The God of this world has two viruses he has been infecting all of humanity with since the dawn of the human race: Religion (making my own way to God) & Materialism (things are more important than God) -Religion is trying to achieve God’s favor by human achievement. -Materialism is seeking physical things (pleasures, possessions, power) more than God. To understand Rev 17/18 we have to go back to Genesis
Welcome to our class, number 17 of 20 classes, going through the book of Revelation. We’re specifically covering in this class Revelation 17, which I would assume for most of you that have read the Bible, you probably have not connected some of these thoughts. That’s why I’ve prepared some handouts. These are my class handouts for all of you that are watching. Especially for those of you that are in the course that you’ve registered for. This is very important for you and you can pause the video, take screenshots, whatever you need to do. As we look at Revelation 17, we’re looking at the wonder of how the scriptures connect together, Genesis to Revelation. Those are the bookends of the truth of God. When you understand what began in Genesis, you see the full culmination, the final product here in Revelation. We’ll see how that all connects to the scriptures and to the church. We see it today and especially what I call Satan’s two deadliest viruses.
Now we’re in the COVID-19 period. This virtual classroom is tiny. There are only three students here. My favorite student is right there, that runs the camera, my wonderful wife. The twin viruses that are the most deadly, these causes eternal doom for innumerable people, are Satan’s virus of religion. That’s what we’re going to cover in chapter 17. Then in our next class, Satan’s virus of materialism. We’ll talk about that, but let’s just pray and ask the Lord to open our hearts.
Father in Heaven, as we look at church history, as we look at the theology of Satan’s faults, church of his lie, how he masquerades as an angel of light in religion, and how he ruins most people’s lives through materialism I pray that the truth, Lord Jesus you promise that we would learn from your word, would set us free. Some might need to be set free from religion, even watching this course and probably all the rest of us need your antidote to materialism as we’re immersed in a pleasure seeking physically oriented world. So, open our eyes to behold wonderful things from your word. Bless us with our response to that, to repent, and to pursue you with our whole heart. In Jesus name. Amen.
On the side in front of you, Satan’s two deadliest viruses. On the left you see religion, that’s Revelation 17. On the right you see Revelation 18, is materialism. The god of this world has two viruses he has used to infect all of humanity since the dawn of human history. That’s what we’re going to see when we go through Genesis 3, here in just a moment.
- Religion is making my own way to God. I’m going my own way. As Isaiah said, all we like sheep have gone astray, we turn to our own way. We don’t want God’s way. We want our own way. That’s number one.
- Number two, religion is when things are more important than God. Religion is trying to achieve God’s favor by my achievement, human achievement. My way.
Materialism is seeking physical things, whether they’re physical pleasures, physical possessions, physical power, anything more than God, or in place of God, or to the neglect of God. One of the most graphic signs of materialism is our preoccupation with the material as in the electronic world and getting into whatever’s online. That robs us. Most believers struggle every day with not spending time alone with God and His word, because we’re so distracted by the material things, the physical things.
To understand Revelation 17 and 18, we have to go back to Genesis. Genesis tells us, in this slide you see down there in the corner, Satan’s two deadliest viral infections. From the beginning Satan has infected all humanity with either one or both of these viruses. Everybody you meet around the world throughout all history, either spent their life focusing on going their own way. Whether it’s their own way of religion that they designed or joining someone else’s or going their own way. Like the people you meet that say, Oh, I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in church, I just worship God out in nature or I kind of finding my own way. That’s religion going my own way. Materialism that things, pursuing things are more important than God.
What we need to do is understand Satan’s playbook. If we can understand what his methods are, if we can understand the infectious nature of his lies, then we can stay spiritually strong and healthy. You understand, once you understand his plans, we can understand how to stay strong and healthy.
When we go to the crash site of humanity, that’s what I call Genesis 3, I’m going to open there really quickly, and I’ll be reading from there and pointing out these verse. The best way to understand Revelation 17, in fact Revelation any part, is to see what begins in Genesis. The door that opens our understanding to this incredible chapter about Satan’s religion and his apostate church and all the global worship going on, the way to understand that is to go way back here to what Satan did in Genesis 3. What he did in Genesis 3 not only affected the whole human race, but his first convert, Satan’s first convert was Cain.
Do you remember, God told Cain and Able to bring a sacrifice. What sacrifice did Cain bring? He didn’t bring what God asked. He brought his own way, his own idea. He brought the best he could produce, which is what religion is. My works and my best, that comes full blown into global false worship at the tower of Babel. When they said, we don’t need God. We’re going to build a tower. We’re going to make our own way to Heaven. Our own way to Heaven, religion. That’s what we see at the tower of Babel. Then Balaam succeeds in infecting God’s chosen people of promise, Israel with the virus of idolatry.
Coming to the New Testament, by the time we get to the church of Pergamos, we find them mixing the error of Balaam and the whole, what becomes the idolatry of the Roman Catholic church, we’ll see. Then we see the antichrist setting up the image, everybody worshiping him. Finally, our chapter 17, the apostate church in global religion.
Let’s go through the crash site in Genesis 3. You just follow along in your Bible. Actually, in my Bible, if you can see right there, I actually have noted these four lies. I have them, just what I’m going to show you on this next slide.
What Satan wants us to do is to doubt God. Doubting God comes in four different directions in verse 1 of chapter 3. Look what Satan says.
“Has God indeed said,” It says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, ‘ Has God indeed said,” Now pause. In my Bible, I’ve written right next to serpent in Genesis 3:1 in little, tiny letters, I’ve written Revelation 12:9. If we didn’t have Revelation 12:9, we could endlessly argue what is the serpent? Is the serpent a symbol? What is going on here? Well Revelation 12:9 says, the serpent back here in the garden of Eden that tempted Eve was Satan. So, the serpent, I wrote chapter 12 of Revelation verse 9, is the devil and he’s more cunning.
So, what this is, is Satan using an animal. A beautiful animal before the curse and the fall. Serpents seemed to have walked uprightly, were beautiful. Whenever you find a woman talking to a snake, you know it’s not a snake like we know. Most people hate, and run from, and are scared to death of snakes. They don’t engage in conversation. So, this woman saw this beautiful creature and he talks to her. It’s the mouthpiece of the vessel, the tool that Satan uses.
- What does Satan say? Number one, “Has God indeed said”. What Satan wants is for us to doubt God. Doubting God is when we doubt His word. This is how God speaks to us. When I opened the scripture, I heard the voice of God this morning, in the dark. 5:06 AM I got up and I began working on my versus. Going into my 52 greatest chapters of the Bible, Bible study. That’s another course that I teach, an overview of all the doctrines and theology and everything in the Bible. As I was reading the word of God, I could hear the voice of God. Not audibly. My soul was learning from the King of the Universe. Satan wants us to doubt God’s word. Satan wants us to believe God’s word is just like any other book. It’s nice. It’s helpful. It’s not absolute. He wants us to question God’s word. He wants us to avoid, neglect, or whatever it takes to get us out of contact with God. He just wants us offline, of being connected to God.
- Number two, look at the second part of verse 1 it says, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” That was Satan’s second little infectious lie. Doubt God’s goodness. He wants us to doubt God . Then we doubt God when we doubt His goodness. Satan wants us to believe that God is trying to hold out on us. That’s his lie that has tied up so many people. He’s robbing us of some good times. He’s out of touch with our needs. I have met in my 40 years of pastoring, I met so many men that strayed from their marriage because they said, God doesn’t understand my needs. No, actually God does understand your needs and as the scriptures say, the eyes of a man are never satisfied. If your needs are enlarging in a reptilian way, reptiles grow bigger every year, so to sin. So does love. Satan is always saying, God doesn’t understand. He’s out of touch with your needs. He just missed the disaster you went through. He doesn’t know how much you’re going through. He messed up on how He made you. He means well, but He doesn’t quite have everything under control. Whoa, that’s an attack of the character of God.
One of the attributes of God, of the 20 plus attributes that we’ve looked at many times, one of them is God’s goodness. God always chooses what’s best. There’s a little saying I remembered as a teenager, my youth pastor used to say that: God leaves the best to those who leave the choice to Him. If you leave the choice to God, in other words, you say God in my life not my will but yours be done in my life. I want your kingdom, your rule. I want to follow your will. When you leave the choice to Him, He gives you what’s best. That’s His goodness. That’s a direct attack from Satan. One of the great truths about our God, is His moral attribute that God is good.
- Thirdly, look at verse 4. See on the slide, doubt God’s authority. That’s Genesis 3 in verse 4, Satan prior to that, was sowing seeds of doubt. Now in his third attack to Eve, he directly confronts God, and he says, “you will not surely die.” What he’s doing is doubting God’s authority. Satan wants us to doubt God. We doubt God when we doubt His authority. Satan wants us to believe God is not in charge, we’re in charge, going our own way. Religion. God isn’t interested in our choices. We’re in charge. God will not make us accountable for our deeds. We’re in charge. See, it’s like it doesn’t matter what I do, it’s okay, I’m on my own, God just lets me do anything. No, it’s a direct attack on the character of God. One of the great trues about God is another attribute of God, beyond his goodness is He is sovereign. What that means, is that God absolutely has chosen the one way, the one truth, the one life, His plan. We doubt His authority when we doubt that He is in charge.
- Then verse five, we doubt God’s plan. Satan says, Hey, if you take part in this fruit, your eyes will be opened. What Satan wants us to do is, doubt God’s plan. He wants us to believe there’s a better way to immortality. Do you see how religion is so tied to this? That when we doubt God’s plan, we say maybe there are more ways to God. Maybe there’s another way to God. Maybe there’s multiple roads. Maybe well-meaning, you know, good intention, kind of nice people. God says, No. There isn’t a better way to immortality. There’s not an easier way to glory. There’s not a quicker way to happiness.
What’s an example? It was just announced this week, what are we on May 1st? It is May 1st. It was just announced this week that we’re at the ultimate highest point in American history of people not being married. They said people are living together with partners and we’re at the lowest amount of recorded people being married, as a percentile of our country. Did you know, that’s doubting God’s plan. It’s again, this is an attack on the very word of God. God’s word is sufficient. One of the characteristics God gave us about His word is that everything God wants us to know about a particular doctrine or situation is in the scripture and He’s revealed His plan. His plan for marriage has planned for the family, has planned for our career, has planned for how to get to Heaven. It’s in His word.
So, where are we in Revelation? We’ve come to the third division. We went back to Genesis to look at this third division. Christ Church on Earth chapters, 1-3. Christ Church in Heaven, chapter 4 & 5 and the beginning of 1. Now we’re in the third section, the tribulation events in Heaven and on Earth, that’s chapter 6 to 18. Look where we are, we’re finishing up the tribulation. This class, chapter 17, with religion. Then the next class, chapter 18, with materialism. Then, of course the tribulation ends with the second coming.
Have you ever seen that bumper sticker right there? You see it? That coexist bumper sticker. I see them all the time. It has the crescent moon of Islam. It has the peace symbol. Has the equal rights. The Star of David. Then the ying and yang and then the cross. What we need to understand from Revelation 17 is the connection between Satan’s religion & paganism and how that plays out with the end of the world.
So back from Genesis to Revelation 17. Let me read the first verse and it says, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls”
Now remember where we are. We saw starting in chapter 6, the seals. Then in chapter 8, the trumpets. Then starting in chapter 11, verse 15, the bowls. Now look what we’ve come to, the seven bowl angel came out and said, “…I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.”
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls is showing us, in the 17th chapter, Satan’s ongoing system of counterfeiting God’s truth. Satan puts up his own counterfeit, his lies.
What Satan’s plan is, in verses 1 -6 six of Revelation 17, it’s exposed. God says this is Satan’s plan. So, God turns the light on and said, Satan has constantly wanted to counterfeit My plan. He wants you to doubt God’s plan so that you’ll take his plan.
Secondly, his plan is explained. That’s Revelation 17, 7-15. So, it’s exposed for six verses and the next nine verses it’s explained and then God extinguishes it. In other words, He destroys this world religion. That’s culminating after He covers materialism with the second coming of Christ. So we’re going to see that destruction.
Revelation 17 can be divided into three sections.
- Exposing Satan’s plan,
- Explaining his plan,
- Extinguishing it.
So, let’s do that first exposing. Satan’s religions versus the true bride of Christ. Revelation 17 is the collapse of the apostate church. It’s described starting in verse 2, all the “kings of the Earth have committed fornication […] they’ve made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
You say fornication? Now, what are we talking about? God said this, to understand this idea of fornication look back at 2 Corinthians 11. 2 Corinthians 11 remember analogia scriptura of the scriptures explain the scriptures in 2 Corinthians 11 in verse 2, Paul explains the church, the local church, what every one of us here are a part of.
Paul says,” I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ.” So, the church, each of us individually, I am engaged to Jesus Christ. I am headed toward a marriage supper of the Lamb in Revelation 19. I am headed to Heaven to the place He’s prepared for me. He is the one I am marrying, that is going to provide for me, protect me, that is going to nurture me. This is going to give me endless delights for eternity that is pictured as marriage to Jesus Christ. For us we’re tainted. We think, Oh, marriage and Christ. Our view of marriage is a little bit tainted because we’re fallen. So, we think is that a sexual metaphor? Is that something positive? Look what it says, “I’ve betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” To show up at that marriage supper with a chaste virgin but look at verse 3. “But I fear, lest somehow,” this is 2 Corinthians 11:3, “as the serpent deceived Eve.”
Oh, look over here, this is Genesis 3. Paul is exactly tying religion, this harlot that we see in chapter 17 of Revelation, he’s tying it back to Genesis 3.
“As the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds will be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Totally tying together, the religion, going our own way, that Satan’s promoting with God’s true plan that the instant we’re saved we’re betrothed to Christ. We will explain that more.
What is mystery Babylon? Chapter 17 is about the great whore we see in the first six verses. She rides the beast with seven heads and 10 horns. She’s the mother of harlots and abominations, and she’s drunk with the saints. Did you know, more Christians have been killed by religion than anything else? That’s what’s going on. That’s what this chapter is talking about.
The next time we get together in chapter 18, we’re looking at Babylon the Great, the city, kings, and merchants, and all those that trade by sea.
Now, mystery, Babylon in chapter 17 is tying together what I showed you right here. Now look at Babel. Now, look at the slide in front of you. Semiramis, Ishtar, Ashteroth, Isis, Aphrodite and Venus. Have you ever heard of any of those? The Roman Venus? The Greek god Aphrodite. Egyptians, we have Isis. All of these are these fertility gods of ancient religion. All of them come from the tower of Babel. Ishtar from Syria. Ashteroth, the constant nemesis for Israel came from Phoenecia. Isis, the Israelites picked up in their time in Egypt. Aphrodite from the Greek world and of course, Venus was the goddess of love from the Roman world. Now this is getting a little heavy, this is history, but think about this; in all of false religions that Satan has spawned and invented there’s always a mother goddess, Semiramis who has a son, Tammuz. Ishtar has a son also called Tammuz. Ashteroth has a son you all know the name of this one, Baal. Ashteroth mother, Baal son. Isis in Egypt has a son, Osiris. Have you studied much about Egyptology and all the false religions of the pyramids and everything? Isis, the mother. Osiris, the son. Aphrodite, the mother and Eros, the son. Of course, everyone knows this one, Venus, the mother in Rome and Cupid the son. Valentine’s day, little, fat, naked cherub, that’s Cupid.
That is mystery, Babylonian. Religion. You say, what does that have to do with anything? Let me just share with you just really quickly, we’ll cover this in detail to come.
- The mother goddess, whichever one it is, Isis or Ashteroth or Venus in mystery religions has a son.
- This son is out hunting and gets killed by a wild animal and the animal tears up the son, the mother goes and collects the pieces of the son.
- Now listen and mourns for him for 40 days.
- At the end of 40 days, the son rises from the dead.
Oh, wait a minute, the beloved son of the mother is killed, mourned for 40 days and rises from the dead? What is 40 days long in Christendom? Lent. Where did Lent come from? It’s not in the Bible. It’s a direct manufacture of Satan into, right here in Pergamos, the church. That’s what we’re going to study in this lesson.
Before we go too far ahead of ourselves, remember the two women I told you about, about three classes ago when we were in chapter 12. I said that Israel in chapter 12 is this woman clothed with the sun, moon and stars; attacked by the dragon; who has a son; who’s protected by the Lord. That’s the woman in chapter 12, Israel.
Look at chapter 17, this woman’s riding the beast on many waters; she’s the mother of harlots; she’s clothed in purple, scarlet and gold; she reigns in the Earth; 10 Kings follow her, and the dragons sustains her, not God. See the contrast between Israel and chapter 17, this great whore.
Satan’s plan exposed. Look at chapter 11 again, if you’re still there. My Bible is still open to 2Corinthians 11. Look at verse 14. It says, I’ll start in 13, “For such are false apostles.” See all this error coming into the church, “transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder!” Look at verse 14, 2 Corinthians 11, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.”
What is Satan’s plan? Satan’s plan is to counter God’s plan and to tell people they can go their own way to God by achieving, by working hard, by religion, by doing the five pillars of Islam, or following the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church, or knocking door to door as Jehovah’s witnesses, or going to the temple in Salt Lake City. Religion is not God’s way.
In the next side you see Cain, the tower of Babel, the beast and the final world religion. Do you remember what happened after Satan deceived Adam and Eve and they fell into sin? God provided a way for them to come back. Do you remember how? The Lord killed animals in their place? A substitutionary sacrifice, clothed them with those animals skins and told them how they could come to an altar. So, God’s way was substitution of what we call a substitutionary sacrifice, that you came to by faith. See, that’s the gospel that’s been around since the garden of Eden.
God says you need a substitute who dies in your place and you by faith trust Him. The first convert that Satan gets to his false plan of religion was Cain. Cain brought, the Bible says in chapter 4, the best of His produce, not a substitute generic animal whose blood atoned. See, it had to be a sacrifice of blood. Remember Leviticus, 17:11? “The life of the flesh is in the blood.” There had to be the shedding of blood, of a life given through sacrificial death. That was God’s plan. So, right from creation and the garden of Eden, God said my plan involves you trusting in a substitute.
Do you know what the Jewish sacrificial system was? The Jewish people were to bring a lamb or a little bull or whatever clean animal that was prescribed in the law to the priest. The priest would take it, look at it, make sure it was a proper animal and then the priest would hold it while the person bringing the sacrifice put their hands on the head of that animal and confessed over it their sins. What they were doing is, they were saying this animal is substituting in my place. Then the priest killed it. The person was not forgiven because they put their hands on the head or the animal died but that they trusted by faith in the substitute. That’s the gospel.
From Cain and the tower of Babel, all the way through, Satan has had a plan. How did all of that get into the church?
Right here in Babel, the tower of Babel, the origin of paganism comes in the beginning. The organized religion was 24 centuries BC, in the Plain of Shiner. Over in what we would call modern day Babylon.
The first full-time minister of Satan was Nimrod, he’s mentioned. He’s Noah’s wicked and apostate grandson. Secular history tells us that Nimrod married a woman who’s called Semiramis. Now, remember the mother/son Semiramis and Tammuz? That comes from right here. So, the first convert was here, but the first organized religion starts right here in Babel. This idea of worshiping the pagan false, idolatrous, religion of Satan’s way instead of God’s way, gets into Israel, grows in Israel.
In fact, this next slide shows it in chapter 44 of Jeremiah verses 17 to 19. Semiramis becomes what Balaam introduces them to worship in Israel, she becomes the queen. It says in Jeremiah 44, they call Semiramis the Queen of Heaven. She’s worshiped with little wafers, that’s talked about in Jeremiah 44. They have a tea on them for Tammuz and they worship her. Ashteroth is the mother and Tammuz is the son. The son Tammuz was killed, mourned, rises from the dead, and was worshiped. That’s what goes on from the time of Balaam all the way through Israel’s history, until the destruction of Israel. In Jeremiah 44, the words Queen of Heaven are found five times in that book and Semiramis is called the Queen of Heaven. Semiramis was worshiped by the offering of a wafer cake with her son’s name on it. She began the 40 days of weeping before the feast of celebrating his resurrection, which is brought into the church by this paganism merging with the church. How did that happen?
See the slide, Revelation 2:12-17 in Pergamum. Thus, the ancient mystery religions of Babylon were brought by Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar, the first Roman kind of emperor that was actually murdered because he tried to become the emperor. Then his nephew Octavius became the emperor. He so believed in this mystery religion, that he imported it from Babylon to Asia Minor to a shrine that he set up. All of these priests of Semiramis and Tammuz and all this pagan mystery religion, comes to this city. This city began to follow the ways of Baal and mystery religion. Jesus condemns them. See in verses 12 to 17, the saints at Pergamos had gotten too close to the wickedness of idol worship around them. They slowly got comfortable going back to the old haunts of those idols and idolatry is very hard to resist.
What happened next? Constantine in 313 AD, the Roman emperor legalized Christianity. What he did is he said, Constantine said, what we’ll do is, we’ll take all of the pagan priests of Rome and merge them with the church of Christ of Christianity. That’s what became the Roman – that’s this part, catholic – that’s this part, church. That’s when paganism through Constantine in 313 AD, that’s when the paganism of Rome’s mother/son religion, 40 days, wafers with teas and all these priests merged together.
Look at the next slide. This is the growth of the Roman Catholic Church. What we see in Revelation 13 has taken a long time to take place. The early church that resisted all of this and was opposed to it merged into the Roman Catholic church. Now see, this is the early church of the book of Acts and the apostles of Jesus Christ. The early church morphs to the Roman Catholic church by Constantine’s 313 merging together of all the pagan priests. He constantly was a politician. He says, I can’t get rid of all those temples and I can’t get rid of all those state sponsored priests of this Semiramis stuff. What I’ll do is, I’ll just put you together and make one big religion.
What happens by 593 AD that’s about 600 AD at that time, 300 years after the Roman Catholic church is full blown, they start the doctrine of purgatory. Can you see that on the slide, it’s really small print. Then they go into the idea of clergy not able to be married and there’s the great divorce actually in 1075.
Then the inquisition starts, then indulgences begin, and then transubstantiation. Transubstantiation is, it’s part of this whole wafer thing, where the priests would hold up a normal piece of bread and say it, through the offering to the gods in the old days and then in the Roman Catholic church through the incantation of the, this is my body “Hoc est corpus meum”, it changed normal bread into the body of Christ. That’s what happened in the Catholic church. Works, not faith was the way to Heaven.
Then we have the Reformation. Then from the Reformation, we have the Evangelical church and the great mission’s movement. Now, where are we today? We have the whole charismatic and renewal church. What does the early church, the Catholic church, the Reformation church, the Evangelical and the Charismatic, what do they all have in common? The Bible.
Now, look at this. Much of Roman Catholicism is absolutely true. This much of the Reformation church was based in the Bible, this much of the Evangelical church and this much of the Charismatic church and this much of the early church, but all of the iterations that followed have a part that’s not in the Bible.
What’s Romanism? The damnable doctrine of works. That you can earn your way.
What about the Reformation church? What we call theological drift. Which basically is this, verse of the Bible, verse of the Bible, conclusion from that verse of the Bible verse, the Bible conclusion from that verse. Now these conclusions are directly anchored to the scripture watch this. Conclusion from two conclusions. Is theological drift. This doctrine is no longer tied to the scripture. It may be true, but it’s not scriptural. It’s logical. That’s what we come up with in the Reformation church. That’s where we get such things as dual predestination. They said that God predestined some people to Hell and some to Heaven. Have you ever heard that doctrine? That is very clearly a part of the Reformation church. Is that in the Bible? Do you find that here? No, but you find it logically here.
Then what did the evangelical church do? They got into problem of traditions over the word. What’s one of the clearest ones we call it invitationalism. That is a real blight. Invitationalism is that if you raise your hand or pray a prayer, you’re saved no matter whether God does anything to you or not. If you did that, you’re saved. Now the Bible says, whoever calls the name of the Lord shall be saved but what it says is when God saves you Acts 26:18, you get a new heart and a new spirit. Invitationalism, which started in about 1830 was if you had a good, very powerful preacher and he told people to come to the front and they did, they thought that by them coming to the front or praying or doing something, they got saved. That’s where the church gradually got diluted.
Then of course the charismatic renewal church has so much truth in it, but their excesses and experience has taken over the word. So, that’s basically, what’s been going on over the history. You can see in these slides, the slide away from the scripture.
Where it gets to, is in 1 Timothy 4:1. Paul says that in the last days, many “will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
So, Satan’s plan is exposed, to get the church away from the scriptures. That’s always the danger and that’s why it’s important to be a Berean Christian. To do as it says in Acts 17:11 to search the scriptures, to see whether what you’re being taught is true.
How did we get from Romanism into all the denominations today? That’s what this next slide is, on the left, the entire chart of the split away, that started in AD 313, when paganism merged. But where did it go? Then on the right, you see that’s the denominational tree.
- It starts with Judaism and then Jesus.
- Then the one holy New Testament early church,
- Then we have starting, branching off from there, the Armenians, the Coptic’s, the Eastern Orthodox, the Greek Orthodox.
- Then look at the right, the Radical Reformers – Hutterite, Mennonite, Brethren.
- Then you see the Lutherans – the Pietist, what we would even call today the Baptist General Conference.
- Then we see the Reformed church, the Roman Catholic church, and the Anglican church going their way.
- Out of Anglicanism comes the Episcopalian, the Assemblies of God, the Methodists, the Holiness movement.
- Out of the Reformed tradition comes the Quakers, the Baptist, the Congregationalists, the Universalists, the Unitarians, the Presbyterians, and the Christian Reformed.
Now this isn’t a church history course, but those are the origins.
We’re focusing on this (see slide), before we go today, I want to talk to you about religion as we see it today. It says in Hebrews 9:25, let me read it to you. “Not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with the blood of another,” remember this substitutionary sacrifice? “He then would have had to suffer often.” This is talking about Christ, “since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the world, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
What is the essence of what we believe about salvation? It’s that on the cross, Jesus Christ died one sacrificial death, for all time, not to be repeated. Once for all time, that Jesus died on the cross 2000 years ago, AD 30 to 33. He died on that cross once for all time. Now, look back at that sacrifice. We are in the future, looking back. All of those that were in this time of the substitutionary atonement in Genesis, being talked about by God, looked forward to the cross.
What’s the essence of religion? For Roman Catholicism, the center of everything that the Roman Catholic church is focused on, is called the mass. What is the mass? The mass is the offering of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ through what they call the elevation of the host. The Roman Catholic priest takes the hosts, the bread, the picture of the body of Christ and lifts it up and says in Latin, Hoc est corpus meum, this is my body. By lifting that up and saying those words and lowering it down, the Roman Catholic church teaches that through the doctrine of transubstantiation, that bread becomes the actual body of Christ.
Now, Martin Luther broke with that and talked about consubstantiation. He said consubstantiation, that it was like Christ presence, hovered near the bread, but the bread didn’t become His body. So, Luther consubstantiation, con + alongside of. Trans = transformed into. So, Roman Catholicism said that the bread became the body of Christ. Luther said the presence of Christ was near it. What we believe is that it is a symbol. That basically it’s still a Cracker. It’s still an unleavened piece of bread, is still Matza bread, but it symbolizes the body of Christ. In mass, that’s not what it is. It’s a re-sacrifice of Christ body.
So, next slide, there are seven reasons that I am not a Roman Catholic.
- Number one because of the mass. Mass is wrong because Christ is being offered over and over again. Secondly, because of the inordinate place of merit. So, the mass is number one why I could never be a Roman Catholic.
- Two is Mary. The bottom line of Mary is, she’s being given the attributes of God. People cried of Mother Mary, as if she can hear them, all over the world. And not just hear them, which would be omniscience, but help them, which would be omnipotence. I was invited to go to a ladies Bible study once. There were eight ladies around the table, they all had their Bibles open. They were all Roman Catholic. They said, you’re a Bible teacher, could you answer a question? They say, what do you think of our Roman Catholicism? I said I believe that there are born again Christians that are within the Roman Catholic church, but I believe Roman Catholic doctrine is wrong. They said, what’s wrong with it?
I said number one, mass. This idea of transubstantiation becoming the body of Christ and sacrificing Christ over and over again is absolutely against scripture. Number two, ascribing to Mary the attributes of God is horrible. They couldn’t understand until I said, okay, if Mary is not divine, which the Bible says she’s not. She was a sinner that needed to be forgiven. Luke chapter 1 tells us that. I said, how can Mary hear you? When you cried to her in your car. When you cry to her at the hospital. Unless she’s omniscient, knows everything I said, and then how can she help you unless she’s all powerful. It was interesting that in those eight ladies, half of them, after we looked at the scriptures, looked up at me and went, wow. Mary is not omnipotent. The other half looked at me and got up and walked out. To them Mary is the mother of God, the co-mediatrix. So, seven reasons I’m not a Catholic. Mass. Mary.
- Number three, traditions. The elevating of traditions over the scripture. See, the Roman Catholic church, their whole tradition of mass and everything else that is unbiblical, they elevate over scripture.
- Number four is, images. Did you know, you can find on the dashboard or on a necklace a St. Christopher medal. This idea of images, the veneration or worship of images. The scriptures tell us God cannot be reduced to physical form. He’s not to be worshiped by things we make with our hands.
- Number five, the false teaching of sacramentalism. In other words, that you are baptized as a baby, then you’re confirmed, then you go through confessions, and pennants, and holy orders, and extreme unction. All the sacraments are like stairsteps to Heaven or it’s like an IV that you get a little drop from the church and as long as you keep getting drops from the church, you make it to Heaven. That’s not in the Bible.
- Sixthly, the teaching about purgatory is absolutely wrong. The idea that Jesus didn’t do enough on the cross and you have to serve time being burned and cleansed in purgatory.
- Finally, number seven, not only purgatory, but the practice of Roman Catholicism tied to paganism. Purgatory is just one, but there’s still so much paganism. Like Lent, I just showed you. Lent is paganism robes, vestments beads, candles, the whole elevation, even the head dress that the Roman Catholic Pope wears comes from pagan Rome, not from the Bible.
One fascinating time in our lives when Bonnie and I served in New England was chronicled, what we saw, what’s written in Acts 19:19 when Paul was preaching to the saints in Ephesus, it says this in verse 19,” and many of those who had practice magic brought their books and burn them right in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them and that was 50,000 pieces of silver.”
The pastor that preceded us in Rhode Island, where we served at this historic church, had taught many of the people that they should have nothing to do with mass, and Mary, and tradition, and images, and sacraments, and purgatory, and paganism. He said, some of you still have vestiges of this because you’re a former Roman Catholics. When we started at the church, I’ll never forget my first Sunday as I was shaking hands, every other person would say, thank you, Father. That was such a good message. Thank you, Father. I thought, what are you talking about? They were talking like; I was the priest.
Do You know what this pastor did? He put this 55-gallon drum by the communion table and he says, tonight we’re having communion and I want you to do Acts 19:19. I want you to go through your house and find all the images and all the rosaries and all of the other holy hardware that you have that materializes spiritual things. I want you to throw them into that can and renounce that and have nothing to do with any of the pagan elements that have merged into Christ Church. It was an amazing time. That church ended up planting 20 other churches and a revival went throughout that whole state of Rhode Island because people said, I do not want anything to do with going my own way, with religion. It’s deadly. It’s doubting God’s plan, His authority, His word, and the Lord blessed them.
Bottom line, there are only two choices. Jesus said, only two destinations.
As we see in the book of Genesis, one of the greatest pictures of salvation. In the book of, yes Genesis, in what we call the Sunday school story of Noah and the what? Remember the ark? That big floating box. How many doors went into the ark? One door. Not many. Religion says there are many doors, Christ our only hope says you come to me through one door, one way, one sacrifice, a substitutionary sacrifice for you on the cross. What’s interesting is once you understand that, do you remember once knowing his family and the animals got in the ark God closed the door and they didn’t drown. They didn’t fall out. They weren’t lost. There’s only one way to the Lord. There’s no other name under Heaven whereby we must be saved other than the name of Jesus Christ. Beware of Satan’s two deadliest viruses. Religion going my own way. Materialism, letting anything be more important than God.
Let’s bow for a closing word of prayer.
Father, I thank you that revelation brings together all of these doctrines that actually begin in your word, in Genesis. Thank you for you, Lord Jesus Christ, our only hope, our substitute who died in our place once and for all. We are not saved by going our own way, but by coming through your way, believing your truth and by grace having your life. I pray that you would guide us through this study to defend, and know, and understand, and proclaim your truth. In the name of Jesus we pray, and all God’s people said, Amen.