From Here to Forever


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

Some nations welcomed the Reformation as a messenger of Heaven. In other lands the light of Bible knowledge was almost wholly excluded. In one country truth and error struggled for centuries for the mastery. At last the truth of Heaven was thrust 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 the fruit of wilful rejection of light. HF 166.1

The war against the Bible in France culminated in the Revolution, the legitimate result of Rome's suppression of the Scriptures. (See Appendix) It presented the most striking illustration ever witnessed of the working out of the teaching of the Roman Church. HF 166.2

The Revelator points to the terrible results that were to accrue especially to France from the domination of the “man of sin”: HF 166.3

“The holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months. And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. ... And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. ... And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and a half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.” Revelation 11:2-11. HF 166.4

The “forty and two months” and “a thousand two hundred and threescore days” are the same, the time in which the church of Christ was to suffer oppression from Rome. The 1260 years began in A.D. 538 and terminated in 1798. (See Appendix) At that time a French army made the pope a prisoner, and he died in exile. The papal hierarchy has never since been able to wield the power before possessed. HF 167.1

The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial through the influence of the Reformation. HF 167.2

The “two witnesses” represent the Scriptures of the Old and the New Testament, important testimonies to the origin and perpetuity of the law of God, and also to the plan of salvation. HF 167.3

“They shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” When the Bible was proscribed, its testimony perverted; when those who dared proclaim its truths were betrayed, tortured, martyred for their faith or compelled to flee—then the faithful “witnesses” prophesied “in sackcloth.” In the darkest times faithful men were given wisdom and authority to declare God's truth. (See Appendix) HF 167.4

“And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.” Revelation 11:5. Men cannot with impunity trample upon the Word of God! HF 167.5

“When they shall have finished [are finishing] their testimony.” As the two witnesses were approaching the termination of their work in obscurity, war was to be made upon them by “the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit.” Here is brought to view a new manifestation of satanic power. HF 167.6

It had been Rome's policy, professing reverence for the Bible, to keep it locked up in an unknown tongue, hidden from the people. Under her rule the witnesses prophesied “clothed in sackcloth.” But “the beast from the bottomless pit” was to make open, avowed war upon the Word of God. HF 168.1

“The great city” in whose streets the witnesses are slain, 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 monarch ever ventured upon more highhanded rebellion against Heaven than did the king of Egypt, Pharaoh: “I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2, ARV. This is atheism; and the nation represented by Egypt would voice a similar denial of God and manifest a like spirit of defiance. HF 168.2

“The great city” is also compared, “spiritually,” to Sodom. The corruption of Sodom was especially manifested in licentiousness. This sin was also to be a characteristic of the nation that should fulfill this scripture. HF 168.3

According to the prophet, then, a little before 1798 some power of satanic character would rise to war upon the Bible. And in the land where the testimony of God's “two witnesses” should thus be silenced, there would be manifest the atheism of Pharaoh and the licentiousness of Sodom. HF 168.4