Benedict XVI and WWIII?
April 26 05
Last Tuesday, Joseph Ratzinger was elected by the College of Cardinals as the new pope. Just two weeks prior to that, on April 5, we published an article stating that the next pope would probably take the name Benedict XVI. We have received a large number of hits and so we wanted to take this time to talk a bit more about Benedict XV and XVI, and then remind you of the significance of the days in which we live.
Benedict XV was elected in September 1914 and spent the first four years of his pontificate calling for world peace while World War I raged on. In November 1918, the war ended and Benedict served another three years until his death on January 22, 1922, giving him a reign of seven years and four months.
Benedict XVI said last week that he chose the name Benedict because of his namesake's work in trying to end WWI and bring peace around the globe. He also said that he chose Benedict because of Benedict XV's relatively short reign. The newly elected pope said last week, "I, too, hope in this short reign to be a man of peace." So we have Benedict XVI predicting a short reign marked by peace, the peace foreshadowed in the motto "gloria olivae."
The Catholic prophecy that we told you about a few weeks ago is coming true. We had said that the new pope would probably be an older man whose reign would be relatively short. The prophecy says that this last pope on Malachy's list, the 111th, would reign until 2011 or 2012. That would be a reign of six or seven years, not unlike the seven years of Benedict XV.
Some have wondered about how this would fit with the Tribulation Period and the Antichrist. The Trib Period is a period of seven years, so if Benedict XVI reigns for seven years, are we saying the Trib has begun? No. Absolutely not. The Tribulation Period, I believe, begins with a seven-year peace treaty between Israel and at least one other party. This treaty will be broken by the Antichrist half-way through the Tribulation. What this election of Ratzinger signals is that the prophecy of Malachy is coming true. If his prophecy continues to hold, that would mean Benedict XVI is the last pope. His reign may or may not stretch into the Tribulation Period.
What about petrus romanus? Petrus romanus was added to Malachy's list by someone other than Malachy, so we do not know the accuracy of such a prediction. However, the full prophecy attached to petrus romanus, the 112th pope, does match with Scripture. It is said that the Judgment will come upon Rome during the reign of petrus romanus. Some have said that petrus romanus signifies the "beast system" described in Revelation 17 and 18. In those two chapters, we see the harlot as deriving her power from the city on seven hills. We know that Rome is known famously as the city on seven hills.
On February 15, here is what I wrote concerning petrus romanus:
As you can see, the self-predicted short reign of Benedict XVI would set up the Tribulation Period in the coming decade. Petrus romanus would come on the scene during that time and then the end would come at the end of the seven-year Tribulation Period.
The Tribulation Period is "a time of Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7). Who is Jacob? Israel (Genesis 32:28; 2 Kings 17:34). The LORD will use the Trib to draw His elect to Himself. In the end, they will see their Messiah and accept Him (Zechariah 12:10). The Trib is NOT "a time of the Church's trouble." The Church, the true believers (not all those who 'attend church') will be taken out of the world prior to the Tribulation Period. What does that mean? It means the "Rapture" could happen at any time. The Rapture could have happened at any time after Yeshua went back to Heaven. It hasn't happened yet, but it will and it will catch millions of professing Christians off guard. It will also leave billions of people on earth to go through a horrendous time of judgment.
I am not making a prediction of when our Lord will return; I am not setting a date. What I am doing is looking at the signs of the times and using the prophecies specified in the Bible to say that we are in the end times and that as each day comes and goes, we are that much closer to His return. What I am saying is that it is interesting to see prophecy unfold, with Israel back in The Land and apostasy setting in more than ever. I have no idea when Yeshua will return. It may be in my lifetime, but it may not. In either case, Christians must live their lives as if He were coming today, but plan on working for and serving Him on earth for the rest of our lives, however long that may be.