Does the Bible mention a black Pope in relation to the end times?

The Bible does not speak of a black Pope. The first mention of an African or black Pope can be traced to a man named Saint Malachy who lived in the twelfth century. He recorded a vision that there would be 112 more Popes, ending with a black Pope. Some have even attempted to connect Pope Francis I as this Pope because he is a Jesuit who traditionally wore black cassocks or clothing. Does this mean Pope Francis is the black Pope?

There are at least two problems with this interpretation. First, it is based on extra-biblical writings, not the Bible. The Bible does not mention the papacy at all.

Second, a look at Malachy's vision likely referred to someone African, not someone wearing black clothing. In recent selections of the Pope, African leaders have been considered. If someone of African descent becomes Pope in the future, it may fulfill Malachy's prediction, but this does not solve three other problems. Malachy predicted this black Pope would be the 112th Pope, would be the last Pope, and the fact that these predictions are not found in Scripture. All three of these would be problematic if a black Pope is, for example, the 114th Pope and another Pope follows that one.

Rather than accepting Malachy's vision, one would do better to look at the Bible for insights regarding the end times. In Revelation, for example, there is no mention of a Pope. However, there will be a "city on seven hills" (Revelation 17:9) that will serve as a major part of the end times and likely refers to Rome (Rome was also called Babylon in New Testament times as in Revelation.).

In addition, rather than a single global church leader, Revelation speaks of a global world ruler who will demand all people worship him. Every person will be required to receive a mark on his or her head or arm to buy or sell. He will also be violent against those who oppose him (Revelation 13). Thankfully, his reign will be brief; Jesus will return at the end of the seven-year tribulation, defeat this evil leader, and rule from Jerusalem with His people for 1,000 years (Revelation 19—20).

The Bible offers a clear account of God's plans for the end times and how to escape the coming judgment. Those who believe in Jesus as God's Son receive eternal life (John 3:16) and can study Bible prophecy with encouragement about their future (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

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