See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. (Heb 12:25-27, ESV2011)
In this passage we see the prophecy of a great shaking that will be upon not only the earth, but the very Church “heaven” itself. The word translated “heaven” above is defined in Strong’s Bible Dictionary as:
οὐρανός ouranos (ou-ra-nos’) n.
- the sky.
- (by extension) heaven (as the abode of God).
- (by implication) happiness, power, eternity.
- (specially) the Gospel (Christianity).
In the context of this passage in Hebrews it is obvious that God is going to not only shake the earth and the heavens as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24 and Luke 21, but all things which have been made. This final shaking will destroy all the material things that Christianity clings to and identifies with so that only that which is of His Spirit in us will “survive the cut.” As much as we are attached to church buildings, liturgy, church hierarchy, Christian tradition and man-made institutions, all that will be done away with so that only the Heavenly Jerusalem, that assembly of the First Born, Jesus Christ, whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will remain (see Hebrews 12:22-24). What is stubble and chaff compared to wheat? God is not gathering stubble and chaff into His heavenly storehouse, but these are gathered into piles to be burned. Those things have done their job and soon will be of no further use.
Have you ever had a time of fellowship with your fellow saints that was so heavenly that you did not want it to end? I don’t mean just a church service or a Christian conference, but being part of a group of believers in an in-depth relationship (that goes beyond those found in most churches) where the love and grace of our Father flowed between you all and built you up in a way that no sermon or mere sacramental-ism can. I am speaking of a time together of the members of Christ’s body with Him orchestrating all that happened as only HE can. This has become so rare, now at the end of this age, that most of you probably have never experienced heaven coming down and touching the earth with the Light and Life of Christ Himself filling His body. It truly is a gift from our Father. It is such a witness of His “kingdom come upon the earth as it is in heaven” that the hordes of hell are unleashed against it when it happens. In any case, experiencing the real ecclesia of God in the love and unity of the Spirit ruins you for ever again being satisfied with orchestrated Sunday meetings as is the norm today.
Sad to say, Christians today have struck a compromise with the devil that says, “You leave us alone and we will leave you alone,” What we have masquerading as “the church” is no threat to the prince of this world or his kingdom. Instead of preaching Christ and Him crucified, the pulpits are preaching worldly goals and gain and cutesy sermons that tickle the ears of the hearers. They have twisted Paul’s words, “I have become all things to all men that I might win some,” to mean that we should become as likeable and like the world and its people as much as possible. As a result, the “salt of the earth” that the church was meant to be has lost its savor and is being trodden under the feet of men. We must be born of the Spirit to see the kingdom of God. Christianity has become so worldly and self seeking that I really doubt that most “Christians” today have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. If they did, their hearts would not be so focused on material things, the world and the affairs of carnal men, much less content with the status quo in the churches.
Austin-Sparks wrote about the status of church around the world which he observed 60 years ago during world wide ministry (it is much worse now). He could see that the judgment of God was coming on the church as its enemy was rapidly squeezing out any representation of the church in huge areas of the world with the onslaught of atheistic communism, Islam and humanism. But even more than that the church was dying a slow death by becoming more worldly than it was spiritual (see http://www.austin-sparks.net/english/books/002091.html).
Apostle Paul saw this coming upon the church even as early as the first century and he warned:
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, that the day of the Lord is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come the falling away [Grk – apostasia- apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2Thess 2:1-3, KJ2000 – emphasis added – see also Acts 20:29-31 – emphasis added)
Sparks compared the status of the church to the temple system and what Judaism had become at the time of Christ. Rome, not God, had placed Herod as king over Judea and Judaism was influenced by its power more than God. King Herod’s father was an Edomite and not of the linage of David as Israel’s king should have been. When Jesus came as a baby and the rightful heir, “The Son of David” Herod tried to kill Him! This despot had more to do with who ruled over the temple as High Priest than any spiritual leading from God. This is why there were two “High Priests” during the time of Jesus’ sojourn here on earth. They were both political appointees and one came up out of Egypt. Only those who catered to Herod and his wishes were chosen for this influential priestly position. It was a purely political system.
The whole Jewish system had fallen under carnal rulers and been corrupted to the point that even their precious temple built by Herod the Great was not according to the pattern that Moses was given by God, but rather a garish monument to this despotic king’s own greatness. The arc of the covenant was no longer in the Holy of Holies and God’s judgment of “Ichabod” was on the whole thing (see Luke 21:5-6). The Fortress of Antonia that housed the Roman garrison was purposely built right up against the temple walls so the Roman shoulders could have access to the temple grounds and the Court the Gentiles in the temple complex was where the buying and selling of animals was going on under the oversight of Annas, one of the two high priests. This was his business enterprise and became known as “the Bazaar of Annas.” It was into this political mess that Jesus came, overthrowing the tables of the merchants and announcing, “It is written that my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of thieves.”
Anyone who has been part of organized Christianity for very long can easily see all the parallels in the church today with its preaching of political affiliations, social activism, worldly prosperity, and mercantilism. Its seminaries crank out men that are no longer lowly servants as was Christ, but that want to become famous in this world and make their churches into a cash cow operation. Just as it was back then when God pronounced judgment on that perverted system and it was destroyed by 70 A.D., His judgment is on this worldly church system of today.
Jesus did not come to establish another religion ruled over by men! He came to point all men to His Father’s kingdom and restore each of us to a perfect fellowship with Him. Jesus is its Prince of Peace and its members are transformed into spiritual beings who are not of this world, but rather the sons and daughters of God. Do you doubt that God’s judgment is on this worldly religious system, this whore that prostitutes herself for worldly position and gain? Then you might look closer at these verses that describe the great apostasy that Paul warned us about and is now its final stage.
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters [peoples]: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. (Rev 17:1-2, KJV)
And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration [astonishment]. (Rev 17:5-6, KJV)
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. (Rev 17:14-15, KJV)
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18:1-5, KJV)
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Rev 18:7-8, KJV) (emphasis added in all the above verses)
All that said, the church of today is as fallen from what was once spiritual under the direction of the Holy Spirit as the Herodian temple system was fallen from the tabernacle in the wilderness under Moses and Aaron. Jesus proclaimed God’s judgment upon that Jewish system and it was removed from the face of the earth in 70 A. D. (read Matthew ch. 23). That system’s fate was sealed when its followers and leaders murdered the Son of Righteousness the Father sent to redeem them. Jesus told them just before He died,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. (Matt 23:37-38, ESV2011)
So, dear brothers and sisters, do you find yourself rejected and alone in today’s church systems? Didn’t Jesus warn us that if they hated Him they would hate and abuse His servants also?
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, who planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the tenants, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the tenants took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will respect my son. But when the tenants saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard comes, what will he do unto those tenants? (Matt 21:33-40, KJ2000)
Dear friends, the rightful heirs to the Kingdom of God are those who walk by faith and the leading of the Spirit of God as His servants, not those who claim the name “Christian” and abuse their power and His flock as they seek worldly gain.
Many years ago, as I saw the truth in this, I wanted to do like Moses did, grab them by their ecclesiastical throats and deliver God’s people from these taskmasters one at a time (I speak figuratively). I spent many years focusing on what was wrong with the church and its leadership and wrote volumes about it, but God finally told me that this system is nothing more than blind guides leading the blind and to leave it alone and let them all fall in the ditch (see Matthew 15:14). Sometimes it takes following church leaders into a few spiritual ditches to wake us up and get us to seek true spiritual sight and Truth that is ours alone as we abide IN Jesus Christ.
Paul said, “I did not build upon another man’s foundation.” You cannot build the house of God on the twisted teachings and traditions of Christendom that continue to confuse the minds of its adherents. Only the Holy Spirit can teach these truths and give us the experiences to drive them deep into our hearts. He must purge our minds and hearts of all that is false concerning God’s kingdom and our place in it before He can build HIS temple with us as His living stones.
It took 40 years in the wilderness and a lot of dying to get Egypt out of His people and make them ready to enter His Promised Land, and so it is today. Whether you call it a period in the wilderness or “the dark night of the soul,” these religious souls in us that the Bible calls “the flesh” are not compatible for His kingdom. We must be stripped of all the religious foundations of men and our carnal natures before we can start to comprehend what the Spirit is saying to us, because all that false teaching blocks us from hearing His gentle voice as it resonates in our hearts. Once that false foundation is done away with, He can start building us on the only true Foundation, which is Christ. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter three that every man’s work will be proven by fire for the day shall declare and expose what kind of structure was built. There is a day in each of our lives that God comes to set His house in order. It is better to face His purging now than to face His all-consuming fire in “the Day of the Lord.”
Father, open our eyes that we might see ourselves as YOU see us and repent that we might walk according to the Light of your Spirit. Amen.
I could not agree more, Michael. Your statement that “Christians today have struck a compromise with the devil that says, ‘You leave us alone and we will leave you alone’ ” is a damning indictment.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Anna, when I was in the depths of my wilderness journey in much misery I actually tried to avoid more suffering by being no conscious threat to the devil. Well, he just kept coming at me anyway and things kept getting worse. I have often wondered if we who belong to Christ are not born with a mark on us that Satan can see and those who are of this world can sense, knowing that we are not one of them. This being “marked” has brought us persecution and rejection right from the beginning but it has set us on a path that ends in our Father’s kingdom above. Jesus was marked this way as an infant and it brought love and even worship from angels, shepherds and the wise men from the east, but a murderous plot from those in control of that world system who sought to kill Him. Imagine what He grew up with in Nazareth. They not only rejected and tried to kill Him when He preached to them in their synagogue years later, but they rejected Him in His youth, “We know you, you are the carpenter’s son. Who do you think you are?” I think it is no different for those who are His, dear sister. Where the confusion REALLY comes in for us is when we come to Christ and go to our Christian “synagogues” hoping to find a loving family there and get the same rejection He did! We finally realize what Jesus meant when He said, “Not everyone who says unto me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven…”
Bless you my dear sister! You are one of His.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Excellently elaborated, Michael! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
I just found an older article of you here that was written in 2013. You pasted another entry by T. Austin Sparks there of which I want to share an excerpt with you because I think it fits in here.
“Perhaps one of the things which you and I and the Lord’s people everywhere need to recognise more than anything else at an end time is the fact of our heavenliness. There is going to be a testing of everything which bears the Lord’s name by the law of the beginning governing the end. In the beginning they were a heavenly people, with everything for them in heaven, in Christ, and being drawn from Christ in heaven. All their government, direction, resource came from Him and was in Him as in heaven. The Lord comes back again and again to test things by that beginning, and in the end the test is going to be applied very stringently. We are going to see the outward form of things, which is earthly, man-made, man-constituted, an imitation or a representation of spiritual things, breaking down, shaking at its very foundations. All the organisations of our work are going to be shattered. In the nations all that framework will be broken up. That which alone will be left will be the people themselves, and they will probably be scattered. Then the test will be as to how much of this is Christ here. If there has been dependence upon orders, churches, systems, even meetings and conferences, the many things which in themselves are looked to as the means of support of the Christian life, when they are gone, broken, the question will be, How much of Christ is here? What is the measure of Christ, the heavenly Christ?
You see how that was the crisis for the disciples. They had three years with Him, but there was an outward detachment, an outward dependence, a physical, sentient association. In those days they could say some very bold things, they could make great confessions and professions, they could declare themselves as to Him, Who He was, what they thought of Him, what they believed concerning Him, what they would do for Him. Then He was taken from them, and what was left? No Christ, no life, nothing to live for, everything gone! When the life of senses ceased, the outward order came to an end, they had nothing left, they were in despair, their faith was shattered.
There is much of that today. We do not know how much there is until the break comes, until we are no longer able to do anything for the Lord, until we are no longer able even to pray and read the Word of God, and carry on the usual devotional exercises, until we are no longer able to meet with the Lord’s people. Multitudes of the Lord’s people are coming there now. Over wide stretches of the earth the people of God are being driven, scattered, having everything outward taken. The question is: Why does the Lord allow it? Why is it so, if the Lord is wise, and almighty, and gracious? It is to discover how much the Heavenly Christ is to His people, and how much they depend upon the earthly order of things, even the Christian order.
“That which was from the beginning… Little children, it is the last hour… the one who does the will of God lives for ever“. Do you see the link? If at the end, at the last hour, it is as it was from the beginning, then it will abide for ever, but if it has become something else, it will go. This whole question of heavenly relationship with the Lord is a tremendously searching one, the fact that Christ has transferred everything to heaven and that nothing less than a life in heavenly union with Him will stand the test at any time.
We will ask the Lord that He will take this – if it really is the truth – and search us. It may be that some of us will find comfort, because we shall see this is exactly what the Lord is doing with us. Why isolation? Why the testings? Why the loneliness in spiritual life? To save us from things unto Himself, even Christian things, so that God’s end that Christ may be all and in all shall be reached; not things, but Christ; not Christianity, but Christ; not Christian work, but Christ.”
LikeLiked by 2 people
Wow, Susanne! Yes, this really goes along with what I was sharing in this blog. Isolated, scattered, stripped of all we once hung on to so that it might be revealed how much of it was of Christ and then turn to Him alone so HE can build His house. Very good!
Thanks, dear heart ❤
LikeLiked by 1 person
You are most welcome, dear Michael! ❤ Glad you liked it. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I like it very MUCH! It REALLY fits. ⭐
LikeLiked by 1 person
LikeLiked by 1 person
* Like 🙂
LikeLiked by 2 people
Mike as I read your article a second time something jumped out at me and it was that word “detached” and some thing else you said was fitting and that was when you talked about being quiet and not saying anything to them anymore—The people in this church I go to are looking for unity because about 200 have left their church–So they called in an organization called–crossroads resolution group and i went to their presentation on how this church could get unity–Their whole theme was old covenant principles and the elders are all for it—I tried to explain to them that what they needed to understand was that Gods personal being in the light of His onto-relational personhood redifines what it means for Father,Son,and Holy Spirit to be tree persons.It also redifines how human beings are meant to be persons—The idea of onto-relational personhood could have profound ramifications for unity in the church.If we understood our personhood in onto-relaton with our onto-relational God and in onto-relations with other belivers by this onto-relational God and that we are not isolated beings—We would have unity—But are they going to listen? Hell no,so I am ready to say—Dad I wanna quit! Move me on to somewhere else.But no matter how I feel I will wait and keep on observing.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Well, Kenneth, I had to spend some time trying to find on the web what “onto-relational” means and I found sites that used more words that I did not understand as they set out to define it, These articles were obviously written by intellectuals and their lofty words used obviously were there to impress their fellow intellectuals and theologians. They did not seek to communicate with with someone like me who only has 14 years of formal education and only one intro level coarse in philosophy. It seems that they were involved with the scientific method of dissection and analysis more than trying to communicate to the common man what they were talking about in an organic way.
This is the very difference between theologians and how they treat people and Jesus and how relational He was and is communicating in words and parodies that they understand! Theologians in their ivory towers use lofty words to analyze and dissect who God is and what life is about, while they avoid getting to know the person who is in front of them. Jesus confronted this very rift between them and reality when He said to the Bible scholars of that day,
“And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen, and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (John 5:37-40, ESV2011)
You see these scholars were using the scientific method of Bible study and doing the same in the way they approached God and the people — without love, compassion or life. They could tell King Harod exactly where the infant Messiah would be born, yet unlike the three wise men, had no interest in seeking Him out much less worshiping Him. Harod failed in killing the Christ Child, but they succeeded. Some things never change.
In the above passage we see a relationship between Jesus and the Father in which He sees and hears the Father in a relationship that brought Him Life. He had the life of the Father in Him, but these church authorities who ruled over the people were as dead as the stone temple they guarded and ruled from. He was extending the hand of Life to them and they refused.
All that said, it seems that this church you have been going to and these specialists who they invited in to deal with the problem of people leaving, are as ignorant of the need for personal relationships with the people as they are of the fact that a ordinary individual without a degree in theology could have a meaningful and very personal relationship with the Father and the Son and even share in that relationship with others that would make them hungry for the Life of Christ in them.
Jesus’ appraisal was correct, they are blind guides leading the blind.The Kingdom of God is all about relationships and knowing the Father and Son in a most personal and intimate way as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ and children of our Father in heaven. It is not a cold institution that treats people like cattle — run them in the building, service them, milk them and run them out and live a life separate aloof from them the rest of the week. And they call these people “shepherds?”
“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” (John 10:2-5, ESV2011)
Like you said, “The idea of onto-relational personhood could have profound ramifications for unity in the church,” and that relational Person is Jesus Christ. “Christ in YOU the hope of glory.” The glory of the Father and the Son in us is what makes the difference.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Mike : You answered the meaning of onto-relational in your reply to me–It means person or being to another person or being without all the abstract,static stuff thrown in—The word onto-relational was used by Thomas Thorrance in his writtings and its a very noetic phrase–which means intellectual because Thomas was a teacher at Edinburg college—The point of his/my comment in simpler terms is that our relations with our God is spirit to Spirit plus Jesus bodily inter twined with us spiritualy at Gods throne thus we participate with Gods trinitarian Divine Life—So with that going on in our new life and us gathering with other humans that have the same thing going on in them we are secure in our unity–why? Well search the scriptures and you will never find any disunity going on in the trinitarian life of God—Thus like Father like His children—But you gotta stop treating the bible as a paper pope!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, Ken, He has spoken to me often about this that is ours as we abide in the Father and the Son by His Spirit in us through John 17:22-25 and 1 John 1:6-10. I have share a lot on this blog about this. Thanks.
* Like 🙂
I have a tape called “Angelic Praise” that a minister named Henry Gruver shared and while it was playing he said he heard this prayer in the background:
“Lord, forgive us for our carnality and having eyes only for this world. May we work from the light of heaven, redeeming the time in every land that the harvest may come in”.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Amén Michael. Salir del sistema es más fácil que dejar que Dios saque el sistema de nosotros. El Señor tiene que arrancar de nuestro corazón sin misericordia a Babilonia y a todo su sistema putrefacto, para que entendamos que solo en Cristo está la vida.
Muchos salen de sus “iglesias” y miran atrás como la mujer de Lot, deseando las doctrinas, los cultos, las infinitas reuniones y su club social. Algunos viven buscando de aquí para allá, otros vuelven como el perro a su vómito a estas muertas iglesias. Pierden el TODO por la nada.
El Señor tiene que hacer un trabajo profundo de matar el deseo y el apego por el sistema religioso. El Señor debe aniquilar la hipocresía religiosa con maquillaje espiritual.
Que el Señor abra nuestros ojos y nos ilumine al respecto. Que el Señor arranque y nos despoje de todo lo que no sea de Cristo en nuestra vida.
Amen Michael. Leaving the system is easier than letting God take the system out of us. The Lord has to tear out of our heart without mercy Babylon and all its putrefying system, so that we understand that only in Christ is life.
Many leave their “churches” and look back as Lot’s wife, longing for doctrines, cults, endless meetings and their social club. Some live looking from here to there, others return like the dog to their vomit to these dead churches. They lose the ALL for nothing.
The Lord has to do a deep job of killing the desire and attachment for the religious system. The Lord must annihilate religious hypocrisy with spiritual makeup.
May the Lord open our eyes and enlighten us about it. May the Lord start and deprive us of everything that is not of Christ in our lives.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Patricia, your observation of people who start to leave organized religion is very accurate. The people of Israel in the wilderness at one point after seeing all the miraculous ways that God provided for them,wanted to kill Moses and appoint a new leader and head back to Egypt. Why? Because they did not want to walk by faith and eat what God provided for them, but lusted after the melons and onions back in the land of captivity. The more things change without abiding IN Christ, the more they remain the same.
Thank you, my sister! ⭐
LikeLiked by 1 person
This is my brother. Many are afraid to leave, feel misplaced and believe that they lose their identity. I’ve seen it with people nearby. The only thing we can do is pray for them so that the Lord opens their eyes.
Así es mi hermano. Muchos tienen miedo de salir, se sienten desubicados y creen que pierden su identidad. Lo he visto con personas cercanas. Lo único que podemos hacer es orar por ellas para que el Señor abra sus ojos.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Amen and Amen! Thank you brother
LikeLiked by 1 person
You are welcome, TJ