Monday, 9 April 2012

The Last Pope

Who will be the last pope? The answer is to be found by examining historical documentation.

The First Pope
In order to answer the question concerning the last pope, we need to know what the term pope actually means, and who the first Roman bishop to bear this title may have been. The term pope is of Greek origin, pappas, used already in Homer’s day, and possibly even earlier, with the meaning of father, or, more precisely, dad, as we would say in English. 

It is generally acknowledged that the first time a bishop of Rome acquired the title of pope was at some point between 296 and 526 AD. It would therefore appear that the title of pope was not used by the bishops of Rome until the fourth century at the earliest

This conclusion poses the question as to whether Linus, who the Catholic Church claims is St. Peter's successor, was actually a pope. Evidence indicates that he was not. He lived more than 200 years before the earliest possible date (296 AD) in which the papal title came into adoption among the Roman clergy. 

Historical research of the title of pope within the Roman church has uncovered the impossibility to determine with certainty who the first pope actually was. It may have been Marcellinus, who was Bishop of Rome from 296 to 304 AD. However, it might have been John I, who was Bishop of Rome from 523 to 526. Clearly, neither of these lived in the first century and both were born a very long time after St. Peter's apostolic mission, as can be ascertained in the following link.

As a result of this research, we can be assured that at least until the end of the third century AD, there was no pope in Rome. During the first several hundred years of the Roman church, the Roman bishop simply did not have this title. 
So is it possible to speak of a Pope Linus who lived in the first century? Quite frankly, no!

The Successor to Saint Peter
One of the pope’s official titles is successor of Saint Peter. The Vatican officially calculates the line of popes as starting with Saint Peter and passing then to Linus, who, according to the Catholic teaching, is the second pope. Linus, however, was never mentioned by St. Peter in his two letters, and no other author of the New Testament ever mentioned Linus as St. Peter’s successor.

The Apostle Peter chose Mark as his son, with the meaning of chosen heir to the apostolic priesthood, and in fact Saint Mark the Evangelist wrote the first version of the Gospel, following St. Peter’s testimony to Jesus Christ. 

So when did the Catholic Church first call Linus a pope and declare him as St. Peter's successor? The answer is, somewhere between 296 and 526 AD. Linus is not known for any writings, either in the New Testament or otherwise, whereas St. Mark is the author of the first written Gospel. Even so, the Vatican does not acknowledge the first Evangelist Mark, or any other of the four Evangelists, as Simon Peter’s successor.

Zion or Rome?
Is the High City to be identified as Zion the Celestial, or as Rome the terrestrial? Does the Spirit come from God or from man? As the Throne of God is In High, so too the eternal Priesthood of Jesus Christ, as was confirmed on the Day of Pentecost. On that day, the Spirit from Heaven descended upon a house in Jerusalem where the followers of Christ were gathered, and at that hour the Church in Christ was founded in Jerusalem. No pope was present at that time.

Knowledge of Christ and of the spiritual foundations of the Church comes from the New Testament, in particular from the four Evangelists. It is the written word of the Gospel that has upheld the Church over many centuries. Without this written word, we would have no Church, and Christ's Gospel would be unknown to us. Consequently we must acknowledge that the first Evangelist, who is St. Mark, is the rightful successor to the Apostle Peter, who called Mark his son.  

The Last Pope
When Mark son of Peter is recognised as the successor to St. Peter’s priesthood, and the word of the New Testament is acknowledged as binding in establishing this fact, then the last pope will be considered the last one of a long line of popes who never possessed the titles they claimed to be theirs.

The New Testament does not name St. Peter as pope (father), for Jesus used the name Father when referring to God Almighty Who is in Heaven. Jesus called his disciples brothers. 

Peter the Apostle did not call Linus his successor, and did not call him father, but chose Mark as his son, with the spiritual meaning of chosen heir to the apostolic priesthood. This Saint Mark is the first of the four Evangelists, without whom the Word of Christ would not be known to us.
Zion is the City in High, and from Zion comes Prosperity.

Written by D. Alexander

Christ's Church revealed:

Mark son of Peter:

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