After leading the Roman Catholic Church for 27 years, Pope John Paul II died on April 2nd, 2005. He is highly regarded and praised by almost everyone, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Now he appears before God to be judged according to the truth. Man's praise will not influence or impress the Divine Judge, the true Head of the Church: "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).
Pope means father; he is even called by the divine title "Holy Father" - but the disciples of Jesus Christ know only one Father, God. "Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven" (Matthew 23:9). Nor do we call anyone by the title "holy" except our God, for the Scriptures say: "Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy" (Revelations 15:4).
The Pope is also known as Supreme Pontiff, a title inherited from the old Roman pagan mystery religion. Pontiff (Latin pontifex) means a bridge; but for us Christians we have only one bridge to heaven -- one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5).
The Pope claims to be the vicar of Christ, and has worked all his life to bring peace on earth. But the One he claims to represent had another purpose. Jesus said: "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). Jesus preached one God, one way of salvation - the Pope gives false hopes to those who worship other gods and seek salvation apart from Jesus Christ, to Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists. Thus he is loved by all, but Christ was hated by all, and crucified!
He claims to be the successor of St Peter, but unlike Peter, Pope John Paul II taught others to trust in Mary and to surrender the hour of death wholly to her care. The apostle Peter taught people to call on the only name given by God for our salvation, the blessed name of Jesus the Messiah. "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
The Pope claims to be the infallible teacher of all Christians, but he distorts the clear meaning of Scripture to uphold traditional Catholic dogma. For example to defend the Mass (which is said to be a re-enactment and a carrying on of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross), Pope John Paul wrote: "Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ constantly 'enters into God's sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption' (cf. Heb 9:12)" (Crossing the Threshold of Hope).
Compare the Pope's words with what the Bible actually says: "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12).
Notice how the word 'entered' is changed to 'enters' - giving the impression that this action is continuous rather than a simple action completed in the past. Moreover, the word 'once' is omitted, and the quotation is preceded by the word 'constantly.' Also, instead of 'having obtained' he writes 'obtaining', as if redemption is in the process of being accomplished! The meaning of this scripture is reversed! If Jesus 'constantly enters' the holy place, Christ is no better than the Levitical priests and if He has not obtained redemption, his blood is as powerless as that of goats and calves. But thanks be to God, His Word teaches the very opposite: "By his own blood he entered in once (not constantly enters) into the holy place, having obtained (not obtaining) eternal redemption for us."
What do you choose to believe: God's Word or the teaching of the papacy? Would you trust your salvation wholly in the hands of Jesus Christ alone? Or would you continue to perform religious works, do penance, rely on the daily sacrifice of the Mass, call on the name of Mary in the hope that perhaps you will be saved in the end?
If you trust in Jesus Christ and rest on His once-for-all sacrifice on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins, you cannot continue to submit to a man, whoever he may be, who by reason of his office usurps the title of Head of the Church and teaches a different gospel. Christians acknowledge one head, the Lord Jesus: "Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body" (Ephesians 5:23).
The religion of the papacy cannot give you confidence to face eternity. Did you notice the contradiction in Archbishop Leonardo Sandri's announcement of the Pope's death: “Our Holy Father John Paul II has returned to the house of the Father. Let us pray for him." Why should anyone pray for someone who is in the Father's house? Catholics pray for the souls in purgatory, not for the saints in glory. If he is in heaven, he needs no prayer for the repose of his soul, and no masses in suffrage for his soul. But the Catholic religion cannot give assurance of salvation, not even to her "Holy Father"!
Thank God for the comfort and assurance of the Gospel: "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). The day a believer in Jesus dies, that same day he or she will certainly be with the Lord forever! Praise the Lord!