This is in response to points 2 and 3 with which I agree:
Before diving into a point of contention, I must disclose that I am a firm adherent of the seventh-day Sabbath, the sanctuary message as it relates to Christ’s ministry on behalf of humanity, and the inspiration of Ellen G. White. With that said …
Is the United States in prophecy?
We have been told “for it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little” (Isaiah 28:10), and from the field of academia we have been instructed to take from the text (exegesis) instead of reading into the text (eisegesis). Neither of these principles have been applied in the interpretation of Revelation 13 by Seventh-day Adventist theologians and scholars.
Taking from the text and adding line upon line, what identity is unearthed for the second beast of Revelation 13?
The beast that rises out of the earth has horns like a lamb, it is lamb-like. In the fifth chapter of Revelation standing before God’s throne is a Lamb as if it had been slaughtered, and with the Lamb’s blood people from every tribe, language, people, and nation are ransomed for God to serve him as priests. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him he declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The second beast of Revelation is not Jesus, but it looks like Jesus; this beast is a counterfeit. Jesus foretells His impersonation: Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’—do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:23-27). The beast rising out of the earth is an allusion to another impersonation, King Saul’s encounter with the Witch of Endor and the supposed spirit of Samuel the prophet (1 Samuel 28). The ascended spirit was not Samuel because it is written: you shall die (Genesis 2:17); the dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any who go down into silence (Psalm 115:17); and, the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing … their love and their hate and their envy have already perished; never again will they have any share in all that happens under the sun … there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6,10).
The lamb-like beast performs signs and wonders even causing fire to fall from the sky. At the showdown on Mount Carmel fire was not permitted to fall on the sacrifice to Baal (1 Kings 18), but when the restraining power is removed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) consuming fire will fall. As Jesus foretells the signs and wonders that will be before His return, so an inspired Paul reiterates Jesus’ prediction, “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). As there is a genuine, “He makes his angels winds, His servants flames of fire” (Hebrews 1:7), so there is a counterfeit, fallen flames of fire that materialize. Paul also says, “Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
When Revelation was written an understanding of the Greek gods would have been cultural knowledge. 666 is the number of the Sun and is seen on magic squares and amulets called Sigilla Solis – Sun Seals (666 is calculated by adding 1 through 36; 666 is the Sun’s number because the Sun possesses the sum of the heavenly powers represented by the numbers 1 through 36; to the King of Tyre, Yahweh says, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” [Ezekiel 28:12]; Yahweh’s sign/seal/signet is the seventh-day Sabbath [Exodus 31:16-17; Ezekiel 20:12,19-20]); the god of the Sun is Apollo; Apollo in Hebrew is Abaddon which means destroyer or destruction (Revelation 9:11). Apollo presides over civil and religious law; by the power vested in the beast of 666 all are to be destroyed who do not worship its image. (The first day of the week was named Sunday in honor of Apollo. Was this commemoration the precursor to the image for the beast?) Peter says of Satan, “Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8); and, in His taunt of the King of Babylon, Yahweh says, “Those who see you will stare at you and ponder over you, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, who made the world like a desert and overthrew its cities, who would not let his prisoners go home?’ ” (Isaiah 14:16-17). Not to be overlooked, Job’s story provides an up-close account of Satan’s destructive nature.
The beast that rises out of the earth speaks like a dragon. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation the “great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world.” The beast’s words and actions will oppose the declarations of God and the Lamb. Speaking about the devil, Jesus says, “He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). From his mouth the dragon makes war with “those who keep the commandments of God and hold the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:15-17). The second beast of Revelation 13 speaks like a dragon because it is the dragon - it is Satan.
To find the United States in prophecy someone has to read into the text of Revelation 13. (Some of masonic persuasion believed the United States was the New Atlantis, the Phoenix rising from the ashes. This might be the origin for the belief that the United States is the second beast of Revelation 13. William Miller was a former mason and it is probable that other Adventist pioneers had masonic backgrounds.) Following the principles of exegesis and “line upon line,” the beast that comes up out of the earth is the supernatural manifestation of Satan as Christ.