Benedict XVI Visits Turkey in Bid to revive Roman Christendom
Building the Image of Babylon!
Thursday, November 30, 2006
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This is The Bible in the News brought to you again this week by Paul Billington, speaking from Ontario, Canada! This week finds the pope visiting Turkey and trying to make peace with his Orthodox counterpart and with his Islamic critics. His visit is significant and is part of the Vatican’s policy to unite the whole of Europe under the dominant spiritual headship of Rome. Istanbul--formerly Constantinople--is the hub of early Christendom as it was organized by Constantine the Great and later ruled by Justinian and other Emperors. In those days it was a united Christian (or rather Catholic) Roman Empire, and it remained that way until the Great Schism of 1054. That is when Roman Catholics in the west split from Orthodox Christians in the east. That divided the Empire along religious lines.
The prophecy of Daniel chapter 2, where we read of a great metallic image that outlined world history in advance, indicated a division of the Roman Empire. As many Bible readers will know, Daniel’s prophecy foretold of four major empires: the golden head of Babylon, the silver of the Medes and Persians, the brazen Greeks, and the iron legs of Rome. Daniel 2:38-40 makes this clear enough.
The legs of iron indicate the two parts of the Roman Empire, and it is history itself that shows us that there was, so to speak, a western leg and an eastern leg. Also, in verse 41, when describing the feet and toes of the image, it says: "the kingdom shall be divided."
It was Diocletian who first divided the Roman Empire into so-called "prefectures"--but the main division of the empire was based upon the Greek culture of the eastern part, and the Latin in the west. It always was a Greek/Latin empire, and these two cultures are seen represented by the two legs, as well as by the two feet with their toes, a situation which describes the "toe" kingdoms of Europe which succeeded the Roman empire in both east and west.
It is this division of Europe that political and religious leaders want to repair. They want one united Europe--and they want it to be a Christian Europe, just as it was in the days of Constantine and Justinian. The current European Union with its 25 countries tells us how this political agenda is progressing. The pope’s visit to Turkey this week, and to ancient Constantinople with its Byzantine Church still standing--the "Hagia Sophia" or Church of the Holy Wisdom--is another attempt to bring together the Catholic and Orthodox religious elements of Europe.
Daniel's prophecy, while telling us of the division of the empire, also tells us "what shall be in the latter days" (verse 28). The great confederacy of the image is to stand as a complete whole, with all its historical elements brought together in one gigantic united states of Babylon--described in the book of Revelation as "Babylon the Great" (Rev. 17:5 and 18:2 etc.), because this is the image of the future seen by Nebuchadnezzar (see Daniel 2:29). It is the Kingdom of Babylon in its latter-day form, and will include all the elements of its history.
Daniel chapter 2 describes the time when the image is to be broken. Daniel 2:35 reads: "Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces TOGETHER..." So we understand that the various elements of the image are to be broken at the same time. This conclusion is confirmed by verses 44 and 45,
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
All these kingdoms--all these metallic parts--are to be broken by the stone-kingdom that God will set up. We know from Scripture that this Kingdom of God will be the restored kingdom of ISRAEL.
Now this brings before us another aspect of things--the Islamic element in the situation. Again, the pope’s visit to Turkey is significant. He wants to do a deal with the Islamic world.
Eastern Christendom which was centred in Constantinople fell to the Moslem Turks in 1453. The remnants of Orthodoxy fled into eastern Europe and to Russia. This was judgement from God upon a corrupt form of Christianity that had turned to idolatry and false worship, and it was foretold symbolically in Revelation 9:14-21. In order to revive the old Roman Empire on a Catholic/Christian basis, it is necessary to bring Turkey into the European arena once again. This means coming to some form of arrangement with Islam. That is what we see this German Benedict man trying to do. There is not much common ground to work on, but there is one area of agreement--and that is the elimination of the Jewish state from the Holy Land. This could even bring Iran into the fold (that is the Biblical Persia, the silver element of the image of Daniel 2). No one expects the Vatican to make a clear public statement on this issue of the Holy Land at this stage--but it will be said behind closed doors.
The time will come when this completed image-confederacy will challenge Israel's claim to their Land, and it will come against the mountains of Israel with the purpose of removing the Jews from there. But prophecy tells us that it will be broken to pieces by the stone kingdom which the God of heaven will set up.
So as we watch this pope embracing the Orthodox Patriarch, and praying with Moslems in a Turkish Mosque this week--let us remember the great image prophecy of Daniel chapter 2. The combined powers of Russia, Europe (east and west), of Iran and others, will seek to erase Israel from the map. That is what the Scriptures predict, and as we witness the coming together of these religious and political elements, we know that the time is very near when the God of heaven will intervene in the affairs of men. He will save his people Israel--Joel 3:2 says that He will “plead” for them; and Zechariah 14:5 says that He will go forth "and fight against those nations," and will thus redeem His people.
As we stand on the very threshold of these tremendous developments, our own personal position must be taken into account. Do we stand with Israel, or do we stand with the corrupt systems of Christendom and Islam? In Acts 28:20 the apostle Paul says that he stood for something called "the hope of Israel." This is the true Gospel with which we can be associated if we believe in it, and are baptized into the name of Jesus Christ. This requires our attention, for make no mistake, the Bible is in the News, and will continue to be until Christ comes.
Join us again next week when God willing, we shall bring you another edition.
Printed: Thursday, November 30, 2006
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