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Is There a Pagan Origin?

REV-38

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Well, in the words of Pastor Huff, I always love beginnings and endings.  It’s always good to see beginnings, new life in Christ.  I love to marry people, I love to dedicate babies, and it”s such a joy.  Endings are always wonderful too.  Especially the home going of a dear saint.  But it’s always hard to finish a series that’s been impactfull in my life and I trust in yours also.  Tonight is our last installment, looking at basically what is my personal testimony and I think it’s probably one of the most appropriate places in the world, next to living in Italy, to give such a testimony.  We live in the most densely Roman Catholic State in the whole country.  This is the highest percentile of Roman Catholic allegiance anywhere.  Because of that, I think it’s very appropriate for you to know why the Bible teaches that I could never be a Roman Catholic and you, biblically, should never be a Roman Catholic person. 

I’d like to start in our study tonight and then review where we’ve been by going to 2Cor, chapter 11.  We’re going to do something a little different tonight, I’m going to ask a few of the folks that can read loudly and well for all of you to hear to just read a few verses because one of our Army officers gave me this article out of the U.S. News and World Report that’s March 29th.  I always think that’s interesting; its tomorrow’s and he gave it to me a week ago.  That’s an amazing phenomenon that they can publish stuff into the future.  It’s called, “The Weeping Madonna,” and I read this through a few times just to share with you something that’s very current, as current as tomorrow, about where people are in relation to this whole concept of Romanism and the worship that’s portrayed there.  But look at 2 Cor 11 and I’m going to show you verse 3, 4, 13, and 14.  This is the apostle Paul and he’s talking to people he loved deeply.  He’s really baring his heart to them because he had seen them through in their birth into Christ in his missionary journeys and he’d seen them grow in Christ.  He’d rebuked them.  He’d disciplined people and committed them to Satan for the destruction of their flesh and seen them come back to Christ.  He’d dealt with their lawsuits.  He’d dealt their immorality.  He’d dealt with their terrible gross activity at the Lord’s Table-being drunk and fighting over the food.  People that were battling, some of them under demonic-type influences and calling Christ accursed.  I mean just terrible stuff.  And now he’s coming to the end of two great letters and much ministry to them.  And much as a father would talk to the daughter or son going out just before they get married, maybe when they’re going out to that first big trip in the military or whatever.  That time when you kind of pass on your father’s heart.  This is what he says, he says, vs. 1…. And again the whole metaphor of the church, the Bride of Christ, but look at verse 3…. 

What I’d like to warn you about tonight, in my last time talking about the Roman Church, is that something happened.  Something tragic happened from this era in the Bible.  Let me just rehearse for you just a thumbnail sketch of where the church was when the apostles were here.  The church was conquering.  It was conquering the world not through social activism but through personal renewal and regeneration and supernatural life.  When people got saved back then they renounced the world they left it behind, they burnt their magic books.  They left their immoralities.  They left their occultic ways.  They renounced paganism and they turned in newness to Christ and they suffered for it.  Things were really amazing.  The church was flourishing.  People were being saved every day; people were living holy lives.  People were seeing the power of God. The apostles were ministering and they were writing letters.  Yes, they had problems and they had questions, but it’s very simple.  As he says in verse 3,

“the simplicity and purity of Christ”. 

What was the simplicity?   Well, Paul gave his testimony he says 1 Cor 15…in other words; the whole gospel was based on the scripture.  Period.  And it was simple.  You made a choice between Jesus Christ or eternal damnation in hell.  It was a very simple choice.  Many people chose both.  It was a simple gospel. 

Well, verse 4…..you see as a father he’s starting to chide them.  He’s saying , “You’re not on your guard and I’m passing off the scene.” It’s 56 AD and he’s gonna be around until AD 62, maybe AD 64.  He’s 56 years old and he’s got maybe 3 or 4 more years in ministry, but he knew it was coming to an end.  And he says, “What is someone preaches to you another Jesus, not a different, not heteros, but one who is another of the same kind?” 

Slow Rise of False Traditions

In other words, he’s not talking about guru Rajneesh So-and-So from India, he’s not talking about Bogwan Salami.  He’s talking about someone that claims to be the biblical Jesus.  And he says if someone presents you with a Jesus that doesn’t line up with the Bible and someone presents to you a Holy Spirit that doesn’t measure up to the Bible and someone has presented to you a gospel that you have not accepted that’s not simple.  He says you might go along with it.  And you know, it happened.  Because what happened with the church was the apostles passed off the scene and their disciples, like Ignatius and Polycarp,  who knew the apostles personally and had been lead to Christ by them, they powerfully lead the church into the second century.  The 100’s A.D.  But something happened and pretty soon the church started giving in to a little formalism here and a little sacramentalism there and little bit of baptismal regeneration here and a little bit of heirarchical stuff and letting people rise up to be rulers over the church that Peter warned against.   

And by the time we get to the 4th Century, the 300’s A.D., the Roman Church was the church of the Roman Empire.  It was still the church of Jesus Christ built on the apostles and prophets but it had become religio licita -[the officially recognized church of the Empire].

How Constantine Started the Roman Church

Well, the emperors had to do something about that.  In 313 AD at the Milvian Bridge when Constantine beat his contender for the throne, He saw a vision. Now, watch out for people who see visions.  Jeremiah 23:16 says:

Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.

They make you worthless;

They speak a vision of their own heart,

Not from the mouth of the Lord.

And things haven’t changed much; they’re still around.  I mentioned them this morning.  Usually they involve your pocketbook.  You know, they always have a vision for your money.  But he had a vision and he saw a big flaming red cross on a blue background and he saw the words “In Hoc signa Vinci”, isn’t that interesting, it was in Latin.  He understood Latin and he saw that and Constantine conquered at the Milvian Bridge by painting red crosses on all the shields of all his warriors.  Ah!  Red Cross.  Christ. Christianity.  So that must be what happened.  So he became a  “Christian” [in quotes]. 

All the Roman gods Merged With the Church

Well, what did he do with the State church?  They had the Pantheon of Hadrian, they had all the priests of Dagon and the priests of Marduk and the priests of Phoenicia, Astarte and Baal.  What do you do with Isis and Osiris and all that gang from Egypt and what do you do with Semiramis and Tammuz?  What would you do with all the deities coming in from Persia?  Mithras.  He said, well, I have an idea…its religion, let’s just all work together.  Well, the church didn’t like that too much but they accommodated the influx of paganism.  Now up until that time the church was just what you see in the New Testament.  They read the Bible, they broke bread, and they baptized people after they were saved.   They didn’t have anything to do with baptizing infants.  They didn’t have anything to do with prayers for the dead.  They didn’t have anything to do with Mass, Mass doesn’t come around for 12 centuries.  It was just simple house churches, breaking bread, fellowshipping, baptizing people, confessing Christ, preaching the Bible, praying and loving Jesus Christ.  But here came all these religious priests of a pantheon of religions in 313 AD.  They brought in their censors, that’s incense burners, and they brought in their robes, and they brought in all their candles, and they brought in all their various beads that the pagans used. 

Remember what Christ said in Chapter 6 of Matthew, don’t pray mindless, rote prayers repeating the same thing endlessly over and over again thinking that God’s going to hear you and bless you because of that.  That’s the first few verses of chapter 6.  Well, here come the pagans with their prayer beads.  Here they came with their cutting their hair in certain places, bald spots on top of their heads, which was a part of paganism.  Here they came with their feasts to the Sun god, here they came with their feasts to the Love god and they came with their feasts of worshipping the death and resurrection in forty days of Baal.  And they were confronted with what do we do with all this stuff.  He said, Well, that one’s close to Christmas, we’ll put that one next the Christmas.  That one’s close to Easter, we’ll put that by Easter.  That one’s over here, we’ll put that there. Gradually, paganism seeped in. 

The apostles, Peter, Paul, John, the early church, the simplicity, verse 3, that was in Christ, started to get complex.  And it started evolving, and tradition became as powerful as scripture.  And then it was more powerful than scripture.  And the church got to the point, by 12th Century AD; they were so confused, that they believed they had to crucify Christ over again every day.  That has persisted for centuries.  So, when I talk about the Roman Catholic Church, I’m talking about the church today that believes all that syncretism.  Do you know what syncretism is?  Religious syncretion is when you blend together the best of everything.  Some New Age ideas, a couple of Hindu ideas, get a couple of Jewish ideas and through in a sprinkling of Christianity and you don’t want to offend anybody.  And that’s why the RI National Council of Churches, which buys into that, sends out letters to clergy, like they did to me, that says that if you ever pray in public don’t offend people by mentioning Jesus Christ.  He’s very offensive.  Talk about the supreme power, the deity that they can worship at the Masonic Lodge or at AA or down at the B’hai Temple but don’t bring up Jesus Christ; that’s offensive.  Do you know why?  Because the preaching of the Cross is to those that perish foolishness and it offends them.  It says in 1 Cor 1.  And Paul says I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, it’s the power of God and the only power of God until salvation.  But that’s been muddled over the years.

Seven Deadly Doctrines of Rome

So I would say this, that there are seven reasons, and this is the last time you’ll hear me say this: there are seven reasons why I am not a Roman Catholic.  I heard the teacher tonight in the counseling class from 4-6, Mr. Mlyniek, say, “Take notes.”   So if you’re obedient, I’m gonna raise my hand, this is point #1.  He said some people never hear the outline so I’ll make it clear for the note-takers.

#1 – The first Biblical reason why I can’t ever be a Roman Catholic is because of the Mass.  And if you want to understand that, look at Heb 9.  Hebrews 9 repeatedly says that Jesus Christ was offered, now if you’ve been here for three weeks and this is the fourth week, How many times?   Once, for all.  In any language, it counts.  Once!  He was offered.  And the Scriptures say the old covenant, the Old Testament, the Levitical system, Mosaic Law, Jesus Christ was prefigured in the constant sacrifices of animals.  But that was only a picture to point to Christ.  Now, let me ask you this, which I better?  The picture, or the person?  Which would you marry? A picture or a person?  Well, in our perverted society people probably do marry pictures.  But I’m talking about in reality, the person is more important than the picture.  And if you can sit and oogle at your girlfriend’s picture on your desk or actually have her there; the person.  All of the sacrifices of the O.T. were pictures pointing to Christ.  And it says in Acts 10:43…. And every time they had the meal offering, the burnt offering, the trespass offering, the peace offering, every time they had the O.T. sacrificial system it was pointing to the fact that it was an inefficient, impossible to cover sins sacrifice.  But it was just kind of holding things back until Jesus would come.  But the news is that he came.  Hebrews 1 said that Jesus Christ came and once for all offered a sacrifice for sin and then he sat down.  The Roman Catholic Church teaches, and Vatican II  in the ’60’s affirmed once and for all that the Church hasn’t budged on the Mass.  And the Mass is a continual offering of Jesus Christ to wash away sins.  And that is totally against the Scriptures.  Now again, I remind you that I’m not talking about your friend who’s a Roman Catholic I’m talking about the monolithic structure of the Church.  And yes, there are born-again Christians in the Catholic Church.  I know some, you know some.  That does not excuse the error.  The anti-biblical, unscriptural, heretical teaching of the Mass. 

Secondly, the role of Mary.  I’d like to read to you from U.S. News and World Report, tomorrow’s edition, it’s called, “The Weeping Madonna” and it’s very interesting.  It says on page 48 “that even the Roman Catholic Church which has recognized 14 Virgin sightings and weeping statue episodes in the past two centuries.”  In the past two centuries, Mary has re-appeared around the world at least 14 official times.  What happens when she appears?  Well, it says that there are unexplained healings, it says that the sun spins backwards and lights are starting to change all over Washington, D.C.  But this is even more bizarre, it says Father Jim, and that’s this man you’ve probably read about in the paper that has stigmata-he has blood coming out of his arm-and wounds like nail wounds.  I’m not sure if they’re here or in his palms.  He also, every time he walks into a Roman Church, all of the statues of Mary, tears start running down their faces.  And if it’s not enough for tears, blood comes out of their eyes too.  And not just little ones, they have a 30-ft. tall one in one of these churches and that one it says had so many tears coming out of it that it made the carpet wet.  But what does that do?  Well, it says, inside, and this is when she’s weeping, the question of miracles caused the Bishop to look ridiculous.  But if he discourages the faithful from believing, he risks driving away the thousands that believe in the miracles.  And so, on March 1st, the big fiberglass Madonna of St. Elizabeth’s Church began to weep before the 500 parishioners as Father Jim said the Mass.  Now listen, here’s what happened.  Inside, people fell to their knees before the Madonna weeping, praying out loud and straining for a glimpse of the tears.  The miracle had begun.  Now, you want to know?  I don’t have any doubts that that statue was crying I just am sure God didn’t do it.

I want you to look for just a minute at Rev 19.  Because I want you to see what happens when a supernatural event takes place in a Christian’s life.  And I’m only picking the last book of the Bible because the last book of the Bible is compendium of the whole Bible.  This happens repeatedly from the first book of the Bible to the last book of the Bible.  And it’s a repeated occurrence that when anyone comes into the presence of God, or of an angelic being, that there’s a profound effect that is not worshipping of people.  Look at Rev 19:10, this is John giving his testimony, the apostle John, the last living apostle.  He’s on Patmos, he’s writing this revelation and it says, this angel’s talking to him and it reveals all these things about the Lamb of God and then here’s John’s testimony, “and I fell at his feet to worship him,” and he said to me, “Don’t do that!”  Now if anybody should get worship an angel should.  Right?  Angels are better than people.  This angel is from God’s presence, this angel has never sinned ever.  Mary sinned, so did the apostles, so have you and I.  But that angel never sinned.  And that angel’s talking to John and when John sees that angel he falls down on his face and he starts to hold his feet and worship him.  And look what the angel says, don’t worship me, don’t do that, I’m a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren who hold to the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God.  Don’t worship the saints.  You know what this article?  This article is so sad; you know what it says that all these crying statues did?  It made everybody go out and buy more of them.  It says, they all came to church, clutching their statues, and their crucifixes, and their rosaries.  And they looked to see if theirs would cry too.  Now I don’t mean to prolong this, and I’m not mocking; what I’m saying is: That is blatant, gross idolatry.  There’s no other word for it, it’s idolatry.  Do you know what God says?  It says idolatry is the offense against the Holy God.  He said in the O.T., stone ‘em, kill ‘em  if they’ll bow down to idols.  Do you think in the NT God appreciates idolatry?  I am the Lord, I change not; He said over and over again.

Don’t be so severe on Mary, something’s going on there isn’t it?  Well, I want to show you something and that’s Rev 13.  In about three weeks we’ll be back in our Revelations series after Palm Sunday and Easter.  But in Rev 13, we’ll look at this verse, because I want you to see this because I want you not to doubt that there are miracles going on around the world.  There’s no doubt that there are miracles.  I have met missionaries that have seen people levitate, walk across razor-sharp knives, walk across red-hot flames; there was even the group in RI teaching people how to walk across hot coals.  There are people that do all kinds of things.  They not only levitate themselves, they levitate others.  There’s no doubt that there are miracles going on at Lourdes, at Medgagorje, and everywhere else.  There’s no doubt about that.  But the problem is that God is not doing signs and wonders in the planet today.  Do you know why?  He said I am doing signs and wonders to affirm the Scriptures.  After that, watch out.  Signs and wonders are in Satan’s court.  Did you know that?  Watch out for people that are raising the dead, healing lawnmowers and washing machines and walking on water today.  It’s not Christ doing that. 

Look at Revelation 13:13-14:

He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived

……hmmmm, that sounds awful if that’s what Satan’s doing.  It would be awful if Christians are involved in that today.  There’s no place for images.  There’s no place for crucifixes.  There’s no place for prayer beads.  There’s no place for pictures of Saints and pictures of Christ to be used in adoration and worship and prayer.  There’s no place for that.  It’s against the Word of God.  And it says, “to make an image to the beast who had the wound with a sword and he came to life.”

 Well, back up to Matt 24, because I want you to see that Christ warned that this would happen.  And I want to maybe get a concept across that you maybe hadn’t thought of before.  The concept is this; the Scriptures tell us that in the last times, false Christ’s are going to appear.  Now, I repeat what I said at the beginning, a false Christ is not this guy that went up to Oregon and had all the people dancing around with bells and acting crazy in trances.  He was very large and wore a big turban and rode around in his 14 Rolls Royce’s.  That’s not a false Christ.  That’s a false person that says he’s the Messiah.  But we’re not talking about that.  Jesus said in Matt 24, starting in verse 11……now if a prophet gets up and says, “Worship Buddha” , do you think that would fool anybody?  Do you think it would fool you?  If it says, “Worship Tao, the great spirits of the departed.”  If it says, “Worship Confucius in his ancient wisdom. Worship the great gods of Egypt.”  Would that really get any of you?  No, but if they said, “Worship Jesus Christ this way,” our ears are perked up.  And they say, “yeah, I’ll show you what I can do,” and fire comes down from heaven.  You’d go, “Wow, maybe they do have something to say.” 

  And look what it says in Matthew 24:11:

“Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.….

Now cut across to Matthew 24:23:

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it.

Did you know in CA, among those great CA live oaks, that there’s a group up in Big Sur that has seen Christ, his face, in an oak tree?  Hmmm, what’s that?  How about the lady in Chicago that was baking a tortilla, in low-income housing, do you know how they do that?  They put them on the burner.  We’re from CA, we used to do that too.  It’s kinda fun, if your burner’s clean you just bake em on the burner.  It’s quick.  They get hot.  You eat it.  She put a tortilla on the burner, lifted it up and said, “[gasp]  It’s the face of Jesus!”  Thousands of people have gone there.  It’s become an official shrine:  Jesus of the Tortilla.

  Look what it says in Matthew 24:23-24:

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect”

Not just the people who profess to be Christians, but the really saved ones might get lead astray.  Why?  Because it will be so believable.  If I came up and was holding red money and said, “C’mon, I’ll sell these $100 bills for $25.”  Would any of you buy them?  But if they were green and had Jefferson or Lincoln or whoever, Franklin!  If I held up one that had Ben Franklin on it and it had Independence Hall on the back and was beautifully engraved and I said they’re 25 bucks, you might buy one.  If it looked like a hundred dollar bill.  Do you realize that false Christ’s are not these Eastern mystic people.  They are people that arise within the church and try and teach people to falsely worship the true Christ.  And they try and lead them subtlely away from the truth.  Rat poisoning isn’t not 100% strictine.  It’s 99% good grain, with just a drop of poison.  Vs. 25…

What’s he saying?  He’s saying that Jesus Christ will return with incontravertible, I mean no false prophet can fake it.  Nobody can have Christ hiding out in the wilderness and only the super, super saints will find him.  Jesus Christ said, “Stop watching the signs and wonders and follow the Word.”  Did you know that’s what the Bible’s always said?  Do you know what it says in Deut 18 “If someone does come and does make a prophecy and does perform a miracle and if that person’s word don’t match up with what Moses told you, kill them.”  Now, we’re not under that economy.  Don’t be like the abortion clinic guy and shoot people.  That was murder.  That was wrong.  No matter how many people that abortionist murdered, it was wrong for that fella to shoot him, for whatever purpose.  But, the lesson is this:  Jesus Christ said, “Watch out for false Christ’s.” 

The worship of Mary in Roman doctrine, elevating her to co-mediatrix with Jesus Christ is false worship.  It’s against the Bible.  To say as  the Roman Church has that she mediates and makes up what Christ’s sacrifice couldn’t do is wrong.  That’s why it’s very difficult; you know there’s some great religion programs at Catholic universities.  I have been challenged many times by articles from the Catholic Biblical Quarterly.  I have learned much from Catholic scholars, but I could not go to a Catholic school and go to school.  Do you know why?  I wouldn’t want to be de-sensitized to the false religion they teach.  I wouldn’t want to start liking them so that I would say that they are believers and what they are teaching is true.  You need to be careful.  You need to be careful because you live beside and work beside and have close friends who believe error.  You need to lovingly always have your guard up;

#1 because of Mass,

#2 because of Mary, and

#3 because of their tradition over Scripture. 

There are no priests in the N.T.  There are no scapulars.  There are no orders of monks.  There are no nuns.  There are no bishops in the sense of the Catholic Church and there’s definitely not a monarchical episcopate.  There’s no pope in the Bible.  But tradition  developed that.  There are no candles, there’s no Lent, there’s no holy water, there are no sacraments, there’s no extreme unction.  None of that is in the Scripture.  Tradition.  And if you want to hear more about them—that’s in the second tape we went over all the traditions. 

Fourthly, there’s a veneration in worship of images and we don’t need to go over that.  This whole article’s about that and that’s the fourth reason why the Roman Catholic Church is wrong.  They venerate, which is a polite way of saying worship, images.  What do you mean?  I mean the Saint So-and-So things on your dashboard that’s supposed to help keep you out of accidents.  And the Saint So-and-So thing around your neck that’s suppposed to keep you safe.  That’s not biblical.  That is idolatry.  That’s paganism.  Put a rabbit’s foot around your neck before you put some saint.  They’re equal.  No saint can help you.  No saint can help me.  They’re sinners just like us and when they died they went to Christ’s presence.  They’re not omnipresent.  They can’t be here to help you.  They’re not omniscient and they’re not omnipotent.  They couldn’t help you if they did know.  That’s wrong.  There should not be images.  And crucifixes, that’s wrong.  That’s a religious object.  You shouldn’t have a crucifix.  You shouldn’t even if your great grandmother gave it to you and it’s sterling silver.  It’s wrong.  It’s an object of false worship and it’s biblically wrong. 

Fifthly, the sacraments.  And we went through this in depth.  The scriptures tell us that grace is dispensed by faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by the Church.  We do not dispense grace up here.  When I baptize someone next Sunday night I am not dispensing grace.  When we serve the Lord’s Table from that table in front once a month we are not dispensing grace.  Humans can’t dispense grace.  Jesus Christ, through his Holy Spirit, in the plan of God dispenses grace.  Sacrament.  Sacramentalism means the dispensing of grace. That’s not in the Scriptures, nowhere.  It’s by faith in Jesus Christ.

Sixthly, Purgatory.  Purgatory’s not in the Bible.  You know what’s in the Bible?  To be absent from the body, 2 Cor 5, we’re2 present with the Lord. As soon as we die we’re in the presence of the Lord if we know Him.  Paul said in Phillipians 1 “I desire to depart to be with Christ which is far better.”  It says in Luke 16, that when the rich man dies he went immediately into Hades and when Lazarus died he went into Abraham’s bosom.  There’s an instantaneous, conscious existence beyond here either in bliss or in torture.  And you can’t change that when you get there.  That’s an awful lie to put on people, to tell them that if they will ——

The Incredible Relics of the Middle Ages

Well, what set off Martin Luther, I was reading a biography of him again this week because he’s one of my favorite characters in history; and in Martin Luther’s time, if you would go through the elector of Wittenberg, that was a political leader in Germany in the late1400’s and 1500’s.  If you’d go through his castle, he had collected 30,000 relics.  He actually had a piece of the Burning Bush.  He had a piece of the Ark.  He had a piece of Noah’s Ark.  He had a piece of everything.  He really had a collection, which I don’t think he really had it, but he thought he did.  If you would walk all the way through his castle and pay an admission you would get 1,900,000 years out of Purgatory.  How long is it?  If you can get 2 million years out by going to a shrine.  You say, well, that’s Martin Luther’s time, the Church has changed.  No it hasn’t.  We just came back from the Holy Land a couple of months ago.  There’s a gigantic brass door in the Vatican today that has a plaque on it that says in the year of  jubilee, every 50 years, those doors will open.  And they’re opening them more often, I think it’s every 25 years.  But when they open, every time you walk through that door you get several hundred years out of Purgatory.  Where did that come from?  It comes from human religion.  It comes from us trying to accommodate people and get them to heaven.  It comes from a heart that’s compassionate, but not grounded on the Bible.

Well, the last reason is—and this is where I want you to go with me on a history lesson.  We’ve gone through many scriptures in these past few weeks.  Tonight I’m going to take you to just a few O.T. passages.  If you want to start in the book of Gen 4:8.  We’re going to go on a biblical journey to see how the Roman Catholic Church merged with paganism.  And long before there was any Roman Church, paganism began.  In the 4th chapter of Genesis in the 8th verse is Satan’s first convert and his first convert was named Cain.  It says

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

Why?  Because Cain offered his own works to God and God didn’t accept it.  You can read the first part of chapter 4.   And Abel offered what God asked for, which was a bloody sacrifice, and God accepted it. And thus became the great division of history with the very first descendants of Adam and Eve.   Between those who we’re going to do it their way and have works and have religion.  And chapter 4 is the birth of religion.

And by the way, I’m not involved in religion.  I don’t claim to be involved in religion.  Religion is a set of man-made rules to approach some diety out there.  I’m involved with revelation.  Everything that I know did not get invented by humans by religion.  It all came down by revelation from God.  Every bit of this book came by the direct revelation through inspiration by God to people.  They didn’t think it up.  They weren’t clever.  They weren’t these gifted people that had these high, lofty thoughts.  It was directly received from God.  That’s what Jesus believed and taught.  That’s what the early church believed and taught.  That’s what Israel believed as receiving the oracles of God.  And that’s what all who believe the truth of the gospel believe. 

That this is a supernatural book.  And by the way, it’s historically and scientifically accurate.  You cannot say that about the Book of Mormon.  You cannot say that about the writings of Joseph Smith or Mary-Baker-Glover-Patterson-Frye-Eddy or any of the other cults of this world.  You can’t say that.  You can’t say that about Hinduism.  You can’t say that about the Koran.  They all are historically inaccurate, scientifically inaccurate and they’re just plain ridiculous.  Do you what the Hindu bible says?  It says that the Earth is suspended on the back of four elephants and earthquakes are when they twitch when the flies are biting them.  That’s a good one, isn’t it?  Maybe it’s good to 2 year olds, but it’s not true.  You know what the Bible says, it says that the Earth hangs on nothing, it rotates on an axis and it revolves—I mean it’s scientifically—it talks about hydrology, geodocy.  It talks about the whole scientific world.  None of those false writings teach truth.  They might mimic some biblical truth, but this is the word of God revealed from heaven. 

Well, there’s where religion started.  And basically religion is two-fold.  You can either have the religion of human achievement.  That is, I’m going to give God my best and I’m gonna try my hardest and hope I make it.  That’s human achievement.  That’s Cain bringing his grapefruit and his pumpkins to God.  Or you can have divine accomplishment that Jesus Christ paid it all.  And when Abel offered the sacrifice of the lamb, he was pointing forward to the Lamb of God.  And every O.T. sacrifice pointed forward with the shedding of blood.  And Jesus Christ finally came on the cross and he offered his own body for our sins on the cross shedding his blood.  There’s nothing I can do.  I cannot achieve heaven.  God already accomplished it for me if I accept it by faith.  That is the revelation come down from God.  If a bunch of humans wrote the Bible they wrote a bad book because it’s too hard.  Because God says we all fail.  Humans wouldn’t write that.  Even the Greek Mythology wrote in a way for the people to make it with all of their errors and all of their sins.  God says you all fail.  Only by faith can you come to Christ.

Well, you keep going to chapter 11 in Gen, and I want you to hasten on because we’ve got to cover the whole Bible quickly.  11: 1-9 talks about organized religion and that was around a place called Babel.  Babylon.  And Babel, the Tower of Babel, and that comes from the gibberish when God confused their languages.  They built one big ziggeraut, a tall kind of thing with worship to the gods of the stars and the sun and the moon.  And they were organizing this type of worship and God went down and confounded them.  Basically, that’s why in every civilization in the world you find the same foundational false religions.  They all have some type of sun worship.  They all have some type of mother-son diety  and it all started at the Tower of Babel.  When God dispersed the nations of the world, they took with them their false religion; and you can read about that in 11:1-9.

In chapter 10:8-10, it talks about Noah’s wicked, apostate grandson.  His name was Nimrod.  You take out your history books, the Schopf-Herzog Encylcopedia, or the Encyclopedia Brittanica, you’ll find that this guy married a woman named Simeramus.  And Nimrod’s wife, Simeramus, started this mother-son cult which surrounds this planet and is 200 cultures around the world.  This idea with a mother and a diety son, and the mother is co-diety with him.  Sounds kind of like the Madonna, Mary and Christ, doesn’t it?  The first thing I remember when I went to the Vatican Museum as a young person many years ago, my first time to Europe, I couldn’t wait to go to the Vatican Museum; I will always remember the first exhibit inside the door, once you get in through all the beautiful paintings and go into the museum.  The first exhibit is all the mother/son dieties of  all the cultures of the world.  That’s an indictment on that church.  That they don’t realize that what they’re doing is what all the false religions have believed throughout the centuries.

The Spread of Paganism

Well, this concept builds and builds and builds.  It went from Babylon after the dispersion toPhoenicia and they named the mother Asteroth and they called the son Tamus.  It went from Phoenicia to Pergamos, and after it got to Pergamos it became an official religion; and you can read about that in Revelation 3.  The church was still battling with it in the NT era.  It went to Egypt and was known as Isis and Horus, the mother/son deity.  It went from Babylon to Greece and it became Aphrodite and Eros.  Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and her son.  It went to Rome and became Venus and Cupid.  Cupid, Valentine’s Day Cupid, the little fat guy with the arrow is a part of pagan mythology and is the son of the Mother god.  You have to watch out, even the cartoons these days are blatantly filled with paganism. 

Well, Dr. Dwight Pentecost was in Mexico City, many years ago, and I quote to you from his book, Prophecy for Today, on page 133, he said this: 

“Several years ago, I visited an archeological museum in Mexico City.  A recent find had just been put on display, which the Mexican archeologists had authenticated as belonging to the period 200 BC Two hundred years before Christ.  Two hundred years before the establishment of the church.  Two hundred years before Mary bore Christ into this world, okay?  And do you know what it was?  The object was the center of a religious worship among some of the early Indians in Mexico.  To my amazement, it was an image of a mother with a child in her arms.  The Babylonian religion had spread abroad to become the religion of the world.” 

Do you know what the religion of Babylon was?  The mother goddess.  Do you know where our planet is going?  Do you know where all the mainline churches are going?  They’re changing the hymnbooks; instead of saying Our Father which art in heaven, do you know what they’re saying?  Our Mother which art in heaven.  This whole concept of the Mother god.  Y’know, you even look at it in the commercials on TV, this’ll show you how long it’s been since I watched TV, There used to be one about something and it would go [crash] “Don’t mess with Mother Nature!”  Remember that one?  The whole concept of the Earth as our Mother.  That’s part of Satan’s religion that we came out of the womb of the Earth.  Protect the Earth.  The Earth is a female deity.

Well, Semiramis herself, remember Chapter 10 of Genesis, had a son.  And after she had her son, she called herself the Queen of Heaven.  I want you to start turning to the book of Jeremiah, real quickly. We’re going to fast forward.  Jeremiah 7.  If you don’t know where Jeremiah is, go to the middle of the Bible, that’s Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and chapter 7.  Because that title that Semiramis calls herself, Queen of Heaven, shows up repeatedly throughout the centuries in this religion of Babylon.  And it shows up in the Bible too, in a very bad sense. Jeremiah 7:18, this is an indictment, Jeremiah is standing at the temple gate.  He’s talking about the false religion that’s ruining the worship of the true God in Israel.  This is what he says in Jeremiah 7:18

 “The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, that they may provoke Me to anger.

What is the Queen of Heaven?  That’s idolatry.  That’s this Mother goddess, that’s Nimrod’s wife.  Semiramis’ title she took upon herself.  Do you know what?  After she called herself the Queen of Heaven, you can read in the Encyclopedia Britannica, do you know what Nimrod called himself?  The Pontifex Maximus.  Do you know who on this planet today has that title?  Um-hmm, the leader of the Roman Church.  Do you know what they call Mary?  Do you know?  The Queen of Heaven. 

Keep reading in Jeremiah, go to Jeremiah 44:25:

 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, saying: ‘You and your wives have spoken with your mouths and fulfilled with your hands, saying, “We will surely keep our vows that we have made, to burn incense to the queen of heaven and pour out drink offerings to her.” You will surely keep your vows and perform your vows!’

This was apostate religion of the true God.  And do you know what?  The worship of the true God had devolved to?  Do you know what it had degraded to?  Instead of worshipping the infinite, holy, uncreated eternal spirit, God; they were worshipping the Queen of Heaven.  Baking cakes and pouring out incense and offerings to her.  Do you know why God destroyed Israel?  Do you know why they were ransacked and wiped out by the Babylonians?  Because they were worshipping the goddess of the Babylonians.  Keep turning to Ezekiel 8, and we could do this all night, but I don’t want to bore you.  I just want to show you that it’s very biblical.  This false worship Babylon was exporting.  It’s a very biblical concept; it’s very unbiblical worship. Ezekiel 8:14 says:

So He brought me to the door of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for Tammuz.

Who is Tammuz?  That’s Ashteroth’s son.  What was that all about?  Well, let me share with you.  Because Semiramis, back to the history books, had a son named Tammuz.  Tammuz, this is historic, this isn’t mythology. 

Where Do Easter and Lent Come From?

Tammuz was killed by wild boars, you know, big pigs with large tusks.  They gored him to death.  So, she had a period of mourning for him.  And after he’d been slain on this hunting trip, she had a period of mourning for him.  She put him on this pyre and she did a lot pagan stuff and after 40 days, he rose from the dead.  And after he rose from 40 days, she declared that from that time onward, every year they would celebrate Tammuz death and resurrection.  Do you know what the worship of Baal was in the OT?  It was worship of the death and resurrection of Baal, the son of Astarte.  Asherah poles.  And they would mourn for 40 days, his death, and then have an orgy and celebrate his resurrection.  Well, after the 40-day fast, they had a joyful feast for his resurrection called Ishtar.  Does that sound familiar?  Easter.  You can look in your encyclopedia, you can look in your dictionary, Easter.  Ishtar.  At this feast, colored eggs were exchanged and eaten as a symbol of resurrection life.  An evergreen tree was brought in and burned.  And then, everyone ate cakes inscribed with the initial of Tammuz.  Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to have colored Easter eggs.  I’m not saying it’s wrong to have Christmas trees or to even let Easter slip out of your mouth.  We’re not superstitious.  But I hope you realize that if you buy into the Easter Bunny, Easter egg, 40 days of Lent thing-it’s paganism. 

Do you know what Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday and all that is?  Carnival, carne- is meat; Carnival is all the meat you want.  You have a carnival on Mardi Gras, which is called, Fat Tuesday, why?  Because Ash Wednesday starts the period of 40 days of fasting.  Where did that come from?  It’s not from God; it’s not from the Bible.  That’s paganism, that’s wrong, and it shouldn’t be in the church if it’s Christian. 

Well, you see that the religion of Babylon spread all over the world, but it didn’t just spread around the world but it went right into Israel.  You saw that in Jeremiah and Ezekiel and that’s why God destroyed them.  Well, that worship continued on, unabated. And in the year AD 313, there was a merging of the streams.  The early church fought off paganism right and left.  Remember what the apostle Paul said,

“Our citizenship is in heaven”

That’s where we’re looking for Christ. We have no continuing city on earth.  We worship God in the spirit, we rejoice in Christ Jesus.”  Remember all those verses?  What the New Testament church taught.  But in the 4th Century, Constantine injected paganism.  And though the church fought for centuries to stave off that worship. 

The Origin of Purgatory

In 593, the Roman Catholic Church declared as dogma: Purgatory.  Where did purgatory come from?  It came from the ancient Eastern religions of the Canaanites, and of their forefathers in Baal worship.  Where’s that from?  That’s from Satan.  The whole concept of purgatory is that you can work your way to God if you didn’t do the right thing on earth you get a second chance.  That’s what’s wrong and that’s why we had books removed from our bookstore by a fellow named Girzone.  Do you know that’s his doctrine?  He teaches you get a second chance. Did you know that’s antithetically, diametrically opposed to Jesus Christ?  It doesn’t matter if he is on the best-selling Christian author list.  He’s not teaching truth.  You should be careful, no matter who says their Christian, to make sure what they’re teaching lines up with the Bible.

Well, from 593 to 1100 not much went on in the church until they started charging money for Masses 1100 AD.  Historic Fact: The Roman Catholic Church says, “You pay us money, we’ll offer a Mass for you, for your sins to be done away with.”  Remember that Peter said in Acts 4?

“Silver and gold have I not.  But that which I have I give you in the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk.” 

The popes today cannot say, “Silver and gold have I not.” Neither can they make people walk.  Today, purgatory and money are obscuring the gospel for Masses.

The Origin of Indulgences

1190 AD, they started selling indulgences, you didn’t even need a Mass.  If you would do something good, you would get an indulgence for you or a friend to get out of purgatory.  In 1215, they started transubstantiation, which is the transmutation of plain bread and plain wine into the body and blood of Christ; which the Bible never propounded or taught as doctrine.  In 1226, near 11 years later, they started holding up the host after transubstantiation, and they would say, “We worship you, O God.”  The host of Mass, they still do that today.  It’s been going on for 766 years. 

The Removal of Scripture From Individuals

In 1229, the Counsel of Toledo officially put the Bible on the index.  Toledo, not Ohio, Toledo, Spain.  And you could not read the Bible; it was against the Church.  Against the Church’s teaching to read the Bible?  To keep people in darkness.  That’s why there’s stained glass windows and that’s why there’s all those things carved into the ancient churches; and I’ve toured Medieval Cathedrals all over Europe and you can see the gospel message as those church men were trying to give people the message because they couldn’t read the Bible so they tried to show it to them in stone. 

Tradition Equal to God’s Word

 In the year 1545, the Council of Trent turns finally from the authority of God’s word to the authority of tradition.  Tradition was made equal with the authority of the Bible and justification by faith was 125 times condemned as “damnable”.  And you know what the Bible says?  Look at Ephesians 2:8,9You should have a big box around this in your Bible.  Everyone in the counseling class has memorized it, but I want to remind you this Eph 2:8,9……not through Masses, not through candles, not through the meritorious supply of the overage of saints.  Totally by faith in the grace of God, only.  That was declared damnable heresy in 1545 AD That was reaffirmed in 1962.  That was the first thing they took care of at the Vatican II.  They said,

“We reaffirm the anathema upon those that say salvation does not come through the sacraments.” 

The church of John Paul II is the church that denies the Scriptures, that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. 

The Origin of the Immaculate Conception of Mary

In the year 1854, they invented the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  That means that she was sinless when she was born. Hmmm.  Then, in 1870, because people didn’t like that, 16 years later, the Church said, “You don’t like that?  The pope is infallible.”  Did you know that didn’t happen until 1870?  He didn’t sit up in that chair ex-cathedra and pontificate that’s become an adjective now to describe things pontificate.  He didn’t do that until 1870.  Do you see how this has grown?  It should be alarming to you if you have any vestiges of trust in the Roman Church.  The fact that what I believe, the apostle Paul believed, because I believe what he wrote.  What you believe Jesus taught because you read it.  What 900 million Roman Catholics believe has been growing for 1600 years.  Purgatory came in 593, money for Masses 1100, indulgences 1190, transubstantiation 1215, adoration of the host 1226, the Bible’s off limits 1229, justification by faith is damnable heresy in 1545, Mary was sinlessly conceived in 1854, the pope is infallible in 1970.  What happened to all of the other popes?  Why weren’t they infallible?  There are a lot of questions.

The Assumption of Mary

And finally, most recently, in 1950, 1950, six years before I was born.  The Roman Church discovered that Mary had been bodily assumed into heaven.  Did you know that?  I don’t think she knew that.  I don’t think the apostles knew that.  What does all this mean?  It means, now this is that last verse and then we’ll sing a song.  Look at the book of Jude.  Jude was the half-brother of Jesus Christ.  And Jude was a marvelous, zealous, fervent follower of Jesus Christ.  And this is what Jude says, verse 3…what does that mean?  It means that in the 1st Century people were creeping in and defiling the simplicity of Christ.  And I tell you that in 1993 they’re still here and they’re still robbing people of the simplicity of Jesus Christ.  What is that?  Acts 4: 12……..One name, one savior, one gospel, one book.  No tradition.  One blood shed for the sins of many. One blessed hope when we die, not of purgatory but of heaven. 

The apostle Paul wrote a verse in 2Tim 1:12……

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.

Knowing What We Believe

Someone wrote a hymn about that and we’re going to sing it before we close with a prayer.  Number 288.  And I want you to really think about 4 weeks of what is basically negative.  I’d rather teach the truth from a positive sense, but sometimes the only way to really get the message across is to show it negatively, what’s wrong with it.  That’s not really where I’m most comfortable.  But I want you to know that salvation is by grace.  Salvation is by faith.  Salvation is once and for all delivered to us.  That no one is going to add to it.  No one is going to enlarge upon it.  No one is going to correct it.  No one is going to give you a new revelation.  It’s established.  And if someone tells you that Jesus Christ is off in the desert, or up in a tree or his mother’s appearing in Yugoslavia somewhere.  Don’t believe them, but lovingly point them to the truth.  Let’s sing as our testimony tonight, all 5 stanzas…

The last stanza is going to be our testimony.  Because we don’t know when the Lord will come, we ought to resolve as Jonathon Edwards wrote in his diary, 250 years ago,

“To never do anything, or have anything, or be anywhere that I wouldn’t want to be found the last hour of my life on earth.” 
Some of you need to make some decisions, if you have some of the old holy hardware hanging around.  Your images of the saints, your rosaries, your crucifixes, your religious stuff, pictures that you need.  You need to get rid of that.  And don’t give it away; don’t pass on the problem to someone else.  Get rid of it.  Some of you need to decide that you need to take a clear-cut stand for Christ.  The reason why Christianity doesn’t cost anything anymore is because some of you, no one even knows you’re a Christian.  If people say, “All roads lead to God.”  Say, “No, they don’t.”  If they say, “ All churches are the same.”  Say, “No, they’re not.”  If they say, “You can’t really believe the Bible.”  Say, “But, I do.”  If they say, “But we’re all going to get to heaven.”  Say, “No, we’re not.”  And lovingly tell them the truth.  And instead of accommodating your Roman Catholic friends, love them so much that you point them to their only hope which is faith and the finished work of Christ.  Let’s just sing this fifth stanza with our voices as our closing offering to the Lord and then we’ll bow for a word of prayer…

Now unto You that are able to keep us from falling.  And to present us faultless before Your presence with exceeding joy.  To the only wise God to whom be glory and majesty, dominion and power both now and evermore.  Amen.

 
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