The World Tomorrow Broadcast is the biggest religious work on radio. Millions hear it every night. Yet only a few hundred are converted through the broadcast each year! WHY? Yes, WHY, if this is God's Church, are so few being converted?
It is time we understand THE REAL PURPOSE of our preaching the gospel of the Kingdom to the world.
Let's recognize it. We are not converting the world. Christ's Message is being rejected by the overwhelming majority. The teachings of this world do seem more alluring to most people than God's truths. But that is exactly the reason why this gospel must go around the world!
It is the few — not the man — who were predestined to understand the truth in this age (I Cor. 1:26). They must be warned before it is too late! God holds us responsible for their learning His truth now!
To the world our message is going forth only "as a witness" (Mat. 24:14). The world cannot receive the truth (John 1:5). Jesus explained why, by saying: "Men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil" (John 3:19).
But the world does not believe that its deeds are evil! And no wonder — for the WHOLE WORLD has been deceived — and it does not know it! That is why people do not recognize truth when they hear it. They have been deceived without realizing it!
But how, when and where did this deception begin? How can we distinguish the basic difference between the churches of this world and our Church — the true Church of God which Jesus founded?
Universal Deception Foretold! The true Church of God, Jesus foretold, was to be persecuted and SCATTERED — just as it is today! Most of you brethren are scattered.
On the night in which Jesus was seized to be crucified, He said: "It is written, 'I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered"' (Mark 14:27). After He, the Shepherd, was smitten by crucifixion, the "sheep" — His CHURCH — were to become scattered. Notice Acts 8:1:
"And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church... and they were all scattered abroad...."
Jesus also warned His "sheep" — this Church, you who are in the Church of God today: "Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come IN MY NAME, saying 1 am Christ" — acknowledging that Jesus is the Christ — "and shall deceive many" (Mat. 24:4-5).
John the apostle witnessed this very deception shortly after 70 A.D.! Notice what he wrote:
"MANY false prophets [or preachers} are gone out into the world." They professed to be Christ's ministers, they came in the name of Christ; but they were anti-christs!
John continues to write: "They are of the world: therefore they speak of the world, AND THE WORLD HEARETH THEM. We are of God: who knoweth God heareth us; who is not of God' — whoever does not obey Him — "heareth us not" (I John 4:1, 5-6).
Do you grasp the meaning of these verses?
THE WORLD believed the many false ministers. The few listened to and believed the apostles of Christ. For example, compared to the hundreds of thousands of Gentiles and Jews at Ephesus, only 12 individuals were converted when Paul first started preaching (Acts 19:7). The world did not believe the apostles! The world accepted, instead, the FALSE PREACHERS who rose up in the Church. Notice:
"Even now have many antichrists arisen... They went out from us [they left the true Church of God], but were not of us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that not all are of us" (I John 2:18-19).
This is why there are so many denominations today!
John wrote of the same condition in II John 7: "For MANY DECEIVERS are gone forth into the world... Whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the teaching of Christ, hath not God."
Jude, in his letter, also bears witness to the same widespread deception: "For certain men have crept in secretly, who were of old written of beforehand" — it was prophesied that many would be deceived. "These are they who make separations" — they separated from the true Church of God (Jude 4, 19).
From that early apostasy have sprung a great Mother Church and her hundreds of daughter churches.
The Plot Develops Changes in doctrine do not sweep the world overnight. It takes time, often several generations, to obliterate the truth. In fact, it took nearly 1000 years before the last vestige of truth was wiped out!
Here is how the apostasy began:
"For the MYSTERY of lawlessness IS ALREADY AT WORK," wrote Paul in II Thessalonians 2:7. A SECRET influence — a mysterious sinful influence — was at work in the Church in Paul's day! It is called the "MYSTERY" of BABYLON the Great" in Revelation 17:5. It was the ancient p d g m BABYLONIAN mystery system — the same rebellious system that commenced at Babylon shortly after the flood — that was at work in the local congregations of the early New Testament Church!
Certain men had crept in unawares, secretly, bringing these mysteries with them. Jude says of them: "These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage" (Jude 16, RSV). They yielded to their carnal human nature. They were the deceived, bur the willing tools of Satan.
When they could not make headway in the old state religions of Greece and Rome, they secretly joined the congregations of God's Church. "And in covetousness shall they with feigned [or pretended] words make merchandise of [or exploit] you," warned Peter (II Peter 2:3). They wanted the tithes of God's people — they were seeking a living and wanted to indulge their carnal passions. Thai is why hey taught what the people wanted to hear.
What Is the Meaning of Mystery? This vile Babylonish system appeals to HUMAN NATURE. And human nature "is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7). That is why it is called the "mystery of lawlessness," or "iniquity." It is the mystery of why sin appears right to man, though it ends in death! It is indeed a mystery why human beings want to do what God says is wrong, yet think that they are doing what is right!
The entire history of human experience is wrapped up in this mysterious, universally unrealized fact. It is a SECRET that the world does not grasp. "The whole world" is deceived and does not know it. (Revelation 12:9).
People want to follow other people. Many in the early Church were afraid of what other people — their pagan neighbors — might say. They waxed to hear the teachings of the pagans around them.
And what were the pagans believing? — the Babylonian mysteries, the newest and latest fad, brought to Greece and Rome by Roman soldiers who had recently conquered the region of old Babylon! The false preachers brought these mysteries into the Church!
Their next step was to gain control of Church government (II Cor. 11:13-15). They cleverly, and at first secretly, plotted to "draw away disciples after themselves." That is how the "Synagogue of SATAN" was formed!
The Synagogue of Satan Those false teachers who left the true Church "professed to know God" — they pretended to obey God — "but by their works they denied Him, being abominable and DISOBEDIENT, and unto every good work disapproved" (Titus 1:16). They professed Christ and the Father; but they rejected the authority of God and His law! They were DISOBEDIENT.
They acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ; they came in His name, professing to be the ministers of Christ — but they rejected His message and soon forgot His SABBATH!
Between 70 A.D. and 100 A.D. the Roman world was filled with those apostate ministers. Here is why they spread and multiplied.
In 69 A. D. the headquarters of God's Church at Jerusalem was forced to flee before the Roman invasion. Persecution became widespread. Many congregations were scattered. The apostles were too few in number to stem the rising tide of apostasy. False teachers and false brethren were everywhere (Rev. 2:20; Dan. 11:34).
The apostasy — secretly at work in Paul's day — now snow — balled into a movement spreading throughout the entire Roman Empire. It was a universal or catholic movement of Roman origin. It compromised with the world. A worldwide organization took shape with its natural headquarters at the capitol of the Roman Empire — Rome!
By the time John wrote the Book of Revelation, this apostate Church — Satan's Church — "the Synagogue of Satan" — already existed side by side with the true Church (Rev. 2:10 and 3:9). This was before 100 A.D.! The "Synagogue of Satan" soon became the BIG Church. The world heard it. This was the Church destined to "rule the nations" (Rev. 17:18). It is this Church, whose records fill the pages of Church history. that we are about to investigate.
The true Church of God, despised, persecuted and scattered by the world — yet NEVER DIVIDED — was soon lost from view! Even the world's historians have never known where to look for the true Church, for they do not know WHAT the true Church is! Today the world still does not recognize which is the Church Jesus is building!
Differences In Doctrine The first century has passed. The second century of our era begins. Already we find two separate and distinct Church bodies. One — the true Church — is scattered but not divided. The other — the result of apostasy — is divided into literally dozens of conflicting beliefs and practices, yet trying to maintain an outward form of unity.
All the churches of this world are the daughters of that first great apostasy or falling away from the truth. "For the time will come" — and it did come — "that they will not endure sound teaching," said Paul; "but having itching ears they will heap to themselves teachers... and turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables" (II Timothy 4:3-4).
In the next article is the evidence of Church History that this great apostasy DID occur — proving that Sunday was never observed in the New Testament Church, and that THE SABBATH WAS OBSERVED BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH FOR CENTURIES AFTER APOSTOLIC DAYS.