In June 2015 the Roman Antichrist, Francis I, visited the Waldensian place of worship in Turin, Italy. This was tragic enough. But what did he do when he was there? He asked forgiveness for the Roman Catholics’ persecution of the Waldensians in the past!
Francis I and Waldensian moderator Eugenio Bernardini
In past ages the Waldensians consisted of faithful, true Christians, living in the fastnesses of the Alps, who maintained the pure faith of Christ, and proclaimed the true Gospel, through many long centuries, during which they experienced terrible persecution at the hands of the servants of the Roman Papacy. Although their doctrines were distinctly Protestant, they did not originate at the time of the Protestant Reformation but many centuries before it. In fact, it is likely that they originated soon after the apostolic age ended; and when Popery’s wickedness brought down the dreadful Dark Ages on Europe, the Waldensians continued to shine as a light in that Egyptian darkness, maintaining the true faith when virtually all Europe was under the iron heel of the Papacy.
The Lord Jesus Christ had promised that He would not permit the gates of hell to prevail against the true Church (Matt. 16:18); and although the devil did his utmost to stamp out this flickering candle in the Alps, and it looked as if he would succeed many times, that candle never went out, but continued to witness to the truth of the Gospel of grace even while the Great Whore, from her seat of power in Rome, extinguished the light everywhere else. During those centuries of spiritual darkness, superstition and shocking cruelty, not only did the Waldensian churches in their beautiful Alpine valleys uphold the apostolic faith, but they sent our missionaries who tramped across Europe two by two, sowing the precious Gospel seed. The historian J.A. Wylie wrote of “their descent from apostolic men, if doctrine be the life of Churches…. they retired within the mountains, and, spurning alike the tyrannical yoke and the corrupt tenets of the Church of the Seven Hills, they preserved in its purity and simplicity the faith their fathers had handed down to them…. Behind this rampart of mountains, which Providence, foreseeing the approach of evil days, would almost seem to have reared on purpose, did the remnant of the early apostolic Church of Italy kindle their lamp, and here did that lamp continue to burn all through the long night which descended on Christendom.”
Bible prophecy refers to them in the eleventh chapter of Revelation, where they, along with a small number of other ancient Christian churches, are called, symbolically, “the two witnesses” (Rev. 11:3), and “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth” (v.4). A candlestick in Revelation symbolises a church (Rev. 1:20); and the number two represents the smallest number of witnesses possible (Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16). The Waldensians witnessed for Christ when “all the world wondered after the beast” (Rev. 13:3).