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Hear again the words addressed by Christ to just such ecclesiastical presumption (Luke 11:52):
Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in, you hindered!These Gentile misleaders had their counterpart within the Jews: they are all human, and it is no accident that this has happened; for there is no difference - "ALL have sinned" ( Romans 3:23).
Similarly has Pope Paul VI held: "We cannot make vague compromises (*12) about the principles of the Faith, as the desire to come together as brothers must not lead to a watering down or subtracting from the truth" - Ecclesiam Suam. He noted also that "we cannot remain indifferent to the fact that each (of the religions in view) in its own way should regard itself as the equal of any other and should authorize its followers not to seek to discover whether God has revealed the perfect and definite form free from all error."
He deemed 'Christianity' such, rightly; for Christ the Lord is perfect; but he defined it wrongly, as is the norm of history for his organisation, speaking in terms of the 'primacy of honor and jurisdiction which Christ bestowed upon the Apostle Peter and which we have inherited from him' (italics added). This then is clear, even in the encyclical to outsiders, addressing them, to come in!
Trent remains central in Roman Catholic theology, and one reads of Pope after Pope, even in these modern times of apparent outward change, re-emphasising the Mary doctrines, the unchanged doctrines, the necessary doctrines, the basic doctrines, the distinctive doctrines of Rome which, mischievously misnamed as integrity, act as if to control a puppet wafer-Christ from whom mercy is squeezed, for which payment may be asked (despite 1 Peter 1:18, Matthew 23:10, Romans 5:15, 3:23... and II Kings 5:20 ff. and Gehazi's instructive fall!).
Said Paul VI: "We are ready to study how to satisfy the legitimate desires of our Christian brothers still separated from us... but we must add that it is not in our power to compromise with the integrity of the faith." And what is that 'faith' ? As controlled by a 'Peter' who allegedly established an ecclesiastical dynasty unknown to scripture, and one based on an authority he himself never had (Matthew 23:10, 1 Peter 5:3), it relates to another lord, a mystical transfusion into a living pope who operates in displacement of Christ. (Cf. pp. 911 ff. supra.)
It is, indeed (see Extension 1, this Chapter), another Peter; just as we also show, it is another Jesus and another Mary which Rome presents. The Jews did violence to the body of Christ, ably assisted by the Romans; and the Roman Catholic body does it to His name.
If in view of this arrogant theological vagrancy in which the 'I am the first' syndrome (Mark 9:33-35) vaunts itself to the clouds, without the scriptures on earth, but rather contrary to them, making him, the pope, a rock while the scriptures allow this only as the personal prerogative of God - Psalm 62:1-3, Deuteronomy 32:4-5, Isaiah 44:8, 1 Peter 5:3, 2:5,7: if knowing this, men follow this false trend, theirs is the folly.
On p. 76 of his Vatican Imperialism in the Twentieth Century, Avro Manhattan puts it rather tellingly:
Papal pride feeds upon its own uniqueness. The Pope's voice, as Pius XII declared, "is the voice of the centuries, the voice of eternity". It cannot be otherwise, for the most obvious reason that the Popes "hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty", as Pope Leo XIII asserted in a solemn pontifical pronouncement, and that, consequently, all Catholics, without exception, must be prepared for "complete submission and obedience of will to the Roman Pontiff as to God Himself" (*13).In terms of our last head, this is hi-fi material for antichrist cultural preparation. It blends the sounds of many phases of human personality, in the image of God, and makes symphonic substitutes that might deceive the elect, were it possible.
Let us however, in the interim, look at this requirement relative to the pope.
Complete submission cannot be to two Masters (Matthew 6:24). If the Pope IS Christ, that is madness - as shown, he is a sinner, a creature and finite; Christ is the Creator, wholly sinless (1 Peter 2:22, Isaiah 53:9-10, Psalm 45:6), and equal with the infinite God (Philippians 2, John 5:19-23 - see Chapter 7, On the Trinity). Such an approach to the pope is idolatry therefore, illusion and vile violence to the name of Christ. If however, the pope is not Christ, then by Christ, we learn that the Pope cannot have complete submission, if He, Christ is to have it. No man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24)... far less... can all men! That is 'obedience' by contradiction, an unlovely phenomenon, with an equally unlovely name, unnecessary to repeat! The Pope cannot have such obedience ... and to him, the Christian cannot give it.
Now if Christ does not (Luke 14:27,33, Galatians 2:20, Luke 6:46) have complete submission, (indeed more than this, the comely company of the converted and re-made child of God), then on Christ's Own Authority, the person who withholds this, who is not so yielding, is not a Christian. Now this is what Christ says, and for the use of His name, if it is not to be plagiarism, what He says goes.
Romanism, therefore, on the basis of the word of God, and in particular of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, is an alternative to Christianity, and a predicted one, as we have been seeing in various dimensions. It is an alternative for this reason, no less than for all the others produced before.
Again, Pope John Paul II, we read in
the report in the Weekend Australian, December 24-25 1988, on the first
day after his appointment as pope, declared that Vatican II did not
change everything, nor did it require re-interpretation of what went before.
OF US," declared the pope,
"BISHOPS AND THE FAITHFUL, MUST ALWAYS ADHERE TO THE TEACHINGS OF THE COUNCIL (Vatican II)
IN THE LIGHT OF TRADITION AND PLACED IN HARMONY WITH THE DOGMATIC FORMULATIONS
ARRIVED AT A CENTURY AGO, BY THE FIRST VATICAN COUNCIL." The Australian correctly goes on to note that at this first Vatican Council, the doctrine of papal infallibility was defined...
Now in the First Vatican Council, to which John Paul 11, present pope appeals as binding "always", we find this. "The Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra (that is, when - fulfilling the office of Pastor and Teacher of all Christians - on his supreme Apostolical authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the Universal Church)... is endowed with that infallibility, with which the Divine Redeemer has willed... His Church... be equipped. And therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff of themselves - and not by virtue of the consent of the Church - are irreformable. If any one shall presume (which God forbid!) to contradict this our definition: let him be anathema." Harmonise with that!
NOT ONLY does John Paul accept that doctrine (*14), he insists on it; and 'it' in Vatican 1 is unchangeable, not depending even on the church! Now Trent is the foremost example of the teaching of the Roman body, ostensibly sending millions to hell continually, because they do not believe this or that, of which we gave earlier anti-Biblical examples.
WHAT THEN OF TRENT, with its Creed promulgated by Pope Pius IV in 1564 ? confirmed by popes, required of the 'faithful', having sent multitudes to the physical as well as to eternal flames, condemning people categorically like the chatter of machine guns in repeated propositions, and moral provisions for their 'welfare' in the form of repetitive and prescribed 'pains' of personal impact, its Creed1 a test to which upon demand, every faithful Catholic must subscribe' (Leith, Creeds of the Churches p. 439) ! If TRENT does not have the authority of Rome, nothing does.
Hence John Paul II is committed, as he says, to the traditions of the church and to papal infallibility in particular; and in addition, to the idea that any who deny it are damned. He states his acceptance of Vatican 1 specifically, to be held always.
Is that so very 'new', or different ?
There is no change here; unless in public relations. People going to hell for contradicting the idea of the pope in his infallibility, are scarcely being placed in a new category by the Roman Catholic body.
The concept of change, other than change of face, is illusion; and worse, blind delusion, for the opposite is continually and clearly stated. The explicit principles of Trent remain uncondemned by any ex cathedra pronouncement. Infallibility chains the Roman form. They have had it one way long enough; they cannot have it the other way now.
The Popes at least continue to make their claims clear, and the abominable and appalling tyranny of violence which as we have seen, Trent endorses and famed Roman theologian Thomas Aquinas vigorously declares, remains in theory unchanged: having infallibly been used on papally explicit grounds, quite notably over centuries, a moral teaching...
As to the power to implement - words like Manhattan's just cited, and Edmond Paris' Secret History of the Jesuits, make all too clear - it is quite available when conditions permit, even in this century, even in Europe. In this area, Manhattan Ch. 24 and Paris Part V, Ch. 3 are of much value. Nor, in its place, do we fail to examine some of these elements in practical, if necessarily gruesome and sanguinary detail.
These things, in our present setting, lead us to reflect on one aspect of apologetic impact noticeable in the current situation in the world. THE MOSLEMS, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC RELIGION AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH: in statistical terms, this in sum involves hundreds of millions of people formally committed in one way or another, whether to love, distort or adapt Jesus Christ. Thus the wrath of man serves God as He says: man continuing to respond... or react to Him, Jesus Christ, the commanding figure of all history; and the commander of history, Himself the word of God, as our work in prophecy shows.
Meanwhile, what might be said of these false Christs, false prophets, damnable heresies arising as predicted (Acts 20:29, II Peter 2:1), from even within the Church; of the specialised and noted prophetic indications that cover Rome in its harlot sense; of its deceiving spirit in the latter times sense; of the killing of Christians in God's name, of this heretical body's association both with Rome in place and concordats in practice - with the kingdoms of the earth; of the menace that has been set from far back in history and which has educated others who use the menace of Rome and adapt it, as the scripture makes clear is to be done - as Rome is thrown off the beast's back, and the beast continues more directly ? All this, together with the subtle misdirections of the free gospel of Jesus Christ into a matter of merchandising people: all has come true, is fulfilled categorically, It is fulfilled in the midst of the more general picture, earlier developed from prophecy. before our specialised tour in this field of religion, for the purpose of apologetic fulfilment, as predicted. Revelation 17:16 is still doubtless to come: the beast disengages the harlot!
The tour de force of prophecy is coming rapidly to the forceful tour of the eventual antichrist himself. Perhaps using the structure of Rome, in some ways at least for initial cohesion, and some of her lessons, as others like Hitler, quite explicitly, have already done, while adapting her console for control, as a computer interface with syncretism in and beyond the W.C.C., his time comes. For such dire misuse of force in the field of religion, as we seen, we do not need to look to other centuries, nor to Rome only, though for this, here is 'nature's masterpiece', and here has 'Babylon' her throne - quite literally indeed. It may be that before long, we shall look back on their 'contributions' as a kind of educational routine for the subtlety of the serpent, the force of the dictator, and the Jesuitical casuistry, all contained in the Mix-Master of the Man of Sin, the devil's mock-up messiah (cf. II Thessalonians 2:8-12).
Thus has prophecy not only a verificatory, not only an apologetic significance; it brings the power to perceive the direction of flow of the floodwaters of these latter days. For this flow, no 'apology' will suffice (and of course apologetics has no apology, but is the systematic intellectual and spiritual defence of the Christian faith): but judgment only. The careful cohesion of history and prophecy is also, in this period, a close intimacy of events and aggravating throes of world-wide vileness and violence. The affairs of the heart, like those of some wild paramour, are disturbing the pattern of man: just as he does not like to recognise it, so he will find it harder still to recognise himself, with the divine image assiduously assaulted with grinders that bare the bone.
His word is a compound one: an elder-together, an elder with you. (1 Peter 5:1),
I who am a co-elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ.he says, adding that he "also" is to be "A partaker of the glory that is to be revealed". His fellow-elders, he would exhort: "Feed the flock of God which is among you taking its oversight not by constraint but willingly ... neither as being lords over god's heritage, but as examples to flock" (1 Peter 5:2-3).
More literally, they are not to be heritage-lords, but examples.
Anything further from the pseudo-majestic, self-centred arrogance of Roman pretensions it would be extremely difficult to imagine. Peter presents himself as it were, in passing. He is a co-elder, he is among the stones which coming for building in Christ as living stones, find the Lord the corner stone, the chief corner stone, who delivers each one from being confounded (1 Peter 2:4-7), each one finding Him precious, a source of joy unspeakable (1 Peter 2:6, 1:8). Consistently the emphasis and the rock is Christ, and the eminence is infinite over all others, making such distinctions, a question of differentiation, not exaltation; for in that setting, any exaltation would seem like the vaunting of a foothill against Mt Everest; but infinitely worse.
Peter is seen as one of those who, unlike the Master who was and is the Chief Corner Stone, are being built up into the temple by that Lord, who once and for all showed Peter something. It was this. There was nothing special about him in himself. When, as shown in Matthew 16, Peter recognised Christ, thereby having the place of grace in so clearly attesting this, Christ said that it was not anything about Peter that did this, opening his eyes: it was the Spirit of God indeed the Father who opened his eyes (Matthew 16:17).
Not to the wise and learned, but to babes is this inestimable privilege given (Matthew 11:26), so that except a man be converted and become as a little child, he cannot enter. This was, in Matthew 11, in precisely such a context as our present one. It dwelt on the marvel of being saved, illuminated, delivered by bounty from above, despite the most manifold and manifest personal inadequacies, through sheer divine grace, in exact parallel with that in 1 Peter which we have examined, where the infinite wonder of Jesus Christ in His divine place is in total contrast with the need of, and grace to those whom He takes, whose eyes are opened by God alone.
As for those who become as little children in the sense of unvaunting receptivity, some things may help the steps there - such as a reason for the faith - but nothing and no one but God opens a person's eyes (Matthew 18:3, 16:17). Again, even when one of Christ's special flock of disciples, Peter was humbled: he may have thought he could be (even in a good work, like not forsaking Christ, being brave by His side) sufficient, competent, even by virtue of being a disciple, being selected, being anything else: but for not one or for even all of these things could he so much as stand, and Christ knew it and said it (Matthew 25:32-35, Luke 22:56-62, Matthew 16:22-24). Sheep and goats are categories, and those who are sheep enter by the door, being enlightened so to do by the Spirit of God, not at all by flesh and blood. Peter showed a continuing capacity for this sort of childlikeness, focussing the Lord, focussing his Father, and forgetful of himself.
Claims and assumptions by virtue of one's office and place in the kingdom of heaven are merely derisible, contemptible, ridiculous; it shows a total failure to understand. The very spirit of being first (even by Christ's accord and for His work) is wholly carnal and totally rejected by Christ (Matthew 20:20-28). The pursuit of priority for James and John there led to a declaration distancing Christ - from any such concept of priority and power and precedence: it is service not direction, and sanctity not primacy. One is your Master and you are all brethren ... these words of the Lord Jesus Christ are so clear, that even perversity cannot plausibly distort them (Matthew 23:8-10, Luke 6:46-49, John 13:14-16).
Peter, as fellow elder with the rest, serving, with no pre-eminence, simply as one of them, a stone with stones, fulfilling his Matthew 16 'new name' of 'stone' (Petros), in CONTRADISTINCTION to that on which Christ promised to build His church, rock (petra) a far stronger word of contrast. If then Peter, as he says, and Christ says, is a stone, and as Peter shows, a stone with other stones by the great corner stone, what is the rock! As you can see by studying the scriptures presented in Ch. 7, Section 4, point 8, supra, God zealously, jealously and utterly, with force and scorn undertakes to have this name for Himself, looking at flesh with derision when it tries to assume such a name, indeed stating that He doesn't know any other rock! In this, Rome clearly undertakes to be wiser than God; for she asserts she knows one... the Pope! This wisdom is the precise product of the devil (Isaiah 14:13), it is exactly his line.
There may be some who would be wiser than God; but they are not wise, and God deals with them (Psalm 82, Ezekiel 28:9) with the scorn - even satire, they deserve. Scripture excludes any such claim for Peter, Peter excludes it, Christ excludes it taking this role to Himself also (Matthew 21:44), and relegating Peter to a subordinate position both explicitly and in metaphor, both in rebuke (Matthew 16:21-23) when Peter first tried to flap the wings that were not there, and in pity, when he warned him (Mark 14:29-31). He did it in vigour, "Get behind Me!, Satan!" (Matthew 16:23) and rebuke, when Peter was momentarily carried away with himself - although in the interests, as he apparently saw it, of exalting Christ (perhaps prolonging His good works!). In this, however, as Christ showed, he was eminently mistaken.
A church so founded, on a stone like Peter, would instantly founder. This was discovered, manifested and corrected at once. It is the MIND OF CHRIST that matters; and directively, this is His, not man's, even His over Peter, even over Peter himself. This is not only important; it is essential, as this episode shows. And in this, if no more were said, is the end of the pretensions of Rome.
Peter tried to have authority in doctrine and conduct, talking to Christ as if he were His viceroy, but Christ countered at once: "Get behind Me!, Satan!" Peter or no Peter, example in some things or not, Peter could not initiate doctrine, add or subtract, with Christ. He collided with Christ, who after all, as He stated, alone is Master and teacher. Rome, as we have seen, similarly collides with Christ, and the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).This gospel, that of Christ, says Paul here, is to be preached as it had been preached, and not at all differently!
Peter, alas, but in a most dramatically helpful way, was the 'stone that moved', not the rock that ruled; for
1) he at once presumed and was put in place.
2) he pleasantly but self-confidently presumed about his personal fixity of purpose, and was shortly put in place: showing his place did not rule.
3) he showed at once that if he had powers of initiation, Christianity would perish at once, for in Matthew 16 in the very place he is called 'stone', he proceeded at once to tell Christ not to proceed with what, in fact was (and is), the plan of salvation!
4) he is not called ROCK, on which Christ states He will build.
5) God jealously guards THIS name in any spiritual sense, and here it is foundational to the whole of salvation.
6) the adversative relationship, the almost playful but in fact didactic pun or partial pun which is used, is at once made even more apparent by the doctrinal folly of Peter, showing even to the blind - if they would... even listen - that nothing to last would, or could be founded on Peter. Indeed, on NO man would it be founded; for it was a revelation which was given byGod, on whom, the ONLY ROCK, as GOD says, we are to be founded.
As Paul also tells us, the foundation of the church is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11), and the Rock which followed the Israelites when God called them, it was... CHRIST (1 Corinthians 10:4). Indeed: ''NO OTHER FOUNDATION'', Paul resounds.
We are forced to forsake not merely the Bible, but God the Father and the Son if we want it otherwise: if we desire differently the very principles propounded, expounded and illustrated, the cries and the scorn, the precisely stated principle that GOD ONLY has this place, and that CHRIST HIMSELF is the foundation, and that God will not share this glory (Isaiah 42:8-10) which is His. He is the One on whom the sins of sinners who believe were to be engraved (Zechariah 3:9). Let anyone who would vie with Him or share with Him in this, share also the sins and the guilt conveyed, the Cross, the tomb: and rise physically (Luke 24:39) from the dead.
There are many exploits of words in this field; but when it comes to deeds, one does not see many takers: especially one does not see it in Rome.
Even if Peter were proven even to have visited Rome, even if he were, by a transformation of history, evidenced demonstrably to have been a bishop there, it would amount to nothing. For the papal prerogatives do not exist, as seen in 1 Peter and in practice. Fancy the pope in the presence of a presiding and declarative James - Acts 15:19, 21:18. Would he be rebuked for not knowing better than to make himself a fellow elder, for not asserting his power with formality and clarity! what remissness, what shame for the church, what denial of the appointed 'role'! what dereliction - and how much worse, to stress entirely the opposite... How confusing; and how much worse, if as Rome so assertively proclaims of its man, it is SO important, MOST important!
NO, PETER WAS NEVER IN A POSITION
TO HAVE A POSITION WHICH WAS NOT THERE TO BE HAD.
His tiny excursions into the prerogatives which deity insists are HIS OWN, were immediately and roundly exposed, and Peter accordingly never found any name for pushing himself or his place forward, not even when James announced his view to the silent group of apostles and delegates, noted in Acts 15.
You CANNOT serve two Masters, and no sinner IS God (Matthew 6:24). No pope is sinless, no pope is increate, no pope can be master; he can be only one of the brethren, an elder with the rest... like Peter. No POPE can make his teaching mandatory, as 1 John 2:27 makes conspicuously clear; for you need NO MAN to teach you, because "the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you: but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him".
Thus such an office is not NEEDED, and there is a REASON, and people merely minister as servants, while people assess, consider and like those at Berea, search the scriptures to find if these things be so, being 'noble' (Acts 17:10 ff.), if they are wise. Thus the WORD is not given, the OFFICE is excluded, the FUNCTION is rejected and the claim is simply a blasphemous disregard of the many scriptures designating God's unique, wholly un-tradable place as THE ROCK (point 8, pp. 537-540 et al. supra). Putting man in the place of God, it is IDOLATROUS, so that not merely is this religion wrong, blasphemous: it is idolatrous and as such is wholly other than Christianity. Its works have no apologetic relationship to Christianity, except in this, that they are predicted (1 Timothy 4:1ff., John 16:2, Matthew 24:24-27).
It is because of this idolatry that sharing of the works of this body, fellowship, is SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED BY APOSTOLIC COMMAND (1 Corinthians 5:10-11). Ephesians 5:5 takes it further. The wrong kingdom which the popes claim (Unam Sanctam q. v.) is only the conclusion of the wrong attitude, wrong Mary, wrong Jesus, wrong word, wrong spirit, wrong doctrine to be expected (John 18:36), from those whose concern fixes so centrally on
i) the power of man and
ii) the precedence of a man who is not Christ.
Indeed, we may ask, What does Rome really represent in this religion which has so slaughtered the saints, as 'infallible' murderers prosecuted their disruptive trade - as far as might be - against the Christian Church for some hundreds of years, with no condemnation yet to be found of the murderous popes who did it, by formal Roman action ? (See Ch. 10, Section 2A cf. 2B supra.)... What does it represent ? It is the TEMPTATION TO WORSHIP SATAN IN A RELIGIOUS SETTING IN RETURN FOR ALL THE KINGDOMS OF THIS WORLD (Matthew 4: 8-10). But, said Christ,
THE LORD God is ONE Lord, and HIM ONLY will you serve.That message is lost. For Rome... there are others!
THIS message of the devil Christ rejected, telling Pilate when His time had come, "MY kingdom is not of this world, otherwise would my servants fight." The POPES, on the contrary, for hundreds of years have explicitly claimed the RIGHT (allegedly a divine right, and a hideous wrong if they did not deploy their 'divine right' and proclaimed powers, to determine the point, and its bloody consequences) to rule not only the church but princes. Rule ? they have used an army, had territories, and slaughtered in the process many people over much time, often not forgetting the confiscation of their property - and this not least by the formal, papal follies of UNAM SANCTAM of 1302. The results we have already considered...
The entire syndrome is ANOTHER RELIGION where force, favour and divine function are grasped (though it is but air and presumption, other than what the sinful arm of man secures)... are deployed. Not unfittingly for such a scenario, we find the pope (as shown supra) being called GOD ALMIGHTY ON EARTH. The ONLY GOD ALMIGHTY, however (Acts 3:19-21, John 6:62-63, 3:13, I Timothy 3:16) known to scripture as having been on earth as a man is that ONLY Master who is currently and statedly in HEAVEN, till His time! until, in fact, the "regeneration of all things". There is indeed ONLY one God (Ephesians 4: 6, Exodus 20), as there is (statedly) ONLY one ROCK. This, God repeatedly emphasises as we saw (Ch. 7, Section 4 supra), and He is not susceptible, as Peter so pathetically and anon beautifully showed, to any kind of impersonation, not inclined to share His glory, as He says in Isaiah 42 and 48. Indeed, for a created sinner to presume to be in the position of the increate holy One is simply unfactual, impossible, legislated against, unscriptural and a blasphemy of an order that cannot be surpassed.
For who in the heavens can be compared to the Lord ? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened to the Lord ? (Psalm 89:6-7).A mention in the same breath is all but blasphemy; a comparison is forbidden. Mathematically, it is like using a one when an infinity is in mind. It is not a mere mistake. It is not mere crassness, folly, the paragon of simple-mindedness. To persist in such a procedure would imply a mathematical ignorance, couched in arrogance, of a unique class. So it is here; but the case is celestial; and the offence is not technical, but spiritual.
Into this fold of Jesus Christ no one can enter if not under the guidance of the Sovereign Pontiff; and men can securely reach salvation only when they are united with him, since the Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Christ and represents His person on earth.This gives more directly contemporary confirmation of the unchanging character of the Roman heresy, in the very midst of its ostensible liberalisation.
The comically aspiring, but fatefully presumptuous ways of Rome, in this matter of mastery, may be perceived also in such a work as that of famed Roman theologian, Alphonsus de Liguori in his work, Dignity and Duties of the Priest, which has been so popular in training Roman priests. Thus we have this morsel of ecclesiastical idolatry: it is a matter of regarding in the light peculiar to and special for God, what are works of men:
God Himself is obliged to abide by the judgment of His priests, and either not to pardon or to pardon according as they refuse or give absolution, provided the penitent is capable of it. (Cf. p. 1054 supra.)Scripture knows nothing of such blasphemy, except to condemn it, to mock it as in Psalm 82 and as often in Jeremiah and in Isaiah. We will turn now however to yet another prophet. Thus, speaking of just such presumptuous priestcraft, Malachi declares (Chapter 2):
And now, O you priests, this commandment is for you. If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto My name, says the Lord Hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.God is a spirit who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth, as Jesus Christ clearly declared (John 4). Thus Christ, willingly allows those who receive and rightly administer His word, to declare its just impact (John 20:21 with John 12:49, 7:16), just as He receiving His Father's doctrine and "always pleasing Him" (John 8:28-29), declared it.
What then did Christ say ?
As my Father sent Me, so I send you (John 20:21).As the Father sent Him, SO He sent them: in obedience, self-effacement, self-sacrifice; in not speaking for the sake of themselves, exhibiting in entire and perfect obedience all they were told, not speaking anything of themselves, but speaking in such a way that:
If any man hear My words, and believe not, l judge him not: for I came not to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has one who judges him: THE WORD THAT I HAVE SPOKEN, THE SAME WILL JUDGE HIM IN THE LAST DAY (John 12:47-48.)Not as plenipotentiaries, but as people in Christ were they sent: no more creating or changing His word or His gospel than a scientist makes up the laws of science; and indeed less so, since the LIVING God helps them, and the OBJECTIVE laws, in this case, of God, are already written (cf. Appendix D). Indeed, curses are for the heads of those who mingle their words with those of God as if there were a free-for-all. God has never abdicated in favour of sinners. If He did, He could not be God, for He would be in the hands of sin, in its obscurations, presumptions, errors and finitude; and since there is NONE LIKE HIM, even among the mighty, there is none infinite, none near Him, none can act as if God, but the One appointed, whose place it is, before desolation falls like a waterfall. Indeed, if any man think he does not sin, God's word is not in him ( 1 John 1:10). If any man sin, he is no good as a God, apart from the trifles of an infinite difference; for God has NO iniquity in Him, we read.
The message of Christianity is rather this: that GOD is alive, He who was dead in His incarnation is alive in His resurrection and therefore, knowing precisely what man is undergoing, He is able to save him to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25), through faith in Him. God needs no substitute, having slain sin in a way for which none could substitute, so that no man or church can save a sinner, pose as the Saviour; for none did the saving, or could do it (Psalm 49:7).
Accordingly, Revelation 1:19 shows that JESUS CHRIST has the KEYS OF DEATH AND OF HELL, being alive and administering in Person; and John 20:23 extends the DUE SUBJECTED administration of the word of God - to ALL the disciples gathered, while Matthew 18:19 allows 2 or 3 believers to 'bind' the word. It is more like the principles of electricity than those of partisanship. It is not a matter of imperious will, but of acknowledgement, and of application - that what GOD says goes: and it is relatively easy to bind it, as it is binding already. It can be stated, focussed, applied - like laser. At that, Christ was the WORD INCARNATE: these are sinners, mere men.
Thus, says John, in I John 2:27:
The anointing which you have received of Him abides in you, and you do not need that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.You do not need such teaching because the word is written and abiding, complete and inspired, the Spirit opening the heart to it, as it also has opened in Christ, the life to the Lord, whose word it is.
Nothing further from Roman rule is possible, in essence, in the clear words of Christ about ONE master who is DEITY, sinless, uncreated; and who esteems non-rule, as Peter specialises in saying, by 'lords' over men in His kingdom (I Peter 3:2-3). So when a sinful priest says 'God is obliged'... It is worse than blind: alas, it is witless.
If a man cannot see this last contradiction just cited from Rome, whereby a man is made far more masterful over the Father than Christ was, see indeed that it is of a different spirit, or at least read Christ's words, "The servant is not greater than theMaster" (John 13:15-17), then the mere contradiction itself will judge him, as Christ indicated (John 12:47-50). Yet let us not cease without hearing this also from Liguori - we could entitle it, CREATING THE INCREATE:
Thus the priest may, in a certain manner, be called the creator of his Creator, since by saying the words of consecration, he creates as it were, Jesus in the sacrament.Scripturally this level of blasphemy fits fully and photogenically on the antichrist (II Thessalonians 2:4, cf. Ezekiel 28:6, Isaiah 14:9-15). What is actually involved is not creation... but desecration. It is indeed the intrusion of the sinfully human into the cardinally and categorically divine.
The name of God is neither manoeuvrable, manipulable nor possessable, as Simon Magnus found (Acts 8:16-26), but rather does God possess those who are His, and WITH and IN His name, act as He alone can, declaring this of Jesus Christ, the One who enjoyed glory with His Father before the world was (John 17:1-3), the sinless (1 Peter 2:22-24) and the increate (John 8:58, 20:27-29, 1 John 1:1-4):
Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel - that by the name of Jesus Christ of NAZARETH, WHOM YOU CRUCIFIED, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stand before you whole. This is the ''stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone." Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:10-12).That name is neither for sale nor for spending, and belongs to the unique person of the everlasting Godhead who did the works and said:
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death (Revelation 1:18).If Uzzah was stricken, in the days of Israel in the wilderness, because he touched the ark, reached out his hand perhaps to stabilise it, what is to be said of those who take it over, and become ambulatory arks, complete with plenipotentiary words which alter, contradict and damn what they will, and this in GOD'S NAME! as God almighty on earth (II Samuel 6:3-8). Let the word of God speak it, that which designates Rome in its last days, with the beast: Here is the aura of it: "full of the names of blasphemy" (Revelation 17:3). That is where she dwells.
Peter, like other apostles, like other Christians, where they abide in Christ and in His word (John 15:4,7, 20:21-23, Hebrews 4:13) had a place for using the power of God, without whom nothing can be done, and in whose name nothing is impossible to "him who believes": indeed, John l4:12 tells us what may be done by a BELIEVER (cf. Mark 11:23)! Peter knows nothing of any important name but that of Christ, and this he knows thoroughly (Luke 22:31-34,61, John 20:21, 21:7-22, 1 Peter 1:3-25). In this, he resembles the apostle Paul, who cried, "For me to live is Christ" - Philippians 1:21, while in Philippians 1:20, he shows what name is totally effective, exclusively required, as did Peter also in Acts 4:11-12:
According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I should be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.This states and holds the apostles, Paul saying, "Be followers of me, even as I also am of Christ" - 1 Corinthians 11:1. There is no talk of sinners substituting for the substitutionary sacrifice, who got up and walked, and is full of life, our great high priest, the One who as such BEFITS us (Hebrews 2:17 - making reconciliation for His people). Again, the high priest who becomes us, who suits us, Hebrews 7:26 declares to be that Christ who is
holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.Further, this high priest, God's word continues, did not need repetitive sacrifices, but as to sacrifice for sin:
this He did once, when He offered up Himself (Hebrews 7:27).Sinless, higher than the heavens, indeed separate from sinners... THAT is what God calls suitable; and it is mutually exclusive with any pope!
It is here as so often, the word of God or the word of Rome. It is like Baal and Jehovah. Baal was popular... and his priests had to die for their incredible presumption.
To construct another who can do differently and command men as their high priest, master, teacher, taking the very titles of God, this is merely the work of the factories of Satan, often conveniently placed in the minds and in the imaginations of men.
Peter was no pope! He was a Christian, and a man of great humility, as we have seen earlier. His special use of leading was found 1) in his recognising Paul as ascripture writer ... 2) in his recognising (with some assistance) that the Gentiles should be offered Christ (Acts 10:9-36, 11:2-18, 15:7 ff., Luke 24:47) ... and 3) in so acting as to proceed to the Samaritans, a most touchy but still manifestly Christ-ordained path (Acts 8:14-25).
We all have our places, and by the word we can apply and see its impact; but we are "all brethren" (Matthew 23:8-10), whereas equally explicitly in God's word, ONE is Christ; and God does not lend out His name for hire, plying of trade, world rule, or allowing men to use it to put into and out of the kingdoms of destiny; for He HIMSELF has the keys, to this hour, that do that (Revelation 1:18). We, as preachers, merely apply and the results, as we 'abide' in His word, are apt (John 15:7) and effective to the glory of God. We have our places in the body; but there is only one Head. HE is lord and master, and Christ's using those titles in John 13, gave the clearest indications not of pompous self-preference but of being among them as ONE WHO SERVES ... those words of His of which we read in Luke 22:27. Then he was demarcating HIS kingdom in utter contradiction of all idea of worldly power, ostentation, self-importance or elevation. Lordly rule is out in HIS kingdom: humble sacrificial service is foundational, and the spirit of it is manifest. It is in nature categorically contradictory to the rule of the mighty in this world (Matthew 20:25-28).
The ONE who has the name of God, is God, for the very good reason that He and He alone is as good as His name; and for the further reason, that there is simply no one even LIKE Him, as He says, in His being, power and glory (Psalm 89:1-8, Exodus l5:11), which He declines to give to another (Ezekiel 28:6, 21:26-27, Revelation 5:2-10, 7:10, Isaiah 48:11); and again, this for the very good reason that He is unparalleled and absolute. It is well to listen to God, for taking His name in vain is a perilous adventure (Exodus 20:7).
Accordingly, the way God Himself relates to one showing himself that... he is God (II Thessalonians 2:4, sitting "as God in the temple") is to use the elegant simplicity of the name, "man of sin". This man essentialises it, is the rim and tip of the mystery of iniquity. It is in that class that any who arrogate the name of God for their own possession, find themselves, and it is to that end that their work goes. As for Christ, He explicitly keeps Hisname for Himself (Matthew 23:8-10).
Sometimes people do things which make one marvel. Such a case is that of the justly famous though clearly infamous Papal Bull, UNAM SANCTAM.
The brainchild of Pope Boniface VIII in 1302, this document has the great advantage of being extremely clear.
Thus it starts with the assertion that "there is one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church" - which is quite true. It goes on: "Outside this Church there is neither salvation nor remission of sins." Of course, if you meant that as a matter of fact the church is composed of Christians, and that unless you are a Christian you will not be saved, that would also be true; though of a somewhat eccentric style, since it is looking at formal consequences of the salvation of Christ, apart from vital causes. It is not however at all in danger of being misunderstood, when we look further.
The danger was simply that some one organisation should confuse itself with 'the Church' or whole body of Christ; and then impose its conceptions or misconceptions on those not in agreement with it, and damn them. This is what happened. Hence the fame of this Bull.
It goes on to assert: "Furthermore we declare, state, define and pronounce that it is altogether necessary to salvation for every creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff'' - (emphasis added). Thus declares itself this particular heresy of 'being first' - for which the sons of Zebedee required at one point a divine correction, one duly received, thus avoiding the position of heretics. It is, after all, one thing to persist in mistake, it is another to be corrected: the former has been the path of Rome. SHE would be the criterion, the determinant; she would in fact, like a mathematician 'define' people rather than points, and define them into hell through... herself! and her man.
No longer was it NO OTHER NAME (Acts 4:11-12) given under heaven by which men should be saved. Men could in vain turn to the name of Jesus Christ, for if they did not ALSO turn to the name of 'the Roman pontiff', to use his own phrase, hell alone was their inheritance! Peter was wrong; there WAS another name given under heaven by which men must be saved. It was that of the Pope. Jesus Christ's name without that MUST be inadequate or it could not be necessary to have this other name, to avoid hell.
FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED (Acts 4:12).Peter must be wrong, if Rome is right. But then, Rome rests on Peter, who gives her no rest, but apostolically condemns her, in this very place!
"NO OTHER NAME" ? The Roman Pontiff has taken up his battle stations in opposition to Peter, and in obstruction to Jesus Christ; who condemned scribes of His own time, for just such a breach (Luke 11:52).
Indeed, Peter here also declared:
Nor is there salvation in any other.Now if the Pope's name could turn from hell to heaven, that, to be sure, would be salvation. If the pope's name, so much as added, made as claimed, the effective difference to salvation, then to be sure, those otherwise lost, arriving by means of it in heaven, would indeed acknowledge that there was salvation in it! It becomes a crux, a criterion and a determinant, on the Pope's own showing. The word of God is here categorically and clearly rejected by Rome. As with that other heresy, that of Mahomet, Jesus is put in his place: and the one who does that to HIM, is by definition an antichrist, a substitute Christ, an agent taking His place; for that is the meaning of the term. What then results ?
A servant is not greater than his Master ... John 15:20, 13:16. Rome specifically verifies John 15:20:
A servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My word, they will also keep yours.The hostility to the Biblical Master, CHRIST BIBLICALLY PRESENTED, is transferred and exhibited in the treatment accorded to His servants. It is no anomaly that for hundreds of years Rome murdered them.
Accordingly, Rome has ruled death to disciples frequently, and the Council of Trent continued the dismantling dynamics against mortality, a sort of negative resurrection as if, instead of "this mortal", mortality putting ON "immortality", as Paul so splendidly speaks (1 Corinthians 15:53-54), they would seek to secure that mortality put it off. Thus in the Fourth Session, June 17, l546, it makes its views of matters such, that if anyone diverges even in interpretation of Scripture, even if there was no intention to publish, that party will be made known by the relevant Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties BY LAW ESTABLISHED.
Death, confiscation, torture, or whatever may have been around, resulted from this murder machine. Other happy thoughts on such areas occur in the Fifth Session, when it refers to the penalties of non-conformity to something else they deem to be the case: Any FAILURE to 'OBSERVE' what they want is fortified by this: it is to be done 'under the pains contained in the said constitutions, which it renews.'
What more LORDLY than the one who is holding the power of life and death, though Christ advised us to despise this in favour of the ETERNAL power; such is a master indeed, though a cruel one who turns the crucifixion of Christ as Lord into killing, in His name! To be subject VOLUNTARILYto such a master signifies a substitute for the Lord, at this level; and to REQUIRE subjection to the use of such powers, is to DISPOSSESS Christ of His place. Indeed, it is more. The COUNCIL OF TRENT AND ITS CONFESSION damn all who differ on a vast array of 'points'. ANYONE who condemns this teaching, we learn - any of it so cited, is damned.
Yet Christ Himself condemned it in Matthew 23:8 stating that no one but Christ is master and you are all brethren; no one indeed but Christ is to be called teacher (cf. I John 2:27). Is CHRIST then to be damned by these damaging words of damaging man because HE excluded ANY from the office these people would appoint for another ?
Or does this divine insistence that
none is to be called teacher but Jesus Christ Himself, who was crucified,
sinless, and rose from the dead (Matthew 23:35-39), does it reflect favourably
on the AUTHORITATIVE and FINAL papal claim ? or does THAT sound like someone
other than Christ being DEFINITIVE, AUTHORITATIVE, DIRECTIVE, UNCHALLENGEABLE
TEACHER ? someone elevated by some body of men to be what the ONE Son of
Man forbad to any man, and hence to any council to give to any man
Does NO ONE - for none is permitted this - does no-one sound like that sort of a teacher ? Thus Christ also is by these means, condemned! and in all these ways condemns what is done in papal teaching splendour.
As pre-eminently claiming the powers of master and teacher, both, the pope and all his array who may wish to go with him, condemn Christ; and as Christ condemns their teaching, they damn Him, since He is an opposing party: all such, they damn. The manipulable Christ, they do not damn: 'he' serves them. The actual One, whose word will judge (John 12:48-50), HE condemns their teaching, and to Him would their reckless ranting reach.
Christ contradicts Rome on other points: His EXCLUSIVE mastery and their uninterrupted, contradistinct positions as brethren, ALL of them! ONLY Christ the crucified One, is different. Now then we ask again, Did the pope die for your sins, was he raised for your justification ? Hardly. The Pope is not He. Hence the pope who rejects this rule of Christ that NONE be master except Himself, is an antichrist, ineffectual, impractical, no saviour, sentencing the gospel of salvation, constructing another 'Christ', instead of serving that One who constructed him!
As we shall see in Extension 4, infra, this basis is quite superb for the construction of the coming antichrist; not as such, but as preliminary conditions, as a building site. Meanwhile, at the immediate practical level, in the field of the contemporary implication : see *9, infra.
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1. This Creed includes:- '' I unhesitatingly accept ... all the doctrines especially those concerning the primacy of the Roman Pontiff and his infallible teaching authority, handed down ... by ... canons and ecumenical councils and especially ... Trent ... I condemn ... and anathematize everything ... contrary ... and all heresies without exception ... anathematized by the Church.''
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