Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Christianity or Index

Beast, The



The first beast that John saw come from the sea had seven heads and ten horns upon which sat crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy (Rev. 13:1). This beast would utter blasphemies against God, reviling his name and heavenly dwelling. In that time this horrible creature was believed to symbolize the Roman Empire both physically and spiritually. Rome was called the city of seven hills. And, from Julius Caesar onward the Emperor was deified and was to be treated as a god, a commandment of his Cult. This was a religious cult, literally the state religion which Christianity would eventually become under Constantine, which included temples where these deities were worshiped. The Emperor Domitian required people to address the Caesar as "our lord and god." It is easy to understand early Christian to such a requirement.

Some see the second beast seen by John as representing the local Roman governing magistrate which give the beast, Caesar, power by carrying out his power or orders. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and spoke like a dragon (Rev. 13:11). This is an example of John's symbolism; it had two horns like a lamb, the disguise of God as Christ was called the Lamb of God; but spoke as a dragon. This dragon characteristic John later calls the false prophet (Rev. 16:11). But he immediately sees how this second beast magnifies the first by making the earth dwellers worship the first, those who do not were put to death. Their worship was attained by showing by illusion the first beast performing miraculous deeds (Rev. 13:12-16). This is to say the Beast at first is made to be Christ, but in reality he is the Antichrist. Others believe by talking about this illusion John may have been attacking the Gnostics as some claimed Christ was just spiritual and not physical.

When speaking of the second beast as a false prophet says, And I saw the unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet (Rev. 16:13). These unclean or demonic frogs were John's referral to the frogs in the plague of Egypt in the time of Moses (Exodus 8:2-14) only the frogs which John envisioned were more evil and dangerous. As previously stated the Beast was initially thought to represent the Roman Emperor but as centuries past other candidates were selected. In a modern-day version the croaking of the frogs represent superstitions, preposterous claims, and lies embodied within the propaganda of totalitarian states. Such propaganda often is not easily detected as most nations use it in various forms. If this paradigm is resorted to then the users, like John, would believe such propaganda was being issued to gather the kings, national leaders, for the start of Armageddon. And he gathered them into a place in Hebrew tongue called Armageddon (Rev. 16:16).

The First beast later becomes the False Prophet (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).

An interesting question is found on the Answer.com: "What in Bible times was the definition of a beast?" It can have several meanings depending on the root word used.

Meanings include that it was "a general term similar to 'animal' or 'creature'; an animal of burden; a four-footed being; or a sacrificial creature." And, often it is used as a simile, comparing the worst side of human nature with a wild animal; sometimes tyrannical monarchies or worldly powers are described as beasts.

All the adjectives were available to apply to John's apocalyptic beast. Those not able to read could by given a good fright when hearing a sermonized description.


Sources::
Answer.com. <http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_in_Bible_times_was_the_definition_of_a_beast>
The Beast (Bible). <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beast_(Bible)>