Animals in Scripture – “Leopards, Bears, Lions and a Dragon” – Part 1

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All beasts in scripture are used to illustrate the different characteristics of the one beast with which our Lord is working:

Ecc 3:18  I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
Ecc 3:19  For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Ecc 3:20  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

This study, as with all our studies, will concern itself with how we can see within ourselves a leopard, a bear, a lion and the dragon, and what these beasts are within us:

Because these three ravenous beasts are mentioned together so often in scripture, we will cover them together but will concentrate on the king of beasts, the lion.

A lion is a ravenous beast, but a lion is more than simply any other ravenous beast. A lion is at the very top of the beast food chain. As such, the lion in scripture is just that; a ravenous beast at the top of the beast food chain, both for good and for evil. In scripture both Christ and Satan are called lions. As is always the case, there is far more written about the lion as Satan than the lion as Christ, but as is also always the case, the lion as Christ destroys the lion as Satan.

The four beasts of Revelation 13

Rev 13:1  And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 13:2  And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

The “things of the spirit” in the New Testament reveal that all the physical things of the Old Testament are all part of “the revelation of Jesus Christ… the kingdom of God… within you.” Whether it is Egypt or the promised land, it is now within. Whether it is Abraham’s wealth or Joseph’s rulership over all the land of Egypt, it is all now within each of us. The deeds of all the patriarchs and the kings and the prophets, good and evil, are all within. So, too, are all the nations of the Old Testament. They are one and all within that one single beast which comes up out of the sea. That one ravenous beast has seven heads, yet it is still just one beast.

The Four Beasts of Daniel 7

Dan 7:1  In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, [and] told the sum of the matters.
Dan 7:2  Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
Dan 7:3  And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
Dan 7:4  The first [was] like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.
Dan 7:5  And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
Dan 7:6  After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
Dan 7:7  After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

This fourth beast is indeed different from the beasts before it, simply because this fourth beast is likened to both a dragon and a lion:

Rev 12:3  And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

When we come to see where heaven is, we then will understand that all four beasts, including the “great red dragon”, are within us. They are all within that one single beast with seven heads and ten horns. Satan is not ‘without’ or outwardly. He is within each of us as our Father until Christ replaces his influence over our flesh.

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Joh 8:37  I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.

Who are Christians who believe in Christ and yet have no place in their hearts for Christ’s Word? Here are whose children we all are at that point of our walk:

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Is this ravenous lion and dragon really in us at one time?

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

“We all had our conversation in times past as the children of disobedience, children of wrath, of our father the devil, by nature children of wrath even as others.”

What has been the goal of this “old serpent the dragon” since the garden of Eden?

Rev 12:4  And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

That’s right! It was the serpent who enticed Cain to kill Abel, Joseph’s brothers to kill Joseph, Pharaoh to kill Moses, and Herod to kill Christ. Since Christ’s physical time on earth it has been the function of that great serpent from Eden to destroy Christ’s Christ, His elect. Both Abel and Christ were slain, but the “manchild” has always been in heaven at the throne of God, while the mother of God’s elect is “in the wilderness” rebelling ten times against our Lord.

Rev 12:5  And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [to] his throne.
Rev 12:6  And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred [and] threescore days.
Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

The man child, Michael and his angels, and the dragon and his angels are all “warring in heaven,” warring in our minds.

Rom 7:23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

What is that “law which wars against the law of my mind?” The answer is right here in this same epistle. It is an enemy that requires “the whole armor of God:”

Eph 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Eph 6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

“High places” is a terrible translation of the Greek word ‘epouranios‘. This word is much better translated simply as ‘the heavens’. What these verses tell us is that “the war in heaven” of Revelation 12 is war “against spiritual wickedness… again principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,” all within the heavens within each of God’s elect.

Rev 12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

Satan is a serpent, a dragon and the devil, and as we noted earlier, Satan is also likened to a roaring lion. Satan is not outward. He is within each of us.

1Pe 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

According to the Interlinear and the Concordant Version, the definite article goes with ‘adversary’ instead of ‘devil’ here, but in Matthew 4:4, the article is with ‘devil’. Here is the Concordant Version:

1Pe 5:8 Be sober! Watch! For your plaintiff, the Adversary [antidikos], is walking about as a roaring lion, seeking someone to swallow up;(CLV)

Mat 4:1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil [diabolos].

There are many adversaries and many devils, but there is also in the scriptures the devil and the adversary. In both cases the words ‘devil’ and ‘adversary’ are adjectival nouns, which tells us that both the adversary and the devil are spiritual wickedness within, which God sends at His bidding to “work all things after the counsel of His own will.”

Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

I hope we are all coming to see that every word we study, both in their positive and in their negative application, are one and all to be understood as being within each of us. If you come away from this study on the spiritual significance of the lion, the leopard, and the bear in scripture and you do not see them all as being that old serpent the devil, a roaring lion within each of us, then this study will have been of no value to you. We all must “live by every word of God,” and those words are to be lived within us all.

Mat 4:4  But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Rev 1:3  Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Since Christ’s words “never pass away”, we all must live them all:

Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

That includes “every word” spoken about lions – both positive and negative – in scripture.

The positive application of lions in scripture

The first time the word ‘lion’ appears in scripture is in relation to Judah as a type of God’s elect. Judah and Jews, like every other word of God’s Word, have both a positive and a negative application in God’s Word. For example:

Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly [negative]; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly [positive]; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Here is Jacob’s blessing of Judah, just before Jacob’s death:

Gen 49:8  Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.
Gen 49:9  Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?
Gen 49:10  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Gen 49:11  Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes:
Gen 49:12  His eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

“Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee” is the same promise Joseph was given in His dreams. In this blessing Judah is both a young and an old lion.

“The vine… the choice vine” is, of course, Christ. In this prophecy, Judah is “washed in wine, in the blood of grapes,” again the blood of Christ:

Mat 26:27  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
Mat 26:28  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The lion’s strength and carriage typify the strength and carriage of God’s elect.

Pro 28:1  The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Pro 30:29  There be three [things] which go well, yea, four are comely in going:
Pro 30:30  A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;
Pro 30:31  A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

The story of King Balak hiring the prophet Balaam to curse Israel

King Balak had hired the prophet Balaam to curse Israel, and the holy spirit compelled Balaam to bless Israel. In that blessing Israel is likened to a lion that “eats of the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain” of God’s enemies.

Num 23:20  Behold, I have received [commandment] to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
Num 23:21  He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God [is] with him, and the shout of a king [is] among them.
Num 23:22  God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
Num 23:23  Surely [there is] no enchantment against Jacob, neither [is there] any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought!
Num 23:24  Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.

We have seen in this study that the lion, bear, leopard, and the fourth dreadful and terrible beast of Daniel, are all to be found in the one single beast of Revelation 13 where the fourth great and terrible beast is there called a dragon. We have seen that according to Ecclesiastes 3:18,  “the estate of the sons of men, [if] God might manifest it to them, is that they might see that they themselves are beasts.”

Revelation 13 demonstrates that all the beasts of Daniel seven, symbolizing all the world-ruling empires of Daniel’s days, are now all within the single beast, which is each of us.

We have seen that the serpent, the devil and the dragon are all the same evil spirit within each of us as God’s tool to work all things after the counsel of His own will, and that his function from the beginning is to destroy Christ and His Christ.

We have also seen through the blessing of Judah and the use of a lion in several verses in Proverbs that the lion can and does typify the function of God’s elect in relation to preying upon our sinful flesh.

We will continue our study of the ravenous beasts of scripture next week.

[The next installment of this study can be found here.]

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