Persecution of the early church
Since the Roman Emperors held the office of head of Mysteries, Satan's system of worship, it should come as no surprise that the early Christians were bitterly persecuted by the Romans. All manner of religions were tolerated within the Roman Empire; but these pagan religions were all branches of the same evil tree, the Mysteries of Babylon. The pagans respected and tolerated each other, but they hated the true Messiah Jesus Christ and the Christian Church.
What was particularly galling to the Roman Emperors was that Jesus taught, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 4:16) Christians utterly denied all the pagan gods of the ancient world, believing them to be false and devilish dilutions. As we showed in the previous chapter, the Roman Emperors claimed to hold the keys to the door of heaven, to be the interpreters of the Mysteries and to be regarded as gods themselves in their position as Pontifex Maximus. The Gospel of Jesus Christ showed them to be imposters, who took the place of Jesus Christ as the mediator between God and man. Their pride was sourly hurt, because the Christians wouldn't worship them as gods nor recognize their pagan religion.
The first Emperor to lead the great persecution of the Church was Nero, before whom the Apostle Paul was called to give testimony and to die. Nero was a most evil and cruel man. His persecution was noted for its terrible cruelty to men, women and children. He employed various methods to uncover and capture Christians that were later studied and taught by the Jesuits to penetrate, infiltrate and exterminate Protestant Churches. A converted Jesuits testified that he used these methods in the 1960 against Churches.
Nero's methods were very sophisticated and involved the formation of imitation Christian churches to trap true believers. His spies, planted deep within churches, introduced so-called Christian symbols like the fish and the dove that were actually pagan symbols, for Christians to use other than the more difficult way of identifying a true believer from his knowledge of scriptures. Thus Nero started to introduce paganism into the early churches via a system of counterfeit churches.
Mystery of Iniquity
The Apostle Paul warned:
A learned scholar showed from the writings of the early church, that "only He who now restrains" ("he who now letteth" - KJV) was guarded language for the Roman Empire. It is evident that Paul only explained this verbally, for fear of bringing unnecessary persecution upon the Church by openly predicting the fall of the Roman Empire. We'll see in the last Chapter how precisely the Pope corresponds to the "man of sin."
Let us note, though, that Paul wrote, "For the 'mystery' of lawlessness is already at work;" (verse 7), thereby indicating there was that secret work of satanic error already starting to enter into the churches. The word 'mystery' indicates its connection with the Babylonish Mysteries, Satan's system of worship.
It was one of the most notable errors in the early church. The term Gnostic covered a range of doctrines, but with certain features in common. Actually, Gnosticism was a mixture of various elements of the Babylonish religions of the East with that of Christian teaching. The city of Alexandria in Egypt became the center of Gnostic teaching.
The Gnostics believed that all religions had in them something divine, with no single religion possessing a full and complete revelation. This approach has become fundamental to the modern Ecumenical Movement, as well as Freemasonry and the New Age Movement. Truly,
"there is nothing new under the sun." Eccl 1:9.
The connection between the Gnostic heresy and the Babylonian Mysteries is also reflected by the origin of the word Gnostic. It comes from the Greek word "gnosis," which means "knowledge." However, this was a special knowledge held only by a few and denied to the common believers. The Concise Oxford Dictionary states that it was a "knowledge of spiritual mysteries," that was for the initiated. (Return to Islam#Gnosticism; Man of Sin; Freemasonry)
The Mysteries taught in various ways that the sun god Nimrod was reborn as a child, but the child Nimrod never had a fleshly body or humanity like other men [including Jesus Christ]. Thus, copying the Babylonish religions, the Gnostics generally believe that Jesus Christ was only a spirit and not a real man. The Apostle Paul spoke against this:
The false messiah Nimrod was being dressed up by these deceivers under the name of the true Messiah, Jesus. In fact, the Antichrists spoken of by John [also 1 Joh 2:18] were the forerunners of the Popes. This will also be clear from the explanation of how the papacy became the heir to the Mysteries, whilst at the same time purporting to be the head of the Church of Jesus Christ.
First Signs of Apostasy in Rome
Despite the heresies that assailed the early Church, outward purity of doctrine was for the most part preserved in the first 200 years of its history. It was in the latter part of the 3rd century that the first signs of apostasy, led by the Bishop of Rome, became manifest. This coincided with the decline of the Roman Empire.
Emperor Constantine the Great
After his coming to power in 312 AD, things changed for the Church in that he granted "tolerance to Christians;" even established Christianity as the dominant religion of the Empire. However, Constantine's Christianity was at best nominal. In fact, his favorable stance to Christianity was balanced with an observance of pagan rites. He did have his statue removed from pagan temples and renounced sacrifices to himself, but the people continued to speak of the divinity of the emperor. As Pontifex Maximus he continued to watch over the heathen worship and protect its rights. Viz. in dedicating Constantinople in 330 AD, the ceremony was half-pagan and half-Christian.
Persecution of Christians not only strengthened Christianity; it also caused a division of the Empire. Constantine's move was therefore political, to unite his dominions. He also bestowed a number of favors on the Church, viz. treating bishops as his political aides. However, his policy led to error and corruption entering the Church, viz. an increase in worldliness and acquiring wealth [by churches]. They forgot that Jesus said,
It was during the reign of Constantine that a godly man named Leo, who was a companion of Sylvestor, the Bishop of Rome, separated from the Church of Rome. This was on account of the greed of Sylvester and the "excessive" enrichment of the Church by donations from the Emperor. Leo drew to him those who desired to follow Jesus Christ in truth - that later led to their persecution by the Church of Rome. It is from them that the Waldensian Church in the Alps emanated, which bore a faithful witness to the truth right up to the Reformation.
An ex-Jesuit, Rivera, proved form secret Vatican files that Constantine actually worshiped the sun god "Sol." Others confirmed this and suspected that he brought this cult into the emerging state church. Coins showed him as "Soli Invicto Comit," the "Colleague of the Invincible Sun."
Rivera also claimed that Constantine's professed Christianity was in fact a lie, that he actually pursued Nero's policy of setting up false churches on which he bestowed tolerance and favors. The true Christians, nevertheless, knew that he is an enemy of Christ.
Constantine's personal life also reflected this lie, viz. atrocity and cruelty towards members of his own family; he became a cruel and dissolute monarch, corrupted by his fortune.
Worldliness and Violence
From the era of Constantine, the Bishops of Rome were no longer called to the martyr's stake or confessor's dungeon, but were raised to a high rank, and great opulence in the imperial city; and very naturally, signs of worldliness appeared, like a pursuit of luxury and ambition. From such worldliness sprang violence.
In 366 AD Damascus gained his election to the position of Bishop of Rome after fierce and bloody battles between his supporters and those of his rival, Ursinus. The dispute didn't involve doctrine, but who should be the greatest. After such a beginning, it is no surprise that Damascus betrayed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Damascus Becomes the Head of the Mysteries
Even though Constantine and his successors professed Christianity; they still held the title of Pontifex Maximus and were the official head of the Mysteries. In 376 AD, however, the young Emperor Gratian refused the position of Pontifex Maximus, considering it inconsistent with professing Christ. In addition he also legally abolished paganism in the Empire, although this didn't comprise the city of the Seven Hills (Rome), where it was still rampant. It was even branded as "the sink of all superstitions."
Two years later the office of Pontifex Maximus was reinstated. However, it was not the Emperor, but to Damascus the Bishop of Rome, who gained the bishopric over the dead bodies of his opponents! This position of Supreme or Sovereign Pontiff has been held by the Bishop of Rome ever since - along with being the head of the Mysteries of Babylon and its pagan religions. He was therefore the earthly head of Satan's system of worship. To Damascus, this meant that he did not just rule over the professed Christian Church, but also over the pagans in Rome.
Contrary to Jesus Christ, Damascus and his papal successors couldn't resist the temptation of becoming a ruler over "all the kingdoms of the world" - Matt 4:8-10.
Supposed Disappearance of Paganism
Despite the strength of paganism in Rome in 378 AD, less than 50 years later it was to all outward appearances, no longer professed. However, the Church of Rome was very different in the early 5th century to that at the beginning of the 4th century. It now had all manner of superstitious rites and ceremonies; new and strange doctrines were introduced - in fact, pagan rites, symbols and doctrines, covered with a facade of Christianity. It was this and not an outpouring of the Spirit that brought a multitude of pagan worshipers into the Church of Rome.
It was immediately after the time of Damascus that the words of warning given by the Apostle Paul to Timothy were fulfilled:
Celibacy, compulsory fasting, idolatry and baptismal regeneration became the accepted doctrines of the church.
Daniel's Prophecy and the Ten Horns
As the Roman Empire declined and fell, so the apostasy in the Church of Rome gained strength, fulfilling Paul's words in 2 Thess 2:1-8 (Above) The prophet Daniel also speaks of this period in history via the four beasts, of which the last one represented the Roman Empire. Daniel records that the fourth beast was
The significance of the ten horns is explained thus:
This prophecy was fulfilled with the break-up of the Roman Empire into ten kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar's vision also reflects these ten kingdoms in the dividing of the legs of iron into ten toes (Dan 2:41-42). However, in the midst of these kingdoms arose another kingdom. This kingdom, as we shall show, is the papacy.
In keeping with the pagan titles given to the Roman Emperors, the Bishop of Rome as the Pontifex Maximus, became known by the title "Father" and "Your Holiness." The word Pope is simply the English for "Papa," which means, "Father." This is a contravention of Jesus' directive when he spoke to religious leaders:
Not only did the Bishop of Rome take the pagan titles, he also took the pagan symbols and insignia of the Pontifex Maximus. By wresting a few scriptures out of context, they were dressed up as Christian symbols. "Peter-Roma" the Grand Interpreter of the Mysteries became "St Peter of Rome," the Apostle of our Lord. The keys of Janus and Cybele, which were held by the Pontifex Maximus, were proclaimed in 431 AD to be the keys of Peter entrusted to his successor the Pope. (Back to Israel#pontifex)
Meanwhile, there is no record that Peter ever visited Rome. There is even archeological evidence that he was buried in Jerusalem.
Another extraordinary fact is that the miter worn by the Pope and other bishops was copied from the pagan miter of the Pontifex Maximus, which represents the fish head of Dagon. Similar miters to that were also worn by the leaders of Eastern religions derived from Babylon. The miter and cloak made the wearer appear in the form of Dagon. Just as the Pope has taken the key of Janus, he has also taken the fish-head miter of Dagon. (See illustrations: R. Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, 27th Edition, 1993 page 76-81).
The Pope's or a bishop's crosier is claimed to be symbolic of his pastoral role over his flock. However, the crosier is simply a copy of a crooked rod of the Roman augurs (fortunetellers), who used it to practice divination. The augur's rod originated from Babylon.
It is also remarkable that the seat of the Pope should be the Vatican. This is where the hill called "Vaticanus" was situated in ancient Rome. "Vaticanus" signifies in English the "Place of divination" - "divination" in Latin = "vaticinatio."
The Pope has a College of Cardinals who assist him in his government of the Church of Rome. The word "Cardinal" is derived from the Latin word "cardo," which means in English a "hinge." This arises because Janus, whose key the Pontifex Maximus held, was a god of "doors and hinges." (See Babylon-Rome: Keys) Thus the priests of ancient Rome, who assisted in the service of Janus, were known as "Priests of the Hinge" or "Cardinals." This title was also carried by the high officials of the Roman Emperor, who, as Pontifex Maximus, had been himself the representative of Janus, and who delegated his powers to servants of his own. Hence, the Pope, in keeping with the pagan office of Pontifex Maximus, has high-ranking officials in the Church of Rome called Cardinals.
Even the scarlet (red) colored uniform of the Cardinal
shows the Babylonian origin of the office. (See
Symbols#scarlet). The prophet Ezekiel spoke of "Images of Chaldeans portrayed
with vermillion." (Ezek 23:14) Furthermore, when Belshazzar bestowed honor
upon Daniel, they clothed him in scarlet. (Dan 5:29) (Back to