The Church of Philadelphia

America is a political byproduct of the Protestant Reformation. John Calvin’s experiment in Switzerland, where he put into practice the principles of Christian government in the city of Geneva, taught people the basic principles of how to establish a Christian Nation. And so, in 1776 we come to an event that took place in Philadelphia in the New World that was the climax of Protestant thinking in the time of the Sardis Church. It was the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

This date was also important because it was 2,520 years after the beginning of Israel’s captivity and deportations by the Assyrians in 745 BC. As we pointed out in Chapter 15 of Secrets of Time, this was when the history of the House of Israel began to be repeated in a great historical parable. It was definitely a major turning point in biblical history.

Philadelphia means "brotherly love." In the Greek language there were three main types of love: eros, phileo, and agape. The love in the name of Philadelphia comes from phileo.

Eros is the most selfish and immature form of love. It is best defined as NEED. Babies need their mothers, and their demands are based solely upon those needs. If people mature physically without learning to mature in love, their relationships are based upon mere physical attraction and self-gratification. They care little or nothing about other people and will violate the rights of others whenever it suits them.

Phileo is the kind of love a child learns in relating to their siblings. If parents do their job correctly, their children are taught to respect each other’s property and space. They are taught basic principles of justice and fairness. It is very much a judicial (legal) type of love. With children of this stage of development, parents spend most of their time as referees to settle thousands of disputes and violations of individual rights. By the judicial decisions of the parents, the children learn to define basic human rights and responsibilities.

No child can bypass this stage of development without having a distorted view of others. If one were to bypass this phileo stage and go directly to agape, he would practice a lawless form of love, which, at his heart, would only be a free expression of his needs and desires. Such is the "free love" philosophy, where sexual relationships are based upon love, rather than upon marriage. Homosexual love is also the result of bypassing the phileo stage of development, and there are today entire "gay" church congregations who profess to love God and follow Jesus Christ, but they utterly reject the Law of God. They are, in fact, more Manichean than Christian, thinking the God of the Old Testament to be evil for making homosexual acts punishable by death. It is their view that homosexual relationships are pleasing to the New Testament God so long as they practice it with a loving attitude.

Agape is the unconditional love that characterizes mature people. It is the term used most by John to describe the love of God toward us. When applied to people, it describes a mature love that is unselfish, forgiving, understanding, and unconditional. It is not free of discipline, for even God knows that He must deal with men who are yet His immature children. He always relates to people according to their level of love. It is the kind of love parents must have in order to bring up their children to maturity in Christ.

The Church of Philadelphia (1776-1914) is well seen in the great American experiment. Its founders believed in liberty in law. It sought to bring the Church into a phileo relationship among its citizens and among all the nations. Prior to the Protestant Reformation the world saw few benevolent civil rulers or religious leaders. The only example most of them knew was of men with selfish interests who had not learned the basic principles of phileo love.

When we view the establishment of America in the city of Philadelphia—the first capital until 1800 AD—as an attempt by the people to establish a phileo-Christian government, it becomes apparent that 1776 to 1800 AD was a very important time in the history of the Church. It was the American Dream to fulfill the prophecies regarding the House of Israel, that this new nation would be a light to the nations (Is. 49:6), and that from the shores of this New World the Gospel of Jesus Christ would go forth into all the world. Countless sermons preached in the early American churches attest to this. They believed that they were establishing the fifth kingdom of Daniel 2, the great Stone Kingdom cut out of the mountain without hands, that was to smash the image on its feet—that is, the old corrupted world order in Europe that had been dominated by the Roman Church.

The early Americans believed that this new nation was to be the fulfillment of Isaiah 2:2 & 3, which says,

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain [i.e., kingdom] of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills [lesser kingdoms]; and all nations shall flow unto it.

3 And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach of His ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

It was the intention of the Pilgrims and Puritans to set up a political and social order that would be an example of righteous laws that would bring liberty under God to all nations. And so, when Philadelphia became the capital of the new nation from 1776 to 1800, we find that this time period was precisely 2,520 years after the House of Israel was conquered by Assyria. Assyria began to deport the House of Israel in 745 BC and completed that captivity by capturing Samaria in 721 BC.


745 BC 1776 AD

2,520 years

Assyria Begins to Philadelphia: Deport House of Israel Declaration of



2,520 years

Fall of Samaria District of


New Capital

It was 2,520 years from 745 BC to 1776 AD. It was 2,520 years from 721 BC to 1800 AD. The House of Israel thus spent 2,520 years (7 "times", or 7 x 360 years) in captivity throughout the nations, before their judgment came to an end. This coincided precisely with the beginning of the era of the Church of Philadelphia and the new door that God opened.

The new door being opened in Rev. 3:8 has to do with the rise of the great missionary societies in 1790’s. This coincided with the decline of the temporal power of the Roman Church, brought about by the Rothschilds through the French Revolution and then the rise of Napoleon. As we said earlier, the great upheaval of the French Revolution took place from 1789 to 1793, paving the way for the rise of Napoleon in 1796. (See Chapter 5 regarding the Church of Thyatira.)

Meanwhile, God opened a great "Door" to the Church of Philadelphia. Many great missionary societies were established in the 1790’s and into the 1800’s. In 1792 the Baptist Missionary Society was established. Three years later the London Missionary Society was founded. In 1797 came the Wesleyan Missionary Society. In 1800 came the Anglican Church Missionary Society. In 1804 came the British and Foreign Bible Society. In 1806 came the Hibernian Bible Society of Ireland. In 1816 came the American Bible Society. In 1861 came the National Bible Society of Scotland.

This began the great missionary movements of the next 200 years, which spread the Protestant brands of Christianity into all parts of the world. This fulfilled the Word to the Church of Philadelphia, "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it" (Rev. 3:8). He that had the key of David had opened a new door (Rev. 3:7), giving Christians of all denominations the opportunity to spread the Gospel to all parts of the world. Up to that time, only Roman Catholicism had had such opportunity, but they had spread their message primarily through conquest.

The prophecy of the "key of David" (Rev. 3:7) opening this door refers us to Isaiah 22:15-25, where Eliakim was given the key of David to be the keeper of the house, replacing Shebna, the Scribe. This occurred during the time of king Hezekiah. The keys of David were taken from Shebna and given to Eliakim. Applied to the Church of Philadelphia, we see the Roman Catholic Shebna being replaced by the Protestant Eliakim. The keys to the Kingdom claimed by Rome are now being given to others whose motives are more consistent with "brotherly love" than the ones who conceived the Inquisition and the conquests of Cortez.

Remember that the Church of Philadelphia parallels the Hezekiah Church of the Old Testament. The name Hezekiah means "strength." And so God describes the Philadelphia Church as having "a little strength" (Rev. 3:8). In the days of Hezekiah, Shebna was the representative of "the synagogue of Satan" (Rev. 3:9), a man who may have been a tribal Judahite ("Jew"), but did not have the heart circumcision that God requires to be a "true Jew" (Rom. 2:29). Thus, he was replaced by Eliakim ("whom God sets up"), and this incident foreshadowed a greater fulfillment in the time of the Church of Philadelphia in the late 1700’s. Rev. 3:10, 11 says,

10 Because thou hast kept the word of My patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly; hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

In Hezekiah’s day, the Assyrian armies came to take the crown from Hezekiah. But God smote their army and saved Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35). Thus, Hezekiah was spared from that "hour of temptation" (or trial).

In another way Hezekiah was spared again, for we read in 2 Kings 20 that the king was deathly ill and ready to die. However, God spared him and gave him another 15 years of life. The 15 years is significant in that it represents one hour in Biblical prophetic reckoning. A prophetic day or year often can also represent 360 years in long-term prophecy. By this reckoning, a prophetic "hour" is 1/24 of a year, or 15 years.

Thus, Hezekiah was given a 15-year extension of life, because God spared him from the hour of trial in his day. The parallel to the Church of Philadelphia is clear. All of these details show us that the Church of Philadelphia is the Hezekiah Church. The only difference is that the manner of fulfillment in modern times is on a much larger scale than in Hezekiah’s day.

Unfortunately, we have the same weaknesses as did king Hezekiah of Judah. When he received letters from the king of Babylon, Hezekiah made a fatal mistake. 2 Kings 20:13 says,

13 And Hezekiah hearkened unto them and showed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures; there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion that Hezekiah showed them not.

Isaiah then told him that the Babylonians were going to confiscate all of it some day. To his credit, he humbly submitted to this Word.

When the Church—particularly in America, focused too much upon building religious empires to the glory of God, the new accumulation of wealth caught the attention of Babylon’s covetous servants. The rise of Protestant denominations and their accumulation of property, expensive buildings, and healthy bank accounts made it worthwhile for unscrupulous men to seek control.

As a consequence, the servants of economic Babylon recognized that if they could just take over the seminaries, they could eventually control purse strings of the whole Church and change its teachings to conform to Babylonian ideas. Instead of destroying the Church outright, they could use the Churches to maintain control and propagate Biblical ignorance until such time as the people, out of sheer boredom, fell away from the irrelevant god being preached in the name of Christianity. Those who remained could be induced through guilt and fear to support the empty shell of religion out of sheer religious duty. They succeeded.

And so, like the time of Hezekiah, the Philadelphia era (1776-1913/14) was an interim era leading to the great Babylonian captivity of the 20th century. On December 23, 1913 AD the Federal Reserve Act was passed while most of the legislators were home for Christmas, and President Wilson signed it without reading it in February 1914. He admitted later that this was the greatest mistake of his career, but nothing was done about it. So ended the Hezekiah Church. So began the final Church of the Captivity, the Laodicean era, which thought itself rich and did not even know it had been taken to Babylon.

Events Leading to Our Captivity

In 1750 AD a Jewish goldsmith, Amschel Moses Bauer opened a Counting House in Frankfort, Germany. Over the door of the business he placed a red shield. He died just four years later, but his son, Amschel, soon went to work for the Oppenheimer Bank, where he showed great aptitude. Later, he returned home to take over his father’s business. He decided to adopt the red shield as the family name. Thus was born the House of Rothschild, the "Red Shield."

In 1773 he invited twelve influential and wealthy men to a meeting, where he unveiled a plan to make much wealth through a revolutionary movement in France. By using their combined wealth, they would be able to create bad economic conditions and reduce the people to near starvation. Then they could blame the bad conditions upon the king and his nobles, the Roman Church, Industrialists, and all employers in general. By then arousing feelings of hatred and revenge for their oppression, some real and the rest invented, they could create a revolution. The people would think they were throwing off the yoke of their oppressors, but would not realize that they were being used to replace old oppressors with new and worse ones.

As a result of this meeting in 1773, the Order of the Illuminati was created on May 1, 1776 to carry out the revolutionary plans of its financiers, the House of Rothschild and its allies. Its organizer was Adam Weishaupt, a Jesuit-trained professor of canon law, who left the Church and adopted the Rothschild’s Luciferian religion. The Illuminati helped foment the American revolution, because it was in their interest to weaken the British Empire.

Then as they were organizing the French Revolution to weaken France, an act of God revealed their plans to the authorities. In 1784 their courier was hit by lightning on his way from Frankfurt to Paris. He was carrying a copy of the Illuminati plans. The police found the documents, and shortly thereafter, the Bavarian government raided the homes and headquarters of the more influential conspirators. The next year they outlawed the Illuminati, and in 1786 they published the details under the title: "The Original Writings of The Order and Sect of The Illuminati." At this point the Illuminati went underground, infiltrating other secret societies and organizations and working through them. Officially, the Illuminati organization no longer existed. But its plan for a French Revolution succeeded in 1789 to 1793.

The French Revolution established a new constitution and passed laws that forbade the Roman Church from levying tithes (taxes) and also removed its exemption from taxation. The "reign of terror" that followed made the people ripe for a dictator to restore order and national honor. In 1796 AD Napoleon ("New Apollyon") was made commander of the French army in Italy. His financial backing from the banks led to his rise to power that would topple monarchies and firmly entrench the five sons of Amschel Mayer Rothschild as financial kings in five main cities of Europe.

These men also decided at that time to make Switzerland their international headquarters, and for their security, to keep it neutral in all wars and disputes. The fact that Hitler, for all his bombast against the Jews and money powers, never invaded Switzerland—the headquarters of his supposed enemies—proves that he, too, was their pawn, never intending to wage war against the Rothschilds. He was set up to incite those who could be motivated by emotional hatreds to fight wars that would generate tremendous sales for the munitions companies, all of which are owned by the Rothschilds or their subsidiaries.

There were two main purposes for World War 2. The first was to disenfranchise European Jews, so that they would settle the new Rothschild colony in Palestine. The second was to frighten the ordinary Jews into transferring their money into the Swiss banks controlled by the Rothschild family, so that they could steal it from their heirs, most of whom lost their birth certificates in the war’s destruction and could no longer prove that they were entitled to those funds. How ironic that these powerful Jews, who use their fellow Jews as expendable pawns, should be so revered for establishing the modern Israeli state. The average Jews (and Christians), blinded by religious emotion, suspect nothing sinister.

On September 26, 1917 the legal representative of Kuhn-Loeb & Co., Louis Marshall, wrote to his friend Max Senior, another leading Zionist: "Major Lionel de Rothschild, of the League for British Jews, informs me that his organization is in agreement with the American Jewish Committee . . . The Balfour Declaration, with its acceptance by the Powers, is an act of the highest diplomacy. Zionism is but an incident of a far-reaching plan; it is merely a convenient peg on which to hang a powerful weapon" (Pawns in the Game, Wm. Guy Carr, p. 87).

He was referring to the long-range plan to bring the Jews and Arabs into a great conflict that would enrich the Rothschilds through arms sales and monetary loans. Secondly, after fanning the flames of evangelical Christianity into cementing all Bible prophecy upon the success of that nation, they would pull the rug out from under them and allow it to be destroyed. In its ashes the entire message of Christianity would be discredited, Bible prophecy would seem to fail, and the spiritual vacuum would be filled by Luciferianism, the true religion of the Rothschilds, whose present form for the masses is the very popular New Age Movement.

In the late 1700’s the Illuminati was well financed by the Rothschild-led coalition and were able to easily infiltrate the new American government. The new nation very nearly succumbed to pressure to put the nation’s monetary supply into the hands of the Rothschild banks. However, America’s founders were able to forestall this economic captivity by inserting a clause in the American Constitution: "The Congress shall have power: To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin" (Article 1, Section 8, Part 5). This was passed mostly through the influence and eloquence of Benjamin Franklin, who was very much aware of the Rothschild plot to control America economically.

Like the days of Hezekiah, when God turned back the Assyrian army, so also did God spare America to some degree from this captivity. Recall that when the House of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians (745-721 BC), an attempt was also made to conquer Jerusalem and the House of Judah. Judah was ruled by king Hezekiah at the time. He prayed, and God delivered the city. However, because of the people’s continued rebellion against the Law of God, they were taken captive a century later by the Babylonians (604 BC). Even so, America was able to escape full captivity by the Rothschilds at its beginning, but ultimately could not escape from the hand of modern Babylon.

Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 just a few years after the American Constitution was adopted. The prime Rothschild agent at that time was Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, known also as the Father of our National Debt and the stepfather of America. He succeeded in getting banking laws passed that violated the new Constitution. The so-called "Bank of the United States" was given a 20-year charter in 1791, giving the nation’s economic system into the hands of private European bankers. (This bank was not owned by the United States, but it was named as such to deceive the public. The same tactic was later used by those who named "The Federal Reserve Bank.")

The individual states were alarmed that the federal government would give its entire monetary system into the hands of a single bank that was owned by foreign bankers. So they set up their own State Banks with their own currencies redeemable in gold or silver. This diluted the power of the Rothschilds over us, and our captivity remained incomplete for another century. The Bank of the United States charter was not renewed in 1811, as Congress felt that if we were to have private banks issue money, it would be better to spread this power among many banks, rather than have a single central bank whose owners would have total economic power.

The War of 1812 with England was the bankers’ answer, fomented to create economic chaos among American banks. In 1816, after a bitter struggle, Congress gave a second 20-year charter to the Bank of the United States. In 1828 and 1832 General Andrew Jackson was elected president specifically to oppose the renewal of this charter.

In June of 1832 the Senate passed a bill to renew the Bank of America charter. In July it passed the House. Jackson vetoed the bill on July 10, telling congress: "It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government in their selfish purposes . . . When the laws. . . make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society . . . have the right to complain of the injustice of their Government."

The charter would not expire until 1836, but Jackson began removing funds from the Bank of America and would allow no more federal deposits to be made in that bank after October 1, 1833. It was rechartered in 1836 as a state bank in Pennsylvania, but it eventually failed.

From this time until the National Banking Act of 1863 the international money powers battled to regain control. In 1857 certain bankers met in London to draw up a plan to punish the American republic. They decided to divide America into two nations, using each to weaken the other, making both more controllable. The Rothschilds in the Paris bank would support and finance the South, while the Rothschilds in London would support and finance the North. They would exploit the issues of slavery—which was already a seriously divisive issue—in order to bring about a great Civil War. Their intention was not to free the black slaves, but rather to enslave everyone.

At first the South seemed to win all the important battles of the Civil War. But after the North’s victory at Gettysburg in July 1863, the tide turned in favor of the North. The European bankers then induced five European nations to send troops to Mexico. From there they could be quickly dispatched to the United States to ensure a southern victory and partition into two nations. However, this plan was foiled when Tsar Alexander II of Russia immediately sent two warships to San Francisco and to New York City, under Admirals Lesowsky and Popoff. They arrived in September, just two months after the battle of Gettysburg. This action gave notice that if any European troops entered American soil, Russia would immediately intervene on the side of President Lincoln.

This Tsar had greatly improved the lives of Russians in 1861 by literally freeing 23 million serfs, who had been enslaved and forced to work on the land. He had introduced compulsory education in Russia to end illiteracy and bring modern civilization to Russia. He had spent his whole life trying to improve the lives of the poorer classes, including Jews. It is also the same Tsar who sold us the territory of Alaska in 1867.

Few Americans know how indebted they are to the Russian Tsar for preserving the Union and thwarting the plans of the Rothschild bankers. His bold action, however, sealed the fate of the Tsars, for from that moment on, the Rothschilds began planning the overthrow of the Tsars. Russia was chosen to be the nation of the great Socialist experiment in controlling the nations of the world. Furthermore, they attempted to assassinate Tsar Alexander in 1866 and again in 1879. They finally succeeded in 1881. This caused widespread resentment throughout Russia against Jews in general, for they reasoned that if the Jews could be so discontented at a Tsar who emancipated and educated them, and improved their lives so dramatically, then they did not deserve such freedoms. They mistakenly blamed all Jews for the sins of the few at the top, not understanding that those Russian Jews were deliberately being manipulated in order to bring them into the ranks of the revolutionary movements that eventually toppled Russia. The top bankers, including Jews, cared little or nothing about the lower-class Jews, but merely used them when it served their purposes and disposed of them when no longer useful. All were mere "assets" and were expendable when their usefulness has expired.

In 1913-14 we surrendered to our 20th century Babylonian captors by passing the Federal Reserve Act. This established the type of Central Bank that the Rothschilds and their allies had failed to institutionalize in the American Constitution. These events all have taken place precisely 2,520 years after the same events in ancient times.

From 745 to 721 BC the Assyrians deported and dispersed the House of Israel. 2,520 years later the Illuminati was founded (1776) by Amschel Mayer Rothschild to bring about revolutions that would weaken the two main European powers of the day: Britain and France. At this stage of develop-ment, the Illuminati was the prophetic parallel to the ancient Assyrian Empire, which was only partially successful in its conquests of Israel and Judah.

In 607 BC the Babylonians conquered Nineveh and replaced Assyria as the dominant Empire. 2,520 years later (1914) the Federal Reserve Act was signed into law. This represented a later stage of development in the Rothschild plan, a modern Babylonian Empire, that would wield power through its financial system. The creation of the Federal Reserve Bank was a necessity in order to finance World War One for the purpose of destroying Tsarist Russia, replacing the Tsars with agents of western banks.

This eliminated a major competitor for world power, gave them revenge for Tsar Alexander’s interference during the Civil War, and provided them with a model on which to try out their principles of world government. By learning from their successes and mistakes, they hoped to perfect the way to total dominion over the earth. Their goal was to fulfill the vision of Nimrod, who rebelled against the divinely-appointed government of Noah and Shem, and who built the original city of Babylon (Gen. 10:9, 10). This new "Babylonian Empire," however, would be hidden—a secret from most people—for the book of Revelation calls it "Mystery Babylon." The word mystery means "secret, or hidden."

In 604 BC Babylon captured the city of Jerusalem. 2,520 years later in 1917 the Bolshevik Revolution freed Russia from the Tsars and brought them into the hands of the Rothschilds and their allies in Europe and America. This is a matter of public record in congressional hearings in 1919 chaired by Senator Overman. The New York Times even reported a party held in New York City to celebrate the Russian Revolution. Jacob Schiff, the senior member of the Kuhn-Loeb bank, was invited to the celebration, because he had deposited 50 million dollars in an account in Sweden to finance Lenin. Schiff was too busy to attend the party, but he sent a note expressing his joy at the success of the revolution. That note was reprinted in full by the New York Times. (I have seen and read the article myself on microfilm at the library of the University of Minnesota.)

This is a brief summary of many volumes that have already been written on this topic in the past two centuries. It is not our purpose to dwell on the history of our economic captivity, but to show how American history parallels the story of Hezekiah. The Church of Philadelphia (1776-1914) is the Hezekiah Church, leading directly to the Church of the Captivity—Laodicea (1914-1994).

This "beast" system has many heads today. No single man is king, for each head hates the other, even though they are forced to work with them to maintain the body of the beast. The Roman Church has been relegated to the status of a single head of this beast. Its financial empire is massive, but it no longer holds the most power. The Rothschilds own over 10,000 corporations worldwide and are probably the most powerful of these beastly heads. However, there are many powerful family dynasties, and no single family is strong enough to rule as king of the world. If they were ever to agree on one head, he would be the classic "antichrist." But I do not believe this will occur, because they all want to be king and are far too jealous of each other to agree on this issue.

How God is Dealing with Babylon

No matter what these rulers of Babylon plan, let us remember that God is using all of these nations and wicked men for His purposes. He raises up the basest of men at His will (Dan. 4:17) and disposes of them when they have finished their job of bringing judgment upon His disobedient people. As it was in Biblical days, so it is in the modern nations. God changes not. When the Church is lawless, God raises up the lawless ones to reign over them, in order to give the Church what is truly the desire of its heart: lawlessness. It will continue to be so until we learn that God is King, and His Law must be our only Constitution.

It is important that we understand the long-term reason God has raised up this new power called Mystery Babylon. It is for the same reason that God raised up the old city of Babylon. It was to judge His people, who had fallen into idolatry and rebellion against God. The same is true today. The Thyatira Church began in 529 AD when the Justinian codified orthodox Christianity into the law of the land. After 1,260 years, that power was eclipsed by the new economic power, organized by the Rothschilds and their allies. America managed to escape full captivity for over a century, even as Hezekiah escaped Assyrian occupation. But when the Church in America rebelled against God’s Law and established the laws of men in its place, then God gave us into the hands of the new Babylon. As a consequence, the solution to the problem is not to take up arms to fight these unscrupulous men. It is to repent of our lawlessness. That has always been the Biblical solution.

Freedom will not come by fighting the enemy, but by repenting of our lawless ways and turning to God with all our hearts. As we learn the truth about God, coming to know Him fully, we shall be free indeed. That inner, spiritual freedom must then be translated into our daily life in the world. The spiritual then will set the pattern for the earthly manifestation of freedom in every area of life, including the political.

The captivity of this Laodicean Church era to a secret, hidden, Babylonian-style government can only be the result of a spell-binding blindness to truth itself. No doubt these Luciferian powers that think-they-be fancy they have blinded us with their religious spells and with their control of the media. Even they do not realize that this blindness is from God, who is judging us for our rebellion against Him. In their pride they do not realize that they, too, are but pawns in a divine game that is larger than they realize.