Petrus Romanus The Jerusalem Connection Part 1

By Cris D. Putnam

In Vatican City, on October 10, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI opened the Synod of Bishops’ Special Assembly for the Middle East at St. Peter’s Basilica. The synod took place at the Vatican from Oct. 10–24 under the theme: “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness.” Speaking as the alleged Vicar of Christ, the pontifex maximus said the Promised Land is “not of this world” and that Israel is not an earthly kingdom. His words are not surprising as the Roman Catholic Church has historically led the way in promoting supercessionism (replacement theology) by denying ethnic Israel’s place in God’s plan. According to the pope’s biblical eisegesis, “He reveals Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (cf. Ex 3:6), who wants to lead his people to the ‘land’ of freedom and peace. This ‘land’ is not of this world; the whole of the divine plan goes beyond history, but the Lord wants to build it with men, for men and in men, beginning with the coordinates of space and time in which they live and which He Himself gave them.”[1]

While it is true that God’s plan ultimately transcends time and space, it simply cannot be denied that the Lord meant a literal land in His promises to the patriarchs. However, the pope is not so naïve; rather, he is promoting an agenda by painting the Promised Land as a metaphysical abstraction. His political and theological overtones reflect the Vatican’s consistent position that “Jerusalem cannot belong to one state.”[2] Rome ostensibly pleads the case of Palestinians and Catholics who want to make pilgrimage but in truth, there is a wealth of evidence that the Vatican wants to possess Jerusalem as its own

Furthermore, the pope’s homily is harbinger of the coming tribulation or “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7). Like Paul in Romans 11:25, Jesus also said that Jerusalem would be occupied by gentiles until the times of the gentiles are fulfilled, just prior to His Second Coming.

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Lk 21:24).

Several important points can be derived from this statement by Jesus. First, it is a prophecy of the diaspora, which occurred in AD 70. The Romans spread the Jews all over the known world, selling many as slaves. Jesus’ prophecy could have been easily falsified but its fulfillment is verifiable. Second, the text uses the Greek term achri, rendered “until,” that clearly implies one day Jerusalem will be back in Jewish hands.[3] Thus, it is also an inferred prophecy about the reclamation of Jerusalem which began in 1967 and is still being contested by the Vatican. Jerusalem certainly was under Gentile control until 1967, and today it is the most fiercely contested piece of real estate on the planet. This should give skeptics pause because there are existing copies of Luke’s Gospel dated to the second century.[4] The fact that Jerusalem is ostensibly in Jewish hands speaks to the lateness of the hour in God’s prophetic plan. Recognizing the end-time markers “the fullness of the gentiles” (Ro 11:25) and “times of the Gentiles” (Lk 21:24) which were qualified by “until,” we now examine the current state of affairs to if they are lining up with the predicted arrival of Petrus Romanus.

One way to examine that “until” is in reference to Romans 11:25 and the spread of the Gospel and there are many competent sites like the The Joshua Project doing that.[5] One rather astonishing indicator is the success of the Gospel in China where it is reported that there are currently sixteen thousand, five hundred new converts per day![6] Africa reports similar numbers where sixteen thousand Muslims leave Islam per day for Christianity.[7] (While these numbers are exciting, there are still many unreached people-groups and languages with no Bible translation. To that end, we strongly encourage Christians to support missions.)

Still yet, another way to quantify that “until” might be to look at Israel and see if there is any movement in that sector. There were no more than a dozen or so Messianic believers in the Jewish homeland when they declared statehood in 1948 and only around 250 when they retook Jerusalem in 1967. Writing in the year 2000, Brent Kinman reported that, “Now there are in the neighborhood of six thousand believers in more than fifty congregations.”[8] Has this trend continued? As of May 26, 2011 The Baptist Press reported:

“Now there are an estimated 150 Jewish congregations around Israel meeting in different languages. The number of believers is estimated to be around 20,000, growing exponentially from 1948 when 12 Jews who believed in Jesus could be counted, to 1987 when there were 3,000 and 1997 where there were 5,000.”[9]

If you know anything about exponential growth then this strongly implies an event horizon when the line goes vertical, meaning that the time of national repentance and recognition is close-at-hand. The Old Testament contains a vivid prophecy of that eventuality, “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn” (Zec 12:10). The Hebrew term, dāqar, which is rendered “pierced,” is derivative of madqārâ which appears ten times in various forms and always denotes a puncture wound. The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament states, “The weapon associated with dāqar is usually the sword, though a spear is the instrument in Num 25:8.”[10] So according to the Hebrew prophet Zechariah, God was pierced and only Jesus Christ meets that characteristic. Tensions in the Middle East seem to forecast this prophesied national repentance sooner rather than later.


Next week: The Vatican’s Designs on Jerusalem



[1] Robert Moynihan, “The Vatican Synod on the Middle East Begins,” Spero News, October 10, 2010,

[2] Chiara Santomiero, “Prelate: Jerusalem Can’t Belong to Just One State,” Zenit: The World Seen from Rome, October 12, 2012,

[3] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 948 ἄχρι.

[4] P4 is likely the earliest existing copy of Luke’s Gospel but his silence on the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 leads most to conclude it was written prior: see

[6]Fastest-Growing Christian Population,” Worldmag, last accessed February 10, 2012, .

[7] Ali Sina,“Islam in Fast Demise: In Africa Alone Everyday, 16,000 Muslims Leave Islam,” last accessed February 10, 2012,

[8] Brent Kinman, History, Design, and the End of Time: God’s Plan for the World (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Pub, 2000), 71.

[9] Ava Thomas, “Among Israeli Jews, 20,000 Embrace Christ,” Baptist Press, May 26, 2011, .

[10] Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999, c1980), 195.

The Irony of Glen Beck, a Mormon, Speaking for Israel

I support Israel’s right to their historic homeland. But isn’t it ironic (and shameful) that Glen Beck, a Mormon, is leading the rally when The Book of Mormon has more in common to the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion than the New Testament?

“Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must need be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.” (2 Nephi 10:3)

Obviously this is reflective of the racist views of the plagiarist Joseph Smith and was not divinely revealed. It is incompatible with the revelation that God has given us in the Bible. The truth is that every nation is wicked enough to kill their God. Even more, there is only one God and he did not belong exclusively to Israel, though he specifically adopted them so Abraham would be a blessing to all nations. When the Romans adjudicated the crucifixion of Jesus, they were just as guilty of “crucifying their God” as the Jews. In truth, Christ died for the sins of the world, thus all of us made his death necessary. We all crucified Him by our sin.

The Glorious Future of Israel

There is a future for Israel. The OT points to a Messianic kingdom (Isaiah 9:6-7, Mic. 4:1; Isa. 2:2-3, 11:6-9) and temple on Mount Zion (Ezek. 40:48; Isa. 2:2; Hag. 2:7-9; Zech. 6:12-13; Joel 3:18). God made unconditional promises in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 13:14-17) that have never been fulfilled at any time in history. Even though Israel violated the Mosaic Covenant, Paul makes clear that it did not make void the Abrahamic (Gal 3:17). In a similar fashion, the Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7:11-16; cf. 1 Chron. 17) expanded God’s blessings to Israel and was irrevocable, stating that your throne will be established forever.” The New Covenant states explicitly that God will make it with “the house of Israel(Jer. 31:31-33).

In Acts 1:6 just before the ascension the disciples ask Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Did Jesus say, “Sorry, Israel forfeited?” No, instead he says “It is not for you to know times or seasons…” This infers a future time when God will restore the Kingdom to Israel. In Luke 22:30, Jesus makes clear that national Israel will not only be present in the future kingdom but that they will still retain tribal identity. Also, the 144,000 are chosen from the 12 tribes (Rev. 7:4).  The church does not have tribes. If the church has replaced national Israel as “spiritual Israel” this is incoherent. In Romans 9-11, Paul’s purpose was to explain Israel’s future. The gentile church is clearly described as “grafted into” not replacing Israel. God could not have been any clearer than their election being “irrevocable” (Rom. 11:28-29). Robert Saucy argues that their restoration is a part of God’s continuing revelation to the world.

It would seem reasonable in the light of the prophetic Scriptures that we have noted concerning God’s revelation of himself to the nations through the judgment and restoration of Israel to believe that he has not completed that revelation through the realities of history and that he yet intends to display his redemptive power overtly in the restoration of his people as a people. [i]

In Isaiah 19:16-24 we read that Egypt will be attacked in the Day of the Lord and the result will be that Egypt will repent and convert to the worship of Yahweh. This is yet to occur. Clearly, Israel has a future in the spiritual leadership of the world (Zech. 8:23; cf. Zech. 14).

Israel’s literal national restoration is not captured any more explicitly than in Amos 9:11-15. Verses 11-12 speak of the political revival under the Davidic Messiah (cf. Ezek. 34). This is the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant and of the angel Gabriel’s promise to Mary that Jesus would sit on David’s throne – forever – which did not even exist during the first advent (Lk. 1:32-33). Verses 13-15 turn to the restoration of the fertility of the land and the return of the people. While this passage was a message of hope for the exiles, it is necessarily a case of the “already but not yet” paradigm at work in prophecy. God states categorically that they will return to “never again be uprooted” (v.15). While they were uprooted again in A.D. 70 by the Romans,  Isaiah foretold:

In that day the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people from Assyria, from Lower Egypt, from Upper Egypt, from Cush, from Elam, from Babylonia, from Hamath and from the islands of the sea. (Isa. 11:11)

We live in a time of active prophetic fulfillment because this began in 1948, when national Israel was reestablished and Jews returned from far and wide to the land. This is ongoing and is reflected in the present day turmoil in the Middle East over Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2-3).

Israel’s glorious future is not captured any more beautifully than in Isaiah. This is revealed in poetry like “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Is 60:1) and underneath the text within its form.  A chiasm is a literary device in which a pattern such as A-B-C-B´-A´ is employed to give special weight to the middle ‘C’ portion. Chapters 60-62 are given prominence as the center of a chiasm made up of chapters 56–66.[ii] This is an example of the “already but not yet” paradigm as well. The church is the figurative “already” part of the kingdom, but the messianic age awaits literal fulfillment.  Although much still anticipates future fulfillment, God’s light has reached the world through the gospel and many nations have come to Jerusalem in response.  Jesus’ message has gone out to the world as the church evangelizes the nations. Still yet, verses 60:19-22 clearly forecast the Edenic New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:23:

“The sun shall be no more your light by day,

nor for brightness shall the moon give you light;

but the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your God will be your glory.

Your sun shall no more go down,

nor your moon withdraw itself;

for the Lord will be your everlasting light,

and your days of mourning shall be ended.

Your people shall all be righteous;

they shall possess the land forever,

the branch of my planting,

the work of my hands,

that I might be glorified.

The least one shall become a clan,

and the smallest one a mighty nation;

I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it.”

(Is 60:19-22)


[i] Robert L. Saucy. “A Rationale for the Future of Israel.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 1985: 438.

[ii]John Oswalt, The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 2003), 641.