A Russian Vatican Partership?
Vladimir Putin's visit to Pope Benedict
March 15, 2007 - Audio, 6.50 MIN
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Hello, and welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News--This is Paul Billington back with you after a short absence due to pressure of work here at the Bible Magazine headquarters. The news this week is amazing news to those who understand the prophetic picture that is given to us in the Bible. For many years--for well over a hundred years in fact--students of prophecy have been looking for a coming together of Russia and the Vatican. At one time this looked impossible but here we are this week talking about Vladimir Putin's visit to Pope Benedict at the Vatican in Rome.
You know, one writer published a book in 1973 in which he claimed to have discovered a real Biblical approach to the book of Revelation. He wrote:
"All present indications are that the political power of the Church of Rome is as good as finished. Fantasies about a political union between Rome and Communism are ventilated from time to time, but these lack even a vestige of Biblical support, and politically they certainly do not belong to the world of reality."
Put that against the comment by the BBC in the last few days, when they said:
"Since Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin sarcastically asked "How many divisions does the Pope have?" Russian leaders have come to realise the moral and "soft" political power that resides in the Vatican. It is a tribute to the continuing influence of a Church that claims more than a billion members that President Putin wishes to visit Pope Benedict."
Well, the fact is that the Vatican and Russia have been coming together since 1960 and the Second Vatican Council. This was going on during the Soviet era and also in post-Soviet times. This is because Russia is seeking the co-operation of the Vatican--they recognize the powerful influence of the Vatican even if some mistaken Bible students did not.
But some Bible readers got it absolutely right. For example, in writing an explanation of Daniel's prophecy as long ago as 1854 John Thomas said of Russia:
"As the head of a confederacy of the adherents of the Greek and Latin churches, it will be his policy to cause their priesthoods to be respected as useful co-operators in the subjection of Europe to his will."
That is what we are now seeing. Putin and the Pope met privately for 25 minutes, and speaking in German they discussed a range of issues including the Middle East. According to one report:
"'As far as we can judge, Russia and the Holy See have identical positions on many contemporary political problems, the preservation of moral values, globalization issues and inter-civilization dialogue,' Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Igor Vyzhanov told Interfax Tuesday, The Russian Orthodox Church's and the Roman Catholic Church's positions on these issues also coincide, he said."
This underlines something else that John Thomas wrote over 150 years ago. He wrote that when the leader of Russia moves to establish his power over Europe, he will not be hostile to the pope. "On the contrary, he will honour and acknowledge him, and be the enemy of the Holy Land." (Exposition of Daniel).
One of the key passages of Scripture that deals with this is Daniel 11:36-39. Verse 39 reads:
"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."
This "strange" god, or "foreign" god represents the papacy. So what we are seeing is a revival of the Christian Roman Empire which was founded by Constantine and had its base in the eastern capital of Constantinople. What we expect to see is a coming together of east and west as it existed in the days of the Christian Roman emperors. It will be a headship with Russia being the military power, and the Vatican with its pope being the spiritual head. Russia will share a degree of secular power with Germany as a leader of the west.
This development is of tremendous significance and will bring about the building up of Nebuchadnezzar's Image seen in Daniel chapter 2. The coming together of these elements will represent the last form of human power before Armageddon. It signals to us the imminent return of Christ to the earth when he will set up his kingdom in Israel.
Now is the time when we must get our lives in order--as we read it in Revelation 16:15,
"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
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