Pope Francis Superstar

Date: 06/12/2014 
A lot has been happening in the news lately and I thought it warranted us having a prophecy news update again. In the context of the Bible, sometimes it's good for us to look at the headlines.
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Hello, friends. This is Doug Batchelor. A lot has been happening in the news lately and I thought it warranted us having a prophecy news update again. In the context of the Bible, sometimes it's good for us to look at the headlines. Now, I don't want to be the Pope's personal biographer. I know a lot of these prophecy updates have had to do with what the Pope is doing, but this Jesuit Pope has been busier in the last 18 months than virtually any Pope. Here's some things that have been happening just in the first part of the month of June that I think are very significant.

The Bible tells us before the end comes, before Jesus comes, that there's going to be a confederacy that will combine Catholics, Protestants, spiritualism, and we see these things happening in the news right now. For example, just on June 1st, Pope Francis spoke to almost 53,000 people that gathered in the Olympic Stadium in Rome, and these were charismatics from Rome and other places. They came together and they prayed over the Pope, speaking in tongues. Now, is it just me or does that remind you of something else that we saw on the news not too long ago where charismatics were praying over the Pope? That time, the Pope just sent a video message on his smartphone. This time, he actually came into the stadium, and he knelt, without the traditional kneeling pillow, he knelt there and asked them all to pray for him.

The Vatican News reports that this is the first time in history in which a Pope visited an international charismatic renewal convocation, and so he came. Now, the Pope says at one time, he had been uncomfortable with the charismatic movement, but evidently, he's feeling a lot better about that. Keep in mind, the charismatics, it's talking about Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians that are united by their common worship of this glossolalia, the speaking in tongues. The ecstatic utterance that they call a heavenly prayer language that was virtually unknown and unpracticed by Christians for the last 1900 years. Bible tells us that there's going to be a unity of Protestants, spiritualism, Catholicism. And, I think the spiritualism, in part, has to do with this Babylonian babbling that's taking over a lot of the Christian worship services. So that's one thing that happened.

Now present at that meeting, interestingly enough, was a contingent of 15 members, a delegation of religious leaders from America, and among them was pastor Joel Osteen, who was in that group of 50,000 charismatics that were there praying for the Pope. For those who may not know, Joel Osteen is a well-known pastor of the large Lakeside Church in Houston, Texas with thousands of members. The assembly in the auditorium took place June one, but then on June five, this delegation of 15 members representing religious leaders and political leaders from the United States, met at the Vatican with the Pope in a private audience. Following the private meeting with the Pope and the others in the Vatican, Joel Osteen said, "It was a great honor to represent the pastors of America in the meeting with the pontiff."

I'm not sure that I feel comfortable with Joel Osteen saying that he represents all these pastors from America because I think people have forgotten what the vast gulf of differences are between what the Roman Catholics believe and what Protestants are supposed to believe. It used to be that America was really, a haven for Protestant values. That this country was the bulwark of safety for those Christian ideals. But little by little, that is all eroding, friends. It says in Revelation, chapter 13, that the second beast in Revelation, which we believe is the United States, the one that rises up out of the earth with two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon, is eventually going to make an image to the first beast that receives the deadly wound that is healed and all the world wonders. We're watching right now as all the world wonders.

You can see, even in the architecture of the United States, how little by little-- Look at the Washington Monument and look at the obelisk that is in the Vatican. Look at the Capitol building and look at the Vatican dome. You can just even visually sense where the United States is gradually making an image to the beast. And now, you can see that we're putting aside our values that once separated these two great continents philosophically, and everything is amalgamating now preparing for this final consolidation. As if our Jesuit Pope hasn't been busy enough, just a few days later, he had a special meeting at the Vatican where President Shimon Peres of Israel and President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine, came to meet at the Vatican. Not only they came, but they also came with Bartholomew, the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church. Well, I'll tell you if that isn't really a picture, all coming to the Vatican to talk about peace.

Reminds us of that verse in the Bible that says, "When they say peace, peace, then sudden destruction will come." The Pope has now placed himself in a position, in just one year, where he has become sort of an international peace broker. Very interesting. In fact, let me read you one newspaper reporter's take on this. The three leaders, joined by the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew the First, heard Christian, Jewish, and Islamic prayers from cardinals, rabbis, and Muslim imams. The two-hour meeting in the Vatican Gardens included prayers from the Old and New Testament, and the Qur'an, that were read and chanted in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Italian. Now that's the first time that prayers were officially offered reading from the Quran in Arabic to Allah in the Vatican. Is it just me or are things happening?

In fact, a lot of people have always wondered, how will we get this confederacy where there's this one world religion, compelling everybody to worship a certain way in the last days? How do you get one billion Muslims to be able to work in harmony with Jews, and Protestants, and Christians? Well, you have your answer now. The Pope knows how to bring them all together and that's just what prophecy told us is going to happen. I know I've shared this with people several times before, but that quote from Great Controversy page 588, keeps coming back to mind. Let me read it to you again. "Through the two great errors of the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hand across the Gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism. They'll reach over the abyss to clasp their hands with the Roman power. And under the influence of this threefold union, this great country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience."

I see that confederacy taking place between Protestantism, Catholicism, and spiritualism. One of the big movies, it's still in the theaters right now, is called Is Heaven For Real? Based upon this boy that survives a near-death appendix operation, and comes out of that saying that he's seen people that are dead and he's communed with them. Talking to the dead, that's what that spiritualism is all about. And here, you have Catholics and Protestants all embracing this concept. I mean, what else does it mean when the Pope has the power to declare to former Popes to be saints that can be prayed to? Isn't that about praying to the dead? We saw that just happened last month. And so there's an ongoing match that seems to be taking place.

This reminds me of a couple of books that came out a few years ago. Here's one called A House United by Keith A. Fournier; talks about Evangelicals and Catholics together, a winning alliance for the 21st century. In the book, the whole book really, leads up to a preamble of an interesting document that was prepared for the third millennium, called Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium. This lengthy document was signed by hundreds of religious leaders, many people have forgotten about it, took place in 1994, but they mapped out their plans for Catholics, and charismatics, and Evangelicals, to work together to build the confederacy for changing society. You know what? They're marching through this plan just as they foretold. You can, by the way, find this anywhere online. One more time, it's called Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium.

Among the things they talk about is, we must not be proselytizing or evangelizing believers from other faiths. Catholics, in particular, do not want Protestants trying to evangelize their believers. And so those who've signed on to this agree with that. They also believe that we should be using civil powers and government to enforce certain moral values. That's probably areas where I would agree with that, but that will be used eventually, in saying that the legal powers are going to be used to tell us when and where and what day to worship. In addition, another book that came out during the same time, is a book by the late Chuck Colson. I met him, good man; Evangelicals and Catholics Towards a Common Mission Together. In this, they talk about one of the things that is uniting the Evangelicals and the Catholics is our common worship styles. Let me read you a little quote here or two.

"More generally, the spread of the charismatic movement through songs, prayers and worship styles going well beyond officially charismatic circles, has done a great deal to reduce the barriers between Catholics and Evangelicals. Here's another quote from that book, page 172; "Billy Graham's cooperative evangelism in which all the churches in an area are invited to share, is one such charismatic gatherings where the distinction between Protestant and Catholic vanishes." Now that's a scary thought right by itself. In a Christ-centered unity of worship, fellowship, and joy, are further examples of this.

You can see where this is heading, friends. Little by little, the barriers, the theological distinctions that make us unique in our beliefs are being eroded and dissolved, they're gradually evaporating, and this Pope is doing a masterful job of breaking those things down. Let me just wrap some of these thoughts up. I could go on and on. It reminds me of a couple of prophecies in the Bible. You can start out for, example, by going to Daniel, chapter 11. Keep in mind, in Daniel, chapter 12, it talks about Michael standing up. This is the end of the world, there being a great time of trouble, there being a resurrection. Just before that end-time scenario, it talks about the beast power, the one who has no regard for the desire of women in Daniel, chapter 11, and it's just interesting. I don't claim to understand it all, but in Daniel, 11, the last few verses, it talks about the glorious land, the promised land. And it says that he'll plant His tabernacle in the glorious mountain. Then it lists a number of Middle Eastern countries. Well, it probably doesn't mean anything, friends, so don't you get worried.

You can also read in Revelation, chapter 16, speaking about the last plague before the Battle of Armageddon. "Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and the water was dried up so the way of the kings of the East might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false Prophet. For they are the spirits of demons, performing signs that go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them together to the battle of the great day of God Almighty."

"Behold, I'm coming as a thief," Jesus said. "Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." "And they gathered them together to a place called," in the Hebrew tongue, "Armageddon." You know friends, I just see a consolidation, a coming together of world events that are paving the way for things that are going to be happening soon. All of this recent notoriety of the Pope is happening against the backdrop of an upcoming synod that's happening in October. Let me read it to you from the Catholic website. "Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme of challenges of the family in the context of evangelization. The Vatican has announced this synod, which will take place at the Vatican, October five through 19, 2014, is a means through which the Holy Father wishes to continue the reflection and the journey of the whole church, with the participation of leaders from every corner of the world."

This is going to be a time when they're going to come together and talk about the dynamics of the family. No doubt they're going to talk about the problems with homosexuality, and how that relates to the definition of marriage, and they'll be talking about abortion. I expect they're going to talk about the importance of Sunday worship to bring the family together. Just be watching, friends because I think a lot of things are playing out right now. As we see the confluence of all these events, even the secular writers in the world are sitting back marveling at how busy this Pope has been, placing himself right at the center stage in the events of religion and politics. This is exactly what prophecy said is going to happen.

He has to be in a position where he's going to create a confederacy of world powers that the world is going to look to him for answers. Right now, if there was some catastrophe in the world, if there was a financial meltdown, if there was some tremendous natural disaster, who do you think, in the world, has positioned himself to be the one that everyone is going to look to for answers? They'll give them a great deal of credibility, especially if people are afraid because of some catastrophe or financial disaster. His emphasis on prayer is wonderful, but this is exactly what I've always expected the world would look like just before the end, friends. That's why it's so important. If you don't understand why this is important, you need to get a hold of that video that we recently produced called Revelation: The Bride, The Beast & Babylon. You can download it from iTunes, you can order it from Amazon, it's at all major outlets, and you can go to the website. It's called therevelationmystery.com. We need to be praying and if there's something in your life where you're not ready, you need to get right with God now.

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