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Shawn Wengerd wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have been doing a deep study on the End Times and the history of the Church (and the world) and I have a few questions concerning:

  • Bible prophecies about the beast from Daniel and Revelation, and
  • the 10th horn that was different than the others and how it plucked out three others.

With my studies of history and the Bible, there is no one or anything else the beast could be but the Roman Catholic Church or the papacy. Before I make my assumptions I would just like to ask for your knowledge on these topics.

I have several more questions but I want to be able to get detailed answers so I'm not going to ask them all at once.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I hope to hear back from you soon.

Sincerely,

Shawn

  { Seeing the beast of Daniel and Revelation could be nothing but the Church, what's your opinion? }

John replied:

Hi Shawn,

Both Daniel and Revelation are apocalyptic books, not prophecy in the strictest sense of the word, like Isaiah, Jeremiah and so forth. Of course all biblical literary forms are prophetic and apocalyptic, in that they are the Word of God in the words of men and they reveal the Living Word, Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, most End Times studies these days, are based on Dispensationalism: A nineteenth century heresy, first proposed by John Nelson Darby in the mid nineteenth century (~1850).

Darby, like the Protestants of his day, was vehemently anti-Catholic. Most of the books written since then, have followed suit.

Jesus Christ established the Church and the papacy through Peter so right off the bat your conclusions are off base.

I can only assume that your study of history is based on reading material that was written by anti-Catholics. That's not to say that at points in history, certain clerics, including popes, weren't corrupt. They may have been but they never changed or taught any doctrine inconsistent with what has always been part of the Christian faith from Day One. They may have personally violated those doctrines, for which there is no excuse for and is grave sin, but God will deal with them.

That said, the papacy itself and the Church remain instituted by Christ and protected by the Holy Spirit, in areas of faith and morals. It doesn't mean that some popes and priests weren't the worst sinners on the planet but, even if they personally disobeyed the Church's teachings, they never altered doctrine.

Both Daniel and John were using symbolism that would be readily understood by their audiences so for us to try to impose our current events on ancient symbols is problematic. Yes, they have current applications but the strict meaning of the text is based on how the original readers or hearers would have understood the signs and symbols of that day.

Prophecy is not predicting the future, rather it is speaking the future in being. That is the power of the Word of God. Much of Revelation has been fulfilled as of 70 A.D. along with Matthew 24, Mark 13, etc. The entire Bible is primarily a liturgical book especially the first few chapters (after the letters to the Churches) which are dedicated to divine liturgy taking place in Heaven and to which we are united.

Read Hebrews 12 carefully, as well. Much of the book describes the Spiritual Warfare that took place at Calvary and which takes place in the Liturgy in Heaven, in which we participate.

That said, treating the book like straight prophecy is a futile exercise.

John

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