evelation Persecutions from Church and State

By COGwriter

While many realize that the Roman Empire imposed a variety of persecutions upon Christians, what many do not realize is that once a non-apostolic version of Christianity was accepted by the Roman Emperor Constantine, this church and state alliance persecuted many associated with the Church of God.

Persecutions have long been one of the ultimate tests of faith. Will those who wear some type of cross be the persecutors or the persecuted in the end-times?

Christians have been called names from the beginning. Notice something from the Book of Acts:

2 When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented the charges against Paul in the following address to the governor: "Your Excellency...5 We have found this man to be a troublemaker who is constantly stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes...

10...Paul said, "I know, sir, that you have been a judge of Jewish affairs for many years, so I gladly present my defense before you. 11 You can quickly discover that I arrived in Jerusalem no more than twelve days ago to worship at the Temple. 12 My accusers never found me arguing with anyone in the Temple, nor stirring up a riot in any synagogue or on the streets of the city. 13 These men cannot prove the things they accuse me of doing.

14 "But I admit that I follow the Way, which they call a cult. I worship the God of our ancestors, and I firmly believe the Jewish law and everything written in the prophets.

(Acts 24:2,5,10-14, New Living Translation ®, copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust.)

Could so-called 'fact checkers' and 'cancel culture' be part of this in the 21st century?

(There are also two related video sermons you can watch: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution and The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.)

Jesus Foretold Persecutions

Jesus foretold persecution to Christians before He returns:

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:10-12, NKJV throughout unless otherwise specified).

43 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you (Matthew 5:43-44).

21 "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes (Matthew 10:23).

9 Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. (Matthew 24:9).

35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. (Mark 8:35)

29... Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life (Mark 10:29-30).

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

12... they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake (Luke 21:12).

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15:20).

33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

The above persecutions predicted by Jesus in Matthew and Mark strongly indicate that a major persecution is going to occur because at least part of the Church will be success in getting the gospel message to the world as a witness. This is likely to lead to the persecution by the Beast, also known as the King of the North (for more details, see Who is the King of the North?). Jesus also taught to love your enemies--He did not teach that real Christians would persecute them.

Persecution was shown in the Book of Acts:

57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:57-60)

1 Now Saul was consenting to his death.

At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.

3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison.

4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city. (Acts 8:1-8)

But notice that one result of the persecution was working towards the fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and 28:19-20.

In addition to end-time and generalized persecutions, in the Book of Revelation, Jesus foretold various persecutions for many eras of the true church.

Notice that envy and contradiction were also used to persecute:

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. (Acts 13:44-45)

1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. (Acts 14:1-2)

The above poisoning against the truth led to stoning:

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. (Acts 14:19)

Shortly after Apostle Paul suffered a stoning that the Jews thought killed him, the disciples said:

22... "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." (Acts 14:22)

All Christians are subject to tribulations before we will be resurrected to enter the Kingdom of God.

(More on persecutions in the Book of Acts can be found in the article The Book of Acts.)

The Apostle Paul also foretold persecutions, but also a reward:

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)

12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. (2 Timothy 2:12)

Paul himself was persecuted (2 Corinthians 11:24-26; 2 Timothy 3:11)--and he also would flee locations to try to avoid persecutions (Acts 9:23-25; 14:5-6). Yet Paul never became a persecutor. Instead he told Christians:

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. (Romans 12:14)

1 Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).

As neither Jesus nor Paul engaged in military warfare or murderous retaliations, it should be clear that true Christians are subject to persecution, but unlike false Christians (who historically have also been subject to some severe persecutions), true Christians do not become persecutors themselves (see also Military Service and the Churches of God: Do Real Christians Participate in Carnal Warfare?).

Notice also what the Apostle John wrote:

11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God (3 John 11).

Being a persecutor is evil. Real Christians never would do that.

Furthermore, even The Catholic Encyclopedia admits that the Apostle Paul, as well as early professors of Christ, did not persecute nor kill heretics or other dissenters:

Though the Apostles were deeply imbued with the conviction that they must transmit the deposit of the Faith to posterity undefiled, and that any teaching at variance with their own, even if proclaimed by an angel of Heaven, would be a culpable offense, yet St. Paul did not, in the case of the heretics Alexander and Hymeneus, go back to the Old Covenant penalties of death or scourging (Deuteronomy 13:6 sqq.; 17:1 sqq.), but deemed exclusion from the communion of the Church sufficient (1 Timothy 1:20; Titus 3:10). In fact to the Christians of the first three centuries it could scarcely have occurred to assume any other attitude towards those who erred in matters of faith. Tertullian (To Scapula 2) lays down the rule:

Humani iuris et naturalis potestatis, unicuique quod putaverit colere, nec alii obest aut prodest alterius religio. Sed nec religionis est religionem colere, quae sponte suscipi debeat, non vi.

In other words, he tells us that the natural law authorized man to follow only the voice of individual conscience in the practice of religion, since the acceptance of religion was a matter of free will, not of compulsion. Replying to the accusation of Celsus, based on the Old Testament, that the Christians persecuted dissidents with death, burning, and torture, Origen (Against Celsus VII.26) is satisfied with explaining that one must distinguish between the law which the Jews received from Moses and that given to the Christians by Jesus; the former was binding on the Jews, the latter on the Christians. Jewish Christians, if sincere, could no longer conform to all of the Mosaic law; hence they were no longer at liberty to kill their enemies or to burn and stone violators of the Christian Law.

St. Cyprian of Carthage, surrounded as he was by countless schismatics and undutiful Christians, also put aside the material sanction of the Old Testament, which punished with death rebellion against priesthood and the Judges. "Nunc autem, quia circumcisio spiritalis esse apud fideles servos Dei coepit, spiritali gladio superbi et contumaces necantur, dum de Ecclesia ejiciuntur" (Epistle 61, no. 4) religion being now spiritual, its sanctions take on the same character, and excommunication replaces the death of the body. Lactantius was yet smarting under the scourge of bloody persecutions, when he wrote this Divine Institutes in A.D. 308. Naturally, therefore, he stood for the most absolute freedom of religion. He writes:

Religion being a matter of the will, it cannot be forced on anyone; in this matter it is better to employ words than blows [verbis melius quam verberibus res agenda est]. Of what use is cruelty? What has the rack to do with piety? Surely there is no connection between truth and violence, between justice and cruelty . . . . It is true that nothing is so important as religion, and one must defend it at any cost [summâ vi] . . . It is true that it must be protected, but by dying for it, not by killing others; by long-suffering, not by violence; by faith, not by crime. If you attempt to defend religion with bloodshed and torture, what you do is not defense, but desecration and insult. For nothing is so intrinsically a matter of free will as religion. (Divine Institutes V:20)

The Christian teachers of the first three centuries insisted, as was natural for them, on complete religious liberty; furthermore, they not only urged the principle that religion could not be forced on others — a principle always adhered to by the Church in her dealings with the unbaptised — but, when comparing the Mosaic Law and the Christian religion, they taught that the latter was content with a spiritual punishment of heretics (i.e. with excommunication), while Judaism necessarily proceeded against its dissidents with torture and death. (Blötzer, J. Inquisition. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm)

Yet, the though it admits that religious freedom and non-persecution was essentially as part of its original traditions, Church of Rome changed its views later (because of Constantine).

During the reign of Emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.) a governor, known as Pliny the younger, sent him a letter:

Gaius Plinius to the Emperor Trajan

It is for me an important point of responsibility to refer to you as Head of State, things about which I have questions, since you are the person best able to set straight my hesitations and correct my lack of information.

Actually I have never been present at a Examination (cognitio) of Christians, so I do not know what punishment is required or how far it is to be carried out. Nor do I understand the legal grounds for a prosecution, or how stringently it is to be prosecuted. I am not clear about prosecutions in respect to the age of the persons, whether no distinction should be made between the young and the old, and furthermore whether a pardon should be granted in cases of recanting, or if there is no advantage for a person completely ceasing to be a Christian. Or is it the name "Christian" which is prosecutable, even if not involved in criminal actions, or is that "criminality" is automatically attached to the name?

In the meantime, I now handle it this way with those who are turned over to me as Christians. I ask them directly, in person, if they are Christian, I ask a second and third time to be sure, and indicate to them the danger of their situation. If they persist, I order them led dispatched (= executed). I have had no trouble with this, since whatever it was they admitted or professed, I decided that their obstinacy and unyielding inflexibility should be sufficient reason for punishment. Some others who were virtually insane with this cult, but Roman citizens, I sent back to Rome for trial.

As I continue with this handling of the situation, as often happens, the numbers and kinds of incriminations are becoming more widespread. An anonymous List has been brought out which contains the names of a great many persons. I decided to dismiss charges again any on this list who stated that they were now not, nor had ever been Christians, if they repeated after me a prayer of invocation to the Gods, and made an offering of wine and incense to your statue, which I had brought in to the court along with the statues of the Gods, for this purpose. And in addition they were to formally curse Christ, which I understand true Christians will never do.

Other named by the anonymous List said they were Christians, and later changed their statement. Some said that they had been and then stopped, some three years before, some longer, some even twenty years before. All these reverenced your statue and those of the Gods, and cursed Christ. They stated that the sum total of their error or misjudgment, had been coming to a meeting on a given day before dawn, and singing responsively a hymn to Christ as to God, swearing with a holy oath not to commit any crime, never to steal or commit robbery, commit adultery, fail a sworn agreement or refuse to return a sum left in trust. When all this was finished, it was their custom to go their separate ways, and later re-assemble to take food of an ordinary and simple kind. But after my edict which forbids all political Societies, they did in fact give this up.I thought at this point that it was necessary to get information from two slave women, whom they call Deaconesses (ministrae) about the actual truth, by means of torture. I found nothing worthy of blame other than the blind and over-wrought nature of their cult-superstition.

I have therefore postponed further Examinations (cognitiones) and made haste to come to you immediately for consultation. This situation seem to demand serious consultation, especially in view of the large number of people falling into this danger. A great many persons of every age, of every social class, men and women alike, are being brought in to trial, and this seems likely to continue. It is not only the cities, but also the towns and even the country villages which are being infected with this cult-contagion.

It seems possible to check and reverse this direction at this point, for it is quite clear that the Temples of the Gods which have been empty for so long, now begin to be filled again, the sacred rites which had lapsed are now being performed and flesh for sacrificial rites is now sold again at the shops, although for a while nobody would buy it. So it seems reasonable to think that a great many people could be persuaded to reform, IF there were a legal procedure for Repentance. Emperor Trajan to Pliny:

You have done the right thing, my dear Pliny, in handling the cases of those who were brought to you under the charge of being Christians. But it is not possible to make hard and fast rule with one specific formula. These people must not be searched out, if they are brought before your court and the case against them is proved, they must be punished, but in the case of anyone who states that he is not a Christian and makes it perfectly clear that he is not, by offering prayers to out Gods, such a one is to be pardoned on the grounds of his present repentance, however suspect he may have been in the past. But anonymous lists must not have any place in the court proceedings. They are a terrible example and not at all in keeping with our times. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/pliny2.html

So, we see Christians were being killed for being Christians.

Now, when Emperor Trajan responded to this, he basically stated that if someone comes to trial as a Christian, let them off if they recant and will worship Roman gods, otherwise punish (kill) them. But he added, do not go out looking for them and do not rely on anonymous lists.

Smyrna Era Persecutions

After there was a revolt by the Jews in 132-135 A.D., notice what happened from:

But at length, under the reign of Hadrian, the desperate fanaticism of the Jews filled up the measure of their calamities; and the Romans, exasperated by their repeated rebellions, exercised the rights of victory with unusual rigour. The emperor founded, under the name of Alia Capitolina, a new city on Mount Sion, to which he gave the privileges of a colony; and denouncing the severest penalties against any of the Jewish people who should dare to approach its precincts, he fixed a vigilant garrison of a Roman cohort to enforce the execution of his orders. The Nazarenes had only one way left to escape the common proscription, and the force of truth was on this occasion assisted by the influence of temporal advantages. They elected Marcus for their bishop, a prelate of the race of the Gentiles, and most probably a native either of Italy or of some of the Latin provinces. At his persuasion the most considerable part of the congregation renounced the Mosaic law, in the practice of which they had persevered above a century. By this sacrifice of their habits and prejudices they purchased a free admission into the colony of Hadrian...When the name and honours of the church of Jerusalem had been restored to Mount Sion the crimes of heresy and schism were imputed to the obscure remnant of the Nazarenes which refused to accompany their Latin bishop (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I. ca. 1776-1788. The Modern Library, NY, pp. 389-391).

In other words, after the first Latin Bishop in Jerusalem (who may or may not have had any direct affiliation with Rome—the churches that became Roman Catholic/Eastern Orthodox at that time were still not unified but just starting to cooperate) was put in charge, those who had been faithful Christians were accused of heresy there in the second century. This was perhaps one of the first persecutions that differentiated those with original Nazarene Christianity from those who did not have it.

It should also be noted that the compromisers that went along with Marcus of Jerusalem apparently got the Romans to persecute the faithful. Here is an account that may be of the same incident from an Arabic source (with the "companions" being the faithful Christians):

But these (companions) said to them: "You have done ill. We are not permitted (to let) the Romans pollute the Gospel. In giving a favourable answer to the Romans, you have accordingly departed from the religion. We are (therefore) no longer permitted to associate with you; on the contrary, we are obliged to declare that there is nothing in common between us and you;" and they prevented their (taking possession of) the Gospel or gaining access to it. In consequence a violent quarrel (broke out) between (the two groups).

Those (mentioned in the first place) went back to the Romans and said to them: "Help us against these companions of ours before (helping us) against the Jews, and take away from them on our behalf our Book (kitab)." Thereupon (the companions of whom they had spoken) fled the country. And the Romans wrote concerning them to their governors in the districts of Mosul and in the Jazirat al-'Arab. Accordingly, a search was made for them; some (qawm) were caught and burned, others (qawm) were killed." (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, p. 15).

Thus, there was early persecution against those who possessed the Gospels by those who had made a deal with the Romans.

Probably because of the practices of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, many in Rome (around the same time) changed the date of Passover to be different than that which the Jews and the uncompromising Nazarenes kept (see Passover and the Early Church).

Polycarp of Smyrna, who refused to change the date of Passover, wrote that persecutions were happening to true Christians in the second century:

Pray also for kings, and potentates, and princes, and for those that persecute and hate you (Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, Chapter XII, verse 3. Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885; Reprint Hendrickson Publishers, 1999, pp. 33-36)

Around 210/211 A.D., the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus unleashed persecution that was severe towards those in Antioch. Serapion and Septimius Severus apparently both died the same year--and it is believed this persecution caused the death of Serapion of Antioch. It may be that this persecution led some to flee to India (see also The Thyatira Church Era).

One of the most severe persecutions was under the reigns of Decius and Gallus in the mid-3rd century. Emperor Decius essentially made an order that all had to sacrifice to his gods or be subject to being killed. Those who did make the sacrifice received a certificate called a libellus, which spared them from death.

Around 250 A.D., elder/presbyter Pionius of Smyrna, who was killed under this persecution, asked:

To whom have we done wrong? Have we perchance murdered someone? Or, do we persecute anyone? Or have we obliged anyone to venerate idols? (Martyrdom of Pionius as translated in Monroy, Mauricio Saavedra. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 155)

He asked those questions knowing full well that real Christians had not done any of those things. Pionius was then burned. His crime? He was a Christian who refused to sacrifice to the Roman gods.

Towards the end of His direct message to the Church in Smyrna, Jesus said "you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death" (Revelation 2:10). A ten year persecution from 303-313 A.D., unleashed by Roman Emperor Diocletian, resulted in many deaths.

The systematic and bloody persecutions of Decius, Valerian, Diocletian, and Maximinus hit the community hard, but did not succeed in destroying it...The Christians of Asia, and of Smyrna in particular, were very likely victims of these persecutions at any moment during this historical period, (Monroy MS. The Church of Smyrna: History and Theology of a Primitive Christian Community. Peter Lang edition, 2015, p. 229)

Sadly, persecution was not limited to emperors who claimed to be pagan.

Towards the end of the Smyrna era, Constantine became emperor. He was a follower of the Mithras, the sun god (see also Do You Practice Mithraism?). He, who had not then received baptism from any church, decreed circa March 7, 321:

"Let all judges, the people of cities, and those employed in all trades, remain quiet on the Holy Day of Sunday. Persons residing in the country, however, can freely and lawfully proceed with the cultivation of the fields; as it frequently happens that the sowing of grain or the planting of vines cannot be deferred to a more suitable day, and by making concessions to Heaven the advantage of the time may be lost." (Code of Justinian, Book III, Title XII, III. THE JUSTINIAN CODE FROM THE CORPUS JURIS CIVILIS. Translated from the original Latin by Samuel P. Scott. Central Trust Company, Cincinnati, 1932).

This was followed by the famous Council of Nicea, which took place in 325 A.D. The Emperor called the council, without being even baptized or ordained, called himself a bishop, and ordered Roman and Greek Catholic bishops to attend his council. This council, under his guidance, decided that Sunday was to be the day of worship and that Passover was to be observed on Sunday (and that eventually became what is known as Easter). After various Imperial/church councils, those in the Church of God who kept the Sabbath were considered to be heretics and outcasts and had to flee in the wilderness (Revelation 12 teaches that the church would flee into the wilderness for 1260 years).

According to Eusebius' Life of Constantine, Book III chapter 18, in the fourth century, the sun-god worshiping Roman emperor Constantine stated concerning the date of Passover:

Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.

Jesus never stated that the Jews were detestable (He was a Jew) nor that He wanted to change the date of Passover. Constantine endorsed changing the date of Passover to a Sunday, whereas the original Christians kept it on the 14th of Nisan, the same date as the Jews. Constantine engaged in name calling.

Emperor Constantine reportedly cut off the ears of Jews according to the fourth century Eastern Orthodox bishop John Chrysostom:

Do you see the first attempt of the impudent Jews? Now look at the next. They tried the same thing in the time of Constantine. But the Emperor saw what they tried to do, cut off their ears, and left on their bodies this mark of their disobedience. He then had them led around everywhere, like runaway slaves and scoundrels, so all might see their mutilated bodies and always think twice before ever attempting such a revolt. (John Chrysostom, Against the Jews. Homily 5, Chapter 11, verse 3.)

This ear-cutting allegedly ONLY happened because Constantine reneged on a promise to allowing the Jews to finish a temple and had them mutilated so that they could not enter such a building (Martin EL. The Temples that Jerusalem Forgot, ASK Publications, 2000, pp. 207-208). This stopping the temple reconstruction happened in 325 shortly after the Council of Nicea because of pressures from the Greco-Roman bishops (Ibid, p. 207).

Emperor Constantine really did not believe in freedom of religion as his "Edict of Milan" decree in 313 seemingly asserted:

When I, Constantine Augustus, as well as I, Licinius Augustus, fortunately met near Mediolanurn (Milan), and were considering everything that pertained to the public welfare and security, we thought, among other things which we saw would be for the good of many, those regulations pertaining to the reverence of the Divinity ought certainly to be made first, so that we might grant to the Christians and others full authority to observe that religion which each preferred; whence any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens may be propitious and kindly disposed to us and all who are placed under our rule. And thus, by this wholesome counsel and most upright provision we thought to arrange that no one should be denied the opportunity to give his heart for the observance of the Christian religion, of that religion that he should think best for himself, so that the Supreme Deity, to whose worship we freely yield our hearts, may show in all things His usual favor and benevolence. ...

Therefore, your Worship should know that it has pleased us to remove all conditions whatsoever, which were in the rescripts formerly given to you officially, concerning the Christians and now any one of these who wishes to observe Christian religion may do so freely and openly, without molestation. We thought it fit to commend these things most fully to your care that you may know that we have given to those Christians free and unrestricted opportunity of religious worship. When you see that this has been granted to them by us, your Worship will know that we have also conceded to other religions the right of open and free observance of their worship for the sake of the peace of our times, that each one may have the free opportunity to worship as he pleases ; this regulation is made we that we may not seem to detract from any dignity or any religion. (Goldstein N. Religion and State. Infobase Publishing, 2010, p. 190)

Instead actually believing that, the Emperor authorized persecution. Around 332, Constantine issued what is known as the Edict Against the Heretics:

Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to the heretics. “Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven; so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness; full of absurdities and fictions: and by these ye frame falsehoods, oppress the innocent, and withhold the light from them that believe. Ever trespassing under the mask of godliness, ye fill all things with defilement: ye pierce the pure and guileless conscience with deadly wounds, while ye withdraw, one may almost say, the very light of day from the eyes of men. But why should I particularize, when to speak of your criminality as it deserves demands more time and leisure than I can give? For so long and unmeasured is the catalogue of your offenses, so hateful and altogether atrocious are they, that a single day would not suffice to recount them all. And, indeed, it is well to turn one’s ears and eyes from such a subject, lest by a description of each particular evil, the pure sincerity and freshness of one’s own faith be impaired. Why then do I still bear with such abounding evil; especially since this protracted clemency is the cause that some who were sound are become tainted with this pestilent disease? Why not at once strike, as it were, at the root of so great a mischief by a public manifestation of displeasure? (Chapter LXIV.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

“Forasmuch, then, as it is no longer possible to bear with your pernicious errors, we give warning by this present statute that none of you henceforth presume to assemble yourselves together. We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies: and our care in this respect extends so far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. In any case, the delusions of your perverted understandings must entirely cease to mingle with and mar the felicity of our present times: I mean the impious and wretched double-mindedness of heretics and schismatics. For it is an object worthy of that prosperity which we enjoy through the favor of God, to endeavor to bring back those who in time past were living in the hope of future blessing, from all irregularity and error to the right path, from darkness to light, from vanity to truth, from death to salvation. And in order that this remedy may be applied with effectual power, we have commanded, as before said, that you be positively deprived of every gathering point for your superstitious meetings, I mean all the houses of prayer, if such be worthy of the name, which belong to 540 heretics, and that these be made over without delay to the catholic Church; that any other places be confiscated to the public service, and no facility whatever be left for any future gathering; in order that from this day forward none of your unlawful assemblies may presume to appear in any public or private place. Let this edict be made public.” (Chapter LXV.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

Some of those referred to as Paulians (Paulicians) and Cataphrygians were part of the true Church of God; thus they would have rejected Sunday and other doctrines that Emperor Constantine endorsed.

The Paulicians, despite being persecuted, condemned the Greco-Romans for holding to a false version of Christianity:

Behold, O ye blind, how our Lord deems your procedure false and vain, and pronounces you to be deniers of him, and calls you children of Satan, as was written above. Lo, now do ye recognize right well your lying father; recognize of a truth your spirit; recognize even your false God. Nay, recognize also your teacher; yea, and furthermore do ye recognize the Pope, the Catholicos, and your president; and recognize your sham Messiah, and the rest. Of whom our mediator and intercessor, our life and refuge, doth manifestly speak, saying: ‘And that which he speaketh false, he speaketh out of his own, and his father is Satan.’ Thus our Lord Jesus and the holy universal and apostolic church saw and spoke as we wrote above. (Conybeare FC. The Key of Truth: A Manual of the Paulician Church of Armenia. Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1898, pp. 85-86).

Sadly, today, most who profess Jesus fail to truly recognize important aspects of the truth. And many want to make further compromises away from the truth for the sake of an unbiblical unity.

Now, like some other persecutions, the Edict included those truly in the Church of God and those not in the true church. Herod, when he tried to kill Jesus, persecuted an entire nation, killed many babies, but Jesus' family fled the persecution and He survived. Constantine's tactics seem similar.

Christianity under Constantine becomes a form of imperial Roman culture. One Christian denomination is favored with his patronage. They get tax breaks. They get big, beautiful Bible codices copied at public expense. They can use the imperial post for free. They ask Constantine to kick out the leaders of the other Christian denominations in town. So the people who get the worst treatment after Constantine becomes a patron of this one church are other Christians. More Christians are persecuted after the conversion of Constantine than before, because they’re targeted by one particular branch of the church (Hulme, David. Interviews Paula Fredriksen Paul and Paula. Vision magazine, Fall 2005).

Of course, no branch of the actual true church would be persecuting--it was an apostate branch that Constantine favored that did so.

Constantine also prohibited literature:

Thus were the lurking-places of the heretics broken up by the emperor’s command, and the savage beasts they harbored (I mean the chief authors of their impious doctrines) driven to flight. Of those whom they had deceived, some, intimidated by the emperor’s threats, disguising their real sentiments, crept secretly into the Church. For since the law directed that search should be made for their books, those of them who practiced evil and forbidden arts were detected, and these were ready to secure their own safety by dissimulation of every kind. Others, however, there were, who voluntarily and with real sincerity embraced a better hope. Meantime the prelates of the several churches continued to make strict inquiry, utterly rejecting those who attempted an entrance under the specious disguise of false pretenses, while those who came with sincerity of purpose were proved for a time, and after sufficient trial numbered with the congregation. Such was the treatment of those who stood charged with rank heresy: those, however, who maintained no impious doctrine, but had been separated from the one body through the influence of schismatic advisers, were received without difficulty or delay. Accordingly, numbers thus revisited, as it were, their own country after an absence in a foreign land, and acknowledged the Church as a mother from whom they had wandered long, and to whom they now returned with joy and gladness. Thus the members of the entire body became united, and compacted in one harmonious whole; and the one catholic Church, at unity with itself, shone with full luster, while no heretical or schismatic body anywhere continued to exist. And the credit of having achieved this mighty work our Heaven-protected emperor alone, of all who had gone before him, was able to attribute to himself. (Chapter LXVI.—Constantine’s Edict against the Heretics. This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at Calvin College).

The Rome Emperor Constantine apparently liked unclean food so much that he persecuted those who would not eat it. Here is a report from a source with Middle East ties:

Constantine called a gathering of Christian monks with a view to the formulation of obligatory religious beliefs…However, some of them disagreed with this text…There was a scission and the symbol of faith which had been formulated was not regarded as valid.

Thereupon, three hundred and eighteen men gathered in Nicaea and formulated a symbol of faith, which was accepted and made obligatory by Constantine.  People who dissented from it were killed and professions of faith differing from it suppressed.

In this way people who professed the religion of Christ came to do all that is reprehensible; they worshipped the cross, observed the Roman religious rites and ate pork.  Those who did not eat it were killed (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, pp. 31-32)

Here is a report from a Roman Catholic scholar about matters in Jerusalem:

That there existed strife between the different branches of the faithful can easily be gathered from the expression of the anonymous pilgrim of Bordeaux in 333, who says that the three basilicas were erected by the gentile Christians “at the command of Constantine”, that is by force, and from the late account of Eutychius (PG 111,1012-1013) that, just at this time, the faithful while they were leaving the church on Easter day, were forced to eat pork under the pain of death.  We know how the Judaeo-Christians refused this in order not to transgress the Mosaic law to which they held there were bound (Bagatti, Bellarmino.  Translated by Eugene Hoade.  The Church from the Circumcision. Nihil obstat: Marcus Adinolfi, 13 Maii 1970. Imprimi potest: Herminius Roncari, 14 Junii 1970. Imprimatur: +Albertus Gori, die 26 Junii 1970.  Franciscan Printing Press, Jerusalem, 1971, pp. 13-14).

True Christians would not eat biblically unclean meat (see The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats), yet Constantine decided it was acceptable to kill people who followed what the Bible says. He tried many ways to persecute those not following his faith, which I have called Constantinian Christianity.

In 364 A.D. the Council of Laodicea declared:

CANON XXIX. CHRISTIANS must not judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather honouring the Lord's Day; and, if they can, resting then as Christians. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema from Christ (THE COMPLETE CANONS OF THE SYNOD OF LAODICEA IN PHRYGIA PACATIANA).

Laodicea was in Asia Minor and thus this would have basically been an Eastern Orthodox persecution against those who wished to keep the biblical Sabbath. Those who kept the Sabbath were to be cancelled as an "anathema from Christ."

As it turns out Constantine's declarations and various councils did not stop everyone from properly observing Passover or keeping other Christian practices. So, a later Roman Emperor decreed the death penalty related to proper Passover observance:

Edicts of Theodosius against the heretics, A.D. 380-394...Theodosius...decreed that...by the death of the offender; and the same capital punishment was inflicted on the Audians, or Quartodecimans, who should dare to perpetrate the atrocious crime of celebrating on an improper day the festival...

The theory of persecution was established by Theodosius, whose justice and piety have been applauded by the saints (Gibbon E. Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume III, Chapter XXVII. ca. 1776-1788).

Is killing those that followed the example of Jesus and John to observe the Passover on the 14th instead of Sunday a sign of a true Christian leader or a sign of a supporter of antichrist? How could any true saint applaud Theodosius for killing people who followed Jesus', Johns', Polycarps', etc. example of observing Passover on the biblical date?

On the night of His final Passover, Jesus declared:

the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. (John 16:2).

And those who followed the Emperor Theodosius fulfilled that prophecy--they killed people for keeping Passover the same night that Jesus did. Those who will associate the final Imperial leader are apparently prophesied to do the same thing (Daniel 7:25).

Notice a few additional related details:

The various enactments against heretics are contained in the Code of Theodosius (16. tit. 5. s. 6—23; and the commentary of Gothofredus): the Eunomians, whose guilt consisted in denying any resemblance between the two sub- tances, and who were accordingly Anomoeans, were also deprived of the power of testamentary disposition, and of taking by testamentary gift: they seem, in fact, to have been deprived of all the rights of citizens. The Manichaean heresy was punishable with death; and the same penalty threatened the Audians or the Quartodecimans, who celebrated the festival of Easter on the wrong day. To the reign of Theodosius belonged the glory or the infamy of establishing Inquisitors of Faith, who seem to have been specially enjoined to look after the crime of the Quartodecimans (Smith W. A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology : Oarses-Zygia. J. Murray, 1890 Item notes: v. 3 Original from Harvard University Digitized Jul 8, 2008, p. 1064).

In the late fourth century, John Chrysostom, Orthodox Bishop of Constantinople (and a saint and doctor of the Church according to the Church of Rome) condemned Christians for keeping the Fall Holy days.

Furthermore, in an Imperial decree in 380, Emperor Theodosius declared that the “Catholic Church” was the official religion of the Roman Empire (Theodosian Code XVI.1.2. Cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 31). He also issued an Imperial decree that said any who would not embrace his definition of the Godhead were prohibited from using the term “catholic,” and he also labelled such persons as “foolish madmen” and “heretics” (ibid). Or as it is translated elsewhere, he labelled them “demented” and “insane.” The use of name calling against faithful Christians has continued, of course, and often is still associated with not accepting Emperor Theodosius' trinitarian position.

Notice, also, that hate and violence against others who differed doctrinally was promoted by the late fourth century Greco-Roman bishop and saint Gregory of Nyssa:

I affirm, then, that it is a lawful thing to hate God's enemies, and that this kind of hatred is pleasing to our Lord: and by God's enemies I mean those who deny the glory of our Lord, be they Jews, or downright idolaters, or those who through Arius' teaching idolize the creature, and so adopt the error of the Jews. Now when the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are with orthodox devotion being glorified and adored by those who believe that in a distinct and unconfused Trinity there is One Substance, Glory, Kingship, Power, and Universal Rule, in such a case as this what good excuse for fighting can there be? (Gregory of Nyssa. Letter 17 to Eustathia, Ambrosia, and Basilissa. Translated by William Moore. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 5. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893)

The trinity itself had not been adopted by the Greco-Romans until 381 A.D. and most who actually attended Constantine's Council of Nicea were NOT trinitarians (for more details see Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?).

There were binitarian (sometimes called Semi-Arians) Paulicians in Armenia who also kept the seventh-day Sabbath in the late fourth century:

Eustathius was succeeded by Erius, a priest, and semi-Arian...Erius also condemned fasts, stated feasts, prayers for the dead, and the celebration of Easter; he urged a purer morality and a stricter observance of the Sabbath. He had many followers, whose numbers were augmented by one of Paul of Samosota, from whom they were called Paulicians. Notwithstanding the opposition of the prelates, who invoked the secular arm to prevent the defection of their spiritual subjects, the tenets of this sect struck deep root in Armenia and many of its eastern provinces, and finally the great body of Christians in the former country, withdrew from the Episcopal communion, and publicly espoused the sentiments of the Paulicians...The bishops of Syria, Pontus, and Cappadocia, complained of the defection of their spiritual flocks...induced the Grecian emperors to commence, and continue for nearly two centuries, the most terrible persecutions against the Paulicians (Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, pp. 20-23).

Those who influenced the Grecian emperors would have been associated with what is now called the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Notice the following from the Emperors of the East and West:

Arians, Macedonians, Pneumatomachians, Appollinarians, Novatians or Sabatians, Eunomians, Tetradites or Tessarecaidecadites, Valentinians, Paulians, Papianists, Montanints or Priscillians, Phrygians, Pepuzites, Marcionists, Borborites, Messalians, Euchites, or Enthusiasts, Donatists, Audians, Hydroparastetes, Tascodrogites, Batracites, Hermogenians, Photinians, Paulinists, Marcellians, Ophites, Encratitians, Carpocratitans, Saccophores, and Manicheans, who are to be classed as guilty of the worst of all heretical crimes, shall never have the power to assemble or reside in the Roman Empire. Moreover, Manicheans must be expelled from towns, and delivered up to extreme punishment, for no place should be left them in which they may cause any injury even to the elements. Moreover, all laws which have formerly, at different times, been enacted against them and others who are opposed to our religion, shall always be observed in all their force...Given at Constantinople, on the third of the Kalends of June, under the Consulate of Felix and Taurus, 428. (The Emperors Theodosius and Valentinian to Caesar Florentius, Praetorian Prefect. Justinian Code, Book 1. Citied in Scott, S. P. The Civil Law, XII, Cincinnati, 1932).

While many of the above were heretics, please understand that the Pneumatomachians were basically binitarian, Appollinarians would have been expected keep Passover on the 14th and have certain other COG practices, and some of the Sabatians likely kept the seventh-day Sabbath. Various Paulians also had COG doctrines.

Even The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledged that the Roman and Orthodox Churches got the emperors to persecute those who did not accept what became beliefs of mainstream "Christianity":

When Constantine had taken upon himself the office of lay bishop, episcopus externus, and put the secular arm at the service of the Church, the laws against heretics became more and more rigorous. Under the purely ecclesiastical discipline no temporal punishment could be inflicted on the obstinate heretic, except the damage which might arise to his personal dignity through being deprived of all intercourse with his former brethren. But under the Christian emperors rigorous measures were enforced against the goods and persons of heretics. From the time of Constantine to Theodosius...Theodosius is said to be the first who pronounced heresy a capital crime; this law was passed in 382 (Wilhelm J. Transcribed by Mary Ann Grelinger. Heresy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VII. Published 1910. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

But of course, if these emperors were truly Christian, they would not have killed and persecuted those faithful to apostolic teachings, nor endorsed carnal warfare.

Also notice the following from one of Theodosius’ other edicts related to the Council of Constantinople:

…let us believe in the one diety of the father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in out judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that the shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation an the second the punishment of out authority, in accordance with the will of heaven shall decide to inflict...(Theodosian Code XVI.1.2. Cited in Bettenson H, ed., Documents of the Christian Church, London: Oxford University Press, 1943, p. 31).

So the title “Catholic Christian” is supposed to be for those who believe in the trinity and other Greco-Roman doctrines. Because he is condemning the non-trinitarians (which were the majority of those who professed Christ even into the fourth century), Theodosius apparently should have studied into the question Did the True Church Ever Teach a Trinity?

While Roman Catholics refer to many early Bishops of Rome as popes, the reality is that the term pope, or more specifically Pontifex Maximus, was not held by the Bishops of Rome until a few decades after Constantine.

A few decades after Constantine died, the Roman Emperor Gratian refused the title of pontifex maximus.  Here is one report:

Pontifex Maximus…Gratian refused the pontifical robe.  He was the last  Roman emperor to hold that title, for the college of Pontiffs was abolished under Emperor Theodosius in 395 C.E. (White C.  The Emergence of Christianity.  Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007 p. 89).

However, Roman Catholic sources confirm that Bishop Siricius quickly picked up the title:

SIRICIUS, ST. (384-399)...was the first to assume the title of pope from the Greek papa meaning father (Lopes A. The Popes: The lives of the pontiffs through 2000 years of history. Futura Edizoni, Roma, 1997, p. 13).

The title pope (papa)...It was apparently in the fourth century that it began to become a distinctive title of the Roman Pontiff. Pope Siricius (d. 398) seems so to use it (Ep. vi in P. L., XIII, 1164) (Joyce G. H. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. The Pope. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XII. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by Kevin Knight. Nihil Obstat, June 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

This raised concerns amongst many, including faithful Christians. Pontifex Maximus Siricius was reigning during the time that the Council of Constantinople pronounced the death sentence on those who kept to the biblical date of Passover and that initiated persecution against those that would not accept the trinitarian formula adopted at that Council.

These persecutions were not unexpected as they were biblically prophesied. Jesus also told the Church of Smyrna:

Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer (Revelation 2:10).

But persecutions did not stop the Smyrnaeans. And they continued until they were replaced by those of the Church of Pergamos.

Pergamos Era Persecutions

Jesus told the Church of Pergamos:

I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells (Revelation 2:13).

Pergamos was the capital of the Roman province of Asia in Asia Minor. Just as the initial local Church at Pergamos was situated in a city where Satan swayed human politics, this work of God's church occurred within the bounds of the government of Satan's Eastern Roman Empire.

They were not popular with the Roman Catholics because they considered them to represent forces that were anti-Christ. Notice the following from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

The Papal-Antichrist theory was gradually developed by three historical bodies: the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the Fraticelli, between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries: are these the expositors from whom the Church of Christ is to receive the true interpretation of the prophecies?" (Maas AJ. Antichrist. In The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume I Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight Nihil Obstat, March 1, 1907. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Perhaps it should be noted that that idea of a Roman anti-Christ was apparently developed by Polycarp, and he seems to have learned this from the Apostle John.

While the Smyrna Church was subject to many persecutions, including Emperor Constantine's Edict Against Heretics, persecution was not limited to Constantine. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about the Paulicians:

Leo V, though an Iconoclast, tried to refute the accusation that he was a Paulician by persecuting them furiously. A great number of them at this time rebelled and fled to the Saracens. Sergius was killed in 835. Theodora, regent for her son Michael III, continued the persecution...

We hear continually of wars against the Saracens, Armenians, and Paulicians...

This eliminated the sect as a military power. Meanwhile other Paulicians, heretics but not rebels, lived in groups throughout the empire (Fortesque A. Transcribed by Richard L. George. Paulicians. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XI. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

In other words, since the Paulicians and Emperor Leo V were against idols, Leo decided he had to persecute them because he was accused of being a bit like them in that area. And additional persecution followed Leo's. The above quote also shows that there were Paulicians, who even though persecuted, would not fight back.

And while not all who claimed to have been Paulicians were in the true church, notice how brutal the persecution was:

The empress, Theodora, instituted a new persecution, in which a hundred thousand Paulicians in Grecian Armenia are said to have lost their lives (Paulicianism. WIkipedia, viewed 06/26/08).

As early as the tenth century Empress Theodora had put to death a multitude of Paulicians, and in 1118 Emperor Alexius Comnenus treated the Bogomili with equal severity...(Blötzer, J. Inquisition. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1910. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York. Robert Appleton Company, 1910. Retrieved November 22, 2010 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08026a.htm).

Thus, the "Orthodox" Empress Theodora apparently killed 100,000!

Those who held to Church of God doctrines did not care for the Eastern Orthodox whom they often called Byzantines. Notice something that an Arabic source essentially reported about how Sabbath-keepers felt about them:

Christian Judaizantes...at the end of the fourth, in the fifth, and probably also into the sixth centuries...mainly were concerned {to} put an end to Byzantine rule, which they hated, and the persecutions that tended to go along with it. (Pines S. The Jewish Christians of the Early Centuries of Christianity according to a New Source. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Volume II, No.13; 1966. Jerusalem, p. 35)

Furthermore, the Eastern Orthodox admit to oppressing the Bogomils. Notice this odd admission:

The Orthodox, as have all religions, berated other confessions and denominations. But Orthodoxy was always benign - no "jihad", no bloodshed, no forced conversions and no mass expulsions - perhaps with the exception of the forcible treatment of the Bogomils. It was all about power and money, of course. Bishops and archbishops did not hesitate to co-opt the Ottoman administration against their adversaries (Sam Vaknin Ph.D. The Crescent and the Cross - Religion and Community in the Balkans - The Communities of God American Chronicle - March 30, 2007).

Notice that the Orthodox claim to have not caused bloodshed, forced conversions, or mass expulsions of any group, except what they did to the Bogomils. Obviously, they felt mistreating people that were associated with the true Church of God was acceptable (which the "Orthodox" also did earlier than this with the Paulicians in the Smyrna era and the faithful "companions" in Jerusalem around 135 A.D.)--and often the Orthodox supported killing true Christians.

The remaining Bogomils and Paulicians eventually became absorbed into the Thyatira era of the church.

It perhaps show be pointed out that sometimes those in the true Church of God have been considered to be secretly Jews by some in Greco-Roman faiths:

In the Middle Ages, the Popes and the Councils were successful in destroying the Jewish revolutionary movements which appeared within Christianity in the form of false teaching and which were introduced by those who were Christians in appearance but Jews in secret. The latter then recruited upright and good Christians for the arising heretical movement by persuading the latter in a crafty way.

The secret Jews organised and controlled in secret manner the movements, which were the creative and driving force of wicked false teachings, such as those of the Iconoclasts, the Cathars, the Patarines, the Albigensians, the Hussites, the Alumbrados and others. (Pinay, Maurice. The Plot Against the Church, Part Four Chapter One. Translated from the German and Spanish editions of the same work. 1962)

The above book is still recommended by and for many Roman Catholics (though some others distance themselves from it). Hence, some of the Greco-Romans have considered some of whom we in the Continuing Church of God include in our tracing of our spiritual ancestors (like some of the Cathars and Albigenses) to have been a secret Jewish group that only professed Christ. This will set the stage for more persecution against those who hold to Church of God teachings that the Greco-Roman Catholics tend to consider to be 'Jewish.' They will fail to understand who holds to the Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Thyatira Era Persecutions

Thyatira had to endure various persecutions. But for a short while, killing them was discarded, in favor of other methods.

One Pope Leo (apparently Leo IX) actually decided that killing those associated with the Church of God was not appropriate. This was confirmed by the Third Lateran Council in 1179, which apparently decided that economic blackmail was better:

As St. Leo says, though the discipline of the church should be satisfied with the judgment of the priest and should not cause the shedding of blood, yet it is helped by the laws of catholic princes so that people often seek a salutary remedy when they fear that a corporal punishment will overtake them. For this reason, since in Gascony and the regions of Albi and Toulouse and in other places the loathsome heresy of those whom some call the Cathars, others the Patarenes, others the Publicani, and others by different names, has grown so strong that they no longer practise their wickedness in secret, as others do, but proclaim their error publicly and draw the simple and weak to join them, we declare that they and their defenders and those who receive them are under anathema, and we forbid under pain of anathema that anyone should keep or support them in their houses or lands or should trade with them. If anyone dies in this sin, then neither under cover of our privileges granted to anyone, nor for any other reason, is mass to be offered for them or are they to receive burial among Christians. With regard to the Brabanters, Aragonese, Navarrese, Basques, Coterelli and Triaverdini {17 }, who practise such cruelty upon Christians that they respect neither churches nor monasteries, and spare neither widows, orphans, old or young nor any age or sex, but like pagans destroy and lay everything waste, we likewise decree that those who hire, keep or support them, in the districts where they rage around, should be denounced publicly on Sundays and other solemn days in the churches, that they should be subject in every way to the same sentence and penalty as the above-mentioned heretics and that they should not be received into the communion of the church, unless they abjure their pernicious society and heresy (Third Lateran Council, Canon 27. 1179 A.D. Translation taken from Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. Norman P. Tanner).

The Third Lateran Council took place under Pope Alexander III, Frederick I being emperor. There were 302 bishops present. It condemned the Albigenses and Waldenses (The 21 Ecumenical Councils. Source: The Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/library/almanac_14388a.htm 02/12/06).

But economic boycotting and shunning was not enough, as the 1968 WCG also wrote:

The infamous INQUISITION was then set up to complete the job by eliminating religious objections. Papal bull decreed severe punishment against any person suspected of even sympathizing with "heretics." Confiscations, imprisonments, burnings and every imaginable form of persecution continued for more than a hundred years. Thousands died. In the city of Montsegur alone, 200 persons were burned in one day...

Gregory IX issued another bull against the Waldenses in 1231. From 1231 to 1233 a general persecution raged in Germany, cutting short the Work in Holland. By 1235, persecution on a large scale began at Milan, original seat of the Lombard Waldenses. The archbishop "razed their school" -- apparently the College -- but LEFT THE PEOPLE FREE! On the French side of the Alps, killing and burning reached the Valley Louise in 1238. (LESSON 51 (1968) AMBASSADOR COLLEGE BIBLE CORRESPONDENCE COURSE "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place ..." Rev. 12:6).

One Protestant scholar noted:

The next major step in the establishment of the Inquisition was taken by Innocent III...In the West, the same pope launched a "Crusade" against the Cathars, or Albigenses, of Southern France in 1208...In the second century of the Christian Era, most Christians refused to take up arms at all.. One millennium later, Christians were not only fighting for the church against "infidels" who had conquered ancient biblical lands, but against other Christians, heretical ones, who only asked to be able to live in peace on their ancestral soil...No matter how dreadful the use of violence against the dualistic Albigenses was, it must be acknowledged that their heresy is incompatible with Christianity, indeed with biblical religion as such...Perhaps for medieval popes the crucial factor that caused them to condemn dissidents was really the dissidents' rejection of papal authority (Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, p. 260-261).

Notice that the Protestant scholar seems to feel that murdering Cathars and Albigenses who simply wanted to live in peace (but were not Greco-Roman trinitarian) is more compatible with Catholic/Protestant "Christianity" than being faithful to the teachings of Christ and the early Christians who were against warfare. Are the real heretics those who were faithful to New Testament teachings against warfare or those who changed those teachings and killed?

And from the Roman Catholic side, notice some of what Canon 3 of the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 decreed:

Secular authorities, whatever office they may hold, shall be admonished and induced and if necessary compelled by ecclesiastical censure, that as they wish to be esteemed and numbered among the faithful, so for the defense of the faith they ought publicly to take an oath that they will strive in good faith and to the best of their ability to exterminate in the territories subject to their jurisdiction all heretics pointed out by the Church; so that whenever anyone shall have assumed authority, whether spiritual or temporal, let him be bound to confirm this decree by oath (Twelfth Ecumenical Council: Lateran IV 1215, Canon 3.  From H. J. Schroeder, Disciplinary Decrees of the General Councils: Text, Translation and Commentary, (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1937). pp. 236-296. as cited in: Medieval Sourcebook.  http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/lateran4.html viewed 04/08/10).

Hence, persecution has been justified by many Greco-Romans.

The Church of Rome became highly disturbed that lay people were reading and quoting the Bible, as it differed from what the Church of Rome wanted to be taught.

Pope Innocent III stated in 1199:

... to be reproved are those who translate into French the Gospels, the letters of Paul, the psalter, etc. They are moved by a certain love of Scripture in order to explain them clandestinely and to preach them to one another. The mysteries of the faith are not to explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted (Denzinger-Schönmetzer, Enchiridion Symbolorum 770-771) (Cited in Reyes EC. In His Name. AuthorHouse, 2010, p. 442)

To be reproved means to be chastised, stopped, and/or persecuted.

Even having the Bible became prohibited by various decrees during the time of Thyatira. Here is a report from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

After the death of Innocent III, the Synod of Toulouse directed in 1229 its fourteenth canon against the misuse of Sacred Scripture on the part of the Cathari: "prohibemus, ne libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti laicis permittatur habere" (Hefele, "Concilgesch", Freiburg, 1863, V, 875). In 1233 the Synod of Tarragona issued a similar prohibition in its second canon ... The Third Synod of Oxford, in 1408, owing to the disorders of the Lollards ... issued a law in virtue of which only the versions approved by the local ordinary or the provincial council were allowed to be read by the laity (Hefele, op. cit., VI, 817). (Maas, Anthony. "Scripture." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 13. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 16 May 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13635b.htm>)

Here is canon 14 of the Consilum Tolosanum (Council of Toulouse/Synod of Toulouse) held in 1229:

We forbid also that the laity be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless some one might peradventure wish, from a feeling of devotion, to have the psalter, or the breviary, or the hours of the blessed Mary. But we do most strictly forbid them from having the aforementioned books translated into a vulgar tongue. (Berg JF. Lectures on Romanism. Publisher D. Weidner, 1840. Original from Princeton University, Digitized Mar 21, 2008, p. 280)

A 'vulgar tongue' meant that the Council forbade translation of scriptures into the common (vulgar) language lay people would understand.

The famous inquisition, in southern France, began in earnest in 1233 when Pope Gregory IX charged the Dominican order with wiping out Cathari (their name mean Puritan, and that is where the Puritan developed from) and others they considered to be heretics.

The Council of Tarragona of 1234, in its second canon, ruled that:

"No one may possess the books of the Old and New Testaments in the Romance language, and if anyone possesses them he must turn them over to the local bishop within eight days after promulgation of this decree, so that they may be burned lest, be he a cleric or a layman, he be suspected until he is cleared of all suspicion." -D. Lortsch, Historie de la Bible en France, 1910, p.14. (Berg JF. Lectures on Romanism. Publisher D. Weidner, 1840. Original from Princeton University, Digitized Mar 21, 2008, p. 242)

Perhaps it should be added here that the Church of Rome declared in 1559 that it was an unpardonable sin (who that supposedly cannot be 'absolved') to possess Bibles without written permission as well as writings from those who disagreed with the Church of Rome.

Of course, Church of God Christians and some others with original Judeo-Christian practices would not accept this.

The Church of Rome had pacifist Cathars burned:

The Cathars were pacifist ... the Cathars did not fight. ...

1244... The castle was then left to the Cathars for a period of 15 days, that means until March 16... The Parfaits had the choice between adjuring their religion and being burned at the stake. All the Cathars chose to die as well as some soldiers and members of their family ... On the morning of March 16, after a religious service, 205 Cathars, men and women, walked to their horrible death singing. They were burned together in a field nearby known at the present time as “Le Champs des Crémats”. The catholic priests among the crusaders were singing too: a Te Deum of shame. From that day Montsegur became the symbol of oppression.a a- Cathares (Les), Jean Blum. Editions du Rocher 1991. (Nullens GCH. Catholics, Heretics and Heresy. © 2015 Gilles C H Nullens)

The Roman Catholics have a 'saint' who has the burning of those they will consider heretical in the future (see Schmöger Carl E. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Volume 2. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourgh Peter Joseph. TAN Books, reprint 1976, p.292). It is not just the Church of Rome who opposes those with more biblical views than it has.

Orthodox seers and writers have also taken positions against those with original Judeo-Christian practices.  One example would be a 1279 A.D. vision of “Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos” which claimed that “the blasphemies of the Sabbatians have stained and soiled for many centuries” (Cited in Tzima Otto, p. 135; Dr. Otto herself refers to those with Nazarene/Judeo-Christian beliefs as “Christian traitors” on p. 240)--Hieronymus Agathaghelos also predicted their public execution (Tzima Otto, 134,135,240). 

There is a long history of Greco-Roman church leaders attempting to eliminate those part of, or sympathetic to, the Church of God.

The Albigneses were condemned by various councils. And one, the Council of Albi (sometimes spelled Alby) in 1254 apparently stated:

They savour of Judaism ... they observe the Jewish sabbath, but say that the holy Dominical day is no better than any other day; let them be accursed (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 64).

Notice what a former Roman Catholic priest reported:

It has been reckoned that in the last and most savage persecution under Emperor Diocletian about two thousand Christians perished, worldwide. In the first incident of Pope Innocent's Crusade ten times that number of people were slaughtered. Not all were Albigensians. It comes as a shock to discover that, at a stroke, a pope killed far more Christians than Diocletian (De Rosa, Peter. Vicars of Christ. Poolberg Press, Dublin, 2000, pp. 160-161).

(The entire persecution that Roman Emperor Diocletian unleashed lasted from 303-313 A.D; the inquisition-persecution that Innocent III unleashed lasted hundreds of years.)

Here are some reports related to Russia:

One crisis developed as of the year 1492 approached.  Byzantine and Russian society had been taught that the world would end 7,000 years after the time of creation.  The year 7000 in the Orthodox calendar corresponded to the year AD 1492.
Anticipation of the apocalypse was mixed with confusion, dread, and doubts about the veracity of Orthodox teachings.  In this atmosphere a group of religious dissidents known in the historical literature as Judaizers, gained momentum and new adherents, especially among the clergy of Novgorod ... From Novgorod they spread to Moscow when Ivan III having annexed Novgorod in 1478, transferred two Novgorodian priests who had espoused the heretical views ... to Moscow ... Ivan's daughter-in-law, the mother of his grandson Dmitry, and the state secretary (d'iak) and the diplomat, Feder Kuritsyn, were among those influenced by their beliefs.

In 1487, Gennadii (Gennadius), the second archbishop to be appointed by Moscow to lead the still discontented Novgorodian church, launched an aggressive campaign to root out dissidents, whom he labeled as heretics for their alleged iconoclasm, anti-Trinitarianism, Sabbatarianism (i.e., observing the Sabbath on Saturday rathern than Sunday), and rejection of the year 7000 (1492) as the date of earthly destruction.  Using torture among other inquisitorial techniques, he identified the heretics and convinced the grand prince and the new metropolitan, Zosima (1490-94), to convene a Church council to suppress their movement.  The council of 1490 found nine accused Novgorodians guilty. (Martin J.  Medieval Russia: 980-1584, 2nd edition.  Cambridge University Press, 2007, pp. 290-291)

Ivan Kuritsin a prominent Russian theologian, and a leader of the religious uprising was arrested and locked in a cage. The tsar - Ivan the Great - found this movement already well established in Novgorod when he seized control of that city around 1480. Gennadii, Russian Orthodox archbishop of Novgorod was a zealous, even fanatical, enemy of the Sabbath-keeping reformers. He calls for extreme measures. In some of his letters addressed to the Russian tsar, Gennadii venerates the methods of Spanish Inquisition and insisted that the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian state should apply these methods towards the Russian Sabbath-keeping movement. Russian Orthodox church leaders met at the Council of Moscow and condemned the reformers as heretics. The Sentence of the Council details the charges: "... some of you said blasphemy against many holy icons, and some of you cut the holy icons and burned them with fire ... And you have all honored the Sabbath more than the Resurrection Day of Christ." Council of Moscow, 1490. (Sabbath Rest for Weary Russia. Light of Hope International Television Ministry, Copyright 2011  http://www.lightofhopetv.com/sabbath.shtml viewed 03/31/12)

... 1503 ... the leader of the Possessors was Abbot Joseph of Volokolamsk ... a rather severe ascetic who imposed ... the burning at the stake...the sect of the Judaizers ... Judaizers ... in Russia in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries ... denied the Trinity (Fanning S. Mystics of the Christian Tradition. Routeldge, New York. 2001, reprinted 2006, pp. 49, 255).

Whether or not the persecuted Russians were part of the COG is uncertain, but being anti-trinitarian, Sabbath-keeping, iconoclasts that did not agree with aspects of Russian Orthodox eschatology hints that perhaps some of them could have been.

In the Transylvanian regions, the major faiths seemed to unify against those that kept the Sabbath. Daniel Liechty reported:

… the most thorough persecution of the Sabbatarians began in 1618.  At that time an ordinance was passed which gave the Sabbatarians “until Christmas” to join one of the “four received religions” of face the full wrath of the law.  Again large numbers of books and writings were confiscated and burned … The persecution drove the Sabbatarians even further into secrecy (Liechty D. Sabbatarianism in the Sixteenth Century. Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs (MI), 1993, pp. 66,67).

And then it got worse:

And finally, the tragic “Accord of Deés” or Complanatio Deesiana in July 1638 definitely disjoined Sabbatarians from Unitarians. Unitarians were ordered to worship Jesus, baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, and to allow their publications censured--a coerced “complanatio.” The “Judaizers” and those who rejected and cursed Jesus, however, were excluded even from the new amnesty. Sabbatarians were easy target of the new discriminatory law: they observed the Sabbath, therefore they farmed on Sundays, abstained from eating pork and blood, celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, and refused baptism of their children--the very sign of their expected conversion (Gellérd, Judit. Spiritual Jews of Szekler Jerusalem A Four-Centuries History of Transylvanian Szekler (Székely) Sabbatarianism. In Literature of Memory VI: Hope and Despair STH TS 870, Fall 2000 Professor Elie Wiesel. http://www.unitarius.hu/cffr/papers/sabbat.htm--12/14/02).

Note that the "Judaizers" are separate from "those who rejected and cursed Jesus" as well as from the Unitarians (who were granted some type of amnesty). In this region, there were both true Christians (the "Judaizers" who celebrated the Passover with unleavened bread, etc.) and those who rejected Christ as Messiah (hence the Judaizers were not actually unitarian).

Hence, persecution of the faithful occurred in many lands.

The Murderous Crusaders Were Cross Bearers

The term 'crusader' basically means cross-bearer.

The Roman and Orthodox Catholics called for the crusades which killed Muslims and eventually others:

Urban's main achievement was convoking the Council of Clermont, November 1095, which called the First Crusade. The Byzantine Emperor, Alexius Commenus, had sent a desperate appeal to Urban for armed knights to defend Christianity against the Moslem enemy. When the Pope laid the Emperor's pleas before the knights in Clermont, the main concern of the noblemen there was not so much the defense of Byzantium as the rescue of the Holy land from Moslem domination. Palestine had been under Moslem control since the days of the Caliph Omar, but at least the Arab Moslems had allowed Christian pilgrims to visit the places made sacred by the life of Christ. The SeIjuk Turks, now the dominant Moslem power, had, on the other hand, closed off the Holy Land. Thus the Pope concluded his speech to the council with these words: “Men of God, men chosen and blessed among all, combine your forces! Take the road to the Holy Sepulcher assured of the imperishable glory that awaits you in God's kingdom. Let each one deny himself and take the Cross!” With a shout — "God wills it” — the Assembly rose. They adopted a red cross as their emblem, and within a few hours no more red material remained in the town because the knights had cut it all up into crosses to be sewn on their sleeves. Because of their emblem (crux is the Latin word for cross) they were given the name Crusaders. (Carrol A. The Crusades. Catholic Education Resource Center. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/history/world/wh0010.html viewed 07/27/14)

Decrees of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, 1095... He established and decreed that knights and footmen, that is whoever were able to go to deliver Jerusalem and the other churches of Asia from the power of the pagans, for the love of God and to obtain remission of all their sins, should set forth with one soul, bearing arms, and he decreed that in their property until their return unbroken peace and security should be observed. At the same time he provided that all who went there should bear the sign of the cross marked on the garments on their shoulders or on their forehead, whereby they would show the piety and pilgrimage of so great a journey and be impeded by no one. All those who were present, hearing such a good and desirable edict, lifted their voices to the heaven in ovation, shouting altogether again and again : God wills it, God wills it, God wills it. (Decrees of Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont, 1095. In a Historia peregrinorum at Monte Cassino is contained an amplified version of the Cencius-Baluze text (p. 124n.) Translated from Robert Somerville, The Councils of Urban II. vol 1, DECRETA CLAROMONTENSIA, Amsterdam 1972. http://falcon.arts.cornell.edu/prh3/259/texts/clermont.html viewed 07/27/14)

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny. The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. Medieval writers use the terms crux (pro cruce transmarina, Charter of 1284, cited by Du Cange s.v. crux), croisement (Joinville), croiserie (Monstrelet), etc. Since the Middle Ages the meaning of the word crusade has been extended to include all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels, i.e. against Mohammedans, pagans, heretics, or those under the ban of excommunication... the extermination of the Albigensian heresy was due to a crusade (Bréhier, Louis. "Crusades." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 27 Jul. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04543c.htm>)

The Crusaders were murderous ones promised remission of sins for killing while wearing crosses. This is not biblical, yet there are some Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies that seem to align with biblical ones that teach something like this will happen again (see also What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?).

The Crusades were wrong. They helped sow the seeds for the Islamic terrorism that we have seen in the 21st century.

Comments from Three Inquisitors During the Time of Thyatira

The Catholic Encyclopedia notes this about one of its inquisitors:

Bernard Guidonis
Inquisitor of Toulouse against the Albigenses and Bishop of Lodève, b. at Royères (Limousin) in 1261, d. at Lauroux (Hérault), 30 December, 1331. He was one of the most prolific writers of the Middle Ages.

Here are some of the beliefs he found that those he persecuted held:

Nevertheless, attention should be called to the fact that among the Beguins are found some who know, accept and believe many or all of the errors listed below. These are more steeped and hardened in them. Others can say less about these errors yet are sometimes found to be worse in holding and believing them than are others. Still others have heard or remember less and yield to valid reason and saner counsel. Others obstinately persist and refuse to recant, choosing to die rather than abjure their errors, saying that in this matter they defend the gospel truth, the life of Christ, and evangelical and apostolic poverty...

Again, they say that the prelates and inquisitors who judged and condemned them as heretics - and indeed all those who consented or now consent knowingly to their condemnations - have by this action become heretics (if they persevere in it), and by this action have lost the ecclesiastical power to bind, loose and administer the ecclesiastical sacraments...

Again, they say that prelates and members of religious orders whose clothing is too abundant or too costly violate gospel perfection and Christ's precept, according instead with the precept of Antichrist. Such clerics who go around in pompous fashion are of the family of Antichrist...

Again, they say they are not required to take oaths, nor should they be made to reveal under oath the names of their fellow believers, accomplices and associates, because, as they say, this would violate the command to love one's neighbor and would on the contrary injure one's neighbor...

they say the carnal church (by which they mean the Roman church as it exists, not only in the city of Rome, but throughout the whole area under Roman jurisdiction) is Babylon, the great whore of whom John spoke in the Apocalypse. Thus they apply these passages to the Roman Church and attribute to the church all the evil things written there, such as that it is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus Christ...

Again, they distinguish between two churches, the carnal church which they say is the Roman church which contains the multitude of rebrobate, and the spiritual church which contains those people they describe as spiritual and evangelical, who emulate the life of Christ and the apostles. They say the latter is their church...

Again, some of them claim that on those elect spiritual and evangelical individuals through whom a spiritual and benign church will be founded in the seventh and last period, the Holy Spirit will be poured out in greater or at least in equal abundance as on the apostles, the disciples of Jesus Christ, on the day of Pentecost during the time of the primitive church. And they say the Holy Spirit will descend on them like a fiery flame in a furnace, and they take this to mean that, not only will their souls be filled with the Holy Spirit, but the Holy Spirit will live in their bodies as well.

Again, they claim that there is a double Antichrist, one spiritual or mystical and the other the real, greater Antichrist...

Again, they say that both in the time of persecution by Antichrist and in that of the aforesaid war carnal Christians will be so afflicted that, despairing, they will say, "If Christ were God, he would not permit Christians to suffer so much and such intense evil." Thus despairing, they will apostatize from the faith and die. But God will hide the elect spiritual individuals so that they cannot be found by Antichrist and his ministers. Then the church will be reduced to the same size as the primitive church when it was first founded...

Again, they say that after Antichrist's death these spiritual individuals will convert the entire world to the faith of Christ; and the whole world will be so good and benign that there will be no malice or sin in people of that period, except perhaps for venial sins in a few of them; and all things will be common as far as use is concerned; and there will be no one who offends anyone else or encourages another to sin. For there will be the greatest love among them, and there will be one flock and one pastor. According to some of them this period and condition will last for one hundred years. Then, as love fails, malice will creep back in and slowly increase until Christ is, as it were, compelled to come in universal judgment because of it.

Again, these insane heretics seriously and ignominiously rail against the Lord Pope, the vicar of Jesus Christ, calling him the mystical Antichrist, precursor of the greater Antichrist, preparing the way for his life (BERNARD GUI: INQUISITOR'S MANUAL, Chapter 5. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA. http://www2.kenyon.edu/projects/margin/inquisit.htm 04/05/17).

It should be noted that Albigenses and Waldenses were sometimes arrested with the Beguins. Now while most that were killed in the Inquisition were not in the Church of God, nor were the Franciscan Beguins, it is obvious that Church of God doctrines such as that ministers should not dress like the Roman clerics, Christians are not to swear oaths, and that God will offer salvation to all, were clearly condemned by the Roman Catholics during the time of Thyatira.

Before going further, it is odd that Bernard Guidonis considered the heretics as insane for railing against the pope for his allowance of torture.  He obviously knew of the tortures he and his fellow inquisitors inflicted upon people. 

Notice two brief Protestant-leaning accounts of the Inquisition:

torture…That it should be used by the Inquisition was a matter of course, for the crime of heresy was often one peculiarly difficult to prove; confession was sought in all cases and, from the middle of the thirteenth century, the habitual employment of torture by the Holy Office had been the most efficient factor in spreading its use throughout Christendom… In Aragon, Pefia tells us that, although it was forbidden in secular jurisprudence, it was freely permitted in matters of faith (Lea HC.  A history of the Inquisition of Spain, Volume 3.  The Macmillan company, 1922. Original from Harvard University.  Digitized, Apr 11, 2008, p. 2).

Now any of the Popes could have stopped the horrible Inquisition by merely affixing his name and seal to a piece of paper.  But did they?  No.  Some of the popes that are today acclaimed to be “great” by the Romish Church, lived and thrived during those bloody days.  Not one of them made a serious attempt to open the dungeon doors, to stop the slaughter of dripping blades, or quench the murderous fires that blackened the skies of Europe for decades!  And now I ask you: Could such a system that instituted this horrible Inquisition of the dark ages be the true Church? (Woodrow R.  Babylon Mystery Religion.  Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association, 1998, p. 110)

Does anyone think torture is what Jesus would advise?

Also notice the following:

"Of the many who were burned and otherwise destroyed for Judaism," observes a Spanish author of the sixteenth century, "it is not probable that one-tenth were of the race of Israel, but heretics, who, for persisting in saying that the law of Moses was still binding, were accused of Jewish practices, such as circumcision and sabbatizing, to the latter of which they uniformly plead guilty" (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 88).

Notice that it was the supposed Jewish practice of keeping the Sabbath, and not circumcision, that they uniformly plead guilty to (Jews would always have been "guilty" of circumcision, while not all the that profess Christ would participate in that practice).

This actually seemed to upset one inquisitor named Gregory. Notice the following account:

On the 14th of September, 1492, about thirty persons were committed to the inquisitional dungeons of Toulouse upon a charge of Judaism ... Of there was Anthony Ferrar, who had been a pastor or teacher in the Sabbatarian church of that city. After remaining in prison ten days, he received a visit from an Italian monk named Gregory ...

Greg.--But Anthony, you must be a liar and a deceiver, for I have been credibly informed that yourself, and all of your friends, were of the cursed race of Israel.

An.--It is false, we were honest Frenchmen, and Christians, followers of Jesus.

Greg.--Nay! but you were Jews, for instead of baptizing your infant children, you have all the males circumcised.

An.--You were very wrong to accuse us of that practice ; for it is something of which we are entirely innocent.

Greg.--Hey ! do you then baptize your children?

An.--We do not, neither do we circumcise them.

Greg.--Nevertheless, you must be Jews, since you say the law of Moses is still binding.

An.--We say that the ten commandments are still binding.

Greg.--Yes, and instead of observing the festivals of the Holy Church, and honouring the holy day of the Lord, on which he rose from the dead, you were accustomed to meet for worship upon the old Sabbath, or Saturday.

An.--We did, indeed, rest and attend divine worship upon the seventh day, even as God commanded...

Anthony, with his associates in misfortune, were subsequently burned in the marketplace in Toulouse, and all died praising God that they were worthy to suffer for his name (Quoted in Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, pp. 87-88).

More on the Spanish Inquisition can be found in the article: The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions. There is also a video showing parts of Spain The Past and Future Inquisition.

Protestant Persecutions and Condemnations

Lest one think that persecution was limited to sources linked to Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, it needs to be understood that Martin Luther and his followers persecuted and condemned Church of God believers as well.

The Lutherans decided to collectively condemn those who were against the Greco-Roman trinity:

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting ... They condemn all heresies which have sprung up against this article, as the Manichaeans, who assumed two principles... (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)

Overtime, many associated with Thyatira were called Anabaptists. The term means "re-baptizers" as they required that adults be baptized, so if someone had been baptized as an infant, they would have to be baptized later if they were to truly be in God's Church according to those who held Church of God doctrines.

The Anabaptists were condemned by the Lutherans because they did not support infant baptism, taught one could reject salvation, taught that Christians should not be soldiers, taught that there would be an end to punishments, and that Jesus would rule with His people on the earth:

Article IX: Of Baptism. Of Baptism they teach that it is necessary to salvation, and that through Baptism is offered the grace of God, and that children are to be baptized who, being offered to God through Baptism are received into God's grace. They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children...

Article XVI: Of Civil Affairs. Of Civil Affairs they teach that lawful civil ordinances are good works of God, and that it is right for Christians to bear civil office, to sit as judges, to judge matters by the Imperial and other existing laws, to award just punishments, to engage in just wars, to serve as soldiers, to make legal contracts, to hold property, to make oath when required by the magistrates, to marry a wife, to be given in marriage. They condemn the Anabaptists who forbid these civil offices to Christians.

Article XVII: Of Christ's Return to Judgment. Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end. They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils. They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed. (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, pp. 37-95.)

It should also be noted that Lutherans and other Protestants considered that those who relied on the Bible alone for doctrine promoted "ancient heresies".

In the sixteenth century, "Anabaptists" taught millenarianism and were condemned by Roman Catholics for that belief (Birch D. Trial Tribulation & Triumph. Queenship Publishing, Goleta (CA), 1996, p. lvii).

Look at this admission from the Protestant scholar and theologian H. Brown:

Although classical theology is certainly not without its problems, historically it is almost always the case that the appeal to the Bible alone ... leads to the reemergence of ancient heresies ... The Reformation began with the slogan "To the sources!" and sought to deal a fatal blow to the place of church tradition in shaping life and faith ... Despite their efforts not to be influenced by the authority of tradition, each of the major Reformation churches found itself borrowing from the past and building up a traditionalism of its own ... when the Anabaptists and other radicals discovered Scripture to be teaching things the Lutherans found detestable, Lutherans learned the usefulness of tradition...(Brown HOJ. Heresies: Heresy and Orthodoxy in the History of the Church. Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody (MA), 1988, pp. 335,350-351).

It should be noted that the above is not limited to one Protestant scholar, even Martin Luther truly did not believe in rallying cry sola scriptura.

Furthermore, Martin Luther himself had many people killed. Notice the following:

"I, Martin Luther, slew all the peasants in the rebellion, for I said that they should be slain; all their blood is upon my head. But I cast it on the Lord God, who commanded me to speak this way" (Werke, Erl. Edition, lix, p. 284 ‘Table Talk’ as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.96).

It is reported that 100,000 perished at that time. Martin Luther also advised his followers

...to burn down Jewish schools and synagogues, and to throw pitch and sulphur into the flames; to destroy their homes; to confiscate their ready money in gold and silver; to take from them their sacred books, even the whole Bible; and if that did not help matters, to hunt them of the country like mad dogs (Luther’s Works, vol. Xx, pp. 2230-2632 as quoted in Stoddard JL. Rebuilding a Lost Faith, 1922, p.99).

Hence, it would appear that Martin Luther had little problem persecuting those who differed from him, even if they felt their practices were based upon the Bible.

The 16th century Protestant leader John Calvin stated about the Jews:

“Their rotten and unbending stiff-neckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone.” https://centerforisrael.com/article/is-there-unknown-anti-semitism-in-your-theology/ accessed 11/24/22

John Calvin also had people killed who held to various Church of God doctrines who were not Jewish.

Notice the following actions taken against the Anabaptists by the Protestant "Reformers":

It is well known that the Lutheran princes and prelates practiced upon the Anabaptists all the cruelties to which they themselves had been subject by the Roman hierarchs. The names Luther, Calvin, and Zuinglius, have been marked in this indelible stain...

Calvin, who could smile with complacency over the tortures of those who refused to be governed by his own opinions; and Zuinglius, who, when questioned regarding the fate of certain Anabaptists, replied,

"Drown the Dippers"

(Davis, Tamar. A General History of the Sabbatarian Churches. 1851; Reprinted 1995 by Commonwealth Publishing, Salt Lake City, p. 106).

“In order to set up an effective system, Calvin used the State to inflict more severe penalties. Such penalties proved to be much to {sic}severe, fifty-eight being executed and seventy-six exiled by 1546”. These numbers are supplied by the Presbyterians themselves, and only the Lord knows how many Saints of the Lord were really executed for their faith! See- Christianity Through The Centuries, by Cairns, page 338 (Duff, Rex.  ANABAPTIST HISTORY. The Official Website of Anabaptists.  http://www.anabap.com/anabaphistory.htm viewed 3/30/08).

Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli ended up killing, often by drowning, the Anabaptists who promoted and practiced adult baptism (Bacchiocchi S. “ONCE SAVED ALWAYS SAVED”. ENDTIME ISSUES NEWSLETTER No. 197, 2008 ).

Zwingli (as also Luther and Calvin) had conceived of Zurich as a Christian state, a single unified Christian society ... The Anabaptists were thus viewed as a threat to the stability of the social order and less as mere theological heretics (Storms S.  Zwingli and Anabaptists.  Nov 8, 2006. © Copyright 2008 Enjoying God Ministries.  http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/19-zwingli-and-anabaptists viewed 3/30/08).

Perhaps it should also be noted that John Calvin of Geneva had Michael Servetus, a Spaniard, a physician, a scientist, etc. burned to death because Servetus taught against infant baptism and the trinity. John Calvin also encouraged his followers to carry on similar acts of persecution against those that did not hold to various "Calvinistic" views. Also notice:

In November, 1552, the Council declared that Calvin's "Institutes" were a "holy doctrine which no man might speak against." Thus the State issued dogmatic decrees, the force of which had been anticipated earlier, as when Jacques Gouet was imprisoned on charges of impiety in June, 1547, and after severe torture was beheaded in July. Some of the accusations brought against the unhappy young man were frivolous, others doubtful. What share, if any, Calvin took in this judgment is not easy to ascertain. The execution of however must be laid at his door; it has given greater offence by far than the banishment of Castellio or the penalties inflicted on Bolsec -- moderate men opposed to extreme views in discipline and doctrine, who fell under suspicion as reactionary. The Reformer did not shrink from his self-appointed task. Within five years fifty-eight sentences of death and seventy-six of exile, besides numerous committals of the most eminent citizens to prison, took place in Geneva (Barry W. Transcribed by Tomas Hancil. John Calvin. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Published 1908. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Hence, it is not only Roman Catholic leaders who have savagely persecuted those who held to more biblical views. If Protestants really wish to believe in Sola Scriptura then they would change their practices, truly strive to live as Jesus lived, and not at all venerate such people as the murderous ones like Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli (also known as Ulrich Zwingli), or John Calvin.


During the time of Sardis, John Traske was subject to written persecution, in the sense that written complaints about some of his positions were wrong--false witness. The following is using 1618 English from a Roman Catholic priest:

Iohn Traske ... By reading in Eusebius history lib. 1. cap. 22. how Saint Policarpe and other holy Bishops of Asia observed the Iewes time of keeping Easter, he and his disciples are lately therein resolued to imitate them. …

IOHN Traske seemeth falsely to suppose, and Maister Cra. his Aduersary as lightly to graunt, that a Sabaoth, or seauenth daie of rest from bodily labour was from the beginning of mans Creation … Christians are expressely forbidden to play the Iewes, and to be idle on the Sabaoth, and willed with all to obserue and prefer our Lords day be∣fore it ...

IOHN Traske ... the 14. of March-moone, wherin the Iewes were commaunded by God to celebrate their Passouer. And vpon his late reading in Eusebius lib 5. hist. cap. 22. Policrates epistle di∣rected to Victor Bishop of Rome concerning the Asian custome of keeping easter with the Iews, ... he will arrogantly presume to call Victor that holy Bishop & Mar∣tyr, famously mentioned in ancient histories, a proud Prelate, ... he hath ob∣serued the feast of Azimes, ... the ancient Bishop of Ephesus in a preposterous zeale of obseruing the yearly me∣mory of our Sauiours resurrection, as S. Policarpe and other great Saintes had done before him in those partes of Asia, wrote very ernestly in the defence of that Quartadeciman Custome. Whose authority hath, as it should seeme, much moued Iohn Traske ... IOHN Traske and his disciples hold the Legall difference of meates mentioned Leuit. 11. Deutron. 10. to be so morall in it selfe (Falconer J. A briefe refutation of Iohn Traskes iudaical and nouel fancyes Stiling himselfe Minister of Gods Word, imprisoned for the lawes eternall perfection, or God's lawes perfect eternity. English College Press, 1618, pp. 3,17,21,43,57-58,60 65)

So John Traske (an “i” was often used then for a “j” in the 17th century; the "u" above often should be a "v") kept the seventh-day Sabbath (and said it was established in the Book of Genesis), would not keep Sunday, kept Passover on the 14th, cited church history, kept the Days of Unleavened Bread (called "the feast of Azimes" above), cited the practices of Polycarp and Polycrates, and avoided eating biblically unclean animals. Those are Church of God doctrines. For Traske doing so, a Roman Catholic priest objected, referred to Passover as Easter, and called original Christian practices preposterous.

John Traske and his wife Dorothy were arrested and imprisoned (Smith RM. Christian Judaizers In Early Stuart England. Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church Vol. 52, No. 2, June 1983, p. 125-133).

Notice also the following from the time of Sardis:

John James, Millyard, Lemon Street, London was cruelly executed in 1661. Also they did this to the man to strike terror into his fellow believers.

Yes, persecution of various sorts is intended to strike terror in believers, as well as to get them to betray the truth.

Notice also the following related to Canada:

The first Sabbath-observers in Canada ... were brought to Quebec against their will. The German Sabbatarians were pacifist fur traders in the Shenandoah Valley. In March 1757 a French priest led a part of Indians to attack the German Sabbatarians ... Most of the German Seventh-Day Baptists were killed and scalped ... Only three Germans were taken as prisoners ... They eventually were taken to France ... they died (Neumann B. A History of the Seventh-Day Sabbath Among Christians in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. Bible Sabbath Association, Gillette (WY), 2004, p. 28).

Murderous and other persecution has long been used against those trying to hold to biblical beliefs.

Future Persecutions Will Affect the Philadelphians, Laodiceans, and Others

Persecutions are not simply a thing of the past.

In the past, as this article has partially shown, Christians were persecuted because they:

These persecutions sometimes included economic problems (cf. Revelation 13:16-17), verbal harrassment, torture, and/or threat of death, often causing them to flee. The same things face Christians in this 21st century.

More persecution is coming--and some of those will be the very reasons.

Remember that Jesus taught:

20 If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also (John 15:20).

Sadly, many of those who claim to be Christian do not keep Jesus' word, have persecuted in the past, and will persecute in the future.

Some of the persecution may come from hidden or secret sources, such as governmental surveillance. Notice God's people are to pray for protection from that:

2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
From the rebellion of the workers of iniquity,
3 Who sharpen their tongue like a sword,
And bend their bows to shoot their arrows — bitter words,
4 That they may shoot in secret at the blameless;
Suddenly they shoot at him and do not fear. (Psalms 64:2-4)

Because of 'secret plots' by internet companies, in 2018 we decided we needed another YouTube channel to separate some of our materials in order to reduce discrimination from YouTube. We now are on additional platforms--which is great as we have been pulled 3 times by YouTube and threatened to be cancelled all together.

Daniel points to a major persecution that will hit:

7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

The Book of Daniel specifically shows a two-part persecution coming (I added the a and b below for emphasis):

25 a He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, Shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And shall intend to change times and law. b Then the saints shall be given into his hand For a time and times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

First of all (a), he shall persecute certain of the saints, which is consistent with what Jesus said was coming:

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:9-14)

Much of the above will affect the Philadelphian Christians (cf. Revelation 12:13), but they will later be protected (Revelation 3:8-10) in the wilderness for a time, times, and half a time (Revelation 12:14-16; see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra). Part of why they will be persecuted is for proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and probably also for identifying the coming King of the North, who will not wish to be identified that way. This will likely result in internet and other restrictions on getting the truth of God out to the world (cf. Amos 8:11-12). But also notice that some will be betrayed by people who they thought were Christian.

Note that the saints will be persecuted before they are "given into his hand"; perhaps that particular persecution means all of God's people, or more likely at least many of the Philadelphians, will be persecuted before the period "time and times and half a time" begins (Daniel 7:25a ). Then the Philadelphians will flee and escape the sword:

50 0 You who have escaped the sword,
Get away! Do not stand still!
Remember the Lord afar off,
And let Jerusalem come to your mind. (Jeremiah 51:50)

So, the above talks about God's people who escape (see also There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

Getting back to Daniel, the expressions "completely shattered" and "Then the saints shall be given into his hand" seem to show that most of the saints will be in the tribulation (Daniel 7:25b). We know this cannot mean all because the book of Revelation says the Philadelphians will be kept from the hour of trial (Revelation 3:10)--protected "from the presence of the serpent" (cf. Revelation 12:14). God will in some way separate Christians then living when these terrible calamities finally come to be. The Philadelphia Christians will be protected from the Tribulation--most of the rest of the real Christians, however, will not be! (Revelation 3:16).

Daniel 7:25 a, which are consistent with the persecutions in Daniel 11:28-35, are a factor in the opening of the fifth seal in Revelation, which is the start of the Great Tribulation:

9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed. (Revelation 6:9-11)

Notice that this is consistent with Daniel 7:25 a and b. There were those who were martyred/persecuted (a) then there were to be more who were to be martyred/persecuted (b).

Second of all (Daniel 7:25 b), the remaining saints will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. This is the portion of the COG, the non-Philadelphians, who are NOT protested in the wilderness as Revelation 12:17 shows this separation:

17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

There are persecutions just before the Great Tribulation starts per Daniel 7:25a, 11:28-35; Revelation 12:13, and then during the time of the Great Tribulation per Daniel 7:25b, Revelation 12:17; 14:12-13.

Although many in the Church of God have experienced economic and social persecution in their walk with Christ, future severe persecution, beginning first with the Philadelphia remnant of Christians, is expected, it is then followed by persecution on all Christians once the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21) begins.

While many like to focus on the idea that the Philadelphians will flee to a place of protection, it needs to be understood that there will apparently be a time of severe persecution just prior to the fleeing and the start of the Great Tribulation. Specifically, for another example, evangelist Richard Ames has taught that the 45 day period (the 1335-1290 days) begins intense persecution against the true Philadelphian Church, and this will fulfill Matthew 24:9 (Ames R. Welcome the King, Feast of Trumpets sermon for 9/13/07).

It seems that part of this persecuting time, the one mainly involving the Philadelphians, is also discussed in Daniel 11:28-36 (information of the persecution just prior to Daniel 11:31 can also be found in the article Who is the King of the North?).

But let's start with Daniel 11:27 which specifically shows that the King of the South (a confederation of peoples in North Africa and the Middle East per Daniel 11:40-43; cf. Ezekiel 30:1-9) will make a deceptive deal with the King of the North:

27 Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time (Daniel 11:27).

Then we learn, somewhat oddly, something upsets the King of the North even though he feels that he made a very good deal:

28 While returning to his land with great riches, his heart shall be moved against the holy covenant; so he shall do damage and return to his own land (Daniel 11:28).

This verse about his heart being "moved against the holy covenant" could be referring to the fact that some of God's people are warning against what the deal in verse 27 means. Notice verse 28 from a different translation:

28 Then the king of the north will return to his country with great treasures. But on the way, he will attack the religion of God's people and do whatever else he pleases (Daniel 11:28, CEV--Contemporary English Version).

Since it is the Church of God religion that historically is the "religion of God's people" (for many details, see Continuing History of the Church of God) and its members are the ones who fulfill the new covenant by having the law written into their hearts, it seems likely that the literal expression "holy covenant" refers to the most faithful of the true Christians (cf. Luke 1:72-75; Hebrews 8:8-12; Daniel 12:7). It appears that God's people are teaching something publicly that the King of the North does not want taught--otherwise he would have little reason to bother to attack such a "little flock" (Luke 12:32). This is about the time that the "one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days" days (1335 days) mentioned in Daniel 12:12 begin--although it may not be until the next verse or two.

Continuing in the NKJV:

29 At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter. 30 For ships from Cyprus shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and return in rage against the holy covenant, and do damage. So he shall return and show regard for those who forsake the holy covenant (Daniel 11:29-30).

A term referring to western lands, not Cyprus, is a better translation related to verse 30:

30 For warships from western coastlands will scare him off, and he will withdraw and return home. But he will vent his anger against the people of the holy covenant and reward those who forsake the covenant. (Daniel 11:30, New Living Translation 1996 Greg Laurie)

30 Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:30, NIV)

30 Ships from the west will come to attack him, and he will be discouraged. Then he will start back to his own country and take out his anger on the religion of God's faithful people, while showing kindness to those who are unfaithful. (Daniel 11:30, CEV)

30 Ships will come from the west to attack him, and he will be discouraged and turn back. Angry at the holy promise, he will return, take action, and favor those who abandon the holy promise. (Daniel 11:30, GWT)

Notice that after suffering at least a naval embarrassment, the King of the North seems more upset with God's people than the power that confronted it militarily (watch also A US naval conflict with Europe is prophesied). This angers him to further persecute:

31 And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. 32 Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33 And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering. 34 Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue. 35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:31-35, NKJV).

(The words in italics are NOT in the original Hebrew.) As far as WHO will instruct many, see the article Philadelphian Christians Will Instruct Many and/or watch the sermonette video: Will YOU Instruct Many?

The persecutions in Daniel 11 above are by one called the King of the North (Daniel 11:40; 7:25a)--the King of the North will NOT like the message that the Philadelphians are proclaiming at least of part of which will likely be the Continuing Church of God identifying him to the world as the prophesied King of the North. The persecuted Christians will instruct many--probably explaining more perfectly things related to Matthew 24:14 and Matthew 28:19-20!

Let's look at another translation of Daniel 11:34:

During these persecutions, little help will arrive, and many who join them will not be sincere. (NLT)

Yes, some will pretend to be COG Christians are turn real Christians in to the authorities--that is also consistent with what Jesus warned of in Matthew 24:10--and that is also consistent with the timing of Matthew 24:10.

That said, already, there are people, such as some part of the United Nations that are calling it "hate speech" to have biblical views on sexual morality (see U.N. 'expert' demands religious beliefs bend to LGBT ideology). Furthermore, the United Nations, itself, wants people to turn in others who engage in what it is calling "hate speech." Notice the following from the UN:


Most online platforms and communities have rules to keep user discussions respectful and will let you easily report hate messages to administrators or moderators. Read social media platform guidelines and tips to protect users from harassment and hate speech. For more serious cases – which may constitute incitement to violence, harassment and/or threats prohibited by law – notify organizations fighting hate speech and/or file a complaint with police (or the public prosecutor). Some countries have online tools to make reporting hate speech easier. https://www.un.org/en/hate-speech/take-action/engage accessed 06/28/23

The stage is being set.

Daniel 11:34, itself, is consistent with the following prophecy of Jesus related to the Philadelphian Christians:

9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie — indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. (Revelation 3:9)

It should be pointed out that the New Testament calls Christians ‘Jews’ is several places (Romans 2:28-29; Revelation 2:9,3:9). So, those who are joining by intrigue look to be the same ones warned against in Revelation 3:9. Hence, this is another connection to the Philadelphians and this persecution in Daniel.

While it is mainly the Philadelphia Christians that are targeted for this particular persecution, it is likely that some Laodicean and other Christians will be affected at least to some degree. The Laodiceans will mainly misunderstand what is happening and not realize that their persecution is coming! This is also consistent with the persecution, accomplishments, and problems in Matthew 24:9-20 that will mainly affect the Philadelphians, but will lead to problems then for the Laodiceans in Matthew 24:21-22.

The 19th century Methodist theologian Adam Clarke, in his commentary, identifies the people as follows:

But the people that do know their God
The genuine Christians.

Shall be strong
Shall be strengthened by his grace and Spirit (Clarke A.  The Adam Clarke Commentary, Daniel Chapter 11.)

Those associated with the 'synagogue of Satan' (Revelation 3:9), will apparently betray and assist in this persecution (see also What is the Synagogue of Satan?) which is consistent with Daniel 11:32. Daniel 8:24 shows that this same leader persecutes "the holy people," thus that is further proof that Christians in the end time are who are being persecuted.

The old Radio Church of God realized that Daniel 11:32-35 was talking about what happens to the faithful just before 'the end' (the start of the Great Tribulation). Notice the following:

A Prophecy for Today

Daniel prophesied: "The people that do KNOW their God shall be strong, and do exploits" (Dan. 11:32). Such a statement could refer only to God's people. Now notice what follows: "And they THAT UNDERSTAND among the people shall instruct many; yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days" (verse 33). ...

This prophecy concerns GOD'S CHURCH. Continuing "Now when they [God's people] shall fall, they shall be holpen [helped] with a little help: BUT MANY SHALL CLEAVE TO THEM WITH FLATTERIES" (verse 34). Here is the point that most people have missed. Many individuals who assemble with us on God's Sabbath, or in God's Feasts, are prophesied to cleave to us with flatteries!

Other translations make this even clearer. The Moffatt Translation states: "Many shall join them under FALSE PRETENSE." Yes, some do JOIN THEMSELVES to God's Church, with false pretenses, claiming to be true brethren, claiming to obey God, claiming to have God's Holy Spirit, and yet they are not a part of the body of Christ. God has not JOINED them to His Church!

In "The Complete Bible", AN AMERICAN TRANSLATION by Gordon-Goodspeed we read: "Many shall attach themselves in HYPOCRISY." These people who attach themselves to God's Church assemble under false pretense. They are inwardly hypocritical, and flatter or deceive others.

If you have the idea that all who come to God's Church are truly converted Christians, this scripture ought to dispel this delusion! There are some among us who are not converted. They are not a real spiritually LIVING part of the body of Christ. They are not letting Christ do His work in them. They have not truly and completely surrendered their lives to Christ in full repentance.

Notice that this prophecy continues right up to the time of the end (verse 35), to the return of Jesus Christ. Here is a prophecy which concerns us today! (Neff L. Beware of False Brethren! Good News, January 1960)

Even the Roman Catholic saint Jerome understood that these passages in Daniel 11 were referring to the persecution of God's people as his commentary on them included the following:

But these events were typically prefigured under Antiochus Epiphanes, so that this abominable king who persecuted God's people foreshadows the Antichrist, who is to persecute the people of Christ. (Jerome. Commentary on Daniel, Chapter 11. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. (1958). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2004. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/jerome_daniel_02_text.htm viewed 06/05/11)

This King of the North seems to be the same one that certain Greco-Roman Catholic "prophecies" call the Great Monarch who will rule a revised Roman Empire. Notice that Greco-Roman Catholic prophets have indicated that heretics will be eliminated by their Great Monarch, and that a small "sect" will have their possessions (and probably some of their bodies) burnt:

St. Francis of Paola (Born in Italy, 15th century). "By the grace of the Almighty, the Great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers. He will have a great army, and angels will fight at his side. He will be like the sun among the stars. His influence will spread over the whole earth. All in all, there will be on earth twelve Kings, one Emperor, one Pope and a few Princes. They will all lead holy lives." (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p.38).

Capuchin Friar (18th century)..."A scion of the Carolingian race, by all considered extinct, will come to Rome and behold and admire the piety and clemency of this Pontiff. who will crown him, and declare him to be the legitimate Emperor of the Romans. He shall destroy the Ottoman Empire and all heresies" (Dupont, p. 34).

David Poreus (17th century): The Great Monarch...will crush the enemies of the Pope…(Dupont, p. 31).

Andrew Fool for Christ (5th century): Later on, this King will towards the East ... many among them will be baptized, they will make themselves agreeable to this King, and he will treat them honorably. However, the remaining ones will be annihilated, they will be burned to death, and they will die a cruel death. (Tzima Otto, Great Monarch, p. 113)

Anne Catherine Emmerich (Purification day 1822) "I saw during the last few days marvellous things connected with the Church. St. Peter's was almost entirely destroyed by the sect, but their labors were, in turn, rendered fruitless and all that belonged to them, their aprons and tools, burned by the executioners on the public place of infamy. They were made of horse-leather, and the stench from them was so offensive that it made me quite sick..." (Schmöger Carl E. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich, Volume 2. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourgh Peter Joseph. TAN Books, reprint 1976, p.292)

Annihilation and burning certainly are forms of persecution. Possession of what Greco-Roman Catholics consider to be 'bad books' could also result in persecution:

Anne Catherine Emmerich January 27, 1822 'The non-Catholics will mislead many. They will use every possible means to entice them from the Church, and great disturbances will follow.' (Schmöger, p. 348)

Nursing Nun of Bellay (died 1820): "All these things shall come to pass once the wicked have succeeded in circulating large numbers of bad books." (Dupont, p.51)

Trappistine Nun of Notre Dame des Gardes. "Chastisement will come when a very large number of bad books have been spread" (Dupont, p 114).

We can expect to see that Sabbath-keeping will be outlawed in Europe and probably elsewhere. As far as documented books go, all should consider reading the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Let us also look at something God inspired the prophet Jeremiah to record:

5 If you have run with footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, in which you trusted, they have wearied you, then how will you do in the floodplain of Jordan? 6 For even you brothers, the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; Yes they have called a multitude after you. Do not believe them, even though they speak smooth words to you" (Jeremiah 12:5-6)..

Yes, persecution will be worse than the name calling, insults, censoring, economic persecution, and other things many have had to endure in the 21st century. Those who cannot handle what is coming are NOT expected to be protected in the place in the wilderness during the Great Tribulation (for more details, see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra).

The Eastern Orthodox have a prophecy that various Sabbath-keepers will be publicly executed and the time period is supposed to be when the "Great Monarch" rises up:

Blessed Hieronymus Agathaghelos (1279): ...young man...now it is not the end; I see you are being duped...you are hoping in vain; Sabbatism is against the Divine Law...you promote the Hebrew Sabbath at the expense of Christian Sunday, and yet, you will not succeed...before you become an apostate on behalf of the Sabbath...

And lo and behold, an evil assembly of the crafty evening leader, dressed in black mourning apparel, was measuring its strength...taking in a hypocritical manner the most holy name of Christ, by means of their flowering and dissembling speech; these were the men who were concealing their impiety under a mask of virtue; those were the most filthy citizens of Pentapolis...these are semi-godless men, they despise the Divine Law, they are rapacious wolves in sheep's clothing...they will have to pay the due price before the Public Executioner of the Sabbatians...you, the inventors of the distorted heresies...(Tzima Otto H. The Great Monarch and WWIII in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Scriptural Prophecies. The Verenika Press, Rock Hill (SC), 2000, pp. 127, 132-135, with a partial translation from page 240)

There are several points to make related to the above. Note “public executioner of the Sabbatians” is how that portion of the phrase is shown as a translation on page 240 and seems to make the most historical sense of the Greek being translated. Sabbatians means Sabbath-keepers. The fact that there is a "public executioner" for them, supports the idea that people like us in the genuine Church of God will be subject to execution and other likely forms of persecution. Notice that it is warning that someone who was part of a Sunday church (probably a one "born Catholic" as he becomes an "apostate" according to the mystic because of the Sabbath) will believe in and teach the Sabbath as well as believe that it is the time of the end. The leader is, for at least some while, a citizen of the Pentapolis, which in English means "five cities." Black mourning apparell sounds like sackcloth as biblically, sackcloth is black (cf. Isaiah 50:3; Revelation 6:12). A major point to emphasize is that Agathaghelos is indicating that these men will seem pious and he does not want anyone to listen to him. Thus, the above Orthodox prediction is directed against Sabbath keepers.

For more on this, see the article: Prophecies Showing Persecution for Sabbath Keepers.

Notice the following statements:

Just as God’s people have had to do from the first century onward, so His people today must "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). God states clearly: "He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness" (Romans 9:28). Who will He use to do it? According to Daniel 11:32 it is "the people who know their God [that] shall be strong, and carry out great exploits." (God's Church Through the Ages By John H. Ogwyn. Booklet.)

This time is Satan’s wrath against the modern day descendants of Israel as well as against spiritual Israel, the Church. This is made plain in Revelation 12 where we read of the Church being described by the metaphor of a woman...In verse 13 we find that after Satan is cast back down to the earth, a yet future event, he launches all out persecution upon the Church. At this time, we are told, the Church will be taken to a place in the wilderness to be supernaturally nourished and protected during the final three-and-a-half year period preceding Christ’s return (The Secret Rapture-False Hope for End-Time Christians! By John H. Ogwyn. Tomorrow's World. Jan-Feb 2000).

Revelation 12 shows that those that flee will be persecuted just before they flee, and those that do not flee will later be persecuted:

13 Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. 14 But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. 15 So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. 16 But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:13-17).

Revelation 12:13-16 is clearly referring to the Philadelphians as they are the ones specifically promised protection by Jesus.

The Laodiceans (see The Laodicean Church Era), who basically will have relatively little intense persecution prior to that time (though historically, Satan is not real picky and does not seem to mind when others not specifically targeted are killed), will be then thrown into a period of intense persecution for three and one half years as Daniel 7:25b and Revelation 12:17 both show.

God's people are not to remain with the Babylonian power:

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

Getting back to Daniel, the "He" in Daniel 7:25 apparently the 'Babylonian' King of the North. This leader will press for terrible persecution, and normally attempting to kill, the Laodicean and other Christians that are not then in a place of protection (see also the article There is a Place of Protection for the Philadelphians).

The same "he" is referred to as a king below:

23 "And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people. (Daniel 8:23-24)

Christians not protected during the Great Tribulation (for information on those that can be, please see the article There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra and/or the YouTube video Might Petra be the Place of Safety?) will have a dreadful time.

The Roman Catholic Church, in spite of the fact that it admits that many of its early saints taught the millennium (the thousand year reign on the Earth' see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?), now strongly condemns this belief. Notice:

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (Catechism of the Catholic Church. Imprimatur Potest +Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. Doubleday, NY 1995, p. 194).

It should be noted that the millennial teaching appears to be the only doctrine associated with Antichrist that is condemned in the current official Catechism of the Catholic Church (which is the first new one in hundreds of years). Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that those who teach the millennium, which we in the Continuing Church of God do, will be subject to persecution.

Notice something else that Joseph Ratzinger wrote in a paper titled The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure prior to becoming pope:

"...both Chiliasm [the teaching of the Millennium] and Montanism were declared heretical and were excluded from the universal church; for they both denied this vision [the "Christ is the end of the ages" vision] and awaited still another period of more definitive salvation to follow after the age of Christ" (as cited in Birch, pp. 515-516; note the comments within [] were from the Roman Catholic writer Birch).

This is an odd statement for several reasons. It was the leaders in Asia Minor who stood for the Millennium and were the first to oppose Montanism--whom the Roman Catholics originally tolerated (please see the article Location of the Early Church)--hence the belief in one is NOT necessarily related to the other.

The other reason this condemnation is odd, is that even though Origen was opposed to the millennium Origen also taught that there was definitive salvation after what then Cardinal Ratzinger calls "the age of Christ" (please see the article Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God Differs from Protestantism). Yet pontiff emeritus Benedict XVI has publicly praised Origin as a "true teacher" (for documentation, see What is the Appropriate Form of Biblical Interpretation?).

It appears to me that the millennial view is being so definitely condemned now, because we are getting so close to that time when the Church of Rome is expected to compromise more and the Pope has prepared his followers to do that. It seems like the final revised Roman Church intends to warn against following any (like the actual two witnesses) who will be teaching the original millennial doctrine. Of course, there still are Roman and Eastern Orthodox Catholics who accept the biblical teaching on the millennium--but they are becoming more and more of a minority within their church.

Why else would certain of the Roman Catholics beginning in the 20th century take so many public stands against the millennial teaching?

I believe that there are several reasons.

The first is that as we get closer to the end of the Church age, Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies indicate that an apparently small religion that denies the Greco-Roman Catholic view of the Godhead will rise up and cause them problems. Notice three such "prophecies" below:

Ven. Sor Marianne de Jesus Torres (17th Century)...Our Lady told Sister Marianne:..."But this knowledge will only become known to the general public in the 20th. Century. "During this epoch the Church will find itself attacked by waves by the secret sect..." (Birch, p. 326).

Jane Le Royer (d. 1798) Sister of the Nativity..."When the time of the reign of Antichrist is near, a false religion will appear which be opposed to the unity of God and His Church. This will cause the greatest schism the world has ever known. The nearer the time of the end, the more darkness of Satan will spread on Earth, the greater will be the number of children of corruption, and the number of Just will correspondingly diminish (Culligan, pp.127,128).

Nun Anne Catherine Emmerich (about 1820): "I heard that Lucifer (if I don't mistake) will be freed again for awhile fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 A.D. I have forgotten many of the other dates were told (Emmerich AC. The Life of Lord Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations. Schmoger edition, Vol. IV. Nihil Obstat: D. Jaegher, 14 Februari 1914. Imprimatur: A.C. De Schrevel, Brugis, 14 Februari 1914. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 2004: pp. 353-354).

I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is the secret sect that is being discussed above and that we have affected the Roman Catholics in waves, starting with Herbert W. Armstrong--who put out the Plain Truth magazine for between 50-60 years before 2000 A.D. And thus, I suspect that it is Herbert W. Armstrong that the demons (I believe that demons influenced many Greco-Roman Catholic private prophecies) had Nun Emmerich see as Lucifer or more likely, being under Lucifer's influence as Herbert Armstrong's widely proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God message was the one that seems to best fit the precise timing of that prophecy.

Here is something from our free online book Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church: Could a remnant group have continuing apostolic succession?:

The Vatican’s 21st century, handbook, The Bishop and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Vademecum, basically divides professing Christianity into two groups. One group that accepts the trinitarian godhead definition adopted by the 381 A.D. Council of Constantinople and the other that does not accept it. The Vatican’s handbook only calls for ecumenical unity with the first group. Furthermore, that is consistent with the trinitarian position adopted last century by the World Council of Churches (WCC Approves a Trinitarian Basis, Christianity Today, December 22, 1961), that has remained in effect in the 21st century (Thomas TK. “WCC, Basis of,” in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd ed., ed. Nicholas Lossky et al. Geneva: WCC Publications and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002: 1238–1239). The WCC only accepts trinitarians.

Let me add that those they do not wish to accept, they really do not wish to exist either.

I believe that the Philadelphia-portion of the Church of God is being discussed is that it can only be an anti-trinitarian group that Jane Le Royer could be referring to as the "trinity" is considered by Roman Catholics to represent the unity of God. It should be understood that although we in the CCOG accept “the unity of God” (deification) that early writers like Ignatius referred to (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, Chapter 9), The Catholic Encyclopedia asserts the trinity is the “unity of God” (Lebreton J. The Logos; Joyce G. The Blessed Trinity). One of the reasons, the original catholics who were called Paulicians by the Romans were persecuted was because they denied the trinitarian “unity of God” (Gibbon E. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 4. BF French, 1830, pp. 5,28,29). This looks to be a reason some may cite for future persecution. It should also be pointed out that in the 21st century, the World Council of Churches still does not allow non-trinitarian churches to be members and that and warnings against ecumenical compromise, see also the free online book: Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church.

Another reason is that I believe that Satan knows that eventually the true remnant of the Philadelphia portion of the Church of God will have successfully preached the gospel of the kingdom, which the Roman Catholic Church now condemns, with two coming rather large waves (Matthew 24:14; Revelation 11:3-7) to be followed by a final "wave."

Notice that Jesus said that the gospel of the kingdom would be preached to the world immediately before the end would come:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).

Satan, who is familiar with scripture (Matthew 4:6), must know this--so our more successful preaching would be the next major "wave". Now just before it is time to flee to a place in the wilderness (Matthew 24:20-21), this preaching abolut the millennial kingdom apparently will trigger the persecution in Daniel 11:32-35 and Revelation 12:13-15 (some Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies also seem to show that the Greco-Roman Catholic leaders will persecute those not of their fold just before and during the Great Tribulation, which appears to include those who successfully proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom as a witness).

One "wave" could be that the Continuing Church of God has already had its free online booklet The Gospel of the Kingdom of God translated into hundreds of languages--links to the various languages can be found at https://www.ccog.org. And during the time of the "short work" (cf. Romans 9:28; see also Preparing for the 'Short Work' and The Famine of the Word), multiple millions, if not billions, will have the ability to learn about the good news of the kingdom of God--leading to the fulfillment of Jesus' words in Matthew 24:14.

The two-horned beast along with the ten-horned beast will promote 'human cooperation' as the real way to peace as opposed to believing the God of the Bible that lasting peace will not come until Jesus returns to usher in the millennial Kingdom of God. One or both will make false declarations of peace (cf. Daniel 11:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3) and support a peace deal that will bring temporal peace, but that will be broken (Daniel 9:27; see also The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27).

A major "wave" warned about would seem to be the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12) and their supporters (please see the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?).

Other private Greco-Roman Catholic "prophecies" indicate that when their Great Monarch reigns (who is also discussed in the article Who is the King of the North?) there will be prophets (probably The Two Witnesses) who essentially will preach that Jesus is coming to establish His kingdom--but the Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies erroneously indicate that the prophets who do so will be false prophets.

The final "wave" will apparently be when Jesus comes and establishes His kingdom on the earth as a variety of private Greco-Roman Catholic prophecies specifically warn about one to come at the end who will say He is Jesus, will keep the Sabbath, will be opposed to idols, and essentially eliminate their version of Catholicism (e.g. Dionysius in Prophecy for Today by Edward Connor, 4th ed. TAN Books, Rockford (IL) 1984, p.85). Because of this, I believe that Satan moved the Roman Catholics in the late 20th century to indicate that the millennial teaching is the major doctrine of Antichrist. (For more information, see also the article Do Greco-Roman Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus?).

It should also be understood that various Greco-Roman Catholic writings urge/suggest that their followers vigorously persecute those that they believe will be associated with the final Antichrist. Those who stand by the truth on the biblical doctrine on the millennium will be subject to intense persecution--and that time may not be too many years away

Being killed as the result of persecution is seemingly part of the final phase of the work that various of God's people will endure:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. 13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Revelation 14:12-13)

This looks like it will be a massive persecution.

Even though other parts of the Book of Revelation show that persecution will come from a combination of church and state (i.e. 13:1-8), various verses (i.e. (Revelation 12:13-17) show that it is truly Satan that is behind the persecutions. The old Radio Church of God taught this about Revelation 12:13:

Now turn to verse 13...this is the persecution that is yet in the future, a persecution that is being secretly planned... (Hoeh H. Are Christians Again to be MARTYRED? Plain Truth, November 1956, p. 21).

As far as being planned, as far back as the 12th century, a Roman Catholic mystic suggested that those in a place of safety, who seemed like decent people, really were Satan's tool and that they would teach that Jesus was about to return (for precised quotes, please see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra)--hence teaching that Jesus will come within few years of the start of the Great Tribulation seemingly is another teaching that will cause persecution.

Revelation mentions:

4 And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them (Revelation 13:3-7).

Not worshipping the Beast will be a cause of persecution.

Christians (and likely others) will be beheaded in during the Great Tribulation:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

Notice, the following regarding a coming leader (see The Great Monarch: Biblical and Catholic Prophecies) that many Roman and Eastern Orthodox prophecies look forward to:

Discourse of a Holy Man to Emperor Manuel II Palaeologous (15th century): Then the Emperor will say to them: 'Fathers and brothers of ours, it is good to make an expeditiion against our enemies, in order to resurrect the Cross to avenge the blood of our people'. (Tzima Otto, pp. 101-103)

The Bible does NOT tell of a good power who wars for 3 (or as the Bible teaches, 3 1/2) years. (As far as the cross goes, check out the article What is the Origin of the Cross as a 'Christian' Symbol?).

Furthermore, notice that the persecution is not limited to true Christians (saints) as any who do not worship the beast will not be able to buy or sell and this final hour of trial comes to all except the Philadelphians:

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 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. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Revelation 13:11-17).

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write...I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth (Revelation 3:7,10).

(More information on the Beast and the Antichrist can be found in the articles Europa and the Beast and Some Doctrines of Antichrist.)

Perhaps it should also be noted that at least one apparition claiming to be "Mary" (but has not been offficially accepted by the Vatican as valid) hinted that those who did not have faith in her would be persecuted. Notice what “Mary” allegedly stated in an apparition Pfaffenhofen, Germany on April 25, 1946:

Wherever it is taught that I am all-powerful, I will spread peace, for peace will be where all men have faith in my power...I am the sign of the Living God..." (Culleton, Reign of Antichrist, p. 216).

The Bible does not state that Mary is all-powerful, that people should have faith in her power, or that she is the sign of the Living God. But the above apparition strongly is implying that those who do not have faith in her power will not have peace--hence those who hold fast to the Bible will apparently be persecuted by those who have faith in Mary. Apparitions claiming to be Mary apparently may be one of the reasons that those who support that Beast will use to justify persecution. (More on Mary can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

Luke 21:12

Many of the translations of Luke 21:12 are questionable as they suggest a different order of persecution than is laid out in Matthew 24. Here is how the NKJV renders the verse and some others around it:

8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately."

10 Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:10-24)

Verse 12 seems to indicate that the major persecution that begins prior to the start of the Great Tribulation, also precedes the events that Matthew 24:4-8 and Mark 13:5-8 refer to as the 'beginning of sorrows' or 'birth pangs.'

Notice Matthew 24:8-9:

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.

Notice that another persecution comes after the beginning of sorrows. The Greek word translated as Then, Τóτε, means consecutive, next in sequence:

Τóτε tote (tot'-eh); from (the neuter of) NT:3588 and NT:3753; then when, i.e. at the time that (of the past or future, also in consecution) (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

So, the order, based upon what the NKJV indicates seems different.

When I looked into this, I noticed that one of the commentators considered that there was a grammatical issue in Luke 21:12 that many missed. Notice:

Some doubt exists as to the meaning of "before" (πρό) in this twelfth verse usually has been understood in a temporal sense, i.e. "Before all the wars, etc., I have been telling you of, you will be persecuted." A more definite sense is, however, produced by giving the word πρό (before) the signification of "before," equivalent to "more important" - "more important for you as signs will be the grave trials you will have to endure: even these signs must not dismay you, or cause you to give up your posts as teachers, for the end will not be heralded even by these personal signs." (Pulpit Commentary)

Hence, the more definite sense of Luke 21:12 is that the coming persecution is of more direct consequence for the faithful Christians than the associated sorrows in the 'beginning of sorrows.'

Thus, Luke 21:12 does not appear to be a contradiction in sequence, but an item that Jesus wanted to emphasize. This persecution is something that the Continuing Church of God has been emphasizing as well. And it happens after the beginning of sorrows, but before the start of the Great Tribulation, such as in Daniel 11:29-35 and Revelation 12:13-16.

Will a Cross be a Symbol for the Persecutors?

Did you know that a type of "cross" became a military symbol after a sun-worshiping Emperor claimed to have a vision and a dream:

In 312, the Roman Emperor Constantine I the Great was in Trier, Germany where he had an unexpected vision of a cross that appeared in the sky..Constantine’s soldiers, the majority of whom were pagans, placed the sacred image of the cross on their shields (Mangan C.M. In This Sign You Conquer, 10/15/03 Copyright © 2004 Catholic Online).

He {Constantine} said that about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens , above the sun, and bearing the inscription , Conquer by this...in his sleep the Christ of God appeared to him with the same sign which he had seen in the heavens , and commanded him to make a likeness of that sign which he had seen in the heavens , and to use it as a safeguard in all engagements with his enemies....At dawn of day he arose, and communicated the marvel to his friends: and then, calling together the workers in gold and precious stones, he sat in the midst of them, and described to them the figure of the sign he had seen, bidding them represent it in gold and precious stones...

Now it was made in the following manner. A long spear, overlaid with gold, formed the figure of the cross by means of a transverse bar laid over it. On the top of the whole was fixed a wreath of gold and precious stones; and within this, the symbol of the Saviour's name, two letters indicating the name of Christ by means of its initial characters, the letter P being intersected by X in its centre...

The emperor constantly made use of this sign of salvation as a safeguard against every adverse and hostile power, and commanded that others similar to it should be carried at the head of all his armies. (Eusebius. The Life of Constantine, Book I, Chapters 28,30,31).

Labarum Cross
Labarum Cross

This type of cross is known as a labarum:

The Labarum (☧) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine I. (Labarum. Wikipedia, viewed 03/04/09).

During the Inquisition, some who recanted because of torture and persecution were forced to wear two yellow crosses:

Some of them were sentenced to wear crosses...they henceforth perpetually wear two crosses of yellow felt on every garment, except the shirt (Rule W. The Brand of Dominic or Inquisition. John Mason, London, 1852. Original from the University of Michigan, Digitized Feb 17, 2006, pp. 14-15).

There is also a Roman Catholic writer who indicates that the image or perhaps mark of the beast may be something that resembles the old Constantinian cross:

Priest P. Huchedé (19th century): What this sign shall be time alone will reveal. Yet there are some {Catholic} commentators of the Holt Writ, who, according to a special revelation pretend to say that it shall be formed out of the Greek letters X and P, interlaced...which resembles the number of Christ. (Cornelius a Lapide in Epis. 2 to Thes.). No one can either buy or sell without that…(Huchedé, P.  Translated by JBD. History of Antichrist.  Imprimatur: Edward Charles Fabre, Bishop of Montreal.  English edition 1884, Reprint 1976.  TAN Books, Rockford (IL), p. 24).

If some type of cross is a symbol of the future Antichrist/Beast power as Priest P. Huchedé claims it will be (and it is in a book with an official imprimatur), perhaps those who come from faiths descended from Emperor Constantine should be concerned about their religion now--before it becomes even further removed from the original faith. The Bible indicates that the true Christians will NOT have the symbol/mark needed to buy or sell when the two beasts of Revelation 13 are in power, but only those that will follow those beasts will (Revelation 13:16-17)--and while some type of crosses may not necessarily be required everywhere, other Greco-Roman Catholic writings suggest that in certain places, they will be.

Although all real scholars admit that the original Christians would not kill or intentionally participate in military service, after Emperor Constantine claimed to see a spear in the sky with a traverse bar (see Constantine is Why “Christians” War), the group that accepted his authority then allowed him to convene what is known as the Council of Nicea in 325. A.D.

Astoundingly, there are writings that indicate that those wear some type of cross will be persecuters:

St. Francis de Paul (1470): These holy Cross-bearers shall reign and dominate holily over the whole world until the end of time...(Culleton, G. The Prophets and Our Times. Nihil Obstat: L. Arvin. Imprimatur: Philip G. Scher, Bishop of Monterey-Fresno, November 15, 1941. Reprint 1974, TAN Books, Rockford (IL),p. 157-161).

Josefa von Bourg (d. 1807): God will choose a descendant of Constantine, Pepin, and St. Louis, who has been tried by a long period of exile to rule over Europe. He will have the sign of the cross on his breast...Under him the Catholic religion will spread as never before (Culleton, pp. 181-182; Connor, p.37).

Notice that the following two mystics seem to imply that it is the cross-wearers that are persectuting and those not wearing the cross that get persecuted:

St. Bridget of Sweden (died 1373): ... war shall end when an emperor of Spanish origin will be elected, who will, in a wonderful manner, be victorious through the sign of the Cross. He shall destroy the Jewish and Mahometan sects ... (Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times , p. 154).

Anne Catherine Emmerich (October, 1820): warriors, led by a rider on a white horse; and … citizens and peasants, many of whom were marked on the forehead with a red cross. As this army drew near, the captives and oppressed were delivered and swelled the ranks whilst the demolishers and conspirators were put to flight on all sides (Emmerich AC. The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich. Schmöger edition, Vol. II. Approbation: Bishop of Limbourg Peter Joseph. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1976, pp. 290-291).

The Bible warns about the rider of the white horse (Revelation 6:1-2; Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse), who represents the final Antichrist. The Bible also warns that those who refuse the ‘mark of the beast’ (Revelation 13:16-17) are subject to be being killed through the direction of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:11-15). The fact that Greco-Roman Catholic prophecy points to people who are persecuting wearing a cross and going against “Jewish” sects (which Greco-Roman Catholics tend to consider the Church of God to be) and “heretics” is consistent with the view that a cross may well be a mark or image of the Beast and Antichrist.

Notice what one claimed to be “Mary” (but has not been offficially accepted by the Vatican as valid) allegedly stated in an apparition Pfaffenhofen, Germany on June 25, 1946:

I am the great Mediatrix of Grace. The Father wants the world to recognize His handmaid...My sign is about to appear. God wills it ... I cannot reveal my power to the world as yet ... Then I will be able to reveal myself...Chose a sign for yourself so that the Trinity may soon be adored by all! Pray and sacrifice through me!...I will impose crosses on my children that will be as heavy and as deep as the sea because I love them in my sacrificed Son. I pray, be prepared to bear the cross in order that the Trinity may be honored (Culleton, Reign of Antichrist, pp. 217-218).

Real Christians would not pray and sacrifice through Mary. Nor would true Christians force the wearing of a cross and persecute!

In 1958, Matous Losuta of Czechoslovakia claimed that "Mary" (this apparition has not been offficially accepted by the Vatican as valid) stated:

All my children will receive and carry the sign of the cross on their foreheads. This is the only sign my chosen ones will see ... My faithful will be without any kind of fear during the most difficult hours. (Flynn, Ted & Flynn, Maureen. Thunder of Justice: The Warning, the Miracle, the Chastisement, the Era of Peace. Signs of the Times Illustrated by Kaleidoscope Graphics Staff Contributor Malachi Martin Published by Maxkol Communications, 1992, p. 331)

But this is not something that the Bible advocates. (More on Mary can be found in the article Mary, the Mother of Jesus and the Apparitions.)

Notice also:

Priest Stefano Gobi (20th century, claimed locutions from ‘Mary’):  Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of those who deplore … Follow him through the city, and strike. Show neither pity nor merch; old men young men, virgins, women, kill and exterminate them all. But do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. (Flynn, 1992, p. 329)

Thus, according to various Greco-Roman Catholic mystics and writers, those that follow a persecuting power will wear some type of cross--the type is not entirely clear--nor will it necessarily matter.  Though according to at least one Roman Catholic priest, it is the to be similar to the type of cross that Emperor Constantine used, and according to that same priest, it may be an important symbol for the beasts of Revelation 13 and their followers.

What About Facial Recognition?

In addition to controlling buying and selling to persecute, might the Beast and Antichrist use technology to locate true Christians?

Yes, that should be expected.

Notice the following:

March 8, 2020

The rise of facial recognition technology is being tested and spreading in developed democracies after aggressive use in some more authoritarian countries like China. …

Opposition to algorithmic surveillance is not limited to Britain. Russia activists were reportedly arrested last month for holding a similar face paint protest over Moscow’s facial recognition cameras. Hong Kong pro-democracy activists routinely use face masks in street protests to hide their identities. Rights groups in Serbia and Uganda have opposed government projects to install Chinese-supplied cameras. https://apnews.com/b1af578f7a535b266cd088de3b95a1a0

Expect Europe to implement and use more surveillance technology.

Related to facial recognition, the Continuing Church of God (CCOG) put together the following video for our Bible News Prophecy program:


Facial Recognition and Christian Persecution?

Will facial recognition systems help the coming European Beast of the Sea (Revelation 13) power gain totalitarian control? Are steps being taken along those lines? Is Europe in the process of putting together a massive database to surveil all that they can? What about Prüm? Might USA be involved with this? Could this result in Christian persecution? Does any of this have to do with what George Orwell warned about in his 1949 book titled ‘1984’? What about the UK? What has Big Brother watch warned? What is facial recognition and how does it work? What are concerns that the ACLU and the Electronic Watch foundation have raised? Would the King of the North (666) of biblical prophecy (Daniel chapters 7,8,11) be expected to use this type of technology? What about his religious associate, the two-horned beast, also known as the final Antichrist? What did Jesus tell His followers to do when persecuted? What has to happen before totalitarian control occurs in Europe? Dr. Thiel addresses these questions and more in this video.

Here is a link to the video: Facial Recognition and Christian Persecution?

Yes, facial recognition will be used by more and more.

And yes, some version of it will be used for persecution of Christians in the future.

Censoring, Cancelling, and Shadow Banning Have Already Began

Nor all persecution involves physical violence.

One of the objectives of persecution is to stop Christians from proclaiming biblical truths. The 21st century phenomena called 'cancel culture' is becoming more widespread.--though aspects of it started much earlier.

A religious form of cancelling is from the Vatican and the World Council of Churches. The Vatican’s 21st century, handbook, The Bishop and Christian Unity: An Ecumenical Vademecum, basically considers professing Christians who accept the trinitarian godhead definition adopted by the 381 Council of Constantinople. Furthermore, that is consistent with the trinitarian position adopted last century by the World Council of Churches (WCC Approves a Trinitarian Basis, Christianity Today, December 22, 1961), that has remained in effect in the 21st century (Thomas TK. “WCC, Basis of,” in Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement, 2nd ed., ed. Nicholas Lossky et al. Geneva: WCC Publications and Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002: 1238–1239). The WCC only accepts trinitarians.

So, we are already 'cancelled' by the mainstream professors of Jesus. They consider us to be too heretical, too extreme, to even want to communicate with us. Of course, we realize that they are associated with the ride of the white horseman of the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:1-2) and are teaching a false Jesus and false versions of what they consider to be Christianity.

In the 21st century, we have seen another type of cancelling in a major way in the media and by 'Big Tech.'

Various so-called documentaries often push forward the false and illogical evolutionary explanation of many things. Sometimes, historical documentaries claim that things like the fall and burning of Jericho could not have happened when the Bible says (and this is because they are relying on false information to claim this).

Wikipedia, which Google pushes up to the top on many searches, is dimissive of biblical facts. One of my pet peeves is that Wikipedia claims that since some have improperly claimed that the Exodus was in 1250 BCE, and there is not evidence of it happening around then, this means that the Exodus is simply the "founding myth" of the Israelites.

Pushing the anti-biblical narrative is a way the media and Big Tech try to push people away from accepting the Bible--they want the Bible and many of its moral teachings cancelled.

Furthermore, Big Tech, like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook have removed content they do not like through monitoring and algorithms.

Other times, Google, YouTube, and others resort to a more subtle form of censoring persecution called "shadow banning."

Through shadow banning, Big Tech effectively blocks most people from seeing content Big Tech does not want seen.

Big Tech has repeatedly done this related health, pointing out sexual immorality, and holding certain biblical positions it does not want known.

Jesus warned:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Consider that the word of God is truth (John 7:17).

Satan opposes the truth.

Furthermore, the Bible shows that "Satan ... deceives the whole world" (Revelation 12:9).

And while Satan has used censorship in the past, and still uses it, in modern times he has come up with other ways.

He tried to get all literature banned that suggests homosexuals can change--the legislative proponent of that said this was proper because he called his proposal "consumer protection." Some rightly pointed out that the Bible says that sinners, including LGBTQ ones can change, the proposed law could ban the Bible (watch Banning the Bible?).

Canada has fined various ones for publishing selective quotes from the Bible  (watch Canadian censoring of the Bible).

Various ones have been arrested and faced charges in Europe for daring to quote scripture related to marriage and sexuality.

In the Summer of 2017, I noticed that we were having less views than expected for our Bible News Prophecy channel which is uploaded to YouTube. Then a reader sent me the following:

August 1, 2017

Today, YouTube clarified how it plans to handle videos that don’t violate any of its policies but still contain offensive religious and supremacist content: …

In a blog post today, YouTube provided a better sense of what that stance entails. Now, when YouTube decides that a flagged video doesn’t break policy but still contains “controversial religious or supremacist content,” the video will be put in a “limited state.” Here, the video will exist in a sort of limbo where it won’t be recommended or monetized … It also won’t include suggested videos or allow comments or likes. …

alternative media figures and conspiracy theorists have been complaining for weeks that YouTube is already manipulating the algorithms to limit their reach … And this announcement will likely only add to their resentment of a platform that they rely upon to reach their audiences. …

YouTube also announced today that it has added to the list of NGOs it is working with to help determine what content should be hidden. http://gizmodo.com/youtube-has-a-new-naughty-corner-for-controversial-reli-1797429910

So, YouTube is using some type of machine to look for what it calls “extremist content.”

As far as religious extremism, please understand that some in the USA believe that ALL who believe in the millennial reign of Jesus are religious extremists and potential terrorists. Also, believing in biblical morality and marriage is considered an extremist view by many. Furthermore, consider that the message of the good news of the Kingdom of God is also considered to be religious extremism by many. Freedom of religious speech is threatened on many fronts.

In 2018, it was essentially leaked that the US government was looking to closely monitor all journalists, bloggers, and media influencers (see DHS is monitoring all journalists, bloggers, and media influencers: Will this affect press freedom and lead to the fulfillment of prophecies?). Also in 2018, the State of California proposed a tracking and monitoring system for those on the Internet ( http://www.wnd.com/2018/04/bill-requires-state-fact-checkers-to-approve-news-before-its-published/#DCtjIshXvuDBrhKK.99). The USA is being set up for more censorship.

Years ago, George Orwell wrote a book called nineteen-eighty four. It warned about a totalitarian government that had electronic surveillance everywhere. One of the statements repeated in the book was “Big Brother is watching you.” Monitoring the press and classifying reporters and people who post on the internet is a dangerous and Orwellian step.

Disturbingly, the USA is doing more and more of this.

On March 21, 2020, the video platform Vimeo removed one of our videos for tying events in with biblical prophecy (see Censored: Vimeo removes Bible News Prophecy video 'COVID-19 Leading to 666?'). It falsely claimed the video violated their policy about causing self-harm and other related nonsense. My appeal pointed out that it did not violate their policies, but they never allowed the video to be reinstated.

In May 2021, YouTube pulled our video that denounced promoting sexual immorality to children. But we had it one another channel, so it is still available (watch Disney’s abominable promotions!).

In November of 2021, YouTube retroactively pulled another of our videos and threatened to permanently remove and cancel us.

In 2022, a false accusation put us on the 'blacklist' and we had to spend time defending ourselves, otherwise we would have to remove at least our cg7.org website.

Michael Snyder posted the following that is partially related to that:

They Have Come Up With Some Ominous New Definitions For What Constitutes “Domestic Terrorism”

August 16, 2021

Are you a potential domestic terrorist?  You may not think so, but the Department of Homeland Security may see things quite differently.  A brand new terrorism advisory has just been issued, and some of the things that it identifies as “potential terror threats” should chill us to the core.  You see, the truth is that the definition of a “terrorist” is constantly evolving.  In the old days, a Middle Eastern male that dresses in traditional Islamic attire, that grows opium in his field and that carries around an AK-47 would have been considered a “potential terrorist” by U.S. authorities.  But now … our spooks need a new group of “potential terrorists” to send to Guantanamo Bay, and so they are setting their sights on you. …

You may be tempted to think that I am exaggerating.

I truly wish that I was.

NBC News is telling us that a “terror alert” has just been issued by Homeland Security, and during their report on this new “terror alert” a very alarming graphic was shown to the viewers.

Under the heading “POTENTIAL TERROR THREATS”, the following three categories were listed…




We have never seen anything quite like this before.

Now “opposition to COVID measures” is something that can make you a “potential terrorist”?


So precisely what does that mean?

Does someone become a “potential terrorist” if they speak out against masks, lockdowns or vaccines?

What about sharing information that contradicts the official narratives about COVID?  Will that make someone a “potential terrorist” as well? …

I was absolutely shocked to learn that you can get banned on YouTube for offering to pray for someone that has COVID.  Apparently that can qualify as “content” that encourages people to avoid needed medical treatment

“Content that encourages the use of home remedies, prayer, or rituals in place of medical treatment such as consulting a doctor or going to the hospital”

We really are becoming a “1984 society”, and it is only going to get worse. …

Personally, I am stunned at how rapidly our society is changing … a bill has actually been introduced in Congress which would permanently ban those that have not been fully vaccinated from ever flying again. …

now dark times are here, and if you express your love for freedom too loudly you may soon discover that authorities have identified you as a “potential terrorist” too. http://themostimportantnews.com/archives/they-have-come-up-with-some-ominous-new-definitions-for-what-constitutes-domestic-terrorism

So, yes, words like possible domestic terrorist or religious extremist may be used in the USA against those who disagree with its government. Europe is expected to be even more active on this than the USA has proposed.

As deceivers increase, we can expect more problems.

Additionally, as Western governments more and more embrace non-biblical religions and deviant sexual behaviors as human rights, more censorship will come.

The Apostle Paul warned:

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)

It has already began.

That being said, as Philadelphian Christians, we are to go through the doors Jesus opens. And while the internet remains one of them, it is not the only one. We have long also put out religious literature--though Amazon now has reduced the available languages it will print for us (and everyone else). We also make personal appearances and are on the radio. I, personally, have been on secular radio an average of 1-2 per month since the official declaration of CCOG, we are currently on 1-2 stations in Kenya, and sometimes one in Ghana. We are also looking at expanding our online radio presence, as well as being on in Europe.

So, the internet is not the only door.

But censorhip is still a modern reality.

In 2016, US President Barack Obama indicated that which meet his definition of 'conspiracy theories' should not be protected speech (see ‘Obama Enters Media Wars: Why His Recent Attack On Free Speech Is So Dangerous & Radical’).

When we teach about prophecy and the coming kingdom of God, many consider those to be conspiracy theories.

Notice that the Bible teaches that a leader, called the Beast of Revelation and the King of the North will arise and mislead people:

23 "And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
24 His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.

25 "Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means. (Daniel 8:23-25).

Teaching what the Bible says about this Beast of Revelation and the King of the North leader will likely be considered as a 'conspiracy theory.' Teaching the truths about what will be happening would seem to trigger the persecution this leader is prophesied to do (cf. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13) and famine of the word.

And yes, things will get worse as the King of the North will exalt himself over the true God and persecute real Christians (cf. Daniel 11:28-37).

Furthermore, that same leader as the Beast is prophesied to do monitoring (cf. Revelation 13:16-18) and likely will employ computer algorithms to assist in future persecutions.

Steps are being taken.

Europe has set up such an office with the ability to montitor and prosecute financial 'crimes'-- not all of which would be what most have considered to be crimes.

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office officially started operations on 1 June 2021 (https://www.eppo.europa.eu/en/background). So, yes there is monitoring of buying and selling in the EU–and more is coming!

In April 2022, the European Union essentially adopted the Digital Services Act, which will lead to more censorship and make it a crime if Big Tech does not remove enough of what it thinks should be removed quick enough (see IL: Censor The Internet Act: EU Agrees to Expand Online Censorship With ‘Digital Services Act’). American leaders, such as former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton publicly asked for the Europeans to adopt this.

The Digital Services Act reminds me of the following:

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. (2 Peter 2:18-20)

And the week after the Digital Services Act was essentially approved, the US Department of Homeland Security announced another surveillance program, and one to be ran by someone who helped censor the truth about the Hunter Biden laptop and other matters. The program is supposed to stop 'disinformation,' but many question that (see WND: Biden DHS creates unit to police speech). One writer posted:

Along with ‘fact checkers’, the new DHS disinformation unit is just another branch of the Ministry of Truth, which as in Orwell’s 1984, serves a primary purpose of hiding and eliminating the truth. https://summit.news/2022/04/28/dhs-disinformation-unit-headed-by-woman-who-said-hunter-biden-laptop-story-was-disinformation/

People in Europe and America are subject to government contact because of their words.

Jesus prophecied about persecution and your words:

5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famine2s and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all men for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved…” (Mark 13:3-13).

Now, the above does NOT mean that you should neglect Bible study or learning from church services.


Because the Holy Spirit will mainly bring to REMEMBRANCE things which you have learned:

26. But when the Comforter comes, even the Holy Spirit, which the Father will send in My name, that one shall teach you all things, and shall bring to your remembrance everything that I have told you.  (John 14:26, AFV)

Remember as Christians we are, the Apostle Paul wrote:

15 Study to shew thyself approved ... (2 Timothy 2:15a, KJV)

15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God ... (2 Timothy 2:15s, NKJV)

The Apostle Peter wrote:

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16, KJV)

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (1 Peter 3:15-17, NKJV)

Yes, people will speak evil of true Christians.

Many moderns define evil things as good and good things as evil as Isaiah warned:

20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
And prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21)

And they, with their biased algorithms and 'fact checkers' think that they are prudent and right.

They now persecute through cancellation, legal threats, and censorship. But as Jesus warned:

2... yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. 3 And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. 4 But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you (John 16:2-4).

This has happened in the past and will happen again in the future.

How Are You to Handle Persecutions?

Persecution comes in various forms. Jesus warned Christians to not fall away because of them:

18 Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20 But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. (Matthew 13:18-21)

14 "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14)

11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:11-13)

Satan's plan includes persecution, as well as lies and innuedoes to discourage people from enduring. On that latter point, there are hateful people who write various things about the true Church of God (for some details check out Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch). People once considered to be brethren will betray people physically later (cf. Daniel 11:31-32 and Mark 13:12), and some are trying to do so spiriturally now (again, Banned by HWA and Ambassador Watch).

Satan's minions have long used 'guilt by association'--even against Jesus (e.g. Luke 15:1-2). Sadly, this has worked to discourage people throughout the ages to not pursue the truth (cf. Mark 14:15-19).

When Jesus comes, "those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14)--they endured. They were not just those once called.

In addition to fleeing from one city to the next (Matthew 10:23) when faced with certain physical persecutions, the Bible gives other advice for dealing with Satan's plan, persecutors, and insulters:

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints — 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (Ephesians 6:10-20)

7 "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, You people in whose heart is My law: Do not fear the reproach of men, Nor be afraid of their insults. 8 For the moth will eat them up like a garment, And the worm will eat them like wool; But My righteousness will be forever, And My salvation from generation to generation."

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as in the ancient days, In the generations of old. Are You not the arm that cut Rahab apart, And wounded the serpent?

10 Are You not the One who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; That made the depths of the sea a road For the redeemed to cross over? 11 So the ransomed of the Lord shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

12 "I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you should be afraid Of a man who will die, And of the son of a man who will be made like grass? 13 And you forget the Lord your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth; You have feared continually every day Because of the fury of the oppressor, When he has prepared to destroy. And where is the fury of the oppressor? 14 The captive exile hastens, that he may be loosed, That he should not die in the pit, And that his bread should not fail. 15 But I am the Lord your God, Who divided the sea whose waves roared — The Lord of hosts is His name. 16 And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, 'You are My people.'" (Isaiah 51:7-16)

Isaiah 51:17 is like what Jesus said in Luke 21:12-14.

Persecutions are expected for God's people.

Some will be based on complaints against Christians, some will be based upon false charges. This has happened throughout history.

Concluding Comments

Severe persecution has occurred throughout the history of the true Church. While all who professed Christ until the early 4th century were subject to persecution, after Constantine's form of religion was embraced, the Greco-Roman churches often were on the side of the persecutors, despite Jesus' admonition to love enemies (and some of this type of persecution began apparently no later than 135 A.D.).

Even the Church of Rome admits that no early professor of Christ persecuted anyone with anything beyond excommunication, yet it has often done so.

Right now, we have been experiencing shadow banning, censorship, and threats of cancellation. The Apostle Paul wrote:

1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

2 And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2, KJV)

Remember that the end does NOT come until God determines that the gospel of the kingdom reaches the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14).

And we will have issues and persecutions until that happens.

Severe persecution is expected to occur against the Sabbath-keeping Philadelphian Christians just prior to the time the true Church is to flee (please see the article There is a Place of Protection for the Philadelphians):

9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 15 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. (Matthew 24:9-20)

The idea of people fleeing from Judea does point to true Christians being there. These could be Christians who live in Judea and/or those who may have fled from persecution in places like Europe, South America, or elsewhere because of the rising up of a supposedly Roman Catholic leaders (the beasts of the sea and land of Revelation 13)--that would be consistent with Daniel 11:30-35. It also could include perhaps Christians who otherwise come into the land of Israel just before it is time to flee.

As far as where to possibly flee, check out the article: There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Near Petra.

After verse 20, then will come the Great Tribulation:

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand (Matthew 24:21-25).

It may well be that Philadelphian Christians in Europe, Latin America, and elsewhere may decide that they need to flee to the tiny nation of Israel prior to the start of the Great Tribulation. And that may be why Jesus made comments about fleeing Judea (watch also What is the Fate of Christians in Europe and Elsewhere?).

Jesus indicates that the end time persecution may be the biggest test of faith for believers. Notice:

7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7-8)

Christians who are willing to listen to God can endure persecutions.

13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 6:13).

The Bible and the facts of history have revealed persecutions for the people of God. While false Christians have also been persecuted, true Christians have never been the persecutors as true Christians "do not imitate what is evil" (3 John 11). Those who really want to know what happened to the true Church of God should begin with the The History of Early Christianity page.

The Bible show that end time persecution will come (Daniel 7:25; Revelation 12:17).

Notice that the coming "Roman" leader will persecute according some statements from Roman Catholic saints:

Methodius (circa 385): A time will come when the enemies of Christ will boast…Then a Roman emperor will arise in great fury against them . . . Drawing his sword, he will fall on the foes of Christianity and crush them. (Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, p. 110)

Francis of Paola (Born in Italy, 15th century). "By the grace of the Almighty, the Great Monarch will annihilate heretics and unbelievers. He will have a great army, and angels will fight at his side. He will be like the sun among the stars. His influence will spread over the whole earth. All in all, there will be on earth twelve Kings, one Emperor, one Pope and a few Princes. They will all lead holy lives." (Dupont, Yves. Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement. TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1973, p.38).

That "Roman emperor/Great Monarch" seems to be the same one as the Beast of Revelation 13, who is also warned against as a persecutor in Daniel 7:25.  The end-time ecumenical power that will likely at first call itself 'Catholic' will point to pronouncements from their "saints" as justification for this persecution. And this would seem to be part of Satan's Plan as the dragon and Beast are tied together in scripture (e.g. Revelation 16:13). Christians are not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:11).

All the faithful will be subject to persecution and being betrayed by professing believers (Matthew 24:9-13, Mark 13:12-13; Luke 21:16-18; Daniel 11:32-35).

In the past, as this article has shown, Christians were persecuted because they:

In the future, according to Greco-Roman Catholic teachings, they also will be persecuted for:

Christians have been persecuted for holding doctrines that we in the Continuing Church of God hold and are clearly expected to be persecuted in the future for holding Continuing Church of God doctrines.

Persecution is a fact of history. It has happened before and we should be prepared for the fact that it will happen again. And during the time of the final persecutions, the Bible records:

12 Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

Thus, though the Philadelphian Christians will be subject to intense persecution first, even the Laodiceans (The Laodicean Church Era) and other Christians will receive some praise if they endure the persecutions that will then come during the time of "the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world" (Revelation 3:10).

The Bible does show that the persecutors and their supporters will be punished in the end:

1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."

2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. (Revelation 16:1-2)

24 "And I will repay Babylon
And all the inhabitants of Chaldea
For all the evil they have done
In Zion in your sight," says the Lord. (Jeremiah 51:20)

19 And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

God and His people will win out in the end. Jesus taught that persecutions would come, but He also had it recorded that ultimately the persecutors will lose.

(There are also two related video sermons you can watch: Cancel Culture and Christian Persecution and The Coming Persecution of the Church. Here is information in the Spanish language: Persecuciones de la Iglesia y el Estado.)

An article of possible related interest may be Military Service and the Churches of God. There is also a related YouTube video that you may wish to watch titled The Coming Persecution of the Church. More on the Spanish Inquisition can be found in the article: The Spanish Inquisition and Early Protestant Persecutions.

Thiel B., Ph.D. Persecutions from Church and State. www.cogwriter.com/persecutions.htm 2007/2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014/2015/2016/2017/2018/2019/2020 / 2021 /2022 /2023 1/2024 0601

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