Stumbling in the Way, Part 16

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The Third Church: was Pergamos: meaningearthly elevation”, a most appropriate name for the age in whichChristianityis exalted throughout the empire to the point where theChristianleader gains powers greater than the emperor. What a change from the persecutions of Smyrna! — a change which apostate Christians intended to keep at ANY cost.

It is interesting to note another possible etymology for Pergamos:Although a Marriage.” If this be a viable etymology, how appropriate it is to the church-state marriage (actually fornication) of this period.

“The history of this the longest of the Church periods is extremely significant in understanding the symbolisms of the third Church, Seal, and Trumpet. Smyrna (bitterness) ends because the Edict of Milan proclaims religious “liberty” for all. Pagan Rome is gone. But worse than pagan Rome this period gives rise to the antichrist system which develops by leaps and bounds during this period.

The Nicene Council officially establishes error. The Trinity is exalted to official status. The first UNIVERSAL CREED (The Nicene Creed) comes into existence, thus sealing errors in stone. The period is full of the twisting of doctrine to make things fit the new passion for unity between the church and state. The Bible is in its final form. Constantine arranges to have many copies made so that its preservation is guaranteed. (What a pity its contents were ignored!) One of Constantine’s copies was found in the 1800’s in a monastery in the Sinai desert by Dr. Tischendorf. We commonly refer to it as the Sinaitic Manuscript. Unfortunately, the Nicene Creed has lasted just as long but is better known!

This period sees the beginning of the 1260 days which Daniel prophesied. It sees the development of Islam and its incursions into Europe.

It sees the elevation of the apostasy in a step-by-step progression of events:

1)The emperor gives the Bishop of Rome the title of Pontifex Maximus (Chief Religious Ruler);

2)*The Papal states are formed (See below);

3)The Pope crowns Charlemagne in a ceremony marking the superiority of Pope over Emperor;

4) The Holy Roman Empire is formed and will last until 1806
.

The empire was divided into East and West by Constantine opening the way for the need for a powerful leader in the West — the Pope. Seven-hundred years later, the church itself divides into Eastern and Western branches. This might seem like a blow to the apostasy, but, quite to the contrary, it leaves the Bishop of Rome with more power and authority in the West than he would otherwise have had. The Dark Ages do extend beyond Pergamos, but in a very real sense Pergamos is the darkest of the dark. It sets the stage and entrenches the power which will rule Europe with an iron rod for centuries.” (N.A.N.O.R. Page 72-73)



*The Papal States:

“The popes' authority extended to large territories outside Rome acquired in the eighth century. At that time, with the help of a deliberately fraudulent document manufactured for the popes known as The Donation of Constantine, Pope Stephen III convinced Pepin, king of the Franks and father of Charlemagne, that territories recently taken by the Lombards from the Byzantines actually had been given to the papacy by the emperor Constantine. Pepin routed the Lombards and handed to the pope the keys to some 20 cities (Revenna, Ancona, Bologna, Ferrara, Iesi, Gubbio, etc.) and the huge chunk of land joining them along the Adriatic coast.

At their zenith, the Papal States covered most of the modern Italian regions of Lazio (which includes Rome), Marche, Umbria and Romagna, and portions of Emilia. These holdings were considered to be a manifestation of the temporal power of the pope, as opposed to his ecclesiastical primacy.”

Dated 30 March 315, The Donation of Constantine declared that Constantine had given these lands, along with Rome and the Lateran Palace, to the popes in perpetuity. In 1440 this document was proven to be a forgery by Lorenzo Valla, a papal aide, and is so recognized by historians today. Yet allegedly infallible popes continue for centuries to assert that The Donation was genuine and, on that basis, to justify their pomp, power, and possessions. That fraud is still perpetuated by an inscription in the baptistry of Rome's St. John Lateran, which has never been corrected.

Thus, the Papal States were literally stolen by the popes from their rightful owners. The papacy controlled and taxed these territories and derived great wealth from them until 1848. At that time the pope, along with the rulers of most of the other divided territories of Italy, was forced to grant his rebellious subjects a constitution. In September 1860, over his raging protests, Pius IX lost all of the papal states to the new, finally United Kingdom of Italy, which left him, at the time of the First Vatican Council in 1870, still in control of Rome and its surroundings.”

We will take a look at the messenger to the Church of Pergamos in our next post.

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