The “Prophecy” of Malachy: A Very Possible Connection to Benedict’s Resignation
But now for a third possibility, and it is a very real one. It is this: the possibility that Benedict believes he must resign, sooner rather than later, in order to help fulfil a mediaeval prophecy by a Roman Catholic “saint” and “prophet” named Malachy, regarding the final pope and the second coming of Christ!
Before I elaborate further, it is essential for me to make something crystal clear: Malachy (not to be confused with the biblical prophet Malachi) was a false prophet, and his so-called prophecy was not a prophecy from God. I cannot emphasise this point strongly enough, because there are those, even professing to be “Evangelicals”, who believe this “prophecy” is a true prediction from the Lord. There was even a book published last year on this entire topic, entitled Petrus Romanus: the Final Pope is Here. The authors, Tom Horn and Cris Putnam, make a great deal of this so-called “prophecy”, and argue from it that the next pope of Rome will be the final one before the Lord Jesus Christ returns. The book has caused a huge stir, and many are believing the claims. The authors very evidently hold the “prophecy” of Malachy in high regard, and while being against the “Church” of Rome they still treat the Romish religion at times, in their articles, as if it is Christian in some way – at least that is the strong impression given. That Malachy really was a prophet is something they certainly believe.
The authors have clearly done extensive research into Malachy’s document, and much of their research is very accurate and helpful. The problem lies not with their research, but with their conclusions, which, because of their Futurist views of prophecy (a future individual Antichrist, a future individual False Prophet, a future “great tribulation”, etc.) and their fondness for Malachy’s false prophecy, are often seriously in error.
But there are two very good and important reasons why Malachy’s “prophecy” is false: first, this “prophet” was a Papist, not a true Christian, and therefore no true Evangelical should ever believe any “prophecy” that came out of his mouth; and second, despite the spurious claims of Pentecostals and Charismatics, the ministry of prophet is no longer given, and the gift of prophecy is therefore no longer given, today! I have dealt with this, from the Scriptures, in a number of places. The fact is, prophets, along with the apostles, laid the doctrinal foundation of the true Church (Eph. 2:20); but once that foundation was laid and the New Testament Scriptures were written and complete, the apostolic and prophetic gifts were withdrawn, and are no longer given today (1 Cor. 13:8-12).
Nevertheless, even though the “prophecy” is false, the distinct possibility exists that Benedict has resigned because he believes it; and this is what is so interesting, and needs to be examined.
The Malachy “Prophecy” is False
Malachy was an Irish Roman Catholic archbishop of Armagh, and lived from 1094 to 1148. It is believed by many, Papists and non-Papists alike, that he was given a prophetic vision of the next 112 popes of Rome, beginning with Celestine II (who died in 1144 AD), and culminating in the one he called “Petrus Romanus” (Peter the Roman), who he said would be the final pope of Rome. The document is known as the “Prophecy of the Popes”. His words regarding this final Roman pontiff are as follows: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock among many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”
This prediction has led many to believe that his reign will be a time of “great tribulation” for Christians (which means for Papists if one is a Papist, or for all Christians if one is a non-Papist but believes the “prophecy”); and that this time of great tribulation will end with the destruction of Rome and the judgment of Christ.
Malachy was supposedly given his vision when he was visiting Rome, and praying at the many “holy” sites in the city (which just goes to show what a devout Papist he was, and most certainly the Lord would not have spoken through him!). He believed that God spoke to him and gave him the long list of Roman popes till the very end of the world. He presented his manuscript to the pope of Rome at the time, Innocent II, and it disappeared into the Vatican archives, only re-appearing when discovered in 1590.
It is not certain, however, that Malachy even gave these predictions, and even author Horn states, “As the legend goes, Malachy experienced what is today considered a famous vision commonly called ‘The Prophecy of the Popes.’”. It is only a legend, a tradition, which holds that Malachy had these visions. It was a Benedictine historian named Arnold de Wion who, as far as is known, first published the “prophecy” in his book, Lignum Vitae (“Tree of Life”), in 1595. Some believe it really was the work of Malachy, while others believe it was actually written by Nostradamus, or by some other unknown forger. Certainly it is a fact of history that the Roman Papacy has readily forged documents in the past – one of the most notable examples being the so-called “Donation of Constantine”. And yet, despite all this uncertainty and the evidence of obvious tampering at least with part of the document, author Horn states: “While the identity of the actual prophet remains unclear, the author was a prophet whether he knew it or not.”
Read that again! The prophets of the Lord always knew they were prophets. They spoke with a confident “Thus saith the Lord.” It is as plain as day that the unknown author of “The Prophecy of the Popes” was not a prophet of the Lord, which leaves only one conclusion: he was a prophet of the devil. And when I say “prophet”, I mean he was a deceiver, a liar, but that his writing was believed to be that of a prophet, by men ignorant of the truth of God’s Word. He was a false prophet, doing the devil’s work, leading men astray. And via his “prophecy” he is still doing so today.
In a modern version of Malachy’s work published in 1969, the author, an archbishop named H.E. Cardinale, the apostolic nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg, wrote: “it is fair to say the vast majority of Malachy’s predictions about successive Popes is amazingly accurate – always remembering that he gives only a minimum of information.” The “vast majority”? Well, that is just not good enough! In biblical times, the test of a true prophet was that what he prophesied came to pass. If he was not 100% accurate in his prophecies he was a false prophet (Deut. 18:21,22)!