Renewal of an old Friendship
Long before the coming of Christ into the world, it was predicted that He would encounter opposition – rulers would take counsel together “against the Lord and against His Anointed”. In confirmation of this, we find that, when it came to His crucifixion, “Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves”. They thus presented a united front against the One of whom it was said: “The world is gone after Him”; they possibly regarded Him as posing a threat to their own positions. Jerusalem was thus to witness the spectacle of Judaism, represented by Herod, the high priests, the Pharisees and Sadducees; and paganism, represented by Pilate, prepared to sink their differences in opposing Christ and in finally being instrumental in bringing Him to the cross of Calvary.
It has been said that “the past is but a mirror of the present” and the Bible of course tells us that “there is nothing new under the sun”. We therefore read in the press recently, with more than ordinary interest, that “US Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church” have declared “that Jews should not be targeted for conversion”. In this declaration they were apparently joined by Jewish leaders. The shared view on which it is founded is that the “saving covenant God made with Israel is still valid and not superseded by the teachings of Jesus Christ”. It is hardly necessary to point out just how heretical and satanic that view is. The credibility of the gospel, and indeed of the Word of God in its entirety, is called in question, while the authority of Christ as the great Prophet of the Church is repudiated. The activity of the one who so craftily, and with such success, insinuated in Eden: “Yea, hath God said?” is discernible here.
William Cunningham was of the view that Rome was “Satan’s great scheme for frustrating the leading objects of Christianity. . . . A full and minute prediction of the Popish system is to be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-13 – a passage which should be carefully studied by all who wish to understand what Popery is. Every particular mentioned in these verses has been fulfilled in the doctrines and practices of the Church of Rome. . . . The mystery is characterised as a mystery of iniquity, which was displaying itself in the apostles’ days – a statement which warrants us to expect in its fuller development an incalculable amount of villainy, and to discover more wickedness the more fully we become acquainted with its secret workings.”
It would appear that it is now expedient for the Vatican to mend its relations with Israel. From time immemorial the relationship between Rome and the Jews has been one of enmity and, when the present nation of Israel was formed, there was no question of establishing diplomatic relations with the Vatican. It would appear that in more recent times the revelations about the Papacy’s support for the Nazi regime, and its complicity in the holocaust, have made it necessary for Rome to seek some sort of rapprochement. In the United States this policy seems to have led to this unholy compromise. But it will not stand. He who sits in heaven has decreed that Rome is to perish while all Israel is to be saved.
It is perhaps worth taking note of the fact that the beginning of Israel’s present and protracted troubles may be traced back to the time of the papal visit last year. Shortly afterwards the state of uneasy peace was shattered which had previously enabled Jew and Arab to co-exist.
In Rockingham, near Perth in Western Australia, the small Roman Catholic congregation has swelled to more than 3000 people. The reason for the influx? In their church stands a “weeping statue” of the Virgin Mary to which they are turning for healing or a blessing.
The 2½ft-high fibreglass statue was bought in Bangkok eight years ago by a local woman. Early this year she claimed she saw tears, oily and smelling of roses, flowing from the eyes of the statue. When the local “Catholic newspaper” reported the “phenomenon”, the woman was inundated with sick people seeking help from the statue. The statue was then removed to the church.
A local Roman archbishop says, “Whether it is of natural or supernatural origin I cannot say, as no official investigation has been made. Nevertheless, the sight of Mary’s statue weeping tears has already had powerful spiritual effects, causing many people to return to God.” The local priest says, “It looks like a miracle”.
Here we have another case of superstitious people being duped by satanic “signs and lying wonders”. In Trinidad in 1996 a statue of Mary was reported to have wept tears of blood; in Jibrael, Lebanon, in 1997 a similar statue sweated oil; and in the USA in 1998 thousands claimed there were signs in connection with a statue of Mary in an Atlanta home – there was an aroma of roses and they could feel a heartbeat in it.
Nothing but the gospel of Christ applied by the Spirit of God can deliver such duped people from their deadly delusions. May the day soon come when those who labour under such gross darkness will understand that only the truth of Scripture, not the tears of a fibreglass statue, can have genuine “spiritual effects” and bring sinners back to God.