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ERA OF MODERN SECTS We have seen that the 1,260-year universal reign of the first beast of Revelation 13 ends with Another epoch the period of the Reformation. predicted
The exact manner in which this should be accomplished is not definitely given in the prophecy, aside from the statement, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword” (verse 10). This description would seem to indicate a period of 'captivity in which the papacy would be deprived of its great power, after which it would be finally destroyed; and this agrees with Paul's description of the papacy in 2 Thessalonians 2, where he speaks of that Wicked “whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" (verse 8). And Daniel, speaking of the end of the 1,260-year reign of the same papal beast, points out a reformation time when “they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end” (Dan. 7:26).
There is no doubt that these references point out the work of the Reformation which broke the power of Rome's universal supremacy and her long reign of tyranny over the earth. Humanism, discovery of the art of printing, the revival of learning, and other causes contributed to this result. But the real revolt came in 1517, when Luther in Saxony nailed to the church-door in Wittenberg his ninety-five theses against the papal traffic in indulgences. The Reformers made their appeal from the decisions of Councils to the inspired Word of God, and this was the secret of their success. With wonderful power and boldness they proclaimed truth that had been neglected or discredited for ages. The holy fire spread over western Europe. Men became agitated as if moved by a mighty unseen power, until the papacy was shaken from end to end.
We regret that the true work of reformation did not long continue. A. D. 1530 marks a new epoch Protestantism – the rise of organized Protesin prophecy - tantism; marks the end of the 1,260-year period, and the introduction of another ecclesiastical power. The historian D’Aubigne recognizes the distinction between the Reformation as such and organized Protestantism. In his well-known work, History of the Reformation, he says: “The first two books of this volume contained the most important epochs of the Reforma tion—the Protest of Spires and the Confession of
reformation of Germany and German-Switzerland to the decisive epochs of 1530 and 1531. The History of the Reformation, properly so-called, is then in my opinion almost complete in those countries. The work of faith has there attained its apogee: that of conferences, of interims, of diplomacy begins. ... The movement of the sixteenth century has there made its effort. I said from the very first, It is the History of the Reformation, and not of Protestantism, that I am relating.”Preface to Volume IV.
Protestantism, then, is to be distinguished from the Reformation. Considering its prominence in the ecclesiastical world, we should naturally expect to find it represented in the symbols of the Revelation. Strangely enough, few commentators ever make the least effort to identify Protestantism with any of the symbols of this book. Moham
church is there, and, it is universally admitted, the false church is there. Therefore, whether Protestantism be true or false, it must be there, but where?
The application of the first beast of Revelation 13 to the papacy has been so clearly established that the point is well-nigh indisputable. The period of its universal supremacy is clearly limited to the 1,260 years. And every one knows that it was the sixteenth century reformation that ended that period of tyranny. We have shown that that
mediately following describes Protestantism in these words:
“And I beheld another beast coming up out of
the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the The two-hornod power of the first beast before beast
him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as
be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads : and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six” (Rev. 13: 11-18).
Protestant commentators generally apply both the ten-horned beast and the two-horned beast to Rome, the first representing the political power, and the second the ecclesiastical power. But this position, while clearing Protestantism of any moral stigma, is such a manifest violation of the laws of symbolic language and the general principles of Scriptural interpretation that I marvel that any critical thinker could decide to adopt it. The two beasts are especially distinguished, and in each case the symbol is complete. The first beast combines with its beastly characteristics the qualities of the human, as did the little horn of Daniel 7, thus clearly and positively representing both the political and the ecclesiastical dominion of Rome. It is the human characteristics that constitute the leading feature of the terrible work ascribed to the first beast; therefore the papacy as a religious power is particularly intended. Hence the second beast can not be intended to represent the ecclesiastical phase of Rome. Notice, also, that the symbol of the second beast is likewise complete in itself-animal and human-thus embracing both the political and the ecclesiastical. Another system totally distinct from the first is therefore represented.