|For more prophecies from Daniel,
This page contains a
close look at the later history of the Roman empire,
as predicted by the Bible. The implications for
traditional Christian churches are nothing short of
The most often repeated prophetic number in all scripture is 1260 "days" (equivalent to 42 Jewish months, or 3 1/2 Jewish years or "times".) It is mentioned directly in Daniel 7 and 12 and Revelation 11 and 12 and 13. It is referred to indirectly in Daniel 8 and 11, Matthew 24, and many other places. The context is always the same - the defeat of the church. The first and most important reference is in Daniel chapter 2.
|Daniel chapter 2|
Daniel and Rome
In Daniel chapters 2 and 7, the history of the world is given in terms of four kingdoms: Babylon, Media/Persia, Greece, and Rome. Rome is shown as surviving (broken into many kingdoms) until the last days and the triumph of the kingdom of God. Some people, in order to believe that Daniel could not in fact foresee the future, try to argue that the fourth kingdom was in fact Greece. But the fourth kingdom has to be Rome for the following reasons:
Traditional Christians' problems start here.
In Daniel 2, Rome is shown as finishing up divided into many parts (verses 40-43). This is just what happened at the fall of the Roman empire, in the fifth century. Rome was not replaced by another great kingdom, it just fragmented.
Daniel says "in the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed" (verse 44, NIV). Did you notice what he said there? The Lord had set up his kingdom in AD 30, during the height of the Roman empire. Yet Daniel said that God would set up a kingdom "that would never be destroyed," much later, after the disintegration of Rome. Why? What happened to the kingdom of God that was already set up? If God needed to set up one that "would never be destroyed," then the previous one must have been destroyed!
What does Daniel 2 imply about modern churches?
This is the very first detailed guide the Bible gives to world history, and already the implications are shocking. The church set up by Jesus would be destroyed? It would have to be restored at a later date? How many modern churches teach that? Daniel does not even mention the church founded in AD 30. It does not even feature in his overview of world history! Whatever the kingdom of God is in the last days, it is certainly no reformation of what went before, but a complete new revelation from God!
When was this to happen? The imagery of rolling down a mountain does not suggest a great length of time - it must happen in the last days, not way back in the Protestant reformation.
How was this to happen? Well, how did Jesus set up his kingdom in the days of undivided Rome? Not by individuals just feeling inspired - he called apostles and prophets! Not by getting back to the old scripture - he provided new scripture!
What does this say for Catholics? They claim a continuity from the apostles. What does this say for Protestants? they claim to be a reformation, based on the Bible. Both these groups may do wonderful work and be very sincere, but can either of these be the kingdom of God as described by Daniel? You decide.
|Daniel chapters 7 and 8|
See also: "Daniel made simple", Daniel 7, verse by verse, and "days" and "years" in prophecy
In Daniel 7, Rome is described as having ten horns (instead of ten toes), which are ten kings that will come from the kingdom. After them, another king will arise that is different from the previous ten, and subdue three of the ten. It will speak against God, oppress the saints, try to change times and laws, and do this for 1260 years. So far so good.
Daniel 8: even more detail:
See also: Daniel 8, verse by verse, and the little horn (main page).
While Daniel 8 stated that the little horn (kingdom) gained prominence during the ten kingdoms after Rome, here we learn that it started during the four kingdoms after Greece. A host was given him because of transgression; he is crafty and does not do what he does by his own power.
See also: Revelation made simple, and "are these the same vision".
Revelation 11 and 12: yet more detail:
The gentiles will tread "the holy city" underfoot for 1260 years (11:2). We saw elsewhere that "the holy city" probably referred to the church and not just to Jerusalem.
In Revelation 12:1-6 we learn that the woman (the church) produced men who held the priesthood of God. But once these were all dead (i.e. taken to heaven), the church fled into the wilderness for 1260 years.
The woman being fed in the wilderness:
Those who admit there was an apostasy, but deny that the church was completely removed, point to Revelation 12: the woman was fed and protected while in the wilderness (verses 6, 13-17). But this interpretation is based on the faulty assumption that "the man child" is Christ. If the man child is those who hold the priesthood ( a much more likely interpretation ), then this is simply saying that the remnants of the church still managed to struggle along without the priesthood - without direction (hence the symbol of the wilderness).
In talking of the apostasy, we must not insult the memory of these faithful few who did their best under impossible circumstances. But we cannot go as far as some Protestants, who try to imagine there was an unbroken line of righteous men all through the dark ages, but when pressed for evidence, they have none.
The fact is that, according to Revelation, the church was in the wilderness because the leaders were dead. Until God sent that "stone cut without hands," anyone who had anything of the original truth would hide, or flee for their life.
Revelation 13: and more detail:
See also: the Beast, the second beast, and the Whore named Babylon.
Power is given to the beast to speak great blasphemies for 1260 years. It is important to note that not only did the beast attack the saints, but he overcame them (13:7).
Revelation 17: how much detail do you want?
This issue of the beast opposing the saints must be extremely important, as it is repeated so many times in so many different ways. In Revelation 17 we see a description of the beast, and the whore who rides it.
The chronology of events:
To summarize so far, the beast is the Roman empire and its descendants. It is the beast that speaks the blasphemies, and for 1260 years it entirely overcomes the saints. Revelation 17 gives the most detailed chronology of how this came to be:
|Daniel and Revelation|
We can check this against the chronology offered in Daniel 7:
We pick up the story in Daniel 7:23, the interpretation of the vision of Rome: we are on familiar territory - the beast has ten horns, which are ten kingdoms that will arise.
One shall arise that will be different from the other ten, and shall subdue three of them (verse 24).
This new horn (kingdom) will speak against God, wear out the saints, and try to change times and laws, for 1260 years (v.25).
But the judgement will sit, and his dominion will be taken away forever, to be given to the saints (v.26-27).
The most famous apostasy scripture of all is 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. Paul warns that a falling away would occur before Christ returned. He said that something was holding back the apostasy. Practically all of the ancient saints agree that the thing he referred to was the Roman empire. When Rome lost its power over the world, the apostasy would begin. For more details, see the page on William Smith's Bible Dictionary.
Now let us combine these into the flow of history as seen by the prophets:
A summary of what to look for
- Rome is powerful, and mixes the different religions.
- Rome persecutes the saints.
- Ten kingdoms arise from the Roman empire.
- The ten kingdoms destroy the city of Rome.
- Another kingdom comes that destroys three of these ten.
- The ten kingdoms join this new one, and form a continuation of "Rome" in the broad sense.
- This new kingdom, with the support of the others, has power over the church for 1260 years.
- The church is restored and triumphs.
The 1260 year period began in AD 570
For evidence, see:
The evidence is overwhelming. Secular world histories, non-LDS Bible commentaries, the dates within Daniel, the events described in Revelation, various external evidence - it all points to one date.
One date marks the beginning of the medieval world and the "Dark Ages." One date marks the success of Rome as a political and religious power. One date is marked by the end of old empires and the beginning of new. It is the beginning of the career of Gregory the Great, the birth date of Mohammed, and the end of the last traces of the "early church." In half a dozen different ways, the Bible points to AD 570 as the beginning of the 1260 year period when the church is overcome by the beast. It ends when angels announce the kingdom of God returning from heaven - an event that could only have happened in AD 1830.
How will we recognize this kingdom of God when we see it? Daniel and John both refer to believers as "saints," so we are looking for a church of saints. It would be led by Jesus Christ, and clearly be a church of the latter days, and not simply a footnote to the previously established church. Hmmm. The kingdom of God is a Latter-day church of saints of Jesus Christ that was restored by new revelation and angels in 1830... Does this sound familiar?
the bottom line
The Bible is pretty clear. Why fight it?