Prophetic Insight and the Pope's Visit

Comparisons between the Spirit of Prophecy and recent news statements, compiled by A. Leroy Moore.

A. Leroy Moore is the coordinator of native American work for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

While comparing the following significant press statements with brief prophetic glimpses, the reader should re member that "God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out. " —The Great Controversy, p. 604. These people undoubtedly include high-principled men and women who, burdened over unmet material and spiritual needs, now actively participate in a movement appearing to offer practical solutions. The integrity of motiveseven the Pope'smust be left to the One who alone can read hearts. Nevertheless, as faithful watchmen, we must sound a warning concerning those things soon to break upon the world.

As hearts and minds are being drawn into a union supernaturally designed to plunge the world into a final conflict between good and evil, we do well to ponder the significance of the Pope's plea, that "'every individual Christian search his or her heart to see what may obstruct the attainment of full union among Christians.'" As a false union gathers momentum, let us diligently search our own hearts to discover any thing that prevents the divine purpose to unite the hearts of the remnant prior to the loud cry and latter rain. A knowledge of the issues today should remind us that "the final movements will be rapid ones" (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 11) and cause us to focus our eyes upon "Christ our Righteousness" in preparation for His coming.

 

"ALL THE WORLD WONDERED AFTER THE BEAST"

"The influence of Rome in the countries that once acknowledged her dominion is still far from being destroyed. And prophecy foretells a restoration of her power. 'I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed; and all the world wondered after the beast.'" —The Great Controversy, p. 579.

"Greatness and importance" of UN appearance. "'Tomorrow I shall have the honor, as guest of the United Nations ... to make a plea to the whole world for justice and peace. ... I am conscious of the greatness and importance of the challenge that this invitation brings with it. I have been convinced from the very first that this invitation by the UN should be accepted by me as Bishop of Rome and pastor of the universal church of Christ.'" —New York Times, Oct. 2, 1979.

UN speech. "'The formal reason for my intervention today is ... the special bond of cooperation that links the Apostolic See with the United Nations. . . . This confidence and conviction ... is the result. . . not of merely political [reasons but of] the religious and moral character of the mission of the Roman Catholic Church. This is the real reason . . . for my presence among you. ... I wish above all to send my greetings to all the men and women living on this planet, to every man and every woman without any exception whatever.'"—Ibid., Oct. 3, 1979.

Arab-Israeli arbiter? '"It is my fer vent hope that a solution, also, to the Middle East crisis may draw nearer.'" "The Pontiff did not go so far as to say he favored creation of a Palestinian state, . . . but he came close." —Ibid.

One Arab's response. '"I am a Moslem, not a Christian, but I like him be cause I see peace in his face.'" —Washington Post, Oct. 7, 1979.

Arrival on Yom Kippur is symbolic. "There is more than a surface symbol ism in the fact of Pope John Paul II's arrival in the United States on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most solemn day in the Jewish year. For on Yom Kippur, a day of fasting, repentance, and renewal of hope, the Jewish people throughout the world articulate their deepest values and aspirations for the redemption of the Jewish people . . . and of the entire human family." —Rabbi Marc H. Taneiibaum, National Interreligious Affairs director, American Jewish Community, in Religious News Service release, Sept. 25, 1979.

East and West bridge? "His return to his native Poland last June, as the first Pope ever to visit the Communist world, was regarded by church and political observers alike as a major breakthrough. ... A stickler for follow-up, John Paul has since given fresh direction to the Vatican's 15-year-old program of Ostpolitik dialogue with Communist governments." —U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 8, 1979.

COMPROMISES AND CONCESSIONS

"Protestants have . . . made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see and fail to understand. Men are closing their eyes to the real character of Romanism and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy."The Great Controversy, p. 566.

"Romanism is now regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. In those countries where Catholicism is not in the ascendancy, and the papists are taking a conciliatory course in order to gain influence, there is an in creasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome."—Ibid., p. 563.

How far we've come. "At the pontiff's request, more than 200 leaders of other Christian bodies gathered here in the Trinity College chapel to pray with him for continued progress in lowering the barriers that separate Christians of differing traditions. . . . 'One couldn't help but be moved that here was a pope singing with Protestants a Calvinist hymn—and a hymn of Charles Wesley,' observed Claire Randall, general secretary of the National Council of Churches. "This was a witness of how far we have come.'" —Washington Post, Oct. 8, 1979.

Politicians bow to Pope. "Politicians vied to be seen bowing to the Pope." —New York Times, Oct. 2, 1979.

Carter hopes for cure. "You have to go back nineteen years, to September 12, 1960, and John Kennedy's appearance before the Protestant ministers in Houston to see how much things have changed. ... A visit from the Pope would have been an unthinkable catastrophe. But his Presidency and the pa pacy of John XXIII, the beguiling revolutionary, transformed the landscape. . . . Now comes John Paul II, the first Polish pope in history, and one year after his surprise election, a fixed and brilliant star in the world firmament who pro poses to spend seven full days in our midst. Politicians are scrambling to receive him. The mayors of six cities are feverishly planning for observances that will practically close down their cities. The born-again Baptist in the White House is looking forward with the keen est enthusiasm to entertaining the Pope at the White House hoping that the Pope's blessing may cure him of the wasting political disease from which he suffers."—Washington Star, Sept. 18, 1979.

MOST OPPORTUNE TIME

"Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis." Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 13.

Inability to govern. "Commentators quickly measured the Pope's appeal against that of the country's secular leadership. The New York Times' James Reston wrote of the doubts in Washing ton about the ability to govern at all." Newsweek, Oct. 15, 1979.

Distrust of government. " 'I wouldn't be here if ... Jimmy Carter were going to speak. The Pope has been saying a lot of controversial things about the church during his visit here, things I don't wholly agree with,' said the 23-year-old Georgetown University student. 'But the pope is a needed symbol in a world of ugly and evil things.'" —Washington Post, Oct. 8, 1979.

Answer to global catastrophe? "The nations of the earth spend more than $400 billion a year to maintain armies. . . . The implements of advanced technology are daily employed by a growing band of military dictatorships to ... torture and massacre . . . millions of human beings. ... It is as if the world has gotten out of control. Against that bleak cosmic background, it is little wonder that there is such widespread expectation associated with the Pope's visit. . . . Such a commanding personality has the capacity to call the world to its senses ... to turn toward human unity. All of us have a stake in that urgent message . . . while there is still time to avert global catastrophe." Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, in Religious News Service release, Sept. 25, 1979.

HANDS ACROSS THE GULF

"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, . . . then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near." —Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 451.

"Protestants are following in the steps of papists. Nay, more, they are opening the door for the papacy to regain in Protestant America the supremacy which she has lost in the Old World." —The Great Controversy, p. 573.

Billy Graham helps open the door.

"The visit of Pope John Paul II to the United States is an event of great significance not only for Roman Catholics, but for all Americans—as well as the world. His uncompromising moral stand and his warm human personality have won him the admiration of many from different religious backgrounds. I believe his visit will cause many people who do not think often about religion to reflect on spiritual matters. ... A new interest in spiritual matters could be the beginning of a new wave of spiritual revival in our nation, which we desperately need. . . . The Pope's visit comes at a critical time in our world. All around us, there are signs of confusion and fear about the future. As a world, we seem to have lost our way, and are groping blindly. ... In the short time he has been Pope, John Paul II has become the moral leader of the world. My prayers and the prayers of countless other Protestants will be with him as he makes his journey." —Billy Graham, in Religious News Service re lease, Sept. 27, 1979.

Pope's remarks at ecumenical service. "'Dearly beloved in Christ. I am grateful to the providence of God that permits me ... to be able to join with you in prayer for the unity of all Christians. . . . Since the inception of my pontificate, almost a year ago, I have endeavored to devote myself to the service of Christian unity. . . . Even the very desire for the complete unity in faith ... is itself a gift of the Holy Spirit, for which we offer humble praise to God. We are confident that through our common prayer the Lord Jesus will lead us, at a moment dependent on the sovereign action of His Holy Spirit, to the fullness of ecclesial unity. ... It is important that every individual Christian search his or her heart to see what may obstruct the attainment of full union among Christians.'"—Washington Post, Oct. 8, 1979.

Deep longing for oneness. "For Dr. Paul A. Wee, general secretary of the Lutheran World Ministries, unity some how supersedes all the issues that have so far prevented it. "This whole visit shows that the symbolic power of this man and his office gathers up a deep longing for oneness of the church that is in all of us.' " —Religious News Service release, Oct. 8, 1979.

DOCTRINES REMAIN THE SAME

"The Roman Church now presents a fair front. . . . She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. . . . The doctrines devised in the darkest ages are still held. . . . [She still claims] the prerogatives of God.... It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose." The Great Controversy, p. 571.

John Paul's first encyclical affirms church's historic teaching. '"True ecumenical activity means ... a shared investigation of the truth . . . but in no way does it or can it mean giving up or in any way diminishing the treasures of divine truth that the church has constantly confessed and taught.' " —Quoted in The Good News Letter, September, 1979.

Centuries-old roots. "A Vatican source explains: 'His firm conviction is that the vitality and strength of a religious community are grounded in its centuries-old roots and not in the trends of any particular generation or interest group.'" U.S. News & World Report, Oct. 8, 1979.

Mary—Pope's intercessor. "The Pope has an intense devotion to the Virgin, which is considered a mark of theological conservatism. . . . Most of his sermon [at Knock, Ireland] was devoted to a celebration of Mary. At the end he besought her help in protecting Ireland 'from being overcome by hostility and hatred.'"—New York Times, Oct. 1, 1979.

EXALTATION OF THE POPE A DEVICE OF SATAN

"The pomp and ceremony of the Catholic worship has a seductive, bewitching power, by which many are deceived; and they come to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of heaven. . . . The worship of images and relics, the invocation of saints, and the exaltation of the pope are devices of Satan to attract the minds of the people from God and from His Son."—The Great Controversy, pp. 567, 568.

Mesmerized a nation. "Rarely before had anyone, visitor or native, commanded American crowds in such vast numbers, or moved them so visibly to exhilaration, solemnity, joy, and an out pouring of love. . . . John Paul by his mere physical presence seemed some times to have mesmerized the nation." —Newsweek, Oct. 15, 1979.

Impact of Pope's presence. "For the energetic John Paul, travel represents more than a way of becoming visible to his far-flung flock. Deeper, it is said, is his desire to visit areas where his presence might have a significant impact—U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 8, 1979. 

To see and be touched. "Like other multitudes who had come on their political crusades to Washington, they were from many places, of many colors and faiths, but they came reverently to see and be touched." —Washington Post, Oct. 7, 1979

Presence of God. "'John Paul embodies the real meaning of charisma, which is from the Greek and indicates the presence of God.'" "'He's rooted. He says exactly what he believes, and we're starved for that.' "—Newsweek, Oct. 15, 1979.

Reminded of Christ. '"He was just fabulous,' said Barbara Jeffers of Laurel. 'He reminded me of when Jesus Christ was on earth, preaching to the people.'" . . . '"This was the closest you can come to God outside of going to heaven,' said Kay Sim of Chevy Chase. . . . 'You felt you were in the presence of God here.'"—Washington Post, Oct. 8, 1979.

'"I got the chills.'" "Brother Julius Licata, a Capuchin Franciscan, said that on a trip to Rome two years ago he had been unable to catch even a glimpse of the Pope. 'When I saw him on TV yesterday I got the chills,' he said. 'Every time he opened his mouth I went crazy. I found myself applauding the TV set.'"—New York Times, Oct. 3, 1979.

The Pope is for us. "'When you hear him talk, you know it's coming from his heart. The leaders of this country are out for themselves; the Pope is out for us.' ... 'I think the Pope is everybody's. He's trying to do good for everybody, not just Catholics,' said Bret Profitt, 20, a Baptist. . . . The Pope found his mission almost overwhelmed by the crowd's affection."—Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 8, 1979.

Greatest figure. "I was stunned by Pope John Paul's display of power. He controlled the masses. With a wave of his hand, he roused them; with another wave, silenced them. Never, I thought, would I want to see such power in any one else but the vicar of Christ on earth. It was awesome. It was charismatic, and though I prefer to speak in understatement I had to say I believe he will be seen as the greatest figure of the twentieth century."—Sister Mary Ann Walsh, Religious News Service release, Oct. 8, 1979.

Change course of world. " 'I'm here to get the blessing and just be here. . . . My Protestant friends ask, "Who is this man?" and I tell them he could change the course of the world."'—Washington Post, Oct. 7, 1979.

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A. Leroy Moore is the coordinator of native American work for the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.

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