Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Beast

A lot can be learned about the characters in the Bible by the names they are given. One of the names the Bible has for the Antichrist is the Beast in Revelation 13:1.

If we are growing closer to the time Jesus will return, we would expect see the character traits of the Beast in our world leaders since they foreshadow the Antichrist. We can expect that to be the case since Satan who possesses the Antichrist is the de facto ruler of this world; see John 12:31 harmonized with Matthew 4:8-9. Indeed, “the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world” (1 John 4:3, NKJ).

Referring to the Antichrist as the Beast tells us that he will be ruthless, like an animal crushing all opposition to him. Revelation 13:2 says, “the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion.” The Antichrist will take people by a surprise due to camouflage like a leopard. This enables him to rise to power quickly out of relative insignificance. As Daniel 8:23 says, “a king shall arise, having fierce features, who understands sinister schemes.” And Daniel 11:21 says, “he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue.” The diplomatic trickery of the Antichrist will catapult him into power.

The Antichrist’s feet being like a bear indicates that his destructive power goes with him where ever he goes. And his slashing out at people will result in a wide swath of injury. While the whole world eventually will follow the Antichrist, it is a misconception that all people will instantly begin following him as soon as he arrives on the scene. The books of Daniel and Revelation describe multiple battles that take place during the Tribulation where about half the population of earth will end up being destroyed, and that is before the battle of Armageddon when the Lord Himself will kill off the remaining population of unbelievers (see Revelation 19:21.

The Antichrist’s mouth will be a big part of his power and since it is represented as a lion’s mouth, what he says will result in the destruction of many people. The Antichrist will be an eloquent speaker. Psalm 55:21 says his words will be "smoother than butter" but his heart will be filled with war. Psalm 5:6 says he is a “bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” The Lion’s mouth will be a lying mouth. Psalm 43:1 indicates that the Antichrist will be an unjust ruler. This is what totalitarian governments do when they impose the king’s flawed idea of justice on the people.

The Antichrist will be so destructive that people will have no choice but yield to him. “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?’” (Revelation 13:4). I believe that some derivative of Islam will be the religion the Antichrist uses to make people follow him. It is interesting to note that Islam means “submission.”

I’m glad that as a follower of Jesus in this Age of Grace, I do not need to worry about being pressured to submit to the Antichrist. It is so much better to live in submission to the King of kings. Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matthew 11:29-30).

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