Saturday 25 February 2012

The Second Coming in the Book of Enoch

The Ascension of Enoch, by Gerard Hoet

The first Book of Enoch, also contains some imagery in line with the end-time judgment described in the Old Testament texts that we have discussed in earlier posts. Composed over several stages of development between 300BC and the 1st century AD, the first Book of Enoch is a pseudepigraphal work outside of the Christian canon, with its major claim to authority being the fact that it is quoted in the Epistle of St. Jude in the New Testament (vv14-15). At the opening of the book, it describes God descending to earth at the end-time, along with the associated theophanic phenomena of the throwing down of mountains and enormous earthquakes:

The Holy Great One will come forth from His dwelling,
And the eternal God will tread upon the earth, (even) on Mount Sinai,
And appear from His camp
And appear in the strength of His might from the heaven of heavens.
And all shall be smitten with fear
And the Watchers shall quake,
And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth.
And the high mountains shall be shaken,
And the high hills shall be made low,
And shall melt like wax before the flame
And the earth shall be wholly rent in sunder,
And all that is upon the earth shall perish,
And there shall be a judgement upon all (men). (1Enoch 1:3-7)

This portion of the Book of Enoch is based on a passage in the Book of Deuteronomy which concerns the theophany at Mt. Sinai after the escape of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt:

 “The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran;
 he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand."

 (Deut 33:2)

It also reflects a passage in the Book of Habakkuk which appears to connect these events with a great disturbance of the sea (as we noted in the earlier post Parousia, Eschatological Earthquake and Mega-tsunami Connections in Habakkuk?):

God came from Teman, and the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. His brightness was like the light; rays flashed from his hand; and there he veiled his power. Before him went pestilence, and plague followed at his heels.
He stood and measured the earth; he looked and shook the nations; then the eternal mountains were scattered; the everlasting hills sank low. His were the everlasting ways. I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction; the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. Was your wrath against the rivers, O LORD?
Was your anger against the rivers, or your indignation against the sea, when you rode on your horses, on your chariot of salvation? You stripped the sheath from your bow, calling for many arrows. Selah You split the earth with rivers. The mountains saw you and writhed; the raging waters swept on; the deep gave forth its voice; it lifted its hands on high...

...You trampled the sea with your horses, the surging of mighty waters.

(Hab 3:3-10; 15)

As we have already shown in the post King David's Vision of the End-time?, the events of the exodus on which these passages are modelled, appear to have been caused by the eruption of the volcano Santorini around 3,500 years ago. During this eruption, the explosion generated a huge tsunami which, as well as destroying the Minoan civilisation on Crete, swept across the Egyptian coast. So by alluding to the events of the exodus, these passages seem to be describing a future volcanic collapse and subsequent catastrophic tsunami. This would perhaps explain why one of the Two Witnesses of the Book of Revelation is expected to be a "Second Moses" type figure, and why the bowl plagues of Rev 16 are directly based on the plagues of Egypt.
While the portion of the Book of Enoch quoted above is based on Deut 33 and Hab 3, it also has some clear eschatological overtones, such as the mention of a final judgement: "And all that is upon the earth shall perish, And there shall be a judgement upon all (men)."
So once again, we have a prophetic text which links the Second Coming of Christ with the eschatological earthquake, and the casting down of mountains (see the earlier posts The Eschatological Earthquake parts one and two, for an explanation as to how this "Great Shaking" may be related to the future collapse of Cumbre Vieja). This explains the Apocalypse's depiction of Christ at his Second Coming as a reaper, casting his sickle across the earth to reap the eschatological harvest. The events that unfold as a result of the Parousia of Christ will ultimately bring about the final harvest of the earth:

Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel came out of the temple, calling with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle, and reap, for the hour to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.” So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.   (Rev 14:14-16)

See also the related posts:

The Second Coming (Part I)
The Second Coming (Part II): Rapture
The Second Coming (Part III): The Day of the Lord

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Tsunami Clouds: Shadows of the Future?

I thought it would be worth posting up some images of the rather ominous looking clouds that were photographed along the Florida coast on 12th Feb, 2012. They are remarkably similar to the various photoshopped images of the mega-tsunami threat posed by Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands, which as I have argued at some length throughout this blog, appears to be predicted not only in many places throughout the Bible (see the earlier post The Casting Down of Mountains for a fairly comprehensive survey of the biblical passages that I believe foretell this event), but also in the prophecies of various Catholic seers and visionaries throughout history - long before the possibility of such an event was even considered. For example in the post The Apparitions at Turzovka, I detail how Our Lady is said to have given messages to Matous Lasuta in 1958, which foretell volcanic eruptions expelling vast amounts of debris and subsequent tidal waves destroying large portions of the earth. And in the post John Paul II: The Third Secret and a Prophecy of a Mega-tsunami? I show how this event may even be foretold in the purported "hidden text" of the Third Secret of Fatima.

It is tempting to view this bizarre weather phenomenon as a glimpse of things to come - a warning sign of the threat which looms towards America and the rest of the world if God's call for repentance against the modern culture of death is not heeded. The Obama administration's increasingly threatening posture towards the Church, attempting to coerce it into sponsoring crimes such as abortion - the greatest of modern evils, helps us to understand why the world faces such judgment.
Interestingly, Florida would be one of the regions worst affected by a mega-tsunami generated by the collapse of Cumbre Vieja, as is shown by the image on Ward and Day's computer model below:

This strange cloud formation comes on the back of not only recent volcanic rumblings in the Canary Islands last year (see here), but also new apparitions of Our Lady in Egypt on Oct 22nd, 2011 (see the earlier post here), which as we have noted in previous posts such as Our Lady of Light and the Apocalyptic Nativity, appear to be directly linked to the modern "slaughter of the innocents" which is the legalisation of abortion. Here we noted how the first apparitions of Our Lady in Zeitoun, Egypt - the sanctuary prepared for the Holy Family in the desert to escape from Herod's act of genocide against innocent children (cf. Rev 12:14), took place during the exact same month as the introduction of legalised abortion in the Western world. And now the American government is attempting to find ways to force the Church to pay for this genocide of the unborn.
Is it just me, or is there a pattern emerging here?

Monday 20 February 2012

The Seal of God

I recently came across another rather striking "coincidence" in which a private revelation identifies the turn of the millennium as the time period for the implementation of the mark of the Beast. It can be found in messages allegedly received by Nigerian seer Barnabas Nwoye during an ecstatic vision of Christ in 1999. Nwoye's messages have been granted a nihil obstat - meaning that they do not contain anything contrary to the Catholic faith or morals, and is currently being investigated by a Theological Commission. So discernment is of course advised for any messages that have yet to be granted full recognition by the Church (see the earlier post Discerning Apparitions and Private Revelations).

On 11th December 1998, Barnabas witnessed a vision of Jesus coming down with a chalice, with a tongue of fire at the top. Divine rays flowed out of the chalice. Jesus said, “My children, receive this; this is My Blood, the Blood of your redemption. Open your Heart for My Great Seal.”Jesus explained that He wished to create a living tabernacle in our hearts to reside in it. The offering of a heart to Him is of great importance, since in the end times, when many tabernacles shall be desecrated and closed, it will be our hearts that keep the presence of Jesus in ourselves. The times ahead will also be of severe testing and suffering, as many have been prophesied to be spiritually blind and fall into the dragnet of the Antichrist. In order that we remain steadfast in our faith, the gift of the seal is also a source of strength and grace to draw from. (See the full text here).

On 7th May, 1999, Barnabas claimed to have recieved the following message from the Virgin Mary:

“My sorrow is great, join Me in the battle against the wicked dragon, all who are sealed with the Blood of the Lamb. Fight with Me against the heresies that destroy the foot of the Church. Fear not their great number. Through the Blood of the Spotless Lamb, the faith of the true Church, of the true doctrine and of holiness will soon be restored.” (See here).

This was followed soon after by another message concerning the "Seal of God":

Jesus said to this effect on 9th July 1999:“Have your seal now so that you will not be dry, when you enter the desert of dryness. At that time, all of you who are sealed will be strengthened by My Most Precious Blood. Their weak souls shall be courageous.”Expiating on how a sealed soul is surrounded by heavenly hosts, Jesus said in the same message:“Rejoice O Jerusalem, for in you the tabernacle of My love was built. The ocean of My Most Precious Blood will flow out and renew the world. You are surrounded by the Hosts of Heavenly Angels, who will guard you day and night. No one has the power to destroy you again.” (See the full text here).

This vision obviously alludes to the sealing of the saints in the Book of Revelation, who are sealed with the name of God at the opening of the sixth seal:

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Rev 7:1-3)

As we have already discussed in the earlier post Signs in the Sky, the sealing of the saints in heaven acts as a deliberate contrast to the implementation of the mark of the Beast on earth. It would therefore be reasonable to conclude that the sealing of the saints occurs at the same point in time as the fulfilment of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast. The messages of Barnabas Nwoye also seem to suggest this temporal convergence also, since he presents his "gift of the Great Seal" as an antidote to the mark of the Beast.

In the earlier post Our Lady of Assiut, we observed that the Virgin Mary appeared during her apparitions in Egypt in the year 2000 holding a small box shaped object in her hand. This vision recalls the Jewish practice of wearing phylacteries, which in turn is the primary inspiration of both the sealing of the saints, and its diabolical inversion in the mark of the Beast - which Fr Gobbi foretold would be implemented during this time period (which is 666 x 3 = 1998). And in the post Signs in the Sky, we have noted that each of the astronomical and geophysical phenomena described at the opening of the sixth seal in Rev 6:12-13 (during which the saints are sealed in heaven) occurred between the years 1999-2000.

We have already noted how the seal of God upon the foreheads of believers is based upon the Jewish practise of wearing phylacteries or tefillin. But it also has a partial background in the Book of Ezekiel:

Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub on which it rested to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed in linen, who had the writing case at his waist. And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”
(Ezek 9:3-4)

The Hebrew word for "mark" in the Book of Ezekiel is taw - which is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. And in the ancient Paleo-Hebrew script which was used at the time of the Book of Ezekiel, the letter taw was written as a cross-shape. So the "mark" put on the foreheads of the righteous in Ezekiel 9 is the shape of the cross, which as the centre of salvation, was to become the universal symbol of Christianity. And to this day, Catholics are marked with the symbol of the Cross on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday, at the beginning of the season of Lent.

Paleo-Hebrew Script

Another point worth noting is that during another vision in 2001, Barnabas Nwoye also saw the Beast of Revelation emerging from the sea:
Vision received on the 15th September 2001, VISION OF THE ANTICHRIST: During a five days reparation programme in the month of September: Jesus said, “Barnabas, look!” Barnabas relates, “Our Lord pointed to the east, I saw a huge beast with seven heads and ten horns coming out of the sea. As I was watching, the beast turned and formed into a man, looking like a soldier. At this time, the vision passed. I came back to myself.”

This vision is remarkably similar to the conclusions we have already covered in the posts The Fall of Satan and The Year of the Dragon, which show how many prophecies (including those of Pope Leo XIII and La Salette) have foretold this period as the point Satan would finally be thrown down from heaven. After Satan is cast to earth in Rev 12, we see him rise from the watery abyss in Rev 13 in the form of the seven-headed sea-beast - which symbolises the rise to power of the Antichrist. And subsequently the prophecy of the mark of the Beast is brought into effect.

Thursday 16 February 2012

More on the Two Pillars of St John Bosco

St John Bosco

I'm writing this article in response to some questions put forward by Joe Russo in the com-box on the post Pope Benedict XVI Assassination Plot in 2012?. The answer is a bit long and complicated, so I've decided to post it here in case it is of help to others as well: 
The questions that arise for me here are this... if the Pope were to be killed this year, then does that change your theory on him being the angelic Shepard? Also How long would this Second Pentecost last before the rise of Antichrist? Is this the era of peace referred to by Mary? If so this seems to be quite a short era.
As to the first, no it wouldn't necessarily rule out Pope Benedict from being the Angelic Pope if he was martyred in the very near future. It seems to me that the beginning of the Second Pentecost is intimately related to the martyrdom of the pope described in the Third Secret and various other prophecies. An event such as this would be the fulfilment of Fatima, and consequently be a great catalyst for the spread of Catholicism. As Tertullian said "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church". And the martyrdom of such a prominent figure which at the same time fulfils several prophecies has the potential to be very potent indeed.
So the lines between the Angelic Pope and the martyr-pope could be slightly blurred or overlapped. In fact some of the medieval prophecies of the Pastor Angelicus speak of a succession of Angelic Popes at the end-time (which I suppose then could theoretically include Bl John Paul II). But it appears that the fire of the Second Pentecost is ignited by the martyrdom of the pope, and Christian unity occurs during the pontificate of the succeeding pope.
If we look at St John Bosco's dream of the two pillars, after two gatherings have taken place (Vatican Councils I and II), the pope is struck and falls down gravely wounded.  Antonio Socci argues that this could be a prophecy of the assassination attempt on John Paul II (The Fourth Secret of Fatima pp54ff), which also seems to be related to the pope of Melanie's secret who the assailants shoot at but could not kill:
The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.
(See the earlier post
Our Lady of La Salette).
After this the pope is actually killed in the dream as a result of the attacks upon him - which could speak of the assassination of a successor to John Paul II. The dream tells us that a "breeze" comes from the two pillars (which I argue in the book is related to the "breath of life from God" being breathed into the Two Witnesses in Rev 11:11) restores the ship/Church from the devastation incurred by the attacks against it (by modern secular culture). The new pope then anchors the ship between the two pillars, and several small ships who fought for the pope are the first to come back (which could be the return of certain Eastern Catholic Churches - e.g. the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church and some Greek Catholic Churches), and then the other ships who deserted  (the Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Churches) also return to the mother-ship and anchor themselves to the two pillars, after which is a great calm - which is the Second Pentecost/era of peace brought about by the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
But it appears that this era of peace will be short lived - it certainly won't be the millennial reign of Christ on earth - which is the ancient heresy of millennialism/chiliasm, condemned in the 4th century. The Second Pentecost/era of peace is brought about by the Two Witnesses, just as Elijah the Tishbite restored Israel from a state of apostasy in the 9th century BC. But the Book of Revelation tells us that the Witnesses who effect the Second Pentecost are in turn killed by the Beast/Antichrist (Rev 11:7) who rises from the abyss to gather the nations for the battle of Armageddon. This suggests that the Second Pentecost and rise to power of the Antichrist occur within the course of a single life-time. If its duration consists of the pontificate of a single pope, it would be a few decades at most.
I suggest in the earlier post The Fall of Rome - A Template of End-Time Events, that that the fall of "Babylon" and rise to power of the Antichrist will only occur after the Second Pentecost renews Christianity in the West. This follows the pattern of the fall of Imperial Rome - the original "whore of Babylon". The judgement that was set to befall the Roman Empire for its persecution of Christians was stayed until after its final conversion to Christianity.
But the links between  the Angelic Pope/martyr-pope prophecies and Benedict XVI is largely based on interpreting St Malachy's "Glory of the Olive" as referring to the two olive trees of Rev 11:4 (although the sequence of popes given in St. John Bosco's dream may also suggest this, if you separate the pope who is wounded from the pope who is killed, as Antonio Socci does). St Malachy's prophecy of the popes should  also be perhaps considered to be among the least authoritative of the prophecies I cite in the book, given the uncertainty of its provenance. So it isn't strictly necessary that Pope Benedict XVI will be the martyr-pope of prophecy who will bring about the Second Pentecost - but there seems to be a lot of connections linking him to these prophecies. This is merely one over-arching interpretation of the various martyr-pope prophecies - but it could be wrong, I don't know the future any more than you do. I'm simply trying to piece together the prophetic information at hand into a framework that makes sense to me - it doesn't mean I'm right.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Discerning Apparitions and Private Revelations

St. Ignatius Lolya by Francisco Zurbaran

I recently came across some material on a contemporary visionary whose messages concerning the mark/number of the Beast has an interesting correlation with some of my own conclusions on this subject. I don't really like putting too much emphasis on contemporary seers, given the difficulties this can involve - so thought it would be useful beforehand to look at how the Church handles such matters before posting on any more subjects that require discernment.

Some people can place too much trust in individuals who in many cases turn out to be fakes intent on nothing else than generating fame and money for themselves. And it just so happens that one of the easiest ways to do this is by feigning to be blessed with heavenly apparitions. Sometimes this can lead to the development of schismatic sub-sects - we need only look to the sedevacantist "seer" Veronica Lueken and the Bayside "apparitions" for an example of this phenomenon. In some cases, the seers themselves may even be genuine in the fact that they are witnessing some form of visions or apparitions, but in reality they are actually inflicted with visions of diabolical rather than heavenly origin. The Apostle Paul warns of such deception:

"...I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough..."

"...what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."
(2Cor 11:3-4; 12-14)

Sulpicius Severus tells us that St. Martin of Tours (316-397) was subjected to an apparition of the Devil masquerading as Christ:

For, on a certain day, prayer having been previously offered, and the fiend himself being surrounded by a purple light, in order that he might the more easily deceive people by the brilliance of the splendor assumed, clothed also in a royal robe, and with a crown of precious stones and gold encircling his head, his shoes too being inlaid with gold, while he presented a tranquil countenance, and a generally rejoicing aspect, so that no such thought as that he was the devil might be entertained--he stood by the side of Martin as he was praying in his cell. The saint being dazzled by his first appearance, both preserved a long and deep silence. This was first broken by the devil, who said: "Acknowledge, Martin, who it is that you behold. I am Christ; and being just about to descend to earth, I wished first to manifest myself to thee." When Martin kept silence on hearing these words, and gave no answer whatever, the devil dared to repeat his audacious declaration: "Martin, why do you hesitate to believe, when you see? I am Christ." Then Martin, the Spirit revealing the truth to him, that he might understand it was the devil, and not God, replied as follows: "The Lord Jesus did not predict that he would come clothed in purple, and with a glittering crown upon his head. I will not believe that Christ has come, unless he appears with that appearance and form in which he suffered, and openly displaying the marks of his wounds upon the cross." On hearing these words, the devil vanished like smoke, and filled the cell with such a disgusting smell, that he left unmistakable evidences of his real character. (Sulpicius Severus Life of St. Martin XXIV. See here for the full text)

For these reasons, the Church is extremely reticent about offering approval to claims of apparitions. A long period of investigation is often required to ascertain the truth and origins of such claims, and in a great deal of cases full approval is only granted during the process of beatification of individual visionaries. Sometimes Church approval occurs relatively swiftly, as at Lourdes, La Salette and Fatima, and more recently Akita and Kibeho.

Others cases are more difficult to establish, such as those of Medjugorje - which is one of the most heavily scrutinised Marian apparitions in history. The local bishops of Mostar have viewed the claims of the visionaries at Medjugorje with a hefty dose of scepticism. There are also a lot of highly critical websites currently on this subject, such as Richard Salbo's Unity Publishing, as well as a meticulously researched book by Donal Anthony Foley titled Medjugorje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Religious Fraud? Here some of the many contradictions concerning the statements of the seers are highlighted, as well as the controversies that has surrounded some of the key players within the Medjugorje movement, such as the laicization of Br Jozo Zovko by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. The seers themselves have also been subject to criticism for seemingly profiteering from the vast amounts of pilgrims that pass through the small mountain village, and for the fact that there has been no uptake of religious vocations from among the visionaries.

On the flip side however, Medjugorje has many influential and high ranking supporters within the Church hierarchy, such as Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, and it is also often claimed that Pope John Paul II personally believed these apparitions to be genuine (although we should be aware that papal infallibility does not extend to the personal beliefs of incumbent pontiffs, and only applies to official pronouncements made ex cathedra). We also have the testimonies of some prominent, level-headed Catholic members of the clergy, such as Fr Dwight Longenecker, concerning the various miraculous solar phenomena that has been witnessed at Medjugorje (see here).

As well as the various miracles reported here, supporters point to the many fruits that have been wrought by Medjugorje (conversions etc.). The various contradictions could also be put down to simple human error, as often can be the case in even genuine private revelations - a fact which is affirmed by the teachings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross on mysticism. St. John of the Cross sums this point up in his monumental work The Ascent of Mt. Carmel:

For two reasons we have said that, although visions and locutions which come from God are true, and in themselves are always certain, they are not always so with respect to ourselves. One reason is the defective way in which we understand them; and the other, the variety of their causes. In the first place, it is clear that they are not always as they seem, nor do they turn out as they appear to our manner of thinking. The reason for this is that, since God is vast and boundless, He is wont, in His prophecies, locutions and revelations, to employ ways, concepts and methods of seeing things which differ greatly from such purpose and method as can normally be understood by ourselves; and these are the truer and the more certain the less they seem so to us. This we constantly see in the Scriptures. To many of the ancients many prophecies and locutions of God came not to pass as they expected, because they understood them after their own manner, in the wrong way, and quite literally. (St John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book II, chapter XIX. The full text is available online here)

So whatever the case, there is definitely something going on at Medjugorje, and whether it is of heavenly or diabolic origin can only be determined by the International Commission established by the Vatican in 2010 in order to fully investigate this phenomenon. The optimist in me wants to believe in these apparitions, but the various criticisms of Medjugorje do highlight some very serious concerns which urges caution. At the end of the day though, I simply do not know enough about the inner workings of this phenomenon to form a definite opinion - I think it would take to have a seat on the commission to be fully informed of all the facts in relation to this issue.

Could the apparent failings of the seers themselves just be put down to human frailty? That Our Lady chose to appear to sinners without the level of heroic virtue required for sainthood? Heavenly apparitions can certainly appear to sinners, we need only think of Saul on the road to Damascus, or the apparition of Our Lady to Marie Alphonse Ratisbonne (see here). But then again, even saints can be inflicted with demonic apparitions. Diabolical apparitions often manifest themselves at the highest level of mysticism, where the seer acts as an otherworldly conduit. Demons have appeared to numerous saints with the intent on deceit or distraction, such as St. Martin of Tours mentioned above, and also to others such as St. Anthony the Hermit, St. John Vianney or St. Pio of Pietrelcina. And recognising them as being of demonic rather than angelic origin can sometimes be difficult for even the holiest of saints. St. Igantius Lolya, the founder of the Society of Jesus developed an entire system devoted to discerning the true source of such mystical inspirations in his Spiritual Exercises. So theoretically, the apparitions at Medjugorje could be of a demonic source, with the seers being subject to delusion.

We will only know for certain at the outcome of the International Commission spearheaded by Cardinal Ruini, which Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo has recently announced is due to be published by the end of this year (see here). We can be sure that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church to the truth on this matter. If the commission comes back with a negative verdict, and there is an exodus from the Church as a result (given that many people have threatened to leave if a negative decision is given), then we could only be left with the conclusion that the seers have been deceived by the Devil - who wishes to sow the seeds of division. Belief in private revelations is not a necessary part of the Faith, and we are not required to believe in even the Church approved apparitions. If they lead us away from the unity of the faith, then they are surely not from heaven.

But we should not automatically dismiss apparition claims either, as St. Paul states:

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.
(1Thes 5:19-21)

For those apparitions which still have not been granted official recognition by the Church, we are left to use our own discernment. We are certainly not forbidden from showing interest in someone who claims to be experiencing heavenly apparitions which have not yet gained Church approval - even Fatima took years to be deemed "worthy of belief". For such claims which have yet to be approved we are warned to approach with caution, first making sure that the messages concerned do not conflict with Catholic ethics or theology, and secondly being sure that they are emanate from a credible source. Cardinal Ratzinger outlines the intiail steps in the discernment process in his rather excellent Theological Commentary in The Message of Fatima document:

The Flemish theologian E. Dhanis, an eminent scholar in this field, states succinctly that ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation has three elements: the message contains nothing contrary to faith or morals; it is lawful to make it public; and the faithful are authorized to accept it with prudence.

As long as any alleged apparitions meets these initial criteria, his would make them at least worthy of careful study. But it would be a grave mistake to blindly follow every alleged seer that claimed to experience heavenly apparitions. And we should be careful not to attach too much importance to even those private relations that have been approved by the Church, treating them as if they were Scripture. By doing so we could fall into the trap of the ancient heresy of Montanism, which threatens to usurp the two principle sources of Church authority - Scripture and Tradition. Christ Himself bestowed the Petrine office upon the Church to ensure unity in a single source of authority.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep."
(John 21:15-17)

...I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
(Matt 16:18-19)

To deny that Jesus intended to establish a sole line of succession in appointing Peter as the leader of the apostles is to deny the prophetic foresight of God Himself. Jesus knew full well the implications of these words, and how they would be interpreted by the vast majority of Christians who have ever lived - those who adhere to the unity of the Catholic faith in the office of Peter. Without this Divine commission of a single point of authority the Church would have disintegrated in its infancy, splintering into myriad rivalling factions - each contradicting one other, rendering each of them neutral - just as has happened within Protestantism since the Reformation. By appointing Peter as his successor in authority on earth, who Jesus knew in turn would be replaced with another "Peter" in a single line of apostolic succession, guided by the Holy Spirit, Christ ensured that the Church would only ever have one leader to guarantee purity of doctrine - no rivals, no factions.

For this reason, the Church tends to be extremely careful about granting too much attention to individuals who receive private revelations, since the temptation is ever present to follow those who appear to have a "direct line to heaven", bypassing the authority of the Petrine office - which is grounded in reason and the guidance of the Spirit of God. And the Devil is aware of this innate human inclination only too well, and focuses his energies on corrupting those with mystical charisms, knowing that by doing so will he can lead many astray - this is spiritual warfare of the very highest order.

With these insights it is possible to see the importance of discerning private revelations, or investing too much of our emotions, trust and devotion in individuals who appear to be blessed with heavenly messages. Our faith should be grounded solely in Scripture and Tradition, and all else should be considered an interesting aid to illuminating our beliefs - if not then they should be discarded. In this respect it is worth once again repeating the words of St. Paul: "test everything; hold fast what is good"... Cardinal Ratzinger cuts straight to the point in this regard:

The criterion for the truth and value of a private revelation is therefore its orientation to Christ himself. When it leads us away from him, when it becomes independent of him or even presents itself as another and better plan of salvation, more important than the Gospel, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, who guides us more deeply into the Gospel and not away from it.
(The Message of Fatima)

Friday 10 February 2012

Pope Benedict XVI Assassination Plot in 2012?

Conspiracy or Prophecy? Cardinal Paolo Romeo's recent prediction that Pope Benedict XVI will die within twelve months has been causing somewhat of a media frenzy in Italy, stirring rumours of an assassination attempt on the pope. It appears to stem from a leak of a letter relayed to the Pope by Darío Castrillón Hoyos of Colombia dated to 30th December, 2011, which contained the contents of a recent conversation between Italian businessmen and Cardinal Paolo Romeo during a visit to China, during which he predicted the death of the Holy Father within the next 12 months:

Labelled "strictly confidential for the Holy Father", the detailed letter reports several conversations that Cardinal Paolo Romeo, the archbishop of Palermo, allegedly had with Italian businessmen in Beijing on a trip last November during which he predicted the pope would die within 12 months and suggested his replacement would be Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan... (See the full report here)

The Italian media appear to be latching onto the idea of Pope John Paul I style assassination conspiracy theory, based on perceived power struggles within the Vatican. While the idea of murderous plots being concocted by high ranking Church officials is of course preposterous, the fact that this rumour began within the Vatican itself leaves us to ponder...

In my book, I summarise the rather complex and persuasive argument forwarded by various Fatima experts that the text released in June 2000 was only a part of the entire Third Secret, which judging by official documented sources, appears to have consisted of two separate parts. The first part is four pages long, and contains Sr Lucia's description of the vision during which the children saw "a bishop dressed in white", who they thought was the Holy Father, being killed by a group of assailants - which is the text that was released in the year 2000. Offcial documents show that this part of the text was stored in the Vatican Archives. A wealth of evidence suggests that there is a second part which is written on a single sheet of paper, and is kept in an envelope which is stored in a bedside cabinet in the Papal apartments. The theory that the Third Secret consisted of two parts was confirmed by Archbishop Capovilla, the personal secretary of John XXIII who was present when the secret was first opened in 1959, during an interview with Solideo Paolini in 2005, and was sensationally covered in Antonio Socci's book The Fourth Secret of Fatima.

In my book, I theorise that the real reason the hidden part of the Third Secret was suppressed is due to it containing reference to an exact date, thus explaining Pope John XXIII's stipulated reason for not publishing the secret, because it “does not concern the years of my pontificate” (cited in De la Sainte Trinite, M. The Whole Truth About Fatima Vol. III p557). This statement clearly suggests that the Third Secret contained a date for its fulfilment in the future, well outside the expected lifespan of John XXIII (see also the previous post The Fourth Secret of Fatima). Additionally, further reasons for the pope's refusal to publish the Third Secret at the date specified by Sr. Lucia was given by Mgr. Capovilla, which also suggests that its contents were of an exact nature:

“Pope John imposed the silence for two reasons: (1) it did not seem to him ‘to consist entirely of things supernatural,’ (2) he did not dare to risk an immediate interpretation, in the midst of the complex ‘Fatima phenomenon, ’prescinding from minute precisions….” (cited in Socci, A. The Fourth Secret of Fatima p154)

The inclusion of an exact date would make it impossible for the Church to release such material before the prophecy had taken place at the date specified, lest it open itself to scorn and ridicule if the prophecy failed to take place.

As I suggest in the book, this date could have referred to the turn of millennium, and evidence suggests that this part of the message is largely based on the struggle between the Dragon and the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12. I argue that the Vatican has refused to publish it because some members of the hierarchy believe that it could be perceived to be a failed prophecy, since nothing immediately obvious occurred around this time period (however as I show the posts The Fall of Satan, Signs in the Sky, and The Year of the Dragon, the various prophecies concerning the turn of the millennium may be correct after all). And in the earlier post The Two Towers and the Sixth Seal, I show how Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, publicly stated that he believes that the "signs in the sky" described at the opening of the sixth seal in Rev 6 is connected to the 9/11 attacks at the turn of the millennium.
Yet it is also possible that the "hidden text" of the Third Secret contains another future date separate from the turn of the millennium - a date still yet in the future. This would give an additional motive for the continued refusal to fully divulge the entire contents of the Third Secret.

So it appears that Cardinal Romeo's prediction that Pope Benedict would die within the next 12 months is based on a prophetic source, rather than implicating him as being privy to the machinations of some sinister cabal within the Vatican. Could his prediction be based on the prophecies of authoritative Catholic visionaries? Such as those of Fatima, or some other prophetic source? This is of course speculation on my part - but the fact that the "12 months" deadline was given at the very beginning of the year suggests that his knowledge is limited to the confines of a specific year - this year - 2012, which is of course vague and precise at the same time. This would suggest that the height of his knowledge concerning this event is it would take place during the year 2012 - which is generally thought of as a prophetic turning point.

As I argue in the previous post Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope, the portion of the Third Secret concerning the assassination of a pope appears to be related to the martyrdom of the Two Witnesses  described in the Book of Revelation. And this in turn appears to be related to St. Malachy's list of popes, whose motto concerning Pope Benedict XVI is "Glory of the Olives", which I argued in last year's post St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives is a direct allusion to the Apocalypse's description of the Two Witnesses as the "two olive trees... that stand before the Lord of all the earth" in Rev  11:4. The martyr-pope prophecies can also be found in St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars, as well as the secrets of Our Lady of La Salette. And the fulfilment of the vision of Fatima is inextricably linked to the prophecies of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the dawn of the Second Pentecost.


It is now the New Year (2013), and the concerns of an assassination plot against the Holy Father in the year 2012 have thankfully subsided. It turns out that the most likely prophetic source of information that Cardinal Romeo would have used to point to the year 2012 was in fact the "Worthy Shepherd Prophecy", allegedly made by Bl. Tomasuccio de Foligno, which runs as follows:

"One from beyond the mountains shall become the Vicar Of God. Religious and clerics shall take part in this change. Outside the true path, there will be only disreputable men; I shrug my shoulders when the Bark of Peter is in danger and there is no one to lend it help... The schismatic shall fall into the scorn of the Italian faithful... By about twelve years shall the millennium have passed when the resplendent mantle of legitimate power shall emerge from the shadows where it was being kept by the schism. And beyond harm from the one who is blocking the door of salvation, for his deceitful schism shall have come to an end. And the mass of the faithful shall attach itself to the worthy Shepherd, who shall extricate each one from error and restore to the Church its beauty. He shall renew it."

The above prophecy could be used to suggest that a papal election would take place around 12 years past the millennium, thus bringing about the pontificate of the "Worthy Shepherd". The clause "by about twelve years shall the millennium have passed", is rather more loose, and could just as easily point to the year 2013 as to the year 2012.


With the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI today, on Feb 11th, 2013, it seems that the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy may in fact have some truth behind it. This means that a papal election will indeed take place by "about twelve years shall the millennium have passed" (it is just over twelve years and one month past the millennium). Will this be the beginning of the Second Pentecost?
In the post A Medjugorje Link to the "Heavenly Annunciation"?, I attempt to show how the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy may tie into the 2000th anniversary of the "Finding in the Temple" - which will occur this year, at around the same time as the election of the new pope, on Easter 2013.

Sunday 5 February 2012

Tunguska, Pope Leo XIII and the Opening of the Abyss

Artistic representation of the Tunguska Event

The events described at the sounding of the fifth trumpet in the Book of Revelation - which describes the opening of the bottomless pit by a star falling from heaven, is directly related to the later passage in the Apocalypse concerning the binding of Satan for a thousand years. As we have noted previously, the Apocalypse uses the literary device of recapitulation, which while initially obscuring the surface meaning, actually adds greater depth to the text. So in order for some passages to be fully grasped, the book has to be dissected and restructured according to thematic content. Doing so is especially enlightening for the section concerning the fifth trumpet:

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth. (Rev 9:1-3)

The star fallen to earth at the sounding of the fifth trumpet, which has the key to the bottomless pit, is directly associated with the release of Satan at the end of the thousand years described in Rev 20:

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev 20:1-3)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (Rev 20:7-8)

Here, we are told that the role of the Devil at the opening of the abyss is to deceive the nations of the earth, and to gather them for battle - a theme which is recapitulated again in the passage concerning the battle of Armageddon in Rev 16:

And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty...  And they assembled them at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.
(Rev 16:13-14, 16)

The three unclean spirits proceeding from the mouths of the unholy trinity to gather the nations for war are analogous to the three woes of the Apocalypse - which I argue in Unveiling the Apocalypse represents three world wars. The first woe being equated with the First World War, etc. By viewing the above passages in juxtaposition, we are able to determine that the role of Satan upon his release from his bondage is to gather the nations of the world for war - which is heralded by the falling of a star to earth, and the rise of the monstrous locusts described in Rev 9.
As we noted in the earlier post, The Apocalyptic Locusts,  the description of the strange armour-clad flying locusts which are depicted as some form of "war-horses" in the Apocalypse, has some incredible parallels with the appearance of military aircraft during the early 20th century.
In addition to closely matching the description of military airplanes, the “locusts” of Revelation are based on the locusts “leaping over the mountain tops” described in chapter 2 of the Book of Joel – a portion of the Bible which brings to mind imagery of the practice of “carpet bombing” or "firebombing" used during WW2:

Fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burns. The land is like the garden of Eden before them, but behind them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them. Their appearance is like the appearance of horses, and like war horses they run. As with the rumbling of chariots, they leap on the tops of the mountains, like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble, like a powerful army drawn up for battle. (Joel 2:3-5)

The firebombing of Toyko, 26th May, 1945


In another remarkable "coincidence", the first military aircraft were commissioned in 1908 - the exact same year as the Tunguska event - which the most extraordinary meteoroid impact of recorded history.

The Tunguska event of 30th June, 1908, was thought to have been caused by an air burst of a large meteoroid, which exploded during entry into the earth's atmosphere with the force of that around 1,000 times greater than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Due to the remote location of Tunguska in the sparsely populated Siberian wilderness, there were no reported causalities as a result of the massive explosion caused by this event. Although there were widespread eyewitness testimonies describing the effects, and the impact was recorded by seismometers around the Eurasian landmass.

Because of the political turmoil in Russia at this time period, the Tunguska impact zone was not subject to scientific research until an expedition visited the area in 1921. The scientific expeditions led by Leonid Kulik observed that trees directly below the impact site were scorched, but still standing upright, while there was masses of fallen trees around the area from where the blast radiated.

Photographs from the second Tunguska expedition taken in 1927

In this same time period, the Wright brothers were being commissioned by the U.S army to develop the world's first military airplanes. So the coincidence of these events fulfils the most important aspect of the prophecy of the fifth trumpet - a star falling to earth which heralds the arrival of flying "locust" like creatures of warfare.
Yet this prediction also has some striking affinities with the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, concerning the period of 100 years when Satan would be granted greater power before his expulsion from the heavenly court (see the earlier post The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII).  Whilst in St. Peter's basilica, the pontiff was reputed to have heard a conversion between Jesus and Satan, during which the Devil was permitted greater authority for a period of between 75-100 years.  In the earlier post mentioned above, I argue that this vision prompted not only the institution of the St. Michael Prayer, but also the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 25th May 1899 - which the Pope himself declared was "the greatest act of my pontificate". So there is a strong possibility that we should count the 100 years of Satan's rule from this momentous date, bringing us up to the year 1999, which I argued in the earlier posts The Fall of Satan and the The Year of the Dragon, was the moment that Satan was finally expelled from the heavenly court - an end-time event explicitly foretold in Scripture. 
Pope Leo's prophecy of Satan being granted greater power for 100 years strongly echoes the passages in Rev 20 concerning the opening of the abyss quoted above: "After that he must be released for a little while" and "when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea..."  And of course these passages are also directly related to the star falling to earth with the key to the abyss, which heralds the arrival of the demonic horde of "locusts" mentioned in Rev 9.
In order for this extrapolation to hold, it would have to follow that the "thousand years" mentioned in Rev 20 came to completion around this same time period (at least on one layer of interpretation). In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that we may find a literal period of a thousand years in the first millennium of Christendom, when the Church was still one single body with the pope as its figurehead - in accordance with the prayer of Jesus that "May they all be one" (John 17:21). This millennial reign of Christ's kingdom on earth could be said to have ended at the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox in 1054 - a thousand years after Christian unity was first established at the Council of Jerusalem circa 50AD, which healed the rift between the Judaizing Christians (led by St. James the Just), and those that sought to spread the Gospel to the Gentiles (such as St. Paul). 
As Christ himself stated: "A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand..." (Matt 12:25) - therefore any earthly reign would have ended with the division of Christianity against itself at the Great Schism. In the same passage Jesus states that the binding of Satan (the "strong man") began with his own ministry: "how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house." (Matt 12:29). So the period of "a thousand years" must have began with Christ, and to some extent ended with the division of Christianity in the first millennium AD. But it would be almost another thousand years before the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII came into effect. Could the time span between the turn of the first millennium up to the 20th century represent another separate period of "a thousand years"? After which Satan would be unleashed to gather the nations of the earth for war? When nation would be gathered against nation and kingdom against kingdom (Matt 24:7)? We also need to take into account here the fact that the author of the Apocalypse most likely had the Hebrew/Aramaic word rab here, in relation to the period of the thousand years - a word which could also denote any large period of time. So there is a sense of indefiniteness here. 

It is worth noting another Marian apparition which took place around this same time frame which also has a strong correlation with the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. Just a year after Tunguska, and a month after the U.S army formally introduced the Wright Brothers' Signal Corps Airplane No.1 as the world's first military airplane on 2nd August 1909, a French priest and visionary was visited by an apparition of Our Lady on 9th September 1909. Fr Jean Edouard Lamy (1855-1931), affectionately known as Pere Lamy, was a highly respected priest molded in the vein of St. John Vianney - the Cure D'Ars.

Pere Lamy

Pere Lamy was blessed with many supernatural graces, including being the recipient of heavenly visitations. During his most widely known apparition, at Grey, France, in 1909, the holy priest was visited by the Virgin Mary, who rather enigmatically was accompanied by Lucifer. During this apparition, Pere Lamy was shown visions of the future, including the world wars (see Mystics of the Church and Spirit Daily for more details). It is the succinct words uttered by the manifestation of Lucifer during the opening of this apparition which provides the bridging connection between this vision and the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII. Pere Lamy saw a vision of Our Lady descending from a chapel ceiling, and she was followed by Lucifer. During an exchange between the Blessed Virgin, who was enquiring of his presence, the Demon responded with the telling words "I have leave from the Father". Were these words an early reference to the permission granted to Satan of a hundred years of greater power?
If so, then this is an extraordinary set of convergences on this particular time period - a falling meteoroid causing the largest explosion in human history, at the exact same time as the introduction of the world's first military airplanes, thus fulfilling the words "I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit... Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth..."  Moreover, this prophecy was fulfilled at the exact time span from when Pope Leo was told Satan would be granted more power - a prophecy which directly relates to the unlocking of Satan's chains in chapters 9 and 20 of the Book of Revelation, and which appears to have been supernaturally confirmed at this specific moment in time by a French mystic priest.

T.V. Documentary "The Big Bang in Tunguska"

Footage of the 27th July, 1909. test flight, just before the Wright brothers model was officially accepted by the U.S Army as the world's first military airplane.