There is yet another identifying feature of the beast that must be addressed--that He would "think to change times and laws." (Daniel 7:25). I will never forget the day I learned that the Roman Catholic Church and the papal power were foretold in the Bible prophecy. One Saturday morning I had been invited to a local church to hear a young minister who was speaking on the prophecies of the Book of Daniel. That morning he taught on the prophecies of Daniel 7, which reveal the four great world powers that would successively rule the world. These four monolithic empires were Babylon (the lion, verse 4), Medo-Persia (the bear, verse 5), Greece (the leopard, verse 6) and Rome (the fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, verse 7). He then explained that out of the fourth beast, Rome, which is "the fourth kingdom upon earth" (verse 23), would come a "little horn" (verse 8), who "shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and dividing of time" (verse 25).
"Now how did the papal power think to change times and laws," he asked the class, "and what laws would Satan specifically target in his attack?" "The most likely answer would be the law of God--the Ten Commandments," he said. The shocker came to me when the young minister began to explain how the Roman Catholic Church did, indeed, just that. "They took out the second commandment, which says:'Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,' " he said. Immediately I thought about the images of Mary, Baby Jesus, and the Saints in the Cathedral of the Annunciation. How I revered the statues, especially the ones of Mary. I remember wondering, as I listened to the minister speak, why there were statues in the Cathedral, anyway, when the second commandment forbade image worship. Either the statues were a violation of God's law, or the second commandment, as the young minister insisted, had been changed! What about the bleeding icons and the weeping statues? Would God work miracles through graven images which He forbade?
Eager to learn more, I continued to listen closely to what the young man had to say about the "little horn" power of Daniel 7. "Not only did the Pope 'think' to change the second commandment," he continued "but he moved the rest of the other nine commandments up one number [number three was now number two, and number four was now number three, etc.], and then he divided number ten in half, making two commandments out of the one, so that there would still be ten commandments!" I remember the day I looked in a Catholic Catechism to verify this for myself and gasped. The second commandment was gone, the fourth commandment, which says: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God" was now the third and simply said: "Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath." Number nine said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife." And number ten said, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods." What authority did the Roman Catholic Church have, anyway, to change the law of God, I wondered? The young minister continued with his lecture by challenging my lifelong beliefs even further when he asked the question, "How did the little horn think to change 'times'?"
Before I answer that question, I first want to tell you a little more about my life as a young Catholic boy. Every Sunday I was required to attend 9:00 A.M. Mass at the Cathedral of the Annunciation. If I missed a Sunday, I was required to bring a note from my parents explaining why I had missed Mass that day, or I would have to stay after school for detention. It was a law!-- a "Sunday Law"! In fact, it is a mortal sin to miss Mass on Sunday, according to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Therefore, I was quite surprised when the young minister began to question Sunday-keeping. He began by stating that nowhere in the Bible is Sunday regarded as a "holy day." In fact, A Doctrinal Catechism, by Rev. Stephen Keenan, page 174 says:
"Question--Have you any other way of proving that the church [Roman Catholic] has power to institute festivals of precept?"
"Answer--Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modem religionists agree with her--she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is not Scriptural authority."
"The Catholic church, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday." (The Catholic Mirror, official organ of Cardinal Gibbons,Sept.23, 1893).
Again the question is asked of them in still another catechism: "Question--Which is the Sabbath day?" Answer--Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question--Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?"
"Answer--We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea, (A.D. 336), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday," (The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, p.50, Third Edition, 1913, a work which received the "apostolic blessing" of Plus X, Jan. 25, 1910).
After the young minister's lecture, which both shocked and disturbed me, I ran out of the church and remember looking for one of the Catholic priests that had taught me "the truth." It so happened that the very next evening I was going to a party to which I had been invited the week before. And whom do you think I ran into there? It was one of the priests from the Cathedral of the Annunciation! Talk about Providence! With a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other, the priest seemed pleased to see me after so many years. My mind was racing, and it wasn't long before I sprung the unexpected question upon him: "Which is the Sabbath day?" I asked. With an interesting look in his eye, he answered cautiously, "Saturday!" I then probed him further as to how God's holy day (Isaiah 58:13), the Seventh-day Sabbath, got changed from Saturday to Sunday? With raised eyebrows, and the smell of liquor and tobacco on the "holy" man's breath, he answered, and I kid you not, "the pope changed the day!" I then asked him if the Catholic Church had indeed killed millions of Christians during the Dark Ages? He reluctantly answered, while looking into his glass, "We would like to forget that." And to think that I used to confess my sins to these "reverend men of God," who buy pornographic literature, smoke cigarettes, and get drunk in public!
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