The death of Pope John Paul II has brought about the most extraordinary outpouring of emotion for a world leader in history. National leaders from almost every nation, religious leaders from all faiths, young people as well as old people, people from every part of the earth – all express some kind of emotional feeling about the passing of this great church leader. Most of the world praise him as one of the greatest forces for peace in history.
Modern communication technology has helped make the pope’s death an unparalleled event. The entire world has literally come together to praise this one man. I find that many sense that there will be some important and climactic consequences to follow the death of this pope.
As I studied the many Bible prophecies of the Last Days, I found a most unusual extra-biblical prophecy made by an Irish Catholic bishop in the 12th century. His name is St. Malachy. According to his biographer, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, in his book “Life of Saint Malachy,” St. Malachy was known to have the gift of prophecy and even predicted the exact day and hour of his own death. St. Malachy was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III.
According to his biographer, St. Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. Malachy wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.
St. Malachy wrote a few prophetically descriptive words in Latin about each one of the popes. He then gave the manuscript to Pope Innocent II and it was deposited in the Vatican Archives where it was forgotten for several centuries. Then in 1590, it was rediscovered and published.
The interesting thing is that scholars have matched the brief 110 descriptive predictions with each of the 110 popes and anti-popes that there have been since Innocent II. Though they are a bit obscure, they have fit the general profile of each of the popes.
Now these are in no way the same kind of predictions we find in the Bible. But they do have certain relevance.
Here are a few examples:
Pope No. 108: Paul VI (1968-78). The prophecy for the 108th pope was, “Flos Florum”, which means “Flower of Flowers.” Paul VI’s coat of arms contained three fleurs-de-lis (Isis blossoms).
Pope No. 109: John Paul I (1978). The prophecy for 109th pope was “De Medietate Lunae,” which means “the Half Moon.” John Paul I was born in the diocese of Belluno (beautiful moon) and was baptized Albino Luciani (white light). He became pope when there was a half moon (Aug. 26, 1978). He died the next month right after an eclipse of the moon.
Pope No. 110: John Paul II (1978-2005). The prophecy for the 110th pope was “De Labore Solis,” which means “from the labor of the sun.” John Paul II was born during an eclipse of the sun on May 8, 1920. As the sun rises out of the East, so he came to the Vatican from the east. Wherever on the earth the sun shines, he visited.
Now, if St. Malachy is accurate, there will be only two more popes before the end of this world, as we know it and the Second Coming of Christ. I do know that the whole prophetic scenario of signs that Jesus Christ and the prophets predicted would come together just before His return are now in view. So what St. Malachy predicted is certainly occurring in the right time frame. Pope John Paul II was aware of these prophecies and at least once referred to them with concern.
According to St. Malachy, there will only be two more popes.
The prophecy concerning the 111th pope says of him, “Gloria Olivae,” which means “the glory of the Olive.” Could it be that he will be from the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans? Could he be an African, a continent symbolized by the olive tree?
The olive tree is also frequently a symbol for the Israelites in the Bible. Could this mean that this pope will be an Israelite who will be seen as the glory of his people? It bears watching as to who will be this pope. Cardinal Lustiger of Paris is a converted Jew and he is in the running for being the next pope.
But it is the prophecy of the 112th and last pope that is most fascinating. St. Malachy predicts, “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign “Petrus Romanus” (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.”
If any of this is true, then I suspect that the 111th pope will not live very long. We are just too close to the final events before Christ’s return for him to reign for a long period.
The most important part of St. Malachy’s prophecies has to do with the events he foresees happening during the papacy of “Peter the Roman.” He foresees great tribulations during his reign, ending with the destruction of the church and Rome. This is will be done by a dreadful judge who will then judge the world.
In Daniel’s great prophecy concerning the 70 sabbatical years allotted to Israel to finish the purpose for which God created them, it predicts something that fits right in with St. Malachy’s prophecy concerning “Peter the Roman.”
Daniel predicted the exact day that Israel’s Messiah would be declared prince and heir apparent to King David’s throne. It was 69 sabbatical years from the date Artaxerxes Longimanus of Persia gave the exiled Jews permission to rebuild Jerusalem. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8 where this permission was granted.)
Exactly 69 lunar years of 360 days [or 173,880 days] later, Jesus was proclaimed the Son of David and Messiah. As predicted, He was rejected and had nothing. Then within a week after that, He was put to death.
Know therefore and understand, that FROM the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem UNTIL Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and 62 weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off [put to death], but not for Himself; and the people of THE PRINCE WHO IS TO COME shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Note that after the end of the 69th sabbatical year, but before the beginning of the 70th sabbatical year, two very important historical events would occur. First, Messiah would be put to death, but not for Himself. Jesus was crucified within a week of His official presentation as Messiah.
Second, the people of the prince WHO IS YET TO COME would destroy the city of Jerusalem and its Temple. The Roman Tenth Legion destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70.
Now one last and extremely important detail. The “Prince who is to come” will be of the same people that destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. They were Romans. So the coming Prince, who is the antichrist, must be a Roman. Now do you understand why I am so fascinated by St. Malachy’s prophecy concerning the last pope who will be called, “Peter the Roman”?
Revelation chapter 17 details the final judgment of the mystical woman symbolically named Babylon The Great. John the apostle identifies the woman, “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits …” and “And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:9, 18 NKJ) When John wrote this, there was only one city that reigned over the kings of the earth – Rome, which sits on seven hills.
John Paul II was a great and good man. But the coming popes will seize upon the popularity he created with the world. With the help of the media, it is easy to foresee how “Peter the Roman” will be able to mesmerize the world to follow his counterfeit of Christ.
It is time to make sure where you stand with God.