On several occasions in the Word of God, a prophecy from a special time is mentioned. It is about a great period of time when God’s people would be chased hard by a blasphemous and idolatrous power, which blended politics and religion in his own being. There are three elements to take in account in this prophecy: 1) time, 2) the persecuted people, 3) the persecuting power. We will identify each of them.
The time of persecution is described in three separate prophetic formulas, with different words, but indicating the same period of time and the same event: 1) ‘time, times and half a time’1; 2) ‘Forty two months’2; 3) ‘1260 days’.3 Time, times and half a time, are three years and a half, namely, 1260 days, because in the Hebrew calculation of 360 days per year, they are: 360 + 720 + 180 = 1260 days. As prophetic times each day represents a year4, namely, 1260 years. Forty two months, also according to the Hebrew computation, are: 42 x 30 = 1260 days, namely, 1260 years. Finally, when the time is described directly as 1260 days is evidently 1260 years. They are all the same length of time.5
The persecuted people, also described as a pure woman6, is the true people of God. It has been chased, beaten and dispersed throughout all this time.7 At the same time, it has been protected, hidden and finally released before the start of the trial in heaven.8 The faithful children of God were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept a worship and ceremonies contrary to the Bible, or spend life in dungeons, die in torment in the fire or under the executioner’s ax. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Some might scape to the New World, the land that gave them freedom.9 Then the words of Jesus were fulfilled: ‘You will be betrayed of your fathers, and brothers, relatives, and friends; and they will kill some of you. And you will be hated by all because of my name’.10
The persecuting power pretends to be religious and acting with divine authority, but what it says, according to the Bible, are blasphemies.11 It is identified in the book of Daniel as a little horn which grew to dominate the rest.12 It is also described in Revelation with the symbol of a beast, dominating with great authority and with a blasphemous name.13 But it is said in the text that who gives it the strength is the dragon, that is, that old serpent called the Devil and Satan.14 Its days of power will end up with a mortal wound lays at one of its heads.15 This political-religious power, successor of the oppressive Imperial Rome is the Papacy, and has always dominated from the city, taking all the attributes of that empire, their titles, symbols, power and even their language, Latin. It changed the times and the law of God16, since it changed the Sabbath, the Lord’s Day and the seventh day of the week, described in the fourth commandment of the Law of God17, and passed it to Sunday, day of the sun and holy day of the Roman Empire. It also removed the second commandment of the Law of God18, which prohibits making images of God for worship, because this is considered idolatry.19 To continue having ten commandments in the Decalogue, it divided the last one in two different commandments.20 He has a blasphemous name: Vicar of the Son of God, Pope and Holly Pontiff, names which belongs only to God.21 Only Jesus, who is God and man, is the mediator between God and men.22 Only Jesus is the Rock, the foundation and head the Church.23 Do worship to angels, saints, or other than God is also idolatry.24 This ‘Bishop of Rome’, the ‘man of sin’ foretold by the apostle Paul, led ‘apostasy’, the ‘mystery of iniquity’25, he created the Inquisition, persecuted and even banned the reading or possession of the Bible, preventing translation.26
The 1260 years of papal supremacy began in 538 BC. When the Ostrogoth’s were defeated and ended in 1798 when a French army entered in Rome and took the pope prisoner, who died in exile. The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire 1260 years. God shortened the time of their fiery trial. Predicting the ‘great tribulation’ that was to come to the church, the Saviour said, ‘If those days were not shortened, no flesh be saved; but thanks to the chosen ones, those days will be shortened’.27 Due to the influence of the events related to the Reformation the persecution ceased by the year 1798. According to Revelation, in the end time, this power will receive a new life. Its deadly wound will be healed; receiving worship, regaining its dominance and authority, so that the whole earth will be amazed.28 Is not it happening today before our own eyes?