APPENDIX 2: Identifying
the political manifestation of the enemy of God's people has been symbolised
by a beast. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Rome, the Jews and the
Papacy have all been described as 'beasts' in their aggression towards
the true believers. The beast in Revelation has been convincingly
expounded by different writers with reference to at least three separate
powers - Rome, Israel and Catholicism.
Whilst these interpretations hold true over certain periods of history,
the present writer feels that 'the beast' must have a specific latter-day
application. Copious evidence has been presented to show that
the Babylon beast of history must have a latter-day equivalent.
Much has already been said about this in the present volume; this
study aims to fill in some background.
The most basic principle
behind the symbolism of the beast is found in Gen. 1:28, where man is
told to " have dominion over" (Heb. 'to break to powder', cp.
Dan. 2:35) the beasts. This was to teach him the need to dominate
the bestial instincts of the flesh. Thus the beasts are set
up as representative of the flesh. Indeed, Strong defines
the Hebrew word for 'beast' as fundamentally meaning 'raw flesh'.
It is therefore understandable that the devil (sin), the beast and the
serpent are linked in Rev. 12:9, and that Prov.28:15 parallels "
a wicked ruler" with a wild bear or lion; the beast epitomizes the
sinful person who controls it. The Apocalyptic beast of the
earth (Rev. 13:11) must look back to the common phrase " beast of
the earth" in Genesis (e.g. Gen. 1:25).
The serpent is an epitome
of the bestial desires found in the beasts, and is thus the prototype
'beast' of later prophecies. The serpent being the greatest
of the beasts (Gen. 3:1,14) points to the latter-day beast being supreme
over the other nations; its being cursed above all beasts (Gen.
3:14) points forward to the latter-day beast-power being relegated beneath
all other nations in the Millennium. As the serpent dabbled
in spiritual things but was not morally responsible (1), so
the beast of the last days will do likewise.
This beast being a manifestation
of sin, the significance of the conflict between it and Christ at the
second coming lies in the open declaration of Christ's victory over sin,
the motivating spirit of the beast. Thus Is. 51:13 describes the
Assyrian beast in language which is picked up in Heb. 2:14-18 concerning
the " devil" of human nature. Christ's victory will not just
be the means of Israel's salvation
from the Arab oppressors. The two-fold conflict between the
serpent/beast and the woman (Christ), and between their respective seeds,
must therefore have a latter-day application (Gen. 3:15).
The temporary bruising of the saints by the beast must be seen in the
last days - and we have earlier examined the prophecies concerning the
holocaust to come upon both natural and spiritual Israel.
The final crushing of the serpent/beast and vindication of the woman's
seed will therefore be at Armageddon. The language of Gen.
3:15 is alluded to in Rev. 12:17, which describes the dragon making war
with the woman and her seed. We have earlier shown this
to have a specific latter-day application.
As the serpent deceived
Adam and Eve, so the beast will deceive the weak believers of the last
days. The serpent/beast in its first century Jewish manifestation
is described as seducing the saints through the subtle reasoning of the
Judaizers (2 Cor. 11:3). These people used many " fair
speeches" (Rom. 16:18 cp. Jude 15), suggesting that their prototype,
the serpent, persuaded Eve to eat the fruit after a lengthy series of
discussions, albeit unrecorded. " Yea, hath God said..." (Gen.
3:1) implies the continuation of an unrecorded conversation.
The beast's ecclesial agents of the last days will likewise use the tactic
of extended public speeches using superficially deep arguments.
Their political arm will be doing the same to destroy the morale of natural
Israel, after the pattern of
Rabshakeh's speeches to the Jews during the Assyrian invasion.
Being an apostate Jew (3) he may possibly have a latter-day equivalent
in a Jewish leader, who deserts to the Arab cause, urging Israel
to capitulate. Likewise there may be a specific " man
of sin" who similarly tempts spiritual Israel.
The description of him in 2 Thess. 2:3 is framed in terms of Judas - implying
that he will be an apostate member of the ecclesia?
These two evil individuals
may well meet their opposite numbers in the " two witnesses"
who will arise (Rev. 11:3), as discussed in Chapter 12. The
judgment of the serpent was by the voice of God (cp. Christ, the word)
walking through the garden, summoning the sinful parties to judgment.
This easily looks forward to Christ's second coming, and the judgment
by Him in His role as the word made flesh (Rev. 19:13; Gen. 3:8).
The beast has always
been associated with a pseudo-spirituality, an aping of true God manifestation.
We have shown earlier that there will be much of this in the latter-day
Babylon/beast. There is a connection between the beasts of
God manifestation and the cherubim in Rev. 4:7; indeed, the Hebrew
word for 'beast' seems to be the equivalent of the phrase " living
creature" used in Revelation concerning the cherubim.
The beast and beasts therefore represent systems which falsely claim that
they are the vehicle of God manifestation. This most clearly
fits the claims of Islam, and also those of Catholicism.
With all this in mind,
it must be significant that Isa. 14:29 speaks of Assyria as a " cockatrice"
born out of " the serpent's root" , i.e. she was the seed of
the serpent. " His fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent"
is the language of Isa. 6:2 concerning the seraphim. Thus
the Assyrian seed of the serpent is associated with a pseudo-seraphim,
and a false God manifestation.
Spotting the beast
The precise political
identification of the latter-day beast seems to have preoccupied the minds
of many students. Instead, there needs to be close Biblical
analysis of what the beast does to God's people. When a system
arises which fulfils these expectations, there will be no more doubt in
the minds of those who have had ears to hear concerning who the
This said, there is
such extended use of the beast symbology concerning Israel's
previous enemies that it seems reasonable to suggest that the beast largely
refers to Israel's Arab neighbours.
Deut. 32:24 connects the 'beasts' of the surrounding nations with the
Genesis serpent: " I will also send the teeth of beasts upon
them, with the poison of serpents of the dust" (cp. Gen. 3:14).
There is also a connection between the serpent and beasts in Isa. 30:6.
" The teeth of beasts" coming down upon Israel
will be finally fulfilled in the Arab desolation prophesied in Joel 1:6,7,
where the Assyrians of the future (Joel 1:15) are described as having
Israel between their " cheek
teeth" tearing the bark off the Israeli vine and fig (cp. Isa. 9:12
concerning the Philistines).
Sheep and Wolves
being the sheep of God's pasture is a common Bible figure.
Whenever their shepherds were negligent over a prolonged period, the figure
was extended to describe the 'wild beasts' of the surrounding nations
invading the land and mauling the flock. Hos. 13:6-8 is typical
of those passages which speak in these terms. Verses 7 and
8 liken these nations to the lion, leopard and bear, all of which are
nations mentioned in Dan. 7, which are constituents of the huge system
of Arab domination described in Dan. 2.
These three beast nations
are all part of one " wild beast" , as the nations of the image
in Dan. 2 are all part of the same latter-day confederacy headed by 'Babylon':
" I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard...as a bear...the
wild beast" . Likewise Isa. 56:9,10; Jer. 30:16
and Eze. 34:5 feature the beasts of Babylon and the surrounding Arab nations
as preying on the flock of Israel
due to their sleepy shepherds. After Israel's
spiritual awakening they will become like a beast among the 'sheep'
of the Arab nations (Mic. 5:8), continuing the theme of the Jews doing
to the Arabs as they did to them.
It is possible that
Deut. 28:26 also refers to the beasts of the surrounding nations:
" Thy carcase shall be meat...unto the beasts of the earth, and no
man shall fray them away" . This alludes to the fowls
being frayed away while the covenant was made to Abraham.
Thus while Israel abode in the covenant, the Arab nations surrounding
them were kept away. Similarly Eze. 34:25 associates the making
of the covenant with Israel in the last days, with the " evil beasts"
leaving the land.
Time and again Israel's
Arab enemies are likened to " wild beasts" . The
list of references is impressive: Hos. 2:12; Eze. 5:17; 14:15;
Ps. 80:13; Jer. 7:33; 15:3; 16:4; 19:7; Deut.
7:22. Job's Sabean (i.e. Arab) invaders are called "
the beasts of the earth...the beasts of the field" (Job 5:22,23).
It is possible that " beasts" in these passages can be read
as an intensive plural - i.e. 'the great beast', which symbolizes all
of Israel's various enemies. This equivalence of the multitude
of these enemies with a singular beast is seen in Eze. 34:28, which parallels
" the heathen" (enemies of Israel) with " the beast of
the land" (singular). Rev. 17 similarly exhibits the
(singular) beast as comprising a number of nations (heads/horns).
Ps. 74:19 RV asks God
not to deliver His people “unto the wild beast”. This is one of the Asaph
Psalms, written in the context of the restoration. The ‘beast’ threatening
to destroy Judah then was a confederacy of her surrounding Arab neighbours.
Ps. 73:13,14 likens these enemies to a many headed dragon. Another such
Psalm, Ps. 83, asks for protection against a confederacy of 10 such nations.
In all this we have a remarkable type of the last days after the pattern
of Daniel and Revelation-a beast with 10 horns, seeking to devour the
recently returned people of God from off their land.
There is repeatedly
the theme that Israel’s enemies are confederated together
under one confederacy which has one leader. Ps. 118 can be shown
to be relevant to Hezekiah at the time of the Assyrian invasion
(see George Booker, Psalm Studies). He speaks of how “all
nations compassed me about”, i.e. the surrounding Arab nations
confederate with Assyria. And yet Hezekiah speaks about them as
if they are really headed up by one individual: “Thou [you
singular] didst thrust sore at me” (Ps. 118:13). The beast
is to punish people by beheading them (Rev. 20:4)- and it's only
Islam at the moment which legally practices beheading as a form
The symbology of the
beast was particularly used concerning Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar,
Babylon's king, was given a beast's heart and lived with them (Dan. 4:16)
to show his personification of the beast. " The beasts
of the field" , i.e. the surrounding Arab nations, were given into
his control (Dan. 2:38), thus they constituted part of the beast of Babylon,
" the noisome beast" of Eze. 14:21. Babylon's army
is likened to " beasts" in Jer. 34:20,21. As God
gave power to Assyria and Babylon to achieve His will (Isa. 10), so He
will to the latter-day beast (Rev. 13:5,7). The description
of the beast leading people into captivity (Rev. 13:10) shows another
connection with Assyria/Babylon, whose trains of captives were well known.
The beast causing men to worship it (Rev. 13:12) recalls Nebuchadnezzar's
decree concerning the statue on the plain of Dura (Dan. 3:1,5).
The historical " beast of the field" was associated with the
wilderness (Isa. 43:20), as the beast of Rev. 17:3 is a wilderness power.
Israel's Arab neighbours
confederated with Babylon in their invasion of Israel. Jeremiah
describes this in beast language: " I have given all these
lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar...the beasts of the field have I
given him...to serve him...to serve him...all nations (around Israel)
shall serve him" (Jer. 27:5-7; 28:14). Ps. 79:1,2, a
passage whose links with Rev. 11 give it a clear latter-day application,
speaks of the beasts of the surrounding Arab nations being confederate
As the horns hate the
Babylon/whore and turn against her to destroy her (Rev. 17:16), so the
beast nations once confederate with Babylon will come and lie down in
her (Jer. 50:39; Isa. 13:21). Beasts lying down in a
ruined city is representative of nations dominating another one (Zeph.
Note that the
beast is "scarlet coloured" (Rev. 17:3). Whilst this may
have had reference in its time to imperial Rome, let's note that
"The Canaanites... derived their name from the purple dye which
was produced there and used for making an expensive cloth"
(2). In the light of all this, it is difficult to read the latter
day beasts of Revelation as referring to anything other than a conglomeration
of Arab powers under the leadership of a revived Babylon, between
them constituting the most powerful system of opposition to God's
people which there has ever been.
(1) John Thomas
in 'Elpis Israel' has an
excellent section concerning
the a-morality of the serpent - i.e. its lack of
(2) R.E. Clements,
Exodus (Cambridge: C.U.P., 1972) p. 21.
Some good homework for
the enthusiast lies in expounding the 'beasts' described at the end of
Job. 'Behemoth' is the Hebrew word elsewhere translated " beast"
(Job 40:15). Leviathan and 'behemoth' appear to use the language
of both God manifestation and the political aspects of the beast as elsewhere