"This prince of evil
has many names, Arch or Chief deceiver,
Lucifer, the father of lies, etc" .
Could religious people
work with the Devil to destroy true
Praet spent five long days in prison before he
got the chance to know the charges against
him. He thought a great deal about his
wife and children--who didn't know whether
they would see him alive again.
the morning of the sixth day, the jailer
opened Claud's cell and escorted him to the
interrogation room. Three judges sat
solemnly on high-backed chairs. A clerk
waited with pen and paper to take down the
prisoner's statements. The court bailiff
began the questioning; he asked Claude his
name, where he was born, and where he'd been
proceeded, amazingly enough, to try to find
out Claud's views on a variety of complicated
religious issues. They wanted to know
about his church affiliation, about the people
he fellowshipped with. They were very
curious about whether he'd been baptized after
being christened as an infant.
They wanted to
know if he thought Christ was really present
in the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper.
No word of what we'd consider a crime ever
crossed anyone's lips. No-one asked
Claude about a robbery or a mugging or a
murder. No-one even accused him of
disturbing the peace.
And yet this
was a prison, and these were real judges, and
this was an accused man trying to fend off
When Claud kept evading questions about others
in his church, the bailiff finally asked him
grimly, "You do it so as not to bring anyone
with these chilling words: "Yes sir, bailiff,
for we well know that our blood is much
The incredible fact is that Claud and his
fellow believers faced the death penalty
because of their religious opinions.
They had the misfortune of being Anabaptists
in a time when the established church strongly
disapproved of this sect. And those
weren't madmen siting in the judges chairs.
They were sober churchmen who thought they
were defending the true faith.
interrogation occurred in the city of Ghent,
Belgium, in 1556. It wasn't unusual; it
wasn't considered a miscarriage of justice.
It was part of a long tradition of enforcing
the faith, of punishing heretics, tragically,
in the Christian church. But how could
that happen? How did Christians get it
into their heads that burning heretics was a
way to serve GOD?
the long, painful story of religious
persecution, you need to understand the long
conflict between CHRIST and Satan.
At the cross, CHRIST had won a great victory
over His antagonist, Lucifer, the fallen angel
who became Satan. JESUS showed that GOD
could love and forgive to the uttermost.
Satan was exposed as a cruel, destructive
being.. And furthermore, CHRIST founded
His church, a body of believers that was to go
on spreading His love and grace.
to be completely defeated. His way of
manipulating and coercion had failed.
of making human beings free through the gospel
had succeeded. The church started to
turn the world upside down.
more than anything to destroy the church.
The book of Revelation tells us in chapter 12
that he tries to drown the church in a flood
of persecution. Satan first used the
cruelty of of several emperors of Rome.
came up with the most diabolical scheme.
What if the church itself could become the
persecutor of the faithful? It sounds
outrageous. The church became very
powerful in the Middle Ages. It acquired
absolute authority. Church officials
came to see themselves as protectors of truth.
out sharply in the interrogation of Claude de
Praet. We learn about it in the letters
he managed to send out of prison.
One day, two
monks came to question him. They asked,
"What is your faith?" Claude testified
simply: "I believe only in JESUS CHRIST, that
He is the living and true Son of GOD, and that
there is no other salvation either in heaven
or on earth."
satisfy the men. They wanted to know
what else he believed-- especially about the
church they called the true apostolic church.
So Claude asked them, "Did the apostles
persecute and maintain their church with fire
and sword as you do?"
To this they
didn't have a very good answer. That's
because the strongest thing in the New
Testament says about the heretics is avoid
them-a far cry from burning them at the stake.
occasion, a scholarly man, known as the Dean
of Ronse, came to interrogate Claude.
Claude asked him where he did get his
authority to seek the blood of those whom
"no-one could accuse of any crime."
The Dean managed to point to one passage,
Deut. 17:12, which describes those who defied
the priests in Israel being put to death.
Claude reminded the Dean that we are now under
the law of grace, not the law of revenge.
And he pointed out that JESUS had stated in
the parable that we shouldn't try pulling out
the weeds in our midst because we'd end up
yanking out a lot good wheat in the process.
To this the Dean could only answer that he was
wise enough to pull up a few bad weeds without
harming the wheat.
During one of
his interrogations, the chief judge told him:
"Christ promised His church that He would be
with them unto the end of the world. But
I can find none among you that can tell me of
a longer existence of your church than about
In other words, the judge was asking, if
Christ promised to preserve His church from
the time He founded it, how can yours be
legitimate if it has existed only three
answer shows that he had a wider perspective
of the body of CHRIST:
"HE THAT ABIDS
IN ME, AND I IN HIM, BRINGS FORTH MUCH
FRUIT......AND MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU....IF THE
WORLD HATES YOU, YOU KNOW THAT IT HATED ME
BEFORE IT HATED YOU.....IF THEY PERSECUTED ME,
THEY WILL ALSO PERSECUTE YOU."
with the World, is enmity with GOD. [James
Paul himself stood where our persecutors are
standing now: "That he which persecuted us
in times past now preaches the faith which
once he destroyed." [Galatians 1:23].
"But as then he that was born after the
flesh persecuted him that was born after the
Spirit, even so it is now." [Gal.4:29]
The apostle Peter strongly denies that he was
the first Pope.
"The Church is
GOD'S fortress, His city of refuge, which He
holds in a revolted World. Any betrayal
of her sacred trust is treachery to Him who
has bought her with the precious blood of His
only begotten Son. All down through the
history of the world, faithful souls have
constituted the church on earth."
Today as in
the past, all heaven is watching to see the
church develop in the true science of
salvation. CHRIST calls on us to enter
the narrow way where every step means a denial
of self. he calls upon us to stand upon
the platform of eternal truth, and content,
yes, contend earnestly, for the faith once
delivered to Rome?, no, the saints."
discernment Must be Sharpened by Divine
As we near the time when Satan deceptive
power will be so great that, if it were
possible, he would deceive the very elect.
Our discernment must be sharpened by divine
enlightment, that we may not be ignorant of
Satan's devices. It is GOD'S design that
his church shall advance in purity and
knowledge from light to light, from glory to
that evil must not be condemned because this
would condemn those who practice the evil, is
to act in favour of falsehood. It should
be clearly understood that we are not helping
those who are determined to do evil, when we
show them respect! Have you got a name
that you are living, but being dead in sins
The Great Controversy, 1884 edition The
Snares of Satan
"As the people of God approach the perils of
the last days, Satan holds earnest
consultation with his angels as to the most
successful plan of overthrowing their faith.
He sees that the popular churches are
already lulled to sleep by his deceptive
power. By pleasing sophistry and lying
wonders he can continue to hold them under
his control. Therefore he directs his angels
to lay their snares especially for those who
are looking for the second advent of Christ,
and endeavoring to keep all the commandments
"Says the great deceiver: We must watch
those who are calling the attention of the
people to the Sabbath of Jehovah; they will
lead many to see the claims of the law of
God; and the same light which reveals the
true Sabbath, reveals also the ministration
of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary, and
shows that the last work for mans salvation
is now going forward. Hold the minds of the
people in darkness till that work is ended,
and we shall secure the world and the church
The Sabbath is the great question which is
to decide the destiny of souls. We must
exalt the sabbath of our creating. We have
caused it to be accepted by both worldlings
and church-members; now the church must be
led to unite with the world in its support.
We must work by signs and wonders to blind
their eyes to the truth, and lead them to
lay aside reason and the fear of God, and
follow custom and tradition."
I will influence popular ministers to turn
the attention of their hearers from the
commandments of God. That which the
Scriptures declare to be a perfect law of
liberty shall be represented as a yoke of
bondage. The people accept their ministers
explanations of Scripture, and do not
investigate for themselves. Therefore by
working through the ministers, I can control
the people according to my will."
But our principal concern is to silence
this sect of Sabbath-keepers. We must excite
popular indignation against them. We will
enlist great men and worldly-wise men upon
our side, and induce those in authority to
carry out our purposes. The Sabbath which I
have set up shall be enforced by laws the
most severe and exacting. Those who
disregard them shall be driven out from the
cities and villages, and made to suffer
hunger and privation. When once we have the
power, we will show that we can do with
those who will not swerve from their
allegiance to God. We led the Romish Church
to inflict imprisonment, torture, and death
upon those who refused to yield to her
decrees, and now that we are bringing the
Protestant churches and the world into
harmony with this right arm of our strength,
we will finally have a law to exterminate
all who will not submit to our authority.
When death shall be made the penalty of
violating our Sabbath, then many who are now
ranked with commandment keepers will come
over to our side."
But before proceeding to these extreme
measures, we must exert all our wisdom and
subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who
honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many
from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride.
They many think themselves safe because they
believe the truth, but indulgence of
appetite or the lower passions, which will
confuse judgment and destroy discrimination,
will cause their fall."
Go, make the possessors of lands and money
drunk with the cares of this life. Present
the world before them in its most attractive
light that they may lay up their treasure
here, and fix their affections upon earthly
things. We must do our utmost to prevent
those who labor in Gods cause from
obtaining means to use against us. Keep the
money in our own ranks. The more means they
obtain, the more they will injure our
kingdom by taking from us our subjects. Make
them care more for money than for the
upbuilding of Christs kingdom and the
spread of the truths we hate, and we need
not fear their influence; for we know that
every selfish, covetous person will fall
under our powers, and will finally be
separated from Gods people."
Through those that have a form of godliness
but know not the power, we can gain many who
would otherwise do us great harm. Lovers of
pleasure more than lovers of God will be our
most effective helpers. Those of this class
who are apt and intelligent will serve as
decoys to draw others into our snares. Many
will not fear their influence, because they
profess the same faith. We will thus lead
them to conclude that the requirements of
Christ are less strict than they once
believed, and that by conformity to the
world they would exert a greater influence
with worldlings. Thus they will separate
from Christ, then they will have no strength
to resist our power, and erelong they will
be ready to ridicule their former zeal and
Until the great decisive blow shall be
struck, our efforts against
commandment-keepers must be untiring. We
must be present at all their gatherings. In
their large meetings, especially, our cause
will suffer much, and we must exercise great
vigilance, and employ all our seductive arts
to prevent souls from hearing the truth and
becoming impressed by it."
I will have upon the ground, as my agents,
men holding false doctrines mingled with
just enough truth to deceive souls. I will
also have unbelieving ones present, who will
express doubts in regard to the Lords
messages of warning to his church. Should
the people read and believe these
admonitions, we could have little hope of
overcoiming them. But if we can divert their
attention from these warnings, they will
remain ignorant of our power and cunning,
and we shall secure them in our ranks at
last. God will not permit his words to be
slighted with impunity. If we can keep souls
deceived for a time, Gods mercy will be
withdrawn, and he will give them up to our
We must cause distraction and division. We
must destroy their anxiety for their own
souls, and lead them to criticize, to judge,
and to accuse and condemn one another, and
to cherish selfishness and enmity. For these
sins, God banished us from his presence; and
all who follow our example will meet a
"The Scriptures declare that upon one
occasion, when the angels of God came to
present themselves before the Lord, Satan
came also among them, not to bow before the
Eternal King, but to further his own
malicious designs against the righteous.
With the same object he is in attendance
when men assemble for the worship of God.
Though hidden from sight, he is working with
all diligence to control the minds of the
worshipers. Like a skillful general, he lays
his plans beforehand. As he sees the
messenger of God searching the Scriptures,
he takes note of the subject to be presented
to the people. Then he employs all his
cunning and shrewdness to so control
circumstances that the message may not reach
those whom he is deceiving on that very
point. The one who most needs the warning
will be urged into some business transaction
which requires his presence, or will by some
other means be prevented from hearing the
words that might prove to him a savor of
life unto life."
Daily Bible reading
The Good News
Jesus and 666
Mark of the
The New Covenant
The Lord's Day
The Christian Catalogue
Our Lord Jesus
in Heaven Jesus
and His Sheep
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