Part 2 of 2

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils

THE MORMON CHURCH - The Mormons I know more about than some of the others because my parents were strong in the Mormon church. The qualities exemplified by the Mormons really showed themselves when my father was old and fading away. If he had exhibited any of these qualities in his own life earlier I don't know, I never saw it in his life, but I didn't know him that well most of my adult life, my having lived on the road during that time. The church is very good about taking care of their own, making sure people are comfortable, visited and provided for. That seems to me to be the core of the church, that of servitude to its members. As I look at the writings in the New Testament, especially the Words of Jesus, and what He exhibited in His own life, what the Mormons practice is in tune with what a Christian Church is instructed to be in that they demonstrate compassion for one another. Beyond this, as far as doctrine, it's a fantasy land as far as I am concerned.

What judgement I make according to doctrine, or my observation as to the Mormon or any of the other denominations, isn't worth a plug nickel; nor am I judging one way or another as to their salvation or their heart condition. That is totally in God's hands. My purpose here is to find the good and the bad points of each denomination in order to see if there is something that needs cut off before it leads to destruction, or if it's something that needs to be incorporated into the other churches to make the entire Church body more functional as an Ishtar Church.

JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES - I have not had much dealing with the JW's so there's not much I can say about them from personal observation. However I will say they have a reputation for certain things in particular that should set an example for all the churches to follow. One of these characteristics is their appearance. I don't think there's a one JW (that I have seen or heard of) who the Lord wouldn't be pleased to have come to His door or to attend His Church (I'm stretching artistic license here, I hope I'm not out of line). They are neat in their dress and appearance, they are polite, they are ever ready to help anyone regardless of the faith they belong to, they accept rebuke graciously without rebuking in return, they are well versed in the Word, and they are separated from the world as we all should be. I don't think anyone can fault the JW's on any of these counts, even though many denominations do just that. Another area in which the JW's shine is in evangelism. There is no denomination (that I know of) who is more in to evangelism than is the JW's, and this often at the expense of their own lives. When we hear of Christians being assaulted in other countries because of their evangelism, the best bet is that it's a JW taking the blow while the rest of the churches take the bow. One other aspect of the JW's that I appreciate is their lack of formal government in their churches. I find there is far too much money spent and time wasted on the government of the churches than is appropriate. I don't see how any of these building programs or paying preachers and janitorial services fit into the Lord's plan for His Church. Of course if a church is going to have 10,000 "visitors" each week something has to be done to control the mob. But I see nowhere in Scripture where Jesus built a forum to house the 5,000 people who came to listen to Him and apparently spent several days with Him without food. This is just my own opinion and has little or nothing to do with the point I'm trying to get across. I don't know what I'm talking about and maybe the churches need that money they keep begging for to continue their building projects. I only see that it's not done in the JW church (nor in the Mormon that I know of) and they seem to function just fine.

THE FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCHES - Anyone who belongs to one of the Fundamentalist churches might as well stop reading right here because what you read will only cause your blood pressure to rise. Although I attend a Fundamental church, and have been a part of many other Fundamental churches throughout my life (they being the only ones I've attended for the most part) I'm afraid I have little I can say in favor of them. This being said, I will first point out what I do like about the Fundamentalist church, and why I attend one myself.

I have seen and attended Fundamentalist churches from the small to the smaller. I say this because I have never attended one of the mega-churches housing thousands of spectators. I hate crowds anyway. Howbeit I have been to the Crystal Cathedral and watched their exhibit. Impressive but uninspiring is all I can say for it. Disneyland was just down the street and I found it much more interesting and a lot less expensive. Again, I hate crowds anyway. Besides, I had seen the pastor when he performed in empty drive-in theaters. I thought his shows were a lot better then.

I also attended the Calvary Chapel when it began meeting in large store fronts in California. The store we met in had three services on Sunday morning and I suppose the same number of pastors. It was very popular, especially for its time when such things were very new.

I say the above to say that I know a little about the Fundamental church. However in all honesty I was just a typical church attender and knew nothing about Jesus, nor the Church, nor salvation other than what I had been told (that being that I was saved and that was that. I didn't know what un saved was at that time). People did then what they do now, especially in the Fundamentalist churches, they go to church on Sunday and do their duty as a Christian, which means going to church on Sunday. Ask anyone anything about the Bible or doctrine and the chances are they would suggest you go ask the preacher because they didn't even know if there was one or two Testaments in the Bible they carried (everyone carried Bibles, they just didn't read them. It was a sin not to carry a Bible to church in those days; and Bibles weren't free at that time as they are now, except in prisons and in hotel rooms, neither being a place to admit having obtained one's Bible).

I attend a Fundamentalist church because I feel comfortable in the church I attend, it being full of old people like me having old ideas about what church services should be like. We don't have any rock music or loud speakers going, so of course the kids stay away from the place as if it was contaminated, which it is, with what is called "Q-tip heads", in other words, very ancient people. And it's just some old women who get up on stage and sing into a microphone that constitutes the music. Some day this church will succeed in obtaining a young pastor who will turn the church into a Woodstock as have so many others I've seen, and like the Fundamentalist church I attended previously, and again I will be in search of a church I'll feel comfortable in.

So much for the good points about the Fundamentalists churches. What is to come in not an indictment of the people in the churches. I like very much the people, it's the condition and the direction of the churches that I have an issue with.

Fundamentalist churches are some of the most elitist people I think you could meet anywhere. It's as if they look around them to see who they can look down their nose at and condemn. It seems as if I have been at churches where they got so carried away with condemning other Christians (not heathens, they leave them alone), they were condemning the ones who sat on the wrong side of the sanctuary. Anyone foolish enough to sit on the left side of the church must be doomed to spend eternity in hell, and it serves them right. Compassion is not a trait I automatically attribute to a Fundamentalist.

By the way, what I have just described is not that far from the truth. I've seen, and heard of where a congregation will split over some small issue such as music (the color of the song book covers in one case, and we all know about the war over yes and no to music in the church altogether). One church in a town nearby split and built another church identical to the other, just an arm's distance from the one they split from, and this in a town so small they had to count the cows to have enough citizens for a population sign. There is no hatred like the hatred toward Christians who decide not to agree with a Christian in all things.

When I was young there used to be a thrust in the churches to drive the congregation to their knees in repentance. A Christian was supposed to change his or her ways no matter how innocent they saw themselves as being. If you didn't think you had any sin, by the time the sermon was over you had no doubt but that you were a dreadful sinner, even if your sin was chewing gum in Sunday School class. Sin was everywhere, and we had to check closely to make sure we weren't stepping in it.

Today if you want to find out what sin is you have to read the Bible for yourself or attend a cult church, because in a Fundamentalist church it's the job of the pastor to make the congregation feel good about themselves just the way they are, not to cause them to feel uncomfortable in any way.

Don't get me wrong, I've heard some good sermons in the churches, but even in them the bottom line is, your given a 'get out of jail free and past Go' card regardless if you pay any attention to the sermon or not.

Doctrine, I won't go into the problems with Fundamentalist doctrine here, it would take far too many pages where this article is already much longer than I had intended it to be.

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH - What a situation the Catholic church is in. At one time it seems (a long time ago) the Catholic Church was one of, if not the most stable churches in the world. The Catholic church would never change, would never compromise, would never bend to the Ecumenical bent of the world. Today it appears they lead the march to Ecumenicalism. Go figure.

At one time there was Vatican one, then in the sixties there was Vatican two where the Catholic church became two separate churches that hate one another as badly as the Protestants hate one another. Again, go figure.

When I think of the Catholic church (the old version, I'm unsure about the new version, all the churches are changing so fast I have to hold my ears to keep my head from spinning), I think of prayer, ritual, fasting and confession. Confession is one aspect of the church that has completely fallen into Babylon, that and repentance. These are a lost art that I don't think is recoverable in the church the state it's in. When I read about conversion in the Bible I read about repentance, and I read about public confession. I'm glad they didn't have such a thing as public confession when I was converted, and I was only twelve years old, but even then there where things I would never have wanted people to know about me. Now at 71 I'm afraid the ones hearing my confessions would go deaf, or at least wish they were deaf. Confession any more means to confess Jesus. I for one do not think Jesus needs to be confessed for. I don't think He's done anything that needs confessing. I think the one who Jesus wants me to confess first is my self and my own failings, then I can better confess Him.

Prayer it seems to me is a lost art. I can't speak for anyone else, but for myself I don't feel as if my prayers reach the ceiling. Somehow my prayers seem to get answered at times, but I can only attribute this to the prayers of others, not my own. The Bible says the prayers of a righteous man availeth much. And that I suspect is the problem with my prayers.

What if the Church was to incorporate the prayers of the Catholic (I don't mean the rote process, but the dedication to prayer time), the confession and the repentance we see in the first Christians (through John the Baptist), and the preaching abilities of the Fundamentalist churches (not that ability has any value in the churches if it isn't accompanied by an understanding and inspiration of the Holy Spirit). What if we took the manners and the evangelist zeal of the JW's, the Spiritual zeal of the Pentecostals, and the working toward the betterment of the Church and the people as exhibited by the Mormons, blended them all together, and with these formed a church. What do you suppose we would have then? Do you think we might have something close to what Jesus intended His bride to be? As for me, I suspect the world might even want to joint such church for more than the entertainment offered it now. And I suspect such a Church would work better together, which by doing would give it more social impact, and it would have far less hatred shown toward its brothers and sisters than it has come to be known for today. And wouldn't you think such a Church would have an impact on the world and thereby be better able to influence the world? Could such a thing ever happen?

No, we see in Scripture that such s destiny is not in the plans for the Church. The Church loves to hate and to judge far too much to ever come together and become what it claims to be already. Besides, we like to hear the stories Satan and his minions, the Babylonian yarn-spinners tell, rather than to listen to boring truths as taught in the Bible. What I've presented is just a pipe dream, nothing with any real substance.

But, wouldn't it be nice though?

We hide behind walls. Walls feel like protection for our frail egos. God created the walls of Babylon, like He created the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. God also created the evils we're continually faced with (Isaiah 45:7). However God does not want us to partake of the tree He created, nor does He want us to remain hidden behind the denominational walls of our egos.

None of the churches of this world are going to make it past the Judgement Seat, not because of their faulty doctrine (which they all have) but because of their insistence upon judging others while turning a blind eye to their own deficiencies (Rom 2:11-16).

No wall is going to protect you when the end comes. All walls will come down and you will be standing naked before your Creator. If you want to feel confident that you have successfully prepared yourself for that day, then remove the fig leaves of religion and begin examining yourself, and sew garments of righteousness that are pleasing in God's sight (Rev 3:14-22; Rom 12:1-3).

What is the above actually saying that we must hear?

"Tell me where it hurts."

27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. 30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (1Cor 11:)

Have you ever noticed that a doctor will work to locate a problem before he tries to cure it? Why do you suppose that is? What if you had a doctor who just threw a bunch of different medicines at the problem and hoped one of them worked? You say you've had such a doctor? I've heard of a lot of people who have as well. On the other hand let's say you had a doctor who said something on this order: "Yes, there's your problem all right. You may go home now." "You say you found the problem doctor? Aren't you going to fix it? Is it serious?" "Yes, it's very serious, but I wouldn't worry about it. Just go home and try to enjoy your lasts few days." "But doctor, if you know I have a problem, and you know what the problem is, and you know what to do about it, why don't you fix it?" "Because I don't want to hurt you or make you feel bad."

Does this sound like a farfetched scenario? It's what goes on every day in the Babylonian church. Pastors know there's sin in the body, and they know what sin will do to a person, and they have the Book with the remedy to the problem in their hands. And they even say the words in their sermons that can save the life of their "patients." Then they say "But I want you to feel good about yourself and to enjoy the freedom God shed His blood to bring you. Besides, it really doesn't matter, you'll just be taken home earlier if you continue to sin anyway."

19I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. 20Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. 23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. (Rev 2:)

Again we have the words of Babylon spoken, and not the Words of God. God said to repent or else. The Babylonian church says if you don't repent God will just take you home earlier because He loves you so much. Try to find that Scripture anywhere in the Bible, or show me an example of it being applied. Those taken home early, such as Enoch and Elijah, were taken because of their righteousness, not because they were sinners beyond repair.

Locating the problem is the beginning of ridding oneself of the problem. If we don't examine ourself regularly and deal with the problems when they're small, they will grow and overpower us and drag us back to where we came from. When we're back to where we started, we are not where we began, but we stand at an even harsher judgement because we have taken on the Holy Spirit of God and trodden on the sacrifice Jesus made for us:

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? (Heb 10:)

17For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1Peter 4:)

When the pastors of Babylon play with God's Words and make them say other than what they are intended to say, they play with your eternal life, and mine. I suspect when the time comes that the Babylonian church is judged the Babylonian preachers and theologians, who led the Lord's sheep astray, will stand under a much harsher judgement than will the rest of the flock. What are your thoughts on the matter?

What of the true Church? What of their judgement? They've had the truth, and they better understand the truth than do those of Babylon, won't they therefore stand under a harsher judgement? No, there is no judgement for those in the true Church, the Ishtar, the Woman clothed with the Sun, because they have already been judged day-by-day and they have been washing their robes when spots were presented to them. There is no need to judge those who are judging themselves harshly. It's those who think they have no spots to remove because Jesus removed them all who will need to be shown the filth they refused to see or deal with.

28Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. 29For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. 32And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. (Acts 20:)

"Ok, some straight talk. If I was to ask you straight out to tell me what Babylon is, what would you tell me? Is it the Church today? Tomorrow? Ecumenicalism? Dark-age Catholicism? What is Babylon?"

Since you asked nicely, I'll try to give you a straight answer, but you know me, it won't be as straight as you'd like it.

Babylon is the Christian Church since the days of the Apostles. We see Paul telling us that even before he was taken from us there were people trying to distort, divide, diminish and corrupt the true doctrines of the Church. Paul was like the little Dutch boy running around the world trying to close up ever-widening holes in the dam of Church truth. We see in Timothy and Titus Paul making a last-ditch effort to assure that at least one or two pastors understood the Truth he preached and would carry it through for as long as they could. Of course that effort would have only covered a very small area and a very short time. Since then wolves and tares have taken over the Church until there is no semblance of the original concept remaining (Phil 2:20-21).

Babylon has fallen, has fallen. God ordained that His Church would be taken into Babylon, and Babylon is not a corrupt place in itself. Babylon is a point halfway between Egypt (the world), and the glory He intended His Church to be. Babylon is the world playing like it's the Church. Babylon is where Adam is able to prove himself, to repent and redeem himself, so he can return to the presence of God. Those of us who do not wish to be a part of Adam any longer seek to become what God wants us to be, which is like Jesus, and return to Him. But in order to return to the Tree of Life, we must first abandon our quest for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. We must want nothing for ourself, but rather we must want for those God has created to be fed, to be warm, and to be happy, even at our own expense. Jesus set an example of what we are to be if we want to be a part of His Church. Anything less than His example is not enough.

The Babylonian church has been established by God as a training ground for the true Christian. When I was in the Army, for training purposes we would choose up sides so-to-speak and one team would be the "Aggressors" (the Bad Guys), and the other team would be us, the Good Guys. Then we would play war. This "game" prepared us for what we might expect in real combat.

The Church has its "Aggressors" as well, these aggressors are called "Tares" in the Bible. The tares don't know they're tares, but the True Christian knows he or she is not like the others in their church, they don't hear what the others around them hear, nor do they serve the same God those in their church serve. It's as if they are a foreigner in a foreign land, which is precisely what they are. The only way the True Christian can tell he or she is not a tare is in the fact they don't live nor think like those tares they see around them. The Apostles looked just the same after Pentecost as they did as fishermen when Jesus called them. Anyone looking on might say their time spent following Jesus hadn't changed them a bit. But they knew the difference, and there was no way they could be convinced that Jesus wasn't who He said He was. This is true of the True Christian as well. It's our walk with the Lord that changes us and gives us the assurance we are in God's will. The tares of Babylon are following the advise of their leaders and they are sitting patiently in the pews waiting to be taken to Heaven. You, on the other hand, are running as fast as you can, doing all you are able to please the Lord and to become all He is instructing you to be. Babylon does not see what you see, therefore it does not believe it exists.

There were times, especially at the time of Jesus' arrest and His crucifixion, that the Disciples had doubts that they were doing the right thing by following Jesus. They were outsiders in their own land. They were not like the others. Their interests and their efforts were to serve others, and like Jesus, they were demeaned by their own church leaders for doing what God wanted them to do. This is a pattern that Jesus has not only created, but that He lived under as well. It should come as no surprise that we of the True Church will experience the very same thing. Our biggest problem is that in the beginning of our walk with the Lord, that takes us away from those of the Babylonian church (of which we had been a part all our lives) is confusing and discouraging. We have no one to tell us that what we are experiencing is perfectly normal for a new "true" believer. We only know that we're "Different," and that we think and feel different than we used to. We see those around us playing church as we had been doing all our life. There is a change occurring, but that change is not explained to us by the pastor, nor does it seem to be going on with anyone else we know. Anyone we tell about this change might well think we're crazy, a religious fanatic, just as we would have thought of anyone telling us the same thing before our own change.

One of the new things that is happening with us is that we are finding ourself "condemning," that is judging certain things about us that we hadn't considered wrong before. We hear from the pulpit that we're ok the way we are and that we're not to judge ourself. But you don't find that in your own life, nor do you find such a concept supported in the Word. Over time you learn to not express your opinion regarding many of the doctrines presented in the church. When the call goes out "Everyone who is perfect (or righteous) stand up," you remain seated. You know you're not perfect, not anywhere near perfect. But because you remain true to your convictions you feel conspicuous and out of place. This is new for you, but it becomes a war between your conscience and public opinion toward you.

You find yourself far more interested in the Word than you could have ever suspected yourself to be. Where you had been reading a chapter or two in the Bible a day and feeling like a "good Christian" for doing so, you now find you have no interest in anything else but the study of God's Word. If you could read the entire Bible every day you would do so, and you would still be thirsting for more. In the past when you read the Bible, or heard it on tape, it always sounded the same. You gained nothing new from your reading. Now the Word of God is an ever-growing understanding that becomes deeper, more understandable, and more beautiful every time you hear it.

When questions are asked in Sunday School you find you have to be careful how you answer because what the teacher wants to hear, is not the truth, but what conforms with the doctrine of the church you attend. You find yourself not speaking those things that are very important for those you care for to know because it will only distance you from them. So you remain quiet, and you find yourself biting your tongue a lot.

In the past you had been told that you were filled with the Holy Spirit because you had been baptized in water. You, as do all the tares in your church, fully believed that to be true. You had no idea what that entailed, but since you had nothing by which to dispute such a concept, you accepted it. Now you are finding yourself constantly in the presence of the Holy Spirit. You can't explain the difference, you only know that you are not the same person you used to be. You find yourself responding differently to situations than you used to. Those things that used to cause a reaction in you are diminishing as you continue your walk with the Lord. Where you used to be content with a few minutes of prayer once or twice a day, you now find yourself talking to God constantly, either in your mind, or verbally. And you know He's right there listening to what you have to say and ask. You no longer wonder if there is a God who listens to prayer, you know God because you now have a relationship with Him.

When I was young I found myself in a rather unique position that I didn't understand at the time. Because of certain circumstances I was two years older than everyone else in my class. I was therefore older than my friends. I had two younger sisters, and I had no older person with whom to communicate. I was fairly well estranged from my parents, and I had no other family member to confide in. None of this may seem significant, except that when I began my journey through puberty and adolescence, the time one's thoughts, feelings and attitude changes, I had no one around me experiencing these same changes, nor anyone to understand what I was going through. In church I heard how terrible a sinner one was who had such thoughts as I was having is, and how such a person was going to endure hell forever. This caused me added guilt, and confirmed that I was to not let anyone know that I was becoming that sinful, nasty person.

Concealed problems only intensify the problem, and those problems begin to effect other parts of our life.

As a High School student and as a soldier I remained by myself hoping no one would ever discover the wicked person I saw myself to be. Life as an adult only added to these feeling of inadequacy and sinfulness, and because I only had my own advise to go by, I followed many wrong paths, some that have led to problems for myself and for others.

Why do I tell you this? Is there a purpose in my self-exposition? Yes there is. What I experienced growing up is not unlike what I experienced having become a True Born-Again Christian. I once again felt like a stranger in the land I belonged to. I once again had no one to talk to and to understand what I was going through. Once again those who should have been guiding me into truth and be experiencing the same thing I was experiencing were in fact telling me I was all wrong in my thinking and in my direction. I found the leaders were ones who had never been where they were supposedly leading me and the rest of the flock. I found that I, instead of being the one in the dark, was the only one in the light. I'm sure there are others in the light as well, but like me, they don't dare show their light for fear of being put out of the dark halls of Babylon.

I have been blessed with the resources by which to share my experiences and my views of what I have been shown with the world, hopefully the world of the True Church. In the Babylon in which I live there are very few people, if anyone, who is interested in my views. This is certainly true of the churches I have, and do attend. If the sharing of my experience, as I have done here, helps one person to understand what they're going through a little better and to help them know they are not alone, then my efforts have been well rewarded.

"Come out of her my people."

"Since the devil has control of the churches, I suppose the best thing to do is to stay away from church altogether. It's just an evil place, or at best nothing but another segment of the world."

The Church is not an evil place, nor is it under the control of Satan. As stated, God is the one who created the Babylonian church, He's the one who insisted the Church go to Babylon when it wanted to stand and fight, and He's the one who will deal with Babylon when Babylon has served its purpose. Our job is not to judge Babylon, any more than it's our job to judge the world or one another. We might (and we should) tell each other what we see that might be in error with the Church and with each other, but we're not to be the one to condemn if those we instruct (according to our view) do not comply with our instruction.

Jesus said we're to serve one another. We are to be a part of one another and to sacrifice for one another. If Jesus had only chosen those who followed Him best, who were correct in their doctrine, who were the most dedicated, to serve and to instruct, you and I would still be hanging out on the line with the rest of the world. Those most ready to hear the message of Jesus were the Pharisees and the priests. God had taken centuries and a great deal of effort to prepare those people (the spiritual leaders) for the next step in their Spiritual growth, that is the announcement of the Kingdom to which Jesus is the door. But those so prepared would not hear anything but what they had been trained to hear. They did not have ears with which to hear anything outside their long-established doctrine. Jesus said of the Pharisees:

1Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. 4For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. 8But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. (Mat 23:)

23Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. 25Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. 27Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. 28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. (Mat 23:)

We have to be careful in reading Scripture that we don't throw out the baby with the wash water. It's all too easy for us to assume that Jesus is calling everything about the Scribes and the Pharisees wrong because He condemns them, the person and the way they operate. We find as we read the Bible that there were Pharisees who came to Jesus and wanted to follow Him. There were those who asked His help, and He helped them without rebuke. There were even those Pharisees who risked everything to show their support for Him after He was crucified. As we read the above Scriptures we see that Jesus was not condemning what the Pharisees taught, nor even necessarily what they were doing, He was condemning the fact that they were only doing part of what God wanted of them, and they were doing the right things for the wrong reason. The Pharisees and the Scribes were the most godly and righteous people of their day. God did not tell them to cease being a part of the old order of the Church. He just said they needed to do what they were doing in sincerity, and to place others at least equal with themselves (for you and me, it's place others above ourselves).

We have to be sure we recognize when Jesus is presenting a "plus" sign in His messages, and not mistake it for a "minus" or a "division" sign.

Babylon is where the finest, most dedicated Christians will be found. Babylon is where we learn about the Lord and His plans for us. Babylon is where we serve others of the brotherhood. Babylon is where we will hear the call to "come out of her my people." If we're out roaming the wilderness by ourselves when the call comes, believing we're "too good and too Godly" to be involved with the messed-up system in organized religion, then we are detached from the Body of Christ. And if we're detached from the body of Christ, then we're also detached from the Head, which is Christ.

We live in the world. We're to treat those in the world, even the worst of scoundrel, as better than ourself. We are to be forgiving to them even when they want to kill us. How much more is this true of those in the body of Christ.

Are you familiar with the Tabernacle in the wilderness? I suspect you are. And I suspect you understand that the Holy Place, the longest section of the Tabernacle that precedes the Holy of Holies, is symbolic of this 2,000 year Church age. There are three things I want you to notice about this shadow of Heaven. First, in order to reach the place where God dwells we must pass through this room, the Church. There are no rooms or crawl holes by which we can reach God from outside the Holy Place. Next, pay close attention to the furniture in the room. There are only three pieces of furniture. These three pieces of furniture represent all there is to the Christian life. Everything other than these three things do not belong to the Church, the Church age, nor to the Christian life. The first piece of furniture we come to, and the piece we normally find the most used, is the table of showbread. Here is where the priests are fed their "daily bread." If a priest does not like the idea of going into the Holy Place because it seems beneath him, then he doesn't eat. The Bible tells us "If they don't work, neither let them eat." In the Holy Place is where the priests serve God, and where they serve their fellow man. By serving our brother and sister, we serve God. We can do nothing to serve God outside the Church, even if that Church is (as it has been so often in history) worse than the world it is to be separate from. In spite of the problems in the Church, that is where we belong. Keep in mind that Samuel was brought up in a very corrupt Church atmosphere, yet he learned to serve the Lord and to listen to the Lord. This is true of David, and of Elijah, and so many of the great men of God. In fact it's the corruptness of the Church that creates the greatest of Christian. When the Church is functioning in a lukewarm, complacent fashion as it is today it produces little in the way of hot (or even cold) Christians. It only creates more of its own. It's the darkest times in Church history that brought forth such men as Martin Luther (and I'm not supporting the beliefs of Luther, just his determination to not conform to the Church of his day) and other such exemplary men and women.

It is in the Church were we will be fed, and where we will have the opportunity to feed others.

On the other side of the Sanctuary we find a candelabra. This candlestick produces light for the Church, for the Holy Place. Here is where we find the Holy Spirit at work. The Holy Spirit is the life source of the Church, and of the world for that matter, although the world knows it not. While the rest of the Sanctuary might be in disarray, and not performing well, the Holy Spirit is continually at work providing light to the Church. If we want to learn what the Holy Spirit is doing we must go to where the Holy Spirit is working. There is no light for those who try to remain outside the realm of the Holy Spirit.

One of the darkest ages of Israel, as a symbol of the Church, was during the period of the Judges. There was more corruption and confusion at that time then just about any other. People were doing their own thing in their efforts to find the will of God and to serve Him, and they were making a mess of it. Was God at work in Israel at that time? This was a day when the nation was a Theocracy. God was the only One in charge. Why then was the Spiritual condition of the land such a mess? Was God with them? Or was He not?

When things got too far out of hand God would raise up a judge (which is why that period is called "Judges"). God was letting His people manage themselves, and to make a mess of it by their efforts, and then when everything seemed to be beyond repair, He came to the rescue. I suspect if you look at your own life, as it certainly has been seen to be the case in mine, you will see this same process at work. It is by this that we learn our way is not the best way. If everything went smoothly in our life we would think we were the ones so capable and we would likely dismiss God as unneeded.

We are now in another such state as were those during the days of the Judges. We are being essentially left on our own, and we're making a mess of everything we touch. God is still very much at work, as we should be seeing in our own lives. At the end of this period of man's attempts to try and correct things of the world without God, God will then step in, and as He has done before, He will clear the board of anything less than perfect and begin afresh. If we wish to be a part of the new beginning of God, we have to be fully in His will and under His control as Jesus and the Apostles were at the beginning of this Church age.

The Judges God raised up during the days of the judges were not always such fine people. In fact they often had as many problems, if not more, than the people they were sent to rescue. Samson is a good example of just such a person. Samson was dedicated to God from birth, and he was raised by Godly parents, and treated in a very special way to make sure he wasn't polluted by the world's selfish ways. But Samson used his powers, and his abilities to please himself and to do all the things he was instructed not to do. We can't tell by looking at a person, or by even looking into their life, if God has sent them to rescue us. Consider Esther: who would have thought this lovely little girl was being placed where she could save her entire nation from devastation?. We might have said she must be wicked to have allowed herself to be married to, and to serve a heathen king. Moabites were not to be allowed in Israel (Neh 13:1), yet Ruth showed herself to be a fine example of a woman destined to be the forebearer of both King David and of our Lord. The same is true of Bathsheba, and adulteress with King David. We can't judge others by any of our own standards, nor can we judge the way in which God works. When we find ourself judging, we must quickly look in a mirror and see who we are actually judging and placing under condemnation.

Note again the candlestick. The candlestick does not light the world. In fact in the blazing sun the candlestick would nearly disappear in comparison. The candlestick only emits as much light as is necessary to illuminate the Sanctuary so the priests could do their work. When Solomon built the Temple everything was enlarged significantly. One small candlestick would have only illuminated a very small part of the Sanctuary. To compensate for this Solomon had ten very large candlesticks made so there was plenty of light for the priest to work.

In Revelation we're told that there is no need of the sun where the true Church resided because the Lord Himself is the light of it. We think this means there is to be no more sun or moon and that everyone will be living by the light of God only. But a careful reading of Revelation shows us this is not so. It is those who live in the city (and bear in mind this is not an actual city but rather a condition of the people called a city that is being spoken of here) who will be in the light of God. There are still people outside the city called "nations" inhabited by "dogs" and those who chose not to strive to perfect themselves as the Bible instructs us to do. These people will experience the light of those who live by the light of God, as did the Israelites when Moses' face shown after being in the presence of God.

If we want to be in the presence of the Holy Spirit, we must go to where the Holy Spirit resides and is at work.

Am I saying God does not talk to those who do not participate in the Babylonian system? Not at all. In fact I was totally outside the system when I had my strongest encounters with the Lord. But I noticed it was not long before the Lord called in to the system. And it is in the system where I learn about the Babylonian system, why it is in the mess it's in, and what I must do about myself in order to remain unpolluted by the system. A rose, when it compares itself to the daises around it may feel quite tall and beautiful. But when it is placed next to a cherry tree in bloom, it's significance fades. Those in the Babylonian church are mirrors to those in the true Church. We don't judge the mirrors we are to look into that reflect the problems that we ourselves possess, we judge the one creating the reflection, and we wash where we find imperfection.

Since I am being shown the errors of the system, one might suspect it to be my job to point out the errors I see and to try and correct them. This is what I supposed when I was first presented with the situation. After a few failed attempts, having accomplished nothing but to stir up ire, I recognized that it was not my job to correct anyone, nor to teach anyone (in the Church, just the web) nor to criticize the efforts of others. I learned it was my job to go do what I can for my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and to keep my mouth shut. And anyone who knows me knows that is a near impossibility.

We are to let our light shine, this is an instruction given to us by the Lord Himself. As we see by our shadow of Heaven, where our light is to shine is in the Church, not just to those in the darkness of sunlight.

There is yet one more piece of furniture in the Sanctuary, the Church, we need to look at and understand. At the end of the Sanctuary, just before the Vail into the Holy of Holies, is the Alter of Incense. Incense represents prayer. Even in heathen cultures we see this symbol of prayer. The smoke from a pipe is a symbol of prayer ("the Great Spirit") to the Native American Indians. Where we find incense mentioned in the Bible, we find prayer being referred to. It is in the Holy Place where prayer is found. Almost everything in the life of Jesus, and in fact in the Bible, is based on the hour of prayer in the Sanctuary. We find for instance Jesus being crucified on the third hour, the hour of prayer. And we find Him giving up the ghost at the ninth hour, the second hour of prayer in the Sanctuary. These times are not arbitrary. These times are a foreshadowing of an event in God's plan. When the priest was performing his ritual in the symbol, the foreshadow of the Church, Jesus was experiencing the real thing in His life. When you read the accounts of Jesus and the Apostles, stay aware of the number of times the third and the ninth hour is mentioned, then harken back to what else was occurring (at other times) at those hours.

Once a year the incense was carried from the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies where God resides. At this time everyone in the Sanctuary must leave. There is to be no one in the Church realm except that one person perfectly prepared for the presence of the Lord. Prayer is conducted, and heard in the Church (Mat 18:20). We see where time after time the Jews, and the Christians who were not so righteous, cried out to God and He heard them. There is one prayer the Lord hears from the unrighteous, and that is the plea to return to God and to be covered with His righteousness (Jer 3:20-23; Mal 3:7).

There will come a time when the incense will be taken behind the Vail and the prayers God will hear are by those who have prepared themselves to be in His presence.

We are told from all the pulpits that the Vail of the Temple was rent when Jesus died. And we hear from each and every pastor that this means we can all wander willy-nilly into the presence of God. Where do these preachers get such a notion? We might assume the concept comes from the Bible and from the Holy Ghost. But is it possible someone came up with the idea, it sounded good, so everyone in Babylon jumped on the idea and spread it as Gospel?

When we hear of the Vail being rent at the time Jesus died there are some things that apparently are not known or understood by the theologians and the preachers in Babylon. One such thing is that when the Vail is open, no one can be in the presence of the Vail except the High Priest. We might be priests in the Babylonian church, but we're not allowed to even see the Vail, leastwise to enter into it.

Another thing missed by the theologians is what is recorded in the Old Testament account of the building of Solomon's Temple. We find there were three doors built in the Temple. The first of these doors was build outside the porch leading into the Temple area. We might think of such a door as the door to our porch. The porch is not actually a part of the house, but yet it is part of the house. This door would be representative of the gate that leads into the courtyard of the Tabernacle in the wilderness (2Chron 4:9-10). The second door we come to is a part of the Temple itself and is the entry way into the Holy Place, the Sanctuary we think of as the Church age. Both these doors, as is the one to be described, are very large and tall doors that fold much as do the doors to many of our closets (1Kings 6:34-35). The final door we come to is the one that leads into the Holy of Holies. This door is like the others except it has engravings on it of Cherubim and is covered with gold (1Kings 6:31-32). Have you pictured what I said? There is a door blocking the way to the Holy of Holies!

In the book of Chronicles there is given a mention of a Vail being made, and that Vail is like the one described as hanging between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle (2Chron 3:14). However there is no mention of this Vail being hung anywhere. I assume the Vail is hung over the door that leads to the Holy of Holies. But even if there is a Vail hung there, and even if it did rent from top to bottom, there is a door blocking the way to the Holy of Holies, and it didn't rent!

"Ye be blind leaders of the blind."

In the final years of my father's life he was totally blind. In his blindness he saw and experienced things none of the rest of us could see. He saw cats standing a our feet. He would lay in bed and see the scenery as it passed as he traveled on the back of a truck through various parts of the country. There was no way of convincing my father that what he saw was not real, nor was there any reason to. It would have changed nothing for him to see the truth, because he was still blind.

Babylon creates a condition of blindness. Because of blindness we find that everyone in a given denomination only accepts and believes what they are told by that denomination to believe. When a person becomes a member of a segment of Babylon they are handed a pair of blinders and told to only look at what is presented to them by their blind leaders. And their blind leaders, rather than looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance, look to their own theologians, their own commentaries, and their own teachers. What was distorted hundreds of years ago is still being distorted today. Consider this to be much like the great clock that all other clocks are set to. If that clock is off by two seconds, then all clocks of the world would be off by two seconds. If a straight edge ruler has a slight bow in it, and it is used to determine the straightness of all other straight edges, all the truly straight rulers will have been discounted as crooked because they don't conform to the accepted rule. The fact that what a given denomination accepts as truth came from someone who was willing to break from the systematic view and shed new light on a given subject does not hinder our great minds from abstaining from doing the same thing. New light is given to us constantly, but we remain blind to new light because we prefer the old light, even if that light has grown dim and has been proven to be of faulty construction. Jesus referred to this as the placing of new wine in old wine skins. The container must be new also, otherwise the new will break the old container. He also said those who have grown used to the old will not accept the new regardless of its quality. However this does not mean that everything new is better than the old, we can see this by the ever-growing new things that are coming on the world and destroying it. Everything has to be judged by the straight edge ruler of the Word. New information is not being given to us. Any new information should be rejected immediately. There is a vast difference between new light and new information. The information itself does not change, only the way that information is seen, and how clearly it is seen is changed.

Being a part of the True Church means keeping one's ear to the True Shepherd and not to those who claim to be shepherds of the Babylonian church.

Does any of what I've said mean I believe those in the Babylonian church won't be saved? I've said many times in my writings that I have no idea what saved means, nor what the qualifications are for being saved. Being saved to me would be hell after what I've seen of God's plan. The Babylonian church strives to reach the lowest level necessary, according to whatever denomination they belong to, that will allow them into Eternity. As I run the race I only see the finish line, and I only see success, or I see failure. To be an "also ran," even if that means second place, is total failure. Again we see this in Paul's life. Paul had salvation, he was never concerned with making it in to the Pearly Gates. But if he was not able to stand with His Lord and serve Him day and night, which requires being in the same "form" as the Lord Himself, then he wasn't interested in being a part of the show.

What is the Babylonian church? What is the True Church? Is there a picture of these we can see in order to understand the difference? How about a side-by-side comparison?

Yes, Jesus left us with exactly that, a side-by-side comparison of the Church He gave His life for, and the church He found unacceptable. Read the 2nd and the 3rd chapters of Revelation and you will see, in big red letters, just what Jesus is looking for. First Jesus described a church that was either falling over the edge, or teetering on the verge of being cast out of His Church. Seven Churches were described, each having their strengths, and each having their weaknesses. This is a picture of the Church as a whole, not as individual churches or periods of time. Jesus gave praise to those who were upholding His desire for them, and He gave warning for those areas that needed work. In order to know what Jesus expects of His Church, of us, we must look at each of these points and compare them to our own church, and to our own lives. If we make ourselves perfect, but the church is failing, we fail with it. If the church is doing perfectly, and we have rough areas in our life, then we fail and we cause our church to fail as well. We, if not performing as the Lord has instructed, are as leaven in the church, and the church, by allowing us to remain in it, is polluting itself. Consider the Corinthian church and how it finally handled the man flaunting his relationship with his father's wife. And remember Achan how his small bit of selfishness brought down his entire nation.

We are not in this alone. We are part of a body, and when one part of the body hurts or fails, the entire body is at risk.

Along with the strengths and the weakness of each of the Churches we find Jesus ending His sermons and warnings with something that is entirely different from what went on before. He is no longer speaking to the Babylonian Church that is just trying to maintain, He is talking to the Woman clothed with the sun, the Manchild company, those who are like Paul and will accept nothing less than total obedience and acceptance. He is talking to those who have their eye on the prize of the High Calling. He is talking to the Overcomer who strives to overcome as He has overcome. These are the ones who will be with Him, who will see His face, and who will be in the Temple of God throughout eternity.

If you are struggling to fit in to this last category, then a light bulb just went off in your head. If you are merely hoping for a little shack in Glory, my words fell on deaf ears.

I hope you have ears with which to hear.


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