When I last wrote about this, I had discovered many of the "prophecies" of the Great Monarch were fakes, but certain by-all-accounts holy Churchmen did write about this figure. I say "write about," rather than prophesize, for reasons that will become more clear later.
I have now done more research, and my view has changed yet again. I set myself the goal of trying to trace back the Monarch prophecies to a source; what kicked this off? As it turns out, others had done this research for me, but we came to the same conclusion: the earliest Great Monarch prophecy is from, not a Catholic, but a Sibyl, that is a Roman prophetess, specifically, the Triburtine Sibyl.
The Sibyls, according to some, are really pseudo-Sibyls, so that makes this even more complicated. Some surmise that Jewish and Christian propagandists used the name of the Sibyl in order to spread their respective propagandas to the pagans, so that a Christian would come up with Christian prophecies and then attribute these to a Sibyl, knowing they had more credibility with the heathen hordes... This is just speculation, but it's plausible speculation.
Now, the book pertaining to the Great Monarch is Book 8 of the Triburtine Sibyl, a book that is said to show both Jewish and Christian influence. The first part is supposedly very Jewish, but then towards the end there is an acrostic on the name of Jesus or something like that, which is supposed to mean it's Christian... What if it's gnostic or kabbalistic Christianity? That is what first popped into my mind. Why would the same book show two different strains of thought?
The section on the Great Monarch is very long, and starts with a depiction of generation after generation, vaguely describing various rulers, as we head towards the Monarch and Antichrist from the early days of the Church. In my opinion, it is the farthest thing from convincing. It doesn't seem to match any reality that I know of, but it's vague enough that you can read whatever you want into it.
The defining feature of this prophecy is what you could call an anti-Muslim paranoia -- and it is clear that this influenced almost all the future writers who took on the subject of the Great Monarch ( it's almost always about Muslims, not about Jews ). The Christians are seen as groaning under the yoke of the Muslims, who have enslaved them -- this has been permitted by God because of their lukewarmness -- when the Great Monarch comes as their deliverer. Again, it doesn't really reflect current events.
Before the end of the first millenium, there are very few Great Monarch "prophecies" that can be verified. Most of those that are written about by Dupont and others are fake. For instance, people quote St. Augustine prophesizing the Great Monarch, but they are really quoting De Antichristo by Monk Adso. They quote St. Methodius, but it was really someone known now only as pseudo-Methodius, allegedly a bishop, who wrote about the Monarch. And likewise, it was not St. Ephraem but pseudo-Ephraem who also wrote about him ( I can't recall at the moment if pseudo-Ephraem wrote general end-time prophecies or specifically about the Great Monarch ).
Scholars have compared these prophecies side-by-side, and right away, unless these scholars have an agenda, it's obvious that the "prophets" merely copied the Sibyl. The wording and ideas are virtually identical in places. Somewhere along the line, the idea of the Monarch laying down his crown in Jerusalem is added. But as it turns out, these were not prophecies so much as mere transmission of the prophecy of the Sibyl... Recall, this was the Dark Ages, information and books were scarce, any sort of prophecy from the past was like a treasure to be handed down, and that is what these early "prophets" were obviously doing, unless you believe that God gave them all the same vision almost word-for-word. So it is either ignorant or dishonest to act like all these different holy people, in different places, were all having visions of a Great Monarch. This also goes for the Venerable Bede, who wrote down the prophecy of the Sibyl.
Something I should say about the Sibyls; they had some credibility with Catholic writers. St. Augustine even mentions one of them predicting Christ. So it wasn't considered to be like fortune-telling to consult a Sibyl. But it's possible these people were fooled by an extremely cryptic, gnostic hoax; the mystery of iniquity itself, even.
In the second millenium, again, many prophecies of the Monarch are fake. The main source of this legend, just as the Sibyl was for the first millenium, is a book called the Liber Mirabilis. This source is even worse than the Sibyl. It is a hodgepodge of a book with prophecies that some allege are flat-out doctored, it is full of astrological mumbo-jumbo, and it was even banned by the Church in Portugal, in a certain diocese. But it sounds like it was very popular among the people. I am pretty sure this is how the common folk got the Great Monarch bug.
The main "prophet" of the Great Monarch who we know for sure wrote on this subject, is Holzhauser, a German who lived a short life in the 17th century. Holzhauser attained to the status of Venerable, so he is not a nobody. He was a wonderworker of Church reform in Germany, and also considered an impressive scholar. He writes at great length about the Great Monarch in his unfinished interpretation of the Apocalypse, where he also goes into his theory of the Seven Ages of Man.
But is even this a real prophesy, or is it merely Biblical interpretation? I opt for the latter. If we are to call this prophesy, then Hermann Kramer's The Book of Destiny is "prophecy." I actually find a similar style between the two authors; a bit romantic, overwrought and overimaginative in classic German fashion. This is not to denigrate Holzhauser, who I'm sure was a saintly religious, but in this case, he is just another Catholic writing his interpretation of the Apocalypse. He says there are references to the Great Monarch in about a dozen books of the Bible, citing almost all the Minor Prophets, and I have never heard anyone make such a claim before. I confess at this point I have not checked to see if he gives references to the Biblical passages in question -- that is because I am not really that convinced by his interpretation to begin with, so the motivation is lacking.
The period that follows the French Revolution sees the Great Monarch figure shape-shift once again, he is now the man who will deliver France from the revolutionaries. You find references to him among the counter-revolutionary Catholics, those who were intransigent against any compromise with the Republican government, among figures such as Abbé Mathurin ( who supposedly prophesied the invention of the steam train ) and Abbé Curicque, a priest who wrote a book about end-times prophecies n the late 19th century called Voix Prophétiques, who clearly had integrity but seemed a bit quick to ascribe any sort of vague prophecy of a future king to a Great Monarch figure. Just because a prophecy talks about a king, doesn't mean it's the Great Monarch, you see...
I feel now I have a good grasp of the situation, and the Great Monarch prophecies that we can prove are real, are not prophecies at all, except the prophecy of the Sibyl which kicked this all off, and which could be a gnostic / kabbalistic hoax for all we know.
I believe there are three main strains of writing on the Great Monarch:
(1) Transmission of the Sibylline prophecy
(2) Folk legends centered around the Liber Mirabilis
(3) Wishful thinking of the counter-Revolutionaries of France
In case it's not clear, what I'm saying is that the Great Monarch appears, to me, to belong more to the realm of legend and rumor than of prophecy, though it was a prophecy that started the whole thing -- one that cannot even be proven to be Christian. You can see how the idea keeps being adapted to various epochs.
I said earlier that there are prophecies about kings that do not necessarily pertain to the Great Monarch. You will see how those who collate prophecies often lump them all together, creating a form of hypnotism whereby you think that any prophecy that speaks of a king must be talking about the French monarch. Like it will say "... A king of the house of the lilies..." so we just KNOW this refers to the Great Monarch. I finally caught onto this, and became extremely exacting, going through prophecy after prophecy with a fine-toothed comb.
One prophecy of Joséphine Lamarine, for example, mentions a man on horseback in a church, a king, holding a double-edged sword. This is cited as a Great Monarch prophecy. It sounds more to me like Jesus Himself, but to each his own. True, it could be the Great Monarch insofar as he is the hand of God, enforcing the will of God... Or it could just be the way that this woman saw Jesus in her vision, which was colored by her respect for the French royalty... A third option is that there will be a new king of France, after the Republics fall, but that he will not be the so-called Great Monarch. How can you assume that she was referring to the Great Monarch? Too many prophecies are like this.
I will go further: I will say that, apart from the Sibyl, there is not a single prophecy about the Great Monarch that can be traced back to a source that we know is valid beyond any shadow of a doubt. Not one. Holzhauser, like I said, is just interpreting the Apocalypse, if that is prophecy, then there are millions of prophets. I am talking about a prophecy that the seer claims to have received from God Himself. But here is something really interesting: There ARE prophecies about a future Pope, as well as a Minor Chastisement, and these are real prophecies, with real, traceable sources: Anna-Maria Taigi, Elisabetta Canori-Mora, and others. In my opinion, these are true prophecies from God, a feeling I do not get with any Great Monarch prophecy. They may be mixed with demonic deceit, as can happen, but they strike me as authentic prophecies, not just human imagination.
When this idea hit me, it instantly intrigued me. There are verifiable prophecies about a Restoration of the Church, but not so much about the Great Monarch... What if our entire vision of the future is, therefore, totally wrong? What if the devil, for ages and ages, has been trying to disrupt the real restoration of the Church, with misleading visions of how it will happen, by playing on messianic fantasies? When you see how the Great Monarch prophecies lack a solid foundation, it definitely makes you wonder.
The fact that the Great Monarch is an exact mirror of Antichrist, like a "good" Antichrist, also makes you wonder. Was the Great Monarch an attempt of the devil to make people accept Antichrist, whose life pattern we all generally know? Is this figure a way to "money-launder," to whitewash Antichrist? Look at the resemblances:
* He wipes out all the heathens, while Antichrist absorbs all heresies into himself ( and he will certainly be pseudo-Christian, at least at times, mastering confusion as he does ).
* He dies in Jerusalem on a holy mountain. So does Antichrist, who goes to a holy mountain and tries to ascend like Jesus into the sky, only to be confronted with Jesus Himself, when he is hurled into a chasm in the ground caused by an earthquake...
* This one is a bit abstruse, but it involves the St. Francis de Paola letters -- which do not have a very convincing origin. In these letters, it says the Great Monach "after having been crowned with three most admirable crowns, will exalt that city, will declare it free, and the seat of the Empire, and it shall become one of the first cities in the world..." Now, the Little Horn / Antichrist of Daniel also gets his start on the road to power by taking control of three kingdoms.
Daniel 7:8 -- "I considered the horns, and behold another little horn sprung out of the midst of them: and three of the first horns were plucked up at the presence thereof: and behold eyes like the eyes of a man were in this horn, and a mouth speaking great things."
Right away it hit me that this is a Satanic inversion of the three wise men -- who were kings -- visiting the infant Jesus. The "little horn," that is, the Antichrist who starts out in an innocuous way, as Jesus was invisible and innocuous at first, gets control of three kingdoms. This really chills me, though if the prophecy of St. Francis de Paola is fake, as it probably is, it doesn't mean much. It could even be someone trying to denigrate the Great Monarch. But that doesn't change the fact that ALL the Great Monarch prophecies have overtones of Antichrist.
When you think about it, does it really seem plausible that this figure would wipe out all heresies? What, he is going to ride into Iran and Iraq, he is going to fight every Muslim? More and more, I wonder how I ever believed in this. I think the evidence, for me, is starting to favor the idea that the Great Monarch myth is one of the ways the devil is setting up acceptance of Antichrist. If anything, there may be a true Pope and true King who are eventually REJECTED by an imposter Pope, the False Prophet, and an impostor King, claiming to be the Great Monarch, who will attempt to play on glamour and fantasies.
I am just free-associating here, but what I know is this: There are no real, solid prophecies about the Great Monarch; there are real, solid prophecies about a future Pope and a future king or kings, as well as a Minor Chastisement; the Monarch's life, as described, bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Antichrist.
I now see the time we are in as an absolute, impenetrable mystery, that God does not want anyone to know about. But I am now on my guard. I think this may play out very differently than anyone expects. After all, who saw Vatican II coming?