Posted in jesus, moth, one world religion, pope benedict, pope francis, schism

Too Many Popes Spoil the Vatican: Is there a Catholic Schism Looming?

Left, Pope Benedict (Emeritus) and Right, Pope Francis (Current)

On February 11, 2013, it was announced that Pope Benedict XVI was resigning his position as Pope. No pope had resigned in 600 years and only 5 of the 266 popes, including Benedict, have ever resigned. I wrote about it here, quoting a news article:

Pope Benedict XVI stunned the world and left the Catholic church reeling when he said on Monday that he would resign – the first pope to do so since the middle ages. The move, announced without warning, will take place on 28 February and leave the papacy vacant until a successor is chosen

That successor is Pope Francis. He ascended the papal monarchy on March 13, 2013.

Since then, Francis has garnered worldwide praise for his personal touch, his winning smile, his emphasis on the poor, and … his liberal views.

The Vatican & Cardinals are less impressed. The Daily Beast published an interesting article today. It’s titled,

Is the Pope Catholic? Critics Rally Around Benedict As Talk of Schism Looms

Almost from the beginning, there have been rumblings of discontent about Pope Francis. While the world’s media fell in love with him, there were more conservative bishops who felt that Francis’s popular appeal came at the expense of carefully worked-out Church rituals and teachings. They saw Francis as chipping away at established Church teachings on sexuality, kowtowing to the liberal media, and acting aggressively towards conservative church leaders. Criticism of Francis has come to a head with the publication of the final report of the Synod on the Family. Despite changing absolutely nothing doctrinally, the Synod’s recommendations for a more understanding attitude to those in unconventional family arrangements have ignited a firestorm of controversy among conservative commentators. The possibility that Catholics who had divorced and remarried without receiving an annulment might be readmitted into full communion with the Church has made many apoplectic.

In his short 18-month tenure, Pope Francis has seemed to have softened the traditional Catholic stance on homosexuals, has signaled a review of the traditional Catholic stance on female clerics and priests, noted that the traditional position of celibacy of priests can change, shifted a long-held stance on evolution and Big Bang, and now this week’s seeming change of stance on divorce. The Cardinals have had enough, and looking around, they notice that there’s another pope in town. One who was very conservative and is looking pretty good to them right now.

Pope Emeritus Benedict.

But there’s a reason to pay attention to this particular breed of shrill complaint: there’s more than one Pope in town. Much like an ex-partner you keep running into in the street, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s continued presence in the church serves as a constant reminder of the way things used to be.

Benedict is hanging back for now, but there’s no doubt that he could easily become a figurehead for traditionalists harkening back to the good old days. In some ways, he already has. In somewhat ominous tones that have rightly been called threatening, Douthat exclaims to his “true Catholic” audience, “Remember there is another pope still living!” Having warned that Pope Francis and the Synod are leading us towards schism, does Douthat mean to imply that “true Catholics” will or should stage a coup?

The longest continuous monarchy in the world is generally accepted to be Japan’s, founded around 600BC. The Vatican records the first pope as Apostle Peter (which we know is false) but their chronological list of popes extends from Peter’s time to now with Francis, 266 in all. By that standard they are considered the second oldest monarchy in the world, and Denmark is third, founded in 935 AD.

A schism in the Vatican between liberal Francis and conservative emeritus Benedict could be very interesting. To fracture the long held power and remove the stranglehold the Vatican has on billions of false Christians known as Catholics would indeed be earth-shattering.

One does not know what the Lord is doing or will do, apart from what is recorded in the bible, but the mind reels with possibilities of how the final one-world religion predicted in Revelation 12-13 could come about.

I am reminded of a prophecy made in Hosea 5:12. The LORD promised this:

But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah.

Pulpit Commentary explains, “The meaning of the prophet is by no means obscure, and that is, that the Lord would by a slow corrosion consume both the people; and that, though he would not by one onset destroy them, yet they would pine away until they became wholly rotten.” The two agents of destruction here named – the moth which eats away clothes, and the woodworm which gnaws away wood – figuratively represent slow but sure destruction.”

Moths work secretly, unknowingly to the clothes owner. All one knows is that when the garment is needed, it will be full of holes and unwearable. The woodworm has been secretly gnawing out the wood and suddenly one day the ship sinks, or the building topples.

Has the Lord been working as a moth, secretly eating away at the foundations of this false religion?

We do know for sure that one day the evil false religion of harlot Babylon will fall! (Revelation 17) During the Tribulation, all peoples will worship the Beast (Rev 13:15-16) except for Christians, who will be killed for refusing.

These are exciting times to be living in, and we are grateful to the Lord for placing us here, now, to observe His mighty works and the end of all things. I believe the end is at hand, for many reasons, but one major indicator in my opinion is the collapse of Cultural Christianity and the wide apostasy infecting the church.

We watch in awe of the Lord at work in these tumultuous times. As Timothy Larsen said in his excellent essay Cheerful Confidence after Christendom,


God has granted me the privilege to live now—in my own times. To wish otherwise is not only pointless, it is ungrateful. It is also self-defeating. Every season of life has its own joys. Foolishness is to want to have the joys of adulthood when still a teenager or the joys of adolescence when middle aged and so on. Likewise, there are unique joys, privileges, and opportunities for serving God in each generation. We are called not to hanker after a different age, but rather to jump in with relish to following Christ at this moment.

And if the Lord sees fit to hugely shake Catholics to their core by creating a schism, perhaps making room in unconverted hearts for true Christianity to enter, is that not cause for celebration? Oh, to see hearts aligned with an antichrist in the form of a pope, minds blinded to the simplicity and beauty of the Gospel, tongues praying to Mary, spirits convulsed with doubt as their seeming foundation is revealed moth-eaten and worm-gobbled, converted to Jesus. A cause for celebration indeed. Peter is not the rock upon which the faith is built. The Rock is Jesus.

No matter what, the Lord is mighty, and He is always at work. Praise Him for His perfection in all He does.

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
31For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
(Psalm 18:30-31)


Further Reading:

A Catholic church schism under Pope Francis isn’t out of the question

The culture war finally comes to the Catholic Church

What will be the end times one-world religion?

Posted in encouragement, exhortation, God, hosea, moth, S. Lewis Johnson

Sometimes judgment comes not as brimstone or earthquake, but as a moth

When you read the bible, stop frequently to ponder. Think about what you’re reading. Also, frequently ask yourself, “What does this mean?”

We read about different metaphors in the bible, and we read about different insects and animals sometimes as a part of those metaphors. In Psalm 59:14 we read that enemies return at evening, howling “like a dog”. In Proverbs 6:6, we are advised to be like the ant. Psalm 18:33 says, “He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.”

Sometimes God uses a metaphor to ascribe a quality to Himself. In Matthew 23:37 God says tenderly,

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” See also Ruth 2:12.

Wiki creative commons

Insects mentioned quite often include the moth. Moths are mentioned several times.

but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:20)

“For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations.” (Isaiah 51:8)

But see this verse from Hosea where God pronounces judgment on Israel, God says HE will be like the moth!

I am like a moth to Ephraim, like rot to the people of Judah.” (Hosea 5:12)

So in reading Hosea 5 when you come across a verse like this, stop and ponder, ask, what does it mean? What do moths do, how do they act, so we can better understand what God is saying here.

When we think of God working, we often think of Him powerfully and noisily working great things, such as in the scene from 1 Kings 19:11-12

And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.”

But God works quietly too, as the low whisper showed. (NOT that God speaks to us today in a still, small voice, that was not the point of the verse). It’s that He works loudly and demonstrably but also quietly.

It is the same with the moth. Though we think of judgments like brimstone and earthquakes, a judgment is also what the moth can do, and in a way, it is worse.

Moths (or moth larvae) work secretly, stealthily. You put away your clothes for the summer and when winter comes again you take out that sweater and it has been rendered useless because of all the holes in until it is good for nothing. It will not cover your nakedness anymore. Pulpit Commentary quotes Calvin:

“The meaning of the prophet is by no means obscure, and that is, that the Lord would by a slow corrosion consume both the people; and that, though he would not by one onset destroy them, yet they would pine away until they became wholly rotten.”

Gill’s Exposition says,

“Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth,…. Which eats garments, penetrates into them, feeds on them privately, secretly, without any noise, and gradually and slowly consumes them; but at last utterly, that they are of no use and profit:”

Can there be a worse judgment? To awaken finding yourself one day wholly rotten? A slow but sure destruction that had come upon you? Not even having rated a loud showy judgment of brimstone, but a lowly worm having done you in.

S. Lewis Johnson ended his exposition of Hosea 5, a sermon titled “God Withdrawn“, this way-

The perils of apostasy! When we apostatize from the faith, when we depart from the faith, when lethargy and indifference grips us, the real enemy is the Lord God Himself!

If you have believed in Jesus and your life is in a shambles because of indifference and because of  lethargy, the Lord God may be working like a moth in your life. May God help you to recognize what is really happening, and may He stir you by His Holy Spirit to come back to Him. Confess your sin, seek to put Him first in your life. Use the time He has given you for the glorification of His name. The remedy as Hosea puts it so plainly is, ‘know the Lord.’ ” (Hosea 5:4)

Take protective measures against the moth’s destructive capabilities by keeping your faith living and active. Study the word, know the Lord. Pray ceaselessly. Serve lovingly. Submit constantly. There will be no need to mothball your holy garment if you never put it away for a season!