Concurrent with the great Gospel spread there continued to be yet further judgements on the beast kingdom and its power continued to wane. 1789 marks the beginning of the French revolution. Angry mobs turned against the catholic institutions, its hierarchy, buildings and the pope himself was imprisoned by Napoleon. Terrible ‘plagues’ befell the institutional church – people became followers of philosophers and ‘reason’ (so called), they started becoming atheists, which meant that the lying priests with their threats of hell and purgatory were no longer feared or respected. Yes, these things have become a plague upon true faith too to some extent but atheism will not triumph in the end either. All will soon know and all will bow the knee to Christ.
A massive world shift in religion, politics and military control took place during the next two hundred years, including the Euphrates power (the Ottomans, ch. 9), which was broken during the first world war. At the exact same time a return of many Jews to their ancient Biblical land was set in motion – a convergence of events seem to be building for the end. Since this time the world has been plagued by three unclean spirits. There are a wide range of interpretations as to what these three spirits may be, communism, atheism and Islam is one. Before the Internet age I heard it could be, television, radio and newspapers. Certainly the ‘media’ speaks like croaking frogs all day long. There are various other interpretative offerings too.
There is a very definite rhythm and pattern to the seven seals, seven trumpets and the seven bowls. The first four seals were concerned with the essentially internal events of the Roman world, the first four trumpets related to the four waves of destruction that came upon the (Western) Roman empire and now the first four bowls are concerned with the revolutionary events of the heartland of the papal Roman empire – France. Note also the precise nature and order here, 1. The earth (remember – the Roman ‘earth’), 2. The seas (Mediterranean/Atlantic), 3. Rivers (of Europe), 4. The Sun – the symbol for the major ruling authority of the time. In this case, the ‘sun’ is Napoleon, who, following the revolution of France scorched the rest of Europe. These four – earth, seas, rivers, sun – are identical to the first four trumpets.
The fifth trumpet targets not just the ‘kingdom of the beast’ but its very seat of power, in Italy. The pope himself was taken captive, literally, remember: “He who leads into captivity will be taken into captivity.” This was an absolute all time low for the power and authority of the papacy. Since this time it has operated more on a platform of influence rather than direct control. The sixth bowl is poured onto the Euphrates – do you remember which world power is symbolised by the Euphrates? Way back in chapter nine, following the rise of the Saracens (Arab Islamic empire) we had the rise of the Ottoman (Turkish Islamic) empire. It was so powerful it overthrew Constantinople but some time after reached its outer limits (at Austria) but remained the power of that region until shortly after WW1. While France and other parts of Europe staggered from calamity to calamity, across the English channel the British Isles were going from strength to strength following the revival era of the Wesleys, Whitefield and others. At the same time America had experienced the ‘Great Awakening,’ through names such as Johnathan Edwards and others. While the beast kingdom is tearing at itself the Anglo nations are rising to power.
In an earlier section of this overview I cited a quote from John Bunyan, where he depicts the papacy as a weakened, frustrated persecutor, lacking the power to devour simple Christian men and women following the time of the Reformation. This was of course the perspective of an Englishman, living in the now securely Protestant country of England. (This did not prevent Bunyan himself from being persecuted by the Anglican Church but that’s another story!). However, across the channel, in France, the Protestant cause had not gained political power and the papal persecutions of Christians continued unabated. France was the country known for many years as, “The eldest daughter of the Church,” and was, for centuries, until the time of the French revolution, the heartland and bastion of Roman Catholicism. Among the various groups and individuals that continued to be persecuted in France we find the Huguenot people. You can find plenty of available information about these good and godly, skilled, hard workers. At one point they were granted an edict of toleration but this was later revoked and the ensuing St Bartholomew’s massacre is legendary for its sudden and unmerciful murder of thousands of men, women and children. Many other attacks and oppressions followed in the subsequent decades and many of them simply uprooted their families and left the country, heading for surrounding protestant lands, especially England. France’s loss was England’s gain.
Hold the above thought and allow me to reiterate another earlier point from this overview… We previously looked at the 1260 year principle. Periods in the development of the papal beast when it gained significant powers – either political or religious – and 1260 years after such accretions where it lost some equally significant power. One such period brought us to the time of the French Revolution, and in fact there are a number of accounts of godly men who wrote, or even advised royalty well in advance of the French Revolution that some action was coming in Europe, possibly to be centred in France, that would deal another deadly blow to the papal powers. However, I want to reiterate here another of the later 1260 periods, which had its accretion in AD 756 – I’ll just cite Wikipedia again…
“The Donation of Pepin in 756 provided a legal basis for the creation of the Papal States, thus extending the temporal rule of the Popes beyond the duchy of Rome.”
AD 756 marked a massive, epoch making moment in the growth of the powers of the papacy and here and now in our current day we see the most beautiful, gorgeous irony of the prophetic power and plan of God…
Note first: It was Pepin – King of France – who made this ‘donation’ – no wonder the papacy affectionately called France, “The eldest daughter of the Church.”
Now add 1260 to 756 – and the year we arrive at is 2016 – the year of the earthquake Brexit referendum.
(Ever since Henry VIII and the time of the Reformation the ‘Euro-beast’ has been trying to recapture Protestant Britain – and very near succeeded through the removal of all sovereign powers as part of the EU membership treaties).
Now consider this… In the UK there is one man, one name, above all names, who has been, I would argue, supernaturally enabled to stand up against the collective power and might of the EU and all of its many and powerful allies within the UK itself. That man is of course Nigel Farage. Like so many men used by God he may not himself be an exemplary ‘Christian’, I’m sure he would freely admit to having some flaws but there is no doubt whatsoever that he, above any man alive, was the chief instrument (not ‘architect’ – God is the architect) of bringing about the Brexit referendum and subsequently acting further to ensure its implementation. Like so many Brexiteers he has been vilified many times with accusations of racism and xenophobia etc. and I will never forget his reply on one occasion as I saw him being interviewed on television. He said, he understood and sympathised deeply with the plight of genuine refugees, especially seeing that he himself was a descendant of Britain’s first refugees… the Huguenots!
I felt a shiver down my spine as I listened then and I make no apology now for this lengthy emphasis of this one point. This path we are on may extend a long way back but we are now reaching a point in the book, and in the story, that brings us right up to this very moment in time. Events of earthquake magnitude are happening right now and the beast kingdom is continuing to lose yet more power.