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The Christian Counter

     
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Lesson 9 - Part 3
page 1 of 2


Thus far we’ve studied the prophetic mechanism that reaches 1844 chronologically.  Why is 1844 so important?  What does the Bible mean when it says, “then shall the sanctuary be restored’?  The answer to this question is not complicated when the underlying issues involved are properly understood.

Even though many people do not appreciate the prophetic importance of 1844 at this time, this is about to change!  Interest in this subject will rise from obscurity to intense interest in the near future.  As we will see, God has ordained that earth shall know that “the appointed time of the end has come!”  For the sake of review, notice that the longest time prophecy in the bible is built solidly upon four historical moments confirmed in scripture:

1.      The decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem occurred in 457 B.C.  Ezra 7

2.      69 weeks later (483 years) Jesus was baptized and anointed by the Holy Spirit in 27 A.D.  Luke 3

3.      Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D. at the time of the Passover feast – right on time.  John 19

4.      Probationary time for the Jews as a nation ended in 34 A.D when the privilege of representing to the Christians.  Acts 7-10.

According to Daniel 8:14, the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary began in 1844.  The cleansing or restoration of the heavenly sanctuary is very similar to the ancient Day of Atonement service conducted in the wilderness sanctuary.  What should this mean to us right now?

Two failures

To appreciate the importance of 1844, we look back to the 70 weeks of probationary time given to the Jewish nation.  The 490 years must be contrasted with 1800 years of failed opportunities.  Notice the diagram below:

The “appointed time of the end” follows a similar parallel.  1844 marks the beginning of the appointed time of the end (just as 457 B.C. marked the beginning of the 490 years) and the second coming marks the end of the appointed time of the end (just as 34 A.D. marked the end of Jewish probation).  The 490 years granted to Israel and the appointed time of the end serve a similar function in that the appointed time of the end is earth’s last time period for the Gentiles.

Remember, Jesus chose Israel to be a special people.  He patiently dealt with them as a nation for approximately 1800 years.  They rejected His love and affection, and ultimately crucified the One who chose them.  The promised curses have come to pass.  Jesus as His chosen people abandoned Israel in 34 A.D. – it was their choice.  So Jesus chose twelve disciples to displace the twelve tribes.

If Israel would be stiff-necked and rebellious, He would have to start over.  He formed a new group of people called “Christians.”  These were to accomplish what the Jews had failed to do.  These were to represent His character and love before the world.  These were to be channels through which His blessings of love could flow.  These were sent out to the Gentiles of the world.  The Gentiles were to have their day of opportunity!  Jesus told his disciples, “They (the Jews) will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times (years) of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”  Luke 21:24

The times (or years of probation) of the Gentiles are not over yet!  We will see in Revelation that Jesus intends that every gentile hear the gospel call.  So, turning from the Jews, Jesus gave the gospel commission to the Christian Church.  Maybe they would fulfill their opportunity.  But history confirms that the Church also failed to do what Jesus wanted them to do!  Here, in brief is the story.

Jesus starts over

For three and half years Jesus patiently taught the disciples about the kingdom of love.  After His ascension, the disciples, endowed with the power of the Holy Spirit, labored for Jesus just as He commanded, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” Matthew 28:19,20

Satan wasted no time in opposing the developing work of Jesus on earth.  His desire for the destruction of Christians was as fierce and determined as it was against the Jews.  Satan used every evil resource at his disposal to destroy the knowledge and love of God bestowed upon the Christian church.  How did he do it?

Satan wages war

Satan began with torture and death.  Those first Christians were defenseless against the rage of “that old serpent, the devil” and for the first three centuries of the church’s history, both Jews and Romans relentlessly persecuted Christians.  Ironically, persecution of the church accomplished what the Romans and Jews wanted least. As Christians scattered for their lives, they carried the gospel of Jesus with them throughout the world!

But after while, Satan saw that the more he persecuted the church, the larger and more dedicated it became.  Persecution served to keep the church pure and its doctrines free of human sophistry.  This was not the desired effect, so Satan launched a new form of warfare against the church.  He applied the adage, “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em.”  Satan joined the church!  Where he failed in destroying the truth through persecution he would succeed by leading the church to corrupt the teachings of Jesus.  He corrupted the truth through educated and eloquent men in leadership positions.  While these men outwardly claimed to be Disciples of Christ they were far less than “born again.”

Daniel predicted the Christian Church would be antichrist centuries before it existed!

The prophecy recorded in Daniel 7 clearly identifies the corrupting influence of Satan upon the Christian Church and its destructive effects upon God’s people.  A few comments are presented on this amazing prophecy.

Remember king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?  He saw kingdoms of man outlined in the form of a man made of various metals.  A few years after the king’s vision, Daniel had a vision that essentially covered the same kingdoms and time periods.  The prophetic process of repetition and enlargement is clearly seen here.  The king saw a broad picture of future events and Daniel saw the same thing but with more detail!

Daniel see a lion, bear, leopard and a terrible beast

The vision is recorded in Daniel 7.  You should read this entire chapter from your Bible to understand all that Daniel saw.  Basically, Daniel’s dream contained four strange beasts.  They were unusual beasts in the features were added to their bodies to highlight certain characteristics:  They were:

1.      A lion with eagle wings

2.      A bear with three ribs in its mouth

3.      A leopard with four wings and four heads

4.      A terrible beast with ten horns

Daniel was particularly awed at the fourth beast having ten horns because it had unusual power, was indescribable in its fury, and ultimately focused its wrath on the saints of God.  The accompanying angel told Daniel the four beasts represented four kingdoms that would rise from the earth.  Many historians agree that four beasts seen by Daniel represent the same kingdoms seen by Nebuchadnezzar.  The Bible often parallels prophetic themes with additional information to help us understand the meaning of a prophecy.  (Compare the beasts with lesson 6)  So, the lion represented Babylon, the bear, Medo-Persia; the leopard, Grecia and the four beasts represent the fourth kingdom, Rome.  The harmony of the chronological sequence and the contents of the visions with historical confirmation place this matter beyond reasonable controversy.

The fourth beast

Even though Daniel observed four beasts in his vision, he was most distressed and awed by the fourth beast, for it was very different than the other beasts.  This beast persecuted the saints.  The following is a brief summery of the fourth beast as described in Daniel 7 and the little horn that came out of the fourth beast:

  1. It starts out as the fourth world empire.
  2. It is unusual in strength and furious with enemies.
  3. It has teeth of iron.
  4. Out of this kingdom ten horns (or kings) arise.
  5. After the ten kings appear, a little horn arises and, in so doing, uproots three of the original kings.
  6. This new horn has all the fierce qualities of its parent, the terrible fourth beast.
  7. The little becomes a great horn – much stronger than any of the remaining horns.
  8. The little horn power blasphemes the God of heaven.
  9. The little horn power wars against the saints for a specified time.
  10. The little horn power “thinks” to change times and laws.
  11. The little horn power endures until the end of the world.

Historically, the fourth beast has been clearly identified as Rome for almost 1500 years.  The little horn power (items 5-11 above) has likewise been identified by students of prophecy for almost fifteen centuries as an antichrist power.  There is no question concerning the character of the little horn.  It is antichrist.  The identity of this antichrist power is necessary because it has a leading role in the last day events!

The little horn power is the great spiritual power that came out of the fourth kingdom, Rome!  For more than seven hundred years students of prophecy have called the little horn power the universal Christian or the Roman Catholic Church.

Note:  The following is a brief description of what happened in the course of history to the Christian Church as it moved farther and farther away from the truth of God’s Word by replacing the teachings of the Bible with man-made traditions or doctrines. The sponsor of this Bible study sincerely believe there are many wonderful and dedicated Christian people within the Roman Catholic Church who love their church and faithfully practice its teachings.  Many of its members have not had an opportunity or sufficient reason to consider the Protestant view of the Church’s history.  Even further, many Catholics have little or no knowledge concerning the origins of its doctrines or teachings.  Upon examination, many Catholics are shocked to learn that many Church doctrines have no Biblical basis whatsoever.

Process of identification

By what means did the Protestant Reformers identify the Catholic Church as being antichrist?  A collection of writings calling for reformation within the Roman Church began to circulate about 1300 A.D.  As time passed, the number of people calling for change significantly increased.  Those denouncing teachings or doctrines promoted by the Church that had no biblical basis became known as “protestors” or “protestants.”  Their united plea was simple,  “Away with the harsh and unjust rule of Roman clerics teaching mad-made traditions.  Give us the Bible alone as the Word of God.  Sola Scriptura!”

The pleas of the protestors provoked power church officials so that eventually, any or all protestors were condemned to the dungeon, stake or sword.  Persecution, torture, discouragement and death are some of Satan’s most persuasive tools!

Some of the better known reformers involved in the initial call for reformation were Wycliff, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Tyndale.  As the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholic Church grew, educated men throughout Europe began identifying the little horn power in Daniel 7 as the Papacy.  The following steps generally derived their conclusions:

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