Just as the pagan Roman Empire held back the papal power of apostate Christianity, so, too, our atheistic government is currently holding back the resurgence of the second papacy and the efforts of apostate Protestant evangelicals.
Today, billions around the world are remembering the birth of Christ. And while I am seeking Him to know Him better every day, there is another tandem issue of great proportions. Namely, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8).
What we see happening in the Christian world in this our day is nothing more than a repeat apostasy of 1,900 years ago. What did we see then and what do we see today?
When Paul was still writing to the Thessalonians (approx. 65 A.D.) he saw that the human embodiment of Satan through the Christian church was already beginning to coalesce. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [of Christ’s return] shall not come, except there come a falling away
first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition….The mystery of iniquity doth already work.” (2Thess. 2:3,7).
Peter also saw it happening. Writing about the same time as Paul’s letter, “There were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers
among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.… But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children…. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption.”(2Pet. 2:1-19).
John, too, saw it and withstood its approach at his locale while he was alive. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist
, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world
.” (1Jn. 4:1-3). “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists
; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1Jn. 2:18,19).
Each apostle gives an inside view of the character of the anti-Christian movements in that day. The apostasy had the face of Christianity, but was nothing more than the work of Satan. It was a replay of Christ’s warning, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15).
Jesus described the professed teachers of Israel. “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: … and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” (Matt. 23:2,6,7). And with no difference except in greater magnitude, the same proud spirit would later manifest itself within Christianity. “There [shall] come a falling away first, and that man of sin [shall] be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2Thess. 2:3,4).
So, how did this play out in the Christian church? Many historians will attest to the changes that took place within the church. If you so desire, you may read more here, http://www.doctrine.org/history/HPv1b1.htm#CHAPTER%203
and also by searching websites concerning the rise of the Church of Rome and the Roman Papacy.
As an overview of that important development, the church had lost its spirituality. The Lord said to the early church, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” (Rev. 2:4). Apathy had set in to the apostolic movement because love for the Messiah had grown lukewarm. As early as the early 200’s A.D., only a few generations after the apostles, the intellectually brilliant Origen had supplanted the literal meaning of the New and Old Testaments for allegories. The general populace had become ignorant of Christ and the power of His word, and spiritual darkness settled onto the churches. The Law of God no longer convicted of sin. As its moral standards were broken down, pagan practices in worship and in the daily life became the norm.
In place of grace, persistence in prayer, and the spirit of self-sacrificing love as the power to move the world, like it had been with the apostolic church, now that spirituality was gone, the church resorted to the only other option for its spread over the whole earth. That other option was politics. If God no longer would work in their behalf, they would put their corrupt hand to the incorruptible work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit woos the heart to repentance and reform—a job impossible for sinful man to perform. We naturally will force the work of convincing the conscience of right and wrong because the human agent has no ability to manipulate the soul. If we try, we quickly grow impatient and offended. Thus when the church is desolate of the Spirit of God, it resorts to human measures—and eventually, persecution and Inquisitions.
Finally, a crowning act of the degraded church occurred in 313 AD. Constantine, working to unite the empire divided by Christians and pagans ideologies, legalized the Christian religion. This set the stage to later make Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. Once done, the world walked into the church without any obstruction, and with alarming rapidity.
By the end of this growth period culminating in 538, the new church, praised by one and all, transformed into a cancerous tumor. It spread over the nations as it grew more politically powerful until it swallowed up the empire.
That is what happened then. But how is this repeating today?
Ever since the mid-1800s the popular Protestant churches have been proclaiming a new freedom to disregard God’s Law. Grace and grace only, is all that God purportedly desires for the human race! His Law is abrogated! Due to this error, no voice of authority has convicted the consciences of Protestants for 150 years.
Only forgiveness is preached—a shallow theology and the sport of unbelievers. Even the atheistic skeptic can see the excuse for wrong-doing hidden in modern Christianity’s mantra of “grace and grace only.” But while Protestants spin their erroneous doctrines, their Bible declares, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Is. 8:20). It should come as no surprise to us that the flocks under Protestant care have lost faith in the Bible and in God and the church. The falsehoods of their theology primed them for the delusions of evolution and atheism and the rampant immorality that are realities in America today.
But who do the churches blame for this unwanted spiritual state of affairs? The government! They pin the responsibility on the world when they should have heeded the scripture to return to their God and to His Law. “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, O Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” (Joel 2:17).
Consider a televised conversation between James Dobson, a widely heard radio host, and Larry King, an equally widely watched TV host:
KING: But we have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Beg your pardon?
KING: We have a separation of church and state.
DOBSON: Who says?
KING: You don't believe in separation of church and state?
DOBSON: Not the way you mean it. The separation of church and state is not in the Constitution. No, it's not. That is not in the Constitution.
Angry at the way government seems to make the church’s job more difficult, they conclude that their very own American Constitution must be changed in order to make evangelism easier. But until they can convince the American populace to break down the wall separating church and state, they use work-arounds.
They have already filled federal positions with young men and women sympathetic to their cause. All three branches of the federal government already have staged proponents for a government move away from the libertarian direction in which it is currently pointed. The highest court in the land has almost a majority of justices in this regard. Many legislators have felt the threat of losing the next election if they don’t listen to religious fundamentalists for change. Unwilling to sacrifice political careers by maintaining the standards of the Constitution, the politicians bend to the wishes of the religionists. Under continuous pressure by the powerful religious voting block, the Congressmen and Senators consider their religious complaints, with a little change today, more and more change tomorrow.
The issues making headlines today, i.e. abortion, homosexuality, religious displays in public places, etc. seem correct and moral and commendable. But they are all fronts to bring about a larger change. They are all simply leverage to vault the church into more power over the country and over the law-making entities that govern our states and our nation.
So the freedoms from religion are being flaunted by the atheistic sector of society. They know their rights according to the U.S. Constitution and feel perfectly safe in boldly throwing offence into the face of their hated religious fundamentalists. Burgeoning radio and television programming, daring websites and illicit movies belittle and accost the perceived narrow-mindedness of evangelical religion. Newspapers and periodicals freely throw to the four winds the trip-ups and foibles of preachers and churches.
Nevertheless, little does the atheistic community realize that they are only doing what the churches want them to do. They are giving the Religious Right fuel for their angry arguments. And as the two sides on the question of religion continue to face off, the larger atheistic community may overcome the pushing of the religious minority, but each clash will find the politically astute religious cartel growing stronger and stronger leaving its agnostic counterpart continually weaker.
Based on past performance of the early stages of Christianity, my prediction is that today’s evangelical corporate religion will finally overpower the anti-church fraternities. Leagued with law-makers, the political pull of the evangelical leaders will tilt the scales of popular voice in their favor. Then the politicians will switch their platforms to accommodate the new ecclesiastical regime, while the anti-religion factions they politically abandon.
By that time, the Protestants will have so imbibed the papal spirit of a united church-state that they will reach across and shake hands with the rejuvenated Catholic Papacy. The sentiments of James Dobson and James Kennedy concerning the wall between church and state sound almost popish. “The absurd and erroneous doctrines or ravings in defense of liberty of conscience are a most pestilential error—a pest, of all others, most to be dreaded in a state.” Pope Pius IX, in his Encyclical Letter of August 15, 1854. 1854 may seem long ago and this statement may seem obsolete, but remember the church’s claim to infallibility. The “church never erred; nor will it, according to the Scriptures, ever err” (John L. von Mosheim, Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, book 3, century II, part 2, chapter 2, section 9, note 17). Pope Pius’s anathemas still represent the sentiments of Rome, as well as many Americans across the country.
Allying themselves with the Pope, the new Christian American government will invite his counsels and emissaries, who have ever detested the separation of church and state and the freedoms of the U.S. Constitution. Their one thought and goal is the desolation of the one peace-making document given to bless the world through America, the United States Constitution.
Speaking of “the Son of perdition,” the coming apostasy of Christianity in the apostle’s day, Paul warned, “Now you know what is holding him [papal Rome]
back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one [pagan Rome]
who now holds it [papal Rome]
back will continue to do so till he [pagan Rome]
is taken out of the way.” (2Thess. 2:6,7). Just as the pagan Roman Empire held back the papal power of apostate Christianity, so, too, our atheistic government is currently holding back the resurgence of the second papacy and the efforts of apostate Protestant evangelicals.
But Bible prophecy says our Constitution will fall, and once it does force and misery will exist everywhere. The Church of Rome will have regained the power it lost to the Protestant Reformation and the birth and prosperity of America. Once restored to power, she will jealously guard her primacy. Even Hitler Germany, with its mind control and atrocities, cannot compare to the force she will use to hold on to her regained status as world ruler. The Scripture affirms, “…there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1). A mighty storm lays just ahead for us.
Prophetic statements on this subject, written in 1888, to follow.God’s word has given warning of the impending danger; let this be unheeded, and the Protestant world will learn what the purposes of Rome really are, only when it is too late to escape the snare. She is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly, she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution. Great Controversy, p. 581.The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. Ibid., p. 592.