The declining proportion of the population who identify themselves as 'Christian' along with church attendance is in the news yet again today and the numbers don't look great. When the Church of England's latest attendance figures were published earlier this month, there was a similar story with the usual spin and analysis (including my own) that attempted to determine just how bad or good they were depending on who was looking at them and what message was trying to be promoted.
IS SOMETHING IN THE AIR? Is a subtle sense of expectation and of hope stirring in many people? Is it perhaps a new spirit of the age, or maybe a move of God in our midst? How many perceive the downfall and collapse of western society from self-inflicted moral degradation?
Those with insight know the urgent need to change our ways before it’s too late. They’re giving voice to the yearning in millions to stop the rot before it’s too late, to return to God-given values of life instead of the living-death of atheism, humanism and narcissistic hedonism: that is, the deification of man.
For example, yesterday I heard about a friend’s long-time friend who’s now expressed an interest in turning to Christ if the Church gets rid of its unnecessary riches and uses the proceeds to help the poor and needy. This person had never shown the remotest concern about the Good News of Jesus, until now!
My previous post was of Gillan Scott’s article about the new Archbishop and Pope. In its covering note I remarked that his header’s opinion, ’God’s outsiders pointing to a new era in the church’, could be connected to recent prophetic words on God bringing about very specific changes. (The words are not associated with the Malachy ‘Prophecies of the Popes’, about which I’d blogged here and want to cover next.)
So, out of interest I dug around to check those words and was surprised how many there are - and these are only those of which I’m aware personally. However, for the benefit of those readers unfamiliar with prophecy, let’s consider first:
A Question on Prophecy
Of course, when people talk along the same lines it begs the cynic’s question, ‘Who copied from whom?”. Someone, no matter who they are in the Lord, could have heard on the grapevine of ideas expressed by anyone of prophetical gifting and then simply repeated them. Why not? It would serve to elevate or to maintain their status. Such an attitude is not unnatural, no matter whether one is a believer or not.
I believe the answer to this legitimate objection lies in the fundamental requirement of integrity of character for those operating in the Holy Spirit’s gift of prophecy, especially in His anointing of the office prophet (eg. Rev Bobby Conner, Rev Dr Sharon Stone).
But the ordinary unbeliever – and believer – is disadvantaged by not being ‘born again’ and walking in the Spirit. This enables such a one to sense, weigh and test within their own spirit whether or not something is of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28). Eg. when Sharon speaks and teaches she knows over a hundred listeners are checking what she says. Furthermore, an anointed prophet is only too well aware of the scriptural admonitions and dangers of delivering false words (eg. per ‘false prophet’ search in BibleGateway).
As stated in Introduction to Prophecy there are operational parameters and protocol to follow, yet these allow for interesting – and enjoyable – times when practised as a team. David Stark of the Glasgow Prophetic Centre recently emailed me as follows.:
“Thanks Richard, that’s really encouraging to us! I’ve just come upstairs from another of our 3 1/2 hour Lion Bites team meetings and so it’s lovely to read this [my email about the accuracy of several daily words, as in Lion Bites tag.]
“We had a great time this morning! We always write these as a team (the team usually consists 5-10 of our full-time or part-time prophetic staff), taking an hour or so to worship first, then pray and then we all sit down to listen to the Holy Spirit. When we’ve got our ‘downloads’ we write them down and share them with each other, to sharpen each other. In the days following a meeting there is more prayer and revelation for when to release them and an editorial team look over them again before release. Of course there is always space for a more ‘spontaneous’ word to be released but on the whole, we like to do it as a team because we’re a team ministry – a prophetic company. And it’s fun!!
“…the nice thing about working in teams you usually get a good balance of the different revelatory giftings and anointings. The church is in the Day of the Saints where it is less and less about the ‘big name’ man or woman of God (though they are great too!) and more about the outpouring on all flesh. So that’s why ‘team’ is so important to us and we continue to learn and grow all the time….
“Thanks for sharing and for the time you invest in your important blog.”
Later, David explained they no longer regard prophecy as being ‘an event’ akin to the Old Testament injunction of ”prepare for the word of the Lord”, but as an outworking of a lifestyle of Holy Spirit habitation. They teach this is a difference between ‘perceiving’ in the Spirit and ‘receiving’ from Him. (It reminds me of Dr Stone’s teaching about seeing things from God’s perspective, as in 2013 - What God is Saying.)
Click here to read the many prophetic words promising an approaching ’new era’ for not only the Church but also for the world.
Next week within three days arguably the two most influential Christian leaders in the world will be enthroned. It will be a truly unprecedented week when both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby and Pope Francis are installed into their respective roles. The last time the Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury were enthroned so closely together was in 1294, when they were two weeks apart.
The retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and yesterday’s election of Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio as 267th Pope is generating a lot of speculation outside mainstream media about the Prophecies of the Popes by 12th Century Archbishop of Armagh, Malachy O’Morgair.
Having known of this prognostication in some depth in my old life I won’t discuss it in detail, but I’d refer you to the above-linked Wikipedia article for study. Of course, it doesn’t bear the authority of Holy Scripture, for all prophecy is subject to examination by and compliance with the plumb-line of the Word of God, and true prophecy should prove to be accurate, eventually. So I’d like to present my initial thoughts on this subject.:
Carol Grisanti, producer of NBC News, writes in World News,
Legend has it that St. Malachy, as he is now known, had a strange dream while on a visit to Rome. He “saw” all the names of the future popes – complete with identifying characteristics – who would rule the church until the end of time.
It’s claimed that in 1590 an unusual list of popes attributed to Malachy was discovered in the Vatican Library. He gave each of these 112 popes a descriptive, coded motto. For example, Benedict XVI is the penultimate one and described as ‘glory of the olive’. So Pope Francis may therefore be identified as ‘Petrus Romanus’ - Peter the Roman.
Malachy’s motto for that person reads:
In perſecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit – Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum. Finis. This translates as follows:
In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit – Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [i.e. Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End. [Courtesy Wikipedia.]
Some interpreters are of the opinion the motto should be read in two parts, as indicated by the above dashes. This separate, incomplete sentence could refer to possible other popes between ‘glory of the olive’ and ‘Peter the Roman’. But I think not, despite the above journalist’s conclusion.
Why do I think so?
1. The obvious connection between ’persecution’ with ‘tribulations’ indicates that both parts could be read as a logical whole.
2. Today’s tremendous, unprecedented events within and outside the whole Church, or Body of Jesus Christ, clearly show we are in the End-Times, as delineated in the Bible (Best Instruction Before Leaving Earth!). Almost all its unfulfilled prophecies are now staring to manifest, which suggests they will soon come to a head in the return of the King for His Bride.
3. Therefore, when Jesus will be here then it will no longer be necessary for the Roman church to continue in its present form. That is, it will be replaced by what Jesus told his disciples to pray for – the fulfilled Kingdom of God. This will be under not only His, but also our, rulership.
I’m quite aware of the ancient doctrinal claims of the Church being the Kingdom of God but ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’. Many recent prophecies about ‘Shaking’ do not exclude churches because all the ungodly, even strategic satanic, aspects need exposing and eradicating as a means of cleansing and preparing the Bride.
4. In my humble opinion, the designation of the last in the list as ‘Peter’ could mean the Roman Church will have gone full circle back to someone fully representative of Jesus’ leading Apostle. Would history be repeated, as in the First Century, or could a reversal of time then be rolled back a tad further to the days Jesus was on earth? That is, we see the Church in its full power, doing the greater works Jesus desired (John 14:12).
Also, no pope assumed the name of Peter in the history of the Church of Rome. The first church in the capital of the ancient Roman Empire was founded by the Apostle Peter, known as the first Bishop of Rome and only centuries later was he regarded as the first pope. The inauguration of the papacy and its claim to precedence followed in due course – see Wikipedia. (For an interesting read see also this post on the Biblical origins of papal power.) There was, however, a Pope Peter of the Coptic Orthodox Church, who was revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches too.
Hence, the new Pope Francis could be the one reigning from Rome during the great, prophesied worldwide upheavals at the advent of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, Jesus Christ, to reign and rule the earth.
We live in such unparalleled, exciting times…Watch out and keep looking up!
PS: Have just come across a promising discussion document found on a ‘Catholicism for Protestants’ website on The Pope, The Antichrist and Peter the Roman. Have run off a hardcopy and look forward to digging into it over the weekend.
Pope & Anglican Archbishop: God’s outsiders pointing to a new era in the Church
- Prophecies on ‘a new era for the Church’ – part 1 and part 2
- Is the ’Petrus Romanus’ prophecy of God? – part 1 and part 2
… at a garden centre with ‘C’ yesterday covered some points about this blog. So, if you too had thought of them you may like this paraphrase of our chat.:
As a subscriber to this blog my long-time friend had opportunity to see the reblog from God and Politics I’d posted only earlier that morning. So, his first remark was,
“Praiseworthy as it is, what’s Christians Against Poverty got to do with your blog? Your by-line is Looking for signs of Jesus’ return…?”
My answer was; Christians need to be aware that the sociopolitical spectrum acts not only as a backdrop to but also as indicators which validate prophesied signs. ‘Aware’, that is, of global and, especially, Middle-Eastern events lining up to fulfill prophecies of two or more millenia ago. [This one of the major planks demonstrating the distinctive authority and reliability of Judeo-Christian scripture.]
More importantly, to prepare ourselves for our role in the return of the King of Kings, Christians should be concerned about, if not actively improving, the political and social scene. Thus my blog covers not a few Parliamentary-related issues, which is where my cyber-friend Gillan’s work is particularly important. It’s also a way of taking an evangelical stand, as evident from his comments upon my reblog,
…It’s great to be able to share this sort of news telling people about the Gospel in action.
Furthermore, I recounted for the first time to my brother the open vision on the state of the nation with which I’d been presented in 2004. I’d heard the Lord’s observation and intention about Britain. Validation of the vision resulted in my later emails encouraging friends to take a stand upon the emerging Rock, Jesus Christ. [For full details click on Comments upon the collapse of Society. Recognised prophetical voices had already spoken of a global shaking, as well as a sifting within the wider church per Hebrews 12 - click for related posts in this blog.]
I took the opportunity to share with ‘C’ how the Lord ’communicates’ whilst I’m blogging. Although I’ve got a long list of material and try not to be deviated, other things often grab my attention, as though being presented to me! So, I was very pleased to find this suitable free image from a quick google search.
By way of illustration, I told ‘C’ of inexplicably spotting an old, unread email and knowing it should go in Monday’s Newsmix. Without vetting it as normal however, I’d inserted it after just a cursory scan. Only afterwards in taking a hardcopy ‘to lunch’ did I find it to be an ideal choice.
Such discoveries can often be inter-connected, as though the Lord is sewing a thread in a tapestry. (Hence, the ’train of thoughts’ on Abiding in God’s Word.)
‘C’ was most uneasy, to put it mildly, to have learnt from this week’s posts about the US President’s unusually radical Cairo Speech. He expressed surprised at a June ’09 date of my reference because I’ve blogged for only 15 months. So I said my old emails had been inserted for reference purposes (see About).
Also, reflecting upon Raymond Stock’s conclusion I’d realised it echoed the opinion of Sir Winston Churchill in 1899 about the unchanging, dangerous nature of Islamic fanaticism. [Source; The River War unabridged 2-volume edition. I quoted from this under the sub-head 'Yes and No, Prime Minister' following on from my thoughts on PM Cameron's comments on Al Qaeda.] This increasing irrationality was recognised over 110 years ago and too many leaders have failed to learn the lessons of history. According to the well-known proverb, they’re certain to repeat its mistakes!
How does it all fit into last November’s prayer request and prophetic word for President Obama? The Lord has all things under His hand and I’m suitably chastened to recall He expects us to pray for leaders.
So, our prayer blessing and decree for yesterday morning is quite fitting.:
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Proverbs 14:27)
We decree that the reverential fear of the Lord will fall upon those who are in positions of authority in our nations. We bless the fountain of life as it flows through the corridors of power, bringing life and refreshing wherever it flows. [Courtesy: House of Glory: Keep Praying and Bless]
Bit slow off the starting blocks this morning – Kitty jumped all over us at 4am as the local fox must have been nosing around the path behind our back garden. With a surname like ours, perhaps she thinks she’s also a guard dog-cum-cat?
After defrosting a freezer we went to our local shops 5 minutes walk away and were pleased to find the long-closed greengrocery had re-opened. Great to be able to get better fruit and veg in dedicated shop instead of over-priced, poorer quality food in supermarkets. (We’d take a weekly drive to nearby towns for visiting their greengrocer.)
Upon return and winding up the PC it was time to catch up on daily digital mail. Cartoons have always caught my eye. So first was Kenny T’s Morning Story and (vintage) Dilbert and today’s Three Brothers was so very appropriate as a modern version of the parable of the talents and initiative.
Couldn’t help but respond with a comment and, whilst I jotted it, Nina called, “Coffee’s ready”. We treated ourselves to very light and tasty Danish apricot pasties – also known as; ‘yum-4my-tum’! I don’t always get a daily paper but, on impulse, used a voucher for the Telegraph. Naturally it’s front page cartoon first – and Matt brings hilarity, as ever!
With coffee and munch I flick-scan the newspaper’s contents and am AMAZED to find that last night they covered my main topic of yesterday’s blog, as you’ll see from copy below, or read digital version with comments here.: Continue reading
Many items in my electronic in-tray vied for my attention on booting up this morning after our 3-day weekend offline. Some get ditched quickly, others relating to this blog deserve study, the rest make good background info.
If they’d be of interest to you too, here’s a few.:
1. America’s withdrawal from the Middle-East under ‘The Obama Doctrine’ - Lee Smith, the critically acclaimed author of The Strong Horse: Power, Politics and the Clash of Arab Civilizations briefed the Middle-East Forum on the dangers of ‘extrication’ from this region. He argues that the major problem with this policy is of the vacuum being filled by others who are not always friendly powers. Libya is cited as an example. Click here to read brief, one-page synopsis.
2. Obama’s new Secretary of State seems to think he can encourage Egyptian reform by rescuing Egypt from its impending financial calamity. (Shhh… let’s pretend that’s not happening back home, like the swathe of ‘sequester’ defense cuts!) And whyever not, his boss gave the Muslim Brotherhood the all-clear when he popped into Cairo so soon after his inauguration. Yet President Morsi is far too preoccupied with spreading
MB control the rot nationwide. (Debka’s exclusive report refers)
3. By the way, an unusually large locust swarm (of Biblical proportions) has hit Egypt.
4. According to John McTernan, terrorist group Hamas has warned President Obama against any plans to visit the Temple Mount during his trip to Israel later this month.
5. Joel Rosenberg reckons Iran already has nuclear weapons, according to one expert’s analysis. This wouldn’t be surprising as Iran has cleverly duped the West all along.
Finally, do you recall Watergate?
One of the ace journalists who investigated Richard Nixon was Bob Woodward. This weekend’s report from Bill Koenig not only quotes him, but also reports other reputable journalists as having encountered severe problems with the administration.:
Bob Woodward notes that POTUS is showing “a kind of madness I’ve not seen in a long time“. Editor-in-chief of National Journal, Ron Fournier, had to rebuke a senior White House official. This indicates deep, deceptive issues and manipulation of the media at the heart of American politics, as here.:
“The way the president’s availability to the press has shrunk in the last two years is a disgrace,” said ABC News White House reporter Ann Compton, who has covered every president back to Gerald R. Ford. “The president’s day-to-day policy development — on immigration, on guns — is almost totally opaque to the reporters trying to do a responsible job of covering it. There are no readouts from big meetings he has with people from the outside, and many of them aren’t even on his schedule. This is different from every president I covered. This White House goes to extreme lengths to keep the press away.” [Source: Politico, Obama The Puppet Master - emphasis added.]
As an accredited Christian reporter at The White House, Bill Koenig’s conclusion is worthy of due regard.:
This is a problem that is coming to the surface, and hopefully the media that have fawned over Obama and helped him get elected twice will see that they have been duped. The fact is that those who are bold don’t get emails answered or are not called on for questions in White House press briefings or press conferences with the President. However, some of the liberal media has come to the White House defense very likely for favor that will come from that.
I don’t think this last item may be news to my States-side readers?
In view of Kenny T’s comments about mainstream US media in my last post, as well as its previous one’s opening, I’m posting this email for readers interested in US politics re. Israel. An update is available on Daniel’s blog. Recent UK-coverage appears in the Guardian here.
Note: Daniel Pipes is one of the main secular sources I’ve used for many years, as indicated after starting this blog (see Not on the 10 o’clock News).
UPDATE 25 April: see Viscount Samuel, Meet Secretary Hagel for news of Secretary of Defense Hagel turning over a new leaf regarding Israel.
|The Hagel Nomination: An Open Letter to Sen. Charles E. Schumer by Daniel Pipes, February 19, 2013. Continue reading|
The paper reports about the slogan,
Curiously, the logo reads “unbreakable alliance” in English, but its corresponding slogan in Hebrew reads “an alliance of nations.”
An intercessor friend emailed me about President Obama’s proposed appointments for chief of CIA and Defense Secretary, neither of whom are well-disposed to Israel. (Eg. Director of Centre for Security Policy Frank Gaffney’s article in Jewish World Review.)
So, I replied with links to the postings about Wendy Alec’s prayer request for Obama and the promise that the rift between him and Israel’s PM Netanyahu would be healed. (Original post here, with subsequent developments here, here and here.)
That information caused some consternation, especially in view of notions about Obama’s desire to divide Jerusalem. The antagonism in his first term towards Israel’s PM and favour for the Palestinian leader Abbas were renowned. (Abbas was one of the first Obama phoned after his first inauguration in 2009.) Would the US President continue in his old ways during the forthcoming state visit to Israel?
Similar reservations may have entered readers’ minds too and you may, therefore, like to note my second reply.:
“Yes, I too was puzzled when I first read it as I’ve deep reservations about POTUS, as you may have read under the Obama tag on my blog. But Wendy’s was also an urgent request for intercession on his behalf and we have seen changes which astonished the intelligence experts. What is truly in his heart the Lord only knows!
“Incidentally, she was also accurate about Todd Bentley’s mess at Lakeland, whom she and Rory had televised and sponsored. Our minister saw him recently on God TV repenting of his sinful reaction in saying she’s a false prophet and confessed she was correct!”
There’s precious little in the public domain about Obama’s visit, as may be expected of a predominantly anti-Israel mainstream media. I cannot find any details yet on the White House website other than the President’s The State Of The Union Address during which he said.:
In defense of freedom, we’ll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy. We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt, but we can — and will — insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We’ll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace.
Those are the messages I’ll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month…(emphasis RB)
[NOTE: The White House welcomes comments and sharing of the Address directly from the link provided above.]
Nevertheless, President Obama’s itinerary for his visit to Israel has been published. In the introductory ‘Inside The White House’ by Bill Koenig to last Fridays’ Eye View From The White House, Bill bullet points more details than those of his Ynet source. He remarks, “Interestingly, most of Obama’s time in Israel will be with the Israelis, with only one meeting scheduled with the Palestinians” (in Ramallah to meet Abbas, and then returning to Jerusalem by noon).
Regular readers know I cannot recommend William Koenig’s World Watch Daily highly enough for any Christian wanting to keep an eye on Israeli and Middle Eastern news.
PS. see next post about an official logo for the trip