In Lesson Four, we saw that the attack of Satan on the earthly sanctuary came to an end with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The death of Jesus on the cross marked the end of the earthly sanctuary services and festivals and opened a new phase of His ministry. With the covenant being fulfilled by His death, He could now move to the high priest phase of His ministry in heaven since the shedding of His blood was necessary for this phase. This lesson continues from the point of Jesus’ death and resurrection and His great commission to His disciples,
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” Matt 28:19
Before We Start
Our Father in Heaven. We thank you for your promises of wisdom and knowledge. Teach us your truth as we read your word and send the Holy Spirit to guide us. Amen
After Jesus’ death, the apostles preached in Jerusalem. The gospel spread rapidly. In a short time, the Christians became hated by both the unbelieving Jewish people and the Romans. Persecution increased until in the year A.D. 34 Stephen was put to death. One of the persecutors was Saul of Tarsus. Soon after the death of Stephen, Saul was converted and became the apostle Paul. Because of the persecution at the time, the Christians spread out and moved all around the known world. Rome continued to persecute the Christians but the greater the persecution, the greater they multiplied. This continued over a couple of hundred years.
Fast forward to A.D. 313.
The Roman Emperor, Constantine, faced with this ever-multiplying sect of Christians, finally decided that the only way to beat them was to join them. In A.D. 313, he issued the Edit of Milan which gave freedom of worship to the Christians. It is said that when he converted, he had his army walk into the river and back out to “baptize” them into Christianity. In order to make Christianity palatable to his pagan subjects, many pagan rites and practices were brought into the church at the time. Idols of the gods, became statues of the disciples, etc. In A.D. 321, he encouraged the practice of worshipping the day of the sun in the Christian church. Because of conflicts between the papacy and the teaching of Arianism , he made the papacy the determiner of religious thought, in essence taking away religious freedoms from the masses. He helped establish the way for the papacy to gain power and influence.
Satan Attacks the Church From Inside
Read Acts 20:17, 28-31
Acts 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the "lock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the "lock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
In this passage, Paul knows that he has but a short time left and his biggest concern is about apostasy creeping into the church. Paul warns the bishops and elders of false teachings starting among them. Notice that he warns about false teachers who draw people away from Jesus towards themselves.
Let’s look at a few more passages.
2 Cor 11:1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
2 Cor 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Gal 2:4 But this occured because of false brothren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus,that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Phil 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Also read 2 Peter 2, 1 John4:1-4, Jude and Rev 2:2. (Also see NICOLAISM in Wikipedia)
Paul is aware of the apostasy that will spring up in the church after he leaves. He knows that Satan will attack the church from the inside. In any war, it is always easier to fight the enemy you know outside the walls, than to fight the enemy you don’t know inside the walls. Just as Paul said, apostasy arose inside the church. This was Satan’s first line of attack.
Satan’s War Against The Heavenly Sanctuary
Let’s read Dan. 8:9-14.
Dan 8:9 And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. 10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered. 13 Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? 14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
Verse 10 talks about Pagan Rome persecuting the Christians. This is a well-known fact. Verse 11 is about the death of Jesus at the hands of the Romans and begins to move in to the next phase of power, Papal Rome. The last half of verse 11 and verse 12 talk about the attack on the sanctuary. This is a spiritual attack since the sanctuary on earth no longer exists. We then move into the rest of the 2,300 day prophecy we studied earlier.
So now we have:
1. The death of Jesus
2. Persecution of Christians by Literal Israel and Pagan Rome
3. Little Horn increases – Pagan Rome gives way to Papal Rome
4. A.D 538 – Papal Rome given temporal power to rule – Start of the 1260 day prophecy
5. Power will think to change times and laws – Dan. 7:25
6. Satan attacks God’s heavenly sanctuary through Papal Rome
Satan Breaks Down The Heavenly Sanctuary
So how does Satan break down the heavenly sanctuary through the papal system?
The one time sacrifice of Jesus becomes a renewed sacrifice whenever the wafer is presented at communion. “The Council of Trent in its thirteenth session ending October 11, 1551, defined transubstantiation as "that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood – the species only of the bread and wine remaining – which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation". This council officially approved use of the term "transubstantiation" to express the Catholic Church's teaching on the subject of the conversion of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, …” (Wikipedia)
Baptism by sprinkling replaces baptism by immersion, plus it is done to infants who have no knowledge of its significance.
During the Dark Ages, the common people were forbidden to own a Bible and Bibles were only available to the clergy and even that was limited. Bibles were taken by force and the owners often killed.
Any attempts to witness brought condemnation and death if the individual did not recant his teachings.
Prayers directly to God or Jesus were now to be routed through the priests or the saints. Direct access to God was impossible because people needed an intercessor like a saint or His mother, the Virgin Mary, to help their prayers to be answered.
The papal system also changed the first four commandments that deal directly with our relationship with God.
1. The first commandment “thou shalt have no other gods before Me” is replaced with a veneration of the Virgin Mary and of the saints.
2. The second commandment , “thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images” is replaced with statues of saints, Jesus on the cross, and the Virgin Mary. These are set up at prayer stations.
3. The third commandment, “thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” is replaced by the priest calling himself “Father” and the pope, “Holy Father”. See Matt 19:17 “And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: …..”
4. The fourth commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy”. The seventh day Sabbath that God instituted at creation to remind us that He is the creator is now replaced with Sunday, a holy day to the sun. “The sun was a foremost god with heathendom… The sun has worshippers at this hour in Persia and other lands… There is, in truth, something royal, kingly about the sun, making it a fit emblem of Jesus, the Sun of Justice. Hence the Church in these countries would seem to have said, ‘Keep that old pagan name. It shall remain consecrated, sanctified.’ And thus the pagan Sunday, dedicated to Balder, became the Christian Sunday, sacred to Jesus.” The Catholic World, March, 1994, p. 809.
So we have a breakdown of all the services that God had defined for the sanctuary and a breakdown of the commandments pertaining to our worship of God.
If you talk to a Roman Catholic they will tell you that they really worship Jesus and that the statues are not there to worship but to remind you about Jesus. But the reality is that when you are praying to whoever the statue is supposed to represent, it is no different than praying to a stone , wooden, silver or gold idol that represents some deity in pagan worship. You see the same spirit at work here. It takes you away from the way that God said we should worship Him. We have man’s way of worship versus God’s way of worship. All of this is very carefully crafted by Satan.
Satan Sets Up A False Sanctuary
Anytime there is a genuine article, Satan sets up a counterfeit and the sanctuary is no exception. Since the sanctuary is in heaven at this time, Satan sets up a counterfeit sanctuary here on earth to influence minds. Just as the earthly sanctuary set up by Moses followed a set of rituals, the earthly sanctuary set up by Satan has its rituals also.
If you go into a Catholic Church, you will see how Satan tries to create a false sanctuary here on earth. There is:
1. A fixed altar
2. Baptismal font in the shape of a bowl
4. The Host (Bread) on the altar
5. Incense (on occasion)
6. Robes like the Jewish high priest
7.Two compartment confessional like the two compartments in the sanctuary, the Holy and Most Holy
8. Rituals and traditions
In addition to breaking down God’s sanctuary and setting up a false sanctuary, a number of non-biblical false teachings are introduced such as immortality of the soul, eternal hell (can only work with immortals, since mortals do die), purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, Original Sin and others. Let’s look at some of these.
Immortality of the Soul
When Satan first tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, he told her, “ye shall not surely die”, Genesis 3:4. This was the first big lie and the lie that Satan has continued to tell down through the ages.
Genesis 3:22-24 says, ”And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a "laming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”
We see from these last three verses that God drove Adam and Eve from the Garden before they could eat from the tree of life and become immortal sinners. If we are not immortal, then we cannot suffer in purgatory and we cannot burn in hell forever.
We Go Directly to Hell, Heaven or Purgatory
Going hand in hand with this teaching, is the one that says we go directly to heaven or hell when we die. If this is the case, then why does Jesus come back to this earth and why do we have the first and second resurrections spoken of in 2 Thess. 4 :16-18 and Revelation 20:4-6.
1Thess 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise "irst: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
In reading Revelation 20:5 , it sounds like the first resurrection is after the thousand years. This is due to Revelation being written in something called a “chiastic structure”. What that means is that John jumps back and forth when he writes. Sometimes he writes things that happen later as though they happen first. From the text in Thessalonians you can see that the righteous dead are raised when Jesus returns. That is the first resurrection. The evil dead sleep for another thousand years before they are raised in the second resurrection. We will cover that in more detail later.
Another teaching that arises from this is that when you die, you are able to see what happens to your loved ones here on earth and you can communicate with them. This is the teaching of Spiritualism. Lets look at some texts.
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. John 11:11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Jesus talks about the first death as a sleep, in which the dead person knows nothing. If that’s the case, who is it that is talking in the form of the dead person? Evil spirits. Review the story of Saul and the witch of Endor in 1 Samuel 28.
The Immaculate Conception
Hebrews chapter 2 talks about the humanity of Jesus. The Jewish Mosaic laws specified the laws of redemption of land and people. When people were poor and sold themselves into slavery, or sold their family land, certain rules existed to allow them to get out of slavery or to buy back the family land. The story of Ruth is a good example. Naomi, Ruth’s mother-n-law, was a poor woman whose husband and sons had died and she had to sell her land. The closest relative had first rights to buy the land and keep it in the family. This person was known as the redeemer. In order to be a redeemer, one had to be a close relative.
In order to redeem us, Jesus had to be a close relative. As the Son of God, He did not qualify, but when He became human, born of a woman, He became our brother.
The teaching arose that Jesus became human but also God at the same time. He did not take on the sinful flesh of fallen humanity. According to this teaching, He could not take on fallen, sinful flesh because then He would become sinful and then could not be our Savior. This is part of the concept of Original Sin, a theory put forth by Augustine. Because of this, the Catholic Church had to get around the fact that He was born of a sinful woman, so they came up with the teaching that Mary, His mother, was born perfect through the workings of the Holy Spirit, (the Immaculate Conception), so that Jesus would not be born of sinful flesh. This is contrary to what the Bible teaches. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit and Mary and goes to great lengths to give the lineage of Jesus in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. It even includes people like Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabitess and Bathsheba the adulteress. If Jesus was not truly human, then He cannot be our redeemer, Can you see the implications? Satan is deceptive.
You may want to read Wikipedia on “Original Sin” but I’m sure you will be as confused as I was. Basically, the Roman Catholic view comes from Augustine which says that when Adam sinned, he gave us a condemned nature. Because of this, infants are baptized to remove this condemnation. This teaching is not found in the Bible although some people try to develop it from Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:22.
1. As early as Paul’s time, he was warning of apostasy coming into the church.
2. Persecution in the church dispersed the Christians
3. Roman persecution continued until A.D. 313
4. Constantine helped bring paganism into the Christian church
5. Sunday worship was established during Constantine’s reign
6. Constantine assisted in the growth of the papacy
7. Through the papacy, Satan tears down the various symbols in the sanctuary
8. Satan, through the papacy, establishes a false sanctuary here on earth
9. New false teachings are brought into the church
10. Much of the original teaching of the apostles is lost or perverted
How Does This Show The Love of God?
God knows the future and He used Paul to warn the churches that apostasy would creep into the churches. He also warned the church through the prophet Daniel and the Apostle John. The Bible is also very clear on its teachings. God gives us enough detail to understand the truth. We can choose to accept His word or we can doubt or make excuses. It’s up to us.
Wikipedia has a wealth of information on this topic. Some of the topics you may be interested in, include: Constantine I, Catholicism, Purgatory, Persecution of the Christians, Dark Ages, Middle Ages, Christmas and Easter just to name a few.