« PreviousContinue »
A. D. 570; 25 or as Jenour states, in the birth of its founder. "Thus, then, we have traced the origin and progress of Mohammedanism from its first rise at Mecca in the birth of its founder." 26 This occurred in 570,27 as an abundance of evidence will show.
And so we may say in that oft quoted language of Doctor Prideaux, "that antichrist had at that time set both his feet on Christendom together, the one in the east and the other in the west." -Literalist, vol. 2, pt. 3, p. 280.
Another and larger period is submitted us by Mr. Guinness as marking a more complete era of the rise and establishment of the papacy. It commences 476 A. D., when the downfall of the Roman Empire commenced with the dethronement of Romulus, and extends
25 Vol. 7, p. 378.
Rationale Apocalypticum, vol. 1, p. 323.
Encyclopedia Brittanica; The Great Events, vol. 4, p. 390. Stanley's Eastern Church, p. 501. Goodrich' Ecclesiastical History, p. 75. Cutts' Turning Points, etc., p. 251. Birkhæuser's History of the Church, p. 224. Wright's History of all Nations, vol. 7, p. 379. Durny's General History, p. 193. Cox's Exposition, etc., p. 141. Historians' History of the World. Larned's History for Ready Reference. Zenos Church History, p. 111. Woodward's Mohammedanism, p. 1.
to A. D. 663, when Pope Vitalian ordered all the services of the church throughout the world to be read in Latin-a decree that is still in force. But the happy solution of this period is that, like the other, it is bisected by 570, the great commanding center of the whole. Why, they simply can not get away from 570. It is the hub around which all their eras revolve.
One more era presents itself. It is much smaller and comes to us from the Encyclopedia Brittanica. It is an era marking a "new epoch," "a special state of things in Rome":
The first dawn of a completely new epoch can only be dated from the invasion of the Lombards, 568-572. Their conquest of a large portion of Italy was accompanied by the harshest oppression. They abolished all ancient laws and institutions, and not only seized a third of the lands but reduced the inhabitants to almost utter slavery. . . . A special state of things now arose in Rome. We behold the rapid growth of the papal power and the continual increase of its moral and political influence.-Encyclopedia Brittanica, vol. 20, art. "Rome," (ninth ed., Scribners).
Of this era we have nothing to say. The reader will observe for himself. It turns upon the pivot of 570.
THE IMPERIAL EDICT OF A. D. 607.
Another position taken by a great many students is that the edict of the eastern Roman Emperor, Phocas, reigning at Constantinople, decreeing that "the name of Universal was appropriate only to the church of Rome as that which was the head of all churches and that it suited the dignity of the Roman pontiff alone, but not that of the bishop of Constantinople who had presumed to usurp it for himself";28 is the proper commencement of the 1260 years.
It will be understood that Phocas had gained his throne by "treason and murder" 20 and "expected to strengthen himself in his usurped dominions by that piece of policy. In those times of endless tumult, revolution, and blood, Phocas needed a friend and dreaded an enemy, and he knew there was no way to gain the friendship or favor of the Roman pontiff so easily as to flatter and fan his pride and ambition."30 This decree was issued in A. D. 607,31 according to the statements of those who have given the matter special investigation; other writers date it 606.
Undoubtedly this edict marked an epoch in the early development of the papacy, but that is all; it did not commence his rule and reign. That began, as we have learned, in 570, according to the testimony of Catholic historians themselves.
"This was not," says Barnes, alluding to Phocas' decree, "the
28 Allwood's Key to Revelation, vol. 1, p. 305.
29 McGavin's Protestant, vol. 1, p. 723.
30 Pearson's Dissertation, etc., p. 351.
Gell on Revelation, vol. 2, p. 35. Edgren's Epiphaneia, p. 90. Curtis' Mystery of Iniquity, p. 375. Kett on Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 395. Jepp's Terminal Synchronism, pp. 33-37. McGavin's Protestant, vol. 1, p. 724. Fysh's History of the Church, p. 88. Guinness' End of the Age, tenth edition, p. 618.
beginning of that peculiar domination or form of power which the pope has asserted and maintained. If this title were conferred it imparted no new power; it did not change the nature of this domination; it did not in fact make the Roman bishop different from what he was before."-Book of Daniel, p. 331.
As a matter of fact the papacy had budded in 570, and whatever events of a later date brought it forth into greater prominence, were in the nature of the blossom of development. In this light must we view the events of A. D. 607, for in that year "the Emperor Phocas promulgated another very notable decree confirming the right of the pope to the headship of all the churches, eastern as well as western."-Guinness' End of the Age, p. 375.
Thus is it viewed by a great many writers, not as conferring "the headship of all the churches," but as "confirming" 32 that which was already held. It was an occasion marking an imperial acknowledgment of the pope's already acquired supremacy.
It will be conceded by all that however independent and powerful the pope became in 570, the passing of the years would but serve to increase his influence. Hence it is with some propriety that Elliott speaks of a "primary" epoch of commencement "to the beast's 1260 days" and of "Phocas' decree" as being "a confirmation of the papal supremacy, as constituting a fit and complete secondary commencing epoch to the beast's 1260 predicted years." (Horæ Apocalypticæ, vol. 3, p. 302.)
It would appear that the era of the rise of the papacy, covering the years extending from his birth to his "confirmation," from the bud to the blossom, commences at A. D. 570 and reaches to 607.
But it will be impossible to commence the 1260 years of solar measurement from 607; and the events situated 1260 years thence do not warrant it. Naturally we look for a restored church, freed from the imprisonment of apostasy upon the termination of her sentence. Did anything occur in 1867 suggesting such an occurrence? Was the church then brought out in all its golden grandeur, clothed with the sun of inspiration and adorned with apostles twelve? If so, where is it, and who was instrumental in bringing it forth? We are unaware of any church being organized that year, much less the Church of Christ.
If the prophetic period of 1260 years is to be dated from 607, it must be that another system of time measurement than that of solar should be used; possibly the lunar.
The difference between a solar year and a lunar year is about 11 days, there being in a solar year approximately 36514 days, and in a lunar year approximately 354 1-3 days. In 1260 lunar years there are 122211⁄2 solar years. The former is measured by the moon and the latter by the sun. The ancient Jewish and Grecian years were lunar, as was also the Roman in the days preceding Julius
"Roberts' Lectures, p. 124. Labagh's Lectures, p. 119. Waller's Second Coming, p. 291. Ralston on the Prophecies, p. 58.
Cæsar. The Arabs, Turks, and all Mohammedans to this day preserve their years strictly lunar.
Consequently, it is not surprising if "lunar as well as solar measurements of the year are employed in the chronological predictions of Scripture."-Guinness' Light for the Last Days, p. 83.
Apply now the lunar rod of 1260 years to A. D. 607 and note the result. It brings us to A. D. 1830.
1260 L. yrs.
Thus, from whichever terminus of the era of the rise of the papacy we measure, reckoning in solar or lunar years, the result is the same-1830.
CALENDAR OR PROPHETIC YEARS.
There is another system of time measurement, however, which we must not overlook, that of prophetic or calendar years. It has 360 days to the year.
This system was in use in Daniel's day in the Chaldean nation, and was also held by the Egyptians. Indeed, its use goes back to the time of the flood, for from the seventeenth day of the second month, Genesis 7: 11, to the seventeenth day of the seventh month, Genesis 8: 4, a period of five months, there were 150 days, Genesis 7:24; 8: 3; since, therefore, five months equal 150 days, one month will amount to 30 days and twelve such will make 360. Moreover, it will be recollected that Daniel and John, in Daniel 7: 25, 12: 7, Revelation 12: 14, speak of the dominion of the little horn and the beast as prevailing for a "time and times and half a time," and in Revelation 13: 5 and 12: 6, referring to this same period they call it "forty and two months," "1260 days." Now in scripture a "time" is a year, for the seven times that passed over Nebuchadnezzar's head pointing to his deposition lasted exactly seven years, according to Josephus and others. Daniel 4:25. Therefore, since a "time" equals one year, "times" plural, will be two years, and "half a time" will amount to one half year; total, three years and a half. Three and a half years therefore equalling 42 months or 1260 days; one year will amount to 12 months or 360 days, which is surely a calendar year (hereafter designated a prophetic year); and 1260 prophetic years equal 1242 solar years.
In view of these facts it will not be surprising if the prophetic periods find their fulfillment in prophetic years as well as in solar.
So the 1260 days being divided into three years and half (or time, andtimes and a half, in the apocalyptical dialect), 360 days must make up a year, we will find that the 1260 days in the Revelation being reduced to years, are eighteen years short of Julian years, in the prophetical reckoning. -Fleming's Rise and Fall, p. 42.
Three sorts of years are, it must be premised, demonstrably employed by the Author of the prophetic periods: solar, calendar, and lunar years. Calendar years, or years of 360 days, are used in the predictions of Daniel and the Apocalypse; for it is only three and a half such years that contain 1260 days. Guinness' End of the Age, p. 374.
THE "SEVENTY WEEKS" FULFILLED IN SOLAR AND PROPHETIC YEARS.
In the seventy weeks of Daniel, chapter 9, we find this principle strikingly illustrated. It is fulfilled in both solar and prophetic years. This prophecy is indeed generally regarded as a prophetic precedent. Its unfolding is a pattern for the solution of other prophetic periods. It is a key by which we may unlock the mysteries of the kingdom.
"Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon the holy city to finish the transgression, and make an end of sins, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy." (9: 24.) An undoubted forecast of the winding up of the law of Moses and the establishment of the gospel of the kingdom effected in the personal ministry of Christ, "the Most Holy."
This period commenced with the "going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem," verse 25.
But we find that there were two commandments went forth of the same import, tending to effect the restoration of Jerusalem, the first in the 7th of Artaxerxes, B. C. 457, and the latter in the 20th of Artaxerxes, B. C. 444. See Ezra 7 and Nehemiah 2. Ussher places the latter commandment at 445, but how he can conceive that the 20th of Artaxerxes occurred in the year 445 when he places the 7th of Artaxerxes at 457, we are at a loss to understand. Pusey, Guinness, Uriah Smith and others place it at 444.33
Commencing, however, the seventy weeks or 490 days, for such they truly signify, from the first of these commandments, and giving to them their scriptural valuation "each day for a year" they will expire A. D. 34, the very year our Lord was crucified.
It is generally received that the crucifixion of Christ took place A. D. 33 or 34, the preponderance of evidence, however, favors 34. Sir Isaac Newton offers a most searching investigation of this matter and is ably sustained in his conclusion by Elliott, Brown, and Uriah Smith, that the crucifixion occurred in the last named
33 Daniel the Prophet, p. 168. Approaching End of the Age, p. 589. Daniel and the Revelation, p. 253.