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    What the Papacy Has Taken Away

    The brief space at our command will prevent us from giving more than an outline of the many weighty reasons for adopting this interpretation of the prophecy. A more extended treatment of the subject must be deferred until another time, but attention is now invited to the following facts.THD 20.1

    Christ is the only and exclusive mediator between God and men (1 Timothy 2:5), and to put any man in his place is to take from him his mediatorial work and to cast down the place of his sanctuary. The Papacy has done just this in making the Pope the vicar of God and the vicegerent of Christ. The vital doctrine upon which the whole Roman Catholic system rests is stated by Cardinal Newman (Roman Catholic) in these words:-THD 20.2

    We observe that the essence of the doctrine that “there is one only Catholic and apostolic church” lies in this-that there is on earth a representative of our absent Lord, or a something divinely interposed between the soul and God, or a visible body with invisible privileges. All its subordinate characteristics flow from this description.THD 20.3

    Upon this claim to be the vicegerent of God and vicar of Christ is based the authority for the priesthood which derives all its power from the Pope:-THD 20.4

    All the power of the Western priesthood is summed up in the Pope, who, according to the Roman dogma, by virtue of divine appointment, is head of the collective church, the viceroy of Christ upon earth.-Von Hase.THD 21.1

    From these claims have been developed the whole system of the priesthood and the sacrificial service of Rome. By thus usurping the mediatorial work of Christ, and establishing upon earth a complete counterfeit of the true sanctuary service, the Papacy has taken away from Christ his continual mediation, and has established another way of access to God. This has been clearly expressed by another writer in the following language:-THD 21.2

    Few of us have ever grasped the full significance of sacerdotalism as a papal device. It puts the priest between the soul and all else, even God, at every stage of development, in the most ingenious and subtle system ever imagined.... From cradle to grave, and even afterward [in masses for the dead], there is always a human mediator to interpose; and this alone accounts for the marvelous power of the priesthood wherever this eternal tribunal holds sway.-Dr. Arthur T. Pierson.THD 21.3

    That the Papacy has actually accomplished the work described in this prophecy will hardly be denied by any Protestant who is familiar with its history. It has trampled upon the people of God and magnified itself in place of the Son of God. Instead of maintaining the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the heavenly sanctuary, and the mediatorial work of our great High Priest therein, it has established an earthly sanctuary with an earthly altar, an earthly offering, and an earthly priesthood, and claims to be “the medium of all intercourse between Christ and Christian people (the laity)-so that the gate of heaven is open to no one to whom it is not opened by the priest.” All this has been summed up in a remarkably forceful way by that eminent writer on the Papacy, Rev. J. A. Wylie:-THD 21.4

    Popery has a god of its own-him, even whom the canon law calls the “Lord, our God.” It has a savior of its own-the church, to wit. It has a sacrifice of its own-the mass. It has a mediator of its own-the priesthood. It has a sanctifier of its own-the sacrament. It has a justification of its own-that even of infused righteousness. It has a pardon of its own-the pardon of the confessional. And it has in the heavens an infallible, all-prevailing advocate unknown to the gospel-the “mother of God.” It thus represents to the world a spiritual and saving apparatus for the salvation of men; and yet it neither sanctifies nor saves any one. It looks like a church. It professes to have all that a church ought to have, and yet it is not a church. It is a grand deception-“the all deceivableness of unrighteousness.”THD 22.1

    By such substitutions as these, the Papacy robbed Christ of his mediatorial function, and shut away from the people the knowledge of his intercession in the heavenly sanctuary, making, in fact, such an office entirely unnecessary by substituting another mediator and another intercessor. Thus did the man of sin sit in the temple of God, and set himself forth as God.THD 22.2

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