That’s right folks…Francis assures atheists you don’t have to believe!
Jonathan Edwards warned, there are “two great works of the devil, in this space of time, against the kingdom of Christ.” The first is Papal Rome. He makes no bones about it the pope is Antichrist, “the mystery of iniquity.” (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
The rise of Antichrist was gradual. The christian church corrupted itself in many things presently after Constantine’s time; growing more and more superstitions in its worship, and by degrees bringing in many ceremonies into the worship of God, till at length they brought in the worship of saints, and set up images in their churches. The clergy in general, and especially the bishop of Rome, assumed more and more authority to himself. In the primitive times, he was only a minister of a congregation, then a standing moderator of a presbytery, then a diocesan bishop, then a metropolitan, which is equivalent to an archbishop, then a patriarch. Afterwards he claimed the power of universal bishop over the whole Christian church, wherein he was opposed for a while, but afterwards was confirmed in it by the civil power of the emperor in the year six hundred and six. After that he claimed the power of a temporal prince, and so was wont to carry two swords, to signify that both the temporal and spiritual sword was his. He claimed more and more authority, till at length, as Christ’s vicegerent on earth, he claimed the very same power that Christ would have done, if he was present on earth reigning on his throne; or the same power that belongs to God, and was used to be called God on earth; to be submitted to by all the princes of Christendom. He claimed power to crown princes, and to degrade them at his pleasure, and this power was owned: yea, kings and emperors used to kiss his feet. The emperors received their crowns at his hands; and princes were wont to dread the displeasure of the pope, as they would dread a thunderbolt from heaven. If the pops was pleased to excommunicate a prince, all his subjects were at once freed from their allegiance to him, and obliged not to own him any more, on pain of excommunication, and not only so, but any man might kill him wherever him. Further, the pope was believed to have power to damn men at pleasure, for whoever died under his excommunication, was looked upon as certainly damned. Several emperors were actually deposed, and ejected, and died miserably by his means, and if the people of any state or kingdom did not please him, he had power to lay that state or kingdom under an interdict which v as a sentence pronounced by the pope against that state or kingdom, whereby all sacred administrations among them could have no validity. There could be no valid baptisms, or sacraments, or prayers, or preaching, or pardons, till that interdict was taken off, so that that people remained, in their apprehension, in a miserable, damnable state, and therefore dreaded it as they would a storm of fire and brimstone from heaven. And in order to execute his wrath on a prince or people with whom he was displeased, other princes must also be put to a great deal of trouble and expense.
And as the pope and his clergy robbed the people of their ecclesiastical and civil liberties and privileges, so they also robbed them of their estates, drained all christendom of their money. They engrossed most of their riches into their own coffers, by vast revenues, besides pay for pardons and indulgences, baptisms and extreme unctions, deliverance out of purgatory, and a hundred other things. – See how well this agrees with the prophecies, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. Daniel 7:20, 21. Revelation 13:6, 7. and chapter 17:3,4.
The second of the “two great works of the devil” is Islam and the Kingdom of the Turks especially. Edwards recognizes the Kingdom of Satan set up in the East by Islam and in the West by Papal Rome.
They began their empire about the year of Christ twelve hundred and ninety-six; began to invade Europe in the year thirteen hundred; took Constantinople, and so became masters of all the Eastern empire, in the year fourteen hundred and fifty-three. And thus all the cities and countries where storm those famous churches of which we read in the New Testament, as Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus, Corinth, etc. now became subject to the Turks. These are supposed to be prophesied of by the horsemen in the 9th chapter of Revelation, beginning with the 15th verse. And the remains of the Christians in those parts of the world, who are mostly of the Greek church, are in miserable slavery under these Turks are treated with a great deal of barbarity and cruelty, and are become mostly very ignorant and superstitious.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”