Behold Your God
Fred T. Wright
unsheathed. At first the persecutions are relatively mild, but as time goes by and the desired objective is not achieved, they become increasingly severe until the death penalty is enforced rigorously.
In the sixth century, Pope Gregory determined to convert Great Britain to Catholicism. Accordingly, he sent forty-one missionaries in the summer of 597. They were led by Augustine who settled on Canterbury as the center of his activities in Britain. The true Christian religion had preceded him. It was established among the original Britons but had not yet converted the Anglo-Saxon invaders from northern Europe and Scandinavia. To convert these Britons was the immediate objective. For this purpose Augustine convened a general assembly in 601. But “To no purpose did the archbishop lavish his arguments, prayers, censures, and miracles even; the Britons were firm.” The Reformation in England, Volume 1:38, by Merle d’ Aubigne.
This council having failed, Augustine tried again with the same tactics of peaceful, persuasive approach, but again he failed. Perceiving that he would gain nothing by these means, he rose to his feet and said, “‘If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war. If you will not unite with us in showing the Saxons the way of life, you shall receive from them the stroke of death.’” “Having thus spoken, the haughty archbishop withdrew, and occupied his last days in preparing the accomplishment of his ill-omened prophecy. Argument had failed: now for the sword!” ibid., 39.
What took place there in the early history of Britain, has been repeated in every place where the papal shoe has rested. To millions it is a familiar pattern.
Rome appears upon the scene acting peacefully and lovingly. She blesses those who will receive her blessings, seeking to win them to her creed. She manifests considerable long-suffering and patience in her work and her emissaries make great personal sacrifices for the cause.
But eventually she judges that any further endeavor along these peaceful lines will be fruitless. She then turns to the use of persecution which increases in severity until those who will not obey under any pressure are put to death.
In all this she is giving an impression of God, which, tragically, is the one accepted without question by the majority. To be convinced of this, it is only necessary to compare the view of God as held by most, with the papal representations of Him.
Most see God looking down upon the unconverted as Pope Gregory looked upon the Britons. In His great love for the lost and the dying, they see God, sending His personal ambassador, the Holy Spirit, Who works through self-sacrificing human agents to woo and to win the erring. They believe that during this period the Lord withholds His judgments and administers blessings as an incentive to the people to follow Him.
But time goes by and the blessings received are turned into a curse as in the case of the Sodomites, the Egyptians, and the Israelites. What now happens, in reality, is that the people move away from God into that area where they make it impossible for Him to protect them from the threatening destructions poised above them. But men see in these calamities the hand of God trying to enforce an allegiance where persuasion has failed [Just as Rome does!]. When even this fails, they see God destroying the wicked from the face of the earth.
A comparison has been made in the paragraphs above, between the way of antichrist and the supposed manifestation of the character of God. We ask now: What difference is there between these two pictures? The answer is, none. The picture of God as men suppose Him to be and the picture of Him as presented by the papacy are the same in every respect.
Therefore, as surely as we know that Babylon’s representation of the Deity is a misrepresentation, it must be wholly rejected. A moment’s reflection will show that the representation of God given on the movie screen and that given by the papacy, are identical. In both cases the law is broken in order to bring about the keeping of the law. The papacy kills those who will not obey. By killing, she disobeys God’s commands in order to do away with those whom she judges are disobeying God’s commands.
Therefore, she is of the world, and not of God in any sense. Every principle of her character and behavior is a denial of the revelations of the Deity mirrored in the life of Christ and espoused in His teachings. She fulfils most adequately Satan’s objectives in misrepresenting the character of God.
Note by Ron Beaulieu: It is so important that we be able to demonstrate the difference between our God and the god of Islam and Catholicism. In both those pagan systems, their god kills and the true God does not. This is a huge issue that can be used to convert followers to the true God. End note.
The existence of Babylon and her teachings versus the presence of Christ and His, provides for everyone the choice of which representation of God they will believe. It is impossible to consistently believe both. Babylon offers a picture of God as One Who loves His enemies, blesses them, does them good, and forgives them—for a time. Then His face changes and He arises to do to them the very things He has commanded them not to do.. He firstly treats them cruelly, then finally kills them.
Christ offers a Father Who loves His enemies, blesses them, does them good, and forgives them—forever. He never rises to do that which He has instructed His children not to do. He is the God of righteousness.
The choice then is Christ or antichrist. God or the devil the heavenly Jerusalem or Rome. There can be no difficulty in knowing which of these is the one to choose. Yet some will hesitate, uncertain, even confused.
Let such open the history books and examine the outworking of Rome’s doctrines. In doing so care must be taken to see beyond the facade of piety and brilliance which Catholics have erected to camouflage the real picture behind and beneath. Through the pages of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit has shown that He has neither overlooked her real character nor been deceived by her pretentious outward appearance.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.
“And upon her forehead, was a name written, Mystery, Babylon THE Great, THE Mother of Harlots AND Abominations of THE Earth.
“And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” Revelation 17:4-6; 18:24.
In these, both the dazzling outer appearance and the inward corruption are revealed. Men tend to be impressed with great displays of wealth and power, all too often measuring the success and merit of a person or organization by such appearances. But the real value is the inner worth of character.
The last verse in this extract is worthy of special attention for the charge is laid by God that the blood of all men who have died is the work of the man of sin. Satan has sought to lay this blood to God’s charge. Men have been prepared to believe Satan, at least to some extent, for, while it is clear at least to most that sin and the devil have taken the lives of millions, it is also believed that God has done His share of killing too. But this verse does not subscribe to such teaching. Here it is stated that all the blood of all the dead is attributable to the man of sin. This text then is a strong Bible witness to the truth that God does not destroy, for, if the man of sin has killed all who have been killed, then the Lord has killed none.
So let study be given to the outworking in history of Rome’s doctrines. See what the fruitage of those teachings about God’s character have been. If they have been productive of a great, warm, trusting love for God and one’s fellowmen; if they have brought peace and prosperity to the earth; if they have lifted oppression and set men free; if they have opened the doors to the advance of knowledge and skills, then we can know that they are a truthful presentation of the character of God. It must be so for God is righteousness and:
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honor.” Proverbs 14:34; 21:21.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever.” Isaiah 32:17.
If this is the record of Rome’s work, then her representation of the righteousness or character of God is truthful, accurate, and to be followed. But if the results are the opposite, then it is deceitful, inaccurate, and only to be shunned.
The records of history are clear. Wherever Rome has trodden, she has left behind her ignorance, immorality, strife, wars, bloodshed, murders, and finally, hatred and total rejection of God’s very existence. The fruitage of her work has been the exact opposite from that outlined in the verses above. It has not led to love and loyalty to God, but to fear and hatred of Him and finally to infidel rejection of His very existence.
“Rome has misrepresented the character of God, and perverted His requirements, and now men rejected both the Bible and its Author. She had required a blind faith in her dogmas, under the pretended sanction of the Scriptures. In the reaction, Voltaire and his associates cast aside God’s word altogether, and spread everywhere the poison of infidelity. Rome had ground down the people under her iron heel; and now the masses, degraded and brutalized, in their recoil from her tyranny, cast off all restraint. Enraged at the glittering cheat to which they had so long paid homage, they rejected truth and falsehood together; and mistaking license for liberty, the slaves of vice exulted in their imagined freedom.” The Great Controversy, 281, 281.
This paragraph was written as a comment on the French Revolution with direct reference to the cause of it. It was a reaction, striking back by the oppressed against those who had for so long, held them in mental physical, and spiritual bondage. No better revelation can be found of the effect of Rome’s character and practice, than this violent reaction. Everything that developed and transpired in that awful time was the direct fruitage of Catholic policies.
“It was popery that had begun the work which atheism was completing. The policy of Rome had wrought out those conditions, social, political, and religious, that were hurrying France on to ruin. Writers, in referring to the horrors of the Revolution, say that these excesses are to be charged upon the throne and the church. In strict justice they are to be charged upon the church. Popery had poisoned the minds of kings against the Reformation, as an enemy of the crown, an element of discord that would be fatal to the peace and harmony of the nation. It was the genius of Rome that by this means inspired the direst cruelty and the most galling oppression which proceeded from the throne.” The Great Controversy, 276, 277.
But, the revolution would never have been so cruel, bloodthirsty, and horrible; men would never have gone so far in their total rejection and hatred of God, if they had seen the papacy as being a representative of no more than itself. But she presented herself to the world as God’s direct agent and representative, and to millions she was the only picture of God that they knew. Therefore, they rejected not only the Roman Catholic Church, but also the God of that church. Because they believed that the God of heaven was the God represented by that church, they rejected Him in the most tragic and hateful way.
That rejection found its most vocal and active expression in the French Revolution. Never has history afforded before or since so clear and convincing a picture of the inevitable outworking of the policies and practices of Romanism. The events have long since been enacted and the memories have faded into the shadows of the past, but they are recorded in all their grim reality in the chronicles of history. Every student of God’s Word who rightfully desires to understand the outworking of the teaching of God’s character versus the outworking of Satan’s misrepresentations of that character, should study the anguished cry of human outrage in the France of 1789.
It is not a chronicle of love, confidence, trust, peace, kindness, and beauty. It is anything but that. “Then came those days when the most barbarous of all codes was administered by the most barbarous of all tribunals; when no man could greet his neighbors or say his prayers. . . without danger of committing a capital crime; when spies lurked in every corner; when the guillotine was long and hard at work every morning; when the jails were filled as close as the holds of a slave ship; when the gutters ran foaming with blood into the Seine. . . . While the daily wagon-loads of victims were carried to their doom through the streets of Paris, the proconsuls, whom the sovereign committee had sent forth to the departments, revelled in an extravagance of cruelty unknown even in the capital. The knife of the deadly machine rose and fell too slow for their work of slaughter. Long rows of captives were mowed down with grape-shot. Holes were made in the bottom of crowded barges. Lyons was turned into a desert. At Arras even the cruel mercy of a speedy death was denied to the prisoners. All down the Loire, from Saumur to the sea, great flocks of crows and kites feasted on naked corpses, twined together in hideous embraces. No mercy was shown to sex or age. The number of young lads and of girls of seventeen who were murdered by that execrable government, is to be reckoned by hundreds. Babies torn from the breast were tossed from pike to pike along the Jacobin ranks.” The Great Controversy, 284.
None of this happened without a cause, which, if correctly and fully ascertained, provides a lesson of inestimable value. This will be true only if the whole of the cause is perceived. While it is true that the behavior of the papacy was the factor which developed these results, that is not enough. It was her practices, as the misrepresentation of God’s character, which were the root.
Her behavior in isolation from God, would have produced only a reaction against herself. The masses would merely have rejected that church. But when they were led to believe that she rejected a true picture of God, then their reaction was most violent against both the church and God.
Nothing could have pleased Satan more, for he has worked through the papacy to achieve these results. With the masses he has been all too
successful, yet the very devices he employs to misrepresent God, provide the spiritually enlightened with the proof that God is not as the world and the churches view Him. This is accomplished by tracing the results of papal teaching from its beginning to final culmination. Then will be recognized the connection between the Babylonian philosophies about God and the sure outworking of bloodshed, tortures, mistrust, hatred, violence atheism, immorality, and multiplied other horrors. Nobody desires these troubles to come upon them. Therefore, when it is understood that they result from those erroneous views of God, then they will likewise reject them, and they will be a turning toward those revelations of God which will breed love, joy, peace, gentleness, long-suffering, mercy, patience, and such.
The papal understanding is that God is a being above law. While God calls upon His people not to kill, lie, or steal, He is not bound by these things in His relation to them. The papists believe that the law is to protect God and the pope from the masses, but not the masses from them. Because the pope believed that he was God upon this earth, he acted out these principles in his dealing with the people.
The terrible anarchy and atheism of the French Revolution is the direct result of that teaching.
Who upon this earth would desire to see the peaceful atmosphere of their society shattered into conditions so awful?
Let all such, then, reject the teaching which is the root of this effect—the teaching that there is one law for God and another for the people. The great truth that the law is the very transcript of God’s character must be grasped instead.
It is the teaching and practice of Rome that God firstly entreats in mercy but in the end turns to destructive force to wipe out those who do not obey Him. Accordingly, she behaved in this way herself, believing and teaching that she was doing the very will of God and manifesting His character and way. In this, she fulfilled the prophecy of Christ when He said, “. . . yea, the time cometh, that whoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2.
But men will not love and serve such a God. As surely as this concept of God’s character is projected, so surely will men reject such a God. The great reaction of the French Revolution proves that. The message which burst from the heart and throats of the populace then was that if this was God they wanted none of Him at all—forever.
It may be countered that there are millions today who do believe that God mercifully entreats the people to repentance at first, but uses destructive force to kill them if they will not repent, and yet, while believing this, love and serve Him. It is true that for a time this is so. Think of the centuries during which the people of the Middle Ages continued to serve God as the Romanists represented Him to be, but it could not and did not go on
forever. There came a time when the reaction set in and the rejection of that kind of God was total.
Once again, the earth is moving toward another such absolute rejection of God. When that time comes, all the horrors of the French Revolution will be re-enacted, but not within the limited confines of national scale. It will be global. Not then will the rest of the world gaze in awed amazement at the death struggles of one nation, for they will be in the same death throes themselves.
In the coming and final conflict, every person on earth will be obliged to take his stand on one side or the other of the great controversy. The place where each stands today, the ideas being more deeply formulated in each mind, and the practices followed, are determining where each will stand in that day, unless his position is revised while the option to do so remains.
Have you carefully, prayerfully, and honesty considered the implications of your present understanding of God’s character? It would be well for each to do so, for when this is understood, a change may well be seen to be imperative.
If you believe:
God does not concern Himself with personal law-keeping;
He does as He pleases in the sense that men do as they please;
The law is designed to protect Him from the people, but not the people from Him;
Then you are on the side of the greatest agency of all time through which Satan has misrepresented the character of God.
If you believe:
God at first seeks to win by loving entreaty and merciful dealings;
But in the end uses force to wipe out those who do not serve Him;
Then your position is no different from that of the Roman Catholic Church. You will be the devil’s delight, for his purposes in you are being achieved.
On the other hand, if these things have never occurred to you before, then the decision must be made sooner or later to either cling to these views or reject them in exchange for something better. If the right choice is made, then one more step will be taken out of Babylonian darkness.
That God loves His enemies—for a time;
Does good to those who do Him evil—for a time;
Blesses those who curse Him—for a time;
Hates His enemies;
Pours evil on those who do Him evil;
And curses those who curse Him;
Is to hold concepts which are papal and worldly.
To retain such notions when the light on God’s character is presented, is to assure continuation in darkness and error. When the last great conflict comes, there will be the certain standing on the side of the great apostate, with no hope of being numbered among that throng which will walk the streets of gold.
Conversely, if it is believed that:
The law is the perfect transcript of God’s character;
It pleases Him to do only righteousness—perfect law-keeping;
He has designed the law as a perfect protection not only from ourselves and our fellow-creatures, but also from Himself;
He loves His enemies of whom the devil is the greatest;
He blesses those who curse Him—forever’
He does good to those who hate Him—forever;
He never uses force as a last or any resort;
And He never administers destruction upon the heads of those who refuse to obey Him;
Then another mighty step has been taken out of Babylonian darkness; the truth has been found about the Father and the Son, and a right stand has been taken in the great conflict.
“To know God is to love Him.” The Desire of Ages, 22.
Such a statement can only mean that to know God as God is, is to love Him. Therefore to know God as God is not, is to hate and reject Him as is so clearly proved by the French Revolution.
The fruit of the first is faith; and that of the second is infidelity and atheism.
The ultimate happiness, fulfillment, and achievement is to love God as He loves us. Satan is determined to frustrate this. His weapon is the misrepresentation of God’s character, in the use of which he is all too successful. No one can say that happiness, fulfillment, and achievement reigned in France in those dreadful days of the revolution. Far from it.
To fill us with supreme joy and happiness, God unmasks Satan’s lies about His righteousness and gives to all a true knowledge of His character. As this is understood and then experienced, the believer will love God and his fellow men as he never thought possible. A great bond of unity will draw together every being in heaven above, with every true believer. Eternal life and joy will be the experience of all with never a shadow to mar the life of any.
May such glorious prospects be incentive enough to lead each and all to reject Satan’s teachings through the papacy and the world, and to accept both intellectually and in living, personal experience the truth of God’s righteousness.