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.” (For more information regarding this topic please consider the book: Blueprint of Blessing and/or reading through the Questions Concerning the Trinity material).
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.
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).
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)