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From The Bible
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Adopting 540 B.C. as the date of commencement, the erroneousness of the 2,300 reading is at once apparent; for it would give A.D. 1760 as the termination of the vision, and the time for the avenging of the sanctuary. Adopting 2,400 we get 1860 as the date of the expiry. Some may think that this must be equally a mistake with the other, as no steps, such as are contemplated in the predicted "avengement," have yet been taken. To this it can only be remarked that supposing this to be the case, it does not show the "2,400 days" to be wrong, but only that they have been commenced too early in fixing upon the first year of Cyrus's sole reign as the commencement, which would favour the suggestion already thrown out, that the commencement ought to be dated later on in Persian annals, when the second horn had, as a matter of history, waxed greater than the Median horn, with which the Empire commenced.
But it is not certain that nothing marks the epoch commencing 1860, as affecting the land and interests of "the holy people." On the contrary, it is a fact of the greatest notoriety, that this is a period of great activity in connection with Palestine and the Jews.
In France, in 1860, was established "The Universal Alliance of Israelites," a society now numbering many thousands of subscribers. In England, in 1871, "The Anglo-Jewish Association" was established in connection with the older society. And in Vienna another branch was established. Thus began that international strengthening of the bonds of brotherhood in Israel that is so notable a phenomenon of our times.
These things arose out of the earlier necessities of the Jews. In Damascus, in 1840, there was considerable robbery and persecution of the Jews by the Turkish officials, culminating in massacre. Sir Moses Montefiore went out to the East in connection with this, and received the personal thanks of Queen Victoria and a knighthood for so doing.
There are other evidences of revival in relation to Jewish affairs, which it would occupy much space to notice. Whether 1860 or a later date be the true termination of the 2,400 period, there is no doubt about the epochal ending of the period falling in the lifetime of the present generation. This is the broad fact to which we desire special attention. The period must end on this side of the marginal period already mentioned, for the simple reason that that period witnesses the process by which the result mentioned in the 2,400 vision is accomplished, viz., the cleansing or avengement of the sanctuary.
The next period can be demonstrated with greater certainty and exactitude, and coincides with the result to which the 2,400 vision leads us, thereby affording powerful collateral evidence of the correctness of the millennary-week theory, and the "seven times" method of computing the duration of the kingdom of men, and, at the same tune, establishing, with a strength that is almost irresistible, the general conclusion that in 1905 we stand in close proximity to that wonder of historic wonders, the advent of Jesus in power and great glory, to destroy them that destroy the earth, and establish "glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, and good will toward men."
We refer to the four-beasts vision of Daniel. The four beasts, like the four-metals of the image, are explained to mean the four great imperial dynasties, under which mankind should successively be ruled with something like universal dominion (Dan. vii, 17, 23). Attention is specially directed to the fourth beast, as it is in connection with it more particularly that the chronological considerations of the vision arise. This is universally admitted to be representative of the Roman empire, which, in relation to the Babylonish, was "the fourth kingdom" (verse 23).
On the head of the fourth beast were ten horns. This number was augmented by the appearance of an eleventh, which, however, by its aggressive acts, speedily diminished the whole number to eight. The eleventh horn was distinguished from its neighbours in having eyes and mouth, a "stout look," and a hostile propensity about it, which displaced three of the first horns to make way for itself. It employed its mouth in "speaking great words against the Most High" and used its power against the Almighty, ultimately bringing about the perdition of the whole body corporate of which it formed a part. This, however, was not an instantaneous result; the horn prevailed for a period before retribution came. The testimony is:--
The conclusion of this period is marked by an event as follows:--
Now the import of this symbolism is evident enough. The body of the beast being the Roman empire, it follows that the Roman empire (notwithstanding historical vicissitudes) was in some form to continue till the arrival of "the Ancient of Days" to destroy it, an event still in the future: but as an undivided kingdom it was not to continue: the ten horns on the head of the beast show this. The interpretation is: "the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise." Kings represent dominions, and hence the appearance of ten kings in the head of the beast shows that, ultimately, the Roman empire of undivided magnitude, instead of continuing to be controlled by a single imperial will, as the body of a beast is by its head, was to be broken up into ten separate royalties or kingdoms, obeying so many separate political wills, and sustaining independent political existence, though forming part and parcel of the Roman system of nations.
This fact is not less clearly apparent in Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the image. The legs of iron represent the autonomy of the empire in its prosperous days; the feet, a mixture of iron and clay, and divided into ten toes, symbolise the later stage of Roman history--a stage embracing the "modern" era up to the present time, and a little beyond--a stage in which the power and territory of the Roman empire are distributed among rival states and monarchs who have sprung out of her political embers.
The chronology of the fourth-beast symbol is determinable by the career of the little horn. The fourth-beast system was to continue, at least, a time, times, and a half, from the time the little horn made its appearance, after the end of which, it was to be destroyed by divine judgment, and the dominion transferred to the saints. Hence, if we can identify the little horn in history, and fix the date of its appearance, we shall be enabled to arrive at a correct conclusion as to the arrival of the time of the fourth-beast destroying judgment to take effect in the coming of the Ancient of Days, in the person of Jesus to put an end to the arrogant blasphemies which prevail for time, times, and a half. To do this, we must give a little attention to the appearance of the ten horns of the fourth beast, as the ten horns precede the advent of the little horn power. This takes us back to what is called "the fall of the Roman empire," when "the fourth kingdom" passed from its imperial to its divided and multiregal phase.
Here we contemplate a protracted period of bloody revolution. The Roman arms, after centuries of resistless prowess, had lost their terror through the effeminacy of a race accustomed to victory and luxury, and the misgovernment of emperors, who ruled for private advantage instead of the public weal. The consequence was, that the rapacious hordes of Northern Europe and Asia, attracted to the tottering empire, like birds of prey to a rotting carcase, came down in clouds upon the fertile and cultivated countries of the south, and though held back for a time, ultimately broke through every barrier, and defeating the Roman armies, capturing the Roman fortresses, and ultimately sacking the proud empire City herself, put an end to the mightiest dominion that ever ruled the civilised habitable. This, however (which took more than a century to accomplish), though a destruction of what was considered the Roman empire, was but the introduction of the clay amongst the iron, not the displacing of the iron by the clay.
The northern nations were too lacking in genius, either social or political, to substitute a new order of society for that which they found among the civilised peoples of Rome. They were a vigorous, but an uncivilised race, and substantially fell in with the Roman order of things. True, there was an attempt by the Vandals, to abolish everything Roman and assimilate the conquered empire to the institutions of its barbarian conquerors; but this movement soon gave way before a reaction, which demanded and hastened the restoration of Roman civilisation.
The clay intermingled itself with the iron, and was, ultimately moulded into shape by the stronger element. This is the time at which we are to look for the ten horns; for the ten horns in the beast vision represent the same aspect of the fourth kingdom, as the clay and iron ten-toed feet of the image vision. It is reasonable to assume that as soon as the Roman beast ceased to be controlled by its own head it passed into the ten-horned state of government; that is, as soon as imperial Rome fell, as soon as the central government of the empire was destroyed, the empire passed into the dismembered state represented by the ten horns. If this be a reasonable assumption, we ought to find in her dismemberment a number of political divisions answering to the number of the horns.
In considering this matter, we are met with the fact that the barbarian nations, on overturning the Roman Empire, did not unite themselves under one government, and set up a new empire. They scattered themselves among the provinces of Roman Europe, and settled in such countries as were according to their liking, each nation setting up its own government independently of all the rest. In this way there sprang up a number of separate kingdoms in the territory formerly ruled by the undivided Roman sceptre; that is, several distinct horns sprang out of the head of the beast. The question is how many? Daniel says ten, and history says ten.
Sir Isaac Newton gives the following enumeration of the states that sprang up under the barbarian nations after the overthrow of Rome: 1--Vandals and Alans (under one government, occupying Spain and Africa); 2--Suevians (another part of Spain); 3--Visigoths; 4--Alans (France); 5--Burgundians; 6--Franks (separate from the Alans); 7--Britons; 8--Huns; 9--Lombards; 10--Ravenna. This enumeration is broadly taken and confined to Roman territory. It takes no account of minor divisions, such as the dukedoms (dignified by the name of kingdoms) into which Britain was divided, or the petty factions that were here and there to be found in connection with other States. It only takes note of the conspicuous and great divisions of political power, properly considered "kingdoms," that followed the downfall of Rome, in Roman territory. It takes no cognisance of Asiatic dominion, or of any political phenomenon beyond the limits of the fourth-beast territory; and in this the discerning reader will say Sir Isaac Newton only adhered to the necessities imposed upon all interpreters of the vision itself.
Dr. Brewster, in his "Life of Sir Isaac Newton" (pp. 227, 228), paraphrasing Sir Isaac's views on the subject, observes: "Some of these kingdoms at length fell, and new ones sprang up; but, whatever was their subsequent number, they still retain the name of the ten kings from their first number."
Machiavelli, in his history of Florence, enumerates ten kingdoms, into which the Roman empire was dismembered by the incursions of the northern nations. This list* is as follows: 1--Ostrogoths (in Moesia); 2--the Visigoths (in Pannonia); 3--Suevis and Alans (in Gascoigne and Spain); 4--The Vandals (in Africa); 5--the Franks (in France); 6--the Burgundians (in Burgundy); 7--the Herlui and Turingi (in Italy); 8--the Saxons and Angles (in Britain); 9--the Huns (in Hungary); 10--the Lombards (at first upon the Danube, and afterwards in Italy). This enumeration appears to differ a little from that adopted by Sir Isaac Newton, but a close comparison will reveal a resemblance between the two, amounting to identity.
* This list does not appear as a list in Machiavelli's book, but has the form of an account, extending over several pages, of which this is a condensation.--Author.
The only substantial difference is the exclusion of the Ostro-goths in Moesia (answering to the southern border of the empire of Austria) from the list of Sir Isaac Newton; but this difference is more a difference in the way of reckoning than in the actual enumeration of the ten kingdoms. Machiavelli's may be the true list, and Newton's may be reconcilable with it, by reckoning the nations of the Alans one kingdom instead of two, as Sir Isaac counts them, which would make room for the Ostrogoths as one of the ten. On the other hand, it is possible, though less likely, that the Ostrogoths may have been part and parcel of the adjoining Visigoth state of Pannonia, on the eastern shore of the Adriatic, answering to the Mediterranean seaboard of Austria.
In any case, the identification of the ten horns is complete. The process is not circumvented by minor difficulties, arising from the obscurities of ancient records, which can never overthrow the broad fact that the territory of the Roman empire, after the overthrow of the Roman Imperial power, was divided into a number of political sections, more or less answering to the number ten. The diversity of race and tribe existing in Europe at the time, in no way interferes with the fact of a decimal division of political power. There were, no doubt, many more nationalities than ten; but this no more disproves their political division into ten parts, than does the existence of the English, Scotch, and Irish in Great Britain disprove the political unity of the three kingdoms.
The vision predicts the uprise of ten kingdoms in the territory of the Roman Empire. We would, therefore, argue a priori, that there must have been that number in the States that made their appearance when the unity of the empire was dissolved, whatever the obscurity of history might indicate to the contrary. But, fortunately, we do no violence to history in believing that the vision was realised. History shows us a number of kingdoms, so nearly approximating to the prophetic number, that two in dependent historical writers give us the exact number; and it must be remembered that one of these two--Machiavelli--was not writing for the illustration of prophecy--of which there is no reason to believe he knew anything--but simply in exercise of his function as an impartial recorder of historical facts.
The ten horns appeared about the fifth and sixth centuries, but were afterwards reduced and multiplied in number by the revolutions of war. It is evident, however, that they reappear at the time that the fourth-beast system as a whole is destroyed by divine judgment. This is apparent by the later visions, seen by John in the Isle of Patmos, in which the fourth beast of Daniel is divided up into several beasts, for the purpose of illustrating subordinate and internal features of the system represented. According to these, we find that ten horns figure conspicuously at the end, as well as the beginning, of the little horn (time, times, and a half) era (Rev. xvii, 12, 14). "The ten horns which thou sawest (on the head of the scarlet-coloured beast, verse 3) are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet, but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them."
Here there is no mention of an eleventh horn plucking up three of the ten by the roots, because it refers to an entirely different period of history from that represented by the ten horns on the head of Daniel's fourth beast. It shows us the constitution and attitude of the beast at the time the Lamb, as the Ancient of Days, comes to give its body to the burning flame of destroying war, from which it appears that the original ten-horned phase of Daniel's fourth beast is to be resuscitated, at the era of its destruction, and not only resuscitated, but established on the basis of corporate unity. That is to say the ten kingdoms into which the fourth beast system is to be divided at the end, are to unite in a unanimous policy, under a single head. They are to give their power and strength to the little horn blaspheming power (separately symbolised as a scarlet-coloured beast), for the purpose of carrying on war against Jesus when he has manifested himself in the earth as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
The beast will thus act once more as a living unity, but this time, a ten-horned unity--a confederacy of the kings of the Roman territory, formed for the purpose of mutual self-defence against the power which will have threateningly appeared in the east, and of whose real nature they will be entirely ignorant, until overwhelmed in the fearful whirlwind of His destroying anger (Jer. xxx, 23, 24).
These facts enable us not only to reconcile Daniel's fourth beast with the visions of John, but to make use of all together, in forming a complete picture of the purpose of God, as unfolded in the past, and yet remaining to be fulfilled in "the end afore determined."
They teach us that the ten-horned phase of the Roman system of nations has relation to two epochs in its existence; first, when its imperial unity disappeared in the "fall of the Roman Empire," and the second, when that unity is restored, for the purpose of a united effort against "that determined," which is to be "poured upon the desolate."
We have now to enquire if history affords any parallel to the uprise of an eleventh political power in the Roman system, subsequent to the appearance of the ten, and of the uprooting by it of three of its predecessors, and the assumption by it of an arrogant dictatorial attitude toward the other powers, as sym-bolised by the eleventh horn, having a stout look and a mouth speaking great words of blasphemy.
The merest retrospective glance affords the answer. The eye falls upon a power answering all the requirements of the prophecy; and the eye has not to search for it. It is not a second-rate object in the historical retrospect. It looms up in the past with over-shadowing breadth; it fills the whole picture with its imposing figure; which though no longer a recognised power in the political system of Europe, by reason of the termination of its allotted "time, times, and an half," is still conspicuous as a religious element. Do we require to mention the power to which these remarks apply? Its name will instinctively spring to the reader's lips--THE PAPACY.
The Papacy appeared in the territory of the Roman or fourth beast, after the division of the empire by the barbarians of the north--that is (symbolically), after the ten horns had appeared. It was not till the beginning of the seventh century, that the Bishop of Rome--till that time a mere diocesan, an ecclesiastic among other ecclesiastics--was constituted by imperial edict, universal bishop or pope--the supreme pontiff of the State religion. The decree which finally elevated him to this position was issued by the emperor Phocas, from Constantinople (the mouth of the Dragon which gave the Papistical beast his power, and his seat, and his great authority: Rev. xiii, 2).
The date of the decree is given by one as A.D. 606, and another A.D. 608, which gives two years' uncertainty as to the beginning, and, therefore, ending of the period. But the date is sufficiently definite and exact for all practical purposes. The appearance of the eleventh horn is, doubtless, to be reckoned from the date of the edict which constituted it a power in Europe. It is true it was at first merely an ecclesiastical power, but history shows that it very soon became a political power, exercising secular authority in the territory provided for it by the displacement of three of the original ten horns, and, in addition to that, claiming and exercising imperial jurisdiction over contemporary "crowned heads."
The plucking up of the three horns did not precede the advent of the eleventh horn, but followed as the consequence of it. An interval would elapse between the one thing and the other. The eleventh horn would be some time erect before the three fell: how long is not stated. It would necessarily be very short in the symbol; but then the events and times represented by the symbol were on the historical scale; and, therefore, a momentary interval on the head of the beast, would represent an interval of years in the course of history. It is not stated that the three horns were plucked up before the commencement of the time, times and a half; it is stated the eleventh horn prevailed for that time; but this does not exclude the self-evident conclusion that the plucking up of the three horns would be within the period of the eleventh horn's prevalence. The plucking up of the three horns was, in fact, part of its "prevalence" and, therefore, would necessarily transpire within the period of its ascendency. Hence, we do not find that three kingdoms were given to the Pope the moment he appeared, but we do find that he received them about a century afterwards.
In a work published in 1782 entitled, "The History of Modern Europe, with an account of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and a view of the progress of Society, from the rise of the Modern Kingdoms to the Peace of Paris, in 1763," there occurs the following statement, on page 47: --
Dr. Keith's version of the matter is as follows: --
The eleventh horn had eyes: it could, therefore, see the other horns; while the other horns being without eyes, could not see it. What political peculiarity of the Papacy corresponds with this symbol? Obviously its priesthood. The institution exists in the territory of all the other horns, and by means of it Rome is made privy to the concerns of every power in Europe; while these powers are unable to penetrate the secrets of Rome, on account of the fidelity which the priesthood have always maintained to their ecclesiastical chief. History affords perpetually-recurring illustrations of the political power which Papal Rome was enabled to exert in all the realms of Europe, through this system of espionage, which she was enabled to maintain through her priests. It is remarkable that the Papal Power should be known in diplomatic language as "The HOLY SEE."
The eleventh king was to be "diverse from the first (ten)" (Dan. vii, 24). It required no ingenuity to make out the diversity between the Pope and the crowned heads of Europe. The Pope does not belong to the order of kings. His appearance in Europe was a new political phenomenon. Such a personage had never appeared before as a sacerdotal imperial despot, claiming not only the actual sovereignty of the three territories transferred to his secular dominion, but divinely-conferred jurisdiction over every sovereign in Europe. This character was not assumed by the Roman Pontiffs all at once, but it had grown to full development before the Papacy was more than two centuries old.
In the days of Pope Gregory VII it ripened to maturity. Of this Pope it is recorded that "he engaged the Church in an open war with the sovereigns of all nations." He formed a purpose to "engage in the bond of fidelity and allegiance, to the Vicar of Christ, as king of kings, and lord of lords, all the potentates of the earth, and to establish at Rome an annual assembly of bishops, by whom the contests which might arise between kingdoms and sovereign states were to be decided--the pretensions of princes to be examined, and the fate of nations and empires to be determined." So far did he succeed in his scheme of supremacy, that Henry IV., Emperor of Germany whom he had summoned to his presence as a delinquent, applied for absolution at the Gates of Canosa, a fortress in the Appenines, where Gregory happened to be resident at the time, "and being stripped of his robes, and, wrapt in sackcloth, he was obliged to remain in an outer court three days, in the month of January, bare-footed and fasting, before he was permitted to kiss the feet of His Holiness. The haughty pontiff condescended to grant him absolution, after he had sworn obedience to His Holiness in all things."
Gregory, elated by his triumph, and now looking upon himself, not altogether without reason, as the lord and master of all the crowned heads in Christendom, said in several of his letters which were written at the time, that it was his duty to "pull down the pride of kings." In accordance with this sentiment, he wrote to Solomon, a refractory king of Hungary, "You ought to know the kingdom of Hungary belongs to the Roman Church; and learn that you will incur the indignation of the Holy See, if you do not acknowledge that you hold your dominions of the Pope, and not of the Emperor." He subsequently deposed Henry IV., in the words "In the name of Almighty God, and by your (the council's) authority, I prohibit Henry, the son of our Emperor Henry, from governing the Teutonic
Kingdom, and Italy; I release all Christians from their oath of allegiance to him, and I strictly forbid all persons from serving or attending him as king."
He appointed a successor to Henry, one Rodolph, and sent him a golden crown, with an address, in which, after depriving Henry of strength in combat, and condemning him never to be victorious, he delivers himself of the following apostrophe to Peter and Paul, in which the nature of his pretensions as their pretended successor becomes apparent: "Make all men sensible that as you can bind and loose everything in heaven, you can also upon earth TAKE FROM OR GIVE to every one, according to his deserts, empires, kingdoms, principalities. Let the kings and princes of the age then instantly feel your power, that they may not dare to despise the orders of your church."
These sentiments Gregory VII left as an heritage to his successors, and they have continued to be the animating spirit of the Roman See to the present day, illustrating the statement of the vision that the eleventh horn, with eyes, should be "diverse from the first (ten)," and should have a "look more stout than his fellows."
The horn had a mouth. This indicates that it would in some sense presume to speak to the others, and the speaking could not be for the purpose of mutual deliberation, because the others had no mouths, and, therefore, no conversation could take place; the speaking, therefore, could only take the form of legislative dictation: the eleventh horn would presume to make law to the others. The applicability of this to the Papacy is abundantly manifested in the last paragraph.
The words it spoke were "great words against the Most High," not words in the verbal sense: "words" here has a more comprehensive signification than the dictionary meaning. It imports the policy of the power spoken of, as represented and expressed by its utterances .over the whole period of its existence. These are "the words" by which the indignation that destroys the beast is evoked. Now these words, in order to be "against the Most High," need not to be verbally directed against Him. They need not take the form of denunciations of the Almighty.
In the Scriptural sense, everything uttered against the truth is uttered against the Almighty, though it may be couched in the language of allegiance. Hence, for the Papacy to "speak great words against the Most High," it is not necessary for her to have formally fulminated her denunciations against the Deity. If her ecclesiastical creed and her ecclesiastical policy have practically involved the repudiation of His truth, and His people, her "words" have been none the less, but all the more, "against the most High" for being framed in the language of sanctimonious pretence.
We have only to enquire whether the policy of Rome has or has not been one of arrogant presumption and destructive opposition to everything in which the name and honour of God are involved; and we have not to go far for the answer. No one having any knowledge of history, and any understanding of the truth, can be ignorant that Papal Rome has, from the beginning of its days, "spoken great words against the Most High," and "made war with, and prevailed against, the saints." Her career, since the day her bishop was crowned universal Dictator-ecclesiastical, has been an unbroken chapter of enormities perpetrated against God and man. During the long period of her ascendancy, she has well merited the designation bestowed upon her by the Spirit in vision to John, in the Isle of Patmos. She has been the sum of all abomination--the hold of every foul spirit--the" MOTHER of harlots and ABOMINATIONS of the EARTH" (Rev. xvii, 5).
She is well-styled "MYSTERY," and more apppropriately still, the MYSTERY OF INIQUITY" (2 Thess, ii, 7). She has been iniquity mystified--iniquity veiled--iniquity dressed in a robe of religious pretence--iniquity tricked out in the splendid paraphernalia of regal pomp and civil authority--iniquity of the deepest dye, draped in holy garments--a whited sepulchre of mystified iniquity, showing a beautiful exterior, and inviting all nations to worship at its cursed shrine of "rottenness and dead men's bones"; and all nations have gone and bowed the knee, and garnished this grave of the saints with costly things, proving themselves the seed of the accursed rejecters of Jesus, who honoured the tombs of the prophets, and thereby were held by Jesus to be proved accomplices of those who killed them, and put them in their graves.
The LITTLE HORN imposture--this proud, wilful, stout-looking pretentious, audacious, blasphemous, saint-killing power, which has prevailed against all divine things for twelve centuries, in accordance with the words of Daniel--this depraved, hypocritical, corrupt, iniquitous, tyrannical, and murderous Church of Rome, with which it is now becoming fashionable at religious meetings to bandy compliments, and speak respectfully of, and which blinded and becrazed "charity" would make room for,
and deal liberally with, as an institution "doing good" in its own way, and "advancing the cause of Christ under the banners of the Catholic religion "; this execrable mistress of witchery, whose cunning arts of simulated kindness, and ornaments of learning and fascinations of venerable pedigree, are, in England, entrapping thousands upon thousands into the bondage which it was the boast of this country to have escaped three hundred years ago--this system of unmixed iniquity is further introduced to our notice in Rev. xvii, 3, 4, as a gaudy, betrinketed, whorish woman, drunk with the blood of saints, and having in her hand a cup of abominable liquor, with which she intoxicates kings.
The appropriateness of this figure will be seen at a glance. The Church of Rome pretends to be the faithful spouse of the absent bridegroom; whereas she acts the part of a prostitute of the most profligate and abandoned type. She coquets with the kings of the earth, and administers to them free libations of her bemuddling doctrines, with which "all nations are drunk." She commits fornication with them, for her loves and her aims are confined to the worldly objects she can accomplish in her ecclesiastical dealings with them. She revels in lust and lucre, and is drenched in all her garments with the reeking blood of the righteous slain, whom she has put to death for their testimony.
This LITTLE-HORN blaspheming prevailing power, is further spoken of as a "king doing according to his will" (Dan. xi, 36), exalting and magnifying himself above every power (Heb., ail), and speaking marvellous things against the God of gods; which is an exact description of the Pope's presumption, as historically illustrated. It is said he should not regard the God of his fathers nor the desire of women. This is also descriptive of him. The emperors of Rome--the "fathers" or predecessors of the Pope--were Pagans, and worshipped the deities of Pagan mythology. The Pope disregarded these, and set up a god which the emperors "knew not," viz., the triune God of their superstition, and the Virgin Mary, whom they "honoured with gold and silver, and precious stones," in erecting begemmed and garnished temples to their worship. He was to "disregard the desire of women." He should be a celibate, "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats." (1 Tim. iv, 3). How signally this has been fulfilled, history testifies. The whole hierarchy of Rome, from the Pope in "the chair of St. Peter" to the mendicant friar, are under a bond to remain in bachelorhood, and thus they set at naught the "desire of women," and fulfil the prophecy. "He shall magnify himself above every God," and "shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished." His existence and supremacy will, therefore, continue till the return of Christ; for the indignation is not accomplished until he come to "tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. xix, 15), and to pour out the wine of HIS wrath into the cup of His indignation, without mixture (Rev. xiv, 10).
These prophecies are reproduced by Paul in 2 Thess. ii, 3-10. The church at Thessalonica had been agitated with ideas of the imminence of Christ's appearing. Paul writes to quiet their apprehensions on the subject, and reminds them of what he had told them while he was with them (verse 5), namely, that before that day of Christ would come, there should be a widespread departure from the truth, and a subsequent and consequent development of "that Man of Sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and EXALTETH HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THAT IS CALLED GOD, or that is worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God."
These words of Paul amount to a paraphrase of the words of Daniel. There is, however, a feature in them which is lacking in Daniel's representation of the matter. Paul connects the development of the "Man of Sin" with the "falling away" that was to come, and intimates by the concatenation of his words, that the one was to result from the other--that the revelation of the "Man of Sin" was to be the result of the falling away from the truth. This is an important addition to the information communicated by Daniel, without which, the identification of the power represented would not have been so complete as it is. There is nothing in Daniel to indicate that the appearance of the little horn of the fourth beast was to be connected with God's operations among men by the truth. For anything there is in Daniel to the contrary, the little horn might have represented a heathen power, like Babylon, or like the original ten horns, having no germinal connection with anything pertaining to God; but, by Paul's words, we are enabled to see that this little horn was to be the political offspring of an apostasy which was to take place among those professing the truth of Christ.
This leads us straight to the Papacy, for the fact is notorious that the Papacy which has ruled the political and ecclesiastical destinies of Europe for twelve centuries, is nothing more nor less than the political incorporation of the principles developed as the result of a departure from the truth on the part of the early professing Christians. In the Papacy, therefore, we behold the MAN OF SIN predicted by Paul, and the system which is to be "consumed with the spirit of his (Christ's) mouth, and destroyed with the brightness of his coming." So long as the brethren, as a whole, were faithful to the truth, it was impossible for this Man of Sin to be revealed, and, therefore, it was impossible for Christ's coming to take place, because the coming of Christ was to occur for the destruction of the Man of Sin.
There was another obstacle in the way at the time that Paul wrote. "Ye know," says he, "what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time." The "Man of Sin" was to be the supreme power in the state. Before this could be accomplished, Paganism in high places had to be abolished. The Pope, as the professed "Vicar of Jesus Christ," claiming to be "King of Kings and Lords of Lords," could never be politically developed in Europe until the Roman empire was revolutionised, and changed from a Pagan to a professed Christian power. The paganism of Rome was, therefore, an obstruction. It was that "withholding" the revelation of "the Man of Sin." But the hindrance was to be "taken out of the way," and "THEN shall that Wicked be revealed," etc. We know, as a matter of history, that Paganism, in due time, was taken out of the way, and that the way was thereby opened for the uprise of the Little Horn on the head of the fourth or Roman (symbolic) beast, which, as "a Man of Sin," should prevail against the saints for 1,260 years, and exalt himself in the earth above every object of worship.
There are some who hold that this "Man of Sin" is a particular person--an individual of extraordinary audacity and impiety, who has yet to appear and theoretically abjure the existence of the Almighty, and offer himself to all the world as the object of worship. But such take an extremely narrow and utterly untenable view of the matter. All they rely upon is the phrase "Man of Sin "; but this no more proves the personality of the power referred to, than do Paul's other words, "THE OLD MAN," prove that he meant a literal octogenarian, whose company we were to avoid, in "putting off the old man with his deeds." If the "he" applied to the Man of Sin, prove the personality of the power referred to, what is to be made of the "he" applied to the "what withholdeth "? "HE who now letteth (or hindereth) will let (or hinder) until HE be taken out of the way." There was a "HE" existing in Paul's days, obstructing the development of the "Man of Sin," and who was in due time to be removed to make way for his impious successor. Who was this? Let the individualists answer. Was there a particular man living in Paul's day, whose death or deposition was necessary to the appearance of the "Man of Sin "? If the answer is "Yea," who was it? and how is it that eighteen hundred years have elapsed since his death, and yet the "Man of Sin" of the individualist has never made his appearance? A full confrontage of this difficulty will demolish the individual theory.
The obstruction in the way of Paul's Man of Sin was the faithfulness of the brotherhood, and the political supremacy of Paganism. Both these barriers vanished in course of time, and up rose, in the historical arena, that monstrosity which has overshadowed the historic page with records of transcendent cruelty and iniquity. Historically, the Pope is absolutely THE MAN OF SIN; for throughout all the generations of the Papacy, the Pope has been the only man in the earth in his position. The system of the Papacy is essentially a ONE-MAN system. The theory of the system does not admit of more than a single head. It has happened once or twice that there have been rival Popes, but this was an anomaly never sanctioned by the system. Politically the Pope is the "MAN OF SIN," whoever the Pope may happen to be. The individuality of the man is entirely absorbed in the position. No individual man is essential to constitute the Popeship. The Popeship has always found a man to fill it, whoever has lived or died, which shows that it is the office or position which Paul contemplated when he spoke of the revelation of the "Man of Sin." One man filled the "MAN-OF-SIN" OFFICE when that which hindered was taken out of the way; and another entirely different man will be in it when Jesus is manifested to destroy the whole system.
Those who individualise and futurise the "Man of Sin" are in the habit of literalising the period of the Little Horn's prevalence. "Time, times, and an half," to them are literal three-and-a-half years, at some undiscoverable time in the future, during which "the ANTI-CHRIST" of their theory will appear on the scene, rise to the summit of universal power, and come to his end by divine interposition. How this theory can be entertained by an intelligent mind on a full review of the bearings of the case, it is difficult to conceive. It involves several anomalies of the most palpable kind. In the first place, if the time, times, and a half of Daniel's fourth beast are literal and future, of course the little horn represents a power yet to appear; and, in that case, the political visions shown to Daniel and John take no notice of the greatest political phenomenon of the fourth-beast period of the world's history. Daniel is shown the fourth-beast, and told about the fourth-beast kingdom, and put in possession of details respecting it, but is withheld all information of the most prominent, extraordinary, and longest-lived feature of the system, viz., the PAPACY. The most astounding phase of the fourth-beast history is left out of the symbolism of the fourth-beast period! He receives no information of a persecuting regal imposture, which should lift its head and voice over all the kings of the Continent, for more than 1,260 years, and trample under foot the truth and the friends of the truth all that time; but he is particularly enlightened with reference to an insignificant three-years-and-a-half, during which a daring man is only to equal (for he could not surpass) the impiety and cruelty exhibited by the Roman Pontiffs for more than a half-score centuries!
The suggestion has only to be stated to be condemned. How utterly incongruous, that in a symbol, confessedly extending over a chronological period of 2,000 years, an incident of only three-and-a-half literal years' duration should receive a place as its most conspicuous feature--a period of utter insignificance as history goes. Again, such an assumption would make the vision teach that the saints were not to be prevailed against in the course of history, EXCEPT DURING THREE-AND-A-HALF YEARS AT ITS CLOSE, and would place in a curious position the fact, that as a matter of history, the Papacy has spoken great words against the Most High, and prevailed against the saints for a PERIOD OF UPWARDS OF 1,200 YEARS. Besides, of what service would the vision be, if its applicability were confined to a single oppressor, and a period of three-years-and-a-half at the close of history? Especially as it is denied by those who maintain this theory, that there is any clue to the time when the Man of Sin may be expected to appear. As it could in that case only interest those contemporary with that epoch, it would throw the vision into the corner, as a thing destitute of spiritual utility for all time, and only possessing the kind of interest attaching to any prodigy--a view of the matter eminently derogatory to God, in view of the fact that it was communicated by Him for enlightenment, encouragement, and guidance.
The literal theory is puerile and untenable. It is utterly unworthy of consideration, and can never be entertained where a broad and competent view of the facts is taken. The historical view of the matter, which is "the truth of the matter," gives utility and importance to the vision. We read in it the consoling assurance that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men," and that the "practising and prospering" of human wickedness and presumption in the earth, has a determined end--that the triumphing of the wicked, like the waves of the sea, has an appointed bound that it cannot pass--that the times of the Gentiles are fixed and defined, and that standing where we are, we can look forward with intelligent expectation to their early expiry, and the glorious manifestation of the Ancient of Days, in righteousness to judge and make war, and destroy them that destroy the earth.
With righteous triumph may we hail the day of Rome's perdition. Her history shows a dark and dreadful retrospect. No language can adequately depict the enormity of her crimes. The Pagan murderer of the apostles, the Papal blasphemer of the truth, and destroyer of the saints, "Great Babylon," has heaped to herself wrath against the day of wrath. Her crimes are without number and without measure. For a long period of centuries, she has prevailed against everything divine. She has waged open war against the word of God. She has done her utmost to extirpate it from-among mankind. She has made the study of it a crime, and the possession of it a capital offence. She has trampled the truth under her feet, and drenched the earth with the blood of unresisting victims, who loved it, and counted not their lives dear unto them in defence of it. She has invented and established every kind of abomination in doctrine and practice. For ages, she has held up a mortal man as an object of universal adoration, above all on earth called God, or worshipped. To this living idol, she has commanded the ascription of more than mortal honours, and ordered all who would not bow down to the image to be cast into the furnace of fiery affliction, of persecution, bonds, imprisonments and death.
She has deified the ghost of a dead woman, and commanded the world to worship "the Queen of heaven," under the blasphemous title of "the Mother of God." She has burlesqued and brought to mockery the truth of the miraculous conception. She has enjoined prayer to dead men, and taught men to look to them for guardianship. The world, drunk with the wine of her abomination, has responded to the injunction, and elected their "patron saints," to whom they address their ignorant devotions, and whose guardianship they invoke upon the temples of their superstition by calling them after their names.
She has changed the memorials of Christ's death into objects of worship, telling her dupes that the touch of her lying priests transmutes the emblematic bread and wine into the veritable essence of Christ's nature; and she has degraded the intelligent observance of the institution, commanded for the affectionate participation of all the members of Christ's household, into a scene of superstitious and meaningless mummery, enacted by her foul-handed priests. She holds up as objects of faith and acts of obedience, dead men's bones, musty relics, crosses, genuflexions, bodily penances; and exacts money from the pockets of her dupes on the iniquitous pretence of imparting spiritual benefit.
She has descended to the unutterable infamy of selling licentiousness for gain--pretending to give liberty to sin with impunity, for money--blasphemously professing to avert the course of eternal justice for a consideration in cash! She has invented the chimera of purgatory, and befooled the deluded masses of mankind into the belief that she had power, for money, to liberate "departed souls" from its custody.
There is no religious folly of which she has not been guilty. She has arrogated the power to forgive sins, and by her priests in "the Confessional," has enforced the most execrable inquisition into the private affairs of her devotees, especially women, in whose "spiritual interests" her celibate scoundrels have professed a solicitude which has only been the cloak of their lust. She has established nests of infamy throughout the world, in the name of spiritual purity and seclusion; and in convents and nunneries, carries on secret abominations and cruelties, of which the unutterable heinousness will only be fully known .when "Great Babylon comes into remembrance before God," and the time arrives to give unto her "double for all her sins." She has decreed the heathen fiction of the immortality of the soul to be the cardinal point of the Christian faith, and has exalted the Pagan dreams of Hell and Elysian Fields, to the same eminence. She has turned away from the truth, and given heed to fables. She has made lies her refuge.
From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head, she is one mass of spiritual putrefaction; and when to this is added her great swelling words of vanity, her proud looks, and rapacious deeds, her wicked principles and cruel acts, her malignant hostility to the truth in every shape and form, and her implacable persecution by rack torture, fire and death, of all who professed it, whom she could get into her power, the picture of her enormities is complete. Yet, like the adulterous woman, "she wipeth her mouth, and saith, I am innocent." In the language imputed to her in the Apocalypse, she says, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow" (Rev. xviii, 7).
Well might the servants of God be represented as crying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true?" Such a triumph of iniquity in the earth is well-nigh beyond the capacity of human forbearance; but our patience is strengthened by the word which God has sent, "that His servants might know the things which must shortly come to pass." Through it, as through a telescope, we see the coming retribution, and we hear the murmuring echoes of that mighty paean of triumph, which will ascend from countless tongues, like the noise of a tumult of waters: "Alleluia! Salvation, and glory and honour, and power unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand." (Rev. xix, 1, 2).
The sound of this song of triumph is very near, even at the door. In all probability, another generation will not pass before its joyous peals will burst upon the world. "Time, times, and a half" of years are up. 1866-70 (a margin covered by the French occupation of Rome) saw the end of the 1,260 years which commenced in 606-8, and with the end of her allotted time comes the swift and decisive sword of divine justice. "Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. . . Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine, and she shall he utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her" (Rev. xviii, 5-8). "The Lord shall consume her with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy her with the brightness of HIS COMING" (2 Thess. ii, 8).
Times And Signs:
Or The Evidence That The End Is Near