THE CHURCH AT PERGAMOS (continued from last week)
The “Doctrine of Balaam” is disclosed in the story of Balaam, found in the Book of Numbers, chapters 22 to 25 inclusive. When the children of Israel, on the way to Canaan, had reached the land of Moab, Balak, the king of Moab, sent for Balaam, the son of Beor, who lived at Pethor on the river Euphrates, to come and curse them. When the Lord would not permit Balaam to curse Israel, he suggested to Balak that he invite them to the licentious feasts of “Baal-Peor,” and thus cause Israel to fall into a snare that would so anger the Lord that He would Himself destroy them. This Balak did, and the result was that when the men of Israel went to these sensual feasts and saw the “daughters of Moab,” they committed whoredoms with them which so kindled God’s anger that He sent a plague that destroyed 42,000 of them. Now the word “Pergamos” means “Marriage,” and when the Church entered into a union with the State, it was guilty of “Spiritual Fornication” or “Balaalism.”
The “Balaam Method” that Constantine employed was to give up to the Bishops of the Church a number of imposing buildings called Basilicas for conversion into churches, for whose decoration he was lavish in the gift of money. He also supplied superb vestments for the clergy, and soon the Bishop found himself clad in costly vestments, seated on a lofty throne in the apse of the Basilica, with a marble altar, adorned with gold and gems, on a lower level in front of him. A sensuous form of worship was introduced, the character of the preaching was changed, and the great “Pagan Festivals” were adopted, but with little alteration, to please the Pagan members of the church and attract Pagans into the church. For illustration as the Winter Solstice falls on the 21st day of December, which is the shortest day of the year, and it is not until the 25th that the day begins to lengthen, which day was regarded throughout the Heathen world as the “birthday” of the Sun-God,” and was a high festival, which was celebrated at Rome by the “Great Games” of the Circus. It was found advisable to change the birthday of the Son of God, from April, in which time He was probably born, to December 25th, because as He was the “Sun of Righteousness,” what more appropriate could He have than the birthday of the Pagan “Sun-God?” It was at this time that “Post Millennial Views” had its origin. As the Church had become rich and powerful, it was suggested that by the union of the Church and State a condition of affairs would develop that would usher in the Millennium without the return of Christ. This period extends from the accession of Constantine A.D. 312 to A.D. 606 with Boniface III was crowned “Universal Bishop.”
We are now having our services inside the building. While we are still broadcasting our morning service over W.E.B.Q. at 10:00AM, our Sunday School will start at 9:00. Be sure and plan on attending each service. There is nothing more important than coming to church on the Lord’s day. We all want the Lord’s blessing in our life, but we must put Him first in order to have His blessing. After all He has done for those who are His, the most we can do is keep what He has commanded us to do, by coming together on the Lord’s day every Sunday.