Four Corners of the Earth
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God keeps moving and turns a corner. We keep blundering on straight. We must change direction in order to follow God
- The Plan of God involves 4 strategies to outwit Satan
- Satan takes control of the church in four steps
- The church turned four corners to restore Bible truth
- The only church to be trusted is the first church age
- No human must be the head of a church
- Churches easily absorb pagan errors
- Power over the church leads to political power
- Nicolaitans conquer the congregation
- The love of money invites in demonology
- That antichrist spirit perverts the church
The Plan of God involves 4 strategies to outwit Satan
The Hebrew word "kanaph" that is translated as "corner" can have a meaning of "extremity", being pushed into an extreme corner. Events happen in such a way that our options are limited until we are forced by circumstances to recognize the urgency required to follow God's unexpected shift. Despite the difficulties and disadvantages of disagreeing with our comfortable church beliefs, we see a new path opening up that requires renewed spiritual vigour and determination to be Scriptural. The harsher physical repercussions caused by the change in our beliefs is compensated for by our deepening understanding of Scriptural patterns and insights. The stimulation of revelation is worth far more than the loss of physical benefits and our rejection and condemnation by the churches. There is a price to be paid if you take up your cross. It is hard work to climb up God's mountain, but the view from the top makes it worthwhile.
MATTHEW 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
“Thy kingdom come”. This means that God will ultimately triumph and build up His church over 2000 years using born-again humans, mainly Gentiles, as His living stones. But God has to knock us living stones into shape.
Because God will ultimately win, we humans down on earth have to be pressured into changing the direction of our thinking in order to line up with God’s thinking. But we struggle to get our human wisdom up to the level of God's thinking, as God dwells up in Heaven and thinks at a higher level than we can.
The earth does not have four physical corners as the earth is an almost round globe.
The Bible refers to four spiritual corners that were and still are caused by four serious types of spiritual errors or unscriptural assaults that Satan used to turn the church away from Scripture. The churches loved these errors and would resent anybody who dared to oppose them.
When we reach a physical corner then we are forced to change the direction in which we walk.
Equally, each spiritual corner gives us an inner compulsion to change the direction of our thinking. We have to oppose certain beliefs in the church if we want our eyes to be opened.
Disagreeing with a popular church belief has always been very difficult for any individual. Humans prefer to be popular and have friends.
There are four beasts around the throne of God. These represent the four ways that God’s Spirit manifests His power as He out-thinks the changing tactics of Satan by revealing deeper mysteries in Scripture. But God had to find individuals who loved Scripture more than friends so that they would be prepared to change certain church beliefs that they had been brainwashed with.
REVELATION 4:7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
We need to tune in to the way that these Spirit-beings think.
The influence of God spreads out over the earth in four different ways.
The thoughts and plans of these four Spirit-beings are laid out in the King James Bible, the only perfect Scripture.
PROVERBS 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
We humans think we are clever but the way we walk is in the direction of death.
A corner is where God wants us to turn from our ego-driven self-satisfied ways and change our habits and our goals. We must die to self so that God’s Spirit can guide us.
Peter saw a vision of unclean animals caught in a sheet, symbolizing all the unsaved pagan Gentiles over the next 2000 years who would form the future church after their repentance and Holy Spirit baptism. Four ropes were attached to the four corners of the sheet.
Peter, symbolizing the New Testament apostles’ doctrines, would kill “self” in them by getting them to repent. The Holy Spirit baptism would keep “self” dead as Christ came alive in them.
This promise would be available to all Gentiles during the 2000 years of church history if they chose to repent and follow Scripture.
ACTS 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
The New Testament teaches us Gentiles how to die to self so that we can accept the Spirit of Christ. Then the animals were accepted as clean and were caught up to Heaven. The Gentile church is thus caught between four corners or major doctrinal turning points where we have to change the way that we think and believe, because we are easily fooled by false church doctrines.
Consider the vision that Peter saw.
ACTS 10:11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him,
as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners,
and let down to the earth:
There are four corners to this sheet.
A corner forces you to turn and change direction. These corners are attached to the ends of heaven, represented by the four beasts around the throne. They represented the Scriptural limits within which God guided His Gentile church on earth during the seven church ages so that these Gentiles could be received up to heaven when they died.
MATTHEW 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
These are heavenly born-again people responding to the Gospel trumpet because they were elected to understand God’s Word for their day and age.
There have been four major turning points that the church had to recognize as they had to change direction to face the challenges of their times. As Satan changed his methods of attack, God had to direct the saved people down different paths.
God's major concern was the loss of truth in the Middle Ages or Dark Ages. This was the fourth church age as four is the middle of seven. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
God would have to use the last three church ages to restore the church back to the first church age of the apostles.
These last three church ages of restoration were God's main focus and were implied by the vision being repeated three times. Three church ages of restoration whereby the church is caught up to Heaven.
To restore truth after the Dark Ages, God used Martin Luther to get people saved by grace through faith in the fifth church age.
John Wesley later got saved people to be restored to holiness and outreach which produced the great missionary age.
This was the sixth church age.
Then Pentecost took people who were saved, holy, and evangelical, and added the Holy Ghost baptism in the seventh church age.
But the seventh church age also had to be guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit.
JOHN 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth:
This required an end time prophet to teach us how to understand the Bible in the former or teaching rain as he revealed the mysteries of God.
MATTHEW 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
William Branham from America had to restore us back to the beliefs of the first church age of the apostles.
Today, the Bride are saved, holy, evangelical people who received the Holy Spirit baptism and thus seek for the wisdom and knowledge that can link Bible verses together to give them an understanding of God’s revealed Word. Knowing the mysteries of God (plural) will restore the end-time Bride to the beliefs of the first church age. This restoration is the great mystery of God (singular) that the churches have missed.
MARK 13:27 And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.
The difficulty that God has is to get isolated people in remote or uttermost parts of the earth to understand the deeper mysteries of Scripture that reveal the uttermost mysteries of heaven that most people ignore. The fatal mistake of modern church-goers is that they dismiss all the difficult Scriptures that they cannot understand as trivial details.
“Must we know?” say the foolish virgins. “We must know” say the Bride.
Getting to the uttermost part of the earth only started to become a reality around 1990 when the internet was established and remote people far away could communicate with each other to spread the truth.
Speaking of the heavenly sheet that Peter saw in the vision:
ACTS 10:12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
:13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
ACTS 10:14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
:15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.
:16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
This incredible vision showed that God’s saved church was going to be made up from unclean, pagan Gentiles who would repent and receive the Holy Spirit.
The apostles had established the truth as described by the New Testament, but this was mostly lost in the Dark Ages.
When the Dark Ages ended, God used four new ways of thinking to get the true church to change its direction of thinking. The main aim was that God could restore the original first church age truth at the end of church history.
If someone is “in your corner” then they are supporting you, helping you, and advising you.
It's good to know that whatever happens, that person’s support is guaranteed.
But what is far more important is that we must be in God’s corner, helping His Plan and not hindering God’s purpose.
When God turns a corner, we must also turn the corner if we want to follow God. Otherwise, we foolishly allow ourselves to conform to the beliefs of a person or a church that we have complacently followed. It is so difficult for us humans to change our habits and our thinking.
The only way to follow when God turns a corner is to check that what we believe is written in the King James Bible. That is our only reliable compass.
Satan takes control of the church in four steps
Daniel saw four winds of heaven strive upon the sea of restless nations on earth, which gave rise to four cruel and pagan world kingdoms. God had to combat these four kingdoms in order to limit the damage that they did.
DANIEL 7:2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold,
the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
The winds of heaven “striving” speak of the clash between God and Satan to control the minds of men. The great sea is the restless multitude of peoples and nations. Human history has been an ongoing clash between God and Satan. The sea represents the majority that are on Satan’s side.
REVELATION 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth,
holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
This verse has a spiritual meaning because it is angels that are linked to the four corners of the earth.
There are more than four natural winds on earth. You cannot hold a natural wind. Wind is a symbol of war and strife.
Angels are involved in a spiritual war with Satan to control the minds of men and women.
There have been four major changes in the way the church has been misled by the Devil.
First, a man was elevated to be the unscriptural head of a church which gave him dictatorial powers. Thus, he dominated the congregation (called the laity) with his unscriptural doctrines that often came from paganism, despite being dressed up in Christian words. This trend has continued throughout church history as the Pope is the only dictator in Europe today. The Protestants desire to follow the centrally organized denominational model of the Catholic Church as it is an efficient model for church growth. It has enabled the Catholic Church to survive for 2000 years and to emerge as the world’s biggest church power, called the beast. As the Protestants adopt the one-man-is-the-head-of-the-centralized-church-hierarchy, they also absorb unscriptural Roman Catholic words and ideas like Trinity, Christmas, God the Son, Good Friday, the power of the one-man-leader to get rid of any opposition, using human quotes instead of Scripture to develop doctrine, and a seven-year Tribulation, etc. As they adopt similar church-building practices that they copied from the Roman Catholics, so the American Protestant churches take the lead in forming a Protestant image to the Roman Catholic beast.
Secondly, the church accepted political involvement in the days of Emperor Constantine after AD 312. In politics, you easily end up persecuting your opposition. The Roman Catholic Church murdered tens of millions in the Dark Ages.
The Popes have been deeply involved in politics and Pope John Paul II played a major role in the breakdown of the Iron Curtain of Communism in Poland. That looked impressive but it just fooled the people into thinking that Communism is the real enemy. Actually, the Roman Catholic Church is the ancient enemy of truth that Satan is building up to rule the world in the future. Communism is just a very strong physical force that is distracting the people from identifying the real spiritual enemy which is the modern church system. In the last church age, Jesus as the Word of God stands outside the church. That is the problem with political involvement. It distracts people into thinking that corrupt politics is the main enemy while the real enemy, the unscriptural church systems and doctrines, squeeze any desire to be strictly Scriptural out of the people. The King James Bible is the only perfect Translation of God’s Word. The churches happily criticize and reject the King James Version.
The Roman Catholic church was deeply involved in the rise of Mussolini and Hitler to power. The Pope influenced President John Kennedy to get involved in Vietnam to protect all the Roman Catholics there. After Kennedy’s death the Vietnam war escalated and America suffered a major defeat.
The political involvement of the Catholic church with the Democrats in America gives the Democrats much power. The evangelical churches in America have become heavily involved in polarizing political issues. These political and social issues give the churches a visible enemy to combat. Thus, they are lulled asleep spiritually as they fail to realize that the false doctrines of their church leaders are what is misleading the churches.
Thirdly, the Roman Catholic church got involved in Big Business. They sold indulgences by claiming the power to forgive sin and built the huge St Peter’s church in Vatican City with those corrupt profits. They shamelessly invested in the world’s money market and became the world’s wealthiest organization.
Protestant churches were easily lured into the quest for Big Money which is an irresistible attraction for selfish and greedy people. Megachurches arose with their luxury mansions for the pastors and their private jets and airfields. Television preachers give a half-hour program that includes a plea for money. They sell books and DVDs which means that only the rich can get all the information they need to get into Heaven. Many big-time preachers and pastors have sadly imploded into sin as wealth and power attract too many temptations.
Fourthly, in the end, the churches combine all of these errors to produce a powerful hybrid perversion of Bible truth that will conquer the Protestant churches and lead them away from being strictly Scriptural. The Protestants will reject the King James Bible and adopt corrupted translations of Scripture. There are over 100 different versions of the English Bible to choose from. This has persuaded the churches to tolerate or adopt the perversions of gay rights, same-sex marriages, abortions, and gender identity change.
Saved Christians are easily fooled as they want to believe that the churches are a haven of truth and safety where they can comfortably worship. They do not even want to think that the churches have become a trap that deals in religious deception.
Thus, the churches merge all this unscriptural evil into the good charity and social works that they do. They get people saved, which is good but then they adopt human rights and cannot speak out against the modern-day sins that have reverted back to the days of Lot who lived in the city of Sodom. Lot had to escape from Sodom before the fire fell.
Sodom was ruled by homosexuality. That will be one of the final signs of the end-time decay of the church when gay-rights are in the church.
LUKE 17:28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
:29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
:30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
At the end time, the world and the church will be like Sodom.
REVELATION 7:2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
You can hurt people, not the earth that they live on nor the sea that they sail on. We are dealing with angels which means this verse has a spiritual meaning. A central angel working through four other angels which is God’s heavenly system as shown in Revelation Chapter 4. There Jesus sits on the central throne surrounded by four powerful beasts which represent the manifestations of His Holy Spirit that guide the churches through the seven church ages.
The earth refers to the righteous people of God. The sea refers to the unrighteous restless nations and peoples of the earth that form the majority. A tree is a symbol of the spirit of a man. A tree is firmly rooted in one place. The spirit of a man can be rooted in the water of God’s Word if he is righteous, producing good fruits. Or the tree can be rooted in dry land where it is subject to the uncertainties of nature and weather, producing a mixture of either good or withered products. That represents the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
PSALM 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
The church turned four corners to restore Bible truth
In restoring the Bible’s truth after the loss of truth in the Dark Ages, the church had to undergo four big changes of direction in what they believed. The Devil furiously opposed each change that the Lord introduced.
Corner One. The Reformation of Luther shocked the world.
The true Protestant church turned away from Roman Catholic belief that “good church works” will get you into heaven. This spiritual revolution spread as they began to believe in salvation by grace through faith in the days of Martin Luther around 1520. This started the fifth church age which lasted from 1520 to 1750.
In this age the King James Bible was translated and published in English to turn Protestants away from the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate Bible.
This was important as England would conquer one quarter of the earth and thus be able to spread the Bible’s truth across more territory than any other nation.
Then, English would dominate 60 % of the Internet. Thus, the King James Bible could reach to the ends of the earth better than any other language. The next best language is Russian which occupies 10% of the Internet. Greek and Hebrew combined occupy about 1% of the Internet. So, English is the most widespread language for spreading Bible truth.
Corner Two. The brotherly love of John Wesley ended the idea of church people killing each other.
Around 1750, when the Industrial Revolution was starting, John Wesley turned a corner to make the church focus on holiness and doing outreach outside the church buildings. This was a massive change in church thinking and led to the great missionary age that was based on the King James Version of the Bible. The British established the world’s biggest empire. As a result, the King James Bible could spread far and wide as tens of thousands of missionaries went out from England and Scotland. Their devotion and dedication remains a great inspiration.
Corner three. Pentecostal supernatural gifts gave America the lead in Protestant church matters
The Pentecostals turned a corner to manifest supernatural gifts in 1904 in Wales and then 1906 in America. Unfortunately, they could not remain free in the Spirit and by 1917 they soon formed organized denominations like the other churches.
Thus, in 1917 God allowed Lenin to start the communist revolution in Russia. Russia will be used by God to destroy America with their nuclear missiles in the time of great Tribulation.
The angel that visited William Branham in 1947 gave him a supernatural ministry that inspired a Pentecostal revival that lasted until the 1970s.
By that time, he had recorded his sermons which revealed the hidden mysteries of Scripture that the Bride needed to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus.
When asked about the end time, Jesus gave a frightening answer about fake news and misinformation.
MATTHEW 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
Satan is in the church as “The man of sin” that nobody looks for.
The Bible never says “The Antichrist”.
People are fooled by the churches to look for this imaginary political head that many feel will come from Europe, or the Middle East, or North Africa. This is the territory once conquered by the pagan Roman Empire. So, they look outwards for a great political leader while the enemy is within as a church leader. Remember Judas. He was an apostle, a church leader.
The Devil is cleverer than us and easily fools us. Thus, he entered the church and is taking it over, unnoticed, with unscriptural beliefs while churches look outside themselves for the so-called “The Antichrist”.
The Roman Empire was destroyed by the barbarian tribes around the date AD 476. But then that brutal, pagan spirit of Rome resurrected back up on the ruins of the Roman Empire as the Roman Catholic church.
Rome conquers her enemies. The barbarian tribes formed the nations that were established in Europe. During the Dark Ages or Middle Ages, the Pope ruled these nations. Then Martin Luther led a Protestant revolt against Rome. The Pope was the “man of sin” sitting in the Temple of God (the Vatican City) and showing that he was God by forgiving sins. Only God can forgive sin. The Pope claimed to forgive sins by selling indulgences that you bought to pay for your sins.
II THESSALONIANS 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Then the Roman Catholic church infiltrated its beliefs into the Protestant churches in order to make the Protestants into the image of the beast that believes many doctrines of the Roman Catholic church (which is the beast).
One example. The Bible never asks us to celebrate the Lord’s birth. Pope Julius I copied 25 December which was the birthday of the pagan Roman sun god.
Catholics celebrate a mass. So, Christ’s Mass entered the church around AD 350. The Protestants copied this as Christmas.
Paul says that a religious festival or event on a fixed date every year is bondage to beggarly elements and makes him feel that he has wasted his time on such people.
GALATIANS 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?
:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years.
25th day, 12th month or December, Christmas time, every year.
GALATIANS 4:11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.
Yet the modern church thinks that it is the greatest Christian festival of the year.
Modern Christians intensely dislike any Christian who does not celebrate Christmas and who does not say the unscriptural words, “Merry Christmas”.
No wonder that there is no end-time prophecy nor any end-time parable that says anything good about the modern church.
There are now 45,000 different kinds of churches and denominations that are all different and all pretending to be right. Plus, they have over 100 different translations of the English Bible to choose from. In addition, many believe that each individual is allowed to believe his or her own personal truth. There is no absolute truth according to them. The churches have sadly become a spiritual swamp.
So, what is the fourth corner that still has to be turned at the end time? What changes do we have to make?
I CORINTHIANS 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep,
but we shall all be changed,
:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
The last corner that we have to turn is to learn how to change our bodies from mortal to immortal.
This is going to require angelic help.
William Branham himself required the help of seven angels in March 1963 in order to understand the Revelation of the Seven Seals.
We have to prepare for the unwritten mysteries of the seven Thunders, the unknown new name of Jesus, and the total mystery of the Second Coming. In order to achieve these unwritten revelations when they do happen, we have to properly understand the written mysteries of Scripture. Brother Branham’s sermons gave us the key to understanding the revealed mysteries (plural) of Scripture.
These mysteries of God (plural) cannot all be revealed or finished as some of them refer to the 144000 Jews in great Tribulation. That is of no concern to the Bride so God will not reveal that to us. If we can learn the mysteries of God (plural) that are needed to prepare the Bride for the Second Coming, that will enable us to finish the great mystery of God (singular). That great mystery will only be finished when the living Bride is restored back to the beliefs of the apostolic fathers of the first church age.
We cannot understand the unwritten mysteries of the Bible because the first church age never understood them.
The last seed that is reaped or harvested at the end has to be the same as the first seed that was planted at the beginning by the apostles who established the New Testament.
After the resurrection of the dead, the seven Thunders will utter to show us how to change our mortal bodies into immortal bodies. Then only will we be able to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. That is the ultimate corner that we will have to turn. We cannot be caught up to heaven in our present sinful bodies.
The last change that will occur will be the redemption of the body into sinless bodies, and then we change direction and move upwards.
ROMANS 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
In order to turn this last corner we have to have a sure goal. We must aim to be like the first church. We must be able to clearly recognize the ongoing morass of errors that are turning Churchianity (belonging to a church) into a spiritual swamp of man-made ideas.
The only church to be trusted is the first church age
To effectively change direction, we must have a clear goal to aim at. We must aim to be like the early church of the New Testament.
The seven-branched candlestick in the Jewish Tabernacle represented the seven church ages of the Christian church.
The first church age of Ephesus was launched on the day of Pentecost when God ignited the central candlestick. This first church was the church at its best. This is the only guaranteed example of what a true church should look like, and the beliefs of the New Testament should be central to all our Christian thinking. Anything different from the New Testament beliefs means that we are deviating either to the left or to the right. Deviation is not a good space to be in. The first four letters of deviation are also the first four letters found in the word devil. Satan is the author of any movement away from the written Word.
At the beginning of church history, God made the church the way He wanted it.
At the end, God wants the church the way He made it.
Jesus was only seen in the midst of the candlestick. The middle candlestick represents the first church age.
REVELATION 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,
No human must be the head of a church
We must now be very clear as to what the main errors are that have infiltrated the church.
Religious deception flourishes when one person becomes the head of a church.
The main error that the first church had to oppose was human leadership. A man being elevated as the head of the church.
Christ is the only head of the church.
EPHESIANS 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church:
But the Jews had an Aaronic priesthood of elevated human leaders above the congregation. The people could only worship God by having the priesthood between them and God. As time went on this elevated priesthood that stood between the people and God failed miserably. Anything that depends on humans will fail. God finally tore up the Temple veil during the crucifixion signifying the end of the Temple worship and its failed priesthood and animal sacrifices in AD 33.
But those self-centred priests desperately continued to cling to their tithes and their power over the people, which was their only interest in life. They continued to dominate the Jews, successfully fooling them as they carried on with a form of godliness that no longer had any reality. Finally, God destroyed the Temple in AD 70, together with the self-seeking priests who had maintained their empty farce of uninspired religious leadership down the wrong path when God had turned a corner.
The church must not have an elevated priesthood.
The New Testament church must be different from the Jewish priests that corrupted the Jewish faith. These religious leaders were the men who had urged the people to crucify Messiah.
There must be no human priesthood between the people and God. Each individual must have a personal experience with God.
God then ordained all Christian believers to be priests
as they carried the Gospel to a sinful world, spread out in space in all directions, but looking back in time to its apostolic founders. As sinners repented, so they also joined the priesthood. Thus no Christian was ever standing between God and another Christian. “See how these Christians love one another” was the typical pagan comment.
A Christian can stand between God and the unsaved, pointing them to their Saviour. But when the sinners have repented, they are equal to other Christians as members of the royal priesthood.
I PETER 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.
Christian brotherhood is based on equality. We can all learn from each other. Different people have different talents and ministries but no one is better than another.
A good motto for Christians is to say, “Never above you, never below you, always beside you”.
I PETER 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood.
I PETER 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder.
Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
We submit to each other by acknowledging the Scripture that anyone refers to. We do not try to prove that we are right, we simply establish that we are Scriptural. If you have a better gift or ability than others, God gave that to you. So it does not make you better than them. You are just better off because of what God has given you. Whatever gift God has given you, He expects you to use it by serving others, and not dominating others with your own opinions. You must just quote what the Scriptures say.
Equally, when anyone else points out a Scripture that is different from what we do or believe, we immediately submit to the Scripture, irrespective of who pointed it out.
Two vines were growing in the Christian church right from the beginning.
The true vine wanted to be led by what is written in Scripture. The false vine wanted to be led by human opinions and traditions.
The true vine was the Christians who felt that they had to develop their own relationship with Jesus and believe the Bible and not have their thoughts controlled by what other people say. They had no desire to conform to a group opinion, which today we call “group think”.
This freedom to worship God according to what was written in the Bible and according to the conscience of the individual was a flame that could not be organized. It flared up in different places, and if it died down somewhere it would flare up somewhere else. Often, like the 7000 who secretly worshiped God in the days of Elijah, it was hidden from public view.
Endless persecutions forced Christians to keep a discreetly low profile. But whatever the circumstances, there were always people that God raised up who desired to obey only what was written in Scripture. These were usually an unnoticed, humble group who desired quietly to serve God and do good works as they took the Sermon on the Mount to be their rule for living.
62-0601 TAKING SIDES WITH JESUS
“Now, do you know, when those early men went out, sometimes there were only about six or eight of them, together? And they shook the country. Well, you know, when Aquila and Priscilla, that great revival that Apollos was having over there, there was only about six or eight men and women in that bunch. That whole church, meant six or eight. You got five or six, seven times as many here tonight as they had then”.
No authority of any man, however eminent, was allowed to set aside the authority of Scripture.
This true vine continues to this day. They may fellowship in a church, but they do not "belong" to that church as they belong to Jesus and seek only to obey His Bible, even though this may make them unpopular and unwanted. They need the freedom to think for themselves and be convinced that an idea is Scriptural. Then they believe the idea because the Bible says so, not because some man says so.
They feel very uncomfortable having a man stand between them and God, especially since all men have their flaws. No bride wants some man standing between her and her husband. No bride wants to be in submission to what any man says, but only to what her husband says. In the same way God's Bride are subject to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The pagan Roman spirit had the father as the head of his daughter even when she was married.
This evil spirit was removed in the true church where the husband became the head of his wife. The wife left her father’s surname and took on her husband’s surname. The wife’s father had no more say over her life.
No woman can have two heads, that would be a monster.
ROMANS 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
JEREMIAH 17:5 Thus saith the LORD;
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,
and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
No human being has all the answers to our complex modern world. We have to search the Scriptures for solutions.
Both vines were impressive in terms of the practical acts of charity that Christians performed. This charity was a potent weapon in making Christianity successful. They cared for orphans, widows, and the poor and needy. Their social actions were seen in times of calamity like famines, earthquake, plagues, and wars. They were generous in giving their money, goods, or time.
Once the apostles had established the early church, and the New Testament was written, the apostles left the scene. They had tried to establish local churches that were ruled by groups of local elders that held to what the apostles had said, and written in the New Testament.
I PETER 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
All saved Christians were priests, and in this equality of brotherhood, there was no elevated Aaronic priesthood of special men. The example of John the Baptist encouraged the preachers to point the people to Christ and the written Word, not to themselves.
John the Baptist said:
JOHN 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John was the great forerunner and prophet but his ministry required him to point people away from himself and towards Jesus.
We learn a great lesson. Our ministry is more effective when we get out of the way so that only Jesus can be seen.
JOHN 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;
:36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!
:37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
The evidence that John’s disciples had heard John speak was manifest by their willingness to follow Jesus, not John.
They did not stay following John and talking about Jesus.
They heard John identify Jesus as a Man walking amongst men and then they stopped following John and started following Jesus.
We have heard brother Branham reveal the mysteries of God that show Jesus walking through the pages of the Bible. Then we establish the truth from the Bible, not from the quotes. Because Jesus is the Word of God.
But Satan opposed this early church. He also opposes establishing the truth just from the King James Bible today.
Satan used the pagan Roman Empire to kill 3 million Christians. But the church grew so Satan decided to infiltrate it with dominating human leaders.
Churches easily absorb pagan errors
A law of nature says that where there is light, there are also shadows. When a person blocks off the light, then he creates his personal shadow.
Churchgoers use their personal ideas and opinions to block the Scriptures.
Pagans always had a priest in charge of a temple.
The church began to copy paganism by elevating a human head to be in charge of the church. The Devil has endlessly labored to elevate a human priesthood of the five-fold ministries between the people and God. According to Satan, there must be someone between you and the Word. These ministries, once they succeeded to become accepted as the head of each church, gradually led the people away from what was written in the Scripture. When the Christians stopped being Scripturally vigilant and relaxed their guard, the weeds of human opinion and human domination were sown amongst the seeds of God’s Word.
It is much easier to agree with a dominating talented personality who is the church leader, rather than trying to oppose him. When you agree with him, he is charmingly friendly and makes you feel very popular and wanted. But when you disagree with him, he immediately changes and makes you feel very unwanted. So, he rules us by appealing to our emotions of wanting to belong to a group and by our longing to be a part of a church and to be accepted. He does not rule us by quoting Scripture.
65-1128 GOD'S ONLY PROVIDED PLACE OF WORSHIP
Out there in Tucson, is listening in this morning, I once wondered...
I've always constraining people, "Go to church, no matter where you go."
And I seen the people kind of pulling back, and going this way. And I thought, "What's the matter?"
I went to some of them,
"The first day you're there, they'll approach you, 'Join our church.' If you don't do it, you're not welcome." See? See? It's a forced thing, it's forced upon you, see, and that's Babylon.
But in Christ, you come in by election; not by force, your heart pulls you in.
God did not put His name then in Babylon. Closely now. He cannot put His Name in Babylon, the churches. Oh, they, they put His Name in there, but He never. No.
64-0629 THE MIGHTY GOD UNVEILED BEFORE US
...that God is calling an exodus,
to come from behind the fleshly curtain who tries to impersonate, who tries to join church;
not Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, altogether, but Pentecostal churches.
It is an individual affair. It's you and God. You have to go in, not your group, not your church, not your pastor, but it's you who has to go in.
The Greeks were brilliant and eloquent in defense of error, with their cunning philosophy and clever interpretations. Their clever thinking polished up and spread the pagan mysteries of Babylon like the pagan trinity. So the infiltration of human opinions and pagan traditions started.
Why do churches build a tall steeple? They never got that idea from the Bible. It is an echo from the tower of Babel.
Why do people have Easter eggs? Eggs are painted and hidden away in the March-April Spring season. This is an echo from the goddess Ishtar who came down in an egg and hatched out on the river Euphrates. Easter eggs and Easter bunnies have nothing to do with the Bible. Bunnies are the fastest breeders and symbolized the pagan Spring orgies. Conception in April will produce a child in December. That is why pagans emphasized the birth of their gods in 25 December. The churches foolishly copied that.
The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew Chapter 25 speaks of clean women representing saved people in the churches. Five are foolish. They are saved Christians who have been fooled by pagan traditions.
There is no “Good Friday” in the Bible. Jesus had to spend three nights in the tomb before rising on Sunday. Thus, He had to die on Thursday.
MATTHEW 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Daniel said that the "little horn" would "change times". The nerve centre of the Roman Catholic church is the Vatican City which is the smallest country on earth. A very little state. Less than one square kilometer in size. But they changed the unknown birthday of Jesus to the definite date of 25 December. Then they changed the date of his death from Thursday to Friday. But there had to be three days in the tomb. So, they invented the unscriptural “Easter Monday” when nothing happened. The Protestants decided to believe in these errors. The clean foolish virgins. Saved from hell by repentance but fooled by unscriptural beliefs as they head for great Tribulation where a horrific death awaits them.
Thanks to the Roman Catholic church many “harmless” traditions infiltrated into the non-Catholic churches.
Christening babies replaced the belief that adults had to repent and get baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ.
ACTS 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This scripture is rejected by them. They get baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But they have no idea what that name (singular) is. So, the Trinity God is nameless. Protestants are once again fooled by a Catholic doctrine.
Thus, the first steps were subtly taken to actually move people away from the written Word. This process would continue throughout church history as clever human ideas replaced written Scripture. Today clever scientists fool the people with their so-called Big Bang creation theory that needs no God. But Science has never had any laws of creation from nothing. They always start with something. Energy, or a quantum fluctuation, or a law of gravity, or a very precise gravitational constant that they cannot explain. That is not creation. Creation starts from nothing where there is no space, no time, no energy, and no laws of Physics. Professors teach our children that they evolved from animals and then complain bitterly that our children behave like animals.
The false vine started gently but would grow to became the dominant church. The leaders of this humanly organized church fed their interpretations of the Bible and their clever human opinions to the people.
This false vine consists of people who want to look up to some holy man, and have him tell them what to believe.
Satan would endlessly try to use leaders to dominate people, and tell them to believe something that deviated from the New Testament.
Their security lay in belonging to the church, rather than in belonging to Christ, the Bible.
Today there are more than 45,000 different church organizations or denominations, all claiming to be right, but all described as blind.
The Roman Catholic church is easily recognized as the oldest and biggest of these centralized organizations. It boasts the longest line of absolute rulers in the Western world. The people have to submit to their infallible human leader, now called the Pope, even if he disagrees with what previous Popes said.
This centralized church organization of the Roman Catholics, with such impressive abilities to survive the chaos of the disintegrating Roman empire, was imitated amongst the non-Catholic churches with an elevated five-fold ministry to stand between the Christians and God. Efficiency required one man to be the head of this five-fold ministry, and so “pastor”, only mentioned once in the New Testament, was sufficiently vague as a ministry to slip through unchallenged as head of each church. Then bishops rose above pastors in the cities.
Those Christians who stayed strictly with the New Testament, and developed no church hierarchy, were usually unnoticed. The growing ranks of organized religion took the limelight and the attention of historians.
Christians had to face adversity and persecution. But oppression only strengthened their faith. Persecution scattered them, and extended the boundaries of the church. An initial flood of missionary activity characterized early Christianity, as it was a faith that men and women were willing to die for.
Early Christianity was not for sissies. No one would dare join them unless called by God. Their standards were too high. Their challenges were too great.
ACTS 5:13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them.
These were not comfortable churches where people were complacently self-satisfied.
But, since repentance and baptism in the Name of Jesus is the key that opens the door to Heaven for the Bride, it is going to be attacked by the Devil. Churches would emerge that do not preach about a heartfelt repentance of sin that leads to a born-again experience, where Jesus is accepted as a personal Saviour Who turns the individual away from sin, and then controls the person’s life.
Then the human Name of God, Jesus Christ, would be attacked by reducing Jesus to being only the Son of God. Thus the Name of Jesus Christ would be removed from the water baptism. Soon three titles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit would replace the Name of Jesus in water baptism.
Water baptism is symbolic of death, burial, and resurrection. But if the Father and the Holy Spirit are separate People, they never died nor were they ever buried. As such, they are not linked to the water baptism in any way. So, baptizing in the name (singular) of two People, the Father and the Holy Spirit is pointless since there is no one name for these two People. There actually is no name for the Holy Spirit in the Bible. So, speaking of the name of the Holy Spirit is pointless.
I AM is not a name. It is an unapologetic statement of eternal self-existence.
Power over the church leads to political power
Power is a drug that humans find addictive.
Elevating a man to a position of power over the church easily leads to political involvement to increase that power.
This was the second very dangerous enemy of the church. Once a man had power over the congregation, the love of power blossomed. Soon church leaders became involved in politics as that gave them more power over more people.
Political power also gave them the ability to persecute their opponents. The church that had been persecuted by the pagan Roman Empire then turned into a persecutor and killer of all those who disagreed with their doctrines. Tens of millions would ultimately be killed.
The final destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 removed the main Christian church that could be seen as more important than the church in Rome. Thus, it became easier for men to rise up and lead the churches into error by slowly moving away from what was written in the Bible.
In the first church age, the people were the church, not the building.
Persecution united the early Christians. They worshipped in secret for fear of arrest. Publicity was dangerous. The earliest “churches” were simply private homes that were gradually modified inside if the congregation grew big enough. Only after AD 312 did churches become public buildings that were easy to recognize. This was when the emperor Constantine stopped persecuting the Christians.
The earliest building that was a church that the archaeologists have discovered is dated around AD 220. So, a “church building” never existed in the first church age that ended about AD 170.
CHURCH AGE BOOK EPHESIAN CHURCH AGE
All you have to do is recall this last move of God in the Spirit. They worshipped in homes or old store buildings. They had reality. But it wasn’t too long a time until they began to get enough money to build fine new churches. They organized a movement and ran it by man.
A Christian movement happily started in private homes in the early church.
ROMANS 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
ROMANS 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house.
"Church" buildings were never a requirement in New Testament days. Organizing people in a “church” building leads to one-man human leadership and man-made rules and beliefs. The Devil has always used this very successful tactic, especially in our modern age. He brings in slow gradual changes that are unnoticed by those who are not very alert.
ACTS 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
ACTS 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Human leadership would be creeping in with men saying, “Follow me”.
One man, as the head of the church, not a group of elders.
I TIMOTHY 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Historians say that within two generations after the apostles died,
in a manner that is shrouded in secrecy, the bishop somehow emerged as the head of the church.
Ignatius of Antioch, who died sometime around AD 140, claimed to be bishop of Antioch, and stated that the local bishop of a city was God’s representative on earth and said, “We ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself”. Today church people are claiming that he died around AD 110 in an attempt to wrongly claim that the apostle John accepted him as the Bishop of Antioch. John had died around AD 100. Nowhere in the New Testament was a pastor made head of a church nor was a Bishop ever made head of a city in the New Testament.
A Bishop being the head of the church in a city was a new idea that captured the imagination of the Christians. This was the way that the majority would go. This was an unscriptural elevation of a man to be the head of the church. Making a man the head of the church was unscriptural, and then comparing him to God was completely wrong. This error only started to enter the church around AD 120, after the deaths of the apostles.
Christians, thinking that this was the best way to combat error, were promoting Nicolaitanism which is the elevation of a holy man above the church. Bishops were now classified as above the presbyters or elders. An Aaronic priesthood was beginning to form that stood between the congregation and God. The church was too relaxed to take this error seriously and stamp it out. Christians became careless about keeping the details of their faith strictly in line with what the apostles taught.
This stress on human leadership entered slowly, but surely.
After a while, having forgotten what the apostles had said, (or being too relaxed to research the truth from Scripture) the churches submitted to having a man as head of the church. Just like it is today.
But by the time the first church age ended around AD 170 it was common to have a Bishop as head of the church in a city. Presbyters were then regarded as an inferior rank to the bishop. Elders were losing importance.
Rank and titles were taking over the leadership of the church.
The church began to see itself as a worldwide organization like the Roman empire was.
The church allowed its environment to determine its line of growth.
It became a practical organization for social duties. An organization obeying human rules, not a collection of individuals who loved Jesus, with no bond of union beyond certain practices like baptism, communion, foot washing, and their beliefs in the written Word.
Romans were skilled administrators, and all church organizations tended to this highly efficient and effective system.
The church became more and more Roman in its practical organizational methods like feeding the poor.
Different areas in different cultures had to be kept the same. So, church officials were needed to travel between groups to maintain a common policy. These people soon ruled the churches.
By AD 170 every community was ruled by officials who had certain ranks, at whose head was a Bishop, and the Bishop represented the community. All the communities were part of the same universal or Catholic church (so-called by Ignatius who was the first to use the word “Catholic”). Councils of Bishops were called up and they determined and expressed the common views of a number of communities.
Slowly the edicts of these councils began to deviate from Scripture.
The bishops were the ruling heads of the different parts, so that the different places would have the same beliefs.
The bishops soon became directors of the church which was developing into a party struggling against the state. A political agenda began to enter the church.
Trying to combat heresy or doctrinal error, which would always be around like weeds in a garden, the church introduced a major error -- Nicolaitanism or human leadership by a man.
With this process established, and good Christians thinking that a bishop must be in charge of the church, this unscriptural form of church organization set the stage for further doctrinal errors to take over the church. The original light of the apostles was getting dimmer.
Church leaders focused their attention on gaining the favour of the political leaders. A political-religious hybrid church developed. That meant taking sides in political disputes as the church leaders paid less and less heed to the Bible and more and more heed to beliefs that gave them political advantage. Church leaders carefully herded their people into specific political channels which took them away from the Bible’s influences. Politics is polarizing and easily teaches people to dislike if not hate their opponents. This easily becomes a hotbed for racial hatred.
Political Christianity rapidly produces a narrowing vision of severely disenchanted extremism that sees only the bad points in certain groups of people. In this climate, “Love thy neighbor” is an easily forgotten statement.
Nicolaitans conquer the congregation
Elevated human leadership within the church wanted power over the people and then wanted political power.
We have to turn the next corner and not allow one man to dominate a church.
SEVEN CHURCH AGES BOOK CHAPTER 5 PERGAMOS AGE DOCTRINE OF NICOLAITANES
“Nicolaitane means, ‘to conquer the laity’.
Nicolaitanism destroys those precepts and instead separates the ministers from the people and makes the leaders overlords instead of servants.
Now this doctrine actually started as a deed in the first age. It appears that the problem lay in two words: 'elders' (presbyters) and 'overseers' (bishops).
Though Scripture shows that there are several elders in each church,
some began (Ignatius among them) to teach that the idea of a bishop was one of preeminence or authority and control over the elders.
Now the truth of the matter is the word 'elder' signifies who the person is, while the word 'bishop' signifies the office of the same man.
The elder is the man. Bishop is the office of the man.
'Elder' always has and always will refer simply to a man's chronological age in the Lord. He is an elder, not because he is elected or ordained, etc., but because he IS OLDER. He is more seasoned, trained, not a novice, reliable because of experience and long standing proof of his Christian experience.
Many in the early church were responding to peer pressure from important people, to conform to human leaders in their cities and towns. Because the people were listening to human leaders instead of the teachings of the apostles, God removed virtually all the apostles, except for John, by the year AD 70 and thus the trend to follow human leaders increased.
If we want error, God will give us error.
The Jews had also wanted a human leader, a king, and God gave them king Saul, who did them a lot of harm because a king was not God’s perfect will for the Jews.
So right at the beginning, church leaders took over, and guided the church down a path that would obscure the truth until it was forgotten.
Nicolaitanism comes from “nikao” which means “to conquer”, and “laos” which means “the laity”, in other words the congregation. The conquering of the laity was most effective in Rome. The Roman Catholic church would grow to be the world’s largest denomination, dominated by a Pope, who rules the church as a supreme dictator. Today, the Pope is the only dictator in Western Europe. But Rome is in Italy.
Take the word ITALY and rearrange the letters -- You get LAITY. So, conquering the laity was at its most effective in Rome, to produce the Roman Catholic church.
But to the individuals who will combat the growing trend of denominationalism, with its rejection of Bible truth in order to elevate a human leader as head of the church, the future rewards in Paradise far outweigh the rejection and unpleasantness that they encountered on earth.
The fault with the first age is they began to believe that they did not have to stay strictly with the Bible.
They began to think that obedience to the will and opinions of human leaders, who claimed to be serving God, was how God wanted to be served.
The idea of loyalty to a church and safety in church membership and church attendance was born.
None of these things seem bad in themselves, but what they were doing was taking peoples’ eyes off the Bible so that Christians no longer quoted Scripture when they defended their church leadership.
As the modern churches became more unscriptural, the head of the church began to be called a reverend, a vicar, a minister, or a pastor.
“The pastor is the head of the church”, “The tithes belong to the pastor”, and “Your pastor will see you through” are all unscriptural statements that we still have with us today. So an unscriptural organization was starting to form which would take people further from the Bible. At first, it seemed harmless. So these ideas slipped into the church, under the radar. People were too relaxed to check that the word “pastor” only appeared once in the New Testament, and thus had no Scriptural authority to be the head of the church.
They failed to notice that the word “pastor” was condemned six times in the Old Testament.
The beliefs that the apostles had died for, were no longer being taken that seriously.
The apostles said Jesus was the Head of the church and that the church should be run by a group of elders.
The spiritual watchmen were no longer at their posts to check that these new ideas of one man being the head of the church were not written in the Bible.
Vigilance slackened, and people focused on enjoying themselves and prospering in the material world, just like they did at Belshazzar’s feast when they thought they were secure. It was much easier for the church to have one man as a human leader, who could tell them what to believe.
Paul had been stamping on this human love of human leadership right at the beginning. It is a weakness that is built into our human genes.
The group of believers, or church, that met in the house of Chloe complained to Paul about the competitive Christianity of other believers who called themselves Paul’s church, or Apollos’ church, or Cephas’ church -- as if the church belonged to some man and thus gained pre-eminence if the head man was more important than any other head man.
Today we still have Luther’s church, Wesley’s church, William Branham’s church, the Message church. Churches are often named after their pastor's name. Tom's church, Dick's church and Harry's church. This sad error has survived 2000 years. It sure is a tough virus, and is very infectious. Hanging onto human leadership at all costs is the downfall of the church.
I CORINTHIANS 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
Paul was horrified that someone could be baptized in his name. Today this has actually materialized as some people get baptized in the name of William Branham, or Lord Branham Christ. So the errors of the first church age began with one-man human leadership of the local church, and that error has never been effectively stamped out. It has grown.
There is great danger of over-emphasizing one aspect (one man promoted up to efficiently lead the church), and omitting other aspects entirely (what the Bible says about a group of elders running the church).
By listening to human opinion the church proved unfaithful to its trust, and ceased to adhere to the principles with which it started.
We make the same mistake today. The city of Ephesus faded away as a port when the silt from the river that flowed into the harbor filled up the harbor, and the seashore moved away from the city. So, gradually, human leadership and ideas filled up the minds of the people in the early church as they drifted away from the written Bible. The main error of the first age was that a presbyter was called a priest, and he was established as the head of a local church. Then this system was compounded by a Bishop being established as the head of the local churches in each city and its surrounding areas.
By AD 400, the bishop of Rome had taken over this title of Pontiff, which made the Pope the high priest of the Babylonian mysteries. The structure of the Roman Catholic church generally followed the Roman Empire imperial practice, with one bishop ruling each city and its surrounding territory. The bishop of the provincial capital, the metropolitan, enjoyed certain rights over other bishops in the province.
Then archbishops and patriarchs later appeared as these religious organizations grew. Instead of the church being run as a democracy of elders, it submitted to centralized one-man authority. Freedom in the Spirit gave way to rigidity.
Metropolitans became archbishops who ruled the bishops of a province. Around AD 700 Cardinals appeared in the hierarchy above the archbishops.
Thus, was built up an elaborate church hierarchy based on the dictatorship of the Pope who had supreme power over the centralized organization. In the Middle Ages, the Pope became the most powerful ruler in Europe. But that time, sadly, is referred to as the Dark Ages. Church leaders are not called by the Bible to get involved in political issues. The New Testament does not speak out against the corruption of the Roman Emperors, nor against their bad issues like gladiator fighting and slavery. The New Testament focused on the spiritual battle against pagan beliefs and sin.
Satan offered the kingdoms of the world to Jesus. That proves that Satan rules the political world. He wanted Jesus to bow down to him as the head of the political realm. Thus, politics is a dirty business that breaks the testimony of many a leader who has got involved in politics. They become embroiled in partisan politics. Sin is excused and hate is tolerated and standards are dropped. Extreme bias emerges in the lust for political power. Consider that the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is a billionaire thanks to his religious support for President Putin and even backs Putin’s cruel 2022 attack on the people of Ukraine who are also members of the Russian Orthodox Church.
A 10-year statistical report from 166 countries reveals that the more a government supports Christianity, the more the number of keen Christians declines.
Iron sharpens iron. Competition is good for business as the opposition makes people try harder.
The same works for beliefs. When you encounter opposition, it brings out the best in you and it makes you take your beliefs more seriously. Having to defend your beliefs in the market place of opposing ideas removes laziness and complacency. Competition stimulates vitality.
Christians attempting to curry the favor of the state become distracted from their missions as they become engrossed in the things of Caesar rather than in the things of God to maintain their privileged stations. When churches are sure of their sustenance, they become lethargic. Civil religion replaces spiritual fervor. Dipping your feet into the dirty stream of politics is a fatal distraction.
Yet in Iran and Afghanistan where the state will actively persecute Christians, there has been a surprisingly strong growth of Christianity. Pruning a plant just encourages new growth. The same occurred in the underground church of China that survived and thrives despite the awful persecutions of their Communist government.
The love of money invites in demonology
Once the church leaders had gained power over the people, they then wanted money. The power to take your money.
Increasing prosperity tends to free people from having to look to a higher power to provide for their daily needs. In other words, there is a direct link from affluence to atheism.
Prosperity easily becomes a devouring wolf that preys upon the greed and selfishness of our human nature.
ECCLESIASTES 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.
Job teaches us that God, not anything that God gives us, is our greatest treasure.
Never assault God’s value by elevating God’s gifts above Him.
JOB 2:10 What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?
AMOS 3:6 … shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
ISAIAH 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
God uses hardship to strengthen our characters.
AMOS 6:1 Woe to them that are at ease in Zion,
Wealth makes our lives easier, but that is not always a good thing.
Paul did not put an emphasis on the prosperity Gospel that makes us rich.
Paul was an inspiring example on how to survive loss and excessive hardship while serving God. Paul learned to cope with suffering.
II CORINTHIANS 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
:26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
There is no shame in being poor.
MATTHEW 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
It is no great advantage to be rich.
LUKE 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
LUKE 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich!
A rich man came to Jesus for advice on how to obtain eternal life.
The advice was unwelcome. He was told to give his wealth to the poor as his wealth was a stumbling block.
So, Jesus did not regard wealth and possessions as a great blessing.
MARK 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
:22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
:23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Prosperity Gospel preachers are full of excuses to justify greed and they rely on inaccurately translated Bibles. They claim that God speaks to them, as if they are prophets. But God never told them in advance about the 2008 world recession, nor the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, nor the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine with their big financial costs. They were unable to warn anybody about these impending disasters. Thus, they had no prophetic value.
I TIMOTHY 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
(Perdition means Hell, the home of demonology)
:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Money easily becomes a passport to Hell. Humans have a natural destructive greed that makes loving money simply open a door to demonology.
Capitalism made countries wealthy but then competing capitalist empires produced two catastrophic world wars in addition to global economic crashes.
It is not always for the best that countries become rich.
That antichrist spirit perverts the church
I JOHN 4:3 ... and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
The many antichrists unite their spirits to produce perversion and to degrade belief in the King James Bible. That antichrist spirit of white religious deception or Churchianity, red political power, and black Big Money demonology are merging together into a pale corpse-coloured horse or hybrid church power. Death is the name of the antichrist rider in Revelation Chapter 6 who corrupts Bible standards.
Gay rights and same-sex marriage are now tolerated in the churches. This was the sin of Sodom which got the perverted city of Sodom destroyed when fire fell from heaven.
Abortion is now tolerated by the churches under the banner of human rights. Human rights mean doing something right, not doing something wrong. Killing a baby is not doing something that is right. The right to kill a defenseless baby is an extreme perversion as that baby then has no rights.
Drums are never mentioned in the Bible. Drumbeat music has taken over worship. Disco-type entertainment has to be continually hyped up in order to keep the people entertained and interested. Praise and worship has merged or hybridized with worldly beat music.
Mass media is under the control of atheism. The Bible is criticized. Scientists are deified until renowned scientists say there is no God. In the 1960s, the Big Bang theory was taken as proof of the origin of the universe. Today scientists deny that the Big Bang was the origin of the universe. Charles Darwin in his theory of Evolution tried to describe the origin of the “simple” cell. Today, scientists realize that the “simple” cell is actually a bottomless pit of complexity.
In the 1960s Francis Crick, who discovered the DNA double-spiral molecule, said that within ten years scientists would synthesize or artificially make an enzyme. It is now 60 years later. During that time, scientists have discovered that an enzyme is far more complex than they thought. They have thus been unable to artificially make an enzyme.
Scientists have perverted their knowledge because there are no known laws of creation in science. Creation means you start with nothing. No matter, no energy, no quantum fluctuations, no laws of Nature, no gravitational laws, no time, no space. Then you have to describe how nothing turned into these various quantities without having any outside help. You also have to explain, which no scientist can, how the gravitational constant got its very precise value that the Universe depends on.
In the churches, any opposition is cowed into submission. No other perspective or point of view is allowed. Anyone who raises a different Scriptural insight or alternative quote is squashed. Then, whatever the leader says goes unchallenged. The people can no longer discuss an issue using Bible verses. They do not even have definite quotes to base their beliefs on. They rely on an altered quote that they have changed to fit their viewpoint.
Today, Message preachers who follow William Branham try to rush future events into the past. But events will unfold in their proper time. All we can do is try hard not to be fooled by this reckless preaching. Running ahead of God's timing is a waste of time.
Megachurches over-emphasize a big “church” building where a large congregation meets to be guided by one man. It is efficient but then traps the whole group in error. But we omit that the early churches met in houses, where no one man could thus dominate a big group, because each house could not contain a very big group. There they could read and discuss the Bible, and live Scriptural lives, free from the domination of an ambitious leader. Many megachurch pastors have had to resign in disgrace as the pressures and temptations of their elevated fame, wealth, and status destroyed them.
Being fake is becoming a lifestyle for people who go to church. They behave one way on Sundays but behave differently during the week.
Women, money, and fame are a toxic trinity of destruction.
So true believers in the first church age had to combat that error of elevated human leadership, which God hates. Today we also have to combat that error, just like they had to. But our problem is even more tricky. We not only have to just oppose the errors of the first church age, which like snakes could slither in under a small gap in the Scripture that was no longer obeyed. We have to also combat the errors from six other church ages where bigger gaps of unobeyed Bible verses allowed bigger snakes to slither in.
PHILIPPIANS 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence,
work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We should be very scared of doing anything different to what the New Testament church did.
If you are comfortable and complacent in your church, you are missing something. Beware.
One of the cares of this life is the danger of being submerged in a sea of debt where we face an increasingly hostile and rapidly changing world.
LUKE 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness,
and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.
:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
A snare is a hidden trap. If God does not reveal the errors to us that blind us from seeing the truth of the Bible, then we are in serious trouble.
By listening to corrupted human opinions the church proved unfaithful to its trust and ceased to adhere to the principles with which the church started. We make the same mistake today. God expects that we can be trusted to keep His Word. He is very disappointed when we fail that trust.