D. Christianity, the Religion
1. BABYLON, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death. (Prov. â€‘14:12)
In this section I must implore you, the reader, to set aside your natural concepts. I must re-emphasize that such concepts will lead you to consider good as always being from God, causing you to be fooled by Satan's master work. If you want to see things from the spiritual point of viewâ€‘ the reality behind the outward appearanceâ€‘ you must lay aside personal opinion in order to have an open mind, especially in the subject that we will now consider. All that I ask is that your evaluation of what I have to say be objective, rational, and honest. It is not my intention to criticize any individuals or to question their sincerityâ€‘ that is between them and the Lordâ€‘ but it is necessary that I expose certain categories of people, so if the shoe fits so be it.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come; â€¦ saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamus, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (Rev. 1:4, 11)
The seven churches in the book of Revelation were not only literal churches at the time that John wrote Revelation, but are also types of the stages of the church throughout history, Let us view these types with respect to church history, in order to learn what their message to us is.
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ... But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.... But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. (Rev. 2:1, 4, 6)
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and purity that is toward Christ. (2 Cor. 11:3)
And he [Jesus) called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 18:2â€‘3)
I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them, (Acts 20:29â€‘30)
Are ye so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are ye now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal. 3: 3 NASB)
But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned: from which things some having missed the mark have turned aside unto vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm. (1 Tim. 1:5-7)
For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; (Tim. 4:3)
Immediately upon the departing (physical death) of the apostles, the believers began to fall away from having the Lord as the first, best love in their lives. How did this happen, did they fall into sin? No, they began to fall away from experiencing Christ in their spiritâ€‘ this was the first step downhill, everything else that followed stemmed solely from this. When they fell away their spirit, they began to try to follow the Lord with their natural, soulish man. When this happened the inherent result was that some believers began to be esteemed as more qualified than others, due to their natural abilities and not to actual spiritual experience. These "abler" ones began to take upon themselves more of the responsibilities in the meetings of the believers. Instead of all members functioning in the meetings, some began to do most of the functioning: this was the "works of the Nicolaitans," a differentiatÂing of the functioning of the believers according to the natural abilities of their physical birth and not according to their spiritual growth.
In the original language, Greek, â€˜Nicoâ€™ means to subdue; and 'laitans' refers to the laity: so the literal rendering of 'Nicolaitans' would be the subduing or repression of the average believer, the laity. To our natural concept, this would seem to be merely a logical step toward improving the efficiency of the meetings of the believers. If the church of Christ were a mere man-made organization, this would be an improvement. But, since the church is the living body of Christ, a living organism and not a dead organization, such a â€˜logical improvementâ€™ quenched the functioning of most of its members, paralyzing the expression of Christ through His Church.
And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ... I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art rich), and the blasphemy of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Fear not the things which thou art about to suffer: behold, the devil it; about to cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried ... (Rev. 2:8â€‘10)
The next stage in church history was the intense persecution of the church by the Roman Empire. Satan was trying his best to destroy the church by killing its members. As history reveals, such persecutions made the believers more absolute and caused the church to flourish. Therefore, Satan had to try something else to prevent the believers from corporately expressing Christ or else the bride would make herself ready and Satan could hang it up.
And to the angel of the church in Pergamus write: ... I know where thou dwellest, even where Satan's throne is; and thou holdest fast my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there some that hold the teachings of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also some that hold the teachings of the Nicolaitans in like manner. (Rev. 2:12â€‘15)
And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. (Num. 22:7)
They build up Zion with blood, and Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for a reward and the priests thereof divine for money: yet they lean upon Jehovah, and say, Is not Jehovah in the midst of us? no evil shall come upon us. (Mic. 9:10â€‘11)
For we are not as the many, making merchandise of the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God, speak we in Christ. (2 Cor. 2:17)
Having drifted away from the reality found only in their spirit, the believers more and more began substituting manâ€‘made organization for the leading of the Spirit. By this time, the works of the Nicolaitans had become an accepted teaching; those with more natural ability were paid to function while the rest of the members listened and did not function. Again, I donâ€™t ask you to take my word in this. Scofieldâ€™s Study Bible concisely points out that the practice of the Nicolaitans, which the Lord condemns, is the clergy-laity system. This is the clergyâ€‘laity system and its true purpose is to kill the functioning of the members of the body.
In 2008, a survey revealed that 47% of the clergy in Christianity reported having a problem with pornography. Another survey reported that only 25% of them believed that the Bible was the literal inspired word of God.
Idolatry began to creep into the church at this point, and fornication also. What is this fornication? Is it literal or spiritual? From the context here as elsewhere in Revelation this fornication was a spiritual fornication. We shall see what its significance is later.
And to the angel of the church in Thyatira. write: ... But I have this against thee, that thou suffrest the woman Jezebel, who calleth herself a prophetess; and she teacheth and seduceth my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan "as they are wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden. (Rev. 2:18, 20, 24)
(But there was none like unto Ahab, who did sell himself to do that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites did, whom Jehovah cast out before the children of Israel.) (1 Kings 21:26â€‘26)
Was it not told my lord what I did when Jezebel slew the prophets of Jehovahâ€¦(1Kings 18:13)
Who is this woman Jezebel, who brought widespread idolatry into the church and murdered true believers?
And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: â€¦ Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain, which were ready to die; for I have found no work of thine perfected before my God. (Rev. 3:1-2)
It is clear that this type of church history applies to the time of the Protestant Reformation.
and to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ... I know thy works (behold, I have set before thee a door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name (Rev. 3:7â€‘10).
According to church history, this type applies to the Brethren movement, which was raised up out of the dead works of Protestantism in the last century. The Brethren movement experienced the brotherly love of a proper church life at its inception, but what happened as time passed?
And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ... I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest clothe thyself, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest, and eyesalve to anoint thine yes, that thou mayst see. (Rev. 3:14â€‘18)
The Brethren became proud of their knowledge of the Bible, drifted away from the living experience of Christ, and became divided among themselves.
There is a very important typeâ€‘figure in Revelation that we need to clearly see; for us to do so, we need to trace the development of this figure throughout the Bible. All of the most important issues of the Bible have their beginnings in Genesis, progress through the Bible, and exhibit their final culmination, their full manifestation, in the book of Revelation.
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. (Gen. 10:8)
Now the natural man receiveth not the things of God ... ( 1 Cor. 2:14].)
And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel ... (Gen. 10:10).
And thou [Satan] saidest in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.(Isa. 14:13â€‘14)
Nimrod was very strong in his natural abilities. He established a material and religious system, of which he was the king. But whose kingdom was actually being expressed? Satan's! The ancient Babylonian religion was the first religion, and utterly carnalized spiritual things, declaring Nimrod to be the Deliverer prophesied in Genesis Chapter Three (the seed of the woman) Nimrod was thus the first false Messiah, an Antichrist. What are some of the governing principles illustrated by this first religion, principles that will be expressed by any similar religion?
And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Come, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and bitumen had they for mortar. And they said, Come, let us build a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make us a name; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city. Therefore was the name of it called Babel; because Jehovah did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did Jehovah scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Gen. 11:1â€‘9)
Babel is the Hebrew word for Babylon. The principles involved in the Tower of Babel apply equally to Babylon. Notice the motive for the building of the Tower of Babel; the ambition of the self. This expression of selfish ambition resulted in the judgment of God. God was forced to scatter the people upon the face of the earth and confound their language so that they no longer understood one another. This scattering and confounding produced division: the people were no longer one. Remember these three principles characterizing Babel (Babylon): 1. The people involved became scattered with respect to physical locality. 2. They no longer understood one another, causing them to become divided and no longer be one people as before. 3. The source of all this was the ambition of the self. People in Babel (Babylon) have as their real motive the desire to make a name for themselves, instead of denying their own selves to exalt the Lord's name.
A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; knowing that such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being selfâ€‘condemned. (Titus 3:10â€‘11)
Being divisive is a very serious thing for a believer to do; it is one of the things upon which fellowship may be refused. To refuse to be one with another believer because they are participating in something idolatrous or immoral is one thing; but to refuse to be one with them for other reasons, such as differences of opinion about doctrines or practices, is sinful. What causes this factiousness?
For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed, (James 3:16)
For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:10 RSV)
It is clear by comparing these two renderings of this verse that the source of faction (division) is the expressing of the natural self of our fallen soul.
And he said, How shall we liken the kingdom of God? or in what parable shall we set it forth? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth (Mark 4:30â€‘31)â€¦ but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof (Matt. 13:32 Intl. Greek)
... and putteth out great branches ... (Mark 4:321)
The Lord's intention was that the church be a pure, holy bride for Him, without spot or wrinkle. But the natural concepts of man, equating greatness with goodness and bigger with better, caused the church to grow into a big tree rather than a fragrant herb as the Lord intended. What are the birds of the air that lodge in the branches?
and as he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the birds came and devoured them.... When anyone heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the evil one, and snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This is he that was sown by the way side. (Matt. 13:4, 19)
Either make the tree good; and its' fruit good; or make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by its fruit. (Matt. 12:33)
We shall see in Chapter Nine what is going to happen to this tree. What is this great tree, with branches that the evil ones (fallen angels) lodge in? How did this small herb become a tree?
Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened. (Matt. 13:33)
How is it that ye do not perceive that I spake not to you concerning bread? But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then understood they that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16:11â€‘12)
And the Pharisees went out, and straightway with the Herodians took counsel against him, how they might destroy him. (Mark 3:6)
Who is this woman who mixes false religious teachings (leaven of the Pharisees) and worldliness leaven of Herod) with the pure things of Christ? This is the same woman called Jezebel in Revelation, who brought idolatry and spiritual fornication into the church.
And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness: and I saw a woman, sitting upon a scarletâ€‘colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.... and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth. (Rev. 17:3,6)
This is the full development of the woman who hid the leaven in the meal and the woman Jezebel. She is Mystery, Babylon: the full development of the principle (and literal descendant) of the ancient material and religious kingdom of Nimrod, Babel. Who is this woman, and what is this beast that a sits upon?
And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems.... And the great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan ... (Rev. 12:13, 9)
This woman is dependent upon Satan for her power (signified by her sitting upon and being carried by the dragon) and, indeed, expresses Satan himself (signified by her being the same color as the beast). Who is this woman?
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having In her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication, (Rev. 17:4)
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her ... (Rev. 18:4)
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess.... Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Matt. 23:26, 28)
Outwardly this woman appears to be so goodâ€‘ she is covered (decked) with gold and precious stones and pearlsâ€‘ but inwardly she is filled with the corrupt results of her spiritual fornication. In the typology of the Bible, these precious stones represent genuine believers; this woman hides her true nature by showing outwardly to the world the lives and deeds of genuine precious Christians who are a part of her. Who is this woman, whom the Lord tells his people (Christians) to come out of?
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman ... And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. (Rev. 17:7,18)
saying, Woe, woe, the great city, she that was arrayed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearl! (Rev. 18:16)
This woman is also spoken of as being a city. Who is this woman?
For by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen; and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth wax rich by the power of her wantonness.... and merchandise of horses and chariots and slaves; and souls of men, (Rev. 18:3, 13)
This woman is both a religious system (since the Lord tells His people to come out of her) and a material system (as evidenced by her trade in merchandise). As a material system, Babylon is symbolical of the material system of the world to which, in order to provide a living for themselves, men sell their very souls. So many people today are in bondage to their jobs. This is the working of the material system today, that oneâ€™s life be enslaved to oneâ€™s means of livelihood. As a religious system, Babylonâ€™s scope is worldwide, yet she is linked to and has her headquarters at one specific â€œgreat cityâ€. Which city is this?
Here is the mind that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth: (Rev. 17:9)
What is the only great city on the earth that is known as the city of seven hills? Who is this woman? Babylon, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth, is none other than the Roman Catholic Church!
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Rev. 17:6)
If you do not believe that this verse applies to the Roman Catholic Church, read Foxe's Book of Martyrs. The Roman Catholic Church killed more Christians during the Protestant Reformation than the Roman Empire did during the early days of the church.
... And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. (Matt. 15:6)
How do the teachings and practices of Roman Catholicism compare with the word of God, the Bible?
The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife ... (I Tim. 3:2)
And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. (Matt. 23:9)
For there is one God, one mediator also between God and man, himself man, Jesus Christ, (1 Tim. 2:5)
And he answered and said, fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the graven images of her gods are broken unto the ground. (Isa. 21:9)
Babylon historically has always been linked to idolatry. Is today's Babylon any different?
Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the water under the earth: (Exod. 20:4)
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of form on the day that Jehovah spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire; lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image in the form of any figure, the likeness of a male or female. (Deut. 4:15â€‘16)
Such as lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, they hire a goldsmith, and maketh it a god; they fall down, yea, they worship. They bear it upon the shoulder, they carry it, and set it in its place, and it standeth; yea, one may cry unto it, yet can it not answer, nor save him out of his trouble. (Isa. 46 :6â€‘7)
Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device or man. (Acts 17:29)
For he [Jesus] grew up before him as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. (Isa. 53:2)
The carpenter stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a pencil; he shapeth it with planes, he marketh it, out with the compasses, and shapeth it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. (Isa. 44:13)
No one today knows what Jesus actually looked like. As far as we know no likenesses of Him were made at the timeâ€‘ but prophetic scripture tells us that Jesus was far from being (outwardly) a handsome man. This was to prevent people from accepting Him according to their natural concept and thus not seeking Him in reality through spiritual revelation. What, then, are all these pictures and statues of "Jesus?" They are idols, and idols of a type that are particularly abhorrent to the Lordâ€‘ being an insult to the very person of Christ.
What other idols have been passed on to us through the traditions of men? There is no mention whatsoever of the use of an altar in New Testament worship; in the few places that the word 'altar' is used in the New Testament, it is always concerning Old Testament worship. The Old Testament altar was only a type; today true worship is in the spirit. What, then, is an altar today; and where did the use of candles in soâ€‘called worship services today come from? The use of an altar today is 100 percent idolatrous. Today's use of candles came directly from pagan sun god worship, and originally from Babylonian worship of Nimrod.
for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator ... (Rom. 1:25).
Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh; even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. (2 Cor. 6:16)
Howbeit at that time, not knowing God, ye were in bondage to them that by nature are no gods: but now that ye have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how turn ye back, again to the weak and beggarly rudiments, whereunto ye desire to be in bondage or again? Ye observe days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain. (Gal. 4:8â€‘11)
Hear ye the word which Jehovah speaketh unto you, 0 house of Israel: thus saith Jehovah, Learn not the way of the nations (heathen) and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vanity; 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. They are like a palm tree, of turned work, and speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither is it in them to do good. (Jer. 10:1â€‘6)
Thus the very customs of Christmas still existent cast surprising light at once on the revelations of grace made to all the earth, and the effects made by Satan and his emissaries to materialize, carnalize, and degrade them. 266
If you place special significance upon the date of December 25th, you are recognizing the birthday of a Pagan god. To know the actual date of Christ's physical birth is total irrelevantâ€‘ that is to know Christ according to the fleshâ€‘, which is why the actual date is hidden from us.
Some therefore of the Pharisees said, This man [Jesus] is not from God, because he keepth not the sabbath. (John 9:16)
And he (Jesus) said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath (Mark 2:27).
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a fast day or a new moon or a sabbath day: which are a shadow of the things to come ... (Col. 2:16â€‘17)
Nor is it relevant today whether Saturday or Sunday or any other day of the week is a Sabbath. Today, the â€œSabbathâ€ should just be the day on which it happens to be most convenient for Christians to meet together. Today the Sabbath is made for manâ€‘ no certain day of the week should have special significanceâ€‘ since this is no longer the time of the Old Testament, such holding of one day of the week as special can be traced back to its true source: pagan superstition. Jesus Himself did not keep or respect a Sabbath day!
This would have been contrary to the famous advice of Pope Gregory I., that by all means they should meet the Pagans halfâ€‘way, and so bring them into the Roman Church .267
To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianityâ€‘ now far sunk in idolatryâ€‘ in this as in so many other things, to shake hands. 268
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 honor 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. 269
Then look at Easter. What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people of Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian Monuments, is Ishtar. 270
If Baal was thus worshipped in Britain, it will not be difficult to believe that his consort Astarte was also adored by our ancestors, and that from Astarte, whose name in Nineveh was Ishtar, the religious solemnities of April, as now practiced, are called by the name of Easter- that month, among Pagan ancestors, having been called Easterâ€‘month. The festival of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third or fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter. It was called Pasch, or the Passover, and though not of Apostolic institution, was very early observed by many professing Christians, in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Christ. That festival agreed originally with the time of the Jewish Passover, when Christ was crucified, a period which, in the days of Tertullian, at the end of the second century, was believed to have been the 23rd of March. That festival was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent. "It ought to be known," said Cassianus, the monk of Marseilles, writing in the fifth century, and contrasting the primitive Church with the Church in his day, "that the observance of the forty days had no existence, so long as the perfection of that primitive Church remained inviolate.â€ Whence, then, came this observance? The forty days' abstinence of Lent was directly borrowed from the worshippers of the Babylonian goddess. Such a Lent of forty days, "in the spring of the year," is still observed by the Yezidis or Pagan Devilâ€‘worshippers of Koordistan, who have inherited it from their early masters, the Babylonians. 271
Such is the history of Easter. The popular observances that still attend the period of its celebration amply confirm the testimony of history as to its Babylonian character. The hot cross buns of Good Friday, and the dyed eggs of Pasch or Easter Sunday, figured in the Chaldean rites just as they do now. The "buns," known too by that identical name, were used in the worship of the queen of heaven, the goddess Easter, as early as the days of Cecrops, the founder of Athens- that is, 1500 years before the Christian era. 272
Hence the egg became one of the symbols of Astarte or Easter; and accordingly, in Cyprus, one of the chosen seats of the worship of Venus, or Astarte, the egg of wondrous size was represented on a grand scale.273
Now the Romish Church adopted this mystic egg of Astarte, and consecrated it as a symbol of Christ's resurrection. A form of prayer was even appointed to be used in connection with it, Pope Paul V. teaching his superstitious votaries thus to pray at Easter: "Bless, 0 Lord, we beseech thee, this thy creature of eggs, that it may become a wholesome sustenance unto thy servants, eating it in remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, & c.274
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. (Luke 1:46â€‘47)
If what has been already said shows the carnal policy of Rome at the expense of truth, the circumstances attending the festival of the Assumption show the daring wickedness and blasphemy of that Church still more; considering that the doctrine in regard to this festival, so far as the Papacy is concerned, was not established in the dark ages, but three centuries after the Reformation, amid all the boasted light of the nineteenth century. The doctrine on which the festival of the Assumption is founded, is this: that the Virgin Mary saw no corruption, that in body and in soul she was carried up to heaven, and is invested with all power in heaven and in earth. This doctrine has been unblushing avowed in the face of the British public, in a recent pastoral of the Popish Archbishop of Dublin. This doctrine has now received the stamp of Papal Infallibility, having been embodied in the late blasphemous decree that proclaims the "Immaculate Conception." Now it is impossible for the priests of Rome to find one shred of countenance for such a doctrine in Scripture. But, in the Babylonian system, the fable was ready made to their hand. There it was taught that Bacchus went down to hell, rescued his mother from the infernal powers, and carried her with him in triumphant glory to heaven. 275
No; the doctrine and discipline of the Papacy were never derived from the Bible. The fact that wherever it has the power, it lays the reading of the Bible under its ban, and either consigns that choicest gift of heavenly love to the flames, or shuts it up under lock and key, proves this of itself. But it can be still more conclusively established. A glance at the main pillars of the Papal system will sufficiently prove that its doctrine and discipline, in all essential respects, have been derived from Babylon. 276
It is well known that regeneration by baptism is a fundamental article of Rome, yea, that it stands at the very threshold of the Rome system. 277
Now, in both respects this doctrine (regeneration by baptism) is absolutely antiâ€‘Scriptural; in both it is purely Pagan. 278
The worshippers of Nimrod and his queen were looked upon as regenerated and purged from sin by baptism, which baptism received its virtue from the sufferings of these two great Babylonian divinities. But yet in regard to justification, the Chaldean doctrine was that it was by works and merits of men themselves that they must be justified and accepted by God. 279
If baptismal regeneration, the initiating ordinance of Rome, and justification by works, be both Chaldean, the principle embodied in the "unbloody sacrifice" of the mass is not less so. We have evidence that goes to show the Babylonian origin of the idea of that "unbloody sacrifice" very distinctly. 280
All this is done only to exalt the Mother, as more gracious and more compassionate than her glorious Son. Now, this was the very case in Babylon: and to this character of the goddess queen her favorite offerings exactly corresponded. Therefore, we found the women of Judah represented as simply "burning incense, pouring out drink offerings, and offering cakes to the queen of heaven" (Jeremiah xliv.19). The cakes were "the unbloody sacrifice" she required. That "unbloody sacrifice" her votaries not only offered, but when admitted to the higher mysteries, they partook of, swearing anew fidelity to her. In the fourth century, when the queen of heaven, under the name of Mary, was beginning to be worshipped in the Christian Church, this "unbloody sacrifice" also was brought in. 281
In regard to the Pagan character of the "unbloody sacrifice" of the mass, we have seen not little already. But there is something yet to be considered, in which the working of the mystery of iniquity will still further appear. There are letters on the wafer that are worth reading. These letters are I.H.S. What mean these mystical letters? To a Christian these letters are represented as signifying, "Jesus Hominum Salvator," "Jesus the Savior of men." But let a Roman worshipper of Isis (for in the age of the emperors there were innumerable worshippers of Isis in Rome) cast his eyes upon them, and how will he read them? He will read them, of course, according to his own wellâ€‘known system of idolatry: "Isis, Horus, Seb," that is "The Mother, the Child, and the Father of the gods," in other words, "The Egytian Trinity." Can the reader imagine that this double sense is accidental? Surely not. The very same spirit that converted the festival of the Pagan Cannes into the feast of the Christian Joannes, retaining at the same time all its ancient Paganism, has skillfully planned the initials I.H.S. to pay the semblance of a tribute to ChristianÂity, while Paganism in reality has all the substance of the homage bestowed upon it. 282
The sacrifice which the papal priesthood are empowered to offer, as a "true propitiatory sacrifice" for the sins of the living and the dead, is just the "unbloody sacrifice" of the mass, which was offered up in Babylon long before it was ever heard of in Rome. 283
The same sign of the cross that Rome now worships was used in the Babylonian Mysteries, was applied by Paganism to the same magic purposes, was honoured with the same honours. That which is now called the Christian cross was originally no Christian emblem at all, but was the mystic Tau of the Chaldeans and Egyptians- the true original form of the letter T- the initial of the name of Tammuz. 284
The drift of this statement is evidently this, that in Egypt the earliest form of that which has since been called the cross, was no other than the "Crux Ansata," or "Sign of life," borne by Osiris and all the Egyptian gods; that the ansa or "handle" was afterwards dispensed with, and that it became the simple Tau, or ordinary cross, as it appears at this day, and that the design of its first employment on the sepulchers, therefore, could have no reference to a crucifixion of the Nazarene, but was simply the result of the attachment to old and longâ€‘cherished Pagan symbols, which is always strong in those who, with the adoption of a Christian name and profession, are still, to a large extent, Pagan in heart and feeling. This, and this only, is the origin of the worship of the "crossâ€. 285
Thus the whole doctrine of purgatory is a system of pure bareâ€‘faced Pagan imposture, dishonouring to God, deluding men who live in sin with the hope of atoning for it after death, and cheating them at once out of their property and their salvation. 286
Nor were the times of Leo the Tenth (Pope 1513-1521) without resemblance to the days of Noah: when that famous Pontiff, seated amid every possible sensuous and intellectual refinement, And surrounded by the most brilliant clusters of stars that has ever adorned the firmament of art, exclaimed: â€œThis Christianity! How profitable a farce it has proved to us!â€ 287
Out of a thousand facts of a similar kind, let one only be adduced, vouched for by the distinguished Roman Catholic historian De Thou. When Pope Paul V. meditated the suppression of the licensed brothel in the "Holy City," the Roman Senate petitioned against his carrying his design into effect, on the ground that the existence of such places was the only means of hindering the priests from seducing their wives and daughters! 288
From the Pope downwards, all can be shown to be now radically Babylonian. The College of Cardinals, with the Pope at its head, is just the counterpart of the Pagan College of Pontiffs, with its "Pontifex Maximus,"or "Sovreign Pontiff," which had existed in Rome from the earliest times, and which is known to have been framed on the model of the grand original Council of Pontiffs at Babylon. The Pope now pretends to supremacy in the Church as the successor of Peter, to whom it is alleged that our Lord exclusively committed the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 289
Away then, with the deadly delusion that Rome is Christian! There might once have been some palliation for entertaining such a supposition; but every day the "Grand Mystery" is revealing itself more and more in its true character. There is not, and there cannot be, any safety for the souls of men in "Babylon." "Come out of her, my people," is the loud and express command of God. Those who disobey that command, do it at their peril. 290
From this point on, understand that whenever the term "Christianity" is used in this book, it does not include Roman Catholicism; Christianity will refer to all organized religion that is ostensibly following Christ and that does not contain any heretical teachings or practices. Catholicism is not even a Christian religion.
2. The Daughters of Babylon
and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth. (Rev. 17:5)
Who are the harlot daughters of Babylon? In order to realize the answer to this question, we must realize the Scriptural implications of the word 'harlot.' According to Ezekiel Chapter 16, Jeremiah Chapter 51, and Isaiah Chapter 47, a harlot in the eye of God is one who claims to belong to God but is in actuality unfaithful due to prostituting herself to the world system. A harlot in God's eyes, then, is anyone who pollutes the things of God by mixing them with the things of the world.
There is, however, one very important difference between the Old Testament descriptions of Israel's harlotry and the descriptions of this New Testament harlot. Whereas Israel was an unfaithful wife who could legitimately claim God as her husband, the Lord has never recognized any claim made upon him by Babylon. Consequently, He refers to her as "that woman," "the great whore," and "a woman." Babylon can never legitimately claim to be the Lord's purpose or intention.
And he cried with a mighty voice, saying; fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird. (Rev. 18:2)
Babylon is a vehicle for the expression of the fallen angels and demons. Remember the parable of the mustard seed with the foul birds of the air in its branches? It is clear that Babylon the mother is the trunk of the tree in that parable and that her daughters are the branches of that tree. Who are these daughters?
Behold, everyone that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter. (Ezek. 16:44)
... And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition. (Matt. 15:6)
But thou didst trust in thy beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy whoredoms on every one that passed by: his it was. And thou didst take of thy garments, and madst for thee high places decked with divers colors, and playedst the harlot upon them: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so. Thou didst also take thy beautiful vessels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest for thee images of men and didst play the harlot with them; . . . that thou hast built unto thee a vaulted place, and hast made thee a lofty place in every street. Thou hast built thy lofty place at the head of every way, and hast made thy beauty an abomination, and hast opened they feet to every one that passed by and multiplied thy whoredom ... How weak is thy heart, saith the Lord Jehovah, seeing thou doest all these things, the work of an impudent harlot; in that thou buildest thy vaulted place at the head of every way and makest thy lofty place in every street, and hast not been as a harlot, in that thou scornest hire. A wife that committeth adultery! that taketh strangers instead of her husband (Ezek. 16:15â€‘17, 24â€‘26, 30â€‘32)
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 NASB)
Who are the daughters of Babylon the Mother?
But in giving you this charge, I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that divisions exist among you ... (I Cor. 11:17â€‘18)
Remember the principles of the tower of Babel: scattering, division, confusion, and selfâ€‘ambition. In today's Babylon it is the same: Scattering: you meet at your "place of worship" and I'll meet at mine; Division: if your "place" is not the same as my "place," then we cannot have true oneness with each other; Confusion: your "place" has different doctrines and practices than mine, we each do not understand the other's doctrines and practices, selfâ€‘ambition: no different from the world, the desire to make a name for oneself by doing great works.
For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office; so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another. (Rom. 12:4â€‘5)
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body; being many, are one body; so also is Christ.... Now ye are the body of Christ, and severally members thereof. (I Cor. 12:12, 27)
These verses have been loosely applied in an attempt to justify the divisions of Christianity, but these verses apply only to individuals and not to groups of individuals.
For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. (1 Cor. 14:33)
Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word; that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in me: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. And the glory which thou hast given me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. (John 17:20â€‘23)
The above verses prove that Christians have allowed themselves to become divided since, if they were not divided, the world would know that God sent Christ, and this is not the case. If the oneness that the Lord prayed for here was merely a "spiritual" oneness as is often given as an excuse ("But we are really one in spirit, even though we don't meet together"), then He would not have needed to pray for it, since all bornâ€‘again believers are one spiritually, automatically. Also, that this is a practical oneness is shown by the words "perfected into one." While all believers are one in their spirits, that oneness is only practically expressed for the world to see if those believers are denying their selves in order to express Christ.
â€˜Churchâ€™ is arguably the most abused and misunderstood word in the English language. It is certainly NOT a funny-looking building, nor even an assembly of people meeting in unison. â€˜The church, which is His Bodyâ€™. â€˜Attend the church of your choiceâ€™ is a Satanically-motivated invitation to commit rebellion, and is totally in opposition to holding the one accord to keep the oneness of the Spirit.
God is not a God of confusion. Be honestâ€‘ does Christianity express Christ or does it express confusion? Does a nonâ€‘Christian see the expresÂsion of the living Christ or do they see a religious system as confusing as it is divided? Satan is not stupid, he knows the rules of warfare- â€˜Divide in order to conquerâ€. There is a material system to trap unbelievers and there is a religious system to trap believersâ€‘ both are in Satan's World System and under his control. Babylon, the mother of Harlots, is the Roman Catholic Church and her daughters are the divisions (both denominational and â€œnon-denominationalâ€) of Protestantism.
every one that is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yea, whom I have made. (Isa. 43:7)
... the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)
For a believer to take a name other than the name of Christ is spiritual fornication. To call yourself a certain kind of Christian is a serious sin and a shame to the Lord.
... and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart to do that which was right in mine eyes, (1 King 14:8)
Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes; (Deut. 12:8)
For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; (2 Tim. 4:3)
Since the texts of the Scriptures have, for some psychological reason rooted in the readers, the quality of being easily misread, misunderstood, or misinterpreted ... 291
All of the division of Christianity stems from the believers doing what is right in their own eyes according to their selfâ€‘life and not according to the Spirit. How prevalent this is today! Most believers today meet where they meet because "I like the way the preacher gives his sermons" or, "I think their doctrines are correct" (i.e., their practices are agreeable to me). How few are the believers today who deny their selves and ask the Lord where He wants them to meet!
3. THE SOURCE OF RELIGION AS APPLIED TO CHRISTIANITY: THE MIND
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 NASB)
As we have seen, Roman Catholicism is the total carnalization of spiritual truth. Therefore, we may justly depict Roman Catholicism as being in the realm of the flesh. If Roman Catholicism is in the realm of the flesh, we may likewise accurately consider Protestantism to be in the realm of the soul. The Protestant Reformation was indeed a rejection of Roman Catholicism (the flesh) in order that believers could return to the spirit, But the works of Protestantism (Sardis) have not been found perfected in the Lord's eyes- as Protestantism has become, and will remain, a dead religious system rather than a living body. Therefore, we may justly consider that, although it was a step in the right direction (away from the flesh); Protestantism is, and will remain, in the realm of the soul.
If the "natural man," the self of the fallen soul, is the source of religion; then we may expect Christianity to be differentiable into two categories: One, the larger category, corresponding to people who are mentally inclined; and the second, smaller category (since the mind is the predominant part of the soul), corresponding to people who are emotionally inclined. Christianity is in fact thus differentiated: the first category being known as fundamentalism and the second as Pentecostalism. What is the true purpose of these two differentiations and how is their purpose achieved? Let us first examine the category that attracts mentally oriented people.
â€¦Knowledge puffeth up, but love buildeth up. (1 Cor. 8:1)
Knowledge can never build up the church, the body of Christ. Why, then, is the largest category of Christianity so devoted to knowledge?
And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who is in secret shall recompense thee. (Matt. 6:5-6)
This verse has been used to justify silent prayer, which is a tradition of this category of Christianity. If this verse refers to a literal chamber, it still does not say whether prayer is to be verbal or silent; it only specifies where to pray. If, however, the chamber referred to is a symbolical one, what is it symbolical of?
with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit ... (Eph. 6:18)
If this inner chamber is symbolic, it can only be a reference to our spirit, the inner chamber of our being. What details do the scriptures convey about prayer?
These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee: (John 17:1)
Where did Christianity get the tradition of silent prayer, with the eyes closed? According to the tradition of Christianity, this verse should read: "These things spake Jesus; and bowing his head and closing his eyes, he thought, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee".
yea, while I [Daniel] was speaking in prayer ... (Dan. 9:21)
Because thou servedst not Jehovah thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies that Jehovah shall send against thee ... (Deut. 28:47â€‘48).
And as he was drawing nigh, even at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, . . . And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. (Luke 19:37, 39)
We see by these verses that both Old and New Testament believers worshiped verbally, out loud. There is no legitimacy for silent prayer anywhere in the whole Bible. What kind of people prefers silence? The religious people were the ones offended by the loud praise of the Lord by the multitudes. All religions have the tradition of silent prayer in common, the only verbal prayer being ritual lipâ€‘service. This tradition does not come from the Bible- it comes from paganism! What is the true purpose of this tradition?
God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matt. 22:32)
And he [Jesus] said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But he said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59â€‘60)
The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.
(Ps 115:17 KJV)
Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles (unbelievers) do, in the futility of their minds; (Gal. 4:17 RSV)
This people honoreth me with their lips; But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. (Matt. 15:8â€‘9)
Why are the spiritually dead linked to those who are silent? What, again, is the reason for this tradition of silent "prayer"? This category of Christianity is deliberately designed by Satan to attract and deceive believers who are mentally oriented. The purpose of this category is to keep believers in their mind and away from their spirit. Even the very shapes of the â€œhouses of worshipâ€™ in this category are designed with the intent of inducing reverence; such reverence being equated with respectful silence. Respectful silence might be appropriate if God were a God of the dead, but God is the God of the living!
Of all aspects of â€˜worshipâ€™, prayer is the most dangerous to Satan- being the most likely time that a believer might contact Christ in their spirit. Therefore, the more thoroughly believers are trapped in their minds during prayer, the less likely they are to accidentally touch their spirits. This is the purpose of silent prayer: the more silent a person is, the deeper he is in his mind, thinking about Christ instead of being in the spirit contacting Christ. The purpose of praying with the eyes closed is the same- to help avoid distractions to a mental state of being.
Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted ... (Ps. 148:13)
Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to a glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:9â€‘11)
... I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly. (John 10:1)
... no man can say Jesus is Lord, but in the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12:3)
It is the spirit that giveth lifeâ€¦ (John 6:63)
While silence is linked to the spiritually dead, active verbal calling on the name of the Lord is linked to spiritual life, why? The name of Jesus is different from any other name in the universe. If you call any other name, nothing will happen. But if you call on the name of the Lord Jesus you will receive the very person and reality of Christ, who today is available to everyone as the lifeâ€‘giving Spirit. A silent Christian is inevitably a spiritually dead Christian: by no means have they lost their salvation (no one can become un-regenerated), but they are not living in the Spirit and the Spirit is not active in them, being confined by the soul. This is why the people in this category are silent- because they are not enjoying the presence of the living Christ. Do you think that if you were in God's presence that you could be silent? This matter of calling on the name of the Lord is strategic and is crucial to the spiritual warfare against Satan; thus we find it in hundreds of places throughout the Bible concerning active followers of the Lord.
Then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah. (Gen. 4:26)
... and there he [Abraham] builded an altar unto Jehovah, and called upon the name of Jehovah. (Gen. 12:8)
And he [Isaac] builded an altar there, and called upon the name of Jehovah ... (Gen. 26:25).
Moses and Aaron among his priests, And Samuel among them that call upon his name; They called upon Jehovah, and he answered them. (Ps. 99:6)
... they shall call on my name and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people ... (Zech 13:9)
unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place ... (1 Cor. 1:2)
and here he [Saul] hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call thy name. (Acts 9:14)
It was not the silent Christians whom Saul persecuted- they were not a threat to Satan- it was the ones who were actively calling upon the name of the Lord.
4. THE SOURCE OF RELIGION AS APPLIED TO CHRISTIANITY: THE EMOTIONS
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24 NASB)
This category of Christianity is deliberately designed by Satan to attract and deceive believers who are emotionally oriented.
As we saw in Chapter Four, the function of our spirit that is the main aspect of true worshipâ€‘ fellowship with God Himselfâ€‘ is related to and expressed through the emotions of the soul. Anyone who is experiencing true fellowship with God cannot help but express joy in their emotions. Thus, there is a close similarity between an emotional experience and a genuine spiritual experience. There are, however, subtle but definite distinctions between the two. A person who is born again spiritually has a new life and personality implanted within him and there cannot help but be an immediate outward reflection of this in his likes and dislikes; he will feel differently about certain things than he did before. This new life inside him definitely has a strong dislike for idolatrous, divisive, or immoral things; and every genuinely bornâ€‘again person will immediately reflect this dislike. If, however, the "salvation experience" of a person is merely an emotional experience and goes no deeper than the soul, then any consequent outward changes will likewise be superficial. Such a person will make little, if any, changes in his outward life and will merely profess Christ in addition to the worldly, even sinful things of their former life.
And Nahab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before Jehovah, which he had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before Jehovah, and devoured them, and they died before Jehovah. (Lev. 10:1â€‘2])
How does one tell the difference between true worship in the spirit reflected through the emotions and the counterfeit exercise of emotions emanating from the self? As shown by this Old Testament type, the two are very similar. Outwardly, the offering of Nahab and Abihu was identical to that of Aaronâ€‘but the offering was from the wrong person (close, as it was from his sons), i.e., the wrong sourceâ€‘ this alone was what made it "strange fire." In the same way, "worship" with the emotions is from the wrong person: the fallen self of our soul; whereas worship in the spirit is in and from the person of Christ, who lives in the believer's spirit as the Holy Spirit and who alone is acceptable to God.
Nevertheless, there are subtle, yet detectable, outward differences between the two. If the believers are in the spirit and following the leading of the Spirit, they will have no problem in instantaneously reflecting any new change of direction by the Spirit. Their emotional state may completely and instantaneously change since they are not immersed in their emotions; rather, their emotions are reflecting the living Spirit in their spirit. On the other hand, if believers are mistakenly attempting to "worship" in their emotions then, although the "worship service" may take a new direction, such individuals will be unable to readily respond in kind. If they are "high" in their emotions, it will take several minutes for them to calm down; if they are somber, it will take them several minutes to express exhilaration; and so on.
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. â€¦ And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:2, 4)
One of the more mysterious and most misunderstood aspects of a Christian life is the "baptism of the Holy Spirit." What many, indeed most, Christians pay no attention to is the fact that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is of two distinct aspects: two entirely different words are used in the original language for these two aspects. Because both words are translated into the same English rendering, the significance of this distinction has been lost to those who are most occupied with this aspect of the Christian life.
The Greek word pleeroo (fill all the house) means to be filled inwardly with the Holy Spirit. This inward filling of the Holy Spirit is a life matter and is the source of the Christian's spiritual growth and transformation. The Greek word pleetho (filled with the Holy Spirit) means to be clothed outwardly with the authority and power of the Holy Spirit. This outward clothing of authority of the Holy Spirit exactly corresponds to the Old Testament experiences of the believers when the Spirit of God came upon them. Strictly speaking, this outward clothing of the Holy Spirit is not a life matter: a believer may experience it innumerable times yet never grow any spiritually. Thus we see how that we may be clear on this matter and not be deceived by any false traditional religious interpretation.
Now on the first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb. (John 20:1)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came unto a tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared. (Luke 24:1)
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God. (John 20:17)
And behold, two of them were going that very day to a village named Emmaus, which was threeâ€‘score furlongs from Jerusalem.... And they rose up that very hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them ... And as they spake these things, he [Jesus] himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (Luke 24:13, 33, 36)
When therefore it was evening, on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. (John 20:19)
See my hand and my feet, that it is I myself. handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having. (Luke 24:39)
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: whose soever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven unto them; whose soever sins ye retain they are retained. (John 20:22â€‘23)
Sometime between morning and evening of this day, according to these verses, the Lord ascended in a hidden way. That morning He told Mary not to touch Him because He had not yet ascended, yet that evening He tells the disciples to handle Himâ€‘ proving that in the interim He had ascended. Later, in Acts, he visibly ascends for the benefit of those watching. At this time the disciples received the inward, regenerating filling (pleeroo) of the Holy Spirit.
The former treatise I made, 0 Theophilus, concerning all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was received up, after that he had given commandment through the Holy Spirit unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom he had showed himself alive after his passion by many proofs, appearing unto them by the space of forty days, and speaking the things concerning the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, he charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, ye heard from me: for John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days hence.... But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:1â€‘5, 8)
And behold, I send forth the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high. (Luke 24:49 NASB)
The disciples needed a little further instruction by the Lord and more of the inward filling of the Spirit before they were ready to properly exercise the power and authority of the Spirit. The promised clothing with power from on high was the filling (pleetho) of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The disciples were already born again before Pentecost, this happened when Jesus breathed into them on the day of His resurrection and they received the Holy Spirit (pleeroo).
And it came to pass, when Jehovah would take up Elijah in a whirlwind into heaven, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. â€¦And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I am taken from thee, and Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. â€¦(2 Kings 2:1, 8-9)
He (Elisha) took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him (Elijah), and went back, and stood by the bank of the Jordan. And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is Jehovah, the God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they were divided hither and thither; and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. â€¦(2Kings 2:14-15)
The mantle was a type of the outward clothing with the authority and power of the Spirit experienced by Elijah and granted also by God to Elisha. It was not a magic mantleâ€‘ the mantel is only an illustration of the power of the Spirit of God upon and acting through these two prophets of God. Notice that the Spirit is always spoken of as being on or upon, but never in, the Old Testament believers.
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them into the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down, and talk with thee there: and I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. (Num. 11:16â€‘17)
God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to his own will. (Heb. 2:4)
For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought though me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonder, in the power of the Holy Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about even unto Illyricum. I have fully preached the gospel of Christ; (Rom. 15:18â€‘19).
The purpose of the outward clothing of the Holy Spirit is to endue the believers with the authority necessary to preach the Gospel. Such preaching of the gospel may, but often does not, include miraculous signsâ€‘ and. wonders.
For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:13 NASB)
It is by the power (pleetho) of the Holy Spirit that all bornâ€‘again believers have been baptized into one body. All proper exercise of that power should always be for the building up of the oneness of the body. Notice again the complete distinction between pleetho (baptized) and pleeroo (drink). Only by drinking of the Spirit can believers grow into an expression of the one body. No amount of exercise of the outward "gifts" can produce this oneness.
And Ananias departed, and entered into the house; and laying his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, who appeared unto thee in the way which thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mayest receive thy sight, and be filled (pleeetho) with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:17)
And you shall put some of your authority on him, in order that all the congregation of the sons of Israel may obey him.... Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses. (Num. 27:20, 23 NASB)
Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hand on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14â€‘17)
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed? And they said unto him, Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Spirit was given. And he said, Into what then were ye baptized? And they said, Into Johnâ€™s baptism. And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto a people that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Jesus. And when they heard this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them. (Acts 19:1-6)
The laying on of hands is a recognition of oneness with the Body to believers who are properly responsible. In the New Testament, the authority (pleetho) of the Holy Spirit was given to the Jewish part of the one body at Pentecost and to the Gentile part of the one body at Corneliusâ€™ house.
But there were bornâ€‘again (pleeroo) believers elsewhere, as the result of prior ministries, who did not know that they were bornâ€‘again to be members of that one body. For them to have been given the power (pleetho) of the Holy Spirit without them knowing that such power was solely for the building up of the one body would have caused confusion and division. Therefore, it was not until they were brought into proper identification with the expression of the one body (the New Testament churches) through some of its responsible representatives, that they received the power (pleetho) of the Holy Spirit. This power was imparted to them by the laying on of hands.
Saul had already been born again, at the time when the great light knocked him to the earth. Else, how could he have called Jesus "Lord" at that time? However, he did not receive the power of the Holy Spirit until a representative of the one body (the churches that he had been persecuting) delegated this power to him by the laying on of hands. We can be sure that Ananias was convinced of the genuineness of Saul's faith before he laid hands on Saul.
Today, everyone who is born again and who is in a proper relationship to the oneness of the body automatically has the authority of the Holy Spirit; there no longer is any need for the laying on of hands (for this purpose), since the word of the Gospel has traversed the globe.
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands ... (I Tim. 6:22 RSV)
Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily and thus share responsibility for the sins of others ... (I Tim. 6:22 NASB)
How misunderstood and misused is the laying on of hands today! The fallen, natural concept of too many believers is that the laying on of hands is to convey or express some miraculous occurrence. Other people at the time of the New Testament thought the same thing.
But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime in the city used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, this man is that power of God which is called Great. And they gave heed to him, because that of long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. And Simon also himself believed: and being baptized, he continued with Philip; and beholding signs and great miracles, he was amazed ... Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power ... But Peter said unto him ... Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right before God. (Acts 8:9â€‘13, 18â€‘21)
And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven. (Matt. 16:1)
If you are unduly impressed by supernatural occurrences, you may be led to seek after them instead of the living person of Christ. It is all too easy to let a love for the gifts lead you astray from the Giver.
We must not, however, pass by a frequently quoted verse which is supposed to imply communication with disembodied spirits. "Beloved," says John, "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God" (1 John iv.1). It is argued that such a precept not only proves the existence of Spiritualism in the early Church, but also even gives positive apostolic sanction to intercourse with the dead in Christ.
Now from the way in which John speaks we can see that he is referring to the exercise of some familiar and lawful gift, of which we may, therefore, justly expect to find notice in other parts of the New Testament. And such notices we do find: for the apostle is clearly legislating for those cases of prophetic utterance and speaking with tongues which were then common in the church, and of which Paul treats at length in the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
But by what power were these manifestations produced? Not by spirits of the dead, but by the direct action of the spirit of God. Paul is at great pains to set forth this fact in his preliminary enumeration of spiritual gifts, and not content with having six times mentioned it, her concludes with the emphatic words, â€œBut all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He willâ€ (1 Cor. xii. 11). In perfect accord, too, is the narrative of the day of Pentecost, which states that the disciples â€œwere filled the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utteranceâ€ (Acts ii. 4).
Since, then, there is but one Spirit working in the children of God, it is evident that the command to try the spirits refers, not to the inspiring cause, but to the spirits of those who claimed to be prompted by the Holy Ghost, the plural being used as it is by Paul when he affirms that "the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets" (I Cor.xiv.32). And this interpretation will be found to suit the whole context.
Nor was the apostolic warning superfluous: for, as might have been anticipated, Satan quickly began to counterfeit the manifestations of the Spirit by introducing false and demonâ€‘inspired prophets among the true believers. Unmistakable traces of this mischief may be detected in Paul's affectionate entreaty to the Thessalonians, "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is present" (2 Thess.ii.2). The demon teachers were already abroad; the Mystery of Lawlessness was even then working.
Therefore the duty inculcated by John in that of testing the spirits or prophets, to discover whether they are influenced by the Spirit of God or by demons. And the Ephesians seem to have obeyed the precept when they tried those who said they were apostles, but were not, and found them liars (Rev.ii.2 ).292
5. Healingâ€‘There are various forms of this. Sometimes by mere laying on of hands, an exalted form of simple mesmeric healing. Sometimes, in the trance state, the medium at once discovers the hidden malady, and prescribes for it, often describing very accurately the morbid appearance of internal organs. 293
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (Matt. 24:24)
If a believer is distracted into seeking signs, Satan will be more than happy to provide such signs and wonders. The Pentecostal movement, which was raised up by the Lord in reaction to the dead knowledge of Fundamentalism, has today divided the believers more so even than Fundamentalism. Do you honestly think that it is still the Lord providing most of the miracles in Pentecostalism, when such miracles inevitÂably result in further division of believers?
Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to the unbelieving: but prophesying is for a sign not to the unbelieving, but to them that believe. If therefore the whole church be assembled together and all speak with tongues, and there come in men unlearned or unbelieving, will they not say that ye are mad? (I Cor. 14:22â€‘23)
He that speaketh in a tongue buildeth up himself, but he that prophesieth buildeth up the church. Now I would have you all speak in tongues, but rather that ye should prophesy: and greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive building up.... I thank God, I speak with tongues more than you all: howbeit in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that I might instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue. (I Cor. 14:4â€‘5, 18â€‘19)
Follow after love; yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy ... And let the prophets speak by two or three, and let the others discern. But if a revelation is made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence. For ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets; (1 Cor. 14:1, 29â€‘32)
Wherefore my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. (1 Cor. 14:39)
Speaking in tongues should not be forbidden, as it is by some fundamentalist denominations, but it should never be the central activity of corporate worship.
Have all gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But desire the greater gifts. And moreover a most excellent way show I unto you. (1 Cor. 12:30-31 NASB)
Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. (1 Cor. 13:8)
And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we be no longer children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ: from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love. (Eph. 4:11â€‘16)
Speaking in tongues builds up the individual believer, but it can never build up the church. Only the love that is of God can build up the church.
so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift . . (1 Cor. 1:7 RSV)
Now I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me concerning you, my brethren, by them that are of the household of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I mean, that each one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized into the name of Paul? (1 Cor. 1:10â€‘13)
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, as unto babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not with meat: for ye were not yet able to bear it: nay, not even now are ye able; for ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you jealousy and strife, are ye not carnal, and do ye not walk after the manner of men? For when one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not men? (I Cor. 3:1â€‘4)
Although the believers at Corinth had all of the Pentecostal gifts, the apostle spoke to them as unto carnal: they were still babes spiritually. As I have said before, a believer may experience the outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit many times yet never grow spiritually. It is clear from these verses that the Corinthian believers had been distracted from the inner spiritual growth by the Pentecostal gifts. How true this is for most of Pentecostalism today, else it would not be so divisiveâ€‘ which is a manifestation of the flesh.
5. A WARNING TO THOSE IN BABYLON
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great it; your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you. (Matt. 5:10â€‘12)
But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, it is known to us that everywhere it is spoken against. (Acts 28:22)
Another dead giveaway of whose kingdom Christianity is really in- Godâ€™s or Satan'sâ€‘ is the lack of persecution by the world, which is certainly in Satanâ€™s kingdom. Satan will not cast himself out, else his kingdom would be divided: for this reason the world and Christianity peacefully co-exist. What of the exalted leaders of Christianity? I do not question whether or not they are genuine born-again Christians, nor their sincerity- that is between them and the Lord- but are they pursuing the Lordâ€™s purpose or their own? What enlightenment on this subject can we obtain from Scripture?
Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets. (Luke 6:26)
And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray. (Matt. 24:11)
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ. (2 Cor. 11:13)
from which things some having missed the mark have turned aside unto vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm. (I Tim.1:6-7)
It is clear from these verses that the false prophets spoken of are genuine believers who have missed the mark of the Lord's purpose and have gone on to set themselves up as being someone great. It is also clear that there are many more false prophets than there are genuine apostles. False prophets are always striving to establish a reputation for themselves, whereas genuine apostles couldn't care less about impressing anyone or being wellâ€‘known.
For this cause I write these things while absent, that I may not when present deal sharply, according to the authority which the Lord gave me for building up, and not for casting down. (2 Cor. 13:10)
And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the world of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ: (Eph. 4:11â€‘12)
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. (Matt. 12:30)
These are the ones who cause divisions, worldlyâ€‘minded, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 19 NASB)
son of man; prophesy against the prophets of Israel, prophesy and say to those who prophesy out of their own minds: Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets have been like foxes among ruins, 0 Israel. You have not gone up into the breeches, or built up a wall for the house of Israel, that it might stand in battle in the day of the Lord. (Ezek. 13:2â€‘5 RSV)
All the gifted believers' ministries are for one purpose: the perfectÂing of the saints, so that all the members may then be built up as the body of Christ. No individual, however talented, can build up the body directly. All ministries are for perfecting the believers so that the believers will then be able themselves to build up the body. The body of Christ is a living organism composed of transformed members; it is not an organization put together by the more naturally talented among the believers.
What are the fruits by which we shall know the false prophets? The ministry of true apostles always leads to the building up of the body of Christ, to the perfecting into oneness of the believers so minisÂtered to. The ministry of the false prophets always leads to a further scattering of the believers: the false prophets build up not the body of Christ but their own ministry and organization.
So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange before hand your previously promised bounÂtiful gift, that the same might be ready as a bountiful gift, and not affected by covetousness.... Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:5, 7 NASB)
The asking for contributions from the believers is mentioned only once in the New Testament, in connection with the singular event of the hardship of the church in Jerusalem due to a famine. Even so, the believers were told to give, as they felt burdened to do so by the Lord. If a work is genuinely of the Lord's purpose, there need be no constant, regular requesting of contributionsâ€‘ the Lord will burden His people to support it. Why, if Christianity is the Lordâ€™s purpose, is there the need for a constant solicitation of funds? Because Christianity, being a part of the world system, places her faith in the ability of the dollar rather than in the power of the Spirit.
Yea, the dogs are greedy, they can never have enough and these are shepherds that cannot understand: they have all turned to their own way, each one to his gain, from every quarter. (Isa. 56:11)
For they all seek their own, not the things of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 2:21)
And the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things; and they scoffed at him. And he said unto them, Ye are they that justify yourselves in the sight of men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:14-15)
... Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24)
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil ... (1 Tim. 6:10)
But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their lascivious doings; by reason of whom the way of the truth shall be evil spoken of. And in covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you ... (2 Pet. 2:1â€‘3)
wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain. (1 Tim. 6:5)
Another dead giveaway of false prophets is their love of money. Why do they go beyond providing for their necessities and indulge in such exorbitant materialism, owning luxurious possessions and powerful organizations? Because they want to have their cake and eat it, too. They wish to follow the Lord after a fashion that permits them to love the world, also. You cannot serve God and money. When the Lord returns, are these people going to offer to give these enormous possessions to Him, who created the whole universe?
Be honest: according to the Word of God, are the leaders of Christianity acting according to the principles of genuine apostles or are they acting according to the principles of false prophets?
Brothers, would you forsake your "ministries" for the sake of the oneness that the Lord prayed for, so that His return is hastened?
Another parable set he before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares also among the wheat, and went away. But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. And the servant of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? whence then hath it tares? And he said unto them, An enemy hath done this. And the servants say unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he saith, Nay; lest haply while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. (Matt. 13:24â€‘30)
he left the multitudes, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Explain unto us the parable of the tares of the field. And he answered and said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; and the field is the world and the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy that sowed them is the devil: and the harvest is the consummation of the age; and the reapers are angels. (Matt. 13:36â€‘39)
... thou shalt not sow thy field with two kinds of seed ... (Lev. 19:19)
Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness and iniquity? or what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Cor. 6:14)
But them that are without God judgeth. Put away the wicked man from among yourselves. (I Cor. 5:13)
Due to the Roman Catholic Church, large numbers of unregenerated people were mixed together with genuine Christians. This situation was passed on to the denominations raised up by the Protestant Reformation. As this situation continued, the genuine believers sought to find a justification for this condition in the Bible. They spoke of the "invisible church" (genuine spiritually born again believers), hidden within the visible church seen by the world. They sought to justify this mixture with the parable of the tares in Matthew Chapter Thirteen. But what they overlooked was that this parable applies to the world and not to the church.
The church is built up of genuine believers; there should never be a mixture of nominal Christians with genuine Christians in the corporate worship of God. What are the tares and why did Satan sow them? The tares are nominal Christians. A tare is a type of plant that is virtually identical to wheat in outward appearance, but when it is time for the harvest only the genuine wheat bears edible fruit (grain)- the tare is incapable of bearing anything desirable for the farmer. What effect do tares have on wheat? The presence of the tares among wheat robs the wheat of the full blessing of nourishment from the soil and sun, and greatly retards the growth of the genuine wheat, yet the tares are of no value to the farmer. In the same way, nominal Christians retard the spiritual growth of genuine Christian and are incapable of being of value to the Lord. This is why Satan mixed nominal Christians with genuine Christians in Christianity: to retard the spiritual growth of the genuine Christians.
Thus saith Jehovah of hosts. Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they teach you vanity; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of Jehovah. They say continually unto them that despise me, Jehovah hath said, Ye shall have peace; and unto everyone that walketh in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, No evil shall come upon you. (Jer. 23:16â€‘17)
If you are a believer in Babylon, most likely you have been told that as long as you are saved, everything is okay: you will be raptured to heaven before the Tribulation starts and live happily ever after. Do you know what the main purpose of the Tribulation is? The main purpose of the Tribulation is not, strictly speaking, to punish the world. The judgment of the world occurs after the Tribulation. Why does God allow the bad time of the Tribulation to occurâ€‘ is God cruel? Certainly not! The main purpose of the Tribulation is to mature in Christ the majority of Christians, who have allowed so many things to interfere with their spiritual growth. As we will see in Chapter Nine, most Christians will still be here on the Earth during the Tribulation. Do not accept the lie that as long as you are saved, your problems are over.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Rev. 18:4 Intl. Greek)
Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? ... (I Cor. 6:16 NASB)
Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and save every man his life, be not cut off in her iniquity; for it is the time of Jehovah's vengeance; he will render unto her recompense.... We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed; forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country; for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.... My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and save yourselves every man from the fierce anger of Jehovah. (Jer. 51:6,9,45)
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (Rev. 17:3 Intl. Greek)
but their, minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth, it not being revealed to them that it is done away in Christ. But unto this day whensoever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. But whensoever it [the heart] shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. (2 Cor. 3:14â€‘16)
Unless you are certain that you are not in Babylon, you are definitely in Babylon. One of the characteristics of Babylon is confusion. If you do not know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not in Babylon, you are certainly in Babylon.
I greatly fear that you will read what I have shared about Satan's counterfeit, Babylon, and even mentally accept that it is the truth. But the vision of Babylon must be seen in the spirit and not in the mind. If you only see this matter in your mind, you will probably remain in Babylon. If, however, you go to the Lord in your spirit and have a revelation of the reality of Babylon, you will no longer be able to be a part of herâ€‘ you will have to come out of her and seek what the Lord wants. What, then, must you do?
But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. (Rev. 2:4)
For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir into flame the gift of God, which is in thee. â€¦(2 Tim. 1:6)
Unless you are newly saved in Babylon, your first (best) love for the Lord has probably cooled off some. What must you do? Pray to the Lord to restore to you the burning love that you had for Him when you first met Him, so that you will have the
inner strength not only to leave Babylon, but also to seek out His purpose here on the Earth.
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: whereas I have removed them far off among the nations, and whereas I have scattered them among the countries; yet I have been a sanctuary for a little while in the countries where they are come. (Ezek. 11:16)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! ... For there Jehovah commanded the blessing. Even life for evermore. (Ps. 133:1, 3)
The Lord has a purpose here on the Earth, and He must reveal it to you. It is not a manâ€‘made organization but something entirely of His doing. Undoubtedly, you have had individual experiences of the Lord in Babylonâ€‘ the Lord is merciful to provide for His people even when they are scatteredâ€‘but there is a much fuller, corporate experience of Christ awaiting you that cannot be experienced in Babylon. You will not be fully satisfied spiritually until you enter into this fuller, corporate experience; and the Lord must lead you to itâ€‘ were I to attempt to tell you about it in the way of knowledge, you would be cheated. You might find it by such mental awareness, but you would probably miss seeing it with your spirit, which is the only way that you will really know it.
6. WHAT ARE THE ABOMINATIONS?
Beloved while I was giving all diligence to write unto you of our common salvation, I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints. (Jude 3)
to Titus, my true child after a common faith: (Titus 1:4)
Fight the good fight of the faith ... (I Tim. 6:12).
till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a fullâ€‘grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; (Eph. 4:13â€‘14)
What is this faith, which is common to all Christians? What are the spiritual truths revealed in the Bible, which all believers share and can be one in? The faith is not mere doctrine; doctrines divide believers whereas all believers can be one in the faith.
All genuinely bornâ€‘again believers have the following beliefs in common: that the Bible is the complete divine revelation wholly inspired by God; that God is the unique Triune Godâ€‘ the Father, the Son, and the Spirit; that Jesus Christ is the very god incarnated as a man; that Christ died on the cross for our sins, thus obtaining our redemption by the shedding of His own blood; that on the third day He was resurrected from the dead physically, spiritual, and literally; that he has been exalted to the right hand of God and made the Lord of all; that He is with us now as the indwelling lifeâ€‘giving Spirit; and He will return again, physically and literally, for His own and to establish His Kingdom on the Earth.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ: that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; (Phil. 1:27)
Wherefore receive ye one another, even as Christ also received you, to the glory of God. (Rom. 15:7)
By holding the faith alone, all believers can be one. The believers who are holding the faith alone are able to receive anyone who the Lord has received. The division of believers in Christianity consists in holding the faith plus certain practices and/or doctrines peculiar to each division. To add anything to the faith is to create a sect, a further division. How then should believers institute the necessary practices of corporate worship?
But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. (I Cor. 11:16)
In corporate worship, it is desirable that practices be as scripturally correct as possible; but the particular way such practices are done should not be a requirementâ€‘ that would be adding are and creating a division. For instance, it is clear from Scripture that baptism should be by immersion. But what if a genuine bornâ€‘again believer sincerely believes that all they need is to be baptized by sprinkling? Should they be told that they must be immersed or they will be refused fellowship? NO! That is divisive and against the word of the Bible! As long as they are sincere in their heart to the Lord, they will receive the spiritual reality of baptism whether they are sprinkled or immersed. Let the Lord, who is their Head; lead them to be immersed- if He wills. The practices should be scripturally correct, but the method of a practice should not be a requirement for fellowship.
It is the same way with teachingsâ€‘ the corporate worship of the Lord does need some teaching, and such teachings should be scripturally accurate. But if a genuine bornâ€‘again believer holds as a doctrine something that is contrary to the teaching of the church, should they be refused fellowship? Absolutely not! Doctrines
are only tools to help believers grow. If a believer is helped to grow spiritually by a doctrine that is perhaps not entirely correct, what does it matter? If it really is not entirely correct according to the Scriptures, further spiritual growth will reveal this to them. As long as the individual believer's doctrines do not contradict the faith, they do not need to be corrected. If their doctrines help them grow in Christ, where is the problem? It is our natural, fallen man who continually seeks to foist our personal interpretation of the Bible on others, molding them in our image and not in the image of Christ.
and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of the Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth. (Rev. 17:5)
What are the abominations of the earth, which are likewise the daughters of Babylon the Mother? The harlots, we have seen, are the divisions of Christianity, which hold the Christian Faith but are sectarian in their practice and teachings. This is what makes them harlots: they are not pure for Christ alone; they care for things other than Christ Himself and take other names than the name of Christ alone.
What, then, are the Abominations?
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (2 John 7 Intl. Greek)
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1 Tim. 4:1â€‘2 Intl. Greek)
It is one thing to add to the faith, and another to deny it in part or in whole. There are two kinds of unbelievers: those who are indifferent towards Christ and those who actively deny Christ. The Lord to Himself can turn a person who is merely indifferent towards Christ. However, a person who actively denies Christ is so seared in their conscience that it is useless to waste breath telling them of the reality of Christ. Who are these people? There are several religious cults that use (misuse, actually) the Bible but teach heresy, denying the deity of Christ and/or adding to the Word of God. These cults are the Abominations of the Earth. The following cults are in this category: 1. Jehovah's Witnesses; 2. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterâ€‘Day Saints (Mormons). There are others, but these are the main ones and are the ones that are the most prolific in their cultivation of the public. Can good come of evil? No! The deceitfulness and/or immorality of the founders or leaders of these cults are historical fact.
I do not ask anyone to take my word about thisâ€‘ there are a number of documentaries on these cults that are readily available at any major Christian bookstore.
What should you do if a representative of one of these cults comes to your door?
Whosoever tranagresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.... (2 John 9 Intl. Greek)
If anyone cometh unto you, and bringeth not this teaching (the doctrine of Christ), receive him not into your house, and give him no greeting: for he that giveth him greeting partaketh in his evil works. (2 John 10â€‘11)
Do not even waste time talking to them; slam the door in their faces.
Summary of Chapter Seven:
1. Religion is man's attempt to please God with his own capability. The source of religion is the self (the natural man), the expression of the fallen nature of man's flesh upon his corrupted soul.
2. In total opposition to religion is Jesus Christ, the complete God and perfect man. This is God's provision for man to believe into and receive in order to fully meet every requirement and desire of Godâ€‘ to thoroughly enable man to become fully one with God in life and nature (but NOT in His Godhead) in order to coâ€‘inhere with the Triune God for eternity.
3. If my dear brothers and sisters in religion were in reality following the living, present person of Christ Himself they would not be divided. Instead, they have become captives of an evil counterfeit system. Their hearts have deceived them into â€˜doing what is right in their own mindsâ€™- resulting in worshipping God according to their concept and preference. Even the unbelievers know this, their accurate observation is: "If Jesus Christ is real, then why are there so many kinds of Christians?" "Come out of her, my people" is His urgent call. Do not try to improve or change her, come out of her.
The oneness among believers is what we value the least, and what Satan fears the most. My dearest eternal family (those in Babylon still), will you forsake your opinions and preferences so that the Lord can use you as material for the fulfillment of the greatest prophesy in the Bible: "I will build my church". Open up to and pray over John 17:20â€‘21 to the Lord and may He impart this ultimate desire of His heart into your heart.