The Church Of The Laodiceans: They Exist Today
By Rick Gedeon
These four series of articles on what I believe who and what the church of the Laodiceans are, are dedicated to the thousands of my former many godly brethren, perhaps as much as 40,000 former members of The Worldwide Church of God who left the church after the 1995 changes in doctrine to traditional Christianity that caused such disulusionment in them that they no longer attend any sort of Christian church due to the confusion over the truth they understood that the Old Covenant in its letter form was truly done away with as the church in 1995 rightly proclaimed, but that also confused them further because they know that what traditional Christianity teaches are nothing but ancient pagan lies underneath the truth that Jesus is the Savior of the world. My hope is that some of them will find this site and read and understand (and a few have) these four articles on this church era of Laodicea that they were at one time members of, and come to see through all the babylonial confusions they have been subject to, understand them, and be renewed in absolute faith and strength in Christ and God in a new perspective through these four articles. As for traditional Christians who have no knowledge of the history of the WWCOG, these articles will be confusing and probably hard to read, boring and hard to digest-sorry, but I was compelled to write them, and as the apostle Paul said in 1Cor. chapter 7 and verse 40:
"...and I think I also have the Spirit of God"
"And to the messenger of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. “Because you say, ‘I am rich and have become wealthy and have need of nothing’---- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked---- “I council you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten, Therefore be zealous and repent. “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door’ I will come into him and dine with him, and him with Me. “To him who overcomes I will grant with Me to sit on My throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 3:14-22).”
To this day, from the mid 1980’s as a former member of the Worldwide Church of God, I still believe that the seven churches of Rev. chapters 2 and 3, as the WCOG taught before it became completely apostate by the mid 1990's, are seven distinct groups of the church of God founded by Jesus Christ at His first coming that would ascend up through this present evil world till His second return, yet in the future, but not necessarily in the chronological order laid out in Rev. chapters 2 and 3. Click on this site at http://www.biblestudy.org/maps/seven-churches-revl-map.html and you will see this city/church of Laodicea clustered closely with the other six churches of Revelation: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyritira, Sardis, and Philadelphia. What is also interesting geographically is if you start with the town of Ephesus and go north you will see the succession of the seven churches in the shape of an arrow ascending north, then descending south to the last church city mentioned, Laodicea. The city of Laodicea also is closer in proximity to Jerusalem then the other six cities. But also notice the many other cities where Christian churches were in existence in Asia Minor at the same time in Macedonia and Greece, as well as Laodicea. Why wasn’t this book of Revelation commanded to be sent to these churches that existed also at the same time as well as the specific seven in Revelation? Christ distinctly commanded John to send the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ only to these specific seven churches in these specific cities as testified in Rev. 1:11. Most traditional Christian churches today say they represent the strengths and problems all their churches have had to deal with since the church began around 33 A.D., such as being lethargic, dead or immorally corrupt, and are not specific eras, but notice one of the messages of scripture sent to the church of Philadelphia; the sixth church mentioned in Rev. 3:10:
“Because you have kept the command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those that dwell on the whole earth.”
Is this some event that has happened to all the traditional churches and the world at one time or another since the church began in 33 A.D. as many teach in traditional Christianity today, or does it refer to a specific event in time that will happen to the followers of Christ? The truth is that this scripture is speaking of some great event to take place in the future, involving some great trial that will involve the whole world. Again, this writer believes and teaches that the seven churches are seven distinct groups of the church of God, and this article series will mainly focus on the church named after the city of Laodicea, which this writer claims emerged into prominence in the 1930’s, later falling into splintered groups, and exist at this very time as other articles on this site have eluded to. This church recently also gave birth to the church of Sardis, an extremely small group of unorganized Christians, who, through the revelation of the Spirit of grace, strive to walk according to the faith once delivered to the saints in the spirit of the law (Jude 3), the spiritual revelation of Jesus Christ through the hidden written code of the Old Covenant law. This writer also states here that although these church groups appear in what appears as a chronological order, it does not mean that they existed or exist alone. AS A WITNESS, Laodicea is existing together right now with Sardis; with the members of Sardis mostly composed of those who came out of Laodicea and just recently began to come into being, and will in time give way to the church of Philadelphia in the future and then Philadelphia will then co-exist with Laodicea at Christ‘s return. Now let me confuse you some more. Although Laodicea is the last church mentioned in Rev. chapter 3:14-22, it’s foundation started with the practicing Christians in Jerusalem and Judea after the birth of Christianity in Jerusalem, and at that time these Christians continued to keep the law of Moses in ignorance at that time along with belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior for salvation, as you will soon be witnessed to.
About The City Of Laodicea
The ancient city of Laodicea was founded between 561 and 523 B.C. by Antiochus II Theos, king of Syria, and was named in honor of his wife Laodike. It was located on the river Lycus in the Roman province of Asia Minor, and was the chief city of that region. It also was in close proximity to the city of Colosea, just 11 miles away. In the city there was also a large Jewish population. It was known as a very wealthy city in banking and finance. In 60 A.D. it was destroyed by an earthquake, but by the great wealth of the city’s residents, it was able to rebuild itself without any outside assistance from Rome. The city was also known for it's manufacturing of clothing and was famous for producing black wool. It was also known for it’s schools of medicine that included the production of eye salve. One distinct aspect of the city was that it received water from the hot springs of Hieropolis six miles away, but by the time it reached the city it was no longer hot, but lukewarm. Now the early church that was founded there WAS MENTIONED FIVE TIMES in the epistle to the Colossians and Paul (the restrainer) commanded that this epistle to the Colossians BE SENT TO LAODICEA TO BE READ. Why? Because there was a certain error that the Colossians were committing at that time that the church of God at Laodicea must have also fallen into, and possibly deeper, and the churches of God or churches of Laodicea; the splintered groups that came out of the Worldwide Church of God that exist today are practicing this same error (NOT IDOLOUTROUS PAGAN HERESY) that will be corrected when they go through the great tribulation, and will be purified of this error, ending with martyrdom due to their repentance through pure and complete faith in Christ as the spiritual fulfiller of the Old Covenant law. This will be laid out in these articles of the errors of this church.
The Controversy Begins With The Gospel Paul Preached
I remember many of the writings of Herbert W. Armstrong when I joined the church in early 1986. He founded the Radio Church of God in the 1930’s, WHICH BEGAN THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA (as a witness), and later the Worldwide Church of God, WHICH WAS THE EMERGENCE OF LAODICEA INTO PROMINANCE. I remember quite well the sermons preached in the WCOG about the “true gospel.” What was the true gospel? Mr. Armstrong preached that the true gospel of Christ had been suppressed for over 1,900 years; the gospel of the kingdom of God in Matt. 24:14 and Mk. 1:14-15; the time when Christ would return and set up a 1,000 year reign with the called saints of God after 6,000 years of man's rule under the sway of Satan, and Satan, at the time of Christ’s return would be bound for 1,000 years. The world would then be filled with the knowledge of God and enjoy peace and prosperity both spiritually and physically. He claimed that pagan traditional Christianity changed the gospel to simply a gospel about the person of Christ, and thus the gospel of the kingdom of God became perverted and watered down. He claimed that you must believe in the true gospel as binding for salvation and also taught that the Ten Commandments, weekly physical Sabbath on Saturday, and the Old Testamment annual yearly physical Sabbaths, the written code outlining the step by step plan of salvation for all of mankind through Christ, was also bound along with the belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for salvation. He also taught that the Old Testament law of clean and unclean meats was still in effect as well as the three tithe system in the Old Covenant law of Moses. Much of this must have been driven by the undeniable truth he shockingly discovered and exposed that traditional Christianity was overrun with idolatrous pagan doctrines that were cloaked in the belief in the true God and his Christ: THE BABYLONIAN MYSTERY RELIGION OF REV. 17:1-5 absorbed over time BY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, and originating over 4,000 years ago from the city of Babylon. After Mr. Armstrong died in Jan. 1986, the leaders who took control of the church, one by one dismantled his doctrines, and in 1995 realized rightly through the gospel Paul preached, or re-preached to the Galatians, was that the law which began with the Ten Commandments, the law that imputes sin to the believer (1Tim. 1:9-11) was done away with at the death of Christ on the stake along with the law of Moses as testified in Gal. 4:21 and 30:
“TELL ME, YOU WHO DESIRE TO BE UNDER THE LAW; (LAW THAT CONVICTS YOU AS A SINNER-“THOUGH SHALT NOT"). Do you not hear the law? For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh (body of sin in Rom. chapters 6 and 7), and he through the free woman by promise (righteousness through Christ in Rom. chapter 5), which things are symbolic. FOR THESE ARE THE TWO COVENANTS: THE ONE FROM MT. SINAI IN ARABIA AND COROSPONDS TO JERUSALEM WHICH NOW IS, IN BONDAGE (THE CONTINUAL REMEMBRANCE OF SIN) WITH HER CHILDREN (OLD COVENANT LAW)…” "Nevertheless what does the scripture say? CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON (THE COVENANT AT SINIA), for the son of the bondwoman (Old Covenant or shadow) shall not be heir with the son of the free woman (New Covenant or reality of the shadow).”
Now what exactly was this covenant at Mt. Sinai? Plain, simple, and again, UNDENIABLE. It was at it’s core, the TEN COMMANDMENTS! Notice this undeniable truth again in Ex. 34:28:
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I HAVE MADE A COVENANT WITH YOU AND WITH ISRAEL.” So he (Moses) was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. AND HE WROTE ON THE TABLETS THE WORDS OF THE COVENANT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (ON MT. SINAI).
In Duet. 9:10-11 Moses also testified of this same truth to all Israel:
"Then the Lord delivered me TWO TABLETS OF STONE written by the finger of God. AND ON THEM WERE WRITTEN ALL THE WORDS THAT THE LORD HAD SPOKEN TO YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN FROM THE MIDST OF THE FIRE IN THE DAY OF THE ASSEMBLY. And it came to pass, at the end of forty days and forty nights, THAT THE LORD GAVE ME THE TWO TABLETS OF STONE, THE TABLETS OF THE COVENANT.”
What about this scripture in the New Testament book of Hebrews when the author was describing the Old Testament tabernacle. Notice chapter 9 and verses 1 through 4:
“Then indeed EVEN THE FIRST COVENANT had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lamp stand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is the Holiest of all, which had the golden censer AND THE ARK OF THE COVENANT overlaid with pure gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, AND THE TWO TABLETS OF THE COVENANT…”
If you can’t see this truth well, I guess you never will until the time of your visitation: especially you of Laodicea!. Remember when one accepts and follows Christ, he is imputed with the gift of the perfection of Christ (Rom. 5:17), and is no longer under the LAW OF SIN that implies that he or she has the potential to commit the sins contained in the Ten Commandments (1Tim. 1:9-11).
Now back to Paul and Galatians, notice chapter 1:6:
“I marvel that you are turning so soon from Him (God) who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; BUT THERE ARE SOME (Christian Judaisers) WHO TROUBLE YOU AND WANT TO PERVERT THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST."
Now notice the boldness of Paul to proclaim this to the Galatians in 1:11-12:
“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me IS NOT ACCORDING TO MAN. FOR I NEITHER RECEIVED IT FROM MAN, NOR WAS I TAUGHT IT, BUT IT CAME THROUGH THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST."
Notice it was preached to him, BUT NOT BY ANY MAN! Now notice verses 15-17:
“But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I DID NOT IMMEDIATELY CONFER WITH FLESH AND BLOOD, NOR DID I GO UP TO JERUSALEM TO THOSE WHO WERE APOSTLES BEFORE ME; BUT I WENT TO ARABIA, AND RETURNED AGAIN TO DAMASCUS. THEN AFTER THREE YEARS I WENT UP TO SEE PETER…”
So here Paul is boldly stating that he was not taught the gospel by flesh and blood-THE TWELVE ORIGIAL APOSTLES OF CHRIST, and that it was quite some time before he met some of these original apostles that spent three and one half years with Jesus. So who imparted Paul with such knowledge of Christ and the gospel? Why it was none other than Christ Himself when Paul probably went to Arabia. Notice this revealing verse in 1Cor. 9:1 where Paul was trying to explain to the Corinthians his right to receive wages by making his living by preaching the gospel full time as a chief apostle of the Lord:
“Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? HAVE I NOT SEEN JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD?”
There must have been a time very early in Paul’s conversion; whether in visions (2Cor. 12:1-7) or in reality, that Christ appeared to Paul and opened up the spiritual meaning of the Law and the Prophets to him, and how they were to be fulfilled by Christ Himself, AND ONE OF THE TRUTHS JESUS REVEALED TO HIM IN DETAIL WAS HOW HE FORMERLY DID, AND WOULD LATER FULFILL THE WHOLE LAW AND THE PROPHETS, AND THAT THE OLD TESTAMENT/OLD COVENANT LETTER OF THE LAWS WERE NO LONGER BINDING ON ALL CHRISTIANS; BOTH TO GENTILES AND JEWS FOR SALVATION, ALONG WITH BELIEF IN HIM AS SAVIOR. And why choose Paul who persecuted the church so ruthlessly, and hated the Lord exceedingly before his astounding conversion?
I: Paul was a Pharisee, a highly educated man from Tarsus; a city that was known throughout the world as a city of high education and knowledge, and by these qualities those born in this city were automatically granted Roman citizenship, and Paul, born in this city as a Roman citizen was a man who was taught at the feet of one of the greatest and respected Pharisees of his day: Gamalial (Acts. 5:34-39). Because of this he knew the shadow Old Covenant law, Prophets and the Psalms up and down and inside and out: not like the other established 12 apostles of Christ who the rulers in Jerusalem described as "unlearned and untrained men" in Acts 4:13.
II: Because Paul knew the Law inside and out it was easier for Paul to grasp the true spiritual meanings of the Old Testament shadows of the law that would be fulfilled by Christ. Of His 12 original apostles He said this thing in the gospel of John chapter 16:12 that:
"I have many more things to say to you but at this time you would not be able to bear it."
Ten years after Christ rose from the dead, Peter revealed that he was still keeping the Old Testament shadow law of clean and unclean meats in Acts chapter 10:13-16; where as Paul later wrote that there was no food unclean of itself in Rom. 14:9, and that the kingdom of God was not in eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit as noted in Rom. 14:17.
III: Paul had an extremely obsessive personality, especially when it came to God and the Pharisaical religion, demonstrating this trait by rising higher in the rank of a Pharisee “more than his contemporaries” as noted in Gal. 1:13-14, and by vehemently persecuting the church, “trying to destroy it,” and Christ turned his obsessive personality into a great strength to use him to spread the gospel to the known world. On top of this he was never married and was able to give his whole life to the ministry of the gospel as noted in 1Cor. chapter 7.
So again, Paul boldly proclaimed to the Galatians that the gospel he preached was not revealed to him by flesh and blood, but by the Lord Jesus Himself. And what was this gospel? It was that A MAN is justified BY FAITH, and faith alone in Jesus Christ to become heirs of the kingdom of God, and to be sons of God apart from the works of the letter or shadow of the Law, beginning with the physical circumcision of Abraham, and not just circumcision, but the whole Law given at Sinai four hundred and eighty years later as mentioned earlier in this article in Galatians chapter 4. Read what Rom. 3:20-22 says:
“Therefore by the deeds of the law NO FLESH shall be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God APART FROM THE LAW IS REVEALED, BEING WITNESSED BY THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS, EVEN THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD, THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, TO ALL AND ON ALL WHO BELIEVE. FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE.”
I must say that verse 21 just blows me away. There is a part of God’s church out there that again, have half their faith in the Old Covenant letter of the revelation of Jesus, and half their faith in the New Covenant reality of that letter: Jesus Christ, and don’t have a clue at this time of this error and what this scripture implies! I love that above scripture. No wonder Peter said that many of Paul’s epistles were hard to understand; AND THEY ARE! He was an obsessively deep New Testament Christian thinker of the doctrine of Christ. Now lets notice what Paul said plainly what the gospel was. Notice 1Cor. chapter 15. If you read the whole chapter it encompasses the gospel (good news) in 2 parts that makes up the whole message of the kingdom of God Christ and Paul preached:
I: The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in which when one believes in and is justified becomes an heir of the kingdom of God (Col. 1:13) apart from the law; which again He did fulfill and will later finish by the witness of the law and the prophets.
II: By this justification the elect are raised from the dead with new spiritual glorified bodies to sit with Christ on his throne to inherit and govern that kingdom of God under the leadership of Jesus Christ in His 1,000 year reign on the earth and beyond (1Cor. 12-56).
Notice 1Cor. 15:1-4:
"Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which you are also saved (aionion or ages abiding life in the kingdom), if you hold fast that word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received (not from flesh and blood): that Christ died according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
In order to enter that kingdom you first have to believe, repent and be justified by the one who fulfilled the above act ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES, ACCORDING TO THE OLD TESTAMENT LETTER OF THE LAW AND PROPHETS WHICH POINTED TO THE SPIRIT OR INTENTION OF THAT LAW: JESUS CHRIST, AND IF AS PAUL SAID WE ARE IN THE SPIRIT AND NOT UNDER THE LETTER, THE LETTER HAS NO INFLUENCE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS AS HE WAS TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO THE GALATIANS, BEGINNING WITH THE OLD COVENANT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS (EX. 34:28). Remember this: Paul was totally educated in the doctrine of Christ long before he went up to Jerusalem to meet and fellowship with some of the apostles, and it was decided after they met that Paul would be sent to preach the word to the Gentiles, and Peter and John to those of the circumcision (the physically circumcised Jews). Now what is about to unfold in this article IS THE ACTUAL DIVISION of the gospel and faith Paul preached, and a different gospel that was being taught and practiced in Judea and Jerusalem, in which one group of Christians are still practicing to this day, (the rest of traditional Christianity is ensnared in pagan apostasy of Rev. 17:1-5, and 15) according to what was being taught among the Christians in Jerusalem, and one small scattered group of Christians that came out of the other group and walk according to the gospel of Paul: justification through complete faith in Christ and walking in the Spirit of, and the entire fulfillment of that Law: Jesus Christ.
The Conference At Jerusalem
Those who diligently read the bible should be very familiar with the Jerusalem Conference held in about 50 A.D. that settled the dispute over the controversy whether a Gentile believer must be physically circumcised as well as belief in Christ to be saved (HINT)! The believers who were of the Pharisees even said at the conference that the believer in Christ must also keep the law of Moses, or the entire Old Covenant law to be saved along with belief in Christ as Savior. This conference over this dispute was brought later to the attention of the Galatians through Paul, calling the ones who tried to pervert them as “false brethren” or Christians in error as James, the Lord’s brother pointed out later at this conference. Read Gal. 2:1-4 about this:
"Then after fourteen years I (Paul) went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and also took Titus with me. AND I WENT UP BY REVELATION (BY JESUS) AND COMMUNICATED TO THEM THAT GOSPEL WHICH I PREACH AMONG THE GENTILES (REVEALED BY JESUS), BUT PRIVATELY TO THOSE WHO WERE OF REPUTATION, LEST BY ANY MEANS I MIGHT RUN, OR HAD RUN IN VAIN. YET NOT EVEN TITUS, BEING A GREEK, WAS COMPELLED TO BE (PHYSICALLY) CICUMCISED.”
And why did Paul, Barnabas and Titus go up to Jerusalem to settle this dispute:
“AND THIS OCCURRED BECAUSE OF FALSE BRETHREN (JUDAIZING CHRISTIANS) SECRETLY BROUGHT IN (WHO CAME IN BY STEALTH TO SPY OUT OUR LIBERTY WHICH WE HAVE IN CHRIST JESUS, THAT THEY MIGHT BRING US INTO BONDAGE), TO WHOM WE DID NOT YIELD TO SUBMISSION EVEN FOR ONE HOUR THAT THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL (SPIRIT OF THE LAW AND NOT THE LETTER) MIGHT CONTINUE WITH YOU.”
So off to Jerusalem went Paul, Barnabas and Titus to settle this dispute over physical circumcision having to be bound on the Gentiles for salvation as well as belief in Christ. Now what was revealed there is something bible scholars have missed that later in the book of Acts proves the identity of the church of Laodicea that LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR THE EMERGED CHURCH OF LAODICEA into prominence in the past 80 years. Now lets read about this conference in which was determined the decision THAT CIRCUMCISION AND THE KEEPING OF THE LAW OF MOSES WAS NOT BOUND TO BE KEPT BY THE GENTILES, (HINT, HINT AGAIN)! Lets read and comment about the conference starting in Acts chapter 15:1-2 after Paul and his companions arrived back in the city of Antioch after visiting other churches in other cities and strengthening them to continue in the faith:
And certain men (Jewish Christians) came down from Judea (to Antioch) and taught the brethren(fellow Gentile Christians), “Unless you are circumcised ACCORDING TO THE COSTOM OF MOSES, YOU CANNOT BE SAVED.” Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissention and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, TO THE APOSTLES AND ELDERS, ABOUT THIS QUESTION."
Now lets analyze this. Certain men, probably of some prominence of the Christian church in Judea, who were believers in Christ, came down to the Gentile city of Antioch and began to teach Gentile believers, believers that the apostle Paul was teaching for at least fourteen years according to the gospel he received from the mouth of the Lord Jesus himself, that they had to be physically circumcised in order to be saved, contrary to the gospel Paul received not from flesh and blood, but from Christ, in which he later boldly revealed to the Galatians when he was correcting them of this same error. Now lets pick up the account in verses 4 and 5:
“And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and by the elders; and they reported all things God had done with them. BUT SOME OF THE SECT OF THE PHARICEES WHO BELIEVED ROSE UP, SAYING, “IT IS NECESSARY TO CIRCUMCISE THEM AND COMMAND THEM TO KEEP THE LAW OF MOSES.”
Now not only was the question now about circumcision, binding for salvation, but now also whether the Gentiles needed to keep the entire Old Covenant law of Moses along with belief in Christ to be saved. This proves that this was the prevailing practice of the Christian churches in Judea, and especially at Jerusalem as we will later see. One thing is certain; no where in the 4 gospels did Jesus ever come out straight forward and reveal to the 12 apostles that the Old Covenant Law was to later be done away even at his ascension into heaven, but later revealed to the apostle Paul that the letter of the law was no longer binding for salvation.
The Beginning Debate
Now let’s read the actual debate over the controversy of the Gentiles having to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in Acts 15:6-11:
“Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: “Men and brethren. You know that a good while ago, God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles SHOULD HEAR THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL AND BELIEVE. SO GOD WHO KNOWS THE HEART, ACKNOWLEDGED THEM BY GIVING THEM THE HOLY SPIRIT, JUST AS HE DID TO US, AND MADE NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN US AND THEM, PURIFIYING THEIR HEARTS BY FAITH. NOW THEREFORE, WHY DO YOU TEST GOD BY PUTTING A YOKE ON THE NECK OF THE DISCIPLES WHICH NEITHER OUR FATHERS NOR WE WERE ABLE TO BEAR? BUT WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST WE SHALL BE SAVED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THEY.”
Now listen to what Peter said again. He said that God made NO distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles purifying their hearts as well as the Jews by the grace of the Lord Jesus: by faith in Christ, AND THAT THEY BOTH WOULD BE SAVED IN THE SAME MANNER: BY FAITH. Peter knew first hand about this when in Acts chapter 10 he was called by God to the house of Cornelius, a Gentile, to preach the word to him and his family and friends, and after they believed the word, the Holy Spirit fell on them, and Peter then commanded them to be baptized into the faith. Now Peter realized then and there that through faith in Jesus a man or woman was justified apart from the works of the law as noted later in Galatians by Paul, for in Acts 10:34-35, before he preached the word in Cornelius’ house he said to them:
Then Peter opened his mouth and said:
“IN TRUTH I PERCIEVE THAT GOD SHOWS NO PARTIALITY. BUT IN EVERY NATION (WITHOUT THE LAW OF MOSES) WHOEVER FEARS HIM AND WORKS RIGHTEOUSNES IS ACCEPTED BY HIM.”
Now lets go back to Acts 15:12-29 and read the conclusion of the conference AND IT WILL BE SHOWN THERE AND LATER IN ACTS THAT THIS PROBLEM WAS NOT RESOLVED!!:
“Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles. And after that they had become silent, James (the Lord’s brother and leader of the church at Jerusalem) answered, saying, “Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at first visited the Gentiles to take out a people for His name. And with this word the prophets agree, just as it is written:
'After this I will return and rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up: So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord. Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does all these things.’
Now lets continue on in verse 18:
“Known to God from eternity are all His works. Therefore I judge that we (Jews) should not trouble those from among the gentiles who are turning to God, but that we (the Christian Jews in Jerusalem) write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols (such as later: Christmas and Easter), from sexual immorality from things strangled, and from blood.
Now lets skip down to verses 23-29 and read the letter to the Gentiles in Antioch that circumcision and the keeping of the letter of the law was not required of them along with belief in Christ:
They wrote this letter by them:
The apostles, the elders and the brethren,
To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:
Since we heard that some WENT OUT FROM US have troubled you with words (Jewish Christians), unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law”- to whom we gave no such commandment-it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also support the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us, to lay no other burden (on you) than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.
Now I want you to pay close attention to the words of James in verse 21, before this letter was written, a scripture that seems out of context; first in the NKJV version:
“FOR MOSES HAS HAD THROUGHOUT MANY GENERATIONS THOSE WHO PREACH HIM IN EVERY CITY, BEING READ IN THE SYNAGOGUES EVERY SABBATH. ”
The Concordant Literal New Testament reads it this way:
“FOR MOSES, FROM ANCIENT GENERATIONS, CITY BY CITY, HAVE THOSE
WHO ARE HERALDING HIM, BEING READ IN EVERY SABBATH IN THE SYNAGOGUES.”
And from the Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible:
“FOR MOSES OUT OF ANCIENT GENERATIONS HATH IN EVERY CITY THEM WHO PROCLAIM HIM; SEEING THAT IN THE SYNAGOGUES HE IS READ.”
Now James, when he spoke these words was speaking them to the other apostles (not Paul) and elders that were present, AND THE CONCLUSION OF THIS STATEMENT IS THAT AS THE SAYING GOES: WHAT WILL BE GOOD FOR THE GOOSE WILL NOT BE FOR THE GANDER!! IN OTHER WORDS, THOUGH IT WAS OKAY FOR THE GENTILES NOT TO ATTACH THE LAW OF MOSES ALONG WITH BELIEF IN CHRIST IT WAS NOT SO FOR THEM, AND THAT MOSES WOULD CONTINUE TO BE PREACHED AMONG THEM FOR CONTINUING GENERATIONS. The church at Jerusalem never came to the conclusion that hey, if the Gentiles do not have to be physically circumcised and keep the Old Covenant law of Moses, again, the shadow of the very Being they were claiming to be their Savior, then the same must apply to us. THEY DID’T HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE OR UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL IMPARTED TO PAUL ALSO APPLIED TO THEM, AND PAUL TO TRY TO IMPART THIS TRUTH TO THESE CHRISTIANS, ESPECIALLY IN THE HEART OF JERUSALEM, WITH THE TEMPLE and the sacrificial rituals STILL PRESENT WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ALMOST IMMPOSSIBLE! It appears only the apostle Peter clearly understood by his decree at the conference, but later in Antioch when he was with Paul freely interacting with the Gentile brethren, melted like ice cream on a 100 degree day when prominent Christian Jews OF THE PHYSICAL CIRCUMCISION came to visit them. Peter, knowing by the experience with Cornelius, the first Gentile convert; that there was no distinction between the Jew and a Gentile “played a hypocrite” and withdrew himself from eating and fellowshipping with the Gentile brethren for fear of these prominent Jewish Christians: and the custom of eating with Gentiles is not even in the law, but was a “custom of the elders.” Here then took place the famous rebuke by Paul withstanding Peter to the face for his hypocracy (Gal. chapter 2:11-14). In ending this segment, the Jerusalem conference took place in about 50 A.D. and the conclusion here was that the Gentiles were not bound to keep the law of Moses and be circumcised in order to be saved along with the belief in Jesus as ones Savior who purifies the heart through faith, the truth that was revealed to Paul after his conversion, and to Peter when Cornelius, a Gentile and his household believed and received the Holy Spirit, and when he proclaimed at the Jerusalem conference that God did not distinguish between a Jew and a Gentile, BUT THAT BOTH JEW AND GENTILE ALIKE WERE PURIFIED BY CHRIST. But the Jewish Christians appeared to still feel that they were bound to physical circumcision and the letter of the Law as well as faith in Christ, and when Paul arrived back in Jerusalem for the last time several years later the scriptures will testify that the Jewish Christians were still practicing the same things!
Paul's Final Return To Jerusalem And The Christianity Practiced By The Jews In Jerusalem
When Paul returned to Jerusalem for the last time it was prophesied by many that chains (imprisonment) would await him there but he was determined no matter what, to be in Jerusalem by the day of Pentecost; by the way not to keep because it bound him for salvation. Read what he told his brethren at Caesarea when they begged him not to go to Jerusalem in Acts 21:13:
Paul answered, “What do you mean by weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Now notice verses 15-16:
“And after those days we packed and went up to Jerusalem. Also some of the disciples from Caesarea went with us and brought with them a certain Mnaton of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we were to lodge.”
Now to the main question here. What is the truth of the gospel, and is there a distinct gospel for the Jewish Christian verses the Gentile Christian, or in other words: are we bound to certain parts of the law of Moses in the letter as well as the Spirit or are we to walk completely in the Spirit or intention of what that Old Covenant law pointed to? Before we proceed further, lets read what Paul said about the Gentile and the Jewish believer in Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 11 through 18:
“Therefore that you, once Gentiles in the flesh-who are called uncircumscision by what is called the (physical) Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, WHO HAS MADE BOTH ONE (JEW AND GENTILE), AND HAS BROKEN DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF SEPERATION (THE LAW), HAVING ABOLISHED IN HIS FLESH THE EMNITY, THAT IS, THE LAW OF COMMANDMENTS CONTAINED IN ORDINANCES, SO AS TO CREATE IN HIMSELF ONE NEW MAN FROM THE TWO, THUS MAKING PEACE, AND THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE THEM BOTH (JEW AND GENTILE) TO GOD IN ONE BODY THROUGH THE CROSS (STAKE) THEREFORE PUTTING TO DEATH THE EMNITY. And He came and preached TO YOU (GENTILES) AND TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR (JEWS). For through Him WE BOTH HAVE ACCESS BY ONE SPIRIT TO THE FATHER."
Paul goes on further and testifies in Gal. 3:28-29:
“THERE IS NEITHER JEW (CIRCUMCISION) NOR GREEK (UN-CIRCUMSISION), THERE IS NEITHER SLAVE NOR FREE, THERE IS NEITHER MALE NOR FEMALE; FOR YOU ARE ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS. AND IF YOU ARE CHRIST’S THEN YOU ARE ABRAHAM'S SEED AND HEIRS ACCORDING TO THE PROMISE.”
Now notice again this pivotal scripture in Gal. 2:16:
“Knowing THAT A MAN is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, EVEN WE HAVE BELIEVED IN CHRIST JESUS BY FAITH IN CHRIST AND NOT ACCORDING TO THE WORKS OF THE LAW; FOR BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW NO FLESH (NO NATIONALITY) SHALL BE JUSTIFIED.”
Now did you get what Paul said in that scripture? He said NO MAN, NO LIVING PERSON ON EARTH, NO JEW OR GENTILE (OTHER NATIONS) IS JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE OLD COVENANT LAW, BUT BY COMPLETE FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS ALONE. AGAIN, THE REALITY OF THE LETTER OF THAT OLD COVENANT LAW! As Paul said later in Gal. chapter 4 that the entire law that convicts a man as a sinner (1Tim. 1:9-11) was cast out and done away since through Christ sin is no longer imputed to the believer (Rom. 5:17 and 8:1). So in conclusion the Jew and gentile believer were to have sole faith in Christ to fulfill the intention of the spirit of the entire Old Covenant law as Paul noted in Gal. 6:13-14:
“For you brethren have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity in the flesh, but through love serve one another. FOR ALL THE LAW IS FULFILLED IN ONE WORD, EVEN IN THIS: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
But when Paul later returned to Jerusalem what does he get hit in the face with? The problem of the Christian Jewish believers continuing to bind the Old Covenant PHYSICAL RITUALS with the New Covenant for salvation! Lets pick up this account in Acts 21:17-20:
“And when we had come to Jerusalem the brethren received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James (the Lord’s brother) and all the elders were present.” And when he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord….."
Now Paul had presented himself before James, the head of the church of Jerusalem and Judea, and also all the prominent elders in Jerusalem and testified all the things God did through the gospel Paul preached among the Gentiles; a belief and a walk with Christ apart from the Old Covenant, the Ten Commandments, physical circumcision and the entire Law of Moses as explained to the Galatians in chapter 6, and Romans in chapter 13: that love is the fulfillment of the 10 Commandments through Christ. Now lets read what Paul hears from the elders under the apostle James as we continue in Acts 21:20-22:
“And they (the elders) said to him (Paul), “You see, brother, how many myriads (thousands) of Jews there are who have believed (in Jesus), AND THEY ARE ALL ZEALOUS FOR THE LAW (EX. 34:28 AT MT. SINAI, AND THE WHOLE LAW OF MOSES); BUT THEY HAVE BEEN INFORMED ABOUT YOU THAT YOU TEACH THE JEWS WHO ARE AMONG THE GENTILES TO FORSAKE MOSES, SAYING THAT THEY OUGHT NOT TO CIRCUMCISE THEIR CHILDREN, NOR WALK ACCORDING TO THE CUSTOMS.”
WOW!!! First of all there is no record in the New Testament that Paul ever tried to persuade a Jew to stop keeping the law, but would go into the Synagogues wherever he traveled and through the reading of the law and the prophets would attempt try to persuade and prove that Jesus was the Christ with some success, but usually ended with severe persecutions by the Jewish leaders in the Gentile cities that he preached, and it came to the point that he had finally had enough when in Acts 18:4-6 he gave up trying to convert them:
And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogues every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy had come from Macadonia, Paul was compelled by the Spirit, and testified that Jesus was the Christ. BUT WHEN THEY (JEWS) OPPOSED HIM AND BLASPHEMED, HE SHOOK HIS GARMENTS AND SAID TO THEM, “YOUR BLOOD BE UPON YOUR OWN HEADS; I AM CLEAN. FROM NOW ON I WILL GO TO THE GENTILES.”
What a dilemma for Paul!! He knew that the law was a shadow of what Christ fulfilled and would yet fulfill (Col. 2:16-17), and that the way was to worship God in spirit and truth of that law, and that spirit again was the fulfillment of the whole law by Christ (Matt 5:7-8), and learned all this by the revelation of Christ as Paul earlier noted in Galatians. But it was obvious since the council at Jerusalem several years after his final return to Jerusalem that the mindset of the leaders in Jerusalem was that physical circumcision, the Old Covenant laws and rituals, and even the customs of the elders were still bound on them as Jews for salvation along with Christ, but were not bound on the Gentiles; THUS ALL THESE JEWS WHO BELIEVED HAD HALF THEIR FAITH IN THE OLD COVENANT LAW OF MOSES, THE SHADOW OF CHRIST AND HALF THEIR FAITH IN THE NEW COVENANT, THE REALITY OF THAT SHADOW, JESUS CHRIST, AND THIS WAS PROBABLY BECAUSE THE LAW WAS SO INGRAINED IN THEM (THEIR CULTURE) THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT COULD NOT GET THROUGH TO THEM THAT THE LETTER THAT THEY WERE KEEPING WAS THE VERY SHADOW OF THE ONE THEY NOW BELIEVED IN AS THEIR LORD AND SAVIOR. THEY APPEARED TO BE SEARED WITH A HOT IRON SINCE THEY RETURNED FROM THE CAPTIVITY IN BABYLON. THEY NEVER UNDERSTOOD AT THE JERUSALEM COUNCIL THAT IF THE LAW WAS NOT BOUND ON THE GENTILES FOR SALVATION ALONG WITH CHRIST IT WAS NO LONGER BOUND ON THEM EITHER. Also, the spiritual meanings of what they were continuing in: the keeping of the Sabbath, the annual yearly seven festival Sabbaths, the animal sacrifices and such laws of the eating of clean and unclean meats, and purifications may have not been revealed or understood by these believing Jews at the time of the birth of Christianity; for again, remember, Jesus said to his 12 disciples in John 16:12:
“I still have many things to say to you, but you can not bear them now.”
Could He have been talking about the coming change of the law (Heb 10:1 and 7:12)? Again, I have said that I know people who confess they know the paganism of traditional Christianity such as Christmas and Easter and through the explanation of the spiritual meaning through Christ of the Old Testament Sabbath and Holy Days (sitting down with them and explaining them on paper) picturing the spiritual redemption of mankind, they see the truth in them, but because these pagan holidays are so ingrained in them they can’t quit keeping them even knowing they are a lie! And then there is the pressure of the majority traditional Christians, and the risk of losing friends and relatives for the sake of the truth. Jesus clearly pointed this out about many who believed in Him in John 12:43:
“Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
It is one matter to believe in Christ and worship them through pagan practices. This is gross spiritual adultery or as noted in Rev. 2:14 and 20 as spiritual sexual immorality. Moses warned the Israelites to avoid this abominable practice in Duet. 12:29-31; as also Paul warned the Corinthians. Remember Paul called the Gentiles OUT OF IDOLOTRY AND PAGANISM, and turned them to the true God and His Christ:
“When the Lord your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to disposes, and displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will also do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their Gods: for they burn even their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.”
Two Christian Churches Emerge
Now through the evidence above, the Christianity Paul preached to the Gentiles was apart from the Old Covenant shadow law of Moses in which the Christian leaders approved at the Jerusalem conference, but they themselves continued to preach Moses or the Old Covenant letter along with belief in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Paul preached to the Gentiles to walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh; in other words he did not preach simple belief in Christ to do whatever you wanted. Notice these scriptures that prove this in Rom. 6:1:
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died in sin live any longer in it?”
Paul was saying that we are to die to sin which is defined by the Ten Commandments which in it’s written code imputes us to be potential sinners (“thou shalt not”). Now since the believer is washed from his or her sins through the blood of Christ, again he or she has been given the gift of the same righteousness of Christ and the Father (Rom. 5:17), and since it is impossible for God and Jesus to sin, the same gift of the inability to sin is imputed to us; so therefore, the law that covicts us as sinners has no power over us. Notice Rom. 6:6-7:
...“knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, THAT THE BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DONE AWAY WITH, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. FOR HE WHO HAS DIED HAS BEEN FREED FROM SIN.”
And in Romans chapter 4:17 Paul testifies:
“… God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.”
It was Paul to whom was revealed by Christ that the Old Covenant and rituals were fulfilled then by Him and later will be by Him, but to the Jews it appears that if this was revealed to them it did not sink in. Peter, though knew of this truth when Cornelius was converted and when it was proclaimed by him at the Jerusalem council, and was proved again by his hypocrisy when he was with Paul. Note this in Gal. 2:11-12:
“Now when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed; FOR BEFORE CERTAIN MEN CAME FROM JAMES (keepers of both Moses and Christ), he would eat with the Gentiles: BUT WHEN THEY CAME, HE WITHDREW AND SEPERATED HIMSELF, FEARING THOSE WHO ARE OF THE CIRCUMCISION…..”
There was one of Peter’s old sins cropping up again: fear. Remember when he denied Christ three times in the gospels? And why did he deny Jesus? It was the fearful personality he had that was masked by his great impulsive proclamations such as in Mark 14:29-31:
Peter said to Him, “even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Jesus said to Him “assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
Now notice what Peter tells the Lord next:
“But he spoke MORE VEHEMENTLY, if I have to die with you, I will not deny you!”
And the proof of this impulsive yet fearful personality during the third denial in lies in
… And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” THEN HE BEGAN TO CURSE AND SWEAR “I DO NOT KNOW THIS MAN OF WHOM YOU SPEAK!”
WOW! So much for the one who vehemently said he would die with the Lord, but even went on a tirade of cursing and swearing during the third denial. Now back to Galatians 2:13:
“And the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him (Peter), so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”
It appears that these prominent Jewish Christians that came from James in Jerusalem, they were still even keeping the customs of the elders that one who was of the physically circumcised could not enter the house of a physically uncircumcised man let alone the continued keeping of the Law of Moses and belief in Christ (Acts. 10:28 and 21:21). Now notice what Paul said to Peter and the Jews who were with him in Gal. 2:14:
“But when I saw that they WERE NOT straightforward ABOUT THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL, I said to Peter before them all, IF YOU BEING A JEW, LIVE IN THE MANNER OF GENTILES (PETER WAS NOT LIVING ACCORDING TO THE JEWISH CHRISTIAN LAW, AND NOT AS THE JEWS WHO CONTINUED TO KEEP THE LAW ATTACHED TO SALVATION IN CHRIST), WHY DO YOU COMPEL GENTILES TO LIVE AS JEWS?
So through the above scriptures and Paul’s accusation laid on them when he went back to Jerusalem before his imprisonment, there were two distinct Christian churches with one attaching the Old Covenant Law to salvation along with Christ. For further proof note what the elders under the authority of James had Paul do to refute the report that he was teaching the dispersed Jews among the Gentile cities to “forsake Moses and the customs” in Acts 21:23-24:
“Therefore do what we (Christian elders at Jerusalem) tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. “Therefore take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, AND THAT ALL MAY KNOW THAT THOSE THINGS OF WHICH THEY WERE INFORMED CONCERNING YOU ARE NOTHING, BUT THAT YOU YOURSELF ALSO WALK ORDERLY AND KEEP THE LAW.”
It is so obvious now that there were two Christian faiths, for why would one need to be purified through Old Testament rituals when the Lord purified our hearts spiritually through faith as Paul had mentioned in just about all his gospels, but here he was in the midst of thousands of Jewish Christians who continued in the Law from the 10 Commandments to the customs of the elders, and as Paul, not wanting to offend or cause an uprising did what he was told and fulfilled what he said in 1Cor. 9:19-22:
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who were under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.”
So in this situation in Jerusalem, Paul became as like one of the Jewish Christians that continued to believe that the law must be kept as well as faith in Christ for salvation so he would not cause any believers in Jerusalem to stumble or cause an uproar among the Jewish believers; but remember he proclaimed to the Galatians that NO MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW BUT BY FAITH IN CHRIST AS THE SPIRITUAL FULFILLER OF THAT OLD COVENANT LAW OF MOSES AND PROCLAIMED THE LAW OF MOSES AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IN THE LETTER DONE AWAY WITH IN GALATIANS CHAPTER FOUR. It’s amazing that the Jewish Christians did not see this, for read Acts 21:25 after they told Paul to purify himself with the other four believers:
“But concerning the Gentiles WHO BELIEVE, WE (THE ELDERS) HAVE WRITTEN AND DECIDED THAT THEY SHOULD OBSERVE NO SUCH THING, EXCEPT THAT THEY SHOULD KEEP THEMSELVES FROM THINGS OFFERED TO IDOLS, FROM BLOOD, FROM THINGS STRANGLED, AND FROM SEXUAL IMMORALITY.”
So in conclusion of this segment the Christianity the Jews practiced was that of what the believing Pharisees at the Council of Jerusalem proclaimed in Acts 15:5:
But some of the Pharisees WHO BELIEVED (IN JESUS AS SAVIOR) ROSE UP, SAYING, “IT IS NECESSARY TO CIRCUMCISE THEM (GENTILES) AND TO COMMAND THEM TO KEEP THE LAW OF MOSES.”
THIS IS UNDISPUTABLE WITH THE EVIDENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES WE LOOKED AT ABOVE THAT HALF THE JEWISH CHRISTIAN FAITH FOR SALVATION WAS IN THE LAW WHICH WAS, AND IS THE SHADOW OF CHRIST, AND HALF IN THE REALITY OF THAT SHADOW: JESUS CHRIST. And how do we know that the Old Covenant law was the written code of the revelation of Christ? Read 1Cor. 10:1-4:
“Moreover brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses (type of Christ) in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all ate the same spiritual drink. FOR THEY DRANK OF THAT SPIRITUAL ROCK THAT FOLLOWED THEM, AND THAT ROCK WAS CHRIST.”
WE NOW SEE TWO CHRISTIANITIES IN THE BEGINNING: ONE THAT WORSHPED IN THE SPIRIT OR REALITY OF THE LAW WHICH WAS THE MANIFISTATION OF CHRIST: WHAT HE DID FOR THE REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD AND WHAT HE WILL YET DO IN THE FUTURE; HAVING COMPLETE FAITH IN HIM FOR SPIRITUAL COMPLETENESS TO HOLINESS AND PERFECTION, PREDOMINANTLY PRACTICED BY THE GENTILES UNDER THE DOCTRINE OF PAUL WHO BOLDLY PROCAIMED HE RECEIVED HIS DOCTRINE FROM CHRIST HIMSELF, AND ONE JEWISH CHRISTIANITY IN JUDEA AND JERUSALEM THAT RELIED ON THE REALITY, CHRIST, THE MANIFISTATION OF THE OLD COVENANT LAW, AND ALSO THE LETTERS OF THAT LAW THAT LATER MANIFESTED THE ONE THEY BELIEVED IN FOR SALVATION.
What Happened To The Church Of God Paul Established?
-“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart; in the Spirit, NOT IN THE LETTER; whose praise is not from men but from God (Rom. 2:28-29.”
-"So let no one judge you in in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, WHICH ARE A SHADOW OF THINGS TO COME, but the substance (body) of Christ (Col. 2:16-17).”
-“For the law, HAVING A SHADOW OF THE GOOD THINGS TO COME (THROUGH JESUS), and not the very image (reality of these things), can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect (Heb. 10:1).”
-“Owe no man anything except to love one another, for he who loves another HAS FULFILLED THE LAW (Rom. 13:8).”
What happened to the true and undefiled churches Paul founded and preached that they should walk in the Spirit of the law which again was the manifestation of our Lord through the written code of the Old Covenant? Paul answered this question himself while journeying back to Jerusalem for the last time. Lets read Acts 20:28-31 when he called for the elders at Ephesus to meet with him in Miletus:
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this that after my departure SAVAGE WOLVES WILL COME IN AMONG YOU NOT SPARING THE FLOCK. Also FROM AMONG YOURSELVES MEN WILL RISE UP, SPEAKING PERVERSE THINGS, TO DRAW AWAY DICIPLES AFTER THEMSELVES. THEREFORE WATCH, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn every one night and day with tears (Paul the restrainer).”
So Paul in these verses prophesied how the churches he established would eventually become corrupt and apostate.
I: Men COMMING INTO THE CHURCH that he described as savage wolves in whom Jesus warned in Matt. 24:4-5 that these men would bring in bad fruits, or in this case doctrines which would poison the flock into various pagan doctrines, thus the eventual emergence of the great harlot of Rev. 17:1-5.
II: Men FROM WITHIN THE CHURCH who would rise up and rebel against the truth, desiring to be followed for the lust of power, and also introducing perverse false heretical doctrines to separate them from other believers, thus the arising of schisms in an apostate Christian world and therefore, after the church era of Thyatira in Rev. 2:20-23, it appears that the churches and faith Paul taught them were completely overun by the Catholic church in which Jesus identifies as “that woman Jezebel” that came in among those of the pure faith and polluted them with her idolatrous pagan doctrines, and because of this Jesus pronounced a great curse on the followers of this Jezebel by saying he would cast her into a sick bed and kill her children with death. An article about what this event that took place is coming soon to this site. To this date this writer cannot find Christians in history who continued in the faith Paul preached shortly after the paganization of Christianity, but it is recorded by Josephes, the great Jewish historian that the Sabbath keeping judaizing Christians escaped out of Jerusalem before the fall of the city at the hands of the Romans in A.D. 70 to Pella for a short time and became known later as the Ebionites who continued to keep the Ten Commandments and the annual Sabbaths. After this there arose small sects of Christians who opposed many of the Catholic churches doctrines such as infant baptism, the doctrine of the trinity, the worshipping of images, and the bread and wine of the Catholic Mass becoming the actual body and blood of Christ. These sects also appeared to hold some doctrines that were contrary to scripture. Some of these small sects were known as the Paulicians, the Bogomils, the Waldenses and the Lollards. If you read such material about these sects from the splintered churches that came out of the Worldwide Church of God, they will attempt to explain in their literature that these sects were part of the seven succeeding churches of God down through the ages till this present time and that they were weekly Sabbath keepers that kept the annual Old Covenant Sabbath Feast Days, but if you read bible scholars of Catholic and Protestant faiths the Sabbath and the Feast Days are not mentioned as part of their heretical doctrines except for the Ebionites, and the Council of Nicaea headed by the Emperor Constantine in 325 A.D. declared Sabbath keeping as heresy and that Christians should rest on Sunday. If these sects were keeping these days the Catholic and Protestant scholars would have noted these heresies as well as their supposed other heresies.
The Probable Scenario
In Matt. 16:17-19 Jesus Christ said that He would build His church or as rendered in Greek His called out ones, and He told His diciples that the gates of hell or in Greek hades or death would not prevail or extinguish it. Could it be possible that His church after it became completely corrupted by the Catholic church after the forth church era of Thyatira been put on hold until the latter days, with the completion to take place at that time? Remember that we are to be the temple of God in which God and Christ dwell for the true believer. The answer may lie in the book of Ezra and Haggai.
Could the true church in which the temple of God now dwells be the reality to the shadow of the second temple that was rebuilt in Jerusalem after Solomon’s temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar?
After the seventy years of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar, a proclamation went out by King Cyrus by the inspiration of God that all Jews who were willing, return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed, even removing the foundation of it. This account is recorded in the Book of Ezra in chapter 1:1-4. Now notice what is said in verse 5:
“Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin and the priests and the Levites,with all those whose spirits God had moved (a small remnant of the Jews in Babylon) arose to go up and build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.”
Now this writer believes this temple is none other than the physical shadow of the reality of the rebuilding of the spiritual house of God after it was laid in ruins by the Catholic church, the great halot of Rev. chapter 17. Lets take a look at what happened to the churches Paul and his co workers in the Lord founded in the messages to the seven churches by Jesus Christ. The first church, Ephesus was noted for rebuffing those trying to infiltrate the church as Paul said and withstood these “false apostles" and their heresies, so this group probably had to be around the apostolic age. They were also commended for rejecting the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. This doctrine is revealed in it’s meaning in the Greek which is the doctrine of certain members of the church rising above the common lay members and lording over them and separating themselves as holier than the common lay member, a doctrine that Jesus said He hates, and warned his apostles about in Matt. 19:25-28:
…“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; BUT WHOEVER DESIRES TO BECOME FIRST AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR SERVANT. AND WHOEVER DESIRES TO BECOME GREAT AMONG YOU, LET HIM BE YOUR SLAVE-JUST AS THE SON OF MAN DID NOT COME TO BE SERVED, BUT TO SERVE AND GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY.”
This doctrine also fits Paul’s prophecy that the early church was to resist those among them that were trying to rise up and draw disciples AFTER THEMSELVES with their perverse doctrines.
The next group, Smyrna; Jesus highly commended for their richness in faith in Him to the point of martyrdom. With this group of people he found no fault, and Jesus condemns their murderers, those of the synagogue of Satan, which was not the Catholic church by the way: again another article in the future.
Now we come to a third group of the church and this is where it is noted that it is beginning to become corrupted by the mystery religion of Babylon, the Catholic church. Notice the things they are beginning to do that Jesus points out to them in Rev. 2:14-16:
“But I (Jesus) have a few things against you, because you have their those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, TO EAT THINGS SACRIFICED TO IDOLS, AND TO COMMIT SEXUAL IMMORALITY. THUS YOU ALSO HAVE THERE THOSE WHO HOLD THE DOCTRINE OF THE NICHOLAITANS, WHICH THING I HATE.”
Lets break these sins down that this church was beginning to commit, that Paul prophesied would happen to these churches he and his companions founded. One thing to note is that the committing of sexual immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols here WAS SPIRITUAL AND NOT PHYSICAL.
The doctrine of Balaam in Lev. Chapter 25 was to have Balak through the council of Balaam, entice Israel to commit sexual immorality with the Moabite/Midianite women and to worship their gods, mainly Cheemoth(Baal) because he was not allowed to curse Israel directly by the command of God, so he gave Balak advice on how to have Israel bring a curse upon themselves. So what must have been happening in the early church age was that they were beginning to mingle with and marry unbelievers who enticed them to commit spiritual sexual immorality by mixing the pure spiritual faith of the doctrine of Christ with abominable pagan idol worship and their customs; incorporating them and changing them into false forms of Christian worship. Christ also describes this as eating things: eating unclean spiritual meat sacrificed to idols. Remember Paul said it was not a sin to eat (physical) meat offered in an idols temple unless it caused a brother in the faith to stumble. For more info on this Old Testament event read the article by David Guzik entitled Numbers 25-Israel’s sin with Moab at http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/0425.htmThis sin was of the mixing of believes and non-believers was strictly forbidden at the command of the apostle Paul because of this danger of defilement in 1Cor. 6:14-18:
“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of God. As God has said:
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM. I WILL BE THEIR GOD
AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.”
“COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU.” I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU, AND YOU SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, SAYS THE LORD.”
So except for a few small Christian sects from the time of the forth church era of Thyatira it appears that the Christianity and the gospel Paul preached came to a halt or was put on hold with the emergence of the great harlot, the Catholic church which dominated Christianity until the reformation, but again it did not die, for the foundation that Paul and the other apostles laid remained in tact; and that foundation was none other than the continued belief in the Almighty Creator God and the belief that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. This pattern will be paralleled in the rebuilding of the second temple in Jerusalem where after the foundation was laid and was starting to be built on, it came to a halt or was put on hold through pagans in Samaria who were placed there after the removal of the northern kingdom of Israel by 718 B.C., and who were mixing the worship of God with heathen idol worship. This will be examined in the next article as well as the emergence of Laodicea in the early 1900’s, paving the way for the small re-establishment of “the faith once delivered to the saints.”
The Church Of Laodiceans Exist Today
By: Rick Gedeon
Now lets dive right into where we left off from the first article about the church of Laodicea. The Old Testament building of the second temple was none other than the shadow of the New Testament spiritual building of the temple of God (the church) in which Christ said the gates of death would not prevail against it, but this writer witnesses to you that the church that Jesus built, especially through the apostle Paul, and through the revelation of Jesus to the apostle John was completely overrun by the Babylonian Mystery Religion disguised as Christianity through the Catholic church (Rev. 17:1-5) and later also by her Protestant daughter churches soon after the apostolic age, and firmly established its adopted mystery religion in the name of Jesus Christ and God the Father, and the greatest testimony of the corruption of the church of God comes from Jesus’ message to the church of Thyatira until the church of Laodicea; then Sardis. AFTER THYATIRA THE CHURCH OF GOD WAS PUT ON HOLD DUE TO IT'S COMPLETE CORRUPTION BY PAGANISM AND COMMITTING FORNICATION WITH THE CARNAL GOVERNMENTS OF THIS CURRENT EVIL AGE UNDER SATAN (LK. 4:4) INSTEAD OF AWAITING FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD AT THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, AND KEEPING ITSELF UNSPOTTED FROM “THIS PRESENT EVIL WORLD." BUT THE FOUNDATION THAT HAD BEEN LAID, THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, AND THAT HE WAS THE SON OF THE ONE TRUE ALMIGHTY CREATER GOD: THE YEHOVAH (I AM), THE EL (THE STRONG OR ALMIGHTY ONE) DID NOT DIE OUT, BUT CONNTINUED, AND CONTINUES TO THIS DAY, EVEN THOUGH MOST OF WHAT IS ATTACHED TO THEM ARE FALSE PAGAN LIES BY TRADITONAL CHRISTIANITY, AND NOW THE PURE FOLLOWERS OF THE FAITH ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS ARE SLOWLY RE-EMERGING TO BEGIN TO COMPLETE THE TEMPLE OR CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD THROUGH CHRIST, AND BEGIN PREPARING THE WAY FOR THE RETURN OF THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST.
The Account Of The Rebuilding Of The Second Temple At Jerusalem
When you study about the events of the rebuilding of the physical second temple at Jerusalem, three books in the Old Testament are the keys to unlocking the mystery of the rebuilding of the New Testament spiritual temple of God. Lets again start with the book of Ezra, chapter 1:1-6:
“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: "All the kingdoms of the earth the Lord God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah. WHO IS AMONG YOU OF ALL HIS PEOPLE? MAY HIS GOD BE WITH HIM, AND LET HIM GO UP TO JERUSALEM WHICH IS IN JUDAH, AND BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL (HE IS GOD), WHICH IS IN JERUSALEM. And whoever is left in any place where he dwells (Jews who chose to remain in Babylon, at that time the kingdom of the Medes and Persians), let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill for the house of God which is in Jerusalem."
Now notice verse five:
“Then the heads of the fathers’ houses of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and the Levites, WITH ALL WHOSE SPIRITS GOD HAD MOVED (CALLED), AROSE TO GO UP TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD WHICH IS IN JERUSALEM.”
Notice it was not every Jew living in Babylon (now the kingdom of the Persians and Medes) at the decree of Cyrus who arose and were going back to build the temple, but only those that included the heads (leaders) of the fathers of Judah, Benjamin, priests, Levites, AND A SMALL REMNANT THAT WERE MOVED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THOSE WHO WERE CHOSEN OR CALLED BY GOD TO LEAVE OR COME OUT OF BABYLON AND GO TO BUILD THE TEMPLE OF GOD AT JERUSALEM.
Now lets go to Ezra and read verses 1 and the beginning of verse 2:
“Now these are the people of the province who came back from the captivity, of those who had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away to Babylon and who retuned to Jerusalem and Judah, everyone to his own city. Those who came with Zerubbabel…”
The remnant who left were led by this man Zerubbabel, and he is also mentioned as a direct ancestor of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew and Luke. If you look up the meaning of his name in Strong’s Concordance H2216, it means one born in Babylon and H2216 is derived from H2215 which means to flow away; so if you combine these meanings it appears to imply of one who came out of Babylon, and truly Zerubbabel fulfilled his name and led a remnant of Jews out of Babylon and returned to Jerusalem to build or re-build the house of God. He was also appointed governor over Judah. THIS MAN WAS NON OTHER THAN ANOTHER OLD TESTAMENT SHADOW OF JESUS CHRIST WHO WAS APPOINTED BY GOD TO BUILD THE NEW TESTAMENT SPIRITUAL HOUSE OF GOD WHO LED AND IS NOW LEADING A VERY SMALL REMNANT OUT OF THIS PRESENT DAY WORLD OF BABYLONIAN SPIRITUL AND RELIGIOUS CONFUSION. Notice this scripture in Zech. 4:6-9:
This is the word of the Lord to Zarubbabel: "NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER, BUT BY MY SPIRIT SAYS THE LORD OF HOSTS. Who are you, O great mountain (current world under Satan)? Before Zarubbabel you shall become a plain (destroyed!) And he shall bring forth the capstone ‘with shouts of Grace, grace to it!" Moreover the word of the Lord came to me saying:
"THE HANDS OF ZARUBBABEL HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE, HIS HANDS SHALL ALSO FINISH IT."
In the direct scripture above it is implying that this temple was begun to be built by Zarubbabal, put on hold, then was to be finished by this same Zarubbabel, and this is exactly what happened. Notice the account of the laying of the foundation of this second temple in Ezra chapter 3. Lets start in verses 8-11:
"Now in the second month of the second year of their coming to the (yet to be built) house of God at Jerusalem, Zerubbabal the son of Shialtial, Zodadak and the rest of their brethren and priests and the Levites, and all those who had come out of the captivity to Jerusalem, began work and appointed the Levites from twenty years old and above to oversee the work of the house of the Lord. Then Jeshua with his sons and brothers, Kadmiel with his sons, and the sons of Judah, arose as one to oversee those working on the house of God; The sons of Henadad with their sons and their brethren the Levites. When the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the Lord, the priests stood in their apparel with trumpets, and the Levites, the sons of Asaph, with symbols, to praise the Lord, according to the ordinance of David king of Israel. And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord:
“For He is good,
For His mercy endures forever
Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord had been laid.
The Spiritual Foundation Of The House Of God
Now if reviewed, a small remnant of the captivity in Babylon were called by God to return to Jerusalem and build the physical house of God beginning with the foundation. Now remember one of the major themes of the bible and this site. When you think Old Covenant, think shadow, and when you think New Covenant, think reality. Now what is the reality of this Old Testament physical foundation of the temple of God? Lets go to Eph. 2:19-20 and find part of the answer:
“Now, therefore, you (Gentiles) are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the house of God, having been BUILT ON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST BEING THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE…”
Now it is clearly pointed out here that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of the foundation of a spiritual house that would be built upon, and what is the pure definition of a cornerstone of a building? The Wikepedia Encyclopedia gives a good definition:
“The cornerstone (or foundation stone) concept is derived from the first stone set in the construction of a masonry foundation, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire structure.”
In other words this stone was laid to point to the direction that the building was to go and where the placements of the other stones would be laid in accordance to the placement of this cornerstone, and this was laid upon Christ through the direction of His Father as noted in the gospel of John chapter 5:30:
“I can of myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge: and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.”
In John 7:16 Jesus stated this:
Jesus answered them (the Jews) and said, “My doctrine is not mine, but His who sent Me.”
And in John 8:28-29 Jesus also testified:
Then Jesus said to them “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent Me is with Me.”
Now notice 1Cor. 3:11:
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, WHICH IS JESUS CHRIST.”
Now what is the purpose of the foundation of a building? Its quite obvious that it is a structure that anchors and upholds what is built on top of it, and is laid deep enough on hard stable soil that it prevents the sinking, shifting or collapse of the structure that is built upon it, and the very base of the foundation are known as the footers; the base cement structure in the shape of the building or house in which bricks are built upon. Notice Jesus’ own words that were the foundation of his Father’s doctrine when he concluded the sermon on the mount. in Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house upon a rock (solid foundation): “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell. And great was it’s fall.”
In conclusion: Jesus role as the chief spiritual cornerstone is to point to the direction in which the spiritual house of God is to be built; where the other bricks (first fruits) are laid in relationship to it and is the spiritual base foundation for what will be built above it: the footers that keep the building firmly in place and prevents it’s damage or destruction.
Now if you notice also in Ephesians 2:20 the apostles and prophets are mentioned as part of the foundation of the spiritual house of God or church and this is obvious for the Law of Moses, prophets and the Psalms identified this cornerstone and what He would do for the salvation of mankind from the righteous act of Abel to the testimony of Jesus’ second coming in the book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament Notice Isaiah 28:16:
Therefore thus says the Lord God:
“Behold, I lay in Zion A STONE for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.”
And Psalm 118: 22-23 testifies:
“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.”
Hundreds of scriptures in the Old Testament point to the Christ who was none other than Jesus. Perhaps the most famous being Isa. chapter 53 describing His sacrifice and spiritual healing for mankind. Jesus again Himself spoke of the Law and the Prophets confirming Him as Messiah . Note Luke 24:25-27 when He came upon the two believers who were traveling to the village of Emaus, and expounding their dismay to Jesus, whom they did not recognize over the apparent failure of the promise that Jesus would rise on the third day. Notice Jesus’ response:
Then He (Jesus) said to them, “O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter His glory?”AND BEGINNIG AT MOSES AND ALL THE PROPHETS, HE EXPOUNDED TO THEM IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES THE THINGS CONCERNING HIMSELF.
And again, notice what Jesus said when He finally opened the eyes to His disciples a little later in Luke 24:44-45:
Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” AND HE OPENED THEIR UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY MIGHT COMPREHEND THE SCRIPTURES.
Now by the testimony of Jesus, without the prophesies concerning who the Christ was there would have been no verifiable evidence that He was indeed the Christ, but since they identify Him, the prophets are part of the foundation of the church.
Now it also mentions the apostles as part of that foundation and this is an undeniable truth for they witnessed His ministry and glory in the deeds and miracles He did, and were actually partakers of a small forerunner of the kingdom of God and what it would be like later in the future when Christ would return to the earth with the saints to fully establish the kingdom. They witnessed His death and resurrection, and then proceeded after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to witness Him though the scriptures opened to them by the signs and wonders they did by Him that He was the Christ, the Savior of the world and that repentance to eternal(age abidding) life should be preached in His name (Lk. 24:46-47). Lastly there are the in-valuable epistles written, especially by the apostle Paul that expounded further on the gospel and the doctrine of Christ. Lastly there is the book of Revelation that closes out the New Testament witness of the end time events in symbolic writing that culminates in the return of Christ, and the reward of those in the first resurrection. The confirmation of Jesus as the Christ by the apostles and the building of the churches by them confirms that they are part of the spiritual foundation of the temple of God.
Reaction To The New Foundation Of The House Of God
Lets go back to Ezra chapter 3 and read verses 11-12, and read the reaction of the people to the laying of this foundation to this second temple:
“Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord had been laid.”
Now notice this revealing scripture in verse 12-13, but lets pick it up in the last part of verse 11:
“…Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid."
Now notice verse 12-13:
"But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men, WHO HAD SEEN THE FIRST TEMPLE, WEPT WITH A LOUD VOICE WHEN THE FOUNDATION OF THE TEMPLE WAS LAID BEFORE THEIR EYES. YET MANY SHOUTED ALOUD FOR JOY, SO THAT THE PEOPLE COULD NOT DISCERN THE NOISE OF THE SHOUT OF JOY FROM THE NOISE OF THE WEEPING OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE SHOUTED WITH A LOUD SHOUT, AND THE SOUND WAS HEARD AFAR OFF."
Now much of this article deals with the shadow of the rebuilding of the second physical temple reflecting the reality of the rebuilding of the spiritual house of God. Notice it appears that the people that saw the first temple wept over the laying of the foundation of the second temple. This is nothing more than the shadow of the Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and Lawyers who rejected and despised Jesus, the chief cornerstone and foundation of the new temple or the spiritual house of God. Those who saw the temple king Solomon
built thought that it was much more glorious in it’s physical appearance down to the foundation than the foundation of the second temple. The temple of Solomon was a shadow of the Old Covenant and those who saw it and worshipped in it appeared to reject what appeared to be inferior to what was laid before them. But also notice that there were many who had not seen the first temple who shouted for joy when it was laid, and these remnant few who returned were the shadow of those who accepted Jesus (Gentiles?): the spiritual foundation of the house of God.
Notice this revealing scripture in the book of Haggai chapter 2:1-4 that reveals this so called inferiority of the second foundation of the temple which again was a symbol of Jesus Christ:
In the seventh month, the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet saying: Speak now to Zarubbabel the son of Shialtial, governor of Judah, and to Joshuah the son of Jehozedak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people, saying: Who is left among you who saw this (Solomon’s) temple AND HOW DO YOU SEE IT NOW? IN COMPARISON WITH IT, IS THIS NOT IN YOUR EYES AS NOTHING?
Now here it plainly states by the Almighty God that this foundation appeared inferior to the first one that was laid the second time; so it was with those religious leaders in the days of Jesus: They despised and rejected Him continually. Notice this in Isaiah 53:1-3:
“Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; AND WHEN WE SEE HIM, THERE IS NO BEAUTY THAT WE SHOULD DESIRE HIM. HE IS DESPISED AND REJECTED BY MEN…HE WAS DESPISED AND WE DID NOT ESTEEM HIM.”
Do you see the analogy between the foundation laid for the second temple and how it ties in with the appearance of Christ? Those who saw and worshipped in the glorious temple of Solomon rejected the so called inferiority of the foundation of the second temple, once again the shadow of the spiritual New Testament foundation of the church: Jesus Christ. If you think these comparisons or shadows to realities are wacky, look what Paul saw in the Old Testament Law of Moses that was a shadow for the New Testament reality of it. Go to ICorinthians 9:7-11 and read about what Paul said about this shadow of Old Covenant laws to the New Covenant realities dealing with the rite that those who preach the gospel full time should be able to reap material things from the church:
“Who ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its fruit? And who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk of the flock? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE AN OX WHILE IT TREADS OUT THE GRAIN.” IS IT OXEN THAT GOD IS CONCERNED ABOUT? OR DOES HE SAY IT ALTOGETHER FOR OUR SAKES? FOR OUR SAKES, NO DOUBT, THIS IS WRITTEN THAT HE WHO PLOWS SHOULD PLOW IN HOPE, AND HE WHO THRESHES IN HOPE SHOULD BE PARTAKER OF THIS HOPE. If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things?"
Now how did Paul ever come to the conclusion that this Old Testament law was a shadow of the apostles reaping from the church (modestly) from that Old Testament law of an ox to not be muzzled when it treads out the grain? Because he new the principle that the Old Testament law was the written code of the New Testament reality of these things; SO IS THE ANALOGY OF THE BUILDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SECOND PHYSICAL TEMPLE TO THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH! Take it as a witness.
The Old Testament Temple And The New Testament Temple Of God Put On Hold
I say now again to you, bear with me in this article, for I will get into the emergence of the church of Laodicea in the third part of a series of 4 articles, but first lets see what happened to the second temple in the Old Testament. After the foundation was laid it was disrupted, and put on hold by none other than pagans of the land that the Assyrians planted in the former northern kingdom of Israel after they were taken into captivity for their gross idolatry by 718 BC, and this pagan defilement also happened to the New Testament house or church of God until the early 1900’s when the church of Laodicea was born. Lets read the account of the halt of the temple after the foundation was laid in Ezra 4:1-2:
Now when the adversaries (pagans) of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the house of the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zarubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses and said to them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God as you do: and we have sacrificed to Him since the days of Esarhadddon king of Assyria, who brought us here.”
IN REALITY, THEY WERE MIXING THEIR PAGAN DOCTRINES AND WORSHIP WITH THE TRUE GOD OF HEAVEN AS TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY DOES TO THIS DAY!
Now these people who came up to Jerusalem from the former lands of the northern tribes of the house of Israel did indeed know of the God of Israel, but as said above they mixed the worship of Him with pagan practices, as again, traditional Christianity does to this day. Notice this account of these people placed in the land of the house of Israel by the Assyrians after they took the kingdom of Israel captive back to Assyria. This will be lengthy but hang in there. Read the book of 2Kings 17:20-23 about this event:
“And the Lord rejected all the decsendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderes, until He had cast them out of His sight. For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them commit a great sin. For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; and they did not depart from them, until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all the servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.”
Now lets read what the Assyrians did after they removed Israel. Notice 2Kings 17:24:
“Then the king of Assyria brought people from Babylon , Cutha, Ava, Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria, instead of the children of Israel: and took possession of Samaria and dwelt in its cities.”
Now notice the key scripures of 2Kings 17:25-33 and their religious practices:
“And it was so, at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they did not fear the Lord; therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which killed some of them. So they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, “the nations whom you have removed and placed in the cities of Samaria do not know the rituals of the God of the land; therefore he sent lions among them, and indeed, they are killing them because they do not know the rituals of the God of the land.” Then the king of Assyria commanded saying, “Send there one of the priests whom you brought from there; let him go and dwell there, and let him teach the rituals of the God of the land.”
Now lets stop here at verse 27 and examine this so called priest of Israel whom the king of Assyria sent back to teach these pagans how to worship the Lord. First he was not a Levite, whome were consecrated to administer the Law of God to the people; for king Jeroboam had removed them from the service of God and set the lowest and uneducated of the people to be priests of the two golden calves he set up after the northern kingdom of Israel was torn from Solomon, and when Jeroboam did this the Levite priests fled to the kingdom of Judah. Now later these priests became more wicked when they embracd the worship of Baal and Asharoth when Jezebel, the wife of king Ahab introduced them into Israel, but these priests were also still knowledgable of the God of Israel. So what did this priest come and teach the new inhabitants of the land of Israel? He taught them a mixture of the Lord God of Israel with the idolatrous practices of heathenism that traditional Christianity does unto this day!! Lets confirm this in 2Kings 17:28-35 and 41:
“Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord. However every nation continued to make gods of its own, and put them into shrines on the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation where they dwelt. The men of Babylon made Succoth, Benoth, the men of Cuth made Nergal, Themen of Hamath made Ashema, and the Avites, and the Avites made Nibhas, AND THE SAPHARVITES BURNED THEIR CHILDREN IN FIRE TO ADRAMALELECH AND ANAMMALELECH, THE GODS OF SEPHAVAIM. SO THEY FEARED THE LORD, AND FROM EVERY CLASS THEY APPOINTED FOR THEMESELVES PRIESTS OF THE HIGH PLACES, WHO SACRIFICED THEMESELVES IN THE SHRINES OF THE HIGH PLACES. THEY FEARED THE LORD, YET SERVED THEIR OWN GOD’S-ACCORDING TO THE RITUALS OF THE NATIONS FROM AMONG WHOM THEY WERE CARRIED AWAY. SO THESE NATIONS FEARED THE LORD, YET SERVED THEIR CARVED IMAGES; ALSO THEIR CHIDREN AND THEIR CHILDREN’S CHILDREN HAVE CONTINUED AS THEIR FATHERS DID, EVEN TO THIS DAY.”
So these heathens who dwelt in the land of Israel were mixing truth with error (BABYLON) as Israel did when they worshipped the Lord along with the Baals, Asharoths, and the two golden calves that Jeroboam, the first king of the northern tribes of Israel set up after the split with the southern kingdom of Judah. Now these heathens wanted to partake of the rebuilding of the second temple when they heard that it was being rebuilt, FOR THEY THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE WORSHIPPING THE LORD IN THE SAME WAY THE JEWS WERE WHEN THEY
CAME BACK FROM BABYLON. Notice what they tried to do in Ezra 4:1:
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the descendants of the captivity were building the temple of the Lord God of Israel, they came to Zarubbabel and the heads of the fathers’ houses, and said to them, “LET US BUILD WITH YOU, FOR WE SEEK YOUR GOD AS YOU DO, AND WE HAVE SACRIFICED TO SINCE THE DAYS OF ESARHADDON KING OF ASSYRIA, WHO BROUGHT US HERE.”
These people were still worshipping God the way their fathers did as they testified by mixing paganism with the worship of the true God as traditional Christianity does to this day, for the most part in ignorance and blindness that God has laid upon them at this time (Matt. 13:1-23 and John 6:44).
Now lets read what the response of Zarrubbabal and the leaders of the remnant Jews was in Ezra 4:3:
But Zarubabbal and Jeshua and and the rest of the fathers’ houses of Israel said to them, “You may do nothing with us to build a house to our God; but we alone will build to the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”
Now lets review what happened. A remnent of the Jews under the leadership of Zarubabal were allowed to return to Jerusalem to build the second temple after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed it to the very foundation. This remnent rebuilt the foundation and those who never saw the foundation of the temple rejoiced at it but those who saw the the physical superiority of Solomon’s temple appeared to reject it. Now after the laying of the foundation, the heathen people that the Assyrians placed in the land of the northern 10 tribes of Israel into captivity, tried to partake of the building of the rest of the temple; who mixed the worship of God with abominable pagan practices, even child sacrifice. They attempted to join themselves with the Jews in the rebuilding of the temple of God. When the leaders of the Jews heard there request they rejected these apostate pagans. Now lets read what these pagans did which parallels what happened to the New Testament temple of God: the church of God in Ezra 4:4-5:
“Then the people of the land tried to discourage the people of Judah. They troubled them in building, and hired counselors against them to frustrate their purpose all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.”
Now you can read the rest of the account of the halting of the completion of the temple under the rule of king Artaxerxes in Ezra 4:7-23, again caused by these pagans that mixed the worship of the true God with idolatry. Now notice Ezra 4:24:
“Thus the work of the house of God which is at Jerusalem ceased, and it was discontinued until the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.”
These pagans went on to bring the building of the physical temple after its foundation was laid to a halt. They did not destroy it but simply for a time delayed its complete rebuilding, and this parallels what Satan did to the church of God in the New Testament, eventually completely corrupting it with pagan customs disguised under the name of the creator God and Christ between the forth and fifth groups of God’s church: Tyratira and Sardis. Remember that although traditional Christianity became corrupt with pagan doctrines (Rev. 2:14,15,20-23), THE FOUNDATION OF CHRISTIANITY REMAINED, AND THAT FOUNDATION WAS THAT JESUS WAS THE CHRIST, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD, AND THAT THERE WAS ONE TRUE ALMIGHTY GOD. The church of God that Jesus said that the gaits of death would not prevail against did not die but was brought to a standstill for a time until the church of Laodicia emerged in the early 1930’s: the beginning of the latter days or years of this present evil world.
The Command To Rebuild The Spiritual House Of God Through The Physical Parallel Of The Completion Of The Physical House Of God In The Book Of Haggai
What does God really think of the two physical temples that the house of Israel and the house of Judah built for Him in the OldTestament? Lets go to the book of Isa. 66:1-2 and read what he thought about them:
Thus says the Lord:
“Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool, WHERE IS THE HOUSE THAT YOU WILL BUILD ME. AND WHERE IS THE PLACE OF MY REST? FOR ALL THOSE THINGS MY HAND HAS MADE, AND ALL THOSE THINGS EXIST,” SAYS THE LORD.
So in reality, God is saying that the first physical temple made with human hands were reputed as nothing in His eyes. But later in the book of Ezra and Haggai, God appears to have changed His mind and to give great importance in the rebuilding of the second physical temple after the Jews were taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. Doesn’t this appear that God is contradicting Himself? No! For the book of Haggai was a shadow of the rebuilding of the spiritual church in the latter times where the presence of God would dwell in the New Testament temple of God: in Jesus and the human mind. Notice this in 1Corinthians 3:16-17:
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and thus the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy. Which temple you are.”
Again, in Isaiah chapter 66 God reputes the physical temples as nothing, but if you read the book of Haggai which was written many years after the book of Isaiah, there is suddenly a great urgency and importance from God to rebuild or finish the second physical temple of God which was none other than a symbol of the completion or restoration of the spiritual house of God, and the pagan people of the land brought the physical temple to a halt, AND THIS RESTORATION BEGAN WITH THE CHURCH OF LAODICIA IN THE 1930’S BY HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG. HE REFUTED AND REJECTED PAGAN TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY AND THEN MODELED HIS CHURCH AFTER THE CHRISTIANITY THAT WAS PRACTICED IN JERUSALEM AFTER CHRIST ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, HAVING HALF THEIR FAITH IN THE LAW OF MOSES, THE SHADOW OF CHRIST, AND HALF IN THE SPIRIT OR REALITY OF THAT SHADOW, JESUS CHRIST. (1Cor. 10:1-4). Lets read this fascinating book of Haggai and see where it points to the completion of the New Testament spiritual temple of God. Does this also tie into the concept of the early and latter rain? Lets first review again the scriptures in Zechariah 4:6-9 where Zarubbabel, a type of Christ and a direct ancestor of Christ was commanded not only to lay the foundation of the temple but to finish it after it was delayed in its completion:
“This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts. ‘Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zarubbabel you shall become a plain! And he shall bring forth the capstone with shouts of “Grace, grace to it!” ’ ” Moreover the the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
“THE HANDS OF ZERUBABEL (CHRIST) HAVE LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THIS TEMPLE: HIS (CHRIST’S) HANDS SHALL ALSO FINISH IT.”
Now lets go on and read about the completion of the second temple after it was halted under Zerubbabal and how it parallels the completion of the church in the latter years after it lay in ruins by the poisonous pagan doctrines that infiltrated it as Paul prophesied would happen after he was taken out of the way as the restrainer of the mysteries of iniquity that Satan was always trying to infiltrate and poison the church by false brethren. Remember God appeared to have no regard or respect for the physical temple of Solomon in Isa. 66:1 and reputed it as nothing as His dwelling place several years before the Jews were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, but suddenly in the book of Ezra the God of heaven stirred up the spirit of king Cyrus to allow a remnant of Jews to return to Jerusalem and “build Him a house” for Himself. Sounds strange doesn’t it? Not if you realize again that the Old Covenant and the Old Testament are a shadow of what was and is to come in the future through Christ. Now lets take a look at the book of Haggai and see how it parallels the re-emergence of the church of God in the latter days or years beginning with the church of Laodicea which again is modeled after the early church of Jerusalem and Judea. Lets start by examining chapter 1:1:
In the second year of king Darius,…
Now this is the king who searched the archives of king Cyrus and found the scroll commanding the decree from Cyrus that the Jews were permitted to return and re-build the temple and that no one should hinder them, thus bringing the pagan harassment of the Jews in finishing the temple after its foundation was laid to an end. You can read this account in Ezra chapters 5 and 6. Now lets read further:
…in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, govornor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest saying, “Thus speaks the Lord of hosts, saying: ‘This people says, “THE TIME HAS NOT COME, THE TIME THAT THE LORD’S HOUSE SHOULD BE BUILT (OR REBUILT).”
Now again, remember that in Isaiah 66:1, God is basically chiding mankind for the building of the temple when it was proclaimed that the heavens could not contain Him. But in the above scripture God is dead serious that a new house be built for Him, but the Jews of the land felt that the time was not right: Why? Lets read on in verses 3 and 4:
Then the word of the Lord came to Haggai the prophet, saying, “Is it time for you youselves to dwell in paneled houses and this temple to lie in ruins?”
Now listen to what God is saying here. He is saying that His temple is lying in ruins. This parallels the overuning of the church of God by the Babylonian Mystery Religion (Catholic church) and her pagan doctrines in the forth group of God’s church: Thyatira, so much so that Christ severely punished what he called this false church: Jezebel, and cast her into a “sickbed” and her followers into such a horrific great tribulation that culminated with the death of millions of her followers in Rev. 2:20-23 (The Black Death). Now God also said that the rebuilding of this temple after the foundation was laid and then brought to a halt would be at a time when the remnant of the land were becoming absorbed in their own pursuits such as tending to their own houses. Now God was going to change all this just as He is now beginning to change the economic situation and standard of living in the United States (Ephraim). Lets read on and see what God did to motivate the remnant Jews to finish building the second temple. Lets continue in verses 5-7:
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts. “Consider your ways! “You have sown much, and bring in little: you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm: and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes.”
Now there are many meanings you can get out of the above scripture. One being that the pursuit of material things in life in the end do not bring true happiness or the more proper meaning could be that God was beginning to frustrate the works of the people he brought back from Babylon because after the halt of the building of the second temple they became complacent and began to pursue their own interests, thus forgetting about the reason why God called them back in the first place, to rebuild His house.
Lets continue on in verses 7-8:
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I might take pleasure in it and and be glorified,” says the Lord.
Remember now in the Bible what the symbol of a mountain is? It is the symbol of a kingdom or nation. Notice this truth when Daniel described the establishment of the kingdom of God through the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in Dan.2:31-35:
“You O king, were watching: and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you: and it’s form was awesome. “This image’s was of fine gold, it’s chest and arms of silver, it’s belly and thighs of bronze, it’s legs of iron, it’s feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
Now notice closely verses 34-35:
“Then the the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind caried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image BECAME A GREAT MOUNTAIN AND FILLED THE WHOLE EARTH.”
And what did this mountain represent? Notice Daniel 2:44-45:
“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven WILL SET UP A KINGDOM(MOUNTAIN) WHICH SHALL NEVER BE DESTROYED: AND THE KINGDOM SHALL NOT BE LEFT TO ANOTHER PEOPLE; IT SHALL BREAK IN PIECES AND CONSUME ALL THESE KINGDOMS (MOUNTAINS), AND IT SHALL STAND FOREVER. “Insomuch as you SAW THAT THE STONE was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made it known to the king what will come to pass after this…”
Other references to this can be found in the book of Revelation chapter 17.
Lets review again. A remnant of Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylon at the command of God through king Cyrus to build the temple and after the foundation was laid and soon after this pagans of the land caused the building of the remainder of the temple to be put on hold for some years until king Darius verified the command of Cyrus that the temple was to indeed be rebuilt, and that no one should hinder it. But it appears in the meatime the Jews who returned began to turn away from the purpose God sent them back to do after the building of the temple was put on hold, and began to pursue their own interests, building their own homes, beginning to think that the time of the Lord’s house “should not be built”; for in Haggai God begins to point this out and chastise them for this through ruining their prosperity as he said again in Haggai 1:5-6:
Now therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts: "CONSIDER YOUR WAYS! YOU HAVE SOWN MUCH AND BRING IN LITTLE; YOU EAT BUT DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH; YOU DRINK, BUT YOU ARE NOT FILLED WITH DRINK; YOU CLOTH YOURSELVES, BUT NO ONE IS WARM; AND HE WHO EARNS WAGES, EARNS WAGES TO PUT INTO A BAG WITH HOLES.”
And in verse 9 God says to these remnant Jews who returned to build the temple:
“YOU LOOKED FOR MUCH, BUT INDEED IT CAME TO LITTLE; AND WHEN YOU BROUGHT IT HOME I BLEW IT AWAY.”
“Because of my (spiritual) house that lies in ruins, WHILE EVERYONE RUNS TO HIS OWN HOUSE. “THEREFORE THE HEAVENS ABOVE YOU WITHHOLD THE DEW, AND THE EARTH WITHHOLDS IT’S FRUIT. “FOR I CALLED FOR A DROUGHT ON THE LAND AND THE MOUNTAINS, ON THE GRAIN AND THE NEW WINE AND THE OIL, ON WHATEVER THE GROUND BRINGS FORTH, ON MEN AND LIVESTOCK, AND ON ALL THE LABOR OF YOUR HANDS.”
Let these above scriptures be a witness to you that these events in Jerusalem and the surrounding villages WERE A PHISICAL FORERUNNER FOR OUR TIME, for as you plainly know that all the blessings that have been bestowed on the United States (Ephraim) and Britain (Manasseh) in Levitcus chapter 26 and Dueteronomy chapter 28 are beginning to be taken away from millions of people, and will eventually become more severe. Our prosperity is being taken away before our eyes for our ever growing wickedness and rebellion against God, and we are NOT coming back economically or spiritually for as witnessed, the great falling away has been in the process for quite sometime now, and part of it has to do with the message to the small remnant of God that the time has come to begin the rebuilding of the pure spiritual temple of God that was laid waste by the Babylonian Mystery Religion (Rev. 17:1-5) after the forth church era where (paganism) sun worship and the worship of Mary (Estarte, Ishtar, Asharoth), the mother of Jesus polluted the remnant of God’s people described by Jesus causing His servants to eat (spiritual) things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual (spiritul) immorality by mixing, again, idolatrous pagan rituals and doctrines with His and His Father’s name; therefore causing them to be unable to enter the narrow gait. Listen what the apostle Paul had to say about some of these doctrines in 1Timothy 4:1-3:
“Now the Spirit expressly speaks that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocracy, having their own concience seared with a hot iron, FORBIDDING TO MARRY, AND COMMANDING TO ABSTAIN FROM FOODS WHICH GOD CREATED TO BE RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE AND KNOW THE TRUTH.”
Now one has to be a blind fool as to what giant traditional religious organization enforced these 2 doctrines on there religious leaders and it’s "lay" members: the Catholic church; for they eventually commanded their priests to abstain from marriage and the lay members to obstain from eating meats on Friday, thus identifying this apostate church. And since the forth group of the church of Thyatira, with the Protestant harlot churches that came out of the Catholic church have dominated the Christian world ever since, but there was a small change that began in the 1930’s: the birth of the church of Laodicea begun by a man named Herbert W. Armstrong, and out of his church, the church that modeled itself after the first Christians in Jerusalem who bound the Law of Moses (letter of the Law) along with Jesus for salvation, came some of the small remnant that now worship God in Spirit and truth: according to the Spirit of the Law that again Christ partially fulfilled at His first coming and will complete at, and after His second coming (Matt. 5:17-18), and their command from God is to begin to go up to the mountains (nations) and bring wood (converts) and finish the spiritual temple of God.
Birth Of Laodicea: The Lukewarm Church of God
According to one of two main theories of the 7 churches of the book of Revelation as stated in the first article is that they represent seven groups or eras of God’s church down through the ages up until the return of Christ to receive the kingdom. According to the teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God under His authority, the church of Laodicea represented a spiritually lazy and lethargic part of the church of God at the very end of the age, and would be left unprotected during the great tribulation because of this, and would have to be corrected of this error through martyrdom. He and the church also taught that they were the church era of Philadelphia, a zealous church for Christ and the Law, and would have enough power to preach the “true gospel,” suppressed for over 1,900 years, the gospel of the kingdom of God to all nations on earth with the end of the age coming right after that. He proclaimed that his church would go through the great tribulation protected “from the presence of the serpent” and he and the church would be caught up with Christ as He descended from heaven to destroy the beast and his armies in the valley of Jehosaphat. Mr. Armstrong claimed that these events would happen in his generation. He has been dead now for 24 years. Let this be a witness here that this man founded the wrong church! He was many, many years off from the church he claimed to have founded. HERBERT W. ARMSTRONG WAS THE FOUNDER OF THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA IN THE 1930’s, THE WORLDWIDE CHURCH OF GOD, AND HIS REMNANT SPLINTER GROUPS REMAIN TO THIS DAY. THEY BASICALLY PRACTICE AND TEACH THE SAME CHRISTIANITY THAT THE EARLY CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM AND JUDEA PRACTICED; THAT OF HAVING HALF THEIR FAITH IN THE OLD COVENANT LETTER OF THE LAW OF MOSES AND HALF THEIR FAITH IN THE NEW COVENANT SPIRIT OF THAT LAW: JESUS CHRIST. This man's life is well documented for becoming corrupt as his power, notoriety and wealth grew, not unlike many of the fat cat traditional Christian ministers of this current time, and in Zechariah 11:15-17 his influence and demise was prophesied by God because of this corruption. In the next article of this four part series, we will examine this church of God and the man who built it, and the prophesied downfall of him and his work.