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Will the Next Pope Be the Last One Before Jesus' Return?

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Supposedly, the next pope who comes to power is the last pope before the end of the age. The story goes that in 1139 A.D. or so, a guy named Malachy visited Rome and had a vision. He was shown how many popes there would be before the end time. With Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation announcement today, it seems like we’re on the cusp of big things about to happen.

So, is it true? Did a Roman Catholic bishop have a vision in 1139 that really showed him how many popes there would be before the end of the age? It’s not impossible. God has given prophecies to those who are obedient followers of His as well as those who are very decidedly not (Balaam comes to mind, Numbers 22:35 Numbers 22:35And the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak to you, that you shall speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
American King James Version×
).

But it could also be bunk. The Wikipedia article about the “Prophecy of the Popes” explains difficulties with the accuracy of the prediction. Namely, the way Malachy wrote down what he saw was in the form of 112 very cryptic phrases. The phrases supposedly describe something about each pope. But they’re so vague, figuring out what they mean relies heavily on interpretation. And while some have been accurate, some have also been way off-base.

It’s so interesting, mysterious, intriguing to think about. If the next pope is the last pope, does that mean the end of the age is coming in the next 30 years or so (or sooner)?

Let’s get back to basics, here. We know and believe the Bible is the inspired word of God. We don’t know that about Malachy’s prophecy. And frankly, the biblical prophecies about the end time are clearer and less obscure than what Malachy wrote anyway.

A key prophecy we should look for to determine when the end will come is the “man of sin.” Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians about him, and the vision John recorded in Revelation 13 corroborates it. Here’s Paul: “Don’t be fooled by what they say. For that day [the day of the Lord, which culminates in Jesus’ return] will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

The guy claims to be God Himself.

So before Jesus returns, this man has to come on the scene. John seemed to have a vision of the same guy, which he described as a beast: “Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth. […] He did astounding miracles, such as making fire flash down to earth from heaven while everyone was watching. And with all the miracles he was allowed to perform on behalf of the first beast, he deceived all the people who belong to this world. He ordered the people of the world to make a great statue of the first beast, who was fatally wounded and then came back to life. He was permitted to give life to this statue so that it could speak. Then the statue commanded that anyone refusing to worship it must die” (Revelation 13:11-18 Revelation 13:11-18 11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. 12 And he excercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six.
American King James Version×
, NLT)

By the way, it’s this same guy who institutes the “mark of the beast,” which is calculated to 666.

What is the conclusion of the matter? If the next pope is the last one, it’s either coincidence or it really was an inspired prophecy. But instead of trying to figure out if some cryptic and mysterious prophecy from the 12th century is true, I think it’s more worth our time to read the plain language of the Bible.

The point of prophecy is to get us to take God seriously and make changes in our life today . Hold fast to the teachings of Christ. Be a good Christian. In fact, Paul said exactly that right after he wrote about the man of sin (2 Thessalonians 2:15 2 Thessalonians 2:15Therefore, brothers, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught, whether by word, or our letter.
American King James Version×
).

Or to quote Jesus Himself: live a life showing fruits of repentance (Matthew 3:8 Matthew 3:8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
American King James Version×
).

 Take-Away

St. Malachy’s prophecy of how many popes there would be before the end time probably isn’t true. But the Bible definitely is true, and it clearly says that a “man of sin” who claims to be God and does amazing miracles will come to power before the end time. The point of prophecy is to make us focus today on being a good Christian. So live a life worthy of repentance.

  

Update: March 13, 2013 - First Pope from Latin America. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio from Argentina is chosen as the new Pope. He will take the name Pope Francis the First.

    Comments

  • shanamai
    Apparently Nostradamus made a prediction too, after St Malachy. Making this last Pope to be the last of the age as well from his prediction. No one knows but the Father with determining time( Matthew 24:36 Matthew 24:36But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
    American King James Version×
    ). And We do need to be weary for those that are false prophets as it says in ( Matthew 24:11 Matthew 24:11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
    American King James Version×
    ). Very interesting, and I guess we’ll all be waiting to see what the character of the next Pope will be like to put the predictions to the test.
  • jneil
    Interestingly, Malachy’s prophecy also states that the last Pope will be a “Roman.” Coincidentally, the top contender for the position to replace Pope Benedict XVI, is Cardinal Angelo Scola, of Italy.
  • Ha Buon
    I have been waiting for the next Pope who, according to Malachy, will call himself Peter The Roman. The name Peter The Roman is clear enough, and we do not have to wait for too long in order to find out if the last prediction of Malachy comes true. Ha Buon
  • Arrott
    YES! It is prophsey being fulfilled in Rev 17 the seven Kings. The Lateran Treaty 1929: What the Roman Catholic Church got in 1929 in the Lateran Treaty was its independence and sovereignty. The political independence means that now they had a monarchy, where the pope was the absolute ruler. The pope now was not only the supreme head of the Catholic Church universally, but also the indisputable temporal king over the State of Vatican City. FIRST KING – Pope PIUS XI (1929-1939) SECOND KING – Pope PIUS XII (1939-1958) THIRD KING – Pope JOHN XXIII (1958-1963) FOURTH KING – Pope PAUL VI (1963-1978) FIFTH KING – Pope JOHN PAUL I (1978-1978) SIXTH KING – Pope JOHN PAUL II (1978-2005) SEVENTH KING – Pope BENEDICT XVI (2005-Today) The Eight shall ascend out of the bottomless pit the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. Rev. 17: 8-11 (The Catholic Church said their new Pope would be here by Easter) We are seeing prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes and know where we are at in the book of Revelations. John was taken in vision to the time of the sixth king: “five are fallen, and one is. Jesus Christ has prophesied that there will be only seven kings: “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” Revelation 17:10 Revelation 17:10And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
    American King James Version×
    . REVELATION CHAPTER 17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. Alleluia(Rev19:1) Hallelujah,”Praise the Lord”,
  • carmend
    Most likely the ’ next ’ Pope just might be the last one till the return of Jesus Christ…!
  • acteur
    You would think anyone elected Pope would be careful NOT to call himself Peter the Roman!
  • Chuck Fles
    Let’s not get too excited about these predictions, folks. The only reliable predictors of events are the Apostles and Prophets themselves, the inspired writers of Holy Scripture, and Godthrough Christ toldus through these men that only He, the Father, knows the day and time. The best policy is peer into what Goddoes not want us to know yet.
  • Nothing but the TRUTH
    I am so DISAPPOINTED at this WEB-SITE and this artcle about the LAST POPE. Why don’t you tell the people the TRUTH. Why are you making reference on SCRIPTURES that are IRRELEVANT TO THE MATTER AT HAND ? You “guys” are running away from REVELATION 17:10-11. WHY ??? The 8 Kings of REVELATION. 1.Pius XI 2.Pius XII 3.John XXIII 4.Pual VI 5.John Paul I (now number 6 is JOHN PAUL II) and at this moment is number 7 Benedict XVI. For the 8th please read your Bible.
  • ivanko
    I don’t think it really matters who the next Pope is going to be.Whether he is going to be Peter the Roman or is he going to be black and African or Italian.Our heavenly father is telling us not to speculate or be involved with conspiracy theories but to draw closer to him daily and trust him in all that he does.And whether its going to be the next Pope or the one after we should all be looking at ourselves and concentrate at our own faith to develop a perfect character,be involved in daily Bible study,fasting ,repenting and praying daily that more and more people will be called and woken to the truth.Love all brethren and help the sinners.Live your life like Christ is coming tomorrow Be ready and watch.Bring more people to the truth and pray for all sinners and all of us so we hold fast to what we have and don’t loose our crown.We know its close but lets help one another,pray for one another and don’t just love the brethren and hate the sinners but love them all.May our everlasting Almighty heavenly father help us and guide us in this last days to make sure we are doing all we possibly and humanly can so we make it to first reserection Amen
  • ivanko
    I don’t think it really matters who the next Pope is going to be.Whether he is going to be Peter the Roman or is he going to be black and African or Italian.Our heavenly father is telling us not to speculate or be involved with conspiracy theories but to draw closer to him daily and trust him in all that he does.And whether its going to be the next Pope or the one after we should all be looking at ourselves and concentrate at our own faith to develop a perfect character,be involved in daily Bible study,fasting ,repenting and praying daily that more and more people will be called and woken to the truth.Love all brethren and help the sinners.Live your life like Christ is coming tomorrow Be ready and watch.Bring more people to the truth and pray for all sinners and all of us so we hold fast to what we have and don’t loose our crown.We know its close but lets help one another,pray for one another and don’t just love the brethren and hate the sinners but love them all.May our everlasting Almighty heavenly father help us and guide us in this last days to make sure we are doing all we possibly and humanly can so we make it to first reserection Amen
  • jgehrke
    Our Messiah also speaks of coming as a thief in the night, suggesting to me that we may not have much indication when that may be. That may be related to the harpazo, and the events of Revelation will probably by very noticeable to us if we are awake.
  • Ivan Veller
    Hello Nothing But the Truth, We teach that Revelation 17:9-10 Revelation 17:9-10 9 And here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue a short space.
    American King James Version×
    is “a prophecy about the fourth beast of Daniel 7—the Roman Empire, the Roman Church and subsequent resurrections of the Roman Empire”: http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/eu-attempt-revive-holy-roman-empire The “seven ‘kings’ [are] leaders of revivals of the Roman Empire in cooperation with the Roman church”: http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/europes-amazing-rise-foretold-bible… “[B]eginning with Justinian in 554, various kings, emperors, dictators and other rulers have…periodically revived the grandeur and might of the Roman Empire since the original empire’s fall in 476”: http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/does-prophecy-tell-us-when-christ-w… “Justinian, Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Charles V, Napoleon and Hitler are the key leaders of the first six revivals of the Roman Empire”: http://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/europe-and-church-part-13-and-one-y… See also: • http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/news-and-prophecy/europe-new-sup…http://www.ucg.org/beyond-today-program/news-and-prophecy/europe-thresholdhttp://www.ucg.org/news-and-prophecy/europe-new-superpower-rise/
  • Ivan Veller
    Hi Mr. Jgehrke, “In the immediate context [of Matthew 24:41 Matthew 24:41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
    American King James Version×
    ], Christ makes plain the fact that no one knows the timing of His coming, not of His ‘near approach,’ as the rapture theory would suggest. His advice to Christians, in light of this fact, is that we need to be constantly alert, always in a state of spiritual preparedness—”Watch therefore” (verse 42)” (“Is Matthew 24:41 Matthew 24:41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
    American King James Version×
    talking about a secret rapture?”): http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/matthew-2441-talking-about-secret-rapture
  • dick nellis
    The Bible gives the test of prophecy as De 18:22 “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” If the prophecies of St. Malachy have come true then it is from the Lord. In his commentary on Da 7:25 Adam Clark gives the year 2015 as the year of the cleansing of the Sancuary and indicates the Papal Power as the ‘man of sin’.
  • Sabrina Peabody
    Good point Dick Nellis! If it is true, it is from God. But I think people mainly look to see if a prophet is true only if every single thing they say comes to pass. Unfortunately some stop there. There are actually more characteristics to look for to test a true prophet of God, because there will be false prophets who will say something will come to pass and it will. There will be some false prophets who will say they will bring down fire from heaven, and they will. That does not mean they are true prophets simply because what they said happened. Remember, a true prophet of God will also, and most importantly, point you to God, His ways and His commandments (Deut. 13:1-5) “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.”
  • Joshua Infantado
    Hi Everyone! Bible prophecies are really intriguing and very interesting. The Bible tells us to WATCH and PRAY. But we should not stop there. If we are too busy to know when is the end time, we might neglect our spiritual health. If you think about it, our death can also be considered as “end time” since the moment that we wake up will be the judgment day for those who are called now. So the “end time” is nearer than what we believe. NO one of us has the guarantee that we will still be here tomorrow, or next week or next year. Thus we need to treat each day as if tomorrow will be Jesus’ second coming. We should be prepared always no matter what predictions tell us. :)
  • terrihoop
    you know what else is interesting is the pope that was selected was not even on the short list of who was being considered and he became pope???in a very short time as well. Looks like this prophecy might come true since it is very strange someone who NO ONE had heard about became pope. This was on TV when they were talking to a few people in the know….He is also supposed to be very humble doing things for others instead of them doing things for him. could be a trick to make people think he is humble.

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