Who Started Religion?

Fred R. Coulter—July 31, 1999

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  • What is 'religion' really in the first place?
  • How did it get started?
  • How is it that God does not want a 'religion,' yet, most people believe that God wants a 'religion'?

Today you can turn on the television, and they have all of the so-called 'religious' programs all on one channel. What they've effectively done with that is set 'religion' outside of living, completely censored it. On all the other television shows and movies, religionists are made—especially the Protestants—to be silly, Bible-thumping, fire-breathing, sweating, adulterating preachers. People are turned off at 'religion.'

There is a good reason why you ought to be turned off at 'religion.' When you really understand who started it then you'll understand why God hates 'religion.'

  • Where and when did 'religion' start?
  • Who started it?
  • On what basis was it started?
  • How did it begin?
  • Why is it perpetuated today to where most of the 'religions' today are so similar that they are all planning to get together now in a united 'religion'? —united 'religions' of the world.
  • How did it get started?

Let's look at it this way—I'll tell you what 'religion' is: a substitute for God's way! In almost all cases it has a substitute god. and it began with Satan the devil.

  • he was the one who invented 'religion'
  • he is the one who designed 'religion' in his rebellion
  • he wasn't satisfied with being close to God, being the covering cherub
  • he wasn't satisfied with walking up and down in the stones of fire that depicts God's throne
  • he wasn't satisfied with being the covering cherub, created in beauty and splendor

No! Satan wanted to be God.

Ezekiel 28:12: "Son of man, lift up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, 'You seal up the measure of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…. [We know that this is not talking about any man, because]: …You have been in Eden the garden of God…'" (vs 12-13).

When you read the account in Gen. 3, what do you find? You find God, Adam, Eve, and the serpent who was already Satan the devil at that point. No other person ever got into the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve sinned. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden, because God put cherubim there with flaming swords to turn the way so no one could go into the garden. We know that where it says, 'You have been in Eden the Garden of God,' this is talking about the serpent. It could be no other one. This is also telling us that Satan is the one who is behind the prince of Tyre.

Verse 2: "Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre…" How did he graduate from being prince to king? The king of Tyre was Satan the devil who was the power behind the prince of Tyre! That's how that came to be.

Verse 13: "…in the day that you were created. You were the anointed cherub that covers, and I set you so; you were upon the Holy mountain of God… [That means right there where God has His throne. And as the covering cherub, he would cover the throne of God.] …you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you" (vs 13-15).

This tells us that 'religion' was started because of iniquity or sin. We'll show you every time that Israel apostatized from God, they got into 'religion' and it was sinevery single time!"…till iniquity was found in you." It can't be said of men, that we are perfect. The only one it was ever said of was Job and it was found out that he was only perfect in the letter. He was not perfect in the spirit.

Verse 16: "By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled your midst with violence, and you have sinned.…" That is a key of every 'religion' today. They merchandize and they kill. When we read about Babylon the Great, God lays the death of all human beings right on her. So, we need to understand what the whole situation is with 'religion.'

"…Therefore, I will cast you as profane from the mountain of God…" (v16). 'Religion' is really profane, but they try and make it appear Holy. And being a substitute for God, what it is, it is a substitute for God's way so that people can 'feel good' and 'holy' about what they are doing. But it isn't Holy with God, because it's already a rejection of God to begin with, because the author of 'religion' has rejected God; that is Satan the devil.

"…and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from among the stones of fire…. [get him out] …Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness. I will cast you to the ground; I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you" (vs 16-17). God's ultimate judgment on Satan the devil is going to happen. We cover that on the Day of Atonement, so be sure and get any sermon on the Day of Atonement.

Verse 18: "By the multitude of your iniquities, by the unrighteousness of your trade, you have profaned your sanctuaries…" How was it that there were sanctuaries and they were corrupted? They had sanctuaries before they were corrupted, so in other words, there was some kind of worship of God with the angels where there were sanctuaries.

They became corrupted because Satan was merchandizing. I don't know what he told the angels that fell with him, but Rev. 12 says 'a third of the angels fell' with him.

  • I don't know what Satan offered them.
  • I don't know what he promised them.
  • I don't know what he did to deceive them

But I do know that the first thing that he did was to get their eyes off of the fact that God was God.

When you get your eyes and mind off the facts and you get yourself into feelings and you get yourself into suppositions, then you get yourself into self-deceiving. That's exactly what happened with Satan. He thought he was as good as God and was going to be like God. Isaiah 14 tells us of how he wanted to exalt himself and how he fell. Jesus said, 'I saw Satan fall from heaven.' That had to be before the creation of Adam and Eve and before the recreation of the earth as we know it in Gen. 1.

Isaiah 14:12: "How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning!...." His mission originally was to be a 'light bringer' for the angels of God, maybe even for the creation of human beings. But now instead of being a light bringer with the light of God, he's a light bringer bringing darkness. Jesus said, 'If the light in you is darkness, behold how great the darkness.' Why? Because you are all cut off from God!

Verse 13: "For you have said in your heart… [God knows the heart, so it wasn't just a slip up. It wasn't just something—a misunderstanding or something like that. He said in his heart] …'I will ascend into the heavens… [showing that the angels were originally on the earth] …I will exalt my throne above the stars of God… [The stars of God are the angels; to exalt himself above the angels, and he got one third to follow him in that exaltation.] …I will also sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.'" But he was cast out.

Verse 14: "'I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High'" Stop and think for a minute: if there is God—which there is; if He is the Most High—which He is; then nobody else, and no one else, and no other being can be like the Most High. It's an impossibility! If it is not an impossibility, then the Most High God is not the Most High God—correct? That's why Satan was cast down!

Verse 15: "Yet you shall be brought down to the grave, to the sides of the pit." That's how 'religion' got started.

Now let's see what Satan wanted to do with the same thing that he did with the angels. Let's look here a little bit about Satan's thinking and his reasoning. We will see that he always appeals to emotions. Emotions are used to divert you from the facts. Satan always does that. 'Religion' diverts you from the facts.

Let me give you an example: You walk up to a Protestant minister and you tell him, 'Look, I keep the Sabbath and it's the seventh day of the week and there's nowhere in the Bible that authorizes Sunday.' He will give you every reason, no facts, but every reason:

  • I think
  • I feel
  • we do
  • we practice
  • it is tradition

That way, if you get into that discussion with Satan, then you start finding out where you agree. Or better still, where your carnal mind disagrees with God, because 'religion' is a substitute for God's way and Satan is a substitute for God!

Genesis 3:1: "Now the serpent was more cunning than any creature of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, 'Is it true that God has said… [he starts out with a lie] …"You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?"'.... [Sometimes you get trapped like Eve; she wanted to correct him.] …And the woman said to the serpent, 'We may freely eat the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has indeed said, "You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die."'" (vs 1-3). She either added a little bit more to the instruction or she was instructed and knew not to take it, not to touch it, not to eat it. That was the fact! Now Satan comes along and gets you away from the facts, to get you into 'religion.'

Verse 4: "And the serpent said to the woman, 'In dying, you shall not surely die!…. [now there's a conflict] …For God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be like God, deciding good and evil'" (vs 4-5). Well, you know the rest of the story. They ate of the fruit, their eyes were opened and that's when their nature was changed; they had a sinful nature. Then God judged them, gave the sentence of death, so that's how the law of sin and death entered into human life. It entered in because they believed in 'religion' rather than God. What did God have to do? God had to remove them out of the Garden of Eden. So, there you have it!

Let's see who carried it on, because it's talked about here, Jude 6: "And the angels who did not keep their own original domain, but deserted their habitation, He [Christ] is holding in eternal bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Then he talks about Sodom and Gomorrah (v 7), what happened to them and all the things that they did. They are an example of suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Verse 8: "In the same way also, these dreamers offilthy dreams are defiling the flesh…" That is the religionists who crept in. Certain men have crept in unawares. Ungodly men ordained to this condemnation of old. How old is it? It goes back to Satan the devil!

"…and are declaring as invalid the lordship of God, and are blaspheming the divine powers. But Michael the archangel, when he was personally taking issue with the devil, disputing about the body of Moses, did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment against him, but said, 'The Lord Himself rebuke you!' As for these, whatever things they do not understand, they blaspheme… [that's what Satan always does] …but whatever things they understand by instinct, as irrational brute beasts, they are corrupting themselves in these things" (vs 8-10). That's what happens always in every 'religion'; they end up corrupting themselves.

Verse 11: "Woe to them! For they have walked in the way of Cain; and for gain, they have wholly given themselves up to Balaam's delusion, and haveperished in the rebellion of Korah." Korah in his rebellion, what did he want to do? He wanted to set up his own priesthood! Every one of these things talk about 'religion' that takes you away from God.

The way of Cain is very profound. Let's go back to Genesis 4 and I want you to make sure that you get this book called The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop. This proves that papal worship is the worship of Nimrod, Semiramis, and Horus and Satan. It all began with Cain. He is the one who began it. He was not satisfied with coming to worship God as God commanded. Abel brought an offering and God accepted it; he brought it according to the command. But let's see what Cain did with his offering. He brought something from the ground. If you bring something from the ground according to the command of God, He'll accept it, but Cain didn't bring it according to the command of God, so it wasn't accepted.

Genesis 4:5: "But He did not have regard unto Cain and his offering. And Cain was extremely angry and his countenance fell." Tyndale translates that 'loured'—you could just see him louring. What was Cain trying to do with this? We need to think about it. If Abel was accepted because he obeyed God and he was a preacher of righteousness, then Cain tried to worship God in a way that God did not accept because it was sin. Anytime you go against the commands of God it is sin. That's what God said.

Verse 6: "And the LORD said to Cain, 'Why are you so angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted?....'" (vs 6-7). Religion' is a substitute so that people can think they can be accepted by God in a way different than God has commanded. That's exactly what 'religion' is. That's why nearly every 'religion' has

  • their own rules
  • their own regulations
  • their own laws
  • their own traditions
  • their own festivals

And how many of them go to the Bible to say, 'Let's find out what the Word of God says and we'll do that.' Oh no, they go to the Bible and use this part and they go to the Bible and use that part, but they won't take the thing as a whole. That's exactly what Cain was doing here.

"…'But if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. Its desire is for you… [the wages of sin is death] …but you must rule over it!'" (v 7). In other words, you can overcome sin. What happened? Cain killed Abel because he was jealous and he was angry and he probably went around and said, 'Why doesn't God accept me? I did the best that I could.' That's just the way that 'religion' is. He was jealous and killed Abel. Then God decided not to execute the death penalty upon Cain, but sent him off into the land of wandering, or Nod, after He put a mark on him.

No one knows what the mark of Cain is. There have been many speculations. Some speculate that it was even a cross on his forehead. That may be somewhat true, but we won't say that that's absolutely true, that's just a speculation. But:

  • Do you think that Cain would admit that he was wrong? No!
  • Do you think that he would admit that he was wrong in killing his brother? No! He was justified in doing it, because God accepted 'him and not me!'

Man is justified in every thought of his own mind that what he's doing is right. Cain went out and he started his own civilization. What did that civilization lead to? It led to the corruption of the earth; so corrupt that God had to bring the Flood! Right after the Flood we have this event. Let's come over here to Gen. 10 and we're going to find the one that carried on the way of Cain after the Flood. And his name is Nimrod and his wife Semiramis.

Genesis 10:8: "And Cush begat Nimrod. He began to be a mighty one in the earth." One of the stories is that he was so mighty—he was a giant—he was so strong and so powerful that he went out and wrestled a bull to the ground, just twisted it's neck off, took the head and placed it on top of him, to show his power and his prowess. We'll see what that has to do with the golden calf later on. That is a symbol of the 'religions' of this world, a symbol of Nimrod.

Verse 9: "He was a mighty hunter against the LORD…." That doesn't mean that he was a mighty hunter with God's blessing. He was a mighty hunter in place of God, or placing himself between the people and God. That's what he did. He's the founder of the way of Cain on this side of the Flood.

"…He began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter against the LORD. Therefore it is said, 'Like Nimrod—the mighty hunter against the LORD.' And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…" (vs 8-10). Let's see what happened at Babel. Let's look at the rebellion of Nimrod. I know we can go back to these things and in these chapters we can pick out many different aspects of learning and understanding the Scriptures and so forth, but let's look and see in the aspect of 'religion' in its rebellion.

Genesis 11:1: "And the whole earth was of one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar. And they settled there. And they said to one another, 'Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.' And they had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar" (vs 1-3).

This slime was actually asbestos. Right there in the area of Mesopotamia they had oil and tar oozing out of the ground. They actually made asbestos out of it so that they could make it waterproof. They wanted to build this tower not only to make a name for themselves, but they didn't want to go to the places of their inheritance that God had designated that they should go to. They didn't want to be scattered. Well, God eventually scattered them by confounding their languages.

In building this tower they were in rebellion against God. What do we have?

  • We have 'religion'
  • We have civil government
  • We have rebellion against God

And 'religion' and civil government have been bedfellows from day one, and they are going to be again at the end, as we know.

You know the rest of the story. God went down and confounded their languages and scattered them into all the earth, then the three names of Nimrod, Semiramis, and Horus were all changed. But all the names of the gods of the various pagan gods in all the nations of the world come right back to Nimrod, Semiramis and Horus (also known as Tamuz). This is one of the greatest books that has ever been done to document the history {The Two Babylons}, that that's how 'religion' got started this side of the Flood, right in Babylon.

  • all the fables
  • all of the lies
  • all of the stories
  • all of the false worship
  • all of the control
  • all of the merchandizing
  • all of the fornication
  • all of the murders
  • all of the wars

lie right there. Satan the devil is the one who has inspired it. That's where 'religion' started.

Let's see what happens. When you have a 'religion' and you have a society based upon human philosophy, inspired by Satan the devil

  • that hates God
  • that doesn't want God's rule
  • that doesn't want God's Law
  • that doesn't want the Spirit of God
  • that doesn't want people to be in the Kingdom of God

Satan wants to kill and destroy and maim and make sure that everyone can't be there because he was kicked out.

Here's what happened, Romans 1:18: "Indeed, the wrath of God is revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the Truth in unrighteousness." That's what they do.
Let me just say: Any of you who keep Sunday, you are holding the Truth of God in unrighteousness and you need to repent, because you are following a 'religion.' You're following a substitute for God's Way and His Lawand for God. You think you're worshipping God, but you're not worshipping God. There are many that are going to say, 'Lord, Lord, haven't we done wonderful works? We cast out demons. Didn't we do things in Your name? Didn't we prophesy in Your name?' And Christ is going to say, 'I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness.' Because that's exactly what it is, who hold the Truth in unrighteousness.

  • Do you believe the Bible?
  • Do you believe every Word of God?
  • Are you willing to live by every Word of God?

Because that's the way of God!

Whereas 'religion' says, 'We'll pick and choose. I don't like that harsh one concerning the Sabbath. I think Sunday is just fine, because all of us good folks are sincere and how can you turn down all these good people. Let's come to church on Sunday or I worship God every day.' Well, you ought to, but when do you work if every day is holy to you? You can't make anything Holy! That's exactly what 'religion' has done; put on collars upside down and backward, command to not marry. You read everything that the Catholics have there: confession, penance, rosary, idols, statues, and every 'religion' has those. Even the Muslims have their beads they do laps around. All 'religion' all a substitute for God.

Verse 19: "Because that which may be known of God is manifest among them… [or to them; God left them with no excuse] …for God has manifested it to them…. [God showed His Truth] …For the invisible things of Him are perceived from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that were made—both His eternal power and Godhead—so that they are without excuse…"  (vs 19-20).

  • that means the pope
  • that means the Dalai Lama
  • that means Billy Graham
  • that means Oral Roberts

and all of those of that ilk. They have the Bible, but

  • they won't believe Him
  • they won't believe God
  • they won't keep the Word of God

No! They're without excuse!

Verse 21: "Because when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but they became vain in their own reasonings, and their foolish hearts were darkened." So, they came up with myths to explain their gods. People say, 'Ohhhh!' But what it does, it appeals to carnal nature, because it will let you do the sin and let you not have to repent to God. You come and do some our fathers or hail Marys or you do laps around the beads, or you pray to Allah five times a day or you sit and meditate yourself into oblivion as the Buddhists.

Verse 22: "While professing themselves to be the wise ones… [Oh, yes, we have philosophy.] …they became fools." That's what God thinks of every 'religious' leader in this world, because they're all going the way of Cain, the way of Babylon the Great, following the mother of harlots and all the governments of the earth are with them. They are fools!

Verse 23: "And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed creatures, and creeping things. For this cause, God also abandoned them to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts, to disgrace their own bodies between themselves… [That's where it always ends up—right there!] …Who exchanged the Truth of God for the lie; and they worshiped and served the created thing more than the one Who is Creator, Who is blessed into the ages. Amen" (vs 23-25).

I remember talking to a man and he told me, 'Oh, you just got to go to the Sistine Chapel and see it. When I went there, I was just overwhelmed and tears came to my eyes.' Well, I didn't say anything to him because of the situation with other people around there, but if I had been alone, I'd have said, 'That's plain idolatry.' If I went in there, I'd want to take a bazooka and start shooting down all these idols and start bombing out all of these paintings and things like that. All they do is glorify men and all they're setting it up for is a great united 'religion' to come—and it's going to come!

We find something very important here in Exo. 20, brethren. You may take this for granted; 'Oh, there he goes to the Ten Commandments. We know the Ten Commandments.' Well, I should hope you do. Do you know them by heart? Let's read the first commandment, because this is profound.

Exodus 20:2: "I am the LORD your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me" (vs 2-3). You have to read the whole thing, not just "…You shall have no other gods before Me," because it points you to the right God. What did He do? He brought them out of the land of Egypt, the house of bondage and all the 'religion' of Egypt, which is the 'religion' of Nimrod, Semiramis, Horus called Osiris and Isis. Then they had other names like Ra and so forth.

"…out of the house of bondage…. [Their bondage was literally physical, but it was also spiritual.] …You shall have no other gods before Me" (vs 2-3). But you have to have that first part first, so that you know what God took us out of. Then He says not to make any graven image of any likeness of anything and so forth. After God got done speaking all these words, the people said, 'Oh no, Moses you talk to us, don't let God speak to us lest we die, oh my!'

What is the first thing that the children of Israel wanted to do when they didn't know where Moses was? They wanted a substitute for God! Even in the very presence of God they wanted a substitute.

Exodus 32:1: "And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, then the people gathered themselves to Aaron…" It's a thing everyone agreed to. Probably had feelings, 'Well, I don't know where he is. I have a suspicion. Did he fall in a volcanic hole up there? Maybe one of the gods got him.'

"…and they said to him, 'Up! Make us gods which shall go before us, for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.'" (v 1) This is the way that a politician does; he goes along with the people. Aaron should have said, 'Look, God is up there, Moses is up there, have some faith. Now, you all get out of here and go home and pray.' No, he didn't. He said, 'Bring your earrings and we'll make the golden calf.' So, they brought them.

Verse 4: "And he took them from their hand, and fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. And they said, 'These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.' And when Aaron saw thecalf, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, 'Tomorrow is a Feast to the LORD'" (vs 4-5).

The one who was supposed to be the high priest, to bring the way of God to the people, was right there part and parcel in bringing the substitute 'religion' of the golden calves. That was the symbol of Nimrod with this bull's head after he had ripped it off the bull and stuck it on top of his head to show his mighty power. So, they're worshipping men; they're worshipping idols. You know what happened there. You know the rest of the story. If it wasn't for Moses pleading to God to save the people, He would have exterminated them.

What God had to do, He removed Himself outside the camp. When they first started, God was central to the camp, with the pillar of the cloud in the day and the pillar of fire at night; He was central. After that, the pillar of fire and cloud moved outside the camp and Moses set up the tent of the meeting out there for God to go to and all of the people had to rise up and stand and watch Moses go out and meet God. So, the moral of this story is and the lesson is: If you want your 'religion,' God will let you have it! You're going to chase Him away. God didn't remove Himself totally away; He was still nearby.

Let's see some of the commands that God gave the children of Israel, then we'll see what they did. Why is it that people always want 'religion'? They want 'religion' because it makes them feel good! They don't have the commandments of God, which are the facts and the Truth to lead them. They want to go their own way and feel good about it, regardless. If God doesn't come down and exterminate them immediately, they think, 'Oh my, well this is fine. Let's make this Holy. Oh, this statue is so beautiful. Look at how wonderful and it weeps.' They are dumb idols!

Leviticus 18:1: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel and say to them, "I am the LORD your God. As they do in the land of Egypt where you dwelt you shall not do.… [everything, their 'religion,' their society, their dress] …And you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Neither shall you walk in their ordinances"'" (vs 1-3).

Why? Because they're all substitutes for God! That is theirown 'religion' worshipping Satan. What did Jesus tell the 'religious' leaders of Judaism in His day? You are of your father, the devil and the deeds of your father you will do! The devil was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the Truth. And when he speaks a lie, he is a liar, for he is the father of it.They sought to kill Him because He condemned them for their actions and their wrong 'religion,' rather than falling down and repenting and say, 'Ah, this is the Son of God. Forgive us.' No!

Verse 4: "You shall do My judgments and keep My ordinances, and walk in them. I am the LORD your God." If you want an interesting study, go back and find out how many times God says, 'I am the LORD your God.'" They didn't believe it. They didn't want to follow God. They wanted to follow their own way, their own 'religion.' Oh, they wanted God's blessings, but they didn't want to do it God's way.

Verse 5: "And you shall keep My statutes and My judgments, which if a man does, he shall live in them. I am the LORD." Then he gives all of the intimate sex laws, which were violations that God said were gross abominable sins, which were done in Egypt, which were done in the land of Canaan and which are being brought back part and parcel into this society again today; because we have 'religion' and we don't have the way of God—that's why.

Verse 24: "Do not defile yourselves in any of these things, for in all these the nations which I cast out before you are defiled…. [That's why they were going out, because of their sins.] …And the land is defiled. Therefore I visit its wickedness against it, and the land itself vomits out those who live in it. You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, neither the native, nor any stranger that lives among you; for the men of the land who were before you have done all these abominations, and the land is defiled. You shall not do these so that the land may not spew you out also when you defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you" (vs 24-28). They didn't learn the lesson though, did they?

Deuteronomy 18:9, here's what God said: "When you come to the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to do according to the abominations of those nations."

Deuteronomy 12:29: "When the LORD your God shall cut off the nations before you, where you go to possess them, and you take their place and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself… [Watch out! Be on guard! It's so easy to do.] …that you do not become ensnared by following them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not ask about their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods that I may also do likewise?'" (vs 29-30).

A specific command not to, but no, people have to have their 'religion'—don't they? And it's even happened in the Church of God—hasn't it? Do you know why the Church of God has been destroyed? Because of

  • 'religion'
  • people not wanting to follow God
  • not wanting to keep His commandments
  • not wanting to love and serve God from their hearts

Verse 31: "You shall not do so to the LORD your God, for every abomination to the LORD, which He hates, they have done to their gods; even their sons and their daughters they have burned in the fire to their gods. Whatsoever thing that I command you, be careful to do it. You shall not add to it, nor take away from it" (vs 31-32). That is very clear!

Let's read what else God has said here, Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire… [even the kings of Israel did that] …or that uses divination, or an observer of times…" There's a command not to observe Christmas, right there. God inspired Jeremiah to write: 'Learn not the way of the heathen.' Then explains about how they go out and cut a tree out of the forest and make a Christmas tree. And yet, thousands who were in the Church of God have gone back, just like the children of Israel, to 'religion.' They keep Christmas, Sunday, Easter and all of these holidays of the world, and say, 'Oh my, isn't this nice.'

If you're one of them, you better wake up!You better repent! There are going to be those who won't repent of their 'religion' and they're going in the Lake of Fire, because they are idolaters.

Let's talk about something concerning idols, idols you make in your mind. Every idea, every thought that is against God is an idol in your mind. Every practice and every deed that you do which is against God is an idol in your hands. You need to understand.

"…or a fortuneteller, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or one who seeks oracles from the dead. For all that do these things are an abomination to the LORD…'" (vs 10-12). Walt Disney thinks they are just fineto teach all of our little children. Cartoons that kids watch are abominations.

  • Do you want to feed your children's minds on abominations?
  • Do you want to teach them about witchcraft
  • through Disney?
  • through tarot cards?
  • through Ouija boards?
  • through all of those games designed to destroy the mind of your children and make them commit idolatry?

They are not old enough to discern between good and evil. Think about it. Everything that God says is an abomination here, is a delight to Walt Disney.

"…And because of these abominations, the LORD your God drives them out from before you" (v 12). That's why this nation is going to go down and go out, because we are turning into this same stupidity that they did.

Now, let's come over here to Judges. They went into the 'promised land.' They finally conquered it, but they didn't drive out all the people as they should have. We come over here to the book of Judges and we find exactly what the children did. The first thing they did was find a substitute for God. They found it in the Nimrod 'religion' of Baal and Ashteroth, because Baal is Nimrod and Ashteroth is Semiramis, Astarte or Isis, whichever name you want to put on it.

Judges 2:10: "And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers…" We are in a generational point here in the United States exactly the same way. We're in a generational point in the Church in exactly the same way. They have done exactly the same thing as the children of Israel did here.

"…And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD…" (v 10). They weren't keeping His commandments. They forgot God. They had all the blessings of God and they just let everything all slide together and it was so nice and it was so quaint, and God in His mercy didn't come and destroy them right away so they thought everything was fine.

"…nor even the works which He had done for Israel. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served Baalim. And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, Who brought them out of the land of Egypt. And they followed other gods, even the gods of the people who were around them, and bowed themselves to them, and provoked the LORD to anger. And they forsook the LORD and served Baal and Ashteroth. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel…" (vs 10-14). Yes, indeed!

  • God is God
  • He is Creator
  • He is Almighty
  • He is Most High

'What are people doing down there giving My honor and glory to idols, to dumb stupid things'

  • that can't talk
  • that can't see
  • that have no knowledge
  • that can't think

Brethren, you need to understand this thing of 'religion' is profound. They never, ever learned the lesson—did they? No!

When the tribes of Israel split, the ten northern tribes, what was the first thing that was instituted? The 'religion' of Egypt! Solomon corrupted God's way (1-Kings 11). He had all these wives and concubines and made churches and incense altars for them and filled Jerusalem with the abominable temples of the false gods, and Jerusalem was the place where God put His name. Isn't that always what happens? Where God puts His name someone comes in

  • to pollute it
  • to destroy it
  • to twist it
  • to turn it
  • to corrupt it

And now you know what's wrong with the Church of God today.

This thing of 'religion'—people get all upset, because God condemns 'religion' and they blame me for condemning 'religion.' They blame me for condemning Job. Look, I didn't write the Bible! I didn't put it there. And because I read the words of God, which condemn it; and I get hot behind the collar sometimes, because I see all of this stupidity going on; and all of this in the name of God; and all this mealy mouth mush-mush, huggy-huggy, get-together; because of carnal men trying to do the ways of their own and force it upon God, you take it to God! If you have a problem with that, go repent to God or go start your own 'religion' and church, and then when God comes to judge you, then you tell Him!

1-Kings 12:25: "And Jeroboam built Shechem on Mount Ephraim and lived on it, and went from there and built Penuel. And Jeroboam said in his heart, 'Now the kingdom may well return to the house of David! If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again to their lord, to Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me and return again to Rehoboam king of Judah'" (vs 25-27).

He didn't believe God. God said, 'If you'll obey Me, keep My commandments, follow Me, I will give you a dynasty just like I promised David.' He didn't believe God. He was afraid. That's what 'religion' says. If you believe in 'religion' you do not believe in God! You may believe in agod, but you don't believe God!

Verse 28: "Then the king took counsel, and made…" They always do it by counsel. That's why God raises up one prophet, because if he loves God and serves Him and is independent from men, then he's not going to be corrupted. But a counsel will corrupt you nine times out of ten.

"…and made two calves of gold and said to them, 'It is too much for you… [Appealing to feeling—right? 'We're considering you. We're going to make it easy for you.'] …to go up to Jerusalem. Behold your gods, O, Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!' And he set the one in Bethel… [house of God] …and he put the other in Dan" (vs 28-29). That was easy to do because it was already the idolatrous renegade Levites up there who had their own Catholic 'religion' going in Dan. That was simple to do; they welcomed that.

Verse 30: "And this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one, even to Dan. And he made houses of worship on the high places and made priests of the lowest of the people, who were not the sons of Levi. And Jeroboam ordered a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like the Feast that is in Judah. And he offered upon the altar. So he did in Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places, which he had made. And he offered upon the altar, which he had made in Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised out of his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel. And he offered upon the altar and burned incense." (vs 30-33).

Jeroboam was the epitome of sin and every king that followed him was said that they went in the way of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who caused the children of Israel to sin. Let's see what God had to do with them. God will only tolerate these things so long and then He's got to do some spewing, which He did with Israel.

2-Kings 17:7: "Now it came to pass because the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt… [Notice how it always says, 'brought them up out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of Egypt, out of the land of Egypt', over and over again.] …and walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which the nations had made. Now the children of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the LORD their God. And they built high places in all their cities for themselves from the Watch Tower to the fortified city. And they set up images and groves for themselves in every high hill, and under every green tree" (vs 7-10).

Where they could have fornication and priestess prostitution and all of that. And it says there in the book of Isaiah eating of mice, all of these things and these were sanctified to the gods, which originated with Nimrod, Semiramis and Horus—every one of these! That's what's going on today. That's what's happening in the Church of God today!

Verse 11: "And they burned incense in all the high places, like the nations whom the LORD had removed from before them, and they practiced evil things to provoke the LORD to anger,. for they served the idols of which the LORD had said to them, 'You shall not do this thing.' And the LORD testified against Israel and against Judah, by all the prophets, by all the seers, saying, 'Turn from your evil ways…'" (vs 11-13).

I plead with you the same way today. If you believe in 'religion'—if you have been in the Worldwide Church of God and you've swallowed this Sunday malarkey and you've swallowed Christmas and Easter and all of this satanic stuff—I plead with you, turn from your way and repent! It may be too late if you think about it in the future.

"'…and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the Law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.' Nevertheless, they would not hear… [They did worse, rejected His statutes and covenants.] …but hardened their necks, like the neck of their fathers who did not believe in the LORD their God" (vs 13-14).

I'm here to tell you that if you don't keep God's way, you don't believe in Him. You may mouth His name. You may hold the Bible up, but you don't believe in Him. You may be skilled in going through Scriptures to prove your little point, but you don't believe in Him.

Verse 15: "And they rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, and His warnings that He testified against them. And they went after vanity, and became vain…" That's exactly what has happened. Brethren, don't you see that? Those leaders who have led you down this path are vanity and have become vain! They've done everything that it says here, rejected all of God's ways.

"…and went after the nations around them, concerning whom the LORD had charged them not to do like them. And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God and made molten images, two calves for themselves. And they made a grove, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire. And they used divination and sorceries, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. So, the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight; not one was left, only the tribe of Judah by itself" (vs 15-18).

Judah didn't learn from that, and Judah went on and had to be sent off into captivity. The Church of God has not learned it even to this day. Do we have to be sent off into captivity like they? Let's keep our senses about us. Let us understand some things here. Let's realize some very important things.

Let's come over here to the New Testament, 2-Thessalonians 2, because there is coming the greatest deception that's going to come on the world. If you've already rejected the commandments of God and are not going to repent of that, you're going to be deceived; because if you reject the commandments of God, you do not love the Truth. All of His commandments are true and His Word is Truth. That's why it's coming upon this world and it's going to come and it's going to be awesome. It's going to feel good and it's going to be magnificent and there will be miracles, undeniable false miracles will take place. It's going to be awesome. It's going to make Nimrod look like a piker, but he will be Nimrod's successor. This was already happening in Paul's day. Even then, the people couldn't stand to have the Truth. No!

2-Thessalonians 2:7 "For the mystery of lawlessness is already working; only there is one Who is restraining at the present time until it arises out of the midst…. [it's held for the time that God is going to let it happen] …And then the lawless one will be revealed…" (vs 7-8). God is going to reveal it. The lawless one is going to be the son of perdition, the man of sin. He's going to go sit in the temple of God and say that he is God. All the world are going to go after him and all the world's going to worship him; all the world's going to worship Satan the devil. Satan will have completed his plan to where he will have the whole world deceived and away from God. That's when Christ is going to intervene and destroy the whole system. This thing about 'religion' is no small matter.

"…(whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of His coming); even the one whose coming is according to the inner working of Satan… [Satan and all of his glory and all of his power and all of every deceivableness that can be.] …with all power and signs and lying wonders… [it is going to be awesome] …and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are perishing because they did not receive the love of the Truth, so that they might be saved" (vs 8-10).

If you don't love the Truth you will not be saved!

  • Do you grasp that?
  • Do you understand that?
  • Do you realize that?

We need to really think on that, brethren. And for those of us who are still mealy mouthing around with 'religion,' we need to repent of it and ask God to give us

  • His way
  • His grace
  • His mercy
  • His Spirit
  • His Truth
  • the love of His Truth
  • the love of Him
  • the love of Jesus Christ
  • the love of brethren
  • and the love of doing the things that God wants us to do

God is going to hold us accountable. Do you think God is going to open any door to do anything for this world if we're going to mealy mouth around and compromise with 'religion' and His way? I tell you no!

A man just recently wrote me a letter. He said, 'I've heard you say that you believe that we've been Laodiceans from the beginning.' He says, 'I believe that also.' And he says if you look at the scattering and you compare it by doing this: If you take a cup of coffee and you put it in your mouth and you spew it out, what happens? Droplets everywhere! And he said, 'It's just like the scattering of the Church.' And, brethren, that is what has happened! They are blind and they are naked and they think that they are just fine!They are not!

Verse 11: "And for this cause, God…" I want you to tie that in with Rom. 1. I want you to understand something profound. God means business! When something happens, God is the One Who causes it. If you sin and you love sin, He will let you go have more sin. That's what He did here. They didn't honor God They are without excuse. They didn't glorify God, professed themselves to be wise. (Rom. 1:20-21).

Romans 1:24, after their idolatry: "For this cause, God also abandoned them to uncleanness… [v 26]: …For this cause, God abandoned them to disgraceful passions… [God is the One Who has done it] ...And in exact proportion as they did not consent to have God in their knowledge… [v 28]: God abandoned them…" So, God is the One.

2-Thessalonians 2:11: "And for this cause… [Because they didn't love the Truth, they went after the idols, they looked at this man of sin, the son of perdition as the savior.] …God will send upon them a powerful deception that will cause them to believe the lie… [That's what 'religion' is. It is a lie! All 'religions' are lies! They may have some Truths in them, which they have borrowed from God, but since it is not the Truth of God, it is still a lie!] …So that all may be judged who did not believe the Truth… [you have to love the Truth and you have to believe it] …but who took pleasure in unrighteousness" (vs 11-12). That's what all 'religion' is, all 'religion' is unrighteousness!

Let's see what the Apostle Paul said. The Apostle Paul said the same thing. You can't weld together 'religion' and the way of God. You cannot do it! 1-Corinthians 10:18: "Consider Israel according to the flesh. Are not those who eat the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What then am I saying? That an idol is anything, or that which is sacrificed to an idol is anything?...." (vs 18-19). In other words, an idol is nothing. It is absolutely nothing!

Verse 20: "But that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God; and I do not wish you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of demons. Now do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than He?" (vs 20-22) Think about that before you go do those things. No, there is no mixing of it—absolutely not!

2-Corinthians 6:14: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers…." An unbeliever is one who believes in 'religion.' He may name the name of God. He may have certain set formulas of his 'religion.' It may sound all nice and sweet and lovely, because he uses the name of Christ and all of that, but he is an unbelieverif

  • they don't believe in the commandments of God
  • they don't believe in the Sabbath of God
  • they don't believe in the Truth of God
  • they don't love God with all their heart, mind, soul and being

"…For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? And what fellowship does light have with darkness?.… [None! Impossible! Can't be!] …And what union does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement is there between a temple of God and idols? For you are a temple of the living God, exactly as God said: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people" (vs 15-16).

That's why God's way is not a'religion.' Christ in you is the hope of glory, not the external things that you do. What you have to do is make the tree good, then the fruit will be good. If the tree is not good, you can't make the fruit good. Do you understand that?That's why you've got to make the tree good. The only way that is, is Christ in you, that you're the temple of God.

"…'I will dwell in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from the midst of them… [Who are them? The 'religious' people with their idolatry and their statutes and their judgments and their ways!] …Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,' says the Lord…" (vs 16-17). Not go join them, not have ecumenical councils, not figure out what is the thing we have in common. What you better have in common first is:

  • the right God—the Lord God and Jesus Christ
  • with the right understanding
  • with the right laws
  • with everything that's correct out of the Bible

—otherwise there's no agreement.

Verse 17: "'Therefore, come out from the midst of them and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you; and I shall be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty" (vs 17-18).

Paul was fighting this from the very day that he started. He was fighting 'religion,' Judaism on one hand, and all the heathen 'religions' on the other hand. He was cast out of the synagogue. He was cast out of cities. They came to worship him and Barnabas as Jupiter and Mercury. It was all they could do to keep them from offering sacrifices to him and Barnabas when they healed this man. He was fighting 'religion' every place he went.

Here's what he tells us to do, Ephesians 5:1: "Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children… [not as rebellious, seeking your own way] …and walk in love, even as Christ also loved us, and gave Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (vs 1-2). Christ has done it for you, but that doesn't mean He is keeping the commandments for you. You are to keep the commandments.Christ in you!

Verse 3: "But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, do not permit it even to be named among you, as is fitting for saints; nor filthiness, nor foolish talking or jesting, which are not becoming; but instead, thanksgiving. For this you know, that no fornicator, or unclean person, or covetous person, who is an idolater… [to say nothing of those who commit idolatry straight out] …has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God…. [won't be there] …Do not let anyone deceive you with vain words… [which are the myths of the pagan religions of this world.] …for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore, do not be joint partakers with them" (vs 3-7). That's strong language, brethren. It's nice to read all the sweet and loving and kind and smooth things, but life just isn't that way. Sometimes these things that are hard need to be said and they need to said in such a way that it will be heard; need to be said in such a way that people will understand and begin to look at their lives and begin to repent and begin to return to God.

Verse 8: "For you were once darkness… [Why go back?] …but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light, (Because the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and Truth); proving what is well pleasing to the Lord; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,but rather expose them… [They are—that's why this book is so good, it exposes that darkness.] …for it is shameful even to mention the things being done by them in secret. But all of these things being exposed by the light are openly revealed. Therefore, He says, 'You who are sleeping—wake up, and arise from the dead! And Christ shall shine upon you.' So then, take heed that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as those who are wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. For this reason, do not be foolish, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit" (vs 8-18). That's what God wants.

1-John 5:21: "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."

2-John 1: "The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in Truth… [I want you to listen to these words and let them sink in, let them be profound.] …and not I alone, but also all those who have known the Truth; for the sake of the Truth that is dwelling in us, and shall be with us forever.… [That's Christ and His Word and His commandments and His way.] …Grace, mercy, and peace shall be with us from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in Truth and love. I rejoiced exceedingly that I have found among your children those who are walking in Truth… [God's way is the way of Truth and you have to walk in it.] …exactly as we received commandment from the Father" (vs 1-4).

Why? Because all the words here come from God the Father. As Jesus said, 'I don't speak anything of My own self, but what the Father has given Me commandment, that's what I speak.' That's why we need to learn the Word of God and understand the Truth of God. That's why it needs to be preached and it needs to be taught. The ideas of men and philosophies of men are nowhere.

And speaking of philosophies of men—remember the first thing that happened to begin to lead people away from God in the Worldwide Church of God—what did they do? They turned Stavrinides loose on them and flooded them with all the pagan philosophies! That was planned! That was done deliberately to confuse! To take away your Truth through vain talking and jangling to deceive you! Remember, the Word of God is the commandment from the Father.

Verse 5: "And now I beseech you, lady, not as though I am writing a new commandment to you, but that which we have observed from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is the love of God: that we walk according to His commandments…. [If you have a 'religion,' you're not walking in His commandments.] …This is the commandment, exactly as you heard from the beginning, that you might walk in it. Because many deceivers have entered into the world—those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh…. [that's the first thing that Stavrinides did] …This is the spirit of the deceiver and the antichrist" (vs 5-7). Regardless of who he is, what his name is, anyone who does that is an antichrist.

Verse 8: "Watch out for yourselves in order that we may not lose the things we have accomplished…" Because there are men going around seeking to take your crown. They're not going to come in and say, 'Look at me, whoopee everybody, I'm a crown stealer.' They aren't going to do that. They're going to come and say, 'Have you ever thought of this?' And you bite, and you've taken the first step.

"…not lose the things we have accomplished, but that we may receive a full reward. Anyone who transgresses and does not continue in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. But the one who continues in the doctrine of Christ has both theFather and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house, and do not say to him, 'Welcome!' For anyone who says, 'Welcome!' to him is partaking in his evil works" (vs 8-11).

That's what's happened in the Church of God, brethren. They brought in 'religion.' They did the same thing as Israel. They went after the gods of this world, saying, 'How did they worship their gods, even so we will do likewise. Please tell us about the trinity,' instead of saying, 'There is the door. Get out of here.' No, they went and joined them.

Let this be us, brethren. Revelation 3:8: "'I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no one has the power to shut it because you have a little strength, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who proclaim themselves to be Jews and are not, but do lie—behold, I will cause them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you" (vs 8-9).

  • If you love God the Father, Christ loves you!
  • If you love Christ, God the Father loves you!
  • If you love God, you'll keep His commandments and you'll patiently keep His Word!

Those of the synagogue of Satan, which are organizing now in the greatest thrust ever to bring all 'religion.' together; and to bring it all under the hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church and to bring it directly under Satan the devil. God is going to make them come and worship before our feet when they are resurrected for their reward.

Verse 10: "…Because you have kept the word of My patience… [or patiently kept My Word] …I also will keep you from the time of temptation which is about to come upon the whole world to try those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly; hold fast that which you have so that no one may take away your crown'" (vs 10-11).

Satan is the one who is doing it, but he sends his messengers and they are men who want to get you involved in 'religion,' away from the way ofGod,to steal your crown. Brethren, don't let anyone do that! Now you know why God hates 'religion.'

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order—A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Ezekiel 28:12-13, 2, 13-18
  • Isaiah 14:12-15
  • Genesis 3:1-5
  • Jude 6-11
  • Genesis 4:5-7
  • Genesis 10:8-9, 8-10
  • Genesis 11:1-3
  • Romans 1:18-25
  • Exodus 20:2-3
  • Exodus 32:1, 4-5
  • Leviticus 18:1-5, 24-28
  • Deuteronomy 18:9
  • Deuteronomy 12:29-32
  • Deuteronomy 18:10-12
  • Judges 2:10-14
  • 1 Kings 12:25-33
  • 2 Kings 17:7-18
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11
  • Romans 1:24, 26, 28
  • 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
  • 1 Corinthians 10:18-22
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
  • Ephesians 5:1-18
  • 1 John 5:21
  • 2 John 1-11
  • Revelation 3:8-11

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 12
  • Genesis 1
  • Jude 7
  • 1 Kings 11
  • Romans 1:20-21

Also referenced: Book: The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop

FRC: sr
Transcribed: 10-13-09
Formatted/Corrected: bo—12-20-11