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[History] > 14th Century - Nun - The Fall of Papal Supremacy

Spoke 14 linksymbol 14th Century AD

2 Chronicles, Zephaniah, Hebrews

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Revelation 14

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Isaiah 14

Absolute Papal Supremacy

This authority, however, (though it has been given to man and is exercised by man), is not human but rather divine, granted to Peter by a divine word and reaffirmed to him (Peter) and his successors by the One Whom Peter confessed, the Lord saying to Peter himself, 'Whatsoever you shall bind on earth, shall be bound also in Heaven' etc., [Mt 16:19]. Therefore whoever resists this power thus ordained by God, resists the ordinance of God [Rom 13:2]. ... Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Fourteenth Century Papal Bull Unam Sanctam This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window

Ancient Rabbinical tradition relates the Fourteenth Letter Nun to the idea of the "Fallen Ones" (Nephalim) as discussed in articles relating to Isaiah 14, Romans 14, and Revelation 14, to name a few. This then integrates with the course of Church History and the first official declaration of absolute papal supremacy made at the dawn of the Fourteenth Century This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window (1302) by Pope Boniface VIII This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window (quoted above). The supernatural integration with Isaiah 14 simultaneously exposes the spirit motivating mere creatures to claim divine authority while demonstrating the absolute supremacy of the one true and sovereign Lord God Almighty Who has given us His perfect prophetic Word.

The Fall of Boniface VIII

Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

Isaiah 14.15f

The downfall of the medieval papal power was triggered by a monetary conflict between King Philip the Fair of France and Pope Boniface VIII. Phillip was heavily taxing the Church to build his kingdom, so Boniface issued his bull Clericis Laicos This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window that threatened ipso facto excommunication for anyone taxing the Church without papal approval. As Philip's rebellion against the Pope intensified, Pope Boniface issued his bull Unam Sanctam, claiming both spiritual and temporal authority over all human creatures. Philip resonded by publicly accusing the Pope of a host of crimes against God, man, and nature. As Boniface sat in his home in Anagni preparing another bull that would have excommunicated Philip, he was attacked by a force of hundreds of horsemen and one or two thousand footmen with the intent of capturing him and setting him before a council in France that would depose him of his power. The Catholic view of what then happened is described by this entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window:

Boniface was held three days a close prisoner in the plundered papal palace. No one cared to bring him food or drink, while the banditti quarrelled over his person, as over a valuable asset. By early morning of 9 September the burghers of Anagni had changed their minds, wearied perhaps of the presence of the soldiers, and ashamed that a pope, their townsman, should perish within their walls at the hands of the hated Francesi. They expelled Nogaret and his band, and confided Boniface to the care of the two Orsini cardinals, who had come from Rome with four hundred horsemen; with them he returned to Rome.

The holding of Boniface as a "close prisoner" echoes the words of Isaiah 14.16: "They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?"

The excessive trauma of this whole ordeal brought the 85 year old Pontiff to his knees and he promptly died of a violent fever less about a month later. Thus were the words of the Lord fulfilled against whoever would exalt himself to "the heights of heaven" - indeed, in less than a year after proclaiming the divine power of the Papacy, Pope Boniface lay dead in the grave. Note also that there could not be a more accurate description of this Pope than he "that did shake kingdoms." Indeed, the event that led to Unam Sanctam and Boniface's downfall was the result of the papal conflict Philip, king of the nation of France.

Historian Thomas Bokenkotter discusses the rise of "nation states" as an integral cause of the decline in papal power in his well-balanced book A Concise History of the Catholic Church This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window. In his chapter called "The Unmaking of Christendom A.D. 1300-1650" the first section, coverning the opening of the Fourteenth Century and called "The Decline of the Papal Monarchy," integrates perfectly with the symbolic meaning of Nun as The Fallen Ones. Here is an excerpt (pg. 179):

The successors of Hildebrand succeeded to a remarkable degree in establishing their supremacy over Christendom. Under these imposing papal monarchs Christendom enjoyed its golden age in the thirteenth century ... But the onward sweep of history could not be held back, and the rise of national monarchies in the thirteenth century presaged the decline of both the imerial and papal authority and the end of papal Christendom. ... Philip the Fair of France led the onslought of nation states on the papal monarchy when he literally kidnapped Pope Boniface VIII and then constrained Boniface's successor to remain in France.

The imediate consequence of all these political machinations was the seventy year "Babylonian Captivity" of the Papacy in Avignon, France.

Bablyonian Captivity of the Papacy

And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

Isaiah 14.3f

In 1305 Pope Clement V This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window, a Frenchman, was elected Pope. He lived in various places in France until 1309 when he moved the Papal court to Avignon, France, where the papacy remained until 1378. For seventy years, Rome lay dormant, indeed, the golden city had ceased, precisely as Isaiah 14 declares. This was a major event that came to be known as the "Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy contemporaneously in the Fourteenth Century. It also correlates perfectly with the historical Babylonian exile mentioned above in the Fourteenth Book, both in terms of the century in which it occured and its duration, as declared in II Chronicles 36.20, on Spoke 14 of the bwheel:

And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

It is extremely significant that the Roman Catholic Church, as part of its apologetic of Papal authority derived from Peter, asserts to this day that Rome is symbolically represented as Babylon in the Scriptures (cf. Sixteenth Century Reformation).

This mysterious connection between Babylon and the Number 14 also manifests in the structure of Matthew's geneology, where the Babylonian exile is used to punctuate two sets of 14 generations. All of this manifests in the structure of the Canon with this correlated set of three of triplets that follow Spoke 14 of the Wheel.

  Spoke 15 Spoke 16 Spoke 17
Epistles to the Scattered: James I Peter II Peter
Post-Exilic Minor Prophets: Haggai Zechariah Malachi
Post-Exilic OT History:  Ezra Nehemiah Esther

Both Catholics in the Fourteenth Century and Protestants in the Sixteenth Century recognized the Babylonian Captivity as an apt biblical symbol or "type" befitting their historical situation. These centuries span the end of the pre-exilic to the center of the post-exilic books of the Bible. Such is the Divine Wisdom of our Almighty God.

Thy Pomp is Brought Down to the Grave

Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

I return now to the commentary of Thomas Bokenkotter in his book A Concise History of the Catholic Church This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window (pg. 191):

These Avignon Popes - rightly or wrongly - put great faith in the efficacy of external pomp. In an age of increasing wealth, they felt it necessary to display a magnificence on a scale equal to their claims. A massive palace was built whose forbidding parapets still dazzle the eye of the tourist. A crowd of courtiers - knights, squires, and chamberlains, their ranks swelled by an army of hungry benefice seekers - filled the spacious rooms. The palace's luxurious furnishings were the talk of Europe. Avignon outshone all other courts by the extravagence of its style and the brilliance of its feasts.

What more need be said? History bears witness to the infinite Widsom of Almighty God. Yet there remains one last event that dealt the death blow to the papal presumptions; the Great Schism.

The Great Schism

That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

Isaiah 14.4f

In 1378, Pope Gregory XI This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window returned the papacy to Rome and then prompty died. This caused a panic amongst the residents of Rome, who feared that the papacy would be lost to France again. In their haste, they elected Urban VI This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window who turned out to be a tirant which prompted thirteen cardinals to abandon Rome and declare Urban as "anti-christ, demon, apostate and tyrant." They then elected Robert of Geneva This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window who took the title Pope Clement VII, but who is to this day considered an ani-pope by the Catholics. History then records forty years of bitter fighting for dominance between the "popes" of Avignon and the "popes" of Rome! As Thomas Bokenkotter puts it, this brought the papal office to the utter depths of degradation and did more than any other event to discredit its authority (pg. 195)." This completed the fourteenth century Pope's fall from "heaven."

As a final note, it is important not to read into this correspondence more than what is revealed. The Roman Catholic Church acknowledges that evil men have sat in "Peter's Seat." This does not necessarily imply that the Papacy is currently of the anti-christ, nor that everyone in the Roman Catholic Church is damned. But it does add yet another witness against the papal claim to infallibility and supremacy, which for numerous reasons must be absolutely rejected as utterly false. Simply stated, the Roman Catholic Church needs to repent of this very human sin, that also gave rise to the Great Schism between East and West in the Eleventh Century. If there is any flaw in the Roman Catholic Church, this is it - the inability or unwillingness to say "I was wrong." Unfortunately, such an ability coincides with the absolute heart and soul of the Christian Faith.






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