The Kingdom and Work of Antichrist
“He shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.” Dan. 7:24.NOTE.-The Papacy, which arose on the ruins of the Roman Empire, differed from all previous forms of Roman power, in that it was an ecclesiastical despotism claiming universal dominion over both spiritual and temporal affairs, especially the former. It was a union of church and state, with the church dominant.
What attitude of rivalry was the Papacy, represented by the little horn, to assume toward the Most High?
“And he shall speak great words against the Most High.” Dan. 7:25, first clause.
How does Paul, speaking of the man of sin, describe this same power?
“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.” 2 Thess. 2:4.
NOTES.-The following extracts from authoritative works, most of them by Roman Catholic writers, will indicate to what extent the Papacy has done this:-
“All the names which are attributed to Christ in Scripture, implying His supremacy over the church, are also attributed to the Pope.”-Bellarmine, “On the Authority of Councils,” book 2, chap. 17.
“For thou art the shepherd, thou art the physician, thou art the director, thou art the husbandman; finally thou art another God on earth.” -From Oration of Christopher Marcellus in fourth session of Fifth Lateran Council, Labbe and Cossart’s ” History of the Councils,” published in 1672, Vol. XIV, col. 109.
“For not man, but God, not by human but rather by divine authority, releases those whom, on account of the need of the churches or what is regarded as a benefit, the Roman pontiff (who is vicegerent on earth, not of mere man, but of the true God) separates [from their churches].”-“The Decretals of Gregory IX,” book 1, title 7, chap. 3.
“The Pope is the supreme judge of the law of the land. He is the vicegerent of Christ; who is not only a priest forever, but also King of kings and Lord of lords.”-From the Civilta Cattolica, March 18, 1871, quoted in “Vatican Council,” by Leonard Woolsey Bacon, American Tract Society edition, page 220.
“Christ entrusted His office to the chief pontiff; . . . but all power in heaven and in earth has been given to Christ; . . . there fore the chief pontiff, who is His vicar, will have this power.”-Gloss on the “Extravagantes Communes,” book 1, “On Authority and Obedience,” chap. 1 , on words Porro Subesse Romano Pontiff. Canon law, published in 1556, Vol. III, “Extravagantes Communes,” col. 29.
“Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven, and earth, and purgatory (Internorum).”-” Prompta Bibliotheca,” Ferraris, Vol. VI, page 26, article “Papa” (the Pope).
“The decision of the Pope and the decision of God constitute one decision, just as the opinion of the Pope and his disciple are the same. Since, therefore, an appeal is always taken from an inferior judge to a superior, as no one is greater than himself, so no appeal holds when made from the Pope to God, because there is one consistory of the Pope himself and of God Himself, of which consistory the Pope himself is the key-bearer and the doorkeeper. Therefore no one can appeal from the Pope to God, as no one can enter into the consistory of God without the mediation of the Pope who is the key-bearer and the doorkeeper of the consistory of eternal life; and as no one can appeal to himself, so no one can appeal from the Pope to God, because there is one decision and one curia [court] of God and of the Pope.”-Writings of Augustinus de Ancona printed without title page or pagination, Ques. VI, “On an Appeal From the Decision of the Pope.”
“All the faithful of Christ must believe that the Holy Apostolic See and the Roman pontiff possesses the primacy over the whole world, and that the Roman pontiff is the successor of the blessed Peter, prince of the apostles, and is true vicar of Christ, and the head of the whole church, and father and teacher of all Christians, and that full power was given him in blessed Peter to rule, feed, and govern the universal church by Jesus Christ our Lord.”-” Petri Privilegium,” in section on “The Vatican Council and Its Definitions,” by Henry Edward Manning, archbishop of Westminster (Roman Catholic), London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1871, page 214.
“We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed; that the Roman pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in the discharge of the office of Pastor and Doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme apostolic authority he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that His church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals: and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the church.”– Id., page 218.
“Should Jesus Christ come in person from heaven into a church to administer the sacrament of reconciliation, and should He say to a penitent, ‘I absolve thee,’ and should a priest sitting at His side in the tribunal of penance pronounce over a penitent the selfsame words, ‘I absolve thee,’ there is no question that in the latter case, as in the former, the penitent would be equally loosed from his sin.”-” Jesus Living in the Priest,” by the Rev. P. Millet, S. J., English translation by the Rt. Rev. Thomas Sebastian Byrne, D. D., bishop of Nashville; New York, Benziger Brothers printers to the Holy Apostolic See, 1901, pages 23, 24. Imprimatur, Michael Augustine, archbishop of New York.
Among the twenty-seven propositions known as the “Dictates of Hildebrand,” who, under the name of Gregory VII, was Pope from 1073-87, occur the following: –
“2. That the Roman pontiff alone is justly styled universal.
“6. That no person . . . may live under the same roof with one excommunicated by the Pope.
“9. That all princes should kiss his feet only.
“12. That it is lawful for him to depose emperors.
“18. That his sentence is not to be reviewed by anyone; while he alone can review the decisions of all others.
“19. That he can be judged by no one.
“22. That the Romish Church never erred, nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err.
“26. That no one is to be accounted a Catholic who does not harmonize with the Romish Church.
“27. That he can absolve subjects from their allegiance to unrighteous rulers.”– Annals of Baronius, 1076, Vol. XI, col. 506. See Gieseler’s “Ecclesiastical History,” third period, div. 3, par. 47, note 3; and Mosheim’s ” Ecclesiastical History,” book 3, cen. 11, part 2, chap. 2, par. 9, note.
“They have assumed infallibility, which belongs only to God. They profess to forgive sins, which belongs only to God. They profess to open and shut heaven, which belongs only to God. They profess to be higher than all the kings of the earth which belongs only to God. And they go beyond God in pretending to loose whole nations from their oath of allegiance to their kings, when such kings do not please them. And they go against God, when they give indulgences for sin. This is the worst of all blasphemies.”– Adam Clarke, on Dan. 7:25.
How was the little horn to treat God’s people?
“And shall wear out the saints of the Most High.” Dan. 7:25.
NOTES.-“Under these bloody maxims [previously mentioned], those persecutions were carried on, from the eleventh and twelfth centuries almost to the present day, which stand out on the page of history. After the signal of open martyrdom had been given in the canons of Orleans, there followed the extirpation of the Albigenses under the form of a crusade, the establishment of the Inquisition, the cruel attempts to extinguish the Waldenses, the martyrdoms of the Lollards, the cruel wars to exterminate the Bohemians, the burning of Huss and Jerome, and multitudes of other confessors, before the Reformation; and afterwards, the ferocious cruelties practised in the Netherlands, the martyrdoms of Queen Mary’s reign, the extinction by fire and sword of the Reformation in Spain and Italy, by fraud and open persecution in Poland, the massacre of Bartholomew, the persecution of the Huguenots by the League, the extirpation of the Vaudois, and all the cruelties and prejudices connected with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. These are the more open and conspicuous facts which explain the prophecy, besides the slow and secret murders of the holy tribunal of the Inquisition.”-“The First Two Visions of Daniel,” Rev. T. R. Birks, M. A., London, 1845, pages 248, 249.
A detailed summary of the number of the victims of the Inquisition in Spain, under each Inquisitor-General, is given in “The History of the Inquisition in Spain,” by Llorente, formerly secretary of the Inquisition, pages 206-208. According to this authority the number who were condemned and perished in the flames is 31,912.
“The church has persecuted. Only a tyro 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 in France and Spain with the full approval of the church authorities. We 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 error. When she thinks it good to use physical force, she will use it.”-The Western Watchman (Roman Catholic), of St. Louis, Dec. 24, 1908.
What else does the prophecy say the little horn would do?
“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.” Dan. 7:25.
NOTES.- “The little horn, further, shall think to change times. The description applies, in all its force, to the systematic perversion of God’s words by which all promises of millennial glory are wrested from their true sense, and referred to the dominion and grandeur of the Church of Rome. The orator of the Pope, for instance, in the Lateran Council, declares that in the submission of all nations to Leo the prophecy was fulfilled: ‘All kings shall fall down and worship Him; all nations shall serve and obey Him.’ The same antichristian feature appears in those advocates of the Papacy who would clear it from the guilt of actual idolatry, because ‘it is part of that church from which the idols are utterly abolished.’ Thus are the times changed; but only in the vain ‘thoughts’ of dreamers who see false visions and divine lying divinations; because the visible glory of Christ’s kingdom remains still to be revealed.”-” The First Two Visions of Daniel,” Rev. T .R. Birks, M. A., London, 1845, pages 257, 258.
Although the ten commandments, the law of God, are found in the Roman Catholic versions of the Scriptures, as they were originally given, yet the faithful are instructed from the catechisms of the church, and not directly from the Bible. As it appears in these, the law of God has been changed and virtually reenacted by the Papacy. Furthermore, communicants not only receive the law from the church, but they deal with the church concerning any alleged infractions of that law, and when they have satisfied the ecclesiastical authorities, the whole matter is settled.
The second commandment, which forbids the making of, and bowing down to, images, is omitted in Catholic catechisms, and the tenth, which forbids coveting, is divided into two.
As evidence of the change which has been made in the law of God by the papal power, and that it acknowledges the change and claims the authority to make it, note the following from Roman Catholic publications:-
“Question.-Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Answer.-Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her,-she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”-” A Doctrinal Catechism,” Rev. Stephen Keenan, page 174. Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey, archbishop of New York.
“Question.-How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?
“Answer.-By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves, by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
“Question.-How prove you that?
“Answer.-Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin: and by not keeping the rest by her commanded, they deny again, in fact, the same power.”-” An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine,” composed in 1649, by Rev. Henry Tuberville, D. D., of the English College of Douay; New York, John Doyle, 1883, page 58.
“Is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday, to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify.”-“The Faith of Our Fathers,” by James Cardinal Gibbons, Baltimore, John Murphy & Co., 1893, page 111.
All Roman Catholic writers agree in this teaching. See chapter 97 of this book.
Until what time were the saints, times, and laws of the Most High to be given into the hands of the little horn?
“And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” Dan. 7:25, last clause.
In what other prophecies is this same period mentioned?
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.” Rev. 12:14. “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue [margin, to make war] forty and two months.” Rev. 13:5. See also Rev. 11:2. “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.” Rev. 12:6.
In symbolic prophecy what length of time is represented by a day?
“After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years.” Num. 14:34. See Eze. 4:6.
NOTES.-A time in prophecy being the same as a year (see Dan. 11:13, margin, and R.V.), three and one-half times would be three and a half , years, or forty-two months, or twelve hundred and sixty days, since the calendar year of 360 days, or twelve months of thirty days each, is used in prophetic chronology. As each day represents a year, the period, the end of which was to mark the limit of the time of the supremacy of the little horn, the Papacy, over the saints, times, and the law, would therefore be twelve hundred and sixty years.
The decree of the emperor Justinian, issued in A.D. 533, recognized the Pope as “head of all the holy churches.” (Justinian’s Code, book 1, title 1. Baronius’s Annals, A.D. 533.) The overwhelming defeat of the Ostrogoths in the siege of Rome, five years later, A.D. 538, was a death-blow to the independence of the Arian power then ruling Italy, and was therefore a notable date in the development of papal supremacy. With the period 533-538, then, commences the twelve hundred and sixty years of this prophecy, which would extend to the period 1793-1798. The year 1793 was the year of the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution, and the year when the Roman Catholic religion was set aside in France and the worship of reason was established in its stead. As a direct result of the revolt against papal authority in the French Revolution, the French army, under Berthier, entered Rome, and the Pope was taken prisoner Feb. 10,1798, dying in exile at Valence, France, the following year. This period, 1793-1798, during which this death-stroke was inflicted upon the Papacy fittingly and clearly marks the close of the long prophetic period mentioned in this prophecy. Any standard history of the time may be consulted in substantiation of the facts here stated.
What will finally be done with the dominion exercised by the little horn?
“But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” Dan. 7:20.
To whom will the dominion finally be given?
“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” Dan 7:27.
NOTE.-Here as in the second chapter of Daniel, the announcement of the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of God in the earth includes a brief outline of the history of this world; and the prophecies of Daniel concerning the powers that would oppose the purpose of God, furnish additional features of this outline. The exact fulfillment of this outline in the history of the world since the time of Nebuchadnezzar constitutes an unimpeachable testimony to the inspiration of these prophecies, and furnishes a ground of confidence that the unfulfilled portion of the prophecies will be wrought out in the future with absolute certainty and in every detail.