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Ecclesiastical Empire

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    CHAPTER I - AN ECCLESIASTICAL WORLD-POWER

    THE Roman Empire had perished. “Never had the existence of a nation been more completely overthrown.”—Guizot. 1[Page 1] “History of Representative Government,” lecture xxii, par. 9. New peoples in ten distinct kingdoms, in A. D. 476, occupied the territory which for five hundred years had been Roman. These are the nations which, inextricably involved with the papacy, are the subject of the mediaeval and modern history of Western Europe, that we are now to trace.ECE 1.1

    2. The establishment, the growth, and the reign of the papacy as a world-power, is distinctly a subject of prophecy, as really as is the fall of Rome and the planting of the Ten Kingdoms upon the ruins thereof. Indeed, the prophecy of this is an inseparable part of the prophecy of the other. To any one who will closely observe, it will plainly appear that in the three great lines of prophecy in Daniel 7, and 8, and 11, the great subject is Rome. In the Scriptures in each of these chapters far more space is given to the description of Rome than is given to Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Grecia all together. And in Daniel 11:14 when the entrance of Rome upon the scene is marked, it is definitely and significantly stated “the children of robbers shall exalt themselves to establish the vision.” That is to say: Rome is the particular object of the vision; and when Rome is reached and she enters upon the scene, the vision is established.ECE 1.2

    3. In Daniel 7, the four great world-empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome—are pictured by four great beasts. The last characteristic of the fourth is that “it had ten horns.” Then, says the prophet, “I considered 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: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.” 2[Page 1] Verse 8. This “little horn” the prophet beheld even till “the Judgment was set and the books were opened.” And then he says, “I beheld then [at the time of the Judgment] because 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.”ECE 1.3

    4. Note that the prophet is considering the “little horn” in its career even to the end. But when that “little horn” comes to its end, it is not said, I beheld till the horn was broken; but, “I beheld till the beast was slain.” At the time of the Judgment “I beheld then because of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain.” This shows beyond all question that that which is symbolized by the “little horn” is simply another phase of what is symbolized by the great and terrible beast. The “little horn” is but the continuation of the beast in a different shape: the same characteristics are there: the same spirit is there: the same thing that is the beast continues through all the time of the little horn until its destruction comes; and when the destruction of the little “horn” does come, it is “the beast” that is slain and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame.ECE 2.1

    5. In Daniel 8 the thought is the same, except that both phases of this power which is Rome, are symbolized in “a little horn which waxed exceeding great toward the south and toward the east and toward the pleasant land;” that “waxed great even to the host of heaven;” who magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by whom the daily sacrifice was taken away and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.” The further sketch of Rome in its whole career, and under whatever form, from its entrance into the field of the world’s affairs unto the end, is given in verses 23-25: “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”ECE 2.2

    6. When in chapter 7 the angel explained to Daniel the meaning of these things, he said: “The ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall arise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of times.” 3[Page 3] Verses 24, 25.ECE 2.3

    7. Of the fourth great kingdom—Rome—the angel said that not only was it “diverse from all the kingdoms that were before it,” but that it was “diverse from all kingdoms.” Rome was diverse from all the powers that were before it, and also diverse from all kingdoms, in that it was a republic. It is true that this republic degenerated into a one man power, a terrible imperial despotism, in which it was also diverse from all that were before it, and even from all; yet, the name and form of a republic were still retained, even to its latest days.ECE 3.1

    8. That empire perished, and in its place stood ten powers which were called kingdoms. But, now of this other peculiar one which comes up amongst the ten, before whom three of the ten are rooted out—of this one it is written: “He shall be diverse from the first.” The first was diverse from “all;” and yet this is diverse even from that one. This shows, then, that the power here referred to would be diverse from all, even to a degree beyond that one which is plainly declared to be diverse from all: that it would be of an utterly new and strange order.ECE 3.2

    9. Note that of this power it is written that he should “speak great words against the Most High;” that he should “wear out the saints of the Most High;” and that he should “think to change times and the law” 4[Page 3] R. V. of the Most High. In the description of the same power, given in chapter 8:25, it is stated that “he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes.” Throughout the book of Daniel the expression “stand up,” where used in connection with kings, invariably signifies “to reign.” 5[Page 3] Chap. 8:21, 22, 23, 25; 11:2, 3, 5, 7, 20, 21; 12:1. This power, then, would reign in opposition to Christ; for only He is the Prince of princes.ECE 3.3

    10. Further information with respect to this power, is given by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2, where, in writing of the day of the coming of the Lord he said: “That day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing himself that he is God.” And that this instruction is derived directly from the passages which we have quoted from Daniel 7 and 8, is clear from the fact that Paul appeals to the Thessalonians: “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” When he was yet with them, and telling them these things, he “reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.” The only Scriptures that they then had were the Old Testament Scriptures. And the only place in the Old Testament Scriptures where these things are mentioned which he cited, is in these chapters of the book of Daniel.ECE 3.4

    11. These specifications of scripture make it certain that the power referred to is an ecclesiastical one—it deals particularly with “the Most High:” it reigns in opposition to “the Prince of princes.” The specifications show that it is more than simply an ecclesiastical power: it is an ecclesiastical world-power, a theocratical world-kingdom, requiring worship to itself: putting itself above all else that is worshiped, even sitting “in the temple”—the place of worship—“of God, showing himself that he is God.”ECE 4.1

    12. All this is emphasized by the further description of the same power: “I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.... And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.” 6[Page 4] Revelation 17:4-6. These saints and martyrs of Jesus are in this same book symbolized by another woman—“a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”—who “fled into the wilderness” 7[Page 4] Revelation 12:1, 6, 14. while this terrible woman on the scarlet-colored beast is doing all in her power utterly to “wear out the saints of the Most High.” The condition as thus revealed, is woman against woman—Church against Church: a corrupt Church opposed to the pure Church.ECE 4.2

    13. The book of Revelation is the complement of the book of Daniel. The book of Daniel has for its great subject national history, with Church history incidental. The book of Revelation has for its great subject Church history, with national history incidental. Accordingly, that which is but briefly mentioned in the book of Daniel concerning this ecclesiastical kingdom which takes such a large place in the world, is quite fully treated in the book of Revelation: and treated in both its phases, that of the true Church and that of the false; that of the faithful Church, and that of the apostate.ECE 4.3

    14. The line of prophecy of the Seven Churches of the book of Revelation, is a series of seven letters addressed by the Lord to His own Church in the seven phases of the complete round of her experience from the first advent of Christ unto the second. In each of these seven letters not only is counsel given in the way of right, but there are pointed out the dangers and evils that beset the Church, against which she must be especially guarded, and which, in order to remain pure, she must escape.ECE 5.1

    15. To the Church in her first stage—the Church of Ephesus—He says: “I have somewhat against thee because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” 8[Page 5] Revelation 2:4, 5. This points definitely to the falling away that is mentioned by Paul to the elders of the Church at Ephesus (Acts 20:30), and that is again mentioned and dwelt upon by him in 2 Thessalonians 2, which falling away, when continued, developed “that man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped”—the ecclesiastical State now under consideration. The time of this phase of the Church is by the letter itself, shown to be the days of the apostles, 9[Page 5] Revelation 2:3. and therefore ended about A. D. 100.ECE 5.2

    16. The letter to the Church in her second phase, is wholly commendatory. This shows that, while individuals had continued in the apostasy mentioned in the first letter, yet the Church herself had heeded the counsel given by the Head of the Church, and had repented and returned to “the first works.” The time of this phase of the Church’s experience is definitely suggested in the letter itself, by the statement that she should “have tribulation ten days.” 10[Page 5] Revelation 2:10. This refers to the ten years of persecution in the reign of Diocletian, from A. D. 303-313; which was ended by the Edict of Milan, issued by the two emperors, Constantine and Licinius, March, A. D. 313. 11[Page 6] “Great Empires of Prophecy,” chap 28, par. 9 to end.ECE 5.3

    17. The letter to the Church in the third phase of her experience gives the key to this particular thought which is now before us—the identification of that ecclesiastical State. In this letter Christ mentions with commendation the fact that His Church had held fast His name, and had not denied His faith, “even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr.” 12[Page 6] Revelation 9:13. This word “Antipas” is not a person’s name, but is a term characteristic of the times. It is composed of two words, anti, and pappas. “anti” signifies against, and “pappas” signifies papa, which is our English, and also the universal, word for “papa.” And this word “papa” is but the repetition of the simple word “pa,” and is the original of the word “pope.”ECE 6.1

    18. Therefore, the word “Antipas”—“against ‘pas’ or ‘papas’”—shows the growth of the papa-cy in the period immediately following A. D. 313. This was the period of Constantine and onward, in which the papa-cy itself was distinctly formed. And history records that in that time, while the other principal bishops of the Church bore the title of “patriarch,” the bishop of Rome studiously avoided that particular term, as placing him on a level with other “patriarchs.” He always preferred the title of “papa,” or “pope” (Schaff 13[Page 6] “History of the Christian Church,” Vol. iii, sec. iv, par. 7, note.): and this because “patriarch” bespeaks an oligarchical Church government—that is government by a few; whereas “pope” bespeaks a monarchial Church government—that is government by one. 14[Page 6] Id. Thus the history, and the word of the counsel of Christ, unite in marking as the characteristic of that phase of the Church’s experience, the formation of the papa-cy, and the assertion of the authority of the pope.ECE 6.2

    19. And thus, beyond all question, the papacy is identified, and that by the very Word of God itself, as that ecclesiastical State, that church-kingdom, sketched by Daniel, in chapters 7 and 8; described by Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2: and fully traced by John, in the Revelation. The time covered by this third letter of Christ to His Church is, by that letter itself, shown to be the time of the making of the papacy; and to the words of that letter correspond exactly the facts of the history in the period reaching from the Edict of Milan to the ruin of the empire. The “falling away,” the leaving of the “first love,” mentioned in the first letter, had, in this time of the third letter, culminated in the formation of the papacy.ECE 6.3

    20. Now this same course is traced on the side of the apostasy, in the first three steps of the line of prophecy of the Seven Seals of the book of Revelation. Under the First Seal there was seen going forth a white horse (Revelation 6:2), corresponding to the Church in her first phase—that of her original purity, her “first love.” But the counsel of Christ in His first letter said that there was even then a falling away from that first love: and this is signified in the Second Seal, at the opening of which “there went out another horse that was red.” 15[Page 7] Revelation 6:4. And, under the Third Seal “I beheld, and lo a black horse!” 16[Page 7] Revelation 6:5. Thus the symbols of the seals, passing in three steps from white to black, mark identically the course of the apostasy in the three steps, from the first love, in which Christ was all in all, in the first stage of the Church, to the third stage, in which, “where Satan’s seat” was, and where Satan dwelt, a man was put in the place of God, in that which professed to be the Church of God, “passing himself off for God.”ECE 7.1

    21. The immediate effect of this apostasy, which developed the papacy in the Roman Empire, was the complete ruin of the Roman Empire. And, this consequence of the apostasy, which is traced in the first three steps of the two lines of prophecy of the Seven Churches and the Seven Seals, is sketched in the first four trumpets of the line of prophecy of the Seven Trumpets. And here it is—in the Seven Trumpets—that national history enters, as an incident, in this book of Church history; as in the rise of the little horn amongst the ten, in the book of Daniel, there enters Church history, as an incident, in that book of national history. The Seven Trumpets aptly enter here, because the trumpet is the symbol of war; and it was by the universal war of the floods of barbarians from the north, that there was swept away that mass of corruption that was heaped upon the Roman Empire by its union with the apostate Church, in the making of the papacy. 17[Page 7] See “The Great Nations of To-day,” Review and Herald Publishing Co., Battle Creek, Mich.ECE 7.2

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