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A new pope had been elected to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics
What does the Bible reveal about this industrial scale, global, religious, corporation?
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March 16, 2013 - Audio, 15.25 MIN
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On Wednesday, white smoke belched from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, to announce that a new pope had been elected to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. His appointment as the first Francis, the first Jesuit, the first American and the first non-European pontiff in more than 1250 years, seems to have delighted the media and the Catholic faithful. But we ask: is God delighted? And what does the Bible reveal about this industrial scale, global, religious, corporation?
Hello, this is Nick Barnes, with this week’s Bible in the News.
The Lord Jesus instructed his followers to “call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven”, for, he explained “all ye are brethren” Mt 23:8-9
And he rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for their repetitious prayers, saying “for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking”, and gave his disciples a simple example prayer, that they might avoid such vain repetition Mt 6v7-14.
He also condemned the Jewish religious leaders for their pretentious, self-righteous, ways.  “All their works they do for to be seen of men:” he said, “they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments” Mt 23v5.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” he said “for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” Mat 23v14
And his requirements were simple, as we read in John 14v15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”.
So where was the simplicity of Christ in this week’s conclave?
·       It was a proceeding laden with superfluous pageantry and ritual, none of which had any basis in the commandments of Christ.
·       It was conducted by men with pretentious titles – cardinal means “the one of prime importance” or “the pivot” – and they chose a pope, or father, in direct contravention of Jesus’ commandment to call no man father.
·       Most of these church leaders live in palaces, and wear special, holier-than-thou, vestments costing tens of thousands and custom made jewellery of gold and precious stones.
·       The venue, the Sistine Chapel, is richly ornamented with frescoes of Michel Angelo, which were financed with funds extorted from the poor, with threats of torments in the fires of hell and/or purgatory, and promises of an early admission to heaven on the purchase of an indulgence.
And while the white smoke has now cleared, the murk that surrounds the Vatican Bank remains.  Its record, on money laundering and financing terrorism, is so poor that in January, the Italian Central Bank suspended all bank card payments in Vatican City, forcing cash-only transactions in museums and shops.  The reputation for a lack of integrity and transparency, and for connections with the organised crime, is a failing that has dogged the Vatican Bank for decades.  In June 1982, for example, Roberto Calvi, known as God’s Banker because of his close connections with the Vatican Bank, was found hanging from London’s Blackfriars Bridge, in a murder that was rich in the bizarre language of Italy’s underworld.
But even corruption in the Vatican Bank is a minor problem next to the flood of sexual abuse revelations in Francis’ inbox.  And while mass exposure is a fairly new phenomenon, the misconduct of its clergy extends over many centuries.
The Church in its doctrines, its principles and its practice is completely at odds with the principles set out by the Lord Jesus, and taught throughout the Bible.  Well might Jesus have said to them, as we read in Luke 6v46, “why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Or as we read in Mark 7v7 “in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.  For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…  And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.”
But even so, the Bible has much more specific and even more heinous charges to lay at the door of the papacy.  The Bible predicts the development of this religious system, charts its career of murder and mayhem, and makes clear its final, and most violent crime, that will result in the death of millions.
That story can be begun in Mat 7v15, where Jesus warned his disciples of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and in Acts 20v29-31, where the apostle Paul warned…
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
And these wolves, which initially appeared like sheep, were individuals, amongst the early believers, who taught “perverse things” and broke away, drawing others after them.  These were the Church Fathers, who departed from the faithful, and founded the Church.
And the story continues in Gal 1v6-8 where we read
6 ¶  I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
So within the community of believers in Galatia, there were those who perverted the gospel of Christ, of whom Paul says “let him be accursed”.
And when we reach the Epistle of Peter, God through the apostle warns, in 2Pet 2v1-3
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.  And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
So we are told that false teachers would be among them, who would bring “heresies” or false teachings that were “damnable” or would lead to their condemnation, that the true gospel, by them, would be brought into disrepute, and that they would do this to make “merchandise” of them.
In the Epistles of John, and only in the Epistles of John, we find the Antichrist.  In 1John 2v18-19
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
So we find a body, which in the original Greek is “the antichrist”.  It is a group of antichristians, who began as individual amongst the believers, but “went out from us” and set up on their own – the embryonic church.
This is confirmed when we move on to the warning given to the Thessalonians, in 2Thess 2, where we read, beginning at v1,
1 ¶  Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2  That ye be not 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.
3 ¶  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;
The Spirit through the apostle warns that before the Lord Jesus returns to the Earth, there must be a falling away or an apostasy first, and that a power, called the “the man of sin” would be revealed.
Verse 4 goes on to describe this “man of sin” as one…
4  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.
So this “man of sin” would (as the Pharaohs and the Caesars) make himself into a god, sitting as it were, in the temple of god.  However, although this system would grow from the first century body of believers, this “man of sin” would not immediately be revealed.  So we read in v6…
6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
So he was to be withholden, or restrained, for a while, so that he “might be revealed in his time”.  He was to be “let” (and note that in 17th century English “let” means “restrain”).  So he would be restrained until that restriction would be taken out of the way.
And then (v8) shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
And so the clues come together.
·       This man of sin was to develop as the early believers fell away from the truth of the gospel.
·       He was to be restrained for a while
·       And then revealed as a god sitting in the temple of god
·       And he would exist until Lord Jesus’ coming, when he, and his system, will be destroyed by Christ.
·       And also, if v9 to 12 is read, it is clear that this is a religious power, pedalling false teachings, which leads to the damnation of all those who are deluded, and believe these lies, because of their failure to love the truth.
Jesus said, in Mat 23v13,
“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.”
And this church, this papal system, has taken the cottage industry of the scribes and Pharisees, and developed it into a multi billion dollar, religious, business.  And they are not going in to the kingdom of God themselves, and are shutting it up to others also.  They have perverted the gospel of Christ and they have brought its truth into disrepute.
And ultimately the Church will induce many of the nations of the Earth to fight against Christ, when he returns, the Bible tells us, by persuading them that Jesus the king of Israel is the antichrist.  This refusal, to submit to Christ’s rule, will lead to the death of many, who otherwise would have survived, to live under the rule of the Lord Jesus.
We look forward to that subsequent age of peace, when the nations will live under a righteous ruler and the world will be filled with “the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea”
This has been Nick Barnes.  Join us again next week, God willing, at

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