Pope Francis has warned that the “end of days begin now” and that the crisis involving Iran and Saudi Arabia represents a “tribulation on a timeline” that will “climax in the end of the world.”
Addressing crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican for the celebration of Epiphany, the Pope took the opportunity to warn followers that the Middle East crisis will lead directly to the fulfilment of various Bible prophecies.
“Gatherings of armies, natural disasters, and famine abound around the world. We have celebrated Christmas. Now we celebrate the Epiphany. But do not turn a blind eye to the tribulations of the world.”
The row following the execution of the Shia cleric Sheik Nimr al-Nimr between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and now drawing in the whole of the Arab world, is “not an isolated battle, but the start of a campaign,” said the Pope.
“The great day of the God the Almighty is at hand.”
Gesturing at a group of children, the pope said, “This generation will not grow up before these things have taken place.”
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio in 1936, is the 266th and current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Epiphany, also known as Three Kings’ Day, is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as human in Jesus Christ.