Because our Jewish brethren understood that the Torah was their bridal covenant, they were unwilling to accept Christianity’s premise (that they could please Yahweh without Torah). That is also why, when Shaul (Paul) went up to Jerusalem in Acts 21, Ya’akov (James) was able to point out how many believers there were in Jerusalem who were still zealous for the Torah.
Ma’asei (Acts) 21:20
20 And when they heard it, they glorified Yahweh. And they said to him, “Behold, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the Torah [of Moshe]!”
Outside the land of Israel, however, it was a different story. Neither the Hellenized Jews nor the gentiles understood that the Torah was a bridal covenant, therefore it was easier for them to accept the torahless version (Christianity), seeing as it promised the same rewards with less obedience. This torahless Christian variation spread rapidly outside the land of Israel, adopting pagan sun-worship practices, rituals, and idols as it went. By the year 150 CE, Sunday worship was fairly well established, as evidenced by the testimony of Justin Martyr.
But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.
[Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 67 – Weekly Worship of the Christians, circa 150 CE, Biblesoft]
Rome controlled the Middle East in the years after Yeshua’s (“Jesus’”) death, and the official Roman religion was Mithraism. In Mithraism, the sun god (Ra) was thought to personally attend the Roman emperor, giving him unparalleled power and prestige. Whenever a Roman citizen came to believe in the Messiah, he no longer saw the emperor as a demigod—and this weakened his power and prestige. For this reason, the Roman emperors hated the Nazarene and Christian faiths, and persecuted them both unto death. However, the more Christians and Nazarenes were killed, the more Roman citizens became aware of the Messiah, and converted to Christianity and Nazarene Israel.
Then, in the fourth century, everything changed. History tells us that in 312, the Roman Emperor Constantine was in the grove of the so-called sun god Apollo (i.e., Lucifer), in ancient France, where he claimed to have had a vision in which “Christ” appeared to him, telling him to write the first two letters of his name (XP) upon his troops’ shields. This he did. Then the next day Constantine claimed to have seen a cross superimposed over the sun, at which time he was given the message, “In hoc signo vinces” (“In this sign you will be victorious”)—and he went on to win many battles. [Note: the cross is an ancient sign of Tammuz, another sun god, i.e., Lucifer in another form.]
Some scholars believe Constantine did not truly convert to Christianity (at least not at first). Rather, they believe he may have converted for political reasons. At the time of Constantine’s conversion, his empire was about half Christian. The other half worshipped Sol Invictus Mith-Ra (the invincible god of the sun). Perhaps Constantine reasoned that if he pretended to be a Christian, and yet worshipped on pagan days of worship, that he would be able to unify his empire?
However, let us consider an alternate hypothesis. Earlier we saw how Christians believe it is alright to worship on whatever days they want. If Constantine felt it was alright to worship on whatever festival days he wanted, he might not have had a problem worshipping on sun worship festival days. And he might not have had a problem merging sun worship rites and rituals with torahless Christianity, so long as it unified his empire.
The year after Constantine’s conversion (in 312 CE), he and his then co-emperor Licinius co-issued the Edict of Milan, which technically ended the persecution of Christians within the Roman Empire. Constantine then went on to consolidate his hold on power throughout the Roman Empire, and by 324 he reigned supreme. The next year (325) he convened the Council of Nicea (or Nice), in which Mithraism and Christianity were merged to form the Catholic (Universal) faith. The Christians were pleased, since they did not care what days of worship they kept—and it also satisfied the sun worshippers, since they got to worship the same idols on the same festival days as before (only with new Christian names).
Constantine gave his new Universal (Catholic) faith eleven years to become accepted before he banned all other versions of the faith in Yeshua, including the Nazarene faith. As we saw in the first chapter, the Nazarenes were now labeled heretics for keeping the same Torah, Sabbath, and festivals as Yeshua and His apostles had kept three centuries earlier.
“The Nazarenes do not differ in any essential thing from them [the Orthodox Jews], since they practice the customs and doctrines prescribed by Jewish Law; except that they believe in Christ. They believe in the resurrection of the dead, and that the universe was created by God. They preach that God is One, and that Jesus Christ is His Son. They are very learned in the Hebrew language. They read the Law [the Law of Moses]…. Therefore, they differ…from the true Christians because they fulfill until now [such] Jewish rites as the circumcision, Sabbath and others.”
[Epiphanius of Salamis, “Against Heresies,” Panarion 29, 7, pp. 41, 402]
In the Council of Laodicea (in 336), Constantine ruled that if anyone was found “Judaizing” (i.e., keeping the original Nazarene faith), he should be “shut out from [the body of] Christ.”
Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath; but must work on that day, honoring rather the Lord’s Day [Sunday] by resting, if possible, as Christians. However, if any [Nazarene] be found Judaizing, let them be shut out from Christ. [The Church of Rome; Council of Laodicea under the Emperor Constantine; Canon 29, 336 CE]
This phrase can also be translated as Let them be anathema to Christ, which meant it was okay to kill them for not keeping the new mixed worship. Since history repeats itself, and since the coming one world religion will be formed around the papacy, we can expect to see this pattern again.
Who, then, is the pope? In 2 Thessalonians, Shaul warned that a coming “man of sin” would sit in a coming temple, pretending to be Elohim Himself.
Thessaloniqim Bet (2 Thessalonians) 2:3-4
3 Do not let anyone deceive you in any way, because that Day will not come unless first comes the falling away, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 the one opposing and exalting himself over everything being called Elohim, or object of worship, so as for him to sit in the temple of Elohim as Elohim, showing himself that he is Elohim.
1 John 3:4 tells us that sin is the transgression of the law. Therefore, the man of sin in verse 3 might well be called the man of lawlessness/torahlessness—and who has done more to teach against the Torah, than the pope?
Thessaloniqim Bet (2 Thessalonians) 2:7-8
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he is holding back now, until it comes out of the midst;
8 and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom Yahweh will consume by the spirit of His mouth, and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
When Shaul prophesied this in the first century, the lawless/torahless one had not yet been revealed (which is why this prophecy is in the future tense). However, today the lawless one has been in power for some 1,700 years. He is the “little horn” of Daniel 7, who has eyes and a mouth, speaks pompous words, and wages war against the saints, whose appearance is greater than his fellows.
19 “Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;
20 and the ten horns that were on its head, and the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
21 I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them.”
The pope sits in a type of temple, showing himself as Elohim, and he has attempted to change the appointed feast times and the Torah (and will attempt to do so again).
25 “And he [pope] shall speak words against [i.e., contrary to the words of] the Most High; and shall wear out the saints of the Most High; and he intends to change the appointed [festival] times and Torah. And they [saints] shall be given into his hand for a time, and times, and half a time.”
The “time, times, and half a time” correspond to 3 1/2 prophetic years. The Hebrew calendar year is 360 days long. When one multiplies these 360 days times the 3 1/2 prophetic years, one gets 1,260 prophetic days. But how can we interpret this? Ezekiel 4 tells us that a prophetic day can equal an earth year.
Yehezqel (Ezekiel) 4:6
6 “And when you have completed them, lie again on your right side; then you shall bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days. I have laid on you a day for each year.”
If the 1,260 prophetic days correspond to 1,260 earth years, then the reference to the saints being given into the papacy’s hand for “a time, and times, and half a time” refers to a time period of about 1,260 years. This does not have to be fulfilled with split-second precision, but is rather a prophetic time window that stretches from the formation of the Roman church dogma (late in the third century) until the Protestant Reformation in 1519 CE. It also corresponds to the 1,260 year span between the establishment of Catholic doctrine (circa 325-330 CE), and the sinking of the (Catholic) Spanish Armada by the Protestant English navy in 1588 CE. The dates do not have to be exact, because these refer to moves of the Spirit.
We also need to understand that the Greek term anti does not mean against. Rather, it means in place of (or instead of). An anti-Messiah, therefore, is not a man who fights against the Messiah, but a man who pretends to be the Messiah. Interestingly, one of the pope’s titles is Vicarius Philii Dei, which means instead of the Son of the Deity, or, in place of the Son of the Deity. This title comes from a document called the Donation of Constantine, which granted the pope authority over the western leg of the Roman Empire. Even though the document was later shown to be forged, a great many Catholics still refer to the pope as the Vicar of Christ (i.e., he who stands in for the Messiah). This title has further significance when we realize that Latin assigns numerical values to its letters, and when one adds up the numerical values of the letters of Vicarious Philii Dei, one gets a numerical value of 666, which Revelation tells us is the number of the beast.
Hitgalut (Revelation) 13:18
18 “Here is wisdom: Let the one having reason count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and its number is 666.”
In Revelation and the End Times we show how Islam also fulfills this prophecy, and how Islam works in tandem with the papacy. However, the papacy came first, and is therefore in the lead role.
In Daniel 7:25 (above) we saw that the pope would attempt to change the appointed festival times and the Torah. This is strictly against the Torah, which tells us not to add or take anything away from Yahweh’s words.
Devarim (Deuteronomy) 12:32
32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”
The pope also calls himself the Holy Father, which Yeshua expressly forbids because that title belongs to His Father Yahweh.
Mattityahu (Matthew) 23:8-9
8 “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher: the Messiah; and you are all brethren.
9 And call no one on earth your ‘Father’, for One is your Father; the One in heaven.”
If we are willing to receive it, the papacy is simply the Renewed Covenant (New Testament) antitype of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The book of Genesis is considered prophetic, and it sets the pattern for events that occur later. Back in the Garden, the adversary appeared to Havvah (Eve) and tried to get her to disobey Yahweh’s voice, telling her that there would not be any consequences for disobedience.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:1-3
1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Yahweh Elohim had made. And he said to the woman, “Has Elohim indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;
3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Elohim has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’”
The pope says essentially the same thing—that we can disregard the marital covenant, and still inherit eternal life.
The papacy says that we do not need to obey Elohim’s commandments, since we are capable of knowing for ourselves what is good and what is evil.
B’reisheet (Genesis) 3:4-5
4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die,
5 for Elohim knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like Elohim, knowing good and evil.”