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4. The Beast

“And when they shall have finished their testimony the Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them” (Rev. 11:7). This is another name which reveals the terrible nature and character of the Antichrist and which places him in sharp antithesis from the true Christ. “The Beast” is the title by which he is most frequently designated in the Revelation: there are at least thirty references to him under this name in the last book of the Bible. The Greek word signifies a wild beast. This name “the Beast” contrasts the Antichrist from the true Christ as “the Lamb;” and it is a significant fact that by far the great majority of passages where the Lord Jesus is so designated are also found here in the Apocalypse. The “Lamb” is the Saviour of sinners; the “Beast” is the persecutor and slayer of the saints. The “Lamb” calls attention to the gentleness of Christ; the “Beast” tells of the ferocity of the Antichrist. The “Lamb” reveals Christ as the “harmless” One (Heb. 7:26); the “Beast” manifests the Antichrist as the cruel and heartless one. Under the Law lambs were ceremonially clean and used in sacrifice, but beasts were unclean and unfit for sacrifices.

It is a point of interest to note that there is one other very striking contrast between the persons in the Holy Trinity, and the persons in the trinity of evil. At our Lord’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and the first mention of the Holy Spirit in Scripture represents Him as “brooding” like a dove over the waters which covered the pre-Adamic earth (Gen. 1:2). How remarkable are those symbols — a “Lamb” and a “Dove!” A Dove, not a hawk or an eagle. The gentle, harmless, cooing “dove.” Over against this the Devil is termed “the Dragon.” What a contrast — the Dove and the Lamb, the Dragon and the Beast!

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