FRIDAY MORNING MANNA
Biblical Numerology: NUMBER SEVEN
God’s reveal: it’s the System, not the People
QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“It is more palatable to human nature to do penance than to renounce sin.”
– Ellen G. White, 4SOP 383.
Are you finding yourself somehow attracted to the bigly distractions of political theater and stunts sweeping across America? Do you find some kind of a twisted, guilty pleasure of watching and listening to the “sounds of war” in both sophisticated and blatant lying, accusations and denials causing confusion that appear to rule the day? Have you become a political junkie of sorts? Then wake up, stay awake, and “watch unto prayer.” While “all kinds of make and models” of end-time distractions are being churned up, the prophesied climax of the great controversy between Christ and Satan is soon to turn the corner.
“‘They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.’ Matt. 23: 4, K.J.V.
Webster’s Dictionary, Student’s Edition (1976), defines Papacy as referring to four things combined: “The position or authority of the pope; the period during which the pope rules; the line of or succession of popes; the government of the Roman Catholic Church, headed by the pope.”
Please keep the following in mind, moving forward on this vital and sensitive subject: “Catholic” simply means universal, and church, from the Greek eklessia –“the called out ones”—are the people, “the living host of worshippers,” not the venerated, adored, and sadly, worshipped lifeless structures called ‘”temple,” “sanctuary,” mosque, cathedral, the church (building), etc. .
Folks, it’s the system, not the people! Focus on the SYSTEM, its ism, its teachings, practices institutions, in this context, referred to as ROMANISM.
In the Old Testament times Israel’s and Judah’s apostasies invariably centered on worship, too, that is, of the powerful, wealthy yet heathen nations that peopled the earthly promised land, Canaan. As a nation, ancient Israel of twelve tribes was “chosen” by the Omnipotent to preserve the knowledge of the true God and Creator, and His law, and to herald the coming of the promised “seed,” the Messiah who would come through them, specifically through the kingly tribe (Judah) of David. Hence, Jesus was also called “the Son of David even in the New Testament times. Through Moses, ancient Israel was delivered by God by a series of dramatic miracles from Egyptian bondage, both literally and spiritually. As slaves in the latter half of their 430-year ingress into this first haughty, atheistical world empire, they could not worship God, as their forefathers did, as God required. They had no religious liberty to worship God according to dictates of conscience, not through the enforcement of.
Thus properly anchored, let none waver and yield to the subtle temptation to withhold this vital body of truth and information by concerns over “alienating” any one. It is a given in the gospel message and work that increasing attempts will be made to mischaracterize the intents and motives of all who work in Christ’s lines.
We now proceed to quote the following vital excerpts from Spirit of Prophecy, Vol. 4 of the Conflict of the Ages series (1884) Chapter XXX originally titled, Character and Aims of the Papacy but re-titled “The Roman Church” in the popular 1911 edition: (all emphasis supplied):
“Romanism is now [written in 1884 and onward] regarded by Protestants with far greater favor than in former years. There is an increasing indifference concerning the doctrines that separate the reformed churches from the papal hierarchy ; the opinion is gaining ground that, after all, we do not differ so widely upon vital points as has been supposed, and that a little concession on our part will bring us into a better understanding with Rome. The time was when Protestants placed a high value upon the liberty of conscience which has been so dearly purchased [in the self-sacrificing, truth-preserving lives and blood of the true martyrs]. They taught their children to abhor popery, and held that to remain at peace with Rome [“pax Romana”] would be disloyalty to God. But how widely different are the sentiments now expressed.
“The defenders of popery declare that she has been maligned; and the Protestant world is inclined to accept the statement. Many urge that it is unjust to judge the Romish Church of to-day by the abominations and absurdities that marked her reign during the centuries of ignorance and darkness [the Dark Ages, 538-1798]. They excuse her horrible cruelty as the result of the barbarism of the times, and plead that civilization has changed her sentiments.
“Have these persons forgotten the claim of infallibility for eight hundred years put forth by this haughty power? So far from relinquishing this claim, the church in the nineteenth century has affirmed it with greater positiveness than ever before. As Rome asserts that she has never erred, and never can err [because of their doctrine of claimed infallibility] how can she renounce the principles which governed her course in past ages?
“The papal church, will never relinquish her claim to infallibility. All that she has done in her persecution of those who reject her dogmas, she holds to be right; and would she not repeat the same acts, should the opportunity be presented? Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed, and Rome re-instated in her former power [as in the Dark Ages], and there would be speedily a revival of her tyranny and persecution.
“It is true that there are real Christians in the Roman Catholic communion [community]. Thousands in that church are serving God according to the best light they have. They are not allowed access to His word, and therefore the do not discern the truth. they have never seen the contrast between a living heart-service and a round of mere forms and ceremonies. But God looks with pitying tenderness upon these souls, educated as they are in a faith that is delusive and unsatisfying. He will cause rays of light to penetrate the dense darkness that surrounds them. He will reveal to them the truth as it is in Jesus [ ], and they will yet take their position with His people.
“But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history. The Protestant churches are in great darkness, or they would discern the signs of the times. The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation. She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground in our country upon every side [Remember: it is the system, not the people]. Look at her colleges and seminaries, so widely patronized by Protestants. These things should awaken the anxiety of all who prize the pure principles of the gospel.
“Protestants have tampered with and patronized popery; they have made compromises and concessions which papists themselves are surprised to see, and fail to understand [because they are ignorant of specific end-time prophecies revealing that such would happen] Men are closing their eyes to real character of Romanism, and the dangers to be apprehended from her supremacy. The people of our land need to be aroused to resist the advances of this most dangerous foe to civil and religious liberty.”
NOTE: So it isn’t ISIS, al-Queda, Taliban, Russia, Iran, Assad’s Syria, Islam’s sharia law, all kinds and manner of “terrorists” or “terrorism,” global warming, dooms-day fear of a nuclear “third world war,” an asteroid hitting earth causing a brief “ice age”– that are America’s greatest threats. Rather, it is Romanism with its doctrines, papal system, and its now-in-the-open global agenda that is the greatest threat to America’s two firm foundations and secret of its unparalleled prosperity and power since its birth as a nation: civil and religious liberties.
“Many suppose that the Catholic religion is unattractive, and that its worship is a dull, stupid round of ceremony. Here they mistake. While Romanism is based upon deception, it is not a course and clumsy imposture. The religious service of the Romish Church is a most impressive ceremonial. Its gorgeous display and solemn rites fascinate the senses of the people, and silence the voice of reason and of conscience. The eye is charmed. Magnificent churches, imposing processions, golden altars, jeweled shrines, choice paintings, and exquisite sculptures appeal to the love of beauty. The ear is also captivated. There is nothing to excel the music. The rich notes of the deep-toned organ, blending with the melody of many voices as it swells through the lofty domes and pillared aisles of her grand cathedrals, cannot fail to impress the mind with awe and reverence
The System’s outward beauty, splendor, pomp, and ceremony in contrast to the simple, inward beauty of holiness of the religion of Christ
“The outward splendor, pomp, and ceremony, that only mocks the longings of the sin-sick soul, is anevidence of inward corruption. The religion of Christ needs not such attractions to recommend it. In the light shining forth from the cross, true Christianity appear so pure and lovely that its external decorations only hide its true worth. It is the beauty of holiness, a meek and quiet spirit, which is of value to God [1 Pet. 3: 3, 4].
“Brilliancy of style is not an index of pure, elevated thought. The highest conceptions of art, the most delicately refinement of taste, often spring from minds wholly earthly and sensual. They are often employed by Satan to lead men to forget the necessities of the soul, to lose sight of the future, immortal life, to turn away from their Infinite Helper, and to live for this world alone.
“A religion of externals is attractive to the unrenewed heart. The pomp and ceremony of Catholic worship have a seductive, bewitching power by which many are deceived; and the come to look upon the Roman Church as the very gate of Heaven. None are proof against her influence but those who have planted their feet firmly upon the foundation of truth, and whose hearts are renewed by the Spirit of God. Thousands who have not an experimental knowledge of Christ will be swept into this deception.
“A form of godliness without the power is just what they desire. The Romanist feels at liberty to sin, because the church claims the right to pardon. To him who loves self-indulgence, it is more pleasing to confess to a fellow mortal than to open the soul to God. It is more palatable to human nature to do penance than to renounce sin. It is easier to mortify the flesh by sackcloth and nettles and galling chains than to crucify fleshly lusts. Heavy is the yoke which the carnal heart is willing to bear rather than bow to the yoke of Christ[Matt. 11: 28-30].
As the Jews were to the law so the Romanists are to the cross
“There is a striking similarity between the church of Rome and the Jewish church at the time of Christ’s first advent. While the Jews secretly trampled upon every principle of the law of God [as exemplified by the self-righteous Pharisees], they were outwardly rigorous in the observance of its precepts, loading it down with exactions and traditions that made obedience painful and burdensome. As the Jews profess to revere the law, so do Romanists claim reverence to the cross. They exalt the symbol of Christ’s sufferings, while in their lives they deny Him who it represents.
“Papists place crosses upon their churches, upon their altars, and upon their garments. Everywhere is seen the insignia of the cross. Everywhere it is outwardly honored and exalted. But the teachings of Christ are buried beneath a mass of senseless traditions, false interpretations, and rigorous exactions. The Savior’s words concerning the bigoted Jews apply with still greater force to the Romish leaders. ‘They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.’ Matt. 23: 4, K.J.V. Conscientious souls are kept in constant terror, fearing the wrath of and offended God, while the dignitaries of the church are living in luxury and sensual pleasure. [These revolting irony collided in Martin Luther’s mind when he saw Rome!]. “
(To be continued next week).