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MAY 18, 2018
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This week’s worship leaders are the Gaithers. To view this music video, click below.
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This week’s speaker is Bible Teacher Walter Martin. Listen as he shares with us about…
One of our goals is to read through the Bible by the end of this year. This week’s reading is…
The Book of Isaiah
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Over the next few months, we will be studying ONE NATION UNDER GOD, a Layman’s Look at American History taught by Zander Dell Raines. The study text for this week is below.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
Three Basic Principles
With the advent over the last century of historical revisionism in America, and its attempts to remove God from our history books, I feel that it is time for us to go back to the beginnings of our history as a nation and discuss at length the Christian foundations of America. To do this we need to look at our nation's history not as just another secular recounting of facts, but to take the time to show how God has moved throughout history to bring about His will on the earth. For this reason, the history we will be discussing here will be based on three very important principles that most secular historians ignore, thus causing them to misunderstand the grand plan that God is carrying out here in America and among all the nations of the earth.
The first of these principles is that God, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, created the universe.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. - Genesis 1:1
This basic principle shows us that men were created with a certain purpose and destiny in mind by an Almighty God. We need to know just what it was that our founding fathers believed concerning this in able to understand if they shared this view. Benjamin Franklin stated very clearly where he stood in this area. "Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. As to Jesus of Nazareth, I think the systems of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, is the best the world ever saw, or is likely to see."
American President Thomas Jefferson also made it clear concerning what he believed about this. "Almighty God hath created the free mind. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion. God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever."
President George Washington also stated his position on the matter of God and the creation of the universe. "It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe, without the agency of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being. It is impossible to reason without arriving at a Supreme Being."
These truths show clearly, not just in their personal opinions, but also in their public policies. Especially when writing the Declaration of Independence where the founding fathers clearly stated: "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."
The view that the universe was created by God is clearly the position held by the American founding fathers and all Bible believing Christians throughout the ages, thus is one of the basic principles that will be held in our study of them.
The second principle that will be the basis for these studies is the view that the God who created the universe sees the future of the universe and mankind and that all of history is simply us moving forward towards that final destiny.
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:-Isaiah 46:9-10
The Holy Scriptures teach that from before the foundation of the world God has prepared His kingdom (Matthew 25:34), known the prophets' blood would be shed (Luke 11:50), loved Jesus (John 17:24), chosen us (Ephesians 1:4), and finished His work (Hebrews 4:3). The Bible also states that, before the foundation of the world, Jesus has suffered (Hebrews 9:26), was foreordained to be the Lamb (I Peter 1:20), and to die (Revelation 13:8). It also states that the book of life has existed since the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8).
Did the founding fathers believe this also? Elias Boudinot was the president of the Continental Congress in 1783. He put it simply. "No sooner had the great Creator of the heavens and the earth finished His almighty work, and pronounced all very good, but He set apart one day in seven for the commemoration of His inimitable power in producing all things out of nothing. The deliverance of the children of Israel from a state of bondage to an unreasonable tyrant was perpetuated in the Paschal lamb and enjoining it on their posterity as an annual festival forever. The resurrection of the Savior of mankind is commemorated by keeping the first day of the week. Let us then, my friends and fellow citizens, unite all our endeavors this day to remember, with reverential gratitude to our Supreme Benefactor, all the wonderful things He has done for us, in our miraculous deliverance from a second Egypt, another house of bondage."
So here we see that the founding fathers understood that they knew that the ancient Jewish festivals given in the Old Testament were actually celebrating the coming of Jesus centuries before it took place. I would say that they knew God could see the future and that He let us know this in the Holy Bible.
Gilman Ostrander in his "The Evolutionary Outlook" states that the founding fathers had this view also. "The American nation had been founded by intellectuals who had accepted a worldview that was based upon Biblical authority as well as Newtonian science. They had assumed that God created the earth and all life upon it at the time of creation and had continued without change thereafter. Adam and Eve were God's final creations, and all of mankind had descended from them."
Unless someone should think that this viewpoint concerning our founding fathers be assumed to be perpetrated by only one side in this discussion, let me share with you the words of Fred Edwords, the executive director of the American Humanist Association: "All mentioned God, and not merely the clockwork God of deism, but a God actively involved in history. Their public religion harked back to the Old Testament with its view of America as the promised land. This was prevalent in many writings of the time."
Based on statements such as this, and many others besides, I feel that it is safe to say that God does indeed see the end of time from the beginning and that the founding fathers knew that this was true. This is the second principle from which we will build.
The third basis for this discussion of the Christian history of our nation is the fact that, since the beginning of time, there has been a continuing battle between the forces of light and the forces of darkness for the souls of men.
When God created the physical universe, it was in a state that knew no evil and was totally good.
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. -Genesis 1:31
It was Satan that first introduced mankind to the knowledge of evil that we are currently dealing with in our world.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. -Genesis 3:5
While, through this process, sin entered the world, God also provided a means of salvation from this evil.
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. -Genesis 3:15
Satan now knows that mankind will be saved from his evil influence through the actions of a man that will be born of a woman. One of the big pictures of the Old Testament is the devil's endeavor to kill the seed of the woman before He can overthrow Satan's rule of the earth. This is why Satan deceived Cain into killing Abel (Genesis 4). It is also why the devil inspired Joseph's brothers to try to kill him (Genesis 37), Pharaoh to kill all the baby boys in Israel (Exodus 1), Queen Athaliah to kill her own grandsons (II Kings 11), and King Herod to kill the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2). Most of the attacks that Satan launches against the nation of Israel are actually attempts to kill the Messiah before He can destroy the devil. Needless to say, through God's Providence, all of the devil's attacks against the coming Messiah fail miserably. The Holy Scriptures also reveal that, throughout human history, two religious systems have competed for the souls of men. One is the bride (Ephesians 5:31-32) called the church and the other is called Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:1-5). While much is known of the church, little is known today about Mystery Babylon. The Scriptures, however, have much to say about this hideous religious counterfeit to God's church.
Its name tells us much in itself. It is a mysterious religious system that began in Babylon. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, all pagan religions can be traced directly back to Babylon. Keep in mind that Herodotus said this 400 years before the birth of Jesus Christ!
God chose the city Jerusalem, which was originally called Salem meaning "peace" (Genesis 14:18-19). Satan also chose the city of Babylon, which was first called Babel meaning "confusion" (Genesis 11:8-9). These two cities have been locked in mortal combat since the days of Genesis, and a simple glance at the Middle East today shows that this battle rages still, as Israel is now back in its homeland, and one of the major players opposing them is Sadam Hussein, who claims to be the reincarnation of King Nebuchanezzar, king of Babylon (Daniel 1).
Just as the Holy Scriptures have given us the doctrines of the church, so they also reveal to us the doctrines of Mystery Babylon. Indeed, all false religious systems on the earth, in one facet or another, partake of her doctrines. Seven of these doctrines can be found in Genesis. The first 3 doctrines are to be found in Genesis 3.
1-"Yea, hath God said"-Questioning the word of God.
2-"Ye shall not surely die"-No final death and judgment.
3-"Ye shall be as gods"-Man can become God.
The 4th doctrine of Mystery Babylon is found in Genesis 4.
4-"Cain brought the fruit of the ground"-Works salvation.
The next two started at the building of the tower of Babel (Isaiah 47:12-13).
5-"sorceries"-All manner of white and black magic.
6-"pronosticators"-All manner of fortune telling.
The 7th is revealed to us by Jacob in Genesis 35:3-4.
7-"strange gods"-The worship of idols, or anything other than God.
Using these false doctrines, and many others, Mystery Babylon has continually endeavored to enslave the world for Satan. Every pagan religion in the world exhibits some, or all, of these doctrines in one way or another. The most dangerous side to this false religious system is its state-church concept. As revealed in Revelation 17, this great whore, or false religious system (Ezekiel 16) rides on the back of the beast or the nations of the world (Daniel 7). Bible believers have stood against this evil church-state system since Old Testament times (Daniel 3 and 6). Still today, as in the ages past, the forces of darkness continue to wage this deadly war for the control of the nations of the earth.
When our Christian forefathers first came to America, it was to escape this false system of worship. The Pilgrims and Puritans, and many others to follow, came here to set up a Bible Commonwealth based solely on the truth of the Holy Scriptures, so there would be a land of freedom, safe from the many church-state systems in the world. With God's help, they succeeded. In 1787, during the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin appealed that those involved should begin each session with prayer because:
"And have we now forgotten this powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: 'that God governs in the affairs of men.' And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?"
On April 25, 1799, Dr. Jedediah Morse, minister and "the father of American geography" assessed the decision the country faced in his day, and faces still, two centuries later:
"To the kindly influence of Christianity, we owe that degree of civil freedom and political and social happiness which mankind now enjoys. In proportion as the genuine effects of Christianity are diminished in any nation, either through unbelief, or the corruption of its doctrines, or the neglect of its institutions; in the same proportion will the people of that nation recede from the blessings of genuine freedom and approximate the miseries of complete despotism."
On Memorial Day in 1923, Vice-President Calvin Coolidge, who would be President in three months, called upon Americans to recall the motives of their Puritan forebears: "They were intent upon establishing a Christian commonwealth in accordance with the principle of self-government. They were an inspired body of men. It has been said that God sifted the nations that He might send choice grain into the wilderness.... Who can fail to see in it the hand of destiny? Who can doubt that it has been guided by a Divine Providence?"
As you can see, the true facts of history are very different from much of the historical revisionism that we see today which endeavors to use every excuse to write God out of the history books. Together we will try to overcome Satan's deception in this area by going back to our nation's beginning to see what actually took place, and how God worked through His people to make America "the land of the free and the home of the brave.
In fact, there is another wonderful book on this subject called "The Rebirth of America", and it is offered, free of charge, from the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation. All you have to do is call 1-800-321-1538 and request it. It is one of the best books I have seen on the subject. Please call and get a copy as we will be referring to this as our textbook as we study together.
ONE NATION UNDER GOD
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: -Acts 17:26-27
THE OLD TESTAMENT NATIONS
Before we can really discuss our own nation, we need to understand just what God’s definition of this word is. The word nation appears in the Authorized King James Bible over 400 times, so God has quite a bit to say in this area. The first time this word appears is in Genesis 10.
These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. -Genesis 10:32
Here we see that God divided mankind into nations after the flood, but the why and how of this is even more interesting.
By these were the isles of Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations-Genesis 10:4
The nations are divided, not by race or even location, but by the languages they speak. This makes perfect sense if you think about it. I have much more in common with American of another race than I have with a white man in Europe or elsewhere in the world. Here we see that nations are divided first and foremost by their languages and by the families they are born into. Keep in mind that, at the time of Noah and his sons, all the earth spoke one language. The reason God divided men into different tongues is explained in Genesis 11. God had told mankind to spread out over the earth and replenish it (Genesis 9). In rebellion, Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10) led the people to build a city and a tower at Babel. God's response to this rebellion was swift.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. -Genesis 11:8-9
The next time we hear nations mentioned as the first war begins to break out on this side of the flood.
And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. - Genesis 14:1-3
Nations have been at war ever since. Keeping in mind that all during this time Satan is trying to hunt down and kill the Messiah, we next see that God creates a set of circumstances (Genesis 37) that would bring one of Jesus' ancestors, Joseph to become the second-in-command of Egypt (Genesis 41). God then gives Egypt incredible wealth (Genesis 47), so that they can protect the family of the future Messiah (Genesis 46). At the proper time, God brings His people out of Egypt (Exodus 12), so that they may take their own place in the world as the nation of Israel.
The Hebrew word for nations is "goee" which also appears in the Bible as the word "Gentiles" and "heathens" because all of our ancestors, under the influence of Mystery Babylon, turned to idol worship and away from the living God (Daniel 3). The nation of Israel is set apart as a special nation, as from it would come Jesus Christ (Genesis 18:18) through whom all the nations of the earth would be blessed. When she turns to idols (Ezekiel 8), she is scattered among the Gentile nations (II Chronicles 36), to be conquered by first one and then another of the Gentile kingdoms around her (Daniel 7).
THE NEW TESTAMENT NATIONS
The situation that Jesus faces at His first coming is this. He lives in the nation of Israel which by then has been conquered by the Roman Empire, which was at that time the main headquarters for Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:18). At the end of the Old Testament period, Jesus comes to save the world (John 1:1-5). The nation of Israel, for the most part, rejects Him and He pronounces judgement on them in....
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. -Matthew 21:42-43
As Paul would say later, the gospel was first given to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. Jesus tells His disciples that nations and wars would continue until He returned (Matthew 24:6-7). He also tells them that, in spite of that, the gospel would be given to every nation before He returns (Matthew 28:19-20). Then He would return and judge all nations (Matthew 25:31-46). The important thing to notice here is that God has used the nations to bring His will forth on the earth, at precisely the time and place that He wanted them to be.
The Greek word in the New Testament that is used for nations is "ethnos". It is translated "Gentiles" and "heathens" as the Old Testament Hebrew term "goee" is. We still use a form of this Greek term today when we speak of different "ethnic" groups of people.
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; -Acts 17:26
This verse explains that all the nations of the world appeared at the exact time and place that God wanted them to so as to bring about His perfect will on the earth. Since the time of Jesus' first coming, all the nations of the world have been taking their part in this grand plan, regardless of how godly or ungodly they may have actually been.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. -Romans 9:17
Even when a nation is in total rebellion against God, as Egypt under the Exodus pharaoh was, God will still use that situation to bring forth glory for Him. I hope our nation will repent and turn back to God before this happens to us.
After Jesus' first coming, the system called Mystery Babylon used the Roman Empire to try to destroy the church. However, the Roman Empire finally reaped what it sowed and was itself destroyed. Another stronghold of Mystery Babylon was in Egypt at this time. Mystery Babylon, with one foot in Rome and the other in Alexandria, where major revisions are made in the Holy Scriptures, would finally drive the church, and the entire western world, into the Dark Ages within a few centuries.
When the state-church system of Rome began to form, one group that refused to bow to this new movement was the church of northern Italy. Having been formed around AD 120, this church, later to be called the Waldenses, would separate themselves from the church of Rome, taking with them their beloved Received Text in the Itala Bible. Many Waldenses would openly condemn the church leadership that had supplanted the Received Text of the Bible with the corrupt Alexandrian Text. At this point, the world is plunged into what we today call the Dark Ages.
THE DARK AGES NATIONS
The Christian faith has already spread all the way to Britain long before the forming of the state-church system of Rome, so when the Pope sends men to evangelize Europe, they find churches are already well established and thriving. They also find them opposing the Alexandrian Texts because they already have the Received Text in their possession due to the work of earlier missionaries from groups such as the Waldensian churches of northern Italy.
The heavy hand of the Roman Empire would reach out to destroy all earlier churches that were established there who would not agree with their new doctrines. Christian churches in Wales, Britain, northern Italy and many other parts of the world were destroyed if they dared oppose the church of Rome or if they preferred the Received Text to the Alexandrian Texts. Thus, the world was hurled headlong into the period of time that we call the Dark Ages. This period was a great judgment against the Roman Empire for its continual opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ Just as the nation Israel was judged by a Babylonian invasion (Habakkuk 1:1-7), so now the Roman Empire falls victim to the invading barbarians by AD 486. The hunter now becomes the hunted as the Dark Ages officially begins.
In 1090, the church of Rome decided that they wanted to restore the city of Jerusalem that the empire of Rome had destroyed over 1,000 years before. By this time, the Moslems controlled the city, so the Pope declared a series of wars, called the Crusades, to get the city back from the control of the Moslems. Many European noble men went to fight in the Crusades, and while traveling to and from the wars, they met many Waldenses, Ana-baptists, and other Christians who shared with them the Received Text as Dr. Peter Ruckman explains.
"You see, until Martin Luther's time, there was no European recognition of the correct Bible text. It was traveling by "underground railroad" through Europe, being propagated by Lollards, Waldenses, Albigenses, Picards, Lyonists, Petrobrusians, Henricians, Berengarians, Bogomiles, Paulicians, Cathari, and Montanists."
Many of these noble men returned home with copies of the Received Text and raised questions concerning the Catholic Bibles that were based on the corrupt Alexandrian Text. The pressure from these questions became so great that in 1229, the Catholic Church actually outlawed the Bible for any but their own priesthood. Can you imagine? Those that claimed to be God's church actually forbid God's people from reading God's word. This event fulfilled yet another Bible prophecy where the prophet Amos tells us there would come a time of a famine of the word of God (Amos 8:11-12).
Man's thirst for God's word became so great that any who could, would try to seek out the Christians in the mountains just for a chance to see the word of God as revealed in the Received Text. The church of Rome responded to these people leaving their ranks in a swift and deadly way. In 1252 the Inquisition was initiated. Throughout Europe men, women, even children were stolen from their homes in the dead of night. They would be tortured to learn the location of their Christian brothers and sisters, or simply because they did not agree with the church of Rome. They would then be killed, and their property given to the church. It became so bad that family members would betray one another to save their own lives, bringing to pass still another Bible prophecy (Mark 13:12).
When the Inquisition reached its height, God provided a way of escape. In the 15th century, God began to open men's eyes to many new discoveries that would rock the world, and give His church a chance to flourish once again. This is also the fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Daniel 12:4). It is during this time that eastern Europe receives better access to the word of God as the Received Text is translated into Rumanian in the Tepl Bible. This is the beginning of a wondrous time as God begins to free Christian Europe from the clutches of Mystery Babylon, and the church once again begins to flourish as God had foretold in Isaiah 60.
In fact, out of all of history, there are three events that take place which would change the world forever during this selfsame period of time. In 1456 Gutenberg prints his first Bibles in Germany. In 1492 Columbus discovers America. In 1517 Luther begins the Reformation. These three events changed the face of the world as we know, and yet, out of all of history, God saw fit to have these three take place within the same generation.
The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. -Psalms 90:10
Again, let me emphasize what we mentioned earlier. God sets the boundaries and the timing for all nations. Here is one of the best examples I know of showing this scripture in action.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BIBLE
The battle between the church and Mystery Babylon has raged since the beginning of time. Of all of the myriad doctrines of Mystery Babylon, there are three that make the basis on which all the others thrive. These three doctrines are given in Genesis 3.
Her first doctrine "Yea, hath God said?" is a direct assault against the Holy Scriptures and their author, the Holy Ghost. Satan has spent the past few millennia continuing this battle of the Bible. By AD 100, the Bible is written and sealed. However, that was nearly 2,000 years ago. What's happened to the Bible since then? We have hundreds of books today, each of which claims to be the word of God, but which one is the real one? The devil has tried to destroy the word of God. When that didn't work, he tried to make people disregard it, and when that didn't work, he has tried to lose it in a flood of corrupt copies and, in some cases, outright lies. In spite of all of this God's word has survived and, as Jesus said, "Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away!".
The last chapter of the last book of the last testament of the word of God was sealed with a curse for any that would add to or take away from the Holy Scriptures (Revelation 22:16-21).
These words were penned by the Apostle John. John would be imprisoned on the island of Patmos (Revelation 1:9) for his strong stand for God but would later be released and return to the church at Ephesus where he would oversee the gathering together of the 27 books of the New Testament. When the New Testament canon is established, the churches at Ephesus and Antioch (Acts 11:19-26) begin to make faithful copies of these Bibles, sending them out with their missionaries to all parts of the earth so that the world might know that the Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, had come to purchase the salvation of all mankind with His own blood. This then becomes the Received Text of the church.
At about this time, The Roman Emperor Domitian's rule ends in AD 108. Trajan is the next emperor of Rome. It is Trajan that begins the practice of throwing Christians to the lions. While this is happening in Rome, the church at Antioch is translating the Received Text into Syrian. This version, known as the Peshitta, would later be called the Queen of Versions. The church also creates the Old Latin version of the Received Text during this time for the churches started in Rome and northern Italy.
At this time, Emperor Adrian would replace Trajan and continue his bloody attacks, sending thousands of Christians to their death.
As Jesus Christ and the apostles warned, wolves are also slipping into the church to corrupt the word of God. Irenaeus, an early church leader, notes this in the second century AD.
"Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all, and curtailing the gospel according to Luke and the Epistles of Paul, they assert that these alone are authentic which they themselves have shortened."
Some of the early church missionaries would travel south to the city of Alexandria in Egypt. Here they would encounter many other religious groups, such as the Arians and the Gnostics. The church had been warned of such groups by the Apostle John and many other of the early church leaders (I John 2:18-19). They would also come into contact with the religious school there. At that point in time, the school was under the leadership of a man named Origen. This man would ultimately do a major revision work on the New Testament, changing many of the scriptures to better suit the Greek doctrines prevalent at that time.
So, it is that by the year AD 230, there are two completely different versions of the Holy Bible. One was given by God in Israel. The other is a corrupt copy made in Alexandria, Egypt.
So, from this point in history, we find that we have two completely different lines of text for the word of God. The original word was made up of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and the Greek text of the New Testament. We also have a line of corrupt copies made up of the Greek Old Testament and the Origen New Testament, both of which have their beginnings in the pagan schools of Alexandria in the land of Egypt.
In AD 350 the people of Germany are given the Bible in their own language when the Received Text is translated into German in the Gothic Bible. In AD 400, the people of Armenia are given the word of God when the Received Text is translated into their language in the Armenian Bible. The people of Russia are given the Holy Scriptures around AD 440 in the Georgian Bible. The children of Ishmael, long-time enemies of the nation of Israel, are given the word of God as the Received Text is translated in their language in the Arabic Bible in AD 650. The people of Russia also are given the gospel in the Slavic Bible in AD 800. So, even here, God's word goes forth even as the Roman Empire falls under the judgment of God and the Dark Ages begin.
In the 15th century, God began to open men's eyes to many new discoveries that would rock the world, and give His church a chance to flourish once again. This is also the fulfillment of Bible prophecy (Daniel 12:4). It is during this time that eastern Europe receives better access to the word of God as the Received Text is translated into the Rumanian language in the Tepl Bible.
Just as Daniel had foretold knowledge in many areas of life began to explode beginning with a man in Germany named Gutenberg. This man was given a dream from God, which showed him a marvelous device. It was the world's first printing press and Gutenberg followed God's instructions and began printing Bibles for the people in 1456.
Suddenly the word of God begins to take Europe by storm. The Received Text is translated into the language of Holland in 1523, Denmark in 1524, Iceland in 1540, Hungary in 1541, Finland in 1548, Poland in 1551, Croatia in 1563, and Yugoslavia in 1584.
Only eternity will tell how many souls will be in heaven as the word of God literally floods these nations.
THE BATTLE OF THE CHURCH
Following the death of Jesus Christ, Satan launches a prolonged and vicious attack against the church. The first of the saints to fall is one of the first deacons named Stephen (Acts 7:59-60). Stephen's death is closely followed by the murder of one of the original twelve apostles, James, the brother of John (Acts 12:1-2). Thus, began a trail of blood that would stretch throughout the centuries to come. The city of Jerusalem is destroyed by the Roman legions in AD 70 and, by the time of the writing of the book or Revelation, the persecution of the church is in full swing. This situation is graphically shown in the letter to the church at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11).
Nero, who had the Apostle Paul beheaded, was the first of ten Roman emperors who endeavored to stamp out the early Christian church. It was also Nero who would have the city of Rome burned and blame this terrible act on the church. Thus, the first wave of the Roman killing of Christians began. Nero would die in AD 67, the same year that he had Paul murdered.
Nero would be replaced by emperor Domitian. It is Domitian who has the city of Jerusalem destroyed. He also has everyone in the family of David killed to stop future uprisings. It is also during this time that the Apostle John is exiled to Patmos. The city of Jerusalem was destroyed by the legions of Rome in AD 70. Three years later, the last Jewish stronghold called Masada, also fell to the Roman army. Domitian also had Paul's student Timothy beaten to death with clubs. It is during this period that, under the leadership of the Apostle John, the church compiles the New Testament. Dr. Otis Fuller gives some wonderful details to the compilation of the New Testament texts.
"The last of the apostles to pass away was John. His death is usually placed about AD 100. In his closing days he cooperated in the collecting and forming of those writings we call the New Testament. An ordinary careful reading of Acts, chapter 15, will prove the scrupulous care with which the early church guarded her sacred writings. While John lived, heresy could make no serious headway."
In AD 162 Marcus Aurelius become emperor. By his order, Polycarp and Justin are martyred. It is during this time that the practice begins of sewing Christians into nets and throwing them to wild bulls. Following Marcus, Severus takes the throne, ruling for forty years persecuting the church with great zeal.
Emperor Maximus comes to the throne in AD 235. He developed the Circus Maximus which was a series of annual events in which Maximus entertained his subjects by killing Christians. Fifty Christians would be thrown to the lions at one time while the Romans watched and cheered.
Maximus was followed by emperor Decius in AD 249. A Christian brother by the name of Julian is the most famous martyr of this period. Upon refusing to bow to Rome's gods, Julian is placed in a large leather bag with serpents and scorpions. The bag is then thrown into the sea.
The rule of Valerian begins in AD 257. Christian persecution worsens. In one case, 300 Christians are rounded up. They are commanded to sacrifice to Jupiter. When they refuse, they are suffocated one at a time until all are dead.
The last Roman emperor of this period is Diocletian. When this ruler learned that there were Christians in his army, he had over 6,000 of them brought to one place. When they refuse to worship Rome's idol, he has 600 of them killed. When they refuse the second time, he has another 600 murdered. On the third refusal, Diocletian orders his legions to kill all the rest, and orders the destruction of their homes and families also.
With over two hundred years of bloody persecution, Mystery Babylon could not stop God's church from growing and spreading the gospel. However, with the death of emperor Diocletian, the Roman empire itself splits apart. As if to say He had seen enough, God destroyed this world-ruling state-church system that has for so long stood against His church. It was also at this point that Satan pulled off one of his greatest schemes. As the old saying goes, "If you can't beat them, join them!". The devil realizes that he cannot destroy the church, so he has his people try to become part of it to destroy it from within.
By AD 312, the Roman Empire is full of warring factions, each trying to take all of the world for themselves. There are two major generals who try to bring Rome back together and restore the empire. One is called Galerius and the other Constantine. They battled bitterly for the throne. Galerius held the city of Rome. Constantine led his armies to take the city away from Galerius. Just before the final battle, Constantine has a vision that he says is from God. His troops win the battle and Constantine is declared the new emperor of Rome. He tells his troops that God has given him a special mission. He has his troops baptized and declares to them that they are now all Christians. He takes for himself the title "Pontifus Maximus". His first official act is to pass the edict of Milan. It declares that the official religion of Rome is now Christianity and gives freedom of religion to all. The first major period of church persecution has now officially ended.
With freedom of religion in Rome comes a new and perhaps deadlier enemy to the faith as the Alexandrian texts are introduced to the church at Rome. Now the church must fight a new, and more deadly battle as the influences of the ancient system called Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17) find their way into the New Testament church and the Dark Ages commence.
It would be many years later in Germany when one of the newly-circulated Bibles would reach the hands of a young German priest named Martin Luther. His love of God made him read this forbidden book and he found a passage that changed his life forever (Romans 1:17). Martin Luther, years later, would ultimately reject the Alexandrian Text of the Roman Catholic Church and translate the Received Text into German in the Luther Bible. Thus, yet another language group would receive the true word of God. The very fierceness of the battle between light and darkness becomes so great, that God Himself provides a way of escape.
THE STATE-CHURCH SYSTEM
As the pagan empire of Rome joins itself to the New Testament church, those who refuse to compromise the doctrines that are taught in the word of God find themselves once again the enemies of the state, as more and more new doctrines come from the newly formed state-church. The Lutheran church historian Mosheim gives a good description of difference between the church as set up by Christ and the new state-church that is developed in the centuries following this period.
"All the churches in those primitive times were independent bodies, or none of them subject to the jurisdiction of any other. For though the churches which were founded by the Apostles themselves frequently had the honor shown them to be consulted in doubtful cases, yet they had no judicial authority, no control, no power of giving laws. On the contrary all had equal rights and were in all respects on a footing of equality."
The religious system known as Mystery Babylon has long had the pagan Roman Empire in tow, and now she uses her power to bring her doctrines into the very church that Jesus has built (Matthew 16:18). Those who remain loyal to Christ and the Scriptures quickly find themselves on the outside looking in, as J.M. Carroll so aptly describes.
"The course followed by the loyal churches soon, of course incurred the hot displeasure of the state religionists. Many, if not most of whom, were not genuine Christians. The name 'Christian', however, was from now on denied those loyal churches who refused to accept these new errors. They were robbed of that, and called by many other names, sometimes by one and sometimes by another; Montanist, Tertullianists, Novationists, Paterines, etc., and some at least because of their practice of rebaptizing those who were baptized in infancy, were referred to as Anabaptists. AD 426, just ten years after the legal establishment of infant baptism, the awful period known as the 'Dark Ages' had its beginning."
Through a series of maneuvers, many of the doctrines that were started by Mystery Babylon at the tower of Babel are slowly introduced into the New Testament church. "Yea, hath God said?" takes the Received Text of the church and replaces it with the Alexandrian Text. "Ye shall not surely die" is seen in many doctrines, such as purgatory. "Ye shall be as gods" can be seen through the worship of Mary and the saints. After all, was not the Roman Caesar a god also? A complex system of works salvation replaces the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and puts an extremely heavy burden on the people (Luke 11:46). Idolatry leaves the temples of Rome only to be brought into the house of God, as the church is slowly infiltrated by the great harlot known as Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17:17-18).
When the state-church of Rome began to form, one group that refused to bow to this new movement was the church of northern Italy. Having been formed around AD 120, this church, later to be called the Waldenses, would separate themselves from the church of Rome, taking with them their beloved Received Text in the Itala Bible. Many Waldenses would openly condemn the church leadership that had supplanted the Received Text of the Bible with the corrupt Alexandrian Text.
The Christian faith has already spread all the way to Britain long before the forming of the church of Rome, so when the Pope sends men to evangelize Europe, they find churches are already well established and thriving. They also find them opposing the Alexandrian Texts because they already have the Received Text in their possession due to this selfsame work of earlier missionaries from groups such as the Waldensian churches of northern Italy. According to the church historian Dr. Von Dobshutz:
"Pope Gregory sent one of his monks to England, and this monk, took with him the Bible and introduced it to the Anglo-Saxons, and one of his followers brought with him from Rome pictures showing the Biblical history, and decorated the walls of the church in the monastery of Wearmouth. We do not enter here into the difficult questions of the relations between this newly founded Anglo-Saxon church and the old Iro-Scottish church. Differences of the Bible text had something to do with the pitiful struggles which arose between the churches and ended in the devastation of the older one."
The Catholic church splits in 1056 over the question of the authority of the Bible, and in 1229, the Roman Catholic Church outlaws the Bible for any but their own priesthood. Those that claimed to be God's church actually forbid God's people from reading God's word. This event fulfilled yet another Bible prophecy where the prophet Amos tells us there would come a time of a famine of the word of God (Amos 8:11-12).
In 1252 the Inquisition is initiated. The purpose of the Inquisition was to wipe out all heretics. A heretic is anyone who does not totally agree with the doctrine of the Catholic church. This bloody attempt to stamp out God's people went on for over 400 years. When it was done over 50 million people, many Ana-baptists and even Catholics themselves, were killed. When the Inquisition reached its height, God provided a way of escape.
At about this time in Italy, a young man had a revelation from God concerning the nature of the earth itself, based on a verse found in Isaiah 40:22. The man who believed this verse was Christopher Columbus. The pope in Rome had declared that the world was flat, so Columbus had to leave Italy and go to Spain for support for his project. His plan was to sail to the west, go around the world and land on the east Asian coast. In 1492, he set sail from the south of Spain and, after many long weeks, his ships sighted land. Thinking that he had reached India, Columbus named the natives that he found there Indian, which they are still called to this day. He had actually landed on an island off the coast of North America. He named the island "El Salvador" which means the Saviour.
Christopher Columbus has changed the world in a way that few other people in history have. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not because he discovered America. European Christians, under the leadership of Brendan, the Navigator, were in America as early as AD 600, and almost everyone has heard of Leif Ericson who came to North America around the year 1000.
Around 1400 there was a ship's captain named Stephen who traded along the western coast of Africa and Europe. On one of his return trips to Europe, he picked up a passenger who was an old missionary, returning home for the last time. As they neared the missionary's homeland, an unusual thing happened. The old man stated, "There are people out there who need Jesus." What made this unusual was the fact that, as he said this, he pointed his hand not east towards his homeland, but west toward the open expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. This event was so shocking that Stephen would never forget it. He returned home to relate this story to his son and grandson. The grandson was so affected by the story that he would name his son "Christ-bringer" or Christopher as it was said in those days. Thus Christopher Columbus, from his childhood, learned he story of his great-grandfather Stephen and the missionary.
Many years later, this same man would stand up to the scientific community and the established church of his day because he had reached a conclusion based, not on the current evidence available in his day, but on a single verse he had found in the Bible. I will now allow this young man to speak for himself.
"I am a most unworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvelous presence. For the execution of the journey to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics, or maps. It is simply the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied."
Now Christopher Columbus would never complete the journey he set out on, but later Magellan would. In spite of the vast weight of the scholars, scientists, theologians, and evidence standing against him. He simply clung to one verse in God's word.
It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: -Isaiah 40:22
Using that verse, Christopher Columbus would change the world forever. God used this verse to guide him to the new world in 1492. When Columbus reached the new world, he would even name the natives he found there Indians because he thought he had actually reached the East Indies. It was Columbus' wish to bring the natives to Christ, but in time, he would be overcome by an influence that has destroyed many people.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. -I Timothy 6:10
Columbus would indeed fall victim to greed and pride and would spend the last years of his life a broken and defeated man. This shows us what can happen to a man who replaces his love of God with the love of money. His last years were a far cry from his early ones when he began the log he kept of that faithful trip to the new world with the following words.
"In the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, praise be to God! My enterprise is in God's hands. All the indications of land come from the west, where I trust Almighty God, in whose hands are all victories, will soon deliver us to land. Therefore, let the king and queen, our princes and their happy kingdoms, and all the other provinces of Christendom, render thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has granted us so great a victory and such prosperity."
THE HOLY SCRIPTURES AND THE NEW WORLD
As the Reformation begins, thousands of people leave the church of Rome to gather themselves around anyone who might stand up to the catholic church and had some knowledge of the word of God. This was the official end of the Dark Ages, as foretold in the Bible.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. -Isaiah 60:1-5
One of the Christians who would stand up to the church was William Tyndale. He was the first man to translate the New Testament into English. He uses for his source texts not the corrupt Alexandrian Text, but the Received Text for his English Bible. He did this in 1524 and the pope in Rome put out a reward for Tyndale's capture. He was finally caught in 1536 and was burned at the stake for daring to get the Received Text back into the hands of God's people.
One group, called the Puritans lived in England and petitioned King James to have the entire Bible translated into English. The king agreed and chose scholars from all over England. This group of scholars, like Tyndale and others, would totally reject the Alexandrian line of Text and chose the Received Text as the basis for their Bible. It was this text that would finally become known as the Authorized King James Version of the Bible, which was finished in 1611.
By this time, the word of religious freedom in England had reached Europe. Many small, persecuted groups of Christians fled to England. However, things in England soon turned against these groups. As Dr. J. M. Carroll explains.
"During all the seventeenth century, persecutions for Waldenses, Ana-Baptists, and Baptists continued to be desperately severe in England by the Church of England, as John Bunyan and many others could testify; in Germany by the Lutherans; in Scotland by the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian); in Italy, in France, and in every other place where the papacy was in power by the Catholics. There is now no peace anywhere for those who are not in agreement with the state churches, or some one of them."
With their backs now to the Atlantic Ocean, the people of God had only one more place to flee to and that was America. The Pilgrims and the Puritans, closely followed by the Baptists, all booked passage on ships to the New World, preferring its unknown dangers to the persecutions all around them. As the church re-located to America, it brought with it their beloved Received Text, using it as the basis for a new form of government never before seen on earth, the Bible Commonwealth.
As the church sets its roots down in America, the greatest missionary period in all history begins. This is also the fulfillment of yet another Bible prophecy (Isaiah 60:8-9). This prophecy may well be one of the most significant as it relates to American history. Who are these that fly as a cloud? It is in America that the Wright Brothers would invent the airplane. In prophecy "isles" were any land other than Asia, Africa, and Europe, which today we call the Old World. Another amazing part of this prophecy is the mention of the "ships of Tarshish first". Tarshish was the old name for the south of Spain. It was indeed from this area that Columbus and his ships first set out to discover the New World. It was also from the New World that Columbus and other explorers returned with gold, silver, and sons from afar, native Americans. It also tells us here why the natives were brought back. While evil men may have had other intention, it was God's intention that they could come to know the name of the Lord so that they might be saved.
It is to the New World that the church did flee to escape the clutches of Mystery Babylon. America becomes a truly Christian nation. One of the first things the new settlers do is to set up schools so that their children can learn to read the Scriptures. Within a few decades, great universities would spring up, such as Yale and Harvard, to train young men to become missionaries to carry the Holy Scriptures into the far reaches of the New World and back into the Old World to win them both for Christ. Great revivals sweep the young nation, as the people draw closer to their God. Satan is truly enraged but is able to do little to stem the tide of world evangelism, at least for now.
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