Welcome to a Revelation of Jesus. We are continuing our series on the Seven Trumpets. In the previous video we saw that in Revelation chapter 10 the scene shifts away from the brutal war instigated and directed by Satan who appears as the angel of the bottomless pit. A mighty angel appears, roaring like a lion, and “seven thunders utter their voices” but John is commanded to seal up the words of the seven thunders (Revelation 10:2). We compared this scene with Daniel 12 where the same angel appeared with a sealed book. We saw that the seven thunders and the sealed book represent prophecies that God gave in the past which were not intended to be understood until the distant future. The angel told Daniel, “Seal the book [of the prophecy] until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase… the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4,9)
In a later video we will look at the evidence showing what we all know intuitively: that we are now in the time of the end. According to these scriptures, God is even now helping His followers through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to understand the meaning of the enigmatic sealed prophecies of Daniel, Matthew 24, and Revelation, but for our “knowledge to increase” we will need to “run to and fro”. This includes using the unprecedented technological tools that we have at our disposal to prayerfully compare scriptures to find their meanings, and then communicate with and learn from others who are also studying these prophecies.
Let’s start where the mighty angel started with Daniel. The context is the long narrative of chapter 11 concerning the war between the King of the North and the King of the South, a war in which God’s chosen representatives were caught in the middle.
Daniel heard an angel asking “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” (Daniel 12:6). Although in English it seems like the angel was asking about wonderful, positive things, a slight variation of the Hebrew word pele, translated wonders, is found in Daniel 11:36: “the king [of the North] shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods” (Daniel 11:36). So the angel was actually asking, how long will the king of the North continue with his astounding atrocities.
“Then the man clothed in linen… held up his right and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 12:7). This phrase, a time, times, and half a time, is a direct quotation from Daniel 7.
In Chapter 7 Daniel saw a vision of wild animals: a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a terrible beast. Ten horns rose from the terrible beast, and then another wicked horn came up that Daniel saw “making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (Daniel 7:21). An angel told him, “[The wicked horn] shall speak against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change [God’s] times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:9).
This critical time period requires some history to understand it, but it is a key to unlocking several important prophecies, so stick with me to the end.
You may want to review video 3 which gives an overview of the visions of Daniel. There we saw that in both Daniel 7 and Daniel 11 the visions depict the progression of empires that have oppressed God’s chosen representatives: Babylon, Persia, Greece, pagan Rome, and the Holy Roman Empire in Europe.
The visions skim over the first four empires and focus on the medieval papacy that was the ruling influence in Europe. The papacy of the dark ages is represented by the King of the North in Daniel 11:23-39 and the wicked horn in Daniel 7. In both visions, the extent of their terrible rule is said to last “for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:9, 12:7).
This seems to be a confusing time period, not specific enough for us to know how long it is, but too specific to simply refer to an indefinite period of time. Fortunately, we can get some initial insight by seeing how Daniel uses the word “time” in other places.
Take a minute to read Daniel chapter 4, as I won’t go into the details here. Briefly, King Nebuchadnezzar learned about the power and authority of God from Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but later he became arrogant and ascribed his might, power, and accomplishments to himself.
Because of his arrogance God declared he would have a period of insanity in which he would “be with the beasts of the field… and eat grass like oxen… for seven times” (Daniel 4:32). Jewish tradition teaches that the seven times were seven years.
Applying this to Daniel 7:25, we can replace time with year: “[The wicked horn] shall persecute the saints… then the saints shall be given into his hand for [a year and years and half a year]” (Daniel 7:25). We are getting closer to an understanding, but we still don’t know how many years are specified, and whether they are literal or symbolic years.
We can gain additional from Revelation 12. In a later video we will look at the details, but John saw a vision of a woman who was persecuted by Satan, the dragon. Two verses talk about her flight to the wilderness.
“The woman fled into the wilderness where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there One thousand two hundred and sixty days” (Revelation 12:6).
In verses 13 and 14 he uses slightly different language: “The woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time” (Revelation 12:13,14). Here we see that a time, times, and half a time is the same as 1,260 days. Using the Hebrew month of 30 days, we see that time, times, and half a time is equal to 3½ years, 42 months, and 1,260 days. All of these different ways of expressing the same time period are used in important Bible prophecies.
We can learn if these are literal or symbolic years by studying the wicked horn in Daniel 7.
Daniel first saw the four wild animals coming out of the sea, representing the succession of empires that would oppress God’s chosen representatives. But he was particularly alarmed by the fourth beast and the horns that came up out of it.
The beast “was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron… which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled” (Daniel 7:19). The Roman empire, symbolized by this beast, not only crushed militarily, but most grievously, it played a key role in the murder of the Son of God.
But Daniel was even more distressed by the horns that came up out of the Roman beast. “I wished to know the truth about… the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up…before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words… the horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (Daniel 7:20,8,21)
The angel explained, “The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from [the terrible Roman] kingdom. And another shall rise after them; He shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings” (Daniel 7:24).
We don’t have to read the whole “Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire” to know its basic history, which corresponds remarkably to Daniel’s prophecy of the horns. The Roman empire persecuted the Christian church during the first, second, and third centuries. But in AD 306 Constantine became emperor, moved his capital to Constantinople, and made Christianity the official religion of the empire.
But two main types of Christianity developed. Orthodox Christianity, supported by the churches of Rome and Constantinople, and Arian Christianity, favored by the northern tribes that sought to take over the Roman Empire.
In AD 476 the Arian general Odoacer led an army that conquered Italy and took over Rome, marking what many historians consider the end of the western Roman Empire.
The Bishop of Rome had long been considered the most esteemed of all the Christian archbishops with the greatest authority. But in Rome his authority and political influence was undermined by the Arians who now ruled Italy.
Justinian, the powerful emperor of the eastern Roman Empire, was determined to reunite the empire. He sent one of the greatest generals of all time, Belisarius, to recover the west. He first destroyed the Vandals in North Africa, and then attacked the Ostrogoths, who had taken over Rome and much of Italy.
In AD 538 he defeated the Ostrogoths and delivered Rome from Arian control. In the years that followed the distant eastern emperors were unable to maintain effective control of Italy, but the Roman Catholic papacy was gradually able to make allies of the northern European tribes, which converted from Arianism to Roman Catholicism and became the nations of Europe.
The atrocities committed by the medieval Roman Catholic Church in conjunction with the European states included the crusades, the inquisition, the genocide of the Cathari and Waldensians, brutal religious wars, and the persecution and slaughter of the Protestant reformers, Jews, and Muslims. This is not intended to be Catholic bashing; The Roman Catholics were no more brutal than the other powers of the time.
God inspired His prophets to put the medieval atrocities front and center in Daniel and Revelation because they were carried out in the name of Jesus, and as such grossly misrepresented God’s character of love.
Millions of atheists want nothing to do with a God like the one represented by the medieval Christian church. But more than that, the persecuting union of church and state of the dark ages is used in Revelation as a model for the final persecuting power that will create the image, mark, and number of the beast. I’ll say more about that at the end of this video.
Let’s return to Daniel 7 and see how this brief overview of history fits with the prophecy.
The ten horns that arose from the Roman beast (Daniel 7:24) symbolize the northern tribes that overran the Roman Empire and became the nations of Europe.
The three horns that were uprooted symbolized the Arian nations such as the Vandals and Ostrogoths that refused to accept the Orthodox faith. They were destroyed, but other tribes including the Franks, Lombards, and Visigoths converted to Roman Catholicism and were the forerunners of the European allies of the papacy.
But the real focus of the vision is the papacy of the dark ages, symbolized by the wicked horn, which developed power after the defeat of the Roman Empire. In its efforts to stamp out heresy it did indeed “make war against the saints and prevail against them… And the saints were given into his hands for a time and times and half a time” (Daniel 7:24,20,25)
This is all fascinating, but where in the long history of medieval church/state oppression do the time, times and half a time, in other words, 1,260 days, 43 months, or 3 ½ years, fit in?
Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6 suggest that God sometimes uses a day to symbolize a literal year.
When we apply the day-for-a-year principle to the medieval papacy the results are remarkable. Let’s look at two examples. As we already saw in this video, the army of the Eastern empire drove the Arians out of Rome in AD 538, giving the Roman Catholic Church religious primacy in the western empire.
Exactly 1,260 years later the armies of Napoleon Bonaparte, who considered the “Roman religion… the irreconcilable enemy of the [French] Republic,” arrested Pope Pius VI and forcibly took him to France where he died in exile.
Even more remarkable were the events that took place 70 years later. Until the reign of Pope Gregory I (AD 590 to 604), “the Roman Catholic Church still identified with the Eastern Byzantine empire. But Gregory had to face the collapse of imperial authority in northern Italy, and as the leading civil official of the empire in Rome, it fell to him to take over the civil administration and to negotiate for the protection of Rome itself” (Wikipedia, article Papal Supremacy).
This resulted in a remarkable change in the relationship between the Church of Rome and the Eastern Empire. The next Pope, Boniface III, obtained a decree from Emperor Phocas in 607 which stated that “the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle (ie. The Pope) should be the head of all the Churches;’ This ensured that the title of “Universal Bishop” belonged exclusively to the bishop of Rome” (Wikipedia article Boniface III).
In 609 Pope Boniface converted the Pantheon into a Christian Church, “the first instance in Rome of the transformation of a pagan temple into a place of Christian worship” and in 610 he sent decrees establishing papal authority over the Church of England (Wikipedia article Boniface IV).
The papacy now had full authority in Rome and was a fully functioning world power.
Exactly 1,260 years later the temporal power of the papacy, which had set up and taken down kings, waged wars through its proxy states and manipulated the politics of Europe and the world, came to an abrupt end.
In the 19th century a revolutionary movement had sought to unite Italy, including the Papal States which were ruled by the papacy. The Italian army entered the Papal States in September 1870 and annexed the Papal States and Rome. The Vatican I council, which had been formulating the doctrine of the infallibility of the pope, was disbanded and the pope became the self-proclaimed “prisoner of the Vatican”.
These two examples confirm our premise that the “time, times and half a time” of Daniel 7:25, in which “the saints would be given into the hand” of the wicked horn, who would “persecute the saints of the Most High,” and “attempt to change times and law,” represent 1,260 years of medieval papal authority. But to find the real significance of this let’s look at Revelation 13.
John saw “a beast rising up out of the sea” (Revelation 13:1).
It had the characteristics of the beasts of Daniel 7: “The beast was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion… having seven heads and ten horns” (13:2,1). In a later video we will analyze these characteristics, but this isn’t the only link to Daniel 7.
The remarkable similarities between the beast from the sea and the wicked horn of Daniel 7 show that they are the same entity. Like the horn, “he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies” (Revelation 13:5). It was also “granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome (them)” (v.7). And most specifically, “he was given authority to continue for forty-two months” (v. 6).
In our study of the history of the papacy, we saw that its authority was forcibly taken away; the pope was arrested, and later he became a prisoner of the Vatican and the papal territory was confiscated. In Revelation 13 this is called “a mortal wound”.
“[John] saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded” (Revelation 13:3). John goes on to say that “the mortal wound was healed”, but surprisingly, the seven-headed beast from the sea fades into the background, and John sees a new beast “coming up out of the earth; he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon”
In a later video I will show that this beast symbolizes the United States of America. The beast from the earth will create an “image of the beast,” in other words, a union of church and state that will persecute God’s true followers like the papacy did during the dark ages. It will “cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed, and require all… to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark of the beast” (Revelation 13:15-17)
Many Christians have been looking for the communists or the secular humanists or the Roman Catholic Church to set up the mark of the beast. But this study shows us that we need to look no farther than American Christianity, which will use its power over the political process to create oppressive religious laws.
We have covered a lot in this video and some of it may seem alarming. But the story has a good ending. “The wicked horn shall persecute the saints, and shall attempt to change [God’s] times and law… for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom!” (Daniel 7:25-27). That’s good news!
Below, you will find the links to supporting information:
Defeat of Vandals and Ostrogoths
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