Welcome to the Revelation of Jesus. In this video we will continue our Cosmic Conflict series and examine the identity of the beast from the earth that had two horns like a lamb but spoke like a dragon. If you haven’t watched videos 43 and 44 already I think you would find it very helpful to have that background for the critical material in Revelation 13 that we are going to study in this video.
I have put the links in the description below, as well as to the website revelationofjesus.net that has all the videos, their transcripts, and an online version of the book “A Revelation of Jesus”. The Book of Revelation builds upon itself as it goes along, so it really helps to go back and get the full context of what we are studying. So I’ll start this video with just a two minute orientation to set the stage for the study of the beast from the earth.
Chapter 12 which we studied in video 43 shows how Satan, symbolized by a great red dragon, has been trying to destroy the Christian church, symbolized by a pure and virtuous woman. She bore a male child, Jesus, who was caught up to heaven after His resurrection, and one of His first acts was to banish Satan the dragon to this earth.
The dragon persecuted the woman, causing her to flee into the wilderness. This symbolized the dark ages when the corrupt Christian church persecuted believers who would not submit to her authority. The dragon spewed out water after her, symbolizing multitudes of hostile people, but the earth came to the rescue swallowing up the water; this symbolized the opening up of the western hemisphere where persecuted Christians were able to escape.
The chapter ends with the dragon enraged and determined to snuff out the remnant who “keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus”.
Chapter 13, which we studied in video 44, tells the same story but focuses on the earthly agents who carried out Satan’s agenda.
The corrupt church/state alliance of the dark ages, symbolized by a seven-headed beast rising out of the sea, “blasphemed [God’s] name [by] making war with the saints… for 42 months,” (Revelation 13:5,6), symbolizing the more than 1000 years of oppression by the apostate Christian church in alliance with the nations of Europe.
But the beast suffered a mortal wound. Historically this was a series of blows, which took away the medieval papacy’s ability to exercise political and military dominance. These blows included the protestant Reformation, the French revolution with the arrest of the pope in 1798, and the Italian unification in 1870 when the Roman Catholic Church lost its territory, and the pope became the “prisoner of the Vatican”.
You might think that the trouble and persecution of faithful Christians would be over, but it has only just begun as a new beast arises. “[John] saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). Notice that the beast is “coming up out of the earth”. The form of the Greek word that is translated as “coming up” indicates that this is a process that takes place over a period of time. The beast from the earth does not suddenly pop into existence; it develops slowly and imperceptibly.
The beast arises “from the earth”. Stick with me as we look again at some scriptures and history that we have already touched on, in order to find the symbolic meaning of the earth so that we can know where this new beast comes from. The Greek word for earth is used over 65 times in Revelation and has a rich variety of meanings, but in this case, it is being used symbolically to identify a chronological and geographical setting.
We saw this same kind of usage in Revelation 12:16. There the woman, symbolizing the underground church of the dark ages, was hiding out in the wilderness from the attacks of Satan the “ancient serpent”: “So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood” (Revelation 12:15). As we saw in video 43, the water symbolizes “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).
In the heart of the medieval period, there were two developments involving multitudes of people that threatened the underground church. First of all, the corrupt alliance of church and state began to organize crusades, huge armies from multiple countries, to fight against those considered to be heretics. This was usually against Muslims in the middle east, but there were also crusades against Christians in Europe who refused to submit to the papal authority. There was also a dramatic increase in population, with more people crowding into the remote mountainous regions where the underground church had been finding refuge.
“But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth” (Revelation 12:16).
What happened historically was that with the discovery of the western hemisphere there was a place for those facing religious persecution to flee to, and with the enshrinement of religious freedom in the United States Constitution, America became not only a sanctuary but a shining example that was emulated by many countries around the world.
“The earth helped the woman and opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood” by bringing people from every nation and tongue together into a melting pot where they learned to tolerate one another’s differences, and where every religious faith could thrive.
Now let’s look again at Revelation 13:11: “[John] saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). Since the earth that swallowed the water in chapter 12 was the American wilderness, does this suggest that the beast from the earth in chapter 13 arises out of the United States of America?
Let’s look for evidence before we jump to conclusions. Notice in the next verse that “The beast coming up out of the earth… exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence” (Revelation 13:12). We see that the first beast, in other words, the beast from the sea, still exists, but the beast from the earth is now exercising all of his authority. What seems to be happening here is that as the beast from the sea is suffering his mortal wound, his power and authority is being replicated in the beast coming out of the earth.
This comes into view as we correlate the history of the medieval papacy with that of the United States. At the height of its authority, the Papacy was able to dominate the nations of Europe, inflicting the inquisition and religious wars on those who resisted. But in the 16th century the Protestant Reformation began, the first stage of the mortal wound. At the same time, the western hemisphere had just been discovered and America was beginning to be settled by people from many nations.
Another blow came during the French Revolution in the late 18th century when the Roman Catholic Church lost one of its most important allies, culminating in the arrest of the pope. At the same time, the United States became an independent nation after defeating one of the world’s greatest superpowers.
Finally, in 1870 during the Italian unification the Papal armies were defeated by the kingdom of Italy, Rome and the Papal States were captured, and the pope became the prisoner of the Vatican. At the same time the American civil war was over and the United States was beginning the long process of transforming itself into the most powerful nation in the world.
But the United States doesn’t seem to be anything like the medieval union of church and state. This is reflected in the strange description of the beast from the earth. Rather than having ten fearsome horns like the beast from the sea, “he had two horns like a lamb” (Revelation 13:11). Let’s look at an overview of horns in prophecy; you can find more details in video 3.
In both the book of Daniel and in Revelation horns symbolize power and authority. For example, In Daniel 7 the “dreadful” beast which symbolized the pagan Roman Empire had ten horns, symbolizing the tribes that took over the empire and became the nations of Europe (Daniel 7:7,8,19,20). A “little horn” came up in their midst and eventually dominated the others, symbolizing the Roman Catholic papacy of the middle ages (Daniel 7:8, 20-25).
In Daniel 8 a ram with 2 horns symbolized “the kings of Media and Persia (Daniel 8:20). The ram was trampled by a shaggy goat with a “large horn” which symbolized “the first king” of Greece, Alexander the Great (Daniel 8:21). The horn was broken and four horns came up in its place, which symbolized “four [Greek Hellenic] kingdoms that arose out of that nation” (Daniel 8:22). In Revelation 17 the scarlet beast has ten horns, which are identified as “ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet” (Revelation 17:12). These horns symbolize empires, kingdoms, kings, and powerful churches. In other words, in these apocalyptic prophecies horns represent the power centers of the political and religious entities that oppress God’s followers.
The ”beast coming up out of the earth” has “two horns like a lamb,” in other words, the horns appear to be innocent and harmless. We just saw that horns can symbolize kings and oppressive political churches. The “king” of the United States is the democratically elected president, and the “national church” is a fractured multitude of mostly Protestant denominations that are constitutionally forbidden to wield political power because of the separation of church and state.
These certainly seem as harmless as a lamb. However, this prophecy shows that these two horns, democratically elected political leadership and the fractured “church of America”, despite their harmless appearance, will become the power and authority of a religious and political system with a satanic heart, that “speaks like a dragon”.
Since the beast from the earth speaks like a dragon, we need to know how a dragon speaks, and we can find out In chapter 12: “The great dragon… called the Devil and Satan… [is] the accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:9,10). The beast with the lamb-like horns is a nation and nations speak through their legislative bodies. So this prophecy predicts that at a legislative level the United States of America will bring accusations against God’s faithful followers.
And it is not hard to guess the nature of these accusations since the beast from the earth is trying to “make the earth and those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed” (Revelation 13:12).
In video 44 we saw that the agenda of the beast from the sea was “to change times and laws [in order to] persecute the saints” (Daniel 7:25). In the next video we will see that the beast from the earth, the United States, will also try to change “times and laws” and will accuse and persecute those Christians who refuse to submit. Although this may seem incredible now, some of the current trends in American society and politics make this prophecy more believable than it ever has been before.
Besides accusations and coercion, the beast with the lamb-like horns specializes in deception. “He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs” (Revelation 13:13,14). The beast from the earth has two horns, its political and its religious system. Is the fire that comes down from heaven from the political or the religious horn?
From a political and military point of view the United States, with its superior military might, could make fire, such as bombs, napalm, or laser weapons, “come down from heaven.” However, military power frightens people into subjection rather than deceiving them, as this passage specifies.
Jesus made it clear that in the last days deception would be from false prophets coming in His name (Matthew 24:11). In a later video we will see that the beast from the earth is very closely linked to an individual called “the false prophet” (Revelation 16:13, 19:20).
Notice that the beast performs signs, including fire from heaven. The Greek word for signs (simeia) is the same word that the New Testament uses to describe both Jesus’ miracles, and the deceptive miracles of the false prophets: “False Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs (simeia) and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
We will see in the next video that the purpose of these miraculous signs is to deceive people so that they will “make an image to the beast that was mortally wounded but lived” and then force people to “worship the image of the beast” (Revelation 13:15).
False prophets, Signs, miracles, and worship all point to a religious agenda. We saw in video 44 that the beast from the sea used the power of the state to enforce its religious requirements, and the beast from the earth will do the same.
As powerful and deceptive as the beast from the earth is, he not acting on his own. “He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence”.
The first beast, in other words, the Roman Catholic papacy, will be present and involved, even though its current behavior is not at all like it was during the dark ages. I actually have a lot of respect for the Catholic Church as it has been for the past 150 years. I appreciate its emphasis on world peace, human rights, social justice, and equity for poor and disenfranchised people. Many of the recent popes have been admirable moral leaders.
I do have serious problems with some of their doctrines, but that is true of almost every world religion. But Revelation 13 repeats three times that although the sea beast suffered a mortal wound, the mortal wound would be healed, and not in a good way. I want to take a closer look at the healing of the mortal wound.
The first thing to notice is that the beast from the sea had seven heads, but only one of them suffered a mortal wound. “One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed” (Revelation 13:3).
When the Protestant Reformation was invading Catholic Europe when the pope was arrested, and even when they lost all of their sovereign territory and the pope became the prisoner of the Vatican, the Roman Catholic Church itself did not have a near-death experience; their churches and institutions continued to thrive, and their missionaries brought vast new territories into the Catholic faith in Asia, Africa, and South America. It was only the political and military head that was nearly destroyed as they lost their armies, allies, and political influence.
The healing of the mortal wound was a slow process. A major turning point took place in 1929 when Benito Mussolini, the dictator of Italy, signed a concordant that granted the pope full authority over the State of Vatican City. The Roman Catholic Church was now legally an international political entity again. During the twentieth century, the influence and reputation of the papacy grew rapidly, helped by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) which formulated “a new approach to relationships between the church and the world” (Wikipedia article Second Vatican Council.) This influence was recognized when President Ronald Reagan appointed an ambassador to Vatican City in 1984.
One of the most stunning proofs that the deadly wound of the Papacy is well on its way to being healed is shown by the collapse of communism through the influence of Pope John Paul II. The history of this is detailed in the Time Magazine article “The Holy Alliance”. I will include a link to this article in the description below. Here is a brief summary.
In 1978 Cardinal Wojtyla was elected pope as John Paul II, the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. Shortly after his election, he made a dramatic visit to his homeland, Poland. A student, describing its impact, said “We saw each other for the first time after decades of communism. We saw we were united. There were millions like us. We discovered community, solidarity and power”.
The trip was the beginning of the Solidarity Movement. John Paul now had a world stage on which to do battle with atheistic communism, and the Vatican became “a beehive of anti-communist sedition”.
The Solidarity Movement was facing a military crackdown in Poland in June, 1982 when Pope John Paul II had a secret meeting with President Ronald Reagan at the Vatican. They were convinced that a free, non-communist Poland would be a dagger to the heart of the Soviet Empire; and if Poland became democratic, other East European states would follow.
Tons of equipment were smuggled into Poland via channels established by priests and American agents. Money for the banned union came from CIA funds, secret accounts in the Vatican, and Western trade unions.
To quote from “the Holy Alliance”, “The informal secret alliance between the Holy See and the administration of President Ronal Reagan hastened the most profound political change of the age. Both CIA director William Casey and Ronald Reagan believed that there was a potential third superpower in the world—the twenty-square-block Vatican city-state—and that its monarch, Pope John Paul II had at his command a remarkable arsenal of unconventional weaponry that might tip the balance in the cold war… The Pope would thereafter receive virtually every relevant scrap of information the CIA possessed, not only on Poland but on other matters of importance to the Catholic Church”.
The result of this “Holy Alliance” was the fall of communism in Poland, and from there the other nations of the Soviet empire fell like dominoes. To me, this is pretty clear evidence that the mortal wound has been healed.
The point of going into all of this detail is to show that the final adversary will not be a single entity.
It will be an alliance of powerful powers. Revelation chapter 13 focuses on the Roman Catholic papacy and the United States. But in chapter 17 we will see that there is a broader coalition, symbolized by ten horns. “The ten horns are ten kings who will receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These will make war with the Lamb” (Revelation 17:12). With these powers arrayed against us, should we feel nervous? Alarmed? Even Terrified? If we who believe were facing this on our own we would have reason to fear. But the good news is that “The Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
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