Revelation 2:14-15 "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate."
In this Pergamean Age the Lord denounces two doctrines which He hates: 1. The doctrine of Balaam which brought idolatry and sinful excesses to Israel at Baal-Peor, and 2. The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which had been but deeds in the Ephesian Age. Combine this denouncement with the fact that He has been emphasizing Pergamos as the seat of Satan, and it is very easy and proper to conclude that somehow the religion of Babylon has become intermingled with Christianity.
Now this is not merely an assumption but an historical fact which we will prove by going back into history to about 36 A.D. and coming up to the Nicene Council of 325. When the Christians (mainly Jews by birth) were scattered abroad from Jerusalem they went everywhere preaching the Gospel, particularly in the synagogues. Thus within three years, or about in 36 A.D. the Gospel had been taken to Rome by Junius and Andronicus, who according to Romans 16:7 were apostles. The work flourished there for several years until the constant altercations of the Jews amongst themselves caused Emperor Claudius to expel them from Rome. With the Jews banished from that city the backbone of that little church was practically broken. Perhaps even the elders had been Jewish and so would be gone. The flock would be unattended and since the Word had not been written as a guide it would be very easy for this little flock to drift or be inundated by the philosophers and pagans of that day. With grievous wolves on the prowl, and the spirit of antichrist released, we find from history that this little church in Rome became hopelessly backslidden, and began to introduce pagan ceremonies under Christian titles.
As the period of banishment lasted for 13 years, the founders, Junius and Andronicus, did not come back until 54 A.D. Imagine their horror to find a church with a Christian title that was woefully pagan. There were altars in the church upon which they placed incense and celebrated pagan rites. The established leaders of that church could not be approached, so with the few who had tried to remain faithful they started a new church, or the Second Church of Rome. God graciously worked amongst them by signs and wonders so that a third church was started. And though the First Church was reproached for being pagan and NOT Christian in its worship it would not give up its title but remained and STILL REMAINS the First Church of Rome - The Roman Catholic Church.
Now the majority of us have the mistaken idea that any and all who call themselves Christians would be the target of the devil and consequently the brunt of governmental tyranny. But not so. This first church had begun to thrive and multiply so in numbers that the emperors and various officials of the government actually favored that church for political reasons. Thus when the leaders of the First Church in Rome found them- selves in favor, they took the opportunity to turn the government against the true believers and demand their persecution unless they came into their fold. One such bishop of the First Church of Rome was Anicetus who lived in the second century and was contemporary with Polycarp. When the venerable Polycarp heard that the First Christian Church of Rome was involved in pagan ceremonies and had corrupted the truth of the Gospel, he went there to implore them to change. He saw them prostrate themselves before images named after apostles and saints. He saw them light candles and burn incense on the altar. He saw them celebrate the Passover under the name Easter, where they elevated the disc shaped bread that honored the sun god, and then they poured the wine out as a libation to the gods. But this aged saint who had traveled 1500 miles could not arrest their downward plunge. God spoke through him just as he was leaving, "Ephraim is married to his idols, let him alone," Hosea 4:15. Polycarp never more returned.
Following Anicetus was the wicked bishop of Rome called Victor. He introduced even more pagan festivals and ceremonies into the First Church, and also went about trying his utmost to persuade the true Christian churches to incorporate the same ideas. They would not do as he requested so he prevailed upon government officials to persecute the believers, hailing them into court, casting them into prison and even meting out death to many. Such an example of his vile deeds is found in history where Emperor Septimus Severus was prevailed upon by Callistus (the friend of Victor) to kill 7000 at Thessalonica because these true believers celebrated the Passover according to the Lord Jesus and not according to the worship of Astarte.
Already the false vine was turning loose its anger against the living God by killing the elect, even as did its forebear, Cain, kill Abel.
The true church kept trying to get the First Church to repent. It would not do so. It increased in size and influence. It embarked upon a constant campaign to discredit the true seed. They claimed that they and they alone were the true representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ, and vaunted the fact that they were the original church in Rome, and they alone were the First Church. Indeed they were The First Church, and INDEED THEY ARE.
Thus by the time of this third church age we have two churches bearing the same name but with a bitter difference between them.One has departed from the truth, married idols and has no life in her. She has hybridized herself and the signs of death, (not life), follow in her wake. She is powerful with many members. She is favored by the world. The other is a little persecuted group. But she follows the Word, and the signs follow her. The sick are healed and the dead are raised. She is alive with the Life and Word of God. She loves not her life, but holds to His Name and His faith even unto death.
And so the terrible persecution of official Rome fell upon the true believers until Constantine arose and granted freedom of religious worship. There seems to be two reasons why this freedom was granted. In the first place various good emperors had not allowed persecution, but as they passed on, they were followed by those who killed Christians. It was so senseless that it finally came to public heed that the Christians ought to be left alone. The second and best noted reason is that Constantine had a very difficult battle ahead of him in taking over the control of the empire. One night in a dream he saw a white cross appear before him. He felt that this was an omen unto him that if the Christians prayed for a victory for him, he would win the battle. He promised freedom for them in the event that he was victorious. He was victorious and the freedom of worship was granted in the edict of Nantes 312 A.D.
But this freedom from persecution and death was not as magnanimous as it first appeared. Constantine was now the patron. As a patron his interest was somewhat more than that of an observer, for he decided that the church needed his help in her affairs. He had seen them disagreeing over various matters, one of which involved Arius, Bishop of Alexander, who taught his adherents that Jesus was not truly God but a lesser being, having been created by God. The Western Church held the opposite view, believing that Jesus was the very essence of God and as they said 'co- equal with the Father.' With such matters, along with the intrusion of pagan ceremony into worship, the emperor called for the Nicene Council in 325 with the thought that he would bring all groups together where they could iron out their differences, and come to a common understanding, and all be one. Isn't it peculiar that though this started with Constantine it didn't die but is very much alive today as the "World Council of Churches"? And where he failed to truly achieve it, it will be achieved in this day through the ecumenical move.
Now this interference of the state with the church is a foolish thing for the world does not understand either the truth found in the Word or the ways of the church. Why, the very decision handed down by the council that Arius was wrong was reversed two years later by the emperor and for many years that false doctrine was foisted upon the people.
But that the church and state would come together was truly fore-known of the Lord. The very name Pergamos means "thoroughly married". And indeed state and church were married; politics and religion were united. The offspring of that union have been consistently the most horrible hybrids the world has ever seen. The truth is not in them, but all the evil ways of Cain (the first hybrid) is.
Not only was state and church wedded in this age, but the Babylonian religion was officially joined to the First Church. Satan now had access to the Name of Christ and he was enthroned as God in worship. With the help of federal aid the churches fell heir to beautiful buildings which were lined with altars of white marble and images of the departed saints. And right in this age is when the "beast" of Revelation 13:3 that was wounded to death: (the pagan Roman Empire) came back to life and power as the "Holy Roman Empire." Rome as a material nation had suffered much depletion and soon would suffer it completely; but it mattered not now, for her religious empire would keep her on top of the world governing from the inside where she would not appear to do so from the outside.
Let me show the exact Scriptural truth of this matter, for I do not want anyone to think that I am giving a revelation of my own - one not found in Scripture. Daniel 2:31-45, "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." Herein is revealed an exact account of future, unfilled history that was prophesied to come upon the earth from the time of Daniel until Jesus would come and reign as the Son of David. It is known as "The Times of the Gentiles." It had within it four historical divisions which were known by the dominating empire in each division: Babylonian, Medo- Persian, Grecian, Roman. The greatest and most absolute monarchy was the Babylonian which was typified as the head of gold. The next in glory was the Medo-Persian which as history bore out was truly less glorious and was typified as the breast and arms of silver. Then there followed the Grecian age whose king was the most brilliant of all military leaders the world has ever known so it was fittingly typified as the belly and thighs of brass. It was less glorious than the other two preceeding it. Finally came the last kingdom which was the Roman Empire typified as the legs and feet. But wherein the former kingdoms were typified as pure minerals (pure gold, silver and brass) this last empire was pure iron only in the legs, for when it came to the feet it was a mixture of iron and clay, and mineral and soil just don't mix and produce constancy and strength. But not only is this so, but most amazing, this last empire (Roman) would endure in its peculiar 'mixed state' right up until Jesus returns.
This Roman Empire of iron (iron signifying power and great destructive force against opposition) was to be made of two main divisions. And it certainly was for the empire literally split into two - East and West. Both were very powerful, crushing all before them.
But as the glory and power of all empires fail, so this empire began to fall also. Thus Rome fell. Pagan Imperial Rome was no longer iron. She crumbled. She was wounded to death. Rome could not now rule. It was all over. So thought the world. But how wrong the world was, for that head (Rome) though wounded was not wounded unto death. (Wuest, translation of Revelation 13:3, "And one of his heads appeared to have been mortally wounded, the throat having been slashed. And his death stroke was healed. And the whole earth followed after the Wild Beast in amazement.")
People look at Rome. They look at the nation of Italy. And as they look they do not realize that Rome with her strict confines where the pope has an actual area as his domain is literally a nation within a nation, and she has ambassadors and receives ambassadors. PAPAL FALSE CHRISTIAN ROME (she is even called the eternal city; how blasphemous) NOW CONTROLS BY RELIGION EVEN MORE ABLY THAN WHEN PAGAN IMPERIAL ROME CONTROLLED BY THE PURE IRON OF FORCE. Rome took on a new lease of life when Constantine joined church and state and backed the union by force. The spirit that motivated pagan Rome is the same spirit that now motivates false Christian Rome. You can see that is so because you now know that the fourth empire never went out of existence; it just changed in its outer texture.
Once the Nicene Council had swung the power of political Rome to the church, it seemed that there were no limits to which this First Christian Church would go. The name, Christian, which originally brought persecution, now became the name of the persecutors. It was in this age that Augustine of Hippo (354-430) set forth the precept that the church ought and MUST use force if necessary to bring her children back into the fold, and that it was in harmony with the Word of God to kill the heretics and apostates. In his controversy with the Donatists he wrote... "It is indeed better that men should be led to worship God by teaching than that they should be driven to it by fear of punishment or pain, but it does not follow that because the former course produces the better men, therefore those who do not yield to it should be neglected. For many have found advantage (as we have proved and are daily proving by actual experience) in being first compelled by fear or pain, so that they might afterwards be influenced by teaching, so that they might follow out in act what they have already learned in word... whilst those are better who are guided aright by love, those are certainly more numerous who are corrected by fear. For who can possibly love us more than Christ, Who laid down His life for the sheep? Yet after calling Peter and the other apostles by His words alone, when He came to summon Paul, He not only constrained him with His voice, but even dashed him to the earth with His power; and that He might forcibly bring one who is raging amidst the darkness of infidelity, to desire the light of the heart, He first struck him with physical blindness of the eyes. Why therefore should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return? The Lord Himself said, 'Go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.' Wherefore if the power which the Church has received by divine appointment in it's due season, through the religious character and faith of kings, be the instrument by which those who are found in the highways and hedges - that is in heresies and schisms - are compelled to come in, then let them not find fault with being compelled."
The thirst for blood was growing apace. The false vine in Spain now played upon the Emperor Maximus to join in the attack upon the true believers who had the Word and the signs and wonders with them. Thus some Priscillianists were brought to Treves by Bishop Ithacus (385). He accused them of witchcraft and immorality and many were executed. Martin of Tours, and Ambrose of Milan protested this, and pleaded in vain for the persecution to cease. When the persecution was prolonged these two bishops refused to fellowship with bishop Hydatus and others like him. Strange to say the Synod in Treves approved of the murders.
From this time on, especially through the Dark Ages, we will see the children of the flesh persecute and destroy the children of the Spirit, though both claim one Father even as was in the case of Ishmael and Isaac. The darkness of spiritual corruption will deepen and the true light of God will fade until number-wise it glows ever so faintly. Yet the promise of God will hold true, "The light shineth in darkness and the darkness can do nothing about it."
Now up to this time I have not brought out that point in history that I promised to cover, that is, the intermingling of the religion of Nimrod and the Christian religion. You will recall that Attalus fled from Babylon to Pergamos and set up his kingdom outside the reaches of the Roman Empire. It flourished over the years, nurtured by the god of this world. A succession of priest kings followed Attalus until the reign of Attalus III when for reasons known only in the sovereignty of God he willed the kingdom to Rome. Julius Caesar then took both the kingdom physical and spiritual for he became Pontiff Maximus of the Babylonish religion and was therefore priest-king. This title passed on to the following emperors until the time of Maximus III who refused it. According to Stevens' History it was then that the pope took the headship the emperor rejected and today there is still a pontiff in the world, and he is truly Pontiff Maximus. He wears a triple crown and resides in Rome. And in Revelation 17 God does not any longer refer to Pergamos as Satan's seat nor does he say that is where Satan dwells. No, the throne room is no longer in Pergamos, but it is MYSTERY Babylon. It is not in Babylon but in MYSTERY Babylon. It is in a city on seven hills. Its head is antichrist for he has usurped the position of Christ Who alone is mediator and Who alone can forgive sins. Yes, Pontiff Maximus is with us today. 7ch024.htm
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