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The Rise of the false Prophet – Revelation 17 Study 5

Rising in Rome, the dragon soon moved the capital to Constantinople and continued there for 1,000 years. Its development is explained and involves Russia.. .

 

TRANSCRIPT – kindly supplied by Sis Fay Berry

The Book of Revelation

Things which must Shortly Come To Pass’ Study 5 ‘The Rise Of The False Prophet’ Rev 17

 

Reading Revelation Ch 17.

We’ve come to the end haven’t we? You might breathe a sigh of relief, and so might I. I realise I’ve worked you pretty hard this week because for many of you, I think, the vision of the next 50 years that we have considered now over the last 7 or so days together, perhaps wasn’t really known, or at least not known well, before we commenced our work. As a consequence of that, some of you might have struggled a little bit with the pace of the information and with the variety of new information that you have had. Let me tell you this, you will walk out of here and you will forget what you didn’t know, by which I mean, you will say, “Oh, yes,” in a week’s time, “the fifty year jubilee period, I know that, I’ve always known that.” That might be true, but now you will be familiar with it, you see, and if you were to listen to these talks again, well, I think, everything would make complete sense. I would encourage you to do that because this is the vision of the next fifty years, and we talk about the world coming into the ecclesia and the cares of this life taking its toll on our faith, there is nothing more calculated to assist us as we prepare for the coming of the Lord than a vision of what is about to occur. I mean, the Proverbs say, that “without a vision, the people perish.” This is the immediate vision, brothers and sisters of the events shortly to come to pass. Of any vision that we might want to have of the kingdom age, surely, surely, this has got to be right up there amongst them. So I encourage you to apply your minds to this if it has been new information for you; don’t choke at the quantity of the information, put it together and make it  your own, because, you know what?  it is really not that difficult, it’s actually not that difficult.

The false prophet.

We’ve talked about the dragon, we’ve talked about the beast, and now we are going to talk about the false prophet. You remember, the kingdom of men, as it is described in the phrase, “Babylon the Great,” that we’ve read now a number of times, in Revelation Ch 16, is comprised of three parts, the dragon, beast and false prophet, relating to the military, the economic and the religious aspects of that kingdom, and you must understand, as we come to talk about the false prophet this afternoon,  that he is an extremely formidable power. It is the false prophet who is going to unite the dragon of the eastern Roman Empire and the beast of the Western Roman Empire together, prior to the battle of Armageddon, after the armies of the Europeans, and those of the rest of the world are destroyed upon the mountains of Israel. It is this false prophet that will unite the ten-horned beast and charge him directly into the line of fire of the man on the horse of Revelation Ch 19. Consider therefore, just how powerful this system is.

The Pope and the Catholic Church

When you come to the book of Revelation, and we talked about the religious symbols that are used here, there are more than one. There is not just the false prophet.  Revelation 12 and 17 speak about a woman, which is clearly a religious system. Revelation 13 speaks about the image of the beast, which as we will explain shortly, is also part of the religious system and Revelation 16 and 19 both speak of the false prophet, what’s the difference between each of those three things? Well, it is very simple. The false prophet is an individual, it’s a person, it’s a male, it is the Pope. The personality, the person, of the Pope is the false prophet. The woman? well she is a religious system, not an individual, she is the Catholic Church, so you could think of the false prophet as the one who is the head of the woman who is the Catholic Church, and the image of the beast? well the image of the beast is an empire, it’s not a person, it’s not a church system, it’s actually an empire, and it’s an empire that the Papacy between the years 1073 and 1870, you can see it on the screen, it’s an empire the Papacy created around the city of Rome during that 800 or so years. When we say “the image of the beast,” we mean an image or an “icon” in the Greek, a copy of the “sea” beast. So all we are saying is the Pope created a miniature Roman Empire down in Rome, that’s what he did, and it lasted for that period of time. We will get to that and explain that.

The Power of the Papacy

This is what we are going to do this evening, brothers and sisters and young people, I’ve just drawn a graph here, of the power of the Papacy over time, and on the top, all these boxes on the top, are the various things that have happened to the Papacy or the Papacy has done to increase its power and the boxes on the bottom are the things that the Papacy has done or the things that have happened to it that have decreased its power. So between 312 AD when Constantine first adopts Christianity, and forges the Papacy out of the apostate Christian Church that existed in the Roman Empire at that time, we have various rises and falls, waxes and wanes over time, and you can see a catastrophic fall after the years of the French Revolution and the meteoric rise in the 20th century. I mean, this is the story of the Papacy and this is where she gets to prior to her destruction by the Lord Jesus Christ. I am just going to go through this history and show you what’s happened over time, and where it’s going to get to. That’s what we are going to do.

Constantine adopts Christianity

So, 312 AD, Constantine adopts Christianity, but very shortly afterwards the barbarians attack Rome and the Pope’s life is in peril by the barbarians who weren’t Trinitarians. Well not long after 533 AD Justinian come from Constantinople with his army as we have read in Revelation Ch 13 and he supports the power of the Papacy, in fact, he makes a decree followed by Focus 100 years later, who also makes a decree, vesting all religious supremacy of the Roman Empire in the Pontiff. They pass off the scene, the Eastern Roman Empire gets preoccupied fighting the Saracens who come up from the East and the Lombards start to March down the Italian Peninsula, and the Pope is imperilled again. He writes a quick letter to his friend in France called Charlemagne, and Charlemagne gets together with the Pope in 800 AD and they create the Holy Roman Empire, which we have already found is the beast of the earth of Revelation Ch 13. Then having created that empire, it’s very clear who’s boss, the emperors dominate the Popes. It wasn’t really a fair fight between Charlemagne and the Pope, the Pope asked Charlemagne for assistance and Charlemagne and his successors were very clear on the fact that the Pope did what he was told. So it was a two-horned lamb but you might say, one horn was bigger than the other until 1077 AD. In 1077 you had this famous issue of what was called the “investiture controversy.” Who had the right to decide who became a bishop, the Pope or the emperor? In that conflict that happened in 1077 AD, the Pope won. All of a sudden, the Pope’s more powerful than the Emperor. Think of it like this, what could the Emperor say to you if you said that you wouldn’t obey him? He could say, “I will kill you.” What could the Pope say if you said you wouldn’t obey him? Well, he could say, and he did, “I will kill you forever.” You can see, that if the Pope’s a clever politician he’s going to win that war.

1077 AD happens, and from there, the Papacy went from strength to strength, and then began the Crusades followed by the Inquisition in Spain, followed by selling of indulgences and she got ridiculously powerful and fabulously wealthy, but she abused her power, and the bubble burst in France, and there was a Revolution and the Papacy, because of what she had done, with the nobility and the King fell into a very great hole, they fell out of favour. Revolutions were kindled across the rest of Europe and the Papacy lost all her power, she came back after Napoleon’s death, the Papal States were reinstated to the Papacy and then Italy unifies and becomes a modern State.

The Papacy broke and powerless

By the beginning of the 20th Century, the Papacy was broke and powerless and in fact, imprisoned in the Vatican City. She was a non-entity at the start of the 20th Century and from there, even today, she is more powerful than she has ever been in her entire existence and she is going to get more powerful yet, prior to her destruction by the Lord Jesus Christ. There’s the story, there’s if you like, the five-minute potted history of the Papacy over the last best part 2,000 years. And if we were to put our beasts on the map, the only one now relevant to us is the “image of the beast” as we have described, is Rome. The false prophet lives in Rome, the woman lives in Rome in the sense that she is the administration of the Catholic Church, and the “image of the beast” lives in Rome because it is a territory, lives in the Papal States. The Pope lives in Rome, he controlled at one point the Papal States which were a small area around the city of Rome that the Pope ran.

Two capitals in the empire

OK, come back to 330 AD. This is a slide that is very familiar to you, we have made the point now, looking at the slide, that Constantine established two capitals in the Empire, Rome already existed as the capital. He established the second capital as Constantinople and that became the residence of the dragon because the dragon is the military power of the Roman Empire. Constantinople was established, first and foremost, as a military capital by Constantine and he subsequently moved his throne there and it became the military and the administrative capital of the Roman Empire. But do you understand the enormous unintended consequence of Constantine having established Constantinople? What do you think it meant to the Papacy left in Rome that Constantine established Constantinople? Now you might look at that from a distance and say, “Well, the army’s left Rome, it’s all moved to Constantinople, the Pope’s an unguarded man, he’s precariously balanced in Rome.” Not true. Look, “the foundation of Constantinople” historians tell us, “marks one of the great periods             of change in the annals of the world. The removal of the seat of the Empire from Rome and the absence of a secular competitor allowed Papal authority to grow up and develop it’s secret strength. The fact that the Emperor had left Rome to the Pope allowed the Pope to develop unfettered as a competitor to the Emperor. By the side of imperial power the Pope would hardly have gained more political important than the patriarch of Constantinople.” You see what that’s saying? So Constantine goes and lives in Constantinople and there’s a religious figurehead there as well, that Patriarch of Constantinople could do nothing alongside the enormous power of the Roman Emperor. But over there in Rome, hundreds of miles away, he had the city to himself.
That was exactly what the Papacy needed to grow, you see, the extinction of the Western Empire, that is once the Roman Empire in the west fell, left all the awe that attached to the old Roman name or which followed the possession of the Imperial City, to gather round the tiara of the Pontiff, he inherited all the auspicious accolades of the ancient Roman Empire because he was the preeminent representative of ancient Rome, living in Rome. All the historicity of that Empire fell at the feet of the Pope and he adopted everything, you see. He became famous as the western representative.

Biblical doctrines of the Millenium and the return of Christ discarded

Well, other things began to change as well. As the Papacy now developed its empire, any doctrines that spoke of an Empire to come, and as the kingdom age would replace the kingdom of men, they had to go, they had to be deleted from Church teaching. Look, “the ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected to the second coming of Christ,” of course, because the Bible says so, “but when the edifice of the Church was almost completed the temporary support was laid aside. The doctrine of Christ’s reign on earth came to be treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and was at length rejected as the absurd and invention of heresy and fanaticism.” Now what’s happened? Well think of it like this, you see the picture I’ve got there of the woman standing on the moon, clothed with the sun, that’s the picture that you see in Revelation Ch 12. And in Revelation Ch 12 it says “that the woman is in heaven,” she was one of the “wonders in heaven.” Now contrast that to the pictures we’ve already painted in Revelation 14 and Revelation 19 where you have the saints in heaven, the temple in heaven, what’s the difference? Well the woman in heaven means the church in government, the temple in heaven means the ecclesia in government. This woman accepted the promotion to government by Constantine, she couldn’t wait till Christ came and let him promote her to government, she wanted the government now, she took the government now. Therefore, any prospect, any hint that the Bible might have that Christ has got a government to come, and that the saints are going to take a government of the future, that must be expunged forthwith from Catholic teaching, she’s got her kingdom now. No interest in talking about a kingdom to come, no interest whatsoever, that’s what heretics and fanatics talk about, the kingdom age, don’t be ridiculous, you see? and you can see why she says that.

Well, 476 AD the Western Empire has fallen, the ten barbarian horns encroach upon the Western Empire and the Pope’s in peril so he appeals to his friend Justinian, from the dragon in the east, and Justinian comes over and not only does he militarily defeat the Barbarians and recovers much of the Italian Peninsula and beyond, he makes a declaration, that the Pope is the head of all the Holy Churches. He’s the head, now of course, that did not go down at all well in Constantinople, because there was a religious figurehead in Constantinople who resented being one of the Churches that the Pope was the head of and so it is Focus in 607 AD who makes the follow up decree, we say he “confirmed the decree of Justinian,” but he did more than that, he was explicit. The Pope’s the head over all the Churches and Christendom, including Constantinople, including Constantinople. That’s it, we’ve got the Pontiff now stands alone, he’s not even really the first among equals, he’s “first” period! as a consequence of Focus’ decree.

Well, as we explained, that was all right, but the armies of the Eastern Empire soon became involved fighting the Saracens and so now the barbarians are becoming stronger and stronger again in the west, and now the Lombards are charging down the Italian Peninsula and we’ve not got to appeal to France, and France is now going to come in and create, as you know, as we’ve spoken about, the Holy Roman Empire, but now things are different, now things are very different. Charlemagne had a father, what was Charlemagne’s dad called? Pethin! “Pethin the short,” actually, he wasn’t a very big fellow, in contrast to Charlemagne who apparently, legend says, was seven feet tall. I mean, he couldn’t write but he didn’t question Charlemagne’s academic ability, as you understand. Pethin makes a donation, about fifty years before this, he makes a donation to the Pope called the “donation of Pethin,” and it’s was a donation of land. It was land that Pethin took from the Lombards, they took it back and Charlemagne had to assist the Pope.  Charlemagne eventually took the crown of the Lombards, he inherited the Lombardi title. Nevertheless, the big point here is, we’ve now created the Papal States in the green at the bottom of your map. The Pope is not just a protector as a religious figure here, he is now a land owner, a land owner, so he’s got farms, he’s got taxes, he’s got crops, he’s got a little country, not just Vatican City, he’s actually got a little country, and you can see, this country stretches from coast to coast across the centre of Italy. This will become extremely important as time progresses, if there’s a war the Pope had an army living in that country.

The Cadaver Synod

This brings now to, we’ve got to 800 – 900 AD and this is one of the most infamous periods of the history of the Popes. We know they have committed some atrocities and shed the blood of the saints before and after this. This period of time, the 800s to 900s, was infamous because of the incompetence of the Popes and I am just going to show you this, and you must understand, this is the nature of “God’s representative on earth.” These are the “spiritual leaders” of the world. When you get home, go and look up the Cadaver Synod.  Poor old Pope Formosus, ruled between 891AD and 896 AD, and he had a bit of a troubled Papacy, did Pope Formosus, so that after his death, his remains were exhumed, they were dressed up in his Papal robes, and he was put on trial. I mean he was a corpse, he was a dead corpse and they put him on trial! He didn’t answer. Pope Stephen leads the trial, the verdict was that the deceased had been unworthy of the Pontificate, so all his pronouncements were annulled and the Papal vestments were torn off him, the three fingers of his right hand that he used to bless the Church were cut off, and his body was dumped in the Tiber River. He’s a corpse! then his remains began to emerge, his body washes up on the bank and begins performing miracles, there’s a public uprising, Stephen who lead the trial was put in prison, when he was in prison he gets strangled, so the next Pope Theodore takes the throne. He convenes the Synod  and he says, “I’m going to annul the Cadaver Synod,” I’m going to reinstate Formosus, I’m going to order his body to be reburied in St Peter’s in full Pontifical vestments. 898 AD, Pope John the 9thtakes the throne, he agrees with Theodore and he prohibits any further trial of a dead person. Very wise.  Ah, but in 904 AD Sergius the 3rd turns up as the Pope, and he happens to be a Bishop who took part in the trial of Formosus, he reaffirms all the old convictions and he has a complimentary epitaph inscribed on the tomb of Stephen, “he was the fellow who was strangled in prison.” I put this up as comic relief, what a ridiculous situation we have in the Papacy. These are “God’s representatives,” these are the spiritual figureheads of the Catholic Church, and that’s what we’ve got. Napoleon can’t come soon enough!

The “investiture controversy”

Now fast forward another 100 years to 1077 AD. The Popes at this point are dominated by the Emperors and so they ought to be, look at them, completely dominated by the emperors until 1077 AD. This is the “investiture controversy,” the high water mark of the Papacy up until this time. The two opponents, Pope Gregory 7th  fellow called Hildebrand, that was his name, but he took the name Gregory and assumed the Pontificate. Pope Gregory 7th and Emperor Henry 4th of Germany, and the issue was, “Who can vest Bishops with the Bishoprick? These days, Bishops were Princes, you see, and this was a big issue because Bishops being Princes, they controlled the State, they were major land owners and those land owners had a lot of people working for them and those people became the armies of the Emperor whenever the Emperor went to war, now the Emperor was keen to appoint Bishops, therefore, I mean, “Bishops,” read “Princes,” the emperor was keen to appoint these Bishops who were loyal to him and he often sold the position of the Bishoprick for a lot of money. Pope Gregory says, “No, these are religious offices, they ought to be appointed by the Pope and, by the way, so should the Emperor.” You’ve got to read the famous letter from Henry IV to Pope Gregory VII, “Henry, King, not through usurpation, but through the holy ordination of God, to Hildebrande, at present, not Pope, but false monk, be condemned,” but of course, he used stronger language. Gregory responded by excommunicating Henry. Henry wasn’t popular, immediately all the German princes rebelled against Henry, they built their own forts and they prepared to defend themselves against him, and now Henry has lost his army. He’s a Holy Roman Emperor without an army, well, he’s got no choice. The Pope was very afraid of Henry because Henry was a powerful enough man and the Pope had scuttled off to Canossa Castle where the dot is on that map in northern Italy, well Henry marches up to Canossa Castle, cap in hand, waits three days in the snow, for the Pope to open the door and grant him forgiveness. This was the turning point in the middle ages. For the first time the Pope had demonstrated superiority to the Emperor, and the people had agreed with the Pope. Now why is that significant? because of this, that defines the “image of the beast.” Now the investiture controversy began to happen in 1077, Pope Gregory VII began in his reign as the Pope in 1073, and the point I’ve made, dear brothers and sisters and young people, when we are talking about the “image of the beast,” we are talking about a little Papal empire where the Pope assumes the role of an emperor. He doesn’t pretend to be the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, but he acts like an emperor. Therefore, when you pick the start date of the “image of the beast,” you’ve got to have a time when the Pope was demonstrably an Emperor. So historians look at the “investiture controversy,” and the issue of Canossa and say clearly, “that was the first time where the emperor bowed to the Pope,” that’s the beginning of the “image of the beast,” you see. And why is it the image of the beast? this is why. “The Pope created an empire which was a duplicate in its structure with the Roman Empire,” that is, with the empire of the beast of the sea of Western Europe, “It was truly Roman in its structure, the hierarchy of the Pope, the Archdiocese, the Diocese, the Parish was in the tradition of Diocletian’s imperial reorganisation. Within the Episcopal system the See of Rome enjoyed a special authority, the Roman Church was accepted as a first among equals,” by which they mean here, first among themselves and Constantinople. You can see, Pope, Archbishop, Bishop, Pastor, is a direct duplication of the hierarchical structure of the old Roman Empire.        Hence, “the image of the beast,” it is an “icon,” it is a copy of the administrative structure of the “beast of the sea.”

Napoleon Bonaparte

Well, the years went by, the Papal power increased and increased and it abused its position and it abused its position in a wholesale manner, and then it happened, and it happened in France, and you can see the cartoon, the “third estate,” the peasant class, the bourgeoisie of France, being ridden upon by the king, Louis XVI, by the “first estate,” the clergy and by the “second estate,” the nobility and of the 23m of people in France, 1m of them rode on the back of the 23m who did all the work and paid all the taxes and who lived in squalor. Well, it couldn’t last, it was not a sustainable model, and there’s a revolution in France. The Emperor, the Pope and the aristocracy had caused the problem and so they were the prime targets. Well, one thing leads to another and the convention in France, that is the government, the improvisionist government brings in Napoleon Bonaparte to bring order back to the country. In order to support the old monarchy, and to reinstall a Bourbon King back on the French throne, many other surrounding countries attack France. One of the armies, one of the armies that attacked France was the army of the Papal States. Big mistake! Very big mistake.  Napoleon went berserk, he went utterly berserk, and one after another the countries of Europe fell. In 1796, Napoleon invaded Italy and defeated the Papal army. Pious VI sued for peace and he thought he had it under control, when rioters killed the French ambassador in Rome, the French marched on Rome and they entered the city unopposed. They proclaimed a Roman republic, they demanded the Pope renounce his temporal authority, when he refused, they took him prisoner along with all the Papal regalia which they then proceeded to melt down. Now we are talking about all the standards, all the chalices, all the cups, all the silver wear, they melted it to ingots. These were the holy objects of the Catholic Church, they were scrap metal, nothing was sacred, not even the tiara, this is that fish head thing that the Pope wears on his head. They even stole that, these are the French soldiers, they came and the looted the Vatican Palace, they even stole the tiara, so that in 1800, when it came time to crown a new Pope they had to make a tiara for him out of paper Mache! There was more to come, in 1809, Napoleon goes back and he annexes the Papal States as part of the French Empire. Pious VII responds with a bull of excommunication. The Papacy excommunicates Napoleon, Napoleon’s reply? “In these enlightened days, only children and nursemaids are afraid of curses.” Seven hundred years earlier, the Emperor would have gone down on bended knee in the snow and begged forgiveness. Napoleon says, “don’t be ridiculous, lock him up.” Don’t you love him? He’s a worldling, he’s an out and out worldling is Napoleon, but look what he did for us and to that church system. While the Papacy declines, and this is how the Bible represents it, come with me to Revelation Ch 17:16, she’s getting toward her lowest ebb and the beast has flung the woman off its back and is preparing now to tear her limb from limb. The Catholic Church is falling out of favour day after day in Western Europe, and it says in v 16, “the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore and shall make her desolate and naked and shall eat her flesh and burn her with fire, for God has put in their hearts to fulfil His will and to agree to give their kingdom to the beast until the words of God should be fulfilled. Now if you were to stand back, brothers and sisters and young people and take a big look at Revelation Ch 17, you might wonder why I’ve read v 16 and 17 with reference to the French Revolution, when, as you read for example, v 3, about a beast with the woman riding on its back, it’s an evident reference to the formation to the European Union, which is a long time after the French Revolution. The question arises, what are these latter verses of Revelation 17 really talking about? Are we expecting to see for example a chronological flow through Revelation Ch 17, culminating in a yet future hatred of the whore by the ten-horned powers of Europe? and the answer is, “No we are not.” Revelation Ch 17:15-18 is actually an appendix to the chapter which happens before v 1. How do we know? We know for three reasons. The first reason, look at v 15, then look at v 18, those two verses are appendix verses, they are explanatory verses. So the first point would be, while v 15-18 of Revelation Ch 17 are appendix verses, it would make good sense  v 16 and 17 were too. Secondly, in v 12, the horns of the beast make war with the lamb and they are overcome in v 14, I mean the beast is killed, in Revelation Ch 17:14. The problem is that the horns are still alive it appears in v 16. Well that would mean that v 16 must take place at some time prior to the destruction of the beast in v 14, so you see, the chapters are evidently out of order. The third point, in v 3, the woman rides the beast, so clearly the kings of the earth love the woman because they are happy to let her ride on their back, after the formation of the European Union in 1957. When the woman is finally destroyed in Revelation Ch 18: 8, it tells you in v 9 that the Kings of the earth mourn her destruction. So evidently when the woman is destroyed, the kings of the earth love the woman still. If these last verses therefore of Revelation 17 are not an appendix, what we must expect to see is a time, somewhere between now and the destruction of the woman in year 20 where the European horns love her and then hate her and then come back to love her again all in, what appears to me to be, an extremely short period of time. It’s not possible. You can’t have Europe love the Papacy then hate the Papacy and threaten to kill her and then love it again, all in the next 20, 30, well how far away is Christ, you see, it is just too soon a time, so Revelation 17:15-18 are an appendix, they are speaking about events that happen to the woman during the French Revolution prior to the commencement of v 1 of this chapter.

The Papal States restored to the Papacy

Well, here is what the girl looks like after the French Revolution and things haven’t finished yet. The horns hate the woman, what that means is that all the kings across Western Europe hated Catholicism, they all wanted to get rid of the shackles of Catholicism and the hamstring that Catholicism has caused them for the last 1,000 years, so there were revolutions percolating across Europe from West to East. And then it happens in Italy, it happens in Italy. After the battle of Waterloo you see, Napoleon was finished, the Congress of Vienna restored the pre-Napoleonic governments of Europe, because Napoleon took most of Europe. The Papal States were restored to the Papacy. The French Revolution had lit the powder keg, revolutions are happening across Europe, and by 1870, Italy itself was agitating for unification.  Now what do we mean by unification? Well, it is not clear on this map, but do you remember where the Papal States were, they were like a diagonal line across Italy from west to east. And what the Pope had done in controlling that central portion of Italy was that he had cut off north Italy from south Italy for 1,000 years. The only way to go from north to south, well there were two ways, you could get on a ship and you could sail around, or you could pay a tax and go through the Papal States. The Pope, therefore, by virtue of the fact that he controlled that strip of land from coast to coast across Italy, could basically put the brake on any united Italian progress. Well they had enough, and Victor Emmanuel comes down from the north and Giuseppe Garibaldi comes up from the south, there wasn’t complete agreement between those two because both of them wanted to run the place. Garibaldi submits to Victor Emmanuel, they unite Italy and they confiscate the Papal States and they make it part of unified Italy and they make Italy into a modern republic. The Pope is utterly outraged extremely furious that he has just lost the Papal States, and says, well, that’s it, I’m no longer going to leave the Vatican. The rest of the world can live life without me, I’m not leaving the Vatican I don’t accept the authority of the new Italian Government, so he makes himself a prisoner in the Vatican City and that lasted for 60 years. He was a prisoner, but he doesn’t stay quiet, in the very same year in 1870, they hold the first Vatican Council. The Pope at that Council proclaims the doctrine of Papal infallibility, by which he meant, “whenever I sit in a Bishop’s chair,” and the Greek word for “chair” is Cathiso, a Cathedral is a church with a chair, “whenever I speak from the Bishop’s chair, in a Cathedral, the words that I speak are the inspired words of God, when I speak on articles of faith.” That is, “whenever I speak Ex-Cathedra, I’m inspired.” No longer does he fight using a sword now, he fights using the pen, you see, extremely significant. 1870 the Pope has lost his temporal power, that means he has lost his control of land, and that ends “the image of the beast,” that’s the end of it. He rises the very next day and he is the “false prophet.” He is called “the false prophet” because of the doctrine of Ex-Cathedra, which he proclaimed in the year 1870. He is still, as far as Revelation is concerned, “the false prophet.” The “image of the beast” is now dead, the “false prophet” is risen from the ashes. 60 years go by, eventually the Pope has had enough of living in isolation in the Vatican and he signs the Lateran Treaty with Mussolini in 1929. It is called the “Lateran Treaty,” because it was signed in the Lateran Palace, and it basically agreed that the Italian Government would give the Pope his own autonomy within the Vatican City, they would create a new country called the Vatican City, and the Pope would have autonomy in that city, and yes, the Italian State would pick up his garbage and give him clean water and electricity and so forth, because of course it is a very tiny city. All five Popes have remained confined in the Vatican. By 1929 the Papacy was at its lowest ebb for 1,000 years, no money, no land, no status, but since 1929 what’s happened has been the events of Revelation Ch 17, absolutely sensational, we called it meteoric, it is, the sensational rise in power and in prestige for the Papacy, and just look at this. It says in Revelation 17:3 “He carried me away into the wilderness and I saw a woman sit on a scarlet-colored beast full of the names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns,” so there’s the first point, “she sits astride the scarlet-colored beast.” The Beast is the European Union of Western Europe, the Treaty of Rome as we found out a couple of nights ago was signed in the Lateran Palace in Rome. So the Papacy presides in 1957 over the formation of, we call it here, the EEC, the European Economic Community, it’s now names The European Union. So she is on  the back of the beast, so 30 years after 1929, she’s climbed aboard the beast of Western Europe and she’s guiding it now, where she wants to go. It says in v 4, that the woman “was arrayed in purple and scarlet color and decked in gold.” I mean, there’s no dispute about who we are identifying here, she’s got a “golden-cup in her hand,” has this woman. V 5 says that “on her forehead is the word Mystery.” Do you know when the priest consecrates the bread and wine in a Catholic mass, he pronounces what is called the “mysterium thedae” of faith, and the mystery of faith is that the bread turns into the flesh of Christ and the wine turns into the blood of Christ, by the doctrine of trans-substantiation. It is one of the mysteries of the Catholic Church, and they explicitly state it as a mystery when the Pope “consecrates” the emblems of the Catholic Church. She “trades in the souls of men,” that’s a reference to Ch 18:13, unbelievable.

The Vatican in the modern world

Look at this, here is the Vatican in the modern world. The Vatican offers time of purgatory to followers of St Francis’ “tweets,” I ask you? And in its latest attempts to keep up with the times the Vatican has married one of its oldest traditions to the world of social media by offering indulgences to the followers of Pope Francis’ “tweets.” So, if you follow Pope Francis on facebook, and you are bad, you can reduce the years of hell-fire by quoting this, unbelievable. “I shall suffer no loss of children,” now here’s the Pope meeting the Patriarch of Moscow, and we made the point about the significance of that in terms of the fact that the Papacy in the west was linking with eastern orthodoxy, or Russian orthodoxy in the east, and that it would be the iron that unites the feet and toes of Daniels image in Daniel Ch 2. Well, that’s one thing, from the point of view of Revelation Ch 17, however,                can you see that the Papacy is bringing all the daughters home? Who is the boss of this relationship? There is no question, the Patriarch owns 160m followers, the Pope owns 1.2b followers, it is not an equal contest between these two, and now that Putin has instructed the Patriarch to go and meet the Pope and do what the Pope says, there is no question about where this is all leading, all the children are coming back to the Catholic Church. So there are two vitally significant prophetic symbolisms established in this event. 1. The unity of the iron re-forming the empire, and 2. the daughter churches all coming back home, albeit, reluctantly.

The third secret of Fatima

“And lying wonders,” have you ever heard of “the third secret of Fatima,” what happened in Fatima, which is a little city in Portugal, in 1917 on May 13, at least three children saw a vision of the Virgin Mary, so they say, and the Virgin Mary spoke to them on more than one occasion and gave them these revelations. Well, the first two were published immediately and the third was only published I think in 1960 and the last portion apparently was published in the year 2000. Cardinal Joseph Ratsinger, after June 26, 2000, in a private conversation with a personal friend of Pope John Paul ii was asked, was the “whole third secret revealed in your press conference?” Ratsinger admitted “truly, that was not all of it.” What’s the point? The point that the churches say, “there is as an yet an unrevealed portion of revelation to these three children that awaits fulfilment. The speculation, based on what part of this third vision has been reavealed is that it involves the Catholic conversion of Russia. That’s what, apparently, is the substance of the third secret of Fatima. I mean, it is a lot of hogwash, but understand, that the gullible are captivated by this, and the church uses this and releases these little titbits as it needs to keep an unsuspecting population under its control.

And Ch 17:2 says, this Papacy will have “committed fornication with the Kings of the earth,” can you believe this, here is the funeral of Pope John Paul ii, 2005. “There were 4m people at his funeral, 4m people. It was the largest gathering of national heads of state that there has ever been in history. There is never a gathering of heads of State like this outside of United Nations meeting. At the funeral, not only were there 4m people, there were 4 kings, 5 queens, 70 presidents and 14 leaders of other religions, even the Patriarch of Constantinople turned up to the funeral of Pope John ii, the first time that a Patriarch of Constantinople has ever attended a Papal funeral in 1,000 years. Can you see, he’s come out of the ashes in 1929 and is rocketing to be the most powerful man in the world, decade after decade, enormously increasing his power.

The destruction of the woman

And look at her now, this is where the Papacy is headed for, come with me to Revelation 18:7,  by the time she is finally destroyed by Christ and the saints, she thinks she has won, brothers and sisters and young people, she thinks she has won, because she controls the entire world. Revelation 18:7, “How much she had glorified herself lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her, because she has said in her heart, I sit a Queen and am no widow and shall see no sorrow,” “nothing, nothing can possibly go wrong for me, I have recovered my life from the French Revolution and from the unification of Italy, nothing can go wrong, I ride the back of the beast, I’ve got the armies of ten kings, I am bullet-proof, nothing can take me down,” she says.  In v 8 “therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, mourning, famine, she shall utterly be burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. So at the pinnacle of her power, the greatest ascent of power she will have had for 2,000 years, she is killed, she is killed.

Now you can understand the significance of this because when John sees this woman on the back of the beast, in Revelation 17: 6, it says, “I saw that woman,” John says, “drunken with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and when I saw her I wondered with great admiration.” The word “wondered,” and the word “admiration,” are the same word. He didn’t “admire” her, “I wondered with great wonderment,” he had never seen anything like it, but there is more to this than meets the eye. You see, it is obvious that she feels secure because the kings of the world all now love her, so she is as far away from the effects of the French Revolution as she ever could be, but she’s got children, she’s got children, who are the children? V 5, “On her forehead, mystery Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots,” so she’s a harlot and her daughters are harlots like her. But that proves to you, you see, is that just before she dies, the ecumenical drive of Catholicism will have been successful, all the daughter-churches have come home by time she dies, even Russia, even Russia, has come back home, and she is in control of world-government, riding this beast, she’s in control of world-religion. She is the strongest she has been in her entire history, and she says, the last words of Revelation 8:7, as your margin will tell you, are a quote from Isaiah 47:7-8. On the screen I’ve got Isa 47:7-8, they are a portion of the judgment upon Babylon in Isaiah 47, and Babylon says, “Ha, I shall be a lady forever,” so that thou didst not lay these things to heart, “I am none else and none else beside me, I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children,” but these two things shall come to thee in a moment, in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood.” In 24 hours, you won’t exist. She pretends that she has got longevity that ancient Babylon thought it had. Well, she is wrong, her plagues come in one day, utter destruction.

The history of the two women

But now think about this. Here’s the contrast, because as you know, the book of Revelation talks about two women, so understanding the astonishment in which John sees her, what does that mean to us? Well, the contrast between the true bride and the false bride in the book of Revelation is extremely clear, one is called Babylon, the other is called Jerusalem, one sits on many waters, the other sits on a sea of glass, one commits fornication, the other is a virgin, one is in the wilderness, the other is in heaven in government, one sits on a scarlet-colored beast the other stands on Mt Zion, one is full of the names of blasphemy, the other is full of her father’s name, one is clothed in purple and scarlet, the other is clothed in white, one lives in luxury, the other’s got great tribulation, one is possessed with mystery, in the case of the other, the mystery is finished, one’s a queen, the other is a bride, one when she dies, they wail and lament, the saints sorrow no more, the enemies rejoice over her, but she rejoices with the Lamb; come out of her says, of the Catholic Church, come to me he says, in Revelation Ch 22. You can see the enormous contrast between two women, one who wanted to ascend to heaven now and the other who is prepared to wait to ascend to government when the Lord invites her to take a throne.

What’s not so clear, is perhaps the degree of imitation used by the Catholic Church. Look at Ch 17:4. Have you ever seen this? “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet-color and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls having a golden cup in her hand.” Why is she decked in gold, precious stones and pearls? Why does it say that? Why does she particularly choose those things to wear? You come with me to Revelation 21 and I will show you. It is very easy. She is a counterfeit system, she imitates true religion. What is Revelation 21 about? It is all about “New Jerusalem,” and look in New Jerusalem, at Revelation 21:18 , “the building of the wall as it was of Jasper and the city was of pure gold. V 19, the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. V 21, and the twelve gates were twelve pearls, she wears, gold, precious stones and pearls, you see, because New Jerusalem v 18-21, is adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls. do you want to know the difference between these two cities, if you like? Come back to Revelation Ch 17:4, and look in your margin, it says she was “decked” with gold, precious stones and pearls, well your margin tells you the meaning of the word “decked,” she was “gilded.” What does “gilded” mean? It means to cover thinly, the point is, it is not solid gold, they are not solid precious stones, they are not solid pearls, she is gilded with them. They are painted on, you see, it looked solid, but it is a completely superficial religion, but when she dies in Revelation Ch 18, when she is destroyed, the world is utterly outraged, the kings of the earth are utterly outraged, and as a consequence of that, because the Pope survives the destruction of the city of Rome, they are prepared to garner their support behind the Pope and charge into battle with the “man on the horse.” What has outraged the kings of the earth at the destruction of the woman in Revelation 18:7-8?  Well, I can tell you in Revelation 18:16 what the kings say, they said “Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, and purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, precious stones and pearls, she was a good Christian girl, why did the Lord Jesus Christ destroy her? How dare he destroy her? And the kings get together, behind the Pope and prepare to destroy the Lord Jesus Christ for destroying this beautiful girl. Of course the Lord could read her like a book, and the kings can’t, because they are her lovers, as it says in the early verses of Revelation Ch 17.

The definition of a Catholic

You know, it would be a mistake, brothers and sisters, if we didn’t take a personal lesson from this,  what is the real definition of a Catholic, isn’t it just someone who is superficially religious? someone who thinks they will get looked after in the end because they are part of a system, that their baptism in some way, gives them a ticket to salvation, and despite the fact that their life is basically worldly, and completely inconsistent with the principles of this book, they will be accepted beaus God says he loves them, isn’t that how Catholics think? What would that look like if it crept into the ecclesia? What would it look like in terms of our attendance? Would you say, that it would be like going to the meeting Sunday morning and forgetting every other class of the week because we are just too busy? What would it look like in terms of our spirituality, would you say, perhaps it could be that there was no real need to do the Bible study because that’s the speaker’s job? What would it look like in terms of our worship? Wouldn’t that be the use of modern music that talks all about what Christ has done for us and nothing about what our responsibilities are to him? Isn’t that how Catholicism works? You don’t have to attend anything but Sundays, and in fact, if you can’t make it, that’s fine, just turn up at Xmas and Easter. Bible study? you don’t even need a Bible to be a Catholic, we pay people to do the Bible Study for you, and music? You know it is very unlikely that we are going to fall under the influence of the Catholic Church as Christadelphians, but do you think it is possible we could fall under the influence of her daughters? I mean, the Pentecostals aren’t Catholics, and for us to follow the lead of those sort of people wouldn’t be to follow the lead of the harlot, but it would be to follow the daughters of the harlot, it’s the same thing. The critical point here that I am making you see is to understand what makes us different to Catholics, to understand what Christadelphia came out of, to understand the spilt blood of saints, I mean, they want you to call them brother and sister, you couldn’t speak the word, there’s just too much shed blood, could you, that’s what they want, and therefore to understand the difference between us and them is to apply a degree of separation in our lives from the things she stands for, even if the things she stands for we are seeing manifested in the Protestant churches. It is exactly the same, they are all coming home, in every sense of the definition.

The Hallelujah Chorus

And when that woman is destroyed, and when you come to Revelation Chapter 19, look at the reaction. Revelation Ch 19 is the Hallelujah chorus, which is the chorus that is raised by Christ and the saints at the destruction of the Catholic Church, but you’ve got to read carefully, look at v 1,”And after these things, I heard a great voice of much people in heaven saying, Hallelujah, salvation, glory honor and power unto the Lord our God, for true and righteous are his judgments, because he has judged the great whore who has corrupted the earth with her fornication, he’s avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.” So there is the destruction of the harlot woman in Revelation Ch 17, but now look at v 3 “and again they said hallelujah and her smoke rose up for ever and ever, and the four and twenty elders and the four living ones fell down and worshipped God who sat on the throne, saying, Amen, hallelujah,” and the critical point to observe in v 3 is that when it says, “and again they said, hallelujah,” the word “again” there means, a second time, that is to say, there are two “hallelujahs” here, and in the case of the second one, v. 3-4, it is called an “Amen” hallelujah. The cause of the first “hallelujah,” of course, was the destruction of the great whore in v 2, what’s the cause of the second “hallelujah?” Well, v 4, “her smoke rises up forever.” What’s happening? When are these two “hallelujah’s” sung? Well now, recall the structure of the 50 years. You see, as far as Roman religion is concerned, there are two great destructions, the first one occurs in the 20th year when the city of Rome is destroyed, that is the destruction of the woman, and therefore the administration and hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Yes, I am aware that the Pope escapes, but the church system is destroyed when Rome falls into a big crevasse in the ground in the 20th year. 30 years later, we’ve destroyed Catholic Europe. The vintage of the earth has been harvested and there is another celebration, a second Hallel, the first one occurs in v 1, the second one occurs in v 3, and v 4, Amen hallelujah, in the 50th year, and perhaps for those who are taking notes, you might like to notice that this phrase at the end of v 4 “Amen hallelujah,” is speaking, as Bro Thomas says, of the “Amen” of Revelation 5:14, the transaction between the angels and the saints, and the handing over of the reigns of government from the angels to the saints happens at the “Amen hallelujah,” it happens in the 50th year, once everything is resolved.

I’m not going to speak about it now because our time is done and I, didn’t plan to speak about it, I will give you just one other point of interest here, look at Revelation 19:7-9, I will just mention it because it is interesting and you may ask me about it, we have in v 7 recorded the marriage of the Lamb, and we have in v 9 recorded the marriage supper of the Lamb. They are different, they are not the same thing. The Marriage of the Lamb in v 7 is the wedding, the marriage supper of the Lamb in v 9 is the wedding reception. The Marriage of the Lamb happens at Sinai, right after judgment. The marriage supper of the lamb, the wedding reception, happens in year 50, after the second Hallel. It is not until that woman. that harlot system is utterly expunged from the earth that the Lord Jesus Christ conducts the marriage reception with the true bride and that’s what happens at the second Hallel. That’s the real story, of Revelation Ch 5, at which point the angels hand over the reigns of government to the saints and the 1,000 years begins that’s all I am going to say on that.

Visions of the kingdom

So we began the week by talking about our various different visions of the kingdom, about, perhaps, how we saw ourselves fitting in to the new organisation, whether it be petting wild animals or teaching the gentiles in the courts of the temple, or watching children play in the streets of Jerusalem. We made the point, brothers and sisters and young people, at the time, that if Christ were to come tonight, all of that is 50 years away, and that in the next 50 years, 30% of the book of Revelation will be fulfilled, I hope you can see that now. and that chapter after chapter has got enormous detail on what the next 50 years contains, and that perhaps now, you can prepare a picture of how these things will work out. As I mentioned at the outset, we talked about the influence of the world upon the ecclesia. The greatest fortification that we can make personally against the influence of the world is a vision of what the future holds. Why? Because for the most part you see the influence comes upon us because we get lazy, because we get apathetic, because we say, “Look, it doesn’t really matter,” you know, it actually does matter. These are serious things and the systems that are going to be destroyed are disgusting to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to resist them, and to resist them, we have to understand them, and understand what it’s going to take to destroy them, that’s the next 50 years. What have we found then? Scripture describes the false prophet as having “power, signs and lying wonders” at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. We would expect, therefore, that the Papacy would continue to produce pseudo signs which endorse its anti-biblical interpretations, for example, the third secret of Fatima, rather than just quoting Jesus’ writings about the coming of anti-Christ. They would continue to produce signs, miraculous things would apparently be done by the Papacy. Having risen from the ashes of the French revolution, Revelation Ch 17, we expect an increasing familiarity with the kings of the Earth and intervention in political issues such that she becomes the guiding power of the latter day beast, and finally the Catholic Church is the “mother of harlots,” and rises to a position where she expects to see “no sorrow, and no loss of children.” We therefore expect to see increasing ecumenical overtures by the Catholic Church so that she can bring all of her daughters back to her side.

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