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    October 23, 1890

    “The Papacy. No. 4” The Present Truth 6, 22.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    The prophet says: “And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” The “they” of course refers to the “saints of the Most High” and the “times and laws,” which are mentioned in the same verse. The “time and times and the dividing of time,” then, indicates the period of Papal supremacy, and of the unlimited reign of lawlessness.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.1

    In the first place we may notice that in the Douay Bible, as well as in the Revised Version, “time and times and the dividing of time,” is rendered, “time, and times, and half a time.” We have no need to conjecture what this means, for the Bible is its own interpreter. In Revelation 12:14 we find the same period of time mentioned: “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.” Now in verse 6 of the same chapter the same event is brought to view in these words: “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.” From these two verses we learn that “a time, and times, and half a time” is only another expression for twelve hundred and sixty days. Then the little horn of Daniel 7 was to have supremacy for twelve hundred and sixty days.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.2

    The question now arises, “Is it possible that 1,260 days, or three years and a half years, cover the whole time which the prophecy allows to the Papacy?” We answer, No; and the explanation is simple. The prophecy is symbolic; four mighty empires are represented by short-lived beasts; the Roman Catholic power is represented by a little horn of one of these beasts. It is obvious, then, that the prophecy would not be consistent if it should express the duration of those powers in literal years. The time would be out of proportion to the nature of the symbol representing the power. Therefore it is evident that the time must also be symbolic. We inquire, then, What is the standard of time when used in symbolic prophecy? In Ezekiel 4:4-6 we read the answer:-PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.3

    “Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of 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.”PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.4

    Since all prophecy of Scripture proceeds from the same source, and is not of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20, 21), the interpretation given to a symbol in one prophecy; therefore the “time, and times, and half a time,” or twelve hundred and sixty days, indicate just twelve hundred and sixty years.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.5

    The next question to be settled is, When does this period of time begin and end? There are several dates given by various authors to mark the rise of Papal supremacy, but 538 A.D. seems to be the one that has the only just claim to consideration. The prophet, in describing the rise of the little horn, says, “He shall subdue three kings.” Daniel 7:24. This is in explanation of the fact that three horns were to be plucked up before it. Of course the only powers that would be rooted up to make room for the Catholic power would be those who were opposed to it. Now long before 538 A.D., paganism, as a State religion in the Roman empire, was dead. Since the time of Constantine, Rome had been nominally Christian. The barbarous tribes by which the empire was divided into the ten parts, also embraced the Christianity of the empire.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.6

    But not all of these tribes were favorable to the pretensions of the bishops of Rome. Some of them, especially the Heruli, the Vandals, and the Ostrogoths, were professedly followers of Arius. The contest between the Catholics and Arians was bitter and unrelenting, and so long as these powers held Italy and the adjacent country, the pope could not assert papal authority.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.7

    In the year 493 A.D., the power of the Heruli was annihilated by the death of Odoacer. From that time it is impossible to trace them in history. In 534 the Vandals were conquered by Belisarius, the general of Justinian; and in 538 A.D., Rome, which until that time had been in possession of the Arian Ostrogoths, was occupied by the Roman army, and the Catholic religion was established. These conquests are described in detail in the thirty-ninth and forty-first chapters of Gibbon. When the last of these Arian powers was overthrown (A.D. 538), there was nothing to hinder the bishop of Rome from occupying the proud position for which he had so long been striving.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 346.8

    To show plainly the object of these wars against the Arian powers, and what was gained by them, we make two brief quotations from Gibbon. After having rehearsed the defeat of the Vandals and the capture of Carthage by the Romans, the historian speaks as follows concerning Justinian:-PTUK October 23, 1890, page 347.1

    Impatient to abolish the temporal and spiritual tyranny of the Vandals, he proceeded, without delay, to the full establishment of the Catholic Church. Her jurisdiction, wealth, and immunities, perhaps the most essential part of Episcopal religion, were restored and amplified with a liberal hand; the Arian worship was suppressed, the Donatist meetings were proscribed; and the synod of Carthage, by the voice of two hundred and seventeen bishops, applauded the just measure of pious retaliation.”-Decline and Fall, chap. 41, paragraph 11.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 347.2

    The victory of Belisarius over the Ostrogoths (A.D. 538) is thus described:-PTUK October 23, 1890, page 347.3

    “The Goths consented to retreat in the presence of a victorious enemy; to delay till the next spring the operations of offensive war; to summon their scattered forces; to relinquish their distant possessions, and to trust even Rome itself to the faith of its inhabitants. Leuderis, an aged warrior, was left in the capital with four thousand soldiers; a feeble garrison, which might have seconded the zeal, though it was incapable of opposing the wishes of the Romans. But a momentary enthusiasm of religion and patriotism was kindled in their minds. They furiously exclaimed that the apostolic throne should not longer be profaned by the triumph or toleration of Arianism; that the tombs of the Cæsars should no longer be trampled by the savages of the North; and, without reflecting that Italy must sink into a province of Constantinople, they fondly hailed the restoration of a Roman emperor as a new era of freedom and prosperity. The deputies of the Pope and clergy, of the Senate and people, invited the lieutenant of Justinian to accept their voluntary allegiance, and to enter the city, whose gates would be thrown open for his reception.... The first days, which coincided with the old Saturnalia, were devoted to mutual congratulation and the public joy, and the Catholics prepared to celebrate, without a rival, the approaching festival of the nativity of Christ.”-Id., paragraphs 22, 23.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 347.4

    These quotations show most conclusively that in A.D. 538 the bishop of Rome did become literally “the pope,” i.e., the father, or head and ruler, of the churches. The last opposing horn had then been plucked up, and the Papacy was free to enter upon that career of ecclesiastical tyranny for which it had long been preparing; and the “mystery of iniquity” which had been working so long was given full liberty.PTUK October 23, 1890, page 347.5

    E. J. W.

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