The Pope visits the EU Parliament (plus, what does “antipope” mean?)

Sculpture, outside EU offices in Brussels, of Europa riding the bull -- reminiscent of a certain woman riding a beast (cf. Rev. 17:3)
Sculpture, outside EU offices in Brussels, of Europa riding the bull — reminiscent of a certain woman riding a beast (cf. Revelation 17:3).

There’s a lot of buzz about Pope Francis’ upcoming speech to the European Parliament this week, and understandably so. Some in Europe are bothered that a religious leader is being invited to speak before a “secular body” to begin with. But, as Martin Schulz, head of the European Parliament, said in an opinion piece in l’Osservatore Romano, “As president of the parliament I can only say that the church has played a leading role in limiting the material and immaterial damage from the economic crisis.”

Schulz further says that it is his hope that the Pope will “wake Europe from its lethargy.”

Knowing that, eventually, a Pope will be instrumental in holding together the “iron and clay” that make up the European Beast power to come for the sake of its secular head, the sense of foreshadowing in such events and statements is impossible to miss. Given the recent elections, the “iron and clay” nature of Europe has been on display recently and the need for something compelling–beyond local interests, biases, prejudices, and nationalist tendencies–to bind them together and keep them together is increasingly clear to observers. Revelation 13 explains that it will be that “miraculous” and religious power of the False Prophet that accomplishes this.

One of the telecasts I just recorded (“Who Is the Prophesied ‘Man of Sin’?”) goes into that, mentioning the role that a future False Prophet will play and mentioning the long historical precedent of a dynamic where two individuals, one religious and one secular, who presumptuously see themselves in god-like terms, must share the same world stage — each using the other for his own purposes while not necessarily being fond of each other (hence, Rev. 17:16).

This interaction on Tuesday will certainly not involve a “Hey, everyone, let’s start requiring the mark of the beast!” speech. But, as far as I am concerned, it is, in a small way, a foreshadowing of larger interactions in the future. Europe is not currently acting on many of the Vatican’s priorities. And many European ministers don’t like the idea of a religious head addressing their body. Yet, here they are. Theirs will be a marriage of convenience in the future — perhaps this could be seen as the wary courtship that precedes it. Martin Schulz has voiced a truth: that the Vatican is in a position of power to achieve results in Europe that the politicians cannot. And the Vatican is engaging with Europe because it wants secular governments to pursue its agendas for the continent. Previews of the dance to come, methinks…

(And now for something completely different…)

Actually, this might be a good place to throw in something I saw recently. Poking around on the Internet while researching something, I came across the blog of a conservative Catholic who is one among several who are irritated at what they see as possible liberalism in Pope Francis, and he brought up the possibility that Francis is not a pope but an antipope — a word that many have probably never heard of. It reminded me of a discussion I had with someone about five years ago who had been saying that the Bible somehow said that the final pope would be an antipope, but he was not using the word properly. I pointed this out to him, but he was in a “self-justification” mode and what I had to say fell on deaf ears. (He has since left our fellowship, declared that he is a Prophet, and believes that he is one of the Two Witnesses who is supposedly discussed in certain demonic prophecies he has spent time “decoding,” so his ears apparently only grew more “deaf-ish” as time passed.)

Does the Bible say that the final pope will be an antipope? One can only say this by misusing the word “antipope.” For instance, the fellow I mentioned above claimed that he was using it as a term to signify a pope who was demon-possessed or who went against the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church — something which is simply not the definition of the word. It’s interesting: Even this conservative Catholic blogger I came across who is irritated at Pope Francis doesn’t use the word “antipope” improperly, but, instead, uses it exactly as it is defined: a “pope” who was not canonically elected and who is a rival to a pope who is canonically elected. That’s the actual definition of “antipope.” This irritated, conservative Catholic blogger I came across wasn’t claiming that the Pope might be an “antipope” because of Francis’ expressed views or doctrinal leanings (which he did not like) but because he (the blogger) was exploring conspiracy talk that might indicate that Francis wasn’t canonically elected. (Something, by the way, that I don’t see, myself, as very probable. At the same time, it’s a pretty political system over there in Rome, and things can be made to seem invalid in the future if it ever becomes politically necessary. No doubts there. And the presence of the still-living Benedict could add to the politics of that. But those are considerations that don’t impact the discussion I’m entering here, which is what the word “antipope” means and whether or not the Bible has anything to say about it in relation to the False Prophet.)

Lest there be any doubt about the meaning of antipope, let’s consult some authorities (and even some “authorities”) on the English language.

  • antipope — one elected or claiming to be pope in opposition to the one canonically elected. (Merriam-Webster)
  • antipope — a person who is elected or claims to be pope in opposition to another held to be canonically chosen. (Random House from Dictionary.com)
  • antipope — a rival pope elected in opposition to one who has been canonically chosen (Collins English Dictionary from Dictionary.com)
  • antipope — A person claiming to be or elected pope in opposition to the one chosen by church law, as during a schism. (American Heritage Dictionary from thefreedictionary.com)
  • antipope — someone who is elected pope in opposition to another person who is held to be canonically elected (WordNet 3.0 from thefreedictionary.com)
  • antipope — “in the Roman Catholic church, one who opposes the legitimately elected bishop of Rome, endeavours to secure the papal throne, and to some degree succeeds materially in the attempt.” (Encyclopedia Brittanica)
  • antipope — a person established as pope in opposition to one held by others to be canonically elected (Oxford English Dictionary, Concise)
  • antipope — A pope elected in opposition to one held to be canonically chosen; spec. applied to those who resided at Avignon during ‘the great schism of the West.’ (Oxford English Dictionary, Full)
  • antipope — a person who, in opposition to the one who is generally seen as the legitimately elected Pope, makes a significantly accepted competing claim to be the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church (Wikipedia)

The idea that an “antipope” is simply one who differs with the established teachings of the Church he has been elected to head is not in anyway a standard meaning of the word. And, unless one felt compelled to unnaturally force biblical prophecies to “conform” to those thrown out by heathens, diviners, demon worshippers, and others who “whisper and mutter,” there is no foundation at all to say something like “Bible prophecies indicate the False Prophet will be an antipope.” Now, might someone ignoring Isaiah 8:19-20 say such things? Sure. And might someone who wants to bastardize the Bible’s prophecies and “enhance” them with the sayings of demons and demon worshippers (unwitting or not) say such things? Sure. God condemns mixing His faith and His Word with that of demons for just such reasons — the result is always corruption of the truth, and those who seek to do so are condemned as “unequally yoked” in trying use both Christ and Belial (2 Cor. 6:14-17). Looking at some Catholic prophecies and noting how they seem like distortions of God’s Word, as David Jon Hill did once many years ago, is one thing. Using such demonic prophecies to “enhance” the purity of God’s Word is quite another and is condemned by Him.

Biblically, there is nothing at all in prophecy requiring that the final Pope be one who is not canonically elected. And there is no reason to confusingly claim that the Bible does predict an “antipope” except to adulterate the text by attempting to bring it into harmony with the “prophecies” of the heathens. Stick with God’s Word, and should anyone ask you to look to the writings of those who whisper and mutter, remind them that Isaiah 8:19-20 is still in the Bible.

(And if they persist and claim that it’s a matter of “figuring out the devil’s plan” and torture verses like 2 Cor. 2:11 to justify their spiritual harlotry — as if sinning and compromising with the devil were necessary to do that — recognize that you likely won’t get very far, pray that they will find their way out of the devil’s trap, and move along to cleaner waters. Those caught up in such self-deception will always have excuses, and there are many excuses — something I talked about in detail back in my “Christians and Heathen Prophecy” post earlier this year.)

11 thoughts on “The Pope visits the EU Parliament (plus, what does “antipope” mean?)

  1. So if the Pope and the Antipope ever made contact, would it really antimatter? 🙂 Or would that be a truly explosive situation? 😀

    Well, better to torture the English language than the Bible. 😉

    As you know, Satan has an old, old game of foreshadowing things which the Bible sometimes spells out centuries or millennia later. There are interesting hints about Leviathan and Rahab as names for Satan as a dragon, names applied to Egypt as well because the Nile had seven heads – and of course we see a seven-headed dragon so identified in Revelation. But we see, both in literature and in art, Ba`al slaying the seven-headed Dragon of Chaos (I forget the name given to him) before the creation of the world. Those references come well before even Moses’ time as I recall. There are other versions of the same story among the pagans of the biblical era. So since these stories are “older” than Israel’s Bible, the Israelites borrowed from these stories allegedly. No, the logic doesn’t follow as texts and/or their original source materials may be far older than the documents containing them, but some people will grasp any straws they have to in order to deny God’s truth.

  2. obeirne

    Mr. Smith, I did think for a time that the ” Prophet ” to whom you refer might have something, but somehow my mind was changed – and certainly by a spirit other than the one getting me to think that this man was on to something. I think I made a comment on your previous post, Christians and Heathen Prophecy and in it I mentioned the witches in Macbeth and their penchant for mixing truth with deceit. Consulting the prophecies other than those in the Bible can be nothing less than consulting with demon spirits – they lead to mislead. And you are right to mention Isaiah 8:19-20: ” . . . To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them “. The Bible, God’s word, must be what guides us! I was not aware that this misguided man thinks he may be one of the Two Witnesses and am sorry to hear he was gone so far astray. On the current pope and his statures; He is certainly more popular than the political elite in Europe, especially European Union countries and this may give him an edge all of the politicians of note currently lack.

  3. John Wheeler: Ha! Nice antimatter joke.

    obeirne: Thanks for your comments. Concerning that fellow, it’s interesting how I’ve seen him mention quote v.20, as you have done, but not quote v.19 to provide the relevant context. God condemns telling others to listen to “those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” and it provides the context of v.20. God is saying in those two verses that listening to mediums, wizards, soothsayers, heathen mystics, and those who “whisper and mutter” is in direct opposition to going “to the law and to the testimony.” Ironically, that particular self-declared “prophet” to whom you refer claims to criticize those he judges do not love the truth, yet his willingness to disobey God’s commands reflected in v.19 of Isaiah 8 and, thus, adulterate the truth — which is far, far, far from “loving” it — has caused him to disobey v.20.

    That individual, himself, has said that he believes ancient Catholic prophecies point directly to him, personally, which is a sad statement on how far those entities who “whisper and mutter” have taken him. I pray he can recover himself, but he may have to go through some difficult personal circumstances, first. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to be having any significant impact on anyone but himself, but that doesn’t make his personal situation any less saddening.

  4. John from

    At least the false prophet, if he is a pope, will not be pope in the traditional sense, during the Great Tribulation.

    When the Beast is assassinated (“one of his heads as it were wounded to death”), just prior to the tribulation, and resurrected to life (“is deadly wound was healed”), the false prophet will be instrumental in establishing the religious system to worship the resurrected man of sin/Antichrist (“saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live”). One of the first objectives then is to destroy the RCC (“shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire”).

  5. obeirne

    I watched and listened to the speech given by Pope Francis to the European Parliament. It was transmitted live by Euro News television channel and a translation from the Italian through which he delivered his speech was provided. As far as I could follow, through the translation, what he had to say was not out of the ordinary and I was not especially struck by the content or his demeanour. Perhaps a study of the written text may reveal something I may have missed because of the translation.

  6. obeirne

    After his speech to the European Parliament, Pope Francis went on to address the Council of Europe. I didn’t realize the Euro News channel was going to transmit this live and as a result only got the tail-end of it. This oration may have had more substance to it than that he delivered earlier and I got the impression that it did.

  7. Howdy, “John from,” and thanks. Actually, there is nothing preventing the False Prophet from being “pope in the traditional sense,” the deadly wound is not necessarily a modern assassination, and the time sequence shows the beast turning on the woman far later in the game than it seems you’ve supposed. I highly recommend our booklet Revelation: The Mystery Unveiled! which clarifies a lot of that.

    And thanks, obeirne. I don’t know that many expected much from the speech, other than a standard press for Vatican social objectives in the light of current circumstances. It was the future events that such an event foreshadows that captured my attention.

  8. I’d have been considerably surprised if the Vatican opened its full game in this first speech when it isn’t necessary. It’s been said that the Vatican plans in terms of centuries. “A little at a time” is its usual method unless there really is a crisis. Facing a largely “hostile” audience, Pope Francis did well to say nothing extraordinary, I should think.

  9. Thank you for your clear explanation of “antipope”. I have to admit I never really understood the term, but I will also admit that given all of the other stuff certain prophets spout, I really had no real care to seeing as the rest was so much nonsense anyhow. Still, it is handy to know, and I guess I shouldn’t have been so dismissive of learning more about it.

  10. Actually, marchhare, I think you’re good with just dismissing it. Sometimes I find it relaxing to dig into stuff that should otherwise be dismissed as trivial, so I would be wary of taking the things I looked up as an indication that they were actually worthy of being looked up. 🙂

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