Revelation 1:3 the time is at hand.

 
 
The United States in Bible Prophecy
By Steve Wohlberg
 
In spite of the September 11 terrorist attack on America, the United States yet remains "the world's sole remaining superpower" (Time, July 29, 1991. p. 13). The Bible often refers to great nations, such as the ancient kindgoms of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. These were superpowers in their day and are all mentioned in the prophetic book of Daniel because they had a direct historical connection with God's chosen people, the Jews. In our modern times, America, more than any other nation, has aided the spread of Christianity. In our national pledge, we still claim to be "One Nation Under God." Our coins still say, "In God We Trust." Therefore, it is highly appropriate to ask: Has America been left behind in Bible prophecy?

Revelation 13 describes two beasts. It is an irrefutable and immovable fact that in Bible prophecy, a beast represents a kingdom. After describing four symbolic beasts, the angel interpreter declared, "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth" (Daniel 7:23). This point is of mega importance when it comes to prophetic interpretation. It is also an irrefutable fact of history that for almost four hundred years Protestants have interpreted the first beast in Revelation 13 to represent the kingdom of papal Rome. But there is a second beast also mentioned in the same chapter.
 
John wrote:
"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" (verse 11).
Who is this second beast? Let's find out.

John saw "another beast" rising into power. Again, what does a beast represent? "The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth" (Daniel 7:23). Almost all prophecy scholars will admit that Daniel 7 parallels Revelation 13. Therefore, this second beast must also represent a great kingdom or nation. It also must be an end-time kingdom because the second beast is finally involved in the enforcement of "the mark of the beast" (Revelation 13:11-17).
 
The second beast rises "out of the earth," whereas the first beast comes out of the sea (Revelation 13:1). This often-overlooked detail is actually quite significant. In fact, all four beasts in Daniel 7 came out of the sea. What does "the sea" or water represent in prophecy? The Pacific Ocean? Hardly. In Revelation 17:1, John saw a woman named "Babylon" sitting upon "many waters." An angel explained, "The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Revelation 17:15). Thus, the "water" represents lots of people. Historically, the great nations of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome rose up from among the multitude of nations in Europe and the Middle East.

The second beast was seen "coming up out of the earth." If the "water" represents lots of people, then "the earth" would represent a sparsely populated area - more of a wilderness region. The second beast is also described as being "like a lamb." In the Bible, a lamb is primarily a symbol of Jesus Christ (John 1:29; Revelation 14:1). The second beast is not Jesus, to be sure, but it will be lamb-like; it will be "like" Jesus in some significant way. It also has "two horns." Horns in prophecy represent either kings, kingdoms or divisions within a kingdom (see Daniel 7:17, 23, 24; 8:3, 8, 20-22). Thus, the second beast could have a division of power within itself.

Also there is much more to the matter of the time when this beast arises than a simple appearance near the end times. The prophecy is more specific. On December 31, 1999, almost the whole world was thinking about time. Would the infamous Y2K computer bug lead to a global technological meltdown? On New Year's Eve, I was watching Peter Jennings and his ABC coverage. The countdown began-five, four, three, two, one . . . fizzle! Nothing happened. The year 2000 arrived with hardly a hiccup, yet when it comes to the time of the rise of the second beast, there is something much larger than a fizzle that should attract our attention. Speculative Y2K doomsday prophecies proved false, but true prophecy never fails.

In the last chapter [chapter 4 of Truth Left Behind] we talked about the wounding of the first beast. This wound occurred on time in the exact year that marked the end of the 1,260 years. What year was that? 1798. This wound is described in Revelation 13:10. In that verse the first beast is described as going into "captivity." In other words, in 1798, he would be on his way down. Now notice, it is in the very next verse that the second beast is seen "coming up." It's like a prophetic teeter-totter. The first beast goes down, and then the second beast comes up. This "down and up" activity occurs right around the same time. Therefore, we need to look for a great kingdom coming into power around the year 1798.

John Wesley founded the Methodist Church in England in the 1700s. Like most other Protestants in his day, he had absolutely no interest in the speculative fancies of Jesuit Futurism. In the 1750s, as Wesley was studying prophecy, he realized the 1,260-year period would soon come to an end. In 1754, he published his much-respected New Testament with Explanatory Notes. After applying the first beast of Revelation 13:1-10 to the papacy, he contemplated the rise of the second beast. Underneath verse 11, John Wesley wrote, "Another . . . beast . . . But he is not yet come, though he cannot be far off; for he is to appear at the end of the forty-two months of the first beast. And he had two horns like a lamb-a mild, innocent appearance" (John Wesley, Notes on Revelation, 1754. p. 457). The founder of the Methodist Church was right on target! His footnotes here were more reliable than many of C. I. Scofield.

A lamb is a young animal, a baby sheep. The fact that this nation is described as being lamb-like around 1798 indicates that this would be a young nation at this time. All of the other recognizable beasts in Daniel 7 (the lion, the bear, and the leopard) were like hungry wild animals. The nations of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome rose by conquering the previous nation in power. Yet the lamb-like beast was to rise differently, more peacefully. The fact that it has no crowns on its horns is also highly significant. The first beast of Revelation 13 has horns with crowns. Crowns represent kingly power, as in the European nations. Papal Rome did in fact rule over kings. Yet the lamb-like nation would try something new. It would have no crowns, thus it would be a nation without a king.

Revelation 13 predicts that the second beast will eventually become a superpower. How do we know this? Because this beast eventually has the capability to enforce the mark of the first beast upon "all" the peoples of the world (Revelation 13:16). Therefore, the second beast must grow from its comparatively small and peaceful beginnings into a mighty nation of superpower status with global influence. And yet, in spite of its lamb-like profession, it will eventually "[speak] as a dragon" (Revelation 13:11). This indicates a final denial of its principles, internal degradation, and the use of satanic force.

When I was a boy, I put together a lot of jigsaw puzzles. Revelation 13 is part of God's jigsaw puzzle. So let's put the pieces together:

1. What youthful nation was "coming up" into power in a wilderness area around 1798?

2. What new nation around 1798 was "like a lamb," Christian in its features, mild and peaceful, without needing to conquer another great nation in its ascent?

3. What nation now has "two horns," that is, a division of power within its government?

4. What nation in its form of government has no crowns, is without kingly power, being ruled constitutionally "by the people"?

5. And what great nation is now the world's only superpower in the twenty-first century, capable of enforcing the Mark of the Beast upon "all" the world?

When it comes to golf, there is only one Tiger Woods. When it comes to Bible prophecy, there is only one nation that qualifies as the second beast of Revelation 13. You know which nation that is-the United States of America. Our Declaration of Independence from England was signed in 1776. Our Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. We "came up" right on time, around 1798, when the first beast was going down.

What does the future hold? We have already seen that God's unerring Word predicts the healing of the wound of the first beast (the Roman Church). In our next chapter, we will discover that the Bible also describes the first beast (the Vatican) and the second beast (Protestant America) working together during the closing seconds of time.
 
1 Timothy 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,