The Prophetic Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


X. Chytraeus-Prophetic Fulfillment Soon to End in Judgment

DAVID CHYTRAEUS (1530-1600), last of the “Fathers of the Lutheran church,” was born at Ingelfingen, Wurttemberg. After studying ancient languages at Tubingen, he went to Wittenberg when about fifteen years of age, where he became one of the most beloved pupils of Melanchthon, whom he venerated all through his life, being of a conciliatory nature like his master. A scholar with encyclopedic knowledge, but no preacher, he began to lecture on physics and theology in Wittenberg in 1548. PFF2 329.6

In 1551 he was called to Rostock, where he was the leading spirit, and had great influence in Mecklenburg, where he became instrumental in founding the University of Rostock. He was also occupied with ecclesiastical regulations, and was opposed to the Flacian adversaries of The Formula of Concord. Being known for his great skill and power in negotiation, he was employed by the emperor Maximilian II to arrange ecclesiastical affairs in Austria on the basis of the modified positions. He was the author of the statutes of the University of Helmstadt, and of numerous works, including expositions of Daniel and the Apocalypse. PFF2 330.1


Chytraeus held that the judgment was “not far hence.” This he based on the cumulative evidence of Daniel 2 and 7, Matthew 24 and Mark 13, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 13. The second advent was tied in as the climax of the prophetic outlines. Here is a comprehensive paragraph: PFF2 330.2

“The Lord Himself revealed to Daniel how long the four world kingdoms should exist, and how long the little horn should last. This little horn is also described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 where we are told that this anti-Christian power, the papacy, would be fully revealed just before the judgment should take place. We know today that the four monarchies have long passed off the stage of action, that the two-horned beast which is mentioned in Revelation 13 and which refers to the same power can not last much longer, and so we are forced to conclude that the day of judgment is not far hence.... This same thought is given in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 where the Roman antichrist is again mentioned.... Most of the other signs have also been fulfilled which our Saviour referred to in Matthew 24.” 67 PFF2 330.3

With these prophecies Chytraeus also connected the six-thousand-year theory, and the thought that the seventh thousand years would usher in the eternal state. But he believed that the allotted time would be shortened. 68 PFF2 330.4


Chytraeus held that the Word-of-God key, given to the apostles and early bishops, and which unlocks heaven, was thrown away about A.D. 600, and in its place the bishop of Rome accepted the key of the bottomless pit, from which the smoke of false doctrine emerged, darkening and eclipsing the pure gospel. This had already begun when Gregory I (590-604) occupied the papal chair. Soon after, Boniface III received from Phocas his title as universal bishop. 69 PFF2 331.1


The sixth trumpet describes the rising of Mohammed, king of the locusts, and his followers-appearing about the time that Boniface III received the title of head of the universal church-and penetrating throughout Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Egypt, Northern Africa, Asia Minor, Spain, and Gaul. 70 PFF2 331.2

4. 1260 YEARS FROM 412 TO 1672, OR POSSIBLY 1866

Two possible chronological locations for the papal Little Horn’s 1260 years are suggested by others: PFF2 331.3

“They start to reckon from 412 when the Roman Empire was destroyed by the Goths, and the city of Rome conquered. 412—)—1260 years will bring the day of judgment to 1672. But if one starts to reckon the forty-two months from 606-7 from the time the Roman pope became universal head of the church through Emperor Phocas, he reaches the year 1866.” 71 PFF2 331.4

5. PAPACY SYMBOLIZED IN Daniel 7 AND Revelation 13

Contending that the beast of Revelation 17 is the same as the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7, Chytraeus goes on to say: PFF2 331.5

“This beast rising from the sea, having seven heads or ten horns, is without doubt a symbol of the Roman Empire, which rose from the sea or the world, being constituted of many nations and has seven heads, which, according to the explanation of the angel, signify seven hills or seven kings. For the city of Rome, which had the power over the kings on earth, has seven hills inside her walls.” 72 PFF2 331.6


As to the number 666, Chytraeus cites the view mentioned by Irenaeus as possibly correct, which is based on the Greek word Lateinos. On Revelation 20 he still follows Augustine, who holds that the first resurrection is spiritual, and in counting the one thousand years he follows Bibliander, who begins them in A.D. 73, when most of the apostles had finished their work of preaching the gospel. Reckoning from that date, the one thousand years end with Gregory VII, who persecuted with Anti-christian tyranny. 73 PFF2 332.1