SDA Ellen G. White and the Two-Horned Beast

James and Ellen White
James and Ellen White


Are there different prophetic views between the SDAs (Seventh-day Adventists) and the COGs (Churches of God)?


The following gives an idea of what the late SDA Ellen White taught about the two-horned beast of Revelation 13:

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

(As cited in 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 COGs differs completely from those 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, masquerading 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 acknowledged 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 ambassadors 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 be 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. (Armstrong HW. Who is the Beast?)

Or to put it more succinctly, the COG teaches that the two-horned beast represents the final (and revised) large church run by the false prophet claiming the papacy, while the other beast is the revived Roman Empire (which we normally believe is the one 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 COG position, the reason that it is right is 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 of Revelation chapter 13, 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.

While we in the Continuing Church of God observe the seventh-day Sabbath, we have many differences with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Basically, we do not accept that Ellen White was a prophetess. Hence, we do not accept her interpretations as being above scripture. Nor do we believe that the USA is the two-horned beast of Revelation 13.

Those who accept her views on this will not understand what is happening in the USA until it is too late.

Church History

Last week, I found the following in a paper from Andrews University (an SDA university). It started off with a question from Greco-Roman apologists along with their understanding:

“Where was your church before the Reformation? Show us a people who before Calvin and Luther had the same beliefs as you. . . . Let us see the uninterrupted link which binds you to the Church of the first centuries and through her to the apostles and to Jesus Christ. This conjunction should exist. But it is impossible for you to point to such a link. You are introducing a new movement; you have a beginning. It is possible to assign to your movement a precise date; and this simple fact condemns you.” (Dumoulin, op. cit., I, 28, 29; Rébelliau, op. cit., p. 345; Jean- Baptiste Dantecourt, Remarques sur le livre d’un potestant, intitulé Considerations sur les lettres circulaires de l’assemblke du clergk de France, de  l’annke 1682 . . . Paris, 1683: as cited in Walther D. WERE THE ALBIGENSES AND WALDENSES FORERUNNERS OF THE REFORMATION? Andrews University Seminary Studies. 1986 (2), 5, p. 199)

It is true that the Protestant movement and the SDA church both had a post-New Testament date. Plus, they also cannot find their beliefs in the first couple of centuries of the Christian church era.

More on that can be found in the free online book Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism .

But what about the Continuing Church of God?

We do not consider Protestant Reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin to be Christians, but SDAs do.

While some point to a declaration date in the 21st century to try to callously dismiss our continuity in the CCOG consider:

  • We do not hold to the unbiblical views of Luther or Calvin.
  • Various early Christian leaders, including those called Apostolic Fathers, documented our beliefs in the first centuries of Christianity.
  • We can trace our leaders into the first centuries.

For more on history, check out the free online book: Continuing History of the Church of God.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

SDA/CCOG Differences: Two Horned Beast of Revelation and 666 The genuine Church of God is NOT part of the Seventh-day Adventists. This article explains two prophetic differences, the trinity, differences in approaching doctrine, including Ellen White. Did Ellen White make prophetic errors? Did Ellen White make false prophecies? Here is a version in the Spanish language: SDA/COG Diferencias: La bestia de dos cuernos de Apocalipsis y 666. Here is a sermon in the English language: CCOG and SDA differences and similarities.
Seventh-day Adventist President Ted Wilson’s Comments on the Remnant Church Ted N. C. Wilson spoke on the SDAs striving to be the “remnant church”, but what do the related scriptures actually teach?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differs from Protestantism How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants (as well as SDAs), is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! [Português: Esperança do salvação: Como a igreja do deus difere da maioria de protestantes]. Several related sermon are also available: Protestant, Baptist, and CCOG History; The First Protestant, God’s Command, Grace, & Character; The New Testament, Martin Luther, and the Canon; Eucharist, Passover, and Easter; Views of Jews, Lost Tribes, Warfare, & Baptism; and How Does the Church of God Differ from Protestantism? These sermons also cover materials not in the book.
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.
What is Armstrongism? Did Herbert W. Armstrong raise a new faith or promote the original Christian faith? Here is a link to a related video: What is Armstrongism? Are Some Dismissive of Original Christianity?
Does the CCOG have the confirmed signs of Acts 2:17-18? Does any church have the confirmed dream and prophetic signs of Acts 2:17-18? Should one? Here is a link in the Spanish language: ¿Tiene la CCOG confirmadas las señales de Hechos 2: 17-18? Here is a link in the French language: Est-ce que l’Église Continue de Dieu confirme les signes d’Actes 2:17-18?
Church of God Leaders on Prophets Have there been prophets throughout the church age? Are any supposed to be around in the last days? What have COG leaders stated or written about prophets? Here is a link to a related sermon: Church of God Leaders on Prophets.

Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
How To Determine If Someone is a True Prophet of God There are many false prophets. How can Christians determine who is a true prophet? There is also a sermon-length video titled How to determine if someone is a true prophet of God. Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Cómo determinar si alguien es un verdadero profeta de Dios?
The Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D. Discusses early history of the Seventh Day Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, and COG-7th Day.
The Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D. The old Radio Church of God and old Worldwide Church of God, now the remnant of that era is basically the most faithful in the Church of God, like who hold to the beliefs and practices of the Continuing Church of God.
USA in Prophecy: The Strongest Fortresses Can you point to scriptures, like Daniel 11:39, that point to the USA in the 21st century? This article does. A related sermon is titled: Do these 7 prophesies point to the end of the USA?
Who is the King of the West? Why is there no Final End-Time King of the West in Bible Prophecy? Is the United States the King of the West? Here is a version in the Spanish language: ¿Quién es el Rey del Occidente? ¿Por qué no hay un Rey del Occidente en la profecía del tiempo del fin? A related sermon is also available: The Bible, the USA, and the King of the West.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?

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