Friday, February 20, 2015
Ghosts of End Times Present: Walter Veith
From the December 2011 E-Block.
Perhaps you've seen those billboards warning about the end times which say that not keeping the Sabbath is a sure sign you're on the side of the bad guys. If you ever wondered, Walter Veith is an example of a go-to guy for a book advocating that very stance. As his Truth Matters (TM) reveals, though, it's a bit more complex: Yes, it's an adventist view, but with him at least it is also an anti-Catholic view. Veith's position is that Roman Catholicism fits the bill of the whore of Babylon; anti-Sabbatarianism is the mark of those who follow it, and Adventism (as represented by Ellen G. White, and we presume, not by all who call themselves Adventist) represents safe quarter from all that badness, the "Elijah who was to come".
Not all of TM is quite this far fetched. Veith initially makes an effort to argue that Jesus existed and fulfilled OT prophecy, using McDowell as his guide through secular references to Jesus. Other chapters are no less extraordinary (and no more scholarly). Unfortunately, since I am not equipped to evaluate many of Veith's charges against Catholicism; and since there have already been adequate critiques of White done before, I'll limit myself to checking up on a few of Veith's claims and use those as a microcosm for evaluation.
If you're looking for any serious or detailed exegesis of passages to validate Veith's eschatology, it won't be found here. Documentation is spotty at best, and a great deal is taken for granted or described in as few words as seemed possible. Veith does offer the standard sleight of hand we have seen from both amateur eschatologists and copycat Christ mythers: Collapsing down descriptions to a lowest common denominator to achieve a match. Thus for example, we are assured that the papacy fits descriptions of Daniel 7's fourth beast (although it is allowed to have been initially pagan Rome!), but the explanations frequently fall short of satisfactory, as for example, where Daniel says the beast "shall devour the whole earth." This, we are assured, happens inasmuch as "[P]apal Rome was to receive the same supremacy it enjoyed in the Middle Ages over the nations of Europe on an international scale at the end of time." A later chapter is then said to prove this in detail, but what Veith calls a "mortal wound" amounts to little more than a boo-boo. In Veith's view, the "mortal wound" to the Papacy was the dethroning in 1798 of Pope Pius VI by Napoleon: The Pope had his papal ring removed, and died in exile; thereafter his successors had to submit to Napoleon, one of them, Pius VII, was also exiled, but returned to power in 1814.
Thereafter, Veith tries to up the ante with yet another papal exile, in 1848, but admits this pope (Pius IX) was restored to power just two years later. In the end, he sums up the "wound" as the papacy having lost political power outside Catholicism between 1798 and 1929.
As with standard dispensationalism, however, Veith does little more than carefully select what he needs to serve his purposes. Why not instead select the advent of the antipopes as the “mortal wound,” or the reign of the so-called “pornographic” popes? Or how about the current controversy over pedophilia and Catholic priests?
Other matches are no more persuasive. We are told that the papal title "Vicar of the Son of God" totals to 666 in Latin; but so for that matter does "Papa Smurf" in English. We are told that the USA is the lamblike beast of Revelation, because it "starts off like a lamb and later speaks like a dragon" -- with reference to the latter, because it "would become more militant over time" and eventually, it is said, will "cause all who dwell on the earth to worship the papal power..." The proof of this is the USA's role as a global policeman. I must have missed the news story where Afghans and Iraqis were being compelled to worship on Sunday and take communion; but apparently, that the US merely has the ability (so Veith says) to enforce papal decrees is enough to suppose that it is only a matter of time before they do. That, and the fact that in 1982, Ronald Reagan had a private meeting with the Pope, an "American Envoy was posted to the Vatican," and (supposedly, according to "Liberty magazine") the Reagan administration altered its foreign aid program to "comply with the Church's teachings on birth control." All that is missing now is the Jesuit lizards driving the black helicopters using a Sasquatch as a co-pilot.
In terms of Sabbatarianism, Veith provides nothing new of substance we have not seen before, and answers nothing we have argued in reply. His major mistake is supposing that Sunday is regarded as a "Christian sabbath." Other than this, it is hard to give Veith much credence as a researcher when he adheres to such absurd notions as that the Christmas tree is derived from pagan practices (a matter we discussed in the E-Block exactly three years ago).
In sum, while truth may matter to Veith, it seems clear that he doesn’t have enough gumption or discipline to ensure exactly what it is.
Posted by J. P Holding at 10:52 AM