Thomas Horn and Cris Putnam have written a big book of evidence that when Pope Benedict XVI, who is 85, dies or steps down, his successor will be the last in a very long string of Popes predicted more than 800 years ago. They mix this sobering thought with conspiracy theories, and ancient occult beliefs, which they say all point to a possible End-times transition very soon.
The primary stream of thought is that the “Prophecy of the Popes,” supposedly written by Saint Malachy in 1139, has had about an 80% fulfillment – enough to make scholars think that it might be accurate about the final Pope. There is serious doubt about whether or not Malachy wrote the prophecies, but even if it was forged, it was published in 1595 and could not have been changed since then. The Roman Catholic Church has had over four hundred fifty years to reject the prophecies, but it never has. An English translation of the Latin text about the final Pope is:
“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are all finished, the City of Seven Hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.”
A second stream of thought is that the world-wide religious coalition that gives its approval of the Antichrist during the Apocalypse will be led by the False Prophet, and he would very likely be the Pope, as head of the largest sect of the largest religion on Earth. This, completely apart from “The Prophecy of the Popes,” is a popular belief of prophecy students, including some from the Roman Catholic Church.
Next, the book considers the writings of Malachi Martin, an eminent Catholic theologian and former Jesuit, who described a rite referred to as the “enthronement of the fallen Archangel Lucifer in the Roman Catholic Citadel on June 29, 1963.” This presumably would result in the inception of the satanic spirit in the future Petrus Romanus.
The reader must persevere to capture the next concept, concerning the ancient false religions, starting with Nimrod, and progressing into Egyptian mythology as Isis and Osiris, The authors introduce Luciferian rites, Freemasonry, and even the architecture of the Vatican and Washington D.C. as examples of an open conspiracy to produce an evil New World Order. Aztec and Mayan prophecies are also brought into the discussion.
A recap is given of the evils that have periodically plagued the Roman Catholic Church and especially the Papacy, including the unbelievable “Dark Ages,” the Crusades, the Inquisition, and the Reformation. These major moral problems have persisted right up to the current pedophilia scandal that has never been adequately handled by the present Pope. All of this is substantiated with copious footnotes (722 of them).
The authors also see a connection with the recent history of The United States, and of Barack Obama’s election to the presidency in this march toward the Apocalypse. Apostasy of the Evangelical segment of our culture, and the rise of Dominionist theology (combining religious faith with politics) are also discussed as part of the environment that will lead to an unholy religious union in the future.
Toward the end of the book four possible candidates for the final Pope’s office are identified, and a list of other possible contenders is given.
In summary, the book is helpful to sincere students of Bible prophecy. Like all such books, there are speculations that may or may not materialize in the future. The book uses numerous Scripture references, and is faithful to employ literal interpretation and good hermeneutics.
Dreams, Visions, and personal prophecies (1 Corinthians chapters 12 to 14) are valid, but must be approved by others with the gift of prophecy, and never carry the same weight as inspired books of the Bible. Many prophetic messages may be the result of demonic deception. The writers of this book agree, saying that demons may make educated guesses and manipulate events to give the illusion of prophecy.
The authors do seem to think this transition will begin in 2012, around Dec. 21, when the New Age believers say the Sun will align with the galactic center of the Milky Way, ushering in the Age of Aquarius. However, they stress that they “do not claim to know,” and that they are ”not prophets or apocalyptic date-setters, just researchers and commentators.”