|free web counter|
.To return to work page.
Where did the church come from?
Query for the Month
Next up-date: April 1st 2008 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Is there really an immortal soul?
Do you know the difference
between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light on the Dark Side of God" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
15 He says to them, “But whom say you that I am?” 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. 17 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but My Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also to you, That you are Peter [a little pebble], and upon this Rock [that I am the Son of God] I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”.
47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the LORD added to the church daily such as should be saved.
37 [Stephen said] “This is that Moses, which said to the children of Israel, ‘A prophet shall the LORD your God raise up to you of your brothers, like to me; Him shall you hear’. 38 This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the Angel which spoke to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles [the living word] to give to us:”
What is this church, and where did it come from?
This week we have a very serious statement made by the LORD of heaven and earth regarding the church while the Israelites were in exile in Babylon around 588BC. As we read on we should be very aware that this was the end of a system, a close of a nation’s and a church’s probation, and as such is a picture to us of our time.
1 Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 and say, Thus says the LORD GOD to Jerusalem;
Your birth and your nativity is of the land of Canaan;
your father was an Amorite, and your mother a Hittite.
In these words the Son of God denies having anything to do with the conception of the church! He says that the idea of an earthly religious structure extra to the one He already had (e.g. Genesis 13:18), came into existence in the land of Canaan, before the bondage in Egypt. Thus he “who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16) is charged with having allowed that plan to be hatched, and that it was based on the ways of the heathen round about him. God’s way of teaching has always been through the family, and this was a counterfeit of that.
This will be an astounding idea to many but we should look at it carefully and prayerfully. Using the image of a new baby, the Son of God sets out for us a very clear picture of what happened.
4 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 [clothed] at all. 5 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.
He is telling us that the idea was abandoned, but not killed, soon after birth.
Another translation puts it this way:
4 On the day you were born your umbilical cord was not cut, you weren’t bathed and cleaned up, you weren’t rubbed with salt, you weren’t wrapped in a baby blanket. 5 No one cared a fig for you. No one did one thing to care for you tenderly in these ways. You were thrown out into a vacant lot and left there, dirty and unwashed—a newborn nobody wanted.
Ezek 16:4-5 (The Message.)
This is obviously talking about Abraham and the company he had formed in Haran [around 2,000BC]. “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. And Abram passed through the land to the place of Sichem [aka Shechem], to the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land”. Genesis 12:4-6.
It seems that these “souls” who travelled with Abraham were of mixed nationality, for they included Hagar the Egyptian (Genesis 19) and Eliezer of Damascus (Genesis 15:2), and so they became his spiritual family, worshipping at his altars made of piled up earth. (Exodus 20:24.) He had enough people to raise 318 fighting men when needed, so there could have been over 1,000 in total, including children. Genesis 14:14. Then, without fully realising it, they stepped over the mark and became a church, which, however, was not cared for much after his death. (It’s a fine line between, but a church loses the family equality and elects leaders. If you remember only seventy persons of one family went down into Egypt from Canaan. Exodus 1:1-5. They left the others behind.)
So what happened then?
6 And when I passed by you, and saw you polluted in your own blood, I said to you when you were in your blood [death throes], “Live”; yea, I said to you when you were in your blood, “Live”.
What a shock this revelation must have been to Ezekiel and his friends – their beloved church was an adopted abandoned child! Someone other than the Son of God had conceived it, but now it was being given another chance!
It was the descendants of Israel (aka Jacob) in Egypt who resurrected the idea of “the church in the wilderness” (about 1500BC), but the Son of God takes the blame for saving it. Acts 7:38. That’s when He came along and rescued it from its idolatrous connections, for that is His nature, and the organisation became His protégé. Because they were already using a model based around Egyptian ways and wanted to keep it, He had to begin to use this human idea for His own teaching. But God is NOT the Father of the church. He says, “Your father was an Amorite [of the southern land of Canaan, Joshua 10:5-10], and your mother a Hittite [from northern Canaan, Genesis 23:10]”. They were using a tent which they had set aside as a place of meeting with God. This was the germ of the idea regarding the sanctuary which the Son of God later showed them in detail. However, although it looked like an ordinary tent, it was NOT a home to any one of them, but a place where they could keep God safely out of their everyday lives!
About a thousand years later (about 590BC) when many were claiming that the organisation would stand forever because it was God’s chosen system, He denied ever having asked for it. “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust you not in lying words, saying, ‘the temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these [buildings]”. Jeremiah 7:1-4. He calls such an idea a lie!
In the reality He wants to dwell in our hearts, not in man-made edifices or corporate organisations. “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. “And when He was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, ‘the kingdom of God comes not with observation [to physical eyes]: Neither shall they say, “Lo here!” or, “Lo there!” for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”.” Luke 17:20-21. It’s a one-on-One spiritual arrangement only.
Then He continued:
21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put YOUR burnt offerings [of dedication] to YOUR sacrifices [for sins], and eat [the] flesh [yourselves! See Leviticus 6:25-26]. 22 For I spoke not to your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices.
23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, “Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well to you”. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.
25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt to this day I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them [trying to show you the truth]: 26 yet they [your fathers and you] hearkened not to Me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.
[He had made this statement before when David wanted to build
a permanent house for Him.]
2 Samuel 7:
5 Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the LORD, ‘shall you build Me a house for Me to dwell in? 6 Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle [to be as close as possible to you].
7 In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spoke I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed My people Israel, saying, “Why build you not Me a house of cedar?”
Then He set before them what He had wanted from them:
“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings; if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense [pray] to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you know not [have no living experience with]; and [then] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, “We are delivered to do all these abominations?” Is this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, says the LORD. But go you now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first [after the exodus, Joshua 18:1], and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel”. Jeremiah 7:5-12.
So where did the sacrificial system as Moses had it come from?
He said to Moses, “And let [allow] them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. 9 [But] according to all that I show you, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall you make it”. Exodus 25:8-9. He agreed to this because, as we have mentioned, they had shown their desire to have one from the moment they left Egypt. We find this out in the record made after they had worshipped the golden calf of brute force (aka Baal) in place of the God of peace.
Then it was that the LORD said to Moses,
1 Depart, and go up hence, you and the people which you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘to your seed will I give it”: 2 and I will send an angel before you; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite [as I promised]: 3 [go] to a land flowing with milk and honey: FOR [but] I WILL NOT GO UP IN THE MIDST OF YOU; for you are a stiffnecked [proud and disobedient] people: lest I consume you in the way.
4 And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments. 5 For the LORD had said to Moses, ‘say to the children of Israel, You are a stiffnecked people: I will [have to] come up into the midst of you in a moment, and consume you [allow you to be hurt when you reject My protection]: therefore now put off your [religious] ornaments from you, that I may know what to do to you”. [Show some repentance and desire for protection.]
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb [especially their earrings of servitude to the god of force].
7 And Moses took the tabernacle [their temporary tent of worship], and pitched it without [outside] the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it ‘the Tabernacle of the Congregation” [the place where the people worship].
And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD [in repentance for their fall from grace] went out to the Tabernacle of the Congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass [after that], when Moses went out to the tabernacle that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. 9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar [identifying the LORD’s presence] descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door [for they were scared of what they thought of as His anger].
By the divine direction the tent that had served as a temporary place of worship was removed “afar off from the camp”. This was still further evidence that God had had to withdraw His presence from them. He could reveal Himself to Moses, but not to such a people.
The tabernacle mentioned here was a temporary tent arranged by the people for the worship of God. It was based on the understanding that they had received from the Egyptian temples, which were counterfeits of the heavenly one in which Lucifer had worshipped. The tabernacle, the pattern of the heavenly one, which God showed to Moses, had not yet been built, and would not be for another six months. In the meantime, all who sincerely repented of their sins made supplication to God in this temporary tabernacle, confessing their sins with great humility, and afterwards returned again to their tents. Then Moses went to it. The people watched with the deepest interest to see if God would accept his intercessions in their behalf, thinking that if He condescended to meet with Moses, then they might hope that they might not be utterly consumed. When the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, then all the people wept for joy and relief, and rose up and worshiped, every man in his tent door. They bowed themselves upon their faces to the earth in humility. As the pillar of cloud, a token of God’s presence, continued to rest at the door of the tabernacle, they knew that Moses was pleading in their behalf before God. Then it was that ‘the LORD spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend”. Exodus 33:11.
In the nature of a living entity the church in the wilderness grew and grew:
7 I have caused you to multiply as the bud of the field, and you have increased and waxen great, and you are come to excellent ornaments [you have grown up and become nubile]: your breasts are fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas you were naked and bare.
8 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: yea, I swore to you, and entered into a covenant with you, says the LORD GOD, and you became Mine.
Using the similitude of a young girl, He tells us that He watched the church concept grow up until it reached the age of marriage at Mt. Sinai [about 1500BC], and then He took it to Himself with the marriage vow [for her benefit]. It was thus that the church became His “bride”.
9 Then washed I you with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away your blood from you [separated you from your heathen ways], and I anointed you with oil [the Holy Spirit]. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered work, and shod you with badgers” skin [fancy shoes], and I girded you about with fine linen [the robe of righteousness], and I covered you with silk. [He is describing the coverings and rituals of the sanctuary.]
11 I decked you also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown [the understanding of the sanctuary] upon your head. 13 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 [as a teenager],
and you did prosper [grow up] into a kingdom.
The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been called to a holy task, which if they had fulfilled correctly after they left Egypt, would have highlighted how God wanted His people to behave after their acceptance of His robe of righteousness illustrated by the Passover ceremony. In the previous chapter, Israel was fashioned after a plant fit for nothing but the purpose it was designed for, which in this case was to be a representative people for Him. They were to be His “pupils in school” here on earth.
Where had all these ideas regarding sacrifices come from?
The Son of God had instituted a sacrificial system at the gates of the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve each killed and sacrificed a BURNT offering to Him. (The body of a burnt offering was wholly consumed on the altar and represents the total dedication to God’s way of the new life the offerer has just received. See Leviticus chapter 1. In the later tabernacle the personal one was added to the DAILY burnt offering which represented the Son of God’s total dedication to His work [24/7] as Mediator [not Saviour].)
Thus it was written,
38 Now this is that which you shall offer upon the altar; two lambs of the first year day by day continually. 39 The one lamb you shall offer in the morning [about 9am]; and the other lamb you shall offer at even [about 3pm]. 40 And with the one lamb a tenth deal of flour mingled with the fourth part of a hin of beaten oil; and the fourth part of a hin of wine for a drink offering.
41 And the other lamb you shall offer at even, and shall do thereto according to the meat [cereal] offering of the morning [the flour and oil], and according to the drink offering thereof, for a sweet savour, an offering made by fire to the LORD.
42 This shall be a continual burnt offering [24/7] throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD: where I will meet you, to speak there to you.
9 Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This is the law of the burnt offering: It is [called] the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night to the morning [and all day to the even], and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it . . . 13 The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
From the skins of the animals that Adam and Eve had killed, the Son of God fashioned their new clothing which represented the spiritual robe of righteousness He had just given them. “To Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them”. Genesis 3:21. But first He removed the fig-leaves of their own attempts at righteousness. Therefore the skin of every whole “burnt” offering made in Moses” sanctuary was carefully removed and given to the priest who helped in the process of burning it. “And the priest that offers any man’s burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he has offered”. Leviticus 7:8.
Adam and Eve had primed their sons to each make such a sacrifice. “And in process of time [when they had grown up] it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering to the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect to Abel and to his offering: but to Cain and to his offering He had not respect [for it did not picture the death and intercession of the Son of God for him]”. Genesis 4:3-5.
But in the intervening centuries and millennia to the days of Moses, Satan had twisted that certainty and turned the ritual into a mockery. It was this twisted truth, turned into a wistful hope, which he often used in his heathen religions to fool his followers.
This is why the LORD accepted the religious system taken out of Egypt and turned it back into a vehicle for teaching about the redemption [not salvation] of men and women. At that time He added many new rituals to explain in greater detail how He would handle their problems on a day-to-day basis, and also what He planned to do with the effects of sin in the end.
But then the meaning of the system was changed again, as we shall learn.
In the New Testament these verses were written to recreate His original desire of a spiritual covering: “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take to you the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand [forever]. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteous-ness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”. Ephesians 6:11-18.
Let’s get back to our text to see what happened to the kingdom:
14 And your renown went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness [My righteousness], which I had put upon you, says the LORD GOD.
15 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.
Although He lavished all that He could on that system, giving it as the jewel on her forehead the earthly picture of His heavenly sanctuary/temple, with many beautiful rituals in it to illustrate His care for her, the church was largely unappreciative of them. The majority of the people who made up her existence ignored the cost of their release from Egypt, and the wonderful truths that He showered on her became like common-place earrings, bracelets and other ornaments, changed from the sacred to the profane.
All they wanted was an earthly king, and even that He gave them!
“Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel [the prophet] to [at] Ramah [about 1,000BC], and said to him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons walk not in your ways: now make us a king to judge [lead] us like all the [heathen] nations”. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us”. And Samuel prayed to the LORD. 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’.” 1 Samuel 8:4-7. She wanted independence so she would have opportunity to commit adultery.
Even though many of the heathen around her saw the beauty of the religious system and its spiritual meaning, thereby appreciating the Giver (e.g. see Ruth 1:16 and Luke 7:1-5), Israel only used His gifts to gather lovers. She began to lean more and more towards Egypt as the “man of the world”, and/or to Assyria/Babylon as the religious suitor, and the Son of God likened such actions to a wicked type of adultery, for “she” was a married woman.
But this will have to do us for this month.
We’ll see what the Spirit says happened to the kingdom next time, God willing.
We should treat the church today as we would treat a tennis club. A great place to be for socialising and learning, where we need to obey certain local rules (1 Corinthians 11:16) and wear a certain uniform (the Sabbath), including soft shoes (tact and courtesy), so that we don’t damage the court (their ideas) or upset the other players. But to recognise that God is with us we just need a quiet place and His word.
For more on this subject, click here.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from March 1st, 2008.
And to Adam He said, “Because you have hearkened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree, of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: cursed is the ground for your sake.
In sorrow shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread, till you return to the ground; for out of it were you taken: for dust you are, and to dust shall you return”.
And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.
What is death? And why is it necessary?
Like to E-mail me and give me your thoughts on this subject?
Send in your thought on this current query.
or to add your comment to the next one.
Pose a query for us to look at
To return to Homepage.
Look in the Spiritual "Dictionary"
If you would like to get a weekly mailing of a Bible reading, enter your email address in the box below. We are looking at the book of The Revelation right now.