“So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.” ~ Psalms 90:12
ETERNAL TIME LINE – LIVE LIKE JESUS IS COMING BACK TODAY AND PLAN LIKE JESUS WILL RETURN IN A THOUSAND YEARS.
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A LOOK AT HISTORY THE ROMAN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE
FROM Acts chapter eight, to the report of the Roman Emperor Constantine supposedly being saved, the church had been operating around a hundred years in its purest form – out of the temple and from “house to house.” During the persecution from Rome, Christians were forced to the underground catacombs to hide, live and worship Jesus in secret. Archaeologists have uncovered several chambers where 40-50 believers could meet to worship God corporately. But, they didn’t just “go to church there” they lived there. The catacombs were their homes. They raised their children, ate, worshipped and buried their dead there.
The birth of the “Future Bride of Christ” – the Church – was delivered and sealed with great bloodshed, and Satan’s first plan was to destroy the Church with violence. Christians were tortured and greatly persecuted. However, the more that were killed, the more others would spring up and take their place.
Satan then changed his tactics. His next plan was to stop the persecution and substitute it with the allurements of temporal prosperity and worldly glamour, which usually come with “building ministry.”
Finally Constantine, a so-called “born again” Roman Emperor, tried to unite his kingdom of idol worshippers with those who followed Jesus and called off the feud against God’s people. Here it comes, the building ministry was reintroduced right here. He opened up massive public buildings and gave them to both groups, so they would come together.
One such building is known as The Basilica. The Catholic religion celebrates this building as a symbol of persecution ended and a new age begun. But the history shows that this was the turning point of returning back to a building/temple system. Who they call “St. John Lateran Basilica” was murdered by Nero Emperor of Rome. Later his property passed to Constantine as the dowry of his wife Fausta. Constantine then presented it to Pope St Melchiades for the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Religion.
With a well thought out military plan, it took Satan only about a hundred years to gradually re-establish “temple worship.” Paul warned us not to allow this old leaven to enter because it would ruin the whole batch, I Corinthians 5:7. History and current day, shows us that eventually it did.
There was a catch to Constantine opening the public buildings. What it did was bring unity between two spiritual groups – Paganism and Christianity. It is possible he had the hope that the Christians would influence and win the pagans to Christ. But the result was disastrous, as the Christians lowered their standards through the many compromises.
History shows that the Pagans claimed to accept Christ and join the followers of Jesus but they continued to worship idols. The only difference was that they changed the objects of their worship from statues of frogs, snakes, trees and dead ancestors to images of Jesus, Mary – and even the Apostles themselves.
This was a resurrection of the old legal system with a new look. Again this was a system of making buildings, statues, cups and clothes sacred, but added the focus of idol worship, which came with Pagan influence. This began an infiltration of lustful, greedy and power hungry motives that not only took over the Roman Government, but also the Body of Christ. The takeover happened by slowly removing the written word of God from the general public and promoting men, (professional clergy as keepers of the Scriptures). They were to be the only ones qualified to handle the Holy Scriptures. Thus we were led into the Dark Ages. Without the Word of God, superstitions ran wild and the general public began to believe anything.
Truly, Jesus describes these leaders as he did the Pharisees in His days on earth.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte (convert); and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.” ~ Matthew 23:13-15
Clergy set themselves up as God Himself, and purgatory was introduced to hold the public in fear. With the Doctrine of Indulgences, money began to exchange hands, where people could make payments to “the church,” to get their dead loved ones out of the fire of purgatory and into heaven.
In conclusion; either Constantine was Satan himself parading as an “Angel of Light,” or a truly naïve follower of Jesus, who was just used of Satan as was Peter, Matthew 16:23. History points to him as the one who re-established temple worship, professional clergy, and the one who encouraged Christians to come back into buildings. Whatever the answer is, Constantine was certainly used to entangle again the once free Body of Christ with the yoke of bondage, Galatians 5:1.
From the 4th century to the 16th century, this dark demonic system went along without challenge growing into a monster until a man named Martin Luther arrived on the scene. At the age of 18, Luther entered the University of Erfurt and discovered a Latin Bible, a book he had never seen before. Can you imagine? Luther, a believer and follower of Jesus, who didn’t fit into this Romanism system, now armed with the Bible, I Corinthians 4, opposed the teaching. He used the Scriptures, the Truth, the Word of God, as his defence.
THE CHURCH REFORMATION? REFORMATION OF CONTENT BUT NOT REFORMATION OF THE SYSTEM
Unfortunately, as time has revealed, we went from one ditch to another. As Luther debated the unscriptural practices of the Church, (named Romanism or Roman Catholicism), he met great political opposition. Luther was soon excommunicated and labeled the “devil in the flesh.” Trying to follow the Word of God, Luther found himself leading a new group, which was eventually called The Protestants.
Those who followed Luther (the Protestants) would have done great had they just separated themselves and gone their way with God fulfilling Revelation 18:4 “come out from among them”. However, the ditch they fell into was to continue to fight and debate the Catholics. Their war became the great task of proving their way right and converting Catholics to become Protestants. Unfortunately the very thing the Protestants hated and protested against (professional clergy controlling the saints) was the very thing they ended up with – even today. Looking back it is easy to see the fact that Luther did change the “content” of what Christians had because of the new freedom in reading the Word of God for themselves but the old system remained the same. The Protestants did have a new name but same old system.
The Roman Catholics had ultimate power and government control. They set up clergy to be as God, and didn’t allow people freedom of the knowledge of The Word – let alone a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. People had to go through a priest in order to get to God. Because of a lack of knowledge, Hosea 4:6, the people were controlled, manipulated and abused by power-hungry men with evil demonic motives…these leaders were driven by greed, lust and pride. The ripping of the veil in the temple (which separated man from God) at the death of Jesus was not taught.
ROMAN CATHOLICS TODAY
Today in the Roman Catholic Denomination history has only exposed more years of abuse. The Inquisition (religious group who killed everyone who didn’t believe the way they did) murdered more people than Hitler. But everyone says that was in the past, we don’t do that anymore. Yet, as of the year 2004, hundreds of people who have been sexually abused by “so-called” men of God, have come forward to testify of the atrocities of sexual abuse and bribe money. Once again this denomination has murdered thousands of homes and relationships not counting how many suicides are on their head. This is an institution where, “Holy” men and women have followed a doctrine of demons…
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods…” ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-3
Verse three gives a Biblical doctrine of demonic realm “men who forbid marriage”. In this doctrine some men are homosexual, some are not but most all of them are confused. There seems to be an image of accountability in these organizations but there is not. That is, not until the worldly court system gets involved.
News flash: in 2007 the new “Pope” just announced that the only true church in the world is the Catholic Church. This is TODAY!
Today the Protestants look different than the Roman Catholics but ultimately have become the same monster as Catholicism. The Protestant system is similar to the independence of the United States and the government of democracy. The Protestants rule, control and manipulate through a democratic process called politics. Voting and the democratic process seem to give a “feel” of freedom-of-choice in their present religious system.
To see a Protestant congregation, on a Sunday night, take a vote to “boot-out” an old Pastor so they can “hire” or “vote-in” a charismatic young Pastor has got to be one of the most sorrowful images in one’s mind. To see friends, supposedly Christians following the way of Christ, get into a fist fight in a board meeting because half of the men want blue song books and the other half want red ones. It is surprising that it came to this, as usually the wives have already lobbied to make sure the vote goes their way.
Why do you think the saying is said over and over in the religious world: “The preacher ran off with the organist.”? Because it happens! Again, there seems to be an image of accountability in these organizations but there is not. There is only an image of accountability.
The Minister’s long flowing robes and white collars have been exchanged for a suit and tie. The Buildings with beautiful stained glass windows, and a ringing bell in the steeple, are replaced with a seminar room at a nearby hotel. However, it is the same old system, the same old monster, the same old wine and the same old wine skin, Matthew. 9:17. We have come out of one ditch and jumped straight into another.
END OF THE BATTLE
It has been proven that Satan cannot extinguish the Word or the Spirit of the Church. But he can, and has, neutralized it. The enemy of the Church tries to get our eyes off the true commission:
“….Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” ~ Mark 16:15-18
If Satan can keep us fighting in the flesh between other religious opinions he has neutralized, nullified – and won this part of the battle.
“…thus invalidating (nullify) the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down…” ~ Mark 7:13
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places…” ~ Ephesians 6:11-12
Still today these two religious groups spend much of their time and energy fighting each other or making a truce to join each other. The end of the battle with these two large groups led by Satan is when they outwardly lay down their weapons and unite themselves, (with other political forces), as one world power, or one-world order, Revelation 18. Sound familiar? The union has been happening for some time, but we are just now seeing it become public.
Where are we from 1998 to today on the history time line? Here is what I do know: this Church Age does not last for ever. There is an end to this age as we are ushered into the wedding banquet. We transition from the engaged Bride of Christ to The Bride of Christ! We are now living at the end of the Church Age which is identified as the season of the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22.
Worldwide we are lukewarm, about ready to be spit out of our Lord’s mouth. We say, “We are rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and we do not know that we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Jesus has advised us to buy from Him gold refined by fire so that we may become rich, and white garments so that we may clothe ourselves, and that the shame of our nakedness would not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint our eyes so that we may see. He has reproved and disciplined us because He loves us. He has commanded us to be zealous and repent. If we repent He has promised to come in and dine with us. He has promised those who overcome, permission to sit down with Him on His throne, just as He also overcame and sat down with His Father on His throne. He has told us to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
We are also at the peak of the parable of the Prodigal Son Luke 15:11. The Church is the Prodigal Son that has stepped out from under Jesus the Head of the Church. Today our timeline shows us that The Prodigal Son (the church) is in the very PEAK of its worldly living. Just turn on a TV to a religious station and tell me if “The Church” isn’t living in an unrestrained, wild, loose, riotous living.
We will see a remnant of “The true Church” return to Jesus who is the “Head”. Maybe that turning will start with you and me.
What have we discovered in Chapter Seven?
30. Satan’s tactics changing from persecution to seduction.
31. Constantine to Paganism to Romanism to the Dark Ages.
32. Martin Luther – new content same old system.
33. The Church Age will end.
34. Time Line; lukewarm Laodicea and the height of worldly living; the Prodigal Son.
Personal Journal Insert:
“Oh, Father, it is one in the morning and the last of the study group has gone to their own homes. As I sit here, Your Presence lingers like the fragrance of a cinnamon candle filling every inch of the room. Lord, I know I should go to bed and sleep but if You wouldn’t mind, I think I will sit here a little longer. Thank You for Your Presence, I worship You Lord, I praise Your Holy Name…”