At the Crossroads
Once this dragon-like beast found himself on this earth, he continued his warfare against the King of kings even when He came to this world a helpless babe. “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born” ().
Why was he so antagonistic against Christ? What was it that irritated him so much that he was waiting at the birth of Jesus to snatch Him away from His earthly mother in a blink of an eyelid? “Satan wished to change the government of God, to fix his own seal to the rules of God’s kingdom. Christ would not be brought into this desire, and here the warfare against Christ commenced and waxed strong.”1
This warfare did not end when Jesus went back to the heavenly courts. Satan continues it against anyone who dare reject his satanic authority and pledge allegiance to the Sovereign of the universe. “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days” (, ).
The constant work of the archenemy is to persecute those who are loyal to the government of God and this he does by continually finding some way to condemn the people of God. John the Revelator describes: “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” ().
The accuser of the brethren does not always do this work personally. He uses those who are imbued with the same spirit that envelops him—not only individuals but also nations. When a nation acts like their satanic majesty, they become a dragon. I will list just two examples here. “Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself” (). When Jesus was born, it was the Roman power that had the same spirit:
“The dragon is said to be Satan (2); he it was that moved upon Herod to put the Saviour to death. But the chief agent of Satan in making war upon Christ and His people during the first centuries of the Christian Era was the Roman Empire, in which paganism was the prevailing religion. Thus while the dragon, primarily, represents Satan, it is, in a secondary sense, a symbol of pagan Rome.”
From the study of prophecy, we know that beasts represent nations in their various forms. (, .) So when we see an animal coming up after 1798, we know that it is another nation that comes into existence. “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” ( ).
In our study of Revelation, we find that the previous beast that looked like a leopard symbolized the combined authority of the civil and religious powers of the papal kingdom. This kingdom received its power from imperial Rome () and came to its end—or as the verses state, receive a “deadly wound” in 1798 ( , ). It was during this time that that lamblike beast comes on the scene of action. At that time it is “coming up out of the earth,” revealing that it just recently came on the scene rather than being born right then. As far as nations are concerned, 10 years is a really young nation. It was on June 21, 1788 that the United States was born when the colonies ratified the Constitution that formed this country. Clearly this second beast represents the United States of America.
It may seem like a good beginning for such a nation; but once a country has a taste for power, it is not so easily quenched. “And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him” (). And what was it that this first beast accomplished? “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” ( ).
What a terrible description of the work of a country that began with such ideals of freedom and peace! Why then does this second beast do all that? What is he trying to accomplish? “. . . [A]nd causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed” (). And what does it mean to worship that first beast, to bow in homage to the papal power?
“The prediction that it will speak ‘as a dragon’ and exercise ‘all the power of the first beast’ plainly foretells a development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopardlike beast. And the statement that the beast with two horns ‘causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast’ indicates that the authority of this nation is to be exercised in enforcing some observance which shall be an act of homage to the papacy.”3
How does one convince freedom-loving Americans to give up their liberties and then do the work of persecution? “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” ().
To make an American do such a thing must have an originating cause. What causes people to be willing to subject themselves into some kind of slavery contrary to their normal way of thinking? “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (). Something must make them so fearful of dying that they are willing to do anything in order to receive the miracle that will let them live a few years longer.
So, how will they replicate this first beast in Protestant America?
“When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of ‘heresy.’ In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.”4
And what will be the disastrous result? “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” ().
What kind of miracles are people constantly seeking? It has to do with their health. Even today, as a pandemic is raging across the world (whether it just happened or was manufactured to have specific effects on the population), instead of evaluating how the laws of health both physical and mental are being upheld, multitudes just look for some miracle vaccine to solve all their problems. It is at this time that we can expect Satan to work both in creating disease as well as providing some miracle cure.
“While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast.”5 This is just a taste of what will happen in the future.
How do people give up their liberties? “Edwin Burke, speaking before the House of Commons in 1784, declared, ‘People never give up their liberties but under some delusion.’ ”6
The following electronic message was forwarded to me from Australia. The name credited to it is Miguel Michael Angel: “We are seeing the most draconian measures enforced at all levels of government that we’ve ever seen in our lifetimes, and yet rather than being alarmed by the things going on, so many of you applaud.
“People are being arrested for spending too much time outside, and you applaud.
“Pastors are being arrested for daring to hold church services, and you applaud.
“A child’s birthday party is raided by police, and you applaud. . . .
“A young woman is ticketed for going on a leisurely drive alone because it’s deemed ‘non-essential travel,’ and you applaud.
“A lone paddleboarder in the ocean on a beach without any other people around is arrested because he’s violating quarantine orders, and you applaud.
“People are being denied life saving medical treatments because they’re not a priority right now (not ‘essential’ as deemed by the government) as the entirety of our medical system is focused on one thing, and you applaud. . . .
“Businesses are being forcibly closed and padlocked and owners arrested for refusing to shut down, and you applaud.
“You’re being told to use hotlines and online forms provided by your local governments to report your neighbors who don’t obey, and you comply.
“You scold people day after day for not obeying government edicts, and if any of us dare to question what’s happening, you lecture about how we’re a danger to society and we just don’t care about people dying.
“You’ve somehow managed to convince yourselves that the people whose lives are affected by a virus are MUCH more important than the people whose lives are being destroyed (and in many cases, leading to death) by the effects of a worldwide economic shutdown and impending worldwide depression the likes of which no one has ever seen before.
“At what point will you start Questioning what’s going on? How far does the government have to push before you’re jolted awaked from your slumber? How far are you willing to go with this?”
“The coronavirus will come and go but the government will never forget how easy it was to take control of your life. To control every sporting event, classroom, restaurant table, and church pew. And even if you are allowed to leave your house.” This was seen on Facebook.
Today governments all over the world are just flexing their muscles before the real drama unfolds. “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” (). What happens when he no longer just speaks but begins to act like that dragon?
If all work can be stopped for a month or two, how much easier it will be to stop it once a week on Sundays?
Are people really looking at the cause of all these diseases and catastrophes? We blame everything else except the real issues that began all this rebellion in heaven. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left” ().
And what will be the ultimate result? “And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity.”7
Often when we compare these last-day events, we think that God’s people are faithful no matter what. But God shows our real character. “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel” (). Yes, we can see that we are actually sinners in need of a Saviour. How do we prepare for the final events so that we are found faithful?
“[I]t is not God’s will that you should be distrustful and torture your soul with the fear that God will not accept you because you are sinful and unworthy. ‘Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you’ (8). Present your case before Him, pleading the merits of the blood shed for you upon Calvary’s cross. Satan will accuse you of being a great sinner, and you must admit this, but you can say: ‘I know I am a sinner, and that is the reason I need a Saviour. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. ‘The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin’ ( ). ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ ( ). I have no merit or goodness whereby I may claim salvation, but I present before God the all-atoning blood of the spotless Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is my only plea.”