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Chapter 13—The 4th Empire Extended, Papal Rome, Part 9

Sep 7, 2020

Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom, part 41—The challenge of inescapable alternatives

We pick up where we left off with a refresher on the quote from Cardinal Edward Manning, a convert from the Church of England to Romanism, who wrote of this “challenge of inescapable alternatives.” Manning stated (emphasis mine):

“A system like this [i.e. Romanism] is so unlike anything human, it has upon it notes, tokens, marks so altogether supernatural, that men now acknowledge it to be either Christ or Antichrist. There is nothing between these extremes. Most true is this alternative, the Catholic Church is either the masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of the Son of God.”

Thank you, Cardinals Manning, and Newman! There we have it from the pens of two of the great cardinals of the Catholic church. Not only do the popes make all their outrageous and arrogant claims, but they claim they have the authority of Christ in doing so!

Which is it then? A masterpiece of Satan or the kingdom of Christ? The Catholic leaders, obviously, are quick to assert that it is the latter—the Catholic church is the kingdom of Christ—and my reaction to that is that if that is the kingdom of Christ, I want nothing to do with it.

But we who teach the historicist approach to eschatology clearly find that the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation find their fulfillments—at least in part—in the papacy. It is, indeed, the masterpiece of Satan. Let us return to Daniel, chapter 7.

Daniel 7:20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

Over the past several lectures (presented here as blog series), we have now analyzed each portion of that verse in the light of history and found it to have been fulfilled precisely.

Daniel 7: 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

Notice here that the papacy is no longer being described as a little horn.

Verse  25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

The institution of the papacy fulfilled those verses of a mouth speaking great words against the most High. The papacy and the church of Rome also wore out the saints of the most High, and as verse 21 states, it made war with the saints and prevailed against them.

Again, when we know that the word saints applies to God’s people Israel, then this prophecy fits like a glove. And for new listeners/readers, let me reduce your confusion by asking you not to confuse God’s Israel people who became Christians with the Jewish people who did not.

Let me explain very briefly and in a very simplified form. In ancient times, the nation of Israel was split into two parts, called the House of Israel and the House of Judah. The House of Israel consisted of ten tribes and the House of Judah, of two (to keep it simple, and without getting too technical at this point).

The Assyrians conquered the House and Kingdom of Israel and deported multiplied millions of Israelites to the areas around the Caucasus mountains. When Assyria fell, these people began migrating in all directions, but primarily in a northwesterly direction which brought them into Europe centuries before Christ.

They had long ago become blind to their former identity as Israelites and so became known under scores of other names. To cite just a few, they became known as the Angles, Saxons, Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Lombards, Burgundians, Scythians, Kimmerians and the Cimmerians, and I could go on for several paragraphs reciting names. The point is that these are the Israel people, now living in Europe in the centuries A.D.

As well as the word “saints,” throughout the Old Testament, God refers to his Israel people as His sheep, His flock, etc. And so when Jesus said in the gospel of John, chapter 10, that He is the good shepherd, and His sheep would hear His voice and follow Him, it clearly means that His Israel sheep would become Christians.

And that is exactly what happened in the centuries after Christ as these Israel people, now called Goths, Franks, Angles, Saxons, etc., became believers in Jesus Christ! And what the prophecy in Daniel 7:21 is teaching us is that there would arise this horn, this power, which would claim to have been given authority by God, and this power would make war with the Christianized Israel people of Europe and that horn would prevail over them.

I will not take the time to delineate the centuries-long history of the persecutions of Christians who opposed papal Rome. You can read about it in numerous sources including the classic work, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

All Christians have some familiarity with the early persecutions of Christians by the pagan Roman empire, with them being fed to the lions and all that—which was indeed horrible.

But my point is that in terms of sheer numbers, the reign of papal Rome far exceeded pagan Rome. It is estimated that pagan Rome was responsible for the deaths of around three million martyrs, whereas papal Rome was responsible for deaths numbering in excess of 50 million believers, some historians say more than 100 million.

Robert Bellarmine [Wide].jpg

Astonishingly, the Jesuit Cardinal Robert Bellarmine (above), born 1546, four years before the death of Martin Luther, and one of the so-called “saints” of the Roman church, declared that, almost an infinite number were either burned or otherwise put to the church! His words, not mine. And that, obviously, is omitting all those killed after the time of Cardinal Bellarmine.

Indeed, the horn did make war against the saints most ferociously and prevailed against them. But the same passage in Daniel gives the duration of the power of the horn. We had read this entire passage in earlier lectures in this series, and I skipped verse 22 a minute ago, so let us read it now. How long would the papacy prevail over the saints?

Daniel 7:22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

Most Bible commentators teach that “the ancient of days” refers to Christ at His second coming and that is a topic we will save for later in this series, but leaving that aside, we see that the power of papal Rome does come to an end. Now look at verse 25, the second half...

25 and they [who? the saints] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Now we return to the timing concept which we had left suspended a couple of lectures back; namely, for how long would this Antichrist beast system hold power over the holy people? We previously noted that that phrase—time, times and the dividing of time—refers to a period of 42 months, or 1,260 days—and then applying the year-for-a-day principle, it tells us that the papacy would prosper in its power for 1,260 years!

Among the historicist scholars, there are some variations concerning at what date we should commence counting the 1,260, but then we must remember that the papacy grew into power gradually. The little horn took many years to become a big horn, as it were.

Recall also that the papacy first assumed the religious or spiritual power. If we calculate from that aspect, then it seems very reasonable to me to commence the 1,260 year period at the time when the Eastern Roman Emperor named Phocas—remember him?—when he conceded to Boniface III the headship over all the churches of Christendom, thus creating him the first pope.

The year was 606 or 607, depending on whose history book you are reading. Phocas died in 610.

Thus 1,260 years from 606-610 terminates in the period 1866-1870. This is the exact period which saw the extinction of the temporal power of the papacy. Well, perhaps extinction is too strong a word, but at least it was greatly diminished.

We see the appropriateness of this interpretation since it involves both kinds of power which the papacy has claimed, the spiritual and temporal. To be more specific about this great diminishing of papal power, history records that the years 1866-1870 saw the overthrow of papal Austria by the rising power of Prussia, also the Spanish insurrection and the deposition of the queen.

It also witnessed the overthrow of France—which, under Napoleon III was then supporting the temporal power. Plus, this period saw the Franco-Prussian War, and the rise of the kingdom of United Italy, and the occupation of Rome by King Victor Emmanuel, which meant that the Vatican no longer controlled Rome.

Yet more detail on this, from a slightly different perspective, is provided by Howard Rand in his book, Study in Daniel, which you can obtain from us.

Study in Daniel.jpg

Dr. Rand wrote: “A Church council was held at Constantinople in 536 A.D., compelling the State to execute its ecclesiastical edicts. In 1796 A.D., 1,260 years later, the last prop supporting the papacy was gone when all laws recognizing God, the Church and priest were abolished in France.

“On February 13, 1798 A.D., a French army entered Rome and the pope was ordered to dismiss his Swiss guards and dispossess himself of his temporal authority. Upon his refusal to do so he was dragged from the altar of his palace, his vaults were plundered, even the rings were torn from his fingers and he was taken prisoner to Tuscany.

“One thousand two hundred and sixty years from the first date (536A.D.) Napoleon defeated the papal troops in the year 1796 A.D. One thousand two hundred and sixty years from the second date (601 A.D., when finally the power to exercise authority over Church and State was fully vested in Boniface III) Pope Pius IX was declared infallible by the Ecumenical Council on July 16, 1870.

“On September of this same year Italian troops entered Rome for the purpose of making that long coveted city the capital of Italy, independent of Papal rule. The first of November the Italian government passed a decree abolishing the political authority of the Holy See.

“...The Papacy began its decline in 1796 and lost its temporal power in 1870. In 1929 Mussolini tried to restore the temporal power 1,260 years after Pope Vitalian (657-672) commanded the universal use of Latin in divine service, but this act of restoration was for the time of judgment since the day had arrived for all systems of men, political, economic and religious, to give way to Divine rule…”

In another of Dr. Rand’s books, Study in Revelation, (which we also have in stock), he shows how the fact that Latin has characterized the Roman church from its beginning is one of the evidences that the papacy is one of the fulfillments of the famous 6-6-6 prophecy in the Book of Revelation. We will not go into the details of that at this juncture.

We have now completed our survey of how the fourth kingdom-empire of the book of Daniel was fulfilled, first by pagan Rome, and then by papal Rome. 

But there is something that has remained intact through all the empires—from Nebuchadnezzar’s ancient Babylon, through Medo-Persia, Greece, pagan Rome, papal Rome—until today. We find it called a Mystery in the Book of Revelation.

Next time, we shall continue our studies of Mystery Babylon and the Stone Kingdom as we begin to reveal and trace in more modern history just what constituted the “mystery” of Mystery Babylon.

I am sure you will find it quite illuminating to your understanding as more of the passages of Daniel and Revelation become unveiled. May God bless Christian Israel and cause them all to see His truth.


Category: Teaching