Chapter 3 – A Disturbing History
Those who are “followers” of Christ or Christians must be Christlike. A disciple must be as his Master (Lk 6:40, Jn 13:13).
A Brief and Selected View of History (Generalized)
The Orthodox church was held in check (much warfare) due to the rise of the Mohammadines (Muslims) and found comfort and control within Russia. They aligned with the state (Russian Csars) and ruled the people with an iron fist thus becoming the state religion. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic church had completed a longstanding Crusade (great war and slaughter) in the Holy Land. The Catholic church was also focused upon its Great Inquisition (to determine loyalty) whereby all those who did not believe and submit to the doctrines, dictates and authority of the Roman Catholic church were imprisoned, tortured (sanctioned by the Pope) and killed (murdered, most becoming martyrs). The Romish also developed an index of forbidden books among which was the Bible, which they said couldn’t be understood by the common man without a priest’s interpretation to tell them what the Romish religion wants them to think. This inquisition was established by the papacy and was enforced by the state (which beareth the sword). Those found guilty were dubbed heretics and enemies of the state and were put to death in this time known as the Dark Ages. Groups of believers known as the Albigensians and Waldenses were the first victims. The “Martyrs Mirror (Thieleman J. Van Braght)” is an excellent book for those who want to know the plight and sufferings of true believers. Paul had once said: Galatians 5:15, “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” The adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour and so do those who follow him (1 Pt 5:8). Those who walk in Christ’s love do not bite, devour or consume one another.
Eventually, the Catholic controlled countries (church-state) set their sights on the New World. They had a tremendous lust for gold, silver, spices and all manner of riches (coveted, Ex 20:17, Deut 5:21, Rm 7:7). In other words, they sought riches and delicacies (that which delights or pleases). Revelation 18:9, “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her…” Christ warned us: Luke 12:15, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Having arrived in the New Word in the name of God, they set out to slaughter and rob the indigenous natives (heathens) and treated them worse than animals. Mark 16:15, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” God’s purposes were never to kill and maime, seek the lusts of the flesh and convert at the edge of a sword, yet this is what happened. This was clearly the nature of Satan manifested. The Lord works with those who are His and confirms His Word (Mk 16:20). Christ does not convert at the end of a sword after the heathen has been robbed of all that is valuable. The riches from the New World profited the Catholic church tremendously (not the poor of the world, Mt 19:21, Mk 10:21, Lk 14:13, Gal 2:10).
The New Word became the object of man’s desires. England (Protestant), France (Catholic), Portugal (Catholic) and Spain (Catholic) fought each other considerably – on land and sea. Those who professed to follow Christ killed those who professed to follow Christ – one against the other. Brother delivering brother up unto death (Mt 10:21) – perfect hatred! All of this was done in the name of God and country. Babylon preys on her own, for there is no love of one another (opposite of Christ’s gospel). These great conquering churches blessed all of this and profited greatly in the fruits thy soul lusted after (in riches and the souls of men, Rev 18:12-14). Spain and Portugal mostly explored and settled South America, Central America and Mexico. The Roman Catholic Pope eventually set the line of demarcation to divide South American between Spain and Portugal (the Catholic church had tremendous influence with the nations). The Catholic church ruled this area and was the greatest influence on what took place.
The Christian(?) Countries of Europe (Dutch, France, England, Spain, Portugese) claimed various islands and set up plantations. Black slaves were brought from Africa under the most vile conditions to provide forced labor. These black men were treated as animals by the wealthy Christian land owners. In most cases, they were not allowed to hear Christ’s gospel.
England and France explored and settled in North America (US and Canada). There were many wars on land and on sea between those who professed to follow Christ. They frequently killed and hated one another! Jesus said: John 13:34-35, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” It does not take much wisdom and understanding to see that Christ’s Word was not being followed. These great religious organizations (Catholic/Protestant) opposed the teachings of Christ through their actions, yet they claimed to represent Him! All the “religious” individuals who claimed to “know” God were clearly not Christ’s disciples – they did not love!!! Can one Christian kill another Christian because his church-state wants to control (lusts after) certain territories? Can you see the great hypocrisy and confusion? What makes one a Christian is for one to be Christ-like. In other words, one must actually follow Christ’s example and teachings.
France and England fought each other (also pitting native indians against each other, French Indian war) to determine who would control North America. Both of these countries were deeply religious and claimed to serve the same God. The mostly Protestant English triumphed over the mostly Catholic France after much brutality and bloodshed. After the French and Indian wars, the once impressive French empire in America was reduced down to a handful of sugar plantations in the West Indies and a couple of rocky islands off the coast of Newfoundland. England solidly controlled North America. France avenged such humiliation by later funding (financial and military aid) the American rebels in the revolutionary war.
|That they may be one, as we are (Jn 17:11)|
England and its North American colonies were mostly Protestant. Soon the Protestant American colonies rebelled (sedition) against the Protestant English government (Church of England). Rebellion is the nature of corrupt man. This led to the American revolutionary war. Those who professed Christ killed those who professed Christ. Brother against brother. Catholic France supported the Protestant Christians killing of one another by aiding the rebels. To hate is to sacrifice others (Christian brothers?) for the benefit of self (or country?). Lust, control, rebellion, hatred, and killing are all of the nature of Satan. There were true and sincere believers in America (i.e. Anabaptist) and they were more victims of all of this and certainly not participants. Even so, remember that Mystery Babylon intoxicates (makes drunk) all the peoples with her fornication (draws them unto her – possibly through circumstance, caught up in, Rev 17:2).
Some may argue that this is an overgeneralization because there were so many factors and considerations. Not true – it all boils down to actions and those who profess Christ who kill those who profess Christ only reveal that they (the participants – individuals and the religious organizations behind them) never knew Him. Remember, Jesus was first falsely accused and then unjustly killed. Even so, Jesus totally submitted to the will of the Father. Matthew 15:8, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” If you truly take Christ’s Words to heart then you will lay your life down to adhere to them. He who will not forsake all and take up his cross is not worthy of Christ (Lk 14:26-27, 33).
Jesus said: Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Everything the law and the prophets revealed was pointing us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Lev 19:18, Mt 5:43,19:19, 22:37-40, Mk 12:31, 33, Lk 10:27, Rm 13:9-10, Gal 5:14, Js 2:8). Warfare and killing transgresses everything the law, prophets and Christ have said. We do not want others to kill us or our children, so we must not kill others. If our nation tells us to fight and kill, we must refuse. If the church condones such by allowing its members to participate in warfare, then we must see its fruit. In all the Protestant churches the author has ever attended, he has never once heard them speak against joining the military or fighting this nation’s wars. Quite the opposite, there is a great patriotic reverence, honor and respect for those who do such things. Doesn’t the military even employ (hirlings) religious leaders (chaplains) to comfort those who fight?
The revolutionary war was followed by the war of 1812. England and France were at war and America’s trade was suffering (her trading ships were being affected). The United States suffered serious financial losses during these years of European warfare. The merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies (Rev 18:3). So, America went to war with Britian. Once again professing Christians in America were fighting professing Christians from England – brethren killing brethren. The woman rides the beast so this false church must do the bidding of the secular government to which it rides (has aligned with). We must understand that Christ’s purposes are to have His people unified and likeminded in love and God’s truth. John 17:21, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The Holy Spirit works to accomplish “that they may all be one.” It is Satan who pits one against the other in hatred and fosters strife and confusion. The devil leads men into the darkness. The darkness is found in the lusts and desires of the flesh. Those who seek their lusts will sacrifice others to obtain (individuals or countries). Satan’s purposes are to disrupt any sincere worship and obedience to the Lord by encouraging (nurturing, promoting) disunity, strife, envy, pride, hatred, self righteousness, superiority and disagreement between brethren. The devil would have us living in malice and hating one another (the opposite of loving one another, Ti 3:3). In Christ – Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” The prevailing message of the gospel and God’s will is LOVE.
|That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (Jn 17:21)|
How dishonoring do you suppose that it is to God when those who profess His name kill one another in direct contradiction to His Word? Would this not be a great victory for Satan to flaunt before God? Hasn’t the devil blinded the minds of most of the world concerning warfare? The truth is that Christ’s genuine church follows His Word – they obey. All of these others are a great mystery and are not of the Lord’s flock. They are Babylon – confusion with regards to the truth. Its all in the fruit – that which is produced. You cannot follow Jesus and produce bitterness, hatred, strife, violence, and killing. Warfare is not a fruit of Christ’s gospel. These are children and products of the devil’s nature. The Lord is calling out of such darkness. Who will see the light (truth) and respond? Scripture reveals that the foolish, disobedient and deceived serve divers lusts and pleasures (self), living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another (Ti 3:3).
The scriptures reveal: James 3:16, “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work (also 1 Tim 6:4).” Envy is jealousy, resentment and spite. Strife is conflict, discord, fighting, rivalry, dissenssion and contention. These are works of the flesh and those who do such shall not inherit the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21, Rm 1:29-32). James 1:20, “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” God’s righteousness works by love and wrath brings about hatred. Envy and strife are earthly, sensual, devilish and we must not walk in such a way (Js 3:14-15, Rm 13:13). Those who do such things preach Christ even of envy and strife (Php 1:15). The religious Jews offered up Jesus for envy (Mt 27:18, Mk 15:10). Religious man has historically offered up the true followers of Christ for envy (i.e. Acts 13:45, 17:5). In other words, the woman is drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Rev 17:6).
To walk in envy and strife is to be found in the darkness – to be confused (not see clearly). This is Babylon! These are not found in the Spirit, but the flesh, and bring forth fruits unto death (Rm 7:5-6). Those that walk in darkness do not see where they are going. This is to lack direction and not “know” God. Romans 8:6-8, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Those who practice war do not subject themselves to Christ’s law of love. Envy and strife breed bitterness and hatred. Their actions clearly reveal that they are not Spirit led or found in Christ (by their fruits ye shall know them, Mt 7:20). Romans 8:5, 9, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Followers of Christ are told: Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” We are further told: Colossians 3:12-13, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.” We are to be humble and walk in love whereby we sacrifice self for the benefit of others. Romans 8:13-14, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The Spirit leads us to be unified (in faith and the Spirit, Eph 4:3, 13), likeminded (of one accord and one mind, Php 2:2), loving one another, and full of joy in the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:52, Rm 14:17, 15:13, 1 Thess 1:6). This is a path of righteousness and true holiness (Ps 23:3, Pv 8:20, Lk 1:75, Rm 6:19, 22, Eph 4:24, 1 Thess 4:7). 1 Corinthians 1:10, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” Judgment is correctly discerning right from wrong and following that right course of action. We are to hate the evil, love the good and establish judgment (Amos 5:15, also Zeph 2:3). Therefore, a true believer is told: Hebrews 12:14-15, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” How can those who are killing one another follow peace or holiness? How can they see God?
The war of 1812 was followed by the Mexican war (remember the Alamo, Catholics and Protestants killing one another). The Mexican war forced Mexico to relinquish all claims to about half of its national territory to the land hungry (lustful) United States. This was the territory that became Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, as well as portions of the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming (an increase of 66% land area). The results of this war allowed the United States to become the predominant power in North America. This war also militarily trained many men who would become the leaders of the American Civil War.
|That they may be one, even as we are one (Jn 17:22)|
Both before and after the Revolutionary and Mexican wars, American pioneers were exploring, laying claim and settling the new land. The native American populations suffered tremendously at the hands of professed Christian pioneers (and nation) who had a lust and drive to obtain lands and resources (gold, animal skins, etc.). Whole native populations were exterminated or dislocated (removed from their lands/territories) to barren reservations set up by the American government. They were despised and looked down upon – treated worse than animals. Jesus said: Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Remember that Christ commanded us to love one another (Jn 15:17). The heathen Indian nations did not exactly learn to observe the things Christ commanded from those who claimed to “know” Him. The Indian populations were rather given a taste of Satan’s gospel of hatred, killing, lusts & desire, lying, drunkenness and all manner of evil. You must walk in love to teach love. Lessons are most effectively taught by example.
The Mexican war was followed by the Civil War. This war not only required those who professed Christ to fight against each other, but also those of the same nation. The nation of America was conceived in rebellion (against England) and now another rebellion threatened to split America in half. Priests and pastors (Catholic and Protestant) on both sides of the conflict blessed and prayed for their side’s troops to prevail against the other side’s. Where was the gospel of Christ to be found in all this killing and religious confusion? The whole nation was pulled into this conflict and suffered greatly, yet we are talking about a nation that largely professed Jesus Christ. Was love, unity and likemindedness only to be found with those brethren on your side of the war? This was a brutal and bloody war. Protestants fought Protestants. Catholics fought Catholics. Protestants fought Catholics. Which side do you suppose Jesus was on?
|I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one (Jn 17:23)|
It should be noted that the Lord does direct the affairs of men (the course of this world, Rm 13:1) and certainly works within the hearts of individuals in the midst of all these wars and the destruction and misery they cause. It would be a mistake to believe that God approves of these conflicts. Jesus said: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falleth (Lk 11:17-18).” A divided kingdom cannot stand! Christians fighting against Christians in any circumstance is a divided kingdom. Jesus is not the head of a divided kingdom. The Holy Spirit does not lead in disunity and strife. Any group that professes Jesus cannot fight against any other group that professes Jesus (or anyone else) if they are truly following Christ. This applies to any combination that one can conceive such as the ones just discussed. Jesus made God’s will very clear and walked it by example for us to follow.
Individuals do turn to the Lord in the midst of these catastropic conflicts and God responds with plenteous of mercy just as He has stated that He will. Psalms 86:5, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” AND Psalms 86:15, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” AND Psalms 103:8, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (also Ex 34:6).” No doubt, many a man or groups of men throughout history have sincerely turned to God in such dire circumstances as war brings. The Lord only responds when we forsake our evil and genuinely turn to Him. Isaiah 55:7, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” This verse is a perfect picture of repentance and forgiveness. Never justify or improve, but rather forsake and change directions (turn). Proverbs 28:13, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy (also Ps 32:5, 51:3).” Forsake strife and embrace love in total (complete) surrender to God – no restrictions placed by self in yielding to the Lord.
The Civil War was followed by the American-Spanish war. This was a brief war with Spain mostly due to American imperialism which was fought in Cuba and the Philippines. Imperialism is where one nation extends its authority over other nations by acquisition of territory or through economic/military means. Again, professed Christians fought professed Christians under the banners of their prospective nations. The United States went on to fight World Wars I and II. Professed Christians from France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Canada, the United States, etc. killed one another for the goals of their prospective nations. The woman continued to ride the beast (church-state) as countless individuals suffered. The wars and conflicts have continued even to this very day. (side note: the United States has been a very warring nation since its rebellious inception, of course so has its mother, England).
|That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them (Jn 17:26).|
England and the United States have been very imperialistic and have exerted their influences all over the globe. Everywhere the beast went, so did the woman who rides it. Mystery Babylon has thus exerted her influence all over the globe – peoples, nations, tongues and kings (Rev 10:11, 17:15). Even so, the Lord’s light does shine in a dark world and God’s purposes are accomplished. Despite the woman and the beast, the Lord still calls and redeems His people out of the darkness. Blessed are those who look to His light.
So many wars! So many who profess Christ killing others who profess Christ. Jesus said: John 17:21-23, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” For those of you who justify war, please consider how Jesus’ statement is to be accomplished under such circumstances. War, violence, hatred, bitterness and killing are unjustifiable. There is no such thing as a nice war conducted in love. War never unifies, but completely divides.
The problem is that most who profess Christ in the United States look to the government as the “Defender of the Faith.” They should be looking to the author and finisher of the faith, Christ Jesus (Heb 12:12). These diverse religious organizations support the government and are protected by law and are even given special tax exempt status. What would happen if all of those individuals/groups within the United States who professed Christ began to walk in Christ’s love and refused to support or participate in this country’s wars? Would they become the persecuted/hated that Jesus talked about (Mt 10:22, 25, 24:9, Mk 13:13, Lk 6:22, 21:17, Jn 15:18, 17:14)? Jesus said: John 15:18-20, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. The world wars and kills, but Christ’s disciples do not – they are called out of this world into the kingdom of Christ. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” Those who do the world’s bidding are loved by the world. Babylon seeks acceptance and popularity in the world. However, to be loved and accepted by the world, you must reject the ways of Christ. Followers follow!!!
Many who profess Christ have laid down roots in this world (residence) and are seeking their hopes and dreams in this life (1 Jn 2:15-17). They look to things seen (the here and now) rather than being pilgrims and sojourners trusting in God’s promises (yet to be fully realized – unseen). 1 Chronicles 29:15, “For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” 2 Corinthians 4:18, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Those who love the corruptness of this world are not seeking that which is to come. Many who profess Christ consider themselves as belonging to earthly kingdoms, but what of the kingdom of heaven….? Those who confess that they are strangers and pilgrims on the earth declare plainly that they seek a country (Heb 11:13-14, 16, Ps 37:9). Those in the kingdom of heaven do not entangleth themselves in the affairs of this life (2 Tim 2:4, also Lk 10:40-42, cares of this world – Mt 13:22, Lk 21:34-35). The earth is corrupt and temporal in its present state and we must not set our hope in it. 2 Peter 3:10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (also v. 12).” The world may tolerate you until you refuse to embrace its dictates. Those who follow Christ are not of the world and this sets up great conflict…