The Lie of Roman Catholicism
THE IDOL SHEPHERD OF ZECHARIAH
This booklet is dedicated to the memory of the late JACK SNODGRASS, a faithful adherent of the Gospel of The Kingdom, who "contended earnestly for the Faith", in the ranks of the Scottish Protestant League.
About the Author
Alan Campbell is a graduate of London University and Head of the Religious Studies Department at a large High School near Belfast. He has lectured on Protestant and Prophetic platforms throughout the United Kingdom and also in the United States. He is the author of a number of other Prophetic Studies.
We are all well acquainted with the concept of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd who gave up His life for the redemption of His sheep, and what a beautiful symbolism that is. His sheep know His voice and they follow wherever He leads them. He gives unto them eternal life and no man can pluck them out of His hand. However, in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah we find a little known and even less understood prophecy, concerning one who is described as being the "idol shepherd", one whose entire description is the direct opposite of all that the Holy Scripture teaches us in relation to the Good Shepherd:-
"And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that is broken, nor feed that, that standeth still: But he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock, the sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye, his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened:" (Zechariah 11:15-17)
The Word of God, which came by such major prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, frequently warns us against false shepherds, wolves in sheep's clothing, hirelings who seek to deceive the very elect of God, but in these few verses, Zechariah warns us against one especially false, cruel and deceptive shepherd, one who by his total inability to perform the duty of a spiritual shepherd, shows that he is in truth a stranger to and, in fact, an enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This false shepherd is indicted first of all for the tasks he has failed to perform. He has failed to heal the broken, feed the flock or minister to the needs of those who are described as being "cut off", obviously a reference to Israel, the cast off, divorced, dispersed people of God, put away for their sins and described by Hosea the prophet as Lo Ammi -- 'not My people'. Instead, the false shepherd has catered to his own needs and desires, feeding himself and not the flock, and actually turning upon the flock and devouring them.
This personality is then more clearly described by the use of the all important expression:-- the IDOL shepherd. He is not merely the chief shepherd of an idolatrous and apostate church system, but he himself is actually set up as an idol or object of worship within that System. In all the centuries since the days of Zechariah until now, only one personality, or to be more accurate, one dynasty of men fits the description given:-- THE POPES OF ROME. In order to demonstrate this more fully, we must now look at the IDOL SHEPHERD --
Finally, we will go on to examine the judgment pronounced upon the Idol Shepherd by God, through the prophet Zechariah.
FEEDING HIMSELF AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FLOCK
Roman Catholicism is not merely a monolithic religious system, or a world wide political conspiracy, it is in essence a system based upon greed, the love of money which our Lord said was the root of every evil. Truly it can be said that the Popes of Rome have eaten the flesh of the fat! One of the chief means by which the Papacy has enriched itself at the expense of the people is by means of the doctrine of Purgatory. By this teaching first proclaimed an Article of Faith in 1439 by the Council of Florence and subsequently confirmed in 1548 by the Council of Trent, the Church of Rome teaches that all who die at peace with the church but who are not perfect, must suffer purification in a mythical intermediate state, or place for departed spirits. The Creed of Pope Plus IV states:-
"I constantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful."
Bellarmine taught that:-
"There is absolutely no doubt that the pains of purgatory ... endure for entire centuries."
St. Thomas Aquinas said that:-
"It is the same fire that torments the reprobate in Hell and the just in Purgatory."
(Supposed Nail from Calvary and the Monkish Guarantee)
This devious devil doctrine has often been referred to as "pick-pocket purgatory" and the "goldmine of the Papacy", because in order to release their unfortunate loved ones whom they believe to be in this place of torment, deceived Roman Catholic people will pay the priest to say special masses to release the souls from purgatory. Money, often large amounts, is set aside by faithful Romanists when alive, in order to obtain their quick release from the prison house of the spirits. Frequently during their lifetime, devout Papists will go on pilgrimages to idol-shrines and supposed holy places, hoping to earn merit which will reduce the time spent in purgatory. All of these things can be obtained at a price. Salvation is for sale in the Roman Church, and by this cruel deceit, the Papacy -- the Idol Shepherd of Zechariah has amassed a fortune running into billions. How sad to think that so many of our blinded Roman Catholic neighbours have never learned the Bible truth that salvation is "without money and without price" and that it is not the prayers and masses of the priest, or the fiery torments of purgatory, but rather, the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses Us from all sin.
Closely linked with the doctrine of Purgatory is the belief in Indulgences, or pardons for sin which can be earned or purchased in this life. It was this horribly corrupt practice, advocated throughout Germany by the monk Tetzel in order to raise money for the building of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that impelled Martin Luther to nail his famous Ninety Five Theses to the church door in Wittenburg and so launch the Reformation in Europe. Lest any reader should think this concept of Indulgences ended with the Middle ages, let us read what an authoritative Twentieth Century Roman Catholic book - "The Question Box" has to say:-
"An indulgence ... is a remission of the whole, or part of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin, granted by the Pope and the Bishops out of Church's spiritual treasury, which is made up of the infinite redemptive merits of Jesus Christ, AND, the superabundant merits of the saints."
Indulgences can be obtained for saying the Rosary, wearing the Agnus Dei, or the Scapular of the Blessed Simon Stock, or you can share in the storehouse of merit by joining the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal, or the Society of the Perpetual Novena. In past days Indulgences were even given to those who murdered Protestants:-
"a plenary indulgence was offered to all who took up arms against the Hussites, Albigenses and Waldenses," (Catholic Dic. 442)
In addition to this, the Church of Rome has reaped rich financial reward
from such events as "Holy Year" and pilgrimages to shrines, e.g.
Lourdes, Fatima and even Knock in Ireland have become big financial
tourist business. There is little doubt that the Idol Shepherd in the
Vatican has fed and enriched himself and his hierarchy at the expense of
his poor, spiritually deluded flock.
DEVOURING THE FLOCK
Not only is the Papacy a system which is characterised by inordinate greed and vast wealth, but it is a system infamous for its cruelty and persecuting zeal, and as we shall see, it fits exactly into Zechariah's description of 'tearing in pieces those who fall under its control'. The burning of heretics was first decreed in the Seventh Century and the bloodthirsty Inquisition was established by the Pope of Rome to stamp out all opposition to his dictatorial rule and his false doctrines. This Inquisition was responsible for burning and torturing millions of Protestant martyrs, At its tribunals, the accused were denied all legal representation, they never knew the identity of their accusers, and torture of the most horrific kind was used for days at a time to obtain confessions, and those convicted were usually tortured again after their trials in order to obtain evidence against their friends and relatives. Far from repenting of these crimes, twentieth century Roman Catholic spokesmen have defended them, as follows:-
"Far from being inhuman, they (the Inquisitors) were as a rule, men
of spotless character and ... admirable sanctity ... not a few have
been canonized by the Church." (Cath. Ency. VIII 31)
"One Bernadino Cento, was covered with pitch, and burned alive in the market place of Consenza. Another martyr, Mazzone, was stripped naked, his body shredded with iron whips, and the mangled frame then beaten to death with lighted brands. Some victims were flayed alive, and some flung from a tower summit. One of the latter named Samson, was a young man of prodigious strength. As his mangled body, still breathing, lay on the ground, the Viceroy passed and enquired, "What carrion is this?" "It is a heretic who will not die," was the answer. With a kick at the dying man's head, the Viceroy said, "Let the pigs come and eat him." Soon the barbarous order was executed, and the poor creature had to suffer the pain of his flesh being torn from his body by the unclean beasts, set on him by a beast more unclean and foul than they."
HIS SYSTEM OF IDOLATRY
Not only is Rome a System of cruelty and greed, but the chief
characteristic of the whole Papal organisation is base idolatry, hence
the inspired writer Zechariah calls the Papacy the Idol Shepherd. The
worship of images, idols and religious relics is a heathen custom
clearly forbidden in the Word of God. For some three centuries after
Christ, the early Christians chose martyrdom rather than participate in
idolatry, but when Christianity became the state religion under
Constantine, all this began to change. The heathen temples became
Christian churches, the pagan idols were given the names of Saints and
were soon being venerated. The pagan worship of the mother goddess,
which had originated in Babylon and spread to pagan Rome as the cult of
Cybele, now evolved into the worship of the Virgin Mary as Queen of
Heaven. It was in the very city of Ephesus, infamous for its worship of
the goddess Diana, that a Church Council in 431 A.D., declared Mary to
be "Mother of God". As the idolatrous practices spread and increased
throughout Christendom, they received official legality in 788 A.D. at
the Second Council of Nicea.
"I most firmly assert that the images of Christ and the Mother of
God ... and also of the other saints, are to be had and retained, and
that due honour and veneration are to be given to them." (Creed of
Pope Pius IV)
Many Roman Catholic Catechisms omit the Second Commandment forbidding image worship, and seek to conceal this by splitting the Tenth into two parts. Rome even seeks to divide worship into three distinct types:-
In spite of all denials of idolatry, Romish handbooks and manuals of worship clearly expose the facts. In the Good Friday Service of Adoration of the Cross, we read:-
"Behold the wood of the Cross -- Come let us adore ... We adore thy Cross ... Sweet wood, sweet nails ... Hail then, 0 Cross!"
During a recent visit to St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral, New York, I came across the following prayer to Saint Theresa:-
"Saint Theresa who ... became a mirror of angelic purity ... cast a glance of pity on us as we leave all things in thy hands. Make our troubles your own, speak a word for us to our Lady Immaculate ... beg her as Queen ... by her powerful intercession, to obtain for us the graces we yearn for."
The devotion goes on:-
"Little Theresa of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to make good things on earth. Drop your shower of roses over all in need."
To add to this blasphemy, we are told:-
"The person who finds this prayer should copy it 20 times, and bring it to a church each time. On the 11th time, your prayers will be answered."
Romish idolatry reaches a height in the worship of the Virgin Mary. The present Pope John Paul II has made a point of visiting idolatrous Marian Shrines world wide, to show his devotion. In May 1982 before coming to Britain, he visited the Fatima Shrine in Portugal to show his gratitude to Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life a year earlier from assassins, and on March 25th, 1984, he held a special ceremony in Rome to consecrate the entire world to Mary. Special groups are set up inside Roman Catholicism to encourage Marian devotion e.g. The Legion of Mary, The Archcon fraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, and the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima. Roman Catholics are encouraged to participate in the Rosary devotions in which ten time as many prayers are given to Mary as to God. The book "The Glories of Mary" by the Roman Catholic Saint Alphonsus Liguari, goes as far as to state:-
"We often obtain more promptly what we ask by calling on Mary than on Jesus."
We could go on to give many more examples of blasphemous and idolatrous
worship of the Virgin, the Saints and their images and relics, but
enough has been said to prove the point. We shall now go on to look at
the climax of the Idol Shepherd prophecy.
THE POPE HIMSELF AS AN IDOL!
John Paul blesses the crowds as he follows the statue of Our Lady of
Fatima during the celebration of a Family Jubilee in St. Peter's
basilica.) ONE MEDIATOR: "For there is one God and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 2:5)
THE DOOM OF THE IDOL SHEPHERD
Zechariah leaves us on a note of encouragement, assuring us that the
Idol Shepherd is destined to doom and to destruction. The prophet tells
"I can do almost all that God can do."
The arm and the eye of the Idol Shepherd symbolizes the spiritual and
political power of the Papacy, and both of these have indeed been
darkened, consumed and dried up since the days of the Reformation.
The Pope of Rome as God
CATALOGUE OF ROME'S UNSCRIPTURAL DOCTRINES
|1. Prayers for the dead||300 A.D.|
|2. Sign of the Cross||310 A.D.|
|3. Wax votive candles||320 A.D.|
|4. Veneration of saints and angels||375 A.D.|
|5. Mary declared "Mother of God"||431 A.D.|
|6. Priests begin to wear vestments||500 A.D.|
|7. Worship in Latin||600 A.D.|
|8. Temporal power of Papacy granted by Phocas||610 A.D.|
|9. Feast days in honour of Mary||650 A.D.|
|10. Kissing of the Pope's feet||709 A.D.|
|11. Temporal power of Papacy confirmed||750 A.D.|
|12. Adoration of Mary, saints, images and relics
legalised by 2nd Council of Nicea
|13. Holy water||850 A.D.|
|14. Veneration of St. Joseph||890 A.D.|
|15. Baptism of bells||965 A.D.|
|16. Canonization of dead saints||995 A.D.|
|17. Fasting on Fridays and Lent||998 A.D.|
|18. Rosary beads||1090 A.D.|
|19. Pope Boniface VII decrees celibacy of priests||1097 A.D.|
|20. Inquisition of heretics||1184 A.D.|
|21. Sale of Indulgences||1190 A.D.|
|22. Transubstantiation of the wafer||1215 A.D.|
|23. Confession to a priest||1215 A.D.|
|24. Adoration of the host (Wafer God)||1220 A.D.|
|25. Bible forbidden and placed on index of forbidden books --
by Council of Valencia
|26. Red hats for Cardinals||1245 A.D.|
|27. Feast of Corpus Christi||1264 A.D.|
|28. The Miraculous scapular||1287 A.D.|
|29. Roman church as the only true church||1303 A.D.|
|30. Cup forbidden to laity at Communion||1415 A.D.|
|31. Purgatory decreed by Council of Florence||1439 A.D.|
|32. Doctrine of the seven sacraments||1439 A.D.|
|33. Tradition of equal authority to the Bible||1545 A.D.|
|34. Justification by works and not faith alone||1545 A.D.|
|35. Creed of Pope Plus IV makes all the unscriptural
doctrines of Council of Trent binding
|36. Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary||1854 A.D.|
|37. Papal infallibility||1870 A.D.|
|38. Papal decree on mixed marriages -- all marriages not
celebrated by a Roman priest declared null and void
|39. Pope reaffirms Mary as Mother of God||1931 A.D.|
|40. Assumption of the Virgin Mary||1950 A.D.|
Seeking Truth -- You should read in the same series:--
The Reformation in Prophecy
Coming soon -- The Scarlet Woman of Revelation
The Author wishes to thank the faithful few whose generous support makes possible the publication of these booklets, also Mrs. D. McCaskill for typing the manuscripts.
AN OPEN-BIBLE PUBLICATION
FIRST EDITION -- AUGUST 1985 SECOND EDITION -- DECEMBER 1985
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