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1. The New Roman Empire: The Modern Rise of the Papacy

Michael Hasel

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Michael Hasel

Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Southern Adventist University

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  • December 28, 2017
    9:15 AM
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This message was presented at the G.U.Y.Z. twenty seventeen conference arise in Phoenix Arizona for other resources like this visit us online at Deb you Deb you Deb you Don she Y.C. well. I have my own microphone I was just told so can you all hear me all right I'm sorry for it we have two major issues today one is my voice and the other is we have a very small screen up here and so particularly for the art presentations that's going to be a little challenging but I encourage you to sit as close to the front as you can and try to get as much as you can as well. So our presentation today this morning the new Roman Empire the modern rise of the papacy and I took the beginning of this title from the cover of a recent Time magazine that didn't make the cover in the United States but this was the cover of Time magazine very interesting Lee in Europe in the United States it was Bernie Sanders that got the cover and this particular image was inside Time magazine but this was the cover of the European international edition and it was very interesting and I thought this was very remarkable the new Roman Empire the global reach of Pope Francis and if you've been watching what has been taking place and will be doing this today you'll be seeing how phenomenal the breadth and the speed in which things are happening are gaining momentum as time goes on it was a pull eight two thousand and five and you can. Just tell and I were living on the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean and I was on a Fulbright fellowship there for the year and was writing a book and my wife was there with our young children four and six years of age and I still remember the day April eight as the world to and in live and all the television stations in Cyprus this little Mediterranean island third largest in the Mediterranean all eyes were focused on this one event that was taking place that was the funeral of Pope John Paul the Second it is estimated that two billion people were watching worldwide USA Today had this to say Never have so many world leaders come together for a funeral of a religious leader never has such a funeral drawn the interest of so many it was a choreographed public relations masterpiece Pope John Paul's funeral brought together what was at that time the single the single largest gathering of heads of state outside the United Nations in the history of the world. It surpassed the funeral of Winston Churchill which had taken place in one thousand nine hundred sixty five there were four kings present five Queens at least seventy presidents and prime ministers and more than fourteen leaders of other religious groups including non-Christian groups. It is likely to have been one of the largest single gatherings of Christianity in history with numbers estimated in excess of four million mourners gathering in Rome itself. The previous map that I was showing you here shows the heads of states that attended based on their geographical locations and you can see that this was a worldwide event. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew the first the patriarch who is in charge at least in title of all the Orthodox Churches was in the honorary first seat in the sector reserved for delegates from churches not in full communion with the Holy See this was the first time that an Ecumenical Patriarch or any orthodox patriarch attended a papal funeral since the Great Schism in ten fifty four the Archbishop of Canterbury who at that time was Rowan Williams was also present at the papal funeral the first time since the Church of England had broken with the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century the first time that that the Archbishop of Canterbury was present for a papal funeral. Perhaps the most shocking was this image at least for a Protestant Americans three former presidents of the United States and yelling before the caskets at least one of them appearing to be in prayer it is quite humbling and amazing to see an image like this and we will be able to unwrap that a little bit more as our seminar goes on today. Certainly Revelation thirteen that great chapter that documents the rise of the C.B. East and that document's that rise in history. Was being fulfilled in these events Revelation thirteen says and I stood in the sand of the sea and I saw a beast rising up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns and his horns ten crowns and on his heads a placid misname now the beast which I saw was like a leopard his feet were like the feet of a bear in his mouth like the mouth of a lion the dragon gave him his power his throne and his great authority. It was through historical time that this sea beast together with the little horn of Daniel seven and eight and the man of sin and second the loney and Thessalonians were recognized by many early on already as representing the anti-Christ power even early in the Christian era and I don't know sometimes we as Adventists think that we invented these ideas but the fact of the matter is that we are just at the end of a long legacy of men and women who lived and died for their faith and who have identified this this aspect of biblical history in Biblical history as the anti-Christ power we have to go all the way back to the third century just a few less than two hundred years or at less than one hundred years after the death of some of the Apostles were arraigned or in a house of Gaul. Believed and connected these three. Aspects in the Old Testament and the New Testament with the Anti-Christ although not yet exactly identified. We have Chilean and hip elitists all identifying these symbols with the Anti-Christ although at this point none made a specific designation in history yet because it's fulfillment was when still in the future OK so there was no identification of the anti-christ because it's identification was not ready to be fulfilled yet but by the end of the first millennium. When we have our enough the Archbishop of Rheims by the way the archbishop that means he was a Catholic archbishop clearly made the identification with the papacy and this identification quickly grew into a crescendo with the Protestant Reformation by the time of Luther in the sixteenth century many before him including Wycliffe and. Jerome and others had already died and been martyred for their faith and for their convictions Luther was very clear and I invite you to read a recent article published in a brand new book on the Reformation just published a month ago that's available through the A.B.C. by Pacific press an article by my colleague Dennis Petit bone that talks about Luther's growth and identifying the anti-Christ power in his writings throughout his lifetime but it's very clear that Luther also identified this beast as the papal power the papal Empire and the Imperial papacy which brings the secular sword under its control other reformers followed so that this would become one of the clearest rallying cries of the protest there are historians today that say the reformation would not have happened if it had not been for the historic system identification of the papacy in prophecy with this particular identifying mark in Revelation thirteen in Daniel seven eight with the little horn and in second thought of the man of sin and second Thessalonians what led Martin Luther to identify the papacy and the church in this way. And here I want to make it very clear. That Martin Luther was a Catholic and many of these early people were Catholics. And there are outstanding and godly Catholics today I have family members who are Catholic In fact I spent Christmas with them just this week and as we were sharing with one another they were sharing about their faith and I was sharing about our faith and we were able to witness with one another they're wonderful people we're not talking about individuals here we're talking about a system and we're talking about a system that has developed over time and we want to talk about this in great detail particularly in the second presentation in the series this morning it was the characteristics of the system which matched the Biblical descriptions and that's what we're going to look at. Anyone who witnessed the events over the last decade as Martin Luther and other reformers have have pointed to many years ago but if we as we've witnessed the events of the last decade which we're going to talk about right now we would certainly think of these verses in Revelation thirty three which we haven't read yet the end of that passage talking about the sea beast and I saw one of his heads as if he had been mortally wounded and his deadly wound was healed and all the world marveled and followed the beast we're seeing the healing of the deadly wound taking place in front of our eyes I believe today all the world is marveling at what appears to be the new face of Rome everywhere we turn we have a smiling pope. A new face kissing babies speaking of love upholding the family and the importance of saving the planet working together for the common good. The railing cry has been to defend Christianity against the martyrdom that it is experiencing in many countries around the world everywhere you turn the popularity of this pope has been contagious Time magazine called him the Person of the year the sense he gives is of a reforming church a kind of revival a pope for a new world all we need to do is add one word to the end of that don't we new world order even National Geographic describes him as a pope who is remaking the Vatican almost suggesting not almost suggesting that this pope is going to change the Catholic Church and certainly he has been doing that in terms of its perception anyway one recent book describes it as the Francis miracle because it's amazing how many people this pope connects with it's amazing to see what is taking place rock stars are even. Enthralled by this pope Rolling Stone magazine has him on the cover Pope Francis The Times They Are a Changing the question that we want to ask today are they really changing or is this just a facade that is taking place for the purpose of ecumenism. And when Pope Francis visited America for the first time in two thousand and fifteen. It was wall to wall media coverage wasn't just two years ago let's put his visit into a little perspective since sixteen twenty when the Puritans escaped religious persecution in the Old World and arrived in the New World in Plymouth Rock do you know how many popes there have been in Rome there have been thirty four pope's but only four have ever visited the United States the first in one thousand nine hundred sixty five I want you to think about this for a moment the first in one thousand nine hundred sixty five and when President Truman tried to put a embassador at the Vatican from the United States it caused such a stir in America that he almost lost the presidency and he quickly withdrew that idea today nobody is batting an eye at any of this. In one thousand nine hundred sixty five the first visit took place in other words it took three hundred and forty five years for a pope to visit this country and that visit was for only a single day Pope John Paul the second visited seven times and of course this was Francis's first visit. It was the second time a sitting president of the United States met a head of state because the pope is also the head of state or visiting dignitary at Andrews Air Force Base the state arrival ceremony for any other person coming from any other country whether it is China or Russia or anywhere else or even Great Britain one of our closest allies those are always held at the White House I need some light up here folks. That's OK. But President George W. Bush. I'm sorry not the other way around so so George W. Bush also went to Andrews Air Force Base for the first time in other words the president left his domicile to go to Andrews Air Force Base then to welcome Pope Benedict the fourteenth and now it happened again a precedent has been set giving the precedence to the papacy in a certain way. When the president came for the for I'm sorry when the pope came for the first time he addressed the joint sessions of Congress this you have to understand is an unprecedented event in the history of United States it sets a clear direction for the future the two men standing in this picture behind the pope are very recognizable Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner both are Catholics and both were very influential in arranging for this visit to take place and the speech to take place before Congress in fact. House Speaker. Is that because I'm changing the screen OK. In fact House Speaker John Boehner was extremely emotional during this time. I don't know if you watched any of this on television but during the address at Congress he was constantly weeping during the pope's address out to the mall in front of. The congress building again he was crying these are just some images Why was he crying throughout these two speeches Well let's hear his own words and what he said this was in a C.B.S. Face the Nation Sunday interview you can still view it on You Tube if you would like he says to a kid who grew up as an altar boy having the pope here in the United States was a big deal. And then he went on to say that he tried to get each of the three popes who have served during his twenty plus years in Congress to address lawmakers but that he had only succeeded this year twenty years he had tried to get one of the popes to address Congress but now he had succeeded it was very interesting that the day after the speech was given John Boehner announced his resignation as the speaker of the house and was stepping down from his position in Congress I found that very interesting and I don't want to speculate too much but it is almost as if he accomplished his mission and it was now time to retire I want you to be aware brothers and sisters that this is has been an on going issue we still have the screen so that's good this is been an ongoing issue and how was it successful we should not be ignoring of the fact that the climate has changed so drastically here in this country. That this is not by chance the softer stance on immigration has not only changed the political and social demographics is change the religious demographics and the post modern notion of tolerance at all costs and the demise of truth has led us to ignore the true history of this persecuting power and what it is done for hundreds of years. This was not a coincidence it was planned for a very long time the message that the pope brought to Philadelphia was beautiful it focused on love it focused on family it focused on the environment and yet even behind the focus on the environment were other issues that were brought to the fore because if you read carefully through his latest and cyclical and we'll read some sections of it part of his environmental argument is also for Sunday keeping if the whole world keeps Sunday we will save the planet or at least begin to save the planet because we will be doing less planet. Destructive activity during that particular day now we have talked a great deal about the executive branch of the government and how I'm sorry about the. Legislative branch of the government I want to look now at the we've talked about the executive legislative branches Let's talk about the judicial branch of the government at this point and look at what developments have taken place we have looked and this is to me the most fascinating of all this is the Supreme Court. Justices standing with our current president and here are some supreme Supreme Court facts that I want to look at as you all know there are how many seats on the Supreme Court there are nine seats thank you you're going to Americans the body that has been established to do what to interpret and enforce the Constitution of the United States let's look at some facts in all of American history since the establishment of the constitution there have been two hundred thirteen justices that have served only fourteen of those have been Catholic. Six percent. In nineteen ninety four and by the way the first Catholic was appointed to the Supreme Court in one thousand nine hundred seventy nine after that point in time it was like there was a one seat had to be a Catholic seat but in one nine hundred ninety four. The court had a Protestant majority which would make sense because this country was established as what kind of a country a Protestant country in two thousand and five what else happened in two thousand and five that was the death of Pope John Paul the second and we saw three presidents kneeling in front of the casket in two thousand and five after that took place a nother nomination was made to the Supreme Court and it was a Catholic nomination that was the second Catholic to be nominated on the Supreme Court at that time in two thousand and nine four years later the court had completely shifted from a Protestant court to a two thirds majority Catholic court not a simple majority two thirds majority and this made headlines all over the world why because of for the first time in Protestant America we had and this was what that line said a Catholic court in two thousand and ten with the retirement of John Paul Stevens not a single Protestant serves on the Supreme Court today there are six Catholics and three Jewish and I know what some of you are saying but what about just discourse that she was just nominated if you read his bio carefully and you read the C.N.N. article that was published on him it is very ambiguous we are he stands. Because he was raised catholic his entire life and has only been attending a Presbyterian church I believe it is recently but there is a real discussion as to where he really is on all of these things and so I would say that we're still dealing with a six to three two thirds majority Catholic court today notice there's not a single Protestant on the court currently what is the significance of this it only takes one more vote folks to change the law in this country and the interpretation of the Constitution of the United States one vote we have now two votes over what is needed a law professor Jeffrey Rosen puts it this way in his book The Supreme Court the personalities and rivalries that defined America it's a fascinating truth that we've allowed religion to drop out of consideration on the Supreme Court and right now we have a Supreme Court that religiously at least by no means looks like America interesting isn't it but this statement is not really stating the facts as they stand today we have not really allowed religion to drop out of consideration adequate We have simply shifted the religion to include Jewish and Catholic voices it has been very much a consideration what we have left out is Protestant religious affiliation and how odd in a nation that was founded by Protestants and who sought to establish a separation between church and state a position which has not been traditionally espoused by Catholicism. You can look at this later this is just some statistics the red is the Catholic court from one thousand nine hundred eighty nine and it just goes to two thousand and nine of course where in two thousand and seventeen now the statement by Pope Pius the tenth is very interesting that the state must be separated from the church is a thesis is absolutely false a most pernicious error hence the Roman pontiff have never ceased as circumstances required to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of church and state we need to be aware of what's going on and understand what is taking place. Now I want to shift a little bit today to another recent development and I want to tie this in with Daniel Chapter two a very familiar chapter for those of us in this room I'm sure in those listening as well as we come to the end of this wonderful image that Nebuchadnezzar has this dream of and Daniel comes to interpret for him Daniel says where as you saw the feet and toes partly of potter's clay and partly of iron the kingdom shall be divided so the kingdom shall be partly strong and what partly fragile now it's very interesting as we look at the political scene in Europe today because as we look at the political scene today we see that the Bracks it vote immigration and economic woes of Europe have stretched the European Union to its limits the refugees that have come flowing into Europe have also stretched the whole concept of a European Union and the idea of sovereign boundaries or borders as well but we have to understand that this institution of a European Union ultimately began in Rome and saw tremendous attempt just recently to shore up its future just in the last few months you may not be aware but March twenty five one thousand nine hundred fifty seven sixty years ago this year seven countries of Europe met at the Vatican to sign the Treaty of Rome which would eventually morph into what would become the European Union. And in March this year March twenty five this year at the sixtieth anniversary of that event twenty seven countries of Europe in the European Union met to reaffirm their commitment to the enterprise and where did they meet in Rome where they first began the enterprise here they stood as Pope Francis and church to preside over the leaders of Europe on Friday Sabbath was the day that the declaration was signed only one leader was absent the prime minister of Great Britain together they signed a new statement known as the Rome declaration underscoring the aspirations of a quote unique union with common institutions and strong values a community of peace freedom and democracy human rights and the rule of law. This picture is a fascinating one because it took place on that weekend that Friday I will let my wife talk a little bit more about the setting and what this room signifies in terms of the paintings that are on the wall around these leaders of Europe and the pope notice the pope is seating sitting upon his throne but hind him this is the sala radio in the papal palace and behind him are some very famous paintings which he will talk about it is very interesting that this is where this meeting took place the counter-Reformation frenzy is very much alive today and it is moving at an unprecedented rate. And the media that you hear that is criticizing the Bracks it the exit of Great Britain from the European Union. That media is I think largely fueled by the desire to keep the European Union together for not only political but religious reasons we want to move away now from the current political scene to what is happening on the religious scene five hundred years after Martin Luther placed the ninety five theses. On the door at Rittenberg castle church there have been tremendous moves and I'm only going to be able to in the next twenty minutes do a really cursory overview of this but there have been tremendous moves between Catholics and Protestants and Catholics and Orthodox to heal the divide that separates. These groups from Rome in one nine hundred ninety nine the joint declaration of the doctrine of justification was signed by eighty nine of the hundred twenty four Lutheran World Federation of churches this document sought to redefine the doctrine of justification from a Catholic perspective and used the skills of language to confuse one of the key doctrines that separated the reformers from Rome I'm not going to have time to go into a thorough analysis of this it's fast and I'm going to look at one quote very interesting quote here to give you the tenor it's right at the beginning of the declaration and we're going to take it apart a little bit by appropriating insights of recent biblical studies what kind of biblical studies recent biblical studies and drawing on modern investigations what kind of investigations modern investigations of the history of theology and dog what is dog doctrine the post Vatican two ecumenical dialogue has led to a notable convergence concerning justification with the result that this joint declaration is able to formulate a consensus on basic truths concerning the doctrine of justification in light of this consensus the corresponding doctrinal condemnations of the sixteenth century do not apply to today's partner. I want to go back to the beginning of their recent biblical studies do you know why protestants and catholics are able to come together in this joint declaration today and we're going to talk about it because it is moving this joint declaration is moving and has just been signed as of just a few weeks ago by other entities as well because of recent biblical studies and because of modern interpretive methods you see when you hold in common as Protestants and as Catholics a historical critical method of Biblical interpretation. That denies the basic divine intervention of God in human history and the divine inspiration of the Bible and the Bible simply becomes a work of human hands and human writers and the divine element of inspiration and revelation is removed at least from how it has been traditionally understood in Protestant and biblical circles then you can do almost anything with any doctrine in the Bible and that is the only reason why they could get close and even this is not complete but why they could get close at something like this this is an issue of hermeneutics it is not an issue of a common belief in justification and we're going to look at this in the second presentation today this is what Ellen White says in great controversy page five seventy one it is not without reason that the claim has been put forth in Protestant countries that Catholicism differs less widely from Protestantism than in former times there has been a change but the change is not in the papacy Catholicism indeed resembles much of the Protestantism that now exists because Protestantism has so greatly degenerated since the days of the reformers. If we let go of our understanding of the authority and the normative. Idea of sola scriptura the Bible alone we will be in the same boat and it is already happening in some circles within it happen to them today we need to be very very careful how we look at the Bible how we see the Bible does the Bible inform us and Reform us or do we sit as judges over the Bible that is the core issue C. according to Catholicism. The Church invented the Bible or created the Bible Catholic doctrine teaches that the Church created the Bible. Protestant doctrine historically teaches that the Bible creates the church there is a fundamental difference between those two elements you see and if we do this which as many Protestants have done and you have Rudolph the famous Lutheran theologian in the one nine hundred sixty S. already writing on the DE mythologizing of scripture where he basically spiritualized heaven and and and anything miraculous in the New Testament the resurrection of Jesus all of these things were spiritualized to make it applicable and palatable in a modern scientific context when we start doing that and we deny the divine element in scripture which actually is they are. To give testimony to what the scripture is then we are falling into the same situation and this is what has happened in Protestantism today not everyone we have wonderful Baptist friends we have Lutheran friends the Lutheran Missouri Synod branch of the Lutheran Church tries to uphold a much higher view of scripture but for much of Protestantism that has gone by the wayside long long ago. As you know this year was the five hundred year Reformation this is all in German but this has been along in planning by the way since two thousand and eight over ten years this has been planning by both Protestant and Catholics to come together the opening of the Luther decade. I'm just going to read a few of those two thousand and eleven reformation and freedom. We call the Middle Ages the dark ages why because people didn't have access to the living Word of God People didn't have the freedom to understand the truth of Justification by Faith righteousness by faith by faith alone they didn't understand that. We come to the Reformation in music in the transforming element that the Reformation had on music it was a opening of the Arts an opening of music an expression of new musical ideas reformation and tolerance reformation and politics Reformation arts and the Bible this is the second part of our presentations this afternoon two thousand and sixteen Reformation and the one world you see what's happening now as we're moving towards two thousand and seventeen and then of course the Reformation Jubilee Now there were several Jubilee is this year in two thousand and seventeen that the Catholic Church had had inaugurated in one happened the year before the extraordinary jubilee of mercy in which indulgences were being given to anyone including Hindus and Buddhists and anyone who one needed in the knowledge of the Protestant Reformation Jubilee marking the five hundred years since the Reformation began and Martin Luther nailed those ninety five theses we know took place on October thirty one the Jubilee dialogue between Lutheran the jubilee of the dialogue that began between Lutherans and Catholics fifty years ago in one thousand nine hundred sixty seven also took place this year so there are all these jubilees that are on top of each other and you believe by the way our big thing and there's a look at this in a moment and then there was another very interesting jubilee that took place this year the jubilee of the charismatic movement as it has moved into the Catholic Church since one thousand nine hundred sixty seven that's fast and I wish I would have more time to to get into that because one of the things that the spirit of prophecy says is that there will be three elements that will come together at the end of time it will be apostate Protestantism the Catholic Church and spiritualism. And I believe I know I have to be very careful with this because I know many of you may know people I have relatives who are Pentecostals and others who are involved in various aspects of the charismatic movement but this is one of the huge unifying factors that is taking place today. Huge unifying factor in fact just days before the thirty first of October there was a huge rally that took place in Kansas City where thousands of Protestants Catholics and others came together for a charismatic. Huge event like G Y C There were probably six to seven thousand people there but it all focused on ecumenism and the spirit working to bring unity among the churches which spirit what spirit in the charismatic movement causes the Catholic to feel stronger and more affirmed in Catholic beliefs and allows a Lutheran or a Presbyterian to feel the same way and their beliefs that's a big question that we have today this is the announcement that was made Pope Francis invited the crowd which included charismatics from fifty five countries to come to St Peter's Square for Pentecost in two thousand and seventeen to celebrate this fiftieth anniversary of the movement. I expect all of you charismatic from around the world to celebrate your great jubilee with the pope at Pentecost in two thousand and seventeen in St Peter's Square this already happened what is a Jew believe by the way for reconciliation that we talked about do you believe this is from the Vatican by the way only go to official Vatican websites for the stuff there's a lot of stuff on the Internet right you want to go to the source right I'm a historian I need to have reputable sources when I go to things OK So we're looking at reputable sources this is from the Vatican website it is a year of reconciliation between adversaries of conversion and receiving the sacrament of reconciliation in the next presentation will talk about the sacraments and consequently of solidarity hope justice commitment to serve God with joy and peace with our brothers and sisters it sounds beautiful it can be beautiful but unity can never take place as in sacrificing biblical truth. You cannot have unity while sacrificing biblical truth that's a quote from the Spirit of Prophecy by the way. Here we see another milestone an ecumenical relations taking place in the German town of Britain Berg on Wednesday the report said this was in two thousand and sixteen. As the world communion of reform churches signed up to the joint declaration on the doctrine of justification. It included eighty million Christians in congregational Presbyterian reformed United uniting and well density in churches in over one hundred notice while dense in churches in over one hundred countries around the world this year just days before October thirty one the anniversary of the pope met with a delegation of the Church of Scotland and this is what he says again radio to calm the mutual purification of memory is one of the most significant fruits of this common journey the past cannot be changed yet today we at least see one another as God sees us what is a purification of memory. I'm a historian. What happened happened. Now let me tell it this is this is this is all kinds of interesting to hear it's interesting that the pope recently has apologized to the wall density and communities it's also interesting to how the well done in communities responded to Pope Francis in his apology they said we are living in the twenty first century I'm paraphrasing here and we cannot accept an apology for something that took place to our brothers and sisters hundreds of years ago it is they that deserve the apology as million thousands thousands of people died in the hills and valleys in Switzerland on the day of the Reformation do believe. The Church of England in Westminster Abbey signed for the first time the joint declaration. On justification and you can see here the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rowan Williams who attended the funeral that's a different one now and one of the Catholic cardinals there during the ceremony and whence Mr Abbey the Church of England five hundred years ago today this is what was said there by the by the. Archbishop of Canterbury five years ago today Martin Luther enclosed with a letter to his archbishop ninety five theses critical of aspects of church practice at the time Interesting isn't that he objected in particular to Christians being urged to pay a price that a dead loved one might be freed from punishment five hundred years later we remember that the Universal Church the Body of Christ is under God Semper therefore Mond always to be reformed and we recall with sadness the cruelty and the deaths that hide it that blighted the ensuing decades so we remember but we move forward and we move on in closing today I want to focus on the great schism of a few minutes here left. This is actually quite remarkable when we think about it the great schism between the eastern and the Western church between Rollman and Eastern Orthodoxy took place in ten fifty four we don't have time to go into all the particulars today one of the key elements though was the rejection of the Eastern Orthodox churches to recognize the bishop of Rome as the head of all the churches but in last year in February twelfth two thousand and sixteen in Havana Cuba Pope Francis and Russian Patriarch Kirill met to discuss the welfare of Christians in the Middle East and Asia. The Russian patriarch here by the way is head of the largest group of of. Orthodox Christians two hundred million I believe in Russia two hundred thousand two hundred million first it was the first meeting between the two heads of these entities in nine hundred sixty two years since that great schism and by the way you should also be aware that Pope Francis together with our president takes a great deal of credit in the new opening of relations between the United States and Cuba today in April twenty sixth of that year. The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew The first is the first patriarch among equals meets with the pope as well and they signed a door joint declaration in Greece which I will not have time to read today but it was in our efforts to promote the full unity of all Christians we affirm our conviction that reconciliation among Christians involves promoting social justice within among all peoples and they speak then specifically about the issue of migrants and refugees and asylum seekers and their humane reception that should be given to them in Europe very interesting this led all of this led to a meeting in June nineteen to twenty six in two thousand and sixteen last year in that meeting which was really supposed to be the coming together of all Orthodox groups whether it was the Armenian Orthodox or the Greek Orthodox or the Cypriot Orthodox or the Russian Orthodox all of these different groups were to meet together in Crete in order to formalize this is what all the news media was saying in order to formalize their united efforts in preparation for their unity with Rome but for I believe it was for various leaders decided that they would not attend and one of those churches not there was the Russian Orthodox Church who did not attend by the way it was one hundred million members in the Russian Orthodox Church not two hundred million just to let you know but this was the first great Council that had taken place of this kind in twelve hundred years I'm sure in these things with you because I believe that these are all unprecedented events in history and they've all happened within the last year and a half and that should give us a rise of thinking as to what is taking place today October two thousand and two just a few weeks ago here is the ecumenical I'm sorry the Patriarch of Jerusalem meeting with the pope at the Vatican I want to close with this quote from the Spirit of Prophecy selected messages Volume two page one online all how much all that God has in prophetic history specified to be fulfilled in the past has been and all that is yet to come in its order will be. Daniel God's prophet stands in his place John stands in his place in the Revelation the lion of the tribe of Judah has opened to the students of prophecy the Book of Daniel and thus is Daniel standing in his place notice the connection between Revelation and Daniel he bears his testimony that which the Lord revealed to him in vision of the great and solve events which we must know as we stand where on the very threshold of their fulfillment if she could write this one hundred over one hundred years ago how close to that threshold are we standing today. In history and prophecy the Word of God and we're going to be talking about this story as this method of prophecy in our third presentation our last presentation tomorrow in history in prophecy the Word of God portrays the long continued conflict between truth and error the conflict is yet in progress those things which have been will be repeated old contra real first these will be revived new theories will be continually arising but God's people who in their belief in fulfillment of prophecy have acted and what have acted are we acting today have acted a part in the proclamation of the first second and third angels messages they know where they stand they have an experience that is more precious than fine gold they are to stand firm as a rock holding the beginning of their confidence steadfast to the end. When I am going through these events it's easy to think as members of this and time movement while the end is so close it is easy to think with fear of all the things that are coming at but I don't look at it that way. I praise the Lord that I am alive today and that I can know the truth from scriptures from the Spirit of Prophecy through prophecy and through its fulfillment I can be assured as I see these things taking place that what we have inherited as a church from the Protestant Reformers and have continued to refine and continue to proclaim that that is as valid today as it has ever been in fact it is more valid today than it's ever been and that the great controversy that wonderful book if you read and take time I hope many of you stood yesterday as Middle East roots are one of my former students made the call as he called us to read through the conflict of the ages series in the Bible this this year if we read through that and we see what has taken place in the past and read what is going to take place in the future we're seeing prophecy fulfilled in our very midst we don't have to wait for the future it is here and the question is what are we going to do about it and what is our mission and our message that's what we're going to go into in our second presentation Let's pray together Heavenly Father we thank you today that you were gracious God I thank you for my voice that has been holding up today and I thank you that you are a gracious God a God who not only. The. President presents us with the unmistakable and unfathomable love of Jesus Christ but loves us so much that through His Word in through the Spirit of Prophecy has given us a guide for the future as we've seen these things fulfilled in the past we can be assured and with great expectation await the things that will take place in the future you are coming soon we know that you will be coming in the clouds of heaven as the Bible describes and we want to be ready Lord God for that day even so Lord Jesus come quickly Amen. All right in fifteen minutes we will resume with our second presentation you will not want to miss it why does the Reformation matter still today. This message was recorded at the G Y C twenty seventeen conference arrives in Phoenix Arizona. G Y C A supporting Ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church seeks to inspire young people to be bible based Christ centered and so when Christians to download or purchase other resources like this visit us online at W.W.W. dot she Y.C. Web dot org.

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