We have traced how during its early centuries, the faith handed down by Christ and his disciples compromised and gave way to a new hybrid religion. Pagan ceremonies were adapted to accommodate the throngs of former pagans that were now entering the Church.[i] At the dawn of the 4th century Christianity was factionalized as false teaching divided the faithful. Under Constantine, Christianity was legitimized, unified and ultimately compromised. A new faith replaced it; one that offered the illusion of salvation in that it replaced repentance with ritual.[ii] A religion “having the form of godliness but denying its power.” (2Timothy 3:5)
THE WAY TO GOD
“I am the way…No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
Let us quickly review the progress of the Church in its early years. In the centuries before the coming of Messiah, – centered in the Middle East, – the pagan world had developed a system of worshiping a goddess figure portrayed as the mother of a god come from heaven. Judaism, and certainly early Christianity, – broke from this false, idol-worshipping religion. But as the Church welcomed throngs of sometimes forced converts, the Church, – now centered in Rome & Constantinople, – took on the trappings of the Babylonian Mystery Religion. Dr Joe Van Koevering explains that it all happened when “heathenism was grafted in.” It was but a natural outcome of this compromising Church policy.[iii]
By the early 4th century under Constantine, both the Church and Emperor were legitimately interested in the conversion of the pagan masses. Over time the feasts and festivals of paganism were adapted to Christian purposes. The goddess worship that had hung on since the days of Babylon was replaced by the worship of Mary. Influenced by that growing pagan influence, it was even before Constantine legalized Christianity, – that in some circles, – Mary began to be called “The Mother of God”. Still, even the Catholic Encyclopedia admits that there were no “clear traces of the cultus of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first Christian centuries”.[iv] It wasn’t until the Council of Ephesus in 431 that Mary was officially found to be the “mother of God”. Over time various Catholic saints began to ascribe to Mary the very attributes of God. St Germanus prayed to her, saying “who can be saved or redeemed but through thee.” St Bernhard wrote we could only approach the Father through Jesus; – and “Jesus Christ only through Mary.”[v]
This was standing Biblical doctrine on its head. It is Christ’s death that provides us access to the Father. Jesus assured us in John 6:37 that “the one who comes to me I will by no means cast out.” Even the New American Bible, – the official version of the Catholic Church in the US, – speaking of Jesus, states explicitly in Acts 4:12: “There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.” Yet writing in a book fully authorized by the Catholic Church, St Alphonsus de Liguori described Mary as “the salvation of the universe” and “Mediatrix between man and God,”[vi] Besides the very notion of ‘saints’ has also been corrupted. Any reading of the Book of Acts clearly shows that the term ‘saints’ referred to all those that had placed their faith in Jesus as Christ & Lord & Savior.
Over time, both the Western branch of the Church ruled from Rome, – and the Eastern, more loosely controlled from Constantinople, – developed a system of Marian veneration that rivaled and many would say surpassed the very worship of God himself. Liguori called her “God, as it were, of this world” and “holy, pure”. Yet Luke 18:19 reads: “‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone.’” Paul reinforced that doctrine in his letter to the Romans writing: “there is no one who does good, not even one”. (Romans 3:12) St Alphonses goes on to warrant that “The Son is under great obligation to Mary” and that she should be afforded a “glory equal to God”. Four hundred pages or so into his book, Liguori effusively spills out with the declaration that this “Divine Mother can be called the Savior of the World”, a term reserved for God alone.[vii] Yet it was Mary herself who declared her own need for a Savior. As she celebrated God’s favoring her with the honor of being the mother of the Messiah, Mary declared: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47) Despite claims to the contrary; – that the “worship” of Mary and the Saints was of a different order, (Catholic Encyclopedia”[viii], one hymn declared of Mary “Queen art thou whom all things worship”.[ix] Yet the Bible consistently forbade such honoring of anyone other than God, with Christ Himself quoting Scripture to Satan when tempted in the wilderness: “You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.” (Luke 4:8 a quote of Deuteronomy 6:13)
Over ensuing centuries the glorification of Mary continued, with the Catholic Church discovering new traditions, even up to the present day. All of this was justified and made possible by the declaration of the Council of Trent in 1545, which declared Church Tradition, – as interpreted and enunciated by the Pope and Church Councils, – as having equal authority with the Holy Scriptures. With that in hand, Rome declared Mary to have been born ‘free from sin,’ (Immaculate Conception), in 1854. In 1950 she was proclaimed to have been ‘Assumed’ into heaven. And in 1965 she was named the Mother of the Church.[x] An Encyclical of Pope Pius XII in 1954 acknowledged her as “the Queen of every creature.”[xi]
Now Mary was said to have participated in the very act of Redemption itself. Here is how that is said to work. By this doctrine: Upon death, most mortals need to be purified of their sins in order to enter the presence of God. Hence: Purgatory; – where the soul is purified before entering heaven. Mary and the saints however, – are deemed to have excess merit – which goes into a ‘Treasury of Merit,’ – and you can have it applied to your time here on earth through indulgences.[xii] Now the whole notion of Purgatory was from the pagan cults and had its origin in Babylonian, Greek, Mithraic and Roman religion. Prayers for the dead were a heathen concept that snuck into the church about the same time as other pagan doctrines. This concept of post-mortal purification can be found even in religious belief’s around the world,- save Biblical Christianity. It first entered Judaic thought through Greek influence about the time of the Maccabees in the 2nd century BC.[xiii] It has links to “the system of Rome with the system of Tammuz or Zoroaster, the great God of the ancient fire-worshippers.”[xiv]
Unfortunately, for many of us brought up in that tradition, the doctrine is wholly unscriptural. Psalm 49:6-7 tells us: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” There are no second chances. “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) Christ’s work alone is sufficient for our salvation: “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” (Colossians 2:13) You see, none of this comes as a result of our own power. For it was “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5) And it was a one time thing; – “we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) Search the Gospels, the Book of Acts, the Epistles, Revelation and the entire New Testament, – and you will not find reference to this notion of purgatory or prayers for the dead.
Perhaps the full extent of this doctrinal detour can best be summed up by quoting again from the writings of St Alphonsus de Liguori. Taken at face value his words scream out ‘Blasphemy!’ As John MacArthur points out Queen has become the rival of the true King. Fulfilling the wishes of Semiramis, she has become to some, the very source of salvation. She has taken on the very attributes of God being all knowing, seeing and powerful.[xv] The official Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that it is through Mary that we are given the “gifts of eternal salvation”.[xvi] In 1997, Pope John Paul II attributed to her the “role of cooperator in redemption”.[xvii] As St Alphonsus puts it: “At the command of Mary all obey, – even God”.[xviii]
Thus we are left with a system where millions revere and love Mary to a greater degree than even the Father or The Son. She is prayed to, – and worshipped as if she were God. Significantly too, she is seen by many Catholic leaders as the force that will unite all religions under the banner of the Catholic Church. In his book, Crossing The Threshold, Pope John Paul II wrote: “If victory comes it will be brought by Mary. Christ will conquer through her”. The late Bishop Fulton Sheen predicted that the Islamic world would be converted “through the summoning of Muslims to a veneration of the Mother of God”.[xix] Muslims already honor Mary in the Koran. There it is; the connection between the revival of the Divine Feminine, Goddess Worship and Mary. One writer described her as the “connecting link” between all religions: A non-threatening figure that could unite all the religions of the world.
So, all of these forces are coming together under the banner of a Mary that was never presented by Scripture. Will she indeed be the uniting force that will bring about the creation of the One World Religion of Antichrist?
[i] Roger Foster, How Were Original Biblical Practices Replaced in Christianity, GN Magazine, April 2005
[ii] The Rise of Counterfeit Christianity, The Church Jesus Built, GN Magazine
[iii] Dr Joe Van Koevering, From a lecture entitled: The Pope, The Prophecy and The Promise, given at the International Prophecy Conference 2007
[iv] The Virgin Mary, Catholic Encyclopedia,
[v] Perry Stone, The Pope, The Eagle And The Iron Sickle, Voice of Evangelism, 2006, pgs 112-113
[vi] Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary, as quoted by John MacArthur, in a sermon series entitled: The Idolatry of Mary Worship
[vii] Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary, pgs 23, 402
[viii] Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Catholic Encyclopedia online
[ix] John MacArthur, in a sermon series entitled: The Idolatry of Mary Worship
[x] Loraine Boettner, Roman Catholocism, Reformed Publishing, 1962 pg 8, – as quoted by Tim F LaHaye, Revelation: Illustrated and Made Plain, 1973, pg 68
[xi] Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on proclaiming the Queenship Of Mary, 11 October 1954
[xii] John MacArthur, in a sermon series entitled: The Idolatry of Mary Worship
[xiii] Maccabees, Wikipedia
[xiv] Adapted from: Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, 1858
[xv] John MacArthur, in a sermon series entitled: The Idolatry of Mary Worship
[xvi] The New Catholic Chatechism, # 969
[xvii] Dr Joe Van Koevering, From a lecture entitled: The Pope, The Prophecy and The Promise, given at the International Prophecy Conference 2007
[xviii] Alphonsus de Liguori, The Glories of Mary, pg 566
[xix] Dr Joe Van Koevering, From a lecture entitled: The Pope, The Prophecy and The Promise, given at the International Prophecy Conference 2007