This title is taken from the Apostle Paul’s description of “that man of sin”, “the son of perdition”. He would arise after the apostolic period when Christianity was eclipsed by paganism. His ‘revelation’ was therefore in the time of Emperor Constantine. In a series of civil wars Constantine reunited the Empire and compelled the vast majority of its citizens to accept his form of Christianity. Roman paganism was swept aside and replaced by ‘Christianity’, known henceforth as the Roman Catholic Church. This system later developed into ‘Christendom’ for the Church through its leading bishop of Rome, the Pope, gained dominance over all the then known world, not only in religious matters but also in temporal (governmental) power. It was an historic phenomenon and has continued to this 21st century, but it will be consumed by “the brightness of his [the Lord’s] coming” (2 Thess 2:8).

Throughout its long and colourful history many peculiar practices have arisen and the article that follows is the first in a series under the general heading “With All Power and Signs and Lying Wonders”. Features peculiar to this system, strange and perverted, were intended to mesmerise the ignorant laity, who without Bible or a personal love of the Truth became victims. The Apostle Paul calls it “the mystery of iniquity”, the Lord Jesus, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH’ (2 Thess 2:7; Rev 17:5).

We hope to examine some of the strange aspects of this Papal system and the following article is the first in the series.

Doctrines of demons

It will be recognised that this phrase in our title is from 1 Timothy 4:1. The Greek for “devils” (av) is diamonion, referring to inferior pagan deities which were part of all pagan religions, whether Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek or Roman. They were said to be departed spirits acting on behalf of men and women to find favour and protection from the gods. Together with the gods the demons were part of the pantheon of divine figures worshipped in the heathen world, playing similar roles from one civilisation to another, but with different names.

This passage in 1 Timothy names six items of an impending apostasy that the apostle says were ‘expressly mentioned by the Spirit’. This may mean that the Spirit of God had directly revealed this to the apostle, or it could be a reference to Daniel 11:37–39 where the Spirit through Daniel had expressly mentioned many of these strange items. Clearly some forms of pagan worship would enter the ecclesia of Christ; the teaching that other intermediaries would arise within Christianity, to whom prayers for intercession, healing and protection would be made. It is significant that this text in 1 Timothy follows the eloquent statement of Christ’s ascension to the Father when he was “received up into glory” ( 3:16). It also comes after the succinct statement of the sole mediatorship of the Lord, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (2:5). So the reference to a doctrine of demons was a pointed prophecy. Surely Christianity would not revive the equivalent of what they left behind in paganism?

A modern phenomenon

Growing up in Australia one could have imagined that this teaching of patron saints was waning. But in Australia we became more conscious of the significance of patron saints when in October 2010 a local nun, Mary McKillop, was canonised, the first Australian to be so pronounced. This event had been looked forward to for ten years, for she had been beatified after lengthy deliberations upon her history and achievements. In fact she had initiated a number of significant reforms in Catholic education and established a new order of nuns given to education and ministration to poor families. She had also rebelled against the hierarchy, but that was overlooked.

The delay in the declaration of her sainthood was due to the requirement that evidence of two miracles was needed. Once proclaimed a saint by the Pope then it is ‘right’ to pray to the new saint for help, guidance and intercession with God. Why the need for two miracles to be documented? When Mary MacKillop died it is believed her soul departed her body and spent time in purgatory until penance was sufficient for her to advance into heaven and only then could she exercise miraculous powers. So once her life had been favourably scrutinized for beatification then devotees can pray to her; if two miracles can be documented then she must have been approved of God and elevated to join the special fraternity of the saints.

Amazing presumption

Before we go further, consider the audacious presumption in all these procedures. Who said Mary MacKillop had a departing soul that went to purgatory when she died? The Bible says we all die! Who said that a committee of fellow mortals could make an eternal verdict upon the life of one of their fellows? The apostle says, “judge nothing before the time” (1 Cor 4:5). Is not the Lord the judge? (Rom 14:10–12; Matt 25:34). What right has the Pope of Rome to make proclamation about sainthood?

The whole process is false and presumptuous, yet when men accept it what power they accord the Bishop of Rome! Even more remarkable was the euphoria, even ‘respect’ that accompanied the canonization. Heads of state and notables came in to the ceremonies here and in Rome, and the media gave it front page attention!

During the 29 years of John Paul II there were more saints proclaimed than in the previous 400 years. In the declining popularity of the Church resulting from revelations of disgusting abuse, these miraculous claims helped disguise the true nature of this blasphemous procedure.

An old Catholic practice

This practice has a history of 1700 years. The following quotation gives the large picture.

“Throughout the centuries the church community honoured saints by reading their names during the Eucharistic Prayer and by celebrating their feast days on its annual church calendar. This latter practice gave rise to the sanctoral cycle in the church year, sometimes seeming to rival the more important temporal cycle that remembers the basic events and mysteries of Christianity.” [1]

So devout Catholics learnt that each day belonged to some particular saint. There was a saint for every day, hence this “sanctoral cycle” or calendar. Very often a worshipper would adopt the saint of that day of the year in which he or she was born. So from earliest days children of Catholic parents would be introduced to this principal feature of Catholic worship.

“We name our children after them at baptism. We name our churches after them, too. We look to them as models for our own struggling faith. We venerate their names and images. We remember some of them with festivals. Some of their names, coming from ancient times and peoples, sound strange to our contemporary ears.” [2]

A distinguishing feature of Catholicism

When Bible-loving reformers broke away from the Roman Catholic Church this heresy of patron saints was completely denounced; references to it in Scripture were used against it. In fact the Bible speaks specifically of divine judgment upon the Eastern Roman Empire because of their worship of these saints (demons, av “devils”). Its capital, Constantinople was overtaken by the Ottoman Turks in AD 1453 (Rev 9:20). Not even this was sufficient to alienate Rome from its patron saints!

“Throughout the history of the Western church, the veneration of saints has remained an integral and very popular part of religious devotion. This veneration expresses itself in the form of cults – devotion to saints as the servants of God, second only to the higher devotion accorded to Him.”[3]

“Devotion to saints with Mary having the highest priority, is a distinguishing feature of Catholicism. This tradition goes back to the early generations of Christianity.” [4]

Patron saints as protectors

The Church has assigned different roles to their saints, often as protectors of their devotees.

“Certainly the saints in heaven, whose lives we read and who read our lives and intercede for us as we make our own journeys toward eternity, play a great part in our spirituality. At baptism and confirmation we are given a saint to be our patron. Daily Mass-goers follow the annual feast days of the saints.” [5]

“From the early days of the Christian church saints have played a key role as intercessors between God and mankind, as a source of protection and of miraculous cures.”[6]

In dangerous traffic jams in the Philippines (a largely Catholic country), the passengers in the Jeepnies (small buses) will call out for “Christopher”, the guardian saint of travel!

Papal power to appoint or sack

The official number of patron saints is 7,014, all appointed by the Pope after the research of his canonization team in Rome. Individuals can pray to these ‘demons’ or ask for mass to be given in the name of a particular saint to help in need. This practice has generated huge funds for the Church.

Yet in 1969 Pope Paul VI cancelled the status of 167, when it was discovered that the basis on which they were appointed to sainthood was false!

“Many earlier saints are still venerated and valued for their role as patrons and protectors; others, removed from the official calendars of saints in 1969 because they were deemed fictitious, nevertheless still fascinate and intrigue us.” [7]

This reveals the appalling lack of evidence for these beliefs. How can a pope axe 167 saints that the Church has encouraged the faithful to pray to and revere for hundreds of years?! How could ‘infallible’ popes ever have appointed them in the first place!?

Founded on the first lie

The devotion to ‘patron saints’ is based upon the fundamental heresy of the immortality of the soul. This was ever the belief of pagan religions, yet it really goes back to the first lie, of the serpent in Eden, “Ye shall not surely die” (Gen 3:4). Take this doctrine away, as we must if we heed Scripture, and this whole belief system falls to the ground, “lying wonders” indeed!

In 2009 we stood in the massive new ‘Church of the Redeemer’ in Moscow not far from the walls of the Kremlin. This church is the symbol of the resurgence of the Russian Orthodox Church after the 70 years of Communistic atheism. Each wall and the ceiling was covered with metre square paintings of patron saints. Worshippers pray to all these obscure saints of past centuries! But for those who know the Truth it was a strange house of gods, founded on lies and mysteries. Alas the Catholic Church destroyed the superstitions of Paganism, but replaced it with another pantheon of demonii!

But for us “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

Thank God for the Truth!

References

[1] Greg Dues, Catholic Customs & Traditions. 2004, pg 106

[2] Ibid

[3] Saints – Over 150 Patron Saints for Today, 1994.

[4] Greg Dues, Catholic Customs & Traditions. 2004, p106

[5] Rhonda De Sola Chervin, Treasury of Women

Saints, 1991

[6] Saints – Over 150 Patron Saints for Today, 1994, p 6

[7] Ibid