An exposition of Bible prophecy in 1851 showing the rise of the United States of America as the second beast of Revelation 13. See also the webpage Revelation 13 - The Coalition of Evil Part 2
The United States of America could hardly be thought of as a superpower in 1851 but the Bible predicted in merely eight verses in Revelation 13:11-18 that this nation would become a global superpower. From the War of Independence (1775 - 1883) to its present standing, no other nation has been able to prosecute wars on foreign soil, win or loose, like America. No other nation has had the economic clout like America to maintain those wars. No other nation has had the military capability like America to actively engage on a global scale in conflicts abroad whether it be in Asia, Africa or the Middle East.
John Wesley in his Explanatory notes on Revelation 13:11 noted:
"But he is not yet come, though he cannot be far off for he is to appear at the end of the forty - two months of the first beast. And he had two horns like a lamb - A mild, innocent appearance. But he spake like a dragon - Venomous, fiery, dreadful. So do those who are zealous for the beast."
The following is the first Biblical exposition identifying the United States of America as that Second Beast of Revelation 13.
THOUGHTS ON REVELATION XIII AND XIV
by J. N. ANDREWS.
ARSH May 19, 1851, page 86.2
Graphics and emphasis added by www.returnofelias.org
What position do we now occupy? No question of greater importance can now engage our attention. As a people who are waiting for the coming of their Lord, and noting with the deepest interest the events which precede the coming of the Just One to reign in glory, we ought ever to be able from the testimony of the word of God, to answer the solemn enquiry, “What of the night?” The great land-marks which stand along our pathway are here distinctly noticed, and thus we have given to us by the God of Heaven, an accurate chart of the great pathway which leads onward to the kingdom of God. That the great outlines of prophecy cover all time, from the commencement of the first great empire down to the destruction of the fourth, at the time when the Ancient of days shall sit in judgment, is a fact well understood. That we may learn from the fulfillment of these prophecies the relative position which we occupy, is also conceded; nay further, that the prophetic periods have expired, or that they are on the point of expiration, and that the signs which were to mark the end of all things at hand, have nearly all appeared, is also believed and taught. But there is another class of prophecies in which we are still more deeply interested; we mean those prophecies which describe the Advent movement itself. For though we may close our eyes to the fact, the word of God gives us a clear prophetic view of this subject, and exhibits in an unmistakable light the position of the classes which are connected with the movement.
The word of God is the lamp by which our pathway is lighted; hence we may learn from that word where we now stand, and what we ought now to do; thus we may be able to give a reason of the hope that is within us with meekness and fear. As present duty is ever inseparably connected with present truth, we cannot engage aright in the work of God without a knowledge of this. The pathway on which we travel is marked at every step by the fulfillment of prophecy. As prophecy is fulfilled, the light of truth moves onward down this pathway toward the kingdom of God. If we would continue in the light of the truth, we must advance with the light lest we be enshrouded with darkness. The Advent movement itself is clearly described in Revelation 14.
THE FIRST ANGEL. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”*
“That such an enunciation has been made to the world that the hour of his judgment is come this generation cannot deny. It has indeed gone to the four winds of heaven.” The proclamation of the hour of God’s judgment, here called “the everlasting gospel,” synchronizes with “this gospel of the kingdom,” of which Jesus speaks. The preaching of Paul at Athens was enforced by the declaration that God hath “appointed a day in the which he will judge the world:” but this is a specific message announcing that “the hour of his judgment is come.”-The world and church have been tested by this great truth, and nearly all have rejected the counsel of God against themselves. It has tested the present generation as the great truths of the first advent tested the people of that time. John 12:31. It was based on unanswerable evidence, viz. historic prophecy, prophetic time, and the signs of the times, and gave to the world the warning needed, that the day of God might not overtake them as a snare. The announcement contained time. -“The hour of his judgment is come.” That the great prophetic period of 2300 days was given correctly, is now demonstrated with great clearness. See Advent Herald, Vol. VI. ARSH May 19, 1851, page 81.4
That the first message was not to last till the coming of Jesus Christ, is evident from the fact that the time, which was its great burden or point, has ended. It is further evident from the fact that two angels intervene between the first angel and the position of the Son of Man on the white cloud. Nor can this point be met by saying that the three messages are given at the same time. For they are represented as following each other, and order is clearly given to them. There would be quite as much propriety in believing that the seven angels of Revelation 8, sounded their trumpets at the same time, as there would be to believe that the messages of the three angels, which follow in succession, are all to be given at once. The same propriety in making the first of the seven angels last till the coming of Jesus, or the first of the four beasts last till the judgment, and the remaining ones of each series fulfilled afterward, as to teach that the message of the first angel lasts till the coming of Jesus Christ, and that the remaining messages of the angels are given after that event. Because in each of the cases named, the history of the world is given, whilst men are in a state of probation. -Hence to teach that the first angel must continue his flight till the coming of Jesus, and that the second and third are to give their messages afterward, or to believe that the first angel does not commence his flight till the coming of Jesus, and that the three then give their messages together, are follies of which we ought not to be guilty.
That literal angels are concerned in this work we do not deny; for they are ministering spirits, and doubtless co-operate in the great work of salvation, but we fully believe that the three messages will be understood, and responded to by the people of God. That angels will work independent of human agency we cannot believe, for it is contrary to the order of God that they should become visible, and preach the gospel to the nations. But that they should act in unison with men is reasonable, and accords with the past dealings of God with man.
THE SECOND ANGEL. “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”*
This angel follows or comes after the judgment hour cry. That such a message has been given, all are aware who have in any manner heeded the mighty work of God through the land. That a false fulfillment should occur at the right time for the real one to take place, is not only a thing in itself impossible, but it is a real libel on the character of God, as it makes a speedy end to faith or trust in him on the part of his people. For how can it ever be known that God is in a work, if those which come in the order of prophetic fulfillment, and accomplish the predicted work are to be discarded and we left to look elsewhere for the real event?
That a work worthy of being noted as the fulfillment of prophecy, could ever be accomplished by calling the people of God out of Rome, no one can seriously pretend. Further than this, if the fall of Babylon be the burning of Rome, how in the name of reason and of Scripture, can the people of God be called out of her that they receive not of her plagues when she has already been destroyed by fire which is the consummation of her plagues? Revelation 18:8.
We regard Babylon as the professed church united with the kingdoms of the world. In other words, “Babylon is the apostate churches.”-We cannot restrict the term to the Papal church, for it evidently includes all those religious bodies which have become corrupt like the “mother of harlots.” The proclamation of the coming kingdom was made to her by the first angel, and the message having been rejected no farther work could ever be done for her.
The people of God are then called out, for they may no longer remain in her communion. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Isaiah 52:11; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Revelation 18:4. The fall of this great city leaves her the habitation of devils, and the hold of foul spirits, etc. This is a moral fall, and denotes the rejection of the professed church. She has rejected the only truth by which she could have been healed of her maladies. Hence the people of God are commanded to flee out of her, that they partake not of her sins, and receive not of her plagues. It is evident that the fall of Babylon precedes her destruction, for the people of God are called out of her after her fall, and while her destruction is yet pending. Revelation 18. Her fall then denotes her rejection, and precedes her destruction by the plagues and by fire. Her merchants are the great men of the earth; and in the enumerated articles of Babylonish traffic, Protestants are, if possible, more extensively engaged than Papists. Notice all the gaudy trappings of this world, and in addition to this, “slaves and souls of men.” How unlike what God designed that his people should be, has this great city become! The Church of Christ was to be the light of the world, a city set on a hill which could not be hid. Matthew 5:14-16. But instead of this, his professed people have united with the kingdoms of this world, and joined affinity with them. They are now planted on the decrees of kings, and the laws of the nations of earth, instead of that word which God gave to be the only foundation of his Church. Thus has the wisdom of man taken the place of the power of God. The unlawful connection of the people of God with the wicked world [James 4:4] has resulted in their rejection at last; for how can the God of truth and holiness any longer recognize as his people, those who in addition to all these things, have rejected the tidings of the speedy coming of their rightful Lord? That they have actually fallen, let the facts in the case bear witness.
This cry of Babylon’s fall, must be made in order that the people of God may understand and make their escape. Has this cry been heard? Has the predicted work been accomplished? We answer unhesitatingly, yes. It has been responded to by the most humble, and devoted, the very persons that Christ promised should know of a doctrine, whether it was of God or not. John 7:17. This message of the second angel in connection with the Midnight Cry, moved forward with the power of the God of heaven, and accomplished his purpose in causing it to be given. We may deny the message of the second angel and go back and attempt to give the first message again, but it would be a more scriptural course to heed the voice of the third. There is but one course by which we can avoid the message of the third angel, and that is to reject the second and pronounce it the work of man. Those who are prepared to do this, can do it.
THE THIRD ANGEL. “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast, and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
The order as given in this chapter need not be mistaken,-nay it is not possible to mistake it, without doing violence to the language of inspiration. The warning voice of the third angel is not heard until the first and second angels have flown through the midst of heaven. Says a recent writer:
“But the fourteenth chapter [of Rev.] presents an astounding cry, yet to be made, as a warning to mankind in that hour of strong temptation. Revelation 14:9-11. A denunciation of wrath so dreadful, cannot be found in the book of God, beside this. Does it not imply a strong temptation, to require so terrific an admonition?”-Facts on Romanism, p. 112.
The difference between this message and the preceding ones cannot fail to be noticed. The first two were indeed solemn and pointed declarations, but this message is one of most fearful import. It is indeed a solemn and awful threatening of the judgments of God, unequaled elsewhere in the Bible. The first and second angels are in the past, and the message of the third is now before us. With its voice of warning sounding in our ears, how can we slumber on, and dream of peace and safety? It is not merely because that men are inclined to worship the beast and his image and to receive his mark, that they are so solemnly warned against it, for we have in the thirteenth chapter of Revelation an account of the real danger.
THE BEAST, WHAT IS IT? This question may be answered by referring to Revelation 13:1-10. When Daniel, in his vision of the seventh chapter, was shown the various empires which should successively bear rule over the earth, they were represented under the symbols of beasts arising from the sea. Three of these having passed away, it is proper that the fourth of the series only, should be shown to John. The beast with ten horns, described by Daniel, is also seen by the Revelator to ascend out of the sea. In him are blended the marks of all the preceding beasts, -the body of the Leopard, the feet of the Bear, the mouth of the Lion. Daniel 7:4, 5, 6. This beast is evidently the Papal form of the fourth beast, for it receives its seat and dominion from the dragon, Rome Pagan. The seat is Rome, which was given to him at the same time that his power was given. This dreadful beast was to possess this power and dominion over the saints for a period of 1260 years; but, altho’ his dominion over them is thus limited, he is to make war on the saints until the coming of the Ancient of days. Daniel 7:19-22. At the close of this period, he received a deadly wound which has been healed, and all the world now wonder after the beast. And we may safely affirm that the beast, after his recovery from the deadly wound, is to continue till the battle of the great day of God Almighty, when he is to be taken and cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 19:19, 20; Daniel 7:7-11. Hence we conclude that there is no other beast which is to take the place of the fourth beast, for the empire of this beast in its divided state, as represented by the ten horns, is to continue till the God of heaven shall set up his everlasting kingdom. Daniel 7; 2:44.
THE TWO-HORNED BEAST. And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. Revelation 13:11.
We have already seen that the fourth beast of Daniel, which is the same as the beast whose “deadly wound was healed,” of whom John speaks, does not give his seat to another beast; hence the location of the two-horned beast is not in the ten kingdoms of the fourth beast. We cannot take the horns of the fourth beast and constitute another beast, or the horns of another. It is another beast beside the ten-horned beast. It is not the first beast healed of his deadly wound, for the work of the two-horned beast, is in the sight of that beast. The first beast was to possess the power and dominion for a period of 1260 years only, at the end of which period its dominion was taken away. Daniel 7:25, 26; Revelation 13:5. But if the two-horned beast is but another form of the Papal power, then is the Papacy again to bear sway with all its former authority. Revelation 13:12. It would indeed be a surprising change if the ten horns were to be plucked up, and in their stead two other horns should arise. Yet such is a necessary conclusion if the two-horned beast is but another form of the first beast. Hence we conclude that the two-horned beast is another and distinct power.
It is however, from the time of its rise, a power cotemporary with the beast whose deadly wound was healed. It acts in the sight of the first beast in performing its wonders. This point we will notice again.
The manner of its rise is not to be overlooked. The four beasts of Daniel, of which series John’s first beast constituted the fourth, are all seen to arise out of the sea in consequence of the striving of the winds. Daniel 7:2, 3; Revelation 13:1. They arose by overturning the powers that preceded them, by means of general war. Winds denoting war or strife among men, and waters or sea denoting people, nations, etc.-Revelation 7:1-3; 17:15. But this power seems to arise in a peaceful, or lamb-like manner from the earth.
When was this power to arise? Not prior to the first beast, certainly. Not at the same time, for then there would be no propriety in designating either as the first beast. It is said that it shall exercise all the power of the first beast before him. Then we may look for it to come on the stage of action about the close of the first beast’s dominion, at the end of the 1260 years. Again, it is to cause the world to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed, which shows that its period of action is this side 1798.
“The two-horned beast is represented as a power existing and performing his part, after the death and revival of the first beast. If asked for my opinion as to what will constitute that beast with two-horns, or the false prophet, I must frankly confess I do not know. I think it is a power yet to be developed or made manifest as an accomplice of the Papacy in subjecting the world. It will be a power which will perform miracles, and deceive the world with them. See Revelation 19:20.”-Litch’s Restitution pp. 131,133.
One fact of interest may be noticed here. The course of empire beginning with the first great empire near the garden of Eden, has been ever tending westward. Thus the seat of the Babylonian and Persian empires was in Asia. The seat of the Grecian and Roman empires was in Europe. The Roman empire, in its divided state as represented by the ten horns, occupies all the remaining territory west to the Atlantic ocean. Hence we still look westward for the rise of the power described in this prophecy.
This power is evidently the last one with which the people of God are connected, for the message of the third angel which immediately precedes the view of Jesus on the white cloud, pertains almost entirely to the action of the two-horned beast. Compare Revelation 14:9-11; 13:11-18. And it is a fact which ought not to be overlooked, that those powers with which the people of God are connected, are the only ones noted in prophecy. It is also plain that the march of civilization and of Christianity, like the course of the natural sun, has ever been westward. And it is evident that the territory of this last power is to be the field of the angels’ messages, the land where the crowning truths of the gospel, ere it finishes its course, are to be brought out.
The rise of each of the great powers has been gradual. For a series of years they were preparing for the stations which they afterward assumed, but they begin to figure in prophecy, from the time when they are prepared to act their part in the great drama. We come now to trace the rise of an empire which has come up in the sight of the first beast; a power still further on toward the setting sun, with the history of which the great circuit of empire will be accomplished, for the boundary of the vast Pacific has been reached.
A short time before the Reformation, in the days of Martin Luther, a new continent was discovered. The rise of the reformers brought out a large class who were determined to worship God according to the dictates of their own conscience. They desired a greater measure of civil and religious freedom; hence they with many others fled to the wilds of America and laid the foundation of a new empire. They did not establish their power by overturning another power, but they planted themselves in an uncultivated waste and laid the foundation of a new government. The preceding powers had arisen through the strife of the winds on the great sea,-but this power arises out of the earth. That is, the first powers arose through the action of wars in overturning and subverting other nations, to be in turn overthrown and subverted by their successors, but this power appears to arise from the earth in a peaceful manner. It comes up in the sight of the first beast like the settlement and growth of a new country. “The Dublin Nation” thus notices the progress and the power of this republic:
“In the east there is arising a colossal centaur called the Russian Empire. With a civilized head and front, it has the sinews of a hugh barbaric body. There one man’s brain moves 70,000,000. There all the traditions of the people are of aggression and conquest in the west. There but two ranks are distinguishable, - serfs and soldiers. There the map of the future includes Constantinople and Vienna as outposts of St. Petersburg.
“In the west an opposing and still more wonderful American empire is
E M E RG I NG. We Islanders have no conception of the extraordinary events which, amid the silence of the earth, are daily adding to the power and pride of this gigantic nation. Within three years territories more extensive than these three kingdoms, France and Italy put together, have been quietly, and in almost “matter of course” fashion annexed to the Union.
“In seventy years, seventeen new sovereignties, the smallest of them larger than Great Britain, have peaceably united themselves to the federation. No standing army was raised, no national debt sunk, no great exertion was made, but there they are. And the last mail brings news of the organization of three more great States about to be joined to the thirty. Minnesota in the northwest; Deseret in the southwest, and California on the shores of the Pacific. These three states will cover an area equal to one half the European continent.
“Nor is this a mere addition on the map. - It is not piling barren Pelion upon uncultivated Ossa. It is an actual conquest of new strength and resources. Already has Minnesota its capital, - St. Paul - which has its journals, churches, schools, parties, interests and speculations. The Mormon founders of Deseret are doing what the Puritans did in Massachusetts two centuries ago, - taking care to possess themselves of the best lands and waters in their new state. Instead of becoming a lawless horde of adventurers the settlers in California are founding cities, electing delegates, magistrates, sheriffs, and Congressmen, as methodically and as intently as if they trod the beaten paths of life on the Atlantic shore of the continent.
“And with this increase of territory, there is a commensurate increase of industry in the older States. - The census of 1850 about to be taken in the United States, will show a growth of numbers, territory, and industry entirely unexampled in human history. Let the “gray powers of the old world look to it - let the statesmen of France, Germany, and Russia, read the census carefully though it should startle them. Let despotism count every man of these millions as a mortal enemy, and every acre of that vast commonwealth as an inheritance of mankind mortgaged to the cause of freedom. - America is as grand a field for human enterprise as when the ships of Columbus first neared the shores of Guanihana.”
The progress of our own country since its first settlement, has indeed been wonderful. We trace its rise from the time of its settlement by those who fled from the oppression of the fourth empire, onward till it assumes its station among the great powers of earth, a little previous to the end of the 1260 years. Its territory has trebled since that period, by the addition of the vast territories of Louisiana, Florida, Texas, New Mexico and California, and the extension of an undisputed title to Oregon. Thus extending its dominion to the vast Pacific. This power was seen arising from the earth, as though it had not time to develope itself in full, before the end. Mark its onward progress and tell, if it be possible, what would be its destiny, if the coming of the Just One should not check its astonishing career!
The youth, as well as the apparent mildness of this power, seems to be indicated by its lamb-like horns. What do these horns mean? This symbol is not used elsewhere in the prophetic Scriptures. Nor do we, as in the case of other powers, find that these symbols are explained in the connection. But we may learn from those symbols which are explained some facts which will throw light on this.
The horns of the ram, Daniel 8, denoted the kings of Media and Persia. The great horn between the eyes of the goat denoted the first king. The ten horns of fourth beast, denoted the ten kingdoms into which the fourth empire was divided. Daniel 8:23-25; Revelation 17:12. The little horn which came up after them denoted the Papal church which was afterward clothed with civil power. And it is evident that the horns of these beasts, symbolize the entire power of the beasts.
From these facts we learn that the horns of the preceding beast, denoted civil and religious powers. Hence we regard the horns of this latter beast as symbols of civil and religious power. But they are not horns with crowns like the preceding horns, but they are horns like those of a lamb. In appearance, if we may judge from the symbols used, this beast represents the mildest power that ever arose. For in the prophetic history of the governments which have preceded it, no one of them has been represented by symbols like this. We understand these horns to denote the civil and religious power of this nation - its Republican civil power, and its Protestant ecclesiastical power. If it be objected that “Republican civil power is its form of government, and that it ought to represent the beast, rather than a horn of the beast,” we answer that the civil power of the Macedonian
kingdom, was represented by the great horn of the goat. And that when that civil power was broken the beast still remained, and in the place of that one civil government, four arose in its stead. And we may add further that when the dominion of the different beasts of Daniel 7, was taken away, their lives were prolonged for a season and time. That is the nation still lived, though the dominion of the nation was destroyed. Hence we understand that the beasts denote the nations which constitute the different kingdoms, and the horns of the beasts denote the civil government or governments of these nations. If it be objected that Protestantism cannot constitute one of these horns, we answer that Papacy was reckoned as a horn, before it had plucked up three of the first horns,” - before it had civil power conferred on it. If it be objected that Papacy and Protestantism must constitute these horns on account of their professedly religious (“lamblike”) character, we answer that Papacy is represented by a horn unlike that of a lamb, Daniel 7:8-20. And moreover, the Papacy figures as the little horn of the fourth beast, and cannot without doing violence to language, be made to act as the horn of another beast. The seat of Papacy is not in America but in Europe, and definitely in Rome.
No civil power could ever compare with Republicanism in its lamblike character. The grand principle recognized by this form of power, is thus expressed:
“All men are born free and equal, and endowed with certain inalienable rights, as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
Hence, all have a right to participate in making the laws, and in designating who shall execute them. Was there ever a development of civil power so lamb-like before? And what, in religious matters, can be compared with Protestantism? Its leading sentiment is the distinct recognition of the right of private judgment in matters of conscience. “The Bible is the only religion of Protestants.” Was there ever in the religious world any thing to equal this in its lamb-like professions? Such we consider the meaning of the “two horns like a lamb.”
“And he spake like a dragon.” With all these lamb-like appearances the real spirit by which he is actuated is that of the dragon, - the Devil. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34. What he is to speak we may notice hereafter, Verse 14.
“And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, [or in his sight as Whiting translates,] and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.”
Here is conclusive proof that the two-horned beast is distinct from the ten-horned beast, and cotemporary with it, from the time that its deadly wound was healed, about the commencement of the present century. This exercise of power is the very scene of trouble and danger before us, respecting which the third angel gives us warning. “If any man worship the beast,” etc. The anguish of that period may be learned from reading the history of the first beast. Verses 5-7; Daniel 7:23-26.
“He doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” That we are living in an age of wonders is a well known fact: indeed, the language is oftentimes repeated, “There is nothing too wonderful to happen.” “The increase of knowledge” in every department of the arts and sciences, has indeed been without precedent in the world’s past history. We see the chariots with the speed of lightning coursing their way through the land, and with similar speed are men enabled to traverse the mighty deep. Nahum 2. “The fire of God” (the lightning, Job 1:16; Exodus 9:16) is literally brought down from heaven. Such is the wonderful power man has obtained over the elements. And the lightning thus brought down from heaven is sent as a messenger from one end of the land to the other. They “send the lightnings, and they go and say here we are!” Job 38:35. And all these wonders bid fair to be eclipsed by others still more astonishing. But it is another class of wonders which we regard as the complete fulfillment of this prophecy. The world may indeed be deceived by these things, and caused to believe that “better days are coming,” and that the earth is being prepared for the residence of man, and that men are becoming more virtuous and enlightened, but there are other wonders in course of development, which are indeed miracles by which the world is deceived. It may not be necessary to notice the wonders of Psychology, Biology, etc., in which all the wonders of past ages seem to be revived; but we notice those astonishing developments from the land of spirits, which are causing the world to wonder. It would seem that communications with the spirits of the departed dead are now freely held, and men are brought into immediate connection with the spirit world.
Such communications, though rare in past ages, have become of every day occurrence. We are told of pious people who are now holding converse with the spirits of the evangelists Mark and Luke, etc. The spirits commune with the greatest freedom, not with the pious alone, but with all classes do they hold free communication. And Protestants are the chief actors in all this. It is evident that these things are but the beginning of the miracles with which the world is to be deceived. For the coming of Christ is “after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and LYING WONDERS.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
That all this is the work of the Devil is evident from the fact that God has forbidden necromancy in his word. Deuteronomy 18:11; Isaiah 8:19. Hence it is certain that the spirits of good men do not come to commune with those who break the divine command. And we may go further than this, and say that even the spirits of bad men are not there. For if they are conscious, the sixteenth chapter of Luke shows that they are not permitted to return to earth; and if indeed “the dead know not any thing,” [Ecclesiastes 9:5,] then it is certain that their spirits are not sent into the world to instruct men.
No form of government ever arose in any past age in which these remarkable elements of deception were combined. It is of itself a wonder, a system of government which has not its like elsewhere. What is needed throughout the world to relieve its inhabitants of their oppressions, but that Republicanism should remodel all their civil governments? The leaven of its principles has deeply diffused itself throughout the nations of earth. In proof of this, witness the revolution of 1848, which shook nearly all the thrones of Europe. And what is so well calculated to develop, and to maintain religious freedom, as Protestantism. With the diffusion of these free principles may we not expect a scene of prosperity and triumph to the church; a period of emancipation to the poor enslaved nations of earth?
The ushering in of the period when the nations shall learn war no more, and a universal spiritual kingdom shall be set up, and fill the whole earth. Micah 4:1-5. And these wonders which we have briefly noticed, seem to promise a better revelation than the Scriptures of truth afford us. - We look forward indeed to the time when the Lamb, who is King of kings and Lord of lords shall reign in person over the whole earth. But with the mass this view has given place to the more congenial idea of the spiritual reign, and of temporal prosperity and triumph. These things hold out to men the prospect of peace and safety, [1 Thessalonians 5,] notwithstanding the voice of the first angel has been heard proclaiming that the hour of God’s judgment had come, and showing that no better state of things could ever exist till the curse should be removed from the earth; and still another messenger has flown through the midst of heaven proclaiming that the professed churches, who are now listening with such interest to these wonders, had become the hold of foul spirits, and a cage of unclean and hateful birds. But the great mass having rejected these truths, are left to the deception which is already beginning to come on the nations of earth. They dream that the earth with all its progress, and with all its improvements, is far too lovely and excellent for God to destroy. Peace and safety is the delusive dream in which men indulge whilst the wrath of God hangs over them.
We regard this two-horned beast, then, as the symbol of a civil and religious power, differing in many respects from those which have preceded it. It is in appearance the mildest form of power which ever existed, but it is after having deceived the world with its wonders, to exhibit all the tyranny of the first beast. Are the pretensions of this power well founded? Let us examine. If “all men are born free and equal, how do we then hold three millions of slaves in bondage? Why is it that the Negro race are reduced to the rank of chattels personal, and bought and sold like brute beasts? If the right of private judgment be allowed, why then are men expelled from these religious bodies for no greater crime than that of attempting to obey God in some thing wherein the word of God may not be in accordance with their creed? Read Charles Beecher on “The Bible a sufficient Creed.” Why are men for no other crime than that of looking for the coming of Jesus Christ, expelled from the churches of those who profess to love his appearing.
To these and many other questions of a similar character, we can only answer that the lamb is such only in pretensions. He is dragon in character. His ostensible appearance is that of the lamb; the power by which he speaks is that of the dragon. The true kingdom of the Lamb,-the King of kings, - is not set up on the earth, until the wicked are destroyed out of it. Then the Jubilee will end the bondage of the saints. God speed the right.
A further view of the two-horned beast may be obtained by comparing his history with that of the false prophet. The two-horned beast is represented as working miracles in the sight of the first beast. The same is affirmed respecting the false prophet. Revelation 19:20. The nations of the earth are deceived by these miracles, and caused to worship the image of the first beast, and to receive his mark. The same work is ascribed to the false prophet. Still further, we may say that the Bible gives us the origin of the two-horned beast, but does not, under that name, give us its final destiny. The origin of the false prophet is not given under that name, but his destiny is clearly revealed. Revelation 19:20; 20:10. Inasmuch as their work is identical, and they act on the stage at the same time, we cannot doubt their identity. This is another clear proof that the two-horned beast is from the time of its rise a power cotemporary with the first beast, and not the first beast in another form. What power has ever arisen in the past history of the world which could answer the description of this lamb-dragon, or false prophet? If Satan has been permitted to make use of Paganism as an instrument of deception, and also of Papacy, which is Christianity in a corrupt form, why may he not be permitted to make use of Protestantism also, when it becomes corrupt, as, if possible, a more efficient instrument of deception than either of the former? Mohammedanism is introduced in this prophecy under the symbol of locusts, but its power departed with the second woe. Revelation 9. But the two-horned beast, or false prophet, acts as an accomplice of Papacy in Satan’s great work of final deception, and unites in the great conflict with the King of Kings. Revelation 19.
The work of deception is followed by the dragon voice of this beast. He says to them that dwell on the earth that they should “Make an image to the beast which had the wound by the sword and did live.” We have noticed in a previous verse that he was to enforce the worship of the beast which has lost its civil power. And now we have something further. An image to the beast that received the deadly wound must be made. That beast was, in truth, a church clothed with civil power and authority by which it put to death the saints of God. Revelation 13:5-8; Daniel 7:23-26.
An image to the beast then must be another church clothed with civil power and authority to put the saints of God to death. This can be nothing else but the corrupt and fallen Protestant church.
If it be asked from whence the beast receives this power, we can only answer, that by permission of God, the dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, is without doubt the very being who communicates this power to the beast. The kingdoms of this world are claimed by him, and the right to give them to whom he will. Luke 4:5, 6.
Should it be objected that the world is too much enlightened to submit to such deception, or to unite in such a work of persecution, we answer that the word of God gives us this prophecy in clear language; and it is with reference to this scene of danger that the third angel utters his solemn warning.
Look at the Jewish church, and mark how soon after it had rejected the Messiah at his first coming, they put him to a cruel death, and slew also many of his apostles and saints. They said indeed (Matthew 23) that had they lived in the days of their fathers, they would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. But when their “hour and the power of darkness” come upon them, how completely did it show them under the power of Satan! Luke 22:53; John 7:30.
The rejection of the truth of God, leaves men the captives of Satan, and the subjects of his deception. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12. The greater the light which men reject, the greater the power of deception and of darkness which will come upon them. The Advent message has been given in our own land, and by the mass rejected, and no greater, and indeed no other light can ever be given to those who have turned away from that. The third angel gives us warning of the danger which is now before us. The warning precedes the danger that we by seasonable admonition may make our escape.
The warning of danger is a warning which refers directly to the scene of trouble described in Revelation 13:11-18. This warning shows that that trouble is yet to come. Its fearful character may be learned from the thrilling and dreadful import of the angel’s message. The Bible nowhere else depicts such dreadful wrath. On one side stands the decree of the beast who is to exercise all the power of the first beast before him, that all who will not worship the image and receive his mark shall be put to death; on the other hand stands the solemn warning of the third angel. Here then is the strait before us. We can worship the beast and his image, and as the penalty, drink the wine of the wrath of God, or we can refuse, and peril our lives that we may obey God.
This message will draw a line between the worshippers of God and the worshippers of the beast and his image, for on either hand it reveals a dreadful penalty and leaves no chance for half way work. Those who disregard this warning will be found with the worshippers of the beast and his image, and will drink of the wine of the wrath of God. Those who heed this warning will obey God at the risk of their lives. The one class is designated by the mark of the beast, the other class is seen in the patience of the saints keeping the commandments of God. That the law of God should thus be made a great testing truth to draw a line between the subjects of the fourth and fifth kingdoms, is an idea not unworthy of the God of the Bible.
That the commandments of God are the great subject of controversy between the dragon and the remnant of the seed of the woman, is plain from Revelation 12:17. The issue of this struggle cannot be a matter of doubt, for as in all past ages those who have had the ark of God, and have kept his commandments have triumphed, even so will it be now.
Another religious power enforces the claims of the first beast, and his image, and causeth the world to receive his mark. What is this mark of the beast? It is the mark of that beast to whom the image was made, - the first beast. Revelation 19:20; 16:2. But it is enforced by the two-horned beast.
Hence, we understand it as an institution of Papacy, enforced by Protestantism. The beast and his image unite in this thing, denoting the union of the great systems of false Christianity, in opposition to the saints, who are engaged in keeping the commandments of God. Have we such an institution, really the child of Papacy, which the civil power supports, and to which the religious world pays homage?
We have. It is found in a weekly sabbath which the “Man of Sin” has placed in the stead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Mark this. The Pope in his arrogance, was to exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, and to “THINK TO CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS.” 2 Thessalonians 2; Daniel 7:25. It is not said that he should be able to change them; but he should think to do it; or as the Catholic version reads, “he shall think himself ABLE to change times and laws.” They are not the times and laws of men which he thinks to change, for these he might be able to change as other powers have done; but it is an act of arrogance in which he does not succeed.
The times and laws of God are doubtless intended. The Pope in the exercise of his blasphemous assumptions, has attempted to change the fourth commandment, which guards the institution left by God as the memorial of himself. The ordinance of baptism commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, [Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:3-5,] but as this ordinance has been changed to sprinkling, something else must be introduced to commemorate that event; hence the Sabbath was gradually changed to the resurrection day. This act of changing the Sabbath, was performed by the power that should exalt itself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped. Another day is kept for another reason. The institution of the Sabbath commemorates God’s rest from his work of creation: [Genesis 2:2, 3,] this institution was designed for man, - the whole human family.
The ordinances of the Lord’s supper and of baptism, commemorate the death and resurrection of our Lord, [1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Romans 6,] and were intended only for his church. Thus creation and redemption are both commemorated by their appropriate memorials. - But the presumptuous arrogance of man has changed these memorials throughout. The Sabbath and baptism, as observed by the mass, no longer commemorate the events for which they were designed. “The mystery of iniquity” had in the days of Paul, already begun to work. At first it appeared in a harmless form, but it gradually developed the man of sin. To notice one particular, the observance of the first day.
“The first intimation we have of this, in any writer of acknowledged integrity, is from Justin Martyr, about A. D. 140. He is cited as saying “that the Christians in the city and in the country assembled on the day called Sunday; and after certain religious devotions, all returned home to their labors;” and assigns as reasons for this, that God made the world on the first day; and, because Christ first showed himself to his disciples on that day, after his resurrection. These were the best, and probably all the reasons that could then be offered for this practice. He also speaks of Sunday only as a festival, on which they performed labor, when not engaged in devotions; and not as a substitute for the Sabbath.”—History of the Sabbath, p.11.
Dr. Chambers says, “By Constantine’s laws, made in 321, it was decreed that for the future the Sunday should be kept for a day of rest in all cities and towns; but he allowed the country people to follow their work. In 538, the Council of Orleans prohibited this country labor.”-Encyclop.Art.Sunday.
“To give the more solemnity to the first day of the week, Sylvester, who was Bishop of Rome while Constantine was Emperor, changed the name of Sunday, giving it the more imposing title of Lord’s Day.”—Hist.Sabbath, p. 21.
Thus we see that the change was effected the very year that the man of sin began his reign. The observance of Sunday was not however introduced into England until the thirteenth century, and it was not then effected without the aid of a new revelation. [Hist.Sab.p.27.]
The first law for its observance in England, was enacted in 1470. Yet does the whole Protestant world wonder after the beast. And nearly all of them in their creeds recognize this counterfeit Sabbath as a divine institution. But those who understandingly turn away from the commandments of God, and in their stead obey the institution of the beast, not only recognize him as equal with God, as an object of worship, but as being above God; for they acknowledge him as able to change the laws of God. - We regard this counterfeit Sabbath as THE MARK of that power which should “think to change times and laws.” The force of this may be seen when the dragon makes war on “the remnant who keep the commandments of God;” or when the two-horned beast shall cause the world to worship the image of the first beast and to receive his mark.
Says Dr. Durbin: “I infer therefore that the civil magistrate may not be called upon to enforce the observance of the Sabbath, as required in the spiritual kingdom of Christ; but when Christianity becomes the moral and spiritual life of the State, the State is bound, through her magistrates to prevent the open violation of the holy Sabbath, as a measure of self-preservation. She cannot without injuring her own vitality, and incurring the Divine displeasure, be recreant to her duty in this matter.”-Christian Advocate and Journal.
“This mark is very conspicuous in the forehead or hand, and signifies, not a literal mark, but a prominent profession that all may see and know.”
Hear the testimony of a Roman Catholic: “The first precept in the Bible is that of sanctifying the seventh day: God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it. Genesis 2:3. This precept was enforced by God in the Ten Commandments: Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. The S E V E N T H D A Y is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God. Exodus 20. On the other hand, Christ declares that he did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. Matthew 5:17. He himself observed the Sabbath: and as his custom was, he went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day. Luke 4:16. His disciples likewise observed it after his death: they rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Luke 23:56. Yet with all this weight of Scripture authority for keeping the Sabbath or seventh day holy, Protestants, of every denomination, make this a profane day, and transferred the obligation of it to the first day of the week, the Sunday. Now what authority have they for doing this? None at all, but the unwritten Word or tradition of the Catholic church, which declares that the apostles made the change in honor of Christ’s resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Ghost on that day of the week.”-Milner’s End of Controversy, page 89.
The Protestant church may, if taken as a whole, be considered as a unit; but how near its different sects number six hundred three score and six, may be a matter of interest to determine. The different organizations are all upheld by the laws of the land. That they are oppressive when possessed of civil power, let the case of the Puritans, themselves fugitives from oppression, bear testimony. Witness their persecution of the Quakers, even unto death. Witness also the martyrdom of Michael Servetus under the sanction of John Calvin.
The fearful penalty threatened by the third angel, deserves particular notice. The wine of the wrath of God, and torment with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. The torment with fire and brimstone, comes doubtless, when the enemies of the Lord are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, as described in Revelation 20; 21. But the wine of God’s wrath, is filled up in the seven last plagues. They are poured out after the temple of God is opened in heaven, which event transpires under the sounding of the seventh angel. Revelation 15:5; 11:19. And it is to be further noticed that the first plague comes on the very class threatened by the third angel. Revelation 16:2; 14:9, 10. Hence we understand that the seven last plagues which fill up the wine of the wrath of God, threatened by the third angel, are future and as real as the plagues poured out on Egypt. See the account in Exodus. See also Revelation 16.
“Here is the patience of the saints.” That is, in this period commencing with their disappointment, they are in a day of affliction, a scene of trial and darkness, keeping the word of Christ’s patience [Revelation 3:10,] and waiting for redemption at the coming of the Son of man. They are seen keeping the commandments of God, and in the possession of the faith or testimony of Jesus. The commandments of God in distinction from the testimony of Jesus, mean the ten commandments. Matthew 19:17-19; 5:17-19; Romans 7:7-14; Luke 23:56; Matthew 15:3, 4; Ephesians 6:2.
We shall indeed need the faith of Jesus that we may stand in that awful hour when the last plagues shall be poured out on the earth. Blessed in truth, are they who die in the Lord. They rest from their labors and their works do follow them.
ARSH May 19, 1851, page 86.2
PARIS, ME. May, 1851. J. N. ANDREWS.