Friday, March 15, 2013

Of Popes and Prophecy, Part 2


In my last post I gave a breakdown of Bible prophecies related to the different kingdoms, starting with the Babylonian kingdom, that affected God's people, the Jewish nation.  I believe that there is something in prophecy that shows that the stepping down of Benedict XVI was not "unexpected."

From the study I did last time, let's hop over to Revelation 13.  In verse one we meet another beast.  Keep in mind that a beast in prophecy refers to a kingdom/political power.  Based on John's description of the beast, we can go right back to Daniel 7 and make a link.  It would seem that he describes in the reverse order of Daniel because he is looking backward in time, and this beast is an amalgamation (or to put it simply, a mix) of the other beasts before it.  During John's time, Rome was ruling, and he knew the history of the kingdoms going back to the Babylonian era.  Just as the beast in Daniel 7 warred against God's people, so too the beast of Revelation 13.  The fourth beast in Daniel 7 has ten horns, the first beast mentioned in Revelation 13 has ten horns.  The beast of Revelation 13 and the Roman power are one and the same.  Revelation 12, verses 6 and 14 refer to a prophetic period of 3.5 years, during which the beast of Daniel 7 and that of Revelation 13 have "power over" God's people.  In prophecy, unless the explanation following says otherwise, we use the time formula 1 day=1 year (see Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6).  And 1 year by the Jewish calendar equals 360 days.  Thus, this 3.5 years equals 1260 days or 1260 literal years.  We can confirm this practical approach by looking at prophecies that have already been fulfilled like:

  • the Jews' return to Jerusalem from exile during the reign of Cyrus, the Persian king.

  • the length of Christ's ministry.

  • the time of His death.

I think there are times we're living in the midst of prophetic fulfillment, but we don't recognize it.  However, we are given markers that can serve to wake us up.  The Bible refers to the beast receiving a deadly wound.  It loses its power.  It is silenced for a time.  But the wound is healed.  It regains its political clout and the whole world wonders after this resurrected beast.

Utilizing clues I have already mentioned and ones like them, we can gain understanding for Revelation 17.  In this chapter, we come upon yet another beast.  But we can identify it as the same beast in Revelation 13 that is controlled by the dragon (which is Satan; see Revelation 12:9).  Important clues from Revelation 17:

  • the beast has ten horns (verse 3)

  • the woman riding it is drunk with the blood of the saints and martyrs of Jesus (verse 6)

  • the beast goes away for a time, comes back and the unbelieving world (as in those who don't believe in Jesus the Christ) wonders after it (verse 8)

  • a woman in Bible prophecy refers to a church (see Revelation 12); a pure woman is God's true and faithful church; a harlot woman is an unfaithful church.

  • this unfaithful church has a counterfeit to the priestly order established by God while the Israelites were in the desert; it has the purple, scarlet, and gold of the priestly order and the earthly replica of the heavenly tabernacle/sanctuary/temple, but it doesn't have the blue, which was to point people back to God's law (see Numbers 15:37-39; see also Exodus 36 and 39); as I mentioned before, I do believe this unfaithful church refers to the papal system--if you look at images of Roman Catholic cardinals and bishops, you will see a sea of red and purple with gold mixed in.

  • this unfaithful church was a persecuting church, "drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6), up until it received its deadly wound (Revelation 13:3).

  • this unfaithful church is riding political power (the scarlet-colored beast with 7 heads and 10 horns), and that combination, which is what made it "diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns" (Daniel 7:7), unites church and state together in an iron grip--a religio-political system.

  • the setting for this harlot woman/beast combo is Vatican City/Rome:  "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth." (Revelation 17:9) "And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:18)  The City of Seven Hills generally refers to Rome and the Bible further qualifies by stating that it is that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth.

As I read through Revelation 17, as I prayed and studied it, and looked at the historical clues, the passage seemed to be saying that Pope Francis will be the last pope, that some serious power plays will go down, that the world will end during his reign.  This is pretty powerful stuff!  We’re living in an exciting time in the world’s history.  A time that will blow a lot of people’s minds.  A lot of people will be confused, will feel lost about what is happening.  But the Bible gives me my grounding.

In my next post, we will delve into Revelation 17 some more, and I will explain how I arrived at these conclusions.

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