FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
America and the Papacy in Prophecy and in the News Today
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“The spirit of liberty went with the Bible. Wherever the gospel was received, the minds of the people were awakened. They began to cast off the shackles that held them bond-slaves of ignorance, vice, and superstition. They began to think and act as men.”- E. G. White, “The Bible and the French Revolution,” Great Controversy (1911 ed.), p. 277.
Lest the remnant people of the last days, clearly identified in Revelation 12: 17 and Rev. 14: 12 become caught–up, side-tracked, or misled by deft deflections in all the crush of head-line –grabbing news,—whether real, alternative, fake, and even of the conspiracy type–a review of what the Almighty God revealed to mankind through end-times Bible prophecy as corroborated by history.
First, prayerfully read the prophecy of Revelation 13 that focuses on the leopard-like beast, a beast with lamb-like horns that changes into one speaking like a dragon, the image of the beast, and the mark, name, and number of the beast. Plead for the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and guidance and protection of the holy angels. Now this from the Great Controversy by E.G. White,“God’s Law Immutable” chapter, 1911 edition, pp. 441-443:
“In contrast to those who keep the commandment of God and have the faith of Jesus [Rev. 14: 12], the third angel points to another class, against whose errors a solemn and a 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.’ Revelation 14: 9, 10. A correct interpretation of the symbols employed is necessary to an understanding of 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 dragon is said to be Satan (Rev. 12: 9); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the [yet infant] Savior to death. But the chief agent in making war upon Christ and His people, during the first centuries of the Christian era [C.E.] was theRoman Empire, in which paganism was their prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.
“In chapter 13 (verses 1-10) 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 have believed, represents the papacy, which succeeded to the power and seat and authority once possessed 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 [see on Rev. 14:12], and to overcome them; and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.’ Rev.13: 5-7. 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 [John], I saw one his heads as it were wounded unto death.’ And again, ‘He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity; and 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 dividing of times,’ 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, began with the establishment of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798. At that time, when the papacy was abolished and the pope made captive by the French army, the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled, ‘He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity.’
“At this point another symbol is introduced. Says the prophet, ‘I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb.’ Revelation 13: 11. Both the appearance of this beast and the manner of its rise indicates that the nation which it represents is unlike those presented under the preceding symbols. The great kingdoms [not democracies] 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.’ Dan.7: 2. In Revelation 17, and angel explained that waters represented ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’ Rev.17: 15. Winds are symbols of strife. The four winds of heaven striving upon the great sea represents the terrible scenes of conquest and revolution by which kingdoms have attained to power.[Study world history!]
“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 growing up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World,–that turbulent sea of ‘peoples, 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, 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 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. The beast [with ‘lamb-like’ horns] 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 territory previously unoccupied. A prominent writer, describing the rise of the United States, speaks of ‘the mystery of her coming forth from vacancy’ and says, ‘Like a silent seed we grew into an empire.’ – G.A. Townsend, The New World Compared with the Old, page 462.
“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 on 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 of Leyden might enjoy the freedom of conscience? Behold the mighty regions over which, in peaceful conquest . . . they have borne the banners of the cross!’—Speech delivered at Plymouth, Massachussetts, Dec. 22, 1824, page 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 States when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798. The Christian exiles who first fled to America sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance; and they determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. The Declaration of Independence 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 of religious faith was also granted, every man permitted to worship God according to the dictates of the conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism [the two lamb-like horns] became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are 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 rise to a place of among the most powerful nations of the earth.
“But the beast with lamb-like horns ‘spake as dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first [leopard-like] beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed . . . saying 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.’ Revelation 13: 11-14.
“The lamb-like horns and dragon voice of the symbol point to a striking contradiction between the professions and 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 foundations of its policy. The prediction that it will ‘speak as a dragon,’ and exercises ‘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 [pagan Rome] and the leopard-like beast [papal Rome]. And the statement that beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them that dwell therein to worship the first image,’ indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which 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 this nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part 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 profession pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks like 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 [“they”]; a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.
“But what is the ‘image of the beast’? and how is it to be formed? The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the first beast. It is also called an image of 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 accepted heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences 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.’ In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the State will also be employed by the church to accomplish he own ends.
“Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. 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. An example of this is given in the long-continued persecution of dissenters by the Church of England. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of non-conformist ministers were forced to leave their churches, and many, both of pastors and people, were subjected to fine, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom.” (Continued next week)