BEGINNING OF THE END!
WHEN MEN DEFY GOD
men everywhere recognize that a great crisis is ahead. Christians know it
will include the Mark of the Beast. It is part of the final judgment of
God on our planet. You should understand what it is.
Mark is not about international intrigue, a mysterious man who has been
born somewhere, aliens from outer space, or the bar codes on tin cans. The
Mark is solidly based on a violation of principles found in God’s holy
answers are in the Bible, for God has warned us about what is coming. In
order to understand these things, we must go back in history.
There are answers in Bible prophecy.
annals of human history, the rise and fall of nations and empires appear
as if dependent on the will and prowess of man. The shaping of events
seems, to a great degree, to be determined by human power and ambition.
But in the Word of God the curtain is drawn aside and we behold,
above, behind, and through all the play and counterplay of human power and
passions the agencies of the All-merciful One, silently, patiently working
out the counsels of His own will.
we want to understand last-day events, the books of Daniel and the
Revelation are extremely important. Revelation 18 talks about the fall of
symbolic Babylon. Revelation 13 and 14 deal with the Mark of the Beast.
The two are related.
In order to understand this symbolic “Babylon” of Revelation, we must go back in history to another moral crisis when God sent judgments. God has destroyed nations and civilizations which have defied Him. In the Bible, ancient Babylon became a symbol of a nation which not only stooped to a very low level of morality, but, by its actions, brazenly defied the God of heaven.
“Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.
“Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.”—Daniel 5:1-5.
king of ancient Babylon, dared to call for the sacred vessels, taken
earlier by his nation’s army from the Temple at Jerusalem. Then, in a
drunken orgy, the king, his associates, and their prostitutes dared to
drink liquor from them!
The limit had been reached. God sent His judgments upon the proud nation of Babylon. A large, bloodless hand traced words on the wall, which declared the doom of the nation. Belshazzar was slain that night, as a new power gained control of the vast empire.
“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.”—Daniel 5:30-31.
read the fascinating story in the fifth chapter of Daniel.
in Bible prophecy, “Babylon” stood for the organization or nation
which should openly defy God and His law.
That is why we find judgments upon Babylon in Revelation 18. But what is
that later Babylon-like power which was predicted?
in the book of Revelation, there is another symbol which also stands for
the Babylonian power. It is the beast of Revelation 13, which gives the
Mark of the Beast.
How is the beast of Revelation 13 like Babylon? The Bible explains that also.
Babylon was the first of several ancient great empires mentioned in Bible
prophecy. We are told about them in Daniel 7
under the figure of great beasts which arise, one after another, each one
conquering the one before it. After Babylon, symbolized by a
two-winged lion in Daniel 7:4 (605-538 B.C.), came Medo-Persia, the
bear of verse 5 (538-331 B.C.).
was eventually conquered by Alexander the Great, the king of Greece,
who was represented by the speedy four-winged leopard of Daniel 7:6
(331-168 B.C.). Alexander conquered a territory, extending from Greece
through the Persian Empire and all the way to India (an area just under
two million square miles, containing more than 20 million people) in just
ten years (330 to 320 B.C.). Three years later, he drank himself to death
in remorse, after having slain a close friend in a drunken rage (323
B.C.). He was only 33 years old.
will had declared that the kingdom should go “to the strongest.” After
some extended in-fighting, four of his generals (Cassander, Lysimachus,
Seleuchus and Ptolomy) grabbed portions of the empire and divided it into
four parts, just as predicted in Daniel 7.
In the vision of Daniel 7, there was to be a fourth beast.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth. It devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.”—Daniel 7:7.
fourth empire, represented by the terrible beast described in Daniel 7:7,
was pagan Rome (168 B.C.- A.D. 476).
“Finally, in 168, the Romans . . won a complete victory over Perseus in the battle of Pydna . . Henceforth it was clear that Rome was the real sovereign in the eastern Mediterranean.”—A.E.R. Boak, A History of Rome to A.D. 565, p. 109.
conquering Greece, the Roman Empire gradually decayed,—and gave its
power to the beast of Revelation 13!
the fourth “terrible beast” of Daniel 7, came a “little horn.” Now
here is something amazing. The beast of Revelation 13 and the little
horn of Daniel 7—are one and the same power! God wanted to make sure
there was no mistaking who this power was, so He described it in both
What the Bible says about this little horn power is very important:
“I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things . .
“And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”—Daniel 7:8, 24-25.
The description of this little horn power in Daniel 7 is exactly like that of the beast power in Revelation 13:
little horn has the “eyes of a man” (Daniel 7:8) while the
beast has the “number of a man” (Revelation 13:18)
little horn “wears out the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:25)
and the beast “makes war with the saints” (Revelation 13:7).
little horn “speaks great words against the
Most High” (Daniel 7:25) while the beast “openeth his
mouth in blasphemy against God” (Revelation 13:6).
little horn comes up among the ten horns (Daniel 7:8) and the beast
receives its “power, seat, and great authority” from Rome (Revelation
Roman Empire was beginning to crumble, under the onslaughts of ten
barbaric tribes from the north, the little horn power arose and gained
authority over them all. This exactly fulfilled Bible prophecy: “And
another shall arise after them” (Daniel 7:24).
The ten northern tribes (the “ten horns” of prophecy) gradually took over various portions of the Roman Empire. The little horn power came up among them, after they had arisen, and became the leading power. This division was completed by A.D. 476.
little horn arose to power after the other ten powers were established.
Then three of the other kingdoms (the Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths)
fell. This little horn power was the Papacy.
“Out of the ruins of political Rome, arose the great moral Empire in the ‘giant form’ of the Roman Church.”—A.C. Flick, the Rise of the Mediaeval Church (1909), p. 150.
a historian at the University of Chicago, explains it in this way:
“Under the Roman Empire the popes had no temporal powers. But when the Roman Empire had disintegrated and its place had been taken by a number of rude, barbarous kingdoms, the Roman Catholic Church not only became independent of the states in religious affairs, but dominated secular affairs as well . . Under the weak political system of feudalism, the well-organized, unified, and centralized church, with the pope at its head, was not only independent in ecclesiastical affairs but also controlled civil affairs.”—Carl Conrad Eckhardt, The Papacy and World Affairs (1937), p. 1.
It was predicted that the little horn power, which pushed its way up among the ten horns, would be “diverse” (Daniel 7:24). It would be different than the other kingdoms. The Papacy, which arose on the ruins of the Roman Empire, differed from other world kingdoms, in that it was an ecclesiastical—a church—power ruling the nations around it.
“Whatever Roman elements the barbarians and Arians left . . came under the protection of the Bishop of Rome, who was the chief person there after the Emperor’s disappearance . . The Roman Church in this way privily pushed itself into the place of the Roman World-Empire, of which it is the actual continuation . . The Roman Empire had not perished, but had only undergone a transformation . . The pope, who calls himself ‘Pontifex Maximus,’ is Caesar’s successor.”—Adolf Harnack, What is Christianity? (1903), pp. 269-270.
names, “pontiff” (meaning “king”) and “Pontifix Maximus”
(meaning “king over all other kings”) had previously been the titles
of the Roman emperors, whom the people had obeyed and worshiped.
One of the most startling things about this little horn power was that the Bible predicted it would “think to change times and laws.” Here is a man that sets himself up as equal with God and above God’s law,—for he presumes to have the power to change God’s law! To presume to be equal to God and able to change God’s law would be blasphemy.
the parallel prophecies in Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 discuss this:
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”—Daniel 7:25.
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.”—Revelation 13:5-6.
of heaven said, “I am the Lord, I change not” (Malachi 3:6).
And about His holy law, Scripture tells us, “All His commandments are
sure. They stand fast forever and ever” (Psalm 111:7-8). The
character of God does not change, neither do His Ten Commandments.
The Bible even predicted the amount of time that the little horn power would rule: 1260 years. This 1260-year time period is mentioned seven times in the Bible, so it is important. Using the day for a year principle found in Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34, let us consider these passages:
Revelation 11:3 and 12:6 tell us this persecuting power would reign 1260
days. That translates to 1260 years.
Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 say this power would reign for 42 months. Based
on the ancient period of 30 days to a month, 42 months would equal 1260
Daniel 7:25; 12:7; and Revelation 12:14 speak of three and a half
“times,” or years. Since a prophetic year has 360 days, this also
equals 1260 days.
seven Bible verses describe this power as reigning 1260 prophetic days, or
1260 literal years.
know of any other kingdom which lorded it over other kingdoms—for over a
thousand years? And, according to Bible prophecy, the kingdom that did
that,—had to do it in the territory of the fourth beast: pagan Rome,
which formerly controlled Europe.
Here are eleven facts about this little horn power:
- It received its “seat” (capital city) and its authority from pagan
Rome (Revelation 13:4).
2 - It would rule the world for 1260 years (A.D. 538 to 1798).
- It would receive a “deadly wound,” which would later be healed (Revelation
- It would be both a political and religious power, which would be
worshiped (Revelation 13:4).
- It would attempt to change God’s Ten Commandment law (Daniel 7:25).
- It would have a leader who would claim to be God on earth and able to
forgive sins, both of which are the highest blasphemy (Revelation
- It would be a mother church, with daughters which would come out of it
and copy it in some way (Revelation 17:5).
- It would make war with the saints and, for over a thousand years, would
kill millions of them (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:7).
- It would be a world power which would be wondered at (Revelation
10 - It
would have a “man” at its head, and the number of his name would be
666 (Revelation 13:18).
11 - It
would have a dreaded mark, which it would be able to place on people (Revelation
We are getting closer to understanding the Mark of the Beast. Here is how papal Rome received its “seat” from pagan Rome:
Constantine gave the Bishop of Rome his “seat” when he, Constantine,
traveled to Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and founded the city of
Constantinople. Henceforth, the pope was in charge of Rome and its
surrounding area. To this day, it still has its headquarters in the same
capital of the ancient Roman Empire—Rome, by the banks of the Tiber, in
what is today called Italy.
A.D. 538, the Emperor’s general, Belisarius, helped the pope drive the
Ostrogoths from Rome. The 1260 years began that year.
“Long ages ago, when Rome through the neglect of the Western emperors was left to the mercy of the barbarous hordes, the Romans turned to one figure for aid and protection, and asked him to rule them; and thus . . commenced the temporal sovereignty of the popes. And meekly stepping to the throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.”—American Catholic Quarterly Review, April, 1911.
additional power was given to the pope when, in A.D. 533, the Emperor
Justinian decreed that the pope should be over all the Christian churches
of the earth (Code of Justinian, book 1, title 1, section 4).
“The recognition of the Roman See as the highest ecclesiastical authority remained the cornerstone of his [Justinian’s] policy in relation to the west.”—G. Kruger, “Justinian I, Emperor of the East,” in The New Shaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge,
The Papacy ruled for exactly 1260 years, from A.D. 538 to 1798. What happened in 1798?
exact year, Napoleon sent General Berthier to Rome, to capture the pope,
take him prisoner, and exile him to France, where he later died in
captivity! This was an amazing event! And it occurred exactly 1260 years
after the Papacy first gained full civil authority.
“When in 1797, Pope Pius VI fell grievously ill, Napoleon gave orders that in the event of his death no successor should be elected to his office, and the Papacy should be discontinued. But the pope recovered. The peace was soon broken: Berthier entered Rome on the tenth of February, 1798 . . The aged Pontiff was hurried from prison to prison in France. Broken with fatigue and sorrows, he died on the seventeenth of August 1799, in the French fortress of Valence, aged 82 years. No wonder half of Europe thought Napoleon’s veto would be obeyed, and that with the pope, the Papacy was dead.”—Joseph Rickaby, The Modern Papacy, p. 1.
A.D. 538, when the sword of Belisarius elevated Pope Vigilius as universal
pontiff, to the time when the sword of Berthier thrust Pope Pius VI from
office, in 1798, was exactly 1260 years.
But the prophecy also said that this “deadly wound” would later be healed.
“ . . and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.”—Revelation 13:3.
plans to conquer neighboring Catholic countries, Mussolini wanted no
interference from the pope. So, in 1929, Mussolini made a deal with the
pope. On March 9 of that year, the Italian government signed the Concordat
of Rome, recognizing Vatican City as an independent state. Once again
the pope was king over an earthly kingdom.
as it may seem, the very wording of the prophecy of Revelation 13:3,
uttered nearly 2,000 years earlier, was headlined in the public press. On
that same day, the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle
headlined: “Mussolini and Gasparri [Pope Pius XI] Sign Historic Pact . .
Heal Wound of Many Years.”
“In affixing the autographs to the memorable document, healing the wound which has festered . . extreme cordiality was displayed on both sides.”—Associated Press Dispatch, March 9, 1929.
day, the pope said, “The peoples of the entire world are with us.”
“Yet since then , the Papacy has been lifted to a pinnacle of spiritual power unreached. It may be, since earliest Christian history.”—The Modern Papacy, p. 1 [Roman Catholic].
papal power occupies a unique place in the world, for it not only is a
religion but a kingdom as well. At the present time, representatives and
ambassadors from more than forty major nations of the world come to
counsel with its head of state, the pope. Among these are representatives
from the United States.
The prophecy also specified that this power would slay many of God’s people.
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”—Daniel 7:25.
“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.”—Revelation 13:7.
over a thousand years, the Papacy put to death faithful Christians for the
crime of not bowing the knee to the pope and accepting his false
“That the Church of Rome has shed more innocent blood than any other institution that has ever existed among mankind, will be questioned by no Protestant who has a competent knowledge of history . . It is impossible to form a complete conception of the multitude of her victims, and it is quite certain that no powers of imagination can adequately realize their sufferings.”—W.E.H. Lecky, History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, Vol. 2, p. 32, 1910 ed. [An excellent, though lengthy, article describing in detail the right of the Roman Catholic Church to do this, will be found in The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 12, p. 266.]
“For professing faith contrary to the teachings of the Church of Rome, history records the martyrdom of more than one hundred million people. A million Waldenses and Albigenses [Swiss and French Protestants] perished during a crusade proclaimed by Pope Innocent III in 1208. Beginning from the establishment of the Jesuits in 1540 to 1580, nine hundred thousand were destroyed. One hundred and fifty thousand perished by the Inquisition in thirty years. Within the space of thirty-eight years after the edict of Charles V against the Protestants, fifty thousand persons were hanged, beheaded, or burned alive for heresy. Eighteen thousand more perished during the administration of the Duke of Alva in five and a half years.”—Brief Bible Readings, p. 16.
“The Catholic has some reason on
his side when he calls for the temporal punishment of heretics, for he
claims the true title of Christian for himself exclusively, and professes
to be taught by the never-failing presence of the Spirit of God . . It is
not more ‘morally’ wrong to put a man to death for heresy than for
murder . . [and] in many cases persecution for religious opinions is not
only permissible, but highly advisable and necessary.”—“The
Lawfulness of Persecution,” in The Rambler, 4, June 1849, pp. 119, 126
[English R.C. journal published from 1848 to 1862].
“ ‘The church,’ said [Martin]
Luther . . ‘has never
burned a heretic’ . . I reply that this argument proves not the opinion,
but the ignorance or impudence of Luther. Since almost infinite numbers
were either burned or otherwise killed, Luther either did not know it, and
was therefore ignorant, or if he was not ignorant, he is convicted of
impudence and falsehood; for that heretics were often burned by the church
may be proved if we adduce a few examples.”—Robert Bellarmine,
Disputationes de Controversis Christianae Fidei (“Disputations
Concerning Controversies of the Christian Faith”), Tom. II, cap. XXII [Bellarmine,
later canonized, was a leading Jesuit leader and writer.]
“From the birth of the Papacy to the present time, it is estimated by careful and credible historians, that more than fifty million of the human family have been slaughtered for the crime of heresy by papal persecutors,—an average of more than 40,000 religious murders for every year of the existence of the Papacy. Of course, the average number of victims yearly was vastly greater, during those gloomy ages when the Papacy was in her glory and reigned despot of the world; and it has been much less since the power of the popes to tyrannize over the nations has diminished.”—John Dowling, The History of Romanism, pp. 541-542.
It was also predicted that this little horn power would “call itself god.”
“And he shall speak great words against the most High.”—Daniel 7:25.
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as god sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is god.”—2 Thessalonians 2:4.
would be remarkable, indeed, if this prediction also applied to the
Papacy. But, according to many Roman Catholic statements, it does:
“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”—Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter, June 20, 1894.
“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ Himself, hidden under veil of flesh.”—The Catholic National, July 1895.
“We define that the Holy Apostolic See [Vatican] and the Roman Pontiff hold the primacy over the whole world.”—Council of Trent, Decree, quoted in Philippe Labbe and Gabriel Cossart, The Most Holy Councils, Vol. 13, Col. 1167.
“Christ entrusted His office to the chief pontiff . . but all power in heaven and in earth has been given to Christ . . therefore the chief pontiff, who is His vicar, will have this power.”—Corpus Juris Canonici, 1555 ed., Vol. 3, Extravagantes Communes, Book 1, chap. 1, Col. 29.
“Hence the Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions [infernorum; the fiery place].”—Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, “Papa” [the Pope], art. 2, 1772-1777 ed., Vol. 6, p. 29.
“For thou art the shepherd, thou art the physician, thou art the director, thou art the husbandman; finally, thou art another God on Earth.”—Christopher Marcellus, Oration in the fifth Lateran Council, session IV (1512), in J.D. Mansi (ed.), Sacrorum Conciliorum, Vol. 32, Col. 761.
“The priests are the parents of God.”—St. Bernard [fifth century archbishop].
“O wonderful dignity of the priests! In their hands as in the womb of the Blessed Virgin, the Son of God becomes incarnate!”—Augustine.
“The pope himself is the keybearer and the doorkeeper, therefore no one can appeal from the pope to God.”—Augustinus Triumphus, Summa de Potestate.
“All the names which in the
Scriptures are applied to Christ, by virtue of which it is established
that He is over the church, all the same names are applied to the
Pope.”—Robert Bellarmine, On the Authority of the Councils.
was Pope Gregory VII, who reigned from April 1073 to May 1085. Among the
twenty-seven rules, known as the “Dictates of Hildebrand,” are
“2. That the Roman pontiff alone
is justly styled universal . . 6. That no person . . may live under the
same roof with one excommunicated by the Pope . . 9. That all princes
should kiss his feet only . . 19. That he can be judged by no one . . 22.
That the Roman Church never erred, nor will it, according to the
scripture, ever err . . 27. That he can absolve subjects from their
allegiance to unrighteous rulers.”—Gregory VII, The Dictates of
April 29, 1922, in the Vatican throne room, a throng of cardinals,
bishops, priests, nuns, and others were present. All had fallen on their
knees in reverence of the one before them. They were then addressed from
the throne by Pope Pius XI, who said:
“You know that I am the Holy Father, the representative of God on the earth, the Vicar of Christ, which means I am God on the earth.”—Pope Pius XI, quoted in The Bulwark, October 1922, p. 104.
(1857-1939) was pope from 1922-1939, and signed the Treaty of the Lateran
with Mussolini in 1929, whereby Vatican City was established. He
consistently backed Mussolini’s policies and government until the
dictator met with military reverses.
The claim to divinity includes the claim to infallibility, the ability to speak words that never contain any error.
also an official teaching that, whenever any pope in history speaks
to the church on any important matter, his words have always—throughout
the history of the Papacy—been infallible, without any error.
“We teach and define that it is a dogma divinely revealed that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra [“out of the throne,” in official capacity], that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that His Church should be endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and that therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable [without possibility of being corrected] of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church.”—First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ (Pastor Aeternus, published in the fourth session of the First Vatican Council, 1870), chapter 4; quoted in Phillip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, Vol. 2, pp. 269-270.
It was also predicted that this power would have 666 in the name of its leader, and that he would have a “name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1).
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”—Revelation 13:18.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”—Revelation 13:17.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”—Revelation 14:11.
can see, this is a very serious matter. Scholars tell us that the number
is determined by counting the numerical value in his official name, which
is his title. In Latin, many letters stand for numbers.
“The number [is] indicated by the letters of his name.”—The Twentieth Century New Testament.
“Verse 18, Six Hundred Sixty Six.
The numeral letters of his name shall make up this number.”—The
Rheims Douay [Catholic] Bible, note on Revelation 13:18.
“The method of reading, generally adopted, is that known as the ghematria of the Rabbins, which assigns each letter of a name its usual numerical value, and gives the sum of such numbers as the equivalent of the name.”—Marvin R. Vincent, D.D., Word Studies in the New Testament, Comment on Revelation 13:18.
Scholars provide us with still more information on this:
“The beasts of Daniel and John are empires. The ten-horned beast [of Revelation 13] is the Roman power . . The head is the governing power in the body.”—H. Grattan Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation, pp. 144-145.
“The number in the mark in Revelation 13 will be found in the title of the leader of ‘Mystery, Babylon the Great.’ It is the number of the man of sin of 2 Thessalonians 2, the little horn of Daniel 7, the beast of Revelation 13. It is the number of the one who led out through long centuries in killing the martyrs and uniting Christianity with paganism.” Jean Delacroix.
“The pope is of such lofty and supreme dignity that, properly speaking, he has not been established in any rank of dignity, but rather has been placed upon the very summit of all ranks of dignities . . He is likewise the divine monarch and supreme emperor and king of kings.
“Hence the pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions.”—Lucius Ferraris, Prompta Bibliotheca, Vol. VI, pp. 438, 442 [R.C. sourcebook].
“Q. What are the letters supposed to be in the pope’s crown, and what do they signify, if anything?
“A. The letters inscribed in the Pope’s miter are these: Vicarius Filii Dei, which is the Latin for ‘Vicar of the Son of God.’ Catholics hold that the church, which is a visible society, must have a visible head. Christ, before His ascension into heaven, appointed St. Peter to act as His representative . . Hence to the Bishop of Rome, as head of the church, was given the title, Vicar of Christ.”—Our Sunday Visitor, “Bureau of Information,” Huntington, Indiana, April 18, 1915 [nationwide R.C. weekly journal].
Revelation 13:18, it says, “Count the number of the beast; for it is the
number of a man, and his number is six hundred threescore and six.”
Let’s do it now and see what we find. We will use the Roman numerals you
learned in school. Remember that “U” and “V” have the same value. (See
top of next page.)
It is a
“name of blasphemy,” and it represents teachings of blasphemy.
“They have assumed infallibility, which belongs only to God. They profess to forgive sins, which belongs only to God. They profess to open and shut heaven, which belongs only to God. They profess to be higher than all the kings of the earth, which belongs only to God . . And they go against God, when they give indulgences for sin. This is the worst of all blasphemies.”—Adam Clarke, Commentary on Daniel 7:25.
It was during the 1260 years, that many pagan teachings were adopted by this power.
“Let no man deceive you by any
means: for that day [the second advent of Christ] shall not come, except
there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son
of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called
God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of
God, shewing himself that he is God.”—2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.
errors of the Dark Ages came directly from paganism. The Church of the
Apostasy searched for them throughout the East and the West—and adopted
them as they were discovered.
“Rites and ceremonies, of which neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then claimed the rank of divine institutions. Offices for whom the primitive disciples could have found no place, and titles which to them would have been altogether unintelligible, began to challenge attention, and to be named ‘apostolic.’ ”—William D. Killen, The Ancient Church, p. xvi.
“The belief in miracle-working objects, talismans, amulets, and formulas was dear to . . Christianity, and they were received from pagan antiquity . . the vestments of the clergy and the papal title of ‘pontifix maximus’ were legacies from pagan Rome. The [Catholic] Church found that rural converts still revered certain springs, wells, trees, and stones; she thought it wiser to bless these to Christian use . . Pagan festivals, dear to the people, reappeared as Christian feasts, and pagan rites were transformed into Christian liturgy . . The Christian calendar of saints replaced the Roman ‘fasti’ [calendar of gods]; ancient divinities dear to the people were allowed to revive under the names of ‘Christian saints’ . . Gradually the tenderest features of Astarte, Cybele, Artemis, Diana, and Isis were gathered together in the worship of Mary.”—Will Durant, The Age of Faith, 1950, pp. 745-746.
“The [Catholic] Church took the
pagan philosophy and made it the buckler of faith against the heathen. She
took the pagan Roman Pantheon, temple of all gods, and made it
sacred to all the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sun
day and made it the Christian Sunday. She took the pagan Easter
[in honor of Ishtar] and made it the feast we celebrate during this season
. . The sun was a foremost god with heathendom . . Hence the Church would
seem to say, ‘Keep that old pagan name [Sunday]. It shall remain
consecrated, sanctified.’ And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to
Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus.”—William L.
Gildea, “Paschale Gaudium,” in The Catholic World, 58, March 1894, p.
“It is not necessary to go into
the subject which the diligence of Protestant writers has made familiar to
most of us: the use of temples dedicated to particular saints . . holy
water; asylums [monasteries]; holydays and seasons, use of saints’
calendars, processions . . are all of pagan origin, and sanctified by
their adoption into the church.”—John Henry Newman, An Essay on the
Development of Christian Doctrine, p. 373 (1906).
“The mighty Catholic Church was little more than the Roman Empire baptized. Rome was transformed as well as converted . . It is not a matter of great surprise, therefore, to find that from the first to the fourth century, the Church had undergone many changes.”—Alexander C. Flick, Rise of the Medieval Church, pp. 148-149.
“Pictures of Christ, Mary, and the saints, had been already worshipped from the fifth century with greetings, kisses, prostration, a renewal of ancient pagan practices. In the naive and confident conviction that Christians no longer ran any risk of idolatry, the Church not only tolerated, but promoted, the entrance of paganism . . A brisk trade was carried on in the seventh and beginning of the eighth century in images, especially by monks; churches and chapels were crowded with pictures and relics; the practice of heathen times was revived.”—Adolph Harnack, History of Dogma, Vol. 4, pp. 318-319 (1898).
“From ancient Babylon came the cult of the virgin mother-godess, who was worshiped as the highest of gods.”—S.H. Langdon, Semitic Mythology, 1931 ed.
mentions several pagan practices by which the mother-goddess had earlier
been worshiped by the heathen, which Rome adopted into Christianity: holy
water, votive offerings, elevation of sacred objects [lifting of the
host], the priest’s bells, the decking of images, processions,
festivals, prayers for the dead, the worship of relics and the statutes of
saints (See Gordon J. Laing, Survivals of Roman Religion, 1831 edition,
pp. 92-95, 123-131, 238-241).
That which made the “Dark Ages” so dark was the fact that this power forbade the people from owning Bibles or reading them. For hundreds of years, copies of the Bible were only found chained to monastery walls. During those dreary years, Christians secretly translated the Bible into their own language. But, when caught for reading the Bible, they were burned at the stake.
“We prohibit laymen possessing
copies of the Old and New Testaments . . We forbid them most severely to
have the above books in the popular vernacular [language] . . The lords of
the districts shall carefully seek out the heretics in dwellings, hovels,
and forests, and even their underground retreats shall be entirely wiped
out.”—Pope Gregory IX, Concil Tolosanum, Anno. Chr. 1229 [Council
of Toulouse, A.D. 1229],
“No one may possess the books of
the Old and New Testaments in the Romance [common] language, and if anyone
possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight
days after the promulgation of this decree, so that they may be
burned.”—Church Council of Tarragona, quoted in D. Lortsch,
Histoire de la Biblia en France, 1910, p. 14.
“Socialism, Communism, clandestine societies, Bible Societies . . pests of this sort must be destroyed by all means.”—Pope Pius IX, encyclical Quanta Cura, December 8, 1866.
This power “would think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25).
“And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”—Daniel 7:25.
the heathen, which were entering the church, were used to worshiping
images, Rome removed the second commandment from the Ten Commandments.
“Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.”—Exodus 20:4; the Second Commandment.
were placed in the churches, and the people were encouraged to bow down
and pray to them. They were first commanded to do so by the Second Council
of Nicea, A.D. 787 (Baronius, Ecclesiastical Annals, Vol. 9, pp.
391-404, Antwerp, 1612; Charles J. Hefele, History of the Councils of the
Church from the Original Documents, Bk 18, chap. 1, secs. 332-333).
“The worship of images . . was one of those corruptions of Christianity which crept into the church stealthily and almost without notice or observation . . Images were first introduced into churches, not to be worshiped, but either in place of books to give instruction to those who could not read, or to excite devotion in the minds of others . . but it was found that images brought into churches darkened rather than enlightened the minds of the ignorant—degraded rather than exalted the devotion of the worshiper.”—J. Mendham, The Seventh General Council, the Second Council of Nicea, Introduction, pp. iii-iv.
were also other laws that this power would also “think to change.”
“The pope has power to change times, to abrogate [abolish] laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ.”—Decretal: de Tranlatic Episcop.
also changed the fourth commandment. This is that commandment, as given in
“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; the Fourth Commandment.
Fourth Commandment was written by the finger of God Himself on rock,
because the seventh-day Sabbath was given to all mankind at Creation.
Indeed, it was a memorial of Creation! When we worship God on the seventh
day of the week, we acknowledge that He is the Creator. Only God would
have the authority to change it to some other day!
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made.
“And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made.”—Genesis 2:1-3.
seventh day is the memorial of Creation! There would be no way to change
it to another day, without creating the world a second time!
“It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He rested, and was refreshed.”—Exodus 31:17.
excellent Bible study on what the Bible says
about the Sabbath, go to part 8- At both
the beginning and end of that study, you will be directed back to this
page, so you can continue reading.
It is totally incredible to think that any man or group of men would dare to attempt to change the Bible Sabbath to some other day! But that is what was attempted!
though it may seem, the prophecy of Daniel 7:25, about what the little
horn power would do, was exactly fulfilled centuries later by the Papacy. Both
historians and Catholic writers have written how it happened. Here,
briefly, is the fascinating story:
1 - Sunday sacredness is not in the Bible:
“It would be an error to attribute [‘the sanctification of Sunday’] to a definite decision of the Apostles. There is no such decision mentioned in the Apostolic documents [that is, the New Testament].”—Antoine Villien, A History of the Commandments of the Church, 1915, p. 23.
“It must be confessed that there is no law in the New Testament concerning the first day.”—McClintock and Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature, Vol. 9, p. 196.
“Rites and ceremonies, of which
neither Paul nor Peter ever heard, crept silently into use, and then
claimed the rank of divine institutions. [Church] offices for whom the
primitive disciples could have found no place, and titles which to them
would have been altogether unintelligible, began to challenge attention,
and to be named apostolic.”—William D. Killen, The Ancient Church,
2 - The great majority of the followers of Christ kept the Bible Sabbath—the seventh-day Sabbath—for several centuries after the last book of the New Testament was finished.
“It would be an error to attribute [“the sanctification of Sunday”] to a definite decision of the Apostles. There is no such decision mentioned in the Apostolic documents [the New Testament].”—Antoine Villien, A History of the Commandments of the Church, 1915, p. 23 [Catholic priest and professor at the Catholic University of Paris].
“Until well into the second
century [a hundred years after Christ] we do not find the slightest
indication in our sources that Christians marked Sunday by any kind of
abstention from work.”—W. Rordorf, Sunday, p. 157.
“The ancient Sabbath did remain
and was observed . . by the Christians of the Eastern Church [in the area
near Palestine] above three hundred years after our Saviour’s
death.”—A Learned Treatise of the Sabbath, p. 77.
“Modern Christians who talk of
keeping Sunday as a ‘holy’ day, as in the still extant ‘Blue
Laws,’ of colonial America, should know that as a ‘holy’ day of rest
and cessation from labor and amusements Sunday was unknown to Jesus . . It
formed no tenant [teaching] of the primitive church and became
‘sacred’ only in the course of time. Outside the church its observance
was legalized for the Roman Empire through a series of decrees starting
with the famous one of Constantine in 321, an edict due to his political
and social ideas.”—W.W. Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman
Empire, 1946, p. 257.
“The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals was always only a human ordinance, and it was far from the intentions of the apostles to establish a Divine command in this respect, far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday.”—Augustus Neander, The History of the Christian Religion and Church, 1843, p. 186.
3 - The Papacy adopted a variety of heathen customs from various pagan sources.
“The [Catholic] Church took the
pagan buckler of faith against the heathen. She took the pagan Roman
Pantheon, [the Roman] temple to all the gods, and made it sacred to all
the martyrs; so it stands to this day. She took the pagan Sunday and made
it the Christian Sunday . . The Sun was a foremost god with heathendom.
Balder the beautiful: the White God, the old Scandinavians called him. The
sun has worshipers at this very hour in Persia and other lands . . Hence
the Church would seem to have said, ‘Keep that old pagan name. It shall
remain consecrated, sanctified.’ And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to
Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus. The sun is a fitting
emblem of Jesus. The Fathers often compared Jesus to the sun; as they
compared Mary to the moon.”—William L. Gildea, “Paschale Gaudium,”
in The Catholic World, p. 58, March 1894.
“When Christianity conquered Rome, the ecclesiastical structure of the pagan church, the title and the vestments of the ‘pontifex maximus,’ the worship to the ‘Great Mother’ goddess and a multitude of comforting divinities . . the joy or solemnity of old festivals, and the pageantry of immemorial ceremony, passed like material blood into the new religion,—and captive Rome conquered her conqueror. The reins and skills of government were handed down by a dying empire to a virile papacy.”—Will Durant, Caesar and Christ, p. 672.
4 - In very ancient times, the Sun day was dedicated to the sun god.
“Sun worship was the earliest
idolatry.”—Fausset Bible Dictionary, p. 666.
“The Church made a sacred day of
Sunday . . largely because it
was the weekly festival of the sun;—for it was a definite Christian
policy to take over the pagan festivals endeared to the people by
tradition, and give them a Christian significance.”—Authur Weigall,
The Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, p. 145.
5 - Back then, Sunday was the sacred day of Mithra, the sun-god, also called Sol Invictus: the invincible sun god.
“Sun worship was one of the
oldest components of the Roman religion.”—Gaston H. Halsberge, The
Cult of Sol Invictus, 1972, p. 26.
“ ‘Babylon, the mother of harlots,’ derived much of her teaching from pagan Rome and thence from Babylon. Sun worship—that led her to Sundaykeeping,—was one of those choice bits of paganism that sprang originally from the heathen lore of ancient Babylon: The solar theology of the ‘Chaldeans’ had a decisive effect upon the final development of Semitic paganism . . [It led to their] seeing the sun the directing power of the cosmic system. All the Baals were thence forward turned into suns; the sun itself being the mover of the other stars—like it eternal and ‘unconquerable’ . . Such was the final form reached by the religion of the pagan Semites, and following them, by that of the Romans . . when they raised ‘Sol Invictus’ [the Invincible Sun] to the rank of supreme divinity in the empire.”—Franz F.V.M. Cummont, Astrology and Religion Among the Greeks and Romans, p. 55.
It had only been a short time before Christ that the days of the week had been dedicated to pagan planetary gods. The first day was the high day for heathen worship: It was “dies Solis”—the day of the Sun. All the other days were subservient to it (“dies Lunae,” the day of the moon, etc.).
this was in decided contrast with the religion of the Bible—in which
God’s people worship the Creator of the Universe, and His worship day is
the seventh day of the week, as is commanded in the Ten Commandments.
worship is never found in the Old or New Testaments, nor is it commanded
Here is more information about Mithra:
(also called Mithras) was originally an ancient god of Persia (where Iran
is now located). He had been worshiped as a god of strength and war for
centuries. Roman soldiers, sent to far places to command the peace,
brought Mithra worship back to Rome; and through the soldiers it spread
throughout the empire. Mithra became the leading sun god of the Roman
Empire. The Romans gave him a new name: “Sol Invictus” (“the
Invincible Sun”), and they called his holy day “the venerable [sacred]
day of the Sun.”
Emperor Aurelian (A.D. 270-275), whose
mother was a priestess of the Sun, made this solar cult the official
religion of Rome during his lifetime. His biographer, Flavius Vopiscus,
wrote that the priests of the Temple of the Sun at Rome were called “pontiffs,”
and were priests of their dying-rising saviour-god Mithra, and “vicegerants”
(second in command, not to their god) of the Mithric church.
an interesting fact that it was the Mithrites, not the Christians, who
first called their Sun day “the Lord’s day.” Mithra was their Lord
and they wanted to honor his holy day.
“The first day of each week, Sunday, was consecrated to Mithra since times remote, as several authors affirm. Because the Sun was god, the Lord par excellence, Sunday came to be called the ‘Lord’s day,’ as later was done by Christianity.”—Agostinho de Almeida Paiva, O Mitraiomo, p. 3.
Christian churches at Alexandria, Egypt (which had a large, worldly
Christian seminary), and Rome were the most paganizing in the Empire and
the first to adopt Sunday as the sacred day of Christians.
those centuries, most of the heathen customs entered the church through
Alexandria and Rome. From as early as Pope Victor in A.D. 195, the Roman
Bishops tried to force the other Christian churches scattered throughout
the Empire to adopt these practices, but their demands were ignored.
the time of Constantine, in the early fourth century, the old
government-sponsored emperor worship had declined, and two religions
contended for first place: Mithrism (also
called Mithraism) and Christianity.
order to strengthen the empire, and conferring with the bishop of Rome
(the pope), Constantine decided to unite the two strongest religions
into one. By doing this, he publicly announced he had become a Christian
and ordered everyone to keep Sunday holy. At about this time, the titles, “pontiff”
and “vicegerant,” were transferred from the high priest of
Mithra to the bishop of Rome.
6 - When Constantine, emperor of the Roman Empire, nominally converted to Christianity, he cooperated with the Bishop of Rome (the pope) in issuing an edict requiring everyone to keep “the venerable day of the sun.” That edict, the first of six that he made, was issued in A.D. 321 and was the first Sunday Law.
“Remains of the struggle [between
the religion of Christianity and the religion of Mithraism] are found in
two institutions adopted from its rival by Christianity in the fourth
century, the two Mithraic sacred days: December 25, ‘dies natalis
solis’ [birthday of the sun], as the birthday of Jesus,—and
Sunday, ‘the venerable day of the Sun,’ as Constantine called it in
his edict of 321.”—Walter Woodburn Hyde, Paganism to Christianity
in the Roman Empire, p. 60.
“Unquestionably the first law, either ecclesiastical or civil, by which the sabbatical observance of that day is known to have been ordained, is the edict of Constantine, A.D. 321.”—Chamber’s Encyclopedia, article, “Sabbath.”
7 - Here is the text of this first Sunday law in history, a legal enactment by Constantine I (reigned 306-337):
“On the Venerable Day of the Sun [“Venerable die Solis”—the sacred day of the Sun] let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits; because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain-sowing or for vine-planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should by lost—given the 7th day of March [A.D. 321], Crispus and Constantine being consuls each of them for the second time.”—The First Sunday Law of Constantine I, in “Codex Justianianus,” lib. 3, tit. 12,3; trans. in Phillip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 3, p. 380.
8 - Church edicts were issued requiring that Christians everywhere worship God on Sunday. The first Sunday Law decree by a Christian council (A.D. 337) came shortly after Constantine’s first Sunday Law of A.D. 321:
“Christians shall not Judaize and be idle on Saturday [in the original: ‘sabbato’—‘shall not be idle on the Sabbath’], but shall work on that day; but the Lord’s day they shall especially honour, and as being Christians, shall, if possible, do no work on that day. If, however, they are found Judaizing, they shall by shut out [‘anathema,’ excommunicated] from Christ.”—Council of Laodicea, c.A.D. 337, Canon 29, quoted in C.J. Hefele, A History of the Councils of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 316.
“The keeping of the Sunday rest arose from the custom of the people and the constitution of the [Catholic] Church . . Tertullian was probably the first to refer to a cessation of affairs on the Sun day; the Council of Laodicea issued the first counciliar legislation for that day; Constantine I issued the first civil legislation.”—Priest Vincent J. Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p. 203 [Kelly was a Catholic priest, and his book was a thesis at Catholic University of America].
“This [Constantine’s Sunday decree of March 321] is the ‘parent’ Sunday law making it a day of rest and release from labor. For from that time to the present there have been decrees about the observance of Sunday which have profoundly influenced European and American society. When the Church became a part of State under the Christian emperors, Sunday observance was enforced by civil statutes, and later when the Empire was past, the Church in the hands of the papacy enforced it by ecclesiastical and also by civil enactments.”—Walter W. Hyde, Paganism to Christianity in the Roman Empire, 1946, p. 261.
9 - Constantine’s objective was to unite the sun-worshiping Mithraites and the Christians into one united church, in order to strengthen the nation.
“Constantine labored at this time untiringly to unite the worshipers of the old and the new into one religion. All his laws and contrivances are aimed at promoting this amalgamation of means melt together a purified heathenism and a moderated Christianity . . Of all his blending and melting together of Christianity and heathenism, none is more easy to see through than this making of his Sunday law: The Christians worshiped their Christ, the heathen their sun-god [so they should now be combined].”—H.G. Heggtveit, Illustreret Kirkehistorie [Illustrated Church History], 1895, p. 202. [Heggtveit (1850-1924) was a Norwegian church historian and teacher.]
“The retention [today] of the old pagan name, ‘Dies Solis’ [Day of the Sun] or ‘Sunday’ for the weekly Christian festival, is in great measure owing to the union of pagan and Christian sentiment, with which the first day of the week was recommended by Constantine to his subjects, pagan and Christian alike, as the ‘venerable day of the sun’ . . It was his mode of harmonizing the discordant religions of the empire under one common institution.”—Dean Stanley, Lectures on the Eastern Church, Lecture 6, p. 184. [Stanley was an Episcopalian historian and church leader.]
“Constantine labored at this time untiringly to unite the worshipers of the old [pagan] and the new [Christian] faith in one religion. All his laws and contrivances are aimed at promoting this amalgamation of religions. He would by all lawful and peaceable means melt together a purified heathenism and a moderated [compromised] Christianity . . Of all his blending and melting together of Christianity and heathenism, none is more easy to see through than his making of his Sunday law. The Christians worshiped their Christ, the heathen their Sun god; according to the opinion of the Emperor, the objects for worship in both religions being the same [the worship of the deities on a single day of the week].”—Hallvard G. Heggtveit, Illustreret Kirkehistorie, 1895, p. 202.
10 - But papal writers at the time proudly declared that they had a hand in getting Sunday declared the sacred day of Christians.
“All things whatsoever that were prescribed for the [Bible] Sabbath, we have transferred them to the Lord’s day, as being more authoritative and more highly regarded and first in rank, and more honorable than the Jewish Sabbath.”—Bishop Eusebius, quoted in J.P. Migne, “Patrologie,” p. 23, 1169-1172 [Eusebius of Caesarea was a high-ranking Catholic leader during Constantine’s lifetime.].
Sylvester, who was pope when Constantine issued his Sunday laws, declared that Sunday should be exalted and the Bible Sabbath should be ignored. (Sylvester I reigned from January 31, 314 to December 31, 335.)
“If every Sunday is to be observed by Christians on account of the resurrection, then every Sabbath on account of the burial is to be regarded in execration [cursing] of the Jews.”—Pope Sylvester, quoted by S.R.E. Humbert, “Adversus Graecorum Calumnias,” in J.P. Migne, Patrologie, p. 143.
11 - More church and civil edicts were issued, commanding that everyone abandon the Bible Sabbath and worship on the Sun day.
“Constantine’s decree marked the beginning of a long, though intermittent series of imperial decrees in support of Sunday rest.”—Vincent J. Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, 1943, p. 29
12 - Yet, in spite of the edicts, outside of Rome and Alexandria (where the most liberal Christians were congregated), the great majority of Christians remained faithful to the plain words of Scripture and continued to keep the Bible Sabbath holy until well into the following century—a hundred years after Constantine’s first Sunday Law! Oh, that Christians would be as faithful today.
“As we have already noted, excepting for the Roman and Alexandrian Christians, the majority of Christians were observing the seventh-day Sabbath at least as late as the middle of the fifth century [A.D. 450]. The Roman and Alexandrian Christians were among those converted from heathenism. They began observing Sunday as a merry religious festival in honor of the Lord’s resurrection, about the latter half of the second century A.D. However, they did not try to teach that the Lord or His apostles commanded it. In fact, no ecclesiastical writer before Eusebius of Caesarea in the fourth century even suggested that either Christ or His apostles instituted the observance of the first day of the week.
“These Gentile Christians of Rome and Alexandria began calling the first day of the week ‘the Lord’s day.’ This was not difficult for the pagans of the Roman Empire who were steeped in sun worship to accept, because they [the pagans] referred to their sun-god as their Lord.”—E.M. Chalmers, How Sunday Came into the Christian Church, p. 3.
The following two statements were written 100 years after Constantine’s Sunday Law was passed:
“Although almost all churches throughout the world celebrate the sacred mysteries on the Sabbath every week, yet the Christians of Alexandria and at Rome, on account of some ancient tradition, have ceased to do this.”—Socrates Scholasticus, quoted in Ecclesiastical History, Book 5, chap. 22 [written shortly after A.D. 439].
“The people of Constantinople, and almost everywhere, assemble together on the Sabbath, as well as on the first day of the week, which custom is never observed at Rome or at Alexandria.”—Hermias Sozomen, quoted in Ecclesiastical History, vii, 19, in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol. 2, p. 390 [written soon after A.D. 415].
“Down even to the fifth century the observance of the Jewish Sabbath was continued in the Christian church, but with a rigor and solemnity gradually diminishing until it was wholly discontinued.”—Lyman Coleman, Ancient Christianity Exemplified, chap. 26, sec. 2, p. 527.
not let anyone tell you that Christians were keeping Sunday in the time of
Christ or soon after His death. Nearly all Christians were still keeping
the Bible Sabbath 400 years after Calvary.
13 - In the centuries which followed, ever-stricter regulations were enacted and enforced, especially as the Papacy gained full political control of Rome.
“What began, however, as a pagan ordinance, ended as a Christian regulation; and a long series of imperial decrees, during the fourth, fifth, and sixth, centuries, enjoined with increasing stringency abstinence from labor on Sunday.”—Hutton Webster, Rest Days, pp. 122-123, 270.
“About 590, Pope Gregory, in a
letter to the Roman people, denounced as the prophets of Antichrist those
who maintained that work ought not to be done on the seventh day.”—James
T. Ringgold, The Law of Sunday, p. 267.
“The Jewish, the Samaritan, even the Christian, were to be fused and recast into one great system, of which the sun was to be the central object of adoration.”—Henry Hart Milman, The History of Christianity, Book 2, chap. 8, Vol. 22, p. 175. [Dr. Milman, 1791-1868, was an important historian of England and dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.]
Mithra passed away within fifty years after the time of Constantine,
for he was no longer needed. The same happened to the worship of Isis
and Horus—the Egyptian Queen of Heaven and her infant son. Both were
worshiped widely throughout the Roman Empire, but both disappeared within
half a century after the worship of Mary was required by the Papacy. Its
pagan devotees had switched over to Christianity and the worship of
statues of Mary of the sacred heart, holding an infant Son.
than fifteen additional Sunday laws were enacted and enforced
by the Catholic Church, or by secular governments by demand of the Papacy,
over the next several centuries. These laws restricted what could be done
on Sunday and forbade Sabbathkeeping. Each law was more strict, each
penalty more severe. Humble Christians who refused to yield were slain.
Others fled to desolate areas where they could worship God in peace.
Revelation 12 vividly predicted what happened.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”—Revelation 12:11-17.
above passage reveals, for over a thousand years, the faithful ones were
identified as those who, by faith in Christ, obeyed God’s commandments.
So it will be at the end of time.
14 - During the Dark Ages, church leaders were determined to persecute and kill every heretic who kept the Bible Sabbath. Very few remained alive.
Gregory the Great (Gregory I; A.D. 590-604), in his edict against
Sabbathkeepers, declared that they were the preachers of antichrist. Here
are his words:
“Gregory, bishop by the grace of God to his well-beloved sons, the Roman citizens: It has come to me that certain men of perverse spirit have disseminated among you things depraved and opposed to the holy faith, so that they forbid anything to be done on the day of the Sabbath [the seventh day]. What shall I call them except preachers of antichrist, who when he comes, will cause the [seventh day] Sabbath day to be kept free from all work . . He compels the people to Judaize . . [and] wishes the Sabbath to be observed.
“On the Lord’s day [Sunday], however, there should be a cessation of labor and attention given in every way to prayers, so that if anything is done negligently during the six days, it may be expiated by supplications on the day of the Lord’s resurrection.”—Gregory I, Epistles, Book 13, epis. 1, in Labbe and Cossart, Sacrosancta Concilia, Vol. 5, Col. 1511.
well-knew that the Bible Sabbath was given to mankind by the God of
heaven, 2,000 years before the first Jew was born. (Compare Genesis
2:1-3, the Creation of the world, with Genesis 12:1, the call of Abraham,
the first Jew.) The Sabbath is not “Jewish”: It is God’s “holy
day” (Isaiah 58:13).
are two other statements by Catholic leaders during the Dark Ages:
“They do not hear the masses of Christians [Catholics] . . they flee the image of the Crucifix as the devil, they do not celebrate the feasts [Catholic holy days] of the divine Virgin and of the apostles . . Some indeed celebrate [keep] the Sabbath that the Jews observe!”—Translated by J.J. von Doellinger, Beitraege zur Sektengeschiechte des Mittelalters, Vol. 2, No. 61, p. 662.
“Convicted heretics should be put
to death just as surely as other criminals.”—Thomas Aquinas
[Aquinas (1225-1275) was an extremely influential Roman Catholic
theologian. Made a saint in 1323; in 1889, Pope Leo XIII decreed that
every Catholic must obey and practice Aquinas’ writings.]
the papal system, took their rise; yet it is not to be supposed that when the first originators of many of these unscriptural notions and practices planted those germs of corruption, they anticipated or even imagined they would ever grow into such a vast and hideous system of superstition and error as is that of popery.”—John Dowling, History of Romanism, 13th ed., p. 65.
“Concerning the power of the Mithras cult [on Christianity throughout later centuries], we still have evidence in the fact that it is not the Jewish Sabbath that is the sacred weekday, but Sunday, dedicated to the Sun-god, Mithra.”—H. Lamer, “Mithras,” Wurterbuch der Antike, 2nd ed., 1933. [Hans Lamer (1873-?) was an archaeological writer and a student of ancient religions and civilizations.]
15 - When the sixteenth-century Reformation began, the true Sabbath was almost unknown. Even Luther and Calvin knew little about it.
October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper containing 95
protests to the door of the University Church in Wittenberg, Germany. That
day marks the beginning of the Great Reformation.
16 - The Council of Trent crystalized Vatican teachings and founded the authority of the church on its earlier change of the Sabbath.
enough, although the Vatican had a hodgepodge of teachings, the beliefs
had never been fully organized. As part of its plan to counteract the
Reformation, the Council of Trent was convened, and continued off and on
from December 13, 1545 through December 4, 1563. The goal assigned it by
the pope (Paul III, 1534-1549) was to clarify Catholic doctrine. Every
basic modern doctrine of Catholicism finds its conciliar basis in the
decisions affirmed at this council.
“From a doctrinal and disciplinary point of view, it was the most important council in the history of the Roman Church, fixing her distinctive faith and practise in relation to the Protestant Evangelical churches.”—Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, article entitled “Council of Trent.”
point to be settled was the basis of Roman Catholic authority. Rome
commanded many things which were not in the Bible. All this vast heap of
non-Biblical additions to Catholic doctrine were collectively termed
“tradition.” In contrast, Protestants declared that no one should
accept anything not clearly stated in Scripture.
was the basis of Roman Catholic authority? Was it the Bible or tradition?
If it was the Bible, then the Protestants were right. That was
unacceptable, yet what proof did they have that tradition was superior to
Scripture? This produced an enormous controversy at the Council of Trent.
is the sayings of men. It is the decisions of Roman Catholic councils, the
decrees of its popes, and the words of its canonized saints, all the pagan
practices which had been adopted over the centuries. Here is a poetic
description of the glories of “Tradition”:
“Like two sacred rivers flowing from paradise, the Bible and divine Tradition contain the Word of God, the precious gems of revealed truths.
“Though these two divine streams are in themselves, on account of their divine origin, of equal sacredness, and are both full of revealed truths, still, of the two, TRADITION is to us more clear and safe.”—Joseph F. Di Bruno, Catholic Belief, 1884 ed., p. 45. [Di Bruno was an Italian Catholic priest and writer; full caps are his.]
to the above statement, the uninspired ramblings of men and the adopted
practices of ancient heathenism are as divinely inspired as the Holy
Bible! Another priest lists six of these traditions, which, he says, you
will not find in the Bible:
“Some of the truths that have been handed down to us by Tradition and are not recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, are the following:
“That there are just seven sacraments; that there is a purgatory; that, in the new law [Roman Catholic Canon Law], Sunday should be kept holy instead of the Sabbath; that infants should be baptized, and that there are precisely seventy-two books in the Bible [66 in our Bible that are inspired, plus 6 apocryphal books which contain error].”—Francis J. Butler, Holy Family Catechism, No. 3, p. 63. [Butler (1859-?) was a Catholic priest of Boston and an author of a series of catechisms.]
when the Council of Trent convened, there was a battle over this matter.
The church leaders wanted to prove tradition superior to Scripture, but
they could not figure out a logical principle for doing so. By what
authority could they make other theories and practices superior to the
Bible? Yet they had to find an excuse, for this is what they had been
doing for centuries.
But then came the deciding point—and it came as a surprise. The entire problem was settled in one brief speech.
Gaspar del Fosso, the Archbishop of Reggio, spoke on January 18, 1562, he
decided once and for all the entire future course of Catholicism.
to his feet and calling for attention, he began by whole-heartedly
praising tradition and making bitter jibes at those who wanted to
downgrade its supremacy in the church.
Fosso reasoned that the Church of Rome was founded on tradition—and both
it and their positions would crash if they did not give it supremacy over
catch this,—he told them the proof they were waiting for, the evidence
that tradition was superior to Scripture: It was the fact that, centuries
before, the Church of Rome had changed one of God’s Ten Commandments; it
had changed the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the
week,—and even the Protestants accepted it!
is an interesting logic to that: “Because we did it, and got away with
it—as far as men are concerned,—therefore it must be right. Because we
can apparently change the very laws of God Himself, we are superior to
those laws, and our words (traditions) are superior to God’s words in
the Bible.” A faithful adherent of the church explains:
“Finally, at the last opening [session] on the eighteenth of January 1562, their last scruple was set aside; the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above Scripture. The authority of the church could therefore not be bound to the authority of the Scriptures, because the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday, not by the command of Christ but by its own authority. With this, to be sure, the last illusion was destroyed, and it was declared that tradition does not signify antiquity, but continual inspiration.”—J.H. Holtzman, Canon and Tradition, p. 263.
enough, the Reformers had discovered the truth of the matter thirty years
earlier, when they presented the Augsburg Confession:
“They [the Catholic bishops] allege the changing of the Sabbath into the Lord’s day, contrary, as it seemeth, to the Decalogue; and they have no example more in their mouths than the change of the Sabbath. They will needs have the church’s power to be very great, because it hath done away with a precept of the Decalogue.
“But of this question ours do thus teach: that the Bishops have no power to ordain any thing contrary to the Gospel, as was showed before.”—From the Augsburg Confession, Quoted in Library of Original Sources, Vol. 5, pp. 173-174.
shortly after that confession of faith at Augsburg, Germany in 1530, the
Reformers and their followers found themselves deluged in war and
bloodshed for years. Fighting for their faith and their very lives, they
never later had time to return to the issue of the Bible Sabbath. Later
generations of Protestants generally venerated what the Reformers had
written, and did not go beyond them even though it was quite obvious in
the Bible that Sunday was not the Bible Sabbath.
not until the seventeenth century that anyone began calling Sunday the “sabbath.”
The Puritans in England were the first to begin doing this.
17 - Emboldened by the fact that the Council of Trent declared the change of the Sabbath to Sunday to be the basis of Roman Catholic authority, many Catholic leaders and writers have bragged about what the church has done. They are proud of the fact that God commanded the keeping of Sabbath, not Sunday, in the Bible; and the church has nullified His command and changed the day on which the Creator is to be worshiped.
“Sunday is a Catholic institution, and its claim to observance 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.”—Catholic Press, Sydney, Australia, August, 1900.
“Protestantism, in discarding the authority of the [Roman Catholic] Church, has no good reason for its Sunday theory, and ought logically to keep Saturday as the Sabbath.”—John Gilmary Shea, in the American Catholic Quarterly Review, January 1883.
“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church.”—Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, N.J. News of March 18, 1903.
you any other way of proving that the [Catholic] Church has power to
institute festivals of precept [to command holy days]?
“Ans.—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.”—Stephen Keenan, Doctrinal Catechism, p. 176.
“Reason and common sense demand the acceptance of one or the other of these two alternatives: either Protestantism and the keeping holy of Saturday or Catholicity and the keeping holy of Sunday. Compromise is impossible.”—The Catholic Mirror, December 23, 1893.
“God simply gave His [Catholic] Church the power to set aside whatever day or days she would deem suitable as Holy Days. The Church chose Sunday, the first day of the week, and in the course of time added other days, as holy days.”—Vincent J. Kelly, Forbidden Sunday and Feast-Day Occupations, p. 2.
“Protestants . . accept Sunday rather than Saturday as the day for public worship after the Catholic Church made the change . . But the Protestant mind does not seem to realize that in accepting the Bible, in observing the Sunday, they are accepting the authority of the spokesman for the church, the Pope.”—Our Sunday Visitor, February 5, 1950.
“Not the Creator of Universe in Genesis 2:1-3, but the Catholic Church can claim the honor of having granted man a pause to his work every seven days.”—S.C. Mosna, Storia della Domenica, 1969, pp. 366-367.
“We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.”—Pope Leo XIII, in an Encyclical Letter, dated June 20, 1894.
“The Pope is not only the representative of Jesus Christ, but he is Jesus Christ, hidden under veil of flesh.”—The Catholic National, July 1895.
“We define that the Holy Apostolic See (the Vatican) and the Roman Pontiff hold the primacy over the whole world.”—A Decree of the Council of Trent, quoted in Philippe Labbe and Gabriel Cossart, “The Most Holy Councils,” Col. 1167.
“Now the [Catholic] Church . .
instituted, by God’s authority, Sunday as the day of worship. The same
Church, by the same divine authority, taught the doctrine of Purgatory . .
We have, therefore, the same authority for Purgatory as we have for
Sunday.”—Martin J. Scott, Things Catholics Are Asked About, 1927,
“If Protestants would follow the Bible, they should worship God on the Sabbath Day. In keeping the Sunday they are following a law of the Catholic Church.”—Albert Smith, Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, replying for the Cardinal, in a letter dated February 10, 1920.
“It was the Catholic Church which, by the authority of Jesus Christ, has transferred this rest [from the Bible Sabbath] to the Sunday . . Thus the observance of Sunday by the Protestants is an homage they pay, in spite of themselves, to the authority of the [Catholic] Church.”—Monsignor Louis Segur, Plain Talk about the Protestantism of Today, p. 213.
“We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”—Peter Geiermann, CSSR, A Doctrinal Catechism, 1957 edition, p. 50.
“We Catholics, then, have precisely the same authority for keeping Sunday holy instead of Saturday as we have for every other article of our creed, namely, the authority of the Church . . whereas you who are Protestants have really no authority for it whatever; for there is no authority for it [Sunday sacredness] in the Bible, and you will not allow that there can be authority for it anywhere else.”—The Brotherhood of St. Paul, “The Clifton tracts,” Volume 4, tract 4, p. 15.
“The Church changed the
observance of the Sabbath to Sunday by right of the divine, infallible
authority given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ. The Protestant,
claiming the Bible to be the only guide of faith, has no warrant for
observing Sunday. In this matter the Seventh-day Adventist is the only
consistent Protestant.”—The Catholic Universe Bulletin, August 14,
1942, p. 4.
minute about the fact that their very names: “The seventh-day Sabbath”
and “Sunday,”—point to their origin.
18 - Protestants admit that Sunday sacredness is not in the Bible, and that the seventh-day Sabbath is the only true weekly Bible Sabbath.
BAPTIST: “There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found? Not in the New Testament—absolutely not. There is no Scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week.”—Dr. E.T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual.
Congregationalist: “It is quite clear that however rigidly or devotedly we may spend Sunday, we are not keeping the Sabbath . . The Sabbath was founded on a specific divine command. We can plead no such command for the observance of Sunday . . There is not a single line in the New Testament to suggest that we incur any penalty by violating the supposed sanctity of Sunday.”—Dr. R.W. Dale, The Ten Commandments, pp. 106-107.
Protestant Episcopal: “The day is now changed from the seventh to the first day . . but as we meet with no Scriptural direction for the change, we may conclude it was done by the authority of the church.”—The Protestant Episcopal Explanation of the Catechism.
Baptist: “The Scriptures nowhere call the first day of the week the Sabbath . . There is no Scriptural authority for so doing, nor of course, any Scriptural obligation.”—The Watchman.
Presbyterian: “There is no word, no hint in the New Testament about abstaining from work on Sunday. The observance of Ash Wednesday, or Lent, stands exactly on the same footing as the observance of Sunday. Into the rest of Sunday no Divine Law enters.”—Canon Eyton, Ten Commandments.
Anglican: “And where are we told in the Scriptures that we are to keep the first day at all? We are commanded to keep the seventh; but we are nowhere commanded to keep the first day.”—Isaac Williams, Plain Sermons on the Catechism, pp. 334, 336.
Methodist: “It is true that there is no positive command for infant baptism. Nor is there any for keeping holy the first day of the week. Many believe that Christ changed the Sabbath. But, from His own words, we see that He came for no such purpose. Those who believe that Jesus changed the Sabbath base it only on a supposition.”—Amos Binney, Theological Compendium, pp. 180-181.
Episcopalian: “We have made the change from the seventh to the first day, from Saturday to Sunday, on the authority of the one holy, catholic, apostolic church of Christ.”—Bishop Seymour, Why We Keep Sunday.
Southern Baptist: “The sacred name of the seventh day is Sabbath. This fact is too clear to require argument [Exodus 20:10, quoted] . . On this point the plain teaching of the Word has been admitted in all ages . . Not once did the disciples apply the Sabbath law to the first day of the week,—that folly was left for a later age, nor did they pretend that the first day supplanted the seventh.”—Joseph Judson Taylor, The Sabbatic Question, pp. 14-17, 41.
American Congregationalist: “The current notion, that Christ and His apostles authoritatively substituted the first day for the seventh, is absolutely without any authority in the New Testament.”—Dr. Lyman Abbot, in the Christian Union, June 26, 1890.
Christian Church: “Now there is no testimony in all the oracles of heaven that the Sabbath is changed, or that the Lord’s Day came in the room of it.”—Alexander Campbell, The Reporter, October 8, 1921.
Disciples of Christ: “There is no direct Scriptural authority for designating the first day ‘the Lord’s Day.’ ”—Dr. D.H. Lucas, Christian Oracle, January 23, 1890.
Baptist: “To me it seems unaccountable that Jesus, during three years’ discussion with His disciples, often conversing upon the Sabbath question, discussing it in some of its various aspects, freeing it from its false [Jewish traditional] glosses, never alluded to any transference of the day; also, no such thing was intimated. Nor, so far as we know, did the Spirit, which was given to bring to their remembrance all things whatsoever that He had said unto them, deal with this question. Nor yet did the inspired apostles, in preaching the gospel, founding churches, counseling and instructing those founded, discuss or approach the subject.
“Of course I quite well know that
Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day, as
we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity
that it comes branded with the mark of paganism, and christened with the
name of the sun god, then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy,
and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism.”—Dr. E.T.
Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Minister’s Convention, New
York Examiner, November 16, 1893.