The Developing Image of the Beast
By Elder Lawrence Nelson
I shall read two astounding statements that should stimulate every Seventh-day Adventist to speedily prepare for the enactment of the image of the beast in America, as foretold in Revelation 13. The first quote is taken from The Washington Times of April 16, 2001, p.A02. “In 1960 John Kennedy went from Washington to Texas to assure Protestant preachers that he would not obey the Pope. In 2001 George Bush came from Texas up to Washington to assure a group of Catholic bishops that he would obey the Pope.” And what did John Kennedy get for his honesty and true leadership? – A bullet in the head.
The second quote is taken from the Catholic paper called Peter’s Voice. It reveals the same determination by President George W. Bush to obey the Pope. In his speech, given during the opening of the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, Bush said, “The best way to honor Pope John Paul II, truly one of the great men, is to take his teachings seriously; to listen to his words, and put his words and teachings into action here in America.” And what has George Bush to gain from such a promise? – Approval and support from the Papacy in the development of an image to the beast.
This brings to mind the warning from the Holy Spirit through His servant, Ellen White, when she wrote in Testimonies for the Church, Volume 1, p. 451, “When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, [then], under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehood and delusions.”
Let us pray. Our loving Father, we have learned that the President of the greatest Protestant nation on earth is committed to surrender Protestantism to Catholic doctrine. We are about to be plunged into the affliction and distress of Jacob’s Trouble. We pray that Thou wilt give us the fullness of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may seize the remaining freedom that we still have to prepare for the final conflict. In the name of Jesus, we ask, Amen.
This sermon is based on God’s word found in Revelation 13:11-18. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
“And deceiveth 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. And he had power to give life unto 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.
“And he causeth 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, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”
The purpose of this study is to reveal the notable trends now taking place in the United States of America in the development of an image to the beast. We must know what to expect when the image becomes fully developed. I do not have time in this presentation to give full proof as to who the beast and his image is. The details are clearly presented in my book The Antichrist , in which each of the following inspired indictments are proven, revealing that the papal power is the beast of Revelation 13. And the United States of America is to become the image of the beast.
I will list twelve indisputable Bible facts as to who the beast is.
1. It was to arise among ten divisions of the Roman empire (Daniel 7:8).
2. It was to destroy three of the ten kingdoms (Daniel 7:8).
3. It would speak great words against the most high (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:6).
4. It would wear out the saints of the Most High (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:7).
5. It would be guilty of blasphemy (Revelation 13:6, Daniel 7:25).
6. It would attempt to change the divine law of God (Daniel 7:25).
7. It would exercise its power over all kindreds, tongues and nations (Revelation 13:7).
8. The dragon would give him his power, his seat, and his great authority to this beast (Revelation 13:2).
9. It was to continue in world domination for a period of 1260 years (Revelation 13:5; Daniel 7:25).
10. It would then receive a mortal wound (Revelation 13:3).
11. It would amaze the whole world for its deadly wound would be healed (Revelation 13:30).
12. This beast has a mark of its authority. Anyone who refuses to honor this mark will be persecuted and finally sentenced to death. (Revelation 13:15-18).
We are also given the following identification of the image of the beast: It must appear among the nations of the world as a world power when the deadly wound was inflicted in 1798 (Revelation 13:10, 11). Unlike all previous world powers ruling over nations and peoples, this image must begin to develop in a region of the world where no civilization existed (Revelation 13:11). The image would begin with dual power symbolized by its two horns representing a government of Republicanism and Protestantism (Revelation 13:11). But the image would change its form of government, and the laws providing individual freedom, to that of a government based on the power of the dragon in which the world would once more be forced to obey the antichrist or be killed (Revelation 13:11,15). And to remove any possible doubt God has given us the number 666 which identifies the beast to which the image is to be made (Revelation 13:18).
At this point it would be well to examine the dictatorial power of the beast which the world experienced during the Dark Ages for some 1260 years under the iron hand of the papacy. Divine inspiration has revealed that the image of the beast will force the people of the world to once again live as subjects of this beast power under which all freedoms will be revoked until Jesus comes.
First, let us consider what the daily life was like during the Dark Ages of the papal rule. We shall start with how this evil power came into existence. I’m going to quote from the papacy, which tells us as follows: “Long ages ago, when Rome, through the neglect of the western emperors, was left to the mercy of the barbarous hoards, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection and asked him to rule them. And thus, in this simple manner the best title of all to kingly right commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of the Caesar, the Vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.” James P. Conroy in The American Catholic Quarterly Review of April, 1911.
As a result of this power, and her attempt to force everyone to accept the teachings of the state church, Europe was bathed continually in a wave of persecution. History has recorded these conditions for us as follows: “The horrors of the Inquisition, ordered and maintained by the popes over a period of 500 years in which unnumbered millions were tortured and burned, constitute the most brutal, beastly and devilish picture in all history.” Halley’s Bible Handbook , printed in Grand Rapids, MI by Zondervan Publishing House in 1965, p. 731, 732.
This beast power that ruled the world is seen today in a vastly different light than now professed, as you read this letter written by Pope Nicholas in the year 1860, to the king of Bulgaria. “A king need not fear to command massacres when these will retain his subjects in obedience, or cause them to submit to the faith of Christ, and God will reward him in this world and in eternal life for these murders. We order you, in the name of religion, to invade his states, burn his cities and massacre his people.” This letter was taken from the book A Woman Rides the Beast by Dave Hunt, printed in Eugene, Oregon by the Harvest House Publishers in 1994, p. 153.
In the book Great Controversy p. 234 – 236 inspiration reveals the following, “The first triumphs of the Reformation past, Rome summoned new forces, hoping to accomplish its destruction. At this time the order of the Jesuits was created, the most cruel, unscrupulous, and powerful of all the champions of popery. Cut off from earthly ties and human interests, dead to the claims of natural affection, reason and conscience wholly silenced, they knew no rule, no tie, but that of their order, and no duty but to extend its power….There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the reestablishment of papal supremacy. When appearing as members of their order, they wore a garb of sanctity,…but under this blameless exterior the most criminal and deadly purposes were often concealed.
“It was a fundamental principle of the order that the end justified the means. By this code, lying, theft, perjury, assassinations, were not only pardonable but commendable, when they served the interest of the church. Under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations. They became servants to act as spies upon their masters….The Jesuits rapidly spread themselves over Europe, and wherever they went, there followed a revival of popery. To give them greater power, a bull was issued re-establishing the inquisition…and atrocities too terrible to bear the light of day were repeated in its secret dungeons….Such were the means which Rome had invoked to quench the light of the Reformation, to withdraw from men the Bible, and to restore the ignorance and superstition of the Dark Ages.”
As the Reformation developed so also the persecution of Protestants increased. Life became so terrible under the Jesuits of Rome that many people decided to flee from Europe to another country. Thus we find the Pilgrim fathers fleeing to America, to a land where they hoped to find the freedom their hearts longed for.
We read in Revelation 13:11 concerning America’s rise to world power, “I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb.” This new world power, the United States, was represented as having two horns like a lamb. Throughout the Bible, horns stand for power and kingdoms, but these lamb-like horns were uncrowned. When our Pilgrim fathers landed here and began to build a government they saw to it that it was different than those of Europe. They founded the government of the United States of America on the Christian principles of civil and religious freedom. Church and state were to be separated. This is the secret of democracy. What the world had not seen for centuries was a state without a king and a church without a pope. Republicanism and Protestantism were the foundations of this country.
Ellen White had this to say, “The lamb-like horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798…. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and down-trodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope. Millions have sought its shores, and the United States has risen to a place among the most powerful nations of the earth.” Great Controversy p. 441.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees these great concepts. Let me briefly review the facts. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence. “The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government.” Article 4. Section 4 of The Constitution of the United States . “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Article 6. The First Amendment provides further guarantees of freedom. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Bill of Rights Article 1.
But now consider this: What I am about to say sounds unbelievable but it is a fact. The papal church hates the Constitution of the United States for it is contrary to every political aim of the papacy. In the book Fifty Years in the Church of Rome , p. 284, Charles Chiniquy, a former priest, in seven statements he clearly reveals the papal differences from that of the government of the United States. And furthermore, what the Vatican plans to do when she seizes control of America. Listen carefully:
1. The most sacred principles of the United States Constitution is the equality of every citizen before the law, but the fundamental principle of the Church of Rome is the denial of that equality.
2. Liberty of conscience is proclaimed by the United States; a most sacred principle which every citizen must uphold even at the price of his blood. But liberty of conscience is declared by all the popes and councils of Rome as a most godless, unholy and diabolical thing which every good Catholic must abhor and destroy at any cost.
3. The American constitution assures the absolute independence of the civil from the ecclesiastical (or church) power. But the Church of Rome declares through all her pontiffs and councils that such independence is an impiety and a revolt against God.
4. The American constitution leaves every man free to serve God according to the dictates of his conscience. But the Church of Rome declares that no man has ever had such a right, and that the pope alone can know and say what man must believe and do.
5. The constitution of the United States denies the right to anybody to punish any other for differing from him in religion. But the Church of Rome says that she has the right to punish, with the confiscation of their goods or the penalty of death, those who differ in faith from the pope.
6. The United States have established schools all over immense territories where they invite the people to send their children that they may cultivate their intelligence and become good and useful citizens. But the Church of Rome has publicly stated that these schools are forbidden and children attend them under pain of excommunication in this world and damnation in the next.
7. The constitution of the United States is based on the principle that the people are the primary source of all civil power. But hundreds of times the Church of Rome has proclaimed that this principle is impious and heretical. She says all governments must rest upon the foundation of the Catholic faith with the pope alone as the legitimate and infallible source and interpreter of the law.
By now I trust you have become fully awake for there is no question as to the intent of the papacy as we read the following unimpeachable documents from which I quote. “The Church is, of necessity, intolerant. Heresy she endures when and where she must, but she hates it and directs all her energy to destroy it. If Catholics ever gain a sufficient, numerical majority in this country religious freedom is at an end. So our enemies say, so we believe.” The Shepherd of the Valley ,the official journal of the Bishop of St. Louis, on November 23, 1851. Again, “No man has a right to choose his religion.” New York Freedom , official journal of the Bishop Hughes, January 26, 1852. I continue, “The church does not, and cannot accept, or in any degree favor liberty in the Protestant sense of liberty.” The Catholic World , April 1870.
I hope you are beginning to think this through carefully. Note, the Vatican condemned the Declaration of Independence as wickedness and called the Constitution of the United States a “satanic document.” (Taken from the book, Footprints of the Jesuits by R. W. Thompson in New York, printed by Hunt and Eaton in 1894 p. 146.)
This great statesman and patriot, Richard W. Thompson, was at that time the Secretary of the Navy of the United States. In his admirable work The Papacy and Civil Power , in which he states, “Nothing is plainer than this. If the principles of the Church of Rome prevail here our Constitution would necessarily fall; the two cannot exist together.”
Then from The Freedom’s Journal, the official journal of the Bishop of New York, we read, “We will rule the United States and lay them at the feet of the Vicar of Jesus Christ that he may put an end to their godless system of education, and impious laws of liberty of conscience which are an insult to God and man.”
Now these quotations reveal the real purpose of papal power in their determination to control America. I again quote from the ex-Secretary of the United States Navy in his book Footprints of the Jesuits , p. 29. “They believe that the conditions of mankind during the Middle Ages, (that the pope’s Dark Ages) staggering under the weight of feudal oppression, were preferable to modern progress and enlightenment; that human happiness would be promoted by a return to that period.” What astounding information! Can you imagine the plans of the Vatican to change our way of life to that of the Dark Ages? No wonder the Bible describes what is to come in this world as ‘a time of trouble such as never was.’ Daniel 12:1.
Now I want you to join with me in some very serious thinking about the developing of this power here in America. The beginning of the formation of the image to the beast started when Ronald Reagan was president and he sent an ambassador from the United States to the Vatican. Consider this quote, “The appointment of the pope’s nuncio (that’s an ambassador) to Washington as a result of the high treason of President Ronald Reagan, informally recognizing the sovereign state of the Vatican City, in 1984, with Knight of Malta, William Wilson, being the first legal ambassador to the Vatican since America severed all relations in 1867 as a result of the Jesuit black hand in the Lincoln assassination, could be compared to the instillation of a foreign general obeying orders of the head of an aggressive alien state. The nuncio will also become the arbitrator between the two major political parties of America. Both Republican and Democratic parties, from now on, must be extremely attentive to the reaction of the papal nuncio. Political wooing would be done at the papal nunciature in Washington, the political center of the Catholic Church in the United States. Politically she is looming ever larger at the White House. She is a power in the Senate, a force at the Pentagon, an invisible secret agent at the FBI, the most subtle, intangible, prime mover of the US wheel within a wheel, the Central Intelligence Agency.” The Vatican Moscow Washington Alliance by Avro Manhattan, 1986, p. 353, 354.
We have been told by inspiration that the last movements will be rapid ones. Any Bible student must be amazed as George Bush started his presidential campaign by a papal visit to the Pope. Five days after election to office, President Bush paid a visit to Washington Archbishop Theodore E. McCarrick. Next he flies to Miami to visit Archbishop John Favalora, then back to Pittsburgh to see Bishop Donald Wood, and then to Philadelphia so he could visit Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, then swinging to St. Louis for a visit to Archbishop Justin Rigali.
But that’s not all. On his first trip to New York he awards the Congressional gold metal to the late Cardinal John O’Connor and later that month Bush meets with Pope John Paul II the second time. How amazing the actions of our president of the greatest Protestant nation on earth. On March 21 Bush entertained more than 120 Catholic leaders in the East Room of the White House. The next day he surrounded himself with cardinals, reaffirmed his opposition to abortion and he presided over the ribbon-cutting at the museum named for Pope John Paul II. I ask you, are you getting the picture? Is it any wonder that I could hardly believe my eyes when I read President Bush’s words, “The best way to honor Pope John Paul II is to listen to his words and put his words and teachings into action here in America.”
What did the scriptures state in Revelation 13:14 concerning the United States of America? – “That they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” At this point it would be well to see how the emerging image to the beast has reacted to the recent terrorist attack in New York City. Immediately after the terrorist attack on September 11 in New York City a declaration of war was supported by all but one member of Congress, with 24 standing ovations during President Bush’s speech to the joint members of Congress. The president did not call on Congress to declare war, he did this himself, and declared it will be a long and difficult war.
In the light of Revelation 13 you must be amazed that the image has now reached such power that its word is almost law to most of the nations of the world. Immediately Saudi Arabia and the United Arab countries severed diplomatic relations with Afghanistan. Even nations considered as our enemies, such as China and Russia, joined in the coalition. All nations on earth were challenged to join the United States or suffer the consequences.
Financial institutions were commanded by President Bush to cease all dealings with the terrorists and their organizations. Every nation was commanded to do so, or they would be cut off from the world’s largest economy. The seven richest nations of the world complied, revealing that the image has now become so powerful that its word is law to which every nation on earth must follow. President Bush implied such power when he said, “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.”
It is also apparent that the citizens of the United States are now ready to sacrifice their civil liberties to win this war. Attorney General John Ashcroft of the Justice Department has asked congress for greater power which can only mean the people will lose much of their liberty. Ellen White clearly states that the time would come when every article of the Constitution would be made void.
From the recent Remnant Herald of November, 2001 I quote the following, “In his video, ‘Prophecy and the New Times’ (that’s in 1997) Ted Flynn, the Roman Catholic devotee of Mary, reported that in an apparition Mary stated that terrible disasters were about to strike America. She stated that they were the result of sin and that the only solution was for Americans to return to God. The solution offered was to close all shops on Sunday, to ban sporting fixtures on Sunday, to attend Mass and Confession, and to say the Rosary.”
Make no mistake, such deceptions of Satan will play a pivotal role in turning secular mankind to religion but they will not sanctify the soul. A religious zeal will ensue. How easily this will generate Sunday laws as a means of regaining divine favor. Such religious zealots, unsanctified in heart, will not hesitate to persecute faithful seventh-day keepers in a vain effort to restore security and prosperity. Already the United States Supreme Court in 1961 by an 8-1 decision ruled that Sunday laws do not violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution which guarantees religious liberty. (See Warren Johns , Dateline Sunday USA , Pacific Press, 1967, p. 119 – 159.)
In 1990, the Supreme Court by a 5-4 majority in the case of Smith vs. the State of Oregon “went far beyond the case and declared that when religious rights clash with the government’s need for uniform rules, the court will side with the government.” Los Angeles Times , April 18, 1990. Anyone can see day by day the fulfilling of Revelation 13: 15-17. Surely the image to the beast is beginning to flex its muscle.
Never were the words of the Spirit of Prophecy so meaningful. “The nations are in unrest. Times of perplexity are upon us. Men’s hearts are failing them for fear of the things that are coming upon the earth. But those who believe in God will hear His voice amid the storm, saying, ‘It is I; be not afraid.’” Signs of the Times , October 9, 1901. Inspiration warns us of what is soon to take place. “The tempest is coming, and we must get ready for its fury by having repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord will arise to shake terribly the earth. We shall see troubles on all sides. Thousands of ships will be hurled into the depths of the sea. Navies will go down, and human lives will be sacrificed by millions. Fires will break out unexpectedly, and no human effort will be able to quench them. The palaces of earth will be swept away in the fury of the flames. Disasters by rail will become more and more frequent; confusion, collision, and death without a moment’s warning will occur on the great lines of travel. The end is near, probation is closing. Oh let us seek God while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near!” Messages to Young People p. 89, 90.
“In the last scenes of this earth’s history, war will rage. There will be pestilence, plague, and famine. The waters of the deep will overflow their boundaries. Properties and life will be destroyed by fire and flood. We should be preparing for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for them that love Him.” Maranatha p. 174.
“The end is near, and every city is to be turned upside down every way. There will be confusion in every city. Everything that can be shaken is to be shaken, and we do not know what will come next. The judgments will be according to the wickedness of the people and the light of truth that they have had.” Manuscripts 1, p. 248, 249. “O that God’s people had a sense of the impending destruction of thousands of cities, now almost given to idolatry.” Evangelism p. 29. While God is holding back the winds of strife, let us work with greater diligence and sacrifice for our Lord. “In the great closing work we shall meet with perplexities that we know not how to deal with, but let us not forget that the three great powers of heaven are working, that a divine hand is on the wheel, and that God will bring His purposes to pass.” Evangelism p. 65.
“I asked my accompanying angel the meaning of what I had heard, and what the four angels were about to do. He said to me that it was God that restrained the powers, and that He gave His angels charge over things on the earth; that the four angels had power from God to hold the four winds, and that they were about to let them go; but while their hands were loosening, and the four winds were about to blow, the merciful eye of Jesus gazed on the remnant that were not sealed, and He raised His hands to the Father and pleaded with Him that He had spilled His blood for them. Then another angel was commissioned to fly swiftly to the four angels and bid them hold, until the servants of God were sealed with the seal of the living God in their foreheads.” Early Writings p. 38.
“My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually and let them crowd out worldly thoughts and cares. When you lie down and when you rise up, let them be your meditation. Live and act wholly in reference to the coming of the Son of man. The sealing time is very short and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.” Early Writings p. 58.
Let us pray, Our loving Father, as we see the image of the beast actually forming before our eyes, give us courage to be faithful and to daily be ready for the final test. In the name of Jesus, we ask, Amen.