“Satan’s Throne” (Photo by Joyce Thiel)
Yesterday, my wife Joyce and I were able to once again see and visit what could be ‘Satan’s throne’ if the devil does in fact have a physical throne on the earth.
Back in 1987 on a tour of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, those of on that tour (all WCG members) were told by a Worldwide Church of God minister who was conducting the tour that Joseph Tkach, Sr. (who was then the Pastor General of WCG–he died in 1995) stated that he felt that this was “Satan’s throne.” The WCG tour guide minister also said that that there was a tradition/legend (which possibly can be tied to one interpretation of the 12th century Malachy prophecy) that the final pope would sit on this throne.
This particular throne is black and the bottom of its legs are about 5 feet off of the ground. Despite odd claims, no one allegedly has ever sat on this final version of it. Here is a little bit of history about it:
As a young boy Gianlorenzo Bernini (1598–1680) visited St. Peter’s with the painter Annibale Carracci and stated his wish to build “a mighty throne for the apostle”. His wish came true. As a young man, in 1626, he received the patronage of Pope Urban VIII and worked on the embellishment of the Basilica for 50 years…Bernini then turned his attention to another precious relic, the so-called Cathedra Petri or “throne of St. Peter” a chair which was often claimed to have been used by the apostle, but appears to date from the 12th century. As the chair itself was fast deteriorating and was no longer serviceable, Pope Alexander VII determined to enshrine it in suitable splendour as the object upon which the line of successors to Peter was based. Bernini created a large bronze throne in which it was housed, raised high on four looping supports held effortlessly by massive bronze statues of four Doctors of the Church, Saints Ambrose and Augustine representing the Latin Church and Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the Greek Church. The four figures are dynamic with sweeping robes and expressions of adoration and ecstasy. (St. Peter’s Basilica. Wikipedia, viewed 07/21/12)
While there is no actual evidence that Peter had his chair (or a bench he sat upon) turned into this (or presumably part of it), the reality is that some chair/throne/seat has existed for some time, and now is overlaid as the large black one is shown. The Catholic Encyclopedia teaches about at least two:
From the earliest times the Church at Rome celebrated on 18 January the memory of the day when the Apostle held his first service with the faithful of the Eternal City…
This double celebration was also held in two places, in the Vatican Basilica and in a cemetery (coemeterium) on the Via Salaria. At both places a chair (cathedra) was venerated…In its present (ninth-century) form the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” gives a second feast of the Chair of St. Peter for 22 February, but all the manuscripts assign it to Antioch, not to Rome… by the ninth century one of the two feasts of the Roman cathedra had drifted away to Antioch, shows that the cathedra of the Via Salaria must have perished as early as the sixth or seventh century. We come now to the question, where stood originally the chair shown and venerated in the Vatican Basilica during the fourth century? On the strength of ancient tradition it has been customary to designate the church of Santa Pudenziana as the spot where, in the house of the supposed Senator Pudens, the two great Apostles not only received hospitable entertainment, but also held Christian services. But the legends connected with Santa Pudenziana do not offer sufficient guarantee for the theory that this church was the cathedral and residence of the popes before Constantine…
In 1776 there was excavated on the Aventine, near the present church of Santa Prisca, a chapel with frescoes of the fourth century; in these frescoes pictures of the two Apostles were still recognizable. Among the rubbish was also found a gilded glass with the figures of Peter and Paul. The feast of the dedication of this church (an important point) still falls on the same day as the above-described cathedra feast of 22 February; this church, therefore, continued to celebrate the traditional feast even after the destruction of the object from which it sprang.
In the crypt of Santa Prisca is shown a hollowed capital, bearing in thirteenth-century letters the inscription: BAPTISMUS SANCTI PETRI (Baptism of Saint Peter), undoubtedly the echo of an ancient tradition of the administration of baptism here by Peter. In this way we have linked together a series of considerations which make it probable that the spot “ubi secundo sedebat sanctus Petrus” (where Saint Peter sat for the second time), must be sought in the present church of Santa Prisca; in other words, that the chair referred to by St. Damasus was kept there in the period before Constantine. It was there, consequently, that was celebrated the “natale Petri de cathedrâ”, set for 22 February in the calendars beginning with the year 354…
How Pope Damasus might be led to transfer the cathedra Petri from Santa Prisca to the Vatican, can be readily understood from the circumstances of that time. From the reign of the first Constantine the Lateran had been the residence of the popes, and its magnificent basilica their cathedral, while the neighbouring baptistery of Constantine served for the solemn administration of baptism on the eve of Easter. In the half-century from 312 to 366 (date of the accession of Damasus), the importance of Santa Prisca, its baptistery, and its cathedra must naturally have declined. Damasus could therefore be certain of the approval of all Rome when he transferred the venerable Apostolic relic from the small chapel in Santa Prisca to his own new baptistery in the Vatican, where it certainly remained to the first quarter of the sixth century, after which it was kept in different chapels of the Vatican Basilica…We conclude, therefore, that there is no reason for doubting the genuineness of the relic preserved at the Vatican, and known as the Cathedra Petri.
(Waal, Anton de. “Chair of Peter.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 21 Jul. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03551e.htm>)
It should be stated that it is by tradition, as opposed to historical fact, that Peter was actually ever in Rome and there is no evidence that he conducted any church service in Rome on a chair. The admission that at least one of the Roman chairs must have been destroyed and others may have come from elsewhere should help persuade those interested in the truth that the Cathedra Petri is not really Peter’s “throne,” or a place from whence he “ruled” all Christendom. While a Pope (Damascus) apparently believed he was transferring a seat/chair of Peter to the Vatican, that does not make it so (and even if there actually was a seat the Peter once sat on that is now in St. Peter’s Basilica, proves nothing other than a seat Peter sat on still exists). The throne that is now built over Cathedra Petri provides no actual proof that it was some place that Peter actually sat upon. The “no reason to doubt” conclusion in The Catholic Encyclopedia should be understood to mean “no real proof,” despite claims otherwise. Other sources claim that part of the reason for the legend of Cathedra Petri, as well as why there were multiple “seats/chairs/thrones,” was essentially that in the late second and third centuries that competing power blocks made the stories up to attempt to gain dominance (e.g. Sabatier A. Religions of authority and the religion of the spirit. Volume 16 of Theological translation library, 2nd edition. Translated by Louise Seymour Houghton. McClure, Phillips & Co., 1904. Original from the New York Public Library, Digitized Feb 9, 2011, p. 112). It has also been asserted that the seat underneath could never have been Peter’s as it came from the 8th century or simply the 17th century (Greatest Forgery in History: Chair of Saint Peter. Copyright © One-Evil.org 2011. http://one-evil.org/acts_forgery/forgery_chair_of_st_peter.htm viewed 07/22/12).
Furthermore, one would think that if the very chair or “cathedra” of Peter was in St. Peter’s Basilica that it would be the primary basilica for the Church of Rome, but it is not. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes:
Saint John Lateran
This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great “patriarchal” basilicas of Rome…313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former…The ancient apse, with mosaics of the fourth century, survived all the many changes and dangers of the Middle Ages, and was still to be seen very much in its original condition as late as 1878, when it was destroyed in order to provide a larger space for the ordinations and other pontifical functions which take place in this cathedral church of Rome. (Barnes, Arthur. “Saint John Lateran.” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 9. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 21 Jul. 2012 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09014b.htm>)
Notice the inscription, that is shown in numerous places, on the outside of it:
(Photo by Joyce Thiel)
The inscription from Latin above translated into English means, “Sacred Lateran Church Mother and Head of All Churches of the City and the World” (cf. Revelation 17:5).
Anyway, some believe that the final pope on the Catholic Bishop Malachy’s list, Peter the Roman, will sit on the Cathedra Petri (some consider that he will be an antipope, and thus a henchman for Satan) in St. Peter’s Basilica.
And for those unfamiliar with Malachy’s list, he in the 12th century, predicted, with what some believe is complete accuracy, every pope since 1143. When Malachy’s list became public in the 16th century, it was considered to have been so accurate in predicting the 12th – 16th century pontiffs, that some thought it that it had not been written until the 16th century.
Here is what The Catholic Encyclopedia reported about it:
In 1139…St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590…These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1143, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc.
It does need to be pointed out, especially for Catholic readers, that Malachy’s list is only “accurate” if several admitted “antipopes” are counted, and the final one on the list, is believed by some to be the final Antichrist:
Catholic Priest Connor: [W]hen Malachy visited Pope Innocent II in Rome in 1139, he was given a vision of all the Holy Fathers of the future…A study of the entire prophecy shows that fulfillment is made possible only by including anti-popes...(Connor, Edward. Prophecy for Today. Imprimatur + A.J. Willinger, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno; Reprint: Tan Books and Publishers, Rockford (IL), 1984, pp. 7-9)
D. Lindsey: After the 266th pope, according to St. Malachy, there will be no more popes. In addition to being the last pontiff, some visionaries hint that the 266th pontiff will be the Antichrist. (Lindsey DM. The woman and the dragon: apparitions of Mary. Pelican Publishing, 2000, p. 65)
Here is what Malachy wrote in Latin about the last pope on his list:
In persecutione extrema SRE sedebit. Petrus Romanus, quipascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, et Iudex tremendus iudicabit populum suum. Finis. (Gurugé A. The Next Pope. Anura Guruge, 2010, p. 221)
Here is some of what a Catholic writer commented about the last one on the Malachy list:
There are many, around the world, who, thanks to this prophecy, are totally convinced that the next pope will indeed call himself ‘Peter’–most not considering or caring what the implications of this could be.
In the considered opinion of the author, it is highly improbable that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Romanus‘ or even ‘Petrus II.’
For a start, given the Last Judgment implications, many respected Catholic sources have tried to point out, for quite a long time, that the pope talked about in motto 112 does not have to necessarily be the pope who follows the one described by motto 111; this 111th pope now being the current pope, Benedict XVI (#266). The justification for this “hedging’ is that the mottos were not numbered in de Wyon’s 1595 Lignum Vitae. The numbering, to facilitate manageability, came later. Consequently, it can be contented that the author of this prophecy, whoever it was, did not necessarily mean that the pope described in the last motto would come immediately after the one identified in the previous motto. Basically, the last, very long, atypical motto describes the last pope. This last pope may come to be at a much later time–with an indeterminate number of intervening popes between him and the one described by motto 111. Therefore, this last motto may not actually apply to the next pope, in which case, the expectation of ‘Petrus Romanus‘ becomes mute.
But what the proponents of the ‘Petrus Romanus‘ belief do not appear to appreciate is that the next pope, by the sheer necessity of the duties confronting him, is not going to be naive. Naiveté…is not a characteristic that one readily associates with today’s cardinals. They know the ways of the world and are world politic. There will be none amongst them who is not familiar with the Malachy prophecy. They all understand what the ramifications would be if the next pope surprised them all by stating that he will be called ‘Petrus Secundus.’
The protodeacon announcing ‘Petrus Secundus‘ from the balcony of St. Peter’s would be worse than shouting ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. There would be mayhem in what is likely to be another jam-packed St. Peter’s Square. People would panic. There could be a stampede, people could get hurt. The authorities in Rome and the Italian government would be forced to take immediate action to quell the understandable alarm. It would be considered, quite rightly, a security threat! For the first time in over a century there could be troops, Italian, NATO or both, surrounding the Vatican. There would be no celebrations, The Urbi et Orbi blessing, if it was to take place, would be viewed with understandable askance.
It is difficult to imagine the next pope doing anything this reckless. It is difficult to envision the cardinal electors permitting him to do anything this reckless. Hence, it is extremely unlikely that the next pope will be ‘Petrus Secundus,’ let alone ‘Petrus Romanus.’ If he is, head for the hills, and hope for the best. (Gurugé, pp. 221-223)
Now, I agree that the current pope (who could be the last pope and is the one following #111 on the Malachy list) may or may not chose the name Peter II or anything similar–but that does not mean that he could not fulfill that prophecy. It needs to be clear, whether the pope does or not pick that name, the final major pope will be a destructive antipope. Malachy’s list did not actually name pontiffs, but basically gave short descriptions. And while some have concluded that Petrus Romanus is a name, it could be a description. The description could signify that he is a pebble (or “rocky” which is what the term petrus signifies) supporting the final Roman empire.
Notice also the following translation of Malachy’s predicted final pope:
Malachy (12th century): During the persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit upon the throne, Peter the Roman who will feed his flock through many tribulations. After which the City of Seven Hills (Rome) will be utterly destroyed and the awful Judge will then judge the people. (Culleton, R. Gerald. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 138)
Notice that the Bible warns against the religious city that will rules from the seven hills:
9 This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits…18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:9, 18, NIV)
So, perhaps the above photos do show at least one of Satan’s physical thrones on earth.
Why do I say at least one? The Bible does specifically use the expression Satan’s throne once:
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (Revelation 2:12-13, NKJV)
Smith’s Bible Dictionary notes, “It is called “Satan’s seat” by John, which some suppose to refer to the worship of Æsculpius, from the serpent being his characteristic emblem. Others refer it to the persecution of Christians which was the work of Satan” (p.500).
And that particular throne/seat, presuming it involved a physical one, probably was not the same physical one as the one shown above. The main period of the Pergamos Church era was from 450-1050. Just as the initial local Church at Pergamos (time of the Apostle John) was situated in a city where Satan swayed human politics, much of this work of God’s church during 450-1010 A.D. occurred within the bounds of the government of Satan’s Eastern Roman Empire. Yet, whether it physically is or not, in a spiritual sense it seems to be the same throne.
Three basic reasons.
The first is that the old Roman Empire had two divisions, the West (based out of Rome) and the East (based out of Constantinople/Byzantium). While in the West, the “fall of Rome” is taught in history, the fact that the eastern leg of the empire lasted nearly a thousand years longer is relatively unknown–and it existed before and after the entire time that the Pergamos era predominated. Furthermore, prophetic writers, including Catholic ones, have tended to consider that the two legs of the image of the Beast in Daniel 2 have to do with the division of the old Roman Empire. And while the old Roman Empire is no more, there still is a difference between the West (which tends to be Roman Catholic, with Protestant daughters) and the East (which tends to be more Eastern Orthodox). But historically (the “great schism of 1054 not-with-standing) they have supported the same goals, the same body, the same throne.
And the second is because the Bible also teaches that the harlot woman, who would presumably have two legs or two lungs (Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders have stated that they are two “lungs” in the same body) and who sits on the seven hills (both Rome and Constantinople are cities of seven hills/mountains), has a history of persecuting the real saints, those in the genuine Church of God:
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. (Revelation 17:1-6)
So, from the above we see that the harlot woman reigns and has a history of persecuting the saints. This is the same woman/city that sits on the seven hills and reigns (both Rome and Constantinople are known for having seven hills/mountains). And the throne known as the Cathedra Petri is considered to be a throne of importance to at least Rome.
The third is simply that the foundation of the so-called Cathedra Petri is supposed to be four “Doctors of the Church.” Two are Latin (Roman Catholic) and two are Greek (Eastern Orthodox). So, it apparently has long been the intent that the the so-called Cathedra Petri is to portray Greco-Roman unity–they all are shown supporting the same throne. From a Church of God perspective the four individuals are interesting (they are somewhat listed based upon chronological impact of their teachings):
- Athanasius: He was at the Council of Nicea (325) and was able to persuade Emperor Constantine to support the idea of a trinity, which at the time was a very small minority position among the Greco-Roman bishops who attended. Additionally, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia article on the “Holy Ghost,” his circa 360 paper was the first to “clearly and fully” explain the current Greco-Roman doctrine of the Holy Spirit (see also Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?). Catholic prophecy warns that in the end time it will have to deal with a group (like the Church of God, and likely it) that denies its (and Athanasius’ view) of the “unity of God.”
- Ambrose: He was a major factor in promoting and getting Athanasius’s view of the Holy Spirit adopted. He and the other four also heavily pushed celibacy. The trinitarian view that he helped get adopted by the Council of Constantinople in 381 that resulted in Church of God persecution at that time and since. He is also known for his work on Catholic “sacraments” (see Duties of Elders/Pastors).
- John Chrysostom: He was a big advocate of Greco-Roman religious holidays and, in 387, a big condemner of God’s holy days as observed by the Church of God (see Did Early Christians Observe the Fall Holy Days? and What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days?). His views have been cited throughout history and likely will be against the faithful in the Church of God in the end.
- Augustine: Mainly in the fifth century, he used the writings of Ambrose to expand upon sacraments. While he was not the first to turn against teaching the biblical doctrine of the millennium, he has been one of its main “intellectual” discounters that the Greco-Roman churches have relied on. Since the millennial teaching is the only doctrine listed in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194), it is likely that Satan’s supporters will use his writings against those of us in the true Church of God that will continue to teach this (more on the millennium can be found in the article Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? ).
So the foundation, holding up the so-called Cathedra Petri is based upon Greco-Roman leaders who often took strong intellectual positions against the Church of God. This is another reason that, spiritually at least, it seems to represent Satan’s throne.
Biblical, Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox prophecy suggests that the Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics will unify. They will strongly support (for a time) leaders that Satan inspires (cf. Revelation 16:13-14). False leaders likely to have complete access to Saint Peter’s Basilica and the so-called Cathedra Petri, and who for a while, will advocate the positions of the foundational doctors of the throne.
The Bible tells of a time when the King of the North will set up the abomination of desolation in Jerusalem and the ‘man of sin’ will sit in the “temple of God” in the end times:
31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:31)
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
If this Cathedra Petri is moved to area of the Church of God in Jerusalem’s Western Wall (commonly called the Cenacle), it is possible that it could fulfill some of the above prophecies. We will see.
In the end times, it is possible that Satan or one of his demonically-inspired representatives (cf. Revelation 16:12-13) may literally sit upon the black throne shown above. And while it may or may not literally be the throne of Satan, the basis the so-called Cathedra Petri and its anti-Church of God foundation suggests why it spiritually seems to at least partially represent Satan’s throne.
Articles of possibly related interest may include:
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Who is the king of the North?
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a link to a related YouTube video, in English, titled Who is the Man of Sin?
What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History? Although most believe that the Roman Catholic Church history teaches an unbroken line of succession of bishops beginning with Peter, with stories about most of them, Roman Catholic scholars know the truth of this matter. This eye-opening article is a must-read for any who really wants to know what Roman Catholic history actually admits about the early church.
Location of the Early Church: Another Look at Ephesus, Smyrna, and Rome What actually happened to the primitive Church? And did the Bible tell about this in advance?
Apostolic Succession What really happened? Did structure and beliefs change? Are many of the widely-held current understandings of this even possible?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Joyce’s Photos of Pergamos Pergamos (also known as Pergamum, but currently known as Bergama, Bergamo, or Bergamum) was one of the seven churches of Revelation.
Joyce’s Photos of Rome, St. John’s Basilica, and the Vatican Rome has been a major world city for centuries. Since the late second century, it has made claims of prominence over Christianity. There are also two views of the Cathedra Petri shown.
Persecutions by Church and State This article documents some that have occurred against those associated with the COGs and some prophesied to occur. Will those with the cross be the persecutors or the persecuted–this article has the shocking answer.
The Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D. An especially persecuted Church.
Why is a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem Not Required? Although people like Timothy LaHaye teach a third Jewish temple is required, who is ‘the temple of God” in the New Testament? Does the Bible require a rebuilt Jewish Temple?