Revelation: The Bride, the Beast & Babylon (2013) Movie Script

He only taught for 31/2 years,
Yet in one generation
What he said
transformed the world.
All the armies
that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed;
And all the kings
that ever reigned, combined,
Have not affected history
As much
as this one solitary life.
Now, two thousand years later
His followers number
in the billions
And cover the earth,
Yet the practice
of modern Christianity today
Scarcely resembles
the early teachings of Jesus
Prophecy foretold
this would happen...
circa - ad-91
prison island - Patmos
A woman, a child and a dragon.
At first glance this might sound
Like the ingredients
for a frightening fairy tale.
In fact, the troubling scenes
that you just witnessed
Are part of a true
and powerful prophecy
Given to the apostle john
nearly 2,000 years ago.
What does this prophecy,
Found in revelation 12, tell us?
Does it point to some event
That happened
thousands of years ago
Or does it describe things
That are going to take place
in the near future?
And who do the woman,
The dragon
and the child represent?
Join us now as we journey
deep into a world
That few have ever seen
but all are a part of.
Revelation: The bride,
the beast and Babylon.
Revelation: The bride,
the beast and Babylon
In the last book
of the bible, revelation,
The apostle John
was shown a vision
Of a great struggle
between good and evil,
A prophecy of a battle
That has been raging
behind the scenes
Since the dawn of time.
The secrets behind this prophecy
Have been shrouded
in mystery for centuries...
until now.
From the kingdoms and the rulers
That have fallen
around the world
To the men and women
that stood up to fight
For what they believed in,
This is the story
of Christianity,
The search for truth
And the foundation
for the faith of billions.
"Now a great sign
appeared in heaven:
"A woman clothed with the sun,
"With the moon under her feet,
"And on her head
a garland of twelve stars...
"...then being with child,
"She cried out in labor
and in pain to give birth...
"and the dragon
stood before the woman
"Who was ready to give birth,
To devour her child
as soon as it was born."
Many bible scholars
and historians
Have studied this prophecy
over the years
And agreed that the prophecy
of revelation 12
Points to an event
Known as "the massacre
of the innocents"
Which occurred
in first century Judea.
In the decades leading up
to the birth of Christ,
The roman empire
Had conquered the whole
Mediterranean world,
Including Judea.
And at various points
in that history
They had different people
ruling over it.
Twenty years before Jesus
was born you have king Herod,
A client king for Rome.
We have documents
about him outside the bible
That tell us
that he was very cruel.
He was capable
of killing his own sons.
He was ruthless
And you wouldn't want
to get on his bad side.
Herod was very anxious
When a small delegation
of wise men from the east
Came to Jerusalem
Announcing their search
for the newborn king of the Jews.
Why would Herod
be upset about that?
Because that was Herod's title
as bestowed upon him
By the roman empire:
King of the Jews.
And he asks his astrologers,
"How long is it possible
This child
could have been born ago?"
And they determine
It's probably been
maybe 2 years at most
Since this child was born,
maybe less.
He finds out from
the Pharisees and the Sadducees
Exactly where this child
was to be born
And he finds out it's Bethlehem
And he worried
about losing his throne.
And so he has such anger
against this child
He sends in the soldiers
to try and kill Jesus.
The bible tells us
this barbaric act
Was inspired by more than just
the tyrannical jealousy
Of an old king.
Many bible scholars believe
That it's part
of a much bigger struggle
That has spanned the ages
and is still happening today.
To uncover the secrets
of this prophecy
We're going to first need
to identify the main characters:
The woman, the child
and the dragon.
He says, "then I saw
another sign, a woman,
"Clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet,
And on her head a crown
of twelve stars."
Let's take a closer look
at the woman.
We know that she's a symbol
of someone or something.
Does the bible tell us
what this woman represents?
"Husbands love your wives,
"Just as Christ loved the church
And gave himself for her."
We gather from this
That the church
is the bride of Christ.
Not only
is she the bride of Christ
But in a certain sense,
since no man hates his own flesh,
The church is Jesus' body.
Very clearly a woman,
in scripture,
Represents the church.
You have a woman
as representative of god's people.
We see this
in the old testament.
We see it in the new testament.
Jesus comes
from the people of Israel
And then the church grows up
As something
that Jesus develops.
Most importantly, this woman
is about to give birth
To a special male child.
Who is the child?
We have a couple of indications:
One: He rules with a rod of iron
over the nations.
That's a reference
to the old testament
Where clearly god is the one
Ruling over the nations
with a rod of iron.
And then he says
he's caught up into heaven
And who is caught up
into heaven?
Jesus Christ, right?
He's the king of kings
and lord of lords.
So these two indications
pretty definitively tell us
That this is Jesus.
Now let's consider
the arch villain
In this important prophecy:
The dragon.
"And another sign
appeared in heaven:
Behold, a great,
fiery red dragon..."
I wish I could just give you
a fanciful theory here,
But the bible tells us
who the dragon is.
The dragon is the devil.
Both in the old testament
and the new testament
Who tries to destroy?
That is Satan,
the angel, the devil.
And so he attacks
As soon as Christ comes
upon the face of the earth;
The attack is there.
"So the great dragon
was cast out,
"That serpent of old,
called the devil and Satan.
"Who deceives the whole world;
"He was cast to the earth,
And his angels
were cast out with him."
What we see here
in the first part of revelation 12
Is a symbolic portrayal
Of the age-Old conflict
between Christ and Satan.
And we find this description
Going all the way back
to the garden of Eden
Where you have
a snake with wings.
What's a snake with wings?
It's a form of a dragon.
And we have this serpent,
this dragon,
Coming all the way down
through scriptures.
All through the life
and ministry of Christ
Satan tried to disrupt
Jesus' plans
To provide salvation
for humanity.
"But he was wounded
for our transgressions,
"He was bruised
for our iniquities;
"The chastisement
for our peace was upon him,
And by his stripes
we are healed."
At various points
they kicked him out of synagogues
And wanted
to push him off a cliff.
They tried to silence him.
They tortured him
to death publicly.
But Satan's scheme
to derail the plan of salvation
Was utterly shattered
when Jesus rose from the dead.
"And her child was caught up
to god and his throne."
With the son of god
now physically beyond his reach,
The devil directed all of his fury
at the followers of Jesus,
The new Christians.
He did much of this
Through the cruel power
of imperial Rome.
"Now when the dragon saw
"That he had been cast
to the earth,
"He persecuted the woman
Who gave birth
to the male child."
Christianity was a struggling,
small persecuted minority
That didn't have official status
in the roman empire
And there were
a series of persecutions,
Some of which were quite severe.
One of the roles of religion
in the roman empire
Was to ensure
the well-Being of the state.
The idea was if the gods
were worshiped properly
Then they would favor the empire
And if they
were worshiped improperly
Then bad things
would happen to the empire
As a result of divine wrath.
They do not want
to sacrifice to the gods
And the gods at that point
include the emperor.
So it's easy
to consider these people
Religious scapegoats.
if something's going wrong
Probably it's because
there are Christians around
Who are refusing to give the gods
their proper due.
Of course
you have to punish them
And punishment meant,
most of the time, death.
What people thought
Was that Christians
gathered together
Also seemed to make love
with their brothers and sisters.
Because there
were rumors about them
That they commit incest.
The Christians used to call
themselves "brother" and "sister"
And they used to eat
the flesh of Christ.
People heard, apparently,
That Christians
were eating children.
So when pagans heard about this
They thought the worse;
They assumed the worst.
Christians are progressively
stripped of their civil offices,
Their military offices.
Their books are confiscated.
Their churches are destroyed.
They're forbidden
to meet and so on,
All because there's an anxiety
That this is really undermining
the welfare of the empire.
As the early church suffered
Under this withering
persecution of Rome,
Their lives became a powerful
testimony for truth.
While the pagans lived
in constant superstitious fear,
These Christians
faced torture and death
With a supernatural peace.
Basically, what Nero did
was he fed them to the lions.
He had them tied to pillars,
put pitch on them,
And then he set them on fire
as human torches
So they could have the festivities
continue on into the night.
He had them stretched,
pulled into two,
Being killed by gladiators.
Just about every creative way
That you can dispose
of Christians.
When facing
the painful end of their lives
They often sang and rejoiced.
As thousands of Christians
Paid the ultimate price
for their faith,
Their dying prayers and blood
Essentially became seed
for the new church.
People are so enthralled
by how these Christians are dying
That immediately
the reaction is, "sign me up."
And so the Christians
spread like wildfire.
The more you killed them
The more they stood
for their faith.
It is true and I think
it has to be emphasized,
That the early church spreads
Despite the very concerted
attempts at repression
Of extremely autocratic
and powerful emperors
Who set themselves very firmly
against the Christians
And yet the early church survives.
Tertullian argues,
whenever something goes wrong,
Whenever there's a famine,
or whenever there an illness,
A pestilence
that sweeps through,
Everybody says,
"the Christians to the lion,"
And then he says snidely,
"As if so many
could be fed to so few."
And his point
is that you can't destroy us all.
During this time
of exponential growth,
Christians all across
the roman empire
Quite literally
went underground.
This labyrinth
of tunnels and chambers
Beneath the roman cities
Became known
as "the catacombs."
Now, the catacombs
are important to understand.
First, many people imagine
That there are caves
naturally under Rome
And the Christians
simply went into them.
The catacombs,
almost without exception,
Are not natural caves.
They were excavated
by the Christians.
And so the Christians made
a whole labyrinth underground.
Sometimes services
would be held there
In the very tombs
of the martyrs.
The second point is the very act
of burying your dead
Is hugely significant.
Christians believe
in a resurrection of the body.
Of course, that belief
has shifted and changed
Over the centuries,
but from all we understand,
Early Christians believed
that they would be resurrected
In that actual
bodily form, and therefore,
They chose to bury their dead,
not to cremate them.
Therefore, if you are seen
to be burying your dead,
Especially at times
When there are intense
waves of persecution,
You're more or less
saying to the police,
"Come and investigate me.
I may well be a Christian."
In ad 306, a new roman emperor
came into power
And things
began to rapidly change.
Constantine the great
was a capable military leader
And a shrewd politician.
So Constantine had to fight
a series of civil wars
In order to achieve
His political aim
of becoming emperor
And that's his own
personal and political aim
That's got nothing
to do with Christianity.
He goes down from Gaul-
Modern day France-
Where his power base was,
To confront
his rival Maxentius, in Italy.
Constantine moves down
from the north -
And you think of Italy,
there's this long stretch -
And he wins one battle
after another.
As he was marching with his army
He had a dream one night
where god came to him
And told him
"you will become a Christian
And put this sign on your shield
and you will conquer."
Shortly after that
he actually had a vision,
Which history tells us
was seen by his army
As well as
by Constantine, himself.
He looked up to the sun
and he saw a cross of light above it
And the Greek works
"en toutu nika": By this, conquer.
The story
that he had had this dream
Does appear
at a relatively early stage.
It's described by Eusebius.
There are different sources.
There are different versions,
But it does seem
that Constantine does say,
"I've had this divine encounter
"And an angel has told me
That in the sign of the cross
I will conquer."
Constantine commanded his troops
To adorn their shields
with the Christian symbol.
His opponent then
moves out of the city
To face the oncoming
Constantine with his army,
Which has now
been trained quite a bit
Because they've already won
several victories
On the way down from the north,
From Milan down.
His opponent moves across
the river at the Milvian bridge,
Has Constantine
and his army in front of him,
The river
and the city behind him;
Not a great situation to be in.
If you do not beat
the oncoming army,
You have nowhere to retreat.
So he loses.
So for Constantine, who is
certainly not yet a Christian,
This is a powerful thing
because he himself believes
"The Christian god
has given me victory."
The Christian god
Is more powerful
than these other deities.
It is clear that Constantine
made the symbol of Christianity
Part of the imperial standards
And that he fought
under that symbol and he won.
Being a good roman emperor,
he would then think,
"Yeah, I got the sign.
I'm on the right path."
So if you're a pagan
Or just somebody
who's confused about religion,
You've had here
this clash of deities
And who's emerged on top?
The Christian god.
You can draw
your own conclusions.
the national sentiment
Against Christianity
began reversing.
During Constantine's reign,
Christians went
from being a persecuted sect
To openly holding
positions of influence
In the courts and palaces
of kings and governors.
So a large part of the elites,
used to running the show,
Automatically then become
also the local bishops, etc.
You know, become Christian.
It wasn't such a big leap
because most of them,
Anyway, believed
in one supreme divine being
Which had
different representations.
If you want
to advance in the army
Or in the imperial civil service,
There's every incentive
to become a Christian
Because all the people
at the top are Christians.
So, if you want
to advance in the hierarchy,
Whether it's military,
civil service, or just at court,
People become Christians.
It becomes very attractive
Because Constantine's edict
of toleration makes it so.
"Constantine can rightfully
claim the title of great,
"For he turned
the history of the world
"Into a new course
and made Christianity,
"Which until then had suffered
bloody persecution,
The religion of the state."
And so as people
from around the roman empire
Entered the Christian church,
They brought with them
Many of their former
pagan beliefs and practices.
Now that Christianity
has been given the status
As a full legal religion,
then it becomes attractive
in the next generations,
For a broad number
of members of this upper elite.
Now the percentage of Christians
in this top 10%, 15%, 25%
Increases and it increases
dramatically in the top 1 % -2%.
That's the real change.
That is when Christianity
Really becomes
the Christianity that it is today,
Because now the people
who have been running the show,
They are now Christian.
Over time, church leaders
began to embrace
The regal robes
and flamboyant ceremony
That was part
of the pagan religions
And in place
of the simple commands of god,
They began to teach superstitions
and man-Made traditions.
Now, instead
of the Christian church
Converting the heathen world,
The pagans
were converting the church.
There is a train coming out
of the first century,
Represented by the documents
we have in the new testament
That demonstrate,
the shape of the church there,
Going into this long dark tunnel
Of this 2nd
through 4th centuries
And then coming out
in the 4th century,
Of this long, dark tunnel,
And the train
of the church that comes out
Is so different than the train
of the church that goes in
That you say,
"what happened?"
In - ad-391, by the order
of emperor Theodosius the first,
Christianity became
the official state religion of Rome.
Worship at pagan temples
was outlawed
And all other
religious practices ceased.
You're trying to
Christianize an empire.
You're trying
to Christianize a pagan culture.
The old basilicas
were basically pagan temples.
Put a cross over it.
Put in paintings
of biblical scenes,
Biblical heroes
and saints and martyrs.
Christians are very
purposeful and intentional
About taking over pagan temples
And there's
a notable church leader
Who actually writes this
in a treatise that survives.
He writes a rebuttal
of pagan attacks on Christianity
And part
of his evidence is he says,
"Your very own places of worship
"Are now Christian
places of worship.
"We have taken them over.
"We have cleansed out
the idolatry.
"We have sanctified them
and we have made them places
"Where the one
true god is worshiped.
"What clearer evidence
could you wish
"That your whole system
of belief is false?
"Where are your gods
if they're allowing this to happen?"
So Christians, actually,
Deliberately at times
and purposefully, as a strategy,
Take pagan, not only places
but rituals or ideas
And, as they think, subvert them
To advance the cause
of spreading Christianity.
What we don't know
Is the extent to which
they think this through
And say, "at what point
is it legitimate to do this
And at what point
Do we perhaps begin
to be taking on other ideas?"
The speed
with which the early church
Tobogganed into apostasy
will take your breath away.
As millions of pagans
hastily joined the church,
They were naturally reluctant
To dispose
of their idol treasures.
The Romans and the Greeks
Were so used to being surrounded
by symbols of their deities,
They began doing
the same thing with Christianity.
So many of these new converts
Just relabeled their idols
with Christian names
Like Paul, Mary and peter.
A statue of Jupiter
became a statue of peter.
And we know that
Because it has a sun disc
right over its head
That indicates
that this is not peter
But it's a pagan statue
that's been renamed.
Instead of Romulus and Remus,
"Hey, why not the martyrs,
The great martyrs
cosmos and Damian, right?"
The representations of Isis,
Which is originally
an Egyptian goddess
But has become very Greek
already becomes, essentially,
The representation
of Mary carrying her child.
You have
a mother and child tradition
All the way down
through history.
You have it in Mithraism,
you have it in Babylon,
You have it
all the way back in Persia.
It appears that Mary acquired
some of the characteristics
That were associated with
some of these other goddesses.
She wears a dark blue coat
and she stands on the half moon.
She is the mother of all gods,
Isis carrying her son Horus,
That is the image
that gets a new name
And now the name
is Mary carrying the child Jesus.
Or a depiction
of the god Hermes,
He is shown as Christ
the good shepherd.
is the iconographic model
For a lot
of the depictions of Jesus, yes.
A young vibrant god
with curly hair
Down to about here
and a little beard.
Soon the statues
of the saints and even Jesus
Began adorning the churches.
Even though god
clearly forbids this practice
In the ten commandments,
People continue to revere
And to pray
to these relabeled idols.
"Thou shalt not make
unto thee any graven image
"Or any likeness of anything
that is in heaven above
"Or that is in the earth beneath
"Or that is in the water
under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself
to them, nor serve them."
Related to the last point
Is the veneration of Mary
the mother of Jesus.
While it is true Mary
was a faithful woman
And greatly honored
to be his mother,
The scriptures teach nowhere
That she is to be deified
or worshiped.
Mary had always been important
in ancient Christian history,
But over the middle ages
She becomes elevated almost
to a-looking at it detachedly-
Almost to the rank
of a semi-Deity.
The virgin Mary
was believed to be the one
Who would speak up
for guilty human beings
To her supremely
virtuous and judgmental
And rather Censorius son.
Very strange image,
But that's how the religious art
of the period shows it.
The bible does not venerate Mary
as a special saint.
It lifts her up as a pure,
wonderful woman
Used by god
to give birth to the messiah.
at the council of Nicea in 325,
The church elevated Mary
to the stature of a goddess
And co-Mediator with Christ.
Even as early
as the late 4th century,
Churches were being dedicated
to the virgin Mary.
But sadly, these were not
the only errors
That slipped in
during this time.
During the apostolic age,
baptism was a sacred ceremony
Reserved only
for those old enough
To make
a rational decision for Christ.
It was a public testimony
Of accepting Christ
and his forgiveness.
Baptism literally
represents being dead
And buried to our old life
And being resurrected,
or born again,
To a new life in Christ.
It comes to be,
in the course of the centuries,
Seen more as a right
of initiation into Christianity
And so it begins happening
at earlier stages of life,
When you're sort of
in late childhood
Or early adolescence
and deemed ready,
To make that commitment
to your faith.
The baptism ceremony was also
performed in a lake or a river
Where a person
could be fully submerged,
Signifying they were
fully washed from their sins.
The practice of baptism
Was gradually altered
by the church.
Hundreds of years after Christ,
Sprinkling and pouring
were introduced
As a more convenient
mode of baptism.
This actually undermined
The powerful symbolism
of the service
And it contradicts
the example of Jesus,
Who was baptized by immersion.
That continues to be the case
Up until about
the 12th century, actually,
the 12th century is a time
When theologians are really
re-Examining Christian doctrine
And they come to conclude
that original sin,
The sin that all of humanity
has as a result of the fall
In the garden of Eden,
Exists in the soul
from the moment of birth.
There was
this unbiblical concept
That a child
could sin right away
And so, therefore, if he sinned,
He was in danger
of going to hell
And burning forever in hell.
The only way to take care of him
Was to baptize him
And he had to be baptized
into the church.
If you weren't
a member of the church,
It was tickets for you.
So theologians say,
"you know what?
"We need to start baptizing
babies immediately.
"As soon as possible
after they're born
So that in case they die-"
Of course, this is a period
When infant mortality is high
and a lot of babies do die-
"They can get into heaven."
Another Christian truth
That was altered
by pagan influence
Was the lord's supper.
Jesus instituted
the communion service,
Also know by some
as the Eucharist,
To be a beautiful,
yet simple ceremony
Where his followers
would drink unfermented wine
And eat unleavened bread.
These symbols
of Jesus' sinless body and blood
Are designed to help believers
Remember the sacrifice
and the teachings of Christ.
By far, the most important rite
for late medieval Christians
Was the Eucharist or communion,
Or as they most commonly
called it, the mass.
Men and women all come together
And take the sacrament.
They celebrate what we
would call communion,
Taking the body and blood
of Jesus Christ.
But again, under the influence
of heathen rituals,
The holy communion service
Was gradually changed
by church leaders
Into a mystical ceremony.
In this new ritual, fermented
wine was used and the priest,
had the power to transform
The bread and the wine
Into the actual body
and blood of Christ.
This is transubstantiation,
The notion that a priest
transforms the Eucharist
Into the body
and blood of Christ
Through the pronunciation
of the formula
"Hoc est enim corpus meum":
"this is my body."
They were powerful words
Believed to have the property
that when they were uttered
God transformed the nature
of the bread and the wine
Into the body and blood
of a risen Jesus Christ.
Even to the point
where later on they say,
"We are creating god"
By speaking the words
of mystagogia.
what happened on the altar
Was that bread became body,
wine became blood,
But they just still
looked like bread and wine.
This offering
of the sacrifice in the Eucharist,
This sacrifice of praise,
this communal meal
Now becomes not
a remembrance of the sacrifice
But a sacrifice in and of itself
and is giving salvation.
They believed
and they taught that in the mass
Jesus Christ,
in the person of the priest,
Sacrifices Christ
to god the father
And, thereby wins good,
wins quantum of holiness,
Which the church can then assign
To the beneficiaries
of that mass.
Because people believe
that by celebrating a mass
You were doing something good
which was offered up to god,
There was
a theological rationale
For doing it lots
and lots of times.
By 1415- ad-,
At the council of Constance,
Church leaders further decreed
That only the priests
could drink the wine
And the laity
would only receive the bread;
Yet the bible clearly says
That when Jesus established
the communion service
They all drank from it.
About 300 years after Christ
the church began to deviate
From another
of the ten commandments;
the fourth commandment
That requires believers
To remember the 7th day
as the Sabbath.
"Remember the Sabbath day,
to keep it holy.
"Six days you shall labor
and do all your work
"But the seventh day
Is the Sabbath
of the lord your god."
In the roman empire
Jews are an old religion
And old religions are respected.
When the Jews
kept fighting against Rome
What had been an umbrella
of safety under Judaism
Becomes a lightning rod
to Christianity
The Christians
become alienated from the Jews
Jews persecuted them
And so they tried to distance
themselves from the Jews.
Church leaders began to devalue
The seventh-Day Sabbath
of the ten commandments
In preference for the more
popular roman Sunday.
Some Christians
mistakenly thought
That you should fast
on the Sabbath
But you could feast on Sunday.
That's what the pagans did,
They feasted on Sunday,
fasted on Saturday.
Not a Jewish concept,
The Jews fasted Friday
and feasted Sabbath,
But that's how
some Christians thought of it.
So if you're fasting on one day
and you're feasting on the next,
You can guess which day
becomes the more popular day.
And Christ
is resurrected on a Sunday
There's a very natural
tendency, therefore,
To mark that and celebrate that.
There's a third reason
And that is
the influence of sun worship
That creeps into the church
And when sun worship begins
to creep into the church,
Constantine can make use of that
To lead
to the exaltation of Sunday,
The day of the sun,
As being the day
that people should worship on.
This gradual departure
From god's law
over the centuries
Has become so widely accepted
That most are shocked
to learn that Sunday keeping
Has no foundation in the bible.
In - ad-313 Constantine
published the edict of Milan,
Establishing Sunday
as a day of rest.
The emperor's Sunday law
Had nothing to do
with Christianity,
It was actually to honor
the main Greco-roman sun god
Called Helios, or Apollo.
The emperor Constantine
became a convert to Christianity
And also, because he remained
partial to the sun god,
The emperor Constantine
Moved the day of worship
from Saturday the Sabbath,
As had been traditional
in Judaism, obviously,
To Sunday,
the day of the sun god.
And ever since Christian folks,
at least for the most part,
Overwhelmingly have held
their day of worship on Sunday
Rather than Saturday.
This is clear from another
edict of Constantine,
Given in - ad-321,
when the emperor ordered:
"On the venerable day of the sun
"Let the magistrates and people
residing in cities rest,
And let all workshops
be closed."
Notice, the edict
uses the word "sun," s-U-N.
It's also recorded
that Constantine the great
Made a law for the whole empire
That Sunday should be kept
as a day of rest.
Obviously, this change did not
infiltrate the church overnight.
History tells us that for decades
the seventh-Day Sabbath,
Together with Sunday,
were both observed as holy days.
The very, very early church
Clearly is still worshiping
on the Jewish Saturday
In the times of the apostles,
But by the mid
to late 3rd century,
That has largely been abandoned
Or is in the process
of being abandoned.
By the early fourth century,
in many parts of the roman world,
Christians are generally
worshiping on Sunday.
A lot of Christians,
during this period of time,
Would observe the Sabbath
And then on Sunday
they would have a service
Remembering the resurrection
And then they'd go
about their regular work.
It's during
the time of Constantine
In which the idea of transferring
the solemnity of the Sabbath
To Sunday is first expressed.
Centuries earlier
the prophet Daniel
Had foretold
a religious power would arise
That would think
to change times and laws.
Within the ten commandments
there's only one law
That is also a time: The Sabbath.
The doctrine of hellfire
Was also distorted
by pagan mythology.
In the book of revelation
The bible teaches that following
the great judgment day
The lost will be cast
into a lake of fire.
At that time,
each person is punished
According to what they deserve
And then they're totally consumed
and eternally perish.
"And do not fear those
who kill the body
"But cannot kill the soul,
"But rather fear him
who is able to destroy
Both soul and body in hell."
"For the living know
that they will die,
But the dead know nothing."
The priests
began to teach that hell
Was a place of eternal torment
ruled by the devil
And it began
at the moment of death.
The fallen church
was able to use
This frightful concept
of never-Ending torture
To terrorize and manipulate
both the king and the commoner.
Most tragic of all,
this false teaching
Portrays Jesus as some sort
of sadistic fiend.
It's encouraged
some atheists and agnostics
To challenge Christianity
And Christianity's idea
of a loving god
If he does something
That is worse
than even what Hitler did.
No matter
what somebody has done,
Is billions of years of torture,
Fitting the crime?
So there have been people
who have hated god
And have learned to hate god
because of this.
Another pagan concept
that infiltrated Christian thinking
Was regarding the afterlife.
Purgatory is the idea
that teaches that at death
Some people will enter
a temporary hellfire
Where they're purified
for heaven.
Purgatory's a halfway house,
Halfway, kind of,
between heaven and hell.
And the thing with purgatory
is you can escape from it.
As the mass says,
"consigned to flames of woe,"
It's filled with vermin,
it's filled with sulphuric smells,
It may be quite a bit
better than hell,
But it's no picnic either.
The church develops gradually
And, again, it grows
on the church by slow degrees,
The idea that anyone who dies
With their works
of satisfaction incomplete
Will probably
have to pay them off
In some place
of post-mortem suffering.
They are suffering
in order to be purified,
Purged from their sins
and offenses
Which they've committed in life.
Medieval people believed
Almost everyone
will be saved and redeemed,
Who is a baptized
member of the church.
But almost everyone will also
have to make satisfaction
For the sins
that they've committed
And that they haven't confessed
By spending some
time in purgatory.
So the real task then
Is to reduce
the time in purgatory.
Many people misunderstand
purgatory and hell.
There's an idea you can
get out of hell; You can't.
If you go to hell that's it.
There's no release.
You're very, very wicked
and you're just doomed.
But most people,
We have a lot
of bad things in us
So how can we
be made good for heaven?
We have to have it
purged out of us
And thus
you get the word 'purgatory'.
most Christians believe
That their relatives
are suffering in purgatory
And purgatory
is not a nice place.
You're there
for thousands of years.
The idea of purgatory
Dates back
centuries before Jesus' time.
Writings from Plato,
as early as 400 BC,
Help shed light
on where this concept
Of purification
and punishment came from.
However, purgatory
didn't become regarded
As an actual place
until centuries later.
Between 1160 and 1180-Ad-,
Theologians developed
the doctrine of purgatory
Le-ad-ing to the formal
acceptance of it
At the second council
of Lyons in 1274.
The church then offers
to support the dead in purgatory
By its prayers
and by attributing to people
The benefits of the sacraments,
especially the communion.
This is all perfectly orthodox.
The church believed
that this is doing good
And laypeople
seemed to be willing
To put large amounts
of money into it
And you have
An extraordinary
proliferation of institutions
Founded principally for priests
To say masses for the souls
of the departed,
in the 14th and 15th centuries.
This doctrine was fabricated
To manipulate the masses
for financial gain.
People were willing to pay
huge amounts of money
To release a loved one
From the tortures of purgatory.
Of course, believers
could never really be sure
When someone left purgatory,
So the money kept flowing
Into the pockets
of corrupt priests.
The head of the church
Would have people
going out to raise money
And encourage people
to give their money to the church,
Buy people out of purgatory,
So they could fund
these elaborate buildings.
This belief in purgatory
Is also built
on the dangerous concept
That the works
and the prayers of the living
Can somehow alter
the destiny of the dead,
Yet Jesus made it very clear
there is no limbo or purgatory.
After death, a person's
next conscious thought
Was the resurrection
and their eternal reward.
"Do not marvel at this;
For the hour is coming
"In which all
who are in the graves
"Will hear his voice
and come forth;
"Those who have done good,
to the resurrection of life,
"And those who have done evil
To the resurrection
of condemnation."
Central in the gospel message
Is the teaching
of how we obtain forgiveness.
This was another
major bible truth
That suffered
during this age of compromise.
It was taught that if a person
wished to be forgiven,
He or she must first confess
their sins through a priest,
Through a rite called
the sacrament of penance,
More commonly known
as "confession."
So in order to make up
for our insufficient goodness
And our actual wrong actions,
We must all-
Laypeople as well as clergy-
We must all confess our sins
at least once a year,
And preferably more often
than that, to a priest.
This was a negative development
on several counts.
First of all, it's taught
nowhere in the bible.
Secondly, it puts a mortal man
in the place of Christ
And it made god seem detached
from the average person.
Of course, at the time,
it also placed the priest
In an awkward position
To hear about
all the wicked deeds
Of his parishioners.
When one goes to a priest
in the middle ages,
There are really three things
that are accomplished
Through confessing one's sin.
First of all,
you make the confession,
The priest grants
the words of assurance
That the sin
is absolved-It's gone-
But a person,
because they have violated
The laws of the church
and the teachings of Christ,
Has to perform
a work of satisfaction
In order to make up
For the fact
that they have sinned.
The bible teaches that mankind
is helpless to save himself.
This is why Jesus
came to this world.
The scriptures teach
that salvation depends entirely
Upon our trust in god
for mercy and grace,
That we don't deserve it;
It's a magnificent gift
That can never be earned
by our efforts or good works.
Even obedience
comes through a gift of grace.
The new testament doctrine
of salvation by faith
Is widely taught
and understood today,
But during the darkness
of the middle ages
It was easier to convince
the illiterate masses
That they needed
to perform good deeds
In order to earn god's favor.
The people were taught
that if a sinner
Was to have any hope
of appeasing god,
He or she would need to pay
huge sums of money,
Perform painful acts of penance,
Or make some weary pilgrimage.
This would often include
An assignment to recite
certain prayers over and over
As a requirement
to obtain forgiveness.
Forty "hail Marys"
and ten "our fathers"
And putting a coin
in the collection box.
In the heathen religions
of the world
The idea
of repetitive prayers or chants
Was nothing new.
It was believed that you could
appease or influence the gods
By constant echoing of prayers
Or by using
special magical words.
Jesus clearly warned
against this form of prayer.
"And when you pray,
"Do not use vain repetitions
as the heathen do.
"For they think
That they will be heard
for their many words."
Corrupt church leaders knew,
In order to maintain any
lasting power over god's people,
They would need to separate them
From the one thing
That they knew
could expose these deceptions:
The holy scriptures.
The bible was not initially
withheld from the people,
It was accessible.
But, in time,
when people saw differences,
They challenged the clergy.
And so it was
in their interest, over time,
Not to make available
the bible to the people.
Only the priests
can interpret scripture
Because they combined
scripture with tradition
And so tradition
interpreted scripture
And the only ones
Who understood this long
tradition were the priests
And they could read
the scriptures
Many of the common people
couldn't even read the scriptures
And they wanted to make sure
that they interpreted scripture
In a way that would
harmonize with tradition.
So from the 5th century
to the 15th century,
1,000 years of history,
It was taught and accepted
that only religious leaders
Were qualified enough
to explain the sacred texts.
The common man was told
He could never hope
to understand the scriptures
the assistance of a priest.
With this lethal deception,
The church laity
was kept in darkness.
Meanwhile, the visible church,
Once a biblical
bastion of truth,
Had degraded into a corrupt
political organization
with spiritualistic ceremonies.
It's no wonder
that this time period
Of cultural, economic
and spiritual deterioration
Is known as "the dark ages."
It's tragic how,
in just a few short centuries,
The wonderful light
that had been blazing
From the luminous
bride of Christ
Had been eclipsed
by pagan traditions.
Now a very different
kind of woman
Emerged to take her place.
"And I saw a woman
sitting on a scarlet beast,
"Which was full
of names of blasphemy,
"Having seven heads
and ten horns.
"The woman was arrayed
in purple and scarlet
"And adorned with gold
and precious stones and pearls,
"Having in her hand a golden cup
full of abominations
"And the filthiness
of her fornication.
"And on her forehead
a name was written,
"'Mystery, Babylon the great,
the mother of harlots
"And the abominations
of the earth.'
"I saw the woman drunk
with the blood of the saints
"And with the blood
of the martyrs of Jesus.
And when I saw her I marveled
with great amazement."
In revelation chapter 17,
John sees a woman
Who he describes
as strikingly different
From the pure woman
of revelation 12.
Who is this new
bloodthirsty harlot
And what about
the bizarre beast that she's riding?
If you're not sitting down,
this might be the time to do so.
You may find what you're about
to hear a bit shocking.
There's only one empire,
one church,
One institution that matches
the criteria in this prophecy:
The roman catholic church.
This does not mean that
all the people within this faith
Are bad, insincere, or lost.
The catholic people
are among the most kind
And have accomplished
a phenomenal amount of good
Throughout history.
This is really
about a bigger struggle
Between spiritual powers
and institutions
Battling over the truth
of scripture.
But now we need
to pull back the veil
And really
take a hard look at the facts.
In revelation 17:1,
We observe this harlot woman
sits on "many waters."
Fortunately the angel explains
The meaning of this symbol
for us in verse 15.
"Then he said to me,
"'The waters which you saw,
where the harlot sits,
Are peoples, multitudes,
nations, and tongues."'
So the woman reigns
Over a densely
populated civilization.
You've probably
heard the expression
"All roads lead to Rome."
During the zenith of their rule,
The Romans had built a network
with 50,000 miles of roads
Circulating throughout
the entire empire.
Just as imperial Rome
began to unravel,
The church in Rome
was gaining in strength.
In effect the catholic church
Kind of rushes in
to fill the power vacuum
That is left
by the fall of the roman empire.
And you get into situations
where, for example,
In the middle of the 5th century,
when Attila the Hun
Is advancing
on the city of Rome with his army,
The emperor is not the one
who goes out to stop him,
The pope is, the bishop of Rome.
This kind of prominence,
Political prominence
as well as religious prominence,
Comes to really define
the pope's role.
The prophecy also indicates
That the woman is riding a beast
with seven heads and ten horns.
these things are symbols.
This creature here clearly
represents the same monster
With seven heads
and ten horns that we just saw
Warring with the bride
of Christ in chapter 12
And it's the same beast
That the world is compelled
to worship in chapter 13.
So what do these seven heads
and ten horns represent?
"The seven heads
are seven mountains
On which the woman sits."
"The ten horns
which you saw are ten kings..."
There is only
one city in the world
That sits
on seven hills like this,
One major city,
and that's the city of Rome.
So there is no doubt
in most expositor's minds
That when John
is talking about this woman,
He is talking about Rome.
So you see the connection here,
seven heads, seven mountains.
You go in revelation 12:
Seven heads.
Revelation 13
deals with seven heads.
There is a continuity here.
"It is within the city of Rome,
called the city of seven hills,
"That the entire area
of Vatican state proper
Is now confined."
There is only one church
That is also
an independent country
And has political
world power: The Vatican.
This country, with the world's
smallest population,
Was established
as an independent state
With 109 acres within Rome.
Behind the walls of Vatican city
There are less than 1,000 people
Living within this small country
that is governed by the pope
Who has absolute executive,
legislative, and judicial powers.
from around the world
Meet with the pope
and his representatives
Seeking the influence
and guidance
Of this international
religious power.
Even the united nations
Will assemble
to be addressed by the pope.
When the western
roman empire fell,
Their territory fragmented
into ten primary divisions.
The ten horns represent
the ten kings or kingdoms
Into which imperial Rome
was eventually split.
The ten horns
are a description of Rome
Which breaks up
into ten smaller kingdoms.
Throughout history
Catholicism has been
dominating many kingdoms.
So you have the church
riding on a political power.
You see, because the woman
rides the beast
And so for many centuries
she was in control.
You have a union
of church and state.
The names of blasphemy
Is another key element
to this prophecy
That points directly
at the roman catholic church.
"We hold upon this earth
the place of god almighty."
This puts a mortal man
in the position of god
And is ultimately
the very definition of blasphemy.
This is not meant
to question the sincerity
Of any specific pope,
But the prophecy is addressing
the office that he holds
And the institution
he represents.
The woman is also clothed
in unique colors.
She has specific colors
that are mentioned here,
Not the color of white anymore,
But now we have colors
that represent,
Strangely enough, two things:
Royalty and prostitution.
And specific colors
that we happen to see
Coming out in the historic
Christian church later on
In the colors of the priests
Of the historic
Christian church.
Not only
were these the principle colors
Of the roman Caesars,
But according
to the catholic encyclopedia,
Purple is the official
color of bishops
And scarlet for cardinals.
In addition to the scarlet
and the purple,
We see that this harlot,
or corrupt church,
Possesses vast mineral riches.
When one considers its countless
artistic treasures of gold,
Silver and pearls,
the roman catholic church
Is by far the wealthiest
religious institution on earth.
Every year tourists
come from around the world
To view the glittering opulence
of the roman church.
Another disturbing mark
of this woman
Is found in verse 6.
"I saw the woman drunk
with the blood of the saints
And with the blood
of the martyrs of Jesus."
History reveals
that the roman church
Was the worst oppressor
of Christians and Jews
Over the centuries.
In fact, historians tell us
over 50 million martyrs
Fell victim to the terrible
inquisitions and persecutions
Of the church of Rome.
So what we have here
Is a prophecy
saying that the church
Would engage
in incredible persecution
And that's exactly
what took place.
And the church started
a legal process, a legal system,
Known as 'inquisition'
to interrogate these people,
To force as many
as possible to recant
And to retract their ideas
And to grab hold
of the leaders of the movement
And to stop them
spreading any further.
The highest number
of deaths ever recorded
Occurred when the church
Persecuted those
who disagreed with them
And that level of repression
through the middle ages.
So this woman, or church,
is a persecuting power
That oppresses
Christ's true followers.
We'll be looking
at several brave souls
That risked their lives
To speak up against
the corrosive pagan influences
And to share god's word
During this time
of spiritual darkness.
"The people
who walked in darkness
"Have seen a great light:
"Those who dwelt in the land
of the shadow of death,
Upon them
a light has shined."
Living in Lyons, France,
there was one young man
Who would alter
the course of Christian history.
Peter Waldo,
also known as Valdes,
A very wealthy
and educated young merchant
Had a life-Changing experience.
A young friend
of Waldo's died suddenly.
Realizing the brevity of life
And the vanity
of worldly treasure,
Waldo made a firm decision
to forsake all for Christ.
He gave his wealth to the poor
And became
an itinerant preacher.
Waldo taught that the bible
should be understood literally
And freely
proclaimed to the people
In their own language.
He encouraged believers
To live lives
of simplicity and poverty
And at the same time,
He boldly denounced
the excesses of the priests.
By - ad-1170 peter Waldo
Had gathered
a large number of followers
Who were referred to
As 'the poor of Lyons'
or Waldensians.
Peter Waldo,
by conventional scholarship,
Is the founder of the Waldenses,
A group
of bible-Believing individuals
Living in France and Italy.
He was a catholic layman
who became inspired
By the preaching
regarding the early church
And he started a group
of traveling preachers
Who would teach the gospel.
He spoke against
transubstantiation and the mass,
Although there are some
Waldenses who seem to go to mass
And then
do their own worships as well.
Once officially-Trained
inquisitors are out in Europe,
They start finding people whom
they start calling 'Waldenses'
Or followers of Valdes
all over the place.
So sprinkled across Europe
You get these little cells
of communities of people
Where laypeople are mostly,
Let's be honest, they're mostly
going to catholic churches
Most of the year.
But once or twice a year,
maybe every year or 2,
They will have a traveling team
of Waldensian pastors
Who will arrive
and talk to them.
Everywhere he went
Peter Waldo saw people
hungering for truth.
He believed that there was
a famine in the land
For the word of god,
so Waldo paid a cleric
To assist him
in translating the new testament
Into the Franco vernacular.
The story is that Valdes
commissioned two learned,
Religious people in Lyons
To prepare a translation
of part of the bible
And some sayings of the fathers
Into the vernacular language.
Something between
French and Provencal-
It's really
kind of hard to describe-
But it seems
to have established a tradition
That the Waldensian communities
Would try to acquire
copies of scripture
In the common language
of the people.
And they would carry
scriptures around with them.
They would act
as merchants and traders,
Share the scriptures
with the people where they went.
There's even references to them
sending their young people
To the great universities
and colleges of the land
So they could share
their faith there
And also gain an understanding
of contemporary theology
And use it to reach out
to the larger community.
But the roman church
could not long tolerate
This free preaching
of the gospel by peasants.
During the third
Lateran council in 1179,
Waldo's ideas were officially
condemned as heresy
And soon after,
He and his followers
were excommunicated.
Driven away from Lyons,
the Waldensians settled
In the high valleys of Piedmont
and the French alps.
Here, among their families,
the bible was made the chief study.
The gospels of Matthew and John
were committed to memory,
Along with many of the epistles.
With no printing press,
The Waldensians
were frequently employed
In hand-Copying the scriptures.
Known for their strict
adherence to the bible,
These lay preachers
spread their teachings abroad
While traveling as peddlers.
To avoid arrest,
They'd sometimes sew
hand-Copied passages of the bible
Into the lining
of their garments
And then they'd
carefully share them
When they detected
an open heart.
Even following the death
of peter Waldo in 1218,
The roman church
Continued to fiercely
persecute the Waldensians.
For centuries, many were tried
and sentenced to death
In various European countries.
The holy spirit stirred
upon many within the church
Who courageously stood up
and called for reform.
One such man was John Wycliff,
An English theologian
and lay preacher,
and teacher at oxford.
His education proved
to be a great asset to him
As he began to address
the cancerous errors
That were spreading
among god's people.
Wycliff never wanted
to set himself up
Against the church's leaders,
But as he saw
the glaring contradictions
Between what the bible said
and what the church was doing,
He could not keep silent.
Well, Wycliff is really
a rather unusual person
To have become a heretic
because he was an oxford don,
He was very much
Brought up within the power
structure of the church
And, yet, he was distressed
by what he saw around him.
As he saw Rome
Substituting tradition
for the holy scripture,
He accused the priesthood
Of withholding the bread of life
From the spiritually
starving people.
He believed that the bible
was a supreme authority
And he commissioned
the translation of the bible.
He had some followers
called Lollards
That went around distributing
scripture and preaching.
They did believe
in bible reading.
They did read Wycliff's bible
And they did believe
in the same kind of simpler piety
That the Waldensians
and others had advocated
As early as the 12th century.
This was the greatest gift
He could give the common people.
No document has altered
the course of history
More than the English
translation of the bible.
He brought forward
some of the truths
That Protestantism
would later bring forward
And as I just suggested,
His teachings, even though
it's centuries before,
Is preparing the way
for many people in England
To accept the reformation
when it comes.
Wycliff had the audacity
To declare that the universal
authority of the pope
Was unbiblical.
It was under these conditions
that on may 22, 1377
Pope Gregory the 11 Th
Condemned the writings
of John Wycliff
Stating that his teachings
Were dangerous
to the church and the state.
Wycliff continued to teach
salvation through Christ alone
And that the scriptures
were infallible
Rather than the roman church.
Over time, his writings
and work of reform
Spread out like seismic waves
Influencing millions
of god's people.
They can be read anywhere
where there are schoolmen,
Where there are scholastic
theologians who can pick them up.
They do travel
and they travel to Bohemia
And they inspire
John Huss as well.
And Huss shares the attack
on transubstantiation,
On clerical power
and on, as with Wycliff,
On the wealth of the church.
Huss was only a young boy
when Wycliff passed away,
But Wycliff's works
had a powerful influence
On his life
and his future mission.
John Huss
was a bohemian preacher,
Also a university professor
And also
king's chaplain for awhile.
He's entrusted, eventually
with the office of preaching
At a little chapel
that has just been founded,
The Bethlehem chapel.
Like Wycliff, John Huss
preached the scriptures
In the language of the people
A practice that the church
had now forbidden
In favor
of the lost language of Latin.
He did preach
in the vernacular language
And the bohemians had had
scripture in their language
Despite church councils.
And it's from that
That he comes into contact
with the teachings of Wycliff
And he especially is drawn to
the attack on transubstantiation,
On the attack on the wealth
and influence of the church.
Walking through town one day,
Huss noticed a couple of paintings
That two men had displayed
as a silent protest.
Each of the canvases
portrayed a different scene.
On one was the image
of the lowly Jesus
Humbly entering Jerusalem
with his travel-Worn disciples.
On the other canvas
was an image of the pope
Dressed in rich
and luxurious clothing,
Carried on a litter
And followed
by a regal procession.
The paintings certainly
presented a contrast
Between Jesus,
Who said that foxes have holes
And the birds
of the air have nests
And the son of man
has nowhere to lay his head,
With the magnificent splendor
Of the papal palace
and the papal entourage.
Moved by this knowledge,
He began to publicly denounce
the pride, ambition,
And corruption of the clergy
And he fearlessly called
for the church to reform.
If you must interpret scripture
according to truth,
Truth is defined
by what the church believes.
How do you correct
an error in the church?
You don't have
a check on mistakes.
There is no correcting
the church.
And that, I think,
is the fundamental flaw
Of what allowed the church
to start going wrong
And keep going wrong.
John Huss was invited
to come to Constance, Germany
To defend his criticism
of the church of Rome.
Sigismund, king of Hungary,
and later, the holy roman empire
Guaranteed him a safe passage,
But immediately
upon Huss' arrival in the city,
He was arrested
and placed in the dungeon
At Gottlieben castle.
King Sigismund
was greatly angered
At the imprisonment of Huss
And he threatened
the church council
But the council
convinced Sigismund
That promises made
to a heretic were not binding.
On July 6, 1415,
the council gathered
Into the cathedral
after mass and liturgy
And John Huss
was then led in for his trial.
He was asked
to defend his positions.
In the act of defending them
He was found
to have voiced a heresy
And so he was seized
and tried for heresy.
Guards then led Huss
away to be executed.
At the place of his execution,
Huss stood firm.
As the flames rose about him,
He was actually
able to lift his voice in song.
Among his dying words,
Huss predicted,
"In a hundred years
god will raise up a man
Whose calls for reform
cannot be suppressed."
Raised in a humble home
in Mansfield, Germany,
Martin Luther, theologian,
author, composer,
And priest was arguably
The best known
religious reformer
Of the 16th century.
Luther was born
on November 10, 1483,
Nearly 70 years
after the martyrdom of John Huss.
Born into a hardworking
middle-Class family,
With several
brothers and sisters,
Luther developed a firm
character and personality.
The Luther family
seems to have been,
To some extent,
a family of over-Achievers.
They were very strict,
to Luther's later stories.
They were very strict
on the young martin
And they certainly saw
That the way forward for their son
was through education.
But when he was young,
He was intended
to become a lawyer.
However, a dramatic experience
Forever altered
the course of his life.
Luther is caught in a thunderstorm
and fears for his life.
He's outside and he fears
he'll be struck by lightning.
Lightning was striking
in front of him and behind him
And on both sides of him
and so in terror he cries out
And promises
that if a saint will save him,
He will become a monk.
He called out to saint Anne,
the saint of hopeless causes.
"Saint Anne, deliver me
and I'll become a monk!"
And he kept his word.
In spite
of his father's angry protests,
Luther dropped
his law studies, sold his books,
And entered a closed
Augustinian monastery at Erfurt
And fully dedicated his time
to the monastic life.
Following his desperate
longing for salvation,
He practiced frequent fastings,
long hours of prayer,
Austere living
and endless confession.
"If anyone could have gained
heaven as a monk
Then I would, indeed,
have been among them."
He found
an elder confessor there
Who realized that Luther
had a particularly sensitive soul
And this confessor realized
That Luther
needed to teach the bible.
So he becomes simultaneously
professor of theology,
Preacher in the town church,
And a member
of the religious community
In the Augustinian house.
He's basically doing three jobs.
At Wittenberg he learned
to study the bible
In its original tongues.
Soon, he began
to freely share the truths
That he was learning
in his lectures
And his listeners
were delighted.
In 1510,
Luther made a pilgrimage
To visit the headquarters
of the church
In the holy city of Rome.
He was sickened to witness
the terrible greed and wickedness
That he saw
among all classes of the clergy.
His great expectation
of the holy city
Was crushed as he beheld
The decadent lifestyles
of the monks and the priests.
This was in stark contrast
To his very
frugal life in Germany.
But Luther's
most unsettling revelation
Was yet to come.
He went to Rome and he was
climbing up the stairs there
And hears a voice-
Not necessarily a verbal one,
but one in his head-
"The just shall live by faith."
And so climbing up these,
Pilate's stairs, on his knees,
Which was supposed to earn you
some kind of assurance
Of not burning
in purgatory for too long.
And it just dawned on him
as he looked around,
"What are we doing?
The bible says
this comes by faith."
And he got up off his knees
And this seemed to be
a turning point.
Luther finally understood
The importance of trusting
in the merits of Christ
For forgiveness.
After returning from Rome in 1512,
Luther was awarded
the doctorate of divinity
At the university of Wittenberg
And he began
to boldly preach to the people
That Christians should not
accept any doctrine
Unless it came from the bible
And it was this principle
of "sola scriptura"
That would become the battle cry
of the reformation.
It's in a series
of three treatises in 1520
That he presents
the notion that now,
Since the tradition
of the church
Has become so corrupted
by human innovation,
That the church
should only follow
The testimony of the scriptures.
This is the common thread
In the story that describes
the decline of the church.
It's when people lost scripture
And the ability to read
scripture for themselves
And there was a barrier
Between them and scripture
and them and Christ.
And then it began to recover
When martin Luther
and his colleagues
Decided that scripture
really was the authority,
"Sola scriptura,
tota scriptura, prima scriptura"
And they began
to climb back out.
About this same time,
Rome was breaking ground
for the construction
Of the magnificent
new saint peter's basilica.
The church sent John Tetzel,
a Dominican friar,
To Germany to sell indulgences
In order to raise the funds
necessary for the cathedral.
The church believes,
Not only
that its services and offerings
Can help the dead,
But also that the head
of the church in the west, the pope,
Can, out of the super
abundance of saved up grace,
Which is in the possession
of the church,
The church can simply declare
That someone's penalties
owed after they died
Are just wiped out.
That's what's called
an indulgence.
The full plenary indulgence
Absolved a person
of all the sins
That they had committed
up to that time
And thus speeded you,
according to church teaching,
Through purgatory
directly into heaven.
By very late in the middle ages,
The church has got into its head
That it can say to people,
"If you are willing
"To make an offering
to the church,
"The church
will give an indulgence
"In the manner of an offering,
"For your departed family,
friend, relative, loved one
And that loved one will escape
the pains of purgatory,"
Supposedly immediately.
This became,
by the 14th and 15th century,
A very popular belief
And people
clamored for indulgences.
When Luther learned
That his members
were purchasing indulgences,
He was outraged.
As the people came to him
to cash in their indulgences,
He flatly refused to honor them.
Luther declared
that what they really needed to do
Was to sincerely repent
and turn from their sins.
This was the first issue
that forced Luther into battle
With his own beloved church.
On October 31, 1517,
Luther nailed his famous protest
To the doors of all the saints
church in Wittenberg.
What are the 95 theses
that he famously nails
To the door
of Wittenberg castle church?
It's an academic invitation
to a debate.
You write down
95 thesis statements
And you're basically saying,
"here are my proposals"
And they're always
more strongly worded
Than you may think
because it's a debating point;
It's what's called a disputation.
The 95 theses is just
a series of 95 propositions
That he intends to spark
a university debate on.
And this is standard issue
late medieval academic practice.
So Luther is engaging
In a very narrowly
academic exercise.
It's like publishing a paper
in a scholarly journal today.
As a historian myself at times,
You're not actually expecting
very many people to read this,
You're just going
into a very narrow circle.
So he takes it
and he nails it to the door
Of Wittenberg castle church
Because that's
the traditional place
You post invitations
for a disputation.
So he's not expecting anything,
necessarily, to come of this.
And this got
a lot of people's attention,
Including the pope's.
As far as Luther's concerned,
he's not promoting something
That the church
would be hostile to,
He believes he's promoting things
that the church will welcome.
And, indeed, if you go back
to the early church fathers,
Including Augustine,
You can find
many things in their writings
In accord with Luther's ideas.
So Luther actually expects
people to sort of say,
"Oh, great.
Thanks for pointing that out."
Which was perhaps a trifle nave
And perhaps that's what comes
from him being an academic.
But Luther is not trying
to set up another movement-
Just the opposite.
But the reality, of course,
Is that the church
does not welcome
Much of what Luther has to say.
And a bull went out-
A papal bull
meaning a kind of declaration -
Condemning Luther
and his writings
And saying they should be
consigned to the flames.
The bull was delivered at Wittenberg
And instead of consigning
the writings to the flames,
Luther had a big gathering
in Wittenberg
And consigned
the bull to the flames
And there was a burning
of this papal bull
And this, of course,
was a "throw down" now, right?
The challenge had been sent out
And the challenge
had been responded to.
And that's when Luther says,
"Right, if you condemn me
I will condemn you,"
Because he believes
this is a matter of truth.
And so, if the church
is condemning biblical truth
Then the church
must actually be antichrist
And he calls it that
and, of course,
Once you call
somebody antichrist,
It's rather hard to reach
consensus and compromise.
So the German emperor
organized a hearing
And all the important
princes and priests
Were assembled
for an historic meeting
At a place called worms.
So there were
representatives here
Of all the different
princes, nobles,
And free cities of the empire
And Luther goes, believing
he'll have a chance to debate.
The church knows
that Luther's a brilliant debater
And they're not
going to give him any chance.
He was pulled up
before the group.
He was shown
a pile of his books.
He was asked two questions:
"are these books yours?"
And "will you recant?"
Will you withdraw
the teachings you've made in them?
And he didn't immediately reply.
He said,
"well, yes they are my books
But there's many things
written there
And I need some time
to think about it."
He almost loses his nerve,
but ultimately he doesn't,
The next day he comes in
And he starts to play
with words and they say,
"Are all these your works
and do you recant them?"
He says, "do you ask me
to recant all my works
"Because some of my works
"Everyone in the church
would agree with?
"I've written against certain evils
That the church
generally agrees are wrong."
He's trying to get into a debate
And the authorities
aren't having any of this.
They say, "no, no, no.
You just have to say-
Are you going to retract these?
Are you going to recant?"
It's an heroic moment
especially because,
As far as Luther is concerned,
He believes
it's going to lead to his death.
"Unless I am convinced
by the testimony of the scriptures
"Or by clear reason,
"For I do not trust
either in the pope
"Or in councils alone,
"Since it is well known
that they have often erred
"And contradicted themselves,
"I am bound
by the scriptures I have quoted
"And my conscience
is captive to the word of god.
"I cannot and will not
recant anything
"Since it is neither safe nor right
to go against conscience.
"Here I stand.
I can do no other.
May god help me.
The council did not have much
it could say in reply.
Luther was declared an outlaw.
His literature was banned
and his arrest ordered.
The document said,
"we want him to be apprehended
And to be punished
as a notorious heretic."
Now Luther
had been given a safe conduct
To the diet of worms,
Just as Huss had been given
to the council of Constance
Just over 100 years earlier.
And there were those authorities
Who urged the holy
roman emperor, Charles the V,
To ignore the safe conduct,
Just as the emperor Sigismund
had with Huss' safe conduct.
Charles the V
didn't want to be known
As the second emperor
that had reneged
In a good-Faith
conduct passage and so,
For whatever reason,
This reason
and maybe some others,
He allowed Luther
to leave town and start home.
The thought
was he would probably be killed
By someone on the way
Because there was
an open price on his head.
Instead, of course,
Luther is kidnapped
By an armed group of men
Who were actually
working for Frederick the wise
Who decides he needs
to take Luther out of circulation
For a little while.
To Wartburg castle,
Which the elector
Frederick knew about
But nobody knew
what had happened to Luther.
Many people thought
that he was dead.
For the next year,
from this lonely exile,
Which Luther referred
to as 'my Patmos',
The former priest continued
his work of prolific writing.
He even managed
to translate the new testament
From Greek
into the German language.
Now, about 72 years
Before Luther completed
his new testament translation,
Gutenberg changed history
With the invention
of the printing press.
With this wonderful
new technology,
The truth of god's word
began to spread
Like the leaves
of autumn all through Europe.
And so, in the midst
of this great reformation,
The lord armed his people
with the sword of his word.
Around this same time,
Several other powerful
champions of truth rose up
From within the church of Rome.
Among these brave men calling
for a return to the scriptures
Were Philipp Melancthon,
William Tyndale, John Calvin,
And John Knox,
just to name a few.
As the reformers preached
and the printing press clattered,
The teeming masses
studied the word of god.
Gradually the light of truth
Began to dissolve the shackles
of error and superstition
That had bound
the people for ages.
Like a breath
of fresh spring air,
Europe experienced
a religious renaissance.
"And you shall know the truth
And the truth
shall make you free."
The book of revelation also
foretells that in the final days
The dragon, Satan,
Will once again
intensify his efforts
To persecute the church of god.
They are identified
As the ones who keep
the commandments of god
And have the testimony of Jesus.
Revelation warns
that in the last days
There will be a very convincing
counterfeit of god's real church
That compromises
the truth of scripture.
Jesus warns it will nearly
deceive the whole world.
"For false Christs
and false prophets will rise
"And show signs
and wonders to deceive,
If possible, even the elect."
Shortly after this final deception
Christ will return.
And he will come for a church
that has been purified
From all the false
traditions and paganism.
It will be a church
That requires
a "thus sayeth the lord"
For every doctrine
that it holds.
Jesus also said
that when he returns,
The world will be absorbed
In selfishness,
violence and mutiny.
"And you will hear
of wars and rumors of wars.
"For nation
will rise against nation
"And there will be famines,
pestilences and earthquakes.
"The love of many will grow cold
And then the end will come."
This spiritual war has been raging
down through the ages
And it's clear that this prophecy
is fast fulfilling.
As the battle intensifies,
we're all faced with a choice.
"Choose for yourselves
this day whom you will serve."
Friends, we've just seen
How the glorious light
of god's church
Was overshadowed and distorted
Through the influence
of mythology.
We've also seen
How early Christians
were gradually enticed
To adopt pagan rituals
and traditions
In place of biblical truth.
But then god rose up
faithful men and women
To resist the errors
of an entire empire.
History is now repeating itself.
Soon all will either
join the bride of Christ
Or follow the beast of Babylon.
Where will you stand?
The bible is clear.
The evidence is irrefutable.
The decision
is ultimately yours.
"Surely I am coming quickly."
Revelation 22:20 nkjv