The 1260 Day Prophecy

Objection to be answered:
But didn't the Pope become weak, not strong after 538, because the Lombards invaded?

by Ulrike

A well known and respected scholar, has, in the past few weeks presented ideas on prophecy that is a CLEAR DEPARTURE from the very foundation of our understanding of prophecy, questioning the 1260 day/year prophecy.

He has termed it a "refreshing, new understanding" BUT it is really NOT NEW or REFRESHING at all. We have met these things in years past and feel deeply the disappointment because one whom we have looked to as a teacher and leader, seems to now have undertaken to upset the very foundation of our prophetic understanding.

In the following pages I will present why I believe our understanding is well founded--

Paragraph's from Prof. B's letter are printed in “brown”.

Prof. Bacchiocchi wrote: Justinian's triumph over the Ostrogoths in Italy was short lived. First, because under their new leader, Totila, the Ostrogoths quickly recaptured most of their lost territories. Second, because three years after Justinian's death in 565, another Germanic people, the Lombards, invaded the Italian peninsula and weakened the Papal power. In other words, the Papacy never really displaced three kingdoms or nations to establish its power.

We have already discussed the fact that it was “Totila” whose “recapturing of Rome” was very short lived.. (See Totila)

According to “A Survey of European History” by Ferguson and Bruun, page 157: “Theodoric (Ostrogothic king 493-526) works died with him. Factional strife broke out soon after his death, and by 555 the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy had been crushed by the armies of the eastern emperor, Justinian.

That hardly sounds like the Ostrogoths came back into control. Oh yes, there were some fierce battles fought, Italy suffered! BUT the Ostergoths NEVER “regained the “kingdom” which Theodoric had held-- and they were defeated--crushed. THE ROMAN CODE OF LAW was IN FORCE-- IN ROME--
And that law gave the POPE the LEGAL position as head of all churches with authority to deal with all heretics.

As for the Lombards--
Maybe one should ask why the Lombards were so opposed to the Papacy?
Remember what happened to the Ostrogoth kingdom in Italy. They were a Christian tribe which was actually quite civilized, and brought considerable stability to residence of Italy, but Justinian sent in his armies, routed them out of Rome in 538, set up the papacy as the defender of the faith, then proceeded to route out the Ostrogoths from the rest of Italy.

You see, Justinian himself was persecuting Christians who believed differently and these Christians had fled from Constantinople to Italy to be under the protection of Theodoric the Ostergoth King prior to 538-- The Goths granted religious toleration to their subjects.

History speaks much of the pagan persecution of Christians but for some strange reason turns a blind eye to Justinian who was very diligent in “discovering and rooting out” anyone who did not embrace the Catholic faith as he believed it.

Gibbon in “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” near the end of chapter 47 writes;

”The reign of Justinian was an uniform yet various scene of persecution; and he appears to have surpassed his indolent predecessors, both in the contrivance of his laws and the rigour of their execution. Three months were assigned for the conversion or exile of all heretics; and if he still connived at their precarious stay, they were deprived, under his iron yoke, not only the benefits of society, but of the common birthright of men and Christians…..On the approach of the Catholic priests and soldiers, they grasped with alacrity the crown of martyrdom;…but they were not extinguished, Under the protection of the Gothic confederates, the church of the Arians at Constantinople had braved the severity of the laws…. Thus the policy of “routing out heretics” was VERY MUCH part of Justinian's whole scheme of things. The LEGAL LAW entrusted this "job" to the papacy --
It was part of JUSTINIAN'S CODE that was put into effect IN ROME in 538--
The pope was to deal with the heretics and he willingly obliged to carry on the work of "dealing" with the heretics.

Yes, when Justinian’s armies withdrew from Italy, another tribe, named the Lombards invaded. In 568, they moved into northern Italy and occupied the great plain between the Alps and the Apennines, ever since called Lombardy. They wanted to establish their kingdom in Italy, and so pushed south. In 605 a truce was arranged between the emperor and the Lombards. It's rather interesting to note that the Lombards, during their earlier years in Italy tended to be disorganized with rivalry between the "dukes". But then they organized under a king and became quite civilized. However, the papacy stood in their way in forming their kingdom.

The Papacy was JUST A CHURCH, it shouldn’t have been that much of a problem. But the Papacy was NOT JUST A CHURCH, it was a political identity operating under a Christian cloak.

Interestingly the historian Carlton Hayes says,

“The activity of Popes and monks in Italy resulted in the conversion of the Lombards, the last of the Arians, to the Catholic Christianity. A Catholic Prince succeeded to the crown of the Lombards in 626 and at the close of the centure the Arian bishops in the kingdom renounced their heresy and accepted the Catholic faith.” (Ancient and Medieval History, p. 470)

So if the Lombards were, through the papal system, “converted” why the antagonism? Why not welcome them as the temporal rulers of Italy, while the Pope acted as the spiritual leader? Why? Because there could be no other temporal rulers in ROME except the Papacy!

The truth has another dimension-- the Lombards WERE converted, but NOT by the papal system. Here lies the great evil of the Papal supremacy system. The Lombards embraced a Christianity of a purer faith, then that of the papacy. Therefore they could NOT be allowed to control Italy.

History of course has been “rewritten” to paint the Catholic church as the “victim” and the Lombards as the barbarians. But it is interesting that it was WHEN the Lombards had "settled" into a civilized system and had embraced Christianity, that the Popes (Stephen II and later Hadrian I) moved to have the Franks come in and "defeat" Lombards, so they wouldn't gain the temporal rule of Rome.

Now when the Lombards first arrived they did conquer much of Italy BUT THEY DID NOT CONQUER ROME, Ravenna Naples and the extreme south. Also they were not united and civilization suffered.

But contrary to the assertation that they "weakened" the papacy...
They actually FREED the papacy from "emperor control" and helped (unintentionally) to further the "primacy" of the Pope.

Interesting quote from the book “A Survey of European History” Ferguson and Bruun page 195

“The Lombard kingdom itself was not strongly united. The Lombard dukes were always half independent….out of the chaos of this last barbarian invasion, one Italian power, THE ROMAN PAPACY, ROSE WITH GREATER AUTHORITY THAN EVER BEFORE. ….The Lombard conquests broke the power of the emperor over the pope, and in 590 the Roman Church found in Pope Gregory the Great leader who was to set the papacy back again on the road to independence and spiritual dominion in the West.
The imperial governor cut off from his superior at Ravenna, was powerless. It was the POPE WHO undertook the defence of the city, negotiated with the Lombards, and used his resources to maintain public works. Though still recognizing the over lordship of the emperor, Gregory made himself the practical ruler of Rome and the land about it.
Another interesting quote from Bruce Shelley's Book "Church History in Plain Language" shows that the Lombards actually INCREASED the Papal power. Pope Gregory III (731-741) vaulted the papacy to new heights during the time when the Lombards were taking over Italy. p."During Gregory's time the Church of Rome controlled extensive lands around Rome, in the toe and the heel of Italy and on Sicily. These were called the "patrimony of St. Peter.". These estates--something like 1,800 square miles-- made the Church the richest landowner in Italy..When the Lombards invaded central Italy, destroying the imperial administration in the process, officials of the "patrimony" stepped in to feed the population adn to collect the land taxes...the head of this tax and welfare system was Gregory.
Moreover, when Lombard attacks moved closer and closer to Rome, Gregory undertook the defense of central Italy. He appointed a military governor, and arranged peace with two Lombard leaders. As a reuslt, after 595 the pope was more important in Lombard politics than any imperial representative....After Gregory, the pope was no longer only a Christian leader; he was also an important political figure in European politics--God's Consul.
However-- the PAPACY always DEPENDED on some political power to be her “protector”. This is an element people tend to ignore ---
They think the Papacy should be a “kingdom” apart from the other political powers -- but that is not the case. The Papacy has always ridden on the backs of political powers.

-- It was imperial Rome that lifted her to power
-- It was getting the armies of Clovis that gave her power to “subdue” the Germanic tribes to “Christianity”.
-- the imperial governor in Ravenna for a while was her “protector”.
Why did the Pope run to the Frankish king for HELP against the Lombards? Because in 751 the Lombards took over Ravenna, where the imperial governor resided, and Pope was AFRAID that the Lombards would take over the rest of Italy as well. He didn’t want to call for help from the east, for he didn’t want to “give up” his independence that he had enjoyed away from the emperors demands, yet HE DID NOT WANT THE LOMBARDS to take away his KINGDOM-- he wanted temporal control of the imperial city. Now why would a spiritual leader be so concerned about ruling the imperial city of Rome? Shouldn’t simply being the spiritual leader of the people be enough?

However, it seems that even for those who "converted" to papal christianity, it was no sure thing that they would not be persecuted by the ORDER of the church. I mean the Lombards (who invaded Italy in the latter half of the sixth century) were "all converted" to Catholicism. A Catholic prince succeeded to the crown of the Lombards in 626. Yet they were a "problem" to the pope-- too much power too close to his seat, he was losing his "POLITICAL control" to the Lombards, so the Lombards were branded as "arians" even though they were not, and persecuted. So the pope runs to the Frank kings (further away) to come and exterminate the Lombards, and secure once again his, the pope's primacy and temporal power.

Says the historian Milman in “History of Latin Christianity Vol. 1, chapter 4

“The overthrow of the Gothic kingdom was to Italy an unmitigated evil. In their overthrow began the fatal policy of the Roman See, fatal at least to Italy…which never would permit a powerful native kingdom to unit Italy, or a very large part of it, under one dominion. Whatever it may have been to Christendom, the Papacy has been the eternal, implacable foe of Italian independence and Italian unity.” This is what we see in the situation with the Lombards. As long as the Lombards operated under the "feudal" program where the Lombard "dukes" were rivals of each other, the Popes had the "upper hand". But when they organized, and started setting up a united Italy, (which would include Rome) THEN the Pope, fearing the Lombards were becoming too powerful for his comfort ran to Pepin and his Franks to come and "crush" and kill them so he, the POPE could rule and hold the "upper hand". Pepin marched an army into Italy, took away from the Lombards the Italian territory which they had just conquered from the Roman (Byzantine) empire, and gave it back to the Roman "pontiffs" (remember that word "Pontifex Maximus" used to belong to the Roman Emperor)

For example, in, DISPENSATIONAL TRUTH, Clarence Larkin wrote:

Julius Caesar was made Pontiff of the Etruscan Order in B.C. 74. In B.C. 63, he was made "Supreme Pontiff" of the "Babylonian Order," thus becoming heir to the rights and title of Attalus, Pontiff of Pergamos, who made Rome his heir by will. Thus the first Roman Emperor became the head of the "Babylonian Priesthood," and Rome the successor of Babylon. The Emperors of Rome continued to exercise the office of "Supreme Pontiff" until A.D. 376, when Emperor Gratian, for Christian reasons, refused it. The Bishop of the Church at Rome, Damasus, was elected to the position. Remember too, back in Pope Gregory's time, the Church of Rome already controlled extensive lands-- called the "patrimony of St. Peter". These became the "Papal States" which Pepin restored to the Papacy.

And so Pepin returned the lands to the "Supreme Pontiff", who had inherited that title from the Roman Emperor, and now the barbaric tribes, with the sword of Pepin, "legalized" their recognition that the Pope was indeed the rightful successor to the Roman throne. The Pope, in exchange, consented to Pepin's becoming king of the Franks.

This move only confirmed that Justinian's law--which gave the Pope supremacy, was STILL in force and recognized by the barbaric tribe.

Yet why should the POPE be the "Supreme" king any more than the head of any of the Protestant churches? Such a kingship requires a union of church and state. Why call one "barbaric" tribe to attempt to exterminate another "barbaric" tribe and send Italy back into disorganized "feudal" type systems? Why? Because the Papacy would never willingly give up his "supremacy" and will do anything to maintain it.

Does history show that the Papacy was displacing tribes in order for her to maintain her "supremacy"? The answer is "YES!"

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