First Black Pope? Sign of End Times?
On Monday, Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation effective Feb. 28, citing poor health, speculation is already mounting about his potential replacement.
And Cardinal Peter Turkson, is qualified enough to be a potential option. He is President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Archbishop emeritus of Cape Coast (Ghana), was born on 11 October 1948 in Wassaw Nsuta, Ghana. He was ordained for the Diocese of Cape Coast on 20 July 1975 and holds a doctorate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome.
At a 2009 news conference, Turkson was asked whether he thought the time was right for a black Pope. “Why not?” Turkson replied. He argued that every man who agrees to be ordained a priest has to be willing to be a Pope, and is given training along the way as bishop and cardinal.
He could be the first Black Pope!
This is more significant than just being the first Black Pope. Many prophecy wonks believe that a Pope named ‘Peter the Roman’ will be the last Pope. “The Prophecy of the Popes,” attributed to Saint Malachy, is a list of 112 short phrases in Latin. The prophecy claims that this pontificate will end in the destruction of the city of Rome.
He could be the last Pope!
This prophecy is interesting, we have to hope in a sense that it is true. The end of the papal seat would be the first great step toward a truly catholic church. This is an opportunity for Reformed Christians to call the Roman communion back to the Scriptures (having called ourselves back first, of course). We pray that Roman Catholics would return to the tradition of Gregory – who refused the title “Universal Pope.”
Our prayer for the Roman Catholic Church should be that of St. Clement:
“For it is to the humble that Christ belongs, not to those who exalt themselves over his flock. The scepter of the majesty of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, did not come with the pomp of pride or arrogance, though he could have, but in humility”
Is this the End Times?
Evangelicals and Catholics will now begin to speculate on how today’s news will be a sign of the “end times,” but we know that the end is NOT yet. We need to read the future in the context of what our Lord has said in His word, not human events. The newspaper is not God’s means of relaying prophesy. Everything we need to know has already been printed and we can find comfort and boldness in His word. The sky is not falling. St. John’s Apocalypse teaches instead that Christians will overcome all opposition through the work of Jesus Christ. Most of the confusion over the meaning of the prophecy has resulted from a failure to read this book in the context of the entirety of scripture.
St. John writes that the book concerns “the things which must shortly take place” (1:1), and warns that “the time is near” (1:3). In case we might miss it, he says again, at the close of the book, that “the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must shortly take place” (22:6). Given the fact that one important proof of a true prophet lay in the fact that his predictions came true (Deut. 18:21-22), St. John’s first-century readers had every reason to expect his book to have immediate significance. The words “shortly” and “near” simply cannot be made to mean anything but what they say. Some will object to this on the basis of 2 Peter 3:8, that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” But the context there is entirely different: Peter is exhorting his first-century readers to have patience with respect to God’s promises…
David Chilton, Days of Vengeance
David Chilton wrote the most comprehensive verse by verse treatment of the Book of Revelation. His book The Days of Vengeance still remains one of the most helpful tools at truly understanding what is meant by the “end times.”
Revelation remains, though, a challenging and relevant book for us, not because it gives an outline of world history with special reference to our era, but because it shows us that Christ is in control of world history, and how we should live and pray and worship. In vivid powerful imagery it teaches us what it means to believe in God’s sovereignty and justice.
The College of St. Paul and St. Mary Cheltenham, England
Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a link is given.