What’s the pope up to?
Barely has he launched his crusading Year of Faith, and his initiative for a “new evangelization” to garner in new converts to Roman Catholicism and draw back to the faith those who have wandered away—and he drops the bombshell last week declaring that Jesus Christ was no prophet. A statement more completely at odds with divinely revealed Scripture can hardly be imagined.
Now hard on the heels of that clangor comes the news that Benedict has come out and endorsed something that remnants of the true church of God, as established in its original form by Jesus Christ, have taught for centuries, in direct opposition to Roman Catholicism.
Believe it or not Pope Benedict has—in his latest book, The Infancy Narratives, his version of the history of events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ—admitted that many of the traditions attached to the celebration of Christmas are false!
In one sweep of the hand, Benedict declares the traditional date and year of Christ’s birth as held by Christendom is false, that there were no animals at the manger scene, that no angels sang at the manger side thus refuting the tradition of singing Christmas carols, and that the traditional festivities surrounding Christmas are rooted in ancient pagan festivals.
When one considers that these very facts are those for which Herbert Armstrong and latterly Gerald Flurry have been condemned for exposing them (see our article “Why Christmas Is So Important to God”), it does come as rather a surprise to see Pope Benedict in apparent agreement.
But what is the pope up to?
He’s really thrown a cat among the Christmas pigeons right at the time that the whole of Christendom is gearing up to celebrate these same old traditions in the same old way, a way endorsed by the Vatican for centuries.
One cannot doubt the towering intellect of Pope Benedict XVI. Nor can one refute the brilliance of his scholarship on this and many other subjects. But in terms of Benedict’s refutation of the reality of Christ as the foremost of the prophets, this is consistent with the Roman Catholic rejection of the true prophetic gospel message. Whereas the original gospel is the prophesied good news of the coming Kingdom of God, the religion adopted by Roman Catholicism has, since the time of Simon the magician, centered on the personage of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, Pope Benedict has gone to the trouble to emphasize that prime aspect of Catholicism’s teaching in a recent dissertation on the subject as Catholic World News recently headlined in their piece titled, “Concentrate on Jesus, not end-of-the-world prophecies, Pope tells audience” (November 19).
However, as Bible students so readily know, Jesus Christ’s gospel is the prophetic good news of the coming Kingdom of God. His whole work during his earthly ministry was a work of prophecy, as has been the work of the Word from the very beginning!
But to find a pope suddenly declaring publicly his apparent agreement with the consistent message of the actual church that Jesus Christ founded—that Christmas is sourced in rank paganism, many of its practices not remotely biblical—seems rather historic.
Again we ask, what is Pope Benedict up to?
In the process of the new evangelism, is he about to introduce a new method of observing the birth of Christ?
There’s something afoot in Rome—something really profound.
We shall just have to even more closely “watch and pray” according to the admonition of the chief Prophet, Jesus Christ (Mark 13:32-33), to discern what is truly emerging from the source that looks like a lamb but speaks like a dragon (Revelation 13:11). ▪