The Two Popes & Pietro, The Roman Curia Boss - By Cynthia Nuara - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/07/07/two-popes-pietro-roman-curia-boss-cynthia-nuara/
Pietro (Peter, in English) Parolin is the head of the Roman Curia in the Vatican as its secretary of state. He has been called "papabile, a candidate to succeed Francis as pope." An April 2019 article on the Catholic website, Crux, stated that Pietro Parolin has become "more powerful than you can possibly imagine." And the new constitution for reforming and governing the Roman Curia would make this obvious. The Crux article ends with "...within the Roman Curia, everyone will now know who's boss: The Cardinal Secretary of State."
I will be using Catholic websites in this writing to make the point that there are many Catholics dissatisfied with this pope.
What is this New Catholic Constitution About?
Summary from the Catholic News Agency (CNA) website: Analysis: New Vatican constitution to centralize power in state secretariat:
A long-serving curial official said, "...This is just the total centralization of power in the office of the Secretary of State. Nothing can be done without the pope's approval, and nothing gets to the pope except through [Cardinal Parolin] - it's the creation of a vice-regency."
An archbishop, currently serving in a senior curial role, said, "It is an essentially Soviet model. Lots of meetings, lots of discussion, but in the end the Secretary [of State] decides what will happen."
Several curial staffers from different departments told CNA that their congregations had returned "pages of suggested revisions," and expressed deep concerns about the document's proposed centralization of curial operations....
Summary from Crux: New Vatican doc displays simplified, decentralized curia:
In its new mega-department for evangelization, the feminine genius, it says, must be promoted in the church... as well as for the faithful who, in certain cultures, live in polygamous relationships.
Publication of the document was expected in June, but due to the vast response to the text of over 200 pages, publication is now tentatively set for September.
The Vatican's former Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, has strongly criticized it. He said "the teaching of the Faith is being mentioned as merely one random task of the pope among many others, and most importantly, now to be subordinate to his secular duties." The Cardinal points out in this new constitution a "wrong and deviant use of fundamental notions of Catholic theology..." He warns against a "secularization of the concept of the Church," as if she is "to be run like an international company" and as if "it is about a balance of power" between a mother company and subsidiaries.
Fr. Thomas Weinandy, a member of the International Theological Commission who was removed as an adviser to the US Conference of Catholic bishops in 2017 after his criticisms of Pope Francis, said there's "no problem with making Evangelization as the primary pastoral work of the Church," but not if it means not telling others of the "Mysteries of the Faith." Without doctrine and moral teaching, "there is no evangelization," he continued.
Those "mysteries of the faith" of the Catholic church are indeed mysteries; for you'll find lots of doctrines of man in that system, but not many of its beliefs in the Bible. More on that shortly.
Secularizing the Catholic Faith
It sounds like this new constitution, besides giving Peter Parolin power over all the workings of the Catholic church, will increase the Vatican's focus on trying to join different belief systems to the "Mother Church" as it calls itself.
The Vatican deal with China in September 2018 allows the Communist government to recommend bishops of the Catholic church. Why agree to such a blatant secular compromise?
The agreement states that China will recommend bishops before they're appointed by the pope, and stipulates that the pope can veto bishops that China recommends, within limits. Francis, as part of the deal, lifted the excommunication of seven bishops who had been appointed by China without papal approval. Also, under the deal, two Vatican-aligned Chinese bishops recognized by the pope have been asked to resign in favor of state-sanctioned prelates. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that the Chinese government is only going to select bishops who are loyal to the Communist Party. Meanwhile, the persecution of Chinese Catholics has continued, and of Protestants.
From America Magazine: Cardinal Parolin defends Vatican-China agreement amid criticism:
At the symposium, "Stand Together to Defend International Religious Freedom," Parolin defended the Vatican-China agreement, saying, "We signed this agreement to help advance religious freedom, to find normalization for the Catholic community there, and then for all other religions to have space and a role to play..."
Francis, Parolin and previous popes have shown they're Marxist, Socialist, or Communist themselves and/or have bowed to countries with those systems, secularizing in order to keep seminaries open and "fatten up the Catholic church." You can read about this on the Catholic website Tradition in Action.
Catechism #841 states that Muslims worship the same God as the Catholic church; therefore, both Francis and Parolin call them brothers and sisters. But the Muslim god is not the God of the Bible. And then there are the Vatican prayers alongside Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus, and reverence for their precepts and teachings, claiming they "reflect a ray of Truth which enlightens all men."
At the Second Vatican Council in 1965, the Catholic church declared its attitude to other religions in a document called Nostra Aetate (which means 'in our time'). Here is an excerpt:
"In her tasks of promoting unity and love among men, indeed among nations, [the Church] considers above all what people have in common and what draws them to fellowship. (n.1) Also, The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. (n.2)."
All this is building towards the one-world religion. No false religion will have a role to play in salvation. Christ is the only way, the truth and the life. No one comes to our Father in heaven except through Him (John 14:6).
The Bible, as we know, tells us in Revelation 17 about "Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Harlots." (Babylon refers to the root of all false religion.) The woman dressed in purple and scarlet who sits on seven hills is drunk with the blood of the saints (martyrs for Jesus who refuse to bow to false doctrine). This Mother church will be aligned with the Antichrist in the Tribulation until he has finished using her to gain power with his ten-nation confederacy; then he will have her destroyed.
Two Popes at the End of Days?
Speaking of that destruction, Francis' namesake prophesied centuries ago about the time of the end when two popes are alive, one having stolen the throne from the other - a time when the church of Rome will be destroyed.
We're not to give extra-biblical prophecy the same credence as the God-inspired Bible. But this prophecy and another that applies here, which will also be discussed, only bear mentioning since they appear as though they're coming to pass...but only in part! Satan knows Bible prophecy too. What better way to keep people deceived by mixing truth with lies?!
The first prophecy I'm referring to is the one by Francis of Assisi. Some claim this prophecy was made up by dissenting members of the 13th century Franciscan order and attributed to Francis of Assisi. No matter, for it doesn't deflect from what we see happening today. Keep this in mind, though: when revealing this prophecy, Francis of Assisi still held to the false belief in what he called the true pope and the true church, including Mary worship.
Not long before he died in 1226, Francis of Assisi gathered the members of his order and warned them of great tribulations that would befall the Catholic church in the end of days just before Christ's return. Here is an excerpt:
"The devils will have unusual power; the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation, a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death. [Two popes alive at the end of days.]
"Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it. There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God...
"Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer." - from Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi [London: R. Washbourne, 1882], pp. 248-250.
You can read the entire prophecy here, along with the article on the Catholic website that discusses the two popes in the prophecy and speaks against this pope.
Is Francis a Valid Pope?
Interestingly, rumor has it that the papal throne was usurped from Benedict with help from elitists including Obama and others that wanted the Marxist Bergoglio (Francis) to be pope, who would be in line with their leftist values.
From Gloria.TV: Wikileaks: Clinton, Obama, Soros, Overthrew Pope Benedict in Vatican Coup:
George Soros, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton orchestrated a coup in the Vatican to overthrow the conservative Pope Benedict and replace him with radical leftist Pope Francis, according to a group of Catholic leaders citing evidence from various sources, including WikiLeaks emails.
This would make Francis not canonically elected. The canon law of the Catholic church says a pope's resignation is valid only if he makes the decision in full freedom and without pressure from others.
Supernatural Signs in the Conclave?
I still remember the words of Cardinal Schönborn in speaking about how Francis unexpectedly became pope.
From The Telegraph: Pope Francis elected after supernatural 'signs' in the Conclave, says Cardinal:
Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, said the surprise election of Pope Francis came about because of a series of supernatural "signs" in the conclave, including one which he could not speak about. He said he felt two strong signs that Bergoglio (Francis) was "the chosen one." Cardinal Schönborn went on to say that he's sure many cardinals "received similar signs during the Conclave." He said that without such signs, "It wouldn't have been possible to have this election so soon and so rapidly... It is as if he would say to the world 'come home, I wait for you.'"
The Schism in the Catholic Church Today
Even cardinals are calling for Francis to step down. Is he grooming his cohort in case he steps down OR just wants to focus on other things and allow Parolin to lead the sheep? Or something else. Did Francis usurp the throne from Benedict? Will Pietro, the Roman Curia boss, usurp the throne from Francis? Oh well, let's move on.
A March 2019 article by Julia Meloni on the Catholic website OnePeterFive, provided some interesting insight. Here is a summary of that article titled,
Cardinal Parolin: The Next Pope?
Last year, Archbishop Viganò alleged that Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Francis's handpicked secretary of state, was complicit with him in covering up the allegations of decades of sexual abuse of minors, seminarians and young priests by Cardinal McCarrick. Despite this, Antonio Socci, a leading conservative Vatican-watcher, says meetings of cardinals about a possible conclave have been taking place, with Parolin as the clear frontrunner.
A year ago, Parolin was named as likely successor to Francis in reports about a "plot against the pope."
Socci says cardinals once loyal to Francis are so concerned about a schism that they're planning to appeal to him to step down. Their favored candidate for replacement is understood to be Cardinal Pietro Parolin.
Why Parolin? According to Marco Tosatti, Parolin is a progressive diplomat with ties to what is referred to as the Vatican's St. Gallen mafia, which wields a lot of power. Other Vatican-watchers call him a clear "reformer" - a "pastor open to dialogue," in line with Francis's "winds of change."
Parolin is said to be a revolutionary without the wild liability of Francis. To stay papabile, he's been distancing himself from some of the questionable aspects of Francis's reign. He's been likened to a fireman, carefully controlling the blazes of this pontificate with his diplomatic prowess.
Parolin supposedly was shipped off to Venezuela after a falling out with Cardinal Bertone, Benedict's secretary of state. Francis, who spoke positively about Parolin before becoming pope, soon replaced Bertone with Parolin - who began loyally implementing Francis's will. The pope, in turn, lavished Parolin with power. Francis indulges him, and power has drained from other Vatican departments toward this secretary of state.
It was Parolin who moved to suspend an external audit of the Vatican's finances.
Cardinal Zen says it's Parolin who pushed Francis towards the deal with Communist China to allow that government to recommend Catholic bishops, which critics say betrays Chinese Catholics. He calls for Parolin's resignation over this betrayal. He says Parolin "got rid" of him, and calls Parolin "arrogant and despotic, interested more in diplomatic (worldly) success than in the triumph of the Faith." In Wikipedia's article on Parolin, a quote from Cardinal Zen said Parolin "is dangerous."
Parolin seems alarmingly friendly with cultural Marxists and other worldly elites. In 2018, he was the first Vatican official to ever attend the secretive Bilderberg Meeting, the summit of globalists with an agenda of open borders and a one-world government. Parolin also joined Francis in promoting the U.N.'s menacing globalist agenda. Although Parolin says the agenda must respect life in "all its stages," pro-life leaders warn that the Vatican's collaboration with the UN will extend abortion, smuggled into the agenda via coded language on "reproductive health."
In 2017, Parolin further cemented his revolutionary credentials, asserting that Vatican II initiated an "irreversible" process. He quoted a theologian who boasted: "Absolutely nothing will be as it was before!" Parolin praised the new "seeds" of "synodality" - a term that, under Francis, has become synonymous with permanent revolution.
Parolin is the only whispered-about candidate for pope with any real chance of being elected; he is the smooth revolutionary, the master collaborator with worldly powers.
"I don't think he has faith. He is just a good diplomat in a very secular, mundane meaning," Cardinal Zen says of Parolin.
Another interesting article from the Catholic website Lifesite News, speaks of Francis' and Parolin's promotion of Bishop Robert McElroy in San Diego. "Although McElroy says no clerical "gay subculture" exists in his diocese, he is pro-homosexual, having defended a diocesan employee in a same-sex "marriage," told priests to embrace "LGBT families," and has been accused, along with Francis and Parolin, in knowing about ex-Cardinal McCarrick's serial sexual abuse of seminarians and ignoring the matter."
Peter, the Roman
Now to the one you may be wondering about since reading the title of this article. I'm sure many of you have heard about Malachy's prophecy of the popes. He gave the prophecy in Latin, and the name he gave of the last leader of the Catholic church was Petrus Romanus, which translates Peter (Pietro, in Italian) the Roman.
There is also what may contain truth in Malachy's prophecy, but deception as well. Satan knows about the Mother of Harlots church in Rome described in Revelation, yet this prophecy appears to draw one in with its uncanny accuracy in the descriptions of the popes, including the last pope or one who leads the Catholic church in the Tribulation. There is no mention of the false religious system that it has been and will continue to be.
Terry James said in his book review of Petrus Romanus by Tom Horn and Chris Putnam, "Neither Tom Horn nor Cris Putnam-nor I, as your reviewer of this book-claim that St. Malachy was a God-inspired prophet in the sense of an Old Testament or New Testament prophet. He was not. However, I will tell you without reservation that the little-known and sometimes previously undiscovered facts these researchers have uncovered and constructed into an enthralling picture of the one who will likely be the last pontiff are absolutely spellbinding."
Hal Lindsey reported on Malachy's prophecy before Francis became pope. He said, "I'm not saying that this man's prophecy rises to the same level of detail and accuracy as those in the Bible. However, it does contain some remarkable predictions that seem to have been fulfilled across the centuries and may bear relevance for today." Hal mentioned that some claim it's a forgery, but he pointed out that - if it were made up by an anti-Catholic Protestant, how does one explain away the fact that it has been kept under guard in the Vatican archives since it was discovered in 1590? [Some claim the author was Cardinal Girolamo Simoncelli who lived from 1522 to 1605]. Regardless, it can't be dated any later than 1590 no matter who would have written it.
Malachy, a 12th-century bishop of Armagh in what is now Northern Ireland, purportedly had a vision in which he foresaw all of the popes from the death of Pope Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. It is said that he gave an account of his visions to Pope Innocent II, but the document remained unknown in the secret Vatican Archives until its discovery in 1590.
Malachy was obviously held in high esteem as he was canonized as a saint by Pope Clement III on July 6, 1199, 50 years after his death.
Here is his prophecy of the last leader of the Catholic church:
"In extreme persecution will sit Peter the Roman (Petrus Romanus), who will pasture his sheep in tribulations; and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End."
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Revelation 18:4).
This new Catholic constitution is called Praedicate Evangelium (Proclaim the Gospel). Yet Francis criticizes Protestants for evangelizing, or proselytizing, as he put it. But that's because he doesn't like the competition. And we don't accept the man-made doctrines of the Catholic church - at least not those of us who are Bible-believers - and we haven't joined the broad-way, emergent-divergent so-called "ecumenical" bandwagon that promotes global unity among all religions under the guise of tolerance and cooperation. Many Protestant pastors are guilty of the same thing in these days of apostasy.
The most crucial error among many that the Catholic church teaches is the following:
According to the RCC's Canon 12, Council of Trent, "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified... let him be accursed."
Yet, God's Word tells us that justification/salvation is by faith:
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1).
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
From Dave Hunt: "For the Catholic, salvation does not come through personally receiving Christ as Savior but is a lengthy process that begins with baptism and thereafter depends upon one's continued relationship to the [Catholic] Church. Salvation comes through participation in the sacraments, penance, good works, suffering for one's sins and the sins of others here and/or in purgatory, indulgences to reduce time in purgatory, and almost endless masses and Rosaries said on one's behalf even after one's death. Catholic evangelism is by works, the very antithesis of "the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts:20:24). - excerpt from A Woman Rides the Beast, 1994
This reminds us of what Christ said to the Pharisees and Scribes in Matthew 15:6-9: "...So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God... 'teaching as doctrines the commandments of men'"
Though the extra-biblical prophecies may contain partial truth concerning certain events we see unfolding before us, there is only one source - the Bible - that has proven to be 100% true. And it tells us of a coming one-world false church and one-world Antichrist government. It speaks of rampant wickedness, wars and rumor of wars, alignment of end-time nations against the Jews who are back in their land of Israel, etc. The wildly insane weather we're seeing is not climate change; it's God's warning to turn back to Him and accept His free pardon.
We brethren can rest in "our Blessed Hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
We who put our faith in Christ alone for our salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) will be caught up in the twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:52) to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and escape the coming wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 3:10).
As the late Jack Kelley would say, "We can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah."
Dealing With End Times Complacency - Britt Gillette -
In 1970, Hal Lindsey published The Late Great Planet Earth. The book sold millions of copies and introduced a generation to the miraculous fulfillment of end times bible prophecies in our day and time. Coming on the heels of World War II, the rebirth of Israel, the Six Day War, and widespread societal upheaval, many were convinced the rapture would take place before the end of the decade. But the 1970's came and went, and Jesus did not return. Then, in the 1980's and 1990's, numerous bible prophecy books with titles like "Countdown to Armageddon" and "Final Warning" sold all over the world. Again, many people were convinced Jesus would return before the end of the century. Yet Jesus didn't come. Then the world experienced Y2K, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the phenomenal success of the Left Behind series. Once again, it seemed as though Jesus would return at any moment. But once again, he didn't. And then something happened. Complacency set it.
End Times Burnout
Because Jesus hadn't come, many Christians began to openly doubt whether He ever would. Why? I believe there are at least two reasons. First, we live in a culture that demands instant gratification. We don't like to wait as little as two minutes for a microwave to cook a meal it took our grandparents half a day to prepare. We're impatient, and we're used to getting what we want when we want.
The second reason is the errant predictions of date setters. False prophets such as Harold Camping and Edgar Whisenant told the world Jesus would return on specific dates - even though Jesus said "no one knows the day or hour" (Matthew 24:36). The media gives widespread attention to these predictions. When these days come and go, the false prophets are exposed. This leads to ridicule of bible prophecy, and in some cases, even Christian leaders publicly dismiss bible prophecy as a playground for crackpots and the ignorant. But these critics forget false prophets made these claims, not the Bible. The Bible's track record remains perfect. In fact, the Bible predicted this complacency long ago.
The Bible Said This Would Happen
Almost two thousand years ago, Peter issued a warning. He said in the last days people will deny the signs we see today. He said they'll mock the idea of Jesus returning. They'll make fun of those who believe in the Second Coming and say the exact things we hear today - things like, "I thought Jesus was coming back? What happened to His promise? Generation after generation has said He's coming. Yet, since the beginning of the world, everything has remained the same!" (2 Peter 3:3 - 4). You've probably heard variations of this complaint yourself. Maybe you've heard it in church. But is it true? No. It's not. Nothing could further from the truth.
Are Things The Same As They've Always Been?
To say the world is the same today as in years past - that we don't live in unique times - is just not true. More than any other generation, ours has reason to expect the Second Coming. Jesus and the prophets said to look for specific signs heralding the end times. For over 1,800 years, you couldn't find one of the signs they said to look for. Today, in one form or another, you can find all of them. Here are just a few examples:
The Jewish People Back in the Land -
God promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land of Israel before He returned (Jeremiah 23:7-8). He said He would call them from "among the nations" (Ezekiel 39:28), from "the farthest corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12), and from "north, south, east, and west" (Psalm 107:3). He promised to welcome them home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34). When they did, He promised to return and establish His everlasting kingdom (Isaiah 11:11-12). For 1,878 years (A.D. 70 to A.D. 1948), the Jewish people lived in exile. On May 14, 1948, they reestablished the nation of Israel, fulfilling God's promise to bring them back into the land.
The Jewish People Back in Jerusalem - Jesus prophesied armies would surround Jerusalem, destroy the city, and enslave its citizens. In A.D. 70, the Roman legions fulfilled this prophecy. In the days that followed, Jesus said Gentiles would control Jerusalem until "the times of the Gentiles are over." Then, the Jewish people would once again take control of Jerusalem. When they did, Jesus promised to return (Luke 21:24-28). In June 1967, the Jewish people retook control of Jerusalem.
The Gospel Preached Throughout the World - When the disciples asked about the end of the age and the signs of His coming, Jesus told them to look for a very specific sign. He said the Gospel will be preached throughout the entire world. Every nation will hear it. Then, the end will come (Matthew 24:14). For centuries after the crucifixion, the Gospel mostly reached a small area surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. But in the past two centuries, Christians carried the Gospel to every country on earth. Today, missionaries live in every nation. The Bible is translated in hundreds of languages, and the message of Jesus is sent around the world by radio, TV, satellite, and the Internet. Our generation is the first one on the verge of spreading the Gospel to every last person on earth.
Increased Travel and Knowledge - Six hundred years before Jesus, an angel gave Daniel a special message. He said "travel and knowledge" will increase in the end times (Daniel 12:4). For centuries of human history, dramatic gains in travel and knowledge did NOT take place. Yet the last two hundred years have seen explosions in the speed and frequency of travel as well as the amount and availability of knowledge. For example, up until around two hundred years ago, a man could travel no faster than a horse could carry him. Today, we can travel faster than the speed of sound. Many consider the Library of Alexandria to be the greatest collection of written knowledge in the ancient world. While we don't know for sure how much knowledge was housed there, some estimates say it was as many 500,000 papyrus scrolls. Two thousand years ago, this was the height of human knowledge. Today, you probably have a bigger library in your pocket. Your smartphone can download almost any book that's ever been written in a matter of seconds. Our generation is experiencing an exponential increase in travel and knowledge.
Israel Surrounded by Enemies 17), and "Israel and Judah are ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care if their God is there?" (Ezekiel 35:10). Ever since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the daily headlines have included these exact sentiments. Israel's Muslim neighbors claim the land of Israel for themselves, and they have no regard for the God of Israel.
Israel's Exceedingly Great Army - Ezekiel said, in the last days, Israel will field "an exceedingly great army" (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah said Israel will be like a fire among sheaves of grain, burning up the neighboring nations (Zechariah 12:6) and even the weakest Israeli soldier will be like David (Zechariah 12:8). Since 1948, Israel has fought no less than four conventional wars against its neighbors. Despite being outnumbered more than 50 to 1, Israel has achieved overwhelming victory every time.
Rise of the Gog of Magog Alliance - The Bible says a military alliance that includes Russia, Iran, Turkey, and a number of Muslim nations will attack Israel "in the latter days" (Ezekiel 38:8) when God brings His people home from among the enemy nations (Ezekiel 39:27). Today, we see those exact nations coming together. The alliance they form today is an alliance that has never existed in world history.
Rise of a United Europe - The Bible says a revived Roman Empire will come to power in the end times (Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Revelation 17). According to Daniel, it will be a ten nation alliance of weak and strong nations. Some parts will be as strong as iron, while other parts will be as weak as clay (Daniel 2:42). We see the initial stages of this alliance in the European Union - the legal and culture inheritor of the Roman Empire's legacy. The EU today is a coalition of both weak and strong nations. A volatile alliance, it struggles to stay together.
The Rise of Global Government - The Bible says a single government will rule the world politically (Revelation 13:7), religiously (Revelation 13:8), and economically (Revelation 13:16-17) in the last days. It will rule over "all people, tribes, and languages" on the face of the earth (Revelation 13:7). Its authority will be so complete no one will be able to buy or sell anything without its permission (Revelation 13:16-17). For centuries, a true global government was impossible. Today, world leaders openly discuss it, and the technology exists to implement and rule such a government.
Alone, each of these signs indicate the end times are near. Together, they prove ours is the end times generation. Jesus Himself said to look for these signs. He said when you see them, you can know His return is near (Matthew 24:33). In fact, He said the generation that sees these signs will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34). This convergence of signs is the #1 reason to believe our generation is on the verge of witnessing the Second Coming. But instead of getting excited and ramping up our efforts to spread the Gospel, the Christian church is mostly silent on the issue. A large part of the church is complacent, and the Bible warned about this as well.
It's Time to Stay Awake
The night before the crucifixion, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He went to be alone and pray. But before He did, Jesus asked the apostles to stay up and pray with Him. He warned them not to fall asleep. Nevertheless, they did. They were finally awakened when soldiers arrived to arrest Jesus.
In a similar way, Jesus warned us not to be caught sleeping when He returns (Mark 13:36). To illustrate, He told a story of ten bridesmaids. Of the ten bridesmaids, five were foolish and five were wise. The five foolish bridesmaids didn't take enough oil for their lamps when they went to wait for the bridegroom. When they left to buy more oil, the bridegroom came and they missed out on the marriage feast. Jesus warned us not to be like the foolish bridesmaids. He said, "You, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return" (Matthew 25:1-13).
In another parable, Jesus once again commanded us to watch: "You, too, must keep watch! For you don't know when the master of the household will return. It could be evening, midnight, dawn, or daybreak. Don't let the master find you sleeping when he arrives without warning" (Mark 13:35-37).
Personally, I've written about the nearness of the Second Coming for over 13 years. Obviously Jesus didn't return in those 13 years, but none of the reasons to expect His return have gone away. In fact, the opposite is true. The reasons to expect Jesus to return at any moment have markedly increased. Yet to great amazement, many Christians seem more complacent and ignorant of the signs than ever. Why? I don't know. But I'll continue to sound the alarm, and you should too. The Bible says if we recognize the signs and don't tell others about them, we're no different than a watchman who sees an invading army and doesn't sound the alarm. If we fail in our role as watchmen, God says He will hold us accountable for all those who perish (Ezekiel 33:1-6).
All the signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for are present right now. For almost 2,000 years, no Christian could say that. Our generation is an eyewitness to signs previous Christians could only dream about. If the signs are telling us the Tribulation and the Second Coming are near, then it means the rapture is even closer. Don't fall asleep, and don't let anyone around you fall asleep. It's never been more important to stay awake. Jesus is coming!
Nowhere to Hide: Part II (Dedicated to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Haters) - By Pete Garcia -
Perhaps you're a Christian, but you think the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is all a bunch of warm hooey. It is an escapist eschatology; built specifically for weak-spined western Christians who are afraid of a little persecution. You frequently tell anyone who will listen, that the word "rapture" is not even in the Bible. You say the "rapture" was a theological scheme created out of thin air by that evil dispensationalist John N. Darby 150 years ago. And even he didn't invent it you say matter-of-factly, but stole the idea from a teenage Scottish girl. Perhaps you think we are already in the Tribulation, and times are looking bleak for America (see Part I). You say it is time for us Christians dig in, get our hands dirty, and fight for what we believe in when another civil war comes. It is time for Christian's to get our "big boy" pants on and take a stand.
I suppose it is the height of both irony and hypocrisy that a professing Christian would hate the idea that their Savior could return sooner rather than later. Essentially, that is what those who despise the Pre-Tribulation Rapture are guilty of, turning the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) into a joke or a byword. Of course, most would never admit to such a thing. They will claim some moral or theological high ground of outing false theology or having to prove our salvation through tribulation. However, is that really true?
I for one, cannot see how it could be, especially given the fact we all have Bibles and could sit down together and go through these issues line by line, chapter by chapter, and book by book to see if what we believe actually passes the theological smell test. So what is it then? Why so much angst against a biblical doctrine that shows irrefutably, that Christ will return again for His Church before the 70th Week begins. Why are certain eschatological views hell-bent (literally) on putting the Church (ekklesia) inside the 70th Week of Daniel? There are a few reasons I can think of:
1. Inheriting bad hermeneutics
The practice of bad hermeneutics (or how one interprets scripture), began in earnest with Origen (circa 200AD) and his application of allegory to Scripture. His approach was later passed on to Augustine (circa 400AD). Augustine's teachings were later incorporated into the Roman Catholic Church doctrine and dogma (500AD - Present). The allegorical approach became the default position (especially regarding eschatology), which was carried into and through the Protestant Reformation (1517 - Present). The allegorical approach was distributed throughout the mainline protestant denominations for the next three centuries.
However, mainline Protestants began protesting again, but this time, against the inherited corrupted RCC form of hermeneutics at the end of the 18th-century and early 19th-century. They returned to a literal, grammatical, and historical understanding of all Biblical doctrines, not just soteriology. This subsequently, resulted in rediscovering dispensationalism, which concludes the Church Age with the Pre-Tribulation (Pre-70th Week) Rapture (harpazo) of the Church (ekklesia).
2. Personality/Event-Driven Eschatology
Not that I blame Hal Lindsey for his personal achievements, but shortly after the runaway success of his bestselling book the Late Great Planet Earth, many came after him trying to capitalize on his success. They did so by putting their own particular brand/spin on bible prophecy (ex. Robert Van Kampen). Their motivations may have varied (money, fame, belief, etc.) but the results were the same. It is similar to when a rock band breaks big and ushers in a new genre of music (Elvis, the Beatles, Bon Jovi, Guns n Roses, Nirvana, etc.). What happens every single time afterwards? Only about a million other bands come along behind them riding the wave of popularity.
For most of the 20th-century, Biblical eschatology remained relatively unknown to those outside of the academic-evangelical circles. However, Hal's success highlighted an untapped doctrinal treasure trove that many theologians (and would be theologians) sought to cash in on. To be clear, I am not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, because many have and continue to produce solid, biblically accurate eschatological studies. However, many, many others, not so much. This is usually exacerbated when geopolitical/natural events are hyped beyond any reasonable scriptural boundaries (think 88 Reasons, Gulf War, Y2K, 2012, Blood Moons, etc.).
3. Error begets error without course correction
If you start with bad theology, you will continue drifting further and further away from true scriptural theology. The Bible only presents one eschatological position. This is presented as objective truth. So if you believe in something for example, like British Israelism or Mormonism as a foundation, you are already beginning on a wrong foundation with faulty presuppositions.
It is very much like starting your scientific hypothesis off with Darwinian Evolution or the Big Bang as an origin story. From there, you will only continue into more error because you started off in error. However, as we continue moving further into an time and culture that rejects objective truth and replaces it with subjective reasoning, we will likely see all biblical doctrines, not just eschatology, suffer at the hands of itching ears.
4. Works-based salvation
Lastly, if you belong to a group who believes your works are directly related to your level of salvation, you probably believe that the Church must go through some type of refine-through-fire phase, of which, the Tribulation serves as your perfect scenario. Of course, this goes directly against Jesus's own words that He is building His Church (Matt. 16:18).
Task and Purpose
Alas! For that day is great,
So that none is like it;
And it is the time of Jacob's trouble,
But he shall be saved out of it....
... For I am with you,' says the Lord, 'to save you;
Though I make a full end of all nations where I have scattered you,
Yet I will not make a complete end of you.
But I will correct you in justice,
And will not let you go altogether unpunished.' Jeremiah 30:7, 11
It is to that last point (#4), that I find strangely fascinating, particularly when talking to fellow believers who wholeheartedly believe that we are all going into the 70th Week of Daniel (aka...the Tribulation). To be fair, the anti-Pre Tribulation Rapture crowd is a rather large bag of mixed nuts. You have the mid-Trib folks, the Three-Quarter folks (so called Pre-Wrath), the Post-Tribulation (i.e., the post-toasties), the Amillennialists (the sleepy church), the Dominionists (the church militant), the Preterists (the church ignorant), and then you have your garden-variety out and out deniers (they deny everything Biblical).
This passage from Jeremiah is also speaking directly to the nation of Israel in the last days, because a) nations are still in existence, and b) the Church was never scattered amongst the nations. To say that would imply that we (the Church) were first together all in one location. The Church is made up of believers who come out of all nations, and the first time we will all be gathered together into one location, is at the Rapture of the Church (John 14:1-3).
I suppose my fascination with these wannabe Tribulation Saints, comes from their perception that we are going to become part of some last day's resistance like in the movie Red Dawn. I would specifically like to address those who think that by prepping today and having stored food, weapons, gold, silver, and underground bunkers, that they are somehow going to be prepared for what is coming upon the earth in that day. These would be the same folks who viciously mock us for not prepping now. According to them, we Pre-Tribbers are guilty of leading ourselves and others blindly to the slaughter. They also think for those of us who are not killed outright will collectively fall away from the faith once the Rapture does not happen and the persecution begins. To their points I say,
1. If Church-Age Christians have to go into any part of the 70th Week, then the Bible has some serious communication issues.
2. Since, my first point is impossible (God's word is perfect), then the only other logical conclusion is that flawed and sinful people have mistranslated and misunderstood the Bible.
These folks really have no idea how dangerous things are really going to be. Aside from the Antichrist and his military and government forces, there will be a vast array of advanced technological and economic weapons at his disposal. Furthermore, the divinely appointed Seal, Trumpet, and Vial Judgments will wipe out close to one-half of the world's population. I wanted to list a few reasons why there will be nowhere to hide for those who come to faith after the Rapture (tribulation saints). Keep in mind, the Beast is a ten-nation/region confederacy, aligned regionally, economically, and militarily and will govern the affairs of the entire earth in the last days (Dan. 2:41-43, 7, 8; Revelation 13). The Antichrist will then rise to power (having deposed three leaders) and will have the plurality of authority backing him. He will also have the FULL backing of Satan, and will have untold legions of demonic hosts at his disposal:
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. Revelation 13:7
Please understand that I am not saying that being prepared in general is a bad thing. We should all do some preparation for those unforeseen events in our life. Accidents, natural disasters, unplanned financial situations always require us to be prepared for the unexpected. And as we move further and further into the last days, there will be an increase in things like earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, crime, violence, etc. However, there is a huge difference between prudence and militancy.
The Church (powered through and by the Holy Spirit) is the last thing restraining Satan's wholesale takeover of the earth. If that were not so, Satan would have taken over the earth a long, long, long time ago.
Then the devil, taking Him (Jesus) up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Luke 4:5-6
Satan right now, has the authority (but not the ability) to hand over all the kingdoms to whomever he chooses. What is preventing him, is the restraining force of God (Acts 17:26) through the Church. Once God removes the born-again, blood-bought Church from the earth, He will give the Christ-rejecting earth what they have been clamoring for all these years...a world without God. At that point, the only group the Bible guarantees any sort of divine protection for through the Tribulation, is the 144,000 Jewish male virgins from the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Rev. 7:2-3).
The Church is God's pièce de résistance; a mystery hidden in the mind of God before the world began. The Church was conceived in the mind of God before He created the foundation of the earth. We were carefully cultivated from the first Adam (Gen. 3:15) to the Last (1 Cor. 15:45). The Church was forged at the Cross and through Christ's finished work there. Because of His death, we are covered with the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:17-21) and will one day be presented blameless to the Father. Through His burial, we are buried with Him and have died to our old natures (Romans 6:5-11). However, through His Resurrection, the Church is becomethe ultimate weapon against evil.
"O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?"
The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1st Cor. 15:55-57
The Church is not: a religion, a building, an organization, or a business. The Church is the multi-membered, universal, singular, body of believers (both Jew and Gentile) who are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9). We are not redeemed by our good deeds, our wealth or poverty, or our personal piety, but only through the shed blood of Christ, which covers us and makes us presentable to God the Father. We are the salt (preventing rotting) and light (preventing darkness) from overtaking the world (Matt. 5:13-14). Once the Church is removed from the earth at the Rapture, this world will be plunged into both rottenness and darkness. As the Apostle stated quite clearly in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first. The falling away (apostasia) being the physical departure of the Church by way of Rapture.
So How Can You Know the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is 100% Correct?
1. There is not one mention of the ekklesia inside the 70th Week, either in the Old or New Testament.
2. The Church (the body of Christ-ekklesia) has already been judged at the Cross, and is now made perfect and does not need refinement in the 70th Week (Hebrews 10:10, 14, 12:2; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Eph. 2:4-7)
3. The 70th Week of Daniel (aka...the Tribulation) is a time specifically set aside for Israel and the Christ-rejecting world (Jer. 30:7-11; Dan. 9:24-27; Zech. 13:9; Mal. 3:1-3; 1 Thess. 5:1-9; Revelation 4-19)
4. Although Christ warns the Church that they will suffer trials and tribulations in this life (John 16:33) He never warns the Church to prepare for The Tribulation (i.e., that 70th Week). However, He does warn against not looking for His coming at the Rapture (Mark 13:39; Luke 12:37-39, 21:36; Rev. 3:3, 10, 22:20)
5. The Apostles never once warn the Church to prepare for The Tribulation. If the Church were destined to go into it, they (through prompting by God the Holy Spirit) would have warned the Church to prepare
6. Paul specifically states that the Antichrist cannot be revealed until the Restrainer is removed (2 Thess. 2:7-8). He who restrains can only be the Holy Spirit, who infills and seals the Church until the day of redemption (2 Cor. 1:21-22, Eph. 1:14, 4:30)
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1st Thessalonians 4:15-5:4
Even so, Maranatha!