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Some Things Will Never Change

Some Things Will Never Change

Even before the latest sex-abuse scandal engulfed the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis has proven to be one of the most controversial pontiffs in recent memory. While millions of his parishioners have welcomed his liberalization of church doctrine—from atheism to homosexuality and beyond—conservatives in the Church claim that he has gone out of his way to roll back hundreds of years of tradition and teaching, undermining the Church’s influence on the world stage in incalculable ways.

In the midst of this brewing crisis, a former archbishop of the Church has recently charged that Francis is personally responsible for the Vatican’s cover-up of abuse and for failing to deal appropriately with known abusers—and has called for the pope to resign. But many see this call as little more than a ploy by Catholic conservatives to reassert control of the Vatican and the future of the Church.

While at least three popes have resigned in the past, the chances that Pope Francis will follow in their footsteps seem slim despite the controversy swirling around him. Nonetheless, the recent scandal reveals that battle lines are being drawn in the heart of the Church. What does this mean for the beast whose deadly wound, according to the Bible, was healed?

Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, the Bible assures us that the Church will continue to play a vital role in the conflict between good and evil, between obedience to the laws of God or the traditions of man: “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law” (Daniel 7:25).

A careful study of the Scriptures and history reveals the Church is most certainly this religious-political power, one that has convinced hundreds of millions that it has the power to change God’s ordained “times and laws.” It has even claimed the right to transfer the sacredness of the seventh-day Sabbath to the first day of the week, Sunday. This has not been the only attempted change to God’s law, but it certainly is one of the most obvious.

Moreover, we can know with certainty that the church will eventually act in concert with global political powers to enforce worship on billions:

“I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. ... And he deceives those who dwell on the earth. … He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Revelation 13:11–17).

While the world is focused on the havoc resulting from this recent tragic scandal, prophecies in Revelation can keep us focused on the soon-to-arrive crisis over the issue of allegiance—whether to the Creator or to the great adversary, who acts in part through this powerful religious-political confederacy seeking to undermine God’s kingdom.

The issue of loyalty began in the Garden of Eden with the first transgression, and the conflict has continued through the centuries down to our day, when the struggle between good and evil will finally come to an end. “The dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

The Ten Commandments, a transcript of God’s character, are the mark of those who are welcomed into His kingdom of love and a perfect world. “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14).

Today, you have the opportunity to demonstrate where your loyalties lay. Fidelity to the commandments of God in times of peace will prepare you to stand faithfully for Christ in the difficult times ahead, when a commitment to the truths of Scripture will be challenged in a multitude of ways. Let us embrace the responsibility and the joy of sharing the truth of God’s Word with the world around us: “I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people—saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water’ ” (Revelation 14:6, 7).

Click here for a wonderful resource that will help your friends and family identify the real issues in the great controversy between good and evil, so they can make an informed choice about the importance of the seventh-day Sabbath at this time in earth’s history.