by Ernest L. Martin
This expose by the late Dr. E.L. Martin documents the meaning of the word “peter” in ancient times. As always, Satan had his counterfeit “messiah” operating by the time Paul and the disciples started preaching. The counterfeit was Simon Magus or Simon the Sorcerer and this man, and not Simon Peter the Apostle, went on to found the Universal Roman “church.”
Let’s read about this false Peter right here in Acts 8:9-24.
“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the LORD for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”.
Peter the Sorcerer, Simon Magnus, alias St. Peter, wanted two things: Money and fame. Roman Emperor Constantine wanted one thing: To put an end to “The Way” of Messiah Yehshua whose followers were a threat to the Roman Empire. He created the Roman Church with help from Simon Magnus. The world was thus introduced to a counterfeit Peter, the Apostle. Simon Magnus became the “new and improved” Saint Peter along with his sorceries and displays of magic.
Let’s now read from Ernest L. Martin the full background of Simon Magus.
SIMON MAGUS by Ernest L. Martin
What were the origins of Catholic-Babylonian Christianity? What was Simon’s religion before he met Peter? Where did that religion originate? Read in this series of articles the detailed and documented account of Simon Magus and his great COUNTERFEIT CHRISTIANITY!
THE FALSE religious system began very early — almost with Pentecost in 31 A.D. Even in the earliest of Paul’s epistles, he informs us that “the mystery of iniquity DOTH ALREADY WORK” (II Thess. 2:7). Paul wrote this in 50 or 51 A.D. The plot to supplant the Truth had already begun. In the later epistles of Paul and in those of the other Apostles, we find it gaining considerable momentum. However, even though the Apostles discuss the diabolical system which was arising, THEY NOWHERE MENTION HOW IT STARTED. They had no need in mentioning its beginning — that had already been done!
The book of Acts is the KEY to the understanding of Christian beginnings. Not only does it show the commencement of the TRUE Church, but it equally reveals the origins of the False Church masquerading as Christianity. Indeed, you would think it odd if the book of Acts did not discuss this vital subject.
The Book of Acts — the Key
First, let us recall two points of necessary understanding.
1) The book of Acts was written by Luke about 62 A.D.– some 31 years after the True Church began. Acts recalls ALL events which affected, in a major way, the True Church. It especially tells us about the beginnings of matters relating to Church history.
2) Acts does NOT record every single event relative to the Church, important as one might think them to be.
For example, Luke doesn’t mention a single thing about the activities of ten of the original twelve Apostles of Christ. Yet are we to assume that they did nothing important in the history of the Church? Absolutely NOT! They must have done many mighty works. But we can see from this omission that Luke recorded ONLY THOSE EVENTS WHICH WERE ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for God’s Church of the future to know.
Notice that Luke’s geography leads him towards the Northwest and West of Palestine. He discusses Church history in Asia Minor, Greece and ROME. He wanted to leave us with the truth of what was going on in the West and North because the prophecies showed the false system arising in these localities.
All other activities of God’s Church — all about the other ten Apostles, etc. — fall into relative unimportance because the trouble wasn’t going to come from Palestine itself. It was to come from ROME and adjacent areas. It is no wonder that Luke spares no pains to tell us the truth of what was really going on in these critical areas, and that is the reason Acts concerns itself primarily with Paul. These are well-known principles that help us understand the overall viewpoint of Acts.
With the foregoing in mind, read the incident recorded by Luke, of the first encounter of God’s Apostles with a heretic. This encounter was not with an ordinary run-of-the-mill individual, but with one of the greatest men in the East at that time — Simon the Magus!
The reason Luke describes the intentions of this man so thoroughly is the profound effect this man, and his followers, had on God’s Church in Asia Minor, Greece, and ESPECIALLY ROME. Actually, this man by 62 A.D., (when Luke composed the book of Acts) had caused the True Church so much trouble that Luke had to show the people that he was NOT, as he claimed to be, a part of the Christian Church.
All scholars realize that Luke tells about Simon’s beginning because of his later notoriety and danger to the Church.
In this regard, notice the comment of Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. 2, p. 496: “It seems beyond question that Luke KNEW THE REPUTATION which Simon acquired, and that he regarded the subsequent history of Simon as the natural result of what occurred in the beginning of his connection with the Christians.”
If we assume that Luke recorded this encounter of the Apostles with Simon Magus simply to show that “simony” was wrong, we miss the point completely. There is a score of places in other parts of the Bible to show the error of buying ecclesiastical gifts.
Luke was exposing SIMON MAGUS HIMSELF. This IS the important point!! Luke was clearly showing that Simon was NEVER a part of God’s Church, even though by 62 A.D., many people were being taught that Simon was truly a Christian — taught that he was the HEAD of the only TRUE Christians; the Apostle to the Gentiles!
What Luke Tells Us About Simon Magus
Notice the points Luke places clearly before us.
1) Simon was a Samaritan, not a Jew — (Acts 8:9). Remember that the Bible tells us salvation was of the Jews — not of the Samaritans (John 4:22).
2) Simon Magus greatly used demonic powers to do miracles and wonders (Acts 8:9).
3) The whole population of Samaria (both small and great) gave heed to him (Verse 10). He was looked on as the greatest prophet — all Samaritans BELIEVED IN HIM!
4) The Samaritans WORSHIPPED him as “the Great One” — a god. “This man is that power of God called Great [that is the Almighty]” (RSV. Verse 10). Imagine it! They called him god in the flesh!
5) Luke is also careful to inform us that Simon had become firmly established in Samaria as “the Great One” and had practiced his powers “for a long time” (Verse 11).
6) Luke wants us to understand that he nominally became a Christian (“Simon himself believed”) and was baptized — that is, he physically, outwardly “entered” the Christian Church (Verse 13).
7) Simon even recognized that Christ’s power was greater than his but wanted to be associated with that great name (Verse 13).
8) Simon, seeing the potential of the Christian religion waited until the authorities, Peter and John, came to Samaria and then offered to pay them money to OBTAIN AN APOSTLESHIP IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH (Verses 18-21).
Simon Coveted Apostle’s Office
Those who carelessly read this section of Scripture may get the mistaken notion that Simon wanted only to buy the Holy Spirit. Yes, he wanted that — but his main intention went far beyond. He had eyes on becoming an APOSTLE!
Peter immediately perceived his intention and said “You have neither PART nor LOT in this matter” (Verse 21). The true Apostles had been chosen after Christ’s death to take PART in the apostleship by LOT (Acts 1:25, 26). Peter was telling Simon he couldn’t buy an APOSTLESHIP.
Luke is showing that Simon wanted to be one of the APOSTLES — a top man in the Christian Church. He was after that office. After all Simon imagined himself to be fully qualified to be an APOSTLE, especially over the Samaritans since they already looked to him as the greatest religious leader of the age. However, Peter rebuked him sternly.
9) Peter perceived that Simon was in the “gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity [lawlessness]” (Verse 23).
NOTE: This verse has been misunderstood because the King James Version fails to give the full force of Peter’s accusation. This verse when understood in the manner Peter intended, is one of the most important of the whole chapter. IT IS A PROPHECY! Peter knew the mind of this man and what this man was to become. This is made plain by Sir William Ramsay in his Pictures of the Apostolic Church, p. 60. He says: “Peter rebuked him in strong and PROPHETIC TERMS. The PROPHECY is concealed in the ordinary translation: the Greek means ‘thou art FOR a gall of bitterness and a fetter of unrighteousness [lawlessness]’, i.e., a cause of bitterness and corruption to others.”
This makes it plain. Peter was uttering a prophecy by the Holy Spirit. He was telling what this Simon was to become; Lange’s Commentary says: “Peter’s words, literally, mean: ‘I regard you as a man whose influence WILL BE like that of bitter gall [poison] and a bond of unrighteousness [lawlessness], or, as a man who has reached such a state’.” (Vol. 9, p. 148).
Not only was Simon, in Peter’s time, a great antagonist to the Church, but he would be the adversary in the future.
This prophecy is the KEY that opens to our understanding the ORIGINS of the heresies mentioned in the letters of the Apostles. Peter clearly knew Simon wouldn’t repent. Verse 22 shows that in the original.
Gall of Bitterness Defined
It is also interesting to note Peter’s statement that Simon was to become a “gall of bitterness.” People today may not realize the exact meaning of such a phrase, but no Jew in the First Century was in any doubt as to its meaning.
It was a figure of speech adopted from the Old Testament which denoted going over to the idols and abominations of the heathen. Read Deuteronomy 29:16-18 and see how plainly this figure of speech is used. When the Apostle Peter applied to Simon Magus the phrase “gall of bitterness,” he meant that Simon would be the responsible party for the introduction of heathen beliefs and idols into Christianity. The prophecy takes on a new and important scope when we realize this real meaning of Peter’s prophecy.
No wonder Jude later says, speaking about the very men who followed Simon Magus (including Simon himself): “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ORDAINED to this condemnation” (Verse 4). We can be confident that Peter recognized that Satan was going to use this Simon Magus as the GREAT PROTAGONIST OF FALSE CHRISTIANITY.
The later history of Simon Magus shows that Peter’s prophecy came true in a most remarkable way.
Simon Magus Unrepentant
10) Even after Peter’s strong rebuke, Simon DID NOT REPENT! And Peter knew that he wouldn’t!
Conclusion: This means that Simon thought he deserved to be an Apostle — if not the chief Apostle — in the Christian Church. He became baptized which, in a physical way, made him ostentatiously a “member.” It is important to remember that he DID NOT REPENT of his error. There is not the slightest hint that he gave up believing that he had divine right to be an Apostle.
He deliberately continued in this error, with his later followers — calling himself “Christian”! It is because of the later deceptive activities of this would-be Apostle that Luke was compelled to show his ignominious beginning and to reveal what Peter prophesied about him.
It is by identifying the real beginning of the great false church system with this Simon that opens up a whole new vista of understanding in regard to the counterfeit Christianity which began even in the infancy of the Church.
What Did Simon and the Samaritans Believe?
One of the most scholarly of early church historians was Harnack, who wrote an extensive seven-volume work titled The History of Dogma. This man is recognized as one of the top authorities in the world on this subject.
He states: “Long before the appearance of Christianity, combinations of religion had taken place in Syria and Palestine, ESPECIALLY IN SAMARIA, insofar as the ASSYRIAN and BABYLONIAN religious philosophy . . . with its manifold interpretations, had penetrated as far as the eastern shore of the Mediterranean” (Vol. 1, pp. 243, 244).
Notice he says the Babylonian religion had come ESPECIALLY TO SAMARIA! !
And why not? The Samaritans were largely Babylonian by race. The Bible tells us in II Kings 17:24 that most of the Samaritans had been taken to Samaria from Babylon and adjacent areas. Later on, Ezra informs us that others who were mainly of Babylonian stock came to Samaria (Ezra 4:9-10). These people amalgamated their Babylonian religious beliefs with some of the teachings from the Old Testament. But they NEVER DEPARTED basically from their own Babylonian-Chaldean religious teachings.
If anyone doubts that these Samaritans practiced outright paganism under the guise of YHVH worship, let him read the extraordinarily clear indictments recorded in the inspired Word of God (II Kings 17:24-41).
A Brief History of the Samaritans
There were originally five Babylonian tribes who had been transported to the area where Northern Israel once lived before Israel’s inglorious defeat and captivity by the Assyrians. When these five tribes moved INTO the vacant land of Samaria, they brought their Babylonian and Assyrian gods with them.
After a short while in their new country, they were ravaged by lions. They interpreted this punishment as coming upon them because they failed to honor the god of the new land — not realizing that there is only One Great GOD, who is not confined to any one land. These Samaritans didn’t have sense enough to realize that the True God of the land had sent Israel into captivity because of their calf-worship and their introduction of Phoenician religion.
They asked the Assyrian king to send back one of the priests of Israel to teach them the former religion in order that the plague of lions would be stayed.
The Israelitish priest who was sent to them taught the religion of Northern Israel. Remember that the priests of Northern Israel were NOT Levites. At the time of Jeroboam, the true priests of God were forced to flee to Jerusalem and Judea (II Chron. 11:14). Jeroboam set up his own form of religion with the calves at Dan and Bethel (I Kings 12:28-30). He moved the Holy Days from the seventh to the eighth month. He made priests of the lowest of the people, those who were NOT of Levi (I Kings 12:31).
All of these acts of Jeroboam were outright violations of God’s law. It was from the time of Jeroboam down to the time of Israel’s captivity, that the majority of Israel was NOT worshipping the True God at all! Jerusalem and God’s temple had been repudiated, and paganism had been introduced on a grand scale. When these transplanted Babylonians who were being afflicted by lions in Samaria asked for a priest of the former people — THEY GOT ONE! But that priest was one of the former calf-worshipping priests of the rebel Israelites. He was almost as pagan as the Babylonians themselves!
This priest of Israel taught the Babylonians (now called Samaritans) to adopt the former worship of the Northern Israelites. The priest taught them to revere YHVH as the “God of the Land.” Thus, these Samaritans finally took upon themselves the NAME: The People of YHVH; but their religion was outright paganism — a mixture of Israelitish calf-worship and Babylonianism — just as Simon Magus later was eager to appropriate Christ’s NAME, but continue his pagan abominations!
Notice what God says about the final condition of these Samaritans.
“So these nations feared the Lord [calling themselves God’s people], AND served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers [the Babylonians], so do they unto this day” (II Kings 17:41).
These people called themselves the worshippers of the True God, but were actually Babylonian idolaters.
What Deities Did the Samaritans Worship?
It will pay us to notice the gods and goddesses that these forefathers of Simon Magus brought with them to Samaria. The people from the City of Babylon adored SUCCOTH-BENOTH; the Cuthites: NERGAL; the Hamathites: ASHIMA; the Avites: NIBHAZ and TAR-TAK; the Sepharvites: ADRAM-MELECH and ANAM-MELECH.
The first deity is SUCCOTH-BENOTH, a goddess. It was Semiramis in the form of Venus. Listen to Jones in his Proper Names of the O.T., p. 348. He says the name signifies “Tabernacles of daughters.” It means: “Chapels made of green boughs, which the men of Babylon, who had been transported into Samaria, erected in honor to Venus, and where their daughters were PROSTITUTED by the devotees of that abominable goddess. It was the custom of Babylon, the mother of harlots, and therefore HER SONS DID THE SAME THING IN SAMARIA.”
What about the god NERGAL of Cuth? We are informed by McClintock and Strong’s Encyclopedia that the name signifies “the great man,” “the great hero” or “the god of the chase,” i.e., the Hunter. In other words, as the Encyclopedia further points out, he was a form of NIMROD. This Hunter-god was honored by the people of CUTH for Arabian tradition tells us that CUTH was the special city of NIMROD (vol. VI, p. 950).
The next god was that of Hamath: ASHIMA. Jones shows us that he was the great pagan god of propitiation, i.e., the god who bore the guilt of his worshippers (p. 42). This god was the pagan REDEEMER — the OSIRIS of Egyptian fame or the dying NIMROD.
The Avites worshipped NIBHAZ (masc. — the god of HADES) and TAR-TAK, “the mother of the gods”. This last-mentioned goddess was supposedly the mother of the Assyrian race, or, as Jones says, she was SEMIRAMIS (see p. 354).
The fifth Babylonian tribe worshiped pre-eminently two gods. ADRAM-MELECH and ANAM-MELECH. The first was the “god of fire,” the Sun or the Phoenician Baal (Jones, p. 14); the second was “the god of the flocks” or the Greek HERMES, the Good Shepherd (p. 32).
(It is self-evident that these gods and goddesses were the major Babylonian deities, and at the same time, the very gods and goddesses which the Roman Catholic Church deifies today as Christ, Mary, etc.)
Simon Magus grew up in this mixed-up society. The Samaritans called themselves the people of the True God, but religiously were practicing Babylonians. Simon himself was a priest of these people (the word “Magus” is the Chaldean/Persian word for “priest”). Thus, in the encounter of Peter with Simon Magus, we find the first real connection of true Christianity with the Chaldean priest who was prophesied to bring in its false counterpart.
Next, we will see how Simon Magus managed to startle the Roman world with his plan to bring in one universal religion under the guise of Christianity.
Simon Magus Begins UNIVERSAL Church
History comes alive with the startling story of how Simon Magus — branded a FALSE PROPHET by the book of Acts — established HIS OWN UNIVERSAL church!
SIMON MAGUS was a Babylonian priest. He was a part of the Babylonian community that had been living in the land of Northern Israel ever since the Northern Ten Tribes were carried away captive by the Assyrians. God tells us that these Samaritans, as they were called, were claiming to be the true people of God while at the same time practicing many heathen rites which came directly from Babylon (II Kings 17:41).
This was the type of religious environment in which Simon Magus was born. This was the environment in which he commenced his own ministry and was finally proclaimed the “great one . . . the great power of God” — that is, God Himself (Acts 8:9-10).
He so swayed the whole of the Samaritan nation that all gave heed to him — they did for a very long time (Verses 9-11). But when he saw the potential of Christianity, he endeavored to buy an apostleship in the Church. Peter rebuked him sternly.
Simon Magus and HIS Universal Church
Simon Magus, after his rejection by Peter, began to fashion his own “Christian” church — a church of which HE was head — a church designed to completely overthrow the True Church of God. His idea was to blend together Babylonian teaching with some of the teachings of Christ — especially to take the name of Christ — and thus create ONE UNIVERSAL CHURCH! But a church with Babylonianism as its basis.
Harnack, a church historian, states that Simon Magus “proclaimed a doctrine in which the Jewish faith was strangely and grotesquely mixed with BABYLONIAN myths, together with some Greek additions. The mysterious worship . . . in consequence of the widened horizon and the deepening religious feeling, finally the wild SYNCRETISM [that is, blending together of religious beliefs], whose aim WAS A UNIVERSAL RELIGION, all contributed to gain adherents for Simon” (Vol. 1, p. 244).
Simon can be classified among the major group of so-called Christians (and Simon called himself such), called by Harnack the: “decidedly anti-Jewish groups . . . . They advance much further in the criticism of the Old Testament and perceived the impossibility of saving it for the Christian UNIVERSAL RELIGION. They rather connected this [universal] religion with the cultus-wisdom of BABYLON and SYRIA” (VoI. 1, p. 246).
With this background, we can understand why Peter so strongly rebuked Simon for his Babylonian ideas. Peter prophesied that this was the man who was to be the “gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity” to the True Church. Simon’s attitude was corrupt in the extreme!
The Bible shows he had been working through demons. And yet, he finally called himself a “Christian.” Dr. McGiffert, speaking of Simon Magus, says: “His effort to rival and surpass Jesus very likely began after his contact with the Christians that Luke records. His religious system was apparently a SYNCRETISM of Jewish and Oriental elements” (Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. 2, p. 497).
Simon’s Later Activities
To read all the material that the writers of the second to the fourth centuries wrote about this man and his followers, would literally take days. He has been called by many of them “the father of HERESY,” and, apart from the Bible, the amount of literature devoted to him and his activities, shows he lived up to that title.
Some of the following authorities to be brought forth were eyewitnesses of many of the things mentioned, and they were writing to others who were likewise eyewitnesses. Much of the testimony to be mentioned is conclusive and cannot be set aside.
With this evidence of Simon’s activities after his rejection by Peter, we will clearly be able to see why Luke thought it most important to tell the real condition of this man, proving that he was in actuality NEVER an Apostle of Christ. In this regard, notice the comment of Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol. 2, p. 496: “But it need NOT be supposed that when Simon broke with the Christians HE RENOUNCED ALL HE HAD LEARNED. It is more probable that he carried some of the Christian ideas with him, and that he wove these into a system of his own. This system did contain some of the later germs of Gnosticism. Thus he became a leader of a retro-grade sect, perhaps nominally Christian, and certainly using some of the Christian terminology but in reality anti-Christian and exalting Simon himself to the central position which Christianity was giving to Jesus Christ” (Ibid).
Simon Magus Blends Paganism With Christianity!
What Simon did was to bring the Babylonian and Greek religious beliefs into a form of Christianity in order to bring about, as Harnack says, a UNIVERSAL [Catholic] religion.
“The amalgam of paganism and Christianity which was characteristic of Gnosticism, and which was especially obvious in the Simonian system, is readily explicable in the teaching of Simon Magus, who, according to the story in Acts, was brought into intimate contact with Christian teaching without becoming a genuine member” (Ibid., p. 496).
We further find in Schaff’s History of the Church a reference to this Simon Magus. He says: “The author, or first representative of this baptized HEATHENISM, according to the uniform testimony of Christian antiquity, is Simon Magus, who unquestionably adulterated Christianity with pagan ideas and practices, and gave himself out, in a pantheistic style for an emanation of God” Apostolic Christianity, ol. 2, p. 566).
Simon only used the name of Christianity to bring about his own desired ends. The Dictionary of Religion and Ethics says that Simon was “a false Messiah, who practiced magical arts and subsequently attempted, by the aid and with the sanction of Christianity, to set up a rival UNIVERSAL [Catholic] RELIGION” (Vol. 11, p. 514).
Again, what do the histories tell us Simon’s doctrines consisted of primarily?
“Two independent traditions profess to preserve the teaching of Simon, the one betraying the influence of Alexandrian allegory, the other of Syrian and Babylonian religion” Dictionary of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 11, p. 516).
It is no wonder that Luke hits hard at the infamy of Simon — for Simon claimed to be a Christian — even an Apostle — and yet was preaching Babylonian paganism. HE WAS CALLING PAGANISM BY THE NAME OF CHRISTIANITY!
“Evidently the Simonian heresy always had a Christian tinge. This made it more dangerous to Christians than a Gnostic which did not affect any Christian influence. Luke therefore would be anxious to disclose the true circumstances that accounted for the origin of the sect — circumstances highly discreditable to Simon” Hasting’s Bible Dictionary, p. 498).
The reason Luke recorded this encounter with Simon was its far-reaching effects. As Hasting’s explains, the important reason was that of “Luke’s well-known plan of describing THE FIRST MEETING between Christianity and rival systems” (Ibid., p. 498).
Luke gives in detail the principal character who established the so-called Christian counterpart of the Truth in the Apostles’ days. This is the reason the Apostles in their Church letters many times mention the false system as ALREADY IN EXISTENCE, but fail to describe its origin. They didn’t have to. That was already done RIGHT AT THE FIRST by Luke!
Who History Says This Simon Became!
“When Justin Martyr wrote [152 A.D.] his Apology, the sect of the Simonians appears to have been formidable, for he speaks four times of their founder, Simon; and we need not doubt that he identified him with the Simon of the Acts. He states that he was a Samaritan, adding that his birthplace was a village called Gitta; he describes him as a formidable magician, and tells that he came to ROME in the days of Claudius Caesar (45 A.D.), and made such an impression by his magical powers, THAT HE WAS HONORED AS A GOD, a statue being erected to him on the Tiber, between the two bridges, bearing the inscription ‘Simoni deo Sancto’ (i.e., the holy god Simon)” Dictionary of Christian Biography, Vol. 4, p. 682).
That these things actually happened CANNOT BE DOUBTED! Justin was writing to the Roman people at the time and they could certainly have exposed Justin’s credulity if what he said was not so. And, that a statue of Simon was actually erected is definite, for Justin asks the authorities in Rome to destroy it!
There are many writers, who lived in Rome itself, who afterwards repeated Justin’s account. Those who want to reject these clear statements have nothing in their favor. Justin is clearly giving us fact!
Hasting’s Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, Vol 2, p. 496, states that there is “very slight evidence on which to reject so precise a statement as Justin makes; a statement he would scarcely have hazarded in an apology addressed to Rome, where every person had the means of ascertaining its accuracy. If he made a mistake, it must have been at once exposed, and other writers would not have frequently repeated the story as they have done.”
At the time of Claudius, it was illegal to erect a statue to any man as a god or greatly honored person unless the permission of the Emperor and the Senate had been secured. The statue was still standing in Justin’s day (152 A.D.), people were still giving regard to it.
There are many other accounts of Simon’s traveling to Rome and becoming one of the great gods to the city and to the people of Rome. There are records which show that Simon “prophesies that Rome will be the scene of his crowning glory, when he will be adored as a god” Dictionary of Religion & Ethics, Vol. 11, p. 522).
Simon Peter NOT With Simon Magus in Rome
Later, about the fourth century, a flood of works came out about Peter encountering Simon Magus in Rome and overthrowing him. But these works are clearly fiction. Almost all scholars realize the absurdity of maintaining such a thing. In the first place, it can be Biblically shown that Peter the Apostle was NEVER in Rome when these fictitious writings say he should be.
It was NOT Simon Peter who went to Rome to become Apostle to the Gentiles, but the SIMON in Rome was SIMON MAGUS!
That Peter the Apostle was not with Simon Magus in Rome is made plain by the Encyclopedia Biblica, col. 4554.
“The attempt has been made to meet this by pointing out that church fathers mention the presence of SIMON in Rome while at the same time NOT speaking of controversies between him and PETER. This is indeed true of Justin [one of the earliest witnesses — 152 A.D. who knows nothing of any presence of Peter in Rome at all, as also of Irenaeus.”
Not only did Justin feel that Peter was NOT in Rome at the time, but his deliberate silence shows he didn’t want to perpetrate such fiction. After all, Justin lived very early in the history of the church, and the legend of the Apostle Peter’s being in Rome HADN’T GOT STARTED YET! Continuing with the Encyclopedia Biblica about Justin’s reference to SIMON MAGUS: “One part of this tradition — that about Simon’s presence in Rome — he [Justin] found himself able to accept [in fact he held it to be confirmed by the statue, which he brought into connection with Simon]; the other — that about Peter’s presence in Rome — he was unable to accept” (col. 4555).
Of course Justin was unable to accept the latter teaching. The fact is, Simon Peter was NOT in Rome. It was another Simon who went there — SIMON MAGUS, the one bringing “Christianity” to them in the guise of the old Babylonian mystery religions. Simon came to Rome with the grand idea of e stablishing a UNIVERSAL RELIGION in the NAME of Christianity! And what is remarkable, he did just that!
Next, we will see how Simon Magus became later confused with Simon Peter and how he cleverly brought into “Christianity” the mystery religions of Babylon.
Peter Was NOT The First Pope!
Here are TEN solid, Biblical proofs that Peter was not at Rome. Mark each in your Bible and understand them well, so YOU will not be deceived.
THE PRIMACY of the Roman Catholic Church depends upon one fundamental doctrine: the claim that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome and the founder of the Roman Church.
The teaching of Catholic historians tells us that Simon Peter went to Rome at the same time as Simon Magus in order to thwart his evils. This was during the reign of Claudius. After successfully combating the Magus, they tell us, Peter assumed the Roman bishopric and ruled it until the Neronian persecutions of 68 A.D., during which Peter was supposed to have been crucified upside down on Vatican hill. This is the basic story and Catholic writers never shirk in attempting to defend it. Some of them say that this general account is one of the most provable of historical events.
But is it?
The fact remains, many ecclesiastical authors of the second century, Justin Martyr among them, give information completely negating Peter’s supposed Roman bishopric. This is admitted by virtually all scholars — except conservative Catholics (Ency. Biblica, col. 4554). But, more important than this, the records of the True Church of God — the writings of the New Testament — absolutely refute the Roman Catholic claim.
It is time that the world gets its eyes open to the truth of this matter — the truth, which is clearly revealed in the Word of God. The Apostle Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
The Bible Teaching
There are ten major New Testament proofs which completely disprove the claim that Peter was in Rome from the time of Claudius until Nero. These Biblical points speak for themselves and ANY ONE of them is sufficient to prove the ridiculousness of the Catholic claim. Notice what God tells us! The truth IS conclusive!
We should consider Christ’s commission to Peter. This is often very embarrassing to Catholics, because Christ commissioned Peter to become chief minister to the CIRCUMCISED, not to uncircumcised Gentiles.
“The gospel of the CIRCUMCISION was unto Peter; (For He that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)” (Gal. 2:7-8).
Here we have it in the clearest of language. It was Paul, NOT Peter, who was commissioned to be the chief Apostle to the Gentiles. And who was it that wrote the Epistle to the ROMANS? It certainly WASN’T Peter!
“And when James, Cephas [Peter], and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace [i.e., the gift or office] that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision” (Gal. 2:9).
Paul further mentioned his special office as the Gentile Apostle in II Timothy 1:11: “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
PETER is NOWHERE called the Apostle to the Gentiles! This precludes him from going to Rome to become the head of a Gentile community.
Paul specifically told the Gentile Romans that HE had been chosen to be their Apostle, not Peter.
“I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable” (Rom. 15:16).
Paul had the direct charge from Christ in this matter. He even further relates in Romans 15:18 that it was Christ who had chosen him “to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed.”
PAUL Established Only TRUE Church at Rome
We are told by Paul himself that it was he — not Peter — who was going to officially found the Roman Church. “I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established” (Rom. 1:11).
Amazing! The Church at Rome had not been ESTABLISHED officially even by 55 or 56 A.D. However, the Catholics would have us believe that Peter had done this some ten years before — in the reign of Claudius.
Of course you understand that NEITHER Peter nor Paul established the Catholic Church! But these proofs are given to illustrate that it is utterly impossible for PETER to have been in any way associated with ANY Church at Rome.
We find Paul not only wanting to establish the Church at Rome, but he emphatically tells us that his policy was NEVER to build upon another man’s foundation. “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, LEST I SHOULD BUILD UPON ANOTHER MAN’S FOUNDATION”
If Peter had “founded” the Roman Church some
ten years before this statement, this represents a real affront to Peter. This
statement alone is proof that Peter had never been in Rome before this time to
Peter Not in Rome
At the end of Paul’s Epistle to the Romans he greets no fewer than 28 different individuals, but never mentions Peter once! See Romans 16 — read the whole chapter!
Remember, Paul greeted these people in 55 or 56 A.D. Why didn’t he mention Peter? — Peter simply wasn’t there!
Some four years after Paul wrote Romans, he was conveyed as a prisoner to Rome in order to stand trial before Caesar. When the Christian community in Rome heard of Paul’s arrival, they all went to meet him. “When THE brethren [of Rome] heard of us, they came to meet us” (Acts 28:15).
Again, there is not a single mention of Peter among them. This would have been extraordinary had Peter been in Rome, for Luke always mentions by name important Apostles in his narration of Acts. But he says nothing of Peter’s meeting with Paul.
Why? Because Peter was not in Rome!
When Paul finally arrived at Rome, the first thing he did was to summon “the chief of the Jews together” (Acts 28:17) to whom he “expounded and testified the kingdom of God” (Verse 23).
But what is amazing is that these chief Jewish elders claimed they knew very little even about the basic teachings of Christ. All they knew was that ‘‘as concerning this sect, we know that everywhere it is spoken against” (Verse 22). Then Paul began to explain to them the basic teachings of Christ on the Kingdom of God. Some believed — the majority didn’t.
Now, what does all this mean? It means that if Peter, who was himself a strongly partisan Jew, had been preaching constantly in Rome for 14 long years before this time, AND WAS STILL THERE — how could these Jewish leaders have known so little about even the basic truths of Christianity? This again is clear proof Peter had not been in Rome prior to 59 A.D.
No Mention of Peter in Paul’s Letters
After the rejection of the Jewish elders, Paul remained in his own hired house for two years. During that time he wrote Epistles to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Hebrews. And while Paul mentions others as being in Rome during that period, he nowhere mentions Peter. The obvious reason is — the Apostle to the circumcision wasn’t there!
With the expiration of Paul’s two year’s imprisonment, he was released. But about four years later (near 65 A.D.), he was again sent back a prisoner to Rome. This time he had to appear before the throne of Caesar and was sentenced to die. Paul describes these circumstances at length in II Timothy.
In regard to his trial, notice what Paul said in II Timothy 4:16.
“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men [in Rome] forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”
This means, if we believe the Catholics, that Peter forsook Paul, for they tell us Peter was very much present at Rome during this time! Peter once denied Christ, but that was before he was converted. To believe that Peter was in Rome during Paul’s trial, is untenable!
The Apostle Paul distinctly informs us that Peter was not in Rome in 65 A.D. — even though Catholics say he was. Paul said: “Only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:11).
The truth becomes very plain. Paul wrote TO Rome; he had been IN Rome; and at the end wrote at least six epistles FROM Rome; and not only does he NEVER mention Peter, but at the last moment says: “Only Luke is with me.”
Peter, therefore, was never Bishop of Rome!
Where Was Peter?
Near 45 A.D., we find Peter being cast into prison at Jerusalem (Acts 12:3, 4). In 49 A.D., he was still in Jerusalem, this time attending the Jerusalem Council. About 51 A.D., he was in Antioch of Syria where he got into differences with Paul because he wouldn’t sit or eat with Gentiles. Strange that the “Roman bishop” would have nothing to do with Gentiles in 51 A.D.!
Later in about 66 A.D., we find him in the city of Babylon among the Jews (I Pet. 5:13). Remember that Peter was the Apostle to the CIRCUMCISED. Why was he in Babylon? Because history shows that there were as many Jews in the Mesopotamian areas in Christ’s time as there were in Palestine. It is no wonder we find him in the East. Perhaps this is the reason why scholars say Peter’s writings are strongly Aramaic in flavor — the type of Aramaic spoken in Babylon. Why of course! Peter was used to their eastern dialect.
At the times the Catholics believe Peter was in Rome, the Bible clearly shows he was elsewhere. The evidence is abundant and conclusive. By paying attention to God’s own words, no one need be deceived. Peter was NEVER the Bishop of Rome!
A “PETER” Was in Rome Two Thousand Years B.C.!
Who was the first “Peter” of Rome? What were his successors called? The history of ancient religion reveals the plain truth about the original Peter of Rome. The truth about his real successors is now clear to us — but hidden to the world. Here is what history shows us of the ORIGINAL Peter of Rome. The truth is startling!
THE BIBLE records that in the earliest ages, right after the Flood of Noah, men began to rebel against the teachings of God. They began to build cities, found religions, bring in idolatries. Pagan temples were erected — the Tower of Babel came on the scene. All o these things started within the first two hundred years after the Flood.