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The Kingdom and Work of the Papacy


What is said of the little horn as compared with the ten horns of the fourth beast of Daniel 7?


“After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings.” Daniel 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, frequently with the church dominant.

“Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left…. [Came] under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the Emperor’s disappearance. . . . The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation; the empire has not perished, but has undergone a transformation . . .That is no mere ‘clever remark,’ but the recognition of the true state of the matter historically, and the most appropriate and fruitful way of describing the character of this Church. It still govern the nations… It is a political creation, and as imposing a World-Empire, because the continuation of the Roman Empire. The Pope, who calls himself ‘King’ and ‘Pontifex Maximus,’ is Caesar’s successor.” – Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1903), pp. 269, 270.

“No, the Church will not descend into the tomb. It will survive the Empire…. At length a second empire will arise, and of this empire the Pope will be the master – more than this, he will be the master of Europe. He will dictate his orders to kings who will obey them.”

-Joseph Turmel 9under the pseudonym Andre Lagarde), The Latin Church in the Middle Ages (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1915), preface, p. vi.


The Papacy and God


What attitude of rivalry was the Papacy, represented by the little horn, to assume toward the Most High? 


He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times, and half a time.” Verse 25.


How does Paul, speaking of the man of sin, describe this same power?


“He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:4.


Note – The following extracts from authoritative works, most of them by Roman Catholic writers, will indicate to what extent the Papacy has done this: “All names which in the Scriptures are applied to Christ by virtue of which it is established that he is over the church, and all the same names are applied to the Pope.” – Robert Bellarmine, Disputationes de Controversiis, Tom. 2, “Controversia Prima,” Book 2  (“De Conciliorum Auctoritate” [On the Authority of Councils], chap. 17 (1628 ed., Vol 1, p. 266), translated.            

“For not man, but God separates those whom the Roman Pontiff (who exercises the functions, not of a mere man, but of the true God), having weighted the necessity or benefit of the churches, dissolves, not by human but rather by divine authority.” –“The Decretals of Gregory IX,” Book 1, title 7, chap. 3, in Corpus Juris Canonici (1555-1556 ed.), Vol 2, col. 203, translated.

“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.” – La  Civilta   Cattolica, march 18, 1871, quoted in Leonard Woolsey Bacon, An inside View of the Vatican Council (American Tract Society ed.), p. 229, n.

“Christ entrusted His office to the chief pontiff; … but all power in heaven and in earth has been given to Christ; … Therefore to the chief pontiff, who is His vicar, will have this power.” – Corpus Juris Canonici (1555-56 ed.), Vol 3, Extravagantes Communes, Book 1, chap. 1, col. 29, translated from a gloss on the words Porro Subesse Romano Pnitiff.

“Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and earth and of the lower regions (infernorum),” – Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa” (the Pope), art. 2 (1772-77 ed., Vol. 6, p. 26), translated.  

“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 head of the whole Church, and father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter to rule, feed, and govern the universal Church by Jesus Christ our Lord.” – First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ (Pastor Aeternus, published in the fourth session of the Vatican Council, 1870), chap 3, in Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom (new York: Harper), Vol. 2, p. 262.

“We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in 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 by blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith and morals; and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.” – Ibid., chap. 4, pp. 270, 271.

Among the twenty-seven propositions known as the “Dictates of Hildebrand,” who, under the name of Gregory VII, was pope from 1073 to 1087, 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 dispose emperors.”

“18.  That his sentence is not to be reviewed by anyone; while he is alone can review the decisions of all others.”

“19.  That he can be judged by no one.”

“22.  That the Roman 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 Roman Church.

“27.  That he can absolve subjects from their allegiance to unrighteous rulers.” – Cesare Baronius, Annales, year 1076, sections 31-33, Vol. 17 (1869 ed.), pp. 405, 406, translated.

“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 belong only to God. They profess to be higher than all the kings of the earth, which belong 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, Commentary, on Daniel 7:25.


The Papacy and God’s People


How was the little horn to treat God’s people?


“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saint will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25.


Note – “Under the 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 expiration of the Albigneses, under the form of a crusade, the establishment of the inquisition, the cruel attempt 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 confessors, before the Reformation; and afterwards, the ferocious cruelties practiced in the Netherlands, the martyrdom 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,… and all the cruelties and perjuries connected with the revocation of the edict of Nantz [Nantes]. There are the more open and conspicuous facts which explain the prophecy, besides the slow and secret murders of the holy tribunal of the inquisition.” –T. R. Birks, The Four Prophetic Empires, and the Kingdom of the Messiah (1845 ed.), pp. 248, 249. 

The number of the victims of the Inquisition in Spain is given in The History of the Inquisition in Spain, by Llorente, formerly secretary of the Inquisition (1827 ed.), page 583. This authority acknowledges that more than 300,000 suffered persecution in Spain alone, of whom 31,912 died in the flames. Millions more were slain for their faith throughout Europe.

“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.” –W.E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe (1910 ed.), Vol. 2, p. 32. (By permission of Longmans, Green and Co.) 


The Papacy and God’s Law


What else does the prophecy say the little horn would do? 


“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws.” Daniel 7:25, NIV.


Note – Of the power of the pope to altar divine laws a Catholic writer has the following to say: “The pope is of such great authority and power that he can modify, explain, or interpret even divine laws. The pope can modify divine law, since his power is not of  man, but of God, and he acts as vicegerent of God upon earth.” – Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa,” art. 2, translated.

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 enacted by the Papacy. Furthermore, communicants not only receive the law from the church but also 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 the Roman Catholic publications:

“Q.  Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?

“A.  Had she not such power, she could 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.” – Stephen Keenan, A Doctrinal Catechism, “On the Obedience Due the Church,” chap. 2, p. 174. (Imprimatur, John Cardinal McCloskey, archbishop of New York.)

“Q.  How can you prove that the Church hath power to command feasts and holydays?

“A.  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.

“Q.  How can you prove that?

“A.  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 again deny, in fact, the same power.” –Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, p. 58.

“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.” – James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of our Fathers (1917 ed.), pp. 72, 73.


God’s Judgment and Kingdom


Until what time were the saints, times and laws of the Most High to be given into the hands of the little horn?


“The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.” Daniel 7:25. 


“The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared fro her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” Revelation 12:14. “The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months.”

Revelation 13:5. (See also Revelation 11:2.) “The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. Revelation 12:6. 


In apocalyptic prophecy what length of time is represented by a day?


Answer: A year of literal time.


Note – God measures apocalyptic prophecy time in two ways: (a) a day for a year, and (b) as literal time. The presence or absence of the Jubilee calendar determines how God measures time.

“The decree of the emperor Justinian, issued in A.D. 533, recognized the pope as “head of all holy churches.” (Justinian’s Code, Book 1, title 1, sec.4, in The Civil Law, translated by S.P. Scott, Vol, 12, p. 12.) 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 marks the year as notable in the development of papal supremacy. The year 538, then, may be taken as marking the beginning of the 1,260 years of this prophecy, which would be extended to the year 1798. 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 in February 1798, dying in exile at Valence, France, the following year. The year 1798, during which the death stroke was inflicted upon the Papacy, may thus be taken as marking the close of the long prophetic period mentioned in this prophecy.


What fate will eventually befall the little horn?


“But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.” Daniel 7:26.   


To what will the dominion finally be given?


“Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.” Verse 27.   


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