The Land Beast
After presenting the first beast in Revelation 13, the prophetic picture paints in a second beast. This second beast is cast in the role of a helper or assistant to the first beast. It enters the religious market place as the ‘public relations agent’ or ‘spin doctor’ for the first beast. It is this second beast that ‘persuades’ the world to “worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed.” It is an apologist and supporter of the first beast. It is not its competitor.
Both powers in Revelation 13 are political powers because they are described as beasts, but they are different political powers. The first beast is a blasphemous power and it accepts worship; therefore, it is not only a political power it is a religious power as well. The second beast is a political power only – it is not described as being blasphemous and there are no references to it being worshipped. However, it is an ally of the first beast because the record says: “he spake as a dragon” (Rev. 13:11). Both of these powers do the will of the dragon. They are both promoters of the satanic agenda therefore they are allies.
Facts and Features of the Land Beast
The facts and features describing the land beast, are not as comprehensive as the facts and features of the land beast. In fact, our information about the land beast, is quite sparse:
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.
Nevertheless, the facts and features, that we do have for the land beast, are another example, of how the Bible can accurately portray an entity, with a minimal amount of information. The facts and features, that we are given by the prophecy are:
1. The land beast comes from the earth. Up until now all the beasts have come from the sea, with one exception. ‘The new manifestation of satanic power’ that gives the sea beast its deadly wound, came from the ‘bottomless pit’ (see Rev. 9:1, 2, 11, 12). And now we have another exception, the second beast of Rev. 12, comes up, out of the land. The emphasis on the ‘paternity’ of these beasts is focusing on their origins. The sea beasts originate in populous places. ‘The new manifestation of satanic power’ originates directly from Satan’s abode (the abyss). The second beast of Rev. 13, comes from neither of those places. Therefore, it must have a different and separate origin. Because it is having separate and different origins to the previous beasts, we can confidentially conclude, that this land beast does not originate from a populated area of the world, and that it was not originally satanic.
2. When it pertains to the origins of the other beasts, we know what the sea represents and we know what the abyss/bottomless pit represents, therefore we should also know what the earth represents. If we return to the story of the woman fleeing from the dragon, we are told something significant about the woman and the earth:
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…. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. Rev. 12:6, 15, 16.
Here we are told that the wilderness was a place of refuge for God’s people. A place in the earth, where God could protect and nurture His people. And when the dragon pursued the woman (symbolized by floods of water), the earth helped the woman by thwarting the attempts to destroy the woman (soaking up the water). Therefore, the earth enters into Bible prophecy, as a symbol for refuge and as a place prepared by God, for the sustenance of His people.
3. This conclusion, that the earth must represent a place for God’s people, is further reinforced by the fact, that the land beast had two horns like a lamb. The Lamb is obviously a reference to Christ (see Jn. 1:29). The horns represent political power, or a nation (see Rev. 17:12). Therefore, the symbolism is telling us that this ‘beast’ or political power would be a place of refuge for God’s people and that it would be ‘Christ-like’ in its appearance or character.
4. There is a time element included in the prophecy, that helps us to identify the land beast. The sea beast is given 1260 years of supremacy, which ends in the year 1798. It is at the end of these 1250 years, that John says, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth…” Which means that, the land beast would be rising into power, at approximately the same time, that the sea beast receives its deadly wound. John Wesley, was one Bible student living at this time, who saw the connection between the 1260 years and the rise of the land beast. Contemplating Bible prophecy and current events in the year 1754, he wrote:
He is not yet come: tho’ he cannot be far off. For he is to appear at the end of the forty-two months of the first beast. Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament (1791 ed.), Vol. 3, p. 299.
5. Unfortunately, the Christ-like nature of this beast would not endure for long, because immediately after mentioning that it would be Christ-like, it is stated, “and he spake as a dragon.” In other words, the land beast went from being Christ-like to dragon-like. It would change from having the character of Christ to having the character of Satan.
Identifying the Land Beast
When we consider all the facts and features pertaining to the sea beast, we have to conclude, that there is only one religio/political power that it can be. The same applies to the land beast, all the facts and features point to the fact, that the land beast must be the United States of America. The prophecy provides us, with five facts and features, that we need to identify the land beast. Do these five facts and features apply to the United States of America? In other words, is the arrival of the United States, on the world stage, a fulfilment of the Revelation 13, prophecy about the land beast?
Considering the first point, did the American nation begin in a relatively unpopulated part of the world? Yes, it did. Compared to where the other beasts came from, the land beast established itself, in an unpopulated part of the world and it rose to power there.
Considering the second point, was America founded as a refuge for God’s people? Yes, it was. The original European settlers were called Pilgrims. They were people who were trying to live as closely to Biblical principles as they could, according to what they understood. They were fleeing persecution, for their faith, in the ‘Old World.’ It was generally considered that the ‘New World’ would be a place for religious liberty and safety. In time it became recognized as the great bastion of Protestantism and Republicanism. Ellen White commenting on what God’s purpose for the United States was, wrote:
…the land which the Lord provided as an asylum for His people, that they might worship Him according to the dictates of their own consciences, the land over which for long years the shield of Omnipotence has been spread, the land which God has favored by making it the depository of the pure religion of Christ. Ellen White, Maranatha, p. 179.
America, even now, has a tradition of being a refuge for the poor, the persecuted and the weary. The text engraved on the statue of liberty expresses this tradition perfectly:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
Considering the third point, was America originally Christ-like? Yes, it was. The original settlers were Bible believing Christians, trying to follow Jesus as best they understood. This resulted in a high standard of morality which permeated the whole society. In 1892 a court case, between the Church of the Holy Trinity and the US Government, reached the Supreme Court of the United States. In handing down their unanimous decision in favour of the church. Justice Brewer cited point after point, indicating that Christianity was the basis of all law, in the United States and that Christianity permeated the whole of US society in general. After citing all the evidence, he wrote:
These, and many other matters which might be noticed add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation. Supreme Court, majority (and unanimous decision), written by Justice David Josiah Brewer, Church of the Holy Trinity, vs United States, 1892.
Considering the fourth point, did America rise to power approximately at the same time that the sea beast received its deadly wound? Yes, it did? The Americans needed the vital assistance of France in order to win their war (1775-1783) against Great Britain, after which they never needed external assistance again. After winning independence, America rapidly became a great power, eventually superseding all other great powers.
There are only four distinguishing features given to identify the land beast (the fifth point is a matter of subjective judgment). All four of these distinguishing features have been fulfilled by the arrival of the United States of America on the world stage. However, there is additional information provided by the prophecy, which provides more evidence, that the land beast must be the United States of America.
Speaking like a Dragon?
The fifth point is a part of the prophecy, providing further evidence, that the land beast must be America. The prophecy says that the formerly Christ-like power, would become dragon-like. It would change sides in the war. It would no longer fight for the Kingdom of God, but for the kingdom of anti-Christ. The conversion from Christ-like to dragon-like would be slow and subtle. It would be difficult to observe and to measure. Nevertheless, the founding fathers give us some tantalizing insights into how it would happen.
When Benjamin Franklin was leaving Independence Hall, after everything had been decided and voted on, a woman shouted out to him, “Doctor Franklin, what kind of government do we have?” Franklin replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it!” The founding fathers were intellectual giants, compared to most of our leaders today. They understood that the Republic and the constitution that underwrote it, would always be in danger. And the danger was chiefly from within, not without. They knew that they were creating a nation that would only function correctly if the people behaved correctly. The United States that they created, was established for righteous people who could be relied upon to act righteously. For example, John Adams wrote:
Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. John Adams, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/john_adams_391045
Other co-founders shared the same concerns for the future of the Republic, such as James Madison and Benjamin Franklin again giving the same warning couched in different terms:
I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations…This danger ought to be widely guarded against. James Madison, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/james_madison_135445
Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters. Benjamin Franklin, https://www.azquotes.com/quote/456979
Abraham Lincoln shared the same views about the dangers facing the nations as the founding fathers:
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. Abraham Lincoln, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2310-america-will-never-be-destroyed-from-the-outside-if-we
In the 1830’s, Christian pastors from Great Britain visited the United States and toured the country. They published an account of what they witnessed, including this comment:
Universal suffrage, whatever may be its abstract merits or demerits, is neither desirable nor possible, except the people are the subjects of universal education and universal piety. America will be great if America is good. If not, her greatness will vanish away like a morning cloud. Andrew Reed and James Matheson, A Narrative of the Visit to the American Churches by the Deputation from the Congregational Union of England and Wales, 2nd ed. vol. 2, (London, 1836), p. 226.
The sentiments expressed by Reed and Matheson, are very similar to the founding fathers. Namely, the American Republic would survive if the people were well educated and pious. If these two things were maintained, then America would be good (Christ-like) and great. In other words, it would be a great Christian Nation. However, if those two things were not maintained then America would cease to be a great Christian Nation.
So, are the American people well educated and are they pious? If we believe that this is the case, that they are well educated about their Christian and constitutional heritage, and they are righteously living and defending those principles, then we have to conclude that America is not speaking like a dragon. However, if we conclude that the American education system is failing the American people, dumbing them down and teaching them principles that are the opposite of Christian principles and practices, and as a consequence the people are not pious and righteous, then we have to conclude that America is speaking like a dragon.
The Land Beast works for the Sea Beast
There is more in the prophecy, about the land beast, that points to the fact that this beast is a symbolic representation of America. The prophecy tells us that the land beast will collaborate with the sea beast:
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. Rev. 13:12. King James Version.
However, what sort of collaboration is it? What does the phrase ‘before him’ mean? Some Bibles translate this to mean ‘in the presence of.’ Other translations translate it in the sense of ‘having the same power that the sea beast used to have.’ There is yet a third interpretation, meaning ‘to work for the interests of the sea beast.’ The following are three examples of translations that focus on the third understanding of Rev. 13:12:
It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf and compels the earth and those who live on it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. Rev. 13:12. Christian Standard Bible.
And he exercises all the authority of the first beast on behalf of him, and he causes the earth and those who live in it to worship the first beast whose fatal wound had been healed. Rev. 13:12. Lexham English Bible.
He exercised all the ruling authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, the one whose lethal wound had been healed. Rev. 13:12. New English Translation.
When one considers the context of verse 12, and when one considers the contemporary relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and America, it is apparent that, ‘on its behalf’ – ‘on behalf of him’ – ‘on his behalf’ – is the more appropriate understanding (for which a later study will provide more evidence for). This conclusion, is further reinforced by what the prophecy says next:
It works great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of men; and by the signs which it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast, it deceives those who dwell on earth, bidding them make an image for the beast which was wounded by the sword and yet lived; and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast should even speak, and to cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Rev. 13:13-16.
We can see from the context that the land beast works, on behalf of the sea beast. The land beast performs miracles, it deceives, it creates an image and it causes the image to ‘speak’ – all for the purpose, of getting the people of the earth, to worship the image of the sea beast, and if they refused to worship the image, slaying those who resist worshipping the image. The land beast does all these things, for the benefit of the sea beast. It is helping the sea beast, to heal its deadly wound – to bring it back to world supremacy.
Fire from Heaven
All the major events recorded in Revelation, are antitypes for types that appear in the Old Testament. The prophecy tells us, that the land beast will bring fire down from heaven. Do we find an incident in the Old Testament involving fire from heaven? Yes, we do! The type in the Old Testament, is the occasion when the prophet Elijah had the final showdown with Ahab and Jezebel’s priests of Baal, on Mt. Carmel (see 1 Kings 18:17-46). The confrontation on Mt. Carmel was about who was the true God, Baal or Yahweh? – who should one worship, Baal or Yahweh? The true God would be the one, which sent fire from heaven. The priests of Baal danced around their altar all day, and no fire came down. Their frustration, escalated into a frenzy of flesh cutting and flowing blood, but still no fire came down from heaven. When it was Elijah’s turn, he poured copious amounts of water all over his altar, and a simple prayer resulted in fire coming down from heaven and burning up the sacrifice, the altar and the water. The true God was revealed by fire.
It the last days, something similar is going to occur, only in reverse. During the several thousand years, of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, a pattern has emerged. The pattern that has been established is, that Satan counterfeits everything, that God does. Therefore, if God is going to settle a major issue/incident by fire, then Satan will do the same. And the counterfeit will almost certainly be over the same issue, involving a similar incident.
The prophecy tells us, that the land beast will persuade/compel people to worship the image to the beast. In order to persuade/compel people to worship the image, it will bring fire down from heaven. This is the same scenario as occurred in Elijah’s time. However, there is a difference, the roles are reversed. In Elijah’s time the priests of Baal could not bring fire down from heaven. In the last days, the present-day priests of Baal, will bring fire down from heaven. [Note: Why the present-day priests of Baal are able to do this, is dealt with in chapter 32].
The fire from heaven in Elijah’s time was literal fire. In the last days, the fire from heaven could be literal fire, but it is also possible, that it will not be literal fire. On this particular point we are dealing with unfulfilled prophecy. When the prophecy is fulfilled we will know what it is. In the meantime, there is much speculation in the religious market place about what the fire from heaven could be – it is speculated that it could be a nuclear blast, laser beams from satellites, a fake alien invasion, etc. etc.
The Image to the Beast
Since the land beast is going to compel the people of the world to worship the image to the beast, it behooves us to know what the image to the beast is, or is going to be. Once again, this is a type and antitype scenario, and the Old Testament type will shed much light on the Revelation antitype.
The type for the antitype is found in Daniel’s Book. When the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar heard the interpretation of his dream, there was one aspect of the interpretation, that he did not like. He did not like the part of the interpretation that stated that his empire would eventually fall, and another empire would take its place. Nebuchadnezzar’s empire was symbolized by the head of gold, after the head of gold, there would be empires of silver, bronze, iron and iron mingled with clay. This image, made up of these metals would last until the end of time. Therefore, Nebuchadnezzar, not being willing to see his empire disappear into history, made an image made of gold from the head to its toes, indicating that he wanted his empire to endure forever. In order to facilitate the endurance of his empire, Nebuchadnezzar demanded that all should worship the image (in order to invoke the approval of the gods), on pain of death (see Dan. 3:1-30). This incident on the plains of Sura, in Daniel’s time is the type. The rules governing the principle of type and antitype, tell us that something very similar will happen in the future.
Every empire fights for its aggrandizement and/or its survival. Nebuchadnezzar thought he had found a clever way of preserving the power and prestige of his empire. America therefore, in keeping with the type, will build an image to the beast, to preserve the power and prestige of its empire. Ever since WW II, America has enjoyed hegemony over the rest of the world. However, in recent times, this hegemonic status has been under threat – from a variety of sources and for a variety of reasons. The survival of the empire is at stake. At some point in the not to distant future, America is going to create an image to the Roman Catholic Church. This image is going to be wrought out in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, it will preserve and promote both the Catholic Church and the empire. The people of the world will worship the image. Compelling the people of the world to worship the image, will facilitate the Roman Catholic Church, with the assistance of America, ruling the world, for a short time. This hegemony over the world is expressed as a woman riding the beast in Revelation 17 & 18.
The Image and the Progressive Kingdom
The image to the sea beast is best understood in relation to an important Biblical principle – ‘the progressive nature of God’s Kingdom principle.’ God’s Kingdom is progressive (see chapter 3, of the ‘Historical Prologue to the Book of Revelation). God’s Kingdom is on a journey. It had a starting point and it has a finishing point. God’s Kingdom has a purpose and a goal. The goal is the restoration of what was lost. The image of God was lost in the Garden of Eden – the goal of God’s Kingdom is to restore the lost image of God in mankind:
The Lord Jesus Himself has bridged the gulf that sin has made, and the whole scheme of redemption has been put in operation to restore the moral image of God in man. Ellen White, Our High Calling, p. 12.
In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). But “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,” that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, “he cannot see the kingdom of God. Ellen White, The Great Controversy (1888 ed.), p. 467.
Satan is the destroyer; the Lord Jesus Christ is the Restorer. All who connect themselves with God will have His moral image restored in him. Ellen White, Medical Ministry, p. 240.
When the image of God is recovered and reproduced in mankind, the Kingdom will have attained its goal. The Book of Revelation, is the story of the goal being restored. This is why America is in the Book of Revelation. The story of America is a major part of the story. The original purpose of America, was to be a God ordained Republic where the restoration of the image of God, could be fostered and shared with the world at large. It has been Satan’s intention from the beginning to thwart the fostering of the image of God. Therefore, he has been working diligently, to destroy the ability of the American Republic to be incubation nation, that would bring forth a people changed into the image of God. The enemy’s goal is to thwart God’s original plan for America and convert the nation to foster his satanic image – when he succeeds America will speak like a dragon.
There is a reason why the United States of America is in the Book of Revelation prophecies. The reason is, because it is the first and only Republic established on earth, based on Biblical principles and designed for Christian people. To understand the fullness of the story of the United States of America, it has to be framed within the playing out of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. Originally, America was to be a refuge for God people, a place that would protect and sustain God’s people. However, over time the enemy has managed to infiltrate and subvert and corrupt the descendants of the original Christ centred people. This degradation and degeneration has led the people to slowly change their ‘image’ – the people formerly Christ-like, become Dragon-like. In so doing they abandon the Christian principle of the original republic and adopt all the principles and practices of the sea beast. In so doing they create and image to the sea beast, and because of their devotion to this ‘image’ they worship it.
It is this development within the United States of America coupled with its collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, that creates the last days scenario described in Revelation 17 & 18.
[Note: the change of image from Christ-like to Dragon-like, is not just a change in the spiritual nature of the people. The Dragon-like nature of the people will result in specific policies and practices and laws put in place to promote the agenda of the sea beast. These laws and policies and practises will be enforced which are enforced by the land beast, on behalf of or for the benefit of the sea beast. Thus, the Dragon-like nature of the people will manifest itself in satanic regulations and laws, which will bring the controversy between Christ and Satan, to its climax and conclusion. These developments will be dealt with in later chapters].