People have asked, and understandably so: How could Rome have the kind of influence today, or in the future, that is depicted in Revelation chapter 13? Long gone are the days when it could command armies, such as it did in times past. The answer is found, too, in Revelation chpater 13.
Read Revelation 13:11-12. What marks help us identify who this power is?
The beast that precedes this one, long viewed as Rome by Protestants, was depicted as having been given power forty-two months (Rev. 13:5). The forty-two months are the same as the “time and times and the dividing of time” of Daniel 7:25, or three and a half years (Rev. 12:14) or 1260 prophetic days (Rev. 12:6) — the time during which the papal power oppressed its opponents. This prophetic time period (using the day-year principle) began with the supremacy of the papacy, A.D. 538, and terminated in 1798, the year that the pope was taken captive. At this time the papal power received its deadly wound, and the prediction was fulfilled.
Around this point in history, near the close of the “forty-two months” (1798), another power appears (Rev. 13:11, Rev. 13:1), this time arising out of the earth, which is in contrast to many of the previous powers, which arose out of water (see Dan. 7:2-3) , a symbol of masses of people. “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Rev. 17:15, NKJV).
For these reasons, and others, this power must be the United States of America, which arose in a relatively uninhabited part of the world and didn’t need to overthrow any major empires in order to do so.
“What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America”. — Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 440.
Though this power is first described as having two horns like a lamb, symbolizing gentleness, it will speak “as a dragon” (Rev. 13:11),indicating a time of persecution such as took place under the previous power. Revelation 13:11-17, then, answers the question about how Rome could exert the influence that prophecy predicts. It will have the might of the United States behind it — that’s how.
Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons