Why So Many Churches And Which Is Right
By Irvin Baxter, Jr.
Author’s Note: For full benefit from this study, please read the entire booklet.
Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I should go to church, but there are so many different kinds, which teach so many different beliefs, that I would have no idea which one to attend?” Why are there so many different “Christian” churches?!
Do you know that it was prophesied in the Bible that there would come a time when there would be many different churches which would go under the banner of Christianity? Not only that, the Bible reveals in this prophecy the distinguishing teaching of the true church. The prophecy which explains all this is unveiled in the following study.
Revelation 17:1-3. “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
The importance of this study in every individual’s life is shown in the very first verse. The angel said, “I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore.” Here God has pronounced judgment upon someone or something. The question immediately arises: “Am I going to be included in this judgment?” If we don’t know who or what is destined to be judged, then we cannot act to disassociate ourselves from that which is to be judged.
The first and foremost question we must ask is, “Who is this woman?” As we search for the answer to this question, we will find that every symbol which surrounds this woman is interpreted in plain language in this very same chapter.
WHO IS THE WOMAN?
Rev. 17:18 states very plainly, “And the woman which thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” So the first thing we discover is that the woman represents a city. There is a city somewhere on earth right now upon which God has pronounced judgment. We need to move out so that God’s judgments will not fall upon us also. Rev. 18:4, speaking of the same city says, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
The next clue in Rev. 17:9 tells what these seven heads symbolize. “And
here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (or on which the city sitteth).We now know two things: the woman is a city, and this city is located upon seven mountains or hills. There is only one city in the world today that is known as the city of seven hills. If you will look in many encyclopedias under “Rome”, it is referred to as the city of seven hills. If Rome is this city, then the rest of the clues in this chapter should fit her too.
Again in Rev. 17:18-“And the woman … which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” Does Washington, D.C. reign over the kings of the earth? Does Moscow? New York? London? Paris? The answer, of course, is definitely not! We can prove, however, that Rome does reign over the kings of the earth. In 1951 the Roman Catholic Church made a law that the Catholic Church had the right to guide the political thinking of any and all of its members. That states very plainly that if a pope should choose to issue an order to a head of state who is Catholic, he is bound by the laws of Roman Catholicism to obey. Do you realize that many heads of state today are Roman Catholic? One pope emphatically declared, “Popes have the right to remove kings and emperors, since spiritual rules over temporal.” During the Middle Ages, 500-1500 A.D., the pope named, removed, and replaced kings in Europe at will. European rulers, as recently as 100 years ago, went to be crowned by the pope. Napoleon planned to crowned by the pope, but a rift developed between his country and the Vatican, which prevented it. In the pope’s coronation ceremony, he is pronounced “king of kings and ruler of rulers of the earth.” God foresaw all of this before Catholicism ever existed, and foretold it in minute detail so that honest-hearted individuals would not be deceived. The remarkable thing is that Catholicism issues statements which are worded almost exactly like God’s prophecies concerning her!
In Rev. 17:1 again, the woman is shown sitting upon many waters. The angel tells John in Rev. 17:15, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” Roman Catholicism claims 800,000,000 subjects or members. (Catholics are many times referred to as subjects of the pope.) These members are in virtually every kingdom of the world. What an accurate description of Catholicism given by God before Roman Catholicism even existed! Roman Catholicism-a city and yet an international system.
Rev. 17:4 further described Catholicism, “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.”
In a description of a papal parade, the attire of the pope and the cardinals was described using almost the identical words as those above. Scarlet (red) is the color worn by cardinals; purple is worn by bishops and archbishops. The pope’s crown is gold, his throne is gold, the pope and the cardinals always have gold crucifixes hung about their necks. Pearls are used by all members in the form of their rosary. The astonishing thing is that the Catholic Church claims to be the true church, yet Paul taught against the wearing of pearls, gold, and costly array (I Timothy 2:9). If you will take notice of the different doctrines of Catholicism, you will find that hardly any are the same as those of the early church. That’s the reason God hates Catholicism so and has vowed to send terrible judgment upon it.Rev. 17:6 “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with blood of the martyrs of Jesus:”
Of all the persecutors of the true saints of God, Roman Catholicism ranks number one. In her history she has killed in the neighborhood of 68,000,000 Christians because they would not bow to her false doctrines. In one six-year period alone, Roman Catholicism was responsible for 6,000,000 deaths (not mentioning the unspeakable torture that came before death). There are countries today in which one may not preach contrary to Catholicism without endangering his life.
This seems so foreign today in the midst of the ecumenical movement, but the history books shout a warning to us if we will but listen. Not only has Catholicism been a persecutor in the past, but the Bible prophesies that in the immediate future she is going to be a party to persecution such as the world has never seen. It is no wonder that God said that Catholicism was drunken with the blood of the saints.
Rev. 17:5-“And upon her forehead was the name written, Mystery Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.”
To understand the first part of this name which was written upon the forehead of this woman, “Mystery Babylon the Great,” we must know something about Babylon. The first time we hear of Babylon is at the tower of Babel. This was shortly after the flood. The idea behind building the tower which would reach high into the heavens was that if another flood came, the people could save themselves by going up into the tower rather than depending on God to save them. Thus, Babylon became the origin of man-made religion. Also, this great tower would weld the people together into a single nation and government. So the spirit of Babylon which began at the tower of Babel was the spirit of self-sufficiency. One ruler, one government, one religion, and one economy: Give us these and we can solve all our problems.
The spirit of Babylon got into Nebuchadnezzar one night causing him to forget that God held control over the earth and could bring about the exaltation or the downfall of any ruler or kingdom. In his pride he exclaimed, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Immediately, the kingdom was taken from Nebuchadnezzar, and he was driven into the field to roam there as a maniac until he acknowledged the supremacy of God.
This lesson was remembered but a short time. Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson Belshazzar reigned over the kingdom of Babylon. One night Belshazzar held a great feast at which he was the center of attention, praise, and exaltation. In his exalted condition he sent for the gold and silver vessels which were dedicated to the worship of God. As he drank from those forbidden vessels, God wrote a message to Belshazzar in the plaster of the wall. “God hath numbered thy kingdom and finished it. Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and the Persians.” The Spirit of Babylon once again brought God’s judgment, as it always does.
The spirit of Babylon is still working in our times. When Hitler rose to power, his message and goal was to bring 1000 years of peace to the earth (with the Germans as rulers). The reason Satan inspired Hitler to attempt this 1000-year reign was simply because Satan has always tried to do what God has promised He will do. Every saint of God longs for the return of Jesus Christ to set up His Millennial (1000-year) Kingdom on earth. (Rev. 20:2-3, 6.) Before Hitler’s 3rd Reich, it was the 1st Reich and the 2nd Reich, all inspired by the spirit of Babylon, and all with the same vision: to establish a world kingdom that would last 1000 years. Undoubtedly, we will soon see the emergence of the 4th Reich, preaching the same Babylonian message of one world government, one world religion, and the promise of 1000 years of peace and prosperity.
The Bible did not say the woman’s name was to be Babylon; it said, “Mystery Babylon.” In other words she will not be called Babylon, but she will have the same spirit and doctrine that Babylon has always possessed. True to form, Catholicism does not believe that Jesus Christ is going to return to earth in person and set up a thousand-year kingdom of peace; but rather, they believe that through the spreading of the influence of Catholicism, they eventually will gain enough power to rule the world and to establish the Pope as “King of Kings.” Isn’t it amazing how accurate Bible prophecy is, even though written 2,000 years ago? It is not fulfilled in just one or two points but in every single detail, no matter how small.
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
This last portion of the name that God gave to Catholicism is, undoubtedly, the most important in opening our understanding. Here we can know the true from the false.
Notice, first of all, that Catholicism was called a harlot. Now God is saying that she is not only a harlot but is also the “Mother of Harlots.” A harlot is a woman who bears children having no husband.
Throughout the New Testament God’s true church has been called the bride of Jesus Christ (II Cor. 11:1-3 and Rev. 21:2). In order to be in the bride, we must take the name of the bridegroom. The way we can take the name of Jesus is through baptism (Gal. 3:27). Except we are baptized in the name, we can’t be in the bride.
This brings us to a crucial question: how does your church baptize? There are principally two formulas which have been used for baptism by present-day churches: 1) In the name of Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; 2) In the name of Jesus Christ. Those who were baptized in the Bible were always baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. If you will look in most encyclopedias, they will tell you that until 325 A.D. baptism in the name of Jesus Christ was the accepted formula (Canny Encyclopedia pg. 53; Dictionary of the Bible by Scribners, pg. 241; Dictionary of the Bible by James Hastings; Encyclopedia Britannica, the 11th edition, Volume 3, pp. 365-366).
On the other hand, no one in the Bible was ever baptized using the titles “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Until 325 A.D. this formula was never used or recognized as valid.
Then in 325 A.D. the Nicean council was called by what had become the Catholic Church. At this council the mode of Baptism was changed from “In the name of Jesus Christ” to “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” Also at this council the doctrine of the trinity was formulated. This was the founding of the great whore, the “Mother of Harlots.” She became a woman with no husband. She bore no man’s name.
In the 16th century Martin Luther led the Reformation, carrying with him millions. The Roman Catholic Church hastily called the Council of Trent in an attempt to stem the tide away from Catholicism. At this council many decrees were made condemning the Protestants; however, the council decreed that the Protestants, at least, had not forsaken the Mother Church’s baptism. With this fatal mistake, the Protestant movement was doomed to eventually be nothing but a lot of little harlots following in the footsteps of their Mother. We see the doom being fulfilled today with the Protestants turning back to Mother. In an effort to lure her daughters home, the Catholic Church issued this statement: “We the Mother Church are opening our arms to all of our daughters to return home. Anyone who holds to our baptism may return without being rebaptized.” How accurately it is being fulfilled!
Finally, God said of Mystery Babylon in Rev. 18:7: “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: For she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Now, why would Catholicism say, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow?” Simply because articles like this and God’s true preachers are going to be preaching loudly, “You’re a widow. Before 325 A.D. you bore the name of Jesus, but now you’re widow and a harlot. You are soon to be judged.” In defense she is going to say, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” But Rev. 18:8 says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine: And she shall beutterly burned with fire: For strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
Judgment is coming to Catholicism! Judgment is coming to Protestantism, her daughters! All this is in your Bible, whether a Protestant or Catholic Bible! Get your Bibles down and read for yourself. Are you going to reap the wrath of God, or are you going to wake up and obey the truth?
Remember, the point on which the entire issue turns is the formula of baptism used. Ecumenical leaders are saying, “We have a basis for unity. It is our common mode of baptism … Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” All churches will soon be divided into two basic groups: those who baptize using the phrase that was never used for an actual baptism in the Bible … Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, or those who baptize using the phrase that was used every single time by the New Testament church … In the name of Jesus (or Jesus Christ). See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, Acts 19:5. In the Bible God’s true church is symbolized as a virgin bride. A false church is also symbolized as a woman, but the woman is a harlot. The Bible prophesied that there would
be many false “Christian” churches-the Mother harlot and all of her daughter harlots. Their relationship is cemented by their common baptism.
As the dark cloud of ecumenism closes in on the world, there are many honest-hearted and sincere individuals in these false churches that God would like to save. The Word of God rings out, “Come out of her, my people, that ye by not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).
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