NOTES #2



DOES ZECHARIAH 10:12

TEACH US THAT JESUS IS YEHWEH?



Does Zechariah 10:12 where Yehweh the Almighty God is the one speaking and says that, “they will look upon ME whom they have PIERCED” prove that Almighty God is JESUS who was crucified and then PIERCED with the sword on the cross by the Roman soldier to see if he was DEAD?

In other words, does the FACT that Almighty God himself said these words, “They will look upon ME whom they have PIERCED” prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Almighty God the Father HIMSELF was the ONE who suffered and died on the cross and was PIERCED being God INCARNATE in the FLESH being FULLY ALMIGHTY God and fully MAN at the SAME time?


Let us begin this study in God's word by reading this verse in question being left in the CONTEXT of where it is found and then we will COMPARE this verse with other SIMILAR verses like Romans 9:5, Acts 20:28, and Titus 4:3 where these verse SEEM to be saying that Jesus is THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God.

Here is Zechariah 12:8-11.


In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them.

9. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

10. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon ME whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

11. In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon.”




First of all I want you to notice that this passage of scripture is a PROPHECY or the SECOND coming of Jesus when the Jews will recognize Jesus as their MESSIAH and then they will KNOW that they have sinned against Almighty God Yehweh because their fathers had PIERCED the SON OF Almighty God. They will look TO Almighty God and GRIEVE for his SON Jesus knowing HOW that in the SAME WAY Almighty God also grieved for HIS SON Jesus just as IF the Father HIMSELF had been crucified on that cross and was PIERCED.

Let us read this same verse in question Zechariah 12:10 from some other translation of the Bible and this truth will become clear to you.


Here is Zechariah 12:10 from the Bible in Basic English (BBE).


And I will send down on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and of prayer; and their eyes will be TURNED TO the one who was wounded by their hands: and they will be weeping for him AS for an only son, and their grief for him will be bitter, LIKE the grief of one sorrowing for his oldest son.”


In this translation we do NOT see that Almighty God the Father HIMSELF as being the ONE who was pierced of wounded. But because of what many of us have been TAUGHT we can see and understand HOW Almighty God was indeed wounded emotionally by the crucifixion of his only begotten Son who was then PIERCED by the soldiers sword after his Son willingly and obediently laid down his like at the request of his God and Father for the sins of the world. In other words, we can see how BOTH were PIERCE where Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father was LITERALLY pierced and his God and Father was wounded spiritually or emotionally loving his SON Jesus.


Here is Zechariah 12:10 from the Common English Bible (CEB).


but I will pour out a spirit of grace and mercy on David's house and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They will look TO me CONCERNNG the one whom they pierced; they will mourn over him like the mourning for an only child. They will mourn bitterly over him like the bitter mourning over the death of an oldest child.”


In this translation we can CLEARLY see that Jesus is the ONE who was actually pierce, but they also realized HOW Almighty God the Father must have felt as well so they will mourn in repentance for the HURT they have caused Almighty God the Father by their REJECTING God's SON and having Jesus crucified and pierced. They mourn for Jesus whom they have pierced, but they ALSO turn to or look TO Almighty God the Father for forgiveness for what they have done realizing how much this hurt or wounded God by rejecting his Messiah.


Here is Zechariah 12:10 from the New Revised Standard Bible.


And I will pour out a spirit of compassion and supplication on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that, when they look on the ONE whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”


Now if you were reading this translation for the first time ever reading this verse and you never heard the King James Version ever before, then in all honesty I myself do NOT see Almighty God HIMSELF as being the ONE who is PIERCED. But rather I see Jesus the SON OF Almighty God as being the ONE who has been PIERCED. But now that we have seen that BOTH were wounded where Jesus the SON OF Almighty God was the ONE who was actually and literally PIERCED with the spear of the Roman soldier and Almighty God was wounded as a FATHER who just lost his only begotten Son. But more precisely God was wounded because his chosen people REJECTED he Son as their MESSIAH. This is WHY the LITERAL text has this sense or conveyed meaning that Almighty God himself was wounded or HURT by his SON Jesus being REJECTED.


Here is Zechariah 12:10 from the Message Bible.


"Next I'll deal with the family of David and those who live in Jerusalem. I'll pour a spirit of grace and prayer over them. They'll then be able to RECOGNIZE ME the One they so GRIEVOUSLY wounded - that piercing spear-thrust! And they'll weep - oh, how they'll weep! Deep mourning as of a parent grieving the loss of the firstborn child.”


Now I myself do not like paraphrased versions of the Bible, because too many time ones OWN personal interpretation interferes with the TRUE meaning of a verse. But in this case I believe that translators got it right by clearly showing us that the actual WOUND which Almighty God the Father received was that of GRIEF and sorrow over his SON Jesus being crucified and PIERCED, which is another way of saying that his Son Jesus was REJECTED as being the Messiah.


Here is Zechariah 12:10 from the Wycliffe Bible.


And I shall pour out on the house of David, and on the dwellers of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers; and they shall behold TO me, whom they PRICKED. And they shall bewail him with wailing, as on the one begotten son; and they shall make sorrow on him, as sorrow is wont to be made in the death of the first begotten son. (And I shall pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and the spirit of prayer; and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced. And they shall bewail me with wailing, as if over their only child; and they shall make sorrow upon him, as sorrow is wont to be made upon the death of the first-born son.)”


Now here in the Wycliffe translation we are given a more LITERAL translation first follow by the accepted King James version translation in parentheses to let us know that the latter is not exactly what the literal Hebrew is truly saying.


There is Hebrew word which is not translated in any Bible translation that I have come across, but this Hebrew word means, and, with, together, and you as a sign of the accusative. In other words, Almighty God the Father was wounded TOGETHER WITH his SON Jesus when his Son was rejected as the Messiah and was crucified and PIERCED. It was IF Almighty God the Father himself was the one who was being pierce seeing his SON being pierced.

This is what this verse in Zechariah 12:10 actually means and NOT that Almighty God the FATHER was the one who was actually and literally PIERCED. Also this Hebrew word carries the meaning of being the CAUSE OF something. This definition brought to my remembrance when Almighty God destroyed the entire world with the FLOOD saving only eight souls and then it GRIEVED God that he even made mankind to begin with. So in the same way it was God's PLAN to provide HIMSELF with and innocent pure LAMB to be slain, but then when it all came to pass this GIVING of his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON really WOUNDED, PRICKED, hurt and PIERCE him perhaps even more that it hurt his SON Jesus.

Let us now continue this study in God's word by looking at some other MISTAKEN IDENTITY verses that SEEM to be sating that Almighty God the Father IS his SON Jesus.

Another verse used to teach the doctrine of the trinity and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus is Romans 9:5.


Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”


Now this verse can be INTERPRETED in four ways as I myself see.


INTERPRETATION #1.


Jesus, the CHRIST, the Son of Almighty God the Father can be INTERPRETED to be ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF, which is the way those who teach the doctrine of the trinity and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus INTERPRET this verse to mean.


INTERPRETATION #2.


Jesus, the CHRIST, the Son of Almighty God can be interpreted as being GOD who is over all, whom HIS God and Father HGHLY EXALTED to become “A” god who is under and subject to his God and Father the ALMIGHTY, and the one being blessed is Jesus who will rule and reign in his Father's kingdom.


INTERPRETATION #3.


CHRIST can be interpreted to mean the ANOINTING or the the ETERNAL SPIRIT that DWELT in the HUMAN BODY of Jesus, and it is Almighty God the Father IN this body of flesh that is over all who is the one being blessed forever. In other words, CHRIST is NOT referring directly to the human Jesus, but rather CHRIST is speaking of the ANOINTING OF Jesus where Almighty God the Father himself actually DWELT IN his SON Jesus and it is Almighty God who is the “THEOS” that is blessed forever.


INTERPRETATION #4.


Jesus the CHRIST, the SON OF Almighty God the Father who has been HIGHLY EXALTED and GIVEN authority and power over all BY HIS God and Father THE ALMIGHTY God who is the one who receives all the glory to be blessed forever.


Now I myself prefer interpretation #4, as being the best interpretation, but I can also see interpretations #2, and #3 also being viable valid interpretations that do NOT CONTRADICT any other part of God's word. Here is Romans 9:5 from the Good News Translation that punctuates this verse to clearly show that all the glory goes to Almighty God the Father, which AGREES with the rest of God's word.


they are descended from the famous Hebrew ancestors; and Christ, as a human being, belongs to their race. May God, who rules over all, be praised forever! Amen.”


Here in this translation, which supports interpretation #4 it is made clear that Jesus is NOT the ONE being called GOD, but rather Almighty God the FATHER is being praised for sending his SON Jesus the ANOINTED ONE.

But when interpretation # 1 is dogmatically taught as being the ONLY way that this verse can be interpreted and therefore means without fail that Jesus IS THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God, then I myself see this interpretation meaning that Jesus IS THE FATHER and I know that the whole word of God does NOT teach us that Jesus is the FATHER.

Yes it is true that some translations like the God's Word Translation make it so that this verse can ONLY be interpreted that the MESSIAH is GOD over all. But please keep in mind that in the original Greek text the ARTICLE that indicates the “THEOS” being spoken of is “THE THEOS” of THE God as in THE one and ONLY AMIGHTY God.

Romans 9:5 from the God's Word Translation.


The Messiah is descended from their ancestors according to his human nature. The Messiah is God over everything, forever blessed. Amen.”


Please keep in mind that this is a paraphrase translation, which does NOT translation word for word from the original text. The reader must also understand that we are reading TRANSLATIONS and it is up to the translator to place punctuation where he or she feels explains the text the best. This is WHY there are so many translations that seem to contradict each other. Therefore when we come to verses that are in QUESTION we must go the the original language and then compare scripture with scripture to make sure that our conclusion that we draw does NOT contradict and other part of God's word. And again I myself see interpretation #1 CONTRADICTING other parts of God's word.

Please read the study “IS JESUS ALMIGHTY GOD?” for a deeper understand that YES Jesus IS GOD, but Jesus is NOT THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God who ALONE is the FATHER. Also please read the study “OUR GOD IS ONE!” which will give you a deeper understanding that YEHWEH is THE God over all other gods including his SON Jesus. But for now let us continue this study in God's word by reading yet another verse that is used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity.

Here is another verse of mistaken identity.

Please read Acts 20:28.


Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which HE has purchased with his OWN blood.”


Now as I have said many times that ANY verse when taken OUT of CONTEXT may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT TRULY saying. So then, in order to understand the TRUE meaning of this verse we need to KEEP it in the CONTEXT of where it is found. Please read Acts 20:17-30 where our Lord Jesus Christ and his gospel is the main subject under discussion.


And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church. (so Paul is basically addressing the elders, the pastors, the shepherds of the CHURCH that believes that Jesus was CRUCIFIED, DIED and then raised again from the dead after three days.)

18. And when they were come to him, he said unto them, You KNOW, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

19. Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: (here we see that Paul was NOT preaching Judaism but rather he was preaching the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ being the SON OF Almighty God who DIED for our sins and was raised from the dead by the Spirit of Almighty God the Father, because the Jews lied in wait to kill Paul for what he preached.)

20. And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house,

21. Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, AND faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Here in this verse Paul makes it blatantly CLEAR that Almighty God the Father AND his SON Jesus are TWO SEPARATE persons.)

22. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

23. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesses in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

24. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the MINISTRY, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Here again we clearly see TWO who are the Lord Jesus AND God who by his grace GAVE us his SON Jesus that shed HIS blood for the remission of sins. Also in the verse we again see the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ being preached.)

25. And now, behold, I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

26. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

27. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Jesus came NOT to speak of HIMSELF, but rather to show us the Father. Jesus taught what his Father gave him to teach. All things BELONG to Almighty God the Father who created ALL things FOR the SAKE of his SON Jesus. Jesus came to redeem mankind back to HIS God and Father the ALMIGHTY. Therefore the church BELONGS to Almighty God the Father who will then GIVE the faithful to his SON Jesus in the world to come. But now at this present time the CHURCH is OWNED by Almighty God the Father.)

28. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the CHURCH OF God, which HE has purchased with his OWN blood. (Now I myself believe that the HE here refers back to the main subject that is being spoken of in this entire CONTEXT, which in Jesus Christ, who according to the REST of God's word is the ONE who actually shed HIS OWN blood to redeem us back to Almighty God the Father. I will expound on this further after you finish reading the context of these next few verses.)

29. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, (right after the last apostle died there did indeed enter into the church many PERVERSE PAGAN teachings that were MIXED with true Christianity) to draw away disciples after them. (and certain leaders of the church did indeed seek the POWER of ruling over the flock as opposed to feeding the flock. And the Roman Catholic church mixed many PAGAN teachings with Christianity. One such PAGAN teaching was the pagan belief in a TRIUNE god)


The first rule of interpretation is to keep the verse in question in the CONTEXT of where it is found. We just did this and it has helped SOME readers to see the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God. But others may not be seeing the truth as yet. So then we must go to the second rule of interpretation, which is the COMPARE scripture with scripture to make sure that whatever interpretation one concludes does NOT CONTRADICT any other part of God's word.

In other words, IF Almighty God literally shed his OWN BLOOD, then that would mean that Almighty God HIMSELF must have a flesh and BLOOD body or that Almighty God the Father must be a HUMAN being himself. But we know from another part of God's word that God is NOT a MAN.

Please read Numbers 23:19 where we are clearly and plainly taught that Almighty God is NOT a MAN and NEITHER is God the Son of MAN.


God is NOT a MAN, that he should lie; NEITHER the son of MAN, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it? Or has he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”


Jesus is clearly called the MAN Jesus Christ and the Son of MAN many times in the word of TRUTH the Holy Bible so therefore since God is NOT a MAN nor the Son of MAN, then it should be clear that Almighty God is NOT his SON Jesus.

Yes it is true that Jesus the Son of MAN came OUR FROM Almighty God, but this does NOT dogmatically mean without fail that Jesus HIMSELF IS FULLY THE ALMIGHTY God in the flesh and fully a human being at the SAME time like the doctrine of the deity of Jesus and the doctrine of the trinity dogmatically demand Christians to believe if the want to be part of the church.

But yet nowhere in the entire word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible do I myself find where we as Christians are commanded to believe in a TRIUNE or TRINITY God. Now where are we taught clearly and plainly to believe in THREE.

However, we are clearly and plainly taught that we must believe is BOTH the Father AND in his SON Jesus, and if we do NOT have the SON, then we do NOT have the Father.

Now let us read Acts 20:28 from a few other translations to see the true meaning of this verse in question.


Here is Acts 20:28 from the Common English Bible (CEB).


Watch yourselves and the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as supervisors, to shepherd God's church (showing that the church is OWNED by Almighty God the Father), which he obtained with the death of his OWN Son.”


Now this translation makes it blatantly CLEAR that Jesus the SON OF Almighty God that Father is the Father's OWN BLOOD meaning that Jesus is the TRUE SON OF Almighty God and that he was NOT ADPOTED. Most of us do not consider that we OWN our children even though we say that is MY child, but we do understand the term in which our own BIOLOGICAL children are our OWN BLOOD. In other words, if someone loose a child by a tragic death, then we can understand when someone says that their OWN BLOOD was kill.


Here is Acts 20:28 from the Complete Jerusalem Bible (CJB).


Watch out for yourselves, and for all the flock in which the Ruach HaKodesh has placed you as leaders, to shepherd God's Messianic community (again showing the church as God's possession or ownership), which he won for himself at the cost of his OWN Son's blood.”


In this translation we again see that it was NOT Almighty God HIMSELF that shed his blood, but rather we clearly see that it was God's OWN BLOOD, as in, being his OWN Son's blood.


Here is Acts 20:28 from the Lexham English Bible.


Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has appointed you [as] overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he obtained through the blood of HIS OWN [Son].”


Now the word “SON” is not actually in the original Greek text but was added by the translators for clearer understanding. But even if the word “SON” was left out we can still clearly see that Almighty God the Father purchased or redeemed the church with the blood OF his OWN meaning God's OWN RELATIVE that was BEGOTTEN OF him.


Here is Acts 20:28 from the New Century Bible.


Be careful for yourselves and for all the people the Holy Spirit has given to you to care for. You must be like shepherds to the church of God, which he bought with the DEATH of his OWN son.”


Again in this translation we can clearly see that the Father suffered the DEATH of his OWN in order to gain all of mankind of WHOSOEVER BELIEVES that Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father DIED for their sins.

Nowhere in the Bible are we taught to believe that ALMIGHTY God the FATHER HIMSELF DIED for our sins by the shedding of his OWN BLOOD.

But rather the OWN BLOOD here definitely is speaking of the shed blood of Jesus the SON OF Almighty God who suffer the temporary death of his OWN meaning his own SON, which is God's seed or blood relative so to speak.


Here is Acts 20:28 from the Darby translation.


Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, wherein the Holy Spirit has set you as overseers, to shepherd the assembly of God, which he has purchased with the blood of HIS OWN.”


In this translation the translator does not add the word “SON”, but it is certainly UNDERSTOOD by the CONTEXT and the REST of God's word.

The TRUTH of the matter is that the doctrine of the trinity has to be read INTO this verse and the meaning of Jesus being Almighty God the father HIMSELF must be FORCED upon this verse, when the WHOLE word of God is kept in view.

In Proverbs 8:22-35 we learn that Jesus, the SON OF Almighty God the Father is OWNED by Almighty God. ALL creation belongs to or is OWNED BY Almighty God the creator of all things. Jesus speaking in the first person being a personification of wisdom says that the Lord POSSESSED him in the beginning.

Here is Proverbs 8:22-31.


The Lord (YHWH Almighty God the owner and possessor of all, who we now know as the Father) possessed (acquired, owned, brought forth formed, created) me (Jesus or more precisely the WORD) in the beginning of his way, before HIS works of old (speaking of Almighty God's works).

I (Jesus, the SON in the form of his WORD) was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths, I (Jesus, the SON in the form of his WORD) was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.

Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I (Jesus, the SON, in the form of his WORD) brought forth: While as yet HE (Almighty God who we now know as the Father) had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.

When HE (Almighty God who we know know as the Father) prepared the heavens, I (Jesus, the SON, in the form of the WORD) was there: when HE (Almighty God the Father) set a compass upon the face of the depth: When HE (Almighty God the Father) established the clouds above: when HE (Almighty God the Father) strengthened the fountains of the deep.

When HE (Almighty God the Father) gave to the sea HIS (God the Father’s) decree, that the waters should not pass HIS (God the Father’s) commandment: when HE (God the Father) appointed the foundations of the earth: Then I (Jesus, the SON in the form of the WORD) was BY him, (or with his Father, the Word was WITH God in the THOUGHTS of God or came to be in existence as as result of God giving BIRTH to his FIRST SPOKEN WORD to bring forth a SPIRIT being as his SON that God called his WORD) as one brought up with him: and I (Jesus, the SON being in the form of the WORD whether that be the IMAGE of God's THOUGHTS or and actual separate SPIRIT being) was daily HIS delight, rejoicing always before HIM; Rejoicing in the habitable part of HIS earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”


One can readily see from this passage of scripture that Jesus himself is saying that Almighty God the Father was behind all that was created and that he, God's Son was there with his Father BEFORE the FOUNDATIONS of the EARTH as God's delight rejoicing before Almighty God IN the inhabitable part of the EARTH that had NOT YET been CREATED. So clearly to ME, Jesus as God's SON was with God at this time ONLY in God's THOUGHTS, because HOW did Jesus rejoice before his God and Father IN the inhabitable part of the EARTH when the earth had NOT yet been created as yet EXCEPT in the MIND and the PLAN of ALMIGHTY God.

You know when Jesus said glorify me with the glory I had with you before the world began Jesus could have been saying, I am getting ready to go through a time very shortly Father that when I take on the sins of the world and you are going to turn your back on me, so I pray that you return me to the glorious delight that you had for me before the world began and before I was ever BORN. You see, Jesus knew the scriptures spoke of him. Jesus knew that he was the chosen one sent by Almighty God to become that sacrifice for mankind because the Spirit of God taught him morning by morning from the scriptures. Jesus saw the END from the Scriptures, but he still had to BELIEVE. And because of the joy that was set before Jesus he endured the cross for us knowing that his God and Father is FAITHFUL to perform his spoken word. So then, because Jesus became obedient even unto death on the cross Almighty God HIGHLY EXALTED his Son and GAVE him a name that is above every name.

Now this passage of scripture in Proverbs chapter 8 does not shed any light as to whether it was Jesus, the Son, or the Word, which has the role of being the INSTRUMENT that GOD used in creation, but this passage makes it PERFECTLY CLEAR that Almighty God the everlasting Father was the designer, planner and the architect behind all that was created and God’s Son was BY him, as in, brought into existence BY Almighty God either as a separate Spirit being, or Jesus WITH God when his Father created all things in the FORM of the WORD of Almighty God.

In other words. to ME, Jesus, as the MAN a HUMAN being did NOT create all things. Nor do I myself see that the SON of God created all things by himself or in and of himself.

But rather I myself see that Almighty God created all things by and through his very own SPOKEN WORD with his Son Jesus in mind as one COMING INTO BEING in the future. That is to say, Almighty God created all things FOR the SAKE OF his Son Jesus who would be the FATHER of ETERNAL LIFE producing many more sons and daughters into the kingdom of hid Father's.

You see, the Greek word “DIA” (#1223) that is translated as BY, also means through, FOR, BECAUSE OF, and FOR the SAKE OF.

The root meaning is the CHANNEL of an act. The reason for why the act was made. The means of, The ground or reason by which something is done or not done, By reason of, on account of, because of for this reason.


The base meaning of the word "CHANNEL" is to direct something towards something. The whole idea of to channel is direct everything that one is channeling to a specific point or place. To channel is to direct, to guide along some desired course. So then the ACT of creation is DIRECTED towards the ETERNAL PURPOSE of Almighty God of having a SON who would become the everlasting Father or more precisely God's SON would become the Father or the beginning of ETERNAL LIFE being the FIRST born from the dead among many brethren.



Almighty God the Father is the POSSESSOR of ALL including his very own begotten SON Jesus.

This brings us to the last scripture in this study where Jesus is MISTAKENLY interpreted to be ALMIGHTY God the Father himself. Please read Titus 4:3.


But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared,”


Now when one skims over this verse it SEEMS to be saying that ALMIGHTY God the Father our savior HIMSELF appeared to mankind.

But when carefully read this verse you can clearly see that it is the LOVE OF God our Savior which Almighty God has TOWARD mankind that has APPEARED. Please read this verse again with some emphasis added to make it clearer.


But after that the kindness and LOVE OF God our Savior TOWARD man appeared,”


Now let us read this same verse from some other translations.


Here is Titus 3:4 from the American Standard Version.


But when the kindness of God our Savior, and his LOVE TOWARD man, appeared,”


Here is Titus 3:4 from the Basic English Bible.


But when the mercy of God our Saviour, and his love to man was seen,”


Here is Titus 3:4 from the Complete Jerusalem Bible.


But when the kindness and love FOR mankind OF God our Deliverer was revealed,”


There are other verses where Almighty God is Savior and Jesus the SON OF Almighty God is Savior, which are used by those who teach the doctrine of the trinity and the deity of Jesus to try and prove that Jesus is THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF. Please read the study “Ephesians 3:9-11 – DID JESUS CREATE ALL THINGS?” for a deeper understanding that Almighty God is the designer and creator of all things which he created FOR the SAKE of his SON Jesus.


Thanks for reading. May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark.

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Verses used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity.

Genesis 1:26--- Let us make man in our image.

Genesis 19:24--- YHWH rained down fire... from YHWH.

Isaiah 6:3--- Holy, Holy, Holy.

Isaiah 7:14--- Call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us)

Isaiah 9:6--- Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

Isaiah 48:16--- The Lord and his Spirit has sent me (trinity)

Micah 5:2--- From everlasting.

Zechariah 12:10--- Look upon me whom they have pierced.

Matthew 1:23--- Emmanuel, being interpreted God with us.

Matthew 28:19---In the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

John 1:1--- And the Word was God.

John 2:19-22--- Jesus raised himself from the dead.

John 5:18--- Making himself equal with God.

John 8:24--- If you do not believe I am [he], you shall die...

John 8:58--- Before Abraham was, I am.

John 10:30--- I and my Father are one.

John 14:19--- He who has seen me has seen the Father.

John 20:28--- My Lord and my God.

Acts 20:28--- He has purchased with his own blood.

Romans 9:5--- Christ came...God blessed forever.

2 Corinthians 13:14---Trinity

Ephesians 3:9-11---DID JESUS CREATE ALL THINGS?

Colossians 2:9--- Godhead.

Philippians 2:6---Thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

1 Timothy 3:16--- God was manifest in the flesh.

Titus 2:13--- Looking for... our great God and Savior Jesus...

Hebrews 1:8--- Your throne O' God.

1 John 5:7--- And these three are one.

1 John 5:20--- Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God...

2 Peter 2:1--- God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18--- Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Isaiah 43:11)

Revelation 1:8--- I am Alpha and Omega...the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17--- First and the Last (Isaiah 44:6)

Revelation 17:14--- WHO IS THE KING OF KINGS


http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2009/10/isa-4816.html


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1461121/posts

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WHO IS MELCHIZEDEK?


Assurety Some Christians teach that Melchizedek is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. In other words, some interpret the verses concerning the high priest Melchizedek as being the Son of Almighty God BEFORE he became God incarnate when Jesus was born of the virgin Mary. That is to say, some interpret Melchizedek to be a MANIFESTATION of either Almighty God the Father or his Son Jesus to APPEAR as a MAN who was NOT actually BORN, but rather he was a manifestation much like an angel can appear as a man to LOOK LIKE a man, but is not actually a human being.

Other Christians teach that Melchizedek being a manifestation of Jesus is not possible because the Bible clearly says that Jesus is a high priest AFTER the ORDER of Melchizedek showing us that they are TWO distinct separate persons. They also say that Melchizedek cannot be a manifestation of Almighty God the Father either, because he was the high priest OF the most high God.

Now those who agree and teach this second point of view mostly teach that Melchizedek was a MAN just like the Bible says that he is, but there are some who just cannot accept that Melchizedek is a MAN, because of Hebrews 7:3 which they INTERPRET that Melchizedek was NOT BORN.


Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made LIKE unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.”


We will get back to this verse further on in this study, but for now those who do NOT believe that Melchizedek is the preincarnate Jesus, or that Melchizedek is a manifestation of Almighty God the Father, or that Melchizedek is a MAN say that Melchizedek is the Holy Spirit seeing that Jesus is NOT Melchizedek and Almighty God the Father the MOST HIGH is NOT Melchizedek, nor is Melchizedek a MAN. Therefore they REASON or conclude that Melchizedek MUST BE the Holy Spirit is based upon where the scripture says that Melchizedek is without descent, without beginning and without end, because only God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are COETERNAL persons or beings.

Let us read the verses where Melchizedek in mentioned in the Bible to learn if Melchizedek is:


#1. Almighty God the Father himself.

#2. Jesus, the Son of the most high God.

#3. The Holy Spirit.

#4. Or a man, a human being, who was made to be a high priest of the mist high God by Almighty God himself.


My understanding is that most Christians AGREE that Melchizedek is NOT the MOST HIGH God, Almighty God the Father HIMSELF, because Melchizedek is a HIGH PRIEST OF the most high God. Therefore the only other three remaining options are the ones that I listed above, with the exception of Melchizedek being an ANGEL who APPEARED as a MAN. With that being said let us now read all the passages of scripture where Melchizedek is mentioned.


Genesis 14:18 says,


And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest OF the most high God.” (So here we see that Melchizedek cannot be Almighty God himself, because Melchizedek is the high priest OF the most high God.)



Psalm 110: Says,


The LORD (Yehweh) said unto my Lord (Jesus being made to be a Lord), Sit you at my right hand, until I (Almighty God your God and Father) make your enemies your footstool. (This is a PROPHECY of Jesus, the yet still coming SON OF Almighty God when this prophecy was first written, whom Yehweh or Jehovah prophesied to bring forth by his spoken word to the virgin Mary. But more precisely this is a prophecy of Jesus during his yet future 1000 year reign in his Father kingdom where his God and Father, the Almighty himself, will subdue all his enemies to the feet of his Son Jesus his anointed one, who will sit at the right hand of Almighty God the Father.)

2. The LORD (Yehweh) shall send the rod of your strength out of Zion: rule you in the midst of your enemies. (again speaking of Jesus ruling with a rod of iron over the nations of the world who are left after the initial wrath of Almighty God executed by his Son Jesus)

3. Your people (speaking of the Jews that Almighty God will give to his Son Jesus saying YOUR people) shall be willing in the day of your power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: you have the dew of your youth.

4. The LORD (Yehweh) has sworn, and will not repent, You (referring to Jesus the Son of Almighty God the Father) are a priest for ever AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek. (this shows us that the ORDER of the PRIESTHOOD of Melchizedek, which is being a priest of the MOST HIGH God was already established. In other words, this passage of scripture means that the priesthood or the ORDER OF the priesthood, which Melchizedek was a priest already existed before Jesus was made to be a HIGH PRIEST AFTER or in the same fashion or in the same ORDER as the priest Melchizedek. Now to ME personally this fact alone clearly teaches us that Jesus is NOT Melchizedek.)

5. The Lord at your right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. (this is a prophecy of Jesus being the one who will execute the wrath of Almighty God the Father, which the Father committed into the hands of his Son to do.)

6. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.

7. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”


Then we read in Hebrews chapter 5 that Jesus was made to be a high priest between man and Almighty God the Father after he became obedient unto death on the cross. In other words, Jesus did NOT exalt HIMSELF to be a high priest, but rather this honor was GIVEN unto Jesus by his God and Father the most high God.


For EVERY high priest taken from among MEN is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

2. Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (The Bible to ME clearly teaches us that Jesus was a MAN who was tempted in ALL points just like we are tempted so that he can KNOW the feelings of our weakness and have compassion to be a good and faithful high priest between Almighty God and mankind. And in verse one we clearly see that EVERY high priest is taken or chosen to be a high priest NOT from the rank of ANGELS, but rather EVERY high priest is select FROM AMONG the HUMAN race and more specifically the MALE. Now to ME, the word of TRUTH makes it perfectly clear that Jesus was indeed a HIGH PRIEST and seeing that the word of TRUTH also clearly states that EVERY high priest is taken from AMONG MEN, then to ME this means that Melchizedek AND Jesus were BOTH MEN born as HUMAN BEINGS.)

3. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

4. And no MAN takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

5. So ALSO Christ glorified NOT himself to be MADE an high priest; but he (speaking of Almighty God himself) that said unto him (his SON Jesus speaking forth a PROPHECY of his yet coming Son calling things that are not yet come into being as though they already are), You are my Son, TODAY have I begotten you.(The phrase “TODAY have I BEGOTTEN you” clearly teaches us that the SON OF Almighty God did indeed have a BEGINNING on a certain DAY in which he was BEGOTTEN or brought forth into existence where he had never been BEGOTTEN of brought forth before. Please see the study “DID JESUS HAVE A BEGINNING” for a deeper understanding that the HUMAN Jesus did indeed have a BEGINNING and that Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father was MADE to be both Lord and Christ BY his God and Father the MOST HIGH and ONLY ALMIGHTY God.)

6. As he said also in another place, You are a priest for ever AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek. (This verse clearly teaches us that the ORDER OF this PRIESTHOOD in which Melchizedek was a priest had already existed BEFORE Jesus was even PROPHESIED to be a priest AFTER that same ORDER. So it is MORE about this particular ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD than it is about the MAN Melchizedek who was a priest is the ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD.)

7. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

8. Though he were a Son, yet LEARNED he OBEDIENCE by the things which he suffered;

9. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

10. Called of God an high priest AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek.

11. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing you are dull of hearing.

12. For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

13. For every one that uses milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.

14. But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”


Then in Hebrew 6:20 we read were Jesus has gone before us being our high priest AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek.


Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek.”



So from these verses we clearly see that Jesus was CALLED to be a high priest BY his God and Father the most high God. And we see that Jesus even though he was the SON OF Almighty God the Father still needed to learn to become OBEDIENT in all that his God and father sent his Son to do in order to be found worthy to be MADE a high priest FOREVER AFTER this particular ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD, which the MAN Melchizedek was ALSO a priest in this same ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD.

And finally in Hebrews chapter 7 we read that the MAN Jesus was made AFTER the SIMILITUDE a high priest of the MAN Melchizedek.


For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest OF the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;

2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness (Which ALSO means my king who is righteous. You see, Melchizedek or Malki Tzedek in the original Hebrew can also be translated as my king (is) righteous(ness) or my righteous king.), and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; (some Christians reason that since Jesus is called the PRINCE of PEACE, then this proves without a doubt that Jesus and Melchizedek were ONE and the SAME person. But I have to disagree, because of all the plain, clear and simple evidence of these TWO being COMPARED to each other. Jesus was made to be a high priest AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek who the Bible says was a MAN in verse 4. Your see, the Greek word “TAXIS” that is translated as “ORDER” suggests a similar “arrangement.” For example, just as Melchizedek was BOTH a king AND a priest simultaneously, so ALSO was Jesus Christ as well. Please see Zechariah 6:12-13 and Hebrews 1:3. Also the preposition “KATA” is used with the accusative case which suggests the sense of “in accordance with, corresponding to” that clearly shows us that two things are being COMPARED with each other. So to ME all this sound Biblical evidence or COMPARISON clearly shows me that Jesus and Melchizedek are NOT one and the same person. Many other Christians can see this truth as well, but some Christians stumble of the next verse and therefore conclude that Melchizedek MUST without fail be either Almighty God the Father himself, his Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit or an ANGEL.)

3. Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made LIKE unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually.

4. Now consider how great this MAN was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.

5. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though THEY come out of the loins of Abraham:

6. But he whose DESCENT is not counted from THEM received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises.

7. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.

8. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives. (to ME this is an analogy between Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18 and Jesus is Psalm 110 where Jesus is the one who is witnessed to LIVE forever as a high priest AFTER the ORDER OF the PRIESTHOOD in which Melchizedek was a priest but DIED as ALL men are appointed to do at least once. The reason I say this is because I myself can find nowhere in the OLD Testament where these words are actually spoken so it is quite sure that the author is not quoting the Old testament. And even if some lost book of the Bible is found where a verse speaking these words were found I am quite confident that the would be a PROPHECY or a type and shadow of the coming Son of Almighty God and NOT the MAN Melchizedek himself who was an IMMORTAL being. The phase “it is witnessed that he LIVES” to ME is speaking of Jesus and NOT the man Melchizedek.)

9. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receives tithes, payed tithes in Abraham.

10. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchizedek met him.

11. If therefore perfection were BY the Levitical PRIESTHOOD, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek, and NOT be called after the order of Aaron?

12. For the PRIESTHOOD being CHANGED, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. (so then, from these verses we clearly see that it is MORE about the DIFFERENT PRIESTHOODS that are being compared more so that the MAN Melchizedek and the MAN Jesus Christ. Although they too are also being compared as well.)

13. For he of whom these things are spoken pertains to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.

14. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. (this means that the PRIESTHOOD of Melchizedek has NO DESCENT. That is to say this ORDER of PRIESTHOOD which BOTH the MAN Melchizedek and the MAN Jesus Christ were made to be a priest did NOT obtain this PRIESTHOOD by DESCENT. In other words they BOTH Melchizedek AND Jesus were without mother or father or genealogy that QUALIFIED OTHER ORDERS of priesthood such as the Levitical order where DESCENT was mandatory. That is to say this order of priesthood in which Melchizedek AND Jesus were a priest was NOT handed down through genealogy or descent. To say this another way BOTH Jesus and Melchizedek did indeed have a mother and a father, but the PRIESTHOOD ITSELF is obtained WITHOUT the qualification of DESCENT or the genealogy of having a mother or father in the LINE or this ORDER of PRIESTHOOD.)

15. And it is yet far more evident: for that AFTER the SIMILITUDE of Melchizedek here arises ANOTHER priest, (this verse clearly teaches us that Jesus is NOT ONE and the SELFSAME MAN as Melchizedek, but rather Jesus in some ways is very SIMILAR to Melchizedek. Or more precisely the PRIESTHOOD itself should be what is being COMPARED and not so much the two priests, Jesus and Melchizedek. In other words, it is the SAME PRIESTHOOD to which BOTH Melchizedek AND Jesus BOTH belonged. And also there are SIMILARITIES as well between the two in that BOTH were kings and priests. So then Jesus arose AFTER Melchizedek to be ANOTHER priest in this SAME ORDER of priesthood.)

16. Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. (again Jesus is the ONLY MAN who has ever been given ETERNAL LIFE up to this present day for you see no other man or human being will be given their reward of eternal life UNTIL the second coming of Jesus)

17. For (or because) he testifies, You (speaking of Jesus the Son of Almighty God the Father) are a priest for ever AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek. (again quoting Psalm 110 meaning that Jesus is NOT one and the same person as the man Melchizedek but rather Jesus has risen to be ANOTHER priest after the SIMILITUDE of Melchizdek.)

18. For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.

19. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

20. And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (then the writer quotes the prophecy written in Psalm 110 in the next verse)

21. (For those priests [speaking of ALL the Old Testament priest including Melchizedek] were made without an oath; but this [clearly speaking of Jesus and NOT Melchizedek] WITH an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord swore and will not repent, You are a priest for ever AFTER the ORDER OF Melchizedek:)

22. By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (in other words, because of this fact that Jesus was made to be a high priest FOREVER by an OATH made by Almighty God HIMSELF give us an ASSURITY of a BETTER TESTAMENT.)

23. And they (including Melchizedek) truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of DEATH: (In other words, there is a DIFFERENCE between Jesus and Melchizedek in that Almighty God the Father made an OATH confirming that his SON Jesus would be the LAST priest FOREVER between God and mankind. This again teaches us that Jesus is NOT one and the same man as Melchizedek because were are clearly told in verse 23 that Melchizedek died along with all the other priests in the past. Jesus is the ONLY man who has ever been GIVEN IMMORTALITY up to this point in time. Please see John 5:26,27 and 1 Timothy 6:14-16. Therefore Melchizedek being a MAN had to have DIED even though the writer of Hebrews SEEMS to be saying in Hebrews 7:8 that he LIVES. To me this is a PROPHECY of the COMING high priest who will be given this priesthood FOREVER and not Melchizedek himself. Also I myself can not find these words anywhere in the OLD Testament. So the writer of Hebrews to ME is NOT actually quoting the Old Testament, but rather is drawing his own analogy between Genesis chapter 14 and verse 8 being compared to Psalms 110.)

24. But this MAN (speaking of Jesus), because he continues ever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them.

26. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

27. Who needs not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

28. For the law makes men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the OATH, which was since the law, makes the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.”


So then, the question at hand is: “Is Melchizedek a theophany of Jesus Christ, or a manifestation of Jesus himself in the Old Testament being seen as a MAN?” What is a theophany? Simply put a theophony is God appearing in human form. You see, since God is an INVISIBLE SPIRIT who cannot ever be see with human eyes, then the only way for God to be actually SEEN is for God to APPEAR or MANIFEST himself in a VISIBLE human form. This is what the term theophany means. The atual word “theophany” comes from Greek “theos” meaning God plus the Greek word “phainein” or “phan”, which means to show ro reveal. Thus combined they from the word “theophany”, which again simply means that God appeared in human form.

So then the question at hand is Melchizedek a “theophany” or God appearing in a human form? In other words, do these verses prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus is COETERNAL with Almighty God the Father who is ALSO a divine eternal being who is without BEGINNING, WITHOUT end of LIFE and therefore PREEXISTED in the Old Testament as Melchizedek the high priest to the most high God?


Now the main verses in question are found in Hebrews 7:2,3 and verse 8, which says that Melchizedek was WITHOUT father, without mother, without descent having neither BEGINNING of DAYS, nor END of LIFE or who LIVES.


2. To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;

3. Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made LIKE unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually....

8. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he LIVES.


Now as we have already discussed within the comments of these verses that being without mother or father simply means that the ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD in which the MAN Melchizedek was a priest did NOT have as a qualifying mandate a GENEALOGY. In other words, Melchizedek did Not have to have a mother of father who were is the LINE of LINAGE of this ORDER of PREIESTHOOD like the Levitical priesthood.

And having neither beginning of days nor end of life simply means that in this particular ORDER OF PRIESTHOOD there was no certain AGE in which one needed to be before he became a priest nor was there a maximum age in which their priesthood ended. They were made a priest until they died in this particular ORDER of PRIESTHOOD.

Now for those of you who may not agree with these interpretations of the priesthood itself as having no DESCENT or ending there still remains all the clear plain and simple evidence of the COMPARISON between the TWO separate individual human beings of Melchizedek and Jesus.

Keep in mind that ONLY Jesus was made a high priest FOREVER by the OATH of his God and Father the one true and ONLY ALMIGHTY MOST HIGH God.

The sound Biblical EVIDENCE clearly teaches us that Melchizedek was a MAN. So therefore he was NOT and ANGEL.

Hebrews 5:1 clearly teaches us that EVERY priest is chosen from among MEN and NOT ANGELS.

For EVERY high priest taken from among MEN is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:”

This would also include Jesus as well being a MAN since Jesus the SON OF Almighty God was made to be a high priest OF Almighty God. Now there is no doubt that Melchizedek was a TYPE or a SHADOW or a FIGURE OF Jesus PROPHESYING the coming of Jesus, but I myself find no sound Biblical evidence to support the dogmatic teaching that Jesus PREEXISTED as the MAN Melchizedek in the Old Testament. Therefore I conclude that Melchizedek is NOT a theophany or a MANIFESTATION of God APPEARING in human form in the Old Testament.

I personally believe that Melchizedek was a MAN just like the word of TRUTH says that he was in Hebrews 5:1-5.


For EVERY high priest taken from among MEN is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

2. Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (The Bible to ME clearly teaches us that Jesus was a MAN who was tempted in ALL points just like we are tempted so that he can KNOW the feelings of our weakness and have compassion to be a good and faithful high priest between Almighty God and mankind. And in verse one we clearly see that EVERY high priest is taken or chosen to be a high priest NOT from the rank of ANGELS, but rather EVERY high priest is select FROM AMONG the HUMAN race and more specifically the MALE. Now to ME, the word of TRUTH makes it perfectly clear that Jesus was indeed a HIGH PRIEST and seeing that the word of TRUTH also clearly states that EVERY high priest is taken from AMONG MEN, then to ME this means that Melchizedek AND Jesus were BOTH MEN born as HUMAN BEINGS.)

3. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

4. And no MAN takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

5. So ALSO Christ glorified NOT himself to be MADE an high priest; but he (speaking of Almighty God himself) that said unto him (his SON Jesus speaking forth a PROPHECY of his yet coming Son calling things that are not yet come into being as though they already are), You are my Son, TODAY have I begotten you.(The phrase “TODAY have I BEGOTTEN you” clearly teaches us that the SON OF Almighty God did indeed have a BEGINNING on a certain DAY in which he was BEGOTTEN or brought forth into existence where he had never been BEGOTTEN of brought forth before. Please see the study “DID JESUS HAVE A BEGINNING” for a deeper understanding that the HUMAN Jesus did indeed have a BEGINNING and that Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father was MADE to be both Lord and Christ BY his God and Father the MOST HIGH and ONLY ALMIGHTY God.)


Again I encourage you to read the study “DID JESUS HAVE A BEGINNING?” along with the study called “WAS JESUS one of the THREE who visited Abraham?”

Thanks for reading. May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of Almighty God. Below are some other verses that are used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity. If one or more of these verses seem to be a stronghold that you can only see as meaning that Almighty God is a trinity, then I encourage your to read those studies as well, because ANY verse when taken OUT of CONTEXT and viewed ALONE and APART for the REST of God's word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT truly saying.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark.


RETURN TO HOMEPAGE

AT
AmatterOfTruth.com



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https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/356-was-melchizedek-the-preincarnate-christ


Some allege that the mysterious ‘Melchizedek,’ whom Abraham met when returning from the rescue of Lot, was a physical manifestation of the pre-incarnate Christ. Would you comment on this?”

It certainly is true that there were numerous pre-incarnate (i.e., “before the flesh”) appearances of the Lord Jesus during Old Testament times (see: "A Brief Study of “The Angel of Jehovah”".) However, “Melchizedek” was not one of them, even though some, e.g., Ambrose of Milan (A.D. 340-397), and a few modern commentators, have so contended. But the distinction between these individuals is evident from the various biblical expressions comparing them.

  1. Christ was a priest of God after the “order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11,17). The word “order” (taxis) signifies an “arrangement.” In this connection, it means “of similar arrangement,” i.e., the nature of, or “just like Melchizedek” (Danker, et al., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Chicago: University of Chicago, 2000, p. 989). The meaning is this: in some sense the kingly-priesthood of Jesus would be similar in nature to that of Melchizedek. Note the reference to Psalm 110:4 above, and observe that Christ made the application of this Psalm to himself in Matthew 22:43-45.

  2. Similarly, when the writer of Hebrews notes that Melchizedek was made “like unto the Son of God” (7:3), he makes a clear distinction between the two. Also observe the term “likeness” in 7:15. Melchizedek’s regal priesthood was providentially prepared to pre-figure that of Christ — a marvelous example of Heaven’s preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Again, though, this comparison between Melchizedek and Christ negates the identification of them as being the same individual.

  3. Twice the inspired writer uses the word “another” (heteros) to demonstrate a comparison between the illustrious Old Testament priest, and the Son of God (Hebrews 7:11,15). The term “another” indicates they were not the same in identity.

Melchizedek was a “type” of Christ, that is, certain features of his divine service (his reign as king and his function as a priest) were an Old Testament visual aid; a prophetic preview of various aspects of Jesus’ role, but these two men were not the same person.



What does the writer of Hebrews mean when he said that Melchizedek was ‘without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God, abides a priest continually’” (Hebrews 7:3)?

It is this rather enigmatic description that has led some to adopt unusual views with reference to the Old Testament priest-king. None of the expressions in Hebrews 7:3 is to be assigned a literal meaning. Rather, they are terms that depict the nature of Melchizedek’s priesthood, in contrast to the Aaronic priesthood, as such prevailed under the Mosaic regime. A careful consideration of the context is essential in the interpretation of these expressions.

It was not that Melchizedek was “without father, without mother” literally, or that he had no genealogical background. No, the truth being conveyed was this. Whereas the Aaronic priesthood resulted from being a part of a family line, i.e., the descendants of Aaron, Moses’ brother, the priesthood of Melchizedek was bestowed directly by God. And it was precisely in this manner that the Lord Jesus was appointed as our High Priest; he did not inherit it by means of a physical lineage (cf. Hebrews 7:14).

There is an interesting text from one of the Amarna letters (more than 350 clay tablets from the Royal Egyptian archives, cir. 1400-1360 B.C.) that illustrates this matter. These letters were produced by scribes in Canaan, Phoenicia, and southern Syria. In one of these letters (No. 286) there is the claim of Abdu-Heba, king of Urusalim [Jerusalem], which says: “Behold, as for me, it was not my father and not my mother who set me in this place; the arm of the mighty king brought me into the house of my father!” (James B. Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near East, Princeton: University Press, 1958, Vol. I, pp. 269-270). This is not to suggest that Abdu-Heba was Melchizedek, only that the circumstance of bestowal in the former’s case is strikingly similar to the language regarding Melchizedek.

Melchizedek was not without physical parents; the reality was, he did not owe his position to them. The same was true with reference to Christ. It was not his Hebrew lineage that brought him to the priesthood; it was by means of a direct appointment of Jehovah.

Nor is the phrase, “having neither beginning of days nor end of life,” to be pressed literally. Surely no one contends that Melchizedek is still alive somewhere upon the earth! Here is the reality of the situation.

According to the biblical record, the Levitical priests served in the tabernacle from the time they were 25 years of age, until they were 50 (Numbers 8:24-25), but no such limit is suggested in the scripture record regarding Melchizedek. As far as the Genesis narrative reveals, there was neither beginning nor end to his administration. And, as F.F. Bruce observed, in this respect “the silences of the Scripture were as much due to divine inspiration as were its statements” (The Epistle to the Hebrews — Revised, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990, p. 160).

In the case of Christ, our “High Priest” (this designation being used 17 times in the epistle to the Hebrews), the Lord will serve in this capacity throughout the span of his entire reign, until such fades into that eternal administration (cf. Revelation 5:13b). And the effect of Jesus’ heavenly priesthood will be unending! All of earth’s redeemed will praise him eternally.


“Was Melchizedek the preincarnate Christ?”

No, Melchizedek was not the same person as Jesus, contrary to a rather popular notion that stems from a misunderstanding of certain passages in Hebrews 7.

Melchizedek is first mentioned in Genesis 14. Abram (later called Abraham), returning from the rescue of his nephew (Lot), encountered this ancient dignitary who was king of Salem (early Jerusalem; cf. Psa. 76:2).

In addition to being king, he was described as “priest of God Most High” (Gen. 14:18).

His stature is revealed in that he “blessed” Abraham (the greater always blesses the lesser), and to Melchizedek the patriarch paid tithes, i.e., gave to the king-priest a tenth of his spoils (the lesser tithes to the greater).

The writer of Hebrews uses this incident (together with a prophecy from Psalm 110), to demonstrate the superiority of the priesthood of Christ to that of the Levitical system (Heb. 7:4-10). Beyond that, there were some similarities between Melchizedek and Christ, so that it may be said that the former was a “type” (a picture or symbolic preview) of Jesus. That does not mean, however, that they were the same person. In fact, the sacred text indicates otherwise.

Christ was said to be a priest “after kata the order taxis of” Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6,10; 6:20; 7:11).

The Greek term taxis (order) suggests a similar “arrangement.” For example, just as Melchizedek was both a king and priest simultaneously, so Christ is as well (cf. Zech. 6:12-13; Heb. 1:3).

The preposition kata used with the accusative case suggests the sense of “in accordance with, corresponding to” (Daniel Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996, p. 377). Hence a comparison is being drawn.

Melchizedek was “without father, without mother” (Heb. 7:3a).

The meaning is this: his divine role was not genealogically derived, not handed down from his parents. So, neither was Jesus’ priesthood determined by a physical lineage, as in the case of the Aaronic priests (Ex. 28:1; Num. 3:10).

Among the Tel el Armarna tablets (discovered in Egypt in 1887), there are several letters written to a Pharaoh from one Ebed-tob, who is called “king of Uru-Salim.” The Canaanite king tells the Egyptian ruler that he did not receive his reign from his father and mother, but it had been conferred upon him by “the Mighty King.” This helps to illustrate the phraseology in the book of Hebrews (see A.H. Sayce, “Melchizedek,” Dictionary of the Bible, James Hastings, Ed., Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1908, III, p. 335).

Melchizedek’s administration was without “beginning of days” and “end of life” (Heb. 7:3b).

Again, the meaning is that his priesthood was not for a fixed term (as in the case of the Levitical priests). Under the Old Testament regime, priests began their service at the age of 30, and the Levites served from age 30 to 50 (cf. Num. 4:3ff; 8:24-25).

Apparently, however, there was no chronological limitation with reference to this “priest of Most High God” who reigned in Salem. Again, in this regard he foreshadowed Christ, who serves continually as our priest throughout the Christian age.

That Melchizedek was not the same person as Jesus is evident in that he is said to be “like unto” the Son of God (Heb. 7:3c).

The participle aphomoioo denotes a comparison (e.g., a “copy” or “facsimile” – J.H. Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon, Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1958, pp. 89-90). The term becomes irrelevant if the two persons were the same in identity.

The point is made again in verse 15. Jesus is a priest after the “likeness” of Melchizedek. D.W. Burdick observes:

“The verb aphomoioo always assumes two distinct and separate identities, one of which is a copy of the other. Thus Melchizedek and the Son of God are represented as two separate persons, the first of which resembled the second” (“Melchizedek,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – Revised, G.W. Bromiley, Ed., Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986, Vol. 3, p. 313).

A distinction between Christ and Melchizedek is vividly seen in Psalm 110.

In this text, Jehovah addresses David’s “Lord” (Jesus) in the second person, while the reference to Melchizedek is in the third person (v. 4). [Note: See Matthew 22:42-44 for Jesus’ application of this psalm to himself.]

Accordingly, one should not make the mistake of identifying the ancient king-priest of Salem as Jesus Christ.

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Melchizedek or Malki Tzedek ; Hebrew: ) translated as my king (is) righteous(ness)) was a king and priest mentioned during the Abram narrative in the 14th chapter of the Book of Genesis. He is introduced as the king of Salem, and priest of El Elyon (God most high). He brings out bread and wine and blesses Abram and El Elyon

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What is a theophanies? God appeared in human form!

  1. The word Theophanies, comes from Greek theo- God + Greek phainein, phan-, to show, meaning: God appeared in human form.

  2. "All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Matthew 11:27





Examples of theophanies:

A. Adam and Eve:

  1. "They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." " Genesis 3:8-10

B. Abraham:

  1. Abraham: "The Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." So he built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. " Genesis 12:7

  2. Abraham: "And he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, " Acts 7:2

  3. Abraham: Click for outline A simple reading of this two chapter text (Gen 18-19) proves that the three men who appeared to Abraham, were actually God plus two angels. "Now the Lord appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth" (Genesis 18:1-2). The conclusion of this text shows that there are two Yahweh's: One on earth and One in heaven: "Then Yahweh [on earth in human form] rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Yahweh [in spirit form in heaven] out of heaven. (Genesis 19:24)

  4. Abraham: "Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless. " Genesis 17:1

  5. Abraham: "and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them. " Exodus 6:3

C. Isaac:

  1. Isaac: "The Lord appeared to him and said, "Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you." ... "The Lord appeared to him the same night and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham; Do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you, and multiply your descendants, For the sake of My servant Abraham." Genesis 26:2,24

D. Jacob: Seven different appearances

  1. Jacob: (The Ladder at Bethel) "And behold, the Lord stood above it and said, "I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. " Genesis 28:13

  2. Jacob: (guidance) "Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you." " Genesis 31:3

  3. Jacob: (leave Laban for Canaan) "Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, 'Jacob,' and I said, 'Here I am.' "He said, 'Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 'I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.'" Genesis 31:11-13

  4. Jacob: (En route to Canaan at Mahanaim) "Now as Jacob went on his way, the angels of God met him. Jacob said when he saw them, "This is God's camp." So he named that place Mahanaim. " Genesis 32:1-2

  5. Jacob: (wrestled with God at Peniel, the night before he meets Esau) "Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. " Genesis 32:24. "He said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him and said, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And he blessed him there."" Genesis 32:28-29. "Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel And there He spoke with us, Even the Lord, the God of hosts, The Lord is His name. Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually." Hosea 12:4-6

  6. Jacob: (guidance) "Then God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau." Genesis 35:1

  7. Jacob: (guidance)"Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him." Genesis 35:9

  8. Jacob: (move to Egypt) "God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, "Jacob, Jacob." And he said, "Here I am." He said, "I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. "I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes." " Genesis 46:2-4

  9. Jacob: "Then Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz (Bethel) in the land of Canaan and blessed me," Genesis 48:3

E. Moses:

  1. Moses: "The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. " Exodus 3:2

  2. Moses: "Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream. "Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord." Numbers 12:6-8

  3. Moses: "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. " Exodus 3:16

  4. Moses: ""that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you." " Exodus 4:5

  5. Moses: "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent." Exodus 33:11

  6. "Then Moses said, "I pray You, show me Your glory!" And He said, "I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." But He said, "You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!" Then the Lord said, "Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. "Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen."" Exodus 33:18-23

  7. Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, 70 elders: "Then Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself. Yet He did not stretch out His hand against the nobles of the sons of Israel; and they saw God, and they ate and drank. " Exodus 24:9-11

  8. Moses, Joshua: "The Lord appeared in the tent in a pillar of cloud, and the pillar of cloud stood at the doorway of the tent." Deuteronomy 31:15

F. Aaron:

  1. Aaron: "and an ox and a ram for peace offerings, to sacrifice before the Lord, and a grain offering mixed with oil; for today the Lord will appear to you." Leviticus 9:4

  2. Aaron: "The Lord said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. " Leviticus 16:2

G. Samuel:

  1. Samuel: "And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, because the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord." 1 Samuel 3:21

H. Manoah:

  1. Manoah: "Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you." The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, "Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord." For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, "What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?" But the angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?" So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell on their faces to the ground. Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. So Manoah said to his wife, "We will surely die, for we have seen God." But his wife said to him, "If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time." " Judges 13:15-23

I. Solomon:

  1. Solomon: "In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night; and God said, "Ask what you wish me to give you."" 1 Kings 3:5

  2. Solomon: "that the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. " 1 Kings 9:2

  3. Solomon: "Now the Lord was angry with Solomon because his heart was turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice, " 1 Kings 11:9

  4. Solomon: "Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. " 2 Chronicles 7:12

J. David:

  1. David: "Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. " 2 Chronicles 3:1

L. Jesus Christ on earth: 

  1. "And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. (Zech 12:10)





WAS JESUS ONE OF THE THREE MEN WHO APPEARED TO ABRAHAM?


Does Genesis teach us that Jesus IS YEHWEH or Almighty God HIMSELF who appeared to Abraham? In other words, was one of the three MEN or ANGELS who appeared in the form of men Jesus? To say this another way, since NO man has EVER SEEN the INVISIBLE Almighty God himself at any time, then is the YEHWEH, one of the THREE men or angels, who appeared to Abraham in Genesis being SEEN as a MAN.

The reasoning goes something like this. Clearly knowing that Almighty God the Father has NEVER been SEEN by any man, then the YEHWEH who was seen by Abraham must have been the PREEXISTING Jesus, because Yehweh was SEEN by the MAN Abraham.

But does the word of TRUTH clearly teach us that Yehweh HIMSELF was indeed SEEM by Abraham? You see, the word that is translated as “APPEARED” does not always mean to be SEEN with the physical eye, but rather also means to PERCEIVE or to UNDERSTAND.

You can read Genesis chapter 18 first to refresh your memory if you would like and then we will go to some other verses where God APPEARED to others but Yehweh himself was NOT ACTUALLY SEEN with the physical eyes of those to whom he APPEARED.

In Genesis chapter 18 we read that the Lord, speaking of Almighty God, APPEARED to Abraham. So immediately many Christians ASSUME that Abraham SAW Almighty God face to face in a human form as being ONE of the three men. Before we actually read this entire context and go over it verse by verse I want to begin this study in God's word by reading some other passages of scripture where God has APPEARED to different people WITHOUT actually being SEEN.

In other words, the word “APPEARED” does not dogmatically demand that a person actually SEE God or SEE of form of God. This word translated as appeared literally means to PERCEIVE or to UNDERSTAND. So when God appeared to Abraham and he HEARD God speaking, the Abraham PERCEIVED that it was Almighty God who was SPEAKING to him. Again we will go verse by verse over Genesis chapter 18 further on in this study, but first please closer consider these other APPEARANCES of God where Almighty God appears in a vision, a dream or in VOICE ONLY.


Please begin with Genesis 35:1. There are many verse like these, but I will only use a few.


And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto you WHEN you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”


But the question is HOW did the Yehweh APPEAR to Jacob WHEN Jacob FLED from the face of Esau his brother.

The following passages of scripture are the WAYS is which Almighty God APPEARED to Jacob. In Genesis 28:31 God APPEARS to Jacob in a DREAM. In Genesis 31:3 Yehweh SPOKE to Jacob. In Genesis 31:11-13 an ANGEL of the Lord spoke t Jacob in a DREAM. In Genesis 32:1-3 the ANGELS of God met Jacob. In Genesis 32:24-29 Jacob wrestles with a man, which is obviously an ANGEL, but Jacob believes that he has actually SEEN God face to face and lived.

Others have seen angels and claimed that they have seen God, but Jesus said NO MAN has ever SEEN God. And then we read in

1 Timothy 6:14-16, which clearly teaches us that man CANNOT SEE God. The Bible also teaches us that God is NOT a MAN nor is God the Son of MAN. So these occurrences in the Bible where it SEEMS like people has SEEN Almighty God are just that. It only SEEMS like people have seen God, when in truth the have just seen a vision of God or had a dream or the just HEARD God's voice. Or God sent an ANGEL to speak in his behalf.

Please read Judges 13:20-25, where a husband and his wife see an ANGEL of the Lord, but yet they still SAY or claim that they have actually SEEN GOD. The TRUTH of the matter is that they did NOT actually SEE Almighty God HIMSELF, but rather they saw an ANGEL OF the Lord God Almighty.


For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.

21. But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.

22. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have SEEN God. (now if one were to take this verse OUT of context and the person reading this one verse alone and apart from the rest of God's word, then certainly one might be convinced that people have actually SEEN God. But when this verse is LEFT in the context of where it is found, then it becomes very clear that Manoah nor his wife actually SAW God at all, but rather what they saw was a ANGEL of God. Go back and read this verses right before verse 22 if you missed what they actually saw right before they claimed that they had SEEN God and you will see that they saw an ANGEL of God. So the ANGEL which they SAW was NOT actually Almighty God himself APPEARING in the FORM of an ANGEL like some dogmatically demand that happened with Abraham when he HEARD God's VOICE and then after hearing God's VOICE Abraham lifted up his eyes and LOOKED, which is when he SAW these three men. Again we will get to that passage of scripture shortly, but first let us continue with these other appearances of God where people HEARD God, but they did not actually SEE God.)

23. But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.

24. And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

25. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.”



Then in Genesis 48:1-4 it starts out that Joseph and Jacob HEARD a voice telling them something. This could have been an audible voice or an inner voice. Or it could have been a angel. All we read is that ONE TOLD Joseph and ONE TOLD Jacob, but the word of God does not expound HOW this occurred.

However, in verse 3 Jacob comes straight out and CLAIMS ot tells Joseph that Almighty God himself APPEARED to him.


And it came to pass after these things, that one told Joseph, Behold, your father is sick: and he took with him his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

2. And one told Jacob, and said, Behold, your son Joseph comes unto you: and Israel (or Jacob renamed Israel) strengthened himself, and sat upon the bed.

3. And Jacob (or Israel) said unto Joseph, God Almighty APPEARED unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,

4. And said unto me, Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a multitude of people; and will give this land to your seed after you for an everlasting possession.”


Again HOW did the Lord God Almighty Yehweh APPEAR to Jacob? This is important, because IF Jacob actually SAW Almighty God himself, then we have a CONTRADTION in the Bible. But if this APPEAARING was not actually a face to face SEEING of Almighty God himself, then Jesus spoke the TRUTH when he said NO MAN has EVER SEEN God.

Let us now go to Genesis 28:10-22, which teaches us that Almighty God APPEARED to Jacob NOT face to face as one would ASSUME by reading just Genesis 48:3 alone and apart from the rest of God's word, but rather when the whole word of God is consider then it becomes quite clear that Almighty God APPEARED to Jacob in a DREAM or a night VISION.

In other words, the phrase “and the LORD APPEARED to...” does NOT dogmatically mean without fail that the invisible God LITERALLY APPEARED is a physical form such as an angel or a man, but rather this word “appeared” simple means that God can APPEAR to us in a DREAM, in a VISION, by sending an ANGEL, by an AUDIBLE VOICE, or by his small still INNER VOICE of his Holy Spirit.

Please read genesis 28:10-22.


And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.

11. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

12. And he DREAMED, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

13. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon you lay, to you will I give it, and to your seed;

14. And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in you and in your seed shall all the families of the earth be BLESSED.

15. And, behold, I am with you, and will keep you in all places whither you go, and will bring you again into this land; for I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken to you of.

16. And Jacob AWOKE out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

17. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

18. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

19. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

20. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying , If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

21. So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

    1. And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that you shall give me I will surely give the tenth unto you.”



So then, in Genesis 48:1-4 Jacob tells his son Joseph that the Lord God Almighty APPEARED to him WHEN he was in LUZ. And then we read in Genesis 28:10-22 of this APPEARANCE of the Lord God Almighty to Jacob where we find that Almighty God APPEARED to Jacob is a DREAM or a night VISION.

In other words, the phrase “and the LORD APPEARED to...” does NOT dogmatically mean without fail that the invisible God LITERALLY APPEARED is a physical form. God can APPEAR to us in a DREAM, in a VISION, by sending an ANGEL, by an AUDIBLE VOICE, or by his small still INNER VOICE of his Holy Spirit.

The Hebrew word that is TRANSLATED as “APPEARED” is “RAAH” which has a variety of meanings. The root meaning f this Hebrew word is to SEE either literally or figuratively. This SEEING can be directly, by implication, or by causation. The seeing can be by perceiving, observing, discerning, get acquainted with and to understand. Seeing can also be by feeling. Seeing can be by ascertaining such as people saw that the Lord was WITH the prophet by the works that were done by his hand. They SAW the Lord, but actually what they SAW was the WORKS of the Lord working through the hands of the prophet of God.

Therefore when the Lord APPEARED to Abraham and THEN AFTER Abraham lifted UP his eyes and LOOKED, then Abraham SAW THREE MEN does NOT DOGMATICALLY mean without fail that one one these three MEN or ANGELS was Almighty God HIMSELF APPEARING as a human being.

I myself believe that the Lord appeared to Abraham as an audible VOICE and THEN Abraham SAW these THREE MEN approaching his tent.

Please read again Genesis chapter 18:1-33 with God APPEARING to Abraham in VOICE ONLY and perhaps even seemly like this VOICE of Almighty God came from or near one of the ANGELS.


And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: (please notice the translators colon, which indicates that there is a time lapse before the next event takes place) and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;

2. And he lift up his eyes and LOOKED, and, lo (or being perceiving), three men stood by him: and WHEN he SAW them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, (So then, to ME, when I read these two verses together it sounds like Abraham first HEARD the Lord speak to him and recognized that Yehweh was APPEARING to him or the almighty was revealing himself to Abraham. So Abraham then lifted UP his EYES to SEE the Lord and it was WHEN Abraham began to LOOK that he perceived three MEN standing before his tent so Abraham got up and ran to greet these three men PERCEIVING that this is what Almighty God wanted him to do, but not knowing for certain that this is what Yehweh wanted Abraham to do. In other words, verse 3-5 are kind of like a FLEECE that Abraham puts before the Lord saying that IF you have sent these three men to me Lord let me show my hospitality and if they receive it, then THERFORE I will know that you Lord have sent them and you have come to your servant Abraham.)

3. And said, My Lord, IF now I have found favor in your sight, pass not away, I pray you, from your servant:

4. Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree:

5. And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort you your hearts; after that you shall pass on: for therefore are you come to your servant. And they said, So do, as you have said. (here we see Abraham getting confirmation from God that he did indeed sent these three men to him and that it was indeed the Almighty God SPEAKING to him)

6. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.

7. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetch a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it.

8. And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat.

9. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah your wife? (Now did all three of these angels who appeared as men ask this question at the same time or did just one of these angels speak in behalf of all three? And if so be that it was just one angel speaking and this one angel was indeed the Almighty God himself, then the question arises why word and all knowing God need to ask where Sarah was, because he would already know if so be that one of the angels was indeed the Almighty God and if so be Almighty God is truly all knowing.) And he said, Behold, in the tent.

10. And he said, I will certainly RETURN unto you according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah your wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. (In Genesis chapter 21 we see that God does indeed RETURN as he had promised but we do not see any evidence of Almighty God being SEEN by Abraham nor his wife Sarah on his RETURN visit. Now to ME, the term RETURN carries the idea that God will APPEAR to Abraham and his wife Sarah again in the SAME WAY that he APPEARED to them when he said that he would RETURN. So to ME I see both of these appearances of god as being in VOICE ONLY and that Almighty God himself was NOT actually SEEN in the form of a man at either appearance.)

11. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.

12. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?

13. And the LORD (Yehweh) said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old ?

14. Is any thing too hard for the LORD (Yehweh)? At the time appointed I will return unto you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.

15. Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but you didst laugh.

16. And the MEN rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. (Please notice that this verse says that the MEN rose up and looked toward Sodom and we all AGREE that this means ALL THREE MEN rose up and NOT just TWO of the three men rose up. Now compare this SAME wording of the MEN rising up and looking toward Sodom as clearly meaning ALL THREE MEN to verse 22 below where we see this SAME wording of the MEN leaving Abraham and going toward Sodom to see what the actual degree of wickedness truly is in Sodom, but in that verse some INTERPRET this to mean that ONLY TWO men left and ONE man remained behind whom they further INTERPRET as being ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF speaking in the FORM of a man face to face with Abraham. Now I myself interpret BOTH of the verses the SAME way where ALL THREE men are clearly seen rising up and leaving Abraham ALONE communing with the INVISIBLE God by VOICE ONLY.)

17. And the LORD (Yehweh) said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do;

18. Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him?

19. For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD (Yehweh), to do justice and judgment; that the LORD (Yehweh) may bring upon Abraham that which he has spoken of him.

20. And the LORD (Yehweh) said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

21. I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know (Now to ME, the MOST HIGH ALMIGHTY God who sits upon throne being MAJESTY and KING over all does not leave his throne and PERSONALLY go down to the earth, but rather he SENDS his host, his creation his SON or his very own self same Holy Spirit to do whatever he needs to be done. Also as a side note the question arises as to WHY an ALL KNOWING God needs to send his angels to find OUT IF it is true that Sodom has become so wicked?).

22. And the MEN (who we know were ANGELS by the next chapter, which we will get to shortly) turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. (Please notice that the word of TRUTH does NOT say that just TWO or these men left and ONE stayed behind. But rather the clear word of God says that the MEN turned and went toward Sodom. Now the reason that they came down was to see IF it was true that Sodom had become so wicked and needed to be destroyed. In other words, it is only ASSUMED that only TWO angels left and the ONE angel who SUPPOSEDLY remained behind was AMIGHTY God HIMSELF. But the way that I myself interpret these verses in the light of the whole word of God is that ALL THREE men or angels left Abraham ALONE who was COMMUNING with the Lord God the Almighty by VOICE ONLY, which means that Abraham did NOT actually SEE the Lord YEHWEH, but only HEARD the Almighty.)

23. And Abraham drew near, and said, Will you also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

24. Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt you also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?

25. That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from you: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

26. And the LORD said , If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

27. And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:

28. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: will you destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.

29. And he spoke unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake.

30. And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.

31. And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake.

32. And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

33. And the LORD(Yehweh) went his way, as soon as he had left COMMUNING with Abraham (again the Lord often COMMUNES with his people WITHOUT being SEEN. In other words, Almighty God appeared to Abraham in a VOICE ONLY): and Abraham returned unto his place.”


Now some of you may be thinking something like, “Mark, you always talk about CONTEXT, so READ the next chapter and you will clearly see that it plainly says that TWO angels came to Sodom and NOT all THREE angels, and this is why ONE angel, appearing in the form of a man stayed behind, who spoke with Abraham while the other TWO angels went to Sodom. Read the CONTEXT Mark.”

Well is did read the context and I argued with the Lord about it myself, but something on the inside kept saying to me read it AGAIN. But each time I read it I kept getting the same TWO angels like I have always been TAUGHT. I mean it does plainly say TWO angel came ot Sodom. But then the Holy Spirit led me to look up the meaning of the word “TWO”. I mean really Lord, you want me to look up the meaning of the word “TWO”? I thought to myself two could the word “TWO” mean anything other than “TWO”, but I obeyed this small still voice within me and I looked up the meaning of the word “TWO”, but before I share what I found let us read Genesis 19:1-3 to refresh to memory of some who may not have read this passage of scripture for awhile.


And there came TWO angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

2 And he said, Behold now, my lords (here we see Lot giving these angels the same hospitality that Abraham gave these these three men or angles. Now if you read this entire chapter there is NO indication as to how MANY lords or men or angels appearing as men that Lot invited into his house. In other words, verse number one is the only verse where there SEEMS to be only TWO angels appearing as men, but I a moment you will see as I have seen that there were actually THREE men who came to Sodom that evening as you continue this study in God's word), turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and you shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night.

3. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.”


As I said a moment ago the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to look up the meaning of the word “TWO” so after arguing awhile with myself I eventually obeyed the leading of the Holy Spirit and looked up the meaning of the Hebrew word that is TRANSLATED as “TWO”in Genesis 19:1 and here is what I found.

The Hebrew word is “senayim” Strongs #8147 and does indeed mean two, but the root word “seni” Strong's #8145 means second or AGAIN. I was impressed to take the Strong's numbers and look them up in a more expanded dictionary of Hebrew words so I looked upon these Strong's numbers in the Strong's Expanded exhaustive concordance of the Bible and I found that the root meaning of this word was double, dual, second, again, another, time, a second time, twofold, both, and yes this Hebrew word “senayim”also means two.

But in the light of all these other meanings this word could just as easily be translated as “AGAIN” or “SECOND TIME”, because the literally meaning of this Hebrew word actually means SECOND or ANOTHER. In other words, the FIRST time that the angels went to Sodom was to SEE if it were TRUE that the wickedness had become so wicked that it need to be destroyed. But is Genesis chapter 19 we can clearly see that this was the SECOND TIME that the angels visited Sodom, because THIS TIME they did NOT come to SEE if these cities were are wicked as the cries that came up to heaven, but rather on the SECOND visit to Sodom the angels came at evening time to rescue Lot and his family and then DESTROY Sodom and Gomorrah.

Let us substitute the literal meaning of this Hebrew word which means AGAIN or a SECOND TIME for the translated English word “TWO” so you can better see what I am saying.

Here is my own translation using the literal meaning of this Hebrew word that is normally translated as two in many Bibles.

Genesis 19:1

And there came AGAIN a SECOND TIME angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;”


Now when we read the entire CONTEXT we no longer see just TWO angels leaving Abraham and going to Sodom the SEE if the cries coming up to heaven were TRUE, but rather is becomes clearer that ALL THREE MEN or angels in Genesis 18:16 rose up and ALL THREE MEN or angels looked toward Sodom.


16. And the MEN rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with THEM to bring them on the way. (Please notice that this verse says that the MEN rose up and looked toward Sodom and we all AGREE that this means ALL THREE MEN rose up and NOT just TWO of the three men rose up. Now compare this SAME wording of the MEN rising up and looking toward Sodom as clearly meaning ALL THREE MEN to verse 22 below where we see this SAME wording of the MEN leaving Abraham and going toward Sodom to see what the actual degree of wickedness truly is in Sodom, but in that verse some INTERPRET this to mean that ONLY TWO men left and ONE man remained behind whom they further INTERPRET as being ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF speaking in the FORM of a man face to face with Abraham. Now I myself interpret BOTH of the verses the SAME way where ALL THREE men are clearly seen rising up and leaving Abraham ALONE communing with the INVISIBLE God by VOICE ONLY.)”

So then when we COMPARE scripture with scripture and read verse 22 where these same words are spoken about the MEN leaving towards Sodom on the FIRST visit to SEE if is was TRUE about the wickedness of Sodom, then is should be clearly understood that ALL THREE MEN or angels left Abraham ALONE to commune with the Lord speaking to him from heaven by VOICE ONLY.

Here is Genesis 18:22.


22. And the MEN (who we know were ANGELS by the next chapter, which we will get to shortly) turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. (Please notice that the word of TRUTH does NOT say that just TWO or these men left and ONE stayed behind. But rather the clear word of God says that the MEN turned and went toward Sodom. Now the reason that they came down was to see IF it was true that Sodom had become so wicked and needed to be destroyed. In other words, it is only ASSUMED that only TWO angels left and the ONE angel who SUPPOSEDLY remained behind was AMIGHTY God HIMSELF. But the way that I myself interpret these verses in the light of the whole word of God is that ALL THREE men or angels left Abraham ALONE who was COMMUNING with the Lord God the Almighty by VOICE ONLY, which means that Abraham did NOT actually SEE the Lord YEHWEH, but only HEARD the Almighty.)”


Please keep in mind that verse 22 is speaking of the FIRST visit of these THREE angels to Sodom to SEE if it were TRUE about the cries of wickedness. Then is chapter 19 we see that this is the SECOND visit of the THREE angel to DESTROY Sodom after the deliver the RIGTHEOUS out of the city.

In other words, in chapter 19 these THREE angels are NOT on their FIRST visit to SEE if these cities were are wicked and the cries said there were, but rather this was the SECOND TIME that these THREE angels came to Sodom and this time it was to DESTROY these cities for their wickedness of SODOMY and HOMOSEXUALITY.

Now some of you may want to argue and say that I am just changing the word of God to meet my own personal interpretation of God's word, but in TRUTH I am just giving you the facts that I have found in the course of my own studying and as always I leave it to you the reader to make you own decisions on what you want to believe or not believe.

As always the studies that I write I do so for those who are struggling with the same questions that I myself have had in my life and I am just sharing with my readers and the seekers of the TRUTH what I myself have found to be the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God.

So in conclusion I myself believe that this word “TWO” should have been more accurately translated as AGAIN or as SECOND TIME, which to ME better fits the WHOLE meaning of the text, because clearly the angels went to Sodom TWO different times. The FIRST time was to SEE if it were TRUE about the cries that came up to heaven. And the SECOND TIME the angel came AGAIN to Sodom only this SECOND TIME they came to DESTROY these cities that were found to be TRUE according to the cries that came up to heaven about their wickedness.

Therefore I also conclude that neither Almighty God himself, NOR his Son Jesus appeared if a human form to Abraham as ONE of these three angels who appeared in the form of three MEN. To say this another way, I myself do NOT believe that Genesis chapters 18 and 19 prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus PREEXISTED as a Spirit being who could transform into a human being and appear to people in the Old testament. In other words, I myself believe that Jesus did indeed have a BEGINNING and therefore Jesus did NOT preexist BEFORE his being born of the virgin Mary.

Now what the WORD that was with God in the beginning was BEFORE the WORD was MADE or BECAME a human being is NOT what I am speaking about in these studies that I write. I agree that Almighty God is perfectly capable of MANIFESTING himself in any form he may choose. But I also believe that the entire EVIDENCE of God's word far better supports the truth that Almighty God APPEARED to people in the Old Testament NOT as a so called “THEOPHANY”, but rather the VOICE OF Almighty God was HEARD or his voice, as in, his MESSAGE was spoken in his behalf by and angel or a prophet of God. I myself choose to believe the word's of Jesus who clearly said that NO MAN has EVER SEEN God. So I take this to mean that NO MAN has EVER SEEN God.

Jesus said if you have SEEN me then you have SEEN the FATHER. But this does NOT mean that the disciples who actually SAW Jesus face to face were actually seeing Almighty God face to face. Jesus is the EXPRESS IMAGE of his God and Father who came to SHOW us the Father to be the one true and only Almighty God. In the same way, IF SO BE that ONE of these angels did remain behind while only two angels went to destroy Sodom, then this angel was speaking in behalf of Almighty God or Almighty God was speaking through this angel. Either way I myself do Not believe that Almighty God manifested himself to appear in the form of a man. The WHOLE word of God just does NOT soundly support such an INTERPRETATION.

As always I leave the evidence for you to decide. Thanks for reading.May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the truth of the whole word of Almighty God. Below are some other verses that are used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity. If one or more of these verses seem to be a stronghold that you can only see as meaning that Almighty God is a trinity, then I encourage your to read those studies as well, because ANY verse when taken OUT of CONTEXT and viewed ALONE and APART for the REST of God's word may SEEM to be saying something that it is NOT truly saying.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark.


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THE UNBROKEN LINE OF POPES


The Roman Catholic church makes the claim that she can trace her Apostolic authority through an unbroken line of Popes all the way back to the apostle Peter, who the Catholic church also claims was the first Pope.

But are these CLAIMS true? Well according to the historical evidence that the Catholic church herself puts forth certainly APPEARS that her claims are true.

However, when I was do some research and some study on another subject I came across some early church writings that to ME, definitely cast some very serious DOUBT that this CLAIM of an UNBROKEN succession of Popes goes ALL the way back to Peter.

Terms apostolic succession:

The term apostolic succession has several possible meanings. But for the purpose of this article, the following definition from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar will be used:

Apostolic Succession...In its strict sense, apostolic succession refers to the doctrine by which the validity and authority of the Christian ministry is derived from the Apostles...In its broader sense, apostolic succession refers to the relationship between the Christian church today and the apostolic church of New Testament times. Thus, apostolic succession refers to the whole church insofar as it is faithful to the word, the witness, and the service of the apostolic communities. Understood in this way, the church is not simply a collectivity of individual churches; instead, it is a communion of churches whose validity is derived from the apostolic message that it professes and from the apostolic witness that it lives
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. 18 And when they had come to him, he said to them: "You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you...Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves..." (Acts 20:17-18,28-30).

the New Testament, the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the hands of Christ’s apostles or elders (Acts 8:17; 9:17; 19:6; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).

it makes no sense that the Apostle John would be somehow subordinate to Linus, Anacletus, Clement, and Evaristus, all of whom have been claimed to have been "bishop of Rome" and supposedly had primacy over all Christianity after Peter died and while John was still alive.

Note that Paul wrote:

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28).
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).

And since the Bible teaches that the true church is first led by apostles and other positions are lower ranked, there is no way that the Apostle John would have been below any bishop (essentially a pastor) in rank--Note that although the Bible uses the Greek term for pastor more than the one for bishop, it seems to show that the terms are interchangeable (see I Peter 2:25).

Hence, after Peter died (as well as the other apostles), it is clear that the was one true successor--who had been appointed by Christi Himself--would be the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die) and that true apostolic successors would probably have had contact with him.


it makes no sense that the Apostle John would be somehow subordinate to Linus, Anacletus, Clement, and Evaristus, all of whom have been claimed to have been "bishop of Rome" and supposedly had primacy over all Christianity after Peter died and while John was still alive.

Note that Paul wrote:

And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28).
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:11).

And since the Bible teaches that the true church is first led by apostles and other positions are lower ranked, there is no way that the Apostle John would have been below any bishop (essentially a pastor) in rank--Note that although the Bible uses the Greek term for pastor more than the one for bishop, it seems to show that the terms are interchangeable (see I Peter 2:25).

Hence, after Peter died (as well as the other apostles), it is clear that the was one true successor--who had been appointed by Christi Himself--would be the Apostle John (the last of the original apostles to die) and that true apostolic successors would probably have had contact with him.

Origen calls Ignatius "the second bishop of Antioch after the blessed Peter". Chrysostom and Theodoret also

Eusebius places Ignatius as the second bishop after Peter.

John Chrysostom specifically claimed:

[Ignatius] presided over the Church...But since I mentioned Peter, this is the man [who] succeeded to the office after him

The next problem is that it is not probable that Peter could have been the Bishop of Antioch until 67 A.D., as the Syriacs claim, for at least three reasons.

First, blatant and unsubstantiated assertions to the contrary, there is no indication that Peter was in Antioch for any length of time (though he did have a meeting there once, see Galatians 2:11, probably in the mid 40s A.D. according to The Catholic Encyclopedia).

Second, if Peter became bishop simply because he once visited that town, then Euodius would have had to become bishop that far back.

And thirdly, if as the Syriac Orthodox claim, Peter was the bishop of Antioch from 37 A.D. until 67 A.D., then he could not have been Bishop of Rome then (not that I am saying that Peter was a bishop of Rome).

The reality is that there is major doubt that Peter spent any significant amount of time in Antioch or Rome (it is not even certain that he ever was in Rome). Neither city has any contemporaneous proof that Peter did anything than visit

Furthermore, inaccurate tradition-based claims to the contrary, Ignatius' writings actually support the concept that he observed and endorsed the seventh-day Sabbath, which is no longer the practice of any of the so-called "orthodox" churches (please see the article The Didache, Ignatius, and the Sabbath). Perhaps even more important, Ignatius apparently also held views on the Godhead that differ from mainstream "Christianity", as he never referred to the Holy Spirit as God and acknowledged the Son as submissive to the Father (please see the article Binitarian View).

Furthermore, according to Jesus, no city, including Antioch (Rome, etc.) could remain the successor to the apostles throughout history. Note what Jesus said:

And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:22-23).

The above passage from Jesus would suggest that the true leadership of the church would have to move reasonably often (not just once or twice). Notice that the Apostle Paul also taught that it was impossible that any city in this age would be permanent for Christians:

For we have not here a permanent city: but we seek that which is to come (Hebrews 13:14).

of celibacy, allegorized scripture, and had a bishop--and Eusebius seems to claim that they are part of the Catholic Church (see vs. 17 above)--even though the Roman Church did not have celibacy rules at that time (please see the article Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters?). This seems to have been where a major departure from the true faith occurred.

Papias, who is now mentioned by us, affirms that he received the sayings of the apostles from those who accompanied them, and he moreover asserts that he heard in person Aristion and the presbyter John. Accordingly he mentions them frequently by name, and in his writings gives their traditions. Our notice of these circumstances may not be without its use. It may also be worth while to add to the statements of Papias already given, other passages of his in which he relates some miraculous deeds, stating that he acquired the knowledge of them from tradition. The residence of the Apostle Philip with his daughters in Hierapolis has been mentioned (Fragments of Papias, VI. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I, via ccel).

Three of Interest Are Mentioned in the Second Century: Polycarp and Linus/Clement

Several others are listed as possible apostolic successors by second century writers, and this section will concentrate on three of them that are endorsed in writings highly recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. Specifically the Catholic Church teaches:

Among the writings of the Fathers, the following are the principal works which bear on the doctrine of the Church: ST. IRENÆUS, Adv. Hereses in P.G., VII; TERTULLIAN, De Prescriptionibus in P. L... (Joyce G.H. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. The Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

So who did these two writers list as apostolic successors?

Since Irenaeus wrote first (circa 180), he will be quoted first:

Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome...The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate...
But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 3, Verses 2,3,4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

So we see from Irenaeus that there were many churches founded by the apostles, but that he only decided to mention two successors by name: Linus of Rome and Polycarp of Smyrna. Notice that Irenaeus is claiming that Polycarp was appointed bishop (pastor/overseer) of the Church in Smyrna by the apostles in Asia (which would most likely have been John and Philip and perhaps some others). Notice that Irenaeus is claiming that there was a list of men who have succeeded Polycarp until the late 2nd century and that they held to the teaching of the apostles. Thus the only universally accepted apostle to “bishop” transfer of leadership for the 1st and 2nd centuries that continued until at least the end of the 2nd century was through Polycarp of Smyrna.

But what of Tertullian?

By Tertullian's time (circa 195), he concluded that there were only two apostolic churches (presumably because the church was split into three groups. the Romans (presumably also including those in Alexandria), the Smyrnaeans (presumably also including those in Antioch and Byzantium), and the heretics:

Anyhow the heresies are at best novelties, and have no continuity with the teaching of Christ. Perhaps some heretics may claim Apostolic antiquity: we reply: Let them publish the origins of their churches and unroll the catalogue of their bishops till now from the Apostles or from some bishop appointed by the Apostles, as the Smyrnaeans count from Polycarp and John, and the Romans from Clement and Peter; let heretics invent something to match this (Tertullian. Liber de praescriptione haereticorum. Circa 200 A.D. as cited in Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

It is probable that Tertullian was aware of elders in Rome prior to Clement (as Irenaeus wrote prior to him), as well as bishops of Smyrna prior to Polycarp, but that Tertullian felt that apostolic succession could only have gone through Polycarp (who he listed first) or Clement.

Now this poses a problem for the Roman Catholic Church as its two primary sources of succession information disagree with one another. Normally, when there are two possibly reliable sources, historians tend to accept what they agree on, but place lower credence on those that they disagree on. Hence, from the position of a historian, Polycarp would seem to have been universally understood to have been the immediate physical successor to the apostles, but that Linus and Clement would not universally understood to be.

It needs to be further understood that there is basically nothing known about Linus nor Clement--pretty much everything truly known about them came many decades after their death (1 Clement will be discussed later).

In addition, into the third century, notice that two are listed by Anatolius of Laodicea (circa 270 A.D.) as successors to the apostles, with one through John and one claiming being through Peter and Paul:

Following their example up to the present time all the bishops of Asia—as themselves also receiving the rule from an unimpeachable authority, to wit, the evangelist John, who leant on the Lord’s breast, and drank in instructions spiritual without doubt—were in the way of celebrating the Paschal feast, without question, every year, whenever the fourteenth day of the moon had come, and the lamb was sacrificed by the Jews after the equinox was past; not acquiescing, so far as regards this matter, with the authority of some, namely, the successors of Peter and Paul, who have taught all the churches in which they sowed the spiritual seeds of the Gospel, that the solemn festival of the resurrection of the Lord can be celebrated only on the Lord’s day. Whence, also, a certain contention broke out between the successors of these, namely, Victor, at that time bishop of the city of Rome, and Polycrates, who then appeared to hold the primacy among the bishops of Asia...

The one party, indeed, kept the Paschal day on the fourteenth day of the first month, according to the Gospel, as they thought, adding nothing of an extraneous kind, but keeping through all things the rule of faith. And the other party, passing the day of the Lord’s Passion as one replete with sadness and grief, hold that it should not be lawful to celebrate the Lord’s mystery of the Passover at any other time but on the Lord’s day (ANF06, The Paschal Canon of Anatolius of Alexandria. X. THE ANTE-NICENE FATHERS translations of The Writings of the Fathers down to a.d. 325. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., EDITORS. AMERICAN REPRINT OF THE EDINBURGH EDITION. Revised and chronologically arranged, with brief prefaces and occasional notes by A. Cleveland Coxe, D.D. T&T CLARK, Edinburgh. Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. VOLUME VI--Schaff P. Nineteenth Century).

Notice that the two potential successors of the apostles looked at things differently, one relied the Bible and the other relied on tradition.

Roman Claims

The Roman Catholic Church bases its legitimacy over all of Christendom on this subject of apostolic succession. Notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

Apostolicity as a note of the true Church being dealt with elsewhere, the object of the present article is to show:
  • That Apostolic succession is found in the Catholic Church.
  • That none of the separate Churches have any valid claim to it.
  • That the Anglican Church, in particular, has broken away from Apostolic unity.

ROMAN CLAIM

The principle underlying the Roman claim is contained in the idea of succession. "To succeed" is to be the successor of, especially to be the heir of, or to occupy an official position just after, as Victoria succeeded William IV. Now the Roman Pontiffs come immediately after, occupy the position, and perform the functions of St. Peter; they are, therefore, his successors. We must prove
  • that St. Peter came to Rome, and ended there his pontificate;
  • that the Bishops of Rome who came after him held his official position in the Church (Wilhelm J. Transcribed by Donald J. Boon. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Notice that the Roman Catholics claim that only their church has any valid claims to apostolic succession, that the Roman Pontiffs must have come immediately after Peter, and that they needed to be bishops.

Also notice this claim from a Roman Catholic writer regarding Matthias taking Judas's place in Acts 1:20-26:

Here we see the office of apostle being referred to by Peter as the office of overseer or bishop. Also important, we see that the office is one of succession--another man succeeds to the office on the death of Judas...This was a dynastic position, an office of authority, and the office that continued though succession after the current occupant ceased to hold that position (Ray, Stephen K. Upon This Rock. St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999, pp. 13,14).

Of course, he does not explain then why there are not currently twelve groups (one for each apostle) that are traced to each of the original apostles.

For example, what church claims a succession from Matthias? None that I know of. And if there actually is one, do the Roman Catholics accept it as legitimate? Not to the best of my knowledge. Nor does he explain how John replaced Timothy as the head of the church in Ephesus, as that was not the result of a dynastic transfer. Thus, the above Roman argument is inaccurate as it contradicts history as well as the actual Roman teachings on the successors of the apostles.

Where there in fact bishops in Rome who immediately succeeded Peter? Is it true that no other church that possibly had a bishop/pastor put in place by an apostle? Or are these basic Roman claims in error?

When Were There Bishops in Rome?

It is important to note that even Catholic scholars recognize that there is no proof that anyone was actually considered to be a bishop in Rome until sometime in the second century. Hence even Roman Catholic scholars understand that it is not certain that either Linus or Cletus or Clement were even bishops (actually there are enough contradictions concerning Cletus/Anencletus that even the existence of some of the early claimed bishops is questionable--please see the article What Do Roman Catholic Scholars Actually Teach About Early Church History?).

One such Catholic scholar, A. Van Hove, wrote this about early bishops:

  • This local superior authority, which was of Apostolic origin, was conferred by the Apostles upon a monarchic bishop, such as is understood by the term today. This is proved first by the example of Jerusalem, where James, who was not one of the Twelve Apostles, held the first place, and afterwards by those communities in Asia Minor of which Ignatius speaks, and where, at the beginning of the second century the monarchical episcopate existed, for Ignatius does not write as though the institution were a new one.

  • In other communities, it is true, no mention is made of a monarchic episcopate until the middle of the second century (Van Hove A. Transcribed by Matthew Dean. Bishop. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, although there were bishops in Jerusalem and Asia Minor in the first and second centuries, there is no mention of a monarchic episcopate (a bishopric or pastorate) in other places, like Rome, until the middle of the second century.

Furthermore, even some more recent Catholic scholars understand that the New Testament provides no support for the idea that one of the apostles appointed someone to be "bishop of Rome":

"Was there a Bishop of Rome in the First Century?"...I have expressed agreement with the consensus of scholars that the available evidence indicates that the church in Rome was led by a college of presbyters, rather than by a single bishop, for at least several decades of the second century (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 80,221-222).

The consensus of scholars is that there was NOT an apostolic succession of bishops starting from Peter in Rome. And notice that according to Roman Catholic scholars, the first clear bishop of Rome was not until the middle or latter half of the second century:

ALTHOUGH CATHOLIC TRADITION, BEGINNING IN the late second and early third centuries, regards St. Peter as the first bishop of Rome and, therefore, as the first pope, there is no evidence that Peter was involved in the initial establishment of the Christian community in Rome (indeed, what evidence there is would seem to point in the opposite direction) or that he served as Rome's first bishop. Not until the pontificate of St. Pius I in the middle of the second century (ca. 142-ca. 155) did the Roman Church have a monoepiscopal structure of government (one bishop as pastoral leader of a diocese). Those who Catholic tradition lists as Peter's immediate successors (Linus, Anacletus, Clement, et al.) did not function as the one bishop of Rome (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.25).

To begin with, indeed, there was no 'pope', no bishop as such, for the church in Rome was slow to develop the office of chief presbyter or bishop...Clement made no claim to write as bishop...There is no sure way to settle on a date by which the office of ruling bishop had emerged in Rome...but the process was certainly complete by the time of Anicetus in the mid-150s (Duffy, Eamon. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes, 2nd ed. Yale University Press, London, 2001, pp. 9, 10,13)

...we have good reason to conclude that by the time of Anicetus (155-66), the church of Rome was being led by a bishop whose role resembled Ignatius or Polycarp (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p. 143).

That is an astounding admission. These Roman Catholic scholars are essentially admitting that there was no possible succession of bishops beginning with Peter in Rome, but that the succession of a bishop from the Apostle John to Polycarp did occur (and it occurred probably 60 years earlier). It appears that in the areas of Alexandria and Rome, those there decided that since Polycarp was a bishop, that they needed to have a bishop themselves, and near the time of Polycarp's martyrdom, they had leaders that were then called bishops.

There simply is no contemporaneous evidence that either Rome clearly had bishops before the second half of the second century--hence Rome should not be considered to have true, immediate, physical succession (and of course, neither have the more important spiritual succession).

Various Catholic writings state that Hegesippus came to Rome in the mid-2nd century and asked about its early leaders. F.A. Sullivan suggests that those Romans apparently mentioned names of leaders they had heard of (as most would have had no possible direct contact with any from the first century) as there were no early records with names. Because there was, at the time of Hegesippus' visit, a bishop of Rome and there had long been bishops in Jerusalem and Asia Minor, F.A. Sullivan also suggests that Hegesippus and later writers presumed that the early Roman leaders were also monarchical bishops, even though that is not considered to have been likely.

This may explain why there are differences in order in the early Roman bishop lists: there were probably a lot of elders in its first 80 or so years of existence and since no one was necessarily a bishop that early, it seems that the early lists are simply an attempt to put an order of some possible elders that served in the church in Rome.

Furthermore, notice this admission:

Admittedly the Catholic position, that bishops are the successors of the apostles by divine institution, remains far from easy to establish...The first problem has to do with the notion that Christ ordained apostles as bishops...The apostles were missionaries and founders of churches; there is no evidence, nor is it at all likely, that any one of them ever took up permanent residence in a particular church as its bishop...The letter of the Romans to the Corinthians, known as I Clement, which dates to about the year 96, provides good evidence that about 30 years after the death of St. Paul the church of Corinth was being led by a group of presbyters, with no indication of a bishop with authority over the whole local church...Most scholars are of the opinion that the church of Rome would most probably have also been led at that time by a group of presbyters...There exists a broad consensus among scholars, including most Catholic ones, that such churches as Alexandria, Philippi, Corinth and Rome most probably continued to be led for some time by a college of presbyters, and that only in the second century did the threefold structure of become generally the rule, with a bishop, assisted by presbyters, presiding over each local church (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, pp. 13,14,15).

It is true that beginning sometime in the second century that there were truly individuals that could be properly described as Roman bishops. But history is clear that there were no early popes in Rome (that title was not taken formally until towards the end of the fourth century according to Roman Catholic sources) and the idea of an unbroken list of pontiffs beginning with Peter simply does not have any historical justification prior to sometime in the second century--over a century after Christ died. (More information can be found in the article What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History?).

Furthermore, some who held that title in the early days (as well as later times) were corrupt.

Perhaps it should be noted that Callistus (bishop of Rome from 217-222) was considered to have been so corrupt and that he was condemned by Hippolytus both for his corruption, allowing abortion, and for instituting a Saturday fast:

Callistus...a man cunning in wickedness, and subtle where deceit was concerned, (and) who was impelled by restless ambition to mount the episcopal throne. Now this man moulded to his purpose Zephyrinus, an ignorant and illiterate individual, and one unskilled in ecclesiastical definitions. And inasmuch as Zephyrinus was accessible to bribes, and covetous, Callistus, by luring him through presents, and by illicit demands, was enabled to seduce him into whatever course of action he pleased. And so it was that Callistus succeeded in inducing Zephyrinus to create continually disturbances among the brethren, while he himself took care subsequently, by knavish words, to attach both factions in good-will to himself (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VI. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

The impostor Callistus … even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth. Behold, into how great impiety that lawless one has proceeded, by inculcating adultery and murder at the same time! And withal, after such audacious acts, they, lost to all shame, attempt to call themselves a Catholic Church! And some, under the supposition that they will attain prosperity, concur with them (Hippolytus. Refutation of All Heresies, Book IX, Chapter VII).

Even today some allow themselves the same audacities : they order fasting on the Sabbath of which Christ has not spoken, dishonoring even the Gospel of Christ (Hippolytus. In Danielem commentarius, 4, 20, 3 as Cited in Bacchiocchi Anti-Judaism and the Origin of Sunday, p. 65).

Note that even The Catholic Encyclopedia admitted this about Callistus and Zephyrinus:

Callistus…He obtained great influence over the ignorant, illiterate, and grasping Zephyrinus by bribes. We are not told how it came about that the runaway slave (now free by Roman law from his master, who had lost his rights when Callistus was condemned to penal servitude to the State) became archdeacon and then pope... Again Callistus allowed the lower clergy to marry, and permitted noble ladies to marry low persons and slaves, which by the Roman law was forbidden; he had thus given occasion for infanticide (Chapman J. Transcribed by Benjamin F. Hull. Pope Callistus I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Obviously the corrupt Callistus attempted to buy the office--and since he was trying to, he violated the warning from the Apostle Peter against Simon Magus first who tried to buy the gift of God for money. Notice what Peter said to Simon Magus:

"Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity"(Acts 8:20-23).

Yet Callistus is part of the claimed “apostolic successors” of this same Peter according to the Roman Catholic Church.

Should one who allowed abortion and bribed his way into his office be considered a true Christian or should it be those faithful in Asia Minor be considered as true apostolic successors?

Even though Hippolytus is considered to be a saint by the Catholic Church and even "was the most important theologian and the most prolific religious writer of the Roman Church in the pre-Constantinian era" (Kirsch JP. St. Hippolytus of Rome. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910), because Hippolytus held to more of a binitarian view of the Godhead (Callistus considered him to be a Ditheist according to Chapman J. Fathers of the Church. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VI. Copyright © 1909 by Robert Appleton Company), the Roman Catholic Church claims apostolic succession through Callistus instead of Hippolytus. Hippolytus was the first to be labeled as an antipope because he and his followers refused to accept that Callistus could have apostolic succession.

Hippolytus was actually elected Bishop of Rome the right after Zephyrinus’ death, but many chose to follow Zephyrinus’ archdeacon Callistus instead. There is no way that the corrupt Zephyrinus and Callistus can be in any legitimate list of successors to the Apostle Peter.

Yet, they both are in the Catholic list.

Did the Bishops of Rome Always Have Their Current Powers and Prerogatives?

Many will dismiss the truth about the early details of Roman Catholic history and state that the Roman Bishops (originally called presbyters, then called bishops in the mid-second century, and then called popes since the late 4th century) always ran the Christian Church. However this is simply not true.

The Eastern Orthodox, for example, do not accept this and claim that certain aspects were developed late:

The Orthodox Church does not accept the doctrine of Papal authority set forth in the Vatican Council of 1870, and taught today in the Roman Catholic Church (Ware T. The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books, London, 1997, p.27).

Notice these admissions from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar:

It is not until the middle of the third century that special importance began to be accorded the faith of the church of Rome (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.21).
Before the beginning of the second millennium and the pontificate of Gregory VII in particular (1073-85), popes functioned largely in the role of mediator. They did not claim for themselves the title of "Vicar of Christ". They did not appoint bishops. They did not govern the universal Church through the Roman Curia. They did not impose of enforce clerical celibacy. They did not write encyclicals or authorize catechisms for the whole Church. They did not retain for themselves alone the power of canonization. They did not even convene ecumenical councils as a rule--and certainly not the major doctrinal councils of Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.19).

It should be noted that the Orthodox schism with the Roman Church occurred in the 11th century as the Roman Pontiff demanded rights that the Eastern churches never believed that he had.

Some, however, decided to make up evidence that Rome always had the authority. It is of interest to note that for about 600 years during the Middle Ages, certain Roman bishops pointed to the "Donation of Constantine" as evidence of their right to preside over all the other bishops, but the document according to Roman Catholic sources (i.e. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Donation of Constantine) was later proven to be a fraud.

Perhaps it should be mentioned, that any who actually succeeded Peter, Paul, and John would have been expected to act like them. Notice what the Rheims' New Testament (a Catholic-accepted translation into English) states:

25. And it came to pass, When Peter was come in, Cornelius came to meet him, and falling at
his feet adored.
26. But Peter lifted him up saying, Arise, myself also am a man. (Acts 10:25-26, RNT)
11. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter: but Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker.
12. The Priest also of cJupiter that was before the city, bringing oxen and garlands before the
gates, would with the people sacrifice.
13. Which thing when the Apostles Barnabas and Paul heard, renting their coats, they leaped
forth into the multitudes crying and saying, Ye men, why do you these things?
14. We also are mortal, men like unto you, preaching to you for to convert from these vain
things, to the living God that made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all things that
are in them
15. Who in the generations suffered all the Gentiles to go their own ways.
16. Howbeit he left not himself vwithout testimony, being beneficial from heaven, giving
rains, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
17. And speaking these things, they scarce appeased the multitudes from sacrificing to them. (Acts 14:11-17, RNT)

Hence, neither Peter nor Paul allowed people to bow before them. This differs from the Roman leaders who claim to have succeeded the Apostle Peter.

Current Roman Claims

In spite of the truth, even in the 21st Century, the false claims of apostolic succession are still being made by the Roman Church. Notice what the current pontiff recently declared:

Pope Benedict called "the succession of the episcopal function is ... a guarantee of the endurance of apostolic tradition” saying that “The link between the college of bishops and the original community of the Apostles may be seen, above all, as a form of historical continuity.”

He added however, that “continuity may also be considered in a spiritual sense, because apostolic succession in the ministry is a privileged place for the action and transmission of the Holy Spirit."
 
The Pope then quoted St. Irenaeus, who wrote that the Church was "founded and constituted in Rome by the most glorious Apostles Peter and Paul," and highlights "the tradition of faith that ... comes down to us from the Apostles through the succession of bishops."
 
"Episcopal succession”, Benedict said, “verified on the basis of communion with the succession of the Church of Rome - is therefore the criterion of adherence of individual Churches to the tradition of apostolic faith, ... which has come down to us from the origins."

He went on to explain that according to the ancient Church, "the apostolicity of ecclesial communion consists in faithfulness to the faith and practice of the Apostles themselves, through whom the historical and spiritual link of the Church with Christ is guaranteed.”

“What the Apostles represent in the relationship between the Lord Jesus and the early Church,” he explained, “is similarly represented by the ministerial succession in the relationship between the early Church and the modern Church.”
 
He stressed in conclusion that "This is not a merely material link…rather it is a historical instrument that the Spirit uses to make the Lord Jesus present as the leader of His people" (Pope Benedict: Faithful episcopal succession is guarantee that authentic teaching of apostles carries through history. Catholic News Agency. May 10, 2006. http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6691).

Certainly he MUST know that Paul DID NOT found the Church of Rome. He MUST know that his church has many teachings that differ from those held by the original apostles. He MUST also know that there is NO PROOF that the Roman Church even had a bishop prior to Anicetus in the latter half of the second century. He MUST KNOW that many current and past scholars in the Roman Catholic Church certainly teach and understand this.

If the current pontiff is truly a scholar, why has he chosen to overlook the truth about apostolic succession? (related information is found in the article What Does Rome Actually Understand About Church History?).

Yet, one of the Vatican's top officials, Cardinal Walter Kasper has publicly taught that the Roman Catholic understanding of apostolic succession simply isn't historically true. Here is something from a review of his book titled, Leadership in the Church: How Traditional Roles Can Help Serve the Christian Community Today:

The claim is made that the ancient formulation of apostolic succession—wherein Christ ordained his immediate successors who in turn ordained their successors with a laying-on of hands from one bishop to a new priest—no longer holds. Kasper is clear: That understanding "has been thoroughly shattered by modern exegesis, but no new historical reconstruction has found universal agreement among scholars." Evidence of this late-in-history realization is a new perspective on the ministry of Paul, whose authority was not horizontal but came from "above." Thus apostolic ministry cannot be seen as a "mere institutional matter"; rather, it is better grasped as a "following of the apostles teaching and life." (Anderson, Mary Jo. Review: A Reformed Protestant Model of Leadership. http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2004/0407revw.asp 01/27/07).

Cardinal Kasper was appointed president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in Rome by Pope John-Paul II, and still holds that position.

Asia Minor

While there were certainly a lot of early religious leaders in Rome, since the actual Christian Church (according the Catholics and nearly all those who profess Christ) began in Jerusalem on the first Pentecost after Christ's crucifixion, it is important to realize that both the Bible and Roman Catholic approved writings support the idea that there were true churches in the region the Bible refers to as Asia Minor (nearly all of which is now part of the country of Turkey).

In the 19th century, Francis Patrick Kenrick wrote:

Ephesus was an autocephalous see…which it derived from the apostles Paul and John, its founders (Kenrick FP. The primacy of the Apostolic see vindicated. Murphy, 1875. Original from Harvard University, Digitized Aug 26, 2008, p. 179).

The Apostle John reportedly was taken to Rome from Ephesus in Asia Minor, then suddenly exiled to Patmos, by Emperor Domitian, and, “after the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus” (Eusebius. Church History. Book III, Chapter 23).

It has been suggested that Timothy (who Paul had once placed in charge of the church at Ephesus was martyred sometime prior to John's return from Patmos (Aherne, Cornelius. Epistles to Timothy and Titus. The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. Nihil Obstat. July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 18 Jan. 2010 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14727b.htm>).

When the Apostle John, for example, wrote the Book of Revelation, he was the last of the original 12 apostles to remain alive (and as an Apostle he ALSO would have been was part of the foundation of the church as Ephesians 2:19-22 teaches).

And he specifically addressed Revelation "to the seven churches which are in Asia" (Revelation 1:4), and later listed those seven (vs. 1:11) all of which were in Asia Minor (here is an article on The Seven Churches of Revelation). He also never positively addressed the church in Rome in that or any other or his known writings (nor, except in his gospel account, did he ever mention Peter).

Furthermore, The Catholic Encyclopedia records this about John,

John had a prominent position in the Apostolic body...the Apostle and Evangelist John lived in Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century and from Ephesus had guided the Churches of that province (Fonck L. Transcribed by Michael Little. St. John the Evangelist. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But there is no scriptural reason to think that John only considered that the churches in Asia Minor were under his leadership. Actually, in one of his other letters, John also wrote "To the elect lady and her children" (2 John 1)--which appears to be a reference to the entire Church (see also Revelation 12:17). Hence, he obviously felt he had a leadership position related to the entire Church, not just those in Asia Minor.

This also appears to be confirmed from this quotation that Eusebius records:

Take and read the account which rims as follows: "Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit..." (Eusebius. Church History, Book III, Chapter 23. Translated by the Rev. Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Hence it is clear that John, the last of the original apostles, was the true physical and spiritual successor to Peter, James, and Paul, while he remained alive. Roman Catholic scholars know that John was important and that the Bible teaches that Peter was fallible:

The conferral of the power of the keys of the kingdom surely suggests an imposing measure of authority, given the symbolism of the keys, but there is no explicit indication that the authority conferred was meant to be exercised over others, much less that it be absolutely monarchical in kind...In Acts, in fact, Peter is shown consulting with other apostles and even being sent by them (8:14). He and John are portrayed as acting as a team (3:1-11; 4:1-22; 8:14). And Paul confronts Peter for his inconsistency and hypocrisy...Paul "opposed him to his face because he was clearly wrong" (Galatians 2:11; see also 12-14) (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., pp. 30-31).

Unlike Rome, Asia Minor had a bishop directly traced from an apostle. And Asia Minor, even according to Roman Catholic scholars, clearly had bishops BEFORE Rome did (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p.217 and Van Hove A. Transcribed by Matthew Dean. Bishop. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II. Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Furthermore, notice what the theologian and historian John M. Neale explained in 1850:

The See of Ephesus has always been esteemed one of the first in the Church… This dignity arose, not so much from the fact that Ephesus was the residence of the Proconsul of Asia, as because the Church there was planted by S. Paul, and regarded S. John as its second founder. That S. Timothy was its first Bishop, ecclesiastical tradition is constant in asserting: on his suffering Martyrdom, S. John is related to have consecrated a namesake of his own as second Prelate. From that time the See of Ephesus possessed Patriarchal authority over the whole Dicecese of Asia: till, as we have related, it became subject to Constantinople, not without many struggles… (Neale JM.  A history of the Holy Eastern Church.  Masters, 1850.  Original from the Bavarian State Library, Digitized Oct 8, 2008, p. 36)

Notice that Ephesus (which included the Smyrnaeans) was the real true church with “apostolic succession” and that it took struggles for Constantinople to claim to be above it (even though what was recognized as that see at the time of Constantine had compromised).

Notice what the Orthodox correctly teach:

The Eastern Orthodox perspective is that the other Churches had no idea that they were supposed to obey the Bishop of Rome. In the case of Polycarp, a man ordained by the Apostle John as Bishop of Smyrna, we find that Anicet (Bishop of Rome) was unable to convince him to adopt the mainline custom. Only a few years later, we see Victor (Bishop of Rome) unable to force a change on the Asiatic Churches. Why? Because no one there recognized Rome’s authority to do so. This, in the Orthodox mind, is important because these Churches were essential witnesses of the Apostles’ teachings. It is likely that John, Philip and Andrew had ministered in the area. The memory of St. John was exceptionally strong among these bishops. Had they heard anything about a Petrine succession of plenary authority in Rome? No. And yet, the Beloved Apostle was alive for at least twenty years after Peter’s martyrdom in Rome. Was John under the authority of Peter’s successor in Rome? This conclusion, which is unavoidable according to Rome’s ecclesiology, is one that the East cannot accept (Cleenewerck L. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (An Orthodox Perspective). Euclid University Consortium Press, Washington (DC), 2007, p. 259).

And that is true. Those in Asia Minor in the second century had no concept that they were to obey any "Bishop of Rome". To the contrary, all available historical evidence shows that they refused to accept the authority of any Roman bishop over scripture or what they learned from the Apostles John and Philip and their successors.

In the late 2nd century, Tertullian claimed that apostolic succession from in the cities mentioned in Revelation came through the Apostle John:

We have also St. John's foster churches. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author (Tertullian. Against Marcion, Book IV, Chapter 5. Online version. Copyright © 2006 by Kevin Knight).

Notice the following:

The letters of Ignatius of Antioch, generally dated to about 115, are the first Christian documents that witness to the presence of a bishop who is clearly distinct from the presbyterate and is pastor of the whole church. However this testimony is certain only for the church of Antioch and for several churches of western Asia Minor in the vicinity of Ephesus (Sullivan F.A. From Apostles to Bishops: the development of the episcopacy in the early church. Newman Press, Mahwah (NJ), 2001, p.15).

In other words, the only possible area where the Roman Catholic definition of apostolic succession, from an apostle to a bishop, could have occurred was in Antioch or Asia Minor. (Ignatius, bishop of Antioich, specifically mentions Onesimus as bishop of Ephesus and Polycarp as bishop of Smyrna in his letters, but lists no "Bishop of Rome".)

The last apostle to die, John, died in Ephesus (around 100 A.D.). Hence it would make sense that if a bishop was to be the successor to the apostles, this would probably occur in western Asia Minor (Smyrna is only a relatively few miles north of Ephesus). "Apostolic succession", of a type, certainly did occur in Ephesus/Smyrna.

More on Polycarp

Perhaps the most famous successor appointed by the Apostle John was Polycarp of Smyrna. Polycarp is unique among any claimed to be a direct successor to any of the apostles:

  1. Polycarp is the only possible direct apostolic successor considered by any church I am aware of that there was a letter written to him while he was alive (yes, there were letters written in the New Testament to leaders, but none of them are in any of the 'accepted' succession lists I have seen).

  2. He is the only possible direct apostolic successor considered by any church I am aware that to have written any document that we still possess to this day (there is a letter claimed to have been written by Clement of Rome, however, it does not say that he wrote it, nor is Clement considered to be the direct successor of any apostle--the Roman Catholic Church currently claims that Linus was Peter's direct successor; there are also letters written by Ignatius of Antioch, but the two Antiochian Churches I am aware of claim that Evodius, not Ignatius, was Peter's direct successor).

  3. Polycarp is the only possible direct apostolic successor considered by any church I am aware that to have any significant document written about him within a few weeks of his death.

  4. Polycarp is the only possible successor to the apostles that was clearly called "bishop" while he was alive.

  5. Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Church of God historians all teach that Polycarp was a spiritually faithful Christian leader. Yet, Polycarp refused to accept the authority of the Roman Bishop Anicetus.

  6. Polycarp is also the only possible successor to have a writing perhaps directed to him in the Bible. Some scholars believe that when John wrote to the "angel of the church Smyrna" that this actually was addressed to the leader of the church (the Greek term translated as "angel" can mean human representatives, e.g. Luke 7:24) who they feel was Polycarp.

Unlike the early Roman leaders, a letter to Polycarp circa 108-115 A.D. states that he was a bishop. Ignatius notes:

...to Polycarp, bishop of the Smyrnaeans…So approving am I of your godly mind, which is as it were, grounded upon an unmovable rock, that my praise exceeds all bounds… (Ignatius.  Letter to Polycarp. In Holmes M.W. The Apostolic Fathers, Greek Texts and English Translations. Baker Books, Grand Rapids (MI), 2004, p. 194-201).

Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians contains a lot of information about what he believed and taught. That letter shows that he held positions still held by the Church of God. It is very important to note that Polycarp held positions that clearly differ from those now held by the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches (much of Polycarp's teachings are discussed in the article Polycarp of Smyrna). Polycarp was clearly the spiritual successor to the original apostles. And it is the spiritual succession that counts.

There was also a letter written about his martyrdom by the Smyrnaeans which gives additional insight into him. As previously mentioned, he is also discussed in writing by such early writers as Ignatius who write an entire letter to him (circa 110 A.D.), Irenaeus who claimed Polycarp was faithful (circa 180 A.D.), Polycrates who claimed that Polycarp was faithful (circa 190 A.D.), Tertullian who claimed that the true Christian church could be traced through him (circa 195 A.D.), and Eusebius who wrote that Polycarp was faithful to the apostolic traditions (circa 330 A.D.).

Eusebius records the following as written by Irenaeus about Polycarp:

For when I was a boy, I saw thee in lower Asia with Polycarp, moving in splendor in the royal court, and endeavoring to gain his approbation. I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord. And as he remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the 'Word of life,' Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 20. Translated by the Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Note that Irenaeus stated that he personally met Polycarp and that Polycarp personally knew the Apostles John and that Polycarp's teachings were in accordance with scriptures and what he learned from the followers of the Lord.

Around 180 A.D. Irenaeus recorded this about Polycarp:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna…always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time (Irenaeus. Adversus Haeres. Book III, Chapter 4, Verse 3 and Chapter 3, Verse 4).

This is also later (maybe 20 years later) essentially confirmed by Tertullian:

Anyhow the heresies are at best novelties, and have no continuity with the teaching of Christ. Perhaps some heretics may claim Apostolic antiquity: we reply: Let them publish the origins of their churches and unroll the catalogue of their bishops till now from the Apostles or from some bishop appointed by the Apostles, as the Smyrnaeans count from Polycarp and John, and the Romans from Clement and Peter; let heretics invent something to match this (Tertullian. Liber de praescriptione haereticorum. Circa 200 A.D. as cited in Chapman J. Transcribed by Lucy Tobin. Tertullian. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIV. Copyright © 1912 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, July 1, 1912. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

The Catholics themselves must recognize the importance of these statements by Tertullian (as well as Irenaeus)--there were two churches with proper apostolic claims as far as he was concerned. And not just Rome--but one in Asia Minor that had been led by the Apostle John through Polycarp and his descendants.

Actually, note that Polycarp was called, "the father of the Christians" by anti-Christians, hence it was he that they apparently would have considered to have been an apostolic successor:

12:1 Saying these things and more besides, he was inspired with courage and joy, and his countenance was filled with grace, so that not only did it not drop in dismay at the things which were said to him, but on the contrary the proconsul was astounded and sent his own herald to proclaim three times in the midst of the stadium, 'Polycarp hath confessed himself to be a Christian.'

12:2 When this was proclaimed by the herald, the whole multitude both of Gentiles and of Jews who dwelt in Smyrna cried out with ungovernable wrath and with a loud shout, 'This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, the puller down of our gods, who teaches numbers not to sacrifice nor worship.' Saying these things, they shouted aloud and asked the Asiarch Philip to let a lion loose upon Polycarp (Lightfoot J. Martyrdom of Polycarp).

In the fourth century, Eusebius understood that Polycarp was a bishop and apostolic successor:

At that time Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord (Eusebius. Church History, Book III, Chapter 36 . Translated by the Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Even in the 21st century, the Orthodox Church claims that Polycarp was a successor to the Apostles:

As a sharer of the ways and a successor to the throne of the Apostles, O inspired of God, thou foundest discipline to be a means of ascent to divine vision. Wherefore, having rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even unto blood, O Hieromartyr Polycarp...This apostolic and prophetic man, and model of faith and truth, was a disciple of John the Evangelist (Polycarp the Holy Martyr & Bishop of Smyrna. Greek Archdiocese of America. http://www.goarch.org/en/chapel/saints.asp?contentid=439 8/27/05).

Even in the 21st century, the Roman Catholic Church claims Polycarp as a successor to the Apostles:

Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna, today the city of Izmir, on the west coast of Turkey. He was part of the generation of church leaders who succeeded the apostles. According to one tradition, he was taught by the apostle John and was appointed to his office by the apostles himself...This indeed was one of God's chosen ones--the amazing martyr, Polycarp, an apostolic and prophetic teacher...(Zanchettin L, ed. The Martyrdom of Polycarp: Who would have thought the old man had so much courage? the WORD among us--The #1 Monthly Devotional for Catholics. 2006; Volume 25, Number 4, pp. 69,74).

Since the Orthodox and the Roman Catholics admit that Polycarp WAS a faithful successor to the apostles, why do they not teach what he taught? And since they do not, how can any of them claim to be true to the teachings of the true successors of the apostles?

How Else Did Polycarp and His True Successors Differ?

Irenaeus also reported,

And when the blessed Polycarp was sojourning in Rome in the time of Anicetus, although a slight controversy had arisen among them as to certain other points…For neither could Anicetus persuade Polycarp to forego the observance [in his own way], inasmuch as these things had been always observed by John the disciple of our Lord, and by other apostles with whom he had been conversant; nor, on the other hand, could Polycarp succeed in persuading Anicetus to keep [the observance in his way], for he maintained that he was bound to adhere to the usage of the presbyters who preceded him. And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church, both those who did observe [this custom] and those who did not Irenaeus. (FRAGMENTS FROM THE LOST WRITINGS OF IRENAEUS. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Excerpted from Volume I of The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, editors); American Edition copyright © 1885. Electronic version copyright © 1997 by New Advent, Inc.).

Apparently Anicetus conceded enough (such as about Polycarp’s position on that and probably about Marcion—who Anicetus agreed was a heretic) that no recorded major ‘blowup’ between the two survived. It appears that Anicetus, tried to satisfy Polycarp to some degree, and tried to appear not to be a complete heretic.

But were the churches in Asia Minor and Rome truly in peace after that?

The Catholic monk Epiphanius wrote,

For long ago, even from the earliest days, the Passover was celebrated at different times in the church…In the time of Polycarp and Victor, the east was at odds with the west and they would not accept letters of commendation from each other (Epiphanius. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Books II and III (Sects 47-80), De Fide). Section VI, Verse 9,7. Translated by Frank Williams. EJ Brill, New York, 1994, p.411).

It appears likely that Polycarp, when he returned to Asia Minor, would have told the Christians there that he was successful in turning some away from heretics such as Marcion and Valentinus. He probably was so disgusted by his Roman experience that he let those in Asia Minor know that they should not receive doctrine or other instruction from any in Rome--he also specifically would not change Passover observance to Sunday. This seems to be confirmed by Polycrates' writings a few decades later.

Unlike many claimed apostolic successors, not only was Polycarp faithful to the teachings received from the apostles and the Bible, so were many of the leaders who were traced from him.

The Catholic writer Eusebius recorded that Polycrates of Ephesus, around 195 A.D. wrote the following to the Roman Bishop Victor who wanted all who professed Christ to change Passover from the 14th of Nisan to Sunday:

We observe the exact day; neither adding, nor taking away. For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the day of the Lord's coming, when he shall come with glory from heaven, and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who fell asleep in Hierapolis; and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter, who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and, moreover, John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and, being a priest, wore the sacerdotal plate. He fell asleep at Ephesus. And Polycarp in Smyrna, who was a bishop and martyr; and Thraseas, bishop and martyr from Eumenia, who fell asleep in Smyrna. Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? All these observed the fourteenth day of the passover according to the Gospel, deviating in no respect, but following the rule of faith. And I also, Polycrates, the least of you all, do according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have closely followed. For seven of my relatives were bishops; and I am the eighth. And my relatives always observed the day when the people put away the leaven. I, therefore, brethren, who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord, and have met with the brethren throughout the world, and have gone through every Holy Scripture, am not affrighted by terrifying words. For those greater than I have said ' We ought to obey God rather than man' (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Thus it is clear that throughout the second century, that Polycarp and the churches in Asia Minor continued to observe the Passover on the 14th of Nisan, unlike the Romans, and that they did it based upon what the Bible, those in Ephesus (a church were Paul had once placed Timothy in charge), and the Apostles (John and Philip) taught. Also, notice that the "list of apostolic succession" that Polycrates seems to provide has individuals who did not all live in the same city--Polycrates is demonstrating a spiritual succession based upon adherence to both scripture and apostolic teachings.

Hence, only the church that continues this practice can seriously be considered as a successor to the apostles (the early church had many doctrines that are not held now by most who claim Christianity--a list of some of them can be found at the History of Early Christianity Page).

In spite of this, a relatively recent book stated:

Many of the Fathers were in theological or disciplinary disagreement with Rome (for example, Cyprian and Irenaeus), yet they never denied Rome's primacy. They may have debated what primacy meant, or how it was to work out in the universal Church, but they never denied the primacy (Ray, Stephen K. Upon This Rock St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church. Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1999, p. 13).

Well, since Polycarp denied Rome's primacy, and as through their words and/or action did Thraseas, Sagaris, Papirius, Melito, and Polycrates (and others), the above statements (and the related statements) in that book are in error--including its basic conclusions--Rome never had primacy over true, apostolic Christianity. And this is clear from the teachings and practices of many that the Romans considered to be "Fathers" of the church.

List of Early Leaders

The Church of God traces its history from Pentecost, the year Jesus was crucified, through the Apostles and through those leaders that were faithful to the faith that was once for all delivered for the saints (Jude 3). We teach that throughout history, there were those who were always faithful to the basic apostolic teachings, and that that is still true today.

We in the Churches of God do not view the following list the same way that those in the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches view theirs. We believe that we are the true spiritual descendants of the apostles and this is not dependent upon a bishop to bishop transfer, but a true holding of teachings in a little flock--Luke 12:32. In a sense the "Smyrnaean" leaders could also be considered as the "apostolic succession list of the see of Ephesus" as it was accepted from centuries that there was apostolic succession in Ephesus/Asia Minor, with the succession after the early-mid third century considered to be "lost".

Lest this cause misunderstanding, it needs to be understood that we believe that the true COG never completely died out and thus that the true COG existed from the beginning to now, and will so until the end--we did not just appear or "pop-up" as the descendants of the Apostolic Church--we are a continuation (but we did not always call our leaders by the expression "bishops"). The following list (which mainly has dates based upon Roman Catholic accepted sources) gives a listing of apparently faithful leaders of the church from the first through third centuries. It is based upon scripture and the testimony of Polycrates (which was apparently also accepted by Tertullian) The dates listed are when they died, not the entire time they were leaders:

Peter/Paul/James through death circa 64-68 (mainly oversaw churches from Asia Minor and Jerusalem, though Paul was imprisoned in Rome)
John through death circa 95-100
(oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
Polycarp through death circa 155-156
(oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor)
Thraseas through death circa 160
(oversaw the churches from Eumenia, but died in Smyrna)
Sagaris through death circa 166-167
(died in Laodicea of Asia Minor)
Papirius through death circa 170
(oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor)
Melito through death circa 170-180
(oversaw churches from Sardis of Asia Minor)
* Polycrates through death circa 200
(oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor)
*Apollonius of Ephesus through death circa 210 (oversaw churches from Ephesus of Asia Minor).
*Camerius of Smyrna through death circa 220 (possibly oversaw churches from Smyrna of Asia Minor).

* Note: History concerning Apollonius is not totally clear, but strong indications are that he was most likely in the true church (the 210 date came from The Catholic Encyclopedia). There is basically no information about Camerius of Smyrna, other than he is listed as bishop of Smyrna prior to the third century in sources like The Catholic Encyclopedia and the questionable book The Life of Polycarp. After Polycrates and Apollonius, the official history (with Eusebius the main writer) says almost nothing about the true church in Ephesus, though a compromised church from there develops importance in the fourth century. It may also be of interest to note that the succession that Polycrates provided was NOT limited to a single city, but to the predominant leader/bishop at the time. Although historian F. Arundell has listed 70 so-called "bishops of Ephesus" (Arundell Francis V.  Discoveries in Asia minor: including a description of the ruins of several ancient cities and especially Antioch of Pisidia : in two volumes, Volume 2.  Bentley, 1834.  Original from the Bavarian State Library. Digitized Feb 9, 2010, pp. 272-273), he failed to name most of the early ones (though he did list Timothy, the Apostle John, Polycrates, and Apollonius) and has a gap of over 100 years after Apollonius (and it need to be understood that during this gap, there was so much apostacy, that those he listed after Apollonius were not faithful Christians). Many have listed Timothy in lists of Ephesus succession along with Polycrates and Apollonius, yet although Timothy was in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:1-3), he would not have been above the Apostle John (though historians like F. Arundell place the Apostle John after Timothy in a list of "the bishops of Ephesus"). Also, if Timothy is included in the list, and Polycrates was referring to people like him as John as "his relatives", in that sense then Polycrates was the "eighth" in the above succession list. F. Arundell lists Timothy as 1, John as 2, Polycrates as 8, Apollonius as 9 in his list (while erroneously listing Onesimus as 3 and no one as numbers 4-7).

There clearly then is an 'alternate' listing of leaders in a spiritual succession from the apostles that most people are unfamiliar with (many of the beliefs, as well as more information on the true second/third/fourth century church can be found in the article The Smyrna Church Era). Many of those on the list were considered to have been Smyrnaean as well as part of the later termed "Apostolic see of Ephesus".

It should be noted that the idea that what became known as Roman/Orthodox/Traditional Christianity gaining prominence by the third century is not simply a view held by those in Church of God, but is held by a variety of theologians and historians.

Here is some of what Bart Ehrman has written:

...traditional Christianity...is the form of Christianity that began to thrive at the end of the third and beginning of the fourth centuries (Ehrman B. From Jesus to Constantine: A History of Early Christianity. The Teaching Company, Chantilly (VA), 2004, p. 28).

Thus, what is considered to be traditional Christianity developed in the third and fourth centuries, NOT the second century. NOT the century when the last of any true direct apostolic successors could have lived into.

Binitarianism was the belief of the main form of Christianity until the early third century (Polycarp, Melito, Ignatius, and others had writings consistent with its principles). Binitarianism mainly declined in overall popularity as the separation between true Christians (often referred to by scholars as Nazarenes and Jewish Christians) widened. Because in the first two centuries, both true Christians and those that were more Roman Catholic and/or Eastern Orthodox in their views were binitarian. People in those three groups are often referred to as "proto-orthodox".

..."Nazarene" Christianity, had a view of Jesus fully compatible with the beliefs favored by the proto-orthodox (indeed, they could be considered part of the circles that made up proto-orthodox Christianity of the time). Pritz contended that this Nazarene Christianity was the dominant form of Christianity in the first and second centuries...the devotional stance toward Jesus that characterized most of the Jewish Christians of the first and second centuries seems to have been congruent with proto-orthodox devotion to Jesus...the proto-orthodox "binitarian" pattern of devotion. (Hurtado LW. Lord Jesus Christ, Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity. William B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, 2003, pp. 560-561,618).

However, as the Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox became less like original Christianity, they also adopted a different (a trinitarian) view of the Godhead. "Nazarene" Christianity completely separated from Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox "Christianity" by the end of the third century, with most of the separation occurring in the second century.

After the third century, many dispersed all over. Some apparently ended up in the British Isles. Interestingly, the Celtic/Keltic churches, around 600 A.D. claimed to have been descended from the church of the Ephesians:

The Keltic Churches of Ireland, of Galloway, and of Iona were at one with the British Church. These claimed, like Southern Gaul and Spain, to have drawn their faith from the Apostolic See of Ephesus. Their liturgies, or such fragments as have come down to us, bear marks of belonging to the Oriental family of liturgies. (Dawson W. The Keltic Church and English Christianity. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society (New Series), 1884, p. 377 doi:10.2307/3677978 )

These people had practices like the seventh-day Sabbath and Passover on the 14th of Nisan (see The Pergamos Church Era and The Smyrna Church Era).

The Bible teaches that there will be a succession of seven churches throughout history, until the end of the age (Revelation 2-3). The genuine Church of God traces itself through those seven churches, and holds the basic beliefs of them down to this day (more information can be found in the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

One, apparent, early 20th century Church of God "successor" (until about 1933) was A.N. Dugger. Notice some of what he wrote:

Apostolic Succession…
“The view that a wise and perfect form of church government and organization was set in order by the New Testament founders of the church, which has right to continue, and that that order has been handed down by the apostolic succession, was maintained by many.”… -- Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 5, page 759, article, “Church.”…
That succession of the apostolic power has come down unbroken… Gladstone attacks this in a friendly criticism, by expressing doubt as to why a church would remain silent for some thirteen centuries and then be able to speak. This mystery, however, is made clear with a correct understanding of the prophecy of Revelation, where it was clearly shown beforehand that it would be so. The church was to go into the wilderness and be nourished there for 1260 years, from the face of her persecutor, the beast. Then as the earth helped the woman, she was to come forth again. This actually took place, and while remaining in silence, as far as the world was concerned, yet she is not only able to speak, but divinely empowered with the right to do so.
Britannica Encyclopaedia, volume 2, page 194 says, “Very early, however, the notion that the apostleship is essentially an hierarchical office, found entrance into the church…”
The Scriptures teach us most emphatically that the apostolic virtue and power was handed down from apostle to apostle by the divine ordinance of laying on of hands and prayer. -- Numbers 8:10, 27:28; Acts 6:6; 13:3; I Timothy 4:14; II Timothy 1:5.
That the Sabbath-keeping "Church of God," has a most definite link of connection back through holy men to the days of the apostles is certain. The very same faith, and practice in divine worship, have been definitely handed down to the present time by strong men of God, filled with His blessed Holy Spirit, zealous for the precious commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, fervent in zeal, and faithful unto death. (Dugger AN, Dodd CO.  A History of True Religion, 3rd ed.  Jerusalem, 1972 (Church of God, 7th Day).  1990 reprint, p. 308)

A spiritual “leadership succession list” from the mid-1800s to present would be from Gilbert Cranmer to possibly Jacob Brinkerhoff then to A.N. Dugger to, in about 1933, Herbert Armstrong until his death, and held by Roderick Meredith (from no later than 1992) to present. 

Some will claim that these are simply assertions, yet only those who kept the original apostolic practices could have "apostolic succession," and these seem to be among the leaders in the past 160 years. (The clergy itself does not give God's Spirit at baptism nor ordination. The clergy beseeches the Father to give the person His Holy Spirit via prayer and the laying on of hands. The Spirit is given by the Father, if the Father answers the clergy’s prayer (which is mainly dependent upon the sincerity/repentance of the person). Therefore, even if the specific clergy member who performed the ceremony has issues or falls away from the truth, the procedure is still valid.)

How can one know if the leaders of the genuine Church of God have apostolic succession or if instead the leaders of the "sees" in Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, or Jerusalem do? Is it by claiming a specific list of leaders for nearly 20 centuries or something else?

Notice what Jesus taught:

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:15-23).

So it is the fruits that are important. The fruits would certainly seem to include holding the teachings and practices of the early church as recorded in the Bible and also (to a lessor degree) the early leaders who professed Christ. And the fact is that the largest existing group that holds to all the doctrines and practices of the early church (as mentioned early and shown later in Appendix A in this paper) is the genuine Church of God.

Remember, the Apostle Paul taught:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines (Hebrews 13:8-9).

Also remember that Jesus, the apostles, and their true successor kept Passover on the 14th, observed the seventh-day Sabbath, did not tolerate idols, had a "binitarian view", etc. Just like the genuine Church of God today.

Would the Successors of the Apostles Change Basic Doctrine?

Without going into all the detail (some of which is alluded to in Appendix A below), a question that needs to be asked is could it be possible that a true successor to the apostles would deny or change basic doctrine?

Well, history clearly shows that the Ecumenical Patriarche of Constantinople (Macedonius,) and the Bishop of Rome (often referred to as Pope Liberius) taught that denying the divinity of the Holy Spirit as the third person of some trinity was sound doctrine (on that point those two leaders actually were biblically and historically correct). (For details, please see the article Did Early Christians Think the Holy Spirit Was A Separate Person in a Trinity?)

However, that is considered to be such a basic doctrine of the Catholics and Orthodox that now they have a problem. If the Holy Spirit is the third divine person of a trinity, then their "successors" in the 4th century denied the faith. And since both were successors for over a decade each, then the Catholics and Orthodox must admit that they do not have an unbroken line of successors to their faith like they claim that they do.

And of course, that is the problem. None of those groups had the type of initial apostolic succession that they now claim, many of those that are in their succession lists held doctrines contrary to what the original apostles taught, and none of those churches are therefore truly apostolic as they claim that they are



a Catholic view of the history of the Eucharist:

http://www.ewtn.com/library/homelibr/historea.txt


Pagan origin of the mystery of the Eucharist:

http://www.mtc.org/eucharst.html


the following website has many very good links to the true history of the church and many other studies.

http://www.cogwriter.com/news/church-history/month-of-holy-eucharist/

http://www.cogwriter.com/marcus.htm

progression of the mass:

http://theeucharist.wordpress.com/index/chapter-1/


true apostolic succession

http://www.cogwriter.com/apostolicsuccession.htm


what Catholcis teach as the history of the church

http://www.cogwriter.com/roman.htm


Nazerene church may be able to trace it's root.

http://www.cogwriter.com/Nazarene.htm


church did not always have a pope

Notice also the following (from http://vintage.aomin.org/Sermo131.html viewed 07/22/12):

Cyprian (and the North African church as a whole for the span of centuries) believed the "chair of Peter" referred to all bishops in all churches across the world. Cyprian, for example, claimed to sit upon the "cathedra Petri" as did all bishops. For example, he wrote in Epistle XXVI:

Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honor of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers (emphasis added).

This fact is recognized by Roman Catholic historians. Johannes Quasten, Catholic patristic scholar, commented, (Patrology, vol. 2, p. 375), "Thus he understands Matth. 16, 18 of the whole episcopate, the various members of which, attached to one another by the laws of charity and concord, thus render the Church universal a single body." And a little later Quasten cites the words of an African Synod, led by Cyprian, which said:

No one among us sets himself up as a bishop of bishops, or by tyranny and terror forces his colleagues to compulsory obedience, seeing that every bishop in the freedom of his liberty and power possesses the right to his own mind and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. We must all await the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who singly and alone has power both to appoint us to the government of his Church and to judge our acts therein (CSEL 3, 1, 436).

Thus, the original view Greco-Roman did not have the Church of Rome above all other bishops.



Devout Catholic historian von Dollinger reminds us of the following facts:

Of all the Fathers who interpret these passages (Matthew 16:18; John 21:17), not a single one applies them to the Roman bishops as Peter's successors. How many Fathers have busied themselves with these three texts, yet not one of them who commentaries we possess--Origen, Chrysostom, Hilary, Augustine, Cyril, Theodoret, and those whose interpretations are collected in catenas--has dropped the faintest hint that the primacy of Rome is the consequence of the commission and promise to Peter!

Not one of them has explained the rock or foundation on which Christ would build His Church as the office given to Peter to be transmitted to his successors, but they understood by it either Christ Himself, or Peter's confession of faith in Christ; often both together (Cited in Hunt D. A Women Rides the Beast. Harvest House Publishers, Eugene (OR) p. 146).



The Catholic saint Augustine seemed to be confused on the subject of the whether Peter or Jesus was the Rock:

In a passage in this book, I said about the Apostle Peter: ‘On him as on a rock the Church was built.’.. But I know that very frequently at a later time, I so explained that it be understood as built upon Him whom Peter confessed… And so Peter, called after this rock, represented the person of the Church which is built upon this rock, and has received ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven...’ But let the reader decide which of these two opinions is the more probable (Augustine, Retractations, 1:21 as cited in Cleenewerck L. His Broken Body: Understanding and Healing the Schism Between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches (An Orthodox Perspective). Euclid University Consortium Press, Washington (DC), 2007, p. 302).

Since Augustine was confused, it seems safe to conclude that the idea that Peter must be the Rock was not the universal position at least in the early fifth century.



This seems to have been the position of Catholic "saint and doctor of the Church" Jerome:

Jerome…"The Church of the Roman city is not to be deemed one thing, and the church of the whole world another. Gaul, Britain, Africa, Persia, India, and all the barbarous nations adore one Christ: and observe one rule of faith. If you look for authority, the world is greater than a city, (Rome.) Wheresoever a bishop is, whether at Rome, or Constantinople, or Alexandria, or Tanais, he is of the same worth, (or authority) and the same priesthood." … To Evagr. Tom. ii. p. 512, Paris edit, of 1602.

St. Jerome…:— "Bishops should remember that they are greater than elders, (presbyters,) rather by custom, than by truth of the Lord's appointment: and that they ought to rule the church in common." On Titus Lib. i. cap 1. (As cited in Brownlee WC. Letters in the Roman Catholic controversy, 2nd edition. LETTER VIII. TO DRS. POWER AND VARELA, AND MR. LEVINS. Published by the author, 1834. Original from Harvard University, Digitized, Aug 26, 2008, p. 94)


Thus, apparently Jerome did not believe that Jesus made any particular promise to Peter that was to transfer to the Bishop of Rome and give supremacy.

In his letter to the Ephesians the Apostle Paul makes clear that the Church was not just built on Peter but is built on the foundation of the apostles (plural) AND the prophets, with Jesus as the chief cornerstone, and including all the members in the church as well:

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, In whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, In whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22).


In addition, look at what the third century bishop of Carthage and martyr Cyprian wrote:

The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, "I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of {haydes} shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, "Feed my sheep." And although to all the apostles, after His resurrection, He gives an equal power, and says, "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they shall be remitted unto him; and whose soever sins ye retain, they shall be retained;" yet, that He might set forth unity, He arranged by His authority the origin of that unity, as beginning from one. Assuredly the rest of the apostles were also the same as was Peter, endowed with a like partnership both of honour and power; but the beginning proceeds from unity (Cyprian of Carthage. Treatise 1, Chapter 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1886. Online Edition Copyright © 2005 by K. Knight).

Cyprian clearly did not understand that all authority went to Peter and not the other apostles. And it is true that Peter was originally the predominant one--but upon his death, it would seem that one of the surviving apostles, like the Apostle John, and not a local elder such as Linus, would have held the highest amount of authority on earth


Even in the late second/early third century Origen wrote:

But if you think the whole church to be built by God upon that one Peter only, what would you say of John the son of thunder or each of the Apostles? Are we to venture to say that the gates of Hades do not prevail against Peter by a special privilege, but prevail against the other Apostles and the perfect? What is said surely belongs to each and all of them, since all are ‘Peter’ and the ‘Rock,’ and the church of God has been built upon them all, and against none who are such do the gates of Hades prevail. Is it to Peter alone that the Lord gives the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and will no other of the blessed receive them? But if this privilege, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven,’ is common to the others, so also are all the preceding words addressed as it were to Peter (Origen on Matthew XII, 10 as cited in eyendorff J. The Primacy of Peter: essays in ecclesiology and the early church St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1992, p. 61).

Hence, the idea that the keys were not unique to Peter were known to others and is not a new concept.

Perhaps I should quote some of what the current Roman pontiff stated about Origen:

In our meditations on the great figures of the ancient Church, today we will get to know one of the most outstanding. Origen of Alexandria is one of the key people for the development of Christian thought...He was a true teacher (Pope Benedict XVI. MEETING WITH REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE WORLD OF CULTURE: ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI. Collège des Bernardins, Paris. Friday, 12 September 2008. © Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana)

So, if Origen is such a true teacher, those associated with Rome should recognize that the Bible is correct and that the "keys" were not given to Peter alone.



When Was the Roman Bishop Ever Considered the Head of the Church?

As previously alluded to, the Orthodox Churches of Alexander, Antioch, Constantinople, and Jerusalem were also recognized by the Roman Church as legitimate. However, they never accepted the position that they were to be subservient to the Bishop of Rome.

The Petrine theory, that most Roman Catholics accept, holds that Peter’s successors are to decide doctrinal matters for the Church. Yet, at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., records show that the Roman bishop, Sylvester I, did not attend.

This was a significant doctrinal conference. And this shows that the Roman bishop exercised no primacy over when the date of Easter was set as a replacement for the biblical Passover, and when Sunday worship officially replaced the biblical seventh-day Sabbath. The Council of Nicaea was called and presided over not by a Roman bishop, but by the Emperor Constantine. As emperor, Constantine held the title of Pontifex Maximus in the pagan Roman religion. A title that later Roman bishops would later adopt.

Furthermore, notice this admission from a Roman Catholic priest and scholar:

Before the beginning of the second millennium and the pontificate of Gregory VII in particular (1073-85), popes functioned largely in the role of mediator. They did not claim for themselves the title of "Vicar of Christ". They did not appoint bishops. They did not govern the universal Church through the Roman Curia. They did not impose of enforce clerical celibacy. They did not write encyclicals or authorize catechisms for the whole Church. They did not retain for themselves alone the power of canonization. They did not even convene ecumenical councils as a rule--and certainly not the major doctrinal councils of Nicea (325), Constantinople (381), Ephesus (431), and Chalcedon (451) (McBrien, Richard P. Lives of the Popes: The Pontiffs from St. Peter to Benedict XVI. Harper, San Francisco, 2005 updated ed., p.19).

However later, some decided to make up evidence that Rome always had the authority. It is of interest to note that for about 600 years during the Middle Ages, certain Roman bishops pointed to the "Donation of Constantine" as evidence of their right to preside over all the other bishops, but the document according to Roman Catholic sources (i.e. (The Catholic Encyclopedia. Donation of Constantine) was later proven to be a fraud.



Very early, indeed, did the bishops of Rome show a proud and ambitious spirit; but, for the first three centuries, their claim for superior honour was founded simply on the dignity of their see, as being that of the imperial city, the capital of the Roman world.
When, however, the seat of empire was removed to the East, and Constantinople threatened to eclipse Rome, some new ground for maintaining the dignity of the Bishop of Rome must be sought. That new ground was found when, about 378, the Pope fell heir to the keys that were the symbols of two well-known Pagan divinities at Rome. Janus bore a key, and Cybele bore a key; and these are the two keys that the Pope emblazons on his arms as the ensigna of his spiritual authority... Now, when he had come, in the estimation of the Pagans, to occupy the place of the representatives of Janus and Cybele, and therefore to be entitled to bear their keys, the Pope saw that if he could only get it believed among the Christians that Peter alone had the power of the keys, and that he was Peter's successor, then the sight of these keys would keep up the delusion, and thus, though the temporal dignity of Rome as a city should decay, his own dignity as the Bishop of Rome would be more firmly established than ever...
The keys that the Pope bore were the keys of a "Peter" well known to the Pagans initiated in the Chaldean Mysteries...The priest who explained the Mysteries...was "Peter"--i.e., "the interpreter"...Thus we may see how the keys of Janus and Cybele would come to be known as the keys of Peter the "interpreter" of the Mysteries...
The term Cardinal is derived from Cardo, a hinge. Janus, whose key the Pope bears, was the god of doors and hinges...
* It was only in the second century before the Christian era that the worship of Cybele under that name, was introduced to Rome; but the same goddess, under the name of Cardea, with the "power of the key," was worshipped in Rome, along with Janus, ages before.
(Hislop A. The Two Babylons. Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune (NJ) 1959; first published 1853; pp. 206-207,208,210).

Now while I do not claim to know the motivation of the bishops of Rome in 378, it is a fact that the pagan gods Janus "holds a key" (Lindemans M. Janus. Encyclopedia Mythica. created 1997; http://www.pantheon.org/articles/j/janus.html 11/20/05) and Cybele's "symbol is a key" (Cybele (Rhea) Polychrome's Pantheon. http://hunter.apana.org.au/~gallae/pantheon/myth/cybele.htm 11/20/05). I have also found independent citations that Janus was a god of doors and hinges and Cardea (who became Cybele) was called the hinges of the door (http://www.controverscial.com/Gods%20and%20Deities.htm 11/22/05).

Furthermore, The Catholic Encyclopedia confirms that the term Cardinal is derived from the Latin word for hinge as does a book sponsored by the Pontifical Administration:

It became the usual designation of every priest belonging to a central or episcopal church, an ecclesiastical cardo (Lat. for hinge)...(SÄGMÜLLER. J.B. Transcribed by WG Kofron. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).
later called cardinals (hinges of the organization) (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, pp. 1,2).

Thus there certainly seem to be pre-Christian origins for many practices associated with the Roman Church.

It should be noted that Christ told Peter that the gates of Haydes (the grave) would not prevail against the Church (Matthew 16:18). Obviously Peter died so that gates of the grave prevailed against him. Also, even a cursory listing of the Roman Bishops of Rome (the first 37 of which they call pope after the fact--none of the first 37 bishops of Rome referred to themselves with the terms pope or pontiff) shows that there are many gaps between the death of one and the selection of another (e.g. Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997). Hence what the true Catholic position appears to be is that the church itself will not die out (which is what Jesus taught) even if there is not always one universally recognized human leader of it on earth. And that is true.

Around 200 A.D., in his paper Liber de praescriptione haereticorum Tertullian (an acknowledged Catholic "early church father") addressed the idea of continuity of the Church when he wrote

The real question is, 'To whom does the Faith belong? Whose are the Scriptures? By whom, through whom, when and to whom has been handed down the discipline by which we are Christians? The answer is plain: Christ sent His apostles, who founded churches in each city, from which the others have borrowed the tradition of the Faith and the seed of doctrine and daily borrow in order to become churches; so that they also are Apostolic in that they are the offspring of the Apostolic churches. All are that one Church which the Apostles founded, so long as peace and intercommunion are observed [dum est illis communicatio pacis et appellatio fraternitatis et contesseratio hospitalitatis]. Therefore the testimony to the truth is this: We communicate with the apostolic Churches'. The heretics will reply that the Apostles did not know all the truth. Could anything be unknown to Peter, who was called the rock on which the Church was to be built? or to John, who lay on the Lord's breast?...Anyhow the heresies are at best novelties, and have no continuity with the teaching of Christ. Perhaps some heretics may claim Apostolic antiquity: we reply: Let them publish the origins of their churches and unroll the catalogue of their bishops till now from the Apostles or from some bishop appointed by the Apostles, as the Smyrnaeans count from Polycarp and John, and the Romans from Clement and Peter; let heretics invent something to match this.

Nearly everything that Tertullian wrote above is absolutely correct (the point about Peter being the rock was addressed earlier). And what he seems to be saying is that the true Christian Church must be able to trace itself from the beliefs held by original Apostles, should have a successor chosen by one of those Apostles, and the only two groups that could possibly meet these criteria are the Smyrnaeans and the Romans. Since Smyrnaeans and the Romans had different doctrines at that time (the Smyrnaeans kept the Passover while the Romans kept Easter Sunday as one major historical example), then if Tertullian is correct here, it follows that only one of them could have been the true Christian Church during his time. (Please also see the article Apostolic Succession.)

And thus only one of them could be the correct church now (for further information on the history of the Church, please read the article Do the Churches of Revelation 2 & 3 Matter?).

The Bible shows that in the early church, Jerusalem was where its leadership was conferred on topics of importance (see Acts 15; Galatians 1:18; 2:1-9). Actually, three of the four times that the Bible shows that Paul conferred with Peter, it was in Jerusalem (ibid). And the fourth time was not in Rome, it was in Antioch (Galatians 2:11). It should be noted that even the Church of Rome teaches that Peter was the bishop (or overseer) of Antioch. Interestingly, when personally addressing the leadership for the Christians who lived in Rome, Paul never mentioned Peter, even though he listed at least 27 others (Romans 16). This is not proof that Peter was never possibly in Rome, but it does show that he was probably never there long enough to truly be the 'bishop of Rome'.

Perhaps, it should be pointed out that even the Church of Rome acknowledges:

...that Peter founded the Church of Antioch, indicates the fact that he laboured a long period there, and also perhaps that he dwelt there towards the end of his life...It is also probable that Peter pursued his Apostolic labours in various districts of Asia Minor for it can scarcely be supposed that the entire period between his liberation from prison and the Council of the Apostles was spent uninterruptedly in one city, whether Antioch, Rome, or elsewhere...Peter returned occasionally to the original Christian Church of Jerusalem...The recognition of Paul as the Apostle of the Gentiles (Gal., ii, 1-9) was entirely sincere" (Kirsch J.P. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

This shows that the Church of Rome acknowledges that Peter labored in Asia minor and tended to return to Jerusalem. The Bible clearly shows that Peter came to Antioch as Paul wrote, "Peter had come to Antioch" (Galatians 2:11). Hence, the Catholics do not teach that Peter even spent much time in Rome.

It should be mentioned here that there is no early church writing that suggests that the Christians in Asia Minor accepted any authority from the early bishops of Rome. The Catholic Church does officially acknowledge this as well when it said this about the Roman Church:

Only in a few places, especially in the Orient, did she overstep its boundaries (Kirsch J. P. Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter. Ecclesiastical History. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Copyright © 1910 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

By the Orient, the above means Asia Minor.

Furthermore, the leaders in Asia Minor, specifically Polycarp (around 150 A.D.) and those affiliated with Polycrates (around 197 A.D.) specifically refused to accept Roman ecclesiastical authority. This is well documented in Catholic approved sources (and many quotes are found in the articles What Does Rome Actually Teach About Early Church History? and The Location of the Early Church).


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THE ORIGIN OF THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY


If you are like me and you were raised in a Christian church, then you have do doubt heard of the doctrine of the trinity. And if you are like most Christians, then you have probably been taught that the doctrine of the trinity is the very core central belief of Christianity. And some of you may have been taught that if you do NOT believe all that this doctrine of the trinity teaches, then you are NOT saved. In other words, some churches dogmatically teach that the doctrine of the trinity is ESSENTIAL for salvation and if you do not believe all that it teaches then you are still yet dead in your sins and you will not be saved.

If this is you and you have been taught the doctrine of the trinity, then I would like to ask you some questions like have you ever wondered why the word “TRINITY” is NOT found anywhere in the Bible? Have you ever wondered why none of the terms within the doctrine of the trinity are not found in the Bible? For example have you ever wondered why the phrase “three in one” or one in three”, as in, “three persons in one God and yet not three Gods, but rather one God in three persons” is NOT fund any where in the Bible? Or have you ever wondered why you have never found even one verse in the entire Bible that clearly and plainly says that Jesus is FULLY God and FULLY man at the same time? Have you ever wondered why you have never found any verse in the Bible saying, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?

In other words, if you have ever wondered why such a core central must believe doctrine that is being taught as an ESSENTIAL doctrine that must be believed for salvation is NOT clearly and plainly stated and taught in God's word of truth, the Holy Bible, then it may surprise you from where this doctrine of the trinity did indeed come. That is to say, since this doctrine of the trinity is NOT clearly and plainly taught in the Bible, then from WHERE did it come and WHEN did it become such a core central teaching in the church that must without fail be believed in order to be saved?


You see the truth of the matter is that this doctrine of the trinity is NOT clearly taught in the scriptures, but rather this man made doctrine of the trinity developed GRADUALLY over many centuries over much debate, controversy, and OPPOSITION.

As a quick summary of what we will cover in this study of God's word is as follows:


#1. Few Christians seldom ever QUESTION what they are taught and therefore just blindly accept whatever they are taught is church as being the truth. The Bible therefore WARNS us to be NOT deceived by false teachers that creep in among believers in the church.


#2. After the last original apostle died the first and second century Christians had many different ideas about the divinity of Jesus, which led to many debates as to just how divine was Jesus. Most every Christ understood the apostle John's writing that if you denied that Jesus came in the flesh then you were and anti-Christ, but they also understood that the Word was God and the Word was made flesh. So therefore the big debate this first two to three hundred years was over the questions; Was Jesus a divine being? And if so, then how much divine was Jesus? Was Jesus fully divine and fully man at the same time? Was Jesus half God and half man? Or was Jesus fully man?


  1. #3. Debate grew to such intensity that the Roman Emperor Constantine called the Bishops of the church all together to settle this controversy at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.


#4. But the Council of Nicaea did NOT end the debate! And this heated controversy on the divinity of Jesus continue for the next 54 plus years.


#5. Then during this next 54 plus years the nature of the Holy Spirit was ADDED to the debate causing even more controversy.


#6. These ongoing heated disputes eventually lead to another gathering together of the Bishops of the church to take another vote. This was called the Council of Constantinople.


#7. The Trinity becomes official doctrine at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. And ALL other believes about the deity of Jesus were banned and all writings that opposed this newly established doctrine of the trinity were ordered to be burned. And this newly formed man made doctrine of the trinity became an ESSENTIAL teaching of the Roman Catholic church in order to be saved.


#8. In other words, the trinity doctrine was decided by trial and error being a HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL DEBATE for over a THREE HUNDRED year period of time that did NOT BEGIN to be decided UNTIL over TWO HUNDRED years after the death of the last original apostle, who was John that most agree died around the year 100AD.


#9. This doctrine of the trinity CONTINUED to be debated and OPPOSED throughout the history of the church!


#10. This doctrine of the trinity is still yet being debated and OPPOSED by many Christians in the church today.


#11. The TRUE ORIGIN of the doctrine of the trinity!


#12. The BIBLICAL trinity!



So then, that is the basic summary of what this study will cover. This study will be divided under the headings listed above for easier reference later.


#1. Some Christians seldom ever QUESTION what they are taught and therefore just blindly accept whatever they are taught in church as being the truth. The Bible therefore WARNS us to be NOT deceived by false teachers that creep in among believers in the church.


I wrote a study not too long ago called Every Catholic should know the TRUTH! And in the opening of this study I taught that God wants us as Christians to QUESTION what we are being taught in order to see if we are being taught the TRUTH of the whole word of God. You see, Acts 18:11 teaches us that the men in Berea were called more noble that the Christians at Thessalonica, because the Christians at Berea search the scriptures daily in order to find out if they were being taught the TRUTH.

Jesus and the New Testament writers foretold, various heretical ideas and teachers rose up from within the early Church and infiltrated it from without. Christ Himself warned His followers: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name ... and will deceive many" Matthew 24:4,5.

Matthew 24:11/ Acts 20:29,30/ 2 Corinthians 11:13-15/ 2 Timothy 4:2-4/ 2 Peter 2:1,2/ 1 John 2:18,19,26/ 1 John 4:1-3 BEWARE of false teachers slipped in unaware among the brethren.

Different gospel Galatians 1:6

2 Corinthians 11:13,26



Divisions in the New Testament/ followers of men/ led to pride/ 3 John 1:9,10 The start of leaders wanting to be in control to the point that they only had the truth and they kicked Christians out of the church if they did not believe exactly as they taught.


#2. After the last original apostle died the first and second century Christians had many different ideas about the divinity of Jesus, which led to many debates as to just how divine was Jesus. Most every Christ understood the apostle John's writing that if you denied that Jesus came in the flesh then you were and anti-Christ, but they also understood that the Word was God and the Word was made flesh. So therefore the big debate this first two to three hundred years was over the questions; Was Jesus a divine being? And if so, then how much divine was Jesus? Was Jesus fully divine and fully man at the same time? Was Jesus half God and half man? Or was Jesus fully man?



It wasn't long before true servants of God became a marginalized and scattered minority among those calling themselves Christian. A very different religion, now compromised with many concepts and practices rooted in ancient paganism (such mixing of religious beliefs being known as syncretism, common in the Roman Empire at the time), took hold and transformed the faith founded by Jesus Christ.

Historian Jesse Hurlbut says of this time of transformation: "We name the last generation of the first century, from 68 to 100 A.D., 'The Age of Shadows,' partly because the gloom of persecution was over the church, but more especially because of all the periods in the [church's] history, it is the one about which we know the least. We have no longer the clear light of the Book of Acts to guide us; and no author of that age has filled the blank in the history . . .

"For fifty years after St. Paul's life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul" ( The Story of the Christian Church, 1970, p. 33).

This "very different" church would grow in power and influence, and within a few short centuries would come to dominate even the mighty Roman Empire!

By the second century, faithful members of the Church, where scattered into small groups of believers, while at the same time other Christians where being heavily influence by the Gentile pagan beliefs from among the brethren that came out of paganism.

    1. #3. Debate grew to such intensity that the Roman Emperor Constantine called the Bishops of the church all together to settle this controversy at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.

When it came to the Nicene Council, The Encyclopaedia Britannica states: "Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed . . . the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council . . . Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination" (1971 edition, Vol. 6, "Constantine," p. 386).

With the emperor's approval, the Council rejected the minority view of Arius and, having nothing definitive with which to replace it, approved the view of Athanasius—also a minority view. The church was left in the odd position of officially supporting, from that point forward, the decision made at Nicaea to endorse a belief held by only a minority of those attending.

The groundwork for official acceptance of the Trinity was now laid—but it took more than three centuries after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for this unbiblical teaching to emerge!

"The show of agreement pleased Constantine, who had no understanding of the theological issues, but in fact there was no unanimity at Nicaea. After the council, the bishops went on teaching as they had before, and the Arian crisis continued for another sixty years. Arius and his followers fought back and managed to regain imperial favor. Athanasius was exiled no fewer than five times. It was very difficult to make his creed stick" (pp. 110-111).

    1. The ongoing disagreements were at times violent and bloody. Of the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea, noted historian Will Durant writes, "Probably more Christians were slaughtered by Christians in these two years (342-3) than by all the persecutions of Christians by pagans in the history of Rome" ( The Story of Civilization, Vol. 4: The Age of Faith, 1950, p. 8). Atrociously, while claiming to be Christian many believers fought and slaughtered one another over their differing views of God!


#4. But the Council of Nicaea did NOT end the debate! And this heated controversy on the divinity of Jesus continue for the next 54 plus years.





These men—Basil, bishop of Caesarea, his brother Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus—were all "trained in Greek philosophy" (Armstrong, p. 113), which no doubt affected their outlook and beliefs (see "Greek Philosophy's Influence on the Trinity Doctrine," beginning on page 14)



In the year 381, 44 years after Constantine's death, Emperor Theodosius the Great convened the Council of Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey) to resolve these disputes. Gregory of Nazianzus, recently appointed as archbishop of Constantinople, presided over the council and urged the adoption of his view of the Holy Spirit.


#5. Then during this next 54 plus years the nature of the Holy Spirit was ADDED to the debate causing even more controversy.


#6. These ongoing heated disputes eventually lead to another gathering together of the Bishops of the church to take another vote. This was called the Council of Constantinople.


#7. The Trinity becomes official doctrine at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. And ALL other believes about the deity of Jesus were banned and all writings that opposed this newly established doctrine of the trinity were ordered to be burned. And ALL other believes about the deity of Jesus were banned and all writings that opposed this newly established doctrine of the trinity were ordered to be burned.





The teaching of the three Cappadocian theologians "made it possible for the Council of Constantinople (381) to affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit, which up to that point had nowhere been clearly stated, not even in Scripture" ( The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, "God," p. 568).

The council adopted a statement that translates into English as, in part: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages . . . And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets . . ." The statement also affirmed belief "in one holy, catholic [meaning in this context universal, whole or complete] and apostolic Church . . ."

With this declaration in 381, which would become known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Trinity as generally understood today became the official belief and teaching concerning the nature of God.

Now that a decision had been reached, Theodosius would tolerate no dissenting views. He issued his own edict that read: "We now order that all churches are to be handed over to the bishops who profess Father, Son and Holy Spirit of a single majesty, of the same glory, of one splendor, who establish no difference by sacrilegious separation, but (who affirm) the order of the Trinity by recognizing the Persons and uniting the Godhead" (quoted by Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, 1999, p. 223).

Another edict from Theodosius went further in demanding adherence to the new teaching: "Let us believe the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles [assemblies] the name of churches.

"They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation, and the second the punishment which our authority, in accordance with the will of Heaven, shall decide to inflict" (reproduced in Documents of the Christian Church, Henry Bettenson, editor, 1967, p. 22).

Thus we see that a teaching that was foreign to Jesus Christ, never taught by the apostles and unknown to the other biblical writers, was locked into place and the true biblical revelation about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit was locked out. Any who disagreed were, in accordance with the edicts of the emperor and church authorities, branded heretics and dealt with accordingly.

YET many teach that one must believe the doctrine of the trinity in order to be saved!

The book Catholicism makes it clear that the Roman church's position is that belief in the Trinity is a necessity for salvation: "Whoever will be saved: before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith. Unless he keep this Faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly. And the catholic faith is this: we worship one God in Trinity" (George Brantl, editor, 1961, p. 69).

The doctrine of the Trinity is considered so sacred and fundamental that many churches and religious organizations view it as a litmus test for defining who is and isn't a true Christian.

For example, author and theology professor James White writes: "We hang a person's very salvation upon the acceptance of the doctrine . . . No one dares question the Trinity for fear of being branded a 'heretic' . . . We must know, understand, and love the Trinity to be fully and completely Christian" ( The Forgotten Trinity, 1998,pp. 14-15, emphasis added throughout unless otherwise noted).

Another source explains: "The doctrine of the Trinity is the basis of our Christian faith. Because the doctrine of the Trinity cannot be fully understood, it requires the Holy Spirit to direct our minds to believe" (Randy Smith, Theological "ism"s, A Layman's Reference Guide to Selected Theological Terms, 1999, p. 90, quoted by Patrick Navas, Divine Truth or Human Tradition? 2007, p. 21).

The same source quotes yet another as stating, "You cannot be saved if you don't believe in the Trinity."

This is serious business. Tens of thousands—perhaps hundreds of thousands—of Christians have been excommunicated, persecuted and even killed over the doctrine.

Yet even as some demand that we believe in the Trinity, they admit that it's a mystery beyond understanding. Notice this startling statement from A Handbook of Christian Truth: "The mind of man cannot fully understand the mystery of the Trinity. He who has tried to understand the mystery fully will lose his mind; but he who would deny the Trinity will lose his soul" (Harold Lindsell and Charles Woodbridge, 1953, pp. 51-52).



These are surprising admissions about the Trinity—"an absolute mystery," "mysterious in its origin and its content," "impossible for Christians actually to understand," "unintelligible," "misunderstood," "presents strange paradoxes" and "widely disputed." Does this really sound like a doctrine on which to base our faith and salvation—especially when Paul clearly tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:33 that "God is not the author of confusion"?

If scholars, theologians and religious authorities admit that we cannot understand such a major doctrine, shouldn't that tell us something may be seriously wrong when it comes to that particular belief?

#8. In other words, the trinity doctrine was decided by trial and error being a HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL DEBATE for over a THREE HUNDRED year period of time that did NOT BEGIN to be decided UNTIL over TWO HUNDRED years after the death of the last original apostle, who was John that most agree died around the year 100AD.

What mean by trail and error is that certain THOUGHTS were presented and then these INTERPRETATIONS would be voted upon, REFINED, REWRITTEN, changed and then changed back but in slightly different wording until the final wording was voted on and accepted.

Now it should be noted that Roman Emperors resided over both of these councils who were pagans that already believed in a three in one god.

This ALONE should raise a RED FLAG too those seeking the truth of the whole word of God to the ACTUAL ORIGIN of the MAN MADE doctrine of the trinity, which we will take a closer look at as we continue this study in God's word.




#9. This doctrine of the trinity CONTINUED to be debated and OPPOSED throughout the history of the church!


Martin Luther, the German priest who initiated the Protestant Reformation, conceded, "It is indeed true that the name 'Trinity' is nowhere to be found in the Holy Scriptures, but has been conceived and invented by man" (reproduced in The Sermons of Martin Luther, John Lenker, editor, Vol. 3, 1988, p. 406).


#10. This doctrine of the trinity is still yet being debated and OPPOSED by many Christians in the church today.


#11. The TRUE ORIGIN of the doctrine of the trinity!


Many of the church leaders who formulated the doctrine of the Trinity were steeped in Greek and Platonic philosophy, and this influenced their religious views and teaching. The language they used in describing and defining the Trinity is, in fact, taken directly from Platonic and Greek philosophy. The word trinity itself is neither biblical nor Christian. Rather, the Platonic term trias, from the word for three, was Latinized as trinitas— the latter giving us the English word trinity.


Now it may come as a surprise to some Christians that the belief in a trinity or a triad god was a pagan belief long before Christianity ever came into being.



Marie Sinclair, Countess of Caithness, in her 1876 book Old Truths in a New Light, states: "It is generally, although erroneously, supposed that the doctrine of the Trinity is of Christian origin. Nearly every nation of antiquity possessed a similar doctrine. [The early Catholic theologian] St. Jerome testifies unequivocally, 'All the ancient nations believed in the Trinity'" (p. 382).

Sumeria

"The universe was divided into three regions each of which became the domain of a god. Anu's share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods" ( The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1994, pp. 54-55)

Babylonia

"The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity" (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22-23).

India

"The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage: 'O ye three Lords! know that I recognize only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.' The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied, 'Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.'

"Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity . . . Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods" (Sinclair, pp. 382-383).

Greece

"In the Fourth Century B.C. Aristotle wrote: 'All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity'" (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197-198).

Egypt

"The Hymn to Amun decreed that 'No god came into being before him (Amun)' and that 'All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.' . . . This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism" (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83-84).

Other areas

Many other areas had their own divine trinities. In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states, "The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish[,] Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos" (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171).

"The origin of the conception is entirely pagan"

Egyptologist Arthur Weigall, while himself a Trinitarian, summed up the influence of ancient beliefs on the adoption of the Trinity doctrine by the Catholic Church in the following excerpt from his previously cited book:

"It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word 'Trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan . . .

"The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth . . .

"The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognized the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One . . .

"The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third 'Person,' co-equal with the other 'Persons' . . .

"The idea of the Spirit being co-equal with God was not generally recognised until the second half of the Fourth Century A.D. . . . In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople added to the earlier Nicene Creed a description of the Holy Spirit as 'the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified.' . . .

"Thus, the Athanasian creed, which is a later composition but reflects the general conceptions of Athanasius [the 4th-century Trinitarian whose view eventually became official doctrine] and his school, formulated the conception of a co-equal Trinity wherein the Holy Spirit was the third 'Person'; and so it was made a dogma of the faith, and belief in the Three in One and One in Three became a paramount doctrine of Christianity, though not without terrible riots and bloodshed . . .

"Today a Christian thinker . . . has no wish to be precise about it, more especially since the definition is obviously pagan in origin and was not adopted by the Church until nearly three hundred years after Christ" (pp. 197-203).

James Bonwick summarized the story well on page 396 of his 1878 work Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought: "It is an undoubted fact that more or less all over the world the deities are in triads. This rule applies to eastern and western hemispheres, to north and south.

"Further, it is observed that, in some mystical way, the triad of three persons is one. The first is as the second or third, the second as first or third, the third as first or second; in fact, they are each other, one and the same individual being. The definition of Athanasius, who lived in Egypt, applies to the trinities of all heathen religions."


#12. The BIBLICAL trinity!

1 John 5:7 was ADDED to the original text in order to the language of the trinity in the Bible.

You see, some Bible translators of past centuries were so zealous to find support for their belief in the Trinity in the Scriptures that they literally added text to the original text. A case in point is 1 John 5:7,8.

It reads in the King James Version, also known as the Authorized Version: "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The words in italics are simply not a part of the generally accepted New Testament manuscripts. Regrettably, in this particular passage some other versions read essentially the same.

Most Bible commentaries that mention this addition tell us that it is a spurious comment added to the biblical text. Consider the words of The New Bible Commentary: Revised: "Notice that AV [the Authorized Version] includes additional material at this point. But the words are clearly a gloss [an added note] and are rightly excluded by RSV [the Revised Standard Version] even from its margins" (1970, p. 1269).

In the New Revised Standard Version, 1 John 5:7,8 correctly and more concisely reads, "There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree." John personifies the three elements here as providing testimony, just as Solomon personified wisdom in the book of Proverbs.

Many other more recent Bible versions likewise recognize the spurious added text and omit it, including the New International Version, American Standard Version and New American Standard Bible, English Standard Version, New English Bible and Revised English Bible, New American Bible, Jerusalem Bible and New Jerusalem Bible, Good News Bible, New Living Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Bible in Basic English and the Twentieth Century New Testament. 

"The textual evidence is against 1 John 5:7,8 explains Dr. Neil Lightfoot, a New Testament professor. "Of all the Greek manuscripts, only two contain it. These two manuscripts are of very late dates, one from the fourteenth or fifteenth century and the other from the sixteenth century. Two other manuscripts have this verse written in the margin. All four manuscripts show that this verse was apparently translated from a late form of the Latin Vulgate" ( How We Got the Bible, 2003, pp. 100-101).

Peake's Commentary on the Bible is very incisive in its comments as well: "The famous interpolation after 'three witnesses' is not printed in RSV and rightly [so] .  .  . No respectable Greek [manuscript] contains it. Appearing first in a late 4th century Latin text, it entered the Vulgate [the 5th-century Latin version, which became the common medieval translation] and finally NT [New Testament] of Erasmus [who produced newly collated Greek texts and a new Latin version in the 16th century]" (p. 1038).

The Big Book of Bible Difficulties tells us: "This verse has virtually no support among the early Greek manuscripts . . . Its appearance in late Greek manuscripts is based on the fact that Erasmus was placed under ecclesiastical pressure to include it in his Greek NT of 1522, having omitted it in his two earlier editions of 1516 and 1519 because he could not find any Greek manuscripts which contained it" (Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe, 2008, pp. 540-541).



Even though this verse was ADDED to the original text to TRY and prove the man made doctrine of the trinity it still does NOT lend any undeniable support to this false doctrine.

You see, the Greek word that is translate as “and these three ARE ONE” in verse 7 is the SAME Greek word that is translated in verse 8 as “and these three AGREE IN ONE”. This SAME Greek word is also used in where the husband and wife “ARE ONE”, which we KNOW that the two being separate beings do not literally become ONE BEING when they are married. So therefore, this Greek word should rightly be translated as “AGREE AS ONE”. Also this is the SAME Greek word that Jesus used when he said, I and my Father “ARE ONE”, which again should have rightly been translated as, I and my Father “AGREE AS ONE”.


So then, now that you know HOW and from WHERE this man made doctrine of the trinity came into being over many centuries after much oppositions from Christian, who would NOT bow their knee to this Roman Catholic church man made pagan doctrine and many of which who were martyred for their unwavering faith in the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God, we will now take a closer look at what the Bible actually teaches us, and what the first and second century church actually believed BEFORE the church was CORRUPTED by the rituals and beliefs of PAGANISM.

The question now becomes Why believe a teaching that isn't biblical?



Colossians 2:1-10

For I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;

2 That their hearts might be comforted , being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4 And this I say , lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught , abounding therein with thanksgiving.

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.


9. For IN him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

In other words, the FULNESS of Almighty God the AFTHER dwelt IN his Son Jesus through the Holy Spirit of Almighty God the Father. And it was BY the eternal Holy Spirit of Almighty God, the Father, dwelling IN his Son Jesus that did the mighty works of healing and over coming sin. Jesus said, of MYSELF I can do NOTHING, it is the Father IN me that does the works that you see me do. In other words, Almighty God the Father, who is SPIRIT and his own Holy SPIRIT are ONE and the SAME BEING.







Website for information above:

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/why-holy-spirit-sometimes-incorrectly-referred-he-and-him/

the rock?

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/jesus-christ-rock-old-testament/









false teaching of the Holy Spirit being just a force or a power of God.

http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/holy-spirit-person/
























Division followers of men pride 3 John 1:9,10 The start of leaders wanting to be in control.











Here is 1 Timothy 6:13-16 which agrees with many of the early church writings.


I give you charge in the sight of God, who quickens all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

14. That you keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

15. Which in his times he shall show (speaking of the first and the second comings of Jesus, in his times being plural Jesus shall SHOW us the one true and only Almighty God the Father), who is the blessed and ONLY Potentate (or who is the ONLY ALMIGHTY and Sovereign Lord God over all including his Son Jesus), the King of kings , and Lord of lords;

16. Who ONLY HAS IMMORTALITY, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. (verse 16 is clearly describing the one true and ONLY ALMIGHTY God who alone is the FATHER, who ONLY has always had immortality and therefore had NO beginning. But we clearly see in John 5:26,27 that Jesus was GIVEN this IMMORTALITY even as the Father has this life in himself from all eternity.)


So then, both the Sophia of Jesus Christ and the New testament writing of 1 Timothy 6:13-16 both AGREE that Jesus had a BEGINNING and that ONLY Almighty God the Father has IMMORTALITY.

You see the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, clearly teahces us that Jesus, the Son O MAN, was GIVEN eternal life to have within himself BY his God and Father the one true and ONLY Almighty God. Please read John 5:26,27, which clearly teaches us that Jesus was GIVEN all authority and power BY his God and Father, BECAUSE Jesus was the Son of MAN.


For AS the Father has life in himself; so has he GIVEN to the Son to have life in himself;

    1. And has GIVEN him authority to execute judgment also, BECAUSE he is the Son of MAN.”


Not because Jesus was FULLY God in the flesh as some falsely teach.

Not because Jesus was the SON of almighty God.

But rather because Jesus was the Son of MAN, a HUMAN being, the divine LOGOS that was MADE FLESH and dwelt among us.

Please notice that John 1:1 does NOT say, In the beginning was JESUS, and JESUS was with God and JESUS was God. Now does it say in the beginning was the SON, and the SON was with God and the SON was God.

But rather John 1:1 clearly and plainly say that In a beginning was the LOGOS or the WORD, and the LOGOS or the WORD was with God and the LOGOS of the WORD was God.

Then Almighty God sent forth his WORD by his angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary who BELIEVED and RECEIVED the WORD of God that then the WORD BECAME or was MADE flesh in the womb of Mary who brought forth a HUMAN child and CALLED his name JESUS who shall be called the SON of the Highest.

The early first century church believed in ONE God even the Father just like the Apostle's creed clearly and plainly states.


Apostle's creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

----------

In the immediate post apostolic age right after the death of the apostle John the last of the original 12 Apostles to die there are preserved several writings from different believers such as Clement, Polycarp, Ignatius, Hermas and a few others whose writing can be found at the following link so that you can read them for yourself and see that none of these first and second century writers taught the doctrine of the trinity. But one of the main subjects that was being developed was the divinity of Jesus.

At the first the church was comprised solely of Jewish converts, who firmly believed that God is ONE. And then after God turn to the Gentiles or the heathens and pagans the church was comprised of both Jews and Gentiles. Now the Gentiles believed in many gods just as long as the Jews believed in one God so the battle of words and REASONINGS as to what Jesus and the apostles meant by the teachings that they passed down mostly by oral accounts, but there were also the writings of the New Testament, which we have today, along with some other early church writings believed to be dated around the same time. However these writing were NOT accepted as trusted writings and therefore they were Not mad part of the canon of the Holy Bible.

Then came Tertullian who is quoted by the Catholic church as the FIRST to use the Latin word “TRINITAS”, which is translated as “TRINITY”. Now Tertullian lived from 150 to 225 AD. But at the first Tertullian believed in just TWO persons of the Godhead or “Binitarian” and it was not until 200AD. that Tertullian joined a Christian group called the Montanist, who taught Tertullian to believe in the Paraclete or the Holy Spirit as a personal being of Almighty God himself that can be offended. Thus for the FIRST time Tertullian saw a “TRINITY” in the Bible.

However, Tertullian did NOT teach the trinity as it is taught today as The father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all being EQUAL in every way where none is greater than nor less that the over and that all are FULLY Almighty God.

In his book Against Hermogenes, Tertullian believed God was originally alone and not yet a Father. The Son was created at a certain point, making God into a Father. Also Tertullian did not teach the three persons of the trinity were eternal, as do the Trinitarians today. The point that I want you to see is that even the IDEA of the trinity did NOT come into the Christian church until 200 AD, and even then it was NOTHING like the DOCTRINE of the trinity is today.

The TRUTH of the matter is the the BIBLE teaches that Almighty God the Father and the Holy Spirit are ETERNAL and the Jesus his Son was brought forth into existence. You can read the many studies in God's word on the subject of the trinity that I have written here at AmatterOfTruth.com, which I have listed in the studt called “WHO IS JESUS” for all the scriptural evidence of Jesus not being Almighty God, but rather a God or god who is under his God and Father the one true and only Almighty God. But for now let us get back to the pagan ORIGIN of the doctrine of the trinity. Please keep in mind that paganism was world wide and in great influence in the church when they were converted to be Christians. Old habit die hard as they saying goes.

History teaches us that the first recorded record of a trinity or a triad god being three gods in one, but yet one god began in Sumeria around 4000 years ago in Mesopotamia, which is where Abraham lived when God called him out from among his people.

The following is a JW website, but it has some very good historical information.

http://searchforbibletruths.blogspot.com/2011/06/history-of-development-of-trinity.html

Sumeria

"The universe was divided into three regions each of which became the domain of a god. Anu's share was the sky. The earth was given to Enlil. Ea became the ruler of the waters. Together they constituted the triad of the Great Gods" ( The Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, 1994, pp. 54-55)

Babylonia

"The ancient Babylonians recognised the doctrine of a trinity, or three persons in one god— as appears from a composite god with three heads forming part of their mythology, and the use of the equilateral triangle, also, as an emblem of such trinity in unity" (Thomas Dennis Rock, The Mystical Woman and the Cities of the Nations, 1867, pp. 22-23).

India

"The Puranas, one of the Hindoo Bibles of more than 3,000 years ago, contain the following passage: 'O ye three Lords! know that I recognize only one God. Inform me, therefore, which of you is the true divinity, that I may address to him alone my adorations.' The three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva [or Shiva], becoming manifest to him, replied, 'Learn, O devotee, that there is no real distinction between us. What to you appears such is only the semblance. The single being appears under three forms by the acts of creation, preservation, and destruction, but he is one.'

"Hence the triangle was adopted by all the ancient nations as a symbol of the Deity . . . Three was considered among all the pagan nations as the chief of the mystical numbers, because, as Aristotle remarks, it contains within itself a beginning, a middle, and an end. Hence we find it designating some of the attributes of almost all the pagan gods" (Sinclair, pp. 382-383).

Greece

"In the Fourth Century B.C. Aristotle wrote: 'All things are three, and thrice is all: and let us use this number in the worship of the gods; for, as the Pythagoreans say, everything and all things are bounded by threes, for the end, the middle and the beginning have this number in everything, and these compose the number of the Trinity'" (Arthur Weigall, Paganism in Our Christianity, 1928, pp. 197-198).

Egypt

"The Hymn to Amun decreed that 'No god came into being before him (Amun)' and that 'All gods are three: Amun, Re and Ptah, and there is no second to them. Hidden is his name as Amon, he is Re in face, and his body is Ptah.' . . . This is a statement of trinity, the three chief gods of Egypt subsumed into one of them, Amon. Clearly, the concept of organic unity within plurality got an extraordinary boost with this formulation. Theologically, in a crude form it came strikingly close to the later Christian form of plural Trinitarian monotheism" (Simson Najovits, Egypt, Trunk of the Tree, Vol. 2, 2004, pp. 83-84).

Other areas

Many other areas had their own divine trinities. In Greece they were Zeus, Poseidon and Adonis. The Phoenicians worshipped Ulomus, Ulosuros and Eliun. Rome worshipped Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto. In Germanic nations they were called Wodan, Thor and Fricco. Regarding the Celts, one source states, "The ancient heathen deities of the pagan Irish[,] Criosan, Biosena, and Seeva, or Sheeva, are doubtless the Creeshna [Krishna], Veeshnu [Vishnu], [or the all-inclusive] Brahma, and Seeva [Shiva], of the Hindoos" (Thomas Maurice, The History of Hindostan, Vol. 2, 1798, p. 171).

"The origin of the conception is entirely pagan"

Egyptologist Arthur Weigall, while himself a Trinitarian, summed up the influence of ancient beliefs on the adoption of the Trinity doctrine by the Catholic Church in the following excerpt from his previously cited book:

"It must not be forgotten that Jesus Christ never mentioned such a phenomenon [the Trinity], and nowhere in the New Testament does the word 'Trinity' appear. The idea was only adopted by the Church three hundred years after the death of our Lord; and the origin of the conception is entirely pagan . . .

"The ancient Egyptians, whose influence on early religious thought was profound, usually arranged their gods or goddesses in trinities: there was the trinity of Osiris, Isis, and Horus, the trinity of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu, the trinity of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis, and so forth . . .

"The early Christians, however, did not at first think of applying the idea to their own faith. They paid their devotions to God the Father and to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and they recognized the mysterious and undefined existence of the Holy Spirit; but there was no thought of these three being an actual Trinity, co-equal and united in One . . .

"The application of this old pagan conception of a Trinity to Christian theology was made possible by the recognition of the Holy Spirit as the required third 'Person,' co-equal with the other 'Persons' . . .

"The idea of the Spirit being co-equal with God was not generally recognised until the second half of the Fourth Century A.D. . . . In the year 381 the Council of Constantinople added to the earlier Nicene Creed a description of the Holy Spirit as 'the Lord, and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and Son together is worshipped and glorified.' . . .

"Thus, the Athanasian creed, which is a later composition but reflects the general conceptions of Athanasius [the 4th-century Trinitarian whose view eventually became official doctrine] and his school, formulated the conception of a co-equal Trinity wherein the Holy Spirit was the third 'Person'; and so it was made a dogma of the faith, and belief in the Three in One and One in Three became a paramount doctrine of Christianity


PHIPIPPIANS 2:6 A TRINITARIAN DILEMMA!”


Philippians 2:6 ...who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God...

http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2009/10/phil-26_8991.html

An excellent illustration of the trinitarian's dilemma concerning an honest translation of Phil. 2:6 can be shown by the 1971 "Palm Sunday Controversy" in France (see June 15, 1971 WT):


At every Palm Sunday Mass, Phil. 2:5-11 is read. The 1959 lectionary for France's Catholic Church read: "Being of divine status, Christ did not greedily hold on to [harpagmos] the rank that made him equal to God."



In 1969 the Roman Catholic bishops of France authorized a new lectionary for their country. The Holy See in Rome approved it on September 16, 1969. In this new lectionary Phil. 2:6 was translated: "Christ Jesus is God's image [morphe, `form']; but he did not choose to seize by force [harpagmos] equality with God."


This new translation, needless to say, started a great controversy and demonstrations by many Catholics throughout France. As one French Catholic magazine explained: "If he [Jesus] refused to seize it [equality with God], it must be that he did not already possess it."


So much pressure was brought to bear upon the Church in France that the trinitarian Catholic bishops who had insisted upon the new honest translation were forced to change it. So, in an attempt to compromise, they rendered it: "He [Jesus] did not choose to claim to be the same as God."


This newest version was also thoroughly condemned by the same trinity-defending French Catholic magazine. It noted that if Christ "did not choose to claim to be the same as God," this implied that he was not "the same as God," and "the practical effect of this substitution amounts to heresy and blasphemy."


But, in spite of threats and demonstrations, the French episcopate refused to compromise any further. Le Monde reported,


"this translation ... was accepted by the entire body of French-speaking bishops. The Permanent Council of the French Episcopate, that has just met in Paris, has ratified it; so it will stand."


Why did these trinitarian Catholic scholars and Church officials insist on a translation of Phil. 2:6 that so obviously denies the "central doctrine" of the Catholic Church?

This question was answered by an article in Le Monde (6 April 1971):


"The scholars responsible for this change - a change ratified by the majority of French bishops - consider the new translation more faithful to the Greek text than the former [1959] one was."


So the French Catholic cardinals, archbishops, and bishops found themselves in a dilemma. They could either give up their new, more honest, translation of Phil. 2:6 which would show they are more loyal to their trinitarian traditions than to the truth of the inspired scriptures (Matt. 15:6-9; 1 Cor. 4:6; Gal. 1:8, 9; 2 Tim. 4:3, 4; John 8:31-32), or they could keep their new official translation and thereby admit that many other French trinitarian Bibles (as well as many translations in other languages) have mistranslated Phil. 2:6. In order to take the latter course required not only a strong stand against tradition but the strength and courage to stand against the desires (and demonstrations, politics, economic pressures, etc.) of a large number of their countrymen. Courage of such a magnitude is rare in the ranks of tradition-bound Christendom!


When even a number of the best trinitarian scholars are willing to admit the actual meaning (or even an equivalent compromise) of harpagmos at Phil. 2:6, it becomes necessary for honest-hearted, truth-seeking individuals to admit that Phil. 2:6 not only does not identify Jesus as God, but that it clearly shows Jesus is not God!


The highly regarded (and trinitarian) The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, says:


"Although Jesus, the Son of God, in his preexisting being as the Word was in the form or IMAGE of God, he and the Son of MAN resisted the temptation to be equal with God (Phil. 2:6). hat is to say that in the days of his flesh in his earthly existence Jesus was obedient to God, even unto death on the cross (Phil. 2:8) .... Then ONLY AFTER the completion of his work on earth Jesus was highly exalted and has indeed been raised to the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20; 1 Pet. 3:22) .... But he is still not made equal to God. Although completely co-ordinated with God, he remains subordinate to him (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28)." - p. 80, vol. 2. [Emphasis found in quotations is nearly always added by me, as it also is here.]





Ison: "Equal"


Of course most trinitarians ignore the proper translation of harpagmos. Among such "scholars" was the influential Dr. Walter Martin, the anti-"cult" Trinity defender. He tells us, in fact, that the word "equal" here further proves Jesus' absolute equation with God [but only if you mistranslate harpagmos first, of course].



(Please consider: Being "equal to someone or something" [like being "the image of someone"] is really a statement that you are not really that person or thing at all! When we intend to identify someone or something, we come right out and say it. We do not say, "David is equal to the king of Israel;" "Jesus is equal to the Christ;" "Jehovah is equal to God;" etc.! No, we clearly say, "David is King over Israel" - 2 Sam. 5:17; "Jesus is the Christ" - 1 Jn 5:1; "Jehovah is God" - 1 Ki 18:39, Living Bible, ASV, Young's, and The Interlinear Bible; Ps 100:3, ASV, Young's, and The Interlinear Bible. - - - Remember, "LORD" in most Bibles is a mistranslation of "Jehovah.")


"The term `equal' here," Martin writes, "is another form of ison [see MINOR 7-10], namely isa, which again denotes absolute sameness of nature, thus confirming Christ's true Deity." - p. 68, KOTC.


So Martin tries to tell us that Phil. 2:6 is asserting that Jesus "thought it not something to be retained [harpagmos] to be of the absolute same nature with God."


Now to me all this does is create another dilemma. If this trinitairian professor is correct in his interpretation that Jesus “thought is NOT something to be retained to be of the absolute same nature with God”, then AFTER the Word was MADE FLESH, then this means that NONE of the absolute same nature with God was RETAINED.

In others words, Jesus was 100% MAN a HUMAN BEING with absolutely NO DIVINE NATURE while Jesus was on the earth in the days of his FLESH.


However, as even many trinitarian Bible scholars admit:


"Morphe is instanced from Homer onwards and means form in the sense of outward appearance." - The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 1986, Zondervan, p. 705, vol. 1.


Thayer agrees that morphe is


"the form by which a person or thing strikes the vision; the external appearance" - Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 418, Baker Book House. [Also see Young's Analytical Concordance (also compare the closely-related morphosis) and Liddell and Scott's An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, p. 519, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing.]


It's easy to see why even many trinitarian scholars disagree with the forced "nature" interpretation of morphe when you look at all the scriptural uses of morphe (according to Young's Analytical Concordance, Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1978 printing and A Concordance of the Septuagint, Zondervan Publishing House, 1979 printing): Mark 16:12; Phil. 2:6, 7 in the New Testament and in the Old Testament Greek Septuagint of Job 4:16 "there was no form [morphe] before my eyes;" Is. 44:13 "makes it as the form [morphe] of a man;" Dan. 4:33 "my natural form [morphe] returned to me;" 5:6, 9, 10 "the king's countenance [morphe] changed;" 7:28 "[Daniel's] countenance [morphe] was changed." - The Septuagint Version, Greek and English, Zondervan, 1976 printing.


In others words, Almighty God spoke forth his Word and the Word CHANGED FORM and BECAME HUMAN.

Another way to translate Philippians 2:6 is ...who was in the IMAGE of God did NOT even think to RETAIN any of the divinity or glory, but rather took on the form of a human being.

Even the early church writer Tertullian what first coin the Latin word “TRINITAS” in referring to The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit wrote the following:


"... who being in the image of God, `thought it not ...'" - Tertullian, about 200 A.D., ANF, p. 549, vol. 3.

The Word in the beginning was with God and the Word was the IMAGE of God. In other words, what Go was the Word was or the what God was the Word became the IMAGE of God.

You see before the Word was brought forth in to existence there was only God, who was alone before any thing was created. That is to says there was God and his TOUGHTS and nothing else existed. In other words, once the Word of God was brought forth into existence, then the Word word become the IMAGE of what God was thinking to bring forth.


God desired and thought to have a SON. This was God's FIRST thought. This was the BEGINNING of his creation. Before Go THOUGHT to bring any thing forth, the FIRST thing that God thought ha to have a SON.

So God chose that the WAY in which he would have a Son would be to speak forth his thoughts in the FORM of his WORD. And then what God was in his thoughts would BE the EXPRESS IMAGE of God's thoughts.

This a why a tree is NOT God, but rather a tree is an IMAGE of God's THOUGHTS that God brought into existence by his spoken Word.

So then the Word was in the FORM of God as an OUTWARD EXPRESS IMAGE of God's INWARD being of his THOUGHTS or his will to become.

Now some translations of the Bible incorrectly translated the scripture that says that the things which are SEEN are nade from NOTHING. The truth of the matter is that the things which are SEEN are made form that which is UNSEEN. In other words, all things are made FROM and BY Almighty God the Father, who is INVISIBLE or who is UNSEEN. And God chose to make all things from himself THROUGH his Word that would one day bring forth his only begotten Son into the world as God's EXPRESS IMAGE.


Now some trinitarians try to argue that the Greek word “MORPHE” also means a disguise or an appearance of the real, but yet not the real, when this word is used as Jesus taking on the APPEAPRANCE of man.

Again those trinitarians that try and ague along this line just create another dilemma. First of all the SAME Greek word is used for Jesus or the Word being in the APPEARANCE of God, bet yet NOT the REAL being of God.

But worse than this these trinitarians are unknowing becoming antiChrists when they demand such and INTERPRETATION saying the Jesus ONLY APPEARED to be HUMAN FLESH.


Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that whatever FORM that the WORD was in the beginning, that the WORD was MADE FLESH and CHANGED from what ever FORM the Word WAS and BECAME 100% FLESH, a HUMAN BEING just like you and me and Jesus was tempted in all point just like we are tempted yet Jesus did NOT sin or disobey his God and Father in any way. And THEREFORE his God and Father HIGHLY EXALTED his Son Jesus to BECOME a GOD to sit beside his Father to rule and reign over God's creation. This is what the WHOLE word of God teaches when the verses are LEFT in the CONTEXT and then COMPARED with the REST of God's word.


Some still try and argue that Jesus NEVER CEASED to BE ALMIGHTY God, when the Word BECAME FLESH and dogmatically demand the Jesus is fully 100% Almighty God AND 100% MAN at the SAME TIME. And one of the verses that they use is Philippians 2:6 specifically focusing on the Greek word

Huparchon (or `Uparchon')



Another less than forthright rendering of  "being in form of God (or a god)" by a few trinitarian scholars involves the Greek word huparcho (translated "being" above).  Huparcho (huparchon  or uparchon [uJparcwn in Greek letters] is the actual form of huparcho used in this scripture) is sometimes "interpreted" by a few trinitarians in an attempt to show an eternal pre-existence (see TEV).[10]   This is done in an attempt to deny the actuality of Jesus' creation by God. Similarly, Dr. Walter Martin in his The Kingdom of the Cults declares:


 "Christ never ceased to be Jehovah even during His earthly incarnation.  It is interesting to note that the Greek term uparchon, translated `being' in Philippians 2:6 [KJV], literally means `remaining or not ceasing to be' (see also 1 Corinthians 11:7), hence in the context Christ never ceased to be God."  - p. 94, 1985 ed.


If uparchon really had such a meaning, we would expect it to be used especially for God.  What else that exists has an eternal existence?  But search as we will we never see this word used for God!  Some examples where we would expect to see it used (if it really meant `eternal existence') in the Bible Greek of the ancient Septuagint are Is. 43:10, 25; 45:15, 22; 46:4, 9.  Like all other scriptures referring to God, they use forms of the "be" verb (eimi), which may be used to mean an eternal existence, but they never use uparchon to describe his existence!  (Is. 45:22, for example, says, "I am [eimi] the God and there is no other." - cf. James 2:19 [estin, form of eimi])[11]  So why is uparchon never used for the only thing in existence that has always existed (and which will never cease to exist)?


Uparchon is never used for God because it actually, literally means (in spite of Martin's "scholarly" declaration above):


"to make a beginning (hupo, `under'; arche, `a beginning')" - W. E. Vine's An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 390. 


Strong's Exhaustive Concordance also defines huparcho as "to begin under (quietly), i.e. COME INTO EXISTENCE" - #5225. 


And the authoritative (and trinitarian) An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon by Liddell and Scott tells us:



"[huparcho] ... to begin, make a beginning ... 2.  to make a beginning of ... 3.  to begin doing ...   4.   to begin [doing] kindness to one ...  Pass. to be begun" - p. 831, Oxford University Press, 1994 printing. [12]


So, even though it may be rendered into English as "existed" or "is," it nevertheless must also be understood as something that has come into existence at some point.


In that sense, then, uparchon is very much like another NT word, ginomai, ginomai  [#1096, Thayer's], which also literally means "become" or "come into existence" but is sometimes translated into English as "is," "are," etc.  E.g., 1 Peter 3:6 "whose daughters ye are [ginomai]," KJV, NKJV, NAB, RSV, NIV, is more properly understood as "you have become [ginomai] her children," NASB, NRSV, NEB, NWT - Cf. John 6:17, "It was [ginomai] dark."  


As respected trinitarian NT Greek expert Dr. Alfred Marshall tells us:


"[Ginomai] denotes the coming into existence of what did not exist before.... This verb [just like huparchon] is therefore not used of God...."[13]  


Marshall further explains that although ginomai is often translated into English as "is," "are," "were," etc. it must nevertheless be remembered that it still retains the additional meaning of having come into existence! - p. 106, New Testament Greek Primer, Zondervan Publishing House, 1978 printing.


For another good example of the similarity of huparchon with ginomai see Luke 16:23 and 22:44.


Lk. 16:23  -  "he lifted up his eyes, being [huparchon] in torment," NASB.


Lk. 22:44  -  "and being [ginomai] in agony he was praying," NASB.


In very similar statements Luke has used the very similar (in meaning) huparchon and ginomai and the highly respected NASB has rendered them both "being."  But in both cases their fundamental meanings of "coming into existence" (or "coming to be") must be remembered.  In other words, the person had not always been in torment or agony, but at some point had "come to be" in such a condition!


If you examine the following examples of the Biblical usage of huparcho, you will find they are clearly speaking of conditions which once did not exist but which have come into existence ("have begun to be"): Luke 16:23; Acts 2:30; Acts 7:55; Acts 8:16; Ro. 4:19; 1 Cor. 11:18; 2 Cor. 8:17; James 2:15.



These last four verses not only show a state that has begun recently but a state that is transient, temporary - e.g., Abraham hadn't always been [uparchon] 100 years of age and certainly wouldn't continue to be 100 years of age: he had begun to be [uparchon] about 100 years old at this point - Ro. 4:19.


1 Cor. 11:18, KJV says:


 "I hear that there be [uparchon] divisions among you [the Corinthian congregation]." 


Such divisions had not always existed there.  Nor must they always continue to be there, or Paul would not have bothered to counsel them to heal their divisions.  The complete understanding for this verse is, obviously:


 "I hear that there have begun to be [uparchon] divisions among you."


2 Cor. 8:16, 17 tells us:



"But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus.  For he [Titus] ..., being [uparchon] himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord." - NASB


It should be obvious to everyone that Titus hasn't been earnest from all  eternity.  He obviously came to be earnest at some point in time.  And, in fact, we are even told in verse 16 that at some point in time God put this earnestness in Titus' heart.  Obviously it was not always there if God put it in his heart at some point!  The meaning of uparchon as "having come [or begun] to be" is very certain from the context alone in these two verses.


James 2:15 tells us, in the KJV: "If a brother or sister be [uparchon] naked [`without clothes' - NIV, NASB]," we must help him to become clothed again.  Obviously the brother has not been naked for all eternity but has very recently come to be in this condition.  It's equally obvious that the brother will not always continue in this condition.  In fact his brothers are commanded to ensure that he not continue in this naked state.  (Famed trinitarian Bible scholar Dr. Robert Young noted the correct, complete meaning for uparchon in this verse: "BEGIN to be [uparchon] naked" - Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary, Baker Book House, 1977 ed.)


Therefore, huparcho (or uparchon) does not mean "eternal pre-existence" as claimed by some trinitarians, and it certainly does not have to mean a condition that must continue to exist as Dr. Walter Martin also implies.  Notice the solitary example (1 Cor. 11:7) he has selected to "prove" that uparchon means "not ceasing to be":


"For a man ... is [uparchon] the image and glory of God" - NASB


My trinitarian NASB reference Bible refers this scripture to Gen. 1:26; 5:1; 9:6; and James 3:9.  These scriptures all state that man was created or made in the image of God.  (In fact James 3:9 literally says that men "have come to be [ginomai, #1096] in the likeness of God" and is usually translated in trinitarian Bibles as "have been made [or created] in the likeness of God." - NASB, NIV, RSV.)


So there is the real parallel meaning for the uparchon of 1 Cor. 11:7 -  created!  There obviously was a time (before he was created) when a man was not the image of God.  Furthermore, Martin's solitary "example" states that "a man" (NASB) is the image of God.  This means that every man who lives has these qualities in some degree.  However, not every man will have these qualities forever.  Many, when they return to the dust of the earth, will cease to reflect God's qualities and glory!  It would be much better to translate this verse literally as "For a man ought not to have his head covered, since he has come into existence [huparchon] in the image and glory of God."


There is little doubt about what huparchon was actually intended to mean (regardless of how modern trinitarian translators wish to translate it).  Noted trinitarian scholar and translator Dr. Robert Young (Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible; Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible; etc.) has even admitted in his Young's Concise Critical Bible Commentary (p. 134, Baker Book House, 1977) that his own rendering of huparchon as "being" at Phil. 2:6 in his own published Bible translation should be, to be more literal,


"beginning secretly [huparchon] in (the) form of God ...." - Phil. 2:6 [14] 


So, rather than any "eternal pre-existence" being implied by Paul's use of huparchon at Phil. 2:6 ("who `always having been' in God's form" - cf. TEV), it is more likely just the opposite:  "Who came into existence (or was created) [huparchon] in a form [morphe] similar to God (or in God's image)"![15] Of course, if Jesus first came into existence in God's image, then he cannot be the eternal, always-existent God of the Bible (nor even the always-existent God of the trinity doctrine)!


Or, put even more simply, since huparchon is never used for God himself, then its use for the pre-existent Jesus shows, again, that Jesus cannot be God!

In other words, Jesus preexisted as the WORD of God. The Bible clearly teaches us that in a beginning was the WORD and the WORD was with THE God and the WORD was God. John 1:1 does NOT say that in a beginning was Jesus and Jesus was with THE God and Jesus was God. NOR does John 1:1 say
in a beginning was the SON, and the SON was with THE God and the SON was God.

So then, we can INTERPRET that the WORD was brought forth to became a SPIRIT BEING that was with THE God and was God like the Jehovah Witnesses and the Mormons do.

OR we can interpret the Word to be the SPOKEN WORD of God that was with THE God and was an IMAGE of God that CEASES NOT to exist when the WORD became FLESH or a tree or an animal or anything that God has created THROUGH his SPOKEN WORD. In other words, the WORD continues to BE whatever God's THOUGHTS are that God chooses to bring forth into existence even AFTER the WORD has BECOME all that God has created. So say this another way God's WORD WILL NEVER RUN OUT. The WORD of God lives and abide forever. The WORD is the EXPRESS IMAGE of God.

Now the problems that I myself see with the Word being a SPIRIT BEING that dwells along side with THE GOD is that as an INDIVIDUAL BEING, the the Word word literally have to cease to exist as the Word in order to become a HUMAN BEING or the CHANGE his from of being God to take on the form of being a MAN. IF this were the case, then the creating as well as the creation of God would have ceased with the incarnation of the WORD to become flesh.

But the WORD being an OUTWARD EXPRESS IMAGE of THE God's thoughts means that the WORD lives and abides forever even AFTER the Word has BECOME whatever THE God THOUGHT to BE and then SPOKEN his thoughts in the FROM of his WORD.




What we really have at Phil. 2:6-7, then, may be more accurately rendered:



"who, even though he had come into existence as a glorious spirit person in a likeness [external form or guise] of God (or a god), never gave even the slightest consideration that by force he should try to become equal to God (in even a single aspect or quality), but, instead, emptied himself of his glorious form and took on the likeness [external form or guise] of a slave, being born in the likeness of a man."

=================================================================================================================



DOES REVELATION 1:17

TEACH US THAT ALMIGHTY GOD
IS A
“TRINITY”?


Does Revelation 1:17 teach us that Jesus IS THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God? Does the fact that both Almighty God the Father and his Son Jesus say the SAME thing automatically make them to be ONE and the SAME BEING?

You see those who teach the doctrine of the trinity and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus argue that since Jesus HIMSELF says of HIMSELF that he HIMSELF IS the FIRST and the LAST, which is the SAME thing that Almighty God the FATHER says of HIMSELF in the Old Testament, then this proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus IS THE ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF being FULLY ALMIGHTY God and FULLY FLESH at the SAME time. Those who teach the doctrine of the trinity and the deity of Jesus being THE ALMIGHTY God himself also use the verse where Almighty God says “I am Alpha and Omega” and his SON Jesus also says the same thing “I am Alpha and Omega”.

But is this the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God? Does the mere fact that Jesus and his God and Father say some of the SAME things prove without any shadow of a doubt that Jesus IS THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God? Now just plain common sense tell us that IF SO BE that Jesus simply saying the same words as as his God and Father were to make them to be ONE and the SELF SAME BEING, then that would mean the Jesus IS THE FATHER, which is a direct CONTRADICTION of not only the doctrine of the trinity but also to the very word of Almighty God. The scriptures are very CLEAR to plainly teach us that Almighty God the Father is NOT his SON Jesus and that the SON OF almighty God the Father is NOT the FATHER himself.

Let us begin this study in God's word by listing all the passages of scripture where this phrase “I am the FIRST and the LAST” or similar wording is found in the Bible.

Isaiah 41:4 / Isaiah 44:6 / Isaiah 48:12 / Revelation 1:11 / Revelation 1:17 / Revelation 22:13.

I would like to begin with Revelation chapter 1 where BOTH Almighty God the Father and HIS SON Jesus each say this same exact phrase in the same passage of scripture.

Please read revelation 1:5-19 where we see BOTH Almighty God the FATHER, which was, and is, and is to come AND his SON Jesus each saying these words, “I am the first and the last”.


John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, FROM HIM which is, and which was, and which is to come; AND FROM the seven Spirits which are before HIS throne;

5. AND FROM Jesus Christ, (please notice that John is sending a blessing of grace FROM HIM speaking of Almighty God the FATHER, which is, and which was, and which is to come, AND FROM his self same Holy Spirit that is present everywhere so there are NOT seven different Spirits, but rather just ONE SPIRIT who IS Almighty God the father himself seeing that Almighty God IS a SPIRIT, AND FROM Jesus Christ who we know to be the SON OF almighty God the Father and the Son of MAN) who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

6. And has made us kings and priests unto God and HIS Father; to him ( referring back to Almighty God the Father) be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (the word Amen is a CLOSING word that mean I agree. So then, the subject under discussion in the next verse not only can be, but is speaking of someone different that Almighty God the Father. Which is, and which was, and which is to come, who sits upon HIS OWN THRONE that he SHARES with his SON Jesus. See Revelation 3:11-22.)

7. Behold, he (speaking of Jesus, but also keep in mind that Almighty God is coming WITH his Son Jesus at his second coming. Even though Jesus is now highly exalted to be a god beside his God and Father it is still Almighty God's SPIRIT that does the work.) comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindred of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (again the AMEN indicating another change of speakers)

8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,(or I am Alpha and Omega the FIRST and the LAST, the beginning and the end.) says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (CLEARLY the one who is speaking here identifies HIMSELF as BEING THE ALMIGHTY. Some Christians THINK and falsely conclude and inaccurately teach that the one speaking here in verse 8 is Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father, but in TRUTH the one speaking is ALMIGHTY God the FATHER himself who definitely is NOT his SON Jesus. Please notice the EVIDENCE that PROVES what I just said. You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, if we allow the scriptures to interpret THEMSELVES then their would not be all this controversy over correct doctrine. Clearly the EVIDENCE teaches us that the one who is speaking is also identified as being the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come. We will follow this phrase through the book of revelation in a moment and you will see that the Lord ALMIGHTY is the ONE who SITS upon the THRONE.)

9. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard BEHIND me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: (this is clearly the voice of ALMIGHTY God the FATHER which will be made plain to you as you continue this study in God's word) and, What you see, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12. And I TURNED to SEE the voice that spoke with me. And being TURNED, I SAW seven golden candlesticks;

13. AND in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of MAN (please notice that this FIRST voice which John HEARD as of a TRUMPET, which was behind him and could not see whose voice was as of a trumpet therefore John TURNED to SEE to whom this voice belonged, but after being TURNED John saw ANOTHER, who was the Son of MAN, who had a DIFFERENT voice as of the sound of many waters. Then John goes on to describe in figurative language the Son of MAN speaking of Jesus.) clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and HIS voice (referring to a SECOND voice that is DIFFERENT from the FIRST voice as of a TRUMPET, which is the voice of Almighty God the FATHER, but the voice of the Son of MAN, HIS voice was) as the sound of many waters.

16. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.

17. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18. I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, (this is no doubt Jesus speaking saying the SAME words that his God and Father just said in verse 11, which are, “I am the first and the last”. But as you will soon see that this does NOT mean that Jesus is ONE and the SELF SAME BEING as Almighty God the Father. Also please notice that Almighty God HIMSELF is an ETERNAL SPIRIT that CANNOT DIE. In other words, Jesus CAME OUT FROM Almighty God when Yehweh spoke forth his WORD and his WORD then BECAME or was MADE a human being IN WHICH the Father DWELT IN to empower his SON Jesus to do the works that he sent him to do. And when Jesus became obedient unto death of the cross, then his God and Father Yehweh highly exalted his SON Jesus and GAVE his SON the same IMMOTALITY that the Father Yehweh has always possessed so that now his SON Jesus is alive evermore never to die again.)Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

19. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”



So then, clearly BOTH Almighty God the FATHER, which is, which was, and which is to come, AND his SON Jesus the Son of MAN each say the same words, “I am the first and the last”. Now CLEARLY these TWO are NOT ONE and the SELF SAME BEING. There can ONLY be ONE God who is the ALMIGHTY and that ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God is the FATHER who is THE God OVER his SON Jesus who has been HIGHLY EXLATED BY HIS God and Father to be “A” god to rule and reign by his Father's right hand.

Therefore simply saying these SAME words, “I am the first and the last” does NOT mean the Jesus himself IS THE ALMIGHTY God YEHWEH, who ALONE is the FATHER.

Well then, since simply saying these SAME words does NOT make them to BE ONE and the SELF SAME BEING, then what do these words, “I am the first and the last” truly mean? We will get to this answer as you continue this study in God's word, but first I want us to follow the phrase, “which is, which was, and which is to come” all the way through the book of revelation to chapter 5 where we will CLEARLT and PLAINLY see TWO separate beings in heaven where Almighty God the Father is the one who SITS upon the THRONE and the LAMB OF Almighty God who was SLAIN from the foundation of the world who we all know to be Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father come OVER to the ONE who is SITTING on the THRONE. Please read Revelation 4:1-3 where John hears the FIRST voice as of a TRUMPET.


After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the FIRST VOICE which I heard was as it were of a TRUMPET talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter.

    1. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a THRONE was set in heaven, and ONE sat on the throne.

    1. And he that sat (speaking of ALMIGHTY God the Father who dwells in the light) was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”


Please notice that this is a totally DIFFERENT description being given by John to the one who sits upon the throne and has a voice as of a trumpet that the Son of MAN who John actually SAW when he TURNED to SEE the one who had the voice of the TRUMPET. Let us continue in this same chapter with verses 8 through verse 11, which clearly teaches us that the Lord God Almighty is the one who sits upon the throne. Again please notice the phrase “which was, and is, and is to come”.


Revelation 4:8-11.


And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

9. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who lives for ever and ever,

10. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11. You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.”


Here we see that the ONE who sits upon the THRONE is the one who has the FIRST VOICE as of a TRUMPET who is clearly identified as being THE ALMIGHTY, which was, and is and is to come. Now let us continue reading right on into the next chapter where we will see the LAMB OF Almighty God who was SLAIN from the foundation of the world COMING OVER TO the Lord God ALMIGHY, which was, and is, and is to come who is SITTING ON the THRONE to take a book OUT the hand of HIS GOD and FATHER who SITS upon the THRONE. So again we CLEARLY and PLAINLY see TWO “ELOHIM” or “THEOS” in heaven being Almighty God the Father AND his SON Jesus the LAMB OF God that was slain for the sins of the world so that WHOSOEVER believes on him shall have everlasting life in the world to come.


Please read revelation 5:1-10.


And I saw in the right hand of HIM that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3. And no MAN in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

4. And I wept much, because no MAN (can you not see my dear brothers an sister in ur Lord Jesus the CHRIST the ANOINTED MAN that is was needed for Jesus to be a MAN in order to redeem mankind back to the Father of all, but John did not see any MAN that) was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

5. And one of the elders said unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, (or do not weep any longer John for the Son of MAN Jesus) has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

6. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a LAMB as it had been slain (which we all know and agree is Jesus the SON OF Almighty God the Father who is NOT the Father himself and therefore is NOT ALMIGHTY God himself who ALONE is the FATHER. It is YEHWEH who is the designer, planner, thinker, and SOURCE of all creation who raised up from among the people or mankind a savior who would be obedient to do all his Father's WILL. In other words, Almighty God provided for himself his own LAMB to redeem mankind back to himself. The Father kept SECRET his plain for his LAMB to be slain), having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

7. And he (speaking of Jesus the LAMB, the SON OF Almighty God the Father who sits on the throne) came and took the book OUT OF the right hand of him (the Lord God ALMIGHTY, which was, and is, and is to come) that sat upon the throne.

8. And when he (Jesus the LAMB, the SON OF Almighty God the Father) had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.

9. And they sung a new song, saying, You (Jesus) are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for you (Jesus) were SLAIN, and have redeemed us to God (or you Jesus have redeemed us to Almighty God the Father) by your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;

10. And (you Jesus being understood) have made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”



So then, now that it has clearly been establish by the clear, plain and simple word of Almighty God that Jesus will ALWAYS continue to be Jesus, as a SEPARATE and completely DIFFERENT person or being from HIS God and Father the Lord God ALMIGHTY, then we can now proceed to learn what the TRUE meaning of the phrase, “I am the first and the last”and why BOTH Almighty God the Father and HIS SON Jesus spoke the same exact phrase, “I am the FIRST and the LAST”.


The word that translated as “FIRST” here in Revelation 1:11,17 means foremost in time, place, order, and importance, this Greek word “PROTOS” means chief, first, former, beginning, and best. And the word that is translated as “LAST” in this same passage of scripture means final, last, end, lowest, least, utmost. Well we know that Almighty God is the HIGHEST and is God OVER his SON Jesus. And we also know that Almighty God is the SOURCE of all and therefore Yehweh is the source of all other gods including his Son Jesus. There should be no argument or disagreement that the HUMAN Jesus did indeed have a BEGINNING. Please understand that we are NOT talking about the WORD, but rather we are talking about AFTER the Word was MADE or BECAME the HUMAN Jesus IN WHICH his God and Father DWELT.

Please read Colossians 2:8,9 which clearly teaches us that the GODHEAD who is the Father DWELT IN his SON Jesus to ANOINT his Son.


Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after CHRIST (or the ANOINTING or INDWELLING Spirit of Almighty God the Father).

9. For (or because) IN HIM (or IN his SON Jesus) DWELLS all the fulness OF the Godhead bodily.”

In other words, in the HUMAN BODY of Jesus DWELT Almighty God the FATHER HIMSELF who is the ETERNAL SPIRIT. Please read the study “JESUS THE CHRIST” for a deeper understanding of the INDWELLING presence of Almighty God the Father that is called the Holy Spirit OF Almighty God.

But for now let us continue this study in God's word by reading Isaiah 41:1-4 where we learn that BOTH Almighty God AND his SON Jesus TOGETHER come to execute the wrath of judgment at the second coming of Jesus.


Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

2. WHO raised up the RIGHTEOUS MAN from the east, (the righteous MAN is the ANOINTED ONE Jesus the SON OF Almighty God and this is a PROPHECY of the COMING Messiah who will execute the WRATH of Almighty God the Father WHO raised up Jesus and) called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? He gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.

3. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet.

4. WHO has wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the FIRST (clearly speaking of YEHWEH the Almighty God who ALONE is the Father), and WITH the LAST (speaking of his Son Jesus the RIGHTEOUS MAN who Almighty God the Father raised up to execute his judgment and wrath); I am he (referring back to YHWH Almighty God).”



So then, here in this passage of scripture in Isaiah chapter 41 we see TWO, who are: Almighty God, I the Lord, Yehweh, the FIRST, WHO wrought and had done all these things CALLING them or SPEAKING them forth by his Word from the beginning or the FIRST and this Almighty God the Father is WITH his REDEEMER, his SON Jesus the LAST at the SECOND COMING of Jesus. Please keep in mind that this is a PROPHECY of the second coming of Jesus. Then Almighty God the Father says I am he WHO has raised up this RIGHTEOUS MAN to be my redeemer to redeem mankind back to myself, I am he the one who called all these things into being.

Now let us read Isaiah 44:6-8, which has been INCORRECTLY interpreted by some to mean that there is ONE and ONLY ONE God. So therefore since we know that Jesus IS GOD, then Jesus MUST BE that ONE and ONLY God.

However this is NOT what this verse truly means. Please read the study “OUR GOD IS ONE!” for a deeper explanation of this verse, but for now please consider the few comments of explanation below.

Isaiah 44:6-8.


Thus says the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and BESIDE ME (The English words “BESIDE ME” is translated from two Hebrew words “bal de” Strongs #1107, which means apart from ME, beside ME and WITHEOUT ME + “min”or “minni” Strong's # 4480, which means marker of SOURCE or extension FROM a SOURCE, from out of, because of. In other words, APART FROM Yehweh being the SOURCE) there is no God. (that it to say there are indeed other gods, but there is NO other god that was not created by THE Almighty YEHWEH, the FIRST, the SOURCE of ALL including his SON Jesus, the LAST)

7. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? And the things that are coming, and shall come, let them show unto them.(Now this verse literally says: “ and who? Like me shall call out and he shall tell her and he shall arrange her for me from place to me people of eon and things arriving and which they shall come they shall tell to them.” In other words, Jesus the LAST who is LIKE the FIRST who called things to BE, in the same way he like me shall call out...FOR ME. Also the ancient people may very well be speaking of the angels who will fight and stand up with Micheal the archangel to fight for God's people at the SECOND COMING of Jesus who will again be coming WITH hid God and Father the ALMIGHTY YEHWEH.)

8. Fear you not, neither be afraid: have not I told you from that time, and have declared it (Jesus said shall I find FAITH on the earth WHEN I COME? This tells me that that both the physical and spiritual hearts of mankind will FAIL when the SEE the signs of the COMING of Jesus, but we as Christians are taught NOT to FEAR, but rather LOOK UP fro our REMPTION draws near)? You are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.(NOW Almighty God is speaking about false gods that he himself is NOT the SOURCE. The following verses speak of MAN MADE gods that cannot do anything to save)

9. They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.”



Let us continue with Isaiah 48:11-16 where one of the reasons that Almighty God is doing all the things the WAY he chose to do them is to CLEAR his NAME. Please read the study “UNDERSTANDING WHY?” for a deeper more detailed explanation of HOW God's name is being FALSELY ACCUSED. But for now please read Isaiah 48:11-16.


For mine OWN SAKE, even for mine OWN SAKE, will I do it: for how should my NAME be polluted ? And I will not give my glory unto another. (speaking of his Son Jesus and NO OTHER will Almighty God give or share his glory. Jesus is the LAST or the END of this FALSLE accusation against Almighty God the creator. Jesus is the IT IS DONE! Who Almighty God brought forth to clear his OWN NAME.)

12. Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the FIRST, I also (the word translated as “also” here means how much better, how much more, even more, of a surety, and WITH) am (the word “am”is not in the original Hebrew) the last. (One of the reason that Jesus came was to SHOW us the Father the INVISIBLE God. Jesus is the EXPRESS IMAGE of his God and Father the Almighty. So how much better it will be when we can SEE Jesus. Also the meaning of WITH the LAST or Almighty God the Father being WITH his SON Jesus agree with Isaiah 41:4)

13 Mine hand also has laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand has spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. (here the Lord God Almighty's HAND can be INTERPRETED as his own self same SPIRIT, and his RIGHT HAND can be INTERPRETED as hos own spoken WORD. So then when Almighty God calls his WORD is brought forth and his Spirit moves or TOGETHER they stand up and perform whatever God SPEAKS forth to come into being. The right hand of God is representative of Yehweh's authority and sometimes speak of his SON Jesus, and the hand of the Lord sometimes expresses the presence of the Lord's SPIRIT being upon someone. OR the THEM is speaking of the creation of God in general, which fits better with the next verse.)

14. All you, assemble yourselves, and hear; which among them (YHWH the UNDERSTOOD speaker or creator WHO) has declared these things? The LORD (YHWH) has loved HIM (his SON Jesus): he (Jesus) will do his pleasure on Babylon (or Jesus will execute the wrath of Almighty God on Babylon), and his arm (the Lord's or Yehweh's arm speaking of Jesus) shall be on the Chaldeans.

15. I, even I, have spoken; yea, I have called HIM: I have brought HIM, and he shall make his way prosperous.

16. Come you near unto me, hear you this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, has sent me.(or Yehweh the Almighty has sent me his Son Jesus WITH his SPIRIT)


Please see the study called “Does Isaiah 48:16 Teach Us that God is a TRINITY?” for all the scriptures and a deeper explanation of Jesus being sent WITH the SPIRIT of Almighty God at both his first and second comings. But for now let us finish taking a look at the verses that speak of the first and the last.

Here in Revelation 2:8 we again see these words being spoken by Jesus, the Son of MAN, who DIED for our sins and not for ours only but for the sins of the WHOLE world so that WHOSOVER BELIEVES on him will not perish but have eternal life in the world to come.


Revelation 2:8.


And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;”


Again Almighty God YHWH is NOT a MAN who is a MORTAL being subject to death. We also have to remember and keep in mind that Jesus came as a REPRESENTATIVE of his God and Father. Jesus came is the NAME of his Father. So like an ambassador Jesus was GIVEN all power to do what he was SENT to do. Jesus SPOKE what his God and Father told him to speak. In other words, when Jesus spoke the words, “I am the first and the last”he was speaking in BEHALF of his God and Father the Almighty. Please consider Revelation 22:6-17 where an angel of a messenger speaks FOR or in the BEHALF of Jesus and it SOUNDS or APPEAR as IF Jesus HIMSELF is doing the SPEAKING.


Revelation 22:6-17.


And he (the angel or messenger) said unto me (John), These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel (or his messenger) to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

7. Behold, I come quickly: (now this sounds or appears to be Jesus who is speaking and it may be, but it may very well be the angel or messenger who was SENT to show John and us the things that must shortly be done. Verse 8 tells us MORE.) blessed is he that keeps the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

8. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet OF the ANGEL which SHOWED me these things. (now it definitely appears to be an ANGEL or a messenger who spoke the words, “Behold, I come quickly”, which we know is referring the the second coming of Jesus. But wait there is MORE in verse 9, the next verse.)

9. Then said he (The ANGEL or messenger) unto me, See you do it not: for I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book (now to my knowledge the ANGELS are not our fellow BRETHREN the PROPHETS so this word that is translated and “ANGEL” would better be translated as MESSENGER, which can mean and angel or a HUMAN messenger. So now the question becomes is this HUMAN fellow brethren messenger Jesus speaking of himself saying, “Behold I come quickly” or it this another human messenger speaking in BEHALF of Jesus saying, “Behold I come quickly”? Now if we conclude that it is Jesus HIMSELF speaking, “Behold I come quickly”, then this same Jesus tell John NOT to worship him, but rather worship God, which teaches us again that Jesus is NOT the Lord God ALMIGHTY, because Jesus HIMSELF says): worship God.

10. And he (the ANGEL, the human messenger or Jesus himself) said unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (keep in mind that the SAME HE is still speaking and goes on to say,)

12. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14. Blessed are they that do HIS commandments (Speaking of the commandments of Almighty God the Father), that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whore mongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.

16. I Jesus have sent mine angel (now is this actually Jesus speaking saying that he sent his angel that spoke the things we just read? Or is this the angel speaking saying that Jesus has sent him to speak these things? Or is the messenger still speaking in BEHALF of Jesus saying that Jesus will bear WITNESS of the truth that he is the offspring of David the prophesied one to come by sending his messenger to testify of him in the churches.) to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”


No matter how one INTERPRETS this passage of scripture the end result is that Jesus is NOT THE ALMIGHTY God. For you see IF one INTERPRETS that this angel of messenger is actually Jesus, then Jesus HIMSELF say to John do NOT worship ME, but rather worship GOD for I am you fellow brethren the prophets. And IF one INTERPRETS the speaker to be ANOTHER messenger other than Jesus speaking is BEHALF of or FOR Jesus, then this set a precedent, so to speak, where Jesus would not be speaking the words”I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end the first and the last” as speaking OF HIMSELF, but rather speaking these word in BEHALF of his God and Father the ALMIGHTY.

Also we read Revelation 21:1-7 about Almighty God the Father HIMSELF being the ALPHA and OMEGA, the BEGINNING and the END.


And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God HIMSELF (Speaking of Almighty God HIMSELF who is the Father) shall be with them, and be their God.

4. And God (Almighty God the Father) shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away .

5. And HE that sat upon the throne (Almighty God the Father) said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

6. And he (Almighty God the Father) said unto me (John), It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

    1. He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”


Clearly the word of TRUTH speaking of TWO being in heaven so we know without a doubt that Jesus is NOT ONE and the SELF SAME BEING as Almighty God the Father who sit on the throne. So the obvious answer to the meaning of Jesus and the Father speaking the SAME words is that Jesus came in the Father's NAME. Please read Mark 11:7-11 where Jesus rides the colt and his followers say blessed is he who comes IN THE NAME of the Lord.


And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

8. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.

9. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that comes in the NAME of the Lord:

10. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that comes in the NAME of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”



Then we read in John 5:43 where Jesus himself says that he came in the NAME of his Father.


I am come in my Father's NAME, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive,”


Then we read in John 10:24,25 where Jesus says that the works which he did in his FATHER'S NAME bore witness that he was THE CHRIST the ANOINTED ONE of Almighty God the Father who was the PROPHESIED one which was to come to be the Messiah.


Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long do you make us to doubt? If you be THE CHRIST, tell us plainly.

25. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do IN my Father's NAME, they bear witness of me.”


The truth of the matter is that Almighty God chose to save mankind by the LAST Adam, who was Jesus the Son of MAN, because Adam was a MAN. John 5:27 teaches us that Almighty God the father GAVE ALL POWER TO his SON Jesus, BECAUSE Jesus was the Son OF MAN. Not because Jesus was the Son of God,and NOT because Jesus CAME OUT FROM Almighty God. But rather BECAUSE Jesus is the Son of MAN.


And has GIVEN him authority to execute judgment ALSO, BECAUSE he is the Son of MAN.”


Now you may think that I over emphasize the HUMAN Jesus, and that by doing so I am pulling Jesus DOWN to the level of MAN. But in truth I am just teaching you what the word of TRUTH is teaching us, which is that Almighty God chose that a MAN, a RIGHTEOUS MAN, and INNOCENT MAN who was slain without cause to be the WAY in which he himself redeemed mankind back to himself. Jesus did not come to do his OWN will, but rather conformed his OWN will to AGREE with his Father's WILL and this is WHY his God and Father HUGHLY EXALTED his Son Jesus to become a GOD to rule and reign at his right hand to settle ONCE and for ALL time that Almighty God did NOT create Lucifer to be and evil rebellious angel. Again please read the study “UNDERSTANING WHY?” for a deeper understanding of Jesus being the LAST, the END, the IT IS DONE of Almighty God the Father.

Thanks for reading. May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Below are some other verse used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity. There may be another verse that you can only see one way because you have been dogmatically TOLD what it means and that there is NO OTHER possible meaning. Every verse used to teach the doctrine of the trinity has another meaning that does NOT contradict any other part of God's word.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark.

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
AT
AmatterOfTruth.com


Verses used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity.

Genesis 1:26--- Let us make man in our image.

Genesis 19:24--- YHWH rained down fire... from YHWH.

Isaiah 6:3--- Holy, Holy, Holy.

Isaiah 7:14--- Call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us)

Isaiah 9:6--- Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

Isaiah 48:16--- The Lord and his Spirit has sent me (trinity)

Micah 5:2--- From everlasting.

Zechariah 12:10--- Look upon me whom they have pierced.

Matthew 1:23--- Emmanuel, being interpreted God with us.

Matthew 28:19---In the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

John 1:1--- And the Word was God.

John 2:19-22--- Jesus raised himself from the dead.

John 5:18--- Making himself equal with God.

John 8:24--- If you do not believe I am [he], you shall die...

John 8:58--- Before Abraham was, I am.

John 10:30--- I and my Father are one.

John 14:19--- He who has seen me has seen the Father.

John 20:28--- My Lord and my God.

Acts 20:28--- He has purchased with his own blood.

Romans 9:5--- Christ came...God blessed forever.

2 Corinthians 13:14---Trinity

Ephesians 3:9-11---DID JESUS CREATE ALL THINGS?

Colossians 2:9--- Godhead.

Philippians 2:6---Thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

1 Timothy 3:16--- God was manifest in the flesh.

Titus 2:13--- Looking for... our great God and Savior Jesus...

Hebrews 1:8--- Your throne O' God.

1 John 5:7--- And these three are one.

1 John 5:20--- Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God...

2 Peter 2:1--- God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18--- Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Isaiah 43:11)

Revelation 1:8--- I am Alpha and Omega...the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17--- First and the Last (Isaiah 44:6)

Revelation 17:14--- WHO IS THE KING OF KINGS


http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2009/10/isa-4816.html


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1461121/posts


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MICAH 5:2

FROM EVERLASTING


Does Micah 5:2 where the goings forth of Jesus have been form old from everlasting mean that Jesus did NOT have a BEGINNING? Does Micah 5:2 prove without a doubt that Jesus has always existed with Almighty God the Father? Does Micah 5:2 prove beyond any shadow of a doubt the Jesus IS THE ALMIGHTY God who has always possessed IMMORTALITY? In other words, does Micah 5:2 prove the doctrine of the trinity and the doctrine of the deity of Jesus?

Here is Micah 5:2.


But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you SHALL he COME FORTH unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose GOINGS FORTH (or whose ORIGIN) have been from of old, from everlasting.”



This verse is a PROPHECY or the COMING Messiah who will be BORN or COME FORTH as a MAN and this PROPHECY or more precisely this PLAN of Almighty God had its GOINGS FORTH or ORIGIN from of OLD from AGES ago before the foundation of the world.

Let us read this same verse from a few other translations.

Here is Micah 5:2 from the Bible in Basic English.


And you, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, the least among the families of Judah, out of you one WILL COME to me who is to be ruler in Israel; whose going out has been PURPOSED from time past, from the eternal days.”


In other words, this PLAN of Almighty God has bee PURPOSED from the very beginning before God ever created mankind.


Here is Micah 5:2 from the Common English Bible.


As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least significant of Judah's forces, one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you. His ORIGIN is from remote times, from ancient days.”


Here is Micah 5:2 from the God's Word Translation


You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah's cities. Yet, from you Israel's future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago.”


Here is Micah 5:2 from the Good New Translation.


The Lord says, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.”


The prophet Micah was a later prophet long after Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which is the FAMILY line of Jesus from which he came forth and was born of the Virgin Mary.


Here is Micah 5:2 from the New International Reader's Version.


The LORD says, "Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. His family line goes back to the early years of your nation. It goes all the way back to days of long ago." Bethlehem was also called Ephrathah.”



None of these translations even hint of Jesus preexisting for all eternity. In fact just the OPPOSITE is clearly taught to us, because to have an ORIGIN, then one cannot be ETERNAL. Some of these translations speak of his goings forth as his ancestry or his family line going back long ago. Other translations speaking of his ORIGIN being from ancient times. And one translation says the PURPOSE of his ORIGIN has always been from all eternity. But they all speaking of his GOINGS FORTH as being a ORIGIN or a BEGINNING.

Please read the study “DID JESUS HAVE A BEGINNING?” for a deeper understanding that the HUMAN Jesus did indeed have a beginning. Also please read the study “UNDERSTANDING WHY?” for a deeper understanding that even the Word that was WITH God in a beginning had to be BROUGHT FORTH at some point in time even though in may have been so long ago one might as well say from eternity past.


Thanks for reading. May God bless you richly as you continue to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Below are some other verses that are used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity and the deity of Jesus. There may be other verses which you may be having trouble seeing any other way that what you were dogmatically taught, but I assure you that each and every verse used by those who teach the doctrine of the trinity does indeed have a different meaning that does NOT CONTRADICT any other part of God's word.

Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Mark.

RETURN TO HOMEPAGE
AT
AmatterOfTruth.com


Verses used to try and support the doctrine of the trinity.

Genesis 1:26--- Let us make man in our image.

Genesis 19:24--- YHWH rained down fire... from YHWH.

Isaiah 6:3--- Holy, Holy, Holy.

Isaiah 7:14--- Call his name Immanuel (meaning God with us)

Isaiah 9:6--- Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

Isaiah 48:16--- The Lord and his Spirit has sent me (trinity)

Micah 5:2--- From everlasting.

Zechariah 12:10--- Look upon me whom they have pierced.

Matthew 1:23--- Emmanuel, being interpreted God with us.

Matthew 28:19---In the name of the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.

John 1:1--- And the Word was God.

John 2:19-22--- Jesus raised himself from the dead.

John 5:18--- Making himself equal with God.

John 8:24--- If you do not believe I am [he], you shall die...

John 8:58--- Before Abraham was, I am.

John 10:30--- I and my Father are one.

John 14:19--- He who has seen me has seen the Father.

John 20:28--- My Lord and my God.

Acts 20:28--- He has purchased with his own blood.

Romans 9:5--- Christ came...God blessed forever.

2 Corinthians 13:14---Trinity

Ephesians 3:9-11---DID JESUS CREATE ALL THINGS?

Colossians 2:9--- Godhead.

Philippians 2:6---Thought it not robbery to be equal with God.

1 Timothy 3:16--- God was manifest in the flesh.

Titus 2:13--- Looking for... our great God and Savior Jesus...

TITUS 3:2 God our Savior toward man APPEARED

Hebrews 1:8--- Your throne O' God.

1 John 5:7--- And these three are one.

1 John 5:20--- Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God...

2 Peter 2:1--- God and our Savior Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 3:18--- Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Isaiah 43:11)

Revelation 1:8--- I am Alpha and Omega...the Almighty.

Revelation 1:17--- First and the Last (Isaiah 44:6)

Revelation 17:14--- WHO IS THE KING OF KINGS


http://examiningthetrinity.blogspot.com/2009/10/isa-4816.html


http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1461121/posts


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IS JESUS

THE ANGEL of the LORD


in the OLD TESTAMENT?


The purpose of this study is to closely examine ALL the verses that contain the phrases “THE ANGEL OF THE LORD” “AN ANGEL OF THE LORD” and “THE ANGEL OF GOD” to see is these verses are truly saying that the angel OF the Lord IS Jesus PREEXISTING AS God the SON, the second person of the trinity.

Now there are some Christians, who even though they do NOT believe in the doctrine of the trinity, they still believe that these Old Testament verses are speaking of Jesus preexisting as the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament before the Word was made flesh and dwelt among men as recorded in John chapter one. And still other Christians like the Jehovah's Witnesses use some of these same verses to try and prove that Jesus preexisted AS a LITERAL created ANGELIC being before Jesus became the Son of MAN at his birth recorded in the gospels of the New Testament. But other Christians say NO, and proclaim that Jesus never preexisted AS a LITERAL ANGEL, but rather preexisted AS the SON of God before all time.

Now I am not going to go into great detail here in this particular study as to whether or not Jesus PREEXISTED and HOW or in what manner or state of being that Jesus preexisted, but rather the main focus of this study is to closely examine all the verses that speak of the Angel of the Lord to determine what they are truly saying in the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God.

With that being said I let us begin this study in God's word by reading these passages of scripture that speak of the Angel of the Lord in the order that they appear in the Bible. The first time we see the phrase the angel of the Lord is in the book of Genesis chapter 16 and verse 7 where


Here is Genesis 16:1-16.


Now Sarai Abram's wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

2. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD has restrained me from bearing: I pray you, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

3. And Sarai Abram's wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife.

4. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.

5. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon you: I have given my maid into your bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and you.

6. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, your maid is in your hand; do to her as it pleases you. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.

7. And the angel OF the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.

8. And he said (or the angel of the Lord spoke forth the WORDS OF Almighty God IN BEHALF OF Almighty God saying), Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence came you? And whither will you go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.

9. And the angel OF the LORD said unto her, Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hands.

10. And the angel OF the LORD said unto her, I will multiply your seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.

    1. And the angel OF the LORD said unto her, Behold, you are with child, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael; because the LORD has heard your affliction.(speaking of Almighty God HIMSELF has heard the affliction of Hagar)

12. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. (Many Bible scholars all agree that the seed of Ishmael is the Arab nations who hold to the faith of Islam. This prophecy does indeed seem to be coming o pass through radical Muslims whose hand is against any and all who do not follow the teaching of Muhammad.)

13. And she called the name of the LORD that spoke unto her, You God see me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that sees me? (Now some Christians INTERPRET this verse to mean without fail that the ANGEL OF the Lord IS ALMIGHTY God himself, simply because the previous verses specifically say that the ANGEL of the Lord spoke to Hagar. But is this a SOUND BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION of these verses? Please consider closely that when a PROPHET speaks the WORDS OF Almighty God in BEHALF OF or FOR Almighty God in his STEAD then people say that the LORD SPOKE to them when in REALITY it was a PROPHET OF God simply speaking the WORDS OF God in the BEHALF OF Almighty God, who was speaking to them. No one would ever try and make that PROPHET to actually BE Almighty God HIMSELF, so why do some Christians dogmatically demand that this ANGEL OF the Lord IS the LORD GOD the Almighty HIMSELF? Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that this angel OF the Lord was simply speaking forth the WORDS OF Almighty God is the BEHALF OF Almighty God much in the same way that a PROPHET speaks forth the WORDS OF Almighty God to whom so ever the prophet OF God is sent to speak the WORDS OF God.)

14. Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.

15. And Hagar bare Abram a son: and Abram called his son's name, which Hagar bare, Ishmael.

16. And Abram was fourscore and six years old, when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram.”


So then, we can clearly see that the angel HIMSELF does NOT specifically and clearly state that he HIMSELF IS the LORD God the Almighty. But rather the clear plain and simple word of God says that Hagar says that the LORD SPOKE to her. And again when a PROPHET speaks the WORDS OF the Lord to the people, then the people often say that the have HEARD the LORD speak to them. You see just because Hagar said that the LORD spoke to her does NOT dogmatically demand that she actually heard the DIRECT VOICE of Almighty God HIMSELF speaking to he DIRECTLY as some have falsely INTERPRETED these verses to mean and therefore they have also falsely concluded that the ANGEL OF the Lord IS the Lord God the Almighty HIMSELF or that the ANGEL OF the Lord is JESUS preexisting AS the SON of Almighty God.

As always I am here to give you all the evidence from both sides of the controversy and it is up to YOU to decide for YOURSELF as how you wish to believe. All that I ask is that you consider the WHOLE matter before your draw any final conclusions. As I said at the beginning of this study I am not going to go into any great detail on HOW Jesus preexisted. I already have many other studies dealing with that subject. I will post a list of all the related studies that I have writing on this subject of Jesus preexisting, which deal with all the highly controversial verse that are used to try and prove that Jesus preexisted AS the SON of Almighty God for all eternity past WITHOUT ever having a BEGINNING. But for now let us continue with this study at hand closely examining all the verses that speak of the Angel OF the Lord.

The next time that we see this phrase “the Angel of the Lord is in Genesis chapter 22 where Almighty God tries Abraham’s love for God by asking him to offer up his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON as a burnt offering to God.


Here is Genesis 22:1-19.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: (Now here in this verse we see that Almighty God is speaking to Abraham. We ASSUME that every time that Abraham is hearing this voice out of heaven that Abraham is hearing the very voice of Almighty God HIMSELF, but it may be that this voice out of heaven is the voice of an angel OF Almighty God speaking in BEHALF OF Almighty God who said unto him, Abraham:) and he said (or Abraham answered this voice out of heaven saying), Behold, here I am.

2. And he (Almighty God) said (Whether this voice out of heaven be the direct voice of Almighty God HIMSELF, or whether this voice out of heaven be the voice of an angel OF the Lord God Almighty speaking in BEHALF OF Almighty God in God's stead saying), Take now your son, your ONLY SON Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell you of. (To me, I see this verse as teaching us that BEFORE God could legally offer up his ONLY BEGOTTEN SON as a sacrifice to redeem mankind, it was needful for one of mankind to freely offer up his ONLY son to God. Please read the study called ÜNDERSTANDING WHY” for a deeper understanding of the bigger picture of the plan of salvation and WHY it needed to be KEPT a SECRET. Again no matter WHO the this actual VOICE belongs it it for SURE that the WORDS spoken are the very WORDS OF Almighty God HIMSELF.)

3. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

4. Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

5. And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide you here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6. And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

7. And Isaac spoke unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8. And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

9. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12. And he said (or and the angel OF the Lord said in BEHALF OF Almighty God), Lay not your hand upon the lad, neither do you any thing unto him: for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son from ME. (these personal pronouns are NOT referring to the ANGEL OF the Lord, but rather they are referring to Almighty God himself where the angel OF the Lord is speaking these personal pronouns because he is speaking these words OF Almighty God in BEHALF OF or FOR Almighty God in God's stead.)

13. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

14. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.

15 And the angel OF the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,(so this is the SAME angel of the Lord speaking again a SECOND time.)

16. And said, By MYSELF have I sworn, says the LORD, for BECAUSE you have done this thing, and have not withheld you son, your ONLY son: (Here in this verse we see that the angel OF the Lord called out to Abraham out of heaven speaking the words OF Almighty God in BEHALF OF Almighty God. Now some may INTERPRET this verse to mean that the angel OF the Lord IS the LORD God, the Almighty, HIMSELF, but in doing so these Christians, who dogmatically demand that these verses mean without fail that the Angel OF the Lord IS Jesus without a doubt, must ALSO INTERPRET every other verse of scripture where the PROPHETS OF God speak forth the words OF Almighty God in BEHALF OF or FOR Almighty God saying, “Thus says the Lord.” You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, just because an angel or a man speaks forth the WORDS OF Almighty God in BEHALF OF or FOR Almighty God that they have been sent to SPEAK forth does NOT make that angel or that man and prophet of God to actually BE Almighty God himself. Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that this angel OF the Lord was simply speaking forth the WORDS OF Almighty God when the angel OF the Lord said, “By MYSELF have I sworn SAYS the LORD”? How is this any different from a PROPHET of God speaking forth the WORDS OF Almighty God saying, “Thus says the LORD”? I do not believe that any Christian would try and say that these PROPHETS OF Almighty God PREEXISTED as Jesus, the Son of God before all time and appeared to man as a thyophany of the preincarnated Jesus, so why then do some Christians dogmatically demand that an ANGEL OF the Lord is a thyophany of the preexisting Jesus before the incarnation of the Word of God recorded in John chapter one? The angel OF the Lord is NOT speaking these words OF the Lord as being his OWN words speaking of HIMSELF, but rather the angel OF the Lord is speaking these WORD OF Almighty God FOR or in BEHALF OF Almighty God, saying,)

17. That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

18. And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; BECAUSE you have OBEYED my voice. (Now again the words MY voice may be referring to the literal ACTUAL voice of Almighty God himself, or the words MY voice may be referring to the voice OF the Angel OF the Lord, who was speaking in BEHALF of or FOR Almighty God. But either way these WORDS came FROM Almighty God himself whether it be that Almighty God spoke to Abraham directly or Almighty God SENT HIS angel to speak these WORDS in his STEAD or in BEHALF of himself. Also I want you to notice that the REASON WHY the seed of Abraham is blessed is BECAUSE Abraham OBEYED the VOICE of Almighty God to freely OFFER is ONLY son Isaac to God, which allow God to then offer his ONLY begotten Son as an atonement for the sins of all of mankind.)

19. So Abraham returned unto his young men, and they rose up and went together to Beersheba; and Abraham dwelt at Beersheba.”


Again I myself conclude that this passage of scripture ALSO is the angel OF the Lord speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God IN BEHALF OF Almighty God, rather than the angel OF the Lord actually BEING Almighty God HIMSELF as some have falsely concluded. So then, let us move on o the next verse where we see the phrase, “the angel OF the Lord”, which is found in Exodus 3:2.

Here is Exodus 3:1-22 where again we see that the angel OF the Lord is speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God, who ALONE is the SELF EXISTING one that has always been without beginning nor end and who alone is the SOURCE of all of creation.


Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2. And the angel OF the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he (Moses) looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

3. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

4. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. (Now here once again we see that the ANGEL or MESSENGER OF the Lord is speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God IN BEHALF OF Almighty God to Moses out of the bush that appears to be burning with flaming fire. Or it may actually be the VOICE of Almighty God doing the speaking and the angel making the appearance of the bush being burnt with fire. Please keep n mind that if one INTERPRETS this verse to dogmatically mean without fail that this ANGEL OF the Lord is Almighty God HIMSELF or that this ANGEL of the Lord is the preexisting Jesus, the Son of Almighty God, then they MUST be CONSISTENT with their INTERPRETATION throughout this entire passage of scripture AND their INTERPRETATION must AGREE with the rest of God's word.)

5. And he said (where the he here is referring to either the angel speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God in behalf OF Almighty God, or it is the VOICE of Almighty God along with the presence of the angel OF the Lord manifesting as a flaming fire. Either the message being spoken is FROM Almighty God directly or indirectly by God sending one of his angels to speak in his behalf saying to Moses), Draw not nigh hither: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place whereon you stand is holy ground.

6. Moreover he said (the same explanation as above in verse 5 remains true for the he here in this verse as well. Again please keep in mind that IF SO BE that one INTERPRETS this angel OF the Lord to BE the preexisting Jesus, the Son of Almighty God, then they are actually saying that Jesus IS THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God HIMSELF. In other words, they are in fact saying that Jesus IS the FATHER, as in, that Jesus is ONE and the SELF SAME BEING, because the rest of this verse goes on to clearly identify the speaker as Almighty God who says,), I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.(This last phrase where it says that Moses was afraid to LOOK upon GOD can be compared to other places in the Bible where others have said that they have SEEN God and LIVED, but in the same passage of scripture the word of truth also clearly states that they had seen an ANGEL. In other words, some Old Testament saints liken seeing an ANGEL to seeing Almighty God himself. But Jesus clearly teaches us that NO MAN have EVER SEEN Almighty God the FATHER at any time. Now some Christians understand the clear plain and simple teachings of Jesus and realize fully that absolutely NO ANGEL or MESSENGER OF Almighty God could ever possibly BE Almighty God HIMSELF, but still dogmatically insist that this angel OF the Lord BE without fail the preexistence of Jesus preexisting AS the SON OF Almighty God before all time. But again if so be one INTERPRETS this verse to mean that the angel OF the Lord IS the preexistence of Jesus AS the SON OF Almighty God, then they must be CONSISTENT in their interpretation to keep this verse in CONTEXT, which clearly and plainly teaches us that the WORDS OF the one speaking are FROM the ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God the FATHER and therefore consequently makes Jesus to BE the FATHER, thus disproving their own doctrine of he trinity that plainly states that Jesus is NOT the FATHER. Please keep reading and all this will become quite clear to those of you, who are truly seeking the truth of the whole word of God.)

7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

9. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto ME: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.

10. Come now therefore, and I will send you unto Pharaoh, that you may bring forth MY people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

11. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

12. And he said (Again the he here is simply referring to either the angel speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God in behalf OF Almighty God, or it is the VOICE of Almighty God along with the presence of the angel OF the Lord manifesting as a flaming fire. Either the message being spoken is FROM Almighty God directly or indirectly by God sending one of his angels to speak in his behalf saying to Moses), Certainly I (Almighty God your God and Father) will be with you; and this shall be a token unto you, that I (the ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God) have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain.

13. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers has sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is HIS name? what shall I say unto them?

14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he (Almighty God whose name ALONE is the SELF EXISTING ONE who will become who or what he is becoming, the SOURCE of all things) said, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, I AM (or the self existing being and source of all things) has sent me unto you.

15. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shall you say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me unto you: this is MY name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

16. Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:

17. And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.

18. And they shall hearken to your voice: and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and you shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us: and now let us go, we beseech you, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.

19. And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.

20. And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all MY wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.

21. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when you go, you shall not go empty:

22. But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourns in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and you shall spoil the Egyptians.


Again, all the personal pronouns that I have emphasized are referring to the ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God, who ALONE is the SELF EXISTING ONE and the SOURCE of ALL creating including his SON Jesus who clearly teaches us that he CAME OUT FROM the FATHER.

Now just because the angel OF the Lord is speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God, the I AM THAT I AM, does NOT mean that the ANGEL OF the Lord IS the LORD HIMSELF.

Some Christians clearly understand that the angel OF the Lord could not possibly BE the Lord God the ALMIGHTY HIMSELF simply because of the clear, PLAIN, and SIMPLE words, “the angel OF the Lord”, which clearly teaches us that the angel BELONGS TO the Lord and is NOT the Lord God the Almighty HIMSELF, but rather the angel OF the Lord is simply speaking forth the OWRDS OF the one true and only Almighty God, who ALONE is the FATHER. But yet other Christians dogmatically demand that the angel OF the Lord is Jesus preexisting AS the SON OF Almighty God before all time and is therefore NOT Almighty God, the Father, but rather the angel OF the Lord IS God the SON.

Now if so be that you are TRULY UNDERSTANDING WHO these WORDS belong to no matter who is ACTUALLY speaking these words, then you can clearly see that these WORDS being spoken to Moses are the very WORDS OF the great I AM THAT I AM or the SELF EXISTING ONE who is becoming who or what he is becoming. So then if one concludes that the angel OF the Lord IS Jesus preexisting AS the SON OF Almighty God simply because the angel OF the Lords says, I AM THAT I AM, then they are in fact saying that Jesus HIMSELF IS the great I AM THAT I AM and therefore they are saying that Jesus the SON OF Almighty God IS THE ONE TRUE and ONLY ALMIGHTY God who ALONE IS the FATHER. And thereby they disprove their own doctrine of the trinity by making Jesus to be ONE and the SLEF SAME BEING as Almighty God the I AM THAT I AM.

In other words, ALL the verses that speak of the angel OF the Lord, or an angel OF the Lord, or an angel OF God where the angel OF the Lord is speaking is the FIRST PERSON does NOT mean that the angel OF the Lord IS the Lord HIMSELF, but rather simply means that the angel OF the Lord is speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God the father IN BEHALF OF Almighty God the I AM THAT I AM, the self existing one and the source of ALL that is or shall be including his SON Jesus.

To me this should be more than enough sound Biblical evidence to prove without fail that Jesus is NOT the angel OF the Lord, but let us continue this study in God's word to closer look at ALL the verses referring to the angel OF the Lord. The next place we see the phrase, “the angel OF the Lord is in Numbers chapter 22.


Numbers 22:22-35

22. And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

    1. And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

24. But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

25. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

26. And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

27. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

28. And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto you, that you have smitten me these three times?

29. And Balaam said unto the ass, Because you have mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill you.

30. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I your ass, upon which you have ridden ever since I was yours unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto you? And he said, Nay.

31. Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he (Balaam) bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

32. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore have you smitten your ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse before me:

33. And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain you, and saved her alive.

34. And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that you stood in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease you, I will get me back again.

    1. And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto you, that you shall speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.”


Now in his passage of scripture to me there does not seem to ba any wording that would suggest that the angel OF the Lord is anything more than just an ANGEL, a MESSENGER OF Almighty God being SENT BY Almighty God.

Some may try and say that Balaam fell down on his face before the angel and worshiped the angel and that the angel did NOT refuse the worship being given unto him, therefore this proves that the angel OF the Lord is without fail Jesus preexisting AS the SON OF Almighty God, because the angel OF the Lord did NOT rebuke Balaam for worshiping him.

However in TRUTH dear child of God the word of God does NOT clearly and plainly tell us that Balaam WORSHIPED the angel of the Lord. The word of truth simply says that Balaam bowed down his head and fell flat on his face. But even if one were to INTERPET these words to mean that Balaam worshiped the angel OF the Lord this still does not prove beyond any shadow of a doubt the the angel OF the Lord is Jesus, because people in the Old Testament MISTOOK the appearances of angels as being and appearance of Almighty God himself. But rather these appearances of angels were just that, the appearances of ANGELIC BEINGS who were SENT BY Almighty God to speak forth the WORDS OF Almighty God in his BEHALF.

The next occurrence of the phrase. “the angel OF the Lord is found in Judges chapter two.


Judges 2:1-4

And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I swore unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break MY covenant with you.

2. And you shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; you shall throw down their altars: but you have not obeyed MY voice: why have you done this?

3. Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

    1. And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spoke THESE WORDS words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.”


Here again we see that the people REACTED to HEARING the WORDS OF Almighty God being spoken to them by the angel OF the Lord as IF the ANGEL OF the Lord WAS the LORD HIMSELF.

To ME, it is very obvious that the WORDS being SPOKEN BY the angel OF the Lord in ALL of these passages of scripture are the very WORDS OF Almighty God simply being spoken forth by one of his ANGELIC BEINGS that he himself SENT to speak forth his WORD in his BEHALF. And ANY manifestation of an ANGEL or a VOICE out of heaven was seen to be FROM Almighty God, so the people naturally fell down n fear and reverence to these ANGELIC visitation SENT FROM Almighty God.

Let us continue this study in God's word by taking a closer look at Judges 6:7-40 where Gideon puts out a fleece to see if God will deliver Israel by his hand. I have skipped over Judges 5:23, simply because I saw nothing in that passage of scripture that could be interpreted that the angel of the Lord was Jesus.


Here is Judges 6:7-40.


And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,

8. That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; (Here is an example where a PROPHET of Almighty God is sent BY Almighty God the speak the WORDS OF Almighty Godd in the FIRST PERSON using the first personal pronoun “I”, but not one Christian would ever try and make this PROPHET OF God to actually BE Almighty God HIMSELF, nor would any Christian try and make this prophet to be the preexisting Jesus as the Son of Almighty God either. So why then do some Christians dogmatically demand that an angel OF the Lord IS Almighty God himself or demand that an angel OF Almighty God, who is merely speaking the WORDS OF Almighty God to BE the preexisting Jesus as the Son of Almighty God?)

9. And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all that oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land;

10. And I said unto you, I am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but you have not obeyed MY voice.

11. And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the wine press, to hide it from the Midianites.

12. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor.

13. And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, (here the word that is translated as Lord is not speaking of Almighty God, but rather to the ANGEL as being a lord or one greater than or mightier than Gideon. So Gideon is speaking to the ANGEL as his lord saying,) if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? (in other words, Gideon is asking the ANGEL, IF the Lord God the Almighty is with us, then WHY is all this befallen us?) And where be all HIS miracles (now IF SO BE that Gideon was speaking to the ANGEL as actually BEING the one true and only Almighty God HIMSELF, then the writer would have said, And where is all of YOUR miracles as opposed to where are all of HIS miracles,) which our fathers told us of, saying , Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

14. And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this your might, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent you?

15. And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.

16. And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as one man.

17. And he said unto him, If now I have found grace in your sight, then show me a sign that you talk with me.

18. Depart not hence, I pray you, until I come unto you, and bring forth my present, and set it before you. And he said, I will tarry until you come again.

19. And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the oak, and presented it.

20. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.

21. Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight.

22. And when Gideon perceived that he was AN ANGEL OF the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! For BECAUSE I have seen AN ANGEL OF the LORD face to face. (In other words, even though Gideon perceived that this was AN ANGEL OF the Lord, he still yet feared dying, BECAUSE to Gideon, seeing an ANGEL OF the Lord was just like seeing Almighty God HIMSELF. But the angel of the Lord explains to Gideon that he has no reason to fear that he should DIE simply because he saw AN ANGEL OF the Lord.)

23 And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: you shall not die. (The people of the Old Testament had this great FEAR that if ANY man ever SAW Almighty God face o face, then that man would DIE. But here in this verse the ANGEL OF the Lord assures Gideon that he has NOT SEEN Almighty God HIMSELF, but rather that Gideon has merely seen an ANGEL OF Almighty God.)

24. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, (Please notice that Gideon builds and altar unto the LORD and NOT unto the ANGEL OF the Lord.) and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25. And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take your father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the grove that is by it:

26. And build an altar unto the LORD your God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.

27. Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.

28. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.

29. And they said one to another, Who has done this thing? And when they inquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.

30. Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he has cast down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the grove that was by it.

31. And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will you plead for Baal? Will you save him? He that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one has cast down his altar. (in other words, if so be that Baal is truly a god as you CLAIM then let Baal fight his OWN battles to prove that he is a god.)

32. Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he has thrown down his altar.

33. Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east were gathered together, and went over , and pitched in the valley of Jezreel.

34. But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.

35. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; who also was gathered after him: and he sent messengers unto Asher, and unto Zebulun, and unto Naphtali; and they came up to meet them.

36. And Gideon said unto God, If you wilt save Israel by mine hand, as you have said,

37. Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that you wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said .

38. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together , and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water.

39. And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray you, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew.

40. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.”

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HOW DID THE CHURCH DIVIDE?


WHAT CAUSED THE REFORMATION

OF THE CHURCH?


WHY ARE THERE SO MANY DIFFERENT DENOMINATIONS

IN THE CHURCH?



Was there always division in the church from the very beginning? In other words were there MORE than just ONE group of believers in Jesus Christ than just the Catholic church from the very beginning of the church? Or was there ONLY the Catholic church in the beginning and ALL the other churches today split OFF from the Catholic church? Does the Roman Catholic church really go all the way back to the apostle Peter being the first pope? Was the church always Roman Catholic or did the Roman Catholic church just ADOPT the name Catholic to make it APPEARED that she cane trace her roots all the way back to Peter? And is the Roman Catholic church the ONLY ONE TRUE church ALONE apart from which there can be NO salvation? And IF this were true, then WHAT caused the great Protestant reformation of Catholics WITHIN the Roman Catholic church, who were just PROTESTING and crying our for the Catholic church to REFORM some of her teachings and practices? And IF the Roman Catholic church was the ONLY church in the beginning and ALL other church SPLIT from her, then HOW was it possible from those who left the Catholic church to JOIN with other groups of Christians, who were ALREADY in existence BEFORE the reformation if so be there was only ONE church?


These questions and many more will be addressed in this study to give the reader HOPE that UNITY has always been God's plan for his church. But where do we even begin with such a complex subject? All I can say upfront is that UNITY of the body of Jesus Christ has always been on my heart from the very first day I truly came to know the Lord Jesus as my savior. It has always been the cry of my heart to see all the fighting stop between Christians who are supposed to be walking in love one toward another. God's word teaches us that we all should be speaking the SAME thing!

So why then are there so many different denominations in the church today? Why is the church so divided in what each different denomination teaches? And what exactly caused the reformation of the church right after the middle ages or the dark ages? What caused this SPLIT in the Catholic church, which used in it's PROPER setting simple means the “UNIVERSAL” church where it seemed at least that every believer was indeed speaking the SAME things under the leadership of the clergy or the elders and the bishops of the Catholic church? Yes there were divisions withing the “UNIVERSAL” Christian church from the very beginning, but all these smaller individual body of believers did at least call each other brothers and sisters in the Lord. There was UNITY in that they ALL believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that he died from their sins and was raised from the dead. So what happened to cause these divisions to grow to the point that today many of these different denominations do NOT consider any other Christians to be saved UNLESS they belong to that particular denomination?


Let us begin this study in God's word by first taking a look at what caused the REFORMING of what the church SHOULD be teaching as opposed to what the universal or the Catholic church was actually teaching at that particular time in history.

But before we get deep into this study of the history one true church AND how the great well known split from the Roman Catholic church came to be. it is vitally important for my readers and seekers of the truth to know that as one searches the history of the church that they will find that there has ALWAYS been divisions in the body of Jesus Christ from the very beginning and they did NOT start at the great Protestant Reformation as many Christians mistakenly believe.

You see even though there were always divisions in the church since it's beginning these DIVISIONS or these different groups of BELIEVERS in the one true UNIVERSAL church were indeed built on the solid foundation of Jesus being the CHRIST, the SON of the one true and only Almighty and living God. This TRUTH is made clear to us even in the New Testament of the Bible without even searching the historical record of the church.

Please read 1 Corinthians 1:11-14, which teaches us that even the early church was divided and disagreed on certain teachings.


For it has been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are CONTENSIONS among you. (or there is DEBATE, variance and even rivalry among you causing strife.)

12. Now this I say , that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.

13. Is Christ DIVIDED? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

14. I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

    1. Lest (or for fear that) any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.”


Then Paul continues to write to the church, speaking to ALL of us, just as Paul was speaking to ALL these different groups of believers in the New testament, who were DIVIDED and followed DIFFERENT MEN, Paul writes in chapter 3 and tells us that because of all this division between the brethren we are yet carnal Christians. In other words, Paul still yet referred to them ALL as being CHRISTIANS, but he identified those who had different teachings that did not agree with the teachings of Jesus as being CARNAL Christians.

But Paul did this not so much that there were disagreements among true born again believers, but rather because of the pride of placing names upon themselves as we ourselves do today and having the attitude that ONLY they themselves had the truth, which is equivalent one saying today that THEIR particular church or denomination ALONE has the truth and UNLESS you follow THEIR leader, then you are NOT saved nor can you be saved.

Please read 1 Corinthians 3:1-15 where we learn that all these leaders of all these different denominations are nothing more than ministers by which we learned of Jesus Christ to be our savior.


And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto you were not able to bear it, neither yet now are you able.

3. For you are yet carnal: for (or you are yet carnal because) whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are you not carnal, and walk as men?

4. For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal?

5. WHO then is Paul, and WHO is Apollos, but ministers BY whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?

6. I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7. So then NEITHER is he that plants any thing, NEITEHR he that waters (ANYTHING either); but God that gives the increase. (in other words, we are NOT to glorify and exalt preachers of the word of God and place them on some kind of pedestal that they ALONE teach the TRUTH of Gods, word, but rather we are to thank, praise, and glorify Almighty God for hi ministers that preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ.)

8. Now he that plants and he that waters are ONE: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. (God will be the judge and will reward our his OWN ministers by their OWN works whether they be true or whether they be false. We are only to preach that which is the truth of the whole word of God, and those who believe are to search the word of God for themselves to see if they are being taught the true. This check and balance system is designed so the false teach can be REFORMED, but as you will in this study that PRIDE often prevents those in ERROR to REFORM their teachings. The ONLY guide that we have is the word of God and the Holy Spirit who leads and guides us into all truth helping us to RIGHTLY divide the word of TRUTH.)

9. For we are laborers together with God: you are God's husbandry, you are God's building.

10. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a WISE master builder, I have laid the FOUNDATION (which is the true gospel of Jesus Christ), and another builds thereon. But let every man TAKE HEED HOW he builds thereupon. (in other words, we are being warned to take heed what we teach, because what we teach may cause our work and labor of the gospel to NOT ENDURE unto the end and be saved, and therefore we shall lose whatever reward we would have received if the ones we preached the gospel to would have endured unto the end to be saved. But more importantly because some have not taken heed of what they are teaching the ones who fall way because of their false teaching shall lose their reward of eternal life in the world to come. And for me, I do NOT what to be even remotely part of causing anyone to not receive the end of their salvation, which is eternal life in the world to come.)

11. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (there is only ONE core central belief of the one true church of Jesus Christ, which is the FOUNDATION of all other church doctrines that must AGREE and never CONTRADICT this HEART of true Christianity. For if it does, then those who believe these FALSE teachers may be in danger of NOT persevering unto the end to receive the END of their salvation of ETERNAL LIFE in the world to come.)

12. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones (representing SOUND Biblical teaching that produces Christian who will endure unto the end and be saved), wood, hay, stubble (representing false doctrine that may cause some Christians to fall away if they do not get some good sound Biblical teaching from some other Christians);

13. Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (again our work is those we MINISTER TO who believe the gospel. This is what the CONTEXT is teaching us)

14. If any man's work abide (or REMAIN) which he has BUILT thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (WHAT are we BUILDING? The kingdom of God by MINISTERING the gospel to the world. And IF our work of the gospel abides or REMAINS faithful unto the end, then HE shall receive a reward. Now you can INTERPRET the HE here to mean the MINISTER of the gospel, or the ONE who ABIDE, or perhaps BOTH are being referred to as receiving a reward.)

15. If any man's work shall be burned, HE shall suffer loss (again the HE shall shall suffer loss can INTERPRETED that the HE here mean EITHER the MINISTER of the gospel, OR the ONE who does NOT ABIDE, OR perhaps even means BOTH are being referred to as suffering loss): but he himself shall be saved (The he here is definitely speaking of the MINISTER of the gospel IF SO BE he or she that ministers does indeed endure unto the end of all the fiery trials in life to receive the END of their salvation, which is eternal life in the world to come); yet so as by fire. (meaning that we ALL have to go through tough trials in life that test our faith. So think it not strange the fiery trial that is to try you, which also may be speaking of a future trial at the time of the second coming of Jesus where there will be a LITERAL fire that will perhaps cause many to loose their faith. Jesus said shall I find faith on the earth when I come?)


The main point that I want you to see for now is that from the very beginning the ONE TRUE UNIVERSAL church, which was obviously the ONLY church, had divisions and contentions in the teachings WITHIN the church. So then, there has always been PROTESTERS, or PROTESTANTS, who protested to the ways in which certain scriptures have been INTERPRETED by others, which then caused DIFFERENT teachings to arise in the ONE TRUE and ONLY UNIVERSAL church. In other words, they were ALL still CHRISTIANS even though they did NOT AGREE upon certain points of doctrine.

However, today these protesters are called PROTESTANTS, which are NOT considered BY the Roman Catholic church to be TRUE believers that are indeed SAVED, because they protested against the teachings of the Catholic church and refused to ACCEPT and believe any more some of the DOCTRINES of what had come to be called the Roman Catholic church.

Now again the word “CATHOLIC” actually and simply means “UNIVERSAL”, which means that the church in general as a whole held to certain teachings that were widely accepted by ALL in the church to be what Jesus and the Apostles and the early church taught. Please keep in mind that this does NOT mean that every single doctrine of the universal church was the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God even though they were ACCEPTED by the majority as being the truth. This is why there were some other groups of Christians who were NEVER actually a part of this other group of Christians that CAME TO BE called the “KATHOLIKOS” church, which is a Greek word first used by Tertullion is the second century that means universal, complete, or whole church.

You see, true believers AFTER the first original apostles of Jesus Christ all died, started to break up into many more individual groups than ever before partly because the church was GROWING and there were not enough ELDERS to properly teach these NEW believers. Plus add to this the fact that the church began to be spread out over great distances, which made it harder to stay in communication with each other. These things coupled with the enemy Satan's attacks to destroy the church led to many FALSE teachings and doctrines of DEVILS to arise even more in the church.

So then, many, but NOT ALL the elders joined together to fight against these false teachings in order to contend for the TRUE faith that was first delivered to them by the original apostles of Jesus. And this group of Christians came to be a much larger group of believers that took on the Greek name “KATHOLIKOS”, which is translated as “CATHOLIC”, which again means universal, complete or whole.

But yet this larger group of believers was NOT the WHOLE COMPLETE church, because there were other true born again believers that did NOT agree with these bishops self appointing themselves as lords over the whole church. In other words, to understand the TRUE history of the church then, first of all you must understand the setting of the church throughout much of it's history. You cannot just hear ONE SIDE of church history to arrive at the TRUTH.

You see, some great men in the church saw the many divisions in the church and decided that the ONLY way to get rid of these divisions was to get more ORGANIZED. So little by little the CLERGY or the elders and the bishops, that is to say the pastors of these smaller groups began to become more organized and consequently in order to CONTROL these many controversial teaching these bishops began to lord over the flock and basically just TELL them what Christians were to believe and what Christians were NOT to believe, rather than TEACHING them BY the word of God and leading them as to WHY we believe what we believe.

In other words, ALL the INTERPRETING of the scriptures was placed into the hands of those who set themselves up to be in complete and total charge over the people in the church. These bishops were no longer overseers as it was in the first century, who lead and guided the flock gently and humbly teaching Christians only what Jesus and the first original apostle taught. But rather beginning in the third and fourth centuries these bishops who called themselves Catholic began to RULE and REIGN OVER the church to the point that if you did not agree and accept ALL that they taught, then you were deemed a HERETIC. An did you did not recant and submit to ALL their teachings then you were excommunicated from the church that was called the church of ROME or the Holy ROMAN church by some was called the Holy Roman Apostolic Catholic church.

Thus began the division between the common believers, who were TOLD what to believe called the LAITY, or the common uneducated peasants, and the CLERGY, who were the more highly educated men of power and prestige who took charge and made themselves lords and guides over the rest of the less educated believers.

Now some Bible scholars today believe that what is called the hated doctrine of the Nicolaitans in Revelation chapter 2 is in fact this teaching that only the CLERGY could properly understand the scriptures and therefore the so called LAITY needed to be TOLD what to believe and what NOT to believe, because they supposedly did not have enough intelligence to read the word for themselves and come to the knowledge of the truth without being TOLD what the word of God was teaching. Please read Revelation 2:1-6 where Jesus is speaking to the church at Ephesus.


Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

2. I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you can not bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are NOT, and have found them LIARS:

3. And have borne, and have patience, and for my name's sake have labored, and have not fainted.

4. Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love.

5. Remember therefore from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent.

6. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

Now ever these faithful believers were not perfect as they were in the beginning, because the LEFT their first love and stopped doing the FIRST WORKS, which they did in the beginning. I myself interpret this to mean that even the faithful believers who held fast to the true gospel of Jesus Christ left off loving the brethren the way they should have been loving each other. And also even the faithful Christians who hated the doctrines of the Nicholaitans, left off doing the mighty works of healing that they did in the beginning. So then the church as a whole basically became teachers of “PROPER”doctrine, which is NOT a bad thing, but rather a good thing so long as the OTHER things are Not left off from being done.

Then in Revelation 2:12-16 Jesus again addresses the doctrine of the Nicolaitans to the church of Pergamos that was among them which Jesus HIMSELF also hated and unless they repented they word suffer the wrath of God when Jesus returned.


And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things says he which has the sharp sword with two edges;

13. I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells.

14. But I have a few things against you, because you have there (where Satan's seat is) them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (The Roman Catholic church is the only church that offers the SACRIFICE of the mass before or in the presence of IMAGES such as the CRUCIFIX that must be present and in VIEW of the people during the sacrifice of the mass. The Catholic church also adores, venerates and even worships the Eucharistic HOST that is housed in a Monstrance, which is a SUN shaped IMAGE. And then Catholics eat the Eucharistic HOST, which they believe is Jesus is the FLESH)

15. So have YOU also THEM that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (in other words, there were groups of believers who had AMONG them other believers who lorded OVER the LAITY), which thing I hate.

16. Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them (speaking of those who do not repent of the doctrine of or the DEEDS of the Nicolaitans who lorded OVER other believers dogmatically demanding that the LAITY believe what they were TOLD or else be excommunicated from the church. In other words, at the second coming of Jesus he will come and fight against those who say that they are Christians, but yet they do not OBEY his words to REPENT and one of the things Jesus is telling the church to repent from is this lording over the laity by the clergy. Jesus says, I will come and fight against THEM, the NICOLAITANS) with the sword of my mouth.”


Now the word or the name “NICOLAITANS” comes from the Greek word “nickolaos”, which is a compound word that comes from two other Greek words “nikos” and “laos”. The Greek word “nikos” means to conquer, subdue, or lord over as in control. And the Greek word “laos” means the people. This Greek word “laos” is also where we get the word LAITY, which should sound familiar to many of you, who are in the Catholic church. So then, when these two Greek words are put together into one word, they form the word “nikolaos” where we also get the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people to lord over and control the people. Therefore it seems that the Nicolaitans were given this name as a result of their deeds and doctrines of conquering and subduing or lording over the common people called the LAITY.

Now since Jesus was indeed speaking to the churches, then he was obviously not referring to the world or world government lording over the LAITY, as being the thing Jesus hated, but rather the deed that Jesus hated was the CLERGY lording over and controlling the LAITY with their FALSE doctrines like fires of PURGATORY and the tormenting fire of hell in order to keep the common people in line using fear of these fiery doctrines to control them and keep them in line so to speak.

You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, a great many of the believers throughout the forming of the church even as late as the 16th century were pagans that were converted to Christianity, who already believed in these fiery places in the afterlife, so it was very easy to use their fears to control them because they already believed these things having a PAGAN background. This controlling the people by the priests was no new thing, because the pagan priests of these pagan religions controlled their people using these same fears of suffering in flames of fire in the afterlife.

Can you not see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, that just because the “CHURCH” teaches something does NOT mean that the “CHURCH” is always teaching the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God. So I implore my readers, and seekers of the TRUTH to read the studies called, “IS THE DOCTRINE OF PURGATORY BIBLICAL?”, “IS THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL TORMENT IN HELL BIBLICAL?”, and “DOES REVELATION 20:10 TEACH ETERNAL TORMENT?”, which will give you a SOUND BIBLICAL foundation that exposes the ERRORS of these teachings of fiery suffering after a person dies.

My point is this that most every one in the entire church age up to around the 16th century sincerely believed in these fiery judgments after a person dies and they feared them, because they already believed them due to their PAGAN influences, so whatever the “CHURCH” taught in order to escape these fiery judgments they believer without question.

I mean if the “CHURCH” would have said even something as ridiculous as something like, “If you stand on your head you can take three days of suffering off your judgment”, then some of these Gentile or pagan Christians would have stood on their head every day even multiple times a day without hesitation, because this was their PAGAN superstitious upbringing before they became Christians. This is one of the ways that the Catholic church ruled over the LAITY and they were successful in doing this because of many reasons, which we will examine further on in this study, but for now let us take a look at the main CAUSE of the GREAT PRTESTANT REFORMANTION, which again BEGAN with the Catholics WITHIN the Catholic church itself, who were in the beginning just crying out and protesting for REFORM of just SOME of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. But BECAUSE of the PRIDE of the Roman Catholic church the leaders refused to budge even an inch to change or REFORM any of their teachings. They only stopped their abuse of SELLING indulgences, but kept on teaching this false doctrine.

You see, it was when the Catholic church started to really ABUSE their authority over the common people by the SELLING of INDULGENCES that great men within the leadership of the so called Holy Roman Catholic church finally stood up against some of the FALSE teachings and practices of the mighty powerful Catholic church. In other words, this was the straw that finally broke the camels back so to speak. There were many other false teaching that were tolerated and often overlooked for the sake of keeping unity, but WHEN this ABUSE of SELLING indulgences began that was all many of these bishops and priest and the laity could stand so they PRTESTED and called for REFORM or the reforming of some of the teachings within the Catholic church.

But you must also keep in mind that there were OTHER groups of believers OUTSIDE this highly organized Roman Catholic church, who were never ever a part of this highly organized Roman Catholic church itself, because they had always seen that she did NOT teach the WHOLE truth of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. And some of those who split from the Catholic church during this Protestant reformation JOINED with these smaller groups of believers OUTSIDE of the Roman Catholic church, while others formed their OWN denominations such as the Lutherans, who followed Martin Luther, and the Calvinists, who followed the teachings of John Calvin. There were other new groups of believers as well, but these two groups seemed to be the main Protestant groups that also continued to split and form even more Protestant denominations as time went on.

Also there where the orthodox Christians who remained very similar to the Roman Catholic church, but did indeed OPPOSE some of the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. Some of the orthodox believers today still call themselves CATHOLIC, but they do NOT like to be called ROMAN Catholics at all. So you see there is DIVISION even among the so called UNIVERSAL roman Catholic church that CLAIMS she can trace her roots all the way back to Peter that the Roman church professed to be he first pope. Please read the study “WAS PETER THE FIRST POPE?” for a deeper understanding of the truth or the whole word of God and the early church history, but for now let us get back to this ABUSE of the selling of indulgences that CAUSE what has been come to be called the Great Protestant Reformation.


Now for those of you who may not know what “INDULGENCES” are let us go to the Catholic encyclopedia to properly understand what the Catholic church means by indulgences. The following is a quote taken from the Catholic encyclopedia.


In the Sacrament of Baptism not only is the guilt of remitted, but also all the penalties attached to sin. In the Sacrament of Penance the guilt of sin is removed, and with it the eternal punishment due to mortal sin; but there still remains the temporal punishment required by Divine justice, and this requirement must be fulfilled either in the present life or in the world to come, i.e., in Purgatory. An indulgence offers the penitent sinner the means of discharging this debt during his life on earth.”



In other words, an INDULGENCE is basically a WAY of paying ones DEBT now on the earth that would normally be paid suffering in the tormenting fires of purgatory according to the doctrine of PURGATORY. That is to say INDULGENCES get Catholics OUT of PURGATORY or at the very least they shorten the time spent in the tormenting firs of purgatory.

The Catholic encyclopedia goes on to say under the heading of the various types of indulgences that the penitent sinner is freed from any further temporal punishment due to sin that would ordinarily be required after death in purgatory with a plenary indulgence.


By a plenary indulgence is meant the remission of the ENTIRE temporal punishment due to sin so that no further expiation is required in Purgatory.”



Now for Catholics who believe in this doctrine of temporal suffering in tormenting flames of fire to purge them of the effects of sin this was a GOOD DEAL, so to speak. I mean think about this for a moment, who wouldn't PAY even a great deal of money to get out of SUFFERING in the flames of fire of purgatory after death, IF SO BE that you truly believed in this doctrine of Purgatory and suffering in tormenting flames of fire in the afterlife until you debt was paid in full.

You see you have to understand HOW the doctrine of purgatory was taught to Catholics at this time in history. Please read the study “IS PRUGATORY BIBLICAL?” for a deeper understanding of the Catholic doctrine of purgatory and why it is not a SOUND Biblical teaching of the whole word of God.

You see, back then at that time in history we can read under the heading of Luther in the Catholic encyclopedia were it plainly states that the Catholic church does NOT DENY that ABUSES of SELLING indulgences and that they did indeed occur, but they also say that the SELLING of indulgences were then condemned after they where brought to the attention of the Church. Here is a direct quote from the Catholic encyclopedia.


It is NOT DENIED that a doctrine like that of the indulgences, which in some aspects was still a disputable subject in the schools, was open to misunderstanding by the laity; that the preachers in the heat of rhetorical enthusiasm fell into exaggerated statements, or that the financial considerations attached, though not of an obligatory character, led to abuse and scandal. The opposition to indulgences, not to the doctrine—which remains the same to this day—but to the mercantile methods pursued in preaching them, was NOT NEW or silent. Duke George of Saxony prohibited them in his territory, and Cardinal Ximenes, as early as 1513, forbade them in Spain.”

In other words, this ABUSE of SELLING indulgences is NOT just so called Protestant “propaganda” as the protesters of the Catholic church have been FALSELY accused of spreading, but rather this ABUSE is actually and openly admitted by the Catholic church itself that these ABUSES of SELLING these INDULGENCES did indeed take place and that it was NOT NEW nor silent that PROTESTERS among the laity went on for quite some time BEFORE this practice of SELLING these indulgences was finally addressed by the so called SCHOOLED clergy.


Now depending upon which side your are reading the history of the church this will no doubt influence the reader to that particular side whether it be Catholic or whether it be Protestant. But here at AmatterOfTruth.com I am merely presenting to you the facts as I have researched them. Yes I am indeed PROTESTING false teaching that is indeed exposed to be FALSE by the LIGHT of the WHOLE word of God. But I myself do not consider my self to belong to any particular PROTESTANT denomination, nor am I any longer a Catholic.

I myself despise denominational names that others use saying of themselves, I am a Catholic, or I am a Baptist, or I am a Lutheran, or I am a Methodist, and so forth, and so on. We are ALL BRETHREN in our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul taught against saying that were are followers of MEN saying things like, I am of Apollos, or I am of Paul, of I am of Cephas. Paul then said is Christ DIVIDED? This answer is an absolute NO!

The truth of the matter is that we ALL are brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, even though we DISAGREE on some points of DOCTRINE.

In other words, there should be absolutely NO teaching from ANY denomination or Christian church saying they THEY ONLY have the TRUTH, and UNLESS you are a member of THEIR church, then you CANNOT be SAVED.

To ME this BOASTING of some, who CLAIM to be the ONLY TRUE church, is the true mark of a CULT, because EVERY church and denomination teaches SOMETHING that is FALSE that does NOT agree with the WHOLE word of Almighty God.

Anyone who has read some of my other studies knows that I do NOT single out any one denomination, but rather I expose FALSE teaching no matter WHO is teaching these false doctrines. And I can honestly say that up to just a few days ago of writing this particular study that every one of the studies that I have written exposing the errors of false doctrine have been the false teachings of different PROTESTANT churches and other Christian groups that are NOT Catholic false teachings.

So please understand that I am NOT teaching against any one personally, but rather I am teaching against FALSE doctrine that does not agree with the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, which is being taught by the LEADERS of these different denominations, who are keeping their congregations from the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God by forbidding any teaching that does not agree with their own personal denomination to be openly discussed and examined in the light of the whole word of God.

With that being said and the plain truth of the Catholic Church NOT DENYING that ABUSES of SELLING indulgences where indeed made by Catholic priests sent out to preach indulgences here is another excerpt from a sermon by a CATHOLIC priest named Johann Tetzel.


You may obtain letters of safe conduct from the vicar of our Lord Jesus Christ, by means of which you are able to liberate your soul from the hands of the enemy, and convey it by means of contrition and confession, safe and secure from all PAINS of Purgatory, into the happy kingdom. For know, that in these letters are stamped and engraver all the merits of Christ's passion there laid bare. Consider, that for each and every mortal sin it is necessary to undergo seven years of penitence after confession and contrition, either in this life or in Purgatory.

How many mortal sins are committed in a day, how many in a week, how many in a month, how many in a year, how many in the whole extent of life! They are well-nigh numberless, and those that commit them must needs suffer endless punishment in the burning pains of Purgatory.

But with these confessional letters you will be able at any time in life to obtain full indulgence for all penalties imposed upon you, in all cases except the four reserved to the Apostolic See. Thence throughout your whole life, whenever you wish to make confession, you may receive the same remission, except in cases reserved to the Pope, and after wards, at the hour of death, a full indulgence as to all penalties and sins, and your share of all spiritual blessings that exist in the church militant and all its members.

Do you not know that when it is necessary for anyone to go to Rome, or undertake any other dangerous journey, he takes his money to a broker and gives a certain per cent-five or six or ten-in order that at Rome or elsewhere he may receive again his funds intact, by means of the letters of this same broker? Are you not willing, then, for the fourth part of a florin, to obtain these letters, by virtue of which you may bring, not your money, but your divine and immortal soul, safe and sound into the land of Paradise?



You see, my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, who are in the Catholic church, it was when this ABUSE of SELLING indulgence was brought to the attention of Martin Luther, who was at that time is history a part of the CLERGY of the Roman Catholic church that he wrote a theses containing 95 points of CONTENTION against the teachings of the Catholic church wanting REFORM or some changes to be made in some of the teachings of the church, which was the only church he knew to be the true church, because he was born into and raised as a Roman Catholic.

You see, many Catholics often blame Martin Luther for slitting the Catholic church causing all the strife between the many different denominations of today. But this is simply NOT the case as I have already shown you from the word of Almighty God. Division in the body of Jesus Christ already existed from it's very beginning and the church has always been PROTESTANT to FALSE teaching WITHIN the church.

The truth of the matter is that if the Roman Catholic church had not been so filled with the pride that it was INFALLIBLE in interpreting the scriptures and would have given their own priests and bishops the audience that they requested to explain their views of the scriptures and then hear their explanations of the scriptures objectively, then reform or changes is some of the teachings of the Catholic church would have indeed taken place and there would have been no split in the church to form the Catholic and the Protestant beliefs.

I mean for the first time in history the Christian church was TRULY DIVIDED, BECAUSE the Roman Catholic church now consider ALL Protestant churches to NOT be SAVED. You see, before this time in history it seemed that despite the differences in doctrine ALL believers were considers BROTHERS and SISTERS in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But after this great protesting CALL for REFORM within the Roman Catholic church that eventually caused that Catholic church to literally SPLIP into TWO SEPARATE churches where the orthodox or the western church continued to split even further, then the Roman Catholic church took the stand that there could be absolutely NO salvation OUTSIDE the teachings of the Catholic church. And all because the Roman Catholic church would NOT make ANY changes in there teachings for she came to sincerely believe that ONLY by COMPLETE and TOTAL UNITY could the church survive. But the truth of the matter is that DIVISION or differences of opinions had ALWAYS been in the one true church of Jesus Christ and the church was surviving just fine WITHOUT the CLERGY lording OVER the laity.

Yes there most likely these divisions in the church would have continued with or without the self appointed lordship of the bishops and then eventually the pope. And it may well have been that some of these division would have gotten out of control where it would seem to be hopeless to try and persuaded those who had gone into error to come back to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. But again if an open unbiased discussion from both sides are given adequate opportunity, then most contentions could be resolved.

But because of the arrogant prideful infallible attitude of the Catholic church that has spilled over into many Protestant churches the laity is ignored as being completely incapable of correctly interpreting the scriptures. And this kind of arrogance of the main stream church and even the smaller Christian groups is driving many brothers and sister to leave the church completely. And sadly that because of the unwillingness of the leaders of some of these the churches to even listen to their flock has caused some Christians to even leave their faith in God altogether.

So all I am saying is take heed how you build upon the central core the foundation that Jesus Christ died for my sins as well as yours.

Anyway the past is in the past and we can not change what has already happened, but we can learn from the past mistakes made by the church. So then, what is it that we can learn from the mistakes that the church has made, BOTH the Catholic and the Protestant churches?

First the NAMES could be dropped and we could just go by the name Christian, because that is who we all are, believers in Jesus the Christ. But it is doubtful that the leaders of these different branches of the same church at it's core will humble themselves enough to drop these names of Catholic or Protestant denominations.

So I suppose the next best thing is that the LAITY, the common people, who support these mega organizations with their hard earn living, make a firm quality decision in their own heart to treat one another as dear brothers and sisters in our lord Jesus Christ regardless of what denomination one attends and their so called DENOMINATION teaches them. In other words, IF your particular denomination teaches that they ALONE are the ONE TRUE church and NO one can be SAVED apart from that particular denomination, then stand AGAINST that PARTICULAR teaching and call for REFORM. Yes you may get kicked out of that PARTICULAR domination, but sooner or later when they LOOSE all their SUPPORT they will hopefully STOP their FALSE teaching that they ALONE are the ONE TRUE church. We are ALL brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Then the next step is for the LAITY to be sincerely open to hear and listen with an unbiased heart the views of others that oppose the views of the church in which you were brought up in all your life and then let the word of Almighty God speak for itself. Let scripture interpret scripture for itself and be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth rather than dogmatically demanding that your particular denomination ALONE has the truth.

Now the one thing that did come out of the reformation that many accredit to Martin Luther, but to which I attribute to the Holy Spirit is that not just the LAITY, but also some in the CLERGY truly began to search the word of God for themselves in order to see if what they were being TAUGHT by the Catholic church was indeed the truth of God's word. Then as more and more bishops and priests withing the Catholic church began to closely investigate the teachings of the Roman Catholic church they found that some of their teachings did NOT AGREE with what the Bible was actually teaching. So more and more Catholics became PROTESTANT of the Catholic teachings and were either martyred for their faith in that had returned to the true gospel and no longer accepted the teachings of the Catholic church, or they were excommunicated from the Catholic church for not ACCEPTING ALL the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.

Martin Luther was first called a HERETIC, but when that did not stop his protesting he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic church. And then when that did not work but rather increased Martin Luther's protesting he was exiled from his homeland later by a strict Catholic leader in government. In other words Luther was not exiled from his homeland by the Catholic church itself, but rather he was exiled by a faithful Catholic ruler in the state government.

Now before the so called official beginning of the great protestant reformation that began when Martin Luther nailed his theses of 95 contentions against the teaching of the Roman Catholic church in the year 1517 there was also the PERSECTION of the believers, who were LABELED as HERETICS because they would not accept some of the teaching of the Roman Catholic church. This period of history was know as the middle ages or the dark ages, because of this barbaric INQUSITION.

The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal court that was established for the purpose of finding and punishment of HERETICS. This period of many inquisitions was marked by the severity of questioning the barbaric punishment of those who refuse to bow their knee to the Roman Catholic church. Some even say that the rights of the accused were violated in that these Christians were NOT allowed to DEFEND their faith in the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now while many Christians associate the Inquisition with only the Spanish inquisition or the inquisition in Portugal the truth of the matter is that the original or the first inquisition was actually instituted by Pope Innocent III during hi reign as pope between 1198-1216 in Rome.

Then a later pope, Pope Gregory IX officially established the Inquisition, in 1233 in order to fight against what the Roman Catholic church defined as heresy. Now at this time in history there was the heresy of the Abilgenses, which was Christian sect in France. These inquisitions grew and in around 1255 the Inquisition against heretics was in full force throughout most of Europe. However the inquisition did not reach England nor Scandinavia.

At it's beginning the inquisition would start in a place with an open edict of grace that would be published and posted in the community calling upon those who are conscious of or who knew of heretical teaching that opposed the teachings of the Roman Catholic church to come forward to confess their heresy or to rat on those they knew who were teaching doctrine that did not agree with the teachings of the Roman Catholic church.

Then after this period of grace, the leader of this court of the Catholic church could make accusations or accuse whomsoever they willed to accuse. Those accused of heresy were sentenced at an “auto de fe”, which in Spanish means an act of Faith. In other words, during this time that the accused where being tried so to speak there was a Catholic sacrifice of the mass. Then these leaders of the church or Clergy would sit at the proceedings and would judge the accused by observing their lack of participation in the Catholic mass. The ones who did not partake in the celebration of the sacrifice of the mass were then hand out punishments.

These punishments included things like being confined to a dungeon, or a prison to actual physical abuse and even severe torture, without going into any grotesque detail. Even those Christians, who reconciled with the church or recanted of their heresy, were still punished. At time many Christians had their property confiscated by the Roman Catholic church, which added to the wealth of this Roman church. Those who never recanted of teaching false doctrine were burned at the stake without being strangled or hung by the neck until dead first before being burned at the stake. In other words, these faithful believers were burned ALIVE at the stake. But those who did recant were strangled first, before they were burned at the stake. So it seemed that the only Christians who escaped this severe persecution from the Roman Catholic church were those who stepped forward during that short period of the edict of grace when the officers of the inquisition first came to town.

Also just as a side not these inquisitions during the 16th and 17th centuries became spectacles for the public, who would come out to attend these inquisitions and then watch the public execution of these Christians. These events of these inquisitions became as popular as some bullfights where the whole community came to watch. The reader should know that this account that I am rendering to you is MILD in comparison to the many that I have read.

The main point that I want you to see is that there were many different groups of believers other than the Roman Catholic church. Now while it is true that some of the groups of believers were more pagan than Christian that still does NOT give the right for the Roman Catholic church to exercise a literal genocide in essence of these groups of believers that taught differently that the Catholic church. In other words, the protestant reformation or more precisely the protesting against false teaching actually began with in the third and fourth century when Arius was accused of being a heretic by the bishop Alexander of Alexandria, Egypt, which we will come back to in a moment. But first as most of you already know that Martin Luther became the founder of the Protestant church known as Lutheran.

Also many other non Catholic conformist believers came out of the reformation, groups like Presbyterians, Congregationalist, Baptist, Quakers, Methodist, Unitarians, Plymouth Brethren, and Salvation Army where all groups of believers that did not follow the “Lutheran Protestants” nor did they follow the teachings of Catholicism. Another group of Protestant believers were called Calvinist, because they followed the teachings of John Calvin.

The Reformation also owes much to the Renaissance, for you see, the Renaissance was a time when artists and scholars, who weary of the drab "Dark Ages", looked back to classical times of Ancient Greece, which became their model. Many scholars set about learning the Greek language, and their studies led them to the ORIGINAL Greek scripts from which the Gospels had been translated.

Now from the fourth century upward to the time of the great Protestant Reformation the only translation of the Gospels that had been ALLOWED to be used by the Catholic Church was the LATIN translation of the New Testament by St. Jerome dating back to 405 A.D.. This version was called the VUGALTE and again it ws written in Latin, which was a language know by only the well educated people.

The Catholic Church had given this version its seal of approval, so to speak. That is to say, the Church controlled the contents of the text of the Gospels by keeping the copies of the Vulgate within the church and by the clergy acting as middle-men in communicating the Gospels to the people. In other words, ONLY the CLERGY could properly interpret the scriptures according to the Roman Catholic church.

But as soon as scholars were capable of translating the Gospels from the ORIGINAL Greek manuscripts, it became crystal clear that there could be different interpretations than that of what the common people were being told to believe. This meant that The Latin Vulgate was put into question as also was the Roman Catholic church. Naturally, there was much debate both WITHIN and outside the Roman Catholic church. Such debate encouraged thought about the origins of Christianity and gave rise to the realization that the Roman Catholic church might NOT have always CORRECTLY INTERPETED the scriptures.

Now all this debate and QUESTIONING f the teachings of the Roman Catholic church might well have had a limited influence if it had not been for the development of the printing press. Quite suddenly the printed word was available to all those who could read. Johannes Gutenberg finished printing one of the new translations of the Bible in 1455. The Bible was also translated into other languages. Luther, for example, produced a German translation. This access to the written word caused the religious debate to spread rapidly across Europe. It also stimulated new thinking. The domination of the domination of the Catholic Church over religious issues had ended.

The rest is history so to speak. That is to say, the rest we are living today. This brings us back to the very beginning called the sub apostolic age or the age right after that last original apostle John died in around 100 AD.

Let us begin this section of this study on how the church divided by saying that the enemy Satan has from the very beginning tried to destroy the church.

Satan first used false teaching of Judaism. Then when God turned to the Gentiles Satan tried to corrupt the church by mixing paganism withing Christianity primarily with the false teaching that Jesus had not truly come in the flesh. The next big strategy to destroy the church was severe persecution by the Roman state, which lasted from 64 AD to 313 AD when Constantine declare freedom of religion for the Roman Empire.

This brings us to the beginning of state control in the church, but before we get into that let us go back to some early church writings to get the story straight from the horses mouth so to speak. Let us see what these early church writers actually wrote rather than listening to the BIASED opinions or those who write about the history of the Roman Catholic church.


http://www.cogwriter.com/limbo.htm


http://www.cogwriter.com/purgatory.htm


the causes of the reformation

http://www.thirdmill.org/files/english/html/ch/CH.Arnold.RMT.2.html


who started the reformation?




The church before the reformation

http://saburchill.com/history/chapters/chap5102.htm


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TESTIMONY OF CATHOLICS




The word “CATHOLIC” means universal. So being in the “CATHOLIC” church means to a Catholic that they are in the one true church. Now while I do agree that there is indeed only ONE TRUE church and that a person could call this one true church a UNIVERSAL church or a “CATHIOLIC” church, but somehow this term “CATHOLIC”, which again means UNIVERSAL church has ONLY come to mean the ROMAN CATHILC CHURCH, which is not at all what this word “CATHOLIC” truly means. In other words, in TRUTH, the term “CATHOLIC” church is speaking of ALL Christians that are scattered about in ALL the many different denominations and NOT just referring to the Roman Catholic church.

So the title of this testimony page “TESTIMONY OF CATHOLICS” is speaking of the testimonies of people, who now KNOW with absolute certainly that they are saved and that they will without a doubt go straight to heaven, because their faith is no longer in ANY church denomination, or church organization, but rather their faith is now totally and completely in Jesus Christ, who died for their sins. In other words. These testimonies are from former Catholics, who were once very devout and faithful Catholics, but now have come out of the Roman Catholic church to follow the teachings of Jesus and the Bible rather than following the religious system of the Roman Catholic church. These testimonies are from true born again Christians, who now have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord and savior and who now KNOW that NO church denomination can save a person from their sins.

So then, if YOU the reader are a Catholic, but you do NOT have the assurance that you are saved and that you will go straight to heaven when you die and you do indeed desire to KNOW that you are saved and have the ASSURANCE that without fail you WILL go to heaven without a doubt, then I implore you to read these testimonies of former very devout Catholics, who were once very faithful to the Roman Catholic CHURCH and like you they had NO assurance of going to heaven, but now they KNOW without a doubt that they are truly saved and that they will go to heaven when they die. Do NOT let the DEVIL deceive you by being offended at what these former very devout Catholics may say in their testimonies. Their sole purpose is to speak the TRUTH in LOVE, because they LOVE YOU and they sincerely desire for YOU to have the same PEACE that Almighty God has given them by OBEYING God's written word the Holy Bible OVER church tradition and the doctrines of men.

The following testimonies are found on various other websites that I myself found quite enlightening and some bore witness to my own testimony of being a former Catholic myself. There are many reasons why Catholics are leaving the Catholic church, but one very main reason that those in the Catholic church will NOT tell you is that many Catholics are leaving the Catholic faith because there are many doctrines in Catholicism that contradict what the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, clearly and plainly teaches. Few Catholics realize that the Roman Catholic church had once BANNED the Holy Bible from the common lay people for a time during the history of the church. I pray and implore you my dear Catholic friend that you pick up a Bible, your own approved “Catholic” Bible and read it for YOURSELF asking God to open your eyes of understanding so that you can see the TRUTH of the whole word of God and know that these following testimonies are TRUE. I implore all Catholics everywhere to please read the following testimonies of former and very devout Catholics whose eyes have been opened to the TRUTH of God's word.

At the end of these testimonies I have posted a list of several websites with many other personal testimonies of devout former Catholics who also have some sound Biblical teaching of the history of Catholicism and the many doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. Their are also some video testimonies as well for those who would rather listen to audio than read.


TESTIMONIES OF FORMER CATHOLICS


MY OWN PERSONAL TESTIMONY


Hi my name is Mark. I was raised in the Catholic church and baptize as a baby in the Catholic faith. My mom was Catholic as was her family before her and so on, but my dad was raised in the Methodist church. My dad was a faithful Methodist before he married my mom. Upon being married my dad allowed me and my three older sisters to be raised in the Roman Catholic faith.

During my childhood from birth to the eighth grade I was a very very devout Catholic. I went to mass 6 days a week. I attended a parochial school or a private Catholic school. I was an altar boy and I even tossed around the ideal of becoming a priest for awhile. I never once questioned what I was taught in the Catholic church because it was drilled into me to NEVER question what the nuns or the priests taught.

Then one day I started to question the teachings of the Catholic church. You see, one day during a high school catechism class, which is a religious class teaching Roman Catholic doctrine for those who may not know what catechism is, the priest, who was teaching on the doctrine of the trinity, asked of if we had any QUESTIONS. No one responded, so he asked again, saying SURELY there is someone here who doubts this teaching and who has QUESTIONS. Almost immediately I was is a trance like state wondering how could I have been taught all these years NEVER to QUESTION what the priests or the nuns taught and now I was being ASKED to QUESTION what I was being taught. This opened the door for me to start QUESTIONING what I had been taught even though I had already had a few QUESTIONS before this catechism class where the priest himself ASKED us to QUESTION what we have been taught. I cannot tell you if any others asked any questions that day, because I was lost in this world of wondering how come it was alright to question my faith now when before it was drilled into me never to question what I was taught in the Catholic church, but I can tell you that I was freed that day to QUESTION what I was taught in the Catholic church.

The Bible teaches us to diligently search daily the scripture written in the Holy Bible in order to SEE and to know for SURE that what we are being taught is indeed the truth of the whole word of God. In other words, the Bible teaches us to QUESTION what we are taught in church to SEE if it AGREES with what Almighty God himself teaches us in his word, the Holy Bible.

As I said earlier I had already had some questions in my mind, but I did not act on them. I never asked anyone about what I was questioning. I kept it all to myself, because I was AFRAID to ASK. One of the questions that I had was about the Roman catholic teaching on hell. I could not accept this teaching in my mind and eventually this false teaching on hell drove me away from God completely for a short season in my life. But before that season of darkness and despair I also questioned in my my the Roman Catholic doctrine of being a MORTAL sin for missing even ONE Sunday of not attending mass.

You see, a few years prior to this high school catechism class my family went camping with another family as their guests. Upon the close of this weeks camping trip this other family asked if I would like to stay another week with them knowing that my parents had to get back to work. You bet! I said, but my mom quickly said NO. When I asked why, she said that I had to go to church. They said, We will take Mark to church, but again my mom said no. Long story made a little shorter I found out later that they were not “CATHOLIC” and my mom was afraid that they would not take me to a CATHOLIC church. When I asked her what did it matter I got slapped in the face and told that I should be ashamed of myself. I was reminded that it was a MORTAL sin to miss mass without being really really sick and unable to go to mass and that I should confess even the thought of missing mass to go camping.

This event caused me to QUESTION why and how a loving God would send someone to HELL just because they missed ONE mass on Sunday to go camping, which was like a one in a lifetime opportunity for me seeing that my family never went camping without being the guest of this family. I was only a kid and I began to form these thoughts that if this is the God of the Roman Catholic church, then I was not sure I wanted to be a Catholic anymore. This is why we as Christians should not FORCE religion upon our children, but that we should teach them all along the way. Let them ASK their questions and with God's help do our best to instruct them in the ways of the Lord and they will NOT DEPART from God EVER.

So then, this questioning in my own mind that I was NOT allowed to talk about kept eating at me until I became bitter with God. I know now that this BITTERNESS was from that old serpent called Satan and the Devil, but had I been ALLOWED to ask QUESTIONS I do not think that I would have ever departed from God for that little season. I thank God to this day that the darkness and depression got so bad so quick that I cried out to God saying that I could NOT believe in the God that I was TAUGHT in the Roman Catholic church, but that I need at least to believe that there was indeed a GOD otherwise I would have committed suicide and ended my life.

God heard my cry and somehow I just knew that there was a God out there. So for about three years I believed in God forming my OWN ideas of what my God should be like. I came up with this theory or thought that God created all things and people and church or religion was likened to a game so to speak. In other words, if so be that a person what to play this game to try and win the game, then heaven would be their reward. But if so be a person chose to play this game and lost then they would as a consequence receive hell. I decided the price was too high to play the game and chose to belief that for those who did not play the game that they would simply die and receive NEITHER the reward of heaven NOR the pains of hell.

You see at this time I had never ONCE read any part of the Bible FROM the Bible so I did not KNOW what the Bible taught about hell or heaven or about being saved or being lost. I only knew what the Catholic church had taught me and what LITTLE I had heard from others who were in other churches. At this time in my life I still had drilled in me that the Roman Catholic church was the ONLY TRUE church and unless you were a Catholic you could NOT be saved. So while I began to form my OWN ideas the Roman Catholic teaching was still yet controlling many of my thoughts by FEAR.

Then one day I met the girl that I would soon marry. She was raised in the Assembly of God church, which is a full gospel Bible believing Pentecostal church. And when I told her of my THEORY about God she boldly told me that I was WRONG! Straight to my face. Her boldness and rock solid FAITH caused me to go out and but my FIRST Bible and search out the truth for MYSELF.

This was around the time that my sister just got married to a PROTESTANT, who was also raised in an Assembly of God church, but who did not display any of the faith that my girlfriend boldly lived. The only reason that I bring this marriage up is that a FIGHT or very heated argument arose between being Catholic and being Protestant. I hated all this fighting. Both believed in God so what was all the fighting about. I did not understand as yet the FEAR that is drilled into Catholics that if they ever leave the Roman Catholic church that they would go straight to hell. Yes I was TAUGHT this all my life, but I had not actually LIVED this FEAR until I myself was faced with leaving the catholic church and choosing Jesus as my personal savior, which we will get to shortly.

I took the Bible and held it up before God saying that I do not care who is right or who is wrong. I said ALL churches say that they use the BIBLE as their foundation of what they teach, but yet they all teach something different. They argue and fight with one another over their different doctrines. I asked God with all the sincerity of my heart that I wanted to know the TRUTH, the WHOLE TRUTH, and NOTHING BUT the TRUTH. I laid the Bible on the floor and I stood upon the Bible saying to God that I now stand upon YOUR WORD of TRUTH and nothing else. I picked up the Bible and began to read it like any other book that you would read starting at the beginning of the book.

I must tell you that I hated reading in school. I am a very slow reader and I was made fun of in school. I have to read every word to understand something that is written. There is NO shimming over something for me. So in school I learned that if I read the first chapter, the middle chapter and the last chapter that I could learn enough to pass the test or make a book report. I tell you this, because as I was reading the Bible it became very boring when I got to the book of Numbers so I skipped to the end of the Bible, which is the book of Revelation. Well any one who has ever read the book of Revelation you know how confusing it can be. So not understand much in the book of Revelation I turned to the center of the Bible and it fell open at the New Testament. I remember thinking What is the new Testament? I began reading the gospel of Matthew and some of the stories of Jesus I remembered a little from the Catholic church and what my baby sitter that I called grandma McQuinny even though she was only a friend of the family. Anyway the reading was still somewhat dry until I got to 1 Corinthians 1:10-15, which OPENED my EYES to the TRUTH that all the different churches and denominations are NOT OF God, but of MAN and that we as Christians should NOT be DIVIDED like we are over doctrines of men. Here is the verse that opened God's word to me and gave me great HUNGER to read and study God's word for myself.


Now I beseech you, BRETHREN, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you ALL speak the SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.

12. Now this I say , that every one of you say, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. (today Christians say, I am a CATHOLIC, or I am a BAPTIST, or I am a Methodist and so forth)

13. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? (Did Mary DIE for you sins or did JESUS die for your sins?) Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (Where you baptized in the name of Mary, or where you baptized in the name of Jesus?)

14. I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;

15. Lest (or for fear that) any should say that I had baptized in mine OWN name.”


When God showed me this TRUTH I knew that I could TRUST what he showed me to always be the TRUTH. From this point one the Bible was NO LONGER boring. I began to see things for the first time. God gave me such a HUNGER to read and study his word that I read the Bible 6 to 8 hours a day. You see at the time I had a real gravy job that I just had to be there if any thing broke down. All the machines were brand new and the day mechanic kept everything running smoothly. The boss made it clear to us that we could watch TV, listen to the radio, even sleep, but we could not leave the building. We had a room called the tool room that was sound proofed from the machines and there was an intercom that could wake the dead if any thing went wrong with the machines. I worn that first Bible out in hardly no time it seemed.

God showed me a lot in that short time and I remember my wife telling me that she became jealous of me and told God that she had been a Christians for many years and that I had only accepted Jesus as my savior a few short months and that it was not fair that I was passing her up on knowing the Bible. Now while I may have been teaching my wife things that God had showed me that she had not been taught before I was far form knowing it all. In fact she set me straight once again when I started reading books written by others who were Christians and read that the Holy Spirit and speaking in other tongues had ceased and was not for the church of today. Again she boldly told me to my face and said, your WRONG Mark. So once again I went to the BIBLE to find out the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.

I say this because I have learned that the devil cannot keep anyone from SEEKING the truth, but the devil CAN and DOES deceive good honest sincere Christians to believe teaching that has ERROR mixed with a little truth. You see these books that I was reading were indeed written by sincerely loving Christians who TRULY believed with all their heart that they were teaching the truth just like the Roman Catholic church sincerely and truly believes that she is teaching the truth. But you see my dear Catholic friend the DECEIVER works in EVERY church and in every denomination so it is up to YOU to search the word of God daily in order to see if you are being taught the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of God.

These Christian books that I was reading quoted scripture, but when one studies those verses left in the context sincerely desiring to know only the TRUTH, then their eyes of understanding are opened and they can clearly see that what they are being taught does NOT AGREE with the WHOLE word of God.

You see while I was reading the Bible for MYSELF those first few months I saw very clearly that the teachings of the Roman Catholic church CONTRADICTED what the clear plain simple word of truth, the Holy Bible taught. Please read this summarized study of these contradictory teachings of the roman catholic church when compared to the light of the word of Almighty God himself, but for now just know that that contradictions that the Holy Spirit was showing cause me to have to make a CHOICE between that Roman Catholic church and Almighty God himself. The things God was showing me caused me to come to a place where I could NOT in good conscious remain in the Catholic church and follow it's teachings.

Now I want you to understand that making this decision was one of the hardest things that I ever had to do. Yous see the FEAR that was drilled into me all those years in the Catholic church that if I ever LEFT the Catholic church that I would go straight to hell and that there was NO possible way to be saved other than being a CATHOLIC.

Let me assure your right now that this Roman Catholic teaching of Catholicism being the OEN TRUE church is the LIE of the devil, who wants to keep you bond to RELIGIOUS ritual ceremonies that have absolute NO power to save any one not matter how much faith a person places in them. Now I am not saying that absolutely no one in the Catholic church is saved, but what I am saying is that if so be that any true born again Christian withing the Roman Catholic church who comes to the knowledge of the truth that I had come to KNOWING that the teachings of the Roman Catholic church CONTRADICT the teachings of the very word of Almighty God himself, the Holy Bible, then they will NOT remain any longer in the Catholic church to follow the teachings of the Catholic church. They may remain for awhile to help others Catholics come to the knowledge of the truth, but I assure you that the TRUTH of God's word will NOT let them truly follow and obey the false teachings of the Roman Catholic church.

So when God show me the truth through his WORD, the Holy Bible, I had to CHOOSE between remaining in the Catholic church and following what I KNEW to be in direct contradiction with God's written word, the Holy Bible or TRUSTING in Almighty God himself by TRUSTING in his WORD, the Holy Bible and what this word of TRUTH was teaching me. I made the choice to believe God's WORD over the teachings of the Roman Catholic church. It took a few days that seemed much much longer to overcome the FEAR, but eventually the word of TRUTH silence the FEAR forever and now I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW with absolute certainty that I am SAVED and the I will without fail go to heaven, because I am TRUSTING, continually trusting in the resent tense that God's word is TRUTH and the Jesus died for my sins.

I do not need to confess my sins to a priest anymore, I can BOLDLY come before the very throne of Almighty God himself because of what his Son Jesus did for ALL of mankind so that ALL who BELIEVE can be forgiven of all their past sins and be brought back into a right RELATIONSHIP with Almighty God the Father. This is one of the meanings of what the word SAVED means, being brougt back into having a RIGHT and pleasing RELATIONSHIP with Almighty God the Father.

My own personal testimony is just one of thousands that are out there on the Internet. Please read as many of these following testimonies and studies on this site AMatterOfTruth.com as it takes to have your eyes opened to the TRUTH that you can KNOW without a doubt that you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and your word of TESTIMONY that you are TRUSTING in Jesus alone for your salvation. Again NO CHURCH or church denomination can save you. Only YOUR faith in the shed blood of Jesus can save you. Please read the study “ HOW CAN I BE SAVE?” or more precisely “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED!” and please continue to read the following testimonies to assure you that OTHER very good and very devout Catholics like yourself have had some of the very SAME questions that your are having right now. I have no doubt that one of these testimonies will touch your heart as set you free from fear and sin and bring you into a right relationship with Almighty God the Father.



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The Gift – The Testimony of a Form Roman Catholic Priest Charles Chiniguy


I was born and baptized a Roman Catholic in 1809 and I was ordained a priest in 1833 in Canada. I am now in my seventy fourth year, and it is nearly fifty years since I received the dignity of the priesthood in the church of Rome.

For twenty-five years I was a priest of that Church, and I tell you frankly that I loved the Church of Rome, and she loved me. I would have shed every drop of my blood for my Church and would have given a thousand times my life to extend her power and dignity over the continent of America, and over the whole world. My great ambition was to convert the Protestants, and bring them into my Church, because I was told, and I preached, that outside the Church of Rome there was no salvation, and I was sorry to think that those multitudes of Protestants were to be lost.

A few years after I was born we lived in a place where there were no schools. My mother became my first teacher, and the first book in which she taught me to read was the Bible. When I was eight or nine years old I read the Divine Book with an incredible pleasure, and my heart was much taken up with the beauty of the Word of God. My mother selected the chapters she wished me to read, and the attention I gave to it was such that, many times, I refused to go and play with the little boys outside in order to enjoy the pleasure of reading the Holy Book. Some of the chapters I loved more than others, and these I learned by heart.

But after my mother died, the Bible disappeared from the house, probably through the priest who had tried to obtain possession of it before. Now this Bible is the root of everything in this story. That is the light which was put into my soul when young, and, thanks be to God, that light has never been extinguished. It has remained there: it is to that dear Bible, by the mercy of God, that I owe today the unspeakable joy which I feel at being among the redeemed, among those who have received the light, and are drinking at the pure fountain of truth.

But perhaps you are inclined to say, “Do not the Roman Catholic priests allow their people to read the Bible?” Yes, I thank God that it is so. It is a fact that today, almost all over the world, the Church of Rome grants permission to read the Bible, and you will find the Bible in the homes of some Roman Catholics.

But when we have confessed this we must tell the whole truth. When the priest puts the Bible in the hands of his people, or when a priest receives the Bible from his church, there is a condition. The condition is that though the priest or people may read the Bible, they must never, under any circumstances, interpret a single word according to their conscience, their intelligence, or in their own mind. When I was ordained a priest I swore that I would interpret the Scriptures only according to the unanimous consent of the Holy Fathers.

Friends, go to Roman Catholics today, and ask them if they have permission to read the Bible. They will tell you, “Yes, I can read it.” But ask, “Have you permission to interpret it?” They will tell you, “No.” The priest says positively to the people, and the Church says positively to the priest, that they cannot interpret a single word of the Bible according to their own intelligence and their own conscience, and that it is a grievous sin to take upon themselves the interpretation of a single word. The priest says in effect to the people, “If you try to interpret the Bible with your own intelligence you are lost. It is a most dangerous book. You may read it, but it is better not to read it, because you cannot understand it.”

What is the result of such teaching? The result is, that though both the priests and the people have the Bible in their hands, they do not read it. Would you read a book if you were persuaded that you cannot understand a single word by yourself? Would you be such fools as to waste your time reading a book which you were persuaded you could not understand a single line of? Then, my friends, this is the truth about the Church of Rome. They have a great number of Bibles. You will find Bibles on the tables of the priests and of Catholic laymen, but among ten thousand priests there are not two who read the Bible from the beginning to the end and pay any attention to it. They read a few pages here and there; that is all.

In the Church of Rome the Bible is a sealed book, but it was not so with me. I found it precious to my heart when I was a little boy, and when I became a priest of Rome I read it to make me a strong man, and to make me able to argue for the Church.

My great object was to confound the Protestant ministers of America. I got a copy of the “Holy Fathers,” and I studied it day and night with the Holy Scriptures, in order to prepare myself for the great battle I wanted to fight against the Protestants. I made this study in order to strengthen my faith in the Roman Catholic Church.

But, blessed be God! every time I read the Bible there was a mysterious voice(1) saying to me, “Do you not see that in the Church of Rome you do not follow the teachings of the Word of God, but only the traditions of men?” In the silent hours of the night, when I heard that voice, I wept and cried, but it was repeated with the strength of thunder. I wanted to live and die in the Holy Roman Catholic Church, and I prayed to God to silence the voice, but I heard it yet still louder. When I was reading His Word He was trying(2) to break my fetters, but I would not have any fetters broken. He came to me with His saving light, but I would not have it.

I have no bad feeling against Roman Catholic priests. Some of you may think I have. You are mistaken. Sometimes I weep for them because I know that the poor men – just as I did – are fighting against the Lord, and that they are miserable as I was miserable then. If I relate to you one of the struggles of which I speak, you will understand what it is to be a Roman Catholic priest, and you will pray for them.

In Montreal there is a splendid cathedral capable of holding 15,000 people. I used to preach there very often. One day the Bishop asked me to speak on the Virgin Mary, and I was glad to do so. I said to those people what I thought to be true then, and what the priests believe and preach everywhere. Here is the sermon I preached:

My dear friends, when a man has rebelled against his king, when he has committed a great crime against his emperor, does he come himself to speak to him? If he has a favour to ask from his king, dare he, under the circumstances, appear himself in his presence? No; the king would rebuke him, and would punish him. Then, what does he do? Instead of going himself he selects one of the friends of the king, some one of his officers, sometimes the sister or the mother of the king, and he puts his petition into their hands. They go and speak in favour of the guilty man. They ask his pardon, they appease his wrath, and very often the king will grant to these people the favour which he would refuse to the guilty man.”

Then,” I said, “we are all sinners, we have all offended the great and mighty King, the King of kings. We have raised rebellious colours against Him. We have trampled His laws under our feet, and surely He is angry against us. What can we do today? Shall we go ourselves with our hands filled with our iniquities? No! But, thanks to God, we have Mary the mother of Jesus, our King, at His right hand, and as a dutiful son never refuses any favour to a beloved mother, so Jesus will never refuse any favour to Mary. He has never refused any petition which she presented to Him when He was on earth. He has never rebuked His mother in any way. Where is the son who would break the heart of a loving mother, when he could rejoice her by granting what she wants?

Then I say, Jesus, the King of kings, is not only the Son of God, but He is the Son of Mary, and loves His mother. And as He has never refused any favour of Mary when He was on earth; He will never refuse her any favour today. Then what must we do? Oh, we cannot present ourselves before the great King, covered as we are with iniquity. Let us present our petitions to His holy mother; she will go to the feet of Jesus, herself, Jesus, her God and her son, and she will surely receive the favours which she will ask; she will ask our pardon and will obtain it. She will ask a place in the Kingdom of Christ, and you will have it. She will ask from Jesus to forget your iniquities, to grant you the true repentance, and He will give you anything His mother may ask of Him.”

My hearers were so happy at the idea of having such an advocate at the feet of Jesus interceding for them day and night, that they all burst into tears, and were beside themselves with joy that Mary was to ask and obtain their pardon.

I thought at the time that this was not only the religion of Christ, but that it was the religion of common sense, and that nothing could be said against it. After the sermon the Bishop came to me and blessed me, and thanked me, saying that the sermon would do great good in Montreal.

That night I went on my knees, and took my Bible, and my heart was full of joy because of the good sermon I had given in the morning. I opened and read from Matthew 12:46, the following words:

While He yet talked to the people, behold, His mother and His brethren stood without, desiring to speak with Him. Then said one unto Him, ‘Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with Thee.’ But He answered and said to him that told Him, ‘Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?’ And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples and said, ‘Behold, My mother and My brethren, for whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’”

When I had read these words there was a voice speaking to me more terrible than the voice of loud thunder, saying, “Chiniquy, you preached a lie this morning when you said that Mary had always received the favours which she had asked from Jesus. Do you not see that Mary comes to ask a favour, that is, to see her son, during whose absence she has been lonesome, and who has left her during many months to preach the Gospel?” When Mary got to the place where Jesus was preaching, the place was so crammed that she could not enter. What will she do? She will do what every mother would do in her place. She raises her voice and requests Him to come and see her; but while Jesus hears the voice of His mother, and with His divine eyes sees her, does He grant her petition? No. He shuts His ears to her voice and hardens His heart against her prayer. It is a public rebuke, and she feels it keenly. The people are astonished. They are puzzled, almost scandalized. They turn to Christ, and they say to Him, “Why don’t you come and speak to your mother?” What does Jesus say? He gives no answer except this extraordinary one: “Who is My mother, and who are My brethren?” and, looking upon His disciples, He says: “Behold, My mother, My brethren, and My sisters.” As for Mary, she is left alone, and publicly rebuked.

And then the voice spoke to me again with the power of thunder, telling me to read again in St. Mark 3:31-35. You will find the same incident both in Mark and in Luke 8:19-21. Instead of granting her petition Jesus replied in such a way as to publicly rebuke His mother. And then the voice spoke to me with terrific power, telling me that Jesus, so long as He was a little boy, obeyed Joseph and His mother; but as soon as Jesus presented Himself before the world as the Son of God, as the Saviour of the world, as the great Light of humanity, then Mary had to disappear. It is to Jesus alone that the eyes of the world must be turned to receive Light and Life.

Then, my friends, the voice spoke to me all the night: “Chiniquy, Chiniquy, you have told a lie this morning, and you were preaching a lot of fables and nonsense; and you preach against the Scriptures when you say that Mary has the power to grant any favour from Jesus.” I prayed and I wept, and it was a sleepless night with me.

The next morning I went to table with the Bishop-Prince, the coadjutor, who had invited me to breakfast.

He said to me, “M. Chiniquy, you look like a man who has spent the night in tears. What is the matter with you?”

I said, “My lord, you are correct. I am desolate above measure.”

What is the matter?” he asked.

Oh! I cannot tell you here,” I said. “Will you please give me one hour in your room alone? I will tell you a mystery which will puzzle you.”

After breakfast I went out with him and said: “Yesterday you paid me a great compliment because of the sermon in which I proved that Jesus had always granted the petitions of His mother. But, my lord, last night I heard another voice, stronger than yours, and my trouble is that I believe that voice is the voice of God. That voice has told me that we Roman Catholic priests and bishops preach a falsehood every time we say to the people that Mary has always the power to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ the favours which she asks This is a lie, my lord – this, I fear, is a diabolical and damning error.”

The Bishop then said, “M. Chiniquy, what do you mean? Are you a Protestant?”

No,” I said, “I’m not a Protestant. (Many times I had been called a Protestant because I was so fond of the Bible.) “But I tell you, face to face, that I sincerely fear that yesterday I preached a lie, and that you, my lord, will preach one also the next time you say that we must invoke Mary, under the pretext that Jesus has never refused any favour to His mother. This is false.”

The Bishop said, “M. Chiniquy, you go too far!”

No, my lord,” I said, “it is of no use to talk. Here is the Gospel; read it.”

I put the Gospel into the hands of the Bishop, and he read with his own eyes what I have already quoted. My impression was that he read those words for the first time. The poor man was so much surprised that he remained mute and trembling. Finally he asked, “What does that mean?”

Well,” I said, “this is the Gospel; and here you see that Mary has come to ask from Jesus Christ a favour, and He has not only rebuked her, but has refused to consider her as His mother. He did this publicly, that we might know that Mary is the mother of Jesus as man, and not as God.”

The Bishop was beside himself. He could not answer me.

I then asked to be allowed to put to him a few questions. I said, “My lord, who has saved you and saved me upon the Cross?”

He answered, “Jesus Christ.”

And who paid your debts and mine by shedding His blood; was it Mary or Jesus?”

He said, “Jesus Christ.”

Now, my lord, when Jesus and Mary were on earth, who loved the sinner more; was it Mary or Jesus?”

And again he answered that it was Jesus.

Did any sinner come to Mary on earth to be saved?”

No.”

Do you remember that any sinner has gone to Jesus to be saved?”

Yes, many.”

Have they been rebuked?”

Never.”

Do you remember that Jesus ever said to sinners, ‘Come to Mary and she will save you’?”

No,” he said.

Do you remember that Jesus has said to poor sinners, ‘Come unto me’?” “Yes. He has said it.”

Has He ever retracted those words?”

No!”

And who was, then, the more powerful to save sinners?” I asked.

Oh! it was Jesus!”

Now, my lord, since Jesus and Mary are now in Heaven, can you show me in the Scriptures that Jesus has lost anything of His desire and power to save sinners, or that He delegated this power to Mary?”

And the Bishop answered, “No.”

Then, my lord,” I asked, “why do we not go to Him, and Him alone? Why do we invite poor sinners to come to Mary, when, by your own confession she is nothing compared with Jesus, in power, in mercy, in love, and in compassion for the sinner?”

Then the poor Bishop was as a man who is condemned to death. He trembled before me, and as he could not answer me, he pleaded business and left me. His “business” was that he could not answer me.

But I was still not converted. There were many links by which I was still tied to the feet of the Pope. There were other battles to be fought before I could break the chains which bound me.

But in those days, though I was troubled I had not lost my zeal for my Church. The Bishops had given me great power and authority, and the Pope had raised me above many others, and I had the hope, with many others, that little by little, we might reform the Church in many things.

In 1851 I went to Illinois to found a French colony. I took with me about 75,000 French Canadians, and settled on the magnificent prairies of Illinois, to take possession in the name of the Church of Rome. After I had begun my great work of colonization I became a rich man: I bought many Bibles and gave one to almost every family. The Bishop was very angry at me for this, but I did not care. I had no idea of giving up the Church of Rome, but I wanted to guide my people as well as I could in the way in which Christ wanted me to lead them.

Now the Bishop of Chicago did a thing at that time which we Frenchmen could not tolerate. It was a great crime, and I wrote to the Pope and got him dismissed. Another Bishop was sent in his place, who deputed his Grand Vicar to visit me.

The Grand Vicar said to me, “M. Chiniquy, we are very glad that you have got the former Bishop dismissed, for he was a bad man: but it is suspected in many places that you are no more in the Church of Rome: it is suspected that you are a heretic and a Protestant. Will you not give us a document by which we can prove to all the world that you and your people are still good Roman Catholics?”

I said, “I have no objection.”

He rejoined, “It is the desire of the new Bishop, whom the Pope has sent, to have such a document from you.”

I then took a piece of paper – and it seemed to me that this was a golden opportunity to silence the voice which was speaking to me day and night and troubling my faith. I wanted to persuade myself by this means that in the Roman Catholic Church we were really following the Word of God, and not merely “traditions of men.” I wrote down these very words: “My lord, we French Canadians of the colony of Illinois want to live in the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, out of which there is no salvation, and to prove this to your lordship we promise to obey your authority according to the Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ.”

I signed that and offered it to my people to sign, and they did. I then gave it to the Grand Vicar, and asked him what he thought of it. He said, “It is just what we want.” He assured me that the Bishop would accept it, and all would be right.

When the Bishop had read the submission, he too found it right, and with tears of joy said: “I am so glad that you have made your submission, because we were in fear that you and your people would turn Protestants.”

My friends, to show you my blindness, I must confess to my shame, that I was glad to have made my peace with the Bishop, a man, when I was not yet at peace with God. The Bishop gave me a “letter of peace,” by which he declared that I was one of his best priests, and I went back to my countrymen with the determination to remain there. But God looked down upon me in His mercy, and He was to break that peace which was peace with man and not with God.

The Bishop, after my departure, went to the telegraph office and telegraphed my submission to the other bishops, and asked them what they thought of it. They unanimously answered him the very same day: “Do you not see that Chiniquy is a disguised Protestant, and he has made a Protestant of you? It is not to you that he makes submission; he makes his submission to the Word of God. If you do not destroy that submission you are a Protestant yourself.”

Ten days later I received a letter from the Bishop, and when I went to him he asked me if I had the “letter of peace” he had given me the other day. I produced it, and when he saw it was that letter, he ran to his stove and threw it into the fire. I was astonished. I rushed to the fire to save my letter, but it was too late: it was destroyed.

Then I turned to the Bishop, and I said, “How dare you, my lord, take from my hand a document which is my property, and destroy it without my consent?”

He replied, “M. Chiniquy. I am your superior, and I have no account to give you.”

You are indeed, my lord, my superior, and I am nothing but a poor priest, but there is a great God who is as much above you as above me, and that God has granted me rights which I will never give up to please any man; in the presence of that God I protest against your iniquity.”

Well,” he said, “do you come here to give me a lecture?”

I replied, “No, my lord; but I want to know if you brought me here to insult me?”

M. Chiniquy,” he said, “I brought you here because you gave me a document which you know very well was not an act of submission.”

Then I answered, “Tell me, what act of submission do you require of me?”

He said, “You must begin by taking away these few words: ‘according to the Word of God, as we find it in the Gospel of Christ,’ and say simply that you promise to obey my authority without any condition; that you will promise to do whatever I tell you.”

Then I got to my feet and I said, “My lord, what you require of me is not an act of submission, but an act of adoration, and I refuse it to you.”

Then,” said he, “if you cannot give me that act of submission, you cannot any longer be a Roman Catholic priest.”

I raised my hands to God, and said, “May Almighty God be forever blessed,” and I took my hat and left the Bishop.

I went to the hotel where I had engaged a room, and locked the door behind me. I fell on my knees to examine what I had done in the presence of God. Then I saw, for the first time clearly, that the Church of Rome could not be the Church of Christ. I had learned the terrible truth, not from the lips of Protestants, not from her enemies but from the lips of the Church of Rome herself. I saw that I could not remain in it except by giving up the Word of God in a formal document. Then I saw that I had done well to give up the Church of Rome. But oh! my friends, what a dark cloud came upon me! In the darkness I cried out, “My God, my God, why is it that my soul is surrounded with such a dark cloud?”

With tears I cried to God to show me the way, but for a time, no answer was vouchsafed. I had given up the Church of Rome; I had given up position, honour, my brothers and sisters, everything that was dear to me! I saw that the Pope, the Bishops, and the priests would attack me in the press, and in the pulpit. I saw that they would take away my honour and my name – and perhaps my life. I saw that war to the death was begun between the Church of Rome and me, and I looked to see if any friends had been left to me to help me fight the battle, but not a single friend remained. I saw that even my dearest friends were bound to curse me, and look upon me as an infamous traitor. I saw that my people would reject me, that my beloved country, where I had so many friends, would curse me, and that I had become an object of horror to the world.

Then I tried to remember if I had some friends amongst the Protestants, but as I had spoken and written against them all my life, I had not a single friend there. I saw that I was left all alone to fight the battle. It was too much, and in that terrible hour, if God had not wrought a miracle, I should not have been able to bear it: it seemed impossible for me to go out from that room into the cold world, where I should not find a single hand to shake my hand, or a single smiling face to look upon me, but where I should see only those looking upon me as a traitor.

It seemed that God was far away, but He was very near. Suddenly the thought entered my mind: “You have your Gospel; read it, and you will find the light.” On my knees, and with trembling hand, I opened the book. Not I, but God opened it, for my eyes fell on 1 Cor. 7:23: “Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men.”

With these words the light came to me, and for the first time I saw the great mystery of salvation, as much as man can see it. I said to myself, “Jesus has bought me; then, if Jesus has bought me, He has saved me; I am saved! Jesus is my God! All the works of God are perfect! I am, then, perfectly saved – Jesus could not save me by half. I am saved in the blood of the Lamb; I am saved by the death of Jesus.” And these words were so sweet to me that I felt unspeakable joy, as if the fountains of life were open and floods of new light were flowing in upon my soul. I said to myself, “I am not saved, as I thought, by going to Mary; I am not saved by purgatory, or by indulgences, confessions or penances. I am saved by Jesus alone!” And all the false doctrines of Rome went away from my mind as falls a tower which is struck at the base.

I then felt such a joy, such a peace, that the angels of God could not be more happy than I was. The blood of the Lamb was flowing on my poor guilty soul. With a loud cry of joy I said, “Oh! dear Jesus, I feel it, I know it; Thou hast saved me! Oh! Gift of God, I accept Thee! Take my heart and keep it forever Thine. Gift of God, abide in me to make me pure and strong; abide in me to be my way, my light, and my life; grant that I may abide in Thee now and forever! But, dear Jesus, do not save me alone; save my people; grant me to show them the Gift also! Oh! that they may accept Thee and feel rich and happy as I am now.”

It was thus I found the Light and the great mystery of our salvation, which is so simple and so beautiful, so sublime and so grand. I had opened the hands of my soul and accepted the gift. I was rich in the gift. Salvation, my friends, is a gift; you have nothing to do but to accept it, love it, and love the Giver. I pressed the Gospel to my lips, and swore I would never preach anything but Jesus.

I arrived in the midst of my colony on a Sabbath(3) morning. The whole people were exceedingly excited and ran towards me, and asked what news. When they were gathered in the church, I presented to them The Gift. I showed to them what God had presented to me. His Son Jesus as a gift – and, through Jesus, the pardon of my sins, and life eternal as a gift. Then, not knowing whether they would receive the gift or not, I said to them: “It is time for me to go away from you, my friends, I have left the Roman Catholic Church forever. I have taken the gift of Christ, but I respect you too much to impose myself on you; if you think it is better for you to follow the Pope than to follow Christ, and to invoke the name of Mary than the name of Jesus, in order to be saved, tell it to me by rising up.”

To my exceeding great surprise the whole multitude remained in their seats, filling the church with their sobs and tears. I thought some of them would tell me to go, but not one did so. And as I watched I saw a change come over them – a marvelous change, which cannot be explained in natural ways – and I said to them, with a cry of joy: “The mighty God who saved me yesterday can save you today. With me you will cross the Red Sea and go into the Promised Land. With me you will accept the great gift – you will be happy and rich in the gift. I will put the question to you in another way. If you think it is better for you to follow Christ than the Pope, to invoke the name of Jesus alone than the name of Mary, that it is better to put your trust only in the blood of the Lamb shed on the Cross for your sins, than in the fabulous purgatory of Rome after your death to be saved; and if you think it is better for you to have me preach to you the pure Gospel of Christ, than to have a priest preach to you the doctrines of Rome, tell it to me by rising up – I am your man!”

And all, without a single exception, rose to their feet, and, with tears, asked me to remain with them. The Gift, the great, the unspeakable Gift had, for the first time, come before their eyes in its beauty; they had found it precious; they had accepted it; and no words can tell you the joy of that multitude(4). Like myself they felt rich and happy in the Gift. The names of one thousand souls, I believe, were written in the Book of Life that day. Six months later we were two thousand converts; a year later we were about four thousand! And now we are nearly twenty-five thousand who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The news spread quickly all over America, and even in France and England – that Chiniquy, the best known priest of Canada, had left the Church of Rome, at the head of a noble band of men. And wherever it was said, the name of Jesus was blessed, and I hope you will bless the merciful and adorable Saviour today with me, when it is my privilege to have told you what He has done for my soul.

Pray for the Roman Catholics of America and everywhere, that I may be the instrument of the mercies of God toward them; that they may all receive, with you, the unspeakable Gift; may love and glorify the Gift during the few days of our pilgrimage here, and throughout all eternity. Amen.





ENDNOTES:


1. Chiniquy does not mean that this “voice” was an audible one, but that it was as if a voice was speaking in his heart and conscience.

2. This was a poor choice of words, for God, the sovereign God, does not “try” to do anything; what He purposes to do, He always does.

3. By “Sabbath” he meant Sunday, for he believed that the first day of the week was the “Christian Sabbath.”

    1. Note the difference between this and the modern-day “altar calls” (so-called): Chiniquy did not ask that multitude to rise up and repeat a “sinner’s prayer” like parrots, he merely asked them to rise to indicate that they desired to reject Romanism and to hear the true Gospel preached to them. It was a heaven-sent revival, and multitudes repented of their sins and received Christ by faith that day; but the work was of God, not man.


Charles Chiniquy (1809-1899) was for twenty-five years a priest of Rome in Canada and the United States, who became a minister of the Gospel after his conversion and departure from Romanism. After his conversion he toured England several times and this particular narrative of his life was first given in London. He wrote his classic autobiography and refutation of Romanism, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, as well as the wonderful account of his life after leaving Romanism, Forty Years in the Church of Christ. He narrowly escaped death on many occasions at the hands of fanatical Roman Catholics. He also wrote an exposure of the diabolical Romish confessional, The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional. He lived to his ninetieth year.



The Gospel means the glad tidings, or good news; and truly, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is “good tidings of great joy” (Luke 2:10), the greatest news ever heard on earth: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”! (1 Timothy 1:15). And “He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him”! (Hebrews 7:25).

All men and women are sinners, and sin is a terrible thing: it is the transgression of the perfect and holy law of God, and it has separated all mankind from God. Those who die in their sins suffer the torments of eternal fire. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13,14). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is that strait gate, and narrow way, that leads to life! “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” Jesus said; “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

If you, then, are asking, “What must I do to be saved from my sins?” here is the answer: “Repent”! (Acts 2:38); and, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Forsake your sin, repent of it, turn from it, and believe, with all your heart, in Jesus Christ! To believe in Him is to cast yourself upon Him, by faith, for salvation. He is the Son of the living God, holy, harmless, undefiled, sinless, the only Lord and Saviour. He died on a cross, He was crucified, not for His own sins – for He had none of His own – but for the sins of His chosen people, those given to Him by His heavenly Father to save, paying the penalty for sin in their place, shedding His blood to redeem them. And after dying in their place, the wrath of God being poured out upon Him, having satisfied the justice of God and having put away the sins of those He died for by the sacrifice of Himself, He rose from the dead, victorious over death, sin, and Satan; and He gives eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. Eternal life cannot be earned, and it cannot be bought; it is the gift of God through Jesus Christ the Lord. He alone is the One who can save the soul and set the spiritual captive free! Forsake your sin, forsake the false religion of Rome and all other false religion, turn to the Lord by faith, and be saved!

Shaun Willcock

Bible Based Ministries


Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other pamphlets (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, news articles, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website, or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, please send your details.

If you have repented of your sins and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, or if you would like to know more about Him, His Gospel, and the true Christian life, please contact us.

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Used by Permission.






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Testimony of a former Roman Catholic

By CM


Preface


I'm a former roman catholic now for 17 years and can surely testify about the lies I was taught as a roman catholic, comfortable and appealing lies. Hard for those not raised catholic to grasp how anybody with common sense can really place any faith in the traditions and rituals of Rome, but I'll tell you, Tracy, the average roman catholic is downright ignorant about the roots of Catholicism and what it teaches in writing, not to mention biblically ignorant! I say that charitably but honestly, it's just plain willful ignorance and laziness and refusal to move from that comfort zone.

My own family is still primarily catholic, and I've shown them time and again factual secular writing (and catholic writing) and history about their beloved catholic church that doesn't even faze them; they just refuse to believe the truth and sputter and get mad... Myth and tradition have a terrible hold on people, and God help you when you attempt to get through that to show someone the truth.


Her Testimony


I'd say I had a "normal" catholic middle-class upbringing and family. I'm 45 now and the oldest of three, and we all attended parochial school. My folks were hardworking good people, not overly involved in church activities per se but in church on Sundays and holy days, and I was blessed with a happy comfortable childhood. I vividly remember my first communion and confirmation ceremonies, the May processions in honor of "our lady", my Girl Scout troop (where we worked on our "Marian award," a special project for Catholic Girl Scouts - don't know if that still exists!), etc. I truly have nothing but good memories of my years all through grade school. Our parish was building a new church building, and we had a beautiful big pipe organ, and I loved being in the choir and like most other little catholic girls went through a phase of wanting one day to be a nun. Back then I never questioned what we were taught and happily accepted what the younger nuns would tell us about this new pope John (this was back in the early 60's) and all the "new changes" he was bringing about in the catholic church. I remember what a big deal it was when the mass went from Latin to English and the priest began to face the people. In particular, I remember being so fond of a little nun who would tell us about "our lady's" childhood and read to us about her from a book (more about this later).

I know now I lived in a closed world, really, in a basically catholic town and suburban neighborhood where everybody we knew and associated with believed the same way so that I never had much exposure to different ways of living or thinking (and certainly never once heard a single testimony from a real Christian in all those years!)

This began to change for me when it came time to go to high school. My folks had both gone to a business/trade high school and had instilled in us kids the desire to "get ahead" by working hard and getting more of a practical education, so unlike most of my grade school classmates who went to the suburban catholic high school, I attended the aforementioned high school where my folks went. I still went to mass on Sundays and holy days and to the CCD classes once a week (for catholic teens not attending catholic high school). I began to meet kids who had had different upbringings and for the first time found out that not everybody was catholic (but strangely enough also had "good morals"!) I should say I was never afraid to think for myself (despite the fact that I knew the catholic church would prefer we Catholics not read those books not having the catholic "imprimatur") and was a voracious reader and liked to write and keep a journal,

I started to get antsy at mass on Sundays, wondering why in the world the different priests I would listen to never seemed to have much of a lesson to teach in their sermons, and it seemed strange to me that most priests I ever heard would not even teach much about catholic doctrine but would tell football stories or make jokes (I was always more on the serious side, and this really bothered me). Once I learned to drive, I began to visit different catholic churches on Sunday, hoping to find a priest who had more of a message, one who would stick to one topic and teach me something as I was sure not getting much from the rest of the mass and could not seem to "feel" the way I used to as a kid. My high school years passed this way as did my early 20's - I'd find a mass nearly every Sunday or holy day and attempt to "feel holy" during the service, pray the rosary and long litanies to "our lady" and other saints, give money to the church, do volunteer activities but was always hungry for something more substantial and that made sense, some straight answers. I'd talked to a nice older priest I admired, but he seemed embarrassed when I'd asked him questions about hell or other topics and would more or less pat me on the head and tell me not to be so serious, that I was a good person and just to continue doing what I was doing.

One Sunday (16 years ago now) I got brave and walked into a little independent Baptist church. By this time, on my own, I had collected some different bibles but had not truly read much from them. I had enough sense to walk into that church with one of these bibles (don't remember if it was my King James version I had that day) and for the first time, I heard a man in a pulpit who spoke with authority and who had a book open in front of him. I was so impressed with this, the fact that everybody in the church had the same book and could follow along as he read and expounded on the verses, and I thought this was wonderful. It made so much sense to me. When he asked if there was anyone there who had never really asked Jesus to be their personal Saviour, I had no trouble walking down that aisle, I just knew I was hearing what I'd been hoping to hear for years and that I was in the right place.

I began to get more even more serious about what I read and couldn't get enough of my King James. One of the first things I remember doing was trying to find that story about "our lady's" childhood and being puzzled about why there wasn't much in my bible about Mary. I remember being shocked that Jesus had half-brothers and sisters and that there was nothing in my bible about Mary ascending into heaven! I was given some of Matthew Henry's commentaries and also began to read more secular and factual history, what an eye opener. I got a hold of Hislop's "Two Babylons," and that one really changed my way of thinking about roman Catholicism and its origins, especially regarding the mother and child depictions, sheer paganism! Oh, and I also found a little book that I believe my favorite nun had read from concerning "our lady's" childhood in the public library one day a few years ago (sorry, can't remember the name of this one, but it was obviously not bible!)

For me, one of the saddest things the catholic church has done and still does is to make Mary something she is not and to take the focus off our Saviour. I recently tried once again to witness to an old friend of mine, a very devout elderly catholic who has a special devotion to "our lady." She also remembers the stories we were told as kids about Mary's supposed childhood and got furious with me when I told here those stories were nowhere in the bible. So you see where a great deal of difficulty lies, that people would rather hang on to their happy childhood stories and memories and traditions than to hear, read and understand the plain literal truth of the Holy Bible, and how hard it is to tear people away from their love of entertainment and passivity.

My prayer is that those of us who have been saved by His grace out of the whore of Babylon can learn to witness effectively to those still caught up in the old stories and myths of Catholicism.


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WORSHIPPING MARY—THE SIN OF SUPERSTITION

A whirlwind of memories came flooding through my mind when I saw the above illustration taken from My Catholic Faith. I was conditioned, at a very early age, to believe that I had to go through Mary to get to Jesus. I can remember kneeling and praying before her image, singing songs that praised Mary as "Queen of Heaven", and watching movies like "The Song of Bernadette" and "The Lady of Fatima".


This worship of Mary continued into my adulthood. I can remember when my first born son had a very high fever, I was so afraid he would die that I went begging Mary on hand and knee. I confessed she was the Mother of Jesus and, understanding what being a mother was all about, I cried, saying, "Please Mary, ask God to let my baby live". When my son lived, I truly worshipped Mary.


Yet for all these things, if a Christian confronts a Catholic on his/her worshipping of Mary, the reply is always the same: "We don't worship her! We just give her honor that is due her as the Mother of God." But is this true? I practiced Catholicism for 30 years and I can, from experience, tell you that we prayed to her, through her, by her and for her as taught by the Roman hierarchy.


Yet the Bible tells me: hat all things are "by him [Jesus], and for him" (Col.1:16), "...of him, and through him and to him" (Rom.11:36).
Acts 4:12 clearly states: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is but one name under heaven given among men whereby we MUST be saved.”
NONE OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN GIVEN AMONG MEN, WHEREBY WE MUST BE SAVE So why worship Mary? How did Jesus' offer to "Come to me..." (Jn.7:37) turn into "Go to Mary"? In the same book, "My Catholic Faith", on page 204 we read: "WHEN DOES A PERSON SIN BY SUPERSTITION? - A person sins by superstition when he attributes to a creature a power that belongs to God alone."

Catholicism has admitted by her own writings that it is a sin to attribute to a creature a power that belongs to God alone. Now we know that God possess the following attributes:

Omnipotent (all-powerful)
Omni-present (everywhere)
Omniscient (all-knowing),
"To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." (Isa.40:25)
We know that the angels are not Omni-present as God is. Notice that after Daniel prayed, the angel sent by God was detained: "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief 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" (Dan.10:13-14). (Emphasis mine)

When the Lord asked Satan: "Where comest thou?", Satan answered, "From going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it."

This Scripture verifies that even Satan is not Omni-present. Psalms 139 speaks of the Omni-presence of the Lord. "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there." (v.7-8)

Elijah, knowing that only God is Omni-present, mocked those who called on Baal saying,

"...Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked."

Their reaction? The prophets of Baal cried even louder and cut themselves "till blood gushed out", but still "there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded." (I Kings 18:20-40)

God and God alone is Omni-present. God, and God alone, is the only one who can dwell in every man's heart because He alone is everywhere. Therefore, when we call upon the Lord, we know He hears us. He is even at our hearts knocking at the door. (Rev.3:20) God alone can read the hearts of men and know their intent (Rev.2:23, Jer.17:10)

But what about Mary? Isn't she omni-present? After all, you have millions of prayers a second being offered to her. People in Mexico, Russia, Europe, America, and all over the world, are praying the Rosary, asking Mary to be there at the hour of their death, asking her to guide them, help them, teach them, secure for them eternal redemption (something a Catholic believes that even Jesus did not do) and imploring her to come dwell in their hearts as though she were able to fulfill all these requests! A Catholic may deny that Mary is a god, but by asking all these things of her, she would have to be God to do them. She has powers and capabilities that even the pagan gods of Greece, Rome and Egypt did not possess, yet men called them gods.

Keeping this is mind, I would like to share with you some of my Catholic memories, and let our Christian readers decide if the Church of Rome has committed the "sin of superstition" (as they interpreted it - by attributing to a creature a power that belongs to God alone).

The following song, "Daily, Daily Sing to Mary", I learned in 2nd grade. It was one of my favorites, and as a child, I sang it with all my heart.

"Daily, daily sing to Mary Sing, my soul, her praises due;

All her feasts, her actions worship, With the heart's devotion true.

She is mighty to deliver; Call her, trust her lovingly;

When the tempest rages round thee, She will calm the troubled sea.

Gifts of heaven she has given, Noble Lady, to our race;

She the Queen who decks her subject, With the light of God's own grace." (Baltimore Catechism No.1, 63)

If Roman Catholics do not worship Mary, then why does line three say to worship her? Take in consideration that in Rev.19:10, it says, "And I fell at his feet to worship him [the angel of God], And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God:"

Would the Catholic Church have me believe that Mary would accept what the angel of God rejected? Mary was a Hebrew woman who was acquainted with the book of Psalms 89:9 which says, "Thou [God] rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them". But, she is now presented as telling the Catholic people that SHE can calm the troubled sea!

When Jesus calmed the raging sea, the disciples said, "What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mary is not God to command the sea, Jesus is. Line 8 of this song, above, says, "Gifts of heaven she has given" which for a Catholic means that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces! This is truly the spirit of idolatry, for by "ONE SPIRIT" we have access to the Father, not two! (Eph.2:18, 4:4, I Cor.12:13)

As you may recall from the debate, the Catholic Church teaches that all graces flow through Mary; therefore, she is present in all the sacraments. That means, if a Christian attends mass or prays with a Catholic, he must join with the spirit of idolatry, who claims to be able to give the grace that God alone can give. Now we have Mary taking the place of the Holy Spirit! What blasphemy!

What more proof do we need that the Roman church has given to Mary the attributes that belong to God alone? Even Archbishop Paul Hallinan, in 1964 said that devotions and prayers to Mary were so exaggerated that they were a "blasphemy to the Son, an embarrassment to the memory of the mother and a pathetic deviation".

There is a Catholic organization called "Legion of Mary" which has an "Apostolic Blessing" from Pope John XXIII, and from Pope Pius XI, "We give a very special blessing to this beautiful and holy work - the Legion of Mary." On page 225 of their book, "Legion of Mary", we read:

"Put thy feet into her fetters, and thy neck into her chains. Bow down thy shoulder and bear her; and be not grieved with her bonds. Come to her with all thy mind; and keep her ways with all thy power...Then shall her fetters be a strong defence for thee, and a firm foundation, and her chain a robe of glory. For in her is the beauty of life: and her bonds are a healthful binding. - Ecclesiasticus vi, 25-31, applied to Our Lady by the Church. Applicable by Legionaries to the Legion system and especially to the meetings."

But, Jesus says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden [to overburden with ceremony] and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." (Matt.11:28-30)

A Catholic reading this quote from Legion of Mary would find nothing offensive, but a Christian’s mind would be flooded with Scriptures rebuking such powers as belonging to anyone but God. A Christian would believe that he should go to God, for God Himself has said:

"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" (Deut.4:7)

But a Catholic doesn't have the confidence to approach God, so he depends on Mary to mediate for him. I remember when the nuns would tell us that Mary could get for us what God refused to give us. In one book, Catherine Laboure and the Modern Apparitions of Our Lady, page 237, Mary's apparition at LaSalette is reported to have said, "'Ah, if you knew what it costs me to withhold his avenging arm.' It is costly; she must sometimes plead, but in the end she always prevails."

Again, does the Catholic Church expect us to believe that Mary is more just than God? If God refused me something in His divine wisdom and perfect will, could Mary override His decision and attain for me a more just or superior course of action? That's exactly what St. Alphonso Liguori says in Glories of Mary, page 149-150. Mary is "more prompt to answer than God or Christ". This blasphemous statement means that the Catholic considers God and Jesus Christ to be less than perfect! They can make mistakes, and need Mary present to set them straight!

Job 4:17-20 says: "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly: How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?...Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?"

I have barely touched the surface of the attributes of God that Romanism has unabashedly given to Mary. They go so far as to call her the following names that should belong to God or His Kingdom alone:

* "Ark of the Covenant
* Seat of wisdom
* Morning star
* The burning bush
* Jacob's ladder
* Benefactress
* Advocate
* Helper
* Guide
* Foundation of the Church
* Sign of hope
* Restorer of life
* Majestic cloud that led Israel


Many of our Christian readers are undoubtedly shocked at the unwarranted usurpation of our Lord’s titles. We suggest that the next time you’re by a Catholic bookstore, stop in and thumb through a few books on Mary. We’re sure you’ll be able to find even better examples of titles and attributes blasphemously misappropriated to an unscriptural Mary by the Catholic hierarchy.

The Scriptures use marriage to liken our relationship to Jesus (Eph.5:23-32), telling us we are espoused to "one husband" (2 Cor.11:2) I understand this, having had one husband for almost 25 years. Our relationship is based on intimacy shared in confidence. I would not go to my husband’s mother to ask her to speak to him for me. I am close enough to go to him myself.

I read in Legio Mariae, on page 158, "What, Mary not know in advance?" Quite a deceiving statement in light of Luke 2:48, where Mary sought Jesus for three days "sorrowing". If she had foreknowledge, then why did she sorrow? Didn’t she know that, since it was the Passover, Jesus was only going to be missing for three days to foreshadow His own death? Why didn’t she know she would find him in the temple going "...about the Fathers business?" (Lk.2:41-50)

For my Catholic readers, I would like to leave you with one final thought concerning God: "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee."

by Rebecca A. Sexton


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TESTIMONY OF A FORMER CATHOLIC

FALSE PROPHET”

by Diane M. Wachtel



2 Peter 2:1: "BUT THERE WERE FALSE PROPHETS ALSO AMONG THE PEOPLE, EVEN AS THERE SHALL BE FALSE TEACHERS AMONG YOU, WHO PRIVILY SHALL BRING IN DAMNABLE HERESIES, EVEN DENYING THE LORD THAT BOUGHT THEM, AND BRINGING UPON THEMSELVES SWIFT DESTRUCTION." (Emphasis mine)
This month, let's take a closer look at the above Scripture. The words "privily shall bring in" are actually one word in the Greek. It describes the method by which false doctrines are smuggled into the church and why. The Greek word is "pareisago" which is a three-fold word that begins with the preposition "para", which means "alongside". False teaching, therefore, runs alongside true teaching. It is a very clever deception because it seems so close to the truth. The next part of "pareisago" is "eis" which means "into". This infers that false prophets would bring their false teachings alongside (para) true doctrine and thus gaining access into (eis) the body of Christ. The last part of the word is "ago" which translates into "to lead". This describes the Satanic purpose. To lead the flock astray. As Henri-Frederic Amiel said, "Error is more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains. Take for example, the Catholicism that is being portrayed by Mr. Sungenis, Mr. Madrid, etc...with one breath, we hear that they believe all the Councils and teachings of Rome, and with their next breath they speak of joining with their brothers and sisters the Muslims, Jews, and of course, all of us Christians. Yet I have documentations where the Church of Rome called the Muslims their number one enemy and then in Vatican II, the Muslims are our number one brother. Mr. Madrid and Mr. Sungenis, joined the “Church” as adults. They were raised something other than Catholic and do not understand where true Catholics are coming from. They were not born and raised and educated in the Catholic Church. They do not know what it is like to have nuns and priests teaching you 6 days a week, 8 hours a day. They did not experience being a young child forced to go to confession every week, having to make up things to confess. And where were they when we were little kids being forbidden to eat meat on Fridays and told to kneel for hours before a statue of Mary? Mr. Madrid, Sungenis, Matatics, etc. can use terms like "evangelical, saved, sanctification, born-again", but any honest Catholic will tell you - we were NEVER taught such things. These are foreign terms to most Catholics. We never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ! In place of going to Jesus Christ, our only Mediator, for forgiveness of sins, boldly approaching the throne of grace - we were taught to fear God's wrath and run to the priest and confess all and do penance and then we could be forgiven...hopefully. But I want to be fair. Mr. Madrid stated that he believes all the Councils and their declarations, so lets look at some. For our readers unfamiliar with the term "anathema", it means to be "accursed".

"If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing more than confidence in Divine Mercy, which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

Well, Mr. Madrid, believe that if you wish, but Romans 4:5 tells us, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

"If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification let him be anathema." (Council of Trent)

"Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham." (Gal.3:6-9) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom.10:9) "Therefore by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin...Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom.3:20,27) "For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom.6:23)

Another interesting doctrine that came out of the council of Trent on Nov.11, 1563, was their view on celibacy and marriage. Remember, these are the doctrines that Mr. Madrid admittedly holds.

"If anyone says the married state is to be place above the state of virginity or of celibacy and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity and celibacy than to be united in matrimony, let him be anathema."

This is one reason why the Catholics maintain that Mary remained a virgin even after she conceived and bore Jesus. If she remained a virgin, she was more blessed than if she honored the marriage bed. Of course this also keeps the Catholic hierarchy at an advantage, since they are "holier than thou", because they remained celibate. Since when does marriage make a man or woman less holy? Heb.13:4 says,

"Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled". Growing up with nuns and priests, I can say from experience that we were taught that they were holy people who served God and we were never to question their integrity or actions. Is it any wonder that so many of the children who have been abused by priests waited till they were adults to confront their attacker? Though the "new" Catholics are promoting "unity" and use terms that sound biblical, the truth is their tactics are as old as Satan. Every evil leader has used the same method.

“The art of leadership...consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention...The leader of genius must have the ability to make different opponents appear as if they belonged to one category” (Mein Kampf, Adolph Hitler).

Just as Hitler did, the Catholic Church is using the pro-life issue to join forces with the “Christians”. They seem to be saying “if we just forget our differences and join together...we can overcome this great evil...” but we must not forget who it is that we are joining with!

“You say, ‘We want unity.’ Oh really? What kind of unity? ‘We want all the churches to get together.’ Oh really? You mean in error, in confusion, in heresy? That is, dear friends, the ecumenical movement of our hour, in which all the great denominations and all the great church leaders are becoming more and more unified. In what? In compromise and theological error; and this is the ultimate horror” (Human Races, a message delivered at Indian Hills Community Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, Fall of 1984).

They seem to be under the delusion that we have no memory. But we do remember. We remember the blood of the saints that cry out from the pages of history. Those who died rather than be forced into Catholicism. We remember the doctrines we were taught. We remember the Words of our Lord ringing clear:

"Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues." (Matt.10:16-17)

The false prophets are in the midst. Beware. They will bring in false doctrines that runs alongside true doctrine to get into the body of Christ and lead individuals astray as Jude 4 says, "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation..."

The only armor and weapon we have to war against such devils (spiritual wickedness in high places) are given to us in Ephesians 6:10-20:

"...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; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel...."

The Catholic church teaches and preaches another Christ, another gospel than that found in God's Holy Word. (2 Cor.11:1-4) The Church of Rome has not changed their doctrines, only their methods in covering up the true facts of what they still follow by using Protestant terms. My heart cries out for the millions of lost souls who are imbedded in her false religion. We have been called out of bondage. John 8:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Jesus said, "Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt.11:28) The Greek word for "heavy laden" is "phortizo", which means "to overburden with ceremony (or spiritual anxiety)". If you are trapped in any religion that tells you salvation can be earned in any way, you need to enter into Christ's rest. Trust in Him. Rom.10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Please call on Him today. Do not listen to any church, any man...hear ye the Word of the Lord and be saved!

by Diane M. Wachtel





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TESTIMONY OF A TYPICAL ROMAN CATHOLIC

The TESTIMONY OF A FORMER NUN

By Sandy Hooper sjhooper@bellsouth.net



"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen..." Colossians 2:18

"Why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body..." The apostle Paul, Colossians 2:20-23


I come from a family of eight children (a much later addition made it nine). From early childhood we were made to attend church every Sunday. My earliest memories take me back to the time when I would make my first communion. I can remember being very excited, because I too can now have the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ just like the grown-ups. I can remember Sister Peter having us children practice with those little round candies to show us how we were to accept Jesus into our mouths. We had to be careful, because we did not want Him to fall on the floor. I was under the impression that would be a grave sin.

When it was time to make Confirmation, I was excited about this too. I had learned in the Catholic school that Confirmation was necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. Through this special occasion I would be more bound to the Church and enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. I realized I would be sealed with the Holy Spirit as the Bishop would anoint me with oil.

ABUSED BY A MAN CALLED "ANOTHER CHRIST"

My mother told me I would have to see the priest at the church in order to get my confirmation lessons to understand it more fully. I was to go each Saturday morning to see him. However, the subject of Confirmation I did not learn. This priest was sexually molesting me. I was shocked because I had never had anything like this happen before. I was scared. Since good Catholics were suppose to obey their priests, for they are in higher authority, I submitted though I was frightened. Each Saturday I had to go face this priest and didn't dare tell a soul what was happening. This lasted for about six to seven weeks.

THE CONVENT

But in spite of what I went through, I still kept going to church and learned all the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church. We had Catechism each week and learned what was necessary in this life and to make it to heaven. When I was about 16, I wanted to enter the Convent. There was only one problem. I didn't finish high school. I had just quit that summer. Most of the orders required that a girl have her diploma. But I finally found one that didn't require it. The order was the Sisters of St. Martha. At the time they were located at La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts. I wrote to the sisters and told them I wish to be a nun. She wrote back and wanted to know why. My simple answer was, " I wanted to serve the Lord."

I was to meet Sister Germaine, the Mistress of Novices at the Shrine. After my interview she decided I could enter. My mother was not very happy about losing her daughter, but my father was very proud there was going to be a nun in the family. I had learned my father always wanted to be a priest.

I can remember my mother coming short of tears as she saw me board the bus leaving for La Salette Shrine in Enfield, New Hampshire. I waved good bye as the bus departed.

I had learned the Sisters of St. Martha was a domestic order. The Seminary itself was a school for high school boys . The Priests and the Brothers took care of these boys and their education. On the other hand, the Sisters prepared their meals, three times a day. On Saturdays? That was laundry day. We had to do the laundry for the Priests and Brothers, besides our own. The following is a schedule I adhered to while in the convent.

VOLUNTARY HUMILITY

At 5:15 in the morning the bell would ring to wake us. We had fifteen minutes to get washed and dressed. At 5:30 we had to be down in the chapel for morning prayers. This consisted of reciting certain sections of the Psalms. One group would read about three verses, then the other half would read three verses. At 5:45 we would go back to our bedrooms. Between 5:45 and 6:00 a.m., the priest would hear confessions before he did the Mass in our chapel. One by one each nun would take their turn.

Mass would be over about 6:30 and we would make our way to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for everyone. By 8:30 a.m. we would start preparing for lunch, and the time for silence would begin at 10:00 a.m until the lunch meal was served. We were forbidden to talk. We were to concentrate on God. If I had any questions, I had to whisper to the cook. It wasn't long before I learned how to use sign language.

The sisters had their own dining room. Before we could have our meal, we all had to stand by our assigned seats. Every day each nun would have her turn reading a section from the "Imitation of Christ." Then we would say grace, and thank God we could then talk!

By the time the meals and dishes were done, it would be about 2 to 2:30 in the afternoon; from there we would say the rosary together. Whatever time was left after that, we got to rest in our rooms. At 3 p.m. it was time for Vespers and then to the kitchen again preparing for dinner. All would be over with about 6:30 p.m. and it was back to the convent. We were allowed to watch T.V., but were only allowed to watch certain programs. That was "Hogan's Hero's" and "The Waltons". After the Walton's, myself (Postulant), and the two Novices, along with the Mistress of Novices had to spend an hour together in the basement for quality time. My quality time consisted of playing pool with the two Novices, Sister Joan and Sister Judy, while the Mistress of Novices did sewing or whatever needed to be done. At 10 p.m. the lights had to be out. On Saturdays? As I said, that was laundry day and Sunday was a day for rest. This was my schedule.

NEVER HAD TO READ THE BIBLE

When I had those quiet times in my room, I remember one time trying to read the Bible but found it very boring. I was in the convent for almost two years and I can only remember picking up that Bible that one time. We never read the Bible together outside what we had to do for morning prayers when reciting the Psalms, but even that wasn't in the Bible. The Psalms were in a book by itself. We did a lot of praying to the saints when we didn't have our time in the basement. We would often make Novenas and kneel by the statute when doing so. People would ask for prayer, and that is how we did it.

LEAVING THE CONVENT

I began to question myself of why I was there. I can remember thinking, "Do I want to do this for the rest of my life?" But something happened that made me very angry and sad. Sister Judy was told she could not make her final vows. Needless to say, she was very broken hearted. She cried and I cried too.

Sister Judy got to go home and visit her family before she had to leave the convent for good. During this time, while working in the kitchen, I couldn't help but cry. The head cook wanted to know what was wrong. I told her it wasn't fair that Sister Judy couldn't serve the Lord. But she smiled and said, "Well, many are called, but few are chosen." That statement hit me like a ton of bricks. I got angry with God. If God loved us so much, why would He not let someone serve Him? Later, Sister Judy told me why she couldn't make her final vows. It was due to an illness she had as a child.

It wasn't long after Sister Judy left, I left too. I couldn't see going all the way to making my final vows for something that didn't make sense to me. "Many are called, but few are chosen," rang in my ears for a long time. I considered myself as one of those who was not chosen for this kind of life.

STILL IN ROMANISH CHAINS

However, I did not leave the Catholic Church. I prayed my rosary still, prayed to Mary for help, and continued to go to church. I was still searching and wanted something deeper with God. I had an emptiness that kept going further and further down. There were times I felt like I had to climb up just to reach bottom. I kept going to the La Salette Shrine in Massachusetts. I would say my rosaries there. I felt like I was closer to God there. There were times I would look at the statue and ask, "Mary, why don't you show yourself to me? I need you." I would often look up in the sky trying to find her. Maybe, just maybe, she would appear to me. I would crawl up the stairs on my knees while saying the rosary, praying, and hoping that the pain I was enduring would help me to heaven. [Editor's note: this self-inflicted pain is called penance in Romanism. Some even beat themselves until the blood flows to show sorrow for sin instead of calling on the Lord.] After all, who belongs to God unless you are willing to suffer physical discomfort? I must prove I am worthy. I must pray my way and suffer in order to get to heaven. I didn't want to go to purgatory, but heaven.

I would often go to La Salette, but I will never forget the last time I was there. It was in the evening and they were having a prayer service. I stood at the door staring because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I saw the priest laying hands on people and they were passing out cold on the floor. The music was beautiful, but I didn't understand what was happening. I stood there for a long time observing when a nun began to walk by me. I stopped her and asked what was happening. She said, "They are experiencing the slaying of the Holy Spirit." She didn't explain, she continued on. I decided I would walk up and get prayer too. I remember the priest laying his hands on my head. I closed my eyes and listened to him pray. I felt like God was touching my head. I felt peaceful. At that I was on the floor myself. I didn't lose consciousness, but yet I couldn't move. Finally I was able to get up. I went home that night not knowing what exactly happened to me.

DEPRESSION SETS IN

Time went on and the depression was getting worse. There were two times I attempted suicide but failed. I was still empty and still climbing and reaching nothing. I decided that maybe if I moved out of the state of Rhode Island, that would help. I traveled all the way to...California but only lasted two days in a hotel room. Then I thought about my mother. At that I was headed for [her mother's].

CHARISMATIC MASS

When I was settled...I began looking for a church. I found "Our Lady Of Lourdes" and attended the evening Mass. It was similar to what I experienced at the La Salette Shrine. These people were on fire for the Lord. I found out they called it a Charismatic Mass. However, the one thing that impressed me at the time was when it was time to give each other the sign of peace. I was shocked. The priest got off the altar and started shaking hands with the people. I never saw a priest leave the altar during a Mass.

I also noticed the music ministry and liked their music. After the Mass I went up and asked if I could practice with them since I played the guitar. They told me they met on Friday evenings, but it was a prayer meeting. One of the men gave me the address and I was there the following Friday. Everybody was so friendly. They were also ready to start their prayer meeting. I noticed they started speaking in different languages, or at least that is what I thought it was. I didn't know, but figured it had to do something with their faith. It was very strange to me. I thought I got myself in a house with a bunch of koo koo's, but here I found myself staying because I needed something.

HEARING THE GOSPEL

After the meeting one of the sons took me in the back room to explain Jesus to me. I thought to myself, "What is this guy going to tell me what I don't already know? After all, I've been in the convent, and there is nothing new he is going to tell me." But he started talking about Jesus and he talked about Him as if He were real. He talked as if he knew him personally. I wanted that! He gave me the gospel message. He asked me if I wanted to receive Jesus, and I said yes. We went right into the living room and he had me sit in the chair in the middle of the room and everybody surrounded me and started to lay their hands on me. It was there I accepted and confessed Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.

However, I didn't feel any different. But I do remember going home that night and as I walked in, my mom was watching television. I could remember the awful feeling I got from what she was watching. It had never bothered me before, but his time it was like I could see the darkness in the program. I said nothing but went straight into my bedroom. I began to read my Bible. It was then it was not the same. As I read, the words seem to come off the pages. It wasn't boring like it was in the convent.

A few weeks later I was baptized in [a] pool. The prayer meetings were large for this small house, but we managed. It was during one of these meetings I was now about to experience the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I can remember standing with the others singing a worship song. It was at the end of this song I began to feel this tingling sensation in my feet. It worked its way to my ankles, then my knees, belly, neck, and finally my head. When I went to say "Thank you Jesus," nothing came out but another language. I realized I had gotten the gift of tongues (more on this later). I looked around to see if anybody was watching me. I was kind of embarrassed. I was also confused. I knew what I had was the gift of tongues, but I began to doubt. I approached Mr. Walsh at the end of the meeting and told him of my fears. He gave me a book to read on tongues which explained why we shouldn't doubt it. I was also led to another book "The Holy Spirit and You." I believe it was by a Rita Bennett and her husband. I read these books and they fascinated me. From there on I began to read everything I could concerning the Holy Spirit, but as I think back, I read everything except what the Bible had to say about it. I realize now the word of God was not"rightly divided."

FALSE DOCTRINE & CONFUSION

We continued to have our Bible studies, but I never searched the Scriptures to see if what they were teaching was true or not. I assumed they knew what they were talking about and I needed them to learn. Little did I know I was getting a lot of false doctrine.

As we had these prayer meetings, we also continued to attend Mass at Our Lady of Lourdes. There was a problem beginning. After the Charismatic Mass a whole crowd of us would meet in the next hall for our Sunday prayer meetings. However, there began disputes about Catholic doctrine and the Bible. The question of Mary came up, confession, praying to the saints, etc. The order from the priest was set forth. If there were any who didn't agree with the Catholic church, they had to leave. He was not going to allow division. So some left, but I stayed. Those who met at the [leaders] all left and started their own church. I was going to their service in the mornings, and went to the Charismatic Mass in the evening each Sunday. I was too afraid to leave. To leave the Catholic church would be inviting myself to hell for all eternity. Salvation, I learned as a little girl, was through the Catholic church. It was a sin to step inside another. It was for these reasons I didn't want to leave the Church, but I also didn't want to lose the other friends I had made. But as far as I was concerned, I was safe attending their services for they were held outside at Tomoka Park. Finally, my conscious began to bother me and I stopped it all together, even the Friday prayer meetings. I stayed faithful to the Church.

It was nearing the year 1984 when I decided to move....I got involved with a group that was not Catholic, but part of the Vineyard movement. I soon left that because it seemed to controlling in personal matters. It was not too long after I found myself involved with the Lamb Of God Community. This was another Charismatic group and mainly Catholic.

I had met my husband before I joined the Lamb of God. Father Joe was one of its leaders, but I heard they had certain rules for dating. Tom and I were engaged before we joined. If you were engaged before you joined, you were fine. Tom and I were married in a Catholic Church by Father Joe on November 30, 1985.

Lamb of God was associated with the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were many things going on at that time, and division started taking place.

We were informed that there was a split at the Word of God Community. The co-founders, Ralph Martin and Steve Clark had a parting of the ways. We, in turn, had a split here in the Lamb of God Community. It concerned excessive control over its members, which I agree. We were "encouraged" a certain way to dress, what roles we played in the family as who took out the trash, cut the lawn etc., the matters concerning faithful attendance to the meetings, authority, etc. My husband and I found ourselves not going to the meetings anymore. We never talked about it much, we just didn't go.

WANDERINGS

After the first three babies were born, we were still attending church on Sundays. I have four children and all of them got baptized into the Catholic church. But church attendance also began to fade in the background. We got to the point where we didn't attend church at all.

In 1991 I received a computer as a gift by my brother-in-law. I began to learn how to use it and then found myself writing to other people in Bible conferences. I conversed with a number of Jehovah Witnesses. I tried to prove Jesus is God and so forth. The messages seemed endless. I wasn't getting through to them, but the whole activity was getting me involved in studying the Bible for myself. I would wake up very early in the mornings typing away at the computer trying to prove different things from the Bible to tell my Jehovah Witness friends.

Then there began a need to get back in church. I was feeling empty like I had before. I missed all the fellowship I had at one time. However, after studying the Bible for a while I noticed certain things of the Catholic doctrine that did not line up with the Bible. It concerned the Lord's body and blood, eternal security, and the church. Though I knew I needed to find a church, I had made up my mind that I would not go back to the Catholic church knowing what I knew now where it concerned the Lord's body and blood. Why should I believe in something that profits nothing? Where it concerns the Lord's body, we never hear John 6:63 read before communion, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:"

STRUGGLING WITH ROMAN BLASPHEMIES

The Church doctrine and the Bible were in conflict and I struggled and asked many questions. How many times do we need to be saved? If I receive Jesus Christ at communion time, what happens to Him during the week that I have to go back and receive Him again? And why should I drink blood when blood is forbidden before the Law (Genesis 9:4); Under the law (Lev. 17:14); and in New Testament times (Acts 15:29; 21:25)? The Bible says Blood is off limits, we are to abstain from blood, but in the Catholic church we are to drink it!

I never admitted I didn't really believe the Eucharist was actually the body and blood of Christ, for if I did, I knew I would be condemned to hell by the curse pronounced by the Roman Catholic church. But I praise God now, because I know no curse will keep me out of heaven.

I told my husband I was going to start going to church again, but also let him know I would not go back to the Catholic church. I was still a little uncertain though. I thought to myself, "What if the Catholic church is really right and I'm wrong." In the back of my mind, eternal security was always the question. In the Catholic Church you had salvation through the sacraments, but even that wasn't a sure thing. Purgatory always lingered over my head. I didn't want to suffer in purgatory and wait for the prayers to get me out. For that matter, the Catholic church has yet to say how many prayers are needed to get one out of purgatory. However, what if I were wrong about all this? I don't know, but I took my chances, I left for good.

It so happened I found a Baptist Church. I thought to myself this church would really be something if these people could only be baptized in the Holy Spirit and experience tongues like I had and practiced. But regardless of what I thought they lacked, these people were joyful even without the so-called baptism of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatic terms.

REALIZED SATAN TAMPERING WITH THE WORD OF GOD

Now, I shall share what happened from there when I discovered what was happening to God's word. I'm not talking about the "Incarnate Word," Jesus Christ, but His "words." I shall excerpt one of my own writings to explain:

"My husband had a visit from an old friend whom he hadn't seen in years, along with his wife. At the time of their visit they were both in a drug treatment program to kick the habit. During the course of the evening I began to witness to the couple. During this time I had pulled out at least 6 to 8 different versions of the Bible. The husband stopped me in the middle of a conversation and asked me, Which Bible is the true Bible?' His questioned stumped me. The question made such an impact on me that I began to wonder myself! From then on that question stayed with me.

This incident took place in the early part of November of 1995. It was several weeks before this time I had decided to leave the Catholic church. I had been a Christian for 20 years and had remained in the Catholic Church all that time. Something was missing in my life and I couldn't pin-point the problem other than that I missed Christian fellowship. I missed the fellowship like I had when I lived in Florida. Down there I was very involved in the Charismatic movement (Don't worry, the Bible straightened me out on the tongues business).

It was near the end of summer of 1995 when I started attending a Baptist Church, and it was the end of November I decided to join. New members were required to take membership classes which took place in the Pastor's office each Sunday. About the third Sunday of my visit I noticed a book on his desk. I asked him if I could borrow the book. It was titled, New Age Bible Versions,' by Dr. G.A. Riplinger. That night I started to read her book and was brought to tears just after reading the first two chapters as I saw what was happening with God's words. About a week or two before I borrowed that book, I had purchased for the first time in my life a King James Bible, therefore, I was able to compare the versions as I read her book."

It was from here when my life was actually changed concerning the Bible, the Catholic church, Catholic doctrine, the so-called Baptism of the Holy Spirit, tongues and so forth.

When I compared these versions, I did notice how these other bibles lined up with the Roman Catholic bible. No wonder I was still in confusion! In these modern bibles, salvation is shown as a "process" which requires good works. All this is brought out by the straining of the tenses in the modern bibles. Let me show you exactly what I mean. When you read the following, please do notice the straining of the tenses:

  • Luke 13:23 (new versions), "Are there few who are being saved?" KJV, "...be saved."

  • II Cor. 2:15 (new versions), "are being saved." KJV, "are saved."

  • I Cor. 1:18 (new versions), "those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved" KJV, ...are saved."

  • Acts 15:19 (new versions) "are turning to God." KJV, "turned."

  • Luke 15:32 (new versions), "your brother was dead and has begun to live." KJV, "is alive."

  • Acts 2:47 (new versions), "were being saved." KJV, "should be saved."

  • 2 Cor. 4:3 (new versions), "are perishing." KJV, "are lost."

With all the unnatural straining of the tenses, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, no wonder I didn't know if I was truly saved!

AUTHORIZED KING JAMES IS GOD'S BOOK

From there the King James Bible became the final authority in my life. In that Book I knew I would get the truth. It straightened me out on a lot of doctrines concerning tongues, baptism of the Holy Spirit, eternal security, about heaven and hell, the saints, purgatory, and many other things. When I used these other bibles, they led me nowhere but in confusion and frustration. Doctrines such as the Deity was hard to prove to a Jehovah's Witness. Now I know why! I don't have that problem any more with a King James Bible. I've had Mormons at my door and Jehovah's Witnesses, and when I get the King James out, all of a sudden every body gets Greekitis. I tell them I don't know Greek, and therefore there's not a lot of sense going through it. But there's one thing I do know and have, and that is the Holy Bible. I don't have to apologize to anyone for having the truth in my hands. It's either believe it or reject it. No need to turn to man's teachings, the Catholic church, traditions, the Greek, Another Testament, or other bibles to disprove the LIVING ONE.

FREE AT LAST!

I know a person can't be born again twice, but that's what it seems to me. My eyes have been opened. I no longer walk in darkness. I no longer hang by the rules of the Roman Catholic church. When I began to study from the King James Bible, I saw how the Roman Catholic church is really an enemy to God's word. When reading from the true word of God, God will also give us back our common sense. For instance, let me share with you the following concerning Original sin. As a Catholic, we were taught we needed baptism to free us from sin. But yet the Roman Catholic church does not believe that chapters 1-3 of Genesis is real history. What they have actually done is call Jesus a liar.

Jesus Christ quotes Genesis 2 and 3 as a strict, straight history. "And Jesus answered them, For the hardness of your heart he (Moses) wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female" (Mark 10:5-6). Jesus also quotes Moses verbatim from Genesis 2:24 (Mark 10:7-8). Jesus said, "Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words" (John 5:45-47).

If Jesus were here in the flesh, He would say the same thing to the Catholic Church who tells me Genesis 1-3 is not straight history. They have made Jesus a liar. Genesis tells how the world began (Gen. 1), how human beings began (Gen. 2), how they fell (Gen. 3).

And this is what I mean by common sense. The Roman Catholic church fails to remind us that between chapters 1-3, is the fall of man. Here is where Original sin began! If the Roman Catholic church does not believe Genesis 1-3 is not real history, then why, from A.D. 500 to 1997, were all those babies baptized for!!!?

And what about the saints whom we were taught to pray? Every good Catholic should read his Bible. The Bible says that God puts no trust in His saints (Job 15:15). "Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints;"

If God doesn't put any trust in His saints, why should I?

And what about Blessed Sinless Mary? The Bible says, For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This means Mary too! Even Mary herself knew she needed a Saviour and went through purification for sins as the Jewish law required. Mary said herself, "And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour." (Luke 1:47).

Mary needed purification from sin, "And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.....and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22,24).

The fact is, Mary is a Jewish woman following the Law handed down to Moses. Read Leviticus 12 my friend. Mary, a sinner, had to make a "sin-offering" (see Lev. 12:8). We must ask ourselves, why does the Roman Catholic church insist she was sinless when the Bible says she was not? Mary had to make a sin offering, and they were so poor they were not even able to offer the required sacrifice for Mary's cleansing as all females were to do in obedience to the law. Mary was so poor she and Joseph could not bring the required LAMB for sacrifice (see Lev. 12:8 again). They could only offer a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons (Luke 2:24). However, Mary didn't need the lamb, she held Him in her arms! She had the Lamb who could save her from her sins! A Saviour her heart rejoiced in!

The Catholic Mary no way resembles the Jewish Mary of the Bible. Even in the days of Jesus people tried to elevate Mary in a position that was not her's. "And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." (Luke 11:27). But Jesus immediately corrected the woman and said, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28).

Jesus was way ahead of the Roman Catholic Church. We are not to sway from the word of God and put our trust in Mary or the saints, but in Jesus Christ Himself.

I could cry when I think of all the years I have wasted and abiding by these false doctrines. If only I had known sooner. But I thank God I have come at least this far. The truth certainly has freed me indeed! Put your trust in Jesus Christ and His infallible word. With those words in your hands, the Holy Spirit shall lead you and guide you into all truth.

As of this moment, I have four children (ages 9, 8, 6 and 4), homeschool, and attend a King James Bible Believing Church... I pray the Lord will use me with the little time we have left before the Rapture.

KNOW JESUS FOR YOURSELF

May you find peace and eternal life by inviting Jesus Christ into your life. Don't let anything stop you from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and enjoying eternal life with Him. God gave His only begotten Son for you. Christ died on the cross for you. He shed His blood for you and me. Oh, what love! We deserved the death Jesus endured for us on the cross, but He paid the price for sin and said, "It is finished." He rose again the third day conquering death.

Nobody has to work for salvation. It is finished! Sacraments will not save us. The saints cannot help us, and Mary cannot be our mediator. There is only one mediator, and that is Jesus Christ, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5). Obey Jesus. Hear the word of God and keep it (Luke 11:28). The word of God tells us, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9)

The Roman Catholic Church had me doing just the opposite, works. Sacraments, saints, purgatory, and traditions do not save. Jesus Christ saves! It is a gift and a gift is not a gift until it is received. And if anybody says you can lose your salvation, then again, they choose to call Jesus a liar, but you shall know better. You turn them to John 10:28. For Jesus said about those to whom He gives eternal life, "and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." You may walk out on God, but God doesn't go back on His promises. What He said is true! Once you are saved, you are saved forever. His hand is bigger than your faith or lack of it. Don't depend on your feelings, stand on the promise of God.

"But as many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." John 1:12.





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THE CONVERSION OF A CATHOLIC PRIEST

Bartholomew F. Brewer, PHD

More Catholic Than Rome

Millions—perhaps the majority—of Roman Catholics are Catholic by name, by culture, or by inertia. Our family, however, was Roman Catholic by conviction. We understood and practiced the teachings of our religion. We believed it to be the “one true church” founded by Jesus Christ. Because of this, we accepted without question everything our priests taught. In those days before Vatican II, the common belief was that “outside the Roman Catholic Church there is no salvation.” This brought us a feeling of security, of being right. We were somehow safe in the arms of “holy mother church.”

From the time my father died (I was almost ten), my mother attended daily mass, not missing even one day for over twenty-four years. Our family faithfully recited the rosary every evening. We were encouraged to make regular visits to the “blessed sacrament.” In addition to the teaching at home, all of our schooling was Roman Catholic. Monsignor Hubert Cartwright and the other priests at our home parish, the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, used to say that our family was more Catholic than Rome.

It is no wonder that as I approached high school age, I felt called to prepare for the Roman Catholic priesthood. Rather than the secular priesthood, which serves parishes, I chose to apply to the Discalced Carmelites, one of the more strict and ancient monastic orders.

From the first day at Holy Hill, Wisconsin, I loved the religious life, and this love was the motivation I needed to get through all the Latin and other studies, which I found very difficult. The dedication and self-sacrifice of the priests who taught our classes was a continual reminder of the value of making any sacrifice to reach the goal of ordination.

The training I received in four years of the high school seminary, two years in the novitiate, three years of philosophy, and four years of theology (the last after ordination) was thorough. I was sincere in practicing the various mortifications and other disciplines and never once doubted my calling nor anything I was taught. Taking the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience represented my lifetime commitment to God. For me, the voice of the church was the voice of God.

My ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood was at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception of Mary in Washington, D. C., the seventh largest church in the world today. When “His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bishop” John M. McNamara imposed his hands on my head and repeated the words from Psalm 110:4, “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” —I was awed with the belief that I was now a mediator between God and the people. The anointing and binding of my hands with special cloths signified that they were now consecrated to change bread and wine into the real (literal) flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, to perpetuate the sacrifice of Calvary through the mass, and to dispense saving grace through the other Roman Catholic sacraments of baptism, confession,—marriage, and the last rites. The other two sacraments of confirmation and holy orders require a bishop. At ordination a Roman Catholic priest is said to receive an “indelible” mark: to experience an unending interchange of his personality with that of Christ, that he may perform high priestly duties as “another Christ” (alter Christus) or in the place of Christ. People actually knelt and kissed our newly consecrated hands, so sincere was this belief.

After completing the last year of theology, which was principally a final preparation for preaching and hearing confession (which involves giving absolution or forgiveness of sin), I was granted my long-expressed desire to be a missionary priest in the Philippines.

 

The Beginnings Of Doubt

 

The change from a regimented, monastic life to the simplicity and freedom of missionary life provided a challenge for which I had not been prepared. I loved traveling to some of the eighty or more primitive barrios assigned to our parish and I also cherished teaching my religion class at the Carmelite high school in our small town. Until then my life had been almost exclusively among men. I enjoyed watching the girls giggle as they flirted with teasing boys. After a while, though, my attention was drawn to one of the more diligent students, who thoroughly captivated my interest. This young lady was mature beyond her years because of the responsibilities that had fallen to her after her mother had died. She was lovely and shyly responded as we stole moments talking alone after class. This was a new adventure, and I soon interpreted our newly discovered affection as love.

It is not surprising that soon the bishop learned of this, though he was many miles away, and he quickly returned me to the States before any serious relationship could develop. The embarrassment of this discipline was difficult for both of us, but life always moves on.

After the adventure and freedom in the Philippines, I had no motivation to return to monastic living, so the Father Provincial granted permission for me to work at a Discalced Carmelite parish in Arizona. I enjoyed my responsibilities in that parish, but my next assignment was not so fulfilling. Soon I applied for and was granted a dispensation from Rome to leave the Carmelite order to serve as a secular (diocesan) priest. While serving a large parish in San Diego, California, I received permission to enter the United States Navy as a Roman Catholic Chaplain. There new goals, rank, and travel served as an escape from what had gradually become a sterile parochial life of ritualism and sacramentalism.

My religious life broadened quickly as I mixed with non-Catholic chaplains. For the first time, I was living outside my Roman Catholic culture. Amid the ecumenical atmosphere I gradually became neutralized. Then as Vatican II opened the windows of rigid tradition to let in fresh air, I took in a deep and delightfully refreshing breath. Change was in. Some wanted it to be radical, others wanted only a little modernization.

For many, the Roman Catholic faith was failing to give answers to common modern-day problems. Many felt alienated and misunderstood. This was especially true of priests. With all the change, the priesthood was losing its glamour. No longer was the priest’s education considered far superior to that of the parishioner. No longer was the priest cultured above the majority of his people. To experience an identity crisis was more common among priests than any were willing to acknowledge, even among the chaplains.

At first I was scandalized to realize that some of the Catholic chaplains were actually dating. I listened with interest as some openly discussed the impractical nature of mandatory celibacy. Soon I also gained the courage to question the authorities of our church who persisted in retaining such traditions-especially when the law of celibacy was the source of so many moral problems among priests. For the first time in my life, I doubted the authority of my religion, not because of intellectual pride, but in conscience, in true sincerity.

As students for the priesthood, we were well informed regarding the ancient tradition that binds the Roman Catholic priests to celibacy. We well knew that the few granted permission from the Vatican to marry may never again function as priests. But times were changing. Questions never before voiced were being raised at the Vatican Council in Rome. Many thought that priests with wives could, as the Protestants did, bring greater sensitivity and understanding to marital and family issues. Discussions about such things were commonplace whenever priests got together—even as they visited the apartment that Mother and I shared together off base.

The Authority Of Scripture

Mother was not shy in joining the discussions. She was a well-informed and intelligent person, and I greatly valued her opinions. I recall how appalled she was that evolution was being taught in Catholic schools and that Rome had established dialogue with the communists. She had long been disturbed over some of the conflicts she had observed between principles taught in Scripture and the lack of principles among many of our religious leaders. Many years before, Monsignor Cartwright had comforted Mother with the reminder that though there were many problems in our church, Jesus promised that “the gates of hell would not prevail against it.” Mother always expressed a tremendous respect for the Bible. Though she read it faithfully through the years, she was now becoming an avid student of Scripture. As I observed a general liberal trend among my colleagues, Mother was leaning in another direction. It was a mystery to me. While others discussed desires to see relaxation and loosing of traditional rules and rituals, Mother expressed her desire to see a more Biblical emphasis in the church—more attention to the spiritual aspects of life, and a greater emphasis on Jesus, even a personal relationship with Him.

At first I didn’t understand, but gradually I observed a wonderful change in Mother. Her influence helped me realize the importance of the Bible in determining what we believe. We often discussed subjects such as the primacy of Peter, papal infallibility, the priesthood, infant baptism, confession, the mass, purgatory, the immaculate conception of Mary, and the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven. In time I realized that not only are these beliefs not in the Bible, they are actually contrary to the clear teaching of the Scripture. Finally the barrier against having personal convictions was broken. There was no doubt in my mind about the Biblical view on these subjects, but what effect would all this have on my life as a priest?


Making The Break


I truly believed that God had called me to serve Him. An ethical dilemma was staring me in the face. What was I to do? Yes, there were priests who did not believe all the dogmas of Rome. Yes there were priests who secretly had wives and families. Yes, I could remain a Catholic Chaplain and continue serving without voicing my disagreements. I could continue receiving the pay and the privileges of military rank. I could continue receiving the allotment and other benefits for my mother. There were many reasons to stay, both professional and material, but to do so would have been hypocritical and unethical. From my youth I always tried to do right, and that is what I choose to do now.

Though my bishop had recently granted approval for me to pursue twenty years in the military, I resigned after only four. Mother and I simply and quietly moved near my brother, Paul, and his wife in the San Francisco Bay area. Shortly before we moved, Mother cut her ties with Roman Catholicism by being baptized in a Seventh-day Adventist church. I knew she had been studying the Bible with one of their workers, but she did not tell me about the baptism until I had already decided to leave the priesthood.

The decision to leave was anything but easy. Rome’s claim that there are no objective or subjective reasons for leaving “the one true church” was something to be carefully considered. Traditional Catholics would still consider me to be a “Judas priest,” “damned, excommunicated, and to be avoided.” Yes, there were many difficulties involved in leaving the security of the Roman Catholic fold, but I have found that Jesus never fails.

After shaking the Roman Catholic dust off my shoes, I faced a momentous issue: Where is ultimate authority? Through the process of elimination, I gradually concluded that the Bible is the only authority that cannot be shaken. Many systems, including Roman Catholicism, have attempted without success to undermine its sufficiency, its efficiency, its perfection, even that it was not written merely by the will of men but holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (II Peter 1:21). Oh, happy day when all who name the name of Jesus Christ understand that the Bible is the only source of authority that doesn’t change! It is the final authority because of its complete identification with its unchanging Author. God has communicated clearly. It is tragic that Romanism and most of traditional Protestantism, as well as many Pentecostals and other groups, reject Biblical sufficiency. They choose rather to trust questionable traditions, visions, apparitions, or prophecies. Not only are these unsubstantiated as being “of God,” but many contradict clear Biblical teaching. No one can accept these extra-Biblical revelations without degrading the authority of Scripture. II Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

Perhaps the reason that many regard the Bible as insufficient is that they have not thoroughly studied it. My transcripts from thirteen years of formal study in the Discalced Carmelite Order show that I had only twelve semester hours of Bible—all from text books. This alone is evidence that Scripture is not the basis of Roman Catholic teaching.

After leaving Roman Catholicism I wanted to study the Bible. I was a “church-oriented” person, not being opposed to joining another denomination. After investigating some of the Protestant churches, I sadly concluded that in their ecumenical folly they were Romeward bound at the expense of Biblical truth. Viewing the smorgasbord of churches can be discouraging and even dangerous for the former Catholic in his search for truth.

Meeting Mother’s Adventist friends, however, was a delight. They were enthusiastic about their faith, and their love of the Scriptures echoed my desire to study the Bible. This resulted in a somewhat premature decision to join the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. The pastor who baptized me arranged for the Southern California Conference to send me to seminary at Andrews University for a year.

 

Salvation At Last!

 

While making plans for a year of study, I met Ruth. I had been hoping and praying to find a wife for about a year. From the first time Ruth visited our church, I knew she would be my life’s companion. We were married shortly before leaving for the seminary. She was a convert to Adventism, and like everyone else, had assumed that since I wanted to enter the seminary, I was born again.

Realizing that I never mentioned anything about being “born again,” one day my wife asked me, “Bart, when did you become a Christian?” My unbelievable reply was, “I was born a Christian!” In the conversations that transpired, she tried to help me understand that man, being born in sin, at some point must recognize the need of a Saviour and be born again spiritually by trusting only in Jesus Christ to save him from the consequences of sin. When I responded that I had always believed in God, she observed that according to James 2:19, “the devils also believe.”

In time, because of these conversations and because of classes in Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, I finally understood that I had been relying on my own righteousness and religious efforts and not upon the completed and sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Roman Catholic religion had never taught me that our own righteousness is fleshly and not acceptable to God, nor did it teach that we need only to trust in His righteousness. He already did everything that needs to be done on our behalf. Then one day during chapel, the Holy Spirit convicted me of my need to repent and receive the “gift” of God.

During all those years of monastic life I had relied on the sacraments of Rome to give me grace, to save me, but now by God’s grace I was born spiritually: I was saved. Being ignorant of God’s righteousness, like the Jew of Paul’s day, I had gone about establishing my own righteousness, not submitting to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:2-3).

I do not know who you are or what your relationship with God may be, but I ask you the most important question of life: Are you a Biblical Christian? Are you trusting only in the completed sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of all your sin? If not, why not settle it right now? As in a simple wedding ceremony, promise Him your love, your devotion, your trust. Receiving Jesus as Saviour is not something you do as a religious ritual, it is a one-time commitment of your life to Him for the forgiveness of all your sin. The very moment you do that, Jesus Christ takes up a vital position in your being, and you receive eternal life. After that, you will change. The Bible says, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

Near the end of my fourth year as an Adventist, I was influenced by several church members to attend some charismatic meetings. They said that the Holy Spirit was breaking down the denominational barriers in the last days before the return of Christ. Wanting all that God has for me, I went into a prayer room to receive the “gift of tongues.” I was somewhat leery of it all, especially since I didn’t experience the feelings that so many described. I did privately practice tongues, but I could not get myself to recruit others into the movement. It was far more important to me to move people to study the Bible, to bring people to trust Christ, and to live by Scriptural principles. My major interest in the charismatic movement was the concern for others it seemed to inspire. This, along with the spontaneity and zeal, impressed me as exemplifying a Biblical lifestyle which seemed to be missing in many churches.

 

Leaving Again

 

Not long after I was ordained as a Seventh-day Adventist minister, the Southern California Conference had a special promotion for the writings of Ellen G. White, one of the founders of Adventism and one whom the Adventists believe to be a prophetess. Ruth and I found the series of pastors’ seminars very helpful and informative until the last one. The lecturer was from the General Conference in Washington, D. C., and some of his statements were highly disturbing. The one that became a turning point in my life was that the writings of Ellen G. White are “equally inspired as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Disturbed, I counseled with a highly respected leader but could in no way reconcile this in my conscience. I had already begun to feel spiritually shackled in Adventism because of its legalism and exclusivism, but this, in my opinion, was adding to Scripture. When I chose not to begin the series called the “Testimony Countdown” in our church, several members protested. Within a few days I realized, in conscience, that I could no longer continue as an Adventist minister. Had it not been for the encouragement and help of several non-Adventist ministerial friends the transition would have been much more difficult.

During the next four years, I pastored two churches and grew rapidly in the knowledge of the Bible and realized the difficulty of dealing with people not under an authoritarian system. I also had many opportunities to give my testimony. I was convinced that God had “counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,” but not as a pastor.

 

A Mission To Catholics

 

I prayerfully and deliberately decided to return to San Diego, where I once served as a parish priest. Aware that Vatican II had brought many Roman Catholics confusion and disillusionment, I felt led to begin a ministry to help them in the transition from the Catholic denomination. Before long, the Lord opened doors to speak. People wanted to know the name of the ministry. Our answer was that it was like a mission to Catholics.

As Ruth and I grew spiritually, we were convinced of the ecumenical nature of the charismatic movement and we left it. About that same time, we met some Biblical Fundamentalists who believed and faithfully practiced the principles of the Bible. Though we have many friends in independent Bible churches, we joined a Fundamental Baptist church, in which I was also ordained.

Mission To Catholics International was incorporated and granted non-profit status. Since that time millions of tracts, books and tapes have been distributed exposing the contradictions between Roman Catholicism and the Bible and presenting Biblical salvation. A monthly newsletter is sent to contributors. The Lord has allowed us a bit of radio and television exposure and we are pleased that my autobiography, Pilgrimage From Rome, has been published and is receiving an excellent acceptance in English, Spanish, and Polish. We have held meetings and taken literature into many foreign countries, and mail-orders are sent out from our home office in San Diego. Meetings keep us busy traveling throughout both the U.S.A. and other countries. A School of Roman Catholic Evangelism provides intense training of pastors, missionaries and key workers who desire to establish specialized ministries for effectively reaching the Roman Catholic community through their churches. Ex-Catholics are also encouraged to attend (especially ex-priests and ex-nuns, so that they may be prepared to minister within Biblical Fundamentalism).

At Mission To Catholics we are convinced that it is not love to withhold the truth from those in darkness. Roman Catholics need to be challenged to think about what they believe and to study the Bible, comparing their religion with the truth of Scripture. Only then can they experience the freedom and light of God’s truth. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free: (John 8:32).



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Former Catholic Priest

Describes Horrors of Catholic Monastic Life

Priest released from Hellish monasticism!

by Herman Hegger, a Former Priest
 

"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen..." -Colossians 2:18

"Why...are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body..."

The apostle Paul, Colossians 2:20-23

LIGHT AND LIFE IN CHRIST

(Born in Holland and saved by God's grace in Brazil, Herman has authored about 25 books since his conversion. The ministry that he founded called "In the Straight Street" has been a solid witness to Biblical truth and a resource for those inquiring about Catholicism. In 1996 he published "God's Commandment is Love" and the "Army of the Light." His best seller in Holland is: "Mother Church I Accuse You!" He may be contacted at telephone number: 01131- 26-361-5215 or you may write to him in Dutch, English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese or Italian. His address is: Dillenburglaan 8, 6881 NV VELP Holland).
 

MY EFFORTS IN THE MONASTERY

During my childhood I often heard it said that one of the best ways to escape from eternal hell was to enter a monastery. I decided to follow that advice. Monastic life is meant to cultivate strong will power and make one capable of controlling all passions and lusts. In my monastery, various forms of bodily torture were employed to achieve such will power. We scourged ourselves several times a week, lashing our naked bodies with knotted cords. Despite the great pain, we were told that if we could endure such whipping calmly, we would receive strength to resist every kind of sensual and sexual urge. We were also told that by scourging ourselves we could atone for sins we had already committed and so shorten future punishment in Purgatory. Around our waists, thighs and arms we wore penitence chains on which were spikes which dug into our flesh. There were also many other kinds of "bodily chastisement."

Along with self-inflicted punishments, we had other kinds of humbling exercises designed to extinguish our pride and vanity. In one of these routines a priest had to lie on the floor across a doorway so that other priests would tread on him as they went by. Whenever I did this I felt like a worm upon which people trod, but I thought that God must be very pleased with me for such a voluntary self-humiliation.

The worst humiliation included licking an area of the floor clean with our tongues. Doing this made me feel like an animal, like a pig wallowing in the mire or a dog sniffing around. Sometimes I even felt like an insect creeping in the dust.

But however I punished and humiliated myself, I could not detect any change or improvement in my character or behavior. I only discovered that my weak and sinful nature was very much alive. For example, when I licked the floor clean with my tongue, it was just then that the strongest feelings of vanity and pride rose up in me. What a wonderful chap you are, I would think. What will power you must have. You inflict such painful humiliations upon yourself. How wonderful! I realized that by these absurd practises I was only inflating myself with pride. The monastery is a sublime effort that is doomed to fail. Why? Because the priest or monk takes his sinful nature along with him into the cell.
 

MY ATTEMPT TO REACH GOD BY MYSTICISM

During the novitiate years, in addition to our attempt to gain the victory over the body with its passions by means of asceticism, we also applied ourselves to the practice of prayer. This was called the cultivation of the spiritual, or inner, life. Its purpose was to bring about an increasing intensity in our uninterrupted contact with God, Jesus Christ and Mary. Our highest goal was the attainment of true mysticism.

During my novitiate I never experienced this desired mysticism. Consequently I thought the practice of prayer very difficult. We were shown a few methods to pass the time of meditation well. In the evenings, pious reflections on our Lord's passion written by one author or another were read aloud to us. We were to ask questions such as the following: Who is suffering? What does He suffer? Why? For whom? The answers to these questions were intended to induce acts of repentance of for our sins and acts of faith, hope, and love, as we were to make up our minds to lead better lives.

Usually I was prompt with the answers to these questions, and then my imagination wandered away out of the chapel. Also, I thought the reflections of Roman Catholic authors upon Christ's suffering quite poor. They were thoughts that had been worked out by men who had colored and molded them in conformity to their own emotional life. They never could hold my attention for long.

One day in 1940 the idea occurred to me: Why not take the Bible? In it you will not find the thoughts of men, but of God Himself. Our monastic rules, however, required us to listen to what was being read to us during meditations. We were not to read the Bible on those occasions unless granted permission. That permission was given me.
 

MY PROVISIONAL USE OF THE BIBLE

From that time everything became quite different. Meditation no longer caused me mental fatigue as before. I began to enjoy it; the very thought that I now had to do with the infallible Word of God made me happy. I knew I entered holy ground. My imagination would lovingly rejoice in the biblical text. I would turn it about again and again, and tremble before the blazing fire of God's presence in its sentences. And I would be profoundly moved by the love of the Father Who bent over me in His words. I preferred above all else to meditate on the story of the Passion. Every sentence revealed something of the greatness of the suffering soul of Jesus. He rose before me in His glory, His mercy, His purity, and His peace.

Jesus was no longer a coldly intellectual idea, no longer the effeminate and characterless doll at which for so long I had been obliged to look in countless pictures. There was now a bond between Him and me, between soul and soul -- 0h yes, between two souls, but not yet between two persons. That was to be later on, when I knew Jesus through the pure Gospel as my personal, perfect and only Savior.
 

I HAD NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

What remains as the chief obstruction to this kind of personal union is the doctrine of the possible forfeiture of grace. While I was lost in the loving contemplation of the triune God, or of Jesus Christ, the thought suddenly would assail me from another quarter: But this same God, this same Jesus Christ, with Whom you now know you are in the closest union, may perhaps one day reject you, saying, "Get thee hence, damned soul, into the everlasting fire!" To be sure, I knew this condemnation would be of my deserving on account of my sins. And the very possibility of God and myself hating each other eternally disturbed my pure relation to Him.
 

I TRY TO RELATE TO MARY

Another obstacle to perfect love of Christ is the worship of Mary. According to Roman Catholic doctrine, devotion to Mary is the best means for bringing about perseverance. A child of Mary will never be lost. This assertion is repeated continually from the pulpit. And the implication is that anyone who is not a true child of Mary runs the great risk of being consigned to Hell.

In spite of all my efforts, I never succeeded in developing great affection for Mary. To me, she remained a creature, a woman, although exalted and ";blessed among women." But I was unable to detect anything divine in her. I failed to place her in my life. My prayers to her were always somewhat restrained. I could not be silently immersed in her. Yet this failure on my part to develop a profound devotion to Mary greatly troubled me.

When in my meditation I surrendered wholly to the contemplation of Jesus Christ, it would suddenly occur to me that I rarely prayed to Mary. I therefore feared that one-day I would be separated forever from Jesus Christ. Then turning nervously to the Mediatrix of all grace, I implored her to save me from eternal damnation. And when I thought that I had paid enough attention to her, I returned at once to Christ, to the Christ as He had revealed Himself in the Holy Word of God.

Later I sought to discover something divine in Mary. I thought I could find in her the eternal, passive, pristine basis of things, and the feminine, receptive, productive principle manifest in the entire creation, in contrast to the masculine, active and creative principle. Thus I hoped to establish a kind of mystic bond with her which might facilitate my prayer to her. But this search led me into a sea of paganism.
 

MY BIGGEST PROBLEM:
ROME'S CLAIM TO HAVE THE FINAL WORD

Another stumbling block to perfect communion with Christ was the doctrine declaring that the pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church are the highest and the ultimate source of the knowledge of God's revelation. Whichever way one views it, this doctrine reduces the Bible to a second-rate book in Roman Catholic eyes. No papal admonitions to believers to read their Bibles often can alter that fact. A Roman Catholic, therefore, never can devote himself fully to meditating upon the Bible. The deeper meanings of the divine Word, which he is convinced he must infer from it, are always surrounded by a multitude of questions. If the Church has made some pronouncements on the matter, the Catholic must relinquish his own conviction as to what the Scriptures say and conform to the view of the Church. It would be more consistent, therefore, with the Church's position if the pronouncements of Popes and councils were given to Roman Catholic people for more careful consideration. But this would create a problem in that these pronouncements are often very abstract and scholarly. They cannot bear comparison with the living Word of God. They embody a dry, doctrinal scheme. Besides, though such pronouncements are held to be infallible, they are not the Word of God Himself, even according to Rome.

They remain human utterances, although Rome claims that through the Holy Spirit, they contain no error! The result is that these pronouncements lack the direct appeal that the Bible has. It is not God Who speaks to man directly in them. They remain merely the interpretation of the divine Word, even in Rome's eyes.
 

THE BIBLE IN THE SHADOW OF ROME.

Thus the Roman Catholic Church labors under the ambiguity of a Bible that cannot give any certainty and the pronouncements of the Church which lack life. It exhorts its members to read the Bible, though such reading can lead to nothing. The Bible never can have the central and prominent position which it has with Biblical Christians. Sustained propaganda may be conducive to a temporary revival of Bible reading among Roman Catholics, but in the long run it will subside. Who will continue to read a second-rate book which cannot give absolute certainty, and do so day after day and year after year? Besides, it is a book that brings along with it the risk of doubting the doctrines of one's own Church, which doubt amounts to a capital sin and might spell eternal damnation.

All these difficulties were met and overcome by the Biblical doctrines of salvation by "grace only" through "faith only" on the authority of the "Bible only"--the teaching of the Reformation. This is the reason that the Reformed doctrine is excellently suited to make possible the genuine revival of the soul of man. Man is saved through faith only -- faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior.


TRUE SPIRITUAL UNION

Union with God is in its essence dependence on the Totally-Other; it is an interpersonal relationship. Nature based search cannot be true union, even though it experiences the Totally-Other behind the changing phenomena. A naturalist perceives something of the beautiful divine garment, and may point out God's footprints in the creation. He may attain to a certain kind of ecstasy, an exodus from the narrow limits of his little self. He may break through the oppressive earthly forms and enter the realm of the incorruptible behind the form of this world. Panoramas of goodness, truth and beauty may be disclosed to him. But he cannot grasp the essence of true union, namely the personal bond with God, even though theoretically he makes confession of the existence of a personal God, the Creator of the universe, who is not to be identified with it but remains apart from it. A naturalist has no experience of true communion with God. There is the question of an absolute bond with the living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

True union is not merely a feeling of dependence on the creator; it also implies a sense of dependence on the grace of God. Thus the ring of union with God is made whole. In the awareness of one's creatureliness, his arms reach out to Heaven, his soul yearns for the multicolored light of God, it kneels down in adoration and worship of the majesty of the Eternal, the Limitless; it experiences the innate urge towards the Eternal, the Timeless. But it does not feel the embracing arms of the Father. Sooner or later it is bound to feel at least an uneasy flutter of the heart as it senses the vacuum below. Then the soul has an inkling of the gaping darkness beneath.

A human being with this creaturely awareness may long be ignorant of any feeling of sinfulness. This ignorance is due to his failure to realize that the light playing about his soul is only the reflection of the Divine Light. It is God's robe shimmering over his soul. The doctrine of "faith only," however, gives the soul perfect peace, upwards as well as downwards. According to this doctrine, man's salvation is faith --exclusively based on Jesus Christ in His propitiatory death and in His resurrection from the dead. Trust in Jesus is thus a question of to be or not to be.
 

TO BE OR NOT TO BE

My reliance on Him is my salvation. That is the reason that this faith seizes hold of my deepest being. It is something of my most intimate self. It is the predominant attitude in the whole of my existence, stirring energies within me, straining my whole person in its exclusive direction toward Jesus. Yet this straining is nothing painful, for my faith turns to the merciful love of Jesus and is comforted. Also, the downward doubt is cut off, for it is not my faith in the sincerity of my faith that saved me, but my faith in Jesus. Thus it is as though the soul were torn away from itself. It cannot fail to transcend its own being and linger in the loving contemplation of its Savior. This faith leads one to practise true mysticism; spiritual union with God.

"Grace only" -- man is saved by grace alone. He cannot earn heaven. It is God's faithfulness that saves him. "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). By these promises of the Savior, man knows he is perfectly safe in the arms of the Good Shepherd. He knows he will never fall away from the grace of God. God Himself takes our perseverance in hand. God will never relinquish the work of His own hands. There is no longer anything to disturb love; no fear of hell can darken its glow or extinguish its light.

"The Bible only" -- only the Bible is the record of the revelation of God. Here is God's revelation of Himself to man in black and white for him to scrutinize at will. It is the pure gift of God to man in search of God.
 

TRUTH THAT SETS YOU FREE

No longer may human traditions make claims upon man. It is true, in the communion of the saints -- and this is also valid for the Church, which is the communion of the saints in divine service and has been so through the centuries -- a believer may find a great many things that will lead him to a deeper understanding of the Word of God. But the Scriptures will always remain the final court of appeal and the ultimate test of the truth of any doctrine. Therefore, the believer pores over the Bible and listens to its message, praying for the illumination of the Spirit, and there the living God speaks to him and fills his soul with reverence, goodness, and joy.
 

MY PROMOTION AND DOUBTS

After seven years as a priest I was promoted to be Professor in Philosophy in a Roman Catholic Seminary in Brazil. However, serious doubts had already begun to assail me.

What did I do when such doubts arose? I never entertained them voluntarily. I refused to consider the notion that the doctrine of my Church actually might be wrong. Had I for one moment accepted the real possibility of error in the doctrine of my Church, I would at that moment have been guilty of mortal sin, according to the teaching of Rome.

This absolute prohibition against doubting or questioning the doctrine of the Roman Church is the source of her great strength. Protestants wonder how it is possible for Roman Catholic scholars to study the Scriptures without discovering the pure Gospel. The answer lies in the simple fact that the mind of the Roman Catholic is not free; it is ever under the threat of fire unquenchable should it deviate from Rome. The very instant he even considers as a genuine possibility the idea that the Reformation view of the Bible might be correct, the abyss of rejection opens at his feet. The Roman Catholic is sure that God is ready to speak the words: "Depart from me, ye cursed!"

More than once we were told that we need not be afraid when such doubts assailed our souls. I often discussed them with my spiritual adviser, but his unhesitating advice was invariably, "Your doubts are no reason for you to give up your priestly idea." According to Roman Catholic doctrine, each time one overcomes a doubt, he earns a higher station in heaven. We were advised to say a short prayer in such cases, and to try to think of something else. Later on when the doubt had subsided, we would be able to make a study of the question. But the supposition that Protestantism might be right could come only from the devil we were taught.
 

THOMASTIC DOUBTS ALLOWED

I have stated that we were forbidden to hold any real doubts about the doctrine of the Church. But it was permissible to have a methodological doubt. Such a doubt was often indulged for didactic purposes. Thomas Aquinas makes a systematic use of it in his Summa Theologica. It consists of positing the correctness of the opposite view for the time being, in order to understand it better and afterwards to refute it more effectively. The same method also is applied to discussions with non-Catholics. A Roman Catholic may pretend to believe that his opponent could be right, but that such an admission might be genuine is really impossible.
 

MY PRIESTLY DUTIES INCREASE DOUBTS

As a priest, the first power given me was the daily celebration of the Mass. While I was whispering, according to Rome, the holy words of consecration, the substances of bread and wine would change into the Body and Blood of the Lord -- a daily miracle at my hands! This doctrine of transubstantiation never fascinated me. I felt a certain reluctance to kneel before those external elements. Something in me refused to offer prayers to the Host. A God localized by the forms of bread and wine was against the grain of my deepest religious sentiments. I felt it difficult to lift up my soul to a God Who appeared to me in those dead things. I could not really discover the splendor of the glorified Savior in the Host that I was eating.

Roman Catholic authors are also aware of this difficulty. They never mention "Jesus who is in my stomach," but speak of "Jesus who rests on my heart." Involuntarily they change over in some way to a spiritualization of the formula: "This IS my body!"

And indeed, what is the point in transubstantiation? What use is it to me if Jesus ultimately lands in my stomach in the shape of bread and wine? The truly great thing is my living communion with the Savior. What good is a bodily presence in those forms? They only divert my attention from the glorious shape of my Redeemer. Jesus appears to me through His Word and Spirit. I rest on Him as He reveals Himself in His Gospel.
 

PHYSICAL PRESENCE?

The doctrine of the magical presence after transubstantiation only frightened me. I felt as if I were standing before a fire which seared me, not a glow that warmed me. There was no question of love. This was why I did not know what to say to Him. I struggled on to the obligatory thanksgiving. I became terrified by all the diversions assailing my imagination. Afterward there often remained a sense of frightening emptiness. Another difficulty for me was the involved character of the theory of transubstantiation. According to Rome, it is not really Jesus who descends body and soul onto the altar. Jesus remains in heaven. The substances of bread and wine change into the substances of the Body and the Blood of Christ. I found great difficulty in addressing Jesus in this reasoned presence. I felt it to be a hindrance when I wanted to turn to Him, for there is not much left of a real physical presence in this way.
 

SPIRITUAL PRESENCE

Most Protestant theologians teach Jesus' real presence in the Lord's Supper, but they conceive of it in a spiritual way. They do not try to unravel the mystery with cold reason. They are nonetheless certain that Jesus is with us in that supper in order to assure us of His eternal faithfulness and love by means of the signs and seals of bread and wine. Therefore, His holy supper does not frighten by the pure presence of the divine majesty; rather it fills one with a supra-mundane peace.
 

MY SECOND POWER, MORE DOUBTS

My second important function as a priest was in the administration of the sacrament of confession. Confession holds a very important place in the structure of Rome's power. To Rome it is a strategic basis of the highest importance. It emphasizes the subjection of the layman to the clergy. In the confessional, the priest is sitting in his judgment seat. The penitent is confessing his weaknesses. He divulges secrets that he would not reveal to anyone else. And it depends upon the priest as to whether or not the penitent will be absolved from his sins. The priest decides for him between heaven and hell.

I will not speak here about the Biblical grounds the Roman Catholic Church adduces in defense of the practise of auricular confession. I would only ask: Is this the "glorious liberty of the children of God?" Is this the blissful salvation of which the Bible speaks in its rapturous praise? Is this the peace proclaimed above Bethlehem? Is there anything here of the picture of the Good Shepherd Who goes to seek the lost sheep in the wilderness and carries it on His shoulders back to the fold? Are not the sheep rather kicked along the path of auricular confession to the so-called sheepfold with the threat of eternal death?
 

TRUE CONFESSION TO GOD

It is good indeed for a believer who is oppressed by the load of his guilt to seek to confess his sins to God. And there is something fine in his confessing them also to a reliable human being. It may have an elevating effect, and it may comfort him. A man may be so broken-hearted on account of a particular sin that he can hardly believe that his sins have been forgiven. He knows indeed that according to the Bible, there are no limits to the forgiving mercy of Jesus. But it may fortify him when a fellow-believer, a minister or another Christian, affirms this truth explicitly and in a very personal way: "It is for your sins, too, that Christ died." But this is quite a different kind of confession and absolution from that taught by the Roman Catholic Church. I rarely heard anyone in the confessional who had come because he was urged by the need to accuse himself. The great majority came because they had to come. It was a troublesome job which they must tackle if they wanted to escape hell.
 

I AM PRESSED BY TRUTH

At various times I read the Bible and asked myself, "Is my Church really in accord with this book?" In the Bible it is clearly stated that the only mediator between God and man is Jesus Christ, who took away the punishment of sin on Calvary's Cross. My Church, however, taught that there were several mediators, especially Mary, the "Mediatrix of all grace." I also began to doubt that God had given to the Pope infallible authority and power to interpret the Bible and that it was the duty of every Christian to accept the Pope's view. Could it be right that the Pope had absolute authority to overrule and restate the plain words of the Bible?

Since it is especially through fear that one's mind is paralyzed and one's thoughts are blurred, how can the intellect work properly if, behind it, there is the threat of deadly sin and hell and if the flames of eternal reprobation force one to a particular conclusion? Critically speaking, the conclusions of an understanding that is forced to operate in such a way are manifestly unreliable. Do what I would, I could not attain to any degree of certainty about Roman Catholic doctrine. At best, I could grant the probability of its truth, but nothing more. I should be lying to myself were I to assert anything beyond that. My subconscious now could no longer succeed in projecting an irrational conviction upon my intellectual uncertainty. I had observed too long the workings of the subconscious. I knew that my conscience would always reproach me with being guilty of self-deceit. And, holding such a view, I could no longer be called a Roman Catholic. The doctrine of my own Church drove me out.

In our textbook, Theologia Maralis, by Aertnijs Damen, XII, No. 323, I had read that a man who obstinately holds that the truths of the faith are doubtful is a downright heretic and, therefore, has lost his faith. In accordance with the adage, "Dubius in fide, infidelis est" (Anyone who doubts his faith is an infidel), I was no longer a Roman Catholic believer. I could only assert doggedly that the Church's arguments for the existence of God's revelation could establish nothing more than a probability. This doggedness did not spring from any rebellious disposition on my part, nor from pride. It was simply a matter of sincerity towards myself. I was confronted with the choice between two ways of life: I could remain a Roman Catholic and go through life as a liar; or I could remain true to my profoundest insights and leave the Church. I chose the latter course. With Luther, I could but say: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise."
 

SAND NOT ROCK WAS WHERE I HAD STOOD

It was a terrible moment when, in all sincerity, I felt obliged to refuse to submit my mind to the doctrinal pronouncements of Rome. Until then, the Roman Catholic Church had been my support, the rock on which I had built my convictions. Now I saw that I had built my house on sand. The waves of honest self-analysis had washed away the sand from under its foundations, the house collapsed, and I was carried along by the flood of despair. Nowhere could I find a support on which to lean. Alone I had to push my way through the undergrowth of many views of life.

With such doubts in my heart I could obviously not remain a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. For me, the living death of the monastery came to an end. I left the life of semblances and shadows for a world of fascinating reality in which I was free to breathe at last. I surrendered my office as professor and left the Roman Catholic Church. I laid aside my priestly cassock, which in tropical Brazil just soaked up the heat, and walked lightly and free in my shirt sleeves. But deep within I still carried the burden of my guilt.
 

SAVED BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH

Outwardly I was free, but inwardly I was not at rest, for I had lost sight of God completely. I received much help from an evangelical church in Rio de Janeiro--a local church where the congregation based their faith only on the teachings of the Bible. The sympathy of the people there helped me very much, for they provided me with civilian clothing which I had no money to buy, and food and shelter. I shall always be grateful to them. But most of all the preaching of their minister gripped me. It was completely new to me, to hear such explanations of the Bible. But could I be helped by a non-Catholic preacher?

Certainly, in my seminary training and as a priest I had heard regularly about the alleged false teaching of such churches, but I had never understood what they taught. In Rio de Janeiro I heard the minister explain that a man cannot save himself, or deserve entrance into heaven by any of his own efforts because he is utterly lost and hopeless. With all this I could heartily agree, for I had all too clearly experienced my inability to change myself. In spite of the greatest efforts and every kind of penitence, I had not succeeded in becoming a different kind of person. The preacher went even further and showed that there is only one way to be set free from sin, and that is to be given by God a completely free pardon and a new life. He showed how this experience must be obtained directly from Jesus Christ, who gives it freely and unmistakably to all who hand themselves over to Him in complete trust in His perfect sacrifice.
 

LIGHT AND LIFE

At first I found this difficult to believe. It was like a fairy story -- too good to be true. I could see the beauty of yielding to Christ. It sounded wonderful, and yet at the same time, it seemed too easy, too cheap. As a Catholic I believed that salvation was the hardest battle in life, a matter of struggling for and deserving God's favor. But now I began to understand the true teaching of the Bible. Yes, salvation is indeed the hardest thing in the world and must be deserved by perfect obedience to all the demands of God's law, in other words, perfect sinlessness. But the amazing fact is that the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son, has fulfilled all these demands for us and on our behalf, if we trust Him. "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).

At last the wonderful breakthrough came. My soul opened itself wholly to Christ in completed trust. I could see that it was not the Jews who had crucified Christ -- I had done it. My sins were taken by Him. A blinding flash of light illuminated the rubbish heap of my former life.

My soul lay like a bombed-out city before me, and I was filled with anguish at seeing the sin which had permeated my whole being. But, over the rubbish heap I realized and knew that Christ had forgiven me and made me a true Christian. I had become a new creature.

Jesus spoke of the relationship between Himself and true Christians in these words, "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:14). I had begun a new life, with all the feeling of close fellowship with God which I had never known in all my days as a Catholic priest. The dead legalism of the Church of Rome was behind and the future was a living personal relationship with our wonderful God.



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This following testimony is rather long, but it is well worth ready, because this former nun tells what truly happens it the life of a catholic nun and some of what happens in the priesthood as well.

Here is a link to Sister Charlottes personal testimony on YouTube if you would rather listen to the audio version rather than reading her written testimony.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_4ZytFF-NM


INTRODUCTION


First of all I always want to tell folks that I am not giving this testimony because I have any ill feeling in my heart toward the Roman Catholic people. I couldn't be a Christian if I still had bitterness in my heart. God delivered me from all bitterness and strife one day and made Himself real to me in the power of the Holy Spirit. And so, when I give this testimony, I'm giving it because after God saved me, He delivered me out of the convent and out of bondage and darkness, the Lord laid a burden upon my heart to give this testimony that others might know what plight the convents are. And so as you listen carefully this afternoon, I trust that I'll not say one thing that will leave any feeling in your heart whatsoever that I don't carry a burden for the Roman Catholic people. I don't like the things they do. I don't agree with the things they teach, but I covet their souls for Jesus.  I'm interested in their souls. I believe that when Jesus went to Calvary, He died that you and I might know Him. And therefore they're just as precious as your soul and my soul.  So I'm interested.

DESIRE TO WORK FOR GOD


First of all, as we get into this testimony, having been born into Roman Catholicism, I didn't know anything else, not knowing the Word of God, because we didn't have the Bible in our home. We had never heard anything about this wonderful plan of salvation.  And so, naturally, I grew up in that Roman Catholic home as a child knowing only the catechism, knowing only the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church.  And because I loved the Lord, and because I wanted to do something for Him--I wanted to give Him my life--I didn't know of any other way for a Roman Catholic girl to give her life to God other than by entering a convent.

After going to the confessional box there, naturally I'm under the influence of my Father confessor, the Roman Catholic priest--his influence over my life--one day I made up my mind, through his influence (and one of my teachers in the parochial school) that I wanted to be a little sister. At that time I thought of being a sister of the Open Order. But as I went on into this up until the time I took my White Veil at sixteen and a half years of age, everything was beautiful. I really didn't have any fear in my heart whatsoever. Everything that was taught to me was similar to along the lines of what I had been taught in the Church before I had entered the convent.

And so one day, after making up my mind to enter a convent--I remember that particular day--two of the sisters came home with me from school. They were my teachers. And when we arrived at my father's home that afternoon, our Father confessor was in the home likewise. I often say, when I was a little girl, children were seen and not heard. You didn't talk when you was a child, at least you didn't in my family, in my home, unless you were spoken to.  And I remember I listened to them carry on a conversation. And then I had moved over close enough to my father to ask him if I could say something. That was a bit out of the ordinary.  And he permitted me to talk. And I said, "Dad, I want to go into a convent."  And I'll tell you that priest took it up quickly. They had already been influencing me.

My father broke down and began to cry, not because he was sad, but he was very happy. My mother came over and took me in her arms and she too wept tears---she was very happy. Those were not tears of sadness [but] because their little girl was giving her life to the convent to pray for lost humanity. And naturally, my family was very thrilled about it. And I was too.

INTO THE CONVENT


But anyway, I didn't go for about a year after that. And then the time come when I got myself ready and my mother prepared things for me. They took me. They didn't have a place close enough to my father's and mother's home, so I think they took me around a thousand miles away from home where I entered a convent boarding school. I lacked about three months being thirteen years of age--just a girl. I look back on it now, and think... my...homesick. I was so homesick! Well, my mommy and daddy, they stayed three days with me and then they left. I became so homesick. Naturally. I was just a baby away from home. When I was a little girl, you know, I never spent a night away from my mother. And I surely had never gone any place without my family. And naturally there was close ties in my family, and I was very lonely and very homesick. But I'll never forget [when] mother told me, "Good-bye." And I knew they were traveling a long distance away from me. And I had never realized in my heart I'll never see them again. Naturally I hadn't planned it like that because I'd planned to be a sister of the Open Order.

Listen carefully to this portion of the testimony then you'll understand just why I'm saying some of the things that I am saying. Now oftentimes we say the priest selects his materials through the confessional box, because at seven years of age I went to confessional.  At seven years of age I would always, when I'd come into the church first, I'd sit over at the feet of a crucifix...rather the Virgin Mary and then over at the feet of the crucifix, and I'd ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession...because I was a child and my heart was honest. And I knew that the priest taught us to always make a good confession--keep nothing back--tell everything if I expected absolution from any sin that I might have committed. And so I would ask the Virgin Mary to help me make a good confession. And I would ask Jesus to help me make a good confession.

And, you know, I'll assure you after I lived in the convent for a short period of time, I had to go on with my schooling I had just finished the eighth grade. And they promised me to give me a high school education and some college education. But I ended up less college. I got mostly just high school training. And they gave that to me all right. I took it under some terrible difficulties and strains and all that and it was rather difficult. But they gave it to me for which I appreciate it very very much.  But I'll assure you [after wards] they put me through the crucial training that we must go through to become a little initiate [or viviciate?] entering a convent. The training is very outstanding as far as a nun is concerned. And you know what it's all about after you've been in there a little while.

So now I've entered the convent. And for just a few minutes we want to tell you just a little bit how we lived--what we eat, how we sleep.  As I take you into the convent, and tell you those things, you'll understand a little bit more about my testimony.

THE WHITE VEIL


First, as I entered the convent, as just a small child and went on to school, I was being trained. But the day came when I was about fourteen and a half when the Mother Superior began telling me about the White Veil. And I didn't know too much about it. By taking the White Veil, they told me that I would become the spouse or the Bride of Jesus Christ. There would be a ceremony. And I would be dressed in a wedding garment.

And on this particular morning, they told me at nine o'clock they would dress me up in a wedding garment. Now, you're wondering where that came from, and how they got the wedding clothes for the little nun. Well, Mother Superior sits down and writes a letter to my father and tells him how much money she wants. And then, whatever she asks, my father sends it. And she, the little buying sister, goes out and buys the material and the wedding garments are made by the nuns of the cloister. (I'm still Open Order now.)

And of course, whatever they asked him he would send out the money for the wedding garment. We don't know these things at the very beginning of our testimony, but after you live in a convent for a little while, you learn to know they would ask my father for a hundred dollars and he'd send it. They would use maybe a third of that for the wedding garment. They would keep the rest of it, and my father would never know the difference. Neither did I until I'd lived in a convent for a period of time and I had to make some of the wedding clothes.  And then I knew the value of them, and what they cost. And I knew of the money that came in because I was one of the older nuns.

The time came, of course, when I walked down that aisle and I was dressed in a wedding garment. And you know, in the convent, I used to walk the fourteen stations of the cross--the fourteen steps that Jesus carried the cross of Calvary--but after I made up my mind to take the White Veil, never again did I walk. I wanted to be worthy. I wanted to be holy enough to become the spouse, the bride, of Jesus Christ. And so I would get down on my knees and would crawl the fourteen stations--quite a distance. But I crawled them every Friday morning. I felt it would make me holy. I felt it would draw me closer to God. It would make me worthy of the step that I was going to take. And that's what I wanted more than anything in the world. I would like to impress on your hearts--every little girl that enters a convent that I know anything about, that child has the desire to live for God. That child has a desire to give her heart and mind and soul to God.

Now many, many people make this remark and we hear it from various types of folks who say only bad women go into convents. That isn't true. There are movie stars who go into convents. And they've lived out in the world and no doubt they are sinners and all of that. But they go in when they're women--they know what they're doing. And they go in only because the Roman Catholic Church is going to receive not only thousands, but yea well up into the millions of dollars. And they don't mind who they take in as they can get a lot of money out of that individual.

But the ordinary little girl, that goes in as a child--she's just a child--and she goes in there with her heart and mind and soul just as clean as any child could be. I say that because sometimes we hear a lot of things that are really not true.

Now, after we become the spouse of Jesus Christ--I want you to listen carefully to this, and then you can follow me into the rest of the testimony--we are now looked upon as married women. We are the spouse or the Bride of Jesus Christ.

BECOMING THE BRIDE OF CHRIST


Now the priest teaches every little girl that will take the White Veil they'll become the bride of Christ He teaches her to believe that her family will be saved. It doesn't make any difference how many banks they rob, how many stores they rob. It doesn't make any difference how they drink and smoke and carouse and live out in this sinful world and do all the things that sinners do. It doesn't make a bit of difference. Our family will be saved if we continue to live in the convent and give our lives to the convent and to the Church--we can rest assured that other members of our immediate family will be saved.

And you know that there are many little children that are influenced and enticed to go into convents because we realize that it will be the salvation for our families. And sometimes, in a Roman Catholic family, the children grow up and leave the Roman Catholic Church and go out into the deepest of sin. And so every little girl who enters into the convent is hoping by her sacrificing so much--home and mother and daddy--everything that a child loves--her family will be saved regardless of what sins they commit. And of course we're children and our minds are immature and we don't know any better. It's so easy to instill things like this into the hearts and minds of little children .. and the priests are really very good at it.

And of course we looked upon our priest--our Father confessor--I looked upon him as God. He's the only god I knew anything about. To me he was infallible. I didn't think he could sin. I didn't think that he would lie. I didn't think that he ever made a mistake. I looked upon him as the holiest of holies, because I didn't know a god, but I did know the Roman Catholic priest. And to me, I looked to him for everything that I asked of God, so to speak, I believed the priest could give it to me.

And so the day comes with all of us. Now as we are going in...I want you to listen carefully--after taking the White Veil things are beautiful. I'm sixteen and a half years of age. Everyone's good to me. And I'm living in the convent and I haven't seen anything yet, because no little girl--we're not subject to a Roman Catholic Priest until we're twenty-one years of age. And as we get in this next vow, then you'll understand, we don't know about this. This is kept from the little sisters until we've taken our Black Veil and then it's too late.

I don't carry the keys to those double door and there's no way for me to come out. The priest will tell all over the whole United States and other countries--that sisters and nuns, rather, can walk out of convents when they want to. I spent twenty-two years there, I did everything that I could do to get out. I've carried tablespoons with me into the dungeon and tried to dig down into that dirt because it's no floors in those cases. But I never yet found myself digging far enough to dig out of a convent with a tablespoon and that's about the only incident. Because when we're using the spade--and we do have to do hard, heavy work--when we use a spade we're being guarded--we're being watched by two older nuns and they're going to report on us--and I'll assure you you're not going to try and dig out with a spade. You wouldn't get very far anyway, because they built and made those convents so little nuns can never escape. That was their purpose in building them. And they'll never get out unless God makes a way. But I believe God's making a way for nuns and little girls to come out of the convent.

THE BLACK VEIL


Alright, now when the time comes, I think I was eighteen when the Mother began talking to me. I planned to come out, see, after my white veil I wanted to be a little nursing assistant in the Roman Church. But the Mother Superior--I suppose she was watching my life--I suppose she realized I had much endurance, I had a strong body. And I believe the woman was watching me, because one day she asked me into her office. And she began to tell me, "Charlotte, you have a strong body." And she said, "I believe you have the possibilities of making a good nun. Of course you will. I believe you're the type that would be willing to give up home--give up mother and daddy--give up everything you love out in the world--and the world so to speak--and hide yourself away behind convent doors. Because I believe you're the kind that would hide back there and be willing to sacrifice and live in crucial poverty that you might pray for lost humanity." She said, "I believe you're the kind that would be willing to suffer." Because we're taught to believe, as nuns, that as we suffer our loved ones and your loved ones that are already in a priest's purgatory will be delivered from purgatory sooner because of our suffering.

She knew I was willing to suffer. I didn't murmur. I didn't complain. She knew all about it. She's watching my life, and that's the reason she began to tell me about the Black Veil. And then, of course, you know, I didn't know too much about a cloistered nun. I didn't know their lives. I didn't know how they live. I didn't know what they done, but, you know, this woman proceeded to tell me.

Now we hear a lot of people try to tell me in the various places that we travel and go...I hear a lot of Roman Catholics try to tell me, "I've been in so many cloisters. I know all about them." But you know a Roman Catholic can lie to you. And they don't have to go to confession and tell the priest about the lie that they've told, because they're lying to protect their faith. They can tell any lie they want to to protect their faith and never go to the confessional box and tell the priest about it.

They can do more than that. They can steal up to forty dollars. And they don't have to tell the priest about it. They don't have to say one word about it in the confessional box. They are taught that. Every Roman Catholic knows it. And every Roman Catholic--you'd be horrified to know how many of them steal up to that amount. And many of them lie. We've dealt with them. I've dealt with hundreds and hundreds of them. I see a good many of them fall in the altar and cry out to God to save them. And you know before they get saved, they look into my face and hold my hand and lie to me.  But after God gets a hold of their heart, then they want to make right what they told me because they realize they've lied about it. But as long as they're Roman Catholic, they're permitted to lie. And it's the saddest thing. You can't expect them to know God, because God does not condone sin.

I don't care who you are. I don't believe God condones sin. And I don't believe He's going to condone it in the Roman Catholic people, even though they're being misled and they're being blinded and led into ways that are going to lead them into a devil's hell. I believe that with all of my heart, because I've lived in a convent. I know something about how these people live and what they do.

Now the day comes. She told me, "Charlotte, you have to be willing to spill your blood. Jesus shed His upon Calvary." She said, "You have to be willing to do penance. Heavy penance," She said, "You'll have to be willing to live in crucial poverty." Now already I'm living in the pit of poverty, but I thought that was going to make me holier, and draw me closer to God, and would make me a better nun. And so I'm willing to live in that poverty.

LAYING IN A CASKET


And then on this particular morning, she told me what I would be wearing. She said, "You'll spend nine hours in a casket." And she explained a number of things to me. That's the most I knew about it. And I didn't find that out until I had taken my White Veil.

And so, on this particular morning, I'm twenty-one years of age. But sixty days previous to my being twenty-one years of age, I'm going to sign some papers that they place in front of me. And those papers are this--I'm going to sign away every bit of inheritance that I might have received from my family after they're dead Of course I signed that over to the Roman Catholic Church. And oftentimes I say the Roman Catholic priests are enticing girls--not only their background, not only their strong bodies, their strong minds and strong wills--but he's enticing girls where mothers and fathers have much property. And they are constantly fishing for the material things of this life. Why? Because when that child enters the convent they're going to get a portion of her money--of her father's money.

And I often say even salvation in the Roman Catholic Church is going to cost you plenty of money. More than you know anything about.  And so they don't mind commercializing off of that child and the inheritance that would have come to her.



A FUNERAL SHROUD INSTEAD OF A WEDDING GARMENT


And so on this particular morning I told the Mother Superior, "Give me a little while to think it over." She didn't make me do it. No one did. But I thought it over for a couple of years, and then one day I told her, "I think I'm going to hide away behind the convent doors," because I believed I could give more time to God. I could pray more. I would be in a position where I could inflict more pain upon my body because we're taught to believe that God smiles down out of heaven as we do penance--whatever the suffering might be. And I didn't know any better, because, I often say, if you could only look into the hearts of little Nuns, if you are a Christian, you would immediately cry out before God in behalf of those little girls, because truly we are heathens. It doesn't make any difference the amount of education we may have. We are still heathens. We know nothing about this lovely Christ -- nothing about the plan of salvation. And we're living as hermits in the convent.

And so on this particular morning I come walking down an aisle again. And, may I say, on the morning before, I can't go into it too deep, because I would never be able to cover enough of it so you could understand it -- but this morning I'm walking down that aisle, but I don't have a wedding garment on. I have a funeral shroud. It's made of dark red velvet. And it's way down to the floor. And I'm walking down that aisle. Now I know what I'm going to do. The casket is already made by the Nuns of the Cloister -- very rough wood, and it's sitting right out here. And I know when I come down there that I'll step into that casket and lay my body down. And I'm going to spend nine hours in there. And two little Nuns will come and cover me up with a heavy black cloth we call a heavy drape material. And, you know, it's so heavily incensed that I feel like I will smother to death. And I have to stay there.

Now, I know when I come out of that casket I'll never leave the Convent again. I know I'll never see my mother and father again. I'll never go home again. I'll always live behind convent doors and when I die my body will be buried there. They told me that. So I knew it even before I done it. It's a great price to pay and then to find out that Convents are not religious orders as we were taught and as we were trained. It's quite a disappointment to a young girl that's given her life to God and willing to give up so much and sacrifice so much. I'll assure you, it was a disappointment.

And so after I spent some time...You say, "What did you do when you lay in that casket?" What do you think I did? I spilled every tear in my body. I remembered every lovely thing my mother done for me. I remembered her voice. I remembered the gathering around the table. I remembered the times when she would play with us. I remembered the things that she said to me. I remembered what a marvelous cook she was. Everything, as a little girl growing up in that home, I remembered it, laying in that casket--knowing I'll never hear her voice again. I'll never see her face again. I'll never put my feet under her table again -- enjoy her good cooking. I knew all that. And so maybe for four hours I spilled all the tears within my body because it was so hard. And I knew I'd get homesick. I knew I'd want to see her someday, but I gave it all up. What for? For the love of God, I thought.  I didn't know any better.

And I'll assure you, those were nine long hours. And then I seemingly got a hold of myself, and I thought this, "Charlotte, now you're going to make the best Carmelite Nun, because everything I've ever done even now in the convent I do give my best." I'd try to give everything that I had regardless of what I might do.  And so I did in the Convent. I gave the best that I had.  And I wanted to be the best Nun that I could possibly be. And the Mother Superior knew that.  And, don't worry, the priests knew all about it, too.

VOWS SIGNED IN BLOOD


Now, I realize after I walk out of that casket they're going to take me like this...over here, right back here, is a room. They call it the Mother Superior's Room. Now, I'd never been in that particular room, so I don't know what she has in there. But you know, when I walk in there this time the Mother Superior sits me down in a straight-back, hard-bottom chair. And immediately then I'm going to take three vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.  And you know, as I take those vows, she opens a little place in the lobe of my ear and takes out a portion of blood, because I must sign every vow in my own blood.

And after that happens, then I'm going to take the vow of poverty. Now when I sign that vow, I sign it thus, that I'm willing to live in crucial poverty the balance of my life as long as I live. And what that poverty's like, of course, we don't know.

And then my next vow, I'm going to do a vow of chastity. And you know this vow, of course you know what it means. I'm taught to believe that I'm married to Jesus Christ. I'm His bride. I'll always remain a virgin. I'll never legally marry a man in this world because I have become the spouse or the bride of Jesus Christ.

After the Bishop married me to Christ, he placed a ring on my finger. And that meant I'm sealed to Christ. I'm married to Him and I accepted it because I didn't know any better.

And now here I am taking a vow that I would always remain a virgin because I'm the bride of Christ. And I want you to listen carefully.

And then of course my last vow of obedience. Now, when we sign that vow, I'll assure you, already I know what obedience means. I'm living in a convent. And there they demand absolute obedience. You don't get by with anything. Not even for two minutes. I mean, you don't get by with it. You have to realize what obedience means. And they demand it. And you learn to know it. And you're much wiser the more quickly you learn it and you obey it. And you give them absolute obedience.

Alright, now. What does it mean to sign vows like this? Let me tell you this. It means more than you folks will ever know because most people that I know anything about, they know very little about obedience. Oh, in a sense, yes. But you'll never know what a little Nun knows about obedience, I'll assure that one thing, unless you've lived in the convent.

Alright, that particular vow when I signed it in my own blood, it done something to me, because, after I signed those vows, do you realize that I signed away everything I have -- my human rights? I have become a mechanical human being now. I can't sit down until they tell me to. I don't dare to get up until they tell me to. I can't lie down until they tell me to. And neither do I dare to I get up. I cannot eat until they tell me to. And what I see I don't see. What I hear I don't hear. What I feel I don't feel. I've become a mechanical human being, but you're not aware of that until you have signed all these vows. Then you realize, "Here I am -- a mechanical human being." And, of course, I belong to Rome now, I'll assure you that right now.

Alright, after these particular vows, we become forgotten women in the convent. In just a short while you'll understand what I'm talking about. Now, immediately after I've taken those vows, then the Mother Superior is going to take away my name and give me the name of a patron saint. She teaches me to believe that whatever happens to me in the convent, I can pray to that patron saint and she will intercede for me and get my prayers through to God, because I'm not holy enough to stand in the presence of God.

It isn't a wonder the little Nuns can never get closer to God. We have always been taught that we'll never be holy enough to stand in His presence. And we always have to go through somebody else in order to get a prayer through to God. And we believe it because we don't know any better.

ALL FORMER IDENTIFICATION LOST


And so now all identification of who Charlotte was is going to be put away, it'll be taken away from me. And if you knew me and would come to the convent and call for my family name they'd tell you there isn't such a person as that. I don't exist. Even though I'm right there, because I'm writing under another name.

Now the Mother Superior is going to cut every bit of hair off of my head. And when she cuts it with the scissors she puts the clippers on it. And I mean there's nothing left. I just don't have one speck of hair left on my head. And, of course, if you could be a Nun you would understand the heavy head-gear that we have to wear would be so cumbersome to have hair and so cumbersome to take care of it, we don't have any way of taking care of it in the convent. There are no combs in the convent. And so you can imagine how hard it would be for us to take care of a head of hair. It's not necessary that we have a comb after they finish with us.

Alright now. This is my Black Veil. These are my perpetual vows, we'll call them. I'm there and I'm going to stay there.

Now, you know, up until this time I received a letter once a month from my family. And I wrote a letter out of that convent once a month to my family. Even though when I would write that letter, I had no doubt they marked out a lot of it, because when I would receive a letter from my family there was so much of it blacked out until there was no sense to the letter. And, oh, I'd weep over those black marks. I was wondering what my mother was trying to say to me. And don't worry, you never got to know what she wanted to to say to you, because they blacked it out.

And so they break your heart many many times and you're lonely anyway because I had no friends in the convent. I'll assure you, even though there was a hundred and eighty on my particular wing, not one of those Nuns were my friend and neither was I a friend to them, because we are not allowed to be friends in the Convent. We are all policemen or detectives watching each other that's to find something to tell. And the little Nun who finds something to tell on the other Nuns, she stands in good favor with the Mother Superior. And then the Mother teaches that Nun to believe that when she stands in good favor with the Mother Superior, she's standing in good favor with God. And so that little Nun, of course, will want that, and she'll tell a lot of things, maybe that are not even true, on the other little Nuns.

Alright. Now, after all of this has transpired and after all of this has happened. Everything I have is gone, I've sold my soul for a mess of theological pottage, because, not only are we destroyed in our bodies, many of us in our minds. And many of us, if we die in the Convent, we've lost our souls.

And so it's a serious thing. And I surely covet your prayers for little Nuns behind cloistered convent doors. They'll never hear this Gospel. They'll never know the Christ that you folk know tonight. They'll never pray to Him as you people pray to Him. They'll never feel His blessings as you people feel them. So put them on your hearts and pray for them. They surely need much prayer.

Alright, now As I walk into that room and all of this is transpiring, now, bless you heart, I don't know what's going to be in the next room. After this has transpired, and I've taken the vows that I will always remain a virgin, I will never legally marry in this world because I'm the spouse of Christ. And then after this, and the Mother Superior leads me out into another room, or rather she opens the doors, and I'm to be sent into that room.

"THE PRIEST IS THE HOLY GHOST"


And when I walk out in that room I see something that I have never seen before. I see a Roman Catholic Priest dressed in a holy habit. He walks over to me and locks his arm in my arm which he had never done in the first part of my convent life. I never had a priest to insult me in any way. I never had one of them to even be unkind to me in the first part of my convent experience. But here he is now. And of course I didn't understand what it was all about. And I didn't know what in the world the man expected of me. But you know, I pulled from him because I felt highly insulted. And I pulled from him and I said, "Shame on you." And it made him very angry for a minute. And the Mother Superior must have heard my voice, because she came out immediately, and she said, "Oh," and they called me by my Church name. She said, "After you've been in the convent a little while you won't feel this way. The rest of us felt the same way you do."

And you know the priest's body is sanctified. And therefore it is not a sin for us to give the priests our bodies. In other words, they teach every little Nun this: As the Holy Ghost placed a germ in Mary's womb, and Jesus Christ was born, so the Priest is the Holy Ghost, and therefore it isn't a sin for us to bare his children. And let me tell you, that's what they come into the convent for. No other purpose in all of this world do priests come into the convent but to rob those precious little girls of their virtue. And I'll assure you, we'll be telling you a little later in the testimony just what they really do after they come in under those particular deals.

But may I say, now every bridge has been burned out from under me. There's no way back. I can't get out of the convent, even though I pleaded. Oh, how I pleaded with that priest, "Send for my father. I want to go home. I don't want to go any farther." Only to laugh in my face. And, let me tell you, that's when you stand alone. And you don't know who to turn to. And you're a victim of circumstances. And you live in the convent because there is no other way to get out of the convent. And, I'll assure you, I stayed in the convent until God made a way for me to come out. And so after all of this, my mail was stopped. I'll never receive another bit of mail from my family. Never another letter. I belong to the Pope. I belong to Rome.

And then after all of this--the Mother Superior, after taking me through these particular vows--the priest has invited me to go to the Bridal Chamber. You say, "Did you go?" No. Definitely not. I didn't enter the convent to be a bad woman. It would have been much easier to stay out of the convent to be a bad woman. You wouldn't go into the convent and live in the poverty we lived in and to suffer as we suffered to be a bad woman. No girl would do that. It would have been much easier to stay out of the convent if I wanted to be a bad woman. But I went there to give my heart and life to God. And that was the only purpose I had in going there.

And here this priest is--and of course I didn't go into the Bridal Chamber with him. I had a strong body then. One of us would have been wounded because I would have fought until the last drop of blood. And you know it made them very very angry, I'll assure you. But I didn't go to the Bridal Chamber with him.

BEFORE A DEAD NUN FOR ONE HOUR


But now I'm going to have to go to penance the next morning, and of course this will be a heavier penance because of what I'd done already. And when the Mother Superior says, "We're going to do penance the next morning," I'm going to be initiated as a Carmelite Nun. And I remember when she walked with me down into that particular place. It was a dark room. Now remember, I lived above on the first floor until my Black Veil. After the Black Veil, they take me one story under the ground. And I live there from then on until God delivered me. I didn't live in the top part of the buildings at all.

But you know, as we walked into this room it's dark and it's very cold. And when we walked in, we came from back there somewhere. We come walking towards the front. And I walked along beside the Mother Superior. And when I got near the front I saw those little candles burning. Anywhere in the convent you'll find the seven candles burning. And when I came a little closer I saw the candles, but I couldn't see anything else. And I wondered, "What is she going to do to me?" That's the thing in our hearts and we can't get away from it, because we had fear.

And when I come a little closer I saw something lying on a board there. And, you know, when I came real close then I realized here's a little Nun lying on that board. I called it a cooling board because it was that. And just as long as her body. And there she was. And when I could see where the candles flickered down on her face I realized that child is dead. And, oh, I wanted so much to say, "How did she die? Why is she here? How long do you keep her here?" But, you remember, I signed away every human right. And so I can't say one word, but I stood looking.

And then the Mother Superior said, "You stand vigil over this dead body for one hour." And at the end of the hour a little bell is tapped and another Nun will come to relieve me. And may I say, I was advised every so many minutes I would have to walk out...to...that little body and sprinkle holy water and ashes over the body and say, "Peace be unto you." And I did exactly what they told me to do. Oh, it was a terrible feeling. I'm not afraid of the dead. It's the live people we have to be very cautious about. And I wasn't afraid of that little dead Nun, but, oh, my heart ached for her.

And you know after the bell tapped and I realized my hour had gone, the Nun who come to relieve us comes back here somewhere. And of course we walked on our tip-toes. No noise was made in the convent. And they don't speak, they just touch you. And of course, my being down there with that little dead Nun, and I was full of fear, when that girl laid her hand on my shoulder I let out a scream -- a horrible scream - from fear - just fear.

THE FLAGELLATION WHIP


And, you know, I didn't mean to do it. I didn't break that rule on purpose, but I was scared. And immediately, of course, I had to come before the Mother Superior and that's when I first learned to know, one of the first times, about a dungeon. They didn't tell me there were dungeons in the convents. And she put me in such a dirty, dark place, with no floor in it for three days and nights. And I didn't get any food and any water. And I'll assure you I didn't scream any more. I tried so hard not to break the rules of screaming, because there is a dungeon and I know they'll put you in it. And, let me tell you right now, it's not a nice place to be. After you've been in one of those places you'll know what it feels like.

Alright now. I'll say this before I go any further that Popery is a masterpiece of Satan. I said it's a masterpiece of Satan with his lying wonders and its traditions and its deception. It's a terrible thing when you know about it.

And so as I come down into this room, she took me, and let me look at this little girl, the penance is over. The very next morning she said again to me, "Charlotte, you're going to do penance." Not the next morning -- it was three days after because I spent three days and nights in the dungeon, the fourth, fifth morning, whichever it was, she said, "You're going to do penance." She took me down into another room - not the same room. And when we come walking down this time I could see that big piece of wood, but I didn't know what it was. And when I came a little closer there was a cross. It was made of heavy timber. I might say it was maybe eight or ten feet high. Very heavy. And that cross was sitting on an incline like that. And she had me walk over here at the base of the cross, and she said, "Now strip your clothes off." And I took my clothes off. And then she made me -- down to my waistline -- then she made me drape my body over the foot of that cross, and she pulled my hands underneath and bound them to my feet. And then, you know, that's where I learned to spill my blood. And she had not told me how, and neither could I ask how I would spill it.

And she gave two little Nuns that came with her a flagellation whip. I might call it a bamboo pole. It's about this long -- it's about that big around. And it has six straps on it about this long. And on the end of either of those straps is a sharp piece of metal. And those little Nuns, either was given one of these whips, and they stood on either side of the cross. Now, at the same time those girls began whipping my body. And I mean when that metal hit my body it would break the hide, of course. It would cut into the flesh and I spilled blood. And it was running down to the floor. That's my flagellation whipping. That is where I spill my blood as Jesus shed His upon Calvary.

And of course I'm human. It wounded. It hurt. It was very painful. After the whipping is over they don't bathe my body. They put my clothing back on my body and I have to go the rest of the day.

When the night comes and I stand in front of my cell, there -- I have to stand there to undress with our backs to each other. And then when I went in, oh... I couldn't sleep that night. I just wasn't a bit sleepy because I couldn't take off all my clothes. They had dried in those wounds. And it was terrible. I didn't take them off for several nights.

THE NUNS' DIET


And, I'll assure you, when I came before my food, I didn't want my cup of black coffee.

In the morning we get a cup of black coffee they serve in a tin cup. We can have no milk and no sugar of any type. And we have one slice of bread that's made by the Nuns of the Cloister. They weighed it. It weighs four ounces. That's all I get for breakfast.

And then of course in the evening I get a bowl of soup. And that's fresh vegetables cooked together. There's no seasoning in the soup whatsoever, and a half a slice of bread. And three times a week they give me a half a glass of skim milk.

That consists of my food three hundred and sixty five days in the year.

And I began losing weight very rapidly, I'll assure you, because I didn't have enough food to eat. I don't know the day I went to bed without a hungry stomach. Sometimes it would be so hungry I couldn't sleep. The pain was gnawing. You can't hardly stand it. And you know you're only going to get that one slice of bread the next morning. That doesn't fill you up. And of course we have to work hard all day long.

And I'll assure you... those little Nuns, and I covet your prayers for them. They need your prayers in more ways than one because you'll go to bed with a full stomach tonight. And you're very comfortable right now. But I'll assure you there's not one of them that's comfortable. They're hungry and they're sick and they're wounded and they're hurt and they're heartsick and homesick -- and discouraged. And worst of all, seemingly, they have no hope. No hope.

You and I are looking forward to the day when we're going to see Jesus. They have no hope whatsoever. And I surely hope you don't forget to pray for them.

Alright. That was terrible, I'll assure you.

SUSPENDED BY THE THUMBS


And then in a few mornings after this, the Mother Superior is taking me back for another initiation. And when I go into the penance chamber this morning -- we come from a place up here -- and we're going to walk back along like that clear to the back. And you know it's quite a ways back here, and I went - part of it's a tunnel. And then I come out into a room. And I walk through into that room. And when I get way back there I see those candles burning. And I see something else. There's ropes hanging down from the ceiling. And, oh, I'm so scared. I wonder what the ropes are for, and what's she going to do? After these two penances you begin to have a lot of fear in your heart.

And so I can't say anything and I walk back there. And you know I saw the ropes real plain. What are they doing hanging down from that ceiling? Then she tells me, "You go over there against the wall." About that close to the wall. And I have to stand sideways like this. And she asks me to put up both of my thumbs. And I did. And then she pulled one rope down. And there's a metal band fastened securely. And she fastens that around the joint of my thumb. Then the other one comes down and it fastens around this thumb. And there I am standing there like this facing the wall. And then, you know, she comes over here to the end where there's a...whatever you want to call it, [and] she starts winding. And I start moving. And she's taking me right up in the air. And, you know, when she gets me so just my toes are on the floor - just on my tip-toes she fastens it. And there I hang. And all the weight of my body is on my thumbs and on my toes. Not a word is said. No one speaks a word. And she walks out of that room and locks the door.

If you know what it means to hear a key locking a door, and know that I'm strung up there like that... you'll never know unless you're a Nun. And when that woman walked out I didn't know how long I'll stay there -- how long that woman will leave me there.

And you know, they didn't come to give me food. They brought me no water. And I thought, "Is this it? Am I going to die back here just like this?" And within a few hours... you can imagine. I'm still a human being. My muscles began to scream out with the pain. I was suffering. And that woman let me hang. And no one come near. And what good would it do for me to cry? You can spill every tear in your body. Nobody will hear you. There's no one there to care how many tears you spill.

And so I just hung there. And finally I began, seemingly I felt like I couldn't stand it - I'll surely die if they don't come and get me quickly. And I felt as if I was beginning to swell. I don't know how long went by, and she opened the door one morning and she had something for me to eat. And the water was in a pan. And it was potatoes. And those potatoes were not good to eat. They were in a pan. And there's a shelf over there on the wall that she can adjust to the height of the Nun. And, you know, she pulled it out.

Now, I'm not against the wall. I'm about this far from it. But to get that food... she puts it there, and she said, "This is your food." And she walks out.

Now, how am I going to get it?

She didn't let my hands down. But this is what you learn. And you struggle to get it. I'm hungry. I mean I'm so thirsty I feel like I'm going mad. And to get it I discovered that this hand goes high and this one will come down a little bit. And I'll keep right on going higher if I lean. I have to reach higher with this one, this one will automatically let down. And to get that water and that food, I mean, I had to get it like the dogs and cats. And I lapped as much of it as I could because I'm so thirsty. And get those potatoes I tried as hard as I could because I'm hungry. I mean I'm hungry. And I got as much of it as I could, naturally. But I was hungry.

That's the way she fed me for a while and then she released the bonds on my hands and on my feet. I shouldn't have said on my feet. She didn't release the bonds. She let me hang there for nine days and nine nights. I almost got it mixed up with one of the other penances that I wanna get to you. I hung nine days and nine nights in this position.

And let me say, the time came when I was so swollen here, and naturally I could see myself puffing out here. I felt like the eyes were coming out of my head. I felt like my arms were apart. They were two or three times their normal size. I felt like I was that way all over my body. And I was like a boil. I was in real suffering.

And then on the ninth day she comes in. And she releases the bonds from my hands and my body. She lets me down on the floor. Now I go down and I can't walk. I'll assure you I didn't walk. I didn't walk for a long time. But you know what, there's two little Nuns that carry me out. One gets under my feet and the other under my shoulders. And they carry me in the infirmary, and lay me on a slab of wood. And there they cut the clothing from my body. And let me tell you right now, nobody but God will ever know -- I'm covered with vermin and filth. Why? I'm hanging there in my own human filth. There are no toilet facilities. Right behind me is a stool. And they have running water in it, and the lid is down and they have sharp nails driven through that lid. If I break my ropes and fall on that, I would suffer terribly.

And this is the life of a Carmelite -- a little Nun behind cloistered doors - after they've already deceived us -- disillusioned us and got us back there. Then this is the life that we're living. And these are the things that we're going to have to do. I'll assure you, it isn't anything funny.

HARD WORK


And then I remember, as I lived on in that place, oh, let me tell you, we have to get up out of our bed [at] 4:30 in the morning. The Mother Superior taps the bell, and that means five minutes to dress. And may I say to you folk, it's not five and a half minutes. You better get that clothing on in five minutes.

I failed one time, and I had to be punished for doing it, but I never failed again in all the years in the convent.

And you know when we're finished dressing then we're going to start marching. And we march by the Mother Superior. And that Mother Superior is going to appoint us to an office duty every morning. It might be scrubbing. It might be ironing. It might be washing. It might be doing some hard work. But I have to work one hour. Then we'll go in and gather around the table, and we'll find sitting in front of us our tin cupful of coffee and our slice of bread.

And then, of course, we have hard work to do. I think there were twelve tubs in the convent that I lived in. And we washed on the old-fashioned washboard. We have the old fat iron that you heat on the stove.

And, you know, it wouldn't be so bad if we just had our own clothing in the convent. But the priests bring great bundles of clothing and put them in there because he can get them done for nothing. And we have to do that clothing on top of it. We work very very hard. And they're not able to work because they don't have enough food to keep body, mind and soul together. And those little girls are living under these particular circumstances.

And, I say, we're women without a country. And I mean just exactly what I say. Women without a country. Now we belong to the Pope. Anything they want to inflict upon my body they can do it. And all the howling I do, if I should howl, it wouldn't make any difference because nobody is going to hear me. And they have no idea that I'll ever leave the convent. The plan is that I'll die there and be buried there.

VISITING THE CONVENT


Now you say, "Charlotte, can you go into the convent?" Any one of you folks can go into a closed convent -- into the speak room. And there is an outside chapel that you can walk into of any that I know anything about. But you know, don't you just go in there to wander around not to have some place to go, because you might meet something that you're not expecting. If you go there you go prepared to take food to some little girl that's in there. And be sure that you know who you're taking it to. And when you go, as you walk up toward the front of the building, like this, you'll see a bell. And you know what to do because it will tell you. You press a button there and there will be a gate swing out. It has about three shelves on it. And, of course, you've brought something for someone that you know in the convent. It might be the mother coming to visit her daughter.

And, you know, when that bell is tapped, the Mother Superior is back here behind the big black veil. Now that's a big black gate there. And there's heavy folds of black material clear across there. And you can't go back there. You'll never see the Mother Superior, but she'll answer you through the black veil.

And you might say, "I've brought some homemade candy for my daughter." And you might ask the Mother Superior to let you speak to her. You can't see her, but you can speak to her.


CENSORED VISITATION


You know, the mother will call that lovely little girl, and call her out on the other side of the grail, and of course you can't see her. And you know what, the mother will speak to her and say, "Honey, are you happy here?" And that little Nun will say, "Mother, I'm very happy."

You say, "Why did she say that?"

Well, bless your heart, don't you know that the Mother Superior is standing there? And if we didn't say that, after our mother had gone, then God only knows what the Mother Superior will do to the little Nun. And so we just lie to our mother.

And then the mother will say, "Do you have plenty to eat?" And that little Nun will answer and say, "We have plenty to eat." But, I tell you that mother will go home. She'll prepare a lovely meal for the rest of the family. But if she could look in and see our table and see what her little girl is eating, if she could look into her little girl's eyes after she's been there three or four years, she'd see those eyes are back in her head. She'd see that her little body's began to waste away. I'll assure that mother that she'll never eat another meal at home. No, never. You'd never enjoy another meal if you could see your child after she'd been in a convent for a period of time. But these things of course are under cover, and we have to take what they give us.

FEAR OF THE MOTHER SUPERIOR


Alright, now they can make us do anything. Here we are, the Mother Superior and I might be down in the laundry room washing. And I told you how we wash. And its a cement floor. And, well, doing the type of laundry we do - some of it's very heavy - the water slops out on the floor. And, oh, it's such a mess. We'd walk in it. And you know, then, here comes the Mother Superior.

And to me, our Mother Superior, I'd just as soon you turn loose a lion that's very hungry and let it come walking down that aisle as to see a Mother Superior in a convent. I was scared to death of her. Every time I saw that woman, somebody had to suffer. And we're afraid of her and she knows we're afraid of her. Because she's cruel. Her heart is calloused.

And here she comes. And, you know, there we are washing. And, I'll tell you, that when she comes - and we know... we feel her presence before we ever see her. We know her footsteps. And, you know, we'll wash a little harder. But when she gets down to where we are, she might address me. And she'll say, "Now, you come out here." And I'm out there like a flash because I'm scared. And then she'll say, "Prostrate yourself down there and lick so many crosses on that floor." That's a cement floor. And, of course, I have to prostrate my body and lick those crosses. And those are not little tiny crosses. As far as I reach, I'll have to lick those crosses.

And she watches my countenance. If I don't like it, and she knows that I don't like it, then she might say, "Ten" - she might say, "Twenty-five." And, you know, then the next morning she may walk back through there again and because she saw something in my face that made her to know I didn't like what she wanted me to do, she may call me again. And my tongue, by this time, is sore. It's bleeding, but I have to lick the crosses on the floor again.

And then they do the same way by compelling us to crawl. They'll compel you to crawl. And, may I say, it could be up and down an aisle like this ten times. And it'll not be on a beautiful rug like this. It'll be on a floor that you know what you're crawling on.

And, you know, I'm crawling, and I have to crawl like this - upright. And my, my... my knees. Don't they hurt! And I might make it five or six times. And then I might not have enough strength to go the other three or four times. And I'll faint. But she'll pour some cold water on me and tell me to crawl again.

And, may I say, then I'll try to finish it out. And maybe the next day she compels me to crawl again. By this time there's scabs on my knees. I mean, those knees are sore. But I must crawl again.

This is the life of a little Nun. We're doing penance. And then she teaches us to believe that God is looking down out of Heaven - He's smiling His approval upon those little girls. And God is made happy through our suffering. And because we are heathens - we don't know any better - we've never read the Bible. We've never had any Scripture. And so those little Nuns are ignorant of the Word of God. You know, we are just raised under the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church. And we know nothing about this lovely Gospel of Jesus Christ. And so we have to do these things.

PRAYING ON A BOARD OF TORTURE


Then the Mother Superior might walk through the cell door -- by the way, in our cells, there's nothing in there but the Virgin Mary, and, that is, she's holding the baby Jesus. And there's the Crucifix. And then we have a prayer board. And by the way, I'll assure you folks, that you'll never want to lean on our prayer board. We lean on it everyday if we are able to walk under our own power. It is a board about this high from the ground. And there are two leading up like this one. And this one is about that wide. I'm going to drop my knees down on it. And there's sharp wires coming up through that board. And then, this one up here, I prostrate my arms on, there's going to be sharp wires.

After all, I told you we were going to suffer. We're going to do penance. And this is a part of my suffering.

And as I lean on that prayer board, I'm praying for lost humanity. And I'm believing as I suffer that my grandmother will be released from a priest's purgatory sooner, because of my suffering. And I kneel there longer, sometimes. Oh, it's terrible, but we don't know any better. So we do that, because that's all that little Nuns know. And we believe it.

And there we are. And we are locked in our cells. Every night the key is turned in those doors. We can't get up and come out of there. And then, more than that, seven minutes to twelve - we go to bed, at nine thirty the lights are out - seven minutes to twelve, there's two little Nuns appointed to unlock every door. Every little Nun again gets on her feet, dresses in full dress, goes into the inner chapel, and there we again pray one hour for lost humanity.

We don't get very much sleep. That's why. And we don't have enough food and we work hard and we suffer much. That's why our bodies are so broken.

That's why we seemingly don't have enough strength to carry on after we live there.

SUFFERING TO BE SPARED DAYS IN PURGATORY


But I'd like to say this to you before I go any further. Now, I did those very things. And we're taught to believe that as we spill our own blood - now, WE must do this - if I whip my body, if I torment it, or torture it in any way that I spill blood, I'm taught to believe, that I'll have one hundred less days to spend in purgatory.

Now, you know, we have no hope. Those little Nuns don't look forward to anything. You may think they do, but we don't. Why? After you live in a Convent ten years, I began to realize the Virgin Mary is just a piece of metal. She's a statue. I began to realize Saint Peter's just a statue. I began to realize that the statue of Jesus is just a piece of metal. In other words, we come to the place to believe that our God is a dead God. And, I'll assure you, after you live in a convent long enough, not at first - no, no - but after we've suffered enough, after we've seemingly fallen down at the feet of those statues and spilled our tears on them, and have begged them to intercede and get a prayer through to God, and years go by and no prayer is answered, then we begin to realize we have a dead God.

And so on it goes.

And so those precious little girls, we're taught to believe that as we whip our bodies, or burn our bodies, or torture our bodies, and spill blood that we'll have one hundred less days to spend in purgatory. We believe in a literal purgatory. And that literal purgatory is a fire and it's going to burn. And we're going to feel the flames of fire.

PURGATORY IS THE PRIESTS' POCKET BOOK


And you know when I say Nuns are forgotten women, just who do you folk think is going to say a prayer, or go over and pay the priest to have a high mass for a little Nun that's in the convent? I wonder who's going to? Why? Because they'll not even be notified. When many of those little Nuns die, there's no notification of it whatsoever. A parent won't even know when they're dead. So, who's going to pray us out of purgatory? Or rather, buy us out of purgatory? No. We realize after we're in there a period of time that there is no Purgatory.

Of course, you know there isn't, and I know there isn't. And there is no purgatory. The only purgatory the Roman Catholic people have is a priest's pocket. And they're filling his pockets with coins in order to pray for the dead.

And, may I say, there are thousands and thousands of Roman Catholics -- in the month of November, may I say to you, in United States, two years ago -- in the month of November the Roman Catholic priests praying masses for the dead of the Roman Catholic people in this country, in one month, collected twenty-two million dollars for masses said for dead Roman Catholics.  That's just a little idea, or sample, of what's going on in this country.

And still there are thousands of mothers that will work their fingers to the bone to go over there and give the priest another five dollars to say a mass for a loved one that's in Purgatory, because that mother believes there is a Purgatory.

In the Convent, they have a painting of Purgatory. And there's nothing in the room but just that painting.  And, you know, every Friday we have to walk around that painting. And when we walk around it, I would you could look at the little Nuns' faces.

What do I see? The painting, as you would walk around it, looks like it's a big deep hole out there. And there are people down in there. And the flames of fire is lapping around the bodies of those people. And their hands are outstretched like this. And the Mother will say to the little Nuns, "You'd better go and put another penance on your body. Those people are begging to get out of that fire." And because we're heathens, we don't know any better, I might go someplace in the convent and maybe I'll burn my body real bad. Maybe I'll torture it some way and spill some more blood, because as I suffer I believe they're going to get out of that place where a priest puts them.

And there are millions of people, so to speak, in Purgatory that your priest has put there. And when he knows that its the biggest fraud there is in the world... he knows there's not a bit of truth to it. And, bless your heart, I often say you take purgatory mass away from the Roman Catholic Church you'll rob her of nine tenths of her living. She'll starve to death, if you would take it away from her. She commercializes, not only off of the living, but off of the dead. And on and on it goes.

Alright. It doesn't bother the Mother Superior to take one of those dear, little girls... And, may I say, you know, when the priests come into the convents, they come as our Father Confessors. Once a month we go to confession. And we don't want to go, don't you worry. I many's a' time I have gone in the very back row. I didn't want to go in there. I know who's out there. One of them... I may not know the particular man, but I know he's a priest. And I know those priests. I certainly have seen them enough. I've lived there long enough. I certainly have had contact with every one of them. And, I'll assure you this one thing, I don't trust a single one of those in the convent.

Now, we're not telling you about every priest. I don't know all the priests. I'm just talking about the Convent in my personal Testimony of Convent Life.

DRUNK PRIESTS


And, you know, we know something about what's out in that room. And, here we are, we know we're going to confession today. It may take all day long. And here he comes. And I have never seen a Roman Catholic Priest come into the Convent that I was in without intoxicating liquor under his belt.

And I say a man or a woman, regardless of who you may be, when you get liquor under your belt, you're not a man. Neither are you a woman. You become an animal and a beast.

And so we have a beast sitting out there. There a straight-back, hard-bottom chair. No other furniture but the Crucifix and the Virgin Mary. But here he is sitting on that chair right out there in the middle of that room. Now here a little girl has to walk out there alone. And she has to kneel down. Think of it.

Why, bless your heart, I really, sometimes... I'm saved now. I'm out of the Convent, and I now look back at that Roman Catholic priest, and I often say, "I'm sure he was a twin brother to the devil," because he's full of sin. He's full of vice. He's full of corruption.

And we go out there and kneel down at his knees. Now, you're a lucky girl if you get away from that man without being destroyed. Why, he's drunk. He's a beast. He's not a man. Oh, he has a holy habit on. He's an ordained Roman Catholic Priest.

And so, I'll assure you, we don't like to go to Confession. But we must go once a month. And those little girls can't help themselves. And nobody comes out into that room but the priest and I. Until it's all over and then we can come back. And the next one will have to come. And, I'll assure you, we don't appreciate that day.

And those little girls don't know any better. They don't know anything about the plan of salvation. They don't know that Jesus went to Calvary and died for them. They don't know that He shed His blood for them. Those little girls know nothing about it, because to me, as I repeat again, the Bible was a hidden book to every one of the those little girls.

And so, now, they can do things like this. Now, if a Roman Catholic Priest comes into the Convent he may go to the Mother Superior and ask her to permit him to go into the cell where one of the Nuns are. And, you know, that Mother with her carnal mind and her carnal heart - and she's very hard and very carnal - and she is the mother, many times, of many illegitimate children - they belong to the priest... and, you know, she'll take that priest. And he's drinking - she knows it. They bring liquor in with them. Sometimes some of the Nuns will drink with him, and the Mother usually drinks with him. And it's really a terrible place, it is, not a religious order. It does not live up to that name whatsoever.

But here she brings that priest into one of our cells. Now, I wonder if you realize how serious it is. That Roman Catholic priest, he has liquor under his belt, we know that. But he has a big, strong body. He's had three square meals of food every day of his life. He can eat all the food that he wants.

But, you know, there's a little Nun that may have a broken body. And she may not have very much strength. And what did he come into that cell for? For nothing other than to destroy that little Nun.

I often say I wish the government could walk into a Convent just about the time one of those priests are let in the cell. The Mother will turn a key in the lock, and you're locked in there with that priest.

Now, we have no way to defend ourselves. And I often say - I've had to nurse those little girls - I'm an R.N.. I've got my nurse's training by going through the tunnel over to the hospital as I lived in an Open Order Convent. But, may I say, after that priest is taken out of there, if you could look upon the body of that little Nun, she looks like something you've thrown out in a hog pen. And a half a dozen old sows have just mauled that child's body.

And this is convent life!

I can understand why your priests are calling over the phone every day or two and screaming their heads off because I'm in this city giving this testimony. But, may I say to you, I don't mind if they continue to scream. I don't mind what they do. I'm not one bit afraid of them. I'll continue to give this testimony - as long as God gives me strength I'll be giving this testimony regardless of your priests or your bishops in this country.

I know what I'm doing. I know what I'm saying. And I'm not afraid of anybody in all of this world. I'm a child of God. And I believe God won't let anybody put a hand on me until my work is finished. And then, I often say, I don't care what you do to my body after I leave this body. I'm sure I don't mind. And so I will continue to give the testimony regardless of what your priests think about it, because I think God saved me to pull the cover off of convents. I believe He saved me to uncloak those places that are riding under the cloak of religion. I believe that with all of my heart. I'll assure you I do.

Now, if I refuse to give my body - you know we're just supposed to give our bodies voluntarily to those priests. Many times the Nuns are overpowered. But if I refuse to give my body voluntarily to them, then you know he becomes very angry. And he goes immediately to the Mother Superior. Then when two carnal minds come together, they can invent things that you and I... we don't have enough evil in our heart to invent things like that. We don't have enough sin in our lives to even think up such terrible things. And when those two carnal minds come together, the next time, I want you to know, they're all ready.

Now, the Mother Superior might say to me in a day or two, we're going to do penance. Now the penance that they'll inflict on me is something that the Mother Superior and the priest have invented. And it can be very, very cruel.

They might take me down into one of the dirty dungeons. And there's no floors in those places. And, you know, they have a place down there - there are rods about three feet long. They have them, buried down into cement. And at the top of it there's a ring about this big, out, sticking out of the ground. They have some leather straps fastened there. And when they take me down there they put my foot, either foot, through those rings and then they strap my ankles securely.

Now, I'm standing with my feet in those rings. Alright, they're going out of there. And they're going to leave me locked up in that place by myself. And it's a dirty place. Well, I might stand there for two or three hours if I have strength enough in my body.

Well what do you think is going to happen to me then? I can't stand any longer. Sometimes we faint. Sometimes we just become exhausted and we go down. But when I go down it flips my ankles over like that, and I can't do anything about it. I don't have any strength for me to get up. I may have to lie in that position for two or three days and no one will come near. They won't give you a bite of food. They won't bring me one drop of water.

But I must stay there. And the next thing you feel is the bugs crawling over my body and the mice running over me. And I still have to stay there.

I can understand why they don't want me to uncover. They don't want the world to know these things are going on. No priest in this country wants it. And if he doesn't want the world to know it then they'd better be pretty careful that nobody ever gets out of the convent after they've spent a few years back there.

My God is greater than all the outside forces. My God can reach His hand over into those convents - this country or any other country - and make a way for a girl to come out and He won't have to ask the bishop to help Him. He won't have to ask the priest to help Him. But God can make a way for us to come out. I'll assure you of that.

Well, on it goes. Then sometimes the priests come and they get angry at us because we refuse to sin with them voluntarily. And you know, after awhile, the Nuns bodies' are broken after we're there awhile. And many, many's a' times to have him slap you in the mouth is a terrible thing. I've had my front teeth knocked out. I know what it's all about. And then he gets you down on the floor and then kicks you in the stomach.

Many of those precious little girls have babies under their heart. And it doesn't bother the priest to kick you in the stomach with a baby under your heart. He doesn't mind. The baby's going to be killed anyway, because those babies are born in the convent. Why wouldn't babies be born when you run places like this under the cloak of religion? The world thinks it's religious orders.

And there are babies born in there. And most of the babies are premature. And many of them are abnormal. Very, very seldom do we ever see a normal baby.

You say, "Sister Charlotte, do you dare to say that?" I most definitely do dare to say this. And I intend to keep on saying it. Why? I delivered those babies with these hands. And what I've seen with my eyes and I've done with my hands... I just challenge the whole world to say it isn't true. And the only way they can ever prove it isn't true, they'll have to open [the convents] - if they ever serve a summons on me, and call me into court, I'll assure you this one thing - convents are coming open. And then the world is going to know what convents really are.



BABIES BORN IN THE CONVENT


And they'll have to open them to vindicate my testimony, because I know what I'll do if they ever serve a summons on me. I've been before the highest laws we have in the United States. I know what I'm doing. I know what I can say. And I'm not one bit afraid to say it, because I've been a part of this. I've been connected with this system twenty-two years behind Convent doors. And it is a terrible thing.

--- a little Nun, looking forward to that day when her precious baby would be born. Most of you dear mothers.. Oh, you have everything ready. The beautiful nursery, all the baby's beautiful clothes you made. Everything is lovely. You're looking forward to that precious, little, immortal soul that's going to be born into your home. And everything is ready. And, oh, I would you could see that little Nun. She's not looking forward to that. There won't ever be a blanket around it's body. They'll never even - they'll never bathe that baby's body. But it can only live four or five hours. And then the Mother Superior will take that baby and put her fingers in it's nostrils and cover it's mouth and snuff it's little life out.

And why do they build the lime pits in the Convents? What is the reason for building it if it isn't to kill the babies? And that baby will be taken into the lime pit, and chemical lime is put over it's body. And that's the end of babies.

Oh, when I think about it! That's why I try to challenge people, "Pray." If you know how to pray, you know how to contact God, pray and ask God to deliver the girls from behind Convent doors. In other words, pray that God will make a way for every Convent in the United States to be opened and to let the government go in. And when the government goes in you won't have to worry. The Convents will be opened, the Nuns will be taken out and they'll be closed up just as they opened the Convents in old Mexico in 1934.

There are no Convents in old Mexico. Every cloister it is opened. And they found all of the corruption back there - the lime pits. If any of you are taking a vacation, go over into old Mexico. The government owns them. They're public museums. And go through the Convent. Look with your own eyes, touch with your own hands, and then come home and see if you believe my testimony. It'll stir every bit of that blood in your veins! I mean, it'll do something to you that nothing else has ever been able to do. Go through them and look at them. Go into the dungeons. Go into the tunnels. Go through the lime pits. Look at the skulls - rooms of skulls over there. And then ask the guides where they come from. And go and see all the devices of torture they placed upon the bodies of the little Nuns. Go into their cells and look at their beds, and see for yourself.

Oh, yes. You can go. It'll cost you twenty-five cents to go through each one of them. You look at those things, and see them for yourself, and then come home, and maybe it'll give you a greater burden to pray for little girls that have been enticed behind Convent doors by the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.

I wonder how you would feel if this was your child. And remember I have a mother and daddy, or had one. And they loved me just as much as you love your children. And when they let me go into the Convent, I'm sure my mother and daddy didn't expect these things to happen because they didn't know. They never dreamed a Convent was like this.

But, you know, I wonder how'd you feel if you could walk in someday and - out there in this particular room - that floor is built for this purpose. There's a partition right out there. And there's just a little thing they can touch - it automatically opens. And you know there's a deep hole underneath that floor. And this little Nun has done something. I can't tell you what she done, because I wasn't there when she done it. But she's done something. And to them it's very serious. And when they bring her, they bring her to this particular place. Her little hands and feet are going to be bound securely. They're going to drop her in that horrible, horrible pit. And then they're going to put the boards back down. No one will ever know. Oh, there's plenty of chemical lime down there. But, you know, they don't do that.

Six little Nuns have to walk around that hole. We'll chant as we walk around that hole. We don't want any evil spirits to come out into the Convent. So we sprinkle holy water over that hole. And we may walk for six hours. And then they'll appoint six more Nuns. And on and on it goes, until we hear the last moan. And that's the end of the little Nun they placed down there. No, she'll never be delivered from the Convent.

But does it bother you to know that that little Nun will die and be lost? Does that bother you? It bothers me, because I didn't know Jesus. I couldn't tell her about God. I didn't know Him, myself. But it bothers me very, very much. But God won't hold me accountable. Her blood will not be on my hands because I didn't know the Lord, and I couldn't tell her about it. And so on it goes.

Then I wonder how you would like to see it. Here we are, a body of those little Nuns. On this particular morning the Mother Superior might say this: "We're all going to be lined up here." And I don't know what she's lining me up for. And then, you know, there might ten of us. There might be fifteen of us, and then she'll tell us all to strip. And we have to take every stitch of our clothing off. We're certainly not anything beautiful to look at. Our eyes are back in our head. Our cheeks are fallen in. Our bodies are wasted. God only knows what we look like, because I never saw myself in twenty-two years.

I didn't know I had grey hair. I didn't know I had lines in my face. I didn't know how old I was. I only found that out about six years ago. You know nothing about what you look like.

And here we are lined up. And here comes two or three Roman Catholic priests with liquor under their belt. And there they're going to march in front of those nude girls and choose the girl they want to take to the cell with them.

These are Convents. Cloistered Convents. Not Open Orders.

MADE TO HATE


The priest can do anything he wants to and hide behind the cloak of religion. Then that same Roman Catholic priest will go back into the Roman Catholic churches. And there he'll say mass. And there he'll go into the confessional box and make those poor people believe he can give them absolution from their sins when he's full of sin. When he's full of corruption and vice. Still he acts as their god. What a terrible thing it is And on it goes.

Well, I lived there. Now, all the time these things are going on, what do you think is happening inside of Charlotte? God love your heart, I didn't know people could hold so much hatred and bitterness. And it went on and on and on. I was filled with bitterness and hatred. And I mean it continued to build. I began in my heart to think, "When I can get the Mother Superior in a certain place, I'll kill her."

Isn't it awful to get murder in our hearts? I didn't go into the Convent with a heart like that. Nor a mind like that. But I began to plan murder in the Convent. How I could kill her, or how I could kill a Roman Catholic priest. And on and on it goes.

And, oh, I tell you, every time she'd inflict something awful on my body that I'd have to suffer so terribly, when I could think sensibly again then I would begin to plan, "How could I kill that woman?" And on it goes.

WATER TORTURE


Well, after all, you can't help it. For instance, I wonder how you would feel. The Mother Superior - here she is. And she's going to sit me down in a chair. And, you know, that chair is a straight-back, hard bottom. And I don't have any hair. She's going to take everything off my head. And, you know, she's going to put my hands like this - they'll be out here in stocks. And I'm going to have to bend my head over like that in order to put the stocks across my neck.

And I'm fastened securely. And over my head there is a faucet of water. And you know... there is a faucet of water just above my head. And my head's over. Now that Mother's going to turn that water on. Just a drop. And a drop will just come about this fast. It'll hit me right there on the back of my head. And, you know, I can't move either way. I sit there. One hour. Two hours. Three hours. Four hours. What do you think is going on? I'm sitting there. I can't move. I do everything to get away from that drop of water in the same spot on my head. Why, God love your heart, if you could look in, you'd see that I'm frothing at the mouth. You'd see those little girls, they're trying so hard to move. To get away from that water. And they let her stay there sometimes ten hours. All day long.

Many, many times a little Nun cracks up completely. She goes stark, raving mad under this particular penance. What in the world do they do with her? I'll tell you in a few minutes. Don't you worry. They have a place for her, after we go mad in the Convent. They take care of us. They have places for the little Nuns. There's places built down there for us.

A CHANCE FOR REVENGE


Well on it goes. Well, you know, these things went on and went on and went on. And it was terrible. But, you know, I began to plan and plan and plan. After she'd done something like that to me - it's terrible - one day the Mother Superior took violently ill.

You say, "Who would take her place?" There are about three, sometimes they have four, older Nuns. And they always pick the one that's hard. The one that seemingly is carnal - that one that has no conscience - to be a Mother Superior. And she works under this one. One day, if something happens to the main Mother Superior, another one will take her place. And on it goes.

But, you know, this particular day they sent word to me, "The Mother Superior..." I was to come into her room. She's very sick. And, quicker than lightning, I began to think, "If I got in that Mother Superior's room, I know what I'll do." You know, after all, I'm a sinner. I'm a Nun, but I'm a sinner. And I don't know God. And I have a lot of hatred in my heart.

And I walk in that room - they have called in an outside Roman Catholic doctor. She's a very sick woman. And he has left all orders. And they left the medicine and everything. Now, I'm supposed to take care of her. And that was wonderful. I do take care of her. All day long I did what they told me to do - what I'm supposed to do. And those particular tablets - I knew what they were, and what they would do and I knew what she was taking them for.

But anyway, all day long, I gave her her medicine. I done everything I'm supposed to. All evening long. Why? I want to be sure what I'm doing. What I do, I have to be careful.

And, you know, I waited until one o'clock in the morning. Why? Because every night those little Nuns have to be gotten up and go chant from seven minutes till twelve to one. I thought I'll wait til all the Nuns go back to bed then I'm going to do something. And, bless your heart, after they were all back in their beds, I'll tell you what I did. I took five or six of those tablets. I was only supposed to take one in a half a glass of water every so often and give it to her. But, because of the type they were and what type of tablet it was, I knew what it would do.

I put six of them in glass of water and stirred them up. And I gave them to her. I knew she would go into convulsions that would twist her completely out of shape. I knew that woman would suffer a million deaths within twenty-five minutes. I knew that. And I thought, "I'm going to watch her suffer, because she has punished us. She has hurt us so many thousands of times. I'll watch her suffer."

Isn't it terrible to think a child can live in a place like that long enough until she has the same kind of a heart, almost, the Mother Superior has. But that's what comes when sin gets in your life.

And so I waited. You know, I gave them to her. And something happened to me. I got scared. And I looked at that woman as she began to change color. And I couldn't find her pulse. I couldn't find her respiration. I was frightened. And I thought, "Oh, what shall I do?" If they find her dead, only God knows what they'll do to me.

I'll tell you what I did. I got that stomach pump and pumped as quick as I could. I pumped that woman's stomach. I massaged that woman. I done everything there was to do. And, oh, thank God she didn't die. I said, I thank God.

INTO THE LOCKED DOORS BELOW


But, you know, I sat down by the bed and held her hand, and watched her carefully until the respiration came back normal - until her pulse was normal and I felt she would live. And I thought of another thing. I'll do this, then. I saw where her keys were hid in her shelf right there in her own room. Saw them on a big chain or a big ring. And I thought, "I'm going to take those keys. I'm going down into that dungeon." There's a... when I say down, this is two storeys under the ground. I'm going someplace where she's always wandered. It's a solid wall like that. And clear up to the back end of that wall there's one door. And it's heavy. It's always locked. And I've heard her tell me scores of times, and I'm sure she has the others, "Don't ever try to go through that door."

What in the world is over there? And why does she tell us that? We can't get through it. It's locked. But, you know, I wondered what was back there. Because when they had me in the dungeon for a long time once, I heard screams under the ground. I heard such blood-curdling screams. And I knew there was some girls locked up somewhere. And so I'm going through there if I find the key.

And so I got her keys and I went into that particular place. And when I got back there - it took a while to do it, I want you to know, to find the key. But, oh, it did unlock that door. I walk through that door and I walk into a hall. The hall, I would say, was maybe five feet wide, maybe wider than that. That's just a guess.

And, anyway, on the other side of the hall there were a number of cells over there. Small rooms. And they had real heavy doors. And in those cells were little Nuns. And when I went up to the first one, near the top of the door there was a little place about this long, its about that wide, and it has iron bars going across there.

And I looked right into the face of a little Nun that I knew. One that I'd sit across the table from. One that I'd prayed with in the chapel. I knew that girl. And here she is. And they had chains and locked chains around either of her wrists. And around her waistline.

And I said, "When did you have something to eat last?"

And no answer.

"How long you been here?"

No answer.

I went down to the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth. And the stench was getting so bad, I couldn't stand it. And, you know, those little girls would not talk. Why?



NUNS IN THE DUNGEON


And, you know, those little girls would not talk. Why?

I lived in the Convent, you know, a long time. I don't care if I was two miles under the Convent, way back there, we were working back there. And we'd whisper. The next day I'd have to suffer because the convents are wired. And the Mother Superior can hear every voice. Every whisper. And then somebody tells. And you're in some serious trouble.

And those Nuns had been there long enough. What had they done? I don't know. But those Nuns supposed to have cracked up mentally. And so they have to put them in those chains. And when they die, they can't fall down to the floor. They'll just drop in those chains and slump. When they go in there they don't give them any more food. --- that's a slow death.

And so, as I saw all of that, I became so sick from the terrible stench, because many of them are already dead. Now I don't know how long they'd been dead.

I came out of there and walked up back to this room where the Mother Superior was. And she was lying there sleeping. And I watched her carefully and she slept 'til the next day. Oh, long, long hours and didn't awaken. And when she did, she said, "I had a long sleep." And I said, "Yes." They let me take care of her for three days. And, you know, the third day... I don't know.

You say, "Did she ever find out you done that?" Well, not yet. I hoped she didn't while I was there.

HOPE OF ESCAPE


But anyway, in three days they put me out in the kitchen. In other words, when we go to the kitchen, six of us go for a six week period. And this particular time they put me out in the kitchen with five other little Nuns. What am I there for? I'm doing the kitchen work. I'm going to do all the cooking that's done out there, and take care of the work in the kitchen.

And so when I went out in the kitchen, we have a long table back here. And it's a work table. And our vegetables will be prepared for the soup. And that's what we were doing - all six of us.

And something happened.

Our kitchen is a very large room. And a very long room. Not as wide as it is long. And over at one end of it, you'll find over here the stair steps leading - about four - leading down into the landing right there. Over there is a big heavy outside door. But here, there's a landing. Our garbage cans sit there. And right here is a stairway - cement one - leading down one story under the ground. Now, I'm up on first floor in this kitchen.

Alright, as I'm in there, and we're there working, something happened. Somebody touched a garbage can. You know, all my Convent life we are taught never to break silence. We don't dare to make noises in the Convent. We are punished for them. And when something touched the garbage can, that's a noise. Who in the world... six others, and we're all together... who's touching the garbage can?

I reeled around, and they reeled around. And we saw a man.

And, you know, that man was picking up the full can, and leaving an empty one. I'd never seen that before. I've been in that Convent for years in the kitchen, but I never saw anything like that happen.

I believe God had His hands on me. With all my heart I believe it.

And you say, "What happened?"

Well, we turned around quickly because, to us, it's a mortal sin to look upon a man other than a Roman Catholic priest. Now, I mean, we turned around quick and went to our work.

But, you know, I thought, "If that man comes back again to get another full can, I'm going to give him a note and I'm going to ask him if I can run out with him."

But, I didn't do that. But, you know what I did? When we run out of something in the kitchen there's a pencil hanging up there on a chain. And, bless your heart, I have to, or whoever it is runs out, you have to write it on a tab. And of course I stole a piece of paper off of a sack. And I thought, "I'll carry that little piece of paper in my skirt pocket. And every time I can get a'hold of that pencil, I'm going to write a word or two on the note. And that's what I did. It took quite a while to do it.

But, oh, I watched that garbage can. Every time I could take the garbage down there I did. And, you know, when it was just about full, and I thought, "The next evening it'll be full when we put all the garbage in it." And so that afternoon, I broke my Crucifix, and I laid it up on a shelf. And I had a hard time doing it, because they're watching me. But I did it. And I laid it up on the shelf. And I did that to have a way to get back to that room, of course.

And when our dinner work is over, our supper dishes, everybody has to go out at the same time. And we march by the Mother Superior. And, you know, when I march by I stopped and said, "Please, may I speak to you?"

And I did. And I said, "Mother Superior, I broke my crucifix and I left it in the kitchen. May I go for it?"

And, of course, no Nun goes without her crucifix. And she said, "How did you break it?"

I lied to her. Everything she asked me, I lied to her. You say, "Why did you lie?" She lies to us. And we're all sinners, so we all lie. And it doesn't make any difference in there.

And so we lied. And I lied, too. Finally she said, "You go get the crucifix and come right back."

And that's all I wanted anyway. I have to have a reason. You can't go back into the kitchen after you left it.

And so I didn't go for the crucifix. But she thought I did, and run for this tin can. Why? That night when I put my garbage in there, I put a note right on top of that garbage and left the lid off, which I was not supposed to do.

And, you know, I said on the note to the garbage man, "If you get this, won't you please help me out? Won't you do something to help the little Nuns out?"

I told him about those nineteen cells down there, and those nineteen Nuns in them. I told him about some of the babies that had been killed. I told him some other little Nuns that are locked up in the dungeons and they're bound with chains. I told him a 'plenty. And I said, "Won't you help us? And if you will, please leave a note under the empty can."

That's what I went back for. And when I lifted up the can and found a note, you don't know how I felt. I froze to the floor. I was so scared I didn't know what to do.

I picked that piece of paper up and I read. And this is what that man said: "I'm leaving that door unlocked, and I'll leave the big iron gate unlocked. You come out."


OUTSIDE THE CONVENT


Oh, let me tell you, that's almost more than you'd ever... Why, I never dreamed I'd get out of the Convent. I never thought of ever getting out. I wanted out. But you say.. Oh, yes, I, when I collect myself, I reached over and turned the knob. And, do you know, it was open? I walked out of that Convent, and I slammed it to. I was sure the lock was on it. And I got out to the big iron gate. But, oh, he had me trapped.

That iron gate was just as locked as it was ever locked. You don't know what it done to me to stand there looking at the iron gate. And locked out of the Convent! I have no right out there! You can't imagine!

I don't know if I groaned right there. I don't know. I know I suffered enough, because I'm scared half to death. And what do I do if I go back and pound on that door? What will they do with me?

And, oh, the fear that grips your heart. And you say, "What did you do?"

I didn't have any shoes and stockings on. I'd worn those out years ago.

When I think of the Roman Catholic being the richest church in the world, and they let those little Nuns go winter and summer without any shoes and they're without any hose - living in crucial poverty - I wonder how they can do it. Hungry as we are. Your priests are all nice and fat. But little Nuns are so hungry. I wonder how they do it sometimes.

You say, "What did you do, Charlotte?" Well, I'll tell you I just took a hold of that big old iron gate and I tried to climb it. That's all there was for me to do. And up, about a foot and a half from the top, is a ledge about six inches wide. I thought if I could get high enough to get my knee on the ledge, I'm safe. And I did. I got one knee on the ledge, but by this time I don't have any strength left either. And, you know, I thought, "What'll I do? I'll put one foot over. Then I'll get the other over." Then I realized, you know, I had three skirts on. My skirts are gathered on a belt and they're clear down to my ankles. My veil, of course, is down to my knees in front and that long in the back. How will I ever get over those sharp points?

And I thought, "I can't go down. I don't have strength enough." So, I'll have to jump. And if I jump, I'll break every bone because I was broken in body, of course. And you know I thought of what I'll do. Well, I pulled all my clothing up around my body. And held them with one hand. And then I thought, "Ill have to jump."

And, you know, they have a buzzer in the convent. And when a little Nun tried to escape, and they catch her, they put a buzzer on. And, oh, the priests tell you they don't come to the convent. I would you could see the priests then. You'll find a good many of them there. And they are immediately are after that Nun. They don't want her out. If she comes out of that convent, she's going to give a testimony someday. And it'll pull the cloak off of convents. And I'll assure you they don't intend for us to get out.

And so as I let loose of the top of that gate and I made that jump, I just didn't make it. My clothing caught on top of those points and I hung there. But I'd let loose. And I often say, you know, I don't know what I looked like. I didn't know I had grey hairs. But I've often said, "Maybe my hair turned grey there." Maybe you'll never know what I'd suffered hanging there on top of that gate, knowing that buzzer can go on any minute. And then what would they do to me?

I was scared. So I thought I'd try to wiggle my body and swing it. If I could get back far enough to grab that gate with one hand, maybe I can help myself. And I did. And then with the other hand I tried to pry the snappers loose on my skirt. And they'd let me fall between them.

Do you know what happened to me? I hit the ground. I was out. I was unconscious for a while. I don't know how long. We have no way to tell. But when I came to, I had a shoulder broken, and my arm was broken right in here. The flesh - the bone had snapped right through my flesh because I didn't have
any meat on me. I thought, "What'll I do?" And I realized I'm on the outside. "Where am I going?" Where do you think you'd go?

I'm not in the United States. I'm in another country. And I don't know a thing about that country. When they took me over there, I was so heavily veiled. And they took me from that particular cart or train to the convent. I was so heavily veiled I couldn't see anything. And I don't know where I am. I don't know where to go. I didn't know if I had any people. I didn't know if I had anybody in the world. And I'm a pauper. I don't have any money. And I'm hungry. And my body's broken. And I'm hurt now.

Where do you think you'd go? I tell you it's something to think about. I just started away to get away from the convent. And I did. And I started moving away. And all the leaves were falling, and they made so much noise. And I was scared. And I kept on moving. And finally dark overtook me - or rather - there's no twilight in that part of the country - it just drops off into darkness.

And, you know, I saw this little building beside the road. I thought I'd crawl in it. It was a doghouse or maybe a chicken-coop or something. But it's dirty. And I crawled in there because I was shaking and scared. And I laid in there for a little while to get a hold of myself. And then I thought, "I'll have to travel. It's dark. And it's safer for me."

So I got out and traveled that night. And the next day I hid behind pieces of board and tin that was piled up against an old building. And all day long, imagine, hiding in that hot place. And hungry as I was with broken bones. Do you realize what it's all about? No. You'll never know. But I do.

And then, you know, when night came again I have to go, because I'm going to get away from the convent. I'm afraid to rap on somebody's door. Remember, I'm scared. I don't know, I might rap on a Roman Catholic's door. They will immediately notify the priest and I'll be taken back to the Convent. And I'd rather they killed me than take me back. And so I didn't.




RESCUED BY A LOVING COUPLE


But I went on and on and on. And then the next night, or next day I hid out in an old straw stack. And then that afternoon on the third day, I was scared then, because this arm was swollen as tight as it could swell, and I was having to carry it in the other hand. And all my fingers began to turn blue. And I realized gangrene poisoning set in. And, you know, nobody to do anything for you. And I realized I'm going to die just like a rat beside the road. That's a terrible feeling. And I thought, "What'll I do? I'll just get out and go a little sooner. Maybe I'll have to rap on somebody's door."

That's what I did. I remember as I walked out, I don't know how far, I saw this lamp. It was an old-fashioned lamp burning. Very poor house. No paint on it. Now, I knew those were poor people. So I walked up to the screen door and I rapped on it. And a tall man came to the door. He was rather old. And I said, "Please may I have a drink of water?"

And do you know that old man didn't answer me. But he walked back into the house and he called his wife. And, God bless her heart, she's like most old-fashioned mothers. She came to the door, and she didn't say, "Who are you?" Or, "What do you want?" Thank God, there are a lot of good people in this world.

That dear little woman just pushed that door open and said, "Won't you come in and sit down?" Do you know that's the most beautiful music I'd ever heard in my life? I should say I'll come in and sit down!

And she pulled out a chair. And I sat down on it. I was glad to sit down. And, you know, their house was poor. There was no rugs on the floor of any type. A table cloth. Red-checkered table cloth on the table. A little old stove over there in the corner and there was a fire in it. And that woman put some milk in a pan and heated it and brought it over to me.

And, you know, I'm hungry. I don't have any manners. I forgot how to act. I forgot a lot of things in twenty-two years.

And I grabbed that glass of milk before she ever set it down. And I gobbled it down. I'm so hungry. I felt like I'm going stark mad. And I took it instantly. And the moment it touched my stomach, of course, I couldn't retain it. I lost it. I haven't had any whole milk in twenty-two years. You can understand why I couldn't take it.

And she knew what to do. She went out into the kitchen and she heated some water - or rather over to the stove - and heated some water. And, bless her heart, she put sugar in that water and brought it over to me. And she sat down and gave it to me from a spoon.

I took every bit of it. Oh, it was good. It was nourishing. And then the daddy walked over by me and he said, "Now tell us who you are and where you come from."

I began to cry. I was scared then. I said, "I run away from the convent and I'm not going back."

And he said, "What happened to you?" My hand was laying up on the table.

And I said, "Well, I tried to get over the gate and I fell and I'm hurt."

And, you know, he said, "We'll have to call a doctor."

And, bless your sweet life, then I really became hysterical. I got up from the table. I was going to run back outside and they wouldn't let me.

He said, "Wait a minute. We're not going to hurt you. You're hurt. You'll have to have help.

I said, "I don't have any money and I don't have any people. And I can't pay a doctor bill."

Of course, I was just in a terrible mess, if you want to know it. And that man said to me, "I'm going after a doctor." He said, "And he's not a Roman Catholic. Neither am I."

TO THE HOSPITAL


And that dear man didn't have a car, but he hitched up a horse and buggy. And he drove nine miles to get a doctor. The doctor came out in his car. And when he got out to the place - he got there ahead of the man. And when the doctor walked in and walked around me. He just kept walking around and he was swearing. Maybe he didn't realize it was a terrible effect on me.

When he stopped and looked at me... of course he was mad. He was mad. Why was he mad? He was mad because he was looking at something that was supposed to be a human being. And I didn't even look up to him, being I was in such a horrible condition.

So finally he calmed down and he came over to me and said, "I'll have to take you over to the Hospital tonight."

Oh, I became hysterical. I said, "I don't want to go. Please don't make me go."

And then he sat down carefully and took my hand. And he began to say, "I'm not going to hurt you. You have to have help. And I want to help you."

That doctor took me into the hospital that night and that's how I learned how much I weighed. He weighed me and I weighed exactly eighty-nine pounds. I weigh a hundred and seventy-eight right now.

And then, you know, he took me into surgery. And, of course, they tried to get the swelling and the inflammation out of my hand that they might do something for me. It took about twelve - thirteen - days.

And then, of course, by this time is started to knit, and they had to break it over again and put it in a cast. I did a lot of suffering.

Well, you know, one day, a way was made for me to be released from the hospital. Who did they release me to? I begged to go out with those old people to stay with them. And they let me go, because they'd been good to me and I trusted them.

And the doctor wanted to take me out to his home. I was in that hospital three and a half months. And they took me out there for a period of time. And then one day this same doctor, he wrote a letter and you know what he sent in that letter? He sent a check. He told the people to go and buy me a suitcase and get me some clothing. He was coming for me on a certain day. He had told me, "I'm going to find your people" for me.

You know, that doctor's a stranger to me. But, oh, I thank God that He has men and women across this world. And those men and women are not so selfish that they won't use some of the money that God has allowed them to have to help that one that's less fortunate than they. He spent a lot of money on me. I was in that hospital three and a half months. And, I mean, there was a lot of money spent on me, but he paid the bills. I appreciate it.

BACK HOME AGAIN


And, you know, that dear doctor, oh, he took me and bought my clothing for me and bought my suitcase. And everything was ready. And the day came when he come. And, you know, that doctor took me to the train. And he put me on a train in care of somebody, of course. He found my people for me. I was on buses and trains and boats for a long time. And one day, after he had gotten my visa to get back into the United States... And I was always in charge of somebody because they wouldn't trust me to travel alone, because of having lived under the ground so long.

And one day they called the name of a town where I was, and where my mother and daddy lived. And, you know, I knew where mother and daddy lived. And I got off of that train and run down to that home five blocks from that depot. Just a very small town. And when I rang the bell my daddy come to the door and, you know, I looked at his face. I didn't know him. And because I didn't know him, I said, "Do you know where my father lives?"

And he said, "Who are you and what's your name?"

And I said my name. And I didn't give him my church name. I gave him my family name. And that man looked at me, and of course it was his name, and he said, "Hookie is this you?" ["Hookie" was her fathers pet name for Charlotte, pronounced "Hoowkee".]

My father didn't know me, of course, it was my dad. That dear old man opened that door and invited me in. And I said, "Dad, is mother alive?" Because I didn't know about her. He took me back in to see her. And there she was. Seven and a half years she laid there an invalid. A horrible, horrible invalid. And, of course, she didn't know me and I didn't know her.

WORKING IN THE HOSPITAL


Well, you know, that very night I took violently sick and they put me back in another hospital for another three months. But my father paid all of those bills. He reimbursed the doctor and paid the doctor in the other country and paid the old people. He reimbursed them all.

Oh, that was wonderful! And then, you know, one day, after my body was strong enough to since I'm here in the United States--oh, it took a long time--several years. I'm a nurse and I took the examination to nurse. And you know what God did? He let a woman come into that particular hospital. It was a Roman Catholic hospital. This woman was a Church of God minister. She came in and I thought how strange.

Just across the Mississippi River is two magnificent Protestant Hospitals and she lived in one of those cities. Right there. Two cities joined together. And why in the world would she come over into this Roman Catholic hospital? Why, I believe God has His hand on it all the time.

You know, that woman who came in... and the doctor said, "I want you to take her case and I went into that room to prepare that woman for the operating table. And I heard her praying. And I want you to now I became that woman's private nurse. Her special nurse.

SPECIAL NURSE TO A CHRISTIAN


After she left the hospital, she went home and I became her special nurse in the home. And that woman asked me if I would go to Church with her.

And, you know, I lived in her home long enough to hear her pray. I lived in that home long enough to read the Bible to her, because I am her nurse and I did what she told me to.

I'd never read a Bible before in all of my life. And she'd have to find the Scriptures and then I'd read them to her. And, you know, as I read the Word of God, God began to get a'hold of me. And finally she said, "Won't you go to Church with me." And, you know, I went to Church with that woman. And I sat back there and I heard the Gospel for the first time in my life.

And, you know, I'll tell you I went three or four nights. And it was really beautiful. I've never heard anything like this. And all the time she was telling me about the plan of salvation. Telling me about God. And that I needed God and I needed to be saved. And of course I was believing her.


INTO THE BIBLE


And of course I was believing her.

Do you know what I'd do every night? I'd go home from church with that woman. I'd say, "You go to bed, but let me go to the basement." I'd lay my Bible down on a chair, and there I challenged God. And I'd say, "God, did you hear what the preacher said? Did you hear it, God?" And then I'd throw out everything I could remember that the preacher said.

I said, "God, you heard every word, didn't you, now, if you're God? And the Bible is the Word of God. And God you're real. I want what those people have. But if you're not God, and the Word of God is not your Word, then, God, please don't give to me what those people have."

Let me tell you, I challenged God. I put Him to a test. God will not give you anything that's not of God. Don't you worry.

And every night I continued to do that - four or five nights - and I didn't eat either. I couldn't sleep. And I've lost my appetite. And I was losing a lot of weight. It was terrific.

REPENTANCE


But, you know, one night, I come back to church. And out of the clear blue sky, right in the middle of that man's service, I just got out of my seat. And with both hands up in the air I come running right straight down an aisle like this and I fell in that altar and I cried out, "My God, forgive me for all my sins." I was a sinner.

I mean, God met me there! Praise His wonderful name! There was a pool of water on that floor. I was sorry for everything that I did in the convent. I stole potato peelings. I stole bread. I told lies. I called the Mother Superior names under my breath. And I want you to know that God met me down there and He forgave me of every sin there was in my life. And how I thank and praise Him for it. Praise His wonderful name.

God's been very good to me. Very good to me.

Three nights previous to that [transcriber: she obviously meant three nights AFTER that], I went back to Church, God filled me with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. May I say to you, God means more to me than all the material wealth you have in this city. I'd rather have Jesus than anything you might have, because I've found Him to be the best friend that I've ever known. I can tell Him anything I want to tell Him, and he won't call you up and tell you what I told Him. I can sit at His feet and tell Him, every day of my life, "Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you." And every secret of my heart I can pour out to Him, and I don't worry about Him calling you up and telling you what I told Him.

He's the best friend you'll ever have. He's able to save you. He's able to deliver you. He's able to loose you from the things of this world. Set you free to know Him. Praise His name.

I have a wonderful God. I love Him--supremely. I'd rather have Jesus than anything that you might have. God is real in my life. Really wonderful. My God delivered me out of the convent.

Pray for me. I need much prayer. I'll be going places where it's predominantly Roman Catholic. I'll have to suffer much, but I'm willing to suffer for Jesus that I might tell someone about Him. And give my testimony of a dear little Nun that girls might be spared from convents. So, pray for me, won't you.

God bless you.


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Here are some LINKS to websites that have other personal testimonies of how Catholic's found a personal relation ship with the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and could no longer hold the the teachings of the Catholic Church, because their eyes have now been opened to the truth and they clearly see all the contradictions that the teachings of the Catholic church have with the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible.

Following this list of links that have personal testimonies of why Catholic left Catholicism is a list of links to other websites that have clear plain simple teachings exposing the errors in the teachings of the Catholic church.


MORE PERSONAL TESTIMONIES of FORMER CATHOLICS


http://www.seekgod.ca/cmtestimony.htm


TEACHINGS ON THE ERRORS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


The following is a short video that clearly and plainly will bear witness to every Catholic the teachings that they have been taught in the Catholic church and then shows in simplicity how these teachings in the Catholic church do not agree with what the word of TRUTH, the Holy Bible, teaches. Please open your Catholic Bible and follow along with this video and the teachings that follow as well asking Almighty God the Father and his Son Jesus to show you the TRUTH.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNbREOhih6Q


The following is a great website where the simple gospel of Jesus Christ is explained in clear, plain and simple words striaght from the Holy Bible the very word of Almighty God our creator himself.

http://formercatholicsforchrist.com/pdf/catholicroad_vrs_romansroad-mrssexton.pdf


Here is great video series containing 6 videos about 10 minutes each. A must watch for every Catholic seeking the TRUTH.

Part #1.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNw-R_iTwlA&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38

Part #2.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K1wCWdy9l0&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38

Part #3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7gZQ5i1aHQ&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38

Part #4.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpaezhKccQ8&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38

Part #5.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjqcEuGMyOo&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38

Part #6.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxY2PMzjsv0&list=PLE3B89BAD0D461B38



The following link is to a book written by a former Roman Catholic nun that is a must read for all Catholics.

http://formercatholicsforchrist.com/maryancollins/CatholicConcerns.pdf


The following website has a collect of several video testimonies of former Catholics.

http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/helpforcatholics/Watch/Former_Catholics.html


This following link show the involment of teh Pope and teh Roman Catholic church with Hitler and now with Islam. The Bible WARNS us in Daniel that the antichrist system will try and deceive the people of God with FLATTERIES. This word carries the meaning of persuading family members that it is better to compromise your faith than to die or starve or be persecuted. This is a must read lest any Christian whether they are Catholic or not so that neither Protestants nor Catholics be DECEIVED into taking the MARK of the best and cast into the lake of fire on judgment day!

http://formercatholicsforchrist.com/mrssexton/index.html


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EARLY CHURCH WRITINGS


Here are some links to the writing of the early Christians that even include the writings of the official canon of the 27 accepted universally books New Testament.

This first link gives a list of all the preserved writings of these early Christians in their chronological order to the best that can be determined. Some could have been written at the same time so it is not dogmatic to say one writing came before or after another writing when they were written so closely together around the same time.




ALL THE EARLY WRITINGS OF THE CHURCH LISTED IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER INCLUDING THE NEW TESTAMENT:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/index.html


It was not until Tertullion that the first mention of the trinity was discussed, which was around 197 AD. to 220 AD. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/tertullian.html




Pope Clement letter to the Corinthians: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1clement.html




Lutheran views as to what is heretical: check out Arminianism http://www.lutheransource.net/FalseDoctrines.htm


Letters of St Ignatius the third bishop of Antioch:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html


Justin Martyr: three main works, first apology second apology, and dialog with Trypho the Jew, but these are not the only preserved writing of Justin the Martyr:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/justin.html

Nero, Domitian and others heavily killed Christians from 64 Ad to 313 AD. Here is a link to a website that summarizes the persecution of this era: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Books,%20Tracts%20&%20Preaching/Printed%20Books/FBOM/fbom-chap_02.htm




The following was taken from the fragments of the lost writings of Irenaeus

VII.

This [custom], of not bending the knee upon Sunday, is a symbol of the resurrection, through which we have been set free, by the grace of Christ, from sins, and from death, which has been put to death under Him. Now this custom took its rise from apostolic times, as the blessed Irenaeus, the martyr and bishop of Lyons, declares in his treatise On Easter, in which he makes mention of Pentecost also; upon which [feast] we do not bend the knee, because it is of equal significance with the Lord's day, for the reason already alleged concerning it.