A cursory look at history reveals that after the collapse of the Roman Empire, which came about by attacks from barbarians from the north, the bishop of Rome took advantage of the overthrow of three barbarian tribes and established himself as the sole power in Rome as of A.D. 538. In this process, he adopted several institutional and political functions of the Roman emperor.
From this emerged the papacy, invested with temporal and religious power until it was deposed by Napoleon in 1798. This did not bring an end to Rome, but only to that specified phase of persecution. The pope not only claimed to be the vicar of Christ but also introduced several doctrines and practices contrary to the Bible. Purgatory, penance, auricular confession, and the change of the Sabbath commandment to Sunday are among many other changes of the “times and law” introduced by the papacy.
“In his own strength, man cannot meet the charges of the enemy. In sin-stained garments, confessing his guilt, he stands before God. But Jesus, our Advocate, presents an effectual plea in behalf of all who by repentance and faith have committed the keeping of their souls to Him. He pleads their cause, and by the mighty arguments of Calvary, vanquishes their accuser. His perfect obedience to God’s law has given Him all power in heaven and in earth, and He claims from His Father mercy and reconciliation for guilty man. To the accuser of His people He declares: ‘The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. These are the purchase of My blood, brands plucked from the burning’. And to those who rely on Him in faith, He gives the assurance, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment’. Zechariah 3:4”. — Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pages 586, 587.
|Look again at all the characteristics of the little horn power that arises from, and remains part of, the fourth beast, Rome. What power alone arose out of pagan Rome many centuries ago and, besides having persecuted God’s people, remains in existence today? Why should this clear identification help protect us from speculation about its identity, including the idea that the little horn refers to a pagan Greek king who disappeared from history more than a century and a half before the first advent of Jesus? How should these clear identifying marks also protect us from the belief that the little horn is some future power yet to arise?|