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Justinian's goal was to rebuild and reunite the Old Roman Empire.  The prophecy in Daniel 2:41 that decribes the great image as having ten toes made of iron mixed with clay symbolized the demise of the Western Empire.  The might of Justinian was symbolized by the iron.  The clay symbolized the riotous and unruly spirit of the ancieny barbarian tribes which included the Lombards, the Huns, the Franks, and eventually the Turks.  The fact that iron does not mix with clay is a poetic way of stating that the once glorious Roman Empire would never be successfully rebuilt.                               So what did happen?  In the 6th Century edicts were passed that protected the papacy from any spiritual competition.  As we've seen Dr. N. Summerhill and LaVerne Tucker pointed out that these edicts were made in 538.  In Daniel 7 we read that the spirit behind the victorious fourth horn:                       "...shall speak pompous words against the Most High,  shall persecute the saints of the Most High, And   shall intend to change times and law.  The saints  shall be given into his hand for a time, and times  and half a time." (v. 25)                   What is meant by a time, times, and half a time?  The word "time", in the context of Scripture, can be understood to mean one year.  "Times" would mean two years.  "Half a time" would mean half a year.  Therefore a time plus times plus half a time would equal three and a half years or 42 months.                               Next if we use the lunar calender of 30 days per month times 42 months, we now have 1260 days.                           The next step, I'm convinced, is that we are called to apply the biblical prophetic principle, found in Ezekiel 4:6, that one day is to equal one year.  When applying this principle we now find that 1260 days is to equal 1260 years.  If we add 1260 years to 538 we land on 1798.                                  Before we highlight the events of 1798, let us first look at some of the events that took place during that 1260 year period and see how the papacy had an impact on world history.                       *THE CRUSADES                       With all the recent clamor in the popular media concerning political correctness and so-called Islamophobia, there has been a renewed interest among westerners concerning the medieval Crusades.  This new interest is a blessing in that it has shed new light on a topic that has many myths and misunderstandings.  Were the Crusades just a papal landgrab for Jerusalem against the Muslims, or is there more to the story?  What has the liberal mass media missed concerning this controversial era?                                    Before we zero in on the Crusades themselves, we need to look at the important events before and after them.  Not long after Mohammed's death in 632, the Muslim hordes followed the example of their ruthless founder and started their own crusade.  They took over land.  In 638 Jerusalem was taken.  Shortly thereafter nearly every city mentioned in Acts fell under Muslim control.  Not only were the cities themselves taken over but many of the historic churches were desecrated and destroyed by the Muslim raiders.                                 The Muslims then spread their own terror campaign across North Africa in very little time.                 Their next target was Europe.  In the years that followed countries like Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia fell to Muslim armies coming up from North Africa.  Christians who lived in these areas had to submit to Muslim rule which seriously limited their religious freedom.  Christians has to pay a special tax, they could not build churches, and they could not read the Bible outloud in the hearing of a Muslim.                               Fortunately Muslim aggression was checked.  Charles Martel, the Duke of Francia and grandfather to Charlemeagne, won an important victory over the Muslim crusaders at the Battle of Tours in 732.  Over time the Muslims were driven out of their European strongholds and retreated to North Africa and the Middle East.                           By the end of the 11th Century Europe was concerned about another possible Muslim invasion from the Middle East.  Pope Urban II  commissioned the first of eight Crusades starting in 1095.  He made the promise that anyone who would fight in his Crusade would be guaranteed   a seat in Heaven.  Naturally brave men came from all over Europe  to fight for the pope and gain their seat in Heaven.                                  

After nearly 200 years of fighting, the Crusades ultimately failed.  The Muslims, with their convert-or-die religion, still controlled the Holy Land.  Furthermore they still had a jumping-off point for yet another future invasion of Europe.                             

In 1299 the Ottoman Empire under Ozman I was founded.  It would become the arsenal of Islam.  At its peak it would gain landholdings in places like Palestine, North Africa, Arabia, Persia, and southern Europe.  In 1396 the Ottomans conquered Nicopolis in what is today Bulgaria.  In 1453 they successfully took Constantinople  and massacred every Christian they could find.  In 1521 Belgrade was taken.                                 

Not being content with their bringing  much of the Balkan peninsula under Islamic fascism, the Ottomans set their eyes on their next target, Vienna.  In 1529 they layed siege to the city.  Thankfully because of the determination of brave European soldiers, bad weather, and the good grace of God, Vienna was saved.                           

In 1683 the Ottoman Muslims made a second attempt to take Vienna.  The Ottomans went on a fierce attack that almost succeeded.  When it appeared that all was lost the European soldiers still stood firm.  Next a cavalry charge led by the Polish General John Sobeiski and his numerous Polish hussars saved Vienna once again.  The losing Ottoman General Mustafa was re-called to Belgrade where he was executed for his failure to take the city.                         

The point here is that western governments did have an obligation to defend their citizens against a barbaric enemy.  Just like the Europeans in 1940 who took a stand against Nazi-ism, so did these Europeans take a stand against Islamic fascism.  Had Vienna fallen all Europe might have been overrun by Islam.                   

In regards to the Crusades their are two negative things that need to be said.                    

1.  It was wrong for the pope to promise a seat in Heaven to anyone who fought in the Crusades.  Salvation is not obtained by fighting in a Crusade.  It is obtained by child-like faith in Christ.  Think of all the Crusaders who lost their souls because they believed the papacy instead of the Word of God.  That is the real tragedy of the Crusades.                               

2.  Crusaders committed atrocities against Muslims in the name of Jesus.  Many Muslims today have nothing but contempt for Christianity because of the atrocities that were done in the name of Christ.  One of the worst examples occured on August 20, 1191 when England's warrior king, Richard I, executed between 2700 to 3000 Muslim prisoners in just one night only so that his army could move faster.  Historically this is known as the Massacre at Ayyadieh.                                

I want every Muslim to know that I loudly condemn atrocities like that one at Ayyadieh.  Today that would be considered a war crime.  Events like that make it harder to win Muslims to the true Gospel.                                        


There were two main inquisitions that gripped Europe.  The first was the Medieval Inquisition that was started by the popes in the 1200s.  Most "heretics" were punished only by fines, imprisonment, or house arrest.                         

The Medieval Inquisition brought with it the witch-hunts.  The worst time of torture and death for accused witches was between 1550 to 1650.  Historians call this period "The Burning Times".  According to historian Jenny Gibbons an estimated 40,000 people were put to death for charges of witchcraft.  It should be noted that most defendants were women and most accusers were men.  Many of the men were lowlifes who enjoyed acting out their sadistic pleasures against so-called "witches".                

The second was the Spanish Inquisition which was run by the Spanish kings.  It started slowly in the Spanish city of Seville in 1478.  The first "Holy Office" was set up by a little known friar named Tomas Toqueamada.  He was the first Grand Inquisitor.                              

The original purpose of the Spanish Inquisition was to convert Jews to the Catholic religion.  Far from being something that Mel Brooks and Hollywood would later sing and joke about, the Spanish Inquisition was a horrible travisty that claimed thousands of lives.  Victims were tortured with the rack and the boot until they either converted or died.  Note that Jesus said, "Come unto Me"(Matthew 11:28).  His ministry was voluntary.  He never used torture to gain any of His followers.                          

As time went on more and more Holy Offices began springing up around the country.  No one was safe from being accused of heresy or for not supporting the king's church.  Edgar Allen Poe's short story The Pit and the Pendulum depicts the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition.                                     

*THE COUNCIL OF TRENT (1545-1563)                              

The Council of Trent was established as a means of countering the spiritually liberating effects of Martin Luther's Protestant Reformation.                   

The Council stood for four ideals:                 

1.  To affirm traditional Catholic doctrine                

2.  To attack the beliefs of the reformers                

3.  To take back land gained by the Protestants               

4.  To spread the Catholic religion to other lands                          

Here is what we need to know about the Council of Trent.                        

A.  The Council rejected salvation by faith in Christ alone.                       

"If anyone saith that the justice received is not   preserved and else increased before God through   works, but the said works are merely fruits or signs  of Justification obtained but not the cause of the   increase thereof, let him be anathema."                

B.  The Council condemned anyone who rejected the Apocrypha.  The Apocrypha is a collection of Jewish writings written between 300 BC to 30 BC.  The books of the Apocrypha contain some history, folktales and false teachings.  It is composed of seven books.  They are Tobit. Judith, I Maccabees, II Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiaticus), and Barach.  The Council declared:                                  

"...if anyone receives not as sacred and canonical   the said books (of the Apocrypha) let him be ana-  thema."                       

This sounds like a serious matter.  Let us investigate the Apocrypha and its teachings with a discerning spirit.  For the Apocrypha to be divinely inspired (that is equal with the Bible in every way) its content would have to be perfect.  It would have to harmonize well with the rest of Scripture,  be free of contradictions, be free of inaccuracies (no matter how small) and  be free of false doctrine.  Does the Apocrypha contain any imperfections?  Let's open its pages and see.  All Apocrypha quotations will be taken from the New American Bible St. Joseph Edition, Catholic Book Publishing Co. NY,NY (1992).                             

1.  The Apocrypha teaches salvation by almsgiving.               

"Almsgiving frees one from death and keeps one    from going into the dark abode (Hell)"      (Tobit 4:10)                     

Almsgiving is a commendable act but it alone does not give use eternal life (Titus 3:5).                  

2.  The Apocrypha promotes the use of magic.  In Tobit there is a story where a young boy named Tobiah is told by an angel to cut open a fish and keep its gall, heart, and liver.  He asks his angel friend, what value are the fish's organs?  The angel answers, "...if you burn them so that the smoke surrounds a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon...the affliction will leave him completely and no demon will return to him again."              

Is the real cure for demonic possession some kind of bizarre magic potion?  Whenever Jesus performed an exorcism, He only had to use His own authority as the Son of God.  He gives that same authority to his elect (Luke 10:19).  The Book of Revelation alone condemns the use of magic and sorcery in three different verses: 9:21, 21:8, and 22:15.                                  

3.  The Apocrypha contains historical errors.                          

" the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, king of   the Assyrians."  (Judith 2:1)                 

Daniel 1:1 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar was the proud king of BABYLON.                     

4.  The Apocrypha promotes the false belief that the living can pay for the sins of the unsaved dead so that the unsaved dead can enter Heaven.                    

In 2 Maccabees 12 there is a story where Judas orders his men to pick up the dead bodies of their fellow fallen cohorts.  The soldiers gathered the bodies only to discover that under the tunics were amulets that honored the idol Jamnia.  Judas, knowing that his fallen soldiers had committed sin, asked God to forgive them:                

"...they prayed that the sinful deed might be    blotted out.", (v.42)                    

Furthermore Judas then took up a monitary collection of 2000 silver drachmas.  The collection was sent to Jerusalem and was meant as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of the dead soldiers.  This sacrifice was meant as a guarentee of their salvation.                              

"Thus he (Judas) made atonement for the dead that   they might be freed from this sin." (v.46)                

Roman Catholic theologians base the doctrine of purgatory on that story.  Since there are mortal sins and lesser sins, faithful Catholics upon death must undergo a final purging of all their venial (lesser) sins so that they will be fit for Heaven.                    

Nowhere in the Bible is purging of lesser sins in some middle state taught.                    

"If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to   forgive us our sins and cleanse us from ALL un-   righteousness."  (I John 1:9)                  

The living cannot pay for the sins of the dead.  In Dueteronomy 24:16 we read that each person is responsible for his/her own sins.  Paying the church to say a bunch of prayers on behalf of your unsaved late aunt Millie will ultimately do nothing.                    

Yet the Roman Catholic Church declares:                           

"All who die in God's grace but still imperfectly  purified are indeed assured of eternal salvation by  after death undergoing purification so as to achieve  the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven."  (1030)                       

Believe it or not the notion of Purgatory is older than the Catholic Church. People groups even before the time of Christ believed that the dead go to a middle state before they enter Heaven.  According to Alexander Hissop, author of the book The Two Babylons, ancient civilizations like Greece, Rome, Egypt, and even ancient India had their own versions of Purgatory.  The Greek philosopher Plato and the Roman poet Virgil wrote of the dead going to a middle state.  The Romans had their Feast of Purification known as "Sacrum Purgatorium".  In these ancient cultures pagan priests made burdensome demands on the surviving family.  Ceremonies for the dead and expensive soul offerings were required                             

Hislop writes:                                 

"...the whole doctrine of Purgatory is a system of   plain pagan imposture, dishonoring God, atoning it  after death, and cheating them (the surviving    family) out of their property and their salvation."              

Not surprisingly the enemy did what he could to push the belief of Purgatory into the minds of professing Christians  The earliest reference of Purgatory within the Catholic Church are these words from Pope Gregory I: (590-604)                        

"Each one will be presented to the Judge exactly  as he was when he departed this life.  Yet there   must be a cleansing fire before judgment because of  minor faults that remain to be purged away."               

Purgatory became an offical teaching of the Catholic Church by the Council of Florence in 1439.                 

What does the Bible say about Purgatory?  Is there a middle state where we can work-off or burn-off our venial or lesser sins?                      

Absolutely not.                     

"...the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us  from ALL sin." (I John 1:7)                   

All sin means all sin.  If a person is a US citizen they have a legal right to live in the US even if they make a large or small mistake while living here. If a person is truly saved then they have a spiritual right to live in Heaven even if they make mistakes.  All their sins are forgiven.  No further purging is necessary.  In Luke 23:43 when the repentant thief on the cross asked Jesus for salvation, Jesus said that today you will be with me in Paradise; not, "After you spend several years in Purgatory you some day will be with Me in Paradise."                          

Purgatory is not found in the Bible.  Purgatory dishonors God.  It basically says that the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross is not good enough to get His elect into Heaven.  In reality once we pass death's door,  we pass it either totally saved or totally unsaved.                

"He who has the Son has life, he who has not the   Son has no life."  (I John 5:12)                                         

What are some of the things we need to remember about the Apocrypha?                     - Nowhere in the New Testament is the Apocrypha ever quoted                                   

- The 1st Century Jews including Flavius Joseph only accepted 24 books of our Old Testament as being divinely inspired.  Not one of those books was an Apocrypha book.  (Note that some of those 24 books were divided into separate books.  Fifteen books came about this way.  That is how the Old Testament book count came to 39)                           

- The famed Catholic theologian St. Jerome, even though he translated the Apocrypha into Latin, did not believe that it was divinely inspired.                            

 -The Westminster Confession of 1643 did not accept the Apocrypha as being divinely inspired.                 

With all that said what then are we to believe concerning the Apocrypha?  The only credible conclusion is that the Apocrypha might make interesting reading of old Jewish folktales but it is no more divinely inspired than a high school history book.                               

C.  The Council of Trent rejected the position that the Bible alone was to be the final authority in a believer's life.  According to the Council the Holy Scriptures PLUS the Apocrypha, church councils, traditions, and the infallible decrees spoken by the various popes were to be the final authority.                          

Here's an example.  The Council of Florence declared that Purgatory would become an offical teaching of the church.  About a century later a problem arose.  When the Reformation sprang up in 1517 and Martin Luther translated the Bible from Latin to German, the common people were then able to read the Bible on their own.  They soon discovered that Purgatory was a hoax.  It had no biblical foundation.                    

The Council of Trent had to make a quick PR move.  They had to proclaim that the Bible was not complete without the "divinely inspired" Apocrypha.  This was important because the Apocrypha contained 2 Maccabees 12:46 which as we've seen is a passage that promotes the false doctrine of Purgatory.  As long as they could quote that passage as "from the Bible" then they could convince the people that Purgatory was real.  They had to add to God's perfect and complete Word in order to sell a false doctrine.                                   

How should we respond?  God's Word contains 66 books.  Nothing is to be added or subtracted.  The 1st Century Jews knew that God's Word was to be carefully handled (Deut. 12:32 and Proverbs 30: 5 and 6).                           

In the New Testament in the last chapter of Revelation we read:                                 

"If any man shall add unto those things, God shall   add unto him  the plagues  that are written in this  book; and if any man shall take away from the words   of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away   his part in the Book of Life..." (Rev. 22:18 and 19)              

God takes attacks on His perfect and complete Word seriously.  The Bible exists not only for our instruction and inspiration but also for our protection.  Every teaching is to be examined in light of the Bible.  This is how we can spot error.  If a teaching does not agree with the Bible, throw the teaching away.                            

- The Bible is complete.  There is no need to add to it.             

- The Bible is perfect.  There is no need to improve it.             

-  The Bible is eternal.  It will always be relevant.                       

-  The Bible is unchanging.  Man's opinions can change like the weather.  The Bible never changes.   

-  The Bible is authoritative.  Therefore the Word establishes the church.  The church does not establish the Word.                                              

There were other pronouncements but the Council of Trent's main purpose was to counter the soul-winning efforts of people like Luther and Calvin.                                        

*THE THIRTY YEARS WAR (1618-1648)                  

In 1618 the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II wanted to impose Catholicism on all of his citizens.  The Protestants were a growing minority and they threatened the power and wealth of the Vatican.  In 1618 the arch-bishop of Prague  desecrated a Protestant church.  The incident sparked a Protestant revolt and soon the war was on.                       

Ferdinand II called upon Albrecht Wallenstein to lead the Imperial army against the Protestants. The Imperial army enjoyed much success.  By 1628 the Protestant cause was almost totally wiped-out.               

In 1629 the emperor passed the Edict of Restitution making Catholicism the only legal religion.  It was a dark time for the Protestants.  Then came 1630 when the emperor made a huge mistake.  Ferdinand pushed his army against Saxony, a Swedish ally.                              

This act of aggression brought Sweden into the war on the side of the Protestants.  Sweden at the time had an excellent land army that was led by a very gifted and courageous leader, Gustavus Adolphus II.                 

Sweden's entry into the war became the "D-Day" of the Thirty Years War.  In the following two years the Swedes turned the tide of the war.  Unfortunately Gustavus was mortally wounded at the Battle of Lutzen in 1632.  In spite of his death the Swedes still won the day and pushed Wallenstein and his Holy Romans out of many of the Protestant lands.  Protestantism in central Europe was given a new lease on life.                              

It should be noted that as time went on the war morphed from a religious war into more of a political war.  The clash was between the countries that supported the Spanish and Austrian Hapsburgs against those countries that didn't.  This explains why the war lasted 30 years.                                   

The war ended in a negotiated peace with the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.  Sweden was the biggest winner when she was granted control of the Baltic region.  The biggest losers were the German people.  After 30 years of warfare the German population and German countryside were left devastated.                                  

*ILL GOTTEN GAINS                     

Not only did the medieval Catholic Church pursue land, it also pursued wealth - enormous wealth.  How was that done?                                  

1.  Purgatory                      

The Purgatory Fund was one such method.  We've already learned that Rome put a strong emphasis on the importance of the Apocrypha mainly because it taught the idea of a Purgatory and there was money to be made from this teaching. The church would offer to say prayers or hold a Mass in order to lessen a newly departed soul's stay in Purgatory.  Of course the surviving family was expected to pay the church for all these blessings.                          

2.  Indulgences                     

The sale of indulgences was also used.  The church would sell indulgences to anyone willing to pay for them.  How does it work?  Think of buying an indulgence as like paying a fine, only in reverse.                   

In our time when a driver is caught speeding, an officer writes up a ticket and the driver pays a fine.  An indulgence purchase is the same thing only in reverse.  By paying the church a fee that person was now free to indulge in the venial (lesser) sin of his choice.  The money paid to the church was meant to cover the penalty for that venial sin meaning less time in Purgatory.                          

What does the Bible say about sin?                 

"The soul that sins shall surely die." (Ezekiel 18:4)                                   

Note that there is no distinction in the Bible between mortal sin and venial sin.  All sin is mortal.                         

"Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart   from iniquity." (2Timothy 2:19)                  

In Acts 4:31 we read about one of the very first Sunday morning church services ever recorded.  Can any of us imagine Pastor Peter standing at the pulpit and asking those present, "Would anyone here care to purchase an indulgence for the sake of our treasury?"?                            

No!  Instead we read:                    

"...they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and   they spoke the Word of God with boldness."                            

3.  The sale of fake relics                   

A relic is a tangible piece of history.  My dad was a coin collector.  He knew that old and rare coins could be worth a lot of money.  One coin that was in his collection was an 1893S Mercury silver dollar, which had it been in mint condition could have been worth several hundred dollars.                                 

True relics can be valuable.  Fake relics are worthless.  Yet Catholic Church officials during the Middle Ages did what they could to gain money by selling fake relics to a gullible public.                   

One common instance would be when a church official would hold up a chicken feather and say,  "Oh if you pay the church __ you can be the proud owner of this feather that came off of a wing of one of Heaven's angels!"               

One humorous example of a fake relic that people had to pay the church to see occured in France.  Two Catholic Churches at the same time both claimed to have the original skull of John the Baptist.                                         

Yes I realize that today's Catholics do not engage in this type of chicanery.  But during the time of the first beast (538-1798) this kind of corruption did exist in the Roman Catholic Church.                              

Our spiritual enemy, the devil, knows how to trick and manipulate people.  He knows not to put old wine into new wineskins.  Put another way, he knows not to use tricks from the past against educated people of the present.  Today the devil's main trick is spiritual deception.  This deception will come in the forms of false miracles, false tongues, signs and wonders, and unity without truth.  More about spiritual deception will be addressed in Chapter 13.                                

What are some of the characteristics that Revelation 13 gives to the first beast?                   

1. Blasphemies                      

"Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God,   to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle and those who  dwell in Heaven." (v.6)                    

Pope Boniface III once said:                   

"...As vicar of Christ...what more can you make of  me but God."                                  

John Wycliffe was a devoted Christian who lived in 14th Century England.  Around 1380 he translated the Bible into his native English for the common people.  Just four years later he died.                              

Was John canonized as a saint by the pope?  Absolutely not!  Years after his death the papacy ordered his grave to be publicly desecrated.  His bones were dug up and burned.  Then his ashes from his remains were thoughtlessly tossed in a nearby river.  Clearly the beast was at the time blaspheming someone who now dwells in Heaven.                                  

2.  Persecutions                     

"And it was granted to him to make war with the   saints and overcome them." (v.7)                  

We have already covered the two Inquisitions that occured in Europe.  Anyone who opposed the established church or any of its teachings was labeled as a heretic.  Even professing Catholics who publicly dared to criticiize the actions of the established church weren't safe from papal persecution.                              

Along with Spain another country that majored in persecution of non-Catholics was France.  One of the worst single events of persecution came on August 24, 1572.  On that day papists massacred several thousand French Protestants called "Huguenots".                             

Death was seen most everywhere in the French countryside. The rivers became bloodied, and it was said that wolves would come down from the hills to feast upon the dead bodies.  Historically this event is known as the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre.                   

Years later King Henry IV passed the Edict of Nantes in 1598 which gave the Huguenots equal protection under the law.  However for the king, no good deed goes unpunished.  For his good will toward the Huguenots, Henry IV, even though he was a Catholic, became a marked man.  In 1610 he was assassinated by a Jesuit priest.                                      

He was succeded by Louis XIII who was later succeded by Louis XIV.  In 1685 Louis XIV passed the Edict of Fontainebleau which nullified the Edict of Nantes.  Once again the Huguenots were in the Vatican's crosshairs.  They had to either convert or leave the country.                          

Louis XIV's reign lasted 72 years.  During that time many of France's best and brightest citizens left the country.                                                

In 16th Century England John Foxe chronicled the deaths of so many people who had given their lives to Christ and were killed in His service..  His book Foxe's Book of Martyrs has become a timeless Christian classic.              

Foxe's book records martyrdom going all the way back to the 1st Century.  But much of the latter portion of his book focuses on England during the 1550s.  At that time Queen Mary I made Catholicism England's only legal religion.  Because of the horrible treatment of the Anglican Protestants during her reign she was given the name "Bloody Mary".  Even John Foxe himself was later forced to leave his native England because of all that he wrote concerning the Catholic persecution of Protestants in his homeland.                                

Three of the many Christians that perished during the time of Mary I were the "Oxford Martyrs".  They were Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer.  In Oxford, England there is a memorial to the Oxford Martyrs.  The memorial bears the inscription:                           

"To the Glory of God and in grateful commemoration   of his servants Thomas Cranmer, Nicholas Ridley, and  Hugh Latimer, Prelates of the Church of England, who  near this spot yielded their bodies to be burned,  bearing witness to the sacred truths which they had  affirmed and maintained against the errors of the  Church of Rome and rejoicing that it was given not   only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for  His sake."                      

Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley were both executed on October 16, 1555.  Thomas Cranmer was executed the following March.                                 

The story of Thomas Cranmer is a marvelous story of God's grace that needs to be shared.                  

Born in 1489 Cranmer would later go on to attend Cambridge University.  As the years past he would become the Anglican Arch-bishop of Canterbury.  But Cranmer as a believer was a weak-willed compromiser especially when it came to his boss, the king, who at the time was Henry VIII.  Whenever Henry wanted a divorce, Arch-bishop Cranmer was willing to grant his wish.  Afterall nobody in England ever said "No" to Henry.                             

Henry VIII died in 1547 and was succeeded by his sickly son Edward, who became Edward VI.  In 1553  Edward died at a young age.                               

After an ill-fated attempt to make Lady Jane Grey queen, Mary, Edward's half-sister, wanted to be the next reigning sovereign.  With the backing of the Catholic Spanish monarchy, Mary was able to become queen.  Once in power she quickly came after the Protestants with a vengence.  One of her targets was Thomas Cranmer.  Not only was he a Protestant but he was also quick to okay Henry's divorce from his first wife Catherine, Mary's mother.                                  

Cranmer was later imprisoned where he was badgered to convert to the queen's church by the devious Dr. Pole.  After unrelenting abuse Cranmer reluctantly took his right hand and agreed to sign a letter stating that he accepted Catholicism and rejected the views of the reformers.  Dr. Pole had the letter published so that all of London would know about Cranmer's conversion.  Still many people were skeptical.  Some reasoned that the letter and signature could be a forgery.                            

Dr. Pole had an idea.  This coming Sunday at St. Mary's Catholic Church he would bring Cranmer to the pulpit where he would announce to the congregation of his change of faith.  This would erase any doubts about where Cranmer stood concerning the queen's church.                

Sunday morning March 21, 1556 came and St. Mary's Church was packed with joyous Catholics and grieving Protestants.  Dr. Pole came to the pulpit and said that if anyone present doubted the conversion of Thomas Cranmer, then let all of us hear, right now, from the man himself.                                  

While still wearing his tattered prison clothes, Cranmer walked to the pulpit, prayed, and spoke at length about his unworthiness to have God's grace.  But as he was speaking, he mentioned a particular grevious sin that was vexing his soul.  He had no spiritual peace because of this one sin.  The sin was his false confession of faith in Catholicism that he then and there flatly RENOUNCED.  His next words were:                              

"And as for the pope, I refuse him as Christ's enemy  and the Anti-christ with all his false doctrines."              

The congregation gasped.  Dr. Pole jumped to his feet and shouted, "Stop the mouth of the heretic!"  Cranmer was dragged from the pulpit by a bunch of angry friars.  Some urged him to recant.  Others cursed him.  He was then taken behind the church, chained to a stake, and burned.                                 

Thomas Cranmer died for his faith in Christ on that spring day.  But not after delivering an embarrassing blow  to Queen Mary's church.                              

I want every reader to know that I do not blame today's Catholics for the atrocities of the past.  What happened in the past is over.  Let's learn from the past and move on.  Also some people might say, "But a lot has changed.  John Foxe and Thomas Cranmer lived in a different time and place.  The Catholic Church doesn't burn people alive anymore.  It is just as Christian as any other church."                                 

On pages 104 and 105 of his 1996 book The Church Subtly Deceived (Olive Press), Austrian-born evangelist and author Alexander Seibel writes:                  

"Many Bible scholars see in the Roman Catholic    Church a system which has definate parallels to the  Babylonian cult.                     

"It is differentiate between the doc-  trine and the person.  There are Catholics who no   doubt fear God.  The above statement does not mean  that there are no re-born believers in the Catholic  church.  However the Roman church, as a system, is  definately unbiblical."                    

Is the Roman Catholic Church unbiblical?  An excellent web-site to visit concerning that question is  This web-site was started by Mike Gendron, a former Catholic who wants to share the Gospel with them out of love for their souls.

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