Lesson 27 – The United States in Prophecy
Throughout the centuries the Bible has revealed the rise and fall of nations with amazing accuracy. Their destinies were predicted in advance, but the Bible is not primarily a history book! Not every world power is mentioned.
Nations are brought into the biblical picture, not as independent political powers, but in the light of their role in God’s overall plan. The Bible reveals the role of nations in the longstanding controversy between Christ and Satan. In the last days of earth’s history the final conflict will center upon the question of loyalty to God as manifested by obedience to His law.
Working through both religious and state powers, Satan will attempt to coerce God’s people—with economic boycotts, fines, threats of imprisonment and death—to ignore God’s law by accepting a substitute Sabbath.
Will the United States play a significant role in this final conflict? Will America continue to champion principles of religious liberty and freedom of choice, or will it one day repudiate its heritage, unite with the beast, and become a persecuting power? What is America’s destiny?
In this fascinating lesson we will discover the answers to these questions.
1. Fill in the blanks below showing the location from which each beast arrives according to the following verses (Revelation 13:1, 11):
a. The first beast arises from the: Answer: The first beast arises from the sea.
b. The second beast arises from the: Answer: The second beast arises from the ‘earth.’
In lesson 26 we clearly identified the first beast as the Papacy.
As Revelation 13 describes, this beast received its seat of government from pagan Rome, became a universal system of worship, persecuted the people of God, claimed the power to forgive sins, and reigned supreme for 1,260 years during the Middle Ages.
In Bible prophecy the sea represents a populated area of the earth (Revelation 17:15). The beast rising out of the sea represents a power arising out of the populated areas of the world. The earth, on the other hand, represents the opposite-an unpopulated or sparsely populated area. The second beast rises out of the sparsely populated area of the New World.
2. How does this second beast of Revelation 13 (the lamblike beast) cooperate with the first beast (the Papacy)? Revelation 13:12
Answer: And he…causes the earth to worship the first beast.
3. List four identifying characteristics of this second beast:
a. When does this second beast arise? Revelation 13:11, 12 Answer: After the first beast
This lamblike beast with two horns arose precisely when the first beast was going into captivity. The Papacy received its deadly wound in 1798 when the French general Berthier took the pope captive. Ultimately the pope died in captivity. The second beast was to arise after the first went into captivity.
b. Where does the second beast arise? Revelation 13:11 Answer: Coming up out of the earth
The first beast arose out of or from the sea, “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15, NKJV). * It arose out of Rome from the populated masses of Europe. The second beast arose from an unpopulated area of the world. The Greek word for “coming up” is anabain¯o, meaning “springing up.” It arises like a silent seed growing from the quiet earth. It arises rapidly from obscurity to become a world superpower.
c. What animal was chosen to describe this second beast? Revelation 13:11 Answer: He had two horns as a lamb
Throughout the book of Revelation Jesus is described as a Lamb. Lamblike qualities indicate gentleness, innocence, and freedom. Jesus gives each of His followers the freedom of choice. This lamblike power grants its citizens the opportunity to worship freely in harmony with the dictates of their consciences.
We should also notice that a lamb is a young animal. The lion, the bear, the leopard, and the dragon described earlier in the chapter are full-grown animals, indicating older, established nations. The youthful lamb represents a nation just born.
d. The first beast has crowns on its horns (Revelation 13:1). Does the lamblike beast have crowns? Revelation 13:11 Yes or No: Answer: No
Crowns indicate kingly authority. This new power has no crown or king! Horns are symbols of power. Here the power comes from another source-from the people-the two horns represent a democratic, republican form of government.
4. What new nation was arising in 1798 in an unpopulated area of the earth with the features of youthfulness and liberty for all the people?
Answer: (Lesson answers)
a. The Pilgrims landed in the early 1600s. The Colonies grew rapidly. In 1776 the Declaration of Independence was drawn up. In 1787 the Constitution was written, and in 1789 the Bill of Rights was formulated. In 1791 the Bill of Rights was adopted.
In 1798 the pope was taken prisoner by General Berthier. The United States was recognized as a nation by France, the same power that inflicted the deadly wound on the first beast. The United States arose exactly as prophecy had indicated, at the time prophecy indicated.
b. The United States was established by courageous Europeans filled with an adventurous spirit, attempting to flee the religious and political tyranny of the Old World. It was not established by conquering another nation, but by the establishment of a new one!
“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 arisen to a place among the most powerful nations of the earth” (The Great Controversy, p. 441).
c. The United States established two separate authorities-political and religious. The principle of complete separation between church and state was represented by the “two horns like a lamb.”
5. What surprising change does the prophecy indicate? Revelation 13:11, 12
Answer: He spake as a dragon
6. What will the lamblike beast try to do to coerce everyone to worship the image of the beast and receive the mark of the beast? Revelation 13:17
Answer: No man might buy or sell
When the early church was corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel, it lost the Spirit and power of God. In order to control the consciences of the people, the church sought the support of the secular power. In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, a religious power must control the civil government. The church will use the authority of the state to coerce conscience once again. An image is a “likeness to,” something that resembles. The Papacy claims, as the sign of its authority, a substitute day of worship. Sunday is a “likeness” to the Sabbath, but it is not the Sabbath. It is a substitute or counterfeit day of worship. In this astounding prophecy, the United States of America establishes a likeness to the Papacy by using the power of government to enforce a religious day of worship. In a time of great crisis, the people and their religious leaders put enormous pressure on their legislators to enforce a common day of religious worship.
7. How does Satan deceive thousands to put pressure on their legislator to form an image to the beast? Revelation 13:13, 14
Answer: And deceives them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles.
In a period of social upheaval, economic difficulty, natural disasters, and international tension, church and state will unite in an attempt to establish peace. Satan will use false miracles to establish his claims.
8. Upon whom does God pour out the genuine Holy Spirit? Acts 5:32; John 14:15, 16
Answer: The Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him.
9. How does Revelation describe those who have gained the victory over the beast and are ready for the coming of Christ and eternity?
a. Revelation 12:17: Answer: keep the commandments of God
b. Revelation 14:12: Answer: faith of Jesus
c. Revelation 22:11-14: Answer: He that is righteous
The conflict will soon intensify beyond our imagination. Through the power of Jesus Christ you can remain loyal through these last days. John saw in vision the triumphal celebration given in heaven for those who had been victorious over the beast and his image: “I saw…those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses…and the song of the Lamb, saying: Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints” (Revelation 15:2, 3, NKJV). Friend, don’t you want to be a part of that great celebration?
* Texts credited to NKJV are from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.