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We ask for this booklet, a careful and thoughtful reading. It is controversial; but in the best interests of the reader. The Bible teaches that Christ's followers are to "have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11). It is a responsibility, therefore, on the part of all who love the Truth to clearly set forth the issues relating thereto. Indeed, to do so is a benefit to any interested in their eternal salvation. This demands that they honour God's Word and endorse its teaching.
It is obvious that a divided Christendom does not do that; for if so why is It divided? Catholics claim that Protestants are in error, and Protestants reciprocate accordingly. An investigation of the facts will show that both are astray from the Bible. There is a responsibility on the part of individuals interested in their eternal future to learn, acknowledge and obey God's truth. Jesus Christ taught: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32). Again: "This is life eternal, that they may know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
Why is it that the Roman Catholic Church discourages their members to read the Bible? Because if they search too closely they will find that the Church does not conform to its teaching. Why do many Protestant Churches give lip service to the Bible, and yet permit sad declines in the moral practices of its members? Because their doctrines do not conform to its teaching and therefore its power is no longer felt within their communities. This is a challenge to you, reader. It is your responsibility to put yourself right with God. This demands an effort on your part to "search the Scriptures" as to "whether the things proclaimed are true" (Acts 17:11). Read this booklet objectively; turn to the Bible wherever it is quoted, and analysis whether what we have written conforms thereto.
THE PAPACY IN PROPHECY
"How many divisions does the Pope command?" - Stalin's celebrated response when he contemptuously swept aside the opinion of the Papacy as of little concern.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest religious organisation in the world. It claims over 800 million adherents, about 485,000 priests, nearly 990,000 nuns, some 3700 Bishops and over 130 Cardinals. The membership of this huge Church comprises nearly 20% of the estimated population of the world, and its influence is on the increase.For example: due to the Church's policy on family planning the growth of population of Catholic countries is overwhelming. In Catholic Latin America, it is assessed that the increase in population is at an average rate of 3.2 per cent every year, as compared with 2 per cent in India. This means that in Latin American countries the average birth rate is between forty and fifty per thousand, the highest birth rate in the world. The populations of these countries are increasing by the millions. In 1966 the population of South America was assessed at 120m; but today it is in excess of 300m! The vast majority being classified as Catholic.
Head of this vast and powerful community is the Pope. Once a Pope is appointed by the conclave of Cardinals, who claim to be guided in their choice by the Holy Spirit, he exercises complete and absolute authoritative power. Everything is subject to his decree, including the Foreign Policy and the Economics of the Organisation. Although he listens to his advisers and hearkens to their counsel, the Pope's decision is absolute in every regard: doctrinal, political, financial. What he decides becomes the policy and law of the Church, for he is deemed by decree of 1870, to be infallible. As his decisions can affect the attitude of some 800 million people, they must have a profound effect upon world history.Therefore, Catholicism is more than a religious organisation: it also is a political one. It rules the tiniest country in the world, but because of its following it is among the most influential of powers. Vatican State is a tiny piece of territory in Rome, Italy. A mere 108 acres, it is a landlocked and walled enclave within the capital of Italy; a mere 1,132 yards in length and 812 yards across: but this little stretch of territory gives status and temporal power to the Holy See; so that it has its diplomatic representation which it exercises through the offices of the Secretariate of State.
The influence of this huge organisation, therefore, can govern the future. The fall of the Marcos regime in the Philippines was directly due to its influence, for some 85% of Philippinos are Catholic. The attitude and recommendations of the Church to its members during the Marcos crisis had widespread impact. And obvious it is, that if Catholicism could bring about a change of Government there, it can dominate elsewhere in trends and politics, exercising a profound affect upon the course of history. Indeed it has done so.
Avro Manhattan in Murder In The Vatican declares:
"Thanks to such global influence, a new Pope, by creating, dissolving or neutralising alliances, can balance or unbalance world equilibrium. The support or opposition of a Pope, therefore, is of vital concern to any major group of nations. Thanks to the fact, that mankind today has become global minded, the influence of the Catholic Church has become global.
That spells the reality that her influence can encompass, besides the Christian regions, also the Islamic, Hinduist, Buddhist ones, all over the earth. Because of that, the Vatican, or rather the current monarchial conception of the papacy, has become a world superpower, and it is treated as one. As a result, the Pope is a world potentate. The paramountcy of his policies, consequently, must be taken with the same gravity as with those formulated by the USA and by Soviet Russia".
The Most Travelled Pope
Recent popes have travelled extensively, seeking to extend the influence of the Church. But Pope John Paul II has exceeded them all in that regard. fie is the most travelled Pope in history. He is constantly on the move. This, combined with his charismatic personality not only makes him a popular visitor to any country, Democratic and Communistic alike, but assists in strengthening and extending the power of the Church.
As a State as well as a Church, the Papacy has experienced reverses as well as enjoying successes. Prior to 1870, the Pope exercised domination over half of Italy. But in 1870 he lost his temporal, or kingly, power when the rebel Garibaldi seized authority in Italy, and unified the country by annexing the Papal States. Stripped of political power the Pope became "a prisoner in the Vatican" without political authority. However, in 1929 the Papacy was granted territory in Italy by a Concordat signed by Mussolini. This restored temporal power to the Pope , and the Vatican State came into being. Since then the Papacy has sought to extend its influence. Freed of the shackles of the previous restrictions, the Popes have travelled throughout the world, on that mission.
There is nothing wrong in the Papacy seeking to extend its influence if it proclaimed Bible Truth. But though the Church claims to be Christian in concept, we respectfully affirm that, in fact, Its doctrines are anti-Christian. Therefore, its 800 million adherents are travelling a road that leads to an eternal abiding place in hell: a Biblical term denoting the grave.
The Bible prophetically warned that there would develop within Christendom an apostate system that would dominate the majority of so-called believers, jeopardising their eternal salvation. Paul warned:
"Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:28-30).
"The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (demons); speaking lies in hypocrisy... forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats . . ." (I Tim. 4:1-3).
describes the teaching of Roman Catholicism. The word "devil" is demons
in the original Scriptures, and in Greek
mythology, a demon is a lesser god; one to whom worshippers could appeal for help, much the same as the Roman Catholic Church canonises certain "saints", and urges its adherents to turn to them for help in time of need. This is a prominent doctrine of the Church of Rome. Also, fulfilling this Bible prophecy of a declension in Christianity, the Church commands that its priests should not marry; and, until recent times, legislated that red meat should not be eaten on certain days. Though church law in that particular has been relaxed, for centuries it was a distinguishing feature of Catholic diet; identifying the Apostasy predicted by the Bible with Catholicism.
Other similar prophecies warn of the decline of true doctrines within Christendom, and they apply to Protestant denominations as well as to the Papacy. Paul again warned:
"The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3).
Christendom at large is astray from the teaching of the Apostles and the Bible. Such ideas as the theory of an immortal soul, heaven going at death, a Trinitarian God who is both three and yet one; a devil with superhuman power tempting weak, mortal man to do wrong, as taught by Protestant and Papal churches alike are completely astray from the Bible. They form the pattern of doctrinal error that unites them as one, fulfilling the prophecy of the Apostle Paul above. Apostasy, therefore, is not limited to Catholics. Consider the ordination of women to preside over the celebration of Communion as now permitted by the Church of England, the Episcopal Church of US and other denominations.
This is entirely opposed to the express teaching of the Bible (see I Tim. 2:11-12). Or the toleration by the Church of England of such heretics as the Bishop of Durham who rejects the physical resurrection of Christ, but is still allowed to officiate. Others deny the doctrine of the Kingdom of God on earth, with Christ visibly reigning from Jerusalem over a world at peace. Such churches ignore the saving truths of Bible teaching. On the other hand Christadelphians claim to have revived the original Apostolic doctrines of the Bible.
In fulfilment of the predictions of the Bible, the original Apostolic faith was first opposed, and then every attempt made to crush it.
In the fourth century after Christ, Constantine the Great, Emperor of Rome, decided to use the growing body of Christian opinion as a stepping stone to world power. The Church was officially recognised by the Roman Goverment; Christianity became State-sponsored. It was not the Christianity of the Bible, however, but a perverted form of the original faith. A few still clung tenaciously to the original beliefs, but as their testimony embarrassed those in power, they were ruthlessly persecuted, and every effort made to suppress them. A vigorous censorship was imposed on all doctrine. People had to believe and think in conformity with what the official body taught. The arms of Rome were used, not to destroy the enemy on the frontier, but to crush conscientious citizens of the State because of their religious scruples.
This commenced a long history of persecution, in which a Church based in Rome, claiming to be Christian, condemned and executed thousands, whose only crime was their determination to follow Christ according to their conscience, at cost of their lives, if need be. A ruthless and tyrannical system tried brutally to repress all criticism or opposition. Men and women endured unspeakable torments, of which death itself was the least painful, rather than succumb to the dictates of the so-called priests of Christ. They were the heroes and heroines of the Dark Ages, who matched moral courage against the threats and violence of Rome. And though all whom Rome persecuted, did not hold the Truth in its purity, there always have been those "few" (Luke 12:32) from the days of the Apostles to the present age, who have kept the light of truth shining brightly amid the prevailing darkness of ignorance and clerical error.
The evidence of history supports what the Bible predicted and warned against: that false teaching would be superimposed upon the Christian religion. The historian Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of The Roman Empire, traces the development of Catholicism out of the decline of the original doctrines of the Apostles.
He recorded, as is true, that the basic fundamental doctrine of early Christianity, which Christadelphians today proclaim, is the teaching of Christ's second advent. Christ is to return personally and visibly, to put down "all rule, authority and power", and to establish a new world order on earth (Acts 1: 11; 1 Corinthians 15:24). This will involve tremendous political and social changes. Instead of national anarchy and international antagonism as today there will be one universal rule (Daniel 2:44; Zechariah 14
Instead of mankind looking to Moscow, Washington, London or Rome for a political or religious lead, Christ's law will emanate from Jerusalem to the social, moral, political, and ecclesiastical wellbeing of mankind. The prophet Isaiah declared:
"Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift tip sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:24).
Instead of mankind living in rebellion against God's laws, there will be manifested "glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill towards men".
The millennial (thousand years') reign of Christ on earth (see Revelation 20:6), is closely related to the hope of a resurrection. For nowhere does the Bible teach that immortal souls will find their reward in heaven. Christ will raise from the dead and reward with eternal life, those who have lived in accordance with his teaching (Revelation 22:12; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23,52-54). They will then be appointed his associates in the governing of the nations (Revelation 2:26; 5:9-10; 20:6). They will constitute an immortal aristocracy under an immortal king (Matthew 19:28), exercising divine authority over the mortal inhabitants of the earth (Psalm 22:28).
How different this is to the Papal doctrine of souls being purified by the fires and pains of purgatory; of a supernatural devil influencing weak humanity to sin and presiding over a hell of sulphuric flame; of sins being forgiven through the sale of indulgences; and other doctrines and practices that have disgraced the Church.
The original Christian beliefs were perverted by what history recognises as the Catholic Church. The facts are recorded in the history of Edward Gibbon, who . though an agnostic is acknowledged as an outstanding historian. In outlining the decline and perversion of the original Apostolic teaching, he wrote:
"The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ ... a joyful sabbath of a thousand years; when Christ, with the triumphant band of the saints and the elect who had escaped death, or who had revived, would reign upon earth ... The assurance of such a Millennium was carefully inculcated by a succession of fathers from Justin Martyr and Irenaeus who conversed with the immediate disciples of the apostles, down to Lactantius, who was preceptor to the son of Constantine..."
Gibbon records that this teaching was gradually supplanted by error. He states:
"The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was first treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length rejected as the absurd invention of heresy and fanatism".
Instead of the Kingdom of God revived on earth by the Lord Jesus Christ at his coming, Catholicism teaches that the Kingdom is already in existence and identifies it with the Church. Therefore its leader, the Pope, reigns as King, the Vicar of Christ and of God. In 1870 the infallibility of the Pope was endorsed by the Church with the result that all that he says is accepted as authoritative, as the voice of heaven, and so beyond dispute. To challenge it in any fundamental manner is to risk excommunication, to be anathernatised by its priests, and consigned to hell.
It claims that the first Pope was Peter, and that to him was granted Divine authority such as the Church claims today. The Pope claims to be custodian of the "keys of heaven" basing this upon the statement of the Lord to Peter:
"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church (Ecciesia); and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ... And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19).
The word "Peter" is a translation of Petros, which signifies a rolling or moveable stone; the word rock is Petra and denotes an immoveable stone. The Lord did not say that he would build his community on Peter, but on the confession of belief he had uttered, and which is as an immoveable rock: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God".
The Bible does not teach that Peter was bishop or pope of Rome, nor that he was infallible. In fact, it plainly sets forth the fallibility of all the Apostles, including Peter, and records how on one occasion he was rebuked by Paul "because he was to be blamed" (Galatians 2:11). We should place no confidence in prelate or pope, but search out for ourselves the saving truths of God's word.
In fact, Roman Catholicism, as with most Protestant Churches refutes Peter's confession of faith. It teaches that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of a Trinity, and not the Son of God. But Christ never claimed equality with his Father. Instead he declared: "My Father is greater than I; I can of myself do nothing". Throughout Scripture, the subordinate status of the Son is stressed. For example, Paul, referring to the coming triumph of Christ on earth, when every enemy will be brought in subjection to his rule, states that even then he will continue to be in subjection to the Father.
"When ... all things are put under him (Christ), it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under him; and when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto Him (God) that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:27-28).
Jesus Christ is Son of God not God the Son.
The Bible teaches:
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5).
Catholicism does not treat the Lord Jesus as a "man" in any regard. It depicts him either as a babe in the arms of Mary, or as God. The worship of Mary, nowhere advocated in the Bible, is paramount in Catholicism, and is favoured by the present Pope. In contrast, the Bible reveals the mother of the Lord as weak and erring. It describes her as failing to comprehend the true mission of her son Christ Jesus, and joining with other members of her family in an attempt to restrain him in his ministry (Mark 3:21,31), causing him to gently rebuke her by saying:
"Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matthew 12:49-50).
The Catholic adoration of Mary the mother of the Lord has led it to deny other clear teaching of the Bible. For example, Catholicism teaches the immaculate conception of the Lord because the adoration it pays her is inconsistent with a woman who inherited the common weakness of all humanity. Associated with this teaching is the claim that she bodily ascended into heaven; which even Protestantism rejects. It also rejects the clear record of the Bible which beyond sound dispute shows that she had children other than the Lord (see Matt. 12:46; 13:55; Mark 6:3 etc.).
Even the title of Pope is contrary to Bible teaching. It signifies Father, and Christ specifically condemned the use of such religious titles:
"Call no man your father upon the earth; for one is your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9).
In direct contradiction to this clear teaching, the Church encourages the use of this and other titles for its Chief Bishop and its other officials.
There is no Bible evidence at all that Peter ever visited Rome, much less that he was ordained an elder of the Christian Community in that city.
If he was Bishop of Rome, why did not Paul make mention of him as such when he wrote his Epistle To The Romans? It is significant, that whereas he extended personal greeting~ to many believers in that city whom he named (see Ch. 16), no mention is made of Peter, the so-called Bishop of Rome! It is further significant that in this Epistle to believers in Rome, in which he outlines Christian belief and practice, there is not listed one distinguishing doctrine or practice of Roman Catholicism. He makes no mention of a Pope, dispensations, pardons, indulgences, cannonisations, pilgrimages, confessions, purgatories, masses, holy water, christenings, rosaries, and so forth! On the other hand, all these church additions, were prominent in ancient pagan religions. In short, they have been borrowed from paganism and superimposed on Christianity by the Church as A.Hislop shows in his book, The Two Babylons.
It is inconceivable that the Bible which claims to be the revelation of God, and of which at least a third is prophetical, should not make some reference to this system of so-called Christianity.
Indeed, the Book of Revelation claims to set forth a prophetical outline of "things which must shortly come to pass" (Ch. 1:1); and that this includes ecclesiastical affairs as well as historical developments is clearly obvious from the first three chapters which expound trends and proclaim warnings relating to "the seven churches" (Ecclesias) of Asia (Ch. 1:20; 2:1 etc.).
This last book of the Bible warns of the controversies that would disturb the communities claiming to own allegiance to Christ, and prophetically foretells the development of a system of Ecclesiastical apostasy that would arise; and which can be clearly identified with Roman Catholicism.
This is summarised in its 17th chapter. John is invited to view ..the judgment of the great whore (harlot) that sitteth upon many waters" (v. 1)
He is shown a vision of a woman seated upon a beast, arrayed in scarlet, decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand,full of abominations and fornications. She is given the title: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (v. 5).
To understand the significance of this, it must be recognised that the Book of Revelation is a book of symbols. The message contained therein was "sent and signified" by Christ (Ch. 1: 1). The term "signified" denotes that its message is given in sign language or symbols. So the book describes stars falling from heaven; rivers drying up; a beast that combines a leopard, bear, lion and dragon; a dragon, or crocodile, whose tail encircles a third of the stars of heaven and casts them on to the earth; and other impossible items that can only be understood if the meaning of the symbols is searched out.
This is not an impossible task. Scattered throughout the book are explanations of symbols. For example, this unfaithful woman is first seen "sitting upon many waters" (v. 1), and the explanation is given that the waters represent "peoples, and multitudes-, and nations" (v. 15), thus describing her universal influence.
From this it is obvious that "the whore" does not refer to a literal harlot, but to an unfaithful Ecclesiastical system. Paul likened a faithful Christian community as "a chaste virgin" espoused to be figuratively married to Christ at'his coming (2 Corinthians 11:2; Rev. 19:6-8). If a faithful community can be likened to a "chaste virgin", an unfaithful one can well be stigmatised as an unfaithful whore (see James 4:4). There was a group within some of the communities of believers in the first century, described as "that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess", but who taught and seduced Christ's servants to depart from the purity of the faith (Rev. 2:20). Actually, Jezebel was the name of a Phoenician queen, mentioned in the Old Testament, who seduced Israelites from the true worship; and the Book of Revelation, uses her name to describe an apostate sect that developed into a powerful apostate church. In this later phase, this 17th Chapter describes her.
But can we be specific in identifying the Babylon of this chapter with Rome? Yes we can; for that identification is given by the Bible itself. The explanation is given:
"The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Revelation 17:18).
The only city that reigned over the kings of the earth in the days of John the Apostle was Rome, the metropolis of the Roman Empire.
The identification of "Babylon the great" with the Papacy is clear and complete! No wonder that Catholicism discourages its members to read the Bible. Its true state in the light of God's Word is there obvious to Bible students.
Having identified the Papacy in Bible prophecy, we now consider as to whether this system answers to the description given it in this chapter.
The prophecy describes it as seeking universal political influence:
"With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication; and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication".
The reference to "fornication". is not literal but figurative. Rome is prepared to compromise with governments and authorities in order to extend her influence. That is what is meant by the term. Before the war, the Papacy first supported Hitler, then opposed him. Pope Pius XI described the brutal Italian Dictator Mussolini who bombed defenceless Ethiopia into submission, as "the man sent by Providence". Having wooed the Italian Fascist government, the Papacy gained rich rewards. These were summariscd in the Lateran Treaty between Italy and the Papacy which was signed in the Lateran Palace, Rome, on 11th February, 1929; in the same room in which Charlemagne had been the guest of Lco I I I over a thousand years earlier, when the Holy Roman Empire of' history came into existence.
Under this treaty Italy agreed to the creation of the new State of Vatican City; a Financial Convention, which granted payments to the Church for the loss of temporal powers; and the Concordat which gave the Vatican powers and privileges to administer its own special affairs. Vast sums of money were paid into the Vatican treasury as a result; and the Papacy emerged once* more governing a State exercising tremendous political influence.
Since then Catholic political influence has increased, quite contrary to Christ's teaching of non-participation in such. Many countries have been influenced by Catholic intrigue. In 1957 an event of outstanding significance took place. The Pact of Rome was signed, and the European Common Market came into existence.
This agreement unites nations of western Europe into a common economic alliance, much the same as did the Holy Roman Empire in the age of Charlemagne (800 A.D.), which was overthrown following the French Revolution.
The prophecy before us requires such a development. The "woman" named Babylon
the Great is depicted seated upon a beast which is said to have "seven heads
and ten horns" (v. 3). The seven heads are described as "seven mountains, on
which the woman sitteth" (v. 9), once more identifying Rome which is built upon
seven mountains. Indeed, during the time of the Roman Empire, it was depicted
on medals as the "seven hilled city". The "horns" are described as "kings" or
nations (v. 10). In other words, the chapter associates Roman Catholicism with
a political union of nations in western Europe developed out of Rome. This will
play a prominent part leading to Armageddon.
The chapter also describes a union of Ecclesiastical churches:
"Babylon the Great: the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth".
The Church of Rome is described as a "mother church" united again with her daughters. It implies the world union of Churches that hoth Catholic and Protestant Ecumenical organisations are trying to achieve. The papacy has given itself to this project of unification of rcligion with great zeal. The present Pope has gone out of his way to cncourage it. He has put out feelers towards the Greek Catholic Church, Protestant clerical leaders and even Buddhists, Hindus, and Moslems.
Evangelisation of Christian principles is commendable if the hasis is the truth as set forth in God's Word. But unfortunately, that is not so in this instance. The object is power.
In reality, there is little difference in the witching of Catholic and Protestant Churches. Gibbon, the Historian writing in the 18th Century declared:
"During the ten centuries of blindness and servitude, Europe received her religious opinions from the oracle of the Vatican, and the same doctrines already varnished with the rust of antiquity was admitted without dispute into the creed of the Reformers who disclaimed the supremacy of the Roman Pontiff. The synod of Chalcedon still triumphs in the Protestant churches..." (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. 47).
The "Synod of Chalcedon" was a meeting of Bishops held in A.D. 451, that determined church doctrine. The doctrines accepted then, were retained by the Protestants when they broke away from Rome.
The attempt at unity is succeeding. The leaders of churches once violently opposed to Catholicism now welcome a union with the system that they once went out to destroy. And the Pope's charismatic personality helps to make him amenable to all. The overtures of the Papacy are welcomed by liberal "Protestants". The National Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches are energetically attempting to bridge the gulf that once existed between the Churches they represent and Catholicism; whilst, at the same time, they are lending increasing support to Communism.
Such efforts to establish unity ignore the violence once used by Roman Catholicism to destroy Protestant witness. But the Bible does not overlook this. The description it gives of Babylon the Great, centred in Rome, but extending out to all countries, includes the violence it has used to enforce its authority. John wrote:
"I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (v. 6).
Does that describe the Church? It does. In order to enforce its rule, Catholicism established the Inquisition which by threats and torture, by use of the rack, the thumbscrews, and by every form of violent coercion endeavoured to break the spirits and change the beliefs of Protestants and Jews. To extend their influence the priests of Rome discouraged the individual reading and study of the Bible: for they found, that when men and women turn to that wonderful Book, they instantly begin to challenge the authority of the church and its priests in regard to its teaching and their authority. The Inquisition, called the "Holy Office", was instituted by Pope Innocent III in 1198, and perfected by Pope Gregory IX in 1227-1233.
It was the Church Court for the detection and punishment of heretics. Under it every one was required to inform against heretics. Anyone suspected was liable to the most brutal torture, without knowing the name of his accuser. The proceedings were secret. The Inquisitor pronounced sentence, and the victim was turned over to the civil authorities to be imprisoned for life or to be burned. The victim's property was confiscated and divided between the Church and the State. The most painful forms of torture were ruthlessly used to extract a confession or cause the sufferer to recant. It later was used to violently crush the Reformation. It is claimed that in the 30 years between 1540 and 1570 no fewer than 900,000 Protestants were put to death after the most heartless and inhuman torture. Many innocent men and women were burned alive in the name of Christ, by the direct order of the so-called Vicar of Christ.
In 1557 Pope Pius ordered the extermination of the Hugenots in France. The king issued a decree for their massacre, and commanded all loyal subjects to help in hunting them out. On one day, commencing on the night of Aug. 24, 1572, 70,000 Hugenots were slaughtered. There were great rejoicings in Rome; and the Pope struck a medal in commemoration of the Massacre. Before the violence was over, no less than 200,000 had been killed.
Bohemia, in 1660, had a population of 4 million people, 80% of which were Protestant. When the Hapsburgs and Jesuits had done their work, 800,000 were left, all Catholics.
description of Revelation 17:6, is painfully and sadly
Opposition To Christ At His Coming
Bible prophecy also predicts the impending overthrow of Babylon the Great. Referring to the political organisation upon which the harlot system is represented as riding, the prophecy predicts that it will openly and vigorously oppose the reign of Christ on earth:
"These shall make war with the Lamb and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and they that are with him are called, and chosen and faithful" (v. 14).
This describes the Lord Jesus Christ in company with his resurrected and glorified followers who pass the test of his Judgment seat. They will associate with him in the world-wide governance of the nations he will set up (Revelation 5:9-10; 20:6).
But his rule, whilst it will aim to establish "glory to God in the highest; peace on earth and goodwill towards men" will be opposed by those countries dominated by Babylon the Great. They will make war with the Lamb", the Lord Jesus Christ.
This will be the culminating drama of this age, towards which national trends are moving today.
It is a theory of the Roman Catholic Church, that Antichrist will arise to threaten the church's future. It claims that Antichrist will establish his power in Jerusalem; seek to revive the Kingdom of Israel; proclaim his intention of re-building the Temple that once existed in Jerusalem, and proclaim himself as King and Messiah, ordering all nations to submit to his rule. But, in fact, he will be Antichrist, Satan in human form.
What this theory attributes to Antichrist Bible teaches will be accomplished by Christ. He will return to raise from the dead and grant eternal life to those who have been faithful to his teaching (see I Corinthians 15:50-55); he will overthrow the nations that will gather to Jerusalem for battle (Zechariah 14:1,3; Daniel 2:44); shall establish himself there as King (Zechariah 14:9), and call upon all nations to submit to his worship and rule (Psalm 2:10-12; Revelation 14:6-8).
Some will submit; but those under Catholic influence will belligerently resist. Under the mistaken idea that the Lord is the personification of Satan, they will combine militarily to oppose his rule. They will be overthrown, as the verse before us teaches, and the Kingdom of God will replace the quarrelling, antagonistic and warlike nations of today. The Bible declares:
"The God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that shall never be destroyed; the Kingdom will break in pieces and consume all nations, and shall stand for ever" (Daniel 2:44).
"He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:24).
There will be no place for Popes, Bishops, Cardinals, Dictators or power-seeking Politicians in that realm. Instead, a theocracy blending beneficient power with peace and truth will replace the present-day rule of flesh. The superstitions of Rome will cease, economic instability will be established, and a universal the people: Christ's then immortal faithful followers. They are depicted as singing:
"Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 9:5-10).
Christ's world-wide Empire governed from Jerusalem will introduce the Millennium: a thousand years of peace (Rev. 20:6).
But it will be preceded by the Battle of Armageddon which will involve all nations, and decide the future of Jerusalem, Israel, and the whole world.
The prophecy of Ezekiel 38:39, and that of Daniel 11:40-45, give this in great detail, and has been briefly outlined in our booklet: Israel, Russia, Christ's Coming and Armageddon. *
This battle will not only involve the nations, but the world's religions as well. This is made perfectly clear by various Scriptures. Daniel 8:25 declares that the northern power of Russia that shall stand up against the Prince of princes (the Lord Jesus Christ and his associates); will "cause craft to prosper". The term denotes false religion (Jeremiah 9:6). Catholicism will co-operate with Russia in an attack upon the Middle East and Jerusalem.
Currently Catholicism and Communism are drawing closer together in their political alms. A. Manhatten in The Vatican Moscow Alliance wrote:
"The deadliest opponent of the Catholic Church, until yesterday, was Communism. Today, the power elite of this same Communist system have become her allies. What has prompted the Catholic Church to align herself with her former enemies? The answer to that question is to be found in the logic of events. It lies in the Church's realistic assessment that capitalism is doomed; that democracy has failed; that traditional Western culture is disintegrating, and that the West's ability to defend itself is being eroded on all fronts".
Politically, the trend of events since World War I has seen remarkable developments fulfilling the requirements of Bible prophecy. World War I produced Communist Russia. World War 11 resulted in Communist China. The Korean War produced Communist North Korea. Thc Vietnam War produced Communist Vietnam. It is obvious, that in the shape of things to come, World War III (if it did not destroy mankind as most fear - but which God's purpose will not permit) would produce a Communist world if Christ did not intervene.
But he will. Fulfilling Bible Prophecy in our day guarantees that. The great sign of Christ's coming is Israel. Its amazing revival as a nation in spite of the opposition received of Israel as a nation is God's witness to mankind (Isaiah 43:8- 10). He has promised a set time for her restoration and the lord's return:
"When the Lord shall build upon Zion, he will appear in his glory" (Psalm 102:13,16).
Bible prophecy anticipates an attack upon Israel by a confederacy of European Catholic nations dominated by Russia, but resisted by the West. One aim will be control of the holy places of the Middle East by Catholicism (Ezekiel 36:2),as well as political aggrandisement by the Soviet.
The defeat of this attack will destroy Russian militarism; but the Catholic countries of Europe will remain to resist the reign of Christ. However they will experience the irresistible might of the Lord Jesus, and ultimately will succumb to his rule.
A world transformed politically, ecclesiastically and socially will reflect to God's glory (Numbers 14:21).
Can anything be done to prevent the world rushing headlong toward world war and destruction? No it is beyond the ability of human minds to divert that crisis. Economically, politically, ecclesiastically, and socially the world is deranged, out of human control. It is exactly in the condition described by Christ when he prophetically declared:
"Men's hearts shall fail them for fear ... upon the earth there shall be distress of nations with perplexity" (the word signifies "without a way of escape" -Luke 21:25,26).
But to those who have made their peace with God in the way appointed, he declared: "When these things begin to come to pass; lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh".
What must one do to be in that favoured state? The answer is that declared by the Lord when he commissioned the Apostles:
"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, he that believeth and is baptised shall be saved" (Mark 16:15-16).
Your destiny will be determined by what you do in that regard now. A sound understanding of the Gospel, the key to the understanding of the Bible, is the first essential. That must be followed by baptism into Christ Jesus and building into one's life the principles of righteousness as displayed by him. To do this will bring one under his influence. Life will be lived objectively ' providing peace of mind now (John 14:27) in anticipation of the great reward of life eternal in the age to come. We urge upon you reader the value of seeking God's truth. The fruits of study make it well worth while. Salvation will not be found in the Confessionals of Rome, in the paying of Peter's pence to escape an imagined prolongation in purgatory, nor in the celebration of mass; but in the personal endorsement of the Truth, and the application of its principles in a life morally acceptable to Christ at his coming. That is your responsibility.