Did the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of Pope Frances I fulfill a prophecy written around 2,000 years ago?
On March 13, 2013, millions of people from around the globe found themselves eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new pope who would eventually be introduced to the world on the famous balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. After a brief introduction, Pope Frances I greeted the world. Many people viewed the election of Frances as just another exciting change in Roman Catholic leadership. However, some saw the events surrounding the election of the new pope as a direct fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
In Revelation 13, the Apostle John reveals the characteristics and actions of the world government, the Antichrist and the false prophet. In a vision recorded in the first two verses of Revelation 13, John saw a figure that he could only describe as a beast. The beast that he saw had seven heads and ten horns (Revelation 13:1-2). Like John, many disciples of Jesus have pondered the meaning of this vision. Fortunately, the Bible offers an extremely significant piece of information that enables readers to interpret this prophecy. The animal symbols that John saw in his vision are the same symbols that Daniel recorded in the seventh chapter of his self-titled book. Let’s take a look at them:
Daniel 7:3-8 (KJV)
Daniel saw four beasts. One beast looked like a lion, one looked like a bear, one looked like a leopard with four heads, and the last was described as a ten-horned beast.
Revelation 13:1-2 (KJV)
John saw one beast with seven heads and ten horns. This beast had the mouth of the lion, the feet of the bear, the body of the leopard, and ten horns. Also, count the number of the beast’s heads in Daniel 7. There are seven heads.
As I have stated in other articles, it’s a well-known fact that a beast in Bible prophecy always represents a kingdom along with the ruler of that kingdom. Furthermore, if we compare the animal symbols of Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 to animal symbols and important events in the history of nations that are now on the earth, we can determine which nations Daniel and John actually saw. The only logical conclusion is that the lion represents Great Britain, the bear represents Russia, the four-headed leopard represents Germany, and the ten-horned beast represents the European Union (*for more information: store.endtime.com/dvds/united-states-discovered-in-the-bible-dvd). Therefore, the fact that Daniel saw four separate beasts, and then John saw the same beasts as one brings us to only one conclusion; the beast in Revelation 13 represents the world government. In summary, the four nations from Daniel 7 join forces and serve as the power base for the Antichrist under the banner of the United Nations (Revelation 13:1-7).
In the latter part of Revelation 13, John made a very interesting statement. He said that he saw “another beast rise up out of the earth” (Revelation 13:11). Now, if a supermarket cashier handed you a quarter, and then gave you another quarter, how many quarters would you have? Obviously, you would have two quarters. Likewise, if John saw a beast with seven heads and ten horns and then saw “another beast,” logic and grammar would lead one to believe that John saw two beasts. In other words, John saw the world government made up of the bear, lion, leopard, and ten-horned beast. Then, immediately after that, he saw an entirely different beast (nation). Let’s take a look at the second beast:
Revelation 13:11 (KJV)
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
The second beast in chapter thirteen looked like a lamb with two horns, but it spoke like a dragon. We don’t need to guess what the second beast is. According to Revelation 12:9, the dragon is Satan, and any true Bible student will know who the lamb is. Therefore, the second beast looked and acted like Jesus Christ (the lamb of God) but spoke like Satan (the dragon).
In his lesson, The Antichrist & the False Prophet, Bible scholar Irvin Baxter pointed out that the Roman Catholic Church fits the description of the second beast. The RCC sets itself up to look very inviting and Christ centered when in fact it speaks like the devil (false doctrine). Furthermore, if the second beast that looks like a lamb is in fact the Roman Catholic Church, it would have to meet the same requirements as the first beast. Namely, it would have to be identified with a nation that exists on the earth today. This is where the prophecy gets very interesting. The Vatican, which serves as the headquarters for the RCC, is actually an independent state. In fact, it’s the world’s smallest independent state. That’s right! The second beast in Revelation thirteen is also a nation.
There is one more extremely important aspect of the second beast in Revelation 13 that I haven’t covered. Notice that the second beast had two horns. In Bible prophecy, horns are always used in reference to a king or a ruler. For example, the ten horns that ascend out of the head of the fourth beast in Daniel 7 represent ten kings (Daniel 7:24). The ram in Daniel 8 had two horns that represented the kings of Media & Persian (Daniel 8:20). Further, in Daniel 8 we also see a he-goat with a horn between its eyes. Daniel said that the he-goat smote the ram and broke its two horns. In the same chapter, the he-goat is identified as the first king of Grecia (Daniel 8:21). Furthermore, the only historical explanation for the horn between the eyes of the he-goat is found in Alexander the Great who conquered the Persians around 334 BC.
Now, let’s get back to the subject at hand. If all the horns on the other beasts are important, why wouldn’t the horns on the second beast in Revelation 13 be just as important? The answer is obvious; the second beast’s horns are extremely significant. This is where the Pope comes in. Until 13 March 2013, it was impossible for the second beast in Revelation 13 to have two rulers, two horns.
As we all know, on 13 March 2013, Pope Benedict XVI surrendered his place as the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Benedict XVI was the first pope in over 600 years to resign. Following his resignation, there was a lot of speculation about the role that he would play in the Roman Catholic Church. The discussion became even more interesting after the pope announced that he would no longer be known as Benedict XVI, but rather, Pope Emeritus. He also announced that he would continue to wear white, the traditional color of the Pope.
After Benedict’s resignation, many articles were written to discuss the possibility that the Roman Catholic Church could be led by two Popes. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI put an end to all speculation when he offered his “unconditional reverence and obedience” to Pope Frances I. As a result of his announcement, the news surrounding this issue fizzled and eventually faded away. However, a very important question needs to be asked. Do the two horns of the second beast in Revelation 13 represent the two popes in Rome?
In conclusion, I’m not willing to claim that the horns on the second best are without doubt the two Popes. The 86-year-old Pope Emeritus could pass away at any moment (no disrespect meant). I am, however, willing to leave the possibility that Pope Frances I and Pope Emeritus are fulfilling Bible prophecy open and on the table. It’s too important to ignore.