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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Beast

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Several Hebrew and Greek words and phrases are translated as “beast.” “Beast” may refer to any animal in distinction from people (Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 ), reptiles (Genesis 1:24 ), and sometimes cattle (Genesis 1:30 ). Beasts were divided into categories of clean and unclean (Leviticus 11:1-8 ), and wild and domesticated (Genesis 1:24; Genesis 2:20; Exodus 19:13; Exodus 22:10; Numbers 3:13; etc.). See Animals .

Apocalyptic literature such as Daniel and Revelation utilize beasts of various sorts in their symbolism (see Psalm 74:19; Jeremiah 12:9 ). Daniel saw four great beasts who represented four great kings arise out of the sea (Daniel 7:2-14 ). These four beasts would ncthreaten God's kingdom, but God's people would prevail over them (Daniel 7:18 ).

The Book of Revelation speaks of two beasts. The first beast arises out of the sea (Revelation 13:1 ), is seven headed, and derives its authority from the dragon (Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:4 ). This beast has several of the characteristics of the four beasts of Daniel 7:1 . The second beast arises out of the earth (Revelation 13:11 ). It serves the first beast by seeking devotees for it and is referred to as the “false prophet” (Revelation 16:13; Revelation 19:20; Revelation 20:10 ). Both the beast and the false prophet persecute the church but are finally judged by Christ (Revelation 19:20; see 2 Thessalonians 2:6-12 ). See Behemoth; Leviathan .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Beast'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/b/beast.html. 1991.

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