Imitation and the Papacy


Koot van Wyk (DLitt et Phil; ThD)


G. Berkhouwer conceded that the discussion of the imitation by the papacy could lie in the meaning of the word “anti” in antichrist.[1] “In other words, is the primary sense of ‘antichrist’ not someone bent on usurping the place of God and Christ?” Berkhouwer indicated that scholars understood this imitation of the Lamblike beast of the second beast of Revelation 13 in various ways: some thought that the lamblike beast is Christ the Lamb and that the Antichrist will imitate it.[2] Also E. Stauffer felt that the Antichrist will pervert the Crucifixion of Christ by his wound and its healing.[3]

Ever heard of Adventist scholars recently saying that the Book of Revelation portrays the “trinity” of Satan as counterfeit of the Holy Trinity? Already in Ellen White’s days Reformed Theologians were saying this, by name Louis Berkhof[4] and Abraham Kuyper.[5] Berkhouwer does not believe that this imitation is of the lamb because it says immediately afterwards it spoke like a dragon.[6] Therefore Berkhouwer wants to drag the false prophet in with sheepclothes to do this work.[7]

Sure enough. This is what the text reads. This second beast, or the USA in Adventist historicism, will force/ask the nations to make an “image to the beast”. Not the USA will make the beast, the United Nations will decide to by strong request from the USA. It will be an image “to the beast”. We cannot miss the Dative in this verse. It is the creation of some kind of “protocol” with institutions that affects religion to, economy towards, spirituality to, loyalty to, the first beast or Catholicism, of which the wound has healed. So far Adventistm and historicism in this paragraph.

Image or imitation. The USA ask nations to “create/make” this image of circumstances that focus the whole world’s attention to the Catholic church and the papacy and force the world to worship or pay allegiance to this new protocol expected by everyone to follow in honor of the papacy. Slowly we are getting more understanding.

The subject of the imitation by the papacy in history should now get attention. Although an image to the beast will be afforded by nations across the globe in the End Time when the wound of the Catholic church is healed, the papacy is known from the earliest times to imitate emperors.

In an enlightening article on the imitation of the papacy since Constantine and in the Middle Ages, three scholars dealt with this topic.[8] The scholars Hehl et al. in 2002 indicated that since the time of Constantine and his gift to the papacy at the end of his life, the papacy started to “copy” or “imitate” the emperor in his decrees that it started to pronounce with contractual expectations.[9]

In the portal of the Lateran basilisk is a drawing of Constantine slightly with bended knees approaching the papacy with a gift. The papacy is sitting on a throne.[10] Some scholars wonder if this ever took place or whether this is just a later magnifying of the papacy over the emperor propaganda? In the gift it appears as if Constantine retreated to the East and left the West in the hands of the papacy and the scholars talked about the words: ad imitationem imperii nostri.[11]

This imitation of the emperor was a reality in the papacy system of the Middle Ages.[12] Other scholars studied the role of the imperial “image” upon the organization of the papal court and administration was done by Reinhard Elze in 1982.[13]

There is the evidence of this phenomenon of “copycatting of the emperor of the world” in the Tractate of John of Mantua in 1080 where the Bishop of Rome is called “imperator romanus and also ruler of the “imperium petri”.[14]

Imitation of superpowers by the papacy. Now what about the USA as superpower after World War II? It is said by Maleachi Martin in Youtube interviews and a number of other videos on the papacy killings around 1956 that a transformation of the papacy was necessary leading to the Vatican II that will make the face or image of the papacy to the world look “more democratic” and more in line with freedom of religion, freedom of thought, equality principles and universalism of the USA constitution. That is why there are conservative sites online in the Catholic Church that is calling all popes after 1956 antichrists. Their wish is to return to the pre-1798 papacy style. Thus the papal-fascist. The papal-democrats-socialists face of the papacy currently does not appeal to them. They call it apostasy. At least Martin did in the interview in the 1990’s.

Let us get our fact in line here. The papacy was papal fascist imitating the emperors since Constantine. They adopted their religious protocols including habits from pagan religions like Sunday Worship. They dressed like them. They got their thrones set up. They made seals like them. They also arrange their whole court-system and legal system and punishment system [the teeth of the 1260 years of persecution until 1798] the same way. A good example is the 13/14th century “Church Manual” like document to deal with heretics among the Franciscans. Every time you see an anathema it is a canine tooth meant to rip deep. This was papal fascism in action. But because the face of the emperor of the world change to constitutionalism that are based upon equal right for all, freedoms of religions and liberty for all to choose their destiny, therefore, the papacy realized that the USA is the emperor of modern times in 1945 and started to transform culminating at Vatican II in 1962-1964 shaping the way to become kind of “democratic” or papal-democratic the socialist way.

This went well with all USA presidents who had to meet the pope since that time after inauguration. But what about Trump?

The Trump era is a new species. It is a new transformation of USA politics. It is apolitical and more of a politics in economy. Is it possible that democracy can be also fascist? Is Trump as the representative of the Second Beast of Revelation 13 [inaugurating final steps at the End Time maybe?] a kind of “econo-terrorist” that serves as model for the nations of the World what kind of “image” they need to set up for the papal-democracy of a socialist kind to transform into so that the USA gives the world the Vorbild how the papacy should take the lead and all should obey the papacy henchforth? Or is it the other way around. Because the papacy has adopted democracy at Vatican II and because the USA has become more “fascistic” recently in Trump economics or Trumponomics, is the post-Trump period, if he is impeached in future [see Daniel 11:45 the last sentence “and he will come to his end no one for him [Trump?]”, if he is impeached in future, will everyone insist that a proper world leader, a spiritual “papacy of a democratic socialist kind” should be voted in by the United Nations to be what Trump was not? Is that what is waiting for us around the corner? If this is the case, Liberals in Adventism might again grab their Great Controversies by Ellen White and read them feverishly. And repent.

The previous paragraph is meant as creativity. It is brainstorming. Is it going to happen? Wait and see. It may not at all. The analysis may be completely wrong. I was born with the gift of extreme instant creativity and ever since my childhood days, adults would laugh at the verbal creativity that was rolling out so fast. I sometimes did not even know what I was saying. And that is the case sometimes today as well.

[1] Berkhouwer, 1972: 271.

[2] Foerster, in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, thērion, III, 134ff.

[3] Stauffer, (1955). New Testament Theology, 215.

[4] L. Berkhof, CMH, page 115 saying “The Antichrist is the demonic reflection of the Son in the pattern of a trinity made up of the dragon and the two beasts.”

[5] Also Abraham Kuyper, Van die Voleinding IV, 242ff. Op. cit. Berkhouwer, 1972: 272 footnote 33.

[6] Berkhouwer, 1972: 272.

[7] Bousset, Die Offenbarung des Johannes, 424 op. cit. Berkhouwer, 1972: 272.

[8] Ernst-Dieter Hehl, Ingrid Heike Ringel, Hubertus Seibert, (2002). Das Papsttum in der Welt des 12. Jahrhunderts. Stuttgart: Thorbecke Verlag. Downloaded on 16th of August from 2018 at file:///D:/Papal%20seals%20in%20the%2012th%20century.pdf.

[9] “Seit der Zeit Konstantins verfügte diese römische Kirche über kaiserliche Rechte, und sie hatte ihre Tradition von den Anfängen bis zum gegenwärtigen Tag bewahrt". Hehl, 2002: 291. For a complete bibliography on this subject of the gifts to the papacy by Constantine, see Ixco Herklotz, (2000). Gli eredi di Costantino. Il papato, il Laterano e la propaganda visiva nel Xll secolo. Rome. My translation: “From the time of Constantine this Roman church claimed imperial rights, and they have protected their tradition from the beginning to the present.”

[10] Hehl, 2002 Image 17 after page 280.

[11] Hehl, 2002: 287.

[12] Percy Ernst Schramm, (1968-1971). “Sacerdotium und Regnum im Austausch ihrer Vorrechte: ‘imitatio imperii’ und ‘imitatio sacerdotii’. Eine geschichtliche Skizze zur Beleuchtung des ‘Dictatus papae’ Gregors VII., in Percy Ernst Schramm, Kaiser, Könige und Päpste. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Geschichte des Mittelalters, Stuttgart, Volume 4, I, pp. 57-102. Also Percy Ernst Schramm, (1968-1971). “Die Imitatio Imperii in der Zeit des Reformpapsttums.” In Percy Ernst Schramm, Kaiser, Könige und Päpste. Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Geschichte des Mittelalters, Stuttgart, Volume 4, I, pp. 180-186.

[13] Reinhard Elze, (1982). “Das ‘Sacrum Palatium Lateranense’ im 10. und 11. Jahrhundert.” In: Reinhard Elze, (1982). Päpste, Kaiser, Könige und die mittelalterliche Herrschaftssymbolik. London: 1982.

[14] Hehl, 2002: 286. See Schramm, Kaiser, Volume 4, I, page 183.