October 19, 2008
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
We continue this week with our look at ten things, ten signs, that point to the fact that ours is the generation that will not only see the Lord returning in the clouds to receive His Church unto Himself, but also while we are with the Lord in Heaven; the world will see the awful events of the Great Tribulation. This is a literal seven-year period that will be followed by the return of Christ to the earth to rule and reign. These are exciting days to be alive!
I am of the firm belief that prophetically, we have about three to four years to get what we are going to do for the Kingdom of God done. I believe that based on ancient prophecies and world events we very possibly could see Christ return somewhere between the years 2012 to 2015. I will explain why I believe this in a later teaching. For now however, I want to continue with this particular line of teaching.
No teaching on prophetic signs and patterns would be complete without looking at the role that the Roman Catholic Church plays and will play in future prophetic events. I want to make it clear that what I will share is in no way intended to cast any disparaging light on the dear people of the Roman Catholic Church. Many of these people have believed the true gospel and have been genuinely born-again. In fact, many Catholic saints are far more devout than their protestant counterparts. While I love my many Catholic brothers and sisters, I do take umbrage with the Catholic hierarchical system that is a strange mix between orthodox Christianity and ancient paganism couched and shrouded in Christian terminology. [For further reading on the Catholic, ancient paganism connection check out, The Babylon Connection by Ralph Woodrow] You can find it at: http://www.amazon.com/Babylon-Connection-Ralph-Woodrow/dp/0916938174 Also see, http://www.anawim.pair.com/CATHOLICS/INFO.htm
We looked last week at the rise of the old Roman Empire as a definite sign pointing to the return of Christ. Associated very closely with this is our eighth sign,
8. THE NEW POPE AND THE SHAKING IN THE ROMAN CHURCH:
I want to look at Revelation 17:18 as our foundational text for this section of teaching. The Bible says, 18″The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.” [Rev. 17:18 NASB]
There has been a tremendous shaking in the Catholic Church in recent years. In fact, Catholic hierarchy considers the scandal of homosexual and pedophile priests as one of the greatest challenges since the Protestant Reformation! There can be no comparison between the two. One is sexual perversion and the other was a spiritual revolution. One has led individuals into spiritual bondage, and the other has brought spiritual liberty.
To be sure, the Roman religious system has played, and will play, a premier role in the grand finale of prophetic events. Many Protestant scholars have interpreted the prophetic passages about the infamous scarlet harlot in Revelation 17, as the spiritual condition of the Roman church system (headquartered in Rome) in the final days.
With the death of Pope John Paul II, an interesting prophecy must be observed. In the 12th Century, Malachy, an Irish Catholic monk, penned a series of predictions involving the Roman Catholic Church. In his detailed predictions, he allegedly listed the number of Popes who would sit on the throne of Rome until the Antichrist would arise and seek to destroy both the holy city and the Pope. According to Malachy, there would be a total of 112 popes from Malachy’s time to the end.
Pope John Paul II was the 110th. The current Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, is the 111th, and according to Malachy’s prediction would be known as, “the glory of the olive.” Interestingly, by choosing the moniker, “Benedict” the current Pope is tied to The Order of Benedict, whose symbols include the olive branch. [There are many very interesting parallels that one can find in studying this out. For further reading see, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophecy_of_the_Popes#Pope_Benedict_XVI_.28De_Gloria_Olivae.29%5D
Malachy labeled the final Pope as Peter the Roman. According to this prediction, the Pope to follow the 111th will be the one to fight the Antichrist of Bible prophecy. Whether you accept these predictions or not, it is still quite compelling. If the prediction proves true, the current Pope is the second to last Pope in a succession of Popes from Malachy’s time. The hour is late folks!
Another belief being propagated among some of the many Roman Catholics who are now studying Bible prophecy, is that the future false prophet identified in Revelation 13:11 – 16 will, in reality, be a pope who defects and denies the divinity of Christ. He will spilt the Roman Church between those loyal to the church, and others who will turn against the Roman system.
Acting with the authority of 10 different kings or world leaders, this pope will destroy Rome, the city that has ruled over nations and influenced kings of the earth. [See Rev. 17:18] If we conclude that the Antichrist is from an Islamic background, (which I do), and the false prophet is directly linked to the Roman Church, then the Roman religious system will see some major disruptions and conflicts in the future. Those who are loyal to the system are instructed in Revelation 18:4, 4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” [Rev. 18:4 NKJV]
The major rift between Islam and historic Christianity is the Christian belief that Jesus is the Son of God. No Muslim accepts this view. In fact, Islamic teaching denies any possibility that God could, or ever would, produce a Son. If a future Pontiff of Rome would teach that Jesus was a prophet but not the Son of God, then he would be hailed and accepted by most Muslims. What is the bottom line of all of this?
According to the New Testament, to deny that Christ is the Son of God and to reject the relationship between the Father and the Son is the spirit of Antichrist. [See 1 John 2:18, 2:22, 4:3, 2 John 7]
The changes in the Roman Church will without a doubt play a part in the final days. It is yet another sign that we are indeed living in the end of days.
THE WEEKLY WORD is found in Zechariah 12:2, 3. Here the Bible says,
2 “Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3 “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. [Zech. 12:2, 3 NASB]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson