Saturday, November 17, 2018

Answering the "Grace giving is always greater than Law-giving" objection


Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
November 17, 2018


The Bible nowhere makes the comparison between Law-giving and grace-giving. Since no texts affirm this objection, no texts accompany it. The modern definition of tithes as “10% of one’s income before taxes” is wholly un-biblical; it is false and is an invention of modern man. There is no biblical justification for comparing an invented definition with something real.


The statement that “grace giving is more than Law giving” allows preachers to teach that Christians should at least begin their level of giving at 10% because (they say) those under the Law were commanded to begin their level of giving at a minimum of 10%. However, this is not true.  It is a false assumption because the Law NEVER required everybody under it to begin their level of giving at ten percent! In fact, it only required such from Hebrew food producers living inside holy Israel – and only if were an increase over what they had preciously tithed. It did NOT apply to Hebrew non-food producers such as carpenters (Jesus) or tentmakers (Paul) even though they worked in Israel.


In actual practice, tithe-teachers paradoxically use the argument, “grace giving is greater than Law-giving,” as an excuse for teaching tithing!!! That is illogical and makes their own argument self-destructive. If tithe-teachers really believed their own objection to tithing to be true, they would only teach grace giving guidelines – freewill, sacrificial, generous, not by compulsion, joyful, and motivated by love for God and lost souls.

By teaching tithing instead of grace-giving, they are admitting that they either do not believe their own objection or have failed to teach their congregations the reality of hell and/or the need to sacrificially give more to win souls.


While it is true that grace magnifies literal murder into spiritual hate, literal adultery into spiritual lust and literal idolatry into spiritual covetousness, it is NOT always true that grace produces more than the law commanded concerning giving. The following eight (8) exceptions are proof that grace-giving is NOT always greater than Law-giving commanded. While grace allows for super-abundant freewill giving, grace does not set limits either up or down. Sacrificial grace-giving sermons are needed today.

A. BRING TITHES TO LEVITE FARMS: The Law required Hebrew food-producers to bring the first whole Levitical tithes to the farming communities where the Levites lived (Neh 10:37b). This was a greater burden than grace-giving and makes sense because (1) the people needed the tithe for food where they lived, (2) the temple in Jerusalem did not have storage space for all the tithe of the land (2 Chron 31:1-19) and (3) God would not expect Levites and priests to travel long distances to Jerusalem every time they needed food.

B. THE SECOND FESTIVAL TITHE: The Law required a second yearly holy tithe of 10% (20% total) be brought to the three festivals of Jerusalem to be eaten by all. Grace does not command this burden. This extra ten per cent was a greater burden than modern tithe-teachers preach (Deu 12:6-7; 14:23).

C. 23% TOTAL TITHE: The Law commanded a third third-year tithe be kept in the homes and villages solely for the Levites and other poor (Deu 14:28-29; 26:12-13). This brings the total Law-tithe to 23% which is a far greater burden than that taught by modern tithe-teachers.

D. FORFEIT LAND OWNERSHIP: The Law required tithe-recipients to forfeit land inheritance and replace it with the tithe as their inheritance. This is a far greater burden than modern tithe-teachers preach (Num 18:20-21; Num 35:1-3; Josh 21:2-3).

E. ONLY LIVE ON LOANED PROPERTY:  The Law required Levitical tithe-recipients to live on loaned land owned by the other tribes (Num 35; Josh 20-21). This is another greater burden than that taught by modern tithe-teachers.

F. ONLY TO LEVITE SERVANTS: The Law required 11 tribes to give food tithes to the Levites. Levites  were only the servants of the priests and Levites performed most temple duties except offering the sacrifices (Num 18:21-24; Neh 10:37b). This is a far greater Law-burden than grace giving. Tithe-teachers do not teach this higher expectation and often rebel at payomg Levite-comparable ushers, deacons, treasurers, maintenance personnel and builders out of the first whole tithe.

G. THE LEVITES GAVE 1% OF THE TITHE THEY RECEIVED TO MINISTERS: The Law required Levites to give the best 1% (a tenth of the tithe) to the ministering priests (Num 18:25-28; Neh 10:38). This is a far greater burden than grace-giving tithe-teachers want to admit or teach. Tithe teachers usually want to drastically change God’s Word, change that Law-level and receive much or all of the tithe.

H. TITHE-RECIPIENTS WERE TO REMAIN POOR: The Law commanded Levites and priests who received the tithe in lieu of land ownership to remain poor -– “neither shall you have any part among them” (Num 18:20). They were expected to remain among the poor of the land and were first listed to receive from the third poor tithe. “And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee), and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest” (Deu 14:29) This is a serious greater Law-burden than grace-giving tithe-teachers preach.


Note: None of the following is included in what modern tithe-teachers ask for today. They simply do not teach anything true about biblical tithing.

A. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHE WAS ALWAYS ONLY FOOD FROM INSIDE HOLY ISRAEL. While it is true that “The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof” (Ps 24:1), God never approved of holy tithes from outside His holy Israel (Lev 27:30-34; Num 18:19-28; Deu 12:1-9; 14:22-29; 26:12-13; 1 Chron 31:1-19; Neh 10:37-38; 12:44; 13:5-12; Mal 3:7-10; Mt 23:23; Lk 11:42).


C. THE TRUE HOLY FIRST BIBLIAL TITHE WAS ALWAYS ONLY FOR THE LEVITE SERVANTS OF THE PRIESTS. The Levites performed most temple duties except ministering the sacrifice (Num 3:6-51; 18:21-24; Neh 10:37b).


E. THREE TITHES WERE COMMANDED TOTALLING UP TO 23%, NOT 10%. These included a 2nd yearly festival tithe to be eaten by all (Deu 12:6-7; 14:23) and a third tithe (every 3rd year) to be kept in the homes for the poor which included Levites (Deu 14:28-29; 26:12-13).

F. ISRAEL’S KINGS USED TITHES AS TAXES: Tithe-teachers do not teach that tithes were taxes under Israel’s kings; this is a sin of omission. Without objection from God or His prophets, the governments of David and Solomon began collecting tithes and using them to pay government workers such as judges, treasurers and rulers (1 Sam 8:14-17; 1 Chron 23-27; esp. 26:29-32).

G. LEVITES AND PRIESTS WORKED PART-TIME IN MINISTRY FOR GOD: Since there were far too many eligible priests and Levites to serve in the temple, they were divided into 24 courses (families) and took turns serving at the temple at least one week of 24 or 2 weeks per year). The remainder of their time was spent farming, raising tithed animals and working trades necessary for temple ministry and upkeep. Reputable church historians across denominations agree that both priests and Levites boasted of working trades while not at the temple and teaching trades to their children. Although there is nothing either right or wrong about full-time ministry, it is wrong to teach that ministry in the temple was a full-time occupation to be mimicked by full-time preachers today.


A. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM OUTSIDE HOLY ISRAEL. Abram (Gen 14:18-20) and Jacob (Gen 28:20-22) were not examples of holy Law-tithing. Both gave freewill sacrificial vow offerings.

B. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM PRIESTS (PART ONE). The O. T. priests represented God, the end-recipient, and, like God Himself, were not commanded to tithe but were expected to give freewill offerings. In Malachi 1:8-14 God cursed priests for stealing -- exchanging bad sacrificial animals for good ones in their freewill offerings. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests stole the Levites’ portion of the tithes. And Malachi 3:8-10 is likely God commanding “you” priests (from 1:6 and 2:1) to return the stolen tithes. The point is that O. T. priests (the nearest comparison to N. T. pastors) only gave freewill offerings. This is not taught by modern tithe-teachers.

C. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM PRIESTS (PART TWO). Numbers 18 (not Malachi 3) is the ordinance in the Law which details support of Levites and priests. It tells the people to tithe food to the Levites (18:21-24) and tells the Levites to give a tenth of their food-tithe (1%) to the priests (18:25-28). However, the Law never commanded priests to tithe! God’s original goal for every Hebrew to be a priest in Exodus 19:5-6 preceded actual tithing in Leviticus 27:30-34. For Gentiles, God’s plan has been partially fulfilled under grace by all believers in First Peter 2:9-10 which quotes Exodus 19:5-6. Therefore, if O. T. priests were not required to begin their level of giving at 10%, there is no biblical precedent for the N. T. post-Calvary believer-priest. One must twist God’s Word to make it say otherwise.

D. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM HEBREW INCREASE from working trades or other skills from inside holy Israel. Hebrews could not boast of benefitting God.

E. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM HEBREWS OR GENTILES from working trades or skill from outside holy Israel. Neither the pre-Calvary O. T. nor the post-Calvary N. T. teaches that anybody outside holy Israel tithed. There is no biblical precedent. Again, God did not want man boasting of benefitting Himself through his own increase.

F. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FROM JESUS OR PAUL. Neither qualified as a tither. Both were non-food-producers. As a carpenter and traveling preacher, Jesus did not qualify as a tithe-payer. Also, coming from the tribe of Judah, Jesus did not qualify as a tithe-recipient under the Law.

G. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT GIVEN TO JESUS OR TO HIS DISCIPLES. Jesus never taught his converts to pay tithes either to Himself or to His disciples. Jesus commanded His disciples to depend upon freewill offerings while evangelizing (Mt 10:5-14; Lk 10:1-11. If Jesus had commanded others to give tithes to either Himself or to His disciples before Calvary, He would have been sinning (Mt 23:23)!

H. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT MONEY (PART ONE). The Law never included money, gold, silver or anything earned or made by man as holy tithes. Only uninformed men teach that biblical food was the same as barter-money. “Money” occurs in Genesis 32 times and 44 times before the tithe is described in Leviticus 23:30-344. Money paid for slaves (Gen 17:12+), land (Gen 23:9+), freedom (Ex 23:11), court fines (Ex 21 and 22), sanctuary dues (Ex 30:12+), vows (Lev 23:3-7), poll taxes (Num 3:47+), alcoholic drinks (Deut 14:26) and marriage dowries (Deut 22:29). Most important, since money was never included in any biblical description of holy tithes. Therefore, there is no precedent for describing tithes as income increase today.

I. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT MONEY (PART TWO). Jesus clearly taught that money with the image and language of human government was only to be returned to man’s government and not to be given to God (Mt 22:14-17; Mk 12:14-17; Lk 20:22-25). Although difficult to accept, this was Jesus’ inspired application of the Law! Tithe-teachers always ignore these texts when they refer to the Law as our beginning point of giving government money.

J. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT A UNIVERSAL ETERNAL MORAL PRINCIPLE. To be an eternal universal moral principle, 10% increase-giving would have to be written upon the heart and soul of every human being (Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16). Tithing did not even apply to non-food producers living inside holy Israel. Again, there was no precedent. Like rest and worship, “giving” is an eternal moral principle. However, like worshiping and/or resting “on the 7th day,” giving “23%” in three tithes was only known through special revelation and only to Old Covenant Israel.

K. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT FIRSTFRUITS. Like tithes, Old Covenant first-fruits were always only food from inside holy Israel. Unlike tithes, first-fruits were the first small token harvest of the season (Ex 23:19; 34:26; Lev 23:17; Num 18:13-17; Deu 18:4; 26:1-4, 10; 2 Chron 31:5a). It is wrong to teach that Christians must bring the first 10% increase of their wages as tithes because such was true of O. T. first-fruits.

L. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT TAUGHT BY PAUL. At the end of his three missionary journeys, in Acts 20:20 Paul wrote “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you” and in 20:27 he wrote “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Yet none of Paul’s many writings even suggest that the church should practice tithing. In 20:33-34 Paul boasted “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. … these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.” Those are not the words of a man usually supported by others.

M. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NOT CHANGED FROM FOOD TO ANYTHING ELSE. Abram and Jacob’s one-time vow of pre-Law tithes from pagan sources did not qualify as holy tithes under the Law. The description of holy tithes to exclude money or man’s increase never changed. Holy tithes were only food in Leviticus 27:30-34; they were still only food 1000 years later in Malachi 3:10 and they were still only food 1400 years later in Matthew 23:23. The tithe-teacher must twist God’s Word to make them anything else.

N. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITHES WERE NEVER USED FOR MISSION SUPPORT. Hebrews never spent anything on mission work to convert non-Hebrews. Although missionary support is valid for Christians, there is no biblical precedent for supporting it by teaching tithing.

O. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLICAL TITES WERE NOT EXISTENT IN EARLY CHURCH HISTORY. The early Church followed the example of Jewish rabbis who considered it sin to gain from teaching the Word. Not even the incorrect description of tithes appeared as a doctrine in early church history! Justin Martyr (A. D. 150) opposed tithing as a Jewish doctrine. The Didache (150-200) opposed tithing. Over 500 years after Calvary the regional Council of Tours (567) and the regional Council of Macon (585) unsuccessfully attempted to make tithing a doctrine of the whole Church. Finally, over 700 years after Calvary, in 777, French King Charlemagne allowed the Church to make tithing church law, but even that did not last in the Roman Catholic Church. The earliest Baptists of the 1640s considered paying pastors to be a grievous sin. Southern Baptists failed to introduce it as a doctrine in 1895. Although it seems firmly entrenched today, the references for tithes did not first appear in their Baptist Faith and Message until 1963 and the word “tithe” still does not appear.

P. THE TRUE HOLY BIBLLCAL TITHES HAVE NOT BEEN AFFIRMED BY SCORES OF LEADING SCHOLARS AND BIBLE DICTIONAIES. It would take many hours to read my list of well-respected theologians, Bible dictionaries, Bible commentaries and the articles which accompany them at The following is a sampling: Believers Bible Commentary, Billy Graham Evangelistic Assoc, Encyclopedia Britannica, F F Bruce, Craig Blomberg, John Calvin, Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dallas Theological Seminary, John Nelson Darby, Alfred Edersheim, Walter Elwell, Theodore Epp, Evangelical Bible Dictionary, Irenaeus, Zola Levitt, Martin Luther, Masters’ Seminary, John MacArthur, Justin Martyr, J Vernon McGee, Bruce Metzger, Moody Bible Institute, Nelson’s Bible Dictionary, New Bible Dictionary, John Owen, Dwight Pentecost, Charles Ryrie, C I Scofield, Philip Schaff, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Swindoll, Tertullian, Merrill Unger, Unger’s Bible Dictionary, John Wesley, John Walvoord, Wycliffe Bible Dictionary


The use of Malachi 3:8-10 to support Christian tithing is a modern scandal and sinful abuse of God’s Word today. While ignoring Malachi 1:6 TO 3:7, tithe-teachers do not point out:

A. In 1:6 God began addressing only the priests as “you” and never switched back to the people as “you” afterwards.

B. God cursed the priests four times in 1:13-13 and 2:1-2 for stealing and breaking his covenant with Levi (1:6 to 2:10).

C. The only diversion from priests as “you” is 2:11-12 where others are referred to in the third person. It is clear that “you” refers to the priests again in 2:13.

D. From 3:1 onward God answered the priests’ mocking from 2:17.

E. Since “ye sons of Jacob” in 3:6 cannot refer to all 10 tribes, it can just as easily only refer to “you” priests who are “sons of Jacob.”

F. “Ordinances” in 3:7 refers back to God’s “covenant with Levi” in 2:4 and 2:8. The sacrificial worship “ordinances” included tithing in Leviticus 27:30-34 and Numbers 18:20-28.

G. Priests robbing God in Malachi 3:8-10 is identical to their action in Nehemiah 13:5-10. Since the priests had taken the Levites’ food (tithes), the Levites (not the priests) left Jerusalem and the temple was closed.

H. The Hebrew of “this whole nation” in 3:9 can just as easily be translated as “this whole nation – of you priests” which is consistent with the continued use of “you” since 1:6. Compare the NAS, RSV and NIV.

I. “All the tithes into the storehouse” in 3:10 only makes sense if it refers to the priests returning the Levites’ portion of the tithe they had stolen in Nehemiah 13:5-10. It is clear from 2 Chronicles 31:1-19 that Solomon’s temple did not have storage space for the tithes of the whole nation. Also, God would not cruelly expect Levites and priests to travel to Jerusalem from around the country to have food to eat where they lived.

J. Nehemiah 10:37b is clear that the ordinary people were commanded to bring the first whole Levitical tithe to the farming communities where the Levites lived. This is also seen in 2 Chronicles 31:15-19. The Levites brought the priests 1% to the temple as needed (Neh 10:38).


The argument that “grace-giving is greater than Law-giving” has no interest in the real O. T. tithe except to borrow the number “10” as a beginning point for grace-giving. The description of modern tithe-teachers that “tithing means 10% of gross income before taxes” has no correlation to the O. T. ordinance of tithing at all and the comparison should not even be used.


God has not left Christ’s body, the Church, without guidelines for freewill giving (2 Cor 8 and 9 all). Just as justification is only “by grace through faith -- plus nothing,” even so grace-giving does not mean “10% Law plus.” Grace does not need to borrow from “law” in order to boost itself to a higher level of giving. The pastor who feels the need to borrow “10%” from the O. T. tithing worship ordinance (of 23%) indirectly admits that he does not know how to encourage his congregation to give because they love God, love lost souls and want to advance God’s kingdom. 

23% holy tithing of food from inside Israel was only an ordinance of the covenant God entered with Israel to replace land ownership of those Levites and priests who occasionally ministered in the Temple. According to Hebrews 7:12, that ordinance (from 7:5) was “of necessity changed” and the “change” was NOT to incorporate it into a church-support commandment. Rather the “change” was “there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before (in 7:5) for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof” in 7:18. God’s Word is clear on this.

Please join me in eradicating this vestige of Law which is hindering the Church from fully breaking free from the bondage of Law.

In Christ’s love
Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

P. S. Please visit my other web sites on Theology, Seventh-day Adventism and resurrection plays.  I am more than happy to answer any questions.

Friday, October 26, 2018



Seventh-day Adventists seriously distort history by convincing others that they have the correct interpretation of the 3 ½ times, 42 months and 1260 days of prophecy found in both Daniel and Revelation. They then proceed to explain their own 1844 existence and subsequent events based on their “correct” understanding of prophecy. The cornerstone of their prophecy is the 538-1798 “wearing out of the saints” from Daniel 7:25. This list of the failures of the popes during that period destroys the SDA prophetic foundation.

The following list covers all 190 popes from 538 to 1798. Take time to read it; if nothing else, it will amaze you that anything was accomplished while the popes were busy evading one ruler after another. Research and check it out for yourself. These are the things not ordinarily told about the popes. Their failures, fears and weaknesses will keep you convincing yourself and saying “This cannot be the little horn of Daniel 7:21-22 which “made war with the saints and prevailed against them until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.”

1.  537-555: [one of worst, LP] Vigilius was unpopular. Rome was besieged by Ostrogoths in 546, 549-550. He was arrested twice, beaten, excommunicated (by the East), fled and hid.

2.  556-561: [East] Pellagius I was chosen by Emperor Justinian without an election but was rejected by the citizens of Rome.

3.  561-574: John III fled Rome before a Lombards siege.

4. 575-579: Benedict I died during the Lombard siege with famine in Rome.

5. 579-590: Pelagius II was elected during another Lombard siege of Rome. He failed to regain most churches in northern Italy and died from a plague.

GREGORY THE GREAT: The Rest of the Story

6. 590-604: [Only “Outstanding” from 538 to 1798, LP] Gregory I was only “Great” because of his writings. He never left Rome. It began during a Lombard siege (during which he paid bribesd to stop) and ended in another Lombard siege with famine. The people finally turned against him. 

[604-741: The Eastern Empire in Constantinople had veto control of the papacy and the Lombards ruled southern Italy.]]

7. 604-606: [one of the worst, LP] Sabinian was hated by the citizens of Rome because he sold food for profit during a Lombard siege. 

8. 608-615: Boniface IV’s reign was filled with famines, plagues and natural disasters.

9. 619-625: Boniface V was a good pope. 

10. 625-638: Honorius I was later condemned by an ecumenical council for heresy.

11. 640: Severinus’ own Eastern Empire imperial guards from the Eastern Empire plundered his treasury.

12. 640-642: John IV sent money to ransom hostages.

13. 642-649: Theodore I traded excommunications with the patriarch of Constantinople. His representative there was exiled.

14. 649-654: Martin I infuriated the East by being consecrated without its approval. He was deposed, beaten and died in exileby.

15. 654-657: Eugenius I angered the Roman citizens people over doctrine.

16. 657-672: Vitalian was a weak compromise pope accepted by East and West because he was neutral on a doctrinal dispute. The Eastern emperor made Ravenna in Italy independent of papal influence.

17. 672-676:  Adeodatus II angered Constantinople by opposing its doctrine of monothelitism. 

18. 676-678: Donus temporarily restored power over Catholic churches in Eastern-controlled Ravenna, Italy with investiture (authority to appoint bishops).

19. 678-681: [East] Agatho was the 1st of 7 popes from the Eastern Empire territory. The pope died during an epidemic.

20. 682-683: [East] Leo II was powerless as the Eastern Emperor lowered taxes paid to his papacy from papal territories.

21. 684-685: [East] Benedict II did nothing as the independent Visigoth Catholic Church in Spain protested papal attempts to change its doctrine.

22. 685-686: [East] John V accomplished nothing noteworthy.

23. 686-687: [East] Conon was powerless as his own Roman militia prevented free elections.

24. 687-701: [East] Sergius I was one of two opposing popes elected by Roman clergy. His reign was a very tumultuous 4 years.

[687: Antipope Pascal
[687: Antipope Theodore]

25. 701-705: [East] John VI spent large sums ransoming prisoners. 

26. 705-707: [East] John VII was the layman son of an Eastern imperial officer.

27. 708: Sisinnius served 20 days and died of gout.

28. 708-715: Pope Constanine failed to reunite West and East. Roman citizens rebelled with bloody street battles. Muslims conquered northern Africa and the Spanish peninsula (for 9 centuries). The papacy was too weak to stop the advance of Islam. 

29. 715-731: Gregory II rebelled against the East over iconoclasm resulting in both the Lombards and Eastern imperial armies joining to besiege Rome. He died in disfavor. 

30. 731-741: Gregory III experienced a Lombard siege of Rome.

31. 741-752: [East] Zacharius was the 9th pope from Eastern Empire and the last pope to notify the Eastern Emperor of his election.

Therefore, for over 200 years since 538, the Eastern Emperor had to approve papal elections. Lombards captured the Eastern capital of Ravenna, Italy and Rome in 751.

32. 752-757: [French] Stephen II experienced Rome being and Rome were heavily taxed by the Lombards before the French King Pepin II defeated them and made the papacy a temporal power ruling the Papal States in central Italy..

33. 757-767: Paul I disputed with the Lombard king over the Papal States while the French did nothing.

34. 768-772: Stephen III contended with two other pope-claimants. There was street fighting with Lombard troops. His reign ended in total submission servience to the Lombards king.

[767-768: Antipope Constantine]
[768: Antipope Philip]


35. 772-795: Hadrian: French King Charlemagne soundly defeated the Lombards in 774. The pope became completely obedient subservient to Charlemagne who controlled the Church and called its synods.

36. 795-816: Leo III was attacked by a pro-Eastern mob, deposed, escaped and fled to France for 5 years. He returned with French troops, crowned Charlemagne as Holy Roman Western Emperor and bowed before him in 800. Note: this is 262 years after 538.

37. 817: Stephen IV

38. 817-824: Paschal governed harshly. The Roman people would not allow his body to be buried in St. Peter’s. 

39. 824-827: Eugenius II was censored for error and superstition after French King Louis I called forced a church council to condemn the Second Council of Nicea. Over  

40. 827: Valentine approved  

41. 824-844: Gregory IV was elected by lay nobility and approved by French Emperor Lothair. He was consecrated pope only after swearing allegiance to the French Emperor.

42. [844: Antipope John VIII was proclaimed pope by popular acclamation.]

43. 844-847: Sergiuis II was elected by the wealthy nobility of Rome. Since he did not wait for the king to approve his election, the French King Lothair punished him by plundering the Papal States. In 845 Danes destroyed Hamburg in Germany. In 846 Muslim Saracens plundered Rome and even St. Peter’s Cathedral.   

44. 847-855: Leo IV angered both France and Constantinople by interfering in their church appointments (lay investiture).

45. 855-858: Benedict III was opposed by Antipope Anastasius who had been installed by the French Emperor until the people of Rome crowds disapproved.

[855-858: Antipope Anastasius]

46. 858-867: After Nicholas I refused to allow the French king to divorce, French troops invaded Rome. After Nicholas tried to take over churches in the East and failed, he was excommunicated by the Eastern Patriarch.

47. 867-872: Hadrian II was married before ordination. When the Duke of Spoleto plundered Rome, the pope’s wife and daughter were raped and murdered.

48. 872-882: John VIII bribed Saracens after he failed leading a battle against them. The French Emperor Carloman invaded Italy. Next the dukes of Spoleto and Tuscia occupied Rome and imprisoned the pope. He compromised on doctrine, was poisoned and clubbed to death by friends.

49. 882-884: Marinus.

50. 884-885: Hadrian III had a crooked official blinded and had a noblewoman whipped naked through the streets of Rome. He was murdered while traveling to coronate a new German Emperor.

51. 885-891: Stephen V ignored elections approval by the French. Result: The Emperor/Duke of Spoleto claimed supremacy over the Papal States. There were  pope saw riots in Rome and Muslim Saracen raids.

52. 891-896: Formosus crowned East Frank King Arnulf as emperor for removing the Duke of Spoleto..  

53. 896: Boniface VI had been defrocked twice by a previous pope for immorality.

54. 896-897: [one of the worst, LP] Stephen VI was infamous for the Cadaver Synod during which Pope Formosus was dug up, tried, and cast into the Tiber River. Stephen himself was later deposed, imprisoned and strangled to death.

55. 897 Nov-Dec: Romanus reinstated the credibility of Pope Formosus and discredited Pope Stephan VI. He was probably killed because of those acts.

56. 897: Theodore II held a synod to invalidate the Cadaver Synod regarding Formosus.

57. 898-900: John IX removed deposed anti-Formosan pope Cerveteri by appealing to the Emperor Lambert (king of Italy). The existence of three emperors caused total chaos. , Note: This is 362 years after 538.

900: Feudalism was at its height. There was a great power vacuum with the lands divided into many small protectorates. Land was given in return for military service. Churches and monasteries were largely the fief of local nobles or barely defended their rights with armies of their own. Abbeys and bishops no less than local parish churches came under secular control and lay investiture was common where laity chose church leaders.

58. 900-903: Benedict IV sided with the wrong successor and is believed to have been murdered by agents of Berengar, King of Italy.

59. 903 2 mo.: Leo V was overthrown and imprisoned by antipope Christopher. He was murdered by Pope Sergius III.


For several centuries the papacy often stayed within family members and the pope was usually the son of the local ruler of Rome. Ruling families often fought in the streets for control of Rome. The rulers of Rome also fought with the Emperors of Germany over control of the papacy.

60. 904-911: [one of the worst, LP] Sergius III (Theophylact) fathered an illegitimate son who became Pope John XI. He killed Pope Leo V and Antipope Christopher. His reign is called “The pornacracy of the papacy.”

61. 911-913: Anastatius III (Theophylact) was completely controlled by the Theophylact family. He was removed from the Eastern Patriarch’s prayer list.

62. 913-914: Lando
 (Theophylact) reigned six months.

63. 914-929: John X (Theophylact) was deposed, imprisoned and suffocated after trying to be independent and distance himself from the noble families of Rome. 

64. 929: Leo VI (Theophylact) was probably an illegal pope since he died before his predecessor, John X.

65. 929-931: Stephen VII (Theophylact) was elected to succeed Leo VI while John X was still alive in prison awaiting John XI to grow up.

66. 931-936: John XI was Pope Sergius III’s early-teen illegitimate son. John’s half-brother, Alberic II, imprisoned his own mother and half-brother, the pope.

67. 936-939: Leo VII (Alberic) became pope by the power of Albert II, the absolute ruler of Rome. He expelled Jews who refused to be baptized. Note: 400 years after 538 and there is still no “prevailing war against the saints.

68. 939-942: Stephen VIII was elected by Alberic II. After conspiring against Alberic II, he was imprisoned and killed.

69. 942-946: Marinas II (Alberic) accomplished little.

70. 946-955: Agapitus II (Alberic) was made to swear to the dying Alberic II that the next pope would be Alberic’s son, Octavian.


71. 955-964: [one of worst, LP] John XII was Alberic II’s son who was elected at age 18. After Berengar II, King of Italy, plundered the Papal States, German Otto I occupied Rome twice and influenced papal elections. John XII was grossly immoral. A Roman synod deposed him.

72. 963-965: (German) Leo VIII was a layman chosen by German Emperor Otto to replace John XII. When Romans elected Antipope Benedict V, Otto besieged Rome and re-instated Leo VIII. 

73. 964 2 mo.: Benedict V (Alberic) was removed and exiled after Emperor Otto I besieged Rome.

74. 965-972: John XIII (German) was chosen by Otto I and exiled by the Romans three months after his election. Otto I besieged Rome and restored John XIII by force.

75. 973-974: Benedict VI (Crescenti): After Otto I died, the Crescenti family of Rome imprisoned and suffocated Benedict VI and installed Antipope Boniface VII. Otto II besieged Rome and Antipope Boniface VII fled with much of the papal treasury (only to return 6 years later).

76. 974-983: Benedict VII (German) was elected as a compromise. Boniface VII started a revolt in 980 which ended with another German siege of Rome by Otto II.

77. 983-984; John XIV (German) became pope without an election. [Yet he is legitimate.] Otto II died and Boniface VII returned a third time, imprisoned and murdered Pope John XIV.

78. 984-985; Antipope Boniface VII served for the third time. His body was dragged through the streets before being trampled upon by citizens and stabbed with spears. [Until 1904 Boniface VII had been classified as a legitimate pope.]

79. 985-996: John XV (Crescenti) angered French bishops who almost always claimed independence.  The Crescenti family controlled the Papal States. He fled Rome and died before German Emperor Otto III arrived to enforce his will on the papacy.

80. 996-999: Gregory V (German) was chosen by his German relative Otto III. The Crescenti family drove him out and they installed Antipope John XVI. Germans later restored their choice of the papacy.

81. 999-1003: Sylvester II (German) was forced out of Rome along with the emperor in 1001 because the people resented foreign interference.

82. 1003: John XVII (Crescenti) was married before being ordained and had three sons.

83. 1003-1009: John XVIII (Crescenti) was probably a Crescenti choice since they ruled Rome until 1012. He may have abdicated.

84. 1009-1012: Sergius IV (Crescenti) disappeared when the Crescenti family was overthrown by the Tuscan family in 1012. He and the head of the Crescenti family were probably murdered.

[1012: Antipope Gregory (VI)]

85. 1012-1024: Benedict VIII (Tusculan) was the first of three-consecutive layman Tusculan popes. In 1016 Normans conquered the Lombards in southern Italy. The pope was an inconclusive military leader.

86. 1024-1032: John XIX (Tusculan) was the son of ruler Alberic III and Pope Benedict IX’s younger brother.

87. 1032-Sept 1044; Mar-May 1045; Nov 1047-Jul 1048: Benedict IX (Tuscan) was the only person to be pope during three separate periods. He contended with four other popes. He was deposed twice, abdicated once and exiled six (6) times. Note: 500 years after 538 and there is still no “prevailing war” against the saints.

88. 1045 Jan-Feb: Sylvester III (Crescenti) probably should be listed as an anti-pope.

89. 1045 Mar–May: Benedict IX 2nd papal term]

90. 1045 May-Dec 1046: Gregory VI should also be listed as an Antipope. He was installed after his god-son, Benedict IX, had abdicated and was accused by German Emperor Henry III of simony (using the office to gain wealth).

91. 1046 Dec–1047 Oct: Clement II (German) was the first of four German popes chosen by Emperor Henry III. Clement II replaced three other papal claimants. [1942 evidence reveals lead poisoning.]

92. 1047 Nov – 1048 Jul: [Benedict IX 3rd papal term]

93. 1048 Jul-Aug: Damasus II (German) Pope Benedict IX reasserted himself and prevented Pope Damasus II from reaching Rome. Damasus II died from malaria or poison.

94. 1049-1054: Leo IX (German) attacked the Normans (Eastern allies) and was captured. This led to the 1053 schism between Roman Catholicism and Greek Orthodox.

[1053: Relations broke between the Western papacy and Eastern Empire churches.]

95. 1055-1057: Victor II (German):  The emperor and pope held a synod to condemn simony, clerical marriage and violations of clerical chastity. The Roman families were not interested in this kind of reform.


While the Normans were threatening from southern Italy, Pope Victor II was visiting German Emperor Henry III when the emperor died. Henry IV was his 5-year-old son in 1057.

96. 1057-1058: Stephen IX died while trying to gather support to resist the Normans.



The College of Cardinals was created during a power vacuum in 1058 while the German Emperor Henry IV was 7 years old. This was intended to be a major improvement for the Church that removed secular rulers from the election process. It originally failed for three reasons: (1) the rulers did not agree and continued to choose and depose popes and ignore the cardinals, (2) popes learned how to control elections by selecting cardinals and (3) rulers leaned how to use force in the selection of cardinals. The result was no change at all in the final outcome.


[1058-59: Antipope Benedict (IX)]

97. 1058-1061: Nicholas II was the first pope elected by cardinals and bishops. Antipope Benedict X, chosen by Germany, was forced to flee when Nicholas II occupied Rome with the Dduke of Lorraine’s troops. A synod tried to remove some imperial authority with the first formal declaration against lay investiture. It also ruled against clerical marriage and clerics having concubines! With Germany weak, Nicholas made an alliance with his former enemies, the Normans. A synod of German bishops declared Nicholas II’s acts to be null and void and broke off communion with him while withholding military action until Henry IV matured.

98. 1061-1073: Alexander II was a strong pope during a power vacuum. He used Norman troops to rule Rome. In 1061-64, Germany defeated the Normans, deposed him and installed Antipope Honorius II.

The duke of Lorraine intervened. In 1071 German Emperor Henry IV (now 20 years old) LOST an argument over the right of lay investiture.

*99. 1073-1085: Gregory VII (Hildebrand) is considered the greatest example of papal power in all of history -- yet his reign ended by him being deposed by the same German Emperor, Henry IV, whom he became famous for dominating. Typical of “great” popes, he and his two immediate predecessors took advantage of a political power vacuum in Germany.

Gregory VII was elected by popular acclaim – not by cardinals. He began by successfully violating his papal vow to get the emperor’s approval of his own election -– a vow usually which had been enforced since Constantine (325) and by almost every other major secular ruler until modern times.

Gregory VII was the third pope in a row to successfully repel lay investiture authority of the German Emperor.  with Independent France never gave up lay investiture.

In a position of weakness while fighting the Saxons for control of Germany, in June 1074 Emperor Henry IV swore allegiance to the papacy. However, having won a battle, in June 1076 he tried unsuccessfully to reassert his rule in northern Italy. In January 1077 the Holy Roman Emperor, Henry IV, met Gregory in the Alps in the winter and repented in sackcloth. Pope Gregory VII made him wait outside barefooted. The excommunication and interdict were removed and Henry yielded to the pope. This is the high point of papal power!

Gregory VII’s papal supremacy lasted only 7 years. By 1080 Henry IV had completely defeated his opponents and was in a position of strength. Gregory’s position was now weak because he had sided with Henry’s opponent, Rudolf of Swabia. In June 1080 a synod called by Henry IV again deposed Pope Gregory and a council of imperial bishops chose [Antipope Clement III]. Gregory again excommunicated Henry IV and placed his subjects under interdict. This action caused Gregory VII to lose the support of 13 cardinals. In 1081 Henry IV marched on Rome and, after a long siege, captured Rome in March 1084. In 1085 Gregory VII was deposed again and the Roman clergy enthroned antipope Clement III officially (until 1100).

[1080, 1084-1100: Antipope Clement (III)]

Emperor Henry IV and antipope Clement III both left Rome temporarily while the Dduke of Apulia marched on Rome with Norman troops and restored Gregory VII again. However, when the Norman troops destroyed and plundered Rome, the Roman people turned against Gregory VII and he died the next year in exile.

Antipope Clement III (1080-1100) was a pope-claimant chosen by German Emperor Henry IV in 1080 to replace Gregory VII and was enthroned in March 1084. He reigned until forced out by Normans in May 1087 and hid in the Pantheon. He returned with German imperial power to challenge several more popes until his death in September 1100.

100. 1087 May-Sept: Victor III fled Rome four days after being elected because of riots. He resigned and left Rome. To avoid Antipope Clement III’s supporters he left again and returned with Tuscan forces. He left a third time fleeing from Henry IV who forcibly restored Clement III.

101. 1089-1099: Urban II is praised as another great pope who inspired the First (successful) Crusade. Yet he allowed lay investiture. Urban’s papacy began while German Emperor Henry IV had forcibly restored anti-pope Clement III in 1087 and Clement would remain in Rome against Urban until after Urban’s death. In 1090 Henry IV forced Urban II to leave Rome until 1094. Two popes ruled: Clement III supported by Henry IV and Urban II supported by Henry IV’s son, Conrad. Amid all of this, Urban II’s fame was gained only through his ability to organize the First Crusade (1096-1099) which channeled the hostility of feudal knights towards the Muslims.

“Because of the pope’s distractions with the schism at home the rulers of Germany, England, France, Spain and Sicily were able to ignore at will the papacy’s reformist regulations” such as simony, clerical marriages and lay investiture (LP).

102. 1099-1118: Paschal II reversed many of the reforms of Pope Gregory VII under pressure by German Emperor Henry V. Normans bribed antipope Clement III to step down in 1100.

[1080, 1084-1100: Antipope Clement (III)]
[1100-1101: Antipope Theodoric]
[1101: Antipope Albert]

Paschal II then had to contend with three remaining antipopes: Theodoric, Alberic and Sylvester II. German Emperor Henry IV had disputed with Paschal over lay investiture. After Henry V overthrew his father, Henry IV, in 1105, the investiture dispute became much worse. The pope cited four recent synods which had forbidden lay investiture (1106, 1107, 1108 and 1110). 

[1105-1111: Antipope Sylvester IV]

Emperor Henry V and the people of Rome took turns protesting. The emperor marched on Rome several times while Pope Paschal II kept excommunicating him between 1112 and 1116.  Henry V installed antipope Gregory VIII twice while Paschal II was in hiding. A few days after returning in 1118 Paschal II died. France and England ceased lay investiture but it was only for a short time until they got angry over papal interference again.

103. 1118-1119: Galasius II and the German Emperor’s Antipope Gregory VIII took turns fleeing to France and excommunicating each other.

[1118-21: Antipope Gregory (VIII)]

104. 1119-1124: Callistus II: In 1122 German Emperor Henry V and Callistus signed the Concordat of Worms which replaced lay investiture with imperial oversight and imperial veto power over nominated bishops. The pope swore allegiance to the emperor.

[1124: Antipope Celestine II]

LAY INVESTTURE: A Roman Catholic history book boasts “The long struggle between Church and state over lay investiture was finally over” (LP). Yet this papal investiture only lasted 19 years until 1141 and still gave the emperor oversight and veto power which meant he could still prevent bishops from being elected. The arguments over and usage of lay investiture by strong secular rulers resurfaced many times over every following century. France and Spain especially declared themselves independent of papal interference.

105. 1124-1130:  Honorius II (Frangipani): The Pierleoni family had installed Celestie II and the Frangipani family installed Honorius II as pope on the same day. While Celestine was being installed the Frangipani family severely stabbed him and he resigned. Honorius II was consecrated following substantial bribes. In 1128 the Albigenses (Cathari) increased in northern Italy and northern Spain.

106. 1130-1143: Innocent II competed with two antipopes. He was supported by Germany and France while Anacletus II and Victor IV were supported by Normans. Innocent led an army against the Normans and lost Sicily. In 1141 he argued with France over lay investiture. In 1143 Roman citizens declared its Senate was independent of the papacy. Note: This is 600 years after 538.

[1130-38: Antipope Anacletus II]
[1138: Antipope Victor IV]

107. 1143-1144: Celestine II reversed positions taken by his predecessor concerning France and the Normans. In response the Normans threatened the Papal States.

108. 1144-1145: Lucius II was elected during political strife in Rome. The Pierleoni family controlled the Senate and the laity demanded that the papacy confine itself to spiritual functions. Neither Norman Roger II nor German Conrad III would rescue the pope. He was killed leading a military attack on the Senate in Rome.

109. 1145-1153:  Eugenius III was accepted and later rejected by the Senate and fled to France. The Second Crusade of 1147-1148 was a failure. He returned to Rome again in 1149 and 1152 under the protection of Frederick I of Germany. At his death disharmony remained concerning the Roman Senate and the Normans.

110. 1153-1154: Anastasius IV made peace with the independent Roman Senate. 

111. 1154-1159: Hadrian IV (English) angered German Emperor Frederic by referring to him as his vassal and by not approving one of his nominations (lay investiture). When Frederick claimed northern Italy and Corsica, Hadrian fled from Rome and hid until his death in 1159.

[1159-64: Antipope Victor IV]

112. 1159-1181: Alexander III: After a hotly disputed election, there was a 20-year schism between himself and 3 German anti-popes supported by Emperor Frederick and a fourth antipope supported by the Roman Senate. He hid in France from 1162-1165. A crusade against the Albigenses from 1158-1181 was a total failure. 

[1164-68: Antipope Paschal III]

Antipope Callistus III stayed in Rome over 10 years from 1168-1178. Alexander returned to preside over the Third Lateran Council in 1179 before fleeing from the Senate. After wandering in the Papal States (1180-1181) his body was desecrated before burial.  He punished the Waldensians and is considered a strong pope.

113. 1181-1185: Lucius III (German) Because of hostility his coronation was held outside of Rome. He was only allowed to stay in Rome from November 1181 to March 1182. All factions disliked each other – except for punishing the Waldensians by church excommunication and state punishment. He died in exile by the German Emperor.

[1168-78: Antipope Callistus (III)]
[1179-80: Antipope Innocent (III)]

114. 1185-1187: Urban III did not live in Rome due to German exile. Germany invaded, occupied the Papal States and isolated the pope. Urban supported two rebellions against the emperor and both failed by 1186 when he capitulated and allowed lay investiture.

115. 1187 Oct-Dec: Gregory VIII did not live in Rome due to German exile. He obeyed the emperor and was treated well. His reign was very contentious.

116. 1187-1191: Clement III (1187-1191): In exchange for Roman senators restoring papal revenues, the papacy had to pay taxes to the city’s secular leaders and allow them to run its secular businesses. 

From 1154 to 1189 the papacy won and lost fights with Henry II of England. When the dust settled, Henry II kept control of lay investiture.

117. 1191-1198: Celestine III: The Germen Emperor Henry VI invaded southern Italy, re-instituted lay investiture and murdered a papal bishop. The pope could not prevent Henry from holding English King Richard for ransom.


**118. 1198-1216: Innocent III “was one of the most important and powerful popes in the entire history of the church” (LP). As usual when a “strong” pope asserted himself, a power vacuum existed. After Emperor Henry V died in late 1197, both contenders, Otto IV and Philip of Swabia, asked for the pope’s endorsement. Innocent III boasted of papal power to choose emperors. It is during this period that the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) turned into a fiasco after temporarily conquering Constantinople. 

In error the pope favored Philip who was murdered in 1207. After receiving tremendous concessions from Otto IV, Innocent crowned him as emperor in 1209. Otto IV immediately ignored all of his promises and invaded southern Italy. Pope Innocent deposed Otto IV and, in 1212 named Frederic II of Sicily as emperor. In 1214 French King Philip II defeated Otto’s forces. Thus, innocent’s choice of the emperor survived. Innocent also forced a very weak King John of England (1198-1216) to submit concerning lay investiture and revoked the Magna Charta. From 1209 to 1229 a full-scale successful crusade was mounted against the Albigenses and Waldenses which resulted in many deaths and the beginning of the Inquisition.

Innocent III’s many successes are almost nullified by his many failures. During the crusade of 1202-1204 Germany, England and France all alternated between making and breaking promises to the pope who made many concessions in order to encourage his fiasco of a crusade in the east. Rather than fighting Muslims, armies from Catholic countries plundered and killed fellow Christians in Constantinople (which lasted only 20 years). Innocent III started strong and ended weak with French King Philip II. Local bishops disliked being treated as mere subordinates to the pope. In 1212 the papacy suffered another horrible catastrophe when the Children’s’ Crusade ended in the slaughter an enslavement of thousands of Catholic children. Also, the great accomplishment of placing Emperor Frederic II into office turned into a fiasco when Frederic became the enemy of papal power after Innocent III’s death.

In the spiritual realm, innocent’s Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 made the Eucharist into God, condemned heresies, asked for secular suppression of heresies, banned new religious orders and required Jews to wear distinctive clothing. Innocent III died suddenly of a fever in 1216. The next pope ignored the Council.

Note: 1209-1229 is almost 700 years since the 1260 years began in 538 and it is the first time the papacy endorsed a successful war against fellow Christians. Yet this cannot be the fulfillment of “made war with the saints and prevailed against them”: (1) if the Albigenses (Cathari) are the “saints” of Daniel 7, we would have to conclude that their many cultic doctrines were correct. (2) The Albigenses were exterminated quickly, but the prophecy states that the saints “shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time” –for 1260 years according to SDAs. 

119. 1216-1227: Honorius III saw the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221) end in failure. German Emperor Frederick II spent his time trying to restore territory taken from him by Pope Innocent III and selected his own church leaders (lay investiture). Honorius continued using French and German kings to massacre Albigenses heretics in southern France. Opposing Innocent’s Lateran Council of 1215, Honorius authorized three new orders: Dominicans, Franciscans and Carmelites.

120. 1227-1241:  Gregory IX personally led a losing army to oppose the emperor. In 1234 the pope temporarily fled uprisings in Rome. In 1239 Frederic invaded the Papal States, surrounded Rome and prevented Gregory from assembling a council against him. Gregory died in the August heat during the siege.

121. 1241: Celestine IV served 16 days while a Roman senator from the Orsini family was the absolute ruler of Rome.

122. 1243-1254: [one of worst, LP] Innocent IV fled to France from 1244-1250. From 1251-1254 he was opposed by Conrad IV, Frederic’s son.  He died in Naples during uprisings.

123. 1254-1261: Alexander IV lost control of the Papal States to Manfred of Sicily. Rome was too dangerous and the pope did not live there.

124. 1261-1264: Urban IV failed to persuade the French king to occupy southern Italy and Sicily and make them pay tribute. Manfred of Sicily renewed military action and Urban IV fled and died in exile.


125. 1266-1268: Clement IV (French) never lived in Rome because of its anti-papal conditions. France replaced Germany for control of Italy.

126. 1268-1272 was a period without a pope because of civil strife. It ended when the civil authorities locked the cardinals in a room, removed the roof and threatened them with starvation until a pope was selected.

127. 1272-1276: Gregory X did not live in Rome. He was a layman when elected. The (French) king of Sicily was a threat and ruled most of Italy. 
128. 1276: Innocent V served 5 months.

129. 1276: Hadrian V served 5 weeks.

130. 1276-1277: John XXI served 9 months. He died suspiciously when the ceiling of his study fell on him. 

131. 1277-1280: Nicholas III was condemned to Hell in Dante’s Inferno.

132. 1281-1285: Martin IV (French) turned over the Papal States to the French King of Sicily. After German-Spanish Emperor Peter (the Great) took over Sicily from France, Martin alienated many Catholics.

133. 1285-1287: Honorius IV (French) instigated a war between France and the German-Spanish ruler of Sicily. Defeat included the death of both the French king, Philip III, and the King of Sicily, Peter III. 

134. 1288-1292: Nicholas IV did not live in Rome due to hatred of his favoritism. Unrest in the Papal States forced him to appoint offices and distribute income more fairly.

[From 1292 to1294 there were 27 months without a pope due to disputes between the Orsini and Colonna Italian noble families.]

135. 1294 5 months: Celestine V had been a hermit before being elected pope by the king of Sicily and Naples. He was uneducated, inept, befuddled and did not even speak Latin. He either resigned or was murdered.

136. 1295-1303: [one of worst, LP] Boniface VIII (Colunna) was accused of idolatry because he had so many statues of himself built. He failed to remove the Spanish from Sicily and failed to mediate a dispute between Venice and Naples. He also failed to defend Scotland’s independence from England and failed to stop a war between France and England. Moreover, he failed to stop France and England from taxing clergy to finance their war. When Boniface threatened excommunication to stop the taxation, Philip replied by forbidding money from leaving France to the papacy. King Philip later won every argument with Boniface and the Colonna family rejected his high-handed methods. When captured by the Colonna family, Boniface was rescued by the Orsini family. His greatest mistake was the excommunication of French leaders and landowners who had confiscated church property.

The French now controlled the papacy much more than the Germans had for the better part of 400 years before them. In 1304 the French forcibly moved the papacy into France for over 70 years.


Note: The papacy was so powerless that it could not resist being physically moved to France for over 70 years. This definitely cannot be part of 1260 years of “making war with and prevailing against the saints.”

137. 1301-1304: Benedict XI (in France) was completely controlled by the French king and was forced to live in Arles. He even assigned church tithe income to the French king for two years and revoked all of Boniface VIII’s penalties against the French king. He is listed by Catholics as allegedly murdered.

138. 1305-1314: Clement V (in France) was forced to torture the Knights Templar to gather their fortunes.

139. 1314-1316 (in France) had no pope because of disputes. Armed Frenchmen shouted “Death to the Italians. We want a [French] pope.”

140. 1316-1334: John XXII (in France) was accused of heresy for saying that the saints did not see God until after the final judgment. After being excommunicated for calling the pope a heretic, Louis IV of France deposed John XXII, declared himself emperor and installed Antipope, Nicholas V, who survived two years before abdicating in 1330.

[1328-30: Antipope Nicholas (V)]


141. 1335-1342: Benedict XII (in France) was not allowed to move back to Rome and he was powerless to prevent the Hundred Years’ War between two Catholic nations (1336-1453). Much papal land in Italy was lost to Germany and his enemies included the Franciscans.

142. 1342-1352: [one of worst, LP] Clement IV (in France): After supporting Cola di Rienzo as ruler of Rome, he excommunicated him for asserting independence of the Roman people from both the pope and the German emperor. While the pope was captive in France, the archbishop of Milan became more powerful than the pope in Italy. In 1351 English King Edward III restored lay investiture. From 1348-1349 the Black Death devastated Avignon, France.

143. 1352-1362: Innocent VI (in France) (France and England at war) was unable to regain the Papal States. German kings asserted their independence from the pope including lay investiture. Avignon itself was attacked by mercenary troops during lulls in the war with England.

144. 1362-1370: Urban V (France–England war) stayed in Rome from 1367-1370 but returned to France when Roman nobility, rebels and forces under the archbishop of Milan were massing to attack him.

145. 1371-1378: Gregory XI (in France) (last French pope) (during France-England war) could not gather funds in 1373 to fight the Viscount of Milan. With England and France at war, the pope failed to mount another crusade against Muslims. German Emperor Charles IV made his 15-year-old son king of Romans without his permission. After briefly returning to Rome the pope returned to France in March 1378 because of resentment against him in the Papal States and Florence.

GREAT WESTERN SCHISM OF 1378-1417; Antipope in Avignon, France and Pope in Rome.

146. 1378-1389: [one of worst, LP] Urban VI (from Rome) (during France-England war) angered the cardinals who elected antipope Clement VII (1378-1394 (thus beginning the 40-year Great Western Schism of 1378-1417 (LP). He was elected after riots and demands to have a Roman pope. This resulted in two popes who excommunicated each other and sent mercenary troops to fight one another. After leading a failed attack on Naples, executing five cardinals and creating anarchy in the Papal States Urban VI died of probable poisoning.

[1378-94: Antipope Clement (VII)]

147. 1389-1404: [one of worst, LP] Boniface IX (from Rome during 1378-1417 schism and during France-England war) abolished Rome’s government, declared himself absolute ruler, fled Rome and died suddenly after a failed meeting with the antipope, Benedict XIII.

148. 1404-1406: Innocent VII (from Rome during 1378-1417 schism and France-England war): Civil unrest in Rome prevented reconciliation talks. After the pope’s nephew murdered leading citizens and rioters stoned the Vatican, the pope fled for 7 months before the people allowed him to return. Antipope Benedict IX was still present.

[1394-1417: Antipope Benedict (XIII)]
[1409-10: Antipope Alexander V]
[1410-15: Antipope John (XXIII)]
149. 1406-1415: Gregory XII (during 1378-1417 schism and France-England war) saw three popes reign at the same time. The kings of Naples, Hungary and Bohemia called the Council of Pisa in 1409 and deposed Pope Gregory XII and antipope Benedict XIII.  After two more councils two additional popes had been replaced by Martin V (Antipope Clement VIII (1423-1429) and Antipope Benedict XIV (1425).

[1423-29: Antipope Clement (VIII)]
[1425: Antipope Benedict IV]

150. 1417-1431: Martin V (Coloma) (France-England war) was named by a King to replace one pope and two anti-popes as the Great Western Schism ended. Resisting pleas from Germany and Avignon to dwell there, he took residence in Rome in 1420. He failed to mount a crusade against the followers of Hus. 


151. 1431-1447: Eugenius IV (France-England war ended 1443): In 1435 the Council of Basel ended annual papal taxes and limited the power of the papacy. The Council elected antipope Felix V in 1439. Eugenius had to flee the Colonnas (who had taken over the Papal States in 1434) and hide in Florence from 1434 to 1443. Much happened during the reign of Eugenius IV including disputes with the Greek Orthodox Church. In 1444 a crusade against Turks ended in defeat.

[1439-49: Antipope Felix V] 

152. 1447-1455: Nicholas V was a good pope. The Eastern Roman Empire and Constantinople fell to the Muslim Turks in 1453.


153. 1455-1458: [one of worst, LP] Callistus III organized a crusade against the Turks which failed due to indifference. His monetary policies angered France, Germany and Spain. He was stubborn and did not tolerate opposition. He angered many by placing a Spanish army leader over the Papal States. At his death the Italians rioted against his supporters who then fled.

154. 1458-1464: Pius II had fathered several illegitimate children before becoming pope. He failed twice to have a new crusade. He angered the French by supporting a Spanish king of Naples. The French repeated their independent rights of its Church, including lay investiture. Pius also had bad relations with the Kings of Germany and Bohemia.

155. 1464-1471: [one of worst, LP] Paul II was “absorbed in luxury, sport and entertainment” and was a “vain intellectually shallow ostentatious playboy” (LP). He angered humanists and scholars by abolishing their support. He excommunicated the King of Bohemia fearing that he might be a supporter of Hus.

156. 1471-1484: [one of worst, LP] Sixtus IV incited the Protestant Reformation by turning the Vatican into a Renaissance showpiece. He was involved in a murder-conspiracy and caused a war with Florence (1478-1480) because he had begun the Spanish Inquisition. He incited another war between Florence and Ferrara causing him to lose several Papal States. He began the sale of indulgences and annulled the decrees of the reformist Council of Constance.

157. 1484-1492: [one of worst, LP] Innocent VIII was very worldly. He lost two wars with Ferdinand I of Naples over increased taxes and made his own thirteen-year-old illegitimate son a cardinal.

**158. 1492-1503: [one of worst, LP] Alexander VI (de Borgia) is considered to be the worst pope of history. He openly lived a promiscuous life, fathering several children before and after his election to the papacy. When away, he left his mistress in charge of the Vatican. He caused several fights between France and Spain. He died by poisoning.

159. 1503 Oct: Pius III served 17 days.

160. 1503-1513: [one of worst, LP] Julius II sold indulgences to build St. Peter’s Basilica which angered Martin Luther. As a cardinal he fathered three daughters. French King Louis XII in 1511 called a council to depose him but Spain and England temporarily pushed France out of Italy. He allowed English Henry VIII to marry his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon. 

161. 1513-1521: [one of worst, LP] Leo X (Medici) witnessed the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation in 1517 because of abusive indulgences and simony. He re-confirmed an agreement that the French king had lay investiture right to select all church offices. His spending caused political and financial setbacks both among Catholics and followers of Luther. When he died Europe was in political turmoil.

162. 1522-1523: Hadrian VI was supported by the German emperor. The Roman people did not like him. After angering both Germany and France, France prepared to invade Italy.


163. 1523-1534: Clement VII (Medici) inadvertently spread the Protestant Reformation across Europe and to England when he refused to allow Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon. He reversed loyalties between Germany and France. Spanish-German Emperor Charles V invaded and sacked Rome in 1527. After being a prisoner of France for six months he returned after allowing France to occupy major parts of the Papal States and paying France a huge indemnity. His actions helped the Protestant Reformation and caused England to become Protestant.

164. 1534-1549: Paul III was the first pope from Rome since 1431 and was opposed by the Colonna and Medici families. He had four illegitimate children by a noble Roman mistress. After censoring Michelangelo for nude figures, Michelangelo pictured him among the damned with donkey’s ears and a serpent around his body. He excommunicated Henry VIII of England. When the pope tried to move the Council of Trent to Bologna, the Spanish-German Emperor Charles V prevented it. Fights over which family members would rule the Papal States filled his last years.

165. 1550-1555: Julius III was infatuated with a fifteen-year-old boy he elevated to a cardinal and Secretary of State before the boy was imprisoned for criminal activity. The pope provoked a war between the Spanish Emperor and France. He failed to slow down the Protestant Reformation in Germany and England.

166. 1555: Marcellus served 2 months. He was forced to retire because he was so critical of nepotism (favoring relatives) and simony (using his office to gain wealth).

167. 1555-1559: [one of worst, LP] Paul IV was so harsh and unfair that Romans hated him, rioted, attacked the Inquisition prisons, released prisoners and tore down statutes of the pope. He lost a war with Catholic Spain.

168. 1559-1565: Pius IV refused to take a position on married priests. Protestantism spread and the Papal States had riots and attempts on his life.

167. 1566-1572: Pius V excommunicated Catholic Queen Elizabeth I of England which caused English Catholics to be persecuted. Enforcement of banned books forced printers to leave Italy. He angered Maximilian II of Germany by trying to appoint a civil ruler and he argued with Phillip II of Spain trying to curtail royal control over the Church (investiture).

168. 1572-1585: Gregory XIII encouraged Phillip II of Spain to invade England and encouraged plots to assassinate Queen Elizabeth. By rejecting Sweden’s request that priests be allowed to marry, Sweden became Protestant. The Papal States rebelled and bandits were in Rome. 

169. 1585-1590: Sixtus V ended an insurrection in the Papal States with harsh measures and beheadings. In 1588 the Spanish Armada which Gregory XIII had encouraged was defeated and French Protestantism grew. Roman mobs hated him.

170. 1590 Sep: Urban VII died of malaria.

171. 1590-1591: Gregory XIV (France-England vs Spain war) endured the plague, food shortages and lawlessness in Rome.  His pro-Spanish favoritism angered the French. And his stance against Henry IV, Protestant King of France, caused French Catholics to side with their Protestant king. He was also not liked because of his incompetence and nepotism in Rome.

172. 1591 Oct-Dec: Innocent IX (France-Spain war) continued war against Protestant King Henry IV of France. Rome was in lawless anarchy.

173. 1592-1603: Clement VIII: By accepting (now-Catholic) Henry IV as king of France, he was forced to grant religious freedom and civil equality to the Huguenots in France. James I made England Protestant again.

174. 1605 26 days: Leo XI was supported by France and opposed by Spain.

THIRTY YEARS’ WAR (1618-1648) in Germany: On one side were German Protestants, (Catholic) France, England, Sweden and Denmark.  On the other side were Hapsburg Catholics of Germany, Spain, Bohemia, most of Italy and southern Netherlands. Oddly, the pope sided with France (and Protestants).

175. 1605-1621: Paul V (Thirty Years War): Venice rebelled against the papacy –saying it had no temporal authority. Paul V argued with England over the pope’s right to depose secular leaders. He also argued with the French who said that the French Church and king were independent from the pope.

176. 1621-1623: Gregory XV (Thirty Years War) declared secret ballots for the pope and saw some success in the Jesuit-led Counter-Reformation.

177. 1623-1644: Urban VIII (Thirty Years’ War): The Catholic Counter-Reformation ended. His last days saw a military and financial defeat when France and Venice denied his attempted expansion of the Papal States. The Roman people were jubilant at this death.

178. 1644-1655: Innocent X was controlled by his sister-in-law. Though unhappy with the results of the Thirty Years’ War, he was helpless to affect it. He next favored Catholic Spain in its renewed war with Catholic France. After death he remained unburied for several days because his sister-in-law refused to pay the funeral expenses. In 1655-1700 Waldensians were killed by the Duke of Savoy.

179. 1655-1667: Alexander VII was not liked by the French who were now more powerful. He was forced to apologize to French King Louis XIV and to allowed him (ruled 1643-1715) to make church appointments (lay investiture).  

180. 1667-1669: Clement IX was forced to allow French Louis XIV lay investiture. His campaign to free Crete from the Turks failed; this caused great debt to Venice, Spain and the empire.

181. 1670-1676: Clement X was a compromise after both France and Spain vetoed previous choices. French King Louis XIV confiscated church property and finances. Clement was also pressured to appoint French cardinals.

182. 1676-1699: Innocent XI: In 1682 Louis XIV re-asserted the old Gallican Articles: “There is no papal secular authority over kings and general councils are superior to the pope” and reaffirmed the independence of the French Church. When the pope excommunicated Louis XIV, France retaliated by occupying two papal cities. 

183. 1689-1691: Alexander VIII angered the citizens by drafting an army from Venice. His friendship with French Louis XIV angered the German emperor.

184. 1691-1700: Innocent XII ratified many bishops nominated by Louis XIV in return for the king easing up on the Gallican Articles but the French Church’s autonomy remained -- in other words, he allowed lay investiture. Peace with France meant problems with the Germans through papal interference.

185. 1700-1721: Clement XI (1700-1721) (layman) angered the Chinese which resulted in persecution and closed churches in China. Under pressure from French Louis XIV (d1714), he condemned the Catholic Jansenists again. After siding with the Germans over the new emperor, Charles VI, relations with Spain were broken. Germany invaded Italy, captured Naples and threatened Rome. The Spanish also excluded him from decisions in Sardinia, Sicily, Parma and Piacenza. The Spanish fleet he had encouraged to fight the Turks instead captured Sardinia from Germany.

186. 1721-1724: Innocent XIII disliked both Jesuits and their religious enemies. He gave concessions to the French and German rulers and failed to stop Spanish Charles VI from claiming supreme authority over the Church in Sicily.

187. 1724-1730: Benedict XIII was a compromise because the French, Spanish and Germans failed to elect their own choices. Italian Cardinal Coscia controlled the pope and became wealthy selling offices and taking bribes (simony). Benedict was hated by the Roman people because he did not discipline Coscia. In 1730 the Romans rioted and forced him out.

188. 1730-1740: Clement XII: Catholic kings continued to ignore the papacy. The Austrian Emperor Charles VI occupied m any of the Papal States and recruited soldiers from Rome. 

189. 1740-1758: Benedict XIV gave political concessions to Sardinia, Naples, Spain and Austria. He allowed Spain and Portugal to make all church appointments (lay investiture). Siding with the wrong contender caused the loss of all papal money-producing offices in Austria and caused the occupation of the Papal States by Austria.

190. 1758-1769: Clement XIII was a compromise choice after a French veto. France, Spain, Naples and Parma were in full rebellion against the Jesuits. From 1759-1767 Portugal, France and Spain deported Jesuits. When the pope took no action against the Jesuits, France occupied two papal lands inside France. He also failed to stop German rulers from assuming more religious powers.

191. 1769-1774: [one of worst, LP] Clement XIV was elected by the influence of Bourbon rulers in France, Spain, Naples and Parma. Under much pressure he completely dissolved the Jesuits in 1773. France and Portugal’s secular leaders suppressed more Church-associated functions. On the other hand, he lost support among cardinals and Roman nobility in the Papal States because they had supported the Jesuits. He could not stop the partition of Poland. His last year was spent in depression, fear of assassination and an acute skin disease.

192. 1776-1799: Pius VI was rejected by Naples as its feudal lord even though he allowed Naples the right of lay investiture. Emperor Joseph II of Austria (1765-1790) proclaimed total religious liberty, forbade bishops from appealing to Rome and curtailed Catholic institutions. In 1786 German cardinals said they could run German churches without his interference. Joseph II announced plans to make local churches independent of Rome and the Synod of Pistoia in 1786 adopted the (French) Gallican Articles of 1682. He failed in requests to have (non-Catholic) Frederick II of Prussia and Catherine II of Russia suppress Jesuits. In 1790 the pope did not object when Catholic clergy became paid employees of the state in France. In 1791 he denounced the oath of loyalty French Catholic leaders made to the state and he denounced the Declaration of the Rights of Man. Diplomatic relations between France and the papacy were broken. France annexed Avignon and Venaissen where its citizens had revolted against papal leadership. The French Church became split between those loyal to the revolution and those loyal to the monarchy (no loyalty to Rome involved). After the pope denounced new France, Napoleon occupied Milan. When the pope continued to resist, Napoleon occupied many of the Papal States. In 1797 the papacy lost more of the Papal States and was forced to pay huge spoils of war including valuable manuscripts and art. On February 15, 1798 France deposed the pope, occupied all of the Papal States and Rome itself. Pius VI died a prisoner in August 1799.


The prophecy stated that the little horn “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Dan 7:21) “until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Dan 7:22).

While conservative futurist theologians see the end of the 1260 “days” referring to the second coming of Christ, SDAs end the 1260 period of “prevailing war” in 1798. The “until” of Daniel 7:22 suggests that SDAs might extend the “prevailing war” either to the Investigative “Judgment” of 1844 or else all the way to the end of the “judgment” at the second coming. Thus their 1260 years is actually much longer. This is a serious problem for them.  

Daniel 7:25 continues “and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” The “prevailing war” against the saints was to last (according to SDAs) 1260 years, from 538 until 1798. The papacy has never fit this description and still does not fit this description!

Even while making great statements, calling Church Councils and sending Crusaders to fight, most popes (repeat, most popes) were controlled by rulers who had veto power. Most popes spent most of their time juggling its authority between Catholic rulers. Favoritism to one meant animosity towards another. Disagreeing with rulers usually invited a march on Rome. The popes often hid and fled from rulers who often besieged Rome and allowed the rulers to have lay investiture and appoint bishops.

1800-1823: Pius VII was crowned in Venice on March 4, 1800 while the kingdom of Naples occupied Rome for Austria.  Since the French had stolen the papal regalia, the pope was crowned with a paper mache’ tiara. Since the papacy was under Austrian protection, Napoleon defeated Austria. Austria and Naples left Rome. In 1801 an agreement was signed with Napoleon which re-established Catholicism in France but lessened its authority. For the first time in many centuries the papacy was given investiture power over bishops in France; this lasted 8 years until 1809. A similar agreement was made with the new Italian Republic but not with Germany. The pope took part in Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 but refused to support the blockade of England. In February 1808 Napoleon occupied Rome and occupied the Papal States in May 1809. The pope was arrested, imprisoned and forced to allow Napoleon to appoint bishops (lay investiture). When Napoleon abdicated in 1814 the pope renounced everything he had been forced to do under threat.

1823-1829: Leo XII reinforced the List of Forbidden Books and the Holy Office (formerly the Inquisition) and reestablished the feudal aristocracy in the Papal States (LP). Austria had vetoed the first election (vetoes by heads of states would last until 1904). In 1825 he condemned religious toleration of the revolution and Freemasonry. In 1826 Jews were confined to ghettos in the Papal States and their property was confiscated. He revoked previous (liberal) reforms and established a police state with secret societies, press censorship, capital punishment. As a result, many skilled laborers moved out of the Papal States, its economy suffered and it had the reputation of being the most backward in Europe. Oddly, though, he adopted a more conciliatory position with European nations than with the Papal States. He had an overriding fear and hostility towards the modern world.

1829-1830: Pius VIII returned to the more liberal policies of Pius VII (1800-1823). He blamed the breakdown of religion and the social order on indifferentism on Protestant Bible Societies’ attacks on Catholic dogma, and secret societies. He allowed more Catholic-Protestant marriages. Against the advice of his nuncio and Curia he accepted the overthrow of French King Charles X in favor of Louis-Philippe.

1831-1846: Gregory XVI was one of the most reactionary popes. He opposed Italian nationalism, freedom of the press, freedom of conscience and the separation of Church and State. He banned street lights in the Papal States and banned railways. He was greeted with a rebellion in Rome wanting more freedom and an Italian Republic. After the Austrians had crushed the revolts Russia, England, France and Prussia demanded reforms from the papacy. New disorders erupted and Austrian troops crushed the riots again. France then occupied the Papal States for seven years. Rather than use excommunication against Catholic leaders who opposed him (as in the past) he merely condemned or censored them. He then was ignored as Spain and Portugal passed anti-Church secular legislation. H opposed Switzerland for removing papal authority over Swiss Catholics and Poland for breaking with the czar of Russia. He had to yield to the French request than Jesuits be withdrawn. When he died the papal treasury was empty because of war expenses.

1846-1878: Pius IX called the First Vatican Council which defined papal infallibility, papal primacy and the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception in 1869-1870. His Syllabus of Errors concerned modern thinking. At first the Romans thought he was going to agree with new reforms and nationalism; as he changed the Romans disliked him because they wanted an Italian Republic. In 1848 he angered the people by refusing to support the war to expel Austria from Italy. He fled Rome when revolutionaries besieged it. In February 1849 Mazzini declared the Italian Republic. After a papal appeal for help France restored papal rule in July 1849 and the pope returned in April 1850. By 1860 all of the Papal States had been lost in battle except Rome. France protected the papacy in Rome until 1870 when it had to withdraw to fight Prussia. By 1871 the papacy was left with only the Vatican and a few buildings.