Bible Truth Versus SDA Truth: USA and the False Prophet
SDA "Truth" about USA and the False Prophet
Seventh-day Adventists identify the Lamb-like beast, the "false prophet", and the "Image of the Best" of Revelation 13 as the United States of America. Below are the main SDA proofs:
1. The United States of America is the lamb-like beast of Revelation 13 - The lamb-like beast is seen arising from the "earth," which Seventh-day Adventists interpret as the New World. Revelation Seminars surmises:
"...water symbolizes areas of the world that have a large population. 'The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues' (Revelation 17:15). Therefore, the earth represents the opposite. It means that this new nation would arise in an area of the world that had been virtually unpopulated before the late 1700s."1
2. The Beast's horns are symbols of the U.S. government - Revelation Seminars concludes:
"Horns represent kings and kingdoms, or governments (Daniel 7:24; 8:21). In this case, they represent America's two governing principles: civil and religious liberty. These two governing principles have also been labeled 'republicanism' (a government without a king) and 'Protestantism' (a church without a pope)."2
3. The United States and the Papacy are end-time super-powers that will rule the world - Revelation Seminars notes:
"Revelation chapter 13 is clear. Two superpowers will emerge in the end time: the United States of America and the papacy."5
4. The United States will join the Papacy and become Satanic. In one of the most truly bizarre interpretations of Bible prophecy, Revelation Seminars claims the United States will join the Papacy to persecute Seventh-day Adventists:
"America will become a persecuting power that will force people to go against their conscience, as did papal Rome... The United States will lead the nations of the world in forcing worship of, and allegiance to, the papal Antichrist. ... Jesus labels Protestant America of the end time a "false prophet" (Revelation 19:20; 20:10) because it will appear spiritual and trustworthy but instead will be satanic in its conduct. ... The United States will make an image to the beast by legislating religious practice. It will pass laws requiring worship and force people to either obey them or face death. ... America will combine civil government and apostate Protestantism in a "marriage" that will support the papacy. It will then influence all the nations of the world to follow her example. Thus, the papacy will gain worldwide support. ... The United States, as head of this international movement, will next influence the nations of the world to impose a universal death sentence upon all who refuse to worship the beast or his image."3
Believe it or not, SDAs actually teach this as one of their amazing facts!
To summarize, the United States will:
- Persecute those who do not obey its religious laws
- Force the world to worship the pope (whom they refer to as the Antichrist)
- Legislate laws supporting the papacy
- Will influence the world to impose a universal death sentence on Sabbath keepers
Seventh-day Adventists interpret much of the book of Revelation to be a Revelation about their own church, often portrayed as the innocent victim of the evil beast powers. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the "universal death sentence" is the penalty imposed on the innocent Adventists for keeping the seventh day Sabbath:
"The final points of contention will be worshiping and obeying the beast and receiving his mark--Sunday as a holy day--versus worshiping and obeying Christ and receiving His mark--His holy seventh-day Sabbath. When the issues become clear and people are forced either to worship on Sunday and break the Sabbath or to be killed, those who then choose Sunday rather than Sabbath will be, in essence, worshiping the beast."4
Problems with SDA "Truth" about USA and the False Prophet
1. Does Revelation describe a beast power that arises on the North American continent?
Revelation 13:11 says the lamb-like beast arose from the earth, in contrast to the other beast of Revelation 13, which arose from the sea. Adventists reason that since the sea equates to peoples and nations, the earth must equate to an absence of peoples and nations. However, the context of the passage proves this to be a false assumption. Notice all the references to "earth" (Greek ge) in the surrounding Scriptures.
|Verse in Revelation
|And his [Dragon's] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth (12:4)
||Earth is the abode of Satan's angels
|...he [Dragon] was cast out into the earth (12:9)
||Earth is the abode of Satan
|Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you... (12:12)
||The "earth" is inhabited (just as the "sea" is) and is the abode of the devil
|...the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth... (12:13)
||Earth is the abode of the Dragon
|...all the world (Greek ge) wondered after the beast. (13:3)
||Apparently the earth is populated, because the people in the earth follow the beast
|And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him... (13:8)
||People that "dwell upon the earth" worship the beast
|...and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast... (13:12)
||People dwell in the "earth"
|...And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth... (13:13)
||People dwell on the "earth"
|...the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (14:3)
||The 144,000 came from the "earth"
|...to preach unto them that dwell on the earth... (14:6)
||People "dwell on the earth"
By reading all the usages of the word "earth" that appear within 25 verses of the verse in question, there is certainly no indication the "earth" refers to an empty continent. In fact, the 50 verses surrounding Rev. 13:11 mention the "earth" 13 times, and here is what is said about the "earth":
- It is the habitation of the fallen angels
- It is the habitation of the Devil
- It is the habitation of people, both righteous (the 144,000) and wicked (those who follow the beast)
Thus, the very first identifying mark of the United States as the lamb-like beast is shown to be groundless.
2. What do the lamb-like beast's horns symbolize?
Revelation Seminars is correct in stating that horns represent "kings or kingdoms." Then, immediately following this, they contradict their very words by claiming the horns represent "America's two governing principles: civil and religious liberty." Then, as if they are not sure of themselves, they suggest the "two governing principles" could be "republicanism" and "Protestantism." Which is it?
The fact is, Seventh-day Adventists are not even certain what the horns represent. There is no precedent anywhere in Scripture to identify horns as "governing principles." It is simply guesswork, trying to make a symbol fit a pre-conceived idea.
3. Is the United States capable of forcing the whole world to worship the beast?
First, notice the horned lamb on the right. Adventists often like to portray the lamb-like beast as a North American Bison, thus tricking people into associating it with the United States of America. The fact is, the beast is described as having features like a lamb. Unlike all the meat-eating beasts of Daniel and Revelation, this creature is a vegetarian. It represents a docile entity. As far as animals go, lambs are weak, unaggressive, and are followers, not leaders. This creature is the absolute weakest creature illustrated in Bible prophecy. This is hardly a fitting symbol of the supposed super-power it is said to represent. It is a more apt symbol of a weak, docile, timid nation.
Second, is the United States willing or able to enforce a Sunday law upon the entire world? The United States has recently spent over 18 years in a war in the small, poverty-stricken and thinly populated nation of Afghanistan. They were never able to successfully subdue even this single, weak nation. If the mighty military power of the United States is not capable of controlling a single, small nation, then how on earth are they going to control the entire world and force the entire world to pass a Catholic Sunday law?
Communist China now boasts the largest military machine on planet earth, complete with advanced hypersonic nuclear missiles capable of striking any city in the United States. Communist China is a rapidly growing super-power that repeatedly ignores the wishes of the United States. How likely is it that this atheistic nation will pass a law enforcing Sunday-worship?
India, like China, has a population of over a billion people, and like China, the vast majority are non-Christian. Like China, India has nuclear weapons. How likely is it that Hindu India is going to obey the United States' command to kill Sabbath-keeping Christians?
In Europe, the trend is away from capital punishment, which is viewed as archaic, inhumane, and ineffective by many nations in Europe. Furthermore, Europe is primarily post-Christian, and pays little attention to the wishes of the papacy. The European Union has an economy that more than rivals that of the United States, and many nations in Europe, such as Russia, France, and the United Kingdom have well-equipped militaries and plenty of nuclear weapons. The nations of Europe are not going to be intimidated by the United States into passing any laws requiring a death penalty.
Pakistan is another nation with nuclear weapons. It is extremely doubtful this Moslem nation would have any interest in enforcing a Christian law in their country, and it is unlikely they could be intimidated to do so. In fact, it is unlikely any of the Moslem nations, representing well over a billion people, would pass such a law.
Finally, last but not least, the country of Israel is a nation of Sabbath-keepers. Israel also is rumored to have not only nuclear weapons, but sophisticated missile technology. It seems extremely unlikely the United States could coerce Israel to kill Sabbath-keepers, since they would have to kill a large segment of their population.
Catholicism, on the other hand, can hardly be termed a "super-power." The Catholic Church is on a rapid decline throughout much of the world. Europe has largely moved into a post-Christian era and Moslems will soon outnumber Christians in many European nations. Former Catholic strongholds in Central and South America are rapidly being overrun by Pentecostal and Evangelical churches. Even Seventh-day Adventists have made major inroads into Latin America. Catholicism is already a minority in some Latin American countries, and if current trends continue, soon most Latin American countries will be primarily Evangelical. Catholicism has been on a steady decline for over a century, and there is no end in sight. The largest and fastest growing religion on the planet is now Islam, not Catholicism. With every passing year, Catholicism loses relevance, prestige, and power.
In conlcusion, the SDA idea of the United States joining with the papacy to enforce its decrees on the whole world seems less and less likely with every passing day.
4. Will the United States join the Papacy and persecute Seventh-day Adventists?
The fact that this doctrine is even taught is enough to question the sanity of this organization. This is nothing less than an amazing piece of fiction. There is nothing anywhere in the book of Revelation about either the United States or Sunday laws. There is no evidence that any non-SDA group wishes to persecute or kill Seventh-day Adventists over the Sabbath. Most people could care less that Adventists go to church on Saturday. Adventists have concocted one of the greatest conspiracy theories of all times, and have denigrated and maligned the United States of America with absolutely no evidence to prove their wild conspiracy claims. For further insight into this subject, please read: National Sunday Law: Fact or Fiction.
Bible Truth about USA and the False Prophet
First, this beast is different from the other beasts of Bible prophecy. Whereas the other beasts are vicious predators, the lamb is the gentlest of animals. Whereas the Lion, Leopard, and Dragon are noted for their strength, the lamb is noted for its meekness. This would seem to indicate a nation of a more refined nature, one that rejects conquest, and seeks to live peacably with others.
Second, this beast is seen rising at about the same time as the seven-headed, ten-horned beast of Revelation 13. In our study on the seven-headed beast we determined this beast best represents the pagan Roman empire. Rome was first established in 753 BC, and was ruled by seven kings from 753 BC to 509 BC when it became a republic. Later, the 10 Caesars would rule Rome up until the fall of Jerusalem. Interestingly enough, during the same era, the Jews re-established their kingdom in 537 BC, after Cyrus granted them freedom to return to Palestine. The Jews gradually returned from throughout all the nations of the earth (Roman Empire) where they had been scattered.
Since the book of Revelation was written about events that were "shortly" to come to pass, it is doubtful John was referring to events and nations thousands of years in the future. He was referring to powers his first century readers would be familiar with: The Roman Empire and Judaism.
Therefore, the gentle two-horned beast represents the Jewish nation. Just as the two-horned Ram of Daniel 7 symbolized the dual-nation nature of the Medo-Persian empire, so the two-horned lamb-like beast symbolizes the dual-nations of Israel and Judah, now combined into one power. Judaism is no more a super-power than a lamb is a predator. On the contrary, it wraps itself in the garb of religiousity and gentleness. However, although lacking military might, this beast has a voice that speaks as a dragon, as demonstrated at the trial of Christ, when the dragon's voice was heard speaking through the Jewish priests and rulers, crying out to the Roman authorities, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"
Third, the beast is also referred to as a "false prophet", reminding first century readers of Jesus' warning about "false prophets" that "will arise, and will mislead many." (Matt. 24:5,11) Such a symbol of a false prophet would accurately describe the Jewish nation, whose religious leaders apostasized from the truth, fought against the true prophet, Jesus Christ, and attempted to destroy the kingdom He was establishing upon this earth. Jesus even warned of "false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing." (Matt. 7:15)
As David Chilton so eloquently puts it:
"The Jewish leaders, symbolized by this Beast from the Land, joined forces with the Beast of Rome in an attempt to destroy the Church (Acts 4:24-28; 12:1-3; 13:8; 14:5; 17:5-8; 18:12-13; 21:11; 24:1-9; 25:2-3,9,24). Thus the Land Beast exercises all the authority of the First Beast. Apostate Judaism became completely subservient to the Roman State. This is emphasized by Johns statement that the False Prophet exercised the Beast's authority in his presence. This is in direct contrast to the function of the true prophet, who stood "before the Lord," in God's presence, under His authority and blessing. The true prophet lives in the presence of God, taking his orders from Him and doing His pleasure; the False Prophet stands before the Beast, whose interpreter and servant he is. ...
"The False Prophet also performed great miracles in the service of the Empire... Jesus had warned that 'false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, the very elect' (Matt. 24:24). This was fulfilled numerous times as the period of Israel's 'last days' progressed to its climax. The book of Acts records several instance of miracle-working Jewish false prophets who came into conflict with the Church (Acts 8:9-24) and worked under Roman officials (Acts 13:6-11). ...
"Israel had rejected Christ, and is 'marked' with the seal of Rome's total lordship; she has given her allegiance to Caesar, and is obedient to his rule and law. Israel chose to be saved by the pagan state, and persecuted those who sought salvation in Christ. The New Testament gives abundant testimony of this fact. The Jewish hierarchy was involved in a massive, organized attempt to destroy the Church by both deceit and persecution. In pursuit of this diabolical goal, they united in a conspiracy with the Roman government against Christianity."6
The Image of the Beast
|The Divine Order
||The Satanic Parody
|Son (Image of the Father)
||Beast (Image of the Dragon)
|True Prophet (Jesus Christ)
||False Prophet (Anti-Christ)
|Church of God (Image of the Son)
||Synogogue of Satan (Image of the Beast)
"The leaders of Israel worked to enforce worship, not of the true God, as in the Christian churches, but of the Synagogue itself--the Image of the Beast."7
Days of Vengeance has been called the "finest, fullest commentary on the book of Revelation ever written." This ground-breaking verse-by-verse study of the book of Revelation written by a leading Christian theologian provides substantial evidence revealing that much of Revelation was fulfilled in the first century A.D. This book is available online in PDF format by clicking here. This book is also available for purchase at http://www.amazon.com.
1. Revelation Seminar, lesson #21, "The USA in Bible Prophecy."
6. David Chilton, The Days of Vengeance, pp. 337-342.
7. Ibid., p. 343.