THE VERY BASICS OF END TIME PROPHECY – PART 9

BASIC PROPHECY

THE SECOND 3 ½ YEARS – GREAT TRIBULATION LIKE NEVER BEFORE IN HISTORY

Matthew 24:15-20 marks the midpoint of the Tribulation when the Antichrist breaks his treaty with Israel, invades the nation, and desecrates the Temple (cf. Daniel 9:27).

The Antichrist will dominate the latter half of the Tribulation (3½ years) as he institutes a one-world government, economy, and religion aided by his henchman, the false prophet. During this time the Antichrist will declare himself to be God, will require universal worship, and will institute the notorious Tribulation trademark—the mark of the Beast—666.

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Revelation 13:16-18 is the biblical key that opens the door to the meaning of 666, the mark of the Beast, and the coming one-world economy. The key issue underlying the mark of the Beast is “worship [of] the image of the beast” (Revelation 13:15, NASB). During the Tribulation, the false prophet, who is the leader of the Antichrist’s religious propaganda machine, will head up the campaign of the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:11-18). The mark of the Beast will force people to declare their allegiance—either to the Antichrist or to Jesus Christ. It will be impossible to be neutral or undecided. Those who do not receive the mark will be killed (Revelation 20:4). Scripture is very specific: the false prophet will require a “mark” of loyalty and devotion to the Beast, and it will be “on the right hand,” not the left, “or on the forehead” (Revelation 13:16).

But what is this “mark”? The question for each person alive during the Tribulation will be, will I swear allegiance to the man who claims to be God? Will I give up ownership of my life to him by taking his mark, or will I bow the knee to the true God and lose my right to buy and sell while also risking beheading? (Revelation 20:4). Taking the mark will ultimately be a spiritual decision; the economic benefits will be secondary to this momentous decision every person will face.

When the Antichrist begins to appear on the world scene, those who have an understanding of Bible prophecy will be able to identify him by the number of his name. The numerical value of his name will be 666. “Counting the name” is not to be applied in our day, for that would be jumping the gun. Instead, it is to be applied by believers during the Tribulation. The Antichrist will not be unveiled until the beginning of the Tribulation period or Day of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:2-3). At that time people will be able to identify him because the number of his name will be 666 (Revelation 13:18).

Many prophecy teachers have pointed out that the triple six refers to man’s number, which is the number six or one short of God’s perfect number, seven. In the Book of Revelation, the number 7 is one of the most significant numbers indicating perfection.

The mark of the Beast will serve two main purposes during the Tribulation. The mark of the Beast will be a satanic counterfeit of the seal of God on the foreheads of the saints (Revelation 7:3). Those who take it will make a deliberate choice; they will knowingly align themselves with the Antichrist and his agenda. Second, the mark will provide economic benefits. during the latter half of the Tribulation (Revelation 13:17).

All who take the mark of the Beast will face the eternal judgment of God. Taking the mark will seal their everlasting doom. It will be an unpardonable, irreversible sin (Revelation 14:9-11).

We don’t know exactly what method the Antichrist will adopt to make his mark. The technology is certainly available today to accomplish the purposes of the mark by regulating world commerce and controlling people’s transactions.

SEVEN SOUNDING TRUMPETS

The seventh seal contains a second series of seven more judgments—the seven trumpets—which will sound during the second half of the Tribulation (Revelation 8:1-2). These trumpets represent specific catastrophes, many of which will destroy large portions of the earth (Revelation 8–11). They represent the supernatural judgment of God. The first four trumpets will bring natural catastrophes. One-third of the earth will be consumed by fire—by a direct act of God. One-third of the sea will become as blood, and one-third of sea life will be destroyed.

First Trumpet (Revelation 8:7) Bloody Hail and Fire: One-Third of Vegetation Destroyed

Second Trumpet (Revelation 8:8-9) Fireball from Heaven: One-Third of Oceans Polluted

Third Trumpet (Revelation 8:10-11) Falling Star: One-Third of Fresh Water Polluted

Fourth Trumpet (Revelation 8:12) Darkness: One-Third of Sun, Moon, and Stars Darkened

Fifth Trumpet (Revelation 9:1-12) Demonic Invasion: Possession and Torment

Sixth Trumpet (Revelation 9:13-21) Demonic Army of 200 Million: One-Third of Mankind Killed

At the sounding of the fifth trumpet, demonic forces from the abyss will swarm the earth like locusts. The forces of hell will be unleashed across the face of the earth to torment people with pain like the sting of a scorpion (Revelation 9:1-12). These demonic creatures are “supernatural soldiers in the kingdom of darkness.” But God will limit the demonic invasion to five months and will only allow the demons to torment, not to kill.

The sixth trumpet signals the advance of a great army numbering 200 million that will kill one-third of mankind (Revelation 9:15-16). Some speculate that this passage describes a Chinese invasion of Israel. The army of 200 million is viewed as parallel with the kings from the east in Revelation 16:12 who come from the east into Israel, crossing the dried-up Euphrates River.

It is however much better to identify this massive army as a second wave of demonic invaders who assault the earth during the Tribulation. The fifth trumpet judgment is clearly a demonic invasion of earth, and the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments go together since they are the first two of three “terrors” (Revelation 8:13). During the Tribulation period, demons will overrun the earth, afflicting men with great pain and ultimately slaying one-third of the people on earth (Revelation 9:15, 18).

One-third of the earth’s population perishes in the sixth trumpet judgment alone. Adding in the one-fourth of the population that dies earlier in the fourth seal judgment (Revelation 6:7-8), that is one-half of the world’s population dying

SEVEN SUPER BOWLS OF WRATH

When the seventh trumpet sounds, the second coming of Christ is announced (Revelation 11:15-17). This makes it clear, then, that the seventh trumpet stretches all the way to Christ’s return and thus includes the seven bowls in Revelation 16. Chronologically, the seventh trumpet both introduces and includes the final period of God’s wrath symbolized by the seven bowls in Revelation.

The trumpets and bowls of judgment have striking parallels to the plagues of Egypt and both deal with God’s direct judgment.

Yet, instead of being horrified, people will be hardened, despite their knowing that this devastation comes from God. Instead of repenting, they will rebel. Revelation 16:11.

  1. First Bowl (Revelation 16:2) upon the Earth: Sores on the Worshipers of the Antichrist
  2. Second Bowl (Revelation 16:3) upon the Seas: Turned to Blood
  3. Third Bowl (Revelation 16:4-7) upon the Fresh Water: Turned to Blood
  4. Fourth Bowl (Revelation 16:8-9) upon the Sun: Intense, Scorching Heat
  5. Fifth Bowl (Revelation 16:10-11) upon the Antichrist’s Kingdom: Darkness and Pain
  6. Sixth Bowl (Revelation 16:12-16) upon the River Euphrates: Armageddon (To be discussed in more detail in Part 10)
  7. Seventh Bowl (Revelation 16:17-21) upon the Air: Earthquakes and Hail (To be discussed in more detail in Part 10)

THE FALL OF BABYLON THE GREAT – REVELATION 17–18

Before Armageddon is fully described and the second coming of Christ is unveiled in Revelation 19, there is a sudden pause or interlude in the main action. Before Christ returns, one final event must be addressed—the demise of Babylon the Great.

Chapters 17 and 18 are inserted into the chronological flow of Revelation, which continues in chapter 19. The pouring out of the seventh bowl (16:17) is actually followed immediately in time by the return of Jesus Christ to end the great world battle (19:11). Chapters 17 and 18 digress to look not at God’s specific judgments, but at what is being judged. Those two chapters go back to describe the world system led by Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet, before recording its destruction. John had already heard harbingers of Babylon’s destruction (14:8; 16:19); now the details of that destruction are given in these remarkable visions.

Babylon, the earthly city, is presented in Revelation 17–18 as a vile prostitute. This city is in sharp contrast to the new Jerusalem, the heavenly city, pictured with the virtuous bride of Christ in Revelation 21–22.

The identification of Babylon is more difficult. Some believe it refers to the Roman Catholic church and the Vatican, while others relate it to the ancient city of Babylon, apostate Christendom, the United States, New York City, Rome or Jerusalem. Babylon is a literal city according to Revelation 17:18.

It is a city of worldwide importance and influence, probably the capital city of the Antichrist (Revelation 17:15, 18). Babylon and the Beast (the Antichrist) are very closely connected with one another. The woman (Babylon) is pictured riding on the Beast (the Antichrist) (Revelation 17:3-5, 7). It is a center of false religion (Revelation 17:4-5; 18:1-2) and of world commerce (Revelation 18:9-19).

Babylon persecutes the Lord’s people (Revelation 17:6; 18:20, 24) and will be destroyed suddenly and completely at the end of the Tribulation, never to rise again (Revelation 18:8-10, 21-24).

These two systems, religion and commerce, will share the same geographical location under the Antichrist’s domain. Babylon will be both a city and a system.

Taking all the facts into account, most scholars of end time prophecy conclude that the best view is that Babylon is the literal city of Babylon on the Euphrates in modern Iraq that will be rebuilt in the last days. There are several points that favour this identification. Babylon is the most mentioned city in the Bible other than Jerusalem. Babylon was the capital city of the first of four Gentile world empires to rule over Jerusalem. Throughout history, Babylon has represented the height of rebellion and opposition to God’s plans and purposes

The Euphrates River is mentioned by name twice in Revelation (9:14; 16:12). Zechariah, writing about twenty years after Babylon’s fall to the Medo-Persians, saw a future time when evil would return to its original place in Babylon (Zechariah 5:5-11). Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50–51 predicted that the city of Babylon would be destroyed suddenly and completely. Babylon was never destroyed in this way but died a long, slow death over many centuries. The many parallels between Jeremiah 50–51 and the future Babylon in Revelation 17–18 indicate that both are describing the same city.

The site of modern Babylon is strategically located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe, and Africa and is not far from the Persian Gulf. It is also near the world’s richest oil fields and has a virtually unlimited water supply from the Euphrates. Those considerations led the famed historian Arnold Toynbee to proclaim that Babylon would be an ideal site for an important political and cultural center (Morris, Revelation Record, 349).

Putting all these pieces together, it appears that Babylon will be rebuilt in the last days to serve as the religious and commercial capital for the Antichrist’s empire.

Revelation 17: Religious Babylon

 

Prophecy often uses prostitution, fornication, or adultery to describe idolatry (Isaiah 23:15-17; Jeremiah 2:20-31; 13:27; Ezekiel 16:17-19; Hosea 2:5; Nahum 3:4). The major indictment against Babylon in Revelation 17 is the city’s spiritual idolatry (17:4-5). The prostitute is identified as “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World,” and symbolizes a false religious system, climaxing in a one world religion during the first 3½ years of the Tribulation.

Babylon is the “Mother,” which means the source, or the polluted fountain from which all spiritual prostitution flows. It takes us back to the tower of Babel, where it started. Man will again organize in rebellion against the Creator just as he did at the tower of Babel.

The disappearance of millions of Christians at the Rapture will deepen the religious confusion already evident. The church institution left on earth after the Rapture—void of true believers—will quickly fall into the hands of opportunists.

During the Tribulation, all the world’s diverse false religions will be reunited into one great world religion. Her association with the kings of the earth reveals that the scope of the harlot’s influence will be immense. Those at the highest levels of power and influence will commit spiritual fornication with her. That the woman was sitting on the scarlet beast signifies that the Antichrist was supporting her.

The beast and the woman will coexist for a while; that is, the religion will be separate from the kingdom of the Antichrist at first. But eventually “the beast … will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire” (v. 16). It will be at that point that the false prophet will make the whole world worship the Antichrist (13:11–14), and everything will be one in the beast’s universal and comprehensive rule. The Antichrist’s faked resurrection and his destruction of the false religious system will take place approximately halfway through the Tribulation period.

Babylon will spiritually rule over the nations of the world (the many waters) fully controlling the religious affairs.

Revelation 18: Commercial Babylon

Revelation 18:1 begins with the words, “After all this.” In Revelation 18, this phrase signals a shift or change in focus from Babylon’s religious aspect in the first half of the seven-year Tribulation to its economic, commercial, and political aspect that dominates the world in the last half of the Tribulation. The city is connected with the merchants of the earth (Revelation 18:3, 11, 15, 23) and those engaged in maritime commerce (18:17). The long list of goods and cargo associated with Babylon marks the city as an economic juggernaut (18:11-13). The guilt of Babylon in chapter 18 primarily stems from her sensuality associated with materialism and wanton luxury. When Babylon falls, the kings of the earth, the merchants, and the traders of the sea will lament the fall of the nerve center of the world economy. All their dreams will come crashing down. Chuck Swindoll describes the fall of commercial Babylon:

“As they watch the empire of the Beast burn amidst its countless treasures, they will also know that their own time is short. Thinking they had gotten in on an opportunity of a lifetime, those who rest in the lap of Babylon’s luxury will suddenly realize that the tables have been turned. Like the Nazis in Berlin on the eve of the Allied victory, the reality of the Antichrist’s defeat will be obvious as their satanic Reich disintegrates before their eyes.”

The Doom of Babylon

Since the Antichrist rules the world for the final 3½ years of the Tribulation, the woman cannot be in control of him during that time. Therefore, at the midpoint of the Tribulation, the Antichrist and the ten kings will destroy the religious system of Babylon (Revelation 17:16). The Antichrist will replace the false religious system of Babylon with his own blasphemous system that deifies him.

Babylon itself, with its political and commercial influence, will continue under the rule of the Antichrist for another 3½ years until it is destroyed in the seventh bowl judgment near the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 16:19; 18:16-24). Babylon will fall, never to rise again, just as the Scripture says.

“WE GAVE YOU THE BIBLE!”

Most Christians cross lines with at least one Roman Catholic in their lifetime. If you dare to challenge them on any of their traditions, rituals or doctrines, you can almost be sure that they will confront you with the argument, “WE GAVE YOU THE BIBLE.”

THE BLASPHEMOUS ROMAN CATHOLIC CLAIM

(Based on “Did the catholic church give us the bible?” – Bible.ca)

Catholics contend that the whole world is indebted to the Roman Catholic church for the existence of the Bible. This is another of their attempts to exalt the church as an authority in addition to the Bible.

“If she had not scrutinized carefully the writings of her children, rejecting some and approving others as worthy of inclusion in the canon of the New Testament, there would be no New Testament today.”
“If she had not declared the books composing the New Testament to be inspired word of God, we would not know it.”
“The only authority which non-Catholics have for the inspiration of the Scriptures is the authority of the Catholic Church.” (The Faith of Millions, p. 145)
“It is only by the divine authority of the Catholic Church that Christians know that the scripture is the word of God, and what books certainly belong to the Bible.” (The Question Box, p. 46)
“It was the Catholic Church and no other which selected and listed the inspired books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament…If you can accept the Bible or any part of it as inspired Word of God, you can do so only because the Catholic Church says it is.” (The Bible is a Catholic Book, p. 4).

WHY NOT PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH (IN THE BIBLE “YOU GAVE US”):

If the Bible is a Catholic book, why does it nowhere mention the Catholic Church? Why is there no mention of a pope, a cardinal, an archbishop, a parish priest, a nun, or a member of any other Catholic order? If the Bible is a Catholic book, why is auricular confession, indulgences, prayers to the saints, adoration of Mary, veneration of relics and images, and many other rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church, left out of it?

If the Bible is a Catholic book, how can Catholics account for the passage, “A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher…He should rule well his own household, keeping his children under control and perfectly respectful. For if a man cannot rule his own household, how is he to take care of the church of God?” (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5). The Catholic Church does not allow a bishop to marry, while the Bible says, “he must be married.” Furthermore, if the Bible is a Catholic book, why did they write the Bible as it is, and feel the necessity of putting footnotes at the bottom of the page in effort to keep their subject from believing what is in the text?

The following list give a examples of what we have been trying to emphasize. If the Bible is a Catholic book,

1. Why does it condemn clerical dress? (Matt. 23:5-6).
2. Why does it teach against the adoration of Mary? (Luke 11:27-28).
3. Why does it show that all Christians are priests? (1 Pet. 2:5,9).
4. Why does it condemn the observance of special days? (Gal. 4:9-11).
5. Why does it teach that all Christians are saints? (1 Cor. 1:2).
6. Why does it condemn the making and adoration of images? (Ex. 20:4-5).
7. Why does it teach that baptism is immersion instead of pouring? (Col. 2:12).
8. Why does it forbid us to address religious leaders as “father”? (Matt. 23:9).
9. Why does it teach that Christ is the only foundation and not the apostle Peter? (1 Cor. 3:11).
10. Why does it teach that there is one mediator instead of many? (1 Tim. 2:5).
11. Why does it teach that a bishop must be a married man? (1 Tim. 3:2, 4-5).
12. Why is it opposed to the primacy of Peter? (Luke 22:24-27).
13. Why does it oppose the idea of purgatory? (Luke 16:26).
14. Why is it completely silent about infant baptism, instrumental music in worship, indulgences, confession to priests, the rosary, the mass, and many other things in the Catholic Church?

DO CATHOLICS CONSIDER THE BIBLE AS THE FINAL AUTHORITY?

(Ref. Final Authority and Tradition – Biblebc.com)

If Catholics gave us the Bible, then why did they do “half a job” by not including everything that, according to them, were inspired by God? When it comes to final authority, the Roman Catholic church teaches that three authorities exist. The 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church declares:

“It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” (Pg. 34, #95)

So here we see, that along with Scripture, “tradition” (teachings handed down throughout the ages), and “magisterium” (the task of giving an authentic interpretation of the word of God) are associated so that one of them cannot stand without the others. In other words, “tradition” and “magisterium” are on equal grounds with the Scriptures. This is enforced by:

“Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit. And (Holy) Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit.” (Pg. 31, #81)

And should these authorities disagree with each other the Catechism states:

“The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living, teaching office of the Church alone. This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.” (Pg. 32, #85)

Thus, the final authority being the Roman Catholic Church! This too, is stated in the Catechism:

“For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgment of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God.” (Pg. 39, #119)

In other words, according to Catholics the Scriptures are not sufficient in itself. Nowhere do we see that the Scriptures were given only to an elite group to explain it to others.

Although God never changes, Catholics kept on adding to their list of evil traditions. The following refer to the time each practices were either A) first introduced, B) formulated, C) adopted by council, or D) proclaimed by a pope:

310 Prayers for the dead began.
375 The worship of saints.
394 The Mass was adopted
431 The worship of Mary began to develop.
593 The doctrine of purgatory was introduced.
606 Claims to papal supremacy took root.
650 Feasts in honor of the Virgin Mary started.
709 Kissing the pope’s foot began with Pope Constantine
750 The pope first assumed temporal power.
787 The worship of images and relics was introduced.
819 The first observance of the Feast of Assumption began.
850 The invention of holy water.
965 The blessing of the bells.
983 The canonization of saints was formulated.
998 Lent, Advent, and fasting from meat on Friday.
1003 Feasts for the dead were introduced
1074 The celibacy of the priesthood was asserted.
1076 The doctrine of papal infallibility suggested.
1090 The use of prayer beads (Rosary)
1115 Confession of sins to a priest was instituted.
1140 The doctrine of seven sacraments was introduced.
1190 The sale of indulgences.
1215 Transubstantiation was adopted by Pope Innocent III.
1216 The acceptance of auricular confession of sins to a priest.
1220 Holy water accepted
1226 The elevation and adoration of the wafer began.
1274 Purgatory was declared doctrine at the Second Council of Lyons.
1303 The Catholic Church as the only true Church for Salvation.
1316 The Ave Maria was introduced.
1414 Only Catholic priests can say the Mass and partake of the wine.
1438 Purgatory and the seven sacraments officially decreed.
1545 Tradition declared to be equal with Scripture by Council of Trent.
1546 The Apocryphal books added to the Bible by the Council of Trent.
1547 Rejection of justification by faith alone.
1562 The Mass declared a propitiatory offering.
1854 The immaculate conception announced by Pius IX.
1864 The doctrine of the temporal power of the pope was proclaimed.
1870 Papal infallibility was proclaimed at Vatican I.
1950 The bodily assumption and personal corporeal presence of the Virgin in heaven proclaimed by Pope Pius III.

GOD INSPIRED THE BIBLE

As reborn Christians, we should know that the Catholic claim is a lie, as God Himself inspired every message in the Bible.

Paul describes the process of inspiration by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 2:9-13: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: …Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (KJV)

He also refers to the Hebrew Scriptures as the “word of God,” not of men, in 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (KJV)

2 Timothy 3:16 says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (KJV).
In the original Greek, it is stated that all of the Scriptures are “theopneustos” — “breathed out by God.”

In 2 Peter 1:20-21 we read: “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (KJV)”

THE ROLE OF MEN IN WRITING THE BIBLE

(Ref. “How did the people who wrote the bible know what to say?” – Christianity.net.au)

In one sense, the answer is simple: they were inspired to wrote down some of the things that they experienced. For example, Luke says that since he had ‘carefully investigated everything’, he wrote down ‘an orderly account’ (Luke 1:3). In most cases, the writers were eyewitnesses who “supernaturally” knew that what they had seen was so important that it needed to be recorded for others to read. John speaks of himself as one ‘who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.’ (Revelation 1:2). Sometimes, they were given a specific message to write down (for example, Deuteronomy 31:19, explains where the words to Deuteronomy 32 came from, or Jeremiah 36), but more commonly they used their own words, but not their own messages.

But Christians believe that in all cases, God carefully ensured that what these people wrote down was exactly what he wanted. ‘For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:21). The writers of the Bible often referred back to older books within it as being God’s words – and most importantly, Jesus himself described the Bible in this way. In fact, he described it as God’s word to his hearers (for example, in Matthew 22:31-32, which quotes Exodus 3:6).

Obviously, even the most brilliant poet or novelist cannot hope to write something that will affect readers for millennia, yet the Bible has done and continues to do so. We recognise it as inspired, because God worked, often behind the scenes (subconsciously, if you like) to ensure that the words we have in the Bible are his powerful, life-bringing words.

Catholics often boast that the Bible was written by Catholics, e.g., “All the books of the New Testament were written by Catholics.” (The Bible is a Catholic Book, p. 14). When we consider the word “catholic” as meaning “universal,” we readily admit that the writers were “catholic” in that sense; they were members of the church universal–the church of Christ which is described in the New Testament Scriptures (Col. 1:18; Rom. 16:16). However, we firmly deny that the writers of the New Testament were members of the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. The Roman Catholic Church was not fully developed until several hundred years after the New Testament was written. It is not the same institution as disclosed in the New Testament. The New Testament books were written by members of the Lord’s church, but they are not its author. God Himself is the author of the New Testament.

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK INTO THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CLAIM

(Based on “Did the catholic church give us the bible?” – Bible.ca)

It would seem unnecessary for the Catholic Church to make the boastful claim of giving the Bible to the world when both it and Protestantism accept the Bible as a revelation from God. However, it is an attempt to weaken the Bible as the sole authority and to replace it with their man-made church. If it is true that we can accept the Bible only on the basis of the Catholic Church, doesn’t that make the Catholic Church superior to the Bible? This is exactly what they want men to believe. They try to prove the Bible by the church and prove the church by the Bible.

Notice, again, the following from Catholic sources:
“Because it never was a Bible, till the infallible Church pronounced it to be so. The separate treatises, each of them inspired, were lying, as it were dispersedly; easy to confound with others, that were uninspired. The Church gathered them up, selected them, pronounced judgment on them; rejecting some, which she defined and declared not to be canonical, because not inspired; adopting others as being inspired, and therefore canonical.” (What Is the Bible? p. 6).
“And since the books of the Bible constituting both the Old and the New Testament were determined solely by the authority of the Catholic Church, without the Church there would have been no Bible, and hence no Protestantism.” (The Faith of Millions, p. 10).

The Catholic officials above claim that without the Catholic Church there would be no Bible; they argue that mankind can accept the Scriptures only on the basis of the Catholic Church which gathered the books and determined which were inspired. Surely the Catholic Church cannot claim that it gave us the Old Testament Scriptures.

The Old Testament:

The Old Testament came through the Jews (God’s chosen people of old) who had the holy oracles entrusted to them. Paul said, “What advantage then remains to the Jew, or what is the use of circumcision? Much in every respect. First, indeed, because the oracles of God were entrusted to them.” (Rom. 3:1-2; see also Rom. 9:4-5; Acts 7:38).

The Old Testament books were gathered into one volume and were translated from Hebrew into Greek long before Christ came to earth. The Septuagint Version was translated by seventy scholars at Alexandria, Egypt around the year 227 B.C., and this was the version Christ and His apostles used. Christ did not tell the people, as Catholics do today, that they could accept the Scriptures only on the basis of the authority of those who gathered them and declared them to be inspired. He urged the people of His day to follow the Old Testament Scriptures as the infallible guide, not because man or any group of men has sanctioned them as such, but because they came from God. Furthermore, He understood that God-fearing men and women would be able to discern by evidence (external and internal) which books were of God and which were not; thus, He never raised questions and doubts concerning the gathering of the inspired books.

The new testament and the council of hippo:

These quotes are from Catholic regarding the Council of Hippo:
“… in A.D. 390, at the Council of Hippo, the Catholic Church gathered together the various books which claimed to be scripture, passed on the merits and claims of each and this council decided which were inspired and which were not. The Catholic Church put all the inspired books and epistles together in one volume and THAT is the Bible as we have it today. The Catholic Church therefore gave to the people and the World, the Bible as we have it today.” (From a magazine advertisement published by the Knights of Columbus bearing the title, “Who Gave the Bible to the People?”)
“It was not until the Council of Hippo in 390 that the Church gathered these gospels and epistles, scattered about in different churches, and placed them within the covers of a single book, giving the Bible to the world.” (The Faith of Millions, p. 152).
“Indeed, when you accept the Bible as the Word of God, you are obliged to receive it on the authority of the Catholic Church, who was the sole Guardian of the Scriptures for fifteen hundred years.” (The Faith of Our Fathers, p. 68).
“When were all these writings put together? The Catholic Church put all of them in one book between the years 350 and 405.” (A Catechism for Adults, p. 10).

Thus, Catholics argue that since the Council of Hippo in 390 A.D. proclaimed which books were actually inspired and placed them in one volume, all are indebted to the Catholic Church for the New Testament and can accept it only on the authority of the Catholic Church. There are several things wrong with this.

First, it cannot be proven that the church which held the Council of Hippo in 390 A.D. was the same church which is now known as the Roman Catholic Church. For example, the church of 390 had no crucifixes and images because, “The first mention of Crucifixes are in the sixth century” and “The whole tradition of veneration holy images gradually and naturally developed” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. VII, p. 667). The church of 390 took communion under both kinds because that was the prevailing practice until it was formally abolished in 1416 A.D. (See Lives and Times of the Roman Pontiffs, Vol. I, p. 111). The church of 390 was a church altogether different from the Roman Catholic Church today.

Furthermore, in the proceedings of the Council of Hippo, the bishops did not mention nor give the slightest hint that they were for the first time “officially” cataloging the books of the Bible for the world. It was not until the fourth session of the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that the bishops and high-ranking officials of the Catholic Church “officially” cataloged the books they thought should be included in the Bible and bound them upon the consciences of all Catholics. (See Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent, pp. 17-18).

Secondly, God did not give councils the authority to select His sacred books, nor does He expect men to receive His sacred books only because of councils or on the basis of councils. It takes no vote or sanction of a council to make the books of the Bible authoritative. Men were able to rightly discern which books were inspired before the existence of ecclesiastical councils and men can do so today. A council of men in 390 with no divine authority whatever, supposedly took upon itself the right to state which books were inspired, and Catholics argue, “We can accept the Bible only on the authority of the Catholic Church.” Can we follow such reasoning?

Thirdly, it cannot be proven that the Catholic Church is solely responsible for the gathering and selection of the New Testament books. In fact, it can be shown that the New Testament books were gathered into one volume and were in circulation long before the Catholic Church claims to have taken its action in 390 at the council of Hippo. In the following we list some of the catalogues of the books of the Bible which are given by early Christian writers.

326. Athanasius, bishop at Alexandria, mentions all of the New Testament books.
315-386. Cyril, bishop at Jerusalem, gives a list of all New Testament books except Revelation.
270. Eusebius, bishop at Caesarea, called the Father of ecclesiastical history, gives an account of the persecution of Emperor Diocletian whose edict required that all churches be destroyed and the Scriptures burned. He lists all the books of the New Testament. He was commissioned by Constantine to have transcribed fifty copies of the Bible for use of the churches of Constantinople.
185-254. Origen, born at Alexandria, names all the books of both the Old and New Testaments.
165-220. Clement, of Alexandria, names all the books of the New Testament except Philemon, James, 2 Peter and 3 John. In addition we are told by Eusebius, who had the works of Clement, that he gave explanations and quotations from all the canonical books.
160-240. Turtullian, contemporary of Origen and Clement, mentions all the New Testament books except 2 Peter, James and 2 John.
135-200. Irenaeus, quoted from all New Testament books except Philemon, Jude, James and 3 John.
100-147. Justin Martyr, mentions the Gospels as being four in number and quotes from them and some of the epistles of Paul and Revelation.
Besides the above, the early church fathers have handed down in their writings quotations from all the New Testament books so much so that it is said that the entire New Testament can be reproduced from their writings alone.
Thus, the New Testament books were in existence in their present form at the close of the apostolic age. As a matter of fact, the apostles themselves put their writings into circulation. “And when this letter has been read among you, see that it be read in the church of the Laodiceans also; and that you yourselves read the letter from Laodicea.” (Col. 4:16). “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.” (1 Thess. 5:27). The holy Scriptures were written for all (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1) and all will be judged by them in the last day (Rev. 20:12; John 12:48). Jesus said that His Word will abide forever (Matt. 24:35; 1 Pet. 1:23-25).

Fourthly, the Catholic claim of giving the Bible to the world cannot be true because they have not been the sole possessor of the Bible at any time. Some of the most valuable Greek Bibles and Versions have been handed down to us from non-Roman Catholic sources. A notable example of this is the Codex Sinaiticus which was found in the monastery of St. Catherine (of the Greek Orthodox Church) at Mount Sinai in 1844 and is now in the British Museum. It contains all of the books of the New Testament and all but small portions of the Old Testament. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was made early in the fourth century, not later than 350 A.D. This manuscript found by a German scholar named, Tishendorf, who was a Protestant, and this manuscript which is the most complete of all has never been in the hands of the Roman Catholic Church.

Another valuable manuscript that has never been possessed by the Roman Catholic Church is the Codex Alexandrianus. It, too, is now on exhibit in the manuscript room of the British Museum in London. It was a gift from the Patriarch of Constantinople (of the Greek Orthodox Church) to Charles I in 1628. It had been in possession of the Patriarchs for centuries and originally came from Alexandria, Egypt from which it gets its name. Scholars are certain that this manuscript was also made in the fourth century and, along with the Codex Sinaiticus, is thought to be one of the fifty Greek Bibles commissioned to be copied by Constantine.

CONCLUSIONS

In the light of the foregoing, the boastful claim of the Roman Catholic Church that it has been the sole guardian and preserver of the sacred Scriptures down to the present, is nothing but pure falsehood. The Bible is not a Catholic book. Catholics did not write it, nor does their doctrines and church meet the description of the doctrine and church of which it speaks. The New Testament was completed before the end of the first century, A.D. The things in it do not correspond to the Catholic Church which hundreds of years after the death of the apostles slowly evolved into what it now is. The Catholic Church is not the original and true church, but a “church” born of many departures and corruptions from the New Testament church. Furthermore, even if the Catholic Church could show conclusively that it alone is responsible for gathering the books, it does not prove that the Catholic Church is infallible, nor does it prove that it is the author of the Bible. God has at times used evil agencies to accomplish His purpose (Jer. 27:6-8; 43:10; Hab. 1:5-11; John 11:49-52).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

A Catechism For Adults, William J. Conan, ACTA Publications, Chicago, Illinois, 1959.

Catholic Encyclopedia, Knights of Columbus, (Fifteen Volumes), The Encyclopedia Press, Inc., New York, 1913.

Canons and Decrees of he Council of Trent, H.J. Schroeder, B. Herder Book company, St. Louis, London, 1950.

Lives and Times of the Roman Pontiffs, Chevalier Artand De Montor, D & J Stadler & Co., New York, 1869.

Question Box, Bertrand L. Conway, The Columbus Press, New York, N.Y., 1913.

Question Box, New Revised Edition, Bertrand L. Conway, The Paulist Press, New York, N.Y., 1929.

The Bible is a Catholic Book, Knights of Columbus Religious Information Bureau, St. Louis, 1948.

The Faith of Millions, John A. O’Brien, Our Sunday Visitor, Huntington, Ind., 1938.

The Faith of Our Fathers, James Cardinal Gibbons, John Murphy Co., Baltimore, Md., 1917.

What is the Bible? W.H. Anderson, International Truth Society, Brooklyn, New York, 1962.

Who Gave the Bible to the People? Knights of Columbus Religious Information Bureau, St. Louis, 1948.

CATHOLIC TRANSLATIONS

Confraternity-Douay Version, Timothy Press, Chicago, 1959

Douay-Rheims Version, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1945.

Catholic Edition-Revised Standard Version, Published by Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd for the Incorporated Catholic Truth Society, London, 1966.

By David J. Riggs

Catholics Assembled Canon?

The Syriac and Coptic versions were translated from the Greek in the second century
Latin Version was translated from Greek in the 2nd century in 375 the Gothic Version was translated by Ufilas
Jerome stated that in his work of revising the Old Latin he used a Greek Bible which belonged to Origen who lived in the early part of the third century
Constantine, the emperor of Rome, at the end of the third century, ordered fifty copies of the Bible transcribed
Origen, born A.D. 185 and died A.D. 254, named all the books of the Bible in his writings
Eusebius, 270 A.D., lists all of the books of the NT
Cyril, 315 A.D. to 386 A.D., lists all NT books, except Revelation
Both the Vatican Manuscript and the Sinaitic Manuscript date back earlier than 390 A.D.