We have found in our last two lessons that the principle player in last day events will be the Church of Rome. We have been strongly warned not to worship the beast of Revelation chapter 13 (Revelation 13:15; 14:9-11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4).. We have positively identified this beast as the Roman Catholic Church. Remember it is not the Catholic people, but the hierarchy, the system of the Papal Church. In each of the verses listed above there are three separate warnings. We not to worship the beast, but we are also to avoid worshipping the image to the beast, and the receiving of his mark.
We have identified the beast, now we must identify what the "image to the beast" is. We will identify what the mark of the beast represents in our next lesson. You have already seen how the messages of prophecy "rub against the grain" of our normal way of thinking. Please remember to pray and ask for special wisdom as you begin your study.
1. What does John behold in Revelation 13:11?
Here we are shown a separate power from the one previously identified. To avoid confusion in our study, we will call this the second beast. Of course, the first beast is the one we learned about in our last lesson.
2. What does this second beast come up out of? Revelation 13:11
3. From where did the first beast rise up? Revelation 13:1
4. What does the symbol of water represent in Bible prophecy? Revelation 17:15
The symbol of the water, or sea, represents people. For a beast to rise up out of the sea, would be for it to rise up in a densely populated area. Likewise, we are told that this second beast rises up out of the earth and this would be just the opposite of rising up among great populations. This second beast would rise up in a new area of the world; an area that had previously been thought of as uninhabited.
5. What kind of horns did this beast have? Revelation 13:11
If you think back over all the beasts that we have looked at in Bible prophecy, you should recall we've seen a lion; a bear; a leopard; a dreadful beast with iron teeth; a ram; a 'rough' goat; and a leopard like beast with the mouth of a lion, the feet of a bear. All of these animals in one way or another are strong and forceful, and most are predatory in nature. There is a marked contrast in this second beast of Revelation 13. It says this beast has "two horns like a lamb." Obviously the nature of a lamb is very different from all those other animals. This power would start out to be good and lamb - like in nature. It's profession would be that of morality and virtue. Remember the Bible represents Jesus as the Lamb, so some aspects of this second beast can even be thought of as Christ - like.
6. How does the beast speak? Revelation 13:11
Although the beast shows the lamb like characteristics, it speaks as a dragon. The dragon is the symbol used to represent Satan. Here we see a power which would begin with a Christ-like profession, but would then exhibit the ungodly principles of the dragon.
7. What does this beast exercise? Revelation 13:12
Remember that the power of the first beast was given to him by the dragon, or Satan. As this second beast exercises all the power of the first beast, we can realize that this is that power that comes from Satan. The character of this beast would be anything but godly.
8. What else does the second beast cause the people to do concerning the first beast? Revelation 13:12
9. What important principle did Paul teach us concerning worship? Romans 6:16
There are many different ways that we can worship the beast. Not the least of these will be coercion. If we allow ourselves to be threatened into going against the will of God, we have ceased to worship God, and have begun to worship the power that controls us. Read the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, found in Daniel chapter three.
10. What else does this beast do? Revelation 13:13
This power would do something that John would perceive as fire coming down from heaven, and that would greatly impress the world of its' power.
11. What does the beast tell the people that they should make? Revelation 13:14
If we were to physically make an image of someone, it would be a likeness; it would look like them. The image of the beast is a likeness of the first beast, in that the image of the beast will have the same characteristics as the beast itself. Here the second beast makes an image to the first beast and causes everyone not written in the book of life to worship that image. In worshipping the image of the beast, the world is actually worshipping the beast itself and ultimately it is worshipping the dragon (Satan), which gave it it's power.
12. What else does this second beast do? Revelation 13:16
Identifying the second beast of Revelation 13...
1. This power would come up in an area, other than Europe, where all the other powers had arisen. And this area would be seen as uninhabited by comparison.
2. This power would have "lamb - like" horns, which is very different in nature from the ferocious beasts before it.
3. This power would ultimately speak as a dragon and therefore show it's true nature.
4. This power would be a great power in the earth.
5. The power would compel or deceive the whole world to follow it's agenda, by making fire come down from heaven.
6. The power will make an image to the Papacy by instituting it's ungodly principles and causing the people to live by them.
7. This power would eventually enforce the mark of the beast upon the whole world.
Please compare the above list with the information given below:
The United States in Bible Prophecy
1. The U.S. did indeed arise out of a virtually uninhabited wilderness. There are only a handful of other countries that have also arisen in the western hemisphere.
2. The U.S. was the most unique government to ever come along, in that it is representative of the people. The two lamb - like horns well represent the two most notable features of our country: Civil and Religious liberty. These are what have made America the great nation that she is. Think about it: in Bible prophecy, a horn represents a king, but kings are not Christ-like! So the two lamb-like, or Christ-like horns symbolize liberty from a civil king, and a religious king.
3. In these last days we are indeed seeing a very different nature in the leadership of the U.S. We see her going to great lengths to protect her world - wide interests. It is obvious that power for the government is the ruling motivation, not freedom for the people.
4. What other nation in the western hemisphere has arisen to be called a super power? The U.S. has outlived the other so called super powers and now she sits atop the world, so to speak.
5. The beginning thrust of the U.S.'s world dominance, began with the atomic bombing of Japan in WWII, to date, no other nation has ever used this "fire from heaven" against another nation. It was the threatened use of these bombs that fueled the "cold war" and eventually brought an end to the Soviet Union, the U.S.'s only serious competition for world domination.
6-7. These events are reserved for the very "last days." The purpose for the prophecy is to warn us about these two pitfalls.
What is the Image to the beast?
We have looked at the great identifying characteristics of both the first beast, the Papacy, and the second beast, the United States. Remember, when we say the Papacy, or Catholic church, we are talking about the hierarchy or the system of that church. Likewise, when we are talking about the United States, we are not referring to the people, but to the system.
Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. Their views found place in the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the great truth that "all men are created equal" and endowed with the inalienable right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Freedom of religious faith was also granted, every man being permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and downtrodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope. Millions have sought its shores, and the United States has risen to a place as the most powerful nation on earth.
But the beast with lamb - like horns "spake as a dragon." The prediction that it will speak "as a dragon" and exercise "all the power of the first beast" plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopard - like beast.
The spirit of persecution manifested by paganism and the papacy is again to be revealed. Prophecy declares that this power will say "to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast." [Revelation 13:14.] The image is made to the first or leopard-like beast, which is the one brought to view in the third angel's message. By this first beast is represented the Roman Church, an ecclesiastical body clothed with civil power, having authority to punish all dissenters. The image to the beast represents another religious body clothed with similar power. The formation of this image is the work of that beast whose peaceful rise and mild professions render it so striking a symbol of the United States. Here is to be found an image of the papacy. When the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy. Then the true church will be assailed by persecution, as were God's ancient people. Almost every century furnishes examples of what bigotry and malice can do under a plea of serving God by protecting the rights of Church and State. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. In the seventeenth century thousands of non-conformist ministers suffered under the rule of the Church of England. Persecution always follows religious favoritism on the part of secular governments.
Today we find that the main thrust of many of the churches of our land is in politics. There are many organizations that exist within the church, that see as there reason for existence, the taking back of America. With many this has even become a work of militant force.
There is no doubt that the troubles we see in our country are the result of the godlessness of our society. If everyone lived according to the great principles of God's government, there would be no societal ills. The question we must ask ourselves is what are we to do about it? Are we to force religion? Does the bonding of church and state solve the problem? Or does it actually create even greater problems? The Bible does not reserve as it's last warning for mankind, the godlessness of our society. Instead it warns us against our participation in the religious tyranny and intolerance which characterizes the Papacy and which will also come at the hand of "Protestant America."
13. Who does John see on the sea of glass in heaven? Revelation 15:2
Don't you want to be a part of this great multitude that stand on the sea of glass in heaven? In our next lesson we will look at the
"mark of the beast." It is the vehicle that the United States will use to enforce the worship of the Papacy, and the "image of the beast."