0 / 0
"THE TIME OF THE END,"
OR "DAY OF HIS PREPARATION"
The Time of the End—Its Commencement, A.D. 1799—Its Close, A.D. 1914—What is to be Prepared, and the Object—The World's History Prophetically Traced Through its Chief Rulers—From B.C. 405 to This Day of Preparation—The Beginning of the Time of the End Definitely Marked, yet Without Names or Dates.
THE "Time of the End," a period of one hundred and fifteen (115) years, from A.D. 1799 to A.D. 1914, is particularly marked in the Scriptures. "The Day of His Preparation" is another name given to the same period, because in it a general increase of knowledge, resulting in discoveries, inventions, etc., paves the way to the coming Millennium of favor, making ready the mechanical devices which will economize labor, and provide the world in general with time and conveniences, which under Christ's reign of righteousness will be a blessing to all and aid in filling the earth with the knowledge of the Lord. And it is a day or period of preparation in another sense also; for by the increase of knowledge among the masses, giving to all a taste of liberty and luxury, before Christ's rule is established to rightly regulate the world, these blessings will gradually become agencies of class-power and will result in the uprising of the masses and the overthrow of corporative Trusts, etc., with which will fall also all the present dominions of earth, civil and ecclesiastical. And thus the present is [C24] a day of preparation (through such an overthrow) for the establishment of the universal dominion of the Kingdom of God so long prayed for.
The last forty years of the Time of the End is called the "End" or "Harvest" of the Gospel age, as we read, "The HARVEST is the END of the age." (Matt. 13:39) To the foretold general character and events of this period we will shortly call particular attention, reserving the special features of the harvest, however, for a subsequent chapter.
Though our information pointing out the date of this period is furnished in Daniel's prophecy, we know that he understood nothing at all concerning it, as he said: "I heard, but I understood not." (Dan. 12:8) In answer to his anxious inquiries he was told that the words were closed up and sealed until the Time of the End. It follows, therefore, that no one could understand the prophecy before 1799; and before leaving the subject we shall show that the prophecy indicates that it would not begin to be understood before 1829, nor reach a clear unfolding until 1875.
Chapter xi of Daniel's prophecy is devoted to the notable events leading down to this period, the Time of the End, while chapter xii leads on from there to the End or Harvest. Students of prophecy will notice the peculiar manner in which the date of the beginning of the Time of the End is given—a manner remarkable both for its exactness in fixing the date, and also for its concealment, until the appointed time for it to be understood. And after this point of time is thus peculiarly marked in chapter xi, without a name or a date being stated, chapter xii produces three periods of time, 1260, 1290 and 1335 prophetic days, which corroborate and establish the lesson of chapter xi, that the beginning of the Time of the End was in the year 1799.
And, although chapter xi touches upon some of the most [C25] prominent characters and events of history, as we shall show, yet its testimony is still sealed to very many prophetic students because the central item of the prophecy, upon which much depends, has already had a seeming fulfilment. This manner of covering or hiding a prophecy until its due time to be revealed is by no means uncommon. And so confident have some prophetic students of the past felt that this central item has already been fulfilled, that in our English Bibles, common version, the marginal reference reads—"Fulfilled 171 to 168 B.C." The passage (Dan. 11:31) reads, "Arms shall stand on his part, and they shall defile the Sanctuary of strength and shall take away the daily [literally, the continual] sacrifice, and they shall place [or set up] the abomination that maketh desolate [or the desolating abomination]."
The claim is that this prophecy was fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes, a Syrian king, when he forcibly entered Jerusalem and stopped the sacrificings to God in the Temple, and placed in the temple the idol of Jupiter Olympus.
This seeming fulfilment of the prophecy is sufficient to satisfy the general student, contented to believe what he is told; and it causes him to lose interest in the prophecy as one fulfilled in the far past and of no special interest to him. But the earnest student will note that it was foretold (verse 14) that the robbers of Daniel's people would indeed attempt to fulfil the vision (or would seemingly fulfil it), but would fail; and, further, that the Time of the End was a fixed time (verse 35); and that a full and correct interpretation could not be had until then. Hence such will not expect correct interpretations from the past. And neither will the careful student overlook the fact that our Lord drew attention to this very prophecy two hundred years after its claimed fulfilment, and told us to expect its fulfilment future, saying, "Ye shall see [future] the abomination of desolation standing in [C26] the holy place." (Matt. 24:3,15) Our Lord even added a caution, that we should take heed and not be mistaken regarding the real abomination, saying, "Whoso readeth let him understand."
We trust that the evidences presented in the preceding volume have made clear the fact that the great Papal system is the desolating abomination which for centuries has despoiled both the world and the Church, in the name of Christ's kingdom. Truly it has long been "standing in the holy place"—in the temple of God, the Christian Church. Thank God for the privilege of seeing its abominable characteristics more and more clearly, that we may flee from all its errors. Thank God that its days are numbered, and that the cleansed sanctuary (Dan. 8:14) will soon be exalted and filled with the glory of God.
With this introduction, we proceed to examine Daniel xi in consecutive order.
"Alexander the Great, having invaded Judea, sent a mandate to Jerusalem to furnish his army with provisions and troops. Jaddus, then the high priest, returned for answer, that he had sworn allegiance to the king of Persia, and could not desert his cause while he lived. Alexander, as soon as the siege of Tyre was completed, marched to Jerusalem to take vengeance for this refusal. Apprised of his purpose, and utterly unable to contend with him, the high priest in his distress cried to heaven for protection. Being instructed by a vision in the night, he threw open the gates of the city and strewed the way with flowers. Clothing himself in the splendid vestments of the Levitical priesthood, he went forth to meet the conqueror, followed by all the priests robed in white. Alexander met him, bowed, and worshiped. Being asked by his astonished friend, why he, whom others [C27] adored, should adore the high priest, he answered, 'I do not adore him, but the God whose minister he is. I knew him, as soon as I saw his habit, to be the same whom I saw in a vision in Macedonia, when I meditated the conquest of Persia; and he then assured me that his God would go before me and give me success.' Alexander then embraced the priests, walking in the midst of them, and thus entering Jerusalem; where, in the most solemn manner, he offered sacrifices in the temple. The high priest then showed him the prophecy of Daniel, and interpreted it to foreshow that the Persian power should be overthrown by him."
Though Alexander conquered the world in the short period of thirteen years, the kingdom did not continue as one nation in his family after his death, but was divided by his four generals and broken into fragments generally, as stated in verse 4.
Notice here the correspondence of this prophecy with that of Dan. 8:3-9,20-25. Here it is shown that out of one of the divisions of Alexander's empire (compare verses 8,9 and 21) would come forth a "little horn" or power, which would become exceedingly great. This evidently refers to Rome, which rose to influence upon the ruins of Greece. From being an insignificant subject whose ambassadors hastened to acknowledge the Grecian supremacy, and to become part of the empire at the feet of Alexander the Great, Rome rose gradually to supremacy.
The history which is told in few words in Dan. 8:9,10 is related with greater detail in chapter 11:5-19. In this detailed account, Egypt is spoken of as the King of the South; while the Grecians, and afterward the Romans, their successors in power, or the new horn out of Greece, are designated the King of the North. Woven between these, linked now with the one and again with the other, is the history of God's people—Daniel's people—in whose ultimate blessing, as promised by God, Daniel trusted. It is tedious and unnecessary to trace this history in its many details of conflicts between [C28] Alexander's generals and their successors, until verse 17, which refers to Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. And since all are agreed thus far, we need go no farther into the past.
At verse 18 those who claim that verse 31 applies to Antiochus Epiphanes continue to apply the prophecy to the little squabbles and battles between Seleucus, Philopater, Antiochus Epiphanes and Ptolemeus Philomater down to the end of the chapter—as the Jews were evidently accustomed to apply it. The Jews, continuing this interpretation into chapter xii, would have strong grounds for expecting deliverance by Messiah speedily; and so we read that at the time of our Lord's birth "all men were in expectation" of him, and through him, of their deliverance from the Roman yoke. But from verse 18 onward, we who see the real "abomination," part company from them, and understand the prophecy merely to touch prominent characters down to Papacy; and then, touching and identifying it, to pass on to the end of its power to persecute, and to mark that date by a detailed account of one of the most noted characters of history—Napoleon Bonaparte.
But it may be asked, why this change of the particular method of the preceding verses, to touch only prominent features of history? We answer, that this has been part of God's method of sealing and closing the prophecy. Besides, everything in prophecy was so arranged as not to stumble Israel at the first advent. Had the minutiae and detail of twenty centuries been spread out as is that prophecy contained in verses 3 to 17 of this chapter, it would have been long, tedious and beyond comprehension; and it would have given the Jews and the early Christian church an idea of the length of time before the Kingdom of God should come; and this was not God's purpose.
Proceeding, then, we understand verses 17-19 to apply to the times and incidents in which Mark Antony and Cleopatra [C29] figured, when Antony fell, and Egypt ("King of the South") was swallowed up in the Roman empire. Verse 20 we apply to Augustus Caesar, who was noted for his systematic collection of large taxes from all tributary nations, and whose exactions of taxes, in Judea and throughout the then civilized world, are noted in Scripture in connection with the birth of our Lord. (Luke 2:1) The statement, "Caesar Augustus sent forth a decree that all the world should be taxed," corresponds faithfully to the description—"There shall stand up in his estate a raiser of taxes in the glory of the kingdom." This latter part of the description also fits exactly; for the period of Augustus Caesar's reign is noted in history as the most glorious epoch of the great Roman empire, and is called "the golden age of Rome."
Another translation of verse 20 reads: "There will stand up in his place one who will cause the exactor of taxes to pass through the glorious land of the kingdom." This would seem to apply specially to Palestine, and would make this fit exactly to the record in Luke. But both applications are correct: It was the glorious time of the Roman Empire, and tax collectors were caused to pass through the land of Palestine—the glorious land of the kingdom. Furthermore, be it noted that Augustus Caesar was the first ruler to introduce to the world a systematized taxation.
We read further of this prominent ruler—"Within few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle." Of Augustus Caesar it is recorded that he died a quiet death, while his predecessor and his seven successors in imperial power died violent deaths. His death was within a few years after he had reached the zenith of his power and had caused "the exactor of taxes to pass through the glorious land of the kingdom."
Verse 21 fitly describes Tiberius Caesar, the successor of Augustus: "There will stand up in his place a despicable [C30] person, to whom they shall not give the honor of the kingdom; but he shall come in peaceably and obtain the kingdom by flatteries." Let us here note how the historic account of Tiberius agrees with the above by the prophet.
Says White: "Tiberius was fifty-six years old when he ascended the throne, professing great unwillingness to take upon him its important cares....All restraint being now removed, the tyrant gave loose reign to his cruel and sensual passions."
Says Willard: "At first he dissembled and appeared to govern with moderation; but the mask soon dropped....The senate, to whom he transferred all the political rights of the people, had become degraded, and thus obsequiously sanctioned his acts and offered the incense of perpetual flattery to the man who filled their streets with blood. It was under the administration of this most debased of men, that our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified in Judea."
These pictures fit exactly the prophet's description, and are further confirmed by the next verse—22. "With the powers of an overflow [flood] will they [all opposers] be swept away before him, and be broken; yea, also the Prince of the Covenant." This last statement seems unmistakably to refer to our Lord Jesus, who, as above noted by the historian, was crucified under the administration of Tiberius by his representative, Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, and by Roman soldiers.
"And after the league made with him [the Senate recognizing him as emperor] he shall work deceitfully; for he will come up and become strong with a small number of people. [Tiberius organized the Praetorian Guard, at first of 10,000, afterward doubled. This small number of people, as the emperor's bodyguard, was continually at Rome and under his control. By it he overawed the people and the senate, abolished popular elections, assemblies, etc.] He shall enter peaceably even upon the fattest places of the province, and he shall do that which his fathers have not done, nor his father's [C31] fathers; he shall scatter among them the prey, and spoil, and riches: and he shall think thoughts against the strongholds, even for a time." Verses 23,24
It was the policy of both Augustus and his successors to preserve peacefully the control of the dominions previously gained, rather than to seek by conquest further additions; and, to secure this hold, it was their policy to divide the spoil by appointing local governors, with dignity and authority, whose tenure of office was made to depend upon the preservation of order in their provinces, their fealty to the Caesars and the prompt collection of taxes. They no longer, as at first, pursued the policy of sacking and plundering the world merely to carry the spoils as trophies to Rome. By this diplomatic policy, by thus "forecasting devices," Rome now ruled the world more completely and with greater prestige than when her armies went hither and thither.
It should be recognized that while the prophecy has particularized, and in the cases of Augustus and Tiberius has almost individualized the account, yet this has been only a means to an end. The end to be accomplished is to mark the time of transfer of universal dominion, from Greece to Rome, from the four generals of Alexander the Great, representing four divisions of that empire (the "four horns" of the Grecian "goat" mentioned in Daniel 8:8), to the Roman empire which was at that time and previously a part of Grecia. These four generals who succeeded Alexander the Great are no less distinctly marked in history than in prophecy.* The historian+ says:
*The division among these four is distinctly referred to in Daniel 8:8 and 11:4,5.
+Willard's Universal History, page 100.
"The [Grecian] empire was now divided into four parts, and one part assigned to each of the generals who formed the league. Ptolemy assumed the regal power in Egypt; Seleucus, [C32] in Syria and Upper Asia; Lysimachus, in Thrace and Asia Minor as far as Taurus; and Cassander took as his share Macedonia."
In this division Italy belonged to Cassander's department, which was the northern division, designated "King of the North," while Egypt was the southern division, or "King of the South." Gradually the Roman influence prevailed, and piece by piece the territory originally held by Seleucus, Lysimachus and Cassander was brought into subjection to Rome, which was part of the northern division, and left only Egypt, the southern division. This king of the south, Egypt, became subject to the power of the northern division, as above narrated, in the days of Cleopatra, Antony and Augustus Caesar, partly by the will of the father of Cleopatra, who dying while his children were young, left the kingdom under the protection of the Roman Senate, and partly by Mark Antony's defeat. For a while, indeed, the "King of the South," Egypt, was quite as powerful as the "King of the North," Rome. Historians tell us that "it was the greatest mercantile nation then existing"; that it had "33,000 cities"; and that its annual revenue "amounted to 14,800 silver talents," about $20,000,000.
Recognizing the sense and design of the prophecy, we should not expect detailed, personal accounts of the monarchs of these kingdoms, but by "King of the North" we should understand the Roman empire's representative, and by "King of the South" a representative of Egypt's kingdom. With this explanation we proceed with the prophecy.
Verse 25: "And he [Rome] will stir up his power and courage against the King of the South [Egypt], with a great army; and the King of the South shall be stirred up for the war with a very great and mighty army; but he shall not stand; for they will [treacherously] devise plans against him."
From the year B.C. 30, when Augustus Caesar made Egypt a Roman province, no hostilities occurred between the two countries until Queen Zenobia, a descendant of Cleopatra, about A.D. 269, claimed and exercised its control. Her reign was short; Aurelian, the Roman emperor, conquering her in A.D. 272. The historian says: "Syria, Egypt and Asia Minor acknowledged the sway of Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra. But she had to cope with the superior force of the empire and the military skill of the first captain of the age. Yet Aurelian writes of her, 'The Roman people speak in contempt of the war, which I am waging against a woman. They are ignorant both of the character and fame of Zenobia. It is impossible to describe her warlike preparations and her desperate courage.'" Firmus, the ally of Zenobia in Egypt, was speedily vanquished and put to death, and Aurelian returned to Rome covered with honor and with great wealth as described in verse 28—"Then will he return into his land with great riches, and his heart will be against the holy covenant, and he shall do [various exploits] and return to his own land."
"The wealth of Asia, the arms and ensigns of conquered nations, and the magnificent plate and wardrobe of the Syrian queen, were disposed in exact symmetry or artful disorder....The beautiful figure of Zenobia was confined in fetters of gold; a slave supported the gold chain which encircled her neck, and she almost fainted under the intolerable weight of jewels. She preceded on foot the magnificent chariot in which she once hoped to enter the gates of Rome."
"Aurelian, although immoderately given to idolatry, and possessing a strong aversion to the Christians, yet devised no measure for their injury during four years. But in the fifth year of his reign, either from his own superstition, or prompted by the superstition of others, he prepared to persecute them: and, had he lived, so cruel and ferocious was his disposition, and so much was he influenced by the priests and the admirers of the gods, that his persecution would have been more cruel than any of the preceding. But before his new edicts had reached all the provinces he was assassinated; and therefore only a few Christians suffered for their piety under him."*
This persecuting spirit against Christianity was manifested after his return from the conquest, as indicated in the prophecy. Aurelian was a worshiper of the sun, and he ascribed his victory over Zenobia to the sun; and immediately after the battle he repaired to the magnificent temple, dedicated to the sun, to acknowledge the favor. As the Christians deemed the sun unworthy of worship, it is presumed that their refusal to participate in this sun-worship was the provocation of his sudden and violent opposition.
Verse 26: "Yea, they that eat of his food will bring his downfall: and his army shall overflow: and many shall fall down slain." Aurelian was assassinated by his own generals; his army was successful, though many were slain.
Verse 27 applies not to Rome and Egypt, but to two kings or powers in the Roman empire—the Imperial power gradually dying, and the Clerical power slowly coming to life and ambition. Each sought to use the other for its own selfish ends, while denying such designs. It reads: "And the heart of the two kings shall be to do mischief, and they shall speak lies at one table; but it shall not prosper [then], because as yet the end is unto another time." Or, to express the thought more plainly, a certain period of 1260 years had been appointed [C35] of God as the length of Papacy's persecuting power; hence the union or league between the clergy and the civil power could "not prosper" then, because the 1260 years counted from that date would bring "the end" too soon; therefore it must be put off, or held back, and allowed to come about gradually by the decay of the empire in Italy. We see on the pages of ecclesiastical history the scheming of the Christian bishops for power in the Roman empire; and evidently the emperors debated much whether it would not be to their advantage to recognize the new religion. Apparently Constantine merely acted out, at a riper time, what others had more or less thought of. But even Constantine was hindered by the temper of the people from accomplishing at once and as rapidly as was desired a union of the forces of church and state.
We regard verses 29 and 30 as a parenthesis, thrown in to conceal the meaning for a time by breaking the order of the narrative, and believe it to apply to a then far future collision between the representatives of the Roman empire and Egypt. No further conflict between these would occur except one, and it would be just at "the time appointed"—the time of the end, 1799. For this reason we will leave the examination of these verses until considering that last battle between them, as detailed in verses 40-45.
Verse 31 connects with the thought of verse 27, and we recognize it as referring to the more successful of the two powers in the Roman empire—Papacy. Having traced history through notable individual rulers down to Aurelian, and having introduced us to the two antagonistic rulerships—civil and ecclesiastical—which arose shortly after, the predominance of Papacy, its character and its work, as related to God's truth and Church, are next pointed out—being represented as one king or power, regardless of its various and changing popes or heads. We know that in the contest between the civil and religious rulers Papacy was [C36] victorious; and the prophecy reads, "Arms shall stand on his part [or, "strong ones out of him stand up"—Young's translation], and shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the continual sacrifice, and they will SET UP the desolating abomination."
This we interpret to mean that, though neither the church nor the civil power succeeded in swallowing up the other, as at one time seemed probable, yet "strong ones" arose, who polluted the fundamental principles both of the civil government and also of true religion. The "sanctuary of strength," the sacred precincts of civil authority, which for the time God had delivered over to the Gentiles, to the kingdoms of this world, was undermined by those in the Church who thirsted for present dominion, and who sought by every device to obtain civil power to help forward their ecclesiastical schemes; and the sanctuary of God (his sacred dwelling—the Church) was defiled and degraded by the persistent efforts of these "strong ones" to obtain power with the civil rulers, and numbers, and influence with the people. This was Papacy in embryo, scheming to set itself up in power as a sacerdotal empire.
We cannot wonder that these heady, "strong ones," having disregarded God's plan, which provides for our present submission to "the powers that be" (which are ordained of God for our present trial and our preparation for future exaltation to power, glory and the dominion of the world), and having decided to reign, if possible, before God's time, were so far out of harmony with God's plan that they lost the very essence and kernel of the truth, and retained only the form, the outward appearance. A most decisive step of the apostasy was to "remove the continual sacrifice." This, the climax of doctrinal degeneracy, represented in the Romish doctrines of Transubstantiation and the Sacrifice of the Mass, we merely name here, leaving it for fuller examination [C37] in connection with another prophecy in a later chapter. From the introduction of this fatal and blasphemous error, God calls the system an abomination; and its subsequent exaltation to power is here referred to as, "the desolating abomination set up." How well Papacy has earned this name, and how blighting has been its baneful influence, are well attested by the history of the "dark ages," glimpses of which we have given in the preceding volume.
Verse 32: "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries." Those in the Church who failed to live up to their covenant with the Lord fell an easy prey to the flatteries, honors, titles, etc., held before them by the Papal hierarchy as it began to have influence. But though many yielded to the errors, all did not; for we read, "But the people that do know their God shall be strong and deal valiantly; and they that understand among the people shall instruct many." Thus is shown a division of the Church into two marked classes, distinguished in Dan. 8:11-14 as the sanctuary and the host: one class, corrupted by the flattering honors of the world, violated its covenant with God, while the other class was really strengthened by the persecutions to which their loyalty to God exposed them. Among the latter class were some who understood the situation, and taught the faithful that thus it was written in the Scriptures that the Antichrist, or Man of Sin, would develop from a great falling away in the Church.
Numbers and power were in the hands of the forsakers of the covenant, who became joined to the empire; and the faithful few were persecuted—hunted, imprisoned, racked, tortured, and put to death in hundreds of revolting forms, as the pages of history plainly attest, and as here foretold by the prophet, who said, "Yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity and by spoil—days," [Here another [C38] parenthesis of verse 34 and part of 35 interrupts]—"to the time of the end; because it is yet [future] for a time appointed." The length of time this persecution was to continue is not stated here, except that it will be concluded as appointed, at the Time of the End. From other scriptures we learn that it was a period of 1260 years, which ended with A.D. 1799, a date prominently noted by Daniel and the Revelator as well as in history.
Verses 34,35: "Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help." The full period of the persecutor's (Papacy's) power, 1260 years, would not end until 1799; but before its end God granted a little help through the Reformation movement, which, though at first it rather increased persecution, afterward gave some comfort and protection to those falling because of fidelity to God's Word. The Reformation prevented the complete crushing out of the truth from the world. But, alas! with the little help came the "flatterers" again. As soon as persecution began to abate the adversary resorted to the same device, by which he had formerly succeeded in corrupting and degrading the church, to now overcome the reform movements. Kings and princes began to give honors and titles to Protestants and to unite with Protestantism; and this led to serious evil results and deflection from the covenant, as we read: "But many shall cleave to them with flatteries; and some of them of understanding [leaders, reformers, teachers, who had been able to instruct many concerning Papacy's errors] shall fall; to try them [the faithful few] and to purge and to make them white."
Tracing the prophecy further, we find that as the previous verses pointedly describe the leading characters prominently connected with the transfer of dominion to Greece and then to Rome, and then craftily, gradually, stealthily to Papacy as a power which grew up out of civil [C39] Rome, so also when it comes to the very important point of noting where Papal dominion was broken,* it is but reasonable to expect that Napoleon, the leading character associated with this change, should be marked out; and that, too, not by a description of his personal appearance, but by a description of his peculiar characteristics, just as Augustus and Tiberius Caesar were indicated. Such a description we do find; and Napoleon Bonaparte's career corresponds exactly with that description. Verses 31-35 describe Papacy, its errors and abominations, and the Reformation and its "little help" yet partial failure through flatteries; and these verses bring us down to the "Time of the End," and show us that, notwithstanding the little help afforded, some would fall by persecution until the Time of the End. And so it was: in all the countries subject to Papacy—Spain, France, etc.—persecution through the terrible Inquisition continued, until broken effectually by Napoleon.
*It is proper to say that Papal dominion passed away at the beginning of the present century; for after the French Revolution the authority of Rome over rulers and kingdoms (and even over its own territory in Italy) was only nominal and not real. It should be remembered, too, that until that time France had been, of all the nations, the most faithful and subservient to the Papal authority. It was her kings and princes and nobles and people who most readily obeyed the behests of the pope—organized crusades, went to war, etc., etc., in obedience to the pope's command, and who were so loyal as not to permit a Protestant to live on her soil after the massacre of St. Bartholomew's night. No other nation, therefore, could have struck Papacy so stunning and destructive a blow as the French.
Next follow the verses descriptive of Napoleon, the instrument employed by Providence to break Papacy's power and to begin her torture, which will end in utter destruction, to be accomplished later on; as it is written, "Whom the Lord shall destroy with the bright shining of his presence." 2 Thess. 2:8
The public career of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was recognized even in his own day as "the man of destiny," is so clearly portrayed by the prophetic statement as to positively fix the date of "the time appointed." This method of fixing a date is accurate. And if we shall show that the events here mentioned in prophecy agree with Napoleon's career in history, we can determine the date as certainly as we could the beginning of the reign of Augustus Caesar, or Tiberius, or Cleopatra—described in verses 17, 20 and 21. Napoleon's career, in the light of prophecy, marked A.D. 1799 as the close of the 1260 years of Papal power, and the beginning of the period called the "Time of the End." The prophetic description runs thus:
Verse 36: "And the king shall do according to his will, and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the god of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath is accomplished; for that which is determined shall be done." Napoleon was not a king, but the term king is a general one to indicate a powerful ruler. He did, perhaps, as nearly "according to his will" as any man that ever lived; he was noted for his wilfulness and determination, which conquered almost insurmountable difficulties. To get the proper meaning of the above verse, it must be remembered that the word "god" signifies a mighty one; and that it is frequently used in Scripture in referring to kings and rulers, as in this verse: "god of gods."* Here the word "gods" refers to rulers, kings and princes, and the expression, "god of gods," or ruler of rulers, refers to the pope. Most men have acknowledged some religious superior, but Napoleon acknowledged none. He had a will of his own, and a plan of his own, which was to exalt himself above every other ruler. Even the "god of gods" (i.e., the ruler of rulers—the pope) he addressed in a marvelous [C41] way; commanding his obedience as his servant, in a manner which shocked the superstitions of the world at that day, and the dignity of the papal hierarchy as well. And, as here declared, he prospered until he had accomplished his mission of scourging Papacy and breaking its influence over the minds of the people. In proof of this, history+ says:
"Whilst the secular princes who had concluded treaties with the French adhered to them in good faith, and paid the contributions stipulated, the sovereign Pontiff was guilty of the most unwise violations of his engagements. Surrounded by priests who were his only counsellors, the Pope had resource to his old expedients of artifice and pious frauds; and great efforts were made to inflame the minds of the people against the French....The priests pretended that heaven had interfered, and it was positively asserted that various miracles had been performed in the different churches in vindication of the holy catholic faith of Papal supremacy, showing the displeasure of heaven at the conduct of the French. Bonaparte, perceiving that such was the infatuation of the Court of Rome that all his efforts for peace would be unavailing, took immediate steps to bring 'His Holiness' to his senses.
"He ordered General Victor to invade the Papal territories, who scattered the army of the Pope 'like chaff before the wind,' and spread a general panic through the ecclesiastical states....'His Holiness,' finding that St. Peter afforded him no assistance in this emergency,...dispatched plenipotentiaries to Bonaparte to supplicate for peace. Peace was obtained, but upon conditions sufficiently humiliating: In addition to complying with the provisional treaty previously entered into and infracted by the Pope, he was obliged to cede a part of his territory and pay a sum of money amounting to about thirty millions of French livres [about six million dollars], as an atonement for the last rupture."
This, added to the first assessment, made in all over ten [C42] million dollars that the Pope paid to France in gold and silver, besides other valuables—statuary, paintings, etc. A Roman Catholic writer declares that "The fulfilment of these conditions brought the Pope to the verge of ruin." This treaty was concluded February 19, 1797.
It may be thought that this summary and successful overturning of Papal power would be sufficient to prove to the world that its claims to divine right to rule kings, etc., were mere assumptions; but if not, surely the final touches were added the following year, when the French general, Berthier, entered Rome, organized there a Republic, on February 15, 1798, and five days later carried the pope a prisoner to France, where he died the following year. From that time until the present, Papal dominion over the kingdoms of earth has been merely a shadow of its former self. Since then, it has scarcely mentioned its assumed right to make and unmake kings. In fact, the pope who succeeded in 1800, under the title Pius VII, "published an address in which he declared it to be the doctrine of the gospel that all should obey established governments," which of course included himself.
Not only did Napoleon not respect the god of his fathers, Papacy, but neither did he regard favorably any of the Protestant sects, here represented as women.* In fact, nothing but his own personal ambition controlled him.
*As the one true Church is symbolically called the Bride of Christ, and as the Church of Rome in unfaithful alliance with earthly empire is called a harlot, so the various Protestant sects are called "women."
Verse 38: "But in his place [instead of any of these gods] he shall honor the god of forces [military power]: and a god whom his fathers knew not, shall he honor with gold, and [C43] silver, and with precious stones, and things desired."
Other great warriors made some acknowledgment to some supernatural powers for victories achieved. Alexander the Great visited the heathen temples, and thus celebrated victories; so did the Caesars; and in later times, under Papacy, it was the custom for both sides in a war to appeal to God, to saints, to the Virgin and to the popes for blessings and victory; and at least to pretend to accept victory as God-given. But Napoleon did nothing of the sort: he ascribed his success to himself and his own genius. Armies were his reliance; in brave men, quick maneuvering and able generals he put his trust; and to these he addressed his petitions. The form of his oath to the French "Council of the Ancients," on assuming command of the armies of France upon his return from Egypt, shows that his reliance was upon himself and his armies. He swore neither by God, nor by the Bible, nor by the Pope, nor by France; but he said: "I swear it! I swear it in my own name, and in the name of my brave comrades!" While serving his own ambition, he claimed to serve the people; and the treasures of Rome, and of other cities and countries which he spoiled, were turned over to the people of France, of whom himself and his soldiers were a part.
Verse 39: "And he shall do this to strengthen his hold with the strange [new] god: Whoever will acknowledge him, him will he give much honor; and he will cause such to rule over many, and he will divide the land gratis."
Napoleon put his friends and trusty generals into places of power among all the conquered nations of Europe. These offices were his gifts, yet they were held upon condition of fealty to him. They were "gratis," and yet the price of their loyalty to him. Of this history* says:
"The ambitious views of Napoleon became still more apparent. Holland had the previous year been formed into a kingdom, of which his brother, Louis Bonaparte, was made king. Naples was now given to Joseph Bonaparte, the elder brother, who was also invested with the title of King of the two Sicilies. Several provinces were constituted duchies or grand fiefs of the empire, and given to the Emperor's relations and favorites. His sister Pauline was made princess of Guastalla; his brother-in-law, Murat, grand duke of Berg and Cleves; while Eugene Beauharnais, the son of his Empress Josephine by a former marriage, was sent viceroy to Italy. Fourteen provinces in the south and west of Germany were formed into the Confederation of the Rhine. They were separated from the Germanic body, and recognized Napoleon as their head, under the title of Protector....Switzerland was also brought under the dominion of France, Napoleon declaring himself its 'Mediator.'"
The policy of Napoleon also led him to establish various honorable and honorary orders among the officers and soldiers, such, for instance, as the "Legion of Honor," "The Order of the Iron Crown," etc., etc.
Having thus furnished grounds for establishing the identity of this character (Napoleon), whose deeds mark the beginning of the "Time of the End," the prophecy proceeds to show which particular event of that time is to be understood as definitely marking the exact date of the beginning of the "Time of the End." This event is shown to be Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, which covered a period of a year and nearly five months. He sailed May, 1798 and, returning, landed in France Oct. 9, 1799. This campaign is graphically described in a few words in verses 40-44.
Verse 40: "And at the [fixed] Time of the End shall the king of the South [Egypt] fight against him, and the king of the North [England] shall come against him like a tempest, with chariots and with horsemen [the Egyptian Mamelukes, [C45] etc.] and with a great navy. [The English forces consisted of a navy under Admiral Nelson.] And he [Napoleon] shall enter into the countries, and shall destroy and pass through [victoriously]."
History informs us that the Egyptian army under Murat Bey "after a most determined struggle was repulsed;...the success of the French struck terror far into Asia and Africa; and the surrounding tribes submitted to the conqueror....But fortune was preparing for him a terrible reverse. His fleet, consisting of thirteen ships of the line [war vessels], besides frigates, was found in Aboukir Bay by Nelson, the English admiral, who had long been in pursuit, and was attacked on the evening of Aug. 1, 1798, with a degree of vigor and activity ["like a whirlwind"] which was never surpassed in naval warfare."
Verses 41-43: "He shall enter also into the glorious land [Palestine], and many shall fall: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom and Moab, and the principality of the children of Ammon. [Napoleon kept to the coast, and did not enter but passed by these lands.] He shall stretch forth his hand upon the countries, and Egypt shall not escape. And he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians will follow at his steps."
Verses 44-45: "And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace [his palatial tents] between the seas, in the glorious holy mountain." This statement might refer to either of two mountains—Mt. Tabor or Mt. Sinai—both of which might be called glorious and holy. On Mt. Tabor, glorious and holy as the place of our Lord's transfiguration, and called by Peter "the holy mount," Napoleon's tents were pitched, one of his most important battles being fought there. Mt. Sinai, holy and glorious as being the place where the Law [C46] Covenant between God and Israel was ratified, was visited by Napoleon and his "scientific corps" and select guard.
"But tidings out of the East and out of the North shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many [nations]. Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him."
While in Egypt tidings of fresh alliance against France reached Napoleon, and he at once set out for France. With reference to this history* says, "Intelligence from Europe now induced him to abandon Egypt; and, leaving his army under Kleber, he returned to France with secrecy and dispatch. ...A reverse of fortune had taken place in French affairs, a second coalition had formed against France, composed of England, Russia, Naples, the Ottoman Porte and Austria." Compare these words of history with those of prophecy: "But tidings out of the East and out of the North shall trouble him; therefore shall he go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many [nations]." Napoleon's great fury, and his attempted destruction of all the nations of Europe, are too well known to require repetition here. He almost succeeded in his ambitious designs; yet, as predicted by the Prophet, in a few years this most notable man of his day died an exile, forsaken by all.
As verse 40 declares that this invasion of Egypt would be "at the Time of the End" or (as the Douay version renders it) "at the time prefixed," so do verses 29 and 30, which refer to the same event and which were previously introduced as a parenthesis. It will be remembered that we have found verses 25-28 to refer to a previous invasion of Egypt; and in verses 29 and 30 it is intimated that the next great invasion of Egypt would be "at the time appointed," i.e., at the "Time of the End," as described in verses 40-45.
"At the time appointed he shall return, and come toward the south; but it shall not be as the former or as the latter" invasions. Napoleon's invasion of Egypt did not result either like that in the days of Cleopatra, or like that in the days of her descendant, Queen Zenobia. Napoleon, though successful as a general in Egypt, achieved no such victories as his predecessors; and the reason is described in the next verse—" For the ships of Chittim ["of the Romans"—Douay] shall come against him." The English navy harassed Napoleon and hindered his conquest. Since England as well as France had been a part of the old Roman Empire, and since France was at war with the remainder of that empire, endeavoring to conquer it, we see the propriety of these being called Roman ships. "Therefore he [Napoleon] shall be grieved, and return and have indignation against the holy covenant: and he shall succeed."
On his return from Egypt, Napoleon abandoned his former policy of violent opposition to Papacy, and signed a Concordat or agreement with the pope, by which the Roman Catholic religion was re-established in France. This was an action against the truth; but he seemed to see that by this policy he could best succeed in overturning the Republic and in establishing himself in power as Emperor. And he did "succeed." But this policy did not last long after he obtained imperial power: he soon began again to work against that system called the "Man of Sin," as the prophecy describes in the following words: "And he [Napoleon] shall return [change about] and shall devise against them that have forsaken the covenant of the sanctuary"; i.e., he began to scheme and operate against the apostate church of Rome. In this also he succeeded.
Thus pointedly does Daniel xi trace the world's history, by its most notable characters, from the kingdom of Persia down to the overthrow of Papal dominion. Though covering [C48] the long period of twenty-four hundred years, it accomplishes its purpose of clearly marking the very year of the beginning of the Time of the End—1799. With that year terminated the limit of Papacy's 1260 years of power to oppress, and the Time of the End began. And let it not be overlooked that this was also the last year of Papacy's millennium, or one thousand years' reign, which began, as shown in the previous volume, with the year 800. But 1799 was only the beginning of the period known as "the Time of the End," within the limits of which every vestige of that system shall pass away.
Notice how in the few words of verses 34 and 35 the decline of the Reformation and its cause are described. The love of the world and a desire to be in power, influence and ease were the snares which first seduced the church and brought forth Papacy; and the same desires and endeavors interrupted the Reformation. Luther and his companions at first boldly denounced, among other of the papal errors, the union of church and state; but when, after some years of brave resistance to powerful opposition, the Reformation began to have some influence because of numbers, when kings and princes began to flatter the reformers, and avenues to social and political preferment opened before them, the evils of church and state union, which once they saw and opposed in Papacy, were lost sight of. The reformed churches in Germany, Switzerland, etc., stepped into the very shoes of Rome, and stood ready to unite with and favor any political party, or prince, or government, willing to own and recognize them. Thus some of understanding fell, and from being leaders of reform they became leaders into temptation. Thus the reform movement, well begun, was greatly checked.
But all this could not frustrate God's plan. By his wisdom it was overruled for good. It served, as Papacy's error had [C49] done, to further test the true saints, to prove whether they were really followers of men or of God. It has served this purpose all the way down, from that time to this—"to try them, and to purge, and to make them white."
If we are correct in placing the beginning of the Time of the End at 1799, we should expect that there the falling into the error of church and state union would measurably cease, though it might require long years for the full recovery out of that snare of the devil. Looking back, we find that facts exactly correspond with this. Since that date there have been separations between empires and churches, but no new unions. Really, this date marks a new reformation on a more substantial basis. The influence of Papacy over the kingdoms of Europe had previously been so great that its curses were dreaded by the nations as a withering blight, and its blessings desired for national prosperity. When Protestants separated from Papacy, they were received by the world as being merely a less corrupt substitute for the Papacy; and their favor, advice or sanction was often very similarly sought. But when Napoleon boldly ignored both the blessings and the curses of Papacy, and yet prospered phenomenally, his course not only greatly weakened the Papal influence over civil governments, but it also weakened the influence of the various Protestant systems, in matters civil and political—which influence had grown very strong in two and a half centuries.
The new reformation, which dated from Napoleon's day, was no less thorough than the reformation brought about by Luther and his colleagues, though it was not a religious movement, nor in any way animated by religious zeal; nor were the actors in it aware of the fact that they were accomplishing a work marked out for them in prophecy centuries before. Napoleon and his co-workers were godless men, animated by their own selfish ambitions for power; [C50] but God, unknown to them, was overruling their course and causing it to work out his own designs, which it effectually did. Had the reformation which God first started within the Church itself continued, had the reformers and their descendants continued faithful to the Truth, his great designs might have been accomplished through their honored instrumentality. But when they succumbed to the flatteries of the world, God showed that he had other ways and means for accomplishing his purposes.
Napoleon's work, together with the French Revolution, broke the spell of religious superstition, humbled the pride of self-exalted religious lords, awakened the world to a fuller sense of the powers and prerogatives of manhood and broke the Papal dominion against which the religious Reformation had previously struck a death-blow, but which its after course had healed. (Rev. 13:3) The era closing with A.D. 1799, marked by Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, sealed and defined the limit of Papal dominion over the nations. There, the time appointed (1260 years of power) having expired, the predicted judgment against that system began, which must finally "consume and destroy it unto the end." Dan. 7:26
This date also clearly marks the beginning of a new era of liberty of thought, and the realization of individual rights and privileges, and has already been distinguished by its rapid strides of progress toward the full accomplishment of the work mapped out for this Time of the End. As a single illustration, notice the rise and work of the various Bible Societies—"pestiferous Bible Societies," Rome calls them, though it cannot now hinder them. And the sacred volume which once she confined in chains, kept covered in dead languages, and forbade her deluded subjects to read, is now scattered by the million in every nation and language. The British and Foreign Bible Society was established in 1803; [C51] the New York Bible Society in 1804; the Berlin-Prussian Bible Society in 1805; the Philadelphia Bible Society in 1808; and the American Bible Society in 1817. The extent of the work done by these societies during this century is wonderful. Bibles by the million are published yearly and sold at low prices, and many thousands are given away to the poor. It is difficult to estimate the wide influence of this work. While much is doubtless lost, the result in general is to break the bonds of slavery and superstition, political and ecclesiastical. Its quiet teaching—that popes, priests and laity, as well as kings, generals and beggars, must all render an account to one Lord—is the greatest of all levelers and equalizers.
Though the religious reformation movement throughout Europe had severely shaken Papacy's influence, yet the reformed churches had so closely imitated her policy of statecraft, affiliation with earthly empires, and claims of clerical authority over the people (that the "clergy" constitute a special and divinely appointed rulership in the world), that the first effect of that reformation became greatly modified, and left the people and the civil rulers largely under superstitious awe and subserviency to every thing called church authority. The reform divided among several sects much of the superstitious and unwholesome veneration formerly concentrated upon Papacy alone. But the political reform witnessed during this Nineteenth Century, dating particularly from 1799, the "Time of the End," though very different from the former, is none the less a reformation. The revolution and independence of the American colonies—the successful establishment of a prosperous Republic, a government by the people and for the people, without the interference of either royalty or priest-craft—had set a new lesson before the now awaking people, who for so many centuries had slumbered in ignorance of their God-given [C52] rights, supposing that God had appointed the church to the supreme rulership of earth, and that they were bound to obey those kings and emperors sanctioned by the church, no matter how unjust their demands, because she had declared them to be appointed by God, through her.
To a long down-trodden and priest-ridden people, America became a source of wonderment. Truly it was "Liberty enlightening the world." Finally, oppressed by priest-craft, royal extravagance, etc., augmented by repeated failures of the crops, which impoverished and almost famished them, the people of France arose in desperation and accomplished that most terrible revolution which lasted for fourteen years, from 1789 to 1804.
Awful as were those scenes of anarchy and violence, they were but the legitimate fruit, the reactionary effect, of the awakening of a long oppressed people to a realization of their shame and degradation. It was the reaping of a whirlwind by the civil and religious powers, which in the name of God and of truth had been blinding and binding, for their own aggrandizement, people for whom Christ died.
Of course such a reaction from such a cause would be to infidelity. France suddenly became thoroughly infidel under the influence of Voltaire and his associates, who deluged the country with their writings, hurling contempt and ridicule upon Christianity, or rather upon the apostate Church of Rome, which was the only Christianity with which the French people were acquainted. They pointed out its falsehoods, its absurdities, its hypocrisies, its immoralities, its cruelties and all its wickedness, until the French people became as inflamed in their zeal to exterminate Catholicism and all religion as they had formerly been zealous to uphold it. And miserable, deluded France, for a thousand years completely under the influence of the Papacy, [C53] supposing that the real Christ and not the Antichrist had been her despicable master, cried out in the words of Voltaire, "Down with the wretch"; and their efforts to down the execrable Antichrist resulted in all the horrors of the French Revolution—a wonderful illustration of retributive justice when viewed in comparison with the dreadful massacres of St. Bartholomew's day, and similar occasions incited and rejoiced over by the Papacy.
Infidel France suddenly rose in its might, destroyed the Bastile, issued its declaration of the rights of man, executed the king and queen and declared war against all kings and sympathy with all revolutionists everywhere. Meanwhile the rulers of the world with bated breath dreaded lest the revolutionary contagion should break out among their subjects; and, fearful of world-wide anarchy, they organized alliances for their mutual protection against their subjects, who indeed were scarce restrained. The French renounced Christianity, and confiscated all the vast estates and revenues of the Roman Catholic Church, as well as the estates of the king and the nobility. The streets of Paris again ran with blood, but it was the blood of priests and nobles and their supporters, instead of that of Protestants. The number of the executed is estimated at 1,022,000. These perished by hundreds of processes invented for the occasion. During the hunting and the slaughter, the priests were taunted with reminders of the similar course of Papists toward Protestants, and of their own doctrine—that "the end justifies the means." The Revolutionists claimed the end sought to be human liberty, political and religious; and that the death of those opposed to this was needful, as the only sure means.
Like all such things, the French Revolution was a great evil, and caused much distress to millions of people; yet like some others, too, it was a partial redress of a great wrong; and, like some others, it was overruled by God for good, for [C54] the increase of knowledge and the forwarding of his plans as pointed out in prophecy. We here intrude the remark that the French Revolution is prominently pointed out in the Book of Revelation, which clearly shows that the closing trouble upon all the nations of "Christendom" was illustrated in that reign of terror. That pestilence of Infidelity and Anarchism, which spread from France the world over, was fed and fattened upon the false, unscriptural doctrines and practices of "Christendom," represented not only in Papacy but in "Orthodoxy" generally. Nominal Christianity has not cured this malady, and is powerless to avert its further outbreak, predicted in the Scriptures to be the greatest trouble ever to be known to earth.
The influence of the French infidels was carried over Europe by the armies under Napoleon, and greatly undermined the power both of kings and priests. But the rough handling of Papacy by Napoleon, acting as the head and representative of Infidel France, capped the climax, and more than all else helped to break the fetters of superstitious veneration, by which the "clergy" class had so long held the "common people" under them. But when the intrepid Napoleon not only defied the anathemas of Pope Pius VI but laid penalties upon him for violation of his (Napoleon's) orders, and finally compelled him to cede back to France the papal territories granted a thousand years before by Charlemagne (whose successor Napoleon claimed to be), it opened the eyes of the people as well as of the monarchs of Europe to the falsity of Papacy's claim to authority. The great revolution of public opinion at this time, regarding papal authority, may be seen in the fact that Napoleon, upon assuming the title and proclaiming himself Roman Emperor as successor of Charlemagne,* did not go to Rome [C55] to have the pope crown him, as did Charlemagne and others, but commanded the pope to come to France to attend his coronation. And even then the successful chief, who more than once had pillaged, impoverished and humbled the Papacy, would not consent to be crowned by the pope, and thus to accept the imperial dignity with any acknowledgment of papal authority, but merely had the pope (Pius VII) present, to sanction and acknowledge the ceremony, and to bless the crown which Napoleon then took from the altar and put upon his own head. The historian says, "He then put the diadem on the head of his empress, as if to show that his authority was the child of his own actions"—the result of his own civil and military successes. Nor has the pope ever been since requested to bestow the crown of the Roman empire. A Roman Catholic writer+ says of this coronation:
"Acting differently from Charlemagne and other monarchs, who had repaired to Rome on similar occasions, he [Napoleon] insisted in his arrogance that the holy father should come to Paris to crown him. The pope felt extreme reluctance to depart thus from the ancient usage. In fact, he considered it derogatory to his exalted office."
"An armistice was concluded [June 23, 1796] with the Pope [Pius VI], the terms of which were sufficiently humiliating to the head of the church, once the most powerful sovereign in Europe. The pontiff, who once trod on the necks of kings, made and unmade sovereigns, disposed of states and kingdoms, and, as the great high-priest and vicegerent of the Almighty on earth, established an authority as lord paramount, and reigned over the heads of other sovereigns, was constrained to drink to the very dregs the cup of humiliation. [C56] If the draught was bitter, it was one which his predecessors had liberally dealt out to others. He was compelled to open his ports to French vessels, and to exclude the flags of all nations at war with that Republic; to permit the French army to continue in possession of the legations of Bologna and Ferrara; to surrender the citadel of Ancona; to give to the French 100 paintings, busts, vases or statues to be selected by commissioners sent from Paris to Rome; also 500 (ancient and valuable) manuscripts to be selected in the same way; and, to sweeten the whole, his holiness was to pay to the Republic 21,000,000 French livres, most of which was to be in specie, or gold and silver ingots."
For the nonfulfilment of these penalties promptly, the money fine was increased to 50,000,000 livres, and certain papal territories were compelled to be ceded to France; and the pope was finally made a prisoner and taken to France, where he died.
Even Pius VII, who had been restored to pontifical honors, and who in 1804 attended the crowning of Napoleon, was afterward by decree of Napoleon (1808-1809) bereft of every shred of temporal power; and the monuments and art treasures of Rome were taken under French protection. The language used by Napoleon was that "the donation of territories by our illustrious predecessor, Charlemagne, to the Holy See,...Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, be forever united to the Kingdom of Italy."
"To this it was added, that the pope should continue to be the bishop of Rome, exercising his spiritual functions as his predecessors had done in the early ages, down to the reign of Charlemagne. The following year, emboldened by the successes of his arms, the Emperor resolved that the pope should be deprived of his now nominal sovereignty—the mere shadow of temporal power, that still remained to [C57] him in his capital and the adjacent districts. [These Papacy held for years before Charlemagne's gift—from A.D. 539.] Accordingly he issued a new decree, from the palace of the Austrian Caesars, that Rome should be an Imperial Free City; that its civil administration should be conducted by a council then nominated by the Emperor; that its monuments and art treasures should be taken under French protection; and that the pope, having ceased to reign, an income should be settled on his holiness."
Following this, Pius VII issued a bull of excommunication against Napoleon, and was taken a prisoner to France, where he finally signed the Concordat of Fontainebleau, dated Jan. 25, 1813, in which he placed in Napoleon's hands the nomination of Bishops and Metropolitans, and virtually rescinded his own authority to veto such appointments. Thus he in effect gave Napoleon the authority of a pope, which was what Napoleon had long desired.
Nor have Roman Catholics failed to note the importance of the events which introduced the present century. They not only admit the losses and indignities inflicted, as above quoted, but they claim that the Millennial reign of Papacy (the thousand years from the time of Charlemagne's present of the before mentioned states to the Papacy—A.D. 800) ended with the taking away of its dominions by Napoleon; from which time it has at no time had more than a skeleton of power. It is Papacy's claim that, as the Kingdom of Christ, it has accomplished the predicted reign over the nations, mentioned in Rev. 20:1-4, and that the present period of trouble upon that system is the "little season" in which Satan is loosed, mentioned in the 7th and 9th verses. Only such as see in Papacy Satan's counterfeit of the true Christ, and who recognize the true Church and the true reign, can fully appreciate this.
We have, perhaps, cited enough to convince the reader that the period of the French Revolution and Napoleon's power was a very marked period in Papacy's history; and [C58] Papal influence, broken then, has never been regained. Though at times some favors were granted, they were only for a short time, and were followed by renewed indignities, until in 1870 all temporal authority of the popes again ceased—we believe never to be revived. Remember, too, that it was Napoleon's soldiers who broke open the Inquisitions, and put an end to public tortures and executions for religious convictions.
The effect of the partial breaking down of priest-craft and superstition, while it has led to more open infidelity, has also, in thus overthrowing a superstitious reverence for men, led to more intelligent thought on the part of the consecrated people of God—many of whom previously scarcely dared to think, or study the Scriptures for themselves. Thus, this revolution was favorable to the development of the truth and of true Christianity, by stimulating Bible study. It really carried forward the good work begun in the Reformation of Luther's day, which had been checked by the ignorance and servility of the masses, and the love of power, dignity, authority and ease on the part of the "clergy."
We have thus shown that 1799 began the period called the Time of the End; that in this time Papacy is to be consumed piece-meal; and that Napoleon took away not only Charlemagne's gifts of territory (one thousand years after they were made), but also, afterward, the Papacy's civil jurisdiction in the city of Rome, which was recognized nominally from the promulgation of Justinian's decree, A.D. 533, but actually from the overthrow of the Ostrogothic monarchy A.D. 539—just 1260 years before 1799. This was the exact limit of the time, times and a half of its power, as repeatedly defined in prophecy. And though in some measure [C59] claimed again since, Papacy is without a vestige of temporal or civil authority today, it having been wholly "consumed." The Man of Sin, devoid of civil power, still poses and boasts; but, civilly powerless, he awaits utter destruction in the near future, at the hands of the enraged masses (God's unwitting agency), as clearly shown in Revelation.
This Time of the End, or day of Jehovah's preparation, beginning A.D. 1799 and closing A.D. 1914, though characterized by a great increase of knowledge over all past ages, is to culminate in the greatest time of trouble the world has ever known; but it is nevertheless preparing for and leading into that blessed time so long promised, when the true Kingdom of God, under the control of the true Christ, will fully establish an order of government the very reverse of that of Antichrist. Since this period prepares for and leads to the Kingdom, it leads also to the great conflict between the old and the new order of things by which the latter will be introduced. And though the old order of things must pass away, and the new must supersede it, the change will be violently opposed by those advantaged by the present order. Revolution, world-wide, will be the outcome, resulting in the final and complete destruction of the old order and the introduction and establishment of the new.
All the discoveries, inventions and advantages which make our day the superior of every other day are but so many elements working together in this day of preparation for the incoming Millennial age, when true and healthful reform, and actual and rapid progress in every direction, will be the order, to all and for all.
"Strong were thy foes, but the arm that subdued them,
And scattered their legions, was mightier far:
They fled like the chaff from the scourge that pursued them;
Vain were their steeds and their chariots of war.