues (like references to morning and evening) to supply a time sequence to the various beasts and corresponding metals. The conclusion is that the "terrible beast" is synonymous with most prophetic references to wolves, and Rome's creation myth was that Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, were suckled by wolves. Thus the prophets used a subterfuge of synonyms to conceal the fact that many prophecies were against Rome.
Hopefully these scriptures can serve as a sourcebook for further study of the beasts.
I am currently researching a theory that the book of Job has the master list of empires. Each "negative speech" plus God's chapters on Behemoth and Leviathan match an empire, in chronological order. A few prophetic references to metals (bronze for Greece and iron for Rome) pop up, but not the beasts. This is the correspondence:
- Antediluvian Anarchy: Job 1. Satan's first attack is chaotic, with bands of thieves, a tornado and lightning strikes. It matches the time before the flood, a time of anarchy.
- Nimrod's Babel: Job 2. Job's health suffers, matching the decline in lifespans following the flood. Nimrod is described in Genesis as the first "mighty man" in history, founder of the first human empire.
- Egypt: Job 5-6. This chapter of Job has many references to the Exodus plagues.
- Israel/Judah: Job 8.
- Assyria: Job 11.
- Babylon: Job 15.
- Medo-Persia (Achaemenid Dynasty): Job 18. Has clues pointing to the death of Cambyses II.
- Greece: Job 20. Describes the death of Alexander the Great.
- Rome: Job 22.
- Islamic Empires: Job 25.
- Behemoth: Job 40.
- Leviathan: Job 41.
In Peace, like Solomon Never Knew, I devote an entire chapter to Job 20. It has about twenty prophetic details that tie it to the setting, symptoms, death and burial of Alexander the Great. I am now digging up comparisons that tie those chapters to the other empires.
The upshot of all this is that you need to find the right scaffolding, then attach prophecies from all over the Bible to that scaffolding so that the many details reinforce one another. Finding a non-contradictory solution that incorporates all the evidence is not easy.