Many wars have been fought in the name of “religion.” The Catholic Church and her Protestant daughters have perpetrated horrible crimes, claiming to be “God’s instrument.” God shows that their day of reckoning is almost here.
The consequences of the great church compromise of the 4th century have caused untold human suffering and woe! History has recorded the results of this terrible mistake. The facts are horrifying and hard to imagine.
Modern spiritual Babylon has tried to hide her sins and appear holy and righteous before the world. Her sins are going to be bared for the whole world to see (Rev. 18).
God’s instructions about fighting are clear and plain. The early Catholic Church of the first few centuries accepted this teaching. As a result they were the persecuted and the martyred. Under Constantine’s protection, the church no longer was persecuted. The Catholic Church began to reject Christ’s teachings against fighting and taught the doctrine of men instead. The Catholic Church was now teaching the commandments of men, just like the Jews did during the time of Christ (Matt. 15:9).
Almost immediately the Catholic Church began to persecute, where before she had been persecuted. Now the church was in the good favor of the state and in control of all religion. Any unbeliever, heretic (real or assumed); any person not willing to submit to the authority of the church was persecuted.
This persecution was first prompted by Constantine, but later, directly by this false church. Here is the official statement of the Emperor to put down the “heretic.”
“Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to the heretic:
“To speak of your criminality as it deserves demands more time and leisure than I can give. Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of so great a mischief” – (he means the truth of God) – “By a public manifestation of displeasure? Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies; and (we) forbid this holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Take the far better course of entering the Catholic Church. We have commanded that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer and that these be made over without delay to the Catholic Church; that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any gathering, in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies many presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public” (from Eusebius Life of Constantine, book 3).
By this edict, any dissenter who might protest on any point of doctrine was under extreme peril of his life. This included any person who would not accept prescribed Catholic doctrine, including other “Christian” sects, pagan, agnostic, atheist or True Church of God.
The Catholic Church was not at this time, nor had it been at any time, the true Church of God or of Jesus Christ. It has taken the name of Christ but it had never obeyed Him. It had never really accepted Jesus Christ and all His teachings.
As a result of Constantine’s decree, the True Church now entered a time of severe persecution. The true Church had to flee from the organized religious society of the Roman Catholic Church or be in extreme peril of life.
The True Church had been prophesied to be a little flock (Luke 12:32).This small flock was now prophesied to be persecuted (Luke 21:12). This could not refer to the great number who now embraced the Catholic religion and who now became the persecutors instead of the persecuted.
This amazing fact is little known or recognized by the world today. The world has seen the huge churches of the past two thousand years, and has little cared or noticed God’s True Church. The world has thought the Catholics and Protestants were the churches of God. God’s Church has always been comparatively small.
Because of the compromise with Constantine, and the power now given to the Catholic Church, terrible crimes were committed in the name of religion. These crimes which lasted many centuries were done in the name of “Christ.” This terrible crime of unlawfully using the name of Christ will not go unpunished.
Gibbon records that capital punishment (death) was pronounced against people who even possessed unacceptable religious writings. And, “the sword of the magistrate and even of the tyrant was unsheathed, to enforce the reasons of the theologian!”
To further show how this persecution effectively dealt with the dissenter and in many cases even with Catholics, we must note certain facts relating to the terrible inquisitions. The word inquisition is “the name given to the ecclesiastical (church) jurisdiction dealing both in the Middle Ages and in modern times with the detection and punishment of heretics and all persons guilty of any offense against Catholic orthodoxy” (from the Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Inquisition,” 11th ed.). A heretic by this statement would be anyone who would not believe or go along with Catholic teachings.
At first, the inquisition included the punishment and death of those with “outward manifestations of heresy.” In later centuries it included those who were deemed guilty of having “crimes of conscience.”
At first, there were only a few occasions when a person was judged to have outward evidence of heresy. Later, in the Middle Ages a person could be suspected to have inward heresy (in the mind), while not obviously violating the laws of the Catholic Church.
Because of this, many Catholics, as well as Protestants were later subjected to these horrible inquisitions. This, in a limited sense, was indicated by the prophecy of Rev. 2:23: “And I will kill her (the Catholics Church’s) children with death.” Within a period of 52 years after Constantine, there were no less than 68 laws recorded against heretics. At first the penalty was only scourging, fines or exile. Later, the penalty was perpetual imprisonment, cutting out the tongue, death by strangling or burning at the stake!
In 1034 certain of the Cathari, also known as the Albigensians, were given a choice between the “admiration of the cross of death” (Encyclopedia Britannica, article “Inquisition”). About this time Peter De Bruys was burned to death because of the charge that he was the leader in heresy.
Later, as the inquisition developed and expanded, the pope appointed commissioners to stamp out “heresy.” These commissioners traveled from place to place.
“On arriving in a district they addressed its inhabitants, called upon them to confess, if they were heretics, or to denounce those whom they knew to be heretics: a time of grace was opened during which those who freely confessed were dispensed from all penalties, or only given a secret and very light penance, while those whose heresy had been openly manifested were exempted from the penalties of death and perpetual imprisonment. But this time could not exceed one month. After that began the inquisition. As soon as their mission was at an end and heresy was considered stamped out, the inquisitors left the country” (Ibid, page 589).
During such an inquisition those accused of heresy were either put to death, given long terms of imprisonment, perpetual imprisonment, or some other “appropriate” sentence.
Later on, the countries were divided into various districts and the local monastery had charge of the inquisitions. The procedures and trails of the inquisitions were conducted in utmost secrecy. The accused was considered guilty unless proved otherwise. He could have no legal representation. His accusers were not named, nor did they appear in the inquiry against him. He could have no witnesses for his defense. Tortures of all kinds came in vogue to force the accused to confess his guilt of heresy.
“The church was originally opposed to torture, and cannon law did not admit confessions extorted by that means; but by the bull Ad exstirpanda (1292) Innocent IV, approved its use for the discovery of heresy and Urban IV confirmed this usage” (Ibid, page 590).
Later, even the torture of witnesses was used to extract the “truth.” There was never a case of acquittal, according to this article!
After the inquisition, the accused was turned over to the civil authorities to carry out the sentence, and then the property of the accused wad divided between the church and the state.
The period of most active persecution under the inquisitions occurred after the 12th century. During these terrible inquisitions some whole villages were wiped out in an effort to stamp out such people as the Albigensians and Waldenses. Vast multitudes of people were killed in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands. Other areas escaped with fewer deaths.
During the period between 1540 and 1570 alone, at least 900,000 people were put to death by these terrible persecutions. In all, several million people were put to death by these inquisitions. It did not take an atheistic “Hitler” to commit such horrible crimes. The clergy of the Catholic Church perpetrated them! Is it any wonder that those of God’s True Church had to flee for their lives during this terrible time of trouble?
Just as Jesus prophesied, “They shall put you out of the synagogues (churches); yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service” (John 16:2). These crimes against humanity were done “in the name of Christ.” Christ did not authorize these murders! The blood of the righteous cry out and God will avenge His elect!
What would the founding fathers of the Catholic Church – Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Cyprian, Lactantius and others, who were totally opposed to violence and bloodshed, think of the church that they helped found? What would they think of these crimes of their church against humanity?
The next major series of events that show the result of the great compromise is that of the Crusades. The Crusades are considered by most religious people to have been righteous wars that were good, and according to God’s will. In fact some world-famous evangelists have taken this same infamous name and applied it to their religious evangelistic endeavors.
The Crusades were seven in number, and were supposedly instituted to wrest the control of the Holy Land from the Mohammedans. They all occurred within a period of about 300 years, ending just prior to the 14th century. They cost a tremendous amount of money and many thousands of lives were lost. In the end these Crusades came to naught.
The Crusaders practiced what they thought was a part of the true Christian religion, by engaging in war, against the pagans. But this was exactly contrary to Christ’s teaching. They were trying to take away the land of Palestine from the Mohammedan religion. When the truth is known, both religions were equally pagan. Both had rejected the True Christ and His message.
During the Fourth Crusade, the Crusaders were repulsed from their goal of capturing Jerusalem. So they attacked Constantinople instead! They captured and plundered the city and set up their own rule which lasted about 50 years.
Hurlbut, who wrote the Story of the Christian Church, records: “The kings and princes who led the movement were perpetually quarreling, each chieftain caring more for his own interests than for the common cause; all jealous of one another, and fearful of a success which might promote the influence or fame of a rival” (p. 132).
After the seven Crusades were over there were minor Crusades and almost any war, even those against “heretics” were usually called Crusades. These infamous “Crusades” which were entirely contrary to God’s laws, became a foul stench to Almighty God!
The expense of carrying on these and other war activities was tremendous. The Catholic Church had come a long way from the time when its founding teachers taught that it was wrong to kill in any way. In early times it was considered by their theologians wrong to even speak anything against a person that might cause him to die. It was a far cry from the teaching of Tertullian who wrote in the 3rd century: “How will a Christian man war, nay, how will he serve even in peace without a sword, which the Lord has taken away?” (De Idolatria XIX).
Now the church had taken the sword and it was very costly. It was bringing misery and wretchedness on untold multitudes of people. This cost increased to the point that during the 14th century the majority of the tremendous income of the Vatican was used for war purposes!
“A parallel reorganization and departmentalization of the papal financial administration led to a new efficiency in the levy and collection of papal taxes, fees, etc., which bore hard on the clergy, and drained large sums from the national states, stirring public opinion still further, especially in England. Significant items of the budget of John XXII; War, 63.7%; upkeep and entertainment, 12.7%; alms, 7.16%; stables, 0.4%; art, 0.33%; library, 0.17%” (An Encyclopedia of World History, p. 286).
The figures speak for themselves. The Roman Catholic Church was using much of its wealth as a tool for the “god of war” instead of the God of Peace. What would the humble Carpenter of Nazareth think of such an organization which had taken His name, claimed to be His representative, and yet spent such vast sums of money to wage war, killing and injuring multitudes of helpless people?
Persecutions and fighting were not committed by the Catholics alone. At first the Protestants were persecuted, but they soon turned to persecute also. They followed the same path that their mother church had followed centuries earlier. They followed in most of the sins of their mother.
Here is a brief summary of the Protestant persecutions. “Calvin consented to the death of Servetus. In Holland Calvinists executed an Armenian. In Germany Lutherans put to death a few Anabaptists. In England Protestant Edward VI executed 2 Roman Catholics in 6 years (Romanist Mary in the 5 following years burned 282 Protestants). Elizabeth executed in 45 years, 187. Romanist, most of them for treason, not heresy. In Massachusetts, 1659, 3 Quakers were hanged by Puritans, and, in 1692, 20 were executed for witchcraft” (Pocket Bible Handbook, H.H. Halley, page 703).
The Protestant persecutions have not been nearly as severe or as extensive as the Catholic’s. Nevertheless, the Protestants are also guilty before God because of this sin against humanity and God.
There was also war and enmity between the Protestants and the Catholics for many years. To justify their own actions, the Protestants blame these wars on the Catholics, who started them. The Protestants did not rely on God to fight their battles for them. They fought their own battles instead of letting God fight them. Much bloodshed resulted.
In subsequent years, we have had many wars between various Western nations. In almost all of these wars the major denominations had members on both sides of the battle lines! Men of one denomination fought against and killed men of their own faith. In many of these wars, religious as well as political issues were involved. What terrible times of trouble have been brought on mankind in the name of religion!
There are going to be even more trying times ahead for God’s people, and for the whole world. Jesus prophesied that some of His saints would be beaten and scourged in the churches of this false system (Matt. 10:17). God’s people would be hailed before the courts, the rules and people in high places for a witness before them.
People will increasingly be brought before such higher powers of this world as we near the end and climax of this age. One of the principal reasons may well be because of the Bible teaching against fighting and the obedience by God’s people to this teaching. This false religious system is going to cause the coming “Beast Power” to attack and destroy modern Israel (principally the United States and England). The people remaining will go into slavery under this power and the Catholic Church.
Inquisitions are going to be held again. There will be a terrible time of trouble such as never was before in the history of man. For three and a half years the people of God, will be given over again to this false church for persecution and death.
God rightly labels this whole false religious system Babylon! It is confusion that is just what the world Babylon means. There is confusion of beliefs and practices in their false churches. The prophecies concerning this counterfeit church system are explained very clearly in the 17th and 18th chapters of the Book of Revelation. In these chapters we find that the people of the earth have become spiritually drunk (in other words, they cannot see things clearly) because of her false teachings (Rev. 17:2).
This great church is called by the prophetic scriptures an immoral woman or whore. The civil governments of the world are referred to in the masculine gender. This false church system has had illicit relations with these civil rulers and states. Such a relationship is forbidden by God. This woman is not alone in her sins as she has daughters (v. 5) who protested against her and came out of her. Yet they have the same sins.
Only a few of the ministers of these churches have from time to time seen the evils and complete idiocy of war and have spoken out against war. One rare example was Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick who spoke before the League of Nations prior to World War II. He chose as a subject for his address. Christ’s statement: “All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Here is part of his sermon:
“We cannot reconcile Jesus Christ and war, that is the essence of the matter. That is the challenge which today should stir the conscience of Christendom. War is the most colossal and ruinous social sin that afflicts mankind; it is utterly and irremediably unchristian; in its total method and effect it means everything that Jesus did not mean and it means nothing that he did mean; it is a more blatant denial of every Christian doctrine about God and man than all the theoretical atheists on earth ever could devise. It would be worthwhile, would it not, to see the Christian Church claim as her own this greatest moral issue of our time, to see her lift once more as in our fathers’ days, a clear standard against the paganism of this present world and, refusing to hold her conscience at the beck and call of belligerent states, put the kingdom of God above nationalism and call the world to peace? That would not be the denial of patriotism but is apotheosis.”
This theologian, as well as a few others, recognized that war is totally contrary to Christ’s teachings. The above statement clearly shows that some in the Protestant world do understand the utter and total paganism of war! This very knowledge condemns them.
For God inspired James to write: “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is SIN” (James 4:19). Yes, many ministers and professing Christians who know better are soon going to be condemned for failing to act on the knowledge available to them concerning war!
When war comes, these few voices are usually stilled or go unheeded. It becomes expedient and easier to go with the crowd, to become engulfed in the tide of public opinion against an opposing nation and to participate in warfare against other human beings. The few voices against war have not deterred this great false church system from her terrible sins.
In addition to killing in war she has also killed the saints down through the ages. Because of her temporary victory over the saints she is drunken with self-satisfaction and power (Rev. 17:6). To further identify her, the Bible shows that she sits on seven mountains (v. 9).The capital of this church system is the Vatican at Rome and is situated on seven hills or mountains, besides the seven prophetic “mountains” or kingdoms over which this church system has dominated.
Because of her sins and her iniquity she is going to receive double payment in retribution for her gross sins against God’s church and against humanity. She has burned and killed the saints, so she too will be burned with fire (v. 16).
The literal churches and building of this false church system are going to be burned to the ground. Many of her “daughters” and those who espouse her doctrines, and who have persecuted God’s people will also be burned. She has dealt in all kinds of merchandise including the slaves of men (Rev. 18:13), and has even sold the dead bodies of men.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24). While often speaking about “peace” she has actually practiced and taught the ways of war. With her great power and influence she could have taught the world real peace and right ways instead of the perverse ways of the old Babylonian mysteries.
In the Old Testament are also many other prophecies referring to this same false church system. She is pictured as ruling over the nations of the world. She is an antitype of the ancient Babylon since she is following the same false system and has the same sins! In Jeremiah, chapter 50 and 51, this same church system is described. She is told of her terrible sins and the punishment that will result because of her crimes.
She is accused of destroying God’s heritage. As a result, she will be recompensed according to her own sins. Her men of war, her soldiers (Jer. 50:30) will not be so strong and fearless when they face the destruction of the Almighty God. The sword will come upon these mighty men and princes (vs. 35-38). Her princes (ecclesiastical rulers) will not be so high and mighty when God brings her swift punishment.
Jesus said that they who take the sword will perish with the sword. The Apostle John wrote: “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword” (Rev. 13:10). This is a prophecy for the end time, for our day!
The religionists who have taken the sword are going to perish by the terrible sword of war. Those who take others into captivity will be taken captive. None will be able to help them in that day. Her mighty men will not fight then (Jer. 51:30). God will bring judgment on her graven images, in all her churches (v. 47). Men will no longer bow down to the images of modern Babylon.
God will not only bring this terrible retribution upon her but also upon all her daughters who have come out of her (Rev. 2:23). Then all of the churches (the True Churches) will know that truly God does give unto every man according to his works.
Man has failed to find the way to peace. History has proved this in the continual chronicle of war. Except for God’s intervention, peace is further away from man today than it was almost 6,000 years ago when man was put on the earth.
Will man ever find peace? Is man always doomed to live under the threat of war? Is he doomed to live in times of increasing violence and bloodshed?
Man has sought peace in every conceivable way possible, except the right way, the only way to peace. He has tried every form of government, every kind of political ideology, every imaginable philosophy. He has tried all kind of laws, pacts, leagues and the uniting of nations. All have failed to bring peace.
Education and science have not shown man the way to this much-needed peace. Even the religions of the world have not brought peace, but rather have caused more war. All of these factors have not brought peace; they have all increased the number and severity of wars.
This world is getting to be a very unsafe place in which to live. It is so bad that in any city of the United States it is hazardous for a person either male or female to walk the streets alone at night.
Man is running headlong away from peace as fast as he can. While still hoping that peace will miraculously come, he goes his own way in defiance of God and His laws. The only way for mankind to find peace is for the nations to turn to God with all their hearts and obey Him! Man is unwilling to do this. Therefore the only way that peace can come is for God to intervene directly in the affairs of man.
Man’s flagrant disregard for God and His laws will lead to a time of trouble such as has never been on this earth before. The prophecies of the Bible show that during this time of trouble the population of this earth may be reduced by nine-tenths.
A terrible blood bath is shortly ahead. Except for God’s intervention, man would completely destroy himself (Matt. 24:22).Thank God there is a way of escape for those who are really faithful.
What will happen then concerning warfare, and fighting, when God does put a stop to man’s self-destruction? He will not permit the nations to spit upon Him and crucify Him again.
When He returns to this earth, how can He bring the world peace? If He send prophets or ministers, would the people heed them repent and become peaceable? No! That is just what Christ has been doing for almost 6,000 years and the world has not heeded. Instead the world persecuted them and killed many of them.
Could Christ bring peace my supernatural signs, disasters, floods, or earthquakes? He has already used these same signs to warn and instruct man. But man has not repented (Rev. 9:20-21). Christ will do the only thing that will bring peace. There is no other way.
That way is to crush the nations, and then rule them with a “rod of iron.” Christ will have to fight with the nations, to force them to repent of their ways. He will purge out the rebellious, in order to bring peace.
Is it “morally” wrong for Christ to fight and kill the unrighteous people? Christ has created all things, including life. Since He gave man life, He has the inherent right to take that same life away if He so decides.
Christ will return as the conquering King of kings and Lord of lords. He will then wreak vengeance on all the wicked, and against any who will no longer obey Him and His Holy Law. When the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ (Rev. 11:15), the earth will still be engaged in the terrible bloodbath of war. The nations have been angry with each other and with God. His divine intervention will by this time have brought terrible havoc and fear on the disobedient! Yet most will still not repent and change.
The nations have been angry, now Christ will be angry with the nations (Rev. 11:18) – for their sins and their crimes against each other and against the saints He will destroy those wicked men who are at that time seeking to destroy the earth. The designs of Satan against God’s creation will come to naught.
All nations of the world will have armies assembled at the place known as Armageddon (Rev. 16:16). With them will be the ruler of the great Beast Power and the religious leader of Babylon, the false prophet. All of these armies will make war against Christ (Rev. 17:14).
God is not fighting against the nations of the world today, but He will then, in the day of the Lord. “Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle” (Zech. 14:3). God will not wage war unrighteously. But He will make war in righteousness, bringing retribution and vengeance on those that fully deserve such severe punishment.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Rev. 19:11). God is waiting now. The sins of man have not yet come to “the full.”
Christ will bring the Kingdom of God (God’s government) to this earth. Then Jesus’ kingdom will be a kingdom of this world. Then He and His servants will supernaturally intervene to put an end to war! (John 18:36). At that time, true Christians will be changed from mortal to immortal beings. They will no longer be flesh and blood. They will be like God – divine, perfect. They will have the prerogative to give and to take life. Though Christians do not participate in wars between nations now, they will participate with Christ in stamping out war at that time.
“Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishment upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord” (Ps. 149:5-9). Armies of Spirit beings will follow Christ (Rev. 14). When He wages war against all of these nations, He will not use bows and arrows and he will not use hydrogen and nuclear weapons. He will use His supernatural power in ways that will make the puny modern weapons of man appear ridiculous!
In His fury He will then go to various nations and tread down the wicked into a “winepress.” Those who will not submit to His rule will be no more (Isa. 63; Rev. 14:20). His indignation will be against the nations (Isa. 34) and He will utterly destroy their armies.
“For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion” (Isa. 34:8). As a result of this divine war all rebellion and disobedience will be put down. But, rebellion will soon rise again. Ezekiel prophecies (Chapters 38-39) that the Russian and Oriental nations will soon come against Christ at Jerusalem. Christ will again supernaturally fight against them and destroy them utterly.
“I will summon every kind of terror against God, says the Lord God; every man’s sword will be against his brother. With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon them and his hordes and the many peoples that are with him, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and brimstone. So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezk. 38:21-23).
This is the only way that peace will come to this war-torn world. “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and the spears into pruninghooks; nations shall not life up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Mic. 4:3).
No longer will it be necessary for the world to spend billions of dollars on arms and armies as they are doing today. It will no longer cost mankind billions of dollars annually to try to bring the peace that never comes. All of this tremendous expenditure will then go for peaceful production. Then, all mankind can enjoy the fruit of their labors. Peace, happiness, and joy will then cover the earth. All people will know God’s ways and will be following them.
“Of the increase of his (Christ’s) government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever, the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isa. 9:7).