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The Nearness of the Second Coming

by G. Edward Reid
Stewardship Director,
North American Division
Author, Battle of the Spirits

How are Revelation’s prophecies being fulfilled today?

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It’s in our name. We have talked about it for years. Most people who have joined us over the years have done so because of the sense of urgency regarding the Second Coming. As Adventists we not only understand the Bible’s teaching on the certainty and the manner of the Second Coming, we also understand the great prophetic time lines that put perspective on the “when” of the Coming and are aware of the fulfilling “signs” given by Jesus Himself and the Bible writers.

We are a people of prophecy with a prophetic message and a prophetic messenger. In fact our primary reason for being is to share God’s last message of warning to a frightened and sin-sick world that is literally teetering on the brink of eternity. In short, we understand that God has called us to share the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12. Our challenge is to present the everlasting gospel in the context of the end time—the hour of God’s judgment.

Our movement stands on prophetic certainty, not failure and uncertainty. We have the major time prophecies clearly outlined. We have firm beginning and ending dates for both the 1260 and the 2300 day/year prophecies. They both establish clearly that in the grand scheme of earthly time, we today are living in the time of the end.1

Signs of the End. Understanding the great prophetic time lines as we do, we further believe that the Second Coming is near at hand because of the many signs Christians were told would signal when Jesus’ coming was imminent or “at the very doors.” When one studies the signs given by the inspired Bible writers and then compares them with current events in our world, there is a hand-in-glove compatibility. Signs are occurring in rapid succession! This article will focus on some of these present-day signs.

The Little Horn

We have proclaimed over the years in our pulpits and our writings that the biblical presentations of the little horn of Daniel 7:8, 24, 25 and the first beast of Revelation 13 both identify the papacy in symbolic language. We have further held that the second beast of Revelation 13 is the United States of America.2 I believe that recent events confirm the validity of our interpretation. There should not be any question that the papacy has risen to a place of prominence in the world and is considered by many to be the world’s religious and moral authority. It is equally clear that the United States is the world’s premier civil “super power.” The fact that these two powers are now cooperating as predicted in Revelation 13 should be a wake-up call to every thinking Christian.

Rome Not Changed. Some in the Protestant world and even in our own communion say that it is not fair to judge the Roman Church-State today by the atrocities of the past. They believe that the Church has changed, as proven by the many apologies of Pope John Paul II. For those willing to study, however, a very consistent picture is still present. The Church’s actions in the twentieth century—not the middle ages—show that the same principles and teachings that actuated her then are still in full force and effect today. These actions confirm her identity as the religious-political power foretold in Bible prophecy, and they correspond with the understanding of those prophecies as presented in the writings of Ellen G. White.

In presenting these things, we have no intent to discredit any group or anyone who belongs to it. We wish only to be faithful to Scripture and to be among those who can “discern the signs of the times” (Mt 16:3). These motivations led Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other leaders of the Protestant Reformation to reach the same conclusions hundreds of years ago about the identity of the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13.

The truth they discovered has not changed over the years. The warnings of Scripture are still in effect, as are the gracious appeals of God to reject the false and come to Him, accepting His message and ways. Revelation 18:4 tells us that God recognizes many of His own true people in “Babylon.” He calls them “my people” and urges them to “come out of her.”

Evidence? What contemporary evidence do we have that our forefathers correctly identified the Roman Church as the little horn of Daniel 7 and the first beast of Revelation 13? What evidence do we see that the United States is moving toward fulfilling its role as the second beast of Revelation 13, the one with “two horns like a lamb” but which speaks “as a dragon,” cooperating with the first beast? What follows will present such evidence, in the hope that we may “[know] the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed” (Rom 13:11).

Books. In 1999 and 2000, three different authors—all highly educated and well-known historians, two of whom are life-long Roman Catholics—wrote books exposing the corruption and goals of the Roman Church-State. I will share a brief excerpt from each of their books.

The first, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: the Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church, was written by John W. Robbins, who holds a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Johns Hopkins University. Robbins records the following regarding the Roman Church-State’s activity during the Second World War:

Totalitarian. “Since the Roman Church-State is itself an authoritarian institution in which none of the rulers is elected by the people, in which power flows from the top down, and in which there is to be no disagreement with the leadership, it has shown an affinity for civil governments that reflect its own totalitarian and authoritarian structure, governments made in its own image.”3

Robbins tells how the Nazi movement had its stronghold in Catholic Bavaria in southern Germany. German Roman Catholics joined the party in great numbers and gave their enthusiastic support. “Over half of Hitler’s troops were Roman Catholic.”4

“On July 20, 1933, the Roman Church-State signed a treaty with Hitler guaranteeing the loyalty of German Roman Catholics to the Hitler regime.”5 This was the well-known Reich Concordat, negotiated by Eugenio Pacelli, then the papal nuncio in Munich and Berlin, who later became Pope Pius XII—the pope during the second world war.

“Not only did the Roman Church-State support Hitler and Mussolini [both life-long Catholics in good standing], it also created its own fascist state in Croatia.”

Exterminator. The Ustasha regime began in Croatia in 1941, and the Church ordered the clergy to support the regime. “During the years in which the Ustasha government existed, a Franciscan monk, Miroslav Filipovic, managed the Jasenovac concentration camp for two years, during which time he directed the extermination of not less than 100,000 victims, mostly Serbs who were members of the Orthodox Church.

“Between 1941 and 1945, the Roman Church-State in Croatia murdered an estimated 700,000 Orthodox Serbs and 90,000 Jews and gypsies. The Vatican neither defrocked nor excommunicated anyone responsible for the holocaust. . . . We can only conclude that one of the most brutal and inhuman regimes of the twentieth century—not just the medieval millennium—is the Roman Church-State.”6

After describing the activities of the Roman Church-State in the twentieth century, Robbins went on to describe the aspirations of the church today and why it seems to some that it has changed.

Global Aims. “What the Roman Church-State accomplished on a small scale during the Middle Ages is what it desires to achieve on a global scale in the coming millennium. If it fails to reach that goal within the next hundred years, it will not quit. It will continue to work relentlessly for world power, even if it should take another millennium or two.”7

“The Roman Church-State is a hybrid—a monster of ecclesiastical and political power. Its political thought is totalitarian, and whenever it has had the opportunity to apply its principles, the result has been bloody repression. If during the last 30 years, it has softened its assertions of full, supreme, and irresponsible power, and has murdered fewer people than before, such changes in behavior are not due to a change in its ideas, but to a change in its circumstances.”

Then Robbins drew on familiar prophetic imagery in Revelation 13 and made a startling prediction. “The Roman Church-State in the twentieth century, however, is an institution recovering from a mortal wound. If and when it regains its full power and authority, it will impose a regime more sinister than any the planet has yet seen.”8

The second current book that exposes the corruption within the Roman Catholic system is Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit, by Garry Wills. Dr. Wills was brought up a Catholic and educated by Jesuits. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author received his Ph.D. in classics from Yale and is currently an adjunct professor of history at Northwestern University. Wills is one of the most respected historians in America today. Reviews of his book in The New York Times and The Washington Post describe it as “an extraordinary indictment of the Church.”

Power Corrupts. Wills stated, “Most people are familiar with Acton’s famous axiom, ‘Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ . . . Fewer people remember that he was speaking of papal absolutism—more specifically, he was condemning a fellow historian’s book on Renaissance Popes for letting them literally get away with murder.” Wills illustrated the corruption that is overlooked in much that is called history today. “In the tenth century a dissolute teenager could be elected Pope (John XII) because of his family connections and die a decade later in the bed of a married woman.”9

Wills documented a history of the Church that he called, “evasions, disingenuous explainings, outright denials, pieties, dodges, lapses and funk.” He wrote that the fundamental problem with the papacy, despite the popularity of the current pope, is that “to keep evading the truth is a worse embarrassment [than all the crimes it has committed down through history], an insult to those who have been wronged and whose wrong will not be recognized.”10

Hitler’s Pope. Another very recent book that is relevant to the current discussion is Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell, an award-winning journalist and senior research fellow at Cambridge University. He contributes regularly to London’s Sunday Times and to religious affairs publications around the world, writing on the Vatican and other subjects. He is a practicing Roman Catholic and lives near Cambridge in England.

When in the early 1990s the Roman Catholic Church announced plans to begin the “beatification” process that would eventually make Pope Pius XII (Eugenio Pacelli) a Catholic saint, there was a world-wide outcry. Many voices questioned whether a pope who stood silently by and watched the execution of millions of Jews could really be a saint. Cornwell the scholar felt that he could lay the matter to rest by a proper study. “I was convinced,” he said, “that if his full story were told, Pius XII’s pontificate would be vindicated.”

Indictment. Cornwell’s work began in earnest. As a Catholic scholar siding with his subject, he was given access to crucial material in the Vatican. “By the middle of 1997,” he wrote, “nearing the end of my research, I found myself in a state I can only describe as moral shock. The material I had gathered, taking the more extensive view of Pacelli’s life, amounted not to an exoneration but to a wider indictment. Spanning Pacelli’s career from the beginning of the century, my research told the story of a bid for unprecedented papal power that by 1933 had drawn the Catholic Church into complicity with the darkest forces of the era.”11

A summary paragraph from the dust jacket of Hitler’s Pope states: “In the first decade of the twentieth century, Pacelli was a brilliant Vatican lawyer who helped shape a new ideology of unprecedented papal power. As papal nuncio in Munich and Berlin in the 1920s, he used cunning and moral blackmail to impose Rome’s power on Germany. In 1933, he negotiated a treaty with Hitler, the Reich Concordat, which ensured that the Nazis would rise unopposed by the most powerful Catholic community in the world—sealing, by Hitler’s own admission, the fate of the Jews in Europe. Until now, historians have focused on only one episode and one issue regarding Pius XII: his silence during the Holocaust. But John Cornwell documents how Pius’s wartime reticence was consistent with a career dedicated to enhancing papal power and that he had a personal antipathy toward the Jews—for which Cornwell offers striking new evidence.”

The New York Times book review of Hitler’s Pope stated: “By combining the painstaking research of other scholars with his own new documentation . . . Cornwell makes a case in Hitler’s Pope that is very difficult to refute.”

The Washington Post review stated: “The title tells the tale. And a chilling tale it is: Eugenio Pacelli, then the Vatican’s all-powerful secretary of state, made it possible for Adolf Hitler to achieve total power in Germany and, as Pope Pius XII, went on to appease him, maintaining inexplicable public silence as the Nazis destroyed and massacred millions of European Jews before and during World War II. . . . The conclusions and revelations presented by John Cornwell in meticulously researched Hitler’s Pope . . . leave no doubt that Eugenio Pacelli was the Führer’s best imaginable ally.”12

Unchanged. I mention these three current books to show the agreement of these historians that even in the twentieth century the papacy has used craft, deception, cunning, blackmail, and murder to advance its power and position in the world. It has not changed! These are the kinds of characteristics that one would expect from the power described as the “little horn” in Daniel 7 and the first beast in Revelation 13. Combined with specific prophecies in these chapters, fulfilled in ages past, about what this power would do, these contemporary characteristics show that the church’s nature has remained the same, despite her milder appearance today.

Revelation 13 Fulfilling

Revelation 13 says that after the first beast’s “deadly wound was healed,” “all the world marveled and followed the beast” (v. 3). It also notes that “authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (v. 7). In many well-publicized events—and many that are not calculated to be observed by the public—the Roman Catholic Church is becoming more and more powerful and influential in the world. I will list several typical examples.

Revelation 16:14, 15 tells us that near the end, three great forces—the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet—will unite to war against God and His people. From the interpretation of other passages in Revelation, we understand these to be paganism as expressed in spiritualism (spiritism), Roman Catholicism, and apostate Protestantism. The first of these, spiritualism, becomes the glue that cements the other two together.

Fatima. On May 13, 1917, three Portuguese shepherd children watching sheep on a hillside near the village of Fatima claimed to have seen “a most beautiful lady” who said she had come from heaven.

In subsequent apparitions “Mary” told the children that two of them would die in childhood and come to be with her in heaven, and the surviving child would live to see the second coming of Christ. Francisco and Jacinta did die of illness in childhood, and the surviving child, Lucia, is now 93 years of age. On May 13, 2000, Pope John Paul II beatified Francisco and Jacinta, starting them on the road to sainthood.

This pope has dedicated his pontificate to the sacred heart of Mary, claiming that she saved his life when the Turk Ali Agca tried to kill him on May 13, 1981. He has visited the Fatima shrine many times, and he prays to Mary and offers incense to her on a regular basis. By these actions, this man, who wants to be the religious leader of the world, has demonstrated that he is, in fact, a spiritualist.

Lutheran Agreement. The Vatican has been pursuing ecumenism on a broad front with Christian and non-Christian religious groups. Most startling was the agreement between the Catholics and Lutherans. The Washington Post reported on November 1, 1999: “Catholics, Lutherans End Doctrinal Dispute.” The article began, “Augsburg, Germany, Oct. 31—Four hundred and eighty-two years ago today, the blunt-speaking monk Martin Luther nailed his legendary attack on Catholic Church practices to a church door in Germany, an act of conscience that triggered the Protestant Reformation, the wrenching division of Western Christianity, and more than a century of religious wars that killed hundreds of thousands.

“Today the heirs of that acrimony and fracture, the leaders of the modern Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches, signed a document that officially settles the central argument about the nature of faith that Luther provoked. The agreement declares, in effect, that it was all a misunderstanding.

“‘In the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body. Let us then pursue all that makes for peace and builds up our common life,’ proclaimed Catholic Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, Pope John Paul II’s emissary, as he signed the Augsburg accord on behalf of more that a billion Roman Catholics worldwide. All but 3 million of the world’s 61.5 million Lutherans were represented by Bishop Christian Krause, president of the Lutheran World Federation, and by the Rev. Ishmael Noko, the federation’s general secretary.

“The agreement is significant beyond the dispute over doctrine that it resolves. It has deep implications for future relations among Catholics and Protestants, said theologians and church leaders. Many said this accord gives added promise to the ideal their denominations champion—of full communion, or merger, between the churches.”

Vatican Diplomacy. The Roman Catholic leaders, in addition to welcoming a growing number of Protestant churches seeking unity with them, are also welcoming record numbers of diplomats from foreign countries.

The Roman Catholic publication, Inside the Vatican, gave an interesting insight into the Vatican Diplomatic Corps on pages 53-55 of the October, 1999, issue. According to the article, “Two weeks after U. S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met in March [1999] with Pope John Paul II and Vatican diplomats, the U.S. announced that it was relaxing some of its restrictions on dealing with Cuba. The State Department specifically cited the influence of the Pope’s January visit to Cuba in making this policy change. This episode of Vatican diplomacy, with a high-profile result, is only one example of the increasingly diverse diplomatic dealings conducted by world powers with the Vatican. Most of the diplomacy operates without the media attention that [the] Cuba episode received, and is carried out by embassies and diplomats working quietly in Rome.

“Few would have guessed that the late 20th century would see a renaissance of embassies to the Vatican, those ambassadors accredited to what was once the papal court. Rather than fading away as a Renaissance anachronism, countries have been establishing embassies ‘To the Holy See’ in record numbers in the past decade. The 170 and counting countries now accredited include everyone from Cuba to the Russian Federation to Iran and Libya, with only China and Vietnam noticeably absent.

“A resident diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See dates back to the 1400s, when the Pope controlled central Italy. The loss of the Papal States in 1870 caused many countries to discontinue relations with the Holy See. The British parliament decided that, since the Pope had become just another religious leader, there was no more reason to send an ambassador to him than for the King of Italy to send an envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

“The situation changed in 1929 when the Holy See and Italy signed the Lateran Pact, which acknowledged the Pope’s authority as head of the ‘Vatican City state.’ The Pact also recognized the Pope as a sovereign head of state with all the appurtenances, including his own diplomatic corps.

“When the United States established full diplomatic relations [with the Holy See] in 1984 it joined 109 others.”13 Since that time 61 more nations have entered into diplomatic relations with the Holy See!

Image to the Beast. Since the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant America began diplomatic relations, a wave of pro-Catholic sentiment has begun to sweep through politics. Revelation 13 speaks of a time when this nation will set up an image to the beast and enforce worship of it. Can we see any evidence today of its foundation being established? Here are some examples.

On July 12, 2000, news services all over the world reported that the U.S. House of Representatives, “by a vote of 416 to l, overwhelmingly supported the presence of the ‘Holy See’ [the official designation for the Vatican] at the United Nations. The House also condemned the efforts of pro-abortion groups to remove the Roman Catholic Church from its Permanent Observer status there—a position it has held for 36 years.”

United States House of Representatives Majority Leader, Dick Armey (R-Texas), said in The Washington Times (July 12, 2000), “The Vatican is under attack by pro-abortion extremists, and Congress will not let that attack go unchallenged. . . . We will not tolerate the effort to silence the Vatican.”

Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-New Jersey) said, “If anything, the Holy See deserves a more prominent role at the United Nations.”

Catholic Chaplain. Early in the year 2000, the U.S. House of Representatives needed a new chaplain. After a diligent search, winnowing three finalists from some 50 candidates nominated by a bipartisan committee, House Speaker Dennis Hastert and majority leader Dick Armey secured the appointment of Rev. Charles Wright, a Presbyterian affiliated with the House’s influential National Prayer Breakfast. According to Time, March 6, 2000: “In doing so they passed over the nominating committee’s favorite, Father [Timothy] O’Brien, a Catholic priest.”

In response, the Catholic Church mounted a campaign, charging Hastert with bigotry and anti-Catholic bias. As a result, the Catholic weekly, Our Sunday Visitor, reported on April 9, 2000, that “Facing charges of bigotry, Republican leaders appointed a Catholic chaplain. The appointment [of Father Daniel Coughlin] came as Hastert’s choice for the job, the Rev. Charles Wright, agreed to step aside and spare the House leaders further embarrassment.”

The bottom line: in the face of strong Catholic pressure, a Protestant pastor was asked to withdraw his name so the House could appoint a Catholic chaplain.

Growing Presence. In 1998, Catholics numbered over 62 million in the United States. They comprise by far the single largest religious group and continue to grow. At 15 million members, Southern Baptists come in a far-distant second. The Methodist Church is the third largest in the U.S., with 8 million members.14

“Catholics Remain Largest Bloc in Congress” following the 2000 election, reported Christianity Today in its February 5, 2001, issue. “Catholics continue to dominate numerically in the U.S. Congress, followed by Baptists and Methodists, the latest tally by Americans for Religious Liberty shows. Of the 535 members of the 107th Congress, 150 are Roman Catholic, including 91 Democrats and 59 Republicans.”

Three of the U. S. Supreme Court justices—Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy—are Roman Catholic. They frequently vote together as a bloc and did so with Justices Rehnquist and O’Conner in the Supreme Court decision to grant George W. Bush’s request to halt hand recounts of ballots in Florida.15 Rehnquist and O’Conner have indicated that they will likely retire soon, leaving George W. Bush the duty of nominating their replacements. When this happens, President Bush may well appoint Catholic jurists to take their places since he was told in effect by Congress, “We will confirm John Ashcroft as Attorney General but don’t send us another Conservative Protestant [Ashcroft is a Pentecostal] when you fill the Supreme Court positions.”

Gold Medal. Though very few Americans know of it, on May 24, 2000, Congressman Chris Smith introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Pope John Paul II. By early July, both the House and the Senate had passed the bill. President Bill Clinton signed the measure on July 27. Catholic News Service reported on January 2, 2001 that, “More than a dozen members of the U. S. Congress and the chaplain of the House of Representatives [the Catholic priest we discussed above] will present Pope John Paul II with the Congressional Gold Medal Jan. 8 at the Vatican.” The Pope joined a select list which includes George Washington, Bob Hope, and Mother Teresa.

The Associated Press carried the story on Tuesday, January, 9, 2001: “The legislation to award John Paul the medal hails the 80-year-old, Polish-born pope for using ‘his moral authority to hasten the fall of godless totalitarian regimes.’

“‘May your influence be as strong in the 21st century as it was in the 20th century,’ House Speaker Dennis Hastert said.

“‘Your strong words inspire 1 billion Catholics and impress people of various faiths throughout the world,’ Hastert, R-Ill., told the pope after noting that ‘of all the recognitions the Congress of the United States can bestow, the gold medal is considered the most distinguished.’”

John Paul said he felt honored by this gracious gesture. “I gladly accept the Congressional Gold Medal as a recognition that in my ministry, there has echoed a word that can touch every human heart.”

Spy Caught. In February 2001, the daily headlines broke the story of an FBI agent that had been arrested and accused of spying. The Associated Press, on Feb. 21, 2001, said that Robert Philip Hanssen had been a spy for Russia for 15 years, “betraying three Russian undercover agents to Moscow and disclosing volumes of U.S. secrets in return for more than $1.4 million in cash and diamonds. The FBI director called the case ‘the most traitorous actions imaginable.’”

For our purposes, the significant information here is neither that Hanssen was a spy nor that he was a Catholic—people of any religion may succumb to sin—but that he was a member of Opus Dei, a specialized group whose world-altering objective has prophetic importance. The Washington Times (National Weekly Edition, Feb. 26 - March 4, 2001) reported: “Hanssen belonged to a Catholic group that proselytized elites. [He] was a member of an elite religious group that works to spread the Catholic faith by recruiting members active in the upper echelons of government and business.

“‘They are trying to get people in their vocation to change the world. They believe that if you convert the king, you convert the country,’ says the Rev. Franklyn McAfee of the organization, called Opus Dei. [Father McAfee is the pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Great Falls, Virginia—and Hanssen’s pastor.]

“Opus Dei, with around 3,000 members in the United States and 84,000 worldwide, was called a ‘floating diocese’ or a ‘personal prelate’ that falls under the direct purview of the Pope.

“Other high-profile figures who attend St. Catherine’s traditional Mass include Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. FBI Director Louis J. Freeh also attends the church, Father McAfee said.

“Father McAfee said a good number of Opus Dei members in the area attend his church because it is more conservative and sticks closer to traditional Catholic teachings.”

It is most interesting to note that there is a Catholic organization that specializes in influencing, even converting, the world’s civil leaders and that many of them attend the same Catholic church in the Washington, D.C. area.

Catholic Connection. When George W. Bush, who is a practicing Methodist, became President of the United States, he introduced a program called “faith-based initiatives.” He planned to enlist churches and other charitable organizations in delivering billions of dollars in aid to the needy in America. Before announcing this program the president summoned 40 prominent Catholic leaders to the White House and there announced the appointment of Catholic John DiIulio as its director. DiIulio has since resigned because of political wrangling over the initiative.

I felt shocked when I learned what is happening in the background of American politics. In a direct parallel fulfillment of the traditional Adventist interpretation of Revelation 13, the President of the United States has begun the journey down the road to cooperation with the Church of Rome. The Washington Post printed a full article on this topic on April 16, 2001. The headline read, “Bush Aims to Strengthen Catholic Base.” The article described how President Bush and top advisors are seeking to cultivate Catholic voters. “A number of Republican operatives view the Catholic vote as the linchpin of a larger Republican strategy to gain solid majorities among all white religious voters—critical to Bush’s reelection prospects.

“‘Religiously active voters have been gradually migrating to the Republican Party, leaving the Democrats as the party of the religiously indifferent as well as the politically liberal,’ pollster Steve Wagner, who is a member of the informal Catholic advisory group to the White House, recently wrote in the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis.

“Bush, seeking to capitalize on those trends, has met privately with at least three high Catholic Church officials and has adopted Catholic themes in speeches; his staff has instituted a weekly conference call with an informal group of Catholic advisers; and the Republican National Committee is setting up a Catholic Task Force. . . .

“The effort to recruit Catholic voters has led to a striking change in the political climate in Washington. [Princeton University political scientist Robert] George noted in an interview last week that ‘in 1960, John Kennedy went from Washington down to Texas to assure Protestant preachers that he would not obey the pope. In 2001, George Bush came from Texas up to Washington to assure a group of Catholic bishops that he would.’”

We may expect to see both political parties try to win the votes of Catholics, since those votes are increasingly crucial to political power. In the process, the Church is likely to grow in influence, prestige, and power in the United States. This is precisely what Seventh-day Adventists have always understood that Revelation 13 predicted. Now we are watching it unfold.

Conclusion

There is much more that could be written about the healing of the deadly wound and the formation of the image to the beast. Among other things, for example, we could note President Bush’s speech at Notre Dame University in May, his visit to the Vatican and the Pope in July, and in September (2001) his appointment of conservative Roman Catholic Tom Ridge, former governor of Pennsylvania, as the director of the Office of Homeland Security.

Every day that passes confirms the validity of the Adventist interpretation of the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. These events also confirm the credibility of the prophetic gift in the ministry of Ellen G. White. I have focused on just one area of end-time significance. Much could be said about such things as natural disasters, AIDS, mad cow disease, terrorism, and men’s hearts failing them for fear.

Welcome to the time of the end! What an awesome time to be alive. It is an incredible time to be a part of the people of the Second Coming! How should we then live? Our salvation is clearly nearer than when we first believed.

Notes

1. It is beyond the scope of this article to fully flesh out the “biblical proof” for our prophetic understanding. There are, however, many good sources for further study, such as C. Mervyn Maxwell’s God Cares, 2 vols. (Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1981, 1985).

2. “What nation of the New World was in 1798 rising into power, giving promise of strength and greatness, and attracting the attention of the world? The application of the symbol admits of no question. One nation, and only one, meets the specifications of this prophecy; it points unmistakably to the United States of America” (The Great Controversy, p. 440).

3. John W. Robbins, Ecclesiastical Megalomania: the Economic and Political Thought of the Roman Catholic Church (Trinity Foundation, 1999), pp. 162, 163.

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid., p. 165.

6. Ibid., pp. 169-173.

7. Ibid., p. 187.

8. Ibid., p. 195.

9. Garry Wills, Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit (New York: Doubleday, 2000), p. 2.

10. Ibid., p. 45.

11. John Cornwell, Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Viking Press, 1999), p. viii.

12. See book reviews of Hitler’s Pope on Amazon.com.

13. It is interesting to note that when reporting on this growing number of countries seeking diplomatic relations with the Church, the Vatican seems almost surprised. It recognizes that the Church at one time seemed to fall from favor but since 1929 has made a remarkable come-back.

14. Christianity Today, May 22, 2000, p. 21.

15. Washington Post, December 10, 2000.
 

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