| Great Darkness
The apostle Paul foretold the great apostasy. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, "except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that "the mystery of iniquity doth already work" (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 7). Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.
Little by little, "the mystery of iniquity" carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity were restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.
A Gigantic system of false religion that believes it has authority over people, kings, and pastors throughout the world.
The Dark Ages
In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established.... Now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation.
Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, by fire, or by the headman’s ax.
History bears record that, while claiming to be "Christian," the Roman Catholic church has in reality been the Christian's greatest enemy. The apostle John was totally amazed when these things were revealed to him. Revelation 17:6-7
*Please note that many of God's true self-sacrificing followers are caught within this system. God is even at this moment working with them, to bring them out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.
This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in "the man of sin" foretold in prophecy. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power - a monument of his effort to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.
It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal chruch of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. He has been styled "Lord God the Pope" and has been declared infallible. He demands the homage of all men. But those who fear and reverence God meet this heaven-daring assumption as Christ met the solicitations of the wiley foe: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 4:8).
Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power.
In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal ursurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the scriptures. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. Unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions.
The detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to his will. Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to “Think to change times and laws” (Daniel 7:25). To afford converts from heathenism as substitute for the worship of idols, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number.
Satan, working though unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and assayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the which God had blessed and sanctified (Genesis 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as “the venerable day of the sun.” In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it, yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed.
The archdeceiver had not completed his work. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, which Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honored as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.
In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established [538 A.D.]. The bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast “his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Revelation 13:2). Now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5–7. Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headman’s ax.
The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.
Many who professed conversion still cling to the tenets of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves, bur urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man’s natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this spring also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.
Then the way was prepared for still another invention of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and form which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.
Still another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, and release from all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff’s wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish, his enemies, or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. The people were also taught that by the payment of money to the church they might free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased friends who were confined to the tormenting flames. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head.
The Scriptural ordinance of the Lord’s Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual “body and blood of Christ” (Cardinal Wiseman, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist Proved From Scripture, lecture 8,k sec. 3, par. 26). With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible Heaven-insulting heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames.
| As predicted in Bible prophecy, the Papacy received it's "deadly wound" in the year 1798. However, the same prophecy also predicted that the deadly wound would be healed (See Revelation 13:3)
According to the Bible, the fatal blow would be healed and the Papacy would again attempt to control the minds and consciences of men.
Today the Roman Catholic church is quickly regaining the power and prestige that she lost just a little over two centuries ago.
Recent news headlines confirm the results of her stealthy and steady campaign: See Concession to the Catholic Church
Popery had become the world’s despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.
But “the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world” (J.A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4). The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God’s law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom. Such were the results of banishing the Word of God. Previous Next