Author’s Note: This booklet is part of a unique series covering the subject of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. While each booklet stands alone, the reader will only gain a full understanding if the series is read in the following order, reflecting the sequence described in Revelation 6 and Matthew 24:
Sometimes God chooses to use common experiences or activities as symbols or analogies in His Word. This is done to help human minds comprehend what is being described. God’s selection of analogy makes the booklets on the Four Horsemen easier to understand—especially for those who have ridden horses.
I have done this many times, in many situations, and ridden at virtually every speed. I have sat on horses at a standstill. I have ridden them at a walk, a trot and a canter, as well as at a gallop, and even at the exhilarating clip of a full run, flat-out, across a level field with my head down beside the horse’s mane.
As we begin the subject of the Revelation 6 horses (with horsemen), fix in your mind this animal’s physical prowess. Bear in mind that for much of history, including the age of the writing of the New Testament, horses were man’s preferred means of transportation—for rapid travel, communication and, in the case of armies, invasion and conquest. The horse and rider are virtually inseparable from a place within every picture of history.
God knows this. Hence His choice of analogy.
For the past 2,000 years, millions have sought to understand the so-called “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” described in Revelation 6. Much written about, and seen in Hollywood films, none grasp their true significance. Religionists have crafted their own explanations, but have all ignored important clues in properly understanding what these symbolize. As with so much of Bible prophecy, this is also because they have not understood the keys to God’s Word.
In Revelation 6:2-8, a series of mysterious horses are described—white, red, black and pale—each with its own rider, and coming in sequence. None seem to recognize that Christ, the Revelator, had already shown to His disciples the prophetic meaning of these horses. With so much at stake, because of the unparalleled destruction these first four opened seals are foretold to bring, we must understand in fuller context their true—and truly horrific—meaning.
In this booklet and the others on the Four Horsemen there is a second purpose—and question. This question is big. We are also examining whether Jesus’ prophecies have been accurate. Did He speak the truth to His disciples about events preceding His Return—or are His words a jumbled hodgepodge of human imagination, perhaps put on His lips by others—or even by the apostle John? If so, we must admit that at least some of the Bible is not worth the paper it is written on. And all of Jesus’ words stand in doubt.
This booklet describes the real meaning of the first seal of Revelation 6:1-2. But at this point, another question arises—and it is also big! As you read the Four Horsemen booklets, this towering question presents itself: Are the first four seals of Revelation still closed, or has Christ unsealed them? In other words, are they in effect today? Stay focused on this question as you read.
Before continuing, something else must be grasped in order to set up the subject.
Everyone hates having been deceived—lied to—especially by those they have known and trusted. The reader has probably experienced this. In every case, it is painful and disillusioning. The shock of betrayal can shake one to the core of his being.
For a moment, in your mind’s eye, try to place yourself in this situation. Now imagine that those who have done this to you are widely considered to be men of truth. And then next imagine that what you trusted them with were the most important things in life.
Unknown to almost all, this is the level of deceit that counterfeit Christianity represents, where presumably all people understand that eternal life is at stake.
We now bear down.
The Identity of the Rider of Revelation 6:2
John described what he saw as Christ began to remove the seals. Let’s read the account: “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:1-2).
The first horseman’s identity has been almost universally misunderstood. You must understand this! The rider of the white horse is not who most think he is. Religionists and so-called prophecy experts have invented numerous theories about what the rider of Revelation 6:2 pictures. Some think he pictures Christ’s servants announcing His Second Coming. Others believe the white horse represents “the Church.” This could not be the case since God’s Church never went forth to conquer and subdue nations. Rather, the true Church is represented by a woman (Rev. 12:1) who nurtures those whom God calls. These and all other human interpretations are wrong.
Many Bible commentaries, referring to Revelation 19, which portrays Jesus Christ returning on a white horse, hastily conclude that the Revelation 6 rider also must be Christ. Let’s examine more closely whether these riders are the same.
Subtle, and not so subtle but overlooked, differences will be seen to be very important.
Notice Revelation 19: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God…And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (vs. 11-13, 15).
Clearly this is the true Jesus Christ. No one doubts this much.
Of course, there are similarities between the descriptions. Both riders are astride a white horse. Both are wearing a crown or many crowns, and they both conquer and rule. But, again, there are subtle differences. For instance, the Revelation 6 horseman wears “a crown,” whereas Jesus Christ wears “many crowns.”
“Sword” and “Bow”
Notice another crucial difference. The Christ in Revelation 19 brandishes a sword (also see Revelation 1:16) out of His mouth, not a bow in His hand, as in Revelation 6. The sword, symbolically, is His Word, the Bible (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). Christ comes reproving nations with His Word, while the horseman of Revelation 6 comes with another source of power, represented by a bow. Even if we did not know the meaning of the bow, it could clearly not be the Word of God—a “two-edged sword”—or it would not be identified differently. And nowhere in the Bible is God’s Word referred to as a bow.
The presence of a bow connects the rider of this horse to the ancient patriarch of false religion, Nimrod—described as a “mighty hunter” in Genesis 10. Nimrod, whose name means “rebellion,” founded the city of Babylon (meaning “confusion”). This city eventually grew into the capital of the Babylonian Empire and seat of the Babylonian Mystery religion, referenced a number of times in Scripture.
Notice this powerful, identifying quote from Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons: “But we have seen that Kronos was the first King of Babylon, or Nimrod; consequently, the first Centaur was the same. Now, the way in which the Centaur was represented on the Babylonian coins, and in the Zodiac, viewed in this light, is very striking. The Centaur was the same as the sign Sagittarius, or ‘The Archer.’ If the founder of Babylon’s glory was ‘The mighty Hunter,’ whose name, even in the days of Moses, was a proverb—(Gen 10:9, ‘Wherefore, it is said, Even as Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord’)—when we find the ‘Archer’ with his bow and arrow, in the symbol of the supreme Babylonian divinity, and the ‘Archer,’ among the signs of the Zodiac that originated in Babylon, I think we may safely conclude that this Man-horse or Horse-man Archer primarily referred to him, and was intended to perpetuate the memory at once of his fame as a huntsman and his skill as a horse-breaker” (p. 42).
The sequence of events in both accounts is also revealing. As the first seal is opened, the Revelation 6 white horse is unleashed at the beginning of a series of end-time events. It is followed by the remaining seals leading up to the Great Tribulation. Then, as the seventh seal is nearly completed, the second white horse and its rider (Jesus Christ) appear. This is at the sound of the last trumpet of the seven trumpet plagues. This is the Return of Christ and His victory over those who attempt to oppose His triumphal Return. The horsemen of Revelation 6 and 19 represent opposite ends of this spectrum of time. These could not possibly describe the same event. The riders plainly arrive years apart.
So then, these are different riders on different horses at different points in time!
A Specific Counterfeit
A vital distinction must be made at this point. The rider of the Revelation 6 white horse does not represent all false religion. This first seal does not encompass belief systems such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and others. What the rider does represent is a counterfeit Christianity—a counterfeit Christ. This is so obviously then “another Jesus”—and the one that the apostle Paul warned about (II Cor. 11:4).
Anything that passes as a counterfeit must seem authentic. Counterfeit money is designed to closely resemble real bills and coins. Any differences are very subtle, else the user is not fooled.
In the same way, the counterfeit of the true Church has to seem real. It appears “spiritual” and thoroughly organized. It appears to be well-established, with centuries-old “roots” reaching back to the original apostles. To the undiscerning, this “Jesus” and his teachings look, sound, feel and seem like the genuine article. But they are not the Christianity of the Bible—the one taught by the true Jesus Christ.
We will see that this false religious system is a counterfeit of God’s true Church!
Almost immediately after Jesus founded His Church, Satan devised a counterfeit to keep the masses unaware of the message the true Church was proclaiming after Jesus’ death. Notice: “The god of this world [the devil] has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
Satan’s purpose has been to deceive mankind about God’s truth, and he has done this through his counterfeit religious system, masquerading as genuine Christianity.
Jesus foretold the confusion and misunderstanding that would surround this rider’s identity! He disclosed events that would occur prior to His Second Coming. The first event is synonymous with the white horse. Answering His disciples’ question pertaining to the sign of His coming and of the end of the age, Jesus first warned of religious deception in the sequence of what would occur.
Let’s read this all-important element of Jesus’ Olivet Prophecy to now set a larger stage: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). Only after this did He proceed to mention war, famine and pestilence. The “many” are the vast majority of thought-to-be Christian ministers who say that Jesus Christ is Christ (the Messiah), but who do not believe or teach what Christ taught, nor do they come with His authority.
Later in the same chapter, Jesus expanded upon these verses: “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (vs. 11). According to this and related prophecies, not only would false prophets arise to deceive the great majority, but they would also infiltrate the true Church, causing many of God’s servants to fall away.
Toward the end of the last days, and especially during the time of the prophesied false religious leader of Revelation 13, false prophets were foretold to increase in number and means of deception. Here is Christ’s chilling warning: “For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not” (Matt. 24:24-26).
Here Jesus shows that false prophets will work miracles. Human beings are always impressed by such “signs and wonders,” regardless of their source, and will only too happily attribute the power of the performer to God.
Matthew 24 also mirrors the time sequence of the two riders of the white horses. The real Christ does not return (as shown in Revelation 19) until the time of the seventh and last trumpet (Matt. 24:27-31).
Beginning in the first century, false Christianity almost immediately arose, while war, famine and pestilence—depicted by the other three horses—continued more or less as they had always been. The counterfeit system became more firmly entrenched in the third and fourth centuries, but this was only a precursor—a tiny type—of what would follow at the end of the age.
Since false teachers and ministers have been plying their trade for centuries, Jesus’ warning for the end of the age must involve a big increase in the power, prevalence and influence of false Christianity. Think of it this way: at the very end, the white horse suddenly accelerates from a relative standstill to a full run!
False Christianity, war, famine and pestilence have continued off and on for the last two millennia. But this does not mean that the first four seals of Revelation 6 were opened almost 2,000 years ago, and have been slowly accelerating to an all-out sprint just before Christ’s Return. (Realize that John did not record the Revelation until about 65 years after Jesus spoke to the apostles in Matthew 24. He would certainly not introduce things sealed that had already been unsealed long before!) So then, the absolute explosion of these things—these conditions—in the last days is such that Jesus is telling us (in Revelation 6 and Matthew 24) that the tremendous increase of these things is the opening of the seals!
This booklet, and the others on the Four Horsemen, will bring a chilling picture of how this is happening, and will continue to happen.
Warnings from the Apostles
Before examining some history of this counterfeit Christian system, let’s examine a number of scriptures that warn of a movement that attempts to pass itself off as the standard-bearer of truth, but that is shrouded in mystery and deceit. Despite these inspired warnings from Peter, Paul, John and others, most have been ensnared by this clever fraud:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [license], and denying the…Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 3-4).
“For the mystery of iniquity [lawlessness] does already work...” (II Thes. 2:7). (False teachers always deny the necessity of keeping God’s Law.)
Briefly referenced earlier, the apostle Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians defines how effectively these early false teachers misled the unsuspecting: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear with him [or ‘put up with it’]” (II Cor. 11:3-4).
In verses 13-15, Paul singles out ministers who appear to represent the truth and the true Christ, but are actually led by “another” spirit: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”
Can you comprehend the gravity of this passage, viewed in an end-time context? Most do not recognize false ministers because they appear to be ministers of light—just as the “god of this world” appears to be the true God. The devil is an effective counterfeiter! He counterfeits true ministers with false, true doctrines with false and the true God with the false god—himself!
Peter added to Paul’s warning with a similar one: “There shall be false teachers among you, who privily [craftily, secretly] shall bring in damnable heresies…And many shall follow their pernicious ways” (II Pet. 2:1-2).
Paul also warned that this condition will worsen at the end of the age: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:1, 13).
Deceit is not new to planet Earth. But Paul warns of deceivers—“seducers”—growing worse “in the last days”!
With this foundation laid, we are now ready to examine how this counterfeit system began. As this is done, bear in mind that it is not my purpose to attack or slander churches or individuals. But the Bible and history clearly identify a large and powerful false system, with its offshoots (or “daughters”), and there is simply no escaping directly identifying this system.
Growth of Counterfeit Movement Parallels True Church
Not long after the establishment of the New Testament Church at Jerusalem in AD 31, men motivated by a different spirit than that given to the disciples on Pentecost began to infiltrate and influence the Church. The result is well-known to honest historians.
The German historian Johann Lorenz von Mosheim wrote of the early Church: “Christian churches had scarcely been gathered and organized, when here and there men rose up, who, not being contented with the simplicity and purity of that religion which the apostles taught, sought out new inventions, and fashioned religion according to their own liking” (Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1).
Author Jesse Hurlbut called this period after the time covered by the book of Acts “The Age of Shadows.” He wrote, “...of all periods in the [Church’s] history, it is the one about which we know the least…For fifty years after St. Paul’s life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 AD with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul” (The Story of the Christian Church, p. 33).
A study of first-century history confirms that a corrupted form of Christianity appeared on the scene shortly after the start of the New Testament Church on Pentecost AD 31, brought by agents such as Simon Magus (the word magus means “magician” or “sorcerer”)—then the leader of the Babylonian Mystery religion in Samaria.
Simon Magus can be considered the founder of the heretical movement in the New Testament age. Ironically, many who rejected this man unwittingly followed his practices. Among them were Justin Martyr, Jerome and other writers of the second and following centuries.
Simon’s first contact with God’s Church is found in Acts 8: “But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, this man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 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. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done…” (vs. 9-13).
After Simon was baptized, he witnessed the Holy Spirit being given with the laying on of the apostles’ hands. Showing his true motivation, Simon offered money for this power (vs. 18-19).
Starting with other Samaritans, Simon Magus later managed to attract a large following in Rome. Many there considered him a god, erecting a statue to him on the Tiber River. Much of his success could be attributed to his magic demonstrations, such as demon-assisted levitation (Ecclesiastical History). These supernatural parlor tricks later earned him several audiences with Nero (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th edition, vol. 25, p. 129).
It is the confusion of two different “Simons” that has given rise to one of the very greatest frauds of all history. Catholics have always claimed the apostle Peter (Simon Peter) was the first Roman bishop, and was martyred and buried in Rome. But Peter’s commission was to serve those called to God’s Church among the tribes of Israel that had been scattered after being taken into captivity—those of the “circumcision” (Gal. 2:7-8). In neither his nor Paul’s letters is there any indication that Peter was ever in Rome. Even if he were brought there for execution, the fact remains that he never served there. (There are at least 10 solid biblical proofs of this, and they are carefully listed in my book Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History!) Halley’s Bible Handbook labels the claim that Simon Peter was the first pope, “Fiction pure and simple” (p. 768).
Now notice these facts from history in Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons (emphasis mine): “The keys that the Pope bore were the keys of a ‘Peter’ well known to the Pagans initiated in the Chaldean Mysteries. That Peter the apostle was ever Bishop of Rome has been proved again and again to be an arrant fable. That he ever even set foot in Rome is at the best highly doubtful. His visit to that city rests on no better authority than that of a writer at the end of the second century or beginning of the third…it can be shown to be by no means doubtful that before the Christian era, and downwards, there was a ‘Peter’ at Rome, who occupied the highest place in the Pagan priesthood. The priest who explained the Mysteries to the initiated was sometimes called by a Greek term, the Hierophant; but in primitive Chaldee, the real language of the Mysteries, his title, as pronounced without the points, was ‘Peter’—i.e., ‘the interpreter’” (p. 208).
One such person of great “distinction” who bore the title of “Peter” at Rome was, in fact, Simon Magus! The title of “Peter” or “Pater” or “Patre” was one of religious primacy. Thus, Simon Magus carried the title Simon “Peter.” “Papa,” “Father” and “Pope” are derived from the word Pater, from which come our words paternal and patriarch. (Notice Jesus’ command in Matthew 23:9 pertaining to such titles: “And call no man your father upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven.” This verse forbids “Father” as a religious title, as was practiced in the Babylonian Mystery religion. We might add, never mind the blasphemous “Holy Father,” which is solely the role of God the Father.)
It should be said that crediting Simon Magus as the founder of today’s universal church system would not be fully accurate. He died around AD 68. It took nearly three centuries for that system to amass power and evolve, through all the stages of modifying and counterfeiting doctrine, into the form recognized today. Simon Magus’ successors were equally zealous in sowing the seeds of heresy to counter the true apostles’ work. His followers included Menander, Nicholas, Cerinthus and Marcion. (To learn much more, again, I urge you to read Where Is the True Church? – and Its Incredible History!)
By the beginning of the second century, churches advocating a hybrid Christianity—mixing the name and some few teachings of Christ with rank Babylonish paganism—were gaining strength. Although it would take another two centuries before they would be given substantial authority, their mission accelerated during the 100s AD.
The emerging counterfeit church substituted the true doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles with false teachings from the Babylon Mystery religion. Alexander Hislop also wrote that there are very few of the current practices of this counterfeit church system that cannot be directly traced to the pagan mystery rituals of Babylon. The doctrines of God’s Sabbath and Holy Days were dismissed as “Judaizing.” The popular pagan ideas of the immortal soul, “going to heaven,” and “burning in hell” were adopted. The doctrine of the millennial rule of the kingdom of God was gradually phased out. The unbiblical trinity concept was gradually accepted. Idolatry (including image and Mary worship) became acceptable, and the Second Commandment was effectively rejected.
Notice again in Matthew 24 that the many are deceived, not the few: “For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (vs. 5). Both the “manys” here—ministers and lay members—represent the overwhelming majority, as demonstrated by history. By the middle of the second century, the true followers of Christ were a small minority! The counterfeit movement openly denounced those who remained loyal to the teachings of the original apostles. Leaders such as John’s successor, Polycarp, and Polycarp’s disciple, Polycrates, were among the very few holding to the full truth in the Greco-Roman world.
The Time of Constantine
In the early 300s, during the time of the most severe persecution against all professing Christians, the Roman armies declared their favorite general, Constantine, to be Caesar. He had claimed victory after subduing the opposition in the Battle of Milvian Bridge outside Rome.
Prior to that battle, he was said to have had a vision of the first two letters of the name of Christ—chi (X) and rho (P) in Greek—and to have heard a voice say, “By this sign you will conquer.” Constantine believed that the meaning of the letters was symbolic of Christ and therefore felt indebted to Christianity for his victory, despite being a devout sun-worshipper.
One of Constantine’s first acts as emperor was to issue the Edict of Toleration in AD 311. It legalized Christianity in the empire, ending 10 years of severe persecution against the true Church. However, the edict sped up false Christianity’s rise to prominence.
The Roman leader saw this new religion as a potential means of unifying the empire. Yet its practice in the Western empire was quite different from that in the east and from other sects in North Africa. So Constantine took measures to standardize his newfound ally—counterfeit Christianity.
Constantine convened the ecumenical Council of Nicea in AD 325 to resolve doctrinal differences between various Christian divisions. Before this, again, as a former sun-worshipper, he had naturally already decreed that Sunday—the day of the sun—would be kept throughout the empire. The Council of Nicea went further, in effect outlawing the practice of true Christianity. But the unscriptural teachings of the emerging counterfeit church were now decreed as part of the new state religion. As its protector, Constantine forced everyone, pagan or Christian, into either conformity or exile.
Prior to Constantine, the professing Christian church—founded by Simon Magus—had suffered persecution by the state, alongside the small true Church. But now in their elevated position of power, the “persecuted” became the “persecutors.” This counterfeit false church’s goal had now been achieved, and it now vengefully pursued the true people of God.
Jesus’ admonition of “then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted [tortured], and shall kill you” (Matt. 24:9) began very early (in type), with 11 of the 12 original apostles being martyred. But the book of Acts reports many others were included.
Daniel 7 gives a prophetic picture of one of the horns (the false church) of what is “the fourth beast” (the Roman Empire). This system “made war with the saints,” “prevailed against them,” “spoke great words against the Most High,” and was to “wear out the saints of the Most High.” This “little horn” is the same counterfeit movement whose rise to power has been documented from Church history. As we proceed, it will become evident how deadly this “little horn speaking great things” would become regarding the true Church, and for the whole world. To learn more about this “little horn” and the “fourth Beast” described in Daniel 7, read our thorough booklet Who or What Is the Beast of Revelation?
A Killing Machine!
We saw Jesus declared, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). But when the universal church system—the Revelation 6 white horse and rider—asserts power, it has brought destruction and death!
Most have assumed that the counterfeit church, having developed into a large and powerful organization, has brought a stabilizing influence to the world. They have believed that this church has injected a sense of morality and responsibility into mankind’s collective consciousness.
But the rider of this white horse has called down numerous wars in the name of religion. History reveals that this church has been the chief cause of war within its jurisdiction, either indirectly or directly. It has inspired “conquering, and to conquer” (Rev. 6:2).
Let’s read a more extensive quote from history: “Now, this Ninus, or ‘Son,’ borne in the arms of the Babylonian Madonna, is so described as very clearly to identify him with Nimrod. ‘Ninus, king of the Assyrians,’ says Trogus Pompeius, epitomised by Justin, ‘first of all changed the contented moderation of the ancient manners, incited by a new passion, the desire of conquest. He was the first who carried on war against his neighbours, and he conquered all nations from Assyria to Lybia, as they were yet unacquainted with the arts of war.’ This account points directly to Nimrod, and can apply to no other” (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 23).
And also, “…‘Ninus, the most ancient of the Assyrian kings mentioned in history, performed great actions. Being naturally of a warlike disposition, and ambitious of glory that results from valour, he armed a considerable number of young men that were brave and vigorous like himself, trained them up a long time in laborious exercises and hardships, and by that means accustomed them to bear the fatigues of war, and to face dangers with intrepidity’” (ibid.). How obvious the connection of an ancient system and its first leader to its modern descendant.
Consider a few more examples of the merciless approach this horrific system has taken through the centuries, beginning with God’s Church. Not content with merely driving God’s servants into the wilderness, armies controlled by the counterfeit church pursued them, intending to wipe them out completely.
Accounts speak of how in AD 1290, in the town of Beziers, Crusaders entered churches and butchered refugees hiding inside. The bodies of slaughtered thousands—men, women and children, including babies—were stacked like cordwood. (I have personally read such accounts.) Now another. Nearby, in Montsegur, 200 accused “heretics” were seized, pulled outside the city and thrown onto a giant funeral pyre where they were incinerated alive.
Here is an account of what happened next: “This done…the Bishop, together with the monks and their attendants, returned to the refectory and, after giving thanks to God and St. Dominic, fell cheerfully upon the food set before them” (Massacre at Montsegur, p. 291).
Now consider this chilling description as witnesses saw the flames: “The people shout their approval; the inquisitors sit, hands folded, deeply shocked by all the wickedness in the world, serene in their own virtue, in bringing about justice, so clever that—although they have brought those groaning, fainting men and women to this horror—because they abandoned them in time to the secular arm [the civil government], there is no blood on their hands…” (Jean Plaidy, The Rise of the Spanish Inquisition, p. 158). The same author adds, “The long ceremony, the chanting of monks, the tolling of bells, the smell of incense, the holiness of the proceedings has a comforting effect. All has been sanctified by these things.”
Could anything be more abominable than such officially sanctioned evil?
The leadership of this church believed it held limitless power over human lives, and much more. The next quote by Dr. Henry Halley shows how particular popes literally elevated their position above that of God Himself. It may be the single most revealing quote about the nature of the thinking at the top of this system (capitalization for emphasis is always Halley’s):
“Innocent III (1198-1216). Most Powerful of all the Popes. Claimed to be ‘Vicar of Christ,’ ‘Vicar of God,’ ‘Supreme Sovereign over the Church and the World.’ Claimed the right to Depose Kings and Princes; and that ‘All things on earth and in heaven and in hell are subject to the Vicar of Christ.’
“He brought the Church into Supreme Control of the State. The Kings of Germany, France, England, and practically all the Monarchs of Europe obeyed his will. He even brought the Byzantine Empire under his control. Never in history has any one man exerted more power” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, pp. 776-777).
In light of the title taken by Innocent III, consider all the titles held by the pope today before continuing with Dr. Halley’s quote: “[His Holiness Pope (name)], Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God” (Encyclopaedia Britannica). The title of “Patriarch of the West” has been dropped by the current pope.
It should go without saying that none of these titles—or anything like them—are found anywhere in God’s Word!
Now continuing Dr. Halley’s quote about popes attached to the Inquisition: “The Inquisition, called the ‘Holy Office,’ was instituted by Pope Innocent III, and perfected under the second following Pope, Gregory IX. It was the Church Court for Detection and Punishment of Heretics. Under it everyone was required to inform against Heretics. Anyone suspected was liable to Torture, without knowing the name of his accuser. The proceedings were secret. The Inquisitor pronounced sentence, and the victim was turned over to Civil Authorities to be Imprisoned for Life, or to be Burned. The victim’s property was confiscated, and divided between the Church and the State” (ibid.).
Finally, Halley summarizes the dark time of the Inquisition: “In the period immediately following Pope Innocent III the Inquisition did its most deadly work against the Albigenses [a name given to the true Church in northern Italy and southern France]…but also claimed vast multitudes of victims in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands.
“Later on the Inquisition was the main agency in the Papacy’s effort to Crush the Reformation. It is stated that in [just] the 30 years between 1540 and 1570 no fewer than 900,000…were put to death in the Pope’s war…”
“Think of Monks and Priests, in holy garments, directing, with Heartless Cruelty and Inhuman Brutality, the work of Torturing and Burning alive Innocent Men and Women, and doing it in the Name of Christ, by the direct order of the ‘Vicar of Christ.’
“The Inquisition was the Most Infamous and Devilish Thing in Human History. It was devised by Popes, and used by them for 500 years, to Maintain their Power” (ibid., p. 777).
Can you imagine a church, professing to represent Jesus Christ and His government on Earth, maintaining control through this kind of reign of terror? Such is the counterfeit rider of the white horse, with his hunting bow of slaughter in hand!
Seeds of the Protestant Reformation
By the early 1500s, after decades of blood-stained Inquisition history, it was clear to many the Roman Church was corrupt and scandalous at every level. (But this does not even speak to its scores of deceptive, false teachings.)
In addition to church-sanctioned violent persecution and mass murder, the practices of simony (offices and positions for sale) and indulgences (remission of sin—past, present and future—for a price) proved too much for some of its followers. Many European monarchies had already been drifting away from quiet submission to papal authority. In Germany, anti-Catholic and anti-papal sentiment was growing.
It was at this time that Martin Luther entered the scene. According to most sources, while studying law at the University of Erfurt, Luther was marooned in a severe thunderstorm. Terrified, he vowed to become a monk, and joined the Augustine order of friars. In 1507, he became a priest, and in due time became a doctor of theology. He was then given a professorship at the University of Wittenberg.
Some of Luther’s own theology had developed before any open confrontation with the church. What initially began with rejecting the Catholic definition of “works” (keeping the “sacraments”) eventually led to rejecting the concept of any works (including obedience to God’s Law). He concluded that faith alone was required for salvation, openly dismissing the book of James as an “epistle of straw” because it teaches works alongside faith—“faith without works is dead” (Jms. 2:20, 26).
In 1517, incensed by a Dominican friar selling indulgences near Wittenberg, Luther began protesting. This was in written form through his “95 Theses,” nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Although he did not intend to cause a revolt, these points of contention appealed to German anti-papal attitudes. Convicted on the matter, Luther was unyielding.
But the church confronting him was just as stubborn. Three years of bitter disagreement and confrontation led Luther to condemn the pope, the clergy and the sacraments. Pope Leo X declared him a heretic. Luther countered by torching Catholic documents, including the Canon Law.
In 1521, Luther was put on trial at Worms. His judge was a young Charles V of Hapsburg, along with a gathering of ambassadors, princes and bishops. Luther took the position of elevating, in certain limited areas, the authority of the Bible above papal and church authority. He adamantly held his ground.
Luther was escorted to Wartburg by imperial forces. Most of his countrymen now held him in high esteem. Various princes of adjoining territories promised allegiance to Luther and left the Roman church to follow him, marking the birth of the Lutheran church.
One reason Luther was permitted to question and resist the dictates of Rome was that German emperor Charles V was entangled in a series of conflicts with France. Without the emperor’s participation, the clergy was powerless to enforce its decrees on Luther, now protected by an increasing number of northern German princes.
A series of events bought time for the Protestants. Charles abdicated in favor of his younger brother, and died two years later at a secluded monastery in Spain. The next two emperors supported the Protestants.
Other schools of Protestant thought flourished in Europe and eventually the New World—Calvinism, Methodism, Anglicanism and others. There would be no reconciliation with Rome. There are now thousands of Protestant denominations, with new brands arising daily.
In Rome’s eyes, this affront to its authority must end.
The Bible portrays this end-time church system as a woman (Rev. 17:4-6). The scriptural pattern is that churches are personified as females, while civil governments are characterized in the male gender. The counterfeit church of course is called a “woman,” but also a “whore,” a “mother” and a “queen.” (And she has “daughters.”)
The extent of her domain and rulership is given in 17:1: “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come here; I will show unto you the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters.” The symbol “many waters” is defined in Revelation 17:15: “And he said unto me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sits, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (vs. 6).
History shows that no other single church has reigned over so many “peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues.” Neither has any other large church system been “drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
Verse 2 continued describing this “whore”: “With whom the kings [world leaders] of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” What other large church receives and calls upon heads of state, and has done so for centuries?
Revelation 18:7 shows she considers herself a “queen.” (These sleep with kings.) Chapter 2, verses 20-23 personify the universal system as the Gentile Queen Jezebel, wicked wife of King Ahab (I Kings 16-22). Jezebel “stirred up” her husband to adopt evil practices, martyred many faithful prophets, and attempted to kill the prophet Elijah (19:2-3). The parallel with a church that persecutes the saints through the ages is striking.
Revelation 12 depicts God’s Church as a woman of very different character. There are numerous examples in Scripture of righteous women whose faithful, upright character reflected that of the true Church: Sarah, Ruth, Esther, Hannah and Mary (Jesus’ mother).
In the case of Mary, the counterfeit church has deified her as equal or superior to Christ, whom they always portray as either a baby or hanging helplessly on a cross. Millions of Catholics, members and clergy, have signed a petition to declare Mary the co-redemptrix (meaning she works beside Jesus in redeeming humanity).
The adoration of Mary—really Mary worship—originated with Semiramis, the mother-wife of Nimrod. This symbolism was then passed down through the Babylon Mystery religion, and was later adapted into the counterfeit church. Simon Magus applied parts of this symbolism to himself and his mistress, Helen the prostitute.
The rejection by Protestants of such “Mariolatry” has long been among the sharpest distinctions between Catholics and Protestants. But times are changing.
Today’s Ecumenical Movement
Revelation 17:5 describes the universal church as the “mother of harlots.” Children generally retain some or many of the characteristics of their mother. Likewise, Protestant churches retained more than 90 percent of the same false, idolatrous observances their mother taught them, such as Sunday, Christmas and Easter observance, rejection of God’s Law as done away and trinitarianism.
Rome’s protesting daughters have now been gone for over four centuries. Today an ecumenical movement is paving the way for reunion. The term “ecumenical” derives from the Greek word oikoumene, meaning “the inhabited world.” How telling of its goal.
The current movement rose to prominence in the 1960s, originating in the Protestant Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. The Catholics accepted their overtures toward closer ties, because these groups emphasized emotional religious experience rather than doctrine, on which Rome rarely budges. This “truce” was called the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement and resulted in warmer relations with many Evangelical groups. This led to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) in 1965. During this time, the Catholics made a few concessions toward the Protestants. For example, instead of “heretics,” they were now officially deemed “separated brethren.”
But if Vatican II slightly softened the Catholic view of Protestants, its conclusions were still uncompromising: “This Sacred Council exhorts the faithful…[that their] ecumenical action must be fully and sincerely Catholic…faithful to the truth which we [they claim] have received from the apostles and Fathers of the Church, in harmony with the faith which the Catholic Church has always professed” (Unitatis Redintegratio).
The Ecumenical movement has gained momentum. More prominent and larger Protestant groups, such as the Anglican Church and its American Episcopal branch, have caught on to this spirit. A much closer association with the Eastern Orthodox Churches, whose main difference is submission to the pope at Rome, has been reached.
Since the Reformation, Rome has added additional dogma that would seem to make reconciliation less likely. These include: Papal Infallibility (1870), the Immaculate Conception (1854) and the Assumption into heaven of Mary, Mother of God (1950).
Yet the daughters are still coming home! Alarms sounded in Protestant circles have less and less impact.
A 2005 Time magazine story shows that adoration of Mary is making inroads in the Protestant world: “A man stands at the lectern at the El Amor de Dios church on Chicago’s South Side reading in Spanish, tears streaming down his cheeks. His text is a treatment of the Virgin Mary from one of the Bible’s apocryphal books. Another congregant follows, reciting his own verses to the Virgin…Flanking the altar are two Mary statues…hanging from the hands of the baby Jesus is a Rosary. The altar cover presents the church’s most stunning image: Mary again, this time totally surrounded by a multicolored halo, in the traditional iconography of the Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“The church is Methodist.”
Relations with the Orthodox churches are progressing the fastest. Vatican II declared, “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments and above all, by apostolic succession, the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are linked to us in closest intimacy” (Unitatis Redintegratio).
The previous Roman leader’s memorial service in 2005 was the first papal funeral in centuries attended by the Patriarch of Constantinople, the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church.
May 2010 saw Vatican City celebrate the “Days of Russian Culture and Spirituality in the Vatican.” Consider its purpose: “The event, which is sponsored by the Moscow Patriarchate, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Pontifical Council for Culture, includes a photographic exhibition, a symposium and a concert in honor of [the pope]” (Zenit).
The event included a symposium titled “Orthodox and Catholics in Europe Today: The Christian Roots and the Common Cultural Heritage of East and West.”
In July 2010, “Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia…said that he sees eye-to-eye with [the] Pope…on many pressing moral issues” (Interfax).
The Patriarch stated, “‘I must say that the stance of [the] incumbent Pope…gives rise to optimism…on many public and moral issues his approach fully coincides with the approach of the Russian Orthodox Church. This gives us an opportunity to advocate Christian values together with the Catholic Church, in particular at international organizations and on the international arena’” (ibid.).
Luther’s own church is drifting with the current. In a bid to promote unity, the pope visited an evangelical Lutheran Church in Rome on Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday during Lent in 2010. According to Zenit, the Catholic leader warned against being content “with the successes of the ecumenism of recent years,” regretting that Protestants and Catholics still “cannot drink of the same chalice and we cannot be together around the altar...This should make us sad because it is a sinful situation…”
During the German-language service, the President of the Lutheran Community of Rome remarked, “May you feel at home here, Your Holiness” (ibid.).
This pope, when still a Cardinal, supported the joint declaration by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation on spiritual justification signed on October 31, 1999, and has continued to stress unity between the two churches since assuming the papal role.
Is it coincidental that the Greek word oikoumene, mentioned earlier, was often used to refer to the Roman Empire? This is what the Vatican has in mind—all ecumenical roads lead to Rome!
Tradition vs. Scriptural Authority
Alongside Mary worship, Sunday and Easter observances constitute centerpieces of the counterfeit church. To highlight their continuing importance, the previous pope, John Paul II, in his “Sunday Letter” (July 5, 1998), made the Catholic position clear:
“Therefore, in commemorating the day of Christ’s Resurrection not just once a year but every Sunday, the Church seeks to indicate to every generation the true fulcrum of history, to which the mystery of the world’s origin and its final destiny leads.
“It is right, therefore, to claim, in the words of a fourth century homily [not the Bible], that ‘the Lord’s Day’ is ‘the lord of days’…Those who have received the grace of faith in the Risen Lord cannot fail to grasp the significance of this day of the week with the same deep emotion which led Saint Jerome to say: ‘Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, it is the day of Christians, it is our day’…For Christians, Sunday is ‘the fundamental feastday,’ established not only to mark the succession of time but to reveal time’s deeper meaning.
“…The fundamental importance of Sunday has been recognized through two thousand years of history and was emphatically restated by the Second Vatican Council: ‘Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery’…The coming of the Third Millennium, which calls believers to reflect upon the course of history in the light of Christ, also invites them to rediscover with new intensity the meaning of Sunday: its ‘mystery,’ its celebration, its significance…”
Apart from the fact that Jesus Christ was not resurrected on Sunday—and was not crucified on a Friday—the Fourth Commandment requires the observance of the seventh day—not—and never—the first day! (To learn more, read our book Saturday or Sunday – Which Is the Sabbath?, along with our booklet Christ’s Resurrection Was Not on Sunday and our article “Christ’s Crucifixion Was Not on Friday”)
The Origin of Sunday Worship
Let’s now examine some of how Sunday worship—through its connection to Easter—originated. About AD 154, a meeting occurred between Polycarp, leader of the true Church, and the Bishop of Rome, regarding the Roman church’s changing Passover observance to Sunday.
The following account reveals the tactics used to establish precedent. An unusual letter appeared after Polycarp had left. Most historians consider it a deliberate forgery. Consider these two sources.
First, “Pope Pius, who lived about the year 147, had made a decree, That the annual solemnity of the Pasch [this Greek word is derived from the Hebrew word pesach, meaning Passover] should be kept only on the Lord’s day [Sunday]; and in confirmation of this he pretended, that Hermes his brother, who was then an eminent teacher among them, had received instruction from an angel, who commanded that all men should keep the Pasch on the Lord’s day” (Origines Ecclesiasticae: Antiquities of the Christian Church, Joseph Bingham, pp. 1148-1149).
And, “…one of the letters forged in the name of Pius, where one [Hermes] is mentioned as the author; and it is stated that in his book a commandment was given through an angel to observe the Passover on a Sunday” (The Apostolical Fathers: A Critical Account of Their Genuine Writings and of Their Doctrines, James Donaldson, p. 324).
If Hermes did receive instructions from an “angel,” would they outweigh God’s instructions through His apostles and prophets? (Read Ephesians 2:20.) Paul wrote in Galatians 1:8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
Plainly, man nor angel holds authority to override God’s Word. But the counterfeit church appropriated to itself the power to supersede and change the “times and laws” of God (Dan. 7:25).
They have done this—and continue to—under the pretext of tradition. Here is the theologian Tertullian’s classic statement from about AD 200: “…If, for these and other such rules [for Sunday observance], you insist upon having positive Scripture injunction, you will find none. Tradition will be held forth to you as the originator of them, custom as their strengthener, and faith as their observer. That reason will support tradition, and custom, and faith, you will either yourself perceive, or learn from some one who has” (The Writings of Quintus Sept. Flor. Tertullianus, Volume 1, p. 337).
A more recent quote echoes the same approach. Read and reread this one until you cannot forget it: “A rule of faith, or a competent guide to heaven, must be able to instruct all the truths necessary for salvation. Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe, nor do they explicitly enjoin all the duties which he is obliged to practise. Not to mention other examples, is not every Christian obliged to sanctify Sunday and to abstain on that day from unnecessary servile work? Is not the observance of this law among the most prominent of our sacred duties? But you may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we never sanctify” (The Faith of Our Fathers, James Cardinal Gibbons, pp. 111-112, 1905 edition).
A stunning admission!
The leadership of the universal church openly asserts that human tradition outweighs God’s inspired Word, all while claiming to be led by the “Word” made flesh—Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Yet Protestants, who profess the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (“by Scripture alone”), are still being drawn back to Rome. Having never left Sunday observance, the return journey is much easier—and shorter.
The False Church’s Final Resurgence
This powerful church has grand designs of dominating all nations. Again, it is not my purpose to attack or slander churches or individuals. The Bible and history directly identify this system and its offshoots. But believers within traditional Christianity are spiritually blind. They may be sincere, like those of all religions, but they are sincerely wrong. The real architect of this system is Satan, not people.
The human architects of all these things are deceived. They are not, certainly for the most part, consciously plotting evil. While they are deceivers, they are also themselves deceived. They are playing a role on a stage within a great Purpose that God is working out.
I take no joy in reporting these truths. Truly I do not. In fact, I wish the responsibility to warn were someone else’s. But it is not. And all those who care about taking action must have the opportunity to do it.
In the darkest periods of Catholic domination, its influence was largely limited to Europe. The first seal—white horse and rider—is now open, preparing to ride at all-out speed across the entire world!
Deception achieved by the counterfeit church in its teachings could hardly be more complete today. Virtually every truth of Scripture has been denied, overturned or discarded by Rome, in favor of tradition or papal “revelation.” Therefore, the opening of the first seal must mean that this deception will eventually become much more widespread!
Yes, millions today, while they would scoff at this notion, who consider themselves staunch Protestants, or non-religious, or even agnostic or atheist, will come to follow the Babylonian system!
The current pope does not expect that unity of all professing Christians will be accomplished through human effort: “[He] has also emphasized that the way toward unity is not a matter of our programs and schedules but of faithful waiting upon a new initiative of the Holy Spirit which we can neither control nor anticipate” (Zenit).
A “new initiative,” led by a very real “spirit,” is coming! History shows that decisive action taken by large numbers of people is usually sparked by a crisis, and facilitated by a strong central figure or figures—leaders who can offer the masses what they long for, whether it is prosperity and prestige, freedom from oppression, deliverance from suffering or a bolstering of pride and resolve.
How will this happen? We have seen that the fragile global economy is providing the crisis. And the central figures? Notice Revelation 13: “And he [the final False Prophet] does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men [think of this as a “new initiative of the spirit”], and deceives them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do” (vs. 13-14).
When the False Prophet calls fire from heaven—probably witnessed by billions through television and the Internet—skeptics and scoffers will become “believers.” Miracles will support his endorsement of a civil partner: “I beheld another beast [the false church] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb [purporting to represent Jesus Christ], and he spoke as a dragon [Satan]…and causes the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:11-12).
Who Is Searching?
A closer but brief look at the work of doctrinal and religious deception on matters of Bible truth is important in understanding how hundreds of millions of people—indeed billions over centuries—can come to believe doctrines that are untrue.
It starts this way. Most never reflect on why they believe what they believe or do what they do. In a world filled with customs, traditions and beliefs, few seek to understand—to research—the origin of things. The great majority happily accept what is presented to them without question. Most people basically do what everyone else does—following the crowd because it is easy! They simply adopt common practices because they are well-recognized—the norm—fashionable. Most follow along as they have been taught, assuming what they believe and do is right. They take their beliefs for granted.
One must be willing to ask: Where did popular beliefs come from? What are their roots?
To find the truth of a biblical matter—any biblical matter—one must be willing to open his Bible and honestly accept what it says. The majority of people stoutly defend what they have merely assumed is right or biblical. And they read with prejudice anything that contradicts cherished beliefs.
Now notice Jesus’ statement, “In vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matt. 15:9). In Mark’s parallel account, He continued, “Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (7:9).
Why are not millions combing the Bible for such passages in order to escape religious deception? Why are they not discovering additional statements from Christ such as “Why call you Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46), as well as Paul’s plain words, “Not the hearers of the law shall be justified before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified” (Rom. 2:13), among so many other basic passages? The obvious answer is that most do not care what God says. They are only too willing to be deceived by their ministers.
These are summarized by a passage describing worshippers today: “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord: which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way [forget the right thing], turn aside out of the path [teach what we want to hear], cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us” (Isa. 30:9-11). Countless thousands of ministers have been perfectly willing to fulfill the people’s demands.
The tragic result is that most who “profess Christ” never connect the Bible to anything they should be doing in their lives!
How So Many Are Deceived!
Another factor comes into play for those who may wish to see at least a little biblical backing from their minister or their church for beliefs. And it is critical.
First understand this. Modern Christendom misunderstands, twists, perverts and ignores all the plain truths of the Bible. Over the centuries, it has counterfeited every one of its true doctrines and replaced it with a cheap substitute. This has been possible because certain less easy to understand passages of Scripture can be easily misrepresented—made to say something that they do not. It is these verses that invariably become the vehicle through which a false doctrine can be introduced—with almost no one able to recognize that it all may have begun with a single wrong scriptural premise. From this can flow an entire doctrine that is nothing more than a house of cards.
Unaware of the most important rule of Bible study, most students of Scripture do not build their doctrinal understanding by beginning with the clearest verses on any subject. Rather, they enter God’s Word with preconceived ideas and go in search of passages that appear to support what they have assumed it teaches. This makes them candidates for confusion and deception.
The apostle Peter stated that the apostle “Paul [wrote]…some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (II Pet. 3:15-16). Understanding how most people think, and probably completely unaware of any of the rules of Bible study, teachers and “scholars” can then much more easily take advantage of the way certain parts of God’s Word have been written. This applies to areas of Scripture beyond what Paul wrote.
The theological institutes and seminaries of this world have developed a systematic way—done consciously or unconsciously (Rom. 8:7; Jer. 17:9)—of spinning, twisting or dismissing God’s plain words and plain meaning in favor of making passages seem to say what they need them to say. These theologians and religionists portray—and sell!—Satan’s doctrines through use of specific verses, wrongly understood, that supposedly teach their ideas. This permits them to come from a basis—a premise—of Bible authority for their beliefs. This, in turn, helps them to much more easily snare the unwitting and unwary.
Paul warned of “dishonest” people who “handle the word of God deceitfully” (II Cor. 4:2), because they, like their students who are willing to believe them, “received not the love of the truth” (II Thes. 2:10).
God’s servants—true ministers—never, under any circumstances, follow these practices!
In most cases, if one is properly trained and sufficiently grounded in the truth of the Bible, it is easy to see through and expose the deceptive logic misapplied to a verse, and to correctly explain it.
One Horse Leads to the Next
The devil has always sought to position himself in place of the true God. Through his universal system, he blinds and enslaves humanity. Billions are deceived. Previous billions have been. Many more will be. Even you have been lied to. A complete seduction has taken place, and the false church has played the central role in it. The most important knowledge has been kept from you by those you most trusted!
No matter its length, no one booklet could possibly cover everything about the reach and effects of the counterfeit universal system that has ravaged the world of Christendom. For instance, so much more could be explained about the almost unending number of individual false doctrines that this system has devised about salvation and the afterlife, heaven and hell, law and grace, baptism and conversion, judgment, the true Church, among many others. In addition would be the origin of the many different pagan holidays that have been imported into professing Christianity, as well as the stories of how those bringing them have gotten away with it usually by merely pasting Christian-sounding names over them. (There are many other counterfeits of individual Bible truths that could have been covered.)
However, for those willing to accept the plain words of the Bible and history—and just the volume of facts, evidence, proof, fruit and scriptures presented here—the white horse and rider are plainly identified as false, counterfeit Christianity!
This horse and rider—armed with a very real bow—are almost done with attempts to gain converts through missionary work and dialogue. The European political, legal and military machine will soon be used by the final Beast to enforce the practice of Roman state religion—again! Powerful “arrows” will target all resistors, unleashing the most horrific global war and religious persecution the world has ever seen!