2 Corinthians 11:14 (NKJV)And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
Prior to the time of Constantine’s “conversion,” Christians were persecuted not so much for their profession of faith in Christ, but because they would not include pagan deities in their faith as well. Then, with Constantine’s emphasis on making his new-found Christianity palatable to the heathen in the Empire, the “Christianization” of these pagan deities was facilitated. For example, pagan rituals and idols gradually took on Christian meanings and names and were incorporated into “Christian” worship (e.g., “saints” replaced the cult of pagan gods in both worship and as patrons of cities; mother/son statues were renamed Mary and Jesus; etc.), and pagan holidays were reclassified as Christian holy days (e.g., the Roman Lupercalia and the feast of purification of Isis became the Feast of the Nativity; the Saturnalia celebrations were replaced by Christmas celebrations; an ancient festival of the dead was replaced by All Souls Day, rededicated to Christian heroes [now Halloween]; etc.). A transition had occurred – instead of being persecuted for failure to worship pagan deities, Christians who did not agree with the particular orthodoxy backed by the Emperor were now persecuted in the name of Christ! “Christianized” Rome had become the legitimate successor of pagan Rome! This is the sad origin of the Roman Catholic Church as it compromised from the very beginning with paganism and in doing so became a cult serving the creature (Mary) more than the creator (Jesus).
When Rome went from being pagan to Christian under Constantine, they had to find a replacement for the great mother of paganism. It was not until the time of Constantine that anyone began to look at Mary as a goddess. Since Mary was the mother of Jesus Christ, she was the most logical person to replace the pagan mother goddess. The pagans could continue their prayers and devotion to the mother goddess, only they would call her Mary. The pagans worshipped the mother as much or more than her son and this is exactly what the Roman Catholicism does. True Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is to be worshipped – not his mother. The fact remains that Jesus never hinted at the idea of Mary worship nor did any of the apostles. Worshipping the mother goddess along with her child took place centuries before Jesus Christ was ever born in many different parts of the world. In 431 A.D. Mary worship became an official doctrine of the church in at the Council of Ephesus.
Since the formation of the Roman Empire, the Roman emperors (including Constantine) held the office of Pontifex Maximus (Supreme Priest) and were worshipped by the pagans as gods. Emperor Gratian in 376 A.D. refused the title of Pontifex Maximus, and from then on it was bestowed upon the bishop of Rome. From hereon, the bishop of Rome was to be the Supreme Priest to the pagans and the head of the Christian church; the streams of paganism and Christianity flowed together under the leadership of Pontifex Maximus, ultimately to be called the Pope. The question remains, how can a man at the same time be the Pontifex Maximus which was the head of the pagan mysteries and the head of the church? Although the Roman Catholic church claims that Peter was the first Pope, it is strange that we never read any such claim by Peter. The fact that Jesus never instituted the office of Pope in his church during his earthly ministry plainly shows that the Pope is neither Bishop of bishops nor the successor of the apostle Peter…
…Martin Luther himself also witnessed that Rome with its popes was anything but a holy city. He was quoted as saying, “No one can imagine what sins and infamous actions are committed in Rome, they must be seen and heard to be believed.” It has been said, “If there be a hell, Rome is built over it.” Having shown just a few examples of the corruption and wickedness that has existed in the lives of the popes; this evidence seriously undermines the belief of “apostolic succession,” the claim that the Roman Catholic church is the one “true” church supposedly claiming to trace a line of pope back to Peter, since Peter himself stressed the importance of holiness. It is important to note that pagan popes can be traced back to Babylon but no Christian popes existed until Constantine in 312 A.D. declared himself to be Pope.
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