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If I Were Told the Future - Lesson 67

The Beast Rising from the Earth
 

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Let’s pray together:

Our Father,

Now that Your Word has revealed the identity of the beast rising from the sea, we humbly ask You to show us what the beast rising from the earth represents.

Please accompany us through this lesson, and may Your Word and Your Spirit be our only guides.

In Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.




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Revelation 12:17; 13:1 [NRSV]

Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus.

Then the dragon took his stand on the sand of the seashore.

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In our last lesson, we have seen the dragon, Satan, standing «on the sand of the seashore».

This indicates that Satan will use the powers of both the sea and the earth to try to annihilate God’s people.

In fact, immediately after this scene, two powerful beasts appear, the first one rising from the sea, and the second one rising from the earth.




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Revelation 13:1

And I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns.

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Revelation 12:3

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns.

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We studied the description of the first beast, rising from the sea, and learned that it means that this power is controlled by Satan, the great dragon.

Indeed, just like the dragon, this beast has seven heads and ten horns.

Identical to the little horn of Daniel chapters 7 and 8, this beast symbolizes the Papacy.




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Revelation 13:3

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed.

And all the world wondered after the beast.

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We have also seen that the beast was mortally wounded, and then its deadly wound was healed.

And exactly as foretold, the Papacy, after having lost its political power to France in 1798, recovered it in 1929.

In that year, Mussolini, by the Lateran Treaty, restored temporal power to the pope who has, since then, ruled over Vatican, a little country within the city of Rome.




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Revelation 13:10,11

He that leads into captivity shall go into captivity. (...)

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.

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The prophecy links the pope’s captivity (which happened at the end of the 18th century) with the appearance of another beast.

Unlike the first beast, this second beast comes up out of the earth, not the sea.

Who is this beast which arose at the end of the 18th century, and why does it come up out of the earth?




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Daniel 7:17,23

These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. (...)

The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth.

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Daniel 8:20,21

The ram which you saw, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia.

And the rough goat is the king of Grecia.

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First, we must remember that, in Bible prophecy, a beast symbolizes a kingdom, a political power.




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Revelation 17:15

The waters which you saw (...) are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

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We must also remember that waters symbolize «peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues».

So, the beast rising from the sea represents a power coming out of a populous place (it was the case with the Papacy, which appeared in Europe).

But what about the beast rising from the earth? The only power which arose out of a sparsely-populated place, at the end of the 18th century, was the United States of America, which came out of the New World in 1776.




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Revelation 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.

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But does the United States really fit the other criteria of the beast coming up out of the earth?

First, the beast displays lamb-like features, appropriately representing the Christian tradition of the United States which stands up for principles of civil and religious liberty.

But the beast also speaks «as a dragon»: in spite of an outward gentleness, this nation remains a fearsome power, ruling the roost throughout the world.




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Revelation 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.

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Revelation 12:3

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns.

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Like the beast rising from the sea, the description of the beast coming up out of the earth indicates that this power too is controlled by Satan, the great dragon.

Like the first beast, the second beast has horns and is linked with the dragon.




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Revelation 12:15,16

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

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In addition to making the second beast look like a lamb, the symbol of Jesus, Satan carried the deception to the point of making this beast come up out of the earth, that is, the New World, the very place that had helped the woman, the Church of God, as it was persecuted by the Papacy in Europe.




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Revelation 12:12

Therefore rejoice, you heavens, and you that dwell in them!

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time.

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The prophecy was right again: the devil has come down to the earth and the sea.

In fact, in spite of the outward religious liberty offered by the United States of America, that nation, which arose out of the «earth», fits into Satan’s plan, in the same way as the Papacy, which arose out of the «sea».




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Revelation 13:1,2,11,12

And I stood on the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns. (...) And the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. (...)

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. And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him.

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The first beast had received its power from the dragon. This authority is also given to the second beast. So, for the first time, a satanic trinity appears, made up of:

- the dragon (Satan);
- the beast rising from the sea (the Papacy);
- and the beast rising from the earth (the United States).

This satanic trinity represents a fearsome counterfeit of the divine trinity, and portrays itself as an alternative to the true Godhead, as the following three tables clearly demonstrate...




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Satanic trinity and divine trinity: the Dragon, counterfeit of the Father




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Satanic trinity and divine trinity: the sea beast, counterfeit of the Son




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Satanic trinity and divine trinity: the land beast, counterfeit of the Spirit




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Revelation 13:12

And he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

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The beast rising from the earth, being a political power, does not seek to be worshiped, but rather causes men to worship the beast rising from the sea, which is, for its part, a religio-political power.

So there is a kind of alliance between the Papacy and the United States, leading men to worship the Papacy.

But how could this be possible?




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Revelation 13:13

[The beast coming up out of the earth] does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

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First, the United States’ influence over the other nations is significant, especially since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The «fire coming down from heaven» indicates the extraordinary power of the United States, which became, with the bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the first nuclear power of the world.




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Revelation 13:13

[The beast coming up out of the earth] does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

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1 Kings 18:37,38

[Elijah said,] «Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their heart back again.»

Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice.

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By calling to mind fire coming down from heaven, this prophecy also indicates that the United States’ actions seem to have God’s approval.




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Revelation 13:14

[The beast coming up out of the earth] deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do.

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The United States really charms and «deceives them that dwell on the earth», not only with its political and military power, but also with its culture and symbols which conquered the whole world.

The «American way of life» lures the nations with a picture of liberty and prosperity.

The American dollar has become the currency exchange standard.

The United States of America truly sets the pace of the whole world.




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Revelation 13:14

[The beast coming up out of the earth is] saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

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In March 1984, the United States sent its first ambassador to Vatican. Since that time, the collaboration between the United States and the Papacy has become closer and closer yet.

Their greatest common success is, without a doubt, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the break-up of the Soviet Union, resulting in an important weakening of Communism.

Now, prophecy announces another great common project: the «image of the beast».




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Revelation 13:14

[The beast coming up out of the earth] 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; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

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Very soon, the worldwide influence of the United States will also be felt at the religious level, by the creation of an image to the first beast, that is, a system reminiscent of the Papacy.

In the Papacy’s image, this system will unite Church and State, producing a religio-political power.




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Matthew 22:21

[Jesus] said to them,

«Render therefore to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.»

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Jesus always commanded that Church and State be kept separate.

And He was right, since history reports that such a union has always resulted in horrible persecutions.

But prophecy has indeed seen right: during the past few years, we have witnessed the rise of the American Christian Right Wing, exerting more and more pressure on the United States government, so that it is gradually giving up its principle of separation between Church and State.




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Revelation 13:15

And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, 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.

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Prophecy announces that the extremist Christian Right Wing will soon succeed in destroying the wall between Church and State, creating a religio-political government similar to that of the Papacy.

This is how the «image of the beast» will be produced.

Of course, this alliance between political and religious powers will once again lead to intolerance and persecution.




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Revelation 13:16,17

And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark.

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Once set up, the religio-political American government, with the Papacy’s approval, will cause men to receive a mark.

First imposed in the United States, this mark will quickly become universal.

All the inhabitants of the earth will be forced to receive this mark, for fear of increasingly severe penalties.




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Revelation 14:9,10

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, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation.

And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone.

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God warns us not to receive the mark of the beast; otherwise our punishment will be eternal destruction.

But what, exactly, is the mark of the beast?

This is a crucial question which requires a precise answer from the Word of God. This will be the subject of a future lesson.




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Daniel 3:1

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was three score cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits.

He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

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Let’s note that, by announcing the coming of an «image of the beast», the prophecy calls to mind a story contained in the book of Daniel.

Just as the United States will produce an image to the Papacy (the leader of spiritual Babylon), King Nebuchadnezzar erected a golden statue, an image in honor of his kingdom, Babylon.

But the parallel is even more precise...




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On pain of death, men of all nations must worship the image




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Daniel 3:7,8

Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Why at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

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Under threat of death, everyone bowed down before the king’s image, except Daniel’s three friends: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

The resistance of these three Jews triggered off the king’s rage...




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Daniel 3:14,15

Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said to them,

«Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not you serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

Now if you be ready that at what time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the image which I have made; well.

But if you worship not, you shall be cast the same hour into the middle of a burning fiery furnace. And who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?»

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Determined to remain faithful to God, these men endured severe pressure.




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Daniel 3:16-18

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king,

«O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer you in this matter.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.

But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.»

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These three young Jews are a shining example for God’s people who, at the end of time, will have to refuse to worship the image of the beast in order to remain faithful to God, even if this decision may cost them their lives.




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Daniel 3:24,25

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said to his counsellors, «Did not we cast three men bound into the middle of the fire?»

They answered and said to the king, «True, O king.»

He answered and said, «See, I see four men loose, walking in the middle of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.»

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This story had a happy ending for the three faithful Jews, who were saved from the fiery furnace by Jesus Himself, the One who «is like the Son of God».

Will it be so, at the end of time, for the believers who remain faithful to God?




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Revelation 20:4

I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands.

And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

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God is honest and straightforward with us: our decision to remain faithful to Him may cost us our lives.

But, to those who refuse to worship the beast and its image, and to receive its mark, God promises eternal life.




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1 Peter 4:12,13

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.

But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.

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Just like Daniel’s three friends, our decision to follow God will soon plunge us into the fiery furnace of trial.

But, whatever may happen, we will ultimately be saved, at the return of Jesus Christ, our Savior.




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Let’s thank God:

Our Lord Almighty,

On the horizon, we already see the image of the beast dawning, that religio-political system which everyone will have to worship, on pain of death.

Please give us the courage You gave to Daniel’s three friends, who withstood pressure from everybody, and remained faithful to You in spite of the threat of the fiery furnace.

Please grant us Your continuous support, so that we may also remain faithful to You in all circumstances, and that our names may remain written in Your Book of Life.

In the precious name of Jesus Christ we pray.

Amen.


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