In the last post, we began looking at the history of the Church in the 6th Dispensation from the perspective of the seven letters Jesus dictated to seven churches in Asia Minor.
Generally, in each letter, Jesus gives the church a commendation and an area for improvement. He tells them how they will be judged if they don’t improve, and ends the letter with a promise of reward to the “overcomers”. When examined in the order presented, I believe the letters outline the history of the Church in advance.
We looked at the first two letters last time, and noted how Satan unsuccessfully attempted to destroy Christianity through intimidation, false doctrine, and physical persecution. Those two letters conform with the first 300 years of Christianity – from the time of Jesus’ Resurrection, through the 3rd century A.D.
In this post, we will examine the third letter that was sent to the church in Pergamos and see how Satan used the next weapon in his arsenal – the Mystics.
Report card on Pergamos – Married to the Mystics
In the letter, Jesus commended the church for “holding fast to His name” even though they were in close proximity to Satan’s earthly seat of power. However, he noted that some of them embraced the “doctrine of Balaam”. Balaam was a prophet during the time of the Law who betrayed God and compromised with the world for money and power.
Jesus also accused them of holding the doctrine of the Nicolaitans (who we identified in the last post as Mystics). It looks like the false prophets that were rejected by the Ephesian church in the first letter were embraced by Pergamos!
So it would seem that the problem Pergamos had was compromise with Mystics. Interestingly, the name Pergamos is translated as “undesirable marriage”. Pergamos is the church that “married” the world. Historically, Pergamos corresponds with the “Medieval Church” – from the 4th century through the 9th century A.D.
The “conversion” of Constantine
How did the Church go from being the object of persecution by the world to being its partner? It all started with and very interesting Roman Emperor named Constantine.
The Roman Empire reached its zenith during the second century, after which it began to decline due to internal corruption, a lack of national cohesion due to an influx of disparate cultures, an unsustainable economy, over taxation, bloated government bureaucracy, and external threats from barbaric zealots in other countries who despised the Romans for their lavish lifestyle. All the while, the Roman citizens were too intoxicated by their largess, entertainment, and perceived invincibility to care. (Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?)
All the while, the Roman citizens were too intoxicated by their largess, entertainment, and perceived invincibility to care. (Sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it?)
In 312 AD, before the Battle of Milvian Bridge where Constantine would stage his final campaign against a rival emperor, Constantine claimed the he saw the sign of the Cross and the words “in this sign conquer”. He won the battle, united the empire, and consolidated his power.
This event allegedly led to Constantine becoming a Christian. As such, he enacted several unprecedented reforms. He legalized Christianity and ended the persecutions. He favored Christians at court, gave Christian leaders prominent positions in the government, and convened the Council of Nicaea.
He also forbade work on Sundays (which was a big deal for the many slaves in the empire,) and had many significant church edifices built – including the “Church of the Holy Sepulcher” at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb.
Additionally (and significantly) Constantine named himself the head of the Church as its chief pontiff (priest) or “Pontifex Maximus” (emperors are not generally known for their humility).
Piety or politics?
The reign of Constantine definitely brought a great deal of relief to the early Church and drastically improved their lives, but there are valid reasons to question the veracity of his conversion.
Constantine didn’t just legalize Christianity; he legalized ALL the religions of the various cultures in Rome. Also, the title of Pontifex Maximus was claimed by previous Roman Emperors not only as the head of the pagan priesthood, but as a “god” above all the other gods!
Many historians (Christian and secular) believe that Constantine was a very savvy politician who saw religious tolerance as a way to ease the tensions and bring unity to the fractured empire.
He likely found Christianity to be the most tolerable and least offensive faith to openly embrace due to the piety and humility of its followers – and the fact that the population of Christians in the empire was growing rapidly.
Whatever his reasons, Constantine’s rule allowed Christians to come out of the catacombs and enjoy a heretofore unprecedented level of social acceptance. Unfortunately, the seeds of compromise had been sowed and would quickly grow into corruption.
History’s most pervasive (religious) parasites
In the letter to Pergamos, Jesus said they dwelled where “Satan’s throne” was. As we’ve seen before, Satan and his minions are the spiritual force behind the world’s governments, and Pergamos was briefly the Roman capital in Asia Minor. And wherever Satan’s seat of power happens to be (or any seat of power for that matter), you can be sure to find the Mystics.
Mystics always follow the power. Semaramis first cultivated the mystics when Nimrod ruled the world in the 3rd Dispensation. They created the original pagan pantheon of “gods” – Nimrod, Semaramis, and their son Tammuz.
When the power moved to the Egyptian Empire, so did the Mystics, and the pantheon was renamed Osiris, Isis, and Horus to fit the culture. When Assyria, Babylon, and Persia took power, the Mystics went there and the pantheon took on the names Dagon, Baal, Molech, Astarte, Ishtar, Zororaster, etc. With the Greek empire, the migrating Mystics changed the pantheon to Zeus, Aphrodite, Dionysus, and others.
When the Mystics followed the power to Rome, the gods became Jupiter, Venus, and the Roman pantheon.
In each case, the Mystics would absorb some of the native mythology and culture into their dogma, but they would always keep and promote some version of the king/father (Nimrod), the queen/mother-goddess (Semaramis), and their divine offspring (Tammuz) as a key part of their doctrine.
More power, more problems
After Constantine died, his immediate successors went back and forth between embracing his edicts on Christianity and trying to overturn them. But it was his fourth successor Theodosius who made the marriage between the Church and the world complete.
In 380 AD, Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of Rome and outlawed all pagan worship as heretical. This presented the Church leaders with opportunities and problems. After centuries of being persecuted outcasts, the church now had the power of the Roman throne behind them!
However Theodosius’ decrees resulted in church buildings being flooded with throngs of unrepentant pagans and mystics who were forced to tacitly accept Christianity under penalty of law.
Mystics to the “rescue”
How would church leaders deal with their new “members” – many of whom were openly hostile to Christianity and had no desire to give up paganism? As expected, the Mystics used this situation as a means to ingratiate themselves with the new, powerful Church through religious compromise.
The Mystics advised the church leaders to simply adopt their operational method of assimilation – nominally merging Christianity with paganism by clothing the pagan gods and practices in Christian trappings!
The idea was that this would make the transition to Christianity easier for the pagans. And eventually, as they became true converts and fully adopted Christianity, the pagan elements could be eliminated.
Thus Nimrod, Semaramis, and Tammuz became the primary “Christian” pantheon of “God the father”, “The Virgin Mary” (the holy mother), and “Jesus” the divine son!
The various and sundry pagan gods of harvest, luck, strength, love, protection, and whatnot, became “saints”, such as Peter, Paul, John, Thomas, and whoever else the Mystics decided to throw in.
We wish you a Merry Saturnalia
The various pagan ceremonies and festivals were also “Christianized”. One such festival that exemplifies this merger is the celebration we call Christmas, which is a Christianized version of a popular pagan holiday centered on the sun god, contemporarily known as “Sol Invictus” (basically Nimrod again).
At the time of the winter solstice (December 21st) the Sun was at its lowest point in the daytime sky. It would stay at this low level for three more days, and then began to rise gradually until it reached it’s highest point at the summer solstice.
The pagan tradition is that the sun “died” on the 21st, stayed dead for three days, then “god’s sun” was reborn on December 25th.
Its pretty easy to see how this was adopted by the church by replacing “Sun” with “Son”. And the celebration became a mass for Christ (or Christ-mass). One popular pagan tradition from this celebration was to take a large log called the Yule (the ancient Chaldean word for “child”) and burn it in a fireplace on December 21st, let the ashes lay there for three days, and then replace the log with an evergreen tree decked with gold and silver to celebrate life (sound familiar?). Here’s what God thinks of that practice.
And as expected, many of our other Christmas traditions such as mistletoe, wreaths, gift exchanges, etc. are also from paganism.
Never mind that Christians were never told to commemorate Jesus’ birth or that He clearly was not born in December (He would have frozen to death in a barn in the middle of winter in Judea).
For some festivals, they didn’t even bother changing the name. The spring sex and fertility rites of Ishtar (Semaramis), complete with the fertility symbols of rabbits and eggs, were grafted in to the commemoration of Christ’s resurrection. Easter is the slightly transliterated name of Ishtar.
But why would the church leaders voluntarily go along with such a blatant corruption of their faith? They became comfortable with their new position!
The church leaders enjoyed not being persecuted (who wouldn’t), but more pertinently, they began to love and covet their newly gained power and were willing to compromise themselves to avoid losing it!
The reason that the church grew and flourished during the persecutions is because they were forced by circumstance to rely completely on God for their day to day survival and sustenance. They didn’t cling to their earthly lives, because there was nothing appealing about it. So they focused on God and the true Meaning of Life.
However as they gained status in the empire, they no longer needed God’s constant protection and provision, and their earthly lives became pleasurable.
Playing a losing game
Man’s nature and tendency toward comparative thinking eventually led the Church away from God and into the waiting arms of the Mystics. The Mystics enthralled the Church leaders into playing a game in which they were thoroughly outmatched. Over the centuries, the Mystics had perfected the art and strategy of conquest through infiltration.
The church leaders didn’t stand a chance.
There is no compromise with evil that can result in good. The Mystics knew this. The Christians didn’t.
The Mystics knew that once introduced, the corruption wouldn’t be eliminated; just the opposite – it would fester and grow until it infected the very fabric of Church doctrine and became entrenched in church tradition (raise your hand if you put up a Christmas tree last year).
As is their method, once the Mystics gained a foothold in the Church, they began to dominate it. The pagan mystics of Rome became the priests, bishops, and cardinals of the church.
Sure they replaced some of their pagan symbols with crosses, nominally invoked the name of Jesus in their rituals, and put halos and angel’s wings on their idols, but for all intents and purposes they essentially continued practicing the mysticism of ancient Babel as they had done since the days of Nimrod and Semaramis.
And thus “Christianity” became a religion.
In case it hasn’t become clear, the religion I am referring to is what became known as Roman Catholicism.
Catholicism is the blend of Christian doctrine and pagan practices that began with Constantine and endures to this day. The religion of Catholicism pretty much epitomizes everything I’ve written about Religion and Mystics in this blog (I told you this post would be controversial!)
The Church at Pergamos was commended for holding on to Christ in spite of their proximity to Satan’s throne. But the corruption that had taken hold in the Church grew exponentially until it became the gargantuan, mystic-driven, pseudo-Christian theocracy that would come to dominate most of the world for over a millennium.
In the next post, we will look at the fourth letter from Jesus written to the Church at Thyatira, which chronicles the rule of the “Christian Mystics”. We will explore the far reaching impact on the world and the Church, and why this organization will endure through the end of the 6th Dispensation… and is promised a terrible fate. Next time.
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