As the world waits with anticipation for the pending puff of smoke up the Sistine Chapel chimney, Bible believers are waiting for a much larger billow of smoke to ascend from the Vatican City. Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation draws attention to the blasphemy of the Catholic System as it elevates a man in the place of God on earth.
Shocking the Catholic world on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI, formerly – and soon to be known once again – as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, announced his resignation, effective February 28, 2013. This event, the first resignation of a Pope in 600 years, since Gregory VII resigned in 1415 during the Great Schism of the church, has caused much discussion amongst the Catholic faithful. Nearly all 266 popes have served until their death.
Benedict is to retire to the Mater Ecclesiae (Mother Church) convent, founded in 1992 by John Paul II, in the Vatican City, and will be tended to by the nuns who look after him now. The New York Times reported that Razinger is departing to a life of solitude hidden from the world. Quoting the Pope as stating,
“Though I am now retiring to a life of prayer, I will always be close to all of you, and I am sure all of you will be close to me, even though I remain hidden to the world,” Benedict, 85, and increasingly frail, told the assembly of hundreds of priests, who had greeted him with a long standing ovation and some tears.
The Guardian Newspaper reported:
At the end of the mass, the thousands of worshippers erupted in minutes-long applause for Benedict, with cries of "Viva il papa!" ("Long live the pope!") echoing around the vast basilica.
However, the question of this pope quietly retiring out of view has been disputed. Time Magazine reported on Ratzinger’s influence on the next pope:
"The former Pope in the Vatican will be a formidable weight on the shoulder of his successor," says Andrea Tornielli, Vatican correspondent for La Stampa and a historian.
Thus, just by watching from the sidelines, Ratzinger will be subtly able to champion his conservative theological and social policies--an über-Pope of sorts. Says Tornielli: "I can hardly imagine Ratzinger's successor, with Ratzinger still living, reversing one of Ratzinger's decisions. Not because he is still [in the Vatican] but because he is still alive. It opens a whole range of problems that are not so easily resolved."
"People say he will not have an influence on the conclave," says Tornielli. "Of course he will. Cardinals must be free when they choose, but of course they will be less free with [Ratzinger] still living."
Reuters reported the influence of the current pope on the upcoming conclave:
Pope Benedict is assembling a last testament to his Roman Catholic Church, urging its leaders to put aside their rivalries and think only of the unity of the faith.
The message, slipped into statements both before and after his shock resignation announcement on Monday, reads like a veiled rebuke to leading cardinals jockeying for influence in the upcoming conclave and in the papacy that it will produce.
The current Pope made an interesting statement in a speech in October:
"in the Lord's fields there are always weeds ... in Peter's nets, there are also bad fish".
Waiting for the Smoke to Ascend
The man who will end up wearing the white fish hat will not be known until white smoke puffs up the chimney of Sistine Chapel following the Papal conclave that is set to begin on March 15th. This time, it will require the traditional 2/3 majority of the cardinals to elect a new pope, as Benedict changed the 1996 conclave rules issued by Pope John Paul II.
The wild speculation has begun as to who the successor to St. Peter will be. Some of the candidates being put forward by Time Magazine are for a black pope, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana, aged 64; a French Canadian Pope, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, aged 68; and an Italian Pope, Cardinal Angelo Scola, 71, currently Archbishop of Millan. One thing is for sure,
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (Daniel 4:17)
Whatever fish ends up wearing the fish hat, God is drawing the curtain on the kingdom of men to a close, and the fate of Rome is sealed. Fairly soon, people will not be holding their breath to watch white smoke ascend up the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, but they will be watching the smoke of the Vatican itself ascend as it is cremated in its entirety:
“… her plagues come in one day, Death, and mourning, and famine; And she shall be utterly burned with fire: For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, Shall bewail her, and lament for her, When they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, Saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.” (Revelation 18:8–10)
At this time, the kings of the earth won’t be mourning the resignation of the pope, they will be mourning the destruction of this wicked system altogether. The crimes of the inquisitions will be recompensed. Ratzinger, before becoming pope was head of the ‘Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition’, politically corrected in name to the ‘Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.’ The cry of the saints of ages gone by will be answered, those…
“…that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9–10)
This will be God’s righteous destruction and a cause of great rejoicing amongst the saints, and all those who have been resurrected after being slain by this wicked whore:
“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.” (Revelation 19:1–3)
Resignation of the Catholic God
The curious thing in the resignation of the Pope is the position the Pope holds in the Catholic world. The Catholic Church, and the world is at a loss as to what Ratzinger’s actions actually mean. The Economist reported:
Benedict is one of only a handful of popes ever to resign and the first for almost six centuries. Vatican spokesman, Father Lombardi, could not say what Benedict’s title would be, nor how Christ’s vicar on earth should be addressed in retirement…
The article went on to state:
Popes have always suffered to the end, notably Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II. In a comment the Vatican said had been taken out of context, the late pontiff’s secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, said: “one doesn’t come down from the cross.”
Time Magazine reported:
"The Pope must have felt very lonely in taking this decision," says a well-placed member of the Curia, the secretive bureaucracy that runs the Vatican. "After all, there is no one higher up than him to defer the choice to. Above him, there is only God." The papal announcement, delivered in Latin, stunned the church. Here was a Pope, in the ultimate exercise of free will, giving up his throne and his role as the Vicar of Christ.
This statement hints as the place the Pope holds in the Catholic Church. A look at Church history defines it more clearly. It was Pope Boniface who stated in 1302:
“Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Leo XIII when discussing the role of the Catholic Church and its relationship to those who had left it:
“…it is impossible to think of such a large portion of mankind deviating, as it were, from the right path, as they move away from Us, and not experience a sentiment of innermost grief, since We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” – Pope Leo XIII, Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae—The Reunion of Christendom (Rome: 1894).
He later stated:
“But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” – Pope Leo XIII, Sapientiae Christianae: On Christians as Citizens (January 10, 1890).
The high office to which the Pope is elevated is highlighted by the words of leaders in the Catholic Church over the ages. John Tetzel, the famous seller of indulgences, proceeds from which went to fund the building of St. Peter’s Basilica, during the time of Martin Luther had the following to say:
“The Lord our God no longer reigns; He has resigned all power to the Pope.” – John Tetzel, quoted in The History of Protestantism, Volume 1 p255-260.
Pope Pius X took this to a new level:
“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself hidden under the veil of the flesh. Does the Pope speak? It is Jesus Christ who speaks…” – Pope Pius X, The Catholique Nationale, July 13, 1895.
Based on the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, if the Pope is Jesus Christ “hidden under the flesh” he is also “God hidden under the flesh”.
This view of a man is completely blasphemous. However, it isn’t a surprise to Bible students because the scriptures speak of a system that would elevate its leader to this position:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (an Apostacy), and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (lawlessness); 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)
You couldn’t find a more fitting description for the way the Popes see themselves, “as God, sitting in the temple of God, showing themselves to be God”. The Apostle Paul is making reference to the Prophet Daniel who saw the same thing:
“And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women (reference to celibacy), nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces (worship of saints): and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain.” (Daniel 11:36–39)
While the world waits for the elevation of a new pope, who will be exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God will sit in the supposed temple of God, showing himself that he is God, we wait the true “chief shepherd to appear,” the one who will put an end to the proud blasphemous assertions of the papacy :
“… whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8–10)
In the next few weeks million will be massing in St. Peters to fawn over a decrepit old “man of sin” who has been elevated by a conclave of contaminated cardinals, drunk with the wine of Rome’s fornication and stained with the mark of the beast in their foreheads, living in “the habitation of devils, the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, who repent not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repent of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”
Smoke will shortly ascend up the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, but our anticipation should be for the “smoke of her burning to ascend”, for when this smoke clears, the kingdom of God will have been established, God will destroy “the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations” (Isaiah 25:7).
“In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, Which they made each one for himself to worship, To the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, And into the tops of the ragged rocks, For fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, When he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” (Isaiah 2:20–21)
Rome will fall as the scriptures tell us:
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Revelation 18:21)
Jerusalem will be elevated:
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, That the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, And shall be exalted above the hills; And all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths: For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2–3)
May God speed on the day! For the Bible in the News, this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.