Even though the Roman Church flourished during the 1260-year period, Revelation 13:3 tells us that the beast would indeed suffer a deadly wound, and this prophecy was exactly fulfilled in the year of 1798. "In 1798, 1260 years later [from 538], the pope was taken into captivity and the Catholic Church was dealt a mortal blow. It happened just as Revelation had foretold, with remarkable accuracy.....During the French Revolution and under orders from the revolutionary French government, General Alexander Berthier [one of Napoleon's generals] issued a proclamation in Rome on February 15, 1798, informing Pope Plus VI and the people of Rome that the pope should no longer 'exercise any function.' " (God Cares, Vol.2, p.328). "Napoleon had dethroned the Pope, because the Pontiffs found themselves alone, the sole fountains of order, peace, law, and safety" in Western Europe. (The Temporal Power of the Vicar of Christ, p.27). In 1798, Napoleon intended that there would never be another pope. "The Papacy was extinct: not a vestige of its existence remained; and among all the Roman Catholic powers not a finger was stirred in its defense. The Eternal City had no longer prince or Pontiff, its bishop was a dying captive in foreign lands; and the decree was already announced that no successor would be allowed in his place." (Rome: From the Fall of the Western Empire, p. 440). In other words, a deadly wound was inflicted upon the beast power, just as the Bible prophesied: "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death." (Rev. 13:3a). But, that was not the end of the story, for the second part of the Scripture prophesied: "and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast." (Rev. 13:3b).
But even during the 1260-year papal oppression, when the "woman," God's true church, suffered tremendous persecution, God "nourished," or cared for His children. "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth." (Rev. 12:14-16).
In Revelation 12:14, God preserves the woman from being swept away by providing her with "two wings of a great eagle" - an appropriate symbol of God's paternal care for His children. When the Israelites escaped from Egyptian slavery, Moses said that God had carried them on "eagles' wings." (Exodus 19:4). In Psalm 91:4, we read: "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust." And in Deuteronomy 32:9-12: "The Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him." Many Christians suffered under the "flood" of persecution that was cast out of the serpent's mouth, but the "earth helped the woman" by providing naturally protected and uninhabited areas for her safety. Many Christians fled to such places as the mountain valleys of the Alps, to the mountains themselves, and to the sparsely populated British colonies in North America. And, besides, this raises an important question: Why would Mary, during the 1260 years, flee into the wildemess from the papacy, when the Roman Catholic Church is the one who had set her up as one to be worshipped? Why would they want to destroy her - a pillar in their system of worship? How, then, could the Virgin Mary be the "woman:' who had fled for 1260 years into the wilderness for her safety? Furthermore, when did the literal Mary have any experience of being persecuted and driven into the wildemess by the dragon in the period of her life after the ascension of her Son Jesus? The Virgin Mary simply does not fit!
On the other hand, Satan is relentless in his fury to destroy God's true church, and will not cease his attempt to annihilate every true Christian. Frantic with frustration for failing to destroy the true church during the 1260 years, Satan, in these end times, directs his bitter attacks against the "remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus." (Revelation 12:17). Friends, Satan will use any means he can to accomplish his goal to deceive the very elect - be it the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church, or even the spiritualistic appearances of the "Virgin Mary."
"The Catholic Church is avowedly Roman. Its official name today, as it has been throughout most of its long history, is The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Rome" (God Cares, Vol.2, p.327) Again, Revelation 13:2 says that "the dragon [in this case, the Roman Empire through whom Satan was working] gave him [the Roman Catholic Church with the pope at the head] his power, and his seat [or throne], and great authority."
"A throne is a symbol of authority. But because this passage already contains the words 'power' and 'authority,' we expect 'throne' here to convey a more literal meaning. Basically, a throne is a place where an important person sits. Other words for throne are the Greek cathedre, and the Latin sedes, which shows up in the English as see. In the Catholic Church, the building in which a bishop's throne (or cathedral is located is called his 'cathedral.' The city in which his throne is located is called his 'see.' The ultimate see in Catholicism is the Holy See, the city where the Pope's throne is located. This city is Rome," (Ibid.). "Specifically, since the Treaty of the Lateran with Italy, the Holy See has been Vatican City, a 108.7-acre tract on Vatican Hill, lying wholly within the city of Rome." (Ibid., footnote). Furthermore, Revelation 17:9 reveals another identifying feature of the great "whore" of Bible prophecy: "And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth." One Catholic resource acknowledges the following: "It is within the city of Rome, called The City on Seven Hills, that the entire area of Vatican State Proper is now confined." (The Catholic Encyclopedia, p.529). It should also be noted that the name Vatican comes from the Latin words Vatis, which means diviner, and can, which means serpent. The name Vatican, therefore, is literally interpreted - The Divining Serpent. In fact, there are serpent door handles on the doors of the new St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco, and a large papal crest in the Vatican museum features a dragon! Serpent crosiers were commonly carried by bishops and high Catholic Church officials during the Middle Ages.
The Book of Isaiah tells us that Satan's ultimate desire and purpose in life is to usurp God's throne: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my fhrone above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14). I am so grateful for the next verse that reveals the fate of the devil: "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell [the grave], to the sides of the pit." (Isaiah 14:15). Do you not think that Satan could be working through the Pope of Rome, who claims to have the power of God on earth? Paul knew that this power would arise, and wrote about it in his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians: "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come [the second coming of Christ], except there come a falling away first [an apostasy from within God's church - from the Greek word, apostasia, in this case an outgrowth known as the church of Rome], and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" (2.Thessalonians 2:3-5). If people would only study their Bibles the way it instructs them to, by taking "precept upon precept; line upon line...here a little and there a little" (Isa. 28: 10), in other words, by comparing Scripture with Scripture, they would find the truth through the Holy Spirit's guidance.
According to the prophecy of Revelation 13:3, the deadly blow would not kill, but only wound, the Catholic Church, and surely one has to acknowledge that his "deadly wound" is healing. History tells us that in 1801, Napoleon signed a "concordat," or church-state treaty, with a new Pope. "On the other hand, in 1870 the newly emerging nation of Italy deepened the church's woes for a while by taking away the Papal States, a considerable portion of the Italian peninsula, which the church had owned for centuries....But in 1929 Mussolini signed a concordat granting the pope full authority over the State of Vatican City, 108.7 acres in Rome which includes St. Peter's Cathedral." (God Cares, Vol.2, p.346). The Vatican had put Mussolini into power, and now Mussolini reciprocated by making the Roman Catholic Church the sole religion in all Italy and giving her 750 million lire in cash and one billion in state bonds.
Ever since 1929 the wound has been healing rapidly. Protestant America, which was built upon the separation of church and state and which had once loudly protested [the word Protestant originated from the people's "protest" against Catholicism] the establishment of the papal power in this country, now welcomes her with open arms. Times have certainly changed, and even America is "wondering" after the beast! In 1951 President Harry Truman asked the Senate to approve his nomination of an ambassador to the State of Vatican City, and America was plunged into a vortex of agony and protest. Truman finally withdrew his request after "hardly a Protestant church in the country failed to express its opposition formally and often acrimoniously." (Church State and Freedom, p. 302). More recently, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan's nomination of William A. Wilson as ambassador to Vatican City was quickly approved by the Senate, 81-13. At this critical time, only a few voices were heard worrying about church and state. The next event was unbelievable because of the swiftness with which it happened and the players involved. This event was the demise of Communism in Poland through the conspiring efforts of President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, as featured on the front cover of Time on Feb. 24, 1992. [Friends, is this a fulfillment of the prophecy that the "whore" would commit "fornication" with the "the kings of the earth"? (See Rev. 17:1, 2) The Vatican is a religio-political system whose aim is to control the world!] Then, in a Special Double Issue of Time for December 26, 1994/January 2,1995, John Paul II was featured once again on its cover as "The Man of the Year." Unbelievable! How I wondered what the world's reaction would have been had the number one news weekly printed instead the pope's true alias as given by the Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians - "The Man of Sin." (2.Thess. 2:3). This issue of Time was released only two and a half months after the October 9, 1995, issue of U.S. News which also featured Pope John Paul II on its cover. The caption on their cover read: "Honor thy father." Here was another blasphemous statement published by another major U.S. periodical in the United States. Has Protestant America forgotten that the Bible clearly says: "Call no man your [spiritual] father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven." (Matt. 23:9). Did you know that according to the doctrines of the Catholic Church your spiritual "Father" is the pope of Rome and your spiritual "Mother" is the Virgin Mary? A Catholic Catechism declares: "The Pope is the spiritual Father of all Christians" and "The Blessed Virgin Mary is our Mother also because, being the brethren of Jesus, we are the children of Mary." (A Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, pp. 15, 27). I find it quite interesting that the American edition of this book was originally published in 1973 by Marian Publications!
Faithful Protestants, where are the Reformers today? Not only does the Protestant Reformation seem to be a thing of the past, but the churches of the world are uniting on common points of faith, and Mary could be the one to further "heal" the wound of many years. After all, "Pope John Paul II prays every day to the virgin, whom he credits with saving his life." (Life, Dec., 1996, p. 48). "At a certain moment on May 13, 1981, during an open-air papal audience in St. Peter's Square, in the presence of some 75,000 people and before the eyes of an estimated 11 million television viewers, Pope John Paul spied a little girl wearing a small picture of Christ's Mother of Our Lady of Fatima. Just as he bent from his slow moving "popemobile" in a spontaneous gesture to the child, hired assassin Mehmet Ali Agca squeezed off two bullets, aimed precisely where his head had been. As two pilgrims fell wounded to the ground, two more shots rang out, and this time John Paul's blood stained his white papal cassock." (The Keys of his Blood, p. 46). "On May 13, 1992 [and again in 1994], John Paul II went to Fatima where he thanked Our Lady of Fatima for sparing his life in the 1981 assassination attempt." (The Thunder of Justice, p. 151). "Nor is anyone more devoted to Mary. John Paul II, who has 'dedicated himself and his Pontificate to Our Lady' bears the M for Mary in his coat of arms; his personal motto, embroidered on the inside of his robes in Latin, is totus tuus sum Maria (Mary, I'm all yours)." (A Woman Rides the Beast, p. 459).
"Moreover, John Paul is firmly convinced, as are many others, that Mary brought an end to communism throughout Europe. His faith is rooted in the famed prophecies of Mary at Fatima in 1917. According to Sister Lucia, one of the children who claimed to see her, the Virgin predicted the rise of Soviet totalitarianism before it happened. In a subsequent vision, she directed the Pope and his bishops to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart in order to bring communism to an end.
"According to Lucia, papal attempts to carry out that consecration failed in 1942,'52, and '82. John Paul finally carried out Mary's directive in 1984 - and the very next year Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power inaugurated the Soviet collapse. Says Father Robert Fox of the Fatima Family Shrine in Alexandria, S. Dak.: 'The world will recognize in due time that the defeat of communism came at the intercession of the mother of Jesus.'" (Time, Dec., 30, 1991,pp. 64, 65). In fact, the former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, called Pope John Paul II "the highest authority on earth." Amazing words, coming from the ex-leader of communist Russia!
John Paul II is currently leading the greatest ecumenical movement in history in order to unite all religions under Rome's leadership. On October 27, 1986, the pope gathered in Assisi, Italy, the leaders of the world's major religions to pray for peace. Included in the group were snake worshippers, Buddhists, Moslems, Hindus, Spiritists, and North American witch doctors. The pope said they were all praying to the same god, and their prayers were "creating a spiritual energy that was bringing about a new climate for peace." A prophesied World Religion (see Rev 13:3, 4, 12; 17:12 -14) is being formed before our eyes, and the Vatican is the headquarters of the new movement. Is this not "spiritual fornication"?
As stated earlier, the Apostle Paul saw "creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy. Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, 'the mystery of iniquity' carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ."
"This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of 'the man of sin' foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power - a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will."
"...Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. It was by the Word that even the Saviour of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, 'It is written.' To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the Word. In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Bible would exalt God and place finite men in their true position; therefore its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed. This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state....To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images [statues of the Virgin Mary] and relies was gradually introduced into the Christian worship." (The Great Controversy, pp. 49-52).
[previous chapter] [back to index] [next chapter]