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   Why is it, my friends, that most of us today have been born into a world that believes, and we've grown up believing, doctrines diametrically contrary to those of the Bible? Diametrically contrary, believe it or not, to that which Jesus Christ preached. And that we are practicing customs, and observing things, that we believe are Christian customs, that are condemned in your Bible. That were never observed by Christ, the apostles, or the early true Church that Jesus had built, and that was started out by the Holy Spirit.
   Now we got off the track a long, long, long time ago. Not in our lifetime, but it's a matter now of almost ancient history. And we've been looking into the history to see how it happened. Now this is authentic history. This is not imagination. You can check up on this. You can go to the encyclopedias, you can go to the histories, you can go to your public libraries and get the books that will show you what happened. It is amazing!

The Early Church Kept the Law of Moses

   Now we have seen that, as the Church started out, that they didn't do away with all of the Law of Moses at all; that was the Gentiles as well as the Jews. And I've been giving you Gibbon's history: 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' by Gibbon {1}, which is the most authentic history of the time. And I was reading to you, in his chapter on what happened to Christianity, how he said:
   "The attachment to the Law of Moses was equal [no, 'Their' attachment, of the early Christians, was equal] to their detestation of foreign religions. The current of zeal and devotion, as it was contracted into a narrow channel, ran with a strength, and sometimes the fury, of a torrent.
   This inflexible perseverance which appeared so odious, or so ridiculous, to the ancient world [that was to the pagans, of course], assumes a more awful character, since Providence has deigned to reveal to us the mysterious history of the chosen people." ('The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', Volume II, Chapter XV: Progress of the Christian Religion)
   And then we saw how he said that:
   "...Christianity offered itself to the world, armed with the strength of the Mosaic Law, but delivered from the weight of its fetters." ('The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', Volume II, Chapter XV: Progress of the Christian Religion)
   In other words, they didn't practice animal sacrifices. Christ had come as the Lamb of God and had given Himself in sacrifice once and for all. The animal sacrifices were ended in Christ. They had all been a substitute for Him; "It was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats [as you read in the New Testament] to take away sin." (Hebrews 10:4 paraphrased). And so, now, there was no more sacrifice, it was only a substitute.
   Then again the rituals of the Law of Moses, those Church rituals, the Old Testament Church was a flesh-born church, and they had many rituals because they did not, believe it or not, they did not have salvation. In the Old Testament Church, back in the days of Moses, there was no promise of salvation. They were not given the gospel to proclaim to the world at all. And they had nothing to do with other nations. They were not offered the Holy Spirit.
   And yet God's Law is a spiritual law. And they were given the Ten Commandments which is a spiritual law. Well in the first place it was impossible for them to really keep that spiritual law according to its spirit. That is according to the real obvious principles involved. But it was possible for them to keep it literally according to the letter.
   And so in order to help them to do that, which was the only thing possible, God gave them rituals. There were different washings, and carnal ordinances, and various ceremonies, meat and drink offerings, and washings, and all that sort of thing, and the burning of candles, and one thing and another, as a constant round of rituals; and it was hard work. It was so difficult the ministry, the Levites, was employed continually in that labor. It was a matter of physical labor and that is what the apostle Paul calls; "...the works of the law..." (Romans 9:32). It comes from the Greek word 'ergon,' [Strong's 2041] which means physical labor, hard manual work, or labor.
   Now of course, since the Holy Spirit came they didn't need that substitute any longer. So the early Church did not observe those rituals of Moses or the sacrifices. But there was much in the Law of Moses that they did continue, and the apostle Paul did continue, if you've ever read the book of Acts. And that the apostle Paul taught to the Gentile converts, believe it or not.
   So we have read here in Gibbon's history the divine authority of Moses and the prophets was admitted, and even established, as the firmest basis of Christianity. That, my friends, was the truth of the Church as it started out. That was the Church Jesus said He would build. That was the Church that Jesus did build. Now I've read to you also how:
   "The first fifteen bishops of Jerusalem were all circumcised Jews; and the congregation over which they presided, [were] united in the law of Moses [and]... the doctrine of Christ... [And how] The distant Churches [Gentile Churches that the apostle Paul had raised up] very frequently appealed to the authority of [the Church at Jerusalem]," ('The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', Volume II, Chapter XV: Progress of the Christian Religion)
   As you find on the bottom of page 386 {2}, in Gibbon's history; and so that Church was regarded as the authority.

Troubles in the Early Church

   However when the persecution came, the real persecution after 69 AD, and they were forced to flee. As Jesus had said that:
   "When you see Jerusalem encompassed and surrounded by armies, let him which be in Judaea flee to the mountains: And he which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:" (Matthew 24:15-17 paraphrased)
   And so on. Now that applied literally and specifically to the period of 69 AD when the Roman armies surrounded Jerusalem. And for some reason the General was called back and he never did come down and invade Jerusalem that year. But the next year under General Titus, another General, they did come. But in the meantime the Christians had fled, as Jesus said. Now also that prophecy in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, about fleeing when you see Jerusalem compassed with armies, that was only a type of the still greater meaning of fleeing in our time, when it is to happen again. So it still is a prophecy for us today.
   There is a duality in the prophecies of God that very few people seem to understand. And you cannot understand prophecy unless you understand that principle of duality, and the fact that the real prophecy pertains to our time. But it did pertain to that time, too. And they heeded that prophecy. And they were called 'Nazarenes' at first. And then, let me see, I believe later they were called 'Ebionites,' were they not? They were Nazarenes at first as called that by the world. They didn't call themselves by that name.
   Now as things went along, and the prejudices between the Jews and the Gentiles in the Church mounted. And the jealousies between them and the Gentiles came to the place they didn't want anything to do with anything the Jews did. Well the Jews, the Jewish Christians, were maintaining the strict Christian religion as Christ had brought it, as the apostle Paul had taught it, as Peter and the other apostles had taught it. And so the Gentile converts coming in gradually began to bring a lot of their pagan doctrines and their pagan customs along. And because of prejudice against the Jewish brethren in the Church, they wanted nothing to do with some of these Jewish beliefs and practices, as they called them. And so the things that were God's practices, that were God's commands, they began to call 'Jewish.' And some people seem to hate Jews today and anything that's Jewish.
   Well I just want to go on record again as saying that I certainly don't; I love the Jewish people. God loves the Jewish people and I think we'd all better begin to love them as well as a lot of other people. We should love all people; we shouldn't hate anybody as a matter of fact. So anyway there was that hatred at that time.

Pagan Holidays and Pagan Practices Creep In

   Now as we come along through these years, and as we come along for 50 and a 100 years after Christ, and when the Gentiles were dominating. And there were so many more of those in the Church than Jews, perhaps by this time outnumbering the Jews at least nine to one or more.
   We read; and I think I gave this to you in the preceding program, I want to review it real quickly. How the religion of the pagans had been interwoven with the various phases of civilization in their government, and in their public school exercises. Well it is today! My friends, your children, when they go to school today, are called upon to participate in preparing for Christmas, and Christmas exercises. And then for Easter, and for Valentine's Day, and you know, they make them give Valentines one to another.
   Incidentally, I remember when I was a boy in about the sixth grade, I think it must have been, I was just a youngster. I was right in the age when I believe a boy is happiest; but sometimes he's meanest about that age, right around 11 or 12. This was when I was age 11 as near as I can remember. And we had a teacher we didn't like and we got one of these comic Valentines, oh the most terrible, homely, old scrawny-faced old maid that you could possibly imagine. About something like Al Capp might draw, and oh, but it was homely! And we got that and marked our teacher's name on it. And we had it sent up to her and she was quite angry. But she never did know just who sent it. Well that was a dirty trick. But I was a little boy that needed a good hard spanking. And I don't think my parents knew that I did it, or I probably would have gotten it. I deserved it.
   Well that was the way we observed Valentine Day, and again all these other things, you know, Halloween, and one thing and another. These things become part of the school curriculum, even though they are public schools, they're not allowed to teach the Bible. They're not allowed to even read the Bible, because they might read it the way their particular denomination has it, and we have freedom of worship here in the United States.
   And I'll tell you right now, my friends, the responsibility's on you, you who are parents, to teach your own children, in your own homes. And I guess that's better than to have it taught in the way it might be taught; because so many of us would have it taught our children, in a way we don't want our children taught, wouldn't we? Because here we are in a Babylon of confusion of different religious ideas. And it might be that the teacher wouldn't believe in our particular brand of Christianity, so we wouldn't want her to teach our children, would we now? Just think of the kind of a world we've gotten into.
   And yet there are some things that we all seem to believe that are Christianity, and a lot of customs have come down to us, and we have never stopped to inquire why. Alright, that's why I'm going into this history to show you. Now listen: here's one of the things that began to put pagan customs into what we call Christianity. Listen:
   "The religion of the nations [this is on page 392, {3} Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', and you can get it in any library. The religion of the nations] was not merely a speculative doctrine professed in the schools or preached in the temples. The innumerable deities and the rites of polytheism [that is the pagan world and idolatry] were closely interwoven with every circumstance of business or pleasure, of public, or of private life; and it seemed impossible to escape the observance of them, without, at the same time, renouncing the commerce of mankind and all the offices and amusements of society." (Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', Volume II, chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   In other words you couldn't indulge in any of the pleasures of society; you couldn't indulge in business. And you were forced to indulge in certain, well, rites and functions that the government imposed. And you couldn't even do that without practicing paganism and following customs of pagan deities and idol worship. It was just literally forced on Christians.

The Propaganda of Media

   You know that there was a picture showing how the Christians who wouldn't do these things, in the time of Nero, were fed to the lions. Of course there were some things in the movie, my friends, that are not quite straight in your Bible. You know that there is a subtle little way of getting propaganda over to the people?
   Now the whole world is deceived according to your Bible. And one of the instrumentalities that can either educate us in truth, or deceive us in untruth, is the medium of the movie, or television, either one. Because there you have a picture that you see with your eye, and you hear the words spoken with the ear. And when you're reaching people both through the ear and the eye at the same time, it's not only entertaining, it's not only amusing, but I tell you, you can get subtle ideas into the minds of people that way every time. That's why it is so effective.
   Now you go and see a movie that is a religious movie, in these times right after Christ, usually built around the city of Rome. And you sit there and you see these pictures, and you're being amused and entertained, and they work on your feelings. They stir up your passions, of hatred, and of jealousy, and of indignation, and then of love, and of this and that, and the other thing. And the music is playing too, soothingly, and here's all the dramatic ability of the actors and the actresses, and it's very beautiful in modern Technicolor. And you sit there, of course, all relaxed being entertained, enjoying it, just enjoying every second. And sometimes you don't stop to check to see whether the things they represent are true according to your Bible.
   Now here was a picture; it showed the apostle Paul, a man supposed to be the apostle Paul. He had long hair. Do you know the apostle Paul wrote, and was inspired to write by God Almighty that; "...even nature ought to teach you, it's a shame for a man to have long hair" (I Corinthians 11:14 paraphrased)? Do you think the apostle Paul wore long hair? Do you think Jesus Christ wore long hair when He inspired in His Word? He is the Word of God, the Bible is the written Word of God. And there it is inspired, certainly, by Jesus Christ to say; "...it is a shame for a man to have long hair" (I Corinthians 11:14 paraphrased). And yet how many pictures of Christ, how many statues supposed to be Christ, have you seen that pictured Him as sort of a sissy having long hair. My friends, that isn't the way Jesus looked! These men that made these pictures never saw Jesus; they don't know what He looked like.
   Let's stop and think a moment. Here was old King Jeroboam, way back there in the days of ancient Israel, and he was afraid that his people might go back to King Rehoboam. He had been put in Rehoboam's place, and the people had rejected Rehoboam as being king. So they wouldn't go to Jerusalem to worship, he set up the two golden calves, one in Dan and one in Bethel. He called the people of Israel. He said:
   "Hear O Israel; look here's God, this is what God looks like! This is the very God that brought you out of the house of bondage down there in Egypt!" (I Kings 12:28-29 paraphrased)
   God looks like a calf! He had two calves made. Well people didn't know what God looked like and they didn't know He looked like a man. They thought He looked like a calf. Today people dress up a bewhiskered, long-haired man and they say; "Look people, this is what your Christ looks like!" Is that so? Did you ever look in your Bible to see what Jesus Christ looked like, my friends?
   And then again they had Peter there. Now did Peter go to Rome? Jesus said:
   "...Go not into the way of the Gentiles... [to Peter, He said; You]...go....to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:5-6)
   I tell you, you need to find out who are the 'lost sheep of the House of Israel', and where were they at that time? After the Jews rejected him, he went himself to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And He commanded His apostles to go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And that's why the apostle Paul was raised up as a special apostle out of due season, sort of, as Paul explained it, to go to the Gentiles. Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul is the apostle who went to Rome.
   Then again, in the Bible, my friends, Jesus said; it's over in II Corinthians 6, I believe it is, where we are commanded:
   "[Not to be] unequally yoked together with unbelievers..." (II Corinthians 6:14)
   Now that certainly pertains to marriage among other things. And here in a movie you see a nice Christian girl, but here is a pagan man. And she's in love with a pagan man, and the apostle Paul is approving of her marrying this pagan, heathen man, and being unequally yoked together. And later they picture Peter actually performing the ceremony.
   Now again, when Peter baptized, he baptized with immersion. The word 'baptize' in Greek means; immersion, or dipped into, plunge into. It means 'induct', that's what it means, it doesn't mean sprinkle at all. And they pictured Peter baptizing people by sprinkling. And he wore long hair too, nice curly long hair, real bushy.
   You know I tell you, my friends, you need to check on these things. When you listen to preaching, go check your Bible whether it's true, whether it's according to the Word of God. And when you see a movie, or anything else that is supposed to be religious, you go check in your Bible. That's what the Bereans did, and God says:
   "Prove all things..." (I Thessalonians 5:21)
   He commands you to prove all things. Let's not be so gullible, let's not just swallow things hook, line, and sinker. Now I think the people that produce these things believe they're doing it right. Sure they're sincere. But you're living in a world that is so deceived, and a lot of people just don't have the truth of the Bible. So you'd better check in your Bible and see how it really was.

Christmas and New Year's Day

   Well here it was; all the important transactions of peace and war, back in those days in Rome, and when Rome controlled the world, this was all over the Western World. Prepared or concluded by solemn sacrifices, in which the magistrate, the senator, and the soldier, were obliged to preside or to participate. And the public had to participate in those things, or else. Now:
   "The dangerous temptations [we read on the next page {4}] which on every side lurked in ambush to surprise the unguarded believer assailed him with redoubled violence on the days of the solemn festivals. So artfully were they framed and disposed throughout the year, that superstition always wore the appearance of pleasure, and often of virtue. Some of the most sacred festivals in the Roman ritual [back in that old pagan Roman world, when Christianity was just getting its start, some of the most sacred festivals of the, I almost said; 'fake', I didn't mean to, but I think it would've been alright anyhow, we'll let that come out] of the Roman ritual were destined to salute the new calends of January with vows of public and private felicity, to indulge in pious remembrance of the dead and the living [pagan rites, now]...and to restore during the humane license of the Saturnalia, the primitive equality of mankind." (Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Volume II, Chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   In other words, Christmas observance, my friends, shocking though this may be it is true. The pagans were observing Christmas. They didn't call it by that name. They called it Saturnalia, and by other names in different nations. And they were observing that same observance. And they had their Christmas trees; and they put their presents on them. And they had the mother and child idea, and all those things, hundreds and hundreds of years before Christ, believe it or not.
   Now that's rather shocking, but it's true, and you can verify it in any encyclopedia. You can take the various religious encyclopedias; take the various Protestant encyclopedias, the Catholic encyclopedia. I presume, I don't know whether it's in the Jewish encyclopedia. I don't believe I've ever looked for it. We have it here, but we have all those encyclopedias, of course, here in the college. But nevertheless, if it's there it will give you the truth, and in any history. And you will see that they observed those things, and the pagans brought it along in, and finally they began to call it Christmas.
   If you want the truth on that write for our astonishing, eye-opening booklet on 'Christmas.' And if you would like to know the eye-opening, astounding truth about Christmas, and how that got into the so-called Christian religion, it did not come out of your Bible, my friends.
   Of course we think; it doesn't make any difference if we find these pagan ways, and the way the pagans worship their gods, of course, and worship our God that way. We think that ought to be alright, certainly, as long as we're worshiping God and not worshiping others. But God says that we are; "Not to look to the ways of the pagans to see how they worship their gods, [and try to worship Him that way. He says:] that is abomination to Me." (Deuteronomy 12:30-31 paraphrased).
   That's what God says, and He will not accept any such worship as that. And when we do it, my friends, we're disobeying God. And God deliberately commands us not to take the ways, the customs of the pagans, and go through those motions, and say; "Well," we'll say "but we're worshiping our God." We're not to worship our God in the way, in the manner, by the customs that the pagans have worshiped their gods or their idols.

Force Becomes Custom

   Now going on a little further here:
   "The trembling Christians who were persuaded in this instance to comply with the fashion of their country [they almost had to do it, they might have been put in jail] and the commands of the magistrate, laboured under the most gloomy apprehensions, from the reproaches of their own conscience, the censures of the church, and the denunciations of divine vengeance." (Gibbon's: 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Volume II, Chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   All of which they violated, but they were almost forced to, and gradually it became custom. That, my friends, is how a lot of these things wormed their way in. And back of it all the one who is not deceived, my friends, and the one who cunningly plotted every bit of this, is Satan the devil, the deceiver of the whole world. People have been deceived, yes. Now coming a little further, page 394 {5}of Gibbon's Rome:
   "The writings of Cicero represent[ed] in the most lively colours, the ignorance, the errors, and the uncertainty of the ancient philosophers, with regard to the immortality of the soul [now they, the pagans, all believed in the immortality of the soul, that was not the teaching of Christ; that was not the belief of Christ, or the apostles, it was not the teaching of the Bible, but they all believed in that. Alright let's continue],...the philosophers who trod in the footsteps of Plato deduced a very unjustifiable conclusion, since they asserted, not only the future immortality, but the past eternity, of the human soul [now they were believing this kind of thing]...The important [doctrine] of the immortality of the soul was inculcated with more diligence, as well as success, in India, in Assyria, in Egypt, and in Gaul... (Gibbon's: 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Volume II, Chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   In their heathen religions over there, and also in what we call Christianity. Now that again is not anything Jesus taught; that was not anything the early Church believed, it's something that came in. And here in this, I'm just reading a little piece of it here and there, if you could read all the fine print in between, you would see how that was inducted into a professing Christianity. Now let's come over here to page 397: {6}
   "In the primitive church...It was universally believed that the end of the world and the kingdom of [God] were at hand [they thought, and they did think, it was going to come immediately then]. The near approach of this wonderful event had been predicted by the apostles; the tradition of it was preserved by the earliest disciples, and those who understood...the discourses of Christ himself were obliged to expect the second and glorious coming of the Son of Man in the clouds...[Now] The ancient and popular doctrine of the Millennium was intimately connected with the second coming of Christ. As the works of creation had been finished in six days, their duration in this present state... was fixed to six thousand years...this long period...would be succeeded by a joyful Sabbath of a thousand years; and that Christ, with the triumphant band of saints and the elect who had escaped death, or who had been miraculously revived [that is resurrected], would reign upon earth till the time appointed for the last general resurrection." (Gibbon's: 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Volume II, Chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   That, my friends, is what history says the early Church believed, and I want to tell you that until about a hundred years ago that was not heard of, and has not been believed. And a great many people that profess to be Christian today don't believe it today.
   "But when the edifice of the Church was almost completed, the temporary support was laid aside. The doctrine of Christ's reign upon earth was at first treated as a profound allegory, was considered by degrees as a doubtful and useless opinion, and...at length [it was] rejected as an absurd invention of heresy, and fanaticism." (Gibbon's: 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,' Volume II, Chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion)
   And that's the way they got the truth out of the Church. And that's the way the professing church of this world came to accept, and to swallow hook, line, and sinker, pagan doctrines and to call them Christian.
   I'm going to continue, and I hope, in the next broadcast to show you the history of the Church Jesus did build, where it is, where it went, and what happened to it. I've given you, now, the Church that you find in history. There's a lot more to it.
   Most people just seem to take for granted that Christmas is the chief of the Christian holidays. Well if it's a Christian institution you ought to find something about it in the Bible. That certainly is the textbook of Christianity. Do you know where you can find anything about Christmas in the Bible? Well the answer is, my friends, you can't; except you can find something about the Christmas tree, and that is so surprising it will, to use a proverbial expression; 'Knock you off the Christmas tree!' It will dumbfound you.
   My friends, if you're not afraid of being astonished you must write in for this booklet 'The Plain Truth About Christmas'. It'll open your eyes and there's no charge. Until tomorrow then, goodbye friends.
Footnote:
{1} All quotes from Gibbon's 'The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' are taken from Volumn II, chapter XV, Progress of the Christian Religion. Page numbers vary depending on the edition.
{2}: page 270 in the 1906 edition
{3}: page 280 in the 1906 edition
{4}: page 282 in the 1906 edition
{5}: page 284 in the 1906 edition
{6}: page 288 in the 1906 edition

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