As we have pointed out, the third line of the enemy is the degradation of the churches. The churches themselves are not the enemies, but the degradation, the degraded situation, the degraded condition, of the churches has become a real enemy to us. In overcoming the degradation of the churches, we need to overcome three “isms”—satanic Judaism (Rev. 2:9-10), demonic Catholicism (2:24-28), and dead and Christless Protestantism (3:1-5, 20-21).
In Revelation 2:9 the Lord Jesus called the Jewish synagogue “a synagogue of Satan” (see note 95—New Testament Recovery Version). Today people consider Judaism a typical religion, but they do not know that in the eyes of God Judaism has become satanic. This is not my word but the word of the Lord Jesus in Revelation 2:9.
Today in the New Testament age of grace one of the strongest oppositions to God’s economy is Judaism. In the past nineteen centuries millions of Gentiles have turned to Christ, but from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 until today, comparatively few Jews have turned to the Lord. In preaching the gospel to sinners, it is much more difficult to win a Jew to Christ than to gain a Gentile for the Lord. Hence, today the Jewish religion is a strong enemy against Jesus Christ. For this reason the Jewish believers need to hear the Lord’s voice and overcome the synagogue of Satan. Otherwise, they cannot be lovers, followers, and pursuers of Christ. Rather, they will be defeated in God’s eyes.
The phrase demonic Catholicism refers to the Roman Catholic Church. I say that the Catholic Church is demonic, because in Revelation 2:24 the Lord Jesus, speaking to the church in Thyatira, a prefigure of the apostate Roman Catholic Church, said that in her there were “the deep things of Satan.” Because the Catholic Church teaches the deep things of the philosophy of the satanic mysteries (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-3), it has become demonic, related to the demons.
In Revelation 2:20 the Lord Jesus referred to the woman Jezebel, a figure signifying the apostate Roman Church. The woman Jezebel is the same woman as the one mentioned by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:33. There the woman added leaven (signifying evil, heretical, and pagan things—1 Cor. 5:6, 8; Matt. 16:6, 11-12) into the fine flour. The fine flour refers to the teachings concerning Christ. All the teachings concerning Christ should be very nourishing, like the flour of wheat. But the woman mixed many evil, heretical, and pagan things into the teachings concerning Christ. The Catholic Church has fully leavened in a hidden way all the teachings concerning Christ. This is the actual situation in the Roman Catholic Church. Eventually, the Catholic Church, signified by the woman in Matthew 13:33 and by Jezebel, the pagan wife of Ahab, becomes the great harlot, Babylon the Great, in Revelation 17.
On the one hand, the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. On the other hand, they teach the worship of Mary, the “holy mother.” This is a great heresy added into the truth concerning Christ. Today’s Christmas is another example of leaven added by Catholicism to the fine flour of the teaching concerning Christ. In ancient times December 25 was the day on which the Romans worshipped their sun god. Later, after many Romans became false Christians under the seducing of Constantine the Great, they still wanted to continue their remembrance of the sun god. However, under the influence of Constantine, they were forced to worship Christ. Therefore, they made December 25 a day for the celebration of Christ’s birth. This is the source of Christmas. Christ is true; Christmas is false. Christ is the truth; Christmas is a heresy and a mixture. Over the centuries some books have been written, including The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop, to expose the heresies of Roman Catholicism.
What I have told you is the truth concerning the Roman Catholic Church. In the Lord’s recovery we do not teach anything out of the depths of Satan. We teach everything based on the strong word in the Bible. Although we may be attacked by those who are sympathetic toward Catholicism, no one can defeat us, because we have the truth, and the truth will prevail.
(The God-Men, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)