Death, to many, is an omen. The death of a ‘benedict’ [blessing] on New Years Eve, is that an omen? I doubt it. But, all the papal references I’ve seen over the last weeks have had me thinking. Therein is the beginning of the mass acceptance of lies, forcing deceit on the whole world: the idea of a ‘pope’.
I am a person who likes to know the very beginning of things, ‘origins’; I suppose that is what made me become a historian. My first passion, however, is to the Messiah Yeshua. All knowledge that I gain must be filtered through His lens of history; He is the arbiter of my destiny, and the author of my faith. So, when thirty-five years ago I began to pursue my faith, after having ‘believed’ as a child at nearly 11 years old, I wanted to know the origin of what I believed.
Of course, the primary and most critical document is the Bible. I did not go to ‘church fathers’, what most people consider to be the source of original doctrine, unless one counts the apostles John, Peter, Paul, James, Matthew, and the disciples Mark and Luke to be ‘church fathers’. [these are the writers of the inspired “Renewed Covenant” / NT scriptures] I do not. They are indeed, however, the founders and bedrock of our faith where historical writing is concerned. They themselves would not have you call them “father”, which is what “pope” means.
“Popes” also like to be called “pontiffs”; both of these terms are holdovers from Roman government. The idea that today’s and history’s “Roman Catholic Church” is the original church is laughable. Yes, it is ancient. But, it is by no means original.
The claim is that when Yeshua told Shimon, “I tell you also that you are ‘Kefa’, and upon this stone I will build my Congregation; and the gates of She’ol shall not shut in on it”, that Yeshua was speaking about ‘Peter’ himself being the ‘rock’ of the ‘church’. [Kefa gets translated to ‘petra’, for ‘rock’]. But, what Yeshua was naming as the ‘rock’ of Salvation was the CONFESSION that He, Yeshua, is the Messiah! ‘Kefa’ had just answered Yeshua’s question, standing at Caesarea Philippi, where a temple called ‘the gates of hell’ was actively used, where babies used to be sacrificed to idols, and Yeshua asked, ““What do the men say concerning me, that I am merely a son of a man?” And after several statements from some of the twelve about what others said, Yeshua asked, “Who do you say that I am?” And then, “Shimon Kefa answered and said, “You are the Messiah, Son of God Most High.” THAT is the ‘rock’ of our Salvation, the confession that Yeshua is the Son of God! And Kefa proves this, when he preaches the first gospel message ever by the power of the Ru’akh HaKodesh:
32This very Yeshua, Elohim has raised up, and we are all His witnesses. 33It is He who is exalted by the right hand of Elohim, and has received from The Father the promise of The Ru’akh HaKodesh, and has poured out this gift which you now see and hear. 34For David did not ascend into the heavens, because he himself said, ‘ יהוה said to My Adon, ‘Sit at my right hand, 35until I make your foes your footstool.’ 36Therefore let all The House of Yisra’el know assuredly that Elohim has made this very Yeshua, whom you have executed, both יהוה and Mashi’akh.” ~ Acts 2
And Paul further confirms this:
“so if you will confess with your mouth Adoneinu Yeshua and will trust in your heart that Elohim raised Him from the dead, you shall live.” ~ Rom 10:9
As does John:
15Whoever shall confess that Yeshua is The Son of God, Elohim abides in Him and He in Elohim. ~ 1 Jo 4
The ‘catholic’ church, however, claims not only that Peter is the ‘rock’ of the ‘church’, but that he founded the church in Rome, and was its first ‘pope’, while there is not one shred of evidence to support that. There are scant historical statements that Peter was in Rome very early at all. Paul wrote the letter to the Romans. Peter was not there. Peter was the “Apostle to the Jews”, according to the word of God, and PAUL to the gentiles; Most Romans were gentiles. Paul was a rare Jew born into Roman citizenship, and was selected by GOD to be the Apostle to the Gentiles:
“It is to you Goyim that I speak, inasmuch as I am the Shali’akh [Apostle] to the Goyim [Gentiles]…” ~ Rom 11:13, see also 1 Tim 2:7, 2 Tim 1:11
8 “for he who made Kefa [Peter] vigorous in the office of Shali’akh [apostle] for the circumcision [Jews] has also made me [Paul] mighty in the office of Shali’akh for the Goyim [gentiles]” ~ Gal 2
No ancient document calls Kefa [Peter] a pope, or in charge of the entire ‘gentile church’; and, as I stated, he would not have abided such nonsense, having been taught by Messiah:
“And call no one on earth, ‘Father,’ for one is your Father in Heaven.” ~ Yeshua, Mat 23:9
The first person actually to be called pope was not until very late in the game, after so much error had crept into the ‘church’, especially the errors instituted by Constantine, which we will discuss shortly. Peter was not a pope, and neither was anyone, until Constantine basically made the Roman Government the head of the ‘church’. At that time, the congregations were all independent of one another, having their own local leaders [bishops, in greek parlance], and loosely fellowshipping with congregations around the known world. There was no one singular man as its ‘head’; Messiah Yeshua was the head of the Congregations, as we are instructed by the Word of God.
“18And He is the head of the Body, the assembly; for He is the beginning, the firstborn of the resurrection from the dead, that in all things He might be the first;” ~Col 2
“Mashi’akh is the head of the assembly, and He is the Savior of the Body [of Messiah]. 24Therefore as the assembly is subject to Mashi’akh…” ~Gal 5
What the ‘catholic’ church has done is gone back into history and found the persons that were legitimate leaders [bishops, overseers] in the Roman local assembly and dubbed each one ‘Pope’, post mortem, after the fact, so that they can seem to claim a line all the way back to Peter, and thus assert that “Jesus” founded the ‘Catholic Church’.
No, Yeshua founded ONE living congregation, that would be spread out over the whole world, over which HE would govern, and the local assemblies would answer to Him… The error of “Nicolaitanism” was already emerging in the late 1st century, which was the error of dividing the congregation up like the pagans did, between a ‘controller’ and the ‘people’. They were already trying to create a ‘religious class’ that would ‘rule over’ the ‘laity’, and Yeshua despised that notion:
6But this you have in your favor: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
“15And also you have those among you who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16Repent; or else I will come to you very soon and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. ” ~ Rev 2
In fact, in the seven letters Yeshua personally dictated to the seven Congregations in Galatia, we see represented very clearly that each one answered directly TO HIM, and NOT to a central “pope”. The person who would have been ‘pope’ in Rome at that time, according to the roman church, would have been “Clemens”; why did not Yeshua go to HIM to have these letters written to those congregations, if he were indeed their ‘father’ and ‘pontiff’, governing the ‘church’ worldwide? Because he was NOT. Yeshua was and is the head of each congregation, and if He is not, then that congregation is not HIS.
The idea of one ‘universal church’ governed by man was a later concept. The first person in antiquity to be referred to as “pope” was Heraclas of Alexandria, Egypt, and that was by no means a recognized, universal title of one worldwide church. In fact, there was a collegial bishop/overseer in Rome at the time, NOT called pope! A universal pope earlier than the Nicene council is a myth. Anyone who says otherwise is living in a fantasy, because the notion of one person ruling every congregation was not yet conceived. The word ‘catholic’ had not been referenced to the congregations of God in any official capacity, until Constantine. It’s first use was more speaking about the wider Body of Messiah, which is a biblical concept, but the word was still unformed fully as we know it, and had not become an ‘official’ word. It was a reference in a letter from Ignatius to the congregation at Smyrna, reading καθόλου katholou and it was from κατά and ὅλος , ‘about’ and ‘whole’, and was to mean ‘on the whole, according to the whole, in general’, and was by no means referring to an official, institutionalized, worldwide ‘church’ controlled by the state.
Constantine is the one who unified over 3,000 congregations under one person, garnering support from the 240-ish ‘yes men’ who showed up and the council in 325. The remaining bishops were not even there! Why? Because Constantine, an anti-Semite, would not allow the MAJORITY of the bishops, who were Jewish, to come to the council, so the good bishops who disagreed with his anti-Semitism did not show. So, he forced a papacy on the congregations with only about 8 percent of the people represented! He did so at the Nicene council in 325 A.D.
The claim is that Constantine had become a christian in 312, having had a vision from God the night before the battle at the Milvian Bridge, where he supposedly saw a ‘cross’ and heard God say ‘by this [sign], conquer’. Yeshua did not come to establish a world government to place in men’s hands, and He certainly did not mean for His people to conquer and rule by the sword [that’s the basis of islam].
Constantine did not see a ‘cross’, any way; the best description is that he saw two crossing beams of light. But, regardless, this did NOT make him a believer submitted to the Way of Messiah! In fact, a full three years later, in celebrating that very victory at the Milvian Bridge, he did not thank “Jesus” at all! He praised “Victoria“, a pagan goddess who was the romanization of Nike, a greek god of victory, whose name is the very root of the word ‘nicolaitan’! Further, Constantine did not stop there by immortalizing ‘Victoria’ in his triumphal arc, but he made animal sacrifices to a “son-god” indeed, HERCULES. And he also sacrificed to Apollo, the god of war/destruction [also seen in the book of revelation related to anti-Messiah], and also to Diana, a ‘triple’, feminine deity. This hardly sounds like someone who believed in and followed Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God, preached by those who knew Yeshua. In fact, Constantine did not affirm any supposed faith in Messiah until he was near dead, in 337 A.D., promising to live a christian life if he did not die!
So, while the death of anyone is sad, the ‘pope’ that died is not the ‘father’ of people of faith on earth. That role is reserved for the CREATOR, יהוה , the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who has given ALL POWER and ALL AUTHORITY to HIS SON, Yeshua, the man from Natzrat who died to take away the sins of the world, for all those who would confess and trust that Yeshua is the Messiah, the Son of God.