Speaking Great Things
The "great words" spoken by the little horn of Daniel 7 offered yet another sequel this past month, as the Vatican declared Catholicism the "sole path to salvation" (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 6, 2000, p. A1). Failure to recognize the authority of the pope was cited as a principal reason for "defects" described in other Christian faiths.
According to the Times article, "a similar fundamentalist position prevailed in June when the Vatican ordered bishops to avoid references to 'sister churches' and instead remember that 'the one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is not sister but 'mother' of all the particular [Christian] churches'" (Ibid., p. A8).
The article went on to observe that the Vatican's new declaration "underlined a contradiction of John Paul's 22-year-old reign. No other pope has worked harder to mend rifts between Christian churches and promote understanding with non-Christian religions, yet he has rigidly upheld church dogma and traditions that antagonize other faiths" (Ibid.).
The document went on to say that although other Christian churches "suffer from defects," "they can be used as instruments of salvation by the 'Spirit of Christ' acting with grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church" (Ibid.). In other words, it remains clear that according to Catholic teaching, any salvation received by anyone must be mediated by the papal system.
Daniel declared, witnessing the vision of the little horn power, "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake" (Dan. 7:11). Those words seem to be echoing with greater force as time marches on.
The Vatican declares it self to be "not sister but 'mother' of all the particular [Christian] churches" (Ibid.). The Bible calls her the mother of something else: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (Rev. 17:5).
The Times article speaks of what a contradiction it appears to be when John Paul II seeks unity with other churches yet promotes Catholic teachings so rigidly. This papal attitude has been predicted by inspiration long ago:
"And let it be remembered, it is the boast of Rome that she never changes" (The Great Controversy, p. 581).
Regarding the future union of the churches, the same author writes:
"This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism, for Rome never changes. She claims infallibility. It is Protestantism that will change" (Review and Herald, June 1, 1886).
The September 20, 2000 broadcast of the CBS Evening News reported the new cloning of a bull in Canada, from the sperm of another bull that died two years ago. "The implications are huge," reported Bob Schieffer of CBS as he introduced the story. Another reporter asked if this were not "one more step in the development of a master race." Ethicists and others interviewed for the story made it clear that it is now but a matter of time before such experiments are done on humans, with grave reservations expressed as to what this could mean.
Again we noted the words of Christ: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:26). And again we recall an inspired message regarding some of the experimenting that when on in the days of Noah:
"But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before Him" (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 64).
From the record heat of Texas to the unprecedented wildfires in a number of Western states, to disastrous flooding in France and Japan, the planet's bout with savage weather rages on. Thousands of homes and many lives were lost in the Japanese floods, and the floods which devastated Marseilles, France nearly threatened to wash the city into the Mediterranean. Damage in both cases is still beyond calculation.
Inspiration's forecast of accelerating disaster becomes ever-more relevant as the months march by:
"In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes in terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. . . . These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous" (The Great Controversy, pp. 589, 590).