The second beast of the thirteenth chapter evidently represents a government established upon the principles in harmony with the character and teaching of the Lamb (Matt. 22:21), as indicated by " two horns like a lamb," but the fact that " he spake as a dragon " shows that at some time he disregards these principles, and following the example of Babylon, becomes a persecutor of the church. Inasmuch as the United States of America is the only organized government mentioned in prophecy since the deliverance from Egypt, which has disavowed a union of church and state, there need be no uncertainty in the interpretation of this lamblike symbol. At the same time we are now watching the rapid progress of the efforts " to make America Catholic," and it is evident that the union of apostate Protestantism with the Roman Church may not be far distant. When this has been accomplished, then the persecuting power of Babylon will be seen in this land, which has been known as the land of liberty.
The Gospel for the Last Generation
Of great significance is the prophecy of Revelation 14:6-16, in which is announced the proclamation of the everlasting gospel to the last generation before the second advent. We are dealing with our own time and with our own work in the interpretation of this portion of Scripture. What are the conditions which we now face in the world? Four centuries after the Reformation of the sixteenth century, Protestantism has largely ceased to protest against papal errors or the religion of modern Babylon, and has now to a large degree robbed Christ of His divine attributes and of all claim to the supernatural; has substituted an evolutionary philosophy for the saving grace of God; has substituted the principles of psychology for the power of the endless life; has almost wholly discredited the Messianic hope as being contrary to the claims of modern science; and is looking for a gradual betterment of the race as the fulfillment of all the divine predictions concerning the establishment of the kingdom of God in the earth. This generation is largely losing any real sense of sin, and consequently feels little need of any atoning work, and gives little thought to the question of a day of judgment. In short, as has been well stated, " the modern man is not worrying about his sins."
At the same time the power and influence of the Papacy has been rapidly increasing since the World War, and it has been a long time since the prospect for the healing of the deadly wound was so favorable. A notable event was the holding of the Eucharistic Congress in Chicago in 1926, when the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass was celebrated with a pomp and grandeur never before seen in America, and many professed Protestants " wondered after the beast." It is useless to prophesy, but the indications point to a time not far distant when the religion of papal Rome, which is the religion of ancient Babylon masked under Christian names and forms, shall become the recognized religion of this country, and when the mark of the beast will be enforced by law. Then the union between apostate Protestantism and Spiritualism and Roman Catholicism will have become operative, if not organically established, and there will be only two classes,— those who accept the mark of the beast, and those who refuse it at the risk of their lives.
Three Important Features of the Gospel
Just at this time, and as a protest against all this apostasy, conies this second advent movement with its presentation of the everlasting gospel in which essential truths are emphasized which have either been neglected or perverted or rejected. The three great themes of the gospel message which are at the foundation of this reform movement are plainly indicated in Revelation 14:6-16, and they constitute the effective remedy for the present apostasy. They are the mediatorial work of Christ in its final phase, " the hour of His judgment is come," the original Sabbath, the sign of sanctification through the creative power of a personal God, as opposed to an evolutionary philosophy, " worship Him that made; " and the imminent second advent, " and on the cloud I saw one sitting like unto a Son of man."
The solution of the whole problem of sin is involved in the mediatorial work of Christ, in which the Son of God is presented as the mediator of the new covenant, acting as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary in fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy relating to the cleansing of the sanctuary (Dan. 8:13, 14), instead of the counterfeit system of mediation which has been established by modern Babylon. The gospel of the Sabbath is the good news of rest from sin, that rest of soul provided for us through the mediatorial work of Christ, the rest of faith, as interpreted to us in the fourth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews. This is the necessary experience in preparation for the coming of the Lord.
The hope of the church through all the ages is consummated in the personal second advent and the related events. Thus the threefold message includes the whole gospel presented in such a setting as to meet the special demands of the last generation, and
with a fullness which will satisfy the deepest longing of the soul for complete deliverance, and " make ready for the Lord a people prepared for Him." Luke 1:17.
The Closing Chapters of Revelation
The seven last plagues, the judgment of the great harlot, and the final down-fall of modern Babylon, presented in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth chapters of Revelation, lead us on to the marriage supper of the Lamb, the millennium, and the close of the gospel age. And so we come to the realization of the eternal purpose of
God which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. The cross is triumphant, and the throne of God and of the Lamb is established upon this earth, which has been the scene of the great controversy between Christ and Satan. This triumph will be realized in history at the revelation of the Son of man from heaven, and so the Messianic hope is still the polestar of the church. This is clearly emphasized in the closing words of this book: " He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen: come, Lord Jesus." Rev. 22: 20.
The City of God
" The Bible opens the prospect of which history has led us to despair. It is one long account of the preparation of the city of God. . . . The Jerusalem which is above is, in relation to the Lord, the bride, the Lamb's wife,' and in relation to man, it is the mother of us all.' In its appearance the revealed course of redemption culminates, and the history of man is closed: and thus the last chapters of the Bible declare the unity of the whole book, by completing the design which has been developed in its pages, and disclosing the result to which all preceding steps have tended."
A Closing Word
It is hoped that the brief suggestions which have been made concerning the gospel message in the books of Daniel and the Revelation will stimulate all those who have read them to a more thorough study of these important portions of Scripture which are so full of meaning for us and for our time.
Washington, D. C.