And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 NIV)
I was having a long and interesting discussion with my spiritual father, Don Walton. He is one of the most brilliant men of God I have ever known. He is able to cut through the clutter of pop-Christianity and seek the Bible on it's own terms.
We were talking about the new pope and I asked him about the Catholic prophecies of the anti-Pope that would be the false prophet. He informed me that the actual prophecy came from a pope named Benedict and was expounded upon by "father" Malachy. He went further into the history of the Roman Catholic religion than I will in this space. He began with Julius Caesar and worked all the way to the current pope. The key for me regarding the Roman Catholic religion is Constantine. That is the birthplace of the Roman Catholic religion.
This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. (Revelation 17.9 NIV)
Constantine is the one who made Christianity legal in Rome and also made it the official religion of the Roman state. Rome was famous for conquering a people and assimilating them. Rome gave them freedom to remain who they were, but they became a part of Rome as well. It was a spiritual prostitution engaged in by the Roman Catholic religion:
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries." (Revelation 17.1-2 NIV)
This shaped the church of Constantine. The Roman Catholic church became the gathering place for all the pagans and unbelievers who wanted favor with Rome. Even pope John Paul II preached a message of acceptance of other religious beliefs and practices as long as there was a "conversion" to Roman Catholicism (or Romanism as Rand calls it).
This title was written on her forehead:
BABYLON THE GREAT
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17.5 NIV)
This sets the stage for the one world religion spoken of in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And the head of that religion is the pope of the Roman Catholic religion. The 112nd of which Benedict said would be the anti-pope, Peter II. The 110th of which was John Paul II and Benedict XVI is the 111th. (For those who do not get it, that would set up the next pope as the False Prophet, Peter 2.)
And just to clear one point, I do believe there are Roman Catholics who are Christians, but it is in spite of the RC religion, not because of it. I believe it is slightly more difficult to be saved in a RC church than in a 7th day adventist church and much more difficult that works-based Church of Christ and similar that add the WORK of baptism to salvation, as does the Roman Catholic religion I might add.