Bible Studies

A Remarkable Symbol

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A Remarkable Symbol.

At what time was Rome divided into ten parts? -- Between the years 351 and 483 A.D. See reading, "Prophetic History of the World," page 17, notes following questions 25.

2.After the ten horns had arisen, what was seen coming up among them?

"I consider the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots." Dan. 7:8.

Notes. -- We must, then, look for the development of the "little horn" this side of A.D. 483. About that time, in fact, there was a pretentious power, seeking acknowledgment of its claims. As early as the beginning of the sixth century the bishops of Rome had become powerful enough to exert considerable of that influence at the imperial court which ere long exalted them to a station where they could command the kings of the earth. There was only one hinderance to their supremacy, -- the opposition of the Arian powers to the doctrines of the Catholics, especially to that of the Trinity. These opposing powers were rooted up, the Heruli in 493, the Vandals in 534, and the Ostrogoths in 538. See "Student’s Gibbon," pp. 309-319.

"It is a remarkable fact, that the popes to this day wear a triple crown, -- a fact that exists in regard to no other monarchs. . . . The papacy [is] well represented by the ‘little horn.’. . . In fact, this one power absorbed into itself three of these sovereignties." -- Barne’s Notes on Daniel, p. 327.

"The most remarkable was the little horn, which rose after the others, and is by Protestant commentators (and we think with good reason) explained of the ecclesiastical dominion of the pope or bishop of Rome." -- Cottage Bible.

"In 533, Justinian entered upon his Vandal and Gothic wars. Wishing to secure the influence of the pope and the Catholic party, he issued that memorable letter which was to constitute the pope the head of all the churches, and from the carrying out of which, in 538 [when the last of the three Arian horns was plucked up], the period of papal supremacy is to be dated. And whoever will read the history of the African campaign, 533-534, and the Italian campaign, 534-538, will notice that the Catholics everywhere hailed as deliverers the army of Belisarius, the general of Justinian." -- Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, p. 136.

"The celebrated letter of Justinian to the pope in the year 533, not only recognized all the previous privileges, but enlarging them, and entitling the pope and his church to many immunities and rights, which afterward gave origin to the pretensions displayed in the canon law." -- Gavazzi’s Lectures, p. 66.

It is clearly evident, therefore, that just as soon as the last opposition to the papacy was removed, it became firmly seated by the famous letter of Justinian, -- that the bishop of Rome should be recognized as the head of the universal church and the e corrector of heretics. The year 538 A.D. may be set down, then, as the time when the papacy became an established power.

3.After speaking of the subjugation of the three powers by the "little horn," what comparison does he draw between the subduing power and the others?

"And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings." Dan. 7:25.

Notes. -- "This evidently points out the papal supremacy, in every respect diverse form the former, which, from small beginnings, thrust itself up among the ten kingdoms till at length it successively eradicated three of them." -- Bagster, in Cottage Bible.

"They [the ten] were political kingdoms. And now we have but to inquire if any kingdom has arisen among the ten kingdoms of the Roman empire since A.D. 483, and yet diverse from them all; and if so, what one. The answer is, The spiritual kingdom of the papacy. This answers to the symbol in every particular, as is easily proved." -- Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation, p. 127.

4. How was this power to use its authority?

"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 a dividing of time." Verse 25.

Notes. -- The pope calls himself "the vicar of Christ." Leo X. blasphemously styled himself "The lion of the tribe of Judah." Leo XII. allowed himself to be called "The Lord our God." Pope Martin V. called himself "The most holy and most happy, who is the arbiter of heaven and the lord of the earth, the successor of St. Peter, the anointed of the Lord, the master of the universe, the father of kings, the light of the world."

Agustinus Triumphus, a popish author, said: "The very doubt whether the council be greater than the pope is absurd, because it involves the contradiction that the supreme pontiff is not supreme. He cannot err, he cannot be deceived. It must be conceived concerning him that he knows all things." This blasphemy was solemnly indorsed by the cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church, in the Ecumenical Council of 1870, which declared the pope to be infallible.

The following is a portion of the infallibility dogma as translated by Hon. W. E. Gladstone, in the "Vatican Council," p. 201: "All the faithful of Christ must believe that the holy apostolical see and the Roman pontiff possesses the primacy over the whole world, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and is true vicar of Christ, and head of the whole church, and father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter to rule, feed, and govern the universal church by Jesus Christ our Lord."

"They have assumed infallibility, which belongs only to God. They profess to forgive sins, which belongs only to God. They profess to open and shut heaven, which belongs only to God. They profess to be higher than all the kings of the earth, which belongs only to God. And they go beyond God in pretending to loose whole nations from their oath of allegiance to their kings, which such kings do not please them. And they go against God, when they give indulgences for sin. This is the worst of all blasphemies." -- A. Clarke, on Dan. 7:25.

5. How has the papacy worn out the saints? -- By its relentless persecutions of Christians, having put to death more than fifty million during the period of its supremacy.

Notes. -- "No computation can reach the numbers who have been put to death, in different ways, on account of their maintaining the profession of the gospel, and opposing the corruptions of the Church of Rome. A million of poor Waldenses perished in France; nine hundred thousand orthodox Christians were slain in less than thirty years after the institution of the order of the Jesuits. The Duke of Alva boasted of having put to death in the Netherlands thirty-six thousand by the hand of the common executioner during the space of a few years. The Inquisition destroyed, by various tortures, one hundred and fifty thousand within thirty years. These are a few specimens, and but a few, of those which history has recorded. But the total amount will never be known till the earth shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain." -- Scott’s Church History. For further evidence, see Barne’s "Notes on Daniel," p. 328; Buck’s "Theological Dictionary," art. Persecutions; Dowling’s "History of Romanism;" "Fox’s Book of Martyrs;" Charlotte Elizabeth’s "Martyrology;" "The Wars of the Huguenots;" histories of the Reformation, etc.

"To parry the force of this damaging testimony from all history, papists deny that the church has ever persecuted any one; it has been the secular power; the church has only passed decision upon question of heresy, and then turned the offenders over to the civil power, to be dealt with according to the pleasure of the secular court. The impious hypocrisy of this claim is transparent enough to make it an absolute insult to common sense. In those days of persecution, what was the secular power? -- Simply a tool in the hand of the church, and under its control, to do its bloody bidding. And when the church delivered its prisoners to the executioners to be destroyed, with fiendish mockery it made use of the following formula: ‘And we do leave thee to the secular arm, and to the power of the secular court; but at the same time do most earnestly beseech that court so to moderate its sentence as not to touch thy blood, nor to put thy life in any sort of danger.’ And then, as intended, the unfortunate victims of popish hate were immediately executed." -- Thoughts on Daniel and the Revelation. p. 141. See Gedde’s "Tracts on Popery;" "View of the Court of Inquisition in Portugal," p. 446; Limborch, vol. 2 p. 289.

6.What change has the papacy sought to make in the law of God?

It has expunged the greater part of the second commandment, in order to establish the adoration of images, dividing the tenth to complete the number ten. It has also abolished the fourth commandment (as far as its power extends) by substituting the first day of the week for the seventh. See Catholic Carechisms; also "Plain Talk about the Protestantism of To-day," p. 213; "The Catholic Christian Instructed," chap. 23; "A Sure Way to Find out the True Religion," pp. 95, 96.

"The keeping holy the Sunday is a thing absolutely necessary to salvation; and yet this is nowhere put down in the Bible; on the contrary, the Bible says, Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy (Ex. 20:8), which is Saturday, and not Sunday; therefore the Bible does not contain all things necessary to salvation, and, consequently, cannot be a sufficient rule of faith." -- A Sure Way to Find out the True Religion.

7. How long was the papacy to have power over the saints, times, and laws?

"And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and a dividing of time." Dan. 7:25, latter part.

8. Where is this expression of time found in the New Testament?

"And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent." Rev. 12:14.

9. How is this same period again represented?

"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." Verse 6. These days, being in symbolic prophecy, are themselves symbolic.

10. What is the rule of reckoning symbolic days?

"This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. . . . And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year." Eze. 4:3-6; Num. 14:34.

Notes. -- "So Eze. 4:6, ‘I have appointed thee each day for a year,’ where the prophet was symbolically to bear the iniquity of Israel as many days as they had sinned years. In this usage we find authority for interpreting days in prophecy as denoting ‘years.’" -- George Bush, Prof. of Hebrew and Oriental Literature in New York City University, Notes on Num. 14:34.

"It is a singular fact that the great mass of interpreters in the English and American world have, for many years, been wont to understand the days designated in Daniel and the Apocalypse as the representatives, or symbols, of years. I have found it difficult to trace the origin of this general, I might say almost universal, custom." -- Stuart’s IIints, p. 77.

Then 1260 years was to be the period of papal domination. It having been established A.D. 538, the time when Justinian’s decree went into effect, we find that the power of the papacy should be broken in 1798.

11. What event marked the close of this period?

In February, 1789, Berthier entered Rome at the head of the French army, and taking Pope Pius VI. prisoner, established a republish in Rome. The pope died in exile the following year. For over two years there was no pope. See Chambers’s Cyclopedia, art. Pius.

In A.D. 1797 , Napoleon was ordered by the French Directory to destroy the papal government. The pope was helpless, but instead of obeying orders, Napoleon, on his own responsibility, made peace with him, and returned to France. The words of the history are as follows: --

"Bonaparte now invaded the papal territories, and rapidly overran them. He had orders from the directory to destroy the papal government, but, on his own responsibility, he disregarded these instructions, and concluded with the helpless pontiff the peace of Talentino on the 19th on February, 1797. Upon the return of Bonaparte from Italy, General Berthier was ordered by the Directory to carry out its instructions respecting the papal government, which Bonaparte had declined to execute. The people of the papal states were thoroughly discontented. Berthier marched to Rome, and was received as a deliverer. He proclaimed the restoration of the Roman republic; made Pope Pius VI. a prisoner, and stripped him of all his property,. . . and removed him to France, where he was detained in captivity." -- Pictorial History of the World, p. 756.

The pope was just as helpless in 1797 as he was in 1798, but 1797 was too early; the time did not fully expire till 1798; and "the Scripture cannot be broken." John 10:35.

12. What was to take place before the domination should be entirely taken away?

"But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." Dan. 7:26.

13. Where is this chapter is this judgment first spoken of?

"A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." Verse 10.

Note. -- The judgment scene here noticed is laid in heaven. (See reading on "The Judgment," p. 75.) But even in connection with the judgment (Dan. 7:11) this power speaks such great blasphemy that the special attention of the prophet is called to his word. At the Ecumenical Council, July, 1870, the pope caused himself to be proclaimed by a vote of 538 against 2.

14. How soon after this did the pope lose his temporal dominion?

In September, 1870, when Rome, no longer supported by the French, who had been defeated by the Germans, surrendered to Victor Emmanuel. Possession of the pope’s dominion was formally taken Oct. 2, 1870. See Chambers’s Cyclopedia, art. Italy.

15. By what means is the beast to be destroyed?

"I beheld them, because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake, I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." Dan. 7:11.

16. What is the "burning flame" that is to destroy the papacy?

"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming." 2 Thess. 2:8.

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