Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SEVEN – Part 13

The Dark Ages Shortened for the Elect’s Sake  


    See Matthew 24: 21, 22  regarding “the great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

What is really happening to planet Earth, right now? Our loudly-touted, far-advanced science-and technology achievements seem unable to stay in front of all the record-breaking catastrophes forming and overlapping each, leaving countless victims simply stunned and tongue-tied except for guttural screams or other-worldly groans: “Lord, have mercy!” Many hold to the putative view that “global warming” is to blame—and that man’s insatiable greed is the driver for utter disregard for earth’s delicate health in the wanton use of fossil fuels, hence, global warming and all the complex complications it spawns. Maybe,—where the sudden record-breaking hurricanes, storms, and “tantrums of Mother Nature” are concerned?  But what about the sudden uptick in all types of human violence, hatred, and yes, wars, rumors of very deadly wars presaged by war games, and live-fire practices? Are all these mere coincidences? Next week we shall have definitive answers including how the historical and prophetic highlights of what transpired during the Thyatira stage of the church, forever changing earth’s history, will be antitypically repeated, globally, as part of the end-game of the great controversy!

See Matthew 24 1-20, 23-51.  Many are still confused or unsure as what period of tribulation and persecution Jesus was referring to in the above Scriptures—whether the ”time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, nor ever shall be,” or the time of persecution following the enactment and enforcement of the mark of the beast, or even the “Battle of Armageddon, a distinct part of the sixth plague (Rev. 16). Some even believe that the world in currently undergoing this “great tribulation.”  Note:

     “From the destruction of Jerusalem [in A.D. 70], Christ passed on rapidly to the greater event [relative to the desolation of Jerusalem by Titus’ Roman army], the last link in the chain of earth’s history, —the coming of Christ in majesty and glory. Between these two events, there lay open to Christ’s view long centuries of darkness, centuries for His church marked with blood and tears and agony. Upon these scenes His disciples could not then endure to look, Jesus passed them by with a brief mention. ‘Then shalt be great tribulation,’ He said, ‘such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days be shortened, there should be no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.’ For more than a thousand years such persecution as the world had never before known was to come upon Christ’s followers. Millions upon millions of His faithful witnesses were to be slain. Had not God’s hand been stretched out to preserve His people, all would have perished. ‘But for the elect’s sake,’ He said, ‘those days shall be shortened.’ – E. G. White, Desire of Ages, pp. 630-631.

The Bible, the French Revolution, the Protestant Reformation, and the “Two Witnesses/Prophets” of Revelation:  “The suppression of the Scriptures during the period of papal supremacy was foretold by the prophets [using prophetic language and symbolisms, of course]; and Revelator points also to the terrible results that were to accrue especially to France from the domination ‘of the man of sin’ (2 Thess. 2: 3, 4).

       “Said the angel of the Lord: ‘The holy city [the faithful followers of Christ] shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto My two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth . . . And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord also was crucified . . . And they that dwell upon the earth shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell upon the earth. And after three days and a half [1793-1797] the Spirit of life from God entered them, and they stood upon their feet’ and great fear fell upon them which saw them.’ Rev. 11: 2-11. “ – E. G. White, “Great Controversy” (1911 ed, pp. 266-268.

      “The periods here mentioned—‘forty and two months,’ and a thousand two hundred and threescore days’—are the same [a prophetic day is 1 literal year of 360 months], alike representing the time in  which the church of Christ was to suffer oppression from [the church of  Rome]The 1260 years of papal supremacy began in A.D, 538, and would therefore terminate in 1798 [See Appendix, no. 2]. At that time a French army entered Rome, and made the pope [Pius VI] a prisoner, and he died in exile [in Valence, France, 1799]. Though a new pope was soon afterward elected, the papal hierarchy has never been able to wield the power which it before possessed.”- Ibid.   NOTE: For vital yet little known details on what took place in 1798 regarding the papacy , see “Napoleon and the Pope: What Really Happened in 1798?” by Cedric Ward, Ph.D., associate professor of history, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. MINISTRY, International Journal for Pastors, Archives/1979/June.

    “The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire period of the 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial. In foretelling [not ‘predestinating’] the ‘great tribulation to befall the church, the Savior said, ‘Except those days be shortened, , there should no flesh be saved” but for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened.’ Through the influence of the [Protestant] Reformation, the persecution was brought to an end prior to 1798.

        “Concerning the two witnesses [Futurists and many mainstream Bible expositors interpret these “two witnesses” to be Moses and Elijah!], the prophet declares further, ‘These are the two olive-trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.’  ‘Thy word,’ said the psalmist, ‘is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.’ Rev. 11: 4; Ps. 119: 105. The two witnesses represent the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.  Both are important testimonies to the origin and perpetuity of the law of God. Both are witnesses also to the plan of salvation. The types, sacrifices, and prophecies of the Old Testament point forward to a Savior to come. The Gospels and Epistles  of the New Testament tell of a Savior who has come in the exact manner foretold by type and prophecy.

     “They shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.’ During a greater part of this period, God’s witnesses remained in a state of obscurity. The papal power sought to hide from the people the Word of truth, and set before them false witnesses to contradict its testimony [See Appendix on p. 267]. When the Bible was proscribed by religious and secular authority; when its testimony was perverted, and every effort made that men and demons could invent to turn the minds of the people from it; when those who dared proclaim their sacred truths were hunted, betrayed, tortured, buried in dungeon cells, martyred for their faith, or compelled to flee to mountain fastnesses, and to dens and caves of the earth,—then, the faithful witnesses prophesied  in sackcloth.  Yet they continued their testimony throughout the entire period of 1260 years. In the darkest times there were faithful men who loved God’s word, and were jealous for His honor. To these loyal servants were given wisdom, power, and authority to declare His truth during the whole of this time [the Dark Ages].

    “ And if any man will hurt them [these two witnesses/prophets], fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.’  Rev. 11: 5.  “Men cannot with impunity trample upon the word of God. The meaning of this fearful denunciation is set forth in the closing chapter of the Revelation: ‘I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the [seven, last] plaguesthat are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.’ Rev. 22: 18, 19.

         “Such are the warnings which God has given to guard men against changing in any  manner that which He has revealed and commanded. These solemn denunciations apply to all who by their influence lead men toregard lightly the law of God. They should cause those to fear and tremble who flippantly declare it a matter of little consequence whether we obey God’s law or not.  All who exalt their own opinions above divine revelation, all who would change the plain meaning of the Scripture to suit their own convenience, or for the sake of conforming to the world, are taking upon themselves a fearful responsibility. The written word, the law of God, will measure the character of every man, and condemn all whom this unerring test shall declare wanting.”-Ibid, p. 268.

 “The Beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.

       “ ‘When they shall have finished [are finishing] their testimony.’  The period when the two witnesses were to prophesy clothed in sackcloth, ended in 1798. As they were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity, war was to be made upon them by the power represented as ‘the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.’ In many of the nations of Europe [the Old World] the powers that ruled in church and state had for centuries been controlled by Satan, through the medium of the papacy. But here is brought to view a new manifestation of satanic power.


     “It had been Rome’s policy, under a profession for reverence for the Bible, to keep it locked up in an unknown tongue [language], and hidden away from the people. Under her rule the witnesses prophesied, ‘clothed in sackcloth.’ But another power—the beast from the bottomless pit—was to arise to make open, avowed war upon the word of God. [Who or what was this?]

     “The ‘great city’ in whose streets the witnesses are slain and where their dead bodies lie, ‘is spirituallyEgypt.’   Of all nations presented in Bible history, Egypt most boldly denied the existence of the living God, and resisted His commands. No monarch ever ventured upon more open and high-handed rebellion against the authority of Heaven than did the king [pharaoh] of Egypt. When the message was brought him by Moses, in the name of the Lord, Pharaoh proudly answered, ‘Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go.’ [Exo. 5: 2].  This is atheism; and the nation represented by Egypt [in this specific prophecy] would give voice to a similar denial of the claims of the living God, and would manifest a like spirit of unbelief and defiance. The ‘great city’ is also compared, ‘spiritually,’ to Sodom. The corruption of Sodom in breaking the law of God was especially manifested in licentiousness. And this sin also was to be a pre-eminent characteristic of the nation that should fulfill the specification of this scripture.

       “According to the words of the prophet, then, a little before the year 1798 some power of satanic origin and character would rise to make war upon the Bible. And in the land where the testimony of God’s two witnesses should thus be silenced, there would be manifest the atheism of the Pharaoh and the licentiousness of Sodom.

      “This prophecy has received a most exact and striking in the history of France. During the Revolution, in 1793, ‘the world for the first time heard an assembly of men, born and educated in civilization, and assuming he right to govern one of the finest of the European nations, uplift their united voice to deny the most solemn truth which man’s soul receives, and renounce unanimously the belief and worship of a Deity.’-Scott, Sir Walter, ‘Life of Napoleon Bonaparte,’ Vol. I, ch. 17 (ed. 1854). France is the only nation in the world concerning which the authentic record survives, that as a nation she lifted her hand in open rebellion against the Author of the universe. Plenty of blasphemers, plenty of infidels, there have been, and still continue to be, in England, Germany, Spain, and elsewhere, but France stands apart in the world’s history as the single state which, by the decree of her Legislative Assembly, pronounced that there was no God, and of which the entire population of the capital, and a vast majority elsewhere, women as well as men, danced and sang with joy, in accepting the announcement.’ – ‘Blackwood’s Magazine,’ November, 1870; quoted in the Great Controversy by E. G. White, 1911 ed. p. 270.

{To be continued next week)