Bulletin of Prophetic Historicism
19 August 2015 Editor and Proprietor
Edwin de Kock
Bulletin # 22
The editor/proprietor assumes responsibility for his own contributions. He is not, however, responsible or liable for the ideas expressed in pieces by other writers, also sometimes mentioned or cited.
The Pope Is Coming
Looming up just beyond the horizon is the Roman pontiff’s visit in 22-27 September to the United States of America. Many Seventh-day Adventists think or fear that this may begin to fulfill the prophecy of Rev. 13:11-18, a passage which predicts a dangerous cooperation between America, especially its Protestants, and the papacy. At some future time, our legislators will make a national Sunday law and finally issue a death decree against those who persist in keeping the Biblical seventh-day Sabbath. The remnant Church will denounce such legislation and preach the Third Angel’s Message. When Pope Francis drops in, could he unleash those developments?
Before we attempt to answer this question, let us observe his main reasons for coming here: (1) To deal with extremely serious problems that face the Catholic Church in the United States by speaking in several cities. (2) To address the combined houses of the American Congress, at Washington, D.C. (3) To address the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. These are his three priorities.
Before his arrival, Pope Francis, flying from South America, will en route pay a visit to President Raul Castro in Cuba. From his first day in the United States, he will be treated like a king, which he is as ruler over the Vatican City state and sovereign over Catholics everywhere on earth. On 22 September, he is due to arrive at Joint Base Andrews in Washington, D.C.
The next day, Wednesday, the 23d., he will, at 9:15 a.m., be welcomed by and meet President Obama in the White House. At 11:30 a.m. he will be in St. Matthew’s Cathedral to meet for midday prayer with the bishops of the United States. That afternoon, at 4:15, he will be at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Here he will canonize Dr. Junipero Serra (1713-1784), the Franciscan cleric who with a series of Catholic missions throughout Upper California was a key figure in founding that state, which is now part of this country.
Unfortunately, however, many descendants of the Indians whom this man converted, sometimes forcibly, regard him as a tyrant. Serra treated their ancestors harshly, sought to destroy their culture, and used them as forced labor on his missions. To declare him a saint is, for present-day Native Americans, outrageous. But, never mind, with Hispanics in the United States, Mexico, Central and South America, this is designed to boost the popularity of Catholicism. But Francis will also be haunted by the high-profile sexual scandals among clerics that plagued the United States in the time of his predecessors. Further, his Church is suffering from a great shortage of priests. Many of them have married and therefore disqualified themselves. At the same time, a chorus of nuns has risen to plead for women’s ordination. Worst of all is the physical loss of Catholic churches. For instance, in New York City, a third of them have had to close for a variety of reasons, especially decreased attendance. This shrinkage is the single most serious problem that threatens the Roman Church today throughout the world. It claims a membership of 1.1 billion. But that includes a multitude of nominal or cultural Catholics, who hardly ever go to mass. Some have even given up religion altogether. Conversion to Protestantism has also made tremendous inroads. We should, in fact, be skeptical of such statistics.
On Thursday, 24 September, at 9:15 a.m., the pontiff will be the first pope to address a joint session of the United States Congress. In prophetic parlance, the Sea Beast of Revelation 13 is due to meet the Land Beast. What he will say is, of course, still unknown. Among other things, he is likely to ask the lawmakers to eliminate the embargo against Cuba. After all, he himself has been one of the chief architects opening up access to that island after many decades. He may speak out against homosexuality, a very divisive issue. With his radiant personality, Francis is likely to charm a good number of politicians, but his Socialism and anti-Capitalist stance—so popular in Latin America—will not endear him to the mostly rich men who rule this country. His present popularity here is down to 57 percent.
At 11:15 a.m., he is scheduled to visit St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. Probably after resting, he will at 4:00 p.m. depart from Joint Base Andrews for New York City and arrive at the John F. Kennedy International Airport. At 6:45 p.m. he will participate in Evening Prayer (Vespers) at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
On 25 September, Pope Francis will visit the United Nations and address its General Assembly. He will be the fourth pontiff to visit this country in the fifty years since 1965. During that year, Paul VI addressed the United Nations and pleaded for peace as the Vietnam War was escalating. John Paul II came several times, in 1979, 1987, 1993, 1995, and 1999. He also spoke at the United Nations. In both 1979 and 1995, his plea was freedom for oppressed people. During that pope’s tenure, America established full diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 1984. Benedict XVII was also here in 2008. Officially this was titled “Apostolic Visit to the United States of America and to the Seat of the United Nations.”
There Pope Francis is likely to bring an ecological message, speak out against global warming, and perhaps urge the rich to cancel the indebtedness of poor countries. Recently, at La Paz, Bolivia, he preached his Socialist message that was extremely popular. Fifteen years ago, Pope John Paul II also pleaded for debt forgiveness, like that of the Old Testament Jubilee. Such talk always falls sweetly on the ears of the have-nots, but it has for generations been anathema to the haves, especially the superrich gringos of North America, including Roman Catholics. Socialism has always been a dirty word in the United States.
At 11:30 a.m. of the same day, Francis will attend a multi-religious service at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum of the World Trade Center. That afternoon, at 4:00 p.m., he will visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, obviously to boost support for Catholic schools. Afterwards, he is due to attend mass at Madison Square Garden.
On the morning of Saturday, 26 September, he is due to fly to Philadelphia. This is likely to be the high point of his Catholic agenda, for more than a million enthusiastic American Latinos will come to see him. They are the fairest portion of the faithful in this country, and they love his plea on behalf on those who have immigrated into it illegally—although, again, this irks a very large number of other Americans.
At 10:30 a.m. he will go to mass in the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul. At 4:45 p.m., he is due to visit Independence Mall. That evening, at 7:30 p.m., he will attend the Festival of Families. Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
On Sunday, 27 September, the last day of his visit, Francis will wind up his mission to the United States. At 9:15 a.m., he will meet bishops at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. At 11:00 a.m., he will visit the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility. At 4:00 p.m., he will attend a mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, Benjamin Franklin Parkway. At the Atlantic Aviation airport, Francis will meet organizers, volunteers and benefactors of the World Meeting of Families. Afterwards, at 8:00 p.m., he will depart for Rome.
Ministering to the sick, the poor, and people in prison is typical Jesuit behavior, which Ellen G. White described in The Great Controversy more than a hundred years ago. “When appearing as members of their order, they wore a garb of sanctity, visiting prisons and hospitals, ministering to the sick and the poor, professing to have renounced the world, and bearing the sacred name of Jesus, who went about doing good. But under this blameless exterior the most criminal and deadly purposes were often concealed. . . .” (Read the rest of this insightful and terrible paragraph in GC 235).
Before he leaves, what, where, or when, is the pope likely to say something about Sundaykeeping and legislation to sustain it? This may happen at any of the major venues mentioned above, especially when he addresses the joint meeting of Congress or the General Assembly of the United Nations. We think the latter is the more probable, for the idea is already present in his Encyclical on the ecology.
In the meantime, here is a question for every Seventh-day Adventist: Am I praying for the Holy Spirit to sanctify me for service in proclaiming the Three Angels’ Messages? Whether now, or at another crisis point, the final events will be upon us unexpectedly and find too many—like the five foolish virgins—unprepared. It is very disturbing to see how other matters absorb our people’s attention: selfish materialism, worldliness, splitting hairs about women’s ordination, and squabbles about minor issues. These are the diversionary tactics of the evil one. He is sidetracking us, so that he can more effectively and all of a sudden attack us while our eyes are directed the other way.
In any case, the pope is coming.
Austin Cooke and His Monumental Legacy
This marvelous old gentleman, also mentioned in a previous Bulletin, passed away in Victoria, southeastern Australia, on 8 August 2015, eleven days after his 98th birthday. He looked forward to the special resurrection, just before our Lord’s return, so that he could see him coming. But Austin’s most substantial part endures and will live on until that great event. It is his magnificent book, An Enduring Vision, Revelation Revealed: An Historic and Prophetic, Verse-by-Verse Exposition of John’s Apocalypse (Teach Services, 2014). Amongst other things, this work is a wonderful defense and vindication of Historicism. It is the fruitage of many decades during which Cooke did his work as an evangelist and thorough research. As stated in “About the Author,” this is a response to the blight of liberal theology which during the 1980s began to corrode our people’s loyalty to established biblical truth. The book is well written, with a very readable style, and runs to 728 pages. Please check it on the Internet and purchase the hardcover version. It is well worth the money. Two eminent scholars who highly recommend it are P. Gerard Damsteegt, Dr. Theol., at our Seminary, Andrews University, and William H. Shea, MD, Ph.D., world authority on the year-day principle. Edwin also thinks very highly of it.
That is our perspective, on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately, the sale of Austin’s great book is being hamstrung in his native Australia, where evil influences are at work to prevent its dissemination.
Recently Edwin received an e-mail from Austin’s son, Rod Cooke, B.A. Theo., M.Ed., who was close to him, especially in recent years, both personally and supporting his work. Professionally Rod taught at a tertiary institution but is now retired. He has been and remains the project manager. This, in part, is what Rod has e-mailed to us:
“Dad spoke highly of your book [The Truth About 666 and the Story of the Great Apostasy, 2011]. It is obviously a thorough exposition of the 666 issue with undeniable conclusions. I understand that yours was a brave move to publish such a work in a context where most American SDAs are reluctant to identify the Papacy and the Land Beast of Revelation 13. So, good on you, Edwin. May God bless your ministry and your book.
“I thank you sincerely for your support of Dad and his magnificent life work. He is an example of what God can do with a talent dedicated to His service. You may not be aware that he has been vilified in this division for his stand against Dr Desmond Ford and the ‘New Theology’. It has been unrelenting, even to the point that, 20 years after the heat of the controversy, the SPD [Southern Pacific Division] refuses to endorse his book, because Austin Cooke is the author (that's in writing!). This decision prevents Signs Publishing Co. from distributing it, even though they are keen to do so, which means that it is difficult to have some ABCs stock it. A couple of ABCs decline to stock the book because of the author. Welcome to the mind-set Down Under!”
Unfortunately it comes from deeper down. It is the mindset of Satan himself, who hates the clear witness by old warriors for the truth like Austin Cooke, 98, and Edwin de Kock, 85. He could not prevent the completion of their books, and therefore desperately inspires misguided people to sweep them under the carpet. Dear reader, please acquire and also inform your friends about these books. They will be a blessing to your soul and strengthen you for the last great conflict.
La Palabra Profética Más Segura
We have not yet had any offers to help pay for printing this Spanish translation of Edwin’s latest and last Historicist book, A More Sure Word of Prophecy (2015). The text of La Palabra Profética Más Segura is already available as a digital download. The folk at the Seminary in Havana, Cuba, can print 2,000 copies for only $1,000, which is much cheaper than in the United States. Unfortunately, we ourselves no longer have such funds; for we are struggling with credit card debts incurred to pay off our mobile home.
How You Can Help
Ours is a small family ministry, which thinks big for the Lord’s work. Kindly support us with your prayers, buy Edwin’s books, or recommend them to your friends. Donations are also greatly appreciated, although—as you may have noticed—we are not in the habit of asking for them.
Please remember that more details about our activities, as well as previous Prophetic Bulletins, appear on our website: www.propheticum.com. We can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com, or snail-mailed as follows: Edwin de Kock, 12916 Los Terrazos Boulevard, Texas 78541, USA.