The following AP photos were of interest:
I saw the above photo a few days ago, and ICG’s Mark Armstrong made the following comments in his latest newsletter:
Did you see the story the Vatican TV station in Rome deemed newsworthy this week? A photograph of a bonfire near Pope John Paul II’s birthplace, lit to mark the second anniversary of his death, appeared to mimic an actual photo of the pope when alive. That’s right, a momentary flare out of the fire is being hailed as a “sign” from beyond the grave. Although I’m unaware of any discussion of this story on domestic television, the picture was “broadcast continuously on Italian TV and also posted on religious websites, some of which crashed as thousands logged on…” You can see how incredibly gullible people can be, which has been amply demonstrated long prior to this absurd incident. Those who took the photograph conferred with their priest and agreed that the deceased pope is still making pilgrimages, even in death. Interesting that a story with this kind of sensational potential didn’t seem to rate mention on the American talk circuit. Among the true believers, including priests identified in the story, there was no explanation for why the blurry image thought to be the former pope is seen on fire!
Comments by COGwriter:
Presuming that the photo is not some type of hoax, I have a somewhat different view of it than Mark Armstrong seems to.
I believe that signs and wonders including things like the flaming deceased “Pope John Paul II” will be cited by Catholics, both now and in the future, that their church is correct and that it has the correct understanding of end-time prophetic events (more information on how some of their prophetic understanding is biblically in error is included in the article Who is the King of the North? ). Actually, I have read where Catholics specifically have claimed that these types of signs are confirmation that God is with their church.
Yet, the Apostle Paul warned:
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).
Anyway, one of the reasons I wanted to comment on this has to do with the fact that a “bonfire” was held.
The origins of Halloween specifically can be traced back to the ancient Celts (who lived in what is now known as Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Northern France) and their Druid priests. The end of October commemerated their festival of the waning year…Druids believed that during this season spirits walked, and evil held power over the souls of men. On October 31, their New Year’s Eve, great bonfires were kindled, which were thought to simulate the sun to procure blessings for the entire succeeding year. The fires remained burning as a means to frighten away evil spirits. The Druids held these early Halloween celebrations in honor of Samhain, also known as Lord of the Dead, whose festival fell on November 1. There bonfires, or “bone fires”, were also used in animal and human sacrifice–thus the name. The tradition of lighting a bonfire has continued to modern times (Coulter F.R. Occult Holiday–or–God’s Holy Days–Which? York Publishing Company, Hollister (CA) 2006).
Growing up and going to various bonfires, no one I knew ever mentioned that bonfires originally were “bone fires”.
More information about Halloween and its origins is included in the recently expanded article Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians?