Love Under Fire


Chapter 15—France's Reign of Terror: Its True Cause

Some nations welcomed the Reformation as a messenger of Heaven. Other lands excluded the light of Bible knowledge almost completely. In one country truth and error struggled for the mastery for centuries. In the end, the truth of Heaven was pushed out. The restraint of God's Spirit was removed from a people that had despised the gift of His grace. And all the world saw what happens when people willfully reject light. LF 113.1

The war against the Bible in France led to the Revolution, the legitimate result of Rome's having suppressed the Scriptures (see Appendix). It presented the most striking illustration the world has ever seen of the effects of the Roman Church's teaching. LF 113.2

In the book of Revelation, John points to the terrible results that were to come especially to France from the domination of the “man of sin”: LF 113.3

“They will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months. And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.... When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.... And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them” (Revelation 11:2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11). LF 113.4

The “forty-two months” and “one thousand two hundred and sixty days” are the same, the time in which Rome would oppress the church of Christ. The 1,260 years began in A.D. 538 and ended in 1798 (see Appendix). At that time a French army took the pope prisoner, and he died in exile. The papal hierarchy has never since been able to wield the power it possessed before. LF 113.5

The persecution of the church did not continue through the entire 1,260 years. In mercy to His people, God cut short the time of their fiery trial by the influence of the Reformation. LF 113.6

The “two witnesses” represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament, important testimonies to the origin and permanence of God's law, and also to the plan of salvation. LF 113.7

“They will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” When the Bible was forbidden and its testimony perverted, when those who dared to proclaim its truths were betrayed, tortured, martyred for their faith or compelled to run away for safety—then the faithful “witnesses” prophesied “in sackcloth.” In the darkest times God gave faithful Christians wisdom and authority to declare His truth. (See Appendix.) LF 114.1

“And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner” (Revelation 11:5). Trampling on the Word of God has deadly consequences! LF 114.2

“When they finish [are finishing] their testimony.” As the two witnesses were nearing the end of their work in obscurity, “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” was to make war on them. Here we see a new display of satanic power. LF 114.3

While professing reverence for the Bible, it had been Rome's policy to keep the Bible locked up in an unknown language, hidden from the people. Under her rule the witnesses prophesied “clothed in sackcloth.” But “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit” was to make open, determined war on the Word of God. LF 114.4

“The great city” in whose streets the witnesses are killed and where their dead bodies lie is “spiritually” Egypt. Of all nations in Bible history, Egypt most boldly denied the existence of the living God and resisted His commands. No ruler ever dared to rebel against Heaven more arrogantly than did the king of Egypt, Pharaoh: “I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). This is atheism; and the nation represented by Egypt in the prophecy would voice a similar denial of God and reveal a similar spirit of defiance. LF 114.5

“The great city” of the prophecy is also compared “spiritually” to Sodom. The corruption of Sodom was especially evident in its open sexual impurity. This would also be a characteristic of the nation that would fulfill this scripture. LF 114.6

So according to the prophet, a little before 1798 some power of satanic character would rise to make war on the Bible. And in the land where the testimony of God's “two witnesses” would be silenced, the atheism of Pharaoh and the sexual lust of Sodom would be evident. LF 114.7