This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report'
On Tuesday, March 19, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was officially installed as the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic church. He will rule as Pope Francis.
He is not from Rome, or even Italy. He did not choose the name Peter. (None of the church's popes has dared call himself Peter in deference to Simon Peter, the Apostle and the man that Catholics consider to be the first pope.)
These two bits of information appear to contradict the prophecy of the Irish Bishop Armagh Malachy, which was written in the mid-1100's and first published in 1595. In his writings, Saint Malachy predicted that this pope would be the last pope before the Great Tribulation. Malachy predicted that he would be called Petrus Romanus or Peter the Roman.
I've reported on Saint Malachy's famous prophecy at least three times on this program. Each time, I noted that it was not from the Bible and had to be viewed through the lens of skepticism. Nonetheless, it is an intriguing bit of history. Especially in light of the fact that the previous pope, Benedict XVI, shocked the world when he abruptly decided to retire rather than die in office as is the papal tradition. In fact, it has been more than 600 years since a pope stepped down.
That means that this pope -- which Malachy prophesied would be the last before the rise of the Antichrist and the consequent destruction of the Roman church -- has assumed the papal throne unexpectedly and at precisely the moment when all of the other signs the ancient Bible prophets foretold for the last days are in full display.
And that is exactly what makes this non-Biblical (and apparently incorrect) "prophecy" still so remarkable. The "last pope" -- according to Bishop Malachy -- appears on the scene in the "last days" of the "last days"-- according to several Bible prophets, including Jesus Himself.
Contrary to what some rumors are suggesting, I have never implied that the pope of the Roman church will be the Antichrist. I wouldn't suggest that because I do not believe that will be the case. However, the Apostle John in the Book of the Revelation describes very plainly how the leader of the world religious system (based in Rome) will pave the way for the rise of the man who will be the Antichrist. Unfortunately for that churchman, the Antichrist and the False Prophet will later turn on him and destroy the religious system and the city.
Like I said, the name is not right, the birthplace is not right, but the timing certainly is.
If I were the captain of a commercial airliner, right about this time I'd be telling you to buckle your seat belts, we're ready to take off!
This week, I'll take a closer look at Pope Francis, the simple and humble pastor who is now the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
Talk about polar opposites! This week, I'll also take a closer look at the self-declared "Supreme Leader" of the world's nastiest nuclear power, North Korea. Kim Jong-un, the intemperate, self-absorbed, chest-beating, child of privilege who inherited the reins of power -- and an indeterminate nuclear arsenal -- has decided to prove his machismo.
He has declared the 1953 Korean armistice, "no longer valid." He has ordered his generals and troops to prepare for "all out war." He has cut the hotline to South Korea and he has threatened South Korea and the United States with nuclear attack.
In the past, this kind of posturing has been nothing more than a shakedown of the West for more money and food. But what makes this situation different is that this "Supreme Leader" appears not to be following the advice of his father's and grandfather's advisers. He has turned up the heat, but he doesn't have the experience to gauge how far he can reasonably carry the charade if, indeed, it is another shakedown. There's always the chance that one of his "enemies" will misjudge the situation and "respond" in advance.
I'll also review Israel's newly installed government. Though Benjamin Netanyahu remains Israel's Prime Minister, because of his Likud Party's poor showing in the recent Knesset elections, he has had to cobble together a rather shaky coalition that includes some surprising new partners. This is the first time that a conservative Israeli government has included no ultra-Orthodox religious parties. On top of that, it includes Netanyahu's rival, Tzipi Livni, who will be the Minister of Justice and be responsible for the Palestinian peace negotiations.
Two things to watch about Ms. Livni: First, she has demonstrated time and again that she'll give the store to the Palestinians for nothing in return. Second, she now heads the Ministry of Justice, which, in Israel, is notorious for undermining the efforts of any conservative leadership.
Don't loosen those seat belts!
Finally, this week's program is one of the most difficult I have ever produced. That's because I am saying "goodbye" to one of my dearest friends and associates.
Over the course of our lives, we have many different kinds of friendships. The best are forged in fire. No one is as close as the friend who stands with you in the heat of battle, encourages you when you're too exhausted to move, and always has your back when the critics rage. For me, Jack Kinsella was such a friend. He was truly my spiritual son.
Jack was a brilliant theologian and a powerful writer and speaker. Through his ministry, OmegaLetter.com, and his speaking, he brought many people to faith in Christ. He taught tens of thousands more how to grow in Christ. He also became one of the world's leading teachers in Bible prophecy.
He was my dear friend for 22 years. He also worked with me as the chief researcher for "The International Intelligence Briefing" and "The Hal Lindsey Report." He helped me write most of the editions of both of those television series.
On Thursday, March 14th, Jack went to be with the Lord. It's really tough to say goodbye to such a friend, but it's also wonderful to know that he's now face-to-face with Jesus. We will all miss Jack terribly, but I know he is rejoicing to be finally home at last and free from the pain of this world.
Please pray for Jack's wife, Gayle, and his family. I also encourage those of you who have followed Jack's ministry through his website, OmegaLetter.com, to continue to support it. The ministers in his family plan to publish the many messages that Jack wrote, but did not get a chance to teach.
Goodbye, my friend. You are gone, but will never be forgotten. I have no doubt that we'll all be together again soon. Maranatha!
Don't miss this week's Report here Sunday.