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in II Kings
that Shalmaneser, king of Assyria,
who had invaded and conquered the northern
kingdom-the kingdom of Israel-moved the people out
of their land of Samaria, north of Jerusalem, and moved
into that land people of the Babylonish mystery religion
from the provinces of Babylon. They were, of course,
gentiles. They inhabited this area of northern Palestine
in the time of Christ. The Jews of Judea in Christ's time
would have nothing to do with them, calling them
contemptuously "dogs." They still adhered to this
pagan Babylonish mystery religion in the first century.
two years after Jesus Christ from heaven
founded the Church of God on that day of Pentecost,
the deacon Philip, who later became an evangelist, went
down to Samaria and preached Christ's gospel. This
Simon the Sorcerer came with the crowd to hear him.
Simon had bewitched the people of that country,
and they followed him as their leader in the Babylonian
mystery religion "from the least to the greatest, saying,
This man is the great power of God" (Acts 8:10).
When the people believed Philip, preaching the
kingdom of God, they were baptized, and this Simon
managed to be baptized with them.
Then Simon came to the apostles Peter and John,
offering money as a bribe, asking them to give him the
power to lay hands on people and have them receive the
Holy Spirit. Peter rebuked him strongly. But Simon
proclaimed himself a Christian apostle, nevertheless,
and called the pagan Babylonian mystery religion
"Christianity." He accepted the doctrine of "grace" for
the forgiveness of sin (which the pagan religions had
never had), but turned grace into license to disobey God
(Jude 4). He aspired to turn his pagan religion, under
the name "Christianity," into a universal religion, to
gain thereby the political rule of the world.