What facts do we know for sure on this topic? Profound consequences will flow from your idea as to who or what the antichrist is. This concept will shape your beliefs to a significant extent.
I JOHN 2:18
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Antichrist has been around since the early church. They were part of the original church but left to follow their own beliefs and thus set up an alternative or rival church system. Like Judas, they were followers of Christ until led astray, in his case, by the love of money. So a rich church system becomes a possible candidate for the antichrist system. Today Christians pursue wealth and use their prosperity as proof of God’s blessing. But the early church gave away its wealth. Makes one think!
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men,
as every man hadneed.
Perhaps our western world’s obsession with material success is not such a great idea after all.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Don’t say that we have not been warned.
“Many antichrists” speak of many errors. Antichrist is thus at least 2 000 years old and is not necessarily a person but rather a system of “Christian” belief that is anti Scripture ( since Christ is the Word ) but has survived 2 000 years to be the oldest of church beliefs and also very rich. Judas was a “disciple” of Jesus who was in it for the money. This system of belief can also have a figurehead man as leader. Antichrist can refer to the system or to the figurehead. Nazism can refer to the system of Nazis that ran Germany or to their figurehead, Adolf Hitler.
What clues can we pick up from the Bible to establish who this source of anti Bible error is?
Let us ask that great prophet Daniel.
And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come ( the antichrist ) shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
The Jewish temple was impressive but man-made. This man-made structure did not save the Jews from their destruction at the hands of the Romans in AD 70 after they had rejected Jesus in AD 33. Our man-made church systems will not save us from the Tribulation if we reject any Bible truths.
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
There are two main princes. Messiah the Prince ( God incarnate in the Man Jesus ) and Satan wanting to be incarnate in an end time man and figurehead as he did it in Judas.
And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
At the end of time, Satan will enter a man ( the figurehead of the antichrist system ) making him into a superman who will rule the world for the brief time of the Tribulation.
But there must be some antichrist religious system that has been built up over the past 2 000 years for this end time superman to take over.
This superman will be the final antichrist “prince that shall come”. Who then are his people? Who will bring him into power? The people who destroyed the Jewish Temple. These were the Romans. The Jews had held off the Romans for 3 years in a desperate war staring in 66 AD. In 66 AD they defeated the Romans who were incompetently led. Then the Romans sent four legions under the competent general Vespasian and his son Titus. He began to ruthlessly take control of the country side. When the emperor Nero died in 68 AD the Roman general had to stop fighting when the emperor Nero died as he needed permission from the new emperor to continue the war. But three generals, Galba, Ortho and Vitellius each briefly seized power for a few months. Meanwhile Vespasian had to wait for orders so the Jewish war was put on hold. Then Vespasian’s soldiers declared him emperor. So he returned to Rome in AD 70 to seize power and told his son Titus that he needed a quick and brutal victory over the Jews to boost his shares in Rome as the conquering hero and new emperor. Titus besieged Jerusalem, starved the inhabitants and finally slaughtered 1 100 000 Jews as they destroyed Jerusalem. In the process the temple caught fire. The golden vessels in the Temple melted and ran into the cracks between the stones. The Romans then tore the temple stones apart to get this gold. Alexander the Great conquered the Persians, who were the world’s first super power, with 50 000 soldiers in less than four years. The Romans had sent 80 000 soldiers to Israel, which was just a remote Roman province, and this war had dragged on for four years. This made the Romans the laughing stock of the world. They were so mad with the Jews that they slaughtered 1,1 million Jews and razed the Temple to the ground to teach the Jews a lesson. Thousands of Jewish slaves were taken to Rome to build the Colosseum with all the wealth that Titus looted from the Temple. The Colosseum was to be the place where Christians were later killed by wild beasts.
So the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple and are thus the people of the final antichrist prince that shall come.
Let us get another clue from Daniel.
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Time is what we measure on a watch ( the time of the day ) or time is what we measure on a calendar ( the time of the month or the time of the year ).
What is called Communion today ( or mass in the Roman Catholic church ) was an event that Jesus instituted after He and the disciples had finished the feast of unleavened bread which was a supper meal that celebrated the feast of the Passover which happened on the night before the Passover lamb was killed. He did this at night time and the Roman Catholic church later changed the time of the day to daytime for this ceremony. The Protestants later copied this Catholic example of taking communion during daylight hours.
I CORINTHIANS 11:23
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
The ceremony was done at night but today the Catholic church is happy to celebrate what they call Mass in the morning. Protestants follow their lead and are happy to celebrate what they call Communion in the morning as well. This makes it the Lord’s breakfast.
And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;
It was after supper that Jesus performed the ceremony that is called communion and footwashing. ( Most Christians have dropped the footwashing part ).
The time for this ceremony was changed from night time to morning. Christians accept this by saying that it makes no difference. So the Catholic church changed the time of communion ( or mass ) from night time to day time. Thus they changed the time of the day for this ceremony.
Thinking, with human logic, to change times is the mark of the antichrist.
Our function is to follow the example of Jesus and not to change what He did into something different that suits us better. Christianity is more about sacrifice than about comfort and convenience. That is why the foot washing ceremony has also been dropped by most churches. It is too inconvenient.
Then the Roman Catholic church changed the day of the month as well as changing the month. Nobody knows the day or month when Jesus was born. God is not interested in birthdays. Only two birthdays are mentioned in Scripture, Herod and Pharaoh, both of whom murdered a person on their birthday. We humans make a fuss of birthdays and then think we can impress God by making up a date for the birthday of Jesus. So the Roman Catholic church took a day that we do not know, the actual day of Christ’s birth, and changed it to a fixed date, the 25th December. We have no evidence in Scripture that Jesus was born in December. But the Roman Catholics changed the unknown month of Christ’s birth to December.
Easter was a date that we can know. The first full moon timed from the end of March or the beginning of April. This date can be any day of the week and will change from year to year which is how the Jews calculate the day of their Passover. But the Roman church changed the date to a Friday every year, however far away from the full moon this Friday happened to be. They put the emphasis on the Friday, again for the convenience of having a weekend for the festival, rather than on the full moon. Once again the Protestants followed the Catholic example.
The earliest record of Christ’s birth being observed on December 25, in Rome, is the Chronography in 354 A.D ( Philocalian Calendar of the year 354 ) which states that 25 December was the birthday of the unconquerable sun and the birthday of Jesus Christ. This document was based upon a calendar that dated to about 336 (Herman Wegman, Christian Worship in East and West, New York: Pueblo Publishing, 1985, 103).The Chronography was a document of the Church of Rome that listed the various martyrs’ feasts for the year.
In 350 AD it seems that the bishop of Rome, Julius, accepted December 25 because it was already a popular day for pagans to worship the birthday of their sun god.
So the Romans twice changed the day of the month. Concerning 25 December, they changed a day we do not know into a day we now claim we do know, the birth date of Jesus. At Easter they changed a day we do know, the full moon, into a different day that has to be a Friday. Very seldom will Friday and the full moon coincide.
The calendar measures time for us over a long time span.
Who changed the calendar? Rome did. In 46 BC Julius Caesar, the most famous of the Romans, added 90 days to the year to get the months back in line with the seasons. After that big correction, he then established the length of the year as 365 days and every fourth year he added an extra day to February to make a leap year. Though very accurate, this Julian calender gained 3 days every 400 years and slowly fell out of touch with the actual seasons of the year.
So in 1582 the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory 13 ( who ordered the Bartholomew massacre of 50 000 Protestants ) removed 10 days from the year to bring the calendar back in line with the seasons. To slightly shorten the year, Pope Gregory 13 then removed the leap years from every new century that could not be divided by 400. So the year 1 600 had a leap year but not 1 700 or 1 800 or 1900. The year 2 000 had a leap year. His Gregorian calendar, that we still use today, is only wrong by 1 day in every 2 800 years so we can accept it as very accurate.
This makes an interesting link between the pagan Romans of Julius Caesar’s time and the Christian Roman Catholics. Both these Roman groups played the major roles in changing the calendar to fit in with the seasons.
II CORINTHIANS 11:2
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
The Apostle Paul wanted the believers, the church, to be the Bride of Jesus Christ. So a woman is symbolic of a church. In Revelation 17 we read of a woman ( a church ) who rides on and thus controls a powerful wild beast. A beast in Scripture represents some power. One of the strongest powers on earth is to hero worship some human. We speak of sport idols and movie idols ( objects of worship ). When it comes to hero worship the Roman Catholic church provides a male icon in the form of the Pope and a female icon in the form of Mary.
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
Pope Leo12 in 1825 made a medal which symbolizes the Roman Catholic church as a woman
( the mother church ) holding out a cup, which represents doctrine as it contains wine which represents the stimulation of revelation.
The woman sits on the world, holding out a cup. The Catholic church holds out their cup of doctrine to the world in order that the world might be brought under submission to the Catholic church.
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
A woman in the Bible represents a church but here the woman is also a city.
Is there a city, originally built on seven mountains or hills, that is so dominated by a powerful church that when people think of the city, they automatically think of the church that dominates it. There is such a city. Rome, the famous city of seven hills.
The beast ( the figurehead leader of the religious system ) that thou sawest was, and is not
( the leader dies ); and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit ( no Bible foundation for Catholic beliefs. They simply believe in their various human traditions such as “mass”, Christmas day, Christmas tree, rosary, cardinal, archbishop, Pope, nuns, statues in churches, praying to Mary and dead saints, sprinkling babies, Trinity and various other unscriptural words and customs ), and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder ( at the immense wealth of the Catholic church and its vast numbers of followers and the global political influence of the Pope ), whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was ( a Pope rules ), and is not ( the Pope dies or abdicates), and yet is ( a new Pope is elected ).
That is what saves the system because they can keep electing a new Pope when the previous one dies. The Popes represent the longest unbroken line of rulers in the world today. People wonder that any organization could have survived so long and still be so influential and wealthy in today’s world. Popes cannot marry so there is no danger of an incompetent son following on as Pope after his father. The council of cardinals is free to choose the most competent man available.
And the woman ( the church ) was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, ( bishops wear purple, cardinals wear scarlet robes ) and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls ( a very wealthy church ), having a golden cup ( the doctrines that she holds out to the world. The wine in the cup represents the stimulation of revelation of that doctrine. The apostles were “drunk” as they staggered around under the stimulation of the revelation of the Holy Ghost baptism on the Day of Pentecost.)
Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
14 ¶ But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
… having a golden cup n her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: “fornication” means an unmarried woman who is messing around with men. This church is not married to Christ. If she was the Bride of Christ she would be guilty of adultery. This church does not preach the Bible but holds out to the people the traditions of men. The word “Christmas” is not in the Bible, nor is the 25th December. Christmas comes from “Christ’s mass” which is obviously a Roman Catholic tradition as they invented the term “mass” to describe their ceremonies.
The wise men went into a house, not into a stable. They saw Jesus and Mary but not Joseph.
And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
They gave gifts to Christ, not to each other. Thus the Catholic church has changed the story of the wise men to make them enter the stable. It has made up an unscriptural date for the birth of Jesus. The 25th of December was declared to be the birthday of the sun god in the year 274 AD by the sun worshipping Roman emperor Aurelian. It was not a recognized date before this. Christmas trees were copied from the heathens.
Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
The Roman Catholics copied the heathens with this Christmas tradition ( Jesus was not born in mid winter because shepherds and sheep would freeze to death if they were out at night ) and then the Protestants copied it from the Catholics, the mother church.
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS ( the Protestants came out of the Catholic system to worship God according to the Bible, but soon began messing around with human traditions too. Any woman messing around with other men is a harlot. So the Protestants are as guilty. They also put a man’s opinion above Scripture. So all are in the same condemnation. ) AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
How can such a wealthy church kill so many Christians. The Roman emperors killed about 3 million Christians before they lost power around the year 476 AD when the barbarian general Odoacer seized power. The Roman Popes, inspired by the writings of Augustine of Hippo, the prince of persecutors, then began to kill Christians who disagreed with them until about 68 million had been martyred. This is excessive by any standards. Drunken, excessive behavior.
And I saw one of his ( seven ) heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.
The seven heads on the beast ( or power ) represent the seven hills that Rome was originally built on. The Capitol built on the Capitoline hill was declared to be the seat of government where the laws for the empire were made. Odoacer, the leader of the Heruli tribe, overthrew the emperor Augustulus and ruled in his stead, but not from the Capitoline hill. This hill thus lost its power to rule the empire. The Roman empire thus ended, symbolized by the deadly wound that the barbarians dealt to the Capitoline hill, which used to be the seat of power. The Roman empire was split up by the invading barbarians. The Roman Caesars would never rule again.
But, amongst these barbarian tribes, the bishop of Rome began to gain power. Why? Because the emperor Constantine wanted to go east to build Constantinople. So he gave vast wealth to the bishop of Rome so that he would be the emperor’s strong man in Rome when the emperor was in Constantinople. This gave the bishop of Rome great prestige. Around 311 the new emperor Constantine took the properties of the Lateran family and handed over to Bishop Miltiades, the Lateran palace which was the finest palace in the world according to some people before it was burned down on different occasions and rebuilt. The final version, which still stands today, is far more modest. When Constantine went East to build the new city of Constantinople, he left the Roman bishop with much wealth and much political power because he was a personal friend of the emperor.
Next to the Lateran palace is the basilica ( a fancy word for a fancy church building ) that the next bishop of Rome, Sylvester, built with the money that Constantine gave him which made him incredibly rich. Constantine, the political emperor, thus bought the loyalty of the bishop of Rome. Constantine intended to be the religious head of the church and needed the backup of the Roman bishop. Constantine thus became the political head and the religious head of the Roman empire. In 476 the Roman emperor Augustulus was kicked out of power and displaced by the barbarian general Odoacer. The bishops of Rome ( who called themselves the Popes ) now depended for protection on the Eastern Roman emperor who lived in Constantinople
( called Istanbul today ). When the emperor in Constantinople could not protect Italy any more the Popes made alliances with barbarian kings.
The Popes anointed and crowned the barbarian leaders as kings of their tribes and these kings then agreed to protect the Popes and their territory. As the barbarians became converted to Catholicism, so the Popes gained leadership over them. The turbulent and often short-lived lives of the barbarians made them in awe of the stability, technological progress and pomp of the Romans. Eventually the papacy picked up the political power that the Roman Caesars had lost and thus “the deadly wound was healed”. Pagan Rome fell and then rose up from the ashes as the Roman Catholic church which was essentially baptized paganism because they incorporated many pagan religious traditions into Christianity in order to make the pagans feel at home in the church.
And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name [ Roman Catholicism invented the Trinity and replaced the Name of Jesus Christ with the titles Father, Son and Holy Ghost which are not names. The Protestants followed this example, baptizing in the name of Father , Son and Holy Ghost although they cannot tell you what the name
( singular ) of Father, Son and Holy Ghost is. It is, of course, the name of Jesus Christ . Ask a Christian what the name of God is and they cannot answer because they try to think of one name for three Persons which is not possible ] and his tabernacle ( they call the impressive Vatican buildings the seat of God on earth. But God wants to dwell in the hearts of men and women, not in a building ), and them that dwell in heaven ( they pray to the dead saints which is simply spiritualism and regarding Mary and the dead saints as intercessors is just another form of ancestor worship )
And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts ( symbolizing destructive demons ) upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
The pit of hell opens and demonic influences sweep over the earth. When the Pope is elected, his election is indicated by means of smoke. The cardinals are sealed into a chamber and burn black smoke if no decision is made and finally burn white smoke when they agree on a new Pope.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
Demonology has a king who is the angel ( or messenger ) of the bottomless pit. A king wears a crown. The Pope wears a fancy jeweled triple crown as king of heaven, earth and purgatory. Jesus wore a crown of thorns. The words “Pope”, “triple crown”, “purgatory” “cardinals” , “elect with smoke” etc are all unscriptural terms. What we believe either comes from the Bible or from the bottomless pit.
It was not until the eighth century ( 700 – 800 AD ) that the Roman Church proclaimed authority over all of God’s churches through the succession of Peter’s bishopric. This was done with a forged document called “Donation of Constantine.” It first appeared around the year 752 AD, four centuries after Constantine’s death (337 AD). Bearing the forged name of the fourth century emperor, Constantine the Great, it originated the doctrine of apostolic succession and first coined the name vicarius filii dei.
Although you are probably not fluent in Latin, we will quote one sentence from the Latin of the Donation of Constantine. This paper was confirmed by church council, incorporated in Roman Catholic canon law by Gratian, later endorsed by Pope Gregory XIII;( the Pope who changed the calendar ) and cited by the Catholic scholar and historian Lucius Ferraris, who proved that it is a forged document.
“Ut sicut Beatus Petrus in terris Vicarius Filii Dei fuit constitutus, ita et Pontifices eius successores in terris principatus potestatem amplius, quam terrenae imperialis nostrae serenitatis mansuetudo haber videtur”
Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Biblietheca, (edition of 1890), art, “Papa,” II, Vol. VI, p. 43.
The translation reads :
As the blessed Peter is seen to have been constituted Vicar of the Son of God on the earth, so the pontiffs who are the representatives of that same chief of the apostles, should obtain from us and our empire the power of a supremacy greater than the clemency of our earthly imperial serenity.
Christopher B. Coleman, The Treatise of Lorenzo Valla on the Donation of Constantine, p. 13.
If Constantine had, in fact, penned the former document, it would still not be authority to exalt the Bishopric of one church over all others; yet this forged document actually became a “tool” to implement the doctrine of Papal supremacy and infallibility through Peter.
The Pope claimed that Peter has the keys to Heaven so you must please Peter.
What you do for the Popes, you do for Peter.
The Popes gain their prestige by promoting Peter to be the chief apostle and then claiming to be his successors. Peter himself never claimed to be a Pope nor was he interested in the wealth and territorial ambitions that have characterized the rise of the Roman Catholic church. This emphasis on one man, Peter, and this claim that Peter was Vicarius Filii Dei opens an interesting possibility.
“Vicarius urbis Romae” meant “in place of the city of Rome”.
This was a title given to the emperor’s representative in Rome when the emperor was away.
Latin uses certain letters for numbers.
IN PLACE OF THE SON OF GOD
V I C A R I V S F I L I I D E I ( Latin uses a V for our U )
5 1 100 1 5 1 50 1 1 500 1 ( D = 500 C = 100 L = 50 V = 5 I = 1 )
All these numbers add up to 666 which is the mark of the beast.
Thus this specific title which the Roman Catholic church claims for Peter ( which Peter himself never ever claimed ) identifies the Roman Catholic church with the Scripture
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
A “score” means 20. “Threescore” means 3 x 20 = 60. The mark of the beast is linked to a man. The Roman Catholic church has corrupted the ministry of the Apostle Peter to such an extent, that their whole system can now be linked to the mark of the beast.
Peter himself cannot be blamed for this as he never made these claims.
Was Peter ever an apostle to the non-Jewish churches, was he ever an apostle to the Gentiles? No. Scripture is plain on this subject where we will learn some interesting facts about his apostleship.
First, we will discover that Peter was not the Bishop of Rome, but was an apostle to the Jews as Paul plainly states:
On the contrary, when they saw that to me [Paul] was committed [by God] the gospel for the uncircumcised [Gentiles], as to Peter that for the circumcised [Jews] (for he [God] who worked in Peter for the apostleship of the circumcised [Jews] worked also in me among the Gentiles–and when they recognized the grace that was given to me, James and Cephas [Peter] and John, who were considered the pillars [of the Jerusalem church], gave to me and to Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles, and they [Peter, James and John] to the circumcised [Jews].… Galatians 2:7-9, Douay
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pepin (or Pippin) (died 24 September 768), called the Younger, was the first King of the Franks (752–768) of the Carolingian dynasty. In 741 he and his brother Carloman succeeded their father, Charles Martel, as mayors of the palace and de facto rulers of the kingdom during an interregnum (737–743). After the retirement of Carloman (747), Pepin obtained the permission of Pope Zachary to depose the last of the Merovingian kings, Childeric III, and assume the throne (752).
( Pepin needed the backing of the Pope to become the recognised king of the barbarian Franks.
The Pope needed Pepin to get rid of the barbarian Lombards who were invading Italy.)
Pepin’s first major act as king was to go to war against the Lombard king Aistulf, who had expanded into the territory of Rome. Victorious, he forced the Lombard king to return property seized from the Church. He confirmed the Papacy in possession of Ravenna and the Pentapolis ( five cities ), the so-called Donation of Pepin, whereby the Papal States were established and the temporal ( political ) reign of the Papacy began.
Pepin helped the Pope so that Peter would let him into Heaven.
The Catholic church gained a strip of territory running from Rome across Italy, called the Papal states.
The Pope crowned the barbarian Pepin king of the Franks in 752 AD as well as his son Charlemagne in 800 AD ( the most famous king of the barbarian tribes ). Thus the Pope became a king maker amongst the barbarians. As the barbarians converted to Catholicism, so the Pope became their spiritual head as well. The Pope was picking up the power that the Roman Caesars had lost.
With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
The papacy gained enough power and prestige to interact with kings and world leaders.
“Thou art the Christ the son of the living God” [Μatthew Chapter 16 verse 16]
Of all the disciples, only Peter had a clear revelation of who Jesus was.
Jesus said , “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock ( the rock of revelation of Who Jesus is ) Ι will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it [Matthew Chapter 16 verse 18].
The Pope changed this by claiming Peter was the rock. The same Peter who would deny Jesus three times.
Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.
34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
Peter ( petros in Greek ) only means a stone or pebble, not a rock.
But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
So Peter wanted gentiles to live by Jewish law. Paul straightened Peter out proving that Peter was not the chief apostle as the Roman Church claims. He had that doctrine wrong so he certainly was not infallible, for those who try to make him the first Pope.
And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.
30 But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
And Simon he surnamed Peter;
So Simon Peter had a wife. Thus he certainly was not the first Pope as the Roman Catholic church forbids their hierarchy from priests to popes from getting married.
I TIMOTHY 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; …
3 Forbidding to marry,
So the rule that priests and Popes cannot marry is certainly not Scriptural.
And Ι will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bοund in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven
On the day of Pentecost, Peter bound up the baptism of John the Baptist so that it was no longer valid. John only baptized for repentance but did not mention the Name of the Saviour, the sacrificial Lamb, Whose Blood had made repentance possible.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent,( that is how we are loosed from sin ) and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ ( evidence that we understand who God is and have not been fooled by human opinions. Upon this Rock, the revelation of Who Jesus is. He is God the Father, that great Holy Spirit dwelling within the Man Jesus Christ. As the Father, God was above His people the Jews. As the Son, God walked around in the Man Jesus who was Emmanuel, God with us. As the Holy Spirit, God returned to live in the hearts of His people, the church.) for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
So the early church was saved through repentance and washed by the Blood of the Lamb. They also knew that the Lord Jesus Christ was the Name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. This baptism loosed the understanding of Who God is. The Jehovah of the Old Testament was none other than the Jesus of the New Testament.
If Peter was the first Pope and as such was infallible, then notice that he baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. Why do his successors, the long line of Popes, not do the same thing? They all baptize in the name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost even though they cannot tell us what that name is.
But “binding and loosing” was claimed by the Pope as the power of withholding or granting forgiveness for sin which the popes used in their contests with the political authorities during the Middle Ages.
22 Then Peter took him ( Jesus ), and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee,Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
Having been given the keys, Peter went straight off into error, contradicting Jesus.
23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence
unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
A significant statement. The keys did not prevent Peter’s opinion from being satanic. So what about the Popes who claimed to have Peter’s authority.
Apostolic tradition means that the Popes claimed to be the successors of Peter and as such they could forgive sin or or withhold forgiveness as they chose.
Pope Boniface Ι (418-22) claimed that the government and essence of the universal Church, which Christ entrusted to Peter, descended to his successors, the bishops of Rome, and that the rulings of the Popes were irreversible. No one, Boniface declared, who disobeyed them could remain a member of the Christian community or hope for salvation.
( What about Paul who corrected Peter? )
Pope Gelasius Ι (492-96) was the first to refer to the Pope as Vicarius Petri (vicar of Peter) and even Vicarius Christi (vicar of Christ).
“Vicarius Petri” means in place of Peter. The Pope is Peter’s representative on Earth.
II THESSALONIANS 2:4
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God ( the rich and beautiful Vatican ), shewing himself that he is God ( being able to forgive sin or withhold forgiveness as the Pope can bind or loose sins ).
The bishop of Rome, in the days of the Roman empire, had been the Roman emperor’s representative when the Roman emperor was away from Rome.
So the Roman bishop had been “Vicarius urbis Romae” ( in place of the city of Rome )
When barbarian tribes had threatened the empire, the Roman bishop had emerged as the leader and representative of the emperor in Italy.
Then the pope claimed to be Peter’s representative. Vicarius Petri.
Then the Pope claimed that Peter was Christ’s representative. Vicarius Filii Dei.
This title was only applied to Peter. There is no obvious evidence today that any Pope applied it to himself. Peter never ever claimed such a title.
Thus Vicarius Filii Dei ( 666 ) has, as far as can be proven, only been applied by the Roman Catholic church to one man, Peter.
Peter is not in any way to blame for this as he never made any such claims.
It is the Roman Catholic church that has attempted to elevate and corrupt the position of Peter.
Nebuchadnezzar built a statue of the holy man Daniel which is why Daniel did not have to bow down to the image of himself. Daniel was not to blame for this statue.
John twice fell down to worship an angel who was a prophet.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
We humans easily elevate a holy person.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man ; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Peter never claimed this title. Peter never gave any authority to any bishop in Rome.
When Peter advised how the church should be managed he wrote to the elders, not to any bishop.
I PETER 5:1
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, ( not to get rich ) but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage ( an elevated Pope ), but being ensamples to the flock.
Thus Peter never agreed with one man dominating the church.
The Popes wanted a priest to control the church. When the Pope controlled the priest, he automatically controlled the church.
Protestants have followed this Catholic tradition by allowing a pastor to dominate each church.
God wanted a group of elders to guide each church.
Paul wrote to the Romans and greeted a whole group of them by name in the last chapter of the Book of Romans, never mentioning Peter.
There is no historical evidence that Peter was ever in Rome.
Paul spoke of ordaining married elders into positions of responsibility, so an elder is a bishop. Thus bishops can be married, which is not what the Roman Catholic church allows.
TITUS 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
So bishops are simply blameless elders. An elder is a man, bishop is his title.
Elders are always spoken of in the plural.
Peter was the apostle to the Jews.
The word “interpreter” comes from “petr roma” which means the “great interpreter’. The pagans believed this great man would interpret the will of their gods to them.
When the barbarians came to Rome it was easy to convince them that the “petr roma” was none other than “Peter of Rome”. So Catholicism was built on Peter’s reputation. Hence Jesus called Peter Satan to show that a succession based on Peter is dodgy from the start.
Peter never claimed to be a Pope. He was married and baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ. He preached repentance. He once said “ Silver and gold have I none” and then healed a beggar instead.
Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Popes are rich, unmarried and invented “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” as the “name” of God. How can 3 titles be one name? They invented the Trinity where Jesus is shrunk down to be the second Person in the Godhead. Paul did the opposite. He put the fullness of the Godhead in Christ.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven..
Catholic priests are called father.
Pope comes from the Italian word Pappas which means father.
I CORINTHIANS 11:4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
Have you ever seen a picture of the Pope without his head being covered? He always wears, in public, some form of head covering if not the triple crown.
Why? Pontifex Maximus or Pontiff was the High Priest of the Babylonian mysteries and he always had his head covered for his priestly duties. The Popes took over the title and as such have to have their heads covered.
The first Roman emperor Augustus, acting as Pontiff with his head covered.
A statue of the emperor Augustus who was Pontifex Maximus or Pontiff ( High priest of the Babylonian mysteries ) shows him with part of his robe over his head.
A modern Pope acting as Pontiff wears a white “skull cap” to cover his head.
The triple crown is worn by the Pope. Jesus wore a crown of thorns.
The mysteries of ancient Babylon ( which was God’s first enemy after the Flood in the days of Nimrod the rebel against God ) moved to Pergamos which was later taken over by Lycimachus. He was one of the Greek generals who split up the world kingdom of Alexander into four empires after Alexander’s death. His kingdom of Pergamos was the dwelling place of the evil mysteries of Babylon. Then the kingdom of Pergamos and its evil mysteries were given to the Romans in 133 BC when king Atallus III died in Pergamos where he had ruled. He left his Pergamos kingdom to Rome in his will as he had no child and wanted to avoid a civil war when he died. Pergamos was a very rich area and this began the process of making Rome rich which corrupted the character of the Romans.
When Darius the Mede had conquered Babylon, the priests of the Babylonian mysteries had fled for safety and some settled in Pergamos.
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is:
Pergamos was obviously a source of serious error to be called “Satan’s seat”.
Nimrod was the founder of serious error after the Flood of Noah and he built up a kingdom and the Tower of Babel. So error had now moved from Babylon to Pergamos and then on to Rome.
The Roman emperors took over the pagan title of Pontiff. Constantine became emperor in 312 AD and made Christianity an accepted religion of the empire. The emperors, although Christians, kept the Pontiff title. In 378 Theodosius, a Christian, became emperor and dropped this heathen title. It was picked up by the Roman Popes because the title of Pontiff helped them in their quest to gain power and authority over the barbarian people who broke up the Roman empire. Thus the Pope became the head of the mysteries of Babylon and Roman Catholicism became mystery Babylon.
2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
Natural locusts eat greenery. That is what makes them destructive. These are not natural locusts, they are symbols of destructive demonology. Have you noticed how demonic the characters look in supposedly innocent childrens’ comic books? This is evidence of the opening of the pit of hell in our day. Demonology is unleashed. Look at the vicious and merciless jihad terrorists.
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
A king wears a crown. The Pope wears a triple crown.
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Roman Catholicism is the mother church. The Protestant churches came out of Roman Catholicism and are the daughter churches.
Behold, every one that useth proverbs shall use this proverb against thee, saying, As is the mother, so is her daughter.
So Protestants, like the Roman Catholics, prefer human leadership and traditions.
Daniel’s image of the Gentiles began with the head of gold which was the Babylonian kingdom under their great ruler Nebuchadnezzar. The religious mysteries of Babylon were set up in the city of Pergamos after Babylon was destroyed by the Medes and the Persians. There they passed through the kingdom of the Persians ( the chest and arms ) and the Greeks ( the belly and thighs ) and ended up in the year 133 BC as being part of the Roman empire where finally Julius Caesar in 63 BC bribed his way to being declared Pontiff or Pontifex Maximus. This title stayed with the Roman emperors until it was discarded by Theodosius when he became emperor in 378 AD. He called himself a Christian and refused to be emperor and pagan high priest.
Around the time of Pope Leo ( about 450 AD ) this title of Pontifex Maximus or Pontiff had somehow became a part of the papacy as it gave the Pope much prestige amongst the barbarians who were taking over the Roman empire. Thus, going back to Daniel’s Gentile image, the iron legs of pagan Rome, which absorbed the mysteries of Babylon, became the pieces of iron ( Mystery Babylon, the Roman Catholic church ) which were mixed with the clay ( Bible believing Christians ) in the feet of the image ( which represent the 2 000 years of church history ) until a Stone ( the Second Coming of Jesus ) hits the image in the feet to end our world system.
The map of Italy shows it to be in the shape of a leg with the island of Sicily poised to hit the leg in the feet. Geographically, this is the area that corresponds to Daniel’s image.
The Roman spirit is to elevate a supreme leader and then get people to follow human traditions that are not in the Bible.
Christmas day. 25th December. Christmas trees. Easter eggs. Human leadership of the church. The people prefer to obey human traditions rather than Scripture. But Catholicism has always had a man, the priest, in charge of the church. Then there were bishops in charge of priests, then archbishops then cardinals then finally the Pope. The Trinity was a major belief amongst the pagans. This was such a common belief amongst so many of the ancient pagans that by adopting it, the Pope made Catholicism far more acceptable to the barbarians. At the mass ceremony ( which the Protestants call communion ), only the priests drink the wine. The people eat an intact round wafer ( in Egypt this round wafer was a symbol of their sun god Ra or Ammon Ra ) but Jesus broke bread at the last supper.
In 133 BC the Roman empire was not very big. It is represented by the green portions on the map.
Then Atallus III, king of the Pergamos empire in Asia minor, died and gave his territory to Rome. This made the Roman empire much bigger and much richer as this was a very wealthy area.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
4 And his tail ( the tail in the vision is the “tale” or story that he told to deceive them ) drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: ( there are 3 types of people, Jew, Gentile and Samaritans who are partly Jew and partly Gentile. One third part refers to the Jews and the Devil used Rome to kill the Messiah which cost those Jews their eternal life as they demanded and agreed to the crucifixion and were thus erased from the Book of Life ) and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered ( Rome entered Palestine in 63 BC to conquer it ), for to devour her child as soon as it was born ( Herod gave the order to kill the baby boys in order to eliminate Jesus )..
After the Pergamos empire was added to the Roman empire, Pompey the Great, a Roman general set out to conquer the East and he marched through Pontus, Cilicia ( modern day Turkey ) and Syria ( which included Palestine ) in 3 years from 66 BC to 63 BC. Thus Rome took over Palestine and the Dragon ( Rome ) was in place to try to kill Jesus when He was born. Julius Caesar became Pontifex Maximus ( high priest of the Babylonian mysteries ) in 63 BC and finally defeated Pompey and conquered Egypt, to become the one-man dictator of Rome.
The Roman general Pompey added the red parts of the map to the Roman empire.
By 63 BC Rome had taken over Palestine, just before Jesus was to be born there.
The Roman spirit is always to have one man in charge, even of a local church.
Caesar was helped by Herod, so to return the favour, Caesar made Herod king of the Jews.
Herod was made king of the Jews by Caesar. Thus he was extremely scared of the Messiah who was to be born King of the Jews. Feeling threatened, Herod was determined to kill Jesus and thus eliminate this threat to his kingship.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
The mysteries of Babylon first went to Pergamos then to Rome.
Julius Caesar ( JC ) became Pontiff in 63 BC.
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.
8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. ( Human wisdom and tradition, not Scripture ).
When emperor Theodosius died in 395 AD he split the kingdom in half between his two sons. Rome was the main city in the western half. Constantinople was the main city in the eastern half of the empire. This represented the two iron legs of Rome in Daniel’s image.
Unrest in China caused millions to flee. They bumped into the Huns who then were pushed westwards out of Asia until they bumped into the Roman Empire. This began the real breakup of the Roman empire as other tribes realised they could also attack Rome and gain land and loot.
Attila became king of the Huns in 433 AD and his first order of affairs was to unite his subjects for the purpose of creating one of the most formidable and feared armies Asia had ever seen.
He attacked the Roman empire in 441 AD and continued with this devastation and warfare until he died in 453 AD. His thirteen years of warfare weakened the Roman empire. The Huns also drove many Germanic tribes into the Roman empire. Fear of the Huns made these German tribes prefer to fight the Romans as they fled from before the Huns.
Many other Barbarian tribes invaded the Roman Empire to look for food, money and land. After the Huns there would be nine other tribes among the many tribes that broke up the Roman empire, that would not only break up the empire but would also play an important part in helping to aid the rise of the Roman Catholic church.
Daniel saw the Roman empire as a vicious beast. It had one head and 10 horns. The ten horns represented 10 of the barbarian tribes that would break up the Roman empire and then play a prominent role in the rise of the Roman Catholic church, represented by the little horn that arose after three of the horns were destroyed.
The Heruli tribe under Odoacer conquered Rome in 476 AD but were Arian not Trinitarian.
The Ostrogoths, Heruli and Vandals were all non-Trinitarian believers. The emperor in Constantinople asked Theodoric the Ostrogoth to annihilate the Heruli. This he did between 489 AD and 493 AD when he murdered Odoacer. The Heruli depart the scene. The first horn has been eliminated. A non-Trinitarian tribe annihilated because they blocked the Pope’s religious influence in his desire to spread Trinitarianism.
Thus the first non-Trinitarian tribe was wiped out, the first of the three horns was plucked up by the roots.
But the Ostrogoths were also non-Trinitarians as were the Vandals in North Africa.
When Theodoric the Ostrogoth died, the Roman emperor in Constantinople wanted to wipe out the non-Trinitarian Ostrogoths. He could not attack Italy directly as there were too many rough mountains in the way. Like the Americans in World war II, he sent General Belisarius from Constantinople to first conquer North Africa and then invade Italy from North Africa. Belisarius landed in North Africa, where he annihilated the Vandals between 533 AD and 534 AD.
General Belisarius first had to conquer North Africa and then use that as a base from which he could sail to Italy and conquer the Ostrogoths. In the process of doing this he wiped out the Vandals, who just happened to be non-Trinitarians. So the second horn was plucked out to establish the Pope as the religious head of Italy.
Then Belisarius sailed north to attack the non-Trinitarian Ostrogoths in Italy.
He then fought the Ostrogoths for 20 years in Italy from 535 to 554 AD to eliminate the
non-Trinitarian Ostrogoths and leave the Pope in charge of Italy.
The invasion of North Africa and Italy was successfully carried out by Belisarius.
He completely annihilated the Vandals and the Ostrogoths. Thus all three barbarian tribes that did not believe in the Trinity were eliminated.
The doctrine of the Trinity could now be spread by the Pope without any opposition.
Then the Lombards invaded Italy. The emperor in Constantinople was too weak to stop them.
The Pope turned to the Franks. He offered to make Pippin King of the Franks if he would defeat the Lombards. Pippin did this, giving the land around Rome to the Pope, thinking that he was doing a favour to Saint Peter. Thus the Pope gained political power over a section of Italy. So three non-Trinitarian horns ( barbarian tribes ) were plucked up by the roots ( totally destroyed ) to make room for the little horn ( the Catholic church ) to rise to power by convincing everyone, including the Protestants, that there is a Trinity and that a man must control and dominate the church.
A little horn represents a little power in size.
The Vatican is the smallest state on earth, occupying about 1 square kilometer and having less than 1 000 citizens.
The Sistine chapel in the Vatican is the most famous chapel on earth thanks to the incredible painting skills of Michelangelo. In the name of art, a stress was laid on revealing dress and nudity, which indicated the Greek influence of Daniel’s image, as the Greeks had an obsession with nudity and statues. The Roman Catholic church is full of statues.
Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image,
The Nicean Council was set up in 325 AD with the emperor Constantine declaring himself as head of the church. He gave political power and much money to the bishop of Rome so that the Roman bishop could be his strong man in Rome while he, Constantine, lived in Constantinople. At this council the Trinity ( an unscriptural word ) was made the official doctrine of the church. The council also chose to set a date for Easter that would not coincide with the Jewish Passover.
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.
The Lateran palace which the emperor Constantine gave to the Bishop of Rome is still officially the seat of the Roman Pope. In this palace a treaty was signed with Mussolini, the Italian dictator, in 1929 whereby the Vatican became an independent state with one extra piece of territory that is outside the Vatican, namely the Lateran palace and basilica.
Let us do a quick summary of the rise of the Roman Catholic church to become the influential player that it is on the world scene.
The claim that the Pope is in charge of the church was first made by Pope Leo I 440 – 461 but this claim only really became effective under Innocent III around 1200 AD as the Successor of Peter who was thus entitled to claim all the supreme power for himself.
There was often a conflict between political aims of the Popes and their pastoral duties, the religion of the spirit. It is difficult to love your brother as yourself when you are trying to conquer his territory.
To build up the Pope’s supreme authority, a huge administrative and legal machinery had to be established. Around the year 500 AD when this religious-political system became big enough to give the Pope more prestige, the Bishop of Rome then claimed the common title “papa”, used by church leaders, exclusively for himself.
This was not always successful as even in 1 075 Gregory VII insisted that there was only one Pope.
Many causes of Rome’s rise were accidental and unforeseen and quite outside the Pope’s control and were piecemeal reactions to particular circumstances.
A great capacity for survival as it adapted to a changing world was an outstanding feature of the Roman church. As the system grew it began to interpret its often haphazard progress as a systematic chain of events that linked it to Saint Peter.
The Roman church was quick to come to terms with the Roman empire under its emperors. The organization of the empire was easily copied. ( Nicolaitanism is to give preeminence to a holy man that uplifts the man until he is entitled to be worshiped. This was Caesar worship where the emperor was regarded as being a god. Elaborate ceremonies upheld the power of the ruler. It is difficult today to imagine a more elaborate ceremony than a high mass that is held at the high altar of the Vatican. The Roman church quickly adopted the traditions of paganism to make it more acceptable to the pagans and the idea of apostolic succession, where it tried to trace its ancestry back to St Peter, gave it a prestige that others could not compete with. )
Rome adjusted to the German kingdoms’ political power play after the Roman Empire ended in 476 AD, as well as the national states that were arising in the 1 400s. Today it is adjusting to the modern third world of Asia and Africa and South America. The Roman church is thus a survivor of note.
In 325 AD the Bishop of Rome had no great standing.
The papacy began when the Bishop of Rome became more than a bishop and more than the first bishop of the Roman empire.
The Ostrogoths destroyed the non-Trinitarian Heruli tribe that ruled Rome. Between about 533 – 554 AD the very competent general Belisarius destroyed the Vandals in North Africa and Ostrogoths in Italy. These 3 Arian tribes did not believe the Trinity. This exterminated the spiritual opposition to the Roman church.
From 600 -700 it seemed that the Mediterranean civilization would collapse, dragging the church into bankruptcy. This was largely due to the terrible consequences of the wars of Belisarius. Some historians claimed he killed about 15 million people in his battles and then famine and plague swept through the devastated lands to kill another 85 million. This awful scenario brought on the dark ages. Europe would be cold, dark and dirty for a long time before it could recover.
When this crisis of the Dark Ages was surmounted, the papacy began to emerge as a formative influence in Europe.
In the great depression of1929, bankrupcy threatened everyone but it was at this time that the Vatican gained independence at the Lateran treaty with Mussolini. In recognizing Roman Catholicism as an independent state ( the little horn of Daniel’s prophecy ), the world went bankrupt financially. A symbol of the spiritual bankrupcy of accepting Roman Catholic leadership. When the Roman Church rose to power, that era is known as the Dark Ages. So Rome is ordained to lead the world into darkness.
The Roman church certainly knows how to survive although the actual origins of the Roman church are obscure because there is little fact but much conjecture.
There were Christians amongst the Jews by AD 49. Paul visited during 61 – 63 AD. Direct evidence is lacking but Paul was probably executed in Rome about 67 AD.
Rome was burned in 64 AD. Nero blamed the Christians and Jews and his savage persecution of Jews and Christians ( which he thought was a Jewish sect ) virtually eliminated the church.
About 36 AD Junius and Andronicus ( Romans16:7 ) took the Gospel to Rome.
Constant inter-Jewish arguments led to expulsion of Jews under Claudius for 13 years until 54 AD.
Early Christian churches were small communities and such authority as they possessed they exercised in common.
Around 100 AD the last apostle, John, died. Then human errors began to creep in. After 150 AD Christians began to define grades in the hierarchy and the title of bishop no longer applied to an elder but was reserved for the leader of the church. This idea began in the east where people wanted human leaders to do the thinking for them. Hippolytus began this idea in Rome after 200 AD.
Then the idea formed that one man was a bishop for the whole city. Thus a whole city fell under the religious control of one man.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Paul greets the bishops ( plural ) of the city of Philipii. They were the elders.
About 220 AD, Callistus began the idea that Peter was first bishop of Rome. Not that Peter ever was in Rome. He wrote from Babylon where he worked amongst the Jews that Nebuchadnezzar had taken to Babylon.
In 240 AD the idea started that Peter laid hands on Clement as bishop of Rome and entrusted him with his chair of discourse. There is absolutely no history for this.
Many small sects developed. There were plenty of heresies. People now felt the need for a leader ( who they would call a bishop to give him an exalted status ) to protect the truth.
Bishops of cities met in synods to define what they thought was truth. Each city had to have a bishop. But a Roman province had many cities. So who was going to be in charge of all these bishops? Metropolitans, a new title copied from the Roman empire, began to control the bishops in the provinces.
In 200 AD Tertullian of Carthage said that Apostolic succession meant that only churches started by an apostle could have the truth. Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Ephesus, Smyrna, Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth and Rome thus qualified.
Only four of these churches became influential, Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria.
The other churches faded from the scene as time went on.
Later, when Constantinople was built, the church of Constantinople also became influential.
Rome was only apostolic church in western half of the Roman empire.
So this suited the Roman church as she had no competitors in her half of the empire.
Tertullian said ” Peter has the keys thus he is the first of the apostles”.
This grew to chief apostle and then to prince of the apostles.
There is no historical record that Peter was ever in Rome, but the Roman church endlessly claimed this until even many Protestants now believe that he was in Rome
Around 200 AD, Victor, bishop of Rome, tried to tell Asia Minor how to celebrate Easter.
Callistus, bishop of Rome, in 220 AD first invoked Peter’s authority to impose his doctrine of penance on all other churches.
Stephen, bishop of Rome, in 254 claimed the chair of Peter ( cathedra Petri ) but the church was still a loose federation.
Papal rights got no further until the bishops of Rome Damasus ( 366 – 84 ) and Leo I ( 440 -61 ). These two men gave a big boost to the central authority of the leader of the Roman church.
Emperor Decius ( 249 – 251 ) renewed the persecution of the Christians which continued intermittently until 311. Rome was hard hit during these persecutions. Bishop Xystus and his college were executed.
Aurelian ( 270 – 275 AD ), who made December 25 the birthday of the sun god, was a cruel persecutor of the church and then Diocletian, in his systematic attempt to destroy Christianity between 300 and 311 AD, caused much apostasy as many Christians including pope Marcellinus renounced their faith.
Unity in the face of these external threats improved the Pope’s claims as Rome was very generous in sending aid and money to the persecuted brethern.
Jerusalem was the top church under the apostle James. But James was killed in 62 AD and then Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD by Titus which was a big boost for the Roman church as a serious competitor was eliminated. Many years later the church in Jerusalem would rise from the ashes and become influential again. But in the meanwhile, the Roman church had also become very influential.
Rome was the capital of the empire. The church had contacts with government, especially
Christians in government. Rome could intervene with authorities on behalf of other churches. Rome accumulated wealth and used this to help other churches.
Roman martyrs under emperors Nero, Decius and Valerian added to her prestige.
Until just before 200 AD the Roman bishop was the only bishop in Italy.
Thus by 313 AD the Roman bishop had influence and prestige but was just a bishop amongst bishops.
The church was a loose federation with a diversity of belief and practice.
Constantine tolerated Christianity as a most favoured religion.
He showered privileges and gifts on the Roman church to give it a boost.
He built a large basilica ( fancy church ) over what was claimed to be St Peter’s shrine in the Vatican. An intense public relations campaign was underway to prove that Peter had been in Rome.
Around 311- 312 AD he handed over the Lateran palace to bishop Miltiades. This profoundly affected the position of the papacy.
Sylvester 314 – 335 AD began to build the great Lateran basilica in 314 AD next to the new papal palace, the Lateran palace, the official seat of the bishop of Rome.
The Roman church began to accumulate estates.
In 325 AD a big outpouring of money was arranged by Constantine to establish the bishop of Rome as the emperor’s figurehead in the west.
Constantine was a tyrant and evil genius. He wanted a state religion to underpin his government. It must be a unified pillar of his imperial structure.
He would not leave the church alone. He would unify it. He imposed his own formula at the Nicaean council in 325 AD to settle the Arian controversy of the Godhead.
Theological conflicts ripped the fabric of the empire. Emperors resorted to any authority which might serve as a unifying force. Rome, thanks to the prestige of Peter, was eminent.
The pagan “Petr Roma”, the “great interpreter” of the will of the gods, was claimed to be Peter of Rome and this appealed immensely to the heathens.
In 378 emperor Gratian supported the Roman bishop’s claim to authority over other bishops in the west.
379 Emperor Theodosius abandons the title of pontifex maximus, high priest of the Babylonian mysteries.
In 380 Theodosius and two co-emperors recognized the bishop of Rome as the guardian of the true faith. The Roman bishop’s followers were the only true Catholic Christians.
In 391 Theodosius I prohibited heathen cults and Christianity became the official religion.
Theodosius acknowledged that the Church was above the State in matters of religion.
Justinian ( 527 – 65 ) deposed two popes and appointed an unworthy man called Pelagius as Pope.
In 395 the empire was divided as each of the two sons of Theodosius took control of half the empire.
In 286 Diocletian moved the seat of government away from Rome to Milan. The church in Milan rose spectacularly.
In 402 the seat moved to Ravenna. Rome sank to the level of a provincial city and surrendered control of northern Italy to Milan. Constantinople was the great religious rival in the East.
Damasus I ( 366 – 84 ) started a reaction that continued to Gregory I (590 – 604 ) to assert papal primacy. The Pope is the head of the church.
In 381 at the second ecumenical council in Constantinople, Constantinople was placed above Antioch and Alexandria. Pope Damasus from Rome was not invited, and he replied in 392 AD that Rome’s position at the top comes not from a council but from Christ’s powers given to Peter.
Damasus called Rome the apostolic see. He called other bishops sons instead of brothers. And used the plural of majesty, referring to himself as “us” and “we”.
The ambitions of Constantinople’s bishop forced Rome to claim papal primacy.
By 400 Siricius had called himself Pope.
Innocent I ( 401 -17 ) said that “ the Pope’s decisions affect all the churches of the world ”
Boniface I ( 418 -22 ) claimed that the Roman church is head and the other churches are members. Bishops must be subject to his discipline.
In 431 the council of Ephesus rejected Rome’s claim that the Pope was head of the entire faith.
Then came a radical change in circumstance.
Leo I ( 440 – 61 ) was possibly the first pope to take the pontifex maximus title. How this title got into the church seems to be a bit fuzzy. But it did get in as the Pope is still called Pontiff today.
He claimed Peter was prince of apostles and prince of the church who rules all who are ruled by Christ. The church is a monarchy ruled by the Pope acting on Peter’s behalf.
Leo claimed that the Pope was representative of St Peter and as such has supreme power.
“ The cure of the universal church should converge towards Peter’s one seat ” ( in the Lateran palace ).
In 445 Valentinian III claimed that “ the authority of Rome shall be law for all ”
The pope was top dog in the west with unchallenged supremacy. But was deadlocked in the east by Constantinople’s claims to lead the church.
The Nestorian controversy in the east meant some parties would, out of self interest, turn to Rome as having authority over the churches of the world.
Then came the barbarians.
In the west the Huns drove the Germanic tribes into the Roman provinces. Rome was sacked by Alaric in 410. By 442 Spain and north Africa were under control of Visigoths and Vandals. Church organization collapsed.
Bishops who rejected papal interference 20 years before turned willingly to Rome for help and support. Leo said that he helped the universal church. The emperor backed his actions, anxious to underwrite any authority which seemed to hold the crumbling empire together.
In 452 Pope Leo, with the senate’s embassy, begged Atilla the Hun to spare Rome. Atilla backed off. What a boost to the prestige of the Pope. The real reason was that southern Italy had little food and a lot of plague. But Leo got the credit.
In 455 Leo tried to beg the Vandals to spare Rome. They sacked the city and stole the Jewish candlestick that Titus had looted from the Jewish temple when he destroyed it.
Odoacer the Heruli ruled Rome from 476 – 493 and was killed and replaced by Theodoric the Ostrogoth. Theodoric gave Pope Gelasius I ( 492 – 96 ) some protection.
Then the Burgundians and Franks overran Gaul ( today’s France ).
The Pope’s authority over the west had shrunk to central and southern Italy so it needed the protection of the eastern empire ruled by Constantinople. Syria with the city of Antioch and Egypt with the city of Alexandria rose in importance as food suppliers. Jerusalem was built up again and became an influential church too. Rome shrank.
In 533 Justinian began the reconquest to destroy Arianism, the barbarians who did not believe the Trinity.
What saved Rome was the Muslims, who captured Syria 640 and Egypt 642 and north Africa. The Muslims were responsible for removing rivals Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Carthage. Then the Lombards invaded north Italy in 568. The emperor of Constantinople now had big problems in the east and could not interfere in the west. Pope Stephen II ( ( 752 – 57 ) turned to the Frank’s barbarian king Pippin because the emperor could not help.
Gregory I ( 590 – 601 ) confronted the Lombards at gates of Rome and converted the Anglo – Saxons in England. He replied to Constantinople’s bishop that none of the patriarchs ( bishops of the big cities ) are universal with dominion over the whole church. He was a strong man who helped the poor and ruled the papal states efficiently. This gave a big boost to the Pope’s prestige. Other Popes disagreed with Gregory that there was no universal leader of the church.
Civil administration in Italy broke down with the Lombard threat of invasion and the Roman church had to supply water and food for the poor. The church estates became well organized and the Roman church became a territorial power. Gregory provisioned the city of Rome, bought corn from Sicily and in 591 and 593 he bought off the Lombards. Then he began to pay the local troops who looked to him as head. He converted the Arian Lombards to Catholicism. Their conversion was complete by 680. Then the Visigoths in Spain also threw off Arianism.
A bitter East-west schism developed when eastern emperor Leo III in 726 attacked the worship of images. The Roman pope was insistent in his support of images.
The Greek cities of Illyria and Sicily as well as southern Italy ( Rome’s main source of wealth ) were removed from Rome by the Emperor of Constantinople. Rome was effectively quarantined from the empire. She was not the main church of the empire any more. Then the Lombards advanced again after 50 years.
Rome, already isolated and with much smaller territorial possessions was forced to start negotiating with one of the western barbarians, the Franks. Stephen II ( 752 – 57 ) called in Pippin, the king of the Franks. He asked Pippin for top half of Italy. The papal states were born in 756 when Pippin defeated the Lombards and gave the Pope a chunk of territory around Rome. Suddenly the Pope was king of a territory. He gained from the Barbarian Franks but had lost in his dealings with the eastern emperor of Constantinople. So now the Roman church turned to the western barbarian tribes.
Thus the pressure of events forced a reaction which helped in the rise of the Catholic church.
Constantine, by recognition and money, had got the church to move with the imperial or eastern influence. Showering money on the Roman bishop made the bishop obey Constantine but it also gave the bishop of Rome great prestige in the eyes of many people.
Since Gregory I the Roman church had hovered between two worlds, trying to compete with Constantinople.
After 754 it turned to the west. As Successor of Peter and head of the church it had great prestige amongst the barbarians. In the new environment of the barbarian tribes it acquired the authority it needed.
The king of the Franks needed the Pope to crown him as that would give him legitimacy. The Pope needed the military protection of the Franks who were the strongest of the tribes in that region. It was a relationship that suited both sides.
So the antichrist arose through elevated human leadership and a forsaking of Biblical accuracy, not to mention an obsession with dabbling in politics and a strong materialistic desire to gain and rule and tax as big a territory as possible.
The Roman Catholic church chose to put men’s opinion above Scripture. Nicolaitans ( “nico” means to conquer so this means conquering the laity, the ordinary people in the church ) is achieved by the lifting up of a holy man and bringing the people into submission to him as the only way to get right with God. It starts with ideas and deeds which spread and become accepted as the way of worship and slowly these ideas become the official doctrine which everyone must believe. These ideas then become the law of the church and are regarded as more important than Scripture. Anyone who opposes them is in trouble.
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
The first church saw these unscriptural deeds sneaking in.
Ignatius, a prominent early Christian from about AD 70 to about AD 110 set himself up as bishop of Antioch in Syria and was accepted as such.
In these letters Ignatius appears to be the first to argue for the “monarchical bishop” in the local congregation. He describes a three-tiered ministry of bishop, elders and deacons in each church. In Ignatius’ view the term bishop is reserved for a single member of the presbytery who is so exalted above the elders that he presides in the place of God himself.
“Let the bishop preside in God’s place, and presbyters take the place of the apostolic council, and let the deacons…be entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ” (Epistle to the Magnesians 6.1).
Here is the first clear cut elevation of a holy man above the church members
Ignatius was partly motivated by his concern for unity in the church. There were factions and doctrines in Antioch that he had opposed as heretical. He thought having a single bishop presiding over a church and demanding obedience as if he were Jesus Christ would prevent divisions.
Ignatius wrote to the Philippians, “Pay heed to the bishop, the presbytery, and the deacons…. Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your bodies as if they were God’s temple; value unity; flee schism; imitate Jesus Christ as he imitated his Father” (7.1-2).
In his letter to the Smyrnaeans he wrote, “Flee from schism as the source of mischief… Nobody must do anything that has to do with the Church without the bishop’s approval.… In that way everything you do will be on the safe side and valid” (6-9).
This was not a prevalent view in the early second century, but rather was a new trend in the church.
Although Ignatius addresses Polycarp as “bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans” (Epistle to Polycarp), Polycarp identifies himself simply as “Polycarp and those who are with him as presbyters” (Epistle to the Philippians).
Polycarp was simply one of a plurality of overseers; there was no “monarchical” bishop at Philippi (Everett Ferguson, Early Christians Speak 175).
Ignatius does not even mention a bishop in Rome, which supports evidence from Clement and Hermas that the church in Rome was governed by a plurality of elders at the beginning of the second century (Ferguson 174).
The “monarchical bishop” eventually spread among the churches, as attested in the writings of Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, but not until later in the century.
The authority of the bishop was apparently not being extended beyond the local congregation in Ignatius’ day (Ferguson 175).
First century churches were autonomous, each governed by a plurality of elders (Acts 11:30; 14:23; Titus 1:5). The New Testament calls them “bishops,” “elders,” or “pastors,” using those terms to describe various functions of those who oversee or shepherd the local church (Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Pet. 5:1-3).
Ignatius was thus one of the first to advocate a pattern for church government that deviated from the New Testament model.
This deviation from Scripture, one man controlling a church in a city, slowly spread throughout the Roman empire after 100 AD until it became accepted that each city must be led by a bishop. After a while, nobody ever questioned this from Scripture. It just became the accepted pattern.
Ignatius wrote to the Philippians, “Pay heed to the bishop, the presbytery, and the deacons…. Do nothing apart from the bishop”…. “Let the bishop preside in God’s place,…
So Ignatius had a pattern where there was one man, the bishop, in charge of the Christians at the city of Philippi ( named after Philip the father of Alexander the Great who established the city ). Alexander was the western king who went east to conquer the Persians and bring everyone into submission to his will. He was also the first western man to be worshipped as god, firstly in the east and then later in the west. Conquering everyone and being worshiped as god, these became the characteristics of the Roman Catholic Pope.
Writing to the Christians at Philippi, Paul’s epistle is called the Book of Philippians.
But “bishops” in the plural was mentioned by Paul writing to these selfsame Philipians in the city of Philippi.
Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
So with one sentence, Paul demolishes the concept of one-man rule by an elevated bishop since he clearly states that there were more than one bishop in the city.
Even some Protestants today claim that the first man to found a church in a city is the bishop of that city and that all the believers should be subject to him. “Join my church” is a common invitation made by Christians but it has the hidden sting of “becoming subject to my pastor’s rule and opinions”.
Although Ignatius addresses Polycarp as “bishop of the church of the Smyrnaeans” (Epistle to Polycarp), Polycarp identifies himself simply as “Polycarp and those who are with him as presbyters” (Epistle to the Philippians).
Polycarp did not call himself bishop of Smyrna.
Polycarp was simply one of a plurality of overseers; there was no “monarchical” bishop at Philippi (Everett Ferguson, Early Christians Speak 175).
So Polycarp was Scriptural and obeyed Paul.
Ignatius contradicted Paul’s epistle and his unscriptural pattern of one-man dominance of a church in a city was to become the established pattern for Christian churches. By the year 200 AD it was commonly accepted that a city had a dominant bishop who was the head of the church in that city
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
The deeds of the Nicolaitans in the first church age had become the established doctrine in the third church age. This is always the trend when we forsake the Bible pattern for a more convenient or efficient human pattern.
By the time of the third church age, which started when Constantine stopped persecuting the Christians around 312 AD, this doctrine of elevated bishops controlling the church in a city was now part of official church law and custom. You could not argue against it.
Then as the Roman Catholic church grew bigger, there had to be archbishops ( unscriptural word ) in charge of bishops. Even some Protestant churches have archbishops. So powerful is this flood tide of error to bring the believers under the control of an elevated human leader. Then archbishops had to be controlled by cardinals ( a pagan title ) and finally the boss of the whole pyramid was the Pope which, in Italian, means father. “Pope” is not just an unscriptural title but it actually contradicts Scripture.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven
You have a single human father who gave you natural life. But no man is your spiritual father because when you were born again you received the Spirit of eternal life from Jesus alone, not from anyone else. This makes Him your spiritual Father and also makes Him the Head of the church.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Today churches are in submission to the rule and dictates of the pastor, and nobody questions where he gets his authority from. It is certainly not from the Bible as the word “pastor” is only mentioned once in the New Testament, and then that office is listed fourth out of five ministries.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Pastors have a role to play in helping people with their personal problems and their spiritual growth. But they are not there to run the church as a one-man show.
Teachers are supposed to teach doctrine but today it is the pastors who do the teaching of doctrine.
Pastors are not there to tell people who they cannot listen to or who they should not invite into their homes.
Pastors are not there to reject people who do not agree with them. They are not there to have preeminence in the church.
These were the characteristics of a man Diotrephes.
II JOHN 1:9
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
Who casts people out of the church today? Who has this man-made authority? The pastor.
So the Roman Catholic tradition of submission to the will and dictates of the elevated leader of the church has now also moved into the Protestant churches.
The doctrine of Trinity means that there is no one Name for God. So baptism no longer happens in the Name of Jesus Christ. Protestants have followed this example as well.
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Philip never preached the Name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Only the Son died, not the Father or the Holy Ghost. So what does the Name of Father, Son and Holy Ghost have to do with baptism into His death, unless the Name of Father , Son and Holy Ghost is the Name of Jesus.
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Baptism is a deed that must be done in the name of Jesus.
Elevated human leadership corrupted the early church but became immensely popular.
The Roman Catholic church adopted this model and then wove the interesting pagan beliefs into their religion to achieve an even wider influence. Scripture was forsaken but an immense popularity and wealth gave them the conviction that they were right.
This was the spirit of ancient Rome. Clamping the yoke of submission onto the necks of a once free people. The Roman senate was divided into factions that only united to become servile to the emperor. Obedience to the will of one man became the key to success. Given enough power, even an upright man will begin to stoop. Obedience to the will and traditions of man undermine our personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This study has exposed one tentacle of the antichrist spirit as it arose in the early Roman Catholic church and then infiltrated the Protestant daughters who tried to escape from Roman Catholicism. Are we slaves to the rules and traditions of a man or are we free to follow the Scripture?
Get it wrong, and the great Tribulation awaits you. The Tribulation will be a great wake-up call to countless Christians, the so-called sleeping virgins.
For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14. And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Peoples opinions and assumptions, driven by the desire to gain and dominate others, have hardened over the centuries into doctrines, maintained by powerful interest groups. Their beliefs have risen into rigid walls that protect denominational religion and act as barriers against open-minded thinking.