The United States in the Light of Prophecy



IN further predicting the work of the two-horned beast, the prophet says: “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.” This language is urged by some to prove that the two-horned beast must be some power which holds the reins of government in the very territory occupied by the first beast; for, otherwise, how could he exercise his power? USLP 89.1

If the word “before” denoted precedence in time, and the first beast passed off the stage of action when the two-horned beast came on, just as Babylon gave place to Persia, which then exercised all the power of Babylon before it, there would be some plausibility in the claim. But the word rendered “before” is enopion which means, literally, “in the presence of.” And so the language, instead of proving what is claimed, becomes a most positive proof that these beasts are distinct and contemporary powers. USLP 89.2

The first beast is in existence, having all its symbolic vitality, at the very time the two-horned beast is exercising power in his presence. But this could not be, if his dominion had passed into the hands of the two-horned beast; for a beast in prophecy ceases to exist when his dominion is taken away. What caused the change in the symbols from the lion, representing Babylon, to the bear representing Persia? Simply a transfer of dominion from Babylon to Persia. And so the prophecy explains the successive passing away of these beasts, by saying that their lives were prolonged, but their dominion was taken away; that is, the territory of the kingdom was not blotted from the map, nor the lives of the people destroyed, but there was a transfer of power from one nationality to another. So the fact that the leopard beast is spoken of as still an existing power, when the two-horned beast works in his presence, is proof that he is, at that time, in possession of all the dominion that was ever necessary to constitute him a symbol in prophecy. USLP 89.3

What power then does the two-horned beast exercise? Not the power which belongs to, and is in the hands of, the leopard beast, surely; but he exercises, or essays to exercise, in his presence, power of the same kind and to the same extent. The power which the first beast exercised was a terrible power of oppression against the people of God. And this is a further indication of the character which the two-horned beast is finally to sustain in this respect. USLP 90.1

The latter part of the verse, “And causeth the earth and them which dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed,” is still further proof that the two-horned beast is no phase nor feature of the papacy; for the first beast is certainly competent to enforce his own worship in his own country, and from his own subjects. But it is the two-horned beast which causes the earth (the territory out of which it arose and over which it rules) and them which dwell therein, to worship the first beast. This shows that this beast occupies territory over which the first beast has no jurisdiction. USLP 90.2

“And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on earth in the sight of men.” That we are living in an age of wonders none deny. Time was, and that not two score of years ago, when the bare mention of achievements which now constitute the warp and woof of every-day life, were considered the wildest chimeras of a diseased imagination. Now, nothing is too wonderful to be believed, nor too strange to happen. Go back fifty years, and the world with respect to those things which tend to domestic convenience and comfort, the means of illumination, the production and application of heat, and the performance of various household operations; with respect to methods of rapid locomotion from place to place, and the transmission of intelligence from point to point, stood about where it did in the days of the patriarchs. USLP 91.1

Suddenly waters of that long stream over whose drowsy surface scarcely a ripple of improvement had passed for three thousand years, broke into the white foam of violent agitation. The world awoke from the slumber and darkness of ages. The divine finger lifted the seal from the prophetic books, and brought that predicted period when men should run to and fro, and knowledge should be increased. Then men bound the elements to their chariots, and reaching up laid hold upon the very lightning and made it their message-bearer around the world. Nahum foretold that a certain time the chariots should be with flaming torches and run like the lightnings. Who can behold in the darkness of the night, the locomotive dashing over its iron track, the fiery glare of its great lidless eye driving the shadows from its path, and torrents of smoke and sparks and flame pouring from its burning throat, and not realize that ours are the eyes that are privileged to look upon a fulfillment of Nahum’s prophecy. But when this should take place, the prophet said that the times would be burdened with the solemn work of God’s preparation. USLP 92.1

“Canst thou send lightnings,” said God to Job, “that they may go and say unto thee, Here we are?” If Job were living to day, he could answer, Yes. It is one of the current sayings of our time that Franklin tamed the lightning, and Prof. Morse taught it the English language. USLP 92.2

So, in every department of the arts and sciences, the advancement that has been made within the last half century is without precedent in the world’s history. And in all these the United States take the lead. These facts are not, indeed, to be taken as a fulfillment of the prophecy, but they show the spirit of the age in which we live, and point to this time as a period when we may look for wonders of every kind. USLP 93.1

The particular wonders to which the prophecy refers are evidently wrought for the purpose of deceiving the people; for verse 14 reads, “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast.” This identifies the two-horned beast with the false prophet of Revelation 19:20; for this false prophet is the power that works miracles before the beast, “with which,” says John, “he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image,” the identical work of the two-horned beast. We can now ascertain by what means the miracles in question are wrought; for Revelation 16:13, 14, speaks of spirits of devils working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, and these miracle-working spirits go forth out of the mouths of certain powers, one of which is this very false prophet, or two-horned beast. USLP 93.2

Miracles are of two kinds, true and false, just as we have a true Christ and false Christs, true and false prophets, and true and false apostles. By a false miracle, we mean not a pretended miracle, which is no miracle at all, but a real miracle, a supernatural performance, wrought for the purpose of deceiving, or of proving a lie. The miracles of this power are real miracles, but are wrought for the purpose of deception. The prophecy does not read that he deceived the people by means of the miracles which he claimed that he was able to perform, or which he pretended to do; but which he had power to do. They, therefore, fall far short of the prophecy who suppose that the great wonders wrought by this power were fulfilled by Napoleon when he told the Mussulmans that he could command a fiery chariot to come down from heaven, but never did it, or by the pretended miracles of the Romish church, which are only shams, mere tricks played off by ungodly and designing priests upon their ignorant and superstitious dupes. USLP 94.1

Miracles, or wonders, such as are to be wrought by the two-horned beast, and withal, as we think, the very ones referred to in the prophecy, are mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10. Speaking of the second coming of Christ, he says, “Whose coming is after (kata, at the time of) the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” These are no slight-of-hand performances, but such a working of Satan as the world has never before seen. To work with all power and signs and lying wonders, is certainly to do a real and an astounding work, but one which is designed to prove a lie. USLP 94.2

Again, the Saviour, predicting events to occur just before his second coming, says, “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Here, again, are wonders foretold, wrought for the purpose of deception, so powerful that, were it possible, even the very elect would be deceived by them. USLP 95.1

Thus we have a series of prophecies setting forth the development, in the last days, of a wonder-working power, manifested to a startling and unprecedented degree, in the interests of falsehood and error. All refer to one and the same thing. The earthly government, with which it was to be especially connected, is that represented by the two-horned beast, or false prophet. The agency lying back of the outward manifestations was to be Satanic, the spirits of devils. The prophecy calls for such a work as this in our own country at the present time. Do we behold anything like it? Read the answer in the lamentation of the prophet: “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth, and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Stand aghast, O Earth! Tremble, ye people, but be not deceived. The huge specter of evil confronts us, as the prophet declared. Satan is loosed. From the depth of Tartarus, myriads of demons swarm over the land. The prince of darkness manifests himself as never before, and, stealing a word from the vocabulary of Heaven to designate his work, he calls it — Spiritualism. USLP 95.2

1. Does spiritualism, then, bear these marks of Satanic agency? USLP 96.1

1st. The spirits which communicate claim to be the spirits of our departed friends. But the Bible, in the most explicit terms, assures us that the dead are wholly inactive and unconscious till the resurrection; that the dead know not anything; Ecclesiastes 9:5; that every operation of the mind has ceased; Psalm 146:4; that every emotion of the heart is suspended; Ecclesiastes 9:6; and that there is neither work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where they lie. Ecclesiastes 9:10. Whatever intelligence, therefore, comes to us professing to be one of our dead friends, comes claiming to be what, from the word of God, we know he is not. But angels of God don’t lie; therefore these are not the good angels. Spirits of devils will lie; this is their work; and these are the credentials which at the very outset they hand us. USLP 96.2

2ndly. The doctrines which they teach are from the lowest and foulest depths of the pit of lies. They deny God. They deny Christ. They deny the atonement. They deny the Bible. They deny the existence of sin, and all distinction between right and wrong. They deny the sacredness of the marriage covenant; and, interspersing their utterances with the most horrid blasphemies against God and his Son, and everything that is lovely, and good, and pure, they give the freest license to every propensity to sin, and to every carnal and fleshly lust. Tell us not that these things, openly taught under the garb of religion, and backed up by supernatural sights and sounds, are anything less than Satan’s masterpiece. USLP 97.1

2. Spiritualism answers accurately to the prophecy in the exhibition of great signs and wonders. Among its many achievements, these may be mentioned: Various articles have been transported from place to place by spirits alone. Beautiful music has been produced, independent of human agency, with and without the aid of visible instruments. Many well-attested cases of healing have been presented. Persons have been carried through the air by the spirits in the presence of many others. Tables have been suspended in the air with several persons upon them. And, finally, spirits have represented themselves in bodily form and talked with an audible voice. A writer in the Spiritual Clarion speaks as follows of the manner in which spiritualism has arisen, and the astounding progress it has made: — USLP 97.2

“This revelation has been with a power, a might, that if divested of its almost universal benevolence, had been a terror to the very soul; the hair of the very bravest had stood on end, and his chilled blood had crept back upon his heart at the sights and sounds of its inexplicable phenomena. It comes with foretokening, with warning. It has been, from the very first, its own best prophet, and step by step it has foretold the progress it would make. It comes, too, most triumphant. No faith before it ever took so victorious a stand in its infancy. It has swept like a hurricane of fire through the land, compelling faith from the baffled scoffer and the most determined doubter.” USLP 98.1

3. Spiritualism answers to the prophecy in that it had its origin in our own country, thus connecting its wonders with the work of the two-horned beast. Commencing in Hydesville, N.Y., in the family of Mr. John D. Fox, in the latter part of March, 1848, it spread with incredible rapidity through all the States. The estimates of the number of spiritualists in this country at the present time, only twenty-six short years from its commencement, though differing somewhat from each other, are nevertheless such as to show that the progress of spiritualism has been without a parallel. Thus, Judge Edmonds puts the number at five or six millions (5,000,000 or 6,000,000); Hepworth Dixon, three millions (3,000,000); A.J. Davis, four millions, two hundred and thirty thousand (4,230,000); Warren Chase, eight millions (8,000,000); and the Roman Catholic Council at Baltimore, between ten and eleven millions (10,000,000 to 11,000,000). Of those who have become its devotees, Judge Edmonds said as long ago as 1853: — USLP 98.2

“Besides the undistinguished multitude, there are many now of high standing and talent ranked among them — doctors, lawyers, and clergymen, in great numbers, a Protestant bishop, the learned and reverend president of a college, judges of our higher courts, members of Congress, foreign ambassadors, and ex-members of the United States Senate.” USLP 99.1

This statement was written more than twenty years since; and from that time to this, the work of the spirits has been steadily progressing, and spreading among all classes of people. USLP 99.2

And from this nation, spiritualism has gone abroad into all the earth. Queen Victoria is almost an insane devotee of the new philosophy. The late Emperor and Empress of France, the late Queen of Spain, the Roman Pontiff, and the Emperor and Grand Dukes of Russia are all said to have sought to these spirits for knowledge. Thus it is working its way to the potentates of the earth, and fast preparing to accomplish its real mission, which is, by deceiving the world with its miracles, to gather the nations to the battle of the great day of God Almighty. USLP 99.3

Here we pause. Let this work go on a little longer, as it has been going, and as it is still going, and what a scene is before us! Having seen so much fulfilled, we cannot now draw back and deny the remainder. And so we look for the onward march of this last great wonder-working deception, till that is accomplished which in the days of Elijah was a test between Jehovah and Baal, and fire is brought down from heaven to earth in the sight of men. Then will be the hour of the power of darkness, the hour of temptation that is coming upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth. Revelation 3:10. Then all will be swept from their anchorage by the strong current of delusion, except those whom it is not possible to deceive — the elect of God. USLP 100.1

And still the world sleeps on, while Satan, with lightning fingers and hellish energy, weaves over them his last fatal snare. It is time some mighty move was made to waken the world and rouse the church to the dangers we are in. It is time every honest heart should learn that the only safeguard against the great deception, whose incipient and even well-advanced workings we already behold before our eyes, is to make the truths of God’s holy and immutable word our shield and buckler. USLP 100.2