A HOUSE DIVIDED
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, (Rev 18:)
10Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. 12Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. 13Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1Cor 1:)
It's always amazed me how we of the churches can claim to be believers in the Bible, yet at the same time, and often in the same breath, completely contradict and/or change the words of the Bible, if not by our words, then by our actions.
How much more direct does Paul have to be in order to get his point across? Am I reading this passage wrong? Or is Paul in fact saying that we're not to create divisions among us?
Later in his epistle he says:
1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1Cor 3:)
If the first part of his letter didn't get their attention, you would think this last part would drive the point home. Did it? Maybe with them it did, since they made changes in other areas in which Paul was reprimanding them. But here two thousand years later we haven't gotten the point. In fact we've gone so far afield of what Paul is warning us against that we condemn all those who don't follow Jesus under the same banner as do we ourselves.
25And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Mat 12:)
A house divided must fall. And fall the House that Jesus built is doing. The Church has reached a level of destruction that even the Cornerstone is removed from many of its factions.
1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? (Mat 7:)
Besides Paul's injunction to refrain from going our separate ways, we have this from Jesus Himself. We're not to judge others. We're to look for the problem in our own life, in our own church, and seek to change them. God deals with the problems elsewhere. That's not our job, nor is it in our capacity to solve other people's problems.
But in the same way we regard and obey Paul's instruction, we disregard those of Jesus as well. We not only divide His Church, His body, but we judge and condemn all those who wish to follow Him under a different title.
Again I ask, am I the only one who sees these verses? Or have I perhaps been reading a Bible with misprints?
51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. (Luke 12:)
From the time of the early church the people God has called out to be His own have made it a practice to divide and conquer, not conquer sin, or the enemy, nor one's own carnal nature, but rather to conquer each other. The Jews tried to destroy those who didn't follow their laws and their doctrines, even those doctrines that they, themselves made up. Then when the Church became the tower of strength, it tried to destroy anyone who would oppose it, or refused to become a part of it.
The Church of Peace Jesus died for became a battlefield.
Elements of the enemy tried to get a foot in the door of the Churches from its very beginning. We read of some of these elements in the second and third chapters of Revelation. These are called Balaam, Jezebel, and the Nicolaitanes. These, by other names, are yet with us today.
For generations, centuries in fact, one church, one denomination, held sway over the Christian world. Under this dictatorship many false doctrines were introduced into the Church, and many atrocities were committed, even against the people of God, causing the name of Christian, as well as the name of Christ, to be disdained. We still feel the impact of this bad behavior today in the attitudes of those we call "heathen." And on occasion we experience reprisals due to our forefather's actions.
2Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Rev 18:)
The sins of Babylon have been recognized for many centuries.
Around the 5th century those of the church in Asia Minor disagreed with some of what the church in Rome were adding to their system and made a break with the Catholic Church. They were still Catholic, meaning Universal, or Ecumenical as we regard the system today, but they were no longer a part of the "mother" church.
Then shortly after this there came another split over the Armenian doctrine (within the Catholic view). This doctrine is causing splits in the churches even today. There are some churches that cling to the Armenian view, while others of the Old School are shifting their allegiance to the Calvinist view of salvation.
Then came the Reformation when Martin Luther nailed his objections to the door. From this time on the splits that had occurred in the Church previously could be seen as unity in comparison to the divisions in what came to be called the Protestant denominations.
Jumping ahead over the myriads of splits, divisions and the bloodshed brought about by these schisms, we come to the early part of the twentieth century. At that time there was what was called a Latter Rain. From that latter rain came a wide variety of new denominations, as there were from former latter rains. When it rains, it pours. And as we read in the Bible, it rains on the wicked as well as the just.
One small place it rained was on Azusa Street California. At that time there were miracles occurring, and there was a great Spiritual awakening. People began to become obsessed with these miracles and the exhibitions that accompanied them. Those who were a part of these happening, as is the custom of all churches and schisms, took on the belief that if a person didn't exhibit these signs, such as rolling on the floor, being "slain by the Spirit," and in particular talking in tongues, then they couldn't possibly be in possession of the Holy Spirit, therefore they couldn't possibly be saved. In retaliation for this accusation, those who didn't exhibit these behaviors, and who didn't speak in tongues, claimed that those who did these things were possessed by the devil, so therefore could not be saved.
And life goes on.
This movement, though not the true start of the Pentecostal movement, became known as the founding of the Pentecostal denomination.
Then about 1950 there was yet another Latter Rain when people were experiencing miracles. And again there was a Spiritual awareness. By this time the life had left the original Pentecostal church, that had become an organized denominations like all the other organized denominations, and they were not a part of this new awakening.
One of the signs of this new movement was the adopting of the fivefold ministry of Pastors, teachers and the like, as all the other denominations held to. However this movement added the two elements the others had done away with, and that is Apostles and Prophets. Although the old Pentecostal church that had become a denomination held to prophets, as long as they remained under the rule of the denomination and didn't say anything outside their belief system, they rejected the idea of Apostles being a part of the Church today.
Because of this difference of opinion, and because this new movement was attracting their preachers and congregation, since most of them had come out of the Pentecostal denomination, they did everything short of beheading the leaders of this new heathen body of believers, to prevent it from growing.
Had there not been a law at the time against the beheading of detractors, I suspect there would have been another Inquisition right there and then.
4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18:)
The Pentecostal denomination, brought about by the Azusa Street Revival, sprang from its roots in the Methodist denomination. They had heard the call to come out of that, what they considered lifeless organization, and take on the attributes of one possessed by the Holy Spirit. And from that coming out sprang the Chiasmatic movement that penetrated all the other denominations, including the stoic Catholic church. Speaking in tongues became a fixture in many of the denominations, even those who violently opposed this object of the devil.
Another aspect of this new movement, the Latter Rain that was stealing members from what had become a fundamental organization, was the cry to "come out of her, my people." The confused church with its denominational walls and its dead liturgical services was seen as Babylon, and was indicative of the Apostate church predicted for the latter days.
We are now about 60 years since the days of the Latter Rain, when the churches were seen as dead organizations, and the Spirit was considered to be no longer a part of the services. In those 60 years we see no more life in the churches than we saw at that time. And my being of an age where I witnessed the Latter Rain of the 50's, and am now witnessing the churches of the New Millennium, I can vouch for the fact that by today's standards, the "cold" churches of the past century was like the Chicago fire in comparison to the churches we see in this day and age.
The coldness of the churches is not a mystery. Even those in the churches who remember the bygone days can attest, and will do so (though not necessarily openly) to the fact. Cold is the temperature of the hour. There is little that can be done about the weather, nor the deadness of the flame that is supposed to be the light unto the world. It is what it is, and what it is, is in God's hands.
The call of the 50's to come out of her my people has turned out to be premature. The thought in those days was that the end was very near, that there was little chance of the Tribulation coming after the year 1980. Everyone, even those of the secular world, was certain the end was at hand. Everything was in place. All the prophets, all the old prophesies, our weather, the state of the world, and the nature of the books and other forms of media all pointed to the end.
But the end didn't come. We're still here. And we're still waiting for the end. And we're still seeing signs that the end has to be very soon.
Jesus said no man knows the hour or the day. But we still think we can outguess God anyway.
Today there is still the cry to come out of her, but the voices are few and quiet. Those churches that called for their people to come out, have fallen to the wayside. The churches are closed, or have become a part of the world as has all the other churches of our time. The members of those churches, and even the families of those preachers, that "came out of Babylon" have fallen to the wayside. Some are still in there pitching, but their pitch is weak, or it's been corrupted into something self-serving rather than filled with the Spirit as in the beginning.
Are we to come out of Babylon? Since the churches are now dead organizations, that would be the normal assumption. But if we come out, then where do we go? In the past, during the heat of the Latter Rain, those who convinced the people to come out, only brought them into another form of the same thing they came out of, that have now become institutionalized just as did the organizations they were brought out of.
19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mat 18:)
During the 60's (especially) there was a move to create, and to be a part of what was called an "undenominational church," of which I was a part for a time. The idea was (and is) to be a church that has no ties with a mother organization that dictates their belief or their behavior. The idea is fine, except it doesn't work. Those in such a denomination, or a church, believe they are out of the system, but they are not. Any time two or three are gathered together they will be of one mind. They have formed a church. They decide what their beliefs will be, and anyone who enters this organization, this gathering, will have to agree with the doctrines of that gathering. If those so gathered believe that talking in tongues, or prophesying is evil, or that the doctrine of the Trinity is essential to be saved, then someone who speaks in tongues, or who does not believe in the Trinity as espoused by that group, will be castigated or asked to leave.
Many of the very large undenominational churches began as a small Bible study group. Over time these groups became churches, even megachurches, as did the nondenominational church I attended. When this occurs, all those who attend this now large gathering will either take on the belief of that gathering, or they will have to keep their mouth shut as to what thy believe. In other words, what was supposedly outside, has become obviously inside. Should this phenomena not take place, then you have a wide open church where anyone can believe, and speak their mind to that effect, anything they want to, such as the Universalists and the Unitarian fellowships. This then opens the door even to the staunch nonbeliever, thus causing the church to be no more than a Humanist organization with some Christians attending.
And when this occurs, what do you have, in spite of its title?
It doesn't work.
14But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1Peter 3:)
There are a lot of people who have left the church because of what they perceive to be problems in the church system. Some say they no longer attend because the people in the churches are hypocrites. Others object to the governmental aspect of the churches. And others reject the concept of tithing and begging for more money for such things as building funds. And there are those who oppose the supporting of missionaries. Then there are some who have left because of doctrinal reasons, they don't agree with any of the teachings of the churches. I of course can understand their feelings. I disagree with all the churches on just about all the issues they espouse, and I say so in my writings. Yet I attend church. In church I have to be careful what I say, and what I do say causes me to be looked upon as a fool and a doomed heathen, but that doesn't bother me. What does bother me is that no one wants to hear anything outside of what they're church, or their favorite preacher teaches. In my opinion we can't say w believe anything until we've placed that belief under a microscope and to the acid test, trying with everything we are able to prove our belief to be false. If we just accept what we hear, then we don't truly believe, and our belief is of no value.
There are still those calling to come out of Babylon. But those who are making the call are either calling the people into nothing, or their calling them into their own organization or belief system. Jesus is the One who gave the call to come out, and He himself said we must go outside the city, the church, to learn the truth and to follow Him. Yet He, and the Apostles, made every effort to make sure they attended the church (synagogue) and Temple meetings they preached against.
The light of the candlestick that represents the Holy Spirit, and symbolizes the Church, is in the Holy Place of the Temple, which is the area that pictures the Church. Those who have the light of the Word are to let their light shine in the church, not just to the world. When all the lights go out of the churches, then the churches will be dead things indeed. That day is coming, the day the people of God will be called out of her. But until that day comes, it's in the church we not only hear the Word of God, even if we don't see it exhibited, but it's in the churches we learn about ourself, and about other people. And, it's in the churches we have fellowship with others of like mind, even when their mind is darkened.
It's in church I learn so much about the problems of the church. When I attended church before I become aware of what church is really about, I saw nothing wrong, because I had no inkling as to there being anything wrong with the churches. This is the state of those in the churches now. Once I became aware of the inconsistencies, then I began to see the error of their teachings, and their thinking. And here eight years later, I still learn every time attend.
On the day of Pentecost there were thousands, and perhaps millions of Jews, of God's people, gathered in the city. But in one small area of that large city called the City of God there were gathered 120 people, all seeming randomly assembled in one place. It was upon that gathering the Holy Spirit fell that fateful day. Had any of them not been in that spot, at that moment, for whatever reason, they would have missed out on what may be the most important event in history short of the crucifixion.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the people, only a very small number of the people received the Spirit. The Bible tells us the Spirit fell on all flesh, as it does today. But only a small number of people were receptive to what was given. In the churches we have the very same thing occurring, although to a lesser degree. There are certain aspects of the church that has no meaning whatsoever. And there are parts of the program the congregation essentially sleep through. But even in the dead sermons, there is life that can only be received by a certain given people. How often I've heard words directed to me that no one, not even the speaker, knew the substance or the object of what was being said.
It's in the churches God speaks, because it's there people are gathered in His name, even though it's only in name they are gathered.
The call to come out of Babylon will be in Babylon. Those outside the city, as dark as the city is, will not hear the call. When the Jews were sent into Babylon, it was those who were closest to the prophets of the day who heard the call to go to Babylon. If a person was not within earshot of Jeremiah, they would have only heard what the hundreds of false prophets were saying, and what they were saying was the opposite of what God was telling them.
God told, in fact demanded, that His people go to Babylon or die. Is this because Babylon was such a Spiritual place, and it's there the people of God would learn about God? By no means. Babylon was the center of wickedness and idolatry. And it's in Babylon the people of God learned to conform to the people who opposed God and His People. When the call to come out of Babylon came, the people rejected the call because they had become Babylonians themselves. And this is the state of the churches today. They have become a part of the world, just another club that meets under a banner flying the name Christian. But it's in that club the call will come. Those not a part of the flock won't hear the call, and they, as did the false prophets in Jeremiah's time, will reject the call, and deny the call, and cause the call to sound false. But those with ears will hear the call, in spite of the false teaching.
Babylon may not be all it should be, but until the prefect comes, Babylon is all we've got.