Page images
PDF
EPUB

So time, times, and a half equal three and onehalf years. This equals 42 months, or if reduced to days, counting 30 days to the month, according to the Jewish reckoning, 1,260 days.

In Rev. 12:14 we see the woman-churchfleeing from the dragon into a wilderness, "where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time.”This wilderness signifies the obscurity into which the true church went, and in which she remained during the dark reign of the papacy. Thus during the reign of popery the woman-church of God-existed in the place prepared of God. She was nourished and kept alive for a time, times, and half a time; but during this period she was largely in obscurity, symbolized by a wilderness. Here again we have the papel reign or supremacy over God's people measured by inspiration. The wilderness state of the church is the same period as that in Daniel's prophecy-three and one-half timesyears. This reduced to months equals 42 months, or 1,260 days. “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. Here again we have the same period

1,260 days--of the beast-popery. It was said he should continue “forty and two months” (Rev. 13:5). This reduced to days gives us 1,260. “And the holy city (church) shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Rev. 11:2), or 1,260 days. “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” Rev. 11:3.

Here are other texts giving the same period, or measurement-1,260 days. This can not refer to natural days, for then the period would cover only three and one-half years. The language of prophecy in Revelation is largely symbolic. These, then, must be symbolic days, each day

for a year.

Under the law there was a week of seven days and a week of seven years. This was common among the Jews. In Num. 14:34 this thought is presented. “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.” Again, in Ezek. 4:6: "And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” Applying this rule, the 1,260 days in which the church was to remain in the wilderness state equals so many years.

A careful consideration of all the foregoing time-prophecies reveals the fact that the mere reign of the papacy from the time of its establishment to its overthrow is not the central thought, but how long that power would hold down God's people and keep the Word and Spirit of God in sackcloth. How long the church was to continue in a state of apostasy—that is the thought. The 1,260 years were to measure the time from which the church went into real darkness until she came out in the clear light. Some have supposed that this period must have dated from the time when popery became fully established. Such, however, could not be the case, although the time-period includes that event; for the power of apostasy was greatly developed centuries before the final supremacy of the pope was established, and it was necessary to prepare a way for their exaltation. Popes obtained their authority by degrees. In A.D. 606 the Emperor Phocas conferred the title Universal Bishop upon the pope of Rome. In A. D. 756 the pope became a temporal sovereign, but the power of papal usurpation did not reach the summit until the reign of Hildebrand, who succeeded the pope in A. D. 1073 under the title of Gregory the Seventh.

I will give a number of quotations from history which clearly locate the time in which the church really went into apostasy. Some of these are extracts from “The Revelation Explained, by F. G. Smith. “The living church retired gradually within the lonely sanctuary of a few solitary hearts. An external church was substituted in its place, and all its forms were declared to be of divine appointment. Salvation no longer flowing from the Word, which was henceforward put out of sight, the priests affirmed that it was conveyed by means of the forms they themselves invented, that no one could obtain it but by these channels. The doctrine of the church and the necessity of its visible unity which had begun to gain ground in the third century favored the pretensions of Rome."-D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation, book I, chap. I.

At the end of the third century almost half of the inhabitants of the Roman empire and of several neighboring countries professed the faith of Christ. About this time endeavors to preserve a unity of belief and of church discipline occasioned numberless. disputes among those of different opinions and led to the establishment of an ecclesiastical tyranny.”—Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge. Concerning the Roman diocese the Encyclopedia Brittanica gives the following:

"Before the termination of the third century the office was held to be of such importance that its succession was a matter of interest to ecclesiastics living in different sees." – Vol. XIX, page 488.

“Almost proportionate with the extension of Christianity was the decrease in the church of vital piety. A philosophising spirit among the higher and a wild monkish superstition among the lower orders fast took the place in the third century of the faith and humility of the first Christians. Many of the clergy became very corrupt and excessively ambitious. In consequence of this there was an awful defection of Christianity.”—Marsh's Church History, page 185.

“We have found it almost necessary to sepa

« PreviousContinue »