Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Christian Congregation

The True Lord Comes To His Temple

The tabernacle built by Moses was a copy of the reality; the reality was and is in Heaven. (Hebrews 9:24) In the 1st century CE the temple in Jerusalem was the latest copy and this copy was destroyed once for all time. It was at this temple where Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, was informed by means of an angel of the arrival of his son. (Luke chapter 1)

In this event, the true Lord, Jehovah, came to his temple, suddenly, and appeared to those who were seeking him, to Zechariah by means of Gabriel, and those outside perceived Zechariah had seen a supernatural sight. Finally, after hundreds of years, Jehovah had once again turned His attention to His people! (Malachi 3:1)

Since the time of that temple’s destruction, 70 CE, has there been an earthly version of Jehovah’s temple in Heaven? Yes. In 1 Corinthians 3:16 Paul tells us the brothers of Christ, the anointed sons of God, are Gods temple and again in Ephesians 2:20-22, we are growing into a holy temple for Jehovah, built on the foundation of the prophets and the apostles with Jesus at the chief corner. When did the establishment of this temple begin?

Jesus, at the age of 30, came to John, his cousin, to be baptized. As he rose from the water, the Holy Spirit came down on him and Jehovah, his father, acknowledged him as His son; the first born of the first fruits, the chief corner of the new temple. John had been clearing the way for the Christ when Jesus came to him to be baptized; suddenly, the new temple was under construction. Jesus set about selecting the apostles, to complete the foundation. Since then, we have been growing into a temple for Jehovah.

The administration.

The heavenly, real temple was put in place before the founding of the world. At this time ‘all things’, in heaven and on earth, were gathered together in the light. When the spirit son that became Satan fell and took the human race down with him, ‘all things’ plunged into darkness. But the firstborn spirit son that became the Christ was the light of the world and the darkness did not overpower him. So according to the foreknowledge of God, and according to His good pleasure and wisdom and good sense, He purposed in Himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather ‘all things’ together again in the Christ, the light of the world, in heaven and on earth. (Ephesians chapter 1, John 1:1-5)

The refining.

God’s people, Israel, fell away from Jehovah. Under the new covenant, spiritual Israel has done the same thing. This was foreseen by the prophets, (2 Thessalonians chapter 2) and we see the evidence of this truth by opening our eyes and looking around. Spiritual Israel is composed of all those that have received the spirit of the Christ in their hearts, there is neither Jew nor Greek, man or woman, slave or freeman; we are all one person in union with Christ. (Galatians 3:26-29)

Despite the deplorable condition of spiritual Israel today, God has not rejected His people completely. In 33 CE, a remnant had shown up according to His choosing. The rest had had there sensibilities blunted because instead of seeking to know the righteousness of God, they sought to establish their own. (Romans chapters 10 & 11)

The remnant that showed up in the 1st century, about 120 Jews, was as a result of the refining effect Jesus ministry had on the people, the word that they heard. (1 John 2:7) After his ascension, Jesus sent his spirit to help the remnant spread the word. (John 14:25-31) This word is the good news about the Christ and the hearing of it is by faith, upon hearing this word and believing it, the token or the first instalment of Holy Spirit is poured out on the believer. (Ephesians 1:13, 14) This group of faithful Jews became the remnant of natural Israel that remained in Gods favour, and then this undeserved favourable condition was extended to the nations. But even among these the good news about the Christ was perverted. (Galatians 1:6-9) Hence Jehovah lovingly provided the exhortations from the apostles to make firm the foundation of our faith, this truth exposes the lies, and it is the light in the darkness, the word of God. (John 1:1-5)

True to the accurate foresight of Gods word, the mystery of the lawless one took over and became dominant in spiritual Israel; the flash of light Jesus had brought with him had diminished to a flicker. And the faithful slaves of Christ, the ones seeking him, would have to wait for him to come to his temple once again. (Malachi 3:1; Hebrews 9:23-28)

When the true Lord comes to his temple again and sits as a refiner, it is the time for the temple to be inspected. On earth only those who are seeking the lord will discern this time, those that do not discern this time will suffer the great tribulation; these do not discern the disgusting thing in the holy place, the deplorable condition of spiritual Israel. (Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 19:41-44, Revelation chapters 2 & 3)They have had their sensibilities blunted because they did not love the truth. Hence, once again a remnant has shown up according to his choosing. The ones seeking the true lord love the light, love the truth and the light from Gods words acts as a refiner because he that does what is true comes to the light, in order that his works may be made manifest as having been worked in harmony with God; and they are declared righteous by means of their faith, the rest, who loved the darkness because their works were wicked, will remain in the dark and death is their end. Thus the light of truth exposes the hearts of man acting as a refiner. (John 3:19-21)

The apostasy

The way, the Christian mindset, the mind of Christ, is one of lowliness of mind, humility, selflessness. (Philippians 2:1-11) Jesus spoke of those looking for greatness as those who will be humbled, and those who are humble will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11) Are we to conclude then, that ‘Christian’ leaders are exalted as such due to their humility? Should we expect the reward of praise from God to come thru a human appointment, to be viewed by humans as ‘something’, like Pope, Bishop, Priest or Elder? Paul said ‘it is a trivial thing for me to be examined by a man or by a human tribunal’ he was waiting for his praise to come to him from God. (1 Corinthians 4:1-5) Significantly, in the 1st century, men seeking prominence were to be shunned. (3 John 9, 10) This ambition is anti-Christ.

The man of lawlessness, the anti-Christ, takes a seat in the temple of God, a seat among the spirit anointed sons, a seat above everyone else – a prominent place. (2 Thessalonians 2:4) Thus the mystery of this lawlessness was manifest in men like Diotrophes. We can also see this lawlessness working as we look at the years and centuries following the 1st century; why would a humble Christian want the powerful position that an alliance with the Roman Empire would give, sacrificing precious truths in the deal? Hence we see the Roman Catholic Church’s birth in the 4th century. Henceforth, centuries of tyranny followed; the word of God was trapped in Latin and the common people were forbidden to search the scriptures. Faithful slaves of Christ were busy translating the bible into the common languages and pursuing the truth; this work was blessed but many lives were lost. Faithful ones were burned alive as heretics.

Thru these centuries numerous attempts at reform took place. Names like Martin Luther and William Tyndale are well known as ones that made inroads for truth to keep its head above water, and there are many others but despite their efforts the ‘mystery of this lawlessness’ continued to win out. In recent history Charles Russell made a mark in time with establishing the Watchtower society and along with that a zealous attempt to return to Jehovah. But now, some 120 years later, as in all other attempts to worship in spirit and truth, the domineering attitude of the man of lawlessness is present among the leaders of this people.

The operation of error = Hierarchical structure.

Jehovah has allowed hierarchical structures to exist. These structures have pervaded the Christian congregation and held it captive since the apostles died. This operation of error attracts those who, rather than love the truth, take pleasure in unrighteousness. Although the precedent for elders to be appointed in congregations is scriptural, this was not to be an authority structure. True, Hebrews 13 asks us to be obedient to those taking the lead; but what is it these ones are to take the lead in? Looking after widows and orphans…and staying with out spot from the world. Being obedient to kind, humble, loving men would be a refreshing load to carry – not making us a subject for tyranny.

This operation of error goes to them, so they get to believing they deserve the power and authority, not believing the truth, but taking pleasure in skinning and throwing about the sheep in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12)

Scattered into the darkness

After the apostles died, the Christian congregation suffered. The ‘mystery of this lawlessness’ set in and took hold. The true sheep were scattered, skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd; the wheat indiscernible among the weeds. The years turn into decades, the decades into centuries and now nearly two millennia have gone by; when will Jehovah gather his sheep back?

Jesus was speaking of himself when he said, “The light will be among YOU a little while longer. Walk while YOU have the light, so that darkness does not overpower YOU; and he that walks in the darkness does not know where he is going. While YOU have the light, exercise faith in the light, in order to become sons of light.” (John 12:35, 36) Paul reiterated Jesus’ words when he said, ‘I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among YOU and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among YOU yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.’ (Acts 20:29, 30) We know too, our Lord will not return until after the wolves are exposed. This period of darkness has left the sheep, the faithful and true slaves of Christ, skinned and thrown about; scattered.

The Watchtower has explained the end of this dark period as coming in 1914. It says Jesus was enthroned in heaven then, thus the true light began shining again in the hearts of men. The scattered sheep of Christ found safe haven in the walls of the ‘Watchtower Society’ so that the only way to salvation is by membership with the Watchtower. For many decades this has seemed reasonable; so many wonderful truths have been explained thru the pages of Watchtower publications. But now, with the abundant evidence showing the oppressive nature of many of the so-called shepherds among Jehovah’s witnesses, and the abundant scriptural proof that 1914 has no relevant bearing on any bible prophecy, there is a problem staring all honest hearted Witnesses of Jehovah straight in the face – the spiritual paradise we have been told we reside in is non-existent. (Luke 21:20-24, Daniel 7:11-14, 9:26,27, 12:5-13, Revelation 11:2)

As Jehovah’s witnesses, we have been taught that we are special; a people set apart. That it is among our numbers alone true wheat is to be found. How do we prove this conclusion correct? Is the following an accurate portrayal of the facts?

§ After the apostles died, the sheep were scattered

§ Then they were gathered into the catholic Church

§ Then skinned and thrown about

§ Gathered into Protestant Churches

§ Skinned and thrown about

§ Gathered into JW’s

§ Skinned and thrown about

At each so-called ‘progression’, are we seeing evidence of a refining by our Lord? Is each stage a new sowing of fine seed, only to be over sown with weeds, so that a ‘mini-harvest’ has taken place? Which means we are now standing in a fresh field, ripe for the harvesting; the field called Jehovah’s Witnesses? Have the weeds of Catholicism been hacked out and burned at any time, or the weeds of the Protestant churches, have they been destroyed? No; the harvest happens when Jesus comes on the clouds with his angels at the conclusion. The angels are the reapers, the field is the world. (Matthew 13:24-30) The fine seed is still scattered throughout the entire field of the world, indiscernible among the weeds, the long period of darkness that took control after the 1st century has been constant and in full swing thru into the 20th century, so that now, unlike any other time in world history, there is a global community that the apostate man of lawlessness can rule over. The scene is set for Satan’s counterfeit kingdom to take over and bring peace and security with it in order to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones.

Take courage brothers and sisters in Christ, sons of the kingdom, our father will make us firm to the end, that we may be open to no accusation in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into a sharing with his son and our king, Jesus! (1 Corinthians 1:8, 9)

Judged because they did not believe the truth

Jesus said he was the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)

In our search for the truth, sometimes the word ‘truth’ is substituted with the phrase ‘accurate knowledge’. Although accurate knowledge is important, it is only attainable partially, until that which is complete arrives. (1 Corinthians 13:9, 10) So, when the man of lawlessness is judged for not believing the truth, this is not about his lack of accurate knowledge it’s about his intellectual and spiritual dishonesty, he can not use the excuse, ‘I only knew partially!’ The slaves of Christ, the temple of God, are to be a pillar and support of the truth; guardians of truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) In their service to their father and their master, they are deeply absorbed in the things of God. The man of lawlessness has taken a prominent place in the temple thus presuming the role of ‘pillar and support of the truth’ therefore he has no excuse when he believes the lie, perpetuates the lie, does not believe the truth but takes pleasure in unrighteousness.

SOME TRUTHS ARE:

§ Jehovah is God Almighty, our father and the father of our master Jesus. He is love.

§ Jesus is our master, our king. He is the exact representation of Jehovah. Thru him we have life.

§ We must love Jehovah and Jesus with our whole heart, mind and soul.

§ We must love our neighbor as ourselves.

§ Faithful slaves of Christ will dig for treasures from God found in His word and share their findings with their fellow slaves – feeding them at the proper time.

At the appointed time, Jehovah will reveal to His servants His confidential matter; more truth will shine forth, especially as the day draws near. The faithful slaves are children of light and of day so ‘that day will not overtake them as it would thieves’. (1 Thessalonians 5:4,5) The man of lawlessness, the evil slave, will not believe these new truths because they are in the dark – the operation or error has gone to them because of their spiritual dishonesty.

The above list of truths might be considered as too simplistic. But this is what Jesus taught. Jesus, the truth, is also the stone of stumbling. (John 14:6; Romans 9:30-33) The evil slave, those not chosen, stumble over the truth. Jesus died and was raised, the first fruits, thus atoning for the sins of the world – faith in that provision is all that is needed for a righteous standing before our God – this simple fact is a cause for stumbling for those who fall victim to the operation of error. But those relying on the corner stone will not get panicky; there is nothing more sure to rest our hope on. This stone of stumbling is also the rock mass that forms the foundation of our house of faith; will we foolishly trip over the firm foundation and utter curses against it while we build on the sand? The house of the antichrist will suffer a great collapse as retribution because he did not accept the love of the truth.

When do the weeds become discernable?

For everything there is an appointed time and the end will come on time as Jehovah the great timekeeper has set the limit. What is He waiting for? The man of lawlessness is revealed when the restraint is removed. What is this restraint? Paul refers to the restraint as ‘he’. Who is the ‘he’ restraining Jehovah from acting?

Jehovah is righteous. The universal issue challenging His righteousness will be settled at the end of these days and involves several ‘players’; Jehovah, Jesus, and faithful creation verses Satan, and unfaithful creation. Satan has been standing before Jehovah accusing the faithful, demanding Jehovah let him at them – as in the case of Job, so it is for all faithful ones, though, Jehovah will not let us be tested beyond that which we can bear. Until when, sovereign Lord, holy and true are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood, acquiescing to the demands of our accuser? At the appointed time, Satan, the accuser of our brothers, will be hurled from Heaven, removed as the restraint to bring joy in heaven but woe to the earth. This will reveal the sons of the wicked one as they truly are - weeds, the man of lawlessness, and the antichrist. After Satan’s removal, he gives his power to the political beast of earth. Then the sons of the wicked one will worship the beast, becoming clearly defined – counterfeit Christians worshipping the counterfeit king of a counterfeit kingdom; 666. These will be brought to nothing at the manifestation of Jesus at the last trumpet. (Revelation 12 & 13)

As truth seekers, we must have honest hearts. An honest heart is a prerequisite for worshipping in spirit and truth. Let us make it our resolve to be spiritually honest – pray to our father for an honest heart. Let’s stick to Jehovah!

1 Comments:

Blogger Kim said...

This is a very interesting blog.
You may could comment and exhort me on mine.
www.aslaveofchrist.blogspot.com

5:48 PM  

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