This week the pope as part of his Latin American tour was in communist Cuba this week. The pope met with the current leader Raul Castro and his brother and past leader Fidel Castro, he also met with and blessed the Venuzvalen leader Hugo Chavez, a vicious anti semite. Some may wonder at the willingness of the Roman Catholic church to rub shoulders with these leaders and these states, the truth is however that the history of her political relationships shows what kind of system she is. Welcome to Bible in the News, this is John Billington with you this week.
It was corrupted branch of the original Christian Church (exactly as had been predicted by the apostles) which sought protection from human power rather than that of God. When we come to the scriptures the true bride of Christ is his ecclesia, his body of believers and is represented as a virgin. Well when we come to Revelation chapter 12 we have a picture of a woman who gives birth to a man child. This woman is no longer the Christ virgin bride, the true believers. It is the branch that has been corrupted and is now fallen away from the truth of the scriptures and has become political. In history the corrupt church looked for a champion and thus "she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron..."
This man child was born on February 27th in approximately 288 AD. He was the illegitimate son of distinguished Roman officer and inn keeper named Flavia Helena. This "man" is none other than Constantine the Great. After the Constantine took on the role of "soldier of Christ" in A.D. 312, he began to conquer "in Christ's name," Christianity became entangled with the state, and warfare and violence became justified. The Catholic Church was "elevated into the heaven" to use the words of Revelation and she was clothed with the glory of Rome. This joining of church and state was mutually beneficial of course; the Church obtained the position and recognition she strove for and Constantine, became the victorious emperor. The result for the Church was nothing short of the kingdom of Christ on earth! This was "Christendom" - Christ's dominion.
Well as we have seen from many of our current dictators, once someone has had a taste of power they are not too excited to let it go. This too was the case for Church who had enjoyed a dose of earthly glory and authority, she has since done her best to keep it and if possible extend her reach. The great false Church has thus become "the great whore that sitteth upon many waters; with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication" (Rev 17:1) Her lovers have been Roman emperors, barbarian kings, medieval emperors, kings of Europe, Czars of Russia, presidents, dictators, the German Fuhrer, even Yasser Arafat one of the greatest terrorists of our time!
The historian Gordon Childe describes the character of the Church after the conversion of Constantine in the following words:
“The conversion of Constantine is generally hailed as the final victory of the new faith. It may equally be regarded as the triumph of totalitarianism. The Church no doubt won not only tolerance and relief from persecution, but also wealth and the right to persecute. The price was clerical endorsement of the existing order on earth." - What happened in History
Well this man child that was born is described as "that man of sin" in 2 Thess 2:3. In fact the great apostasy has a number of characteristics that the scripture defines for us. We will just pick a few:
Departure from the Faith began in the First Century - 1 Tim 4:1-3, 1 John 2:18-19 & 2 Thess 2:7
They would forbid to marry - 1 Tim 4:3 (The doctrine of a celibate priesthood)
They would "make merchandise" out of religion, religion becomes a business - 2 Peter 2:3
The leaders of the apostasy would be skilled in the art of deception - 2 Thess 2:9-10
"They went out from us" - This is definitely a Christian apostasy - 1 John 2:18-19
They would deny the true nature of Christ - that he came in the flesh like us - 1 John 4:1-4
When we come to look at the scriptures we find a very different character in Jesus Christ. John 18:33 -37
"Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?
Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. "
What Christ tells us is that now is not the time to fight, that is the case until he returns, a day which we expect soon. Acts 3:20,21 - "And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." The restoration that has been spoken of by all the holy prophets since the world began is none other than the restored kingdom of Israel.
The words of Nathan the prophet to David, 2 Sam 7:12-14:
"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
I will be his father, and he shall be my son."
The fulfillment of this can be seen in Daniel 2:44:
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever."
The Roman Catholic Church and Christianity at large today is astray from the truth of God's word. The words of Christ in the book of Revelation describes the Roman Church as a mother harlot with her daughters, because much of her poisonous teaching has been drunk by the various churches today. Daniel 4:32 tells us that "...the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will." It is God that is ultimately in control and soon the words of Psalm 2 will be seen to some to pass.
"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion."
This was John Billington with you for another edition of the Bible in the News. Join us again next week.