LIGHT FROM PROPHECY
IT was Sabbath morning, a bright, beautiful day. Several days had now elapsed since the almost miraculous rescue of Mrs. Gregory; and Harold Wilson had frequently been stopped here and there by interested persons who desired to ask him about his conversion, his marked Bible, and his answered prayer in the saving of the minister’s wife.
And besides the interest shown in the young man, there were rumors afloat that one of the clergymen had “become a seventh-day man.” But no one seemed to know whether it was Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Spaulding, or Mr. Gregory.
Until this Sabbath morning, no one had given particular attention to a certain man, evidently educated and cultured, who had kept himself somewhat isolated, and attended none of the religious services aboard the vessel, but spent much time reading some well-worn books that he carried with him.
Determined that the journey should not end before he had at least made an effort at acquaintance, Mr. Anderson, finding him at his accustomed reading, took a seat beside him on deck, and as his custom was, inquired if the man was a Christian.
A Catholic Points Out Protestantism’s Inconsistency
“Yes, sir; I am a Roman Catholic, a member of the only true and apostolic church,” the stranger said, very positively.
“Ah! Well, I am glad to meet you, sir,” was the minister’s reply. “I am a Protestant; but that does not hinder me from feeling brotherly.”
“Do you say you are a Protestant? There are no Protestants — no consistent Protestants,” he said. “Why, I am reading at this very time the proof of my statement.”
“What is your proof, friend, that there are no true Protestants? That is rather a broad statement,” said Mr. Anderson.
“Well, however broad it may sound, it is true. There are no consistent Protestants, for none of them take the Bible and the Bible only as their rule of faith. They say they follow the Bible; but in many things, they reject it altogether, and follow the teachings and customs of the Catholic Church.
For instance, you know very well that you have no Scripture for your Sunday — not a single word. The Bible teaches you that you should keep to-day — Saturday — not tomorrow. The Catholic Church, by authority of the apostle Peter, changed the day of worship from the seventh day to the first day of the week, and the whole religious world has adopted the change. And then to think that they persist in calling themselves Protestants! It is disgusting.”
“But not all Protestants do as you say. There are exceptions.”
“So far as I know, they all do. Of course, they grow indignant and make vigorous denial, but they do not dare come out and face the actual facts. Our church, through Cardinal Gibbon’s paper, has challenged the whole Protestant world to show that they are not following its teachings rather than the Bible in their keeping of Sunday; but there has never been an answer. The reason is, there is no answer to be given. Every intelligent Protestant clergyman who has studied church history knows that Sunday worship springs from our church. And so we say that, taking a part of our religion, they ought consistently to take it all. In fact, we look for all of you to come back into the true fold.
A Thousand Dollars Unclaimed
“A number of years ago,” he continued, “one of our priests offered a thousand dollars to anyone who would bring even one text from the Bible to show Sunday to be the divine day of rest. But no one has ever appeared to claim the reward.”
“No,” said Mr. Anderson, “and no one ever will. Such a text cannot be found.”
“Then why do you go on fooling yourself and others by keeping Sunday?”
“I do not,” was the reply.
“Oh, you don’t keep any day, I suppose.”
“Yes, I observe the seventh day of the week. I am a Seventh day Adventist. Now let me make you a proposition: Will you offer a reward of a thousand dollars to anyone who will prove to you from the Bible that your church did change the Sabbath?”
The man closed the catechism in his hand, looked Mr. Anderson squarely in the eye, and asked: “Who are you, anyway? What do you mean?”
“I mean,” said the pastor, “that I agree with you that your church changed the Sabbath, and that I am ready to show you, from the word of God, that you are correct.”
“All right, provided you will use my Bible. And I will give you a hundred dollars if you make good your claims. It will be worth that much to me in handling the next Sunday man I meet. But remember, it must be from our Douay Version.”
Mr. Anderson readily agreed; and the man, who had now introduced himself as James Conan, went after his Bible, leaving his catechism in the deck chair.
“What have you here, brother?” asked Judge Kershaw, who happened along while Mr. Anderson was waiting; and stooping, he picked up the little book and opened it.
‘A Catholic catechism! Well, this is strange literature for a Protestant pastor!”
The book had opened to the chapter devoted to church authority, and the judge incidentally read: “Q. Have you any other way of proving that the Church has power to institute festivals of precept?
A. Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her; — she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday the seventh day, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”
Evidently the judge had never before read the statement, and he appeared greatly surprised; but an explanation was impossible, as Mr. Conan now returned, and, handing Mr. Anderson the Bible, renewed his conversation.
“Mr. Conan, you believe and receive the entire Bible, do you not?” was Mr. Anderson’s first question.
“Yes, sir; every good Catholic does.”
“I knew you must; for in the footnote that I find here in 2 Peter, I read: ‘Every part of the Holy Scriptures was written by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and declared as such by the church.’ “
“Of course, Mr. Anderson, my belief is subject to the teaching of the church,” Mr. Conan added.
“Well, let us note what the Bible says.
Mr. Anderson Explains a Prophecy
“In the book of Daniel, chapter 7, we are told of a vision given the prophet, a vision which revealed to him four great beasts, — a lion, a bear, a leopard, and a beast without name. The footnote says, ‘Viz., the Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, and Roman empires.’ Of the correctness of this position there is no doubt.
“In the vision, the prophet saw ‘ten horns’ on the fourth beast, and the footnote reads, ‘Ten horns, that is, ten kingdoms among which the empire of the fourth beast shall be parceled.’ This too, without question, is correct; for between the years 351 A. D. and 476 A.D., the western empire was divided into exactly ten parts, — Franks, Alemanni, Burgundians, Suevi, Vandals, Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Ostrogoths, and Heruli.
“After the ten horns (or kingdoms) appeared, the prophet said, ‘another little horn sprung out of the midst of them: and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: and behold eyes like the eyes of a man were in his horn, and a mouth speaking great things.’ Between the years 493 A.D. and 538 A.D., exactly three of the horns (or kings) mentioned were plucked up, according to the prophecy. They were the Heruli, in Italy; the Vandals, in Africa; and the Ostrogoths, in Rome.”
“I am familiar with that history,” remarked Mr. Conan; “and you may be aware that they were overthrown because of their heretical positions, especially the Ostrogoths. The bishop of Rome was the one person who was in negotiation with the eastern empire for the cleansing of the eternal city.”
“Yes, you are right, Mr. Conan; it was a religious controversy that brought about the downfall of those three kingdoms. They were Arian in faith, and the church saw to it that they were annihilated,” said Mr. Anderson.
“But now mark: The horn that put them down had ‘a mouth speaking great things.’ Verse 8. In verse 24, this same horn is said to ‘bring down three things;’ and then the prophet adds, ‘And he shall think to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time.’
“I may not take time now to go largely into details, but will call your attention to the last feature of the description — that of the time. A ‘time’ is a year, even as the footnote here states. In this prophecy, it is a prophetic year, equal to 360 prophetic days. According to Ezekiel 4:6, a prophetic day equals a literal year. The scripture reads, ‘A day for a year, a day for a year I have appointed to thee.’ I have then the following:
Time ……………………………………… 360 years
Times …………………………………….. 720 years
Half a time ………………………………. 180 years
Total …………………………………1,260 years
“In Revelation 12:6, 14, this same period is clearly shown to be one thousand two hundred sixty days, or years; while in Revelation 13:5, it is stated to be ‘forty and two months’ (thirty days to the Jewish month), which gives the same number.”
Mr. Conan apparently approved, as he was logically obliged to do, the points thus far made, though it was clear he was beginning to see what must be to him an unwelcome conclusion.
“Twelve hundred sixty years is the time during which this little horn would ‘speak words,’ ‘crush the saints,’ and ‘think himself able to change the times and laws.’ What are the facts of history?
“In 533 A.D., Justinian, emperor of Eastern Rome, issued a decree declaring the bishop of Rome the corrector of heretics and ‘head over all the churches.’ Immediately the work of putting down Arianism was begun with new vengeance, in order that the decree might become effective; and the very next year, the Vandals were subjugated, this work being followed in 538 by the uprooting of the Ostrogoths. In 538 A.D., therefore, the bishop of Rome found himself the undisputed head of the great spiritual world, by royal decree, and from that date began his work outlined in the prophecy.
“Dating forward twelve hundred and sixty years from 538 A. D., we are brought down to 1798 A. D. Was that a remarkable year in the history of the church of which the bishop of Rome was head? Ah, that was the time when the army of France took the head of the church prisoner, broke the power he had so long wielded, and carried him into captivity. The prophecy of Daniel
was fulfilled almost to a day.”
“Mr. Anderson,” Mr. Conan said rather excitedly, “you are trying to prove the Catholic Church Antichrist. This is the worst thing I ever heard.”
“Pardon me, Mr. Conan; but have I not taken it all from your Bible, as you suggested?”
“Well, pass it for the present. What about the Sabbath change? You have not proved anything yet as to the matter with which we began.”
“Very good, let us proceed,” said Mr. Anderson.
“The prophecy definitely states that this little horn should ‘think himself able to change times and laws.’ What laws are pointed out? Read the whole verse and see. The horn is working against God, — against God’s name, against God’s people, and against God’s laws. And right here let me ask you a question: Does not your literature teach that the pope, speaking ex cathedra, has authority to set aside the words of Scripture for the good of the church?”
“I must acknowledge that it does.”
“Does not your catechism, which you have in your hand, actually set you a changed form of the law of God?”
“I do not know,” Mr. Conan replied.
Taking the catechism proffered, Mr. Anderson turned to the chapter devoted to the commandments, and read, at the same time comparing with Mr. Conan’s Bible.
“Now, Mr. Conan, notice. The fourth command is changed in your catechism, and calls for Sunday worship instead of Sabbath worship. And right over here the change is cited as proof that the church has authority to appoint other special days of service. In other words, your church actually confesses to changing the word of God. As you told me at the beginning, she changed the day.”
Evidence Acceptable in Any Court
Judge Kershaw had been only an interested listener. But now he spoke, saying: “Mr. Anderson has given evidence which would be accepted in any court of law. It is a case in which the defendant has been proved guilty not only by direct testimony of unimpeachable witnesses, but by his own confession as well.”
“Mr. Conan, these are hard things; but let me go a step further,” continued Mr. Anderson. “The Church of Rome has fulfilled another great prophecy, that of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, which speaks of the ‘man of sin,’ ‘the son of perdition,’ ‘who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple [the church] of God, showing himself that he is God.’ The pope has put himself above God in setting aside a portion of His law; he has assumed titles that belong to God only; he has allowed himself, as Christ’s pretended vicar, to receive worship and adoration; and all this has been in the temple — the church — of God. Is it not true, then, that the Church of Rome is the power that fulfills Daniel 7:25, and that changed the Sabbath of Jehovah?”
“Mr. Anderson, this is terrible. Do the priests know these things?”
“Yes, my brother, many of them do; and not only the priests, but Protestant ministers as well.”
He then read Ezekiel 22:26.
Mr. Conan seemed stunned, but in nowise resentful. He was on a mission for the church. What should he now do about it?