Prophecy and the Pope’s Deal with China
The pope is doing a deal with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). In March, the Roman Catholic Church will give the Communist Party the power to appoint bishops in China. Just what the pope’s hope is remains unclear but what is clear is that here we have the false church in league with communism, a Marxist ideology that led Stalin, Mao and other leaders to murder many millions of people. Jennifer Oriel (The Australian, 23-2-2018), commenting on the deal the pope is brokering with the CCP, said:
“For years, [the communists] tried to eradicate Christianity in China. Like their Bolshevik comrades, they persecuted Christians, killed priests, destroyed churches and made political prisoners of resisters. When they failed to kill God, the red state tried to make Christ communist. They constructed a parallel system of religion with church leaders appointed by the CCP and bibles rewritten to align with communist ideology. In diplomatic terms, it is Christianity with Chinese characteristics. In truth, it is communism.” [i]
The CCP will no doubt be smirking at the deal. There are reported to be about 12 million Roman Catholics in China amid a total population of 70 million ‘Christians’, and Pew Research estimates that by 2030 there will be between 250-300 million Christians. This is a thorn in the side of the Chinese Communist Party which is rooted in unbelief and rigidly promotes Marxist atheism. It sees Christianity as a serious threat to its world view and has cracked down on Christian churches and brutally persecuted Christians, destroying church buildings and committing Christians to prison. Hence, to broker a deal with the pope provides the CCP with the ability to blunt this thorn and infiltrate the RC church in China with communist doctrine.
How is it that Pope Francis, who claims to represent the Christian church, does a deal with the communists? Perhaps it is because this pope is widely considered to be a socialist, a promoter of so-called ‘liberation theology’ which combines selected Bible passages about helping the poor with socialist ideals about everyone contributing to, and sharing equally in, the state’s wealth. Such ‘liberation theology’ is basically unbelief. It puts man before God. Christianity is based on the Word of God, not Marx.
One can only wonder at the RC church’s willingness to do a deal with the atheistic Chinese Communist Party and its president (now effectively emperor for life) Xi Jinping. The pope must know that last year, Wang Zuoan, director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs told the Communist Party’s 90 million members that they “should be firm Marxist atheists, obey party rules and stick to the party’s faith … they are not allowed to seek value and belief in religion”. But I suppose that a false church which in its doctrine already compromises the truth will have few qualms about further compromises to further its ends and influence and, as has so often been shown, will have little interest in defending the true believers.
That the false church flirts with world powers need not surprise us because both the Bible and world history is replete with examples of false prophets cosying up to political rulers. Ahab had 400 false prophets who, to feather their own nest, were prepared to tell him what he wanted to hear (1 Kings 22). How often did not Jerusalem turn away from the Lord, ally herself with pagan kings and persecute faithful believers so that Jesus lamented, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you …” (Mat 23:36). Was it not the Jews who persuaded Pilate to have Christ crucified and later influenced the Roman Empire to persecute Christians? Rejecting Christ, they are referred to in Rev 2:9 as a synagogue of Satan. We see how later the RC church continually cosied up to various governments to pursue its own interests at the cost of the truth. At the time of Luther and Calvin it sought the help of governments in Europe to quell the Reformation and persecute the reformers. More recently we’ve seen how the World Council of Churches is in league with the United Nations Organisation. History is replete with examples of the false church seeking to drive political powers at the cost of the lives of true Christians and at the cost of the souls of its adherents.
Indeed, it’s all been prophesied. Our omnipotent God who consoles us with the assurance that He directs the course of world events according to His purpose has given the apostle John a vision of it in Revelation 17. John sees a prostitute sitting on a beast. The prostitute represents the false church, says Holwerda[ii] and some other commentators. Whereas the true church is the ‘bride of Christ’, the false church is frequently referred to in the Bible as a harlot, a prostitute. For example, in Ezekiel 16 and 23 we read of how God drives Jerusalem into captivity and punishes her because of her harlotry. God says: Sodom was bad, and Samaria somewhat worse, but Jerusalem was the worst prostitute the world has ever seen. Revelation 17 shows the prostitute sitting on a beast. That beast, says Holwerda, represents world powers. The fact that the prostitute is sitting on the beast shows the false church’s close affinity with world powers. The harlot rides on the back of the beast just as the false church allies herself to world powers for self-seeking political motives. Holwerda illustrates this with further examples:
“… who had power in Russia in the past? The Czars. Yet over them stood the Greek Catholic church, the prostitute. In Spain Philip II ruled, but the Roman Catholic church was in control. In France there was Louis XIV, but the prostitute really ruled. A century and more ago in the Netherlands William I was king, but the Reformed (state-) church committed fornication with him. Never throughout the centuries has there been a pure worldly political power. The actual power rested with the apostate church, the whore.”[iii]
To be sure, there are commentators who see the harlot on the beast as representing not only the false church but also godless culture (which includes false prophecy). Be that as it may, Scripture certainly compares Israel’s unfaithfulness to harlotry and speaks of her whoring after false gods. And that is what the Roman Catholic church and other false churches do by worshipping saints and other creatures and giving more credence to their own views than to the Word of God.
There’s a powerful warning in this for you and me. Holwerda, referring to the seventh head of the beast (representing the final world empire before Christ’s return), says:
“When in our day the world empire, this seventh head, is being built, this is occasioned by the church which breaks its covenant with the Lord and intoxicates herself with the blood of the faithful witnesses. All wars and revolutions and social injustices and abominations are born within and are fed by the adulterous church. This underscores the significance of the creedal article on the true and false church. This demands the reformation, the return unto the Lord.
Do you know what I can never understand! While every day and everywhere we see with our eyes the devastation with which the false church regales humanity—a devastation which produces universal sighing—hardly anyone takes the confession concerning “true and false church” seriously. If one only speaks nice words about unity and makes sympathetic gestures in the direction of ecumenicity, reaching over every ecclesiastical wall, then a person is praised as a fine fellow. But if one confesses to the truth about Christ’s church, such a person is accused of narrow-minded churchmanship, of absolutism, of fanaticism. […] The great majority (and this perhaps is even worse) doesn’t seem to care anymore. All they want is peace and unity.” [iv]
Is that our position, yours and mine?
[i] Jennifer Oriel, “Pope Francis caves in to the Catholic Church’s old enemies”, The Australian, 23 February 2018.
[ii] Prof B Holwerda, “The Church in the Last Judgment”, translation by Dr P Y DeJonge available at http://www.spindleworks.com/library/holwerda/lastjudge.htm