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Chapter 12

Blasphemous Claims

 

SOME have wrongly identified the antichrist power as either an atheistic power, such as communism, or a pagan power, such as Hinduism or Buddhism. But this identity does not agree with the Scriptures. Paul testified that the antichrist power will possess the veneer of Christianity. It will be a power that actually claims to be approved of God.

He as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

John revealed that this false religious power will demand worship.

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8)

He further declared that those who will not willingly worship the antichrist power will face death. Scripture indicates that an attempt will be made to enforce the worship of the antichrist throughout the entire world.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)

This power is also described as a blasphemous power.

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws. (Daniel 7:25)

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

From the accusations made against Christ by the leaders of the Jews, we know the scriptural meaning of blasphemy. It means one who usurps the place of God.

But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. (Matthew 26:63–65)

And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. (Mark 14:60–64)

The antichrist is appropriately designated by the name of blasphemy in Scripture.

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)

This name indicates that the antichrist claims to be God or the Son of God. There is ample evidence that the papal church has frequently repeated such claims. Some striking examples are here cited:

The priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates, as it were, Jesus in the sacrament [the Eucharist] by giving him a sacramental existence. Oh happy function of the priest! He that created me (if I may say so) gave me the power to create Him; and He that created me without me is Himself created by me. (Dignities and Duties of the Priest, pp. 32, 33).

Were the Redeemer to descend into a church, and sit in a confessional to administer the sacraments of penance, and a priest to sit in another confessional, Jesus would say over each penitent, "Ego te absolvo" [I absolve you]. The priest would likewise say over each of his penitents, "Ego te absolvo," and the penitence of both would be equally absolved. (Ibid., p. 28)

To pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God. . . . But what only God can do by His omnipotence, the priest can also do by saying "Ego te absolvo. . . ." Indeed, it is not too much to say that, in view of the sublimity of their offices, the priests are so many gods. (Ibid., pp. 34–36)

He [the priest] can hardly wait for each dawn when he will once again hold the Lord between his fingers [the wafer of the Mass]. . . . Our priests pick up the Lord and move Him here and there, forward and backward. (Our Sunday Visitor, December 1 1946)

In December 1985, Russell and his wife, Enid, were present at a papal audience at the Vatican. At its conclusion, it was announced that the sins of all in attendance were absolved because of their presence there; and, further, Pope John Paul II had provided absolution for all of their loved ones. In a very real sense, the pope usurped a power above that of God, for he "forgave" the sins of men and women who offered no evidence of repentance.

Is it any wonder that the Scriptures describe the antichrist in such graphic terms?

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies. (Revelation 13:5)

And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:6)

With such blasphemous claims, it is plain that the Papacy cannot lead men and women to the kingdom of heaven. Obviously, such a power offers an invalid plan of redemption that will lead all its followers to eternal annihilation. Without doubt, the plan is a masterpiece of Satan. With the exception of God’s saints, all the world will come under the hypnotic influence of the Papacy.

In Life magazine of December 1989, Stefan Kanfer, in his incisive article, "The Triumph of John Paul II," dramatized the power of John Paul II. Kanfer details the pope’s step-by-victorious-step inside role in the extinction of the Communist Party in Poland. The prestige of the Papacy had been put in a difficult position by the liberation theology of the Latin American Catholics. Kanfer pointed out that the communist collapse came at a most important time for the Papacy because of the decline in church attendance in Western Europe and the liberal theology positions taken by many Catholics, both lay members and clergy in the United States.

Kanfer made a most significant observation when he said that the pope’s "objective is not a holy war against communism, it is nothing less than the liberation of the world itself." He concluded his article with the perception that "the man who is likely to be remembered in the church’s third millennium stands on the balcony of St. Peter’s Square, smiling down in delight and triumph, but not in surprise." Bible-understanding Christians should not be surprised, for the direction of these events is well detailed in Holy Scripture.

It will again be seen that, just as soon as the Roman Catholic-backed governments rise to power, oppression rather than freedom will result. Poland is already a striking example. The surprising rapidity of the movement toward total Catholic control in Poland can already be seen from reports concerning certain Protestant churches which were forbidden to distribute literature in that country. Solidarity has definitely made it clear that it will recognize only one church—the Roman Catholic Church.

Perhaps the most striking prophecy of Scripture points to the fact that under the garb of peace, the Papacy will yet destroy many.

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. (Daniel 8:25, emphasis added)

It is not surprising that "peace" is the greatest theme of contemporary Catholicism.

The accommodation of Catholicism, in its desire to bring all peoples under the umbrella of its authority, was no better demonstrated than during the World Day of Prayer for Peace in October 1986. On that day, Pope John Paul II met with many of the world’s religious leaders (Christian, pagan, even African witch doctors, and Togo snake handlers) at Assisi, Italy. All such meetings appear to be overtly under the canopy of Catholicism or as a prominent participant with the Catholic Church. The town of Assisi (made famous by Francis of Assisi, the Roman Catholic lover of nature and advocate of peace) has become a focal point for international prayer for peace. In 1989 much was said about Archbishop Runcie’s pilgrimage to Assisi to pray for peace.

Jointly sponsored by the Costa Rican government and the Roman Catholic Church of Costa Rica, seven hundred international delegates met in San Jose on June 25–30 1989 to discuss peace and the new order that it is hoped will be established in the twenty-first century. Here, marrying the pagan humanistic concepts of the New Age with Roman Catholic leadership, the chancellor of the United Nations Peace University, Robert Muller, gave the keynote address.

We must also hope that the pope will come before the year 2000 to the United Nations; speak for all the religions and spiritualities on this planet; and give the world the religious view of how the third millennium should be a spiritual millennium, a millennium which will see the integration and harmony of humanity. (Muller’s report in Flashpoint, January 1990)

The pope is the only public figure that has been suggested as the one who will oversee this world union. This turn of events in human history is surely most dramatic.

On November 22 1989, it was stated over the radio station, WJOY, that "the people of Eastern Europe are focusing their attention on Pope John Paul II for spiritual leadership in order to help bring about a peaceful solution to their political turmoil." Various religious leaders are urging their members to lay aside their differences, and work in unity under the banner of Rome. Some are even advocating church unification. The only response from Pope John Paul II was that "the issues separating our beliefs are not insurmountable; however, when it comes to ordination of women, birth control, and the Eucharist, Protestants must realize our assiduous position on these issues."

It is essential to recognize that this "unity" will always be on the basis of Protestant capitulation to Catholicism.

The pope’s planned meeting of the approximately 1,000 European bishops in 1991 was said to be for the purpose of "finding ways to meet the pope’s vision of a Europe united in its Christian roots—including Eastern Europe after the fall of communism." (U.S.A. Today, April 23 1990)

There is no question that the pope’s goal is the unification of the whole world under his banner. The Christianity that the pope envisages is not biblical Christianity; instead, it is Roman Catholicism. A unity built on Roman Catholicism will lead to severe persecution of those who will not surrender to the leadership of the Papacy.

John Paul II has said,

The weight of this world without God cannot be escaped by recourse to drugs, the misuse of sex, the culture of violence, or joining sects. This world must be conquered. (Washington Post, April 23 1989, emphasis added)

While we agree that God alone has the answer to mankind’s needs, we fear the pope’s statement that places the joining of sects with the evils of drugs, promiscuous sex, and violence. This statement indicates repressive actions against minority religions.

Bishop John Mooreman, the leader of the Anglican delegation of observers to the Second Vatican Council, was quoted as saying, "I think we realized that, if there is to be a final unity among Christians, there will have to be a central head of the church; and that head will clearly have to be the bishop of Rome."

Further, Bishop Oxman asserted, "I believe that union can and must be established in Christ’s churches in the world. Since the Roman Catholic Church refuses . . . to accept union except on the basis of all other churches repudiating their own churches and returning to Rome, the first step toward union must be taken by the Protestant churches."

The ecumenical movement has sought to bind the churches together by a common Bible, established upon corrupt Greek texts. Almost all modern Bible translations are heavily dependent upon the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus, two ancient Greek manuscripts from the Western Roman Empire, for the translation of the New Testament. Both have suffered from interpolations and deletions. So much is missing from the Vaticanus that it has sometimes been referred to as the abridged New Testament; thus hundreds of texts, or parts of texts, found in the European Bibles of the Reformation are not found in these modern translations. Nations as diverse as Italy, the Netherlands, and Hungary all have new ecumenical Bibles accepted by both Protestants and Catholics.

One of the greatest issues of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was Protestantism’s unwavering support of the Greek manuscripts from the Eastern Roman Empire which were preserved with far greater integrity than those in the West. Today, these texts are commonly referred to as the Textus Receptus (the Received Text or the Majority Text). A list of ecumenical hymns, which are thought to be suitable for singing in all churches, has also been established. All these are telltale signs of the false unity about to come.

There is every evidence that the blasphemous claims made by the Papacy will be accepted by the majority of earth’s inhabitants in the very near future.

 


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