Biblical Answers to the World Mission Society Church of God

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.--1 John 4:1

Are you or a loved one struggling with this group? Do you need Biblical answers about the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCoG or CoGWMS), their founder Ahnsahnghong (Ahn Sahng/Sang-Hong) or their current leader "Mother Jerusalem" (a.k.a. "Heavenly Mother God," Zang/Zahng Gil-Jah, or Chung Gil Cha)? Thank you for coming here. I hope my blog helps you. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is 666 the Pope? - Part 3 - The 10 Kingdoms

We established in Part 2 that we are looking at the first beast in Revelation chapter 13 to see if it matches the Pope (Papacy).  We are also examining the claims of the argument about the Pope to see if they are accurate.

Since I haven't yet found the World Mission Society Church of God's full and complete teaching about the Anrichrist online (please send me a link of you know of one), I'm going to refer you to another page (one of many) where the "Pope-is-Antichrist" teaching (as I'll call it) has been clearly stated.  This can be a resource to you as we consider the claims.

Please remember that the WMSCOG is not the only (or the first) group to hold to this teaching.  So even when I write, "the WMSCOG says...," the other Pope-is-Antichrist groups also say something similar (and vice versa).

Let's start at the beginning of Revelation 13 and take it one part at a time.
Today, the "10 Kingdoms":

Rev. 13:1-2
Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name....

This is similar to Daniel's prophecy:
Dan. 7:24
The ten horns are ten kings
      
Who shall arise from this kingdom.
      And another shall rise after them;
      He shall be different from the first
ones,
      And shall subdue three kings. 

"This kingdom" is the Roman Empire, which is well agreed upon by Bible scholars.
The WMSCOG says that when the Roman Empire finally fell, it was divided into ten kingdoms, three of which were put down by the Papacy, leaving seven.  Also, those three were "uprooted" because they did not agree with the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

The "little horn" of Daniel 7:8 is the Antichrist (the beast) that comes up in the midst of these 10 kingdoms.  The WMSCOG says that since the Pope (Roman Catholic Church) rose to power out of the fall of the Roman Empire, he fits this prophecy.

This "fact" of the 10 kingdoms is well-circulated by the Pope-is-Antichrist groups, but is it historically true?
In other words, can we find the same fact in academic sources, or has it been contrived to fit the argument (which would make it not a fact at all)?

Here's their list of the 10 kingdoms, the last 3 (in green) being the ones who were "subdued":
Visigoths
Anglo-Saxons
Franks
Alemanni
Burgundians
Lombards
Suevi
Heruli
Ostrogoths
Vandals

You might think, "I'm sure they've done their research, so it must be true."  If that's so, then it shouldn't be hard for me to find it too.

I've been looking all over, including reading the source, Ridpath's History of the World, that the WMSCOG trusts enough to quote from in their video (see Part 1).  Why is it so difficult to track down such a statement among legitimate academic sources?  (If you'd like to refer me to one, I'd be happy to hear from you.)

I will show you what I have found...

Here's a map of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in A.D. 117.  You'll see that it covered a very large territory.  However, the 10 kingdoms named in the Pope-is-Antichrist claim are all in western Europe.  The Roman Empire split in the 3rd century, so we'll just look at the Western Roman Empire.

The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire lasted until 1453, but the Western Roman Empire fell in 476, when Odoacer and the Heruli conquered Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor.  Here's what was left of the empire then (much smaller!).  Here's a map of Europe circa 476, where I count 8 kingdoms in the right area.

Here's another showing Europe in the time of Odoacer (476-493).  In this map you can see the Kingdom of Syagrius, which was the "last Roman foothold in the west" and was conquered by the Franks in 486.  Since it would technically be considered Roman, it shouldn't be counted.  That leaves 9 kingdoms, since the Lombards were not in the correct territory yet.

Perhaps the best map to use is this one of the Germanic kingdoms in 486.  It's before the first of the three kingdoms was subdued, according to the claim (the Heruli in 493).  It's still not quite a match.  It shows the Anglo-Saxons and the Britons as two separate kingdoms, and the Lombards are again not in the right territory.

Maybe we need to read the history books to see what's happening behind the maps.  Since the WMSCOG trusts Ridpath's History of the World enough to use it as a source, I'll use that as well as the internet.  Remember, I want to know that the Roman Empire was divided exactly into the 10 kingdoms listed above, and that only the 3 were subdued.  I also want to know whether or not the kingdoms disagreed with the Catholic Church.  Keeping the same order as the list above...

The Visigoths maintained their kingdom until 711, when they were conquered and confined to just Castile, which they sustained until the Middle Ages.  Their transition from Arianism to Catholicism happened between 577 and 584.  (Ridpath, pages 426-427)

The Anglo-Saxons maintained their hold in England until 1066.  Paganism was replaced by Christianity there in the 7th century.  (Wikipedia Anglo-Saxons)

The Franks held their kingdom for centuries, with the western part of the kingdom eventually becoming France.  Clovis I, the king of the Franks, converted to Catholicism in 496.  (Wikipedia Franks)

The Alemanni were conquered by the Franks in 496.  Then they were subject to the Ostrogoths, and then again under the control of the Franks in 539, where they were a "nominal dukedom."   Alemannia became Christian in the 7th century.  (Wikipedia Alamannia)

The Burgundian kingdom was conquered by the Franks in 534, becoming part of the Frankish Empire.  Burgundy was an Arian kingdom, but by the time they were conquered, many had converted to Catholicism, including the last king.  (Wikipedia Burgundians

The Lombards did not cross the Danube into the territory of the Roman Empire until the 540s, invaded Italy in 568 and finally established their kingdom in there in 572.  (Remember that the Western Roman Empire ended in 476, so that's nearly a century later.)  As for religion, the Lombards were mixed--pagan, Arian, and Catholic.  It wasn't until late in the 7th century that most of them were Catholic.  (Wikipedia Lombards)

The kingdom of the Suevi was incorporated into the kingdom of the Visigoths in 585.  The Suevi were mostly Arian until converting to Catholicism in the 560s.  (Wikipedia Suebi)

The Heruli, led by Odoacer, were the ones who brought an end to the Western Roman Empire in 476, and they are shown on the maps as the Kingdom of Odoacer.  They were conquered by the Ostrogoths in 493.  (Ridpath page 408)  Odoacer was an Arian Christian, but had good relations with the Catholic Church.  (Wikipedia Odoacer)

The Vandals were conquered in 534 by Belisarius, a general of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire.  The reasoning for their attacking the Vandals was "partly with a view to exterminate the Arian heresy, and partly for the purpose of restoring the supremacy of the Empire throughout the West."  (Ridpath, page 430)

The Ostrogoths were already within the territory of the Roman Empire when their king, Theodoric (who was an Arian Christian), conquered Odoacer in 493 and replaced the Heruli in Italy, thus expanding the Ostrogothic Kingdom.  The Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian sent Belisarius to attack the Ostrogoths resulting in the Gothic War from 535 to 554, but their kingdom did not fall easily.  Belisarius captured Rome in 536 and Ravenna (the Ostrogoth capital) in 540.  Control of Rome went back and forth several times. (Wikipedia Ostrogoths and Gothic War)  Finally, the last of the Ostrogothic kings was defeated in 553.  (Ridpath page 354)  It's worth noting that the WMSCOG claims the Ostrogoths were destroyed in 538. (Part 1)

Those are the supposed 10 kingdoms.  BUT one of them, the Kingdom of the Lombards, did not establish their kingdom in the territory of the Western Roman Empire until nearly a century after the end of the Empire, and about 35 years after the last supposed uprooting 3 kingdoms.

Then there are these kingdoms in the territory of the Western Roman Empire which aren't even on the list of the 10:
The Britons were distinct from the Anglo-Saxons.  You can see it on this map. (Wikipedia Britons historical)
The Bavarians "were governed by their own kings both before and after the downfall of the West." (Ridpath page 396)

Also, five of the kingdoms were conquered, not three, when the Ostrogoths were finally defeated (Alemanni, Burgundians, Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths--six if you also count the Suevi which met its end later in 585).

Plus the Pope-is-Antichrist teaching says the 3 kingdoms were subdued because of their conflict with Catholic doctrine, and the Ostrogothic kingdom was the last of those 3.  However...
Only one of the kingdoms at that time was Catholic (the Franks).
Two of the kingdoms were conquered even though they were Catholic (the Burgundians and the Suevi).

In summary...
The fall of the Western Roman Empire does NOT fit this prophecy of the 10 kingdoms arising with 3 being uprooted to leave 7 kingdoms.  Therefore, the Papacy (or Roman Catholic Church) does NOT fit this prophecy either.

Next time I'll examine Revelation 13:3-4...

Click here to go on to Part 4.

P.S.--Here's a chart to help you organize all this information...

Kingdom Conquered Catholic? Notes
Visigoths 711 Converted about 580 Arian, yet not "destroyed by the Papacy"
Anglo-Saxons 1066 Converted in 600s Pagan, yet not "destroyed by the Papacy"
Franks became France King converted in 496
Alemanni 496 Converted in 600s Controlled by the Franks, Ostrogoths, and then Franks again, should be counted with the other conquered kingdoms
Burgundians 534 Converted prior to 534 Conquered even though they were Catholic, should be counted with the other conquered kingdoms
Lombards Kingdom not established until 572 Converted in 600s Too late to be considered one of the 10, not even in Roman territory when Ostrogoths were supposedly conquered
Suevi 585 Converted in 560s Not "destroyed by the Papacy" when they were Arian, yet conquered when they were Catholic
Heruli 493 Arian king Conquered by the Ostrogoths
Vandals 534 Arian
Ostrogoths 553 Arian king Not destroyed in 538 as claimed
Britons

Not mentioned in the Pope-is-Antichrist claim
Bavarians

Not mentioned in the Pope-is-Antichrist claim

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for all of your time and dedication to finding the truth. It means more to me than you could ever know! Keep up the good work

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  2. Thanks for your encouragement! May the Lord bless you!

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  3. Thank you for this information. I have been doing research myself and I found that the Roman empire was divided in two Western and Eastern. If we compare their theory about the ten kingdom as the ten toes, it wouldn't make any sense that a foot has ten toes. I really hope and pray that people open their eyes and realize that this are made up stories

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    1. Yes, that is a good point. And the Eastern Roman Empire lasted a lot longer than the Western. This theory only considers the Western Empire.

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  4. What about Lutheranism (1555–1806) and Calvinism (1648–1806) within Holy Roman Empire. If the papacy had such unchallenged supremacy, surely those two religions wouldn't have been allowed, and the Peace of Augsburg Treaty would have never happened.

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