Wars and Rumors of Wars: Is it the End?
Today the air is filled with rumors of wars. Everyone is talking about the possible conflict with Iraq, and the increasingly volatile relations with North Korea. Some think that a war with Iraq is inevitable; others feel that negotiations can resolve the differences. One thing is certain, if there is a war there will be many lives lost, and it will lead to higher tensions between the world’s Muslim community and the United States of America. This will, in return, raise the threat of terrorism to a level not before seen in this nation. Many are preparing for this possibility by stocking up on food and other goods. The stores are selling out of duct tape and window plastic, as people attempt to isolate their homes from a potential attack that may involve biological and chemical weapons. Many are wondering if this is indeed the beginning of the end. Is it? Is a world in conflict the last sign given before the return of Jesus Christ? What does the Bible say about all of these things? These are just some of the questions we would like to examine today.
Are Wars an Identifying Sign of the End?
In his Olivet sermon, Jesus spoke of signs to look for as we near the end of the age, and He did, indeed, speak of wars; but what He actually said is a bit different from what many would think. He said, “And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.” (Mark 13:7)
Jesus tells us not to let wars and rumors of wars alarm us, because these things must occur. Our hope for peace is not in this world. Jesus has warned us that we will have tribulations in this world, and if we are true to Him we cannot escape that. (2 Timothy 3:12) But what Jesus has promised us is peace within, peace in our hearts knowing that we have been reconciled to God, and that if we lose our life in war or conflict, or by some dreaded disease, there is a resurrection; a blessed hope for those who overcome this world.
Jesus reassures us, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
What is the Sign of the End?
If war is not the sign that the end is here, then what is? What should we look for?
The Thessalonians were anxious; someone had led them to believe that the second coming of Christ was at hand. There may have been a war, or some “sign” in the heavens, or some misinterpreted prophecy, that had led some to believe the end was near. Paul wrote to these Christians and admonished them not to be “soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” (2 Thessalonians 2:2) Paul told them not to be troubled, because the end was not yet here. Paul had already warned them what had to take place before Jesus would come. Do you think “conflict” was a sign that Paul warned them of? NO, just the opposite!
Paul wrote, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3)
It wasn’t war that Paul said to watch for, but when the world thinks that it has found “peace and safety,” that is when the Lord will return. There will be a false hope that the world will accept with open arms; there will be someone who will be offering up a strong delusion under the name of “peace.” Paul even mentioned this person in his letter to the Thessalonians when he wrote, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4)
It is through this person that Paul recognizes as “the son of perdition” that the false hope of peace comes. This person will disregard the clear teachings of the Word of God, and preach a man-made utopia here on earth. The way to this “universal peace” is through the destruction of those who oppose him and will not submit to his government. It is the rule of this person that is ended by the coming of Jesus Christ.
This prophecy is recorded in the eighth chapter of Daniel. It says, “And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” (Daniel 8:25) Notice it says that “by peace” he “shall destroy many.” In his attempt to achieve peace, he shall destroy many people. The people he wishes to destroy are those who refuse to accept the mark of the beast. The Bible says, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelations 13:15)
Who is it that will cause those who oppose him to be put to death? Who exalts himself above all that is called God? Who is this person that the Bible teaches the world will turn to in search of peace? It is not Jesus Christ, but rather it is the anti-Christ.
The Bible Identifies the Antichrist
Daniel chapter seven describes this person as the “little horn.” It is the little horn that Daniel says persecutes the children of God, who speaks against the true God and reigns until the judgment.
Let’s read it. It says, “And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” (Daniel 7:20-22)
What do we know of this little horn? He rises out of the head of the fourth beast. The four beasts of Daniel seven represent the four empires of history, which existed from Daniel’s time to the end. (See Daniel 7:17.) The first kingdom was Babylon, which was followed by Medo-Persia. (Daniel 8:20) The third kingdom was Greece. (Daniel 8:21) Greece was then conquered by the Roman Empire, which began to control the known world around 180 BC. (Luke 2:1) Out of the head of the Roman Empire was then found 10 horns. (Daniel 7:7) These horns represent ten kings. (Revelation 17:12) Like the vision of Daniel two these horns represent the division of the Roman Empire. Pagan Rome fell and was divided into these 10 kingdoms in 476 AD: the Alamannis (Germany), the Visigoths (Spain), the Franks (France), The Sueves (Portugal), Burgundians (Switzerland), Anglo Saxons (England), Lombards (Italy), the Ostrogoths, the Vandals and the Herulis. [For a more detailed study on these kingdoms described in Daniel and Revelation, please contact us and request the booklet entitled, A Time to Choose.]
Daniel then tells us that from the midst of these 10 kingdoms a little horn will rise and will pluck up three of the original 10 horns. (Daniel 7:8) We know the entity that is called the “little horn”’ came after the division and we know that 7 of these 10 nations still exist today. So if we find what destroyed the missing three, we will know who the “little horn”’ is. The three kingdoms that are missing are the three that opposed the Trinity doctrine, which is the foundation of the Orthodox Catholic faith. These three nations rejected the official religion of the empire and they were therefore annihilated for it. The Herulis (493 AD), the Vandals (534 AD) and the Ostrogoths (538 AD) were all “plucked up” for their rejection of the Pope. With the fall of the Ostrogoths, in 538 AD, the Roman Catholic institution was left free to exercise civil power over her subjects.
One historian wrote, “AD 538 [was] the year when the Ostrogoths collapsed. It was out of the smoking ruins of the western Roman Empire and after the overthrow of the three Arian kingdoms that the pope of Rome emerged as the most important single individual in the West, the head of a closely organized church with a carefully defined creed and with vast potential for political influence. Dozens of writers have pointed out that the real survivor of the ancient Roman Empire was the Church of Rome.” (E. G. McKenzie, Catholic Church, page 14)
Now let’s look at the characteristics of this entity and see if the Roman Catholic Church fits every aspect of the description provided by Daniel. Daniel 7:21, tells us that he will make war with the saints, and shall prevail against them. Daniel 7:25 tells us that the saints shall be “given into his hands for a time and times and the dividing of time.” We also see that this entity will speak against (blaspheme) the “Most High” and “think to change times and law.” (Daniel 7:25)
Did the Church of Rome rule for “A time and times and dividing [a half] of time”? Yes it did! First, let’s establish what is meant by this phrase. Here a time means a “year.” So a year plus two years (times) plus a divided year (a half) is 3 ½ years. (See John Gill’s Commentary on Daniel 7:25.) This is the same period given by John in Revelation 12:6, 14, & 13:5. So, 3 1/2 years, or 42 months, which is 1260 prophetic days, is the time period. So if we remember that in symbolic prophecy God has “appointed thee each day for a year” (Ezekiel 4:6), we can clearly see that Papal Rome was given its civil power for 1260 years. If we begin to count from the time that the Church of Rome gained full control, with the destruction of the Ostrogoths in 538 AD, and add 1260 years, we come to the year 1798. Was civil authority removed from the papal seat at this time? Yes! On February 10th, 1798, the French general, Berthier, took Pope Pius VI captive, thus, for a time, ending the civil reign of antichrist. Revelation declares, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity.” This move inflicted the deadly head wound of Revelation 13:3.
During this 1260-year period, were the true followers of God persecuted as prophesied by Daniel?
One historian wrote, “The Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, [which] will be questioned by no Protestant who has a complete knowledge of history.” (William E. H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Vol. II, pages 35, 37)
The conservative estimates are that the Roman Catholic Church killed around 50 million people, but some reckon that it is closer to 150 million. Who, with any knowledge of the persecutions of the Waldenses, the ravages of the Duke of Alva, the fires of Smithfield, the tortures of Goa, the crusades, the massacres, and the inquisitions could doubt that Papal Rome made war with the saints and prevailed against them?
Does the Roman Church “speak against,” or blaspheme the Most High? One of the clearest forms of blaspheme is for a man to pretend to be God. Does the Pope claim god-hood?
Pope Nicholas I said, “I am all in all and above all, so that God himself, and I, the Vicar of God, hath both one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do… Wherefore, if those things that I do be said not to be done of man, but of God, what can you make me but God?… I then, being above all prelates, seem by this reason to be above all gods. Wherefore, no marvel if it be in my power to dispense with all things, yea, with the precepts of Christ.” (See Decret. Par. Distinct 96 Ch. 7 Edit Lugd. 1661, quoted on page 15 of Romanism and the Reformation, by H. Grattan Guinness)
It is almost as if Pope Nicholas I was quoting 2 Thessalonians 2:4, and applying it to himself! There are dozens of historic quotes that show that the papacy thinks that it holds the place of God Almighty on earth. But the above will suffice for now.
Now we ask, Does the Church of Rome think to change “times and laws”? Which law would this be referring to? Of course, the law of the Most High; it is no strange thing to change the laws of man. So, does the Church of Rome claim to be able to change the law of God? Especially the fourth commandment that deals with time?
Catholics claim, “The Pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ… The Pope has the authority and often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ.” (Decrito de Translit Episcop Cap)
They also claim, “The Pope can modify divine law.” Ferraris’ Ecclesiastical Dictionary, Article: “The Pope”)
Pope Innocent III said, “We may according to the fullness of our power, dispose of the law and dispense above the law. Those whom the Pope of Rome doth separate, it is not a man that separates them but God. For the Pope holdeth place on earth, not simply of a man but of the true God.” (Decretales Domini Gregori IX Translatione Episcoporum, chapter 3)
A prominent Catholic Catechism boldly admits:
Q. Which is the Sabbath day?
A. Saturday is the Sabbath day.
Q. Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
A. We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic church, in the counsel of Laodicea (336 A.D.) transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday. (The Convert’s Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, by Peter Geirman, Second Edition, page 50)
The little horn of Daniel is also described in the thirteenth chapter of the book of Revelation under the title of the beast. The following is a six-point comparison between the two descriptions:
1. The little horn was a blasphemous power. “He shall speak great words against the Most High.” (Daniel 7:25) The leopard beast of Revelation 13:6 does the same. “He opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.”
2. The little horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. Daniel 7:21. This beast also (Revelation 13:7) makes war with the saints, and overcomes them.
3. The little horn had a mouth speaking great things. (Daniel 7:8, 20) And of this beast we read, Revelation 13:5: “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.”
4. The little horn arose on the cessation of the pagan form of the Roman Empire. The beast of Revelation 13:2 arises at the same time; for the dragon, pagan Rome, gives him his power, his seat, and great authority.
5. Power was given to the little horn to continue for a time, times, and the dividing of time, or 1260 years. (Daniel 7:25) To this beast also power was given for forty-two months, or 1260 years. (Revelation 13:5)
6. At the end of that specified period, the dominion of the little horn was to be taken away. (Daniel 7:26) At the end of the same period, the leopard beast was himself to be “led into captivity.” (Revelation 13:10) Both these specifications were fulfilled in the captivity and exile of the pope, and the temporary overthrow of the papacy by France in 1798. (Uriah Smith, Daniel and the Revelation, page 562)
Healing of the Deadly Wound
Many people thought, with the overthrow by France, that the papacy would cease to be a political entity, but those who thought such were badly mistaken. The Bible had already foretold that this deadly wound would be healed. (Revelation 13:12) When was the wound healed, you may ask? It was healed in 1929 when Italy’s leader, Mussolini, officially returned the control of the Vatican to the papacy, making it a state (Vatican City). Thus, it once again became a church with a state having the ability to exercise civil powers over its subjects. The 1929 Lateran Treaty was praised by the San Francisco Chronicle with the headline: “Mussolini and [Cardinal] Gaspari Sign Historic Pact… Heal Wound of Many Years.” (The San Francisco Chronicle, July 7, 1929)
The San Francisco Chronicle headline almost quoted the very words of John. The agreement signed 74 years ago by Benito Mussolini and Cardinal Gaspari, on behalf of the King Victor Emmanuel III and Pope Pius XI, restored the full diplomatic and political power of the Holy See of Rome. And today, all the world indeed “wonders” at the revived power of the Roman Catholic Church, the epitome of church and state combined and a major player in global politics. Pope Pius XI commented on the concordat, and his restored power, in the first ten paragraphs of his encyclical “Quinquagesimo Ante,” which is available online at: http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p11quinq.htm.
Peace and Safety: The Goal of Rome
Recently another news article appeared echoing the same sentiments.
ROME (AP)—Pope John Paul II made a historic speech to Italy’s parliament Thursday, urging Italians to work for world peace, uphold their Christian values and have more babies. The visit—the first time a pope has appeared before the Italian parliament—underscored the warmth that the country feels for the Polish-born John Paul, the first non-Italian pontiff in 455 years. It also showed Italy and the Roman Catholic Church have healed wounds that a century ago prompted popes to call themselves “prisoners” of the Vatican rather than accept Italy’s government as legitimate. (Excerpt from an article by Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, November 14, 2002, available online at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGA46E51J8D.html)
What was the papacy urging the Italians to seek after? World peace, utopia on earth! The stated goal and prayer of John Paul is world peace. There is nothing wrong with wanting world peace, but we Christians know that that world peace can only happen when Jesus personally comes and sets up His kingdom. [This kingdom will not be located on this earth until after the millennium. For more details request the tract entitled, “The Millennium.”] This is not what the pope is talking about. He isn’t teaching world peace through the coming of Jesus Christ, but rather “peace” through the setting up of the millennial kingdom on earth. Who will reign in this kingdom if Jesus is still in heaven? Of course, the “viceregent” of Christ, the pope, or a false Christ come to impersonate Christ’s second coming in a manner different from how Christ explained when He said, “as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:27)
Every attempt by man at world peace has failed. NATO was created for this very purpose and it couldn’t bring peace. The United Nations was formed; and still today there is no peace. The only way there can be peace is if God reigns and, to the Church of Rome, the pope is God in the flesh. Where are the nations beginning to look for peace? They are looking more and more to one man.
Just recently the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz requested to meet with Pope John Paul in hopes that the leader of billions will bring peace. The pope agreed to meet with him, and Aziz arrived at the Vatican on Thursday, February 13, 2003, and met with the pope the next morning. “The pope and Aziz met briefly in the library of the pontiff’s private apartment Friday… Aziz’s Vatican visit included meeting the secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano and the Vatican foreign minister, Archbishop Jean-Luis Tauran.” (CNN article: “Pope urges Iraq’s Aziz to comply,” February 14, 2003, available online at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/02/14/sprj.irq.aziz.pope.)
Aziz made a striking statement concerning the reason for his visit to the Vatican. He said, “First of all we are very keen about the importance of the moral influence of the Holy Father when he asks for peace, and he refuses war,… This is very important for international public opinion.” (Ibid.)
The international community is beginning to look for the guidance and influence of the pope to settle political problems. This is especially noteworthy coming from Iraq, which is primarily a Muslim country, since Muslims, in general, dislike Christians. This did not seem to stop Aziz in his quest for peace. He said, “‘The Holy Father and Vatican and the believers in God, Muslims and Christians, are trying their best to stop this aggression,… We have to discuss how to continue the work in that direction and mobilise [sic] all the forces of good against the forces of evil.” (Ibid.) The Muslim world seems willing to unite with the pope in order to work together to achieve peace.
On Tuesday, February 11, the Associated Press reported that Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, a Frenchman who has carried out numerous delicate papal missions before, was due to meet the Iraqi leader. The report said, “A Vatican envoy arrived in Baghdad Tuesday on a mission for peace and said he would deliver a ‘personal message’ from Pope John Paul II to Iraq President Saddam Hussein… Etchegaray said the pope is ‘trying to push to the extreme limit, in favor of peace, a peace which is so precarious and so fragile.’” (CNN article: “Envoy takes pope’s message to Iraq,” February 11, 2003, available online at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/02/11/sprj.irq.vatican.)
Commenting on the possible war on Iraq Pope John Paul said, “‘No to war! War is not always inevitable. It is always a defeat for humanity,… War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations.’ He said international law and diplomacy were the only worthy means to resolve differences.” (CNN article: “Pope condemns any war on Iraq,” January 13, 2003, available online at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/01/13/sproject.irq.pope)
The papacy is becoming more and more vocal on political issues that concern the world, and the nations of the world are becoming increasingly more willing to listen, as demonstrated by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recent visit to the Vatican. Annan arrived in Rome on February 17, 2003. “Annan was scheduled to meet with the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who is second in authority after Pope John Paul II. The purpose of that visit has not been made public…” (CNN article: “Annan warns Iraq to cooperate fast,” February 18, 2003, available online at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/02/18/sprj.irq.annan)
The pope has been given a seat within the United Nations, and has repeatedly addressed the leaders of the nations. He has a great deal of influence at the UN, considering the Vatican’s official “‘non-member state’ permanent observer” status. (For an explanation of this status, see www.population-security.org/crlp-94-07.htm.) The pope has continually been in favor of international laws and treatises that work to pull the world under one universal government. Truly, the world is wondering after the beast whose deadly wound has been healed. Please do not think that the government of the United States is immune from this.
About two years ago President Bush and seven Catholic cardinals presided over the grand opening of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington. Here is an excerpt from an article on this event, reported by the Catholic News Service.
Detroit Cardinal Adam J. Maida, president of the center dedicated to the Catholic faith, told the audience… that the pope insisted it be located in Washington instead of any of several other suggested sites, including Warsaw or Krakow in Poland. “He sees Washington, D.C., as the crossroads of the world,” Cardinal Maida said. “The center’s location here will allow it to impact and shape the many events that transpire here.”… President [Bush] noted that the last leader of the Soviet Union called the pope “the highest moral authority on earth.”… The evening before, Bush hosted about 60 bishops and other church leaders for a reception at the White House. He said the best way to honor the pope “is to take his teaching seriously, is to listen to his words and put his words and teachings into action here in America.” (Catholic News Service, March 24, 2001, available online at: http://www.dio.org/catholictimes/archive/2001/ 010401/feature4.htm)
When the nations agree to give their power to the beast (Revelation 17:17) in hopes of world peace, how will the papacy deal with those who will not submit? The Bible says concerning this beast power, “By peace [he] shall destroy many.” (Daniel 8:25) It has long been the doctrine of Rome, that the only true remedy for those who are “evil” (Rome defines ‘evil persons’ as heretics, who do not accept papal rule and doctrines) is death.
Peace on His Lips, but War in His Heart
The following four quotes are cited from The American Textbook of Popery which, in turn, quotes from the Directory for the Inquisitors. (Page numbers listed are for the Directory.)
He is a heretic who does not believe what the Roman Hierarchy teaches… A heretic merits the pains of fire… By the Gospel, the canons, civil law, and custom, heretics must be burned.—page 164
All defense is denied to heretics.—page 153
For the suspicion alone of heresy, purgation is demanded.—page 156
He who is without the church can neither be reconciled nor saved.—page 144
Noting the Catholic position regarding the persecution of heretics one Catholic cardinal said,
Experience teaches that there is no other remedy for the evil, but to put heretics [Protestants] to death; for the [Romish] church proceeded gradually and tried every remedy: at first she merely excommunicated them; afterwards she added a fine; then she banished them; and finally she was constrained to put them to death. (Cardinal Bellarmine, famous champion of Romanism, cited by Schumucker, page 76)
The opinion came to prevail, that what disease is to the body that heresy is to the Church, and the most merciful procedure was to cut off the heretic. No distinction was made between the man and the error. The popes were chiefly responsible for the policy which acted upon this view. The civil codes adopted and pronounced death as the heretic’s “merited reward,” poena debita. Thomas Aquinas and the theologians established it by arguments. Bernard Guy expressed the opinion of his age when he declared that heresy can be destroyed only when its advocates are converted or burnt. To extirpate religious dissent, the fierce tribunal of the Inquisition was established. The last measure to be resorted to was an organized crusade, waged under the banner of the pope, which shed the blood of the mediaeval dissenters without pity and with as little compunction as the blood of Saracens in the East. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 6, Chapter 10, Section 79)
By the famous bull ad exstirpanda, of 1252, [Pope] Innocent IV. authorized torture as a measure for extorting confessions. The merciless use of this weapon was one of the most atrocious features of the whole procedure. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 6, Chapter 10, Section 86)
Down to the very close of the Middle Ages, the pages of history were disfigured by the decrees of popes and synods, confirming death as the penalty for heresy, and for persons supposed to be possessed with witchcraft. The great council of Constance, 1415, did not get away from this atmosphere, and ordered heretics punished even by the flames, — puniantur ad ignem. And the bull of Leo X., 1520, condemning Luther, cursed as heresy the Reformer’s liberal statement that the burning of heretics is contrary to the will of the Spirit. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 6, Chapter 10, Section 86)
The stated position of the Catholic Church, as decreed by her popes, is that anyone who does not believe what the Roman Catholic Church teaches is a heretic and should be put to death. Whenever the Roman Catholic Church has had the power to carry out this policy, she has done so unmercifully.
Commenting on the prophecy that the little horn should “wear out the saints of the Most High,” Barnes says:
Can any one doubt that this is true of the papacy? The Inquisition, the persecutions of the Waldenses, the ravages of the Duke of Alva, the fires of Smithfield, the tortures of Goa,—indeed, the whole history of the papacy, may be appealed to in proof that this is applicable to that power. If anything could have worn out the saints of the Most High,—could have cut them off from the earth so that evangelical religion would have become extinct,—it would have been the persecutions of the papal power. In year 1208 a crusade was proclaimed by Pope Innocent III against the Waldenses and Albigenses, in which a million men perished. From the beginning of the order of Jesuits in the year 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. In the Low Countries fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, burned, or buried alive, for the crime of heresy, within the space of thirty-eight years from the edict of Charles V against the Protestants to the peace of Chateau Cambresis in 1559. Eighteen thousand suffered by the hand of the executioner in the space of five years and a half, during the administration of the Duke of Alva. Indeed, the slightest acquaintance with the history of the papacy will convince any one that what is here said of making “war with the saints” (verse 21), and “wearing out the saints of the Most High” (verse 25), is strictly applicable to that power, and will accurately describe its history. (Albert Barnes, Notes on Daniel, page 328, comment on Daniel 7:25)
The Roman Catholic Church has not changed her policy in regard to heretics. All that has changed is that she no longer has the civil power to enforce her policies. If she is given the power again, you can be sure she will exercise it to the full extent of her power.
The Roman church has never repented of her complicity with these unchristian acts. On the contrary, she still holds the principle of persecution in connection with her doctrine that there is no salvation outside of her bosom. The papal Syllabus of 1864 expressly condemns, among the errors of modern times, the doctrine of religious toleration. Leo XIII., a great admirer of the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Encyclical of Nov. 1, 1885, “concerning the Christian constitution of states,” wisely moderates, but reaffirms, in substance, the political principles of his predecessor. A revocation would be fatal to the Vatican dogma of papal infallibility. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 8, Chapter 1, Section 11)
So far as we know, the Roman Catholic Church has never officially revoked the theory and practice of the mediaeval popes and councils, but on the contrary the utterances of Pius IX. [pope from 1846-1878] and Leo XIII. [pope from 1878-1903] show the same spirit of vicious reprobation for Protestants and their agencies. (Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 6, Chapter 10, Section 86)
The Bible predicts that the Roman Catholic Church again will persecute God’s people, with the United States taking the lead in using the power of the state to “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:15)
The government of the United States is appealing more and more to religion to solve its problems. Recently, President George Bush told a religious convention, “I welcome faith to help solve the nation’s deepest problems.” (CNN article: “Bush talking more about religion,” February 18, 2003, available online at: http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/02/18/bush.faith)
Unfortunately, the religion that will be chosen to solve this nation’s problems will be one instituted by the beast, and designed to persecute and/or kill all those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast as prophesied in Revelation 13. This beast power will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8)
Why did Jesus say “wars and rumors of wars” must happen? (Mark 13:7) I think it is because these tribulations cause men to seek for peace. In your search, you can either turn to the God of heaven and receive inner peace, and one day a never-ending kingdom, or you can turn from the truth and look to a man with peace on his lips and war in his heart, and be damned. One day the world will view those who are willing to obey God rather than men as heretics and enemies of peace. The professed Christians everywhere will have to make a decision: to be faithful to God and be hated by all men, and have a death penalty looming over them, or to obey the false Messiah and enjoy a short season of sin. I hope we all decide to be faithful to God unto the end, because if we are, we will receive a crown of life and live forever in kingdom where true peace will be known. I will close with the following words: “And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.” (Mark 13:7) “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3)
(Brother Martin Bledsoe writes from his home in Kentucky. If you would like to contact Martin, you can write him at PO Box 1171, Evarts, Kentucky 40828. His e-mail address is: Martinthezman@hotmail.com. Editor)