"Truth about Ellen White Writings"

The Mystery of Iniquity

1. Warning regarding the mystery of iniquity

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” [2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7.] Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy” (4SP, p. 51, 1870-1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “It is true, the Scriptures warned us of a falling away, of a mystery of iniquity, of an Antichrist to be revealed in due time, and of a Babylonish Rome, which should bewitch the Earth with her sorceries but should be warnished over with fair color and specious pretences, for that mystery should be on her forehead: Being then warned of so much danger to the Christian Religion, it is a necessary… enquiry to see if this Antichrist be yet come, or if we must look for another” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 2, 3, 1673).

2. Compromise between Christianity and Heathenism

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, the mystery of iniquity carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and his apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, arrayed in robes of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ” (4SP, p. 51, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “And thus we have seen the parallel of Rome-Heathen, and Rome-Christian, runs but too too just… For after the conversion of the Roman Empire, it is not to be denied but that in order to the gaining of the Heathen World to a compliance with Christianity, the Christians did as near as was possible accommodate themselves to Heathen customs… And here an odd remark is in my way of conformity, that the pantheon at Rome dedicated in Augustus his time to Cybele the mother of the gods, was afterwards consecrated to Virgin and all saints… So all this by degrees crept into Rome-Christian” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 25, 26, 1673).

3. Pope claimed himself to be the visible head of the church

Ellen White (1827-1915): “It is one of the leading doctrines of Romanism that the pope is the visible head of the universal church of Christ, invested with supreme authority over bishops and pastors in all parts of the world. More than this, the pope has arrogated the very titles of Deity. He styles himself “Lord God the Pope,” assumes infallibility, and demands that all men pay him homage… Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with supreme authority over Church and State” (4SP, p. 53, 1870-1884).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Papacy, claiming to be the vicegerent of the Son of God” (ST, November 19, 1894).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The proud pontiff next claimed the power to depose emperors… And Gregory, elated with his triumph, boasted that it was his duty “to pull down the pride of kings”” (4SP, pp. 60, 61, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “… another invasion of Christ’s regal authority, commited by him who pretends to be the Universal Bishop of the Church, and to have authority over all Church-men; who makes swear obedience to him… And with how much pride he treads on his Fellow-Bishops… But by degrees the Bishops of that city got up to the height they are now at… it was an invasion of his power to attempt against his Vice-Gerent on Earth. But the popes made no bones of this, for being now held Christ’s Vicars on earth, with other blasphemous titles, as Vice-God, yea, and Lord God, they pretended to a power of deposing of Princes” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 71-73, 1673).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “And what can be thought more uneasie for the World to have received, than the Popes absolute authority over all the Churches and states of the World?” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 122, 1673).

4. Pope the Antichrist

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Antichrist, the man of sin, exalted himself as supreme in the earth, and through him Satan has worked in a masterly way to create rebellion against the law of God and against the memorial of his created works. Is this not sin and iniquity?” (ST, Article 10, 1894).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “The Catholics complain that we call their Pope Antichrist. But I would appeal to any one to say if he is not Antichrist, who, overlooking Christ altogether, says of another, that she is “Our great hope, yea, the entire ground of our hope?” is this not against Christ? The bible speaks of him as “our hope,” 1Tim 1:1; … But not so, says the Pope; the blessed virgin is; the entire ground of our hope.” Now is not the Pope Antichrist?” (Thoughts on Popery, pp. 68, 69, 1836).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “It being not only a bare contradiction to some branches or parts of the Gospel (for then every errour or heresie were Antichristianism) but a design and entire complex, of opinions and practices, as are contradictory to, and subversive of, power and the life of Christianity… and if it be acted on animated by any Head, he may be concluded Antichrist” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 3, 1673).

Benjamin Allen (1789-1829): “He [Thomas Cranmer] rejected the pope as Christ’s enemy and anti-Christ, and said he had the same belief of the sacrament which he had published in the book he wrote about it” (History of the reformation: being an abridgement of Burnet, together with sketches of the lives of Luther, Calvin, and Zuingle, the three celebrated reformers of the continent, p. 195, 1823).

5. Infallibility of the Roman church

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Another step in papal assumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII proclaimed the perfection of the Romish Church. Among the propositions which he put forth, was one declaring that the church had never erred (it is infallible) nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures” (GC, pp. 60, 61, 1884).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “Everybody knows that the Church of Rome lays claim to infallibility. She contends that there is no mistake about her; that she cannot err” (Thoughts on Popery, p. 40, 1836).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “Christ’s Prophetic office is also invaded, by the pretence of the Churches infallibility in expounding the Scriptures” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 43, 1673).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “… that main and fundamental article of their belief, of the infallibility of their Church” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 103, 1673).

6. Contrast between Christ and the Pope

Ellen White (1827-1915): “How striking the contrast between the overbearing pride of this haughty pontiff and the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who represents himself as pleading at the door of the heart for admittance, that he may come in to bring pardon and peace, and who taught his disciples, “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (4SP, p. 61, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “Brother murdering brother, on account of Religion… because the Doctrine of murdering Heretique Princes, was taught, licenced, printed, and yet was not condemned in it. From this hints we may guess, how much of the lowly, meek and charitable spirit, is to be found in them… rather than streams of fire against them. That zeal which raiseth melting sorrow, tender compassion, and fervent prayers for those we see erring, is Christ-like, and worthy of that meek and charitable spirit which the Gospel so much recommends” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 109, 142, 1673).

7. The triple crown of Pope

Ellen White (1827-1915): “It was this that aroused the most determined and successful of the enemies of popery, and led to the battle which shook the papal throne to its foundation, and jostled the triple crown upon the pontiff’s head” (4SP, p. 102, 1894).

John B. Colvin (1798-1874): “In the seventh century the Papal power was pretty firmly established, and the popes were honored with the tiara or triple crown” (Historical letters, including a brief but general view of the history of the world, civil, military and religious, from the earliest times to the year of Our Lord 1820, p. 124, 1821).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “… but even the villanies of some that have worn the Triple Crown?… and how they wear a Triple Crown?” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 87, 94, 1673).

8. Power to forgive sins both of the living and the dead

Ellen White (1827-1915): “Still another fabrication was needed to enable Rome to profit by the fears and the vices of her adherents. This was supplied by the doctrine of indulgences. Full remission of sins, past, present, and future, and release from all the pains and penalties incurred, were promised to all who would enlist in the pontiff’s wars to extend his temporal dominion, to punish his enemies, or to exterminate those who dared deny his spiritual supremacy. The people were also taught that by the payment of money to the church they might free themselves from sin, and also release the souls of their deceased friends who were confined in the tormenting flames” (GC, pp. 62, 63, 1884).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “They pretend to have power over sins, to remit them… They claim a magisterial and authoritative power to remit and retain them. Consequently they call sinners to come and confess their sins to them… There is a case of Simon Magus that strikes me at this point” (Thoughts on Popery, pp. 51, 54, 1836).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “Another practice yet more base and sordid was, the selling if indulgences and Pardons for money… Who would not out of love to his Friends Soul, if he believed him frying in these flames, give liberally of his Goods; but much rather would a man give all that he had for his own security… that it is no hard work for any among them to ransome the Souls of others, or to preserve their own” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 58, 59, 60, 1673).

9. Scriptures unknown to the laity

Ellen White (1827-1915): “In order for Satan to maintain his sway over men, and establish the authority of the papal usurper, he must keep them in ignorance of the Scriptures. The Bible would exalt God, and place finite men in their true position; therefore its sacred truths must be concealed and suppressed. This logic was adopted by the Roman Church. For hundreds of years the circulation of the Bible was prohibited. The people were forbidden to read it, or to have it in their houses, and unprincipled priests and prelates interpreted its teachings to sustain their pretensions. Thus the pope came to be almost universally acknowledged as the vicegerent of God on earth, endowed with supreme authority over Church and State” (4SP, p. 53, 1884).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papist leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins” (4SP, p. 64, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “… the wisdom of God having declared it a part of wisdom to observe the characters of the Antichristian beast, I therefore, though not without pain, engage in the survey of it. And first,… any society that shall study to keep her members in ignorance, and to barr them from the study of the Scriptures… and to keep it in an unknown Tongue, or forbid the body of Christians the use of it… Now all may know how guilty those of Rome are in this” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 13, 14, 1673).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “It is known to everybody that Catholics oppose the reading of the Bible… He may read for himself, if he will only let the church think for him… I am not surprised that the Catholics dislike the Bible, for very much the same reason that Ahab, the king of Israel, disliked Micaiah, the prophet of the Lord… Now, the Bible is all the time speaking against the catholic religion, and prophesying not good, but evil of it…The Pope has no objection that a person should have the Bible, provided that he has it in a language which he does not understand” (Thoughts on Popery, pp. 11, 25, 1836).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “Why, if they believe their religion is the religion of the Bible… Why not circulate far and wide the book which contains their religion? … Why do they leave the whole business of distributing the Scriptures to the Protestants?” (Thoughts on Popery, p. 16, 1836).

10. Romanism is unscriptural

Ellen White (1827-1915): “But Romanism as a system is no more in harmony with the gospel of Christ now than at any former period in her history” (GC, p. 381, 1884).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “I undertake to prove that the Roman Catholic religion is unscriptural – that is not borne out by the Bible” (Thoughts on Popery, p. 15, 1836).

11. The second Commandment removed from the Law

Ellen White (1827-1915): “To complete the sacrilegious work, Rome presumed to expunge from the law of God the second commandment, forbidding image worship, and to divide the tenth commandment, in order to preserve the number” (GC, p. 54, 1884).

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The second commandment forbidding image worship, has been dropped from the law… But the papists urge, as a reason for omitting the second commandment, that it is unnecessary, being included in the first…” (GC, p. 446, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “Now what kindness those of Rome have to this command [the second], may be guessed by their striking it out of their Catechisms, as if it were only an appendix of the first” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 17, 1673).

William Nevins (1767-1835): “… these Christians who have their head away off at Rome, subtract one from the ten commandments; and you know if you take one from the ten, only nine remain. So they have but nine commandments. Theirs is not a Decalogue, but a Nonalogue… the commandment which the Catholics leave out, as being grievous to them, is the second in the series. It is the one that forbids making graven images and likeness of anything for worship. That is the one they don’t like; because they do like pictures and images in their churches. They say these things wonderfully tend to promote devotion, and so they do away with that commandment of God. But they don’t like the sound of “the nine commandments,” since the Bible speaks of “the ten commands,” … and everybody has got used to the number ten, and they must contrive to make out ten somehow or other. And how do you think they do it? Why, they halve their ninth, and call the first part ninth, and the other tenth. So they make out ten” (Thoughts on Popery, pp. 21, 22, 23,  1836).

12. Liberty to sin

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The church’s claim to the right to pardon leads the Romanist to feel at liberty to sin; and the ordinance of confession, without which her pardon is not granted, tends also to give license to evil” (GC, p. 567, 1888).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “… if he knows no other way of escape, to kill him who intends him accusation, that he may thereby preserve his life; in order to which they also allow it lawful to kill the witness that may prove the crime… the public licenses given to base houses in the Popes dominions, prove that See a Mother of Fornications” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, p. 86, 1673).

13. Disregard for the 4th and the 5th Commandments

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The fifth commandment would be set aside with the fourth. Children would not shrink from taking the life of their parents if by so doing they could obtain the desire of their corrupt hearts. The civilized world would become a horde of robbers and assassins; and peace, rest, and happiness would be banished from the earth” (GC, p. 585, 1888).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “Their contempt for the fourth Precept is no denied, it being usually among them a day of mercating, dancing, and foolish jollity… Their contempt for the fifth follows, upon the Doctrine of the Popes power, of deposing Princes, and freeing the subjects from their obligation to them; by which they are taught to rebel, and resist the Ordinance of God. Besides, their Casuists allow it as lawful to desire the Parents death, provided it be not out of malice to him, but out of a desire of good to themselves… that children may lawfully intend the killing of their Parents, and may disown them” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 84, 85, 1673).

14. The sacrifice of Mass

Ellen White (1827-1915): “The scriptural ordinance of the Lord’s supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papist priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power to “create their Creator.” All Christians were required, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting heresy. Those who refused were given to the flames” (4SP, p. 63, 1884).

Gilbert Burnet (1643-1715): “…the Worship of Mass is Idolatry… Another opposition made to the Priestly office of Christ is, their conceit of the sacrifice of the Mass, which they believe is a formal expiation of sins, both for the living and dead, who are in Purgatory… And yet this is one of the Master-pieces of the Religion of that Church… Their engrossing the cup to themselves from the people, was another trick for raising of their esteem: but above all things, their power of transforming the substance of the Bread and Wine into the Body and Blood of Christ… What a great piece of wonder must such a man be held to be, who can thus exercise his authority over the very person of Jesus Christ” (The Mystery of Iniquity Unvailed, pp. 22, 64, 65, 99, 1673).