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Here, again, the evidence points straight to the Church of Rome; for it is a fact that the Papacy has laid violent hands on the law of God - upon the precept, too, that deals with sacred time - and has thought to change it.
In a volume to be seen in the British Museum, dated 1545, the following comment on Dan. 7:25 is attributed to Philipp Melanchthon, the Reformer, associate of Luther (reproduced with the old English spelling):
“He changeth the tymes and lawes that any of the sixe worke dayes commanded of God will make them unholy and idle dayes when he lyste, or of their owne holy dayes abolished make worke dayes agen, or when they changed ye Saterday into Sondaye. ... They have changed God's lawes and turned them into their owne tradicions to be kept above God's precepts.”—“Exposicion of Daniel the Prophete,” Gathered out of Philipp Melanchthon, Johan Ecolampadius, etc., by George Joye, 1545, p. 119.
This is exactly what the power represented by the little horn was to assume to do. The commandment of God is plain:
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. . . . For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it.” Ex. 20:8-11.
A Change in Practice But in general practice there has been a change. — the first day is commonly observed instead of the seventh day, which the Lord declares he blessed and made holy. The Roman Catholic Church points exultingly to the fact that this change, so universally allowed today, has come about solely through church tradition without Scriptural authority. For instance, one Catholic writer says:
“You will tell me that Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath, but that the Christian Sabbath has been changed to Sunday. Changed! but by whom? Who has authority to change an express commandment of Almighty God? When God has spoken and said, Thou shalt keep holy the seventh day, who shall dare to say, Nay, thou mayest work and do all manner of worldly business on the seventh day; but thou shalt keep holy the first day in its stead? This is a most important question, which I know not how you can answer.
“You are a Protestant, and you profess to go by the Bible and the Bible only; and yet in so important a matter as the observance of one day in seven as a holy day, you go against the plain letter of the Bible, and put another day in the place of that day which the Bible has commanded. The command to keep holy the seventh day is one of the ten commandments; you believe that the other nine are still binding; who gave you authority to tamper with the fourth? If you are consistent with your own principles, if you really follow the Bible and the Bible only, you ought to be able to produce some portion of the New Testament in which this fourth commandment is expressly altered.”—“Library of Christian
Doctrine: Why Don't You Keep the Holy Sabbath Day?" (Burns and Oates, London), p. 3.
Every one who studies the question must recognize the fact that there is no change authorized in Scripture. As Canon Eyton, of the Church of England, says:
“There is no word, no hint, in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no divine law enters.” -"The Ten Commandments” (Trübner & Co.), London.
Dr. Heylyn, of the Church of England, wrote:
“Take which you will, either the Fathers or the 'moderns, and we shall find no Lord's day instituted by any apostolical mandate; no Sabbath set on foot by them upon the first day of the week.”—“History of the Sabbath,” part 2, chap. 1.
Authorities, both Protestant and Catholic, freely acknowledge that there is no divine authority for Sunday keeping. There has been a change in practice and teaching, but with no Scriptural authority.
What the Papacy Claims The prophecy of Daniel 7 forewarned all that the ecclesiastical power that was to rise upon the division of the Roman Empire would think to change the times and the laws of the Most High. The Papacy steps forward and claims boldly that the church has power to set aside Scripture, to institute
holy times, and even to change the day made holy and commanded by the Almighty as the day of rest for His people.
In a Catholic work, “An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine," by Dr. Henry Turberville, page 61, we read:
“Question.-- By whom was the change (of the Sabbath] made?
“Answer.- By the rulers of the church, the apostles who kept the Lord's day. . .
“Ques.- How do you prove that the church hath power to establish feasts and holy days?
“Ans.-- By the very fact of changing the Sabbath to Sunday; this change Protestants allow; and therefore they contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.
“Ques.- How prove you that?
“Ans.— Because by keeping Sunday they acknowledge the church's power to ordain feasts and to command them under sin; and by not keeping the rest commanded by her, they deny that she has power.”
It is the doctrine taught in the standard catechisms of the Roman Church:
“Question.- Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals of precept?
“Answer. - Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern 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 no Scriptural authority.”- Keenan's “Doctrinal Catechism," p. 174.
Thus the Papacy proclaims itself the power that has thought to change the precepts of the Most High.
On every count, the Roman Church is the counterpart of the little horn of Daniel 7. Before our eyes — in the common practice of Christendom -- the commandment of God regarding sacred time is made void by the traditions of men.
The prophecy indicated that there would come a call for a reformation in this matter. Speaking of the warfare against the saints and the times and laws of the Most High, to be waged by the little-horn power, the angel said:
“They shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time." Dan. 7: 25.
In other words, when the 1260 years should expire, we should expect, according to the prophecy, to see a breaking of the Papacy's persecuting power over believers, a spreading abroad of the Holy Scriptures, and a work of reformation that would lift up the truths of God's Word, and call believers to keep once again the holy time and the holy law of the Most High.
The prophecy of Daniel 7 is one of God's special messages for all men in these last days, picturing the rise and history of the Papacy, and warning all against accepting its perversions of God's truth or recognizing its attempted change in the law of the Most High. Thank God for the “sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place.” We are to follow the Lord and obey him, not this power that has risen up in opposition to him.
The angel's interpretation in this chapter does not leave the apostasy triumphant:
“The judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end."
Then the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of the Most High, “and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.”
“O, how shall we stand that moment of searching,
When all our sins those books reveal?
Shall be granted no appeal?”