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Chapter 38

A Turning Point in American History

 

December 7, 1941, was a turning point in American foreign policy and national thinking. The Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii focused America outward. It had been attacked by an Asian nation and the USA has never forgotten this lesson. Ever since then it has grown to become the security officer of the world.

In the First World War it was the sinking of the passenger liner, the Lusitania, by German U-Boats which led to the United States entering the conflict. In a decided sense the country had invited the attack by secretly concealing armaments destined for the Allies in its passenger liners. The ill-fated passengers little dreamed they were travelling on a vessel which was, in fact, a huge bomb awaiting ignition. It took this tragic loss of life to permit the Monroe Doctrine to be temporarily ignored.

Evidence has been put forth in support of some historians’ view that the White House was well aware of the planned attack upon Pearl Harbor, but did nothing to thwart the attack in order that American opinion would become sympathetic to their nation’s entry into the war.

Whatever the truth of this theory, one matter is certain, America from this point on was launched into a policy course which would, exactly half a century later, lead President George Bush, Sr., in 1991 to make the claim that the United States was then the lone superpower in the world. He was wrong. Revelation chapter 3 distinctly identifies, along with the United States, a second end-time superpower—the Vatican (also known as the Holy See).

President Bush’s declaration, unchallengeable as it was in terms of military might, was a boast that exceeded reality. Bush, Sr., had failed to factor in one nation whose military might was all but zero, whose sovereign territory extended a mere one-sixth of a square mile and whose resident population of about 1,000 was the least on earth—the Holy See. Scripture had foretold of two last-day superpowers, not one. And in the crucial element of power—worldwide influence—the Vatican of the twenty-first century has no peer. Rome stands supreme, for its deadly wound has healed and all the world is wondering after it.

In 1990 Malachi Martin, an Irish Roman Catholic priest, a retired Professor of the Vatican’s Gregorian University, a historian and most importantly a Vatican insider having been a close associate of the Jesuit Cardinal Bea, a Vatican administrator, revealed the Vatican’s self-assessment of its own political importance.

The title page of Martin’s book, The Keys of This Blood, summarized its theme:

The struggle for World dominion between Pope John Paul II, Mikhail Gorbachev [then President of the Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.)] and the Capitalist West [which he defined as the United States and Western Europe]

At first sight this competition appeared ludicrous. It was true that the United States and its allies in Western Europe were in fierce competition with the Soviet Union for world domination. That competition between two nations of massive military strength, determined political will, and lust for world dominion, was settled in favor of the United States in 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved and Mikhail Sergey-evich Gorbachev lost his power. Of the three competitors cited by Malachi Martin, only two, the Vatican and the United States remained.

Although Russia was a nation of massive area, eventually expanding its territory to more than eight million square miles, and in 1884 was a significant and powerful empire, Ellen Harmon White did not cite her as a player in the end-time scenario. In this she had a decided advantage over Malachi Martin writing more than a century later. That advantage was that although she was not a cleric and Martin was, she saw the end-time players through prophecy and Martin did not. The Bible speaks of just two end-time superpowers, not three.

But whereas Martin saw these three powers in competition, Ellen Harmon White’s Bible-based perspective saw two, the United States and the Vatican in alliance. Indeed this cooperation was already in place as Communism crumbled in East Europe as Martin wrote.

How could the Papacy be seen in the same league as the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s? Martin rightly summed it up:

Pope John Paul II, the 264th successor of Peter the Apostle . . . was himself the head of the most extensive and deeply experienced of the three global powers. (Ibid. p. 17)

By "extensive" Martin referred to the intelligence system of the Roman Catholic Church composed of its hierarchial clerical operatives and its devout laity. Further, a state which is also a religious faith has a moral power which, when exerted over more than a billion spiritual subjects, carries a power which transcends armies, navies and air forces; it carries more fire power than guns, tanks, naval vessels, military aircraft and intercontinental missiles combined. Indeed, when backed by the weaponry of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) it has all those too.

While looking through prophetic spectacles, White saw this as did the Apostle John 1,800 years earlier in vision.

Malachi Martin’s years of association with the Vatican at close range makes his revelations of Papal aims credible. He stated that,

The chosen purpose of John Paul’s pontificate, the engine that drives his papal grand policy, and that determines his day-to-day, year-to-year strategies—is to be victor in that competition, now well under way. For the fact is that the stakes John Paul has placed in the arena of geopolitical contention include everything—himself, his papal persona, the age old Petrine Office he now embodies, and his entire Church Universal, both as an institutional organization unparalleled in the world and as a body of believers united by a board of mystical communion. (Ibid.)

Clearly the present pontiff harbors no doubts that the deadly wound has been healed. For centuries Roman Catholics have been seeking a new Hildebrand (Pope Gregory VII) who could exert sufficient power to lord it over powerful rulers. In Pope John Paul II they have the reincarnation of their Hildebrand at last. It has taken them over nine centuries to find him, but find him they have. When John Paul spoke to President Reagan about American foreign aid for birth control in third world countries, expressing his displeasure, Reagan ceased it (Time, February 24, 1992). When, in 1998, the man who imagined himself to be the most powerful man on earth, President Bill Clinton, breached papal protocol and sat before John Paul had taken his seat, the President was rebuked by papal aids for his faux pas. Clinton humbly apologized to the Pope. In matters of protocol it is the more powerful who impose their wills upon their inferiors. Clinton may not have been compelled to stand in the snow for three days in order to render his apology as Hildebrand, Gregory VII, demanded of King Henry IV, but he had learned his place in the world pecking order.

In her 1884 volume Ellen Harmon White wrote surely of the days in which we now live when she stated,

The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground in our country upon every side. Look at the number of her churches and chapels. Look at her colleges and seminaries, so widely patronized by Protestants. These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel. (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4, p. 382)

Ellen Harmon White also warned against the allurements of the Roman Catholic religion:

Many suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive, and that its worship is a dull, stupid round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon deception, it is not a coarse and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Romish Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people, and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculpture appeal to the love of beauty. The ear also is captivated. There is nothing to excel the music. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence. (Ibid., pp. 382, 383)

It is true that in March 2000 Pope John Paul II apologized for the past sins of Roman Catholics. The apology did not satisfy those who recognized that many of the Roman Catholic faithful who committed those sins were priests, prelates and popes. But even these papal apologies were evaluated by Mrs. Harmon White in 1884.

The Romish 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 popery that existed in ages past exists today. The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. Let none deceive themselves. The popery that Protestants are now so ready to embrace and 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. (Ibid., pp. 387, 388)

Fourth, the Papacy could not invoke worldwide persecution. In 1884 it appeared that the Papacy was in a state of feebleness. We marvel at Ellen Harmon White’s courage to defy the contemporary state of the Roman Catholic Church and to focus on its prophetically specified future. Listen as one Roman Catholic historian describes the seemingly almost insurmountable odds confronting the Papacy at the very period in which Ellen Harmon White wrote:

In Italy, processions and outdoor services were banned, communities of religious [orders] dispersed, church property confiscated, priests conscripted into the army. A catalogue of measures, understandably deemed anti-Catholic by the Holy See, streamed from the new capital [Rome]: divorce legislation, secularization of schools, the dissolution of numerous holy days. (John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope, p. 14)

If Papal stocks were low at its back door, Italy, they were no more promising elsewhere in Europe.

In Germany partly in response to the divisive dogma of the infallibility, Bismarck began his Kulturkampf ("culture struggle"), a policy of persecution against Catholicism. Religious instruction came under state control and religious orders were forbidden to teach: the Jesuits were banished; seminaries were subjected to state interference; church properties came under the control of lay committees; civil marriage was introduced in Prussia. Bishops and clergy resisting Kulturkampf legislation were fined, imprisoned, exiled. In many parts of Europe, it was the same: in Belgium, Catholics were ousted from the teaching profession; in Switzerland religious orders were banned; in Austria, traditionally a Catholic country, the state took over schools and passed legislation to secularize marriage; in France there was a new wave of anticlericalism. The conviction had been widely and confidently expressed by writers, thinkers, and politicians across Europe—Bovio in Italy, Balzac in France, Bismarck in Germany, Gladstone in England—that the Papacy, and Catholicism with it, had had its day." (Ibid., pp. 14, 15)

That this bleak outlook would be dramatically altered during the course of the twentieth century was hardly anticipated except in the writings of John, the Seer of Patmos.

Ellen Harmon White’s heritage surely was her abiding trust in the Scriptures as a guide to the past, the present and the future. This was the secret to her accurate portrayal of today’s events over a century before their fulfillment. Her words were inscribed at a time when the Papacy was impotent and the United States weak and isolationist. The chapter in her 1884 book entitled "The Scriptures a Safeguard" could well serve as the motto of her life. Mrs. Whites’ connection with the Apostle John was that she implicitly believed the inspired prophecies of the Apostle, despite contemporary evidence to the contrary. Her connection with John Paul II was that, believing prophecy, she saw the day when the Papacy of John Paul would achieve the healing of the deadly wound.

 


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