The Holy Bible is filled with prophecies about the “end of the world.”
There are famous apocalyptic sections such as the 24th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, much of the Books of Isaiah and Daniel and virtually all of the Book of Revelation.
And for countless years, many people have been wrong in predicting when specifically the events will actually take place.
Now, some Christians are looking with renewed interest at a forecast from outside the Word of God that could reveal the imminent return of Jesus to Earth and His personal administration of the kingdom of God.
The prediction comes from Malachy, a 12th century Catholic saint from Ireland, who made a list of what are thought to be the names of popes from his time until Christ’s so-called “Second Coming.”
According to Malachy’s prophecy, the time of the final pope is right now, being fulfilled in the person of Pope Francis, who just ascended to the papacy this year.
“If you’re a true believer, you have never to worry about it, because the end of the world is a decision of God, and you have not to be afraid of that. You are not involved in the decision,” said Dr. Roberto Rusconi, a professor of medieval history in Rome, Italy.
Rusconi is among a large number of experts interviewed on a new DVD movie titled, “The Last Pope?” which takes an in-depth look at Malachy’s prognostication.
“Christianity was born with the idea of the end of the world,” notes Dr. Agostino Paravicini, a papal historian in Fribourgh, Switzerland. “The Apocalypse, and then all the time during the Middle Ages, and after the idea that Christ will return at the end of times and there will be a fight between Christ and the Antichrist, and Christ will win and there will be a universal judgment.”
Nashville author and historian Dr. George Grant echoed Putnam, explaining, "The disciples had pretty much one thing on their mind: 'Lord, are you now going to establish your kingdom and usher in the promises of the reign of David?' In other words, is this the end?"
Paravicini explains that when the Bible discusses the "end," it's not a total end of all things, but merely the commencement of the next step in God's timetable of events.
Many believe that something different is a society run by Jesus Himself, who will be residing not in the unseen realm of heaven any longer, but in Jerusalem.
"I always go back myself to the scripture, "You will not know the day nor the hour," said Father Martin Graham, a parish priest in Belfast, Northern Ireland. "We cannot predict it. That is known to God alone."
Putman adds: "Now some people just kind of disregard prophecy, they don't want to think about it, they just put it out of their minds. Now others go hog wild and start predicting days and making charts. And so we have opposite ends of the perspective. Now most of us live somewhere in the middle of that."
While the debate rages on about when the end will come and Jesus actually does return, Grant says the most important thing any of us can do, in light of any prophecy, "is to do our job. To undertake those things that we know that we are called to do, to obey those things that we know we are supposed to obey, to fulfill our calling."
Regarding the end times, Horn observed, "People of all faiths, and people of no faith, are looking at events today, and some are frightened by what they see happening. Others are scrambling to interpret the signs.
"Others however are excited, because for them this heralds the imminency of the return of Jesus Christ, and perhaps that fact alone could be a unifying factor among all the different Christian denominations, Catholics and Protestants. And if we can take anything from what we're talking about right now, I would think hopefully encourages the Church to unify.
"The world right now is thinking about God, they're thinking about prophecy, they're thinking about the end times. But if all of that could encourage us to once again become preachers of the word, to focus on the gospel, and also to even focus on what unites us in that effort to take the gospel to the ends of the Earth, I believe that what's happening right now could actually lead to a great awakening. A great revival."