Friday, June 24, 2011


Have you ever given much thought to the word "beast" in the Bible? Until today, I had not. After all, everyone knows what beasts are, right? Maybe not. I have found the term is used several ways in the Scriptures. First, when God created life forms on our planet, He created a special category of animal which differed from those dwelling in the waters, those flying about the ground, from cattle, and from creeping things (Gen. 1:20-25). "Beasts," seems to describe all land animals other than those which creepeth (crawled), and those which God called "cattle."

Secondly, some beasts were called "wild beasts" (non-domesticated) after leaving Noah's Ark (Gen. 9:2). Later, God warned Israel that if they would not obey Him, He would "send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your [high] ways shall be desolate" (Lev. 26:22). In the Apostle Peter's vision in Acts 10:12, he saw both four-footed beasts of the earth and wild beasts.

A third way the term "beasts" is used is to describe ungodly men. Nebuchadnezzar became a beast as punishment for his arrogant pride (Dan. 4:31-33; 5:17-21). Daniel also described the kings of four empires as "beasts" (Dan. 7:17). Apart from the Book of Revelation, there are at least four examples of ungodly men being called beasts in the New Testament (1 Cor. 15:32; Titus 1:12; 2 Pet. 2:12; Jude 1:10). Today, we get the term "cretin" from Paul's epistle to Titus; "cretin" is a derogatory term for a person who is a liar or one who behaves in a stupid manner.

In the Book of Revelation, the term is used to describe Seraphim, six-winged angelic beings (Isa. 6:1-6; Rev. 4:6-9; 5:6-14; 6:1-7; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4). It is also used to describe animals (Rev. 18:13). However, the most interesting way the term "beast" is used in Revelation is when it describes Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet. During the Tribulation (Rev. 6 - 18), these three "beasts" make every attempt to rule over mankind. Satan is called the beast "that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit" (Rev. 11:7). It is Satan is the one who empowers the antichrist (2 Thes. 2:8-12; Rev. 13:3-4), also known as the "first beast" (Rev. 13:12). The right-hand man of the antichrist, the false prophet, often called "the second beast," is antichrist's "enforcer" (Rev. 13:11-18).

There is good news concerning the unholy trinity, however, in that their future is already planned by God. They will be cast into the eternal lake of fire! "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10). Unfortunately, all those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord will also experience the same fate! "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire" (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19). Thank God He considers me His child, and not a beast!

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