Tares Among The Wheat Part 2 of 3 A Lamp in the Dark
Tares Among The Wheat
Part 2 of 3
A Lamp in the Dark part 2 of 3
Tares Among The Wheat
For nearly 2000 years the world has been turned upside down over what can only be called the most controversial book of all time. To its critics the Bible is merely a combination of myth and legend mingled with history, but for those who believe in its sacred writings it is the inspired and inerrant word of God. A divine record that not only tells the way by which men get to heaven, but also warns of an eternal judgment for those who reject the light of truth found within.
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Tares Among The Wheat
Part 2 of 3
Sheep among wolves
After he was crucified and raised from the dead the followers of Jesus Christ went into all the world. To the Jews first and then to the Gentiles, they preach that Jesus is the true Messiah, and that he suffered for the sins of men according to the writings of the Holy Scripture.
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
But Jesus himself had said to his disciples I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. The Apostles also warned believers about seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and of certain men who would creep into the church with deception and lies.
2Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Through the Middle Ages many of the Reformers came to believe that these warnings pertained to the rise of the Roman Church. In the book of Revelation they saw the picture of Rome’s apostasy presented as an unfaithful woman sitting atop a seven-headed beast:
‘And upon her forehead was a name written Mystery Babylon the Great the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth and I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus’
Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
But the Roman Church did not rise up overnight, it came about one step at a time through the early centuries. If you look at your early church history you had five Patriarchate’s that came into being, Antioch, Jerusalem Alexandria, Constantinople, and Rome, so you had five main church centers over the first couple of hundred years, but Alexandria fell and Jerusalem and Antioch also fell early on so you’re left with Constantinople and Rome.
You had those two but Rome gained the ascendancy in the West. There they’re developed, by the 4th 5th 6th century, controversies among all the bishops in various parts of the world, especially Europe and in the Middle East. And whenever there was a controversy some court had to decide what the answer is and many problems that arose early on theological problems would then be sent to Rome to be looked at and to give answers.
While the New Testament church had begun in ancient Jerusalem and spread throughout the Gentile world, somehow the leadership of Rome dominated as the chief Oracle in matters of debate. You have to remember the history of Rome, the Roman Empire was a great Empire for hundreds of years and the Pope’s became the heirs to that kind of power.
In the 5th century one of the most well known doctors of the early church Augustine of Hippo would make reference to a conflict that arose between certain African bishops. Augustine wrote: “In this matter two councils have already sent letters to the Apostolic See, and from thence rescripts have come back, the cause is finished.”
What Augustine was saying in that very famous statement, he was saying this: if Rome makes a decision, that settles it. So they needed a court and the prestige of the Empire was in the city of Rome by Augustine at time and so that’s all he’s saying, he said: when we have an issue, when we have a difference of opinion let’s turn to Rome.
In the centuries that followed Augustine’s statement would be paraphrased by the Pope’s and doctors of the Roman Church. His words were taken to mean: “Rome has spoken the matter is closed”. In other words, if the Church of Rome sets forth an opinion all other churches must obey.
Then in the fifth century the ancient empire suffered its decline and fell as it was sacked by the barbarian tribes that would reduce the city of Seven Hills to ruin.
Rome was overrun by the Huns and Attila the Hun, and the whole system of the Empire was defeated and the Pope’s began to take the place of the ancient Caesars, and they came to take over not only spiritual leadership but also political leadership. And so Rome from then on grasped more and more power and that’s how the papacy really came into being.
While the papacy did not spring up overnight and there were many events that led to its development, is the date most often looked to by Protestant historians, 606 ad, when the Roman Emperor Focas named pope Boniface the third the universal Bishop over all the Christian churches, this is when the papal power was said to be officially established in Rome.
For a man to say that he is the true leader of all Christianity is not only unbiblical but it goes completely against God’s word and it opens the door for a control system to be set up that can control the world that Satan can use. So I would say that this concept of a pope from the beginning was Satan’s plan for a man to manipulate the church in the name of Christ, but set up a system of antichrist or anti-christian belief system.
Once the papal system came into being and it was clear that it represented an apostate system that combined pagan teachings and traditions with worldly politics all under the mask of Christianity, you had Christians then that fell into two categories, there were those who followed after the teachings of the Pope and the Church of Rome, and then you had those who were known throughout history as Bible believers who kept themselves separate from Rome and were determined to base their faith on the Scriptures alone without any kind of man-made doctrines or sacred counsels which they had in the Roman system .
It was because they rejected the pope’s claims of authority that many Bible believers were persecuted in the early centuries. English author Adrian Hilton writes that: “The Roman pseudo Christianity caused many faithful believers to flee into the mountains of Europe and Asia Minor to escape persecution and death. And there they continued, away from the world’s view, as the true Church of Christ.”
These groups in many cases opposed Rome, they usually looked upon Rome as the antichrist, they looked upon the mass as blasphemy, they didn’t believe in the priesthood of Rome and many other of the teachings of Rome, they repudiated and claimed that they went back to the early church, particularly the Waldensians or the Vallenses, they claimed they were the true church, they did they didn’t separate from Rome but Rome separated from them.
There were Christians around who did not always see eye-to-eye with the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, in fact there were a number of them.
Do you believe these earlier groups, the Waldensians & Albigenses where Christians?
Yeah many of them were, I’ve read their writings and studied their history and they were willing to die for their faith. The Paulicians also go back into Armenia and other places way back as early as the fourth century. They believed also they were continuing the true church and they opposed everything about the papal Church and looked upon it as the antichrist. The belief that these earlier groups were in fact Christians was held by nearly all of the Reformers including men like John Wickliffe, Martin Luther, John Calvin and many others.
In fact many Christians are familiar with the idea of America as a city on a hill, well that speech was originally given by Governor John Winthrop who was one of the founders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and as he and the other Puritans came to the new world he gave this speech about America or they themselves as a city on a hill, but at the beginning of that speech he makes reference to the Waldenses as an example of Christian charity.
In his speech Winthrop said: “We are a company professing ourselves fellow members of Christ, we ought to account ourselves knit together by this bond of love, and live in the exercise of it, this was notorious in the practice of the Christians in former times, as as testified of the Waldenses. They used to love any of their own religion, even before they were acquainted with them.”
Nevertheless modern histories continue to report that these early Bible believers were heretics who believed in occult doctrines.
What do you say to people who present those modern historic arguments?
I would say first of all that a lot of our history comes from Rome, we have to recognize that. It was Gibbon who said that when the wars are fought the victors tell the story, i am not giving his words exactly, but that’s the gist of what he says. He says in other words: it is the victors who tell the story. So if you’re a defeated Christian small group then your story is told from the standpoint of those who conquered you. And Pelikan the modern American scholar says; and there is no other way many times to tell the story.
The common charge against the Waldenses and Albigenses is that these groups held two unorthodox ideas about God and that they were guilty of what was called the ‘Manichean heresy’.
The Manicheans were dualists, they believed in a god of good and a god of evil, and that was one of the great heresies of the church. In time the word Manichean came to be a general term for heresy but did not necessarily mean that a person actually believed the doctrines of the Manicheans.
When Martin Luther began the Reformation the synod accused him of being a Manichaean, in fact modern historian S.J. Barnett writes that: “During and after the Reformation, Catholic propagandists hoped to undermine the legitimacy of Protestantism, Catholic apologists usually designated Luther and Calvin as manichean heretics from the 3rd century dualist heresy.”
When they couldn’t find anything wrong with a so called heretic they would charge them with Manichean-ism because that was that was always punishable by death, so if they couldn’t find out that you were a heretic in some other way then I would just charge you as being a Manichean and that way I could put you to death and I didn’t have to prove a whole lot of other things against you so that was one of the tactics of Rome, it was to charge whatever groups were being charged, with whatever heresies they were being investigated for, to charge them with Manichean-ism so that the their case could be made easier and they could be shown to be true heretics so you cannot take a lot of the information that we get. You have to certainly investigate it thoroughly to find out what these groups believed.
They refused to acknowledge the dogmas or the ideas or the doctrines that were being promoted by man that weren’t biblical, and so they took a biblical position and because of the biblical position they were persecuted. As we said earlier most of the reformers believed that the charges of heresy against these earlier groups were falsely created by Rome to justify her persecutions.
Yet most Protestant historians believed that the Waldensians and the Albigenses were forerunners of the Reformation. 19th century historian William Jones wrote: “That to justify the Waldenses and Albigenses is indeed to defend the Reformation and Reformers, they having so long before us with an exemplary courage, labored to preserve the Christian religion in its ancient purity which the Church of Rome all this while has endeavored to abolish.”
To be more specific it would be more accurate to say that the pope’s have endeavored to abolish biblical Christianity in favour of a religious system of their own making. And because of this they have seen the Bible as their chief enemy and this is the reason why they outlawed it from being read by the common people.
Throughout history they gave different pronouncements, saying that you can’t give these holy things to the swine, and to use that scriptures is completely bogus, pearls before swine doesn’t have anything to do with giving the life-giving scripture to the people, but the Roman Catholic Church just looked at the looked at the common man as pigs who could not possibly understand the scriptures.
Because of this Martin Luther and eventually the rest of the Reformers came to believe that the pope was the fulfillment of biblical warnings concerning the greatest enemy of Christ. If you make a study of the life of Luther you’ll find that there was a very slow transition from 1517 when he nailed the 95 theses to the door to about the Year 1520, so that’s only a matter of three years, but from someone who thought he was being faithful to the church, even though it was the Roman Church, to the time he gets to 1520 and there’s a bull which actually excommunicates him, he turns and he actually says that I am convinced now that the pope sitting on the throne there in Rome is the Antichrist. Because he was so contrary, his power and is teaching, so contrary to the basic truths of the gospel.
Luther and many others preached the gospel of grace and brought forth the Protestant Reformation, but their chief obstacle was the conflict between the biblical teaching of salvation by faith in Christ as a free gift from God versus Rome’s teaching of a work salvation based on the rituals of the Catholic church.
The Roman church had been teaching for 500 years or longer that a man is saved by his works, and at some of the contemporary scholars say: you’re wrong, because the medieval theologians did believe, that the power, or they called it the: Potentia Absoluta, the absolute power of God can save a soul by grace through faith, yeah they did say that, but then they said: yeah but thats the Potentia Ordinata of God. And you’ll say well what is that? Well while God could that because he’s absolutely sovereign, that’s not the method he ordained, the method he ordained was the church and the ordinances or the sacraments, and through the sacraments of a man, and the terms are very clear you have to … .. . .. thats Latin: for a man has to do, and within himself, what he has to do to prepare himself for what’s called the merit of congruity, and when he does that then God comes in with a merit of con-dignity. So it’s a very complicated process and that still believed today, and yet it goes back to the Middle Ages. Because you’re building up a storehouse of merit and that’s the whole system. Is that basically: works righteousness? Yeah that’s exactly what it is.
While such debates might seem tedious in the modern world, to the people of the Middle Ages the understanding of salvation was quite literally a matter of life and death. Centuries later, the doctrine of work salvation through sacraments and rituals continues in the Church of Rome today, where more than 1 billion Catholics follow the teachings of the pope.
To deceive 1 billion people about their eternal destiny I think you cannot get a greater lie than that nor a greater misrepresentation of the scripture when it says that Christ has purged our sins, when he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
And in the Latin Vulgate, purgatory, it’s the very same route from which Catholics get purgatory, but the Bible teaches nothing about purgatory, the Bible teaches that Christ has purged our sins and taken our sins in his own body on the tree that we might go free and be pardoned and not have to go to some purgatorial fires to get our sins purged away, so it’s a blasphemy against the cross work of Christ and the resurrection of Christ that assures us that our sins have been forgiven and that we stand justified before God through the cross, work, death and resurrection of Christ.
To oppose the papal teaching the Reformers declared that salvation was by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
John Fox and the Reformers, they rediscovered, beginning with Martin Luther, ‘The just shall live by faith’. And to prove their doctrine they were determined to make the Bible available to all men. Martin Luther took Erasmus his 1519 Greek New Testament and he translated his September Bible of 1522 and they were sold as quick as they could come off the printing press and people began reading it and realized that Rome was telling them lies and they began trusting Jesus Christ. Hence you had the start of the Reformation in in Germany there.
From Germany Luther’s teachings spread to England and would influence William Tyndale the man whose mission would be to ensure that even a common plowboy read the word of God. William Tyndale started reading the word of God, he had a desire for the people to have the word of God and so the Reformation just breaks out, and Roman Catholicism, the Catholics, they can’t put a lid on it because once the people get the Bible in their own language the Bible says you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free, and people started getting this huge burden of sin off of their shoulders.
I think of Thomas Bilney, Thomas Bilney he thought he was the Judas of his generation and so he thought he would do something that was worthy of betrayal, so he went out and secretly bought a Erasmus New Testament and he opened it to first Timothy where Paul says he’s the chiefest of sinners, and that Christ came into the world to die for them, he says if God can forgive Paul, he can forgive me, he was gloriously saved.
And let me tell you, he went to confession, and he goes and confesses to Hugh Latimer and tells father Latimer, he tells him: father I’ve sinned, I went and bought this Greek New Testament and I read about how Jesus Christ forgives sins and I’ve trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.
And Latimer says in his own words, reading in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (Edited by Forbush): “I learned more that day from that confession of Thomas Bilney that I had learned in 20 years of studying the scripture.” It happened to be the Hugh Latimer comes to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, so as the the word of God gets out, it’s like a fire, and people read it and they’re set free. And Thomas Bilney says: “It was like it was sweeter than eating fresh honey out of the honeycomb” as he’s talking about the Scriptures, even it’s said of William Tyndale that he was a man who was singularly addicted to the scriptures.
Like William Tyndale, Thomas Bilney and Hugh Latimer would both be condemned by the church of Rome and were burned at the stake for their faith in the word of God.
Nevertheless their sacrifice was not in vain as their deaths and those of many others inspired countless souls across Europe to turn from Rome and embrace the true gospel.
Ian Paisley: “Toen zij de heiligen van God aan het verbranden waren, ‘God zij dank’, brandde het Evangelie met machtig vuur.”
Catholicism had kept them oppressed and suppressed and they had kept them under a bondage of guilt, and Jesus Christ through the Scriptures sets them free, the Holy Spirit used the Holy word of God to set him free.
But this freedom would not be proclaimed without consequence. The Church of Rome responded with its own counter-attack.
To understand what the Vatican did next we have to realize the tremendous impact that the Reformation had, Protestant historian J.A. Wylie wrote that the Reformation had transformed whole countries all over Europe and it would ultimately change the world.
Wiley wrote that: “Advancing over all opposition, this great religious revival not yet half a century old had acquired a strength and a breath truly amazing. From the little Saxon town of Wittenberg, it had spread itself out comprehending the powerful kingdoms of Saxony, Pomerania, Poland, Bohemia, Hungary and Transylvania the Reformation had been welcomed by Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and the Netherlands. Its career had been one of unimpeded, continuous victory. The south and west of France were Protestant, and the supremacy of the Reformation seemed all but certain. Of the countries of Western Europe, only two, Italy and Spain, now remained with the Pope.”
They didn’t take Martin Luther seriously at first nor did they take his movement very seriously but as it began to spread they realized they had a real fight on their hands so to speak.
In 1540 the Pope commissioned a former Spanish soldier named Ignatius Loyola to form a military company of priests within the Catholic Church, their chief purpose was to launch a Counter Reformation to destroy the work of the Reformers and bring the Protestant churches back under the authority of the pope. They were named the ‘Society of Jesus’ or as their enemies called them the Jesuits.
Malachi Martin the great Roman Catholic writer would practically call them the stormtroopers of the papacy. Their idea was to defeat the Protestant churches there that were going on throughout Europe at the time of the Reformation, and then to continue that work in education, the forming of universities, colleges, seminaries, all across America and across Europe. So the Jesuits really have been engaged in just about every kind of activity known to man. Educational and subversive intrigue and many of people have said they were linked to assassinations, so the counter-reformation involved wars, sieges, everything under the Sun to try to defeat Protestantism.
But the key point of contention was the Bible it was how the Reformers understood the scripture and preached to the population at large that was the greatest threat to Rome.
‘They are dangerous, dangerous to everything that we believe as a Catholic Church, and we got to do something to stop it.’
With the printing press the Bible was being translated and duplicated at unprecedented rates throughout Europe. There was a rash of Bible translation and Bible publication and it all came to a screeching halt after the King James Version of the Bible. Virtually all translation stops, there was such a flurry from 1526 until 1611, it was so meticulously done by people who believed that God had inspired his word.
The King James translation would in time be considered the crowning achievement of the Protestant Reformation and would come to symbolize all that the martyrs had suffered, for the word of God. But because of its association with the reformation, something the Vatican saw as an act of rebellion against her authority, the King James Version would come to be hated by Rome. That is the fruit of the Reformation that the Jesuits want to destroy above all because until they do that they cannot be sure of getting indeed the entire world and especially England back under the thrall of the popery.
In 1825 the Jesuits meeting in Chieri Italy (1825) declared their intention to seize control of the Bible, as part of their centuries-old plan to bring all the world under the power of Rome. If you study the Jesuits in history you discover that they operate more like an intelligence community like the CIA or MI6 rather than a religious order, and they are primarily the supporters of what is called papist or Romanist doctrine and this is the belief that Rome should govern the whole world. It does not necessarily apply to all Catholics, because many Catholics don’t agree with it, but papist doctrine is essentially the belief that because the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and he stands in the place of Christ himself and because Christ is the King of kings therefore the pope should have the authority to reign over all the kings and princes on planet Earth. And it is this doctrine that led to nearly all the wars of old Europe.
Even in the late 19th century Rome’s plan for world Dominion was known and documented among English churchmen. In 1888 a meeting of the Protestant missions in London warned that: “The missionary program of the Vatican doubt it who may, embraces the conversion of Britain and the United States of America, and through them the subjugation of the whole world.”
The Jesuit Plan
To accomplish their aims the Jesuits deemed it necessary to take control of the Bible, because the Bible exposes all of the the lies and the false doctrines of the papacy it has always been hated by Rome. And they’ve admitted repeatedly that the teaching of Scripture contradicts the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, and so once you realized that that’s the real conflict, it’s between the authority of the Pope versus the authority of the Bible, and at that point the Jesuit doctrines begin to make a lot more sense.
In modern times the Jesuit view of the Bible was exposed by dr. Ian Paisley the former First Minister of Northern Ireland who has spent decades fighting against Rome’s influence in his own country.
Ian Paisley: “We are not responsible for the violence, the violence comes from the Roman Catholic church.”
Calling himself a historic Protestant, Paisley has continually protested the authority of the pope both politically and theologically.
Ian Paisley: “Monster! We zullen niet voor hem (de paus) buigen! Ik wil zeggen dat deze wafel, nadat het is ingewijd, leert de kerk van Rome dat het het fysieke lichaam, botten en bloed van Jesus Christus is. Jesus Christus offerde aan het kruis één keer, een volledig en compleet, en om nooit meer te herhalen, offer voor zonden. En hij komt niet naar beneden uit de hemel door de woorden van een priester als een koekje om keer op keer opnieuw te betalen voor zondaars.”
In more recent years Ian Paisley spoke openly on European radio, exposing a document that reveals the Jesuits view of the Bible versus the authority of the pope: “Bishop Wordsworth, an eminent Church of England divine uncovers the secrecy of the Jesuits in the exposure of a document, used by them in their early days to compel Protestants to submit the Mother Church. ‘Roman Catholic confession: Publicly prescribed and proposed to Protestants on their admission to the Roman Catholic Church. We confess that we have been brought from heresy, to the first living Roman Catholic faith by the singular care of our supreme governors, and by the diligence and aid of our masters the fathers of the Order of Jesuits and we desire to certify this by our vows to the world at large. We confess it whatever new thing the Pope ordains, whether it be in Scripture are not in Scripture, and whatever he commands is divine and therefore ought to be held by lay people in greater esteem than the precepts of the Living God. We confess that the reading of Holy Scripture is the origin of heresy, and schism, and the source of blasphemy. We confess that Holy Scripture is imperfect, and a dead letter until it is explained by the supreme pontiff, and annoyed by him to be read by the laity. We confess and assert, that the Pope is our most holy father, is to be obeyed in all things, without any exception and that such heretics as contravene his orders, are not only to be burned but to be delivered body and soul to hell.”
Since the Middle Ages the Jesuits core agenda has had to do with compelling their followers to renounce the authority of the Bible in favor of the authority of the pope. Then in the 19th century their movement gained momentum and through their textual critics they insisted that the Bible was a flawed book and they said about trying to prove all the flaws they could to the world. And at the same time they officially declared through Vatican Council one that the pope was infallible, so their message was clear don’t trust the Bible trust the pope, the Bible’s a flawed book the pope is infallible, and so this brought everything full circle to the conflict that had been raging for hundreds of years throughout the Middle Ages and that’s ultimately what their meeting in Chieri Italy was all about.
The information discussed by Jesuit leaders in Chieri was published in 1848 by a former Jesuit initiate named Jacopo Leone, his book was titled ‘The Jesuit conspiracy, The secret plan of the order’. In it he claimed to have overheard the plans of Jesuit leaders and was compelled to write down the information and publish it as a warning to the rest of the world. Leone wrote specifically of how the Jesuits intended to take control of the Bible.
‘Then the Bible, that serpent which, with head erect and eyes flashing fire, threatens us with its venom, shall be changed again into a rod, as soon as we are able to seize it. Oh then mysterious rod we will not again suffer thee to escape from our hands. For you know but too well that for three centuries past, this cruel asp has left us no repose. You well know with what folds it entwines us, and with what fangs it gnaws us!’
‘Dan zal de Bijbel, die slang die ons met opgeheven hoofd en flitsende ogen van vuur met zijn gif bedreigt, weer in een stok veranderen zodra we hem kunnen grijpen. O, dan mysterieuze stok, we zullen niet meer toestaan dat u uit onze handen ontsnapt. Want je weet maar al te goed dat gedurende de afgelopen drie eeuwen deze wrede adder ons geen rust heeft gelaten. Je weet heel goed met welke kudde hij ons verstrengelt, en met welke hoektanden hij aan ons knaagt! ‘
According to Leonie one of the jesuits openly admitted that the Scriptures do not support the Roman Catholic faith, speaking of the Bible he said: “If I may tell you openly what I think of this book, it is not at all for us it is against us. I do not wonder at the invincible obstinacy it engenders in all those who regard its verses as inspired. In the simplicity of youth I fully expected on opening the New Testament to find there the authority of a superior chief in the church, the worship of the Virgin, the mass, purgatory, relics, but in every page I found my expectations disappointed. At last after having read at least six times over that little book, I was forced to acknowledge to myself that it actually sets forth a system of religion, altogether different.”
What this Jesuit priest acknowledged all the way back in the nineteenth century is the same thing that the Reformers acknowledged. They noticed that the teachings of the Bible and the teachings of the pope were dramatically different. The difference is that the Reformers chose to follow the Bible while the Jesuits chose to fight against it on behalf of the traditions and power of the Catholic Church.
The view of the Jesuits toward the Bible could be likened to that of the ancient Pharisees 2,000 years ago who opposed Christ. As Jesus said of them:
Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
And again he said:
Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
At their meeting in Chieri in 1825 the Jesuits discussed the methods to be used in their ongoing Counter Reformation and their plan for the subversion of the Bible. They said specifically that: “A few breaches made in Protestantism – whether these conversions proceeded from genuine motives or whether they be determined by advantageous offers, which shall not be spared if the person be worth the trouble we ought by every possible means, to secure the aid of modern thinkers if they can be induced to write at all in our favor, let us pay them well either in money or in laudation”
The Jesuits since the Middle Ages have been known for seducing people outside the Catholic Church even members of Protestant churches and making deals with them to help the cause of Rome. And this was especially revealed in the 19th century during what was called the Oxford movement in England, and it was in the wake of this movement that the Vatican really pushed to try and take control of the Bible, and that’s why it’s so important to understand what the Oxford movement was all about.
In 1833 the Oxford movement started, perhaps not without significance that we’re not only looking at what Rome is doing, we have to consider that the Lord Himself will being bring judgment on a nation that forsakes him and and forsakes the the word of God. The Oxford movement was an attempt, effectively, to romanize the Church of England and to get the Church of England away from the scriptures and from the King James Bible and back to the ritualistic practices of Rome, now it was done in a very subtle manner and it really typifies the Jesuit approach of Bishop Autun is: “above all, not too much zeal”, and it tried to portray the true position of the Church of England as a sort of a middle-of-the-road organization but at the same time it it did promote what it called: ‘a high view of the sacraments’.
So that, although it professed to be against what it regarded as extreme Protestant, so to say Bible believing evangelicals, and also what it regarded as extreme Romanism say the persecutions of by Catholicism, the Inquisition perhaps, nevertheless it’s sought gradually by publications of what we call, ‘Tracts for the times’, to give a favorable view to things like the Roman Mass.
In 1898, a man named Walter Walsh published a book titled: The secret history of the Oxford movement. In it he writes about the activities of the Jesuits in England, he recorded the testimony of a former Catholic priest who told him: “In England there are a greater number of Jesuits than in Italy, there are Jesuits in all classes of society; in Parliament; among the English clergy, among the Protestant laity, even in the higher stations.”
He went on to say: “I could not comprehend how a Jesuit could be a Protestant or how a Protestant could be a Jesuit, but my confessor silenced my scruples by telling me that st. Paul became as a Jew that he might save the Jews it was no wonder, therefore, if a Jesuit should feign himself a Protestant for the conversion of Protestants.”
Within less than 20 years after the Oxford movement another movement began in the world of biblical scholarship, that would almost completely transform the understanding of the Bible. This transformation would be affected by men who were of the Protestant profession but strangely worked in cooperation with Rome.
The Higher Critics
Prior to the 19th century, Protestant scholars depended on a collection of Greek manuscripts that had come into Europe after the fall of Constantinople, in 1453. Collectively these manuscripts would form the foundation of the new testament Greek used by the Reformers, by men like William Tyndale, Martin Luther, the Geneva Bible Translators and the translation team for the King James Version of 1611.
These Greek manuscripts were collated first by Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus would lay the foundation for the traditional text and further the belief that the scripture should be read by all people.
Translated to French to English to German, because it was very important for Erasmus that everybody could read the Bible in his own language he produced five editions of his translation: in 1516, 1519,1522, 1529 and 1535. All the edition was published in Basel.
The Erasmus 1522 was really revolutionary because here we have in this column just beautiful artwork, but in this column you have the Greek, and what Erasmus did that really blew people out of the water, most people could not read Greek back then but many of them could read Latin, the scholars could read Latin. He took the Greek and he translated it into Latin so many people had their eyes open because they started reading Erasmus new translation of the Latin from the Greek and they found out that it was completely different than what they had in the Latin Vulgate of the Roman Catholic Church. You see here MDXXII, that is 1522, so this is a Erasmus his 2nd edition or 3rd edition?, this is Erasmus’s 3rd edition it is the foundation for Textus Receptus, then we come to Luke, again, the Latin and the Greek that Erasmus had translated, we can go all the way back to the apocalypse, this is this is ‘the Acts of the Apostles’ right here but it of course goes all the way through, page after page after page, there we go, the apocalypse Revelation.
The work begun by Erasmus would be later continued by Robert Stephens, who’s 1550 Greek Edition would be used for the Geneva Bible. In time his work would be furthered by the famed Calvinist scholar Theodore Beza.
Theodore Beza his 1598 greek new testament was chiefly used for the King James Version of 1611. But it would be some years later that the Elzevirs brothers in Holland would publish the work even further and give the Reformers Greek its official name. In the introduction of their 1633 Edition they wrote: “What you have here is the text which is now received by all in which, we give nothing changed or corrupted.”
Hence the Greek of the Protestant Reformation would become known as Textus Receptus, the received text, so that becomes the standard Greek for Protestant scholars and remain so for nearly 300 years. But in the 19th century a German scholar named Constantin von Tischendorf would publish what would become known as the most ancient biblical manuscript ever recovered, his discovery would turn the world of Bible scholarship upside down convincing many that his manuscript was a lost version of the Bible.
You have to go back before that with German higher criticism, they developed a theory called: The recension theory, and in this Recension theory they say that the Bible Bible was lost, the recension theory was introduced by a man named Johann Semler in the 18th century, one of his disciples Jakob Griesbach would popularize his theory among German intellectuals.
Both Semler and Griesbach held to unorthodox views of Christianity to say the least. Semler is known as the father of German rationalism and he clearly influenced Griesbach. Rationalism in Germany is very much like the Enlightenment in France, where they rejected the idea of the divinity of Christ because they rejected the supernatural elements of the Bible: The virgin birth, Christ being raised from the dead, him ascending into heaven, and so on, all of that to them in France it was unreasonable, because of the reason movement, well in Germany it was irrational hence the term rationalism so they believed it was irrational to believe those things so they rejected them, and this was the view of both Semler and Griesbach.
So Semler and Griesbach were two men who essentially rejected the gospel, and the rationalism that they were known for took hold in Germany and Germany then became the epicenter for higher criticism against the Bible.
The concentration of activity in Germany is believed to have been the working of the Jesuits. Whose aim was to destroy the confidence of Protestants in the inerrancy of Scripture. This was acknowledged by Dr. Ian Paisley who had this to say about the ongoing war, waged by Rome and the Jesuits against the Bible:
Ian Paisley: “And it’s not the word of man, it’s the word of God. Now, of course Rome used to burn the Bibles. She used to burn the people that translated them, she used to burn the people that read them, but that didn’t succeed. So, she decided upon another scheme, that she would place her Jesuit priests in the training of Protestant ministers. And so, into the universities of Germany, Rome sat at work the whole structure of unbelieving higher criticism. And she had in the universities man who sought to destroy belief in the Bible. And we became cursed with what was known as: higher criticism. And young man that had their faith in the Bible destroyed in the universities, and in the training colleges. And so the man that came out to be ordained didn’t believe the Book! They didn’t believe the creeds of the Church. They didn’t believe in the historic Christian faith. And they set to work to destroy the faith.”
With that spirit of of textual criticism and non belief in the inspiration of the word of God, and looking at the Bible just like any other book, scholars and even, quote ‘Christian scholars’, began to follow that line.
Textual criticism in the proper sense is not necessarily a bad thing, textual criticism is the word that has used to assess the value of one Greek manuscript over another, that’s what it is its, it’s bringing two manuscripts together and showing which is the one to go with, and which is the one not to go with.
The practice of textual criticism began in the Middle Ages and grew out of the conflicts between Rome and the Protestant Reformation. It is most often traced to a 17th century scholar named Richard Simon. He’s the one who is alleged to have really begun this whole process, he is called the father of textual criticism, he was a French Roman Catholic priest.
In the world today textual criticism can mean several different things depending on who’s using that term and how it’s being applied. You have textual criticism in the ordinary sense which is simply a process of going through ancient manuscripts collating them and trying to remove any errors and trying to figure out what the original text was and what it should be. Then you have what is known as higher criticism, which is where you give a historical analysis of the manuscripts and then you begin to question whether or not Moses could have really written the book of Genesis or whether Peter could have written the epistles ascribed to him, and you begin to question the authorship and the historical nature of the Bible, and this was the process that is usually traced to Richard Simon.
Simon entered the priesthood in 1670, he was initially educated by Jesuit priests, and then later at the Sorbonne in Paris, he would go on to enter the congregation of the Oratory, the purpose of the Oratory was said to be: “To interpose a barrier to the continuous and disquieting progress of Protestantism.”
All of the orders that Simon was involved with whether the Jesuits or the Sorbonne in Paris and then the Oratory, they were all involved in variant forms of the counter-reformation, they were all looking for different ways to try and overthrow the Protestant movement.
Yet Simon’s focus was guided by the Jesuits from the beginning. It was they who laid the foundation for Simon’s work through one of their original members Alfonso Salmeron who had joined with Ignatius Loyola in 1534.
We read that: “Salmeron paved the way for Richard Simon the Jesuits introduced into Catholic reading of the Bible the parameters of time, place, context and semantic structures.”
The idea of applying principles of time and context don’t necessarily sound like a bad thing until you realise how they were being used as weapons to try and undermine the Bible. One example was a book that was written by another Roman Catholic named Isaac la Peyrere during the same era. And he had written a book called: Men Before Adam, in 1655, in which he argued that supposedly a new information, scientific data, that had come to light from Greenland and China and so on, that proved that men lived on the earth as far back as 50.000 B.C. thus throwing into jeopardy the traditional date for creation and Genesis which goes back to about 4000 B.C.
We read that: “La Peyrere deployed the hypothesis of men before Adam in order to attack the Calvinist method of interpreting scripture according to the literal sense.”
So the idea of higher criticism which grew out of this movement, and is also called historic criticism. The idea behind it is to arrange certain dates in history around the Bible in such a way to make it appear that the Bible is not a historically accurate book and therefore cannot possibly be the inspired inerrant word of God, that’s the whole point of it.
La Peyrere his work would have a powerful influence over Richard Simon who would further the assault against reformed teaching. We read that: “Simon sharpened historical criticism into a weapon that could be used in the attack on Protestantism’s most fundamental error: the doctrine of Sola scriptura.
Sola scriptura was one of the mottos of the Reformation and it means: only the scripture. And it’s the idea that the Christian faith should be based on the teachings of the Bible alone without any interference with the doctrines or teachings of men and it’s in contrast to the Roman Catholic teaching which says that church tradition should govern the understanding of the Bible even if the two disagree.
In defense of his Catholic faith Richard Simon wrote that: “The great changes that have taken place in the manuscripts of the Bible since the first originals were lost completely destroy the principle of the Protestants. If tradition is not joined to scripture, there is hardly anything in religion that one can confidently affirmed”.
But the Bible says of itself that the Scriptures alone are sufficient for the spiritual needs of all believers. The Apostle Paul wrote that:
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
Furthermore God promises that he will preserve his words eternally and that they cannot be lost. The psalmist writes:
Psalm 119:160 Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.
John 10:35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
1 Peter 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
And in many ways you can define the conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism as a conflict between the authority of the pope versus the authority of the Bible, and this is the whole reason why the Bible came to be known as the paper pope of Protestantism, that was the name given to it by the Catholic. And these arguments against the Bible were especially active in the 19th century during the same era that Constantine von Tischendorf went searching for his ancient texts.
The hostility of Catholics toward the Protestant Bible was written of by 19th century historian John Dowling in his book ‘The burning of the Bible’s’. Where he documented how Catholics in Champlain, New York were burning Bibles in America back in 1843.
The beliefs of Catholics during the 19th and early 20th century can be shown by the teaching of Cardinal James Gibbons pictured here with President Theodore Roosevelt. Gibbons was the Archbishop of Baltimore and in his book: ‘Faith of our fathers’ he wrote: “Now the Scriptures alone do not contain all the truths which a Christian is bound to believe because they do not contain all the truths necessary for salvation.”
A similar view had been espoused in England by Cardinal John Henry Newman, perhaps the leading Catholic apologist of the 19th century. Speaking of the Bible he said: “Surely the sacred volume was never intended to teach us our Creed. And from the first it has been the error of heretics to attempt of themselves a work to which they are unequal, the eliciting of a systematic doctrine from the scattered notices of truth which scripture contains.”
Essentially what Newman is saying is that the error of the heretics so-called, was that they followed the example of the ancient Bereans who searched the Scriptures daily to test the things that they were hearing and this is something that the Church of Rome has always discouraged.
One of Newman’s contemporaries was a renowned priest named Thomas Edward Bridget who said that true faith was: “A surrender of the mind, to a living authority, known to be divine not a puzzle over documents, with doubt about correct interpretation.”
Even the modern Catholic Encyclopedia openly declares that: “The supremacy of the Bible as source of faith is unhistorical, illogical, fatal to the virtue of faith, and destructive of unity.”
So we see that Rome’s view of the Bible has not changed in a thousand years, the Reformers in their day we’re trying to recover the ancient scripture in such a way that they can have a full understanding of the word of God. But in contrast the Church of Rome went about looking for weaknesses in the text so that the Protestant doctrine of ‘Sola Scriptura’ could be overthrown. That’s the difference.
They were losing people very rapidly because of the text that was preserved by the priesthood of believers, because they were losing people from the Roman Catholic see, from their authority they had to do something to counter that influence.
But while they were fighting against ‘Sola Scriptura’ they were at the same time arguing in defense of the Latin Vulgate. Which had been declared by the Council of Trent to be the only true authoritative Scripture.
And they also condemned Luther’s conclusion that Jerome’s Vulgate was a corrupt Bible which we know it is, and they further condemned Luther’s conclusion that, to produce a pure a Bible either in German or English or any other language, you do have to go back to what today we would call the ‘traditional text’ that is for example the Greek text of the New Testament which is found in the vast majority of surviving Greek manuscripts.
In their introduction to the Douay-Rheims Bible the Jesuit scholars wrote: “We see that by all means, the old vulgar Latin translation is approved, good, and better than the Greek text itself and that there is no cause why it should give place to any other text, copies, or readings.”
16th century Anglican scholar William Whittaker said that: “The Papists contend that their Latin text is authentic of itself, and ought not to be tried by the text of the originals.”
Meanwhile Protestant scholar Francis Turretin summed up the debate this way, he said: “The question is whether the original text, in Hebrew or in Greek, has been so corrupted either by the carelessness of copyists, or by the malice of the Jews and heretics that it can no longer be held as the judge by which all versions are to be judged, the Roman Catholics affirmed this, we deny it.
So Rome’s position according to Turretin was that the Greek and the Hebrew manuscripts had been so corrupted over time that they could not be trusted and therefore you shouldn’t use those manuscripts to correct the Latin Vulgate, which is what Erasmus had done back right before the Reformation began and that was their main issue.
We also read that: “In the preface of the Douay, Roman Catholics contended that the Latin Vulgate was translated from the Hebrew and Greek texts when they were more pure, therefore, many contended that the Vulgate version was dictated by the Holy Spirit, was consequently of divine authority, and more to be regarded than even the original Hebrew and Greek texts.”
Hence the Jesuit scholars at Rheims concluded that the Latin Vulgate is not only better than all other Latin translations, but better then the Greek text itself in those places where they disagree.
So the catholic arguments against ‘Sola Scriptura’ were operating on two fronts.
The first part was to discredit the Greek and the Hebrew manuscripts as being so full of corruptions and errors that they could not be trusted, thus proving that the Latin Vulgate alone is the superior text.
And the second part: to argue because the Bible is so difficult to interpret it is necessary to rely on Church tradition and the infallible teachings of the pope.
So this it the academical environment that had developed for serval hundred years before Tischendorf shows up in 1844. Now Tischendorf had embraced the Recension theory, this idea that the Bible was lost and needed to be found, and you had to that, that the Catholic scholars like Cardinal Wiseman who argued that the truest representation of the Bible would be found in the Latin Vulgate. And all of these elements came together in the 19th century and this is what inspired Tischendorf to take his famous journey.
Tischendorf’s efforts were clearly aimed against the traditional Greek text, in 1866 he would write that: “We have at last hit upon a better plan which is to set aside this Textus Receptus altogether and to construct a fresh text.”
The curious thing about that quote is that when Tischendorf says: ‘We have hit upon a better plan’, who does he mean by we?
It sounds as though he was working with somebody else but he doesn’t exactly say who.
For years prior to his journey Tischendorf had been influenced by a prominent Catholic scholar named Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman. Cardinal Wiseman developed a theory that old Latin texts had been developed in North Africa by the second century.
Wiseman’s assertion seems to have been an attempt to try and prove that the Latin Vulgate was closer to the original manuscripts than any known Greek manuscript at that time. And it was this theory that made Tischendorf partial to the Latin Vulgate.
We read that: “In 1842, while at Paris, Tischendorf prepared an edition of the New Testament intended for the use of Catholics, giving the Latin Vulgate, and a Greek text, rendered as far as possible conformable to it, in parallel columns.”
So what Tischendorf did is he developed a Greek manuscript that would conform to the Latin Vulgate. He essentially reversed the work of Erasmus of Rotterdam from 300 years earlier.
Remember Erasmus had collated the Greek manuscripts and then published the first ever parallel Bible with the Greek in one column in the Latin and the other, and he used the Greek to correct the errors in the Latin. Well now hundreds of years later Tischendorf reverses the process, he does a parallel Bible but he does it the other way, he uses the Latin to correct the Greek. And he did this work for the Catholic Archbishop of Paris, Archbishop Denis Affre. So it shows his relationship with a Catholic Church at this time, it’s also worth mentioning that one of Tischendorf’s critics said that: Tischendorf only understood Greek through Latin.
Secrets At Mount Sinai
Tischendorf would make his great discovery in 1844 when he arrived at st. Catherine’s monastery at the base of what is called mount Sinai in Egypt.
But before he arrived he took a journey to Rome and was received at the Vatican. In his memoirs Tischendorf wrote: “I here pass over in silence the interesting details of my travels, my audience with the pope Gregory the sixteenth, in May 1843. My intercourse with cardinal Mezzofanti that surprising and celebrated linguist.”
Mezzofanti was famous for his ability to speak more than 50 languages fluently. Tischendorf wrote that: “Mezzofanti honored me with some Greek verses, composed in my praise.”
Tischendorf was well favored by Rome which is odd considering his status as a Protestant scholar.
I can never quite figure that out why a Protestant scholar or one who claimed to be a Protestant scholar would be meeting with with the pope over the situation, there’s a lot of unanswered questions.
And not just anybody goes to meet in a private audience with the pope. It’s like going to meet the president or a prime minister or someone of that position. And then we have this famous Catholic cardinal Mezzofanti writing him a poem in Greek to praise him as this great scholar and so on, it’s all very strange. But Tischendorf was welcomed into Rome by some of the leading Catholic authorities of that time.
In fact in his memoirs he reveals that it was Archbishop Denis Affre of Paris for whom he had prepared the parallel Bible that gave him his recommendation to the Vatican and then he was received by Pope Gregory.
Tischendorf wrote: “Gregory the 16th, after a prolonged audience granted to me took an ardent interest in my undertaking.”
Pope Gregory his interest in Tischendorf is curious, especially when you consider that it was the same pope Gregory that openly condemned the Protestant Bible societies of that time.
In 1843 American author John Dowling wrote that: “The present pope Gregory the 16th and his predecessor, Pope Leo the 12th denounced all Bible societies declaring that by the Bibles they distribute it they converted the gospel of Christ into a human gospel or what is still worse, the gospel of the devil.”
In his encyclical against the Bible societies pope Gregory wrote: “We have taken great pains to remind the faithful of the ancient laws concerning vernacular translations of the scriptures.”
The pope’s wording is suspicious because it was the ancient laws of the Roman church that had Bible believers burned at the stake for reading or handling the word of God.
But could this have been what Pope Gregory was referring to in his writing? Several years after Tischendorf’s private audience at the Vatican it was discovered that the Inquisition had continued underground in the ancient city.
Charles Spurgeon known to millions as the prince of preachers, documented the manner of torture that had been reported once the papal dungeons were revealed. From Spurgeon’s publication: The Sword and the Trowel; we read that: “They invented ovens, or furnaces, which being made red-hot, they lowered the condemned into them, bound hand and foot and immediately closed over them the mouth of the furnace. This barbarous punishment was substituted for the burning pile and in 1849, these furnaces at Rome were laid open to the public view in the dungeons of the holy Roman Inquisition near the great church of the Vatican, still containing the calcined bones.”
What’s disturbing is that these things were revealed in 1849, just six years after Tischendorf visited the pope, and it was only revealed because the great general Garibaldi and his revolutionaries captured Rome that year and opened the papal dungeons. But then you have a quote from W.C. Brownlee that was published in 1843 the same year Tischendorf was at the Vatican.
And Brownlee says: “The Inquisition – the infernal Inquisition, even at this day [is] in full operation in Rome under the patronage of pope Gregory the 16th.” The same Pope that Constantine von Tischendorf met with. So while Tischendorf was in Rome with his Cardinal writing him poetry to praise him and so on, there were people, some of them quite probably Christians who were still being tortured for heresy in the underground Inquisition nearby. And they were being roasted alive in these ovens right next door to the Vatican.
The Inquisition actually, not just in Italy but in other places went well into the 1800s.
Discoveries of the Inquisition during this era were also exposed by H. Grattan Guinness in the convent of Santo Domingo Mexico, in 1861. He published these photographs of the remains of victims who had been walled up and buried alive. The expressions of their torment still recorded in their countenance.
Charles Spurgeon wrote that: “The Inquisition was the masterpiece of infernal craft and malice. There is a deep and indelible sentence of damnation written upon the apostate church for it’s more than infernal cruelties and the curse is registered in heaven, nor can any pretenses to present liberality reverse the condemnation, its infamy is engraven in the rock for ever.”
Rome did many many many evil and hateful things. Yet somehow during this era the Protestant Tischendorf was not only accepted by Rome but receives special treatment from the Vatican and her priests. Tischendorf’s cooperation with the Vatican was a dramatic departure from the resistance maintained by other Protestant ministers of that era. Grattan Guinness called Rome the masterpiece of Satan and maintained that she had never repented of her crimes.
In 1873 Charles Spurgeon wrote that: “The superstition of Rome is the worst of all the evils which had befallen our race, may the Lord arise and sweep it down to the hell from whence it arose.” Spurgeon was so convicted against the papacy that he once declared: “Popery is abhorred of the Lord, and they who help it wear the mark of the Beast.”
Yet in Rome Tischendorf was not only welcomed by the pope, but by two of the leading Cardinals of that time. The first was the well-known linguist Mezzofanti while the other was a jesuit named Cardinal Angelo Mai.
During the 19th century my was the Cardinal librarian for the Vatican Library and was credited with recovering many ancient manuscripts that pertain to church history. It was said that: “There is not a single century of the Christian era, from the second to the seventeenth from which he has not produced important and previously unknown works, he had transcribed all with his own hand entirely by himself.”
This quote about the Jesuit Cardinal Mai is very interesting because it shows us the nature of the times. You’ve got Cardinal Mai there who very much like Tischendorf. Tischendorf is out journeying trying to gather all of these ancient manuscripts, at the same time Cardinal Mai is going through old Vatican Records and he’s producing all of these works that nobody had ever seen before that have to do with the history of the church. Now what’s disturbing about this is that the collective efforts of both Cardinal Mai and Tischendorf would end up dramatically changing the academic world’s view of the Bible from that time forward.
During the same time that Tischendorf was discovering the first manuscript that would change everyone’s perception about the Greek text, Cardinal Mai was in Rome working on the other manuscript that would accomplish the same thing and that was the vatican’s version of the Bible: Codex Vaticanus, which today is is considered supreme over all of the other Greek biblical manuscripts anywhere in the world.
What we have here is the Vatican manuscript, also called codex B, but I have it opened to a very important section and you can see the Vatican seal here, this is an exact fact simile.
But before Vaticanus would emerge to dominate the world of biblical scholarship, the travels of Constantine von Tischendorf would yield the fruit of his great ambition.
In his memoirs he wrote: “It was in April 1844, that I embarked at Leghorn for Egypt. The desire which I felt to discover some precious remains of any manuscripts, more especially biblical, of a date which would carry us back to the early times of Christianity was realized beyond my expectations. It was at the foot of Mount Sinai, in the convent of st. Catherine that I discovered the pearl of all my researches.”
Tischendorf tells of how he discovered this manuscript in a trash basket inside the convent, the monks had been using its pages as fuel for the fire. He wrote: “I perceived in the middle of the great hall a large and wide basket full of old parchment and the librarian told me that two heaps of papers like this had been already committed to the flames. What was my surprise to find amid this heap of papers a considerable number of sheets of a copy of the Old Testament in Greek which seemed to me to be one of the most ancient that I had ever seen.”
He’s visiting the monastery in 1844, and he’s under the patronage of sponsorship of Frederick Augustus king of Saxony, and while he’s there he discovers an old manuscript in a rubbish basket and they were basically using it as tinder to start fires.
According to his own testimony once he recognized the manuscript for its ancient value Tischendorf responded quickly and was able to rescue many of the pages from being burned, he wrote: “The authorities of the convent allowed me to possess myself of a third of these parchments as they were destined for the fire. But I could not get them to yield up possession of the remainder. The too lively satisfaction which I had displayed, had aroused their suspicions as to the value of this manuscript.
In total Tischendorf recovered some 43 pages when he returned from his journey he chose to publish the pages, but secretly, he wrote: “I did not divulge the name of the place where I had found it in the hopes of returning and recovering the rest of the manuscript.”
So Tischendorf published his Old Testament portion of the Sinai codex but he continued to believe that the New Testament portion of the manuscript was probably still somewhere inside st. Catherine’s Monastery, then he says he returned again in 1853 and didn’t find anything so he finally goes back in 1859, and he’s able to get the remainder.
Fifteen years after his discovery..
It was during tischendorf’s third journey to st. Catherine’s monastery in 1859 that he made his most famous discovery. Tischendorf says that he was taking a walk with the steward of the convent and that they returned to his room at some point, where they were talking about the Septuagint, and he says I too have read a Septuagint, meaning a Greek version of the Old Testament, so then he pulls out this bulky manuscript that was supposedly wrapped in red cloth and he shows it to Tischendorf.
Tischendorf wrote: “I unrolled the cover and discovered to my great surprise not only those very fragments which fifteen years before I had taken out of the basket but also other parts of the Old Testament and the New Testament complete. I knew that I held in my hand the most precious Biblical treasure in existence. A document, whose age and importance exceeded that of all the manuscripts which I had ever examined during 20 years of study on the subject.”
Tischendorf would transcribe and eventually publish the manuscript under the name Codex Sinaiticus. In relationship to the Sinaiticus manuscript it’s republished in the eighteen hundreds, in the Old Testament portion you can see what appears to be even burn marks on on some of the leaves that were recovered. That almost looks like he pulled that right out of the fire, yeah it does, so this certainly confirms his story, or it seems to that they were throwing these pages into flames, yeah well they were using it like we use newspaper to start a fire, this was old, it was brittle, so it was good to start a fire there in the cool mornings and evenings at the monastery.
Tischendorf: ‘I’m very thankful and grateful for this wonderful privilege.’
Once Sinaiticus was fully published Tischendorf became a world-famous scholar practically overnight.
Nearly all the courts of Europe showered honors and distinctions on him for his great discovery so much so said his son-in-law that they could not all fit on one man’s chest. Oxford and Cambridge University’s honored him with their highest degrees.
In the midst of all this a copy of Sinaiticus was sent to the pope who wrote Tischendorf an autographed letter congratulating him. Tischendorf even mentioned how an old man of distinguished learning had said: “I would rather have discovered this Sinaitic manuscript than the ‘Koh i noor’ of the Queen of England.”
The Koh i noor was the famed diamond of India that was in possession of the English throne. And it’s interesting because that’s exactly how Tischendorf described his manuscript, ‘as a diamond’ he says, in his possession, and for him it was.
Because of the codex sinaiticus, Constantine von Tischendorf would go on to become one of the most famous men of the academic world and perhaps the most celebrated paleographer of all time.
And it’s an interesting contrast, on the one hand you’ve got the Reformers who are being persecuted and killed by the Church of Rome because of their faith in the word of God, while on the other hand you’ve got Tischendorf who’s being lauded by the pope and celebrated like a prince upon the earth for his discovery.
Mother of Forgeries
In the book of Revelation the scripture says concerning the great harlot Mystery Babylon that:
Revelation 18:23 “; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Rev 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
As part of their Counter Reformation the Jesuits created many fraudulent and forged documents. When they could not persuade others by ordinary means they would literally create historic evidence to support their claims. Sometimes they dug up old bones pretending that they belong to some saint, and sometimes they created fake documents.
19th century British historian Thomas Carlyle said that “Jesuit-ism has poisoned the wellsprings of truth in the whole world.”
Yet long before the Jesuit Order was formed Rome herself had an ancient practice of fraud and deception. What was the purpose of creating all these forgeries? Well I think it was for enabling the the pope, the papal claims to having absolute power, anything that could buttress those claims, and that’s why they came in.
Perhaps the most famous forgery in Rome’s long history was the donation of Constantine a document alleging that the Emperor Constantine the Great gave all the lands of the Western Roman Empire to the pope as The Vicar of the Son of God.
The donation of Constantine according to Renaissance scholars who first began to expose some of these documents, Lorenzo Valla for example tells us that that document could not have been written in the 4th century.
Today it is agreed by Catholic and Protestant scholars alike that the donation was a forgery most likely created between the eighth and ninth century a.d. Developed alongside the donation were the Decretals of Isidore, also known as The false Decretals, this elaborate forgery involved a series of letters from early figures in church history, from Clement in the first century to Gregory the Great in the 6th and 7th century.
The letters filled more than 700 pages and were cleverly interwoven with real historic documents to give them credibility. The diabolical genius of the false Decretals is that it was a truth mixed with lies and it was very elaborately done.
If you go into the 11th century when you have Gratian (Decretum Gratiani) and his compilation of the canons you’ll discover that in support of papal power out of something like three hundred and thirty quotations, three hundred and thirteen of those sources of authority come from those false distorted documents.
The Jesuits held them back, but it finally came to view that many of these documents were forgeries and they were forged specifically to give Rome power, so that they would be looked upon as the true church and as the seat of the papacy and that this was what the church had written about and what the church supported when in fact they were all forged.
The Decretals of Isidore became the cornerstone of canon law during the Middle Ages. They would be used to deceive the church for more than 600 years until they were finally exposed by Calvinist scholar David Blondel in 1628.
But the false decretals and the donation of Constantine are said to be just two of the countless forgeries created by Rome. They’re all basically the same, they’re the same as the Dictatus Papae of Gregory the seventh in which there are claims made about papal power.
Pope Gregory the seventh was perhaps the most notorious forger ever admitted to by Catholic historians. In the 11th century he drafted his dictatus or list of papal privileges. Among his 27 points he declared the following: “The Pope can be judged by no one on earth.” “The Roman Church has never erred, nor can it err, until the end of time.” “The Pope alone can dethrone Emperors and kings, and absolve their subjects from allegiance”. and “All princes are obliged to kiss his feet.”
To support these ideas Gregory relied upon the forged documents of the past but chose to go even farther and create his own history for the church and the world. In the book ‘Vicars of Christ’ former Jesuit priest Peter De Rosa writes of pope Gregory the seventh and his school of forgers, he says: “For seven centuries, the Greeks had called Rome the home of forgeries. Whenever they tried talking with Rome the pope’s brought out forged documents which the Greeks, naturally, had never seen.”
De Rosa says: “Gregory went way beyond the donation of Constantine. He had a whole school of forgers under his very nose turning out document after document, with the papal seal of approval to cater for his every need.”
“Pope Gregory might require justification for some action against a prince or Bishop. Very well, these prelates literally produced the appropriate document.
No need for research; it was all done on the premises. Many earlier documents were touched up, to make them say the opposite of what they said originally. Some of these earlier documents were themselves forgeries. This instant method of inventing history was marvelously successful especially as the forgeries were at once inserted into canon law. Thus was accomplished the quietest and longest lasting of all revolutions, it was all done on paper.”
They propagated deceptions early on and I believe those deceptions continued right up into the 20th century.
Evidence that Rome continued her forgeries into modern times can be shown in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
In 1873 Charles Spurgeon documented how the relic Department of the Vatican had been exposed from manufacturing false relics and presenting them as the bones of various saints of old, we read that: “So far back as 1828, this trade was going on with pieces of bones of sheep, and hares or of human bones taken from the catacombs, but such as were probably those of pagans certainly not of saints and martyrs, whose names they affixed to them.”
Spurgeon went on to say that: “The Jesuits play a prominent part in these transactions as they do in most Catholic affairs.”
Then in the 20th century it appears that Jesuit deception played a role in the 1912 discovery of the ‘Piltdown Man’ which was declared to be the missing link that would prove Darwin’s theory of evolution. But 40 years after its discovery Piltdown was proven to be a hoax, the chief culprit in the deception was said to be Charles Dawson an amateur British archaeologist who sought fame and glory. Yet Dawson did not work alone his helper was a jesuit priest named Teilhard de Chardin.
In 1980 Harvard professor Stephen Jay Gould would publish his belief that Teilhard himself was a co-conspirator with Dawson who helped him create the Piltdown hoax.
Yet another Jesuit trained priest named Georges Lemaitre would further these ideas and develop the ‘Big Bang Theory’ in 1931. It might be said that no doctrine has been more devastating to faith in the Bible than Darwin’s theory of evolution but was it only coincidence that Charles Darwin himself published ‘Origin of the Species’ in 1859 the same year that Tischendorf discovered codex Sinaiticus.
Just as La Peyrere theory about men before Adam, work together with Richard Simons historic criticism. So Darwin’s theory of evolution would work alongside codex Sinaiticus to destroy the faith of countless millions in the scripture as the inspired and inerrant word of God.
It’s important to consider that from the period of 1828 to 1912 it can be shown that the Vatican and her Jesuit priests were involved in fakery and forgery. This is significant because this timeframe includes the same period that Tischendorf was working with Rome.
The Simonides Affair
After Tischendorf revealed his codex Sinaiticus he was hailed as a great scholar and greeted with laudation across Europe. But shortly after the work was published it was challenged by a prominent expert in paleography. His name was Constantine Simonides.
Constantine Simonides is undoubtedly the forgotten link in the history of codex Sinaiticus. And it’s because he waged an open and a public debate against Tischendorf for about four years arguing that codex Sinaiticus was not an ancient manuscript, and the more you study Simonides you realize that he was a very important figure at that time.
Alexander von Humboldt declared that Simonides was an enigma, others believed his understanding of ancient languages to be ingenious. A 19th century publication said of him: “Dr. Simonides is a Greek by birth and he speaks and writes the classic language of his forefathers with fluency purity and elegance. “
From his uncle Simonides thoroughly acquired the art of paleography and became so great a proficient therein: “that few surpass him either in the practice of it, or in the diagnosis of manuscripts.
Constantine Simonides had quite a reputation in the 19th century, on the one hand he was a respected paleography, but on the other hand he had kind of a cloak-and-dagger history and was looked upon as sort of a Greek Indiana Jones, involved not only with ancient manuscripts but also fighting battles as a Greek Patriot against the Ottoman Turkish Empire which is an important part of understanding who he was.
“Come my brothers, we shall avenge the blood of our fathers on this Turkish invader, let us be strong in our weakness and with God’s help we shall prevail.”
One of the newspapers of the time reported that: “The escapades of mr. Simonides extend over nearly 20 years. In Alexandria he contrived to quarrel with some Arabs, pistolled two of them, received some ugly wounds on the head and face from a third. In Macedonia, his native country he succeeded in getting up a little insurrection among his countrymen who joined him in the leadership of the patriot bands, he fell on a detachment of Turkish soldiers drove them into a river and destroyed some hundred and fifty of them.”
These are the kinds of stories recorded about Simonides as a Greek patriot who was still fighting against the Turks in a conflict that dated all the way back to the fall of Constantinople in 1453. When the Turks invaded the ancient capital of the Greek Orthodox Empire.
In the 19th century the Greeks remembered Constantinople as if it had just happened the day before.
“Constantinople will be ours again!”
Constantine Simonides was apparently involved in continued battles with the Turks and controversies against the Latinizers – or Roman Catholics as he called them, because both the Turks and the Catholic Church had fought against the Greek Orthodox Kingdom, and so forth Simonides the Turks and the Catholics were both ancient enemies. And this conflict with Rome in particular would have everything to do with his controversy against Tischendorf.
And then as a scholar Constantine Simonides was equally in the thick of debates about ancient manuscripts, he had presented his work before Kings, Nobles, foreign ministers, diplomats, he’d sold a number of manuscripts to the British Museum and other prominent institutions in Europe. So he was involved in the highest levels of the academic world at that time.
Simonides owned a collection of more than 5000 ancient manuscripts that he had partly inherited from his uncle. As he travelled across Europe he presented these works at libraries and universities their content often sparked intense debate.
Simonides debates usually centered around the understanding of ancient languages and he generally believed that his own knowledge was superior to those around him, although he did not have a reputation for arrogance. While he was in Germany he got into a vicious conflict with scholars at the University of Leipzig. And it was there in 1855 that he made enemies with von Tischendorf.
So now years later when he comes forward and questions codex Sinaiticus he does so as Tischendorf’s old nemesis. Simonides claimed that codex Sinaiticus was no ancient manuscript at all, but a modern work created by himself and two other Greeks in 1840.
While Tischendorf was in the midst of enjoying his fame the story of Simonides began to be published in the London newspapers. Needless to say Tischendorf was furious. What followed would be a public debate that would continue in a variety of London newspapers for the next two years.
In July of 1861 a publication called the ‘Literary Gazette’ reported that: “We understand that in literary circles, a rumor prevails that the manuscript now publishing by the Russian government, under the direction of mr. Tischendorf purporting to be a manuscript Bible of the 4th century, is not an ancient manuscript but is an entirely modern production, written by a gentleman now alive who will shortly take measures to establish his claim to the authorship. The manuscript is known as the codex Sinaiticus, and has attracted a large amount of attention throughout Europe. Should the rumour prove to be correct, as we believe it will, the disclosures that will follow, must be of the greatest interest to archaeology.”
In his letters Simonides says that the controversy began over codex Sinaiticus when he first saw the manuscript in Liverpool, in 1860. And then it was the following year that the newspapers got hold of the story. So this story first appears in 1861 but Simonides did not publish his side of the story until 1862. And the only reason he did so is because he was drawn in to the conflict by two of the prominent scholars at that time.
The two scholars in question were Samuel P. Tregelles and Fenton John Anthony Hort. Tregelles and Hort believed Sinaiticus to be real and took sides against Simonides almost immediately. Tregelles wrote that: “The story of Simonides was as false and absurd as possible.”
In response Simonides defended his argument as published in The Guardian newspaper in September of 1862, where he said: “When about two years ago, I saw the first fac-similes of Tischendorf, which were put into my hand at Liverpool by mr. Newton, a friend of dr. Tregelles. I at once recognized my own work, as I immediately told him.”
In the book: ‘Codex Sinaiticus and the Simonides affair’, author J.K. Elliott confirms that Simonides spoke of his authorship to a man named J.E. Hodgkin in 1860 and in a letter to Sir Thomas Phillips on August 2nd, 1861.
Simonides claimed that the manuscript had not been created with any intention to deceive, but was intended by himself and his uncle as a gift to Tsar Nicholas the first of Russia. To prove his claims Simonides challenge Tischendorf to a public debate. Yet Tischendorf refused to take part.
About this Simonides wrote the real test of the genuineness of the Codex Sinaiticus is neglected the public were assured that in May, Tischendorf was to be in London, armed with a portion at least of his great codex. I have waited in England hoping to have the opportunity of meeting him face to face to prove him in error, but May has come and gone, and the discoverer has not appeared. Let the favourers of the antiquity of the manuscript persuade him to come at once, and brave the ordeal, or else forever hold his peace.”
Yet despite the evasiveness of Tischendorf most of the newspapers in England defended him and announced Simonides as a fraud. The attacks were almost fanatical and often unreasonable.
Could tischendorf’s relationship with Rome have had something to do with it?
During the same era, Protestant historian J.A. Wiley wrote about the Jesuits influence in English media. In his book on ‘The Jesuits: their moral maxims and plots’, he said that: “There are two institutions in his special to which the Jesuits will lay siege.These are the press and the pulpit. The press of Great Britain is already manipulated by them to an extent of which the public but little dream.The whole English press of the world is supervised, and the word is passed round how writers, speakers and causes are to be handled and applause or condemnation dealt out just as it may accord with the interests and wishes of Rome.
Yet Simonides was not without his supporters another paper called the Literary Churchmen questioned the antiquity of codex Sinaiticus and argued that Simonides should be heard. They said: “For ourselves, we must profess entire impartiality. Though we were quite ready from the first to admit the importance of the discovery of Tischendorf we are not prepared at this moment, to say, with dr. Tregelles, that the statements of Simonides are ‘as false and absurd as possible’. Tischendorf applies these terms, false and absurd, just now to Tregelles himself.”
The reason Tischendorf attacked Tregelles was because he disagreed with him about the writing of codex Sinaiticus. Tregelles said: “On one point, i believe that i differ materially from Tischendorf, as to the writing of the manuscript. He thinks that he sees traces of various hands having been employed in such a way that a change of writer must have frequently taken place. I believe that the difference is to be attributed to the scribe having more or less ink in his style, the ink being more or less thick and the surface of the vellum slightly varying.”
In other words the scribe dips his stylus into an inkwell and when he first begins to write there’s a lot of ink on it but sooner or later the ink runs thin in places where the ink ran thin Tischendorf believed that this signified a change of writers and hence the passage of time, Tregelles on the other hand believed that it was the same scribe, it’s just that he sometimes ran low on ink. That was the difference, but when you factor in that Tischendorf spreads his scribes and correctors from the fourth century all the way to the seventh century, a span of some 300 years, you’re left wondering just how precise the scientific methods were that they employed.
Also consider that similar contentions are made about ancient bones that are dug up out of the ground where the scientists tell us that these are millions of years old and so forth. Do they really have the ability to date bones that way? And did Tischendorf really have the ability to date ancient manuscripts?
After the initial attacks against him began Simonides asserted that these scholars in reality knew little or nothing about ancient manuscripts. In response to one of his critics, he wrote: “Neither you nor Tischendorf possessed the true knowledge of paleographical science. You have only learned to say at random, this is genuine, and this is spurious. But you do not know the reason.”
This comment might be brushed aside but for the often repeated testimony that Simonides exceeded his contemporaries in the expertise of manuscript evidence. James Farrer in his 1907 book on ‘Literary Forgeries’, wrote that: “Tischendorf was only the senior of Simonides by five years, and in the science of paleography had neither his knowledge nor his experience.”
Another scholar whose testimony was chiefly regarded was Henry Bradshaw keeper of manuscripts at the Cambridge University Library. Bradshaw cited with Tischendorf and once this was known he was confronted in person by Simonides. In a letter describing the encounter, Bradshaw wrote:
“Dr. Simonides wrote to me, to convince me and my friends that it was quite possible for him to have written the volume in question. He had invited some of us to Christ’s College to discuss matters fairly. He could speak and understand English pretty well but his friend was with him to interpret and explain. They really seemed to believe that all people in the West were as ignorant of Greek as the Greeks are of Latin. But the great question was, how do you satisfy yourselves of the genuineness of any manuscript? I first replied that it was really difficult to define. That it seemed to be more a kind of instinct than anything else.
Dr. Simonides and his friend readily caught at this as too much like vague assertion and they naturally ridiculed any such idea. But I further said that I had lived for six years past in the constant, almost daily habit of examining manuscripts.”
Bradshaw then applied this principle to his opinion of codex Sinaiticus, when Simonides objected Bradshaw said: “I told him, as politely as I could, that I was not to be convinced against the evidence of my senses.”
So Bradshaw essentially admitted that there was no real scientific proof as to the age of codex in Sinaiticus, and he ultimately admitted that all he trusted in were his senses or his instincts about the manuscript. and Bradshaw is very significant because it was his reputation as a scholar that really compelled people to embrace Tischendorf’s codex.
Bradshaw further said that: “Dr. Simonides always maintained that the Mount Athos Bible [meaning codex Sinaiticus] written in 1840 the Emperor of Russia was not meant to deceive anyone, that it was professor Tischendorf’s ignorance and inexperience which rendered him so easily deceived where no deception was intended.
Mount Athos was the location where Simonides claimed he had created the Codex. He provided many details for how the manuscript had been written and how it came to be at Mount Sinai. He also provided many names of those in the Greek world who he said could confirm that he created the manuscript but strangely most of these details were never investigated, either by the supporters of Tischendorf or by the newspapers of the time.
In 1907 James Farrer wrote that the controversy: “Cannot be said to have been settled by the mere opinions of Tregelles or Bradshaw, who examined the codex two months before Simonides had made his claim to it as his work, so that they had no reason to examine it with suspicion.”
But could there have been some other motive that drove the critical scholars at this time?
Simonides was a real threat to the academic establishment of Western Europe. If what he claimed was true it would have shown that Tregelles, Bradshaw, Hort and Tischendorf knew little or nothing about dating ancient texts, so you can imagine how hard they fought to discredit him.
Not only that but Simonides was working at the time with a man named Joseph Mayer who was the founder of the Mayor Museum in Liverpool, and while there mr. Mayor had him come and examine a series of ancient Egyptian Scrolls that he had purchased years before, so mr. Mayor brings Simonides to the museum and what he uncovered were first century fragments and parchments that shattered some of the claims that were being made by the higher critics. He found a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Matthew that was dated within 15 years of the ascension of Christ, and this proved that Matthew was the first gospel, not mark, and that it was originally written in Greek, not in Hebrew or Aramaic as the critics had speculated.
Also he displayed a first century scroll that contained first John 5:7, “the ‘Johannine Comma’ which is a hotly disputed verse among higher critics, and this proved that they were wrong and that the verse was not invented in later centuries as they had been saying, and this was on display at Cambridge University and then at the Royal Society in London.
And if you read the accounts these things were so controversial that some later historians tried to claim that Simonides had sold this scroll of the Gospel of Matthew to mr. Mayer as some kind of forgery or something, but if you read the newspaper accounts it’s very clear, mr. Mayer acknowledged that in fact he had purchased the scroll years before he ever met Constantine Simonides, so there was a lot of propaganda and false accusation that came against Simonides because these discoveries were so threatening to what the critics wanted to believe.
In December of 1862 ‘The London Review’, wrote that: “The few believers in Simonides represented him as a man whose towering genius had aroused the envy, alike of Grecian professors, German students, and English librarians, and banded them together in a conspiracy to crush him.”
2 Corinthians 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
In December of 1862 a publication called ‘The Brighton Observer’, reported that: “Professor Tischendorf having visited the Holy Land, returned to Europe with a voluminous manuscript that he obtained from the library of the monastery of Mount Sinai, the earliest known copy of the Bible, in time one of the parts fell into the hands of Simonides, who at once recognized it as a manuscript he had himself executed.
He made his assertion public that the Codex Sinaiticus had been written by himself, but Tischendorf and the learned men of Germany refused to recognize the claims of Simonides and continued its publication. Things went on this way, — some persons believing Simonides, some Tischendorf, when suddenly a Greek archimandrite wrote to the English papers from Alexandria, corroborating the statement of Simonides and stating that he remembered seeing Simonides engaged in writing out the copy of the Bible in question, in the ancient Greek characters on Mount Athos.”
The Greek monk mentioned in the article was a friend of Simonides whose name was Kallinikos. Kallinikos wrote a series of letters to the English newspapers, confirming the story of Simonides and denouncing Tischendorf, whom he called: “The master and pupil of all guile, at all wickedness.”
In one of his letters published in ‘The Literary Churchmen’, Kallinikos wrote: “I repeat that the manuscript in dispute is the work of the unwearied Simonides, and of no other person. A portion of this was secretly removed from Mount Sinai, by Professor Tischendorf, in 1844. The rest, with inconceivable recklessness, he mutilated and tampered with, according to his liking, in the year 1859. Some leaves he destroyed, especially such as contained the acrostics of Simonides.”
What’s interesting is Kallinikos his mention of how Tischendorf destroyed the pages that had the markings of Simonides on them, which may explain why some of the pages were burned. It’s important to remember that to this day the monks at Mount Sinai deny Tischendorf story, and his claim that he found the manuscript in a rubbish basket.
So where would the burned pages of the manuscript have come from? Is it possible that Tischendorf burned parts of them to destroy the markings of Simonides as Kallinikos suggests?And this might explain why he came up with a story about the monks throwing the pages into the fire later on, a story which nobody really seems to believe.
Kallinikos claimed that he himself had been at st. Catherine’s monastery when Tischendorf was there, and that Tischendorf took the first pages of the manuscript without permission. He said: “I further declare that the Codex which dr. Tischendorf obtained is the identical codex which Simonides wrote inasmuch as I saw it in the hands of Tischendorf and recognized the work.”
Kallinikos also claimed that the manuscript had been washed with lemon juice and herbs to weaken the appearance of the letters and to give it a more ancient look. In response to these accusations the supporters of Tischendorf insisted that Simonides had fords the letters himself and they claimed that Kallinikos was a fictional character, yet in his book James Farrer tells us that Kallinikos was indeed a real person and that his letters cannot be brushed aside as the testimony of a fabulous being.
Yet the letters of Kallinikos bear within them an almost prophetic warning about the Codex, he wrote to the newspapers in 1862 that: “You will greatly sin in foisting on the world a new manuscript, as an old one and especially a manuscript containing the Holy Scriptures, injury to the church must accrue from all this, even from the evidently numerous corrections of the manuscript.” Tischendorf originally documented some 14.800 corrections.
Today the codex Sinaiticus has its home at the British Library, in London in 2009 they finished the codex Sinaiticus project, which was aimed at fully examining Tischendorf’s famous manuscript. In 2008 we interviewed dr. Juan Garcés, one of the curators of the project while the work was still in progress.
Juan Garcés: “The part of the codex sinaiticus project is to gather all the material, commission top scholars to go through that material and write reports, sit around a table and discuss it and publish it all, first of all the documents but also the history, the agreed historical account of how it came from Saint Catherine’s Monastery. I think the great role of this project is to produce his history, which hasn’t been written as as we all agree well enough. So I hope in 2009 July we will be able to tell the full story.”
Is it true? Is there any truth to the assertion that Von Tischendorf found the the first manuscript in a in a trash barrel?
Juan Garcés: “He said in his book that he found it in a basket, but again I mean this is one of the many voices that make the whole of the history, and I’m in no position to confirm that as being probable or not.””
While we were suspicious of this answer when we heard it, we chose to wait until they finish their research before jumping to a conclusion. Yet incredibly, once the British Library published their website we found that they omitted most all of the documented history about codex Sinaiticus. They ignored Tischendorf’s own testimony about finding the manuscript in a rubbish basket, instead they claimed that the monks brought it to his attention in 1844, and while they said they were going to tell the full story their website makes no mention of the four year controversy with Constantin Simonides.
We also spoke with Dr. Scot McKendrick the head of Western manuscripts about the comparison between Sinaiticus and the codex Vaticanus.
Dr. Scot McKendrick: “They’re different also and quite one critical way, or two ways actually I’d say, two ways, one is that Vaticanus does not have the extent of correction. That’s a very critical difference, Sinaiticus is the the most corrected manuscript of a Greek manuscript of the the scriptures. The second is that Vaticanus now has a very strange appearance, when you look at it as a manuscript expert although you know that people tell you that it’s a is a 4th century manuscript, it actually looks like a 15th century manuscript, and there’s one very simple reason for that is that almost the entire text has been overwritten by a 15th century scribe, not only that, he’s added in 15th century decoration, titling and so forth, so it has a very strange appearance.”
Is it possible that the reason codex Vaticanus has a strange and even newer appearance is that it may not be a truly ancient manuscript? The earliest recorded date for Vaticanus is 1475 a.d. when it was first entered into the record of the Vatican library. The manuscript had formerly been rejected by Erasmus and the Reformers because they believed it was corrupt.
Yet somehow the warnings of the Reformation were completely ignored by Tischendorf and the scholars who supported him they all embraced Vaticanus without questioning its authenticity or considering that it may have been one of Rome’s many historic forgeries. Among this company of scholars was F.H.A. Scrivener, another prominent academic who also opposed Constantine Simonides.
The strange thing about all of these guys Bradshaw, Scrivener, Tregelles, Hort, all of them who supported codex Vaticanus and who questioned Constantine Simonides, it’s understandable that they would question Simonides because he had been accused of forgery that makes sense that they would take the time to investigate his claims.
But why they did not apply the same standard to the Vatican when the Vatican has a much longer and much more provable history of forgery and fakery and fraud, why they didn’t apply the same standard when they were examining codex Vaticanus just doesn’t make any sense, and in fact if you study what happened when Tregelles for example, when he goes to the Vatican Library to examine codex Vaticanus, the priest there behaved in a very strange manner, and he said that while he was looking at the codex there were priests in the room and they were making noise and so on to try and distract him. And he said that if he spent too much time looking at any one page for too long and studying it they would come and snatch it away. Almost as though they didn’t want him to have an opportunity to study it too closely.
Among the more startling features of Vaticanus are its many omissions, in the Gospels alone it leaves out 237 words, 452 clauses and 748 whole sentences, and other manuscripts agree that those things are there.
While Vaticanus is known for its omissions, Sinaiticus is famous for its more than 14.000 corrections, many more than the average biblical codex.
While Tischendorf reported some 14.800 corrections, once the British library’s project was complete the number was inflated dramatically. In this BBC documentary, the latest number of corrections is given by dr. McKendrick. Along with the theological conclusions they are said to imply.
BBC documentary: “On closer inspection the text of the codex Sinaiticus is littered with revisions, it is history most altered biblical manuscript and within those changes lie its real theological secrets. It has approximately 23.000 corrections in all that survives, witch is extraordinary rate of correction, it means that on an average of about 30 corrections on each page. And in the quality of the calligraphy, scholars where surprised to find so many changes, many scribes wrote for money, they wrote quickly witch meant sometimes they made errors. But 23.000 corrections can’t be explained in this way, there have to be theological reasons too. If the biblical text could vary it could not be the immutable word of God. What the codex Sinaiticus was revealing was the instability of the story, this volume is the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament, complete. This is the ancestor of all the bibles that everybody else has in the world.”
So right there, notice the conclusion that the BBC is giving they’re saying that if this oldest Bible, supposedly, had all of these mistakes invariants in it, well then that proves it cannot be the immutable, in-errant word of God. Hence confirming while the Jesuits and the Vatican and all the Catholic scholars and higher critics had been arguing for hundreds of years in their attempts to destroy the Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
The same BBC documentary even goes on to show how the influence of codex Sinaiticus would specifically undermine the Protestant faith in the King James Bible.
BBC documentary: “Here was a manuscript that offered unique insights into scripture, and which made scholars re-evaluate the bible the victorian Christians had relied on. The King James Bible sturding black on the shelves, was thought to be perfect, in-errand by many people, cause the English speaking people witch where mostly bible believing protestants, but the fact of the matters was that scholars had known the translations where all based on rather shaky evidence, shaky text. So this is what drove von Tischendorf to go and search across the ancient scriptoria’s they where called.”
Dr. Scot McKendrick: “When the manuscript was first discovered in 1844 this met exactly what Tischendorf was looking for, in other words a very early manuscript of the Christian Bible and in particular of course what he’d subsequently found was the earliest complete New Testament.”
But is Codex Sinaiticus really the earliest copy of the New Testament? Or is it a 19th century work created by Constantine Simonides.
A work that was somehow tampered with and manipulated to fulfill a centuries-old agenda. After presenting many names, dates and places to the scholars of Western Europe Simonides himself seemed to grow weary of the debates.
At one point he wrote: “What then have you to oppose to the evidence of living men O zealous defender of the psuedo-Sinaitic Codex? If you are still incredulous, I say to you, remain faithful in your faithlessness, I have proclaimed the truth for I will answer as I should to the All-seeing God in the day of judgement. Therefore I have spoken, I have no sin. Wholly yours, Constantine Simonides.”
Simonides would publish a final work, in 1864, before leaving England for good. In it he reaffirmed his claims about Sinaiticus and included the testimonies of those who believed him. Yet his enemies in the press continued to insist that he was merely a liar and a forger.
The charge of forgery was never proven against Simonides but can be traced to his initial conflict with Tischendorf at the University of Leipzig in 1855 when Simonides presented the first known copy of the Shepherd of Hermas in Greek.
The reason the Shepherd of Hermas is important is because it’s a work that was embraced by the early church. But in Western Europe it was only known in Latin and yet scholars knew that it had originally been written in Greek. But nobody ever found a copy in Greek, Constantine Simonides was the first man to bring a Greek copy of the Shepherd of Hermas into Western Europe and that’s very important because the Shepherd of Hermas is also found as part of codex Sinaiticus. And this supports the idea that he could have created codex Sinaiticus, ‘why?’ because he had access to a Greek copy of the Shepherd of Hermas, and he’s the only person in the world who had a copy of the Greek version of the Shepherd of Hermas, that’s why it’s so significant.
While most of the scholars at Leipzig embraced the Hermus manuscript as genuine, Tischendorf declared it to be a forgery because it disagreed with the Latin version. In response Simonides argued that: “The manuscript Hermus was correct, and that the common Latin translations from which it differed had been made not in accordance with the Greek originals, but to suit the views of the Latin translators who had put into the mouth of Hermas, doctrinal opinions, eminently calculated to strengthen the position of the Catholic Church to which the translators belonged.”
Simonides biographer wrote that: “As some of the chief dogmas of the Latin Church were severely attacked by an exposure of the fraud in the Latin translations Simonides gained much ill-will among the members of that church.”
Actor: “This cannot be like, this is forgery.”
The charge of forgery would be exaggerated in the English press to the point that Simonides would eventually be accused of forging nearly everything he came in contact with. He is said to have left England about 1864.
But then in 1870 a number of the men who opposed him would become involved in the new revision committee for the King James Bible, the committee was led by Fenton John Anthony Hort the friend of Tregelles who was among the first to embrace the codex Sinaiticus. Under his leadership the committee would create a new Greek text, in fulfillment of what Tischendorf had written in 1866. They used as their foundation codex Vaticanus and the codex Sinaiticus.
It was an entirely new Greek text that is different than anything that was that existed before, Hort seems to have been motivated by a hatred for the traditional Greek of the Reformation. He referred to it as ‘villainous’ and as ‘that vile Textus Receptus’. His partner was an anglican bishop named B.F. Westcott, other committee members included Tregelles, along with F.H.A. Scrivener. It is interesting to note that the committee also invited John Henry Newman who was at the time a Catholic priest. And while he declined the offer their invitation reveals much about the theological opinions of Westcott and Hort.
There’s a definite links to Roman Catholicism, there in the different Bibles of Westcott and Hort, they where were definitely anglo-catholics at best.
So you would call Westcott and Hort anglo-catholics?
Yeah I would think that you would have to class them as that, you have the whole Tractarian Movement going on at that time in the Anglican Church and that was the anglo-catholic movement by John Henry Newman who later became a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church but he was in the Anglican Church at that time, and John Keble and Stride and many of the other writers they were all working to make Anglicanism, Roman Catholic, they wanted to introduce many Roman Catholic practices into Anglicanism, and about 200 Anglicans converted to Roman Catholicism at that time and thousands of members, so neither about 1000 Anglican ministers ready to convert to Rome in the year of our Lord 2011, so the whole anglo-catholic movement has been going on in England, and out of that Westcott and Hort, they really were in the midst of all that furor or about introducing Roman Catholic ideas into the Anglican Church.
Westcott and Hort in their letters they are very Pro Catholic, at one point Wescott described seeing a pietà statue of the Catholic Mary holding the dead body of Jesus, he wrote: “Had I been alone I could have knelt there for hours.”
And Hort said that there is nigh difference between Jesus worship and Mary worship, in its causes and its effect, so there’s a very strong Catholic thing there as there was with the American committee with their Philip Schaff, he was very supportive of the Catholicism.
Philip Schaff would lead the committee that would develop the American Standard Version of the Bible, in 1901, based on the same Greek text created by Westcott and Hort. Like Tischendorf Schaff met privately with pope Gregory the 16th, and even admitted to kissing his red slipper. Schaff would become known as ‘the ecumenical prophet’ who claimed he was promoting the germs of a new theology.
And we know where he was heading with all of that because he was the one of the founders of the world Parliament of religion, that at their first meeting in 1893, and the speakers that were from all sorts of religions, there were from from Buddhism, Hinduism ‘these were all the speakers that spoke’ Shintoism, the Bishop of Japan spoke on Shintoism, and the subjects that they covered was quite amazing, and so there was a mixture of Islam, there was a Muslim speaker, and Christian Sciences and New Age. Annie Besant was the opening speaker who was a co-author of the magazine called Lucifer, which was a part of Theosophical Society publication, and so there was a real strong roots and connection there.
During these events The Lord’s Prayer was retitled: ‘The universal prayer’ their motto was: ‘Have we not all one father, hath not one God created us?’
If you read the historic account of the parliament there is no question that there was a very strong focus on Christianity and the Bible, but the idea was that Christ was inclusive and so rather than calling for all those who worshipped idols to repent as Paul did when he witnessed to the Athenians the Parliament determined that all the pagan religions should be embraced and intermingled with Christianity.
Strangely the subject the Philip Schaff his speech was the reunion of Christendom, in it he said: “There is a unity of Christian scholarship of all Creeds. This unity has been strikingly illustrated in the Anglo-American Revision of the Authorized Version of the Scriptures.”
Was Shaff somehow suggesting that the revision committee of 1870 was part of a greater agenda? It is worth considering that when Westcott and Hort finished their revision of the King James Bible their new Greek text was openly condemned by Dean John Burgon, who published a critique titled ‘The Revision Revised’. In it he said: “I frankly confess that to me all this looks very much indeed like what, in the language of lawyers, is called ‘conspiracy.’”
Do you believe that the Jesuits counter-reformation is going on still today?
Yes, I believe that that’s one of the main efforts of the Church of Rome to undo the work of the Protestant Reformation, and I think the Jesuits, they have been in the forefront of the battle and they were so evil that the pope’s finally disbanded them, the first pope that was going to do that was poisoned, and the second pope, he said that they would probably get him too, and he was also after that he signed the bill to suppress the order he suffered a long time in agony from the poison that he got, but then they were reintroduced again by the church and so they’re still working today. They have changed their tactics I believe to work in the Ecumenical movement.
In the 20th century, the Vatican would take the concept of ecumenical unity to a global level through Vatican Council 2, which redefined the position of Rome on all the religions of the world.
But exactly what role would the revision of the Bible play in this new movement? At the world Parliament in 1893, Philip Schaff said: “Christ promised us one flock under one shepherd, but not one fold.The famous passage John 10:16, has been mistranslated, and the error has passed into the King James’s version. Christ’s flock is one, but there are many folds. We must look therefore to a much broader union.”
In the scripture, Jesus said:
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
While the Apostle Peter declared:
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Meanwhile the Apostle Paul warned the church when he said:
Galatians 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Yet if men could believe that the earliest New Testament manuscripts were full of errors and that early Christians were unsure of what to believe, then it could be possible that such bold verses in the scripture are not so decisive after all, and hence the door to many religions could thus be opened.
Is this perhaps what Rome desired all along?
Many examples might be given for the influence of Rome in modern times, but among the more interesting is an interview with Leo Hindery, the Managing Partner of InterMedia Partners, his company took possession of the largest Christian publishing house in the world, Thomas Nelson publishers.
In this interview Hindery was asked about what drove him to be successful: “What gave you the ambition to go from, you know, sort of blue-collar jobs to wanting to become, I guess a business man? (Hindery): Lots of demons, lots of Devils that have always caused me to want to succeed, I was blessed with some intellect, intellectual curiosity as well that just drove me, a lot of my early influences came from the Jesuits, I was Jesuit trained at both the high school level and into college and I always knew that I wanted to be something special, I don’t mean that in a self-servingly way but I did want to succeed and be well thought of. I gave a lot of the early early credit to the Jesuits.”
In 2011, InterMedia Partners sold possession of Thomas Nelson to Rupert Murdoch, most famous for his ownership of Fox News. Murdoch is also a knight of the Pontifical order of st. Gregory, knighted by the pope for his service to Rome.
Through Thomas Nelson Murdoch’s company now publishes the New King James Bible, and through Zondervan he publishes the NIV Bible as well. Interestingly mr. Murdoch also owns HarperCollins that publishes the Satanic Bible for the Church of Satan.
But are these things just strange coincidences or could there be other powers at work?
We consider this interview with the Malachi Martin, a former Jesuit priest and author of a best-selling book on the history of the Jesuit Order. In this interview Martin reveals what are said to be the dark powers at work in Rome: “Father, I’ve got an article here, entitled, ‘two eminent churchmen agree’ “yes” that there actually is, this is a shocker to a lot of people, “yeah” That there are Satanic practices going on at the Vatican, could that be true? ‘Yes, now when we say in the Vatican, it’s at a certain level, and there’s no doubt about it that there have been and still are practices that are formally venerating Lucifer, the prince of this world.”
In the scripture the destruction of spiritual Babylon is clearly foretold, we read that:
Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Tares and Wheat
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus told the parable of a man who sowed good seed in his field but while men slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, the tares is said to be a type of weed known as the Darnell. The Darnell is sometimes called false wheat because as it grows it appears almost exactly like the real wheat surrounding it, but as it nears the harvest the wheat turns golden brown but the Darnell turns black and its seeds are full of poison.
Matthew 13:37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;
Matthew 13:38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;
Matthew 13:39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
With these things in mind we asked the question: When it comes to the history of the church and the Bible, who are the tares and who are the wheat?
And through which of them has been preserved the true and faithful record of the word of God?
Rev 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
‘Bridge to Babylon’