Note: In order to gain a full understanding of this study, I urge you to read the previous lesson first.
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.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 time.” (Daniel 7:24, 25)
In our previous study we saw that by the year 476 A.D. Rome was divided into exactly ten divisions represented by the ten horns of the beast. Daniel says the little horn would rise after them.
Did the Papacy Rise into Power Shortly After 476 A.D.?
It is a known fact that, soon after Rome was divided into ten parts, the pope of the church of Rome was given authority over all churches in 538 A.D.!
“The legally recognized supremacy of the pope began in 538 AD when there went into effect a decree of Emperor Justinian, making the bishop of Rome head over all the churches, the definer of doctrine and the corrector of heretics [those who oppose their authority]. Vigilius ... ascended the papal chair (538 AD) under the military protection of Belisarius.” - (History of the Christian Church, vol. 3. p, 327).
Did the Papacy Uproot Three of the First Horns/Powers?
Daniel said that “the little horn” power would “subdue three kings” (Daniel 7:24). In verse 8 Daniel makes it clear that threes three kings are three of the previous ten horns: “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 …” In our first study we noticed three of the ten horns became extinct:
- Alemanni (Germany)
- Franks (France)
- Burgundians (Switzerland)
- Suevi (Portugal)
- Visigoths (Spain)
- Lombards (Italy)
- Anglo-Saxons (England)
- Heruli (Extinct)
- Vandals (Extinct)
- Ostrogoths (Extinct)
It is of no coincidence that only seven of the ten horns have modern names today. Three have been extinct by the very acts of the papal power. They were the Heruli who were subdued in 493 A.D.; the Vandals who were subdued in 534 A.D.; and the Ostrogoths who were subdued in 538 A.D. (There’s that date again). Most of the barbarian nations had bowed to the authority of the Bishop of Rome. However, these three nations rejected it and the papacy uprooted them.
These three horns were uprooted because the Roman church waged war on Arianism. Arianism stems from one individual named Arius who believed Jesus was brought forth from God and thus had a beginning. He had charged the church of “blurring the distinction of nature between the Father and the Son.” This went against the Roman Catholic teaching that God was a Trinity consisting of three co-eternal beings (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit), a doctrine that Scripture does not teach. In this doctrine, Christ is only a Son in a metaphorical sense, and the Father, Son and Holy Spirit relationship is a matter of three distinct “roles” that each member of the Trinity acts out in the plan of salvation. The church of Rome held a council in 325 A.D. called the Council of Nicea to deal with this issue. They had accused Arius in believing that Christ was a created being, and thus was not divine since he believed Christ was literally “begotten” of the Father. As a result, the church and the state persecuted Arius and all those who adhered to his teaching and Constantine ordered that his books be burned. Thus, the three horn Arian powers were uprooted by the papacy.
Arius, however, did not believe Christ was a created being and therefore, was divine. Christ being the literal Son, begotten of God “in the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2), proves that He IS divine. Just as anyone who is begotten from a human is human by nature, Christ, being begotten of God, is of the same nature as God, and therefore is God. He inherited His divinity from His Father. Christ being begotten of God does not mean He was a created being. “Begotten” and “created” are not the same. A false representation of God can be seen below:
The problem with this representation is that the Holy Spirit is defined as a separate entity than the Father and His Son, when in fact it IS the omnipresence of the Father and Son. In John 14 Jesus said:
“If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:15-18)
Most people miss what Jesus is saying here. First, Jesus is not saying that an entirely different co-eternal being will be sent by the Father. Jesus clarifies this when He says, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” The Comforter whom the Father will send is Jesus Himself in Spirit form – His omnipresence. Jesus told them that if He Himself doesn’t come to them, then they would be comfortless. He also told them that the Comforter already “dwelleth with you” at the present time in bodily form, but then would “be in you” in the future in Spirit form.
The Greek word for “Comforter” here is paraklatos. John uses this same Greek word to describe Jesus in his first letter, but most translations change it to the word “Advocate”: “… And if any man sin, we have an advocate(paraklatos) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1). This could have easily been translated as: “And if any man sin, we have a Comforter with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
"It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word 'Trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan ... The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth ... The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognized the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One ... The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third 'Person,' co-equal with the other 'Persons' ... Today a Christian thinker ... has no wish to be precise about it, more especially since the definition is obviously pagan in origin and was not adopted by the Church until nearly three hundred years after Christ" (Arthur Weigall, Egyptologist, Paganism in Our Christianity, pp. 97-203)
"The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god—as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity" (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22-23)
"The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage: 'O ye three Lords! know that I recognize only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.' The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied, 'Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.' Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity . . . Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods" (Sinclair, pp. 382-383)
Jesus was begotten as the Son of God before He came to this earth (John 3:16; 11:27). Being born as a man, Christ took our fallen human nature, not by practice, but by inheritance. None of us are born sinners, but we are all born with a sinful nature bent towards sin. If you remember from our study on Daniel chapter 2, it was the Babylonian idea that the gods do not dwell in the flesh. We showed how “the Word, (Christ) became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Then in John’s second letter he wrote, “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” (2 John 1:7). This is not simply speaking of flesh and bones, but that Jesus came “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Romans 8:3). Sinful flesh is the only flesh that needs saving, so Jesus came down to deliver us from our sinful flesh, and "in the likeness of sinful flesh ... He condemned sin in the flesh” (Romans 8:3). He “took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7, 8).
In order for the plan of salvation to work, Jesus must experience the same trials, sorrows and temptations as man experiences. In order to do this, Jesus must come to this earth as a man, and not as a man only, but man in his FALLEN nature! Without taking man’s fallen nature Jesus could not experience trials, sorrows, temptations and even death that fallen man experiences.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily He took not on him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)
In 1 John 4:3 we read, “every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in THE flesh (meaning sinful flesh) is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in THE flesh (sinful flesh) is not of God.” To believe and teach that Jesus did not come in THE flesh (sinful human flesh) is to spread an antichrist teaching.
Why am I discussing this here? Because “The mystery of the trinity is the central doctrine of the Catholic faith. Upon it are based all the other teachings of the church.” (Handbook for Today’s Catholic, p. 11). This truth concerning Christ’s human nature strikes most powerfully at the erroneous Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception which is linked to their doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the immaculate conception is not about Jesus’ conception, but about Mary’s conception from her own mother. This Catholic doctrine says that Mary herself was born without a sinful nature, and thus could not sin:
“The ancient writer of ‘De Nativitate Christi’ found in St. Cyprian’s works, says: Because (Mary) being ‘very different from the rest of mankind, human nature, but not sin, communicated itself to her.’ Theodoret, a father that lived in the fifth century, says, that Mary ‘surpassed by far the cherubim and seraphim in purity.’ In the Greek Liturgy of St. Chrysostom, a father of the fourth century, ... the following words are directed to be chanted by the choir during the canon of the mass: ‘It is truly meet that we should praise thee, O mother of God, ... thou art the mother of our God, to be venerated in preference to the cherubim; thou art beyond comparison more glorious than the seraphim.’ Theodore, patriarch of Jerusalem, said in the second council of Nice, that Mary ‘is truly the mother of God, and virgin before and after childbirth; and she was created in a condition more sublime and glorious that that of all natures, whether intellectual or corporeal.” (Reverend Joseph Faa Di Bruno, Catholic Belief, pp. 216,217)
But what does this erroneous statement about Mary have to do with Jesus and His human nature? These statements concerning Mary’s human nature as being “very different from the rest of mankind” and being “surpassed by far the cherubim and seraphim in purity” lead us to the Catholic doctrine concerning Christ’s own human nature. On pages 198 and 199 in his book, Faith of Our Fathers, Cardinal Gibbons writes:
“We affirm that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Word of God, who, in his divine nature is, from all eternity, begotten of the Father, con substantial with him, was in the fullness of time again begotten, by being born of the virgin, thus taking to himself from her maternal womb, a human nature of the same substance with hers. As far as the sublime mystery of the incarnation can be reflected in the natural order, the blessed virgin, under the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost, by communicating to the Second Person of the adorable Trinity, as mothers do, a true nature of the same substance with her own, thereby really and truly his mother.”
Take note how this doctrine of Jesus inheriting a sinless nature from Mary connects to the church’s doctrine of the Trinity. They believe, when Jesus was born, He was born with a human nature that was “very different from the rest of mankind” and “surpassed by far the cherubim and seraphim in purity” because He inherited this nature from Mary. However, we have learned that Scripture says, “it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren” and was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” He partook of the same flesh (sinful flesh) and blood that we have. Scripture also says that Jesus, while on earth, “was made for a little while lower (not higher) than the angels” (Hebrews 2:9, TLV) and “He took not on Him the nature of angels; but He took on Him the seed of Abraham.” (Verse 16).
Christ took on the “seed of Abraham” therefore Mary must have had the same human nature as Abraham. What nature did Abraham have? A fallen sinful human nature bent towards sin! If Mary was a sinless being, and was much more purer than the angels of God, she would not need a Savior. However, Luke records Mary’s own words as, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:46, 47). So yes, it is true that Jesus inherited a nature like that of Mary’s, but it wasn’t a sinless nature, but a fallen nature bent towards sin (Galatians 4:4). Jesus, however, is the only human to ever resist all temptations of sin and live a sinless life. He is the only being to have ever perfectly lived by faith in the Father.
“If Christ had side-stepped the law of heredity through an immaculate conception or a special creation to make Him like Adam before he fell, we who are under that law could never hope to be saved from our inherited tendencies. We are to overcome our inherited tendencies by faith in Christ. However, if Christ came in sinless nature with no tendencies toward sin, and we must overcome inherited tendencies, then we must do something that Christ would not dare to do. There is better News than this. Christ had to die to redeem us. He had to take mortality upon Himself. Mortality comes because of a nature with an inherent tendency to die. Only a sinful fallen nature is subject to death. Adam was not subject to death until he sinned. Since he sinned, every person, without exception, inherits the tendency to die. … Any teaching that affirms that Christ came in sinless human nature denies the blood, the death, of Christ. It is a denial of the cross of Christ and thus against the ‘everlasting gospel.' Babylon denies and does away with the blood of Christ.” (Gerald L. Finneman, The Crucifixion of Christ And Its Opposition, pp. 17, 18)
From His early childhood Jesus daily witnessed the loving grace that the Father bestowed upon Him. Luke writes of Jesus: “And the Child grew, and became strong in spirit (character), filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” (Luke 2:40). Jesus’ ever-growing love for His Father sealed Him so that He could not be moved. Paul says Jesus “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15). Although He was born “in the likeness of sinful flesh” as we are (Romans 8:3), He never once chose to sin. He took upon Himself our sinful flesh, with all its tendencies toward sin, but resisted it at every breath and every thought.
And since Jesus was “made like unto His brethren” and that “He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour (aid/help) them that are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:17, 18). With Christ living in and through us, we too, while in fallen flesh bent toward sin, will be able to live obedient lives. Jesus said we will “overcome as (just like) [He] overcame” (Revelation 3:21). How did He overcome every temptation? By receiving God’s power of grace through faith. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16) — just as Christ did! We can, therefore, walk by faith (in confidence) knowing that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, instructing us to renounce ungodly living and worldly passions so that WE might live sensible, honest, and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-12). What a hope! What a promise! This is living “by the faith of the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). We must possess HIS unfailing faith and allow that to work in and through us to gain the victory over sinning. No wonder the ten-horned beastly power seeks to persecute and kill those who “keep the Commandments of God, and the faith OF Jesus” (Revelation 14:12).
Did the Papacy Persecute People?
Daniel saw that the little horn power “shall wear out the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:25). It is estimated that during the “Dark Ages” 50,000,000 - 70,000,000 people were put to death by the papal power. All because they did not fully bow to the papal authority!
“The church has persecuted. Only a tyro [an inexperienced person] in church history will deny that ... One hundred and fifty years after Constantine the Donatists were persecuted, and sometimes put to death ... Protestants were persecuted, and sometimes put to death ... Protestants were persecuted in France and Spain with the full approval of the church authorities. We [Papal Rome] have always defended the persecution of the Huguenots, and the Spanish Inquisition. Wherever and whenever there is honest Catholicity, there will be a clear distinction drawn between truth and error, and Catholicity and all forms of heresy. When she thinks it good to use physical force, she will use it ... But will the Catholic Church give bond that she will not persecute at all? Will she guarantee absolute freedom and equality of all churches and all faiths? The Catholic Church gives no bonds of her good behavior.” (The Western Watchman [A Catholic Publication], December 24, 1908)
In his book, Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, William Edward Lecky writes, “That the church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has competent knowledge of history” (p. 32)
As a result of this, God’s people fled into the wilderness.
“And to the woman (God’s people) were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished … from the face of the serpent.” (Revelation 12:14)
In churches in Central Africa and in the Armenians of Asia God’s truth survived for many centuries from the Papal power. The Waldensian Christians were among the first people of Europe to possess a translation of the Scriptures. Because the Waldensian Christians believed the Papal system was “the little horn” power spoken by Daniel, they totally denied the authority of the popes. They often had to retreat into the caves to hide from the Roman armies.
“Seen by the Roman Catholic Church as unorthodox, they [the Waldensians] were formally declared heretics by Pope Lucius III in 1184 at the Synod of Verona, and by Pope Innocent III during the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. In 1211, more than 80 Waldensians were burned as heretics at Strasbourg, beginning several centuries of persecution that nearly destroyed the movement.” (Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia)
Matthew Henry (1662-1714): “It is desirable to obtain the right and full sense of what we see and hear from God; and those that would know, must ask by faithful and fervent prayer. The angel told Daniel plainly. He especially desired to know respecting the little horn, which made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Here is foretold the rage of papal Rome against true Christians.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Whole Bible Commentary, Daniel Chapter 7, vss. 15-28, p. 1122)
Does the Papacy Speak Blasphemy Against God?
Daniel goes on to say, “he shall speak great words against the most High.” (Daniel 7:25). John wrote, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.” (Revelation 13:5). What are these blasphemies that this king would speak? First, let us define what blasphemy means. Blasphemy is actually defined twice in Scripture. The first one is found in Matthew 26:63-65 where the religious leaders accuse Jesus of committing blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God. Thus, one meaning of the word blasphemy is for a man or woman to claim he/she is equal or of divine origin as God. Of course, Jesus wasn’t committing blasphemy because He is the only begotten Son of God. He is God by nature; for He is the only being to have come forth from God and is not a created being (Proverbs 8:22-30; John 1:1-3; John 8:42). However, for anyone else to claim these things it is blasphemy. Now the question is, has the papacy committed this kind of blasphemy? Well, read for yourself:
“The pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God, and the vicar of God ... Hence the pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions ... So that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, or might think contrary to the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the pope ... The pope is at it were God on earth, sole sovereign of the faithful of Christ, chief king of kings, having plenitude of power, to whom has been entrusted by the omnipotent God direction not only of the earthly but also of the heavenly kingdom ...” - (Prompta Bibliotheca Canonica [Roman Catholic Dictionary] vol. 4, pp. 438, 442, article “pope”).
“All the names which are attributed to Christ in Scripture, implying His supremacy over the church, are also attributed to the Pope.” (On the Authority of Councils, book 2, chapter 17).
“The Pope and God are the same, so he has all power in Heaven and earth.” (Pope Pius V, quoted in Barclay, Chapter XXVII, p. 218, Cities Petrus Bertanous).
“[The Pope is] forever a priest of the Most High with power over the Almighty. The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ himself, hidden under veil of flesh.” (The Catholic National, July 1985).
"It is necessary to salvation that every man should submit to the Pope." (Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctum ["One Holy Church"], 1303)
Another form of blasphemy is found in Mark 2:5-7 where Jesus was again accused of blasphemy by claiming He had the power to forgive people’s sins. Of course, Jesus did have this power, but for anyone else to claim this it is blasphemy. We all know that the papal priests claim they have this power. In fact, they claim that a person should seek forgiveness through the priest instead of through God:
“Pope John Paul II ... on Tuesday told Roman Catholics to seek forgiveness through the church and not directly from God. In a major document on the need for confession of sin, the pontiff laid down guidelines for the world’s nearly 800 million Roman Catholics on the purpose of confessing sins to priests ... The requirement for confessing sin through priests is one of the fundamental principles of Roman Catholicism.” (The Associated Press, December 11, 1984).
Although most of you already knew that the Catholic priests claim they have the authority to forgive sins. What most of you might not know is that the priests claim that God has to submit to their authority on whether or not they chose to forgive the sin:
“Seek where you will, through heaven and earth, and you will find but one created being who can forgive the sinner, who can free him from the chains of hell, that extraordinary being is the priest, the (Roman) Catholic priest. Yes, beloved brethren, the priest not only declares that the sinner is forgiven, but he really forgives him. The priest raises his hand, he pronounces the word of absolution, and in an instant, quick as a flash of light the chains of hell are burst asunder, and the sinner becomes a child of God. So great is the power of the priest that the judgments of heaven itself are subject to his decision.” (The Catholic Priest, pp. 78, 79).
“And God himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of his priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon, according as they refuse to give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it.” (Dignity and Duties of the Priest, by Liguori, p. 27).
Did the Papacy Change Times and Laws?
Daniel said that the little horn would “think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). Because the popes began to exalt themselves in the place of God they claimed:
“The pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ’s … The pope has authority, and has often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ.” (Decretal, de tranlatic Episcop. Cap. [The Pope can modify divine law], Ferraris' Ecclesiastical Dictionary).
This is nearly a word for word fulfillment. Has the papacy changed any laws that deal with time?
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.” (Peter Geiermann, CSSR, A Doctrinal Catechism, 1957 edition, p. 50).
“We have made the change from the seventh day to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the holy, Catholic, apostolic church of Christ.” (Bishop Symour, Why We Keep Sunday).
“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.” (Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, N.J. “News” of March 18, 1903).
“Protestants ... accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change ... But the Protestant mind does not realize that ... on observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.” (Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950).
“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.” (The Catholic Mirror, September 23, 1893).
So yes, we see that the papacy was deeply involved with the attempted change of the Sabbath from the seventh day of the week to the first. However, many people claim the only “law” that deals with “time” is the seventh-day Sabbath, but notice that the word “times” is plural. Take a look at these alternate translations:
“He will speak words against the Most High and oppress the holy ones of the Most High. He will intend to change religious festivals and laws, and the holy ones will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
“This king will speak evil of God Most High, and he will be cruel to God's chosen ones. He will try to change God's Law and the sacred seasons. And he will be able to do this for a time, two times, and half a time.” (Contemporary English Version)
“He will speak against the Supreme God and oppress God's people. He will try to change their religious laws and festivals, and God's people will be under his power for three and a half years.” (Good News Translation)
“He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time.” (New Living Translation)
God’s festivals are outlined in Leviticus 23 beginning with the seventh-day Sabbath. Since the wording in Daniel is plural, then we can conclude that the papacy would attempt to change the other festivals as well. Has the papacy tried to change any of the other sacred festivals besides the weekly Sabbath?
“… The Catholic Church abolished not only the Sabbath, but all the other [so-called] Jewish Festivals.” (Bishop T. Enright, Letter, April 26, 1902).
“The detachment of Gentile Christians from their Jewish roots was influenced by the repressive policies adopted by Roman emperors against the Jewish people and religion as well as by the defamatory campaign waged by Jews against the Christians. These factors encouraged Gentile Christians to develop a ‘Christian’ theology of contempt toward the Jews as a people and toward Judaism as a religion. A whole body of ‘Against the Jews’ literature was produced by leading Fathers who defamed the Jews as a people and emptied their religious beliefs and practices of any historical value. Two major casualties of the anti-Jews campaign were Sabbath and Passover. The Sabbath was changed to Sunday and Passover was transferred to Easter-Sunday.” (Samuele Bacchiocchi, God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, The Spring Festivals, p. 103).
“From Rome there came now another addition to the sun-worshiping apostasy. The first Christians being mostly Jews, continued to celebrate the Passover in remembrance of the death of Christ, the true Passover; and this was continued among those who from among the Gentiles had turned to Christ. Accordingly, the celebration was always on the true Passover day—the fourteenth of the first month. Rome, however, and from her all the West, adopted the day of the sun as the day of this celebration … The rule of Rome was that the celebration [of Easter] must always be on a Sunday—the Sunday nearest to the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish year [Aviv/Nisan]. And if the fourteenth day of that month should fall on Sunday, then the celebration was not to be held on that day, but upon the next Sunday.” (A.T. Jones, Great Empires of Prophecy, pp. 213-214).
The papacy was in fact involved with such changes. They substituted their own pagan religious festivals inherited from Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece in place of God’s festivals. Thus Christmas, Easter, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Sunday worship etc. became the dominant festivals throughout the world.
“Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the name of the sun god, when adopted and sanctioned by the papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism!” (Dr. Edward T. Hiscox, in a paper read before a New York ministers’ conference held November 13, 1893).
Another point to make clear is that a biblical day begins in the evening at sunset. In the Creation account in Genesis 1 we see this by the repeated phrase, “and the evening and the morning were the first day … second day … third day” etc. The evening always comes first. Timing the days from midnight to midnight is of pagan origin adopted by the Romans:
“The Babylonians considered a day as beginning at sunrise, while the Egyptians and Romans were the first to begin the day at midnight. Only the Hebrews observed the day as beginning at sunset and ending the next sunset: as God had declared is a day.” (Bonita M. Quesinberry, Truth Gathering, p. 227).
“In describing how to honor one of the feast days, God instructed the Israelites, ‘From evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath’ (Leviticus 23:32). ‘Evening’ is when the sun becomes even with the horizon, what we call sunset. ‘In the evening, at the going down of the sun …’ (Deuteronomy 16:6). ‘That evening, after sunset …’ (Mark 1:32). When the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, Nehemiah had to teach them how to observe the Sabbath. To prevent the Israelites from carrying on their usual day-to-day business on Sabbath, Nehemiah commanded that the gates of Jerusalem be shut ‘when the evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath’ (Nehemiah 13:15-19).” (Emily Thomsen, sabbathtruth.com).
Through pagan sun-worship the days of the week were given names according to the planets. This is why, according to the God-given Hebrew Calendar, the days of the week are referred to as, “the first day of the week”, “the second day of the week” etc. Through Mithraism, (Mithras is the Persian name of the sun-god), the days of the week were named after the gods of the planets. Our own weekdays today retain the names of these same planet deities:
- Sun (day of the sun) = Sunday
- Moon = Monday
- Mars (Tiu) = Tuesday
- Mercury (Woden) = Wednesday
- Jupiter (Thor) = Thursday
- Venus (Frigg/Freya) = Friday
- Saturn = Saturday
Even our months are named after the Roman Caesars and gods:
- Janus = (god of gates) = January
- Februarius/Februa (The day of purification) = February
- Mars (god of war) = March
- Apru (goddes of love) = April
- Maia (goddess of growth/earth goddess) = May
- Juno (goddess of ancient world) = June
- Julius Caesar = July
- Caesar Augustus (adopted son of Julius Caesar) = August
- Septem (meaning, seven) = September because in the original roman calendar it was the seventh month of the year.
- Octo (meaning, eight) = October because in the original Roman calendar it was the eighth month of the year.
- Novem (meaning, nine) = November because in the original Roman calendar it was the ninth month of the year.
- Decem (meaning, ten) = December because in the original Roman calendar it was the tenth month of the year.
It’s very interesting that September, October, November, and December were originally named after the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th months, unlike our modern calendar. If we still held onto this today, then March would be our first month. This would connect perfectly with God’s biblical calendar according to the Passover which falls in the month of Aviv/Nisan on the Hebrew calendar and correlates to late March/early April on our modern calendar:
“And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month [March/April] shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:1, 2)
There is no doubt that Satan has been at work confusing us in regards to God’s original calendar.
There is an example of all this in the book of 1 Kings. God’s people had split into two main tribes— Judah (south) and Israel (north). Jeroboam, the king of the northern tribes (Israel), tried to put a stop to his people going south to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Tabernacles which took place on the 15th day of the 7th month. Jeroboam reasoned, “If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah” (1 Kings 12:27). Jeroboam was jealous that, if the people went to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, he feared the people would kill him and return to Jerusalem.
To try and put a stop to this Jeroboam exalted himself to high priest, appointed his own priests, and made his own feast by changing the Feast of Tabernacles date to the 15th day of the 8th month instead of the 7th: “And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi. [the only priests appointed by God] And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar.” (1 Kings 12:31,32).
Jeroboam not only set up his own corrupt priesthood, but he also thought “to changes times and laws.” He changed a holy day of God from the 7th month and proclaimed a holiday “in the month which he had devised of his own heart” (1 Kings 12:33). While Jeroboam set up this man-made feast, he “made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:28). Jeroboam set up the worship of idols claiming that these idols were “thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” So, not only did he set up his own corrupt priesthood, introduce a plurality of gods, and change the sacred “times” in the law, but he changed other “laws” as well. Idol, or image, worship is the breaking of the Second Commandment of God’s law (see, Exodus 20:4-6).
Did you know that the Roman church adopted the pagan practice of image worship and made it official around the year 787 A.D.? Because of this they have totally removed the Second Commandment, which forbids this practice, from the law in their Catechism. In order to maintain ten commandments, they have simply divided the tenth one in half. All the pagan deities and images which were passed down from Babylon to Rome remained, but instead of Jupiter they changed the name to Peter. Instead of Apolo they changed the name to James. Mercury became John. Zeus became Paul and Diana became Mary.
All these “changes” to God’s Law are the example of man’s fallen mind that believes God’s Law is merely arbitrary, a legislative code that can be changed and amended by vote. This view in itself attempts to “change” God’s Law in our thinking from being a spiritual Law (Romans 7:14) created by a Designer, into legal rules that demand imposed legal punishments upon the offender. It places God as a dictator, no different than a pagan god, waiting to punish all those who disobey Him.
The Sabbath, however, points to God as the Designer and His Law is a transcript of His very character. Since “sin is the transgression of the Law” (1 John 3:4), then it is sin itself which brings the natural result of death (James 1:14-15) and natural disasters (Genesis 6:11-12; Leviticus 18:25-28; Romans 8:22). Death is due to the results of the sinner unplugging themself from God who is the only source of life. We will discuss more on this as it relates to the Sabbath in a future study.
As God’s truths are shining brighter and brighter as we near Jesus’ second coming, all the confusion will disappear to those who joyfully adhere to the call of the everlasting gospel. In Revelation 18 the fall of Babylon is again repeated with power with this added plea: “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (verse 4). God still has sincere truth seekers in captivity to Babylon. Like Moses in ancient Egypt, God’s people will cry, “Come out of her, My people!”
When Moses made his plea for Pharaoh to let God’s people go, he said, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness” (Exodus 5:1). Pharaoh’s response was, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go … Wherefore (why) do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their works? get you unto your burdens … Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens” (Verses, 2,4,5).
God wanted to lead His people back to His calendar. The Egyptians worshiped the planets with Ra, the sun-god, as the supreme god. God would lead His people to “hold a feast” (in this case, the Feast of Passover) and to “rest from their burdens.” The word “rest” here is the word, shabbath, which means “to cease,” “to rest,” or simply “to keep Sabbath.”
Those who call people out of modern Babylon will be like Moses who called people out of ancient Egypt. They will lead God’s people away from Satan’s planetary calendar, with his planet deities, his holidays, and his sun-day and back to God’s calendar, His holy days, and His Sabbath! Again, we see that the blasphemist beast is against those “who keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). And in Revelation 12 we read:
“And the dragon (Satan/Rome) was wroth with the woman (God’s people), and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 12:17)
For more information concerning God’s Festivals, please see the Questions Concerning Feast Days and Sabbaths section.
Did the Papacy Reign For “a Time, Times, and a Dividing of Time”?
The meaning of this timeframe is:
- “time” = one year
- “times” = two years
- “a dividing of time” = half a year.
The total would be three and a half years or 1,260 days. John also speaks of this timeframe when he wrote: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” (Revelation 13:5). By using 30 days to a Hebrew month, we see that this 42 months is referring to the same 1,260 days, or three and a half years (42 x 30 = 1,260). This is also the same time period John sees in Revelation chapter 12 when the woman (God’s people) fled from persecution:
“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.” (Revelation 12:6)
“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.” (Revelation 12:14)
In calculating the time prophecies in Scripture, you must use what’s called “the-year-for-a-day principle.” Countless teachers use this method today, as well as those in the past, even before the time of Christ, and it is the only way the time-prophecies make sense. God used this year/day principle when dealing with His people in Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34.
“The day-year principle, year-day principle or year-for-a-day principle is a method of interpretation of Bible prophecy in which the word day in prophecy is considered to be symbolic of a year of actual time. It was the method used by most of the Reformers, and is used principally by the historicist school of prophetic interpretation. The day-year principle was partially employed by Jews as seen in Daniel 9:24–27; Ezekiel 4:4-7 and in the early church. It was first used in Christian exposition in 380 AD by Ticonius, who interpreted the three and a half days of Revelation 11:9 as three and a half years, writing ‘three days and a half; that is, three years and six months.’ In the 5th century Faustus of Riez gave the same interpretation of Revelation 11:9, writing ‘three and a half days which correspond to three years and six months,’ and in c. 550 Primasius also gave the same interpretation, writing ‘it is possible to understand the three days and a half as three years and six months.’ The same interpretation of Revelation 11:9 was given by later expositors like Anspert, Haymo, and Berengaudus (all of the ninth century). Primasius appears to have been the first to appeal directly to previous Biblical passages in order to substantiate the principle, referring to Numbers 14:34 in support of his interpretation of the three and a half days of Revelation 11:9. Haymo and Bruno Astensis ‘justify it by the parallel case of Ezekiel lying on his side 390 days, to signify 390 years; — i. e. a day for a year. — .’ Protestant Reformers were well established on the day/year principle, and it was also accepted by many Christian groups, ministers, and theologians. Others who expounded the Historicist interpretation are John Wycliffe, John Knox, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, Philip Melanchthon, Isaac Newton, Jan Hus, John Foxe, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, C. H. Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke, Albert Barnes, and Bishop Thomas Newton.” (Wikipedia)
Since this power is to reign for 1,260 days (three and a half years according to the Hebrew calendar) then her full reign, when she would have complete control, would last for 1,260 years. We have also learned that “The legally recognized supremacy of the pope began in 538 AD ...” If we add 1,260 years to that date, we come to 1798 A.D. When John describes the end of this power’s reign, he describes it as being a “deadly wound” which would later be “healed” (Revelation 13:3). It’s amazing to learn that exactly in 1798 A.D. the papacy was considered to have been “dead” when Napoleon’s chief of staff, Berthier, entered Rome and took the pope prisoner. The bishop was arrested on February 20 and all his property was sold and the papal states were abolished, and Rome was declared a republic:
“When, in 1797, Pope Pius VI. fell grievously ill Napoleon gave orders that in the event of his death no successor should be elected to his office, and the Papacy should be discontinued ... But the Pope recovered; the peace was soon broken; Berthier [General of the French Revolutionary forces and Napoleon's chief of staff] entered Rome and on 10th February 1798, and proclaimed a Republic. The aged Pontiff [pope] refused to violate his oath by recognizing it, and was hurried from prison to prison into France. Broken with fatigue and sorrows, he died ... [in] August 1799, in the French fortress of Valence, aged 82 years. No wonder that half of Europe thought Napoleon’s veto would be obeyed, and that with the Pope the Papacy was dead.” (Joseph Rickaby, The Modern Papacy, in Lectures on the History of Religions, vol. 3, [Lecture 24, p.1] (London: Catholic Truth Society, 1910).
It’s amazing how historical quotes like this unknowingly use the same language as the Bible uses. John said this power would receive a “deadly wound” and the above quote said that in 1798 people thought “the papacy was dead.” Understanding the fulfillment of this prophecy, Adam Clarke wrote:
“In 1798 the French republican army under General Berthier took possession of the city of Rome, and entirely superseded the whole papal power. This was a deadly wound …” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible).
However, John also stated that this power’s deadly wound would be healed (Revelation 13:3). The first part of the healing process began in 1801 A.D. when an agreement was drawn up between Napoleon and the papacy. From there the papacy aimed to redeem its religious power while leaving its political power on the back burner. However, political power was given to the papacy on February 11, 1929 when Mussolini and Rome signed a peace treaty which re-established the Vatican as a state under its own political power.
At this time the San Francisco Chronicle published an account of this peace treaty on the front page of its newspaper. The heading actually read like this, “Mussolini and Gasparri Sign Historic Roman Pact ... Heal Wound of Many Years.” Unknowingly the newspaper used the exact wording found in the book of Revelation! In the newspaper article the writer also used this wording:
“Rome, Feb. 11 (AP) - The Roman question tonight was a thing of the past and the Vatican was at peace with Italy. The formal accomplishment of this today was the exchange of signatures ... by two noteworthy plenipotentiaries, Cardinal Gasparri for Pope Pius XI and Premier Mussolini for King Victor Emmanuel III ... affixing the autographs to the memorable document, healing the wound ...” - (San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 1929, p. 1).
In Daniel 12 we see this time-period again:
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. Then I Daniel looked, and, behold, there stood other two, the one on this side of the bank of the river, and the other on that side of the bank of the river. And one said to the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, How long shall it be to the end of these wonders? And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4-9)
So, “the time of the end” would begin after the “time, times, and an half.” Therefore, “the time of the end” must have begun in 1798 A.D. And remember from our previous study that the angel Gabriel told Daniel that the sanctuary would be cleansed from the “abomination of desolation” during “the time of the end” (Daniel 8:14, 17). Therefore, that cleansing would not have begun until after 1798 A.D. and could not have been referring to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes when Judas Maccabeus purified the temple on December 25, 164 B.C.
Seeing all this evidence from Scripture it is no wonder God’s people protested against the papacy. Cotton Mather (1663-1728) openly declared:
“The oracles of God foretold the rising of an Antichrist in the Christian Church: and in the Pope of Rome, all the characteristics of that Antichrist are so marvelously answered that if any who read the Scriptures do not see it, there is a marvelous blindness upon them.” (Cotton Mather, The Fall of Babylon, quoted from, The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, Vol. 3, p. 113).
Next study: What Does the Cleansing of the Sanctuary Mean?