Will Freedom Survive?

Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:1: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” What a warning to every Seventh-day Adventist, that, in the last days, there will be those who have heard and proclaimed the faith, have been convicted by it, but who will allow themselves to be seduced by fables and will accept the doctrines of devils.

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.” 2 Timothy 3:1–3. Can you imagine Christians despising those who are good? But we know that they are not true Christians, but only professors of truth, because verse 5 tells us that they have “a form of godliness” but they deny the power thereof. They profess to be servants of Christ, but actually they are “traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” 2 Timothy 3:4.

How are we commanded to deal with people like this? God says, “From such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:5. We are not to have any part with those who do not practice their profession. God’s warning is very plain. If we socialize with these sort of people, we will eventually become like them. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3, 4.

What a pitiful representation of those who claim to be a part of the company that believes the truth. And yet, these prophecies are fulfilled in our ears. I hear so many people today in churches of every color and stripe that state, “Why do we worry about doctrine?” That is the cry of the ecumenical movement. They say, “Let us just preach the love of Jesus. The greatest doctrine in Scripture is Jesus’ love.” Every doctrine is vital; for the center of each doctrine is the love of Jesus. How can we preach the Sabbath if we do not love the One who is the Lord of the Sabbath? How can we believe in the state of the dead if we do not follow the One who is the resurrection and the life? How can we study the sanctuary message and that doctrine if we do not believe in our High Priest and Mediator?

Christ is the center of every doctrine. If we destroy the doctrines of Scripture, then we have destroyed our knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Doctrines are essential because the doctrines lead us to the foot of the cross, to Jesus Christ. It is the devil who would destroy the doctrines of Scripture. That is the reason why it is stated here that “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” They will not endure sound doctrine.

We are living in extremely serious times and as Seventh-day Adventists, we need to be alert. Paul’s warning to the Thessalonians is very appropriate for us today: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:4, 5. The signs of the times give us startling proof that the day of Christ’s return is very near. Multiple events make it daily more clear that the closing scenes of earth’s history are upon us.

The Pope’s Letter

On July 6, 1998, Pope John Paul II issued an official apostolic letter entitled, “Dies Domini” (The Day of the Lord). This letter, which received a great deal of media publicity, was a call by the Pope for Catholics to come back to faithful Sunday keeping.

The Pope’s letter began with these words, “The Lord’s day—as Sunday was called from apostolic times . . . ” (This is the first falsehood of a continual line that is found in this letter.) As proof for this supposition, the Pope refers us to Revelation 1:10, the only reference to “the Lord’s day,” in the Bible. It is the Pope’s contention that the Lord’s day spoken of here is Sunday. But the Bible never says that. The text simply states, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day . . . ”

We are on a weak and faulty foundation when we rely on the mind of man to decide a matter which is not clear to us, for God has commanded us that the Bible is its own interpreter. This verse is interpreted clearly for us in Luke 6:5. “And He [Jesus] said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” Which day is the Lord’s day? It is plain and clear. The Son of man is Lord of the Sabbath day, not the first day of the week, the devil’s counterfeit, Sunday. The only day that God hallowed is confirmed also in Matthew 18 and Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.”

Clearly, without any possibility of dispute, the Scripture testifies that the Sabbath is the Lord’s day. But here, in the very initial words of this apostolic letter, the Pope states that the Lord’s day was called Sunday from apostolic times. If that were true, we should be able to search the Scripture and find the evidence there, because many of the apostles authored Scripture. All of them were written decades after the death of Jesus Christ. Instead we find that in the eight brief mentions that are made of the first day of the week, in the New Testament, not once is it called the Lord’s day! The Sabbath is mentioned sixty times, and never once was it referred to as “the former Sabbath that we kept,” or “the old Sabbath.” It is always used in the setting of a sacred day which was still being observed. The apostles knew nothing of Sunday being the Lord’s day.

The Psalmist and Sunday

If that were not enough, at the commencement of the second paragraph, the Pope makes a statement that any elementary school child, reared in a Christian home, would not be so foolish as to make. He wrote, “Rightly then, the Psalmist cry is applied to Sunday. ‘This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’ Psalm 118:24.”

Did the Psalmist ever conceive that the day on which he was rejoicing was Sunday? It never entered his mind. But here the Pope is saying, “Rightly, the Psalmist cry is applied to Sunday.” Wrongly it is applied to Sunday! It is astonishing to see that the Pope, who was considered a very fine Roman Catholic theologian before he became Pope, reaching to such lengths of elementary reasoning in an attempt to prove his point. And he was not working alone. This letter is a product of the best theological minds in the Vatican.

What a disgrace to see how the Pope has been applauded by Protestants around the world. The Anglicans said what a wonderful letter it was, and in England he received the same response. The South Pacific Division Record reported that one of the senior lecturers in theology at Avondale College commented on the “wonderful scholarship” of the Pope’s letter! There is only one reason I would give the Pope an “F” for his scholarship in this and that is because you cannot give him anything lower. There is no scholarship at all!

The Pope Explains Sunday Laws

There are other ominous matters in this apostolic letter which we need to give attention to. One such statement is: “Wherefore also in the particular circumstances of our times, Christians will naturally strive to insure that civil legislation respects their duty to keep Sunday holy.” What does he mean? Was he merely saying, “Every convicted Sunday keeper should have the right to follow his convictions?” If that were all that the Pope was saying, we would not contend with it. We believe that every man has the right of religious liberty. However, the Pope did not have religious liberty in mind at all.

Earlier on the same page, he tries to underestimate what happened in centuries past in the Roman Catholic Church. “When through the centuries she has made laws concerning Sunday rest, the church has had in mind above all the work of service and worship.” In other words, “Our laws were only made to give a time of rest for workers and families.” Then you ended at the stake if you did not obey! He forgets to mention the millions of people who lost their lives standing against the evil of the devil’s counterfeit “sabbath.”

He goes on to say, “In this matter, my predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, spoke of Sunday rest as a worker’s right, which the state must guarantee.” (Pope Leo XIII, was the Pope, at the end of the nineteenth century, who stated that it was diabolical doctrine to preach religious liberty.) From these statements it is clear—religious liberty is certainly not what the Pope has in mind.

Why an Apostolic Letter Now?

What was the atmosphere in which the Pope sent out this letter full of Biblical falsehoods and scholarship of the poorest type? Many people have been studying this letter, without seeing it in the context of his prior letter that was sent out on May 28, 1998. That letter was sent out in order to inject into the Roman Catholic Canon law some additional penance. Every one of these new laws deals with punishment! And that is the context in which this letter follows.

Those of us who are well acquainted with Revelation 13:15–17, know that the time is nigh when persecution will come to those who are faithful to the law of God, who desire to worship God in holiness on His holy day.

One of these new Canons, number 1436 states: “Whoever denies a truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith or who calls into doubt or who totally repudiates the Christian faith and does not retract after having been legitimately warned is to be punished as a heretic or an apostate with a major excommunication. A cleric moreover can be punished with other penalties not excluding these positions. In addition to these paces, whoever obstinately rejects the teaching that the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops exercising the authentic magisterium have set forth to be held definitively or who affirms what they have condemned as erroneous and does not retract after having been legitimately warned, is to be punished with an appropriate penalty.”

Why did the Roman Catholic Church have to create this new Canon law in May, 1998, just prior to the issuing of this apostolic letter on Sunday, which is calling for civil legislation in the matter of Sunday worship? It is time for us to WAKE UP! We are at the end of earth’s history. Prophecy is being fulfilled and everything is in place. In the United States everything is in place for the enactment of Sunday laws and penalties of a severe nature.

Another new Canon, which was enacted, was Canon 1371. It states: “The following are to be punished with a just penalty: [We know how much justice there was in the penalties meted out during the Dark Ages.] Apart from the case mentioned in Canon 1364, a person that teaches a doctrine condemned by the Roman Pontiff or by an ecumenical council or obstinately rejects the teachings mentioned in Canon 750 or in Canon 752 when warned by the apostolic See or by the ordinary, does not retract, a person who in any other way does not obey the lawful command or prohibition of the apostolic See or the ordinary or superior and after being warned persists in disobedience.”

Did you notice how vague was the designation of those who would be punished? Nowhere does it say, “Those who are faithful to the Catholic faith” or “members of the Roman Catholic Church.” It says only “whoever denies” or “a person” who does these things will receive these punishments. A person means any person. It has not defined that these laws and punishments are applicable to Roman Catholics and Roman Catholics alone.

And did you notice how vague the penalties were? Such words were used as: “punished as a heretic,” “punished with an appropriate penalty” and “punished with a just penalty.” There is no limit placed upon the punishments. However, we do not have to study very far into Catholic history to see what it means to be “punished as a heretic.” Just read the stories of the Waldenses or the Reformers, and you can clearly see what the Papacy calls “an appropriate penalty.” It is time to awake! These things are happening before our eyes and we need to know where we are.

A New View for Catholicism

In this letter, the Pope takes a new view on Sunday keeping that Catholicism has never taken before. In his first statement he asserted that Sunday has been known as the Lord’s day from apostolic times. The Roman Catholic Church has never before proclaimed that their sabbath, Sunday, commenced in apostolic times. That is an absolute denial of what, for For example read the Catechism of Catholic Doctrines, which has the primature of the Catholic Church and was edited by a Roman Catholic priest, Peter Greerman. There a question and answer dialogue is given about Sunday keeping.

“Question: What is the Sabbath day?

“Answer: Saturday is the Sabbath day.

“Question: Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?

“Answer: We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea 336 A.D., transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”

Another example from a different priest’s catechism asks the question, “Have you any other way of proving that the church has power to institute festivals?”

“Answer: Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her. Here are Bible believing Protestants who claim to base their religion on the Bible and the Bible alone, sola Scriptura, and yet they are following that which the Roman Catholic Church has instituted. That is the pagan sabbath of Sunday. Had not she had such power she could not have done that which all modern religionists agree with her, she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, a change for which there is no Scriptural authority.”

Over two and a half centuries passed, beyond apostolic time, before the introduction, by the Roman Catholic Church, of Sunday observance. But now the Pope is taking a new route. He is appealing to those beguiled Protestants who believe that Sunday was kept by the apostles. He wants to have the Protestants of America concur with the Sunday legislation.

Christ, Our Only Safety

Reader, do you see the signs that Jesus is coming very soon? Is it now time for us to ponder what Jesus did to save us from our sins? It is only as we contemplate that amazing mystery that we can possibly be drawn so close to Jesus in love, that we will stand in the mighty test.

I know of no passage of Scripture, in either the Old Testament or New Testament, that so wonderfully brings home to me what Jesus did in order that I might be saved, than Psalm 22. As I read this chapter, I am drawn to Christ in love because of the love that He first had for me. Because of this love, I want to keep His commandments and be prepared to meet Him. (John 14:15.)

These are Christ’s words found in Psalms 22:1–19: “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me? Why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? “O My God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

“Our fathers trusted in Thee: they trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.

“They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded.

“But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see Me laugh Me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord that He would deliver Him: let Him deliver Him, seeing He delighted in Him.

“But Thou art He that took Me out of the womb: Thou didst make Me hope when I was upon My mother’s breasts.

“I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother’s belly.

“Be not far from Me; for trouble is near: for there is none to help . . .

“I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels.

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to My jaws; and Thou hast brought Me into the dust of death.

“For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet.

“I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me.

“They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

“But be not far from Me, O Lord: O my strength, haste Thee to help Me.”

Each time I read that passage I feel so ashamed, for it was my sins that caused His suffering. My heart goes out in love to my Savior. I just so much want to meet Him face to face and thank Him for His matchless gift. I know that anything that I say in gratitude will be very, very inconsequential compared with what I ought to say, but maybe throughout eternity, I will be able to add to my gratitude as I express it to my Savior.

Jesus is coming soon! What we have just studied in these two apostolic letters and the alteration of course the Papacy is now taking, is evidence beyond dispute that everything is coming to the climax of Scripture. I pray, dear reader, that you will be ready, with your family, to meet our dear Savior when He comes.

The Rise of the Papacy

In the previous article it was shown that the Waldenses and their rule of faith go back at least to the fourth century, and their beliefs are derived from those of the apostles. Now we will trace the history of the church and see that there came a dividing of ways and two distinct paths are evident. One path leads into the wilderness church while the other brings us to the papacy which persecuted that church (Waldenses, Albigenses, et. al.).

“The spread of Christianity during the first three centuries was rapid and extensive. The main causes that contributed to this were the translation of the Scriptures into the languages of the Roman world, the fidelity and zeal of the preachers of the Gospel, and the heroic deaths of the martyrs. It was the success of Christianity that first set limits to its progress. It had received a terrible blow, it is true, under Diocletian. This, which was the most terrible of all the early persecutions, had, in the belief of the pagans, utterly exterminated the ‘Christian superstition.’ So far from this, it had but afforded the Gospel an opportunity of giving to the world a mightier proof of its divinity.” History of Protestantism, vol. 1, 3 by J. A. Wylie.


Great Beginnings in History


Throughout history there are evidences of great beginnings followed by the great majority giving into terrible apostasy. Great leaders under the guidance of God appeared, bringing a renewal of faith and obedience among God’s professed people only to be followed by the majority going back into gross wickedness. Examples are: Noah and his warning of a coming flood and call for repentance, see Patriarchs and Prophets, 95; Moses and his leading Israel out of Egypt toward the Promised Land, see Hebrews 3; and finally Christ and His call for Israel to repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand, see John 6. In all three of these experiences there came a time when the great majority turned away from truth into rebellion against the God of heaven. The Lord has always had a remnant to serve Him. His purposes have, and are, moving steadily forward, although, the great majority have many times gone into such deep apostasy that it appeared that the progress to truth was halted or even reversed.

Christ established the early church with His apostles. The purity of that church was maintained as long as they lived. However the beginnings of apostasy were evident in Paul’s day. “The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, ‘except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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, showing himself that he is God.’ And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that ‘the mystery of iniquity doth already work.’ 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7. Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.” The Great Controversy, 49.


Lamp of Truth Burns Dimly


“All through, from the fifth to the fifteenth century, the Lamp of Truth burned dimly in the sanctuary of Christendom. Its flame often sank low, and appeared about to expire, yet never did it wholly go out. God remembered His covenant with the light, and set bounds to the darkness. Not only had this heaven-kindled lamp its period of waxing and waning, like those luminaries that God has placed on high, but like them, too, it had its appointed circuit to accomplish. Now it was on the cities of Northern Italy that its light was seen to fall; and now its rays illumined the plains of southern France. Now it shone along the course of the Danube and the Moldau, or tinted the pale shores of England, or shed its glory upon the Scottish Hebrides. Now it was on the summits of the Alps that it was seen to burn, spreading a gracious morning on the mountain-tops, and giving promise of the sure approach of day. And then, anon, it would bury itself in the deep valleys of piedmont, and seek shelter from the furious tempests of persecution behind the great rocks and the eternal snows of the everlasting hills.” The History of Protestantism, 3.


Corruption Creeps In


Corruption made marked and rapid progress in the early church, beginning with the fourth century. The Bible was being taken away from the people and, as the true light, which was a sure guarantee of liberty, began to fade, the clergy exercised more and more authority over the church members. “Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, ‘the mystery of iniquity’ carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions.” The Great Controversy, 49. Canons of councils were set up in place of the infallible Rule of Faith. The clergy took upon themselves titles of dignity and extended their authority into the realm of temporal matters. Often the minister was asked to arbitrate in disputes between members of the church.


Patterning After The World


The next step was to pattern the church organization after that of the state. Under the emperor Constantine, in the fourth century, the empire was governed by four prefects, therefore the Christian world was divided up into four dioceses over which were four patriarchs, each one governing the whole clergy in his domain. Where there had been a brotherhood now there was a hierarchy. Now there was pomp and ceremony of rank and subordination of authority and office. Now there was greatness of rank in place of the fame of learning. With the desertion of the study of the Bible came the institution of rites and ceremonies. These were multiplied to such a degree that “Augustine complained that they were ‘less tolerable than the yoke of the Jews under the law.’ ” History of Protestantism, 4. Now the Bishops of Rome began to speak with authority and demand obedience from all the churches. “This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of the ‘man of sin’ foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power—a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.” The Great Controversy, 50. Because the spiritual condition of the Roman church was nearly extinct there was nothing to stem the tide of paganism into the church as the northern nations began to enter the empire. The fact that the high standards of true Christianity were nonexistent, the barbarians were accepted into the church just as they were. They were taught the rites and ceremonies of the apostate church and some of their pagan beliefs and practices were taken into the church. “The new tribes had changed their country, but not their superstitions.” History of Protestantism, 4.

The removal of the seat of the empire from Rome to Constantinople left a void in the city of Rome paving the way for the Bishop to take over the western seat of rule not only ecclesiastical but civil as well. By the fifth century when the western empire fell, the Bishop of Rome was substantially supreme over all bishops. By the year 606 the Roman Bishop’s pre-eminence was decreed in the imperial edict of Phocas. After the fall of the empire the Roman Bishop claimed to be the successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, and the Vicar of Christ, and finally the vicar of the Most High God.


Pope Becomes Supreme


“In the eighth century there came a moment of supreme peril to Rome. At almost one and the same time she was menaced by two dangers, which threatened to sweep her out of existence, but which in their issue, contributed to strengthen her dominion. On the west the victorious Saracens, having crossed the Pyrenees and overrun the south of France, were watering their steeds at the Loire, and threatening to descend upon Italy and plant the Crescent in the room of the Cross. On the north, the Lombards who, under Albion, had established themselves in Central Italy two centuries before—had burst the barrier of the Apennines, and were brandishing their swords at the gates of Rome. They were on the point of replacing Catholic orthodoxy with their creed of Arianism.” Ibid. 10,11. By 774 these two tribes were vanquished and the territory of these tribes were ceded to the pope.

At this point in time the Pope has reached two of his objectives; bishop of bishops which he received in the seventh century and temporal sovereignty in the eighth. The final goal to be reached was the title king of kings, that is, to be supreme over all kings of the earth. This Pope Innocent III realized in the thirteenth century. The papacy was now enjoying its noon, but the noon of the papacy was the midnight not only for Christendom but also for the world. “Popery had become the world’s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence or power.

“But ‘the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.’—J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b.1, Ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but

to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God’s law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.


People Destroyed For Lack Of Knowledge


“The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee . . . seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.’ ‘There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.’ Hosea 4:6, 1, 2. Such were the results of banishing the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 60. Having gained all the power that it sought, the Papacy began in a greater measure the persecutions of the followers of God’s Word in an attempt to eliminate all “heretics.” Now the leaders of the papal power could devote its energies to remove all those who would not bow to their wishes. In our perusal of this history we have been made painfully aware that “Righteousness exalteth a nation,” Proverbs 14:34, and this applies to people and institutions also. Someone has said “He who does not learn the lessons of history is bound to repeat it” and the Lord does not desire us to repeat the history of the papal church. Jesus said, “All ye are brethren.” Matthew 23:8. Unless we maintain our steadfast faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, we will fall into the same trap into which we have seen the papal church fall and repeat her history. May God help us to go forward in faith not looking back. In the next article we will delve into the activities of the papal power relating to the Waldenses and their development. The Papacy attempted to destroy this hated people and everything they stood for.


Current Events – Pope Benedict XVI Resigns-” Last Pope ” Prophecy

Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday, February 18, 2013, when he announced he would stand down, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on. At 85, he said he was too old, frail and tired to continue on as spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers worldwide. Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.

The soft-spoken German, who always maintained that he never wanted to be pope, was an uncompromising conservative on social and theological issues, fighting what he regarded as the increasing secularization of society.

It remains to be seen whether his successor will continue such battles or do more to bend with the times. A new leader could be elected as soon as Palm Sunday, on March 24, and be ready to take over by Easter a week later. www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/11; www.cnn.com/2013/02/25; www.breitbart.com/2013/02/11

“The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests.” The Great Controversy, 580.

“ Last Pope ” Prophecy

There’s a fresh wave of doomsday buzz over a purported 12th-century prophecy suggesting that the next pope will be the last pope before the end of the world. The effect of St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes” could well be longer-lasting—especially if the papal conclave goes with one of the favored candidates for Benedict XVI’s successor. Supposedly, Malachy experienced a vision of future popes during a trip to Rome in 1139, and wrote down a series of 112 cryptic phrases that described each pope in turn.

Doomsday fans have found ways to link each phrase to a corresponding pope through the centuries. That includes Benedict XVI, No. 111, is supposedly “glory of the olive.” Then there’s No. 112: “In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit … Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end.”

Whomever the conclave picks, there’ll surely be a way to connect him somehow with “Peter the Roman” — after all, isn’t every pope a successor to St. Peter, based in Rome?

“The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world; and those who have had great light and opportunities and have not improved them, will be the first to be left. They have grieved away the Spirit of God. The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near. Let our churches arise. Let the converting power of God be experienced in the heart of the individual members, and then we shall see the deep moving of the Spirit of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 11.

Report from Denver

It was during the summer of 1992 that I first learned that the Pope was coming to Denver, Colorado, in August of 1993. At the Printed Page Camp Meeting in September of 1992, Evan Sadler, Carey Rowlendson, Rick Breckenridge, and myself formed a task force to meet the challenge. After consulting with Elder John Osborne and others, we decided to use this occasion to spread the three angels’ messages.

Earlier, in Australia, Carey Rowlendson had printed a million copies of the Protestant newspaper. Though this publication had met with opposition by the conference office, resulting in a lawsuit, we immediately laid plans for a special printing of the paper for America, for distribution in anticipation of the papal visit.

In October of 1992, I met Danny Vierra for the first time. He shared with me his billboard evangelism project. We saw this as an important part of the Denver campaign and settled on the use of a sign that said: The Bible says…”The man of Sin shall be revealed.” II Thessalonians 2:3. A free copy of The Great Controversy was offered, and our telephone number was given.

We signed a contract with Gannett Outdoor, a large billboard company, to place twenty-one billboards in Denver, starting just ten days before the Pope ’s visit.

Because we needed a substantial amount of funds to place these boards, we circulated a fund-raising letter. The Oregon Conference, having obtained a letter, faxed a copy to the North American Division, as well as the Colorado conference and the Midwest Union. This resulted in an emergency meeting about ten days before the billboards, causing a furor in the media and resulting in myself, as well as other members of my staff, being interviewed on several talk shows and by the newspapers.

On August 2, our billboards were to go up. We had raised the necessary funds and sent a cashier’s check and the posters that were to be used to Gannett Outdoor. I called the Gannett sales person to have a copy of the location map faxed to us, and she asked me if I had heard from the Denver office. I indicated that I had not, and she inferred that they might e wanting to break their contract because of the furor caused by those opposing it. You can imagine our surprise and chagrin to discover that it was not the Catholics who mounted the opposition, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We have since had it confirmed that it was the combined pressure of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, government officials and the Catholics that led to Gannett’s breaking the contract.

We quickly called Root Outdoor in Fort Collins, Colorado. They agreed to post the billboards, and again, we sent out a cashier’s check, only to have them notify us the following day that they had changed their minds and would no longer post them.

At this point, we know that Satan did not want us in Denver. This only worked to strengthen our conviction that this was where God would have us go. We quickly contacted our printer, and in less than fort-eight hours, we had 50,000 copies of the Protestant printed. Several volunteers from the Troy Seventh-day Adventist Church helped us label them, and by the grace of God, we were able to mail them in time to coincide with the Pope ’s arrival.

While this was taking place, Bill Grimm, our street evangelist, David Musodole from Fiji, myself, and others, were converging on Denver with 100,000 tracts and several thousand copies of the Protestant.

We applied for, and received permission to pass out literature at Stapleton Airport, and this proved to be so effective that we intend to continue with an airport ministry in the future.

Some of us were able to gain an entrance to several of the papal events to videotape and photograph them. The young people, treated to what amounted a rock concert, were wildly enthusiastic as the pope mobile made a lap around Mile High Stadium. The procession of people, including high government officials that knelt before the pope ,  kissing his ring and hugging him, sickened us.

On the streets, Catholics had been deployed to stand right beside us offering “Catholic answers” including a tract that said Ellen White’s name adds up to 666. In all this, the Lord was glorified, however, as the attention drew the media and people who were interested in what we had to offer.

If we learned anything from our experience in Denver, it was that when we are undertaking anything of this nature, it is never wise to reveal your plans ahead of the event. On Friday, August 13, we brought to bear what had been our secret weapon—an airplane pulling a large banner on which it was stated: “pope =antichrist, free book 1-800-REFORMER.” This was on local news, and resulted in a number of phone calls, with requests for our free book, The Great Controversy.

On Sabbath we attended the Renaissance Seventh-day Adventist Church, and independent church, and were able to share what we had been doing. As a result, several members joined us in the afternoon when we went back to pass out literature. We were also joined by a former Catholic priest, as well as by other brothers and sisters who were in town on their own.

Even though the number of us who participated in this project was small, we felt the Lord’s blessing as we distributed thousands of tracts and copies of the Protestant newspaper. We were able to study the Bible with several people, some of whom accepted the Sabbath.

As we reviewed the week’s events, we were encouraged to set new goals. We ate planning to start a two week training school to train people in street evangelism. We urge you to prayerfully consider whether the Lord might not have you chare in this soul-winning experience. If you feel the Lord is calling you to receive more training in evangelism, contact our office by calling 1-800-REFORMER.

The End