The Apostles held only one doctrine of Christ and God: There is one God and Father of all. Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. He was the Word.
The warnings of the Apostle John attacked three main heretical ideas.
The Apostle John spoke against the wrong explanations of Christ and God using very strong language.
John attacked three heretical ideas.
Unitarianism – “Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God” (1 John 4:2–3).
Modalism – “He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:22–23).
And finally, the Trinity – “the Image of the Beast.”
John described the beast in Revelation 13:2, as the combination of three ferocious animals: a lion, a leopard, and a bear, which caused as “many as would not worship the image to be killed” (Revelation 13:15). This couldn’t have been a better “image” of the Trinity, the “god” worshipped by the “Church” to whom Voltaire attributed the deaths of 50 million persons from 325 A.D. to 1707 A.D.1
John said the Trinity would be a “man-made” image: “he deceives those on the earth to make an image to the beast.” This precisely described the “making” of the Trinity, by philosophers, from 325 A.D. to 381 A.D.
In Revelation 13:1, John described the beast as having seven heads and ten horns. Rome, the Red Dragon (Revelation 12:3; Daniel 7:19), was the sixth great kingdom that was against the saints. The ten horns, being the seventh kingdom (Revelation 17:12), were the ten European states that came out of Rome (Daniel 7:24). On the ten horns were ten diadems (Revelation 13:1), meaning that the ten states of Europe gave their power to the beast, as described in Revelation 17:12–13.
The Beast of Seven Heads and Ten Horns
A – 33 A.D., Revelation 12:3–4, the attack of the Red Dragon on the Male Child. The beast of seven heads and ten horns. The power is on the seven heads, where the seven diadems are.
B – 193 A.D., Revelation 12:14, the Woman flew in the wilderness for 42 months
C – 303 A.D., Revelation 12:15, the Great Persecution, the Serpent spewed at the Woman
D – 381 A.D., Revelation 13:1–18
The beast has had one of its heads crushed, the Roman Empire, and the power has shifted to the ten horns, the diadems are on the ten horns. For the next several hundred years, those who do not receive the mark of the beast, the violation of the Sabbath Day commandment, endure economic penalties from the Church/State relationship formed by the Pope and the European States. Opposition to the Trinity even causes men to be killed.
E – 1471 A.D., Daniel 12:7: “He raised His right hand and swore that it would be for time, times and half a time.” The first Protestant Church breaks free from the Papacy after exactly 42 months, 1278 days, or years.
F – 1517 A.D., Daniel 12:12: “Blessed is he who waits and comes to 1335 days.”
G – 1917 A.D., Daniel 2:44: “In the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.”
John prophesied the timing of the creation of the Trinity, which he related to the fall of the Roman Empire: “I saw one of its (the beasts) heads as if it had been slain” (Revelation 13:3), “telling those on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword . . .” (Revelation 13:14). The wound of the sword to the beast of seven heads was the Gothic War of 376 to 382 A.D., which historians cite as the beginning of the fall of the Roman Empire. The Trinity doctrine was proclaimed for all Christians in 381 A.D.
The beast caused “all men” rich and poor to receive a mark on their right hand and forehead. This goes back to Exodus 13:9, where God said, “it shall be a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the Law of the Lord shall be in your mouth.” Moses told the Israelites to write the Ten Commandments of God on their hand or forehead, in Deuteronomy 6. But the beast “would intend to change time and law” as mentioned in Daniel 7:25.
The meaning of the “image of the beast” and the “mark of the beast” were dramatically illustrated for us in Daniel 3 and 6. In Chapter 3, Daniel told us that the King of Babylon, the beast in Chapter 4, made an image for everyone to worship or they would be killed. In the beginning of Chapter 6, we read that the Satraps of Babylon looked for a way to accuse Daniel of breaking the Law of His God. Then, we found that Daniel had to go into the Lion’s den because he broke the Law that “could not be changed.” Even the King of Babylon (the beast) did not have the power to change the Law.
Beginning in the fifth century, those who would not receive the mark received an economic disadvantage; they could not buy or sell, referring to hundreds of years of economic sanctions against those who disobeyed the Church, resting on Saturday rather than Sunday. Those who would not worship the three-person god were even killed, referring to the thousands and thousands of Christians and Muslims and Jews who died because they opposed the triune god.
The Meeting at Nicea
The opposing doctrine to the Trinity, in the fourth century, was “Arianism,” named after Arius (250–336 A.D.), a presbyter in Alexandria. Arius recognized Christ was the only begotten God and firstborn of creation. He saw the Father as the one true God. He taught that Christ was subordinate to God.
Many are aware that Emperor Constantine forced the Bishops of the “Universal Church” to choose one doctrine of God at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. According to legend, “Saint” Nicholas (from whom we get Santa Claus) struck “an Arian,” or Arius himself, on the jaw after Arius tried to persuade the Bishops 2. The Bishops voted against Arius, and he was excommunicated.
It is difficult to know what Arius said, because all of his writings were ordered to be burned, through the edict of Constantine, and here we find the first capital punishments created by the Trinity doctrine:
In addition, if any writing composed by Arius should be found, it should be handed over to the flames, so that not only will the wickedness of his teaching be obliterated, but nothing will be left even to remind anyone of him. And I hereby make a public order, that if someone should be discovered to have hidden a writing composed by Arius, and not to have immediately brought it forward and destroyed it by fire, his penalty shall be death. As soon as he is discovered in this offense, he shall be submitted for capital punishment . . .3
The Nicene Creed
The Trinity doctrine, which the Bishops agreed on in 381 A.D., required the development of many theological ideas. The Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. only embraced the idea that Christ was of one substance with the Father. On the surface, the Creed seemed accurate.
We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost.[But those who say: “There was a time when he was not;” and “He was not before he was made;” and “He was made out of nothing,” or “He is of another substance” or “essence,” or “The Son of God is created,” or “changeable,” or “alterable”— they are condemned by the holy catholic and apostolic Church.]
The second paragraph is a play on words to make us believe that Christ was not born of the Father.
The parts we have bolded below are the differences from the teachings of the Bible.
Very God of very God – We could possibly say Christ was “God” of very God, in the Old Testament, when he was ELOHIM, but He was not “very God.” Christ only spoke the words of the Father and explained to the Pharisees that they were also ELOHIM. When Christ became a man, “(He WILL BE) YHVH Elohim” became “I AM” and was no longer “YHVH ELOHIM”—the God of Israel.
Begotten, not made – In Chapter 25, we discussed why this is a meaningless distinction from God’s standpoint. God made all of us in the womb, and He is “the Father of all.” John called Christ a created being, when He called Him “the beginning of the creation of God.”4
Being of one substance with the Father –This was Tertullian’s ambiguous Latin expression (homoousios), which was eventually interpreted to mean “one being.”
The Nicene–Constantinople Creed
Ten years after his excommunication, Arius attempted to revive his freedom and the freedom of the Arian believers, by submitting a modified version of the Nicene Creed to Constantine, which he and his followers agreed to. It removed the idea that Christ was of one substance with the Father. Constantine accepted it, reportedly without understanding it. After this, Arius returned to Alexandria, where a great disturbance broke out, for the people were greatly divided, some believing Arius, and others wanting to believe in the Creed. The Emperor sent for Arius, and Arius then agreed to accept the Creed, but then he died a horrible death from the terror of his conscience:
A terror arising from the remorse of conscience seized Arius, and with the terror a violent relaxation of the bowels: he therefore enquired whether there was a convenient place near, and being directed to the back of Constantine’s Forum, he hastened there. Soon after a faintness came over him, and together with the evacuations his bowels protruded, followed by a copious hemorrhage, and the descent of the smaller intestines: moreover portions of his spleen and liver were brought off in the effusion of blood, so that he almost immediately died.5
The supporters of the Creed regarded Arius’ death as proof that God opposed Arius.
Later in the fourth century, a teaching of the Holy Spirit was developed to allow the Holy Spirit to be accepted as the “third person of the Godhead.” This doctrine claimed that the Holy Spirit was a “third” YHVH in the Old Testament. The Trinity doctrine did not equate the Spirit of ELOHIM with the Spirit of Christ who spoke the world into being, and spoke to the prophets as “the Word.” We discussed this at length in Chapter 2. The Trinity doctrine, we now know, became the official doctrine of the Catholic Church in 381 A.D. through the Nicene–Constantinople Creed, which was a modification of the Nicene Creed of 325 A.D.
The Nicene–Constantinople Creed added only a few sentences to the original creed, and did not include the phrase “God from God” (but this was added to the Latin western version). The biggest change was this addition to the phrase “And in the Holy Ghost”:
And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
(The phrase “and the Son,” Latin, “filioque,” was later added to “who proceedeth from the Father” in the Western Latin version. This resulted in a significant dispute between the West and East. The Eastern Church understood that God and the Holy Spirit were the same “person.” They knew the Holy Spirit was simply God’s Spirit. The Western churches wanted to say that the Holy Spirit was “another person.”)
The Holy Ghost – There are two Holy Spirits in the Bible, the Spirit of Christ who was the firstborn of creation, and the Spirit of truth, which is the Spirit of God, poured out on the Day of Pentecost. The Trinity doctrine tried to say that they were the same, and that this was “a person.” However, the Bible explains the Spirit of Christ as the person of Christ who was manifest in the flesh, and the Spirit of truth as the Spirit of God, not another person.
Who spake by the prophets – The Trinity doctrine asserted that the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, the Spirit of Christ, was the Spirit of truth poured out on the Day of Pentecost. The phrase proceedeth from the Father comes directly from Jesus’ description of the Spirit of truth in John 15:26.
Worshiped and glorified – The Holy Spirit poured out on the Day of Pentecost was the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Father, not “another person” to be worshiped.
Prayers to Mary
In the same time, that philosophers worked on the Trinity doctrine, Mary, Jesus’ mother was made “the God bearer” residing in heaven, to whom prayers were given.
Devotion and prayers to Mary began in the third century. This is known to us through the Sub Tuum Praesidium, which dates to 250 A.D.:
Beneath your compassion,
We take refuge, O Mother of God:
do not despise our petitions in time of trouble:
but rescue us from dangers,
only pure, only blessed one.
Direct prayer to Mary can be found in a sermon of Gregory of Narzianzus 6(330–389 A.D.), remembered as “the Trinitarian theologian.”
The Chalcedonian Definition of 451 A.D., the Eastern variation of the Trinity, included the phrase: “(born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos, (the ‘God-Bearer’).”
Devotion to Mary was already widespread even before 431 A.D., when the first council of Ephesus formally approved “devotion” to Mary as the “God-Bearer,” Theotokos,7 to complete the “divine family” in heaven.
The creation of the Trinity doctrine was only part of a larger effort that made the Christian religion much more similar to the pagan understanding of gods. It included the pagan concepts of a god family, a multi-headed god, and gods who became incarnated as men.
And cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed
“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with church dogma must be burned without pity”8(Pope Innocent III).
In Revelation 13:2, John described the beast as the combination of a lion, a leopard, and a bear. In Hosea’s prophecy of the harlotries of Ephraim, Hosea prophesied that God would become to Ephraim as “a lion, a leopard, and a bear.” Ephraim was symbolic of the harlotry of the Church.
And you shall not know no God but Me . . .
So I will be to them like a lion,
Like a leopard by the road I will lurk,
I will meet them like a bear deprived of her cubs.
Hosea 13:4, 7–8
In Revelation, John wrote:
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
The Trinity doctrine of 381 A.D. was the only doctrine established through the sword. It began with Constantine’s order of capital punishment for anyone who tried to protect the writings of Arius.
U.S. President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “it (the Trinity) had its birth in the death of thousands and thousands of martyrs.”9 Certainly Arius himself might be included in the deaths of the Trinity.
But the deaths caused by the Trinity continued. The first attack of the Trinity was against the Arian believing states of Europe.
Earnest Brehaut, in the introduction to his 1916 translation of Gregory of Tours History of the Franks, wrote:
When Clovis said of the Goths in southern Gaul, “I take it hard that these Arians should hold a part of the Gauls; let us go with God’s aid and conquer them and bring the land under our dominion” [note: see p. 45 (Book II:37)], he was not speaking in a hypocritical or arrogant manner but in real accordance with the religious sentiment of the time. What he meant was that the Goths, being heretics, were at once enemies of the true God and inferior to the orthodox Franks in their supernatural backing.
Clovis, in 500 A.D., was considered the first King of France. He was one of many whom John prophesied believed the Trinity “could speak,” and would help him to conquer the Arian Gauls.
In Egypt, those who tried to defy the Chalcedonian (Trinity) Creed of 451 A.D. were tortured and martyred by the Melkite Patriarchs.
In 600 A.D., Muhammad, being deceived by Satan, appealed to the victims of the Arab world and harkened them back to their monotheistic religion, which goes back to Abraham (Quran 2:135). Within 100 years, Islam conquered Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and others that were previously Christianized. The Quran spoke against Christians (People of the Book) who had “gone astray . . . from the soundness of the Way” (Quran 5:77).
People of the Book, go not beyond the bounds in your religion, and say not as to God but the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only the Messenger of God, and His Word that He committed to Mary, and a Spirit from Him. So believe in God and His Messengers, and say not, “Three.” Refrain; better is it for you. God is only One God. Glory be to Him – That He should have a son (an yakuna lahu waladun)! To Him belongs all that is in the heavens and in the earth; God suffices for a guardian.
Arberry Quran 4:171
(But, the Quran refused to recognize that Christ was made our Lord, after He endured the cross. In fact, Islam denies that Christ was even crucified, although they believe Christ will return as the judge on the final day [Quran 43:61]! This deception of Satan prevents the Islamic people from receiving the love of God and His salvation.)
The killings, caused by the three-person god, carried on into the Crusades from 1096 to 1487 A.D., when Trinitarian Christians attempted to regain the Holy Land from Muslim forces, believing that the three-person god would aid their efforts.
The Quran preached: “Fight them, till there is no persecution and the religion is God’s; then if they give over, there shall be no enmity save for evildoers (Arberry Quran 2:193).
In Daniel 11:38–39, we find the prophecy of this battle between the Beast and Muhammad. Daniel and Paul described the Beast as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God.”10 Daniel told us that the Beast would act against the strongest of fortresses, with the help of a god that his fathers (the Apostles) did not know (Daniel 11:38–39). The Islamic fortresses that the Beast came up against are now a matter of history:
The armies of the First Crusade on their way to Jerusalem between 1096 and 1099 encountered the most advanced fortifications of the time: Constantinople (now Istanbul), Nicaea (now Iznik), Kaisariyya (now Kayseri), Mar‘ash (now Kahraman Maraş), Tarsus, ‘Ayn Zarbā (now Anavarza), Rāwandān (now Ravanda Kalesi), Tall Bāshir (now Tilbaşar Kalesi), Edessa (now Şanlı Urfa), Antioch, Ma‘arrat al-Nu‘mān, Ṭarṭūs, ‘Arqā, Tripoli, Tyre, Acre, and finally Jerusalem. All of them were surrounded by double, if not triple walls, protected by ample moats. Their gates were commonly entered through indirect access ways.11
The killing caused by the three-person god continued into the Reformation. Opposition to the Trinity doctrine was still considered a great heresy, which was punishable by death. Even the Protestant John Calvin rallied for the execution of Michael Servetus, the Spanish theologian, because he opposed the Trinity doctrine. Michael Servetus was burned alive on his own books.
The famous eighteenth-century French writer Voltaire estimated 50 million deaths were caused by the three-person god, from 325 A.D. to 1707 A.D.: “depuis environ quatorze cents ans, la theologie a procure le massacre de plus de cinquante millions d’hommes.”12
- Voltaire, Traite sur la Tolerance, 1763, Chapter XVII ↩
- G. Anrich, Hagios Nikolaos: Der Heilige Nikolaos in der Griechischen Kirche, 2 vols, 1913. Volume 1, p. 459 ↩
- The Ecclesiastical History, by Socrates Scholasticus, Book 1, Chapter 9. ↩
- Revelation 3:14 ↩
- The Ecclesiastical History, by Socrates Scholasticus, Book 1, Chapter 38. ↩
- PG 35, 1181; Murphy, Origin and Nature of Marian Cult,” Mariology, Vol. III, p. 6. ↩
- Source: Wikipedia “Mariology” ↩
- Source: Papal Bull, 1198 A.D. ↩
- Letter to James Smith, Dec. 8, 1822 ↩
- Daniel 11:36, and 2 Thessalonians 2:4 ↩
- crusader-castles.com ↩
- Voltaire, Traite sur la Tolerance, 1763, Chapter XVII ↩