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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 16

Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake --- Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS
Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake — Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS

Continuing on from chapter 15, where we saw seven angels given seven vials full of plagues of God’s wrath, in this chapter God commands the seven angels to go and pour out their vials of His wrath on the earth (v.1).  These vials, a final group of seven, result in a series of judgments upon the anti-Christ powers, the dragon, the beast, the image of the beast, the false prophet, and Babylon. These were seen to symbolise the world-power which found its embodiment in Rome, and then in its papal form. These suffer under the judgments of God.

Under the seven seals, old pagan Rome was judged and brought to an end. Under the seven trumpets, the Roman Empire in its new form was judged and its destruction symbolized. Hence, under the seven vials, we see symbolized a series of judgments, which weaken and destroy papal Rome; and, with the seventh vial, Babylon, the Great City, symbolising the Apostate Church, falls.

First Vial (v.2) – Poured out on the earth. Grievous sores (ulcers) afflict those who follow and worship the Papacy and have ‘the mark of the beast’.

The term ‘earth’ here as before symbolises people, and in particular the Roman world. The expression “the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshiped his image” refers to the supporters of the worldly power and spiritual claims of Rome. See v.13:14-18. Those who suffer are those who listen to the lamb-like dragon (v.13:11), the AntiChrist, the false spiritual power (v.13:14,15). An ulcer is not only a painful and dangerous sore, but is often malignant and foul with corruption. The term is often used to describe moral corruption, and the ulcers described may be moral or spiritual.

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 15

The overthrow of the great city Babylon was seen in chapter 14:8-10, but in chapters 15 and 16, the seven last plagues result in the judgment and wrath of God on the false Roman church system, the great whore. The chapter 14 gave us a summary largely of future events. Chapters 15 through 19 present those same events, but in more detail. These chapters (15-19) are all connected with the fall of spiritual Babylon.

The opening of the seventh seal (chapter 8) resulted in the triumph of Christianity over Roman Paganism. This was followed by seven trumpets (chapters 8 to 11) which led to the overthrow of the western Roman Empire by the Goths, Vandals and Huns, and the ruin of the Eastern Empire by the Saracens and Turks. The seventh trumpet, the last trumpet, takes us to the close of secular history with the trump of the Archangel.

Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake --- Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS
Seven Angels Pouring Vials of the Wrath of God upon the Earth by a British School Painter Influenced by William Blake — Image by © Burstein Collection/CORBIS

The seven vials (chapters 15,16) also give the history of an epoch, and, like each of the series of seven, bring us to the end of that epoch. They present the series of calamities that first weaken and then destroy the power of Papal Rome.

Chapter 15 opens with “And I saw another great sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels having the seven last plagues” (v.1). That is 7 angels with 7 plagues which are to be poured on the earth by use of 7 vials, but they don’t come out until verse 6. 

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Bible prophecy Book of Revelation The Papacy

Revelation 13

The last verse of chapter 12 (v.17) describes the future of the true Church, with the dragon continuing to make war with (to persecute) them so long as they uncompromisingly continue to follow the Word of God and maintain their testimony of faith alone in Jesus Christ.

In this chapter John describes his vision of a beast (v.1) that rises up out of the sea, which means out of the nations of peoples.  It is the same beast described in v. 12:3 which was there described as the “great red dragon”. This seven-head beast (see below) represents the last 4 major empires of man.

The kings or emperors of those kingdoms are represented with “the name of blasphemy” written on them, meaning that they claimed god-like status, which we know was not uncommon among kings, for example, Nebuchadnezzar did with his golden image in Daniel 3 decreeing all to worshop his image; Artaxerxes is described as king of kings (Ezra 7:12), because he ruled over conquered kings, this led to a god-like status; Alexander the Great, who asserted that he was the son of Jupiter Ammon (Greek god); and the Roman Emperors, who all claimed divine status and required men to worship their statues and to offer them sacrifices.

TheBeast
Seven-headed beast of Revelation 13:1,2. It incorporates the last 4 major kingdoms, Babylon (lion), Medo-Persia (bear), Greece (4-headed leopard) and Rome the dragon (4th beast). Refer Daniel 7:1-7. If the first 3 animals are real animals then what is the dragon? I suggest it was a dinosaur that was alive at the time of Daniel, or at least was known to them.

On one head, Rome, it had 10 horns (v.1). The 10 horns represent the 10 kingdoms that pagan Rome was divided into but in v. 12:3 there were only 7 crowns, which are seen on the heads of the beast. But here the 10 horns each have crowns—there are 10 crowns—and those crowns are diadems (Greek διάδημα diadema). Diadems are worn by the kings. So this beast is different from pagan Rome. It has evolved from pagan Rome but it is more ‘wonderful’ and more dangerous. This must mean 3 additional kingdoms were added to this final kingdom (the beast) which I believe is an indication of papal Rome consolidating its power after the 4th century AD.

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Book of Revelation The Papacy

Union with Rome, Chapter 2

unionwithrome

Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.
Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.

The following is excerpted from the book written by Christopher Wordsworth D.D., titled “Union with Rome: Is not the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?” Click on link to download a PDF of the whole book. Chapter 1 is here.

Chapter 2: Whether Babylon In The Apocalypse Is The Church Of Rome

We now advance a step further in the argument; and our present Inquiry is; Whether the Apocalyptic prophecies, which have been specified, refer to Rome in her spiritual as well as in her temporal character; that is, whether they concern her, not only as a City, but as a Church?

1. The Great City, the city on the Seven Hills, the City which in the age of St. John reigned over the Kings of the Earth, the mystical Babylon enthroned upon many waters, this, we have seen, is the City of Rome. And Rome it is acknowledged to be by the concurrent voice of the Christian Church in the age of St. John, and even to this day.

2. So strong, indeed, is the evidence of this identity, that the Divines of Papal Rome have not been able to resist it. It is enough to mention three most eminent among them, — Cardinal Bellarmine, Cardinal Baronius, and the famous French Bishop, Bossuet.

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Book of Revelation The Papacy

Union with Rome, Chapter 1

unionwithrome

Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.
Christopher Wordsworth, D.D.

The following is excerpted from the book written by Christopher Wordsworth D.D., titled “Union with Rome: Is not the Church of Rome the Babylon of the Book of Revelation?” Click on link to download a PDF of the whole book.

Chapter 1: Whether Babylon in the Apocalypse is the city of Rome.

The subject of our Inquiry is:–

Whether the Prophecies in the Apocalypse (Chapters 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19), or Revelation of St. John, respecting Babylon, concern Rome as she now is?

This Question divides itself into two parts;

First; Do these prophecies concern the City in which the Bishop of Rome holds his See?

Secondly; Do these prophecies concern that City in her spiritual as well as her temporal character; that is, do they concern her as a Church, as well as a City? And as exercising power, not merely at Rome and in Italy, but in many other countries, and over many other nations, of the world?

Let us begin with the consideration of the former of these two questions, Do these prophecies concern the City of Rome?

Categories
Bible prophecy Church History

Revelation 6

The last chapter described the throne room in heaven where we saw the book with seven seals given to the Lamb.  Only the Lamb of God was able to open the seals, resulting in the events which were foretold from John’s time on, as the pages of the book were opened. These seals were opened in succession and with the opening of each seal John saw and recorded an impressive vision. No system of interpretation that doesn’t represent these as chronologically successive events is reasonable. The vision following the opening of the first seal must portray a period of events nearest to the time of John, and the rest follow in order describing the history of the church and of the fate of the world.

The first four seals, that follow here, are all similar in their imagery and can only be reasonably explained as symbolic references to events in the history of the fall of the Roman Empire. The Horsemen are not representative of individuals, but of great epochs, periods in history.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - Conquest, War, Famine & Death, an 1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov. The Lamb is visible at the top. Credit
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Conquest, War, Famine & Death, an 1887 painting by Victor Vasnetsov. The Lamb is visible at the top. Credit: Wikipedia

The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, opens the first seal (v.1)

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Biblical doctrines Trials and temptations worldview

Return to Paganism?

Abortion1In the Greco-Roman world the use of ‘medicine men’ (pharmakai) was common for the poisoning of your political opponents, inducement of paranormal experiences and obtaining toxic herbs to induce abortions.

Poisonous herbs were used to induce abortions. Such a practice, in part, led to the downfall of the Roman Empire

“Abortion may not have been easy or safe for a woman in ancient times, but it was nevertheless widely practiced… The declines in population of the Roman Empire at the time of Augustus and again after Hadrian were probably due in part to such action by both rich and poor.” — Michael J. Gorman, Abortion & the Early Church (1982)

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Church History The Papacy

The New Holy Roman Empire

popecover0928On September 28, Time magazine featured Pope Francis’ visit to the United States with the headline “Pope Francis and the New Roman Empire.” The first paragraph of the article read,1

From Cuba to climate change, he has revitalized the Vatican’s role in global diplomacy. Now he’s bringing his activist agenda to the U.S.

In 1796 the Holy Roman Empire was defeated and subjugated under the conquest of Napoleon Bonaparte. General Berthier marched into Rome unopposed on February 10, 1798, and proclaimed a Roman Republic. He demanded the pope renounce all his temporal power.  Papal lands were confiscated and the power of the popes greatly diminished. But the Papacy was only temporarily “wounded” and since that time has continued to recover from that major defeat.  At the Congress of Vienna (1814–1815) the Papal States were largely restored. The Jesuits were restored and the Inquisition was revived.

Categories
Bible prophecy The Papacy the Reformation Witnessing

Daniel 12 prophecy

The Time of the End?

This chapter is a continuation of the previous two chapters of Daniel. It should be read as a single unit with Daniel 10 and 11. The Scripture continues on from there, from the trouble, the great trouble that Jacob (the Jews) experienced when the Romans moved into the Holy Land. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, but those who heeded Jesus’ warnings (Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13) and fled out of Judaea managed to escape the tribulation. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

I was taught that this chapter (Daniel 12) applied to the last days of the End-time just before and through period of the return of Christ, under the futurist interpretation. But where did chapter 11 end? It was with the rise of the pagan Roman power, its dominance in Judaea, and at the end it gave allusions to the Papacy and the Latin Roman Church that followed it.

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Bible prophecy The Papacy worldview

Daniel 2 prophecy

This dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire, provides the background to all the following dreams and visions given in the book of Daniel. In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream, which he forgot when he woke, so he called his magicians, and astrologers, and sorcerers, to not only tell him the dream but also to interpret the dream. They couldn’t and he planned to kill all those co-called wise men. But Daniel, a captive in his courts, was recommended to interpret the dream. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar by the king, was considered the wisest of all the wise men in Babylon. This is because the Spirit of God was with him.

Daniel 5:11,12 There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father [grandfather] light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar your father, the king, I say, your father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;  12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Daniel said to the king,