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The Issue is Papal Primacy But didn't the Primacy Come through Peter?
No Primacy between 538 - 1798 ????
When did the Pope receive his authority from Justinian, in 534 or 538?
But the Pope was just a weak figure in history, OR NO?
If the Pope had so Much Power Why didn't He Stop the Moslems?"
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What is the real issue involved with the prophetic 1260 years? The real issue is papal primacy.
Papal Primacy is what the Papacy wants. She wants back what she had during those 1260 years.
What is Papal Primacy?
First Papal Primacy is not:
It is not being the top civil or political leader in a country.
It is not even whether everyone always accepts that primacy or not
Papal Primacy during the 1260 years was being recognized BY LAW, to be the supreme teaching authority. It was recognizing that the papacy had the legal right to persecute and eradicate all whom she defined as heritics. Papal power resided in her stance of having the very keys over who would enjoy eternal life, or suffer the wrath of God. A faulty application of Matt. 16:19's "bind and loose" was used to give the papacy power to intimidate even powerful kings into obedience in executing their agendas.
The issue isn't whether people liked it or not-- many didn't. The issue isn't whether the papacy suffered weak points during those years. We know there were even times when there were several "popes" fighting for the position. The issue is an entire era, covering 1260 years when papal primacy was established by law. Beginning with Justinian's code of law, and ending with Napolean's code of law.
The issue is papal primacy and the authority to enforce that primacy by civil law and with the use of civil power. The papacy is not satisfied to be "one of the body" of Christian churches. NO, NO, NEVER!
She must be the leader, and controller---
AND SHE HAS MADE THIS VERY PLAIN
In an official four page "note" after the release of the Vatican Declaration Dominus Deus which reaffirmed the Papal position of Primacy by Pope John Paul II, the Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is the "Prefect" of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (Note: that means he is head of the re-established and renamed Office of the Inquisition) stated:
Rev. 17 jumps to mind--
Mystery Babylon, the mother.....
This is the primacy that lead to the 1260 years of papal persecution, when that primacy using the power of the state (the kings) to force people into compliance.
Otto Gierke, speaking of Pope Gregory VII (Pope from 1073-1085)
writes in "Political Theories of the Middle Ages", p.11-12
As early as 492 Pope Gelasius claimed the title "Vicar of Christ".
According to Richard McBrien in "Lives of the Popes" p. 80-81 Gelasius I, (pope from 492-496) Wrote a series of letters which read more like legal briefs in defence of papal primacy by appealing to the theory of "two powers" or "two swords" (the spiritual and the temporal) each power has its own sphere BUT the spiritual power is superior to the temporal.
Even earlier, Pope Leo the Great (r. 440-461) was promoting the right to primacy and asserting that Peter, above all the disciples was given this right.
In a letter to the Bishop of Vienna (according "The Faith of the Early Fathers" (FEF), 3 volumes, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1970, vol. 3, p. 269;) Pope Leo wrote:
Did the Primacy Actually Come Through Peter?
His views were merely the culmination and more advanced development of what had been the essential beliefs of the universal (that is, Catholic) Church from the beginning.
According to the "authoritative" Roman Catholic tradition this may seem true. But scripture really does NOT Support this concept at all.
Read the book of Acts. It makes no reference to Peter being in Rome. It speaks of Paul being in Rome, but nothing about Peter. Paul wrote a letter to the Church in Roman (A.D. 57 or 58) but makes no reference to Peter. Paul was in prison in Rome and wrote four letters during that time, but again he makes no mention of Peter being there.
We are not told HOW Christianity began in Rome, or who the founder of the Roman Christian church was. We do know that "visitors from Rome" were in Jerusalem when the disciples preached on the day of Pentecost and 5000 were converted in one day. (Acts 2:10)
Several Christian writers who wrote from Rome in (100-150 A.D.) didn't mention Peter either. This is striking because they do speak of "Simon the Magician" who, legend has it, made a lot of trouble for "pope" Peter in Rome.
The early Christian writers make no definite statement whatsoever of Peter being the Bishop of Rome. One, Ignatius of Antioch, mentioned in a letter to Rome, that "I do not command you like Peter and Paul did". But on examining Ignatius's letters, we realize that he used that kind of language frequently, as to the Ephesians, he says: "I do not give you orders as being someone important", or to the Trallians "I did not consider myself qualified to give you orders as an apostle."
The whole legend of Peter being the first "pope" in Rome, is just that "a legend" built on supposition and a few vague phrases. Even the book "Lives of the Popes" by Richard McBrien, admits that:
History shows that the power of the bishop of Rome grew because it was situated in the "power" capital of the "world", not because it came from Peter, or any apostolic authority.
Even more destructive to the "legend" is the realization that Peter didn't even exercise any type of "headship" among the apostles. He was one of the apostles and a fearless preacher and missionary for Christ. But scriptures does not reveal him to be the head of the apostles in the years after Christ's ascension. We find James presiding in the counsel at Jerusalem and Peter having to answer to the counsel for "visiting a Gentile". Paul sure didn't think Peter was infallible-- he told him to his face when he thought he was wrong. Also Paul, makes it clear he received his gospel from Christ and NOT from Peter or any other apostle. (Gal. 1:11-17) It was only after Paul was "instructed by the Lord", that he spent some time with Peter and James.
The Rock upon which the church is built is Christ.
No Primacy between 538 - 1798 ????
Nothing significant happened in 538 or 1798. Actually, for the first 700 years, the Bishop of Rome had the greatest honor among five patriarchates, including Constantinople, Antioch, Alexandria, and Jerusalem. Islam wiped out the Christian church in three of those places, leaving Constantinople and Rome. The Roman Empire shifted to Constantinople, and that was the center of Christian civilization -- Rome, after its fall, became a backwater, and in the two hundred years before the final split of the Church between east and west, the Bishops of Rome were basically pawns of whatever tribal bully had sway in the West. The west was a motley assortment of tribes and fiefdoms, and not a political unity, let alone one in which the Bishop of Rome had any kind of influence.
It would appear then, for one to be respectable one must be "ecumenically correct" not "historically correct" when it comes to the Papacy?
And we might ask, why are books being published with titles like: "Keepers of the Keys of Heaven, a History of the Papacy" by Roger Collins, if indeed there was no primacy and the pope was just "a backwater"? We've already seen from SEVERAL historical books that the Papacy was declared as THE HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES--
But let's look at a few more statements:
True, the eastern church also had a Patriarch who wielded spiritual power, but he was under the control of the Emperor. It is also true that the imperial government was unable to exercise much control over the church in the west, but this was exactly what gave the papacy, sitting in the seat of Rome, the advantage. They played political rivals against each other to further their ends and advance their agenda.
Read this about Gregory the Great, Pope from 590-604 AD, (that's just a few years after 538 AD) in “A Concise History of the Catholic Church” by Thomas Bokenkotter, page 92-93:
No, he doesn't want to be president, or king, he just wants to control the presidents and kings and use their armies to further his ends, while he sits back and says "I didn't do it".
The Roman strategy is to work with powerful influence behind the scenes.
The historical record fits the image presented in Rev. 17 of the whore (a woman in prophecy is a symbol Christ's Church, a Whore, symbolizes His church gone after other "gods"), and we see this woman of Rev. 17 committing whoredoms with the kings of the earth.
The Papacy WANTS IT'S PRIMACY BACK-- read the Papal "Dominus Jesus (On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church) Sept. 5,2000
..an historical continuity- rooted in apostolic succession
between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church:
"This is the single church of Christ...which our Savior,
after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care....
#17 Therefore there exists a single Church of Christ,
which subsists in the Catholic Church,
governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him...
Ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate
and genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery are not Churches in the proper sense...."
According to D. Mills (The Middle Ages p. 44)
The Patriarch was supported by the eastern emperor and as time went on, rivalry and controversies were constantly developing between the patriarch and the Pope. The Patriarch tended more and more to be under the domination of the Emperor, whereas the Pope was independent, and as the west of Europe became Christian his power increased....
The western Church became the great civilizing power of medieval Europe.
And what are the principles expressed by this document that came out around 740 A.D.?
To the most holy and blessed father of fathers Sylvester, bishop of the city of Rome and pope, and to all his successors the pontiffs who are about to sit upon the chair of St. Peter until the end of time....should obtain from us and our empire the power of a supremacy greater than the earthly clemency of our imperial serenity....we decree that his holy Roman church shall be honoured with veneration; and that, more than our empire and earthly throne, the most sacred seat of St. Peter shall be gloriously exalted; we giving to it the imperial power, and dignity of glory and vigour and hour...he shall have the supremacy as well over the four chief seats...as also over all the churches of God in the whole world....."(Papal Supremacy, V.Olson)
Now, you are right-- the bishop of Rome had no primacy whatsoever in the very early years of Christianity. There was no such thing as a "pope" in the early years. In the early years Jerusalem was looked to as the initial center. But later it seems to be mainly the leading BISHOPS from the various churches that formed a leadership core. Alexandra, Ephesus, Antioch, Rome, --
Mind you-- that "equal authority" among bishops was true YEARS before 538. It's also true that bishops of Rome were aspiring to primacy long before 538.
The Roman Bishop had "elevated" himself on numerous occasions previous to 538. And being that he was at the center of the "civil" power center, it seemed natural to make that the center of "spiritual" power as well, when the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451 was called in Rome. The reason for choosing that location was the fact that it was the imperial city, not that it was the SEAT of Peter. The whole Catholic argument of Popes as "over all churches" dating to Peter is not founded in history.
Victor, who was bishop of Rome in A.D. 190 was probably the first bishop of Rome to move for primacy. He started "excommunicating" other bishops when he declared easter was to be celebrated and the "unyielding" bishops wanted to keep Passover.
When Constantine "converted", the "primacy" factor of the Roman Bishop increased considerably as he was given the Latern palace and elevated to in importance, but it was only in 538 that Roman codified LAW not only gave official recognition and authority to elevate him to the position as HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES, and executer of heritics, and then basically "withdrew" leaving the papacy in the seat of Rome.)
You are also right about Europe NOT being united.
BUT every "tribal bully" the church managed to convert, the church then sent out to forcefully "convert" other tribes and "stamp out" the "heretical and barbaric" religions in all the surrounding "fiefdoms".
Clovis, king of Franks (481-511) was one of the first great "bullies" of the church. He was baptized in 496, with three thousand of his warriors and received into the Church. It marked the real beginning of the wholesale conversion tactics. For now the pope had a military army of three thousand warriors under Clovis to send out and convert more "barbarians".
It was Clovis that struck out against the Arian "heretics" the Visigoths, and won in 508. The Franks were defenders of the Papal agenda for centuries as "the eldest Son of the Church".
This prepared the way for the rise of the Roman papal power, which thirty years later found itself in the seat of Rome as the "HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES" and who needed political kings with their armies to carry out their purposes.
This is a prime example to the way Rome wielded her strength-- through secular powers --
as well as claiming to hold in her hands the ONLY way of salvation.
When did the Pope get his supposed authority from Justinian, in 534 or 538?
Historians tell us that Justinian codified the Roman law. He employed a lawyer named Tribonian, who, with a committee of 16 lawyers gathered together all the numerous laws which had governed Roman over the centuries previous. This law was codified. Then in an imperial rescript in 534 A.D. the Roman bishop was recognized as the head of all the churches, and given full authority as such.
However the Gothic king Theodahad was reigning in Italy.
That meant Gothic rendition of law was the rule in Rome.
The Gothic king, Theodoric the Great (who had established the Italian Gothic kingdom and who died in 526) had been a just and tolerant ruler, allowing religious freedom to his subjects.
The Goths were Arian, and this was unacceptable to the so called orthodox believers. Also Christians from the East, who believed differently then Justinian on the nature of Christ, were fleeing persecution and coming to the west to live under a more tolerant rule.
Being under the Gothic rulership the papacy in Rome was not free to exercise supreme authority in religious matters and stop the "heretics". Justinians law on that matter was in degree only and could not be put into effect.
It was the general Belisarius, who by command of Justinian, took over the city of Rome from the Goths in 538 (though the Goths were not driven out of all of Italy till years later in 555.) but in 538 Rome was "freed" from their power, and Roman Imperial law was established in that city once again. Vigilius became pope, replacing the pro-Gothic pope Silverius, who was exiled.
The IMPERIAL administration was reintroduced and Justinian's newly codified law became the law of Rome---now Justinian’s decree elevating the Pope as head of all churches, the one could dictate "truth" and persecute "heritics", formulated a few years earlier, could take effect, in Rome, in 538.
We can read the whole story in Gibbons "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" Vol. 2 chapter 41
It's true Belisarius' conquest of Rome started in Dec. 536. Belisarius marches on Rome, "His enemies had disappeared; when he made his entrance." But that was only the first move. Both Belisarius and Witiges (the Goth leader) spend the winter preparing for battle. Belisarius busy fortifying Rome and bringing in loads of food, securing a water source, sending women and children to a safer city. And Witiges -- "The whole nation of the Ostrogoths had been assembled for the attack" as they went to beseige Rome. It's also interesting that the Papal lands, the Vatican, were outside the city "The formidable host of the Goths...approached with devotion the adjacent church of St. Peter; and the threshold of the holy apostles was respected during the siege by a Christian enemy." So this war was not yet accomplished in 536. It was only begun.
A lot of fighting took place during the year long siege. "One year and nine days after the commencement of the siege, an army so lately strong and triumphant burnt their tents. and were driven headlong into the Tiber by their own fears and the pursuit of the enemy, the Roman general inflicted a severe and disgraceful wound on their retreat. .... -- The year? 538.
Belisarius then secured all the land south of the Po.
No the Goths were not yet driven out of all of Italy, only out of the southern part. Actually an attempt was made at this point to divide Italy legally, leaving the north for the Goths. But that didn't last long. Yes, there were more battles, even a short time when a new Gothic leader Tortilla retook Rome in 550. But it was not lasting, by 552 Tortilla was dead.
538 is best date to mark the freeing of the papal office from Gothic jurisdiction, and setting it on its journey as the power sitting in Rome's vacated seat.
Now we must remember that all dates that mark a transition will have events leading up to it, and more events after it as the results of the transition take hold. Thus arguing that it wasn't an immediate, drastic, visible change in the power of the papacy, is simply not understanding what transition dates are all about. For example historians say Rome fell in 476 AD, but the decline took place years before, Rome was sacked several times prior to that, and the emperors on the western throne had barbarian heritage in their blood prior to that, and Justinian reconquered Rome years later, yet most people understand that the date 476 is a transition date marking the fall of the western Roman Empire, and as such it is accepted.
The same is true of 538 AD. It marks a transition point.
But the Pope was weak, was he not?
While Justinian elevated the papacy as HEAD OVER ALL CHURCHES< he did NOT place the papacy above himself.
"Justinian never distinguished Roman state tradition from Christianity. ...He defined the mission of the pious emperor as 'the maintenance of the Christian faith in its purity and the protection of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church from any disturbance."....
"The state itself was conceived to be the only community established by God, and it embraced the whole life of man." (Church History in Plain Language, Bruce Shelley, p. 146-147)
Yes, there was much strife and rivalry. The emperor stayed in the east. There was also the Patriarch in the east, who tended more and more to be under the domination of the Emperor, whereas the Pope was independent, and as the west of Europe became Christian his power steadily increased....
The western Church was the central civilizing power of medieval Europe, and made life pretty miserable for any that did not agree with her.
Justinian's decree in elevating the pope under imperial law, and then the withdrawal of the empirical head itself into the east, set the pope in the LEGAL POSITION as head of church and state affairs in the whole western civilized world.
The fact that there was strife, and rebellions and power struggles amongst popes and political leaders, and even amongst popes themselves, does not change the basic premise or position held by the papacy during the 1260 years.
We can readily see from history that this was no time of spiritual holiness. The church was indeed rather corrupt with much strife and intrigue, rather than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Justinian had however, united church with the state, and Justinian was a persecutor of anyone that didn't believe in his brand of religion. He had relentlessly executed his imperial edict with great rigor, confiscating "heretic's" property, driving many from their homes. Many of these refugees had fled to the west hoping to find security under the tolerant rule of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric.
Then Belisarius, Justinian's general, marched on Rome and took the city from the Ostrogoths, in 538. Then the Church of Rome not only accepted the legal, exalted title of "THE HEAD OF ALL CHURCHES" which Justinian had decreed, she also accepted the persecuting policy of Justinian and did all in her power to move against the refugees in Italy who had fled out of the East.
This was only the beginning of the long period when to believe differently meant persecution. Also claiming the keys to heaven and hell, Rome worked on the emotions of the people to wield them into compliance.
If the Pope had So Much Power Why Didn't He Stop the Moslems?
The Islamic movement arose partly because of the corruptions in the Christian church. They were a fulfilment of prophecy, as the trumpets five and six of Revelation sounded their warnings against an apostate church.
In the same way God used the Islamic nations to bring judgment on the so called Christian church during the 1260 years, so God may again use the Islamic Nations to bring judgment upon apostate Christianity. Will people listen and TRULY return to their God?
The papal "universal primacy" over the whole world is just around the corner. When the wound is completely healed (and it almost is so now) conditions will be shaped in such a way that the whole world will wonder after the beast, they will worship him. (See Rev. 13) Again, this will not mean that all the nations will be governed by the pope as to their political details, they will still be recognized as nations and the unity will be fragile as they will still be at odds with one another, BUT, for a short time, they will place themselves under the spiritual authority of the papal leadership and execute his commands pretaining to enforced worship imposed moral statutes. (See Rev. 17)
Does that mean there will be no war and strife and bullies beating up others? NO-- in fact it will be the worst time of trouble this world has ever seen.
The Papal 1260 years are known as the "DARK AGES".
More on Ecumenical Plan to Bring All Under Papal Primacy
Page One Dealing with the 1260 days, 538-1798 of Papal Primacy
Page Three, Dealing with the 1260 days, 538-1798 of Papal Primacy
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