Church, religion and a relationship
This is an honest attempt to look honestly and objectively, to what we call “church”. Then, in particular, the possible meaning [intent?] of the “come together” in 1 Cor 11:18. We find here the word συνέρχομαι (G4905, sunerchomai), from G4862 and G2064, to basically convene, depart in company with, associate with, or (specifically) cohabit (conjugally): – accompany, assemble (with), come (together), come (company, go) with, resort, assemble. However, we will find something much closer than what we know as mere concepts such as union, companionship, association, to convene, accompany; i.e. much more than instrumentality, and thus, in compounds if it has similar applications, we find it includes to aim actually at a completeness [love, Jn 17:15-20-23]. We will find that man’s misplaced liturgical ceremonial traditions often invoke Mk 7:13; 12:24; Mt 15:6-9! We find that religion (ceremony, rituals, traditions) needs no god [other than self], but a true relationship hears and follows the Voice of the one and only living Creator-Father-God and this following must (should) show powerful results on earth (Mk 16:16-20).
Observe that external religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the site of God the Father are not “church attendance” but to “visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world” – Js 1:27 (Acts 7:47-51; Ps 51:13-17). Observe how this following and “get together” [of saints, Rom 8:29-30], touches on a triune God’s role as a Father, Guide, Teacher and Husband and us as His children with supernatural results in our lives that flows from a genuine relationship. Selah.
What if God, as a Perfect, Loving Father, just wants His followers (observe that not all His creatures are automatically His children – Rom 8:14), to be in unison, and readily and habitually help [support, assist, care for, share with] each other whenever we can because we are not estranged or split up by a party-spirit feeding off our self-righteousness (Gal 5:18-26), but is enlightened as meant in Col 1;10-29 (Jn 1:1-4; Eph 4:3-6,12-15; Mt 12:25)! Not the splintered plethora of “denominations” (de-nominated by man from who God nominated?) as seen today, but united in One and the same Love (God), hence Jn 4:24; 14:23-26; 15:13,14,17; 1 Jn 4:8… not the structures we observe pretending man must circumnavigate 1 Tim 2:5 and/or 2 Tim 3:5 (1 Cor 4:20) that is none else than camouflaged witchcraft manipulating through fear to build empires and riches unto certain men in self-acclaimed and self-defined pompous power. We see a bride indoctrinated and obsessed only with her misconstrued house in space somewhere, her own destination and benefits, without knowing anything remotely accurate and effectual about her Groom, with mere empty talk of a genuine relationship that is none more than hollow pretense; we generally observe weekly concerts with barely more than motivational speaking and subtle manipulation with fear (refer to the papers “Tithing” and “The Gospel”).
In this short discussion, in three parts, we’ll observe and reconsider at least the following:
- Who are “the enemies” (plural) of Jesus Christ (Heb 10:13)? You will discover to your horror that these enemies are most likely the preachers spreading false dogma (Hos 4:4-11; Jn 10:10; Mt 3:7-11; 23:8-36; Gal 1:6-9), even today!!! The paper “The Gospel” expands on this.
- How could the very first church already have deserted Jesus Christ (“left their first love”, Rev 2:4)?
- Has the “church” fallen asleep (Mt 13:24,25) and allowed false preachers to dilute their authority?
- The revelation in the fact that the real church [ekklesia] is the household of God, thus the people He indwells; not man-made structures religious people visit in their set times, with set rituals, ceremonies and traditions and worst of all, in ignorance that it remain on their terms [self-righteousness].
We’ll have to admit that something radical is amiss in “church” today. We’ll have to apply Rom 12:1-21.
Contemplate Mt 13, especially verses 24-30, 34-39. Note at verse 39, (a) the end of the world [era, age] in Heb 9:26, and (b) about false messengers that is of the devil (Jn 8:31,41-47; 10:10; Gal 1:6-9) and can be called “angels” as in (G32) ἄγγελος (aggelos), from ἀγγέλλω (aggellō); to bring tidings; a messenger; by implication a pastor – according to the Strong’s Greek Lexicon. Considering Gal 1:6-9; Eph 4:11-15; 1:3, there seems to be something seriously wrong in “church” today. The world sees something does not add up between what “Christians” say and what they do, so why don’t we?
Religion vs. a relationship
Religion with its external traditions (Mk 7:13; 12:24; Heb 4:2), ceremonies and liturgical rituals need no god; for it – even in its shallow prayers (refer to the paper “Prayer”) – are in essence merely a set of monotonous monologues, rimes and croons. Jesus said hypocrites love to pray (Mt 6:5)! Children of God (Rom 8:14) will show powerful results, hence scriptures such as Mk 11:24 (note the next verse); 16:16-20; Jn 14:9-17; 15:5; 1 Cor 4:20; 2 Cor 12:2. Read these scriptures and ponder them (Heb 2:1-3; 6:1-3)!
A real and true relationship with the One living Triune God, our Creator-Father, Son and holy Spirit will show powerful results; at the very least just like His initial followers did (2 Cor 12:2; Jn 17:15-20). This God is a Spirit and communicated with via Jesus (Jn 1:14,17; 3:16-21; 14:6; Heb 1:1-3) and today, His Spirit – Jn 4:24; 14:6,23-26; Rev 21:3,22-27. Take special note of verse 27 with Heb 11:6 and Eph 5:5-17 (Lk 17:20-21); Eph 3:16-21; but also Mt 5:27-28; Rom 8:14; 12:1-2; Eph 5:7; 1 Cor 5:10-11; 6:15-20; 10:31-32; 2 Cor 6:14-18; 10:3-5 and Rev 3:12-13. Clearly a dialogue with God manifests from a pure thought-life that is God’s standard (refer to the scriptures in the previous sentence I said we could take special note of)… The paper “The Gospel” expands on this.
Meaning of “Church”
This is yet another religious word greatly misunderstood and hence generally misapplied and misused.
Read 1 Tim 3:15 carefully. The household of God is called “church”, from ἐκκλησία (G1577, ekklēsia). This is a compound of ἐκ, ἐξ (G1537, ek ex; a primary preposition denoting origin as the point whence motion or action proceeds and from, out [of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote, often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion); and a derivative of καλέω (G2564, kaleō, akin to the base of G2753; to “call” (properly aloud, but used in a variety of applications, directly or otherwise). The ekklēsia is thus externally a referral to a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation and for a Christian community consisting of members on earth or saints in heaven or both as an assembly, called “church”. Note the implication of a permanent dwelling place.
Observe then, that God does not dwell in structures build by man – Acts 7:47-51 (Is 66:1-5); hence, Jesus’ words in Jn 1:17; 2:19-21! Now, as a re-born Christian (Jn 3:3), get the revelation about Jesus Christ and His real church! It is a people, not a place [building] erected by a human. Contemplate 1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:19-20; Eph 1:22-23; 2:18-22; 4:12; 5:30-32; Col 1:24; 1 Pet 2:4-10; even Jn 14:23-26 and Rev 21:3 (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14).
“Church”, just like His Kingdom, are therefore not bound to a geographical place or spot, but collectively we are to be His city and individually His temple [place of worship in our hearts, our thought-life], and then continually forever, not only on certain times and at certain places we have set aside in religious externalism.
Consider again very carefully, Jn 14:2 with even just Rom 12:5 and 1 Pet 2:4-11; and read the short “Letter to the church-goer” as well?
The outside world, the prophecy, the mystery, the answer: Jesus Christ.
It is noteworthy that a major prophecy (Daniel 2) was given to someone “of the world”, Nebuchadnezzar.
Perhaps we should better understand why the magos (sorcerers that the Bible is not silent about) paid homage to Jesus in Jerusalem (Mt 2:1-12; Num 24:17; Dan 9:24-27 and Rev 22:13-16-19). David was appointed over them (Dan 2:46-49). It is about kings in a Kingdom-plan. Is this why we fail to grasp what Jesus was saying in Mt 21:22 (Mk 11:24)? Did Jesus merely give an explanation why He [could] curse that fig tree to completely die overnight? Apparently not (Mt 21:27). Or was this fig tree an analogy (Mt 13:34) of the religious play-actors (Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes)? Well, observe that this incident (Mt 21:19-20) seemed to have happened exactly the time later than what Jesus also foretold in Mt 7:15-23; 12:33-37. It seems very likely that Lk 13:6-9 happened in Mt 21:18-27 and that this fig tree “bloomed” (Mt 24:32; Heb 9:11-12,26; Jn 19:30), when they thought they got rid of Jesus (Jn 19:6,7,14-16; Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15; also, Jn 1:50,51 with Acts 7:48-51,56)! Observe how this ties in with the prophecy in Daniel 2.
We all know the forms of government represented by this statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, but do we understand the significance of “the Stone that was cut out of the mountain without hands”? The mountain of Mt 21:21 (Mk 11:23) points very possibly to Mt Sinai (Gal 4:21-31) that had to be replaced by the city, the New Jerusalem [Zion] set on a hill (Dan 2:44; Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; Jn 1:1-4; 5:35-47; 6:47-50; 11:25-26)! What else could Jesus have repented of in Mt 3:13-15 (Mt 3:6,11; Acts 19:3,4!)? Jesus stated Lk 9:62 (Col 2:15; Jn 9:28) that helped Paul to see Gal 5:4,18-25. (See the paper called “Mixing Old and New”).
We read Eph 4:4-5; 1 Jn 3; Jn 15:12,17. We see in1 Cor 1:10 and Gal 5:19-20 that dissensions, factions and strife amongst “church-goers” over doctrine are not of God but a “party-spirit” operating. There is no sense to the different “denominations” all calling themselves Christians (1 Jn 2:4; Js 2:19; Rom 10:2,3) since God nominated who His church will be, His people, His city, His bride. Instead, we see empire-building with false senses of security abound – both from people scrambling to end up in heaven (do to get and please the self?) and false preachers who seem to think they are untouchable, apparently trying to outdo each other with numbers, even jealousy. We – and these preachers running after doctrines of man – readily (superficially?) quote Hos 4:6, but should perhaps reconsider verses 4b,6b,7,9 as well… It is quite possible that the “blasphemous names” in Rev 13:1 refers to the seven different “churches” in Rev 2-3 (Eph 1:20-23; 2:19-22; 4:4-5)! The sign of a beast is self-righteousness, identified by lust and greed. See a very plausible explanation for the man with his number 666 (Rev 13:18) in 2 Chron 1:12; 1 Ki 4:29; 10:14,20. This is expanded on in the paper called “Rapture raptured”. Basically, Ps 118:24 is very possibly referring to Rev 16:17 that was penned by John and then he mentioned it again – later – in Jn 19:30…
This is what we’ll look briefly at in this discussion on “church”. The author does not claim this to be the last word on this subject or that school is out yet, but believes we need to desperately reconsider our religious man-made structures that are [all] claiming to be of God – in contrast to the Word of God? (Eph 4:4-5). And yes, of course we should get together (Heb 10:25) but do we really know why and how? Is this with 1 Tim 2:5; Eph 4:12-15; 1 Cor 12 (note v 25) in mind? Is the same God in us all? What is it with the ritualistic liturgical ceremonies, the externalism? Do we understand Heb 10:24, 26 (Jn 4:24)? We’ll see.
When the average church-goer is asked to qualify their concept of church, a variety of opinions are offered and many even claim to fully understand that church is supposed to be a people, not a place. Yet, the results from these very “Christians” show not at all what Jesus said – even commanded! We can only look at scriptures such as Mk 11:24; Jn 14:12 (17:15-20) to hear “Christians” fumble for excuses and feeble explanations. It is shocking to see the ignorance and lack of authority of “Christians” on earth that seems to get worse with time! Something must happen (Is 9:6-7). Let’s get up and go back to [adhere to, remain with] Jesus Christ [God]!
Compare 1 Cor 4:20; Acts 2:22; 14:3; 17:6; Heb 2:8; and so on, with today’s ineffectual church waiting to be taken away to escape a war (6:12-17; Col 2:15; 1 Tim 1:18; 2 Cor 10:4-5?). Is it possible that this powerless “church” lacks authority because of ignorance (waiting for things that has been provided in Christ about 2 000 years ago)? What does Col 1:11-20; Eph 1:3 say? Avoid the cancer of 2 Tim 3:7; 4:3,4!
Remember, this author is not bitter towards any “church” or false teachers (Mt 6:13-15; 15:6-9; 23:13,15); but is convinced that if we understand Rom 12:9 correctly, we’ll know what Prov 12:22; 6:16-19; (Rev 2:2) also implies.
Church – what it is and what it is not
- Church is not a building [made by human hands].
(Acts 7:48-53; Ps 127:1; Is 66:1,2; Heb 9:1; Acts 17:24; Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19,20; 2 Cor 6:16; 1 Pet 2:4-10). If you understand Jn 2:18-22, you’ll see the NT temple that Jesus Christ paid for [the “prepared” Jesus promised in Jn 14:2-3, and fulfilled in Jn 19! It is done; it is not a place in space somewhere!]; it is a re-born Christian’s human body, then only can Rom 8:14 lead you to v. 17 and Mk 11:24. Judaism is Anti-Christ. Most “Christians” also don’t follow Christ! Also think about Acts 26:18; Rev 3:9.
- Church is the Body of Christ, the people in whom He dwells. Not a weekly concert.
(Eph 1:22,23; 2:18-22; 4:12-16; 5:32; Col 1:24; 1 Pet 2:4-10; 1 Cor 3:9,16; 1 Jn 3:24; 4:16; Heb 3; 10:18-20). Note: “dwells”, not “visit”, or [occasionally] “work”, not an office, but His ecclesia.
- This is His heavenly city (New Jerusalem – Gal 4:24-31; Is 60:14b; Mt 5:14), the true Israel.
(Amos 8:2; Mt 21:43-45; Acts 10:35; Rom 2:28-29; 3:19-28; 6:14-17; 7:4,6,9,10; 9:7-9, 25,26; 10:1-4,12,13,17-21; Gal 2:4-6,13,14,16-19; 3:7-13; 4:21,30,31; 5:4,18,25; Eph 1:22-3:6,18-21; Rev 21; 1 Cor 3:9,16; and so on). You are already a citizen of heaven if you are in Christ -Eph 2:19; Heb 12:23; 1 Cor 2:13-16; 2 Cor 4:4-7; 1 Jn 4:17; 5:4-5; Jn 16:33! Gen 11:4-7; Acts 2:1-6; Rev 21:1,2,24; Heb 11:10,13,16; 12:22; 11:39,40 (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; 1 Pet 2:4-10). Note that any practicing falsehood, will not be [enter] this city of Life-light on earth that He wants for now [Rom 10:9-11; Heb 9:16-17] – Jn 1:4, 4:14,24; 11:26; 14:23 (Rev 21:27, 2 Cor 10:5; 11:12-15; 1 Jn 2:4)
- Jesus Christ – resurrected – is the Head of the church, and cannot be “de-nominated”
(Mt 12:25; Col 1:18; 2:19; Eph 1:22; 3; 4:4-5,15; 5:23; 1 Cor 3:11,17-23; Heb 11:10; Gal 5:17-20)
- God’s kingdom is for believers, not achievers [it is God’s grace & righteousness (Jn 1:17; 14:6; Lk 17:20-21; even Mt 10:8; 12:25), not our merit]
(Is 1:18; Rom 8:3; 9:16; 10:4; Heb 8:12,13; 1 Jn 3:20-23; Rev 12:11)
Put all of the above together, and you get one New city and temple that is a bride of Christ – permanently! Very carefully consider Rev 3:21; 21:3 and remember Rev 16:17 (Jn 19:30)!!!
What did “Church” mean in the beginning?
Consider Rom 16:5; 1 Cor 16:19; Col 4:15; Philemon 1:2; 2 Jn 1:10.
Now contemplate Jn 14:2 with verse 23 and Heb 3:3,6; Eph 3:17; 1 Tim 3:15. We see that the house of the Lord [“church”] is the people He dwells in [who welcomes Him in them]. The NT Church is meant to be an organism [living], not an organization [rigid structures that stick to rituals, ceremonies and traditions].
The NT is supposed to show a lasting [continuous, permanent, fixed] glory/anointing; not the fleeting [passing, temporary] glories/anointing of the Old Covenant system (2 Cor 3:18; Heb 9:11-15); because Christ is supposed to be [allowed] in us permanently, not merely at certain times or parts of certain days.
Today, someone has observed, we see the church have gone from the Greeks who turned it to philosophy; to Italy where it became an institution; to Europe where it was seen as a culture; to the USA that turned it into an enterprise. This shows Rev 2-3 not to have unfolded as a prophecy but revealing different traditions. Come to think of it, the Roman Catholics have also made a roaring business out of it, manipulating ignorant people by fear; but only less subtle than the rapture preachers today. Part two expand a little more on this.
To be brutally honest, it then seems that for most church-goers, in essence, their concept or perception about church boils down to hardly more than a place to visit periodically steeped in tradition and with certain fixed liturgical rituals where they can find an emotional excitement and pay for membership in God’s Kingdom [salvation] that are organized for them by a leader – probably an excellent orator but in fact merely a human like them (Rom 3:23; 1 Tim 2:5) – but with an untouchable job (status and income).
Read carefully and hear Paul in Gal 1:6-12; 5:18-20; 1 Cor 1:10-13; or Jesus in Mt 7:15-23… then peruse the commencement of the Church history in the Book of Acts (note that the book/record of the start of our Church history is called “Acts” not “talks”/”speeches”/”ceremonies” – 1 Cor 4:20), it is clear that factions was seen as ‘not of God’ and particularly that men like Paul seem to admonish/rebuke people when they dared to couple his name to a “Christian group” in order to use this association to determine the status/authority of their group [factions, “denominations”]. Compare this with Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; and the abundant number of ministries today called after their leader/teacher with names of men identifying their “denomination” or group.
A challenge to true believers in [of] Jesus Christ
Let us consider a sobering and shocking idea [realization]. Let us imagine the result when all – each and every “believer” on earth – stops going to “church” completely and do not watch/read any worldly “news” for one complete year! Shocked? Scared? Just seriously think about this for one moment (2 Cor 10:5)!…
But – and this is the provision – each and every person reads his Bible every single day/night fervently and with spiritual hunger for Truth and talk to Jesus Christ every waking moment of our lives. Through all walks of life, all professions and jobs, everyone just self-studies God’s Word, contemplate it and talk to Jesus continuously – yes, even while you are busy working! Communicate with God (Jn 4:24)! One year.
Now then, who do you suppose will be in turmoil by the end of that year? The people or false preachers? May I suggest that the people (ex-church audiences) will still have their jobs but most preachers will be out of one. May I suggest that in all likelihood you would have talked about [to] Jesus Christ and Him as the Truth every time you got together socially and that that would rather be “having church” as it is meant to be? You might just find that false preachers [educated parrots] would be less convincing with senseless, false doctrines and that the people would become a city who’s Light would shine to all the world and see results! We might just realize that the office is held by Jesus Christ while we have the Gift: Him in us!!!
Imagine us as family and our town that has a short concert with certain rituals and ceremony and traditions on each Saturday, that puts up an act that talks about our father and his business, and we are urged to attend these meetings to learn more about him, but find it hard to be convinced [moved] because we live with him every day and talk with him daily, continuously. As a matter of fact, can we tell that those people talking about him do not really know him accurately at all. They are there for themselves. (Jn 14:23-27; 1 Cor 6:17-20; 1 Pet 2:4-10; Heb 3; Eph 4:12-15…).
Wrong foundations and secret societies
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone – Eph. 2:19-20.
Scripture makes it quite clear that Christ himself is the cornerstone, as well as the foundation of the Church. Scripture is clear that the ministries of the apostles and prophets lay those foundations. But who are the apostles and prophets? Has this been done, or is it continuing? Those who argue for continuation of laying down foundations, contribute to “de-nominations”! Eph 4:5 must be visible in His church to be true!
Note at Eph 2:20. Part of the completed work on Jesus’ cross at Golgotha, and since His resurrection and ascension (Jn 19:30 was penned by John after Rev 16:17, even Isaiah in Is 66:6), is that a foundation was laid. Carefully note that no other foundation [by whatever man] can be true than that of Jesus Christ [God] – 1 Cor 3:11; Rom 15:20. The prophets were the fore-tellers and the apostles the eye-witnesses to confirm and testify to the one big aspect of the fact stated in scriptures such as Jn 8:32,36; 14:6; Acts 4:12; and so on; hence for instance, statements such as Heb 11:10 and Rev 21:14. Let’s think about this, shall we?
Note at Eph 4:11. Denominations today each teach and apply their version of what the church structure must look like and how it should function despite Eph 4:3-5! Stop right here, and re-consider (READ!) 1 Cor 1:21-2:2; and the city (Heb 11:10,13,40; 1 Pet 2:4-10; Mt 5:14). Now again LOOK at Eph 2:20 and 1 Cor 3:11-20. Know this: Jesus Christ has successfully accomplished [prepared] what He came to do (Jn 19:30); the apostles and prophets also have done what they were supposed to do – they all testified about Jesus Christ as the promised Savior, the Λ and Ω, the Firstborn among brethren, the Author and Finisher of our faith [trust in God’s Word, Jesus Christ] – it is a done deal (Lk 24:27; Rev 21:14)! The ultimate prophet is Jesus Christ, the definitive evangelist is Jesus Christ, He is our everlasting High Priest, Advocate, King and He had apostles who were His eye-witnesses. Who should minister? See Eph 4:12. Why? See Eph 4:12-15. The ultimate Gift was [is] Jesus Christ, not prophets! It could be sobering to reconsider Mt 5:8; 7:18-28; 15:7-14; with Jn 16:2-3. The saints [believers + followers] must be the Church! Why do people insist on turning to people in positions while they themselves remain a powerless perpetual audience? Jesus Christ is a real Person, and so is God the Father and His Holy Spirit (Heb 4:15-16)! You be His house (1 Cor 6:19-20; Jn 14:20-27) and understand that Jn 8:30-41 is addressing exactly the same kind of spiritual blindness! Why do people keep on placing men in the positions that Jesus Christ should be [with His Spirit, His anointing inside of us as His city]??!… When will we wake up to distinguish what is only of men and does not work? Pray for discernment [a sober mind] to distinguish between soul and spirit; between a self-centred hunger for emotional experiences as apposed to God’s Word of Truth and Life.
Church history seems to tell us that the ministries of apostles and prophets went extinct shortly after the earthly departure of the original, Biblical apostles. Hence, a well-known church doctrine, called “Cessationism” denies the current-day existence of apostles and prophets. The version of cessationism that claims that evangelists also has no current day place, though, seems to be wrong in part because of Scriptures such as Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-20; Acts 1:8 (Jn 17:18-20-26). But, remember that Jesus Christ holds all together and is the Head of His Body [church, bride, city; Col 1:17] – we have to follow Him and thus witness about Him and His Truth. This is how we all should minister (Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:17-20) until we all reach our unity in Christ (Eph 4:12-15; 1 Jn 3)!
(2099) εύαγγελιστής, ĕuaggĕlistës, from (2097), means to announce good news, especially the gospel of Jesus Christ, The Preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ! This cannot end for us as NT believers, but Jesus Himself is the ultimate Evangelist – He brought [announced, demonstrated, implemented] His good news! William Carey might have “jump-started” the Modern Missionary Movement in the early 1800’s and the world might have seen a mission’s explosion, and the consequently so-called “restoration” of the office of the Evangelist. Since the late 1970’s and early 1980’s we have also observed the claims of “restoration” of the office of the prophet. But the worldwide prophetic movement currently faces various challenges from within and without, and should not be validated based on the number of followers for atheism, Buddhism, and the Muslims could use that argument too! There is much controversy about whether we have, or have not yet seen the restoration of the office of apostle/and prophet. The question is why God would “restore” an obsolete system that served its purpose (Heb 8:13; 10:9-14)??? If the Biblical guideline of apostleship is applied, this office is non-existent and not required, since the Law, prophets and apostles all pointed to Jesus Christ as our only Head, and has successfully done so with fulfilled prophecies and eye-witness accounts when He came.
Does this nullify the foundations of the church?
Of course not! (We must not confuse the issues).
Denominations and independent churches today claim to stand on the spiritual foundations (which is Christ Jesus) but are all actually subject to structures of men in power laid by their own modern Theologians, and they all have their academical institutions and followers that each fervently defend their own false senses of security. Almost all claims to have stopped playing church, yet show similar rituals and ceremonies and traditions in varied forms [religion as apposed to a genuine relationship] with variations of songs, guilt-/fear-driven/ motivational preaching and beautiful and fanciful messages… even a false “Holy Spirit outpouring” that, frankly, often borders on the bizarre. Do you really think Holy Spirit causes mayhem and uncontrolled spiritualism in worship? Is that the joy He has in mind for us? God is sober and amazingly creative and awesome all at once, but unlikely to be freaky/spooky. Many use Acts 2:13-20 without keeping it within the context of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:1-12, 21-47). Yes, we can speak in tongues, yes we can praise and worship God without bounds; but be sure that actors will also try to give their impressions…
Any building’s foundations determines its potential height. Now, if the building of the current day Church rests on the ministries of [indoctrinated] Pastors and Teachers, whereas it should rest on faith in Jesus Christ Who had the eye-witnesses of His apostles and foretelling of His prophets (Acts 1:21-26; 1 Cor 3:11) – then we have a serious problem. Such a building would be weak and powerless and prone to cracks. Even worse, it supplies a way of entrance into the Church to the evil spirit of Jezebel. This spirit is well known to be the spirit of the biblical prostitute, which seeks (amongst many other vices) to reverse God’s ordained order. By allowing modern day Preachers, Pastors and Teachers, instead of the teachings of Jesus Christ and His appointed apostles and prophets (the first teachers of Jesus’ “five-fold ministry gifts” then – Eph. 4:11; Gal 1:1-9), to lay its foundations, the Church had opened the door for this very spirit into her bosom. Although the Jezebel spirit is generally associated with domination, manipulation and control, it manifests a myriad of wiles, causing sexual promiscuity, sodomy, killing of faith in Jesus’ completed work, apathy, lethargy, slumber, inability to discern, etc. – all of which are rife in today’s church (Eph 4:14-20!). No wonder – we stand on a reversed foundation. And yes, surely this discussion could be expected to agitate the Jezebel spirit! Religion hides behind tradition, ceremony, rituals and is not yet a relationship.
The Spirit [Christ, His anointing, His power, His Light, His Life] should be shining from all of us as followers of our one and only Lord and Savior – Jesus Christ. He holds the final office while we all exhibit Him as a living Spirit inside of us as His church/building/temple/city/bride… then Phil 4:13 (Mt 6:25; 1 Cor 15:26)!!!…
This paper is not the last word on the matter, or above criticism. It simply means that there is a vast difference between healthy, compassionate criticism and Scriptural investigation on the one hand, and demonic methods on the other (even if in ignorant indoctrination). We must be on the lookout for these manifestations in ourselves and your local “church”. And if you notice them, seek help (Js 1:5; Jn 14:26)!
Throughout the New Testament, God speaks of His Church as co-workers, employed to build His Kingdom (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1; Col. 4:11; Is 9:7). But a Kingdom structure looks very different from that of today’s Church. In today’s church, we have numerous “denominations” and other independent units (Gal 5:19,20). These have administrative umbrella bodies, like bishopries, dioceses or synods. These, in turn, split up into numerous local churches, all headed up by preachers, pastors or boards of elders. Each local church has its own ministries, usually headed up by laypersons, e.g. prayer (prophetic), outreach (evangelistic), training (teaching), etc. Every other ministry in the local church gets dominated by the pastoral – which is completely unbiblical. Even the prophetic (prayer) and evangelistic (outreach) people are axiomatically dominated by the pastor. Even huge TV networks go for empire-building and compete with their numbers.
We should take care to not confuse the office with the gift. The office is held by Jesus Christ; we cannot usurp His office and call our splinter groups “denominations” as if we ultimately all serve Him, it is ludicrous! A party spirit [dissention, factionism] is not of God (Gal 5:19,20)!! We must wake up, church!
In a kingdom, the King usually divides his kingdom into provinces, headed up by governors (pastors). The king’s spokesman at his office (not prophets but child/son/followers) usually communicates the wishes of the king to the provinces. In the provinces, each governor usually presides over a cabinet of ministers, with typical portfolios like foreign affairs [evangelist], home affairs [pastor], education [teacher]. The Gift is still the same Holy Spirit (Jn 4:24) in all of us Who is the Head of His Church! Contemplate Jn 14:26,27…
This structure that seems to puts Apostles first, Prophets second, third Evangelists, fourth Pastors and Teachers on the same level (is it four or five?) with the Biblical model of Eph. 4:11-12 and 1 Cor. 12:28. These were intended as gifts by Jesus Christ (Eph 4:11) as the Head of His body, the Church (v 12), to benefit each and every one in His Body/City/Church. However, it is possible that the order of these ministry gifts could indicate positions filled in time [chronologically], or more likely, importance; more than a hierarchy. In Eph 3:5 Paul says “… This mystery of Christ … has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit.” See Heb 11:40-12:2… They have served their purpose and have done their jobs, their ministry is now complete and their foundation laid – they point to Jesus Christ as Head of His Body! The basic sentence can very well read “… and then came Jesus Christ…”.
Did we miss a great Truth in Eph 4:11?
Once a foundation is laid, you build the walls [house], you cannot remain stuck at perpetually building a foundation!… There seem to be stages for ages that would give a fresh interpretation [meaning] to Eph 4:11! We are supposed to be living stones in the same structure where Christ is the most important Stone (1 Pet 2:4-10). Since Jesus Christ is the foundation, we are talking of God’s building here on earth and us as part of the walls, not structures build by power-hungry and often self-serving men. The prophets in the Old system foretold the coming of Jesus Christ; and the apostles testified as eye-witnesses that it has happened (for us) about 2 000 years ago. In the paper “Kings, prophets, priests”, this author discusses this briefly as well and mentions a golden thread through Lk 6:46-49; 11:50-52; 14:29-30; 17:24; Rom 15:20-21; 1 Cor 3:10-23; Eph 2:20 and 1 Tim 6:19-21; and 2:7-10. If you meditated the paper “The Testimony”, you should tremble with excitement with the enormity of what Jesus Christ is actually all about – everlasting LIFE!!!… (1 Cor 4:20)!!! So because Jesus Christ was the foundation since before the foundation of the world (Mt 13:35; 25:34; Jn 17:24; Eph 1:3-4; 1 Pet 1:18-21; Heb 4:1; 9:26), Cain (Adam’s firstborn) missed this insight that it was about a Lamb of God… O yes, of course you fully [unconditionally, literally] believe Jesus Christ (Mk 10:27; Lk 18:27; Jn 11:26)… and also that an omniscient and omnipresent Creator-Father-God does not live in buildings made by man! You don’t visit Him once a week; He is supposed to be in you that heed Mt 5:14 and Rom 8:14 all parts of each and every day. We should be His house [city, bride, family of mature sons] that gather spontaneously and/organized and not only in certain places at certain times with certain rituals because this would still be only religion!
After Jesus’ ascension, it is recorded in our earliest church history (Acts 1) that the eleven remaining disciples – in full agreement (v 14,25) – went into the upper room in Jerusalem to find a replacement for Judas the Iscariot, and that this apostle had to be an eye-witness of all of Jesus’ ministry including His re-appearances after His resurrection [to be able to witness His Deity and resurrection] – v 22-26. In Rom 1:1, we find that Paul [Saul, the ex-Pharisee], said he was called to be an apostle as well (Acts 9:15; 13:2; Gal 1:15). This presents no problem as Paul [Saul] was effectively there as an eye-witness (Acts 9; 26; Gal 1)! Or could all the messengers of the gospel of Jesus Christ today be apostles (Rom 1:2-5)? It seems from Rom 1:6,7 that we as believers today (Jn 17:20) are mentioned as disciples [followers], and a special number of twelve selected who were full time promoters then – as literal and credible eye-witnesses – of obedience to the faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, apostles. And as Eph 2:20 implies, that that foundation is history and has served its purpose [to be eye-witnesses of the baptism, ministry, crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ). The physical body of the believer is therefore just as important in this trinity (1 Cor 6:13-10; 1 Thess 5:23)!…
What [who] is [was] an apostle?
(652). Άπόστoλoς. Apŏstŏlŏs, a delegate; specifically an ambassador of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:20; Eph 6:19,20); a commissioner of Christ that is sent with miraculous powers (Jn 13:16; 14:6-15). Derived from (649) άπoστέλλω, apŏstĕllō, from (575) and (4724); set apart, sent on a mission. (575) ảπό, apŏ; is a primary particle “off” (i.e. ”away” from something near), in various senses of time, place or relation and usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc. (4724) στέλλω, stĕllō, probably strengthened from (2476) to appoint, set fast, repress, avoid, to withdraw the self. This is immensely powerful if read with Col 3:1-8! However, Jesus probably used the term apόstoloi to indicate the distinctive relation of the twelve whom He directly chose to be His eye-witnesses because the word was seldom used in classical Greek (Lk 6:13; Acts 1:2,26). Although it is possible to reason that an apostle can exist today as an office – as long as he witnesses [give testimony] of exactly what Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated (Jn 17:18-20; 14:6; 1 Jn 2:4; even Gal 1:6-9), does it not comply to the Biblical requirement/definition of an apostle.
The obvious two meanings are that (a) an apostle could only be an eye-witness then and (b) that it could be a designation for the authority of those called to this office [position then]. The apostle Paul combines these meanings in Rom 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 9:1-2; 15:9; 2 Cor 1:1; 12:12; Gal 1:1. Paul was counted as an apostle on the account of him being called to the office by Christ Himself . Paul was an eye-witness that Jesus Christ is resurrected as Jesus appeared unto him in person. Yet the name apostle seems to have sometimes been applied wider to include all who bore witness of Christ (Acts 14:4,14; 15:2); but listen to Paul in 2 Cor 11:13; 1 Thess 2:6. In defining what an apostle is [was], we can also reference Lk 11:49, but Acts 1:21-22 and Gal 1 is clear that it had to be someone who had witnessed/accompanied them [Jesus and His appointed 12]. With Acts 10:34-43; Jn 17:17-20 (Rom 8:29-34); and Mt 28:18-20; we can perhaps better understand Eph 4:11 and conclude that we see no continuity of the office of an apostle as in no place were the “churches” instructed to ordain apostles. The term is ultimately [for us] applied to Christ (Heb 3:1-14). In Him we are co-sharers that can live forth Heb 4:12; 6:1,20; and so not remain stuck at Heb 5:9-14.
Does this mean we as believers have no authority to demonstrate God’s signs, miracles, wonders as only the apostles and prophets could? No, God’s Word says we can when He abides inside of [any of] us as His church (Gen 1:26-28; Mt 10:8; Jn 14:10-15,23-26; 17:15-20; Mk 16:16-20; Heb 2:8-18…). The same Spirit is in all re-born in Jesus Christ (Jn 3:3; 4:24; Acts 4:12; 10:34; 1 Cor 12:4-9; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:13; 12:18). This clearly means all but then only all who follow Jesus Christ (1 Jn 2:4; 14:6; even Gal 1:6-9), not merely certain men falsely claiming higher office [standing] with God than fellow believers and followers of Jesus Christ (Phil 3:9; Acts 10:34-35).
So then, considering Acts 1:22 and 1 Cor 3:11 we see clearly that the wall (keeping false prophets out, such as Jer 14:14; Mt 7:15-23; 24:11; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 Jn 4:1) of this city of God (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; Rev 21:3) rests on a foundation [not later addable] confirmed with the twelve names of only twelve (12) eye-witnesses [“apostles”] – Rev 21:14. We, all re-born, are since supposed to be [equally] part of the rest of the same single structure/city/bride built on that one foundation who is Jesus Christ, hence Eph 1:21-22; 2:20-22; 4:3-5,12-16. (Remember Lk 17:20-21; Acts 10:34-35; 1 Tim 2:5 and so on).
Our best information from The Bible is therefore that the apostles [Άπόστoλoς, Apŏstŏlŏs] are past tense. To qualify as an apostle, they had to be eye-witnesses (Acts 1:21-22) that saw Jesus being Baptized, and Jesus Christ performing in His ministry with signs and miracles, His crucifixion, also Jesus appearing after His resurrection (to be able to witness that Jesus was in fact the prophesied Messiah), and then His ascension (Acts 1:9-11). There seems an importance to only having been twelve apostles “of God” (1 Jn 4:1-2) – see Acts 1:20-26 that tells us a Matthias was chosen to replace Judas that committed suicide for betraying Jesus, to make up 12 again. (Mt 10:4; 26:14-25,47-50; 27:3-9; Mk 3:19; 14:10,43-49; Lk 6:16; 22:3-6,47-48; Jn 6:71; 12:4-6; 13:2-31; 18:2-5; Acts 1:16-26; 5:30-32).
So Matthias as the replacement for Judas that, due his suicide (Mt 27:5) would not witness the resurrection and ascension, reiterates that the office was for only twelve apostles [then, not since and certainly not today] as eye-witnesses for the foundation of The full Gospel of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:6-9; Jn 14:6), as seen in Rev 21:14 that states, “And the wall of the city (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14) had twelve foundations, and in them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” (Brackets and emphasis mine). The lamb is Jesus Christ (Jn 1:29,36; Rev 5:6; 7:17; 14:10; 15:3; 19:9; 21:23; 22:1,3). Observe also the perfect stewardship of Jesus when comparing Jn 17:12 and 18:8-9; to Ps 41:9 [Jn 13:18]; Jn 6:39, 70-71 [1 Jn 4:1-4] and Acts 1:3,8,22; 5:32.
Note therefore, that those [first, and only] twelve apostles spoke in the Name of Jesus Christ and only preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ as eye-witnesses of/for Jesus Christ as the prophesied Messiah and our only Savior and only Mediator between man and God and that this Jesus is Lord – Acts 1:22; 5:40-42; Gal 6:1-9; 1 Jn 2:4 (Jn 14:6,26). Furthermore, for those thinking themselves “apostles” today, and denying Jesus is God that has come in the Flesh, contemplate carefully Jn 1:1-4,12-17; 3:3,17-21; Phil 2:5-11; and then for good measure also Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 6:1; 2 Thess 1:12; Heb 1:4-5; 2:12; 6:10; 13:15; 1 Jn 2:4,12; 3:22; 5:13; Rev 3:5-8; 15:4; 19:6,13…
1 Jn 4:2-3 is clear that no one that cannot confess that Jesus has come in the flesh can be of God. God cannot die, so to represent all humans legitimately He had to send Jesus in the flesh to pay for all of us with His blood. His blood literally means God came in the flesh in Jesus Christ as confirmed by even just the following Scriptures: Jn 1:1-4,14; Rev 1:5; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11; 19:13 (compare Rev 17:6; 18:24; 19:2; even Lev 17:11-12). The paper “Who is Jesus Christ” expands on the fact that Jesus was/is real. The important fact from all this is that there were twelve apostles [only] and they were eye-witnesses to Jesus Christ.
What [who] is [was] a Prophet?
Heb 1:1-3: “… God does not speak through the Law and prophets any more, but through His Son…”
(4396) πρoфήτης, prŏphëtës, from a composition of (4253) and (5346), a foreteller; by analogy an inspired speaker; by extension a poet. The word was earlier even used of soothsayers who announced beforehand the will of their gods with reference to the future, but this is only a secondary and derived sense, for it also in time context means one who speaks openly before anyone, and is the technical name for an interpreter of the oracle, of a divine message (seer, 1 Sam 9:9). It also came to mean interpreters of the future, generally, one to whom God revealed His purposes. See here – for us today – 1 Cor 2:9-10; Gal 1:1-7,16; Eph 2:10;3:20-21; Jn 14:22-27; 1 Pet 1:7,13; 5:4… What characterized the true OT prophet was immediate and divine communication with God that the prophet had to declare and had to be proved to be true in time.
Observe that although the writer of the letter Hebrews does not identify himself, the evidence in the contents bears evidence of a second generation Christian, one well versed in the OT, who may have been a Jew, who was a friend of Timothy, and probably belonged to Paul’s circle of friends, giving evidence of high literally ability and a style closer to classical Greek than any other NT writer. The point here is, that Heb 1:1-3 is a remarkable statement made after the ascension of Jesus Christ…
But what really characterize the true NT prophet, is the confirmation of the two terms “reveal myself” and “Prophesy” in 1 Cor 14:29,30; Eph 3:5; 1 Pet 1:12. That the special element of prophesying was not merely predictions, but showing forth of God’s will, especially of His saving purpose, is confirmed by 1 Cor 14:37. Two things are necessary for a prophet, an insight granted by God into the divine secrets (mysteries) and a communication to others of these secrets. It includes God’s concept of grace, but with warnings, announcements of judgement, etc. In the OT it was a foretelling of the salvation yet to be accomplished. In the NT prophecy was the publication of a salvation already accomplished. Accordingly, in Eph 2:20; 3:5, the prophets were named side by side with the 12 apostles (see the discussion on apostles in the paragraph above) as the foundation of the NT church, are to be understood as exclusively foundational NT prophets, named again in Eph 4:11 between apostles and evangelist (see 1 Cor 12:28). NT prophets were for the [foundation of the] Christian church what OT prophets were for Israel. They maintained intact the immediate connection between the Church and the God of their salvation, in Jesus Christ. They were messengers or communicators, but still OT prophets because Jesus was not buried yet (Heb 9:16-18)!!! John the Baptist (Mt 11:11-13) was still OT!!! Again, such prophets were not ordained in local churches nor do we see evidence that they had successors, as we read of no appointments made to that office in the NT. What we all should exhibit as believers in Jesus Christ, is His Spirit of [also] prophecy.
Note. The office of a prophet should not be confused with prophecy or the gift of prophecy, which pertains to all true believers (1 Cor 13:8; 14:3; 1 Tim 1:18; 4:14; Rev 11:6), hence the significant admonition in 1 Thess 5:20. He who prophecies is not necessarily a prophet (in the sense of an OT or “NT” restricted office). See the paper by this author, entitled “Gifts”, if you will. It is One God [Spirit] Who gives all gifts by His grace alone. Men should not step into their self-appointed positions and enforce themselves through manipulation and shrewd preaching of curses awaiting those who do not enrich them in their empires. The Message Bible puts Gal 4:17 this way: “Those heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important...”. Even preachers of the grace message today, seem to just start another version of the same old church rituals and worshiping ideas. Could it be because they claim to be [NT] prophets, or apostles, and try to lay foundations that have been laid already? Not necessarily with malicious intent, but just due to wrong teachings and perceptions?
In other words, there is but one NT Prophet, and His name is Jesus Christ; and with His anointing Spirit (Christ) in His followers (Jn 14:6, 26; Rev 19:10c), all His followers have the real gift of prophecy [Christ]; i.e. not an office as in replacements for Jesus Christ, but a gift (1 Tim 2:3-6; Heb 10:5-23). And the ultimate gift to us is Jesus Christ!!!
Observe the word used by Jesus, “all” (… the prophets) in Mt 11:13, and that the Lord indicated a specific period “up to” [ending with] John the Baptist, the last [OT] prophet pointing to Jesus. Contemplate this with Gen 49:10; Is 9:6; 25:1; 40:9-11; Mt 28:18; Lk 2:11; Gal 3:19; Eph 1:3-12…
As far as false prophets and false teachers go, contemplate carefully and prayerfully Mk 12:24; Jer 29:24-32. Take special note that “his offspring” in verse 32 [the false, self-appointed “prophet(s)”] should see the principle in Jn 17:20… “neither for these alone… but also for all those who will ever come to believe… through their word…” Mt 18:6; Ps 24:3-6; 119:29,30,61-64,104-116,128,144,175…
Heb 1:1-3: “… God does not speak through the Law and prophets any more, but through His Son”…
Note. We will be talking about a Kingdom. This is the Kingdom of God [a Theocracy], not the medieval Feudal system devised by man where the poor (corrupted and suppressed) villeins/peasants were not as privileged as the knights and barons who progressively obtained more wealth at the cost of the peasants, as you went higher in their hierarchy. It is not your wealth that should determine your office (authority) but rather should your prosperity be a result of your authoritive position on earth in Christ. Contemplate only Rom 8:14-17; 29-39; Heb 9:16-18 to see that this is true when Rom 12:9 is applied (Jn 15:1-5; Heb 12; Rev 3:19-22). God hates falsity (Jn 8:40-47; 14:6; Zech 8:17; Prov 12:22; 6:16-19; 16:5); hence 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Jn 2:4; Rev 21:8! Hear Jesus in Mt 23…
The only viable way of living this structure as church of Christ in a practical way seems to be a system where we as common believers once again take responsibility for our operation as the church (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; Eph1-2; 4:12-15). A salaried pastor [who tends to be answering to those who he gets his income from], is a precarious position. Most follow [church] ideas of man without investigating it thoroughly or really having a genuine relationship [dialogue] with the Person Jesus Christ, or know [experience] Rom 8:14; Jn 1:12 in it’s true form. We act out religious shows and try to bluff ourselves with superficial trash.
The “cell” concept in church seems to stem from the Korean pastor Yongi Cho who had a problem as a pastor when his congregation apparently exceeded 500 000 members. His solution was that cells [like living units in a body] would perfectly handle the expansion, whilst all reporting in a hierarchy – eventually – back to him to maintain unity. So now we find a small “church” in SA with 1000 members also having “cell” groups that gather on Wednesday evenings, yet all stay trapped in their stale religious mindsets and ceremonies. We are not meant to be mindless parrots and mimes!
This “church unity” is maintained through structure and is still only restricted to each independent “church” group that is none less than a party-spirit operating (Gal 5:19-20; Eph 4:3-7). In the case of a “house church”, there need not be “split-off” parts/groups that effectively become new, independent “churches” on its own! Get the idea of little groups out of your head and we will grasp the concept of one unified Body of believers who have only one ultimate compulsory reporting point – Jesus Christ. Unity is maintained through relationships, especially with Christ Himself (Rom 8:14; Jn 14:26; 1 Jn 2:20). Apply the idea of church being a people and not a place, and the “problems” evaporate. Where ever we meet for whatever reason, will we be likely to habitually discuss and praise Jesus Christ – would this not be a real Church?
This house church system can only be valid with spiritually matured Christians – Eph 4:12-15! It is imperative that we are in unity in Jesus Christ alone (Jn 17:15-26; 8:32,36; 14:6,20-27; 15:1-14. See Rom 10:14,17 and Acts 17:11; 2 Tim 3:14-17; 4:1-5. And the foundation has been laid 2 000 years ago!
Noteworthy, do we find no temple [tabernacle building to rule/manipulate through with an organization] in the new city (Rev 21:22). And just before you too hastily [lightly] dismiss this explanation by blindly accepting those who say this will only be one day in the sweet by and by – consider the following very carefully by observing concepts like “earth”, “rulers of the earth” who shall “bring their glory into it”, etc.: Contemplate Rev 21:3 with Is 60:14; Mt 5:14; Jn 14:23; Heb 12:1-3; and Rev 21:5 with Heb 8:12-13; 9:8; 10:9-14; and Rev 21:6 with Jn 4:14,24; 6:32,47-50,63; 7:38, with v 39 speaking of Jn 14:26 after His payment on His cross and His resurrection – for us this has happened 2 000 years ago! Watch Rev 21:8 with Rom 1:16 and 2 Tim 1:6-112; 4:3-5; 1 Jn 2:4! Also, Rev 21:16 with Eph 3:18; 2:18-22 (a cube speaks of perfection, not plans for building contractors); and so on. See what/who the temple of God is supposed to be (Jn 2:18-22; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20; Rev 3:12; 21:3). Perhaps we should stop being dull and fast asleep.
The inherent weakness of the Pastor/Teacher foundation as a structured organization [business], seriously inhibits the height unto which God can build His church. God cannot be made an accomplice to a wrong foundation which He knows will crack up as soon as the pressure starts to mount. Could it be that He is waiting for us to let go of our concepts of foundations so He could build His victorious church, ruling [over erroneous thoughts and teachings] here on earth? Church is His building – built by Him – after all! Selah!
In the past, we all know the saying that we used to shuffle around the furniture inside the church structure whenever we wanted to change something and never had the courage to actually tackle the entire structure, break it down, and get rid of its wrong [modern] foundations. Mindsets [traditions] that withheld us from taking the right steps can all be traced to Jesus’ warning in Mk 7:13; 12:24. It can be seen in our play-acting manifesting in (1) a false sense of comfort (cowardice to suffering social boycotts; perseverance, conviction; false piety); (2) misunderstanding and wrongly applying things like money (The futile attempt to substitute character and Truth which really is the same as the next point); (3) false securities (The substitute for hope). See Rom 5:3-4. None of these are good reasons! True intimacy with God is only possible when we erase [openly crucify] the “self” completely (Phil 1:21; Eph 1:12; Col 3).
Misconceptions concerning Spiritual Authority.
Mt 28:18 has more to offer than we think. Note that Jesus proclaimed that He won back authority on earth as well [on our behalf, after having paid for it on that day, Ps 118:24] what He gave [away] to mankind in the beginning – on earth (Gen 1:26-28; Ps 2:8; 115:16)! We had lost it (Rom 5:12) but then came the second and Last Adam (no other one, 1 Cor 15:45); first Jn 3:15-21, then Rom 8:14-17… but alas, we are still missing His Truth (Ps 118:17-29; 1 Thess 5:23; Jn 11:26). More about this later in Church part 3.
The concept of “Spiritual Authority” is an extremely important theme of the Bible. God sent Christ to establish His authority on the earth! (By the way, is the ultimate victory life, not after-life. See the paper called “The Testimony” by this author). Yet, in the Church today, we find a myriad of perceptions and confusion concerning the related issues of Spiritual Authority, submission to this authority, and “covering.” Most Christians have some vague perception of the existence of a Biblical basis for these concepts, but are sadly clueless concerning its foundations and mechanisms.
A number of factors greatly contribute to this dilemma. Some are:
- Lack of knowledge of the Scriptures concerning Spiritual Authority (Mk 7:13-15; 24)
- Erroneous, controlling teachings, as well as practices in churches concerning Spiritual Authority and Submission to it
- Confusing different concepts with one another. “Leadership Ability” and/or “Appointed Position” are often erroneously equated to “Spiritual Authority.”
Authority is exercised not “taken”. If a king would walk into a room and had to announce that he is the king and what everyone there should do, he [himself] had no authority. One hears often how Christians declare they are now taking authority in Jesus’ name and then “command” this and that – and nothing lasting really happens. A Christian in Jesus’ authority (Rom 13:14; Eph 6:12) would just apply Mt 10:8 (This is why Peter did not have to put on a big act, see Acts 5:15,16)!
All authority flows forth from God the Father. After His glorification, all authority in heaven and earth was given to Christ (Mt 28:18). The question is, where did He receive it from? Obviously from the Father (… and the head of Christ is God –1 Cor 11:3). (See the paper by the author, called “The Will”).
Christ establishes the Father’s authority in two areas: Society, and His Church [Body, people].
In Society, God delegates mere positional authority to some offices in the World. This means that God allows authority to a person (whether saved or unsaved) merely because of his position. In other words, God delegates His authority not to the person himself, but allows it to the position which the person fills. If this person loses the position, the person loses his “delegated” authority as well, whereas his successor gains the “delegated” authority. This could explain Scriptures such as Rom 13:1, “… Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”. And “… Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” (1 Pet 2:13-14). God commands all citizens of a country, saved or unsaved, to submit to the legitimate [Godly] Law. Remember that we should still be the city of His Light not voting heathens into power! In the workplace, we can apply Scripture such as “…Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord”. (Col. 3:22). God expects of employees, saved or unsaved, whether they get paid or not, to submit to their employers, whether they are saved or unsaved. This involves trust to God as a perfect, ultimate, Father. 1 Pet 2:18-25 reveals what Jesus demonstrated: God’s consistent Spirit inside [Truth, trust, faith].
In the family, we find Scriptures like “…Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything”. (Eph. 5:22-24); and
“…Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother – which is the first commandment with a promise – that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Eph. 6:1 – 3). God expects of wives, whether saved or unsaved, to submit to their own husbands, saved or unsaved. Children should submit to their own fathers and mothers, whether saved or unsaved. Also, “… Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older.” (1 Pet. 5:5). Young people, whether saved or unsaved, should submit to older people, saved or unsaved… in such a way in God’s Truth [faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His teachings] that unbelievers or false Christians would repent! What this is implying, is that we then lead people to Jesus Christ [God] by example of a practical faith [Life].
There is absolutely no Biblical evidence that any positional authority exists in the Church. The only standard, and measuring tool of Biblical authority in the Church is ANOINTING (1 Sam 26:11; 2 Sam 1:14). What is anointing? A possible definition is that anointing is God’s manifest confirmation of His choice of a vessel to carry His authority (e.g. Saul, David, Jehu, etc). In the Old Testament, this was a physical confirmation – a visual ritual of physical anointing with oil. In the New Testament, this had become a spiritual confirmation – an invisible, but discernable manifest presence of the Holy Spirit, and goes hand in hand with invisible spiritual power that can show observable results (Mk 16:16-20). Spiritual Authority, bestowed by God on believing individuals, and manifesting as anointing, is something totally different from Leadership Ability (which can be taught and learnt) or Appointed Position (which usually takes place according to the reasoning of man, and includes “qualifications” like leadership abilities, learnedness, influence, connectedness, talents, clout, financial ability, etc). We are not even commanded to PRAY for people in LEADERSHIP, but for persons in AUTHORITY (1 Tim 2:1-2). In God’s church proven anointing should precede appointing. You’ll certainly – eventually – see [discern] the difference between an anointed teacher and the usual religious preachers (some liars are excellent speakers)…
Whom does God choose to anoint? See Eph 1:2-15. God’s anointing flows from whom He indwells. Only because of Christ’s obedience can He say through the OT prophet: “the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Is 61:1). Paul says: “He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8). As imitators of Christ, He could, or could not, choose to anoint those whose obedience He can trust, and who had proved themselves faithful. Our first ever act of obedience is to submit to Christ’s authority when we get saved (Jn 10:27-28; Rom 6). After that, we also submit to God’s authority in His anointed people. God’s authority is part of God’s Kingdom (Lk 12:32; 17:20-21; Eph 5; 2 Tim 3:16-17; heb 12:5-29; 1 Thess 5:4-6; 1 Tim 5:1-3 has bearing as well).
Consume, contemplate, and remember Eph 1:3,4 (Jn 5:25,26,37-47)! Also, Eph 4:12-15; Rom 8:29-39.
How do we learn obedience? Through faith [trust] in His Words and promises that shows that we give more weight to what Jesus Christ had said and taught (Jn 14:15). The boycotts and dissension (Gal 5:17-20) that religious people use to try and manipulate us, is probably what Jesus was referring to in Lk 14:26; Jn 12:25; 15:18,24; and also 1 Jn 2:9; 3:15; 4:20. Jesus Christ learnt [of] obedience through His suffering (Heb 5:8). Likewise, we learn [of] obedience through suffering (Mat. 10:24). We all should be His light to the world as His city [and Body, Church] of anointed people, living out His Spirit inside of us like fruit…
Note at Rom 5:3-4. As a fruit of His Spirit in us, we can show forth His character traits already inside of us when re-born (2 Cor 5:17; 1 Pet 1:18); it is not bad things that develop our character, but even when bad things happen, can we rejoice in the assurance of Him in us (Phil 4:13; Rom 8:29-31) to overcome and grow. We see then, that all authority flows forth from God the Father. He establishes His Kingdom by His direct authority [Guide, Spirit]. His primary delegated authority is Jesus Christ. Wherever Christ’s authority is submitted to, there is God’s Kingdom. Christ requires us to submit to His allowed, positional authority in the world, as well as His delegated, non-positional, authority in the Church as His Light-Life. In the Church, His delegated authority manifests as anointing. Anointing goes hand in hand with manifest spiritual power. He anoints those who have learnt obedience. They learn obedience in suffering. THOSE are the ones whom we should submit ourselves to. See 1 Cor 4:20; and note the church history in Acts.
There is no Biblical requirement to submit (in the Church) to LEADERSHIP, POSITION or INSTITUTION. Note at Heb 13:17 (NIV). “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority.” The word leaders (Gr: hegeomai) translates as: to go before, to rule or command, to have authority over. Thus these leaders are “rulers,” i.e. men in authority – anointed ones). We merely have to submit to authority, as manifested in ANOINTING, which goes hand in hand with SPIRITUAL POWER (which is hard to fake!) This spiritual power is unseen, but its fruits or effects are perceivable and manifest as tangible results (signs, Mk 16:16-20). God’s Holy Spirit is the absolutely required (and only) “covering” we need (Jn 4:24)!
God’s Kingdom is based on the principle of “Authority and Submission,” whilst that of Satan is based on “Control and Subjection.” It is sad to see how the latter abounds in today’s resemblance of church. Once again, that represents the principle of Jezebel, on whose foundation the modern church was built. “Control” speaks of a lack of, and acts as a demonic substitute for, Godly “Authority”. It’s a sad day when the church needs to make use of Satan’s principle to “do God’s work.”
Infiltration and Control by Secret Organization
Diagnostic Spiritual Research has shown unequivocally that the Church in SA, since its inception in 1652, has never been rid of the infiltration of Secret Organizations (especially Freemasonry). The very first Church in SA, the Dutch Reformed Church (which had been the only church to be allowed for 128 years since 1652) had been planted by a Masonic Organization, the DEIC (Dutch East India Company). This Company had appointed, and paid the first pastors. It also sat in on all church meetings and strictly controlled all church operations according to the Company rule book. And since those early days, the Church in SA has never been without this evil. Today, every church denomination in SA has been infiltrated by these organizations, and is riddled with their vices. (Although Freemasonry overtly exists only since 1717, it had been a covert organization since the time of the Knights Templar, a RCC product).
Freemasonry is a secret organization which operates under the guise of a welfare organization, but is really the chief preserver of the occult knowledge of the Babylonian Mysteries, as portrayed predominantly in Egyptian, Roman and Greek mythology. It was founded by the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church [that does the same]. Their chief doctrines centre on an enigmatic figure, Hiram Abiff who, if investigated, turns out to be nobody else than the first Babylonian king, Nimrod (Gen 10:8-10). Nimrod and his wife and queen, Semiramis, were the founders of the Babylonian Mysteries and the occult knowledge on the earth, after the flood of Noah. Many Freemasons (especially those in the lower degrees) are naively oblivious of the fact that they act as the very priests of almost every vile occult spirit known in the Western World. The main controlling spirits in Freemasonry are Baphomet (a hideous, hermaphrodite being), as well as the Queen of Heaven (a feminine evil spirit, known in Freemasonry as Faith, Hope, or Charity).
In our churches, many pastors, reverends, ministers, fathers, dominees and elders are members of Secret Organizations. These shepherds thus secretly serve as priests for the ancient demonic entities of Babylon, whilst they should rule against the land of Nimrod with drawn sword (Micah 5:5-6; Jn 10:1-10-28). Hence, their disobedience leaves them very little or no spiritual authority. Consequently, they implement in the Church the principle of the devil – Control and Subjection. These leaders are the main cause for the prevalent presence and stronghold of Jezebel (an aspect of the Queen of Heaven) in today’s Church.
Sadly, research also shows that the worldwide network of Masonic lodges are used extensively as the primary infrastructure which the Lawless One (2 Thess 2:8-9) employs to usher in the New World Order who is responsible for attempts to control the world in their shrewd but corrupt version of “unity”.
Most Freemasons are sincerely under the impression that they serve an excellent cause, and that the doctrines of Freemasonry assist them in becoming better people! If challenged on this, the challenge is usually met with hardly controlled anger – which is really the evil Masonic spirit raising its head. Hence, it is extremely difficult to convince these people in a worldly way to turn away from their sin and affiliations. Only on level 30 and up [to 33], do Freemasons receive their “code and conduct” denying Jesus Christ as Lord, and are they declaring their worshipping of Satan. You investigate, if you will.
The most obvious solution would be that Church Leadership, who had brought this evil into the bosom of the Body of Christ, would publicly repent of their sin and turn from their wicked ways. In light of the above, is it difficult for this to happen out of their free will. What else then, could be done?
Five times in the Bible, the Lord speaks to His people (in other words, to Christians in churches – not to unbelievers!) and commands them to flee out of Babylon (Jer 50:8; 51:6, 45; 2 Cor 6:17; Rev 18:4), unless they would share in Babylon’s judgment (Same principle as Hos 4:6-11). Unfortunately, the evil domination and control of Babylon, as manifest in Freemasonry, are prevalent in the top echelons and structures of most of our churches today. The Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church started Freemasonry and other secret societies in an attempt to rule the world. See which of any religion and church group have not yet bowed to the Pope’s self-given authority! If the commands to get out of Babylon do not mean that Christians should flee out of these structures to save their own lives, then what do they mean?
If Christians spot these people in their leadership, and leave, where could they go to for fellowship? The unbiblical church structure as discussed earlier, had been invented roughly four centuries AD, when the persecution of Christians had stopped under the Roman rule. Only then the concept of a “church building” (or cathedral!), headed up by a pastor, became established. Prior to that, believers gathered in homes, synagogues and public open spaces for fellowship – a house church system. Perhaps believers should take own responsibility, and start to establish house churches. How to start? Get a few real Christian friends together, start a fellowship and pray at your home. That’s a house church! (Leaving a wineskin does not mean you’re leaving the church – YOU are the church!). Remain Word-based in Christ (Rev 3:5; 21:27).
The House/Church System also makes a lot of sense in terms of counteracting the New World Order. The New World Order is based on centralization – One World Government [controlled by the Pope], One World Currency, One World Police Force, One World Language, etc. To get to this goal, every institution needs to be centralized. As far as churches are concerned, the centralized structure of denominations suits the New World Order like a hand in a glove. It simply infiltrates the governing body, and their training institutions, and from there start to indoctrinate, dominate and control the entire denomination in their ignorance. Although the New World Order sounds like [falsely propagates to offer] perfect uniform peace, is it actually based on a new version of socialism or communism where a small group of elites control and bankrupt the majority of the population. See Acts 10:34-35,38 for a clue as to God’s impartiality.
Furthermore, the current day church is known to consist of two different aspects: The Organism, as well as the Organization. The Organism consists of believers, knitted together by love-relationships and guided by the Holy Spirit. The Organization consists of the statuary structures, existing primarily for administrative purposes. The Masonic and Broederbond spirits are notorious in SA for its cunning in wielding its power at executive meetings, whilst they are also notoriously uncomfortable with entering into one-on-one relationships with radical, born-again believers. Executive meetings take place mainly in the Organization part of the church, whilst one-on-one relationships are established in the Organism part. Thus, the more the Church can tone down on its overhead structure (Organization), and can tune up on its living body (Organism), the less of these members of secret organizations it will harbour in its bosom. They will leave of their own accord (1 Pet 5:8-10; 1 Cor 2:12-16; 2 Cor 12-15). Moreover, the history of nature has taught us that, when environmental circumstances change, smaller organisms survive much easier than the bigger ones. Is 60:14; Mt 5:14 – The House/Church System suits the above scenario perfectly but submission to Truth is its challenge. It has minimum structure, and maximum life. And it is completely Christ-centralized.
We, the people who Christ indwells permanently, are His Church [City, Body, Bride] collectively; and our bodies that He indwells is His temple individually. We are to be His Living stones in the same building…
What is faith? What does it mean to believe Jesus Christ?
(Not merely in/about Jesus Christ).
We are [can only be] saved by grace and not by [any of our] works [law]. (Acts 15:11; 20:24; Rom 3:20,24; 6:14; 11:6; 16:20,24; 2 Cor 1:12; 8:9; 5:21; Gal 5:4,18; Eph 2:5,8; Phil 3:9; Tit 3:7; Heb 2:9). Looking at 1 Jn 1:9,10, it is not my confession that removed my sin, but God’s grace and righteousness (Jn 1:17; 14:6) because I admitted that His Son removed all sin (next verses, 1 Jn 2:1-2). Grace is unmerited favour, a gift you receive, what you did not [could not] earn. Mercy is kindness shown towards an enemy, it sets him (you & I) free [from self-righteousness but only when we accept only Jesus Christ can be our righteousness – see Jn 3:14-21 with the papers such as “The Gospel”, “The Covenant and the Law”, “Mixing Old and New”, for a fuller exegeses].
The devil himself believe in Jesus Christ, but is unsaved (Js 2:19). So, live it, don’t play-act [just say] it! Contemplate the paper “The Testimony”, if you will, for a perhaps shocking revelation…
We are given a free will, because God is Love and Love does not manipulate. This Love is agape [sacrificial giving and commitment, is God-conscious, part of spirit], not emotional eros (the sensual-type), or storgé (the family-type), or phileo (friendship-type) [that is self-conscious, part of soul]. This Love is the Source, it is pure and holy [consecrated for God’s use]. This is what God intended when He instated a marriage between one man and one woman. The world in sin wants to pervert and corrupt this, but God instated marriage to be a prophetic image of His Son as the Bridegroom and His Bride, His Body, His church. So forget the idea that God will change His mind to the world’s idea – repent (you will not overpower God with folly reasoning). God is God. We are His creation. Accept it. Start trusting [follow] Him. He is not a distant “force”, but the most creative and most intelligent Person in all there is (more than creation, made by Him). He is eternal: no beginning, no end, no limits. His love is not the syrupy attempts of humans to be popular, but embracing the capacity to hate (Rom 12:9) – only then will you grasp Js 1:5-8!
Our free will (choice) is given to us so we can show real love (pre-programming with no choice would produce robots, or animals, not humans). This choice means we have a responsibility [response + ability]. This is what sinners try to reason away. The ability to respond was given by God. To argue against this is futile and senseless. You can only be truly free [from lust and greed in the self] when you hate falsity!
The “believe” that makes us Christians, is to be “Christ-like”, to follow the teachings – and example – of Jesus Christ. The “believe” our Lord Jesus Christ has in mind, is not to [merely] intellectually take cognisance of the historical facts, such as: “Jesus is the Son of God, He was crucified, buried, resurrected on the third day, has ascended and now sits at the Right Hand of God the Father”. The “believe” that makes you enter His kingdom, will make you realize that you inherited His glory, so He can be glorified. The problems humans face is because of focusing on (studying) themselves, instead of having a [trusting] relationship with God (Jn 5:19,30;8:28; 12:50; 14:9-17). And yes, He is worthy of our trust, of our worship! Amazing how senseless sinners attempt to think up a little god [that must explain Himself to them], and think they will then “serve” him.
Why is only an acknowledgement of the facts of Jesus not sufficient? James 2:14-26 says the devil also accepts these facts as true, and he is not saved. As a matter of fact, there are many doctrines of man in the “church” today that Satan knows to be false, but that man ignorantly and stubbornly clings to and defend with ignorant fervor. This is nothing else than making man [man’s ideas] his own god. (Acts 5:29).
“Faith” is an ability to believe, given as a gift of [Creator] God. You see, if all of mankind have it, it must have been given by their Designer, otherwise you, for example, could opt not to have faith. But, you cannot not have faith. Think about it – you either have faith [absolute trust] in God, or believes He is not [Who He says He is]. Also, if confusion is a state of mind (and it is), how can you trust your mind? You can only trust the Word of God. If you are upset about this, wonderful! God loves you. His Word cannot return without a result [a choice]. God is Love, and Love does not manipulate. He gave you a response + ability, so be responsible… Find out what Jesus said (not your “church”).
To “believe”, is your gift back to Him. “Believe” is what you do with this gift called “faith”. Study the Word of God, and look around you, and you will discover that the most outrageous giver in the universe is our Creator-Father. He provided all and everything you can ever need – most of all, His Son Jesus Christ. And what do you give Him in comparison? Do you trust the Person Who gave everything to you, and rely on His Word [promises and inheritance, and thousands of fulfilled prophecies over 3 500 years]; or do you trust a human mind? Maybe, my friend, we should all renew our minds. The Bible calls this repent. Let’s go back to Him.
Look again at Hebrews 11:6: “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him”.So, all mankind is equally equipped (Rom 12:3b – “the” measure of faith, not “a” measure…) to receive the biggest gift there is : Jesus Christ, Who is eternal Life. He had to be buried so that you could inherit from a Father Who loves you and has paid for your guilt [of unbelief, distrust, fear]. “For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him out”. “Believe” is what you do with this “faith” He has given you. It is about trust and pride and true humility. It is about faith [trust] in Him.
1 John 2:4 (Ampl) says: “Whoever says, I know Him [I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him] but fails to keep and obey His commandments (teachings) is a liar, and the Truth [of the Gospel] is not in him”.
Understand why the [O.T.] law (as a set of rules to live by) was a curse (Gal 3:10). Think carefully what Romans 12:2 is saying! Galatians 3 teaches the main purpose of the law, (consider also Gal 2)
Galatians 3 shows at least the following concerning the law
- It was given to the Jews, to show their self-righteousness (Ex 20:5; Rom 7:4-10; 9; Gal 3:2,19,28)
- We are all guilty by it (Rom 3:23; 6:23; Js 2:10). Only Jesus can set us free, Rom 3:24,25!
- It quiet our mouths, humble us before God (1 Pet 5:5; Ps 51:17; Ez 21:26,27)
- The law (rules) is a curse because of human nature
- Laws [rules] gives a mentality of minimum requirement [not excellence]
- Law and rules are only [required] for the unruly [old man, Adam], where “self” is quite strong.
Therefore the term “Messianic Jew” contradicts Galatians 3:26-29; 4:9-12; 5:2-6; Rom 10:12.
If you consider seeking the law, not grace, contemplate 2 Cor 3:9-16; Heb 8:13; 9:8; Rom 3:20…
To “know” Jesus is not a superficial, distant, purely intellectual conviction. It is not a dead system of tradition, ceremony, rituals [religion] – whatever adjusted shape it has taken on. If there is no lasting power of God, of Holy Spirit, it is just another dead religion. Hindu’s, Muslims and cricket players also have meetings where the Holy Spirit of God does not manifest. When last have you seen Him miraculously heal the sick or afflicted, or set someone free… permanently?
In the words of Jesus, in Mark 16:16: “And these attesting signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages… they will lay their hands on the sick and they will get well…”.
And in case you think Jesus was only talking to those twelve, read Jn 17:15-20. There were many others (such as the seventy in Lk 10:1,17,19,20). Also, who exactly are the “those who believe”? Do you believe [Jesus, or do you believe men]? And who are “they”? The Bible is not time-trapped. God made time (for us), and gave us His Word – 2 Tim 3:16,17; Col 1:13-19; also Heb 13:8. Do you believe Rom 8:29-38?
God made earth, placed man on earth [to subdue it and have dominion over it, so reflecting His glory, His power, His anointing), He shed His Blood on earth, let the meek (not weak) inherit the earth; and what do men preach? They want to escape earth! Men with false doctrines want to intimidate confused followers into an unscriptural escape-mentality! Jesus was buried so you [the meek?] can inherit the earth [now]! Have you noticed how many times the Bible teach overcoming and perseverance to the end? What is this “end”? It is the end of this age, or era – this ignorant, blinded, powerless mindset [beast]. Yes, there is a hell (don’t let your mind run away now). The church (us) must grow up, not go up. The whole creation is waiting for sons (and daughters) of God to manifest themselves – on earth. His Kingdom is (Lk 17:20-21).
In another paper, we can look at what “taken up” means. Suffice for now to say, you are frequently “taken up” by something that impact or impress you (it is up in the spiritual realm, not up in space, literally flying away). If a dog can hear what you cannot, and we can only see a small spectrum of frequency, imagine what your glorified body will be like (1 Cor 2:9)! Ever wondered how magnificent it will be, so much so that Jesus for ever has one? Sure you will be “taken up” when we get these new bodies – here on earth (Heb 12:1; 1 Cor 15; 1 Thess 3;4)! Saul (of Tarsus, Paul) was “taken up” in the third heaven whilst being right beside his horse on the road to Damascus (2 Cor 12:2-6; Acts 9:1-9); likewise the apostle John on Patmos (Rev 4:1,2); and the prophet Ezekial (Ez 1:1), and this while the other men around him (some Godly men), were in captivity [in their thoughts, minds – Prov 4:23; 2 Cor 10:5]. People around all of them (and you while you are “taken up”) do not see or hear what they (you) did. It is not “far, far away”, but a spiritual realm you can be in, right here on earth (Jn 8:23)! Anyway, we have digressed a little, so let’s get back to our original discussion.
Just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus prayed, “… Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy in the Truth. Neither for these alone do I pray, but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, rely in, cling to) Me through their word and teaching…” Can you see yourself included here, somewhere? “... For God so loved the world, that He gave His only unique Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jn 3:16).
Jesus announced in John 14:1, “ … you believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and rely also in Me”. John 8:28 states: “ So Jesus added, When you have lifted up the Son of Man [on the cross], you will realize (know, understand) that I am He [for Whom you look] and that I do nothing of Myself (of my own accord or on my own authority), but I say [exactly] what My Father has taught Me”. Then in Matthew 17:5 we read, “While he Peter) was still speaking, behold a shining cloud [composed of light] overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, This is My Son, My Beloved, with Whom I am [and have always been] delighted. Listen to Him!” (Ps 2:7; Is 42:1). Not men [contradicting Him, even those that prophesied Him]; but listen to HIM [Jesus, the Words of Jesus as the Word of God]!…
Note Jesus said to a ruler of the Jews (the Pharisee named Nicodemus) in Jn 3:3: “… I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God”. And yes, a kingdom is about dominion. His kingdom is on earth (Mt 6:10a; Lk 12:32; 17:21; Col 1:13). Do you know your King personally, or do you only know about Him? Do you talk with Him, or do you [only] talk about Him? What does His voice sound like? Jesus said in John 10:27, “ The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life…” Heb 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, and forever (to the ages).” Remember Jesus’ words in Mt 7:20-23? He said, “… Therefore, you will fully know them (trees that bear fruit) by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven (God), but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands ,teachings, precepts]”. Confessing Jesus, motivated by “going to heaven one day when you die”, is tragically ignorant and dismally short of the abundant life Jesus Christ paid for and provided. Try born-again [being spiritually alive and functional to God] and experience His kingdom now – get everlasting LIFE! Stop existing and struggling in darkness, move into the kingdom of LIGHT. The enlightened of (in) this world is the genuinely re-born Christians – contemplate John 1:1-14; Col 1:13. Jesus Christ is and has been the Light to the world from the foundation of the earth (Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6; Rev 21:2,23; Jn 3:29). Try Gen 3:22 with Rev 2:7; 3:21-23 again…
In Mark 7:13 these words of Jesus are recorded: “Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing”. Remember, that Jesus is the Word that became flesh (Jn 1:1-5,14). “[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]…” (Col 1:15a). So what does His Word say?
Note that the Truth is a Person, not a dogma, or an idea of man. Jn 8:32 says “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free”, then in verse36 Jesus continues, “So if the Son liberated you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free”. In Jn 14:6 Jesus explained, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me”. Note here that no human can take that place of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5 clearly states, “For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus”.
So, with this little in mind about what God has in mind about Church, we read in 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, “Do you not discern and understand that you are God’s temple (His sanctuary), and that God’s Spirit has His permanent dwelling in you [to be at home in you, collectively as a church and also individually]? If anyone does hurt to God’s temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [temple] you [the believing church and its individual believers] are”.
Again remember that a house church system can only be valid with spiritually matured Christians – Eph 4:12-15! It is imperative that we are in unity in Jesus Christ alone (Jn 17:15-26; 8:32,36; 14:6,20-27; 15:1-14. See Rom 10:17 and Acts 17:11; 2 Tim 3:14-17; 4:1-5.
For good measure, peruse Gal 3:8,29 with Gen 12:3. See now how you are (and can be) blessed? Or for that matter, how people can curse themselves by using even insolent language against you (as a follower of Christ)? Think of John 20:23, “[Now having received the Holy Spirit, and being led and directed by Him (Rom 8:14)], if you forgive sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained”.
Remember the following:
- Singing songs is not equal to praise and worship! Its only part of acknowledging God with a continuous and genuine consecrated and dedicated [thought] life. God is the Source of all that’s good, you cannot sing Him into a good mood, you sing yourself into a good mood. And by the way, check the words of the songs you sing – are you sure they agree with the NT Word of God? (Most still begs God to act as if Jesus Christ did not perfect His work as our Redeemer/Provider).
- Physical buildings are not what God prepared (Acts 7:42-52; Jn 14:1,2,6,23-26)
- Physical buildings are not what God built (Acts 7:47-48)
- Religion needs no god (dialogue) because it consists of man-made rituals, traditions, ceremonies
- A relationship is between persons and sees tangible results. Do you really know God in Person?
- Check your idea of church with the Bible (Eph 1:17-23; 2:14-22; 3:16,17; 4:12-15; 1 Pet 2:5-10)
- Check your concept of a temple with what the Bible says ( 1 Cor 6:16-20)
- Check your concept of God’s City with God’s Word (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14)
- Who is the House of God (Jn 14:1-2, 23-26; 1 Tim 3:15; see “church” above)
- Christ is the Head of His Church – not a pope, apostle, prophet, guru, or [secret] organization!
- Check the show and emotional hype that is often encouraged by “spiritual preachers” that seemingly don’t know or neglect clear instructions [warnings] such as 1 Cor 14:27b+c,28 or v. 39!
- God’s unity (Jn 13:34; 15:12,17; Eph 4:5) is NOT control! Fear is prevalent in self-righteousness (a merit system based on own performance that ignores Jesus Christ – Jn 3:15-16; Gal 5:4,18; Rom 8:29-39). Manipulation by man-ordained leaders is misrepresenting God (Jesus Christ)! Denominations have man-made structures with foundations of self-righteousness and manipulation.
But we must remember to be an open vessel for His NT glory, His NT anointing, His NT power; we have to get rid of all bitterness [self-centredness, pride, offence, condemnation].
Peace and joy to you. Be free and set free!…in Jesus’ name.
Realize also 1 Corinthians 6:17-20 and 1 Cor 11:31; Col 3:17; Acts 17:28. Go for Jn 11:26; 1 Thess 5:23!…
A Further note to church-goers
(with all respect and good intent)
Jesus is Lord; not Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Protestant, Dutch Reformed, or anything else so called by man. Neither is God Hebrew, He is Spirit (Jn 4:23,24). And no, the Jews [at least since they crucified Christ] are not of God – test them to 1 Jn 4:1-4 (and Jn 5:23; 14:6)! Startled? Well, read the Scriptures. Who do you believe?
Neither is the church a building made by human hands. Yes, saints must [will like family] congregate, but this should not be weekly concerts for/by play-actors. Contemplate 1 Cor 4:20; Rom 5:2; Acts 2:22;14:3; to name but a few references to the active and powerful God we should reflect. The very first Book of church history was called ACTS [results, not talks]. Think about it. God nominated a Body of whom Christ is the Head (Eph 1:20-23; 2:19-22; 2 Cor 6:16). Man cannot de-nominate what God the Father has nominated! Read the Scriptures.
If a “de-nomination”, for example, claims that a marriage between people of the same gender can be allowed, Christ cannot be the head of their institution. If they periodically change their minds, again Christ cannot be their head. And no, I am not afraid to say it. Read the Scriptures. Sin is to not believe what Jesus teach (Jn 16:9).
Likewise, if a “de-nomination” says that God teaches you a lesson with sickness, or so forces you closer to Him, you have been told a wicked lie. God [Love] never manipulates. He gave you a capacity to choose and to hate! Yes, you should hate what HE hates (Ps 45:7; 118:8; 119:104; 139:21,27)! He hates evil and lies (Rom 12:9; Prov 8:13; Gal 5:9). He does not use evil (sickness, death, calamity) “for good”, this is a horrific lie!! Rom 8:28 is about Holy Spirit power (:11-27, 29-39)!! You have been told a terrible lie that misrepresents God. This is probably the single most damaging lie that religious false teachers [thieves, Jn 10] have come up with and even lead people to atheism. Carefully study Js 1:13-17; Is 5:20; Jn 10:10; Mt 10:8; Jn 14:10-14; 15:7,8; 17:15-20; and so on. Js 1:3-4,13 does not say that trials and tribulations produces patience, it rather says that it might be an opportunity for you to exercise [prove, show, reveal] that fruit and power of His Spirit within you (Gal 5:22). God is [the source of all] good and the devil is bad – get it? This is a very basic and sound theology. If you are so gullible as to swallow de-powering lies, ask God for His wisdom (Js 1:5). Do not resist Holy Spirit [God], resist the devil! Trust God and His Word.
If, for example, you deny the manifesting signs of Holy Spirit (like speaking in tongues), you seriously need to reconsider your faith in the Words of Jesus Christ, Jn 1:14; 14:6; 16:9. Be careful not to rush past 1 Jn 2:4 – your “de-nomination” might have seriously misled you into starling lies that completely misrepresents God. Similarly if you, as a N.T. follower of Christ, are attempting righteousness by trying to follow the 10 commandments, you do not at all understand Gal 3; 5:4,18; Rom 3:20-27; 7:4,6,10; 8:1-3,14,15,29-39; 10:1-4; 11:6; 1 Tim 1; 1 Cor 2:13-16; 2 Cor 3:12-15; 4:4-5. These subjects are discussed in more detail on www.gospel-truth.co.za.
Eph 4:5 is true, so if you talk of an “infant-baptism”, or any other as if there can be alternative “methods” of baptism, you need to get back into the Word of God. There can then also be no “alternative services” suiting the likes and dislikes of the congregation – you should have an anointed teacher/preacher bringing you the Word of God with power, with miracles, signs and wonders following to confirm His Word. The devil eats the dust [the religious] of the earth. A son is not his father’s child by contract, it is what HE has done, not what you attempt.
Family? Most church-goers speak of their “family” of believers, of their “brothers” and “sisters”, as one body in Christ with God as their Father. This however, will hardly be more than speaking Christianese when we observe a different result in practice where help is held back due to selfishness. Take the example of a congregation’s family that gets into difficulty financially. Most will then go for the cop-out to religiously (Mt 6:4-8) “pray” for them without putting their money where their mouths are (Mt 15:6-9). It will be a cop-out because God will not do what we are supposed to do! The paper “Prayer” and “The will of God” expand on this.
Most “denominations” fail the test of a correct foundational understanding of the Bible, namely, where does the NT start?
Before answering too hastily, consider the following illustration:
At a funeral, typically, a “denominational” “Teacher” will read John 14:1-2 in an attempt to soothe the people with the idea that this poor departed soul is now moving into a house in space somewhere distant that God has build him/her. Also, that ‘God has plucked this beautiful flower’ or now ‘needed this soul in heaven’; even the wicked statement that “It pleased God to take from us”…How can any believer reconcile this with Ez 18:32; Is 28:11-18; Ps 104, 119:113,116? Is this Scriptural and portraying an omnipotent God as the Source of all good? It is utter nonsense! If you want to talk after Job (1:21) also read Job 35:16 and 42:3, then consider the paper called “The Testimony” by this author. Let’s look at it a little closer, and read John 14 to its last paragraph, then in context, we will at the very least observe the following:
- There was an Old and now there is a New. The Old was a Covenant, the New is a Testament. A Covenant is a promise, and a testament is inherited, hence Heb 9:8-18,26! Consider Gal 3:16,19, 25-29. And yes, a testament from God is a covenant but in the sense of Num 23:19; Rom 3:3-4…
- The New Testament only started once Jesus the Christ was buried, i.e. from the events as [also] recorded in Jn 19:42 (no sooner than Jn 19:30!).
- This means that Jn 14 (and so John the Baptist as a prophet, Heb 1:1-2), was still in the Old system. This means that Jesus, in Jn 14:1-2, was still talking to an Old Covenant people of what He was shortly to accomplish/prepare for all believers [in Him and His Gospel] in a New Testament with His Blood on His cross. It is our faith [trust, acceptance, reliance] upon His act of Love by which we are saved, not ourselves or our good performance of following Laws that were given to the Jews for a specific time period and a specific purpose (Gal 3:19; Rom 3:20-28; 7:4,6; 9:4-16) – we have Christ (Jn 4:24) in us! Carefully contemplate Rom 8:14-17,29-37. DO NOT SKIP THESE SCRIPTURES – THINK ABOUT IT!
- In this New Testament, what was fleeting [temporary, passing, a mystery] in the OT, became lasting [permanent] – see 2 Cor 3:18. Do you grasp what Jesus was explaining in Mt 9:16-17; Lk 9:62 (Mt 7:15-24; Jn 15:1-7)?
- To be in Christ, means Rom 13:14; Eph 6:12; and for Christ to be in you, we have to be His home. His [permanent, Js 1:5-8] dwelling place. 1 Cor 6:15-20; 1 Pet 2:4-10; Is 60:14; Mt 5:14 – We, individually and collectively, is supposed to be the City of God, His Zion – right here on earth (Lk 12:32; 17:20-21).
- Our bodies [on earth] are then His temples, His place of worship (1 Cor 6:15-20; Eph 3:17; Phil 3:17; 1 Tim 4:12). The whole earth was made by God and is His (Ps 24:1) – you cannot visit God Almighty [omnipresent and omniscient and omnipotent] in a little building made by human hands, once a week (to top it all, riddled with Babylonian symbols in it and false teachers, 2 Tim 4:3-4; and see the “Bride” in 2 Tim 3:7 that is mentioned in Rev 19:7; 22:1-2; 5:9-10)! Contemplate Solomon’s mistake of trying to build God a “house” (Acts 7:47-51). We should not be dull, please – The Church (people who have Him dwell permanently in them, not only once a week), is God’s house [household] – see 1 Tim 3:15-16; 2 Tim 1:14; Rev 21:3; Jn 14:23…
- See the spiritual building/city of 1 Pet 2:1-10 and Eph 2:19-22 – we are to be living stones (Like Petros, Mt 16:18-19) in the same building. It also is called a city of God (Is 60:14; Mt 5:14). If you don’t see it, consider Jn 1:17; 9:28 ( 2 Cor 3:8-15; 4:-6;11:3; Jn 5:37-47). Apply Js 1:5, and try again (Rev 3:12)!
- So, do we see that Jesus Christ was addressing the Old Covenant people in Jn 14:1-2, and still continuing to explain to them what would be the benefit to those in a New Testament (Rom 8:14-17, 29-37).
- The “Place” Jesus had to go and “prepare” for us, was done at His cross. For them it had to [shortly] happen – to us it has nearly 2 000 years ago. No “teacher” [that is oblivious of Jn 14:4-9] can read Jn 14:1-2 for us today as something that Jesus is building in outer space! That “place” is our hearts (Jer 17:19); our minds/mind-sets/thought-lives (Eph 4:23-25; 6:12; Is 54:13-17; 2 Cor 10:5; Rom 12:1-2; etc.).
- If you read verses 10-14 (Jn 14) you must ask yourself what you think you’ll accomplish by praying in outer space for (there are no bodies to be healed)? Yes, there is a heaven [a temporary dispensation for souls and spirits who have lost their bodies, but they’ll get their bodies back when Jesus returns because they should not have lost it in the first place (Rom 5:12; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 5:23)!
- The “House” of God is us, individually and collectively, with His Spirit inside us permanently (Jn 4:24), not only once a week, like in the Old system. Eph 4:3-6, only in Christ Jesus!
- Reading further in Jn 14, we get to verse 20, the Day of the Lord mentioned in Jn 19:30. But, for now, observe that all these verses were leading up to the statement in verse 23 – God will make us His home. Rev 21:3 also states that this City, Bride, Zion, is the place where “God makes His abode with men”.
- Yes, it is on earth, because verses 26-27 says He [His Spirit in us on earth] would be our Teacher, our Counselor, Comforter, Helper, Strengthener… obviously to assist us here on earth where we should exercise [demonstrate] the authority on earth that Jesus Christ overpaid for. Contemplate Jn 15; Gal 4:1-12; Js 4:7; Heb 2:8-13; Gen 1:26-28 (Mk 11:24; Rom 8:14,17,29-39)…
You probably have to admit that you were taught wrong by your “denomination” on at least the meaning of Jn 14:1-2. It is not a license for a doctrine on the office of the dead, or how to pie the beloved ones who has to hear from their preacher what the situation is, so they can try and make sense of it! The Bible says, “… and their minds were darkened…” (even 2 Cor 3:13-18). Selah.
Jesus nowhere held “a beautiful” funeral service! He said Jn 1:1-4; 10:10; and He commanded Mt 10:8; and He demonstrated this Lk 7:11-17 (Jn 11:41-45; 12:9-11). How dare a preacher claim that “it pleased God to take from us…” while that person died tragically in an accident??? Can you handle Jesus’ words in Jn 11:25-26; 12:48-50?
Imagine the reaction of most church-goers if I would say that (a) I do not want my wife or children to go to heaven, and (b) that it could be sin to go to “church”. For the first statement, I would only be saying that I do not want my wife or children dead, like Paul in 1 Thess 5:23; or Jesus Christ in Jn 3:16; 10:10; 11:26! As far as the second statement regarding what sin is, hear Jesus Christ in Jn 16:9 and think about it… Eph 4:4-5 is not what all the “denominations” [divisions] portray (Acts 26:18; Rev 3:9; Gal 5:4,18-20)…
May you be blessed in Jesus’ name [not Moses, or some other man] – and see the Light (Jn 1:1-17; Col 1:11-23).
Peace, Phil 4:6-8 to you.
End of Part one
 Gen 41(:8); Ex 7. God demonstrated His ultimate sovereignty over all and that witchcraft cannot effect Him. However, His followers should realize that the rebellion against God [lack of trust in God’s power, guidance and provision] is a complete abomination to God (Dt 18:12)! Dt 4:19; 17:3; 18:9-14; Jer 27:8-18; Dan 2(:27,28); Gal 5:19-21 (…will not inherit the Kingdom of God…); Eph 2:1-3-22; 4:21-24, 27, 29-32; Col 3:2, 3, 17; Mal 3:5; Acts 13:8-12; Ez 13:22,23; 1 Cor 10:20, 21; Rev 9:21; 18:23, 24; 22:13-15; 2 Ki 21:6, 10-15; 17:17-19; 23:24,25; 2 Chron 33:6; Lev 19:31; 20:6, 27; 1 Sam 15:23 with Rev 5:4-5; 21:6-8. In, for example, Mt 5:28; 7:15; 12:33-37 Jesus Christ teaches us that we should be very cautious with our thought-life. This is where our approval for our actions originates for us. Remember that we only have a choice between Light and darkness (Mt 7:16-19, 21; Js 3 – especially vv. 10-12; and so on). We should heed Is 60:14; Mt 5:14…
 Dan 2:44. See the paper by the author entitled “A Short Christmas and Easter Message” Num 24:4-5 was possibly even referring also to the “attractiveness” of the lay-out of the camp… in the form of a cross!
 See the paper by this author called “Rapture raptured”, if you are adamant not to be “left behind”… (Mt 5:5).
 Mt 10:2-4; Mk 3:13-19; Jn 1:42; Acts 1:20-26 names the original twelve plus Matthias the replacement for Judas; then there were Barnabas, Symeon (Niger), Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, Saul (Acts 13:1-4; 14:14); possibly Andronicus and Junia (Rom 16:7); James (Jesus’ half brother, Gal 1:19; 2:9); Silas and Timothy (1 Thess 1:1; 2:6); Titus ( 2 Cor 8:23); Epaphroditus (Phil 2:25); Judas (1:17); Ananias (Acts 9:10-20)…
 God our Creator shows He knows us (Jer 1:5). The moment you forbid, it controls your thoughts and you will be tempted by it out of your own doing (will) as a free moral agent. Not God, but your own thoughts [lust, greed], thus showing your biggest enemy is your own old self [nature, the “beast” with no spiritual insight]. Jesus freed us from ourselves [self-condemnation and guilt], He did what no law can ever do: change your desire, your inner-person. Law is external. Love (God) is inside of you if you are in Christ – 1 John 4:4; not James 4:4!!
 Mt 5:41 (the “extra mile” principle or attitude). Jesus gave us more than we could ever deserve
 The Jews had Jesus crucified with their temple police, the Romans found no guilt in Him – Jn 19:7,12-18; Acts 2:22,23; 3:13-15; 4:1,10 (with Mt 26:47-57). Romans actually saved Paul from Jews – Acts 21:31-36; 22:22-24,30; 23:20,21,27-31.
 Acts 10:33; Ex 16:22; Lev 4:15; 1 Cor 11:18; Mt 18:20; 1 Pet 2:5; 5:5; and so on. Observe that Christians even gathered daily in Acts 2:46-47…
 1 Tim 3:16,17; Acts 20:17-35
 Is 60:12,14; Mt 5:14; Ez 37:27; 2 Cor 6:16; Mt 21:42-45; Amos 8:2; 2 Kings 23:27; Rom 9:7-9,25,26; Gal 3:27-29; Eph 3:6; Acts 10:34,35; 1 Jn 4:1-4; 1 Pet 2:6-10; Jn 5:37-47;… shall we go on?…
 (Acts 4:13; Gal 1:9-12); Rom 15:19,20; 1 Cor 3:10-23; Eph 1:4-12; 2:20; Heb 11:10; 1 Pet 2:1-10
 Homosexuality is condemned by Scripture (Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:26-28), and contrary to the Gospel (1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10; 1 Thess 4:4-7; Rev 21:8). A marriage should reveal the prophetic image of the Bridegroom and His Bride that can produce legitimate offspring from their union – His church on earth with faithfulness and commitment. Like all sinners, homosexuals can repent and choose the lifestyle Jesus taught.
 Js 1:17; Heb 13:8
 2 Tim 1:7; Jn 8:32,36; Rom 1:16,17
 Translators still under the O.T. law, translated “Word”, “teaching”, “precepts” wrongly as “commandments” in v 15. Read further on to v 23, for example (Amplified). Even the whole erroneous doctrine here on a “mansion” needs correction.
 1 Cor 14 (note v. 39b); Jude 20; Rom 8:26; Acts 2:2-4; 10:46; 19:6; 8:13-17
 Given to them (Rom 9:1-8; Ex 20:1,2,and further. Also try Heb 2:2; Gal 3:19; Acts 7:38,53 for size). Check the Scriptures in footnote number 5 above again. Also digest Jn 1:17; 5:37-47; 9:37-47; 2 Cor 3:6,7,12-15; 11:3. They are not you in Christ
 See the paper entitled “Baptism” by the same author – a decision [of trust in Christ] is involved, not a covenant.
 2 Tim 4:2-5; Eph 4:11-14,23-25; 1 Cor 4:20; Mk 16:16-20.
 Gen 3:14; Job 4:19; Ps 102:14; Is 52:2; Mt 10:13,14; Lk 10:8-12; Acts 13:50,51; 1 Cor 2:2,5-16. The devil eats the carnal-minded [self-righteous law-followers] that rejects Spiritual Truth [and the finished work of Christ]. Gal 5:4; Rom 8:1-4.
 If you are part of a group that want to relegate Revelation to a distant future, seriously and carefully consider Rev 15:8 with Mt 27:51; Heb 4:16; 10:19-21; and Rev 16:17 with the “ended” in Rev 15:8 and Jn 19:30 (same author, John 21:24).