Ellen White, HWA, & the “Two-Horned Beast”

By COGwriter

There was a major split between those in the Churches of God (COGs) and the Seventh-day Adventists (SDAs) in the mid-1800s (please see the article 5. The Sardis Church Era)–mainly due to the influence of Ellen White.

This is still a major area of disagreement.  In today’s post, I would like to show the teachings of Ellen White and Herbert W. Armstrong on the subject of the “two-horned beast” of Revelation 13.

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).

That view is not only held by Ellen G. White, but by others who are in the SDA movement.  For example, 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 book, 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 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 Corinthians 11:14, 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 prophe…and the woman that rode the beast are all one and the same thing — the 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!

The IMAGE of the Beast

Now this great church, which is a twofold government,deceived the people by SAYING THEY SHOULD MAKE AN IMAGE OF THE BEAST. Note it (Rev. 13:14) — that is HOW this church deceived people. What is an IMAGE? The dictionary says a “likeness,” a“copy, representation, model, semblance, counterpart.” So here is a great CHURCH saying, “Let us make a MODEL, or counterpart, of the civil Roman GOVERNMENT” — for that is what the BEAST is — a PAGAN GOVERNMENT.

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

Hence this one major prophetic difference between Ellen White and HWA, and hence a major difference between the SDAs and COGs.

FWIW, like the COG, even scholars in the Roman Catholic Church teach that the false prophet is the two-horned beast who came up from the earth:

By the beast, then, coming up out of the earth, he means the kingdom of Antichrist; and by the two horns he means him and the false prophet after him (Hippolytus. On Christ and Antichrist, chapter 49).

…the false prophet (the beast of the earth) (Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, p.108).

While Catholic prophecy allows for the fact that the false prophet could be a pope (or more precisely an antipope–one who claims to be pope, sits as pope, but, in this case, cannot be a “true” pope because of demonic influence), the COG position is that a pope/antipope will fulfill that role.

Three articles of related interest may include:

SDA/COG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The COG is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, and differences in approaching doctrine.
5. The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D.  The COG/SDA split is mentioned in this article.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? This documented article answers those questions.

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