Time, and Times, and Half a Time”
THE little horn of Daniel 7'8,
25, was to reign for "a time and times and the dividing of
time." This same "time, and times, and half a time" is
also mentioned in Revelation 12:14, and in the sixth verse it is said to
be "a thousand two hundred and threescore days." In prophecy a
day always stands for a year. (Ezekiel 4:6.) This prophetic period is
therefore 1260 literal years. We shall now show that these 1260 years
began in 538 A. D., and invite the reader to notice the four great
changes that took place that year:
1. We have already seen that the
little horn symbolized the Papacy, and that three Arian kingdoms, which
stood in its way, were plucked up by the roots, and that the last of
these received its deathblow in 538 A. D. through the efforts of
Justinian, the faithful son of the church of Rome.
2. History states that the work
of Justin and Justinian in elevating the Papacy to power brought on a
new era, introducing the Middle Ages: "Accordingly, the religious
and political tendencies of the Empire now took so different a direction
as to positively constitute the dawn of a new era .... Thus at last Rome
had triumphed, after fighting so long with unflinching vigour and
without yielding a single point."–"The Barbarian Invasion of
Italy," P. Villari, Vol. I, pp. 177, 178.
"The reign of Justinian is
more remarkable as a portion of the history of mankind, than as a
chapter in the annals of the Roman Empire or of the Greek nation. The
changes of centuries pass in rapid succession before the eyes of one
"With the conquest of Rome
by Belisarius, the history of the ancient city may be considered as
terminating; and with his defence against Witigis IA. D. 538], commences
the history of the Middle Ages."–"Greece Under the
Romans," George Finlay, pp. 198, 240, Dent edition, revised by
3. Even the Papacy itself
changed, so there was a new order of popes after 538 A. D. History
"Down to the sixth century
all popes are declared saints in the martyrologies. Vigillius (537-555)
is the first of a series of popes who no longer bear this title, which
is henceforth sparingly conferred. From this time on the popes, more and
more enveloped in worldly events, no longer belong solely to the church;
they are men of the state, and then rulers of the
state."–"Medieval Europe," Belmont and Monod (revised
by George Burton Adams), p. 120. New York: H. Holt & Co., 1902.
In the foregoing quotation the
date of Vigillius should be 538 instead of 537 for the following reason:
"Vigillius having been thus
ordained in the year 537, . . . and the death of Silverius having been
certainly not earlier than 20 June, A. D. 538, it is evident that for at
least seven months his position was that of an unlawful anti-pope, his
predecessor never having been canonically deposed"– Dictionary of
Christian Biography, Drs. Smith and Wace, Vol. IV, art. "Vigillius,"
p. 1144. London: 1887.
For this reason A. Bower says:
"From the death of Silverius
the Roman Catholic writers date the Episcopacy of Vigillius, reckoning
him thenceforth among the lawful popes."–"History of the
Popes," Vol. II, p. 488, under the year "538." Dublin:
"His [Silverius'] death
happened on the 20th of June . . . 538. "–Id., p. 488.
"Vigillius, a pliant
creature of Theodora, ascended the papal chair under the military
protection of Belisarius (538-555)"–"History of the
Christian Church" (7–vol. ed.), Vol. III, p. 327. New York:
Scribner's, 1893. See also "General History of the Catholic
Church," M. l'Abbe J. E. Darras, Vol. II, pp. 146, 147 (New York:
1866), and "The Official Catholic Directory" for 1933,
"List of Roman Pontiffs" on page 7. 4. Dr. Sunmerbell gives
still another reason why we should date the beginning of the papal
supremacy from 538. He says:
"Justinian . . . enriched
himself with the property of all 'heretics "–that is
non-Catholics, and gave all their churches to the Catholic; published
edicts in 538 compelling all to join the Catholic Church in ninety days
or leave the empire, and confiscated all their
goods."–"History of the Christian Church," pp. 310,
311. Cincinnati: 1873. The same is stated by Samuel Chandler in
"History of Persecution," pp. 142, 143; and by Edward Gibbon,
in "Decline and Fall," chap. 47, par. 24.
The State Religion
Thus we see that Roman
Catholicism was made the state religion in 538, and all other religions
were forbidden. What gave special significance to these edicts of
Justinian was the fact that he had already in 533 declared the bishop of
Rome to be the head of the universal church, and had subjected all the
priests even of the East under the see of Rome. This fact he wrote to
Pope John II on March 15, 533, in the following language:
"With honor to the Apostolic
See, . . . We hasten to bring to the knowledge of Your Holiness
everything relating to the condition of the Church, as we have always
had great desire to preserve the unity of your Apostolic See, and the
condition of the Holy Churches of God, as they exist at the present
time, that they may remain without disturbance or opposition. Therefore,
We have exerted Ourselves to unite all the priests of the East and
subject them to the See of Your Holiness .... For we do not suffer
anything which has reference to the state of the Church, even though
what causes the difficulty may be clear and free from doubt, to be
discussed without being brought to the notice of Your Holiness, because
you are the head of all Holy Churches, for we shall exert Ourselves in
every way (as has already been stated), to increase the honor and
authority of your see ....
"Therefore we request your
paternal affection, that you, by your letters, inform Us and the Most
Holy Bishop of this Fair City, and your brother the Patriarch who
himself has written by the same messengers to Your Holiness, eager in
all things to follow the Apostolic See of your Blessedness, in order
that you may make it clear to Us that Your Holiness acknowledges all the
matters which have been set forth above."–"The Civil Law of
Justinian," translated by S. P. Scott, A. M. (in 17 volumes), Book
12, pp. 11-13.
To this letter Pope John II
"John, Bishop of the City of
Rome, to his most Illustrious and Merciful Son Justinian. "Among
the conspicuous reasons for praising your wisdom and gentleness, Most
Christian of Emperors, and one which radiates light as a star, is the
fact that through love of the Faith, and actuated by zeal for charity,
you, learned in ecclesiastical discipline, have preserved reverence for
the See of Rome, and have subjected all things to his authority, and
have given it unity....
"This See is indeed the head
of all Churches, as the rules of the Fathers and the decrees of Emperors
assert, and the words of your most reverent piety testify ....
"We have received with all
due respect the evidences of your serenity, through Hypatius and
Demetrius, most holy men, my brothers and fellow bishops, from whose
statements we have learned that you have promulgated an Edict addressed
to your faithful people, and dictated by your love of the faith, for the
purpose of overthrowing the designs of heretics, which is ill accordance
with the evangelical tenets, and which we have confirmed by our
authority with the consent of our brethren and fellow bishops, for the
reason that it is in conformity with the apostolic doctrine ....
"Therefore, it is opportune
to cry out with a prophetic voice, 'Heaven will rejoice with You, and
pour out its blessing upon You, and the mountains will rejoice, and the
hills be glad with exceeding joy'...
"The favor of Our Lord . . .
remain forever with you, Most Pious Son, Amen ....
"Given at Rome, on the
eighth of the Kaleads of April, during the Consulate of Emperor
Justinian, Consul for the fourth time"–Id., pp. 10-15. Both of
these letters appear in the "Code of Justinian," as well as
the following law: "Concerning the Precedence of Patriarchs:
"Hence, in accordance with the provisions of those Councils, we
order that the Most Holy Pope of Ancient Rome shall hold the first rank
of all the Pontiffs, but the Most Blessed Archbishop of Constantinople,
or New Rome, shall occupy the second place after the Holy Apostolic See
of Ancient Rome, which shall take precedence over all other
sees"–Id., Vol. XVII, p. 125. ("Constitutions of Justinian,"
Vol. X VII, 9th Collection, Title 14, chapter 2.)
Under date of March 25, 533,
Justinian, writing to Epiphanius, Patriarch of Constantinople, stating
that he had written the above letter to the pope, "repeats his
decision, that all affairs touching the Church shall be referred to the
Pope, 'Head of all bishops, and the true and effective corrector of
heretics"–"The Apocalypse of St. John," George Croly,
A. M., p. 170, second edition. London: 1828.
"The epistle which was
addressed to the Pope, and another to the Patriarch of Constantinople,
were inserted in the volume of the civil law; thus the sentiments
contained in them obtained the sanction of the supreme legislative
authority of the empire ....
"The answer of the Pope to
the imperial epistle was also published with the other documents; and it
is equally important, inasmuch as it shows that he understood the
reference that had been made to him, as being a formal recognition of
the supremacy of the see of Rome"–"A Dissertation on the
Seals and Trumpets of the Apocalypse," William Cuninghame, pp. 185,
186. London: 1843; cited in "Source Book," pp. 383, 384, ed.
of 1922. "The recognition of the Roman see as the highest
ecclesiastical authority (of. Novellae, cxxxi) remained the cornerstone
of his [Justinian's] policy in relation to the West"–New Schaff-Herzog
Encyclopedia, Vol. VI, art. "Justinian," p. 286.
Thus we see that the way had been
prepared in 533, in anticipation of the three final acts which were to
occur in 538, when the Arian powers were destroyed, Catholicism made the
state religion, and the Papacy placed under the protection of the state,
which gave rise to the long struggle between church and state as to
which should be supreme.
Close Of The 1260 Years
Having now seen that the 1260
years of papal supremacy began in 538 A. D., it is an easy matter to
find their close. Adding the 1260 years to 538 brings us to the year
1798. And if we have given the right application to this prophecy,
history must record an event in 1798 that would appear like a death
stroke to the Papacy. Turning to history we find just such an event
The official Swedish newspaper,
Stockholms Posttidning, for March 29, 1798, has the following news item:
"Rome, the 21st of Feb. , Pope Pius VI, has occupied the
papal chair for all of twenty-eight years, but the 15th inst. his
government in the Papal States was abolished, and five days later,
guarded by one hundred French soldiers, he was taken away from his
palace and his capital ....
"His . . . property was sold
by the French, and among it were seven hundred head of cattle, one
hundred fifty horses, and eight hundred cords of wood .... "Poor
Pius! He must have felt very sad as he left Rome to go into captivity.
When he departed his tear-filled eyes were turned heavenward." Rev.
E. B. Elliott, A. M., says of these events:
"In the years 1796, 1797,
French dominion being established by Bonaparte's victories in Northern
Italy, . . . the French armies [urged] their march onward to the Papal
Capital .... The aged Pope himself, now left mere nominal master of some
few remaining shreds of the Patrimony of Peter, experienced soon after
in person the bitterness of the prevailing anti-papal spirit ....
"On pretence of an insult to
the French Ambassador there, a French corps d'armee under Berthier,
having in February, 1798, crossed the Apennines from Ancona, and entered
Rome, the tricolour flag was displayed from the Capitol, amidst the
shouts of the populace, the Pope's temporal reign declared at an end,
and the Roman Republic proclaimed, in strict alliance fraternization
with the French. Then, in the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican, the
ante-hall to which has a fresco painted by Papal order commemorative of
the Protestant massacre on St. Bartholomew's day, (might not the scene
have served as a memento of God's retributive justice?) there, while
seated on his throne, and receiving the gratulations of his cardinals on
the anniversary of his election to the Popedom, he was arrested by the
French military, the ring of his marriage with the Church Catholic torn
from his finger, his palace rifled, and himself carried prisoner into
France, only to die there in exile shortly after"–"Horoe
Apocalyptice," Rev. E. B. Elliott, A. M., Vol. III, pp. 400, 401.
Arthur R. Pennington, M. A., F.
R. Hist. Soc., says of this event:
"One day the Pope was sitting on
his throne in a chapel of the Vatican, surrounded by his cardinals who
had assembled for the purpose of offering him their congratulations on
his elevation to his high dignity. On a sudden, the shouts of an angry
multitude penetrated to the conclave, intermingled with the strokes of
axes and hammers on the doors. Very soon a band of soldiers burst into
the hall, who tore away from his finger his pontifical ring, and hurried
him off, a prisoner, through a hall, the walls of which were adorned
with a fresco, representing the armed satellites of the Papacy, on St.
Bartholomew's day, as bathing their swords in the blood of unoffending
women and helpless children. Thus it might seem as if he were to be
reminded that the same God who visits the iniquities of the fathers upon
the children unto the third and fourth generation, had made him the
victim of His retributive justice for a deed of atrocity which had long
been crying aloud to Him for vengeance"–"Epochs of the
Papacy," pp. 449, 450. London: 188I.
Rev. Joseph Rickaby, an
English Jesuit, writes:
"When, in 1797, Pope Pius VI fell
grievously ill, Napoleon gave orders that in the event of his death no
successor should be elected to his office, and that the Papacy should be
"But the Pope recovered. The
peace was soon broken; Berthier entered Rome on the 10th February, 1798,
and proclaimed a republic. The aged Pontiff refused to violate his oath
by recognizing it, and was hurried from prison to prison in France ....
No wonder that half Europe thought Napoleon's veto would be obeyed, and
that with the Pope the Papacy was dead."–"The Modern
Papacy," p. 1. London Catholic Truth Society.
Rev. George Trevor, Canon of
York, writes of this eventful year:
"The object of the French
Directory was the destruction of the pontifical government, as the
irreconcilable enemy of the republic .... The aged pope was summoned to
surrender the temporal government; on his refusal, he was dragged from
the altar .... His rings were torn from his fingers, and finally, after
declaring the temporal power abolished, the victors carried the pope
prisoner into Tuscany, whence he never returned (1798).
"The Papal States, converted
into the Roman Republic, were declared to be in perpetual alliance with
France, but the French general was the real master of Rome .... The
territorial possessions of the clergy and monks were declared national
property, and their former owners cast into prison. The Papacy was
extinct; not a vestige of its existence remained; and among all the
Roman Catholic powers not a finger was stirred in its defence. The
Eternal City had no longer prince or pontiff; its bishop was a dying
captive in foreign lands; and the decree was already announced that no
successor would be allowed in his place"–"Rome: From the
Fall of the Western Empire," pp. 439, 440. London: 1868.
An English secular writer, John
Adolphus, says of 1798:
"The downfall of the papal government, by
whatever means effected, excited perhaps less sympathy than that of any
other in Europe; the errors, the oppressions, the tyranny of Rome over
the whole Christian world, were remembered with bitterness; many
rejoiced, through religious antipathy, in the overthrow of a church
which they considered as idolatrous, though attended with the immediate
triumph of infidelity; and many saw in these events the accomplishment
of prophecies, and the exhibition of signs promised in the most mystical
parts of the Holy Scriptures."–"History of France from
1790-1802," Vol. II, p. 379. London: 1803.
God's prophetic clock had set the
year 1798 as the end of the papal supremacy, and when that hour struck,
the mighty ruler on the Tiber, before whose anathemas the kings and
emperors of Europe had so long trembled, went "into captivity"
(Revelation 13:10), and his government in the Papal States was
abolished. Thus the historical events fit exactly into the mold of
prophecy, and establish the fact that "we have also a more sure
word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a
light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn." 2 Peter
1:19. But prophecy foretells that this "deadly wound" would be
healed, and that the world once more, for a brief moment, would follow
the papal power. (Revelation 13:3.) In the following chapter we shall
consider the other specifications of this remarkable prophecy.