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Competing Paths of Liberty

Nov 08, 2018

The Age of Faith, according to Will Durant in his series in The Story of Civilization, began with the Emperor Constantine and that it lasted until the death of Dante in 1321—essentially a thousand years. The Age of Faith, intellectually speaking, was a time when men were asked (or forced) to believe in God and in church creeds without question.

Faith in those days was assumed to be blind, going beyond reason and logic. Such blind faith depended largely upon the ignorance of the Scriptures, for during this time literacy rates plummeted, and the Scriptures were hidden away in religious centers. The people lost the right to discover the truth of Scripture for themselves and to compare it with church doctrine.

The Age of Faith was eclipsed by the Renaissance, which was the secular form of the Protestant Reformation that began about the same time. Durant dates the start of the Renaissance at about 1300 and ends it with the death of Galileo in 1648—or about 350 years. The prosperity of Venice that came from its fleet of ships brought both trade and antiquities to Italy, including classical Greek writings and art.

The popes thundered against the traders’ interaction with Muslims, but the church began to lose its grip on the minds of men. Prosperity also brought education, and men began to turn to Greek philosophy rather than church teaching. With the rise of philosophy came the idea that men could learn truth through education, reason, and logic.

Hence, the Age of Reason (1559-1648) became the last phase of the Renaissance, beginning with Queen Elizabeth I of England and ending at the death of Galileo in 1648.

The Protestant Reformation

Simultaneous with the Renaissance came the Protestant Reformation, which traced its roots to John Wycliff about the year 1300 as well. This Reformation fought Rome over the teachings of Scripture, rather than rejecting Scripture altogether in favor of Greek philosophy and secular reasoning.

The Protestant Reformation outlasted the Age of Reason, but the influence of the Renaissance persisted largely through the rise of Freemasonry, which used architecture and astrology as an esoteric missionary effort to subject governments to their god, Baphomet. By the time of the French Revolution in 1789, there were really three main power centers in the West: the Roman church, the Protestants, and the Freemasons. Each had its own way of thinking and path toward the discovery of truth and liberty.

Napoleon arose out of the ashes of the French Revolution. He took Pope Pius VI captive in 1798. Pius VI died in prison the following year, and in 1800 he was replaced by a Benedictine monk named Chiaramonte, who took the name Pius VII. But this pope had very little power until 1804 when Napoleon recognized his position in order to have the pope crown him Emperor.

All of this was prophesied in Revelation 13:3 when the fatal head wound inflicted upon the beast from the sea was healed. The latter half of Revelation 13 then shows the rise of a new beast, this one from the earth, which was the financial beast that birthed the modern banking system, largely through inspiration of the House of Rothschild. (See my book, The Revelation, Book 5.)

The Bible Societies

Simultaneously, the various Bible Societies had been inspired to print and distribute the Bible as a ministry to the common people. This was a logical next step after the “little book” was opened (Revelation 10:2) in 1452 with the first edition printing of the Gutenberg Bible. Being no longer hand copied, Bibles became small and inexpensive, making them available to the average person. The Bible was thus taken out the front of the church where it had been chained to a table, and it was placed in the homes of men everywhere.

The Bible Societies also began to translate the Bible into foreign languages to make it available to the rest of the world. The popes ranted in vain against this new development, for Revelation 3:8 had promised an open door that “no one will shut.” And so the attempts of Pope Leo XII (1823-1835) to stop the spread of Scripture were in vain. His words opposing the dissemination of Scripture are recorded in Cormenin's History of the Popes, Vol. II, pp. 426-427,

“There is a sect, my brethren, who arrogating wrongfully to themselves the name of philosophy, have rekindled from their ashes the dispersed phalanxes of errors. This sect, covered externally by the flattering appearances of piety and liberality, professes toleration, or rather indifference, and interferes not only with civil affairs, but even with those of religion; teaching that God has given entire freedom to every man, so that each one can, without endangering his safety, embrace and adopt the sect or opinion which suits his private judgment.... This doctrine, though seducing and sensible in appearance, is profoundly absurd; and I cannot warn you too much against the impiety of these maniacs...

“What shall I say more? The iniquity of the enemies of the Holy See is so increased, that besides the deluge of pernicious books with which they inundate Europe, it goes so far as to turn the religion of the holy scriptures to detriment. A society, commonly called the Bible Society, spreads itself audaciously over the whole earth, and in contempt of the traditions of the holy fathers, in opposition to the celebrated decree of the council of Trent, which prohibits the holy scriptures from being made common, it publishes translations of them in all the languages of the world. Several of our predecessors have made laws to turn aside this scourge; and we also, in order to acquit ourselves of our pastoral duty, urge the shepherds to remove their flocks carefully from these mortal pasturages.... Let God arise: let him repress, confound, annihilate this unbridled license of speaking, writings, and publishing—.”

Men had begun to translate the Bible into common languages as early as the 1400's, and many had been burned at the stake for their work.

By the late 1500's there were so many common translations in print, the Roman Church was forced to bring forth its own English translation of the Bible in 1582-1609 called the Douay-Rheims Bible. It was revised by Bishop Richard Challoner from 1749-1752. Rome claimed this Bible to be a better translation than all others, even though it was basically an English translation of the Latin Vulgate, rather than from the earlier Greek text itself.

The Roman ban on Bible translations remained in effect at least until the Roman Church officially gave up trying to suppress the Scriptures in the 1890's. Even so, it was not until Vatican II in the early 1960's that the Roman Church completely stopped trying to prevent Catholics from reading the Bible. The Church then simply stopped talking about those earlier “infallible” decrees banning the Scriptures. The Roman Church could not close this open door that God had opened, so they joined the crowd and pretended that previously-locked door never existed.

The Path of Truth Discovery

Originally, Christianity taught that truth was to be found in the Scriptures, i.e., the Word of God. It was not long, however, before it was discovered that men had many opinions as to what the Bible said. This problem threatened the unity of the church, as men divided into factions that were labeled according to each prominent divergence or “heresy.”

In order to deal with this problem, the church soon abandoned the idea of freedom of conscience and began to threaten and even execute its heretics. Love was sacrificed on the altar of church unity, and when the church gained political power, men fully lost the right to read the Scriptures for themselves to determine truth from falsehood.

During the Middle Ages, the idea that ordinary people were ignorant and incapable of knowing truth was entrenched into the religion. At the same time, with the fall of the Western Roman Empire, literacy rates dropped dramatically. People had little access to books, and soon only the church religious centers possessed copies of the Bible. Hence, the right to read the Bible became largely a moot point, and the church won the debate by default.

The Protestant Reformation brought about a historical change, reinforced in 1452 with the use of the printing press, a technology brought from China by the Mongols in their invasions in the 13th century. They also brought gunpowder, which, in 1453, was used to bring an end to the Eastern Roman Empire. Their cannons broke down the walls of Constantinople (now Istanbul), and the Greek doctors of the church then flooded into Europe as refugees, bringing with them many precious Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.

These historic events, described in Revelation 9 and 10 (using the language of symbolism), changed the world as we know it. It was not long before the Roman church was unable to prevent the common people from reading the Bible for themselves. Rome’s greatest fear thus came to pass, as power shifted from a centralized religion in Rome to the homes of the common people.

Men no longer had to take a priest’s word for it. Men could now study the Word for themselves. Much Roman doctrine and religious practice was exposed as fraudulent, having no basis in the Word itself. Whereas Western civilization had been based upon the Roman church and canon law (i.e., Justinian’s law), the Bible itself replaced Rome as the most influential and powerful force in the West.

Even so, persecutions forced many Bible-based believers to move to the “New World” in the Americas. The “old world” of Europe was the First World. America was the Second World. Other undeveloped nations became known as “Third World” countries.

Competing Ideologies of Liberty

To Rome, truth was to be found in church traditions, disseminated by its priests who were expected to comply with established creeds.

To Protestants, truth was to be found in Scripture alone, and this was modified in the later Pentecostal movement to include inspiration by the Holy Spirit.

Freemasons sought truth through ancient writings from early civilizations in Egypt as well as from long-forgotten civilizations of the ancient past. Secularists sought truth through reason and logic, which morphed into their views of “science.” Freemasonry differed from the Secularists in that they recognized the existence of a spiritual world, whereas Secularists were materialists, who denied any realm outside of mind and matter.

Freemasonry’s obsession with the occult, however, unleashed a host of evil spirits upon the world. The god of Freemasonry is Baphomet, whose help they hoped to enlist in their plan to control all governments from local municipalities to federal governments. In their arrogance, they thought that they could control Baphomet and other evil spirits through contracts and rituals, but the reality is that these spirits control Freemasonry. Individual Freemasons are trapped in a very bad system and find it difficult to get out alive.

Each system vies for power and influence, and each claims to know the path to freedom. My view, of course, is that the early Protestants were correct in claiming that the Bible reveals the path to true freedom. Rome only perpetuated slavery throughout the Middle Ages. Freemasonry was the main power behind the French Revolution (as they themselves claim), which only perpetuated cycles of violence. Secularists laid claim to the ideas of Greek democracy, but even the Greeks never abolished slavery.

To this list we might also look east at the religion of Buddhism, which understood that the human mind could not discover ultimate truth. Buddha saw the human intellect as the source of ignorance and darkness, and so his solution was to shut down the mind altogether and to kill logical thought through meditation. It sought to escape the human experience of fallen man, thinking that the darkness of sin was inherent in his flesh and in his carnal mind.

Buddhism defined sin as ignorance and sought a solution through a classroom where men could learn to shut down the mind through meditation. How different this is from the Hebrew Scripture, where sin is an offence against the rights of God and one’s fellow men and where the solution is found in a courtroom where men pay restitution to their victims.

To a Buddhist, freedom is escaping the confines of the human mind. To a Christian, freedom is setting the mind free from its debt to sin and from its enslavement to the dictates of sin that command us to violate the law of God. The solution is not to escape the human mind nor to destroy it but rather to redeem it, put it back under the sovereignty of God, and subject it to His laws. In this way, both body and soul (mind) can fulfill its original good purpose and thereby express the nature of God and the character of heaven in the created universe.

Old Covenant Blindness

Protestantism as a whole was flawed from the beginning, because its success depended upon flawed people. Men were given the freedom to be wrong, and many took advantage of that new-found freedom. The laws of God had been replaced by the traditions of men for many centuries, even as the same problem had existed in Jesus’ day with the religious leadership of Judaism. True justice by the mind of God had lost its essence by the Jewish idea that being chosen meant putting other ethnicities and races into subjection and slavery. By not understanding the law of Jubilee and the impartiality of God, their system was fatally flawed and remains so to this day.

The Apostle Paul attributes this problem to men’s Old Covenant mindset, which he says is a “veil” (2 Corinthians 3:15) blinding the eyes of the people. The solution is the New Covenant and its Mediator, Jesus Christ, who alone can remove this veil from our hearts and bring us true liberty (2 Corinthians 3:16, 17).

The Old Covenant mindset brought a veil of blindness both to Judaism and to the various denominations of the church. Judaism rejected the New Covenant altogether, while the church merely redefined the New Covenant so that it became synonymous with the Old Covenant in its most important features. (See my book, The Two Covenants.)

The Roman church degenerated into the same condition by replacing the law of God with its own traditions. Protestantism found itself on the same path as time progressed.

Only those influenced by the Bible and the New Covenant in particular worked toward full freedom under God by adopting biblical law (to the best of their understanding). Yet even they had disputes with the Church of England, which, in spite of its Protestant label, never adopted the Protestant ideals of the Jubilee. They broke away from the Roman church and established the King of England as the head of the church, but they made only peripheral changes to the actual doctrines of Rome.

When persecuted, the Pilgrims went first to Holland and later came to America to enjoy religious freedom to set up biblical government under God’s law. Meanwhile, Anglicans subject to the Church of England settled in the South and soon imported the old-world Roman view of slavery. Although they adopted the Protestant Reformers’ principle of biblical freedom for themselves, they failed to extend that freedom to other races.

Romans 8:20, 21 foretells a time when all of creation will be set free into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Yet the path toward universal liberty has proven to be difficult to find, as long as carnal men rule. Nonetheless, America was greatly impacted by Reformation theology and understanding of the Bible, and really did change the course of history.

The United States pushed the world into greater freedom than it had known before, but the competing ideologies of Rome, Freemasonry, and Secular Socialists finally prevailed in the early 20th century. The passage of the Federal Reserve Act in late 1913 was the first major blow to freedom, as the nation lost its economic freedom and was subjected to the power of the beast from the earth (Revelation 13:11).

Yet even this captivity to Mystery Babylon was necessary, not only to judge the nation for its failure to extend liberty to all, but also because the world was yet under the overall rule of the beast systems described in Daniel 7. God had subjected the world to various “beast” empires for a period of “seven times” (2,520 years), and that legal contract did not end until 2017. For this reason, liberty could not fully succeed or become a permanent fixture of governments in the world until now. But after the feast of Tabernacles in 2017, spiritual authority was given to the saints of the Most High, and history shifted toward the path of righteous government.

But to accomplish this, the overcomers must emerge and take seriously the spiritual authority that has been given to them. They cannot act like the beast systems of the past. They must know the laws of God and understand them well enough to implement them with righteousness and impartiality. They must have the mind of Christ and be led by the Spirit.

Ultimately, they must fulfill the feast of Tabernacles, where they are transformed into the image of God in the fullest sense. Only then will the principles of liberty be established permanently in the earth, with no possibility of being replaced by the counterfeit freedom that is offered by competing ideologies, philosophies, and religions.


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Category: Teachings
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones
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