We all appreciate the advantage of elevation in rightly assessing the scene ahead. Thankfully the Word of Prophecy provides that scope that gives true meaning to the multiple movements of men and nations. The series of articles that follow are written from this perspective. They briefly cover the tumultuous history of the Papacy during the last two hundred years, provide the Biblical framework behind these fascinating and significant events and highlight what all this means to our Brotherhood. The articles also provide an inspiration to our faith as we see the hand of our God working out inexorably the course declared so long ago by His prophets.

The French Revolution began in 1789 and from that year, by common consent, the history of the modern world can be dated. The historian J H Rose summarised as follows:

“The French Revolution was a conquest in the spheres of thought, society and politics, effected by a people over the old systems of authority, class privilege, and absolute rule. In its course it came almost inevitably into collision with governments founded on the old ideas and customs; and the shock of arms favoured the rise of a military dictatorship, which curbed the revolution in France while extending it over the Continent. The conflict with monarchical Europe is therefore the central fact of the revolution, determining not only the trend of events in France, but also the extension of French influence over Europe, and the formation of the chief Continental States.”

The “old ideas and customs” were those which predominated during the 1000 years of the Holy Roman Empire. This vast block of central European lands was dominated by two principals, the Pope in Rome and the Emperor in Aachen, or later in Vienna. These were the “two horns” of Revelation 13:11 and their relationship was well expressed in the famous words of Pope Innocent III, when he spoke of “Two Swords”.

“The church is one body, and has one head. Under its command are two swords, the one spiritual, the other temporal; that to be used by the supreme pontiff himself, this by kings and knights by his license and at his will. But the lesser sword must be subject to the greater and the temporal to the spiritual authority.”

He declared the subjection of every human being to the See of Rome to be an article of necessary faith. This same Boniface seated upon a throne, arrayed with sword and crown and sceptre, proclaimed, “I am Caesar, I am Emperor.”

The French Revolution eventually turned this whole system on its head,

Europe broke up into individual kingdoms and national patriotism was asserted with increasing emphasis upon democracy. The long-established order of Europe was in dishevelment! To arrest this trend the Prussian Frederick kings sought to provide order and hierarchy in Europe, driven by the special energies of their competent Chancellor Bismarck. This new German European power bloc became known as the Second Reich, replacing in part the order of the “First Reich”, Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire.

This background helps us to see why the next German bloc was called “The Third Reich”: it was a further expression of Europe’s desire to be together as one grand confederacy and by that pooling of resources to provide leadership to the world.

It was not at first the expression of the ordinary German citizen; his enthusiasm for the cause was gendered by Hitler’s success in giving him employment, a house, car and unity of national purpose. The power who always, right from the 1920’s and 30’s, supported this concept of a Third Reich, was the Papacy. The pope during World War II was Pius XII whose acquiescence to the Nazi regime has earnt him the name “Hitler’s Pope”. In large and smaller ways the Papacy co- operated with the Nazis, even closing its eyes to the historic wickedness of the Holocaust in which six million Jews were exterminated. She even lent her services to Nazi officers so that they might escape Europe and find a new life in Argentina and other countries.

And as if the outcome of World War II was not a sufficient embarrassment to the Catholic Church we find that immediately after the War, amidst the political chaos of a devastated Europe, there turns up in every principal country a political entity called “The Christian Democratic Party”. In fact “Christian” in this European context meant “Catholic”! … and it is from these national Christian Democratic parties that the architects of modern Europe have arisen, leading minds now referred to as the fathers of modern Europe. That is where the European Common Market began, so it is not surprising that their first meeting was held in the presence of the Pope Pius XII. The European Union with its rapidly expanding membership is the fruit of their forty-seven years of work.

This is what the Word of God said would happen—Europe combining under the leadership and inspiration of the Roman Church. When through Revolution and Napoleon and other judgments the Church looked so humiliated, we surely would never have imagined that the Papacy could have arisen again to such heights as we have witnessed in our times.

How she did it is the story of the ‘Feature’ four articles in this magazine.

We stand back in awe as we see the Word of God still being fulfilled to the very letter.

How blessed we are to see these things and so have this confirmed Word of Prophecy.