His bulletproof motorcar eases its way through crowded streets to the applause of thousands jostling for a glimpse at the aged but celebrated and pious patriarch. With compassionate eyes and a warm smile, he waves slowly at his admirers. The roar of the hordes of spectators tells us that it is always a pomp and ceremonious occasion when Pope Francis visits a city. Kings, queens, presidents and prime ministers pay him homage.
But outside of the cheers and veneration of the white-haired and white-robed vice-regent of Rome, others view him with grim suspicion. It is more than skepticism and misgivings. They have always seen a different side of the benevolent peacemakers. To them he does not represent the hope of a better world, but a villain of huge proportions carrying a legacy of malfeasance, stained with the blood of millions of just souls and a millennia plus of sacrilege—the Antichrist of Antichrists. These opponents of Rome follow a long train of Protestants: Martin Luther, John Bunyan, and countless others, who challenged the Pontiffs and condemned them as Paul's prophetic "man of sin," 1 and the
future despot of globalism—or the President's, "new world order" if you prefer.
Seventh-day Adventist, based on the prophecy of Revelation chapter thirteen, share these views. Officially we teach the resurgence of Roman supremacy, and that the world, including the United States of America, will pay explicit veneration to both the Papacy and its religious institutions, particularly, Sunday observance. We say that this act will establish the Pontiff as the undisputed head—the man who bears the mystical number 666 and who will threaten all opposers with the pain of death.
Could we have been wrong?
There are other candidates for this position of "world despot." There are the world economic and political elites, the numerous religious heavies, countless spiritualists and gurus, not to mention Communism. (Don't let anyone fool you, Communism is not really dead—but that's another study). It all depends from whose vantage point you view the subject. Admittedly, the idea that the Papacy is the 666