Part 1: The Nature Of The Beast
In any study of what the Scripture has to say about the close of the age, it may not be possible to determine the precise order or nature of all the events that are predicted. However, in light of all that is happening in the world around us today, it would be foolish on our part to ignore what Scripture has to show us.
Overall, there is a single key word which brings into focus all the evil forces that have been released at this end-time period. That one word is antichrist.
The Coming Deception
In this three-part Teaching Letter series, "Decision Time", we are examining the serious ramifications of the rise of the Antichrist (the Beast), and the impact it will have upon us as believers and upon the world around us. In our first letter, The Nature of the Beast, I presented a biblical picture of what kind of person the Antichrist will be, how he will operate, and what he will do.
In "The Nature of the Lamb", this second letter of our series, we consider another kind of being who is the exact opposite of the Antichrist. Through the lens of Scripture, we will see that the contrast between these two entities generates a war between two spiritual forces: the spirit of the wild Beast (Satan) and the Spirit of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ).
This conflict will present the entire world—and each of us individually—with a critical moment of decision: the choice between the nature of the Lamb or the nature of the wild Beast. It is of utmost importance to us that we strengthen our ability to discern between these two natures. That is the purpose of this Teaching Letter series, "Decision Time".
It is interesting to note that in the revelation of the Lamb and revelation of the wild Beast, there exists a kind of biblical “balance.” In the book of Revelation “the lamb” is mentioned 28 times and “the beast” is mentioned 35 times. Furthermore, in the Greek New Testament the word for “the lamb” is arnion, while the word for “the wild beast” is therion. The two words are very similar in form.
Why is this biblical balance significant? Because every descriptive term for the nature of the Beast finds its diametric opposite in the nature of the Lamb—the nature we want to choose. As we learn more about the nature of the Lamb, we will see that it exhibits qualities that are the opposite of the characteristics of the Beast. By nature, the wild Beast is cunning, deceitful, arrogant, boastful, vicious, cruel, treacherous, murderous, despotic, and dominating.
The Lamb of God
In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we see the Lamb very beautifully introduced by John the Baptist, who was sent before Jesus as His forerunner to prepare the way before Him. How did John make this divine introduction? He called Jesus the Lamb of God:
“The next day John [the Baptist] saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (John 1:29).
What does this particular title tell us about Jesus?
The Passover Lamb
For every Israelite listening to John that day, the word lamb would represent a picture of meekness. Lambs do not have talons or claws. They do not defend themselves. Their appearance and behavior represent innocence and purity. Most importantly, a perfect lamb was associated with the Passover, where God’s judgment “passed over” the Israelites because the blood of innocent lambs was applied around the doors of their houses.
“When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.” (Exodus 12:23, NIV)
Silent Before Shearers
When Jesus appeared before the court of the Sanhedrin, He did not defend Himself in any way, even though they were seeking to put Him to death:
“And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing.” (Mark 14:60-61)
In the same manner, Jesus remained silent before Pilate:
“And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled (was amazed).“ (Mark 15:3-5)
This is the Lamb of God, silent before His shearers, as the prophet Isaiah predicted:
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
Many years ago, I worked on a farm where there were flocks of sheep. While a sheep is being taken to be shorn, it will bleat loudly all the way. But when the shearers start clipping off the wool, at that moment the sheep becomes absolutely silent. How precise the Scripture is!
The Example of the Lamb
The pure, meek nature of Jesus as the Lamb of God sets an example and a pattern that we must learn to follow in our lives, with the help of His Holy Spirit. Here is Peter’s exhortation about this:
“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: “Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” (1 Peter 2:21-23)
This lamb-like nature can also be associated with another creature—the dove. When John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the Jordan River, he watched as a dove descended upon his cousin. Immediately, John declared Jesus to be the Lamb of God.
The dove would not just settle on Jesus’ head—the dove would remain on Him:
“And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.’” (John 1:32).
Jesus never did anything to scare the dove away. The same needs to be true for you and me. If we want to have the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon us, we must continually carry the nature of the Lamb. If we only display our human nature, the Holy Spirit (the Dove) will never come to us. But if He sees the Lamb nature in us, He will settle on us. And if we continue to operate in the nature of the Lamb, the Holy Spirit will remain upon us.
Our Most Crucial Need
By natural inclination, neither lambs nor doves will fight. They are entirely meek and peaceable. As Christians, we need to learn from this. I often hear people praying for “power,” and I thank God for the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. But power is not what we need the most. Our most crucial need is the nature of the Lamb. Do we value it highly enough? Sadly, I do not think so. In fact, that truth of the nature of the Lamb has been almost forgotten in many parts of the Church.
Please let me remind you again that every one of us is going to have to make a decision: Today, we must determine which nature will govern us. Later, when the Antichrist makes himself known, it will be too late to change our minds. The spirit of the Antichrist is actively at work, seeking to take over all of the humanity. If we do not cultivate the nature of the Lamb, we will come under the power of the beast. These are our only two options: the Lamb or the Beast.
What About You?
We are living in a time when the nature of the Lamb is absolutely contrary to contemporary culture. I doubt whether there has ever been an age in which the culture has been so totally opposite to the nature of the Lamb. Please ask yourself this question: Am I cultivating qualities of meekness, purity and innocence? Perhaps you recognize your need at this moment to commit yourself to taking on the nature of Jesus, the Lamb of God. If so, please pray the following prayer with me.
Lord Jesus, I have begun to see the beauty of Your character as the Lamb of God. I am so sorry I have not always thought and acted according to that nature. But I want to follow You now. Please make me ever more like You. Lord, please help me to take on the nature of the Lamb, so that I can make the right decisions every day. I humble myself before You, seeking Your strength in my weakness, and laying down my life at Your feet. I pray this in Your precious name, Lord Jesus. Amen.
Part 3: The Anointing Of The Dove