May 19, 2016
“And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Revelation 6:1 and 2. The opening of the first seal brings to view the apostolic days when Christ’s apostles went forth spreading the gospel to every creature under heaven (see Colossians 1:23) and also typifies the final triumph of God’s people carrying the gospel message to the world as a witness. This commission to go forward conquering and to conquer through the spreading of the gospel was not only given to the apostles directly following Christ’s ascension, but is to be carried forward to the close of this earth’s history by God’s chosen and faithful messengers, those who keep the Commandments of God and have the Testimony of Jesus Christ. See Revelation 12:17 and Revelation 14:6-12.
The institution that Satan is primarily working through in these last days to entrap the people in darkness and prevent the spreading of the everlasting gospel is the Papacy, the Roman Catholic hierarchy. This system has a problem with anyone or any group save its own, carrying forward the gospel commission, conquering and to conquer; and Pope Francis has made that abundantly clear in an interview conducted by a French Catholic newspaper published May 17, 2016. Comparing Jesus’ commission to His followers to spread the gospel, which he terms conquest, to Islamic wars of conquest or Jihads (holy wars initiated by Muslims to maintain their religion), Pope Francis is sending the message that evangelizing with any other message than that which coincides with the Papacy’s, must be feared and met with war, just as one fears Jihadists and the activities of ISIS.
“In an interview published Tuesday with France’s La Croix, Pope Francis argued that Jesus’ call to spread the Gospel differs little from the jihad waged by radical Islamic terrorists. The pope explained how ISIS’ ‘war of conquest’ has bred a non-justified fear of Islam among Western countries. ‘I don’t think that there is a fear of Islam as such but of ISIS and its war of conquest, which is partly drawn from Islam,’ he told La Croix. ‘It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam.’ ‘However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.’”1
By differentiating between Islam and ISIS and also by drawing the comparison between Jesus sending forth his disciples, and ISIS extremists, Pope Francis is insinuating his disdain for the spreading of the everlasting gospel of Revelation 14:6-12, just as he has left no ambiguity as to his position concerning ISIS activities, calling their violence genocide and supporting the use of force against them. Pope Francis is clearly the hypocrite of hypocrites as his mission since the onset of his pontificate has been evangelization, and the primary reason that he has appointed the Extraordinary Year of Jubilee, which opened on December 8, 2015. This date was not randomly selected it was strategically chosen by Pope Francis because of its ecumenical significance. Out of his own mouth: “I have chosen the date of 8 December because of its rich meaning in the recent history of the Church. In fact, I will open the Holy Door on the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. The Church feels a great need to keep this event alive…The walls which for too long had made the Church a kind of fortress were torn down and the time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way. It was a new phase of the same evangelization that had existed from the beginning.2
While Pope Francis is aggressively evangelizing, he is prohibiting others from doing the same, as his goal is to unite every denomination, nation, and religion as one under his headship. On church unity, “Pope Francis said on Sunday that the way ahead is for various denominations to reject ‘proselytism and competition’ among themselves. The trick, he said, is for Christians to stop being ‘self-enclosed’ and “exclusive…Although Francis has repeatedly called on Christians to invite others to the faith, he has also condemned ‘proselytism’ on multiple occasions, by which he means coercive or aggressive missionary techniques…Christian unity, Francis said, won’t be achieved by subtle theoretical discussions in which each party tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions.”3
He has also declared that Christians must stop evangelizing Jews in December of 2015,4 which is not difficult to discern considering his assertion that Jews are saved even without accepting Christ.5 What blasphemy! Not surprising coming from the Roman Catholic Church however, taking into account that they do not believe in Christ as the only way to salvation. Additionally, Pope Francis has declared his “Year of Mercy” as a time to learn about Islam and even calling Christians and Muslims brothers. In other words, people should leave the work of evangelism to the Roman Catholic Church, unite with her, and they will be welcomed as brothers, or more accurately, daughters; otherwise, they will be viewed as threats to the “common good” and individuals who believe that they alone possess the absolute truth.
What can all of this mean for faithful Seventh-day Adventists who have committed their very lives to the service of Christ in conducting evangelism, calling people out of darkness into Christ’s marvelous light, who also refuse to unite with ecumenical bodies that tend to the surrendering of peculiar, distinctive doctrines and beliefs? While ISIS is waging war with literal sword, and has incited the nations with fear and has thus caused the nations to draw their swords to contest them, God’s faithful people, represented by the rider atop the white horse conquering, are wielding the spiritual sword, the undiluted Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, and will be looked upon with fear. The implication is that God’s messengers will be labeled and treated as fundamentalists who are divisive and despise unity, especially as they lay open the sins of Babylon and her daughters and bear an even more pointed testimony than that of John the Baptist. They will be viewed with suspicion and fear and have their rights infringed upon and finally revoked. Yet the people of God should not allow any danger or threat of such to dissuade them from living out their convictions and sharing the gospel with whomever they come in contact. They do not have to pick up literal swords as did Peter the night of Jesus’ capture, they must stand still and allow the Captain of the Lord’s Host, Jesus Christ, fight for them and indeed they will be more than conquerors! “And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” Revelation 6:1 and 2.