With over 33,000 denominations worldwide, Christianity is by far the most diverse religion in the world. That number comes from “World Christian Encyclopedia” by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001). If this number seems high to you think for a minute about the other religions of the world. No other religion is quite as divided. One would think that the purpose of a religion is to bring people together. In Christianity, this simply is not the case. Protestants are by far the most divisive, although they might have you believe otherwise. Ask a protestant what they think about Catholics and see what kind of answer you get. The sad fact that none of them realise is that they came directly from the Catholic church.
The reformation is credited to Martin Luther but earlier reformations did take place. The corruption of the Catholic church was one of the primary reasons for the reformation. By the end of the reformation, there were three main denominations of Christianity: Catholic, Lutheran, and Calvinist. After the reformation, each of these three denominations began to split. As time went by, the new churches split, and split, and split. So today we have over 33,000 unique denomination, all of which claim to be the “right” path.
A closer look at the numbers is surprising. For instance, there are 322 different denominations of Baptists. There are 300 Presbyterian denominations and 253 Lutheran denominations. The biggest surprise to me was the 242 Roman Catholic denominations. There is an estimate that by the year 2025 there will be more than 55,000 separate Christian denominations. What is going on with these people? Why can’t they get along? How is it that so many people, who supposedly believe the same thing, are so divided? To find the answers to these questions, there is only one place to look, The Bible. For those of you who have not read my blog, when I refer to the Bible I am referring to the Hebrew Scriptures. I don’t accept the New Testament as scripture. With the formation of so many denominations all using that text, can you blame me? The New Testament is riddled with inconsistencies. I think this has something to do with the large number of denominations within the religion. I don’t believe any of these denominations has been able to figure it out and as a result, schisms have occurred at various times. For instance, one denomination may believe as it says in Acts 2:21, that “everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved”. So, when these people come to Matthew 7: 21 and find out that “not everyone who calls me lord, will enter the kingdom”. This inconsistency becomes a huge problem for them. They can’t accept both concepts, so they cling to the one they like the best and voila, a new denomination is formed.
The Book of Daniel holds the secrets of the end times. The book goes into great detail. Chapter 2 gives a description of the various kingdoms that will be in power at various times. The book is set in the early part of the sixth century BCE, beginning in the time of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. At that time, Babylon was what we would call today a “super-power”. Daniel describes the kingdom thusly, “2:38 And wherever people, wild beasts, and birds of the sky dwell, He has given into your hand and has given you dominion over them all. You are the head of gold.” Twenty-two years after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, Babylon fell to Cyrus the Great of Persia. The Persian kingdom is represented by the silver (v 32). Two-hundred and eight years later the Persians under King Darius III were defeated by Alexander the Great of Macedon, ushering in the Hellenistic Period and represented by copper. In 168 BCE, Rome conquered Macedonia. Later, in 146 BCE Rome sacked Corinth, thus finishing the Greek period.
Rome is the key to understanding Daniel chapter 2. The image of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had a head of fine gold (Babylon), a breast and arms of silver (Persia), the belly and thighs of copper (Greece), and it’s legs were iron and it’s feet partly iron and clay (Rome). So let’s take a look at the scripture “34 You were watching until one stone was hewn without hands, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay and crumbled them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the copper, the silver, and the gold crumbled together, and they were like chaff from the threshing floors of the summer, and the wind carried them off, and no place was found for them, and the stone that struck the image became a huge mountain and filled the entire earth.” The Christian interpretation of this is that the rock is Jesus who destroys the other kingdoms. The problem with this interpretation is that it doesn’t fit with the rest of the chapter.
In verses 36-45, Daniel explains the dream for Nebuchadnezzar. When we get to verse 41 we see that Rome will be divided. “And what you saw, the feet and the toes which were partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron so it will be a divided kingdom, and in it will be some of the strength of iron, in view of what you saw iron mixed with clay.” Verse 42 shows us that one part will be broken “42 And the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, for part of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be broken.” The part of the Roman Empire that was broken is gone. The reason the Christian interpretation is wrong is because Rome was not divided until the year 285 CE. Jesus lived some 250 years earlier. In verse 43 we see that the remaining part of the empire will mix with the seed of men. 43 “And what you saw, iron mixed with clay, [connotes] that they will mingle with the seed of men, but they will not cleave one to the other, as iron does not mix with clay”.
In verse 44 we find that the remaining part of the Roman Empire will be destroyed after the eternal kingdom of G-d is set up. We know that the eternal kingdom has not been set up yet. So where is the Roman Empire today? Rome is the Christian Church. Rome has always represented Christianity. All of this can be summed up by verse 45. “45 Just as you saw that from the mountain a stone was hewn without hands, and it crumbled the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has let the king know what will be after this, and the dream is true, and its interpretation is reliable.”
If Jesus was the rock he would have destroyed these kingdoms. He did not do this. Rome actually killed him. He also would have had to come after Rome was divided. He did not. If you say he will do it when he returns, then you must deny that the church is Rome. If the church is not Rome, where is the remainder of the Roman Empire? There is no interpretation where Jesus fits as the rock which destroys Rome. If you say that Rome is already destroyed, where is the eternal kingdom?
So what does any of this have to do with the 33.00+ Christian denominations in existence today? It is simple. If we say that Rome is the church, verse 43 makes perfect sense. “they will mingle with the seed of men, but they will not cleave one to the other, as iron does not mix with clay.” Let me explain. They will mingle with the seed of men. Christianity is the largest religion on the planet. In order to mingle with the seed of men, the church had to go to all the nations and convert people to Christianity. (the great commission) “But they will not cleave one to another,” indicates that even though the church has gone throughout the earth and converted so many people, none of them cleave together. Do you think it is a coincidence that there are 33,000+ denominations and growing? Has G-d’s word ever worked through coincidence? Not to my knowledge, it hasn’t.
In the end, we see that Rome will finally be completely destroyed. I cannot urge you strongly enough to get out while you still can.
Update: as of 5-1-2016 Your Total “Christian Denominations” Count for today is 47074
Update: as of 6-10-2016 Your Total “Christian Denominations” Count for today is 47174
Update: as of 8-26-2016 Your Total “Christian Denominations” Count for today is 47367
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