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The Lord has Spoken

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Lesson 4 Sabbath, April 24, 2010

The United States

in Bible Prophecy

“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” (Revelation 13:11).

Suggested Reading:   The Great Controversy, pp. 440-450, 606, 607.  

Sunday April 18

1. “COMING UP OUT OF THE EARTH”

a. As the leopardlike beast received a deadly wound in 1798, what arose around that time, and how do we know it is a nation? Revelation 13:11 (first part).

“The beast with lamblike horns was seen ‘coming up out of the earth’ (Revelation 13:11). Instead of overthrowing other powers to establish itself, the nation thus represented must arise in territory previously unoccupied and grow up gradually and peacefully. It could not, then, arise among the crowded and struggling nationalities of the Old World—that turbulent sea of ‘peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues’ (Revelation 17:15). It must be sought in the Western Continent.”—The Great Controversy, p. 440.

b. What does “coming up out of the earth” signify? Compare Revela­tion 13:1 with 13:11.

“What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America.”—Ibid.


Monday April 19

2. CHARACTERISTICS OF A LAMB

a. What characteristics of a lamblike nation are found in the early history of the United States? How do the founding principles of this nation embody these traits? Isaiah 53:7; Jeremiah 11:19; Acts 8:32.

“The lamblike horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as ‘coming up’ in 1798. Among the Christian exiles who first fled to America and sought an asylum from royal oppression and priestly intolerance were many who determined to establish a government upon the broad foundation of civil and religious liberty. Their views found place in the Declaration of Independence, which sets forth the great truth that ‘all men are created equal’ and endowed with the inalienable right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ And the Constitution guarantees to the people the right of self-government, providing that representatives elected by the popular vote shall enact and administer the laws. Freedom of religious faith was also granted, every man being permitted to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience. Republicanism and Protestantism became the fundamental principles of the nation. These principles are the secret of its power and prosperity. The oppressed and downtrodden throughout Christendom have turned to this land with interest and hope.”—The Great Controversy, p. 441.

“The founders of the nation wisely sought to guard against the employment of secular power on the part of the church, with its inevitable result—intolerance and persecution. The Constitution provides that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ and that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office of public trust under the United States.’”—Ibid., p.442.

b. Even before the end of religious persecution under state churches, how was the United States already helping the persecuted Christians? Matthew 24:21, 22; Revelation 12:14–16.

“As the tidings spread through the countries of Europe, of a land where every man might enjoy the fruit of his own labor and obey the convictions of his own conscience, thousands flocked to the shores of the New World. . . .

“The Bible was held as the foundation of faith, the source of wisdom, and the charter of liberty.”—Ibid., p.296.


Tuesday April 20

3. SPEAKS LIKE A DRAGON

a. What change takes place in the prophetic lamblike beast? Revelation 13:11 (last part).

“[The lamblike nation] will give the lie to those liberal and peaceful principles which it has put forth as the foundation of its policy. 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.

“Such action would be directly contrary to the principles of this government, to the genius of its free institutions, to the direct and solemn avowals of the Declaration of Independence, and to the Constitution. . . . Only in flagrant violation of these safeguards to the nation’s liberty, can any religious observance be enforced by civil authority. But the inconsistency of such action is no greater than is represented in the symbol. It is the beast with lamblike horns—in profession pure, gentle, and harmless—that speaks as a dragon.

“ ‘Saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast’ (Revelation 13:14). Here is clearly presented a form of government in which the legislative power rests with the people, a most striking evidence that the United States is the nation denoted in the prophecy.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 442, 443.

b. In what sense would the lamblike beast (United States) finally speak as a dragon, forming an image (following the example) of the leopardlike beast (Rome)?

“To learn what the image is like and how it is to be formed we must study the characteristics of the beast itself—the papacy.

“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”—Ibid., p.443.


Wednesday April 21

4. ACTS LIKE A DRAGON

a. If the lamblike beast speaks like the dragon, what actions must be expected? Revelation 13:12.

“A refusal to obey the commandments of God, and a determination to cherish hatred against those who proclaim these commandments, leads to the most determined war on the part of the dragon, whose whole energies are brought to bear against the commandment-keeping people of God.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 117.

“Courts of justice are corrupt. Rulers are actuated by desire for gain and love of sensual pleasure. Intemperance has beclouded the faculties of many so that Satan has almost complete control of them. Jurists are perverted, bribed, deluded. Drunkenness and revelry, passion, envy, dishonesty of every sort, are represented among those who administer the laws. ‘Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter,’ (Isaiah 59:14).”—The Great Con­troversy, p. 586.

b. Under whose influence will the civil government of the United States form an image (imitation) of Rome? Revelation 13:15–17.

“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.

“Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. An example of this is given in the long-continued persecution of dissenters by the Church of England. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of nonconformist ministers were forced to flee from their churches, and many, both of pastors and people, were subjected to fine, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom.”—Ibid., p.443.

“The ‘image to the beast’ represents that form of apostate Protes­tantism which will be developed when the Protestant churches shall seek the aid of the civil power for the enforcement of their dogmas.”—Ibid., p.445.


Thursday April 22

5. CAUSING PEOPLE TO WORSHIP THE PAPACY

a. In what sense, and against whom, will the lamblike beast use force? Revelation 13:12 (last part).

“The clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their flocks. By every means at their command they will endeavor to suppress the discussion of these vital questions. The church appeals to the strong arm of civil power, and, in this work, papists and Protestants unite. As the movement for Sunday enforcement becomes more bold and decided, the law will be invoked against commandment keepers. They will be threatened with fines and imprisonment, and some will be offered positions of influence, and other rewards and advantages, as inducements to renounce their faith. But their steadfast answer is: ‘Show us from the word of God our error’—the same plea that was made by Luther under similar circumstances.”—The Great Controversy, p. 607.

b. How can a government make freedom-loving people accept a loss of its freedoms? 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12.

“The Sunday movement is now making its way in darkness. The leaders are concealing the true issue, and many who unite in the movement do not themselves see whither the undercurrent is tending. Its professions are mild and apparently Christian, but when it shall speak it will reveal the spirit of the dragon. . . . We should endeavor to disarm prejudice by placing ourselves in a proper light before the people.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 452.


Friday April 23

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

a. Around what year did the lamblike beast appear?

b. How did the United States, historically, help those Christians suffering under religious persecution in Europe?

c. What drastic change is to be seen in this peace-loving nation?

d. In what specific ways will the lamblike beast (United States) imitate the leopardlike beast (Rome)?

e. How will this freedom-loving nation give up her constitutional liberties and follow the example of Rome by establishing a form of inquisition?

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