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The Shepherd's Rod vol. 2
As John beheld the vision with intense interest, his attention was directed to another striking object: 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." (Rev. 13:11.) Just about the time the second and last stage of the non-descript beast was to terminate, another earthly power was to come upon the stage of action, according to the vision. It is wonderful to note how accurate the symbols are even to their proper time and order. The beast having lamb-like horns (promise of growth) is an unmistakable symbol of a nation "slowly arising as from a small plan to a mighty empire." "Lamb-like," is descriptive of the government arising in 1776 A.D. (See "The Great Controversy," pp. 439-441.)
This beast has been accepted as a symbol of the United States. Therefore, our intention is not to bring forth facts pertaining to its application. Our aim is, as previously stated, to briefly connect one beast with another by throwing light upon symbols which have not been understood.
It will be noticed that every beast representing the New Testament time has ten horns except this one. We repeat that the ten horns stand as a symbol of universal systems. This fact proves that the two-horned beast represents a local government. As civil powers or governments are symbolized by horns, this particular beast having two, it is evident that the nation represented by this symbol, shall have a double form of government. As John says, "The beast spake as a dragon," it clearly reveals that it is to repudiate its constitution, and the God-given liberty of its subjects will be taken away. According to Rev. 13:12, this power is to imitate the beast "before him" (the papal rule): "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." If this great nation should presume upon the conscience of its subjects by legislation, as to how they may, or may not worship, it would be contrary to the provisions in its constitution -- speaking as a dragon. Quoting the United States constitution, the first amendment concerning religious matters, states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." If this country should repudiate this amendment, it will completely meet the symbolical specification.
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The following verse discloses the fact that the old dragon shall exercise his power to deceive as many as possible: "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." (Rev. 13:13, 14.) Thus he is to exercise persecutive powers as well as the working of miracles.
As the Word exposes this great deception, one would think that the world would open its eyes and refuse to be charmed by such Satanic wonders. But Satan knows that the people are unmindful of the Word of God, and that their emotions are easily moved by supernatural marvels and the eloquence of men. Therefore, he will perfect the contrivance and many will fall into it regardless of warnings. The human mind cannot comprehend that mysterious and irresistible power that is soon to spread its dreadful shadow over the inhabitants of the earth. No mortal being can stand against that supernatural, civil and religious system. Those who are students of the Word, trusting in God without reservation, and thus filled with the Holy Spirit, will escape that dreadful trap.
"Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are the only ones who will be found faithful." -- "Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p. 53. Their only safety will be, "Thus saith the Lord." They must look to God as their only deliverer, as did the three Hebrews in ancient Babylon and as Daniel in the lion's den. Let the consequence be what it may, God's people can find shelter only in taking the position of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as when they answered the king: "O, Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee 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 thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Dan. 3:16-18.)
God's people, with Daniel, will be able to say at the time of their deliverance: "My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt." (Dan. 6:22.) In such time of trial it shall be clearly seen who will serve God and who will not. That time of trouble shall divide the earth's inhabitants in two separate and distinct classes, as sheep and goats.
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"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." (Rev. 13:15-17.)
This drastic decree of the two-horned beast shall be adopted by the nations of the world, and the image of the beast, which will demand obedience to an ecclesiastical form of worship, will be internationally set up. The mark of the beast is Sunday observance. Under one pretext or another, the careless and indifferent will worship the image of the beast, and receive the mark. Only those who have fortified themselves with faith in God knowledge of His Word, and obedience to divine precepts through sanctification of the heart by the power of the Holy Spirit, will be able to escape the crutches of the devil. When God's people are restrained from buying and selling, their only source of sustenance will be through divine providence. One way or another, for that short time, God will provide and care for His people. But it may be in a similar circumstance as in the wilderness journey.
"The time is not far distant, when, like the early disciples, we shall be forced to seek a refuge in desolate and solitary places. As the siege of Jerusalem by the Roman armies was the signal for flight to the Judean Christians, so the assumption of power on the part of our nation, in the decree enforcing the papal Sabbath, will be a warning to us. It will then be time to leave the large cities preparatory to leaving the smaller ones for retired homes in secluded places among the mountains." -- "Testimonies to the Church," Vol. 5, pp. 464, 465. The 18th verse of Revelation 13, will be explained in another study.
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