As a matter of fact, the 1260-day prophecy is mentioned seven times in Daniel and Revelation. There are not, as some have supposed, several 1260-day periods; there is only one. It is mentioned seven times, because it is so very important: in Danjel 7:25 and 12:7 and also in Revelation 12:14, as a time, times (i.e., two times - the lowest plural), and a half time; in Revelation 11:2 and 13:5, as forty-two months; and in Revelation 11:3 and Revelation 12:6, as one thousand two hundred and threescore (sixty) days. In Bible prophecy, there are 360 days to a year, and if you multiply 360 times three and one-half, you will come up with the number-- 1260. Also, when time is used in Bible prophecy, a day stands for a year. (See Ezekiel 4:6; Num.14:34). Therefore, the Bible has given us the important key to figuring out the 1260-day prophecy, and that is this--that the 1260 days are actually 1260 literal years.
As Satan used the Roman Empire - particularly King Herod, Pontius Pilate and Nero, as well as many others - to put Christ to death and kill many of God's people, he, like a chameleon, changed his disguise once again after Western Rome's fall, but this time, he kept the same Roman roots. The "wilderness" (Rev. 12:6), symbolizing this 1260-year period, is also referred to as the "great tribulation" (Matt 24:21) - a time when millions of God's true people were martyred for refusing to follow the dictates of the Roman Church. The Bible accurately prophesied that the papal power, as symbolized by the "little horn" in Daniel 7:8, 20, 21 and the "leopard-bodied beast" in Revelation 13:2, would "make war with the saints." Only one "religious" organization has been responsible for more persecutions and deaths of faithful Bible-believing Christians than any other sect in history - The Holy Roman Catholic Church!
"Step by step, the Roman Empire (the dragon) did indeed give its power, throne, and great authority [Revelation 13:2] to the Catholic Church...A climax came in 538, when the armies of the Empire [the unfallen Eastern division] drove the Arian Ostrogoths out of Rome. By 538, therefore, the 1260 years could begin." (God Cares, Vol.2, p.328). "In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast 'his power, and his seat, and great authority.' Revelation 13:2. And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5-7. Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or to suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman's ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: 'Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake.' Luke 21:16, 17. Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: 'The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days.' Revelation 12:6.
"The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God."
"Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions."
"They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church - these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!
"Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions."
"The few faithful builders upon the true foundation (1.Corinthians 3:10, 11) were perplexed and hindered as the rubbish of false doctrine obstructed the work. Like the builders upon the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day, some were ready to say: 'The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build.' Nehemiah 4:10. Wearied with the constant struggle against persecution, fraud, iniquity, and every other obstacle that Satan could devise to hinder their progress, some who had been faithful builders became disheartened; and for the sake of peace and security for their property and their lives, they turned away from the true foundation. Others, undaunted by the opposition of their enemies, fearlessly declared: 'Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible' (verse 14); and they proceeded with the work, everyone with his sword girded by his side." Ephesians 6:17.
"....The darkness seemed to grow more dense. Image worship became more general. Candles were burned before images, and prayers were offered to them. The most absurd and superstitious customs prevailed. The minds of men were so completely controlled by superstition that reason itself seemed to have lost its away. While priests and bishops were themselves pleasure-loving, sensual, and corrupt, it could only be expected that the people who looked to them for guidance would be sunken in ignorance and vice." (The Great Controversy, pp. 54-57).
Friends, I take no pleasure in what I am about to tell you, but I believe you must know the truth. When I was a young Catholic boy attending Annunciation School, not only had I lit candles and said prayers for my dead, departed friends and relatives, while kneeling in front of images of dead "Saints" and the "Virgin Mary" at the Cathedral, but later, as a teenager attending Saint Mary's High School, I had worked at my father's liquor store, which was located way across town. I used to see the priests from these schools, dressed in civilian clothes, come into our store and look at the pornographic magazines and novels that were sold there. I used to hide in the back room because I was afraid they would see me. Now I wish I had confronted them for what they were doing!
Then there was the time I was serving Mass as an altar boy with my brother. It was six o'clock Mass, or morning Mass, and the monsignor himself was officiating that morning. When the time came for me to put wine into the chalice for the monsignor, I remember his nudging the small carafe that I was holding each time I poured the wine into his chalice. After his doing this twice, my older and more experienced brother whispered in my ear, "Pour it all in his cup." Now looking back, I realize the "holy" man was an alcoholic. But there was yet another episode that offended me more than the rest. It was the time I had attended a large Catholic wedding where my Italian cousin was getting married. I remember watching the officiating priest, while at the reception, standing at the bar drinking glass after glass of wine. The guests were patiently waiting for the priest to join the dinner party and bless the food. Finally, someone had the courage to whisper in the priest's ear that we were waiting for his company and the blessing, and the now drunk, stumbling "Father" yelled out, while staggering in the middle of the hall and impatiently waving the sign of the cross, "What are you waiting for? It's blessed! Eat!"
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