This post is a follow-up to this post. Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation at the end of February, and last week the Roman Catholic Church got its new Pope, Francis I. So how might this development fit the Malachy prophecy, and how might this all fit in with the Four Signposts?
First of all, as a reminder, and to put things in perspective, the Four Signposts is based on a study of history with exegesis of Scripture. The Malachy prophecy, if it is indeed a prophecy, is a vision of brief descriptions of 112 popes, followed by a 113th pope which may or may not be the last pope prior to Christ’s return. The description of the last pope – of which Francis I may or may not be – is as follows:
“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.”
There has been much debate as to whether Pope Francis I fits the description of “Peter the Roman.” And whether he is truly Peter the Roman or not, the description is a bit of a stretch. To begin with, he can be thought of as Peter for two reasons. His last name, Bergoglia, is from the German where “Berg-” means mountain or rock (Peter means rock), and “-Oglia” is the river in the Lombard region of northern Italy that his father comes from. His chosen name “Francis” comes from St. Francis of Assisi whose birth name has Pietro (Peter) as his middle name.
What makes him “Roman” is that his father came from Italy.
So the bottom line is that he may or may not be the “Peter the Roman” that the Malachy prophecy mentions. If he is, then since Francis I became pope at age 76, we only have a relatively few years until the coming of Christ, otherwise Francis would have to live to be 100 (the oldest pope lived to be 93) or so.
According to the Four Signposts’ view, we still have all the events of the second, third, and fourth signposts to go, and the seven-year Tribulation following that before Christ returns. If we can wrap all of that up in say fifteen years or less, then Francis I could be the last pope. But if not, and these events take twenty to thirty years before Christ returns, then there will be at least one more pope. Time will tell.
Categories: The Signpost Perspective