By Pastor Hal Mayer
This is pastor Hal Mayer, bringing you vital messages to help you understand the times in which we live so you can prepare for the coming of Jesus.
In the late hours of Sabbath evening April 2, 2005, the 84 year old Pope John Paul II died in his bedroom in the Vatican of septic shock, after his kidneys and heart failed. The whole world was riveted to their televisions and internet to watch as events developed, awaiting word of the end of his 26 year reign – the third longest reign in history.
No other man in recent history has had more impact on the world than John Paul II. No other man in history has so dramatically elevated the Papacy to popularity and prestige. “Pope John Paul II was an enormously influential figure” said MSNBC news. How true! In fact, John Paul’s influence substantially changed the way individual people view the Catholic Church and the way other churches relate to it as well.
My message this month is on the life of John Paul II and his role in fulfilling prophecy and his impact on religious liberty. Before we begin, let us pray. Our Father in heaven, thank you for your love for each of us. Thank you for your presence in our lives. As we open our study today, may we see your hand in modern history. May we recognize your footsteps in the events that unfold in the world. Now speak to us through this message today I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Turn with me in your bibles to 2 Peter 1:19. The scripture says, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”
Brothers and sisters, there is nothing more certain than prophecy. When all is uncertain round about us, prophecy is like a beacon light from a light house that points us through the darkness and guides us through the storm. I believe that we are living in a most grand and awesome time. On every front we see the evidence that Jesus is coming soon. The life and impact of Pope John Paul II is closely linked to fulfilling prophecies that God has given to his people.
John Paul was a landmark Pope. He was the first non-Italian pope in 456 years. He was the most traveled pope in history, traversing more than 750,000 miles on 103 trips, visiting millions throughout the inhabited continents of the globe. He greatly revived and popularized the Roman Catholic image. He greatly strengthened church tradition, and effectively turbo-charged the ecumenical movement.
Born in Wadowice, Poland on May 18, 1920, Karol Jozef Woityla, (pronounced Voy-tee-wah) was an intelligent young man with a love of theater and polish literature which would serve him well during his pontificate. His father was an administrative officer in the polish army. In 1978, after serving the Roman Catholic Church as a bishop and a cardinal, the college of Cardinals chose him to lead the Roman Catholic Church, and the 110 acre Vatican City State. His role as head of the church would greatly increase the standing of the church in the world, and provide a strong basis for improved relations with non-Catholic churches and other religions.
His youth is a little shrouded in mystery, especially during world war II when it is reported on the Vatican website that he worked first as a stone cutter, and then for Solvay, which was a German chemical company, whose parent company was IG Farben, the makers of Zyklon B. Zyklon B was the chemical used in Auschwitz to murder millions of Jews. Some website suggest that he was a salesman, selling the chemical to the Nazi’s.
When the Nazis began exterminating poles, Karol Wojtyla entered the Roman catholic priesthood, apparently to escape arrest and perhaps death. At age 38 he was made Poland’s youngest bishop. He became Archbishop of Krakow at 43 years of age and a cardinal at age 47. When on October 16, 1978 he was elected pope at age 58, he was the youngest in more than a century and would reign for 26 years as Pontifex Maximus.
The scripture says that “all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3. While John Paul II doesn’t seem like a beast, the Bible uses this term to describe the office of the Pope and the institution of the Papacy over which he presides.
It is very important to realize that presidents , princes, dictators and dignitaries from around the world made regular visits to the papal see to address the Pope and seek his counsel.
I want to read to you from an enlightening article published by the Associated Press. The article reported that “Five American presidents in a row eagerly sought audiences with Pope John Paul II, even when the pontiff expressed strong opposition to some of their policies…” These presidents were Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. George W. Bush has beat a path to the Vatican three times during the life of John Paul II and once more at his funeral, as the first US president to attend a funeral mass for a pope.
John Paul II beat a path to the USA too. The Associated Press on April 3, 2005 gushed that he was the first pope to “visit the White House when Jimmy Carter warmly welcomed him in 1979, that kicked off a string of frequent and high-profile meetings between the pontiff and U.S. presidents.”
When current president George W. Bush visited the Pope in June of 2004, he gave the pontiff the presidential medal of freedom and called him “a devoted servant of God,” and “a hero for the ages.” The latter expression almost sounds like a title that one would give to Christ.
It has become very important for US presidents to be seen with the Pope, because he was the leader of tens of millions of followers in the United States alone and hundreds of millions of followers worldwide. This is also why president Bush is using US taxpayer dollars to attend his regal funeral. He wants to gain favor with Catholic voters in America. US Senators and other dignitaries, including two Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas, were part of the American delegation.
John Paul was eulogized and buried as if he were a king. Other dignitaries and political leaders who attended the funeral were: Islamic leaders from Iran, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Spain’s Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Metropolitan Kirill, the foreign minister for the Russian government, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, the presidents of many of the former soviet bloc states and Britain’s Prince Charles, who postponed his Friday wedding plans to come to Rome (imagine that) and lead the British delegation which includes Prime Minister Tony Blair. (That tells you something about Prince Charles doesn’t it?).
Vietnam and North Korea offered their condolences. The Philippines, Lebanon and even Cuba, along with many other nations declared three days of mourning. Arabs lowered their flags too, largely because he supported the Palestinians and opposed the US invasion of Iraq. Many Israelies mourned the Pope who visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Jews killed in the Nazi genocide, and prayed for forgiveness of Christian mistreatment of Jews at Jerusalem’s western wall.
This display of world leaders at attendance at a papal funeral was unprecedented. Never in history have so many been present at such an event. Yet it is a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. “And all the dwell upon the earth shall worship him…” Revelation 13:8. While this prophecy isn’t yet completely fulfilled, the world has come a long way toward it during the pontificate of John Paul II.
The Associated Press article also mentioned that the “magnetic appeal of John Paul II to U.S. presidents coincided with a lessening of anti-Catholic sentiment in the United States.” This seems significant because the Protestant churches have changed their opinion of the Vatican substantially during John Paul’s reign.
Listen to this statement from Great Controversy, page 571. “ It is not without reason that the claim has been put forth in Protestant countries that Catholicism differs less widely from Protestantism than in former times. There has been a change; but the change is not in the papacy. Catholicism indeed resembles much of the Protestantism that now exists, because Protestantism has so greatly degenerated since the days of the Reformers.” Why is there much less anti-Catholic sentiment among Protestants? It is because there is much less distance between Protestants and Catholics. I will continue reading. “As the Protestant churches have been seeking the favor of the world, false charity has blinded their eyes. They do not see but that it is right to believe good of all evil, and as the inevitable result they will finally believe evil of all good. Instead of standing in defense of the faith once delivered to the saints, they are now, as it were, apologizing to Rome for their uncharitable opinion of her, begging pardon for their bigotry.”
One of the key reasons why presidents seek out the Pope is to help them gain influence. The article stated; “Reagan’s decision in 1984 to send an ambassador to the Vatican helped him gain more influence over outspoken American Catholic bishops… Clinton’s overtures to the Pope… were part of a strategy ‘to recreate the old alliance between Catholics and the democratic party…’ “American presidents may have tried to reap domestic political mileage for their sessions with the Pope, but the Pope also used such meetings to advance the Catholic Church’s agenda.”
In other words, the political alliances helped both sides to boost their image and political power in the US as well as other parts of the world. His opposition to the US trade embargo with Cuba no doubt helped him gain much influence with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
I want you to notice that he shall be mighty, but not by his own power. The scripture says in Revelation 17:13 that the 10 kings of the earth “have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”
In other words, the governments of the world will eventually give their power and strength to the Papacy. The Papacy is destined to rule the world, and the Pope is the figurehead that guides the Papacy. Therefore the nations of the world will one day use their power to support the directions and dogmas of the Pope and the Papacy. In order to accomplish this, the Papacy has tgo become greatly respected and popular.
I want you to hear what various world leaders have said about John Paul II. This will give you a picture of the admiration with which he is held. This is from MSNBC News Services.
The Dalai Lama said; “His Holiness Pope John Paul II was a determined and deeply spiritual minded person for whom I had great respect and admiration. His experience in Poland, then a communist country, and my own difficulties with communists, gave us an immediate common ground.”
The Grand Mufti Ikrima Sabri, the leading Muslim cleric in Jerusalem said; “A loss for the world, the Catholic Church, peace and freedom-lovers.”
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said; “He was a holy champion of the Filipino family and of profound Christian values that make every one of us contemplate, everyday, what is just, moral and sacred in life,”.
President of Iran Mohammad Khatami said; “It is with extreme sadness that we hear of the passing of the leader of the world’s Catholics, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, who commanded the three paths of religious learning, philosophical thought and poetical and artistic creativity.”
U.S. President George W. Bush said;. “The Catholic Church has lost its shepherd. The world has lost a champion of human freedom and a good and faithful servant of God has been called home.
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Poland’s first non-Communist prime minister said; “The greatest and maybe the only authority is gone. An era is over forever but his wisdom will also last forever.”
Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said; “John Paul II was one of the greatest men of the last century. Perhaps the greatest.”
Former Polish President and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa said; “I think we shall keep discovering how much the Holy Father worked for us and struggled for us. He spoke to us through his illness and through his suffering served to the very end … (Without him) there would be no end of communism or at least much later and the end would have been bloody.”
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said; “Throughout a hard and often difficult life, he stood for social justice and on the side of the oppressed, whether as a young man facing the Nazi occupation in Poland or later in challenging the Communist regime. He never wavered, never flinched, in the struggle for what he thought was good and right.”
Cuban President Fidel Castro paid his “last respects to the only pontiff to visit Cuba and called Pope John Paul II an ‘indefatigable warrior’ who fought for peace and the world’s poor.”
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said;. “He influenced the peaceful integration of Europe during his pontificate in many ways. Time and again he acted with wisdom and respect for cultures and people’s traditions to develop solutions to humanity’s problems.
Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin said; “Unforgettable … were his visits to Quebec, as well as his participation in the World Youth Day in Toronto in July of 2002, which inspired hundreds of thousands of young people with the strength and clarity of his moral vision.”
U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said; “I recall very fondly my meetings with him, particularly sitting with him in his private quarters discussing the question of war and peace when we were thinking about what to do in Kosovo.” “He … (was) extremely concerned about the world we lived in, and like me, he also felt that in war, all are losers.”
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said; He was “a great religious figure who devoted his life to defending the values of peace, freedom, justice and equality for all races and religions, as well as our people’s right to independence.” —.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said; “Pope John Paul II not only visited Nigeria twice but stood by the country in its fight against dictatorship and injustice.”
President of Venezuela Hugo Chavez said; “For us Catholics, John Paul II will be remembered as a traveling pope … and we should also remember he preached world peace. When the United States invaded Iraq, for example, John Paul II said it was an illegal and immoral act.”
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said; “In speaking powerfully and eloquently for mercy and reconciliation to people divided by old hatreds and persecuted by abuse of power, the Holy Father was a beacon of light not just for Catholics, but for all people.”
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “By combating the falsehoods of communism and proclaiming the true dignity of the individual, his was the moral force behind victory in the Cold War.”
These are just a sampling of the adulation and praise that was heaped upon John Paul II during the days immediately following his death. But it speaks volumes concerning the impact he has made on world politics and the nations of the world. It seems that almost everybody listens to the Pope, and especially to John Paul II. “All the world wondered after the beast.”
But it is more than world political leaders that wondered after the Pope. American Evangelist Billy Graham said; “Pope John Paul II was unquestionably the most influential voice for morality and peace in the world during the last 100 years.”
Religious leaders greatly respected his efforts to bring the churches together. During his reign as pontiff, John Paul II improved church relations with Protestants, Muslim, Hindus, Orthodox, and especially Jews.
Let me first read a statement from the book Great Controversy. It is found on page 571. ”The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves.”
Perhaps the best known event in which John Paul II publicly tried to improve relations with Jews was in March of 2000 when at a ceremony in Rome, he openly pled for forgiveness for the wrongs done to Jews by the “sons and daughters of the church.” He also appeared to take personal responsibility for them and acknowledged that wrongs were done in the name of the church.
Some Jewish groups though, were not impressed when John Paul refused to let Jewish researchers have access to the Vatican archives to search the records concerning the church’s treatment of Jews. It seemed to them that the Pope wasn’t really serious about his apology. After all, if the church had nothing to hide, why hide this? But that should not surprise God’s remnant people for it was outlined in the prophetic statement that I read a few minutes ago.
I’ll read it again, ”the Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves.”
MSNBC reported that John Paul’s mea culpa was “not exactly admitting guilt. The sweeping apology is for human sins by the church’s sons and daughters, not by the church itself.” Roman Catholics believe and teach that the church is holy and cannot err. Only the human beings associated with the church actually sin. But where do Catholic people learn what attitude they should have toward Jews? That comes from Catholic teaching. To say that the church was not guilty, is hiding the cause of individual actions.
From Great Controversy page 564. “The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented?
These things should be a very clear matter for God’s true people to understand. But I’m afraid that it is getting fuzzy in many minds. We see very little written in the Adventist Review concerning religious liberty and the stunning and advances in the fulfillment of prophecy. Do we not believe it any more?
I would like to point out some of the ecumenical efforts of John Paul II. John Paul aggressively tried to break down barriers with other churches and other religions. He met with the Dalai Lama, the Orthodox Patriarchs Alexis II and Bartholomew, Billy Graham, Imams of Islam, Hindus, even voodoo chiefs, and leaders of many other religions of the world. He was active in courting all of them toward interfaith charity and ultimately unity.
The Anglican church is all but rejoined with Rome. Only a few things prevent full reunion for now. Southern Baptists in America have had 15-20 years of dialog with Rome as have American Lutherans. Even Seventh-day Adventists got involved and gave Pius VI a gold medallion with many Catholic symbols and types, commemorating his emphasis on religious liberty. Yes it is true. Bert Beverly Beach, on behalf of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, presented a gold medallion to Pope Paul VI. This shocking event was the first time an official representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church ever met with a pontiff of Rome. Though this happened in 1977, a little more than one year before the beginning of John Paul’s reign, yet it clearly indicates that the Seventh-day Adventist church has been involved in the ecumenical movement for some time. Under John Paul II, no doubt, ecumenical contacts and involvement have expanded. Sometime I will present a message on these unfortunate developments. The Seventh-day Adventist Church has also been involved as an observer in the World Council of Churches since around the time of Vatican II, and a participating member of the World Confessional Families [another ecumenical society] for already nine years at the time the medal was given.
Further the SDA church regularly invites representatives of the Vatican to attend the General Conference sessions as observers. Could there be more than observation going on? Reinder Bruinsma, the president of the Dutch SDA Union, criticizes historic SDA understandings of the Papacy in an article he wrote entitled “Adventists and Catholics, Prophetic Preview or Prejudice?” This Adventist leader claims that the Spirit of Prophecy and the Adventist understanding of the role of the Papacy is a nineteenth century concept that is outdated and based on prejudice. He further claims that the Roman Catholic church has changed (in spite of Ellen White’s comments), but the Adventist Church has not. This tragedy reveals how successful Rome has been in even persuading Seventh-day Adventists to mute their prophetic voice.
When you read Catholic teaching concerning religious liberty you will discover that they are not referring to everybody, but about religious liberty for Catholics.
All of this ecumenical development happens at a time when pope John Paul II reaffirmed many of the Catholic Church’s worst teachings, including the use of force against heretics, the Inquisition, Sunday observance and other kindred errors and practices. He also visited France in commemoration of the 1500th year anniversary of the baptism of the Catholic king Clovis, which gave the Papacy the opportunity to grow into a totalitarian system that ruled the world for 1260 years.
These events send a mixed signal about Rome’s real agenda. Those who understand prophecy and history, know that this is typical of Rome and should recognize that, contrary to Reinder Bruinsma’s comments, Rome hasn’t really changed, only the packaging and the rhetoric.
The impact of the late pope John Paul II on the churches and other religions has been enormous, even to the point where Protestants are now following her lead in venerating Mary. Time Magazine for March 21, 2005 published an article called “Hail Mary.” In the article, which is about the US Protestant movement toward the veneration of Mary, quite a number of churches are cited as having a much more Catholic understanding of the role of Mary in the life of Christ and in our own day.
The movement includes Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Anglicans, Baptists, Lutherans and evangelicals. “Lutheran theologian Carl Braaten, co-editor of an essay collection on what might be called Marian upgrade, claims, “We don’t have to go back to Catholicism. We can go back to our own roots and sources. It could be done without shocking the congregation. In other words, there is planned a great increase in discussion and attention on Mary coming to Protestant (or at least Lutheran) churches which may well lead ultimately to veneration and adoration in harmony with Roman Catholic teaching, that’s if history is any gage to the future.
I continue quoting from the Time article. “[Evangelical scholars] hope that calling Mary Mother of God reminds people that Jesus was God, refuting the modern tendency to see him as simply a wise man or teacher. Baptists… should no longer fear common cause with conservative Catholics” In other words, Mary is steadily becoming the rally point for the ecumenical movement in which Protestants and Catholics come together on their common beliefs. I should point out that calling Mary the Mother of God also elevates her role not so subtly in the minds of the people as well.
Let me read to you the statement from Great Controversy, page 445 that applies to this point. “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.”
John Paul has made the veneration Mary one of the key doctrinal principles of his pontificate. He believed that he was spared by Mary when he was attacked and almost assassinated. As Protestants retreat toward Rome, they are adopting more and more of her doctrines and have become increasingly comfortable with her teachings. This means that the Catholic Church can advance Mary to keep her ahead of the advancing Protestants. That way Protestants will keep moving forward toward Rome, always having the next step held out in front of them. John Paul, therefore, has greatly publicized Mary regularly through references to her in his discourses and encyclicals. Building on the doctrines of Mary’s Immaculate Conception established in 1854, and on the doctrine of the Assumpion (that’s Mary’s bodily assumption into heaven) established almost 100 years later in 1950, Pope John Paul II elevated Mary to be co-redemptrix with Christ. Protestants who have lost their distinctive spiritual bearings will naturally begin to adopt similar views as the Pope and the teachings of Rome concerning Mary as they move closer to unity. The doctrine of Mary is a powerful appeal to ecumenically-minded Christians. It is also a strong appeal to Islam because Muslim teaching includes a strong element of Mary as well.
But there was one more essential element in the life of John Paul II that should not escape us. Without this, the political movements and alliances, the ecumenical movement and its alliances would never have progressed as far as they did. John Paul’s personality electrified people. Here was a man that had the elements within himself to be successful in public relations. He had been an actor just like his friend Ronald Reagan. He knew how to stage a crowd. So the Vatican did not waste this asset, but managed it in such a way as to make Roman Catholicism immensely popular. Wherever he went, John Paul electrified the enormous crowds that came to see him. This popularity created the political opportunity for world leaders to forge relationships while gaining votes and credibility back home, and it created an opportunity for religious leaders to develop high profile contacts and communication with the Vatican without damaging their constituencies. All of this supported the two things the Bible predicts will come together at the end of time, the alliance of church and state which will one day enforce the national Sunday law and persecute God’s true people. Revelation 13:16 and 17 says the United States, works with the Papacy “to cause all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
But there may be those that are confused by all the talk about religious freedom. Many of you are no doubt aware that as American leaders speak more and more of democracy and freedom, the nation is being moved closer and closer to a dictatorship and the loss of those very freedoms, especially religious freedom. Well, it is the same with Rome. It is important to realize that Rome’s emphasis on peace is the political position that earns her respect, while she actually seeks to bring the world to her feet. “All the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:8. This will certainly happen. We have a more sure word of prophecy… therefore we can know for sure that Rome will be successful in this.
Here is another statement from Great Controversy page 563. “The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which had been so dearly purchased. They taught their children to abhor popery and held that to seek harmony with Rome would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed!”
“The defenders of the papacy declare that the church has been maligned, and the Protestant world are inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the church of today by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times and plead that the influence of modern civilization has changed her sentiments.” But it was Rome that was the cause of the ignorance and darkness by the suppression of the scriptures.
And from page 564 “The papal church will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution.”
The Pope’s recurring theme was peace, peace, peace, but the Bible says that “by peace he shall destroy many.” Daniel 8:25. What kind of destruction is mentioned here? This is the eternal destruction that the deceptive peace message accomplishes in the lives of millions. When world leaders give their support to the Pope by their adulation and public admiration, they are in essence causing many of their own citizens to lose their eternal life by their example.
Rome has not changed, except for its “packaging.” Rome is very adaptable to the circumstances of the times. Let me read that statement again from Great Controversy, page 571.
“The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Every principle of the papacy that existed in past ages exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity. She possesses the same pride and arrogant assumption that lorded it over kings and princes, and claimed the prerogatives of God. Her spirit is no less cruel and despotic now than when she crushed out human liberty and slew the saints of the Most High.”
It is interesting to note that this was penned toward the end of the 19th century. We are now at the beginning of the 21st century. Think how long this restructuring of the papal image has been going on! Think how far the ecumenical movement has progressed in the 120 years since this was written. Let me read on.
“The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent. “Faith ought not to be kept with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy” (Lenfant, volume 1, page 516), she declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ?”
There is one more important aspect of John Paul II life that I want to point out. John Paul conspired with Ronald Reagan to end European communism. Reagan and the Pope worked closely together in what was dubbed the “holy alliance” to destabilize the communist regime in John Paul’s homeland of Poland. Once the polish communist party collapsed politically, there was no way to prevent the collapse of the other communist states in the eastern European block. Richard Allen, Reagan’s National Security Adviser called it “one of the great secret alliances of all time, reported Time Magazine, February 24, 1992. John Paul’s familiarity with the politics of Poland made it an easy target. Being a Catholic country, it was relatively easy for intelligence to seep through the confessional window and to the Vatican. The US had already started a major defense buildup known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, dubbed “star wars,” which was aimed at making it too costly for the soviets to compete militarily with the US. This was vital and became key to destabilizing the entire soviet empire. The timing in history was right for this change because for prophecy to be fulfilled, the cold war had to end, but both Reagan and the Pope exploited the situation and achieved the effective demise of soviet communism, leaving only one super power politically and militarily, and one super power religiously.
Speaking of this Washington-Vatican Alliance, Time Magazine, February 24, 1992 reported that “What they had to do was let the natural forces already in place play this out and not get their fingerprints on it.” Yet Reagan and the Pope were intimately involved in the whole process, of neutralizing the Soviet Union and destabilizing Poland’s political engine, and ultimately ending the cold war.
Now turn to Daniel 8. Speaking of the Papacy, the Bible says in vs. 23-25; “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practice, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify [himself] in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”
My dear brothers and sisters, the Pope is dead, but his legacy lives on. The next pope will no doubt carry it further. We are fast approaching the last moments of earth’s history. While we have been sleeping, global changes have been taking place step by careful step. We are nearing the end of all things. John Paul II has done more than any other pope to move the world visibly toward the fulfillment of some of the Bible’s most important end-time prophecies. Are we any more ready for Jesus to come now than when his pontificate began? While we have been dealing with a lot of internal struggles with liberalism, ecumenism, false doctrine, and entertainment, much of which has no doubt been encouraged by the Vatican, the world has progressed quickly. The end of the pontificate of John Paul II gives us an important opportunity to reflect on our relationship to Christ and Present Truth, the truth for this time. May God help us become what He needs us to be in these last days.
Let us pray. Our Father in heaven, through Jesus we come to you to ask forgiveness for our neglect of our spiritual commitment. Forgive us for our lack of zeal and enthusiasm for your cause in these last days. As we look at the events in the world around us, we are astonished at what has taken place in the last 25 years. Please Lord, prepare us for our important responsibilities in these last days, to warn others of the coming of Antichrist and the Man of Sin according to Bible prophecy. Fill us with your Holy Spirit I pray, in Jesus’ name, Amen.