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(WIND BLOWING) (WAVES CRASHING) (MUSIC) (CHANTING)

>>"NOW A GREAT SIGN APPEARED IN HEAVEN: A WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE

SUN, WITH THE MOON UNDER HER FEET, AND ON HER HEAD A GARLAND

OF TWELVE STARS. THEN BEING WITH CHILD, SHE CRIED

OUT IN LABOR AND IN PAIN TO GIVE BIRTH.

AND ANOTHER SIGN APPEARED IN HEAVEN: BEHOLD A GREAT, FIERY RED

DRAGON...AND THE DRAGON STOOD BEFORE THE WOMAN WHO WAS READY

TO GIVE BIRTH, TO DEVOUR HER CHILD AS SOON AS IT WAS BORN."

(MUSIC) >>A WOMAN, A CHILD, AND A DRAGON.

AT FIRST GLANCE, THIS MIGHT SOUND LIKE THE INGREDIENTS FOR A

FRIGHTENING FAIRY TALE. IN FACT, THE TROUBLING SCENES

YOU JUST WITNESSED ARE PART OF A TRUE AND POWERFUL PROPHECY GIVEN

TO THE APOSTLE JOHN NEARLY TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO.

WHAT DOES THIS PROPHECY, FOUND IN REVELATION 12, TELL US?

DOES IT POINT TO SOME EVENT THAT HAPPENED THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO?

OR DOES IT DESCRIBE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO TAKE PLACE

IN THE NEAR FUTURE? AND WHO DO THE WOMAN, THE

DRAGON, AND THE CHILD REPRESENT? JOIN US NOW AS WE JOURNEY DEEP

INTO A WORLD THAT FEW HAVE EVER SEEN, BUT ALL ARE A PART OF:

REVELATION: THE BRIDE, THE BEAST & BABYLON.

IN THE LAST BOOK OF THE BIBLE, REVELATION, THE APOSTLE JOHN WAS

SHOWN A VISION OF A GREAT STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL;

A PROPHECY OF A BATTLE THAT HAS BEEN RAGING BEHIND THE SCENES

SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME. THE SECRETS BEHIND THIS PROPHECY

HAVE BEEN SHROUDED IN MYSTERY FOR CENTURIES, UNTIL NOW.

FROM THE KINGDOMS AND THE RULERS THAT HAVE FALLEN AROUND THE

WORLD, TO THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT STOOD UP TO FIGHT FOR WHAT THEY

BELIEVED IN, THIS IS THE STORY OF CHRISTIANITY, THE SEARCH FOR

TRUTH, AND THE FOUNDATION FOR THE FAITH OF BILLIONS.

>>"NOW A GREAT SIGN APPEARED IN HEAVEN: A WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE

SUN, WITH THE MOON UNDER HER FEET, AND ON HER HEAD A GARLAND

OF TWELVE STARS. THEN BEING WITH CHILD, SHE CRIED

OUT IN LABOR AND IN PAIN TO GIVE BIRTH.

AND THE DRAGON STOOD BEFORE THE WOMAN WHO WAS READY TO GIVE

BIRTH, TO DEVOUR HER CHILD AS SOON AS IT WAS BORN."

>>MANY BIBLE SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS HAVE STUDIED THIS

PROPHECY OVER THE YEARS AND AGREE THAT THE PROPHECY OF

REVELATION 12 POINTS TO AN EVENT KNOWN AS^I THE MASSACRE OF THE^I

^IINNOCENTS^I , WHICH OCCURRED IN FIRST CENTURY JUDEA.

>>IN THE DECADES LEADING UP TO THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, THE ROMAN

EMPIRE HAD CONQUERED THE WHOLE MEDITERRANEAN WORLD, INCLUDING

JUDEA. TWENTY YEARS BEFORE JESUS WAS

BORN, YOU HAVE KING HEROD, A CLIENT KING, FOR ROME.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE DOCUMENTS ABOUT HIM OUTSIDE THE BIBLE

THAT TELL US THAT HE WAS VERY CRUEL.

HE WAS RUTHLESS AND YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO GET ON HIS BAD SIDE.

>>HEROD WAS VERY ANXIOUS WHEN A SMALL DELEGATION OF WISE MEN

FROM THE EAST CAME TO JERUSALEM, ANNOUNCING THEIR SEARCH FOR THE

NEWBORN KING OF THE JEWS.

>>WHY WOULD HEROD BE UPSET ABOUT THAT?

BECAUSE THAT WAS HEROD'S TITLE AS BESTOWED UPON HIM BY

THE ROMAN EMPIRE - KING OF THE JEWS.

>>HE FINDS OUT FROM THE PHARISEES AND THE SADDUCEES

EXACTLY WHERE THIS CHILD IS TO BE BORN AND HE FINDS OUT IT'S

BETHLEHEM, AND SO HE HAS SUCH ANGER AGAINST THIS CHILD, HE

SENDS IN THE SOLDIERS TO TRY AND KILL JESUS.

(DRAMATIC MUSIC) (NEIGHING HORSES) (SCREAMS)

>>THE BIBLE TELLS US THIS BARBARIC ACT WAS INSPIRED

BY MORE THAN JUST THE TYRANNICAL JEALOUSY OF AN OLD KING.

MANY BIBLE SCHOLARS BELIEVE THAT IT'S PART OF A MUCH BIGGER

STRUGGLE THAT HAS SPANNED THE AGES AND IS STILL HAPPENING TODAY.

TO UNCOVER THE SECRETS OF THIS PROPHECY, WE'RE GOING TO FIRST

NEED TO IDENTIFY THE MAIN CHARACTERS: THE WOMAN, THE CHILD

AND THE DRAGON. LET'S TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE

WOMAN. WE KNOW THAT SHE'S A SYMBOL OF

SOMEONE OR SOMETHING. DOES THE BIBLE TELL US WHAT THIS

WOMAN REPRESENTS? >>"HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES,

JUST AS CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER."

>>VERY CLEARLY, A WOMAN IN SCRIPTURE REPRESENTS THE CHURCH.

YOU HAVE A WOMAN AS REPRESENTATIVE OF GOD'S PEOPLE.

WE SEE THIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT; WE SEE IT

IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

JESUS COMES FROM THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND THEN THE CHURCH GROWS

UP AS SOMETHING THAT JESUS DEVELOPS.

>>MOST IMPORTANTLY, THIS WOMAN IS ABOUT TO GIVE BIRTH TO A

SPECIAL MALE CHILD. WHO IS THE CHILD?

>>WE HAVE A COUPLE OF INDICATIONS.

1) HE RULES WITH A ROD OF IRON OVER THE NATIONS.

THAT'S A REFERENCE TO THE OLD TESTAMENT WHERE CLEARLY GOD IS

THE ONE RULING OVER THE NATIONS WITH A ROD OF IRON.

AND THEN HE SAYS HE'S CAUGHT UP INTO HEAVEN, SO THESE TWO

INDICATIONS PRETTY DEFINITIVELY TELL US THAT THIS IS JESUS.

>>NOW LET'S CONSIDER THE ARCH VILLAIN IN THIS IMPORTANT

PROPHECY: THE DRAGON. >>"AND ANOTHER SIGN APPEARED IN

HEAVEN: BEHOLD, A GREAT, FIERY RED DRAGON."

>>YOU KNOW, I WISH I COULD JUST GIVE YOU A FANCIFUL THEORY HERE,

BUT THE BIBLE TELLS US WHO THE DRAGON IS.

THE DRAGON IS THE DEVIL. >>"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." >>WHAT WE SEE HERE, IN THE FIRST

PART OF REVELATION 12, IS A SYMBOLIC PORTRAYAL OF THE

AGE-OLD CONFLICT BETWEEN CHRIST AND SATAN.

ALL THROUGH THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF CHRIST, SATAN TRIED

TO DISRUPT JESUS' PLANS TO PROVIDE SALVATION FOR HUMANITY.

>>"BUT HE WAS WOUNDED FOR OUR TRANSGRESSIONS, HE WAS BRUISED

FOR OUR INIQUITIES; THE CHASTISEMENT FOR OUR PEACE WAS

UPON HIM, AND BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED."

>>THEY TRIED TO SILENCE HIM. THEY TORTURED HIM TO DEATH

PUBLICLY. >>SATAN'S SCHEME TO DERAIL THE

PLAN OF SALVATION WAS UTTERLY SHATTERED WHEN JESUS ROSE FROM

THE DEAD. >>"AND HER CHILD WAS CAUGHT UP

TO GOD AND HIS THRONE." >>WITH THE SON OF GOD NOW

PHYSICALLY BEYOND HIS REACH, THE DEVIL DIRECTED ALL OF HIS FURY

AT THE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS, THE NEW CHRISTIANS.

HE DID MUCH OF THIS THROUGH THE CRUEL POWER OF IMPERIAL ROME.

>>"NOW WHEN THE DRAGON SAW THAT HE HAD BEEN CAST TO THE EARTH,

HE PERSECUTED THE WOMAN WHO GAVE BIRTH TO THE MALE CHILD."

>>CHRISTIANITY WAS A STRUGGLING, SMALL, PERSECUTED MINORITY THAT

DIDN'T HAVE OFFICIAL STATUS IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND THERE WERE

A SERIES OF PERSECUTIONS, SOME OF WHICH WERE QUITE SEVERE.

>>ONE OF THE ROLES OF RELIGION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS TO

ENSURE THE WELL BEING OF THE STATE.

THE IDEA WAS, IF THE GODS WERE WORSHIPPED PROPERLY, THEN THEY

WOULD FAVOR THE EMPIRE AND IF THEY WERE WORSHIPPED IMPROPERLY,

THEN THEY WOULD, YOU KNOW, BAD THINGS WOULD HAPPEN TO THE

EMPIRE AS A RESULT OF DIVINE WRATH.

>>THEY DO NOT WANT TO SACRIFICE TO THE GODS AND THE GODS, AT

THAT POINT, INCLUDE THE EMPEROR.

>>SO IT'S EASY TO CONSIDER THESE PEOPLE RELIGIOUS SCAPEGOATS.

BASICALLY, IF SOMETHING'S GOING WRONG, PROBABLY IT'S BECAUSE

THERE ARE CHRISTIANS AROUND WHO ARE REFUSING TO GIVE THE GODS

THEIR PROPER DUE. CHRISTIANS ARE PROGRESSIVELY

STRIPPED OF THEIR CIVIL OFFICES, THEIR MILITARY OFFICES, THEIR

BOOKS ARE CONFISCATED, THEIR CHURCHES ARE DESTROYED, THEY'RE

FORBIDDEN TO MEET, AND SO ON, ALL BECAUSE THERE'S AN ANXIETY

THAT THIS IS REALLY UNDERMINING THE - THE WELFARE OF THE EMPIRE.

>>AS THE EARLY CHURCH SUFFERED UNDER THIS WITHERING PERSECUTION

OF ROME, THEIR LIVES BECAME A POWERFUL TESTIMONY FOR TRUTH.

WHILE THE PAGANS LIVED IN CONSTANT SUPERSTITIOUS FEAR,

THESE CHRISTIANS FACED TORTURE AND DEATH WITH A

SUPERNATURAL PEACE.

>>BASICALLY, WHAT NERO DID IS HE FED THEM TO THE LIONS.

HE HAD THEM TIED TO PILLARS, HE PUT PITCH ON THEM, AND THEN HE

SET THEM ON FIRE AS HUMAN TORCHES SO THAT THEY COULD HAVE

THE FESTIVITIES CONTINUE ON INTO THE NIGHT.

>>YOU KNOW, BEING STRETCHED, PULLED INTO TWO, YOU KNOW, BEING

KILLED BY GLADIATORS. >>JUST ABOUT EVERY CREATIVE WAY

THAT YOU CAN DISPOSE OF CHRISTIANS.

>>WHEN FACING THE PAINFUL END OF THEIR LIVES, THEY OFTEN SANG AND

REJOICED. AS THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS PAID

THE ULTIMATE PRICE FOR THEIR FAITH, THEIR DYING PRAYERS AND

BLOOD ESSENTIALLY BECAME SEED FOR THE NEW CHURCH.

>>PEOPLE ARE SO ENTHRALLED BY HOW THESE CHRISTIANS ARE DYING,

THAT IMMEDIATELY, THE REACTION IS 'SIGN ME UP.'

>>AND SO THE CHRISTIANS SPREAD LIKE WILDFIRE.

THE MORE YOU KILLED THEM, THE MORE THEY STOOD FOR THEIR FAITH.

>>NOW, IT IS TRUE, AND I THINK IT HAS TO BE EMPHASIZED THAT THE

EARLY CHURCH SPREADS DESPITE THE VERY CONCERTED ATTEMPTS AT

REPRESSION OF EXTREMELY AUTOCRATIC AND POWERFUL EMPERORS

WHO SET THEMSELVES VERY FIRMLY AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS AND YET

THE EARLY CHURCH SURVIVES. >>TERTULLIAN ARGUES, WHENEVER

SOMETHING GOES WRONG, WHENEVER THERE'S A FAMINE OR WHENEVER

THERE'S AN ILLNESS, A PESTILENCE THAT SWEEPS THROUGH, EVERYBODY

SAYS, 'THE CHRISTIANS TO THE LIONS.' AND THEN HE SAYS

SNIDELY, 'AS IF SO MANY COULD BE FED TO SO FEW.' AND HIS POINT IS

THAT YOU CAN'T DESTROY US ALL. >>DURING THIS TIME OF

EXPONENTIAL GROWTH, CHRISTIANS, ALL ACROSS THE ROMAN EMPIRE,

QUITE LITERALLY WENT UNDERGROUND.

THIS LABYRINTH OF TUNNELS AND CHAMBERS BENEATH THE ROMAN

CITIES BECAME KNOWN AS^I THE^I ^ICATACOMBS^I .

>>NOW THE CATACOMBS ARE IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND.

FIRST, MANY PEOPLE IMAGINE THAT THERE ARE CAVES NATURALLY UNDER

ROME AND THAT CHRISTIANS SIMPLY WENT INTO THEM.

THE CATACOMBS, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, ARE NOT NATURAL

CAVES; THEY WERE EXCAVATED BY THE CHRISTIANS.

>>SOMETIMES SERVICES WOULD BE HELD THERE IN THE VERY TOMBS OF

THE MARTYRS. >>THE SECOND POINT IS THE VERY

ACT OF BURYING YOUR DEAD IS HUGELY SIGNIFICANT.

CHRISTIANS BELIEVE IN A RESURRECTION OF THE BODY.

NOW, OF COURSE, THAT BELIEF HAS SHIFTED AND CHANGED OVER THE

CENTURIES, BUT FROM ALL WE UNDERSTAND, EARLY CHRISTIANS

BELIEVED THAT THEY WOULD BE RESURRECTED IN THAT ACTUAL

BODILY FORM AND, THEREFORE, THEY CHOSE TO BURY THEIR DEAD, NOT TO

CREMATE THEM. THEREFORE, IF YOU ARE SEEN TO BE

BURYING YOUR DEAD, ESPECIALLY AT TIMES WHEN THERE ARE INTENSE

WAVES OF PERSECUTION, YOU'RE MORE OR LESS SAYING TO THE POLICE,

'COME AND INVESTIGATE ME. I MAY WELL BE A CHRISTIAN.'

>>IN A.D. 306, A NEW ROMAN EMPEROR CAME INTO POWER AND

THINGS BEGAN TO RAPIDLY CHANGE. CONSTANTINE THE GREAT WAS A

CAPABLE MILITARY LEADER AND A SHREWD POLITICIAN.

>>SO CONSTANTINE HAD TO FIGHT A SERIES OF CIVIL WARS IN ORDER TO

ACHIEVE HIS POLITICAL AIM OF BECOMING EMPEROR - AND THAT'S

HIS OWN PERSONAL AND POLITICAL AIM, IT'S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH

CHRISTIANITY. HE GOES DOWN FROM GAUL - MODERN-DAY FRANCE - WHERE

HIS POWER BASE WAS, TO CONFRONT HIS RIVAL, MAXENTIUS, IN ITALY.

>>AS HE WAS MARCHING WITH HIS ARMY, HE HAD A DREAM ONE NIGHT

WHERE GOD CAME TO HIM AND TOLD IM, 'YOU WILL BECOME A CHRISTIAN

AND PUT THIS SIGN ON YOUR SHIELD AND YOU WILL CONQUER.'

SHORTLY AFTER THAT, HE ACTUALLY AD A VISION, WHICH HISTORY TELLS US

WAS SEEN BY HIS ARMY AS WELL AS BY CONSTANTINE, HIMSELF.

>>HE LOOKED UP TO THE SUN AND HE SAW A CROSS OF LIGHT ABOVE IT

>>THE STORY THAT HE HAD HAD THIS DREAM DOES APPEAR AT A

RELATIVELY EARLY STAGE. IT'S DESCRIBED BY EUSEBIUS.

THERE ARE DIFFERENT SOURCES - THERE ARE DIFFERENT VERSIONS,

BUT IT DOES SEEM THAT CONSTANTINE DOES SAY, 'I'VE HAD

THIS DIVINE ENCOUNTER AND AN ANGEL HAS TOLD ME THAT IN THE

SIGN OF THE CROSS I WILL CONQUER.'

>>CONSTANTINE COMMANDED HIS TROOPS TO ADORN THEIR SHIELDS

WITH THE CHRISTIAN SYMBOL.

>>HIS OPPONENT MOVES ACROSS THE RIVER AT THE MILVIAN BRIDGE.

HE HAS CONSTANTINE AND ARMY IN FRONT OF HIM; THE RIVER AND THE

CITY BEHIND HIM - NOT A GREAT SITUATION TO BE IN.

SO IF YOU DO NOT BEAT THE ONCOMING ARMY, YOU HAVE NOWHERE

TO RETREAT. SO HE LOSES.

>>SO FOR CONSTANTINE, WHO IS CERTAINLY NOT YET A

CHRISTIAN, THIS IS A POWERFUL THING BECAUSE HE HIMSELF

BELIEVES 'THE CHRISTIAN GOD HAS GIVEN ME VICTORY.' SO IF YOU'RE

A PAGAN OR JUST SOMEBODY WHO'S CONFUSED ABOUT RELIGION, YOU'VE

HAD HERE THIS CLASH OF DEITIES AND WHO'S EMERGED ON TOP?

THE CHRISTIAN GOD. YOU CAN DRAW YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS.

>>GRADUALLY, THE NATIONAL SENTIMENT AGAINST CHRISTIANITY

BEGAN REVERSING.

DURING CONSTANTINE'S REIGN, CHRISTIANS WENT FROM BEING A

PERSECUTED SECT TO OPENLY HOLDING POSITIONS OF INFLUENCE

IN THE COURTS AND PALACES OF KINGS AND GOVERNORS.

>>SO A LARGE PART OF THE ELITES USED TO RUNNING THE SHOW,

AUTOMATICALLY THEN BECOME ALSO THE LOCAL BISHOPS, ETC. YOU

KNOW, BECOME CHRISTIAN - IT WASN'T SUCH A BIG LEAP BECAUSE

MOST OF THEM, ANYWAY, BELIEVED IN ONE SUPREME DIVINE BEING

WHICH HAD DIFFERENT REPRESENTATIONS.

>>IF YOU WANT TO ADVANCE IN THE ARMY OR IN THE IMPERIAL CIVIL

SERVICE, THERE'S EVERY INCENTIVE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN BECAUSE

ALL THE PEOPLE AT THE TOP ARE CHRISTIANS.

>>IT BECOMES VERY ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE CONSTANTINE'S^I EDICT OF^I

^ITOLERATION^I MAKES IT SO.

>>"CONSTANTINE CAN RIGHTFULLY CLAIM THE TITLE OF GREAT, FOR HE

TURNED THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD INTO A NEW COURSE AND MADE

CHRISTIANITY, WHICH UNTIL THEN HAD SUFFERED BLOODY PERSECUTION,

THE RELIGION OF THE STATE." >>AND SO, AS PEOPLE FROM AROUND

THE ROMAN EMPIRE ENTERED THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THEY BROUGHT

WITH THEM MANY OF THEIR FORMER PAGAN BELIEFS AND PRACTICES.

>>NOW THE PERCENTAGE OF CHRISTIANS IN THIS TOP TEN,

FIFTEEN, TWENTY-FIVE PERCENT INCREASES AND IT INCREASES

DRAMATICALLY IN THE TOP ONE - TWO PERCENT.

THAT IS THE REAL CHANGE. THAT'S WHEN CHRISTIANITY REALLY

BECOMES THE CHRISTIANITY THAT IT IS TODAY. BECAUSE NOW THE PEOPLE

WHO HAVE BEEN RUNNING THE SHOW, THEY ARE NOW CHRISTIAN.

>>OVER TIME, CHURCH LEADERS BEGAN TO EMBRACE THE REGAL ROBES

AND FLAMBOYANT CEREMONY THAT WAS PART OF THE PAGAN RELIGIONS, AND

IN PLACE OF THE SIMPLE COMMANDS OF GOD, THEY BEGAN TO TEACH

SUPERSTITIONS AND MAN-MADE TRADITIONS.

NOW, INSTEAD OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH CONVERTING THE HEATHEN

WORLD, THE PAGANS WERE CONVERTING THE CHURCH.

>>THERE'S A TRAIN COMING OUT OF THE FIRST CENTURY REPRESENTED BY

THE DOCUMENTS WE HAVE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT THAT DEMONSTRATE THE

KIND OF SHAPE OF THE CHURCH THERE GOING INTO THIS LONG, DARK

TUNNEL OF THE SECOND THROUGH FOURTH CENTURIES, AND THEN

COMING OUT IN THE FOURTH CENTURY - OF THIS LONG, DARK TUNNEL -

AND THE TRAIN OF THE CHURCH THAT COMES OUT IS SO DIFFERENT FROM THE

TRAIN OF THE CHURCH THAT GOES IN, YOU SAY, 'WHAT HAPPENED?!'

>>IN A.D. 391, BY THE ORDER OF EMPEROR THEODOSIUS I, CHRISTIANITY

BECAME THE OFFICIAL STATE RELIGION OF ROME. WORSHIP AT PAGAN TEMPLES

WAS OUTLAWED AND ALL OTHER RELIGIOUS PRACTICES CEASED.

>>YOU'RE TRYING TO CHRISTIANIZE AN EMPIRE.

YOU'RE TRYING TO CHRISTIANIZE A PAGAN CULTURE. THE OLD BASILICAS

WERE BASICALLY PAGAN TEMPLES - PUT A CROSS OVER IT, PUT IN PAINTINGS

OF BIBLICAL SCENES, BIBLICAL HEROES AND SAINTS AND MARTYRS.

SO CHRISTIANS ACTUALLY DELIBERATELY, AT TIMES, AND

PURPOSEFULLY, AS A STRATEGY, TAKE PAGAN, NOT ONLY PLACES, BUT

RITUALS OR IDEAS AND, AS THEY THINK, SUBVERT THEM TO ADVANCE

THE CAUSE OF, YOU KNOW, SPREADING CHRISTIANITY.

WHAT WE DON'T KNOW IS THE EXTENT TO WHICH THEY THINK THIS THROUGH

AND SAY, 'WELL, AT WHAT POINT IS IT LEGITIMATE TO DO THIS AND AT

WHAT POINT DO WE, PERHAPS, BEGIN TO BE TAKING ON OTHER IDEAS?

>>THE SPEED WITH WHICH THE EARLY CHURCH TOBOGGANED INTO APOSTASY

WILL TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY.

>>AS MILLIONS OF PAGANS HASTILY JOINED THE CHURCH, THEY WERE

NATURALLY RELUCTANT TO DISPOSE OF THEIR IDOL TREASURES.

THE ROMANS AND THE GREEKS WERE SO USED TO BEING SURROUNDED BY

SYMBOLS OF THEIR DEITIES, THEY BEGAN DOING THE SAME THING WITH

CHRISTIANITY, SO MANY OF THESE NEW CONVERTS JUST RELABELED

THEIR IDOLS WITH CHRISTIAN NAMES LIKE PAUL, MARY, AND PETER.

>>A STATUE OF JUPITER BECAME A STATUE OF PETER.

>>AND WE KNOW THAT, BECAUSE IT HAS A SUN DISC RIGHT OVER ITS

HEAD THAT INDICATES THAT THIS IS NOT PETER, THAT IT'S A PAGAN

STATUE THAT'S BEEN RENAMED.

>>THE REPRESENTATIONS OF ISIS, WHICH IS ORIGINALLY AN EGYPTIAN

GODDESS, BUT HAS BECOME VERY GREEK ALREADY, BECOMES

ESSENTIALLY THE REPRESENTATION OF MARY CARRYING HER CHILD.

>>YOU HAVE A MOTHER AND CHILD TRADITION ALL THE WAY DOWN

THROUGH HISTORY. YOU HAVE IT IN MITHRAISM, YOU

HAVE IT IN BABYLON, YOU HAVE IT ALL THE WAY BACK IN PERSIA.

>>IT APPEARS THAT MARY ACQUIRED SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT

WERE ASSOCIATED WITH SOME OF THESE OTHER GODDESSES.

>>SHE WEARS A DARK BLUE COAT AND SHE STANDS ON THE HALF MOON.

SHE IS THE MOTHER OF ALL GODS - ISIS CARRYING HER SON HORACE -

THAT IS THE IMAGE THAT GETS A NEW NAME AND NOW THE NAME IS

MARY CARRYING THE CHILD JESUS. >>OR A DEPICTION OF THE GOD HERMES

IS SHOWN AS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPHERD.

>>SOON THE STATUES OF THE SAINTS - AND EVEN JESUS - BEGAN

ADORNING THE CHURCHES. EVEN THOUGH GOD CLEARLY FORBIDS

THIS PRACTICE IN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, PEOPLE CONTINUED

TO REVERE AND TO PRAY TO THESE RELABELED IDOLS.

>>"THOU SHALT NOT MAKE UNTO THEE ANY GRAVEN IMAGE, OR ANY

LIKENESS OF ANYTHING THAT IS IN HEAVEN ABOVE, OR THAT IS IN THE

EARTH BENEATH, OR THAT IS IN THE WATER UNDER THE EARTH.

THOU SHALT NOT BOW DOWN THYSELF TO THEM, NOR SERVE THEM..."

>>RELATED TO THE LAST POINT IS THE VENERATION OF MARY,

THE MOTHER OF JESUS.

WHILE IT IS TRUE MARY WAS A FAITHFUL WOMAN AND GREATLY

HONORED TO BE HIS MOTHER, THE SCRIPTURES TEACH NOWHERE THAT

SHE IS TO BE DEIFIED OR WORSHIPED.

>>MARY HAD ALWAYS BEEN IMPORTANT IN ANCIENT CHRISTIAN HISTORY,

BUT OVER THE MIDDLE AGES SHE BECOMES ELEVATED ALMOST TO

UH - LOOKING AT IT DETACHEDLY - ALMOST TO THE RANK OF A SEMI-DEITY.

>>THE VIRGIN MARY WAS BELIEVED TO BE THE ONE WHO WOULD SPEAK UP

FOR GUILTY HUMAN BEINGS TO HER SUPREMELY VIRTUOUS AND

JUDGMENTAL AND RATHER CENSORIOUS SON. IT'S A VERY STRANGE IMAGE, BUT

THAT'S HOW THE RELIGIOUS ART OF THE PERIOD SHOWS IT.

>>THE BIBLE DOES NOT VENERATE MARY AS A SPECIAL SAINT. IT LIFTS HER

UP AS A PURE, WONDERFUL WOMAN USED BY GOD TO GIVE BIRTH TO

THE MESSIAH. >>YET, AT THE COUNCIL OF NICEA

IN 325, THE CHURCH ELEVATED MARY TO THE STATURE OF A GODDESS AND

CO-MEDIATOR WITH CHRIST. EVEN AS EARLY AS THE LATE 4TH

CENTURY, CHURCHES WERE BEING DEDICATED TO THE VIRGIN MARY.

BUT SADLY, THESE WERE NOT THE ONLY ERRORS THAT SLIPPED IN

DURING THIS TIME. DURING THE APOSTOLIC AGE,

BAPTISM WAS A SACRED CEREMONY RESERVED ONLY FOR THOSE OLD

ENOUGH TO MAKE A RATIONAL DECISION FOR CHRIST.

IT WAS A PUBLIC TESTIMONY OF ACCEPTING CHRIST AND HIS

FORGIVENESS. BAPTISM LITERALLY REPRESENTS

BEING DEAD AND BURIED TO OUR OLD LIFE AND BEING RESURRECTED, OR

BORN AGAIN, TO A NEW LIFE IN CHRIST. THE BAPTISM CEREMONY WAS

ALSO PERFORMED IN A LAKE OR A RIVER, WHERE A PERSON COULD BE

FULLY SUBMERGED, SIGNIFYING THEY WERE FULLY WASHED FROM THEIR SINS.

THE PRACTICE OF BAPTISM WAS GRADUALLY ALTERED BY THE CHURCH.

HUNDREDS OF YEARS AFTER CHRIST, SPRINKLING AND POURING WERE

INTRODUCED AS A MORE CONVENIENT MODE OF BAPTISM.

THIS ACTUALLY UNDERMINED THE POWERFUL SYMBOLISM OF THE

SERVICE, AND IT CONTRADICTS THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS, WHO WAS

BAPTIZED BY IMMERSION.

>>THERE WAS THIS UNBIBLICAL CONCEPT THAT A CHILD COULD SIN

RIGHT AWAY AND SO THEREFORE IF HE SINNED, HE WAS IN DANGER OF

GOING TO HELL AND BURNING FOREVER IN HELL.

SO THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE CARE OF HIM WAS TO BAPTIZE HIM AND HE

HAD TO BE BAPTIZED INTO THE CHURCH.

IF YOU WEREN'T A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH, IT WAS CRICKETS FOR YOU.

>>SO THEOLOGIANS SAY, 'YOU KNOW WHAT?

WE NEED TO START BAPTIZING BABIES IMMEDIATELY' - AS SOON AS

POSSIBLE AFTER THEY'RE BORN - SO THAT, IN CASE THEY DIE AND, THIS

IS, OF COURSE, A PERIOD WHEN INFANT MORTALITY IS HIGH AND A

LOT OF BABIES DO DIE, THEY CAN GET INTO HEAVEN.

>>ANOTHER CHRISTIAN TRUTH THAT WAS ALTERED BY PAGAN INFLUENCE

WAS THE LORD'S SUPPER. JESUS INSTITUTED THE COMMUNION

SERVICE, ALSO KNOWN BY SOME AS A EUCHARIST, TO BE A BEAUTIFUL,

YET SIMPLE, CEREMONY WHERE HIS FOLLOWERS WOULD DRINK

UNFERMENTED WINE AND EAT UNLEAVENED BREAD. THESE SYMBOLS

OF JESUS' SINLESS BODY AND BLOOD ARE DESIGNED TO HELP BELIEVERS

REMEMBER THE SACRIFICE AND THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST.

>>BY FAR, THE MOST IMPORTANT RITE FOR LATE MEDIEVAL

CHRISTIANS WAS THE EUCHARIST OR COMMUNION OR, AS THEY MOST

COMMONLY CALLED IT, THE MASS. >>MEN AND WOMEN ALL COME

TOGETHER AND TAKE THE SACRAMENT. THEY CELEBRATE WHAT WE WOULD

CALL COMMUNION - TAKING THE BODY AND BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST.

>>BUT AGAIN, UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF HEATHEN RITUALS, THE HOLY

COMMUNION SERVICE WAS GRADUALLY CHANGED BY CHURCH LEADERS INTO A

MYSTICAL CEREMONY. IN THIS NEW RITUAL, FERMENTED

WINE WAS USED AND THE PRIEST, ALLEGEDLY, HAD THE POWER TO

TRANSFORM THE BREAD AND THE WINE INTO THE ACTUAL BODY AND BLOOD

OF CHRIST. >>THIS IS TRANSUBSTANTIATION - THE NOTION

THAT A PRIEST TRANSFORMS THE EUCHARIST INTO THE BODY

AND BLOOD OF CHRIST THROUGH THE PRONUNCIATION AND THE

FORMULA^I HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM^I -^I THIS IS MY BODY.^I

"THEY WERE POWERFUL WORDS BELIEVED TO HAVE THE PROPERTY THAT

WHEN THEY WERE UTTERED, GOD TRANSFORMED THE NATURE OF THE

BREAD AND THE WINE INTO THE BODY AND BLOOD OF THE RISEN

JESUS CHRIST. >>EVEN TO THE POINT WHERE LATER

ON THEY SAY, 'WE ARE CREATING GOD BY SPEAKING THE WORDS OF

MYSTAGOGY. >>ESSENTIALLY, WHAT HAPPENED ON

THE ALTAR WAS THAT BREAD BECAME BODY, WINE BECAME BLOOD; BUT

THEY JUST STILL LOOKED LIKE BREAD AND WINE.

>>THIS OFFERING OF THE SACRIFICE IN THE EUCHARIST - THIS

SACRIFICE OF PRAISE-THIS COMMUNAL MEAL, NOW BECOMES, NOT

A REMEMBRANCE OF THE SACRIFICE, BUT A SACRIFICE IN AND OF ITSELF

AND IS GIVING SALVATION. >>BY 1415 A.D.

AT THE COUNCIL OF CONSTANCE, CHURCH LEADERS FURTHER DECREED

THAT ONLY THE PRIESTS COULD DRINK THE WINE AND THE LAITY

WOULD ONLY RECEIVE THE BREAD, YET THE BIBLE CLEARLY SAYS THAT

WHEN JESUS ESTABLISHED THE COMMUNION SERVICE, THEY ALL

DRANK FROM IT. ABOUT 300 YEARS AFTER CHRIST,

THE CHURCH BEGAN TO DEVIATE FROM ANOTHER OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS,

SPECIFICALLY THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT THAT REQUIRES

BELIEVERS TO REMEMBER THE SEVENTH DAY AS THE SABBATH.

>>"REMEMBER THE SABBATH DAY, TO KEEP IT HOLY. SIX DAYS YOU SHALL

LABOR AND DO ALL YOUR WORK, BUT HE SEVENTH DAY IS THE SABBATH OF

THE LORD YOUR GOD." >>WHEN THE JEWS KEPT FIGHTING

AGAINST ROME, WHAT HAD BEEN KIND OF AN UMBRELLA OF SAFETY UNDER

JUDAISM BECOMES A LIGHTNING ROD TO CHRISTIANITY.

>>THE CHRISTIANS BECOME ALIENATED FROM THE JEWS.

THE JEWS PERSECUTED THEM AND SO THEY'RE TRYING TO DISTANCE

THEMSELVES FROM THE JEWS. >>CHURCH LEADERS BEGAN TO

DEVALUE THE SEVENTH DAY SABBATH OF THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN

PREFERENCE FOR THE MORE POPULAR ROMAN SUNDAY.

>>SOME CHRISTIANS MISTAKENLY

THOUGHT THAT YOU SHOULD FAST ON THE SABBATH BUT YOU COULD FEAST

ON SUNDAY. THAT'S WHAT THE PAGANS DID; THEY

FEASTED ON SUNDAY AND FASTED ON SATURDAY.

NOT A JEWISH CONCEPT - THE JEWS FASTED FRIDAY AND FEASTED

SABBATH - BUT THAT'S HOW SOME CHRISTIANS THOUGHT OF IT.

SO IF YOU'RE FASTING ON ONE DAY AND YOU'RE FEASTING ON THE NEXT,

YOU CAN GUESS WHICH DAY BECOMES THE MORE POPULAR DAY.

>>AND CHRIST IS RESURRECTED ON A SUNDAY AND THERE'S A VERY

NATURAL TENDENCY, THEREFORE, TO MARK THAT AND CELEBRATE THAT.

>>THERE'S A THIRD REASON AND THAT IS THE INFLUENCE OF SUN

WORSHIP THAT CREEPS INTO THE CHURCH. AND WHEN SUN WORSHIP

BEGINS TO CREEP INTO THE CHURCH, CONSTANTINE CAN MAKE USE OF THAT

TO LEAD TO THE EXALTATION OF SUNDAY, THE DAY OF THE SUN, AS

BEING THE DAY THAT PEOPLE SHOULD WORSHIP ON.

>>THIS GRADUAL DEPARTURE FROM GOD'S LAW, OVER THE CENTURIES,

HAS BECOME SO WIDELY ACCEPTED THAT MOST ARE SHOCKED TO LEARN

THAT SUNDAY KEEPING HAS NO FOUNDATION IN THE BIBLE.

IN A.D. 313, CONSTANTINE PUBLISHED THE^I EDICT OF MILAN^I ESTABLISHING

SUNDAY AS A DAY OF REST. THE EMPEROR'S SUNDAY LAW HAD

NOTHING TO DO WITH CHRISTIANITY, IT WAS ACTUALLY TO HONOR THE

MAIN GRECO-ROMAN SUN GOD CALLED HELIOS, OR APOLLO.

>>THE EMPEROR CONSTANTINE BECAME A CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY AND

ALSO, BECAUSE HE REMAINED PARTIAL TO THE SUN GOD, THE

EMPEROR CONSTANTINE MOVED THE DAY OR WORSHIP FROM SATURDAY THE

SABBATH, AS HAD BEEN TRADITIONAL IN JUDAISM, OBVIOUSLY, TO SUNDAY

THE DAY OF THE SUN GOD. AND EVER SINCE, CHRISTIAN FOLKS,

AT LEAST FOR THE MOST PART - OVERWHELMINGLY - HAVE HELD

THEIR DAY OF WORSHIP ON SUNDAY RATHER THAN SATURDAY.

>>THIS IS CLEAR, FROM ANOTHER EDICT OF CONSTANTINE GIVEN IN A.D. 321,

WHEN THE EMPEROR ORDERED: >>"ON THE VENERABLE DAY OF THE

SUN LET THE MAGISTRATES AND PEOPLE RESIDING IN CITIES REST,

AND LET ALL WORKSHOPS BE CLOSED."

>>NOTICE: THE EDICT USES THE WORD 'SUN' S-U-N.

IT'S ALSO RECORDED THAT CONSTANTINE THE GREAT MADE A LAW

FOR THE WHOLE EMPIRE THAT SUNDAY SHOULD BE KEPT AS A DAY OF REST.

OBVIOUSLY, THIS CHANGE DID NOT INFILTRATE THE CHURCH OVERNIGHT.

HISTORY TELLS US THAT FOR DECADES THE SEVENTH-DAY SABBATH,

TOGETHER WITH SUNDAY, WERE BOTH OBSERVED AS HOLY DAYS.

>>THE VERY, VERY EARLY CHURCH CLEARLY IS STILL WORSHIPING ON

THE JEWISH SATURDAY IN THE TIMES OF THE APOSTLES, BUT BY THE MID

TO LATE THIRD CENTURY, THAT HAS LARGELY BEEN ABANDONED OR IS IN

THE PROCESS OF BEING ABANDONED. BY THE EARLY 4TH CENTURY, IN

MANY PARTS OF THE ROMAN WORLD, CHRISTIANS ARE GENERALLY

WORSHIPING ON SUNDAY. >>IT'S DURING THE TIME OF

CONSTANTINE IN WHICH THE IDEA OF TRANSFERRING THE SOLEMNITY OF

THE SABBATH TO SUNDAY IS FIRST EXPRESSED.

>>CENTURIES EARLIER THE PROPHET DANIEL HAD FORETOLD A RELIGIOUS

POWER WOULD ARISE THAT WOULD THINK TO CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS.

WITHIN THE TEN COMMANDMENTS THERE'S ONLY ONE LAW THAT IS

ALSO A TIME, THE SABBATH. THE DOCTRINE OF HELLFIRE WAS

ALSO DISTORTED BY PAGAN MYTHOLOGY.

IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION, THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT FOLLOWING THE

GREAT JUDGMENT DAY THE LOST WILL BE CAST INTO A LAKE OF FIRE.

AT THAT TIME, EACH PERSON IS PUNISHED ACCORDING TO WHAT THEY

DESERVE AND THEN THEY'RE TOTALLY CONSUMED AND ETERNALLY PERISH.

>>"AND DO NOT FEAR THOSE WHO KILL THE BODY BUT CANNOT KILL

THE SOUL. BUT RATHER FEAR HIM WHO IS ABLE

TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN HELL." "FOR THE LIVING KNOW THAT

THEY WILL DIE; BUT THE DEAD KNOW NOTHING..."

>>THE PRIESTS BEGAN TO TEACH THAT HELL WAS A PLACE OF ETERNAL

TORMENT RULED BY THE DEVIL AND IT BEGAN AT THE MOMENT OF DEATH.

THE FALLEN CHURCH WAS ABLE TO USE THIS FRIGHTFUL CONCEPT OF

NEVER-ENDING TORTURE TO TERRORIZE AND MANIPULATE BOTH

THE KING AND THE COMMONER. MOST TRAGIC OF ALL, THIS FALSE

TEACHING PORTRAYS JESUS AS SOME SORT OF SADISTIC FIEND.

ANOTHER PAGAN CONCEPT THAT INFILTRATED CHRISTIAN THINKING

WAS REGARDING THE AFTERLIFE. PURGATORY IS THE IDEA THAT TEACHES

THAT, AT DEATH, SOME PEOPLE WILL ENTER A TEMPORARY HELLFIRE

WHERE THEY'RE PURIFIED FOR HEAVEN.

>>PURGATORY'S A HALFWAY HOUSE - HALFWAY, KIND OF, BETWEEN HEAVEN

AND HELL AND THE THING WITH PURGATORY IS YOU CAN ESCAPE FROM IT.

>>THE CHURCH DEVELOPS GRADUALLY AND, AGAIN, IT GROWS ON THE

CHURCH BY SLOW DEGREES, THE IDEA THAT ANYONE WHO DIES WITH THEIR

WORKS OF SATISFACTION INCOMPLETE, WILL PROBABLY HAVE

TO PAY THEM OFF IN SOME PLACE OF POST-MORTEM SUFFERING.

THEY ARE SUFFERING IN ORDER TO BE PURIFIED, PURGED FROM THEIR

SINS AND OFFENSES WHICH THEY'VE COMMITTED IN LIFE.

>>MANY PEOPLE MISUNDERSTAND PURGATORY AND HELL - THERE'S AN

IDEA YOU CAN GET OUT OF HELL - YOU CAN'T.

IF YOU GO TO HELL, THAT'S IT. THERE'S NO RELEASE.

YOU'RE VERY, VERY WICKED AND YOU'RE JUST DOOMED.

BUT MOST PEOPLE - WE HAVE A LOT OF VERY, VERY BAD THING IN US,

SO HOW CAN WE BE MADE GOOD FOR HEAVEN? YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT PURGED

OUT OF US AND, THUS, YOU GET THE WORD^I PURGATORY.^I

THEREFORE, MOST CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT THEIR RELATIVES ARE

SUFFERING IN PURGATORY AND PURGATORY IS NOT A NICE PLACE.

>>THE IDEA OF PURGATORY DATES BACK CENTURIES BEFORE JESUS' TIME.

WRITINGS FROM PLATO - AS EARLY AS 400 B.C.-HELP SHED LIGHT ON

WHERE THIS CONCEPT OF PURIFICATION AND PUNISHMENT CAME

FROM; HOWEVER, PURGATORY DIDN'T BECOME REGARDED AS AN ACTUAL

PLACE UNTIL CENTURIES LATER. BETWEEN 1160 AND 1180 A.D.

THEOLOGIANS DEVELOPED THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY LEADING TO

THE FORMAL ACCEPTANCE OF IT AT THE SECOND COUNCIL OF LYONS IN 1274.

>>THE CHURCH THEN OFFERS TO SUPPORT THE DEAD IN PURGATORY BY

ITS PRAYERS AND BY ATTRIBUTING TO PEOPLE THE BENEFITS OF THE

SACRAMENTS - ESPECIALLY THE COMMUNION -

THIS IS ALL PERFECTLY ORTHODOX.

THE CHURCH BELIEVES THAT THIS IS DOING GOOD AND LAYPEOPLE SEEM TO

BE WILLING TO PUT LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY INTO IT AND YOU HAVE AN

EXTRAORDINARY PROLIFERATION OF INSTITUTIONS FOUNDED PRINCIPALLY

FOR PRIESTS TO SAY MASSES FOR THE SOULS OF THE DEPARTED,

PARTICULARLY IN THE 14TH AND 15TH CENTURIES.

>>THIS DOCTRINE WAS FABRICATED TO MANIPULATE THE MASSES FOR

FINANCIAL GAIN. PEOPLE WERE WILLING TO PAY HUGE

AMOUNTS OF MONEY TO RELEASE A LOVED ONE FROM THE TORTURES OF

PURGATORY. OF COURSE, BELIEVERS COULD NEVER

BE SURE WHEN SOMEONE LEFT PURGATORY SO THE MONEY KEPT

FLOWING INTO THE POCKETS OF CORRUPT PRIESTS.

>>THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH WOULD HAVE PEOPLE GOING OUT TO RAISE

MONEY AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GIVE THEIR MONEY TO THE

CHURCH - BUY PEOPLE OUT OF PURGATORY - SO THEY COULD

FUND THESE ELABORATE BUILDINGS.

>>THIS BELIEF IN PURGATORY IS ALSO BUILT ON THE DANGEROUS

CONCEPT THAT THE WORKS AND THE PRAYERS OF THE LIVING CAN

SOMEHOW ALTER THE DESTINY OF THE DEAD.

YET JESUS MADE IT VERY CLEAR THERE IS NO LIMBO OR PURGATORY.

AFTER DEATH, A PERSON'S NEXT CONSCIOUS THOUGHT WAS THE

RESURRECTION AND THEIR ETERNAL REWARD.

>>"DO NOT MARVEL AT THIS; FOR THE HOUR IS COMING IN WHICH ALL

WHO ARE IN THE GRAVES WILL HEAR HIS VOICE AND COME FORTH; THOSE

WHO HAVE DONE GOOD, TO THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE, AND THOSE

WHO HAVE DONE EVIL, TO THE RESURRECTION OF CONDEMNATION."

>>CENTRAL IN THE GOSPEL MESSAGE IS THE TEACHING OF HOW WE OBTAIN

FORGIVENESS. THIS WAS ANOTHER MAJOR BIBLE

TRUTH THAT SUFFERED DURING THIS AGE OF COMPROMISE. IT WAS TAUGHT

THAT IF A PERSON WISHED TO BE FORGIVEN, HE OR SHE MUST FIRST

CONFESS THEIR SINS THROUGH A RIEST, THROUGH A RITE CALLED THE

SACRAMENT OF PENANCE, MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS CONFESSION.

>>SO IN ORDER TO MAKE UP FOR OUR INSUFFICIENT GOODNESS AND OUR

ACTUAL WRONG ACTIONS, WE MUST ALL, LAY PEOPLE AS WELL AS

CLERGY, WE MUST ALL CONFESS OUR SINS AT LEAST ONCE A YEAR AND

PREFERABLY MORE OFTEN THAN THAT, TO A PRIEST.

>>THE PRIEST GRANTS THE WORDS OF ASSURANCE THAT THE SIN IS

ABSOLVED - IT'S GONE-BUT A PERSON, BECAUSE THEY HAVE

VIOLATED THE LAWS OF THE CHURCH AND THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST, HAS

TO PERFORM A WORK OF SATISFACTION IN ORDER TO MAKE UP

FOR THE FACT THAT THEY HAVE SINNED.

>>THIS WAS A NEGATIVE DEVELOPMENT ON SEVERAL ACCOUNTS.

FIRST OF ALL, IT'S TAUGHT NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE.

SECONDLY, IT PUTS A MORTAL MAN IN THE PLACE OF CHRIST AND IT

MADE GOD SEEM DETACHED FROM THE AVERAGE PERSON. OF COURSE,

AT THE TIME, IT ALSO PLACED THE PRIEST IN AN AWKWARD POSITION TO

HEAR ABOUT ALL THE WICKED DEEDS OF HIS PARISHIONERS.

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT MANKIND IS HELPLESS TO SAVE HIMSELF;

THIS IS WHY JESUS CAME TO THIS WORLD. THE SCRIPTURES TEACH THAT

SALVATION DEPENDS ENTIRELY UPON OUR TRUSTING GOD FOR MERCY AND

GRACE, THAT WE DON'T DESERVE IT. IT'S A MAGNIFICENT GIFT THAT CAN

NEVER BE EARNED BY OUR EFFORTS OR GOOD WORKS.

EVEN OBEDIENCE COMES THROUGH A GIFT OF GRACE. THE NEW TESTAMENT

DOCTRINE OF SALVATION BY FAITH IS WIDELY TAUGHT AND UNDERSTOOD

TODAY, BUT DURING THE DARKNESS F THE MIDDLE AGES, IT WAS EASIER TO

CONVINCE THE ILLITERATE MASSES THAT THEY NEEDED TO PERFORM GOOD

DEEDS IN ORDER TO EARN GOD'S FAVOR. THE PEOPLE WERE TAUGHT

THAT IF A SINNER WAS TO HAVE ANY HOPE OF APPEASING GOD, HE OR SHE

WOULD NEED TO PAY HUGE SUMS OF MONEY, PERFORM PAINFUL ACTS OF

PENANCE, OR MAKE SOME WEARY PILGRIMAGE. THIS WOULD OFTEN

INCLUDE AN ASSIGNMENT TO RECITE CERTAIN PRAYERS OVER AND OVER AS A

REQUIREMENT TO OBTAIN FORGIVENESS.

IN THE HEATHEN RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD, THE IDEA OF REPETITIVE

PRAYERS, OR CHANTS, WAS NOTHING NEW. IT WAS BELIEVED THAT YOU

COULD APPEASE OR INFLUENCE THE GODS BY CONSTANT ECHOING OF

PRAYERS OR BY USING SPECIAL MAGICAL WORDS. JESUS CLEARLY

WARNED AGAINST THIS FORM OF PRAYER.

>>"AND WHEN YOU PRAY, DO NOT USE VAIN REPETITIONS AS THE HEATHEN

DO, FOR THEY THINK THAT THEY WILL BE HEARD FOR THEIR MANY WORDS."

>>CORRUPT CHURCH LEADERS KNEW, IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN ANY LASTING

POWER OVER GOD'S PEOPLE, THEY WOULD NEED TO SEPARATE THEM FROM

THE ONE THING THAT THEY KNEW COULD EXPOSE THESE DECEPTIONS:

THE HOLY SCRIPTURES. >>THE BIBLE WAS NOT INITIALLY

WITHHELD FROM THE PEOPLE. IT WAS ACCESSIBLE.

BUT IN TIME, WHEN PEOPLE SAW DIFFERENCES THEY CHALLENGED THE

CLERGY AND SO IT WAS IN THEIR INTEREST, OVER TIME, NOT TO MAKE

AVAILABLE THE BIBLE TO THE PEOPLE.

>>SO FROM THE 5TH CENTURY TO THE 15TH CENTURY - A THOUSAND YEARS

OF HISTORY - IT WAS TAUGHT AND ACCEPTED THAT ONLY RELIGIOUS

LEADERS WERE QUALIFIED ENOUGH TO EXPLAIN THE SACRED TEXTS.

THE COMMON MAN WAS TOLD HE COULD NEVER HOPE TO UNDERSTAND THE

SCRIPTURES WITHOUT THE ASSISTANCE OF A PRIEST.

WITH THIS LETHAL DECEPTION, THE CHURCH LAITY WAS KEPT IN DARKNESS.

MEANWHILE, THE VISIBLE CHURCH, ONCE A BIBLICAL BASTION OF

TRUTH, HAD DEGRADED INTO A CORRUPT POLITICAL ORGANIZATION

TRIMMED WITH SPIRITUALIST CEREMONIES.

IT'S NO WONDER THAT THIS TIME PERIOD OF CULTURAL, ECONOMIC,

AND SPIRITUAL DETERIORATION IS KNOWN AS THE DARK AGES.

IT'S TRAGIC HOW, IN JUST A FEW SHORT CENTURIES, THE WONDERFUL

LIGHT THAT HAD BEEN BLAZING FROM THE LUMINOUS BRIDE OF CHRIST HAD

BEEN ECLIPSED BY PAGAN TRADITIONS.

NOW, A VERY DIFFERENT KIND OF WOMAN EMERGED TO TAKE HER PLACE.

>>"AND I SAW A WOMAN SITTING ON A SCARLET BEAST WHICH WAS FULL

OF NAMES OF BLASPHEMY, HAVING SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS.

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 THE

ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I SAW THE WOMAN DRUNK WITH THE

BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND WITH THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS.

AND WHEN I SAW HER, I MARVELED WITH GREAT AMAZEMENT.

>>IN REVELATION CHAPTER 17, JOHN SEES A WOMAN WHO HE DESCRIBES AS

STRIKINGLY DIFFERENT FROM THE PURE WOMAN OF REVELATION 12.

WHO IS THIS NEW BLOOD THIRSTY HARLOT AND WHAT ABOUT THE

BIZARRE BEAST SHE'S RIDING?

IF YOU'RE NOT SITTING DOWN, THIS MIGHT BE THE TIME TO DO SO.

YOU MAY FIND WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO HEAR A BIT SHOCKING.

THERE'S ONLY ONE EMPIRE - ONE CHURCH - ONE INSTITUTION THAT

MATCHES THE CRITERIA IN THIS PROPHECY, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC

CHURCH. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL THE

PEOPLE WITHIN THIS FAITH ARE BAD, INSINCERE OR LOST.

THE CATHOLIC PEOPLE ARE AMONG THE MOST KIND AND HAVE

ACCOMPLISHED A PHENOMENAL AMOUNT OF GOOD THROUGHOUT HISTORY.

THIS IS REALLY ABOUT A BIGGER STRUGGLE BETWEEN SPIRITUAL

POWERS AND INSTITUTIONS BATTLING OVER THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE.

BUT NOW WE NEED TO PULL BACK THE VEIL AND REALLY TAKE A HARD LOOK

AT THE FACTS. IN REVELATION 17:1, WE OBSERVE

THIS HARLOT WOMAN SITS ON MANY WATERS.

FORTUNATELY, THE ANGEL EXPLAINS THE MEANING OF THIS SYMBOL FOR

US IN VERSE 15. >>"THEN HE SAID TO ME, 'THE

WATERS WHICH YOU SAW, WHERE THE HARLOT SITS, ARE PEOPLES,

MULTITUDES, NATIONS, AND TONGUES.'"

>>SO THE WOMAN REIGNS OVER A DENSELY POPULATED CIVILIZATION.

YOU'VE PROBABLY HEARD THE EXPRESSION "ALL ROADS LEAD TO

ROME." DURING THE ZENITH OF THEIR RULE,

THE ROMANS HAD BUILT A NETWORK OF 50,000 MILES OF ROADS CIRCULATING

THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE EMPIRE. JUST AS IMPERIAL ROME BEGAN TO

UNRAVEL, THE CHURCH IN ROME WAS GAINING IN STRENGTH.

>>IN EFFECT, THE CATHOLIC CHURCH KIND OF RUSHES IN TO FILL THE

POWER VACUUM THAT WAS LEFT BY THE FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE.

>>AND YOU GET INTO SITUATIONS WHERE, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE

MIDDLE OF THE FIFTH CENTURY WHEN ATTILA THE HUN IS ADVANCING ON

THE CITY OF ROME WITH HIS ARMY, THE EMPEROR IS NOT THE ONE WHO

GOES OUT TO STOP HIM, THE POPE IS - THE BISHOP OF ROME.

THIS KIND OF PROMINENCE - POLITICAL PROMINENCE

AS WELL AS RELIGIOUS PROMINENCE - COMES TO REALLY

DEFINE THE POPE'S ROLE. >>THE PROPHECY ALSO INDICATES

THAT THE WOMAN IS RIDING A BEAST WITH SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS.

OBVIOUSLY, THESE THINGS ARE SYMBOLS.

THIS CREATURE HERE CLEARLY REPRESENTS THE SAME MONSTER WITH

SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS THAT WE JUST SAW WARRING WITH THE

BRIDE OF CHRIST IN CHAPTER 12 AND IT'S THE SAME BEAST THAT THE

WORLD IS COMPELLED TO WORSHIP IN CHAPTER 13. SO WHAT DO THESE SEVEN

HEADS AND TEN HORNS REPRESENT? >>"THE SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN

MOUNTAINS ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITS."

"THE TEN HORNS WHICH YOU SAW ARE TEN KINGS..."

>>THERE IS ONLY ONE CITY IN THE WORLD THAT SITS ON SEVEN HILLS

LIKE THIS ONE MAJOR CITY AND THAT'S THE CITY OF ROME.

SO THERE IS NO DOUBT IN MOST EXPOSITORS' MINDS THAT WHEN JOHN

IS TALKING ABOUT THIS WOMAN, HE IS TALKING ABOUT ROME.

>>SO YOU SEE THE CONNECTION HERE: SEVEN HEADS, SEVEN

MOUNTAINS. YOU GO TO REVELATION 12 - SEVEN HEADS.

REVELATION 13 DEALS WITH SEVEN HEADS. THERE'S A CONTINUITY HERE.

>>"IT IS WITHIN THE CITY OF ROME, CALLED THE CITY OF SEVEN HILLS, THAT

THE ENTIRE AREA OF VATICAN STATE PROPER IS NOW CONFINED."

>>THERE IS ONLY ONE CHURCH THAT IS ALSO AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY

AND HAS POLITICAL WORLD POWER - THE VATICAN.

THIS COUNTRY, WITH THE WORLD'S SMALLEST POPULATION, WAS

ESTABLISHED AS AN INDEPENDENT STATE WITH A HUNDRED AND NINE

ACRES WITHIN ROME. BEHIND THE WALLS AT VATICAN CITY

THERE ARE LESS THAN 1,000 PEOPLE LIVING WITHIN THIS SMALL COUNTRY

THAT IS GOVERNED BY THE POPE, WHO HAS ABSOLUTE EXECUTIVE,

LEGISLATIVE, AND JUDICIAL POWERS.

AMBASSADORS FROM AROUND THE WORLD MEET WITH THE POPE AND HIS

REPRESENTATIVES, SEEKING THE INFLUENCE AND GUIDANCE OF THIS

INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS POWER.

EVEN THE UNITED NATIONS WILL ASSEMBLE TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE

POPE. WHEN THE WESTERN ROMAN EMPIRE

FELL, THEIR TERRITORY FRAGMENTED INTO TEN PRIMARY DIVISIONS.

THE TEN HORNS REPRESENT THE TEN KINGS OR KINGDOMS INTO WHICH

IMPERIAL ROME WAS EVENTUALLY SPLIT.

>>THE TEN HORNS ARE A DESCRIPTION OF ROME, WHICH

BREAKS UP INTO TEN SMALLER KINGDOMS.

SO YOU HAVE THE CHURCH RIDING ON A POLITICAL POWER.

YOU HAVE A UNION OF CHURCH AND STATE.

>>THE NAMES OF BLASPHEMY IS ANOTHER KEY ELEMENT TO THIS

PROPHECY THAT POINTS DIRECTLY AT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH.

>>"WE HOLD UPON THIS EARTH THE PLACE OF GOD ALMIGHTY."

>>THIS PUTS A MORTAL MAN IN THE POSITION OF GOD AND IS

ULTIMATELY THE VERY DEFINITION OF BLASPHEMY.

THIS IS NOT MEANT TO QUESTION THE SINCERITY OF ANY SPECIFIC

POPE, BUT THE PROPHECY IS ADDRESSING THE OFFICE THAT HE

HOLDS AND THE INSTITUTION THAT HE REPRESENTS.

THE WOMAN IS ALSO CLOTHED IN UNIQUE COLORS.

>>SHE HAS SPECIFIC COLORS THAT ARE MENTIONED HERE - NOT THE

COLOR OF WHITE ANYMORE, BUT NOW WE HAVE COLORS THAT REPRESENT,

STRANGELY ENOUGH, TWO THINGS: ROYALTY AND PROSTITUTION - AND

SPECIFIC COLORS THAT WE HAPPEN TO SEE COMING OUT IN THE

HISTORIC CHRISTIAN CHURCH LATER ON IN THE COLORS OF THE PRIESTS

OF THE HISTORIC CHRISTIAN CHURCH.

>>NOT ONLY WERE THESE THE PRINCIPLE COLORS OF THE ROMAN

CAESARS, BUT ACCORDING TO THE CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, PURPLE IS

THE OFFICIAL COLOR OF BISHOPS AND SCARLET FOR CARDINALS.

IN ADDITION TO THE SCARLET AND THE PURPLE, WE SEE THAT THIS

HARLOT, OR CORRUPT CHURCH, POSSESSES VAST MINERAL RICHES.

WHEN ONE CONSIDERS ITS COUNTLESS ARTISTIC TREASURES OF GOLD,

SILVER, AND PEARLS, THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IS, BY FAR, THE

WEALTHIEST RELIGIOUS INSTITUTION ON EARTH.

EVERY YEAR TOURISTS COME FROM AROUND THE WORLD TO VIEW THE

GLITTERING OPULENCE OF THE ROMAN CHURCH.

ANOTHER DISTURBING MARK OF THIS WOMAN IS FOUND IN VERSE 6.

>>"I SAW THE WOMAN, DRUNK WITH THE BLOOD OF THE SAINTS AND WITH

THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS OF JESUS."

>>HISTORY REVEALS THAT THE ROMAN CHURCH WAS THE WORST OPPRESSOR

OF CHRISTIANS AND JEWS OVER THE CENTURIES.

IN FACT, HISTORIANS TELL US OVER 50 MILLION MARTYRS FELL VICTIM

TO THE TERRIBLE INQUISITIONS AND PERSECUTIONS OF THE CHURCH OF

ROME. >>SO WHAT WE HAVE HERE IS A

PROPHECY SAYING THAT THE CHURCH WOULD ENGAGE IN INCREDIBLE

PERSECUTION AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT TOOK PLACE.

>>AND THE CHURCH STARTED A LEGAL PROCESS - A LEGAL SYSTEM - KNOWN

AS INQUISITION, TO INTERROGATE THESE PEOPLE TO FORCE AS MANY AS

POSSIBLE TO RECANT AND RETRACT THEIR IDEAS AND TO GRAB HOLD OF

THE LEADERS OF THE MOVEMENT TO STOP THEM SPREADING ANY FURTHER.

>>THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF DEATHS EVER RECORDED OCCURRED WHEN THE

CHURCH PERSECUTED THOSE WHO DISAGREED WITH IT AND THAT LEVEL

OF REPRESSION CONTINUES THROUGH THE MIDDLE AGES.

>>SO THIS WOMAN, OR CHURCH, IS A PERSECUTING POWER THAT OPPRESSES

CHRIST'S TRUE FOLLOWERS. >>"THE PEOPLE WHO WALKED IN

DARKNESS HAVE SEEN A GREAT LIGHT; THOSE WHO DWELT IN THE

LAND OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT HAS SHINED."

>>PETER WALDO, ALSO KNOWN AS VALDES, A VERY WEALTHY AND

EDUCATED YOUNG MERCHANT, HAD A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE.

A YOUNG FRIEND OF WALDO'S DIED SUDDENLY.

REALIZING THE BREVITY OF LIFE AND THE VANITY OF WORLDLY

TREASURE, WALDO MADE A FIRM DECISION TO FORSAKE ALL FOR

CHRIST. HE GAVE HIS WEALTH TO THE POOR

AND BECAME AN ITINERANT PREACHER. WALDO TAUGHT THAT THE BIBLE

SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD LITERALLY AND FREELY PROCLAIMED TO THE

PEOPLE IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. BY A.D. 1170,

PETER WALDO HAD GATHERED A LARGE NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS WHO

WERE REFERRED TO AS THE POOR OF LYONS OR WALDENSIANS.

>>AND THEY WOULD CARRY SCRIPTURES AROUND WITH THEM.

THEY WOULD ACT AS MERCHANTS AND TRADERS AND SHARE THE SCRIPTURES

WITH THE PEOPLE WHERE THEY WENT. >>WALDO'S IDEAS WERE OFFICIALLY

CONDEMNED AS HERESY. EVEN FOLLOWING THE DEATH OF

PETER WALDO IN 1218, THE ROMAN CHURCH CONTINUED TO FIERCELY

PERSECUTE THE WALDENSIANS. FOR CENTURIES MANY WERE TRIED

AND SENTENCED TO DEATH IN VARIOUS EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.

THE HOLY SPIRIT STIRRED UPON MANY WITHIN THE CHURCH WHO

COURAGEOUSLY STOOD UP AND CALLED FOR REFORM.

ONE SUCH MAN WAS JOHN WYCLIFFE, AN ENGLISH THEOLOGIAN AND LAY

PREACHER, TRANSLATOR, AND TEACHER AT OXFORD.

AS HE SAW ROME SUBSTITUTING TRADITION FOR THE HOLY

SCRIPTURE, HE ACCUSED THE PRIESTHOOD OF WITHHOLDING THE

BREAD OF LIFE FROM THE SPIRITUALLY STARVING PEOPLE.

>>HE BELIEVED THAT THE BIBLE WAS THE SUPREME AUTHORITY AND HE

COMMISSIONED THE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE.

HE HAD SOME FOLLOWERS CALLED LOLLARDS, THAT WENT AROUND

DISTRIBUTING SCRIPTURE AND PREACHING.

>>OVER TIME, HIS WRITINGS AND WORK OF REFORM SPREAD OUT LIKE

SEISMIC WAVES, INFLUENCING MILLIONS OF GOD'S PEOPLE.

>>THEY CAN BE READ ANYWHERE WHERE THERE ARE SCHOOLMEN, WHERE

THERE ARE SCHOLASTIC THEOLOGIANS WHO CAN PICK THEM UP. THEY DO

TRAVEL AND THEY TRAVEL TO BOHEMIA AND THEY INSPIRE JOHN HUSS AS WELL.

>>LIKE WYCLIFFE, JOHN HUSS PREACHED THE SCRIPTURES IN THE

LANGUAGE OF THE PEOPLE, A PRACTICE THAT THE CHURCH HAD NOW

FORBIDDEN IN FAVOR OF THE LOST LANGUAGE OF LATIN. HE BEGAN TO

PUBLICALLY DENOUNCE THE PRIDE, AMBITION, AND CORRUPTION OF THE

CLERGY AND HE FEARLESSLY CALLED FOR THE CHURCH TO REFORM.

>>HE WAS ASKED TO DEFEND HIS POSITIONS.

IN THE ACT OF DEFENDING THEM, HE WAS FOUND TO HAVE VOICED A

HERESY AND SO HE WAS SEIZED AND TRIED FOR HERESY.

>>GUARDS THEN LED HUSS AWAY TO BE EXECUTED.

AMONG HIS DYING WORDS, HUSS PREDICTED "IN A HUNDRED YEARS,

GOD WILL RAISE UP A MAN WHOSE CALLS FOR REFORM CANNOT BE

SUPPRESSED. MARTIN LUTHER, THEOLOGIAN,

AUTHOR, COMPOSER, AND PRIEST, WAS ARGUABLY THE BEST-KNOWN

RELIGIOUS REFORMER OF THE 16TH CENTURY.

LUTHER WAS AWARDED THE DOCTRINE OF DIVINITY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF

WITTENBERG AND HE BEGAN TO BOLDLY PREACH TO THE PEOPLE THAT

CHRISTIANS SHOULD NOT ACCEPT ANY DOCTRINE UNLESS IT CAME FROM THE

BIBLE AND IT WAS THIS PRINCIPLE OF SOLA SCRIPTURA THAT WOULD

BECOME THE BATTLE CRY OF THE REFORMATION.

ABOUT THIS SAME TIME, ROME WAS BREAKING GROUND FOR THE

CONSTRUCTION OF THE MAGNIFICENT NEW SAINT PETER'S BASILICA.

THE CHURCH SENT JOHANN TETZEL, A DOMINICAN FRIAR TO GERMANY TO

SELL INDULGENCES IN ORDER TO RAISE THE FUNDS NECESSARY FOR

THE CATHEDRAL. WHEN LUTHER LEARNED THAT HIS

MEMBERS WERE PURCHASING INDULGENCES, HE WAS OUTRAGED.

ON OCTOBER 31, 1517, LUTHER NAILED HIS FAMOUS PROTEST TO THE

DOORS OF THE ALL-SAINTS CHURCH IN WITTENBERG.

>>AND THIS GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE'S ATTENTION, INCLUDING THE POPE'S,

AND A BULL WENT OUT - A PAPAL BULL - MEANING A KIND OF

DECLARATION CONDEMNING LUTHER AND HIS WRITINGS.

>>SO THE GERMAN EMPEROR ORGANIZED A HEARING

AT A PLACE CALLED WORMS.

>>HE WAS PULLED UP BEFORE THE GROUP, HE WAS SHOWN A PILE OF

HIS BOOKS, HE WAS ASKED, 'WILL YOU RECANT - WILL YOU WITHDRAW

THE TEACHINGS YOU'VE MADE IN THEM?'

>>IT'S AN HEROIC MOMENT, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE, AS FAR AS

LUTHER IS CONCERNED, HE BELIEVES IT'S GOING TO LEAD TO HIS DEATH.

>>"UNLESS I AM CONVINCED BY THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURES OR

BY CLEAR REASON, FOR I DO NOT TRUST EITHER IN THE POPE OR IN

COUNSELS ALONE, SINCE IT IS WELL KNOWN THAT THEY HAVE OFTEN ERRED

AND CONTRADICTED THEMSELVES, I AM BOUND BY THE SCRIPTURES I

HAVE QUOTED AND MY CONSCIENCE IS CAPTIVE TO THE WORD OF GOD.

I CANNOT AND WILL NOT RECANT ANYTHING SINCE IT IS NEITHER

SAFE NOR RIGHT TO GO AGAINST CONSCIENCE.

HERE I STAND. I CAN DO NO OTHER. MAY GOD HELP ME, AMEN."

>>LUTHER WAS DECLARED AN OUTLAW.

HIS LITERATURE WAS BANNED AND HIS ARREST ORDERED.

>>INSTEAD, OF COURSE, LUTHER IS KIDNAPPED BY AN ARMED GROUP OF

MEN WHO WERE ACTUALLY WORKING FOR FREDERICK THE WISE, WHO

DECIDES HE NEEDS TO TAKE LUTHER OUT OF CIRCULATION FOR A LITTLE

WHILE TO WARTBURG CASTLE, WHICH THE ELECTOR, FREDERICK, KNEW

ABOUT, BUT NOBODY KNEW WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO LUTHER.

MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT HE WAS DEAD.

>>FOR THE NEXT YEAR FROM THIS LONELY EXILE, WHICH LUTHER

REFERRED TO AS 'MY PATMOS,' THE FORMER PRIEST CONTINUED HIS WORK

OF PROLIFIC WRITING. HE EVEN MANAGED TO TRANSLATE THE

NEW TESTAMENT FROM GREEK INTO THE GERMAN LANGUAGE.

AROUND THIS SAME TIME, SEVERAL OTHER POWERFUL CHAMPIONS OF

TRUTH ROSE UP FROM WITHIN THE CHURCH OF ROME.

AS THE REFORMERS PREACHED AND THE PRINTING PRESS CLATTERED,

THE TEAMING MASSES STUDIED THE WORD OF GOD.

LIKE A BREATH OF FRESH SPRING AIR, EUROPE EXPERIENCED A

RELIGIOUS RENAISSANCE. >>"AND YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH

AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE."

>>THE BOOK OF REVELATION ALSO FORETELLS THAT IN THE LAST DAYS

THERE WILL BE A VERY CONVINCING COUNTERFEIT OF GOD'S REAL CHURCH

THAT COMPROMISES THE TRUTH OF SCRIPTURE.

JESUS WARNS IT WILL NEARLY DECEIVE THE WHOLE WORLD.

>>"FOR FALSE CHRISTS AND FALSE PROPHETS WILL RISE AND SHOW

SIGNS AND WONDERS TO DECEIVE, IF POSSIBLE, EVEN THE ELECT."

>>SHORTLY AFTER THIS FINAL DECEPTION, CHRIST WILL RETURN

AND HE WILL COME FOR A CHURCH THAT HAS BEEN PURIFIED FROM ALL

THE FALSE TRADITIONS AND PAGANISM.

IT WILL BE A CHURCH THAT REQUIRES A 'THUS SAITH THE LORD'

FOR EVERY DOCTRINE THAT IT HOLDS.

THIS SPIRITUAL WAR HAS BEEN RAGING DOWN THROUGH THE AGES AND

IT'S CLEAR THAT THIS PROPHECY IS FAST FULFILLING.

AS THE BATTLE INTENSIFIES, WE'RE ALL FACED WITH A CHOICE.

>>"CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES THIS DAY WHOM YOU WILL SERVE."

>>FRIENDS, WE'VE JUST SEEN HOW EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE GRADUALLY

ENTICED TO ADOPT PAGAN RITUALS AND TRADITIONS IN PLACE OF

BIBLICAL TRUTH. BUT THEN GOD ROSE UP FAITHFUL

MEN AND WOMEN TO RESIST THE ERRORS OF AN ENTIRE EMPIRE.

HISTORY IS NOW REPEATING ITSELF. SOON ALL WILL EITHER JOIN EITHER

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST OR FOLLOW THE BEAST OF BABYLON.

WHERE WILL YOU STAND? THE BIBLE IS CLEAR. THE EVIDENCE IS IRREFUTABLE.

THE DECISION IS ULTIMATELY YOURS.

(MUSIC)

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