On June 18, 2015, Vatican PR officially released in multiple languages Pope Francis’s much-anticipated 183-page encyclical addressing climate change titled “Praised Be”—a title based on an ancient song called “Canticle of the Sun” attributed to St. Francis of Assisi written in 1224 A.D. Significantly, the Pope’s encyclical includes a strong appeal to keep Sunday.
There are many points that could be considered, but this article will only examine a few key points based on the prophecy of Revelation 13. First, most papal encyclicals (“circulating let-ters”) are sent to Roman Catholics only. Not this one. A June 14, 2015 Associated Press report was entitled, “Pope says upcoming environment encyclical meant to be read by everyone, not just Catholics.” Sure enough. In “Praised Be,” Pope Francis addresses the world.
At the beginning of his document, Pope Francis wrote that Planet Earth itself “cries out to us be-cause of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she ‘groans in travail’ (Rom 8:22).”
Here, the Pope is correct. Indeed, Planet Earth is in trouble, due to man’s sin. Whether or not you accept the climate science that Pope Francis relies on, the reality is that our world is suffering because of Adam’s sin, our ongoing sinfulness, God’s curse (see Genesis 3:17), and satanic fury. Of this, there is no doubt. Environmental disasters are clearly increasing. Notice carefully:
In accidents and calamities by sea and by land in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hail-storms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. (Ellen White, The Great Controversy, 589).
Don’t be fooled. Things will get worse before they get better. In “Praised Be,” Pope Francis rec-ognizes the escalating crisis, its effects on the earth, man, and beast, and then quotes the Bible as he advances toward solutions. Read his words carefully, taken directly from his encyclical:
68. This responsibility for God’s earth means that human beings, endowed with intelligence, must respect the laws of nature and the delicate equilibrium existing between the creatures of this world, for “he commanded and they were created; and he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds and he set a law which cannot pass away” (Ps 148:5b-6). The laws found in the Bible dwell on relationships, not only among individuals but also with other living beings. “You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen down by the way and withhold your help … If you chance to come upon a bird’s nest in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs and the mother sitting upon the young or upon the eggs; you shall not take the mother with the young” (Dt 22:4, 6). Along these same lines, rest on the seventh day is meant not only for human beings, but also so “that your ox and your donkey may have rest” (Ex 23:12). Clearly, the Bible has no place for a tyrannical anthropocentrism unconcerned for other creatures.
Here the Pope states that we humans must realize that we are living on God’s earth, “must re-spect the laws of nature,” and should even realize that “rest on the seventh day” is good for both humans and animals. Sounds a bit Adventist, doesn’t it? Delving deeper into the Sabbath issue itself, Pope Francis continues:
71. … The biblical tradition clearly shows that this renewal entails recovering and respecting the rhythms inscribed in nature by the hand of the Creator. We see this, for example, in the law of the Sabbath. On the seventh day, God rested from all his work. He commanded Israel to set aside each seventh day as a day of rest, a Sabbath, (cf. Gen 2:2-3; Ex 16:23; 20:10).
Now watch carefully:
206. A change in lifestyle could bring healthy pressure to bear on those who wield political, economic and social power. This is what consumer movements accomplish by boycotting cer-tain products.
237. … Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrec-tion, the “first day” of the new creation…
Let’s summarize some key points. Planet Earth is in crisis. Our environment is falling apart. The pope says we must return to God, and respect the earth, which includes “the law of the Sabbath,” which he states now applies to “Sunday … meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world.” In other words, if enough greedy, selfish, capitalistic, and environmentally exploitive humans return to God, become more environmentally responsible, and start keeping Sunday holy, life would improve. This would be one giant step closer to “the Resurrection,” and “the new creation.” Pope Francis even wrote that ‘we the peo-ple’ can put “healthy pressure” on “those who wield political” power to make it happen.
Over 100 years ago, Ellen White saw it coming. Like an inspired news reporter commenting on the Pope’s encyclical and pending events, she wrote:
It will [finally] be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday-sabbath, that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced … Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance (The Great Controversy, 590-592).
Did you catch that? “Calamities” (EGW) are increasing. In his encyclical, Pope Francis pro-motes “the Sunday-sabbath” (EGW) which, he states, if observed more fully, would help “heal our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world” (Pope). Humanity would thus stop “offending God” (EGW). “Healthy pressure” (Pope) should be brought to bear upon “those who wield political” power (Pope) which surely includes “rulers and legislators” (EGW), until they finally “yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance” (EGW) to help save the planet.
Thus Pope Francis’s 183-page encyclical entitled, “Praised Be,” lines up perfectly with the pre-dictions written over 100 years ago in Ellen White’s book, The Great Controversy. In The Great Controversy, Ellen White also stated that this would especially occur “in free America.” Now consider this. The very same day (June 18) that “Praised Be” was released worldwide, Barack Obama issued this official statement from The White House:
I welcome His Holiness Pope Francis's encyclical, and deeply admire the pope's decision to make the case - clearly, powerfully, and with the full moral authority of his position - for action on global climate change.
As Pope Francis so eloquently stated this morning, we have a profound responsibility to protect our children, and our children's children, from the damaging impacts of climate change. I believe the United States must be a leader in this effort, which is why I am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad to cut carbon pollution, to increase clean energy and energy efficiency, to build resilience in vulnerable communities, and to encourage responsible stewardship of our natural resources. We must also protect the world's poor, who have done the least to contribute to this looming crisis and stand to lose the most if we fail to avert it.
Thus the very same day that the Pope’s encyclical encouraging all people everywhere to exert “healthy pressure” upon legislators, and which also promotes Sunday observance, Barack Obama, the president of free America, stated that “the United States must be a leader in this effort, which is why I (President Obama) am committed to taking bold actions at home and abroad....” With divine insight, Ellen White predicted:
As America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the papacy in forcing the conscience and compelling men to honor the false sabbath, the people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her example (6T ,18).
Bingo! Dear reader, I beg of you, don’t be blind to these solemn facts. Open your eyes. Read Revelation 13:11-17. Correctly understood, this prophecy predicts that the lamblike beast (verse 11, the USA) will cooperate with and promote the sea beast (verse 12, Papal Rome) and finally even enforce Sunday, “the day of the sun,” which is a “mark” (verse 16) of Rome’s usurped au-thority, around the world.
Brothers and sisters, the hour is upon us to give the third angel’s message with a “loud voice” (see Revelation 14:9-12). We must be respectful, yet bold. This is our calling as a people. Before the flood, God raised Noah and gave him a message. Years later, he raised Jonah, then John the Baptist, then the apostle Paul, then Martin Luther, then William Miller. At this very hour, He has raised up Seventh-day Adventists to give His last message to a dying world.
In a special sense, Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import-the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels' messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention … The world is to be warned, and God's people are to be true to the trust committed to them (9T, 19).
“If you love Me,” said Jesus to His disciples, “keep My commandments” (John 14:15, quoting Exodus 20:6). The core issue is the seventh-day Sabbath of the fourth commandment written by God Himself, or the “day of the sun,” the day of the beast. Inseparably connected to this, surely the biggest issue of all is revealing His love, because only “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Ro-mans 13:10). Do we love Jesus? Do we love His people? Do we love confused and mixed-up sinners? Do we love Roman Catholics? What about Pope Francis? Jesus died for him too. May God help us to understand our Savior’s own suffering for our sins, grace, forgiveness and love, which alone can provide sufficient spiritual power for victorious commandment-keeping (see Revelation 14:12) during earth’s final crisis, to the glory of His Holy name.
This critical information is now available from White Horse Media as a 30-minute DVD titled “The Pope’s Encyclical and the Mark of the Beast." Call 1-800-782-4253. www.whitehorsemedia.com.