Mystery of the Church
Church Exclusive to Christian
Real Purpose of Church
The Institution of the
My Personal Experience
The Church in Relation
to Past History
A Minister without a Pastorate
Why Jesus Founded the Church
Church of the Old Testament
Jesus--Earth Ruler and
Jesus Was God
Jesus Beaten for Our Healing
The Most Painful and Despicable
A Time Order for Salvation
Why Jesus Came
Meanwhile, Satan's Rule
The Titanic Battle of
Jesus Had Qualified
"Peter" a Title Designating
Importance of a Firm Foundation
Why Pharisees Opposed
The "Born Again" Question
Once Again: Why
Church a "Teachers' College"
True Christians Draftees--Not
God's Plan: A Step
at a Time
The Church -- First Harvest
Completion of Jesus Earthly
Salvation Now Only for
Why a Mystery to the World
Thorough Conversion Necessary
Error of Traditional Christianity
Why Church Called First
Why Firstfruits Necessary
Is the Church Organized?--If
One Church with One Government
Temple to Which Christ
True Name of Church
Human Mind Alone Can't
Parable of the Pounds
Parable of the Sower
Church Still Carnal
How Human Reproduction
Pictures Spiritual Salvation
The Amazing Comparison
The Spiritual Embryo
Real Purpose of the Church
Part of the Lay Member
God Has Provided Modern
What About the World's
Teachings and Beliefs
Synoptic History of the
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
False Gospel Proclaimed
Counterfeit Called "Christianity"
Seven Church Eras
Emperor Decreed Doctrine
of False Church
Restoration of God's Truth
PERHAPS the greatest mystery of all will not seem, at
first glance, to be a mystery to most readers of this volume. The reason
that is true is the fact that the true purpose and meaning of the Church
is as little understood as the Bible itself. The revelation of that mystery
must come as a shocking truth. The real truth about the Church, the reason
for its origin, and its purpose has remained hidden from even the professing
This is inextricably intertwined with the gospel
of Jesus Christ. It is a fact to stagger the mind of the reader that the
gospel of Jesus Christ was not proclaimed to the world from about A.D.
50 until the year 1953. The apostle Paul foretold this when he said, "But
if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god
of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the
light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should
shine unto them" (II Cor. 4:3-4). Millions have read over this passage
without grasping its real meaning.
Church Exclusive to Christian World
The term church is applicable only to the Christian religion.
(The Christian religion, as is generally understood, is the largest religion
in the world in number of professing adherents.) Other religions may have
mosques, synagogues and temples. But is the Church a building? Many assume
it is, which assumption reflects their ignorance of the purpose and meaning
of the Church. But in this volume we are concerned only with the Church.
For when stripped of its mystery, the Church is of paramount concern to
all peoples of the earth.
The Church, founded by Jesus Christ, has an all-important
meaning to every human life that ever lived. Yet almost no one has ever
known that meaning.
Even within the Christian world, apostasy, division
and changing times have blotted out the true original meaning and purpose
that now is indeed a mystery.
The word church is an English-language word translated
from the original Greek ekklesia. Ekklesia means called-out-ones. Old Testament
Israel was usually called by the term "congregation." In some respects
the word congregation is synonymous with the word church. Yet there is
a distinct difference between the terms church and congregation. The congregation
of Israel was separate, as a separate nation. But they were not called-out-ones
spiritually in the same sense that characterizes the New Testament Church.
What has been hidden from even the professing Christian
world is the real purpose of the Church--the real reason why Jesus Christ,
the second Adam, founded the Church.
Real Purpose of Church
To the shocking surprise to nearly every reader of this
volume, I will state first what the Church was not and is not. It is not
the instrumentality by which God is trying to "save the world." Few may
realize it, but Jesus made no attempt to gain converts or to invite people
to "give their hearts to him" or to "accept him as their personal savior."
On the contrary, he "called-out"--drafted--twelve
disciples. The word disciple means student. These twelve were students
being taught by Jesus the true gospel of the kingdom of God. This involved
the entire purpose of God in creating the human race on this earth. That
meaning had been rejected, lost, by the first created man, Adam.
At this point let us recapitulate. God is the Creator
and Supreme Ruler over his entire creation. He had placed the archangel
Lucifer on earth's throne to administer the government of God. God's government
is based on God's law. God's law is a way of life--the way of outgoing
God's government was repudiated by Lucifer, who
became Satan, and Satan ruled with the opposite way of life--rebellion,
self-centeredness and conflict.
Adam, the first created human being, was given
opportunity to receive eternal God-life with obedience to God and total
submission to the law of God and God's government. He could have replaced
Satan on earth's throne. He rejected the government and way of God. Thus
Satan was left on the throne where he still rules as of this day. Adam
and the human family were kidnapped, deceived into living the self-centered
hostile way of Satan. Thereupon God closed off the tree of life and the
Holy Spirit of God, until Jesus Christ, the second Adam, should conquer
and replace Satan on earth's throne. At his First Coming, appearing on
earth as the human Jesus, Christ came, not to seize the throne, but to
conquer Satan, qualify to replace him on the throne, and to ransom the
kidnapped world with his shed blood.
Now, why the Church? Christ came also to call out
selected and chosen ones from Satan's world to turn from Satan's way into
the way of God's law and to qualify to reign with Christ when he comes
to replace Satan on the throne of the earth. Those called into the Church
were called not merely for salvation and eternal life, but to learn the
way of God's government and develop the divine character during this mortal
life in the Church age.
Seven annual festivals were given to Old Testament
Israel and were ordained forever. Their true meaning had long remained
a hidden mystery. They picture God's plan of redemption--the divine plan
by which God is reproducing himself. The Passover pictures the death of
Christ in payment for the penalty of human sin repented of. The seven days
of the Festival of Unleavened Bread picture the Church coming out of sin,
even as Israel came out of Egypt. The Day of Pentecost, originally called
Feast of Firstfruits, pictures the Church as the first to be begotten and
born as children of God during the Church age. The Feast of Trumpets pictures
the Second Coming of Christ to take over earth's throne and to rule all
nations. The Day of Atonement pictures the putting away of Satan. The Feast
of Tabernacles pictures the thousand-year reign under the rule of Christ
and the born children of God. The Final Great Day pictured the final judgment
which will be covered in Chapter 7. Let's return now to the subject of
this chapter, the Church.
The Institution of the Church
What is the Church? Why is the Church? The institution
of the Church, at first mention, may not seem to be a mystery. The modern
Western world takes the fact of the existence of churches for granted,
as a part of the world's civilized life.
WHY the institution of the Church in the world?--WHY
was it started, and for what purpose?
If you ask people in the non-Christian world where
other religions are accepted they would probably have no answer. They know
little about the Church. Those in the more modernist and liberal areas
of traditional Christianity would probably say the Church exists merely
as an emotional lift, having a psychological influence on those who have
not embraced the evolutionary theory as accepted in modern higher education.
If you ask those who follow one of the evangelical
Christian denominations they would probably say that the Church is God's
instrument in his effort to save the world from an eternal hell fire. It
has been assumed by those people that the Church is a sort of soul-saving
station to get people "saved." If the Church came into existence as an
instrumentality for "getting people saved," then, I ask, by what
means did God try to save people prior to Christ's founding of the Church?
Jesus did not appear until 4,000 years after Adam and the original sin.
If God is and has been trying to convert the world, what means did he use
during that 4,000 years between Adam and Christ? As we have seen in Chapter
3, God closed the tree of life at the foundation of the world. The Holy
Spirit and salvation were shut off from the world during all these years.
But in view of the facts revealed by God Almighty
in his Word, covered in the preceding chapters, all these suppositions
are wrong. They only give vociferous testimony to the fact expressed in
Revelation 12:9 that the whole world has been deceived by Satan the devil.
Their minds have been blinded to the truth about God's purpose for humanity
as stated in II Corinthians 4:3-4.
The existence of the Church, then, does indeed
become a mystery to nearly everyone on the face of this earth.
News concerning some church appears frequently
in newspapers and on newscasts. People think of a church on some near corner,
or perhaps of some denomination in the news, but the fact of its existence
would not occur to the mind to be a mystery. But when we ask, why do churches
exist, how did the Church as an institution come into being?--what is its
reason or purpose for its existence?--does it make any difference whether,
or to which church you belong?--then, indeed, it becomes a mystery. The
average person has no answer.
The facts of the Church's origin and its purpose
are revealed in that book of mystery--the Holy Bible. To make clear that
mystery may well require more pages in this book than any other subject.
My Personal Experience
I am reminded of my personal experience, probably typical
of many others. My parents were members of the Friends Church, commonly
known as the Quakers. The family had been Quakers for many generations.
I was taken to church from babyhood, taking it for granted as a normal
part of life. I was in church every Sunday because my parents took me.
As a routine habit I continued until age 18. It never occurred to me to
question why we should attend church or how the church came into existence,
or what was its real meaning and purpose.
I never went through the experience in those years
of being "converted." As I grew into the teens, I was told that I had a
birthright membership in the church. I was led to take it for granted that
I was an immortal soul and that when I died I would not really die, but
rather pass away into heaven where I would have no responsibilities but
only a life of idleness and ease in sublime glory forever and ever. But
I was not religiously or doctrinally interested. I simply took churchgoing
and a religious phase of life for granted. But I had no special or deep
religious or spiritual interest, and by age 18 I started in the advertising
business, lost all interest in religion or the things of God and gave up
regular church attendance. I still believed in God--that is to say, I took
the existence of God for granted since I had been taught of God's existence
from earliest memory.
Then at age 25 I had met and married that one and
only particular young woman. She was more seriously interested in the things
of God. We began to feel that we should join a church. My wife's ancestry
had been part Quaker and part Methodist. There was no Quaker church in
the neighborhood where we lived in a Chicago suburb. We joined a Methodist
church because it was located within walking distance, we liked the personality
of the minister, and we liked the membership socially. I think our experience
was typical of millions of others. But it never occurred to me to ask or
even wonder why we ought to go to church, or why the institution of the
church had ever come into being. Like millions of others I assumed that
the "good people" went to church and so ought we.
The Church in Relation to Past History
And so now I ask, does anyone question the reason or purpose
for the church as an institution? I ask, DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY there are
churches? Is there a REASON for it? The very existence of the church known
as "Christianity" is one of the great mysteries of our time. This very
subject brings to mind again the fact that, not having lived through and
seen events of the past 6,000 years that led up to the present, we do not
grasp the real meaning or purpose of the Church. In this chapter we shall
view the Church in its TRUE relationship to all the events described in
the first five chapters of this book. Again, what is the Church?
Most think of the CHURCH as a building with a sharply
sloping roof, a steeple pointing heavenward atop and a cross on its face.
Indeed Webster defines the word church as a building. It was something
altogether different when originally founded.
People suppose a church is a building to which
people--some of them--flock on Sunday morning for "worship." They think
people go to the church. As founded in the New Testament, the Church went
to a building, at first a private home. And the Church assembled on a Saturday,
The churches of today have changed drastically
from Christ's pattern! This fact, also, is cloaked in mystery, understood
by virtually no one. But for WHAT PURPOSE did Christ found the Church?
What has happened to it since?
Some may know Christ started the Church. But who
and what is Christ? And if he was the founder of the Church, for what purpose
did he start it? But Jesus founded only one Church. Yet in the Western
world today there are many different churches--Catholic, Protestant, independents.
And within them many denominations, sects and divisions or congregations,
each with its differing beliefs, teachings, rituals and programs.
The Church started out as one Church. As it is
recorded in I Corinthians 12 the Church consisted of many members, but
only the one body--the one Church--of which Jesus Christ was the Head.
At the outset of this chapter we are primarily
concerned with four basic questions that constitute a mystery that needs
to be revealed with understanding.
1) Who and what is Christ? Why did he appear on
2) What is and why was the Church brought into
3) What is the gospel the Church is commissioned
4) What is the history of the Church? Why is Christianity
so different today than at its inception in the first century?
Institutionally the CHURCH is thought of today
as a religious organization, association or society. One--if "good"--is
supposed to join the "church of his choice." Of course there are the "good
guys" and the "bad guys" and the "good" go to church. But does it make
any difference which church--which denomination?
A Minister Without a Pastorate
I am reminded of an incident of more than 50 years ago.
I was still in Eugene, Oregon. An ex-minister came to me who had just recently
been married. His wife had money, but he was too proud to let her support
him. He had not been employed in the ministry for some time but now needed
"Do you know of any pulpit vacancies in Lane County?"
he asked. "I want to support my wife, and she wants to remain here in Lane
"Well, yes," I replied. "I do know of one vacancy,
but that wouldn't help you because that is a Christian church, and you
are a Methodist with different beliefs and practices."
"Oh, that won't make any difference," he assured
me. "I'll preach whatever doctrines they want me to preach."
But does it really make any difference what we
believe? Let the Word of God answer that question.
The Church seems to be something concerned with
worshiping with others. Supposedly it refers to the worship of God.
But if GOD is related to the Church, what is his
relationship? How did the Church start? All this is a mystery to today's
Back in the early part of 1927 when my intense
Bible study was bringing me toward conversion, I asked myself such questions.
I supposed questions of that sort never enter the average mind.
In the New Testament Greek, the Church is called
the ekklesia, a Greek word meaning called-out-ones--an assembly, a congregation,
a gathering, a group. There is no sanctity to the word ekklesia. The name
of the Church, however, used 12 times in the New Testament, is "Church
of God," which denotes that it is GOD'S Church--which NAME attaches sanctity.
The Old Testament Church was the " Congregation of Israel," a human man.
Why Jesus Founded the Church
The first place in the New Testament where the word church
appears is Matthew 16:18, where, speaking to Simon Peter, Jesus said, "I
will build my church." As noted above, the inspired Greek word for church
was ekklesia, meaning called-out-ones. Stated in more clear English language,
Jesus said "I will call out of Satan's world disciples, to grow into the
altogether new and different world, which will be God's kingdom." And in
Ephesians 5:23 it is stated that Christ is the Head of the Church.
So this we know. Whatever the Church is, it belongs
to GOD and its name is the CHURCH OF GOD. Jesus Christ is its founder,
and he its living HEAD.
But if it is GOD'S Church--if Jesus Christ founded
it and today heads it--it is something IMPORTANT TO GOD, and therefore
VITAL THAT WE COME TO UNDERSTAND! We must bear in mind what went before--what
led up to it--to understand WHY the living Christ created it--WHAT it is,
and where it fits into the divine PURPOSE being worked out here below.
Church of the Old Testament
Old Testament Israel had a function preparatory to ultimate
establishment of the KINGDOM OF GOD. The first mention in the Bible of
the Church, in time of existence, is Acts 7:38 where it speaks of "the
church in the wilderness" at Mount Sinai, under Moses. So Old Testament
Israel was the "Church." Most generally in the Old Testament, Israel, as
a Church, is referred to as the "Congregation of Israel."
However, as we shall see, the Church of the New
Testament is entirely different and has an entirely different purpose than
the Old Testament "Congregation of Israel." Almost no one has understood
that the gospel could not be proclaimed to the world, nor could God's called
congregation of people have the Holy Spirit UNTIL Jesus a) had qualified
by overcoming Satan, and b) had been glorified after ascension to heaven
And that is something not even the theologians
and church leaders of our day understand. It is, indeed, a mystery, which
needs to be revealed and understood. Now let us understand clearly who
and what is Christ.
We have already seen in chapter 1 that Christ,
in the eternity before the world came into being, was the "Logos" who also
was God, and as Jesus, was born as the Son of God. Now as the Son of God
just what was Jesus? He was called the second Adam (I Cor. 15:45). Why
should he be called the second Adam? The first Adam had the opportunity
of taking of the tree of life, which meant God-life--obeying God and thereby
replacing Satan on the throne of the earth. Jesus came to do just that,
to qualify to replace Satan on that throne and to start the government
of God on the earth through those called out from Satan's world. He came
also with a message from God called the gospel. The word gospel means good
news. And actually, his gospel--the message sent by him from God--was the
good news of the kingdom of God. And the kingdom of God, as we shall see,
is to be the restoration of the government of God over the earth and the
ousting of Satan from that throne.
Jesus came also to build the Church. And he came
to pay the ransom price for a kidnapped world and by that price--his death--to
pay the penalty incurred by all humans for their sins.
Jesus--Earth Ruler and King
Next, what nearly all "Christians," including theologians,
did not realize: Jesus was born to become a KING!
On trial for his life before Pilate, Jesus was
asked, "Art thou a king then?" And Jesus answered: "Thou sayest that I
am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world..."
(John 18:37). Jesus also said (verse 36), "My kingdom is not of this world...[else]
would my servants fight"--showing that this is Satan's world. Jesus came
to call people out of this world to be prepared to teach and rule under
him when he becomes King and takes over the throne of the earth.
Prior to the begettal and birth of Jesus, God had
said to his mother-to-be, Mary, by his angel: "And, behold, thou shalt
conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the
Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall
reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his KINGDOM there shall
be no end" (Luke 1:31-33). His gospel was the good news of that kingdom--the
kingdom of God.
It is vital that we understand, at this point,
that Jesus, during his human life, was both God and man. In Isaiah 7:14,
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was prophesied as the virgin who was going to
bear a son. That Son's name, in this prophecy, was to be called Immanuel,
which means "God with us." In other words, Jesus was God as well as human
man. He had no human father. God Almighty was his father who begat him
by means of the Holy Spirit. But though Jesus was actually "God with us,"
he was also human like all other humans. He was subject to being tempted
just as all other humans are tempted. Although he was actually God in the
human flesh, yet in his ministry he functioned as a human. Remember, he
was the second Adam. It was necessary for him that he, as a human, reject
the "forbidden tree" and accept the tree of life. It was necessary that
he, as the first Adam might have done, choose to rely completely on God
the Father. In fact, God was actually in Christ and Jesus obeyed the Father
completely. He qualified to wrest the throne of the earth from Satan.
Jesus Was God
Why was it necessary that Jesus be actually God in the
human flesh? Why was it necessary that he be God? Why was it necessary
that he be human? As God, he was the Maker of all mankind. In Ephesians
3:9 it is revealed that God created all things by Jesus Christ. When Jesus
was born as a human, his life as our Maker was greater than the sum total
of all human lives. Since it is humans who have sinned and come under the
death penalty, God's law required human death as the penalty for human
sin. But, as our Maker Jesus was the only human whose death could pay the
penalty for the sins of all humans.
In no other way could the Creator God have redeemed
a vast humanity condemned to the penalty of death.
Jesus Beaten for Our Healing
We need to bear in mind that though Jesus was God in the
human flesh, he was also human even as you and I. He could suffer the same
physical pains. He had been condemned to death by the Roman governor Pilate
on clamorous demand of shouting Jews.
He was a strong, vigorous, young man of about 33
years of age, in the peak of health. Because he had never broken even a
law of health, he suffered the process of dying as no other human ever
did. He had been up all night without sleep during the trial before Pilate.
Pilate, later that morning, delivered him to be scourged before being put
Scourging consisted of being stripped to the waist,
bound over in a bent position, tied to a post. He was beaten by whips made
of leather thongs weighted down by pieces of lead, broken shards of bone
and sharp jagged pieces of metal attached at intervals of four to five
inches, along the leather thongs. They were designed to imbed themselves
deeply into the flesh as the thongs wrapped themselves around the body.
He was whipped until his flesh was torn open and even his ribs appeared.
Scourging was intended to weaken the victims so they would die quickly
on the stake of crucifixion. As foretold in Isaiah 52:14: "His visage was
so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men."
This indescribable scourging was endured that believers
might be healed from physical transgression, sicknesses or disease (Isa.
53:5; I Pet. 2:24). What a terrible price our own very Maker paid that
we might, by believing, be healed. Yet nearly all professing believers
totally ignore what their Savior provided for them, and instead of relying
on him, put their faith in human doctors, drugs, medicines and knives.
Jesus was so weakened by this terrible chastisement
that he was unable to carry his cross, as he was required to do, but for
a short distance. Another was appointed to carry it for him.
The Most Painful and Despicable Death
Outside the city walls, at the Place of the Skull (Golgotha),
Jesus was nailed to the cross. He was humiliated, spat upon, ridiculed,
and jeered at.
More than that, because at that moment he had taken
on himself our sins, in order to pay the penalty in our stead, he was forsaken
by even his Father, God. As he hung on the cross, helpless, a soldier stabbed
him with a spear, he screamed in pain (Matt. 27:50, Moffatt) and then died.
He did this because you and I have transgressed the law of God. He paid
the supreme possible sacrifice for you and for me.
One more supremely vital truth. The resurrection
of Jesus from the dead was that of a human being and the only one that
could make possible the resurrection of humans, once dead, to immortal
Now another vital prophecy. In Isaiah 9:6-7: "For
unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall
be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, There everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase
of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,
and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts
will perform this." Notice the government would be on his shoulder. Jesus
is going to be King over all the earth. And one of the purposes of his
coming was to announce that kingdom. Jesus' gospel was not only good news--it
was an announcement, or good news proclamation of the coming kingdom of
God. What a tragedy that a "traditional Christianity" has forsaken and
lost that vital and glorious gospel message and substituted their own gospel
about the person of Christ.
Jesus was born as a human, to become a KING, ultimately
to establish the KINGDOM OF GOD, ruling the whole earth with the GOVERNMENT
OF GOD! But that RULE required more than the individual JESUS. The king,
president, prime minister or ruler over every nation governs with and through
a more or less vast organization of others who rule various phases and
departments under him. Likewise, Christ must have an organized government
with numerous others trained and qualified to rule under him. Jesus said,
"I will build my church" (Matt. 16:18). The Church was to consist of many
to be called out of Satan's world to be taught and trained for numerous
governmental positions under Christ when he comes to rule over all the
Jesus came also as spiritual Savior, to save God's people
in their due time from their sins, that they might be BORN into the very
divine FAMILY OF GOD (Matt. 1:21)).
Remember, the tree of life, symbolizing the Holy
Spirit, had been cut off from mankind at the foundation of the world after
the sin of Adam. What the world does not understand is that the Spirit
of God was cut off from humanity as a whole UNTIL the second Adam actually
removes Satan and restores the government of God on the earth.
As for humanity as a whole, it was appointed at
the time of Adam's sin for humans once to die and after death, by resurrection,
shall come the judgment (Heb. 9:27).
The Holy Spirit was not given to the people of
ancient Israel. Since God called and raised up prophets for a specific
purpose preparatory to the salvation of humanity, it was necessary, in
order for them to perform their called function, that an exception be made
and they be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
In the same manner since God through Jesus was
now calling out his Church for a specific function preparatory to the establishment
of his kingdom and government over all nations, it was now necessary that
the same exception be made for the Church and that they be empowered by
the Holy Spirit.
God emphatically did not empower the prophets with
his Spirit merely for the purpose of giving them salvation. Likewise, God
did not call saints out of this world merely for their salvation and entrance
into his kingdom. Otherwise God would be a respecter of persons to have
called the few of his Church at this time, while refusing to call others
If God is opening salvation to the few in his Church
only to give them salvation, while he excluded the preponderance of the
world as a whole until later, then God certainly would be a respecter of
persons, discriminating against the world as a whole. Jesus said plainly
no man can come unto him except God the Father draws him (John 6:44). A
professed Christianity believes precisely the opposite. This false Christianity
teaches that God is calling and trying to save everybody in this present
time. If that were so, then Satan is certainly winning a great victory
over God. For the overwhelming majority of mankind know little or nothing
about Christ or salvation through him.
A Time Order for Salvation
God's master plan calls for offering salvation and eternal
life to every person ever born, but his plan calls for doing that in a
Those called out of the world and into the Church
at this time are called for a specific purpose and a specific work. This
specific work was to make possible the spiritual training to aid in the
conversion of humanity as a whole. They are called at a time when they
are persecuted and fought against by Satan and by the rest of the world.
The rest of the world will be called at a time when Satan is removed and
they are aided and helped by Christ and the saints then made immortal in
the kingdom of God.
Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving
world and the professing traditional "Christianity" to this fact (II Cor.
4:4). Satan has deceived the entire world, including a professing traditional
"Christianity" (Rev. 12:9).
Neither professing Christians nor their scholarly
theologian leaders today comprehend the major PURPOSES for which Jesus
Why Jesus Came
Jesus did not come to save Satan's world while Satan sits
on the throne deceiving them. Jesus will save the world at his Second Coming,
when Satan shall be put away. Why, then, did Jesus come more than 1,900
years ago? Not to rule, not to reign over all nations, not to save the
world while Satan still rules over them.
His human birth was the arrival of the "second
Adam." He had come 1) to qualify, where the first Adam failed, to replace
the former archangel Lucifer on the THRONE OF THE EARTH, ruling with the
GOVERNMENT OF GOD. He had come 2) to announce the future establishment
of the KINGDOM OF GOD and teach that prophetic good news (gospel) to his
chosen future apostles. He had come 3) to take on himself, as our direct
Creator, the penalty for our sins by his death on the cross--that we might
share in that world. And he had come 4) to be resurrected from the dead
by God, making possible ETERNAL GOD-LIFE for the people of God and after
his Second Coming for all who are willing, of all humanity, who have ever
lived on this earth. And he had come 5) to establish GOD'S CHURCH, to be
trained to rule under him.
Meanwhile, Satan's Rule
Meanwhile, for 4,000 years since the first Adam, the wily
and evil Satan had been invisibly swaying and ruling a mankind CUT OFF
from all contact with and knowledge of GOD! He still sits at that throne
of POWER--though not administering God's government, but subtilely swaying
all humanity to live under the precise opposite to the law of God's government--that
is, the ways of vanity, coveting, competition, strife and violence, instead
of God's way of outflowing love, cooperation, peace, happiness and joy.
Immediately after the birth of the Christ-child,
Satan sought, through the Roman-appointed King Herod, to physically slay
the future KING (Matt. 2:13-15). But God warned Joseph and Mary to flee
with the Christ-child into Egypt until King Herod was dead.
When Jesus was about age 30, he was ready to begin
choosing his apostles, and proclaiming and teaching them his message from
God to man--his gospel. But first, it was imperative that he QUALIFY to
replace Satan and set up the KINGDOM OF GOD, by overcoming the devil.
This perhaps was the most important, momentous,
decisive confrontation and battle ever fought in all time in the universe.
It is described in detail in Matthew, chapter 4.
The Titanic Battle of the Ages
Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights--with neither food
nor water. But in his physical weakness he was made spiritually strong.
Satan now used his most cunning, subtle, masterful powers of deception.
He must have thought he really could outwit and spiritually strike down
the Christ. Satan knew well he was now fighting to prevent his dethroning
over the earth.
Satan struck his first blow at what he regarded
as the most vulnerable points both physically and spiritually. Surely a
man without food or water for 40 full days would be weakened to yield to
almost any temptation for food. And the most vulnerable spiritual weakness
"If," sneered Satan tantalizing--he used that effective
little word IF--"IF thou be the Son of God"--a normal human would have
been insulted, indignant. He would have defiantly hurled back: "What do
you mean, IF I be the Son of God? I'll show you that I am the Son of God!"
But Satan in this first attack, said, "IF thou
be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." In other words,
"The Son of God can produce miracles. PROVE to me you are the Son of God!
You are desperately hungry. Perform a miracle. Feed yourself by a miracle!"
But Jesus only answered by quoting and obeying
the Word of God: "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but
by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Satan's first and most effective strike was parried.
But Satan never gives up. He took Jesus into Jerusalem and sat him on a
high pinnacle of the Temple. He continued to QUESTION that Jesus was the
Son of God.
"IF thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down:
for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and
in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy
foot against a stone." Now Satan quoted Scripture. But he misapplied it,
twisted its contextual meaning, just as Satan so frequently influences
scholars to do.
Jesus came back to him, "It is written again, Thou
shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." This is quoted from Deuteronomy 6:16
and refers to tempting YHWH (Hebrew), who became Christ.
But still Satan did not give up.
Next he took Jesus atop a high mountain, showing
him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. "All these things will
I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me."
Jesus did not deny that Satan was now over the
nations of this world. This was a temptation for gaining immediate power.
Satan well knew Jesus would inherit all these kingdoms more than 1,900
years later. But he tempted Jesus to take Satan's word that he would turn
them over and give Christ world power IMMEDIATELY. But Jesus decided it
was time to END this titanic battle for the rulership over the earth.
Jesus now snapped out an ORDER--a COMMAND showing
that he was MASTER over Satan!
"Get thee hence, Satan!" he commanded with supreme
AUTHORITY! Satan slunk away defeated. But Satan did not give up. Nor has
he given up yet. He battles against God's CHURCH still today!
Jesus Had Qualified
Jesus Christ, the second Adam, had QUALIFIED! Never until
that minute could the GOOD NEWS of the coming KINGDOM OF GOD be announced
to the world. Now the Son of God resisted and conquered Satan--had QUALIFIED
to reestablish GOD'S GOVERNMENT and set up the KINGDOM OF GOD on the earth!
But now the CHURCH must also qualify to rule with him!
Jesus came, among other purposes, to call out of
the world his CHURCH. Those called out had been in--and OF--this world.
Each had brought on himself by sin the supreme DEATH PENALTY. But God had
created ALL THINGS by the WORD who became Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus'
life was greater in value than that of all humanity collectively!
Picture a human son of the wealthiest, most powerful
man on earth. The tycoon's son is his heir--to inherit his immense wealth.
He has been allocated a sizable portion of it already while an heir. This
young man feels deep affection for another young man. His friend has committed
a crime, plunged into debt for millions of dollars, which he cannot pay.
He is deeply repentant but unable to save himself from imprisonment for
the theft. In compassion for his friend, the son pays the multimillion-dollar
debt out of his own money. His guilty friend's debt is PAID IN FULL. His
guilt--his tremendous obligation--no longer hangs over him--he is freed
from that obligation and its heavy penalties!
All humanity had followed father Adam--had brought
over it the supreme DEATH PENALTY. Before Jesus (the "WORD"), now the Son
of GOD, could found his CHURCH, those called out of the world into that
CHURCH must be freed from the supreme DEATH PENALTY, so that they might
inherit ETERNAL LIFE!
One of the purposes for which Jesus came as a human
to earth was to PAY THAT PENALTY--that supreme DEATH PENALTY--for those
called into his Church not only, but ultimately to free ALL HUMANITY each
in his due time!
But since that DEATH PENALTY he would pay for sinning
humanity would END his human life, paying it was reserved as his final
human act after all other purposes of his human life had been finished.
Nevertheless this gives the reader a grasp of HOW
GREAT is the Jesus who came to found the CHURCH OF GOD!
Continually bear in mind that, although his earthly
ministry began when he was barely 30 years old (in his HUMAN life) yet
he was the EVER-LIVING--the ETERNAL--who had ALWAYS existed. How GREAT
was that 30-year-old human life!
And this Jesus, who had grown up in the town of
Nazareth, had since human birth resisted and overcome SATAN--had rejected
Satan's self-centered way of "GET," and in the final titanic confrontation
had QUALIFIED to RESTORE the GOVERNMENT OF GOD and to establish on earth
the KINGDOM OF GOD, to rule that government! Where the first Adam had failed
to do this, Jesus the second Adam succeeded.
"Peter" a Title Designating Leadership
Immediately after the decisive battle to overcome Satan,
two of the disciples of John the Baptist saw, with John, Jesus. Jesus asked
them to follow him to his home. One of these was Andrew, son of Jona. He
called his brother, Simon bar-Jona.
Jesus looked on Simon, and said to him, "Thou art
Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas [in Greek, PETER],"
meaning a stone (John 1:42).
In Mark 3:14, 16, we read: "And he [Jesus] ordained
twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth
to preach....And Simon he surnamed Peter." A surname is, according to Webster,
"an added name derived from occupation."
The surname Peter had for centuries been a surname
or TITLE, designating a religious LEADER, HEAD or HEADQUARTERS. Peter was
the first and chief apostle. An apostle is "one sent forth to proclaim
So, at the very beginning of his earthly ministry,
preparing the FOUNDATION for the Church, Jesus Christ chose his chief human
apostle and the other original 11. They, with the prophets whose writings
were preserved from the days of God's first chosen Congregation (and NATION),
Israel, were to form the very FOUNDATION of God's CHURCH. Jesus himself
was to be not only Founder but HEAD, and chief "corner stone" of the CHURCH
(Eph. 2:19-21; 5:23).
Importance of a Firm Foundation
Prior to age 30, Jesus had been a carpenter--also building
with stone as well as with wood. He well knew the FOUNDATION should be
laid first, before the structure itself.
But Jesus had himself chosen his apostles. He said
to them later, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16,
Now Jesus began proclaiming the gospel MESSAGE
God the Father had sent into the world by him as God's Messenger (Mal.
We read of it in Mark chapter 1: "The beginning
of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God....Jesus came into Galilee,
preaching [proclaiming, teaching] the gospel of the KINGDOM OF GOD, and
saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent
ye, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:1, 14-15).
And, from Matthew, "And Jesus went about all Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom"
This prophetic message (gospel) of the KINGDOM
OF GOD will be explained in detail in Chapter 7. It was the GOOD NEWS of
the future establishment on earth of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD, restored and
administered by the divine GOD FAMILY--the KINGDOM OF GOD, to replace the
present evil world of Satan.
Jesus' proclaiming of this amazing future NEWS--combined
with his miracles of healing, turning water into wine and others, caused
great excitement. Immense crowds followed him and his disciples. He was
teaching his disciples to become the future apostles, while he preached
this message to the public.
Why Pharisees Opposed Jesus
The news proclamation had spread to Jerusalem. There the
Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees became alarmed by it. The Pharisees were
a Jewish religious sect some of whom occupied minor--yet to them important--government
offices. The Roman Empire then ruled over Palestine. The Romans sent a
district king and a limited occupation army to supervise rule in Judea.
But the Romans set some of the Jewish Pharisees in offices of lower civil
rule, under the Roman king. These were well-paying political jobs, and
these Pharisees did not want to lose their jobs or their power over the
people. These Jewish rulers and their chief priests completely MISunderstood
Jesus' gospel message. They knew he proclaimed a government that would
take over and rule ALL NATIONS of the earth. What they MISunderstood was
the TIME and NATURE of that kingdom of God. And a professing "Christianity"
still misunderstands it today. They assumed Jesus was a subversive, intending
himself, immediately in his human lifetime, to overthrow the Roman Empire
and set up his own kingdom.
Immediately they feared being accused of sedition
and disloyalty, losing their jobs and probably being executed as subversives.
So they opposed and denounced Jesus.
Traditional Christianity has really never understood
this basic reason for Pharisaical opposition and persecution of Jesus.
The Pharisees included unscrupulous politicians.
At the time of the first Passover to occur during
Jesus' ministry, the spring of A.D. 28 (almost exactly 100 time cycles--1,900
years--before I kept my first Passover), Jesus went up to Jerusalem for
While there, a notable Pharisee named Nicodemus
came to see Jesus secretly by night. He feared having fellow Pharisees
know he had talked personally with Jesus.
Nicodemus said, "Rabbi, we know [we Pharisees know]
that thou art a teacher come from God."
The Pharisees KNEW JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH! They
were familiar with Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 53. The Pharisees
KNEW Jesus was the prophesied Messiah. But they understood only one Messianic
appearance. So they supposed he was planning to overthrow the Roman Empire
Of course Jesus knew what they were thinking. So
he launched immediately into the fact that the KINGDOM OF GOD, ruling all
nations, could not be set up UNTIL the time of the NEW SPIRIT BIRTH--the
time of the RESURRECTION!
The "Born Again" Question
Jesus answered immediately, "Verily, verily, I say unto
thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
But Nicodemus did not understand this. He knew
that being born was an actual BIRTH--parturition from the womb of the mother.
Today's theologians do not know even that! They deny a real second birth
as a spirit being. They spiritualize away the real truth by assuming that
merely saying that one accepts Christ as his Savior constitutes being born
again. In this, Satan had deceived them and in turn they have deceived
millions of others.
Nicodemus said, "How can a man be born when he
is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?"
Jesus now made the meaning PLAIN--but Nicodemus
did not receive his PLAINNESS of speech, nor do theologians or religious
"Verily, verily," replied Jesus, "...except a man
be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of
God. That which is born of the flesh IS FLESH; and that which is born of
the Spirit IS SPIRIT" (emphasis mine--John 3:5-6).
The Pharisees knew about water baptism. They had
used it for years in converting gentile proselytes to Judaism. They knew
of John the Baptist's baptism--a baptism of repentance "for the remission
of sins" (Mark 1:4). Jesus' meaning should have been PLAIN to Nicodemus--that
water baptism was an initiatory rite preparatory to the start of being
BORN of the Spirit.
Jesus made it doubly PLAIN when he said, "That
which is born of the flesh IS flesh." That which is born of humans IS mortal
HUMAN--composed of flesh and blood--composed of MATTER from the ground.
"That which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT"--no longer human but composed
of SPIRIT, immortal! No longer composed of matter or flesh.
Jesus explained even further.
"Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
again." Then he compared one born again to INVISIBLE WIND--invisible to
human eyes. "The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it,
but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every
one who is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8 RSV).
But Nicodemus did not understand such plainness
of speech, nor do religious leaders today!
Our free booklet What Do You Mean--Born Again?
should be read by every reader of this book.
To this representative of the Pharisees Jesus referred
to the "salvation" or "spiritual" phase of the kingdom of God. That kingdom
will NOT be composed of mortal humans! It is NOT composed of mortal flesh-and-blood
persons who have "accepted Christ" and joined a church of their choice!
Yet millions of church members are deceived about that today.
These millions of church members do not understand
WHAT the Church IS, nor WHY--its PURPOSE--the REASON for it!
Compare Jesus' explanation to Nicodemus with the
"resurrection chapter" of the Bible, I Corinthians 15: "And so it is written,
The first man Adam was made a living [mortal] soul; the last Adam was made
a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but
that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first
man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As
is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly,
such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of
the earth, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say,
brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God..." (I
I repeat again and again, GOD IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF!
The popular teaching in churches today is that
THE CHURCH is the kingdom of God. But "flesh and blood [mortal humans]
cannot inherit the kingdom of God" (I Cor. 15:50).
Once Again: Why the Church?
But WHAT, then, IS the Church? And WHY is the CHURCH!
Why should there be the Church of God?
To many--and probably most--the Church plays no
part in their lives. Indeed God plays no part in their lives. God is not
consciously in their world. Just people, material things and interests.
Of course, far back in the subconscious recesses of many minds may lie
the dormant supposition that God exists. But he does not seem REAL to them.
That means also that the average person has no
conception of what he is, why he is, or of any purpose or meaning for his
being alive. Yet the CHURCH, too, does exist. But, again, WHY? WHAT is
it, really? What PURPOSE does it serve?
We have seen that there is indeed a PURPOSE
being worked out here below. Winston Churchill stated that before the United
States Congress.There is a REASON for the presence of humanity on the earth.
And for the working out of that PURPOSE there is a MASTER PLAN. The CHURCH
is an important part of that plan.
Never lose sight of the setting that led up to
the raising up of the Church. Keep in mind WHO and WHAT God is--the divine
creating family, now reproducing himself in man.
Bear in mind further: In order for Christ to RESTORE
God's government over the earth, he would need with and under him a qualified
and organized personnel of GOD BEINGS--all having rejected Satan's false
way and having proved their loyalty to the government and righteous ways
God's CHURCH was designed in his supreme master
plan to prepare that dedicated and organized personnel of GOD BEINGS. The
Church, then, became God's instrumentality for aiding him in bringing about
the salvation to humanity.
Remember God has set out a 7,000-year master plan
for accomplishing his purpose. We have stated that his purpose is to reproduce
himself. But actually reproducing himself means converting the world from
sin into God's righteousness. It means instilling within God's potential
children the perfect spiritual character of God. They would become finally
born sons in the God family.
And just as God has not created all at once, but
in successive stages, so he is bringing salvation to the world in successive
stages. The Church is a necessary instrumentality preparatory to, and in
order to, bring salvation to humanity. Therefore, once again, let it be
emphasized that the purpose of the Church is not merely to give salvation
to those called into the Church, but to teach and train those predestined
and called into the Church as instruments God shall use in bringing the
world to salvation.
Church a "Teachers' College"
Let us illustrate by an analogy. Many states in America
have state teachers' colleges. The states could not start or conduct schools
until they had first trained teachers for those schools. The Church may
be called God's teachers' college to prepare rulers and teachers for the
kingdom of God when God does offer redemption and eternal life to the world
as a whole.
The CHURCH was planned to be God's instrumentality
for calling predestinated human beings out of this world to be trained
for positions of leadership in the world tomorrow, when they shall teach
and train others. That is why in the New Testament, the Church is called
the firstfruits of God's salvation.
All this necessitated certain vital steps--one
at a time--in the procedure of God's supreme master plan!
Now we remind the reader that the Holy Spirit was
closed to humanity at the time of Adam's sin at the very foundation of
the world. It was closed to humanity as a whole UNTIL Christ the second
Adam should restore the government of God and unseat Satan from the throne
of the earth. That fact is made clear by Jesus' statement in John 6:44,
applying to this Church age, that no person could come to him except the
Father that sent him draws them. That is why repeatedly in the New Testament
those in the Church are referred to as having been called or chosen. That
is why the Church is called a chosen generation. That is why predestination
is mentioned twice in the New Testament--that the called were predestinated
to be called. Indeed, they have been drafted. They are not volunteers.
True Christians: Draftees--Not Volunteers
It is only through Christ that sinning humanity may be
reconciled to God the Father. They must first come to Christ. But no person
can come to Christ except God the Father selects and through his Holy Spirit,
That may come as an astonishing new truth, but
the more you study the New Testament, and how this truth is constantly
borne out throughout the New Testament, the more clear this will become
No wonder the Church and its purpose has been a
mystery. Satan has blinded the minds of a deceived and counterfeit Christianity.
Anyone who "joins the church of his choice" has
not come into God's true Church. One cannot just "join" the TRUE Church
of God. One is first selected and drawn by God the Father through his Spirit,
brought to a complete heartrending repentance and changed in his total
life-style, and has also not only believed in and accepted Jesus Christ
as personal Savior, but also has believed Christ. Remember Christ is the
Word of God. Jesus was the Word of God in Person. The Bible is the same
Word of God in writing. To believe Christ is to believe what he says--in
other words, to believe God's Word the Holy Bible.
So, once again, WHAT and WHY is the CHURCH? The
Church is the called out (from this world) begotten children of God. It
is the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27; Eph. 1:23). It is the spiritual organism
that shall be the "Bride of Christ"--after its resurrection to immortality.
Then it shall be married to Christ! It is the spiritual TEMPLE to which
Christ shall come at his second appearing (Eph. 2:21).
The Church could not be actually founded UNTIL
Jesus had ascended and been glorified (John 7:37-39). But in a sense God
began calling out some to form the foundation of the Church with Abraham
and the prophets of the Old Testament--even, perhaps, with Abel, Enoch
and Noah (Eph. 2:20).
And Jesus, immediately after qualifying by overcoming
Satan, began calling out his future apostles. They were to form, with the
prophets, the very FOUNDATION of the Church, under Christ who himself is
the real foundation and HEAD of the Church (I Cor. 3:11; Eph. 5:23).
The average person has no conception whatever of
the tremendous, supreme supernatural achievement Almighty God has undertaken
in REPRODUCING HIMSELF--ultimately into billions of spiritual GOD BEINGS!
Or of the many-faceted stages of development necessitated in this pinnacle
of all divine accomplishments!
God's Plan: A Step at a Time
God could not hurry. It required a master plan, which
must proceed a step at a time. It required PATIENCE and never-deviating
determination on the part of the divine Creator!
Few UNDERSTAND this!
God put it in my mind and heart when I was a child
only 5 years old to desire--to literally crave--UNDERSTANDING! Solomon
desired wisdom and God gave him wisdom above all who ever lived.
What, then, is the necessary prerequisite to receiving
UNDERSTANDING? A good understanding have all they that do him commandments"
(Ps. 111:10). The one test commandment is the fourth--keeping God's Sabbath.
My conversion resulted from a struggle to resist that commandment! But
when a merciful God conquered me--brought me to surrender to him on that
point--he revealed also the necessity of observing his ANNUAL Sabbaths
and festivals. These picture the seven major spiritual steps in the great
master plan. (This truth is explained in our free booklet Pagan Holidays
or God's Holy Days--Which?) Through this and other revealed knowledge of
the Holy Bible, God gave me UNDERSTANDING of the working out of his great
PURPOSE! And also the necessary part of his CHURCH in fulfillment of that
After Adam's rebellion, with Satan still on earth's
throne, only God could have known how gradually, cautiously, a step at
a time, must be the procedure.
Such righteous men as Abel, Enoch and Noah undoubtedly
were used to play some part in the ultimate creation of the KINGDOM OF
GOD. But the Eternal began laying the actual foundation of that ultimate
GOD FAMILY through the patriarch Abraham. Isaac, Jacob and Joseph formed
part of that prefoundation.
Then through Moses, God raised up the nation Israel--God's
first Congregation or Church. That Old Covenant Church was given God's
government, but NOT his Holy Spirit! Israelites were not begotten to become
future GOD BEINGS. Yet ancient Israel fulfilled a necessary part in God's
Nevertheless, during those years, God continued
to call and prepare individual PROPHETS to become part of the FOUNDATION
for his CHURCH.
The Church--First Harvest
And WHAT, then, was to be the CHURCH? As pictured by the
third of God's annual Holy Days (festivals) it was to provide the FIRST
ACTUAL HARVEST of mortal humans being translated into Spirit-composed GOD
BEINGS! Again, the Church is the instrumentality prepared to be used with
and under Christ in completing God's wonderful purpose of saving humanity
and reproducing himself. However, the CHURCH is the BEGOTTEN (not yet born)
children of GOD. But the CHURCH shall be the firstBORN harvest (Heb. 12:23)
(Christ being the foregoing Pioneer) at Christ's coming in POWER and GLORY!
Through the years from Abraham until Christ, God
had called out of Satan's world begotten and prepared PROPHETS, as the
preliminary co-foundation of God's CHURCH! Jesus himself is the main foundation.
During Jesus' 3 1/2 year earthly ministry, he called
out, chose and trained, to begin with, the second co-foundation, his original
During his human earthly ministry, Jesus announced
publicly the future KINGDOM OF GOD. He taught and trained his apostles
as he proceeded.
But he DID NOT CALL to salvation the public to
whom he preached. he spoke to them frequently in parables. And WHY in parables?
To cloud, to hide from them the meaning (Matt. 13:10-16) that was given
to his chosen apostles to understand. There was an all important reason
why God's plan, a step at a time, did not, as yet, call for saving the
world. God first called out the Church to be converted and changed to become
kings and priests (Rev. 5:10) under Jesus WHEN Jesus comes to save the
world. Consequently, much of the truth was revealed to the Church, which
was being trained to assist Christ in saving the world. But the time had
not yet come to reveal these truths to the world. Yet this world's churches
are teaching doctrines diametrically contrary to this truth.
Completion of Jesus' Earthly Ministry
By the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus had completed
preparations for founding his Church. He had finished the work he, as a
human had come to do. Then he gave his life on the cross. He took on himself
our human guilt for our sins.
Understand, however, Christ DID NOT take on himself
Satan's primary share in all human sins. Satan will continue to pay his
own penalty throughout all eternity!
The FOUNDATION for the Church of God had been laid.
Christ himself is the Head and chief cornerstone--the main foundation.
His apostles, with the prophets, formed the remainder of the foundation.
The apostles were chafing at the bit to GET STARTED--to
go forth proclaiming the gospel message. But God has wisely used restraint,
with patience, taking a proper step at a time. So Jesus cautioned his apostles
to WAIT! "Tarry ye," he commanded (Luke 24:49), "in the city of Jerusalem,
UNTIL ye be endued with power from on high."
Ten days later came the annual Day of Pentecost,
originally named the Feast of Firstfruits (Num. 28:26).
On that day the Holy Spirit came! On that day THE
CHURCH WAS FOUNDED!
That day symbolized the very firstfruits for God's
kingdom. God's feast days picture God's spiritual harvest. The very first
portion of God's spiritual harvest of humans finally to be born of God--made
GOD BEINGS--is THE CHURCH! That's why even those who shall be born into
the kingdom of God at Christ's return starting with ancient prophets are
part of the CHURCH OF GOD. Even prophets of Old Testament times are part
of the FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH (Eph. 2:19-21).
All--prophets, apostles and Church brethren in
whom resided the Holy Spirit--shall be resurrected and/or changed to immortality
at Christ's coming in GLORY and POWER!
Thus the WHOLE CHURCH constitutes the very FIRST
of all humans who shall be finally BORN AGAIN into the kingdom of GOD.
They shall be GOD BEINGS!
HOW DECEIVED (Rev. 12:9) have been all those who
think they already have been "born again." The reader should request our
free booklet Just What Do You Mean--Born Again?
Salvation Now Only for Minute Few
Now before proceeding further, UNDERSTAND WHY only the
minute FEW have so far been called to salvation--WHY the world as a whole
has been CUT OFF from God--WHY the world has not been yet judged--WHY neither
"saved" nor "lost"!
Unless or UNTIL a son of Adam could qualify where
Adam failed--could overcome and conquer SATAN--could pay the penalty of
human sin and ransom the world from Satan--none could restore GOD'S GOVERNMENT--none
could be given eternal GOD-life!
The supreme master plan for working out GOD'S PURPOSE--reproducing
himself--called for the self-existing "WORD" to be born of human flesh
as a son of Adam. But ALSO that plan called for him to be born as the only
begotten Son of GOD!
The Messiah, and he alone, would be able to overcome
and conquer Satan--to QUALIFY to replace Satan ON THE THRONE OF THE EARTH!
Only through him could the sons of Adam be reconciled to GOD, receive God's
Spirit, become GOD'S sons--become the GOD BEINGS by whom God should have
finally reproduced himself!
What a superb incredible master plan for such a
SUPREME PURPOSE! HOW GREAT IS THE ETERNAL GOD WHO DESIGNED IT!
This wonderful plan of God therefore of necessity
called for the sons of Adam in general to be NOT YET JUDGED! God left them
to their own devices--knowing full well they would willingly and willfully
follow automatically Satan's "GET" way.
But meanwhile they would not be finally judged,
but "reaping what they sowed." They would live this sinful life, die, and
God would RESURRECT them in a special resurrection to JUDGMENT in the end
of the 7,000 years of the master plan. Christ already having atoned for
their sins--Satan having been removed--Christ and the kingdom of God having
restored the government of God over the earth--then they could be CALLED
to repentance, to reconciliation to GOD, to becoming, on their then free
choice, GOD BEINGS!
And THAT'S WHY God has kept the world as a whole
CUT OFF from him, even as their progenitor Adam had cut off himself and
his human family.
Why a Mystery to the World
As the apostle Paul was inspired to write, in Romans 11:
"I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery" (and
it is a mystery to the world) "that blindness" to these mysteries has happened
to this world--even to its "Christian theologians"--UNTIL the kingdom of
God has been established in rule of the earth!
"For," continues Paul, "as ye [Christians] in times
past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they
also may obtain mercy. For GOD hath concluded them all in unbelief, that
he might have mercy UPON ALL"!
And at this point Paul shouted out in writing:
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how
unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!" (Rom. 11:25,
True, the apostle wrote the above concerning ISRAEL,
and I have applied it to all uncalled humanity--but it is truly applicable.
God called and prepared the Old Testament prophets.
He has called and still calls and prepares the CHURCH to overcome Satan--whereas
those now blinded, uncalled and cut off from God have NOT had to overcome
WHY the CHURCH?
That we may QUALIFY to rule WITH and UNDER CHRIST
in the kingdom of God--that we may prepare the way for the ULTIMATE CALL
AND SALVATION OF THE WORLD!
At this point let me quote two passages from the
direct word of Jesus, which apply ONLY to the CHURCH:
To the CHURCH of this twentieth century Jesus says,
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even
as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev.
Then again to the CHURCH Jesus says, "He that overcometh,
and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron..." (Rev. 2:26-27).
In that passage of Scripture Jesus showed plainly
why some are called out of this world into the Church at this present time.
Not because he is trying to save the world, and we are part of the world.
Not just that we may be saved and make it into his kingdom, but, as Jesus
also said in Revelation 5:10, to be kings and priests and reign with and
under Christ when he sets his hand to bring salvation to the world.
Thorough Conversion Necessary for
I cannot repeat too emphatically that those being called
into the Church now are not being called merely and only for salvation.
Nevertheless, in order that they may be kings and priests, as actual God
Beings aiding Christ in the salvation of the world, those in the Church
themselves must be genuinely converted.
I cannot make this truth too plain. I fear many,
even in the Church, do not fully comprehend just what is a real conversion.
Conversion takes place in the mind, and that faculty
of mind we call the heart. This could never be fully understood without
an understanding of the actual makeup of the human mind, as explained in
Chapter 3 of this work. It could never be understood, until the knowledge
was revealed through the Bible, of the human spirit in man and the actual
composition of the human mind.
As the human mind differs from the animal brain
by the addition of the human spirit, so the converted person differs from
the unconverted person by the addition of the Holy Spirit.
How much greater is the capacity and output of
the human mind than that of the animal brain? The realization of that difference
should make clear to us the vast difference between a converted mind being
led by the Holy Spirit, and mind of the unconverted.
One does not receive the Holy Spirit until he has
first of all repented. God grants repentance (Acts 11:18). The second condition
to receiving the Holy Spirit is faith. That means not only believing in
God and in Christ, but since Christ is the Word or Spokesman of the God
family, it means believing what he says.
Repentance means a change of mind. Godly sorrow
is a much deeper sorrow than remorse. And godly sorrow leads to repentance.
It involves not only heartfelt sorrow for past sins, but a total change
of attitude, of mind and direction and purpose of life. Actually, repentance
is more concerned with future conduct than the past. The blood of Christ
has atoned for the past. Repentance is not penance. Nothing you can do
can make up for past guilt. The blood of Christ has paid the price of past
guilt. It has washed the slate clean.
A converted person is a person with a totally changed,
or converted mind. A converted mind in which the very mind of God is joined
with the human mind. As God says through the apostle Paul, "Let this mind
be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5). The Holy Spirit
is the spirit of a sound mind, which is a completely changed mind. It has
made an about-face in its desires, purposes and intentions.
Error of Traditional Christianity
The "salvation" in what is called traditional Christianity
does not actually change one into a new and different person. Too often
ministers and evangelists tell people that if they have just "received
Christ," "accepted Christ," or "given their heart to the Lord," they are
saved. They are already "born again." It is as if some mystic switch has
been flipped and the person will be shot instantly up to heaven upon death,
which so many believe is not really a death after all. God, in the Bible,
teaches no such thing. God reveals that as in Adam all die, even so the
same "all" in Christ shall be made alive by a resurrection from the dead.
Meanwhile, God reveals the dead are totally unconscious.
In ancient Israel God gave them knowledge of his
law, but not his Spirit. Their minds were not converted or changed. They
were still carnal. And the natural mind is hostile against God (Rom. 8:7).
There was no conversion in ancient Israel--no salvation. The 37th chapter
of Ezekiel reveals how those of ancient Israel will receive the Spirit
of God, if willing, in the Great White Throne Judgment.
One receiving and led by the Holy Spirit is a changed
person. He has undergone a renewing of the mind. Until the knowledge of
the human spirit in man was revealed, and that God's Spirit can unite with
human spirit, true salvation could not be fully understood. A Christian
must grow and develop in grace, spiritual knowledge and godly character.
Why Church Called First
At this juncture let me explain further why the Church
is called the firstfruits of God's salvation. Far from being a discrimination
against the overwhelming majority of the world not yet called to salvation,
it is for the very purpose of calling the rest of the world the salvation.
Once again let me remind you there is a definite order in sequence in God's
plan for saving the world--for reproducing himself.
Jesus Christ is the first of the firstfruits. He
is the firstborn of many brethren (I Cor. 15:23; Rom. 8:29). The Church
is being called to be changed, developed in character, and finally born
at Christ's Second Coming as God Beings, to be kings and priests under
Christ when he will set his hand to save the world.
In a sense, then, the Church shall become co-saviors
with Christ. Two things basically were required of Christ to save the world.
First it was necessary for him, who was the Maker of us all, to die for
all, thus paying the death penalty in our stead. No one could do this but
Jesus Christ alone.
But many have not realized that we are not saved
by the blood of Christ. You will read in Romans 5:10 that we are reconciled
to God the Father by the death of Christ, but we shall be saved by his
life--by the resurrection. I am writing this particular passage on what
the world calls "Easter Sunday." Today, the churches and the evangelists
have said much about the resurrection of Christ, but virtually nothing
about the resurrection of all who shall be saved, and of the resurrection
by which people may be saved.
Jesus alone could make the sacrifice in payment
of our past sins. But the world must look for salvation through his life
after his resurrection. The Church is the affianced Bride of Christ to
be married to the Son of God on his return, after the resurrection of those
in the Church. After we have attained to the resurrection of the dead,
as the wife of the Son of God, and members of the God family, we shall
be not only heirs and coheirs with Christ, but in a sense, co-saviors.
The family of God will grow. As kings and priests,
the Church in the resurrection will be co-rulers under Christ in restoring
the government of God over all nations. But we shall also be, as priests,
co-saviors with him in saving the world.
Why Firstfruits Necessary
Now why was it absolutely necessary that the Church be
called out of the world to receive salvation during this Church age, while
the rest of the world was left in spiritual darkness and deception?
Before Jesus could qualify to become our Savior
and future King, it was necessary for him, as the second Adam, to do what
the first Adam failed to do--to overcome Satan and to choose the mind and
government of God instead. If the Church is to rule with and under him--if
the Church is saving the world, it was also necessary that those in the
Church must also qualify by resisting and overcoming Satan.
That will not be required of the overwhelming majority
of others when salvation comes to them. Salvation will not come to them
until after Satan has been put away. So, you see, it was far from discriminating
against the rest of the world, when Jesus said, "No man can come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). It was necessary
that the Church be called at a time when each member had to turn from,
resist and overcome Satan. Otherwise we of the Church could not qualify
for the wonderful position of becoming kings and priests in the kingdom
of God during the 1,000 years.
This explains the WHY of the Church--its great
Is the Church Organized?--if So,
But WHAT is the CHURCH--HOW ORGANIZED--HOW does it function?
When I came among the brethren of the Church of
God, there were questions among the leaders respecting the nature of Church
organization. At that time, 1927, the Church was organized on the pattern
of a biannual general conference. Each local congregation could send one
member to the biannual general conference and thus had one vote in election
of officers, questions of Church doctrine and Church policy. A local congregation
could consist of as few as five members.
But division over Church organization and government
began about 1930. By 1933 the Church was divided right down the middle.
Two leaders organized a new Church, departing from its headquarters at
Stanberry, Missouri, setting up its new headquarters at Salem, West Virginia.
They adopted a system of organization that they erroneously called "Bible
This new organization consisted of twelve men named
as apostles--designated as "the twelve." Seven men were appointed to the
office of deacon, the chairman of whom was the treasurer handling the money.
Then there were "the seventy"--or seventy leading elders. This was copied
from the ancient Sanhedrin in Judaism. However, there were not enough ordained
ministers within the church to make up more than half of "the seventy."
The Roman Catholic Church is organized on the hierarchical
system with the pope in supreme authority, a college of cardinals next
in authority, a curia at headquarters in the Vatican with archbishops,
bishops and priests.
The Presbyterian Church is organized with the presbyters
or ministers in control. The Congregational Church delegates top authority
to the congregation--"government by the consent of the governed."
And so it goes. The churches of this world of Satan
are organized according to humanly devised patterns. But the Bible gives
explicit directions in regard to Church government. Jesus Christ is the
Head of the Church. God's form of government is, indeed, hierarchical.
God the Father is head over Christ--the sole Lawgiver and supreme authority.
God explains in I Corinthians 12 functions, offices,
administrations and their officers as GOD set them in his Church.
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would
not have you ignorant....Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same
Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh
all in all....But all these worketh that one and selfsame Spirit, dividing
to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many
members, and all the members of that one body, being many, ARE ONE BODY:
so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body,
whether we [in the Church] be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free..."
(I Cor. 12:1, 4-6, 11-13).
One Church with One Government
Notice especially, there is only the ONE CHURCH. Not MANY
churches. The CHURCH is not divided. There is only one Church. Not a parent
church and many little daughter churches that have split off in disagreement.
Divisions splintering OFF are NOT STILL IN THE CHURCH. It is the CHURCH
that is to marry Christ in the resurrection at his coming--not disagreeing
churches--not groups who have broken off! Not a parent church and apostate
daughters. That will become more obvious as we continue.
So notice, too, the Church conducts VARIOUS OPERATIONS.
For these in the ONE Church there are also various ADMINISTRATIONS or executive
departments, with an executive manager over each department or operation
(verses 4-6). Remember, an executive administrator DOE NOT SET POLICY OR
PROCEDURES OR DOCTRINES. He administers--he carries out and directs--what
has been already set from above.
Even in this world, in the United States the President
does NOT MAKE THE LAWS. He administers the policies as functions authorized
by Congress-enforces the laws made by Congress. Administrators are set
in the Church merely to supervise, direct, execute the policies, procedures,
doctrines assigned to them from above.
The ONE Church, undivided, is emphasized again
in verse 20: "But now are they many members, yet BUT ONE BODY"--ONE UNDIVIDED
CHURCH! Even GOD is composed of more than one Personage, yet but the ONE
GOD! GOD, remember, is the divine GOD FAMILY. Those in the Church are already
begotten sons--begotten members of that GOD FAMILY. But not yet BORN as
Notice verse 25: "That there should be no schism
in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
To administer these many operations, God--not a
vote of the members--"hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily
prophets, thirdly teachers." Or, as stated in more detail in Ephesians
4:11 (RSV): "And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets,
some evangelists, some pastors and teachers."
An apostle is "one sent forth" with Christ's gospel
message, including the supervision of proclaiming that message to the world
by means and persons other than himself. Also an apostle was given supervision
over all the local congregations or churches (I Cor. 16:1). The apostle
Paul had oversight over the churches of the Gentile world (II Cor. 11:28).
The prophets set in the foundation of the Church
are those of the Old Testament, whose writings were used to form a considerable
part of New Testament and gospel teaching and functioning. No prophets
are mentioned as having either administrative, executive or preaching functions
in the New Testament Church.
Evangelists were leading ministers, proclaiming
the gospel to the public, even raising up local churches and having supervision
over some churches under the apostle. Therefore an evangelist may hold
executive functions under the apostle in the Church headquarters or work
today. An evangelist is not necessarily stationary. Pastors are stationary
pastors over a local church or contingent group of local churches. Then
there were placed in the Church teachers--not necessarily preachers. Yet
all ministers and teachers are called elders in other New Testament texts.
Therefore, in God's Church today there are both preaching and nonpreaching
elders. Preaching elders pastor local churches. Then some elders, not preaching,
are called local elders in the Church today.
Temple to Which Christ Shall Come
Now further about CHURCH ORGANIZATION.
The CHURCH is the spiritual Body of Christ--not
a secular or worldly organization, club or institution. Yet it is HIGHLY
Notice how thoroughly organized: "Now therefore
ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints,
and of the household of God." Notice the Church is a FAMILY, even as GOD
is a divine FAMILY--"the household of God."
Continue: "And are built upon the foundation of
the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone; in whom all the building"--(WELL ORGANIZED--all parts joined and
functioning together in harmony and teamwork)--"groweth unto an holy temple
in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of
God through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:19-22). This scripture plainly reveals
the temple to which the glorified world-ruling Christ shall come at his
soon Second Coming. There is no scripture foretelling the construction
of a material temple in Jerusalem before Christ's appearing. The 40th chapter
of Ezekiel, however, describes the building of a temple after the return
The Church, then, is to grow into a HOLY TEMPLE--the
spiritual TEMPLE to which Christ shall come--even as he came to a material
temple of stone and metals and wood the first time.
Notice further: "...the head, even Christ: from
whom the whole body fitly joined together"--ORGANIZED--"and compacted by
that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body..." (Eph. 4:15-16).
Compacted means knit together, compressed together, as closely together
as if welded together. This shows ORGANIZED UNITY, HARMONY! It is commanded
that those in the Church be so united that they "all speak the same thing"
(I Cor. 1:10).
Old Testament Israel, the Church of the Old Testament,
was also a nation in the world--though not OF the world as God organized
it. Its GOVERNMENT was HIERARCHICAL. It was theocratic government--government
from the top down--the very opposite of "democracy."
The CHURCH is organized under theocratic government,
hierarchical in form. The members do not set officials in the Church. God
sets EVEN THE LAY MEMBERS in the Church (I Cor. 12:18).
Jesus said explicitly, "No MAN CAN come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). The world,
except for the specially called, is CUT OFF from God!
We have just covered the truth that GOD set officials
to serve on the human level under Christ, in the Church. Members do not
elect them. Yet in the churches of this world some believe in government
by the entire congregation--"democracy"--and call themselves "Congregational."
Others have organized themselves into government by ministers or presbytery
and call themselves "Presbyterian." Some follow Luther and call themselves
"Lutheran." Some follow Wesley, who was strong on "method," and call themselves
"Methodist." Some learned God's truth about baptizing and call their church
after the name of that one doctrine, "Baptist." One wanted complete universal
world dominion, and called itself "Catholic," which means "universal."
What is the name of the Church Jesus founded?
True Name of Church
Jesus prayed for his Church: "...Holy Father, keep through
thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be ONE, as
we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name....And
now come i to thee....I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated
them, because they are not OF the world, even as I am not OF the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldest keep them from the evil [one]. They are not OF the world, even
as I am not OF the world. Sanctify them through THY TRUTH: THY WORD IS
TRUTH (John 17:11-17).
Jesus said his true Church was to be KEPT in the
name of the Gather--GOD. Twelve times in the New Testament, the NAME of
this one true Church is the CHURCH OF GOD! It is GOD'S Church, and Jesus
Christ is its guiding, sustaining, directing HEAD!
In five passages where the true NAME of the Church
appears, the entire body of Christ--the Church as a whole--is indicated.
Thus when speaking of the entire Church, including all its individual members
on earth, the name is "The CHURCH OF GOD." Here are these five passages:
1) Acts 20:28: The admonition to the elders is
to "feed THE CHURCH OF GOD."
2) I Corinthians 10:32: "Give none offence, neither
to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to THE CHURCH OF GOD."
3) I Corinthians 11:22: "...Despise ye THE CHURCH
OF GOD, and shame them that have not?"
4) I Corinthians 15:9: Paul wrote: "For...I persecuted
THE CHURCH OF GOD."
5) Galatians 1:13: This verse repeats the one last
given--"I persecuted THE CHURCH OF GOD."
Where one specific local congregation is mentioned,
the true Church is called "The Church of God," often in connection with
the place or location. Here are four more passages:
6) I Corinthians 1:2: "THE CHURCH OF GOD which
is at Corinth."
7) II Corinthians 1:1: "THE CHURCH OF GOD which
is at Corinth."
8) I Timothy 3:5: In speaking of a local elder
in a local congregation, Paul wrote Timothy: "For if a man know not how
to rule his own house, how shall he take care of THE CHURCH OF GOD?"
9) I Timothy 3:15: "...behave thyself in the house
of God, which is THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD." Here it is the Church of
the living God.
In speaking of the local congregation collectively,
not as one general body, but as the total of all local congregations, the
Bible name is "The CHURCHES OF GOD." Here are the final three verses of
the 12 which name the Church:
10) I Corinthians 11:16: "...We have no such custom,
neither THE CHURCHES OF GOD."
11) I Thessalonians 2:14: "For ye, brethren, became
followers of THE CHURCHES OF GOD which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus."
12) II Thessalonians 1:4: "So that we ourselves
glory in you in THE CHURCHES OF GOD."
Yet none is truly the Church OF GOD, unless it
is GOD'S CHURCH, continuing in doctrine, practice, organization, in all
ways on the original biblical pattern, headed by Jesus Christ, yet belonging
to God the Father, empowered by the Holy Spirit, having GOD'S TRUTH, fulfilling
Christ's commission of proclaiming his GOOD NEWS of the KINGDOM OF GOD
to the world as a whole.
And there is only ONE such Church!
And it CANNOT BE DIVIDED. It remains ONE.
In I Corinthians 1, the apostle Paul was inspired
to command that all in the Church "SPEAK THE SAME THING." There must be
no division in what is believed, taught or preached.
But what about all the many organized churches labeled
under the category "Christianity"--some with millions of members? They
are al described in Revelation 17:5: "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother
of harlots and abominations of the earth."
Are they, then, evil?
Not consciously or knowingly, necessarily. The
world of humanity has been CUT OFF from God. Satan is still on earth's
throne, next in power to GOD himself! And the whole world is DECEIVED by
Satan (Rev. 12:9). Those deceived are not aware that they are deceived.
If so they would not be deceived! They may be ever so sincere in believing
they are right!
Are they condemned? By no means! They ar simply
NOT YET JUDGED--neither "condemned" nor "saved." Few indeed realize the
magnitude of Satan's power and the extent of his DECEPTION!
It is SATAN who is evil and diabolical. But he
is an INVISIBLE being and force--unseen and unrecognized by mortal humans.
Satan is a great COUNTERFEITER! He appears as "an
angel of light" (II Cor. 11:13-15). And he has his counterfeit CHURCHES!
His ministers are deceived by him into believing they are "ministers of
righteousness" and of Christ (II Cor. 11:15; Matt. 24:5).
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent
beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from
the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another
Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which
ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye
might well bear with him....For such are false apostles, deceitful workers,
transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for
Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no
great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness;
whose end shall be according to their works" (II Cor. 11:3-4, 13-15).
Notice these deceived but false churches believe
they are the true church, and their ministers "are transformed as the ministers
of righteousness"--in other words, appear to be the true ministers of Jesus
Christ. And indeed, many of them may be entirely sincere, being themselves
deceived. Yet they have neither known nor preached Jesus' true Gospel of
THE KINGDOM OF GOD (Matt. 24:14). Nor do they comprehend what is written
in this book about the CHURCH OF GOD!
Many Protestant denominations, and some personal "ministries,"
quote certain scriptures, especially concerning Christian living, faith,
love, etc., correctly. But they ignore numerous basic scriptures, cited
in this book. Satan seems willing to let the deceived have parts of the
But these run afoul on pivotal truths. Usually
they do not have the proper name, The Church of God. Neither do they know
or proclaim the kingdom of God or what it is--that is to say, they do not
have or proclaim the true gospel of Christ. They do not have God's government
headed by Jesus Christ, with apostles, evangelists, pastors and other elders.
They do not know what salvation is. They do not understand God's purpose
One original Church, much persecuted and opposed,
but still in existence, has these evidences proving it to be the original
true Church. And even this Church, until after the year of 1933, had lost
many of these vital truths. At least 18 basic and essential truths have
been restored to the true Church since that year.
Human Mind Alone Can't Know
Until now, I have not been able to give a clear concise
explanation of precisely WHAT and WHY is the CHURCH.
And WHY NOT?
People naturally and normally think only of and
about physical and material things. People do not realize it, but they
have been CUT OFF from God! The human mind, unless and until it receives
the Holy Spirit of GOD, cannot think spiritually--cannot know spiritual
knowledge--cannot understand human problems, troubles, evils or purposed
of human existence.
But the CHURCH is GOD'S Church. And the things
of GOD are a mystery--not understandable to the natural carnal mind. So
people may have some kind of human idea of what and why the Church is,
but it is not GOD'S concept.
God has communicated to man in our day through
his printed Word, the Holy Bible. But the real central meaning in the Bible
is spiritual. And natural minds without God's Spirit cannot think spiritually
or comprehend spiritual knowledge. To make it still more a MYSTERY, I repeat
once again, the Bible is like a jigsaw puzzle, made up of thousands of
parts that, for understanding must be put together "precept upon precept;
line upon line...here a little, and there a little" (Isa. 28:9-10, 13).
And it requires the addition of the Holy Spirit to the human mind to put
this spiritual "jigsaw puzzle" properly together. Even then it requires
time, diligence, patience. I have not been able to give this "what and
why" of the Church to the reader all at once briefly. I want fully to reveal
WHAT then, IS THE CHURCH?
It is that body God has specially called out of Satan's
world. It is a body called for a very special purpose--to be trained to
become rulers and teachers when God does set his hand to convert the world.
To be enabled to rule and teach the world with and under Christ. It is
also necessary that they be first converted from human into actual God
Beings, members of the divine God family. That explains why they are repeatedly
called the "first-fruits" of God's salvation (Eph. 1:11; Rom. 11:16; Rev.
14:4). The day of Pentecost was originally called the Feast of Firstfruits,
picturing the Church being called and trained for their special mission
prior to the time when God will open salvation to the world. Let it be
clearly understood that the time has not yet come when God has opened the
tree of life to Satan's world. Rather than open the tree of life to Satan's
world, God has selected those predestined to be specially called that they
might be prepared as kings and teachers, being actual God Beings under
Christ when God does open the tree of life to the whole world. That will
be the time when, as in Joel 2:28, God shall at last pour out his Spirit
upon all flesh.
The New Testament passage that incorrectly reads
"Now is the day of salvation" (II Cor. 6:2) is quoted from Isaiah 49:8
where it is "a day of salvation," not the day of salvation. The Greek text
also does not have the word the. It was inserted by translators who were
deceived into believing this is the only day of salvation for everyone.
The very truth that the Church is not called merely
and only for salvation--not merely to "make it into the kingdom" as so
many have expressed it--is plainly affirmed in the parables of the pounds
and of the talents.
Parable of the Pounds
In the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27), Jesus is
pictured as the rich young ruler going to God's throne in heaven to receive
the kingdom of God. He gave to each in the Church a pound, representing
a portion of God's Holy Spirit. This illustrates that we must grow in the
Spirit, or in grace and knowledge, during the Christian life. When Christ
returns to earth, having received the kingdom and being already crowned,
he shall call those of the Church to an accounting. The one who has multiplied
the portion of the Holy Spirit received (has grown and developed in grace
and knowledge) by ten times over, shall be rewarded by being given rule
over ten cities. He who qualified by spiritual growth and development only
half as much shall reign over five cities as his reward. Remember we shall
be rewarded according to our works or spiritual growth, but salvation is
a free gift. But what of the person who thought he "had it made into
the kingdom" without spiritual growth and development? He shall have taken
away from him that first portion of the Holy Spirit--he shall lose the
salvation he mistakenly thought he had. HE SHALL NOT MAKE IT INTO THE KINGDOM!
He WAS NOT CALLED MERELY FOR SALVATION, BUT TO QUALIFY to rule and teach
under Christ in the kingdom, when God does open salvation to all on earth.
It is well to note that it will not be opening salvation to those in Satan's
world. It shall then be GOD'S world--the world tomorrow.
The parable of the talents (Matt. 25) emphasizes
the same truth.
Parable of the Sower
Also the parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew
13:1-9. But Jesus' disciples did not understand the parable. They questioned
Jesus (verse 10), asking why he spoke to the multitudes in parables. To
his disciples, called out of the world to a special commission, Jesus replied,
"It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but
to them it is not given." Here is another example showing God is not now
calling the world to understanding and salvation. Jesus spoke to the world
to understanding and salvation. Jesus spoke to the uncalled world in parables
to hide the meaning (verse 13). He explained the parable to his called
disciples (verses 18-23). Some who are called in this Church age hear the
Word of God when preached, but do not understand, and Satan catches away
that which was sown in their hearts. Some receive the truth when preached
with joy, but lack the depth of mind and character; when persecution comes,
they are offended and turn away. Others hear and initially respond, but
are so encumbered with earning a living and pleasures of the world they
produce no fruit--like the one who received the one pound but did not grow
in spiritual character and knowledge. But, of the others called out of
the world and into God's Church, some produced spiritual fruit 100 fold,
some 60 and some 30. They are saved by God's free grace, but in the next
life in God's kingdom, shall be rewarded or given positions of responsibility
and power according to their works.
That means according to fruit borne. And fruit
borne means more than regular Bible reading, prayer, church attendance
or volunteer church duties. It means "the fruits of the Spirit" as explained
in Galatians 5:22-23--showing more love or outgoing concern toward others,
growing in joy, which is happiness running over, in peace with you own
family, with neighbors, with all others. Growing in patience, being more
kind and gently toward others, goodness and faith, as well as meekness
The CHURCH, then, is that body called out from
Satan's world being prepared to restore, with and under Christ, the GOVERNMENT
of God. That shall be a time when Satan shall have been REMOVED. It shall
be a time when all living shall be called to repentance and salvation with
eternal life through the Holy Spirit of GOD! The CHURCH, immortal, shall
be RULING with Christ--replacing the present rule of Satan!
The CHURCH, then, is that body of called-out-ones,
who at the resurrection shall form the FIRSTFRUITS of God's harvest. That
harvest is the reaping of physical flesh-and-blood, matter-composed humans
converted into divine immortal GOD BEINGS--those in whom God actually has
Church Still Carnal
WHY has God in wisdom gone slow--a step at a time? Few
realize HOW GREAT is God's PURPOSE!
After all these years of sinning, human life CUT
OFF from God, even with God's own Holy Spirit given to those changed by
initial conversion, those in the Church are initially "babes in Christ"--still
far more carnal than spiritual.
The CHURCH, as initially called in this life, is
NOT YET capable of RULING the earth--of sitting with Christ in the THRONE
where God originally placed Lucifer--of administering THE GOVERNMENT OF
And THAT IS WHY God has placed HIS GOVERNMENT in
his Church. That is WHY God's Church government is theocratic instead of
democratic. That is why God has set ranks of government in his Church,
apostles, evangelists, pastors, elders, both preaching and nonpreaching,
"till we [in the Church] all come in the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the
stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). It is not a matter of having
"made it into the kingdom" upon being baptized, but a matter of spiritual
growth and development in knowledge and in righteous character. That is
WHY it is hierarchical in form--government from GOD at the top on down,
not from the bottom up. Otherwise those at the bottom would be ruling GOD!
It is the SAME government by which Christ shall
rule all nations beginning with the millennium!
And that is WHY Satan has subtilely influenced
dissidents in God's Church to become resentful and bitter over God's government--why
some have gone out of the Church!
The churches of the world--"traditional Christianity"--DO
NOT speak of the government of GOD. They do not picture Jesus as coming
world RULER. They do not preach Jesus as coming KING--but only as Savior.
They overlook--reject--scriptures speaking of Christ as King and coming
Ruler, and government rule in the kingdom of God. And that is to say, they
deliberately REJECT and OMIT the gospel MESSAGE of Christ in their teaching
and preaching! They teach that one is already saved on "receiving" (GETTING)
I repeat, the individual whom God calls and adds
to his Church is not, at initial conversion, remotely capable of being
given POWER of rule over nations!
He is called a "babe in Christ." He has, if repentant
and really converted in this preliminary human state, actually received
a portion of the Holy Spirit of God. Indeed in Romans 8:16 we read: "The
Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children
But we need to grow spiritually before we are qualified
to rule over cities and nations and teach those being converted.
As the apostle Paul said to those in the first
century Church who were not growing spiritually: "That ye be not slothful,
but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater,
he swore by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying
I will multiply thee" (Heb. 6:12-14).
We are already, though yet unborn, the begotten
children of God. By direct comparison the impregnated embryo or fetus in
a mother-to-be's womb is already the child of its parents, though not yet
born. Therefore I remark, in passing, abortion is MURDER!
But this brings us to a most important PURPOSE
and FUNCTION of the Church!
Beginning verse 22 of Galatians 4 is an allegory
about the two covenants--the Covenant made with national Israel at Mount
Sinai and the New Covenant to be made at Christ's return. However, ministers
in the Church are "able ministers of the new testament" (II Cor. 3:6).
The CHURCH is a part of, and preliminary to the
final making of, the NEW TESTAMENT.
In this allegory of the two covenants, the Church
is called "THE MOTHER OF US ALL"--that is, of those in the Church.
So notice the direct comparison. God is reproducing
himself through humans. He endowed us with power to reproduce ourselves.
And human reproduction is the exact type of God's SPIRITUAL REPRODUCTION!
How Human Reproduction Pictures Spiritual
Now see and UNDERSTAND how human reproduction pictures
All human life comes from a tiny egg, called an
ovum. It is produced inside the human mother. This ovum is about the size
of a pin point. Inside it, when highly magnified, can be seen a small nucleus.
But this ovum has a very limited life, of itself! Some doctors and scientists
believe it has a life of only some 24 hours, unless fertilized by a sperm
from a male.
But human life may be imparted to it by a sperm
cell, produced in the body of the human father. The sperm cell is the smallest
cell in the human body--about one fiftieth the size of the ovum. The sperm--technically
named a spermatozoon (plural, spermatozoa)--on entering an ovum, finds
its way to and joins with the nucleus. This imparts life--physical human
life--to the ovum.
But it is not yet a born human being. Human life
has merely been begotten. For the first four months it is called an embryo.
After that, until birth it is called a fetus. This human life starts very
small--the size of a tiny pin point--and the sperm that generates it is
the smallest cell in a human body!
Once begotten, it must be fed and nourished by
physical food from the ground, through the mother. From this physical nourishment
it must grow, and grow and GROW--until physically large enough to be born--after
nine months. As it grows, the physical organs and characteristics gradually
are formed. Soon a spinal column forms. A heart forms and begins to beat.
Other internal organs form. Then, gradually, a body, a head, legs, arms.
Finally hair begins to grow on the head, fingernails and toenails develop--facial
features gradually shape up. By nine months the average normal fetus has
grown to a weight of approximately six to nine pounds, and is ready to
A human has to be BEGOTTEN by his human father.
To be born again of the Spirit--of GOD--one must first be begotten by the
SPIRITUAL FATHER--Almighty God.
The Amazing Comparison
Now see how HUMAN begettal, period of gestation, and birth
is the astounding identical TYPE of spiritual salvation--being BORN of
God--being given ETERNAL LIFE in the kingdom of God--the GOD FAMILY into
which we may be BORN!
Each adult human is, spiritually, an "egg" or "ovum."
In this spiritual ovum is a nucleus, the human mind with its human spirit.
This spiritual "ovum" has a very limited life span, of itself--compared
to ETERNAL LIFE--an average of some 70 years. But spiritual, divine immortal
life may be imparted to it by the entrance into it of the HOLY SPIRIT,
which comes from the very Person of GOD the Father. This divine Spirit
of GOD joins with the nucleus of the human ovum, which is the human spirit
and mind, and imparts to us also the divine nature (II Pet. 1:4). Heretofore
we have had only human, fleshly or carnal nature.
As the human sperm cell is the very smallest of
all human cells, even so, many newly begotten Christians start out with
a very small measure of God's Holy Spirit and character. Many may still
be, at first, about 99.44 percent carnal! Apparently those in the Church
of God at Corinth were (I Cor. 3:1-3). The apostle Paul said he still had
to feed them on the spiritual milk--not yet adult spiritual "food." They
certainly were not yet "BORN AGAIN."
Now, as the physical male sperm finds its way to,
and unites with the nucleus in the ovum, so God's Spirit enters and combines
with the human spirit and MIND! There is, as explained before, a spirit
IN man. This human spirit has combined with the brain to form human MIND.
God's Spirit unites with, and witnesses with our spirit that we are, now,
the children of GOD (Rom. 8:16). And God's Holy Spirit, now combined with
our human spirit in our MIND, imparts to our mind power to comprehend SPIRITUAL
KNOWLEDGE (I Cor. 2:11)--which the carnal mind cannot grasp.
Now we have the presence of ETERNAL LIFE--God-life--through
God's Spirit. In like manner the human embryo was an actual human life
as yet undeveloped. But we are not yet immortal spirit beings--not yet
BORN of GOD--just as the human ovum was not yet born of its human parents--not
yet inheritors, and possessors, but physical HEIRS (Rom. 8:17). But IF
God's Holy Spirit dwells in us, God will, at the resurrection, "quicken"
to immortality our mortal bodies BY his Spirit that "dwelleth in us" (Rom.
8:11; I Cor. 15:49-53).
Now we see how the astonishing analogy continues!
As yet we are not born divine beings. We are not
yet composed of spirit, but of physical matter. The divine life has merely
been begotten. This divine CHARACTER starts so very small it is doubtful
if much of it is in evidence--except for the glow of that ecstasy of spiritual
"romance" that we may radiate in that "first love" of conversion--spiritually
speaking. But so far as spiritual KNOWLEDGE and developed spiritual CHARACTER
goes, there is not much, as yet.
The Spiritual Embryo
So now, once spiritually begotten, we are merely a spiritual
embryo. Now we must be fed and nourished on SPIRITUAL food! Jesus said
man shall not live by bread (physical food) alone, but by EVERY WORD OF
GOD (spiritual food)! This we drink in from the Bible! But we drink in
this spiritual knowledge and character, also, through personal, intimate,
continuous contact with God through PRAYER, and through Christian fellowship
with God's children in his Church. And also by the continual teaching imparted
by the Church.
Now the physical embryo and fetus is fed physically
through the mother. God's CHURCH is called Jerusalem above "which is the
MOTHER OF US ALL" (Gal. 4:26).
Notice the exact parallel! The CHURCH is the spiritual
MOTHER OF ITS MEMBERS. God has set his called and chosen ministers in his
Church to FEED THE FLOCK--"for the perfecting of the saints, for the work
of the ministry, for the edifying of the body [CHURCH] of Christ: TILL
WE all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son
of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness
of Christ" (Eph. 4:11-13).
It is the duty of Christ's TRUE ministers (and
how scarce today) to PROTECT the begotten but yet unborn saints from false
doctrines, from false ministers.
The HUMAN mother carries her unborn baby in that
part of her body where she can best PROTECT it from physical harm; and
that protection is part of her function, as well as to nourish the unborn
child! Even so, the CHURCH, through Christ's ministers, instructs, teaches,
counsels with, advises, and PROTECTS from spiritual harm the unborn members!
What a WONDERFUL picture is human reproduction of spiritual SALVATION!
Continue further! As the physical fetus must grow
physically large enough to be born, so the begotten Christian must grow
in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ (II Pet. 3:18)--must overcome,
must develop in spiritual CHARACTER during this life, in order to be BORN
into the kingdom of GOD!
And as the physical fetus gradually, one by one,
develops the physical organs, features and characteristics, even so the
begotten Christian must gradually, continually, develop the SPIRITUAL character--love,
faith, patience, gentleness, temperance. He (or she) must live by, and
be a DOER of the Word of God. He must develop the divine CHARACTER!
Then in God's due time--though the person may die meanwhile--by
a resurrection, or by instantaneous CHANGE to immortality at Christ's coming,
he shall be BORN of God--into the KINGDOM OF GOD--because GOD is that kingdom!
He is no longer material flesh from the ground, but composed of spirit,
even as God is a Spirit (John 4:24).
HOW WONDERFUL is the TRUTH OF GOD!
Yet, by his dastardly deceptions Satan has DECEIVED
THE WORLD--has blinded humanity to the fact that God IS this KINGDOM Jesus
proclaimed--and that WE may be born as spiritual individuals--as part of
that divine FAMILY--as part of the GOD KINGDOM!
How precious is GOD'S TRUTH! God designed reproduction
to picture his truth in physical manner and to KEEP US CONSTANTLY IN THE
KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WONDERFUL PLAN OF SALVATION!
It is the function of the CHURCH--as the spiritual
MOTHER of Christians in it--to develop holy, righteous and perfect godly
CHARACTER in those God has called--those God has added to the Church.
Remember, none CAN COME to Christ, except called
and drawn by God the Father (John 6:44). Newly converted members are not
brought to spiritual conversion by "salesmanship" of human evangelists--are
not "talked into" being "converted"--are not emotionally high pressured
by high-powered evangelistic oratory or fervor--or by emotion-packed "altar
calls" in evangelistic crusades to the moanful strains of a choir singing,
"Just as I am, I come, I come."
You cannot find that sort of MODERN "Old-Fashioned
Gospel" crusading either taught or used to set us an example in the New
Testament! Yet people today suppose falsely that is the way Christ intended--the
way Jesus initiated.
Jesus DID NOT come on a "soul-saving crusade!"
to try to save at that time all those in SATAN'S world. He came to call
out of Satan's world a people predestinated and specially called and drawn
by God. Jesus said it was impossible for others of SATAN'S WORLD to come
to him for salvation unless specially called by God to become kings and
teachers when God's WORLD TOMORROW has replaced SATAN'S WORLD. NEVER did
Jesus beg or plead with anyone to "give one's heart to him." At Jacob's
well in Samaria Jesus spoke to a woman about the Holy Spirit in terms of
The woman said to Jesus, "Sir, give me this water,
that I thirst not." Here was a direct request from an unconverted woman
for salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit. BUT JESUS ONLY TOLD HER
OF HER SINS--OF WHAT SHE HAD TO REPENT OF! He did NOT say, "Come to me,
just as you are, in your sins."
None CAN COME to Jesus except God the Father draws
him! All have sinned. Sin is against GOD the Father. Sin must first be
repented of--turned from! It is much more than remorse for guilt. It is
a matter of being sufficiently SORRY to TURN FROM the sin, overcome the
sin. This reconciles one to God on faith in Christ. It is GOD the Father
who adds to the Church such as he calls to be saved (Acts 2:47). It is
GOD who sets members in the Church (I Cor. 12:18)--not the emotional oratory
of the evangelist in the emotional altar call!
God sets individual members in his Church in order
that his holy, righteous perfect CHARACTER may be developed in them. And
WHY? To prepare them to become GOD BEINGS in the KINGDOM (family) OF GOD,
to GOVERN and RULE the whole earth with the government of God!
But HOW does the CHURCH as the spiritual MOTHER
of its members DEVELOP THAT SPIRITUAL CHARACTER?
This brings us to the real PURPOSE of the Church.
This brings us to an UNDERSTANDING of WHY one cannot be BORN AGAIN outside
Real Purpose of the Church
NOW MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL--what is the REAL PURPOSE for
the Church? WHY did God have Christ raise it up?
The CHURCH is the spiritual MOTHER of human converts.
They are the spiritual embryos and fetuses as yet UNBORN, although begotten
by God's Holy Spirit--already children of GOD.
The CHURCH is God's spiritual ORGANISM, well organized,
for feeding on spiritual food, training and developing in spiritual righteous
CHARACTER the future GOD BEINGS--sons of God the Father!
For that training--that spiritual development of
God's CHARACTER, God has given his Church a DUAL responsibility:
1) "Go ye into all the world" and proclaim the
GOOD NEWS--announcement--of the coming kingdom of God.
2) "Feed my sheep."
But in FEEDING the "sheep," developing in them
God's spiritual CHARACTER, God has given them THEIR PART in supporting,
backing up, the great commission: "Go ye into all the world."
This first and great commission was given to the
apostles. To a lesser extent evangelists were used in carrying forth the
message. Other leaders--ordained ministers--were stationary, yet even the
local pastor of a church may hold evangelistic services in his area--not
the "soul-saving crusade" type, but lectures ANNOUNCING and PROCLAIMING
as a witness the coming KINGDOM OF GOD (the true gospel)!
This ENTIRE GREAT COMMISSION--proclaiming the GOOD
NEWS of the coming kingdom, and "feeding the sheep"--is a COMBINED administration
and function of the Church.
The individual lay member HAS HIS VITAL PART in
proclaiming the GOOD NEWS (gospel) to the world. HOW? Not by going out
and himself proclaiming Christ's message to the neighborhood or to the
world. That is done primarily by the apostles, to some extent by evangelists,
and to even a lesser extent in local areas by local pastors. (The chief
responsibility of local pastors is supervision of and preaching to the
But the ENTIRE CHURCH OPERATION is one WHOLE, organized
into various operations and administrations (I Cor. 12:5-6).
Part of the Lay Member
For example, what part does the individual local member
have in taking the gospel message to ALL THE WORLD? This is done primarily
and directly by the APOSTLE. In this latter half of the twentieth century
it is done also by radio, television and in PRINT!
In the first century it was done by personal proclamation.
Then WHAT PART did the individual lay member have in it?
MUCH! Without this larger body of lay members the
apostle could do nothing!
Notice a scriptural example: Peter and John had
been proclaiming the message at the Temple in Jerusalem. A miracle had
been performed by Peter a large crowd had gathered. As a result Peter and
John were thrown in prison overnight, and severely threatened. Their lives
were in danger. They were unnerved.
They went immediately upon release to the lay brethren
(Acts 4:23). They needed the backing, support, encouragement of the brethren.
They fervently PRAYED! Peter and John sorely NEEDED this loyalty, backing
and the prayers of the lay members. THEY WERE ALL A TEAM TOGETHER!
Take a recent modern example.
The office of the attorney general of America's
most populous state--California--had made a sudden, unexpected massive
armed assault on the headquarters of the Worldwide Church of God at Pasadena,
California. They claimed, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, that all
church property and assets belong to the State, and a court had secretly
appointed a receiver to TAKE OVER, RUN AND OPERATE the Church of the living
But when the receiver was about to enter with his
staff and deputy sheriffs the Hall of Administration and other headquarters
buildings, some 5,000 lay members, with children and babies, crowded these
buildings in extended and continuous prayer services. The doors were locked.
The armed officials did not quite dare to break down the doors and disturb
these massive and orderly prayer services. After three days they gave up.
The receiver, an ex-judge of a non-Christian faith, resigned. The civil
lawsuit went on "the back burner." And the OPERATION OF THE CHURCH CONTINUED!
The higher appellate court later ruled that this lawsuit was without foundation
and never should have been started.
The author, Christ's apostle, can say emphatically
that the apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders could not carry on the
work of God without the loyal backing and continual encouragement of the
Neither can the individual lay member develop and
build within him God's holy, righteous and perfect CHARACTER without the
operations of the apostles, evangelists, pastors and elders. All these
various members GOD HAS SET in his Church are interdependent--mutually
dependent on one another. They form a TEAM--an ORGANIZED SPIRITUAL ORGANISM--utterly
different from any secular and worldly organization!
How, more specifically, does this mutual dependency
God Has Provided Modern Methods
In general, the whole operation of the Church costs money
in this late twentieth century world. Facilities and methods are available
to the Church for performance of its commission that did not exist is the
first-century world. Without the tithes and generous freewill offerings
of lay members the Church commission could not be performed in today's
Without the fervent and prevailing continual prayers
of all members the work could not be accomplished. Without the continual
ENCOURAGEMENT of lay members and those over them locally, those of us operating
from headquarters could not bear up under the persecutions, oppositions,
trials and frustrations.
Also in reverse, the lay members need just as urgently
the encouragement, teaching, counseling and leadership from headquarters
and local pastors.
An example of the former: I frequently receive
large cards--often beautifully illustrated or decorated--signed by the
hundreds of local members of churches, giving encouragement and assurances
of loyalty, backing and support. Lay members scattered over the world simply
cannot conceive fully how much encouragement and inspiration this gives
the one Christ has chosen to lead this tremendous worldwide activity, God's
CHURCH! The assurance of the earnest PRAYERS crying out to God continually
from these thousands from al parts of the earth inspire the confidence
of FAITH to persevere in the direction and oversight in this great work!
Specifically, HOW is God's Church organized today--HOW
does it operate in this modern late twentieth century?
Christ's gospel message--the kingdom of God--goes
out worldwide in dynamic POWER by radio, by television, and by the mass-circulation
magazine, The Plain Truth. This unique magazine of more than seven million
copies monthly, in seven languages, is full color, effectively and interestingly
carrying Christ's gospel. Then, sent free on request are millions of copies
of dynamic full-page messages appeared as advertisements in leading newspapers,
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco
Chronicle, and other daily newspapers. Large space has been used in the
Then to encourage local church members and the
ministry, a 14-to-20-page mimeographed Pastor General's Report is mailed
from headquarters weekly to all ministers. Twice monthly a tabloid newspaper
The Worldwide News goes out to all members. Monthly a handsome full-color
magazine The Good News is sent to al lay members, ministers and near-member
co-workers. And finally, Christ's apostle sends out monthly a mimeographed
Co-Worker letter to all members and co-workers reporting on progress in
the work, current activities and needs.
And we must not overlook a very important department,
the Bible Correspondence Course, sent free on enrollment to lay members,
and the public, giving monthly lessons in-depth of basic subjects covered
by the Bible.
The author's personal travels to all parts of the
world, representing Christ's message personally before kings, emperors,
presidents, prime ministers and leaders under them in numerous nations
perhaps ought to be mentioned.
All this is a well-organized operation carrying
out the PURPOSE of the Church, 1) proclaiming the coming kingdom of God
to the world and 2) feeding the flock.
The "loner"--the "individual Christian," who wants
to climb up into the kingdom some other way than by CHRIST and HIS WAY
through his CHURCH--is not being trained in CHRIST'S MANNER OF TRAINING,
to rule and reign with Christ in his kingdom!
Now what about the "private," or "individual Christian,"
who says, "I don't want to be a part of the Church--I want to seek my salvation
direct and alone with Christ."
The answer is this: God himself laid out the plan
and the method by which humans may be, after begettal, trained and prepared
to become part of the divine personnel of born GOD BEINGS that shall form
the KINGDOM OF GOD!
The kingdom of God will be the GOD FAMILY--a superbly
and highly trained and organized family of GOD BEINGS. The Church is God's
special school for training those he has selected and called to be trained
in his Church--to be kings and priests, to rule and to teach--for their
part in that kingdom. Only those so trained in the Church will be kings
and priests in the kingdom of God.
The person who says "I will get my salvation alone,
outside of the Church" is totally deceived. This is not the time when salvation
is opened to those in Satan's world. Those called now, I repeat emphatically,
are NOT CALLED just for salvation. They are called for a special training
provided only in God's Church.
Those in Satan's world cannot train themselves
outside of the Church for the special calling of being rulers and teachers
in God's kingdom when Satan is removed and the world has become God's world.
The Church is ORGANIZED on GOD'S pattern of mutual
teamwork and cooperation to function perfectly together. They shall become
the GOD FAMILY as it shall exist at the time of Christ's Second Coming.
Remember God IS that divine faMILY!
Take an analogy from Satan's world, A football
player says: "I want to play in all of the games, but I'll train alone.
I don't want to be part of the TEAM until the games start." Would the coach
let him be part of the team in the games, without having learned TEAMWORK
during practice season? Neither will God let one INTO his family at the
resurrection who refused to be part of it now--in the CHURCH--in the spiritual
To those chosen to be apostles in the start of
the CHURCH, Jesus said, speaking of the CHURCH:
"I am the vine, ye are the branches." Those not
joined with others of the branches, all joined to the main vine, were NO
PART OF THE CHURCH, and God the Father will cast them away as DEAD branches.
The LIFE (spirit life impregnated now) is received along with all other
"branches" from the main vine--Christ, the Head of the CHURCH!
What about one who has been IN Christ's "spiritual
BODY"--the Church--and is PUT OUT for cause (causing division or rebellion
or opposition to Church government)? The CHURCH is like a human mother
who is pregnant. If there is an abortion, the HUMAN LIFE departs totally
from the fetus. There is, however, perhaps one difference in this analogy.
A human who goes out, or is put out of God's Church, could, on repentance
and renewed belief, be admitted bach into the body again.
What About the World's Churches?
What about the millions of members of other churches or
SATAN is the great counterfeiter. Satan has his
churches, his religions, and his ministers in those religions and churches
(II Cor. 11:13-15). What about the millions of people in traditional established
"Christian" churches? In the book of Revelation, the TRUE Church is pictured
in the 12th chapter as the persecuted "little flock," many martyred--put
to death for their faith--having to FLEE for safety from persecution, torture
and death. In chapter 17 is pictured the big, politically and worldly powerful
churches, headed by "mother" "Babylon the great, the mother of harlots
and abominations of the earth" (verse 5). In other words, the ancient "Babylonian
Mystery" religion, out of whom have gone daughter churches in protest.
This politically great church was the persecutor of "the saints" (verse
6). This false church, politically great, sits astride a "beast" pictured
in chapter 13 as a government ruling by power of "the dragon" who (Rev.
12:9) is Satan the devil.
This is shocking, but plainly revealed in God's
What about those, in such churches, who profess
being "born-again Christians"? They are DECEIVED! They may be ever so sincere.
They do not know they are deceived and wrong in their beliefs. But they
are not now being judged! They are neither condemned to the lake of fire
nor "saved." They are among the WHOLE WORLD, swayed by the deceptions of
Satan, CUT OFF from God!
It must be repeated--they shall have their eyes
opened to God's TRUTH if still living after Christ comes and Satan is removed--or,
if dead before then, resurrected and called to truth and salvation in the
Great Throne Judgment resurrection (Rev. 20:11-12).
Again, the reader is urged to read the free booklet
Just What Do You Mean--Born Again?
Yes, the whole world is DECEIVED. But praise GOD!
Satan soon shall be removed from earth, eyes shall be opened to ASTONISHING
TRUTH, and ultimately EVERYBODY who ever lived shall have been called to
salvation and eternal life! But when called, each must make his own decision.
Sorrowfully as I say it, some will not repent, believe, and be saved. This
book emphatically is not teaching a universal salvation. Some are going
to finally perish in the lake of fire.
Meanwhile God's GLORIOUS PURPOSE must be worked
out here below according to God's wonderful MASTER PLAN--a step at a time!
Teachings and Beliefs
Now we must summarize the teaching and beliefs of God's
This, naturally, is related directly to the purpose
of the Church--to call out of Satan's present world disciples (students,
learners) to be trained to become kings and priests (teachers) in God's
world tomorrow when God will open the tree of life (salvation, immortality)
to all flesh.
But doctrinally, remember what the Church is called
to help restore--the kingdom, government and character of God. What was
taken away? God's law, the foundation of his government and the very essence
of God's character and divine life.
In other words, the pivotal point is the SIN question.
Sin is the transgression of God's spiritual law (I John 3:4).
Satan has deceived this world's churches into the
belief that God's law was done away--that Jesus, rather than paying the
price in human stead for transgressing the law, did away with it--"nailing
it to his cross."
The expression used by Protestants "nailing the
law to his cross" can mean only one thing. This is Satan's teaching that
by being nailed to the cross, Christ abolished the law, making it possible
for humans to sin with impunity. What actually was nailed to the cross
was Christ our sin bearer, who took on himself our sins, paying the death
penalty in our stead, so that we are freed from the ultimate penalty of
sinning, not made free to sin with impunity.
The very basic teaching, belief AND DOCTRINE OF
God's true Church therefore is based on the righteousness of and obedience
to the law of God. That law is LOVE. But it is not human love. Human love
cannot rise above the level of human self-centeredness. It must be "the
love of God...shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]" (Rom. 5:5).
Ancient Israel could not really obey God's law--they could have kept it
according to the strict letter of the law. But since love is the fulfilling
of the law and they had only human self-centered love, they could not have
kept the law according to the spirit--because the Holy Spirit had not yet
This basic teaching includes, therefore, all the
"fruits of the Holy Spirit"--love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness,
fait, meekness, temperance, etc.
The teachings of God's true Church are simply those
of "living by every word" of the Holy Bible.
The first man, Adam, chose to decide for himself
right from wrong--to decide his own teachings, beliefs and ways of life.
The world has followed that same course for 6,000 years. The Church is
called out of the world to live the way God, through the Bible, teaches.
Synoptic History of the Church
Finally, we come to a brief history of the Church from
its foundation in A.D. 31 to the present.
The Church started on the day of Firstfruits called
Pentecost, in June of A.D. 31. The Holy Spirit came from heaven upon the
120 disciples assembled in Jerusalem with a miraculous display such as
has never before nor since occurred.
The 120 were all of "one accord." Suddenly "there
came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind" (Acts 2:2). Have
you ever been in a tornado or a hurricane? I have. Wind can make a very
loud sound. This sound filled "all the house where they were sitting."
Next "there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat
upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy [Spirit], and
began to speak with other tongues [languages], as the Spirit gave them
Never has such a supernatural display occurred
before or since. Yet the modern sects calling themselves "Pentecostal"
claim to repeat this experience.
But in their meetings no such sound comes form
heaven. No supernatural divided tongues of flaming fire sit on their heads.
Some do break out in a kind of gibberish supposed to be some foreign language,
but emphatically not anything like that happened on this day of Pentecost
in A.D. 31. Notice what kind of languages were spoken at the Church's inception.
Many besides the 120 were present from many countries speaking different
languages. Notice particularly, of these strangers, "every man heard them
[the 120] speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled,
saying to one another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?"
Now notice carefully. Every man--that is, each
individual--heard them, the 120, all speaking in his own native language.
The Greek heard the 120 speaking the Greek language. The Parthian heard
the same 120 speaking in the Parthian language. The Mede heard the 120
speaking the language of the Medes. They understood what was being said.
They got the message!
Today, in "Pentecostal" meetings one person may
break out in a kind of gibberish that others in the meeting do not understand
(I Cor.14:28). It says if one speaks in a foreign language there must be
an interpreter so the others can understand. "But if there be no interpreter,
let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to
God." In verse 33 it says God is not the author of confusion. In verse
19, God shows the relative unimportance of "tongues" by saying: "Yet in
the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by
my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown
When I speak to an audience in Japan or some other
country, I always have an interpreter who will interpret into the language
of that country, every few words, my message in their language. When I
speak in this kind of "tongues" I speak with understanding, and the people
get the message.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit
This entire modern "Pentecostal" movement is based on
a total misunderstanding and a deception of Satan in relation to the true
meaning of the baptism of--or, more correctly, by--the Holy Spirit. Christ
said through the apostle Paul that by one Spirit are we all baptized into
the one body--the Church (I Cor. 12:13). The word baptize means "immerse"
or "plunge into."
"Pentecostal" people have been deceived into thinking
that one is what they called "saved" when one receives Jesus Christ as
his personal Savior. They consider "the baptism of the Holy Spirit" evidenced
by speaking in "tongues" as a subsequent imbuement of power. I have had
a great deal of experience with these people. This "baptism" as they call
it seems to loosen their tongues in what they call an "imbuement with power,"
which, in practice, means power to speak emotionally, often braggingly.
The above explanation will not change those already
hooked on this deception, but hopefully it will prevent others from becoming
misled by this counterfeit emotional "spirituality."
Today's customary gospel about Christ believes
that simply "believing on Christ," which is professing Christ as personal
Savior, means that one is already saved. Yet Mark 7:7-9 shows that many
even go so far as to worship Christ, and all in vain because they do not
obey God's commandments--especially the Sabbath--but follow the traditions
of men by which Satan has deceived the whole world.
In John 8:30-44 the Jews who "believed on Christ"
but who did not believe Christ or keep his commandments were called, by
Jesus, the children of their father the devil. In I John 2:4 it shows that
he who claims to know Christ as Savior, but does not keep his commandments
is a liar and the truth is not in him.
On the original day of Pentecost, of these Jews
from other countries, some three thousand were baptized after a real repentance
and belief in Christ and in his Word, on that same day. A day or two later,
after Peter had healed the lifelong cripple at the gate of the Temple,
2,000 more were baptized. The new fledgling Church grew, not merely by
addition, which God added to his Church, but by multiplication.
But this phenomenal growth was not to continue
long at such an amazing rate of growth.
Remember, these in the Church were being specially
called by God out of Satan's world. Satan was sitting on the throne of
this earth. He fought fiendishly to protect his reign and upset God's purpose
to redeem mankind. Satan had sought to kill the Christ-child. Satan tried
desperately to tempt and disqualify Jesus at age 30. Satan did not give
up, nor has he to this very day. He now sought to destroy the Church and
if he could not destroy it, at least counterfeit it and deceive his world
into a false Christianity.
At the very outset Satan moved on Jews to fight
the Church by denying Jesus as the prophesied Messiah. At the first the
Church was almost wholly Jewish. The unconverted Jews fought to retain
the physical rituals and animal sacrifices of the law of Moses.
Very soon, while the membership in God's Church
was being multiplied (Acts 6:1), there was a great persecution against
the Church (Acts 8:1). Members were all scattered abroad throughout Judea
and Samaria, except the apostles.
False Gospel Proclaimed
Soon a violent controversy arose over whether the gospel
to be proclaimed was the gospel of Christ (which was Jesus' gospel or good
news about the kingdom of God) or whether they should preach a gospel ABOUT
Christ, merely preaching the acceptance of Christ as Savior. As apostasy
from Christ's truth gained momentum, much of the Church was turning to
a different and counterfeit gospel, proclaiming Christ as Savior, but omitting
entirely that sin is the transgression of God's spiritual law, and the
good news of the kingdom of God, removal of Satan, and restoration of the
government of God over the earth and the final opening of salvation to
all of humanity, who, when judged, would repent, believe and receive eternal
life as sons of God--as actual God beings.
The apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 11:3:
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his
subtilty, so your minds [those in the early Church] should be corrupted
from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth
another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit,
which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted,
ye might well bear with him."
Then Paul goes on and describes the false preachers
as stated previously, that were coming and changing the gospel of Christ
right at that time.
Then we turn next to Galatians 1:6-7. Paul wrote:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from his that called you [you had
to be called to become a member of the Church--no one can come to Christ,
except those that are called] into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert
the gospel of Christ." The gospel of Christ was the message about the coming
kingdom of God. They were already turning to a different gospel.
Counterfeit Called "Christianity"
Already the curtain was rung down on the history of the
true Church. You read of it in the book of Acts, but it doesn't go much
beyond that. But the curtain seems to lift, and we begin to get a little
bit of the history in about A.D. 150. There we see a church calling itself
Christian, but it's a totally different church, as different as night is
from day, down from up, or black from white. But it called itself Christian.
Now we quote from a book of history, The Decline
and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I and chapter 15: "The scanty and
suspicious materials on ecclesiastical history seldom enable us to dispel
the dark cloud that hangs over the first age of the Church." I have often
called it "the lost century," because the history of that Church was lost
at that time.
Scholars and church historians recognize that events
in the early Christian Church between A.D. 50 and 150 can only be seen
in vague outline--as if obscured by a thick mist.
The noted English scholar Samuel G. Green in A
Handbook of Church History wrote: "The thirty years which followed the
close of the New Testament Canon and the destruction of Jerusalem are in
truth the most obscure in the history of the Church. When we emerge in
the second century we are, to a great extent, in a changed world."
In Lectures on Ecclesiastical History William Fitzgerald
wrote: "Over this period of transition, which immediately succeeds upon
the era properly called apostolic, great obscurity hangs...."
In The Course of Christian History William J. McGlothlin
wrote: "But Christianity itself had been in [the] process of transformation
as it progressed and at the close of the period was in many respects quite
different from the apostolic Christianity."
In History of the Christian Church Philip Schaff
wrote: "The remaining thirty years of the first century are involved in
mysterious darkness, illuminated only by the writings of John. This is
a period of church history about which we know least and would like to
But if we look closely through this mist, we can
begin to see what was happening.
The world in which Christ founded his Church was
the world of the Roman Empire--the greatest and most powerful empire that
has ever existed. It stretched from Britain to the far reaches of modern-day
Turkey, encompassing peoples from many different background and cultures
under one system of government.
Rome's ruling hand was firm but the subject peoples
enjoyed considerable freedom, within the compass of Roman law. Providing
all citizens and conquered peoples paid due homage to the Roman emperor,
they were also allowed to practice their religious beliefs and worship
the gods of their ancestors.
After the day of Pentecost, the apostles began
to follow Christ's instruction to go to all the world preaching the gospel
of the kingdom. Once Christianity spread from Judea to the gentile lands
to the north it began to encounter those who practiced the pagan religions
of Babylon, Persia and Greece.
The apostles came in contact with Simon Magus,
a self-proclaimed leader in a cult that was deeply rooted in the mystery
religion of ancient Babylon.
Simon Magus' plot to buy himself a position of
influence in the early Church was foiled by Peter (Acts 8). But other false
teachers soon followed.
In his early epistles, Paul warned the fledgling
churches of Greece and Galatia that they were in danger of turning aside
after another gospel--a false concept of Christ and his message.
The gospel of Christ was being diluted as false
ministers with their teaching, heavily influenced by the beliefs of Babylon
and Persia, steadily infiltrated the congregations.
As the first century wore on, the original apostles
encouraged the members to stay faithful.
Jude, the brother of Jesus, urges the membership
to strive for the faith that was once delivered (Jude 3).
The apostle John warns the brethren to have nothing
to do with those who are bringing in false doctrines (II John 10).
Many who called themselves Christian had not been
truly converted. But throughout this period, all who called themselves
Christian suffered greatly from the Roman authorities, because they refused
to worship the emperor.
The mad Nero in A.D. 64 blamed the burning of Rome
on the Christians, and persecuted them savagely. Thousands suffered martyrdom.
Shortly afterward, the Jews of Palestine rose in
rebellion against the Roman authorities. The rebellion was suppressed and
Jerusalem destroyed in A.D. 70. A small number of true Christians
in Jerusalem fled over the mountains to the safety of Pella.
Seven Church Eras
The book of Revelation records seven messages to seven
churches that existed is Asia Minor toward the end of the first century
These churches--Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira,
Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea--were located along one of the mail routes
of the old Roman Empire.
Riders would follow the route--carrying messages
from town to town.
The messages to the seven churches have words of
both encouragement and correction and they clearly show the dominant characteristics
of each of the congregations at that time.
But these messages were intended for a wider audience
than the Christians in these small towns.
They are a series of remarkable prophecies, by
which the future of the true Church was foretold in outline form, from
the day it began on Pentecost, A.D. 31, until the Second Coming of Christ.
The history of the Church would fall into seven
distinct eras--each with its own strengths and weaknesses and its own special
trials and problems.
Just as a message could pass along the mail route
from Ephesus to Laodicea, so would the truth of God be passed from era
It was like a relay race--in which the baton is
passed from runner to runner, each one doing his part, until the finish
line is reached.
Some time during the early decades of the second
century, the baton was passed from the Ephesian era to the people that
God had called to the Smyrna era of his Church.
Powerless, often persecuted, and rejected as heretics,
the world lost sight of them. Instead, there emerged from the lost century
a church that was steadily growing in popularity but growing further away
from the gospel that Jesus taught.
Persecution continued at various times under the
Romans until the fourth century, when Constantine recognized the degenerate
Church of that period as an official religion of the empire.
But the Church that he recognized was by now very
different from the Church that Jesus founded. The doctrines and teachings
that he had taught his apostles were now buried amid the trappings, ceremonies,mysteries
and rituals of a church that called itself by the name of Christ. It was
essentially the Babylonian Mystery religion, now being called Christian,
accepting the doctrine of grace but turning it into license. In other words,
it was the old pagan Babylonian Mystery religion wearing a new cloak: "Christianity."
Once Constantine recognized them, this Church threw
renewed energy into taking its message to the world. Teachers and preachers
went to all parts of the Roman Empire with a message about Christ. Thousands--maybe
millions--heard this gospel and believed it. But it was not the gospel
Christ preached--his prophetic message of the coming kingdom of God.
Emperor Decreed Doctrine of False
What happened to the true Church during those centuries
in which the gospel was suppressed?
Emperor Constantine died in A.D. 337, just over
300 years after Christ was crucified. He had given his blessing to a church
that claimed to be the one that Christ founded.
Now that they were free from fear of oppression--the
persecuted became persecutors. Those of the true Church who dared to disagree
with their doctrine were branded as heretics, worthy of punishment.
In about A.D. 365 the Catholic Council of Laodicea
wrote in one of its most famous canons: "Christians must not judaize by
resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day, rather, honouring the
Lord's Day. But if any shall be found to be judaizers, let them be anathema
from Christ." This was a virtual sentence to torture and/or death. The
false church did not herself put true believers to death, but caused them
to be put to death (Rev. 13:15). This decree of A.D. 365 definitely shows
that there were true Christians observing the Sabbath.
The small remnant of Christians of the Smyrna era
fled once more--to seek the religious freedom they needed to practice their
They left few records. Occasionally they appear
as a footnote of history, rejected as heretics, ridiculed, and hounded
by their enemies. But their strongest testimony comes from Jesus himself,
in his words of encouragement to the Church that was at Smyrna. "I know
your works, tribulation, and poverty....Do not fear any of those things
which you are about to suffer....Be faithful until death, and I will give
you the crown of life" (Rev. 2:9-10, Revised Authorized Version).
And so the baton passed from the Smyrna Christians
to those of the Pergamos era.
These had been called to carry the truth through
one of history's most difficult periods--the Dark Ages.
The power and influence of the great universal
church spread far and wide, driving those who clung to the truth of God
ever further into the wilderness.
But they were never far from threat of persecution
And so very few of the Pergamos Christians remained
One thousand years after Jesus had founded his
Church, the exhausted remnant of the Pergamos era handed over the baton.
The Thyatiran era got off to a vigorous start,
preaching repentance throughout the Alpine Valley of Southern France and
Northern Italy. Many heard and were converted.
The religious authorities quickly reacted to this
Leaders of the true Church were arrested. Some
After the death of its first leaders, the Church
went into a temporary decline--but emerged once more under the dynamic
leadership of Peter Waldo. For several years in the 12th century, these
Waldensians flourished in the Alpine Valleys, preaching what truth they
had. Booklets and articles were written and copied by hand. This was still
before the days of printing.
As Jesus prophesied of the Thyatiran era, they
had faith and they worked hard. Their latter works were greater than the
But once again, persecution followed, as the full
force of the Inquisition was felt in the peaceful valleys that had once
provided a safe haven for the work of God.
Many that remained began to adopt the customs and
traditions of the world around them.
Europe now had many scattered groups of people
calling themselves Christians.
Meanwhile, the world was changing. Printing had
been invented--and knowledge began to be increased. The Protestant Reformation
broke the monopoly of the Church of Rome.
As religious wars swept across the European continent
during the Middle Ages, many refugees fled to the relative safety and tolerance
of England. Among them were members of the true Church. They brought with
them their doctrines and beliefs, especially the knowledge of the Sabbath.
The strict Sunday-observing Puritans resisted,
but in spite of a rising tide of opposition, in the early 17th century,
there were several small Sabbath-keeping congregations in England. Jesus
was raising up the fifth era of his Church--Sardis.
Protestant England became increasingly intolerant
of dissenters, including Sabbath keepers.
The true Church in England withered. But across
the ocean, men were beginning to discover a New World.
Stephen Mumford, a member of a Sabbath-keeping
church in London, left England for Newport, Rhode Island, in 1664. Rhode
Island was the smallest of the American colonies, and had been founded
by Roger Williams, a Baptist fleeing persecution from the Puritans of Massachusetts.
Rhode Island was the first place in the world to
guarantee freedom of religion as a basic tenet of its constitution. Finding
none who kept the Sabbath, Mumford and his wife began to fellowship with
the Baptist church in Newport. He did not proselytize, but quietly maintained
his own belief. Several members of the Sunday-keeping congregation became
convinced that they, too, should observe the Sabbath.
They became the first Sabbath-keeping congregation
At first they met in private homes. In the historical
museum at Newport, their record book is preserved--containing names--their
contributions--even records of their ordination services.
Also preserved is the simple, but elegant, meeting
hall that they built in Newport in the early years of the 18th century.
Others joined them in their belief, as God began to call more to his work
in the New World.
A second congregation was established at Hopkinton.
This soon became a thriving church of several hundred. A bridge today marks
the spot where their meeting house once stood. Several thousand were baptized
here on the banks of the Pawkatuk River. Then spiritual decline set in.
By the mid-1800s, vigorous new Sabbath-keeping
congregations, raised up as a result of the preaching of William Miller,
1831-1849, could be found throughout the American Midwest.
At Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1860, many thousands
were persuaded to accept the beliefs of the followers of Ellen G. White.
They departed from the true name--the Church of
God. Instead of the true gospel, the kingdom of God, they substituted doctrines
of Ellen G. White, called "the shut-door policy," "the investigative judgment,"
a "2,300 day" doctrine and "the spirit of prophecy," identifying Mrs. White
as the church's prophet who actually set the church's doctrine.
They adopted the name Seventh-day Adventists, by
which name they are known to this day. But those who remained of the true
Church of God refused to accept these teachings and doctrines and restored
certain truths that had fallen into neglect in the previous century.
They moved their headquarters to Marion, Iowa,
and then to Stanberry, Missouri. A magazine, The Bible Advocate, was published.
Their efforts bore some fruit--small congregations sprang up across the
And so it was that some time in the 19th century,
a small congregation of the true Church of God was established in the peaceful
Willamette Valley in Oregon.
They were farmers, without formal education. They
lacked trained ministers to teach and guide them. But they had the name,
Church of God, and they faithfully kept the Sabbath day.
God's Church had come a long way across the turbulent
centuries since the day of Pentecost.
It was weak, and lacked influence. Years of persecution
and compromise had taken their toll. Much truth had been lost. But they
had stayed the course.
In the Willamette Valley, they waited. It was nearly
time for the baton to change again--into the hands of those God would call
to do his end-time work.
Restoration of God's Truth to Church
From the year 1931, exactly 1,900 years (a century of
time cycles) from the foundation of the Church, this small remnant of the
original true Church of God began to take on new life as the Philadelphia
era. It had come to the "time of the end." A new spiritual vitality was
infused into it. The time had come for Jesus' prophecy of Matthew 24:14
to be fulfilled--"this gospel of the kingdom shall be [proclaimed] in all
the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
Such vital truth that had been lost was gradually revealed and proclaimed.
This Philadelphia era is described in verses 7
to 13 of Revelation 3. The Sardis era (Rev. 3:1-6) was by this time spiritually
dying and had become impotent in spreading the true gospel of Christ. Indeed
they had by this time lost knowledge of the true meaning of that gospel.
They knew they were approaching the Second Coming of Christ, but they had
no knowledge of what would happen during the thousand years millennium,
further than the fact Christ would rule.
Of the Philadelphia era of God's true Church we
read: "To the angel of the church...." This word angel translated from
the Greek aggelos means messenger or agent. This is not necessarily always
referring to a spirit angel but can refer as well to a human agent. It
is possible that God's principle of duality may apply here. It may apply
to an actual spirit-composed angel that has been assigned as an overall
agent or helper of this particular era of the Church. Or it may also apply
to the human messenger or agent God has raised up to lead this era of his
At the same time another principle of duality may
apply to verses 7-13. It may apply to the Church of this era as a whole,
and also it could apply to the human leader God had raised up to this era
of his Church.
Continue with verse 8: "I know thy works: behold,
I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast
a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."
This era of the Church was to produce fruit. To
this era--or to its human leader--God had set before it an open door. It
is recorded in II Corinthians 2:12 and also Acts 14:27 how Christ opened
the door for Paul to go into other countries to preach the gospel. This
Church and/or its leader had but little strength. Neither were of great
and powerful stature in Satan's world but those of this era were faithful
to the Word of God. Though much of the original gospel truth, imparted
to the original apostles by Jesus in person, had been lost, it was restored
through the Bible to this era of God's Church who were faithful in keeping
It is revealed in Malachi 3:1-5 and 4:5-6 that
God would raise up one in the power and spirit of Elijah, shortly prior
to the Second Coming of Christ. In Matthew 17:11 Jesus said, even after
John the Baptist had completed his mission, that this prophesied Elijah
"truly shall first come, and restore all things." Although it is plainly
revealed that John the Baptist had come in the power and spirit of Elijah,
he did not restore anything. The human leader to be raised up somewhat
shortly prior to Christ's Second Coming was to prepare the way--prepare
the Church--for Christ's coming, and restore the truth that had been lost
through the preceding eras of the Church. Also a door was to be opened
for this leader and/or the Philadelphia era of the Church to fulfill Matthew
24:14: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world
for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
It was to be at a time when, for the first time
in the history of mankind, the weapons of mass destruction were produced
that could erase all humanity from the earth (Matt. 24:21-22). This also
was to occur just before the Second Coming of Christ (verses 29-30).
These prophecies have now definitely been fulfilled.
The true gospel has been restored and has now gone in power into every
nation on the face of the earth.
The Church has taken on a new Spirit-empowered
All the technological advances and facilities are
First radio was used, beginning on one of the smallest-powered
stations in Eugene, Oregon. Then the printing press. This started with
an old secondhand Neostyle, ancestor to the mimeograph. In due time the
printing press was used. The advent of television came in 1945--immediately
after the end of World War II. The Church began using television in the
summer of 1955. The true gospel, for the first time in 1,900 years, has
finally been proclaimed and published into all nations of the earth. The
Church has grown. For the first 25 years it grew at an average rate of
30 percent per year.
The first apostles would be astonished to see the
size and scope of the work now. The means of communications, the technology
and the modern resources that God has given to his end-time work would
indeed be strange to those men who first received the commission to take
the gospel to the world nearly 2,000 years ago.
But some things would not be strange--the Sabbath
and Holy Days, the name, the Church of God, and the gospel of the kingdom--these
they would recognize--handed down through the ages from the time of Christ
to the time of the end.