Today, the Pope will speak in front of a significant…yet divided…political body, the American Congress, and indirectly, to the American people, while the rest of the world listens in.  This event is regarded as an historic event, marked by great superstar-like fanfare and great reverence for whatever he will say.  Don’t clap too much for stuff you like to hear, don’t look too angry for stuff you don’t want to hear.  In other words…just listen to him, because he speaks for a much higher authority.
I’m interested in what he has to say as well…because there’s something I’m looking for in his message.  It’s the same test I use for any significant religious leader who speaks to the world at large, to large groups of people, to bodies of power.  It’s a gauge that we can all use.
I’m also interested in what he has to say today because of what he’s already expressed and, because of those things, how he’s already being regarded in some circles as a socialist Christian of sorts.
The Frame of Reference
In the Book of Revelations, Chapter 13, there are descriptions of various beasts who do different things.  (Now, I understand that Revelations is rather difficult to understand because it is steeped in symbols and symbolism.  I’ll explain what I’ve come to understand thus far on what these symbols mean…and you can draw your own conclusions from there.)
This chapter identifies 3 main entities (beasts):

* The first part (verses 1-10) identifies a beast that rises out of the sea with 7 heads, 10
horns with a crown upon each horn.  It’s a powerful beast.  It was wounded to death, but that wound was healed.
* The second part (verses 11-12) talks about another beast that rises out of the earth with horns like a lamb (or a ram in other translations).  This beast speaks as a dragon, exercises the power of the first beast, and causes the world to worship the first beast.
* The third beast is mentioned in various places in the chapter:  the Dragon.  The dragon gives the first beast his power, seat, and great authority.  The dragon is worshipped by the the world.  The second beast speaks in the same manner as the dragon.
Popular culture has branded these beasts as hideous monsters, and their images are sprinkled throughout the Internet.  However, if you can consider that the word “beast” can also mean “an organized, organic, growing, living entity”…or in today’s words, “a system”…then, hear me out.
Here’s the passage of scripture regarding the 2nd beast…and then I’ll explain the context:

11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed

My Gauge
The second beast is either an organized system or an entity of this organized system.   This system comes out of the earth (from the earth?).  It has horns like a lamb.  It speaks as a dragon.  It exercises the same power as the first beast.  It influences the people of the world to place greater importance to the first 7-headed, 10-horned entity and its policies, procedures, laws, and mindset….above all else.
1. A Beast represents an organized system.  This beast comes out of the earth…or maybe “from the earth”.  This means that we have a group that is a part of the populations of the world.  It is a group that is formed from the peoples of the earth.  Size of this beast isn’t really mentioned in this context, so we have no idea how large this is.
2. Horns represent leaders of those systems.  This beast has leadership like a lamb or a ram.  The lamb symbolizes Christ throughout the Bible.  Same with the Ram (like the one caught in the thicket when Abraham was about to offer up Isaac as a sacrifice to God).  This means that the leadership has a Christian-like leader.  I can’t say it’s a Christian leader…but it is a leadership that either closely resembles that of Christ, tries to mimic Christ, or it stands as a representative of Christ’s or Christian-style teachings.  Christian Prophets, Evangelists, Priests, Bishops, Popes, or Presidents (or maybe even Churches) can represent this leadership.  So, this horn of a lamb is a Christian leader-type of sorts.  Note, however, that the leader and this beast isn’t Christ nor His Church because the beast comes out of the earth…and Christ and his kingdom is “not of this world” (John 18:36).
3.  Manner of speaking represents the messages that come from those leaders.  This beast speaks as a dragon…or speaks as The Dragon.  The dragon, throughout the book of Revelations, represents Satan or Lucifer (Revelations 12:7 and 12:9).  So, this Christian-like leader of a great people speaks the same ideas, has the leanings or maybe even the mentality, attitude, or dispositions of the Dragon. 
Now, if the Dragon is a master deceiver, would leaders under his influence readily know that they were being deceived?  Or would leaders who are influenced by the Dragon truly believe in their hearts the things they were deceived into teaching?  This Christian-like leader would think that whatever the message he is delivering is good when it may really be good principles mixed with worldly philosophies, practices, and ideas.  It could be that his message is really carnal with worldly ideas promoted under the moral cover of “goodness”.  If the Dragon’s message is to draw people away from God and to focus them on ANYTHING BUT GOD, wouldn’t he try to promote “goodness to humanity” or even “goodness to the earth”…because, remember, the 2nd beast is “of the earth”….all with the moral cover of “this is what we do as responsible human beings” or “this is what God would have us do”.  This leader would promote anything other than getting yourself closer to God and doing what it takes to fix ourselves and repair our relationship with Him.
4.  Power and Influence are the ability for the leaders to “get things done”, to “cause” people to do things willingly without directly forcing them to do it (as in “teachings” in the form of indirect manipulation, reverse psychology, PR, propaganda, etc.)  This Christian-like leader, who heads an entity of the earth, would also have a great influence.  They have an attraction that people willing draw themselves to.  They have the ears of the people.  They have the support of a people.  And when that leader says anything in the form of instruction or injunction, people listen…and then attitudes and perspectives…and ultimately, behaviors…change.  This leader wouldn’t force people to do things.  No.  His influence and message will be enough to “cause” people to change on their own.  Pick the right leader, say the message just right to a people who are hungry enough for it, and those people will do anything you want them to.
My guage is this:
I’m looking for a leader of a group of people, whether an organization or even a church.  This body will be a worldly organization, an organization that has been influenced by the world, and can also be a world-wide organization.  The leader will be one who represents the Lamb of God somehow, a Christian leader of sorts…or at least, tries to teach Christ’s teachings.  This leader will believe his message and that it will be touted as a good message. Howeer, the message he brings will actually be representative of the objectives of Satan: that of worshipping and doing anything that puts a focus on this earth, a focus on ourselves, a focus on society….and not really to focus our hearts upon God, on coming to Him, on loving Him, on repenting and changing our lives to love God, to match God, to trust God, and to be with God.  His message will have religious platitudes, with the typical religious buzzwords and buzz phrases of hope, love, faith, forgiveness, and loving others…but they will be used as a “moral cover” to practice worldly pursuits instead, to consume upon our lusts, our desires, our wants, or to diminish our value as individuals and allow ourselves to want to be a part of a collective instead.  This leader will not be unknown, unfamiliar, or unrecognized.  No, he will be regarded as a superstar of sorts.  He will be influential.  He will have a “moral pull” and a “religious pull”…in order to give moral and religious credibility to whatever the 1st Beast wants to do (which is whatever the Dragon wants to do).  And this first beast?  It’s a World System, a world entity, with many Heads and Many Rulers, with a worldly power beyond any ordinary man’s or nation’s ability to withstand on their own. 
Is the Pope such a leader?  Is he a “Christ-ish” figure?  Is he a Christian-like leader for a body of the world?  What have been his messages?  Have his messages been to draw us to God…or do they draw people to the practices of the world under the moral cover of Christian ideals?  Why is he regarded as Socialist by some?  What has he said or done that regards such criticism?  Is socialism one of those messages that doesn’t really draw a person towards God but sure looks and feels good when you attach religious buzzwords to it?  Does he have an influence upon the religious masses?  Do those people regard him as someone much, much greater than a man? 
Pay Attention
Is the Pope the 2nd beast…or the horns of that 2nd beast?  I don’t know if I can be conclusive in that.  It is an interesting pattern to watch for, though.  Because, if it isn’t him, who could it be?  Or what could it be? 

Maybe we could zoom out from a person to an organization or group instead. Could it be that some churches or even religion itself be this 2nd beast? Could our churches be used to influence people to practice the philosophies of men…mingled with scriptures? In other words, could scriptures be twisted and taken out of context in order to promote a more secular agenda while appearing “religious” or “moral”? Could religious leaders be deceived or even convinced to promote such ideas? They already are.

Whatever that symbol represents, there will be someone or something that matches this gauge. 
What I do know is that we live at a time when deception reigns.  We live at a time when it will become difficult to discern true Christian leaders from leaders who mimic Christianity….IF…we do not study who Christ is and how he leads His Church…and IF…we do not live Christ’s teachings to the best that we know how.  I know that we live at a time when there are many who wish to rule over the earth and do not wish to be known that they already do.  I know that a great many people will be caused…or influenced…to place greater value upon these worldly systems, these leaders, these practices more than upon God…and religious institutions and religious leaders will be used to convince many to do these things….because people just want to do “the right thing.”
I keep watch because I have to live in that world, and I don’t want to be a part of it. 
I keep watch because I need to know who those leaders are…and must know who I truly must worship and follow.
I keep watch because I need God’s light to know the truth in a world that willingly lives in blindness and darkness and deception.
I keep watch because what has been prophesied…is happening.  It’s here, gang.
I keep watch…and so must you.

– The LDS Lamplighter