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Query for the Month

of April 1999

Next up-date: May 1st 1999 (God willing).

 


Query:

 

Response:

Genesis 1:27-28 The original purpose

So God created man[kind] in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue [guide] it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.

The idea of a church did not come from God. He instituted a FAMILY in the garden of Eden by marrying Adam and Eve and then telling them to multiply and produce children.

Genesis 2:21-24 Eve was originally in Adam

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

It was this grouping around "one flesh" that was God's original intention. Just as Eve was first a part of Adam and partook of his nature when separated, so the children were to inherit the natures of their parents and share a bond of love.

After the fall, the plan did not change. The only difference was that the spirit of disobedience was now there. The first parents taught and trained their children in the ways of God (through the discipline of love) while they were young, and as they grew and separated into their own family units they obeyed or disobeyed as they chose. First, obedience was due to their parents as representatives of God, and then as they matured, to God Himself directly. Always the oldest parent alive had the overall command of the unit (tribe or clan) and the "power behind the throne" was love.

Genesis 4:3-7 The choice of obedience or not

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD [his own works]. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof [one of God’s creatures as a picture of Jesus].

And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: but to Cain and to his offering He had not respect. And Cain was very wroth [angry], and his countenance fell. And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen? If you do well, shall you not be accepted? And if you do not well, sin lies at the door.

This last statement was a notification of where Cain’s problem lay, and an offer to remedy it. This is well explained by Paul in his letter to the Christians at Rome.

Romans 7:18 The sinner's dilemma

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me [in my thoughts]; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [This requires the power of a Creator].

For hundreds of years the status quo remained the same. The FAMILY was the basis of God's kingdom, consisting of parents with God-given duties (placed in their position by the process of progeneration, the ability to create a new life), and children with their obligations as the flesh and blood of the parents.

How then, did this plan of God's turn into a "church" family?

After Noah's Flood, one man desired to set up another system altogether. He received Satan's idea of making people less important than land and set out to conquer the family setup. Thus he brought about political entities, or states, where nationhood replaced the family. Patriotism was used in place of the normal family love, and the geographic situation became more important than the extended family or clan. External force replaced self-discipline.

Genesis 10:8-12 His way became a proverb

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before [or against] the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.

And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel [later known as Babylon], and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land [he] went forth [to] Asshur [Assyria], and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city.

A logical follow through from this was that soon one person was elected "king" in place of the father and mother ordained by God. At first he ruled as God's representative or guide, but this soon changed to become His power on earth. However, this could never work for long, for the "king" was originally the equal of the others, a brother, (as well as only being half of the influence that God saw was needed) and God's plan required the authority of a balanced parental system. While the "king" was thought of as an "equal" others fought against him and "his" people, and endeavoured to take his position. Thus war became the norm among the nations, with slavery as the logical outcome.

This idea was so firmly entrenched in the minds of men that when Abram was born (about 400 years after the Flood) his family served the god of patriotism among others. One of the first things Abram learned from the God of heaven was to separate from that system.

Joshua 24:2 The separation

And Joshua said to all the people, Thus says the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood [a name for the river Euphrates] in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods. And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

However, the "church" family had come into existence before the birth of Isaac because of the desire of that one physically childless man.

Genesis 12:1-2 Abram misunderstood God’s promise

Now the LORD had said to Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing...

He thought that the way to be made a great nation was to follow the physical makeup of the nations around him, so as he found converts among the peoples around him, he attached them to his household and called them his "heirs". However, God had added,

"in you shall all families of the earth be blessed." Verse 3.

Genesis15:2-4 But he had already started his "family"!

And Abram said, Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?

And Abram said, Behold, to me You have given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is my heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, This shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own bowels shall be your heir.

It is estimated that when Abram left Haran to go into the land of Canaan he had about 1,000 people in his "tribe". He could raise 318 trained warriors when he rescued Lot. Genesis 14:14.

Genesis 12:4-5 The move to Canaan

So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came.

Thus Abraham's "family" came into being through a misunderstanding of God's way and the replacing of it with man's way. Faced with an accomplishment, God did not reject it out of hand, but promised to do the best He could with what He was given.

The following is His record of what happened.

Ezekiel 16:1-6 God’s picture of the church

Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,

And say, Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem;

Your birth and your nativity [your political origin] is of the land of Canaan [it was inhabited by a pagan tribe descended from Ham, Deuteronomy 20:17-18, whose language became the Hebrew of the Israelites];

your father was an Amorite [Abram was politically joined with the Amorites, Genesis 14:13. They were the founders of the 1st dynasty of Babylon, but also spread throughout Syria. At times they lived at peace with the Israelites. 1 Samuel 7:13-14],

and your mother a Hittite [They also came through the line of Ham and occupied much of the territory north of Canaan. Genesis 23:10. At one time their power rivaled that of Egypt. Pharaoh Tutankhamen’s widow asked for one of their princes to marry her and become king of Egypt, but he was murdered on the way to Egypt. They were a very moral people and mostly well-liked.].

God describes the cause of the exodus from Egypt in these words:-

And as for your nativity, in the day you were born your navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to supple you; you were not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. No eye pitied you, to do any of these to you, to have compassion upon you; but you were cast out in the open field, to the loathing of your person, in the day that you were born. [You were left out to die - Exodus 1:16].

And when I passed by you, and saw you polluted in your own blood, I said to you when you were in your blood, Live; yes, I said to you when you were in your blood, Live. [But God couldn’t let death occur, so He took over - Exodus 2:23].

Thus Abraham and his people began to become a great nation, but in man's way! God went on to say:-

Ezekiel 16:7-14 The marriage

I have caused you to multiply as the bud of the field, and you have increased and waxed great, and you are come to excellent ornaments: your breasts are fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas you were naked and bare. Now when I passed by you, and looked upon you, behold, your time was the time of love; and I spread My skirt over you, and covered your nakedness: yes, I swear to you, and entered into a [marriage] covenant with you, says the Lord GOD, and you became Mine.

Then washed I you with water; yes, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you, and I anointed you with oil. I clothed you also with embroidered work, and shod you with badgers' skin [as shoes], and I girded you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk. I decked you also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck. And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head.

Thus were you decked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; you did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and you were exceeding beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom. And your renown went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness [righteousness], which I had put upon you, says the Lord GOD.

Satan soon changed all that! He led the people to desire independence from God instead of individuality with God and this caused their downfall. This is still Satan's favourite weapon against married couples and it worked well in this case.

1 Samuel 8:7 A change of "lover"

And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to you: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.

Ezekiel 16:15-19 She became a church/state with kings at the head

But you did trust in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and poured out your fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. And of your garments you did take, and decked your high places with divers colours, and played the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so [again. In fact, the next time will be worse!].

You have also taken your fair jewels of My gold and of My silver, which I had given you, and made to yourself images of men, and did commit whoredom with them, and took your embroidered garments, and covered them: and you have set My oil and My incense before them.

My meat [food] also which I gave you, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed you, you have even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, says the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 16:20-25 She taught her converts to worship Baalim, the gods of force

Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters, whom you have borne to Me, and these have you sacrificed to them to be devoured [in warfare]. Is this of your whoredoms a small matter, that you have slain My children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? And in all your abominations and your whoredoms you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bare, and were polluted in your blood [without righteousness].

And it came to pass after all your wickedness, (woe, woe to you! says the Lord GOD;) that you have also built to you an eminent place, and have made you a high place [of pride] in every street. You have built your high place at every head of the way, and have made your beauty to be abhorred, and have opened your feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied your whoredoms.

Ezekiel 16:26-34 The church yearned after the world and its ways

You have also committed fornication with the Egyptians your neighbours, great of flesh [or material goods]; and have increased your whoredoms, to provoke Me to anger. Behold, therefore I have stretched out My hand over you, and have diminished your ordinary food, and delivered you to the will of them that hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of your lewd way.

And for the religions of the world

You have played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were unsatiable; yes, you have played the harlot with them, and yet could not be satisfied. You have moreover multiplied your fornication in the land of Canaan to Chaldea [Babylon]; and yet you were not satisfied herewith.

How weak is your heart [towards Me], says the Lord GOD, seeing you do all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman [one who must have her own way]; in that you build your eminent place in the head of every way, and make your high place in every street;

and have not been as an harlot, in that you scorn hire; but as a wife that commits adultery, which takes strangers instead of her husband!

They [the customers] give gifts to all whores: but you give your gifts to all your lovers, and hire them, that they may come to you on every side for your whoredom. And the contrary is in you from other women in your whoredoms, whereas none follows [or chases] you to commit whoredoms: and in that you give a reward, and no reward [payment] is given to you, therefore you are contrary.

Over the course of time that group in the church "divorced" God (Israel left Him), but the section known as the early Christians continued to follow His way. For a time they developed well, but as the disciples died and their influence waned, men began again to take control.

3 John 1:9-11 Men in charge again!

I [John the disciple] wrote to the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, prating against [or accusing] us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church.

Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that does good is of God: but he that does evil has not seen God.

When the pagan Roman emperor Constantine was petitioned by the Christian church at Antioch for his protection against an erring bishop (272AD), he took the place of God in their minds. (Yet this was where they were first called "Christians"! Acts 11:26). This set them in line with Satan's way and he was very successful. A furious downhill slide began which ended in the church at Rome becoming a political as well as religious union around 538AD with the setting up of a "father" figure (called "papa" or "pope"). Israel of old replaced God with a king - this people replaced Him with a father! The antichrist [in place of] was nearly complete. All that was now required was to make the new union more important than the old, and this was accomplished by elevating the Church "family" above the natural one. The "priests" of this new "Christianity" became "fathers" too, and were physically separated from their natural partners, the "mothers", thus losing half of their natural abilities, yet they presumed to guide the natural families of the world.

Matthew 23:9 Jesus had warned about this

And call no man your father [in a religious way] upon the earth: for One is your Father, which is in heaven.

This church organization then set out to make the Church more important in men's eyes than the nations, and succeeded to the point where it became the Church in their minds.

A great step in presumption was taken, when, in the eleventh century, Pope Gregory VII (aka Hildebrand) proclaimed the perfection of the Roman Church. Among the propositions which he put forth was one declaring that the church had never erred, nor would it ever err, according to the Scriptures. But the Scripture proofs did not accompany the assertion. The proud pontiff also claimed the power to depose emperors, and declared that no sentence which he pronounced could be reversed by anyone, but that it was his prerogative to reverse the decisions of all others.

A striking illustration of the tyrannical character of this advocate of infallibility was given in his treatment of the German emperor, Henry IV. For presuming to disregard the pope's authority, this monarch was declared to be excommunicated and dethroned. Terrified by the desertion and threats of his own princes, who were encouraged in rebellion against him by the papal mandate, Henry felt the necessity of making his peace with Rome. In company with his wife and a faithful servant he crossed the Alps in midwinter, that he might humble himself before the pope.

Upon reaching the castle where Gregory had withdrawn, he was conducted, without his guards, into an outer court, and there, in the severe cold of winter, with uncovered head and naked feet, and in a miserable dress, he awaited the pope's permission to come into his presence. Not until he had continued three days fasting and making confession, did the pontiff condescend to grant him pardon. Even then it was only upon condition that the emperor should await the sanction of the pope before resuming the insignia or exercising the power of royalty. And Gregory, elated with his triumph, boasted that it was his duty to pull down the pride of kings.

The Church also assumed the mantle of "Mother Church" and became personified. Patriotism, love of the Church, became so extreme that men and women were prepared to die for it, thinking they were doing God a service. Geographic situation was replaced by a counterfeit so closely resembling the original that few can see past it.

Today, many of the spiritual descendants of that people (now known as the Protestant churches) still feel the same way. The Church "family" is all in all - Jesus is a poor second! The natural family last of all!

Today, one of the first questions, if not the very first, asked of those who profess Christianity by others of the same persuasion, is, "What Church do you belong to?"

Next is often, "Which man/king (or doctrine/teaching) do you follow?"

Yet one of the Ten Commandments is "Honour your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you". Exodus 20:12. No amount of honour or obedience given to earthly parents will extend a human life (although it may help not to shorten it), but the respect shown to them also reflects the respect shown to God and this will be rewarded in the new world.

Jesus did say that :-

Matthew 10:36

A man's foes shall be they of his own household.

but that enmity comes from them, not the Christian!

then He continued,

He that loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.

Love and respect for others must follow a definite pattern. God first, then parents, spouses (with due note of Adam's words in Genesis 2:24), children, siblings, extended family, friends and neighbours, all of whom are individuals and personalities. Any deviation from this pattern will only cause unnecessary problems. The church has no more place in this system than that of a tennis club, or a nation, for it is a society like all the others, and God's way is based on individuals! Each club/country has its rules and dress code etc. (often called its culture), and the church is no different in this area. Due conformity must be shown to the rules if one would remain a member of good standing or respectful visitor, but it is not an individual to be cherished above people. This principle is summed up in the following verses:-

Hebrews 13:16-17

But to do good and to communicate [or share, with individuals] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves [in a society]: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

This principle applies to nations as well as societies such as churches.

Romans 13:1-5 All are ministers of God

Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God [His earthly protector] to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that does evil [as God would, with justice and mercy].

Wherefore you must needs be subject, not only for wrath [or fear of punishment], but also for [your] conscience sake [understanding that it is God's desire].

Conclusion:

The physical "church" as known today is not something that God wanted. He was presented with it and has worked as well as He can through it, and it is the only one which is useful in His sight, but it has no capital "C". Deuteronomy 32:10. It is contaminated by the "tares", which can be a problem to some of its members. Matthew 13:24-30. However, He has it totally under a "Father's" control, even though many of genuine members of it go astray so often, and is just waiting for their "choice" to follow Him completely. In fact, even if all the physical church members left Him that would not be a great problem.

Romans 3:3-4

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man [in the church] a liar; as it is written, That You might be justified in Your sayings, and might overcome [be seen to be right] when You are judged.

The reality is that faithful souls are the real "church" and they never get together in the one denomination but are scattered over all of them, and are in all religions. Many are not even in any physical "church", let alone the real one. Those who are spiritual brothers and sisters are known by their spirit and their actions, (John 4:23-24) but not until the resurrection will they get together in one big happy family as God intended.

What is the point in having a literal and physical church then?

Romans 2:29; 3:1-2 The church is the guardian of the truth

But he is a Jew [or Christian], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

What advantage then has the Jew [or church member]? Or what profit is there of circumcision [or the rituals of the church]? Much every way: [but] chiefly, because that to them were committed the oracles [or truth] of God.

For more detail on this subject see the book "Christian Patriotism".

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Spiritual Dictionary:

The church:

The physical "church" as known today is not something that God wanted. He was presented with it and has worked as well as He can through it, and it is the only one in His sight, but it has no capital "C". Deuteronomy 32:10. It is contaminated by the "tares", which can be a problem to some of its members. Matthew 13:24-30. However, He has it totally under a "Father's" control, even though many of genuine members of it go astray so often, and is just waiting for their "choice" to follow Him completely. In fact, even if all the physical church members left Him that would not be a great problem.

Romans 3:3-4

For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man [in the church] a liar; as it is written, That You might be justified in Your sayings, and might overcome [be seen to be right] when You are judged.

The reality is that faithful souls are the real "church" and they never get together in the one denomination but are scattered over all of them, and are in all religions. Many are not even in a physical "church". Those who are spiritual brothers and sisters are known by their spirit and their actions, (John 4:23-24) but not until the resurrection will they get together in one big happy family as God intended.


Next thought. To be discussed from May 1st 1999.

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