As covered, the biggest gate of hell was opened into the church when positions of authority in the church became based on the approval of men rather than God.
This began in the early fourth century when the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Officials of the empire were required to be Christian. This caused all manner of ambitious and evil people to enter the church to gain favor with the government, not because of a true conversion.
The corruption of the faith deepened when rituals began to supplant the reality of the truths they were given to celebrate. Instead of having communion with the LORD and His people, they could just take communion and seemingly fulfill their spiritual obligations. By this, life in the true faith was supplanted by mere rituals.
Then the Scriptures were removed from the life of the church. They were read only in Latin, which the common people could not understand. The church slipped even further into the deep darkness of the Middle Ages, often called The Dark Ages, for that reason.
For over a thousand years the church languished in a place where superstition and human alliance opened the door for the antichrist spirit to dominate. This caused the church to practice things that were the opposite of the teachings of Christ and the apostles.
The slide into the darkness was gradual over centuries. The Reformation that began with illumination from the Scriptures was also gradual. After more than five hundred years of reformation, true and biblical New Covenant church life is still a vision and a hope more than a reality. To the degree that great souls have pursued this hope, there has been life and the power of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration recovered by the church.
The vision of the city that God, not men, was building compelled Abraham to leave everything to follow this dream into unknown places. This vision caused him to be willing to dwell in a tent when he could have afforded the greatest palace. The earth and its treasures were eclipsed by his heavenly vision to the degree that “here he had no lasting city,” (see Hebrews 13:14).
In contrast, the Great Harlot of the Book of Revelation was the church betrothed to the LORD that gave herself to “the god of this world.” She succumbed to the temptations that Satan offered to Jesus and every sojourner since — the temptation to bow down and worship him, or do things his way and he would offer the world. The false church took the offer.
However, the true church took the way of Christ, the way of the cross, laying down their lives rather than compromising their devotion to remaining chaste spiritual virgins who would wait for the Bridegroom. So the devil and his bride, those he had seduced like he had the first Adam’s bride, became enraged at the true bride, the true saints.
As we read in Revelation 12, the dragon poured out a flood to devour the true church. This flood was the Inquisition that is estimated to have killed 57 million declared “heretics” because they would not bow the knee to the papacy.
However, these were not heretics, but rather true saints. As we are told: “the earth opened and swallowed the flood” and “the wings of a great eagle were given to the women and carried her away into the wilderness to be nourished by God” (see Revelation 12:14-16).
The earth “opened” when the “new world” was discovered, becoming the wilderness to which the persecuted church fled to be nourished by God. The “great eagle” in this passage is America, as the symbol of America is the eagle.
This is why a large percentage of the first colonists to America were those fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They sought religious freedom in the new world. This is why religious freedom is at the core America’s purpose and why all of our other freedoms are linked to it.
America was a wilderness, but since its discovery the faith has been “nourished” in her like no other place. Great movements that touched the body of Christ worldwide have been born and nurtured in America.
To be a haven for those suffering religious persecution is one of the main reasons we exist. This is why the attack on religious freedom remains a primary way the dragon still seeks to destroy America.
But the dragon will not prevail.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner