In Prophecy what does a beast represent?

It was closed as not a real question. I guess some people think it was a Truth question too.

I clearly disagreed in the comments.

His question is what does a beast represent. Daniel 7 tells us exactly that they represent kingdoms and empires. NOT a Truth question. [My comment on the question]

I would like to hear from at least the four people who closed it.

Now about my answer: two down votes and no comments about it. I'm really starting to think that if I say any thing bad about the Pope I'm going to get flack for it. I even gave a warning that it might be offensive and supported the other side too. Maybe that's not why the down votes, but it sure seems like it.

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3 Answers

Here is my perspective -- not because I am interested in arguing it, but because you requested it.

The first problem: The question

This question is a truth question. Examples of truth questions would include:

  • Is the pope the antichrist?

  • Is Rome the fourth beast of Daniel 7?

  • In prophecy, what does the fig tree represent?

The problem with all such questions is that it totally depends on who you ask!! That makes them all off-topic (not constructive) for this site. In contrast, the following would be considered constructive questions:

  • Do Seventh Day Adventists teach that the pope the antichrist?

  • How did the Reformers interpret the fourth beast of Daniel 7?

  • What arguments are used to support a single symbolic interpretation of the fig tree wherever it appears in Biblical prophecy?

The second problem: The answer

I see several issues with the answer:

  • The answer presents a highly controversial perspective as the truth.

  • There is no indication of what tradition this represents

  • There is no warning about what methodology leads to this conclusion

  • One passage is pulled out of Scripture as a proof-text for what beasts represent everywhere in Scripture


You said you are feeling like if you say anything bad about the pope, your post is likely to be down-voted. That may actually be true. But I am not sure why there would ever be a need to say anything bad about the pope on this site. If someone asks for a history of a particular perspective, that can be answered without the poster saying anything bad about the pope. If someone asks how a particular tradition has handled a particular passage, that can be answered objectively without the poster saying anything bad about the pope. Your answer just cut straight to your personal opinion that the pope is the antichrist, which is not what we're after on this site.

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You've plowed right into one of the hardest things on this site to moderate. The question of what amounts to a truth question.

The bar for me is and will be "Does the author provide enough context that we can tell what version of truth he's looking for".

Even if the author doesn't state their desired perspective explicitly they should give enough context cues to you that you know what they're talking about. In this case a couple of sentences just doesn't cut it.

I haven't even looked at your answer. But looking now, you're writing an answer on a truth question with a potentially controversial bent to it, play with fire, you might get burned.

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As the others have said, and I agree, this question is beyond too open-ended.

There is no scope whatsoever to it.

Here are the problems I see just on the surface:

These, of course, can not be taken literal since they are symbolic.

  • Hold on, cowboy - is prophecy typically symbolic? Yes and no. Sometimes it's symbolic, sometimes it's literal. The prophets themselves didn't typically know what they were conveying: they were told to tell, and they told.
  • Do I think these passages are symbolic? Absolutely. Can we say that with 100% certainty? Sadly, no. (I personally think we're in the neighborhood of 'five nines' .. but you must leave the possibility it was not symbolic.)

My question is what does a beast represent in prophecy?

  • Just totally changed the direction of the question. It starts off with "Revelation and Daniel talk about beasts" then goes off into EVERY prophecy.
  • There is no blanket answer for every prophecy and their inherent symbolisms (or literalisms). Ok - technically that is not true, there is ONE blanket answer for every prophecy, and that is that God thought it was important enough to tell us, so we should pay attention to it.

So there are the issues I saw at first glance. Surely this could be improved. Perhaps along the lines of the following:

What does the Eastern Orthodox church teach about the meaning of the beast in Revelation 17?
Do they link it to the meaning of the beast in Daniel 7?
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