Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Church at Thyatira - Part 1 - The Prophetical Interpretation

Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-2020
Revelation 2:18-29


A.  The Prophetic Interpretation of the Church at Thyatira covers the period of 606-1520 AD.  “The Papal Age.”  The beginning and rise of the Roman Catholic Church.

B.  The Roman Catholic Church would have people to believe that it was Christ’s church and had its beginning during His life.

C.  The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Peter was the first Pope by misinterpreting this portion of the Scriptures:

Matthew 16:13-19  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  (14)  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  (15)  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (17)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (18)  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (19)  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (The “Rock” upon which Christ builds His church is the statement “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”  Not upon Peter!)

D.  From the Apostolic Age forward, heresy continually crept into the local churches as Satan chose to divide and conquer.  The deeds of the Nicolaitans turned into the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.  The synagogue of Satan turned into the seat of Satan.

E.  Considering the problems in the Church at Thyatira, let us look at the history of the Papal Age and the development of the Roman Catholic Church.  I cannot take the time to give an in-depth look at almost 1,000 years of church history in one night so I will give some of the highlights that will set up the next two messages.

313-590 AD - The Rise of the Roman Catholic Church.

313 AD -The Edict of Milan granting religious tolerance. 

Constantine the Great converted to “Christianity.”

The tie between church and state was established.

Government aid and freedom of worship under Constantine led to extensive building of church buildings.  The Christians borrowed the basilica type of architecture that the Romans had developed for public buildings devoted to business or pleasure.

325 AD – The Counsel of Nicaea, the official beginning of the Catholic Church.

330 AD – The Catholic Church’s rise to power. 

Because of the increasing heathen hordes from the Far East attacking the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great moved the center of political power from Rome to Constantinople, thus leaving a political and military void in Rome which the growing Catholic Church was more than happy to fill. 

With Constantine gone, the Roman Bishop became the single strongest individual in Rome for great periods of time.

The festival of Christmas or “The Mass of Christ,” became a regular practice in the West about the middle of the fourth century, with the adoption of the December date that had been previously used by the pagans. The Feast of Epiphany, which in the West celebrated the coming of the Magi to see Christ.

313-590 AD – The Supremacy of the Pope.  Orthodox Church bishops were equal but with the rise of the now Roman Catholic Church, the bishop of Rome won primacy over all other bishops.  Beginning with Leo 1st accession to the episcopal throne in 440 AD, the Roman bishop began to claim his supremacy over other bishops. 

The Roman Catholic Bishop, i.e. Pope, was the guarantor of Catholic Doctrine.  In modern days, the Vicar of Christ on earth.

Thus, the beginning of the Papal Age.  The Roman Catholic Church became more and more ritualistic and its structure and canon law reflected imperial Rome.

During this era there arose a special sacerdotal hierarchy under a dominant Roman bishop, the tendency to increase the number of sacraments and to make them the main avenues of grace, and the movement to elaborate the liturgy. These things helped to lay the foundation for the medieval Roman Catholic church.

Sacraments - By the end of the sixth century all the seven acts that the Roman Catholic church regards as sacraments were in use and had an exalted position in worship.

The use of images and pictures in worship expanded rapidly as more and more untutored barbarians came into the church. Both images and pictures materialized the invisible reality of deity for these worshipers. They also had a decorative function in beautifying a church.

The fathers of the Catholic Church tried to make a distinction between the reverence of these images—reverence that was a part of the liturgy—and the worship of God; but it is doubtful whether this subtle distinction prevented the ordinary worshiper from offering to them the worship that the fathers would reserve for God alone.

The practice of reverencing, bowing to, and praying to idols continues today.

476 AD – The fall of the Roman Empire

476-1300 AD – The Middle Ages. 

The first part of The Middle Ages is often called the Dark Ages because of the void in the world power structure caused by the Roman Fall and the continual rise of doctrinal heresy.

The Dark Ages was a period of religious struggle between Orthodox Christians and Catholicism.  Orthodox Christians regarded this time as a period of Catholic corruption and repudiated the ways of the Catholic Church with its papal doctrines.

Orthodox Christians strove to recreate a pure Christianity, void of the doctrinally corrupt Catholic heresies, vast Muslim conquests which continued until the times of the Crusades.

But, beginning with Leo I’s accession to the episcopal throne in 440, the Roman bishop began to claim his supremacy over other bishops. The need for efficiency and coordination led naturally to centralization of power. The bishop was also considered the guarantor of orthodox doctrine. In addition, some of the Roman bishops of this period were strong men who missed no opportunity to increase their power.

590 AD – Gregory the Great headed up the Roman Catholic Church.  He loved the title “papas” from which the word “Pope” is derived.

The veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, developed rapidly by 590 and led to the adoption of the doctrines of her immaculate conception in 1854 and her miraculous assumption to heaven in 1950. The false interpretation of Scripture and the mass of miracles associated with Mary in the apocryphal gospels created great reverence for her.

The Nestorian and other Christological controversies of the fourth century resulted in the acceptance of her as the “Mother of God” and entitled her to special honors in the liturgy.

Clement, Jerome, and Tertullian had ascribed perpetual virginity to Mary. Augustine believed that the mother of the sinless Christ had never committed actual sin. Monasticism, with its emphasis on the virtue of virginity, strengthened the idea of the veneration of Mary. These and other considerations led the Roman church to give special honor to Mary.

What at first was merely acknowledgment of her exalted position as Christ’s mother soon became belief in her intercessory powers because it was thought that the Son would be glad to listen to the requests of His mother. Mariolatry (worship of Mary) of our day elevates Mary to the positions of Co-Mediatrix and Co-Redemptorist. 

The veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus, developed rapidly by 590 and led to the adoption of the doctrines of her immaculate conception and her miraculous assumption to heaven. The false interpretation of Scripture and the mass of miracles associated with Mary in the apocryphal gospels created great reverence for her.

  1232 AD - Gregory IX appoints first “inquisitors.”

The Inquisition was a powerful office set up within the Catholic Church to root out and punish heresy throughout Europe and the Americas. Beginning in the 12th century and continuing for hundreds of years, the Inquisition is infamous for the severity of its tortures and its persecution of Jews and Muslims. Its worst manifestation was in Spain, where the Spanish Inquisition was a dominant force for more than 200 years.

1054 AD – The Schism of the Roman Catholic Church.

The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, which had lasted until the 11th century.

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