Can you imagine Christians killing other Christians?! A horrible thought.
Get this, "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them:" Revelation 13:7. "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." Revelation 17:6.
What a picture! No wonder John was so amazed. A stack of books could hardly contain the accounts of the 50 million Christians put to death as "heretics." For possessing a Bible, for believing that people ought to be free to worship God according to their own conscience; for these and many other "crimes" men, women, and little children were tortured to death.
History comes through loud and clear that whole villages and towns were wiped off the map for not conforming to the state church and her leader.
"Dignitaries of the church studied, under Satan their master, to invent means to cause the greatest possible torture and not end the life of the victim. In many cases the infernal process was repeated to the utmost limit of human endurance, until nature gave up the struggle, and the sufferer hailed death as a sweet release "(1) Such was the fate of those who opposed the church of Rome. If given opportunity in the U.S. she would do the same today against "heretics." Her boast is that she never changes. The rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris, H.M.A. Baudrillart, revealed the attitude of the church and her leaders toward persecution.
"When confronted with heresy," he said, "she does not content herself with persuasion, arguments of an intellectual and moral order appear to her insufficient, and, she has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture."(2)
For a shocking account of how the Waldenses, Albigenses, Bohemians, and others were massacred or slowly and secretly murdered for their faith, see Appendix 5.
The most outstanding story is the one of the Waldenses. They were some of the few people who had copies of the Bible during the early years of the Papacy's reign.
"They saw that under the guidance of Pope and priest, multitudes were vainly endeavoring to obtain pardon by afflicting their bodies for the sin of their souls. Oppressed with a sense of sin, and haunted with the fear of God's avenging wrath, many suffered on, until exhausted nature gave way and without one ray of light or hope they sank into the tomb.
The Waldenses longed to break to these starving souls the bread of life, to open to them the messages of peace in the promises of God, and to point them to Christ as the only hope of salvation.
The Saviour was represented by the priests as so devoid of sympathy with man in his fallen state that the mediation of priests and saints must be invoked. The Waldenses longed to point these souls to Jesus as their compassionate, loving Saviour, standing with outstretched arms, inviting all to come to Him with their burden of sin, and obtain pardon and peace.
With quivering lip and tearful eye did he, often on bended knees, open to others the precious promises that reveal the sinner's only hope. Especially was the repetition of these words eagerly desired: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." I John 1:7.
Many were undeceived in regard to the claims of Rome. They saw how vain is the mediation of men in behalf of the sinner.
The assurance of a Saviour's love seemed too much for some of these poor tempest-tossed souls to realize. So great was the relief which it brought, such a flood of light was shed upon them, that they seemed transported to heaven. Often would words like these be uttered: "Will God indeed accept my offering? Will He smile upon me? Will He pardon me?" The answer was read: "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
Faith grasped the promise, and the glad response was heard: "No more long pilgrimages to make; no more painful journeys to holy shrines. I may come to Jesus just as I am, and He will not spurn my prayer. 'Thy sins be forgiven thee.' Mine, even mine, may be forgiven!"
There was a strange and solemn power in the words of Scripture that spoke directly to the hearts of those who were longing for the truth. It was the voice of God, and it carried conviction to those who heard.
In many cases the messenger of truth was seen no more. He had made his way to other lands, or he was wearing out his life in some unknown dungeon, or perhaps his bones were whitening on the spot where he had witnessed for the truth.
The Waldensian missionaries were invading the kingdom of Satan.
The very existence of this people, holding the faith of the ancient church, was a constant testimony to Rome's apostasy, and excited the most bitter hatred and persecution. Their refusal to surrender the Scriptures was an offense that Rome could not tolerate. She determined to blot them from the earth.
Pope innocent VIII ordered - "That malicious and abominable sect of malignants," if they "refuse to abjure, to be crushed like venomous snakes."! (see Appendix 6).
No charge could be brought against their moral character. Their grand offense was that they would not worship God according to the will of the Pope. For this crime every humiliation, insult, and torture that men or devils could invent was heaped upon them.
They were hunted to death; yet their blood watered the seed sown, and it failed not of yielding fruit. Scattered over many lands . . . it will be carried forward to the close of time by those who also are willing to suffer all things "for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 1:9.(3)
Keep in mind that these atrocities happened long before we were born. But the warning against receiving the "mark of the beast" is certainly for us today. Soon, you'll know what the beast's "mark" is!
As we've learned, this power would "think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25.
How could it possibly do that?
Since the heathen were used to worshiping images, the church ripped out the second commandment which forbids image worship. They placed images in the churches! But instead of images of heathen gods, they simply used images of dead saints! The people were taught that these were merely to help increase their learning and devotion. But the result was far different.
For documentation on how images were brought into the churches, see Appendix 7.
It says that he would "think to change times and laws."
Look at this shocking statement from an official decretal - "The Pope has power to change times, to abrogate (change) laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop.
When I first read that statement my mouth fell open. I was amazed that the official statement of the Papacy was nearly a word for word quote from the Bible! Instead of leaving only nine commandments, they cut the tenth one in two, so there would still be ten. (See Appendix 8).
Satan had caused the second commandment to be ripped out. But he wasn't finished. The leaders changed the fourth one also!
The change of the fourth commandment was attempted gradually over a period of time so as not to arouse anyone. But the change is a masterpiece of Satan's work.
Get ready for a shock.
The following mind-boggling statements were made by church authorities and are documented.
"Question - Have you any other way of proving that the church (Roman Catholic) has power to institute festivals of precept?
"Answer - Had she not such power, she could not have done that in which all modern religionists agree with her - she could not have substituted the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, for the observance of Saturday, the seventh day, a change for which there is no scriptural authority." A Doctrinal Catechism. by Stephen Keenan,pg. 174.
"The Catholic church," declared Cardinal Gibbons, "by virtue of her divine mission changed the day from Saturday to Sunday."(4)
Again the question is asked to them:
"Question - Which is the Sabbath day?
"Answer - Saturday is the Sabbath day.
"Question - Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?
"Answer - We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (A.D. 364), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, pg. 50, 3rd ed.
What does the fourth commandment actually say? Here it is
"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:8-11.
Do church authorities acknowledge that there is no command in the Bible for the sanctification of Sunday?
They do! Look at this.
The Catholic Cardinal Gibbons, in Faith of Our Fathers. pg. 111, said, "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."
You see, in the Council of Trent (1545 A.D.), the church leaders ruled that "tradition" is of as great authority as the Bible! They believed that God had given them the authority to change the Bible any way they pleased. By "tradition" they meant human teachings.
Jesus said, "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:9.
Just as they had brought images into the church to make it easier for the pagans to come in, they changed the Sabbath of the Bible for the same reason.
How did it all start?
The sun was the main god of the heathen even back as far as ancient Babylon. Since they worshiped the sun on Sunday, the compromising church leaders could see that if they changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday, it would accomplish several things. Number one - it would separate them from the Jews who were hated by many of the Romans and who, along with Jesus, (Luke 4:16), had been worshiping on Saturday from the beginning (and still do today). Number two - it would make it much easier for the pagans to come into the church if the Christians met on the same day that the pagan world did.
It worked well. Pagans flocked in by the thousands. Satan's plan of compromise was doing its baleful work. The change was attempted gradually but many of the true hearted, loyal Christians were alarmed. They came to the leaders and wanted to know why they had dared tamper with the law of Almighty God! The church leaders knew this would happen - and they had an answer ready. It's a masterpiece. If a person doesn't know the bible well it sounds good.
The people were told that they were worshiping on Sunday now because Jesus rose from the dead on that day.
There's not even one verse in the Bible that tells us to do this, but that's what they were told. Isn't it amazing! Maybe you've even heard that yourself!
When Emperor Constantine became a Christian, Christianity became the state religion you remember. As thousands of sun-worshipers flocked into the church, it wasn't long before they had a dominating influence. Most of his top officials had been sun-worshipers. Because the Roman government was getting shaky, Constantine consulted with his aides and with the church officials in Rome.
"What shall we do? How can we unite and stabilize the government?"
The counsel of the church leaders was timely.
"Pass a Sunday law. Force everyone to cease work and honor Sunday."
That was it! It would satisfy the sun-worshiping pagans, and unite pagans, Christians, and the Roman empire as never before.
The year is 321 A.D. Constantine, yielding to the suggestion of church leaders passes the first Sunday law! Here it is, straight out of the record:
"Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun" Edict of March 7, 321 A.D. Corpus Juris Civilis Cod., lib. 3, tit. 12, Lex. 3.
(For more information on this, see Appendix 9).
The Christians who would not compromise and dishonor God found themselves in a dilemma. Satan had worked things around so that you were forced to honor the pagan "day of the sun" or pay the penalty. Even after the Emperor's Sunday law, many Christians continued to honor and keep holy the seventh-day Sabbath that their Saviour had kept. God knew what was going on and had predicted that the man of sin would "think to change times and laws." Satan was about to pull off a world-wide hoax.
Bibles were forbidden by the priests. As the years went by, the new generations (without Bibles) would forget all about the Sabbath of the Lord.
Not only that - from time to time, great church councils were held. In nearly every one, the Sabbath which God had given as a memorial of His creation of the world was pressed down and Sunday was exalted. The pagan festival finally came to be regarded as the "Lord's day" (by Pope Sylvester, 314-337 A.D.) and the church leaders pronounced the Bible Sabbath a relic of the Jews, and those who honored it, in obedience to the fourth commandment of God, were pronounced to be "accursed."
To rip out the commandment right in the center, put in Sun- day worship as a counterfeit, take the Bibles away, and command the whole world to accept it - this was the king of all swindles!
You see, Satan hates the fourth commandment more than all others because it is the only one that tells who God really is - the Creator of "Heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is." Exodus 20:11. You could worship any god and keep the other nine (not kill, steal, etc.) but to keep the fourth commandment you must worship the Creator of the Universe Who Himself rested on the seventh day and commanded His people to do the same - in a love relationship with Himself.
As the centuries went by, the people, with no Bibles forgot about God's Sabbath, and Sunday worship became firmly established. Many even today are ignorant on the subject.
The Waldenses, which I have mentioned, and some other groups through the dark ages did secretly have Bibles, and many did keep the Bible Sabbath on Saturday like Jesus did - all down through history. But they were treated as outlaws. Whenever they were caught they were tortured to death. Their mangled corpses show the world the tactics that the beast has always used - force.
Of God's faithful in the last days it says, "Here is the patience of the saints; here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.
In modern times, leaders who know what they are talking about will admit that men changed the Sabbath and not God. Look at these startling statements from Protestant leaders:
Methodist - "The reason we observe the first day instead of the seventh is based on no positive command. One will search the Scriptures in vain for authority for changing from the seventh day to the first." Clovis G. Chappell, Ten Rules For Living. pg. 61
Baptist - Harold Lindsell, former editor of Christianity Today. said, "There is nothing in Scripture that requires us to keep Sunday rather than Saturday as a holy day." Christianity Today, November 5, 1976.
Episcopal - "The Bible commandment says on the seventh day thou shalt rest. That is Saturday. Nowhere in the Bible is it laid down that worship should be done on Sunday." Philip Carrington, Toronto Daily Star, October 26, 1949.
Our Catholic friends know how the change came about. They say, "We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church in the Council of Laodicea, transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday." The Convert's Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, Third edition, pg. 50.
The Catholic Press said, "Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claims to observation can be defended only on Catholic principles ... From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first.(5)
God speaks of the seventh day 126 times in the Old Testament and 62 times in the New. The first day of the week is mentioned only eight times in the New Testament. A Catholic priest offered $1000 to anyone who could find one Bible verse to indicate that Sunday is now holy and should be observed instead of the seventh day. No one responded. I have done the same, but received no response.
For an amazing glimpse of the eight Bible texts which mention the first day of the week, see Appendix 10.
It says that the beast (little horn power) would "think to change times and laws." Daniel 7:25.
The second commandment was ripped out and images were brought in. The fourth commandment is the only one that deals with time. Look at this shocking announcement: "The Pope has power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ." "The Pope has authority and has often exercised it, to dispense with the command of Christ." Decretal, de Tranlatic Episcop. Cap.
Keep in mind that our God is kind and fair. Those who are keeping Sunday and breaking God's fourth commandment ignorantly are not under condemnation. It's only those who know what God commands and willfully disobey who are committing sin. God's enemy knows that to break one of God's commandments is a sin which hurts our Saviour and robs us of eternal life with Him if not repented of.
Satan laid this plot so deep that even many ministers are not aware of it. Many religious leaders are putting forth desperate efforts to keep the facts on this subject away from the people. Shocking but true, many ministers have not learned at school anything different than their teachers have learned before them. Then they teach their congregations what they learned from their teachers. It is perpetuated for generations. This is why even your own parents or grandparents may not have understood what God's word teaches about His seventh-day Sabbath. But when people honestly study the Bible for themselves - their eyes are opened. Many people take the preacher's word and just don't study God's word for themselves. Do you believe that?
I praise God that thousands of people around the world are learning these amazing truths about God's true Sabbath of the Bible and are beginning to keep it holy in loving obedience to the Saviour Who died to redeem them.
As you begin to keep God's Sabbath holy, it becomes a delight. Sweet peace and joy fill your heart. You know that now you're not violating any of His loving commands but are walking more closely with the Saviour. Revelation describes the faithful in the last days who "keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12.
The devil has been trying to get preachers to say that God's ten commandments have been done away with. But when will it ever be right to break God's sixth, eighth, or ninth commandments and kill, steal or lie? All ten stand or fall together because it's a sweet love relationship between you and God. If you break one, you break them all (James 2:10,11). It's like two lovers - it's either all or nothing.
Jesus said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matthew 5:17,18. Heaven and earth haven't passed away yet. It's true that we are saved by God's free grace and not by our obedience (Ephesians 2:8). I praise God that His salvation is a free gift which we can receive by simple faith. It's also true that if a person willfully, persistently disobeys God, it shows that he really doesn't love God enough to obey Him, and hasn't received this free gift. He hasn't been born again. God's true people will be obedient, happy people who love Him so much that they would rather die than sin against Him any more! Obedience becomes a joy when you're walking with Jesus!
It's new to many people that Moses received more than one set of laws. On the mountain, God gave him the ten commandments which He says will stand forever. Moses also received the ceremonial law which is discussed in Appendix 11. This law regulated the killing of animals, and other ceremonies. It was "added because of sin" and pointed forward to the sacrifice of the Son of God on the cross. It was to keep fresh in the people's minds that some day the real sacrifice for sin would come. The innocent little lamb represented "The Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. Since Jesus really came and died for us, it's easy to see that this ceremonial law is no longer needed.
There was another set of laws that God gave to His people. They were the health laws as found in Leviticus 11, and Deuteronomy 14. Because of these, God's people were the healthiest people in the world! They didn't get the horrible diseases of the other nations, or even like we have in our world today. Since our stomachs and bodies are the same as theirs, those who follow these wise, and scientific health laws today also reap the delightful benefits. They just don't get the terrifying cancer, heart attack, etc., like others. Our God is so kind! It makes you fall in love with that lovely Person - Jesus.
It was the ceremonial law of Moses that was done away with on the cross. This law had animal sacrifices, meat and drink offerings, and seven ceremonial sabbaths that rotated through the year and fell on various days of the week.
All of this pointed forward to the death of the Saviour on the cross and is of no value to us now. These ceremonial meat and drink offerings, new moons and sabbath days were a "shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:16,17. They were all a "shadow" of the cross. Paul calls it the "handwriting of ordinances" and makes clear that it was "nailed to His cross." Colossians 2:14. I'm glad that we don't have to kill animals any more aren't you? The seven ceremonial sabbaths that rotated through the year were abolished with the rest of the ceremonies and were totally separate from the "Sabbath of the Lord" that came every week. Not only does God want His people to observe His weekly Sabbath here on earth in a happy relationship with Himself, but the Bible says that we will still be keeping it even in heaven! Isaiah 66:22,23. For the astonishing documentation showing the difference between the ceremonial law and the ten commandments, see Appendix 11.
Satan has palmed off the biggest counterfeit in the history of man.
Look at this shocker - The Catholic authorities proclaim: "The Bible says, 'Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath day.' The Catholic Church says, No! By my divine power I abolish the Sabbath day, and command you to keep the first day of the week. And lo, the entire civilized world bows down in reverent obedience to the command of the holy Catholic Church!" Father Enright, C.S.S.R. of the Redemptoral College, Kansas City, Mo., as taken from History of the Sabbath. pg. 802.
Amazing! No wonder the Bible says: "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him? And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life." Revelation 13:4,8.
No time has been lost track of. To see how the days of our week are the same as in the time of Christ, see Appendix 12.
Some ministers, who don't have one Bible text to show will say, "Don't worry about God's commandments, just worship God every day, or pick one day in seven." Some highly educated ministers have even said, "Don't worry about following the Bible, it's out of date. You just live a good life, and everything will be all right." Many ministers when asked why they meet on Sunday instead of the seventh day, will honestly say, "I know that Saturday is the seventh day Sabbath and the Bible hasn't changed it but if I were to tell the people that, I'd lose my job!"
But it was fear of losing his job and getting in trouble that caused Pilate to do what he did. Remember? When the people shouted, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend," (John 19:12), Pilate was scared. If the people turned against him for letting Jesus go, no telling what might happen. It would cost him his job! The record says, "And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged Him, to be crucified." Mark 15:15.
Again I say - no marvel that the world wonders after and worships the beast - no marvel! To save their jobs or to save their necks people compromise.
I praise God that many thousands who are learning these truths are honest enough to come back to the Bible and follow Jesus all the way home. God makes it so plain - even a child can understand.
Only those who love our Heavenly Father and His dear Son with all their hearts, will stand through the last days and not worship the beast or receive his "mark"
By the way - the dreaded "mark of the beast" - what is it? Get ready for a shock.