WARNING: The above video is sensationalist hype!!!
It is an advertisement for a non-catholic book written about the alleged Catholic prophecy of Saint Malachy. A few Evangelical Protestants have put their own apocalyptic spin on this prophecy that equates the Pope with the Antichrist. The authors of the book advertised here are sensational conspiracy theorists. They have since released another book, wherein they claim the Vatican is preparing for the arrival of extraterrestrial aliens.
As I'm writing this it is May 20th, 2013, and it has been over three months since I published the article: The Pope, The Antichrist and Peter the Roman. At that time, Pope Benedict XVI had just announced his retirement and the identity of the next pope was still unknown. Also, at that time, various Evangelical Fundamentalists were going insane with speculation about an alleged prophecy from a medieval Catholic bishop, which they had reinterpreted to mean the election of the Biblical Antichrist as the "final pope" was upon us. In my article, I warned my readers about the questionable legitimacy of the prophecy itself, and then of course the ridiculous interpretation some Evangelicals were imposing upon it that was completely out of context.
As I pointed out in my previous article on this topic, there is no way we can know if the alleged prophecy of Saint Malachy is true. Circumstances seem to point toward a forgery. However, even if it is true, the man we have seen so far is just as much a match as anyone can expect, namely because the alleged prophecy of Saint Malachy specifically says this "Peter the Roman" will NOT be the Antichrist, but rather a good Christian leader...
"In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end." -- sourceNow let's look at this prophecy carefully....
- It specifically says this "Peter the Roman" will nourish his sheep during many tribulations. That means he's a good guy. He's helping the "sheep" (Christians).
- After the tribulations are finished, the city on seven hills will be destroyed. Notice it doesn't say when the reign of "Peter the Roman" is finished. It says when the tribulations are finished. This could mean anything, because Christ specifically said the Church will suffer tribulations until the end of time. The city on seven hills can only mean Rome or Jerusalem. Rome has already been destroyed many times in history and so has Jerusalem.
- The dreadful judge will judge his people. This "dreadful judge" could mean anyone. It could mean Jesus Christ. Or it could mean a revived European monarchy. Who knows?
However, this interpretation won't sit well for many Evangelicals who are looking for the Antichrist, namely because this alleged prophecy has been plucked out of Catholicism by some non-Catholics hell bent on looking for a villain. Since the days of Martin Luther, Protestants have searched desperately for an Antichrist in the pope of Rome. They needed the papacy to be linked to the Antichrist in some way, so as to justify their schism with Rome, as well as the theft and violence through which it was accomplished. These things can be morally justified if the man who occupies the Chair of Peter is the Son of Perdition. However, if he is not, then what does that say of the Protestant Reformation?
For those looking for an Antichrist, they will not find one in Pope Francis, or any pope for that matter. It is clear from the writings of the early Christians that the last and final Antichrist will arise in Jerusalem not Rome, and that he will be Jewish not Catholic. Think about this for a moment. The term Antichrist literally means "false messiah." He is a counterfeit to Jesus of Nazareth, and his purpose is to lead the world's Jews, and the world itself, into believing he is the true messiah promised by the Old Testament, making Jesus of Nazareth a fraud of course. Now how can this happen with a Catholic pope who's very office is founded on the proclamation that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah? It's ridiculous! Since when are Jews going to start following a Catholic pope? Since when is a Catholic pope going to say the very thing that makes him pope is a fraud? Seriously? People actually believe this stuff? There is no way the world's Jewish population is going to follow the pope. They haven't for 2,000 years. What makes you think they're going to change their minds and start now? Likewise, there is no way the pope is ever going to say his office is a fraud, just before he proclaims himself the real Jewish messiah. It's never going to happen. Anyone who says this nonsense doesn't have the first clue of what Catholicism is or what it teaches. Anyone who says this is pretty ignorant of Judaism too. Anyone who says this is ignorant of history, logic and the Bible itself.
Yet there they are, on our television screens and behind the pulpits all over America, teaching that very thing. I suspect the alleged "Peter the Roman" prophecy of Saint Malachy is going to turn out to be a huge embarrassment, for which those non-Catholics who pushed it will quickly gloss it over and try to pretend it never happened. They will act as if they never heard of the thing, or else they will say it doesn't matter. Catholics can learn a lesson from this. There is no authentic Catholic prophecy anywhere that says this pope, or some future pope, will be the Antichrist. Likewise, there is no Biblical prophecy, whatsoever, that says the pope will be the Antichrist, the False Prophet or the Beast. It's all made up. It's a lie, concocted in the mind of Martin Luther 500 years ago. To my Protestant fiends, of all denominations, I plead with you. Abandon this insanity that Martin Luther started with his fairy tales about the pope and the Antichrist. There is no Biblical reason, whatsoever, to believe the pope has any connection to the Antichrist, and I defy anyone to prove me wrong about that. There are millions of Protestants who remain Protestant but have abandoned the Papal-Antichrist cabal. There is no reason to believe this stuff any more. Please, it is time to rejoin the world of the sane. I leave you with this short excerpt from my upcoming book "CATHOLICISM FOR PROTESTANTS"...
QUESTION: Is the pope the Antichrist?
ANSWER: While this question may seem ridiculous to many people, you might be surprised to discover just how many Protestants actually believe it, or are at least suspicious of it. The notion comes from the first Protestant reformer himself – Martin Luther – in the sixteenth century, who asserted that the office of the papacy is the Antichrist. That's not to say any particular pope, but the office of the papacy itself. So when German Protestants began to mix with English Protestants in the United States during the nineteenth century, you can imagine what an explosive combination this created. As new American-style Protestant denominations were formed, the office of the papacy went from being the Antichrist on a purely philosophical level, to the actual incarnation of evil itself!
This notion has become very popular among some Baptist, Evangelical and Pentecostal groups in the United States, and is a bit humorous when you really stop and think about it. Before we start levelling the accusation of "Antichrist" at anybody, or any office, it might help to actually understand what the Bible has to say about it. After all, the whole idea of "Antichrist" is a Biblical concept.
So what does the Bible say about the Antichrist? Well, for starters, the Bible tells us that the "spirit of antichrist" was alive and well even during the Apostolic age (1st John 2:18). It also tells us that in order to be antichrist in any way, one must deny that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Jewish Messiah (1st John 2:22). One must also deny that God the Son came to earth in the form of flesh and blood (1st John 4:3; 2nd John 1:7). These are the only four times the word "antichrist" appears in the Scriptures. So based on the Biblical definition, to be an antichrist (or even THE Antichrist) one must deny that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah and one must deny that God the Son came to earth in the form of human flesh. Sorry, that's just the Biblical definition, and since the term "Antichrist" is a Biblical term, just like the term "Christ" itself, it has no real meaning outside this Biblical definition.
Now since every pope since the time of St. Peter has affirmed that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messianic Son of God, that sort of disqualifies every pope in history from being an antichrist. Of course, the office of the papacy itself was literally founded on Saint Peter's affirmation that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messianic Son of God (Matthew 16:15-19), so that disqualifies the papal office from being antichrist. Since the pope literally teaches, and his office is literally founded upon, the belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messianic Son of God, it is literally impossible (in every Biblical sense) for the pope, or his papal office, to be the Antichrist in any way. Again, sorry, but the Bible speaks for itself here. To assert that the pope or the papacy is somehow, in any way, the Antichrist, is to completely deny the plain and clear teaching of the Bible on this matter. Now, if some people want to go ahead and call the pope the Antichrist anyway, then they can go ahead, but in doing so, the rest of us need to understand they are directly contradicting the Bible when they do this.You can read more answers to questions like this in my book CATHOLICISM FOR PROTESTANTS. As this section from my book points out, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for this pope (or any pope) to be the Antichrist, or any agent that assists the Antichrist in any way (such as the supposed "False Prophet" for example). The entire purpose of the papacy is to give glory to Jesus Christ of Nazareth as the promised Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world. If a "pope" ever failed to do that, by corruption, heresy or apostasy, he would be declared an "antipope" which means, under Church law, that he was never a pope at all. The Catholic Church has had antipopes in the past. They were dethroned and replaced. Is it possible for the Catholic Church to have an antipope in the future? Sure it is, but this isn't what the Evangelicals are talking about with their "Peter the Roman" or "Petrus Romanus" hysteria. What they are talking about is the actual pope becoming the prophesied Antichrist, because in their view, all popes are "antichrists" (small "a") by virtue of the papal office. As I said above, they NEED this to be the case, in order to justify the history of theft and violence that surrounds the Reformation Age and the venomous anti-Catholicism that has permeated Protestant nations throughout history. How else does one justify the criminalisation of Catholicism in England for hundreds of years? How else does one justify the persecution of the Catholic Irish by the Protestant English crown? How else does one justify the criminalisation of Catholicism in America during the English colonial days? How else does one justify the creation of an anti-Catholic political party in the early days of the United States? How else does one justify the continual anti-Catholicism in American politics all the way up until the early 20th century? If the pope is not the Antichrist, or at least "an antichrist" (small "a") then the history of theft, violence and bigotry looks rather silly -- or dare I say "unchristian."
There is more. It's not just about history. It's also about the future, specifically their future. You see, within many Evangelical circles (not all but many), there is a very unhealthy interest in future prophecy, to the point where that's all some Evangelicals think about. They are obsessed with the Book of Revelation and the end of the world. Now granted, such obsessions do bring in new members, and they know it. Many of those new members are former Catholics, and they know that too. The early Protestant Reformers knew that in order to get the majority of Catholic Christians in northern Europe to follow them, they would need to scare them into obedience. Martin Luther discovered that the best way to do this was to frighten them with tales that the pope is the Antichrist. It worked so well that Protestants have been frightening people with these tales ever since. More talk of the pope as the Antichrist, or having some connection with the Antichrist, creates more frightened members in the pews. While keeping members in the pews frightened, insures they will stay in the pews. It's the perfect scam, and it's been going on for five centuries! Now granted, not all Protestants are guilty of this, and a good number of Protestant churches that used to engage in this have stopped. That's good, but it is nowhere near over. These pedallers of pope fiction can still be found behind the pulpits, on the airwaves and especially on the Internet. It's a very lucrative business. Just ask Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Left Behind Series), or Thomas Horn and Cris Putnam (Petrus Romanus & Exo-Vaticana). These authors are just the tip of the iceberg of what I would consider the "more respectable" pedallers of pope fiction. Many of their claims are highly speculative, or just outright false, even outrageous, but at least they show some civility in making them. All too often however, these people, and others like them, never consider the consequences of their actions. By slandering the papacy the way they do, they leave millions of unsuspecting Protestants with the impression that Catholics follow the Antichrist, and millions more innocent Catholics with having to deal with more harmful propaganda against their Church, their leaders and their faith in general. It would seem that many of these pedallers of pope fiction, in their zeal to find the Biblical Antichrist, have forgotten a very important part of Scripture in the process...
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."
-- Exodus 20:16
Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of 'CatholicInTheOzarks.com -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'
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