FRIDAY MORNING MANNA

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE- Part XLI

 The Dragon, Beast, and His Image

The true ground of divine worship, not of the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures.

This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten.

 J. N. Andrews, “History of the Sabbath,” ch. 27.

 

Obedience is the highest form of worship. Mankind’s final test and war will be over the issue of religious liberty and worship not over oil or water. I strongly encourage everyone to study and/or review The Great Controversy by Ellen G. White and her other books of the Conflict of the Ages series by quoting extensively from chapter 25, “God’s Law Immutable” below. It exposes that fears of Shariah law, Muslim takeover of the world, Russia, China, North Korea, and a nuclear “Third World war,” etc. are misplaced.

See Revelation 12: 1-17. “It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been to the Creator as the object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel.  The keeping of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to the true God. ‘Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ It follows that the message which commands men to worship God and keep His commandments, will especially call upon them to keep the fourth commandment.

     “In contrast to those who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus, the third angel points to another class, against whose errors a solemn and fearful warning is uttered: ‘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.’ Rev. 14: 9, 10.  A correct interpretation of the symbols employed is necessary to understanding this message. What is represented by the beast, the image, the mark?

      “The line of prophecy in which these symbols are found begins with Revelation 12, with the dragon that sought to destroy Christ at His birth. The [great] dragon is said to be Satan (Rev. 12: 9); he it was that movedHerod [King Agrippa II, before whom Paul was arraigned, was the last of the Herods] to put the Savior to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era, was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing worship. Thus while the dragon, primarily represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.”

NOTE:  Herod was a family name of rulers of ancient Palestine.  Herod the Great Procurator of Judea and all Palestine (37-4 B.C.), though the descendant of the ancient Edomites was a Jew by citizenship and religious profession, was the one who inquired of Jesus’ birth and ordered the male infants slain in Bethlehem. There were 6 other Herods following. The last of them was Herod Agrippa II (A.D. 53-70) who heard Paul’s defense against the false accusations of the Jews, admitted his innocence, was convicted yet rejected the final invitation to accept the gospel of Christ.

Power Transfers from Dragon to Beast Identical to the “Little Horn” of Daniel 7 

   

      “In chapter 13 [of the Revelation] is described another beast, ‘like unto a leopard,’ to which the dragon gave ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’ This symbol, as most Protestants [once] have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once held by the ancient Roman Empire. Of the leopard-like beast it is declared: ‘There was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. . . . And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints [not with the ISIS or Al Quaida, etc.], and to overcome them: and power was given unto him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations’ This prophecy, which is nearly identical with the description of the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7, unquestionably points to the papacy.

     “Power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.’ And, says the prophet, ‘I saw one of his heads as it were wounded unto death.’ And again, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall be go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword.’  The forty and two months are the same as the ‘time and times and the dividing of time,’ three years and a half, or 1260 days of Daniel 7,–the time during which the papal power was to oppress God’s people.

This period, as stated in the preceding chapters [of theGreat Controversy], began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time the pope [Pius VI] was made captive by the French army [under Gen. Berthier of Napoleon Bonaparte’s French Republic], the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.’ [Pius VI died a prisoner in France].

The Beast with Two Lamb-like Horns will speak like a Dragon  

    

      “At this point another symbol is introduced. Says the prophet, ‘I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he head two horns like a lamb.’ Rev. 13: 11. Both the appearance of this beast and the manner of its rise indicate that the nation which it represents is unlike those presented under the preceding chapter. The great kingdoms that have ruled the world were presented to the prophet Daniel as beasts of prey, rising when the ‘four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.’ Daniel 7: 2.

In Revelation 17, an angel explained that waters represent ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues [languages and dialects, not “gibberish!] Rev. 17: 15. Winds are a symbol of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea, represent the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power.

     “But the beast with lamb-like horns’ was seen ‘coming up out of the earth.’ Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied, and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could, then, arise, among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World [Europe],– that turbulent sea of ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’ It must be sought in the Western Continent.

      “What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America. Again and again the thought, almost the exact words, of the sacred writer have been unconsciously employed by the orator and the historian in describing the rise and growth of this nation [showing Providence in the rise and fall of nations since the beginning]. The beast was seen ‘coming up out of the earth;’ and according to the translators, the word here rendered ‘coming up’ literally signifies ‘to grow or spring up as a plant.’ And, as we have seen, the nation must arise in a territory previously unoccupied.

A prominent writer, describing the rise of the United States, speaks of the ‘the mystery of her coming forth from vacancy.’ (G.A. Townsend, ‘The New World Compared with the Old,” p. 462 (ed. 1869). A European journal in 1850 spoke of the United States as a wonderful empire, which was ‘emerging,’ and ‘amid the silence of the earth daily adding to its power and pride.’ (The Dublin Nation). Edward Everett, in an oration in the Pilgrim founders of this nation, said: ‘Did they look for a retired spot, inoffensive for its obscurity, and safe in its remoteness, where the little church in Leyden might enjoy the freedom of conscience?  Behold the mighty regions over which, inpeaceful conquest, . . . they have borne the banner of the cross.’ {Speech delivered at Plymouth, Mass., Dec. 22, 1824, p. 11).

 

    “’And he had two horns like a lamb.’ The lamb-like horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United Sates when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798.  Among the Christian exiles [the Pilgrims in particular] 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.

The 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’ And the Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, providing that representatives elected by the popular vote shall enact and administer the laws.

Freedom and 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 [the two-lamb-like horns]. These principles are the secrets 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 among the most powerful nations of the earth.

      “But the beast with lamb-like horns ‘spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed; and . . .  saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make and image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and did live.’ Rev. 13: 11-14.

The lamb-like voice and dragon voice of the symbol, point to a striking contradiction between the professions and the practice of the nation thus represented. The ‘speaking’ of the nation is the action of its legislative and judicial authorities. By such action it will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. 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.

And the statement that the beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast,’ indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.

 

     “Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result—intolerance and persecution.

The Constitution provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ and that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to  any office of public trust under the United States.’ Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority.

But the inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamb-like horns—in professed pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks as a dragon.   ’Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast.’ Here is clearly presented a form of government in which the legislative power rests with the people; a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.

 

But what is ‘the image to the beast’? and how is it formed? 

     “The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the first beast. It is also called an imageof the beast. Then to learn what the image is like, and how it is to be formed, we must study the characteristics of the beast itself, —the papacy.

        “When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God, and in order to control the conscience of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state, and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of ‘heresy.’”

                                                                                        (To be continued next week)