The Pope and the Patriarch
By Pastor Hal Mayer
Welcome to Keep the Faith Ministry. Thank you for joining me today as we study another important and compelling message for the last days. I am thankful that our heavenly Father loves us so much that He gave us prophecy to mark our way through to the kingdom. We need to know what is happening in the world around us, as Jesus himself told us to do in Mark 13:33 when He said we are to “watch and pray.”
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My friends, what a privilege it is to be a servant of the Most High God. Let us be faithful no matter what happens. As we begin today, let us bow our heads in prayer.
Our Father in Heaven, as we study today, we pray that You will send Your Holy Spirit to teach us what we need to know, and how to navigate the difficulties that are coming upon this world and upon Your people. We pray that You will reveal to us the compelling events that are unfolding around us. May Your presence be felt as we open Your word. And may its influence strengthen our characters and may we walk in newness of life in Christ, prepared for the end times, we pray. In Jesus name, amen.
Please open your Bibles with me if you can, to Revelation 13:3. “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”
My friends, this verse reads like the daily newspaper. It encapsulates some grand sweeping activity in just a few succinct words. The Papacy is moving very rapidly to consolidate her power over all nations and religions, not to mention business, finance, and other sectors of society. So much has happened in recent months that it is staggering.
The pope has huge charisma and is using his credibility to reach out to as many as he can. In his first-ever video message on his prayer intentions for 2016, which was released on January 7, he urgently called for unity of all religions. He stressed that they must unite on the things that they hold in common. In other words, eliminate any distinctive beliefs, like the Bible teaching about the dead, that “they know not anything,” Ecclesiastes 9:5. Or the Bible teaching concerning the seventh-day Sabbath, or the sanctuary and its teachings concerning the three angels’ messages. Are those things important? Of course they are! Those distinctive doctrines are the target of Rome. She does not want them taught and is bending every effort to make it very difficult or even impossible to teach them. Rome is working very hard to prepare people to reject them.
That’s why Pope Francis is always talking about bridges between people and groups of people. He knows that anyone who does this, will unite with Rome in due time. Those who hold to their key biblical beliefs will not unite and will ultimately be demonized as the most unloving and most uncooperative people on the planet. Get ready for it. It is coming, and coming soon.
If we downplay the protestant principles of our faith, what do we have left? We only have a watered-down message that says nothing worthwhile and in fact, teaches false doctrine.
The pope’s video centered on love, but did not define it. Everyone believes in love, even politicians, rock stars and footballers. But Jesus’ love is distinct. It has specific features and characteristics. If you take it into your life, it will change you and make you different than everybody else.
The pope’s kind of love cannot do this. And if we join together in that kind of love, we will miss out on true life-changing love, and end up with a watered-down, emaciated, and effeminate kind of empty, almost useless love.
The pope keeps talking about building bridges and uniting on common beliefs. Listen to this statement, my friends. It is from The Great Controversy, page 445. “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.”
There could never have been a more up-to-date statement than this one. The first part of that rather prophetic statement is in the process of being fulfilled right now under the leadership of Pope Francis. He is uniting the churches on the points they have in common. And the rest of this compelling statement will certainly follow.
We need to understand the papal appeal for unity. Unity of the churches and unity of the political order go hand in hand. Historically, whenever there was unity on the political side there was unity on the religious side. In the early centuries, the church of the East and the church of the West were united around the bishop of Rome. The empire was united politically under the Roman Emperor. But in the 11th century, that all changed, and there was a huge schism that divided the Eastern Byzantine church, which became known as the Orthodox Catholic Church from the Western Latin Church otherwise known as the Roman Catholic Church. A split in the political empire also accompanied this ecclesiastical split. These two empires have been at odds for nearly 1000 years. Note that religion was intimately involved with the state, which is a key principle of the Roman Catholic Church. Russia, which was part of the Eastern Empire, is still separate from the West both politically and religiously. Likewise, the Russian Orthodox Church has been alienated from the Roman Catholic Church all that time as well.
In the Western empire, we see this again during medieval times. Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, united Europe politically and religiously around the Roman Catholic Church. I might add that they were economically and militarily united as well.
When the church was united, the nations were politically united. But the devastating part was that when the churches were united, the state, on behalf of the church, would persecute the true followers of Jesus who kept His commandments, especially the seventh day Sabbath.
For instance, when Clovis united the empire under the emperor Justinian, who in turn, elevated the Roman Bishop as the head of all the churches of the empire, he also handed temporal power to the Bishop of Rome as well. Almost immediately, persecution began of all those who would not submit to the Roman bishop.
The papal plan for unity of the churches is mighty significant. The deadly wound has two aspects, political and religious. The Reformation caused the religious aspect of the wound while the French Revolution caused the political aspect of the wound. Pope Francis knows that there will never be political harmony unless the churches and religions unite. The one leads to the other. If Rome is ever going to be queen of the earth, she must heal the religious deadly wound. That’s why Protestantism is her primary ecumenical target. But that’s not all.
Rome’s underlying spirit hasn’t changed. She still teaches that those who refuse to unite with Rome are heretics. She doesn’t use that language. But she says it nevertheless.
For instance, listen to the recent words of Pope Francis. “Christians who say ‘it’s always been done that way,’ and stop there have hearts closed to the surprises of the Holy Spirit. They are idolaters and rebels will never arrive at the fullness of the truth.”
“But there is another reality,” the pope added. “There is the Holy Spirit who leads us into the full truth. And for this reason he needs an open heart, a heart that will not stubbornly remain in the sin of idolatry of oneself, imagining that my own opinion is more important than the surprise of the Holy Spirit.”
In other words, those who believe that their opinion, or view point, or scriptural understanding of truth, is more important than how the Holy Spirit is going to bring the churches together in unity, and hold the Bible view firmly, will be considered to be obstinate, rebellious and idolaters. Ultimately, though the pope didn’t say it, these will not be tolerated. He is laying the foundation for what will come later.
When the Papacy has united all the churches, she will have achieved a unity of the nations in the service of the church as well. Think about it for a minute. Globalization is bringing the nations into a new world order. Rome is already moving to sit atop that new world order and is guiding the United Nations in this process. She gained a huge victory along that line with her full throttle orchestration of the Climate agreement in Paris. Because of her success there, she is now looked upon as the great global dealmaker by most countries of the world.
Rome will sit as queen of the earth, as it says in Revelation 18:7. And when she does, she will then turn the weapons of her warfare upon the true followers of Jesus once again. Mark my words. There will be Sunday worship laws. There will be restrictions of your liberties. And there will be oppression, once again, of all those that refuse to unite with the ecumenical churches.
This world is full of crises. Everywhere you turn there is a crises. Every day seems to bring news of a new crisis. If it isn’t the economic crisis, it is the Zika crisis. If it isn’t the migration crisis, it is a military crisis. If it isn’t an ISIS crisis, it is a climate crisis. People are terrified of the future. Jesus said that in the last days, men’s hearts would fail them for fear. And when fear grips the nations of the world, it gives urgency to unite under the pope who will claim to be able to solve the world’s problems.
On January 12, 2016 Pope Francis addressed the Vatican’s diplomatic corp., which included representatives from all the nations with which the Holy See has diplomatic relations. And now days it’s the vast majority of them. The pope said, “Every authentic practice of religion cannot fail to promote peace.”
What did he mean by that? The word “authentic” means true or real. In other words, true religion brings peace. While that is true, the truth is that it brings peace with God through the scriptures, not geopolitical, or inter-religious peace. Instead, true faith brings enmity and war with the devil and anyone on the planet that is allied with him.
All the “papal speak” about peace does not call for a change of heart. He works for peace by downplaying Bible teaching and uniting on false doctrines and principles. He is working to make it appear that the Vatican is pious and genuine in its appeals for peace. But especially does the pope want you to lay aside any doctrine that is different from others, even if it is directly from the Bible.
The pope is saying that those who refuse to unite with Rome and downplay their distinctive doctrines will not contribute to the peace that this world really needs. They are not true Christians and their religion is a false religion.
Listen to what he said. “…Peaceful co-existence between the followers of different religions is possible when religious freedom is recognized and practical cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, in a spirit of respect for the cultural identity of all parties, is effectively guaranteed.”
That’s a mouthful. But if he would have said that peaceful co-existence between the true followers of Christ, we could agree with him. But that’s not what he said. He is saying that so long as we work for the common good, and give everyone religious elbowroom, we can have peaceful co-existence by laying down any particular belief that conflicts with anyone else. But co-existence is not what Christ calls for in the last days. Jesus bids us to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). And he said in Matthew 10:34, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”
Do you see what Francis is doing? He is calling for the world to unite under Rome. Then he says that those who do not are not true Christians and cannot coexist with others peacefully, even if they are non-violent. And the ultimate conclusion of this thinking is that they will have to be eliminated from society because of their obstinacy and rebellion.
Of course his words sound good, but it is only window dressing. He is pursuing a line of reasoning that will place the Papacy and the pope on top of the political and religious world at the same time. He is aiming to have unity in both spheres under his authority. To finally heal the deadly wound. But he is offering a global solution that will never work.
The reason it won’t work is because Rome is leading all the churches and the kings of the earth (which are the political leaders), and the merchants of the earth (which are the economic leaders), into an immoral relationship that will only draw the nations away from God’s holy law. The Bible calls this fornication. This will lead them to conflicts and wars of all kinds, some of them, at least, orchestrated by the Vatican itself. This is satanic, for the enemy hates God’s law. Uniting with Rome will only create more problems, especially problems for the nations in terms of natural disasters, wars and rumors of wars, and civil conflict.
The scripture says in 2 Corinthians 6:14, “what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Rome does not urge the nations to obey God’s Ten Commandments. She urges them to follow her set of commandments that is quite different from those that God actually gave. It is this separation from God’s law that removes God’s hand of blessing and permits the devil to bring trouble and disaster upon the nations of the world.
Pope Francis is working diligently to resolve differences between the Papacy and the many religious bodies of the world. He has been working to bring the Pentecostals and evangelicals to Rome. No one can forget the work of the late Tony Palmer in bringing Pope Francis’ video message to Kenneth Copeland and his fellow Pentecostal ministers in Texas, and how they later followed it up with a meeting with Pope Francis in Rome.
Many people also know of the work of the Pope Benedict XVI in bringing the Anglican churches back to Rome through an ordinariate specifically designed for them, so that they can keep their Anglican rites and married clergy, while at the same time being under the pope’s authority. Giving conservative Anglican congregations an ordinariate of their own, was a surprise coup d’état over the Anglican Church.
But the pope has now taken a very important step to heal a wound that has been festering for nearly a millennia. Pope Francis met with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in February for the first time in history. The meeting had been worked on secretly between the Vatican and the Patriarchate for over two years. Finally, they agreed to meet in Cuba, away from the source of the conflicts and schisms of Europe.
You need to understand that the Catholic West and the Orthodox East (which includes the Russian Orthodox Church) split all the way back in 1054 over the authority of the Bible vs. the authority of the pope, and over the celebration of Easter, or Sunday observance. Easter is the great symbol of Sunday observance. The Eastern Church was unhappy with papal intrigues and power plays, and its rather overt effort to control the Eastern Church. The split came when they could not agree on several matters relating to Roman Catholic authority in relation to the pagan and unbiblical Easter Sunday.
Easter, like most Catholic holidays has its roots in paganism. Through the Catholic Church, the pagan symbols and meanings have been converted into Christian symbols and meanings. And there is much that could be said about Easter, Christmas, the veneration of saints, and many other aspects of the Catholic calendar that would show you its pagan sources. But suffice it to say, for now, that Rome and the Orthodox East split over papal authority in relation to Easter.
But that’s not all. Think about the political differences between East and West. Ever since 1054, there has been political tension between the Russian-dominated Eastern bloc and the European powers, and later the American-dominated Western powers. Consequently, there was little common ground between the Russian Orthodox East and the Roman Catholic West. They have different Bibles, different religious symbols, and different ecclesiastical structures.
In most people’s minds, the Catholic Church was allied with the West. It is a Western religion. There was little that could be accomplished by having meetings between the two churches. Also, the ecumenical movement didn’t even begin until the mid-1960s. During the cold war, from the 1960s through the 1980s, as the ecumenical movement was rising, the geopolitical tension between East and West also kept the religious separation virtually impregnable. The Eastern Orthodox Russians and the Western Roman Catholics had little common ground for ecumenical collaboration.
Then in 1989, the cold war ended. But tensions were still strong. The Eastern Orthodox Church accused the Vatican of trying to convert Russians to Catholicism after the breakup of the Soviet Union. This added to the tension between the two churches.
But, it happens that in the Middle East, both churches have their adherents. The powerful persecution of ISIS against Christians has raised the concern of both the pope and the patriarch. And because of this, the pope knew that it was an opportune time to find common ground with his Russian counterpart. He made concerted efforts to find a way to meet with Patriarch Kirill in order to talk about ways to stem the flow of Christian blood. Remember he is on a mission to bring the churches together, and the Orthodox church, of which the Russian Orthodox Church is a part, is the second largest church in the world behind the Roman Catholic Church. It would be essential to heal their wounds for Rome to ascend to become queen of the world.
Pope Francis has argued that Christians should unite together to protect their persecuted brethren, calling it an “ecumenism of blood.” Patriarch Kirill was open to this argument and even said that it was necessary for the two sides to meet in order to find a solution to help persecuted Christians. In other words, like in so many other areas, Muslim extremists have been the catalyst in bringing on the fulfillment of prophecy. The ISIS persecutions have become the underlying reason for the rapprochement of the Eastern and Western churches.
Pope Francis was so eager to meet with Patriarch Kirill, that he told him in 2014, “I’ll go wherever you want. You call me and I’ll go.” Apparently, the patriarch had difficulty envisioning a meeting at the Vatican, or in Western Europe because of past and current tensions. Since he was going to visit Cuba on official business in 2016, they agreed to meet privately in the airport in Havana.
Apparently, Cuba is neutral ground to them. Cuba, they said, is also the crossroads between North and South, East and West. “By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the ‘Old World,’” their joint statement said, “we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us.”
Cuba has been a geopolitical stronghold aligned with Russia for more than five decades, even though it is in the West just 90 miles off the American Florida coastline. Yet Cuba has a strong Roman Catholic population. Though it has close ties with the Russian East, it also has new and flourishing ties with the American West. It was Pope Francis who secretly orchestrated the rapprochement between Cuba and the United States. Meeting in Cuba was a convenient way for the pope and the patriarch to avoid the tensions that would surround a meeting in Rome or Europe and symbolically show that East and West could collaborate when circumstances demand it. When there is a solution to the political alienation there is then the possibility of solving religious alienation. Remember the two go hand in hand. That is what the meeting in Cuba demonstrated.
The Eastern patriarch is known as the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Russia. The title clearly defines his territory. No one, not even the Catholic Church can encroach upon that territory, at least not while the separation continues.
After a two-hour discussion, which they described as “brotherly,” they signed a wide-ranging joint declaration that discussed Christianity in Europe, the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and the need to resolve the division between the two churches. The two men concluded their joint declaration by invoking the Virgin Mary, saying they needed her mercy to heal the wounds and point the way forward in uniting the two churches.
The joint declaration refers to their face-to-face meeting as a means of repairing long-standing conflicts and wounds between the two churches, and calls on the faithful of both communions to respect each other and seek to not compete.
But the meeting was not just a religious meeting. It was also a political meeting. Many of the points in the joint declaration are strongly political. It affirmed the Christian roots of Europe. It addressed the family and marriage, condemning alternative forms of cohabitation and the perversion of marriage. It urges families to raise their children “Christian.” It also condemned abortion (without using the term). It addressed migration and calls on nations to be welcoming of migrants seeking a better life. It discussed religious freedom and the forces that undermine it, mentioning in particular western societies, where aggressive secularism has arisen and has created problems for Christians trying to live their convictions in the public square. All of these and more are strong political issues.
As you can see, in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox mindset, religion and politics always go together. To separate church and state would undermine their common uniting principle that the church is the moral guide of the state. The American constitution is, therefore, an anathema to them. And that explains why Rome has always tried to undermine the U.S. Constitution and other western constitutions. She seeks to replace them with her own moral code.
The separation of church and state has made it difficult for the Papacy to establish ecumenical unity in western nations. And it has taken a very long time. The separation of church and state overthrows the power of the Catholic Church in any nation that adopts it.
Perhaps one of the most significant points in the joint declaration is that it also condemns proselytism. Recognizing the joint mission of Christians to proclaim the gospel of Christ, the declaration says, “This mission entails mutual respect for members of the Christian communities and excludes any form of proselytism… “Consequently, it cannot be accepted that disloyal means be used to incite believers to pass from one Church to another, denying them their religious freedom and their traditions.
As you can see my friends, soul-winning and conversions from one Christian faith to another is not appropriate in the age of ecumenical “political correctness.” In other words, if you tell people that they are breaking God’s law by breaking the Sabbath and keeping Sunday, you are depriving them of their religious freedom and their traditions. If you tell people that the Bible is the only standard of faith, you are depriving them of their religious freedom and their traditions. Obviously, Rome’s definition of religious freedom is different from yours and mine. To Rome, religious freedom means that church members and pastors don’t contend for the faith of someone that already acknowledges that he is a Christian. Yet the pope freely contends with the faith of the other churches, ethnic groups, politicians, etc. Popes have worked to bring conservative Anglican churches into Rome, and have contended for Orthodox members as well.
And what of “disloyal means?” Any use of tactics or practices that would undermine the ecumenical movement, which Rome controls, would be considered “disloyal means.” Home Bible studies for instance, in which the Bible topics studied, address the corruptions of Rome (such as the three angels’ message of Revelation 14) would be considered to be using “disloyal means.”
The lengthy meeting in Havana comes as no surprise in light of Pope Francis’ concentrated efforts to bring churches together in full, visible and sacramental communion. It gives Pope Francis one more diplomatic victory over long-standing disagreements and conflicts. Keep in mind he has achieved much in the first few years of his pontificate. Firstly, he engineered the rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. Secondly, he has brought many Christian groups to Rome in ecumenical alliances including Pentecostals, evangelicals, Jews and even the Waldenses, among others. Thirdly, He has orchestrated a global climate deal that has never been achieved before. And now, he has met with Patriarch Kirill for the first time after nearly 1000 years of division in an attempt to restore their unity.
Now think about this my friends. If the Eastern Orthodox church split from Rome in the 11th century, and the Lutheran reformation split from the Catholic Church in the 16th century, creating a second schism and a third part to Christianity, you would expect then that efforts would be made to reconcile the Lutheran Church and the Catholic Church, right?
Well, that is exactly what is happening. The pope is planning to be a guest of the Lutheran church in Lund, Sweden on October 31, 2016 for an ecumenical commemoration service of the start of the Lutheran Reformation. It will be a highly symbolic act of reconciliation and unity. And it will take place exactly one year before the 500th anniversary of the start of Martin Luther’s reformation.
“The surprise move will see the head of the world’s Catholics worship alongside the heirs to a religious tradition founded in opposition to the Church of Rome and which once regarded the pope as the anti-Christ,” said news sources.
In another joint declaration between THESE two churches, they said “that the event would highlight the solid ecumenical developments between Catholics and Lutherans.”
There are a number of Orthodox churches. The five largest ones are based in Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem and Moscow, in order of their precedence. Pope Francis had previously met with the first four. Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople (or Istanbul), the so-called first among equals of Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church in 2013. But the Russian patriarch has issues with the Catholic Church that the others do not have. Not surprisingly, these issues have both political AND ecclesiastical roots. And now, Pope Francis has just met with the last and final patriarch. This brings the whole orthodox communion, the second largest church in the world into fraternal and ecumenical dialogue with Rome. Do you think that soon the wound between them will be healed?
These churches were once united with Rome. But their efforts to suppress and persecute God’s people were thwarted by their internal divisions, which no doubt, the angels of heaven used to limit their power. What do you think will happen when these unite once again? Let me read it to you in Revelation 13:7. After the deadly wound was healed (Revelation 13:3), the Bible says that “it was given unto him, to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
In other words, my friends, we are watching very crucial developments in our own time that are taking us right into the persecution of the saints and the close of human probation. If these churches unite; if the Eastern Orthodox churches unite with the Church of Rome; if the formerly Protestant churches unite with Rome, it will lead them naturally to persecute God’s people. Pope Francis’ meeting with Patriarch Kirill is a warning to faithful followers of Jesus is Russia. But it is also a warning to faithful followers of Jesus all around the world. Watch out. Better yet, watch and pray earnestly, that the Holy Spirit will give you power to stand with the lamb and overcome the beast and his image, and also suffer with the people of God. The Bible says in Revelation 12:11 that they “loved not their lives unto the death.” That tells me that there is going to be some serious stuff happening in the near future. Don’t go on thinking that you have all kinds of time to get ready. These things are happening right before our eyes.
Pope Francis believes he has but a short time to accomplish all that he wants to do. He is a masterful Jesuit that has captured the emotions of the world. But he is just an instrument of a higher principality and power. The Bible says in Revelation 12:12 “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
Friends, it is the dragon that is using the Roman Church to prepare for persecution of the saints. It is the dragon that is orchestrating the unity of the nations and the unity of the churches.
Revelation 12:13 says he persecuted the pure woman. That can only happen when the churches and nations unite with the Vatican against God’s people. This includes political leaders, economic leaders, and religious leaders. They will work together to prevent you from sharing your faith. They will work together to prevent you from following your convictions.
What does it mean in Revelation 13:7 when it says that the beast will “overcome” the saints? Friends, this is talking about removing the liberties that you once cherished. It is talking about taking away your freedom to worship according to the Bible on God’s holy seventh-day Sabbath. It is talking about the Sunday laws that will come upon the whole world when it unitedly worships the beast and the dragon.
The coming together of nations in healing their political animosity to Rome is happening rapidly. Political leaders collaborate with Rome to get power. Economic leaders collaborate with Rome to get rich. And religious leaders unite with Rome to get influence. The Bible calls it fornication. The power once held in abhorrence, they now embrace.
Revelation 13:9 says, “If any man have an ear, let him hear.”
But friends, there is more. The pope is also working to arrange a diabolical mechanism completely opposed to the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the right of freedom of speech around the world. It is freedom of speech that gives you the right to proclaim your beliefs to anyone and everyone. Rome wants to curb that.
During the month of January, Pope Francis had meetings with certain people that need to be understood clearly. First he met with Eric Schmidt in a Vatican private audience in January. Schmidt is the CEO of Alphabet, the parent company of Google. Pontiffs rarely give private audiences to top business chiefs. They don’t want to appear as if they are endorsing their products. However, there are obviously larger issues that the two men needed to discuss.
The Vatican will not discuss the mysterious content of their 15-minute meeting, but we have some very big clues concerning their plans. Eric Schmidt was reported to say, as he bid farewell to the pope, “I want to work with you to make these points… We will make it happen.”
Obviously, they discussed ways to make something happen that is very important to the Vatican. The Vatican obviously requested something of Schmidt. And Schmidt granted the request. Do you think that it might have anything to do with the control of the Internet?
One week later the pope granted a private audience with Tim Cook, the openly gay leader of Apple. Again, no word on what they discussed. But do you think there was a reason for the meeting? Tim Cook oversees the most successful digital technology company in history. Would the Vatican have a critical interest in the way Apple develops and uses its technology? It certainly would.
What were these men up to? Friends, we did not have to wait long to find out at least some things these men were apparently talking about. Within a matter of seven days, the pope met with two of the most important people that currently shape the future of global society. Friends, these meetings were strategic. Eric Schmidt and Tim Cook were likely invited to the Vatican to discuss how to shape the future of the digital world, deal with terrorism and other opposition to the Vatican’s plans.
If the world is going to worship at the feet of the beast, digital technology will certainly play a role on both sides of the Great Controversy. Marking the World Day of Social Communications on January 22 (the same day he met with Tim Cook, Pope Francis said, “The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. The Internet,” he said, “can be used wisely to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing.”
What is the pope referring to? The pope, remember, is actively building a society that aligns every nation, kindred, tongue and people with Rome, so far as possible. Controlling the Internet would be very important to that goal, wouldn’t it? Making it difficult for any extremist organization to get its message out there on digital media would be one of the aims. However, it would also stand to reason that the Vatican would want to prevent other forms of speech as well, including speech that exposes Rome’s true nature. It would likely want to eventually prevent the true Bible position concerning Rome and the anti-Christ from being spread online. But first some things need to be put in place. And Google and Apple are vital to reaching that objective.
Google, along with Facebook and Twitter, all digital giants, have been pressured by secular governments to limit freedom of speech on their platforms in order to prevent extremist groups like ISIS from using them. While they have been sympathetic, they have balked at this because they do not want to be seen as opposed to freedom of speech. In fact, they want to be seen as champions of free speech, which is one of the key benefits of their technology.
For instance, recently the FBI asked Tim Cook and Apple to develop a way for them to access iPhones in order to investigate terrorist activity. Apple, at least at the time I prepared this sermon, was resisting the FBI on the grounds of privacy.
But look what happened shortly after Eric Schmidt met with the pope. On February 2, 2016, Google said it would redirect “extremist-related entries into the search engine.” They “are to be shown anti-radicalization links under a pilot program,” the Guardian reported. Google is also running a parallel pilot program “designed to make counter-radicalization videos easier to find.”
Speaking of extremist behavior like ISIS, Anthony House, senior manager for public policy and communications at Google, said, “Keeping people safe is our number one priority. ISIS is part of that, but it’s absolutely not the only extremist organisation or behavior that we care about.”
What other types of behavior would government ministers, Google and other social media giants be concerned about? Are there less violent forms of so-called “extremism” that they want to limit. Those who proclaim God’s last message will become the targets of Rome. Would major corporations, like Google and Apple, which the Bible describes as the merchants of the earth, prevent God’s true people from giving that final message? After all, part of that message is the second angel of Revelation 14 and the fourth angel of Revelation 18, which say that “Babylon is fallen.”
“We should get the bad stuff down,” said Anthony House, “but it’s also extremely important that people are able to find good information, that when people are feeling isolated, that when they go online, they find a community of hope, not a community of harm.”
While there is obviously a lot of “bad stuff” on the Internet, yet it is not the war games, the sex sites and the gambling sites House is talking about. He is first and foremost talking about extremist sites, including those of groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, and others. But what is defined as “bad stuff?” One day, do you think your beliefs will be identified as “bad stuff” too? Maybe your website will be redirected to another site that will oppose your beliefs and principles, all in the name of keeping people safe. Safe from what? Safe from a true Bible understanding of salvation and of the times in which we live.
Google, Apple and other mega-social media companies have enormous power over society. Now they are probably going to use their power to control the digital world. Eventually, they will use their power to oppose God’s true people. If you don’t believe me, just wait and see.
The pope is working on global unity between religions and also between world leaders and the Papacy. Here is something else Pope Francis said on the same day he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook. The pope said, “digital technology and the Internet could help bring people together but also had the potential to create deep wounds.”
And speaking against hate speech, the pope said, “Our words and actions should be such as to help us all escape the vicious circles of condemnation and vengeance which continue to ensnare individuals and nations, encouraging expressions of hatred…”
While it is obvious that there is a lot of hatred in the world, and vengeance seems to reign supreme in many cultures, Pope Francis believes that expressions of hatred should be eliminated. He is trying to heal long-standing wounds, and is doing a very good job of it. But the papal definition of hate speech is certainly very broad, and includes the Bible’s condemnation of her beliefs and practices.
The first step of persecution is restriction of freedom of speech. But from there it leads to deeper and deeper punishments for those who refuse to submit to Rome, until it finally imposes the death penalty.
Oh friends, can you see where this is heading? Can you see why the pope is so concerned about the use of the Internet that he brought Eric Schmidt, and Tim Cook to the Vatican just one week apart to discuss with them the digital environment and how to control it?
While Rome is constructing spiritual Babylon, and making it into a global spiritual empire, it has certainly spiritually fallen, and will continue in that fallen state even while Rome rides high on popularity with the leaders of nations, and merchants of the earth. She will be given permission to make war with the saints and overcome them. That means, my friends, that if you live for Jesus, you will come under persecution and lose your liberties. Expect it. Plan on it. Prepare for it.
I have often said that the future belongs to socialism. And that is very true. However, I’m going to go further and say that the future belongs to Roman Catholic socialism. Roman Catholicism is predicted in scripture to become the world ruler, worshipped by billions, while guiding the processes and operations of the global political, economic and religious sectors of society.
And the pope is already preparing to demonize those who oppose Rome’s teachings. And he even coined a new phrase to do it. Listen to what he said. “It is the terrorism of the gossip,” he said with passion. He “who gossips is a terrorist that throws a bomb and destroys. Gossip destroys…”
So, if your message exposing the errors of Rome is defined by the pope as terrorism of gossip, what do you think those social media companies will do to your websites, or your social media accounts?
The pope has also condemned fundamentalism as a “disease.” And on another occasion he said, “A fundamentalist group, although it may not kill anyone, although it may not strike anyone, is violent. The mental structure of fundamentalists is violence in the name of God.” And on yet another occasion, he urged all religions to unite together to fight extremism and fundamentalism.
Fundamentalism, in a Christian setting is a strong adherence to the authority of the Bible and a literal interpretation and application of its principles to your life.
So, if you hold to the Bible, and refuse to join the global ecumenical religious coalition that is currently forming, the pope has already laid the groundwork for you to be condemned and ostracized from society as a fundamentalist, and to be eventually driven out from among men and persecuted. If you raise your voice in protest against the teachings of Rome, you are already being isolated in people’s minds as a fanatic and a violent fundamentalist, or extremist.
Probation is closing soon, my friends. The whole world is joining together to fight against God’s people in the final climactic moments of earth’s history. I want to walk with Jesus today. I want to be faithful to His all-encompassing claims on my life. I want to put away sin, so that He can stand by my side in the soon-coming persecution. How about you? We’re almost there.
Let us pray, Our Father in heaven, we see so much happening in the world that it is almost overwhelming. We pray that You will send Your Holy Spirit into our hearts that we may live in harmony with heaven, and we will be able, through Christ to withstand the persecution that is coming upon us. We pray that one day, we will be able to eat of the tree of life with leaves that are for the true healing of the nations. We ask You to heal the deadly wound in our hearts and replace it with enmity to Satan, so that Christ can give us His protection and strength. In Jesus’ name, amen.