commentary: Pope Francis Is Elected (Part One)
A Foundation For More
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 16-Mar-13; Sermon #1147c; 13 minutes
This commentary is the introduction to a subject that I will comment upon, God-willing, next week as well. As I begin, I want to remind you right off that I believe in conspiracy theories, but I hasten to add that I believe them in what some might consider to be a very narrow way. I'm not overly concerned about the people involved nor the depths of their involvement. But the fact is that they exist and are a reality in the governmental structure of every nation on the face of the earth.
The foundational reason that I believe in them is because I believe the Bible is God's Word, and the Bible clearly shows that conspiracies to transfer control of governments is an almost constant practice of mankind as a whole. It goes on everywhere.
There are two factors involved in this that most out there do not believe, and that is, they do not believe either God or the Bible. And because of these two factors, they do not believe in Satan, or even if they do believe in his existence as an angelic creation of God, they do not believe the reality that planet Earth was his place of rulership over 1/3 of the angels before mankind was ever even created. Perhaps most damaging of all is that they do not believe that as ruler this world, Satan is actively—and I do mean actively—attempting, as God's enemy, to destroy God, His purpose, His family, and the entire earth. He will never accomplish that, but he is nonetheless doggedly attempting it. He is really a hard-head.
God calls things what they are. Satan means "adversary." That was in one of the verses that Bill used ["Prerequisite to Agape Love"]. God clearly shows He has permitted a restrained level of Satan's subtle operations for God's own purposes. But He has given us warnings. Satan is the master conspirator, working in and through men.
Jesus testified that Satan is a liar from the beginning (John 8:44). Lying was the means by which he gained control of one third of the angels in the first place. The clearest warning that God has given mankind is in Revelation 12:9, in which God states that Satan has already deceived the entirety of mankind.
Conspiracies require secretiveness and lying. Satan is following up on mankind using the same basic procedures as he did on the angels to get their cooperation. Angels, like men, are free moral agents. The New Testament clearly states that the religious authorities in Jesus' day conspired against Jesus to put him to death. Now, you will not find the word "conspire" in the Bible, but you will find the synonyms for it: words like "plot," "plan," "took counsel together."
Men come and go. That is why I'm not all that concerned about the men involved in conspiracies. It is Satan, the unseen one, working in the background, who keeps conspiracies going. It is he who maneuvered Christ's crucifixion, as Jesus Himself testified.
As early in Jesus ministry as Mark 3:6, it says,
Mark 3:6 Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
I did a little adding up this morning, beginning in Mark 1:1 and reading through, making note of time to Mark 3:6. Brethren, it could not have been any more than three or four weeks from the time that Jesus began His ministry to the time that they began plotting to murder Him. That quickly, they were on His tail.
Let's bring the thought of conspiracies right up to date, to our time just before Christ's return. Conspiracies have existed all 2000 years.
Psalm 2:1-6 is a prophecy that applies to the time immediately prior to Christ's return, and that prophecy is showing a worldwide conspiracy is underway right now against the Father and Son.
Psalm 2:1-6 Why do the nations rage, and the people plot [conspire, plan] a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel [plan, plot, conspire] together, against the LORD and against His Anointed [Christ], saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.” ["Let's get out from under Their authority."] He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath [that we heard about in Bill's sermonette], and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion.”
Without a doubt, the biggest news item this week to those truly concerned about the times we live in has been the election of a non-European as Pope of the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is an Argentinean known for his display of humble frugality that is said to be fitting for his office. Pope Francis is also known for his strict orthodoxy, and I believe that this may be a major key in the direction that his reign may go forward.
According to the Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, "orthodox" means,
Holding the commonly accepted or established faith, especially in religion; correct or sound in doctrine; adhering to traditional practice or belief; conventional, proper. It is derived from two Greek roots that mean "right" and "opinion."
So, someone who is Orthodox is of the right opinion, according to whomever you ask.
It is very well known that Pope Francis is very firmly anti-abortion, anti-homosexuality and lesbianism, anti-gay marriage, anti-evolution, and a number of other practices or beliefs of modern humanism that has swept the Western world.
Pope Benedict—the one who just resigned—as Cardinal Ratzinger was, for many years before his election as Pope, referred to by fellow Cardinals and Bishops as "the Pope's Rottweiler." A Rottweiler as a dog has a rather narrow view of friends and a broad view of enemies, and therefore, has a very violent reputation. You get the connection between Ratzinger and a Rottweiler. His fellow Cardinals called him that. In other words, as a Cardinal, it was his responsibility to the Pope he served to keep the clergy in line, doctrinally and in conduct.
In other words, Pope Benedict, too, was advertised as strictly orthodox and also therefore quite conservative. However, as Pope, he had on uncontroversial reign. Interestingly, though Pope Francis, in sharp contrast, does not have the reputation of anything akin to a Rottweiler. His reputation is one of frugality and humility, right alongside his very outspoken orthodoxy. The two do not go together, it seems.
But one of the most important facts, according to those who follow convictions founded in what are termed as conspiracies, is that he is a Jesuit. In fact, the very first Jesuit ever elected to the Papal office in the history of the Catholic Church. Being first in itself is quite interesting, because the Jesuits are the largest order of priests within the Catholic Church hierarchy. How come it has taken so long for one to be elected as Pope? And it happens right now, when it seems as though Christ's return is not all that far off.
Next week ,we will explore a bit of the history regarding the Jesuits, and I think that you will find this quite interesting—some of their beliefs and practices and some of what the Catholic Church is, as contrasted to what the Bible says the true church is. To be continued.