Rev. Kyle Paisley
A careful study of prophecy and world history shows us that Papal Rome grew out of Imperial Rome. In Daniel chapter seven we have the foretelling of the rise of four great world empires.
Each of these great empires is represented by a particular beast.
The First Beast
There is, firstly, a lion, (Daniel 7:4). It is commonly held that this first beast represents Babylonia. Nebuchadnezzar, who was king of this empire is called 'the lion' in Jeremiah 4:7.
The Second Beast
The second beast mentioned is a bear, (Daniel 7:5) The world kingdom which followed the demise of Babylonia was Persia. It is fitting that it is pictured under this symbol, for the Persians were, like the bear, notoriously cruel. One of their tortures was to pull off the skin from men alive, either in pieces or altogether.
The Third Beast
In Daniel 7:6 the third great world empire is pictured by the symbol of a leopard. The leopard represents Greece. The four wings denote the swiftness with which the Grecian empire came to prominence. It took only twelve years for Alexander, its Emperor, to subdue all Asia, from Macedonia to the Ganges and parts of Europe. The four heads denote the four kingdoms into which the empire was divided at the death of Alexander.
The Fourth Beast
In Daniel 7:7 the rise of Imperial Rome is depicted. Rome followed Greece as the fourth great world empire. The 'ten horns' are the ten divisions of the Roman Empire - Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Britain, Sumatria, Parmonia, Asia, Greece and Egype.
In verse 8 another horn rises in the head of the fourth beast. Its characteristics should be noticed:
- It is little.
- It is powerful, for before it 'three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots'.
- It has eyes
- It has a mouth, 'speaking great things'.
The Papacy subdued three kingdoms -
- Ravenna, the western capital of the Roman Empire, ruled by Emperor Leo who was deposed by Pope Gregory II;
- France, ruled by King Childeric, who was deposed by Pope Zachary;
- The Lombards, who came under the jurisdiction of Pope Leo III.
Emerging as she did from Imperial Rome, she assimilated much of the Paganism of that empire.
In Imperial Rome the Emperor was known by the title 'Pontifex Maximus', a title bequeathed by the last of the original Babylonian priests.
From 63 BC up to 375 AD this title continued to be used, until the Emperor Gratian renounced it and the Bishop of Rome took it up. The first Pope to use the title was Pope Damascus I, who reigned from 366-384.
The Pontifax Maximus in ancient Babylon was the representative of the god Janus, the Babylonian Messiah.
By the titles ascribed to and assumed by various popes down through the history of the Roman Catholic Church, we have the fulfilment of Daniel 7:8,25.
Here are some of the 'great words' spoken by the Papacy against the Most High:
- 'Universal Bishop' - This title was first assumed by Pope Boniface III in 606 AD. It was the first official claim to supremacy by any pope. It is also a theft from Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:25.
- 'Our Most Holy Lord' - Council of Trent, 1545. Christ alone is Lord. Revelation 17:14.
- 'Most Holy and Blessed Father, Head of the Church, Ruler of the World, to whom the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, whom the angels in Heaven revere, and the gates of Hell fear, and all the world adores' - used of Pope Innocent X at his 'enthronement', 1644. This is another usurpation - Matthew 23:9; Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:18; Revelation 4:10.
- 'Divine Monarch, Supreme Emperor, King of kings' - Stolen from Christ. Revelation 17:14.
- 'Head of the Church' - Stolen from Christ. Colossians 1:18.
- 'The Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world' - stolen from Christ, John 1:29.
- 'The Chief Shepherd' - Stolen from Christ, 1 Peter 5:24.
- 'Universal Priest' - Stolen from Christ, Hebrews 2:17.
- 'Vicar of Christ' - Prior to the twelfth century the popes were styled 'Vicars of Peter'. Since then they have called themselves 'Vicars of Jesus Christ'. It should be noted that the word 'vicar' means 'substitute', ie, one who takes the place of another. The Holy Spirit is the only 'vicar' of Christ. Read John 14:16,17; and 16:7,13,14.
As well as claims to spiritual supremacy, claims to temporal supremacy have also been made by the Papacy throughout its long history.
One of the most significant events in history was the removal of the Emperor's seat of authority from Rome to Constantinople. When that happened, the Bishop of Rome began to rule Western Europe from the old throne of the Caesars. However, it was not until the year 800 that temporal supremacy was first openly affirmed by the Papacy. That year Emperor Charlemagne accepted the crown as monarch of western Euorpe from the hands of Pope Leo III.
In the decree of Pope Boniface VIII, issued in 1303, temporal supremacy was formally asserted in the following words: 'In his power there are two swords, the spiritual and the temporal... Temporal authority must be subject to spiritual power.' This decree is part of Canon Law in the Roman Church.
In England especially the Church of Rome sought to dominate. From 1000-1300 several attempts were made to attain supremacy. The Anglo-Saxon kings always prided themselves in their independence, but King John sacrificed that independence in order to suppress the liberties of his subjects by the Pope's means.
A break with Rome came during the reign of Henry VIII, but it was more for personal reasons than doctrinal reasons. Henry was furious with the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
In 1553 Papal authority was restored in England during the reign of Mary Tudor.
Pope Pius V (1566-1572) also tried to enforce his authority in England. In his famous Bull published against Queen Elizabeth it is stated 'He that reigneth on high made him alone (the pope) prince over all people and all kingdoms, to pluck up, destroy, scatter, consume, plant and build.'
In 1588 Pope Sixtus gave his benediction to the spanish Armada as it sailed for England with its equipment of priests and instruments of torture designed for 'heretics'.
During her development the Church of Rome became more confirmed in the arrogancy of her claims. The famous Englishman, Cardinal Manning, said: 'The right of deposing kings is inherent in the supreme sovereignty which the popes, as viceregents of Christ, exercise over all Christian nations.....The royal supremacy has perished, and the supremacy of the vicar of Jesus Christ re-enters England full of life.'
The Encyclical of Pope Pius X, issued in 1864, asserted:
- the right to require the State not to leave any man free to profess his own religion;
- the right to employ force;
- the right to claim dominion in temporal things;
- the right to have the entire control of public schools;
- the right to hold princes and kings in subjection;
- the right to treat all marriages as invalid which are not solemnized according to the forms of the Council of Trent;
- the right to prevent the State granting to immigrants the public exercise of their own worship;
- the right to require the State not to permit free expression of opinion;
The beginnings of the Papacy were small, but it was not long until the 'little horn' began to assert itself, and it has continued to do so down through the centuries.
The Words of Christ
As Rome developed her thirst for power became greater. it is important to remember here the words of Christ. He said: 'My kingdom is not of this world....else would my servants fight'.
The Roman Church has proved in her history that she is not part of that Kingdom.