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was brought into a state of subjection that it had not known even under heretical Gothic kings, yet this very arbitrary use of the papal prerogative by Justinian, strengthened the idea that the Pope of Rome was the supreme authority in
religion, to speak for the universal church. In Bemont and Monod's textbook on "Medieval Europe," page 120, we read:
"Down to the sixth century all popes are declared saints in the martyrologies. Vigilius (537*-555) is the first of a series of popes who no longer bear this title, which is henceforth sparingly conferred. From this time on the popes, more and more involved in worldly events, no longer belong solely to the church; they are men of the state, and then rulers of the state."
A Persecuting Power
Following Vigilius came Pelagius I (556-560), who ascended the throne by "the military aid of Narses," then the imperial general in Italy. And Pelagius, who had been set in the papal see by imperial power, began to demand that the sword of the empire should be used against bishops or members in the church who did not give way to the authority of the Pope. His letters on this subject "are an unqualified defense of the principles of persecution." (See "Dictionary of Christian Biography," by Smith and Wace, art. "Pope Pelagius.")
The prophecy declared that the Papacy would be given special supremacy during a period of 1260 years.
In A. D. 533 came the memorable imperial declaration recognizing that supremacy, and in A. D. 538 came the stroke with the sword of Rome, cleaving the way; and there began the new order of popes -"men of the state, and then rulers of the state."
Thus decisive events clearly mark the beginning of the prophetic period of the 1260 years. And just 1260 years from the decree of 533, in recognition of the papal supremacy, came a decree, in 1793, aimed against that supremacy; and just 1260 years from that stroke with the sword at Rome in behalf of the Papacy, came a stroke with the sword at Rome against the Papacy.
The exact date should be 538, as given in the quotation from Schaff's history. "From the death of Silverius [June, 538] the Roman Catholic writBower, ers date the episcopacy of Vigilius."History of the Popes," under year 538.
STORMING OF THE BASTILLE PRISON IN PARIS
An event in the French Revolution which marked the ending of the old autocratic order.
THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA
THE END OF THE 1260 YEARS
As the generation in which the papal power rose to supremacy was a turning-point in the history of the world, so, too, was the generation in which the 1260 years of its supremacy came to an end.
This measuring line of prophecy does more than run from date to date. It connects two great crises in human history, the events of the first tending to establish the papal rule over men, the events of the second signalizing a breaking of those bands.
A Crisis in History
Papal supremacy came at that time of which Finlay says, "The changes of centuries passed in rapid succession before the eyes of one generation." The measuring line of 1260 years runs on through the centuries till, lo, its end touches another time of crisis,- Europe in the convulsions of the
French Revolution, when again changes, ordinarily requiring centuries, were wrought out before the eyes of men within the space of a few years. Lamartine wrote of that time:
"These five years are five centuries for France."-"History of the Girondists," book 61, sec. 16 (Vol. III), p. 544. And the events of these times proclaimed the prophetic period of papal supremacy ended at last.
Thus, in A. D. 533 came the notable decree of the Papacy's powerful supporter, recognizing its supremacy; and then the decisive stroke by the sword at Rome in A. D. 538, cleaving the way for the new order of popes the rulers of state. Exactly 1260 years later, in 1793, came the notable decree of the Papacy's once powerful supporter, France,—“the eldest son of the church," aiming to abolish church and religion, followed by a decisive stroke with the sword at Rome against the Papacy, in 1798.
Significant Events of the French Revolution
Of the decree of 1793, W. H. Hutton says:
"On Nov. 26, 1793, the Convention, of which seventeen bishops and some clergy were members, decreed the abolition of all religion.”—“ Age of Revolution," p. 156.
The frenzy of the days of the Terror presented the spectacle of outraged humanity, goaded to desperation by centuries of oppression in the name of religion and divine right, rising up and madly breaking every restraint. Because in the minds of the people the Papacy stood for religion, they blindly struck at religion itself, and at God, in whose name the papal church had done its cruel work through the centuries.
In the prophecy of Rev. 11: 3-13 these events of the wild days of the French Revolution are specifically referred to as coming at the close of the prophetic period of the 1260 years. The prophetic picture was so clear that over a hundred years before the time, Jurieu, an eminent French student of prophecy, wrote that he could "not doubt that 'tis France," the