Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Antichrist

        If it weren't for the antichrist, none of these studies might be necessary.  We would not have to worry about the end times, we wouldn't even have been born into this flesh earth age if it were not for the antichrist.  For the antichrist is satan himself.  And it was satan who caused the rebellion in the first earth age, causing God to destroy that age and made way for this second one. (See When was Thee beginning? for a study on the three separate earth ages.)

        The Antichrist  The very sound of that name sends cords of revulsion through the soul of any Christian.  He is the enemy of God and Christ, therefore he is our enemy.  But who is he?  How are we to identify him when he manifests himself?  Will we know him?  Is he a man born of woman; is he a computer in Belgium; was he Mussolini or Hitler that some thought he was; will he be the Pope of Rome that some think he will be?  When does he appear?  How does he appear?  Will he kill Christians where-by we will know it is he?  Will he have horns and breath fire?  And lastly, will he have "666" tattooed on his forehead and right hand, and insist that we too also bear them, where-by we will know this evil one?
        The above are all questions that any intelligent informed Christian in this endtime generation should be asking.  You would think it important that our spiritual leaders would warn us and make us aware of the archenemy of our Lord, and by extension, our enemy.
        The antichrist is not even mentioned in most of the Churches of today, much less addressed; and when he is—it is so far from what God's Word tells us—we would be better off if they didn't.  We Christians are told to simply worship God and praise Jesus, without being instructed on how to protect ourselves from the very enemy of our eternal souls.  Worship and praise is a good thing indeed; however, we also need the warnings.
        Why hasn't the church amply warned the Christian of the antichrist?  Why is there so much confusion regarding this evil one?  That's a fair question.  Yes, we are asking you to break free from the spiritual bonds placed upon you by the false teachers/preachers in our generation and ask that simple question.  A question that is more important to you in this the final generation than at any other time in the history of the world.  True Christianity does not bind you, it frees you.  In this study we will learn from God's Written Word, the Bible, the plan of satan to deceive the world, by his using of the compromised and corrupted religious leaders of this globe, to prostitute their entire congregations into the false wedding feast with the false messiah.  For antichrist shall not only beguile the Christian churches, but all the world's other religions as well, even though they be false from the beginning.
      So buckle your seat belts and join us for a ride through the truth that many do not want you to know.  The short answer as to why the average Christian is not armed with accurate information regarding the antichrist is that, in the Catholic Church (representing half of all Christians world-wide), they do not teach Bible, they teach the Catholic Catechism and the teachings of the "Church Fathers."  And in the "Rapture churches" (Pentecostal, Baptist, Charismatic, Apostolic Catholic, etc.), they teach their people that they will be gone (in their Rapture) by the time that the antichrist gets here, so "why worry?"  The problem is, is that when a church teaches doctrines of man over doctrines of God's Bible, they destroy the Christian faithful.  And there isn't going to be any Rapture.  So what you have is a large body of Christians totally unaware and unprepared for that which God has warned us was to come.  (See: The Rapture Theory; What Does God's Word Say About It?)
        Now, there is a plan, a plan written of thousands of years ago, a plan written of from the book of Genesis through the book of Revelation, a plan that was set into motion millions of years before Adam and Eve were beguiled and deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden.
        By the end of this study we will have scripturally documented without a doubt that satan is antichrist, we will also discover his plan of deception as it is outlined in the Bible.  God is in control and He only allows satan to fulfill the negative part of the prophecies in the Bible.  Satan is a great imitator.  And just as Jesus goes by different names and fills many offices, so too does satan.  Jesus is all that is good and true, and satan is all that is evil and false.  For every negative in God's Word there is a positive.  (See also: Reasons why antichrist can't be a flesh man but is in fact satan himself)
        We know Jesus as: The Son of God, The Bread of Life, Savior, The Tree of Life, Messiah, The Christ, Man of sorrows, The Way, The Truth, and The Life, The Light of the World, The Alpha and The Omega, King of kings Lord of lords. ...
        Why would you then think it odd that God's archenemy, the opposite of Jesus Christ in all things, would also go by many different names and fulfill many different roles throughout the history of God's plan? 
        Satan is called variously: the serpent, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the son of perdition, the abomination of desolation, the beast, the dragon, death, morning star, lucifer, father of lies, king of ty'-rus, devil, king of babylon, the assyrian, the prince that shall come, the vile person, the prince of the power of the air, beelzebub, and the man of sin.
        These are not even all of the names and roles satan has played in the Bible. But it is his final role as the antichrist that is the most formidable.  The word "antichrist" itself is somewhat confusing in the English translation.  The word antichrist in the Greek of the New Testament is not like our English word 'anti-freeze' or 'anti-bodies'.  In Greek 'anti' means: instead ofa substitutean imposter.  Below we supply the definition of 'antichrist' from the Greek dictionary of the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance:
antichrist: Greek word #500 antichristos (an-tee'-khris-tos); from # 473 (anti) and 5547 (Christos); an opponent of the Messiah: KJV-- antichrist.
        [The word antichrist is made up of two Greek words:]
Anti: Greek word # 473: anti (an-tee'); a primary particle; opposite, i.e. instead of, orbecause of (rarely in addition to): for, instead ofin place of (something) Often used in composition to denote substitution.
Christos: Greek word #5547: Christos (khris-tos'); anointed, i.e. the Messiah, an epithet of Jesus
        When satan first comes as the antichrist he is not going to appear as all that is evil—not at the first—but as his time here continues he will show his true self.  By this means, as it is written in the Bible, he shall deceive the world.  He could not deceive anyone if he came as a monster breathing fire, no, but as the false christ, the instead-of christ, the imposter, he will catch most all the world off guard.  The people of this earth are not ready for a supernatural being possessing supernatural powers, who is allowed by God to perform miracles (Rev 13:13-14), and who also comes FIRST before the true Messiah, in the likeness and similitude of what the world expects of the prophesied True Messiah.
        As it is prophesied, satan (as the antichrist) will come to this earth in the final times as an instead-of christ, an impostor to the true Christ prior to the prophesied Second Advent of Jesus Christ.  Satan and his accompanying fallen angels will have but a five month reign (Rev 9:5 & 10) which was shortened by the Grace of God from the 3½ years (Mat 24:21-22 & Mk 13:19-20). 
     The True Jesus Christ comes at the last (7th) Trump (Rev 19:11ff)which leads into the Millennium (1000 year) period (Rev 20:4-5), then onto Judgment Day including the casting into the Lake of Fire (commonly referred to as Hell) of those who did not overcome (Rev 20:11-15), then the eternal Heaven Age having no end for the faithful (Rev 21:1-4).   
Rev 20:1010 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (KJV)

        You notice that the devil deceived them, those that the devil deceived shall join him that Lake of Fire after Judgment Day:
Rev 20:13-15
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.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.  KJV
        You can avoid being one of the deceived ones by studying God's Letter to you, the Bible, which teaches us and warns us of all things.  The fastest way to get yourself deceived is to listen to some man over God's Word.  For satan has sent many false teachers/preachers ahead of him into this world to prepare the deception.  Yes, satan's minions are Priests, Preachers, Pastors, Bishops, Deacons, Rabbis, Ministers, Imams, Monks, ...  Oh, not all of them, mind you, but enough.
        All the false non-Christian Ministers are all errant and lead their followers to the danger of the Judgment, but not all of the Christian Ministers are corrupt, there are still some true ones left, and even most of the corrupt ones do it in ignorance—they are just following orders from the hierarchy.  You have to test what they say with what God says in the Bible, if you can document what they say as true in the Bible then you have yourself a good teacher/preacher.
        That is the reason that God insured that we would have His Written Word in our language at this end time generation.  It is also why Jesus commanded that the Gospel be spread across the whole world to all peoples and tongues.  All must have a fair chance to follow their Heavenly Father God through Christ Jesus over some man who may be lying in His name.  And you must be aware that this happens, many so-called men of God are teaching falsely.  You will not be able to withstand the deception if you do not even understand that it even exists.
        The Bible warns of false teachers/preachers over and over again. But if you are waiting for your Priest, Pastor, Teacher to warn you—forget about it—they don't and won't.  There is probably only one topic that they teach LESS than they teach about the coming antichrist, and that is the warnings from God's Word about the onslaught of the false teachers/preachers in the end times.  Here's something that is hard to swallow, the false teachers/preachers don't even believe in God and Jesus, how could they and yet do what they do, to them this is just a job, and you simply represent $$$ to them.
        I must restate that all teachers/preachers are not bad, there are good ones. You must test the fruit of the teacher/preacher.  The way way you test them is that if what they teach aligns with what God's Written Word teaches, and they do not twist Scriptures, then they are good:
I Jn 4:1
1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (KJV)

Matt 7:15-23 (Jesus speaking)
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
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.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 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.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (KJV)
        Being informed and prepared takes effort on your part, if you are too busy or too lazy to study God's Word yourself, and instead rely on some unknown man at a pulpit for your spiritual well being and the fate of your eternal soul - then would you not deserve the punishment for your following the false one through self imposed ignorance?  Think about this for a minute, if satan wants all souls on this planet to worship him as God, and he does want that, and they will worship him unknowingly as it is written:
2nd Thess 2:2-4 (events just prior to the Second Advent)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;
4 Who 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. (KJV)
        How would he best go about it?  Satan sends his minions to appear as good godly men, clergy and teachers/preachers who on the outside appear so good.  And when he himself comes, he will look, act, and talk like the world believes the True Messiah should.
2 Cor 11:13-15
13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (KJV)
This word transformed is taken from a Greek word that means so much more.  The Greek word 'metaschematizo'' is in the manuscripts, the King James Translators rendered it 'transformed.'  Let's look at the truest definition of the word in the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, and you will see how valuable a tool the Strong's concordance is to fruitful Bible study:
Transformed: Greek word #3345 metaschematizo (met-askh-ay-mat-id'-zo);from 3326 and a derivative of 4976; to transfigure or disguise; figuratively, to apply (by accommodation)
        By this means he will in fact deceive the world, and none will even know to pray to God for deliverance because they will think He (God - Jesus -Messiah) is already here.  That is why Jesus states: "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." (Matt 24:44).  When does someone least expect the arrival of Christ?  When they think that He is already here!       
        But don't worry, God is in control, and He has already won the final battle between good and evil.  All that is left to do is for us to decide who's side we are going to be on, God's or satan's.
        Satan is allowed by God, and given supernatural powers from God to deceive the world. God allows satan to do this to fulfill the negative part of God's plan.  Below we will see the powers that God will allow satan to possess for his five month reign as the antichrist just prior to the true Christ's return.  In this next Scripture, from the book of Revelation, the first beast is the one-world political/religious system and the second beast is the antichrist himself.  And satan will be that antichrist. Let's look at his powers whereby we can be prepared, forewarned, and therefore spiritually aware of the evil that comes:
Rev 13:11-1811 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.
12 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 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV)
        In verse 18 above: Six hundred threescore and six is six hundred and sixty and six and it is where they get the infamous "666".
        If it had not been for the true Christians, satan could have easily deceived the various religions of the world by the means described in the below table, and he will use those means if he can get away with it.  And after observing the vulnerability of the below "groups of peoples" you will have a better understanding of why Christ was sent to this earth to be crucified for our sins, and why He warned us of the dangerous power of the evil one.
        For it is only through Christ that we can be saved.  All the other 'religions' on this planet are ruses by satan.  Jesus told us: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6).
        Now I don't care what some liberal false teacher/preacher tells you about 'religious tolerance,' Jesus stated "no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." You believe whom you want.  And just because satan had them to name something a 'religion,' does not mean God acknowledges it - what's in a name anyway?!?

How satan, as antichrist claiming to be the True Christ, is enabled to deceive and cause the various "belief systems" of the world into unknowingly worshiping him as the True Messiah
Atheists and agnostics will believe him to be the true Christ when the antichrist shows up in person performing miracles and stating that he is the Savior, also offering forgiveness if they believe upon and worship him.
Moslems will follow, when the antichrist states that he is the one they call "The One" who has come to lead them to the promised land.  
Satan worshipers and the occultists will convert, when antichrist comes stating that he offers salvation to them if they repent and worship him as the True Messiah.
Pagans as well as those who worship many different gods (sun gods, earth gods, wind gods, water gods, warrior gods...), will forsake their deities and worship antichrist as their messiah, when he comes showing wonders and making lightning come down from heaven on command; satan will have this power, allowed to him by God (Rev 13:13+14).
Religious Jews who are still waiting for the First Advent of the Messiah, will flock to antichrist, as he shows himself off to be the True Messiah written of in the Torah. The first time the True Messiah came to them, they not only rejected Him, they murdered Him, and now when the fake comes they will accept and worship him - sad, is it not?
All Christian denominations and the Christian Rapturists will believe the first supernatural being that comes to the earth claiming to be Jesus Christ.  And for the Rapturist who had been deceived with the false Rapture doctrine, he will be led away with the promise of a Rapture.  They will ALL unknowingly worship satan as an instead-of Christ, the antichrist.
Not because they are evil, but because they were not warned by the false teachers/preachers whom are nothing more than the wolves in sheep's clothing.
These are perhaps the saddest of all the deceived; for they had a fair chance, they had the truth set before them by God in their own Bibles.  They just preferred the "feel good" doctrines of men over the Word of our Lord.  They have degenerated into a pitiful state of being a hypocrite and a 'finger pointer.'  Jesus foresaw this and He spoke of it: "Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matt 23:24).
They worry more about whether brother so-and-so was at the tavern having a drink, or if he's a divorcee or not, rather than the fact that they are spiraling into worshiping satan as the imposter to the Lord they love; sad, is it not?
        If you are still following us here, then I say to you, "Pretty scary, huh?"  And if we have left anyone out above, don't worry, satan will be sure to give them every opportunity to participate in the great apostasy.  This is not some new revelation, or some off-the-wall new prophecy, this has been written in your Bibles all along - but the false teachers/preachers have hid it from you. What are you going to do?  Lay down and die - eternally, or study your Heavenly Father's Written Word whereby you can overcome!  The choice is yours, and you do have to make a choice or satan will make it for you.
        Satan was not always evil though, he was once good, believe it or not, he was a "Cherubim that covereth" (Ezek 28:14), which is a protecting Angel that guarded the Mercy Seat; a seat that Christ Himself sits upon.  Satan was at the first a good angel: "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.(Ezek 28:15).  But his first transgression was vanity, he didn't want to guard the Mercy Seat, he wanted to sit on it, as Christ, as God, and still seeks that today.  And for a five month period in the end times, he will accomplish just that as the antichrist:
2nd Thess 2:1-41 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
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, andthat man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who 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. (KJV)
        Satan is "that man of sin" and "the son of perdition".  Some will try to tell you that Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, is the son of perdition.  This is untrue and to document: In verse 4 above we see: "the son of perdition" who: "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."  Judas Iscariot never did that, Judas never said that he was God.  In fact after he realized that they were really going to crucify Jesus, and that Jesus was going to let it happen; Judas threw the money that he was paid to betray Jesus down onto the temple floor.
        This was an act of repentance.  Son of perdition means: The one who perishes.  I know it's easy to jump on the bandwagon with all the self righteous hypocrites that say Judas is going to hell for betraying Jesus.  But through Christ, isn't salvation open to all upon repentance?  Jesus said it was, even to those who died before Christ had paid the price on the cross, for after Christ was crucified and before He appeared back on earth resurrected; Jesus went to the lost souls in prison(hell) and offered them forgiveness and salvation. 1st Pet 3:18+19, Eph 4:8-10, and Rev 20:7 for documentation on what 'prison' means.
        There is only one soul that is condemned by name to eternal perishment, and that is satan, the son of perdition by one name, and the antichrist by another.  Satan has many names but he's the same entity.  Below we see God condemning satan to be consumed from within (perish).  At this time satan is the only one by name who has been judged to death in the lake of fire, many more will follow him after judgment day.
Ezek 28:13-19 (God condemning satan)
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (KJV)
        Satan revolted in the first earth age*, chronologically transpiring between (Genesis 1:1 and 1:2), and led one third of God's children to fight against God and His Angels (Rev 12:3+4).  God of course won, and destroyed that first earth age.  This destruction is written of in (2nd Pet 3:5-7) and for an even more clear view do a study in (Jere 4:23-27).  This destruction by water should not be confused with Noah's flood (notice in (Jere 4:25) it reads: "there was no man").  But we all know that Noah and his family survived Noah's flood.
* If you don't understand about the three earth ages, see
 the In-depth Bible Study: When Was The beginning.
        This is speaking of a prior flood that caused complete destruction of everything and everyone.  It was the wrath of God brought about because one third of His beloved children whom He had created to keep Him company, betrayed and turned their back on Him and joined satan in an takeover attempt.  I wonder how many will join satan the next time he tries a takeover, when he stands in Jerusalem in our very near future claiming to be the Messiah, claiming to be God Himself!  This time, those who do so will be blotted out, perishing just like satan, who has already been sentenced to the eternal death.  God also promises to win the next and final battle between good and evil, He even gives us a play-by-play, in the book of Revelation:
Rev 20:9-109 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (KJV)
        The Garden of Eden, satan was there you know.  He was the one that beguiled Eve.  The serpent wasn't some talking gardener snake, snakes don't have the organs of speech.  Satan was the serpent, he was that "tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden"
Gen 3:1
3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  KJV

Ezek 28:13
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.  KJV
        All throughout Biblical history, satan has tried to destroy the lineage that Christ was to come through, umbilical cord to umbilical cord, from Adam's Eve to the Virgin Mary.  First by impregnating Eve with Cain.*  Then; causing his (satan's) son Cain, to murder Adams son Able.   Noah's flood became necessary because of what satan's fallen angels had done (the "Sons of God" in Gen 6:2 simply means Angels; good or bad, they are still sons of God).  These angels sinned by leaving Heaven, seducing and impregnating flesh women with their offspring (the giants) being abominable hybrids between Angels and flesh women, they were the giants: (Gen 6: 1-6).  These fallen angels are also in holding till judgment day, condemned to eternal death, but they are not named by specific names.
* If you don't understand what the real sin was, in the garden of Eden then see the
 You've probably been lied to since Sunday school that Adam and
  Eve were condemned to death for eating an apple.
        Satan was also there in the Garden of Gethsemane, albeit not in the flesh, but his evil spirit was there, influencing those who betrayed and arrested Jesus.  Since the time that Jesus rebuked satan, after the attempted tempting in the desert, and told satan to "Get thee hence" (Mt 4:10), satan is not allowed to roam the earth physically.  However, satan is allowed by God to exercise his evil spirit among man.  Satan will not be allowed to walk the earth again until that final 5 month period in the end times, fulfilling the role of the antichrist.  It's just like this: Jesus isn't physically on earth now, but the Holy Spirit is; well satan is not physically on this earth either, but his evil spirit is.  For every positive in God's Word, there is a negative.
        Satan was also there when the Jewish high priest Caiaphas demanded Jesus' death (Mt 26:57).  And when the people yelled "Crucify him!, Crucify him!", satan's evil spirit was behind the scenes, pulling the strings (Mt 27:22+23).  And finally, when satan through his evil influences accomplished Jesus Christ's crucifixion, he had sealed his own fate.  When satan caused Jesus' death, it made palatable for God, who is so very fair, to cause satan's death - eternally.  Satan is the only soul by namethat at this time is condemned to eternal death by God, hence one of his names: "son of perdition" (2nd Thes 2:3).  Notice the singular form, for at this time there is only one. Many more will follow him but that doesn't happen until judgment day(Rev 20:12-15).
        So then, will antichrist who is none other that satan himself fulfilling his end-time roll, show up on earth in red clothing and breathing fire with horns on his head?  He couldn't deceive anyone like that.  No, he is much more subtle in his ways.  In fact, when he was in the Garden of Eden in the role of the serpent he shows one of his tools that lead people away from God, He lies!  Here in an account from the book of Genesis:
Gen 3:1-41 Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (KJV)
        The "Ye shall not surely die" in verse 4 above is the first lie in the Bible, and we have been dying ever since.  And it was satan, as the serpent who uttered it.  Hence one of satan's many names is "the father of lies" (Jn 8:44).
        Satan will not appear on earth with horns and breathing fire.  He is worldly wise and also a master scholar in Biblical scriptures.  He knows the Bible from cover to cover.  He will use scripture against Christians during his short reign as antichrist in the end times.  That is why it is imperative that you study the scriptures whereby you can identify when satan or his false teachers misquote it to you in an attempt to deceive and beguile you.
        Satan tried that before you know?  In the book of Matthew, after Jesus was Baptized and had fasted for forty days, He was led to the desert where satan in the role of "tempter" took him to the top of a high place.  Satan then in (Matthew 4:6)recited a scripture from the book of Psalms (Ps 91:11-12).
        Upon closer investigation, we discover one of satan's many tools of deception manifest itself.  A tool of deception that he used on Jesus Christ himself, and one that you can be sure of, that he and his misguided false teachers will use on you, now and in the near future as satan's "one world political-religious system" solidifies, which is the first beast of (Rev 13:1-10).
        In the first scripture below, you see satan's words to Jesus, you will notice the three embolden words: "at any time," which we have highlighted. These three words were added by satan to the verse of the Psalm (Ps 91:11+12) when satan quoted them to Jesus, and they completely change the meaning of the quoted scripture:
Satan's quotation of (Ps 91:11+12) to Jesus:
Matt 4:6 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest /at any time/ thou dash thy foot against a stone. (KJV)
True scripture of (Ps 91:11+12):
Ps 91:11-12
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest 
// thou dash thy foot against a stone. (KJV)
        What the correct verses, as they appear in (Ps 91:11+12) mean is that you will be protected in times of trouble and unexpected danger.  But by adding "at any time", satan changes the meaning to: You can flaunt the protection of God, and do anything perilous, anytime, and God will snap to attention, and save you.  This was the first attempt by satan on Jesus' life since His ministry began!  Satan was tempting Jesus to jump from the top of the temple to His death.  Another ominous fact is that satan omitted quoting the 13th verse which speaks of his own demise at the end of the age, and is the fulfillment of the first great promise and prophecy in the Bible in (Gen 3:15):
Ps 91:1313 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. (KJV)
Gen 3:14-1514 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (KJV)
        Unfortunately, in most newer versions of the Bible, the revisers/translators omitted the three words "at any time" that satan had skewed the verses with.  The above supplied scripture, and all the quoted scripture in this study are from the King James Version Bible. However, in newer revisions/translations, like the; New King James Version, New International Version, Living Bible, The Word, ...  The three words added by satan, are omitted from the text, the reason being unknown, perhaps the revisers/translators assumed that it was a typographical error (and the corrupt Septuagint actually inserts the three words"at any time" into Psalm 91!).  But it was not an error!  In the Hebrew Manuscripts, the three English words "at any time" in the (KJV) are translated from one Greek word: Greek Word # 3379 "mepote" (may'-pot-eh).  And the translation into English is as follows:
Greek Word #3379mepote (may'-pot-eh); or: me pote (may pot'-eh); derived from word # 3361 and word # 4218, and means: not ever, also if, (or lest), ever, (or perhaps), whether perhaps.
        (This is another of many reasons to stay with the trusted King James Version Bible.  See our: Adulterations In The Newer Bible Versions (NIV, NASB...); Proof That The King James Bible (KJV) Is The True Word Of God)
        This gives us great insight as to what we can expect from satan when he returns in our generation, to deceive the world.  Satan takes 95% truth and adds to it 5% lie, and with that formula he can manipulate anything, and most people - think about it.  Satan is an enemy to be respected, no, not in reverence, but rather respect the genius and completeness of his power to deceive as he leads good God fearing Christians into that great apostasy of worshiping him, satan, in the role of antichrist, as though he were the True Christ.  God allows him this power to fulfill the negative part of God's plan, but by the same token, God promises everlasting life to those that resist this evil and remain faithful until the end (Mt 24:40-51).
        In other words all the prophesies in the Bible will come to pass exactly as written, but your individual fate is not set.  You have been given free will to chose between loving God or satan.  And if you do not make a conscious choice to follow the Lord, then you have made an unconscious choice to follow satan and the ways of the world.  There is not a third choice and there is not a "no choice."  You cannot refuse to participate, you are in this up to your neck whether you want it or not.
        Friend, the entire Bible testifies to the undisputable fact that the first supernatural being that comes to earth claiming to be the Messiah is the antichrist, the false christ.  Below in (Lk 17:34-37) Christ is telling His disciples about how it will be when He returns and how that many will be taken by the first one that comes (antichrist).  You will notice that Jesus refers to the coming of the antichrist as "in that night...".  Whenever He speaks about the Second Advent, when He (Jesus) comes, He always refers to it as "in that day...".  Whenever prophesies are made about God's followers it is given in days, whenever prophesies regarding satan or his followers are mentioned, it is always of the night:
Luke 17:34-37 (Christ speaking)34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (KJV)
        In verse 37 above The word "eagles" should be understood as "vultures", and the word "body" should be "corpse" as it was translated in the parallel Scripture below:
Matthew 24:26-28
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.  KJV
        The ones taken first by antichrist are (spiritually) taken to were the corpses and the vultures are.  Jesus tells us how he blesses those that resist the false Christ, and await the True Christ's return (the True Second Advent):
Matt 24:42-46 (Jesus speaking)42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (KJV)
        "Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing," in other words, when the true Jesus returns, you should still be doing His work, not worshiping satan (antichrist).  In other words, don't fall for the first, because Jesus wants you to wait for Him, and to stay in His Word until He returns.  The first supernatural being who comes stating that he is the Messiah is the antichrist.  Once again think about it, if you were satan, and your goal was to take as many of God's faithful followers down with you, what better way than to come as an imposter and trick them into following you?  Satan already has the evil and the unbelieving ones, they don't mean anything to him, but he wants the Christians, and no Christian would worship him if he came as the devil.
        It has been said, that 50% of Christian churches believe to some degree in a Rapture doctrine.  They will worship the first supernatural being that appears claiming to be Jesus, stating that he has come to "save" them.  As will also the heathen who do not now believe in Jesus Christ at all.  When they see this supernatural entity, that will look like they think the Messiah would look, and will say what they think the Messiah should say, and who possesses powers that make lightning come down on command and to do other miracles, they will believe him to be exactly whom he says he is - and he says that he is the true Messiah, but he is not and does lie.  In (Rev 13:11-18) below, the beast that is being spoken of is the second beast, it is the antichrist, Jesus gives us an account of the power of antichrist, and what he will be doing:
Rev 13:11-1811 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb*1, and he spake as a dragon*2.
*1 two horns like a lamb = Christ is the True Lamb (don't let the horns throw you off, Lambs have horns). 
 spake as a dragon = He spoke like a dragon because he is the dragon. Satan is the dragon. You must understand that the book of Revelation is written from the aspect of the future looking backwardsSee Rev 1:10. Below we see some of satan's many names, but he has even more:
Rev 12:99 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, whichdeceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (KJV)
Rev 13:11-18 (Cont.)12 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 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (KJV)

 Found here

Of Hitchens and Revelations

It was no surprise that reactions to Christopher Hitchens’ book “God Is Not Great” (subtitle, “How Religion Poisons Everything”) were loud and partisan. The celebrity Rabbi Shmuley Boteach wrung his hands at this attack on religion, arguing that, “Without the Bible, how would we even know what good and evil are?” The Christian evangelist group Stand To Reason called Hitchens  “an arrogant, hateful man who isn’t ashamed to demean those, who by his own view, are not as advanced or gifted as he is.”  Atheists crowed, lauding the book as their anti-Bible.  When Hitchens developed terminal cancer,  Hitchens’  long-running polemics about religion (including his book-length debunking of Mother Teresa, which of course he titled “Missionary Position”) led to tedious questions and debates about whether Hitchens’ cancer might lead to a death-bed conversion or even, shamelessly, was a punishment from God.
It’s been five years since “God Is Not Great” was published. Hitchens has died without sacrament, and it’s past time for yet another review of the book. But, for what it’s worth, I thought ”God Is Not Great” was a hoot. I laughed. I cried. I crawled on my belly like a reptile.
Aw, c’mon.  Surely, Hitchens was having gleeful, cheeky fun when he wrote the book. Although the horrors that have been perpetrated in the name of religion are often dead serious, Hitch could not have believed he was making a serious argument.  Instead, he was having a lark with a mischievous and masterful recitation of all of the frauds, conceits, and hypocrisies that have undermined organized religion, weaving them together so tightly that he more or less gave the appearance that they are the sum total of religion.
Hitchens took insupportably absolute arguments – central among them that all religion must be a fraud because it has been so horribly corrupted by humans – and supported them with a dizzying inventory of horror stories, from the oppression of women in the Muslim world to Joseph Smith’s huckster “discovery” of the golden plates (thanks, Angel Moroni!) to the Spanish Inquisition. He took a contrarian’s delight in trotting out the history of how religion has become a surrogate for tribalism, violence, intolerance, and greed. One would think the subtitle of his book should have been “How Everything (that is, humans) Poisons Religion” rather than “How Religion Poisons Everything.”  The supposed topic of the book: Whether God (if there is one) is Great, is never addressed (other than perhaps by proxy, through the various tin-horn prophets and messiahs who claim to be divine).
Yet, How Humans Poison Religion is itself an intriguing topic. And, that is what I had in mind as I read Elaine Pagels’ book, “The Book of Revelation: Visions, Prophecy, and Politics in the Book of Revelation.”
“Revelation” is a history of the Book of Revelation:  Its origins, its meaning, and how it became part of the canonical Bible.  And, it is quite the story.
It should be no surprise that the story is entirely earthbound, rather than in any way divine.  About a century after Jesus, a fellow named John (no, not the apostle John), wrote Revelation on the island of Patmos off the coast of what is now Turkey.  Like self-decreed prophets before and after him, he declared that the writings had been revealed to him in a dazzling display of celestial hoo-hah.  And what a reveal!  Seven-headed leopard-like sea creatures!  Christ on a horse!  Lakes of fire!  Exploding mountains!  The fall of Babylon and the extermination of 2/3 of mankind!  And, of course, that odd Beast with the “number of a person,” 666.
The very human (and fascinating) side of the origin story is that Revelation is actually a thinly-veiled political allegory…sort of an “Animal Farm” for the toga set.  Babylon, it turns out, is Rome, and the sea creature’s seven heads are Rome’s seven past emperors.  “666” translates, in Jewish numerology, to Nero.  The great mountain exploding refers to the eruption of Vesuvius, which was still fresh in people’s minds, having occurred in 79 A.D.
So, what was this prehistoric “Animal Farm” meant to convey?  Says Pagels, John of Patmos was motivated by yet another tedious tribal conflict.  John, what you might call a Jew for Jesus, was warning the Gentiles what would befall them if they horned in on what was then (at least, in Asia Minor) a Jewish sect of followers of Christ.  Paul was at the time converting Gentiles to the fold, and they were allowed to join up without having to eat kosher or be circumsized.
At the same time, scores of other desert prophets were creating their own visions of an apocalyptic future…no doubt, to toot their own Shofars for the glory of their own tribes.  Heck, it’d been only a few hundred years since King Josiah bowdlerized the Jewish oral traditions, rewriting them so as to prove that his Kingdom of Judah were the chosen people whereas the Kingdom of Israel were rank sinners.  (We now call his creation The Old Testament).
So, how did John of Patmos’ outlandish and improbable book of prophecy become part of the Bible?  No surprise here.  Like Constantine, who adopted Christianity because he thought its god would be the most help to him in warring with other Roman factions; and like John of Patmos, who came up with the Book of Revelation as a diatribe against Gentiles following Jesus, the backer of the Book of Revelation saw a way to use the book for his own political ends.
Bishop (now Saint) Athanasius was a fourth-century bully whose self-righteous crusade was to define the Catholic church narrowly, and to save it from any writing that he considered heresy.  He wheedled.  He threatened.  He coerced.  And, after a time, he realized that old Patmos’ scary book could be repurposed.  The Book of Revelation, Athanasius insisted, was the story of what would happen to anyone who adopted the writings that Athanasius wanted excluded from the canon.
Hitchens would say that this all-too-human misuse of religion proves that religion is nothing but hokum, false promises, and oppression.  To dismiss religion for that reason is tempting, just as it is easy to dismiss religion because so much of it is so obviously created by self-interested hucksters, or to dismiss people because of their human foibles.  In fact, religion may deserve to be dismissed; but, to do so for Hitchens’ reasons is too facile, too easy.  For now, rock me, Anathasius.
Filed under Uncategorized

Know Your Heretics

Know Your Heretics seriesClick | View Series


Arius (256-336 A.D.) is the most famous heretic of Christian theology. He was born in Libya and died in Constantinople. Arius held a prominent position as a priest in the Church of Alexandria when he started a theological controversy in 318. Arius denied the eternal deity of Christ and his equality with the Father. He argued that Christ was created by the Father. Since the age of the Apostles, Jesus had always been considered divine by his followers, but his precise relation to the Godhead had not yet been defined. Thanks to Arius, the Trinitarian controversy regarding the status of Jesus Christ erupted.


Arius did not believe that the Father and the Son were of the same substance. Instead, he believed in the eternal functional and ontological subordination of the Son to the Father—that the Son was a lower being than the Father.According to Arius, the Son was created before time. In other words, he was not co-eternal with the Father. As he put it, “Before he was begotten or created or appointed or established, he did not exist; for he was not unbegotten” (Letter to Eusebius). Furthermore, the Son was not of one divine substance with the Father. He was rather of a similar substance with the Father (homoiousios). On this view, the divine qualities of the Son are given to him by the Father. Arius claimed that when the Scriptures speak of Jesus as the “Son” of God, it is merely a title of honor—a title given to Jesus as the one on whom the Father had lavished a special grace. Thus, Arius says, “He is not God truly, but by participation in grace…He too is called God in name only” (Early Christian Doctrines).


The theology of Arius became so controversial that Constantine intervened in 325, calling the Council of Nicaea. Athanasius, the leading defender of Nicene orthodoxy and the most prolific writer of orthodox Trinitarian doctrine in the fourth century, saw a major flaw in the writings of Arius and called his heresy the “forerunner of the Antichrist” (Athanasius, Or. Ar. 1:1).According to Athanasius, the Son was eternally begotten from the Father such that he can be said to be of the same essence (homoousios) with the Father: “The Son is other in kind and nature than the creatures, or rather belongs to the Father’s substance and is of the same nature as He.” (Athanasius, Contra Arianos, III).


There are some today who repeat Arius’ views. However, Jesus claimed to be God and the Christian tradition has held that there is an intimate connection between salvation and the deity of Christ. We are saved from God by God. Only a divine Savior can bear the weight of God’s wrath in atonement. Only Jesus as the God-man can satisfy the enormous debt and penalty caused by human sin against God. No mere human could bridge that gap. Only a divine Savior can pay the costly price of redeeming us from our bondage to sin and death. Only the God-man can conquer all his people’s enemies. Our salvation rests on the infinite capacities of our savior, Jesus Christ.

I find it difficult to believe that Christians were killing each other over the supposed difference of opinion between Arius and Athanasius. Mostly because it seems a pretty unchristian thing to do, and mainly because I can't imagine them getting that worked up over two opinions which can both quite easily, in light of the teachings of Jesus, be dismissed as being unimportant and nonsensical.

The opposing arguments generated between Arius and Athanasius might appear

unnecessarily divisive. Both arguments might appear to be at loggerheads with one another, but seem only to combine in a design which seeks to drive uncertainty and discord ....

On one hand Arius tells us Jesus is inferior to God, while Athanasius argues that the two are equal, but in-doing so, goes on to infer that the Holy Spirit must in someway be seperate from God and Jesus.

There was of course room for another opinion, and for all we know quite possibly wide-held at the time, that the beliefs of both Arius and Athanasius were unimportant, and nonsensical. I'd imagine that such an opinion at the time may well have been a dangerous one.

The Surprising Origins of the Trinity Doctrine

Few understand how the Trinity doctrine came to be accepted - several centuries after the Bible was completed! Yet its roots go back much farther in history. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Most people assume that everything that bears the label "Christian" must have originated with Jesus Christ and His early followers. But this is definitely not the case. All we have to do is look at the words of Jesus Christ and His apostles to see that this is clearly not true.
The historical record shows that, just as Jesus and the New Testament writers foretold, various heretical ideas and teachers rose up from within the early Church and infiltrated it from without. Christ Himself warned His followers: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name . . . and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5). You can read many similar warnings in other passages (such as Matthew 24:1Acts 20:29-302 Corinthians 11:13-152 Timothy 4:2-42 Peter 2:1-21 John 2:18-19, 26; 4:1-3).
Barely two decades after Christ's death and resurrection, the apostle Paul wrote that many believers were already "turning away . . . to a different gospel" (Galatians 1:6). He wrote that he was forced to contend with "false apostles, deceitful workers" who were fraudulently "transforming themselves into apostles of Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:13). One of the major problems he had to deal with was "false brethren" (verse 26).
By late in the first century, as we see from 3 John 9-10, conditions had grown so dire that false ministers openly refused to receive representatives of the apostle John and were excommunicating true Christians from the Church!
Of this troubling period Edward Gibbon, the famed historian, wrote in his classic work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire of a "dark cloud that hangs over the first age of the church" (1821, Vol. 2, p. 111).
It wasn't long before true servants of God became a marginalized and scattered minority among those calling themselves Christian. A very different religion, now compromised with many concepts and practices rooted in ancient paganism (such mixing of religious beliefs being known as syncretism, common in the Roman Empire at the time), took hold and transformed the faith founded by Jesus Christ.
Historian Jesse Hurlbut says of this time of transformation: "We name the last generation of the first century, from 68 to 100 A.D., 'The Age of Shadows,' partly because the gloom of persecution was over the church, but more especially because of all the periods in the [church's] history, it is the one about which we know the least. We have no longer the clear light of the Book of Acts to guide us; and no author of that age has filled the blank in the history . . .
"For fifty years after St. Paul's life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul" ( The Story of the Christian Church, 1970, p. 33).
This "very different" church would grow in power and influence, and within a few short centuries would come to dominate even the mighty Roman Empire!
By the second century, faithful members of the Church, Christ's "little flock" (Luke 12:32), had largely been scattered by waves of deadly persecution. They held firmly to the biblical truth about Jesus Christ and God the Father, though they were persecuted by the Roman authorities as well as those who professed Christianity but were in reality teaching "another Jesus" and a "different gospel" (2 Corinthians 11:4Galatians 1:6-9).

Different ideas about Christ's divinity lead to conflict

This was the setting in which the doctrine of the Trinity emerged. In those early decades after Jesus Christ's ministry, death and resurrection, and spanning the next few centuries, various ideas sprang up as to His exact nature. Was He man? Was He God? Was He God appearing as a man? Was He an illusion? Was He a mere man who became God? Was He created by God the Father, or did He exist eternally with the Father?
All of these ideas had their proponents. The unity of belief of the original Church was lost as new beliefs, many borrowed or adapted from pagan religions, replaced the teachings of Jesus and the apostles.
Let us be clear that when it comes to the intellectual and theological debates in those early centuries that led to the formulation of the Trinity, the true Church was largely absent from the scene, having been driven underground. (See the chapter "The Rise of a Counterfeit Christianity " in our free booklet The Church Jesus Built for an overview of this critical period.).
For this reason, in that stormy period we often see debates not between truth and error, but between one error and a different error— a fact seldom recognized by many modern scholars yet critical for our understanding.
A classic example of this was the dispute over the nature of Christ that led the Roman emperor Constantine the Great to convene the Council of Nicaea (in modern-day western Turkey) in A.D. 325.
Constantine, although held by many to be the first "Christian" Roman Emperor, was actually a sun-worshiper who was only baptized on his deathbed. During his reign he had his eldest son and his wife murdered. He was also vehemently anti-Semitic, referring in one of his edicts to "the detestable Jewish crowd" and "the customs of these most wicked men"—customs that were in fact rooted in the Bible and practiced by Jesus and the apostles.
As emperor in a period of great tumult within the Roman Empire, Constantine was challenged with keeping the empire unified. He recognized the value of religion in uniting his empire. This was, in fact, one of his primary motivations in accepting and sanctioning the "Christian" religion (which, by this time, had drifted far from the teachings of Jesus Christ and the apostles and was Christian in name only).
But now Constantine faced a new challenge. Religion researcher Karen Armstrong explains in A History of God that "one of the first problems that had to be solved was the doctrine of God . . . a new danger arose from within which split Christians into bitterly warring camps" (1993, p. 106).

Debate over the nature of God at the Council of Nicaea

Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea in the year 325 as much for political reasons—for unity in the empire—as religious ones. The primary issue at that time came to be known as the Arian controversy.
"In the hope of securing for his throne the support of the growing body of Christians he had shown them considerable favor and it was to his interest to have the church vigorous and united. The Arian controversy was threatening its unity and menacing its strength. He therefore undertook to put an end to the trouble. It was suggested to him, perhaps by the Spanish bishop Hosius, who was influential at court, that if a synod were to meet representing the whole church both east and west, it might be possible to restore harmony.
"Constantine himself of course neither knew nor cared anything about the matter in dispute but he was eager to bring the controversy to a close, and Hosius' advice appealed to him as sound" (Arthur Cushman McGiffert, A History of Christian Thought, 1954, Vol. 1, p. 258).
Arius, a priest from Alexandria, Egypt, taught that Christ, because He was the Son of God, must have had a beginning and therefore was a special creation of God. Further, if Jesus was the Son, the Father of necessity must be older.
Opposing the teachings of Arius was Athanasius, a deacon also from Alexandria. His view was an early form of Trinitarianism wherein the Father, Son and Holy Spirit were one but at the same time distinct from each other.
The decision as to which view the church council would accept was to a large extent arbitrary. Karen Armstrong explains in A History of God: "When the bishops gathered at Nicaea on May 20, 325, to resolve the crisis, very few would have shared Athanasius's view of Christ. Most held a position midway between Athanasius and Arius" (p. 110).
As emperor, Constantine was in the unusual position of deciding church doctrine even though he was not really a Christian. (The following year is when he had both his wife and son murdered, as previously mentioned).
Historian Henry Chadwick attests, "Constantine, like his father, worshipped the Unconquered Sun" ( The Early Church, 1993, p. 122). As to the emperor's embrace of Christianity, Chadwick admits, "His conversion should not be interpreted as an inward experience of grace . . . It was a military matter. His comprehension of Christian doctrine was never very clear" (p. 125).
Chadwick does say that Constantine's deathbed baptism itself "implies no doubt about his Christian belief," it being common for rulers to put off baptism to avoid accountability for things like torture and executing criminals (p. 127). But this justification doesn't really help the case for the emperor's conversion being genuine.
Norbert Brox, a professor of church history, confirms that Constantine was never actually a converted Christian: "Constantine did not experience any conversion; there are no signs of a change of faith in him. He never said of himself that he had turned to another god . . . At the time when he turned to Christianity, for him this was Sol Invictus (the victorious sun god)" ( A Concise History of the Early Church, 1996, p. 48).
When it came to the Nicene Council, The Encyclopaedia Britannica states: "Constantine himself presided, actively guiding the discussions, and personally proposed . . . the crucial formula expressing the relation of Christ to God in the creed issued by the council . . . Overawed by the emperor, the bishops, with two exceptions only, signed the creed, many of them much against their inclination" (1971 edition, Vol. 6, "Constantine," p. 386).
With the emperor's approval, the Council rejected the minority view of Arius and, having nothing definitive with which to replace it, approved the view of Athanasius—also a minority view. The church was left in the odd position of officially supporting, from that point forward, the decision made at Nicaea to endorse a belief held by only a minority of those attending.
The groundwork for official acceptance of the Trinity was now laid—but it took more than three centuries after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for this unbiblical teaching to emerge!

Nicene decision didn't end the debate

The Council of Nicaea did not end the controversy. Karen Armstrong explains: "Athanasius managed to impose his theology on the delegates . . . with the emperor breathing down their necks . . .
"The show of agreement pleased Constantine, who had no understanding of the theological issues, but in fact there was no unanimity at Nicaea. After the council, the bishops went on teaching as they had before, and the Arian crisis continued for another sixty years. Arius and his followers fought back and managed to regain imperial favor. Athanasius was exiled no fewer than five times. It was very difficult to make his creed stick" (pp. 110-111).
The ongoing disagreements were at times violent and bloody. Of the aftermath of the Council of Nicaea, noted historian Will Durant writes, "Probably more Christians were slaughtered by Christians in these two years (342-3) than by all the persecutions of Christians by pagans in the history of Rome" ( The Story of Civilization, Vol. 4: The Age of Faith, 1950, p. 8). Atrociously, while claiming to be Christian many believers fought and slaughtered one another over their differing views of God!
Of the following decades, Professor Harold Brown, cited earlier, writes: "During the middle decades of this century, from 340 to 380, the history of doctrine looks more like the history of court and church intrigues and social unrest . . . The central doctrines hammered out in this period often appear to have been put through by intrigue or mob violence rather than by the common consent of Christendom led by the Holy Spirit" (p. 119).

Debate shifts to the nature of the Holy Spirit

Disagreements soon centered around another issue, the nature of the Holy Spirit. In that regard, the statement issued at the Council of Nicaea said simply, "We believe in the Holy Spirit." This "seemed to have been added to Athanasius's creed almost as an afterthought," writes Karen Armstrong. "People were confused about the Holy Spirit. Was it simply a synonym for God or was it something more?" (p. 115).
Professor Ryrie, also cited earlier,writes, "In the second half of the fourth century, three theologians from the province of Cappadocia in eastern Asia Minor [today central Turkey] gave definitive shape to the doctrine of the Trinity" (p. 65). They proposed an idea that was a step beyond Athanasius' view—that God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit were coequal and together in one being, yet also distinct from one another.
These men—Basil, bishop of Caesarea, his brother Gregory, bishop of Nyssa, and Gregory of Nazianzus—were all "trained in Greek philosophy" (Armstrong, p. 113), which no doubt affected their outlook and beliefs (see "Greek Philosophy's Influence on the Trinity Doctrine," beginning on page 14).
In their view, as Karen Armstrong explains, "the Trinity only made sense as a mystical or spiritual experience . . . It was not a logical or intellectual formulation but an imaginative paradigm that confounded reason. Gregory of Nazianzus made this clear when he explained that contemplation of the Three in One induced a profound and overwhelming emotion that confounded thought and intellectual clarity.
"'No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Three than I am carried back into the One. When I think of any of the Three, I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me'" (p. 117). Little wonder that, as Armstrong concludes, "For many Western Christians . . . the Trinity is simply baffling" (ibid.).

Ongoing disputes lead to the Council of Constantinople

In the year 381, 44 years after Constantine's death, Emperor Theodosius the Great convened the Council of Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey) to resolve these disputes. Gregory of Nazianzus, recently appointed as archbishop of Constantinople, presided over the council and urged the adoption of his view of the Holy Spirit.
Historian Charles Freeman states: "Virtually nothing is known of the theological debates of the council of 381, but Gregory was certainly hoping to get some acceptance of his belief that the Spirit was consubstantial with the Father [meaning that the persons are of the same being, as substance in this context denotes individual quality].
"Whether he dealt with the matter clumsily or whether there was simply no chance of consensus, the 'Macedonians,' bishops who refused to accept the full divinity of the Holy Spirit, left the council . . . Typically, Gregory berated the bishops for preferring to have a majority rather than simply accepting 'the Divine Word' of the Trinity on his authority" (A.D. 381: Heretics, Pagans and the Dawn of the Monotheistic State, 2008, p. 96).
Gregory soon became ill and had to withdraw from the council. Who would preside now? "So it was that one Nectarius, an elderly city senator who had been a popular prefect in the city as a result of his patronage of the games, but who was still not a baptized Christian, was selected . . . Nectarius appeared to know no theology, and he had to be initiated into the required faith before being baptized and consecrated" (Freeman, pp. 97-98).
Bizarrely, a man who up to this point wasn't a Christian was appointed to preside over a major church council tasked with determining what it would teach regarding the nature of God!

The Trinity becomes official doctrine

The teaching of the three Cappadocian theologians "made it possible for the Council of Constantinople (381) to affirm the divinity of the Holy Spirit, which up to that point had nowhere been clearly stated, not even in Scripture" ( The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, "God," p. 568).
The council adopted a statement that translates into English as, in part: "We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages . . . And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets . . ." The statement also affirmed belief "in one holy, catholic [meaning in this context universal, whole or complete] and apostolic Church . . ."
With this declaration in 381, which would become known as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the Trinity as generally understood today became the official belief and teaching concerning the nature of God.
Theology professor Richard Hanson observes that a result of the council's decision "was to reduce the meanings of the word 'God' from a very large selection of alternatives to one only," such that "when Western man today says 'God' he means the one, sole exclusive [Trinitarian] God and nothing else" ( Studies in Christian Antiquity, 1985,pp. 243-244).
Thus, Emperor Theodosius—who himself had been baptized only a year before convening the council—was, like Constantine nearly six decades earlier, instrumental in establishing major church doctrine. As historian Charles Freeman notes: "It is important to remember that Theodosius had no theological background of his own and that he put in place as dogma a formula containing intractable philosophical problems of which he would have been unaware. In effect, the emperor's laws had silenced the debate when it was still unresolved" (p. 103).

Other beliefs about the nature of God banned

Now that a decision had been reached, Theodosius would tolerate no dissenting views. He issued his own edict that read: "We now order that all churches are to be handed over to the bishops who profess Father, Son and Holy Spirit of a single majesty, of the same glory, of one splendor, who establish no difference by sacrilegious separation, but (who affirm) the order of the Trinity by recognizing the Persons and uniting the Godhead" (quoted by Richard Rubenstein, When Jesus Became God, 1999, p. 223).
Another edict from Theodosius went further in demanding adherence to the new teaching: "Let us believe the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles [assemblies] the name of churches.
"They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation, and the second the punishment which our authority, in accordance with the will of Heaven, shall decide to inflict" (reproduced in Documents of the Christian Church, Henry Bettenson, editor, 1967, p. 22).
Thus we see that a teaching that was foreign to Jesus Christ, never taught by the apostles and unknown to the other biblical writers, was locked into place and the true biblical revelation about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit was locked out. Any who disagreed were, in accordance with the edicts of the emperor and church authorities, branded heretics and dealt with accordingly.

Trinity doctrine decided by trial and error

This unusual chain of events is why theology professors Anthony and Richard Hanson would summarize the story in their book Reasonable Belief: A Survey of the Christian Faithby noting that the adoption of the Trinity doctrine came as a result of "a process of theological exploration which lasted at least three hundred years . . . In fact it was a process of trial and error (almost of hit and miss), in which the error was by no means all confined to the unorthodox . . . It would be foolish to represent the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as having been achieved by any other way" (1980, p. 172).
They then conclude: "This was a long, confused, process whereby different schools of thought in the Church worked out for themselves, and then tried to impose on others, their answer to the question, 'How divine is Jesus Christ?' . . . If ever there was a controversy decided by the method of trial and error, it was this one" (p. 175).
Anglican churchman and Oxford University lecturer K.E. Kirk revealingly writes of the adoption of the doctrine of the Trinity: "The theological and philosophical vindication of the divinity of the Spirit begins in the fourth century; we naturally turn to the writers of that period to discover what grounds they have for their belief. To our surprise, we are forced to admit that they have none . . .
"This failure of Christian theology .   .   . to produce logical justification of the cardinal point in its trinitarian doctrine is of the greatest possible significance. We are forced, even before turning to the question of the vindication of the doctrine by experience, to ask ourselves whether theology or philosophy has ever produced any reasons why its belief should be Trinitarian" ("The Evolution of the Doctrine of the Trinity," published inEssays on the Trinity and the Incarnation, A.E.J. Rawlinson, editor, 1928, pp. 221-222).

Why believe a teaching that isn't biblical?

This, in brief, is the amazing story of how the doctrine of the Trinity came to be introduced—and how those who refused to accept it came to be branded as heretics or unbelievers.
But should we really base our view of God on a doctrine that isn't spelled out in the Bible, that wasn't formalized until three centuries after the time of Jesus Christ and the apostles, that was debated and argued for decades (not to mention for centuries since), that was imposed by religious councils presided over by novices or nonbelievers and that was "decided by the method of trial and error"?
Of course not. We should instead look to the Word of God—not to ideas of men—to see how our Creator reveals Himself!