The vision that began in chapter 12 continues here, with the dragon standing on the shore of the sea while we watch a beast rise up out of the water. What we discover is that the dragon’s war against the people of God is waged through agents, this beast being the first, representing the state. When human government rejects God and seeks to take the place of God, it becomes beastly and God’s people will find themselves in trouble. Their loyalty to the One who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb puts them squarely in the crosshairs of the beast. Jesus warns his people and calls them to patient endurance and faithfulness in the face of whatever consequences come.