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The first sign - the first seal - the first horse?

Thoughts on Matt 24, Rev 6 and the White Horse In recent time among friends there's been a fair amount of discussion presenting different views or interpretations on the possible identity of the White Horse of Rev 6 and it's rider. Over the years while studying the history of the first century church, the "evolution" of Christianity and David's writings about the history of the Church System, I began to formulate an alternative view. Although I don't hold to an absolute opinion on the subject I'm more inclined to believe and I personally feel there's more plausible evidence both scriptural and historical to be found in the following articles, as opposed to the more generally

accepted views, that the White Horse of Rev 6 represents either the Antichrist, or Jesus Christ himself. Below there's also a "food for thought" article and youtube clip about Mitt Romney. "The Free Bible Society" - and Matthew 24:5 "As we look around Christendom today, we find many denominations and groups proclaiming their particular brand of Christianity to be the "one," way. Which one is correct? Because ancient Greek form was without punctuation, punctuation was later added by those who translated the original writings. This leaves the door to error open. But why do we have so many denominations today? The answer may just be found in Matthew 24:5. If we remove quotation marks from around the phrase, "I am the Christ;" the line takes on new meaning. Christ, then, may have been declaring that many will come and say that He is the Christ, and will lead many astray. This does not mean that they will lead people astray on purpose, but that they will lead them astray nonetheless. Hence, there would be many denominations, with many diametrically opposed to each other, or nearly so." The Free Bible Society This interpretation can be debated on many levels, among scholars and students alike, but History clearly speaks for itself. "Left Behind" - One of the biggest deceptions ever fostered upon the multitude of professing Christians, in these modern times, by the vast majority of Christian theologians and preachers, the many who will come in Jesus' name professing, Jesus is the Christ, is the false pretrib rapture doctrine. A deception that has totally hoodwinked the masses into a state of spiritual unpreparedness, to confront "a time of trouble" the Lord warned was to come, before His return at the end of the age. Left Behind however is just one, of a multitude a false doctrines, hitherto unknown to the original first century followers of Christ (the called out ones), now being promulgated by the vast and

overwhelming majority of modern Christian theologians, preachers, missionaries and evangelist, of every church denomination, both Protestant and Catholic, the many who come in Jesus' name. For which modern Christianity bares little, if any resemblance at all, to the"faith that was once delivered unto the saints." And why now more than ever the Lord's followers during these last days, "should earnestly contend for that faith" without compromise. The same faith that lived in David Brandt Berg since the birth of The Family. (see and

In answering his disciples it may be that the Lord was not implying that many would come "in his name" saying that "they are Jesus or Christ", but that many Christian preachers, teachers and evangelist "would come in his name" claiming Jesus is the Christ. And these very same people, we so often hear today, from their pulpits, TV and radio shows, books and magazines, would be the very ones who would deceive many about the signs, and the - timing - of the Lord's return, such as the pre-trib rapture doctrine? The shoe seems to fit quite well. On another occasion Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" (Matt 7:22) But the Lord didn't commend them with a "Well done thou good and faithful servant." Jesus was clearly speaking to Christian leaders, preachers and evangelist, for only Christians do these wonderful works "in His name." (PLEASE NOTE:) I took the liberty to edit the articles below removing any doctrinal differences which I do not personally agree with, however, some of these same folks, in my opinion, do hit certain things spot on at times, even if I disagree with their eventual conclusions and many of their doctrines. These articles are very condensed for clarity.

The Four Horsemen (Part Two): The White Horse by Richard T. Ritenbaugh "Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, 'Come and see.' And I looked, and behold, a white horse. And he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer." —Revelation 6:1-2 We live in an age of information and ideas. Granted, most of them are not worth the electrons upon which they zoom through cyberspace, but a handful of them receive enough traction to influence wide audiences. It is conceivable that someone tapping away at his keyboard in Pocatello could, under the right circumstances, affect events or attitudes in Paris or Pyongyang. Like nuclear energy, today's unregulated flow of ideas has the potential for both great benefit and great harm. One can argue that this has always been the case, which is true. However, modern rapid and mass communication methods make the dissemination of information and ideas almost instantaneous. It no longer takes weeks or months—even years—for a document to travel from one point to another, as it took for, say, Paul's epistles to reach their intended recipients. Now, with a few keystrokes, the church can send out a letter, article, or an entire magazine to anyone in the world with an email address, and it will arrive at its destination in seconds. Information and ideas are the lifeblood of every human endeavor. Nothing progresses far without communication among the participants in a scientific enterprise, a business venture, a political movement, a military operation, or a religious cause. Usually, the better a group's communications are the more successful its results. Perhaps this can be seen no better than in religion. Beginning with its most fundamental elements, communication plays a major, vital role. In Christianity, everything its adherents know about it has been revealed—or communicated—to men through the Word (John 1:118; Matthew 4:4). The Bible, one could say, is merely God's communication device to wayward man, informing him of the right way

to live to attain eternal life. The church takes the message of Scripture and broadcasts it, both to its own members as well as to potential converts, through a variety of methods, all of which entail some form of information- and idea-transfer. Without communication, religion cannot exist. The white horse and the crowned bowman on its back, embodying the first seal of Revelation 6:1-2, are all about religious communication. Like his fellows, this horseman has nothing benign about him—he goes out "conquering and to conquer." He is the one who commences— some would say ultimately causes—"the beginning of sorrows" (Matthew 24:8) that results in the death of a quarter of earth's population (Revelation 6:8)! A White Horse and a Bow The descriptions of the horses and their riders in Revelation 6 are spare, but the intended symbolic meanings become plain enough once we allow the Bible to interpret its own symbols. The paucity of detail may be frustrating to some interpreters of prophecy, yet it is sufficient to get across Christ's intent in sending out these fearsome judgments. For the white horse and its corresponding horseman, the symbols are the color white, the bow, the crown, and its activity, conquering. Biblically, white is an interesting color. In our day, it is immediately associated with cleanliness and purity, as all advertisers know: Marketing a cleanser that is itself white or comes in predominantly white packaging helps to convince the consumer that the product is effective. In the book of Revelation itself, white is predominantly positive in meaning, as most of its appearances describe God, Christ, glorified saints, or associated objects like the Great White Throne. Overall, white suggests purity, righteousness, holiness, glory, victory, and perfection. This preponderance of positive, symbolic meanings for the color white—without considering the mainly negative aspects of the other symbols—has led many interpreters to misidentify this horseman as a positive, even divine, image. For starters, the white horseman carries a bow, a weapon of war. Strangely, John makes no mention of arrows or a quiver, although we may infer the former, since a bow is nearly worthless without arrows. A bow is a purely offensive weapon, even more so than a sword, and is highly effective from long range. Thus, the foremost idea behind this biblical symbol is powerful, penetrating, deadly accuracy with an intimation of distance.

In addition, whereas the sword symbolizes the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)—His truth—the bow suggests a counterfeit "truth" or a false gospel. As II Thessalonians 2:11-12 says, "God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." A Crown and Conquering The rider of the white horse is given a crown to wear, after which he goes "out conquering and to conquer." These two symbols are related both in their proximity in the verse and in their meanings. First, the word order suggests that being endowed with a crown allows or authorizes the horseman to go to war. Second, crowns generally represent some state of honor or blessing for the wearer. We normally associate crowns with royalty, which in Classical Greek is represented by the word diadema, which has come down to us as "diadem." The word in Revelation 6:2, however, is stéfanos, a circlet, wreath, or garland, oftentimes made of leaves and twigs but sometimes of precious metals. It was awarded as a prize of victory or triumph, as a symbol of honor or authority, as a badge of civic worth or military valor, or as a sign of nuptial joy or festal gladness. Due to the verse's heavy martial emphasis, it is likely that the horseman's crown signifies triumph, authority, or military valor. Third, this horseman goes "out conquering and to conquer," a fairly literal rendering of the Greek. To us, this phraseology sounds strange, but it is merely expressing two different tenses of the same verb (nikao, "conquer," "subdue," "overcome," "prevail," "get the victory"): the present participle and the aorist subjunctive. In other words, John is telling us that the horseman begins and continues to conquer, and he will certainly conquer or will ultimately conquer. The implication is that his entire purpose is to conquer, to dominate, to subjugate the peoples of the earth. Overall, the white horse and its rider are vivid representations of a powerful, aggressive, victorious force running unrestrained over mankind. Like a knight in armor or a soldier in full dress uniform, the first horseman appears to the eye as glorious and noble, but its intent is to kill, destroy, and subdue its enemies. Its white façade is deceptive, concealing a deadly, unholy purpose.

Jesus' Interpretation These interpretations of the symbols may seem highly speculative and arbitrary until we unlock their mystery with the key supplied by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Prophecy. In a series of four verses, He decodes the meanings of the Four Horsemen. Of the white horseman, He says: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many" (Matthew 24:4-5; see Mark 13:5-6; Luke 21:8). The white horse and its rider represent religious deception. First, notice to whom He is speaking, His disciples. They had come to Him, asking Him to tell them the sign of His coming and of the end of the age (verse 3), and He proceeded to do just that. His remarks are pointedly toward His disciples, that is, He presents these signs from their perspective. In the first seal, He is concerned that they, specifically, not allow themselves to be deceived because the effort to deceive the elect would be potent. Second, the number of deceivers would be multitudinous: "many will come." This should be seen in contrast to the frequent description of His own disciples as "few," a "little flock," "a remnant," "not many," etc. The true disciples of Christ could be overwhelmed by the seemingly inexhaustible supply of false teachers, liars, and spiritual cheats that would be thrown against them. Third, these frauds and double agents would come in His name, that is, appearing to bear His authority. In particular, the name of "Christ" would be exploited as cover for their nefarious trickery, and by this ruse, great numbers of people would be deluded. The phrase, "saying, I am the Christ," should not be understood, as the New King James Version has punctuated it, to mean that many would come claiming to be the Messiah. No, they would come claiming that Jesus is the Messiah—a truth—and thereby gain people's trust. From that point forward, deception through doctrinal change, both major and minor, provides the means of deception. As the anonymous maxim puts it, "The nearer a lie to truth the more deceitful it is." If not earlier, this first seal must have been opened very soon after the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation. Once the last of the original apostles was dead, the false "Christian" church began its swift and steady rise to dominance, eventually collaborating with Emperor Constantine (reigned AD 306-337) to become a major influence in the Roman Empire. This church, with its pompous ecclesiastical politics

and Christianized pagan practices, looked nothing like the church the New Testament describes. The relatively tiny true church, often persecuted for its "primitive" beliefs, was forced to flee to the relative safety of frontier lands and wilderness areas where its members could practice their biblical beliefs more freely. It was not until the age of the Protestant Reformation, when the power of the Catholic Church began to wane. Even so, Protestantism—its various denominations merely rebellious daughters of the Universal Church—has not been entirely sympathetic to the elect. Even today, a spirit of antagonism and condescension exists within Protestant circles for anyone who really believes and practices the doctrines of Jesus and the first-century church. Still Riding Religious deception, false gospels, and unchristian philosophies have continued unabated to our own day. Mainstream Christian churches continue to teach (another) gospel about the person of Jesus rather than proclaiming the true gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15). In addition, as God maneuvers events in preparation for His Son's second coming, a great deal of prophetic speculation—which many call outright heresy—is appearing in the major media. No more successful example can be found than the twelve-volume Left Behind series by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Millions of copies sold in the U.S. and abroad have made these men wealthy and famous. They have also garnered their share of critics who see endtime prophecy somewhat differently. For instance, the books' major premise is the authors' belief in an unscriptural "rapture" of believers to heaven before the Great Tribulation begins. How many people will profess belief in Christ because of their reading of these books, expecting to be spared the hardships of the Tribulation, yet will be forced to endure the time of greatest trouble ever to occur on the earth (Matthew 24:21-22)? At the very least, these books provide false hopes of physical deliverance from destruction. The Bible, on the other hand, tells Christians to be prepared for Christ's return through watchfulness, overcoming, prayer, and enduring to the end (Matthew 24:13; Luke 21:36; I Thessalonians 5:4-8; I Peter 3:10-18). These are just a few examples of the white horseman's work. He is still riding throughout the world, spreading counterfeit "truths," conquering through the communication of lies. He has used His bow mightily to shoot false ideas and plausible but erroneous beliefs into the minds of

men cut off from God and opposed to His way of life (Romans 8:7). He has used his whiteness as a façade to trick the world into thinking he has come in peace and righteousness, when the truth is just the opposite. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15-16, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." It is not difficult for us to observe the fruits of false teaching masquerading as the truth in today's world. Next time, we will see that the red horseman's mission is at least in part a product of his white counterpart's work. The White Horse – ―Many Shall Come in My Name…‖ BY DAVID C. PACK

The white horse and rider, first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, have long puzzled students of Bible prophecy. What are they? When do they appear? Billions remain in complete ignorance of the truth—and importance—of what the white horse represents. But the mystery is understood. The Bible and history clearly identify this horse and rider. You can understand their meaning! Author’s Note: This booklet is part of a unique series covering the subject of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse..........., reflecting the sequence described in Revelation 6 and Matthew 24: The White Horse – ―Many Shall Come in My Name…‖  The Red Horse – ―You Shall Hear of Wars…‖  The Black Horse – ―There Shall Be Famines…‖  The Pale Horse – ―There Shall Be Pestilences…‖ 

Sometimes God chooses to use common experiences or activities as symbols or analogies in His Word. This is done to help human minds comprehend what is being described. God‘s selection of analogy makes the booklets on the Four Horsemen easier to understand— especially for those who have ridden horses. I have done this many times, in many situations, and ridden at virtually every speed. I have sat on horses at a standstill. I have ridden them at a walk, a trot and a canter, as well as at a gallop, and even at the exhilarating clip of a full run, flat-out, across a level field with my head down beside the horse‘s mane. As we begin the subject of the Revelation 6 horses (with horsemen), fix in your mind this animal‘s physical prowess. Bear in mind that for much of history, including the age of the writing of the New Testament, horses were man‘s preferred means of transportation—for rapid travel, communication and, in the case of armies, invasion and conquest. The horse and rider are virtually inseparable from a place within every picture of history. For the past 2,000 years, millions have sought to understand the socalled ―Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse‖ described in Revelation 6. Much written about, and seen in Hollywood films, none grasp their true significance. Religionists have crafted their own explanations, but have all ignored important clues in properly understanding what these symbolize. In Revelation 6:2-8, a series of mysterious horses are described— white, red, black and pale—each with its own rider, and coming in sequence. None seem to recognize that Christ, the Revelator, had already shown to His disciples the prophetic meaning of these horses. With so much at stake, because of the unparalleled destruction these first four opened seals are foretold to bring, we must understand in fuller context their true—and truly horrific—meaning. In this booklet and the others on the Four Horsemen there is a second purpose—and question. This question is big. We are also examining whether Jesus‘ prophecies have been accurate. Did He speak the truth to His disciples about events preceding His Return? But at this point, another question arises—and it is also big! Are the first four seals of Revelation still closed, or has Christ unsealed them? In other words, are they in effect today? Before continuing, something else must be grasped in order to set up the subject.

Deception Everyone hates having been deceived—lied to—especially by those they have known and trusted. The reader has probably experienced this. In every case, it is painful and disillusioning. The shock of betrayal can shake one to the core of his being. For a moment, in your mind‘s eye, try to place yourself in this situation. Now imagine that those who have done this to you are widely considered to be men of truth. And then next imagine that what you trusted them with were the most important things in life. Unknown to almost all, this is the level of deceit that counterfeit Christianity represents, where presumably all people understand that eternal life is at stake. A Specific Counterfeit A vital distinction must be made at this point. The rider of the Revelation 6 white horse does not represent all false religion. This first seal does not encompass belief systems such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and others. What the rider does represent is a counterfeit Christianity—a counterfeit Christ. This is so obviously then ―another Jesus‖—and the one that the apostle Paul warned about (II Cor. 11:4). Anything that passes as a counterfeit must seem authentic. Counterfeit money is designed to closely resemble real bills and coins. Any differences are very subtle, else the user is not fooled. In the same way, the counterfeit of the true Church has to seem real. It appears ―spiritual‖ and thoroughly organized. It appears to be wellestablished, with centuries-old ―roots‖ reaching back to the original apostles. To the undiscerning, this ―Jesus‖ and his teachings look, sound, feel and seem like the genuine article. But they are not the Christianity of the Bible—the one taught by the true Jesus Christ. We will see that this false religious system is a counterfeit of God‘s true Church! Almost immediately after Jesus founded His Church, Satan devised a counterfeit to keep the masses unaware of the message the true Church was proclaiming after Jesus‘ death.

Satan‘s purpose has been to deceive mankind about God‘s truth, and he has done this through his counterfeit religious system, masquerading as genuine Christianity. Matthew 24 Reveals More Jesus foretold the confusion and misunderstanding that would surround this rider‘s identity! He disclosed events that would occur prior to His Second Coming. The first event is synonymous with the white horse. Answering His disciples‘ question pertaining to the sign of His coming and of the end of the age, Jesus first warned of religious deception in the sequence of what would occur. Let‘s read this all-important element of Jesus‘ Olivet Prophecy to now set a larger stage: ―Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many‖ (Matt. 24:4-5). Only after this did He proceed to mention war, famine and pestilence. The ―many‖ are the vast majority of thought-tobeChristian ministers who say that Jesus Christ is Christ (the Messiah), but who do not believe or teach what Christ taught, nor do they come with His authority. Later in the same chapter, Jesus expanded upon these verses: ―And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many‖ (vs. 11). According to this and related prophecies, not only would false prophets arise to deceive the great majority, but they would also infiltrate the true Church, causing many of God‘s servants to fall away. Matthew 24 also mirrors the time sequence of the two riders of the white horses. The real Christ does not return (as shown in Revelation 19) until the time of the seventh and last trumpet (Matt. 24:27-31). The sequence of events in both accounts (Revelation 6 and Matthew 24) is also revealing. As the first seal is opened, the Revelation 6 white horse is unleashed at the beginning of a series of end-time events. It is followed by the remaining seals leading up to the Great Tribulation. Then, as the seventh seal is nearly completed, the secondwhite horse and its rider (Jesus Christ) appear. This is at the sound of the last trumpet of the seven trumpet plagues. This is the Return of Christ and His victory over those who attempt to oppose His triumphal Return. The horsemen of Revelation 6 and 19 represent opposite ends of this spectrum of time. These could not possibly describe the same event. The riders plainly arrive years apart.

So then, these are different riders on different horses at different points in time! Beginning in the first century, false Christianity almost immediately arose, while war, famine and pestilence—depicted by the other three horses—continued more or less as they had always been. The counterfeit system became more firmly entrenched in the third and fourth centuries, but this was only a precursor—a tiny type—of what would follow at the end of the age. Since false teachers and ministers have been plying their trade for centuries, Jesus‘ warning for the end of the age must involve a big increase in the power, prevalence and influence of false Christianity. Think of it this way: at the very end, the white horse suddenly accelerates from a relative standstill to a full run! False Christianity, war, famine and pestilence have continued off and on for the last two millennia. But this does not mean that the first four seals of Revelation 6 were opened almost 2,000 years ago, and have been slowly accelerating to an all-out sprint just before Christ‘s Return. (Realize that John did not record the Revelation until about 65 years after Jesus spoke to the apostles in Matthew 24. He would certainly not introduce things sealed that had already been unsealed long before!) So then, the absolute explosionof these things—these conditions—in the last days is such that Jesus is telling us (in Revelation 6 and Matthew 24) that the tremendous increase of these things is the opening of the seals! Warnings from the Apostles Before examining some history of this counterfeit Christian system, let‘s examine a number of scriptures that warn of a movement that attempts to pass itself off as the standard-bearer of truth, but that is shrouded in mystery and deceit. Despite these inspired warnings from Peter, Paul, John and others, most have been ensnared by this clever fraud: ―Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [test] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world‖ (I John 4:1). ―Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were

before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [license], and denying the…Lord Jesus Christ‖ (Jude 3-4). Briefly referenced earlier, the apostle Paul‘s admonition to the Corinthians defines how effectively these early false teachers misled the unsuspecting: ―But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that comes preaches another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if you receive another spirit, which you have not received, or another gospel, which you have not accepted, you might well bear withhim [or ‗put up with it‘]‖ (II Cor. 11:3-4). In verses 13-15, Paul singles out ministers who appear to represent the truth and the true Christ, but are actually led by ―another‖ spirit: ―For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.‖ Can you comprehend the gravity of this passage, viewed in an endtime context? Most do not recognize false ministers because they appear to be ministers of light—just as the ―god of this world‖ appears to be the true God. The devil is an effective counterfeiter! He counterfeits true ministers with false, true doctrines with false and the true God with the false god—himself! Peter added to Paul‘s warning with a similar one: ―There shall be false teachers among you, who privily [craftily, secretly] shall bring in damnable heresies…And many shall follow their pernicious ways‖ (II Pet. 2:1-2). Paul also warned that this condition will worsen at the end of the age: ―This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived‖ (II Tim. 3:1, 13). Deceit is not new to planet Earth. But Paul warns of deceivers— ―seducers‖—growing worse ―in the last days‖! With this foundation laid, we are now ready to examine how this counterfeit system began. As this is done, bear in mind that it is not my purpose to attack or slander churches or individuals. But the Bible and history clearly identify a large and powerful false system, with its

offshoots (or ―daughters‖), and there is simply no escaping directly identifying this system. Growth of Counterfeit Movement Parallels True Church Not long after the establishment of the New Testament Church at Jerusalem in AD 31, men motivated by a different spirit than that given to the disciples on Pentecost began to infiltrate and influence the Church. The result is well-known to honest historians. The German historian Johann Lorenz von Mosheim wrote of the early Church: ―Christian churches had scarcely been gathered and organized, when here and there men rose up, who, not being contented with the simplicity and purity of that religion which the apostles taught, sought out new inventions, and fashioned religion according to their own liking‖ (Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1). Author Jesse Hurlbut called this period after the time covered by the book of Acts ―The Age of Shadows.‖ He wrote, ―...of all periods in the [Church‘s] history, it is the one about which we know the least…For fifty years after St. Paul‘s life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 AD with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul‖ (The Story of the Christian Church, p. 33). A study of first-century history confirms that a corrupted form of Christianity appeared on the scene shortly after the start of the New Testament Church on Pentecost AD 31, brought by agents such as Simon Magus (the word magus means ―magician‖ or ―sorcerer‖)—then the leader of the Babylonian Mystery religion in Samaria. Simon Magus can be considered the founder of the heretical movement in the New Testament age. Ironically, many who rejected this man unwittingly followed his practices. Among them were Justin Martyr, Jerome and other writers of the second and following centuries. It should be said that crediting Simon Magus as the founder of today’s universal church system would not be fully accurate. He died around AD 68. It took nearly three centuries for that system to amass power and evolve, through all the stages of modifying and counterfeiting doctrine, into the form recognized today. Simon Magus‘ successors were equally zealous in sowing the seeds of heresy to counter the true

apostles‘ work. His followers included Menander, Nicholas, Cerinthus and Marcion. By the beginning of the second century, churches advocating a hybrid Christianity—mixing the name and some few teachings of Christ with rank Babylonish paganism—were gaining strength. Although it would take another two centuries before they would be given substantial authority, their mission accelerated during the 100s AD. The emerging counterfeit church substituted the true doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles with false teachings from the Babylon Mystery religion. Alexander Hislop also wrote that there are very few of the current practices of this counterfeit church system that cannot be directly traced to the pagan mystery rituals of Babylon. Notice again in Matthew 24 that the many are deceived, not the few: ―For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many‖ (vs. 5). Both the ―manys‖ here—ministers and lay members—represent the overwhelming majority, as demonstrated by history. By the middle of the second century, the true followers of Christ were a small minority! The counterfeit movement openly denounced those who remained loyal to the teachings of the original apostles. Leaders such as John‘s successor, Polycarp, and Polycarp‘s disciple, Polycrates, were among the very few holding to the full truth in the Greco-Roman world. The Time of Constantine In the early 300s, during the time of the most severe persecution against all professing Christians, the Roman armies declared their favorite general, Constantine, to be Caesar. He had claimed victory after subduing the opposition in the Battle of Milvian Bridge outside Rome. Prior to that battle, he was said to have had a vision of the first two letters of the name of Christ—chi (X) and rho (P) in Greek—and to have heard a voice say, ―By this sign you will conquer.‖ Constantine believed that the meaning of the letters was symbolic of Christ and therefore felt indebted to Christianity for his victory, despite being a devout sun-worshipper. One of Constantine‘s first acts as emperor was to issue the Edict of Toleration in AD 311. It legalized Christianity in the empire, ending 10 years of severe persecution against the true Church. However, the edict sped up false Christianity‘s rise to prominence.

The Roman leader saw this new religion as a potential means of unifying the empire. Yet its practice in the Western empire was quite different from that in the east and from other sects in North Africa. So Constantine took measures to standardize his newfound ally— counterfeit Christianity. Constantine convened the ecumenical Council of Nicea in AD 325 to resolve doctrinal differences between various Christian divisions. Before this, again, as a former sun-worshipper, he had naturally already decreed that Sunday—the day of the sun—would be kept throughout the empire. The Council of Nicea went further, in effect outlawing the practice of true Christianity. But the unscriptural teachings of the emerging counterfeit church were now decreed as part of the new state religion. As its protector, Constantine forced everyone, pagan or Christian, into either conformity or exile. Prior to Constantine, the professing Christian church—founded by Simon Magus—had suffered persecution by the state, alongside the small true Church. But now in their elevated position of power, the ―persecuted‖ became the ―persecutors.‖ This counterfeit false church‘s goal had now been achieved, and it now vengefully pursued the true people of God. The devil has always sought to position himself in place of the true God. Through his universal system, he blinds and enslaves humanity. Billions are deceived. Previous billions have been. Many more will be. Even you have been lied to. A complete seduction has taken place, and the false church has played the central role in it. The most important knowledge has been kept from you by those you most trusted! No matter its length, no one booklet could possibly cover everything about the reach and effects of the counterfeit universal system that has ravaged the world of Christendom. For instance, so much more could be explained about the almost unending number of individual false doctrines that this system has devised about salvation and the afterlife, heaven and hell, the true Church, among many others.

2000 Years of Deception and Error, Part 2A Constantine & Augustine Constantine Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official state religion of Rome, uniting church and state, thus making himself the head of the church, giving himself the authority to call church councils, to decide everyone was Christian (or would be outwardly) and kill folk claiming to be Christians because either he thought they were not acting ―Christian,‖ or they would not agree with his ―Christian‖ beliefs and requirements. A church hierarchy resulted, and by 416 AD, infant baptism was required by Roman law. Augustine Although influenced by Greek thought (dualism and philosophy), Ambrose (who wanted to use the church to control the state), his time as a Manichaean, and Anthony, a Desert Father, Augustine‘s writings have formed a major belief system for both the Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Augustine justified Constantine‘s unscriptural marriage between church and state with the false doctrine he wrote in The Visible and Invisible Church. According to Augustine, the church could use violence to convert people or force people back to the church‘s thinking. He encouraged the idea that the church replaced Israel. He changed toamillennial thinking denying a future, 1000 year, physical reign of Jesus Christ on earth, and claiming the church was currently living in the millennium. He wrote that unbaptized infants go to hell, bringing about the unbiblical practice of baptizing babies, who are not old enough to know to repent, but who do, according to 2 Samuel 12:23, go to heaven. Constantine‘s Political Kingdom of both the state and the church, combined with the theology Augustine wrote, helped thrust Europe into at least a millennium of unrest (NOT like the 1000 years reign of Jesus Christ promised in the Bible) because of the vying for power between the Roman Catholic Church and the political rulers of the European countries. Hundreds of thousands of people died physically as the

result of the wars or for not cooperating with the state religion. How many people are dead spiritually because of the deception and error handed down to us from Constantine and Augustine, which continues in our time. Romney and the White Horse Prophecy

A close look at the roots of Romney's -- and the Mormon church's -- political ambitions / THE ROMNEY RISING - The White Horse Prophecy of MORMONISM Being Fulfilled? When Mitt Romney received his patriarchal blessing as a Michigan teenager, he was told that the Lord expected great things from him. All young Mormon men — the ―worthy males‖ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it is officially known — receive such a blessing as they embark on their requisite journeys as religious missionaries. But at 19 years of age, the youngest son of the most prominent Mormon in American politics — a seventh-generation direct descendant of one of the faith‘s founding 12 apostles—Mitt Romney had been singled out as a destined leader.

From the time of his birth — March 13, 1947 — through adolescence and into manhood, the meshing of religion and politics was paramount in Mitt Romney‘s life. Called ―my miracle baby‖ by his mother, who had been told by her physician that it was impossible for her to bear a fourth child, Romney was christened Willard Mitt Romney in honor of close family friend and one of the richest Mormons in history, J. Willard Marriott. In 1962, when Mitt — as they decided to call him — was a sophomore in high school, his father, George W. Romney, was elected governor of Michigan. Throughout the early 1960s, Mitt collected petition signatures, campaigned at his father‘s side, attended strategy sessions with his father‘s political advisors, and interned at his father‘s office during all three of his gubernatorial terms. He attended the 1964 Republican National Convention where his father led a challenge of moderates against the right-wing Barry Goldwater. Although he was fulfilling his spiritual obligation as a Mormon missionary in France in 1968 while his father was the front-running GOP presidential candidate, Mitt was kept apprised of the political developments back in the U.S. Upon completion of his foreign mission, he immersed himself in the 1970 senatorial campaign of his mother, Lenore Romney, who was running against Phillip Hart in the Michigan general election. That same year, the Cougar Club — the all male, all white social club at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City (blacks were excluded from full membership in the Mormon church until 1978) — was humming with talk that its president, Mitt Romney, would become the first Mormon president of the United States. ―If not Mitt, then who?‖ was the ubiquitous slogan within the elite organization. The pious world of BYU was expected to spawn the man who would lead the Mormons into the White House and fulfill the prophecies of the church‘s founder, Joseph Smith Jr., which Romney has avidly sought to realize. Romney avoids mentioning it, but Smith ran for president in 1844 as an independent commander in chief of an ―army of God‖ advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government in favor of a Mormon-ruled theocracy. Challenging Democrat James Polk and Whig Henry Clay, Smith prophesied that if the U.S. Congress did not accede to his demands that ―they shall be broken up as a government and God shall damn them.‖ Smith viewed capturing the presidency as part of the mission of the church. He had predicted the emergence of ―the one Mighty and Strong‖ — a leader who would ―set in order the house of God‖ — and became the first of many prominent Mormon men to claim the mantle.

Smith‘s insertion of religion into politics and his call for a ―theodemocracy where God and people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteous matters‖ created a sensation and drew hostility from the outside world. But his candidacy was cut short when he was shot to death by an anti-Mormon vigilante mob. Out of Smith‘s national political ambitions grew what would become known in Mormon circles as the ―White Horse Prophecy‖ — a belief ingrained in Mormon culture and passed down through generations by church leaders that the day would come when the U.S. Constitution would ―hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber‖ and the Mormon priesthood would save it. Romney is the product of this culture. At BYU, he was idolized by fellow students and referred to, only half jokingly, as the ―One Mighty and Strong.‖ He was the ―alpha male‖ in the rarefied Cougar pack, according to Michael D. Moody, a BYU classmate and fellow member of the group. Composed almost exclusively of returned Mormon missionaries, the club members were known for their preppy blue blazers and enthusiastic athletic boosterism. Romney, who had been the assistant to the president of the French Mission where he was personally in charge of more than 200 missionaries, easily assumed a leadership position in the club. Both political and religious, the Cougar Club raised funds for the school and its members emulated the campus-wide honor and dress codes, passionately disavowing the counterculture symbolism of long hair, bell-bottom jeans and antiwar slogans that were sweeping college campuses throughout America. They held monthly ―Fireside testimonies‖ — Sacrament meetings at which each member testified to his belief that he lived in Heaven before being born on Earth, that he became mortal in order to usher in the latter days, and that he recognized Joseph Smith as the prophet, the Book of Mormon as the word of God, and the Mormon church as the one true faith. Such regular testimonies encouraged the students to live devout lives and to resist the encroaching outside influences overtaking the nation at large. ―It helps them cope with such external pressures as evolutionteaching professors and cranky anthropologists who expect answers that conflict with LDS teachings,‖ according to James Coates, author of ―In Mormon Circles.‖ They traditionally hosted frat-like parties (Greek fraternities were banned from the campus) to raise a few thousand dollars for the college‘s sports teams. But Cougar president Romney drove the young men to aim higher, orchestrating a telethon that raised a stunning

million dollars. Romney‘s position as head of the club was widely seen as a calculated steppingstone for a career in national politics. So it seemed disingenuous to his former club mates when, in a 2006 magazine interview, Romney denied his longtime political aspirations. ―I have to admit I did not think I was going to be in politics,‖ he told the American Spectator. ―Had I thought politics was in my future, I would not have chosen Massachusetts as the state of my residence. I would have stayed in Michigan where my Dad‘s name was golden.‖ Michael Moody says political success was an institutional value of the LDS church. ―The instructions in my [patriarchal] blessing, which I believed came directly from Jesus, motivated me to seek a career in government and politics,‖ he wrote in his 2008 book. Moody recently said that he ran for governor of Nevada in 1982 because he felt he had been divinely directed to ―expand our kingdom‖ and help Romney ―lead the world into the Millennium. Once a firm believer but now a church critic, Moody was indoctrinated with the White Horse Prophecy. Like Romney, Moody is a seventh-generation Mormon, steeped in the same intellectual and theological milieu. ―We were taught that America is the Promised Land,‖ he said in an interview.‖The Mormons are the Chosen People. And the time is now for a Mormon leader to usher in the second coming of Christ and install the political Kingdom of God in Washington, D.C.‖ In this scenario, Romney‘s candidacy is part of the eternal plan and the candidate himself is fulfilling the destiny begun in what the church calls the ―pre-existence.‖ Several prominent Mormons, including conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck, have alluded to this apocalyptic prophecy. The controversial myth is not an official church doctrine, but it has also arisen in the national dialogue with the presidential candidacies of Mormons George Romney, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and now Mitt Romney. ―I don‘t think the White Horse Prophecy is fair to bring up at all,‖ Mitt Romney told the Salt Lake Tribune when he was asked about it during his 2008 presidential bid. ―It‘s been rejected by every church leader that has talked about it. It has nothing to do with anything.‖ Pundits and scholars, rabbis and bloggers, have repeatedly posed the question during Romney‘s run: Is a candidate‘s religion relevant? With

a startling 50 percent increase ofrecently polled American voters claiming to know little or nothing about Mormonism, another 32 percent rejecting Mormonism as a Christian faith, a whopping 42 percent saying they would feel ―somewhat or very uncomfortable‖ with a Mormon president, and a widespread sense that the religion is a cult, the issue is clearly more complicated than religious bigotry alone. Judging from poll results, Americans seem less prejudiced against a candidate‘s faith than concerned about the unknown, apprehensive about any kind of fanaticism, and generally uneasy about a religion that is neither mainstream Judaic nor Christian. Just as the Christian fundamentalism of former GOP candidates Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry informed their political ideology — and was therefore considered fair gamein the national dialogue — so too does Mormonism define not only Mitt Romney‘s character, but what kind of president he would be and what impulses would drive him in both domestic and foreign policy. Romney‘s religion is not a sideline, but a crucial element in understanding the man, the mission and the candidacy. He is the quintessential Mormon who embodies all of the basic elements of the homegrown American religion that is among the fastest growing religions in the world. Like his father before him, Romney has charted a course from missionary to businessman, from church bishop to politician — and to presidential candidate. The influence that Mormonism has had on him has dominated every step of the way. The seeds of Romney‘s unique brand of conservatism, often regarded with intense suspicion by most non-Mormon conservatives, were sown in the secretive, acquisitive, patriarchal, authoritarian religious empire run by ―quorums‖ of men under an umbrella consortium called the General Authorities. A creed unlike any other in the United States, from its inception Mormonism encouraged material prosperity and abundance as a measure of holy worth, and its strict system of tithing 10 percent of individual wealth has made the church one of the world‘s richest institutions. A multibillion-dollar business empire that includes agribusiness, mining, insurance, electronic and print media, manufacturing, movie production, commercial real estate, defense contracting, retail stores and banking, the Mormon church has unprecedented economic and political power. Despite a solemn stricture against any act or tolerance of gambling, Mormons have been heavily invested and exceptionally influential in the Nevada gaming industry since the great expansion of modern Las Vegas in the 1950s. Valued for their unquestioning loyalty

to authority as well as general sobriety — they are prohibited from imbibing in alcohol, tobacco or coffee — Mormons have long been recruited into top positions in government agencies and multinational corporations. They are prominent in such institutions as the CIA, FBI and the national nuclear weapons laboratories, giving the church a sphere of influence unlike any other American religion in the top echelons of government. Romney, like his father before him who voluntarily tithed an unparalleled 19 percent of his personal fortune, is among the church‘s wealthiest members. And like his father, grandfather and greatgrandfathers before him, Mitt Romney was groomed for a prominent position in the church, which he manifested first as a missionary, then as a bishop, and then as a stake president, becoming the highestranking Mormon leader in Boston — the equivalent of a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Called a ―militant millennial movement‖ by renowned Mormon historian David L. Bigler, Mormonism‘s founding theology was based upon a literal takeover of the U.S. government. In light of the theology and divine prophecies of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, unamended by the LDS hierarchy, it would seem that the office of the American presidency is the ultimate ecclesiastical position to which a Mormon leader might aspire. So it is not the LDS cosmology that is relevant to Romney‘s candidacy, but whether devout 21stcentury Mormons like Romney believe that the American presidency is also a theological position. Since his first campaign in 2008, Romney has attempted to keep debate about his religion out of the political discourse. The issue is not whether there is a religious test for political office; the Constitution prohibits it. Instead, the question is whether, past all of the flip-flops on virtually every policy, he has an underlying religious conception of the presidency and the American government. At the recent GOP presidential debate in Florida, Romney professed that the Declaration of Independence is a theological document, not specific to the rebellious 13 colonies, but establishing a covenant ―between God and man.‖ Which would suggest that Mitt Romney views the American presidency as a theological office. eoa

THE HARBINGER 35: The First Horse?  

Thoughts on Matt 24, Rev 6 and the White Horse By Luke