In order to realize true world authority, the pope knows the Middle East crisis needs to be solved. While the Vatican delayed doing so until 1993, the UN recognized Israel in 1948. But under Francis, the Vatican has officially recognized Palestine as a state. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki called the agreement with the Vatican “historic”[i] because of the Vatican’s novel use of language referring to Palestine as an actual nation-state (proven to be an absurd revision of history). Al-Maliki gleamed:
For the first time, the agreement includes an official recognition by the Holy See of Palestine as a state, in recognition of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, freedom and dignity in an independent state of their own, free from the shackles of occupation.[ii]
But as we have demonstrated, Palestinian children are routinely indoctrinated with the idea that a two-state solution is a travesty since, in their revision of history, the Israelis are characterized as colonialist thugs. Furthermore, biblical prophecy promises that Yahweh will judge the nations based on how they have divided His land. The Hebrew prophet, Joel, spoke for God:
I will also gather all nations, And will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, And will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land (Joel 3:2, emphasis added).
Because scholars recognize that “there is no valley with this name known in Israel from the Bible or from other sources, or even from tradition,”[iii] most conservatives agree that “Valley of Jehoshaphat” refers to the place where the final judgment occurs rather than a known geographical location.[iv] It means “Yahweh judges” in Hebrew and is probably one of the valleys surrounding Jerusalem.[v] Walvoord pointed out that “some scholars suggest it is a yet-future valley, to be formed by the splitting of the Mount of Olives at the Messiah’s return” (Zechariah 14:4).[vi]
The expression in verse 1, “in those days and at that time” (Joel 3:1), is found through Jeremiah’s end-time oracles:
For, lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the Lord: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. (Jeremiah 30:3)
In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 33:15)
In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, The children of Israel shall come, They and the children of Judah together, Going and weeping: they shall go, And seek the Lord their God. (Jeremiah 50:4)
In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, The iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; And the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: For I will pardon them whom I reserve. (Jeremiah 50:20)
Like Jeremiah, Joel’s language is coherent with those layers of prophetic tradition that are dominated by the theme “Israel and the nations,” which have as their goal the final restoration of Judah and Jerusalem.[vii] Now Pope Francis met with Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas at the Vatican. Why? We went out on limb in 2012 by suggesting that Pope Francis is quite possibly Petrus Romanus according to St. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Popes. Everything we wrote about that now seems to be falling in place. Also consider that, a decade prior, Dr. Michael Heiser wrote concerning the fact that both the Qur’an and Hebrew Bible predict the Jews return:
I further believe that the Antichrist will be the leader who seizes upon these predictions and this theology to unite Israel and her Arabian (and hence Muslim) siblings in an unprecedented peace-making event, all (unfortunately) to serve his own end of world domination.[viii]
Intriguingly, Pope Francis’ actions are in lockstep with Heiser’s speculation that the final Antichrist agenda, will be to unite Jews and Muslims. At the same time, President Obama allegedly made a bid to be UN secretary general. James Lewis criticized this ambition to be “messianic”[ix] and too naïve to take the threats made by terrorists like the IS seriously.
President Obama is basically a Marxist of the “Third World” variety, which means that he lives in the faith that some elite political minority can rule first the United States and Europe, and then the world.… Like all grandiose narcissists with uncontrollable ambitions, Obama figures he can somehow resolve all the internecine warfare between Shi’ites and Sunnis, between Persians and Arabs, Turks and Kurds, Copts and Salafists, and finally get all “the fifty-seven states”[x]—57 is the number of Muslim states in the UN—to vote for him as a messianic UN Secretary General.
Later, Lewis adds a bit more criticism concerning Israel and Islam, this time in relation to one of President Obama’s longest serving advisers and confidantes, Valerie Jarret.[xi]
Obama and Jarrett—they are a classic “folie a deux,” a two-person cult—started the surrender to Iran at the start of this administration, while lying endless times about never permitting the mullahs to have nuclear weapons. But since 1979 the mullahs have been screaming every single day “Death to Israel! Death to America!” Liberals are cursed with a delusional inability to believe such threats, no matter how serious they are. Hitler made such threats. Tojo made such threats. Lenin and Stalin did. But history has no impact on liberal minds. Realists understand world-conquering threats all too well.[xii]
It follows that Obama was (is?) a threat to Israel. Since signing the nuclear deal with America, Iran was pleased to show off its ballistic missiles “capable of hitting a variety of targets in the Middle East.”[xiii] It made Obama an interesting candidate for the “Man of Sin,” especially if he ever does become the UN secretary general—arguably the leader of a revived Roman Empire. American Thinker published an applicable piece titled, “To Become UN Sec General Obama Must ‘Solve’ the Existence of Israel,” exactly the Antichrist’s agenda briefly cited from Heiser’s Islam and Armageddon, Heiser continued:
I further believe that the Antichrist will be the leader who seizes upon these predictions and this theology to unite Israel and her Arabian (and hence Muslim) siblings in an unprecedented peace-making event, all (unfortunately) to serve his own end of world domination. The Old Testament makes clear that not every Muslim will embrace the truce. Those whose national boundaries lie outside the parameters of the Abrahamic covenant and those who have no ethnic affinity with Abraham will have little to gain by the fulfillment of the Jewish and Qur’anic prophecies. As we shall see, biblical prophecy is clear that certain Muslim nations will side with the Antichrist when he breaks covenant with the children of Abraham, defying “the God of his fathers.” This choice will propel the world toward Armageddon.[xiv]
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Obama’s post-presidential UN ambitions aside, Pope Francis makes a very likely candidate for the False Prophet with “horns like a lamb”—we argue a symbol for a Christian leader with power (represented by horns),“highlighting the second beast’s imitative role with respect to the true Lamb in the rest of the book (e.g., Revelation 5:6–6:1–17; 13:8; 14:1)”[xv]—working hand in hand with Obama’s policy of avoidance when it comes to criticizing Islam while making himself a “cult of personality.” This influence elicited by Obama and Pope Francis was described by philosopher Max Weber as “charismatic authority.”
There is the authority of the extraordinary and personal gift of grace (charisma), the absolutely personal devotion and personal confidence in revelation, heroism, or other qualities of individual leadership. This is ‘charismatic’ domination, as exercised by the prophet or—in the field of politics—by the elected war lord, the plebiscitarian ruler, the great demagogue, or the political party leader.[xvi]
Presenting himself with an air of charismatic authority is a talent that Pope Francis has mastered according to The Washington Post, who dubbed it the “Francis effect.”
The new pope’s influence has been dubbed the “Francis effect”; he’s been compared to Princess Diana and called “the people’s pope.” Early polls indicated that Francis is unusually popular, and since his election, Catholics and non-Catholics alike can be found buzzing about his latest sermon or act of humility. Did you hear, the pope isn’t living in the papal apartment? Did you see, Pope Francis paid his own hotel bill after becoming the leader of the Catholic Church? Did you notice, the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics carried his own bag onto the plane for his trip to World Youth Day?[xvii]
The “like a lamb” simile seems to flawlessly describe Pope Francis’ humble public persona, but under his leadership, the speech of the dragon is now resounding.
The Vatican recently instructed that Catholics should not undertake organized efforts to convert Jews. The document, titled, “The Gifts and Calling of God are Irrevocable” was released by the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews and adopts so-called “dual covenant” theology. It is a clever piece of sophistry misapplying the biblical text that since God’s covenant with the Jews is still valid, then they don’t need the New Covenant in order to be saved. In its most explicit commentary on evangelization regarding Jews, the document said Catholics should take a different approach to Judaism than to other religions. The document clearly takes an antichrist position.
The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelisation to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.[xviii]
Imagine Paul’s horror! “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:15–16). Paul would never agree with how the Jesuits have twisted his words: “As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:28–29).
Craig Keener is a scholar (PhD, Duke University) and a New Testament professor at Asbury Theological Seminary.[xix] He is famous for his work as a New Testament scholar on Bible backgrounds and contextual commentaries on the New Testament in its early Jewish and Greco-Roman surroundings. Keener’s comment on Romans 11:28–29 reveals Rome’s contextual error.
Unlike some interpreters today, Paul does not regard God’s promises to ethnic Israel as cancelled—only deferred (cf. Deut. 4:25–31); God still had a covenant with the fathers (Deut. 7:8). Most readers today subscribe to one of two systems: Israel and the church are separate and irreconcilable entities, and Israel will be restored; or Christians become the true Israel and ethnic Israel has no more purpose in God’s plan. Paul would have rejected both extremes, believing that ethnic Israel as a whole would return to the covenant in the end time, joining the Gentiles and Jewish remnant that already participate in it.[xx]
We agree with Keener and point out that an honest reading of Galatians suggests Paul would have certainly repudiated the Vatican’s position as heresy. In Romans Paul makes it clear that because all are under sin, only the gospel is sufficient (Romans 3:9–10; cf. Galatians 2:15–16; Ephesians 2:15–16). When compared with the informed biblical scholarship, the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews’ document is a monstrous justification of heresy. The Dictionary of Paul and His Letters characterizes Paul’s Jewishness.
While Paul was “an apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13), he cannot forget his own people. Indeed, the turning of the Gentiles to Christ causes the Jews to become jealous: “Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them” (Rom. 11:13–14). The very vigor with which Paul pursued his Gentile apostolate has suggested to some interpreters that Paul thought he was entering into the very eschatological purpose of God in saving all Israel. Paul not only had “unceasing anguish” for his “kinsmen by race,” but he gave himself for their salvation, a side effect of his Gentile mission being the conversion of Jews (emphasis added).[xxi]
The Vatican also claimed “The New Covenant can never replace the Old,”[xxii] which is directly refuted by the author of Hebrews. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Hebrews 8:13). The force of the argument presented in Hebrews 8 is impossible to reconcile with Vatican’s position. Like so many of Rome’s doctrines, this latest Catholic spin of dual-covenant theology trades on biblical ignorance to promote an Antichrist agenda. Jesus is the Messiah predicted in the Hebrew Bible (Isaiah 53, Zechariah 12), and Jews do need to reconcile with their Messiah for salvation (John 14:6–7).
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Jesus lamented, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:37–39). Upon His return, Jesus will stand as the prosecutor in Rome’s anti-evangelism apostasy. Malachy’s Prophecy of the Pope’s predicted, “The dreadful judge will judge his people and the city of seven hills will be destroyed.”[xxiii]
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[i] Joshua J. McElwee, “Vatican Signs Treaty with ‘State of Palestine,’ Calls for Two-State Solution,” National Catholic Reporter, June 26, 2015, http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-signs-treaty-state-palestine-calls-two-state-solution, accessed October 7, 2015.
[iii] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), Joel 3:2.
[iv] Note Joel 3:2, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 1652.
[v] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), Joe 3:2.
[vi] Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., “Joel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1421.
[vii] H. W. Wolff, and S. D. McBride (1977), Joel and Amos : A Commentary on the Books of the Prophets Joel and Amos. In Hermeneia—A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress Press 1977), 76.
[viii] Heiser, Islam and Armageddon, 41.
[ix] James Lewis, “To Become UN Sec. General Obama Must ‘Solve’ the Existence of Israel,” American Thinker, February 10, 2015, http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/02/to_become_un_sec_general_obama_must_solve_the_existence_of_israel_.html#ixzz3oJBkDUhr, accessed October 11, 2015.
[x] See “Obama Claims He’s Visited 57 States,” YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpGH02DtIws.
[xi] Douglas Belkin, “For Obama, Advice Straight Up: Valerie Jarrett Is Essential Member of Inner Set,” Wall Street Journal, May 12, 2008, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121055336572783989, accessed October 10, 2015.
[xiii] “Inside Iran’s Missile Tunnels: Tehran Shows Off “Secret’ Ballistic Missiles,” The Telegraph, October 15, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/11933008/Inside-Irans-missile-tunnels-Tehran-shows-off-secret-ballistic-missiles.html, accessed October 15, 2015.
[xiv] Michael Heiser, Islam and Armageddon (Self-published book, 2002), 41.
[xv] A. F. Johnson (1981), “Revelation,” in F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 12: Hebrews Through Revelation (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House), 530.
[xvi] Max Weber, “Politics as Vocation,” http://anthropos-lab.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Weber-Politics-as-a-Vocation.pdf, accessed October 11, 2015.
[xvii] Elizabeth Tenety, “Pope Francis, the ‘Humble Pope’?” The Washington Post, July 26, 2013, https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/pope-francis-the-humble-pope/2013/07/25/959d62d2-f572-11e2-a2f1-a7acf9bd5d3a_story.html, accessed October 8, 2015.
[xviii] Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, “The Gifts and the Calling Of God are Irrevocable,” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html,, accessed December 18, 2015.
[xix] “About Craig Keener,” Bible Background Research and Commentary by Dr. Craig Keener, http://www.craigkeener.com/about-craig/, accessed December 18, 2015.
[xx] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), Ro 11:28–29.
[xxi] Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid, eds., Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 508.
[xxii] “The Relationship between the Old and New Testament and the Old and New Covenant 27,” http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/relations-jews-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_20151210_ebraismo-nostra-aetate_en.html#4._The_relationship_between_the_Old_and_New_Testament_and_the_Old_and_New_Covenant.
[xxiii] D. ArnoldoVvion, Lignvm Vitae, book two, 307.
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