Religious Woe


Religion is a word cherished by many but vilified by the irreligious, and there is a reason for this.

Once again, things will only become clear when we get to later chapters of Revelation, so before I state what I believe to be the second Woe, let’s follow a few clues.

  1. The second demonic plague of Revelation Chapter Nine, pictured as grotesquely mutated horses, is connected in some way to the Altar of Incense (Revelation 9:13). We know from Revelation 8:3-4 that this altar is a symbol of prayer and worship and Revelation 9:20 strengthens this connection by declaring that the victims of these invading demons are caught up in idolatrous worship.
  2. The hosts of hell were released from across the great Euphrates, a river that provided a natural divide between the West and the East. In ancient times great invading powers like Babylonia and Syria were to the East of the Euphrates. In later ages the major ‘invading’ religions, such as Islam, came from east of the Euphrates.
  3. The colours of the demon horses were red, blue and yellow (Revelation 9:17). Why did John record this seemingly insignificant detail? Because it is not insignificant – the three prime colours of pure light are Red, Blue, and Green but the prime colours of reflected light are Red, Blue, and Yellow, which when mixed together form Black. This represents the exact opposite of the beams of refracted light coming from the throne of God which I described in and earlier post.

So, this second Woe has to do with demonic prayer, worship, eastern religions, and the ‘throne’ of Satan. We encountered in the letter to Pergamum (Revelation 2:13). Let’s give this Woe a name … RELIGION.

This might shock many of you because the word ‘religion’ is usually used in a positive or neutral sense. However, I see religion in an entirely negative light. An origin of the word is the Latin religare: to restrain or bind, and that is just what I believe it does.

Christianity is not a religion, although many call it that, rather it is a living relationship with the living God. It is an eternal relationship and a supernatural relationship, and in this relationship we are set free, not bound!

I see religion as the sum of The Occult, New Age Mysticism, World Religions, Cults, and Apostate Christianity.

Religion is in essence the enthronement of satan and the denial of God. It is man’s attempt to make a god in our image and then to prescribe a way of worshiping this idol.

The first four in this list are obvious, but Apostate Christianity needs some explanation. It is the religious system of rites, rituals, teachings, and sacraments that masquerade as ‘Christian’ but is in effect Christ-less. In this system Jesus is honoured as a Prophet, but not as God Incarnate, the Bible is regarded as instructive but not truly inspired, and salvation is believed to be attained through learning, intellectual ascent, and good works.

Religion has plagued our world for millennia and has caused endless destruction. Just consider the crusades, wars, bigotry, enslavement, oppression, and terrorism perpetrated in its name. What you will see in later chapters of Revelation is that Religion always partners with Humanism and together they form a formidable trinity of evil. Trinity, because the third ‘woe’ in the upside-down triangle of terror is Satan himself.

I have more to write concerning Chapter Nine of Revelation, but that will have to wait until the new year. In the meanwhile, please take a look at the following depiction of some of the southern constellations in the night sky (from the vantage point of Jerusalem) and see if you think they relate to the revelations of Chapter Nine.


scorpio and sagitarus


Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler



7 thoughts on “Religious Woe”

  1. Dear Chris,
    Thanks for this blog. What I get from this is that any form of ritualised attempt to reach a spiritual “goodness” is bad.

    Your somewhat blunt, no punches pulled, definition of religion has piqued my curiosity regarding the injunction from Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” I assume this did not exclude the Pharisees and other religious leaders of the time. Unfortunately I need to I need to raise the issue of apologetics yet again. I don’t mean this in the sense of defending the faith, but rather in the sense that Jesus commanded us to make disciples. In his first letter Peter wrote “but in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (3:15). Because religion is the very antithesis of a right relationship with the living God, surely our love for Jesus should always prompt us to inform, and even urge, those around us to understand the difference between this “third woe” and the relationship God so eagerly desires for all mankind.

    As a teeneage schoolboy, I was trapped in a strange mix of Catholic and Anglican ritualised religion, not knowing anything about the real purpose of the cross. Towards the end of my schooling I had the good fortune to meet a man who befriended me and showed me the truth about Jesus. Maybe it was my age that allowed me to be open to what he told me, but I believe he was acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who had also softened my heart to receive the message.

    In other words if religion is so bad and a relationship with God is the only spiritual good for mankind, we should be shouting this from the rooftops. Or at least using the “each one, teach one” model (a model which brought me to salvation) to teach the truth to as many individuals as we know.


      Thank you for your comments Grant; I appreciate your interaction as I believe it leads to an enriched clarification and working out of the subject matter at hand.

      First I must just comment on your take on my post that ‘any form of ritualised attempt to reach a spiritual “goodness” is bad’: Even relationships, particularly with someone not physically present, contain ritual elements. Rituals are dominant elements in religious systems but they are simply means to an end… and that end, in religious terms, is the attempt to create a god in human image and then to devise a system of approaching and pleasing this ‘god’. The tower of Babel is the first major example of religion in action.

      Concerning your point that, ‘we should be shouting this from the rooftops. Or at least using the “each one, teach one” model (a model which brought me to salvation) to teach the truth to as many individuals as we know’, I would respond, as I always have to this basic approach – I believe that the ‘gospel’ is the GOOD NEWS of eternal life in relationship with the Godhead in and through the Lord Jesus Christ… it is an intensely positive declaration. Our primary task is to present this truth to all who will listen and this can seldom be done effectively by assaulting a person’s existing religious world view. Even the use of the word ‘religion’ is fraught because I am sure that I hold a minority view on what the word means. In the process of sharing the ‘gospel’ we might well need to respond to religious objections and concerns but I do not believe that this should be either our focus or motivation.

      This same basic approach should be applied to the first woe of Revelation, Humanism. Imagine the futility of telling a doctor that medical science was anti-Christ! Humanism, as a philosophy and motivation, stands opposed to biblical relation-based Christianity but its expressions such as science, economics, and so on cannot, in themselves, be regarded as anti-christian.

      I am very happy to continue this discussion either on or off-site. Kindest regards Grant 🙂

      1. I agree with your comment “Our primary task is to present this truth to all who will listen and this can seldom be done effectively by assaulting a person’s existing religious world view.” A few years ago I was in what I considered to be a unique situation in my work environment. I was working with an atheist, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a member of a more right wing NGK and an individual from India with a strange mixture of Christianity, Hindu and Bahai.
        At the time I wondered if this was a God-given opportunity to share the gospel with each of these men. The atheist openly scoffed at all religion as being both ridiculous and a sign of a feeble mind. I quickly learned to not waste my time or effort presenting the good news to this man. His aim was not to enter dialog but to bully with science to prove his point.
        In casual discussion with the Muslim, I realised no amount of “shouting from the rooftops” or even an “each one, reach one” approach would make a difference to his view of his religion and in particular with regards to a personal relationship salvation rather than a works model of salvation.
        So here’s where I get stuck. “Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.” Luke 9:1-2. This passage along with Matthew 28:19-20 and others like it are clear. GO AND TELL. The passage I referred to in my original comment from 1 Peter 3:15 is much more gentle in that you are to be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks.
        I have learned the hard way that beating someone over the head with a “gospel” shaped stick is a waste of time. Standing on a street corner handing out tracts or pamphlets is a noble idea, but it doesn’t provide an opportunity to interact or to engage in any meaningful discussion. In the work circumstance in which I found myself, I eventually opted for the approach from Collosians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” In other words let my behaviour, my language, my reactions both verbal and physical be the method that might draw people to ask questions. Or is this just a cop-out?


          Grant, of course you know that the answer is not either/or but both-and 🙂 We are to testify to our life in Christ Jesus both through our words and the way we live. Interestingly, the 1 Peter 3:15 text you cite (which I love so much) is set within the context of the believers encountering opposition because of doing good (verse 13).

          ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word’. 2 Th 2:16-17

  2. Pingback: Why Religion is such a beastly word | Truth Is The Word

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My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.