Our Past and Future Hope – Chapter Eleven: Where Are We Now?

Revelation 16

This is chapter eleven of Our Past and Future Hope: Reintroducing a Traditional Faith-Building Eschatology by Jason Giles. The Contents page is here.

The paperback and Kindle versions are now available here.

The PDF/Epub ebook version is available here.

“…This book [of Revelation] represents to us, as in a small but exact map, the steadiness and exactness of Providence, and Christ’s government of the world.”1

If the prophecies in Revelation truly are like a map- a divine history of the world that spans centuries- then we should be able to see where we are currently in God’s timeline. Just as the prophecies in Daniel revealed events that would span the ‘400 years of silence’ and beyond from when they were given to Daniel, Revelation has revealed the future from when John received the vision to the current day.

It was shown in chapters 1-3 and 5 of this book that the prophecies in Daniel revealed to God’s people the worldly empires they would see rise and fall; the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple; the future desecration of that Temple by a specific Greek king; even the revealing of the Messiah who would be ‘cut off.’ These predicted events were so precise that the Jews were able to recognize events that were unfolding around them and beyond. The first-century Jewish historian Josephus gives one example: when Alexander the Great visited Jerusalem.

According to Josephus, Alexander had written a letter to the Jewish high priest asking for soldiers and provisions to support his siege of Tyre. The high priest answered that he could not give Alexander what he asked for, as he would not betray the oath they had given the Persian king Darius while he was still living. Alexander did not appreciate this response, and threatened to take down Jerusalem after he was done with Tyre.

After taking Tyre and Gaza, Alexander started making his way to Jerusalem. Jaddus, the high priest, was terrified at the news, and had everyone in the city pray and seek God’s help with him as he made sacrifices. God answered him in a dream, “that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent.”2 Jaddus rejoiced at this word from God, and did exactly as he was told to do.

When Alexander arrived near the city, Jaddus, the priests, and a procession of citizens went out to meet him. Everyone with Alexander was shocked by what happened next: “Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine linen, and the high-priest in purple and scarlet clothing, with his mitre on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the high-priest.”3 Instead of coming with wrath and vengeance, fresh from conquests, Alexander the Great arrived in peace and reverence! When asked why he did this, he told them that he wasn’t adoring the high priest, but rather “that God who has honored him with his highpriesthood.”4 He explained further that God had given him a dream that had this very high priest in it, confirming him in his further conquest of the Persians.

The priests knew precisely where Alexander’s conquest was confirmed in the Scriptures: “And when the Book of Daniel was showed him wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended.”5 God had revealed his future plans for Alexander and the Greeks over 200 years earlier (see chapter 2 of this book), and the Jews were able to recognize it.

The nature of apocalyptic prophecy in Scripture has remained the same from Daniel to Revelation. Just as God showed Daniel what major events would occur (relevant to his people and plans) in the centuries before the advent of Christ, he also showed John what would happen (still relevant to his people and plans) in the centuries before the return of Christ. We should be able to point to the place we are at in God’s timeline of the world, with perhaps a glimpse of what is to occur, just as the Jews were able to show Alexander what plans God had for him.

This type of understanding is vastly different from the rampant speculation that is inherent to the current trend of shoving every fulfillment of prophecy into the future. It is only possible in the traditional interpretation when we understand what events have already been fulfilled. We cannot expect to understand where we are or where we’re headed if we don’t even know where we’ve been.

Where We’ve Been

Just like the example given above for Alexander the Great’s appearance in Daniel, traditional interpreters from the past were able to recognize where they were in the grand timeline God had ordained for the Church. We have shown in chapter six of this book that early Christian writers from the second century- less than a century after Revelation was written in about 96- recognized what was to occur before the appearance of the Antichrist. They knew that the Roman Empire had to first fall and be split into ten kingdoms before the little horn from Daniel 7 would come and take power over three of them. They also knew that the Antichrist would be an apostate power- coming from within the Church- and that they would call themselves God in the new temple, the Church. They even guessed what the mark of the beast signified- Lateinos, the ‘Roman’ power in a new form. They predicted all of this from their knowledge of Daniel, 2 Thessalonians, and Revelation, centuries before the events came to pass.

When the Papacy began to seize both spiritual and political power, Christians recognized the prophetic implications. Pope Gregory (540 – 604) called out the bishops who would claim the title of ‘Universal Patriarch’- the ultimate head of the Church- as a precursor of the Antichrist. Just a few years after his death, the Roman bishop did just that, accepting the title of the ‘Head of all Churches’ and ‘Universal Bishop’ from Emperor Phocas in 607.

In 991, Arnulf (bishop of Orléans) decried the immoral Papacy of his day as Antichrist:

Looking at the actual state of the papacy, what do we behold? …Are there, indeed, any bold enough to maintain that the priests of the Lord over all the world are to take their law from monsters of guilt like these — men branded with ignominy, illiterate men, and ignorant alike of things human and divine? …What would you say of such a one, when you behold him sitting upon the throne glittering in purple and gold? Must he not be the ‘Antichrist, sitting in the temple of God, and showing himself as God’?6

Continuing from Arnulf’s day to the height of the Reformation, many Christians recognized their place in the prophetic timeline as those believers under the persecuting powers of the Roman pontiff. Millions of them were killed for exposing and defying the commands of the Papacy, including the Waldenses, Albigenses, Bohemian Brethren, Wycliffites, and Protestants.7

During the Reformation and beyond, historicists began to gain consensus on the specific fulfillments of the symbols in Revelation as they looked back into history. What follows is the most common interpretation, which can be studied in detail, verse-by-verse, for free online (see Appendix A for further study resources):

  • The Seven Seals – Revelation 4-8:2. The state of the Church up to the defeat of Paganism in the Roman Empire with Constantine (95 A.D.- 323 A.D.). 
  • The Seven Trumpets – Revelation 8:2-13. The judgment and fall of the Western Roman Empire under barbarian invasions with the first four trumpets; the judgment and fall of the Eastern Roman Empire under Islam (Arabs and Turks) with the fifth and sixth trumpets (397 – 1453. See chapter 8 of this book for more on these events).
  • The Little Scroll and the Two Witnesses Revelation 10-11. This period is commonly understood to be the events surrounding the Protestant Reformation.
  • The Woman and the Dragon – Revelation 12. This vision is understood to be the persecution of the Church by different Roman powers from the 3rd century onward.
  • The Beast out of the Sea – Revelation 13. The civil powers of the Roman Empire in its different forms.
  • The Beast out of the Earth – Revelation 13. The Papal power of Rome, especially related to the revived Holy Roman Empire.
  • The Seven Vials – Revelation 16. The first four vials represent the events surrounding the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars that significantly diminished the Papal power in Europe and saw the end of the Holy Roman Empire. 

Remarkable Predictions

As they became increasingly convinced of these prophetic fulfillments in their study of the history of the Church, some Christians made remarkable predictions of the Papacy’s downfall as foretold in Scripture. In 1701, Robert Fleming mapped out the dates of fulfillment for each of the seals, trumpets, and vials, recognizing that he was living in the time before the fourth vial:

The fourth poured out his bowl on the sun, and it was given to him to scorch men with fire. 9 People were scorched with great heat, and people blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues. They didn’t repent and give him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9, WEB)

Fleming was fairly confident in what had been fulfilled by his day, but he was careful to make any guesses about what lay ahead:

And now, seeing I have marked out the time we are in at present, it is time also to put a stop to our Apocalyptical thoughts; seeing no man can pretend, upon any just grounds, to calculate future times. However, seeing I have come so far, I shall attempt to present you further with some conjectural thoughts on this head; for I am far from the presumption of some men, to give them any higher character.8

In reference to the fourth vial, Fleming wrote how the symbols might be fulfilled:

Now seeing the bombarding of towns and cities was chiefly made use of in these latter wars, we may see how properly the scorching or burning men from above- as if the sun had sent down fire and heat from his own body- is made use of to characterize the time of this vial. But the chief thing to be taken notice of here, is, that the sun, and other luminaries of heaven, are the emblem of princes and kingdoms, as we took notice before. Therefore the pouring out of this vial on the sun must denote the humiliation of some eminent Potentates of the Romish interest, whose influence and countenance cherish and support the Papal cause… Now it is not unusual with God to make his enemies crush and weaken one another. And thus I suppose this vial is to be understood, when it is said, that upon the pouring of it out upon the sun, “power was given to him,” i. e. the sun, (as most understand the words from the connection) “to scorch men with fire.” And this is plain in what of the vial is fulfilled, and will be, perhaps, more so afterwards.9

He guessed that a ruler (‘the sun’) from a nation that was previously friendly to the Papacy would fight against it, weakening it severely. He went on to guess the time in which this would happen, adding the 1260 years that Scripture said the Antichrist would have power, to the year 552 “when Justinian, upon his conquest of Italy, left it in a great measure to the Pope’s management, being willing to eclipse his own authority, to advance that of this haughty prelate.”10 He narrows it down to the year 1811 according to our calendar, or 1794 under the ‘prophetic’ calendar (360 days per year instead of 365).11

Amazingly, this is precisely what happened in history. France was a major ally of the Papacy, known as the ‘the eldest daughter of the Church.’ The year 1794 was the middle of the French Revolution (King Louis XVI was beheaded in January 1793) and the Revolutionary Wars that sent waves throughout Europe, led by the military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte. Just as Fleming guessed, this ‘sun’ harassed the Pope throughout his career, invading Rome, taking the Pope prisoner, confiscating church lands, and eventually causing the end of the Holy Roman Empire, all within 1796-1809.

Fleming continued his guesses of what Revelation 16 foretold with the fifth vial:

The fifth poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was darkened. They gnawed their tongues because of the pain, 11 and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. They still didn’t repent of their works. (Revelation 16:10-11, WEB).

Once again, he forges ahead carefully:

And now, my friends, I may be well excused, if I venture no further, in giving you any more conjectural thoughts upon this present period of time. But seeing I pretend to give my speculations, of what is future, no higher character than guesses, I shall still venture to add something to what I have already said.12

Fleming explains the symbol, and the time it might occur:

The fifth vial, verses 10, 11, which is to be poured out on the seat of the beast, or the dominions that more immediately belong to and depend upon the Roman See; that, I say, this judgment will probably begin about the year 1794, and expire about A. D. 1848; so that the duration of it, upon this supposition, will be the space of fifty-four years. For I do suppose, that, seeing the Pope received the title of Supreme Bishop no sooner than A. D. 606, he cannot be supposed to have any vial poured upon his seat immediately, so as to ruin his authority so signally as this judgment must be supposed to do, until the year 1848, which is the date of the twelve hundred and sixty years in prophetical account, when they are reckoned from A. D. 606. But yet we are not to imagine that this vial will totally destroy the Papacy, though it will exceedingly weaken it, for we find this still in being and alive, when the next vial is poured out.13

He identifies the fifth vial as a judgment on the Papacy’s control over Rome, ‘the throne of the beast.’ He dates it as happening in 1848, which is 1260 years (using the older 360-day calendar, 1866 in the modern one) from when the Papacy claimed the title of Universal Bishop, head of the entire Church, in 606.

Once again, Fleming’s guess is spot on! In the year 1848, there was a revolution in the Italian States. An Italian army of 60,000 soldiers went to Rome and defeated the Pope’s army of 10,000 soldiers. “When the old Porta Pia was bombarded, opening a huge hole for the invaders, the Pope asked the white flag to be shown. It was his last act as King of the Papal States.”14 The very seat of the Pope’s power was assaulted. “Garibaldi removed the first portion of the States from the Papacy in 1848, and then a piece at a time, the rest of the territory was lost to Papal dominion culminating in the complete loss of the States under Victor Emmanuel in 1870.”15 All of the Pope’s civil power was taken from him by 1870, and in 1929 only the current 100-acre Vatican was returned to him:

In an agreement made with Mussolini in 1929, Vatican city was recognized as a sovereign state and the Pope recognized the kingdom of Italy. The Pope formally accepted one billion, seven hundred fifty million lire for the territory which was taken from him in 1870. He had begun his return to political and temporal authority. They had not repented!16

Already having such an amazing track record, Fleming continues with the sixth vial: “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East” (Revelation 16:12). He writes the meaning and timing of it:

The sixth vial, verse 12, etc., will be poured out upon the Mahometan anti-Christ, as the former on the Papacy. And seeing the sixth trumpet brought the Turks from beyond Euphrates, from their crossing which river they date their rise; this sixth vial dries up their waves, and exhausts their power, as the means and way to prepare and dispose the Eastern Kings and kingdoms to renounce their heathenish and Mahometan errors, in order to their receiving and embracing Christianity… Supposing, then, that the Turkish Monarchy should be totally destroyed between 1818 and 1900, we may justly assign seventy or eighty years longer to the end of the sixth vial.17

Fleming predicts that the Turkish (Ottoman) Empire- the Eastern Antichrist- will ‘dry up’ by 1900. Just as their rise was symbolized by being released at the great river Euphrates, their downfall is tied to that same river being dried up.

Once again, Fleming’s predictions were strikingly close to what happened in history. The period of the Ottoman Empire’s decline is noticeable by the middle of the 19th century- the once mighty and feared power becomes known as ‘the sick man of Europe.’ The Christian population of the Empire began to pull ahead of the Muslim majority. Between 1908-1922, the Empire was completely dissolved.

What astounding predictions Robert Fleming made over 200 years before they came to pass! And not just the events, but the timing of them as well! Because he understood the nature of apocalyptic prophecy in the Bible, he knew where we were on God’s timeline of divine history. He saw what had been fulfilled- where we have been- and so he was able to guess where we were headed with alarming accuracy.

Where We Are

So where are we currently according to Revelation? If Fleming could tell where he was in 1700 with such clarity, shouldn’t we be able to do the same today? After the sixth vial, Revelation continues:

I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits, something like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs; which go out to the kings of the whole inhabited earth, to gather them together for the war of that great day of God, the Almighty.

15 “Behold, I come like a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his clothes, so that he doesn’t walk naked, and they see his shame.” 16 He gathered them together into the place which is called in Hebrew, “Megiddo”.

17 The seventh poured out his bowl into the air. A loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” 18 There were lightnings, sounds, and thunders; and there was a great earthquake, such as has not happened since there were men on the earth, so great an earthquake, and so mighty. 19 The great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give to her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 Every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 Great hailstones, about the weight of a talent, came down out of the sky on people. People blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for this plague is exceedingly severe. (Revelation 16:13-21, WEB).

We are living in the times before or during the seventh vial, the events of ‘Armageddon’ [Revelation 16:16, as it is translated in the KJV and NIV]. As Fleming foresaw, the sixth vial had passed when the Ottoman Empire dried up in the early 1900s. Now the powers of spiritual darkness under the symbol of the dragon (pagan/secular), the beast (Roman/Papal), and the false prophet (Islamic) are preparing for the final conflict, “for the war of that great day of God, the Almighty” (Revelation 16:14b, WEB). This war does not necessarily literally take place at the Mountain of Megiddo, rather, it has become a symbol for decisive battles “which would determine the question of the prevalence of true religion on the earth.”18

What signs should we expect in the fulfillment of Armageddon and the pouring out of the seventh vial?

A Great Earthquake – Earthquakes in Revelation and the rest of the Bible typically symbolize “remarkable political convulsions and revolutions,”19 just as the violent shaking of the earth changes the landscape. So we should expect revolutions and the changing of nations and governments to a degree that has never been witnessed before in history.

The Great City Divided – This is Babylon, symbolizing the city that has been in view throughout Revelation, the seat of the beast’s power: Rome. We should expect Rome (or perhaps more specifically, Vatican City) to be utterly ruined by this threefold judgment- “either a different judgment in regard to some threefold manifestation of that power, or a succession of judgments, as if one part were smitten at a time.”20

Great Hailstones – Barnes writes, “Perhaps this is an allusion to one of the plagues of Egypt, Exodus 9:22-26… the Attic talent was equal to about 55 lbs. or 56 lbs. Troy weight; the Jewish talent to about 113 lbs. Troy. Whichever weight is adopted, it is easy to conceive what must be the horror of such a storm, and what destruction it must cause.”21 In Barnes’ day, there were no bombs with the destructive power that they are capable of now, and it is too easily imaginable that such weapons are what is symbolized by the hailstones. Either way, it will be a plague of mass destruction, centered primarily on the territory of the Papal power.

The Whore Destroyed – Revelation 17 is a closer look at the beast (see chapter 7 of this book), and it gives more details on the destruction of the whore (Roman Papal power) that rides the beast:

The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute, will make her desolate, will strip her naked, will eat her flesh, and will burn her utterly with fire. 17 For God has put in their hearts to do what he has in mind, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:16-18, WEB)

The nations that once served the papacy will be its ultimate downfall. With the description given here, it is easy to imagine how this might happen: it sounds as if they will turn on the papacy, take away the Roman Catholic Church’s lands and wealth (make them pay taxes?), and ultimately destroy its presence within their nations. The Roman Catholic Church has already become obnoxious to many Western countries, with centuries-long periods of sexual abuse and genocide being uncovered year after year, all while secularism and atheism become more prevalent. One day these kingdoms will no longer tolerate the Papacy, and bring about its end, burning her ‘utterly with fire.’

The Beast and False Prophet Destroyed – It is likely that the battle of Armageddon is referenced in Revelation 19. There it is said that the beast (Rome/Papacy) and the false prophet (Islam) are captured and thrown into the lake of fire:

I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him who sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet who worked the signs in his sight, with which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. 21 The rest were killed with the sword of him who sat on the horse, the sword which came out of his mouth. So all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21, WEB)

And so a major sign of the fulfillment of Armageddon and the seventh vial will be the complete destruction of the Papacy and Islam. To be clear, we are not talking about the deaths of ‘Catholics’ or ‘Muslims,’ but rather the end of their religious systems and the dark spiritual powers that influence millions worldwide. We would do well to remember that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Ultimately we hope for revivals among those populations, and mass conversions to Jesus Christ!

The Dragon Bound – At the end of the battle in Revelation 19, and before the Millennium in Revelation 20, the dragon is bound:

I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole inhabited earth, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut it, and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were finished. After this, he must be freed for a short time. (Revelation 20:1-3, WEB)

Pagan/secular influence in the world will be held in check during the Millennium (in whatever form it takes- see the next chapter of this book). The signs we are to look out for are clear: cataclysmic events are in store for humanity. Some of them are terrifying, such as massive revolutions, destructive storms, and a complete change in governments and nations. Others are much longed for, such as the final destruction of dark spiritual powers that deceive millions, and all pagan/secular influence held in check.

When?

The best traditional interpreters were very careful about dates. We saw above that Fleming did not put much weight behind his guesses, even though he showed amazing foresight. Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727), of mathematician and physicist fame, was also a historicist. He wrote the following about setting dates, and those who would speculate:

The folly of Interpreters has been, to foretell times and things by this Prophecy, as if God designed to make them Prophets. By this rashness they have not only exposed themselves, but brought the Prophecy also into contempt. The design of God was much otherwise. He gave this and the Prophecies of the Old Testament, not to gratify men’s curiosities by enabling them to foreknow things, but that after they were fulfilled they might be interpreted by the event, and his own Providence, not the Interpreters, be then manifested thereby to the world. For the event of things predicted many ages before, will then be a convincing argument that the world is governed by providence.22

Despite this caution, he did give a guess alongside another warning:

So then the time times & half a time are 42 months or 1260 days or three years & an half, recconing [sic] twelve months to a year & 30 days to a month as was done in the Calendar of the primitive year. And the days of short lived Beasts being put for the years of lived [sic] kingdoms, the period of 1260 days, if dated from the complete conquest of the three kings A.C. 800, will end A.C. 2060. It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner. This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fancifull men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, & by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail. Christ comes as a thief in the night, & it is not for us to know the times & seasons which God hath put into his own breast.23

Newton did not expect to see the end of the Antichrist in his own day, and set a date over 300 years into the future as the earliest it could be. He added 1260 years to when the Papacy fully gained control over three of the ten kingdoms that the Roman Empire had split into, which happened by 800. This brought the time of the end of Rome and the apostate church to 2060.

Some guessed earlier- Fleming had guessed the date from 758, when the Papacy first gained civil power. So he thought the end of the Papacy would be “in or about the year 2000” (Fleming 94). Barnes also felt that it would be around that time. But both of them were careful to label these dates as nothing more than guesses; besides, they lived centuries before those dates. Also, none of them dared to guess the time of the second coming of Christ, of which Jesus himself said, “No one knows of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36, WEB).

We should show the same caution. Perhaps Newton is correct, and the Papacy will be destroyed around 2060. But no matter what, ‘Christ comes as a thief in the night, & it is not for us to know the times & seasons which God hath put into his own breast.’

Traditional Vs. Modern Interpretation

For the futurist, these prophecies are useless as a map to show us where we are in God’s timeline. By the time the events in Revelation begin, they expect the Church to be gone, having been raptured while everyone else is Left Behind. At its best, Revelation becomes a spoiler of the end times, confirming that indeed ‘God wins.’ At its worst, it becomes fuel for fear, speculation, and conspiracies. Signs of imminent fulfillment are frantically sought after in the news headlines (what’s happening in Israel?), astronomical signs (blood moons), and even extra-biblical prophecies are given undue attention (Nostradamus, the Mayan calendar, the prophecy of the Popes).

With the traditional interpretation, we can wait in hopeful patience, knowing that God’s plan has been unfolding all of these 2000 years, and he has even given us a glimpse into what he’s been doing. This way of understanding prophetic Scriptures could be compared to our parents going on a long trip, not able to say precisely when they would be coming back. But before they left, they gave us an itinerary with a general idea of what they were heading out to accomplish. We would be able to see when stages of their journey had begun or were completed. Sometimes there were even times listed, of how long it would take to complete certain items on the itinerary. What assurance would fill our hearts during the long wait, knowing that they are slowly but surely completing the things they set out to do! We do not know when they’ll be home, but they are certain to return as they said they would.

Compare this to the modern futurist interpretation. Our parents leave for the same long journey- years long- and they cannot say when they’ll be back. They give us very little indication of when they’ll return, only a few ideas about what should happen the very last week of the trip. How anxiously we would look for the signs of this last week, latching on to any and every possibility that it would be the one to indicate their return that we desperately long for!

God has never treated his people like that- a thorough study of Daniel combined with even a cursory understanding of history confirms that God has always given us an idea of what he’s doing in the world. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he told the Church what to expect within one generation- and they listened and obeyed! After he ascended, he came to John to share even more: Christ is worthy to open the seals that reveal the future, and he graciously gave us his final prophecy. We are to wait patiently for Christ’s return no matter what, but with growing faith and assurance as we watch events unfold throughout all of these 2000 years.

  1. Robert Fleming, “Apocalyptical Key”, 90.
    Available online at https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=zWEJAQAAMAAJ ↩︎
  2. Flavius Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews”, 11:8:4.
    Available online at https://penelope.uchicago.edu/josephus/ant-11.html ↩︎
  3. Josephus, ibid, 11:8:5. ↩︎
  4. Josephus, ibid, 11:8:5. ↩︎
  5. Josephus, ibid, 11:8:5. ↩︎
  6. Quoted in Philip Schaff, “History of the Christian Church Volume 4”, 290.
    Available online at https://ia800200.us.archive.org/27/items/christianchurchh04schauoft/christianchurchh04schauoft.pdf ↩︎
  7. This number may seem sensational, and it would be if the scope was limited to specific events and regions (like the Spanish Inquisition). Historical theologian Nathan Busenitz remarks, “If the term is used in a broad sense—to represent all Roman Catholic activity against non-Catholics—then the numbers rise dramatically. If the historian includes forms of torture and killing that did not involve a formal trial, along with religious wars and other forms of Catholic violence enacted against Protestants and other non-Catholics (in areas outside of Spain and Portugal), then one can easily speak in terms of millions of people who were killed.”
    Available online at https://thecripplegate.com/how-many-people-died-in-the-inquisition/
    For a detailed view of these numbers, see David A. Plaisted’s “Estimates of the Number Killed by the Papacy in the Middle Ages and Later”. Available online at https://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/827989/15116787/1321289366180/50+million+protestants+killed.pdf ↩︎
  8. Fleming, ibid, 70. ↩︎
  9. Fleming, ibid, 68. ↩︎
  10. Fleming, ibid, 72. ↩︎
  11. The calendar that was used when the prophecy was given was 360 days a year. An example of this in the Bible is how the ‘times, time, and half a time’ (3.5 years) of Daniel and Revelation is related to the 1260 days in Revelation (1260 divided by 3.5 is 360). So Fleming, using the ‘prophetic’ calendar, comes to his calculation by multiplying 1260 x 360, divided by 365. ↩︎
  12. Fleming, ibid, 72. ↩︎
  13. Fleming, ibid, 80. ↩︎
  14. Wikipedia, “Pope Pius IX.”
    Available online at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pius_IX ↩︎
  15. Fred Miller, “The Incredible Predictions of Robert Fleming.”
    Available online at http://moellerhaus.com/fleming.htm ↩︎
  16. Miller, “A Panorama Of the Gospel Age”, 138.
    Available online at http://moellerhaus.com/7bowls.htm ↩︎
  17. Fleming, ibid, 80, 82. ↩︎
  18. Albert Barnes, “Notes, Critical, Illustrative, and Practical”, Revelation 16:16.
    Available online at https://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/cmt/barnes/rev016.htm ↩︎
  19. Barnes, ibid, Revelation 6:12. ↩︎
  20. Barnes, ibid, Revelation 16:19. ↩︎
  21. Barnes, ibid, Revelation 16:21. ↩︎
  22. Isaac Newton, “Observations Upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John”, 251.
    Available online at https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=rdpCAQAAMAAJ ↩︎
  23. Newton, “Fragments on the rise of the papacy, with further draft fragments on Revelation”, Yahuda MS 7.3g, folio 13 verso.
    Available online at https://www.newtonproject.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/record/THEM00050 ↩︎