THE WHEAT & THE TARES
HISTORY’S DEVELOPMENT OF TWO CHURCHES
By W. G. Guy
The following is a study of early church history that is not taught in many Seminary’s or Bible Colleges. This is because most church history has been written by leadership of the Roman Catholic Church in order to justify its authenticity and to propagate its continuance.
Matthew 13:24-30 – Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
The above passage of scripture tells us that there are two churches in the world today; a counterfeit church identified as the “tares”, and the true church identified as the “wheat”. The two continue to grow side by side, interwoven in societies, until the time for the harvest. The first event in the harvest is the identification and separation of the counterfeit tares from the true wheat.
This lengthy article reveals that the church began in a blaze of glory on the Day of Pentecost with the Holy Spirit equipping the believers with power to be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. The established religious system at that time was vehemently opposed to the newly birthed church of Christ and persecuted it which drove it into other lands to spread and grow as the Spirit of the Lord directed.
The apostle Paul, as well as Jesus himself, warned that eventually that there would arise false leaders that corrupt the church and mislead it into false directions.
Matthew 24:4-5 – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ (anointed); and shall deceive many.
Matthew 7:22-23 – Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Acts 20:29-30 – For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
Now for a look back at church history to see the departure from what was already established by the apostles and their successors in forming the true church. We will pick up at the time when significant change began to take place in Christianity.
In 313 A.D. Constantine became Emperor (Caesar) of Rome, and he claimed to have become a Christian. The Caesar’s subjects usually followed the ways of their emperor. So now, under Constantine, “Christianity is in”. In fact, he established Christianity as the official State Religion. So now Christianity is not only acceptable, but it is now fashionable. This opens the door for all manner of compromise and moral ills to enter into the church.
Prior to Constantine, the Caesar’s made sport of Christians as history has recorded. Nero has long been considered the most notorious of the degenerate Caesars, but there were others worse than he was; such as Caligula, and Domitian.
In an attempt to annihilate Christianity, Domitian worked to kill off all those that he could find in the empire who provided leadership or influence in the church. His technique was quite effective in eliminating most church leadership, although he was unable to wipe out Christianity; but he did stop the church’s spiritual growth and development. Since the qualified, skilled in the Word, and led by the Spirit, leaders were mostly eliminated, there was no one to teach and instruct believers in the deeper truths and ways of Christ to bring them to spiritual maturity – Ephesians 4:11-16. Eliminated were those who were able to rightly divide the Word of God, to discern what was of God and what was not of God, and to hear what the Spirit was saying..
A new age thus began for the church. It now has acceptance, but no qualified knowledgeable and spiritual leadership. This void in leadership would then be filled from a source that was not of God.
With Christianity now being the new State Religion under Constantine, a brand new generation of “Christians” were being ushered into the church. This required a new generation of church leadership. Unfortunately, this was a leadership that was void of the knowledge of the Word, the Holy Spirit, and Christ being in them. It was also a leadership lacking in the calling and gifting of God; being ordained of man, and not ordained by the Lord.
This new leadership in the church came from those who were formerly the leadership of the prior, now outlawed pagan religions. Since their old jobs no longer existed, especially when paganism was later outlawed under Constantine’s son, they simply moved into the new State Religion and took places of leadership in the church. This is when the false church began to arise – the Roman Catholic Church - the tares.
With this new order of leadership, in the now socially acceptable church, came all the pagan rituals and observations that have been the practice of the pagan priests for generations before. These began to be incorporated in the church at that time, added to since then, and much of which is still observed today. This new leadership became “professional”, the first time such a thing existed in the church.
In 323 A.D. Constantine built the city of Constantinople in Turkey. This became the eastern version of the Church of Rome, and this city became the eastern capitol city from which to he could rule his expanded empire. As a result, this city became the seat of the Eastern Orthodox Church, while Rome remained the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.
Constantine also initiated a new era in the church when he commissioned “houses of worship” to be built in his new city. Christians had never seen anything like this before because church meetings were either held in people’s houses, in public meeting places, or in secret locations during persecution. This was the beginning of the “church” building; before this time “church” simply meant the assembly of believers called out to meet together. Constantine then returned to Rome and did the same thing there, establishing “houses of worship”, church buildings.
Constantine named these worship buildings after great Christians like Peter, Paul, Luke and Mary, etc. Years later, when sainthood was initiated in the Roman Church, these names became what we see now on Rome’s churches – St. Mary’s, St. Peters, St. Luke’s, etc.
When first introducing Christianity as the State Religion, Constantine bribed his soldiers to become Christians. He offered a silver nugget to everyone in his army who would be baptized as a Christian – so guess what? The church was filled with new converts, but they were not believers. Also this meant that the church was not only run by the State, but now being supported by the State also.
Rome’s paganism eventually dries up financially. Money is now going to the church and not to the pagan temples and priests. In fact, these temples have become deserted as the pagans, especially their leadership, moved to where the money and the attention was – the church. They brought “ALL” their superstitions and customs with them into the church. These godless rituals, practices and beliefs have only continued to grow and increase in the Roman Church since then.
The following is a listing of erroneous beliefs that have been added to the Roman Church over the centuries:
CORRUPT BELIEFS AND PRACTICES BECOME INSTILLED AS ROMAN CHURCH PROTOCOL
Historically recognized "church fathers" had a hand in introducing the corruption that has grown, such as:
Clement: declared himself Bishop of Rome; approximately A.D. 95, endorsed the clergy and the position of High Priest and Deacons as having authority over the laity.
Ignatius: Bishop of Antioch; approximately A.D. 117, fine tuned the hierarchical system by removing any and all types of ministry or service from laymen and placing all under the control of the clergy. . (This was identified as the works of the “Nicolaitans” – Revelation 2:6.)
Irenaeus: Bishop of Lyon, France; approximately A.D. 130-212, established "apostolic succession" meaning anyone involved in ministry had to be ordained by the established order and under their "covering" (control).
Tertullian: Bishop of Carthage, approximately A.D. 160-230, re-enforced the role of clergy by a centralized Order, or point of authority (control) as "know it all’s" and the laity are unlearned and ignorant people that must obey the Order.
Cyprian: Arch Bishop of Carthage, approximately A.D. 237-247, declared that the Church, its traditions and rulers had precedence over people, not Jesus Christ or the Word of God.
Augustine: Bishop of Hippo, approximately A.D. 395-430, championed loyalty to Roman Catholicism and the laity - smothering Constantinian "establishment " church. He merged the state (Rome) with the church thus giving the church an army and the power of the state to enforce its beliefs, doctrines and edicts. He felt the state needed the church to transform society, and the church needed the state to enforce
that transformation. Thus began the executions for heresy.
Based on the beliefs, practices and theology of these respected church fathers, they regarded themselves to be above the Bible and to be the final authority. To them the Bible means whatever they say it means, and they were never wrong; and God help them who oppose or resist there decrees. The following is a list of things that these so-called infallible authorities and their successors incorporated as institutions into the Mother (Roman) church:
140 Pope Hyginus establishes clergy as a superior order distinct from laity
150 Sprinkling replaced immersion for baptism
200 Clergy given title of "Priest"
200 Origen brings in Greek oratory and performance modeled after Plato
211 Prayers for the dead endorsed by Tertullian
250 Recognition of the continued virginity of Mary
250 Infant baptism initiated (became institutionalized in A.D. 416)
258 Holy water documented by Cyprian
270 Monasticism (the shuttering away of persons for sanctification)
320 Utilization of wax candles and incense as part of worship service
320 Pastors became "professional", salaried by the state
375 Veneration of angels and dead "saints"
375 Use of images and icons as objects of worship
378 Damascus I becomes Pope.
380 Christianity becomes "state" religion and is imposed on all citizens
394 Establishment of the Mass
402 Innocent I calls himself "Ruler of the Church God"
405 List of forbidden books made
420 Purgatory proposed
431 Mary elevated as the "Mother of God"
451 Leo I takes title of Pope and confers it on all previous bishops of Rome posthumously.
476 Indulgences received for the dead
500 Priests don gaudy costumes and funny hats that show rank
526 Extreme unction
590 Purgatory confirmed
600 Pray to Mary, angels and dead saints
709 Kissing the Pope's foot
787 Veneration and worship of images and relics
819 Feast of the assumption of Mary
858 Wearing of papal crown begins with Nicolas 1
859 Papal claims to temporal powers by employing forged documents
869 Western (Rome) and Eastern (Constantinople) churches divide
995 Canonization of "dead saints"
1045 Gregory VI bought office of Pontiff by paying Pope Benedict to resign
1074 Celibacy established for Priests
1080 Reading the Bible forbidden in common language, (the beginning of reading restrictions of the Bible)
1184 Inquisition begins - millions executed in the name of heresy
1190 Selling of indulgences (a fund raising scheme for the church)
1208 The Rosary - prayer beads
1215 Transubstantiation - the communion wafer and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ by incantation of priest
1220 Adoration of the wafer (host)
1245 Limbo invented for dead, unbaptized infants
1300 Stained glass becomes part of church architecture
1342 Treasury of Merits - credits for good deeds now can be transferred
1414 The cup forbidden to laity at communion, only Priests can drink wine
1484 Innocent VIII orders extermination of Waldenses (opposition believers group)
1546 Council of Trent - Pope has power over all the earth; church tradition has authority equal to scriptures; seminaries instituted
1547 Rejection of justification by faith alone (reaction to Luther's doctrine)
1564 Immorality caused by nude statues so fig leaves order to be retrofitted
1572 Solemn mass for St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of Huguenots
1854 Immaculate Conception instituted (Mary born sinless)
1870 Papal infallibility established
1931 Mary named "Mediatrix" (gives favors not granted by God and quicker than Jesus
1950 Assumption of Mary to heaven
1954 Mary named "Queen of Heaven" and enshrined
Many of the pagan practices in the Roman Church today can be traced all the way back through paganism to ancient Babylon under Nimrod and his wicked wife, Semiramis. This is where the worship of the “Holy Mother and Child” originated. Nimrod claimed that when he died he would be reincarnated by being born as a special child from his wife Semiramis. He died, and she later had an illegitimate child and claimed it was Nimrod reincarnated; this began the worship of “Mother and Child” that the Roman Catholic has observed to today. The emphasis, of course, was on her; and she called herself the “Queen of Heaven”. This was the origin of that pagan practice that still exists with the veneration of the Roman Church’s Mary, Queen of Heaven.
The term “Clergy” is a term used to describe those in pagan leadership who received state support from tax money. This word predates Christ.
The term “Pope” or “Pontiff” is the word for the supreme head of the pagan religion, and the Caesar, whenever he officiated during Roman “religious” ceremonies and observances. In Rome, the Caesar was considered to be a god, the religious head of the State, as well as its political leader.
The Roman Senate, composed of 70 Senators, was the model for the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church whose job was to determine the next Pope (Caesar) to be placed in power.
The Roman Empire begins to deteriorate in the 4th century and changes from a POLITICAL entity to a RELIGIOUS entity. The demise of political Rome began around 377 A.D. and culminated around 500 A.D., yet the Roman Empire lives on, but in a different form. It appears that this is addressed by what is recorded prophetically in the Book of Daniel beginning with Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – Daniel 2:36-45. Daniel has an encounter with an angel foretelling future empires with regard his people. This includes a unique revelation of dark forces of satanic angels that motivate godless rulers of nations.
Daniel 10:12-14 & 20 – Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the (Satanic angelic) prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief (of God’s angelic) princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days (into the future). ……Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the (Satanic angel) prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the (Satanic angel) prince of Grecia shall come (to lead the next empire).
(Note: my parenthesis added for clarification; also refer to Ephesians 6:12 for more information on spiritual warfare with these satanic angels and demonic forces. This topic will be addressed later.)
From the above scripture in Daniel we see that every significant dominate nation and government can have an angel appointed by Satan to guide it into the will and way of the devil to defy God. Spiritual warfare is the battle that is going on in this realm of the spirit where we cannot see or enter except by the power of prayer and faith – the spiritual forces God has given to true believers for the use of the Name of Jesus Christ and His shed blood to resist such evil.
Daniel was exerting such spiritual force when one of God’s angels, Gabriel, broke through the warfare into this material realm and delivered a message to Daniel. He said he would return to the spiritual dimension to resume battle to resist the efforts of Satan’s angel or prince of that nation. He also said that after that one was defeated, another one over the next nation (Greece) would arise. Then he would have to fight that satanic prince on behalf of God’s people until it, and that nation, was defeated.
It appears that when one of Satan’s “prince” angels was defeated, it meant the demise of that nation or empire that it ruled over from the spirit realm. This explains the wickedness of many of the empires and their kings and rulers. When one empire falls another one would take its place; same kind of spiritual battle, just with new warriors; and so it continues until the King of Kings defeats the head of all the enemy forces; as revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream when Jesus Christ, the ROCK, destroys all godless empires of man and locks up Satan in the pit.
Now back to the Roman Empire; the spiritual “prince” of Rome was never defeated as were his predecessors. Instead, he transferred his rule from the political entity, which he saw die out from under him, to the thriving new religious entity. Having never been defeated, the Roman Empire continues to this day, only it is disguised as the Church of Rome; and the same satanic angel still rules behind it, it’s Popes, and determines its course.
The objectives of the Roman Catholic Church have been the very same as those of the Caesars of Rome. These objectives have been pursued ever since. The plans of the Caesars for world conquest and dominion have been in place in the Catholic Church ever since then.
The kings of most of the world’s western nations have bowed before the Pope. The Popes often told kings what to do as they were subject to the Pope and under his influence. The Popes have ruled the kings of the earth for centuries. Many wars have been fought over this very thing; and few seem to realize the Roman Church was behind them and blinded by it.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows the succession of the empires represented by the various material elements described in Daniel 2:32-35. This image showed the remaining empires of the world until Christ comes to destroy the image and its controlling forces, and putting down the corrupt rule of sinful man, when Jesus takes over to set up His kingdom on earth.
This is why Nebuchadnezzar’s dream shows the Rock (Christ) crushing the feet and legs of the image. The feet and legs represent what remains of the Roman Empire after it divided in two – the Eastern Orthodox and the Roman branch. Then it is split up into even more divisions represented by the ten toes – where we are today. Scholars agree that the last empire is Rome: however, some believe the empire has to be revived before the end-times, but they fail to realize that the Roman Empire has never ceased to be in existence – it merely changed form. This is why, at its end, it consists of many “kings” (nations) that are “iron mixed with clay”, and as such are not truly united, but are loosely aligned – Daniel 2:41-44.
So it appears that the (satanic) Prince of Rome still controls the leadership of the Church of Rome today in various degrees. Today much of the western world is under the influence of the Roman Empire in disguise, along with it Satanic Prince of Rome. He is a powerful, high ranking “religious” spirit in Satan’s army. It appears that he may actually be the spirit of “Anti-Christ”; and masquerades as the Holy Spirit, but being the counterfeit.
Now here is a great problem that is identified: The Roman Catholic Church has offspring. The Roman Catholic Church is the harlot church, the great whore; but she has spawned daughters – the Protestant Church that began in the Reformation.
Revelation Chapter 17:4-6 – And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
The Protestant Church was birthed out of the Roman Church, and although it has rejected some of Rome’s dogmas such as the veneration of Mary, Priests forgiving sins, praying to Mary and dead saints and statues, and rejecting the Pope’s leadership; it still contains many of the beliefs and practices that were initiated by Rome, of which some I will explain later. Even so, this harlot church set out to destroy its daughters for abandoning its mother as the Roman Church has murdered multitudes for heresy over the centuries. It became drunk with the blood of the saints – Revelation 17:6.
Since ancient Rome was the seat of power politically in its day, it automatically became the seat of power religiously. The Church of Rome began to dictate to other churches all over the world since the rest of the world was used to Roman rule.
Rome exerted so much influence that it was able to change dates and times as mentioned in the Book of Daniel. It changed the day of Christ’s crucifixion from Wednesday to Friday, and then called it Good Friday. (How do you get three days AND three nights from Friday sunset to Sunday sunrise, (actually Saturday sunset); Jesus was in the grave three days AND three nights.
Matthew 12:40 – for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
In the year Jesus was crucified, he was killed on the Day of Preparation when the lambs were killed for the Passover; and that day was a Wednesday.
John 19:31 – The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
That evening, which began the High Holy Sabbath of Passover, Jesus had to be off the cross and buried before sunset. Then he was resurrected after sunset on Saturday, which in Israel’s time began their Sunday. The Sabbath referred to was not the weekly Sabbath of Saturday, but the Holy Sabbath of Passover. (Please recognize that in Israel the days go from sunset to sunset, as evening begins the next day – Genesis 1.)
Then, because of its paganism, the Catholic Church put a pagan name on the event and called it EASTER since its priests had already been celebrating this as a pagan holiday for centuries welcoming the season of Spring with its planting and reproduction.
Easter is the English (Saxon) word for Eastre, the Saxon goddess of sex and fertility; thus we have eggs and bunny rabbits to celebrate this event which should be called PASOVER – (Christ became our Passover Lamb). This same goddess of sex and fertility is identified in other empires and societies by other names such as: Isis by the Egyptians, Venus by the Greeks, Astarte by another ancient culture, and called Asteroth (or Asheroth) by the Assyrians as mentioned in the Bible. Another tradition that is observed in all churches today was based on another pagan tradition that the pagan priests adopted into the Roman Church which will be identified later.
Man’s control over the church, led by this religious spirit, is the operation of the spirit of antichrist that the apostle John mentioned:
1 John 2:18-19 – Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
Man began to organize for control and dominion over every operation of the church. This meant that Christ was not the head of this church, but man was. Church leadership became exclusive and professional. Leaders were now identified by their costumes or clerical garments. There was now an air of prestige and high recognition for them as individuals which never existed in the early church. They esteemed the man with honor and not the work as required in 1 Thessalonians 5:13. We are to esteem and love them for their work, not for their elevated position or who THEY are, but WHAT they do.
About 500 A.D. the Roman Catholic Church is fully set up to control nations and their people. Gregory becomes Pope, and to maintain man’s control and authority over the kings and people, he claims direct succession to the apostle Peter. With no knowledgeable leaders to refute this doctrine, we find that apostles and prophets are now done away with. They are no longer needed because they have been replaced by the Pope and his Cardinals. Man eliminates God given authority to supplant it with man-made authority. This is where the church got the doctrine that apostles and prophets are not for today.
Pope Gregory was a mad man who was crazed with superstition and paganism. He loved mysterious, dark and spooky things, and so he incorporated them into the church as worship. Thus we got the spooky “Gregorian Chants” in the Catholic Church. Regardless of how pious or spiritual some of the chants may be, their origin and purpose was to add the sense of mystique to the church services.
(Note: it was actually political Rome, with its Senate, that withheld the wickedness of the Popes, the man of sin, as is mentioned by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8.)
With the demise of the power of political Rome, religious Rome was now free to take over and exert its influence. It was political Rome that withheld the man of sin (Pope) until it was taken away as listed in the scripture above. As Rome’s armies disappeared, the civilized world entered into the age of “barbarianism” as history books identify. However, the barbarians were actually the result of the rise of Islam in the 6th century A.D. who went about to conquer Rome and then move into Europe.
Islam brought about the end of education and intellectual advancement, artisanship and crafts, as they wanted to destroy anything that was not of Islam. Now, with no intellectual base, or advancement in knowledge, the door was left open to extreme superstition and pagan rituals in both society and in the church. (Note: this writer predicted in 1990 that, in the near future, Islam would somehow join with the Roman Catholic Church, because they both have the same evil spirit leadership – a satanic prince.)
The Roman Catholic Church places its credence in tradition as church doctrine rather than in true knowledge of the scriptures. Until this past century the parishioners of the Catholic Church were forbidden to even read the Bible. This is because the scriptures reject the things that the Roman Church brought into its “Christian” practices and holds to as fundamental to their existence.
These traditions and rituals became sacred. This plunges the church and society into the dark ages. This is the age when there is no light; when the attributes of Christ are not seen in the church, and knowledge or illumination by the scriptures is absent. Instead, every form of human darkness and religious superstition takes its place.
Early church history was falsified by the Roman Catholic Church historians that did not begin to be recorded until after 500 A.D. All church history they conceived prior to that time was contrived by these writers. This was done to prove that the Roman Church was a continuation of the original early church in order to justify its traditions and rituals.
The writings of revered men like Ambrose, Augustine, Turtullian, Ignatius, Jerome, Iranius and Origian, mentioned earlier, became considered as divinely inspired, and thus, studied more intently that the scriptures. These men were the last of the pre-dark-ages intellectuals and literates at that time. All of these were influenced by the pagan philosophers Aristotle and Plato. Today their writings are still studied and revered in most seminaries as previously listed. This is part of the source of “liberalism” in today’s Bible Schools and Colleges, and contributes to the “falling away” that the apostle Paul predicted before the return of Christ.
The breaking forth of the true light ends the “Dark-Ages”, and the long road out of bondage begins with the Reformation. The Reformation’s beginning is credited to Martin Luther and his 95 thesis in 1517 A.D. The Protestant Reformation begins a new church movement, but its foundation is still based in Roman Catholicism; only now they reject Papal control, and Christ is now presented again as the only means of salvation through faith. However, many of the same traditions, times and dates, which were incorporated in the Roman Church are still carried on as before in these new off-spring Protestant Churches, the daughters of the Roman harlot.
The Protestant Reformation was a reaction to Rome, and not a full return to the style and form of the early church. This return to the purity of early church Christianity is still going on as being led by the Holy Spirit; the Reformation isn’t over yet, not until we are fully matured to the way Christ wants us – in His image.
Ephesians 4:13 – till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:
To their credit, the Reformers did produce written works that exposed much of the error of the Roman Church. Two of these works are the Matthew Henry Commentary on the Holy Bible, and the 1566 Geneva Bible which contains valuable footnotes on each chapter. (It was the Geneva Bible that first divided the Bible into chapters and verses.)
Back then the Geneva Bible was preferred by true Christians over the 1611 King James Bible because the King James Version was a product of the Church of England, known as the Anglican Church. In England, the king was the supreme ruler and not the Pope. So the king established the Church of England (the Anglican Church) to defy the Pope’s rule and authority over it.
However, the Anglican Church, being closely related to the Roman Catholic Church, thus reflects Rome’s influence; especially in the Book of Acts where the word “Easter” is used in place of Passover. The Geneva Bible used the word “Passover” as it should. In addition, it was the Geneva Bible that was brought to America on the Mayflower by America’s early settlers and was the only Bible used in America’s beginning.
The Reformers recognized that the Roman Catholic Church was the beast system and Great Whore of the Book of Revelation with the Pope being the man of sin, or the antichrist. They see that it is the position or office of Pope, and not just a single person, that constitutes antichrist. In Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and in the footnotes in Revelation of the Geneva Bible, it is explained extensively how the role of Pope fulfills what is written in the Book of Revelation: especially as it pertains to the works of Pope Boniface and Pope Gregory 5th and 7th. The role and action of these Popes also fulfills what the prophet Daniel identifies about these cruel leaders; the apostle Paul verifies this in 1 Thessalonians 4, and in 2 Thessalonians 2 about the man of sin.
The dominion of these men, led by a religious spirit, is the operation of antichrist that the apostle John was referring to in Revelation when he identifies him. Revelation 13:18 says his name is the number of man, 666; so we see that 6 represents the spirit of man; and 6 represents the soul of man, and 6 represents the body of man, thus 666. Man dominates the Roman Church, taking the Lord’s place as ruler or head of the church. The position of Pope, held by a man, revered by the Church of Rome, sitting on the throne and calling himself the “Vicar of Christ” fulfills what has been prophesied.
The Reformers so aggravated the Pope at that time with what they wrote about him that he instituted the Jesuits to formulate a plan to divert Christian’s attention away from the Pope being the antichrist. Two Jesuits took up the task and the most successful one was revealed by Father Alberto Rivera, of the scheme that was featured in the well-known Chick Tract and Comics back in the 1970’s.
Father Alberto Rivera revealed that the idea that the antichrist was a single individual who would appear on the scene at the beginning of a seven year tribulation. His material was adopted by a Welch preacher, (of the Plymouth Brethren), who passed it onto another preacher in America who publicized it. Then it was adopted by C. I. Schofield who incorporated it in his well-known Schofield Reference Bible, and thus, it has been accepted in most of the western church today; yet it is an absolute error contrived by the Roman Catholic Church.
New revelation always brings division. Over the course of time, independent thinkers searching the scriptures have come to understand more truth and see more errors in what is practiced and taught in the Roman Church. They bring discoveries forth, and get rejected by the established leadership, so they go out and start a new group with a fresh revelation. The former then begins to discredit them, and then proceeds to persecute the reformers if they can’t be stopped. It remains the same today which is why we have so many different denominations of the protestant church.
Qualification for church leadership remains mostly in the hands of man. The establishment seeks to preserve itself, so it sets up qualifications designed to procreate itself through its training and programing its new initiates. The man controlled church establishes its own requirements. This is why Jesus was rejected by the priests and Pharisees of His day – He didn’t meet their requirements! In the true church, consider who it is that actually ordains His chosen ones to specific functions in His church – JESUS. Now consider when He made these choices.
Ephesians 4:10-12 – He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Since Jesus said He would build His church, (Matthew 16:13-18), He is the one who ordains His chosen ones to be His ministers; and He did this after He ascended back into heaven to be with the Father. He does this by the working of the Holy Spirit. This means that there are more apostles than the original twelve in His church. He continues this today by the leading of His Holy Spirit. Man, without the Holy Spirit’s guidance, cannot possibly choose the right person to do His work in building His church. This is the reason Jesus gave us warnings of what to look for in Matthew 7:15-28, which deals with building His house – the true church, the Body of Christ.
Those that Christ uses for leadership in His church are those that have the character and nature of Jesus in them, known as the Fruit of the Spirit, which is the character and nature of God – Galatians 5:22-23. Such ministers are true servants to others; humble and not self-seeking of position, money or power; being examples of a moral and godly life.
Matthew 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
1 Timothy 3:1-7 – This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
True leadership in the church comes from Christ - Ephesians 4:7-8; it is by Him, His choosing and His commissioning. Human appointments, elections and ordinations, without the leading of the Holy Spirit, develop into organizations of man with human control. The result is the professional clergy we have so evident today – Acts 13:1-3.
For the past few decades, many have been hearing the Spirit say it is time for the restoration of the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4:11-13. This is revelation from the Lord, because without all five gift ministries in operation the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is missing the functions necessary for its complete maturity into His image. However, there are many who are trying to implement the five-fold ministries on their own, depending on their own human resources to determine who is qualified and how to do God’s work. The Lord confirms His called ones!
Often man receives a revelation and immediately he embarks on implementation of that revelation. The result is usually man doing “his” own thing again. When the Lord selects, the Lord directs, but often He has to prepare the one chosen, which takes time. When man controls God’s work he usually messes it up; he needs to relinquish control and direction to the Holy Spirit.
What we need to do is not only wait on the revelation from God, but to also wait for the “how to” instruction from the Lord before taking action. He will usually do things differently than man will, because He, having all knowledge, knows the unforeseen things that lie ahead that we don’t see, and He will need to prepare us to deal with them.
When man attempts to implement the five-fold ministry, he ends up controlling it and those involved. The result ends up producing false apostles, false prophets, etc. being appointed by man and thus interfering with God’s sovereign plans and drawing away from the work God has planned for those He has chosen. The false tend to obstruct the true.
Man forms and controls an organization, God forms and controls and organism. Human organizations (false churches) hinder and even persecute the God made organism (true churches). Man’s organizations oppose the building of a movement of spiritual revival of the church because it takes that church out of the control of the establishment of man.
When Jesus was ministering on the earth, the Priests and Pharisees, being religious zealots, were trying to preserve their influence and position in the establishment, so they opposed Jesus. Many of today’s clergy have become the modern Pharisees to the true move of God by His Spirit in the Body of Christ. They want to hold on to and reinforce the traditions of the past, where they are secure, rather than follow the leading of the Spirit moving onto the Glory of God in Christ. (Note: not all traditions are of man or wrong, there are godly traditions as mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:15.)
The only pattern for church that we have since the 5th century is the Roman one, and that which resulted from it in the Reformation, which is not yet finished. So we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and learn what the Spirit is saying to the church today so that the work Jesus began can be completed and prepared for His return. This is exactly what Jesus said to each of the seven churches in Revelation Chapter 2 and 3: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;”
The Roman Catholic Church fits the description of the woman that rides the beast of Revelation. There is a call to get out of that corrupt religious system that needs to be heeded because God will destroy it as it has destroyed many of the Lord’s people.
Revelation 18:4 – And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
The apostle Paul warned about wolves rising within church leadership in Acts 20:28-30. The organization of man, (the wolves), control and live off of the church, (the sheep). The man dominated organization will not let go of its power and position and resists any effort to bring about a change into what God wants to bring about.
The material just presented describes two churches: the “wheat” which is the church that Jesus is building, and the “tares” which is the church that man is building. We are fast approaching the time of the harvest, when the “wheat” is mature and ready to be gathered in unto Him. The “tares” never mature or produce the desired fruit that is wanted in the harvest, so they are removed and sent to the fire as described in Matthew 13, listed at the beginning of this article.
In December, 1988 the Lord gave this writer a powerful vision depicting these two churches as the wheat and the tares as follows:
This was a progressive vision that was added to for several days each time I meditated on what was previously revealed. It began as I was feeling depressed as Christmas approached. I had very little income and was not able to celebrate the season as normal, and I didn't feel very "Christmassy". So I began to pray and ask the Lord to help me get that Christmas feeling, and as I was praying I began to focus on the birth of Jesus. As I focused my attention on the babe in the manger, I heard the voice of the Spirit of the Lord say, "Don't look down on a babe in a manger, look up at the King of Glory".
Then, in my spirit, I looked up and saw Him; my eyes were wide open yet what I saw was not my physical surroundings, but I saw Him. It was Jesus, the King, but He was dressed in royal battle array with His Sword in His right hand held up. He was in warrior mode as prepared for battle. His eyes were like flames of fire and his appearance was extremely fierce; so fierce that you did not want to be His enemy. What I saw was similar to His description as recorded in Revelation 19; the warrior Commander of a mighty army.
(Commentary): It took fourteen years before I finally realized why it was that I saw Jesus dressed for battle. I was praying to feel “Christmassy”, but Christmas is a Roman Catholic invention that was based on a pagan celebration called “Saturnalia”. This pagan celebration was recognizing that the sun was being reborn and the days would be getting longer. The Roman Church converted this pagan celebration to a mass for Christ, thus Christ-mas. America’s early settlers, (being true Christians) had outlawed the celebration of Christmas recognizing its source and results.
Jesus was not born on December 25 but on the first of God’s ordained fall Holy days, the Feast of Trumpets, which heralds the coming of the king. This occurs in late September or early October each year. What did occur around this date was the announcement of the angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary that she would bare a man child. (Note: Hebrew custom considers that life begins at conception, thus this date begins the life of Jesus, and that we can acknowledge in celebration; His actual birth was nine months later. This celebration of Jesus’ birth in December made Him mad and ready to fight the false doctrine that all the churches celebrate. The early church never celebrated His birth as December 25th, and is what Rome devised contrary to the truth.
Jesus considers Christmas as an enemy to the truth and despises the apparent worship and deification of a false supernatural deity called Santa, (a derivative of Satan), that parents and commercialism promote to children. This was the cause of the vision because Jesus didn’t want me to get that “Christmas” spirit. (End Commentary)
Later, while reflecting on the vision and how fierce Jesus looked, the vision resumed and it was as if a telephoto view was zooming out to take in a wider view. I saw His saints, His church as a spiritual army, standing at attention before Him, and just as I saw Him before, He was still holding His sword up in the air. Then I heard the command to, "Fall in - in rank". (Jesus was asking for all his saints to get in their respective positions for service.)
Again, a couple days later, while doing more reflecting on the vision that I received thus far, the vision continued as the view zoomed back even more. Now I saw that Jesus and His church appeared to be standing on top of a mountain whose top was as a flat plateau. I also observed people climbing up the side of this mountain trying to get to the top to join into His church to join the elite group.
Then as the scene zoomed out even more, I saw that this mountain rose up out of what looked like a sea; but it was a sea of humanity. The mountain itself was actually composed of a great mass of people. Suddenly I observed the mountain come under some sort of an attack from the sea below which knocked the climbers back down the mountain and back into the sea of humanity. They were using the wrong means to join the church up on top– John 14:6 and Matthew 7:13-14. The attacks were so great that eventually the entire mountain completely collapsed, falling back down into the sea of humanity from which it originated. (End of vision)
What was very noticeable was that Jesus and His church, His army of saints, were still standing in the same place high above all the sea of humanity. They had been untouched by the efforts coming against the mountain. It was obvious that Jesus and His church didn't need the mountain to stand on for they were not really standing on it in the first place; they were above it. The presence of the mountain actually obscured the view of Christ and His true church which could not be seen from the sea of humanity until the mountain was removed. The mountain was the false church built by man – the TARES. The false church was so large that it prevented the world from seeing Christ and the true church until it was removed. This seemed apocalyptic – Matthew 24:36-41.
So I understood that the mountain arising from the sea of humanity was representative of the church that man has been building, the harlot church, which may be the mystery (mystical) Babylon of Revelation Chapter 17 – likened to the Tares of Matthew 13, and most likely the Roman Catholic Church and many of her offspring. This false church that man built actually obscured the world's view of Jesus and His true church. The vision also represents the coming time of the separation of the wheat from the tares - the true church from the false church at harvest time - Matthew 13:24-30.
The church that man has built was no longer distinguishable from all the rest of the world as it disappeared back into the sea of humanity from where it originated. The true church, the saints and followers of Christ that stood with Him were now easily identifiable. The “other” church was no longer visible as a church since it looked just like the rest of the world and returned to its corrupt system since it was that same system that it was built upon.
Saints, it’s time to prepare for a major upheaval, not only to the church, but in all the systems and institutions of the world. THE TIME OF HARVEST AND SHAKING HAS COME! The shaking will separate the wheat from the tares, the church that man has built, which is what this vision showed.
Hebrews 12:25-27 – See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain
The final outcome will be glorious, but the path to get there will be troubling. We all need to draw close to the Lord and repent of anything in our lives that may be an offense to our Lord because He is coming for a church that is without spot or wrinkle or any sort of blemish. He also made provision for our being cleaned up through His blood and our confession of sin and receiving His forgiveness.
Ephesians 5:25-27 – even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
It is important to also recognize that, throughout history, there have been wicked spiritual forces of Satan that continually try to hinder the true church in our going onto perfection and completeness in Christ. This is especially true in these last evil days.
Ephesians 6:10-12 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Our Lord has given us spiritual defenses and weaponry to defeat the forces of darkness.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 – For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Ephesians 6:13-18 – Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
(Note: every piece of this spiritual armor of God is an application of His Word, and the final piece is intercessory prayer for others, especially those in ministry.)
Our Lord Jesus Christ has made these available to us so we can be the light of the world that Jesus declared.
Matthew 5:14-16 – Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Now about being that light that Jesus called His true followers to be:
1 John 1:5 – This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
God is light, and the source of light which equals illumination of divine knowledge, purity, holiness, truth, and righteousness.
John 8:12 – 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.
The Son of God is also light, carrying in Him the light of the Father. Being born-again of the Spirit places His light in His followers so that we can be His light in this world – which can be likened to the wheat in the harvest. That light of God, through Jesus, in us identifies us as the sons of God.
John 1:12 – But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Make sure that you can identify with the wheat, the true church of Christ that the Lord is looking for in the harvest that we will soon experience.
Now for a stern warning: DON’T LET THE LIGHT GO OUT! Jesus gave us a very significant illustration about this very issue.
Matthew 25:1-12 – Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
All the virgins knew he was coming, but the problem was that half of them let their light go out. Without that light they were not recognized as those that belonged to His party and they did not get to go in. Could these without the light represent the tares, the other false church?
Are you in His church or the other false church? Are you part of the wheat, or part the tares? Is your light shining representing Him, or do you not possess that light? This is important because the other church of the tares is in darkness, it lacks the true light! IT IS NOT HIS! Note that all ten virgin knew that the bridegroom was coming; this may indicate that the five foolish ones knew of him, but did not really KNOW him – notice his reply to the them: “ I know you not”. Those in the false church of man know about Jesus but do not have a personal relationship with Him.
CONCLUSION: The church that man is building is an organization, a system called church; I refer to it as the I.R.S. – the Institutionalized Religious System with the government of men as the head – the TARES. The church that Jesus is building is an organism, not an organization. It is the living, functioning Body of Christ on the earth in which He is the Head – the WHEAT.