Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation

A Papal Prophecy? #13

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

This is (deliberately) the thirteenth and final study of this devotional arc: the number 13 in Scripture symbolizes rebellion (Genesis 14:4), and the antichrist is the epitome of Satan’s evil policy aimed at rebelling against God.

In these past one-dozen studies, we have studied the Holy Scriptures to briefly introduce the antichrist. You should have a better understanding of who he is and what role he plays in God’s dealings with mankind, particularly with Israel.

We leave you with some final thoughts.

  • Scripture never provides any dates or time frames for God’s dealings with us in the Dispensation of Grace. Contrariwise, the Bible does provide time frames for Israel’s program: regarding prophecy, the seven-year Tribulation is the concluding “week” (seven-year period) of a larger 490-year (70-week) period of time God deals with the nation Israel (Daniel 9:24-27). This further proves we, the Church the Body of Christ, cannot and will not experience the seven-year Tribulation.
  • This world is certainly preparing for the antichrist via false teaching, ecumenism (once-antagonistic denominations uniting), religious pluralism (uniting world religions), and increased technology and mass communication. However, the scriptural record is silent about papal resignations: Benedict XVI’s resignation is not Bible prophecy. Nevertheless, it does expose the dire condition—the scandals, perplexity, and desperation—of professing Christianity.
  • The rapture will occur at any time, so we cannot and should not set dates. However, you need to be ready for it! Jesus Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day to give you His life when you trust Him alone as your personal Saviour. Trust Him alone today, and in due time, you will be raptured out with the rest of the Church the Body of Christ, before the awful seven-year Tribulation begins, and before the antichrist is revealed.

A Papal Prophecy? #12

Monday, March 11, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

It is the usual failure to “rightly divide the word of truth!”

Bible study—especially eschatology (study of “end times”)—is usually very burdensome for most because they do not study God’s Word, God’s way. If each Bible verse is not left in its proper place on the Bible timeline, then we will confuse prophecy with mystery, Israel with the Body of Christ, and the Second Coming of Christ with the rapture. Sadly, these distinctions are often ignored, so heresies spring up (preterism—the belief that all Bible prophecy was already fulfilled; replacement theology—the belief system that the Body of Christ has replaced Israel; mid- (or post)-Tribulation rapture—the belief that the Body of Christ will endure some or all of the seven-year Tribulation; et cetera).

Today’s Scripture explains that the antichrist will not be revealed until after the Church the Body of Christ is removed. “And now ye know what withholdeth [the Dispensation of Grace, the Church the Body of Christ] that he [the antichrist] might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way [raptured]” (2 Thessalonians 2:6,7). As long as our Dispensation of Grace is operating, we, the Body of Christ, will remain on earth. When no one else wants to trust Jesus Christ as personal Saviour, the Body of Christ will be complete, it will be removed from earth via the rapture, and brought into the heavenly places. Israel’s program can then resume.

No Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today; otherwise our mystery program is over. To say that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today is to invite the heresies— “follow Israel’s Scriptures,” “look for her signs of the times,” et cetera. We are living in a time period completely removed from Israel’s prophetic program….

A Papal Prophecy? #11

Sunday, March 10, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

According to 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Thessalonians 2:14, 1 Thessalonians 3:2,3, and 2 Thessalonians 1:3-6, these believers were enduring intense persecution. Furthermore, heresy had slipped into their assembly. False teachers were corrupting these believers, causing them to believe that their suffering was the result of them missing the rapture and now living in the wrath of the Tribulation. Hence, Paul wrote the second chapter of 2 Thessalonians to delineate the distinction between Israel’s prophetic program and our mystery program. Most of today’s professing church is totally ignorant of that chapter!

Bible prophecy is often confusing to people because they do not understand the dispensational layout of the Bible. In fact, Bible prophecy is impossible for many to grasp because they do not approach God’s Word, God’s way. Christendom’s negligence to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15) causes even true, Holy Spirit-indwelt believers to confuse Israel’s program with our program as members of the Church the Body of Christ. Today, some professing Christians are terrified of accepting “the mark of the beast,” scared to death of God’s wrath during the Tribulation. Others point to current world events and exclaim, “Look, Bible prophecy is being fulfilled!” Beloved, if we claim that Bible prophecy is being fulfilled today, we are just as guilty of perverting God’s Word as the false teachers in Thessalonica.

As long as our mystery program—“which was kept secret since the world began (Romans 16:25) is operating—Israel’s prophetic program—“that which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets since the world began(Acts 3:21)—cannot be fulfilled. God is not fulfilling prophecy today: He is forming the Church the Body of Christ, something His prophets never spoke about, something He never revealed until the Apostle Paul’s salvation and ministry….

A Papal Prophecy? #10

Saturday, March 9, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

Firstly, why is the antichrist in Scripture?

3. To demonstrate that, in the end, God is far wiser and far more powerful than Satan and sinful man whom he controls.

The antichrist will be permitted to rule the world during the seven-year Tribulation. This ruthless, bloodthirsty dictator will persecute and execute anyone who defies him. He will swell with pride, operating under the impression that he is God, that he is invincible, that he can do whatever he wants and no one can stop him. This attitude is present in Satan and sinful mankind. The antichrist, like King Nebuchadnezzar, will learn “the hard way:” “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will… and those that walk in pride he is able to abase (Daniel 4:32,37).

When the seven years of Tribulation expire, Jesus Christ will return to earth (His Second Coming), “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). He will “consume [the antichrist] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8,9). John affirms this in Revelation 19:11-21.

Until the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth at His Second Coming, Satan’s evil world system will continue to dominate, as it has for 6,000 years. That policy of evil will finally reach a culmination when the antichrist is revealed (today’s Scripture). But, the wise God of the Bible is prepared, and the pages of Scripture record both Satan’s battle plans and God’s counterattack military strategies. In the end, the antichrist and Satan are forever deposed from ruling over creation!

A Papal Prophecy? #9

Friday, March 8, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

Firstly, why is the antichrist in Scripture?

3. To demonstrate that God is far wiser and far more powerful than Satan and sinful man whom he controls.

Ever since his fall from heaven 6,000 years ago, Lucifer/Satan has operated his policy of evil: “to change the truth of God into a lie, and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). This evil world system is Satan’s wise conspiracy to rob Jesus Christ of worship, and while it seems to be triumphing right now, the Scriptures declare that God has an even more clever plan to overcome it.

Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful world ruler 605-562 B.C. Understandably, he grew very prideful, causing the God of the Bible to humble him by transforming him into a savage (Daniel 4:1-37). When God restored Nebuchadnezzar, the now meek king confessed: “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase (verse 37). He finally realized, the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will (verse 32).

Interestingly, Nebuchadnezzar is a type (preview/prophecy) of the antichrist. The God of the Bible permits both of them to have worldwide dominion (especially over Israel, whose believing remnant they both persecute). They both become very prideful: they establish idols of themselves for people to worship. However, God demonstrates to both of them that Henot them—is God, the Supreme Ruler. Nebuchadnezzar is eventually humbled; actually, he may have renounced his paganism and trusted in the God of Israel. The antichrist, however, never repents of his wickedness, and he will spend eternity future in the lake of fire (Revelation 19:20).

Let us now conclude with the antichrist’s defeat….

A Papal Prophecy? #8

Thursday, March 7, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

Firstly, why is the antichrist in Scripture?

3. To demonstrate that God is far wiser and far more powerful than Satan and sinful man whom he controls.

God created a very special cherub (an angelic-like creature) named Lucifer. He was “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). In fact, the LORD said of him, “Thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret hid from thee” (verse 3). Lucifer—Latin for “the light-bearer”—was to lead creation in worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ. This radiant creature was brilliant: his purpose was to devise various ways to glorify his Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Lucifer’s body had built-in musical instruments, and his clothing was precious stones (verses 13,14).

God speaking to Lucifer: “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee…. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee” (verses 15,17). Lucifer became prideful because of his qualities and capabilities (1 Timothy 3:6): he thought he should be worshipped instead (cf. Isaiah 14:12-15).

The Lord Jesus Christ commented, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (Luke 10:17). Lucifer was cast out of the third heaven: he has since polluted the second heaven (outer space) and planet earth with sin (rebellion against God). Thus, his name was changed to Satan (Hebrew for “adversary”). For 6,000 years now, Satan has been trying to overthrow God intellectually, to replace Him with himself, or with some other sinful creature (Romans 1:25). The antichrist, the personification of Satan’s original plan, is the devil’s final desperate attempt to replace God with a creature….

A Papal Prophecy? #6

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV).

The recent resignation of Benedict XVI as pope is being greatly discussed within “Christian” circles in light of eschatology. Are we seeing Bible prophecy fulfilled today, or is this simply the (usual) failure to “rightly divide the word of truth?”

Firstly, why is the antichrist in Scripture?

2. To deal with the nation Israel: to separate the believing Jews from the unbelieving Jews.

The Romans destroyed Israel’s Temple in A.D. 70, but the antichrist will rebuild it and re-institute its ceremonies and rituals. He will institute a false religious system, although, deceptively enough, it will resemble the Mosaic Law. According to Daniel 9:27, it will involve animal sacrifices and oblations, which God had commanded Israel to offer in time past (however, the antichrist is operating under Satan’s control, so it is now devil worship).

At the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation, “he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate” (Daniel 9:27). Halfway through the seven years, the antichrist will desecrate that rebuilt Temple, forbid those animal sacrifices, and demand that Israel worship him instead (2 Thessalonians 2:4; cf. Daniel 11:36,37; Revelation 13:5-18).

The antichrist, a political leader, will have an assistant, a religious leader, the “false prophet” (Revelation 19:20), who will encourage people to build an image (idol) to the antichrist. Those who will refuse to worship the image—that is, believing Jews—will be executed. Jesus Christ described this graphic persecution in Matthew 10:16-42 (God’s encouragement to those believing Jews). Contrariwise, unbelieving Jews will eagerly receive the antichrist’s religious mark and worship his image—thus, instantly sealing their fate in everlasting damnation (Revelation 14:9-11).

Unbelieving Jews and believing Jews will be thus differentiated, as Jesus Christ explained in Matthew 10:32,33: “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”