At this time-- when the papal power went into captivity-- another power, symbolized by "another beast," was seen "coming up," having "two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." A few specifications given of this beast of Rev. 13:11-17 will serve to show what power it represents:
In what power are all the above specifications fulfilled? There is but one in which they all meet, and that one is the United States of America. Note carefully the specifications above, and see how literally they are fulfilled in our own country.
a. What two characteristics, above all others, apart from its supernatural power-- its real wealth and resources-- gave to the religion of Christ power and influence?
b. What two characteristics above all others-- apart from its wealth and resources-- gave to this government its power and prestige?
The answers to these two questions are simple, easily found, and readily understood.
One of the prominent characteristics of Christianity is the EQUALITY OF MAN. It is thus most positively stated:
"There is no respect of persons with God." Rom. 2:11.
"God that made the world and all things therein, . . . hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth." Acts 17:24-26.
The same principle was to hold true in the Christian church:
"But be not ye called rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren." Matt. 23:8.
A second great and prominent characteristic of Christianity is what we may call LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE, or the right and privilege of every man to worship God, or not to worship, how or when he will, providing he does not interfere with the equal rights of his fellow-men. This principle is sometimes termed religious liberty. The gospel of Christ compels no one. It is not "Thou shalt," or "Thou shalt not." Its language is, "Whosoever will," "let him come." Rev. 22:17.
Let us quote a chosen servant of the King of Heaven: "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray [entreat] you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men." 2 Cor. 5:20, 11.
And that resolute apostle who was once so ready to use carnal weapons, writes, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts." "Neither as being lords over God's heritage." 1 Peter 2:11; 5:3. How much different from the spirit and utterances of the great apostate church, which claims Peter as its head! "Not for that we have dominion [lordship] over your faith," says Paul, "but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand." 2 Cor. 1:24. Our Savior thus speaks: "And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world. . . . The Word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." John 12:47, 48. How different is all this from those apostate churches with their "lords spiritual," their councils and tribunals, sitting in judgment on men's consciences, and prosecuting by civil law those who do not agree with their decrees!
Look all over the religions of the past-- pagan or Jewish, Mohammedan or so-called Christian (papal)-- and in not one of them do we find these two particulars-- the EQUALITY OF MAN and the LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE. The curse of caste, the creation of offices, haughty, imperious, and ambitious hierarchies, religious dogmas, enforced legislative enactments or royal edicts, one or all are present in all false religions, including all perverted forms of the Christian religion.
Both of these God-given principles are embodied in the charters of our liberty in this country, so far as they can be embodied in any earthly government. The first principle, equality of man, is found in that document which sounded the birth note of American freedom, and which made Americans free men pertaining to civil matters:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Declaration of Independence.
The second principle is not only embodied in the word "liberty" in the Declaration of Independence, but our forefathers built more surely than this. The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States reads: "Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."
Thus in the fundamental law of this government, man's freedom to worship or not to worship God, or his conceptions of God, were preserved and protected intact. We know of no other country in the world having been established on these two eternal principles. These principles have been the magnetic power which has drawn to our shores from the intolerant and autocratic governments of the Old World the persecuted and oppressed millions. They found here religion "without a pope, and a State without a king," and the privilege of worshipping God according to their own consciences and understanding of God's Word.
"As U. S. president Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act
(RFRA) in the idyllic setting of the White House rose garden on November 16, 1993, he
mused that 'the power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can
happen.' The president meant, of course, that he was signing into law the most important
piece of religious legislation since the Bill of Rights. And this through an almost unthinkable
coalescence of interest groups." Adventist Review, Dec. 9, 1993, p. 6.
"As U. S. president Bill Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the idyllic setting of the White House rose garden on November 16, 1993, he mused that 'the power of God is such that even in the legislative process miracles can happen.' The president meant, of course, that he was signing into law the most important piece of religious legislation since the Bill of Rights. And this through an almost unthinkable coalescence of interest groups." Adventist Review, Dec. 9, 1993, p. 6.
"And he 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...." Rev. 13:14. Yes, "miracles can happen" and even "through an almost unthinkable coalescence of interest groups." [i.e., Roman Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and other organizations]. But keep ever mindful that "miracles" like these are not always performed by our Heavenly Father. Be not deceived!
"The Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35), and Revelation, chapter 13, reveals that the United States, in alliance with the apostate church will be foremost in the final persecution of God's commandment-keeping people. "National apostasy will end in national ruin."