By James Coffman
The great apostasy foretold in the New Testament must be viewed as a significant manifestation of the entity symbolized by this second beast, an apostasy by no means limited to the papacy, but certainly inclusive of it. Measuring a chapter as, on the average, about twenty verses, there are at least seven whole chapters of the New Testament devoted to that phenomenon called the apostasy; and, if Revelation is the kind of book it is devoutly believed to be by this writer, there is no way for that apostasy to have been omitted from its pages.
Where are the eyes of those scholars who can write a whole commentary on Revelation and never even mention it? What kind of astigmatism can be blind to the plainest references to it, and what kind of deafness is it that cannot hear the thunder of these middle chapters of Revelation?
When we speak of the apostate church, we are not speaking of the devoted millions who are deceived within her ranks, nor of the countless faithful souls within her who may be doing their best to follow Christ. The apostasy is not The Catholic Church, but the religious apparatus which controls and exploits it, the secular state which the hierarchy created and controls, and the worldwide organization by which their tyranny and control are enforced.
That is the apostasy, at least a significant part of it, but not the whole of it. A mere glance at what that religious apparatus has done historically should convince any thoughtful person that an apostasy of incredible dimensions did indeed overtake the historical church. Of what does that apostasy consist?
1. They placed a human being on a pedestal of authority above all Christians, receiving him as “the head of the church” instead of Christ.
2. This so-called “pope’s” word is honored even in its contradiction of what Jesus Christ said.
3. They took the word of God away from the human race and burned the men who dared to translate it for the common people, as witness the ashes of Tyndale and Huss.
4. They took the wine of the communion away from all Christians and drank it up themselves.
5. They tortured, tormented, burned, destroyed, and consigned to hell countless saints of God throughout the whole Medieval period, during which they alone had a copy of the sacred Scriptures. The Spanish Inquisition is the only example of this that needs to be cited; and, significantly, the principal architect of that diabolical apparatus is still revered as a saint in the apostate church.
6. They corrupted Christianity by the consecration of sacred images, the introduction of Mariolatry, and the acceptance of so-called saints (dead Christians) as mediators between God and man, thus denying the true office of Christ our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5).
7. They invented the evil doctrine of purgatory, the greatest fund-raising system ever devised.
8. They sold for money the right to commit sin, in that notorious sale of indulgences that financed the Crusades and many of their cathedrals.
9. They condemned and executed the great translators of the word of God who dared to challenge their wicked usurpation of power.
10. They forbid to marry and command to abstain from meats, specific actions associated with the apostasy (1 Timothy 4:3).
11. They perverted and changed the ordinance of Christian baptism.
12. They invented so-called “sacraments” for the purpose of solidifying their control over people’s lives; but of the “seven,” only two of them have Greek names, effectively divorcing the other five from any connection whatever with true Christianity (They are not in the Greek New Testament).
13. They have courted the favor of earthly governments and maintained a relationship with them described in Revelation 17 as “committing fornication” with them; and this is going on now.
14. They have arrogated to themselves alone the right of determination of who is or is not saved, and have ruthlessly enforced their decisions beyond the gates of cemeteries all over the world. Try to find the grave of a dead Protestant in Rome!
15. They have brazenly claimed the right to forgive sins, require penance, and grant absolution. Satan himself has as much right!
The above is only a very small list of a much greater one showing how extensive an apostasy actually occurred in the historical church, and which is so dramatically foretold in the symbolism of this second beast. What is to be thought of the “Christian scholars” who are either ignorant of this, or who do not have the guts to mention it? Again, we deny any vindictive or unchristian hatred of Catholicism. See our article extolling the virtues of “The Great Whore” in Revelation 18. Dear members of this writer’s family are members of the Catholic Church, as well as many precious and devoted friends; but, in this work, we are endeavoring to present the teachings of the sacred New Testament; and the word of the Lord leaves no doubt whatever with regard to the apostasy of the hierarchical apparatus which misdirected the historical church. Other characteristics of it will be mentioned in the notes on the text of the chapter, below.