With the coming of a new century, Christians of all creeds are interested in prophecy. In Rev 13 they note that the head that had a "deadly wound was healed. And all the world marvelled and followed the beast." Rev 13:3. But one thing is sure, The Chinese people do not marvel and follow the beast. In 1983 the pope wrote a letter to Deng Xiao-ping, but Deng made no reply. See March 21, 1999 copy of South China Morning News. The March 6 copy of the same paper reported that during a visit of President Jiang Ze-min, the Italian government tried to arrange for him to meet the pope. China has insisted on two points regarding diplomatic relations with the Vatican: 1) the Vatican must break off diplomatic ties with Taiwan, and 2) the Vatican must not interfere with China's internal affairs. The March 23, 1999 copy of the London Telegraph reported that the Vatican confirmed that its ambassador was preparing to move from Taipei to Beijing.
The Vatican is expert at subversion. The loss of power by Polish Communists in 1989 resulted from secret workings of the Vatican with U.S. president Reagan. To support anti-Communist elements in Poland, they smuggled equipment into the country that injected subversive messages into TV programs during short breaks for commercials, rousing up the public against the Communist government. Time magazine printed a cover picture of the pope with president Reagen under the caption of "The Holy Alliance."
1) After all, China is different from Poland. Catholics make up the majority in Poland, but the people in China are mostly Buddhists, Taoists, and Muslims.
Answer: Yes. But the virgin Mary of Roman Catholicism attracts Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims. Their believers would sometimes make pilgrimages to adore her. For instance, recently from Shri Lanka comes this bit of news on the Vatican Website, entitled, "Our Lady of the Rosary Attracts Adherents of Other Faiths" At Maduch--300 km north of Colombo is a holy shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary. Catholics in Shri Lanka hope that Our Lady of the Rosary will bring peace to our country. After a long war, government troops have finally controlled the situation in the area occupied by Tamir rebels. In this place there is also an ancient chapel built by the Dutch colonialists in the 17th century. The victory of the government troops is seen as a signal of peace for the future, putting an end to the civil war, so that Christians can celebrate the most important Easter mass in peace. Maduch is a gathering center for Buddhists. The place to which pilgrims go to adore our Lady of the Rosary is known to all people in Shri Lanka. In fact, not only do Catholics kneel before our Lady of the Rosary, but even Hindu and Buddhist devotees come to pray for miracles. Bishops in this area hope that adoration of the Virgin will promote national unity and heal wounds of racial hatred, and end the 27-year war of Tamir secession. 55,000 souls have died in this conflict; Maduch has been a haven for refugees from the war between rebels and national troops. Most of the refugees are Hindus. The people here mostly honor the Virgin, and there is no antagonism between the Catholics and Hindus. Our Lady of the Rosary in Maduch even has the respect of all peoples in the northern and southern parts of the country."
2)If we disagree and call Catholicism the beast of Rev. 13, would we be guilty of reviling people?
Answer: We should not revile people; we should respect them. In Rev. 18 it is an angel that says, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! . . .Come out of her My people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues." Babylon is a system, "My people" refers to people. The system is fallen; the people of God have not yet fallen, and have a chance to come out. An angel says, "Babylon is fallen!" We are not saying it. God tells His people to come out of her, He has given us the word to proclaim. Woe be to us if we fail to do so! If a soul is lost because of our neglect, God says, "His blood will I require at your hand." Ezek 33:8.
The teaching in the Bible is to help us discern the true features of Babylon. Today Babylon presents a fair front to the world. But she is in fact a "smiling tiger." Tigers devour people. In the 1260 years of papal supremacy, over 50 million saints were slain by her. In the French revolution she was mortally wounded and almost died. Now the deadly wound has indeed healed, and she is again very lively, hoping to regain in the New World what she lost in the Old. When she gets power, the original traits of the "beast" will revive.
God's word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the Word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution." The Great Controversy, p. 581.
3) It is a fact that the beast received a deadly wound at the French revolution. The healing of the wound is also a fact. What prophecy foretells for the future is also bound to happen, am I right?
Answer: Yes. We must not look on appearances, but on the substance. The substance of the Vatican is that it is a religious body attaining its objectives by political means. When Protestants follow her example, they will have made an image of her. Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews." John 18:36. The kingdoms of this world rely on force to reach their ends. The kingdom of heaven prevails by truth. Said Jesus, "For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice." John 18:37. The last battle between good and evil will be a contest of force and truth. On one side will be the beast and its image wielding the political clout of the whole world, on the other side are men and women keeping "the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." The final victory will go to the latter, because they obey Jesus. Jer. 17:5,7 says, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. . . .Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord." Matt. 7:13,14 says, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Worldlings want fame and money; the saints do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God. The embellishments of Catholic cathedrals, the priestly attire of the Roman clergy, appeal to the vanity of men, presenting a sharp contrast to Him who is "meek and lowly in heart."
4) In pointing out Jesus' difference from men of the world, you help me to see how Satan uses things attractive to men to win the majority and to attack the few.
Answer: Correct. Jesus does not employ worldly methods, but uses truth to draw all who are of the truth, sanctifying them with truth to prepare them for heaven. As we master these points, our faith will not fail. Catholics use the name Katholikos, the Greek for "universal." The name of the pope comes from the Greek papa, meaning "father." In China they use the name Gong Jiao,, meaning "public religion," implying that other religions are private. They take pride in their numbers, and claim to be the true church because of its size. Yet this truth remains: "Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3.
5) I see that there is a big difference between the wide and narrow gates, but the strange thing is that people walking in the broad way are very sure of themselves, saying that they belong to the true church.
Answer: Rev. 12:9 says that Satan "deceives the whole world." So we must not walk where most people walk, and believe what most people believe. Says our Lord, "If anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or There!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect. . . For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matt. 24:23-27. No matter how the devil tries, he cannot counterfeit Christ coming in the clouds, appearing like a flash of lightning over all the world.
"In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, . . The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. . . The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them. . . . he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. . .
"Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise. To all the testing time will come. By the sifting of temptation the genuine Christian will be revealed. Are the people of God now so firmly established upon His word that they would not yield to the evidence of their senses? Would they, in such a crisis, cling to the Bible and the Bible only? Satan will, if possible, prevent them from obtaining a preparation to stand in that day. He will so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief." The Great Controversy, p.624-625.
6) Since people deceived by Satan read the Bible incorrectly, they must also paint an erroneous and worldly picture of the next century.
Answer: Yes. At the beginning of the 20th century, the industrial revolution was at its peak, and public opinion was that a man-made millennium of prosperity was around the corner. But this dream was exploded by the first World War. Today history is being repeated, the pope predicts that the next millennium will be one of peace. He claims to be the natural leader of world religions, so plans to act a heroic part in uniting all the religions to welcome the advent of Christ. They report apparitions of the virgin Mary as predicting that the present pope will be the last, and that when Christ returns, the pope will give Him his throne.
All this is contrary to Bible prophecy. Jesus said plainly that He will come to take His own to heaven. "That where I am, there you may be also." John 14:3. He is not coming to take the pope's place. The false theory is a repeat of past errors: supposing that the churches would help the world to progress toward Christian ideals, and men would build a new earth. Then the UFO specialists come out to predict that Christ will come from the planet Venus with a fleet of UFOs. Thus we have two big lies, one abetting the other.
7) The Bible says that all who worship the image of the beast will not be able to buy or sell, and even be killed. Should we prepare for the crisis by finding a refuge to stockpile food and clothing ?
Answer: No. That would be useless. The enemy would find you and rob you of everything. "The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food, they will not be left to perish. That God who cared for Elijah will not pass by one of His self-sacrificing children. He who numbers the hairs of their head will care for them, and in time of famine they shall be satisfied. While the wicked are dying from hunger and pestilence, angels will shield the righteous and supply their wants. To him that 'walketh righteously' is the promise: 'His bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure,' Isa 33:15,16." Op cit. p. 629.
8) There are many learned men in Catholic and Protestant seminaries. Could it be that they are all so ignorant, while we alone have the truth?
Answer: When Jesus was on earth, the Pharisees despised Him, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" John 7:15. John the Baptist also lacked a worldly education, but Jesus said of him, "Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist." Matt 11:11. The greatness of a man does not depend on his academic learning, but on his obedience to God. Jesus said, "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God, or whether I speak on My own authority." John 7:17.
The Bible reveals truth. It also hides it, causing one class of people to know God's will, and another class not to know. Jesus said, "It has been given you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. . . Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, '. . .for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.' But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." Matt 13:11-17. Learned men are ignorant of the truth, not because they are dumb, but because they do not want to know. The Bible says, ?heir eyes they have closed, lest they should see" and be converted. One who wants to obey God can understand and obey the truth, even though he may be illiterate. "He who is of God hears God's words." John 8:47. Learning is secondary. So the Lord reveals the truth to obedient ones, and hides the truth from the disobedient. (a) The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?' Gen 18:17. Because he obeyed God. (b) Three times the angel said that Daniel was "greatly beloved." Dan. 9:23; 10:11,19. So God chose him to reveal important prophecies. (c) Four times John was called "the disciple whom Jesus loved." John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20. He was chosen to write the only prophetic book in the New Testament. (d) In His letters to the churches, Christ called the Laodicean church "as many as I love," so He wrote abundant testimonies through the Spirit of prophecy to rebuke and chasten them.
9) You said that the Bible hides as well as reveals the truth. I don't understand that. Please explain how the Bible hides the truth, and what is the purpose of hiding the truth?
Answer: Jesus said that He teaches by parables in order to let those who love the truth understand it because they search for it. Those who don't love the truth and are satisfied with their own learning, don't see the truth. "He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty." Luke 1:53. We have studied the prophecy of the millennium, and saw clearly that it begins with the resurrection of the just. Rev 20:5 says, "But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection." All can understand this text, yet the pope ignores it and has his own dreams of the millennium. The doctors of divinity of other churches likewise don't search the Scriptures, and preach their own views of the millennium, saying that the golden age of the millennium is soon to come. 2 Thess 2:10-12 says, "Because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." This is indeed a horrible fate!
10) What definite incidents in modern affairs can be seen as a fulfillment of prophecy?
Answer: Recently the pope has sought conciliation with the Orthodox church, Islam and the leaders of Judaism. His aim is to be knon as leader of the religious world. When he visited Rumania, he embraced the head of the Rumanian Orthodox Church. It was clearly a hypocritical gesture, for at the same time he was in favor of the bombing of Serb forces in Yugoslavia by American and Nato planes. His aim has always been to weaken the Orthodox church, just as he abetted the Holocaust during the second World War. Rev 18:24 says it very well: "In her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth." In the 5th century Roman Catholics started calling Mary "Mother of God." Bishop Nestorius protested such a blasphemous term. So the pope called a council and excommunicated him. His followers went east in the 6th century and established the Sabbath-keeping Nestorian church in Sian, China.
The goddess Guan-yin, an idol worshiped by the Buddhists, can easily be renamed as another form of the virgin Mary. In fact, the goddesses of Egypt, Babylon, Greece are all patrons of fertility. Images of Diana of the Ephesians are made with 24 breasts. Modern images of Mary resemble the ancient goddesses.
Muslims are sometimes known to make pilgrimages to places where the virgin Mary is reported to appear. For many places in the Koran she is mentioned by name. For this reason she can be the rallying-center of many false religions. John Paul II is a pious devotee of Mary, claiming that when an assassin fired at him, he was not fatally wounded because of Mary's protection. It is reported that in the year 2000 he plans to declare her "Coredemptrix." with Christ. Priests teach believers to pray to Mary in case Jesus does not hear them. For He cannot very well deny any request by His mother. All attempts to deify Mary may be met by Christ's words to His mother, "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me?" John 2:4.
"As Son of the Most High, and Savior of the world, no earthly ties must hold Him from His mission, or influence His conduct. He must stand free to do the will of God. This lesson is also for us. The claims of God are paramount even to the ties of human relationship. No earthly attraction should turn our feet from the path in which He bids us walk.
"The only hope of redemption for our fallen race is in Christ; Mary could find salvation only through the Lamb of God. In herself she possessed no merit. Her connection with Jesus placed her in no different spiritual relation to Him from that of any other human soul. This is indicated in the Savior? words. He makes clear the distinction between His relation to her as the Son of man and as the Son of God. The tie of kinship between them in no way placed her on an equality with Him.
"The words, 'Mine hour is not yet come,' point to the fact that every act of Christ's life on earth was in fulfillment of the plan that had existed from the days of eternity. Before He came to earth, the plan lay out before Him, perfect in all its details. But as He walked among men He was guided, step by step, by the Father's will. He did not hesitate to act at the appointed time. With the same submission He waited until the time had come.
"In saying to Mary that His hour had not yet come, Jesus was replying to her unspoken thought--to the expectation she cherished in common with her people. She hoped that He would reveal Himself as the Messiah, and take the throne of Israel. But the time had not come. Not as a King, but as a 'Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief,' had Jesus accepted the lot of humanity." Desire of Ages, p. 147.