Church of God, New World Ministries

Satan’s Greatest Deception - Part Thirteen

Deception in These Last Days

When Satan saw Jesus Christ “caught up unto God” (Rev. 12:5), he knew that by this token of resurrection Christ had lived a sinless life and was accepted of God for the purpose of world rule (Depicted by the wave sheaf offering of the Holy Days) Lev. 23:11.

Then it was that Satan was wrathful. God warns us of Satan’s deceptions now! “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth for the Devil is come down unto you having great wrath, because he knows that he has but a short time and the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood that he might cause her (the true Church) to be carried away” (Rev. 12:12, 15).

Satan knows his period of rule is now almost up he has not but a short time and he is casting out a flood of false doctrines. He would have succeeded in destroying the early True Church entirely had it not been for supernatural intervention (v. 6) so, as it is, a “remnant” a very small number are still keeping the commandments of God. “The Dragon” (Satan) “was wroth and went to make war with the remnant of her seed which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17). Although we still have God’s true word, the Bible, even now forces are at work to destroy it.

God rules this earth only in as far as his overall plan and immutable laws are concerned but in all other ways Satan is allowed to rule it through suggestion until Christ’s second coming. Satan now is intensely active and he has all but a remnant a very small number deceived.

Ephesians 2:19-20 tells us that the household of God is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.”

Do you grasp the meaning of this? Whatever Christ or the apostles of this original church taught or did, we must do today if we are going to belong to the household of God: be ruled by Him and have eternal life. If Satan could counterfeit or otherwise delude people from keeping these original true Church practices he would destroy their hope of salvation! He would thus strike at the very foundation of the thing God is creating Gods Sons of God who are to rule with Him! No wonder Satan started to strike at the teachings of God from the very time of Adam and Eve!

We have seen how the Mysteries of Semiramis the pagan counterfeits of Christianity-- were all around the true Church at Jerusalem when it was founded. Did these enter in? Paul said “the Mystery of iniquity doth already work.” Semiramis’ Mysteries had started to infiltrate the teachings of Christ and the apostles but they did not infiltrate the church at Jerusalem during the time the apostles were there. This pure Jerusalem church, whose practices are recorded in the New Testament for our benefit, is the one we are to follow. Both Christian Gentiles and Jew used this as their standard.

Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, p. 389, says “It was natural that the primitive tradition of a church which was founded only forty days after the death of Christ, and was governed almost as many years under the immediate inspection of His apostles, should be received as the standard of orthodoxy.

The Bible tells us, as we have seen, that this church was to be the standard or foundation for all future churches of the True God. What they did, we are to do. Gibbon, the authorative historian discovers this same fact. Where then were the Mysteries creeping in? In the outlying churches founded by the apostles! In the church at Ephesus idolatrous practices (Rev. 2:6); in the church at Pergamos the doctrine of Balaam (Rev. 2:14) in the church at Thyatira idols (Rev. 2:20). These are a few of the examples pointed out to us by the Bible.

How did this perversion of the gospel come about? “The Jewish converts who laid the foundations of the church, soon found themselves overwhelmed by the increasing multitudes that from all the various religions of polytheism (religions having many pagan gods) enlisted under the banner of Christ” (Gibbon, vol. 1 Chap. XV, p. 389). Gibbon further states that these pagans, when they first became members, asked the upright Christian members to tolerate their pagan practices. Later, after they became the greater in number, they became intolerant of the true teachings. Thus paganism crept in.

Aren’t all to enter the Kingdom of God now? Doesn’t the Bible say, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16)? “Doesn’t this mean all must be saved now or be lost forever?” you may ask. This would be true if the Bible did not have other scriptures amplifying this same subject. Scripture shows that God has blinded the vast majority now. God has given the Gentiles over to a reprobate, or blinded mind (Rom. 1:28). God has blinded the minds of those who do not believe (II Cor. 4:4). All of Israel (except a very small number) are now blinded (Rom. 11:7) and have been given over to laws (their own) that are not good (Ez. 20:25).

Christ spoke in parables lest this blindness should be removed from the people of his day (Mark 4:11-12). But in the 1000 years period God says he will remove all blindness. “He will destroy the face of the covering cast over all people, and the veil that is spread over all nations (Isa. 25:7).But you can pray to God that he will remove this blindness from you (Matt. 7:7). People are held accountable, though not to the point of suffering the second death, even though blinded (Rom. 1:20). Why does God blind? It is an additional method used to allow men to go on unchecked in their own way so they will convince themselves of their sins. To make the lesson more complete. He allows Satan to deceive.

However, since the beginning of this world, God has called a few in the various times. What does being called mean? God removes the blindness from these people and they see the truth and accept salvation. Enoch, Abraham, and David are example. The saints are called now (I Cor. 1:2). For what purpose? Christ will use them to rule and instruct the unsaved when He comes (Rev.2:26, 5:10). Read also Acts 16:10; I Cor. 1:27 and Romans 8:28.

“Just how, step by step, did the pagan customs get into a Protestant church of today?’ We shall see.

“The primitive Christians found a new occupation in the government of the church. The ambition of raising themselves or their friends to offices of the church was disguised by laudable intention” (Gibbon, vol. 1, chap. XV, p. 417). Selfishness was beginning to assert itself in a strong way within the early true church. Gibbon p. 417-424, shows that the churches and their offshoots which had been formed through the work of the apostles and the churches lying outside of Jerusalem (into which paganism had crept as we have seen) began to form themselves into larger and larger groupings. The size of the town within the boundaries of a group had much to do with the power exercised by this group.

Naturally Rome, being the largest city, became the headquarters of this system of pseudo-Christianity and the Roman pontiff became the supreme head. In order to increase church membership and power, a patronizing attitude was taken toward both pagans and “Christians.” “Worship, at first very simple, was developed into elaborate, stately, imposing ceremonies having all the outward splendor that belonged to heathen temples. The Imperial church of the 4th and 5th centuries had become an entirely different institution from the persecuted church of the first three centuries. In its ambition to rule it lost and forgot the spirit of Christ” (Halley’s Pocket Bible Handbook, p. 671). The true teachings of Christ were losing out!

“To conciliate the pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome pursuing its usual policy, took measure 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 Christianity not far sunk in idolatry to shake hands” (Hislop, p. 105). The parent of our present day religion was taking form! The famous advice of Pope Gregory I was that “by all means they should meet the pagan half-way, and so bring them into the Roman Church” (Hislop, p. 113). Note this was to be done by a fusion of true and false teachings.

“If, in the beginning of the 5th century, Tertullian or Lactantius had been suddenly raised from the dead, to assist at the festival of some popular saint or martyr, they would have gazed with astonishment and indignation on the profane spectacle which has succeeded to the pure and spiritual worship of a Christian congregation” (Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. V, chap, 27, p. 121).

Indeed, the forerunner of present day religions had departed far from the practices of the church at Jerusalem which the New Testament describes for us. But let us consider more evidence of the paganism of this Transition Church which stand midway in the path of the development of the Protestant, and other churches of today. These churches today say they go completely back to the original church at Jerusalem but they observe festivals and practices which are found in the Universal Roman Church.

Paganism “disappeared” in the Roman area about 450 A.D. “So rapid, yet so gentle was the fall of paganism, that only 28 years after the death of Theodosius, the faint and minute vestiges were no longer visible to the eye of the legislator” (Gibbon, vol. V. chap. XXVIII, p. 90-93 and p. 112). Where did it go? Giesler’s Ecclesiastical History, vol. II, p. 40, 45, has the answer. “In exact proportion as paganism has disappeared from without the church, in the very same proportion it appears within it.”

Hear what Hislop, p. 224 has to say: “The system, first concocted in Babylon, and thence conveyed to the ends of the earth, has been modified and diluted in different ages and countries. In Papal Rome only is it now found nearly pure and entire.” The system is a “Mystery” as we have seen. How does it masquerade”? “True it (Rome) admits Christian terms and names; but all that is apparently Christian in its system is more than neutralized by the malignant paganism that it embodies” (Hislop, p. 282).

Mankind on the earth today is deceived by the Christian sounding names that the Devil has put on practices of his own system! Indeed Satan is active more active than ever!

We have seen the old Babylonian system of Semiramis and Nimrod changed the true teachings of Christ and the apostles within a relatively short time after Christ’s death. We have read that a remnant, a very small number keep the commandments of God now (Rev. 12:17). We have also seen that these are the ones called at this time. Down through the centuries have come the two different churches, side by side, which is reasonably described by the Bible: the true little church has always been persecuted, “if they persecuted me they will persecute you” Christ said in John 15:18-20. It has been so scattered that it has seemed almost invisible, the members not knowing each other as a rule (Acts 6:1, 8:1; Rev. 12:6, 15 and Daniel 12:7). These are they who keep the commandments of God.

But the Great Church that Great False Church is described as a great whore (Rev. 17:1) who has wielded great power in this, Satan’s earth (vs. 2, 15). She will continue to do so for a short time now (vs. 12, 18). She is described as the one who had given rise to many other denominations (v. 5) but the True Church has not! Read the foregoing references on these two churches consecutively, they will show in which direction salvation lies!

The woman sitting on the beast in Rev. 17:3 is the Universal Church and on her forehead is the name, “Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots” (v. 5). Who are the Harlots? What offspring has the Universal Church given rise to? It is well known that they are the Protestants “a name given to the party who adhered to Martin Luther during the Reformation in 1529 and protested, or made a solemn declaration of dissent, from the decree of the Emperor Charles V and the Diet of Spires. The name now applied generally to those Christian denominations that differ from the Church of Rome and sprang from the reformation” (Roach and Robertson” New Practical Reference Library, vol. IV, Reformation).

This same source says of this Reformation that it “is a term applied to a revolt in Europe in the 16th century against papal supremacy and certain doctrinal tenets of the Church of Rome.”

This started similar movements in Hungary, France, England, and Scotland at that time. From these, the various modern Protestant groups have arisen. This, then, is where the Protestant churches of today have originated.

Could the Protestant Church come out from Papal Rome where the system first concocted in old Babylon is “now found nearly pure and entire” (Hislop, p. 224) and by protesting against “certain doctrinal tenets” (Roach and Robertson’s New Practical Reference Library, vol. IV “Reformation”) arrive back as they do, at the keeping of what Christ and the apostles in the Pure Church at Jerusalem showed must be kept? NO! And they did not.

The matter is easily proven. All one has to do is take his New Testament and check point for point what the true church kept and what these churches are now keeping. Satan has the churches deceived now!

Note that the Lutheran Church today claims to be founded on “the ancient, original, apostolic Christian Church in its present-day form and appearance” (Karl Kretzschmar’s What Lutherans Teach p. 3). However, Sunday keeping and other doctrines foreign to the original true church are followed, and doctrines followed by the original church are not observed.

We have seen how Satan, knowing that his time for ruling this earth is now short, quickly substituted the deceptive doctrines of Semiramis’ Mysteries for the true doctrines that Christ and the apostles taught. But we have also seen that God has kept a way open for the minority now called to remain undeceived. Satan, using the churches that arose following Christ’s time, was able to deceive all but the original Church at Jerusalem in molding a great church of deception, the Universal Church, which he as used to deceive the world.

Are you fulfilling God’s requirement for salvation? The very fact that you are reading this shows that you may be one of those called at this time. There is a simple way by which you may learn much about your standing quickly.

The household of God is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:19-20). Note that what Christ and the apostles said or did was the foundation for the household or Kingdom of God. If one desires to be changed into a spirit being at Christ’s second coming, and enter this Kingdom of God, composed of spirit beings, he must build his actions on this foundation. God has commanded it! Notice that Paul, inspired by God, said this to the Ephesians (Gentiles) after the death of Christ. It is for everyone and is for us now.

How can you determine your standing quickly? Here is a “spot check.” Beginning with the Book of Acts, there is much concerning how the Disciples of Christ founded and conducted the New Testament Church. Obtain a Bible concordance and look up the word “Sabbath” (You need not look up the word “Sunday” for it does not appear once in your Bible).Note under what circumstances it was used. Was the Sabbath being observed?

Look up the word “Pentecost.” Was it being kept? As Christ also formed part of this foundation, the things that He observed were to be kept also. So include the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in this word research. Does the concordance show that this word “Pentecost” appeared in those four books? It does not take long to check. You will probably be surprised. Note the word “feast” was the feast of unleavened bread kept? If these days were being kept then, how could they have been done away? The practices observed by Christ and the apostles were the final instruction to this world. Have you been deceived by false teachers? Have the churches of today returned to the doctrines of the “ancient, original, apostolic Christian Church?” The answer is Yes they have; and this is Satan’s Great Deception.

 
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