IS CHRISTIANITY A MYTH?
By Samuel E. West, Elder in Latter Day Zion
A CHRISTIAN MYTH
CHRYSTIAN MYTH TWO
Assuring our salvation in eternity is our most important pursuit in mortal life. There are hundreds of churches and differing doctrines. There are many Christian myths that have become tradition. Truth is indivisible. The Bible tells us that there is only, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) There can be only one gate into the kingdom of God, “Enter ye in at the strait gate. …few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:13, 14) “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) The kingdom of God has laws on how a person may enter the kingdom; and officers called of God to administer those laws. There were at least 1260 years when there were no officers called of God; and Satan was given complete dominion over the souls of man (Rev. 12;6, 14; 13:5, 7). The gospel and the Melchisedec Priesthood restored at the end of this time (Rev. 14:6).
The gospel is the only “straight gate” to salvation. “The gospel of Christ… is the power of God unto salvation.” (Rom. 1:16) “Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power.” (1 Thess. 1:5) This power of the gospel is the Melchisedec Priesthood. Jesus called John the Baptist the greatest prophet [preacher] that ever lived (Luke 7:28). Yet, holding only the Levitical Priesthood, he could not baptize Jesus with the Spirit (Matt. 3:11). This required the higher Melchisedec Priesthood. It was lost about 400 years before Jesus; and restored by Him when He was ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses under the hands of the Father (Acts 3:22; Heb. 5:5). Jesus then organized the kingdom with all the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood (Eph. 4:11,12); which were required “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.”
The Bible teaches eight requirements to enter salvation in eternity: (1) Faith, (2) subjecting our will to the will of God, (3) Repentance, (4) baptism of water, (5) baptism of the Spirit, (6) Melchisedec Priesthood, (7) partaking of the Holy Eucharist, and (8) enduring faithful and obedient to the laws of God the rest of mortal life. This page will provide you with information essential to realizing Christian myths and understanding the only gate into the kingdom of God and salvation.
Mortal life is like a snap of the fingers compared with eternity. If we believe there is a God and life after death, it is essential that we secure our inheritance in eternity before death. We all lived as spirits before the foundation of the earth. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13) Jesus was the beginning, the first spirit of this creation, and through Him we exist—GOD is changeless, without beginning or end (Mal. 3:6). “1 In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God [the Father], and the Word was God [of this creation]. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him [Jesus]; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1) “What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” (John 6:62) “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5) The first spirits were known as morning stars—Jesus being the first. “13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning [first spirit of this creation] and the end [of only spiritual existence through the resurrection], the first and the last. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. …16 I am the root [creator] and the offspring [seed] of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Rev. 22:16)
Satan rebelled against God and Jesus during this pre-mortal estate; and sought to sit in place of Jesus. “12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, 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: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14) A third of all the spirits followed him (Rev. 12:4). For this grievous sin they were cast down never to have a physical body. After the resurrection of Jesus, Satan and his followers was cast down to earth (Rev. 12:7 – 9). After the Millennium they will be cast into outer darkness, never to associate with the rest of mankind, for eternity (Rev. 20:10). Only the sons of perdition will experience a second death and join them. The term man is used in this tract for both men and women.
The first chapter of Genesis tells of the spiritual creation. All living creatures must first be created spiritually. The second chapter tells of the physical creation. The fall of Adam and Eve brought mortality for all mankind. In mortality our spirit is joined to a physical body. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [his spirit]; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7) After death our spirit is taken back to Jesus, judged, and then resides either with Abraham or with the spirits in prison (hell) until the resurrection. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” (Ecc. 12:7)
Each spirit is joined with an immortal physical body in either the first resurrection when Jesus returns, or in the second resurrection after the Millennium. “4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6)
The rest of the dead come forth in the second resurrection to receive their immortal physical bodies. Satan, the followers of Satan, and the sons of perdition are then cast off as spirits never to associate with the rest of mankind again. Then mortal man comes to an end and each inherits a glory in eternity (1 Cor. 15:40).
We learn from the Apostle Paul that all mortal men will be saved (except the sons of perdition) from an eternity as spirits. “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” (1 Tim. 4:10) We have to have a correct understanding of the term saved. This term includes two groups of people: believers (those who know and worship the true God and Jesus, obey the gospel, and endure faithful and obedient to the end) and the unbelieving (those who do not).
All mankind will inherit an immortal physical body; but, not all will inherit the same glory in eternity. “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you [believers].” (John 14:2) “40 There are also celestial bodies [believers], and bodies terrestrial [honorable men of the earth who accept the gospel after death in the spirit]: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars [tellestial for unbelievers]: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead.” (1 Cor. 18) Believers inherit the earth in all its celestial glory. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” (Rev. 21:1)
Those few who were loyal to God and Jesus during our pre-mortal spiritual existence are the only ones for-ordained, or given the opportunity to know God and Jesus, obey the gospel, and become true Christians in mortal life. “According as he hath chosen us [believers] in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated [for-ordained] us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself [by the gospel], according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:4) Spiritual opportunities in mortal life are conditioned by our works during the pre-mortal existence. This proves that God is loving, merciful, and just.
There is a great difference between unbelievers who are saved in the second resurrection by the grace of God and believers who inherit a celestial kingdom on the earth. Both are saved by grace; but, the greatest grace is reserved “specially of those that believe.” When referring to salvation in this tract reference will be to being saved in the kingdom of God after death, being united with an immortal physical body in the first resurrection, and inheriting the earth with God and Jesus in the celestial glory for eternity.
After death, believers that have been faithful and obedient are taken to the bosom of Abraham, with the church of the firstborn [those who accept the gospel in the flesh]. Unbelievers are taken to the spirits in prison (hell). “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” (Rev. 21) “22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16)
Unbelievers remain with the spirits in prison and come forth in the second resurrection. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.” (Rev. 20:5) Unbelievers are judged only according to their works. They cannot share in the grace of Jesus, which forgives sin, because they were never born again. “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” (Rev. 20)
Believers are only a few compared with all mankind. “13 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: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7) “I tell you that he will avenge them [believers who have died] speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) Jesus is not returning to Rome, London, or Austin; but to Jerusalem. He is returning to His elect: the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “37 Behold, I will gather them [Israel] out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: 38 And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” (Jer. 32) Only a very small remnant of Gentiles is to remain to greet Jesus when He returns. This should cause all Christians to earnestly examine not only their own beliefs; but, the beliefs of all Christian faiths. Truth has no fear of investigation.
What is this “straight gate”? “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) As believers were for-ordained before the foundation of the earth, this gate or gospel of Christ had to be part of God’s original plan for mankind. The same gospel that saved men in the days of Jesus and the Apostles saves men of all ages. If the law of God on salvation were to change, no man could have unwavering faith in God.
Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) All men are born alien to the kingdom of God; including Jesus. The Bible attests that only those who are adopted into the kingdom—who obey the gospel—will have the opportunity to live after death with Abraham, come forth in the first resurrection, and inherit the earth in its celestial glory with God and Jesus. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev. 21:7)
Is this great opportunity not worth a great deal of time and investigation to assure that we know and obey the will of God? Truth is one sided. When there are different doctrines, both can be false; but, only one can be true. Jesus advised us that very few will enter the gate into the kingdom of God and be saved. There are hundreds of different Christian churches with different doctrines on salvation. If we earnestly want to be part of the kingdom of God, we must be able to separate fact from myth. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) God has even given us the guide to know the true gate into the kingdom and the path to eternal life (celestial glory). “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)
WHO ARE TRUE CHRISTIANS?
“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) Disciples of Christ have also been known as believers, the sons of God, and saints of God. Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Moses were all Christians; as they were truly disciples of Jesus. The Bible begins with a synopsis of events from the beginning to Moses—written by Moses. We have to use both the Old and the New Testament in an investigation concerning the truths of Christianity vs. the myths.
What is the first and most important thing about true Christians? “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22) “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) When you think of the appearance of God, what enters your mind? The God who created Adam had a body, for as truly as Adam—when he begat a son, begat him in his own likeness, after his image (Gen. 5:3)—so God created Adam in his likeness and after His image. “And God said, Let us [God and Jesus] make man in our image, after our likeness.” (Gen. 1:26) When you call upon God, what name do you use? “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou 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, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3:15)
The earliest account of the direct association of man with God was with Adam. “8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?” (Gen. 3) God spoke with the sons of Adam. “And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother?” (Gen. 4:9)
God spoke with Noah and to his sons. “And God said unto Noah.” (Gen. 6:13) “And the Lord said unto Noah.” (Gen. 7:1) “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Gen. 9:1)
Abraham mistook God for a man, invited him into his tent to eat, and offered to wash His feet (Gen. 18). Jacob worshipped the same God. He tells of seeing Him face to face. Jacob wrested with God and prevailed (Gen. 32:24 – 29). “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Gen. 32:30)
Moses conversed with God face to face as a man converses with a friend (Ex. 33:11). Moses, though, wanted to see God in all His glory (Ex. 33:18). But, no man can look upon the face of God in all His glory and live. God placed him in a cleft of the rock, covered his face with His hand, and allowed Moses to see His back parts in all His glory (Ex. 33:22, 23). When God appeared to Ezekiel it was in the likeness of man (Ezek. 1:26, 27).
The Bible tells us that God has visited and spoke with men in almost every generation. It is necessary for every Prophet of God to know either God, Jesus, or both. How else could they be His witnesses and write, “Thus saith the Lord”? God stops speaking to man only when he no longer worships Him and turns to iniquity. “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)
It was easy for a correct knowledge of God and Jesus to pass from Adam to Noah. Adam knew all the sons of God to eight generations. Adam died at the age of 930 years, 126 years before the birth of Noah. Noah’s father, Lamech, knew Adam. It was easy for this knowledge to pass from Noah to Abraham. Every generation of the sons of God from Noah to Abraham knew Noah. Abraham studied with Noah and Shem for thirty-nine years. Noah died when Abraham was fifty-eight years old. It is in the study of the perfections of GOD that we really come to know Him.
God alone is one. God is the supreme intelligence, knowledge, and power over the Universe. Jesus is the God of this world, the Prince of the Kings of the earth, He was begotten of God, raised from the dead by God, and received His power from God. “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isa. 46:9) “16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? 17 And he [Jesus] said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” (Matt. 19)
God alone has omniscience. Only God has perfect knowledge. “9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46) Jesus is lacking in knowledge. “But of that day and that hour [of Jesus return] knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” (Mark 13:32)
God alone is immortal—without beginning or end. God alone has omnipotence [all power]. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6) All power in the Universe comes through God. “15 Which in his [Jesus] times [when He returns] he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 Who only hath immortality.” (1 Tim. 6)
God is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, long suffering, abundant in goodness, of a forgiving disposition, and will forgive iniquity, transgression, and sins of the truly penitent. It is also necessary to understand that God is truth and cannot lie before we can have full faith and trust in Him. “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Titus 1:2) He cannot even be tempted with evil (James 1:13). Man has invented hundreds of doctrines and convinced millions they are true; but man-made doctrines, the commandments of men, are only myths and traditions of man. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:9)
Since GOD is without change, is love, truth, merciful, just, forgiving, no respecter of persons, and forgives iniquity, we can have full faith and confidence in Him. We can have a faith which is without wavering and an assurance of the truth that if we live according to His will we are promised the greatest happiness after death and in eternity. Whatever He required of Adam to be saved remains the same forever. The laws of God are based on eternal principles and do not change.
Although God founded His law on love, we cannot imagine that he will not punish sin, or will look upon it with the least degree of allowance. Remember the warning, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isa. 13:9)
Jesus was ordained and received His power from the Father. “5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) “Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.” (John 14:28) “34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD [GOD] said unto my Lord [Jesus], Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” (Acts 2)
The Father is God over the entire universe. Jesus was the beginning, the first and only spirit begotten of the Father in this creation, the God of this creation, and through Jesus came the rest of this creation (John 1). God and Jesus are identified as separate entities throughout Scripture. Although the Father is without change, Jesus changed many times. Jesus lived as a spirit from the beginning of this creation, lived in mortal flesh as the son of David according to the flesh (Rom. 1:3), learned obedience by the things that He suffered (Heb. 5:8), was tempted of Satan (Matt. 4:3-11), died, went to hell, was resurrected by the Father, was given all power from the Father, and sits on the right hand of the Father. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” (James 1:13)
“I came forth from the Father [as a spirit], and am come into the world [as a mortal man]: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father [as the first fruits of the resurrection and holding the keys of the resurrection for all mankind].” (John 16:28) “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” (John 3:13) “17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (Heb. 2) “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom. 1:3) “14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.” (Acts 3) “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me [by the Father] in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18)
It is obvious that King David was a true Christian. “Therefore [David] being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD [GOD] said unto my Lord [Jesus], Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:30-36)
We must offer our greatest thanks and honor to Jesus. He gave up the position of God of this creation in the spirit to become a mortal man knowing that His mortal mission would end with a terrible death. He accomplished something that no man before Him was capable. He lived a life without sin. Although Jesus was tempted and learned obedience through the things which He suffered, yet he never let one evil thought enter His mind. “15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head [by Jesus perfect life and keys of the resurrection], and thou shalt bruise his heel [with death].” (Gen. 3) “12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Rom. 5)
“20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us [suffer death], who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Cor. 5) “21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Pet. 2)
Jesus bore our sins in two ways. As the first man without sin, Satan held no power of death over Him; and the Father had to raise Him from the dead with an immortal physical body. He was then given all power over this creation by the Father; including the keys to our resurrection. Every mortal man will be freed from death [eternity as spirits] which is the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23) and receive an immortal physical body. Those who know God and Jesus and obey the gospel are given the next grace: forgiveness of sin and adoption into the kingdom of God. Those who endure faithful and obedient receive another grace: the first resurrection and life on earth during the Sabbath of Creation. The final grace brings an inheritance on the earth with God and Jesus for eternity. All of this we owe to the man who did no sin, who lived to help others, and who sacrificed His life for the life of all. Praise our Lord Jesus!
The personal character of God is perfect. Jesus said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) God built His law on love. “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22) Love is the first and great perfect personal characteristic of God. “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) If man was to perfectly live the second commandment, there would be no wars, no poverty, and all mankind would enjoy the greatest happiness in life. Since God has founded His law on love, we must also realize that He cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance. Love and justice requires punishment for the disobedient.
This perfect spiritual love must be reflected in every part of our life. We must be meek, humble, slow to anger, merciful, forgiving of each others trespass, peaceful, seeking always the good, pure in heart, and hunger and thirst after righteousness. We must be honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and do good to even those who despise us. We must love God, Jesus, our parents, our spouse, our children, and our neighbor. The entire family and social unit are built on love. We learn to love our parents, our siblings, our friends, our spouse, and then our children. These relationships bring the greatest happiness known to man in mortal life. We must also learn the true and living God and worship only Him. God has provided the greatest happiness for mankind through these relationships. After death, it is only this love, whatever we make of ourselves, and our works in the flesh that we take with us.
Marriage between members of the kingdom of God is sealed for time and eternity. Marriage is a holy sacrament ordained of God since the beginning when He made both male and female. When Adam and Eve first walked through the Garden of Eden there was no death. They could not be joined “until death do you part.” They had to be joined for time and eternity. This is also apparent in the marital relations of men like Abraham. Sarah was his only spiritual wife—a wife that was also a member of the kingdom of God. The other wives were concubines, unbelievers, and wives only in mortality. Although Ishmael, the son of Hagar a handmaid of Sarah, was Abraham’s first born son, he did not inherit the covenants God made with Abraham. Isaac, the son of Sarah, was counted as Abraham’s first born son in the covenant. In the Millennium and in eternity the saints of God will enjoy the same marital status with their children as during mortal life. “They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree [with his progeny]; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.” (Micah 4:4)
If we are to be perfect as God is perfect, we must live the life of a true Christian. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6) “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” (Acts 10:34) There is no discrimination with God. Men receive according to their own works. There will be no blacks in heaven because all temporal curses will be taken away in the restoration of all things. The differences we enjoy in spiritual blessings are the result of our own works before and during this mortal life. The difficulties we experience in life are most often the effect of natural consequence. If you jump from a tall building, you die. “The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.” (Prov. 15:29) “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
“And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” (Acts 11:26) How did people become disciples and Christians? They worshipped the true and living God of Israel and obeyed the gospel of Christ. Jesus will soon return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:8)
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt. 6:33) Every person born in the flesh is alien to the kingdom of God. Every kingdom (or country) has laws and officers to enforce those laws. The laws of God define the requirements to be disciples in His kingdom. The Bible makes these prerequisites so clear that “every creature” is capable of understanding them, if they open their mind like a little child.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate.” (Matt. 7:13) What is this straight gate? It is the gospel of Christ. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) The Bible is clear in its explanation of the gospel.
Faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Heb. 11:6) This faith is not just a belief in Jesus. It is also circumcision of the heart; which is a conviction to live by the will of God. “11 And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.” (Rom. 4)
This faith requires a proper understanding of God and Jesus. “3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) One must also have faith in the gospel. “And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) Faith includes those God has called and who have been properly ordained into the priesthood. “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” (Mark 6:11) Faith is a gift of God that comes through the administration of true ministers of God. A person could read the Bible a thousand times and never receive gospel faith. “14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent [see Heb. 5:4]? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10)
Repentance. John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles all required men to repent and demonstrate evidence of that repentance before being baptized. “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.” (Matt. 3:8) Jesus also taught that men must repent. “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [within your reach].” (Matt 4:17) The Apostles taught that men must repent. “But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20)
Baptism. The proper translation of the word baptize is to immerse. Jesus could not enter the kingdom of God in the flesh without baptism of water and the Spirit. Jesus declared the necessity of these ordinances on numerous occasions. “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Jesus was the example for all. “16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3) “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not [and is therefore not baptized] shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) Baptism of water cleanses a person from sin so he can enter the kingdom of God. “And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.” (John 3:23) “And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
The Apostles taught this same law, telling how it applies to all generations. “37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2) “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [of eternal life].” (Gal. 3:27)
We are cleansed of sin through regeneration—being born again through the waters of baptism. “4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” (Rom. 6)
After being cleansed of all sin by faith, repentance, and baptism of water, when a valid member of the Melchisedec Priesthood lays his hands upon him he is baptized with the Spirit, confirmed into the kingdom of God, and receives a gift of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 12). “Then laid they [the Apostles] their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) “And when Paul [holding the Melchisedec Priesthood] had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
This reception of the Holy Ghost provides a guide that we might no longer be slaves to sin. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”( John 16:13) The disciples also enjoy protection from many of life’s dangers. “17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mark 16)
The Apostle Paul told of the power of gospel faith in Hebrews 11. “32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.”
When a person is ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood, he receives special powers. “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.” (Matt. 10:1) “14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5) These are not signs to unbelievers; but, blessings for the true disciples. They are signs the saints enjoy the blessings of the Holy Spirit.
Everyone that is really born of the Spirit is given a special gift. “1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Cor. 12) “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.” (1 Cor. 14:1)
Look about your own church. Are there any that claim to hold the Melchisedec Priesthood? Are there any Apostles, Prophets, High Priests, or Elders which Paul taught must exist, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”? (Eph. 4:12) Do you see the signs that are to follow them that believe? How many of the spiritual gifts have you seen? Who among your members has prophesied?
A CHRISTIAN MYTH:
Those who are not called of God, as was Aaron, to ministry in His name often say those gifts were only to exist in the days of the Apostles. Where does the Bible say such a thing?
John Wesley, one of the founders of Methodism, writing about the loss of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, actually commented on the loss of the Christian faith. “The cause of this was not, as has been supposed, because there was no more occasion for them, because all the world was become Christians. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause of it was that the love of many, almost all Christians, so-called, was waxed cold. The Christians had no more of the spirit of Christ than the other heathens. The Son of Man, when He came to examine His Church, could hardly find faith upon earth. This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian church–because the Christians were turned heathens again, and only had a dead form left.” (John Wesley’s Works, Vol. 7, 89; 26-27)
After obeying the first principles of the gospel, each person must partake of the holy Eucharist administered by one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood. “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53) This was not a new practice. We are told that Melchisedec and Abraham obeyed the gospel and partook of the sacrament. We are also told that Moses obeyed the gospel and partook of the sacrament. Whatever laws were required for Abraham, Moses, Jesus, the Apostles, and early Christians are required of all. “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.” (Gal. 3:8) “18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:” Gen. 14) “2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10) The disciples of Christ in all ages have partaken of the Eucharist often in remembrance of the sacrifice of Jesus, to examine themselves, and as a witness to Jesus that they are willing to keep His commandments.
Those who partake of the sacrament without a pure heart—living in sin—have no hope of eternal life; even though they have taken Jesus as their Savior! “27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (1 Cor. 11)
The final requirement for a person to enter eternal life is to live faithful and obedient during the rest of mortal life. The law and commandments of God were given to Adam. He was an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses, Jesus, and others. It was by breaking the commandments of God that his son Cain was punished with a severe curse. The law of God was passed from generation to generation until lost during the Egyptian captivity. They were restored by Moses; and will endure forever. “Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.”(Deut. 7:9) Assigning forty years to a generation, a thousand generations would be forty thousand years. We know that mortal man is to remain on the earth for only seven thousand years. We are about six thousand years removed from the fall of Adam.
From cover to cover the Bible teaches of the necessity of the disciples being faithful and obedient. Those before the great flood turned to wickedness. All were destroyed; except for eight souls—the family of Noah. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah turned to wickedness and only Lot, his wife, and two daughters escaped. The time of the Jews was fulfilled (ended) when they rejected the authority of Jesus and had Him crucified. Jesus told us, “And they [Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) This prophecy was fulfilled after the six day war in 1967. The gospel will now return to the house of Israel. We now live in the final years of the last generation that will see the great desolation. Biblical generations are forty years. It was exactly forty years from the time the Jews rejected Jesus to their almost total destruction under the Roman Army. Of all the people in Jerusalem 1.1 million were killed and 97 thousand taken captive (The Complete Works of Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Chapter IX).
“26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17)
There is a desolation more terrible than the mind can imagine about to fall upon the people of the earth. Of the elect of God, the house of Israel, only one-third will survive. Of the Gentiles, they will suffer even as they made Israel suffer. “8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” (Zech. 13) “15 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the Gentile: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1)
Jesus said, “21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matt. 24) The Apostle John described these tribulations in Revelation. There is to be a mountain on fire that destroys one-third of all living things in just one event (Rev. 8:8). Other tribulations follow. Fire is to go before, famine is to follow, and pestilence is to waste mankind. “3 The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. 4 The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish. 5 The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24) A desolating sickness is to cover the land putting an end to all nations. Every Biblical prophesy has been perfectly fulfilled. A few true Gentile Christians and a third of Israel will survive. “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:30) If you want to escape this desolation, it is a time to assure your beliefs actually conform to doctrines in the Bible.
CHRISTIAN MYTH TWO:
It is being taught those who take Jesus as their Savior will be caught up into heaven seven years before His return. The term “seven years” only exists once in the New Testament; and that is not about the return of Jesus (Luke 2:36). This doctrine is an invention of man made out of greed for money. Those who are alive and found worthy will be gathered to a place of refuge from the desolation. The wheat will be gathered to the barn. When Jesus returns they will be caught up to meet Him. “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thess. 4:17)
There is another problem with this false doctrine—timing. The desolation promised on the world is prophesied to occur after six thousand years of mortal man. All agree the day of the Lord is at hand. Jesus gave the date of the last generation. “And they [Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) This was fulfilled in 1967, after the six-day war. Biblical generations are forty years. We are within seven years of the return of Jesus. Why are these presumed believers still here? Were they left behind?
Consider the law of the Sabbath. It has existed since the creation; and is the second commandment noted in the Bible. “2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Gen. 2) “16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31) Some reply they are Gentiles and not the “children of Israel.” “27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3) Although anyone may keep the Sabbath, the disciples of God are bound to keep it. Any people who do not observe the seventh day Sabbath are not the people of God. The Sabbath was kept throughout the Bible. It was the unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor Constantine who changed it to “the venerable day of the sun.”
Regardless of what a person believes, if he fails to live by the will and law of God, he cannot be saved in the kingdom of heaven. “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee.” (Deut. 28:14)
Taking Jesus as our Savior, obeying the gospel, and partaking of the Eucharist still cannot save any man. All are bound to live by faith and obedience the rest of mortal life. “But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.” (Neh. 1:9) “He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.” (Prov. 4:4) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” (John 15:10) We are told in the Bible that King David took Jesus as his Savior; and God promised that Jesus would be of his seed according to the flesh. David had Uriah killed in battle so he could take his wife. When others were resurrected with Jesus, David’s bones remained. He was still in hell.
The Bible makes it clear that only those who keep the law of God will have a right to the kingdom of God in eternity and that all others will suffer in hell. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matt. 10:22) “7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21) “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2)
Those who live in sin, regardless of what they believe, crucify Jesus to themselves. Sins of the unbelievers are cleansed by the waters of baptism. “8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1) We know that men will still commit some sin; even after baptism. The sins of believers are cleansed by confession, repentance, recompense, and a determination not to return to sin. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)
CHRYSTIAN MYTH THREE:
The Catholic Church under Constantine adopted the pagan belief of heaven and hell as the condition of man in eternity. In its first creed it is declared, “Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith. Which faith, except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.” The fundamental Catholic creed states that members of every other church and religion will “perish everlastingly.”
Jesus was ordained to the Melchisedec Priesthood and after death spent three days with the spirits in prison (hell); as most had never heard the gospel. “18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison.” (1 Pet. 3) Why did Jesus preach the gospel to those in hell? “6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Pet. 4:6) A spirit cannot be born of water; as required by the law of God. God provided baptism of the living for the dead under the direction of a Prophet—baptism for the dead. After the resurrection of Jesus, Peter was elevated to the office of Prophet holding divine authority to open a dispensation for baptism of the dead (John 21:15 – 17). Paul was called to fill his vacancy among the Twelve. “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Cor. 15:29) Has your church ever administered baptism for the dead?
The grand key to the gate into the kingdom of heaven is the Melchisedec Priesthood. Every kingdom has officers appointed to administer its laws; including those of citizenship. The fullness of the gospel includes both the word of the gospel and the power of the gospel. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 1:5) The word, or first principles of the gospel, is faith, repentance, baptism of water and the Spirit, and the Eucharist. The power of the gospel is divine authority from God to preach the gospel and administer its saving ordinances. “1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Rom. 13)
The Bible identifies only two priesthoods authorized by God. The Melchisedec Priesthood is the higher and once bestowed it is held for time and eternity (Heb. 7:3). It holds the power or keys to bring men through the gate into the kingdom of heaven. “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 shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt. 16:19) It was first held by Adam and was passed through first born sons from Adam to Shem, the son of Noah. It was held by Abraham and by Melchisedec who was a most honorable High Priest. “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him.” (Heb. 7:7) It was held by all the Prophets of God. It was lost during the Egyptian captivity and restored by Moses. It was lost again about 400 years before Jesus and restored through Him.
The lower priesthood is the Levitical or Aaronic Priesthood. This priesthood began under Moses to administer the added or temporal law given to Moses. Being temporal in nature, it is bestowed only for life. The Melchisedec Priesthood administers primarily in spiritual affairs. The Aaronic Priesthood administers primarily in temporal affairs.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Not even Jesus was exempt from this law. Jesus went to John the Baptist for baptism of water because John held the highest office of the Aaronic Priesthood—that of Priest—and was therefore empowered by God to baptize with water. But, John was not authorized by God to baptize with the Spirit. “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” (Matt. 3:11)
“11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. …17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4) What did they minister? Jesus was ordained to the higher Melchisedec Priesthood. Only this higher priesthood, as noted by John the Baptist, is authorized by God to preach the gospel and administer all of the saving ordinances of the gospel.
This priesthood must be called of God by the spirit of prophecy and ordained by one holding that priesthood. Not even Jesus could violate this law. He was ordained under the hands of the Father to the highest office as an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver like Moses; and therefore held all lower offices including that of High Priest. “4 And no man taketh this honour 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 [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb. 5) Aaron was called by revelation of God and ordained by Moses who held the highest office of the Melchisedec Priesthood the same as Jesus (Ex. 28:1). The Jews had trouble understanding where Jesus got His power. “And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” (Matt. 21:23)
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he [the Father] hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised [spirits in hell].” (Luke 4:18; see Isaiah 61:1)
The higher order of the Melchisedec Priesthood is that of Apostle; and the highest office is that of first degree Apostle and is a Lawgiver. The twelve Apostles were third degree Apostles. The lower order is that of Priest and includes High Priests and Elders. Jesus and Moses were Apostles, Prophets, and Lawgivers—the same as Adam. “For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.” (Acts 3:22)
The lower Levitical Priesthood holds divine authority to preach the gospel and baptize with water. Only the Melchisedec Priesthood holds authority from God to baptize with the Spirit, confirm men into the kingdom of God, and bestow upon them a gift of the Holy Ghost. Who baptized you, confirmed you into the kingdom of God, and bestowed upon you a gift of the Holy Ghost? Did he hold the Melchisedec Priesthood?
It was requisite for Jesus to organize the church with all of the officers of the Melchisedec Priesthood. As long as one officer of this priesthood remains on the earth, the gate into the kingdom of God remains open. “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists [High Priests]; and some, pastors [Elders] and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Eph. 4) Clearly, this priesthood is required “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry.” No one would be bold enough to claim we have all “come in the unity of the faith.” Who would be bold enough to deny the Bible and declare these officers are not required to enter the kingdom of God? Who, among the ministers of your church, make any claim to this priesthood?
CHRYSTIAN MYTH FOUR:
Protestants have no claim to divine authority; because only the Catholic Church claimed to trace their priesthood back to Peter. That claim will be addressed later. Some Protestant ministers claim they are privileged to preach the gospel and even administer its ordinances without being called of God as was Aaron. There is not a single instance in the Bible of a person being accepted to preach the gospel without such a calling. “3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. “ (2 Tim. 4) “11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.” (Micah 3)
Other Protestant ministers claim what they call the Great Commission. By some stretch of the imagination, they claim the commission that was given ONLY to the remaining eleven Apostles was given to all.
“Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. And he said unto them, Go ye [the eleven] into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:14, 15)
No man can claim authority based on that held by another. Each calling and ordination is individual and specific. The ordination of Moses did not affect the ordination of Jesus. The ordination of Jesus did not affect that of the twelve Apostles. The ordination of the Twelve did not affect the ordination of Elders in every church. Each had to be individually and separately called by the spirit of prophesy to a specific office in the priesthood.
Jesus was ordained under the hands of the Father. He called and ordained the twelve Apostles. “And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach.” (Mark 3:14) The Apostle Paul wrote, “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” (1 Tim. 2:7) Paul ordained his son Timothy; and reminded him of his duties. “14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Tim. 4) The Apostles, in turn, ordained High Priests and Elders. “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.” (Heb. 5:1) “And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” (Acts 14:23) No one was recognized among the disciples without a proper calling and ordination. “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:22) The noted historian Eusebius tells of the office of High Priest remaining for at least a generation after the Apostles (Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, Chapter 17).
The Bible warns us there will be many teaching false doctrines among preachers without authority from God who will lead men’s souls down to hell. “9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15) “28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10) “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24)
What is a false Christ or anti-Christ? Some vainly teach anti-Christ applies to a single person that is to live shortly before the return of Jesus. “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18) The term “Christ” is not a proper name. It signifies one who has been properly ordained or anointed. Jesus was called and ordained under the hands of the Father. A false Christ or anti-Christ is simply a person who presumes to preach without being called by the spirit of prophecy and without being properly ordained by one holding the holy priesthood. Look about you. Their numbers abound even more than in the days of Jesus. Who among sectarian Christians even claims to hold the Melchisedec Priesthood? Most deny that revelation exists today. “And the dragon [Pagan Rome] was wroth with the woman [Church of Christ], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [priesthood], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17) “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)
Who are these false prophets? The term translated prophet has many meanings. It includes those who praise God in music, those who preach under divine guidance, and those who hold the Prophetic Office like Moses, Jesus, and many others. The Bible is a history of the men whom God has called as Prophets to speak for Him, “Thus saith the Lord.” In the context of this quotation a false prophet is any person who preaches without being called of God as was Aaron. A false prophet is also an anti-Christ. Aaron was called by the spirit of prophecy and was ordained by Moses who held a higher office in the priesthood. “And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.” (Ex. 28:1)
There is a sad story in the history of Gentile Christianity; and one we must consider in a quest for true Christianity. The Bible, ecclesiastical historians, and even church leaders have testified of a Gentile apostasy. The Bible tells of the fall of Gentile Christianity. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [return of Jesus] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thess. 2:3) It had already begun in the days of the Apostles. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” (2 Thess. 2:7) The seven churches of the Gentiles were warned to repent or they would no longer be disciples of the Lord. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2:5) They did not repent; but sank deeper back into paganism.
The first evidence of the great apostasy is the fact that God no longer spoke to them after John. God never called another Prophet for the Gentiles in that dispensation. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59:1, 2) The holy Melchisedec Priesthood was lost.
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11, 12)
John the Revelator told of Satan driving the Church of Christ from the earth. “5 And she [church] brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron [law of God]: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman [Church of Christ] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1260 years].” (Rev. 12) Then Satan declared war against the holy priesthood of God. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed [holy priesthood], which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (12:17) “…for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (19:10)
Finally, Satan was given complete dominion over the souls of men for 1,260 years. “5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1260 years]. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.”
The Apostle John saw this coming apostasy and described the sequence of how it would happen. “3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman [church] sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. …9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman [church of Satan] sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen [Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece], and one is [Pagan Rome], and the other is not yet come [Pagan Christian Rome under Constantine]; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space [325 – 476 AD]. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth [Papal Rome], and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” (Rev. 17) Only Rome has synonymously been known as the city of seven hills. The harlots could only be churches which adopted the mystery doctrines of their mother.
The Church of England told of this apostasy in the Homily Against Peril of Idolatry. “So that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sects, and degrees of men, women, and children of whole Christendom–an horrible and most dreadful thing to think–have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry; of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man; and that by the space of eight hundred years and more.”
“O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit. Shall a man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?” (Jer. 16:19, 20)
Finding the gate into the kingdom of God during the great apostasy requires finding one properly called of God to the Melchisedec Priesthood. With the myriad of Christian churches and doctrines it requires an open heart, study, research, and prayer to distinguish truth from myth. There are essentially three Christian sets of doctrine on how a person is saved to eternal life: Catholic, Protestant, and Mormon.
PAGAN CHRISTIAN ROME
In the early fourth century the Roman Emperor Constantine conquered Rome by the sword. He was one of the most brutal men in history. He murdered his father-in-law Maximian in 310. Then he killed his main rival, and brother-in-law, Maxentius in 312; and had his head carried through the city on a pike. He murdered his brother-in-law Bassianus in 314, his nephew Lincinianus, a boy of only 13, in 319, his wife Fausta in 320, his brother-in-law Licinius in 324, his own son Crispius in 326, and some hundred thousand dissenters. After a bloodbath in Constantinople, only two sons remained alive out of his whole household.
It seems he was struck by the horror of his own sword. He went to Sopater, a pagan priest and philosopher, seeking forgiveness for his atrocities. After being told there was no kind of purification that could forgive such enormities, he went to the Christian bishops. After several hundred years without instruction from God and being persecuted by Rome, Christianity slipped back into many of the Gentile pagan beliefs and desperately sought relief from Roman persecution. The Bishops told Constantine that he could be forgiven of all sin through baptism. These bishops, in their quest for relief and power, offered the impossible. There is no forgiveness in this life for a murderer; as King David discovered (2 Sam. 11:15; Acts 2:29). Constantine then murdered Sopater, who had refused him absolution.
After becoming the supreme ruler of Rome, Constantine turned his attention to establishing a state religion with himself at the head. “Immediately upon coming to power as the sole ruler of the empire, but only then, Constantine asserted the right to exercise ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY OVER THE ENTIRE CHURCH. He did this despite the fact that he was not baptized, and, as was not unusual, would not be until shortly before he died.” (Constantine’s Sword, James Carroll, p. 188) He now stood both as Emperor of Rome and as God on earth. It was even believed he was God—born of a virgin. “Constantine fully understands himself by now as ‘the vice-regent of God.’” (Ibid, p. 187)
Roman persecution could not rid the Roman Empire of Christianity. He could not convert paganism since the Gentiles had been entangled in paganism for over fifteen hundred years. Over ninety percent of Rome was pagan. He certainly could not convert Judaism; and even had a deep hatred toward all Jews. It required no significant challenge to finish converting the fallen Christianity to paganism. There was no central organization in Christianity. It was divided into hundreds of different churches with many different doctrines. By the fourth century Christians could not even agree on the identity of God and Jesus.
The problem was how to amalgamate Christianity with paganism. He had to establish a creed for his new church that would form its foundation and define what beliefs were acceptable. “As seen in Constantine’s originating piety, that supreme deity would have been associated with the sun, and pagans would have recognized, with reason, their own solar cult in such Christian practices as orienting churches to the east, worshipping of ‘sun day,’ and celebrating the birth of the deity at the winter solstice.” (Ibid, p. 183)
In 325 AD, he called the Council of Nicaea at the royal palace, stood as its absolute head, and took an active part in the discussions. About 250 bishops, almost entirely from the Eastern Church, joined in the council. After weeks of bickering over the identity of God and Jesus, St. Athanasius compiled a new creed that satisfied Constantine, defining the Christian God the same as the pagan Trinitarian sun god only with Christian names.
“And the Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity. Such as the Father is, such is the Son; and such is the Holy Ghost.” Constantine was a loyal follower of the Trinitarian sun god. He later exiled St. Athanasius. It is believed that St. Athanasius wrote the creed only to satisfy Constantine and later thought better of his action. The Trinity was worshipped throughout all eastern pagan religions. This creed became the foundation of the Christian church. Although there is absolutely nothing in the Bible to support such a creed, it gave Constantine the religious power he sought. “The Christian trinity is of Egyptian origin, and is as surely a pagan doctrine as the belief in gods and demigods, and other forms of faith which deface the greater part of modern religions.” (Ancient Pagan and Modern Christian Symbolism, Thomas Inman, p. 13)
The unbaptized, pagan Roman Emperor, Constantine, reorganized the Christian church with himself as God on earth and as absolute head of his new Catholic Church. He then simply adopted all of the pagan doctrines, rites, and traditions that he grew up with and even honored on his coins—giving them Christian names. The celebration of the winter solstice on December 25—which celebrated the birth of the sun—became the Christian Christmas; and so on. The noted ecclesiastical historian Mosheim wrote of the fourth century, “The rites and institutions, by which the Greeks, Romans, and other nations, had formerly testified their religious veneration for fictitious deities, were now adopted, with some slight alterations by Christian bishops, and employed in the service of the true God.” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, Century 4, Part 2, chap 4:1, 4)
John Wesley a founder of Methodism wrote, “A wonderful instance of this spiritual blindness, this total inability to discern the signs of the times mentioned in the scriptures, is given us in a very celebrated work of a late eminent writer, who supposed the New Jerusalem came down from heaven when Constantine the Great called himself a christian. I say called himself a christian, for I dare not affirm that he was one any more than Peter the Great. I cannot but believe he would have come nearer the mark if he had said that it was the time when a huge cloud of infernal brimstone came up from the bottomless pit! for surely there never was a time when Satan gained so fatal an advantage over the church of Christ as when such a flood of riches, and honor and power broke in upon it, particularly on the clergy.” (John Wesley’s Works, Vol. 2, page 97)
Constantine then made every effort to abolish any apposing beliefs. In addition to burning books and writings of dissenting faiths, forging books of his own religion, and compiling the Bible, he beheaded teachers and followers of other religious beliefs. He resorted to an effective mode of converting Christianity to paganism by changing pagan temples into Christian churches. He confiscated the estates of heathen priests and bestowed them on Christian pastors and bishops. The central creed states, “This is the Catholic Faith; which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.”
He established heresy as a political crime and made the cross the saving event rather than the crucifixion. It is easy to understand why Catholics still adorn the cross. Anyone who tried to hold to original doctrines were labeled heretics by Constantine—an offense punishable by death. The sword established the new doctrine and after centuries of tradition who was to know the better?
“Unity would henceforth be the note not only of the political order but of a revealed truth… With holiness and catholicity, ‘unity’ would henceforth be, in the argot, a ‘mark’ of the church– at least in theory… In this way, the choice (‘heresy‘) to be religiously different became defined as treason, a political crime… It is important to emphasize that this need, which has so dominated Roman Catholicism that even now the Church cannot break free of it, was defined not by the Lord… nor by his apostles… nor by their successor bishops… nor by theologians… nor by preachers… but by an all-conquering emperor for whom one empire had come to equal one religion.” (Constantine’s Sword, James Carroll, pp. 187, 189)
“This shift has important implications for relations between Christians and Jews. With the cross at the center of a theology salvation, it becomes the means of salvation. In this altered context, the Gospel slander that shifts chief responsibility for that cross from the Romans to the Jews– the creed’s indictment of Pilate notwithstanding– sets in motion a dynamic that will keep Jews at the heart of a quickened, and quickly armed, Christian hatred.” (Ibid., p. 191)
“Once church and state had agreed that it was righteous and legal to execute those Christians– Docetists, Donatists, Nestorians, Arians– who dissented from defined dogma on relatively arcane matters of theology, why in the world should stiff-necked persons who openly rejected the entire Christian proclamation be permitted to live?” (Ibid, p. 206)
The effect of Constantine’s conversion of Christianity to paganism was profound. Constantine assured Christians would violate the first of the Ten Commandments. During the first Christian council, in 325 AD, he made the Trinitarian sun god the new god for Christians. The doctrine of the Trinity was embraced by all the mystic religions. It began with Nimrod, King of Babylon and a wicked grandson of Noah. There is absolutely nothing in the Bible to support this pagan doctrine.
What is the greatest commandment given to man? “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22) The Trinitarian creed became the centerpiece of religious doctrine. This creed defines the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as equal, Almighty, one, and incomprehensible. Does it not seem a little more than strange that such a doctrine is found nowhere in the Bible, during four thousand years of personal relationships between man and God? This creed defines, “The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible.” Making God and Jesus incomprehensible, it removed from man the opportunity of eternal life. Jesus taught, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
Ambrose, a Christian bishop contemporary with Constantine, wrote in The Confessions, “when God is thought of, our thoughts should dwell on no material reality whatsoever.” I will grant Constantine the fact that the Trinity is incomprehensible. Not so the Biblical God. The whole Bible is a story of God’s direct association with man. God conversed with Adam as a familiar friend (Gen. 2:3). He walked with Enoch (Gen. 5:24). He spoke with Noah (Gen. 6:14-21). He dined with Abraham who at first mistook him for a man; and invited Him into the tent to eat (Gen. 18). He wrestled with Jacob (Gen. 32:30). He conversed with Moses face to face (Ex. 33:11; Deut. 5:4). Which god is incomprehensible, the Father, the Son, or the Holy Ghost? “2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1) Or, is it the Trinity itself which is the mystery—Mystery, Babylon the Great?
Constantine’s god is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. “And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou 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, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” (Ex. 3:15) “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me.” (Isa. 46:9) “29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he.” (Mark 12)
Consider the source. “In the unity of that one Only God of the Babylonians, there were three persons, and to symbolise that doctrine of the Trinity, they employed, as the discoveries of Layard prove, the equilateral triangle, just as it is well known the Romish Church does at this day. In both cases such a comparison is most degrading to the King Eternal, and is fitted utterly to pervert the minds of those who contemplate it, as if there was or could be any similitude between such a figure and Him who hath said, ‘To whom will ye liken God, and what likeness will ye compare unto Him?” (The Two Babylons, Reverend Alexander Hislop, pp. 16, 17)
The Trinity made the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost all forms of the same god. By adopting the pagan Trinity, Satan was assured that Christians would violate the first of the Ten Commandments. “2 I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex. 20)
The true and living God is one and is without change. He was not born a helpless infant, nor learned obedience from the things which he suffered (Heb. 5:8). He could not be tempted of Satan as was Jesus and could not die and go to hell. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal. 3:6) “And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he.” (Mark 12:32) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:6) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 2:5)
Constantine violated the second of the Ten Commandments and assured that subsequent man-made priests would do the same. “Thou shalt not take the name [authority] of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” (Ex. 20:7) “…about the year 320… Constantine fully understands himself by now as ‘the vice-regent of God.’” (Constantine’s Sword, James Carroll, p. 187) That is, as God on earth. “Constantine asserted the right to exercise absolute authority over the entire Church.” (Ibid, p, 188)
Jesus and the Apostles taught that every minister of God must be called of God by the spirit of prophecy and be ordained by one holding that priesthood. Jesus was an example. He was called and ordained by the Father. “4 And no man taketh this honour 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 [the Father] that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.” (Heb. 5) There is not one person in all the Bible that preached without being properly called and ordained to either the Levitical or Melchisedec Priesthood. “Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” (Acts 1:22)
Constantine assured that Christians would violate the third of the Ten Commandments. Those who follow his edict can never be the people of God. He changed the Sabbath to “the venerable day of the sun.” Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians all honored the Sabbath. It is one of the signs between God and His people. “16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. 17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.” (Ex. 31)
The second form of the beast was a regeneration of the first. “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” (13:11, 12)
Pagan Christian Rome fell in 476 AD. Papal Rome rose in 570 AD. This second beast had “two horns like a lamb;” but spoke “as a dragon.” John perfectly described Papal Rome. She was a church “like a lamb,” who exerted two worldly powers (two horns, religious and civil), and “spake as a dragon.” She was the third form of Rome. Through the power of Rome, she ruled over all religious and civil affairs. All people within her borders either worshipped Papal Rome or died. It has been estimated the Papacy has been responsible for the martyrdom of 50,000,000 people.
The saddest event during the reign of the beasts was the end of the kingdom of God. Pagan Rome disposed of the Church of Christ and divine authority (Rev. 12:6, 17). Pagan Christian Rome removed the doctrines of the gospel and replaced them with paganism. She was the first beast to commit blasphemy (13:5). Spiritual destruction came by removing the foundation by which salvation is made possible. Constantine changed the nature and character of God and Jesus, removed all divine authority by which men can enter the kingdom of God, changed the Sabbath, and altered the gospel. Baptism, which means immersion, was reserved for the penitent. It was changed to sprinkling innocent little children. “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14) “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) After the Bible was translated into English and Luther successfully stood against the pope, many realized they had never been baptized; and organizations like the Anabaptists, in 1521, immediately had people baptized even though they held no divine authority.
Papal Rome established worldwide religious and civil power. She was given power from Satan to make “war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13:7) With this final form of the beast having total dominion over the souls of man, the Church of Christ was to depart the earth for 1,260 years. “And the woman [Church of Christ] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1260 years].” (Rev. 12:6) “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1,260 years].” (Rev. 13:5)
Only Rome is synonymously known as the city of seven hills (Rev. 17:9). Only Rome declared war on the Church of Christ, God, Jesus, divine authority, the Sabbath, and the gospel. Through Papal Rome Satan received power over all the souls of man. Rome has changed the laws of God; and her leaders have stood as God on earth. Only Constantine and the Popes “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 Thess. 2:4) “The power of the pope is greater than all created power, extending itself to things celestial, terrestrial and infernal, and that the pope doeth whatsoever he listeth even things unlawful, and is MORE THAN GOD.” (Dissertation on the Prophecies, Rev. G. S. Faber, Vol. 1, pp. 203, 204) You can read when harlots sat as popes, the depths of papal degradation, and the evils that became identified with Rome in Halley’s Bible Handbook, Church History.
“The pope is of so great dignity and excellence, that he is not merely man, but as if God. The pope alone is called most holy, divine monarch, and supreme emperor, and King of Kings. The pope is of so great dignity and power, and he constitutes one and the same tribunal with Christ, so that whatever the pope does seems to proceed from the mouth of God. The pope is as God on earth.” (Guinness, Romanism and the Reformation, pp. 25, 26)
“The bishop of Rome hath authority to judge all men and especially the articles of faith, and that without any councils. But no man hath authority to judge him. …It is not lawful for any man to dispute of his power. …The bishop of Rome may compel princes to receive his laws. …Forasmuch as he is called God he may be judged of no man, for God may be judged of no man. …He that acknowledgeth not himself to be under the bishop of Rome and that the bishop of Rome is ordained by God to have primacy over all the world, is a heretic and cannot be saved.” (Cranmer’s, Collection of Tenets from the Canon Law; History and Revelation, Vol. 3, p. 379, Rev. J. H. Braund.)
“Boniface VIII (1294-1303), in his famous bull, “ ‘Unam Sanctam,’ said, ‘We declare, affirm, define, and pronounce that it is altogether necessary for the Salvation that every creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.’ However, he himself was so Corrupt that Dante, who visited Rome during his pontificate, called the Vatican a ‘Sewer of Corruption,’ and assigned him, along with Nicolas III and Clement V, to the lowest parts of hell.” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 777)
“John XXIII (1410 – 1415), called by some the most depraved criminal who ever sat on the Papal Throne; guilty of almost every crime; as cardinal in Bologna, 200 maidens, nuns and married women fell victims to his amours; as Pope he violated virgins and nuns; lived in adultery with his brother’s wife; was guilty of sodomy and other nameless vices; bought the Papal Office, sold Cardinalities to children of wealthy families; and openly denied the future life.” (Ibid, p. 779)
If you are among the followers of popes, you should consider very carefully whether you are still willing to bet your eternal life with this beast. “20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” (Rev. 19) If you believe you can inherit a kingdom in eternity with Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, and Jesus without walking as they walked, I can only hope that you will at least live an honorable life.
The contention of the Catholic Church has been they hold divine authority as required by God and taught in the Bible. They teach that Peter was the first pope in Rome and that there has been a continual line of popes since then. The term pope is not of Biblical origin. Prophets always stood at the head of the people. The Bible clearly states that Peter was an Apostle and not a Bishop. The office of Bishop is a lower office than that of Apostle. “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach.” (1 Tim. 3:2) Yet, at the death of a pope the bishops meet to elect by the voice of man the next pope. The successor of a pope is a pope. It would be necessary for a pope to call his successor.
The early church consisted of scattered branches that met together wherever they were able. Elders presided over these various branches (Acts 14:23). There was no head of the church. Constantine organized the Catholic Church in 325 AD; and was first to stand as its absolute head—as God on earth. Rome fell in 476 AD. The first Bishop that claimed to stand over the whole church was in 570 AD. “In 568 the Lombard invasion began, and in three years intercepted all communication between Rome and the Exarchate, by which the popes became sole masters of Rome and acquired all the civil and military power, as well as spiritual authority in the city, A. D. 570.” (Prophetic History, Rev. William War, a distinguished divine of the Church of England, Vol. 5, p. 240) The Catholic claim to divine authority is a myth.
The Albigenses of Carthari rebelled against the Catholic Church in the twelfth century. They “preached against the immoralities of the priesthood, pilgrimages, worship of saints and images; completely rejected the clergy and its claims; criticized church conditions; opposed the claims of the Church of Rome; [and] made great use of the Scriptures.” (Halley’s Bible Handbook, p. 785) “In 1208 a crusade was ordered by Pope Innocent III; a bloody war of extermination followed; scarcely paralleled in history; town after town was put to the sword and the inhabitants murdered without distinction of age or sex; in 1229 the Inquisition was established and within a hundred years the Albigenses were utterly rooted out.” (Ibid, p. 785) Many others attempted to break with the Catholic Church almost all with the same result—death!
The first successful rebellion against the popes came with Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). The sale of indulgences was the rock upon which he made his rebellion against the pope. The popes teaching of Purgatory is much like Hell; but the souls who pass through there must be bought out by indulgences—and this power belonged only to the pope. In 1517, John Tetzel went through Germany offering the pardon of all sins for money. This selling of the privilege to sin became one of the main sources of papal revenue. He taught “as soon as your coin clinks in the chest the souls of your friends will rise out of Purgatory into Heaven.”
On October 21, 1517, Luther posted “The 95 Theses;” which was primarily a rebellion against indulgences; but whose essence rebelled against the authority of the popes. Luther was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1520. Where others had been murdered for their rebellion, Luther had too many friends among the German Princes to be martyred. By 1540 all of Northern Germany had become Lutheran. The Pope declared a war against them that lasted from 1546 to 1555, ending with the Peace of Augsburg. Luther had successfully stood against the pope and the term “Protestant” began.
This second group of Christians began with Martin Luther. His excommunication left him without any claim to divine authority; which had been recognized as essential by the Catholic Church for about one thousand years before him. His resolution was to begin a new gospel: man can be saved by faith alone. Many current evangelists go so far as to not even claim knowledge of God a necessity; but teach it is only necessary to accept Jesus as their Savior. This change should have been a signal to all who believed in the Bible. “8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1)
It is not possible to make a true church out of the reformation of a false church. “16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” (Matt. 7)
Luther retained most of the fundamental doctrines of the Catholic Church; except divine authority. No people that worship a false god can be the people of God. He simply began a new church with a new gospel that is contrary to Biblical teachings. “19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (James 2) “24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Rom. 8)
Every kingdom has laws and officers to administer those laws. Each has their own set of laws on becoming a citizen. A person might consider a particular country as the best place to live and want with all their heart to be a citizen. But, until they follow the prescribed laws and are naturalized by a proper officer, they cannot become citizens. The laws on entry into the kingdom of God have been the same since Adam. If there were to be a change, it would mean that God is not without change; and we would have no basis for believing what He tells us today because He might change His mind tomorrow.
If one single thing, other than faith, is required for salvation, the gospel of Luther is false. Every person is born alien to the kingdom of God. Even Jesus had to obey the gospel to enter the kingdom of God. He will soon return, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 1:8)
The Bible teaches the only gate into the kingdom of heaven is the gospel. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Rom. 1:16) Those who put their trust in anything else will be sadly disappointed. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)
What is the “will of my Father?” We have only to look to Jesus. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” (1 John 2:6) We know beyond doubt that Jesus knew and worshipped God. He was constantly praying to the Father. He subjected His will to the will of the Father. “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
How did Jesus enter the kingdom? It was not necessary for Him to repent; as only Jesus lived a life without sin. He still had to obey the law of baptism. He went to John the Baptist to be born of water and was then born of the Spirit. “16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3) Were all three one? Jesus practiced what He preached, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
Anyone who thinks they can be saved without being properly born of water and the Spirit makes Jesus a liar and condemn themselves to hell. On the day of Pentecost Peter taught the same as Jesus concerning the gospel and gate into the kingdom of God. “37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” (Acts 2)
There is another Biblical fact that Luther, the popes, and Constantine failed to observe. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.” (1 Thess. 5:5) We have seen from the Bible that the power of the gospel is the Melchisedec Priesthood. “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4) Aaron was called by a revelation given to Moses and was ordained by Moses. Luther could not claim any power or divine authority, so he had to change the word of the gospel. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim. 3:5)
If any man in the Bible was saved, it would have to be the renowned Gentile Apostle Paul. Yet, Paul did not consider himself saved; but living faithful and obedient he had hope. “8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3)
Martin Luther would have us believe the gospel is in word and belief alone. We have already learned in the first part, Christianity Biblical Truths, that salvation in the kingdom of God requires more than just belief. Without a correct understanding of God and Jesus it is impossible to have faith in them. Constantine adopted the pagan Trinity in place of God and Jesus. Jesus and the Apostles taught us that even the devils believe; but, without obedience to the gospel none can enter the kingdom and be saved. They also taught that without the Melchisedec Priesthood none can enter the kingdom of God. We learned the true gate into the kingdom includes: (1) Faith, (2) subjecting our will to the will of God, (3) Repentance, (4) baptism of water, (5) baptism of the Spirit, (6) revelation and divine authority, (7) partaking of the Eucharist, and (8) remaining faithful and obedient to the end of mortal life.
We have tested the gospel of Luther against the Bible and found it false on seven counts. Those who teach such a doctrine should understand their fate after death. “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Gal. 1:9) “37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment.” (Matt. 22) This is not a casual relationship. It is a dedication to live by the will and laws of God rather than by the will of man and delights of the flesh. “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28)
SAVED BY FAITH ALONE?
The followers of the gospel of Luther claim we can be saved by faith alone, simply by accepting Jesus as our Savior. For evidence they offer Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
First, remember this same book (4:11-13) provided the requirement for offices of the Melchisedec Priesthood—at least one of which is required “for the perfecting of the saints.”
Second, this book was written “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 1:1) This was not written to sinners; but, to those who had already obeyed the gospel and were members of the kingdom of heaven.
Third, it is true that we are saved by grace; but, the grace that leads to salvation comes only through obedience to the gospel. “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) What was Jesus referring to? Jesus explained to Nicodemus that He was referring to being baptized of water and being born or baptized of the Spirit. As these ordinances are only recognized by God through the administration of one holding the Melchisedec Priesthood [chapter 2], the doctrine is revealed to be a myth.
The Bible provides us a way to know these false prophets (preachers). The Protestant, King James, version clearly identifies the Catholic Church as Mystery, Babylon. “4 And the woman [church of Satan] was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (Rev. 17, underlining mine) Given the Catholic Church as the mother, the harlots can only be those churches whose doctrines on God originated with the Catholic Church—beginning with Martin Luther and including all who worship the god of Rome and think to minister in the gospel without the power of the gospel—the Melchisedec Priesthood.
John the Revelator provides us with many facts concerning Rome, the Catholic Church, and her daughters in Revelation 12, 13, and 17. After the first beast (Pagan Christian Rome), the beast was wounded and was healed (Papal Rome). Out of this beast was to come “the image of the beast.” (Rev. 13:15) Only Protestantism is directly tied to Rome by doctrine and by such is the image of the beast. The image looks like the beast; but, does not have the civil power the beast once had. These are all to suffer the same fate. “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19:20)
TRUE CHRISTIANITY RESTORED
We learned earlier that the Bible, ecclesiastical historians, and even church leaders teach us that the original and pure Christianity was lost after the Apostles. The Bible tells of a great apostasy that had already begun during the days of the Apostles; and would result in a complete falling away. “2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. …7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. …11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2)
In Revelation, Jesus commanded the Christians to repent of all their evil works. “5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev. 2) Evidence of the great apostasy is found in the fact that God no longer spoke to them. “1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: 2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa. 59)
The Apostle John advised us that the church, gospel, Melchisedec Priesthood, and the kingdom of God would be lost for 1,260 years. “5 …power was given unto him to continue forty and two months [1260 years]. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” (Rev. 13) Satan first destroyed the Church of Christ (Rev. 12:5, 6), then the holy priesthood (Rev. 12:17), and finally all saints of God (Rev. 13:7). The gospel and Melchisedec Priesthood were gone. Man had no hope of winning the prize and coming forth in the first resurrection.
It follows that at the end of the 1,260 years the word and power of the gospel and the Church of Christ would be restored to the earth. Moses and Jesus both restored the Melchisedec Priesthood in their day. “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Rev. 14:6) Exactly 1,260 years after the first pope sat in Rome in 570 AD, Joseph Smith organized the Church of Christ according to the laws of the United States on April 6, 1830. It was latter renamed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly called Mormons.
Joseph Smith claimed to have been ordained an Apostle, Prophet, and Lawgiver the same as Moses, Jesus, and others. The pure and original priesthood and gospel, which existed under all the other Prophets of God since Adam, was restored. He established the same organization and order of the Melchisedec Priesthood as Jesus; including Apostles, Prophets, High Priests, and Elders (Eph. 4:11-13). Joseph wrote, “We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.” “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (Heb. 5:4)
On December 30, 1842, Joseph Smith commented, “If any person should ask me if I were a prophet, I should not deny it, as that would give me the lie; for, according to John, the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy; therefore, if I profess to be a witness or teacher, and have not the spirit of prophecy, which is the testimony of Jesus, I must be a false witness; but if I be a true teacher and witness, I must possess the spirit of prophecy, and that constitutes a prophet; and any man who says he is a teacher or a preacher of righteousness, and denies the spirit of prophecy, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Joseph Smith taught of the same true and living God and in Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible. “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. “Joseph Smith opposes vice and error, and supports his positions from revelation: no odds whether there be two, three, or ‘Gods many.’ The Father, and the Son are persons of Tabernacle [have a physical body]; and the Holy Ghost a spirit, besides the sons of God: for the scriptures say: ‘Ye are Gods.’” (Times and Seasons, Vol. 3, p. 926) More details of his teachings on faith and God are found on the web site www.MormonBeliefs, the page “Mormon Books,” and the section “Lectures on Faith.”
Joseph Smith taught the same gospel as Jesus and the Apostles. “We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Joseph Smith taught of the same gifts given for the latter day saints (with the visitation of angels, healings, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost) which the former day saints were given. “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.” The official History of the Church records these were present among the latter day saints. Recent events demonstrate they are still present.
Joseph Smith taught that it was necessary to not only believe in God and honor Jesus as our Savior; but, that we must live by the will and law of God. “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”
The latter day saints first assembled in Kirtland, Ohio, and then moved to the western frontier in Missouri. Their high moral conduct immediately conflicted with the type of people who pioneered that country. The country west of the Mississippi was Indian Territory. The Governor of Missouri (a member of the mobs) issued an extermination order against them. This was not for any criminal activity; but, because their moral conduct conflicted with that of the Missouri mobs. They were driven out of their homes, some were murdered, and their property and goods were stolen. They finally gathered in Nauvoo, Illinois, were they built a most respectable city. The State of Illinois granted corporations for the “City of Nauvoo,” the “Nauvoo Legion,” the “University of the City of Nauvoo,” the “Agricultural and Manufacturing Association,” and the “Nauvoo House Association.”
The mobs of Missouri followed them. They had Joseph Smith arrested on false charges; but, true or false that had to be answered in court. The Governor of Illinois placed Joseph under protective custody. Then on June 27, 1844, the state militia retreated, the mobs from Missouri moved in, and Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered.
Joseph had left four revelations from God that in the event of his impending death that he would appoint “another” in his place before his death. “4 But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead. 5 And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments; 6 And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me. 7 For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.” (Doctrine and Covenants, Section 43, Utah Edition)
The same hour that Joseph was martyred in Carthage, Illinois, James J. Strang, some 400 miles away in Burlington, Wisconsin, claimed to have been ordained under the hands of angels the same as Joseph and to the same Prophetic Office as his successor. Only one person on the earth can hold this highest office at the same time. James telling of his ordination was a prophecy that Joseph was dead.
On July 9, 1844, James received the Letter of Appointment written by Joseph Smith and delivered by regular mail (now in Yale University Library). Joseph wrote, “The wolves are upon the scent, and I am willing to be offered up, if such be the will of God, knowing that though my visage be more marred than that of any, it will be unscarred and fair when archangels shall place on my brow the double crown of martyr and king in a heavenly world.”
“The Almighty came from his throne of rest. …The sweetest strains of heavenly music thrilled in my ear, but the notes were low and sad as though they sounded the requiem of martyred Prophets. …And now behold my servant James J. Strang hath come to thee from far for truth when he knew it not, and hath not rejected it, but had faith in thee, the Shepherd and Stone of Israel, and to him shall the gathering of the people be, for he shall plant a stake of Zion in Wisconsin. …So spake the Almighty God of heaven. They duty is made plain, and if thou lackest wisdom, ask of God, in whose hands I trust thee, and he shall give thee unsparingly; for if evil befall me, thou shalt lead the flock to pleasant pastures.” James remains the only person to claim both an appointment by Joseph and an ordination in accordance with the law of God.
Through Joseph, God established Voree, near Burlington, as the gathering place for the latter day saints. James set out to inform all of the saints of his appointment and called upon all in the priesthood to take their proper place. On August 15, 1844, Brigham Young, President of the twelve lower order Apostles, announced in the official church journal that Joseph would never have a successor and that the twelve would preside over all the affairs of the church in the entire world (Times and Seasons, Vol. 5, p. 618) The twelve were not given any ruling authority by God in America; but, were ordained by revelation as third degree Apostles—Ambassadors to the nations of the world and not as Prophets (Kirtland Council Minute Book, pp. 72 – 84). The successor of a first degree Apostle and Lawgiver is not a third degree Apostle and Ambassador. “The Twelve are a Traveling Presiding High Council, to officiate in the name of the Lord, under the direction of the Presidency of the Church, agreeable to the institution of heaven; to build up the church, and regulate all the affairs of the same in all nations, first unto the Gentiles and secondly unto the Jews.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 107:33, Utah Edition)
The saints in Nauvoo had been given a revelation from God promising they would not be moved, providing they followed those whom God appointed. “And if my people will hearken unto my voice, and unto the voice of my servants whom I have appointed to lead my people, behold, verily I say unto you, they shall not be moved out of their place.” (Doctrine and Covenants, 124:45, Utah Edition)
James J. Strang spent nearly two years laboring with Brigham Young requesting him to take his proper place in the true restored church. Finally, Brigham and the Apostles who followed him were notified on January 13, 1846, to appear before a High Council (a spiritual Supreme Court) by April 1. He refused. On April 6, 1846, the High Council met to hear the case of Brigham Young and his followers. The council ruled to excommunicate them and remove all of their priesthood. That same year Brigham and his followers were driven out of Nauvoo.
While at Winter Quarters in Council Bluffs, Iowa, they held a general conference on December 25, 1847. They announced their church was in an “unorganized condition” without a Prophet. God had already called James J. Strang as Prophet and successor of Joseph by a calling of through Joseph and ordination under the hands of angels. Since God would not give them a Prophet they took it upon themselves to take a vote and elect Brigham to be their First President—contrary to the law of God. Brigham Young noted several times in his Journal of Discourses that he was not a Prophet. He was neither appointed by Joseph nor ordained to that office. “I do not profess to be a Prophet. I never called myself so; but I actually believe I am, because people are all the time telling me I am.” (Journal of Discourses, 5:177)
Brigham established doctrines, like Constantine before him, that would assure both him and his followers would violate the first three of the Ten Commandments. Brigham introduced a new god for his people to worship, like Constantine before him. He taught that Adam was the eternal heavenly Father and Eve was a wife from another planet. He taught that as man now is God once was; and as God now is man may become. He taught that God had a father, grandfather, and so on. Joseph Smith taught contrary to this in Part One of the official 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Brigham simply removed that part from his edition. I will not go into detail about his other false doctrines. Any people who worship a false God cannot be the people of God.
Brigham established himself as the absolute head of his church by a vote of man rather than by the spirit of prophecy and ordination as required by god. The fact remains that Brigham was not a Prophet, usurped the authority of God, was excommunicated by the proper authorities, and was driven from Nauvoo. No one in his church has a valid claim to the Melchisedec Priesthood.
The Brighamites continue to honor “the venerable day of the sun” established by Constantine. As the Sabbath is a sign between God and His people (Ex. 31:16, 17), they have no claim to being the people of God. There is no doubt the Brighamite church, with headquarters in Salt Lake City, does a lot of good work. The same can be said for almost every other major church.
God revealed to James J. Strang that the gathering of the people was moved to Beaver Island and the islands of northern Lake Michigan. Like the mobsters on the frontier in Missouri, the people on the mainland made every attempt to kill and drive the saints from their homes. James was a firm believer that whiskey should not be sold to the Indians; and would not allow it on Beaver Island. This was a major source of income for those in Mackinac. On June 16, 1856, with the help of the captain of the U. S. Steamer Michigan, James was mortally shot. The latter day saints were driven from their homes and their property stolen. James was taken back to Voree where he died on July 9th. He did not appoint a successor. The twelve Apostles understood they held no authority in America to stand at the head of the church. The Church of Christ dissolved even as it did after John the Revelator.
All was not lost. Every officer of the Melchisedec Priesthood holds authority to preach the gospel and administer its saving ordinances. James ordained L. D. Hickey one of the twelve Apostles. He ordained Samuel Martin a High Priest, who ordained Lloyd Flanders a High Priest, who ordained Samuel E. West an Elder. In recent years he has ordained other Elders; and a major gospel work began in Africa in April, 2005, in preparation for the return of our Savior. Within a year the gospel was accepted in Kenya, Uganda, Botswana, and Djibouti. In the first year alone there were over 600 converts and a Children’s Home for orphans and disadvantaged children. The power of the gospel remains.
You are invited to become a member of the kingdom of God. “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16) You’re invited to walk on the path of light and know the true and living God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Discover the truth about the real Jesus, “which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” (Rom. 1:3)
If you are able to understand this special invitation, you have been given the greatest opportunity ever given to man in the flesh—an opportunity to inherit the earth with the Father and the Son; and enter eternal life in the celestial glory. “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” (Job 19:25-27) “And God 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… He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” (Rev. 21:4, 7)
Repent, and be baptized in the name [authority] of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will be baptized of the Spirit, receive a gift of the Holy Ghost, and enjoy the blessings prepared for saints of God.
More Information is available from:
Samuel E. West
Elder in latter day Zion
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
(Known as Strangites)