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The following is the last article in our series about the men who started the Protestant revolution.

John Knox (1513-1572)

Militant Scottish Minister, Theologian, Writer, and Founder of the Presbyterian church in Scotland

The Catholic Church was showing its colors in Scotland when Knox was a youth. The Church owned more than half the real estate and received an annual income of 18 times that of the Crown. Bishops and priests were no more than political appointments, with many of them secretly living immoral lives.

The open sea travel between Scotland and Europe allowed much of Luther’s literature to flow into the country. The Church attempted to stop the movement by burning the so-called heretics, which helped to form a strong opinion in a fiery young Roman Catholic priest named John Knox. He eventually converted to Protestantism and became the armed personal bodyguard of the outspoken Protestant, George Wishart.

Wishart was a well-educated theologian who taught Greek at a prominent college in Scotland. His Protestant views were discovered and investigated by a local bishop in 1538. Wishart fled to England and returned to Scotland five years later. He traveled the country under constant threat of his life, denouncing the papacy and preaching against the transgressions of the Church.

Cardinal David Beaton, an immoral Scottish priest who sired at least 10 illegitimate children, had Wishart arrested, strangled, and burned at the stake for his transgressions against the Church. In response, a group of 16 Protestants stormed the castle and assassinated the cardinal. They mutilated his body and hung it from the castle window. The French (Catholic) navy quickly besieged the castle in response to the murder. Knox did not know about the plot but voiced his support of the cardinal’s murder, and during a break in the siege, snuck into the castle to take up arms with the Protestants. The castle finally fell, and Knox was sent to the galleys as a slave.

When Knox was released 19 months later, he spent the next five years in England, preaching the gospel. He was forced to flee to France when the Catholic, Mary Tudor, took the throne. Also called "Bloody Mary," Tudor was brutal in her attempts to squash the Protestant reformation and return England to Roman Catholicism. Knox finally made it to the safety of Geneva, Switzerland, where he met John Calvin for the first time in 1554. The two became friends and remained so until Calvin’s death in 1564.

Knox traveled extensively through Europe and eventually returned to Scotland where the Protestant revolution was in full swing. He is often described as a Protestant “militant,” meaning that he was not the most passive anti-Catholic preacher. In 1559, he preached a sermon at Perth against Catholic idolatry. His pounding on the pulpit and loud preaching were so powerful that one of the audience wrote, “He made me so to quake and tremble, that I could not hold pen to write.” Knox’s sermon resulted in a riot, where Catholic images, altars, and churches were destroyed.

In 1560, as a result of the increasing success of a Protestant militia, the English and French agreed to leave Scotland. This assured Protestantism was there to stay.

Knox lived out the rest of his life in Edinburgh, where he had the title of “preacher” and was one of the most influential figures in the formation of the Presbyterian denomination. He died at 58 years old from what seemed to be a respiratory infection.

Here are a few more interesting facts about John Knox:

  1. When Knox was 50 years old and a widower, he married a 17-year-old girl named Mary Stuart. They had three daughters.
  2. Knox had a total of five children from two marriages: two sons and three daughters.
  3. He is considered the man that brought the Protestant revival to Scotland.
  4. Knox considered the Bible as his sole authority and the pope, antichrist.
  5. Knox called the Catholic Church “the synagogue of Satan” and “the beast of the Apocalypse.”
  6. When Knox visited Geneva, he was won over to the Calvinist doctrine. He called Calvin’s Geneva “the most perfect school of Christ that ever was on the earth since the days of the apostles.”
  7. He preached that those who were not of his or Calvin’s church were damned for eternity, and since they were “sons of Satan, one could take joy in hating them.”
  8. Knox died a poor man, with very little to leave to his family.
  9. At his grave, the newly elected regent of Scotland made the following statement: “Here lies one who never feared any flesh.”
  10. The place where Knox was buried was leveled in 1633 and his grave was not preserved. The exact location is not known. It is most likely under a parking lot today.
  11. Knox is considered the founder of the Presbyterian denomination. He personally did not start the organization, but it was founded upon Knox’s doctrines decades later.

This concludes our series of articles on the reformers. Each of these brothers: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and Knox were mentioned by Brother Branham many times. The following quote is from the Sardisean Age of the Church Age book:

Those who fought this terrible anti-Christ church were destroyed. Those who stayed with it found themselves the pawn of the church whether they be peasants or kings. Their lives were not their own, and neither were their lives Christ's, but they belonged body, soul, and spirit to the Church of Rome. They talked about the blood of Christ, yet they purchased their salvation with money, and bought forgiveness of sins either by gold or penance. The wealthier of them found it a happy situation when Pope Leo X allowed them to buy indulgences for sins not yet committed so that they with ease of conscience could plan their awful crimes and then proceed to carry them out, knowing that the pope had already remitted their sins. The Word of God was kept from them, so who was to know the truth! Since truth comes only from the Word, the people were shut up in a dungeon of the Roman Church, awaiting death, and after death the judgment. But the great whore, drunk with the blood of martyrs and with no thought of the judgment, reeled savagely on to kill men with both spiritual and physical death.

Now toward the end of the fourth age which would be the beginning of the fifth age also, the invasion of Constantinople by the Turks sent the learned scholars of the East with their Greek manuscripts to the West. The purity of the Word and the teachings of true believers were thus disseminated. And not only were these fine teachers of great importance but also the invention of what became the basis of our modern printing presses was discovered, facilitating the production of books. Thus we find the great hunger and demand for the Bible could be answered. God raised up many mighty men of which Luther was but one. Calvin and Zwingli were two other luminaries and besides these were many, many more who are not so well known. However, though all this was not in vain, the mighty work of God was actually hindered by these very men. For one thing, they did NOT oppose the Church-State marriage of the Nicene Council but actually fostered that union. The defense of the Gospel by the state was welcomed though there was no Word for it. And though we can see “the wrath of man praising God,” in such events as Henry the Eighth taking up for the reformation and the rejection of papal authority, it was a far cry from the truth of Pentecost and protection of an omnipotent God.

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