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(The Religious “Beast From The Earth,” Rev. 13:-18.)


Renette Vermeulen



If one ministers to Muslims, for example, it is necessary to know that these unbelievers and other religionists attack the authority and authenticity of the Word.  Interpreting the Bible verse-by-verse, they find many so-called ‘contradictions,’ which supposedly ‘discredit’ New Testament Scriptures entirely, as the Word of God.  Many Christians also view Scripture non-contextual and on a verse-by-verse basis, avoiding some discrepancies.  For instance, Mark wrote that ONE possessed man came to Jesus in the country of the Gadarenes, while Matthew states there were TWO.  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John also differ somewhat over events during the crucifixion, the morning of the resurrection, and so on.  But these are not deliberate, destructive heresies, and can therefore be interpreted in the light of this explanation of Paul, ‘We have this treasure [the knowledge of God’s truth, the full context of Scripture, God’s entire Word, the Gospel of Christ, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit] in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.’  - 2 Cor. 4:7. 

Fact remains, contrary to Satan’s iron-fisted methods of control, the God of the Bible, especially during the New Testament dispensation of grace, does not override the free will of His children, (1 Cor. 14:32.)  The Word, which God breathed into the writers of the Bible, was indeed perfect, even though it flowed from weak, imperfect, ‘earthen vessels’ onto paper. 

The deliberate dissemination of false doctrines, however, is another matter.  Still, the many attempts to erase the contextual truth of God’s Word, beginning in the 4th century A.D., when Christianity, or Roman Catholic Church norms, forms, and doctrine became State Religion under control of  Caesar Constantine, were of no to very little avail, because Jesus declared that ‘heaven and earth will pass away, but MY words will by no means pass away.’  The Lord did however warn in Mt. 15:6;9, ‘You have made the commandment of God of no effect [powerless, nullifying the Word] by your tradition…  In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 

The willful twisting, misinterpretation, omission, false translation, and abuse of Holy Spirit-inspired Scripture are grim but growing realities.  The many twisted translations of the Bible, and countless non-contextual interpretations and false doctrines testify to this fact.  Someone summarized our responsibility to ‘test and prove EVERYTHING to see whether it is of God,’ when he said, ‘Searching Scripture is not a matter of knowledge, but of life!’  Therefore, Paul and Silas found ‘more fair-minded [people in the synagogue at Berea than among the disciples in Thessalonica,] in that they received the Word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.’  – 1 Ths. 5:21; Jn. 30:5; 1 Jn. 4:1-2; 2 Cr. 13:5; 1 Cr. 14:29. 



God’s inspired Word and will for the body of Christ are indeed carved in stone! 

Nevertheless, the greatest threat to the spiritual safety and growth of the newborn body of Christ, established by the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, was NOT so much the physical assault of the religious, bloodthirsty, Judaist harlot, the Old Hebrew temple hierarchy, but a dreadful danger, which lurked deep within the innermost mind of the ecclesia —Jesus’ ’called out,’ blood-bought, Spirit filled assemblies of believers.  Contrary to what many churches teach, the full context of Scripture shows that a huge lack of knowledge concerning the Person of the Holy Spirit with His indwelling power and gifts, as well as failure to live an obedient, Moral-Law lifestyle in the leading of the Sprit, were rife among early disciple-followers of ‘The Way:’ Acts 24:14; Hos. 4:6; Mt. 22:29; Eph. 4:18; 2 Tim. 2:25; Jn. 8:31-32.  THE FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY WERE NOT CALLED ‘CHRISTIANS’ UNTIL THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH MODDELLED EVERYTHING FROM THE CHURCH BUILDING TO THEIR PRIESTHOODS AND DOGMAS, ON PAGAN TEMPLES, RITUALS, AND DOCTRINES. 

Today, still sculpted from the Christianized paganism of the Roman Catholic Church, Protestantism still rejects the contextual order of events in the Book of Acts, as well as important guidelines and admonitions in the Gospels and epistles, verse-by-verse as God’s direct, infallible Word and perfect blueprint for the New Testament ‘church.’  For instance, without testing these events according to the full context of Scripture, the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement see the incredible signs, which followed the early believers of The Way, as God’s affirmation of the ‘sinless perfection’ of the early ‘church.’  Not ’sinless perfection’ through the full atoning blood-covenant of Christ, mind you, but through their many own additions to Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrine, (1 Ths. 5:21; 2 Cor. 13:5.) 

On the Day of Pentecost, Jesus’ disciple-followers were made perfect on a spiritual level, (2 Cor. 5:17.)  However, after Pentecost, the battle for their pagan-polluted minds or souls had only just begun, (2 Cor. 10:3-5.)  It soon became a fierce, ongoing fight, and as we still see, this fight will only end when ‘the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout…’ – (1 Ths. 4:16.)  Until that day, the words of Peter, written 35 years after Pentecost, will continually ring true, ‘Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking…  [things that are] hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures…  Beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked.  But grow [continually] in the grace and knowledge of our Lord…’ – (2 Pt. 3:15-18.) 

Peter’s serious admonition echoes the Words of Jesus in Jn. 8:31-32, ‘If you abide in MY [full, contextual] Word, you are My disciples indeed.  And [then] you shall KNOW the truth, and the truth shall set you free!’ 



Most denominations revere Jesus’ first disciples, whom He called into the ministry of his Truth, as ‘infallible apostles,’ because, (as I will prove during the course of our study,) nearly two thousand years of Roman Catholic and Calvinist/Lutheran, etc. Protestant teaching had transformed them into ‘perfect apostles’ and ‘all-knowing, sinless, deified saints.’  The truth might seem like blasphemy to some, but since the day of the fall in the Garden of Eden, the Lord Jesus Christ was the only perfect, sinless human being Who ever roamed the earth.  The so-called ‘infallible apostles’ too, had to experience the rebirth; followed by a process of sanctification through personal growth in knowledge and in truth: Rom. 12:1-2; Jam. 1:21-22. 

Paul, one of the ecclesia’s spiritually mature, serving ‘elderly,’ [deliberately mistranslated by Roman Catholic priests as ruling ‘elders,'] wrote in 1 Cor. 3:3, ‘I could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as carnal, as to [newborn] babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk, [the first things that form the foundation of the Gospel,] for until now you were not able to receive solid food, for you are still carnal…’ 

What Paul meant was that we all, (elderly or so-called ‘elders’ included,) have to continually ‘grow in knowledge and in grace… to become DOERS of the Word.’  For instance, in Rom. 7:7-25, Paul, writing in the first person, shares his personal struggle with the desires of the flesh to encourage and teach the ecclesia by example

Paul knew that a lack of growth in the newborn spirit of a baby believer spells certain death for the individual, while impeded growth will mean disfigurement of the believer’s body and mind.  Therefore, the writer of Heb. 6:1-6 commanded, ‘Leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let US ALL go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection…  and of eternal judgment…  For it is impossible… if they fall away [through their lack of growth and disobedience to God’s Moral Law of Love,] to renew them again to repentance…’ 



Despite the dual (political and religious) beast’s boundless binge on blood and torture during the first century A.D., it still lost thousands upon thousands of souls to the Kingdom of Light. 

On the immense mental battlefield of the soul, however, not even a lack of knowledge was enough to slay or stay the sincere disciples of Christ. 

As a result, the religious harlot in the form of Christianized paganism, stepped forward to engage the followers in a different kind of war, waged, not only on a physical level, but also on the unseen paranormal plane.  She summoned masters of deception to her side, who deployed a multitude of secret agents to infiltrate Jesus’ assemblies of sincere believers, to poison the minds of these unwitting believers with lies, deceit, and false religious practices. 


Trojan horse ‘brethren’ 

Paul wrote in Gal. 2:4, [Ritual circumcision and hypocrisy had entered the newborn ecclesia.] ‘And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in, who came by STEALTH to spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ, that they might bring us into bondage.’  In Trojan-horse style, by stealth and deceit, just as modern Masonic societies still operate, a secret Jewish Brotherhood had infiltrated the newborn ecclesia to attack her from the inside, deceiving even Barnabas and Peter!  - [Gal. 2:11-21.] 

Their handiest and mightiest tools were the toxic distortion of Scripture and the deluding counterfeits for the ministrations of the Holy Spirit, which caused soul-consuming legalism and spiritual confusion. 

By blending vital elements of the Old- and New dispensations, these secret agents of destruction misinterpreted Law and Grace, cursedness and blessing; robbing believers of their freedom and blessing in Christ, ‘making utensils of them.’ 

As a result, Paul cried out in Gal. 3, ‘O foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth…  Having begun in the Spirit, [accepting Jesus’ salvation and blessing through the rebirth,] are you now being made perfect by the flesh?  – [Certain physical ordinances of the ritual law.] 

‘For as many are of the works of the law are under the [entire] curse [of the law, Deut. 28.]  For it is written, cursed is everyone who does not continue in ALL things, which are written in the… law, to do them…  Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having BECOME a curse for us… that the blessing of Abraham, [the entire state of blessedness, Deut 28,] might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus…’

Gal. 2:21, ‘I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness [and blessing] comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.’ 

False, legalistic obedience to the Old Testament, ritual Law cannot buy salvation, redemption, or blessing – yet even modern Christians are supposedly ‘cursed’ by ‘robbing’ God of Old Testament tithes, which pertains to the old temple-dispensation that was completely annulled by Christ.  [Read Heb. chapters 8-10 in context with NT Scripture.  Also see L. Ray Smith’s ‘Tithing is Unscriptural Under The New Covenant,’ and ‘The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse,’ Johnson.] 



Jesus, in His infinite wisdom, had warned beforehand, ‘Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the [false religious] gate and broad is the [religious] way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, [to lead unsuspecting souls on the broad way of religion,] but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.  You will know them by their [continual bad] fruits…’ - Mt. 7:14-29. 


Paul did not receive ‘superior revelation’ 

As mentioned, the contextual Gospel of Christ as we ought to know it and live in it, came through the epistles of Paul – some 23 years after Pentecost, (Gal. 2:15-3:1; 3:2-21!)  However, Paul did not receive ‘superior revelation.’  God simply used Paul to explain ‘The Way more perfectly,’ accurately, clearly - and according to the chronology, or context, of events, (Acts 18:25-26.)  Thus, the ministry of Paul centered on apologetics – the defense of the Gospel.  God had called and equipped Paul and the other servant-‘elderly’ to guard His blood-bought ecclesia; to defend the truth of the Gospel, and to discern and expose false teachers, idolatrous doctrines, and sinful pagan practices among members of the ecclesia: Phil. 1:17; Eph. 5:10-11. 


‘Judge’ ALL things

The S.F. Bible explains, ‘The Gospel came to the [disciples] not only in word, but also in power, suggesting A BALANCED MIX of intellectual argument, the Spirit’s power, (gifts or signs,) and deep personal response.’  - Mark. 16:16-18, 1 Cor. 14:22. 

As a result, Paul taught the disciples in 1 Cor. 2:15, ‘He who is spiritual, [the sincerely born again believer who has begun to experience the transformation of his mind, and who is able to discern the perfect will of God, (Rom. 12:1-2,)] JUDGES ALL things…’ 

So, we have to judge the writings of Paul and the other ‘elderly’ as well, (e.g., view them in context and in relation to the rest of Scripture,) as the humble Paul would never have been so self-conceited as to believe that all his teachings would be ‘infallible,’ (Jam. 3:2; 1 Jn. 1:8-10.)  As a result, he continued in 1 Ths. 5:21, ‘TEST ALL THINGS, [all Spiritual manifestations, teaching, preaching, (even his own,)] and [reject what is false, while holding] fast what is good…’ 



A closer look at the book of Acts reveals that it ‘is a record of practicing newfound faith in the power of the Holy Spirit.  It teaches believers how to live together in meaningful fellowship, sharing freely with one another, (2:42; 4:32-35.)  Acts also shows that [although they had disagreements through a huge lack of contextual knowledge,] there was still a willingness to listen and to submit to one another, (15:6-14.) 

‘One of the most prominent characteristics of these early believers was their [reverent] fasting and [earnest] prayer, (2:42; 6:4; 13:3,) and the SIGNS [or gifts] of the Spirit did indeed follow those who believed!’  - S.F. Bible. 

Nevertheless, widespread spiritual corruption among disciples of The Way ran deep. 


Paul did not preach ‘unconditional security

The eternal security of the sincerely born again believer, who continually grows in knowledge, faith, and grace, is not the issue, (Jn. 15.)  All sincere believers stand solely by Grace.  However, those who non-repentantly and willfully continue in sin are NOT born again, saved, or part of the spiritual Kingdom of God.  Such we will know by their continual sinful behavior or bad ‘fruit,’ (1 Jn. 1:7-10; Jam. 3:2; 2 Ths. 1:8.) 

Contrary to what the doctrine of ‘once saved, always unconditionally saved’ teaches, Paul warned in Eph. 5:5-7, ‘No fornicator [or] covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of God…’  He continued in Gal. 5:19-21, ‘…Those who practice adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outburst of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries… will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.’ 

In the context of deliberate, persistent sin, (and may we all remember that false teaching and false religious practices are of the worst kind,) Paul did not even mention the kingdom of heaven; he spoke of the spiritual Kingdom of God, which resides in the spirit or heart of every sincerely born again disciple of Christ! 


Paul did not judge the person’s eternal destination but his behavior 

When Jesus commanded in Mt. 7:1, ‘Judge not, that you be not judged,’ He did not ‘forbid [constructive] criticism, opinions, or the condemnation of wrongdoing.  He forbade censoriousness, the spirit of faultfinding that overlooks one’s own shortcomings and sin, [and the attack on and destruction of personal character, which is spiritual- and emotional murder, Mt. 5:22,] while assuming the role of supreme judge in regard to the sins of others.’ – [Spirit Filled Bible.] 

In obedience to the contextual commandments of Jesus, Paul wrote to his epistles to warn believers ‘like the Corinthians, who were deceived into thinking that life-style is relative for believers, that if they willfully and unrepentantly persist in the evils of the wicked, they face the same final danger as the wicked. 

‘His point is to arrest their attention and stop their deception, so he does not address the question as to WHEN such practiced behavior causes saints to cross the line to being ‘disinherited’ in God’s sight, nor does he draw conclusions regarding the issue of believers [as himself,] yet caught in the struggle against sinful habits, but who sincerely desire freedom.’  – [See Rom. 7:7-25, where Paul writes in the first person— S.F. Bible] 


A lack of knowledge and sin were addressed 

The servant-‘elderly’ of Christ’s ecclesia boldly addressed false teaching, widespread greed, idolatry, drunkenness, incest, and sexual immorality among believers.  There were even those among the ecclesia who were supposedly redeemed from paganism, but continued in vile forms of prostitution, (1 Cor. 5 and 6:13-20.) 

Like many of today’s unholy church leaders, cultic leaders among the ecclesia also promised a rapturous afterlife without concern for moral or ethical behavior, (1 Ths. 4:1-8.)  Just as in most modern churches, ‘preference for religious leaders based on their assumed superior wisdom became widespread’, (1 Cor. 1:10-17.)  Furthermore, there were popular philosophers, preaching ‘morality based on ethical systems of behavior’ with little Scriptural foundation -  which sounds a lot like modern Christian psychology, (1 Cor. 1:20-25.)  Consequently, Paul taught that the process of sanctification, which follows the rebirth, [the renewal of the mind, which will result in continual repentance from sin and a lack of knowledge,] is the ‘will of God...  For ALL believers [everyone who sincerely accepted Christ,] can affirm that it is God [Himself, and not the disciples,] Who has given us His Holy Spirit,’ (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Ths. 4:8.) 

Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians also addresses a ‘sectarian spirit, lawsuits, marriage, and divorce among believers, eating of food offered to idols, and fallacies concerning the resurrection of the physical body.’ 

In addition, he attempted to rectify deep flaws in the ‘lively charismatic character of the worship and prophetic activity’ of the ecclesia. 

‘Some of the former pagans had problems in not transferring previous [demonic] experiences to the ministry experience of the Holy Spirit.  They may have associated some of the frenzied antics of paganism with the exercise of spiritual gifts.’  Thus, Paul’s voice still echoes across the centuries, addressing the mad confusion of the modern church as well, when he clearly and plainly explains, ‘Concerning spiritual gifts, [the signs that follow believers, Mark 16:1-18; 1 Cor. 14:22,] I do not want you to be ignorant.  You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols…  Therefore I make known to you…’  and throughout chapters 12-14 he clarifies the source, purpose, ministration, and diversities of the gifts of the Spirit. 

[From: The Amplified Bible; KJV of the Bible; Spirit Filled Bible; Matthew H. Commentary; Readers Digest, ‘Jesus and His Times,’ ‘Great People of the Bible and How they Lived.’] 



Paul wrote most of his epistles during the year AD 50 to AD 60.  When he wrote the epistle to the Romans… ‘Paul had not yet been to Rome, but he had been preaching since AD 36… This epistle is therefore a mature statement of his understanding of the Gospel,’ [as Paul, too, had to grow spiritually through the renewal of his mind, his growing obedience to the Word, and the leading of the Holy Spirit.]  - S.F. Bible. 

As in most modern churches, some of Paul’s so-called ‘new’ teachings did not fit into the chaotic criteria of the early assemblies.  As a result, he wrote a second epistle to the Corinthians, ‘defending his conduct and ministry, addressing the neglect of poor followers in Judea, urging them to give [not tithe!] ‘liberally and cheerfully’ to the poor: (2 Cor. chapters 8-9.) 

In 2 Cor. chapters 10 to 13 Paul even had to focus their attention on the spiritual battle for the mind of men, comparing this battle to the false teachings of the Kingdom-Now cults that were ministering from their midst.  While he was confined and awaiting trial in Rome, Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.  ‘It appears that after these writings, and especially in his epistle to the Colossians, Paul was deeply stirred by an expanding revelation of the [ecclesia.]  Now seeing the [ecclesia] as Christ’s body and as God’s instrument to confound and overthrow evil spiritual powers,’ Paul began to grasp and unveil the full mystery of the body of Christ. He finally began to understand God’s ‘secret intention to form a body to express Christ’s spiritual fullness on earth (Col. 1:15-23.)  To do this by uniting one people, [Jews and gentiles, men and women, slaves and free,] in whom God Himself dwells, (2:11-3:7.)  To equip, empower, and mature [the sincere members of His] body to the end so that they extend Christ’s spiritual victory over evil (3:10-20; 6:12-20.)’  – S.F. Bible. 

No one knows for sure who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, but written before the destruction of the temple in AD 70, ‘this book compares the outdated covenant of the Old  Testament with the covenant of the New Testament.  It presents the High Priestly ministry of Jesus, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek.  Thus, Christ and His NT priesthood, [the entire sincerely born again ecclesia,] did not receive ministry by inheritance (5:5-6,) but by the direct call of God, (Jn. 3:16-17.)  In striving to keep his readers from apostasy, the writer emphasizes the superiority of Christ to all that has gone before in Old Testament times.’ 

The Jewish historian Josephus indicates that James was stoned to death in AD 62.  As if he too, addresses the contemporary church directly, James, [in chapter 2,] rebuked the ‘shameful neglect of the ecclesia’s duties.’  These are the expression of the Royal Law of Love that governs all those who call on the Name of Jesus; the only New Testament Law, the law of giving and self-sacrifice, which will judge us when we have to give account before the throne of Christ -  Mt. 25:31-46. 

Peter wrote his first epistle towards the end of his life in AD 64, when he, too, was maturing spiritually through the renewal of his mind.  Here he ‘encourages believers who are suffering because of their obedience to Christ, and focuses their attention on the [Spiritual] Kingdom of God.’  However, Peter’s second epistle is a fiery apologetic writing, which exposes ‘false teachers WITHIN the fellowships who would lead them into apostasy.  These teachers denied the Lord, exhibited a sensuous lifestyle, and ridiculed the idea of the Lord’s return.’  [Not unlike modern Kingdom-Now preachers, who ‘will even conquer that last enemy, death, ‘restoring’ God’s Kingdom Now on earth before Jesus’ return!’] 

‘These [idolatrous] characteristics fit the Gnostic doctrine, which developed more fully in the second century, but whose roots were fixed during the first century.’ 

John, in his first, second and third epistles, written about AD 90 when John was also near the end of his life, brings the Gospel of Christ entirely into perspective.  As if John, too, is addressing the growing need of modern believers, he focuses on assurance of eternal life through faith in,