1260 and Justinian’s Code of 538

 About the Code of Justinian

An article on the Justinian Code by Paul Halsall contains the following:

Under the direction of Tribonian, the Corpus Iurus Civilis [Body of Civil Law] was issued in three parts, in Latin, at the order of the Emperor Justinian.
The Codex Justinianus (529) compiled all of the extant (in Justinian’s time) imperial constitutiones from the time of Hadrian. It used both the Codex Theodosianus and private collections such as the Codex Gregorianus and Codex Hermogenianus. The Digest, or Pandects, was issued in 533, and was a greater achievement: it compiled the writings of the great Roman jurists such as Ulpian along with current edicts. It constituted both the current law of the time, and a turning point in Roman Law: from then on the sometimes contradictory case law of the past was subsumed into an ordered legal system. The Institutes was intended as sort of legal textbook for law schools and included extracts from the two major works. Later, Justinian issued a number of other laws, mostly in Greek, which were called Novels.” Paul Halsall (fordham.edu) http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/535institutes.html

The Codex Justinianeus Article by George Long, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College (on pp301-302 of William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875) adds the following points:

”Fourteen months after the date of the commission, the code was completed and declared to be law (16th April, 529) under the title of the Justinianeus Codex; and it was declared that the sources from which this code was derived were no longer to have any binding force, and that the new code alone should be referred to as of legal authority (Constit. de Justin. Cod. Confirmando).


Here is info, from the same source, on the Second Code of Justinian:


The Digesta or Pandectae, and the Institutiones, were compiled after the publication of this code, subsequently to which fifty decisiones and some new constitutiones also were promulgated by the emperor. This rendered a revision of the code necessary; and accordingly a commission for that purpose was given to Tribonianus, to Dorotheus, a distinguished teacher of law at Berytus in Phoenicia, and three others. The new code was promulgated at Constantinople, on the 16th November 534, and the use of the decisiones, the new constitutiones, and of the first edition of the Justinianeus Codex, was forbidden. The second edition (secunda editio, repetita praelectio, Codex repetitae praelectionis) is the code that we now possess.

Of interest to note from above is that there were in actual fact two Codes of Justinian: the first one was in force from 529 to 534, and the second one from 534 onwards. This is a useful fact when confronted with the anti-Catholic allegation that the Justinian code only came into effect in 538. In actual fact, the first Justinian Code was already being taken out of effect in 534. Yet the anti-Catholic sects say it only came into effect in 538.
Next we shall consider various aspects of the Justinian Code and its historical context, in order to show that the claims of opponents of the Catholic Church cannot use the year 538 in their prophetic calculations.
The standard Adventist and anti-Catholic claim is that the Justinian Code gave new powers to the papacy in 538, thus beginning the 1260 years of “papal power”. How true is this allegation?

It will be shown in this secton that the existence of an earlier Roman Law Code, the Theodosian Code and the Edict of the Three Emperors proves that the Code of Justinian did not make any difference to the power of the papacy which was already long recognized by the Empire.

From the The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition (2001) we read:


Latin Codex Theodosianus, Roman legal code, issued in 438 by Theodosius II, emperor of the East. It was at once adopted by Valentinian III, emperor of the West. The code was intended to reduce and systematize the complex mass of law that had been issued since the reign of Constantine I. To a large extent it was based upon two private compilations, the Gregorian (Codex Gregorianus) and the Hermogenian (Codex Hermogenianus). The Theodosian Code was used in shaping the Corpus Juris Civilis.

These two private compilations date from the latter stages of the Emperor Diocletian’s reign (284-305) Though the Theodosian code was supplanted by the Justinian Code in 534, it served as the basis for most European law until the 12th century.

In the same year that it was issued (438 ) the code was forwarded to Valentinian III, the son-in-law of Theodosius, by whom it was laid before the Roman Senate, and confirmed as law in the Western empire.

From the Universite Pierre Mendes France we read:


The Theodosian Code has been composed between AD 429 and 438. In 429 the Emperor Theodosius ordered for the nine men commision to compose all imperial constitutions issuing from the time of Constantine. Together with the Codex Hermogenianus and Codex Gregorianus this collection had to be an actual law book and a model for teaching of jurists.… Codex Theodosianus received an official status together with the Codex Hermogenianus and Codex Gregorianus which before had only [the]character of the private collections. The Codex got in force 15 February 438 at the [Ea]st Roman Empire and 1 January 439 at the West Empire. There are 2529 imperial issues from Constantine to Theodosius II in it. The earliest constitution in the Codex is CTh.13,10,2 of 1 June 311 and the latest is CTh.6,23,4 of 16 March 437.

In an article on the Codex Theodosianus by George Long, M.A., on pp 302-303 of William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.: A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875 we read:


The laws relating to the Christian church are contained in the sixteenth and last book. It is obvious from the circumstances under which the Theodosian and Justinian codes were compiled, and from a comparison of them, that the Justinian code was greatly indebted to the Theodosian.

From these citations we see that in actual fact the Justinian Code of 529/534 was by no means revolutionary, in that it was merely a compilation of existing Roman law canons, being based, as we saw on the Theodosian Code and its predecessors. When we consider that as early as 380, where we read in the Edict of the Three Emperors Gratian, Valentinian and Theodosius(issued on 28 Feb 380):

“[The Emperors demand that all people remain] ‘in the religion which the divine apostle Peter passed on to the Romans’ [and which has flowered to this day of (Pope) Damasus]”. Quoted in Stephen K. Ray “Upon This Rock” (Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999), page 217.

it can be seen that the role and nature of the papacy did not in fact change under the Justinian Code. The papacy was already legally recognized by the Empire as having authority, as the Edict of the Three Emperors from 150 years earlier demonstrates.

Since the Code of Justinian made no new changes to the role of the papacy, it is pointless to try to use the introduction of this Code as the basis of some type of prophetic measurement, as the anti-Catholics are wont to do.


The date of 1798 is used as the end-point of the 1260 years, beginning, as they allegedly do, in 538.
1798 seems like a good date to use by Adventists and anti-Catholics, coming as it does, 1260 years after 538. However, just as the date of 538 is the wrong date for the introduction of Justinian’s Code, the date 1798 is also, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant from the point of view of Daniel 7.

First, a little historical background. I cite the Catholic Encyclopedia: Pope Pius VI:


After the French Revolution, Pius rejected the “Constitution civile du clergé” on 13 March, 1791, suspended the priests that accepted it, provided as well as he could for the banished clergy and protested against the execution of Louis XVI. France retaliated by annexing the small papal territories of Avignon and Venaissin. The pope’s co-operation with the Allies against the French Republic, and the murder of the French attaché, Basseville, at Rome, brought on by his own fault, led to Napoleon’s attack on the Papal States. At the Truce of Bologna (25 June, 1796) Napoleon dictated the terms: twenty-one million francs, the release of all political criminals, free access of French ships into the papal harbours, the occupation of the Romagna by French troops etc. At the Peace of Tolentino (19 Feb., 1797) Pius VI was compelled to surrender Avignon, Venaissin, Ferrara, Bologna, and the Romagna; and to pay fifteen million francs and give up numerous costly works of art and manuscripts. In an attempt to revolutionize Rome the French General Duphot was shot and killed, whereupon the French took Rome on 10 Feb., 1798, and proclaimed the Roman Republic on 15 Feb.

We see that the Roman Republic was declared on 15 February, 1798, in response to the killing of General Duphot. But what has this to do with the loss of the pope’s power? We note that


  • The pope was declared according to Bill No. 8 of 15 Feb 1798 to have lost “every other temporal authority emanating from the old government of the Pope”. So, it related to the pope’s temporal power. His spiritual power did not come into the question. In fact, Napoleon was quite aware of the Pope’s spiritual power, and when the latter wrote against the Directory, Napoloen did not demand these briefs be retracted. 
  • The Pope very soon after regained his temporal power. In fact , the Roman Republic lasted a mere nineteen months (From Feb, 15 1798 to September 29, 1799). 
  • The annexation of the papal state to France, from (10 June 1809 to 24 March 1814) was another instance of the pope’s loss of temporal authority restored by the Congress of Vienna, 1815). Yet the date 1809 does not fit well with the anti-Catholic historicist view, so this date is not utilized. 
  • What of the Roman Republic of Feb 9- July 3,1849, proclaimed by Mazzini? Maybe the 1260 years of Daniel 7 should be counted to this date? After all, the constituent assembly on 9 Feb ”abolished the temporal power of the pope”( See the website http://www.ohiou.edu/~Chastain/rz/romanrep.htm) But it doesn’t fit the Adventist figures. 
  • Adventists and other historicist anti-Catholics have great difficulties understanding Daniel 7:21-22:

    ”This was the horn I had watched making war on the holy ones and proving the stronger, until the coming of the One most venerable who gave judgment in favour of the holy ones of the Most High, when the time came for the holy ones to assume kingship.”

    in light of Napoleon’s suppression of papal power in 1798, how are the “saints” (supposedly the Adventists or any other anti-Catholic group) rescued by the “judgment” and restored to “kingship” in 1798 if the papacy’s temporal power was restored almost immediately afterwards?



  • Finally, the year 1870, the date when the papal states were finally and irrecovably lost, should, more than any other date, be the date reckoned with as the end of the “1260 years” of Daniel 7, if indeed, the 1260 years refer to “papal power”. But of course it doesn’t. Hence the avoidance of this date in anti-Catholic calculations.

Again, if the pope had temporal power from 538 to 1798, this is refuted by the fact that Justinian locked up Pope Vigilius from 547-555 because Vigilius would not agree with Justinian on the “Three Chapters” controversy. It must be obvious that a pope in prison does not have much temporal authority. Attempts by anti-Catholics to claim the pope had some sort of “legal” authority over Europe from 538 is historically nonsense. The papal authority recognized by the emperor was recognized a lot earlier than the Justinian Code (cf. The Edict of the Three Emperors) and his temporal authority certainly did not cover the whole of Europe, as the existence of contemporary barbarian law codes testifies.

So the pope’s loss of temporal power (briefly) in 1798 is of no consequence as the papacy had lost temporal power previously, as well as in the future, most significantly in 1870. The spiritual power of the papacy was not challenged in 1798. The papacy enjoyed imperial recgnition from earlier that 538, thus negating the siginficance of the Justinian Code (which in any case was introduced earlier than 538). The anti-Catholic attempts to interpret Daniel 7:21-22 in light of these events is historically totally inadequate.

In short, attempts to set the dates 538 and 1798 as significant from the point of view of Daniel 7 are frought with numerous problems which render the Adventist historicist position invalid.

See also the Catholic Encyclopedia: Napoleon


C. The Justinian Wars: when did the Code really come into effect? And did everything really change in 538 AD?

The Justinian Code did not legally established the primacy of the Papacy in 538; all it said was

With honor to the Apostolic See, and to your Holiness ….Your Holiness, because you are the head of all the Holy Churches, for We shall exert Ourselves in every way (as has already been stated), to increase the honor and authority of your See.

Let’s look at some history before 538:

Justinian (527-565).
King Theoderic of the Ostrogoths : after his death in 526, there was murder and anarchy, boy rulers of the Ostrogoths and the Visigoths. Frankish kings also. So, great disorder in Rome.
Justinian and his wife Theodora despised barbarianism, and determined on a restoration of the Empire.

In Italy, the Ostrogothic boy king Athalaric succeeded upon the death of Theodoric (526). Regency was held for him by his mother, queen Amalasuntha. Theodahad (Amalasuntha’s cousin) had her killed in April 535 and took rule of Italy. Since Rome was now slipping back into barbarian anarchy, now was a good time, Justinian decided, for the reconquest of Italy. In 535 Justinian’s great general Belisarius landed in Sicily, taking Rome in December 536, (not 538 ), yet the common opinion of historicist 1260 year-day anti-Catholics is that the 1260 years are to be counted from 538!

One (unofficial) Adventist apologist says the pope had, from 538, a “legal authority” so this amounted to the antichrist “papal power” of Daniel 7. I quote from his page below:


In an imperial rescript in 534 A.D. the Roman bishop was recognized as the head of all the churches, and given full authority as such. However the Gothic king Theodahad was reigning in Italy. That meant German law was the rule in Rome. Therefore the exaltation of the papacy in Rome was in decree only and could not be put into effect.

So, according to this logic, the “exaltation of the papacy” could only be put into effect in 538, when Rome was won back from the Goths. Right?

Wrong. Belisarius took Rome in December 536, not 538. Not to mention the fact that Justinian threw Pope Vigilius in prison between the years 547 and 555.Also the distinction between “effect” and reality is unworkable. If Belisarius took Rome in 536, how can the Goth law still apply? The anti-Catholic position can’t fit 534 or 536 into his theology, so he has to use 538.

It is also useful to mention the history of Europe aftet his period. Did it really demonstrate that the pope had “political power” from 538 al the way to 1798. It is a fact that no respectable historian (Catholic, Protestant, Adventist, or atheist), would make such a claim. The invasion by the Lombards, the decline of Rome till the Empire headquarters was moved to Constantinople, the rise of Islam, all prove that the papacy had nothing like the temporal“papal power” that anti-Catholics want us to believe. Further, we see the repeated imprisonments of various popes during the “1260” years (Vigilius from 547-55; Martin I, held captive by Emperor Constans II; died 656 ; Boniface VIII, held captive by Philip the Fair of France; died 1303 ) so how could they have “papal power” during this time? Even in western Europe the pope did not hold full sway, as the existence of so many barbarian tribes, with their own law code, testifies.
And remember, the Justinian code was merely a compilation of earlier Roman Law codes, and in effect changed nothing It just made Justinian feel more important.

The apologist for Adventism continues:

Justinian’s decree in elevating the pope under imperial law, and then the withdrawal of the empirical head itself into the east, set the pope in the legal positionas head of church and state affairs in the whole western civilized world.

So the Advenist apologist claims the pope was legal head of state affairs, yet still could be bullied around. It did not stop Justinian for putting pope Vigilius in prison for 547-555. See also Barbarian law codes, over which popes had no power. Also: Italy was lost irretrievably in 568 with the Lombard invasion. So much for “papal power”, even legally. This anti-Catholic stance is absolutely indefensible.

The same individual claims on one page that Belisarius took Rome in 538, but on another page admits Belisarius took Rome in 537 (my sources say December 9 536 (Tulane University)) ,but that Witigis (theohadad’s successor, led Goths from 536-40 ) besieged Rome till 538. And so it was only in 538 that the conquest of Rome was truly won.

Now here we have a truly irreconcilable situation for the anti-Catholic charges. On the one hand, when the rescript was originally issued in 534, the Adventist says we are NOT to count the 1260 years from then, because Theohadad was still ruling Rome: But on the other hand, when Belisarius is in control in Rome from 536/537, we are NOT to consider THIS as the start of the 1260 years either, because Witigis the Gothic leader is at the gates trying to get in! So when a Gothic leader is in charge, the year of issue of the rescript (534) is not accepted, but when Belisarius the Roman is in charge (537) that is STILL not accepted, because someone unfriendly wants to spoil the party. Let me ask this question: If Belisarius is in Rome in 537, and Witigis the Goth is knocking at the gate (never to get in) who is ruling Rome- Witigis or Belisarius? It destroys the anti-Catholic Adventist position to admit Belisarius is in charge.



D. The Problem of Totila: further proof against “papal power” from 538

The Adventist claims regarding the 1260 years of “papal power” require that the last of the “three horns” of Daniel 7, namely, the Ostrogoths, be crushed in 538. (See Stephen Korsman’s article SDA and the 3 horns of Daniel 7:8,24 .) Hence, they say, The Justinian Code could be put into effect in this year. We have already seen that the Justinian Code dated for EARLIER than 538 (the first version in 529, the second in 534). Attempts by anti-Catholics to say Rome was under Goth control until 538 are not true. Belisarius entered Rome in December 536. The Siege by Witigis did not begin until March 537, and Witigis never entered Rome. Are we to suppose Gothic rule was the order of the day during these months? This is what the anti-Catholic sects would have us believe.

Here are some of the despairing efforts by Adventists to rescue this position:

1. “The victory of 538 was, specifically the retaking of Rome so that the Code of Justinian could come into effect.

Response: Attempts by anti-Catholics to say Rome was under Goth control until 538 are not true. Belisarius entered Rome in December 536. The Siege by Witigis did not begin until March 537, and Witigis never entered Rome. Are we to suppose Gothic rule was the order of the day during these months? This is what the anti-Catholic sects would have us believe.

We have seen already that the Goths were not defeated as a whole nation, until several years later (562) In addition, a later Gothic leader, Totila, succeeded later in taking Rome twice (in 546 and 549). One anti-Catholic site tries to say that because Totila didn’t set up a new empire in Rome, the Justinian Code still applied. This is of course nonsense. On the one hand we are to believe that while the Gothic king Theohadad ruled Rome (before 538 ), the Justinian Code could not go into effect, yet now when Totila is later ruling in Rome, the anti-Catholics would have us believe the Justinian Code is <>still in effect? What a contradiction. Oh, maybe it was because Totila only lasted a couple of years in Rome, (545 to 546 and 549-552) so his “kingdom” was not a real entity.

It’s really ironic, too, that Adventists think Totila was not really in control in 549-552 and the pope was, yet Totila was ruling in Rome and the pope was a prisoner of Justinian!


2. One anti-Catholic site quotes the following from the book “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.”

Response: The anti-Catholic site uses this information as somwhow proof that Totila did not re-establish the Ostrogothic kingdom and that the Ostrogoths came back into control after 538. However, this is not at all what Ferguson and Bruun are saying. What these authors are saying is that the Ostrogoth kingdom was destroyed by 555 not by 538. They certainly do not dismiss Totila’s rule of Rome from 549-52, as the anti-Catholic site would like to do.

Incidentally this same anti-Catholic Adventist site even makes the admission that there were “intermissions” of the Justinian Code from 538!
But this code was in force from 537 (or December 536). The Adventist position can’t have it both ways. Remember the siege of Rome began in March 537. Belisarius took Rome in December 536. Does the Adventist position want to tell us the code was not in place even for this time, if not during the siege itself?

Response: The Theodosian Code had already established what the Justinian Code claimed in regard to the papacy. See also the Edict of the Three Emperors in Section A above.


3. Under Totila, supposedly, there was no change in the law that now the Pope was, according to Justiian’s Code, the “head of all churches” and responsible to “deal” with all “heretics”.

Response: Funny, there was a law in 534, but that wasn’t enough, because Theodahad ruled. There was a law in 537 when Belisarius was over Rome, but that wasn’t enough, because Witigis was knocking at the gate, apparently.

So we see the inconsistencies in trying to establish the Justinian Code and “papal power” from 538.

Tulane University provides much help with the following chronology:

Reconquest of Italy535 Murder of Amalasuntha by Theodahad April 535; Justinian declares war; 536 Belisarius takes Sicily June 536; Pope Silverius elected Pope; Belisarius invades Italian peninsula; Imperial Forces capture Rhegium and Naples (Nov.); Goths depose Theodahad and elect Witigis (536-540) as king; Witigis abandons Rome in 536; Belisarius occupies Rome (December 9, 536)

537 1st Siege of Rome (Jan. 537-Mar. 538); Justinian sends Reinforcements to Italy

538 Witigis raises Siege of Rome; Vigilius becomes pope

540 Witigis surrenders

541 Totila elected Ostrogoth king & overruns Italy (541-543); Return of Belisarius to Italy (544-549); Justinian issues decree condemning the “Three Chapters”

545-7 2nd siege of Rome; Totila takes Rome Jan. 547 (some sources say December 546); Pope Vigilus arrested (Nov. 22), and kept in prison for next 10 years.

547 Belisarius reoccupies Rome & repels Totila

549 Belisarius recalled from Italy; 3rd siege of Rome (549-550); Recapture of Rome by Totila 550

552 Battle of Busta Gallorum (June) Narses defeaths Gothic army; Totila dies; Surrender of Rome to Narses; Battle of Mons Lactarius: Narses defeats Teias & Last Gothic Army

562 Surrender of Last Gothic Garrisons in North Italy

The site http://www.fsmitha.com/h3/h01const.htm gives March 37 as the beginning of the siege of Rome. Warren Carroll gives Feb 537 as the march of Witigis on Rome. (March 21, 537: Pope Silverius is stripped of his pallium by Antonina, wife of Belisarius.) (Carroll vol. 2 “The Building of Christendom,” pp161 ff.)

In any case, there is the time after December 9, 536 when Belisarius was over Rome, with no Goths attacking. How can anyone say Roman rule did not now apply?

To sumarize:

We see that the episode of Totila shows that a) the Ostrogoths were not defeated in 538; Rome was twice taken thereafter; b) anti-Catholic attempts to set the introduction of the Justinian Code to 538 have to say the code was not in effect while Theodahad ruled (so must have been in effect from December 536 when Belisarius took Rome) or else admit the Code was in effect before 538, thus ruining their whole argument.

The episode of Totila shows that the Code of Justinian was not in place continually after 538, and that the Ostrogoths were not crushed by 538, but only much later, in 562. See Stephen Korsam’s article on the “three horns” here .


Update: Additional Information from Nick Yarberough (19 May 2008 )

The author received the following email from Nick Yarberough:


I’m writing this to provide you with further historical evidence for your argument that you may want to incorporate into your Justinian Code article. In my opinion, the Theodosian Code and the Edict of the Three Emperors do not establish the primacy of the papacy in the way that the Justinian Code attempted to do, but the Edict of Emperors Valentinian III and Theodosius II does so in spades. This edict was enacted in 445AD, over 30 years before Odovacer deposed the last Western Roman Emperor. This link ( Church and State Through the Centuries: A Collection of Historic Documents … – Page 7) will let you read the entire edict for yourself, but I’ll post the parts that are most important:

“Since therefore the merit of St. Peter, who is the prince of the episcopal crown, the dignity of the City of Rome and the authority of a holy Synodhave established the primacy of the Apostolic See, let not presumption attempt to carry out anything contrary to the authority of that See; for then at last the peace of the Church will be preserved everywhere, if the whole body recognizes its ruler.

“…we decree by this perpetual Edict that it will not be lawful for the bishops of Gaul or of other provinces to attempt anything contrary to ancient custom without the authority of that venerable man the Pope of the Eternal City.

“But let whatever the authority of the Apostolic See decrees or shall decree, be accepted as law by all…

“But this reasoning has strengthened our command that no one coming after Hilary who is permitted to retain his see as a result solely of leniency of the long-suffering Pontiff, may meddle in ecclesiastical affairs which concern another man, nor may oppose the orders of the Roman Bishop.

As you can see, this edict goes far beyond anything found in the Theodosian Code or the Edict of the Three Emperors. It establishes the primacy of the papacy in terms far more specific than even Justinian’s decree in 534AD. When Pope John II responded to Justinian, saying that his headship over all Churches was asserted by “the rules of the Fathers and the decrees of the Emperors”, one has to think that the Edict of Valentinian III and Theodosius II was on the top of that list. No other Imperial legislation that I know of cements the papacy’s primacy better than this edict.

I hope that you can incorporate this into your Adventist refutation, because it really does put an end to their Justinian Code theory once and for all.


B. Napoleon, Pope Pius VI and 1798: how it doesn’t fit with Daniel 7 (or with 538 for that matter)

A. The Theodosian Code: Proof that the Code of Justinian changed nothing in regard to the papacy


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One Response to “1260 and Justinian’s Code of 538”

  1. Mike Says:

    Good article. I think you’ve made your point well even though I am not a historian and someone better informed then I might have something more to say. But nonetheless I don’t think this really changes anything. In my opinion the dates 538 and 1798 are not meant to be non-negotiable elements of Adventist theology. They should rather be seen as POTENTIAL starting/ending points for the prophecy to be evaluated and replaced if necessary with better ones.

    I believe the very nature of the prophecy indicates this. The 1260 days are elsewhere referred to as 42 months or as 3 1/2 years. These time frames have a clear symbolic element in that they correlate the time that the Christian church was in the wilderness (Rev. 12) with the time of the drought of Elijah. In other words, these characteristics indicate that this time prophecy was not intended to be understood as an exact description of length of time since the focus was more in making the biblical correlation. So whether the exact time period was 1252 years or 1279 years, the prophecy chose to use a number that would instead point interpreters to a well known period in the Old Testament in which the land of Israel was under apostate leadership and those who wanted to serve God had to do so while in hiding as a Biblical illustration of what this period of time would be like.

    And this makes sense because both the rise and fall of the papacy did not take place all at once but happened gradually over centuries. So it would be next to impossible to pinpoint a specific year when it happened. However, it is clear historically that the Catholic church under the leadership of the Popes yielded significant influence in western Europe for just over a Millennium.

    This is why I said that regardless of the accuracy of 538/1798, the Adventist/historical protestant position on Daniel 7 does not change much and its still by far the most plausible explanation for the chapter. There is no other power that rose out of the collapse of Western Rome that managed to hold together the nations of western Europe for over a Millennium the way the Catholic church did (the clay holding together the pieces of iron in the feet of the Dan. 2 image is a good representation as well).

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