The Mystery of Iniquity Satan’s Masterpiece of Deception
This is probably one of the hardest posts I have ever posted, because I know there will be those that reject what is being stated. But if we are to truly understand the character of God and His purpose for us and His church along with the battle that is taking place in this Great Controversy between Christ and Satan, then this is a vitally important post in our study about God and His Character and His dealing with all of mankind. So please, I invite you to read this post through until the end. Prayerfully consider what written and ask God to send His Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding in this important subject about God the Father and His character and the nature of His law.
References in past posts have been made regarding the works of fiction as presented by the storyteller in the novel and on the movie screen as the specific media through which Satan has been educating an unwitting world in his master plan to miss-represent God’s character and law.
But there is yet another medium through which Satan works with great effectiveness to achieve the same ends. This is the mystery of iniquity, otherwise in scripture known as Babylon; Babylon the Great; the mother of harlots; the man of sin; the son of perdition; and the antichrist. It has appeared in various forms during the ages. Its earliest champion after the flood was Nimrod and his followers, after which came the builders of the tower of babel, the worshipers of Baal, the Assyrians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans and even among the Christian church.
Nimrod started building the tower of Babel in direct opposition to God. He introduced several different false doctrines or teachings that were contrary to God. The word Babel means confusion, and most associate that confusion to what developed when the language of the people was confused. Yes, this would certainly be confusing to have multiple languages where previously only one language was spoken. But, confused languages are not what the confusion of Babel really stands for. Throughout the Bible, Babel, or Babylon has been synonymous with confusion, religious confusion, false teachings, and manmade traditions, that are contrary to God and what the Scriptures teach us about God. Nimrod as we discussed just a moment ago, introduced false teachings and concepts about God and these ideas and teachings have remained with us through paganism and more often than not, even thru the so called Christian church.
As we will see, this is Satan’s masterpiece of deception, that the Christian church is the instrument through which more than any other he disseminates his lies about God through false teachings and doctrine.
It is Satan’s constant effort to misrepresent the character of God, the nature of sin, and the real issues at stake in the great controversy. His sophistry lessens the obligation of the divine law and gives men license to sin. At the same time, he causes them to cherish false conceptions of God so that they regard Him with fear and hatred rather than with love. The cruelty inherent in his own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in systems of religion and expressed in modes of worship. Thus, the minds of men are blinded, and Satan secures them as his agents to war against God. By perverting the conceptions of the divine attributes, heathen nations were led to believe human sacrifice was necessary to secure the favor of Deity; and horrible cruelties have been perpetrated under the various forms of idolatry.
Even the church has united a form of paganism with Christianity, and like paganism, misrepresenting then the character of God. The church has also resorted to practices no less cruel and revolting as that which was practiced by pagans.
It is clear, that during the dark ages, the character of God was perverted, and his requirements and teachings were often replaced by traditions and false teachings. The Saviour was represented as so far devoid of sympathy with man in his fallen state that the mediation of priests and saints must be involved to invoke forgiveness of sins.
Everyone must make a choice regarding how they view God’s character. There are only two options: Follow Babylon’s depiction of God and His law or chose Christ as the revelation of God and his ways. It is impossible for both to represent the same thing, for one is Christ and the other is, dare we say, the antichrist.
It is a mistake to suppose that Babylon used only the weapons of force. So terrible and extensive was her use of weapons of compulsion to persecute into submission those reluctant to obey her that this is all that is apt to be seen of her character and activities. Force is the last resort of every false religion. At first it tries attraction, as the king of Babylon tried the power of music and outward show to attract all in bowing down to the image. If these attractions invented by men inspired by Satan, failed to make men worship the image, the hungry flames of the furnace were ready to consume them. So it will be now. Satan through the false teaching of the Christian church has exercised her power to compel men to obey her, and she will continue to do so. We need the same spirit that was manifested by God’s servants in the conflict with paganism.
As we study the early Christian church we see that the antichrist comes first without sword. Her first ambassadors were priests and missionaries who, with humility and self-sacrifice, sought to win the populace to their theology by teaching and with eloquent arguments. Arguments that were contrary to the Old Testament and certainly contrary to Christ and the apostle’s teachings.
In the sixth century the church determined to convert Great Britain to this false religion that was mixed with paganism. Accordingly, they sent forty-one missionaries to Britain in the summer of 597 CE (AD). The true Christian religion had proceeded these missionaries. The true Christian faith had been found among the original Britons, which had not yet converted to the pagan religion of the Anglo-Saxon invaders from northern Europe and Scandinavia. To convert these Britons was the immediate objective. For this purpose, a general assembly was convened in 601 CE (AD). But “to no purpose did the archbishop lavish his arguments, prayers, censures, and miracles, even with all this, the Britons remained firm (J. H. Merle d’Aubigne, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, vol. 5, p. 36).
The council having failed, tried again with the same tactics of a peaceful persuasive approach, but again failed. Perceiving that he would gain nothing by these means, the lead missionary rose to his feet and said, “If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war. If you will not unite with us in showing the Saxons the way of life, you shall receive from them a stroke of death.” Having thus spoken, the haughty archbishop withdrew, and occupied his last days in preparing the accomplishment of his ill-omened prophecy. Argument had failed: now for the sword (Ibid p. 37).
What took place there in the early history of Britain has been repeated in every place where Christianity and paganism have united. For the world, millions have fallen victim of this familiar pattern.
As we have learned throughout our study, God and Christ would never force their will upon anyone or anything. It is not part of their nature or character to do such a thing. After all the law, the perfect law of God reflects their Character. Christ came to this world to show us the Father’s character, and as we have discovered, there is no instance in the New Testament where Christ forced himself upon anyone. Therefore, if the church is supposed to be Christ’s representative on earth, why then would it exhibit character traits such as force that are foreign to God and Christ. Therefore, any world religion including Christianity that forces its beliefs upon another cannot be the true representative of Christ or God on earth. If God the Father granted free choice in the beginning, would he take that free choice away by forcing His belief system upon others. And, if he did force his belief system upon others, then would not the accusations of Satan regarding God the Father be true. The pattern of all false religions, which includes Christianity that has been perverted is to first reason with others, and when reason fails, then resort to force.
Most see God looking down upon the Britons as the missionaries did in 597. In his great love for the lost and the dying, they see God sending His personal ambassador, the Holy Spirit who works through self-sacrificing human agents, to woo and win the erring. They believe that during this period the Lord withholds His judgement and administers blessing as an incentive to the people to follow Him. But time goes by and the blessing received are turned into a curse as in the case of the Sodomites, the Egyptians, and the Israelites. What now happens is that the people move away from God into that area where they make it impossible for him to protect them from the threatening destructions poised above them. But people see in these calamities the hand of God trying to enforce an allegiance where persuasion has failed. When even this fails, they see God destroying the wicked from the face of the earth.
Therefore, as surely as we know that Babylon’s representation of the Deity is a misrepresentation, therefore, it must be wholly rejected. A moment’s reflection will show that the representation of God given on the movie screen and that given by false Christianity are identical. In both cases the law is broken to bring about keeping of the law. False Christianity kills those who will not obey. But by killing, she disobeys God’s commands, in order to do away with those whom she believes are disobeying God’s commands.
Therefore, any religion that forces itself upon another is of this world and not in any way of God. Every principle of her character and behavior is a denial of the revelation of the Deity mirrored in the life of Christ and espoused in His teachings. She (the false church) fulfills most adequately Satan’s objective in misrepresenting the character of God.
The existence of Babylon and her teachings, versus the presence of Christ, His life and teachings provide for everyone the choice of which representation of God they will believe. It is impossible to consistently believe both. Babylon offers a picture of God as One who loves His enemies, blesses them, does them good, and forgives them – for a time. Then His face changes, and He arises to do to them the very things He has commanded them not to do. He first treats them cruelly; then he finally kills them.
But Christ came to show us a Father who loves His enemies, blesses them, does them good, and forgives them – forever. He never rises to do that which He has instructed His children not to do. He is the God of righteousness.
The choice then is Christ or the antichrist, God or the devil, the heavenly Jerusalem or Babylon. There can be no difficulty in knowing which of these is the one to choose. Yet some will hesitate in uncertainty, even confusion.
Let such people who are struggling open the history books and examine the working of false Christianity’s doctrines, teachings, and actions. Through the pages of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit has shown that He has neither overlooked her real character nor been deceived by her pretentious outward appearance.
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement (Revelation 17:4-6). And in her was found the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth (Revelation 18:24).
In prophecy, the church is represented by a woman. The woman is supposed to be the bride of Christ and when Christ returns and brings, all His faithful followers to heaven, they will all sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamp. Christ will be reunited with His Pure Church, those that have the character of Christ in their lives. Therefore, notice the dress and adornment of the woman portrayed in our first passage from Revelation (Revelation 17:4-6). The woman is dressed in haughty clothing with lots of personal adornment. But in her personal adornment and clothing there is a color missing, and that color is blue. Blue represents Gods law, which also represents his character which has been in existence and unchanged since before the foundation of this world (see Exodus 24:9-12: Ezekiel 10:1). In each case the color described is the color of a sapphire stone and the most popular color of sapphire is blue. Therefore, the color of God’s law is represented by the color blue and in the lady pictured above, there is no blue mentioned therefore the woman drunk with the blood of the saints does not contain the character of God or honor the law of God.
The last verse, Revelation 18:24, is worthy of special attention for the charge is laid by God that the blood of all men who have died is the work of the man of sin. Satan has sought to lay this blood to God by charging that God is cruel and vengeful. Human beings have been prepared to believe Satan at least to some extent for while it is clear at least to most that sin and the devil have taken the lives of millions, it is also believed that God has done His share of killing too. But this verse does not subscribe to such teaching. Here it is stated that all the blood of all the dead is attributed to the man of sin. This text is a strong Bible witness to the truth that God does not destroy, for if the man of sin has killed all who have been killed, then the Lord has killed none.
Study must be devoted to the history of this anti-Christian movement that calls themselves Christian which teaches false doctrines and the traditions of man over the pure truth of God’s Word and endeavors to misrepresent the Character of God. Ask if they have taught of a warm, trusting love for God and one’s neighbors; if they have brought peace and prosperity to the earth; if they have lifted oppression and set men free; if they have opened the doors to the advance of knowledge and skills, then we can know that they are a truthful presentation of the character of God. It must be so for God is righteousness and: Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor (Proverbs 21:21). The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever (Isaiah 32:17).
The question should be asked, does this sound like the work of the church during the dark ages and does this church sound like the church described in Revelation 18:24. Throughout all ages there have been true followers of God that have reflected the actual character of God, the Christian church of the dark ages failed to honor the law of God and thus failed to reflect His character. Wherever religion has attempted to force others to believe as she does, she has left behind, ignorance, immorality, strife, wars, bloodshed, murders, and hatred along with total rejection of God’s very existence. The fruitage of her work has been the exact opposite from that outline in the verses above. It has not led to love and loyalty to God but to fear and hatred of Him and finally to infidel rejection of His very existence.
This false form of Christianity has misrepresented the character of God and perverted His requirements, and now men rejected both the Bible and its Author. This false form of the Christian religion had required blind faith in her dogmas, under the pretended sanction of the Scriptures. In the reaction, Voltaire and his associates cast aside God’s word altogether and spread everywhere the poison of infidelity. The church had ground down the people under her iron heel; and now the masses, degraded and brutalized, in their recoil from her tyranny, cast off all restraint. Enraged at the glittering cheat to which they had so long paid homage, they rejected truth and falsehood together; and mistaking license for liberty, the slave of vice exulted in their imagined freedom (The Great Controversy pp. 281, 282).
The above paragraph was written as a comment on the French Revolution with direct reference to the cause of it. It was a reaction, a striking back by the oppressed against those who had for so long held them in mental, physical and spiritual bondage. No better revelation can be found for the effect of false teaching and practices by the church than this violent reaction that took place during the French Revolution. Everything that developed and transpired in that awful time was the direct fruitage of the churches false teaching, and the oppression that followed in her wake.
The church with its false teaching and tradition had begun the work which atheism was now completing. The policies and dogmas of the so called true church which displayed all the characteristic of another instead of God had brought out these conditions, social, political and religious forces that were hurrying France on to ruin. Writers, in referring to the horrors of the Revolution, say that these excesses are to be charged upon the throne and the so-called church. In strict justice they are to be charged upon the church, for the church had poisoned the minds of kings against the Reformation, as an enemy to the crown, an element of discord that would be fatal to the peace and harmony of the nation. It was the genius of this so called Christian church that by this means inspired the direst cruelty and the most galling oppression which proceeded from the throne (The Great Controversy, pp. 276, 277).
The revolution would never have been so cruel, bloodthirsty, and horrible, and the people would never have gone so far in their total rejection and hatred of God, if they had seen the church as being a representative of no more than itself. But she presented herself to the world as God’s direct agent and representative, and to millions she was the only picture of God that they knew. Therefore, they rejected not only the Christian faith but the God of the true church. Because they believed that God of heaven was the God represented by that false church, they rejected Him in the most tragic and hateful way.
Having infiltrated the church with his strange doctrines, nothing could have pleased Satan more. With the masses he has been all too successful, yet the very devices he employs to misrepresent God, provide the spiritually enlightened with the proof that God is not as the world and the churches view Him. By tracing the result of these false teaching from its beginning to final culmination, we are equipped to discern the connection between the Babylonian philosophies about God and the sure outworking of bloodshed, tortures, mistrust, hatred, violence, atheism, immorality, and multiplied other horrors. Nobody desired these troubles to come upon themselves. Therefore, when it is understood that they result from those erroneous views of God, then they will likewise reject them, and there will be a turning toward those revelations of God that will breed love, joy, peace, gentleness, long-suffering, mercy, patience, and such.
The teaching of this false religion is that God is above the law. While God calls upon His people not to kill, lie, or steal, He is not bound by these things in His relationship with them. The believers in this false religion believe that the law is to protect God and the church from the masses, but not the masses from God or the church. Because the leader of this false Christianity believes that he is God upon this earth, he acts out these harsh principles in his dealing with people.
But people will not love and serve such a God. As surely as this concept of God’s character is projected, so surely will people reject such a God. The great reaction of the French Revolution proves that. The message which burst from the hearts and throats of the populace then, was that if this was God, they wanted none of Him at all – forever.
It may be countered that there are millions today who believe that God mercifully entreats the people to repentance at first but uses destructive force to kill them if they will not repent, and yet, while believing this, love and serve Him. It is true that for a time this is so. Think of the centuries during which the people of the Middle Ages continued to serve God as this false Christianity represented Him to be, but it could not and did not go on forever. There came a time when the reaction set in and the rejection of that kind of God was total.
Once again, the earth is moving toward another such absolute rejection of God. When that time comes, all the horrors of the French Revolution will be re-enacted, but not within the limited confines of national scale, rather it will be global.
In the coming and final conflict, every person on earth will be obliged to take his or her stand on one side or the other of the great controversy. Have you carefully, prayerfully, and honestly, considered the implication of your present understanding of God’s character?
If you believe that God does not concern Himself with personal law-keeping: does as He pleases in the sense that people do as they please; and designed the law to protect Himself from the people but not the people from Him, then you are on the side of the greatest agency of all time through which Satan has misrepresented the character of God.
If you believe that God at first seeks to win by loving petition and merciful dealings but in the end uses force to wipe out those who do not serve Him, then your position is no different than those that teach this false Christianity.
It is commonly held by the majority of Christians, through misunderstanding of Bible language, that God seeks to win our allegiance and love through the picture of Himself as given in the life, ministry, and cross of Christ, but ultimately He will see to it that those who finally reject His invitation to life will burn in a never-ending torment of unthinkable intensity and magnitude. At best, according to the minority view, He will use His miracle-working power to burn up the impenitent in raining down molten sulfur while miraculously exercising His power to sustain their lives. In this, He consigns them by exercise of inescapable divine force, to endure this tortuous rain of fire and swim in the molten elements until they, according to the scale of their wickedness in life, fulfil their preappointed duration of time as sentenced and finally die the second death. If any of these views reflect your position, you will be on the side of the power behind the false teachings in the false Christian church and the devils delight, for his purpose in you are being achieved.
On the other hand, if these things have never occurred to you before in quite this way, then the decision must be made sooner or later to either cling to these views or reject them in exchange for something better. If the right choice is made, then one more step will be taken out of Babylonian darkness.
“To know God is to love Him” (the Desire of Ages, p. 220). Such a statement can only mean that to know God as God is, is to love Him. Therefore, to know God as God is not is to hate and reject Him as is so clearly proven by the French Revolution.
To fill us with supreme joy and happiness, God unmasks Satan’s lies about His righteousness and gives to all a true knowledge of His character. As this is understood and then experienced, believers will love God and their fellow human beings as they never thought possible.
May such glorious prospects be incentive enough to lead each and all to reject Satan’s teachings through false Christianity and the world and to accept both intellectually and in personal tractiveness the truth of God’s righteousness.
Our next post in this series will be “The Mystery-unfolding Cross. We will look at the following questions. The wrath of God fell upon Jesus at the cross. Did the Father kill the Son?
What is it about the suffering of Christ in the atoning sacrifice that reveals God’s character, particularly in the subject of the final disposition of sin and impenitent sinners?
What does it mean when we say that Jesus “took the sinner’s place” on the cross?
I hope you will come back and read the rest of the posts in this series.
If you have not had the opportunity to read the other posts in this series, I invite you to click on the links below.