Lamb’s Book | Chapter 5 | When Was Jesus Found Worthy?
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14)
Revelation 5 does not indicate when Jesus was found worthy to receive the book sealed with seven seals. For 18 centuries, Bible scholars used some of Paul’s writing and assumed that Jesus was found worthy shortly after His ascension since John did not reveal specific timing for the seals. This assumption has caused confusion because scholars have not been able to produce a consistent explanation for the nature and purpose of the book or the seven seals. During the 19th century, some Christians accepted the idea of a pre-tribulation rapture and today, many scholars now believe that Revelation 5 will occur after Christians are raptured from Earth. It is interesting that both assumptions result in the idea that no one needs to understand the seven seals because they were fulfilled centuries ago or they will be broken after Christians are in Heaven. Both explanations are harmful.
I believe the Bible indicates the scene in Revelation 5 occurred in 1798. My conclusion is based on the understanding that God has linked certain events in Heaven with certain events on Earth. God knows that we cannot see events occurring in Heaven, so He has aligned prophetic events in Heaven with events on Earth. This linkage enables us to determine the dates for specific events occurring in Heaven by observing when linked events occur on Earth. I like to call this linkage, the Heaven Earth Linkage Law. When diagrammed, the law looks like the following chart:
The Importance of Prophetic Chronology
God placed the key to dating the scene in Revelation 5 in the book of Daniel. The books of Daniel and Revelation flow together as one book, written by two men separated from each other by six centuries. These two books tell one story and they are inseparably linked by seven different events. They use the same rules of interpretation because they contain the same type of prophecy.
The book of Daniel contains five prophecies and the book of Revelation contains twelve prophecies. Many Bible students overlook the importance of Daniel’s prophecies because they do not understand the intimate relationship between Daniel and Revelation. The prophecies in Daniel are fascinating for three reasons:
First, Daniel’s prophecies reveal a series of events which God foresaw. Think of these events as historical milestones which occur in chronological order. God described the same event in different prophecies to ensure that human beings can reach the conclusion that God intended. This repetition and enlargement are very beneficial because events in Daniel’s prophecies can be aligned with each other. When the elements in each prophecy are aligned chronologically, they create a historical matrix that looks something like this:
Example of a Prophetic Matrix
Consider this matrix and notice that Prophecy 1 has four events and Prophecy 2 has three events. Suppose that event “A” and event “E” are two descriptions of the same event therefore, Prophecy 1 and Prophecy 2 have the same starting date. The starting date of each prophecy is important because the elements within a prophecy are given in chronological order. Let us suppose the date for event “D” in Prophecy 1 cannot be determined from the information in Prophecy 1, but the date for event “G” in Prophecy 2 can be determined with the information in Prophecy 2. If event “G” and event “D” are the same event, then we can know the date for event “D.” This is the beauty of the matrix when the multiple events in the prophecies of the books of Daniel and Revelation are aligned. The matrix reveals answers to questions that could not be otherwise resolved.
The seventeen prophecies in Daniel and Revelation create a large and intricate matrix. This matrix includes every prophetic event mentioned in these two books. Because each prophecy in Daniel and Revelation flows in chronological order, identified events within the prophecies align perfectly. When all seventeen prophecies are viewed together, they produce one amazing story! No single prophecy stands alone; each prophecy contributes information that no other prophecy offers. The matrix allows us to identify which prophecies have been fulfilled and the prophecies that remain to be fulfilled. We can discover how and when events in Heaven and on Earth align through the Heaven Earth Linkage Law! You may need to consider this matrix for a few minutes because it produces answers to questions that are otherwise impossible to find, including when the scene in Revelation 5 occurs.
The second fascinating element in Daniel’s prophecies is that Daniel links several events in Heaven with events on Earth. For example, Daniel describes a scene in Heaven where Jesus is inaugurated (Daniel 7:13,14) and he links it with the termination of the little horn’s power. Daniel mentions the cleansing of Heaven’s temple (Daniel 8:14) and he links it with the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Daniel reveals the date of Christ’s death on the cross and this is linked to John’s description of the war in Heaven. (Daniel 9:24-27; Revelation 12:7-9) Daniel mentions a day will come when Michael will arise from His throne in Heaven and God will pour His wrath on the wicked on Earth (Daniel 12:1) and John links this day with the beginning of the seven bowls. (Revelation 16) Because Heavenly events are associated with Earthly events, the “Heaven Earth Linkage Law” and the prophetic matrix are very important tools for the Bible student. Centuries ago, God hid these tools in plain sight. God designed that when the right time arrives, Bible students would completely understand apocalyptic prophecy.
Finally, the stories and prophecies in the book of Daniel are fascinating because a complete understanding provides enormous encouragement and inspiration. For example, these prophecies tell us that from the beginning, God has a master plan and He has been faithfully following this plan for millennia! God’s plan is on time even though He has been executing His master plan for thousands of years. In fact, there is no haste or delay with God because with God, timing is everything. God sealed the keys of a wonderful trove of information to make the book of Daniel really valuable when the appointed time of the end arrives! (Daniel 12:4,9; 8:19) The Father did this because He has something to say to the final generation that He has not revealed to previous generations.
God’s message to the final generation is huge. The Father wants everyone on Earth to know who Jesus really is and what He is all about. Approximately 75% of the world does not know Jesus or recognize Jesus as Deity, so the revelation of Jesus Christ as Almighty God will come as a huge shock to billions of people. Interestingly, most Christians will be surprised as well! Approximately two-thirds (or more) of the Christian world worships an icon they call Jesus. However, most Christians do not really know who Jesus is or what Jesus is about. When Christ’s supreme authority over Earth is revealed, the Deity of Jesus Christ will also come as a huge shock to them!
The Father foreknew that after 6,000 years of sin’s curse, the people of Earth would degenerate into a condition like Noah’s day. (Matthew 24:37-39) The Father has a gospel of present truth for the final generation, because He wants to save as many people as possible. He wants the last generation to understand His actions, His purposes, and His love. During the great tribulation He will speak to the world through the lips of His servants, the 144,000, and our response to His gospel will determine our eternal destiny.
We can use this foundational information to learn when Jesus received the book sealed with seven seals in Revelation 5.
Dating Revelation 5
Now that you are acquainted with the Heaven Earth Linkage Law and the concept of the matrix which the books of Daniel and Revelation produce, you need to know that dating the scene in Revelation 5 involves three steps. They are:
- Timing the elements in Daniel 2
- Timing the elements in Daniel 7
- Aligning Daniel 7 with Revelation 5
Step 1 – Timing the Elements in Daniel 2
The first step in this process is to position the prophetic elements in Daniel 2. This prophecy is simple and straightforward. (Note: If you wish to investigate the prophecies of Daniel more thoroughly, please see my books, Daniel: Unlocked for the Final Generation and Jesus’ Final Victory. These books can be freely downloaded from our website or inexpensive copies can be ordered.)
Jesus gave the vision recorded in Daniel 2 to King Nebuchadnezzar around 600 B.C. While in vision the king of Babylon saw the image of a metal man made of different metals. While the king was studying the metal man, a large rock came out of the sky and destroyed it leaving no trace of the image. Later, Daniel interpreted the vision for the king and told him that the metal man represented six kingdoms that would occur in chronological order. Then, God of Heaven (the Rock) would come down from the sky, utterly destroy the kingdoms of men, and establish a seventh kingdom that would never end.
This vision has been unfolding for 26 centuries! Today, we are living in the time period of the feet which represents the kingdom of Europe. Notice the chronological order and the duration of the kingdoms below:
|2||Chest||Silver||Medes & Persians||538-331 B.C.|
|4.||Legs||Iron||Rome||168 B.C.- A.D. 476|
|5.||Feet||Iron and Clay||Europe||476 to Present Time|
|6.||Toes||Iron and Clay||10 Kings||Future|
Many Christians do not realize that the vision of the metal man has another dimension besides time. Now that we have observed the chronological progression of this vision, consider the geographical expansion of this vision over the past 26 centuries. Notice that this vision does not include the whole world until the kingdom of the toes arrives! (Daniel 2:42)
As you examine the list below, think of an archery target. King Nebuchadnezzar’s vision starts with one kingdom in the center of the target. The “bull’s eye” is the first kingdom, the tiny empire of Babylon:
- The kingdom of Babylon – which was about the size of California
- The kingdom of the Medes and Persians – about the size of Nigeria, two times the size of California
- The kingdom of Grecia – about the size of Alaska, four times the size of California
- The kingdom of Rome – about the size of Siberia, 12 times the size of California
- The kingdom of Europe – about 24 times the size of California
- The kingdom of the Toes – the whole world
For the past 1,540 years through the date of this book, this vision has centered on the feet. The feet represent the continent of Europe which consists of some strong nations (represented by iron) and some weak nations (represented by clay). By divine decree, the strong nations have never been able to eliminate the weak nations! The kingdom of the feet will continue to exist until the time arrives for the kingdom of the toes (which are also made up of iron and clay). During the forthcoming kingdom of the toes, God will give ten kings authority over the whole world. (Compare Daniel 2:42 with Revelation 17:12.)
Consider the chart below and notice how the centuries unfold. The first four kingdoms span 1,081 years (from the rise of Babylon to the fall of Rome) and the kingdom of the feet spans 1,540 years thus far. When the time comes for the kingdom of the toes, I believe they will rule over the world for about nine months.
Not drawn to scale
Now that we have aligned the timing of the metal man vision with generally accepted historical data, we have a simple but powerful chronological framework. We have also noticed an expanding geographical framework. Soon, there will be a global upheaval on Earth and during the time ten kings rule over the world the Bible says, “In the time of those kings, the God of Heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)
Step 2 – Timing the Elements in Daniel 7
We will now proceed with the timing of the elements we can identify in Daniel 7. (For further study, please see my books, Daniel: Unlocked for the Final Generation and Jesus’ Final Victory.) As you study the diagram below consider two features: First, God often uses repetition and enlargement. Traditionally, students of Bible prophecy have understood the first four kingdoms in Daniel 7 (represented by the lion, bear, leopard and monster beast) are the same kingdoms as the first four kingdoms represented by the metal man (represented by the head, chest, thighs and legs). God used repetition and enlargement to eliminate confusion in two areas. First, He wants us to date the kingdoms in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 in history because dating these kingdoms moves us forward chronologically toward the establishment of His eternal kingdom. Second, repetition and enlargement locks down the identity of the four involved empires. This lock down is important because there were many empires on Earth during this time. However, the book of Daniel is not concerned with empires in places like India, Asia, Africa or the Western Hemisphere. Repetition and enlargement helps us understand that the legs of iron in Daniel 2 and the monster beast in Daniel 7 cover the same time period and they are the same kingdom (Rome).
Because we want to date the scene in Revelation 5, study the diagram below and notice that God inserted a period of 1,260 years (Daniel 7) into the time period for the feet (Daniel 2). The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation tell one story in chronological order and because all of the prophecies link together, they form a timely matrix. Notice in the diagram below that the Little Horn power in Daniel 7 ruled over Europe for 1,260 years and how this time period easily fits into the larger time period for the feet. This insertion is important because the time Jesus was found worthy in Heaven is directly associated with the termination of the little horn’s power on Earth in 1798. When we examine some details in Daniel 7, we will see that the Heaven Earth Linkage Law clearly ties these two events together. This linkage enables us to date Revelation 5!
Not drawn to scale
The Monster Beast in Daniel 7 Represents Rome
Because many Christians do not understand the vision described in Daniel 7, we must further consider some background information so we can appreciate the importance of 1798. (For an in depth discussion on these prophecies, please see Chapters 1 and 3 in my book, Daniel: Unlocked for the Final Generation and Chapters 9 and 10 in my book, Jesus, The Alpha and The Omega.)
Daniel wrote, “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast– terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns. While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully. . . Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.” (Daniel 7:7,8,19,20)
Daniel was frightened by this monster beast and wanted to know the truth about the fourth beast, the ten horns, and the little horn. If we are going to determine the identity of the fourth beast and the little horn that arose out of the monster beast, we have to consider a dozen specifications of the beast. With these specifications, we can identify a world power from past centuries that was very bold, powerful, blasphemous, and deadly that transitions to a power adored and respected by millions of people today. This transition is important to understand because God is not impressed with changing tides of public opinion. He sees the world in a very different light than human beings.
The truth that unfolds from this prophecy is not popular nor politically correct today, but a few centuries ago, the Protestants had no question about the identity of the fourth beast and the little horn power. Because the Protestant reformation died a century ago, many Protestant pastors and scholars now refuse to accept the truth about the identity of the fourth beast, its ten horns, and its little horn because the truth has become offensive. Nevertheless, sincere Bible students know that since God is the author of prophecy, those who love truth must follow it wherever it leads. Jesus said truth seekers are the kind of people whom God loves. (John 4:23)
God identifies the fourth beast and the little horn that grew out of it with a dozen specifications:
- The monster beast is the fourth empire in this vision.
- The monster beast has unusual strength and it stomps its enemies.
- The monster beast is different from the other beasts; it has crushing teeth of iron.
- Out of the monster beast, ten horns (representing kings/kingdoms) will arise.
- After the ten horns appear, a little horn will rise. As it rises to power, it will uproot three of the original horns – leaving a total of eight.
- As the little horn grows and becomes powerful, it exhibits the same fierce qualities of its parent, the monster beast.
- Eventually, the little horn dominates the other seven horns.
- The little horn has a mouth; it blasphemes God by usurping His authority.
- The little horn has eyes; it seeks out the saints of the Most High and wars against them for 1,260 years.
- The little horn “thinks” it has authority to change God’s times and laws.
- The little horn will endure until the end of the world; in fact, it will speak boastfully during the great tribulation.
- The monster beast and the little horn will be destroyed by fire at the Second Coming.
If we look at the specifications for the first three beasts in Daniel 7 and consider the twelve specifications concerning the fourth beast, history allows no leeway regarding the identity of this monster. Starting with the empire of Babylon, the fourth empire is Rome. Rome came to power after the fall of Grecia in 168 B.C. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross and destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Rome fell as an empire in 476 A.D. The ten horns that caused the fall of the empire represent ten ethnic nations that divided Rome. They were the Ostrogoths, Heruli, Franks, Vandals, Lombards, Visigoths, Suevi, Burgundians, Alamanni and the Anglo-Saxons.
The little horn that grew out of the ashes of Rome was the Roman Catholic Church. As the church grew in power, it was instrumental in “uprooting” three of the original ten horns, the Ostrogoths, Heruli, and Vandals. By A.D. 538, the little horn in Daniel 7 began ruling over the remaining seven horns of Europe. This reign lasted 1,260 years.
The Little Horn Persecutes the Saints for 1,260 Years
One of the specifications of the little horn involves a 1,260 year period of time. Given the enormous length of this slice of world history, the specifications and identity of the fourth beast, the records of European history, and the geographical location of Christianity (Europe), no religious entity other than the Roman Catholic Church meets the specifications for the little horn. The angel said to Daniel, “And he [the little horn] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they [the saints] shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Daniel 7:25, KJV, insertions mine) We will limit our focus to two phrases in this text to assist us in dating the scene in Revelation 5. “He shall speak great words against the most High” and “they [the saints] shall be given into his hand until a time, and times and the dividing of time.”
European history has documented the course of the Catholic Church through the centuries and Protestants should be concerned. The history of the Catholic Church runs parallel to that of ancient Israel and Protestantism has fared no better. All three religious systems are guilty of the same sin. They displaced God’s Word with man-made traditions and ended up in apostasy. There are many honest and sincere individuals within Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism (and for that matter, all world religions). These individuals love God (as they know Him) and they faithfully uphold and adhere to their beliefs, but Daniel 7 is not about individuals. This prophecy is about a religious system. Many Jews, Catholics, and Protestants have not had any reason to question their religious system and God certainly understands this. However, in days to come, many honest individuals will be shocked and overwhelmed to learn that their religious system is blasphemous in God’s sight. Unfortunately, many of the doctrines and ideas taught by their religious system have no basis or authority whatsoever.
Basis for Roman Catholic Doctrine
Currently, the Roman Catholic Church seems more popular than ever. Wherever the pope travels, large crowds greet him expressing appreciation, worship, and joy. This popularity makes the church appear benevolent, generous, loving, and charitable (this may be attributed to the affable personalities of Pope John Paul II and the present Pope Francis), but do not be fooled. As a religious system, the church has an iron backbone and history indicates that when the Church is not in a position to dictate, it “will go along to get along.”
We need to step back in time and consider the absence of religious freedom when popes ruled over the kings of Europe during the Dark Ages. During that time period, Catholicism acted differently when it had absolute power. European history indicates the Catholic Church during the Dark Ages acted similarly to the Taliban when it ruled over Afghanistan. The following statements reflect some interesting thoughts about Catholic doctrine and belief.
Statement #1 (The Church Determines the Teachings of the Bible): “That a person with no other equipment than a knowledge of the English language and a seventeenth century English translation of the Bible in his hands is qualified to decide all matters of eternal consequence for himself and the rest of mankind, is the ridiculous conclusion to which the principle of private judgment can finally be brought. In such a process, the countless generations of devout people who have lived and died according to other beliefs simply count for nothing. The centuries of thought and prayer that have gone into the interpretation of the Bible for all these generations likewise count for nothing.” [Some Bible Beliefs Have to Be Wrong!, Booklet #68, page 5, (1963), Imprimatur: Most Reverend John F. Whealon, Archbishop of Hartford, Knights of Columbus.]
Statement #2 (The Bible Needs an Interpreter): “Since the Catholic Church holds that the Bible is not sufficient in itself, it naturally teaches that the Bible needs an interpreter. The reason the Catholic Church so teaches is twofold: first, because Christ established a living church to teach with His authority. He did not simply give His disciples a Bible, whole and entire, and tell them to go out and make copies of it for mass distribution and allow people to come to whatever interpretation they may. Second, the Bible itself states that it needs an interpreter. . . . The Holy Spirit was given to the Church by Jesus Christ, and it is exactly this same Spirit who protects the Church’s visible head, the Pope, and the teaching authority of the Church by never permitting him or it to lapse into error.” [Scripture Alone? 21 Reasons to Reject Sola Scriptura, pages 21, 26, (1999), Joel Peters, Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., Rockford, Il.]
Statement #3 (The Pope is Infallible When Speaking Ex Cathedra): “We teach and define it to be a dogma divinely revealed that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when acting in his office as pastor and teacher of all Christians, by his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church through the divine assistance promised him in Blessed Peter, he enjoys that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals; and therefore such definitions of the said Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.” [The Papacy, Expression of God’s Love, page 29, (undated), Imprimatur: Most Reverend John J. Carberry, Archbishop of St. Louis, Knights of Columbus.]
Although you may not have heard these three concepts discussed, they are the bedrock of Catholic doctrine. In fact, these nonnegotiable themes spurred a Bible-based revolt during the 16th and 17th centuries and later, the “protesters” became known as Protestants.
Before we leave this section, one last concept must be considered. Many Catholics have not had any reason to objectively consider the Protestant experience or consider the teachings of Daniel 7. When presented with information that puts the Catholic Church in an unfavorable light, denial is the usual human response. Sincere Catholics cannot imagine or believe that their church system, the church they love, could be the little horn in Daniel 7! Even the recent exposure that many Catholic priests had been sexually abusing children for decades and their superiors covered these atrocities is interpreted by laymen as a problem with bad priests, not a bad church system.
Because truth can be inconvenient at times and truth is not always on our side, truth separates people. Attorney Richard J. Humpal once said, “When a man who is honestly mistaken hears the truth, he will either quit being mistaken or cease being honest.” This segment in our study is not focused on bashing the Roman Catholic Church. This segment is focused on identifying the little horn in Daniel 7 because God linked the fall of the Roman Catholic Church with a very important event, the date Jesus was found worthy and inaugurated! Because God’s Word is truth, it is important to understand and cherish truth no matter where it may lead.
The last resort of false religion is force. False religion will violate its own tenants to maintain its power over the people. The Jews did this to crucify Jesus, the Catholics did this to Protestants during the Reformation, and the Taliban have done this to Afghans. Religious conflict emanates hatred and hatred makes people cruel. On the other hand, freedom in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:17) is all about respect and sincerity, love for God and one another. God never approves when we violate His commandments. He has a thousand ways of solving problems that we know nothing about. True religion always embodies compassion and kindness. The beauty of Christianity is found in the joy of discovering our Creator and walking closely with Him from faith to faith, day by day.
Daniel 7:25 says the little horn would wear out God’s saints, “they [the saints] shall be given into his hand [for example, the hand of the little horn] for a time, times and half a time!” (insertions mine) This verse should cause everyone who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture to rethink this position because this verse indicates that God Himself gave His saints over to the little horn to be persecuted for more than a thousand years! If a God of love subjected His saints to persecution for 1,260 years, the final generation should not expect to escape the coming persecution that will last 42 lunar months. (Revelation 13:5) Instead of delivering the saints from persecution, God handed His people over to the little horn for 1,260 years! Here are two reasons why a loving and all-wise God of love might do this:
First, persecution keeps God’s people on their knees and their focus in His Word because this is where faith, strength, and peace are found. When life is easy, faith evaporates. Prayer becomes shallow and Bible study doesn’t get very deep. Moses warned Israel: “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14)
During the Dark Ages, the saints laboriously copied many Bibles, or portions thereof, by hand so that people could have the Word of God to study. The saints loved and honored the Word of God and in millions of cases, the Church sent them to the stake because the saints held God’s Word in higher esteem than life itself. God gave His saints to the little horn so that His Word would endure. Otherwise, God’s Word would have disappeared just as surely as the ancient parchments on which its earliest manuscripts were written.
Persecution also develops or eliminates faith. Give up faith and lose the persecution or live by faith and overcome the persecution. Persecution makes God’s Word extremely precious. Ironically, God handed His saints over to the little horn to keep faith alive. The circumstances that cause faith to grow are the very circumstances that human nature hates the most! The selfish desires of the carnal nature include the pursuit or possession of pleasure, prosperity, power, unchallenged authority, limitless amounts of money, fame, and respect. On the other hand, our spiritual nature flourishes when faith becomes the air we breathe. Truth is precious to the spiritual nature and it has greater value than life itself. Abiding in the Lord and obeying the Lord is the essence of life with Christ. The Church in Rome wrongly used its power for political instead of spiritual reasons. Faith became a religious paradigm instead of a religious experience. Even today, people typically ask, “What faith are you?” Wouldn’t it be better to ask, “What is your faith experience?” In summary, God wisely gave the saints over to persecution to preserve the Bible and to keep the faith of Jesus alive for 1,260 years!
What Is a Time, Times, and Half a Time?
Daniel 7:25 says the saints would be given over to the little horn for a time, times, and half a time. The phrase “a time (360 years), times (720 years) and half a time (180 years)” amounts to 1,260 years in length. This span of time began in A.D. 538 and ended in February 1798. (One system of tracking time is called the Jubilee Calendar. I believe this calendar was in effect between 1437 B.C. and A.D. 1994. During this time frame, a day in Bible prophecy is equivalent to a year of actual time. For an in depth discussion on the operation of the Jubilee Calendar, please see Chapter 6 in my book, Daniel: Unlocked for the Final Generation and Appendix A, “The Importance of 1994” in my book, Jesus’ Final Victory.)
Until the sixteenth century A.D., men believed the Earth stood still and the Sun orbited our planet. Israel used 360 degrees of arc to represent a completed circle or cycle of the Sun. The Jews did not count a year as 365 days because there was either 354 or 384 days in their religious year. God gave Israel a solar/lunar calendar at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 12:1) to measure time and the cycles of the Sun and Moon determine the number of days in a year. Since the Sun appears to move about one degree of arc per day between equinoxes, using 360 degrees of arc (the number of degrees in a circle) to represent the length of a year was a practical method for measuring “a time.” This type of averaging was also done for the length of a month. Even though a month is actually 29.53 days, the ancients counted a month (or a moon) as 30 days for purposes of calculation.
The Aramaic word, ‘hiddan, is translated “a time” in Daniel 7:25 (and it is used elsewhere in Daniel). This word refers to “a set time” or “a turning.” The word, ‘hiddan can mean a set time like New Year’s Day or it can be used to indicate “the turn” of the Sun when a new year begins. At the spring and fall equinoxes, the Sun appears to reverse its daily direction, hence the idea of turning is found in the word ‘hiddan.
Revelation 12:14 also contains the phrase “a time, times and a half a time,” and according to Revelation 12:6, this phrase represents 1,260 days. Some people question if the word “times” could mean more than two times. Actually, the word “times” can only be two times. Follow this logic: First, if we compare Revelation 12:6 with 12:14, we find that 1,260 days are “a time, times and half a time.” Second, if “times” indicates more than two times, the span of time cannot be determined because no one knows how many “times” are indicated. Finally, historical evidence confirms that God had 1,260 years in mind when He defined this time period. The number of days in “a time, times and half a time” is determined by the following formula:
- One time of the Sun equals one circle of 360 degrees of arc.
- Two times of the Sun equals two circles of 360 degrees of arc or 720 degrees.
- Half a time equals half a circle or 180 degrees of arc.
- Total: 1,260 degrees of arc
Scholars accept that God gave the Jews a calendar in which a day of the week represented a year; a week of seven days equaled seven years. (See Leviticus 25; Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:5,6.) Many Bible students understand the 70 weeks mentioned in Daniel to represent 490 years (that is, 70 weeks times seven days equals 490 days, and if each day represents a year, 70 weeks represent 490 years). If God used the Jubilee calendar to measure the 70 weeks in Daniel 9, it would be consistent to define the 1,260 days in Daniel 7 as 1,260 years because both time periods fall within the time frame of the Jubilee Calendar.
Even though Protestants in past centuries did not properly understand how the Jubilee Calendar worked, they did conclude the Church’s power would end after 1,260 years. They believed that history and prophecy were in perfect harmony and several Protestants predicted the “wounding” of papal power before the event actually occurred in 1798. Amazingly, twenty-two centuries earlier, God revealed the little horn power to the prophet Daniel and told him it would persecute God’s saints for 1,260 years. The power of the Catholic Church over Europe (the feet of the metal man) was broken in February 1798 when, during the French Revolution, General Berthier took the pope captive and put him in exile.
Step 3 – Aligning Daniel 7 with Revelation 5
History leaves no latitude about the identity of the fourth beast or the little horn. The fourth beast is Rome and the little horn is the Roman Catholic Church, the only religious entity that meets the specifications given in Daniel 7. Daniel 7:25 does not explicitly say when the 1,260 years of persecution would begin or end. However, by evaluating history and prophecy, we can determine these dates. The Bible says the little horn would prevail against the saints until the Ancient of Days took His seat in Heaven’s courtroom and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints! (Daniel 7:21,22)
Historians say the French Revolution ended the power of the Catholic Church over Europe in 1798. However, there is more to the story. A Heavenly process was involved in this story that historians do not see. Daniel 7 does not give a starting or ending date for the 1,260 years because God wants us to understand that man did not determine the end of the 1,260 years. God removed the Roman Catholic Church from power so that it could not persecute the saints any longer. When the Ancient of Days took His seat in Heaven’s courtroom and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints, He placed a restraining order on the authority and power of the Catholic Church in 1798. Daniel 7:20 aligns these events for us: “The same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; until the Ancient of days came [to the court room and took His seat].” Using the Heaven Earth Linkage Law, we find the 1,260 years ended because the Ancient of Days took His seat in Heaven (Daniel 7:9) and issued the restraining order. The pope was arrested in February 1798.
Counting backwards 1,260 years from 1798, we arrive at year A.D. 538 which is a date that can be justified as the date papal dominion began. In A.D. 533, Justinian issued a very important decree. This decree gave the pope authority to determine who was an orthodox Christian and who was not. The emperor Justinian issued this decree because he wanted to revive the broken empire of Rome and he dictated that everyone must be or become a Christian to be a member of the Holy Roman Empire. Justinian decreed that the pope was the proper person to determine who was orthodox. When Justinian issued the decree in 533, the pope was unable to function as the detector of orthodox Christians. He was involved in a different war of his own which included an argument over whether Jesus was a created being or an eternal being. Five years after Justinian issued the decree, Justinian’s general, Belisarious, overcame the Italians in A.D. 538 and this enabled the pope to begin functioning according to Justinian’s decree. By A.D. 538, three of the original tribal nations, the Ostrogoths, Heruli and Vandals, had been uprooted. The timing of these events is not coincidence. Clearly, God measures the time, a times and half a time recorded in Daniel 7 as 1,260 days. Using the Jubilee Calendar in which a day represents a year, the Catholic Church’s authority over Europe began in A.D. 538 and ended in 1798. God emphasized this same time-period again in Revelation 12:6 and 12:14! In the final days of Earth’s history, the final generation will need to understand this huge slice of time. This specification for the little horn will help billions of people to see and understand that a revived and modern papacy is not what they think it is.
Jesus Was Found Worthy and Inaugurated in 1798
The apostle Paul saw in a vision that a day was coming when the Father would give Jesus sovereign authority over everything in Heaven and on Earth. (2 Corinthians 12:2-7) Paul also knew that the Father would recuse Himself from the throne after giving Jesus sovereign authority so that Jesus could resolve the sin problem according to the Father’s plan. (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) Even though Paul does not mention the book sealed with seven seals, we do know that about 25 years after Jesus ascended, Paul wrote about a future day when Jesus would take over the throne and exercise authority over everything in Heaven and on Earth. He wrote: “And He [the Father] made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in Heaven and on Earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9,10, insertion mine)
Paul also knew that Jesus would return the authority which the Father gave Him. Notice Paul’s words: “Then the end [of sin’s drama] will come, when He [Jesus] hands over the kingdom [returns everything given to Him] to God the Father after He [Jesus] has destroyed all dominion, authority and power [the kingdoms of men on Earth – remember the rock in the metal man vision?]. For He [Jesus] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death [the curse of sin]. For He [the Father] ‘has put everything under his feet.’ Now when it says that “everything” has been put under Him [Jesus], it is clear that this does not include God [the Father] Himself, who put everything under Christ. When He [Jesus] has done this [resolved the sin problem], then the Son himself will be made subject to Him [the Father] who put everything under Him, so that God [the Father] may be [above] all [and] in all.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28, insertions mine)
Six hundred years before Paul was born, Daniel also saw the event when Jesus was coronated. Notice his words: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of Heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13,14)
I understand that the Father gave Jesus sovereign power in 1798 because the context in Daniel 7:9,10 points to 1798. After the Father convened a great meeting in Heaven, one of the first things He did was to issue a restraining order against the little horn (the papacy). This restraining order ended 1,260 years of persecution. Because the Heaven Earth Linkage Law aligns the fall of the papacy with Jesus going before the Father, we have a date for the scenes which Daniel, Paul, and John saw in vision.
An apparent conflict exists because Jesus seems to have been given sovereign power and a kingdom in 1798. (An apparent conflict occurs when two Bible verses appear to say contradictory things.) Notice Jesus’ words just before He returned to Heaven: “Then Jesus came to them [His disciples] and said, ‘All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19,20, insertions mine)
The conflict arises because Jesus said that “all authority has been given to me” in A.D. 30 (at the time of His ascension), but according to prophetic timing Jesus received sovereign authority in 1798. The resolution to this conflict is that when it became clear that Israel would not accept Jesus as the Messiah and Jesus would not be able to establish the kingdom of God on Earth, the Father implemented “Plan B.” According to this new plan, Jesus would not remain on Earth as “Plan A” required. Before Jesus returned to Heaven, the Father gave Jesus “all authority” to establish and manage a religious body (His church) on Earth. This transition between “Plan A” and “Plan B” is highlighted by two texts:
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus said, “ ‘The time has come,’ He [Jesus] said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’ ” (Mark 1:15) If Israel had cooperated with God and received Jesus as the Messiah, God would have established His kingdom on Earth as predicted in Daniel 9. “Seventy ‘sevens’ [weeks] are decreed for your people. . . . to bring in everlasting righteousness . . . and to anoint the Most Holy [One of Israel – Isaiah 1:4].” (Daniel 9:24) Under “Plan A,” if Israel had received Jesus as the Messiah, Jesus would not have returned to Heaven. Instead, He would have stayed on Earth and after His death, He would have ruled on Earth from David’s throne. (1 Kings 9:5) (For a discussion on the properties of “Plan A,” please see Appendix B in my book, Jesus’ Final Victory.)
When it became clear that “Plan A” could not be implemented, God put “Plan B” in motion. Jesus said to Peter: “And I tell you that you are Peter [a tiny pebble], and [but] on this rock [pointing to Himself, the Rock of the ages – Psalms 18:2; 78:35] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) God replaced His kingdom (Plan A) with His church (Plan B). Therefore, when Jesus ascended He did have “all authority” over His church, but He did not have sovereign authority over Heaven and Earth. This is proven by the fact that Daniel saw Jesus receive sovereign authority in 1798 and some twenty-five years after Jesus ascended, Paul pointed forward to a day when Jesus would be given authority over everything in Heaven and on Earth!
The Father waited to give Jesus sovereign authority because from the beginning, the Father foreknew everything about the rise of sin. To resolve the sin problem, the Father set a date (even before sin began) when He would give up His authority and throne. Because the Father foreknew that He would become the target of many accusations and lies, He chose to recuse Himself from the process of exonerating Himself. This is why He wrote the book and sealed it with seven seals. It is also why a careful and thorough investigation was conducted throughout the universe to find someone worthy to receive the book and break the seals. The Father’s character and government are at stake. God’s use of foreknowledge and omnipotence must be revealed and He must rescue and destroy sinners in a way that no one can levy a charge of unfairness or injustice against Him. All these steps had to be carried out with precision according to the plan which God created before sin began. Someone had to be found who was trustworthy and the only person who was found qualified to do the job was Jesus.
Jesus was found worthy because He had demonstrated the Father’s love for sinners by coming to Earth and offering up His life as a sacrifice for sinners, Jesus had resisted and overcome all of Lucifer’s clever temptations while He was on Earth, and Jesus had lived in perfect compliance with the Father’s will while on Earth. Therefore, when the qualifications for receiving the book were enumerated, no one in the universe could measure up until Jesus was considered a candidate. The angels in Heaven rejoiced when they realized that Jesus was the most trusted person in the universe qualified to carry out the Father’s will.
In 1798, when the Father gave Jesus the book sealed with seven seals, He also gave Jesus total control of everything in Heaven and on Earth. The Father also appointed Jesus as the judge of mankind because He had lived as humans live. The Father recused Himself from judging mankind because His plan must demonstrate that all of God’s children have free will and the Father will not use His foreknowledge to determine the eternal destiny of any child.
After Jesus received the book sealed with seven seals from the Father, Heaven sang a new song about Jesus: “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men [redeemed] for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’ ” (Revelation 5:9)
Daniel and John Compare Favorably
Before we conclude our investigation on the timing of Revelation 5, please review the following parallels between Daniel and John (insertions in [ ] mine):
Daniel 7:9: “As I looked, thrones [notice the plural] were set in place.”
Revelation 4:2,4: “before me was a throne . . . Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones and seated on them were twenty-four elders.”
Daniel 7:10: “Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”
Revelation 5:11: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.”
Daniel 7:9: “The Ancient of Days took His seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of His head was white like wool.”
Revelation 4:3,4: “The One who sat there had the appearance of a jasper [having a translucent brilliance, golden quartz color] and carnelian [having the multilayered brilliance of a ruby]. The elders were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.”
Daniel 7:9,10: “His throne was flaming with fire and its wheels were all ablaze.”
Revelation 4:5: “From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne seven lamps were blazing.”
Daniel 7:13: “I saw one like a son of man. He approached the Ancient of Days.”
Revelation 5:7: “The Lamb approached the Father sitting on the throne and took the scroll from His right hand.”
Daniel 7:14: “He [the Son of Man] was given authority, glory and sovereign power.”
Revelation 5:9,12: “They sang a new song, ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals. Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ ”
Critics will maintain these parallels are not identical. While there are some variances between the parallels, we must consider that these parallels are not in conflict. If no other information was available, the parallels between Daniel 7 and Revelation 5 are not close enough to maintain absolutely that they are describing the same scene. However, when we add Ephesians 1:9,10 to these parallels, the differences between Daniel and John are more helpful than harmful because they give us two different perspectives. Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 do not seem to be parallels at first. The metal man and the four beasts are very different visions, but Bible students agree they offer two different perspectives on Babylon, Medo-Persia, Grecia, and Rome.
This chapter has been somewhat intricate because God hid the timing of Revelation 5 very well. Now that the book of Daniel has been unsealed and a matrix has formed, we can identify the timing of Revelation 5 with a high degree of certainty. In review, we have investigated the following points:
- We have examined the operation of the Heaven Earth Linkage Law. God has linked certain events in Heaven with events on Earth so that we can determine the chronological timing within His plan.
- We have examined the properties and benefits of a prophetic matrix as well as how alignment of chronological events of different prophecies resolve questions that are otherwise impossible to resolve.
- We have aligned events in Daniel 2 (the metal man) with events in Daniel 7 (the four beasts) with the rise and fall of empires.
- We have aligned events in Daniel 7 (the termination of the little horn’s power and Jesus is given sovereign power) with events in Revelation 5 (Jesus found worthy to take the book and given sovereign power to break its seals).
- We have identified the fourth beast in Daniel 7: Rome.
- We have identified the little horn in Daniel 7: The Roman Catholic Church.
- We have identified the 1,260 years allotted to the little horn: 538-1798.
- We have linked the fall of the papacy in 1798 on Earth with Jesus receiving sovereign power in Heaven.
- We have aligned Daniel’s inauguration of Jesus in Daniel 7:13,14 with Paul’s prediction that a time was coming when everything in Heaven and on Earth would be put under Jesus’ authority. (Ephesians 1:9:10) We have also learned that John saw Jesus receive the seven attributes of sovereign power in Revelation 5:12. We now understand Paul’s words that at the end of sin’s drama (at the end of the 1,000 years), Jesus will return sovereign authority to the Father.
- We have also considered that God gave authority to Jesus to manage His church just before His ascension and compared that to the sovereign authority given to Jesus in 1798 to resolve the sin problem.
When we synthesize these points, the year 1798 is the only date possible that Jesus could have been found worthy and inaugurated in Revelation 5. If this date is accurate, we also can identify that Jesus began breaking the seven seals in 1798.