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One day when my son Michael was about three years old, he asked me: Mama, How did God make the rainbow?  Without putting much thought on the question, I replied: God spoke it into existence. To my surprise, he accepted it with a 'Wow!' However, as he got older, he wanted a more scientific explanation of how a rainbow is formed in the sky. This forced me to look it up because, even though I knew and studied it in Science Class at eighth grade when I was thirteen years old, I couldn't remember to explain it intelligently to him. All I remembered was Mr. Roy G. Biv, the colors of the rainbow in their proper order.

So we looked it up. Here's what we found: A Rainbow is formed when light from the sun passes through raindrops in the atmosphere. Each raindrop acts as a tiny prism and refracts or bends the light into the spectrum of colors we know--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. This phenomenon in the earth's atmosphere is quite common. Everyone has seen rainbows at one time or another. Rainbows are best seen when the sun is relatively close to the horizon like early morning or late afternoon and just after a rain storm has occurred. I thought: My! What a magnificent phenomenon--light from the sun passes through raindrops after a storm to form a beautiful rainbow!

Have you ever seen a rainbow at night? Some people say: 'Yes!'. Others say: 'No, it's a scientific impossibility!'  Read the rest of this document, and you be the judge as to whether rainbows can be seen at night.

It was midnight for the world, the storm of opposition and persecution, dark as a funeral pall, was relentless in its fury. The place was far away, and the era was long, long ago. Many of the characters involved were ordinary people just like you and me. Their crime? They loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all their hearts. They loved His Word and wanted more than anything in the world to proclaim the good news of salvation through faith alone in the blood of Jesus Christ. The power of the Holy Spirit of God worked mightily with them, and many people accepted Jesus--the Sun of Righteousness who came to them with healing in His wings. But something was terribly wrong. Something menacing and evil was present. The powers that be, under the guise of sanctity but under the control of the powers of the darkness of this world, opposed and renounced them as heretics and marched them to their death at the burning stakes, lighted up circus and pleasure gardens with their burning bodies, or fed them to the lions.

"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 Thes 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. --The Great Controversy, Page 49.

What were some of the errors that crept into the Christian Church? The answers are found in the following paragraphs taken from The Great Controversy:

"...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, cloaked with a form 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.

"This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of 'the man of sin'  foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan's power--a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will. 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 been given the very titles of Deity. He has been styled 'Lord God the Pope',  and has been declared infallible. He demands the homage of all men. The same claim urged by Satan in the wilderness of temptation is still urged by him through the Church of Rome, and vast numbers are ready to yield him homage.

"But those who fear and reverence God meet this heaven-daring assumption as Christ met the solicitations of the wily foe: 'Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.' Luke 4:8.  God has never given a hint in His word that He has appointed any man to be the head of the church. The doctrine of papal supremacy is directly opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures. The pope can have no power over Christ's church except by usurpation.

"Satan well knew that the Holy Scriptures would enable men to discern his deceptions and withstand his power. It was by the word that even the Saviour of the world had resisted his attacks. At every assault, Christ presented the shield of eternal truth, saying, 'It is written.'  To every suggestion of the adversary, He opposed the wisdom and power of the word. 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 authority over church and state.

"The detector of error having been removed, Satan worked according to his will. Prophecy had declared that the papacy was to 'think to change times and laws.' Dan 7:25...  To afford converts from heathenism a substitute for the worship of idols, and thus to promote their nominal acceptance of Christianity, the adoration of images and relics was gradually introduced into the Christian worship. The decree of a general council finally established this system of idolatry. 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.

"The spirit of concession to paganism opened the way for a still further disregard of Heaven's authority. Satan, working through unconsecrated leaders of the church, tampered with the fourth commandment also, and essayed to set aside the ancient Sabbath, the day which God had blessed and sanctified (Gen 2:2, 3), and in its stead to exalt the festival observed by the heathen as 'the venerable day of the sun.'  This change was not at first attempted openly. In the first centuries the true Sabbath had been kept by all Christians. They were jealous for the honor of God, and, believing that His law is immutable, they zealously guarded the sacredness of its precepts. But with great subtlety Satan worked through his agents to bring about his object. That the attention of the people might be called to the Sunday, it was made a festival in honor of the resurrection of Christ. Religious services were held upon it; yet it was regarded as a day of recreation, the Sabbath being still sacredly observed.

"To prepare the way for the work which he designed to accomplish, Satan had led the Jews, before the advent of Christ, to load down the Sabbath with the most rigorous exactions, making its observance a burden. Now, taking advantage of the false light in which he had thus caused it to be regarded, he cast contempt upon it as a Jewish institution. While Christians generally continued to observe the Sunday as a joyous festival, he led them, in order to show their hatred of Judaism, to make the Sabbath a fast, a day of sadness and gloom.

"In the early part of the fourth century the emperor Constantine issued a decree making Sunday a public festival throughout the Roman Empire. The day of the sun was reverenced by his pagan subjects and was honored by Christians; it was the emperor's policy to unite the conflicting interests of heathenism and Christianity. He was urged to do this by the bishops of the church, who, inspired by ambition and thirst for power, perceived that if the same day was observed by both Christians and heathen, it would promote the nominal acceptance of Christianity by pagans and thus advance the power and glory of the church. But while many God-fearing Christians were gradually led to regard Sunday as possessing a degree of sacredness, they still held the true Sabbath as the holy of the Lord and observed it in obedience to the fourth commandment.

"The archdeceiver had not completed his work. He was resolved to gather the Christian world under his banner and to exercise his power through his vicegerent, the proud pontiff who claimed to be the representative of Christ. Through half-converted pagans, ambitious prelates, and world-loving churchmen he accomplished his purpose. Vast councils were held from time to time, in which the dignitaries of the church were convened from all the world. In nearly every council the Sabbath which God had instituted was pressed down a little lower, while the Sunday was correspondingly exalted. Thus the pagan festival came finally to be honored as a divine institution, while the Bible Sabbath was pronounced a relic of Judaism, and its observers were declared to be accursed.

"The great apostate had succeeded in exalting himself 'above all that is called God, or that is worshiped.' 2 Thes 2:4.  He had dared to change the only precept of the divine law that unmistakably points all mankind to the true and living God. In the fourth commandment, God is revealed as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and is thereby distinguished from all false gods. It was as a memorial of the work of creation that the seventh day was sanctified as a rest day for man. It was designed to keep the living God ever before the minds of men as the source of being and the object of reverence and worship. Satan strives to turn men from their allegiance to God, and from rendering obedience to His law; therefore he directs his efforts especially against that commandment which points to God as the Creator.

"In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast 'his power, and his seat, and great authority.' Rev 13:2.  And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression  foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation, Dan 7:25; Rev 13:5-7. Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman's ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: 'Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake.' Luke 21:16, 17.  Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity. Thus says the prophet: 'The woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and three-score days.' Rev 12:6.

"The accession of the Roman Church to power marked the beginning of the Dark Ages. As her power increased, the darkness deepened. Faith was transferred from Christ, the true foundation, to the pope of Rome. Instead of trusting in the Son of God for forgiveness of sins and for eternal salvation, the people looked to the pope, and to the priests and prelates to whom he delegated authority. They were taught that the pope was their earthly mediator and that none could approach God except through him; and, further, that he stood in the place of God to them and was therefore to be implicitly obeyed. A deviation from his requirements was sufficient cause for the severest punishment to be visited upon the bodies and souls of the offenders. Thus the minds of the people were turned away from God to fallible, erring, and cruel men, nay, more, to the prince of darkness himself, who exercised his power through them. Sin was disguised in a garb of sanctity. When the Scriptures are suppressed, and man comes to regard himself as supreme, we need look only for fraud, deception, and debasing iniquity. With the elevation of human laws and traditions was manifest the corruption that ever results from setting aside the law of God.

"Those were days of peril for the church of Christ. The faithful standard-bearers were few indeed. Though the truth was not left without witnesses, yet at times it seemed that error and superstition would wholly prevail, and true religion would be banished from the earth. The gospel was lost sight of, but the forms of religion were multiplied, and the people were burdened with rigorous exactions.

"They were taught not only to look to the pope as their mediator, but to trust to works of their own to atone for sin. Long pilgrimages, acts of penance, the worship of relics, the erection of churches, shrines, and altars, the payment of large sums to the church--these and many similar acts were enjoined to appease the wrath of God or to secure His favor; as if God were like men, to be angered at trifles, or pacified by gifts or acts of penance!

"Notwithstanding that vice prevailed, even among the leaders of the Roman Church, her influence seemed steadily to increase. About the close of the eighth century, papists put forth the claim that in the first ages of the church the bishops of Rome had possessed the same spiritual power which they now assumed. To establish this claim, some means must be employed to give it a show of authority; and this was readily suggested by the father of lies. Ancient writings were forged by monks. Decrees of councils before unheard of were discovered, establishing the universal supremacy of the pope from the earliest times. And a church that had rejected the truth greedily accepted these deceptions.

"The few faithful builders upon the true foundation. (1 Cor 3:10, 11) were perplexed and hindered as the rubbish of false doctrine obstructed the work. Like the builders upon the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah's day, some were ready to say: 'The strength of the bearers of burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish; so that we are not able to build.'  Neh 4:10. Wearied with the constant struggle against persecution, fraud, iniquity, and every other obstacle that Satan could devise to hinder their progress, some who had been faithful builders became disheartened; and for the sake of peace and security for their property and their lives, they turned away from the true foundation. Others, undaunted by the opposition of their enemies, fearlessly declared: 'Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible' (verse 14); and they proceeded with the work, everyone with his sword girded by his side. Neh 4:17,18.

"The same spirit of hatred and opposition to the truth has inspired the enemies of God in every age, and the same vigilance and fidelity have been required in His servants. The words of Christ to the first disciples are applicable to His followers to the close of time: 'What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.' Mk 13:37.

"The darkness seemed to grow more dense. Image worship became more general. Candles were burned before images, and prayers were offered to them. The most absurd and superstitious customs prevailed. The minds of men were so completely controlled by superstition that reason itself seemed to have lost its sway. While priests and bishops were themselves pleasure-loving, sensual, and corrupt, it could only be expected that the people who looked to them for guidance would be sunken in ignorance and vice.

"The advancing centuries witnessed a constant increase of error in the doctrines put forth from Rome. Even before the establishment of the papacy the teachings of heathen philosophers had received attention and exerted an influence in the church. Many who professed conversion still clung to the tenets of their pagan philosophy, and not only continued its study themselves, but urged it upon others as a means of extending their influence among the heathen. Serious errors were thus introduced into the Christian faith. Prominent among these was the belief in man's natural immortality and his consciousness in death. This doctrine laid the foundation upon which Rome established the invocation of saints and the adoration of the Virgin Mary. From this sprang also the heresy of eternal torment for the finally impenitent, which was early incorporated into the papal faith.

"Then the way was prepared for the introduction of still another invention of paganism, which Rome named purgatory, and employed to terrify the credulous and superstitious multitudes. By this heresy is affirmed the existence of a place of torment, in which the souls of such as have not merited eternal damnation are to suffer punishment for their sins, and from which, when freed from impurity, they are admitted to heaven.

"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. By such means did Rome fill her coffers and sustain the magnificence, luxury, and vice of the pretended representatives of Him who had not where to lay His head.

"The Scriptural ordinance of the Lord's Supper had been supplanted by the idolatrous sacrifice of the mass. Papal priests pretended, by their senseless mummery, to convert the simple bread and wine into the actual 'body and blood of Christ.'--Cardinal Wiseman, The Real Presence of the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, Proved From Scripture, lecture 8, sec. 3, par. 26. With blasphemous presumption, they openly claimed the power of creating God, the Creator of all things. Christians were required, on pain of death, to avow their faith in this horrible, Heaven-insulting heresy. Multitudes who refused were given to the flames.

"In the thirteenth century was established that most terrible of all the engines of the papacy--the Inquisition. The prince of darkness wrought with the leaders of the papal hierarchy. In their secret councils Satan and his angels controlled the minds of evil men, while unseen in the midst stood an angel of God, taking the fearful record of their iniquitous decrees and writing the history of deeds too horrible to appear to human eyes. 'Babylon the great'  was 'drunken with the blood of the saints.'  The mangled forms of millions of martyrs cried to God for vengeance upon that apostate power.

"Popery had become the world's despot. Kings and emperors bowed to the decrees of the Roman pontiff. The destinies of men, both for time and for eternity, seemed under his control. For hundreds of years the doctrines of Rome had been extensively and implicitly received, its rites reverently performed, its festivals generally observed. Its clergy were honored and liberally sustained. Never since has the Roman Church attained to greater dignity, magnificence, or power.

"But 'the noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.'--J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God's law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint. Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.

"The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee: ...seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.'  'There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.' Hosea 4:6, 1, 2.  Such were the results of banishing the word of God." --The Great Controversy, Pages 49-60.

History records in blood the heinous atrocities carried out by this apostate power against 50 to 150 millions of God's faithful people. One prominent martyr, a 26-year old mother named Perpetua, was slain in North Africa around the year 200.

Perpetua was imprisoned and deprived of her child, a small punishment meant to induce a denial of her faith and a sacrifice to the ruler of Imperial Rome. The infant was briefly fed, then wrested from her mother's arms leaving Perpetua alone in her stone cell--alone, except for her father's brief visit. 'Think of the child,'  he implored. 'Don't be so stubborn. Give up this foolishness',  he pleaded.

The solitary moments in prison gave ample time for Perpetua to strengthen her commitment. When baptized, she was aware of the scorn Alexandrians had for Christians. Many amused themselves watching the hated sect's extermination. She decided to accept the risk and was baptized knowing full well her fate. The only uncertainty was the method of execution.

Biblically, Perpetua was obligated to obey her husband. Trivial doctrines were to be neither argued in the church or at home, yet God's Law came first. Her husband was exceeding his authority in asking her to renounce her faith in Christ or to disobey God's explicit commands. Obviously he was embarrassed and humiliated by his wife's new faith. There is no record of him visiting her.

The next holiday was set for execution; the men were to be ravaged by leopards and bears. God comforted Perpetua and some of the other Christians with visions and revelations to strengthen them for the final trial they must endure. Perpetua and another young woman named Felicitas were first hung nude in nets to be brutally attacked by a bull that had been tormented to great fury. The audience felt some compassion and insisted that they be clothed.

The bull attacked. Felicitas was extremely mauled and Perpetua was almost stripped of her robe. Perpetua awaited another attack while holding Felicitas at her side--the bull refused to advance further. Upon removing the bull from the arena, the crowd, which feasted on violence and bloodshed, demanded that they both be killed. Two gladiators were dispatched for the assignment. Perpetua's inexperienced assassin was young and quite nervous. After inflicting several wounds that were not fatal, Perpetua took the sword in her hands and guided him to a vital spot.

This atrocity was carried out by the Roman Church which claimed to represent Him who said: 'For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives... but to seek and to save that which was lost.' Lk 9:56; 19:10.  This is the same Church which Protestants today look upon with so much favor, and which will eventually be united with Protestantism. This union will not, however, be effected by a change in Catholicism, for Rome never changes,  and before Jesus returns to this earth, God's people, unlike the popular erroneous Catholic-based doctrine of being whisked away in the secret rapture,  will be subjected to the severest persecution ever to be visited upon a people by this beastly power who was already at work back in the day of the Apostle Paul.  '... and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.' (Dan 12:1).  See The Image of the Beast and Three Angels' Messages of Revelation 14 for more details. Then out of the densest moral darkness a glorious light from the Sun of Righteousness shines forth and passes through the rain storm of opposition and persecution of His people to form a beautiful rainbow in the night.


When God shut Noah in the grand old ark,
He put a rainbow in the cloud.
When the thunders rolled and the sky was dark,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.


God put a rainbow in the cloud [yes in the cloud]
God put a rainbow in the cloud [in the cloud]
When it looked like the sun wouldn't shine any more,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.

Away down yonder in Egypt's sand,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.
Just to lead His children to the promised land,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.

When they put old Daniel in the lion's den,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.
Just to prove His promise to the sons of men,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.

There were martyrs who were slain for Jesus' sake,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.
Others took their places and the Gospel spread,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.

Oh, Jordan deep and Jordan wide,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.
To lead His people to the other side,
God put a rainbow in the cloud.

(Author Andrew Jenkins; 4th stanza Lydia Haga)

NOTE: God has His people in all the churches in the world (Catholic including), and He invites them in Rev 18:1-5 'to come out of her my people. . .that ye receive not of her plagues'.  See also God's Gathering Call.

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(The night rainbow graphic above was provided courtesy of NightVisions Photos & Images. Click on the graphic to get to their site.)

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