THE GOOD NEWS MINISTRY AND MISSIONS OUTREACH PROCLAIMING THE SOON RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST!
Revealing The Rise of a Counterfeit Christianity - The Great Pretenders!
Part One - The Big Picture and Overview
"Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name ... and will deceive many' (Matthew 24:4-5).
Jesus Christ told His apostles to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in His name. Most people who are familiar with the Bible realize those apostles zealously embarked on that mission. Their converts were first called Christians in the city of Antioch (Acts 11:26). Since then, so many people have been born or inducted into the hundreds of denominations known collectively as "Christianity" that it is one of the world's most popular and dominant religions.
People assume that all, or at least almost all, who bear the name Christian follow the beliefs, teachings and practices of Jesus Christ. But the Bible tells us that not everyone who accepts the name of Christ is really a Christian.
Jesus predicted that many, a great multitude, would claim His name but deny Him by their actions. He said they would "call Me 'Lord, Lord,"' but "not do the things which I say" (Luke 6:46).
Christ and His apostles spoke of false churches, false teachers, false prophets, false apostles, false brethren and a false gospel.
They revealed that two opposing ostensibly Christian religions would emerge. One-a small remnant-a little flock-a very few- of the Church Jesus founded would be led by God's Spirit and remain faithful to His teachings. The other, the majority, a great multitude, would be beguiled - guided and influenced by a different spirit- that they would accept the name of Christ but twist His teachings to create a convincing counterfeit of the True Church Christ Founded.
Both would use Christ's name and claim His authority. Both would perform works that would outwardly appear good and right. Both would claim to be following Christ's true teachings. But only one, a little flock, a small remnant, a very few- would faithfully represent its founder, Jesus Christ. The other, the majority, a great multitude, would capture the minds and hearts of humanity by attaching the name of Christ to biblically insupportable religious customs, worldly traditions and doctrines that Jesus and His apostles neither taught, practiced nor approved.
The apostles repeatedly warned Jesus' followers to beware of false teachers who would introduce counterfeit-Christian beliefs. Jesus Himself warned: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name ... and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5).
The New Testament presents a concise historical sketch of the roots of these two religions that profess to be Christian one real, one counterfeit. Christ's apostles described the origin of each and their fundamental characteristics.
We have already examined the apostles' description of the True Church Jesus founded. Now let's look at the record they left us of another supposedly Christian religion-one that distorted and corrupted the truth and grew to become far more powerful and influential than the small, True and Faithful Church Jesus promised would never die out.
Teaching the traditions of men
Where do most professing Christian churches and Christian educational institutions get their teachings and practices? Most of their members assume they come from the Bible or from Jesus Christ Himself. But do they?
Jesus commanded His apostles to teach others exactly what He had taught, "teaching them to obey everything I have commanded and taught you" (Matthew 28:20, NIV). He condemned the replacing of God's commandments, the teachings of the one true gospel with human traditions and human reasoning. Speaking to the Pharisees, He said, "For laying aside the commandments of God, you hold to the traditions of men ... All too well you reject the commandments of God, that you may keep your traditions" (Mark 7:8-9).
Jesus taught that His True Church should keep the commandments and the one true gospel of God: "If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). He warned: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many great signs and wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! "' (Matthew 7:22-23). He knew that false teachers would arise who would reject the commandments and the one true word of God for a distorted gospel of rebellion and disobedience!
Like Jesus, the apostles consistently taught obedience to God. Peter and the other apostles risked their lives to make it clear that "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Paul expressed the same commitment he shared with the other apostles of a life of obedience. "Through him [Christ] and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith" (Romans 1:5, NIV).
Paul later cautioned members of the congregation in Colosse to hold fast to what he had taught them. "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught. ." (Colossians 2:6-7).
Following Christ's example, Paul warned the Colossians not to accept the humanistic traditions and philosophies of men as replacements for the commandments and the one true gospel of God: "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8; compare Mark 7:8-9, 13).
Why did Jesus Christ and the apostles sound such urgent warnings to avoid the worldly traditions, psychology and humanistic philosophy of men?
Jesus warned us that our enemy, the devil, plants false Christians among the true (Matthew 13:24-30). Some of these "false brethren" (2 Cor. 11:26) directly attack True Believers. Others have and will continually try to introduce a false, ritualistic or cultic gospel within the True Church. (Gal. 1:6-9). Still others, either from within the church or through a cult, teach a counterfeit righteousness (Rom. 10:1-3). Jesus called these the tares "the sons of the wicked one" declaring that the one who sows the tares is "the devil" (Matt. 13:38-39).
Though proper discernment and church discipline can remove some counterfeits, these imposters and false teachers from the local congregation, we can't always tell the false from the true. It is impossible, therefore, to cleanse the church completely of its enemy agents of deception. Nevertheless, we need to be on guard at all times, measuring all things by the Word of God, testing not only the words of so-called believers, but also their behavior and attitudes. If you find a spirit of pride and stubborn willful deceit, be careful. Apply the word of God firmly with humility and gentleness (Matt 18:15-17 ; 2 Tim. 2:24-26; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 4:1-6)
Subversion from within the Church
As the apostles strove to establish still more congregations of believers among the nations, a phenomenon arose that eventually produced an alternate and outwardly Christian religion-but one quite different from the Church Jesus founded and His apostles established.
New and different doctrines were subtly introduced. Some began subverting the Church by challenging and contradicting the teachings of Christ's apostles. Paul warned, "For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (Titus 1: I 0-11).
To counter this trend, Paul instructed fellow elder Titus to carefully consider the background, knowledge and character of anyone being considered for ordination: "Since an overseer is entrusted with God's work, he must be blameless ... He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it" (verses 7, 9, NIV).
Increasingly, "false apostles" began contradicting and undermining the teachings of the true apostles of Christ. Paul cautioned the church in Rome: "I urge you, brothers and sisters, to keep an eye on those who cause dissensions and offenses, in opposition to the teaching that you have learned; avoid them. For such people do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil" (Romans 16:17-19, NRSV).
Competing religious leaders, masquerading as ministers of Christ, began teaching their own false doctrines of worldliness and humanistic philosophy "in opposition to" Christ's apostles and others of his faithful servants. At first they came predominantly from a Jewish background. But then false teachers emerged from people of other Philosophical backgrounds within the professing Church. The subversive doctrines that eventually grew to be the most influential were a blending of all the Roman, Greek and Babylonian pagan philosophies of humanism and the misguided Jewish philosophies synthesized with the philosophies of mysticism and gnosticism , that were all very popular in the City of Rome and throughout the Old Roman Empire at that time.
Simon the Sorcerer was one such false teacher mentioned early in the Scriptures. After his baptism by Philip, Simon attempted to buy the office of apostle from Peter, hoping to obtain the power to grant others the Holy Spirit. Motivated by his greed for wealth, power and influence, he faked conversion to appear Christian (Acts 8:9-23). Later historical sources indicate that he blended various philosophical elements of paganism, humanism, mysticism and gnosticism into a counterfeit-Christian theology of humanism and psychology.
A dangerous trend was established. Soon "False churches", "false apostles," "false teachers" "false brethren" and a "false gospel" abounded. A counterfeit Christianity was born.
A different gospel gains ground
The impact of distorted teachings devastated the early Church. For example, Christians in the Roman province of Galatia turned en masse from the teachings of the apostle Paul and to a corrupted, cunningly devised but counterfeit gospel promoted by these false apostles.
Paul described the approach they used and the effect the false teachers had on Christians in Galatia: "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-7). The brethren in that area were being swept into one of the many sects making up the emerging false Christianity. Paul had to contend with religious strife generated by Jewish and gentile elements in the Galatian congregations.
These cunning pretenders, these spirtual imposters, did not reject outright the gospel Paul taught. They simply perverted aspects of it. Then they seduced the Galatian Christians into accepting their- gospel- a false gospel- a deadly mixture of truth and error. It contained enough truth to appear righteous and Christian, but it contained sufficient error to prevent any who would accept it from receiving true salvation and the infilling of the True Holy Spirit. Instead they received a false sense of salvation and were infilled with an unholy spirit- the spirit of antichrist.
Notice Paul's blistering condemnation of that "different" gospel: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1: 8-9).
Notice Paul's warning to the Corinthians about a false Jesus, a false spirit and a false gospel, that was being preached by false teachers. "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2Cor:11:4)
A gospel of no law
Jesus warned His apostles this would happen: "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold" (Matthew 24:11-12). Jesus explained that lawlessness, the key element in the message of the false teachers, would make their ideas appealing and popular. Disregard for God's law and His true gospel would finally become the foundation of a popular and successful counterfeit Christianity.
The false prophets devised their message and doctrines by verbally acknowledging Jesus as "Lord" while refusing to obey Him (Luke 6:46). Jesus Himself warned of their deceitful, cunning approach: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:15).
Jesus made it clear that teachers of rebellion and disobedience, who outwardly appear as innocent sheep performing devoutly religious acts, are not His apostles or servants: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many signs and wonders in Your name? 'And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"' (verses 22-23).
God's law: the religious Battleground
Controversy over God's law erupted within the Church as soon as the first gentiles (non-Israelites) were converted. Certain Jewish believers wanted to force circumcision and other physical requirements on the gentiles. They demanded that gentile converts be physically circumcised to receive salvation (Acts 15: 1).
The apostles refused. They pointed out that even Moses had taught that the circumcision that made one acceptable to God was a matter of the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6; compare with Romans 2:29 and Colossians 2:11-12). Also, God had declared Abraham to be righteous in His sight before he was circumcised (Romans 4:9-12). Therefore, they explained, physical circumcision should not be regarded as a requirement for the gentiles' salvation (Acts 15:2, 5-10). For further proof, Peter noted that God had recently given the Holy Spirit to several gentiles without their being circumcised, demonstrating His will in the matter (verse 8; Acts II: 1-4, 15-18).
The same Jews also demanded that gentiles observe the temple ceremonies and rituals that pointed to the sacrifice of Christ. The apostles insisted that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient for the forgiveness of sins through the grace of God (Hebrews 7:26-27).
The temple sacrifices and rituals were only temporary institutions until the sacrifice of the real "Lamb of God" (John 1:29). The apostles taught that they were no longer required (Acts 15:1 1; Hebrews 9:1-15) because they were "concerned only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation" (Hebrews 9: 1 0).
But the apostles never regarded God's spiritual laws, summarized by the Ten Commandments and the word of the true gospel, as being in the same category with "fleshly ordinances." They always supported obedience to God's commandments. Paul made this clear: "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters" (I Corinthians 7:19). He concluded: "Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law" (Romans 3:3 1).
Distorted view of God's grace
Just as Jesus had foretold, unscrupulous teachers pounced on the teachings of Paul and the other apostles and twisted their meaning (2 Peter 3:15-16). By distorting the apostles' words, first about grace and then about those "fleshly ordinances" that is the Jewish religious rituals that are no longer necessary, they discovered a way to excuse their unlawful behavior. "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness [shameful behavior] and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ" (Jude 4).
To them, grace excused sin-rebellion and disobedience- the breaking of God's law-by allowing them to disregard scriptural teachings they did not like. They twisted Paul's explanation that we cannot earn salvation with religious rituals or a lifetime full of our own "good works" into an excuse for making no effort to be obedient and to obey God.
Peter pinpointed their real problem. They "despise authority": "They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries . . ." (2 Peter 2:10). A dominant characteristic of these deceivers was their eagerness to verbally attack and undermine the apostles and elders who were the true shepherds of God's flock.
As a consequence, said Peter, "they have forsaken the right way and gone astray . . ." (verse 15). "For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption . . ." (verses 18-19).
Now a problem even more sinister developed among the scattered congregations of God's people.
False teachers, instead of trying to impose more law on gentiles, began exploiting God's mercy-the grace of God-to advocate the idea that Christians have been liberated from the law and no longer need to obey it. However, God says transgressing His law is sin (I John 3:4).
These teachers misrepresented God's law as an unnecessary burden. John responded: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome' (I John 5:3).
Contrary to the idea of being liberated from law, James calls God's commandments a "royal law" and the "law of liberty" (James 2:8-12). God designed His law to guarantee that we would know the consequences of such evils as immorality, adultery, murder, theft, fraud and covetousness.
It is sin-rebellion and disobedience, not God's law, that enslaves us (Romans 6:6). We become free from the enslavement to sin by obeying God (verse 17). Paul explains that obedience and righteousness are inseparable. "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous" (Romans 2:13, NIV).
Satan the devil: master deceiver
Those who promoted these lawless principles were influenced by Satan. Paul said: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works" (2 Corinthians II: 13-15).
Satan hates God's law. He is a master deceiver. Naturally, he will spare no effort to infiltrate and deceive and destroy from within, the Church Christ founded.
To accomplish his purpose, Satan uses people to mislead other people. It is easy for him to influence human beings who desire to teach others when they are motivated by personal ambition. This is especially true if they lack a proper understanding of the Scriptures. Satan simply takes advantage of their desire to be spiritual teachers. He seduces susceptible individuals to pay lip service to Christ while creating their own new sets of doctrines and ignoring or disobeying portions of God's laws. "He [Jesus] answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias [Elijha] prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." (Mark:7:6)
Paul told Timothy to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" and have a "pure heart," "good conscience" and "sincere faith, . . . from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm" (I Timothy 1:3, 6-7).
Sincere but misguided religious leaders can and do accept doctrines that permit them to break some of God's commandments and to disobey the true word of God's gospel. Then they persuade others to believe as they do. Sadly, through the devil's influence, they convince themselves that their misguided concepts are righteous-that God is pleased with them. They believe the false doctrines they teach. Although sincere, they are sincerely mistaken.
Paul says, "The coming of the lawless one [a future teacher who will advocate doctrines contrary to God's laws] is according to the working of Satan ... with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (2 Thessalonians 2:9-11). Probably none of the misguided teachers perceives he is in reality advocating Satan's point of view.
However, by creating a counterfeit-Christian religion one that is not entirely different from the True Church but rejects some of the essential biblical teachings that lead to eternal life-Satan is attempting to thwart God's plan for the salvation of mankind. Remember, Jesus says, "if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17). That is exactly what the devil wants to prevent. He promotes a lawless Christianity that teaches we can selectively obey or even ignore God's commandments and the true word of the gospel.
Lawlessness in varying degrees is the centerpiece of Satan's counterfeit doctrines. His purpose is to convince people that they are serving Christ while cutting them off from true salvation, by filling them with the false unholy spirit of antichrist and by clouding their understanding of what sin is so they will continue in sin-rebellion and disobedience so they will practice at least some degree of lawlessness.
To accomplish his purpose, Satan exploits human nature. He sways people to believe his deceptions (I John 5:19; Revelation 12:9). Satan retains just enough truth in his doctrines to persuade people they are following Christ. But he introduces sufficient error to prevent them from living the way that would ultimately lead to eternal life.
Why disobedience appeals to human nature
Satan is successful in deceiving humanity for good reason. The apostle Paul explains that the natural mind of man-the mind that is not guided by God's True Holy Spirit cannot always see the purpose behind God's laws and the true gospel. "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14).
Most people are not overtly hostile toward many of God's laws. They usually recognize that deeds such as murder and theft are wrong. However, they are hostile-perhaps without recognizing their innate hostility-toward laws that challenge their own personal, natural way of thinking. In that sense lawlessness appeals to people.
Paul explains why disobedience can appeal to our baser instincts:
"The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). The carnal, or fleshly, mind not only lacks spiritual discernment, it resents God's authority as expressed in His laws. The New International Version translates this verse: The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
We call this sinful tendency human nature-a combination of human weakness and acquired attitudes resulting from Satan's influence on people. Satan exploits human nature. He uses his false teachers to convince other people that they are "liberated" from the laws and the true word of God, thus excusing their tendency to be hostile toward God's laws. So, rather than abandoning a life of lawlessness, those led astray by this deception continue in sin-rebellion and disobedience. Thinking their rebellion and disobedient actions are permissible to God, they fail to recognize, at least in some of their beliefs and behavior, the gravity of their sinful actions.
But the apostle James makes it clear that this approach and attitude to God's royal law are entirely wrong. "For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2: 10). The context shows James is speaking of the Ten Commandments (verses 8-9, 11). God's fundamental law is made up of 10 points, and He requires us to observe them literaly all-in letter and spirit.
A failing away from truth begins
Christ praised the church in Ephesus for refusing to follow false apostles who tried to take advantage of their human nature and seduce them. "I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars" (Revelation 2:2).
But not everyone in every congregation followed the example of the church in Ephesus. Many accepted the humanistic teachings of the false apostles and reverted to sinning-rebellion-disobiedience and unbelief. That is why Peter wrote: "For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandments delivered to them" (2 Peter 2:20-21).
People began turning away from the teachings of Christ's true apostles. They accepted the humanistic and worldly philosophies of false teachers. Peter had explicitly warned that this would occur. He said false teachers would arise "among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And if any will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed" (2 Peter 2:1-2).
Peter anticipated that not just a few-but a majority of professing Christians would turn aside from the truth of the true word of God to follow humanistic worldly doctrines and philosophies that were more appealing to the carnal mind. Later John confirms this happened. "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us" (I John 2:19).
Barnabas and Saul (later renamed Paul) encountered a false prophet determined to turn people away from the truth. "Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus ... But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith" (Acts 13:6-8).
On other occasions the problem lay with false brethren (Galatians 2:4). Paul referred to his trials "in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren" (2 Corinthians 11:26).
These false Christians had not become a genuine threat just to Paul's safety and effectiveness, but they had also become a significant part of the visible Christian community. Some may have finally gone out from God's special people but continued calling themselves Christian.
They started new sects and denominations Others became members of these new and supposedly liberated sects and denominations that retained the name Christian, but they were only counterfeits of the real thing Still others probably remained in the fellowship of true believers and over time subverted those congregations to their own heretical teachings. A false Christianity was beginning to take a firm hold.
True Christians forced out of congregations
As the teachings of false ministers gained in popularity, their followers gradually grew to be the majority in some congregations. The apostle John records one such tragic example: "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church " (3 John 9- 10).
Incredible as it sounds, those true believers who were faithful to the teaching of the apostles were expelled from this congregation. They had become the minority. The majority had chosen to follow Diotrephes, who, in his own lust for power and influence, falsely accused the apostle John. Satan had succeeded in placing his false minister over this congregation, expelling the faithful servants of Jesus Christ.
Remember, Jesus had already warned His true servants that this would happen: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction (Hell), and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life (Heaven) , and there are very few who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves" (Matthew 7:13-15).
He also said: "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: 'These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men" (Mark 7:6-8, NIV).
Now we can understand why Paul explained to Christians in Rome the appropriate response to those who were stirring up division within the Church. "Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them" (Romans 16:17).
Counterfeit Christianity dominates
By the end of the third century the true servants of God had become a distinct minority, a small remnant, a little flock, the very few, among those who called themselves Christians. The counterfeit Christianity had become the majority.
False teachers had successfully gained a far larger following than the faithful ministers of God. However, history shows the counterfeit sects were not united in their beliefs. Many factions existed among them.
Nevertheless, divided and unconverted as it was, this new brand of Christianity rapidly expanded its membership and became the visible Christian church. Purporting to offer salvation, but without the necessity of real faith or real repentance and obedience to the true word of God, it held just enough truth to appeal to the masses.
In spite of its faults, it appeared to offer a hope unequalled by any pagan religion at that time. None of the pagan religions offered a believable way for people to receive forgiveness of sins and obtain eternal life. This new religion seemed to offer just that. Little did its followers realize that its promises, without obedience to the True Word of God and without real faith, without real repentance and without a proper adult baptism, were made in vain.
By the end of the third century this counterfeit Christianity was a squabbling, bitterly divided religion. But at the beginning of the fourth century two things happened that abruptly altered the course of Christian history. First, the Roman emperor Diocletian intensified the policy of many previous Roman emperors of persecuting the True and Faithful Christians and ordered that all the true, original Christian manuscripts be burned. This dramatically renewed a climate of fear throughout the Christian community.
Ten years later another emperor, Constantine, came to power. He had defeated another powerful contender for the right to replace Diocletian as emperor, but he still had many enemies, and his political position remained insecure. In all the empire, only Christians were unaligned politically. Constantine immediately saw an opportunity to use this formerly persecuted and politically alienated religious body to strengthen his hold on the empire.
First he legalized Christianity. Then, only two years later, he called all the divided professing-Christian groups together to hammer out a unified system of belief. He wanted a united religious body that was spiritually, physically and politically committed to him and the Roman empire.
To achieve this, Constantine presided over doctrinal deliberations and dictated statements of belief whenever disagreements could not be resolved amicably. He soon successfully molded the bickering groups of counterfeit Christians who were willing to succumb and accept state control, into a strong and unified vassal of the Roman Empire. He successfully molded ancient Roman political and pagan doctrine with Christianity to form a new universal Roman controlled religious System- a False and counterfeit Christianity was officially born.
Williston Walker, former professor of ecumenical and ecclesiastical history at Yale University, tells us that, in 323, "Constantine was at last the sole ruler of the Roman world. The church was everywhere free from persecution ... But, in winning its freedom from its enemies, it had come largely under the control of the occupant of the Roman imperial throne. A fateful union with the state had begun" (A History of the Christian Church, 1946, p. 111).
A religion transformed through syncretism [Political Correctness]
As this new religion-now supported by the Roman emperors grew in power and influence, it sought to become a truly universal church. In its ambition to add more members, many new inductees, with all their old worldly traditions, humanistic pagan practices and worldly ambitions-were welcomed into its fold.
However history and archeology have quite clearly reveled that the emperor Constantine, the Roman elite and the Roman Military leaders all remained loyal to the Pagan Roman belief system know as 'Mithraism' or the 'Mithraic Mysteries'. All this despite Constantine's supposed conversion to Christianity. [Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraic_mysteries]
Constantine had successfully succeeded in incorporating not only roman pagan customs into this new universal, state sponsored, counterfeit Christian religion, he also brought in and sanctioned all the politicians, the rich, the businessmen, the traders, the tradesmen and merchants of the Roman empire. They were now by Roman law, allowed to be called "Christian". Thus the terms "Christian businessmen", "Christian politician" "Christian This and Christian that", etc. was born and propagated by this counterfeit Christian religion. You could add the term "Christian" to anything and everything.
Here we have the First instance of a Roman derived [Political Correctness] just as we have around the world today. All this in opposition to and contrary to the teachings of the one and only, True Christian Gospel. The early roman church under the auspices of the roman government eventually sold indulgences to this wealth oriented, materialistic class of merchants, businessmen, politicians etc. They were to give a certain portion of their income, or profits, to the church in exchange for the church's blessing and "seal of approval" upon their worldly business, their political ambitions and upon all their other worldly, personal materialistic, humanistic endeavors.
Charles Guignebert, professor of the history of Christianity at the University of Paris, described the process: "Now at the beginning of the fifth century, the ignorant and the pseudo/false-Christians thronged into the Church in numbers ... They had forgotten none of their pagan, worldly customs and traditions ... The bishops of that period had to content themselves with redressing, as best they could, and in experimental fashion, the shocking malformations of the Christian faith which they perceived around them ... "[Properly instructing converts] was out of the question; they had to be content with teaching them no more than the symbol of baptism and then (Properly) baptizing them was (postponing) until a later date (along with) the task of eradicating their superstitions, which they preserved intact ... This 'later date' never arrived, and the Church adapted to herself, as well as she could, to them and their worldly customs and beliefs. On their side, they were content to dress up their paganism in a Christian cloak" (The Early History of Christianity , 1927, p. 208-210, emphasis added throughout).
What was the result? This state-dominated counterfeit Christianity became a bizarre synthesis, a conglomeration of beliefs, worldly practices and customs from many sources.
As Guignebert explained: "It is sometimes very difficult to tell exactly from which pagan rite a particular Christian rite is derived, but it remains certain that the spirit of pagan ritualism became impressed upon Christianity, to such an extent that at last the whole of it might be found distributed through its ceremonies" (p. 121).
In those early centuries the counterfeit Christianity that the apostles of Jesus Christ had fought so hard to contain grew in size and popularity. In later centuries this religion would fragment repeatedly into competing denominations. Some 400 to date. Tragically, however, none, except a very few, have returned to the original practices and teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles. This fact is recognized by many modern biblical scholars. (See "Changes in Christian Scholars' Perspective on God's Law," p. 44.)
This Counterfeit Christianity had and still has: No True Holy Spirit Conviction, No True Repentance for Sin, No Complete Immersion Water Baptism as adults (Acts 2:38) and No True Holy Spirit Conversion, , No True Holiness, No True Separation from the World and the Things of the World and No True Loyalty or Obedience to the True Word of God and the True Teachings of Jesus Christ.
The tragic result is that "The Great Multitude", "The Many", "The Majority", along with their deceived and deceptive leadership are on the fast track to an eternity in Hell.
Meanwhile, that "Little Flock" of True Bible Believing Christians who, through these many centuries, have faithfully been baptised and faithfully continued to yield their lives to God in sincere OBEDIENCE to His laws and the Word of His True Gospels are still, comparatively speaking, only a "Small Remnant" (Joel 2:32), a "little flock" (Luke 12:32), the "very few" of (Matthew 7:13-14) and (Luke 13:22-28) amongst the many, that great multitude of the professing and counterfeit Christians, as well as of those of all the other false religions that have now dominated a confused and chaotic world.
In conclusion all Gods True and faithful Bible Beliving Ministers were instructed: "Preach the WORD! Be ready in season [when they like it] and out of season [when they don't like it]. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to FABLES"(2 Timothy 4:24).
Revealing The Rise of a Counterfeit Christianity - The Great Pretenders!
Part Two - The Who, What, When, Why and Wherefore
The astounding message in this second part of our sermon will affect you in the years just ahead, and it will also affect your eternal future! It is vitally important. This information has been suppressed for many centuries, but it is information that you need to know!
This sermon contains genuinely shocking information for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. It has profound implications for the future of our civilization. Yet the facts contained herein have been documented again and again by respected historians and even many theologians. They are not based on some pie in the sky theory or concept.
The now-swiftly-developing result of false religion will dramatically affect your very life within the next decadefar more than you probably imagine! For this explosive revelation is not just for religious peopleit is for everyone. All our lives will soon be affected.
We all need to ask ourselves: How did I come to believe what I now believe about religion, morality and the entire purpose of human existence? If my friends and I have just blindly gone along with generally accepted ideas, isnt it likely that most other people have also done the same? Is it possible that we have blindly accepted false religious ideas which have, in fact, greatly affected the way our entire societies have developedthe kind of legal systems, educational systems and religious systems that we have devised and that we take for granted?
Have you ever asked yourself these basic questions?
If there is a real God and if the Bible is His inspired revelation to humanity, then we should carefully consider what the Bible clearly says about these questions! For the Bible specifically says: Prove all things, hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV).
Again and again, the Bible clearly shows that most human beings are deceived. Describing the end-times, the Apostle John described the Devil in this manner: So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9). The almost two billion people that are professing Christians throughout all the major denominations that have become part of the whole world as John describedand many are deceived! These people and their preachers do not intend to be evil. For a deceived person does not know that he is deceived! It is important that we understand that distinction.
So we are not being mean by writing the above, for the God of heaven commands me to preach the Truth. And we cannot help you if we simply share sweet platitudes and pretend that all is well when all is not well! For we are now nearing the very end of 6,000 years of human history under the influence of Satan the Devilwhom Jesus Christ called the ruler of this world (John 14:30).
Sincerity Is Not Enough
I am well aware that thousands of you who will read this sermon, are very sincere in your desire to be Christian. You truly think that the form of religion you grew up practicing is what Jesus Christ and the apostles taught. Many ministers and priests also sincerely believe the same things.
You may mean well.
What you need to realize is that billions of other human beings have lived and died without ever understanding or practicing any type of professing Christianity. The majority of the worlds population has neverat any timeprofessed Christianity! And most of these people have also been very sincerejust as you may be. So it is not a matter of sincerity or of following the majority. It is a matter of finding the genuine Truth regarding the purpose of human existence, and finding the true way to fulfill that magnificent purpose.
Is sincere religiosity enough? No! All religions are not equal! If you are willing to prove to yourself that the One great Creator is the true God and that the Bible is His inspired revelation to mankind, then you must understand that there is only one way to eternal life. And that way is through the true Jesus Christ of the Bible! As the Apostle Peter stated, Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:1012).
Yet very few professing Christians even begin to grasp the enormity of the deception orchestrated by Satan the Devil. They find it hard to grasp the fact that Satan has not only deceived those in the pagan, non-Christian world, but that he has cunningly devised a counterfeit Christianity and has foisted it off on millions who sincerely think they are following the Christ of the Bible! As the Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians: But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not acceptedyou may well put up with it! (2 Corinthians 11:34).
Indeed, another Jesusa totally different Jesus Christhas been palmed off on an unsuspecting humanity! Remember, a counterfeit $100 bill is designed to look very much like an authentic bill. Seeing the apparent similarities, people are often deceived into accepting the counterfeit. So it is with Satan, the Master Deceiver! For your own sake, please be willing to consider whether you have been misled into assuming that you are truly following the Christ of the Bible and what He actually taught. For your Bible clearly indicates that only genuine Christians will be protected during the coming holocaustthe Great Tribulation described by Jesus Christ!
Very soon nowwithin the next several yearsthe great God of all creation will begin to intervene directly, more powerfully than ever. The recent hurricanes that came smashing through Florida, New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of the United States are only a small prelude to what God will begin to do in these last days. Jesus Christ specifically predicted: And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven....And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; mens hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Luke 21:11, 2526).
The great God will get mankinds attention! He will help those who are willing to understand to come out of this modern Babylon (Revelation 18:4) and to extricate themselves from Satans society.
The Apostle Paul was also inspired to tell us that Satan the Devil is the literal god of this worlds society! Paul wrote, But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them (2 Corinthians 4:34).
The Basic Premise
The basic premise of this sermon is that our Creator has allowed a very real Devil to absolutely deceive most of humanity for the past 6,000 years. Satan has, in fact, established a counterfeit religion in order to mislead the entire world, but the great Creator will soon intervene to send Jesus Christ back to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). When He returns, Christ will cast Satan into a bottomless pit, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished (Revelation 20:3).
One of the primary ways Satan deceives most people is to make them think that he does not even exist! So people make jokes about how the Devil did it, feeling that there is not a real Devil after all. But, as we have seen, Jesus Christ called Satan the ruler of this world.
How did Satan come into being? What are his methods of deception? And, most importantly, how has Satan deceived the whole world? When Jesus Christ quoted from Daniel the Prophet (Mark 13:14), He considered those writings as Holy Scripture. In the book of Daniel, we find spirit beingsboth angels and demonsdescribed on a number of occasions.
After Daniel had been fasting to seek greater understanding, God sent an angel to encourage him (Daniel 10:1012). The angel gave Daniel a remarkable explanation about why it had taken him so long to answer Daniels prayers. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come (vv. 1314).
Later, this same angel recounted further details of the unseen spiritual world. Then he said, Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince (vv. 2021).
Clearly, this passage is speaking of spirit wars! It is describing the struggle that goes on behind world affairs in the spirit world. For Satan the Devil is described as the god of this age who has blinded the unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Satan is also called the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). The angel speaking to Daniel was describing a battle among spirit beings wherein even the great archangel Michael (see Daniel 12:1) had to be called in for assistance!
This world, this agethis nearly 6,000-year period from Adam until nowhas been, and still is, a society dominated by Satan the Devil and millions of fallen angels or demons who followed him in rebellion against the Creator God.
Satan is not just a generalized term for evil. Satan is not a blind force. Satan the Devil is a powerful spiritual personalityoriginally created by God as a cherubwho rebelled against God. His original name Lucifer means light bringer. But since his rebellion he has been called Satanwhich means adversary.
Notice Isaiah 14:1215: How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
Here we find the mighty Lucifer plotting to overthrow God! His great capacity and vanity made him decide to compete with his Creator!
In Ezekiel 28:116, God describes first the human prince of Tyre. He was obviously a man of great capacity and the full leaderon the human sphereover this New York of the ancient world. Then Ezekiel begins to describe the real power behind the thronethe king of this pagan city-state. Notice: Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created (vv. 1213). Here we find a personality who existed millennia before Tyrein the Garden of Eden! Yet he was a created being (v. 15), not a member of the God Family.
Satan Has a KINGDOM
After his political bargaining and maneuvering to gain followers, Satan was cast out of the mountain or Kingdom of God. As Revelation 12:34 indicates, Satan was able to draw after himself one-third of the angelic host in this rebellion against God! These fallen angels are now called demons. Satan now has literally millions of fallen angels who are his followers, and in that sense has a kingdom over which he rules in the spirit world.
Matthew recounts the story of Jesus temptation by Satan, a very conniving personality. Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1).
This gospel account forewarns us that Satan is not against quoting Scripture. In fact, Satan even had the audacity to quote scripture to the Author of scripture, Jesus Christ! Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, and, In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone (Matthew 4:56).
Then Satan offered Jesus All the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me (vv. 89).
Of course, Jesus knew the spiritual principles involved and correctly applied the appropriate scripture in response, saying: Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve (v. 10). Jesus chose to obey God and to receive His kingdom in Gods time and in Gods way.
Later, when Jesus was accused of using Beelzebub to cast out demons, He said: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his [Satans] kingdom stand? (Matthew 12:2526).
Satan does have a kingdom! He is the invisible god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4). He is the prime deceiver of men and nations. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him (Revelation 12:9).
Satan is the spirit being who will powerfully influence, and perhaps even finally possess, a soon-to-come, charismatic, political dictator who will seduce a mighty world superpower arising in a revived, militant, united Europethe end-time Babylon! Satan will be the god who animates and empowers the false religious system that will undergird this world-dominating, economic and military power! Do not just believe us or take our word for it. Look at the Bible for yourself!
Gods word predicts that this coming oppressive system will be literally energized by demons: After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues (Revelation 18:14).
Satan will motivate these coming world rulers to fight against Christ at His return as King of kings and Lord of lords. But Christ will depose Satan and his wicked rule will come to a sure end.
Satan The Supreme Counterfeiter
Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day for their hypocrisy. Those ecclesiastical figures made a pretense of being godly, yet refused to follow the spiritual intent of Gods law. Jesus attributed to them Satans own character, using the analogy that since their father was Satan, they could only behave like father, like son. The Devil lies and murders, so who should be surprised if the Devils children do the same, preaching a perverted gospel of deception and falsehood?
It is important to grasp that Satan is the literal father of lies. He continually and cleverly lies and deceives mankind, and so do his servants. In fact, lying becomes so common to people under Satans influence that they often find it easier to tell a lie than to tell the truth!
As part of his conspiracy to thwart God and overthrow His great plan for mankind, Satan has his own ministers! The Apostle Paul warned Christians about the great deception caused by Satan and his ministers: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:1315).
Satans ministers often look like and sound like what deceived people think Christs ministers should sound like! But they preach another Jesus and proclaim a different gospel. It is up to each individualincluding you!to genuinely study the Bible and to prove what Jesus and the early apostles taught and practiced.
The Two Babylons
The Bible specifically describes not one, but two Babylons. Not long after the great flood, one Babylon was foundedthe ancient city-state established by a man named Nimrod (Genesis 10:810). The second Babylon is a modern church-state system described in Revelation 17 and 18. Its leaders will literally fight Christ at His Second Coming (Revelation 17:1214)!
Think about that! Hundreds of millions of people in this end-time Babylon are so deceived that they will have the audacity to literally do battle with the returning Son of God and the armies of heaven!
To understand how this system called Babylon began, let us go back to the earliest days of mans history. In Genesis 10soon after the floodmankind began to multiply again. Wild animals also multiplied, and people needed protection. At this point, a son of Cush was born. The Bible tells us: Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (Genesis 10:810).
So this mighty huntersaid to have been a powerfully built manbegan to gather people together into cities for protection, and also to put them under his personal control. The beginning of Nimrods kingdom was BabelBabylon. From there, he went on to establish other cities and to gather men together in a relationship that made them feel independent from Godnot needing Gods protection. Finally, mankindhaving one language and one speech (Genesis 11:1)began to build a massive skyscraper or tower that has been called The Tower of Babel (vv. 49).
God knew that, under this Babylonish system, mankind was quickly drawing away from Him and would soon invent weapons and means to destroy himself. God said: Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them (v. 6). The creative power of the human mind was such that God knew mankind might invent terrible weapons capable of destroying the earth, and that His plan to give mankind 6,000 years to write the lessons of human suffering could be cut short before He intended! So God came down to confuse their language and to scatter them over the face of the earth.
But history and consistent, pervasive stories and ancient legends from nearly all nations indicate that the philosophies and religions started by Nimrod and his wicked wife, Semiramis, have continued down to this day. For, after Nimrods death, his wife Semiramis claimed that he was now the sun-god. As author Alexander Hislop wrote:
The Chaldean Mysteries can be traced up to the days of Semiramis, who lived only a few centuries after the flood, and who is known to have impressed upon them the image of her own depraved and polluted mind. That beautiful but abandoned queen of Babylon was not only herself a paragon of unbridled lust and licentiousness, but in the Mysteries which she had a chief hand in forming, she was worshipped as Rhea, the great Mother of the gods, with such atrocious rites as identified her with Venus, the Mother of all impurity, and raised the very city where she had reigned to a bad eminence among the nations, as the grand seat at once of idolatry and consecrated prostitution. Thus was this Chaldean queen a fit and remarkable prototype of the Woman in the Apocalypse, with the golden cup in her hand, and the name on her forehead, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. The Apocalyptic emblem of the Harlot woman with the cup in her hand was even embodied in the symbols of idolatry derived from ancient Babylon, as they were exhibited in Greece; for thus was the Greek Venus originally represented (The Two Babylons, pp. 56).
Counterfeit Religion Spreads
This Babylonian system of idolatrous worship spread all over the world as the inhabitants of the city itself were scattered (Genesis 11:9). As they went from Babylon, these men took their worship of mother and child, and the various mystery symbols, with them. Herodotus, the world traveler and historian of antiquity, witnessed the mystery religion and its rites in many countries, and wrote of how Babylon was the prime evil source from which all systems of idolatry flowed. In his noted work, Nineveh and Its Remains, Layard wrote that we have the united testimony of sacred and profane history that idolatry originated in the area of Babylonia. Alexander Hislop quotes these historians and others confirming this point in his remarkable treatise mentioned above.
Later, the Roman Empire assimilated into its system the gods and religions of the countries over which it ruled. Since Babylon was the source of this paganism, we can easily see how Romes early religion was a form of Babylonish worship that had developed under different forms and different names in the countries to which it had gone. In his well-documented book, Pagan and Christian Creeds, Edward Carpenter wrote: The similarity of ancient pagan legends and beliefs with Christian traditions was so great that they excited the attention and undisguised wrath of the early Christian.....not knowing how to explain it, they fell back to the theory the devil, centuries before, caused the pagans to adopt certain beliefs and practices (p. 25).
Carpenter also quoted Tertullian, an early church father living between 160220ad, as saying: The devil, by the mysteries of his idols, imitates even the main part of the divine mysteries (ibid.).
Also, Carpenter, noted: Cortez, too, complained that the devil had possibly taught the Mexicans the same thing that God taught Christendom (ibid.). The famous Spanish explorer found that the originally pagan inhabitants of Mexico were already practicing the same pagan rites, and had many of the same pagan beliefs, that the Roman Catholic church had assimilated!
Since the practices of todays churches are not the same as the early true church recorded in the New Testament, it is vital to know whether there has been a purposeful mixing of false pagan practices with the true teachings of Christ, the apostles and the Bible. Many historians, such as Edward Gibbon, have noted the change brought about by great numbers of pagans flocking into the early Christian church and mixing their pagan customs and beliefs with those of the church (see Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. 1, chapter 15).
Notice how todays churches have sprung from the same root as paganism! Satan has created an entire system of counterfeit Christianity. He has cleverly guided vain religious leaders to introduce completely pagan ideas, concepts and practices into Christianity. Since the word Christianity is stamped on the outside of the package, most people assume that the religion of Jesus Christ is being offered. Little do they realize that totally false concepts of God, of Jesus Christ and His message, of the purpose of eternal life and of the way to eternal lifehave been wrapped up in a package called Christianity. But theirs is a counterfeit Christianity that has cut most of mankind off from the true God, and has caused enormous confusion, suffering and death!
Note these excerpts from Pagan and Christian Creeds: The Christian Church has kept itself severely apart from discussion of heathenism, taking the stand that it, the church, represents a unique and divine revelation and has persuaded mankind of this to such a degree that few people nowadays realize that it has sprung from just the same root as paganism and that it shares by far the most part of its doctrines and rites with the latter (Carpenter, pp. 1112).
The common idea is that the pagan gods fled away at Christs coming, yet it is well known to every student that this is contrary to fact. At the time of the recorded appearance of Jesus, and for some centuries before, there were temples without and dedicated to Apollo or Dionysius among the Greeks, or Hercules among the Romans, Mithra among the Persian, Baal and Astarte among the Babylonians, and temples dedicated to many other gods. An outstanding phenomenon is apparent: notwithstanding great geographical distances, racial differences between cults and in detail of services, the general outline of creeds and ceremonials were---if not identical---markedly similar (ibid., pp. 1921).
Not only were these pagan creeds and ceremonies which had existed centuries before Christs coming markedly similar to each other, but also they were similar to true Christianity---a fact that cannot be considered accidental. As an example of this, of eleven main deities from seven countries, it was believed of all or nearly all that these deities births were on or near Christmas, of a virgin mother, in a cave underground, that they led a life of toil for man. They were called light bringers, healers, mediators, and saviors. They were thought to have been vanquished by the powers of darkness, descended into hell or the underworld, to have arisen and become pioneers of mankind to a heavenly world.... Krishna, the god of India is an outstanding parallel with the life of Christ (ibid., pp. 2123).
Carpenter goes on to write: The idea of God sacrificing His Son for the salvation of the world is so remote and remarkable---yet it ranges through all ancient religion and back to the earliest times and is embodied in their rituals (ibid., p. 133). These unusual customs were so similar to the truth that they strongly suggest there must have been some guiding force behind them. A counterfeit Christianity was being created by the invisible god of this age whom Jesus Christ called the father of lies (John 8:44).
The Da Vinci Code
It is evident that with such marked similarities to actual Christianity, as are shown by the eleven deities from seven countries, one should approach this subject with an open mind to see if a fusion of paganism and true Christianity is present today.
Dan Browns The Da Vinci Code spent many months at or near the top of the best-seller lists. Millions have been enthralled by this fascinating novel. What is so unusual about it?
Though cast in the form of a novel---and containing fiction and error---it can spur a reader to realize that a lot more is under the surface of our religious ideas and practices than usually meets the eye. There are three principal characters in The Da Vinci Code: Sophie Neveu---a gifted French cryptologist; Robert Langdon---a Harvard symbologist; and Leigh Teabing---a former British Royal Historian.
Let us listen in on their conversation about the origins of what the world today calls Christianity---
Historians still marvel at the brilliance with which Constantine converted the sun-worshipping pagans to Christianity. By fusing pagan symbols, dates, and rituals into the growing Christian tradition, he created a kind of hybrid religion that was acceptable to both parties.
Transmogrification, Langdon said. The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbology are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual---the miter, the altar, the doxology, and the communion, the act of God-eating---were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.
Teabing groaned. Dont get a symbologist started on Christian icons. Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras---called the Son of God and the Light of the World---was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday of Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianitys weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans.
What do you mean?
Originally, Langdon said, Christianity honored the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday, but Constantine shifted it to coincide with the pagans veneration day of the sun. He paused, grinning. To this day, most churchgoers attend services on Sunday morning with no idea that they are there on account of the pagan sun gods weekly tributeSunday (The Da Vinci Code, pp. 232233).
The Historical TRUTH
But that is all fiction! you might say. Where did this crazy author get all these strange ideas? I am sure that my religion is based completely upon the Bible!
Please, my friends, do not be too sure!
The Bible itself tells us: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21, KJV). The actual truth is---and I do challenge you to prove it---that this part of Dan Browns book is based on solid fact. For historian after historian acknowledges that the original Christianity of Jesus and the Apostles was dramatically changed within a few centuries after Jesus death! As noted historian Will Durant wrote:
Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it. The Greek mind, dying, came to a transmigrated life in the theology and liturgy of the Church; the Greek language, having reigned for centuries over philosophy, became the vehicle of Christian literature and ritual; the Greek mysteries passed down into the impressive mystery of the Mass. Other pagan cultures contributed to the syncretist result. From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity.... and a personal immortality of reward and punishment; from Egypt the adoration of the Mother and Child, and the mystic theosophy that made Neoplatonism and Gnosticism, and obscured the Christian creed; there, too, Christian monasticism would find its exemplars and its source. From Phrygia came the worship of the Great Mother; from Syria the resurrection drama of Adonis; from Thrace, perhaps, the cult of Dionysus, the dying and saving god.....The Mithraic ritual so closely resembled the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass that Christian fathers charged the Devil with inventing these similarities to mislead frail minds. Christianity was the last great creation of the ancient pagan world.... [The Eucharist] was a conception long sanctified by time; the pagan mind needed no schooling to receive it; by embodying the mystery of the Mass, Christianity became the last and greatest of the mystery religions (The Story of Civilization, Vol. 5, Durant, pp. 595, 599).
Paul Johnson is one of many highly respected historians who openly acknowledge that the biblical seventh-day Sabbath observed by Christ and the original Apostles was changed. Many Christians did not make a clear distinction between this sun-cult and their own. They referred to Christ driving his chariot across the sky, they held their services on Sunday, knelt towards the East and had their nativity-feast on 25 December, the birthday of the sun at the winter solstice. During the later pagan revival under the Emperor Julian, many Christians found it easy to apostatize because of this confusion; the Bishop of Troy told Julian he had always prayed secretly to the sun. Constantine never abandoned sun-worship and kept the sun on his coins. He made Sunday into a day of rest (A History of Christianity, pp. 6769).
What happened after Constantine? The widely read mainstream religious author Jesse Lyman Hurlbut explains:
The forms and ceremonies of paganism gradually crept into the worship. Some of the old heathen feasts became church festivals with change of name and of worship. About 405ad images of saints and martyrs began to appear in the churches, at first as memorials, then in succession revered, adored, and worshiped. The adoration of the Virgin Mary was substituted for the worship of Venus and Diana; the Lords Supper became a sacrifice in place of a memorial; and the elder evolved from a preacher into a priest.... The church and the state became one when Christianity was adopted as the religion of the empire, and out of the unnatural union arose two evils, one in the eastern, the other in the western provinces. In the east the state dominated the church until it lost all energy and uplifting life. In the west [Rome, Ed.] as we shall see, the church gradually usurped power over the state, and the result was not Christianity but a more or less corrupt hierarchy controlling the nations of Europe, making the church mainly a political machine (The Story of the Christian Church, pp. 7980).
A Modern Babylon Created
So where does all this lead? We have just read Hurlbuts statement that the professing Christian church of the Middle Ages was mainly a political machine. It was saturated with pagan concepts, doctrines and practices. Did the leaders of the Protestant Reformation really bring the professing Christian church back on track to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3)---back to the true Christianity of Jesus and the original Apostles? Although sincere, the Protestant reformers carried over most of the anti-law, anti-obedience attitudes they had come to adopt in their rebellion against Mother Rome. Like Rome, they were still involved in a paganized system of false doctrines, pagan Holy Days, and false concepts of God, which God Himself describes in Revelation 17:45: The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
With this form of Christianity as the state religion, masses of former pagans converted. Many did so out of convenience rather than conviction, and kept their old beliefs privately. Others came to the new syncretistic faith uneducated in its beliefs, and able to receive only the most basic instruction.
Babylon is a symbol of confusion. The formation of the Roman Catholic Church and then the later appearance of dozens of daughter churches has certainly brought about a spiritual malaise of conflicting denominations, doctrines, creeds and practices---all supposedly Christian. Yet none of them corresponds remotely to the Christianity that the original Apostles and the early Church of God followed for decades after the death of Jesus of Nazareth. They all have retained dozens of pagan ideas, and practices, that would have been utterly foreign to the early Church! Satan has indeed done a masterful job of creating a counterfeit Christianity.
Although Alexander Hislop appears to have remained a Protestant until his death, he carefully pointed out---with much historical documentation---that the modern Roman Catholic Church is a continuation of the ancient Babylonish mystery system, and that its religious festivals and most of its practices were drawn directly from the Babylonian religion and its priesthood. Hislop partially makes the connection with the daughter churches that have come out of Rome. But he was evidently blinded to the full meaning of what has happened to modern Christianity.
Near the beginning of The Two Babylons, Hislop lays out the basic thesis that he goes on to document in full:
It has been known all along that Popery was baptized Paganism; but God is now making it manifest, that the Paganism which Rome has baptized is, in all its essential elements, the very Paganism which prevailed in the ancient literal Babylon, when Jehovah opened before Cyrus the two-leaved gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron.... Her judgment is now evidently hastening on; and just as it approaches, the Providence of God, conspiring with the Word of God, by light pouring in from all quarters, makes it more and more evident that Rome is in very deed the Babylon of the Apocalypse; that the essential character of her system, the grand objects of her worship, her festivals, her doctrine and discipline, her rites and ceremonies, her priesthood and their orders, have all been derived from ancient Babylon; and, finally, that the Pope himself is truly and properly the lineal representative of Belshazzar. In the warfare that has been waged against the domineering pretensions of Rome, it has too often been counted enough merely to meet and set aside her presumptuous boast, that she is the mother and mistress of all churches----the one Catholic Church, out of whose pale there is no salvation. If ever there was excuse for such a mode of dealing with her, that excuse will hold no longer. If the position I have laid down can be maintained, she must be stripped of the name of a Christian Church altogether; for if it was a Church of Christ that was convened on that night, when the pontiff-king of Babylon, in the midst of his thousand lords, praised the gods of gold, and of silver, and of wood, and of stone (Daniel 5:4), then the Church of Rome is entitled to the name of a Christian Church; but not otherwise. This to some, no doubt, will appear a very startling position; but it is one which it is the object of this work to establish; and let the reader judge for himself, whether I do not bring ample evidence to substantiate my position (Hislop, pp. 23).
Later Hislop describes how the Catholic confessional was borrowed from paganism, giving priests greater authority over the lay members. He explains that the pagan festivals of Christmas and Easter were introduced into Christianity centuries after Christ revealed the full Truth to His apostles. Indeed, Hislop writes, it is admitted by the most learned and candid writers of all parties that the day of our Lords birth cannot be determined, and that within the Christian Church no such festival as Christmas was ever heard of till the third century, and that not till the fourth century was far advanced did it gain much observance. How, then, did the Romish Church fix on December the 25th as Christmas-day? Why, thus: Long before the fourth century, and long before the Christian era itself, a festival was celebrated among the heathen, at that precise time of the year, in honour of the birth of the son of the Babylonian queen of heaven; and it may fairly be presumed that, in order to conciliate the heathen, and to swell the number of the nominal adherents of Christianity, the same festival was adopted by the Roman Church, giving it only the name of Christ. This tendency on the part of Christians to meet Paganism half-way was very early developed (ibid., pp. 9293).
Meeting paganism half-way was very early developed, Hislop writes! Yet God clearly told our ancestors: Learnnot the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not (Jeremiah 10:24, KJV). Yet modern day churchgoers persist in doing just that----and then have the audacity to stamp the name Christian on the outside of this package of pagan beliefs and practices! Those genuinely interested in the basic history of this relationship between ancient Babylon and modern professing Christianity should, if possible, find and read such books as The Two Babylons, Pagan and Christian Creeds, The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer and many similar works of history and theology. If your mind is open, it is relatively easy to prove to yourself that modern churchianity is simply a continuation of the old Babylonian religion, with the name Christian stamped on the outside!
Have Protestants Come Out of BABYLON?
Many conservative Protestant and Orthodox leaders and theologians will wholeheartedly agree that the Roman Catholic Church is, indeed, a continuation of Babylon. They are very familiar with the fact that most of the early Protestant leaders clearly identified Rome with the Babylon and with the Great Whore described in Revelation 1718.
But what is the real basis of the Protestant churches themselves throughout the world today? Why did the early leaders revolt against the authority of the Roman Catholic Church? To what extent are they responsible for todays divided Christendom?
Did the Protestant reformers succeed in attaining their stated goals? More importantly, the real question is whether the Protestant reformers and their successors have succeeded in returning to the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints? (Jude 3).
Each of us needs to examine the well-known saying of Chillingworth, the Protestant theologian, The Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible, is the religion of Protestants (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, article Chillingworth, W). In their constant affirmation of the scriptures as the inspired rule of faith and practice (ibid., article Bible), the Protestant leaders have committed themselves to follow the religion of Jesus Christ and His apostles in all respects.
Virtually all scholars acknowledge that the primary and original founder of Protestantism was Dr. Martin Luther. Yet Luther at times, rejected the authority of scripture when it pleased his own whims----although he often stated otherwise!
It is remarkable that in rejecting the doctrine of transubstantiation, Luther declares the absolute authority of Scripture in matters of faith and practice. He states: For that which is asserted without the authority of Scripture or of proven revelation may be held as an opinion, but there is no obligation to believe it.... Transubstantiation.... must be considered as an invention of human reason, since it is based neither on Scripture nor sound reasoning (Documents of the Christian Church, ed. Bettenson, p. 280).
If Luther had only applied this type of scriptural test to all of his doctrines, the world today might be a different type of place! For when he was charged with inserting the word sola (alone) into Romans 3:28, he haughtily replied, as cited by historian Johannes Alzog: Should your Pope give himself any useless annoyance about the word sola, you may promptly reply: It is the will of Dr. Martin Luther that it should be so (Manual of Universal Church History, p. 199). And, it is worth noting, no other reason for such unscriptural changes as these were ever given. When it came to his personal doctrinal convictions, Martin Luther was truly a self-willed man.
In judging any man or movement, Jesus said, By their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:20). Historian Henry C. Vedder recounts the instruction Martin Luther gave to the German princes when thousands of the peasants, who had sincerely followed his revolt against Rome, themselves rebelled against those arrogant princes:
Rebellion is not a vile murder, but like a great fire that kindles and devastates a country; hence uproar carries with it a land full of murder, bloodshed, makes widows and orphans, and destroys everything, like the greatest calamity. Therefore whosoever can should smite, strangle, and stab, secretly or publicly, and should remember that there is nothing more poisonous, pernicious, and devilish than a rebellious man. Just as when one must slay a mad dog; fight him not and he will fight you, and a whole country with you.
Let the civil power press on confidently and strike as long as it can move a muscle. For here is the advantage: the peasants have bad consciences and unlawful goods, and whenever a peasant is killed therefore he has lost body and soul, and goes forever to the devil. Civil authority, however, has a clean conscience and lawful goods, and can say to God with all security of heart: Behold, my God, thou hast appointed me prince or lord, of that I cannot doubt, and has entrusted me with the sword against evildoers (Romans 13:4).... Therefore I will punish and smite as long as I can move a muscle; thou wilt judge and approve..... Such wonderful times are these that a prince can more easily win heaven by shedding blood than others with prayers. (A Short History of the Baptists, pp. 173174).
Well may we ask ourselves, If these are the words of a reformer sent from God, then what is the measure of true religion? Are these the words of a man directed by the Holy Spirit of God? Was the risen Christ using this man to purify His little flock?
It is true that Luther and Calvin had personal religious motivations. Luthers mind was tortured with a perpetual sense of guilt. In his extreme emphasis on salvation by faith alone, he was trying desperately to devise some system where the law of God and the justice of God would have no place.
But Luthers personal spiritual upheaval would have had little effect on Germany or the world had he not appealed to the political and financial instincts of German princes. And it is true to say that the motives which led to the Lutheran revolt were to a large extent secular rather than spiritual (Alfred Plummer, The Continental Reformation, p. 9).
Especially in regard to his insistence on faith alone and his rejection of countless scriptures teaching the need for obedience, Luther was a stubborn, self-willed man.
The Bible teaches: Sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, KJV). This is clearly referring to the Ten Commandments---the spiritual law written by the very finger of God. The inspired James explains: For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For He who said, Do not commit adultery, also said, Do not murder. Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty (James 2:1012).
What law forbids adultery and killing? Obviously, James is referring to the Ten Commandments. And he concludes by telling us to speak and act according to this law. And the words of Jesus Christ agree. For when a young man came to ask Him the way to eternal life, He answered, If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments, and He proceeded to name some of the Ten Commandments (Matthew 19:1619).
Completely ignoring its direct parallel with the teachings of Jesus Christ, Luther haughtily declared of the book of James: Compared with the Epistles of St. Paul, this is in truth an epistle of straw: it contains absolutely nothing to remind one of the style of the Gospel (Alzog, Vol. III, p. 208). Luther stubbornly rejected the entire book of James because it did not agree with his doctrines!
In rejecting the first five books of the Bible, Luther declared: We have no wish either to see or hear Moses. Let us leave Moses to the Jews, to whom he was given to serve as a Mirror of Saxony; he has nothing in common with Pagans and Christians, and we should take no notice of him (Alzog, Vol. III, p. 207).
Since Luther regarded Moses as having to do with Gods law---which Luther hated---he wanted nothing to do with Moses inspired writings!
But since Luthers favorite writer was the Apostle Paul, we wonder how Luther reacted to Pauls inspired words to Timothy: From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Timothy 3:1516). Remember that only the Old Testament Scriptures were written when Timothy was a child.
Since Luther stubbornly wished to take no notice of Moses, we might remind him of the Apostle Johns description of the victorious saints of God singing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb (Revelation 15:3). But Luthers own writings promptly answer: I look upon the revelations of John to be neither apostolic nor prophetic (Jules Michelet, The Life of Luther, p. 273). He might then add, Everyone may form his own judgment of this book; as for myself, I feel an aversion to it, and to me this is sufficient reason for rejecting it (Alzog, Vol. III, p. 208).
And it is a fact that Martin Luther willfully rejected the authority of any book in the Bible to which he felt an aversion.
Now, perhaps, we can understand the real meaning of the religious confusion of our time. Todays Protestants have inherited from Luther---acknowledged as the greatest leader of the Reformation---a spirit of self-will and a tendency to reject the all-inclusive authority of Gods word!
As historian George P. Fisher wrote, regarding Luther: In the retention of rites and customs he did not require an explicit authorization from Scripture. Enough that they were not forbidden, and are expedient and useful. His aversion to breaking loose from the essentials of Latin Christianity in matters of doctrine is equally manifest (History of Christian Doctrine, p. 283).
In Luthers own words: No one can deny that we hold, believe, sing, and confess all things in correspondence with the old church, that we make nothing new therein nor add anything thereto, and in this way we belong to the old Church and are one with it (Thomas M. Lindsay, A History of the Reformation, Vol. I, p. 468).
By their own statements, then, it is proved that the Protestants regarded themselves only as a continuation of the historic Catholic Church, but under a different and purified form. Luther himself vehemently affirms their essential oneness with the Catholic Church!
Regarding Calvin, Fisher wrote: He did not deny that the Christian societies acknowledging the Pope are churches of Christ.... He indignantly denies that he has withdrawn from the Church (History of Christian Doctrine, p. 304). Philip Schaff noted Calvins description of the historical Roman church: As our present design is to treat of the visible Church, we may learn even from her the title of mother, how useful and even necessary it is for us to know her (History of the Christian Church, Vol. VIII, p. 450).
Protestant leaders insistence on their basic unity with the Catholic Church, and their identification of her as their mother church, is most significant!
God Identifies the Roman Catholic Church
Martin Luthers earliest New Testament translations include many illustrations picturing the Whore of Babylon as the Roman Catholic Church. Describing this widely understood interpretation, Roland Bainton tells us: Fallen Babylon is plainly Rome (Here I Stand, p. 258).
Countless Protestant books, pamphlets, and tracts make that same identification today. They brand the Roman Catholic Church as the great Whore of Revelation 17.
But, it must be admitted, many Protestant denominational writers have stopped making this identification. After publishing those editions of the Bible, and pamphlets and tracts, they suddenly came to the embarrassing realization that they were telling on themselves!
For the corrupt Roman mother church has given birth to harlot daughters! If the clear, consistent principles of scriptural identification are to be honestly applied, that many Protestant churches are harlot daughters of a paganized, apostate Rome!
They came out of her in protest. But, as we have clearly seen, they retained most of her pagan doctrines and concepts. They are still following Romes example of mixing in the politics and wars of this world. And we have seen abundant Protestant testimony that they recognize she is their mother church!
Protestant historian Rufus Jones wrote that Luther started out to inaugurate a Church composed of those who had faith and spiritual vision, and who revealed an ability and power to proclaim the Word of God. But, in reality, he left in full operation a large relic of the ancient creeds, an extensive rump of superstitions, traditions and magic, and a heavy inheritance of external authority (The Churchs Debt to Heretics, p. 228).
In other words, many Protestants still retain many pagan doctrines and traditions inherited from Rome. We have seen that some of these false traditions involve the pagan holidays that the early Catholics adopted and gave Christian-sounding names. We ought to look into these things!
The Protestant churches stand clearly identified by God Almighty as the harlot daughters of apostate Rome!
Speaking of this entire Babylonish system, God commands: Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues (Revelation 18:4).
The question is whether or not we will obey our Maker!
What Lies Just Ahead
All of this information is not just a philosophical argument against genuinely pagan practices---important as that may be. The understanding of this matter can also help protect sincere and zealous Christians---if they will take action---from the coming holocaust described in the Bible as the Great Tribulation! Brilliant author Adrian Hilton describes the background of what is right now underway:
Jesus had said his kingdom was not of this worldly order, and talked much of the world and the Church being at odds until his return. It was not until Constantine began a process of syncretism that Christians began to understand the nature of the beast which was evolving. The Saturday Jewish Sabbath was replaced by Constantines edict forbidding work on the venerable day of the sun [Sunday], and the celebration of the Passover was declared illegal----on pain of death. It was replaced by Easter, celebrated on a Sunday and inherited from a Babylonian cult to the goddess Ishtar. The Roman pseudo-Christianity caused many faithful believers to flee into the mountains of Europe and Asia Minor to escape persecution and death, and there they continued, away from the worlds view, as the true church of Christ. The majority of Christians, however, were awed by the universal influence of the new unity. There was one Empire under the one Emperor, leading one Church under one God. Many believers began to wonder if they had not misunderstood the concept of the kingdom of God----it might have been the Church itself, or even the christianised Empire. Thus the fateful union of Church and State was ratified---a union that was to shape the evolution of Europe for centuries to come (The Principality and Power of Europe, pp. 2324).
Later, Hilton continues:
Just as crucial to the federalizing process is the erosion of the achievements of the Reformation. Even some prominent Evangelical Christian leaders have presented this momentous move of God as one of the greatest tragedies that ever happened to the Church, and state that Protestants destroyed the unity of Christendom. They fail to mention the true nature of the Papal system of religion, the depths of spiritual darkness in which it keeps its followers, and its diametric opposition to true biblical Christianity. Unity, it seems, is more important than truth. The concept of Christendom, however unbiblical its practice, appears to matter more than the national boundaries set between one principality and another, regardless of the liberties those boundaries defend.
While visiting Austria in 1983, the Pope spoke out against the national and artificial borders all over Europe. He added:
Europeans should overcome the menacing international confrontations of states and alliances, and create a new united Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals.
In 1988, he continued this theme when he addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg; an occasion at which many asked why a perceived spiritual leader was addressing the issues of political unity. The Sunday Telegraph, in 1991, summed up the Popes plans for the evangelisation of Europe. It stated:
He is calmly preparing to assume the mantle which he solemnly believes to be his Divine Rightthat of new Holy Roman Emperor, reigning from the Urals to the Atlantic. (ibid., pp. 3637).
As Britains Sunday Telegraph reported, Pope John Paul II expressed his wish to reign over a new Holy Roman Empire. However, the key question is: will it really be holy? Or will it actually be a revival of an ancient, pagan, Babylonian church-state system that God condemns?
In a prophecy for our time, the prophet Isaiah describes a modern virgin daughter of the ancient Babylon, who would profane her own people (Isaiah 47:19). God clearly describes this modern Babylon as the lady of kingdoms (v. 5). Then God states: And you said, I shall be a lady forever, so that you did not take these things to heart, nor remember the latter end of them. Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children; but these two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments (vv. 79).
Notice how some of these exact statements are used against the modern Babylon that will fight Christ at His Second Coming! In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow. Therefore her plagues will come in one daydeath and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her (Revelation 18:78).
This is the soon-coming church-state system in Europe, which will eventually turn on the American and British-descended peoples and bring about the Great Tribulation! It will be a revival of ancient Babylon, with its priestly castes, pagan rituals and doctrines and complete disregard for Gods commands. It will be a clever counterfeit of true Christianity. To millions, though, it will seem like the real thing!
Because the vast majority of professing Christians do not genuinely study the Bible. They do not really dig in and try to prove all things as God commands. Therefore, even many evangelical Christians---and their ministers---will eventually be caught up in the euphoria of this powerful Babylonish system! For it will be part of the World-Wide ecumenical movement. It will seem like the thing to do.
Please remember Jesus words: Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:1314).
The Jesus Christ of your Bible also gave this powerful warning: Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! (Matthew 7:2123).
The beautiful pageantry, the music, the pomp and ceremony, the majestic religiosity and the intimidating power of this coming Babylonian system will be very impressive. But only those who genuinely do Gods will and keep His commandments---all ten of them---will be in Christs soon-coming Kingdom. Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).
At the very end of His inspired word, our Creator tells us plainly: Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie (Revelation 22:1415). The religious sorcery and idolatry of the Babylonian system will be enticing to millions. The vast majority will follow that way. But the above passage warns about anyone who loves and practices a lie. The teachings of modern Babylon are filled with lies, misunderstandings and pagan practices. Satan has been extremely clever in creating a counterfeit Christianity, which looks so much like the original that untold millions have been deceived. Those who follow this pagan inspired counterfeit religion will suffer the full fury of their Creator when the Trumpet Plagues and the Seven Last Plagues are poured out on a rebellious world (Revelation 8, 9, 16).
Yet Gods word describes the temporary wealth and power of this system: For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth (Revelation 18:2324). And how will it end? Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore (v. 21).
You Need To ACT!
God warns: Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! (Revelation 18:2). Then God commands: And I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues (v. 4).
In the second part of this sermon, we have briefly demonstrated that virtually all world religions have originated from Babylon. The Oriental and African religions have many of the same pagan and false concepts of God and salvation, developed from the original worship of Nimrod and his harlot wife, Semiramis. Professing Christianity is massively influenced and diluted by these pagan concepts.
Wherever you are, whoever you are, we urge you to genuinely study the Holy Bible, the inspired revelation which God gave to mankind. For your sake, please, do not just read the Bible for sentiment or to reinforce what you already believe. Learn to genuinely study the Bible and see what it clearly and repeatedly says about the real nature of the Creator God, of eternal life, and of the true way to eternal life. We just request that you put forth the time and mental energy to study all these materials, diligently compare them with the Bible itself and sincerely prove to yourself where the Truth is actually taught.
We will continue to explain the prophetic events now unfolding to bring about the revival of Babylon---and of the coming Kingdom of God. This message will not be popular! We will be harassed, vilified and persecuted for bringing you the absolute truth about what is really happening in world affairs. But we must not be afraid to proclaim the full Truth about genuine Christianity and about the apostasy directed against it by Satan the Devil.
He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:78). Satans Counterfeit Christianity must be exposed, understood and repented of!
May God help you to act on this message while you have the opportunity. May God help you to prove to yourself what the Bible really says, and to find out about---and fulfill---the genuine purpose for your life.
COUNTERFEIT - Being an imitation of the Original, intended to mislead or deceive
*Sham *Pseudo *phony * False * Bogus *
The Great Pretenders - Matthew 23:1-2,23-33
"You also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" - Matthew 23:28
For 11 years a Massachusetts man kept his secret hidden from others. No one suspected that anything was wrong. Even at home his behavior appeared normal. He would sit down with the newspaper every night after dinner, and not even his wife knew of his problem. But the day came when he couldn't take the strain of covering up any longer. After years of guarding his secret, he finally confessed - he couldn't read. He had been a great pretender.
Many people put on a front in their spiritual lives. They appear to be real Christians. They speak the language, join a church, and are careful to hide their sins. They act piously and try to make a good impression, and people assume that they are real Christians. But deep down inside, these spiritual actors know they have never admitted their sinful condition to God and placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their only hope of salvation. "Outwardly", they "appear righteous," but inwardly they are "full of hypocrisy and lawlessness" (Matthew 23:28).
Have you been faking it? You may fool others, but you can't fool God. He sees what's in your heart. Don't be a Great Pretender. Receive God's Son as your Savior. Experience the real thing.
YOU CAN HAVE TONS OF RELIGION WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF SALVATION.
Audio Bile Study
Let Us Pray Together--
PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN!
REVEALING A COUNTERFEIT FAITH - STUDIES IN THE BOOK OF JUDE
Revealing If You Should Be Baptized?
Revealing The Religious but Lost!