“Rome Versus The Bible. After the Church had fallen from its apostolic purity of life and doctrine, it found that, where the Bible was read by the common people, they lost faith in the Church and opposed her worship as a species of idolatry. This was particularly true of the Waldenses, who had retained the Bible in their native language hundreds of years before the Reformation, and had copied and spread its pages over Catholic Christendom, wherever their missionaries traveled. It was natural, therefore, that the Roman Church, instead of supplying the common people with the Scriptures in their native tongue, should oppose this.
“Cardinal Merry del Val says that on account of the activity of the Waldenses, and later of the Protestants, in spreading the Scriptures in the native language of the people, ‘the Pontiffs and the Councils were obliged on more than one occasion to control and sometimes even forbid the use of the Bible in the vernacular.’
“He also says: ‘Those who would put the Scriptures indiscriminately into the hands of the people are the believers always in private interpretation—a fallacy both absurd in itself and pregnant with disastrous consequences. These counterfeit champions of the inspired book hold the Bible to be the sole source of Divine Revelation and cover with abuse and trite sarcasm the Catholic and Roman Church.’ –‘Index of Prohibited Books, revised and published by order f His Holiness Pope Pius XI,’ “Foreword by Cardinal Merry del Val, pp. x, xi. Vatican Polyglot Press, 1930.
“These plain words from such an authentic source need no comment. Ever since the first ‘Index of Prohibited Books’ was issued by Pope Paul IV, in 1599, the Bible has had a prominent place in this list of forbidden books. And, before the invention of printing, it was comparatively easy for the Roman Church to control what the people should, or should not, read; but shortly before the Reformation started, the Lord prepared the way for its rapid progress by the discovery of the art of printing. The name of Laurence Coster, of Holland, is often mentioned in connection with the story of the first production in Europe, in 1423; of a moveable type. In 1450 to 1455 John Gutenberg printed the Latin Bible in Mentx (Mainz), Germany. He endeavored for a time to keep his invention a secret, but Samuel Smiles relates:
‘In the meanwhile, the printing establishments of Gutenberg and Schoeffer were for a time broken up by the sack and plunder of the Mentz by Archbishop Adolphus in 1463, when, their workmen becoming dispersed, and being no longer bound to secrecy, they shortly after carried with them the invention of the new art nearly into every country in Europe.’ –‘The Huguenots,’ p. 7. London: John Murray, 1888.
“There being so few books to print, and there be being a ready sale for Bibles, the printers risked all hazards from the opposition of he Church, and printed Bibles in Latin, Italian, Bohemian, Dutch, French, Spanish, and German. While these were so expensive
that only the wealthy could afford to buy them, and their language was not adapted to the minds of the common people, yet they ‘seriously alarmed the Church; and in 1486 the Archbishop of Mentz placed the printers of the city, which had been the cradle of the printing-press, under strict censorship . Twenty-five years later, Pope Alexander VI issued a Bull prohibiting the printers of Cologne, Metnz, Trevez, and Magdeburg, from publishing any books without the express license of their archbishops. Although these measures were directed against printing of religious works generally, they were more particularly directed against the publication of the Scriptures in the vulgar [common] tongue.’ – Id., p. 8. ; Facts of Faith, pp. 10, 11.
How the pope’s claim to God’s vicegerent was almost universally acknowledged
“For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with authority over church and state.”- Great Controversy (1911), p. 51.
NOTES:(All emphasis mine) : “The Beast With Ten Horns. John ‘saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns.’ Rev. 13: 1. The fact that it had ‘ten horns,’ the same as the fourth beast of Dan. 7: 23, 24, identifies it as the Roman power (see pages 34, 35 of this book). The next question to settle will be whether this is Rome in its pagan or papal state. The ten horns represent the ten European kingdoms into which the Roman Empire was divided between A.D. 351 and 476. On this beast the horns are crowned (Rev. 13: 1) showing that the empire had been divided, and the rulers of those ten kingdoms were already crowned. (Compare Rev. 12:3.) But the Roman Empire became Christianized (Catholic) long before it was divided. The beast of Rev. 13: 1-10 therefore represents papal Rome. The dragon with ten horns (Rev. 12: 3), which represents pagan Rome, gave to the beast [three things] ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority.’ Rev. 13: 2. The ‘seat” of the of the Roman Empire was the city of Rome. How was this given to the Papacy [‘the man of sin”]? Francis P.C. Hays (Roman Catholic) says:
‘When the Roman Empire became Christian, and the peace of the Church was guaranteed, the Emperor left Rome to the Pope, to be the seat of the authority of the Vicar of Christ, who should remain there independent of all human authority, to the consummation of ages, to the end of time.’ – ‘Papal Rights and Privileges,’ pp. 13, 14. London: R. Washbourne, 1889.
“Alexander C. Flick, Ph. D., Litt. D., says:
‘The removal of the capital of the empire of Rome to Constantinople in 330, left the Western Church practically free from imperial power, to develop its own form of organization. The Bishop of Rome, in the seat of the Caesars, was now the greatest man in the West, and was soon forced [?] to become the political as well as the spiritual head.’—‘The Rise of the Mediaeval Church,’ p. 168.
“And meekly stepping to throne of Caesar, the vicar of Christ took up the scepter to which the emperors and kings of Europe were to bow in reverence through so many ages.’ –Rev. James Conroy, in ‘American Catholic Quarterly Review.’ April , 1911. Quoted in the book “Facts of Faith” by Christian Edwardson, Southern Publishing Assso. Nashville 8, TN. 1943., pp. 217, 218.
The ‘man of sin’ “thinks to change the times and laws” of God
“The detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to His will. Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to ‘think to change times and laws.’ Dan. 7: 25. This work it was not slow to attempt. To afford converts from heathenism as substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. [see internet on what council]. To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number [ten].”—The Great Controversy (1911) E.G. White, p. 51,
The ‘man of sin’ begins tampering with the Sabbath commandment
“The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for as still further disregard of Heaven’s authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Gen. 2: 2, 3), and in its stead exalt the festival observed by the heathen as ‘the venerable day of the sun.’ The change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all the Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety, Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed.
The role of the Jews and Judaism in assisting the ‘man of sin’
“To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish, Satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath with the most rigorous exactions, making its observance a burden. Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution [instead of the memorial of Creation!] While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred for Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.
“In the early part of the fourth century [321 A.D.], the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire.
The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects, and was honored by Christians; it was the emperor’s policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by the ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day be observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans, and thus advance the power and glory of the [Romanized] church But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing as degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord, and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment.
How the Bible Sabbath was replaced with Sunday by the ‘man of sin’
“The arch-deceiver [Satan] had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner, and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through [three classes of professed Christians, then and more so in these last days] half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving church-men, he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world [still being done today]. In nearly every council the Sabbath was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honored as divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.
“The great apostate had succeeded in exalting himself ‘above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.’ 2 Thess. 2: 4. He had dared to change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all mankind to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished from all false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of creation that the seventh day was sanctified as a rest-day for man. It was designed to keep the living God ever before the minds of men
as the source of being and the object of reverence and worship. Satan strives to turn men from allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to his law; therefore he directs his efforts especially against the fourth commandment which points to God as the Creator,”- Ibid, pp. 52, 53.
(Continued next month)