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The comment of Ecclesiastes, "there is no new thing under the sun" is certainly true with respect to opposition to the Kingdom of Heaven. Although Satan varies his attacks, the same things come up again age after age, generation after generation. In almost every century we find examples somewhere of the Devil going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Through different agents he stirs up persecutions to destroy Christians and commences wars to remove peace and harmony. He works through false religions, heresies, hypocrisy and apostasy to hold the minds of people in bondage to himself. The outward forms may appear new but the basic methods remain the same. In this lesson the outworking of this opposition is traced along with the progress of the Kingdom of God in the centuries following the Apostolic Age.

1. Apostasy within the Church and the externalisation of true religion (The Middle Ages 500-1500)

The first 400 years after the apostles were times of expansion and consolidation of the Christian Faith within the Roman Empire, but they were also times of inner decay with major heresies such as Arianism. The Empire itself was also subject to decay and fell to the barbarians who invaded Italy and sacked Rome. These religious and political changes resulted in a great externalisation of Christianity and the loss of spirituality. The popes assumed political powers and terrified people and kings with excommunications and interdicts. Religion became associated with hermits and monks and the form of godliness replaced spiritual power in the lives of the people. Errors and superstitions abounded.


The following questions are to help you to understand the main events in the Middle Ages. Use your history books to find the answers.

1.1 Why did the church become more important in the dark Ages?

1.2 Why had Christianity spread rapidly?

1.3 What had taken place at the Council of Nicea in 325?

1.4 Who was the pope?

1.5 What wrong teachings were present in the Roman Catholic Church?

1.6 What functions of government did the Roman Catholic Church take over?

1.7 Why had the church become so strong?

1.8 Explain each of the following: excommunication, the interdict and crusades.

1.9 Why did people become hermits?

1.10 How did the hermits spend their time?

1.11 What sorts of rules did monasteries have?

1.12 How would monks spend their day?

1.13 What went wrong with life in the monasteries?

1.14 What sort of things were taught as Christian conduct?

1.15 What sort of evils were found within the church?

1.16 What was heresy as understood by the Roman Catholic Church?

1.17 Who were the Inquisition?

2. The Rise and Spread of Islam

The teachings of Mohammed quickly secured a large and violent following which led to prolonged wars, invasions and terrible loss of life. This gave rise to the well known crusades after the year 1000. These also resulted in widespread killing and destruction of property.


The following questions are to help you to understand the main events in the period. Use your history books to find the answers.

2.1 Who were the Arabians and how did they live?

2.2 What was the Kaaba at Mecca?

2.3 What did Mohammed preach that was new to the Arabs?

2.4 What was the effect of Mohammed's preaching?

2.5 How did Mohammed become successful?

2.6 What does Islam mean?

2.7 What is the Koran?

2.8 List the five commandments of Islam

2.9 What is the Moslem view of marriage.

2.10 Who were the caliphs?

2.11 How did the Moslems make converts to Islam?

2.12 What countries became part of the Mohammedan empire?

2.13 What happened at the battle of Tours in 732?

2.14 What was the Arab contribution to our mathematics?

2.15 For what was Baghdad famous?

2.16 What is the importance of Mecca today?

2.17 What was a pilgrimage?

2.18 What happened when the Seljuk Turks took the Holy Land?

2.19 What did pope Urban II do to help the eastern emperor Alexius?

2.20 Why were people restless at the time of the crusades?

2.21 What were the ideas of Peter the Hermit?

2.22 What happened to the sincere foolish crowds who followed Peter?

2.23 What conquests were made in the 1096 crusade?

2.24 How did the second crusade come about?

2.25 Who led the third crusade?

2.26 What did the crusaders do in the fourth crusade?

2.27 What happened to the children of the 1212 crusade?

2.28 List five good results of the crusades.

3. The Development of Europe

In association with the kings of Germany the popes established the Holy Roman Empire. This was not holy in the Biblical sense but resulted in a dominance of false religious views and many superstitions during a period when military power was essential to national survival. At the end of the Middle Ages the period of the Renaissance led to an emphasis on learning and art which resulted in a questioning of the ecclesiastical traditions.


The following questions are to help you to understand the main events in the period. Use your history books to find the answers.

3.1 How did the Franks differ from the German Goths, Lombards and Burgundians?

3.2 What change took place in the reign of King Clovis?

3.3 Who was Pepin?

3.4 What strange method did Charlemagne have of making Christians?

3.5 What countries belonged to the Empire of Charlemagne?

3.6 Who were the counts?

3.7 What happened to Charlemagne on December 25th 800 A.D.?

3.8 What happened to Charlemagne's empire after his death?

3.9 What did the German king Henry the Fowler do?

3.10 How did Henry's son Otto become emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 962?

3.11 What did the popes and bishops seek first?

3.12 What happened to Henry IV when he argued with Pope Gregory?

3.13 Was the Holy Roman Empire really a holy kingdom?

3.14 Who were the Britons, Anglo-Saxons and Danes?

3.15 Why did William of Normandy invade England in 1066?

3.16 How did Henry II improve the English system of courts?

3.17 Why did Richard the Lionhearted have little influence at home?

3.18 Why did the barons rebel against King John?

3.19 What was the Magna Charta?

3.20 How was parliament able to get new laws made by the king?

3.21 What claims did Joan of Arc make about being the one to drive the English out of Orleans?

3.22 What three inventions brought great changes in Europe?

3.23 What did Gutenberg invent?

3.24 What happened in Italy when Constantinople fell?

3.25 What publication is Erasmus known for?

3.26 Who were the well known artists of the Renaissance?

3.27 List the benefits of the Renaissance.

3.28 State one great disadvantage of the Renaissance.

4. Spiritual Religion Re-established: The Reformation

There had been witnesses to the truth during the Middle Ages such as the Waldensians, John Wycliffe, the Lollards and John Huss. Key figures in the Reformation were Martin Luther, Zwingli, John Calvin and John Knox. They emphasised the spirituality of Christianity and the importance of a personal relationship with God through faith. The effect upon religion, economics, science, social and political life was considerable.


The following questions are to help you to understand the main events in the period. Use your history books to find the answers.

4.1 Who were the following and what happened to them?

The Waldensians

John Wycliffe

The Lollards

John Huss

4.2 What two events changed the course of Martin Luther's life?

4.3 What Bible verse led to Martin Luther's conversion?

4.4 What was an indulgence and what did Tetzel teach about them?

4.5 What did Luther write in his 95 statements?

4.6 What was Luther asked to do at the council at Worms?

4.7 What great work did Luther begin at the Wartburg?

4.8 What happened to Zurich when many of its people followed Zwingle?

4.9 What famous book did John Calvin write?

4.10 What did Calvin do at Geneva?

4.11 How did Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I differ?

4.12 What have been the results of the work of John Knox?

4.13 What happened to the Huguenots on Bartholomew's Day 24th August 1572?

4.14 What was The Council of Blood?

4.15 How did William of Orange deliver Leyden from the Spanish siege?

5. Exploration and the Spread of Religion

The period of exploration by the Portuguese, Spanish and English carried competing faiths to distant parts including the New World.


The following questions are to help you to understand the main events in the period. Use your history books to find the answers.

5.1 How did Nicolo and Maffeo Polo reach China to meet Kublai Khan?

5.2 How long did it take the Polos to reach China on their second trip?

5.3 How long were the Polos in China and what did they bring back in their old clothes?

5.4 What discoveries were made by the explorers of Prince Henry?

5.5 Where did Diaz sail to in 1486?

5.6 What did Vasco Da Gama discover?

5.7 What did Columbas want to do by sailing west?

5.8 Where did Columbas first find land for Spain?

5.9 What did Columbas think that he had found?

5.10 Where did the name America come from?

5.11 What did Balboa see from the mountain top?

5.12 What did Cortez set out to do?

5.13 What ocean did Magellan reach by sailing West?

5.14 What happened to Magellan in the Philippines?

5.15 What did Magellan's men prove by arriving back in Spain from the east around the Cape of Good Hope?

5.16 What did Pizarro do?

5.17 Why did the Spanish colonies remain backward?

5.18 Why was Jacques Cartier exploring the St. Lawrence in 1534?

5.19 What did Samuel de Champlain do in North America?

5.20 Did Joliet and Marquette find the Pacific from their Mississippi exploration?

5.21 What did Robert Cavelier de la Salle notice along the banks of the Mississipi?

5.22 What parts of North America did John Cabot discover?

5.23 How did Captain John Hawkins come to be at Santo Domingo?

5.24 What was the plan of Francis Drake?

5.25 Where did Frobisher and Davis go to explore further?

5.26 What happened to the Armada?

5.27 How did Hudson Bay get its name?

Our World Today

Our world today has been shaped by changes like these in the past and the tension between spiritual Christianity and externalised Christianity has remained. In some countries the traditions and laws reflect Protestantism, in others Islam, in others Roman Catholicism and in some, other religions. In many countries today spiritual Christianity is less influential in national life. This is partly because, since the Reformation, many Protestant Churches have rejected the authority of the Bible, many people have become more materialistic in their ways and different faiths have won the minds of many.

The spiritual battle therefore goes on as Satan seeks to keep sinners from heeding the message of the cross. Faith in the true Gospel sets the captives free and Satan loses his dominion over those who become disciples of Christ. We are thus to expect Satan's continued opposition to the Kingdom of Heaven, but we are not to doubt the outcome. All of the changes of time are under the control of Jesus Christ and He rules until all of His enemies are destroyed. Nothing can prevent His ultimate victory. Christ has said:

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." (Revelation 21. 6-8)