Revelation 13 Earth Beast
To understand the interpretation of this beast, read the
material below the picture and also see the Prophetic Rules of Interpretation in the Main
What is the identity of this beast that rises up out of the earth? This beast is very unique because it rises from the earth, unlike any other prophetic beast of either Daniel or Revelation. Very little is said about its appearance. Because of its unique origin and scant description, the Bible leaves us with very little by which to identify it. Consequently, many fail to correctly identify it and it remains somewhat of an enigma for many.
Therefore, the question remains: how does one properly identify this strange beast? The author believes that the keys to correctly understanding this beast are:
Once the correct identity of the earth beast has been determined, then one can see how the past history of this power matches the prophecy about it and what the future holds for this power. This has implications for the remainder of the world and for God's people.
Revelation 13 has a great deal of detail in it that is quite difficult understand. To fully elucidate the meaning of it requires that we spend some time in this write-up explaining the derivation of the meaning of the symbols found in Revelation 13. But, if you go through the details, you will arrive at a full understanding that can help you avoid the mark of the beast.
The Identity of the Sea Beast
Let us first briefly discuss the identity of the sea beast so that we may ascertain the time frame for the subsequent arrival of the earth beast. The following are the characteristics of the sea beast as outlined in Revelation 13:
The primary identity of this power is relatively easy to establish based on the information given. Only two characteristics are necessary to establish its identity, which are: (1) it spoke blasphemy and (2) it was worshiped, which means it was obeyed as if it were a god. There is one more criteria that is important as a distinguishing characteristic. The two characteristics necessary to establish the identity of the beast must also explain why there is no blasphemy upon the other prophetic beasts of Daniel and Revelation with the exception of the scarlet beast in Revelation 17.
To establish its identity, first understand that God accusses this power of blasphemy. Second, ask yourself this question: how was God accused of blasphemy in the Bible? Some may think that God was not accused of blasphemy, but the truth is he was accused of it. Jesus was accused of blasphemy - under two different circumstances. First, he was accused of blasphemy because he said he had the power to forgive sins against God's laws (see Matthew 9:1-8) and he was again accused of blasphemy when he said that he was God (see John 10:30-39 and Matthew 26:61-66). Thus, claiming both to be God and claiming to be able to forgive sins against God's laws constitute the blasphemy described here. There is only one power on earth that claims both of these powers: the Roman Catholic Church.
The reason no blasphemy is shown upon the other prophetic beasts if Daniel or Revelation is that while some of them claimed to actually be gods, not a single one of them claimed to have the power to forgive sins against the laws of God. The only exception to this is in the behavior described for the talking horn in Daniel 7 which appeared on the head of the fourth dreadful beast. It was not shown with blasphemy upon it, but some of its behavior is blasphemous in the way that blasphemy is defined in the Bible.
But while the Roman Catholic Church is the primary identity of the sea beast, there is a second power that is part of it. Revelation 13 says that this beast would have power over the nations. This means that it would be able to prosecute people for heresy in all nations of its domain. The only way this could have been accomplished is if it had the cooperation of the leaders of those nations. Hence, the leaders of the nations were also part of the beast.
Because the beast is said to be a king, this clearly means that the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church with the leaders of the nations constitute the beast. The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church clearly are the popes. This is a composite beast.
The Bible tells us that the sea beast had power to make war against the people of God for a period of 1260 symbolic days (Revelation 13:5, 7), or a literal time period of 1260 years. From history, we know that this began in March of 538 AD and continued until February 15, 1798, during which time the Catholic Church had the legal power to prosecute people for heresy. This legal power to prosecute heresy is what made the combination of the Roman Catholic Church popes with the leaders of the nations into the beast that it was.
Because John saw the earth beast rise after the sea beast, this informs us that the earth beast must rise to power somewhere near to the year 1798. Therefore, we should look for a new power that arose around that time in order to identify the earth beast.
The Behavior of the Two Horns
Another clue to the identity of the earth beast is how it acts - its behavior. John said this beast had horns like those of a lamb. Some people conclude from this that the beast was a lamb, but that is not what he said and neither did he imply this. He only said that the two horns looked like those of a lamb.
He did not give us any information about what the body of the beast looked like nor did he say anything about how the body acted. Consequently, we have no information about the beast itself except that it rose up from the earth, which is significant and will be covered in greater detail later.
As John saw things in the vision, the two horns were the parts of the beast which resembled a lamb. This is where a knowledge of the rules of interpretation help us understand the symbolism. Characteristics of beasts, such as their color, species, or other such things, give us information about the behavior of the power represented by the body part in question. This is called the Characteristics Principle (http://www.666man.net/rule.html#CharacteristicsPrinciple). The resemblance of the two horns to those of a lamb is significant because in the Bible, the lamb was commonly used as a symbol for Jesus (see John 1:29 and Revelation 5:5-12 for examples), which implies that they were to resemble Christ in their behavior. That does not mean a perfect resemblance, of course, but one overriding purpose God had in showing John horns with this characteristic was to show a contrast of their behavior to that of the sea beast which came before them. Note that this lamb-like behavior of the two horns continues until their time of power is over. Then John said that the beast will begin to behave in a manner similar to that of the dragon that came before.
Why is this lamb-like characteristic of the two horns important? It is important because it helps distinguish between several possible contenders for identification of the earth beast. It especially tells us that the earth beast is not a persecuting power during the time of the two horns. But that changes because it says that the beast will eventually speak as a dragon, a change in its behavior that must come after the time of the two horns.
The fact that this power is not a persecuting power is revealed by the fact that Jesus NEVER forced people to believe in him or to follow him, something that is well documented in the Bible concerning his behavior. Thus, this power, the two horns, will not force people to believe or follow Jesus, in contrast to the sea beast. A person living inside of this power is free to be or not to be a Christian. The choice will be their own personal choice. This will be a prominent aspect of this power.
The Earth Beast Arises From the Earth
An important characteristic that helps us identify the earth beast is this: it rises up from the earth. That may seem to be stating the obvious, but there is good information in this point of origin. We just need to determine which tools available in the Bible help us extract this information.
There are two ways to come to an understanding of the meaning of rising from the earth. The first method involves contrast and comparison. Consider that if taken literally, the earth is usually relatively dry, at least, on the surface it is usually that way. The "opposite" of dry is wet. There is a definition of the symbolic meaning of water presented in Revelation 17:15. One can contrast that with the earth, which is relatively dry, in order to define the meaning of the earth. This works reasonably well and will be presented here, but this method does not give full meaning to the symbolism of the earth. To derive the full meaning of the earth, it is necessary to find the definition of earth as a symbol and apply that to the vision of the beast rising out of the earth.
Comparison and Contrast Method
But let us first look for the meaning using the contrast and comparison method. Revelation 17:15 says this:
"The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,"
If waters represent peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues, then the earth probably means the "opposite" of that because the earth is relatively dry. Thus, to rise out of the earth means that it arises where there are relatively few people and no external, major, large organized nations to oppose its rise. No previously existing large multitudes exist in this environment. This power is not created as a result of conquest of other large and powerful nations. Remember that the desert represents a prison, whereas waters represents peoples, nations, languages and multitudes, so the earth must represent neither the desert nor the waters. This means any power arising on the earth must not be in prison (it could not rise if it were in prison anyway because in Revelation 9, we learn that when a power is released from prison, then it rises, but not before its release) and must arise where there are relatively few people, no significant external nations that oppose its rise and must be conquered first, no significant language barriers, and no large multitudes in place to oppose its rise to power.
Our understanding of the desert is based on Revelation 17:3, 8 and 20:1-3, 7 by comparing the prison to the abyss (bottomless pit in some versions) and the wilderness to the abyss. In this comparison, it should become clear that the wilderness is the same as the abyss, both of which are symbols of a prison.
The beasts of Daniel 7 all rose out of water with winds blowing upon them, thereby representing that strife and warfare was stirring up the nations, peoples, multitudes, and languages among the people, resulting in the rise of empires from the strife and warfare among the nations. It is important to understand that when a beast is in the process of rising out of the water, it represents a stage of conquest by which the empires arose because this is when the beast is among the waters where the winds are stirring them up. Once it finished with that stage, all four beasts then went up onto the dry land.
Note that Daniel said that the waters he saw were those of the great sea, which in his thinking almost certainly were that of the Mediterranean Sea, thereby indicating that these powers were to rise from around the Mediterranean Sea region and would be powers of that area. Thus, this tells you these powers cannot represent empires of the area that today is Russia or China. They had to be Mediterranean powers and come from that general region.
The beasts represented powers that became empires because they fought with external powers and conquered them, thereby absorbing them into their growing empires. This process continued until they either decided that they did not want to conquer further (Rome, for example, did choose not to take certain areas because they realized that they had reached the natural limits of their ability to govern), ran into physical barriers over which they could not traverse further, or ran into opposition that they could not overcome. Upon reaching such points, most empires usually cease their wars of conquest and became relatively stable, secular governments with an empire to rule over which keep their top rulers busy. The opposition to their rise to power usually comes from external threats, not internal.
The point of this is that the beasts of Daniel 7 rose through warfare and conquest. Therefore, for a beast to rise from the earth strongly points to a different origin. It is accurate to say that the earth beast rose out of an area from which there was no external major organized nations to oppose its rise to power. However, that does not mean it does not rise out of a war. To the contrary, it does engage in a war to become a power, a war of independence, a war of separation from a major power. The earth as a symbol reveals this as will be shown later.
This power rises when the sea beast is just terminating its 1260 symbolic days of power, which places the rise of the earth beast somewhere around 1798. We know that the earth beast is a power in which its people have the power of choice (this is demonstrable because one of the two horns of this beast later goes about the land suggesting that this power form an image beast, which could only happen if the people had a choice about this).
So, to summarize, we know the following:
What nation does this describe? Answer: There is only one nation that really fits: The United States of America is the only reasonable choice that meets all the criteria.
Using the Definition of the Earth As a Symbol Method
There is a second way to identify this power. Note that the earth is used symbolically in several placese in Revelation. In Revelation 12 in several places, the dragon is said to have been cast to the earth. Many think this is literal, and in some sense, that is OK. Yet most of the material in that chapter is symbolic and Jesus made it plain in Revelation 1 that the information to be given to John was symbolic, so why would the earth not be symbolic in Revelation 12? Logically, it is symbolic as that is the only thing that truly fits in with the other symbols in the same chapter. Unfortunately, the information given in Revelation 12 does not define the earth for us, so we must turn to Daniel 7 and 8 to find the definition.
Note that in Daniel 7, the four beasts all rise out of the water, but after doing this, each beast then moves onto the earth (out of the water onto dry land) and walks around upon the earth. We know this to be true for all four beasts of Daniel 7. Here is how we know this: (1) in the case of the lion, it is said to be lifted up off the earth stand up on two feet (Daniel 7:4). (2) The fourth beast walked around and treaded down the earth (Daniel 7:23). (3) The two other beasts are shown to be walking around on the earth because they were the equivalent of the ram and goat in Daniel 8, both of which walked, or ran, around upon the earth (Daniel 8:5-6). Thus, all four beasts come up out of the waters and then move around upon the earth.
If the waters in Daniel 7 are symbolic and the beasts are symbolic, then should the earth also be symbolic? It only makes sense that the earth is indeed symbolic. Now, we know what the waters symbolize from Revelation 17:15. But, what does the earth represent and what does it mean for the beasts to be walking upon the earth? There is no verse that gives a specific definition of earth in Daniel or Revelation, but Daniel gives us enough information to use reason to ascertain the meaning of the earth as a symbol. Let us do that now.
To reiterate, each of the four beasts in Daniel 7 rises from the waters with the winds blowing upon them. The winds symbolize strife and warfare (Jeremiah 25:31-33, 49:36, 37, 4:11-13; Zechariah 7:14), so these empires rise because of warfare between nations, out of which empires rise by conquest of other nations. The history of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome all showed this same pattern.
When each of the four empires finished the conquests by which they established themselves, they then had relatively stable, usually secular governments that ruled over their empires. The beasts themselves represent kings (Daniel 7:17), so each beast is a king. It should be rather obvious that if a king has quit the warfare by which he established for himself a relatively stable, usually secular government, then for a beast to be depicted as walking over the earth must represent a king ruling over his stable, established, secular government through which he governed his empire. The earth could then also sometimes represent the nations or kingdoms over which he ruled.
Remember this definition:
The earth represents a stable, usually secular, established government and may secondarily represent nations or kingdoms which are ruled over by the king of the empire in which they are located.
Now, how does this apply in the case of the beast that rises out of the earth? This beast does not rise out of wars of conquest of other nations because, if it did, then it would have been shown rising out of water with winds blowing upon the water. However, that does not rule out warfare as a necessity for its arrival. All we have done is show that because the earth beast does not rise out of waters, it represents that this power does not rise by conquest and absorption of other nations into an empire it was building. But that excludes a lot of potential candidates! It is very helpful information.
To continue with our line of reasoning, remember that a beast rising up (out of waters or the earth) represents the arrival of a new power, so this is the arrival a new power. But because it rises out of the earth instead of waters, it represents that it rises out of an already established, stable, usually secular government. In other words, this describes a situation where a power rises right out of another government that is already established and is already stable. It clearly forms a completely new power, so is not merely representing a change of government such as has occurred many times in nations where one government replaces the previously existing one. No, instead, it is a new government that must have taken with it part of the power and territory of the previously established government, pushing out the old government over the territory over which the new power gains control, and yet leaving the old government in power over other remaining territory it still rules elsewhere.
For a beast to rise out of the earth is a symbolic way of describing a war of independence.
The action described in Revelation 13 is not a civil war, but a war of independence.
A civil war is defined by the Merriam-Webster's 2002 computer edition Collegiate Dictionary as this: " a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country". A civil war usually is a situation where one group supports the government in power while the other group (which could be called the opposition) wants to throw them out. If the opposing group wins, the government in power is replaced by an entirely new government. The reason the earth beast's arrival signals a war of independence is that rising up from the earth shows a completely new power rising from a previously existing government and becoming independent of it. It is not a replacement of the old government within the same power that existed previously.
But, how does the author know that the earth beast rising out of the earth indicates a war of independence rather than a civil war? The answer to that is found in Daniel 7. Consider the example of the fourth dreadful beast, the beast which represented pagan Rome. Rome had some seven different forms of government during its existence and it also experienced at least three civil wars. Yet, in spite of that, Rome is represented as one beast with one head and ten horns on its one head. If civil wars were to be represented by a beast rising from the earth, then Rome should have been symbolized in Daniel 7 by two or more beasts, with only the last one having the ten horns on its head. Unfortunately, there was no additional beast rising out of the earth to indicate Rome continues as a second power after the civil war occurred. There were no extra heads that arose after the first head to indicate the change of government. The civil war of Rome was not represented by the symbolism of the fourth beast and was completely ignored in the prophecies of Daniel 7. Therefore, should we conclude that the earth beast rising up out of the earth in Revelation 13 represents a civil war? The author thinks that would be illogical. Rather, instead, it makes sense that this represents a war of independence.
Who is this earth beast? It comes up somewhere near the year 1798 and fights a war of independence. Its people have the power of choice - probably the power of the vote. Who does it represent?
In the 1790s and early 1800s, there were several wars which took place in Europe, such as the French Revolution. These wars in Europe should be considered to see if they fulfill the prophecy of the earth beast rising from the earth. When this is done, all of them fail because they do not fit the description of a war of independence where part of the people and territory were taken from the original government by wars of independence (leaving the original government intact but with a smaller territory to rule over) AND resulting in governments where the freedom to be or not to be a Christian was a prominent feature.
The wars in Europe were either a civil war or else were wars of conquest. The French Revolution could probably be considered a type of civil war where the people acted to overthrow the government and the government tried to stay in power. Clearly, the government lost. Later, Napoleon came to power and went on to fight wars of conquest against the other nations of Europe in order to form a large French empire that he wanted to rule. In the end, he lost. However, neither the French Revolution nor the wars of conquest engaged in by Napoleon were represented by a beast rising out of the earth. At the very least, the wars of conquest by Napoleon would be represented by a beast rising out of waters and yet that is not shown in the prophecies of either Daniel or Revelation.
The only circumstance that fits is the war of independence that resulted in the creation of the United States of America. The stable, secular, established government that the Americans fought a war of independence against was the British government, for they were the established power here in North America in the territory that later became the United States of America. A completely new power rose from this war of independence, in which the people had the power of the vote and after a few years and a few changes in the new government, the people also had the right to be or not to be Christian - a prominent part of the new government.
Thus, by both methods, we arrive at the same answer for the identity of the earth beast: the United States of America.
Prophetic History of the United States
What we know from the prophecy in Revelation 13 and from history is that the earth beast rose to power by a war of independence against the British Government. But, after that is done, what does the Bible tell us about the history of this power and what is its future? Why does God bother to tell us about this power and how will it affect God's people?
To understand the prophetic history of the earth beast, remember that the rules of interpretation which apply in the book of Daniel also apply to the prophetic beasts of Revelation. God was the author of the visions given to both Daniel and John and the prophetic beasts in both books are very similar, so God naturally used the same symbolism and interpretation pattern in both books to help us understand them. If the same pattern is not used in both books, then it is anybody's guess as to the meaning of the beasts in Revelation.
To be consistent in how one interprets Daniel and Revelation, if the same interpretation method is not to be used in both books for the prophetic beasts, then the definitions of other symbols in Daniel should not be used at all to interpret the same symbols in Revelation and vice versa. For example, waters are defined in Revelation 17:15, but if the rules in Daniel do not apply in Revelation, then we should not use the definition of waters in Revelation to define the waters in Daniel. To do otherwise is to be completely illogical and inconsistent. But, given that the same author (God) is behind the visions in both books, it is only logical that the same rules and definitions which occur in Daniel do apply in Revelation and those in Revelation also apply in Daniel. This is called the Author's Consistency Principle (this refers to the consistency of God in setting up the symbols and their definitions, and using them in both books).
The Three Phases of the Earth Beast's Existence
First note that when John described the earth beast rising out of the earth (Revelation 13:11), he actually described THREE time periods of its existence (most never notice this) that occur once this power has risen. Revelation 13:11 says:
Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon.
In this verse, the three time periods are:
The third time period, the time when the earth beast speaks as a dragon, is the same as the time of the image beast. It is also the time when the earth beast exercises all the powers the first beast had and forces all on the earth to worship the beast or its image. What does it mean when it says that the earth beast exercises all the powers of the sea beast? What does it mean to worship the beast or its image?
The Two Horns
The sea beast was a persecuting power because it made war against the people of God (Revelation 13:7). Unlike the sea beast, the earth beast power during the time of the two horns behaves in the opposite manner, meaning it is not a persecuting power. It respects people's religious beliefs and their right to have or not have religious beliefs. We know this to be true because the two horns of the earth beast represent a time when this beast will behave like Jesus, meaning it will allow people to be free to serve him or not serve him. There is religious freedom within this power and it allows individual choice (see Revelation 13:14 and note that the people are being persuaded to make an image beast, which implies a choice about doing this - thus they have the power of choice, probably the power of the vote).
The contrast between the earth beast's two horns and the sea beast is rather startling. One has the body of a leopard, the feet of a bear, and a mouth like a lion, while the other has two horns that resemble those of a lamb. One is a predator, while the other is not a predator. They could hardly be more unlike each other. And yet, a change comes over the earth beast for it says that a power goes about the land trying to persuade the people to make an image to the sea beast. It even goes so far as to say that the earth beast will eventually speak as a dragon. How could such a tremendous change come over this power? And, what is an image beast and why is this important? And who is it that goes about the land saying that the people should make an image to the original sea beast?
The Image Beast
Revelation 13:14-17 answers most of these questions. The Bible says that the people will be asked to make an image to the beast, which refers to the sea beast of Revelation 13:1-10. Apparently they are persuaded to do this because the Bible says that this power has the ability to give life to the image beast, which in turn then sets up laws that requires people to receive a mark in the right hand or the forehead and cannot buy or sell unless they have the name of the beast or the number of his name. These the symbolism regarding these laws is properly understood, it becomes abundantly clear that this power will set up laws restricting religious freedom. In other words, it will no longer have two horns like those of a lamb, but instead will be like the original sea beast, which was a predator and made war against the people of God (Revelation 13:7). When it makes these laws, it will definitely be speaking like a dragon.
Thus, the people of the United States of America will be under the influence of those who will persuade them to make this nation into an image, or a likeness of the original beast. They, in turn, will persuade lawmakers to respond to their wishes and make an image to the original beast. Once done, that will end religious freedom in America. This change is represented in the prophecy by the rise of the image beast, meaning that the time of the two horns is over when that time comes. Note that a law or decree brings about this change from one beast to the next.
To answer the question of what is an image beast, we need to know what the original beast was. The original beast consisted of the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church combined with the leaders of the nations through legal power given to the church permitting it to prosecute heresy as defined by the Catholic Church. The essence of this is the combination of church and state for the benefit and protection of the church and its power, done through prosecution of those who serve God and obey his commandments rather than rendering obedience to the church in power. Such people, those who teach the truth of God as plainly revealed in the Bible rather than teach the traditions of the church or the man-made Sabbath of the Papacy, are the ultimate threat to any church in power because truth is always an enemy to falsehood and corruption. In past history during the dark ages, when confronted with the truth, the church did whatever it took to stop the truth from being taught. They went after the messengers of truth rather than admit that they were wrong and needed to change.
To make an image of the original beast is to make a legal combination of church and state once again like the original, but different this time because it involves churches other than the original Catholic Church combining with the state in a common interest. In other words, it combines the leaders of the Protestant Churches and the leaders of the government of the United States of America for the purpose of prosecution of heresy as will be defined by the chunches. In essence, it combines the church and state for the benefit and protection of the churches and their power through prosecution of those who serve God and obey his commandments. It is like the original, but is not identical.
The result is perhaps a near virtual image of the original beast, exemplified by the image below:
The Miller Principle (http://www.666man.net/rule.html#MillerPrinciple) from the rules of interpretation informs you that the body of a beast represents the first phase of its history while the two horns represent the second phase of its history. Of course, if there were several heads, then the heads would represent the second phase of its history, and if there were horns on those heads, they would represent the third phase. But the earth beast shows only a two phase history because it consists of a body and the two horns. And yet, as explained by John when he said that the earth beast spoke as a dragon, this power has a third phase not represented by the anatomy of the earth beast. The time when it speaks as a dragon comes after the time represented by the two horns and corresponds to the image beast that the two horns will create. But how can it say that the earth beast speaks as a dragon when it is in fact the image beast that will actually speak as a dragon?
The answer to this is that the image beast is formed from within the same power, people and territory that the earth beast and the two horns represent. Thus, it is in essence the same as the earth beast except that it has now added religious persecution to its list of activities. Note that it is a decree that brings about the change from the earth beast to the image beast. Also, it should be noted that the image beast is not shown to rise out of the waters (with winds blowing upon them) nor is it shown to rise out of the earth. As a result, we can conclude that no warfare is involved in formation of the image beast. It is purely a result of a change in the laws or a decree that brings about this change.
Let us reiterate the basic facts that we have so far. The earth beast first rises up out of the earth, which means this power gains authority through a war of independence against the previously established, stable government that is in place ruling the territory that later becomes the territory of the earth beast. It then exists as the earth beast for a time, represented by the body of the earth beast. Later it develops a separation of powers in some way, which is represented by the two horns. Finally, it speaks as a dragon, a behavior most unlike the behavior of the two horns, so must follow the time period they represent. Just before the time comes for it to speak as a dragon, a power goes about the land and convincese the people to make an image beast, meaning that this power combines the church and state to create a new beast, one that is the image of the original sea beast, which replaces the earth beast. The new image beast follows the time of the two horns and corresponds to the time when it speaks as a dragon.
A Deeper Analysis
Let us analyze things a little deeper. During the first phase of its history, the earth beast represents a single united power, but during the second phase of its history, this power is divided into two parts, which either can be complete divisions that are entirely separate (as in the case of the four heads of the leopard beast of Daniel 7) or else represent divisions within the same power. The clue to determine whether it is divided into two completely separate powers or two powers within the same authority is the fact that this beast is spoken of in Revelation 13:11-17 as if there are two cooperating powers working together within and as part of the same country rather than acting the part of separated countries as happened with the four empires represented by the four heads of the leopard in Daniel 7. Therefore, the two horns represent two divisions within the same power.
Evidence that there are two powers working within the context of the same power is given in the description of the behavior of the two horns in Revelation 13:13-15. For one of these powers, it says that it works miracles and even brings fire down from heaven. This describes the symbolic activities of a religious power (remember that Revelation is primarily a book of symbolism, so it is extremely unlikely that this action is literal), which means that one of the horns of the earth beast is a religious power. Given that America has largely been a Protestant Christian nation since its founding, this points to the Protestant Churches as the identity of this power.
But, it also says that the earth beast later gives life to the image beast. What does it mean to give life to an image beast? This means it will bring the image beast into existence. In Daniel 7, when beasts rose up from the waters, this symbolized that these beasts came into existence, meaning they could then move around and do things that living animals usually do. In essence, we should naturally say that they came to life. The beasts symbolized lines of kings who ruled over empires (Daniel 7:17 - the four beasts are four kings) that were formed by warfare and conquest among nations. For example, Babylon became an empire when Nebuchadnezzar conquered other nations all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. He was the first of four literal kings who ruled Babylon until it was conquered by the Medo-Persians. When Nebuchadnezzar formed his empire through wars of conquest, this is represented in the vision of Daniel 7 by the lion rising up out of the waters. In essence, this lion came to life then.
Definition: to give life to a beast is to bring it into existence.
But the earth beast is already in power over its own territory. No war of conquest is represented here because the image beast does not rise out of waters nor is there a war of independence because this beast also does not rise from the earth. Therefore, the image beast is something that must rise from the same territory and people that the earth beast governs. It should be clear that the earth beast gives life to the image beast, meaning that this new beast replaces the original earth beast. It takes over for the previous beast.
In this case, giving life to a symbolic beast can only be done by a civil power for only civil government has the power to form an image beast. Remember that the sea beast of Revelation 13 was a combination of the Roman Catholic Church and the leaders of the nations (in essence, church and state combined). Only the state can authorize such a combination. In fact, it was the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian who authorized formation of the original sea beast. He wrote a decree in 533 AD which was implemented in 538 AD that authorized this change of status for the Roman Church. The church cannot give itself civil power over heretics. It must first receive this power from the state. The important point here is that the sea beast came into existence, or as we might say, it came to life, only when there was a decree giving the Catholic Church authority over the civil governments allowing the church to prosecute people for heresy.
Therefore, just as the original sea beast came to life through a decree that gave it power over people to prosecute them for heresy through the power of the civil governments, then to make the image beast have life is to make it have power over people through a law giving it power to prosecute people for heresy. The Bible tells us in Revelation 13:16-17 that once this power obtains its authority to prosecute people for heresy, it immediately sets about creating laws by which it can do just that.
In essence, then, on the earth beast one horn does miraculous acts which only a religious power can do, and the other horn does things that only a civil power can do. They are described as separated powers within the context of a larger power because they act together to create an image beast in the end and yet are shown as two horns on the earth beast.
But it goes further. The religious horn uses the miracles it is able to do to convince people to form an image of the original sea beast. It is very important to note that it acts by deception to get what it wants. The people in turn evidently are persuaded to call their lawmakers and convince them to make the image beast as they wish. It is obvious that they do this because only the civil horn has the power to give life to this image beast and obviously the civil power does give it life. Revelation 13:16-17 describes the laws that are made after the image beast is formed, laws that clearly are restricting religious freedom, which only an image beast would do because the previous two powers (the two horns) acting separately would not have done this. Thus, a change comes over this power and it is no longer a land of freedom, but a land of religious restriction and persecution. It turns into a predator just like the original sea beast and will act accordingly.
America has been noted ever since its current Constitution was written as a nation that has been governed by two separate powers: the churches and the political powers. But once the image beast is formed, this will no longer be true. It will be governed by the combination of the two powers. They will no longer act separately, but together for a common goal - the prosecution of the heretics.
The Bible says that the earth beast will eventually speak as a dragon. This is like the sea beast before it, which was empowered by the devil and was given his power, authority, and seat, and very much unlike the lamb-like characteristic of the two horns. Thus, it must come after the time of the two horns because the two horns behave as Jesus did. Jesus did not speak as a dragon. But, what does it mean to speak as a dragon?
Before answering the question, do note that the sea beast is the only beast in the Bible that God says is given the devil's power, authority and seat (Revelation 13:2). God owns the political kingdoms (see the Ownership Principle - http://www.666man.net/rule.html#OwnershipPrinciple - in the Rules of Interpretation for more information about this) but the devil is given control over this beast, though ownership of the political kingdoms within it clearly are never given to Satan and therefore remain with God.
Now back to the question. Consider this: the earth beast's two horns were like those of a lamb, symbolizing that they behave in a manner similar to Jesus. He never forced people to follow him or believe in him. Use of force to make people follow him was alien to everything he stood for. So, by way of contrast, to speak as a dragon is to do the opposite of what Jesus would do. Therefore, the beast, through force of law, forced people to obey and believe in it.
Let us do a short review of how that came about in history.
The sea beast came into existence when the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian in the year 533 wrote out a decree that gave the pope the power to be head bishop over all bishops in Christian lands, which gave him the power to control the thinking of the people concerning their religious beliefs. The decree of Justinian also gave the pope the power to prosecute heresy. This power was actually realized by the pope in 538 AD when Justinian's troops were able to drive the Ostrogoths from Rome so that Justinian had uncontested control of Rome at that time (the fact that the Ostrogoths did come back and reclaim the city a few years later is irrelevant because in 538 AD, Justinian had uncontested control which allowed the decree to be implemented, which started the countdown of the 1260 year prophecy). The Catholic Church, once given this power, used civil authority to prosecute for "crimes" against the church - that which it considered heresy. The Roman Church continued to have this power for 1260 years until February 15, 1798.
This was instigated by Satan, which we know to be true because the Bible says that the dragon gave the sea beast his seat, power, and great authority. This is simply another way to say that Satan was responsible for instigating the rise of this power and for its terrible actions. The combined power of the Church with the legal power from the state was used to persecute those that the church considered a threat to its power and authority. This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus would do. He never forced anyone to believe in him or follow him, but the church of the dark ages did force people to obey them.
Do understand that there are many of God's people in the Catholic Church, but like all human organizations, there are both good and bad people within it. The church hierarchy has done many evil things over the years that go directly against the commands of God, including causing the death of God's people by such things as burning them at the stake or torturing them to death in other ways. Jesus said that those who do such things do not know God (John 16:3).
Now, what does it mean for a beast to speak? These are symbolic powers, so the action of speaking must be symbolic of something a power does. What is it that constitutes "speaking"? A political power "speaks" by creating and enforcing church laws through the civil legal process. In Bible times, when a king spoke, his word was law. Thus, when a beast, head, or horn speaks, these represent kings speaking (Daniel 7:17 - beasts are kings), meaning that they are creating law by their speech.
Definition: When a beast speaks, it is creating or legislating law.
A beast which represents a religious power speaks by creating and enforcing church laws and doctrines, and usually this is law that is enforced through civil authorities. Thus, the talking horn in Daniel 7 spoke great things against God, meaning that it created church laws and doctrines that were contrary to God's revealed will which were then enforced through the civil authorities. Those laws and doctrines that constituted blasphemy were also contrary to God's revealed will and were also enforced through civil authorities.
To speak as a dragon then is to create laws that Satan wants passed rather than the type of laws that God wants and to force people to obey them through the power of the civil authorities. God wants people to serve him from a free choice. Satan only wants people to serve him, whether by fear, choice, terror, apathy, or whatever. As long as you don't serve God, he is happy. And if he can get laws passed that force you to not obey God, that is all the better for him. He does not care about the reason you have for not obeying God, only so long as you don't obey God is all that matters to him.
Therefore, the earth beast power in the form of the image beast will speak as a dragon by passing laws that are contrary to God's laws and require you to disobey God. The question, of course, is which of God's laws will it target?
In Revelation 12:9, the Bible directly informs us that the dragon symbolizes Satan. However, the dragon has a dual symbolic role because it also symbolizes pagan Rome. This is abundantly evident because Revelation 12:4 says that the dragon stood before the woman to snatch the child as soon as it was born, something that represents the attempt on the life of Jesus by pagan Rome shortly after he was born. Nobody actually saw the devil standing there waiting to kill Jesus at his birth, but the world of that time did witness the killing of babies by Rome because of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2:1-18). Moreover, it says that the dragon persecuted the woman after he became aware he was cast to the earth, which happened when he realized that the death of Jesus had destroyed his chances of winning over the inhabitants of heaven to his side (Revelation 12:10-12). This persecution occurred before the symbolic woman of Revelation 12 went to the wilderness for the duration of the 1260 prophetic days, which we know began in 538 AD (Revelation 12:13-14). Thus, this places the persecution to be that which occurred between the time when Jesus died and 538 AD. The power that did this had to have been pagan Rome. Thus, the dragon has a dual symbolic role. It represents both Satan (primary representation) and pagan Rome (secondary representation).
Now, back to the question about which laws of God the earth beast will target when it begins to speak as a dragon. Remember, this event is yet future to the writing of this, September of 2008. As stated before, when a beast speaks, this symbolizes a king making laws. Such laws would not be significant to God unless they in some way targeted his people. So, what laws did pagan Rome pass which targeted God's people? Laws regulating, say, industry or commerce in those days would have had little or no relevance to the welfare of the people of God for which God would be concerned, so Rome must have passed other types of laws which directly targeted his people. What laws were these?
There is one law in particular which pagan Rome passed which directly and exclusively targeted the people of God. Rome, under the influence of the Catholic Church, passed the first ever Sunday worship law in 321 AD through the decree of the Roman ruler Constantine. This law required rest on "the venerable day of the sun." Several more such laws followed which expanded the scope of the first Sunday law and specifically required that people not keep the seventh day Sabbath of God. These laws directly and exclusively targeted God's people because it directed them to disobey God and instead obey the church in keeping Sunday holy. The seventh day of the week has always been the Sabbath and has never been changed by God, so these laws required direct disobedience to God. As with any law, the real target is not those who obey a law, but those who violate it. In this case, the target was those who choose to keep holy the true Sabbath of God, the seventh day of the week, rather than keep the man-made Sabbath (never authorized by God), which is Sunday.
Therefore, for the earth beast to speak as a dragon is to pass Sunday laws requiring that people keep Sunday holy and not keep holy God's Sabbath. It specifically requires disobedience to God's law. It backs this up with force from the state.
Definition: To speak as a dragon is to pass laws requiring that people observe Sunday as a holy Sabbath day and specifically requiring that they not observe the seventh day of the week as a holy Sabbath day.
As a result, when the earth beast begins to speak as a dragon, then the time of the two horns, a time when religious tolerance and freedom of religion is the rule of law, will be in the past. This will be the time of the image beast when this power will, like the sea beast, require that people specifically honor the pope's Sabbath rather than obey the creator and ruler of the universe in keeping his Sabbath holy, a day of worship that has never been changed by him or by his authority. Sunday is a false, man-made Sabbath and has no divine authority attached to it. In fact, when this time comes, a curse from God will rest upon anyone obeying the beast and keeping the man-made Sabbath, Sunday (see Revelation 14:9-11). Such will experience not only hell fire, but the seven last plagues of Revelation 16. How does the author know that this such people will experience both hell and the seven last plagues? Observe from Revelation 14:10 that the "wine of the wrath of God" refers to punishment through the seven last plagues. The "wrath of God" is a reference to the seven last plagues (Revelation 15:1). Wine is drunk from a cup, and a cup usually symbolizes punishment (Psalm 11:6, 75:8. Isaiah 51:17, 22-23; Jeremiah 25:15-17, 49:12), so the "wine of the wrath of God" is punishment through the application of the seven last plagues.
Thus, this prophecy says that someday the United States will pass laws supporting the man-made Sabbath of the pope and will specifically require that men disobey the God of the universe by keeping holy the first day of the week, Sunday, instead of keeping holy the Sabbath of God, the seventh day of the week. This will be the time of the image beast and the time when the earth beast is said to speak as a dragon.
What does it mean to worship the beast or the image of the beast? While this is in some sense literal, it is also symbolic. To answer the question, consider that the sea beast is said to be worshiped. It also assumes the powers of God because the Bible says that it blasphemes God, his tabernacle, and those who live in heaven. Jesus answered this question when he said that worship is associated with serving God (Matthew 4:10). When you serve God, you will obey him. Thus, worship is symbolic of service and obedience to God. Therefore, to worship the beast or its image is to obey its dictates. This is very true because just before Jesus comes again during the time of the image beast, those who worship the beast or its image will obey its dictates to keep Sunday holy instead of God's commandment to keep the seventh day of the week holy.
Definition: To worship the beast or its image is to obey its dictates instead of the commands of God.
The result of all this is: there is a three-phase history to the earth beast, which is:
Remember that in Daniel 7, the leopard beast had a body and four heads. Alexander the Great formed his empire, represented by the body of the leopard, and later, about 22 years after his death, it was divided four ways. It should be obvious that actual history and the pattern on the beast do match up. The same should be true for the earth beast in Revelation. Let us examine the actual history of the United States and see if it matches up with the pattern shown by the earth beast rising up out of the earth, followed by the time of the body of the beast, followed by the time of the two horns, and finally followed by the time of the image beast.
Matching the Pattern of the Earth Beast With United States History
You may be of the opinion that the history of the United States does not match with the pattern in Revelation 13 for the earth beast. May I suggest that you have an open mind and examine the evidence for yourself? Here are the facts of history:
Before beginning, there is one method of interpretation that you may want to learn about. God marks or dates things by the decrees and laws that men pass when it comes to the prophetic beasts. In the visions of Daniel or John where they were shown prophetic beasts, if there is a change from the body of a beast to its heads or horns (in the case of the fourth dreadful beast of Daniel 7, it went directly from the body and its one head to the horns), or from its heads to horns, all such changes are marked by a decree that men create. God dates or marks these decrees by changes on the prophetic beasts from one anotomical part to another (body to several heads or head(s) to horns). In other words, the change from one anotomical part to another always corresponds to decrees. For more information about this, see the rules of interpretation for the rule called the Decree Transition Principle (http://www.666man.net/rule.html#Decree_Transition_Principle).
Now let us proceed with comparing the anotomical parts of the earth beast to the actual history of the United States. The territory that later became the United States was controlled and owned by Great Britain prior to 1783. Therefore, the established, stable, relatively secular government in place at the time in North America was that of Great Britain. But as time went on, the people began to resent the policies of the British government towards them and eventually fought a war of independence. The colonists won, though they faced a superior force. Their win was due to many factors, including the fact that Great Britain was essentially fighting a world war at the time, with fighting going on against them all over the globe. The war in America was essentially over by 1781 but negotiations over the treaty separating the two nations went on for about 2 more years. It was finally signed in 1783 and granted full independence to the people of the United States. It was at this point in time that the United States as a power came into existence.
Note this fact:
The war of independence is represented by the beast rising out of the earth.
For a few years after independence was gained, the United States Federal Government did its work under the Articles of Confederation. During this time, there was no significant religious persecution in the United States, but nevertheless, the powers of church and state were not legally separated. Each state had its own state church, but the laws associated with these were apparently largely un enforced. Rhode Island may have been a possible exception to this because it was the first state to bring in religious freedom long before the war of independence that ended in 1783 through the efforts of Roger Williams.
About 4 years after the United States gained its independence from Britain, the Federal Government decided that the Articles of Confederation were proving inadequate for the task because the articles simply did not provide sufficient power or money for the federal government to do its job. Consequently, the federal government asked the states to amend the Articles of Confederation to make its job more feasible. The states sent delegates to the city of Philadelphia to attend a Constitutional Convention for this purpose, but after conferring on the instructions of the federal government for a while, the delegates decided that amending the Articles of Confederation was insufficient to meet the need. Consequently, they set about writing an entirely new Constitution. The result of their efforts was the current Constitution of the United States Government. Click here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Constitution) for a summary of the details of the history of the creation of the US Constitution.
The new Constitution was ratified by the states and put into force of law on March 4, 1789, thereby replacing the Articles of Confederation as the guiding law and authorizing document for the operation of the United States Federal Government.
Once the new Constitution was ratified by the states, the first order of business for Congress under the new Constitution was to amend it to include a bill of rights, an action which had been agreed upon by the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Among the 10 bills of citizens' rights they passed was the First Amendment which stipulated that Congress, among other things, could not make any laws respecting a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion (it also allowed for free assembly of the people and for freedom of the press). What this did, in effect, was stipulate that the church and state were to operate separately from one another without meddling in the other's affairs or using the other to their own ends.
Now, note this fact:
The body of the earth beast represents the time period from the signing of the treaty of independence until the bill of rights was passed into law under the new Constitution, thereby creating two separate powers within the United States, both of which operate independently of one another.
There were very good reasons for the the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the separation of powers that it created. The members of Congress and the Constitutional Convention attendees knew of the long history in Europe where the churches interfered with the activity of the nations in order to force their beliefs on the citizens of the state, and vice versa. They wanted to avoid entanglement of the two powers. Thus, they wrote the First Amendment of the constitution to make the people free from such problems. The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States should prevent any church or group of churches from enforcing its beliefs on others. Nowhere in the Constitution does it give permission for the church to dominate or control the government, and the First Amendment prohibits the government from involving itself with the churches as well, so it is prohibited from dominating the churches as well.
The ultimate purpose of this Amendment to the Constitution of the United States government was this: by prohibiting Congress from making laws regarding religion, this should have the effect of preventing the government from giving any church (or group of churches) the power to prosecute heresy. This same power granted to the Catholic Church in 538 AD was at the root of much of the religious troubles in Europe for the next 1260 years. Congress wanted to avoid this so included the restriction in the First Amendment.
The effect of this was to separate the power of the civil government or political power from the power of the churches.
Now, note this fact:
The time during which these two powers are separated but are part of the same country is represented by the two horns on the earth beast.
In the future, the United States will speak as a dragon. When it does this, know that the church and state have legally comined together for the purpose of prosecution of heresy. This will be the time of the image beast when that happens. The time of the two horns of the earth beast will then be in the past.
Finally, note this fact:
The time when the church and state will someday be combined in the United States is represented as the image beast of Revelation 13:14-17. It is also the same as the time when the earth beast speaks as a dragon.
Below is a summary table of the body parts of the earth beast (and its origin) and how this corresponds to the history of the United States:
|Body Part or Origin||Corresponding Actual History|
|Origin of the beast - Rising out of the earth||The war of independence against Britain|
|Body of the beast||The United States under the Articles of Confederation from 1783 until the Bill of Rights as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States were passed|
|The two horns||The United States under the Constitution written at Philadelphia and implemented in 1789 and starting when the Bill of Rights as amendments to the Constitution of the United States were passed. The First Amendment separated the church from entanglement with the state, which created two separate powers in this nation. One horn is the religious power, primarily Protestantism, while the other horn is the political powers of America, which might be called republicanism.|
|Earth Beast speaks like a dragon - the Image Beast||This is yet future as of the writing of this in September of 2008 but will come and remain thereafter until Jesus comes again|
The Two Horns - What Are Their Roles?
According to Revelation 13:11-17, the two horns will each play a distinct role in formation of the image beast. Unfortunately, most people do not understand that the pattern in Daniel for the beasts (the body comes first, then the heads, and finally the horns, a pattern which the author named the Miller Principle) also applies to the prophetic beasts in Revelation. Consequently, they think that the earth beast (which in their thinking is the whole beast, the body and horns together as one entity in the same time period) creates the image beast. However, the pattern in Daniel does hold in Revelation, so the time represented by the body of the earth beast has long been past (it went away in 1789) and the time represented by the two horns began in 1789 and continues today.
One of the two horns on the earth beast, the religious horn, will orchestrate events to create demand by the people that the government create an image beast. The other horn, the civil government, will comply with the wishes of the people and will create the image beast. The specific roles each of these horns plays in doing this are not commonly understood. So that you may understand the roles each of them will play in bringing about the image beast, here is an outline of Revelation 13:11-18 in the table below:
|Verse Number||Revelation 13 Verse Text||Analysis|
|11||And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth;||This beast follows the 1260 days of the sea beast so must arise somewhere near to 1798. It comes up out of the earth meaning it is not in prison and not in a place where there are significant organized nations or peoples. Thus, there was no war of conquest to form this power, but instead, a war of independence from Great Britain. Rising out of the earth symbolizes the war of independence.|
|11||and he had two horns like a lamb,||This refers not only to the time period when the two horns will have power together within the same country, but their description tells you about their behavior. The lamb like characteristic is that used for Jesus, so this is a relatively docile power in respect to the experience of the people of God (this is NOT a reference to how this nation will treat other nations or that it will not engage in war because God's primary concern is with the welfare of his people), does not persecute like what came before or will come after, and respects religious beliefs. The two horns are a division within one power, which are identified as a religious Protestant horn and the political state horn. These two horns began to have power in 1789 and will continue until the image beast is formed, which will be at about the same time the beast of Revelation 17 (and is the same as the sea beast of Revelation 13 so will return also) returns to power.|
|11||and he spoke as a dragon.
||This tells you that this power will eventually become like the sea beast that came before it in history. It will legislate power for the churches to enforce church doctrine through the law just like the sea beast did and was empowered by the dragon to do so. This is a preview of the image beast time. Speaking as a dragon is to legislate church laws with the force of civil authority - primarily refers to Sunday laws.|
|12||And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them who dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.||This is a quick summary of what is coming. The behavior described in this verse is that which the image beast will do once it is in power. The earth beast will do the same things that the sea beast did. The sea beast went to war against the people of God by virtue of its legal power to prosecute for heresy. Just as the sea beast had power over all nations within its sphere of influence, so also this beast will have power over nations within its sphere of influence, thereby causing them to follow in its path. the earth in this context refers to those who live within the territory of the stable, established government of the United States.|
|13||And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,||This verse describes what is done to bring about the formation of the image beast. This behavior is done by the Protestant horn on the earth beast before the image beast is formed. This is a religious activity and has nothing to do with the atomic bomb as some have thought (including the author at one time). This probably refers either to the literal bringing down of fire from heaven in the manner of Elijah or else to the tongues of fire that occurred on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem in which the speaking in foreign tongues was done. The latter is much more probable because there is a false movement of speaking in tongues in this country that has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God, in spite of their claims to the contrary, and this movement in gaining in strength as time progresses. The reason this part of verse 13 is a religious activity is because verse 14 says that this power deceives people through the miracles it is able to do, while verse 13 tells about the miracles themselves. The only logical place for the false prophet to arise from is the Protestant Religious powers of the United States because the false prophet is connected with the earth beast through the miracles it is said to do in verse 14 and in Revelation 19:20. A false prophet is a spiritual person or power of some sort, and is not necessarily a single individual. Being a spiritual power almost certainly indicates that this cannot refer to the state horn of the earth beast. Calling this Protestant horn a false prophet is alluding to the fact that this power will claim to speak for God when in fact he has not sent them (see Jeremiah 29:8-9 for example).|
|14||And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;||This is a reference to the fire brought down from heaven. By means of these miracles, it is able to deceive those living on the earth. The beast itself cannot have yet returned at this point so this is an anticipation in the Bible that it will return soon. The reason the beast cannot have yet returned at the point of time represented in verse 14 is because in Revelation 17:12, the 10 horns receive their kingdom at the same time as the beast. The 10 horns are representative of the Protestant Religions who will receive their kingdom by receiving power from the state for prosecution of heresy. When the deceit by the Protestant horn is yet going on in verses 13 and 14 of Revelation 13, this event is yet future because the 10 horn receiving their power is the same as the formation of the image beast. The events described in Revelation 13:14 are just beginning and will build until the image beast is formed at the same time that the sea beast of Revelation 13 returns.|
|14||saying to them that dwell on the earth,
that they should make an image to the beast, that had
the wound by a sword, and did live.
||This clearly indicates a choice for the individuals to whom this power is speaking. Consider that it says that they "make" an image to the beast. That is a choice. Note that the word "should" is not in the original Greek. It is a choice because this power is obviously trying to convince them to make an image to the beast, something that it would not do if there were not a choice for them. If the first beast is the combination of the church with the nations, then the image to the beast would be a similar power, a combination of the Protestant Churches which run America and the United States government. The Protestant Horn again is the power which does this persuasion. This happens before the image beast occurs.|
|15||And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,||Clearly the religious Protestant horn cannot give life to the image of the beast because it says it gives it power to speak, which means it can legislate. That is not possible for the Protestant horn to do. Only a civil authority can give such power. Consequently, this must be a function of the state horn of the earth beast. To give life to the image beast means to create it and give it power to exist as a legal entity (this means there is a decree to change from the two horns of the earth beast time to the time of the image beast - the Decree Transition Principle at work again). This occurs just as the image beast is being formed. This clearly indicates that the two horns are: (1) the Protestant horn, and (2) the civil authority horn.|
|15||that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.||Here it enumerates the powers given to the image beast, that it should both be able to speak (to legislate as that is how powers do speak, by making laws), and enforce worship of the image beast by giving it the power to enforce the death penalty against those who refuse to worship the image beast. To worship the image beast is to give allegiance to it, to obey its laws.|
|16-17||(16) And he causes all, both small and
great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark
in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
(17) And that no man might buy or sell, except he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
The state or political horn of the earth beast will set up the image beast through a change in the law so that the previous form of government is essentially nullified and will then become past history. A new form will replace it, one in which church and state are combined so that the church can prosecute people for heresy through the power of the civil government. The image beast sets up the requirements outlined in verses 16 and 17, which it will also enforce.
Those who receive the mark in the forehead are the same people as those who have the name of the beast (because in Revelation 14:1, name represents character, so those with the name of the beast in Revelation 13:17 have the character of the beast). These will agree fully with the purposes and plans of the beast and will support it.
Those who receive the mark in the right hand are the same people as those who have the number of his name - they are counted as though they have the character of the beast, even though they don't, because they go along with the beast's program. They go along to get along with the majority. They do not have God's character but also do not have the beast's character. They are something in between the two.
Character is the core issue with these two verses.
|18||Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is six hundred three score and six.||666 is the number of the beast, which means it can only be applied to the beast when the beast exists. Remember that the beast consists of the combination of the leaders of the Roman Church and the leaders of the nations through a legal decree that well permit the Roman Church to prosecute heresy through the power of the state. Consequently, the beast does not exist as of the writing of this paragraph (March of 2006), but it will exist someday soon and then the number can be applied. According to Daniel 7:17, beasts are kings, so this beast is a king. Therefore, the number 666 is not just a human number but refers specifically to the number of a king, who, because he is worshiped and blasphemes God, claims to be God and claims to have the power to forgive sins against God's laws. Therefore, as was done in Babylon, count the number of the beast means to count the number of the king or to count the number of the god. In Babylon, counting to 666 gave the final total to one god, so likewise, 666 applied to the Papal king will result in this number being applied to one final pope whose number will be the total of all previous popes involved in the count, plus his own count of one.|
In essence, during the time when the two horns of the earth beast are in power, the religious (Protestant) horn will eventually instigate the people of the United States to petition their political representatives to pass laws permitting the churches to prosecute heresy. Once these laws are passed, the earth beast's horns are combined and this creates the image beast, which is then in power from then on until the end of the world when Jesus comes again. The 10 horns of the sea beast of Revelation 13 and the scarlet beast of Revelation 17 are currently the 10 representative leaders of the Protestant churches. These are said in Revelation 17:12 to have not yet received a kingdom (received power from the civil government over the people of God). Exactly which Churches the ten represent, the Bible does not say.
The number ten is both literal and symbolic in Revelation 13 and 17. We know that from Daniel. In Daniel 7, there were ten horns on the beast representing Rome. In Daniel 1:20, the number ten is explained to be symbolic because Daniel and his friends could not have been literally ten times smarter than their other classmates, but ten is an expression to say that these guys were just a lot smarter than their classmates. Thus, ten is symbolic. The ten horns in Daniel 7 on the dreadful beast represented many nations that came out of Rome, so was symbolic. And history matches this because there were many nations that did come out of Rome when it broke up. Yet it was also literal in that while there were many more than 10 nations that came out of pagan Rome in 476 AD, there were 10 major leading nations that all the others looked to for direction and leadership.
The ten horns of the sea beast and the scarlet beast of revelation 13 and 17 respectively, represent the leaders of the Protestant churches. These horns do not have blasphemy upon them, and yet, because they come out of the heads of a beast primarily representing the Catholic Church leaders (the popes), these horns must represent the Protestant Church leaders who arose near the end of the 1260 days of prophetic time. The angel in Revelation 17:12 tells us that these horns have not yet received power, so they are just leaders who do not yet have the power to prosecute heresy. When the angel spoke this to John, he was speaking as if he were actually in the future. The time frame from which the angel was speaking was during the reign of Pope Paul VI, which ran from 1963 to 1978. They are therefore not yet represented by the ten horns because those horns have not yet risen to power. But soon they will rise to power and we will know exactly who they are.
Because Daniel is the pattern for Revelation, we can know that the same pattern should apply with regards to the number ten on the prophetic beasts in Revelation. It is primarily symbolic, but can be literal as well. In the ten horns of the sea beast and the scarlet beast of revelation 13 and 17 respectively, we should see that these represent many Protestant Church leaders, but there probably will be ten leading Protestant Church leaders that all the others will look to for leadership and direction. When the Protestant Church leaders of America combine with the United States government to form the image beast, this is the same as the 10 horns receiving their kingdom, which they will receive by being given power to prosecute heresy (persecute) through the civil authorities. Once the Protestant Church leaders receive power from the civil government, then the time of the ten horns will begin and the image beast begins its time of power. Also, the sea beast will return at the same time. When the beast comes back, the 8th king will also arrive.
The original sea beast restricted religious liberty, so likewise the image beast will do the same. Therefore, we know that religious persecution will eventually come to America, for whenever churches receive power to prosecute heresy, persecution will inevitably follow because it is guaranteed that somebody, somewhere, will not be able to agree with the beliefs of the church in power at the time. That will be a sad day for the world when this occurs for America has long enjoyed liberty of conscience and has tried to promote freedom for all the world's people. Many in foreign governments look to and are guided by decisions made in our courts and Congress. When religious liberty is taken away from the United States of America, many in foreign lands will find that their rights to religious liberty will also be taken away. America, the guiding light of liberty, will become the promoter of darkness and the force of oppression against freedom of conscience.
happens, it will seem perfectly natural for events to lead in this direction because events
will lead people to choose such a path for the United States. If you
want to know more about one reason why people will make such a choice, see the section
on Muslims in Prophecy under Revelation in the Main Menu .
Note that an image beast will also be a beast with real powers to do and accomplish things and is the successor power to the earth beast's two horns. Because it replaces the previous government in power and is in the same country and territory and people, it is spoken of by John as if it is the earth beast itself that speaks as a dragon. It will really be the image beast that speaks as a dragon because that is the power that will exist then. The earth beast's days of power will actually be over and done with. Available evidence suggests that this image beast will be copied all over the world by other governments in countries that have a Christian tradition in their history.
The most stern warnings in the Bible are given in Revelation 14:8-11. This warning applies to worship of the image beast in the New World and worship of the returned sea beast in the Old World. Why is this so important and what does it mean?
To worship the beast or its image is to give your allegiance to these powers and to obey their dictates. This is so because these powers will substitute their laws for those of God's laws. This means that just before the end of the world, the beast and the image beast will both have the power to prosecute heresy as they define it, but will define their own laws and traditions for the purpose of defining heresy rather than obeying God in these matters. This means that anyone not prosecuted for heresy will be obeying the beast or its image, which means such persons will NOT be obeying God. God has promised that anyone obeying the beast or its image will be subjected to the seven last plagues and will die in hell fire in extreme torture. He gives this warning because he wants people to understand how seriously he takes the events that are about to happen. He also wants them to know how much he dislikes it when churches use the state to enforce church teachings. He does not want us to give support to such a system. God wants service from free choice, not force. To use force is to do it Satan's way, which God will never do.
For this reason, when you hear people promoting the idea of having the churches enforce their beliefs through the government, run as far away from such ideas as you can because this will lead to the mark of the beast for anyone cooperating with such things. You most definitely do not want the mark of the beast. But, in order to avoid it, you have to know what it is first. What you don't know can harm you, but if you know what it is, you can avoid receiving it.
To cite an example of how failing to know of something of importance can cost a person his life, consider that just a few years ago on a rainy night in the Los Angeles, California, area, a retired but rather well known actor (the actor who played Zorro on the Disney series by that name) and his wife were heading to their home in the mountains. Unknown to them, a bridge on the way to their home had been washed out by flooding. They did not see it until it was too late. Unlike in the movies, there was no ramp ahead of the bridge to catapulted them safely across to the other side of the bridge. Both the actor and his wife were killed when their car fell into the riverbed below. What they did not know killed them. Unfortunately for them, the result is irreversible.
Many do not realize that God has a mark by which the world will know his people to distinguish them from those who will have the mark of the beast. There is a controversy actively going on between God and Satan, and the stakes are extremely high. God's ability to govern and right to rulership of the universe is at stake. For this reason, those who serve God will be marked by him and those who serve Satan will receive his mark. The contrast between the two groups will probably never have been higher than they will be then.
God's mark is discussed with the sealing of the 144,000 in Revelation 7 and is the counterpart of the mark of the beast. Please click here to go to the page that explains the mark of God and the mark of the beast.
To avoid the mark of the beast, one thing you must do is come to know Jesus. Spend time with him daily. He said that is the primary criteria for entry to heaven (Matthew 7:23).