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The Papal influence over "the kings of the earth and of the whole world"
UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon visits the Vatican
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April 12, 2013 - Audio, 15.75 MIN
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This week the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon made his way to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis. This gives us a glimpse of the power of the Papacy in our days, just as we would expect from Bible prophecy. This is Matt Davies joining you again for another Bible in the News.
A meeting of two minds that think alike.
Reports stated that "Once he saw the Pope", Mr Ki-moon" he bowed his head before greeting him"  and as he was greeted by the Pope he said, “Your Holiness, it's a great honor for me to have an audience with you.”

Just before journalists were ushered out, he was reported to have said, "The United Nations and the Holy See share common goals and ideals."

The Vatican press office referred to the UN Secretary of state as "His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon." It also stated that "The meeting, which follows in the tradition of audiences granted by Popes to the various Secretaries-General of the United Nations who have held that position over the years, seeks to express the appreciation that the Holy See has for that Organization’s central role in the preservation of peace in the world, in the promotion of the common good of humanity, and in the defence of fundamental human rights."

The press release continued:
"During the course of the cordial conversations, issues of mutual interest were discussed, in particular: situations of conflict and serious humanitarian emergency, especially in Syria and other places such as the Korean peninsula and the African continent where peace and stability are threatened. The problem of human trafficking was noted, in particular that of women, refugees, and migrants. The UN Secretary-General, who recently began his second term in this role, outlined his project for his second five-year mandate, which focuses, among other things, on conflict prevention, international solidarity, and equitable and sustainable economic development.
Pope Francis also recalled the Catholic Church’s contribution... in support of the entirety of human dignity and in promoting a Culture of Encounter that helps to realize the UN’s highest institutional goals."
Source: Vatican Press Office

Another news report stated:
"After their private meeting, Ban introduced to the pope, members of his entourage, which included his wife, his Argentine chief of staff and the U.N. undersecretary for disarmament.

Pope Francis went around the room giving each guest a small boxed rosary, which still carries the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI; a papal aide said they are awaiting the arrival of rosaries with Pope Francis' emblem.

Pope Francis spoke a few words of English during the meeting. Presenting a mosaic to Ban, the pope said, "This is for you." Then he immediately switched to Italian to describe it as a view of Rome.

Ban gave the pope a blue-bound tome containing the text of the United Nations Charter in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. He told the pope the charter reflects "the goals and objectives of human beings, which you also promote."
Source: National Catholic Reporter

The power of the papacy
These events show us the power of the Papacy. No other religious leader has so much influence in the modern world. Which other religious Imam or Church leader would have the UN's plans for the next 5 years outlined to them?

As Bible students we should expect to see reports like these, as the power of the Papacy grows, to fulfil its role as the influencer of nations in the coming world crisis - set out in Bible prophecy.

Since the Papacy lost its temporal, political power back in 1870 - when Garibaldi stripped it from him, it has had to make do with simply being a religious voice. This was emphasised by the Pope, who, in that same year of 1870, declared the doctrine of Papal infallibility for the first time.

As time is going on, the Papacy is becoming better and better at influencing those in the world who wield the political power of the day.

This is exactly as the Bible prophesies.

The beast and the false prophet
In Revelation chapter 19:20 we read:
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

So here we read of the symbolic destruction of two symbolic entities. One called "the false prophet" and one called "the beast".

The "beast" is a symbol used of political European empires which existed around the Mediterranean. Consider for example Daniel 7 which goes through 4 of these beast systems. It depicts the powers of Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece as various beast symbols. The last beast is called "the fourth beast" which relates to the Roman Empire and its influence exists up until Christ destroys it in verse 26 and 27.

In Revelation, this fourth beast is described in more detail - as four beast 'phases' but all of these phases denote the same beast system, just in different periods of existence down through time.

Rev 12 - Dragon Phase - Pagan Roman Empire
Rev 13:1-10 - Sea Beast Phase - The Christian Roman Empire 313AD-800AD
Rev 13:11-18 - East Beast phase - The Holy Roman Empire 800AD-1870AD
Rev 17 - Whore Riding Beast Phase - European Superstate - The Latter Days

So this beast in our day represents the political powers that sit on the beast territories, namely Europe.

In Revelation 19 we read of this powers destruction by Christ. 

The distinctive symbol of the false prophet
Notice what the false prophet is mentioned as doing - "the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast". Now this links back to another passage in Revelation and a characteristic of a former beast phase. In Revelation 13, speaking of the symbol of the earth beast  we read:

"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." Revelation 13:14

So within this beast phase which existed between 800AD-1870AD, an aspect of the political beast was religious in nature and it "wrought miracles before" the previous beast phase (the sea beast) and "deceived". The very things that the "false prophet" does in Revelation 19. So what does this tell us? It tells us that a change takes place amongst the political organisation of the beast power.  Clearly it’s telling us that the religious aspect of the earth beast becomes separated from the political aspect. It becomes so separate that a new symbol is required for it within Revelation, that of a "false prophet". In other words, the religious aspect is no longer directly a political power but only an influencing prophet - and a false one at that.

As we've mentioned - this separation of the Papacy from its political powers occurred in 1870 when Garibaldi took it from the Pope. Since that time the Papacy has only been a religious voice.

The Sixth Vial
We would like to direct our listeners to this month's Bible Magazine the general theme of which is "Gentile times in the Apocalypse". On page 30 we have exposited for us the time period we are living in, known as "the sixth vial" defined as being from 1820 - around the time when the decline of the Ottoman empire commenced. This is depicted in the Bible as the drying up of the river Euphrates.

The record of this sixth vial period is found in Revelation chapter 16:12-16. During this time we read that Christ returns to the earth to establish God's Kingdom in verse 15.

Also within this time period the symbol of the "false prophet" is first introduced to us.

The requirements of the prophecy dictate that during the period from the drying up of the Euphrates, around 1820, to our day today, a religious leader would appear who would be part of a system which could be traced directly back to having political power with the beast system. Clearly the only power existing today which fits this requirement is the Papacy - whose current status of being only a religious leader without any political power came about in 1870 within the time period of the sixth vial. Incidentally this is one reason why the false prophet symbol cannot be related to Islam (as some commentators suggest) because Islam appeared in the sixth century, not during the time period of the sixth vial.

This false prophet appears in our time and so we should be able to look at world affairs and see the growing influence of this symbolic power.

"go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world"
So what does this have to do with the recent news stories of the Pope meeting with the UN Secretary General? Well in verse 13 of Revelation 16 we read how John sees 'frog like spirits' come out of the mouth of the false prophet.  What is this a symbol of? Well, amongst other things, the frog in scripture is associated with a false hope of human  liberty (Exodus 8:1-2) and so we relate this to the call of humanism which seeks to liberate mankind from restrictions. We link it with the ideas reflected in the Vatican's press release of "the promotion of the common good of humanity, and in the defense of fundamental human rights."

What is the effect of the frog like spirits? Verse 14 records "For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

So just before Christ returns, the false prophet will be influential in calling kings to muster their armies and to fight. The false prophet will speak of false liberty and of the defence of human rights. He will have the ear of the "kings of the earth and of the whole world".

Therefore, as we live in the sixth vial period and as we await the coming of Messiah we can have confidence in Bible prophecy. We see a religious leader who is part of a religious system which used to wield direct political power in Europe - now separate and fulfilling the destiny which scripture has set out for him, that of an influencing false prophet. We see this as the Papacy whose Popes have been croaking its doctrine of “Chrisitian Humanism” and "Ecumenicism" louder and louder since it became a false prophet in 1870 - the most recent Pope Francis continuing the chorus. This influence surely will grow and grow until, when the time is right and all the pieces of the prophetic jigsaw puzzle are in place, this false prophet will indeed influence those nations who heed its croakings to gather for the great battle of Armageddon.

So let us continue to watch these signs of our times together and tune in next week for another Bible in the news God willing.

Bible in the News provides a weekly analysis of world politics and events
in the light of Bible prophecy — the Bible in the News!