Seventh-day Adventists take pride in their understanding of prophecy, especially in the books of Daniel and Revelation. However, a closer examination of our teaching on the leopard beast found in Revelation 13, verses 1 to 10 has been tried and found wanting. The traditional view that emphasizes that this beast represents the papacy alone is altogether wrong as the papacy is only a part of the beast, the head that received the deadly wound. The arguments used to bolster this view are most often quoted from the Great Controversy as seen in the question and answer response below.
Question: “If the beast is not the papacy, why should Sr. White speak of it as the papacy in G.C. 439, 443, 445, 579?”
Answer: The reason that Sr. White speaks of the beast as the papacy is that (as is explained in Shepherd’s Rod, Vol. 2, pp. 85-89, 95-98) during the period of the 1260 years, of which she is treating in those instances cited in G.C., she is dealing only with the papal head, and not with the beast in all its different aspects – 7 heads, 10 horns, etc. – but only with the head that was wounded; which being on the beast, and an important part of it, makes it correct for her, in order to express her thought, to say: “the beast – the papacy,” by which statement, however, she does not imply that all “seven heads” and “ten horns” are the “papacy,” but rather only the head that was wounded unto death, just as we often call the fourth beast of Dan. 7 the papacy; realizing well that such usage excludes the horns (10 kings) and includes only the “little horn having the eyes of a man.”–Symbolic Code, Vol. 1, No. 9, pp. 8, 9
The Shepherd’s Rod has provided the most clear and irrefutable explanation of this beast in its entirety that can be found anywhere. The original Rod exposition on this topic identifies the S. D. A. church as one of the heads under the banner of blasphemy much to the chagrin of the church leadership. The original text along with a personal study from Elder E. T. Wilson that was sent to his ministerial brethren in 1946 can be conveniently downloaded as PDF documents listed below. Elder Wilson was an ordained S. D. A. minister and president of the Texico Conference of Seventh-day Adventists at the time he accepted the Rod message in 1932 on the basis of his own personal investigation. After making public his profession of faith he was immediately terminated without benefits after many years of service to the church.