The image is a depiction of Catherine de Medici, Queen of France, who approved the extermination of the Protestants, coming out to see the carnage of St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre (August 24, 1572). Painted by Édouard Debat-Ponsan in 1880.
There’s a book I’ve been reading that’s changed my life! I think it’s what the world needs and am going to do my best to implement its teachings…
…it’s called Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.
“Matt, here in France this is what people hear when you ask them to study the Bible with you.” A friend shared this with me while I was there earlier this year. It makes sense.
France is the birthplace of modern atheism. It is the womb of the modern revolution against God. The Great Controversy, ahistorical narrative by Ellen White, puts it this way:
“The atheistical power that ruled in France during the Revolution and the Reign of Terror, did wage such a war against God and His holy word as the world had never witnessed. The worship of the Deity was abolished by the National Assembly. Bibles were collected and publicly burned with every possible manifestation of scorn” (p. 274, 275).
Similarly, Sir Walter Scott in his Life of Napoleon wrote,
“The world for the first time heard an assembly of men, born and educated in civilization, and assuming the right to govern one of the finest of the European nations, uplift their united voice to deny the most solemn truth which man’s soul receives, and renounce unanimously the belief and worship of deity.”
The French drank deep from the fountain of “the revolution” which they still visit for philosophical refreshment to this day. The question is why?
Until the 16th century, the pope was the unchallenged spiritual leader of Europe. At that time a reformation began in the church. It was largely led by clergymen who did something truly revolutionary: they actually read the Bible for themselves. It was, after all, the supposed foundation of their faith. They discovered that the traditionally understood version of Christianity was, in fact, not taught in sacred Scripture.
The spirit of liberty went with the Bible. Wherever the gospel was received, the minds of the people were awakened.
These men were eventually called Protestants because they began to protest. Their protest was called the Protestant Reformation. This Reformation, which preceded the French Revolution by some two hundred years, called people away from the superstitious paganism of Roman Catholicism. Men and women after reading, contemplating, and accepting the truths of Scripture were set free. Once again, The Great Controversy describes the situation, “The spirit of liberty went with the Bible. Wherever the gospel was received, the minds of the people were awakened. They began to cast off the shackles that had held them as slaves of ignorance, vice, and superstition. They began to think and act as men. Monarchs saw it and trembled for their despotism. Rome was not slow to inflame their jealous fears. Said the pope to the regent of France in 1525: ‘This mania (Protestantism) will not only confound and destroy religion, but all principalities, nobility, laws, orders, and ranks besides…’ A few years later by a papal nuncio, the king of France was warned: ‘Sire, be not deceived. The Protestants will upset all civil as well as religious order. The throne is in as much danger as the altar. The introduction of a new religion must necessarily introduce a new government'” ( The Great Controversy p. 277).
And so it was, the people, who chose conscience over the pope and God over tradition, were deemed a threat to the state and to the church. They were burned. And they were tortured. Ironically, those who accepted the teachings of Scripture were chased out of the country by the people who would have benefited greatly from their presence there!
So what was left? Tyranny, superstition, tradition, and paganized “Christianity”. For 200 years France, under the direction of the Catholic Church, persecuted the people (Protestants) who would have been its national strength and treasure. Consequently, the nation fell into a general state of cruel oppression at the hands of those who claimed to represent God. And this is exactly what led to the eventual casting off of all religion and prepared the nation to adopt its secularly atheistic perspective.
The proverbial baby had been thrown out with the proverbial bathwater. Only this time it was worse. Far worse. God had been thrown out with the dirty bathwater of spurious religion.
Bad religion, with its misrepresentation of God, led the French to revolt against Him. People supposed that the misrepresentation was the legitimate fruit of the Bible.
The demons had created a perfect spiritual storm.
They developed a system of religion that would injure humanity to such an extent that people would reject all religion. This is what happened in France and this is why the majority of French people today still have an aversion to Jesus Christ. What knowledge there was of true religion, true Christianity was chased out of their country by the blind bigotry of the crown and the church. All they had left was the depraved and rotten view of God that popery presents.
The priests were often cruel tyrants.
Burn them and torture them if they do not bow down to the proud pontiff of Rome—he who has the unfathomable arrogance to, without any Scriptural justification, present himself the so-called “Vicar of Christ”.
The priests were often cruel tyrants. The doctrines and dogmas made no sense and brought no peace. People lived in fear and darkness. Wealth unimaginable was extorted from the masses.
Bible religion was the cause.
Or so they thought.
The real cause: a fallen angel with his “son of perdition” (2Thes. 2:3) who are themselves exposed in the very Bible the people were learning to hate! Behind the veil of the flesh was a mastermind. And for him what a success story is the French revolt!
Rome had misrepresented the character of God and perverted His requirements, and now men rejected both the Bible and its Author. She had required a blind faith in her dogmas, under the pretended sanction of the Scriptures. In the reaction, Voltaire and his associates cast aside God’s word altogether and spread everywhere the poison of infidelity. Rome had ground down the people under her iron heel; and now the masses, degraded and brutalized, in their recoil from her tyranny cast off all restraint. Enraged at the glittering cheat to which they had so long paid homage, they rejected truth and falsehood together; and mistaking license for liberty, the slaves of vice exulted in their imagined freedom (ibid., 281; emphasis added).
Now, do we not have a message for the people of France? Indeed we do! “Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel” (Ellen White, 6BC, p. 1113). Do not behold the pope because God is not like him and He never was. This is the seed for a counter-revolution and this message is being planted in France. Planted by those who have not forgotten the spirit of their Huguenot ancestors. They no longer go by the names that they once did. They are now called Adventists, and they are part of a new reformation— God’s counter-revolution!