The French Revolution and the 3½ Days

   The text of Revelation 11 says that the witnesses, which we identified in this Bible commentary as the Old and New Testaments, were killed near the end of their time of 1260 days (or years) in sackcloth 1107b. We saw that terminal time to be 1798. This was during the French Revolution. According to Revelation 11, the witnesses would lie dead in the street for 3½ days (or years) before being resurrected. We ask what happened that would be represented by the symbol of the witnesses being killed, and what events or laws could support a beginning and ending of their lying dead in the street.
    This page is for sharing some of the documents that add meaning to our study. They may be of interest as well to those who do not read the general commentary with which they are associated. If you find an error in my interpretation or other information I should know, I would appreciate hearing from you. Contact information below.

    By 1789 King Louis XVI and his royalist party were losing power rapidly. A national assembly was proclaimed in June. In July the Bastille, which had held political prisoners, was taken. In October, martial law was decreed, and in November church (meaning Catholic) property was nationalized and sold to help a failing economy. Thus the revolt was against religious and civil traditional authority. Both had suppressed the people. Earlier events such as the St. Bartholomew Massacre 1315c had been tools in the hands of the state to fulfill the ends of the dominant church. This time the throne as well as the altar were objects of the developing disbelief and unrest.

Reign of Terror
    The time historians call "the reign of terror" began in 1793. King Louis XVI was beheaded on Jan. 21. Power was shifting among political factions and the guillotine often couldn't keep up with the demand to remove heads.
Rejection of religion
    On October 5, 1793, the law for a new calendar was passed replacing the seven-day week with a ten-day "decade." Also the months were renamed and days allocated differently. This meant that there was officially no longer a weekly day of worship. This was the major event that initiated the "dechristinization."
    Many of the clergy, both Catholic and Protestant, resigned their posts to join the revolution. With excitement high, the local and regional governments proclaimed grand celebrations at the Notre Dame cathedral. That was November 10, 1793 (20th of Brumaire, by the new calendar). A statue of Liberty would replace the image of the "Blessed Virgin." The Mayor of Paris called this ceremony the "Festival of Liberty and Reason."

    "The ceremony of the 20th Brumaire was very important. The insignia of the Catholic religion in the Church of Notre-Dame had been covered up, and a mound had been heaped up, on which stood a Greek temple, with an inscription 'To Philosophy' and with four busts of philosophers. . . . The 'Torch of Truth' flamed upon an altar. Young girls defiled [marched] in procession; they were clad in white, with tricolour shashes, wore wreaths of flowers and carried torches. Then there emerged from the temple a beautiful woman, dressed in a mantle of blue and wearing the red cap. As the personification of liberty she received the homage of the Republicans, who, stretching their hands toward her, sang a hymn. . . .

    "'Come, holy Liberty, inhabit this temple,
    Become the goddess of the French people.'

    "The whole scene was enacted artistically and tastefully by actresses from the Opera.
    "Then the Department and the Commune assembled at the bar of the Convention, where Chaumette declared, in their name, that the people wanted no other priests or gods than those which nature offers us: 'We, their magistrates, have gathered from their lips this expression of their wish, and we bring it to you from the Temple of Reason' and he asked that henceforth Notre-Dame should be known as the Temple of Reason. A decree to this effect was immediately passed. . . .
    "The Worship of Reason was nearly everywhere deistic and not materialistic or atheistic." (Aulard, Ibid, pp. 106, 107, 111) In Deism, nature is worshiped. It was atheistic in the sense of replacing the creator of nature with nature itself as the object of worship. The deism developed from the atheism.

Dechristianization (quotation begins)
    "A dechristianization of France started in 1793 . . . first with the Cult of Reason, then with that of the Supreme Being. [The foremost aim was] To defend the country and the Revolution . . . against the priests, who showed themselves hostile. It seemed as if the priesthood was indestructible except by the overthrow of its altars. That work was carried out by revolutionary patriotism, and supported by a movement of free-thought, which had long been bred through the intolerance of the State religion, while philosophers like Voltaire stimulated and disseminated it. . . . Supposing the success of the National Defense had been delayed, and a liberating victory . . .  [had been delayed, too, allowing time for the masses to become more agitated] it is a question whether the protracted Terror, considered as a dechristianizing factor, would not have dealt the death-blow to the Catholic religion in particular, nay, to Christianity in general. . . .
    "When I speak of Christianity, I refer chiefly to catholicism, but the two French Protestant Churches, the Lutheran and the Calvinistic, were also affected by the anti-religious movement of 1793. . . ." Preface (p. 13) of Christianity and the French Revolution. A. A. Aulard, translated by Lady Frazer, 1927. Ernest Benn Limited, London.
    Actually the new belief system began with the Cult of Reason as noted by Aulard. Quickly actions were taken to remove the old faith, Christianity. The term "dechristianization" may well have been prompted by the actions centuries earlier when the Roman church and government had effectively "christianized" them. The French ancestors, called Franks, were the first to embrace the new religion under King Clovis. That was 30 years before the 1260 year period began 1008c. See on da1211.

Two witnesses killed
    Notice the French text that expresses the sentiment described in Revelation 11. Translation is shown below. A portion is in the commentary part of this work 1107b. We begin in the middle of a long paragraph:
    "Le conseil passa à l'ordre du jour motivé sur ce que la Raison et la Vérité, ne permettaient plus qu'aucun simulacre frappât les regards ou 'imagination du peuple. Nous rappellerons ici deux citations de notre préambule, la malet contre les clochers, et l'arrêté pour la démolition des sculptures de Notre-Dame [cathédrale]. . . . [Puis le livre que nous lisons cite une épisode publilée dans Le Journal de Paris, 1793, n. CCXVIII] "[Les membres de] La société populaire de Muséum entre au conseil en criant: Vive la Raison! et porte au bout d'un bâton les restes d'un livre encore fumant, elle announce que les bréviaires, les missels, les heures de Sainteté[?] ancien et le nouveau Testament, ont expié dans un grand feu, sur la place du temple de la Raison, toutes les sotteries qu'ils ont fait commettre à l'espèce humaine.
    "Hébert insruit ensuite le conseil que, dans la sectioin de Bonne-Nouvelle, on fera, chaque décadi, dans le temple de la Raison, un cours de morale; il ajoute que cette section a fait abattre son clocher; il propose en conséquened que l'on abattre tous les clochers de Paris, parce qu'ils semblent contrarier les principes de l'égalité. Le counseil adopte le principe, et renvoie cet arrété au département." (Histoire Parlimentarie de la Révolution Française, Tome Vingt-neuvième, M.DCCC.XXXVI).
    "The [legislative] council took up their agenda, inspired by the [concept that] Reason and Truth would no longer permit any simulation [of reality] to strike the sight or imagination of the people. We recall here two citations from our preamble [to our constitution]: the hammer against the bells and legal actions for the demolition of the sculptures of the Notre Dame cathedral. . . .
    [The following episode is then quoted from Le Journal de Paris (1793, No. CCXVIII)] "Members of the popular Society of the Museum entered the council meeting crying out, 'May [human] reasoning live on!.' They carried a stick holding the smoking remains of a book and announced that the books of scripture portions, the missals, the schedules of holy activities, and the Old and New Testaments, expiated (paid the penalty) in a large fire in the plaza of the Temple of Reason, for all their foolish insults which they had committed against the human species.
    "Hébert then told the counsel that the parishioners of the area had torn down [or "vandalized"] their bell tower. He proposed that, following this example, all the bell towers of Paris be torn down because they seemed to thwart the principle of equality.
    "The council adopted the principle, and sent their action to the department [area government]."

Beginning of the 3½ days
    A law might have been passed after the event described below since the National Convention was to receive a copy of the decisions. The priest apparently knew the stories of the Bible and seemed to respect them. Thus Bibles may not have been included in the Catholic books which were to be sent for paper for the war. The account is particularly interesting because of the priest's analysis of the tyranny of the church-state system.

An account of reaction to the new liberty (Translation follows)
De-Christianization in Lorraine, 27 Brumaire an II 17 November 1793.
    Les citoyens de Laître sous Amance de tous âge, de tous sexe et de toute croyance, assemblés dans le lieu du culte sure l'invitation de la Municipalité, le citoyen François Bouchon, curé d'Amance et de Laitre a paru en leur présence en habit national et en bonnet rouge, et s'adressant aux maire et officiers municipaux rangés autour d'un bureau dressé au milieu de l'assemblée les a instruit de ce qui venait de se passer dans le chef-lieu du canton au sujet de l'abolition des anciens préjugés religieux. Invité à monter à la tribune pour dessiller les yeux des gens faibles et crédules, il y est monté, et prenant la parole, il a rappelé à l'auditoire que depuis plus de deux ans, il n'avait cessé de tonner contre l'imposture dont ses prédécesseurs avait abusé le peuple toujours si lent à se corriger de ses erreurs, qu'il n'avait pu, sans s'exposer à tourner contre lui-même les armes du fanatisme, lever plus tôt le voile qui dérobait depuis tant de siècles la vérité se levant enfin sur la France. Il était temps d'ouvrir les yeux à la lumière, de rentrer en soi-même et d'écouter en silence la voix de cette raison éternelle où l'Etre suprême a gravé en caractère ineffaçable ce que l'évangile a de plus sublime, cette maxime que la constitution a consacré, à laquelle le législateur des chrétiens réduit la loi et les prophêtes, ne fais pas à un autre ce que tu ne veux pas qui te soit fait, que les Juifs et les gentils appelés les premiers au christianisme avaient dénaturé par leurs préjudé religieux la simplicité d'un culte qui n'exige que l'adoration en esprit et en vérité: que les cérémonies du Lévitique et les superstitions de l'idolâtrie s'étaient glissées dans l'exercice du culte à la faveur de la crédulité des premiers fidèles, qu'elles s'étaient maintenues par la tyrannie, fortifiée dans les siècles d'ignorance; que les réclamations ont été étouffées par les despotisme de la cour de Rome et par un système d'oppression de la part des princes séculiers et ecclésiastiques. Que les mêmes ombres dont s'est enveloppé Moïse avaient pendant trois siècles entouré le berceau du christianisme, enseveli dans les caveaux, les souterrains, les catacombes; que, rendant hommage à sa morale il était disposé à n'enseigner que ce qu'elle dit au coeur de tous les hommes qui doivent se conduire non d'apres ce qu'ils ignorent mais d'après leur connaissance bien certaine et bien dirigée, etc. (sic).
    Ensuite ledit curé s'est transporté au tabernacle, en a tiré un ciboire, et, prenant une hostie à la main, il a demandé de périr sur l'heure si cette hostie renfermait la divinité; il a invité ses ennemis, au cas qu'il en eut dans l'assemblée à réunir leurs voeux pour attirer sur sa tête avant sa sortie du temple les vengeances excercées sur Ona, Coré, Dathan et Abiron, s'il était profanateur.
    Personne n'a été témoin d'aucun prodige ni d'aucun miracle. Alors plusieurs des citoyens présents ont consommé les hosties, les ont partagé avec le curé au milieu du plus grand calme et de la fraternité la plus entière.
    La municipalité a invité tous les individus présents à certifier ce qu'ils avaient vu et entendu et à s'embrasser républicainement.
    Il a été arrêté que les livres servant au cidevant culte seraient envoyés au District pour aider à faire des cartouches, de même que l'argenterie du Temple et le cuivre pour servir à  la défense de la République.
    Qu'une expédition du présent procès verbal serait envoyé à la Convention nationale, une autre au district et une autre à la société populaire de Nancy.
    Rédigé, faiat, lu et signé à Laitre le jour et un avant dit
    Bongard maire.
    Petitjean officier municpal
    Bouchon curé.
    Suivent 81 signatures.
    [Editorial note: "Laître sous Amance had about 150 inhabitants in 1793."]

From Anales historique de la Révolution française, Paris 1924, 78-80, as quoted in French Revolution Documents, vol. 2, 1792-95, by John Hardman. © 1973, Basil Blackwell.

    [The citizens of Lître sous Amance were assembled in the worship place with the town elders. The parish priest of the town and of Amance (apparently a larger town nearby) appeared in their presence in national costume and with a red hat. He talked about what had happened in the main place of the canton concerning the abolishment of old religious prejudices.] . . .
    Invited to go up to the tribune [perhaps the town hall], to open the eyes of the weak and doubting people, he went up, and taking the opportunity to speak, he reminded the audience that, for more than two years, he had not ceased to thunder against the imposture (deception) by which his predecessors [priests] had always abused the people. [Continuing the report of his speech:] His prececessors had been so slow to correct their errors. Without exposing themselves to their own guns of fanaticism, they had not been able to lift the curtain which for so many centuries had hidden the truth which was finally arising over France. It was time to open eyes to the light, to return within one's self and to listen in silence to the voice of this eternal reason (or wisdom) where the supreme Being had engraved in characters that could not be effaced, that which the gospel had [stated] sublimely and which the constitution had consecrated. The legislator of the Christians [Christ] had sumarized the law and the prophets by stating it: Do not do to another that which you would not want done to you.
    Jews and Gentiles, called the early Christians, by their religious prejudices, denatured (made unnatural) the simplicity of a worship which required only adoration in spirit and in truth. Levitical ceremonies and idolatrous superstitions had been slipped into the the worship exercise with the help of the credulity (tendency to believe too quickly) of the first faithful ones. These worship practices had been maintained by tyranny fortified through centuries of ignorance. Objections had been choked by the despotism of the court of Rome and by a system of oppression by the secular and eclesiastical princes. The same shadows that had envelopped Moses had for three [?] centuries surrounded the cradle of Christianity, shrouded in the vaults, underground and the catacombes. Giving homage to its own morality, the worship system was disposed to teach to the hearts of all only what it had said. People should behave not according to what they are unaware of [perhaps a reference to the church's mysticism and use of Latin] but according to their understanding, with certainty and well directed, etc. (sic).
    Next the priest was taken to the tabernacle. Having withdrawn a ciborium (covered cup contining wafers of the Eucharist) and taking a wafer in his hand, he asked to die right then if this wafer held divinity. He invited his enemies, in case any were in the assembly, to unite their wishes that, before leaving the temple, the vengence exercised on . . . Korah, Dathan, and Abriam would fall on his head, if he was a profaner.
    No one witnessed any marvel or miracle. Several citizens present consumed wafers. They partook with the priest surrounded by great calm and complete brotherhood.
    The municipality invited everyone present to attest to what they had seen and heard by embracing "republicainly" (in the spirit of the Republic).
    It was decided that the books serving the above worship system would be sent to the District to help make cartridges, and also the silver vessels or articles of the temple and also the copper to serve in the defense of the Republic.
    That a transmission of the present verbal process would be sent to the National Convention, another to the District, and another to the popular society of Nancy.
    Composed, made, read and signed at Laitre on the day stated above.
    Bongard, Mayor
    Petitjean, municipal officer
    Bouchon, parish priest
    81 signatures followed. End of translation.

Napoleon was active in the military conquests at the time of the French atheism. He came into greater power with the decline of the revolutionary French government. Image © Corel

Important dates involving Bible truth during the 3½ days
    Oct. 5, 1793. The revolutionary calendar was established making weeks of 10 days.
    Nov. 10. A statute of liberty as "godess of the French people" replaced the image of Mary. (link as for Oct. 5).
    Nov. 10. Account of burning Bible portions.
    Nov. 24. Satute ordering the closing of all churches. (Aulard, p. 161)
    June 1797. Request to use church bells -- need more research.
    Sept. 17, 1797. Catholicism had been generally restored.


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