Very early on in the history of the body of Christ, the father of lies discovered that he could not eliminate the kingdom of heaven on earth by persecuting it. The more he did so, the more it flourished! So, he decided to kill it with kindness. He cleverly made an earthly counterfeit of the ekklesia of God and called it “the church” and its popularity has continued down through the last 1700 years. In its infancy the ekklesia of Christ were known as the people of The Way, not “the Church,” because they adhered to the One who said, “I AM the Way to the Father.”
According to the New Covenant, we who are Christ’s are God’s assembly of called-out ones. We are called out of the world and all its systems; governmental social and religious. As we follow our Good Shepherd we are pilgrims and exiles upon this earth for just as they hated Him, they hate and reject those who truly belong to Him and are born from above by the Father. Here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one which will come down from the throne of God, the NEW Jerusalem, which is above and is the mother of all who belong to Jesus, not that wicked city that kills the prophets and the Christ. We NOW sit in heavenly places IN Christ Jesus. We have a kingdom that does not come with an outward manifestation like the church systems of today which break up the sky line with their great monolithic buildings and institutions, but rather is hidden from the world’s view as His kingdom developes within us.
With all this in mind is it any wonder that there were no “church buildings” erected by those of The Way until after Emperor Constantine of Rome got his hands on what was left of that faith in about 311 AD and seduced them to fall in line under His rule, promising peace in the place of persecution and made it the new official religion of the Roman Empire? He rapidly converted The Way into another bureau of his government with which to conquer and control the world, the bureau of religion, to facilitate his military conquests and capture the minds as well as the bodies of the subjugated masses! Those conquered nations that would not convert were often put to the sword by this great “benefactor of the church” with the advent of a new theology, “holy wars.” Funny how he took to himself the titles of “the Thirteenth Apostle” and “Pontifix Maximus” (the greatest pontiff or bishop of Rome) totally lacking in humility. What a contrast to the lowly Jesus who came as a Servant in a back-water town in a subjugated nation where He conquered hearts with the weapon of His great love.
Soon the visible church ceased to be an organism with Christ as its Head and only Foundation and became an organization with paid priests (often “converted” pagan priests) and bishops over it with the Emperor as their head as the first pope. The “birds of the air,” demons, began to nest in its upper most branches and tares were sown among the wheat (see Matthew ch. 13) as new adherents to the king’s new religion were either bribed or coerced to joining the his new church. Cut off from its true Head, the body soon died and it was not long until the City on a Hill filled with light became the cause of the Dark Ages as its light went out bringing to mind Jesus’ warning, “If the light within you is [becomes] darkness how great is that darkness.” When salt looses is saltiness it is good for nothing but to be trodden under the feet of men. That living organism born from above that “turned the world upside down” soon became part of the world system.
Since then Church Reformers have come and gone and were often persecuted and killed by the “mother church” and they made some coarse corrections redeeming part of what was lost due to doctrinal changes, but the changes were not enough. Sad to say, these reformers were often just as bloody and hateful as was the mother church they protested against, using force when argument did not prevail. The nut (Protestantism) didn’t fall far from the tree (the Catholic church). The daughters of Babylon never fully returned to having Christ as their Head, but rather chose men to lead them and be the heads and lieutenants of their denominations. They never fully comprehended Jesus’ warning to the disciples when He said, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over them and they are counted as benefactors, but with you it cannot be. He who is great among you shall be your servant and the greatest one among you shall be your slave.” They also never fully embraced the Holy Spirit as the guide and Teacher of each individual believer, but rather chose pastors and bishops to be their teachers and guides. They never left off constructing and supporting Christian temples and “churches” or appreciated what it means to be the Living Stones in God’s holy temple “not made with hands,” but kept on building “church buildings” just like their mother. They still embraced sacerdotalism, seminaries to generate its leaders and Old Testament laws with which they furthered their power structure, lording over the people to keep them in bondage and fear. They still kept the rigid division between clergy and laity — those with the right to rule-over and the subjugated masses — adhering to the doctrine of the Nicholaitans (Greek – to conquer and rule over the people) which God hates. The more that things “changed” in the Reformation, the more they remained the same.
The hour is now come where Jesus has had enough. He is no longer content to stand outside the Laodicean church system, knocking on its doors, asking them to join Him while those inside this closed door system are oblivious to the fact that He has left “the building” and that they are “poor, miserable, blind and naked” — the only state a body can be when each member no longer looks to the Head for its supply! Jesus is now seen standing in the heavens, as the next passage in Revelations reveals, calling to us through an open door! Didn’t He say, “I am the door to the sheepfold. By me they come in and go out and find pasture”? He is calling and saying, “Come up here and I will show you things…” It is as we seek Him as our ALL in all that He administers eye salve that we MIGHT see and clothes us in His white raiment, the garment of His bride who is being made ready. It is here that we are made rich with gold (His righteousness worked within) made in our fiery trials as we sit with Him in heavenly places with the Father, where we have only ONE Mediator who ever stands before the Father to make intersession for us, not an earthly priesthood of paid professionals.
Saints, what will we say to Him if “we neglect so a great salvation” and continue to settle for the kingdoms of men which call their organizations “the church” and ignore His upward call? God help us!
Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth… And this we will do, if God permits. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame. (Heb 6:1-6 MKJV)
And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18:2-5 RSVA)