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Pope Francis' mandate

Mar 20, 2013

On February 11, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he would retire on the 28th. He said he did not have the energy required to reform the church or to clean up the Vatican Bank of its corruption. He apparently knew that a serious fight was looming, one which might take longer than he might live, and so he decided to let another take on the corrupt Cardinals and other church officials.

The Vatican Bank was formed in 1942 after the papacy decided to delete usury from its list of sins. It was accused of money laundering in the aftermath of World War II, as the Vatican provided passports and escape routes to South America for its Nazi and Fascist allies—for a fee, of course. By the 1970’s a quasi-Masonic order known as P2 had virtually taken over the bank and was fully involved in laundering money for the mafia and other drug businesses. The Wikipedia reports:

“The Vatican Bank was Banco Amrosiano’s main share-holder. Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, head of the IOR [Vatican Bank] from 1971 to 1989, was indicted in Italy in 1982 as an accessory in the $3.5 billion collapse of Banco Ambrosiano, one of the major post-war financial scandals. Banco Ambrosiano was accused of laundering drug money for the Sicilian Mafia, led by Filippo Barbagli, which used Propaganda Due("P2"), a Masonic lodge with alleged Mafia influences as an intermediary. P2 and its Worshipful Master, Licio Gelli, were also involved in financing right wing terror groups during the 1970s. Marcinkus was not tried in Italy, where courts ruled that he had diplomatic immunity. He retired to Sun City, Arizona (US), where he died on February 21, 2006.

“The Vatican Bank denied having legal responsibility for the Banco Ambrosiano's downfall but did acknowledge "moral involvement", and paid US$241 million (£169 million) to creditors.”


As for Archishop Paul Marcinkus, who came from Chicago (Mafia City), he ran the Vatican Bank from 1971-1989. He only escaped a jail cell because he had diplomatic immunity that was granted by the Vatican itself.


Some years ago I read a number of books about the history of the Vatican Bank, including In God’s Name, by David Yallop. The book gives a full history of the Banco Ambrosiano scandal and how it caused the Savings and Loan bank collapse in America during the early 1980’s. Robert Calvi was later found hanged under Blackfriar Bridge, executed as a warning not to lose or steal Vatican money.

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi was the latest to head the Vatican Bank (2009-2012). He was forced to resign in May 2012 over allegations of money laundering. He only lasted three years at the bank. On June 5, 2012 his home was raided by Italian authorities.

“During the raid, the police found 47 binders that Ettori had archived as a memorial with compromising information about the Vatican “in case something happened to him.” Some documents were titled "Internal Enemies" and had the names of politicians and powerful clergy; the banker thus decided to collaborate with the Italian judicial authorities, fearing for his life even as it also emerged from several of his telephone conversations intercepted.

“The memorial, therefore, is an annotated chronology of events that the banker has lived since becoming the President of the IOR 2009, until the last days of May 2012 those of his ouster. In the most controversial passages, turns of that troubled relationships that has seen him at the center of internal disputes, Gotti Tedeschi has attached to the memorial documents, emails, among the documents seized by the Public Prosecutor of Naples, and transferred to that of Rome there is also a correspondence between the banker and His Holiness, Pope Ratinzger.

“The Holy See responded that their sovereignty should be adequately assessed and respected by the Italian judicial authority and that the documents should be returned back to the Vatican.


These, then, are the bank scandals that the new pope is supposed to face in his house cleaning efforts. Apparently, Pope Benedict was unable or unwilling to do so. After all, the last pope to try to clean up the Vatican Bank lasted only 33 days. Pope John Paul I was poisoned the night before he was going to fire Paul Marcinkus back in 1978. On the evening before his death, the pope made the mistake of telling his Secretary of State, Cardinal Jean Villot, of what he intended to do the next day.

So Pope Francis certainly has a dangerous job. If he is sincere in his intention to clean up the bank, he will need prayer to protect him from ruthless church officials who have the most to lose. At this point I have been given no reason to doubt Francis’ sincerity, by the way. The fact that he is a Jesuit—the first Jesuit Pope, in fact—might mean something, but I am willing to give him time to prove himself. Though I know a bit about the often-sordid history of the Jesuits, I also know that each Jesuit is an individual, and Jesuits are not all created equal.

Furthermore, I suspect that Pope Benedict resigned and Pope Francis was elected on account of our recent prayer campaign. I think we will see results from this. I suspect that the result will be that Pope Francis will try hard to reform the Vatican, but will fail in the end. In other words, I think Francis has good intentions, but the task will prove to be too difficult, because the corruption has been institutionalized for too long.

I also believe that Pope Francis is “Peter the Roman,” the last of the popes on St. Malachy’s list from the year 1140 A.D. Benedict was the 111th pope in St. Malachy’s list. Malachy, the Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland 850 years ago had been given revelation of the next 111 popes, followed by “Peter the Roman,” who was to be the last pope before the destruction of Rome itself.

Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was elected to replace Benedict. Though he is from Argentina, his parents came from Italy. He took the name of Pope Francis, partly to identify with St. Francis of Assisi, and partly to identify with Francis Xavier, a co-founder of the Jesuit Order in 1534.

Francis of Assisi was born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone—or Giovanni, son of Peter of Bernardone. As the son of a wealthy silk merchant, young Giovanni (Peterson) later renounced his wealth and determined to live a life of poverty while helping the poor. It was not long before he said he received a vision and revelation, where God told him, “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins.”

Apparently Pope Francis saw in this his own mandate to repair the Roman Church in the midst of its financial corruption and homosexual scandals. Yet his identification with St. Francis also identifies him as “son of Peter,” and thus also Peter the Roman.

Francis Xavier was one of the co-founders of the Jesuit Order in 1534, of which Bergoglio is a long-time member. Xavier is known for posing Jesus’ question, “What will it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?” The question chides those who think that money and wealth is the top priority in life. Many in the Roman church over the centuries have criticized the church for its focus upon money. The current problem in the Vatican Bank is just the latest manifestation of this idea.

If Pope Francis is Peter the Roman, then the prophecy of St. Malachy may give us some clues about his reign:

“In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End.”

This prophecy says nothing about this pope being either good or evil, but many Catholic writers have given him the title of “Antichrist.” Perhaps it is because Malachy said he would reign “amid many tribulations.” But if those tribulations are God’s judgment upon Rome for its corruption, then the fault would lie with church officials in general, not with this pope per se. In years past, men have speculated and prophesied according to their belief about the meaning and cause of “tribulations.” But now that we are here, we have only to look at the situation as it exists today to see what it means. No doubt the problem will become worse as time goes on, but right now we have the best picture ever available to any generation in the past.

Prophecy is fulfilled by history. If we are interested in understanding prophecy, we cannot avoid a study of history. It is crucial to study the prophetic stories in Scripture to see how the prophetic patterns were laid down in the past for future generations. Perhaps the most important key of all, insofar as the church is concerned, is to understand that King Saul was a type of the church during the Age of Pentecost (i.e., since Acts 2). The fact that Saul was crowned king on the day of “wheat harvest” (i.e., Pentecost) in 1 Samuel 12:17 tells us that his life prophesied of the institutional church in the Age of Pentecost.

The second most important type of the church was the high priest, Eli. While Saul was a type of the political church, Eli was the type of the church in its priestly function. Eli was unable to correct his sons, because they did not listen to him (1 Sam. 2:25); but Eli was faulted because he did not expel them from the priesthood on account of their corruption.

It was universally assumed in those days that God had called that line of priests forever, and that no matter how corrupt any of them might be, God would never rescind His calling. If anyone questioned their competency or their spirituality, they could always refer them to God’s promise to their forefather, Phinehas, in Numbers 25:12 and 13,

12 Therefore, say, “Behold, I give him My covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual [olam] priesthood, because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the sons of Israel.”

However, 300 years later, a man of God was sent to Eli to tell him that he was going to lose the priesthood in spite of God’s promise to Phinehas. He said in 1 Samuel 2:30,

30 Therefore the Lord God of Israel declares, “I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever [ad olam]; but now the Lord declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed’.”

In other words, God repudiated the promise to Phinehas. How could He do that? Did not Phinehas enjoy an everlasting covenant by which he and his descendants would be priests without end? Did God break His promise? The answer is found in the meaning of the Hebrew word olam. It does not mean perpetual (NASB), nor does it mean “everlasting” (KJV). It means an INDEFINITE period of time, not an INFINITE period of time. The Hebrew root word, alam, literally means “hidden, obscure,” and when applied to time, it meant that the duration was not known.


Hence, when the promise was given to Phinehas, it was not known just how long his descendants would be priests. Yet when we come to the time of Samuel, we are suddenly told that this so-called “perpetual priesthood” was going to end. God did not break His promise. He only clarified what had previously been hidden or obscure. Even so, it took another three generations before Eli’s grandson, Abiathar, was replaced by this new line of priests, beginning with Zadok (1 Kings 2:27, 35).

27 So Solomon dismissed Abiathar from being priest to the Lord, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord, which He had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh… 35… and the king appointed Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.

Both Eli and Saul had legitimate callings, but both were replaced. Eli was replaced by Zadok, who represents the Melchi-Zadok Order (Melchizedek). Saul was replaced by David, a man after God’s own heart. We see the same happening in our own time, as the church rulers of the Pentecostal Age are replaced by the overcomers. These overcomers are “priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him a thousand years” (Rev. 20:6).

In other words, they are both kings and priests. They are kings like David and priests like Zadok. They are, in essence, the Melchizedek Order of King-Priests.

Hence, the words of Jesus about Peter in Matthew 16:18 and 19, which are read at each papal coronation ceremony, reflects the same assumption that Saul and Eli believed—that their papal succession would never end. But Jesus did not say this. He said that the church would not be overcome by “hades.” He said nothing about a perpetual priesthood of popes. The church is not the religious hierarchy, nor the organization in the Vatican. The church is the “congregation, or assembly.” The New Testament word is ekklesia, which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word kahal. Jesus said that He would always have an assembly of true believers on earth, and that the gates of hades would not prevail against them.

Jesus’ words have been fulfilled, for there have been true believers in every generation. But we are drawing near to the day when both Saul and Eli will be replaced, on account of their corruption and refusal to be obedient to God. This corruption has been rampant in the church for many centuries. It did not just appear on the scene when the Vatican Bank was established in 1942. This is well known to all who study church history, including the countless Roman Catholic cardinals, archbishops, bishops, and other writers throughout the centuries, all of whom recorded these things.

The most natural reading of Malachy’s prophecy about “Peter the Roman” shows that Rome will be destroyed at the end of the reign of Pope Francis. This is probably also the so-called “third secret of Fatima,” which was supposed to be publicized in 1960, but Pope John XXIII did not do so, nor did his successors to this day. In the year 2000 Pope John Paul II revealed only a portion of this “secret.” It seems that to reveal its contents would be detrimental to the Roman Church, so no one wants to reveal its contents.

For those who have studied the prophetic types of the Old Testament and are able to compare them with church history, it is plain that the Roman church will lose its power. It will be replaced by the Melchizedek Order, a new priesthood that is distinct from the Roman priesthood, and a new kingly authority that is empowered by the Feast of Tabernacles, as distinct from Pentecost.

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Category: Commentary

Dr. Stephen Jones

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