Skip to comments.A New Year's Warning
Posted on 01/03/2014 6:31:09 AM PST by NYer
|Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887|
As I said in my last article in the previous year, I live in two worlds. I am an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism. I am fully orthodox as a Catholic and fully submit to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. At the same time however, I was once an Evangelical Protestant, and I come from a family that his been Protestant for literally 500 years. I cannot deny my roots or pretend they don't exist. If I lived in a Catholic country, or in a more Catholic region of the United States, it might be a bit more easy to distance myself from my past. However, I live in the Ozark mountains of Southern Missouri, which is well within America's "Bible Belt," the Evangelical Protestant heartland of the United States. My family history is steeped in Protestant tradition (five centuries worth!), and I am completely surrounded by it as well. Whether it be at dinners with my extended family, a typical day at work, or just shopping down town, I am reminded of it by various conversations, both overheard and engaged in. I turn on the television and it is there. I flip the knob on the radio, and it is there. I drive down the highway and it is there on the billboards and church signs, even on the bumper stickers on the car in front of me. I am constantly reminded. There is no escaping it. So I choose to just deal with it, hence the reason for these blog articles. I hope these writings will benefit my readers in one way or another.
I wish to write a disclaimer here. When talking about these matters, some might get the false impression that I am complaining about Evangelicalism, or the highly Evangelical area in which I live. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the dense Evangelical population is one of the reasons why my family decided to move to the Ozarks to begin with, and one of the reasons why I have not left. For the time being anyway, this religious demographic has provided a relatively safe refuge from the corrosive effects of modern Secularism on Western Civilisation. The stubborn Evangelical resistance to the militant Left-wing social trends now dominating the United States and Canada is a breath of fresh air, and an example I can only hope and pray Catholics will soon emulate.
Today however, I am writing a warning to all of my regular readers, and anyone else interested. This warning goes out not only to fellow Catholics, but most especially to any Evangelical who is willing to listen. 2014 (and 2015 for that matter) is going to be a very strange year for Western Christianity, especially in the United States. Evangelical Christians are really deep into Biblical prophecy, namely because they are eagerly awaiting the Biblical end times and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Most of them are eagerly awaiting an event called "The Rapture" as well, which I have written about extensively HERE, as well as why I don't believe in it, nor should any good Catholic. The fact that Evangelicals eagerly await the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is not a problem at all. Catholics should be eagerly awaiting that too. The problem with Evangelicals is their narrative of how this is supposed to happen, and I believe it is this very narrative that is about to get them into a whole lot of theological problems.
The Evangelical end-times narrative is based on the Dispensationalist theology of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), which was later popularised by the Scofield Reference Bible. I explained all of this HERE in my previous post on the Rapture and why I don't believe in it. Because of this narrative, an entire eschatological (last things) belief system has developed which is wrapped around the headlines in the news. Usually, Evangelicals are very particular about using only Biblical sources for their belief system, but I think their willingness to reach out into the headlines of the news, as a means of validating their Dispensational eschatology models, has led them into a trap. Within the headlines of the news are some obscure "prophecies" from various sources that are unconfirmed or non-Christian in nature. Because these "prophecies" have hit the news, they become fodder for Evangelicals to validate their belief system. That's not a very good thing, for them, because what they don't realise is that they are right now in the process of painting themselves into a very small corner. It is a corner from which they will not escape without having to eventually disavow their Dispenastional belief system, and quite probably lose a whole lot of followers in the process. I am deeply concerned about the faith of these Christians, and while I see the coming years as an opportunity for Catholics to introduce sound religion to them, I fear that a great many will instead walk away from religion entirely.
For background on how the Evangelical end-times belief system usually works, if you are unfamiliar with it, please see my article on The Rapture and why I don't believe in it, then come back and read this article.
Here is where the trouble begins. Two events have come together in the headlines of the news, and the third is about to make a conjunction. All of these events have great meaning to Evangelicals, and I believe it will be impossible for them to ignore. The first event is astronomical in nature. Over the next two years (2014-2015) there will be four blood moons which will all coincide with major Jewish feasts. A blood moon is a lunar eclipse, which turns the moon blood red for a brief period of time during the height of the eclipse. These blood moons occur on the Jewish Passovers on April 15, 2014, and April 4, 2015, and the Feasts of Tabernacles on Oct. 8, 2014, and Sept. 28, 2015. Okay, now there are two things I want to say about this. First, while this is quite an occurrence, and may have some significant meaning to the Jewish people, particularly those in Israel/Palestine, it is not as big of a coincidence as one might think. The Jewish calendar, and by extension most Jewish feasts, are based on a lunar calendar. Most of these feasts, particularly those from a Mosaic source, are designed to coincide with full moons. They always coincide with full moons. Now it just so happens that it is inevitable that some of those full moons will end up becoming blood moons, simply because of the nature of the lunar and solar cycles. It is highly unusual for such blood moons to occur on four consecutive Jewish feasts like this, but it is predictable and quite natural, based on modern astronomical knowledge. Does this bid some kind of omen for the Jewish people, particularly those in Israel/Palestine? Only God knows the answer to that right now, and history will be the judge in the long run. I don't exclude this possibility, since the Jewish God (who is also the Christian God) is the God of nature, and he often uses natural things to send us supernatural messages. So we will just have to wait and see on that one. The phenomenon of the four blood moons may actually have some significant relevance but only time will tell. The problem here is not astronomy, nor the Jewish calendar, nor the possibility that God might use this natural event to send a supernatural message to his first covenant people -- the Jews. The problem comes with the way the Evangelical narrative interprets these events. I will elaborate below.
The second event has to do with last year's resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the conclave election of Pope Francis, along with the many controversial statements he has made since then. As I said above, Evangelicals reach out to headlines in the news to validate their Dispensational belief system about the end times. When Pope Benedict XVI announced his coming resignation on February 11, 2013, the world was shocked. Equally shocking was the two lightning bolts that struck the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica that night in a thunderstorm that swept over Rome. Now the fact that lightning struck the Vatican is not unusual in and of itself. The dome of Saint Peter's is one of the highest structures in Rome, and it is fitted with a lightning rod at the top as most tall buildings are. Lighting strikes the dome of Saint Peter's quite often actually, as one would expect with any high structure fitted with lightning rod. The Empire State Building in New York City is struck by lightning constantly. So is the Washington Monument in Washington DC, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and so forth. The list goes on and on. So it's not unusual for lightning to strike Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, however, it could be said that this might possibly be a sign from God, considering the day in which it happened, and the shocking news that came from the Chair of Peter that day. Again, God is the God of nature, and he can (and does) sometimes use natural things to send us supernatural messages. If this is a message from God, it remains to be seen what it means, but the problem is not that Evangelicals think this might have meaning. The problem comes with the way the Evangelical narrative interprets these events. I will elaborate below.
The third event has not yet happened, but it will happen very soon. It has to do with the death of Ariel Sharon, the former prime minister of Israel. Mr. Sharon had a severe stroke on January 4, 2006. He has been in a coma ever since. As of today (January 2, 2014) he is still alive, but recent news reports tell us he is going into kidney failure. Now with modern dialysis techniques, Mr. Sharon can still be kept alive for a very long time. However, because of his advance age, and seemingly hopeless medical condition, it is likely that dialysis will be decided against, making his death a very near thing. Why is this important? Because if you happen to be a certain kind of Orthodox Jew, or an Evangelical Protestant who subscribes to Dispensationalism, this could be a very important prophetic signal in world history. As it turns out, a certain popular rabbi in Israel/Palestine, who is regarded by many to be a prophet, has made a several predictions that many of his followers swear by, and two predictions most recently that have turned the Orthodox Jewish world in Israel/Palestine upside-down.
Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri died on January 28, 2006 at the age of 108. He was probably the most popular rabbi in Israel/Palestine. Before his death he made two startling predictions. The first was that he had seen the Messiah in dreams and that he knew who the Messiah is. He said the Messiah is in Israel/Palestine right now, and that he will be revealed, shortly, after the death of Ariel Sharon. Now remember, Ariel Sharon had a crippling stroke within just a few weeks of this rabbi's death, and everyone at that time thought his death was eminent. Then, the rabbi said he had written the name of the Messiah in code, and placed it in a sealed envelope, to be opened one year after his death. The note reads as follows...
Concerning the letter abbreviation of the Messiah’s name, He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.
This I have signed in the month of mercy,The name of the Messiah is interpreted from the Hebrew sentence...
He will lift the people and prove that his word and law are valid.From this sentence a single name is decoded, the name יהושוע, or Yehoshua, or "Joshua" from Hebrew to English directly, commonly translated from Hebrew, to Greek, to English as "Jesus." It would appear the rabbi understood the profound implication of this name, and what it would mean to his followers and the world, which is why he ordered that it not be revealed until one year after his death. Was Rabbi Kaduri a secret Christian? That is highly speculative. Rabbi Kaduri was an expert on the Talmud, which is in extreme opposition to the Christian message that Jesus of Nazereth is the promised Messiah. He was also a Kabbalist, meaning he practised Jewish occultism and numerology. Still, this has led many Evangelical Dispensationalists to believe Rabbi Kaduri predicted the second coming of Jesus Christ, sometime "soon" after the death of Ariel Sharon. I know this sounds fantastic, but you have to understand, Evangelicals who subscribe to Dispensationalism, and nearly all of them do, look for validation of their Dispesationalist belief system in the headlines of the news. A few of them were cued in on this alleged prophecy since 2006, but now that Ariel Sharon is nearing death, and as his passing hits the headlines of the news, we can expect Evangelicals to focus in on this alleged prophecy like a laser beam. This is because if validates their belief that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will happen very soon (within a few years probably), and the astronomical sign of the four blood moons coincides with this likelihood.
Yarim Ha’Am Veyokhiakh Shedvaro Vetorato Omdim
ירים העם ויוכיח שדברו ותורתו עומדים
“It is hard for many good people in the society to understand the person of the Messiah. The leadership and order of a Messiah of flesh and blood is hard to accept for many in the nation. As leader, the Messiah will not hold any office, but will be among the people and use the media to communicate. His reign will be pure and without personal or political desire. During his dominion, only righteousness and truth will reign.
“Will all believe in the Messiah right away? No, in the beginning some of us will believe in him and some not. It will be easier for non-religious people to follow the Messiah than for Orthodox people.
“The revelation of the Messiah will be fulfilled in two stages: First, he will actively confirm his position as Messiah without knowing himself that he is the Messiah. Then he will reveal himself to some Jews, not necessarily to wise Torah scholars. It can be even simple people. Only then he will reveal himself to the whole nation. The people will wonder and say: ‘What, that’s the Messiah?’ Many have known his name but have not believed that he is the Messiah.”
sourceOkay, any orthodox and practical Catholic, along with most Protestants, most especially Evangelicals, should be able to see some glaring problems with this description of the Messiah. Jesus said quite plainly that his Second Coming will not happen this way. In fact, he warned against anyone who suggested that he would return in any way other than what he foretold, which was a dramatic and supernatural reappearing in the heavens, that the whole world will witness simultaneously (Matthew 24:23-35 & Luke 21:25-36) and this was echoed by his apostles (Acts 1:10-11, 1st Corinthians 15:40-54, 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18, Colossians 3:4, 2nd Peter 3:10, Revelation 1:7). So if we are to believe the above account of this supposed Messiah, that is soon to come to the Holy Land, then we know it cannot be Jesus Christ, even if the name "Jesus" or "Joshua" was allegedly penned by the late Rabbi Yitzhak Kaduri. Suppose some man named "Jesus" or "Joshua" does appear in Israel some time after Ariel Sharon's death, we Christians can know with certainty that this is NOT Jesus Christ, nor is it the real Messiah of any kind, not for the Jews and not for anyone else. For the Christian profession of faith is plain and clear. There is only one Messiah, and his name is Jesus Christ. There are those who wrongly say that Jesus Christ may have been the Messiah for the Gentiles but not for the Jews. Yet the Christian profession of faith plainly states that if Jesus Christ is not the Jewish Messiah, then he is no body's Messiah, because there is only one Messiah -- period. It's all or nothing folks. Jesus is the one and only promised Messiah from the Old Testament, or he is nobody, plain and simple. The fact that the majority of Jews throughout history have rejected him changes absolutely nothing. They can look for another Messiah all they want, and even prophecy about one, and it changes nothing.
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.
From CATHOLICISM FOR PROTESTANTS by Shane SchaetzelSo get ready folks, the next few years are going to be a wild ride. Protestant anti-Catholicism is not dead yet. In fact, I'm predicting that over the next few years it will rear it's ugly head (particularly in America) in a way not seen since the early 1800s with the "Know-Nothing Party." This time however, there will be no secrets. It will be "out and proud," like some other anti-Catholic movements that have become popular in recent years. The venom that will be spewed against the pope, and the Catholic Church, will be of greater volume and intensity than anything in recent memory. They will not espouse hatred toward Catholic people. (These people are not haters. They're just paranoid.) Rather, they will espouse love and compassion for "poor Catholic souls" who in their view must be liberated from the "Great Whore of Babylon" which is the Catholic Church, and the "Antichrist" or "False Prophet" which is the pope. I suspect that more than a few Catholics will succumb to this rhetoric. Please take care to make sure nobody from your family does.
Bookmark for later. Gotta shovel snow...
I was never in that camp and as a matter of fact, I haven't heard 'the Pope is the anti-christ' talk since the 80's.
I think Catholics are getting nervous.
Catholicism painted itself into a corner long ago by its insistence that the Jews would never return to Israel. And now they've painted themselves into a corner by their enthusiastic endorsement of higher criticism and evolutionism.
With "admirers" like this, Evangelicals don't need any enemies. And almost all Catholics seem to fit into this category.
Someone explain to me again why Jewish ecumaniacs love these anti-Semitic Catholics so much while disdaining philo-Semitic evangelicals???
If I were to state my opinion of this miserable wretch my post would be pulled.
The Commissioning of the Disciples.*
f The eleven* disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.
* When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.
* g Then Jesus approached and said to them, All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
h Go, therefore,* and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
i teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.* And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.
Who are the anti-semitic catholics?
Thank-you and bookmarked the orginal source. Hope the writer has better weather in his end of the woods. Cold and snow laden here in CT.
Um, the people who call it "Israel/Palestine" and who say the Jewish Messiah is the "anti-christ???"
When have you ever heard a Fundamentalist Protestant every say such a thing?
Really, I find it difficult to believe that you can't understand why the author's smarmy attitude is so offensive.
Please tell me that you don't call it "Israel/Palestine" and that you believe the Jewish Messiah is "antichrist." How is that any less offensive than the Protestants calling the Pope antichrist?"
I was just refering about the weather, that is all. Nothing to worry about.
Maybe this is a warning to those Christians who use the Bible only and current events as their sources?
Let me tell you that “the pope is the antichrist” is alive and well! In way too many churches, in fact. A few years back, I was driving a van full of friends and family to a (undisclosed) shopping trip. One person in the van spoke up and stated that the Pope, which was John Paul II, was the Antichrist, spoken of in the Bible. Next to me was a very good friend, a devout Catholic, who was almost in shock. I quickly said that I, too, had grown up being taught that, but since about age 35/36 had come to my senses and through vigilant study, had come to disavow that belief. I gave a lot of experiences over the years and talked about how I had evolved from that teaching to the one pretty much the same as this one.
I agree with the writer that there are quite a few Americans who still believe this stuff and they are going to wonder about their faith...is it Truth? When your belief system is based on the teachings of men, your faith will be sorely tried. Jesus alluded to those teachers who had made THEIR traditions more important than the Torah and He was quite frank with them.
I know that this dispensational teaching has somewhat diminished over the years, but I also know that if you talk to some about anything different than the status quo, you are scorned, called a heretic, left alone. I have family members that would take up a gun and shoot me over this, say I was a heretic. That is how deeply some adhere to it. I’m glad that is changing, but I feel that Christ, Himself, addressed this when He stated that the “love” of many would become cold, that there would be those who persecute others in the name of the Lord, thinking they are doing Him a service, and while I believe this applies mostly to Muslims today, I believe it also applies to those who have come to faith on the teachings of men (believing them to be Truth) and they will become more intolerant of those with differing views. Does Westboro Baptist Church ring a bell?
I haven't been around that kind of preaching or Christian in a very long time.
Scripture warns us not to be preoccupied with knowing when the last days are coming.