IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 2)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables below in this present article summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.”

Again, i will encourage us to study the two tables below and part 1 before we continue the study. Therefore we will pick up from where we stop yesterday.

Q: When was John the Baptist conceived by Elizabeth? That is, when did Elizabeth became pregnant?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia . . .” Luke 1:5.

“And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his [Zachariah’s] ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24.

Following the Jewish calendar, Zachariah’s schedule of courses will fall on the 10th week of the month of Sivan because he is from the course of Abia (also called Abijah, 1 Chron 24:10). Sivan is the 3rd month in the Jewish calendar year which falls from mid of May to mid of June (May-June). Abijah is the 8th course which means two of the three major feast most have occurred before the 8th course, that is, the feast of unleavened bread (15-21 Nisan) and the feast of weeks or Pentecost (6 Sivan). Infact the course of Abijah (Abia) begins immediately after the Pentecost because the feast of Pentecost begins first week of the month of Sivan (May-June).

Zachariah’s duty in the temple must then begin on the second Sabbath of the third month (Sivan); this is Sabbath evening because the Pentecost will be ending to the evening of the Sabbath in the third week in the same month of Sivan.

We were told Zachariah ended his duty in the temple on the 3rd Sabbath in the month of Sivan after which he returned home “and after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five month.” Luke 1:23.

Therefore, John undoubtedly must have been conceived by Elisabeth in the month of Sivan (May-June) but the exact day is not known. But we are convinced without doubt, from scriptural evidence that Elizabeth conceived or became pregnant in the month of Sivan.

Q: When was Jesus conceived? Or when did Mary became pregnant with Jesus?

“And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Luke 1:24-25

Take note: Elizabeth hid herself for 5 months after conception. This is very important in order to understand Christ birth.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26-27

The same Angel that appeared to Zachariah now appeared to Mary, a virgin in the city of Galilee in the Sixth month. This sixth month is also the sixth month of Elizabeth conception.

“And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” Luke 1:36.

Notice the Angel explaining to us that the 6th month of Elizabeth pregnancy is the first month of Mary’s conception. Now let is carefully do the calculation:

The 6th month spoken of here is not 6th month of the Jewish calendar which is called Elul (August-September). The 6th month Angel Gabriel is talking about is the month of Kislev. Kislev is the 9th month in the Jewish calendar (Nov-Dec). When we count 6 months from the month when Elizabeth conceived (became pregnant) which is the month of Sivan (May-June) we will arrive late in the 9th month of Kislev (Nov-Dec).

Mary conceived Christ 6 months after Elizabeth conceived John.

Elizabeth conceived in the month of Sivan (May-June) which is the 3rd month of the Jewish calendar.

Mary conceived 6 months after in the month of Kislev (Nov-Dec) which is the 9th month of the Jewish calendar.

It is imperative to note also that the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which is also called the feast of Light or rededication of temples falls on the 25th day of December.

“The other postexilic holiday was Hanukkah, a festival which began on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (Dec.) and lasted eight days. Josephus referred to it as the Feast of Lights because a candle was lighted each successive day until a total of eight was reached. The festival commemorates the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 167 B.C. At that time, when Temple worship was reinstituted, after an interruption of three years, a celebration of eight days took place. The modern celebration does not greatly affect the routine duties of everyday life. This feast is referred to in John 10:22, where it is called the feast of dedication.”—Holman Bible Dictionary.

This feast of light lasted for 8 days. Jesus certainly must have been conceived in the womb of Mary during this period because Jesus is the light of the world.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. (see also John 9:15, 12:46)

Q: When was John the Baptist given birth?

Thank God for His word. Through His Apostles and Prophets, God have revealed enough to us that we might not err. We were told by Apostle Luke that Mary stayed with Elizabeth in her house for 3 months after she heard Elizabeth was pregnant.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Luke 1:56-57.

This means that Mary was already pregnant for 3 months when she went visiting Elizabeth had been pregnant for 6 months in addition to the 3 months of Mary’s stay making it 9 months of Elizabeth pregnancy. No wonder vs 57 says, “Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Her full time came when Mary returned to her own house after she had stayed with her for 3 months.

To recap, Elizabeth conceived on the 3rd month of Sivan (May-June), when we project 6 months of her pregnancy forward plus 3 months of Mary stay making 9 months, we will arrive at the month of Nisan (March-April).

This proves that John the Baptist must have been born in the middle of the month of Nisan probably around the feast of unleavened bread which begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan/Abib.

Q: What about Jesus? When was He given birth?

We can now clearly see that answering this question would not be difficult given the conception month of John the Baptist. We have previously identified that Jesus was conceived six months after John the Baptist was conceived. We have also established the likely date of John’s birth was 15th Nisan (Abib). Also we know Mary had been in pregnancy for 3 month when John was given birth. All we need do is to project 6 months forward from the 15th of Nisan to arrive at a likely date of 15th day of the 7th month of Tishri or Ethanim (September-October). What happen on the 15th of Tishri? The feast of Tabernacles or the feast of ingatherings or the feast of booths.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” Lev 23:33-34.

The feast began on the fifteenth day of Tishri (the seventh month), which was five days after the day of atonement. It lasted for seven days (Leviticus 23:36 ; Deuteronomy 16:13 ; Ezekiel 45:25 ).[1]

The Feast of Booths took place on Tishri 15, five days after the Day of Atonement, in what is now mid-October.[2] 

The feast of Tabernacles was the last of the feast to which all men of Israel were to gather in Jerusalem for temple services (Lev 23:34). It is also the 3rd of the major feast in the Jewish calendar year.

At this point, it would be imperative for us to study the tables below for more understanding. This two tables give us a better understanding of what we are discussion. Table 1 below gives the weekly schedule of priest. On the 3rd week all the priest will have to gather in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This will also be done for the feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacle (ingathering) which falls on the 7th month of Tishri as we can see in Table 2.

Table 1

 

 

1st Month 2nd Month 3rd Month 4th Month
Abib – Nisan
(March – April)
Zif – Iyyar
(April – May)
Sivan
(May – June)
Tammuz

(June – July)

First Week Jehoiarib (1) Seorim (4) All Priests
(Pentecost)
Eliashib (11)
Second Week Jedaiah (2) Malchijah (5) Abijah (8) Jakim (12)
Third Week All Priests
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
Mijamin (6) Jeshuah (9) Huppah (13)
Fourth Week Harim (3) Hakkoz (7) Shecaniah (10) Jeshebeab (14)

 

Table 2

Jewish month Begins the
New moon of
John the Baptist Jesus christ
1. Abib / Nisan March-April

(Feast of Unleavened bread)

Birth of John
15 Nisan
  4
2. Zif / Iyyar April-May   5
3. Sivan May-June

(Feast of Pentecost)

Conception of John
after 3rd Sabbath
  6
4. Tammuz June-July 1   7
5. Ab / Av July-August 2   8
6. Elul August-September 3   9
7. Ethanim / Tishri September-October

(Feast of Tabernacle)

4 Birth of Jesus
15 Tishri
8. Bul / Marheshvan / Heshvan October-November 5
9. Chisleu / Chislev / Kislev November-December 6 Conception of Jesus
25 Kislev ?
10. Tebeth / Tevet December-January 7   1
11. Shebat / Shevat January-February 8   2

Courtesy:  Michael Scheifler

 

 

 

 

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Festivals’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/f/festivals.html. 1991.

[2] Elwell, Walter A. Entry for ‘Feasts And Festivals of Israel’. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/f/feasts-and-festivals-of-israel.html. 1996.

IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 1)


Christmas: Should We Celebrate It?

Among the faithful, those seeking to obey all that the Holy Spirit has revealed to humanity through the Scripture, there have been a never ending discussion that often spring up every year about CHRISTMAS. The question most Youths and Elders in Church often ask is: “Should we celebrate Christmas?” And I would say, “This is a sincere question which, if asked with the desire to know the truth, the Holy Spirit, through His revealed word will give an answer.” In this series of articles which I would divide in parts due to length, the reader will have an answer to the following questions:

  1. Can we know when Christ was given birth from the Bible?
  2. Is Christmas Biblical?
  3. Where does it come from?
  4. What does history and scholars have to say?
  5. What does Ellen G. White say?

Also my intention is not to make this topic too long to avoid boredom, thus I will divide them in parts for every day reading. To have an exhaustive discussion of the historical study, I will direct us to download a fascinating book written by Elder Vance Ferrell titled The real story behind: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween. Just click on the title of the book and it will download in PDF format. Before downloading, make sure you have adobe reader on your device. Some of what the reader will learn from these series of article will be extracted from the Book. My primary focus is to compare the Old testament with the New testament to give us an understanding. This present article is the first part and subsequent parts will be posted soon. I will welcome any criticism and comment  but let us base it on the word and in Love.

Q: Why this study?

As sincere Christian, there is nothing wrong when we ask questions about the prevailing customs in our day and we should not rest until he receives an answer because Christ will ask judge us according to our works (Rev 22:12).  We should be ready to give an answer to them that ask of the hope that is us. Apostle Peter wrote, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”1 Peter 3:15. As Bible Christians, we should say like the Psalmist, “I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed” Psalms 119:46. As Christians, when we as asked about Bible topic, we should with meekness and fear in the Lord give an answer to them and never walk out on them. But this reply can only come when we have the word abiding in us and the Holy Spirit teaching us. The Holy Spirit cannot remind you of what He has not taught you. He will bring all things to your remembrance when you have previously learn from Him in your private devotional time. When it comes to the issue of Christmas, you cannot give a true testimony with meekness and Love when you have not been under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit.

I once argued about this particular topic and I found myself doing more harm to the hearer than blessing them, all because I didn’t allow the Holy Spirit to teach me. I discussed the issue in the flesh and allowed my emotion to give way. I pray the readers of this article would not be like the old me. It is better we humble ourselves before the Lord and exalt His word, than exalting ourselves before the Lord which often leads to spiritual disaster.

Q: Was Christ born on December 25TH?

“The twenty-fifth of December is supposed to be the day of the birth of Jesus Christ, and its observance has become customary and popular. But yet there is no certainty that we are keeping the veritable day of our Saviour’s birth. History gives us no certain assurance of this. The Bible does not give us the precise time. Had the Lord deemed this knowledge essential to our salvation, He would have spoken through His prophets and apostles, that we might know all about the matter. But the silence of the Scriptures upon this point evidences to us that it is hidden from us for the wisest purposes.”[1]

It is true the Bible did not give us the precise time of Christ birth, but we can induce from Scripture evidences using the Old Testament feast days and types to locate the likely time period Christ was born.

Was He actually born on the 25th of December as generally accepted by the world both with believers and unbelievers? Can we determine the likely date of Christ birth from the Scripture? These and many more will be looked into in this fascinating question and answer study.

To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.

Q: Of what course (class) was Zachariah, the father of John Baptist, from?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course, 9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.” Luke 1:5-9

As a priest, Zachariah was of the course of Abia. It was his duty to execute the priest’s office before God according to the order of courses. An angel appeared to him and gave him a message about his unborn son and after which he went home.

23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24

Q: Into how many groups did king David divided the sons of Aaron, Ithamar and Eleazar?

“Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 2 But Nadab and Abihu died before their father, and had no children: therefore Eleazar and Ithamar executed the priest’s office. 3 And David distributed them, both Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar, according to their offices in their service. 4 And there were more chief men found of the sons of Eleazar than of the sons of Ithamar; and thus were they divided. Among the sons of Eleazar there were sixteen chief men of the house of their fathers, and eight among the sons of Ithamar according to the house of their fathers.” 1 Chron 24:1-4.

Not that, sixteen chief me from the sons of Eleazar plus eight among the sons of Ithamar will give us 24 priests.

“11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, 12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: 13 Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.” 1 Chron 28:11-13

King David divided them into 24 groups and setup a schedule by which the temple of the Lord was to be staffed and organized all year by the priests. Lots were drawn to determine the sequence in which each group is to serve in the Temple (see 1 Chron 24:7-19).

Q: When is each of the 24 courses of priests to begin and end their Temple services?

“So the Levites and all Judah did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest had commanded, and took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that were to go out on the sabbath: for Jehoiada the priest dismissed not the courses.” 2 Chron 23:8

“And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and fetched the rulers over hundreds, with the captains and the guard, and brought them to him into the house of the LORD, and made a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the LORD, and shewed them the king’s son. 5 And he commanded them, saying, This is the thing that ye shall do; A third part of you that enter in on the sabbath shall even be keepers of the watch of the king’s house; 6 And a third part shall be at the gate of Sur; and a third part at the gate behind the guard: so shall ye keep the watch of the house, that it be not broken down. 7 And two parts of all you that go forth on the sabbath, even they shall keep the watch of the house of the LORD about the king. 8 And ye shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand: and he that cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: and be ye with the king as he goeth out and as he cometh in. 9 And the captains over the hundreds did according to all things that Jehoiada the priest commanded: and they took every man his men that were to come in on the sabbath, with them that should go out on the sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the priest.” 2 Kings 11:4-9

The Priest in each course was to begin on the evening of the Sabbath and end the evening of the following Sabbath. That is, the tour of duty was to be for one week from Sabbath to Sabbath.

Q: How many times were the men of Israel to appear before the Lord in a year to celebrate God’s festivals?

Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. 17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Ex 23:14-17.

Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.” Ex 34:23.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty” Deut 16:16.

They were to appear 3 times in a year to celebrate 3 major festivals which include:

  • Feast of Unleavened bread;
  • Feast of weeks (or Feast of Pentecost);
  • Feast of Tabernacles or Feast of ingathering or Feast of Booths.

Q: When does the Jewish Calendar begins and when does it end?

In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.”  Esth 3:7

“And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.” Esth 3:13.

Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)  . . . To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly.” Esth. 9:1, 12.

According to Holman Bible Dictionary:

“The earliest practice was to use the Canaanite month-names, of which four survive in the Bible: Abib (March-April); Ziv (April-May); Ethanim (September-October); and Bul (October-November) (Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; 1 Kings 6:1,37-38; 8:3). The other Canaanite months are known from Phoenician inscriptions. These are all agricultural names and reflect a seasonal pattern of reckoning, as in the Gezer calendar. . .

When the Jews returned from Babylonian Exile, they brought with them the names of the Babylonian calendar, at the same time counting the new year from the spring. Although the rabbis returned to an autumnal new year, Judaism retains these Babylonian names as its own: Nisan (March-April); Iyyar (April-May); Sivan (May-June); Tammuz (June-July); Ab (July-August); Elul (August-September); Tishri (September-October); Marcheshvan (October-November); Chishylev (November-December); Tebeth (December-January); Shebat (January-February); Adar (February-March). The intercalated year is called WeAdar, “and-Adar.”[1]

The Jewish calendar begins in the spring during the month of Nisan (or Abib) and the 12th month, which is the last month of the year, is the month of Adar.  We are presently using the Gregorian calendar which is different from the Calendar in Bible times. Therefore, in this study we are focusing on the Bible calendar.

Let us now go back to the 24 course of priest and their duties. The first course of priest would be the family of Jehoiarib (1 Chron 24:7). According to the instruction given from the Lord to David, this family of priest will serve in the first month of Nisan (Abib) from Sabbath to Sabbath making 7 days. This family will serve in the first week of the first month.

The second week will then be the the responsibility of the course of Jedaiah (1 Chron 24:7). The 3rd week would be the feast of unleavened bread. This is what the Lord said about this feast:

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.” Ex 12:18

“Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.” Ex 13:6-7.

“Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:)” Ex 23:15.

“The Passover was also called the feast of unleavened bread (Ex. 23:15; Deut. 16:16) because only unleavened bread was eaten during the seven days immediately following Passover (Ex. 12:15-20; 13:6-8; Deut. 16:3-8).” —Holman Bible Dictionary.

The Month of Nisan is also called Abib (Ex 23:15; Esther 3:7). The month of Abib is the month of Exodus and Passover which is falls from March-April. Abib is the month of young barley ears or tender Crop. It is the first month of the Jewish calendar year.

Therefore, in the beginning of the third week at Sabbath evening, which is “fourteenth day of the month at even” in the month of Nisan or Abib, all priest were to gather in Jerusalem for the service and to celebrate the feast of unleavened bread.

After this week, the schedule will begin in the fourth week with the family of Harim in the evening of the Sabbath as the feast of unleavened bread is ending (1 Chron 24:8). The rotation will continue to the 24th course after which the priest the cycle will repeat its course.

51 weeks will be covered or 357 days. This means that, in one year, each course of priest would have served in the temple twice. When we add to their schedules the 3 major festivals, each of the priest duty in the temple would be 5 weeks because in the remaining 3 weeks added, all the priest must be present in Jerusalem to partake in the temple services.

Having this background and knowledge of the priestly service, duty and the major feasts let us now turn our attention to the life of Zachariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist their son.

Continued in the next study . . . Watch out.

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Calendars’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/c/calendars.html. 1991

[1] Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, 477

The Trinity VS Anti-Trinity: The Debate continues.


In recent times among the Seventh-day Adventist brethren, there have been a fast growing anti-trinitarian movements which are proposing to the flock of God that “the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son.” What is even more scaring is that, both camps (i.e, the Trinitarians and anti-Trinitarians) base their study and argument on the Bible and the writings of Ellen G. White making those who are not conversant with the scriptures and Sister White writings to feel uncomfortable and discouraged.

This present study is not an extensive one, but it is written for those who are willing to further their study and search for truth amidst the prevailing confusion in our beloved Church.

The original author of this article is Elder (Dr.) Dennis Priebe. The whole article and many more studied can be gotten from his website.

THE TRINITY

The contemporary anti-Trinity movement teaches that there is no third Person of the Godhead. They believe that the Holy Spirit is a force or energy of holy influence from the Father and the Son. One representative of this movement says, “The Bible teaches that there are only two who are worthy of worship.”

A corollary of this teaching is that Jesus is literally the Son of the Father, having a beginning in time when the Father brought Him into existence. One has stated, “The Father and Son are both divine but not absolutely equal.” They believe that only in this way could Christ die, since the Father is immortal and cannot die. In support of this teaching, they point to some Adventist pioneers who clearly taught this, from the 1840’s to the 1890’s.

As with all errors, there is a truth at the foundation of this teaching. After the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. the papal party took the title of Trinitarians. They said that the Godhead consists of three personalities and one essence or substance, using very philosophical and metaphysical terms.

Following is a sample of Catholic instruction for confirmation. “The Son proceeds from the Father by an act of the intellect and this is termed ‘Eternal Generation,’ by which we mean not only that there never was a time when the Father existed without generating the Son, but also that the act of Generation is a continuous act.” The manual teaches that there could be no separation between the Father and the Son on earth, since this would interrupt the act of generation. Thus the Son would not exist, which would mean that the Father would not exist. Since they are of one essence, neither the Father nor the Son could exist separately from the other. (Alfred Mortimer, Catholic Faith and Practice) Is there any wonder that the pioneers rejected this doctrine of the Trinity? J. N. Andrews said, “This doctrine destroys the personality of God, and His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Review and Herald, March 6, 1855)

Part A–Three Persons

If we want to defend the truth that there are three persons with the family name of God, it might be better to use the Biblical name Godhead, as Ellen White consistently did.

Matthew 28:19 tells us to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” “Name” is singular here, and all three that follow are on the same level, with one name. The definite article is used for all three beings. The Three are God and yet they are one God.

In John 14:16 Jesus promises to send “another Comforter.” The word “another” means of the same kind as Christ, with equal rank.

In 2 Corinthians 13:14, we read of “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost.” These are three gifts from three individual beings.

1 Peter 1:2 tells of “the foreknowledge of God the Father,…sanctification of the Spirit,…and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Here we find three functions of three individual beings.

The Spirit of Prophecy has many references to the three beings. “Three great powers of heaven.” (8T 254) “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio.” (Ev 615) “The eternal heavenly dignitaries–God, and Christ, and the Holy Spirit.” (Ev 616) “The three highest powers in heaven–the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” (Ev 617)

Part B–Holy Spirit

There are indications in Scripture that the Holy Spirit possesses personality traits that only a individual Being could have.

In Ephesians 4:30 He can be grieved. In 1 Corinthians 12:11 He divides “to every man severally as he will.” In Acts 16:6,7 He forbids Paul to preach in Asia and Bithynia. In Acts 15:28 “it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us” to hand down a vital decision. Notice that the Holy Spirit has a personality similar to the personality of the apostles. In Acts 5:3,4 Ananias lied “to the Holy Ghost,” which is lying “unto God.”

“The Holy Spirit, who is as much a person as God is a person, is walking through these grounds.” “The Holy Spirit is a person.” “The Holy Spirit has a personality.” (Ev 616-617)

However, we must exercise caution here. The Holy Spirit’s purpose is to reveal the Father and the Son, not Himself, so we know very little about Him from inspiration.

Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If on fundamental truths they are at an agreement, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions that, after all, are of no vital importance, has a direct tendency to call the mind away from truths which are vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side issues which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth and that it is not essential to their salvation to know….Where these differences exist among us, those who stand outside will say, “It will be time enough for us to believe as you do when you can agree among yourselves as to what constitutes truth. “The ungodly take advantage of the divisions and controversies among Christians…

Some are ever seeking to be original, to bring out something new and startling, and they do not realize as they should the importance of preserving the unity of the faith in the bonds of love….We are to pray for divine enlightenment, but at the same time we should be careful how we receive everything termed new light. We must beware lest, under cover of searching for new truth, Satan shall divert out minds from Christ and the special truths for this time. I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to lead minds to dwell upon some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to our salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all their investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure than before, and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth….

[What is one of these side issues, not essential to salvation?] The nature of the Holy Spirit is a mystery not clearly revealed, and you will never be able to explain it to others because the Lord has not revealed it to you. You may gather together scriptures and put your construction upon them, but the application is not correct….It is not essential for you to know and be able to define just what the Holy Spirit is….There are many mysteries which I do not seek to understand or to explain; they are too high for me, and too high for you. On some of these points, silence is golden…

Your mind is restless, and…you would make the mistake that many others have made, of thinking that you have new light, when it is only a new phase of error….You make take certain views of Scripture and, searching the Bible in the light of your ideas, may gather together a large number of texts and claim that they mean this and that, and call for anyone to prove to you that your views are incorrect….Here is your danger, of diverting minds from the real issues for this time….Now, my brother, it is truth that we want and must have, but do not introduce error as new truth. (14MR 175-180)

I believe that this counsel applies to all the “new light” issues that we are considering in this paper.

Part C–Jesus’ Pre-existence

What is the evidence that Jesus did not have a beginning at some point in time or before time?

In John 1:1-4 we find that Jesus was not only “with God,” He “was God.” He was not a God, but He was the Creator of everything. The life-principle was in Him, and He did not receive life from anyone.

In John 8:58 Jesus claimed the name “I am” as His own. Exodus 3:14 tells us that God’s chosen name is “I am.” “The name of God, given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence, had been claimed as His own….He had announced Himself to be the self-existent one,…whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity.” (DA 469-470)

“All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God with His chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of the great I AM….All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ….Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.” (GAG 43) Whatever we read about Yahweh in the Old Testament we are reading about Christ. In Isaiah 40:28 Yahweh is “the everlasting God,” “the Creator of the ends of the earth.”

“In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived.” (DA 530) “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God….He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God….He is the eternal, self-existent Son.” (Ev 615) “From all eternity Christ was united with the Father.” (5BC 1115) “Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity.” (RH April 5, 1906)

PP 63-64 tells us that only one equal with God could make the atonement; that only the Creator could redeem man. If Christ had received life from the Father at some point in eternity; if His life was borrowed or derived from the Father; if He was dependent on the Father for His existence; if the Father appointed Him to the Godhead, then Christ was not self-existent; He was not God in the highest sense; He is not eternal; and He could not make atonement for the fallen race and redeem mankind.

The phrase “only-begotten” is a faulty translation. Hebrews 11:17 tells us that Isaac was Abraham’s “only begotten son.” Clearly this means uniquely begotten, one-of-a-kind, unique. Acts 13:33 tells us that Christ was “begotten” from the dead.

It is of passing interest that Mary of Agreda, a visionary Catholic nun in the 1600’s, said that the Word was conceived by eternal generation from the Father. In other words, Christ was born before time existed. (The Venerable Mary of Agreda) Perhaps the belief that Christ had a beginning and was given life from the Father is really a Catholic position.

Part D–Nature and Function

Here is a suggestion for keeping this issue in balance and resolving some apparent contradictions. The nature of the Godhead is not a central theme in Scripture. Where it is discussed it reveals three equal beings, all existing from eternity, one in purpose and mind in ways impossible for created beings.

The central issue in Scripture is the function of the Godhead. This is always described in descending rank from the Father to the Son to the Spirit. This is the way the Godhead wants all created beings to approach them. The Father is the ultimate authority; the Son is the visible representative to created beings; the Spirit is the invisible presence with all created beings.

The Father even had to explain to angels the difference between Christ and Lucifer, since both had similar functions. If this could be misunderstood in heaven, it is easy to see why we have problems understanding the Godhead.

Christ always directs attention to the Father. He takes a secondary role. The Spirit always directs attention to the Father and the Son. He is almost invisible most of the time.

The members of the Godhead are equal in nature and attributes, but are unequal in function and rank as they relate to created beings.

Part E–Adventist History

The Godhead has chosen to reveal itself gradually to the human race. This was apparently not one of the crucial issues for the redemption of mankind.

In the Old Testament Yahweh was the personal name for God. The name was interchangeable for the Father and the Son. The Spirit was unknown. There were indications of plurality in the Godhead, but the emphasis was on one God–Yahweh.

In the New Testament Christ was revealed as the Word of God, the Son of God. The Holy Spirit was revealed as the Comforter, the Advocate. The emphasis was on three Beings in one Godhead, descending in rank and function from the Father to the Son to the Spirit.

Early Adventists were concerned with the sanctuary and the 2300 days, the Bible over tradition, the seventh-day Sabbath, and there was not much study or revelation about the Trinity.

The Trinity in the early 1800’s was a mixture of Bible, medieval philosophy, and early church councils. The Christian Connection, a Protestant organization, concluded that the Trinity was Catholic and unscriptural. Joseph Bates and James White were associated with the Christian Connection. Because the Trinity doctrine apparently made the Father and the Son identical, it was rejected by our pioneers.

God was apparently satisfied to leave things this way until the 1890’s, the time when the final generation was to be formed.

Ellen White was in Australia, when W.W. Prescott visited there. He developed a new style of evangelism based on righteousness by faith and the character of God (the 1888 message). He spent time working with Ellen White, and he began to question the pioneeer’s teaching on the deity of Christ and the Godhead. A.G.Daniells supported his new direction. At the same time Ellen White was putting Desire of Ages together, in which she differed sharply with the pioneers on the preexistence of Christ.

M.L. Andreasen had just become an Adventist four years earlier. He said later that some leaders doubted that Ellen White had really written “original, unborrowed, underived.” In 1902 he made a special trip to California to investigate this for himself, and he found these statements in her own handwriting. Because of her influence and the new studies on the Godhead, Adventist theology on the Godhead took a different direction from some of the pioneers.

Why did this happen so late in Adventist history? Apparently God had an order of priority for introducing truth to the new church. He introduced publishing work in the 1840’s, church organization in the 1850’s, health reform in the 1860’s, and righteousness by faith in the 1880’s. God paced the introduction of new truth to preserve the unity of the church. Knowing the character of God was a higher priority than knowing the nature of God.

Now some are advocating a return to the pioneer’s anti-Trinity position. The most dangerous aspect of this is the question raised by its chief advocate. Did Ellen White really write all that has been published under her name? Whenever we find something in her writings which contradicts our beliefs we find some acceptable reason to set her aside. This is the heart of higher criticism. It makes her writings of none effect, since our beliefs take priority over inspiration. This is the essence of the churches of Babylon. One person commented, “Ellen G. White was inspired by God in almost all her writings, but either she or someone messed with her writings.” In this case everyone is free to pick and choose whatever agrees his or her opinions.

Perhaps even conservative Adventists will have to decide between the authority of God and the authority of men.

Dennis Priebe is a Seventh-day Adventist minister, with 50 years experience as a pastor, a teacher, and seminar speaker. Eleven years were spent as a college professor at Pacific Union College, and 30 years as a seminar speaker for Amazing Facts. He has been married for 50 years to Kay, and they have one son, Matthew. Over 900 seminars have been held in churches and schools around the U.S. He has written several books and booklets, with many audio and video tapes on these topics. His one desire is to prepare people for what he believes to be the very soon return of Jesus to this world.

UNITED IN ERROR: THE FALSE COMMISSION AND THE UNITY OF FAITH


One of the most liberating statements in the Bible is found in the Book of Ephesians, saying, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be  children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–15). This is a statement of utmost importance because it is a promise from God that, at some point before the second coming of Jesus Christ, there will be a unity of faith, regardless of the endless lists of denominations and doctrines that are obtainable in Christendom today. It is important to note that this statement is not a vague reference to having faith in Jesus Christ which the whole of Christendom seem to share at present, but it pertains to the very elements of the Christian faith, making specific reference to doctrines and truth and deception, saying, “we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”.

As a matter of fact, this is in reference to believers who will come out of spiritual Babylon (Revelation 18:1–4), whose root word is “Babel”, which means confusion; the exact state of Christendom today. During the time of trouble, and in the day that God will pour out his plagues upon apostate Christianity, referred to as Babylon in Revelation 18, believers who are truly Christ’s sheep would have heard His voice, to come out of every wind of doctrine and the trickery of men, and they will, though in the minority, unite in the truth. “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. And the other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:14, 16). As previously noted, this is not just about a  unity of faith in Jesus Christ, but a unity of doctrine and truth, and thus, Christ was not only referring to those outside the Christian faith, but also to Christians practicing heresy as truth and deceived by the trickery of men. The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible that describes events upon the earth prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ, tells us clearly that this unity of faith will be based on one thing: the remnant who come out of apostate Christendom and keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17; 14:12).

It is interesting to note that the original plan of God in the New Covenant is that believers come to a point where they will need no one to teach them about God’s word. “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days,” says the LORD, “I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbour, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:31–34; Hebrews 8:10–13). This is the reality of the New Covenant, but how can believers have no need of teachers when they despise the Law of God, or when they continue in sin that grace may abound. “Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts” (Psalms 119:97–100). “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1, 2)? Even, the Holy Spirit, to whom many Christians excuse their refusal to acknowledge the Ten Commandments, calling the Holy Spirit their Teacher, which is true, is supposed to convict the world of sin (John 16:7–11). And sin is the transgression of the law (1 John 3:4, KJV); the law in question here being the Ten Commandments, which is the only law that defines sin; not any other law. All the commandments found therein will remain throughout eternity, including the fourth commandment (Isaiah 66:22, 23).

The other definitions of sin as found in the Bible such as the unbelief in Christ (John 16:9), knowing how to do good and failing to do so (James 4:17), and the lack of faith (Romans 14:23) does not say anything different altogether. Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15), meaning unbelief in Christ is unbelief in His commandments. The Ten Commandments defines good and bad, meaning failure to keep it is failure to do good. Truly, the matter of sin seems to be broader than the Ten Commandments, with Jesus Christ Himself alluding to this through a number of statements in Matthew 5:20–28 where He says adultery begins in the heart and anger against others is as punishable as murder. However, Jesus Christ only went beyond the letter of the law to the spirit of the law, preparing us for the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into all truth, and further interpret to us the commandments of God. The lack of faith as seen in Romans 14:23 is, perhaps, the only definition of sin that has to be understood in the context of the passage, yet, faith has everything to do with adhering to the commandments of God.

While the persecuted minority, referred to as the woman in Revelation 12:17, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus unite in the truth as the true church before the second coming of Jesus Christ, the great majority in Christendom will likewise unite in error, such that at the second coming of Jesus Christ, there will be only two groups in the religious and secular world: those who receive the mark of the beast and are united in error under the rule of the Antichrist and those who receive the seal of God and are united in the truth under Jesus Christ. The devil, referred to as the dragon in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 12:9, 17), through the Antichrist and the False Prophet, carefully identified in my new book (see below), will together with the deceived majority who are united in error and have received the mark of the beast, go after the lives of the minority who are united in the truth (Revelation 14:6–13). Also, during this period, the united majority will further be deceived by false prophets and teachers who perform signs and wonders in order to deceive even the very elect, just as it is today.

As controversial as this may sound, some of the signs that followed the disciples of Jesus and the early Christians may not be as present today amongst the true followers of God. This is because of the time that we are in; it is the judgment hour, wherein the investigative judgement has begun in heaven, and Christ return is more imminent than ever. Thus, the Holy Spirit, who gives spiritual gifts as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), may rather give certain gifts to men at this period, such as the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, the gift of faith, the gift of prophecy, the gift of discerning of spirits, and the gift of different kinds of tongues, which are perhaps the most needed gifts in the church at this period. As God’s children go about preaching the everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14:6–12, about the hour of judgement that has come upon the world, and the time of trouble that is nigh, the devil and his agents are also everywhere performing signs and wonders in the appearance of men of God (1 John 4:1; Matthew 7:15; Matthew 7:21). Thus, the gift of working of miracles may be withdrawn from the church at this point so as to differentiate the true followers of God who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus from the devil’s agents who performs signs and wonders, but fail to keep the commandments of God. As the time of trouble draws nearer, during which the man of sin, the Antichrist, will be fully revealed, it may be very hard to find the true followers of Christ performing signs and wonders, but it will be commonplace to find the true followers of Christ preaching the everlasting Gospel of Revelation 14 about the Antichrist, and the need for the followers of Christ to add to their faith in Christ, the keeping of God’s commandments.

Even so, in preparation for this period, the False Commission is ever present today, as extensively shown in my new book (see below), of the doctrines of devils on every fundamental doctrine in Christendom, such as the Old Covenant, the New Covenant, the Trinity, salvation, death and resurrection, heaven and hell, rapture, judgment, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, tongues, the dispensation of grace, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Yet, the Great Commission is not over and true apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, by speaking the truth in love, will equip the saints for the work of ministry of the everlasting Gospel, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive. Even now, “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:18, 19).

*The content of this post is based on my new book, “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers” which is available on Amazon and Smashwords as from November 27, 2016. To make a purchase of the book after its release on November 27, 2016 and have liberating answers to many of your questions on Christianity’s most controversial topics on salvation, some of which are listed below, visit these links: Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N044LKV Smashwords (pdf): https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/671686 Our next stop for this tour is the Facebook Group G on 26/11/16. Here are the links to the previous parts of this tour:

1. https://www.facebook.com/groups/61961903081/permalink/10155473737258082/?notif_t=group_post_approved¬if_id=1479663388559719

2. https://www.facebook.com/groups/303729059675867/permalink/1127860110596087/?notif_t=group_post_approved¬if_id=1479732500138920

3. https://www.facebook.com/groups/mfynigera/permalink/10154680549083142/?notif_t=group_post_approved¬if_id=1479786788741319

4. https://www.facebook.com/groups/149130825144270/permalink/1243308252393183/?notif_t=group_post_approved¬if_id=1479893856230909

5. https://web.facebook.com/groups/362402280540848/permalink/1110934555687613/

6. https://web.facebook.com/groups/131239503588978/1213819678664283/?notif_t=like¬if_id=1480015674287134

The author of “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers”, Samson O. Fidimaye, is a published author, literature evangelist, and missionary, who started to write from an early age. His childhood encounters with Jesus and frequent personal study of the Bible capped a dramatic turn of events in his spiritual life, having gone to an Arabic school and completed the Quran as a teenager. Now, after two university management degrees and a number of published books, mission is still a labour of love for him. His missionary work has led him to found a start-up non-governmental organisation, Mission to Neighbours Nigeria (MNN), Abuja, Nigeria, whose mission is to help alleviate poverty and suffering amongst the less privileged in the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria, while bringing them to Christ. You can visit his website http://www.sofidimaye.org to learn more about him and his projects. His latest book answers questions such as “Who is really the Antichrist?” “How Can I Be Saved?” “Can the Bible Really Be Understood?” “Can We Really Understand the Doctrine of the Trinity?” “Who Is Jesus Christ?” “How Will God Judge the World?” “What is the Place of the Ten Commandments in the New Covenant?” “How Will The Rapture Take Place?” “When and what is The Time of Trouble?” and others.

By Samson O. Fidimaye based on the book “The Believer’s Dilemma: Questions that beg for answers”

SIN IS ENJOYABLE


Let us sincerely face the reality. Many of us, like me, go to God crying:

“LORD forgive me my sin. Help me to overcome this sin and habits that do easily beset me. I am tired of this sin. Please save me” and so on and so forth.

There is nothing wrong asking God for forgiveness, the grace to overcome and salvation from sin. In fact there is nothing more that he speedily gives to us than forgiveness of sin if it is from a genuine heart.

But the sad fact is, not too long after this prayer we often find ourselves committing the selfsame sin, even in a greater magnitude than before and we tend to wonder:

“Why me Lord? Why? Why have you allowed me to fall into this mess again? Didn’t you forgive me? Didn’t you cleanse me not quite long? Why me Lord?”

Well the answer is simple.

It is impossible for you and I to repent of that SIN or HABIT from the heart when we enjoy committing it.

Who will deny the fact that SIN is the most enjoyable act in the world. I mean, it is the most sweetest and enticing act to indulge in. Am talking from personal experience and facts.

We dont commit sin because we hate it, rather we commit sin because we enjoy it. If SIN, no matter the magnitude, either secret sin or open sin, is not enjoyable definitely none of us will ever commit it except we are not in our right senses.

QUESTION TO PONDER UPON:

I want you to pause for a moment and just imagine within your mind the greatest thing you hate the most with disgusting hatred in this world. If SIN was to be that thing would you commit it?

It is a fact that many of us wouldn’t commit it because we hate that very thing. So therefore, we need to accept the fact that sin is enjoyable. Whenever a sinner is drawn by the loving kindness of God to come before the throne of mercy, he or she must confess how much he enjoys committing this sin.

We need to be honest with God. This is what He needs from us- honesty. We need to quit playing games with God, deceiving ourselves. He knows all things. He knows us more than we know ourselves. He knows the recess of our hearts. He knows when we are honest or not.

SWEET TEMPTATION

The reason why a man, after confessing his sins and asking for cleansing and forgiveness, would after this go back to commit the same sin is because he enjoys the sin.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14-15

It is true we are in a world that is bent to sin. It is also true that some temptations are more from without than within. But it is equally true that temptation to sin in most cases would not arise if, in the first place, we don’t desire or long to have it. Temptation to commit a particular sin occur as a result of us enjoying the sin when we first committed it. The desire and longing to partake in the sin is still lurking in the recess of our hearts even when we go to God to confess them because we enjoied it. It is a fact that many of us make provision for most of the sin that we commit. No wonder Paul warned:

“. . . make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:14

It is said of Moses:

“By faith Moses . . Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” Heb 11:24-25.

Moses refuse to enjoy the pleasures of sin. He chose to partake in the suffering of Christ than to enjoy sin for a season.

Let us carefully read this inspired commentary:

“It is true that Satan is the great originator of sin; yet this does not excuse any man for sinning; for he cannot force men to do evil. He tempts them to it, and makes sin look enticing and pleasant; but he has to leave it to their own wills whether they will do it or not. He does not force men to become intoxicated, neither does he force them to remain away from religious meetings; but he presents temptations in a manner to allure to evil, and man is a free moral agent to accept or refuse.”–Testimony for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 294, par. 1.

As we approach the throne of mercy in prayer, we need to confess the reality that we chose to commit a particular sin at our will because we enjoy the pleasures of sin. We need to include in our prayers that we acknowledge the fact that we love sin and enjoy it.

“Conversion is a work that most do not appreciate. It is not a small matter to transform an earthly, sin-loving mind and bring it to understand the unspeakable love of Christ, the charms of His grace, and the excellency of God, so that the soul shall be imbued with divine love and captivated with the heavenly mysteries. When he understands these things, his former life appears disgusting and hateful. He hates sin, and, breaking his heart before God, he embraces Christ as the life and joy of the soul. He renounces his former pleasures. He has a new mind, new affections, new interest, new will; his sorrows, and desires, and love are all new. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which have heretofore been preferred before Christ, are now turned from, and Christ is the charm of his life, the crown of his rejoicing. Heaven, which once possessed no charms, is now viewed in its riches and glory; and he contemplates it as his future home, where he shall see, love, and praise the One who hath redeemed him by His precious blood.”–Testimony for the Church, Vol. 2, p. 294, par. 1.

We should pray thus:

“LORD I know sin is sweet, enjoyable and dwells in the recess of my heart, Help me learn how to hate sin with perfect hatred. Please uproot the desire to sin out of my heart. Eliminate the carnal mind that often lead me to partake in transgression. Implant in me the love for righteousness. Amen!”

Jesus “loved righteousness, and hated iniquity” let us therefore earnestly ask for the mind of Christ to hate sin with terrible hatred. Heb 1:9

 

z

THE SEAL OF GOD AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST: IS USA THE LAMB-LIKE BEAST? (PART THREE)


In part one and two we learnt that beasts in Bible prophecy represents kingdoms or kingly powers and the sea represents nations, tongue, tribe, people and densely (or thickly) populated area. (See. Daniel 7:17, Rev 17:15; Isa. 17:12, 13.) If sea or waters represent a densely populated area in Europe as we saw in Revelation 13:1-3, land or earth, which is often seen as the opposite of sea or water, represent a sparsely (or scantly) populated area outside of Europe. Sea and Earth are two separate locations. (Gen 1:10). The earth in Bible Prophecy is the opposite of the sea or water. If the sea represents an area already crowded by people, the earth is an area uncrowded by people, multitude and tongues.

John saw another beast different from the first beast “coming up out of the earth.” Revelation 13:11. This new beast was seen to be quietly coming out and quietly growing into a great power as the Papal power was taken into captivity during the French revolution when Napoleon Bonaparte, through his General, inflected a deadly wound on Pope. (Rev 13:3). This deadly wound took place in 1798 when “Berthier made his entrance into Rome, abolished the Papal government and established a secular one.[1] According to the free internet Encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, in an article titled, “Napoleon and the Catholic Church,” noted the following:

Pope Pius VI sued for peace, which was granted at Tolentino on February 19, 1797; but on December 28 of that year, in a riot blamed by papal forces on some Italian and French revolutionists, the popular brigadier-general Mathurin-Léonard Duphot, who had gone to Rome with Joseph Bonaparte as part of the French embassy, was killed and a new pretext was furnished for invasion. General Berthier marched to Rome, entered it unopposed on February 10, 1798, and, proclaiming a Roman Republic, demanded of the Pope the renunciation of his temporal power.

Upon his refusal he was taken prisoner, and on February 20 was escorted from the Vatican to Siena, and thence to the Certosa near Florence. The French declaration of war against Tuscany led to his removal (he was escorted by the Spaniard Pedro Gómez Labrador, Marquis of Labrador) by way of Parma, Piacenza, Turin and Grenoble to the citadel of Valence, the chief town of Drôme where he died six weeks after his arrival, on August 29, 1799, having then reigned longer than any Pope.[2]

The Catholic Online Encyclopedia also confirm and affirm to this truth:

General Bonaparte had just returned to Paris . . . He was by no means anxious to lead the expedition against Rome, which the Directory was projecting, and contented himself with giving Berthier, who commanded it, certain instructions from a distance. For this expedition for Berthier’s entry into Rome and the proclamation of the Roman Republic (10-15 February, 1798), and for the captivity of Pius VI, who was carried off a prisoner to Valence.[3]

The above quotations from secular History gave credence to the authority of the Bible. The Catholic Encyclopedia borrowed the same word used in the Revelation 13:10 which says, “He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” Pope Pius VI, was the fourth longest serving Pope in the History of the Catholic Church. He reigned from 1775 to 1799. It should be remember that the Papacy is the combination of Church and State, though the political power was taken away by the French General, his religious system never ceased to exist.

Therefore, at the end of the 1260 year prophecy [538 AD – 1798 AD], this new kingdom or nation with “two horns like a lamb” was rising in power in an area that has not been inhabited and that has not been taken over by Papal Rome. The power was also rising during the time the Papal see was going into Captivity.

Question

Which nation during the end of the 1260 days/years prophecy was growing into power and has not been densely populated by people, multitude and tongues?

John Wesley in 1754, when he wrote his New Testament Commentary, did not only apply the first beast to the Papacy but noted that the lamblike beast would soon appear after the end of the 42 months or 1260 years. He wrote:

“But he [second beast of Rev 13:11-18] is not yet come, though he cannot be far off. For he [second beast] is to appear at the end of the forty-two months [1260 years] of the first beast. A mild innocent appearance, venomous, fiery, dreadful: so do those who are zealous for the beast.”[4]

In 1754, Wesley understood that the lamblike beast was to come during the end of 42 months and also noted that this beast (or nation) was not in existence as at the time he wrote the commentary. However, in 1798 USA was emerging as an independent nation. In fact the word “coming up” used in Revelation 13:11 in Greek is anabaino which means “to spring up as a plant or to grow up.” It is the same word used in Christ parable of the seed when he said the seed “fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up [anabaino].” Mark 4:8.

A. Townsend wrote the following:

“The history of United States was separated by a beneficent providence far from this wild and cruel history of the rest of the continent, and like a silent see, we grew into empire, while empire itself, beginning in the South, was swept by so interminable hurricane that what of its history we can ascertain is read by the very lightnings that devastated it.”[5]

Uriah Smith quoted an author in his book on Daniel and Revelation, who, about the year 1850 spoke of the United States of America as a wonderful empire which was “emerging” and “amid the silence of the earth daily adding to its power and pride.[6]

Lamb with two horns

One of the distinct feature of this second beast is that it had “two horns like a lamb” vs. 11. In the Bible the lamb symbolized Christ. (John 1:36). It is mentioned 29 times in the book of Revelation and it often generally refer to Christ. Therefore, this beast will have a Christ-like features. It shall be gentle, harmless and innocent in its appearance like a lamb. John Wesley noted above that this lamblike beast shall be with “A mild innocent appearance.” A lamb is a young sheep which is not fully grown implying that this beast power is recently established and quietly gaining momentum. According to Deut. 33:17; Daniel 7:24, 25, horns denotes kingly power. This second beast has a lamblike horn indicating his power would be Christ-like. That means the Government of this beast is based on Christ principles of power which we can find in no other place other than the Scripture. This is an accurate description of the form of Government instituted by founding fathers of the USA.

This second beast based his government on Christ principle and two of Christ principles of Government in the New Testament are:

  • Separation of Church and State: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:25. This is a principle of keeping politics out of religion and keeping religion out of politics. This is the great principle behind the separation of Church and State. From the start, United States was characterized by its unique separation of Church and State. As the two horns on the head of the beast are separate, the Church and State, which represents two powers and government, must also be separate from each other.
  • Religious Liberty: “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12:47; Matthew 7:1. When it comes to the matter of religion and conscience, Christ principle is for us not to Judge our fellow brother. Even when Christ was here on earth, He didn’t Judge anyone for He knows that the Judgment of all being is still in the future. In her constitution, USA was noted for the freedom of religion to all people.

Based on this two principles, the United States, from its inception has been a strongly protestant country. The principle of the lamblike beast would be different from that of the first beast. If the first beast principle was catholic (universal) in nature, then the second beast would be a non-Catholic power. Therefore, the second beast would be a Protestant Power. No other nation in History fits in with this description during the end of the 42 months or 1260 years other than the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

US constitution on Religious Liberty

“. . . On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison rose and gave a speech in the House where he introduced a series of articles of amendment. One concerned religious freedom:

The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.”[7]

US constitution on separation of Church and States

President Thomas Jefferson in his 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, wrote the most memorable phrase in relation to the separation of church and states, that is, the government should not make law respecting an established religion. He said:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his god, [the people, in the 1st Amendment,] declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state.[8]

Thomas Jefferson was an outspoken proponent of the separation of church and state, going back to his time as a legislator in Virginia. In 1785, Jefferson drafted a bill. He wrote:

. . . no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.[9]

 The Dragon and Lamb-like beast

We were told in Revelation 13:11 that this lamb-like beast which we have identified as the United States of America “spake as a dragon.” A nation speaks through the legislatures which are regarded as the arm of government that makes law and change laws. Protestant America will speak like the dragon which primarily is the Devil or Satan (Rev 12:9) but in the secondary sense it is Pagan Rome and also Papal Rome (Rev 12:13; 13:1-3). Pagan and Papal Rome never changes. Both are one but different dispensation. The former is a civil or state power while the latter is both State and Religious power.

The second beast of revelation 13 will begin to speak the language of Rome when the nation will turn against the principle that make it a protestant nation. USA will stretch her hands towards the gulf and claps her hand with the Papacy to institute laws that will be Satanic and Devilish in nature but garbed with the innocence.

Evidence

It would be imperative at this juncture to present some evidences on how United States will speak like the first beast which we have identified to be Papal Rome which has all the feature of Pagan Rome. Presently, the United States of America is made up of Nine Judges in the Supreme Court in which 6 are Roman Catholics and 3 are made up of Judaism. Take note that that America was originally a protestant nation but among the 9legislatures listed below, we find no protestant among them:

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Roman Catholic), Associate Justice Stephen Gerald Breyer (Judaism), Associate Justice Samuel Alito (Roman Catholic), Associate Justice Elena Kagan (Judaism), Late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia (Roman Catholic), Associate Justice Clarence Thomas (Roman Catholic), Chief Justice John Roberts (Roman Catholic), Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy (Roman Catholic) and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Judaism)— (Source is Wikipedia)

It is through these men that the United State of America is to speak like a dragon and we could see daily in the news how laws are enacted against the moral and eternal laws of God. Laws against God’s divine marriage, laws upholding the use of Guns, laws that are meant to break the walls between the church and State etc. From the above, the Catholic Church already has control of the Justice System of the United States. When the legislature makes laws that are in favor of the Roman Catholic, it would not be difficult to dispense justice on such law because the majority of those in the Supreme Court are Catholics.

The following was noted in May 5, 1903 by the Chicago Tribune by Archbishop Quigley:

With twenty years this country is going to rule the world. Kings and emperors will soon pass away, and the democracy of the United States will take their place. The west will dominate the country . . . When the United States rules the world the Catholic Church will rule the world . . . In fifty years Chicago will be exclusively Catholic.”[10]

In his Book called The Godfathers: Alberto Part 3, Jack T. Chick noted a point made by an Ex-Jesuit Priest known as Dr. Alberto Rivera. He said;

When he [Rivera] was under the extreme oath of the Jesuits. He was told that a secret sign was to be given to the Jesuits worldwide when the ecumenical movement had successfully wiped out Protestantism, in preparation for the signing of a concordat between the Vatican and the U.S.

The sign was to be when a President of the U.S. took his oath of office facing an obelisk. For the first time in U.S. history, the swearing in ceremonies were moved to the West front of the Capitol, and President Reagan faced the Washington Monument. This happened January 20, 1982. Was the President aware of this? We don’t know.”[11]

Reagan administration changed the position where the swearing-in ceremonies were to hold from the east front of the capitol building to the west front of the capitol Building because the west front of the capitol building is facing one of the biggest obelisk in the world.

Since the first inauguration of President Reagan in 1981, the swearing-in ceremonies have been held on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building. The only exception was the 1985 swearing-in of President Reagan’s second term, when cold weather forced the ceremony into the Capitol Rotunda.[12]

To be continued  . . .

[1] Encyclopedia Americana, 1941 Edition.

 [2] Napoleon and the Catholic Church. (2016, July 26). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 01:43, July 26, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Napoleon_and_the_Catholic_Church&oldid=731547041

[3] Goyau, G. (1911). Napoleon I (Bonaparte). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved October 17, 2016 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10687a.htm

[4] John Wesley, Explanatory Notes Upon the New Testament, p. 735. (Published by J. Soule and T. Mason, for the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United State) 1818.

[5] G. A. Townsend, The New World Compared with the Old: A description of the American Government, Institutions, and Enterprises, and of those of our Great Rivals at the present Time, Particularly England and France (1869), p. 635. (https://books.google.com.ng/books?id=7XZDAAAAIAAJ&dq=g.+a.+townsend,+the+new+world+compared+with+the+old&source=gbs_navlinks_s)

[6] Uriah Smith, Daniel and Revelation, p. 574.

[7] http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_reli.html#first

[8] http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_reli.html#first

[9] http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_reli.html#first

[10] http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1903/05/05/page/1/article/quigley-as-an-optimist

[11] Jack T. Chick, The Godfathers: Alberto Part 3, p. 26 (see Google books)

[12] http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa011701a.htm

 

THE SEAL OF GOD AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST: THE COMPOSITE BEAST (PART TWO)


The book of Daniel and Revelation are one book. To understand one is to understand the other. In part one, we ended by identifying ten characteristics of the little horn of Daniel chapter 7. In this article, we would be studying a parallel prophecy of Daniel chapter 7 which is found in Revelation chapter 13.

THE COMPOSITE LEOPARD LIKE BEAST

In Revelation chapter 13 vs. 1, Apostle John was shown in vision a beast rising out of the sea having 7 heads, ten horns upon the 7 heads and ten crowns were also seen to be upon these 10 horns. Upon the 7 heads of this beast was seen “a name of blasphemy.” The sea which the beast rises out from in Bible prophecy signifies people, multitudes, nations and tongues of the Western Europe. (See. Rev. 17:15; Isa. 17:12, 13). The beast rose out from an inhabited land in the Western Europe.

It should be noted also that the crowns are seen to be upon the horns and not directly upon the head. The horns are upon the 7 heads while the 10 crowns are upon the 10 horns. This shows that the horns are political powers or kings. Although horns and heads can be used interchangeably in Bible prophecy and they both signify political powers, authority, king, kingdoms, nations etc. The beast ruled through the 10 divisions of the Western Roman Empire. The horns represent the 10 kingdom/kings of the Western Europe (Daniel 7:8, 24; 2:42).

In Revelation 13:2, John also saw some other feature of this beast which corresponds with that of Daniel 7. It could be seen that this beast is like a leopard in bodily form, his feet is like that of a bear, his mouth is like that of a lion and the dragon of Revelation 12 gave this leopard like beast his power, seat and great authority.

From our previous study in Daniel 7, it should be seen by now that this beast of Revelation 13:1, 2 is composed of all the features of the beast in Daniel 7. When we compare this beast and his characteristics highlighted in Revelation 13:1, 2 with that of Daniel 7:1-7 it is not difficult to identify what each beast represents. We could see John standing on the prophetic time line, looking back in history, while Daniel was looking forward into the future.

COMPARING DANIEL 7 AND REVELATION 13

  • John was looking backward to history as he stood at the shore of the sea. He saw the beast having 7 heads. (See. Daniel 7:8, 24). The 7 heads are the 7 kingdoms that are remaining after 3 out of 10 were exterminated through the influence of the papacy in the Roman Empire. AD 538.
  • He also saw 10 horns on the 7 heads of the beast. Note that head and horns represent nation, kingdom, kings, political power and ruler. (See. Daniel 7:7). The 10 horns are the 10 Western European nations under the Roman Empire. B.C 168-A.D 476. The 10 horn specifically were established in the year A.D. 476 this means that the antichrist will rise after this date.
  • The beast is like a leopard bodily. The leopard beast in Daniel 7:6 is Greece. B.C 331-B.C 168.
  • The feet of the leopard like beast are made of a bear’s feet. In Daniel 7:5 the bear represent Medo-Persia. B.C 538/9-B.C 331.
  • The leopard like beast also has the mouth of a lion. In Daniel 7:4, the lion symbolizes the Babylonian Kingdom. B.C 605-B.C 562.

John saw exactly everything Daniel saw but in a reverse order. Just as Daniel was given the vision of rise and fall of various beasts representing the rise and fall of successive kingdoms in Daniel 7 when Babylon was ruling the world, in the same manner was John shown the composite leopard like beast rising to power during the time of pagan Rome. Rome is identified as the composite beast which has characteristics of the past nations. Rome was split into 10 ruling powers but 3 were uprooted. 7 heads were left after the extermination of three to make up the nations of Western Europe of today.

A horn and a head are used interchangeably for both symbolizes one and the same thing. Rome, the leopard like beast, was divided into 10 Kingdoms in AD 476 and the uprooting of the 3 kingdoms was accomplished in AD 538.

THE RISE OF PAPACY FROM PAGAN ROME TO POWER

John saw pagan Rome rise to power during the year AD 538 when Heruli, Vandals and finally Ostrogoths were uprooted because of their belief in Arianism (the belief that Jesus Christ is not God but a created being). Ostrogoths were the last to be uprooted among the three in AD 538.

The papacy arose from the beast (Pagan Rome). The papacy first rose after Rome was divided into 10 kingdoms in AD 476 and he arose to full supremacy in AD 538 when the last of the 3 kingdoms that refuses to adhere to his rules were exterminated.

  • Heruli in Italy was exterminated in A.D 493 under the Emperor Zeno of the eastern Roman Empire who commanded King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths.
  • Vandals were exterminated in A.D 534 by General Belisarius under the authority of Emperor Justinian I.
  • The Ostrogoths were also defeated by the armies of Emperor Justinian and General Belisarius in A.D 538.

“Thus the three Arian nations who refused to renounce their heretical faith were uprooted or subdued and the other Arian peoples turned orthodox, leaving the bishop of Rome the undisputed ruler of nations and the corrector of heretics.”[1]

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE COMPOSITE BEAST

It should not be forgotten that the beast of Revelation 13 is the composition of all the beast of Daniel 7. Pagan Rome has all the features of past kingdoms and it combines their philosophy, religion, ideology and education in order to dominate the world. Let us look at some of the characteristics of the successive nations and combine them to see what power world power fit this beast that rises from the sea in our present time.

LION: Naturally, a lion is proud and strong; therefore, Babylon symbolizes pride and exaltation of man to the level of God or attributing God’s glory to that of man. When the beast or antichrist speaks, it is speaking the language of Babylon.

“For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs . . . 11 Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, imputing this his power unto his god.” Hab 1:6, 11. (See. Daniel 4:28-31).

BEAR: Medo-Persia symbolizes cruelty, making laws against God and His people, and claiming infallibility (Isaiah 13:16-18; Daniel 6:8, 15; Esther 3:8-15)

LEOPARD: Greece as a nation is known for her wisdom and her philosophical enlightenment. They exalt reason and man’s word (tradition) above God’s word. (1 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 10:5; Acts 17:16-22; 2 Timothy 3:7)

DRAGON: Pagan Rome is a persecuting power which will wear out the saints of God and make war with them. (Dan7:7; 2:40; Deut 28:45-57).

If we combine all the characteristics of these beasts and the time which they arose to power we have but to identify the world power who;

  1. Rose to dominance in the year A.D. 538;
  2. exalts man to the level of God;
  3. claims infallibility;
  4. Showed extreme cruelty in its history;
  5. places tradition, man’s wisdom and reason above the word of God;
  6. Persecuted those who went against them or those who held unto the precept of the Bible.

One power alone can fit these characteristics: PAPAL ROME (PAPACY).

But the Bible offers us more clues.

THE DRAGON POWER, SEAT AND GREAT AUTHORITY

The Dragon represents imperial Rome or Pagan Rome as we could see in Revelation 12 which was used by Satan in trying to destroy the Christ-child.

Seat: In A.D. 330 imperial Rome gave his seat of power to papal Rome when Constantine moved the city of Rome from the west to the east in Turkey (formally called Constantinople).

Authority (Civil): Imperial Rome didn’t just give the papacy a political base; In A.D. 533 it gave him authority. Emperor Justinian in this year decreed that the Bishop of Rome is to be the universal bishop of the world and the corrector of heretics.

Power (Military): Though the emperor officially declared the Pope as the corrector of heretics, this power was useless without the backing of a political or military power to enforce it. In A.D. 538 the extermination of the last of the three kingdoms that refuse to adhere to the Papacy was accomplished. The three nations which are Heruli, Vandals, and Ostrogoths were standing in his way of rising to power thus they were exterminated in A.D. 493, A.D. 534 and A.D. 538 respectively.

 THE NAME OF BLASPHAMY ON HIS HEADS

There are other characteristics which would help us to nail who this beast really is that received his power, seat and authority from the dragon. One other feature that the Bible pointed out about the beast is that “. . . and upon his [seven] heads the name of blasphemy” was written. Rev 13:1. To know what this blasphemy is, we need to define the meaning using the Scripture. What is blasphemy according to the Bible? The Bible defines blasphemy as one of the following:

  1. One who blasphemes claim to forgive sins. “And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?” Luke 5:21.
  2. One who blasphemes also calls him or herself God. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” John 10:33.

Therefore, the Bible defines blasphemy as one claiming the prerogatives of God. It is written of the man of sin who is also represented as the papacy, antichrist, the little horn and Babylon that he will “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 Thess 2:4

The Church of Rome is the only Church that claims to forgive sin. She has the following to say:

If anyone saith that the sacramental absolution of the priest is not a judicial act… let him be anathema. If anyone saith that priests… have not the power of binding and of loosing, or that not priests alone are ministers of absolution, let him be anathema.[2]

To pardon a single sin requires all the omnipotence of God…[3]

The priest not only declares that the sinner is forgiven, but he really forgives him… so great is the power of the priest, that the judgments of heaven itself are subject to his decision.[4]

The poor sinner kneels at his confessor’s feet. He knows he is not speaking to an ordinary man, but to another Christ. He hears the words, ‘I absolve thy sins’ and the hidden load of sins drops from his soul forever.[5]

A priest, in absolving a sinner, performs the very office of the Holy Ghost in the sanctification of souls.[6]

We define that the holy Apostolic See and the Roman Pontiff holds the primacy over the wide world and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of the blessed Peter… the father and doctor of all Christians; and that to him… was given… full power to feed, rule and govern the universal church[7]

In connection with the blasphemy that was written on his seven heads, we were also told that it was “given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” Rev 13:5. This is also what was said about the little horn in Daniel 7. “I [Daniel] 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.” Dan 7:8. These great words that he shall speak would be against “the most High.” Daniel 7:25. He shall blaspheme with his mouth against God, his name and his tabernacle and them that dwell in heaven. (Rev 13:6).

The Catholic Encyclopedia says of the Pope:

The sentences which he gives are to be forthwith ratified in heaven.[8]

Pope Leo XIII said:

But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty[9]

The Papacy also blasphemes those who dwell in heaven. Apart from the Godhead, the other dwellers in heaven are the millions of angels, the messengers of God. The Papacy blasphemes them by claiming that the priests are greater than the angels and that the Pope can even excommunicate the angels.

The sacerdotal (priestly) dignity also surpasses the dignity of the angels…. All the angels in heaven cannot absolve from a single sin…the holy archangel can chase away devils, but he cannot free his client from their claims till a priest comes to absolve him…. If I saw an angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the angel.[10]

The Pope is crowned with a triple crown, as king of heaven and of earth and of the lower regions…so that if it were possible that the angels might err in the faith, they could be judged and excommunicated by the Pope….[11]

THE PAPACY AND THE SAINTS

Another identifying feature of this beast that arose from the sea is that:

“It was given unto him [the leopard like beast] to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Rev 13:7.

As Daniel beheld the rise of the little horn, it was seen that the little horn, like the leopard beast, “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” and “wear out the saints of the most High.” Dan 7:21, 25. He was to persecute the saints for “a time and times and the dividing of time” or he was to continue in this evil act for forty and two months. Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5.

In Bible prophecy, a time is 1 year or 360 days. Times is 2 years or 720 days. Half a time is half a year or 180 days.  A day is equal to a year in Bible prophecy (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 13:34). Therefore, 360days+720days+180days = 1260 days or years since a day equals to a year.

42 months in Rev 13:5 is the same as “a time and times and the dividing of time” in Daniel 7:25. A month is 30 days. 42 months x 30 days = 1260 days or 1260 years. (See. Gen 7:11, 24; 8:1-4).

Professor Baudrillart, Rector of the Catholic Institute of Paris and later a cardinal, writes that the Papacy has employed physical force against dissenters:

The Catholic Church…loudly proclaims that she has a ‘horror of blood.’ Nevertheless when confronted by heresy she…has recourse to force, to corporal punishment, to torture. She creates tribunals like those of the Inquisition… encourages a crusade, or a religious war…. Especially did she act thus in the sixteenth century with regard to Protestants…she lit in Italy, in the Low countries and above all in Spain the funeral piles of the Inquisition. In France…and in England…she tortured the heretics whilst both in France and Germany…she encouraged and actively aided the religious wars. No one will deny that we have here a great scandal to our contemporaries….”

Indeed, even among our friends and our brothers we find those who dare not look this problem in the face. They ask permission from the Church to ignore or even deny all those acts and institutions in the past which have made orthodoxy compulsory.[12]

 The Anglican Scholar, Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, wrote:

It has been calculated that the popes of Rome have directly or indirectly slain 50 millions of men and women who refused to be parties to Romish idolatries, who held to the Bible as the Word of God.[13]

“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Rev 13:3. For 1260 years, the little horn power arose to world domination in the year A.D. 538 and from then on until A.D. 1798 when the Papacy was given a deadly wound and lost its power to continue. This deadly wound was inflicted on Pope Pius VI by Napoleon’s general Berthier who entered Rome and took the Pope prisoner. This deadly wound occurred during the French revolution and the Pope had never wielded the same kind of authority today as he did during the period of A.D.538-1798. But this deadly wound was later healed and all the world wondered after this beast and “all them that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Rev 13:8.

ROMAN CATHOLIC AND THE LAW OF GOD

It should be remembered that one of the characteristics of the beast is that it has the features of the past kingdom. One of the kingdom that are known for making laws and exalting that law above that of God and making laws against God’s people is the Medo-Persia, this is the feet like unto a bear or the bear with three ribs in his mouth (See. Esther 3:8-15; Daniel 6:8, 15; Daniel 7:5).

Since the Papacy has the element of Medo-Persia in her system, it is the law of God that the papacy sought to change. It is written of the little horn that “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.” Dan 7:25. The only commandment that deals with time is the fourth commandment which calls for Sabbath observance. By instituting Sunday observance, the Papacy sought to change this law.

“The pope has the power to change times, to abrogate laws, and to dispense with all things, even the precepts of Christ. He can pronounce sentences and judgments in contradiction to the rights of nations, to the law of God and man.”[14]

“The Catholic Church for over one thousand years before the existence of a Protestant, by virtue of her divine mission, changed the day from Saturday to Sunday.”[15]

“You may read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and you will not find a single line authorizing the sanctification of Sunday. The Scriptures enforce the religious observance of Saturday, a day which we (Catholics) never sanctify.”[16]

Question : What Bible authority is there for changing the Sabbath from the seventh to the first day of the week? Who gave the Pope the authority to change a command of God?”

Answer : If the Bible is the only guide for the Christian, then the Seventh-day Adventist is right in observing the Saturday with the Jew. But Catholics learn what to believe and do from the divine, infallible authority established by Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church…Is it not strange that those who make the Bible their only teacher should inconsistently follow in this matter the tradition of the Church?”[17]

Question: Which is the Sabbath day?”
Answer : Saturday is the Sabbath day.”
Question : Why do we observe Sunday instead of Saturday?”
Answer : We observe Sunday instead of Saturday because the Catholic Church, in the Council of Laodicea (336 A.D.), transferred the solemnity from Saturday to Sunday.”[18]

In part three, we shall study what specifically the mark of the beast and the seal of God is. We shall also study how we can avoid the mark of the beast and receive the seal of God.

References:

[1] Taylor Bunch, The Book of Daniel (Payson, Ariz,: Leaves-of-Autumn Books, 1991), p. 101.

[2] Council of Trent, Session XIV, 1546 Dogmatic Canons and Decrees, Canons IX & X.

[3] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, Dignities and Duties of a Priest (Brooklyn NY: Redemptorist Fathers, 1926), 34.

[4] Michael Muller, The Catholic Priest (Baltimore: Kteuzer Brothers, 1876).

[5] William Doyle, Shall I Be a Priest (Dublin: Irish Messenegr Office, 1913),14-15.

[6] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, 36.

[7] Labbe and Cossart, The Council of Trent (Paris: 1671),12:1167.

[8] Charles Herbermann et al, “Pope,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912),12:265

[9] Catholic Church, The Great Encyclical Letters of Pope Leo Xiii (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1903), 193, 304.

[10] Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, 31.

[11] Lucius Ferraris, 6:48.

[12] Alfred Baudrillart, The Catholic Church, the Renaissance, and Protestantism (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1908),182-184.

[13] Grattan Guinness, The Approaching End of the Age (London: Hodder and Straughton, 1879), 212.

[14] Decretalia de translat. Ep Cop. Cap.

[15] The Catholic Mirror, Sept 23 1893.

[16] James Cardinal Gibbons, The Faith of Our Fathers, pg 111.

[17] Question Box, by Conway, 1903 edition, pgs 254-255.

[18] Peter Geiermann, The Converts Catechism of Catholic Doctrine, Second Edition, 1910, pg 50.