|HUGUENOTS IN PRISON FOR THEIR FAITH"Others had trial ... of bonds and imprisonment." Heb. 11:36.|
The prophetic picture of the rise and work of the "little horn" finds its exact counterpart in the history of the Roman Papacy:
The Place.—The little horn was seen by the prophet rising in the field of the Roman Empire. That was the very place where the great kingdom of the Papacy appeared, taking the name of Roman.
The Time.—The rise of the ecclesiastical kingdom of the little-horn power in the prophecy followed the breaking up of the Roman Empire into the ten kingdoms. Just so the ecclesiastical kingdom of the Roman Papacy rises to view in history immediately following the division of the empire.
The Period of Supremacy.—The prophecy allotted 1260 years to the full supremacy of this power. History responds that from the beginning of the papal supremacy, in the days of Justinian, a period of 1260 years brings us into the stirring events of the last decade of the eighteenth century, that gave to the Papacy a deadly wound.
|THE LOVE OF POWER THE POWER OF LOVE|
"He shall speak great words against the Most High." Dan. 7:25.
One further set of specifications remains for study:
The Work.—Of the nature and work of the power represented by the little horn, the prophecy declares:
"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.
Do we find in the record that the Church of Rome has fulfilled these specifications also? The Scripture prophecy is absolutely a word-photograph of the workings of the papal church. Look at the main features:
1. Speaking great words against the Most High.
2. Wearing out the saints of the Most High.
3. Thinking to change the times and the laws of the Most High.
Every count in the indictment may be clearly proved, and that by testimony from Roman Catholic sources
"He Shall Speak Great Words Against the Most High"
As Daniel observed the little-horn power, he heard it speaking "very great things." The angel declared that these great swelling words were really against the Most High. And what could be more against the honor of the Most High than that to mortal man should be ascribed the titles and attributes of divinity? Here are some of the "great words:"
"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.
This ruling has been actually applied through the ages. Says Elliott:
"Look at the Sicilian ambassadors prostrated before him [Pope Martin IV] with the cry, 'Lamb of God! that takest away the sins of the world!'"—"Horæ Apocalypticæ," part 4, chap. 5, sec. 2.
| CHRISTIANS IN PRISON BENEATH THE COLOSSEUM AWAITING MARTYRDOM|
"And shall wear out the saints of the Most High." Dan. 7:25.
"The Pope is of so great dignity and excellence, that he is not merely man, but as if God, and the vicar of God (non sit simplex homo, sed quasi Deus, et Dei vicarius). The Pope alone is called most holy,... divine monarch, and supreme emperor, and king of kings.... The Pope is of so great dignity and power that he constitutes one and the same tribunal with Christ (faciat unum et idem tribunal cum Christo), so that whatsoever the Pope does seems to proceed from the mouth of God (abore Dei)."—"Prompta Bibliotheca" (Ferraris), art. "Papa;" Ferraris's Ecclesiastical Dictionary (Roman Catholic), art. "The Pope." Quoted in Guinness's "Romanism and the Reformation," p. 16.
These are no merely extravagant adulations of the Dark Ages, to be repudiated by the moderns; these terms express the unchanging doctrinal claims of the Roman Church, that put man in the place of God. The modern Pope Leo XIII, in an encyclical letter dated June 20, 1894, repeated the claim:
"We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty."—"The Great Encyclical Letters of Leo XIII" (New York, Benziger Brothers), p. 304.
Thus does the Papacy "speak great words against the Most High."
"And Shall Wear Out the Saints of the Most High"
All through the Dark Ages we catch glimpses of the ruthless hand of Rome laid upon simple believers in God's Holy Word; but plans for wholesale wearing out of the saints of God were devised as the Waldenses and others rose to a widespread work of witnessing, heralds of the dawn of the coming Reformation,—"These who gave earliest notice,
As the lark
Springs from the ground the morn to gratulate;
Who, rather, rose the day to antedate,
By striking out a solitary spark,
When all the world with midnight gloom was dark—
The harbingers of good whom bitter hate
In vain endeavored to exterminate."
Pope Innocent III gave orders concerning them as follows:
"Therefore by this present apostolical writing, we give you a strict command that, by whatever means you can, you destroy all these heresies and expel from your diocese all who are polluted with them. You shall exercise the rigor of ecclesiastical power against them and all those who have made themselves suspected by associating with them. They may not appeal from your judgments, and, if necessary, you may cause the princes and people to suppress them with the sword."—Quoted from Migne, 214, col. 71, in Thatcher and McNeal's "Source Book for Medieval History," p. 210.
As the truth spread, so also the papal church redoubled its efforts by sword and flame. The historian Lecky says:
"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 a competent knowledge of history. The memorials, indeed, of many of her persecutions are now so scanty that it is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings."—"History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe," Vol. II, p. 32.
Motley, in his "Rise of the Dutch Republic" (part 3, chap. 2), tells how Philip II of Spain—who declared that he would "never consent to be the sovereign of heretics"—sent the Duke of Alva to take over the Netherlands:
"Early in the year the most sublime sentence of death was promulgated which has ever been pronounced since the creation of the world. The Roman tyrant [Nero] wished that his enemies' heads were all upon a single neck, that he might strike them off at a blow; the Inquisition assisted Philip to place the heads of all his Netherlands subjects upon a single neck for the same fell purpose. Upon February 16, 1568, a sentence of the Holy Office condemned all the inhabitants of the Netherlands to death as heretics. From this universal doom only a few persons, especially named, were excepted. A proclamation of the king, dated ten days later, confirmed this decree of the Inquisition, and ordered it to be carried into instant execution, without regard to age, sex, or condition. This is probably the most concise death warrant that was ever framed. Three millions of people, men, women, and children, were sentenced to the scaffold in three lines."
Roman Catholic writers admit that the papal church has sought to exterminate what it calls heresy, by the power of the sword.
The Western Watchman (St. Louis), Dec. 24, 1908, says:
"The church has persecuted.... 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."
Prof. Alfred Baudrillart, rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, says:
"The Catholic Church is a respecter of conscience and of liberty.... She has, and she loudly proclaims that she has, a 'horror of blood.' Nevertheless, when confronted by heresy, she does not content herself with persuasion; arguments of an intellectual and moral order appear to her insufficient, and she has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture. She creates tribunals like those of the Inquisition, she calls the laws of the state to her aid, if necessary she encourages a crusade, or a religious war, and all her 'horror of blood' practically culminates into urging the secular power to shed it, which proceeding is almost more odious—for it is less frank—than shedding it herself. Especially did she act thus in the sixteenth century with regard to Protestants. Not content to reform morally, to preach by example, to convert people by eloquent and holy missionaries, she lit in Italy, in the Low Countries, and above all in Spain, the funeral piles of the Inquisition. In France under Francis I and Henry II, in England under Mary Tudor, she tortured the heretics, whilst both in France and Germany during the second half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century if she did not actually begin, at any rate she encouraged and actively aided, the religious wars."—"The Catholic Church, the Renaissance and Protestantism" (London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd., 1908), pp. 182, 183.
She has done it—the Church of Rome has worn out the saints of the Most High. The prophet in vision saw an ecclesiastical kingly power rise among the kingdoms of the divided Roman Empire. Its look was more stout than its fellows, and the prophet heard it speaking "very great things," and saw it wearing out the saints of the Most High through the long centuries.
|THE SHAME OF RELIGIOUS WARS|
Christ viewing the battle fields of history, where millions of His followers have been slain in His name.
"Guilty!" is the clear verdict of history, against the Church of Rome on these two counts of the prophetic indictment.
"And Think to Change Times and Laws"
The power that was to speak great words against the Most High, and to wear out the saints of the Most High, was further—in its self-exalting opposition to God—to assume to lay hands upon times and laws, evidently the times and the laws of the Most High; for to say that such a power would lay hands on the laws of men, changing or setting aside human legislation, would signify less than the preceding counts. This third specification states a climax in the indictment—the self-exalting, persecuting power was to lay hands upon the very law of the Most High. It is clearly the same power that the apostle Paul said would rise to dominion after his time: "Then shall be revealed the lawless one." 2 Thess. 2:8, A.R.V.
God's Law Unchangeable
Just as the laws of a government express its character, so the law of God is a reflection of the divine character. "The law of the Lord is perfect." Ps. 19:7. "Wherefore the law is holy," said the apostle, "and the commandment holy, and just, and good." Rom. 7:12.
Jesus declared, "I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart." Ps. 40:8. And He maintained the unchangeable, enduring integrity of that law: "Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matt. 5:18.
But in Daniel's prophecy is foretold the rise of this power that was to think to change the times and the laws of the Most High.
Here, again, the evidence points straight to the Church of Rome; for it is a fact that the Papacy has laid violent hands on the law of God—upon the precept, too, that deals with sacred time—and has thought to change it.
In a volume to be seen in the British Museum, dated 1545, the following comment on Dan. 7:25 is attributed to Philipp Melanchthon, the Reformer, associate of Luther (reproduced with the old English spelling):
"He changeth the tymes and lawes that any of the sixe worke dayes commanded of God will make them unholy and idle dayes when he lyste, or of their owne holy dayes abolished make worke dayes agen, or when they changed ye Saterday into Sondaye.... They have changed God's lawes and turned them into their owne tradicions to be kept above God's precepts."—"Exposition of Daniel the Prophete," Gathered out of Philipp Melanchthon, Johan Ecolampadius, etc., by George Joye, 1545, p. 119.
This is exactly what the power represented by the little horn was to assume to do. The commandment of God is plain:
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work.... For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Ex. 20:8-11.
A Change in Practice
But in general practice there has been a change—the first day is commonly observed instead of the seventh day, which the Lord declares he blessed and made holy. The Roman Catholic Church points exultingly to the fact that this change, so universally allowed today, has come about solely through church tradition without Scriptural authority. For instance, one Catholic writer says:
"You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! but by whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God? When God has spoken and said, Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day, who shall dare to say, Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day; but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead? This is a most important question, which I know not how you can answer.
"You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only; and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of that day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the ten commandments; you believe that the other nine are still binding; who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this fourth commandment is expressly altered."—"Library of Christian Doctrine: Why Don't You Keep the Holy Sabbath Day?" (Burns and Oates London), p. 3.
Every one who studies the question must recognize the fact that there is no change authorized in Scripture. As Canon Eyton, of the Church of England, says:
"There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday.... Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters."—"The Ten Commandments" (Trübner & Co.), London.
Dr. Heylyn, of the Church of England, wrote:
"Take which you will, either the Fathers or the moderns, and we shall find no Lord's day instituted by any apostolical mandate; no Sabbath set on foot by them upon the first day of the week."—"History of the Sabbath," part 2, chap. 1.
Authorities, both Protestant and Catholic, freely acknowledge that there is no divine authority for Sunday keeping. There has been a change in practice and teaching, but with no Scriptural authority.
What the Papacy Claims
The prophecy of Daniel 7 forewarned all that the ecclesiastical power that was to rise upon the division of the Roman Empire would think to change the times and the laws of the Most High. The Papacy steps forward and claims boldly that the church has power to set aside Scripture, to institute holy times, and even to change the day made holy and commanded by the Almighty as the day of rest for His people.
In a Catholic work, "An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine," by Dr. Henry Turberville, page 61, we read:
"Question.—By whom was the change [of the Sabbath] made?
"Answer.—By the rulers of the church, the apostles who kept the Lord's day....
"Ques.—How do you prove that the church hath power to establish feasts and holy days?
"Ans.—By the very fact of changing the Sabbath to Sunday; this change Protestants allow; and therefore they contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
"Ques.—How prove you that?
"Ans.—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 commanded by her, they deny that she has power."
It is the doctrine taught in the standard catechisms of the Roman Church:
"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."—Keenan's "Doctrinal Catechism," p. 174.
Thus the Papacy proclaims itself the power that has thought to change the precepts of the Most High.
On every count, the Roman Church is the counterpart of the little horn of Daniel 7. Before our eyes—in the common practice of Christendom—the commandment of God regarding sacred time is made void by the traditions of men.
The prophecy indicated that there would come a call for a reformation in this matter. Speaking of the warfare against the saints and the times and laws of the Most High, to be waged by the little-horn power, the angel said:
"They shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Dan. 7:25.
In other words, when the 1260 years should expire, we should expect, according to the prophecy, to see a breaking of the Papacy's persecuting power over believers, a spreading abroad of the Holy Scriptures, and a work of reformation that would lift up the truths of God's Word, and call believers to keep once again the holy time and the holy law of the Most High.
The prophecy of Daniel 7 is one of God's special messages for all men in these last days, picturing the rise and history of the Papacy, and warning all against accepting its perversions of God's truth or recognizing its attempted change in the law of the Most High. Thank God for the "sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place." We are to follow the Lord and obey him, not this power that has risen up in opposition to him.
The angel's interpretation in this chapter does not leave the apostasy triumphant:
"The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."
Then the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of the Most High, "and all dominions shall serve and obey Him."
"O, how shall we stand that moment of searching,
When all our sins those books reveal?
When from that court, each case decided,
Shall be granted no appeal?"
| CHRIST AND THE SCRIBES|
"In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matt. 15:9.