And I saw another beast, this one coming up out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and began to speak like a dragon. Rev 13:11.
Many students of the Bible have applied this beast to the United States of America. They point to a number of elements in the text. For one thing, this beast comes up out of the earth. Whenever earth is contrasted with sea in the Book of Revelation (the first beast comes up out of the sea), it is a positive element, not an enemy of God. This is further supported by the fact that the earth helped the woman in Revelation 12, when she was being attacked by the dragon.
A positive beginning for this beast is also suggested by its lamb-like horns. Twenty-eight times in the Book of Revelation the Lamb is a reference to Jesus Christ. The twenty-ninth time is in this text here. There is something lamb-like about the beast when it first appears, but its opposition to the dragon fades and over time it begins to speak like the dragon. The land beast becomes the decisive player on the world stage, bringing about an End-Time world unity in opposition to the true people of God (Rev 13:12-18).
Twenty-five years ago the thought that America could become the dominant player on the world stage seemed ludicrous. From Vietnam to Watergate to stagflation to Jimmy Carter's apologies, America seemed in decline on the world stage. Before you can speak like a dragon you have to have a dragon's power and vocal chords!
But the scenario of Revelation is credible today. All it would take to trigger the "dragon" would be a terrorist event on a far larger scale than September 11. In the words of General Franks, who toppled Saddam in 2003, "The potential of a weapon of mass destruction and a terrorist, massive casualty-producing event somewhere in the Western world--it may be in the United States of America--[could cause] our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass-casualty-producing event. Which, in fact, then begins to potentially unravel the fabric of our Constitution."1
If you remember the fear and helplessness that followed September 11, you know that Americans would be desperate to protect themselves if something far more deadly occurred. If letting the Attorney General read my email, tap my phone and peek in my bedroom window would save my family from getting nuked by terrorists, I'd be inclined to let him. The end result would be the destruction of freedom and the voice of the dragon!
That's why I'm glad this Book is the "revelation of Jesus Christ" and not the revelation of the land beast or the dragon. Jesus promised to be with us always, and Revelation assures us that He will lead the winning side in the end.