SDAs and COGs on the Two-Horned Beast

James and Ellen White
James and Ellen White


James and Ellen White established the Seventh-day Adventist church and based many doctrines on visions that Ellen White claimed to have.  

The Seventh Day Adventist Position on the Two Horned Beast

The SDAs primarily base their position on the two-horned beast from interpretations of Ellen G. White whom they consider to have been a prophetess (we in the Churches of God reject the doctrine of her being a divine prophetess). Often, in modern times, SDAs sometimes refer to her as “Sister White” and frequently when quoting her writings sometimes say “Inspiration” explains or teaches something without mentioning her name (Plain View. Jan-Mar 2005).

The basic SDA position in every written document that I have seen is that the two horned beast in Revelation 13 is referring to the United States of America.

In a recent article, here is what one SDA-affiliated publication wrote:

Prophecy Speaks
_____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. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him . . . He causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Verses 11, 12, 15-17).
++++It is well known, particularly in Adventists circles, that this two-horned non-royalist power represents our blessed country, the United States of America.2 No doubt you’re also familiar with the reasons. Unlike the other beasts of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13, this two-horned beast comes up out the earth, the new World3–the domain away from the “sea”–the old world.4 The two crownless horns show two non-royalist rulers, while their lamb-like appearance forecasts youthful innocency–Christian–in profession pure, gentle, and harmless, established upon the principles of peace and liberty, but later one speaks as a dragon. Then, the face that he has the power to dictate who should buy and who should not, shows that he represents a nation that leads in controlling the world’s wealth and industry.
++++Having only two horns, not ten, the beast therefore depicts a local, not a universal government. Nevertheless, he will influence all Christendom to “make an image to the beast, while had the wound by a sword, and did live.” That is, he will engineer a worldwide government set-up, re-enthroning the principles of the church-state rule of Ecclesiastical Rome; a system now characterized by Catholicism, apostate Protestantism, and Capitalism. “The prediction that it will speak ‘as a dragon,'” wrote Inspiration, “and exercise ‘all the power of the first beast,’ plainly foretells the development of the spirit of intolerance and persecution that was manifested by the nations represented by the dragon and the leopard-like beast.”5
++++Put still another way, it means that America will urge the world to reestablish an apostate religious-political system after the model of Western society, with principles, imagining those of the Dark Ages. (Verse 12). Note that it did not say that the Two-horned beast urged the world to worship the “head”–the Papacy, (more about this another time) but the “beast”–the system–Catholicism, apostate Protestantism, and Capitalism, topped off with Spiritualism! This is when, “Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government…”6

2. Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 440-442
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, p.451

(Vance MP. The Future of Democracy. Plain View, Jan-Mar 2005, pp.5-6).

The following is from one of Ellen White’s most popular books (note the prophet she is referring to is the Apostle John):

Says, the prophet, “I beheld another beast coming out of the earth and he had two horns like a lamb.” Revelation 13:11…One nation, and only one. meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America…

“And he had two horns like a lamb.” The lamb-like horns indicate youth, innocence, and gentleness, fitly representing the character of the United States when presented to the prophet as “coming up” in 1798…But the beast with lamb-like horns “spake as a dragon…”…

But what is the “image to the beast”? and how is it to be formed? The image is made by the two-horned beast, and is an image to the first beast. It is also called the image of the beast. Then 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…

“The beast”…is the first…beast of Revelation 13,–the papacy (White E.G. Will America Survive? 1888; Reprint, 1988 by Inspiration Books East, Jemison (AL), pp. 420-423,425).

This view is not only held by Ellen G. White and the Plain View, SDA minister A. Jan Marcussen, in his book, National Sunday Law, also states the United States is the two-horned beast that comes from the earth (pp. 2-3) and cites Ellen G. White’s Cosmic Conflict, p.388.

I should add, however, that A. Jan Marcussen does consider that a Pope is the 666 of Revelation 13:18 (pp. 21-22, 27) and other SDAs may as well–and the context of Revelation 13 suggests that the two horned beast is involved with the one whose number is 666. But we in the Churches of God do not believe that the Bible teaches that the first beast represents the papacy.

The Church of God Position on the Two Horned Beast

The position held by many in the Churches of God (COGs) differs completely that held by the Seventh Day Adventists and its leaders. The following are taken from a booklet written in 1960 by Herbert W. Armstrong, titled Who is the Beast?:

The “Two-horned Beast”

Satan has his civil government on earth. He gave it “his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
_____He also has an ecclesiastical organization — a CHURCH —as his instrumentality in deceiving the world. In 2 Corinthians11:14, we find Satan is transformed into an “ANGEL OF LIGHT.”According to Revelation 12:9 and 20:3, he has DECEIVED the whole world. How?
_____Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan has HIS ministers who pretend to be the ministers of righteousness,but are actually false apostles, deceitful workers, calling themselves the ministers of Christ! Therefore they claim to be CHRISTIAN ministers. They are the MANY, not the few, because all prophecies say it is the MANY, not the few, who have been DECEIVED. Satan’s main labor for six thousand years has been the deceiving of the world. Now turn to the 13th chapter of Revelation, beginning with verse 11:
_____“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth;and he had two horns like a LAMB, and he spoke as a DRAGON.”
_____ Who — what — is this “beast”?
_____ Some say it will be the United States aligned with the papacy. Some believe it is a federation of Protestant churches. Others declared it the Pan-American Union. MOST church organizations ignore this very vital subject completely, or say frankly, “WE DO NOT KNOW!”
_____ Why this ignorance, when the answer is so plain? Yes,why indeed?

The Bible Interpretation

Remember, first, THE BIBLE INTERPRETS ITS OWN SYMBOLS! When men put their OWN interpretation on Bible symbols, their conclusions are always false!
_____Notice, after John saw one BEAST, which we have proved to be the ROMAN EMPIRE, he now sees ANOTHER — a different — beast rise up. We have learned that “BEAST” is a symbol for a kingdom, or government (Dan. 7:17, 23), and the term represents either the kingdom or its leader, as the case may be (Dan. 7:17, 23).
_____So this other beast with the two horns is the prophecy of another kingdom or government. In these prophecies, God pictures to us the earthly Gentile governments as the wild beasts whose characteristics describe them. This two-horned beast appeared as a Lamb. But actually it spoke as a DRAGON— its true characteristic — for “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matt. 12:34).
_____What does the word “Lamb” symbolize, in the Bible? The answer is, CHRIST (John 1:29; Rev. 17:14). And “DRAGON” is a symbol of the DEVIL (Rev. 12:9, 20:2).
_____So here is some kingdom or government masquerading as that of CHRIST, or the KINGDOM OF GOD, but actually being a government of SATAN!
_____Christ did not set up a government (kingdom), at His first appearing on earth. After His resurrection the disciples asked Him if He would at that time restore the KINGDOM (Acts1:6); but He did not. The Church is not the Kingdom. Because some thought it was, Jesus spoke the parable of Luke 19:11-27 to show that He first must ascend to His Father’s throne in heaven to receive the royal power to become King of kings, to set up the world-ruling Kingdom of God.
_____But Satan is a deceiver, and he has deceived the world into supposing his (Satan’s) CHURCH, and system of churches, is the Kingdom of God.
_____Now notice carefully (Revelation 13) verse12:
_____“And he exerciseth ALL the power of the first beast before him.”The first beast is the Roman Empire. Here is ANOTHER government, also controlled by Satan, pretending to be CHRIST’S government, the Kingdom of God, taking, exercising, using, employing, ALL the power of the first kingdom, the Roman Empire.
_____Now when? “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” (verse 12). So, it was AFTER the deadly wound (of A.D.476) was healed. It was healed when Justinian brought about the restoration of the Empire in the West in A.D. 554.Consequently this RELIGIOUS government took over, exercised,by ruling, all the power of the Roman Empire AFTER A.D. 554 when it was called the Holy Empire and, later, the Holy Roman Empire.

Did a Church Government Rule Rome?

So here we have pictured a government — a RELIGIOUS government — appearing as CHRIST’S government, masquer-ading as the KINGDOM OF GOD, actually ruling the civil Roman Empire, AFTER A.D. 554. Was there such a government? Indeed there was! And only ONE!
_____Prior to 554, Justinian had written a letter to the pope, acknowledging his supremacy in the West. And when he restored the empire in the West in 554, the popes dominated the Western Empire from Rome. The Roman Empire, thus restored to continue until 1814 (1260 years), became known later as “The HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE.” We read in history that the popes were accepted as the “Vicars of Christ,” which means “IN PLACE OF Christ.” The teaching was that the Second Coming of Christ had occurred — Christ had returned to earth, as KING of kings and as LORD of lords, in the person of the popes. The millennium had begun.
_____For the entire 1260 years, the emperors accepted the popes as such, ruling the nations with a “rod of iron” as Christ is to do WHEN He really comes. Consequently they acknowl-edged the supreme religious power of the popes. The Church was organized as a GOVERNMENT — as a dual, two-fold government (symbolized by its TWO horns or kingdoms — for“horns” symbolize kingdoms also — see Dan. 7:24). It embodied CHURCH government, and it also was a STATE, or civil government, always occupying a certain amount of territory over which it, alone, ruled as an independent sovereign state— in addition to actually ruling over the vast civil kingdom called the Holy Roman Empire. Even today, it is a separate,independent, sovereign STATE. Most nations send ambassa-dors to the Vatican, just as they do to the United States, or to Italy, Britain or the USSR.
_____Notice, this second beast was to wield power over ALL THE EARTH, because it was to CAUSE the earth, and them that dwell therein, to WORSHIP this first beast “whose deadly wound was healed” after 554. In most any encyclopedia, under article “MILLENNIUM,”you will read the history of this very event — of how the“Holy Roman Empire” was called the “Kingdom of God upon earth.” They claimed the MILLENNIUM had arrived!
_____Notice verse 14: “And 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.” Verse 13 says “he doeth great wonders.”
_____So notice these three points:
_____(1) This beast performs miracles.
_____(2) He performed them “in the sight of” the Holy Roman Empire, or the first beast.
_____(3) With them he DECEIVED all nations.

All Nations Deceived

Where else, in the Bible prophecies, do we find these same identical facts?
_____First, note Rev. 17. Here is pictured a woman. In II Cor.11:2, Eph. 5:22-27, and elsewhere, we learn that “woman” is a symbol for CHURCH…

_____Now notice the last battle of “the great day of God Almighty.” It is in Rev. 19:19-20. Here is pictured the beast —“and WITH him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, WITH WHICH HE DECEIVED them that had received the MARK of the beast, and them that had worshipped HIS IMAGE.
_____”Note it! Compare with the two-horned beast of Rev.13:11-17.
_____(1) BOTH perform miracles.
_____(2) BOTH perform them before, or in the sight of, the beast.
_____(3) WITH them, BOTH the false prophet and two-horned beast DECEIVE them that have the MARK of the beast — cause them to receive that mark (Rev. 13:16).
_____Certainly, then, this two-horned beast, the false prophet, …and the woman that rode the beast are all one and the same thing — the {final revised} ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH with its pope, its other bishops, its priests and deacons, comprising the hierarchy of order!
_____Now did the two-horned beast deceive the very ones who have the MARK of the beast? He did! Continue in Rev. 13:
_____“And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth” — HOW?“…saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an IMAGE to the beast, which had the wound by the sword and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and CAUSE as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. AND HE CAUSETH ALL, BOTH SMALL AND GREAT,RICH AND POOR, FREE AND BOND, to receive a MARK in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell [trade, earn a living, hold a job], save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (verses 14-17).
_____So, notice: This two-horned beast not only CAUSED people to receive the MARK of the beast (compare Rev. 19:20), but also perpetrated the forming of an image that caused the martyrdom of saints. As many as would not worship this image were caused to he killed. This false church did not kill them — she CAUSED them to he killed. History shows that the civil government of the Roman Empire martyred millions who were declared “anathema from Christ,” or “heretics” by the church.
_____Compare with the WOMAN who rode the Beast in Rev. 17:“And I saw the woman DRUNKEN WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS, AND WITH THE MARTYRS OF JESUS’ (verse 6).
Certainly these are one and the same!   (Armstrong HW. Who is the Beast?)

Or to put it more succinctly, the COG teaches that the two-horned beast represents the false prophet claiming the papacy who will for a while run a large compromised church, while the other beast is the revived Roman Empire (which we normally believe is the going to arise out of the current European Union).

Why the Basic Position of HWA is Right

Although I feel that Herbert W. Armstrong adequately explained the Living Church of God (LCG) position, the reason that it is right because the Bible itself is to be the source of doctrine (II Timothy 3:16).

When I first read the first SDA article quoted (which was 1/29/05), I was wondering what part of the Bible they were quoting. And while I knew it had to be from the Book of Revelation, I was a little unsure of the chapter (the article stated neither). I thought that was peculiar, and then I considered it misleading.


Because in order to not expose the fallacy of the SDA position, I believe the author of that initial article (M.P. Vance) may have intentionally left out several verses (though to his credit, A. Jan Marcussen did mention them in his booklet).

Here is the entire passage that should have been quoted,

11 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.
12 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.
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And 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; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Revelation 13:11-18, KJV).

I intentionally left the verse numbers in there to demonstrate that the initial SDA article by M.P. Vance:

1) Left out 1/2 of verse 12, even though the article suggests they quoted it
2) Left out verse 15, even though the article suggests they quoted it
3) May have intentionally left out verses 13-15 as it would show some of the fallacy of the SDA position
4) May have intentionally left out verse 18 as it would show some of the fallacy of the author’s position
5) Did not mention the book (Revelation) nor the chapter (13) that these verses were in, thus making it much more difficult for the casual reader to see if these things were so.

HWA explained adequately about verses 13-15, so I will not repeat that here.

LCG, and the COGs that agree with HWA on this, are right.  I believe that this is another doctrine that the SDAs hold which is in scriptural error.

Furthermore, what will happen to the USA is very different than what the SDAs teach–the USA will be gone near the start of the Great Tribulation.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

SDA/LCG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The Living Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains a few prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White.
Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo (non-Dutch) Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? What will happen to Jerusalem and the Jews in Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Will the Anglo-Nations be Divided and Have People Taken as Slaves? Will the lands of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand be divided? What about Jerusalem? What does Bible prophecy teach? Are there non-biblical prophecies that support this idea? Who will divide those lands? Who will end up with the lands and the people?
When Will the Great Tribulation Begin? 2011, 2012, or 2013? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before the Great Tribulation in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? Is this the time of the Gentiles? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord? Who are the 144,000?
Who Was Herbert W. Armstrong? How is He Viewed Today? Includes quotes from the 1973 edition of The Autobiography of Herbert W. Armstrong and explains who he was and how he should be viewed today.
15 Accusations and Truthful Responses About Herbert W. Armstrong He, even after his death, keeps being improperly maligned–here is the truth on these matters.
There are Many COGs: Why Support the Living Church of God? This is an article for those who wish to more easily sort out the different COGs. It really should be a MUST READ for current and former WCG/GCI members or any interested in supporting the faithful church. It also explains a lot of what the COGs are all about.
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

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