καὶ ὠργίσθη ὁ δράκων ἐπὶ τῇ γυναικί, καὶ ἀπῆλθεν ποιῆσαι πόλεμον μετὰ τῶν λοιπῶν τοῦ σπέρματος αὐτῆς, τῶν τηρούντων τὰς ἐντολὰς τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐχόντων τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ: καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον τῆς θαλάσσης.
Καὶ εἶδον ἐκ τῆς θαλάσσης θηρίον ἀναβαῖνον
And the dragon was angry at the woman, and departed to make war with her remaining offspring, the ones who are keeping the commandments of God and are holding the testimony of Jesus. And he (the dragon) stood on the sand of the seashore.
And I saw a wild animal coming up from the water...
Revelation 12:17 -13:1a
Many translations (KJV, AMP) render καὶ ἐστάθη ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον τῆς θαλάσσης as “and I stood on the sand of the seashore”. The earliest and best manuscripts render it as I have rendered it above. So why the two different renderings? Only one letter separates “he stood” from “I stood”. Later manuscripts have ἐστάθην instead of ἐστάθη. The addition of the ν (nu) changes the aorist tense verb from “he stood” to “I stood”. Copyist in later centuries probably added the nu to match Καὶ εἶδον (and I saw) that occurs in the very next line. So why would the copyist put John on the seashore and not the dragon? We may never know. Does it make since for John to be on the seashore? In my opinion, no. John is seeing a vision of a woman, a dragon, and a wild animal (beast). Why would he have to see the wild animal from the seashore? He wouldn’t have to. If you pay close attention to the context, then you will see that John is seeing all of this from an “outsider’s” perspective and not from an “insider’s” perspective. What John really sees is the dragon on the seashore looking out to sea!
So why is the dragon looking out to sea and what is the significance of the dragon doing so? That’s explained in the passage itself. The dragon goes out to make war with the woman’s offspring. How is he going to do that? Right, with the beast that is coming out of the water. The dragon’s beast (empire) and his leader (antichrist) is the going to make war with the Church of God, the one’s who hold the testimony of Jesus. That’s why the dragon is looking out to sea. He’s looking with anticipation. By looking out to sea, he thinks he sees his ultimate victory in his war with God and his children. But there is one flaw in the where the dragon is looking. He is looking out instead of looking down.
For a commentary on the passage, see my friend Stephen’s Blog.