(Eccl. 1:9) "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."
(Rev. 12:9) Satan is identified as the Devil, (Isa. 27:1 keyword: leviathan) the great dragon and that old serpent (Lucifer from Eden) so all names apply to the same being. Someplace along Satan's endeavors, from subverting Eve and Adam in Eden, because of his pride and jealousy, on to when he decided to take God's throne and make himself the ruler of all things, Satan transitioned himself into the essence of pure, absolute, evil.
We have learned he has free will, emotions (a personality), self-awareness, a name, can speak and has the ability to reason with which he establishes his values and agenda. (Dan. 10:12-13) Satan is stronger than any man and most angels. (Eph. 6:11-12) He is the ruler of darkness.
In the past 27 parts we have learned (2Cor. 11:14-15 & Rev. 2:20-21) Satan uses other people to tempt (test) and deceive God's people. (Matt: 4:1-11 & 1Thess. 3:5) Satan is a tempter (tester) and offers Christians the same things he showed and offered Jesus, Job, Judas and Simon Peter. Satan attacks our emotions (personality, soul), intellect (ability to reason, know and understand) and perceived physical needs (bodily desires).
A big part of the Christian experience is that God uses Satan to tempt (test) us just like He did Jesus, Job, Judas and Simon Peter. Satan's temptation #1) tests our loyalty to God, #2) tests our desire to serve God, #3) tests our moral strength, #4) tests our courage #5) and tests our heaven worthiness and readiness.
The angels who are led by Satan are referred to as devils. The word demon is not used in the Bible. BUT: (Matt. 8:31) Devils in Greek is daimon (dah-ee-mown- supernatural demon); (John 8:44) devil in Latin is diablos (dee-ab-ol-os- Satan the false accuser); and (Deut. 32:17) devil in Hebrew is shed (shade- a malignant demon). (Luke 23:38) Hebrew, Greek, and Latin were the dominant languages in use in Israel at that time. So shed, devil, demon, or daimon all describe and identify the same beings. (Dan. 10:1-21, Eph. 6:12 & Rev. 12:3-9 esp. V.4 keywords: the third part) Satan is the ruler of a hierarchy of demon angels (devils) of greater or lesser power.
Through defining the words that describe Satan's abilities and his names such as (Ezek. 28:17) wisdom, (Isa. 14:12-29 esp. V.29) serpent's and (Rev. 12:9) Devil and other words we have learned Satan is a liar, he is malicious and he is a leader. He prognosticates which is to predict by using present indications as a guide - he takes your/my bad character traits and actions and encourages and enhances them AND sets up situations to cause us to fail or commit evil in spite of what God expects from us; David, Job, Judas and Simon Peter are examples.
Satan diligently observes, learns by experience and he is a teacher. Satan is a thief who comes to steal, to kill and to destroy because he was a murderer from the beginning. Satan is an enchanter which is to cast under a spell, to bewitch, to charm to attract and delight completely. He is a deceiver which is to cause to roam or go astray from safety, truth and virtue.
Satan is like a roaring lion which is an active, merciless, efficient predator that devours its prey. In nature a lion culls the herd by taking (1Cor 11:30) the weak and sickly. He is the father of liars. Satan is the accuser of the brethren. The definition of accuser tells us much; to hold down (to stop), to possess, seize on, take, to hold fast (to grip, to hold on to and slow one down), withhold, against one and to charge with an offense or offenses just like a prosecutor does in a court of law.
Just about everyone knows a serpent has the unique ability to camouflage itself in its surroundings. Satan has the ability to transform (disguise) himself into an angel of light and his ministers are also transformed (disguised) as the ministers (attendant, servant, teacher, deacon, pastor) of righteousness (just, innocent, holy).
They are false (pretend, untrue, propagator of erroneous Christian doctrine, deceive by falsehood) apostles (messenger, set apart, he that is sent) and deceitful workers. The serpent and his ministers camouflage themselves in congregations so they can destroy God's people. (Matt. 7:15-21 & Acts 20:29-33) They are wolves in sheep's clothing.
Please read the above 6 paragraphs a couple of times and think about them. You owe it to yourself to think about them deeply (1Pet. 5:8) and you will see how Satan is your ADVERSARY (your arch-enemy and opponent as in a lawsuit). An arch-enemy is your chief or principal enemy. Your eternal destination depends upon your success in defeating Satan. It appears we are hopelessly outmatched until we read (Eph. 6:10-18) and realize we are winners through the gospel of peace, salvation, truth, faith, God's word, prayer and the Holy Spirit.
(Luke 11:23) Jesus said; "He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth." This speaks of service to Jesus' cause with passion! It is personal. (Luke 17:21) Jesus said; The kingdom of God is within man (Matt. 5:14-15) and it is a kingdom of light (John 8:12) because Jesus is the light of the world (1Thess. 5:5) and Christians are children of light.
(Matt. 12:25-26 keyword: kingdom) Satan also has a kingdom.(Eph. 6:12) It is a kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13) that has power (2Cor. 4:4) and Satan, the god of this world, blinds the minds of those who refuse to believe the glorious gospel (good news) of Christ. (1John 3:10) Children of darkness are called children of the devil. --> (Matt. 6:23, John 3:19-21, Acts 13:10, Eph. 5:8 and 1Pet. 2:9)
Clarification of (Luke 11:23): Jesus said; "He that is not with me is against me:" Nazi Germany under the dictator Adolph Hitler did not have a democracy (elections according to the free will of the people) and the citizens did not have personal civil liberties (freedom of speech, religion, the press and etc.); the Gestapo (secret police) enforced those laws against personal civil liberties. Hitler wanted to become the dictator of Europe and then the world.
America was a democracy and its citizens did have personal civil liberties. America and other democratic nations fought a war against Nazi Germany and its allies to protect our freedoms (plural). Many American soldiers who fought were Christians or of other beliefs. BUT The Church was incidental in this conflict in that non-Christian soldiers from America were not made Christians because they fought against tyranny. It was a physical conflict.
(Luke 11:23) Jesus' statement; "He that is not with me is against me:" is a spiritual statement about a spiritual war. My Daddy is a perfect example; when he left home to go fight his physical war against the Nazis he was not a Christian and he returned a non-Christian. I was reared and lived with his oft repeated statement about the church; "They ain't nothin' but a bunch 'a hypocrites."
That was his truth because he was more honest and lived more righteous than half the church people we knew. I started attending church a few years after I came back from my physical war (Vietnam) against communism. "They ain't nothin' but a bunch 'a hypocrites." Satan was using Daddy's proud self-righteousness against me in Satan and Jesus' spiritual war for my eternal soul.
Then I experienced my born again salvation event. I can still plainly see Daddy's tough, doubtful face at my baptism in Lick fork Creek 38 years ago. Daddy was not shy; "You won't last 6 months!" Daddy was just like he had always been. He was against Jesus because he was not with Jesus and he did not gather with Jesus.
BUT: Daddy had incidentally fought for Jesus and His church while he was physically fighting a war with the Nazis to preserve America's democracy and personal civil liberties. It was a physical war with unseen spiritual ramifications. After I got saved everything changed because I was against what Daddy considered his truth. We were on different sides and I started a spiritual war with my Daddy because I loved him and I wanted him saved.
Daddy was 56 years old when God saved me. In our spiritual war for my Daddy's soul Daddy's weapons were a temper, sarcasm, stubbornness, self-righteousness and a sharp tongue. Daddy surely dried on the rough side of the towel because he was a tough old hillbilly. My weapons were prayer, God's word (KJV Bible), tears, fasting, patience, perseverance (John 14:17-23) and Jesus through the Holy Spirit, especially Jesus because (John 15:5) we can do nothing without Jesus. Sometimes Daddy forbade me to come back to his house but it never lasted. Our spiritual war lasted 21 years.
I am about to cry even now. After Daddy was born again through the Holy Spirit when he accepted Jesus as Saviour; after he was baptized; after all the struggle; my Daddy was as humble as a little child when we stood in front of his house and he looked right into my eyes and spoke softly, slowly, clearly; "Son, I shore wish I'da done this years ago, I didn't know it would feel like this." "I love ye Daddy." Six years later, at age 83, my Daddy took off with Jesus and I'll be glad to see him when my turn comes. Our amazing story is given in complete detail in the commentary The Holy Spirit & You the article The Holy Spirit is Truth Part 2 Jesus, My Daddy and Me.
The above example of Daddy and me is just how it is. Satan is on a rampage to prevent Jesus' salvation of souls and he uses those people closest to us to help destroy us. It is a spiritual war!
#1) America and countries all over the world contain lots of good, honest, truthful, loyal, kind, generous, courageous people who, by the way they live their lives, are too proud to see their need thus they are against Jesus and what Jesus is trying to do in the lives of their family, friends and acquaintances.
#2) The same principal applies to all other people, whatever their lifestyle and content of their character, as they go plunging through their Jesus-less lives and influence their family and acquaintances away from Jesus' church and salvation.
#3) The same principal applies to people who are backslid because the way they live their lives takes away from and weakens Jesus influence in the lives of both the unsaved and the Christians who are closest to them and who are influenced by them. (Luke 11:23) Jesus said; "He who is not for me is against me:" WHERE DO YOU STAND?
HERE IS HOW SATAN HIJACKED THE CHURCH
(James 1:14-15) "But every man is tempted (tested) when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed (to entrap, delude, allure, beguile), Then when lust hath conceived (clasp, seize, capture), it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Your thoughts are Satan's favorite hunting ground because he will aid you in doing what you are already thinking about and wanting to do! He'll never let it rest, he'll keep it on your mind as much as he can and he will influence other people to help you do it.
I will not bore you to tears by peeking behind every sentence and paragraph to tell you some event has been influenced by Satan. Above is who Satan is, what Satan is and how Satan does his work and I am confident you will be able to see his influence all through this as you read. I will cover the high points of large spans of time in this short summary but enough information is given for you to investigate further if you so desire. At the end is some information that certifies Satan's successes.
(Acts 2:1 thru 5:14) The Christian Church was founded in Jerusalem. From that Christian Church other Christian Churches were gradually founded throughout the Roman Empire because of missionary ministries (Acts 8:1-4) and a scattering of the church because of persecution. (Acts 9:1-43) Saul (before he became the Apostle Paul) and the Jewish priestly hierarchy were (2Cor. 2:11) Satan's main weapons of Christian persecution. (Acts 9:1-30) After Paul became a Christian he preached Jesus, confounded the Moses' Law Jews and founded churches with the same zeal with which he had once persecuted the Church. (2Cor. 2:11 keyword: devices: defined: perception, purpose, intellect, disposition, mind, thought) And Paul knew Satan very well!
(Acts 9:32 thru 11:18) Simon Peter was also a well-known missionary (Luke 22:31) who knew Satan very well and he also carried the Christian message of Jesus to the Gentiles (non-racial Jews). Both men also preached to the Jews. (Acts 11:19-30 an example) Many other men carried the Christian message throughout the known Roman Empire to both Jews and Gentiles. You already know the story about the spread of Christianity.
The Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome but he was free to write letters to churches, receive visitors and for effect he founded the church in Rome while he was in prison. After Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews carried away captive by the Romans the center of Church authority moved from Jerusalem to Rome.
After the Roman Government beheaded Paul, Simon Peter carried the main torch of Christianity in Rome until he was crucified upside down by the Roman Government. Churches had been founded all through the Mediterranean area and the Near East (Asia Minor). This is the history of how Satan hijacked the main Church at Rome and how that church spread throughout the Roman empire and either consumed or persecuted the scattered true to God's word churches in that Roman Empire.
After the scattering from Babel and Nimrod's idol worship the small groups of different language speaking people headed north, east, west and a few went south. These small groups brought their Pagan idol, god and goddess religions with them and as they grew in numbers in Europe and the Near East they were the founders of barbaric tribes such as Goths, Vandals, Angles, Celts, Saxons, Franks, Huns, Slavs, Bulgers, Vikings, Normans, Visigoths and a host of lesser tribes.
Through wars, convenient marriages and strategic allegiances the stronger tribes grew stronger and accumulated more and more land and the weaker tribes were assimilated or destroyed. That was the fragmented Pagan Empire that awaited the Church Jesus Christ had founded through the Apostles but NOT UNTIL man had mixed three main elements together to form the Roman Catholic Church that would shock the barbarians with its barbarism and put their idol worship to shame with its own brand of idolatry.
NOTE: (please read: Rom. 8:8-9 first) Oddly enough, in all the research through which God has led me, I have found the Holy Spirit mentioned only two times and a spirit mentioned one time. #1) The Eastern Orthodox Church split from the Catholic Church over the identity and origin of the Holy Spirit. #2) In October, 1523 Ulrich Zwingli had said they would wait for the Zurich city council to decide if they could make the Anabaptist reforms.
Simon Stumpf a radical priest and Anabaptist Reformer from Hongg, Switzerland stated "The decision has already been made by the Spirit of God". #3) The other was when 14 year old Joseph Smith started receiving his revelation from a spirit (an angel) that resulted in the Mormon Church. (See: Gal. 1:6-10 then 2Cor. 11:13-15 then decide). END OF NOTE.
(Matt. 16:13-19) (V.18) Jesus told Peter the gates of hell would not prevail against what Peter had said in (V.16); "Thou art the Christ (Messiah), the Son of the living God." (1Pet. 2:6-8 keywords: corner stone) The Rock is Jesus who is the Cornerstone of the Church, not Peter! Jesus did not say Peter was in control or had any power other than being an Apostle and (V.19) reaffirms the strict responsibility of the coming church which Jesus had explained in (please read this Matt. 7:13-27 esp. V.14, 15 & 18-21 keywords: strait gate, false prophets, and corrupt tree).
The True Hidden Church: Despite what you read below there were always small, hidden groups of Dissenter Christians scattered throughout the Roman empire and later on in Europe and Asia Minor who held to the oral traditions set forth by the original Apostles and scattered here and there were a very few men who could read the original Biblical texts and they kept God's word in its purity. They met in secret and worshipped God in Spirit and truth according to the instructions given in the Holy Scriptures.
When Christianity first came to Rome, Rome was an entirely Pagan society bent on the military conquest of all the tribes and peoples they met.
Caesar is the title of the office of the Roman Emperor. The founding of the True Church flourished while Paul was in Rome. For a few years after Paul was beheaded the Church grew and spread under the authority of a succession of Bishops. The Roman Government saw Christianity as a Jewish sect. The salt covenant originated with (Lev. 2:13 & Num. 18:19) God's unbreakable covenant with ancient Israel. The ancient pagan world adopted it.
Two men would drop a pinch of salt into each other's salt pouch and swear their covenant oath. It could be broken only if each man retrieved every grain of his salt from the other's container without mix-up, which was impossible. If a Christian was brought before a Roman judge, would not recant and would not perform the salt covenant to Caesar he was killed, usually by some type of torture.
Active, hateful, cruel, hunt them down, take them to the arena and kill them persecution started in 64AD under Caesar Nero and continued under various Caesars' until 312AD when Roman General Constantine had a vision of the cross in a dream, made it his Legions' Symbol and won a great battle against Emperor Maxentius in which Constantine became the sole Emperor of Rome and he claimed that event as his "Christian experience".
The strong, unbending Christians had been murdered when they refused to perform the salt covenant to Caesar SO: the visible and still true Church, though much more numerous, was spiritually weaker and was an easy mark for the apostasy that was coming.
For 12 years, until he finally consolidated absolute power in 324AD, Caesar Constantine did not say much about Christianity but he did halt the persecution of the Church. In 324 he made Christianity the official religion of Rome, outlawed paganism, built a huge, beautiful Church on Vatican Hill and started adding a Roman political element to govern the Church from within. The church hierarchy in order of importance was Bishop, Priest, Deacon, then the common membership.
The succession of Bishops, later called Popes, claimed unbroken Episcopal succession from Simon Peter based on who Peter was and not what Jesus said to Peter His disciple in (Matt. 16:18 see above). The politicized Roman Church said Jesus had chosen Peter to be the leader of the Apostles, the first Bishop, the Prince of the Apostles and the first Pope (Holy Father). Constantine had outlawed pagan worship and started persecuting the adherents.
Vatican hill contained a huge cemetery and was the home of Vatica the Roman pagan goddess of the dead. It was where Peter had been buried after Nero crucified him upside-down in 67AD almost 250 years earlier. Vatica was the name of the bitter grapes that grew on the hill and were infamous for making the cheapest and worst wine in the ancient world.
Also Vatica was the name of a hallucinogenic weed (Vatica cannabis) that grew on the hill and was thought to produce prophetic visions. The Church Constantine built, on the bones of the dead Apostle, was torn down in the Middle Ages and replaced, in the same place, with the Vatican Church (St. Peter's Basilica) you see today.
Is God saying something? The central (main) Holy Roman Church was built on Vatican Hill, #1) named after Vatica the pagan goddess of the dead who lived there, in the graveyard of the dead, on the bones of a dead apostle Rome had killed #2) where bitter grapes named Vatica produced the worst wine in the world #3) and a worldly plant named Vatica caused hallucinations that gave artificial prophetic visions!
#1) John 5:26 & 40 & 10:10) Jesus is the Son of life from God the Father of life and Jesus gives life. #2) (John 2:1-10) Jesus turned water into the best wine. #3) (Acts 2:17) True prophesy and visions come from the Holy Spirit. (1Tim. 4:1-3) Draw your own conclusions.
One of the outlawed Pagan "religions" was the worship of the goddess Diana which was the Roman name for the goddess Artemis. There were Temples of the Pagan goddess Diana in every major city throughout the Roman Empire. Info from www.cowart.info about the temple of the goddess Diana: Carved marble columns surrounded the porch of the white tile roofed temple. Inside the temple was the statue that was Diana. On the torso of the grotesque, gold plated, pagan statue of Diana were rows and rows of breasts signifying fertility.
Praxiteles, the great Greek sculptor, carved the intricate altars where worshippers seeking the things of life bowed before the lifeless, gold plated statue. There were cryptic inscriptions of various prayers, magic formulas and magic incantations engraved on the huge pedestal upon which the idol stood with outstretched arms. Diana's priests copied these inscriptions on parchments and medallions and sold them to the supplicants to ward off disease, demons, bad luck, or whatever one wanted, or felt they needed. Everything had a price.
Barren women who wanted a baby went to the temple and called on Diana. Pregnant woman who were afraid of the rigors of childbirth and wanted a safe delivery went to the temple and called on Diana. Anyone could come to Diana for anything if they had the price. Craftsmen fashioned statuettes from gold, silver, marble, or terra cotta depending on how much the worshipper wanted to pay, then the worshipper presented the statuettes to their Idol and left them at her altar in the temple. Of course they were regularly gathered and resold.
Every female devotee of Diana served two years as a prostitute in the outlying buildings on the temple grounds with her earnings going into the temple treasury. Soldiers, sailors, traders, whoever had the urge frequented the brothel of Diana. Oddly enough, the temple treasury served as a bank and financial clearing house. An elite corps of guards permanently protected the temple.
The temple priesthood controlled the commerce and finances in the area, for a cut of the proceeds! These were the persecuted pagans AND: Constantine had said; "Convert to Christianity or die". So, these wealthy Pagans joined the Roman Church without benefit of a personal experience with Jesus and brought parts of their religion with them.
Recorded history states Vesta was the daughter of Chronos (time) and Rhea (earth) in Roman legend. History is blurred but it appears Vesta had to do with creation of life by fire, but she remained a virgin because she had no sexual organs. In Vesta's temple virginity was a requirement of her attendants, called Vestal Virgins, and only these women were allowed into the inner sanctum to attend to the sacred fire.
State support was removed and the sacred fire tended by the Vestal Virgins was extinguished in 394AD. These too were persecuted pagans AND: Constantine had said; "Convert to Christianity or die". The Vestal Virgins joined the Roman Church just like a host of other, lesser idolatrous religions.
Upon seeing the heresy, greed, paganism and political affiliation corrupting the Church; Augustine (354-430AD), Latin theologian, Bishop of Hippo Regius, from the Africa Province (present day Algeria) of the Roman Empire wrote a paper about the need for humility by the Church based on the scripture; "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." He also wrote about divine grace, moral responsibility and the free will of the individual.
The Church did not suppress Augustine's writings (God's last call to repent---turn around?) and these writings would come back to destroy the apostate Church when a man named Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis on the All Saints' Church door in Wittenberg, Germany almost 1200 years later. It would fire the revolution that would break the apostate Church's stranglehold on society.
Starting with Constantine and, over time, under different Caesars, the pagans were persecuted unless they "converted" to Christianity. They brought their temple wealth with them and many pagans professed Christianity but had no true change of heart and they paganized the Roman Church when they introduced parts of their pagan worship into the Church services. The politicizing of the Roman Church continued and they named it the Roman Catholic (universal) Church because it was spread through the whole Roman Empire.
Bishoprics were established throughout the Empire but the Bishop in Rome was supreme. All the Bishops were called Pope (father) BUT: as time went on that was discarded and only the supreme Bishop in Rome was called the Pope (Holy Father). Dissenter Christians, the true, now hidden Church, kept their mouth shut, worshipped God in secret and went about their business but if discovered they were killed. Constantinople (now Istanbul, Turkey) was the Eastern Roman seat of political and Church power. Rome was the Western seat of political and Church power with Caesar and the Pope being supreme. Hundreds of Dissenters were killed.
The Catholic (universal) Church spread beyond the Roman Empire's borders. When the physical Roman Empire began to decline the Holy Roman Catholic Church Empire did not decline and its influence continued to grow in Europe, Scandinavia, Asia Minor and northern Africa and the Pope reigned supreme.
Through all this time Dissenters, if discovered, were simply hunted down and killed by burning alive, crucifixion, beheading and etc. The Catholic Church continued to grow in power until in 390AD Caesar Theodosius was excommunicated and required to do penance for the murder of 7,000 people in Thessalonica. In 66 years, from 324AD above to 390AD, The Catholic Church had attained the political, financial and religious power to enforce moral authority on a Caesar! Think of that!!
In 451AD the Chalcedon Council of Catholic Churches was held to decide, among other things, the definition of faith. The Eastern Churches took the stance that the Western Churches in Rome were becoming too political, wealthy, heretical, and apostate but the Church held together. The Catholic Church continued to tell the world a person could only achieve salvation through the Catholic Church.
Charlemagne was crowned Ruler (Emperor) of the Holy Roman Empire in 800AD and the union of Church and state was complete.
In 1054AD the Eastern Churches split (1st schism) from the Catholic Church over the above grievances, liturgical differences and a disagreement as to who gave the Holy Spirit to man. The East said He was given by God and the West said He came from both God and Jesus. They also disagreed about papal authority. Western Pope Leo the 9th and Eastern Patriarch Michael the 1st excommunicated each other.
The East became the Eastern Orthodox and the West stayed Roman Catholic with the Eastern Orthodox hanging on to many of the Church's oral traditions and, of course, the scrolls of scripture. The Eastern Orthodox is now comprised of the various Orthodox Churches, Russian, Greek, Romanian, the offshoot Coptic Church and etc. Each branch, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox, claimed only theirs held the key to salvation.
Arnold of Brescia was an Augustinian monk who was excommunicated in 1148 when he called on the Roman Catholic Church to renounce the corrupting influence of wealth on the clergy. He continued his call for reform and said the Pope was not God's authority and that salvation was from God and not the Catholic Church. In 1155AD he was hanged then his body was burned at the stake.
The Roman Catholic Church, spreading all through the European Continent, Asia and Africa, became more corrupt, apostate, political, worldly, heretic and started inquisitions in various Bishoprics as an excuse to murder Dissenters and thus keep control. Thousands of Dissenters were killed. NOTE: NO MORE AD AFTER A DATE. IT IS DISTRACTING! END OF NOTE.
From 800 to 1600 the name of the gradually less and less hidden true Church changed from Reformers to Dissenters, to Protesters, to Protestants. Three of the Popes whose lives proved the Catholic Church needed a Reformation of the Church were Pope John XII with his open love affairs, Innocent VII who proudly acknowledged his illegitimate children and lavished Church wealth on them, wealth taken from the poor, AND Urban VI who tortured and murdered several of his Cardinals.
Political Rome, with its legions, was dead but the Holy Roman (Catholic) Church reigned supreme over more people and more land than the Caesars' ever had.
In the beginning very few people could read and all they had was what the Catholic Church told them, sold them, or took from them. The Bishops and priests became corrupt in raising revenue by tariffs and taxes on merchants, farmers and shippers, money lending and by selling indulgences, healings and bits of parchment with "Holy Writings" on them that guaranteed whatever the supplicant wanted.
They sold statues of the saints, apostles and Popes that would provide blessing and "good luck". The Roman Catholic Church controlled government, commerce, and finances and the wealth rolled in. Sound familiar, Diana? It should, it is the same thing your idolatrous adherents did in their pagan temples!
The Roman Catholic Church taught there was no salvation except through the Catholic Church, sold indulgences which were prayers for the dead and sold "holy offices" to the highest bidder and they were eagerly sought because whoever held the position got a cut of the tax, tariff, loan interest and offering money they collected in their far-flung Bishoprics.
The Church taught the Pope was infallible, his edicts were the law of God and the Pope was the absolute authority of God on Earth. It was common for the Church hierarchy and priests to marry wives and keep mistresses at the same time. (2Cor. 11:13-15) (V.13) "For such are false apostles (one who falsely claims to be an ambassador of Christ), deceitful workers, transforming themselves (to change the figure of) into the apostles (messengers) of Christ. (V.14) And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. (V.15) Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end (conclusion, termination) shall be according to their works (toil, act, deed)."
(John 8:44) "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own for he is a liar, and the father of it." Even as he hated them Satan must have surely danced, bragged and strutted with great glee through the ignorance, lies, pride, lust, acts, blood, semen and hatred of what he had wrought in Jesus' blood bought church!
Royal Families from several Monarchy States such as the Habsburgs, Bourbons, Wittelsbachs, Tudors and etc. took powerful positions in the Church in addition to being the monarch of the royal court in their particular state. These Royal families intermarried with each other to initiate, re-enforce, or guarantee peace between monarchies and for political and financial advantage or so two could unite and make war on a third monarchy.
Whoever owned the land owned the people (serfs, peasants) and they kept their subjects subjected to the "Royals" religious, political and financial beliefs and laws and the peasants and serfs didn't have a choice. It was bondage.
These royal families could also afford to raise their own armies to enforce their will. The peasants resented Royalty and the Church, they wanted to own their own land and to be free to worship God in some other way than what they were seeing, so their resentment at being forced to live under domination and bondage was festering.
The sides were being drawn in what had been a sort of guerrilla warfare as the Reformer faction tried to reform the Roman Catholic Church. These Reformers did not want to leave the Catholic Church, they wanted it brought back to the purity described in the Holy Scriptures! John Huss, a reformer leader, was excommunicated and burned alive in 1415.
Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press around 1440. Bibles, translated from the Greek and Hebrew, could be mass produced. More people were becoming educated and could read. More and more Reformer groups flared up all over the Holy Roman (Catholic Church) Empire.
They were generally led by rogue priests who were sick of being a part of the arrogant, apostate, sinful, greedy Church and they wanted the Church reformed. There were simmering fires of Church reform all over the European continent and they occasionally flared up into localized open warfare but the constant, grinding persecution by the Catholic Church continued.
Martin Luther, a German, was serving the Church in Germany as an Augustinian friar. He could read and translate, he had obviously studied the writings of Augustine (mentioned above) and he impressed the German Feudal Lord (salvation?) who was supporting him. Then, on Oct. 31, 1517, Luther nailed a copy of his 95 Thesis to the All Saints' Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. His thesis protested nepotism, simony, usury, pluralism and the sale of indulgences.
More and more Reformer groups, now called Dissidents, had been and were springing up all over the Roman Catholic Empire. Luther's 95 Thesis blew the lid off the smoldering pot of Church reform and the Dissidents became known as Protestors. The Catholic Church excommunicated Martin Luther and placed a bounty on his head but he was a hero to the Protesters against the Church and to those who lived in bondage, peasants and serfs. The German feudal lord liked his now famous priest and killed the assassins as they came.
The Protestor movement grew stronger and stronger and started to split (2nd schism) away from the Catholic Church. The Catholics fought to keep control and the Protestants were willing to fight to get away from the Catholic Church. Hundreds of thousands were killed.
Luther's followers established the Lutheran church in Germany and Scandinavia. John Calvin and his followers established Reformed Churches in Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland and France. John Knox and his followers established the Presbyterian Church in Scotland and Hungary. Their uniting belief was the Bible, not the Pope, is the supreme authority for the Church. An ever growing number of some of the royal families were converted and joined with the Protestants.
The Huguenots were the largest Protestant group in France. Catholic King Henry created a heresy court known as the Burning Chamber because after Protestant prisoners were tortured into the confession of Protestant activities they were burned alive.
The event that ensured the two sides, Catholic and Protestant, would never again be one Church happened while Henry II was king of France. In 1559 the French Huguenots (French Calvinists) organized a military to protect themselves against the Catholics and the House of Guise which was a powerful Catholic family with ties to the Catholic Spanish King and his royal court. In 1562 civil war broke out with guerrilla tactics, sporadic battles and much slaughter.
In 1572 a peace attempt was made by politically arranging a marriage between Henry of Navarre, the nominal head of the Huguenots, and Margaret of Valois a Catholic member of the Royal Family. Catherine de' Medici also of the royal family, a strident Catholic, persuaded the Catholics to kill the Protestants who attended the wedding in Paris and 3,000 Protestants were killed.
Catholic soldiers assaulted the Huguenot (Calvinists- Protestants) neighborhoods in Paris and in the French provinces of Rouen, Lyons, Bourges, Orleans and Bordeaux and an estimated 70,000 Protestants were killed. Huguenot soldiers killed Catholics in the fighting and they actively hunted down priests like animals and murdered them. It is reported some of the Huguenot Army officers wore necklaces strung with priest's ears.
The Pope responded with a mass in which he celebrated the Catholic victory. Christians killing Christians and the Church (Pope) celebrated with a victory mass? Any thoughts of peace were roasted in the crackling flames of that Catholic celebration. During the 100 years of the 16th century, 1500-1600, wars like this one flared sporadically all across the Holy Roman (Catholic) Empire. (Luke 19:41 & John 11:35 keywords: Jesus wept) (Eph. 4:30 keywords: grieve not the Holy Spirit of God) (2Pet 3:9 the longsuffering of God to us-ward) Nobody thought about invisible God/Jesus/Holy Spirit looking at them while tears poured down His face!
The Thirty Year War, 1618 to 1648, started in Bohemia and eventually spread to every nation in Europe. It was inspired by religious differences but it also had international (between European Nations) social, political and economic ramifications. Several sources say the loss of life and destruction of property rivaled the losses suffered in WW1. Later, 1914-1918, in WW1 about 17 million military and civilians died.
With great delight Satan, the murderer, had stared intently into the graying faces of each and every one of the dying as he greedily watched the light of life grow dim and die in their eyes. Like some miser rubbing himself with his gold, Satan, the father of liars, gloated while he lavishly bathed and drenched himself in the lust, horror, fear, terror, rage, hatred and malice he had helped instigate in mortal men.
With great glee Satan, the enchanter, cavorted, pranced and bragged while he strutted and splashed through all the blood, sweat, semen and tears he had encouraged carnal men and women to spill! Satan, the accuser, laughed long and loud at the longsuffering of Jesus because Satan's greatest joy was that all the carnage had been done in the name of Jesus Christ!
And the reapers? (Matt. 13:39) The world had ended for the fallen whenever they died and the reapers are the angels. (Luke 16:22-23) Angels carried Lazarus to Abraham's bosom (a paradise, see Part 26). So, surely fallen angels (demons, devils) carried the rich man to hell. (Matt. 22:14) "For many are called, but few are chosen." In that cauldron of evil, as the church tore itself to pieces because of pride, greed, envy, stubbornness, ignorance, lust and hatred, the devils were very busy as they carried a great multitude of screaming souls to hell but relatively few were carried to the paradise of heaven. Millions had been killed.
Finally, finally, finally the Protestants had torn themselves away from the Catholics and the Catholics were glad to see them go. Unseen, unknown and misunderstood, Satan licked his sensual, spiritual lips, dripping with vast anticipation, and left with the Protestants. At the very same time Satan turned his hot, expectant eyes upon the Catholics, stayed right with them and prepared to mingle freely and gleefully in their coming counter reformation.
(Luke 17:21) And in his devilish heart, in the absolute evil of his rebellious being, Satan gloated; "Jesus will not have His kingdom in the hearts of men (Isa.14:12-14) "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."
(Matt. 12:25-26 esp. V.26 keywords: kingdom, stand) Satan was confident; "My kingdom is united and my kingdom will stand. (Rev. 17:1-6 esp. V.1 keywords: great whore) I had almost turned Jesus' kingdom in the hearts of men into a great whore and eventually I will. I managed to divide Jesus' puny kingdom when the Catholic Church divided itself (1st schism), then I did it again when the Protestants split from the Catholics (2nd schism) and now I will eventually destroy His whole kingdom."
Unseen by any, even Satan, God silently quoted from His own unchangeable word (Rev. 20:10) "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever."
After the Protestants split from the Catholic Church the Catholic Church took a long hard look at itself and started a counter reformation to rid itself of the undesirable elements that HAD made it what it was. You can easily research the beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church on the internet and read the results of the Catholic counter reformation if you so desire, then you can draw your own conclusions as to whether they were successful or not.
After all the dissention, divisions, hatred, wars and destruction both the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church were attempting to un-hijack themselves from Satan through God's word and the Holy Spirit. BUT: The Catholic Church and the Protestant Church had become spiritual enemies.
Spiritually the church had been planted like a seed in the rich garden of Judaism, had been watered with the blood of Jesus, had been tended and nourished with the sweat, blood and tears of the martyrs and (Rom. 8:26) had been warmed by the Holy Spirit of the Son with groanings that could not be uttered. BUT: (Acts 20:28-32 esp. V.29) Satan fertilized the soil where the church grew with the poison fertilizer of the treacherous words of grievous wolves. Like some weird amoeba the tortured Church had writhed and twisted itself apart until it had become like crippled twin sisters who glared at each other and spat epithets into each other's faces!
The physical war within Jesus' precious, precious church was over but the spiritual war continued! Again, like some miser rubbing himself with his gold, Satan, the father of liars, gloated while he lavishly bathed and drenched himself in the blasphemy he encouraged the Catholics and the Protestants to heap upon each other in the name of Jesus Christ!
HERE IS HOW
(1Cor. 6:9) Know ye not the unrighteous (injustice, wicked, iniquity) shall not inherit the kingdom of God? (Matt. 12:22-32 esp. V.31) Blasphemy (speak evil of, defame, rail on, revile) against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (V.22-24 esp. V.24 keyword: said) These people said Jesus healed the possessed man through the power of the prince of devils (Satan) (V.28) but Jesus had healed him through the Holy Spirit. They had called the work of the Holy Spirit evil. <--Remember this because your eternal destination might depend on it:
(John 16:8-14, 2Thess. 2:13-14, Titus 3:5 & 1Pet. 1:2) If even a single Catholic is saved in the Catholic Church through the Holy Spirit according to scripture and a Protestant says the whole Catholic Church is of the Devil you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and that shall not be forgiven!
The same thing applies if even a single Protestant is saved in a Protestant Church through the Holy Spirit according to scripture and a Catholic says the whole Protestant Church is of the Devil you have blasphemed the Holy Spirit and that blasphemy shall not be forgiven. (Luke 19:22) Keep your mouth shut! (Matt. 8:1-5, John 12:48 & 1John 1:8-10) Judge yourself! (John 5:22) Jesus will sort the souls! How all this spiritually happened is explored in further parts concerning the church.