The Interval of the Trumpets, Part II
The End of the 1260 Years.
The Two Witnesses Slain in the French Revolution.
11:3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.
1260 Days: The duration of the 1260 prophetic day-years is limited to the period marked by prophecy in sackcloth, which condition should end at the terminus. See verse 7 below.
11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the whole earth.
Two Olive trees: Although their function is the same as the two olive trees in Zechariah 4:3, that is, to provide the fuel and the light of understanding for the rest of God's people to move forward on, they do not represent the same persons. Joshua the High priest and Zerubbabel are meant in Zechariah but not here.
11:5 If any many will hurt them fire proceeds out of their mouth, and devours their enemies; and if any man will hurt them, he must be killed in this manner. 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy; and have power over waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues as often as they will.
The Old and New Testaments. No two individuals could accomplish these events which are taken from the Bible. The Bible itself must be meant by the witnesses. The Old and New Testaments.
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them. The beast: This beast is Satan as in Chapter 12. He empowers the other beasts that are introduced in chapter 13. However as Satan he is distinct from them. The figure will be fulfilled as Satan in human government and will show up again as the dragon beast in 16:13. The Dragon Beast is Satan in human godless government as seen in Chapter 12.
Finish their testimony: The completion of their testimony also completes the 1260 years. This is an important clue! The end of the 1260 years is marked by this symbol. If we can identify the witnesses and the event which is symbolized by their being publicly killed and humiliated for three years and one half we can then pin point the end of the 1260 years. We can therefore reverse and date the beginning of the 1260 years if we can identify the terminus.
If the terminus is the era of the French Revolution as we propose in 1793 then just such an event which gave secular power to the Papacy did take place. See the decrees of Justinian in the chapter on the 1260 Synchronical Years for a copy of the decrees that were made at that time, i.e. the year 533.
11:8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
Spiritually called: Not Jerusalem therefore but a city well known for sex sin and the sins of Egypt as well as being guilty of publicly and officially putting Jesus and his witnesses to shame.
11:9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three and one half days, and shall not allow their dead bodies to be put in a grave.
Three and one half days: or three and one half years in the fulfillment.
11:10 And they that dwell on the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and send gifts, to one another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelled in the earth. 11:11 And after three and one half days the spirit of life from God entered into them and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on them which saw them. 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven saying to them, Come up here. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies beheld them.
Ascended up to heaven: They have divine protection from that point onward.
11:13 And the same hour there was a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and seven thousand men were slain in the earthquake, and the remnant were frightened, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
Earthquake: The city mentioned above is to experience a revolution at the same time as the humiliation and resurrection of the witnesses.
11:14 The second woe is past; behold, the third woe comes quickly.
The second woe: The second woe has been found to refer to the Turkish Empire. The decline of the Turkish Empire did not begin with the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The events symbolized by the death of the witnesses and the earthquake are therefore coincident with the end of the Turkish threat and the beginning of the events symbolized by the bowls of the third woe which according to this scheme of chronology given here is to be quickly evident at the terminus of the second woe.
The Interval of the Trumpets:
The interval contains four figures. Historical interpreters see these events as happening during the Turkish Empire's period of supremacy. The interval and the second woe end with the beginning of the decline of the beast's or Papacy's autocratic power. The first symbol in the interval of the little book is seen as beginning in 1520 with the Protestant Reformation when the Bible was again opened among the nations after it had been closed so long. This was the subject of the last chapter.
The measuring of the temple followed in 11:1-2:
11:1 And there was given to me a reed like a rod; and the angel stood saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. 2. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not, for it is given to the Gentiles; and they shall tread the holy city under foot forty two months.
This is fulfilled by the doctrinal perfection that was searched out in the years following the rebirth of the Bible among the common people. The forty two months, or the 1260 years,* are shown to end in the period of the witnesses. This period of measuring naturally follows that of the little book or restored Bible and just as naturally precedes the end of the 1260 years, since the woman of chapter 12, the true church, is to come out of the wilderness of obscurity then (Rev. 12:6,14). The preparation of doctrinal precision preceded the emergence of national movements to restore the New Testament church, rather than reform it, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
* See Chapter 14, "1260 Synchronical Years."The Vision of the Two Witnesses
The vision of the two witnesses in Rev. 11:3-14 pictures God's two witnesses, which are understood to be the two testaments, as being slain in a city, where their dead bodies are publicly humiliated for three and one half prophetic years. This is done in a city that is known for sex sin and occult spiritualism. It is coincident with a revolution in which a great many people die. This is followed immediately by the sounding of the seventh trumpet, and the bowls are then poured out. The bowls, which indicate the decline and end of Papal power, are to begin in the same season as the earthquake, or revolution, which happens at the same time as the incident of the slaying of the two witnesses. Notice the very important fact in the text above that this event is coincident with the end of the 1260 prophetic day-years.*
* See Chapter 14, "1260 Synchronical Years" for an explanation of what events synchronize with the duration and end of the 1260 years. The end of the despotic aspect of the reign of the beast is one important event that synchronizes here. Consequently, the pouring out of the bowls begins at the same time.Historical interpreters see this fulfilled in the French Revolution, when the Bible was actually outlawed by the constituted government in Paris. The effects of the French Revolution were not limited to Paris, although that is the stage upon which they were initially and so dramatically acted out. The effects of the French Revolution continued on in Europe until the order, or the ancien regime, finally passed almost completely, by 1848. Other revolutions followed the French Revolution, in Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Poland, in 1830. 1848 was the culminating year of this season of revolutions all over Europe, which were the ripened fruit of the French Revolution. The anti-clericalism in the revolution arose early and was not necessarily atheistic at first, but was a part of reforming ideals. The clergy was deposed from positions of authority, lands were confiscated, and the clergy was nationalized. The church which had been made a "Constitutional Church," lost the few duties reserved to it; i.e. they no longer recorded births, baptisms, or deaths, and marriages were no longer reserved to it, and divorce was legalized. This movement was called de-christianization -- not yet anti-christian.
"In October 1793, the Convention adopted a new calendar, with Nature's cycle, pagan gods and botanical specimens, in place of Christian martyrs; Christmas became dog day and All Saints was dedicated to the goats-beard herb."*The French Revolution was accompanied by atheistic excesses, not just anti-clericalism. Secularization followed and by 1793 the revolution turned anti-christian. A description of the period follows:
* McManners, John; Lectures in European History, 1789-1914; Oxford, 1977. pg. 64.
"In November 1793, atheism reached its zenith, with its mockery of the rites of the church. On the tenth of November the commissioners of the Convention dressed up an ass in sacerdotal habit, and loaded it with the symbols of Christianity, and tied the Old and New Testaments to its tail. It was then led in mock procession by two sansculottes bearing a sacred cup, out of which they gave the animal sacramental wine to drink. Arriving at their destination, the crowd piled books of devotion into heaps, and burned them to ashes amid blasphemous shouts. A prostitute was enthroned as the Goddess of Reason, and received adoration from the National Convention..." *The official anti-christian secular atheistic government is called a dragon beast in Revelation 12:3-6. There the devil is pictured as being in the Roman Empire and persecuting the church. The same beast arose against faith in God at this time, and excesses abounded which resulted in legally suppressing religious expression of any kind. This actually is mentioned in the vision:
* Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers; pgs. 738, 739
11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them and kill them.
The laws banning religious exercise, passed by the Convention on November 24, 1793, were preceded by anti-christian exercises in the city and the Convention. Another description of these same events, which led to the legal banning of the Bible, is valuable to show the official nature of the opposition to all religion.
"On November 10, incited by the Commune,... the rabble of the Paris Sections held a "Festival of Reason" within the precincts of Notre Dame. The cathedral was stripped of its religious embellishments and a Greek temple made of cardboard was constructed in the nave. An actress from the opera impersonated the Goddess of Reason, while the crowd sang the "Ca Ira" as she was enthroned. ...The Constitutional Bishop of Paris, had been ordered by the Hebertists to publicly abjure the Catholic faith... The Bishop obediently presented himself before the Convention, and casting aside the insignia of his office, declared that there should be no other worship in France but that of Liberty and Equality. "Bishop Gobel's abjurance and the so-called Festival of Reason were signals for an outbreak of Blasphemous scenes... Mercier, a witness described, "the infuriated populace [were] dancing before the sanctuary and howling the Carmagnole. The men wore no breeches; the necks and busts of the women were bare. In the darkness of the sacristy they indulged their abominable desires..." One such group appeared before the Convention to demand that worship of Virtue be substituted for that of "that Jew slave" and his mother "the adulteress of Galilee"... Clootz declared, "a religious man is a depraved beast"*It was the first time in the annals of mankind that a great nation had thrown off all religious principles and openly defied the power of heaven.
* Loomis, Stanley; Paris in the Terror; Pub. Drum Books, N.Y. 1964. pg.279.Excited by these demonstrations and the spirit of the members themselves, the Convention outlawed the Bible and any expression of the Christian religion under penalty of death."Thus on the third of Frimaire of the year II (Nov 24, 1793) the Paris commune passed the following resolutions: "Whereas the people of Paris has declared that it will recognise no other religion than that of Truth and Reason the Council General of the Commune orders:
1. That all churches and temples of whatever religion or sect has existed in Paris shall immediately be closed.
2. That all priests or ministers of whatever religion shall be held personally and individually responsible for all disturbances of which cause shall precede from religious opinions.
3. That whosoever shall demand that either church or temple shall be opened shall be arrested as a suspect."*
* Prophetic Faith; op. cit. pg. 739.
The political situation deteriorated and at the end of the period of time required by the prophecy, the three and one half years of humiliation, the politicians sought the reintroduction of religion. Religious freedom came first. The Papacy would also be reintroduced into the French churches by 1801 in the Concordat with Napoleon but religious freedom came back in 1797. At that same time, in the summer of 1797, Napoleon wrote, "Our religious revolution is a failure."* He determined he would not try to "export" even the anti-clericalism, much less the atheism of the revolution to the nations he intended to reorganize. Napoleon was cynical about religion but he saw the political expediencies of supporting religion and the futility of suppressing it. At the same time in the summer of 1797 he wrote, "Society cannot exist... without religion. The people have to have a religion; this religion must be in the control of the government."** He means that it is not to be controlled by a foreign power, the Papacy. Three and a half years after the official laws were passed against all religion, early in 1797, the revolutionary laws were abolished.***
McManners, John; op.cit. pg. 70.Three and one half years after religion had been outlawed, the government officially reinstated religion and the Bible. The Bible was therefore exalted and, according to this prophecy, would have divine protection, meaning no government would ever outlaw it again. The church would be persecuted and the Bible worked against, but there would never be a time that the Bible would be outlawed by a legally constituted government again. The French Revolution and its beginnings in anti-clericalism that extended to being anti-God is well pictured in these two visions, which are said to occur at the "same hour" and be quickly followed by the beginning of the pouring out of the bowls.
** McManners, John; ibid. pg. 69
*** Duray, Victor; A Short History of France; E.P. Dutton, London, 1918, pg. 364.
The figure fits the French Revolution. It is an earthquake of the proportions which are required by the scope of the prophecy, as the subsequent history shows, so that the whole of Europe and the world were affected socially, economically, legally, governmentally, religiously, ethically, politically, and philosophically. It did change the old order in Europe which would never be the same again. It is coincident with the slaying of the witnesses of God and their resurrection in a city known for occult and sex sins. Sodomy is a sin the historians frequently mention in relation to the principal actors in these scenes and the sin is still a synonym of Paris -- Gay Paris. The Reign of Terror, in which many innocents died, is known by the whole world as an excess related to all these facts in the City of Paris. And finally, the Papacy did receive the first blows to its despotic, arbitrary, autocratic power in, and immediately after, the French Revolution.
The end of the second woe, at this point, also means that these predictions show that the Turkish woe is now over and the Papacy is in decline from this time. The Papacy would never again climb to the position of supremacy over kings that it once held, although it will make one last attempt to regain the temporal power in the future in the alliance pictured under the Armageddon symbol. Anyone living and knowing this prophecy in 1800, and watching the signs of the times, would have been able to predict the major elements of future history from this point if he had been able to fix the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the time of the French Revolution. This is the subject of the next chapter.
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