The Catholic Church is encountering discord and opposition from various denominations and are resisting the leadership of Pope Francis. They are misusing social media by attacking and spreading rumors about the Church.
A question that challenged Fr. Joseph was – Jesus spent most of his life, his preaching and the important events of the Early Christian Church, the Passover, surrendering of Jesus’ circumcision and crucifixion, the Pentecost, the Church was born; all these incidents took place in Jerusalem. Jesus instructed his disciples to be in Jerusalem so that the word of God could be preached till the ends of the earth. Heaven is also considered as the heavenly Jerusalem. Considering all these aspects, should we believe that the capital of the Catholic Church should be in Jerusalem? Then how did Rome, a pagan city, the capital of the Roman Empire become the capital of the Catholic Church? Why does the Pope reside in Rome and not in Jerusalem?
This question led Fr. to study deeper into the teachings of the Bible and history of the Church. One prophecy that touched Fr. Joseph’s heart and made him believe that Rome is the capital and center of the Catholic Church.
Rome being the capital of Christianity is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the bible.
Let’s throw some light on the secular history of Rome. When God selected Israel and took them to the promised land and established the Israelite kingdom, God gave them a King, who was King Saul, then David, then it was Solomon and after that the country was divided into two: Northern part (Israel) and Southern part (Judah), because of the division between Jeroboam and Rehoboam.
After some years, the Assyrians attacked Israel, then consisting of 10 tribes and ruled those areas. The Southern part comprised of two tribes i.e. Judah and Benjamin. Meanwhile the northern part was destroyed, and till date the 10 Israelite tribes have been lost.
Later, Babylonians came and attacked Judah. Daniel identifies Nebuchadnezzar as the head of gold, and Daniel was one of those deported from Israel and he lived in Babylon at that time. In a dream that was interpreted by Daniel, a prophesy was made to King Nebuchadnezzar. The next kingdom, the Persians were to arise who would be inferior to Babylon, as will the next – Greek – Alexandria the Great. Romans will come, a fourth kingdom, strong as iron. It will crush and break all the others”.
Finally, the feet of mixed clay and iron “will be a divided kingdom”. During the time of this final world empire, the “rock” will smash them all to bits, a prediction that “God . . . will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed”. All previous earthly kingdoms would be ended.
All these four countries attacked Israel. Romans attacked and conquered Israel in BC 66 and thus Israel became a colony of Rome. Prefects and governors controlled numerous small provinces’ that were setup in Israel. Romans imposed high taxes from Israelites for all their needs – for the fish they caught, even those who were jobless. Jesus and the disciples also had to pay taxes, since they too were jobless. Israel in their difficult situation, looked up to God and prayed to send them a Saviour to save them from the clutches of Rome. The Jewish people expected a Messiah to come and conquer Rome and establish a kingdom in the Roman Empire, as a result Jesus was born.
The book of Daniel, helps us better understand why Rome is the capital of the Catholics today. Was it a fulfillment of a prophecy or a coincidence? It gives us an insight into the role of the Catholic Church and of the Pope.
A brief explanation about the incident:
When Israel was in Babylon, there were numerous wise men for the King of Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar’s, who had spiritual and intellectual powers and among them was Daniel.
Nebuchadnezzar’s troubling dream
One night, Nebuchadnezzar awoke frightened by a terrible and confusing dream. The king called for his wise men and put forth a requirement to them: “Tell me what my dream was and interpret it”. So, not only did the wise men have to provide the interpretation of the dream, but they also had to recount the dream itself. The worried wise men replied, “What the king asks is impossible? No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men”.
The king was furious and gave orders to the Army Chief – Arioch, to kill all the wise men in the country for they were unable to interpret the dream. Arioch was going to kill the wise men, but Daniel talked to him. Daniel spoke politely to Arioch and said, “Why did the king order such a severe punishment?” Then Arioch explained the whole story about the king’s dream, and Daniel understood.
Daniel 2:24-44 “Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.” Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.” The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: This is the dream – To you, O King, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the kind and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind. “You were looking, O king, and lo! There was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of the statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly or iron and partly of clay. As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings – to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might and the glory into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all – you are the head of gold. After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a (fifth) kingdom that shall never be destroyed, not shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever. Just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not be hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain and its interpretation sure.”
Through ancient history, the first four kingdoms have been identified as the Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires. The secular and bible; both are connected.
How was the fifth kingdom built? God cut a rock from a bigger rock and this rock fell on the fourth kingdom which is the Roman kingdom and crushed all the kingdom into pieces. Which and what is this Rock? Let’s read:
Matthew 16:13-19 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is? Caesarea means Caesar and Philippi means Philip, where a city and a temple was named after him, and people used to worship him as God. Jesus asked his disciples who the son of man is. Everyone was calling Caesar, God. The real king was standing in front of the disciples.
And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah!Jesus called Simon by his original name. You have been chosen by my father in heaven to reveal the secrets of heaven. Jesus is going to change his name. In the bible, if someone’s name has been changed, it indicates greater responsibility or position. Example: God spoke to Abram, and it concerned Sarai as well: “You will be the father of many nations. Now on, you will not be called Abram, your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. “God also said to Abraham, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.
Later God selected Jacob to be the new ‘Israel’ and God made a covenant concerning their future – as a chosen generation.
Jesus commissioned Saul to be the apostle for the Gentiles and renamed him from Saul to Paul.
For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
God selected Peter to be the foundation or head of the church and reveal the secrets of heaven because it was the choice of the Heavenly Father.
The name Peter in Greek is Petros. The word for rock in the Greek is Petra, meaning a massive rock. Jesus said Peter was the rock on which the church would be built. If Peter is the rock cut off by the divine hands, what happened to the rock? This Peter sent by Jesus, from Caesarea Phillipi, landed in Rome. Jesus was crucified and his blood was shed in Rome.
The Roman empire collapsed and in 313, Emperor Constantine decreed that Rome was a Christian country and he himself was converted. The fifth kingdom was established by God, and this was the fulfilment of the prophecy in the book of Daniel. This kingdom will never be destroyed or handed over to another kingdom.
All the previous four kingdoms have since come and gone within 500 years, however the Holy Catholic Church established in Rome, by Peter the Rock is lasting even today and will continue to the ends of the earth.
It was a plan of God that Rome had to be the Capital of Catholic Church before Jesus Christ and this prophecy has been fulfilled.
The Pope has temporal and spiritual powers as head of the Catholic Church. In moments of crises, all look up to the Pope for his advice. For more information on the prophecy that is repeated in book of:
Daniel 7:1-14 In the first year of King Belshazzar of Baylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream. I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The four beasts are the four kingdoms.
Daniel 7:13-15,21-22 As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being (Son of man) coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One (means God the Father) as was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones (early Christians) and was prevailing over them until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the (fifth) kingdom.
The conclusion is that the bible is the truth, and we need to understand each one of them and the truth will set us free. Let us keep listening to the word of God and all the interpretations that are given in the word of God. Who are we to question and doubt about the fifth kingdom that is established by God?