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Previous: Revelation 2:20 continued-3

20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. - Revelation 2:20

At this point we will begin a brief list of major developments in the Church from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in AD 476 to the Protestant Reformation in AD 1517. Please notice as we proceed, what we plainly said before, that we should not be against Catholics, but we should oppose false doctrine - whatever is contrary to the teaching of the Bible - wherever it emerges.

During these years there were many devout leaders, teachers, and disciples of the Lord. Like the Church at Thyatira, they were often known for their good works. But this long stretch of history - more than a thousand years - was a time of many problems for the church, and too many negative developments in their leadership, theology and practice.

The Mass/ Sacrifice of the Mass

The terminology for the Lord's Supper changed from time to time. As we explained above, it was called the Eucharist ("thanksgiving") from about the 2nd century, and the idea began to grow that communion was not just a remembrance of Jesus's sacrificial death but that it was actually a reenactment of His sacrifice each time it is observed. We also documented that this concept is contrary to the Bible's teaching about the finished work of Christ (Hebrews 9:25-26; Hebrews 10:14).

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia,

The word Mass (missa) first established itself as the general designation for the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the West after the time of Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604), the early Church having used the expression the "breaking of bread."
(Catholic Encyclopedia, "Sacrifice of the Mass, )

The Latin word missa means "dismissal." After prayers and the sacrifice of Christ, the priest says "Ite, missa est." thus dismissing the worshippers. Images of Christ on the cross became popular during the early days of observing the Mass. However, the belief in "transubstantiation" - that the priests were given the power to literally change the elements into the body and blood of Christ - was declared much later, at the Fourth Lateran Council in AD 1215

The Rise of Islam

Another major issue to develop during this time was the birth of Muhammad in AD 570 and the rise of Islam, starting about AD 610. This new religion was a mixture of Old and New Testament history and teaching with the existing worship of Allah, the local Moon god in the Arabian Peninsula. It emerged as a third major monotheistic religion, making Allah the one true god, and trying to equate him to Jehovah. This was never believable since the God of the Bible gave His only begotten son to save mankind (John 3:16), while Muslims emphatically denied that Allah had a son. Allah was not seen as a loving god who had any sort of personal relationship with his followers.

People were seldom drawn to the new religion because of its teaching, which was harsh and dependent on good works. Nevertheless, Islam did grow rapidly because it used warfare to conquer Jerusalem, most of the Middle East and North Africa in a short period of time (AD 633-642). In AD 711 the Islamic tide invaded Spain and began to conquer other parts of Europe.

Next: Revelation 2:20 continued - 5


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