Simon Magus became the father of one of the greatest deceptions ever foisted upon mankind. He set out to establish a counterfeit of what he saw the disciples doing. In order to accomplish his new pursuit of self-aggrandizement, he went so far as to take upon himself the name of the chief apostle to the Jewish people, Simon Peter. Since the disciples were establishing a church, he continued his great lie by establishing his own version of Christianity and a different church.
He began to mix his own ideas and past beliefs with what he had witnessed and learned from Peter, John and Phillip. It was from this very moment in time that a counterfeit of the true Church emerged on the scene. Two branches, both calling themselves Christian, began to grow. One would always be small, and it would always be rejected by the world. This small Church was the one, true branch because it was from God and it was sustained by His great power. It is the true Church of God.
The other branch was counterfeit and became filled with pagan rituals and teachings. It was established by Simon (Magus) Peter and it grew and flourished, becoming larger and more popular in the world. God's Church has never greatly flourished; it has not been popular in the world. Many are going to hate this knowledge about a counterfeit tree of Christianity because man resists the truth of God and seeks to hold onto his own ways which are false. It doesn't really matter who gets mad or who hates what is being said. Those with such attitudes are going to have a very difficult road to walk in the next few years before Jesus Christ returns. God is not concerned with the whimpering, irritated and puffed up egos of those who refuse Him and insist on following their own stubborn beliefs in counterfeit Christianity. All counterfeit Christianity is about to be destroyed!
This new church of Simon (Peter) Magus called itself Christian. The traditional Christianity of today has its roots in that great false church.
The true Church of God has continued from the day it began in 31 A.D. It had as its chief apostles, Peter and Paul. Peter was over the portion of the Church that was sent to the Jewish people and Paul was over the other portion that was sent to the gentiles. The Church of God has never been large. God never intended it to be large, since this was not the time for salvation to be given to the world. Only those called out of the world, who were to be trained to become part of God's future government (among the 144,000), were part of the Church of God.
However, the church that began to grow and become large was the one that Simon (Peter) Magus established. By mixing various beliefs of the truth he had heard from the disciples with the false teachings of other religions in the world around him, he made his counterfeit of Christianity attractive to many. Simon was quite clever, as were those who succeeded him, in devising a charismatic religion that would exercise great influence over the fears and superstitions of man.
Human nature does not want the authority of God to rule over it. Human nature does like to worship a god that appeals more to its own nature, one of its own devising, with its own structure of government and authority, along with the power to establish or reject doctrine, and the power to choose whom it wants to convey its ideas and represent its vision to others.
It is by this means that Simon Magus attracted people to his new-found religion. It would be beneficial at this point to consider some of the methods that Simon Magus and his successors used to counterfeit the true Church of God.
God commands man to worship Him on the seventh-day Sabbath. However, during Simon Magus' time, people had their false gods, and the most popular belief at this time concerned the various forms of worship that revolved around ideas of a sun god. The day for such worship was on the first day of the week—Sunday. This is the very means by which the first day of the week derived its name.
Several versions of sun god worship were being followed by different foreign people. In the early stages of this new religion, Simon and his successors adopted some concepts from several of these different nationalities, thus helping to merge them together into one that he called Christianity. Rather than observing the seventh-day command given by God, this new false church incorporated Sunday worship.
The priests of pagan religions loved to receive preeminence and adoration from others, and they loved to exercise religious and political control over the lives of the general population. Large numbers of people were attracted to such ceremony and pomp. People were drawn to the glitter of the wealth that was displayed in buildings, ceremonies and the attire of the priests. This new church followed these same practices, while the true Church of God did not!
God's prophets and ministers were to be shown respect for the position God had given them, but there was never the show of preeminence, grandiose, glittering ceremonies, or even the carrying of religious titles. The prophets and ministers of God's true Church were to serve in humility of spirit never accepting adoration of any form. However, this new false church disobeyed the word of Jesus Christ and took upon itself religious titles as it willingly received the adoration of the populace.
These are some of the very things that Jesus Christ condemned in the teachers of Judaism. God's representatives were not to be like them:
But all their works [Jewish religious teachers] that they do is to be seen of men. They make their phylacteries broad [this referenced apparel worn to signify their eagerness, above other people, to be reminded of the law of God, and their desire for people to see them as being more righteous than others], and enlarge the borders of their garments [an effort to make their garments appear different from others—to look religious]. They love the uppermost rooms at feasts [their motivation was to be seen by others as important], and the chief seats in the synagogues [they thirsted for power and authority over others]. They seek special greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But don't you be called Rabbi [as a religious title] for one is your Master [religious title], even Christ and all of you are brothers. Do not call any man your Father on the earth [as a religious title], for one is your Father who is in heaven. Neither are you to be called Masters, for one is your Master, even Christ. He that is greatest among you shall be your servant [God's prophets and ministers are not to be served, but to serve others]. Whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:5-12) The counterfeit Christianity adopted the practice of the false priests of the pagan religions and that of the teachers of Judaism. They did not adopt the religious title of Rabbi since that was fully Jewish in origin. Instead, they eventually incorporated titles of Father, Reverend and Pastor. The chief title of this new religion belonged to the one who was considered to have preeminence over all others, and that title was Pope [the Father of all Fathers],
God's servants do not use religious titles that belong to God. They do, however, have job descriptions that identify their specific service to God. Some are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, elders, etc., but these descriptions are never to be used as a religious title or personal greeting (address or acknowledgment to be received from others).
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