Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Square, 2013
Photo by Edgar Jiménez
Once there was a boy so meek and modest, he was awarded a Most Humble badge. The next day, it was taken away because he wore it. Here endeth the lesson.
~ Time.com, “The Choice: Nancy Gibbs on Why Pope Francis Is TIME’s Person of the Year 2013“
The above opening paragraph from the Time.com article explaining their decision to choose Pope Francis as Person of the Year pretty much sets the tone. His humility plus his reaching out to atheists, gay activists, the poor and even those in prison has shaken some more conservative Catholics and thrilled many who would normally oppose the Vatican.
Could this be the last pope? Could he be the one to gather together the world into a one world religion? It is easy to jump to conclusions, just as it is easy to be overly dismissive of the possibility.
There is little doubt that Francis is a very charismatic pope. He has in a way captured the world’s imagination. It should be obvious from history that instilling a new resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire and relying upon force alone is probably not going to work. Adolf Hitler understood this, and he was able to have a mesmerizing effect upon the public.
An interesting thing that is different from his more immediate predecessors is that there are in actuality two living popes. That is an interesting wrinkle to consider. Could they eventually claim to be the Two Witnesses? Could one be the Beast and the other the False Prophet?
It’s not an unknown that American influence around the world is waning, and there is certainly no shortage of countries willing to fill that vacuum. China is flexing its large muscles more and more, and as their economy continues to rise to the point where more Chinese citizens can participate, that will fuel even more growth. Of course, this is all contingent upon a number of factors. Russia, which apparently feels resentment for the breakup of the Soviet Union, is longing for the power of the good old days. Then, there are the special nut cases of Iran and North Korea.
However, we are not ignorant of Bible prophecy and know that Europe will eventually fill this void, but not entirely. There will be three regional powers in Europe, the Middle East (and probably parts of Africa) and Asia. Europe will dominate under the resurrected Holy Roman Empire. How will it do this in the face of the fierce competition. The answer is in religion. By skillful deceit, and endtime False Prophet will convince the world that there is one government and one state religion. This will require a great amount of charisma.
Well, Francis is not the only recent one that had a charismatic sway over the Catholic faithful. Pope John Paul II also was speculated to be the last pope. However, Francis has only been in office a short while, and his words have been directed outward as well as to the Catholic Church. Will this charisma grow, or will time tarnish it even as it did with his predecessor?
Yes, there is a “Pope” and a “Pope Emeritus”, but the main reason believed for Benedict stepping down is health reasons. Having two popes makes it natural to speculate they may try to counterfeit the work of the Two Witnesses. Given Benedict’s supposed health concerns, that might not be very likely. However, it is also not impossible, and it is possible that health was simply a cover.
Yes, there is a developing power vacuum. However, it cannot be filled overnight. Besides, the United States has not completely lost its grip on things just yet. It may be soon, but it hasn’t yet. How likely is it that the needed events can occur in Francis’ lifetime? I think it is possible, but we also need to remember we once thought the Great Tribulation would start in 1972.
Jesus instructed us to watch.
34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
It is noteworthy that “watch” isn’t qualified. In context, it should be obvious that we are to watch our spiritual conditions. Why would things come unawares? Because those who are caught short have been already caught up in wild living, addicted to substances and the “cares of this life”. There are many cares of this life. There are many distractions from what we should be focusing upon. The only way we can be “worthy” of anything is to be forgiven and do what is right. That requires a solid spiritual condition.
However, that cannot be all. Events will sweep up those not grounded because they will not understand prophecy enough to know and avoid the things that are to come to pass. We must be aware of prophecy, and when we see events unfold, it should continue to drive us to repentance and give us incentive to prepare for the times ahead.
The danger I see over and over is when people quit growing spiritually because they are so focused on prophecy as to miss the bigger point. Focusing too much on prophecy is focusing on “them”. The Bible talks about individual things for Christians in this age, including repentance, baptism, continual self-examination, developing inward qualities like the Fruits of the Spirit, etc. We must neither become obsessed with prophecy nor be dismissive of it.
I don’t know. I don’t see it with this pope. He’s experiencing a bit of a honeymoon period because the man he replaced was so uncharismatic. Remember the speculation was that the reason Benedict was selected was to transition away from the previous personally popular pope.
Knowing that the final pope will have to be part of uniting Europe I don’t see a pope with leftist tendencies from Latin America fitting the bill.
That being said, we will have to see if his apparent charisma is leveraged for any real purpose.
John Paul II, even though he was not the final pope, was a consequential pope who I would argue did speed up events by being part of the impetus of the realignment of Europe.
It seems the current pope seems more interested in other things than political change although who knows what will happen. Sometimes events make the man.
@Paul: Well, perhaps being anti-political will be the attraction. After all, he’s been willing to offset several conservative Catholic views, which has some upset at him, and he has gone out of his way to be all-inclusive, which would be required for a One World Religion.
Having said all of that, I sort of hope he isn’t. Perhaps, just perhaps, we can then set aside all of the “Malarkey” prophecies. ;->
Rev 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
“The One World Religion” system is set up after the RCC is destroyed, at the beginning of the Millennium.
1 Macc 1:41-43 Then the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, each abandoning his particular customs. All the Gentiles conformed to the command of the king, and many Israelites were in favor of his religion; they sacrificed to idols and profaned the sabbath. (NAB).
“… Antiochus is consistently portrayed as instigating the abolition of Jewish observances… The letters of the king (v.44) complete the agenda … to follow after other customs… The text makes clear that this meant the abandonment of all that was distinctive of Judaism – Jewish festivals, daily sacrifices, sabbaths, circumcision, kosher laws – but it is not clear exactly what replaced them… The proliferation of altars and the various festivals suggest that, rather than the cult of one particular deity or trio of deities, what was established was the worship of various gods and goddesses” (Robert Doran, The First Book of Maccabees, NIB, Vol.4, pp.38-39).
Rev 13:12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
The ‘little horn’, who will “exalt and magnify himself above every god” (Daniel 11:36), will not tolerate any competing religions. There will be only one cult, established by the false prophet to worship the resurrected Antichrist, as Revelation reveals.
Da 2:38d Thou [Nebuchadnezzar] art this head of gold.
As we know from the PT’s of the 1930s HWA thought Mussolini would be the beast ‘person’, as opposed to the beast ‘kingdom’:
“The ‘beast’, then, stands for this Roman government, or, for MUSSOLINI, individually, as its head.
“… and out of mouth of the beast, (Ruler from Rome – Mussolini!), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (great religious ruler closely associated with the “beast”)…” (Herbert W. Armstrong, “How Demons are plunging the world into War,” The Plain Truth, February, 1938, pp.2 & 3).
But as WW2 progressed:
“HITLER now emerges as the, “BEAST” of Revelation! For years we have told our listeners and our readers that the “Beast” who revives the Empire of ancient Rome, and fights Christ at ARMAGEDDON, would be Mussolini – or his successor.
“But in the past few months Hitler has taken over Mussolini and all Italy are now in Hitler’s power… Hitler’s “NEW WORLD ORDER,”…” (Herbert W. Armstrong, THE WAR, at the moment, in Prophecy,” May-June, 1941, p.7).
“As Hitler’s vision expanded, in the heady days of 1941, it came to embrace all Europe. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the whole of France north of the Somme were to be incorporated in a Greater Germany, the names of the cities changed… The Alps would be the boundary between ‘the German Empire of the North’, with a new ‘Germania’ as its capital, and ‘the Roman Empire to the South’. The Pope would be hanged in full pontificals in St Peter’s Square…” (Paul Johnson, Modern Times, pp.381-82).
What role a Pope will play in the Beast’s NEW WORLD ORDER is to be seen. If he is closely associated with the “beast” he will then play his part in destroying the RCC.
“Eusebius of Caesarea had gained the Emperor’s friendship before the Council of Nicaea and seems to have been one of his close advisers thereafter. He preached at the Emperor’s Tricennalia, or 30th anniversary; and in the Vita set out to create a new theology of politics with Constantine as the new Moses, a notion current as early as 313. Eusebius portrayed Constantine as consciously inspired by the conviction that he had a divine mission to unify the Empire as a manifestation of the kingdom of God on earth…” (F. X. Murphy, Constantine, Catholic Encyclopedia, p.229).
Could a pope, in the future, create a new theology of politics and religion, with the Beast as the new Christ?
John from Australia wrote: “What role a Pope will play in the Beast’s NEW WORLD ORDER is to be seen. If he is closely associated with the ‘beast’ he will then play his part in destroying the RCC.”
Destroy it? Or, transform it? The RCC has survived by morphing from paganism into “Christianity”. What is to say it won’t morph again? The system of ancient Babylonian worship will evidently not cease until the Beast throws it off of its back. I don’t see that occurring until after the Church and the Anglo-American peoples are thrown into Tribulation.
“Could a pope, in the future, create a new theology of politics and religion, with the Beast as the new Christ?”
That’s just it: He will be a new Christ, Messiah, al Mahdi, Kalki, Maitreya, etc. Even the term “Christ” means that something will be taken from the present system and incorporated into the new.