Notes on Revelation 12&13:
The essential theme of Revelation is the war of the ages between good and evil. We learn through John’s vision that events of heaven correspond to actions on earth. In Chapters 12 & 13 we receive through terrible images a distinct conception of the powerful foes with whom the Christian has to contend.
Who are the three great enemies of the soul, which we encounter in these two chapters? Answer: the world, the flesh and the devil.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air (the devil), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh (mark of the beast on right hand representing selfish action) and of the mind (mark on forehead representing thought life); and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
1 John 2:15: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 3:8:He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Or the first beast could be the secular world (Babylon, the state) and the second beast the religious world (the Old Jerusalem), which does not keep the commandments of God, and does not have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The second beast may denote the religious world in submission to the godless or idolatrous state.
Who is that woman? Answer: Israel/the Church; Mary/the Church.
What is the mark of the beast? Answer: It is not a literal number on the right hand and forehead of unbelievers and “Christian” compromisers with the world. The mark is the selfish character of fallen man. Men without God are brute beasts, virtual animals having lost the image of God. The number 6 is the number of man, who was created on the Sixth Day. So, 666 signifies fallen man.
There is a war from without (the world and the devil) and there is a battle from within (the flesh, our physical and natural appetites).
These interpretations are according to my humble opinion.