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    November 12, 1885

    “The 1260 Days” The Signs of the Times, 11, 43.

    E. J. Waggoner

    THE SABBATH-SCHOOL.

    LESSON FOR THE PACIFIC COAST—DEC. 5

    No Authorcode

    The 1260 Days

    Our lesson this week is confined to the last clause of Daniel 7:25: “And they shall be given into his hands until a time and time and the dividing of time.” The “they” of course refers to the “saints of the Most High” and the “time and times and the dividing of time,” then, indicates the period of papal supremacy; for we have already seen that the little horn symbolizes the Roman Catholic power.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.1

    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 times,” 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.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.2

    But the question now arises, “Is it possible that only twelve hundred and sixty days, three years and a half, covers 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 beasts; the Roman Catholic power is represented by a little horn of one of the 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:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.3

    “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.”SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.4

    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 do make room for the Catholic power would be those were all 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, and had been nominally Christian. The barbarous tribes by which the empire was divided into the ten parts, also embraced the Christianity of the empire. Says D’Aubigne:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.5

    “Already the forests of the North poured forth the most effectual promoters of the papal power. The barbarians who had invaded the West and settled themselves therein,-but recently converted to Christianity,-ignorant of the spiritual character of the church, and feeling the want of an external pomp of religion, prostrated themselves in a half savage and a half heathen state of mind at the feet of their chief priest Rome.”-Hist. Reformation, Book 1, chap. 1, part. 31.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.6

    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 Arian in faith. The contest between the Catholics and Arians was bitter and unrelenting, and so long as these powers held Italy and the adjacent country, no Catholic bishop could rule in Rome. In the year 494 A.D., the power of the Heruli was annihilated by the death of one 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 39th and 41st chapters of Gibbon.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.7

    When these Arian powers were overthrown (A.D. 538), previous imperial decrees concerning the bishop of Rome could go into effect. Speaking of the way in which the fallen bishop gradually usurped power over other churches, D’Aubigne says:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.8

    “To silence the cries of the churches, Rome found new allies. Princes who in those troublesome times often found their thrones tottering, offered their adherence to the church in exchange for her support. They yielded to her spiritual authority, on condition of her paying them with secular dominion. They left her to deal at will with the souls of men, provided only she would deliver them from their enemies. The power of the hierarchy in the ascending scale, and of the imperial power which was declining, leaned thus one toward another, and so accelerated the twofold destiny.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.9

    “Rome could not lose by this. An edict of one Theodosius II. and of Valentinian III. proclaimed the bishop of Rome ‘ruler of all the churches.’ Justinian issued a similar decree. These decrees did not contain all that the popes pretended to see in them. But in those times of ignorance it was easy for them to gain reception for that interpretation which was most favorable to themselves.”-Hist. Ref., Book 1, chap. 1, par. 29, 30.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.10

    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:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.11

    “He received the messengers of victory at the time when he was preparing to publish the pandects of the Roman law; and the devout or jealous emperor celebrated the divine goodness, and confessed in silence the merit of his successful general. 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 the episcopal religion, where restored and amplified with a liberal hand; the Arian worshipe 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, par. 11.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.12

    The victory of Belisarius over the Ostrogoths (A.D. 538) is thus described:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.13

    “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 no 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.”-Decline and Fall, chap. 41, par. 22, 23.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.14

    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 which it had long been preparing for. And since this career was to continue 1260 years, it is evident that it must have been stopped in the year 1798 A.D. Let us see if at that time anything happened to justify this conclusion. From “Chambers’ Cyclopedia,” art. “Pius,” we quote:-SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.15

    “At length the [French] Directory ordered the invasion of Rome; Berthier entered the city February 10, 1798, took possession of the castle of St. Angelo. Pius [VI.] was called on to renounce his temporal sovereignty, and on his refusal, was seized, February 20, and carried away to Siena, afterwards to the celebrated Certosa, or Carthusian Monastery, of Florence. On the threatened advance of the Austro-Russian army in the following year, he was transferred to Grenoble, and finally to Valence on the Rhone, where, worn out by age and by the rigor of confinement, he died in August, 1799, in the 82nd year of his age, and the 24th of his pontificate.... After the death of Pious VI., Cardinal Chiaramonte was chosen his successor (March 14, 1800). Rome, which up to this time had been in the occupation of the French, was not restored to the papal authority, and the July of that year Pious VII. entered into his capital.”SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.16

    Thus we see that from 538 to 1798 A.D. there were 1260 years of unbroken power. Plainly fulfilling the prophecy. It would be interesting to study the position of papal Rome before and after this period of supremacy, but that will have to be deferred till another time. E. J. W.SITI November 12, 1885, page 678.17

    “Which Is Evangelical?” The Signs of the Times, 11, 43.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following is a portion of an editorial note in the Pacific of June 10-:SITI November 12, 1885, page 680.1

    “The election of the Rev. Edward White to the chairmanship of the Congregational Union of England and Wales is sure to be noted as indicating the tendencies of belief among the Independent there. Mr. White is by far the most pronounced and prominent advocate of the doctrine of ‘eternal life only in Christ.’ Of course, he was not elected because of his advocacy of that tenet. He is a man of great energy and ability, and has done yeoman service for the Free Churches of England. He is also a thoroughly Evangelical minister, if we act except this particular divergence.”SITI November 12, 1885, page 680.2

    And “evangelical minister,” according to Webster, is one who is “earnest for the truth taught in the gospel; fervent and devout; strict in interpreting Christian doctrine;” and the Pacific says that one who believes that we have a “eternal life only in Christ,” is not, in that particular, evangelical. Let us see whether Mr. White or the Pacific is evangelical on the immortality question. The New Testament must, of course, decide the matter.SITI November 12, 1885, page 680.3

    To start with, we take that most wonderful of texts, John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” What do we learn from this verse?SITI November 12, 1885, page 680.4

    1. That God’s love for the world was so great as to cause him to send his Son for their rescue. We can judge something of God’s love for his Son, when we remember that Christ was the brightest of the Father’s glory, “and the express image of his person,” that he was “heir of all things,” the one by whom the worlds were made (Hebrews 1:2, 3); and that “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Colossians 2:9. God is infinite in all his attributes and therefore his love for his Son was infinite. And since he gave his Son for the world, we know how great was his love for the world. It was infinite.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.1

    2. The worth of the sacrifice shows the extent of the need. God would not lightly give his Son to suffer and die; it must be that without that gift there was no possibility for man to be rescued from his condition, and to receive that which was offered to him.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.2

    3. We are plainly told that this wonderful sacrifice was made that those who would believe in Christ might not perish, but that they might have everlasting life. Men can believe in Christ and have everlasting life, or he can disbelief and perish. There is no other alternative. The choice is not between happiness and misery, but between life and death. With eternal life in the presence of God, happiness must necessarily be associated, but it is secondary. Eternal life is what Christ says we get by believing on him. To deny that we get to eternal life only through Christ, is to deny the words of Christ. Mr. White accepts the words of Christ; the Pacific says, Not so. Which is evangelical?SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.3

    Let us imagine that Nicodemus held to the doctrine of inherent immortality, as advocated by the Pacific and many others. Then when Christ said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” Nicodemus would have recorded, “Well, he needn’t have gone to all that trouble, for we shall have the eternal life any way. If that’s what you came for, you came to no purpose.” Do you say that such language would be insulting? We admit it, but how many are saying the same thing to-day!SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.4

    The doctrine of “eternal life only in Christ” is not evangelical, says the Pacific. Then the author of the gospel must be declared unevangelical; for he says, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36. Is not this eternal life only in Christ?SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.5

    Other texts are simply a repetition of the statement already made. Says Christ, “I am come that they might have life.” John 10:10. Says the Pacific, “You are too late; we have it already.”SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.6

    Again the Saviour said to the unbelieving Jews: “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40. We can imagine the pitiful tone in which he spoke these words, and the sorrow of his heart, as “he came unto his own, and his own received him not.” And then to think that he knew all that this coming implied,-the agony in the garden, the brutal insults and cruel scourging in the judgment hall, and the shameful death on the cross, what for? “That they might have life.” Was Christ deceived? Was his anxious solicitude for man called a mistake? and was his sacrifice a useless waste of life? Evidently so, if men could have life outside of Christ. But he was not deceived; none so well as he could know man’s terrible need, and the eternal destruction that must follow if the sacrifice was not made. Then how terribly deceived must those be who, in response to Christ’s pathetic appeal, virtually say, “We don’t need to come to you that we might have life; we can get it without your assistance.” Fatal delusion! What an insult to the Son God!SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.7

    Once more. Said Christ, in that wonderful prayer which was not for the apostles alone, but for them who should believe through their word: “Father, ... glorify thy Son, ... as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:1-3. Would the Pacific say that Christ was “thoroughly evangelical, if we except this particular divergence”?SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.8

    Perhaps the Pacific has another standard of evangelicalism. But for “this particular divergence,” Mr. White would be “a thoroughly Evangelical minister.” Divergence from what? Not from the Testament and the teaching of Christ, as we have clearly seen. What then? Ah, now we have it. The Rev. Edward White is a Congregationalist, and in general holds to the doctrines which the Congregationist body holds in common with the great mass of professed Christians. But this same mass of professed Christians does not accept the doctrine of “eternal life only in Christ,” and it is in “this particular divergence” that Mr. White is unevangelical. If it were not for that, he would be “thoroughly evangelical.” Then it is evident that, according to the Pacific, popular belief, and not the New Testament, is the standard of evangelical principles. Popularity seems to be the accepted standard; but in spite of the great number on the popular side, we can’t help believing that the Bible is true, and that Jesus meant what he said.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.9

    What is a record? “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” 1 John 5:11, 12. Is not this “eternal life only in Christ”? It certainly is, and it is evangelical doctrine, too.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.10

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life of Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23. “No, no,” says the Pacific, “Paul is mistaken; eternal life doesn’t come ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord;’ or, even if it does sometimes come through him, we can get it without him just as well.” Again we ask, Which is evangelical?SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.11

    Sometimes people say, “Well, it is of no practical importance what you believe concerning the immortality of the soul.” We think that the intelligent reader can see that it is of a great deal of importance. It is a question of whether we shall give Christ the honor that is his due, or whether we shall withhold from him all his honor. One of his titles is “our life.” See Colossians 3:4. Nowhere in the Bible can we find that he came for any other purpose than to give life to those who would believe on him. His sole object in coming to earth to suffer and die, was to give life. And now if we say that Christ did not bring “life and immortality to light through the gospel,” but that Socrates or Plato brought it to light, then we exalt a heathen philosopher above Christ, and rob the Lord of glory of his crown. The work of Spiritualism to-day is to convince men that they have life in themselves, instead of in Christ; and thousands who profess to be evangelical, and to abhor Spiritualism, are doing their best to help along that delusion of Satan. And this popular doctrine, which is so flattering to the pride of the human heart, that man is not dependent for eternal life on any source outside of himself, is that which will eventually sweep millions of professed lovers of the Lord into the ranks of those who openly blaspheme his name.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.12

    Reader, where do you stand? Do you profess to love the Lord Jesus Christ? Then do not any longer refuse to acknowledge that which will constitute his crown of glory and rejoicing. “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18. E. J. W.SITI November 12, 1885, page 681.13

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