One of the most explicit truths regarding Christendom today is that many existing Christian doctrines and traditions are from pagan sources. Even Christianities most holy festivities embody or borrow from the traditional pagan aspects (Roman, Egyptian - mostly Babylonian) for which they have replaced. For the sake of time, we won’t go into all that, but do a little research yourself – you’ll be shocked! Take the very word “church” for example. Where did that come from? Walk up to almost any church of any denomination in any nation on earth, and it immediately distinguishes itself from all other kinds of buildings. It’s amazing what we can even learn from the symbols which transform a building into a Christian Church.
First, you might notice near the highway or on the sidewalk, a marquee with a name such as, Church of the Nazarene, or First Baptist Church, or Our Lady Catholic Church. These unique buildings we call churches have many things in common, not the least of which is the designation of the word “church” itself. What does the word “church” mean, and from where did it come? The word “church” is neither Hebrew no Greek, so when these languages were translated into English Bibles, the word church was already in existence.
As we now know, the word “church” found in most (not all) Bibles is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia,” and it means “called out ones.” Remember, being “called out” is a spiritual mandate for election. The word “church” is defined in most dictionaries as: “A building for public worship, especially Christian worship; the company of all Christians as a spiritual body.” This, however, tells us nothing concerning the origin of this word and its original definition, meaning, and usage. Some theologians have erroneously stated that the word church comes from the Greek “kyrios” which means “lord,” and thus “church” is those who belong to the Lord, or references the “Lord’s house.” This is not, however, the origin or original meaning of the word “church.”
The actual word “Church” is a very early English word that meant “circle” (the shape of a circle.) The Greek word “ekklesia” more properly answers to the English words, congregation, assembly or group. In fact in Acts 19:32, “ekklesia” actually refers to a riotous mob. Also note that “ekklesia” is never applied to a building for worship. Furthermore, there can be only one “Lord’s House,” and that was the temple in Jerusalem, only. Local congregations and synagogues or assembly halls were never designated “The Lord’s House.” So what was the word used for “the Lord’s House” then? “Bethel.” “Bethel” is the word for “Lord’s House” in Hebrew. Yet, remember - this “Lord’s House” became an abomination to the Lord, along with all other such “Lord’s houses.”
“For the saying that he cried by the word of the Lord against the altar in Bethel, and against all the houses of the high places which are in the cities of Samaria, shall surely come to pass… Jeroboam returned not from his evil way, but made again of the lowest of the people priests of the high places… And this thing became SIN unto the house of Jeroboam, even to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth” (I Kings 13:32-34.)
And so, in rebelling against God’s commands, “Bethels” were built throughout the land. And just as Israel continually looked to the heathen for their religious practices (Ex. Jer. 10;1-5,) so did the heathens borrow from Israel. These “Bethels” or “houses of the Lord” became popular among the heathens. Bethels were being built throughout Europe, West Asia, and North Africa. They usually used the Greek spelling “baetyls,” but they were the same high, religious places of worship, which God condemned. So even if a “Bethel” was a “house of the Lord,” it was still condemned by God.
So, back to the actual word “church” then. Good scholars have drawn the same conclusion when considering its historical use.
Professor Smith of Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible states that “church” comes from a word meaning “circle,” which is akin to our word “circus.”
Professor Lipsius (German theologian during the Reformation) also shows that “church” came from “circle.”
Professor A. F. Fausett of Home Bible Study Dictionary agrees with Professor Lipsius.
The exhaustive ten volume Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature under the word “church” states that: “It was probably connected with the Latin circus, circulus, and with the Greek kuklos. Lipsius, who was the first to reject the received tradition, was probably right in his suggestion” (Vol. II, p. 322.)
Robert Brown’s work “The Myth of Kirke" also confirms that “kirke” (church) means “Circle” or “Circular” (p. 22.)
Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, under the entry “church” has this:
“The etymology of this word is generally assumed to be from the Greek, kurious oikos (house of God); but this is most improbable, as the word existed in all the Celtic dialects long before the introduction of the Greek . No doubt the word means ‘a circle.’ The places of worship among the German and Celtic nations were always circular [witness circular Stonehenge, the most ancient stone megaliths on earth.] Compare Anglo-Saxon ‘circe,’ a small church, with ‘circol,’ a circle.”
In Scotland it is called “Kirk” and in Gemany it is “Kirche,” in England it is the word “Circe” (the "c" having a "k" sound.)
Yet herein lies one of the most profound statements regarding the words origins. According to Brown’s book, “Kirke/Circe” was also the name of a Goddess!
Kirke or Circe was the daughter of the Sun god, who was famous for taming wild animals for her circus. In Homer's Odyssey, She invited Odysseus' crew to a feast of familiar food, laced with wine, but also laced with one of her magical potions thus turning them all into pigs!
But get ready for this for symbolism - Circe is pictured holding a golden cup in her hand mixed with wine and drugs, by which she controlled the kings of the world. Now where have we heard that before?
“And the woman [always the symbol for a church/kirke] was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour [these colours symbolize wealth and high position], and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Rev. 17:4.)
What else are we told is in the golden cup of this church?
“…the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Ver. 2.)
But there is something else. Remember that Brown above also mentions drugs along with wine. Is our lady church of Revelation 17:4-5 “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” also involved in DRUGS?
In the following chapter, we have described the fall of this Babylonian Church System. Notice what Rev. 18:23 lists among her many abominations:
“…for the merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived.”
Just what are these “sorceries?”
The Greek word translated “sorceries” in this verse is pharmakeia. Dr. Strong’s first definition of this word is, “medicine.” Our words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceutical” (DRUGS) are derived from this word. This harlot church peddles spiritual DRUGS to the world! And so, clearly this pagan goddess Kirke not only stamps Christian religions of the world with her name: “Kirke, Kirche, Church,” but also she is the Mystery Babylonian Harlot Church of Rev. 17 and 18. This Church has committed spiritual fornication among the leaders of the world, and has caused the inhabitants of the world to be made drunk and drugged by the contents of her golden cup. So what of us and our journey? Are we still so drugged and drunk on this harlot Church that we cannot see to walk the straight and narrow way of Christ, which leads to life? Many of us who seek to walk this path of light do so being hung over and weary, but we must not look back to Egypt and our enslavement – which is spiritual Babylon. The fact is that the very DEPTHS of our past enslavement does not fully register until we comprehend the damning indictments the scriptures level at the carnal church of Christendom. How deep in it were we? Let the scriptures speak:
“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine and which have not known the DEPTHS of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden” (Rev. 2:24).
“But as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him’--these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the DEPTHS of God” (I Cor. 2:10, Revised Standard Version).
The “Synagogue of Satan”
“I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9).
These verses are strong language are they not? The DEPTHS OF SATAN? The SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN? Wow! Did you even know these verses existed? What are they going on about here? There we have it again. Clearly there exist two churches in the world. Remember - Christ’s church (the one he said He would build) and THE church – the OLD temple system. Yes, there is a sharp contrast between the “synagogue of Satan” and the “church of God.” And just what is this “synagogue of Satan?” It is clear. Those of the synagogue of Satan were NOT the true church, but rather of the FALSE church. Now, the word for “synagogue” is not the same word we use for church. Remember, in the scriptures, “church” means the “called out ones” or the “summoned ones.” The Psalmist said about these elect people, “Blessed is the man whom THOU CHOOSEST, and CAUSEST to approach unto Thee, that he may dwell in Thy courts” (Ps. 65:4). But the meaning of synagogue is “assembly” or “gathering.” This can be good or bad, but in this case it is bad, for these are they whose assembling is not of God but of their own selves. Isaiah said of them, “Behold, they shall surely gather together, but NOT BY ME: whosoever shall gather against thee shall fall for thy sake” (Isa. 54:15).
The two names, “Satan” and “Devil” are employed in the book of Revelation with correctness and precision. “Satan” means adversary, that which is against or opposed to. “Devil,” on the other hand, means slanderer or accuser. To the people of God, that ancient serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, is both!
Now let us look at the typical setting and background of this term “synagogue of Satan.” In the days of ancient Israel, the priesthood at Jerusalem was the accepted spiritual authority. Then in 586 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, demolished the great temple of Solomon, and carried the Jews into exile in Babylon. With their temple and their priesthood gone, the Jews found themselves in strange new communities where they formed voluntary assemblages for common worship and study of the law. These congregations were called synagogues or assemblies. This institution proved so valuable that it has been continued to this day. It also provided the basic pattern for the churches which, after Paul, the Christians set up and developed along more organized lines. Among the Jews, however, the synagogue has survived in its pristine form. Any ten adult male Jews today can establish a congregation. The congregation’s rabbi is a teacher, not a priest. He has no ecclesiastical authority except as an expounder of the law. In fact, he is not even necessary to the functioning of the synagogue. Any male Jew with sufficient knowledge of the prayers and the laws can conduct a religious service.
Thus, the synagogue is an “assembly” of Jewish people, just as the church is thought of today as an “assembly” of believers in Jesus Christ (although that is not the real meaning of church!). The synagogue of Satan is, therefore, the assembly of the adversaries, opponents, slanderers, and accusers! Those of the synagogue of Satan are the opponents of the Truth and the slanderers of the spirit of Christ! Everyone and everything, especially every religious thing that stands in opposition or resistance to the spiritual life of your inner son is truly of the synagogue of Satan!
Remember, the term “synagogue of Satan” is a type, a symbol in the book of Revelation! The type is found in the persecutors of the early believers - pre-eminently the Jews. Among all the stormy, fiery declarations of condemnation and judgment found in the letters to the seven churches, none is more striking than the Holy Spirit’s identification of the “synagogue of Satan.” The synagogue of the Adversary! He doesn’t call the temple of Bacchus the synagogue of Satan. He doesn’t call the temple of Diana the synagogue of Satan. He doesn’t call the temple of Zeus the synagogue of Satan. Only the Jews had a synagogue! Religion that opposes the Spirit of God, the purpose of God, the truth of God, and the kingdom of God is the adversary of God, and the system, temple, synagogue, or assembly of those adversaries is simply the “synagogue of Satan.”
THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA
We just have to look to the Apostle Paul’s incredible indictment of his own former activities in the religion of Judaism to see the “depths” of Evil from which he came out of.
“For ye have heard of my manner of life in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers” (Gal. 1:13-14).
“Though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might have confidence in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:4-6).
That was of course the same spirit of Judaism that operated most prolifically in one of the seven churches of Revelation - Smyrna! The church in Smyrna was bitterly opposed by the Jews of the city, who prided themselves on being God’s chosen people. Unbeknownst to them, they were actually the tools of Satan, the organized religious opposers, persecutors, and condemners of those who were the Lord’s people after the spirit! The synagogue which had once served as the springboard for the preaching of the gospel, fast became the bitter enemy of the new church. Throughout the world in the days of the early church the Jews moved against the believers with lies and malice. When Paul was preaching in the synagogue in Antioch we read:
“And the next Sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming” (Acts 13:44-45).
The accusations against the believers were so devilish, and the smears so insidious, that the believers were styled as the dregs of society and blamed for every tragedy and disaster that struck. “But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people” (Acts 17:5).
The Jews worked with cunning, even inciting the normally tolerant Roman government to attack the new religion. The Jewish-Roman cartel instigated the wholesale slaughter of those who followed Jesus.
Of course, the Roman Empire made politics a religion. The Emperor was proclaimed to be a god to whom homage was to be given. Throughout the Roman Empire people were free to worship any god or as many gods as they desired. There was freedom of religion. But all subjects of the Roman Empire were required to recognize Caesar as Lord and God over the Empire. In essence what they did was once a year all the people would come with a small pinch of incense and all that was required was that they cast it into a fire and say, “Caesar is Lord!” The cities recognized this merely as a political exercise, you were simply saying that Caesar is Lord, and that means that he is Lord or Ruler over the Empire. When one fulfilled his annual obligation in the worship of Caesar, he was given a treaty which granted him the right for the next year to worship any god or gods in any religion he chose.
For the believers in Jesus this was a problem! They could not acknowledge anyone as LORD other than Jesus Christ! For them Jesus had been raised up and given all power in heaven and in earth, principalities and powers being made subject to HIM. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, the Prince (ruler) of the kings of the earth! The Christians were renegades. They were rebels. All they needed to do was throw some incense into the fire and repeat the words, “Caesar is Lord,” and a bill or decree was given to them releasing their family. For the year they could go back home and worship Jesus all they wanted to!
POLYCARP AND THE ENEMIES OF ROME
What did it mean to be an enemy of Rome? It meant that if anybody turned you in, all your property and possessions could be confiscated - Rome got 90% of what you owned and the person that turned you in got 10%. So the city was filled with informants and bounty hunters. And just who were the worst informants? The Jews of course! The Jews went looking for Christians. They would often infiltrate church services. They would sit there during the praise and worship and ministry of the word, all the while making a note of the best dressed and most prosperous looking people. They would spot those who had possessions; after the meeting they would get their names and go report them to the government as rebels against the Empire. Soon government officials would appear at their home or business; if they could not produce their treaty they would then confiscate their property in the name of the Empire, and the informant was paid his ten percent.
The above is the historical background behind the Lord’s words to the church at Smyrna, “I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.” Great poverty was in the church at Smyrna. For a person to confess Jesus Christ as Lord meant not only that they committed their life to Him, but they could lose all of their property, business, and possessions. One of the ministers in the church at Smyrna was one of the most famous of the church in those early years, a man by the name of Polycarp, who had been a disciple of John who wrote the book of Revelation. His story has come down to us because of his unswerving faithfulness to the name of Jesus - even unto death. He refused to burn incense to Caesar or to confess him as Lord.
Because of his gentle and kindly spirit the Roman officials entreated him, “What harm can it do you to sacrifice to the emperor? Have pity on your great age.” Upon his repeated refusal Polycarp was taken to the coliseum, where an official said, “Swear, curse Christ, and I will set you free.” The serene Polycarp replied as he was led to the stake to be burned, “Eighty and six years have I served Christ, and He has never done me wrong: how, then, can I curse Him, my King and Saviour?” Having resisted every promise and threat, which they hoped would cause him to recant, it was announced, “Polycarp confessed himself a Christian.”
This was the signal for death! And renegade Jews from “the synagogue of Satan” with pagan Gentiles, rushed in fury to gather the firewood for his cremation. Taking his place in the midst of the fuel, Polycarp assured them that it was unnecessary to chain him, and the fire was kindled. His suffering was prolonged by a high wind that blew the flames aside, and he was at length executed by the executioner’s sword.
The True Synagogue Revealed!
Incredible as these facts are, the spiritual truth is that the Jews, persecuting the early believers, are not the “synagogue of Satan” of Revelation - they are merely the type, the symbol! Never forget, the book of Revelation is a book of symbols! Spiritually, the Jews in Smyrna were not the synagogue of Satan. What they represent is the synagogue of Satan! They remind us of people today, as well as thoughts, ideas, and spirits right within ourselves, which oppose God’s spirit, God’s message, God’s will, God’s work, and God’s people in the name of religion. The synagogue of Satan has always existed and is active in this day, although it changes form from generation to generation. It is the congregation of the adversaries, the congregation of the opposers, the congregation of the slanderers, the congregation of the accusers - both within and without!
The opposition of religion against God’s truth, God’s Spirit, and God’s elect is a synagogue of Satan - an adversary! That doesn’t mean they are sinister or evil, for many of the people in the church systems today truly love God and think they are doing His will. They are just God’s ordained “opposition party” to test and try His elect! Like the Jews of old, they just don’t realize that GOD HAS MOVED ON! They have no idea that this is a new Day and God is doing a new and greater and more wonderful thing!
Satan is the adversary, the Devil is the accuser! When the great dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, is cast out of the spiritual heavens of our minds and consciousness and understanding, the scripture states;
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev. 12:10-11).
There is only one accuser, only one - Satan. Of course he accuses us within ourselves as well as through religion. The synagogue of Satan has many different denominations, divisions, departments, and operations. Some are without while others are deep on the inside of us. You see, Satan never comes as some hideous fire-breathing monster with horns, a forked tail, and a pitchfork. He doesn’t blare at you through a loudspeaker. He speaks in your own thoughts, understanding, perceptions, intuitions, feelings, emotions, and desires! The battle rages in the MIND - concepts, temptations, accusations shout at you from within!
It’s pretty straight forward. The Self-life, the human consciousness, the carnal mind, the flesh - all these are a synagogue of Satan! It is there he comes and worships, it is there he comes and preaches, it is there he comes and counsels, it is there he comes and persuades. You may go to church meetings three times on Sunday and every night of the week, but if you are not dead to the Self-life, if you have not ascended into the mind of Christ above your human consciousness, if you have not silenced the carnal mind, if you have not mortified your members which are upon the earth, Satan has a little synagogue in you, a place where he has the right to come and set up his service, teach his ideas and doctrines, appear as an angel of light - illumination and revelation - express his desires and emotions, and perform some of his works.
The called out elect of God are casting Satan out of the heavens - the high places of their minds by the swift and powerful sword of the Spirit! The sword of the Spirit used in this heavenly warfare is the word of God, the living word of God, and the present truth and reality raised up within our lives by the Holy Spirit! There are millions of people in the religious systems of man today who are synagogues of Satan. There is only a small called and chosen remnant who are becoming temples of the Holy Ghost. God is mightily moving in our lives in this Day to smash that synagogue of Satan within us by the hammer of Truth, raze it to the ground, and upon it erect within ourselves a temple of the Holy Ghost that God may be glorified in His sons. We are being brought to the place where we say with Jesus, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” - nothing in me that responds or corresponds to him in any way or measure!
The apocalyptic war of in the heavens truly rages within – NOT outside of us! Yes we’re in a war – and the war is IN US! Everything is right where you are - WITHIN YOU! Everything! On the positive side - God is in you, Christ is in you your hope of glory, the word of Christ dwells in your heart by faith, your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, the wonderful mind of Christ is in your mind by the renewing of your mind, and the kingdom of God is within you.
On the negative side — the spirit of antichrist is in you; the man of sin sits in the temple of God which is your body; the beast rages in the sea of humanity, in the ravenous emotions of the body; the image of the beast is seen in you by your outer actions of fleshly life; the nature of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters (peoples) is in you, the woman of your own soulish life; and the serpent is within you, enthroned in the carnal mind which is enmity against God.
DENYING THE DEVIL
Ask one thousand church-going Christians to describe for you the Devil, how many would try to give you a “physical” description? Millions of Christians suppose they would recognize the Devil instantly! But would they, really? Know this - the “Devil” of Christianity is a myth!
Jesus, on many occasions, drew the analogy of men as serpents – devils. When Jesus uttered the following parabolic phrase, He was revealing one of the most important and foundational truths of all time; “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Mat. 23:25,33).
John the Baptist used the same terminology, “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee the wrath to come?” (Mat. 3:7).
As in Christ’s day, so today, the churches are full of devils! Well does this enemy of God, enthroned in the human heart, this adversary of redemption and all righteousness, know that, when the “I” is crucified, all his power and all his authority and sway in that life is broken. His appetite is denied, his desires rejected, his plans thwarted, his suggestions repudiated, his power ignored, his base of operation is destroyed, and his work is abolished in the life of every son of God who has become identified with Christ in the cross. Once a man has embraced fully the cross of Christ and “Self” has become with Him, then it is with us to declare, “I will not talk with you much more, for the prince of the world is coming. And he has no claim on me, there is nothing in me that belongs to him, he has no power over me” (Jn. 14:30, Amplified).
Know this. Satan has no power at all when SELF is gone! His synagogue is destroyed! His pews are broken down, his pulpit demolished, his service ended! There is no platform to preach upon! How powerful the hour for any man when Satan shall find nothing in him upon which he can feed or lay hold, nothing that responds or corresponds to him. When Self is crucified with Christ the lust of the flesh is mortified, the lust of the eyes is slain, the pride of life is put to death, all cunning, deception, and error is silenced, and the synagogue of Satan closed.
What an astounding revelation! Understand though, that the synagogue of Satan is both individual and corporate. John the Revelator sees the Adversary, the Accuser, embodied in a people, an assembly, a congregation, a system, a synagogue, to oppose, slander, and intimidate the called and chosen elect of the Lord! One dimension of the synagogue of Satan that the elect of God have experienced are those they run into today who say they serve Jesus, but who persecute those who are pressing on into deeper realms in God.
It is most probable that the Christian friends and confidants we once had so much in common with before our journey of exile, will now become our accusers, our persecutors. Yes these truths are anathema to the Christian doctrines of our prior un-awakening.
There is nothing more challenging or fruitless than arguing these truths with other Christians. We may witness to darkness and share out of love, but soon we upset them with the light. If we in turn abuse and persecute even the Lord’s people in Babylon, instead of loving them, praying for them, and seeking only to help them, then we place ourselves in the synagogue of Satan also, becoming an adversary to them. Unless they are called by God’s Spirit, they will never comprehend that the elect of the Lord are being thoroughly purged and purified from all the doctrines, programs, methods, and spirit of Mystery Babylon! A slave is a slave until they are released or set free! Those who profess to be called to sonship while continuing a promiscuous relationship with the lewd religious harlot, are certainly bastards, and not sons.
No, we are not called to become Gods avengers – angry adversaries to any man, but to be saviours on mount Zion, the priesthood of the Lord to bless and reconcile and lead all men into the kingdom of Life, Light, and Love! We are called to be gentle, kind, gracious, tender-hearted, compassionate, and loving even with our enemies! We are ordained to bless them that curse us and pray for those who despitefully use us, and persecute us, that we may be the sons of our Father who is in heaven! He sends His rain upon the just and the unjust! It is here, and here alone, that we begin to tread the ground of true sonship, for the sons of God are the priests of the Most High God after the order of Melchizedek!
The Bondage of Legalism
Concerning those of the synagogue of Satan the Lord tells the church at Philadelphia, which, together with Smyrna, is a type of God’s called out elect;
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (Rev. 3:9).
We should note that this promise is not given in a jeering or vindictive spirit! It rather means that the day will come when those who now misunderstand, condemn, denounce, persecute, and cast out and despise God’s elect who walk in the Spirit and in the Truth will themselves come to the knowledge of the truth, of the love of the Lord for those who follow on to know Him, and God’s great plan and purpose for His people on the earth and throughout all the unbounded heavens! Thank God - ALL shall know Him, from the least to the greatest; and ALL shall see and be blessed by His wise and wonderful purpose. Then even the “synagogue of Satan” will at last UNDERSTAND! After all, that’s what happened to Saul of Tarsus in that long ago on the Damascus road; and that is what will happen to all the adversaries!
One of the most ubiquitous aspect synagogue of Satan that plagues many of the Lord’s people is the assembly of carnal-minded, self-righteous, law keepers who burden the Lord’s people with external commandments, rules, and regulations. It is legalism! Legalism is so bad because it places a person under heavy bondage, which is hard to get rid of. The law is the instrument of sin-consciousness! “By the law is the knowledge of sin.” “Do this, do that,” or “Don’t do this, don’t do that.” Legalism forces everything into a pattern of works, external observances, and performance. The ultimate fate of those who break these traditions of the elders and commandments of men is, “God will get you if you don’t do what we say!” Legalism is a mark of spiritual immaturity and carnal-minded religiosity. It is an adversary to the inner spiritual life.
MADE UNDER THE LAW
Understand, when Jesus came to redeem us, He came to redeem us not only from sin and death, but to redeem us from the law which gave us the consciousness of sin and is itself the very strength and power of sin (Rom. 3:20; 7:7; I Cor. 15:56; Gal. 4:4-5). Paul tells us that when Jesus came into the world He came subject to the law. “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:4-5). We have to realize that for thirty years Jesus lived on this earth without ever manifesting His sonship to God! He was sent into the world as the Son of God, but He did not manifest His sonship until after He was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan river. He was “made of a woman” - born of a woman, speaking of His true humanity.
The Father sent the Son in the likeness of sinful flesh by giving Him a human body. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. In this likeness of sinful flesh He looked like everybody else! He didn’t look like a superman - six feet tall with a rugged, handsome face, piercing blue eyes, flaxen hair, bronze complexion, bulging muscles, and a Mr. America physique. Oh, no! He looked so much like any other Jew that He never stood out in a crowd. No one in Nazareth thought He would amount to anything beyond the norm, and when men sought for Him, He had to be pointed out to them. Nothing credible is written of Him, from the time He was twelve years old, until the day He came to John to be baptized. He operated within the limitations of the flesh. He didn’t use any special powers or, except on one brief occasion, display any unusual wisdom. He worked, ate, slept, and bathed like every man. He hungered, grew weary, knew weakness, and experienced doubts, frustrations, perplexities, pain, and sorrow, for “He was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” (Is 53:3)
Notice further that when Jesus came He was “made under the law” - and therefore was in subjection under the law. God sent forth His Son from His throne on high, from the estate of His heavenly glory, to be made under the law with all its restrictions, requirements, and demands. He was not merely born under the law as a Jew, but “made” by His Father’s appointment, and His own will, subject to the law to keep it all, ceremonial and moral; to perfectly fulfil it for all who were under it! Although He was the Lord of the law and its divine Author, He took His place under the law, that He might accomplish an important purpose for those who were under it. He made Himself subject to it that He might become one of them, and secure their release! And, praise God, He established a perfect record in that He kept the law fully.
We know very little of His life while He was under the law. Only one incident when He was twelve years old is recorded. When Jesus walked under the law He was circumcised; He sacrificed; He paid tithes; He observed the Sabbath; He kept the feast days; He attended synagogue; and in all His dealings He kept every tenet and precept of the law!
Jesus was sent into the bondage of legalism and required to wear that legalistic yoke in order that He might shatter it to pieces with His full and free redemption! That MUST include all the religious folk today who are held captive under the legalistic demands of church systems with their myriad man-made commandments of “do’s” and “don’ts” laid upon people in order to make them pleasing to God. Matters not whether it is an Old Testament law about not muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn, sowing mixed seed in one’s field, stoning an adulteress, washing hands before eating, kosher food laws, holy day laws, or more modern day prohibitions against women wearing make-up and jewelry, dress codes, meats and drinks, amusements, coverings, or a thousand other laws, old and new, that the religious Pharisees impose upon the Lord’s people.
Yes, the law is very insidious! God’s redeemed people are NOT under any CURSE of the law! The New Covenant is not a covenant of blessing and cursing as was the Old Covenant. The New Covenant is only a covenant of blessing! Jesus says; “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
Paul makes this very clear when he says;
“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body (substance, reality) is of Christ” (Col. 2:13-17).
If we keep one law we are bound to keep the whole law, for to break one law makes one just as guilty and condemned as the man who breaks them all. That is why Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law! The law is a curse! Paul says that the law was contrary to us — an ADVERSARY! It is the doctrine of the synagogue of Satan! Our journey out of Babylon – the harlot church MUST propel us away from the physical demands of any mans LAW and into the realm of FREE sons.
The religious spirit is an ass. Let’s look at this with simple rationality. If I am under the law of the sabbath, the law of tithing, the law of not eating pork, then I am under the whole law. I should burn a bull on the altar of sacrifice so it will be a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). I would be able to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7 - I would only need to determine what would be a fair price for her! If my neighbour works on the sabbath, Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Most males get their hair trimmed around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27. We would need to search the scriptures to see how they should die! Leviticus 11:6-8 states that touching the skin of a dead pig makes us unclean! Everyone who wears a garment made of different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend) is under the curse of the law. The LAW would require us to stone everyone we know to death! Then kill ourselves! Does this sound ridiculous? PAUL SAYS THAT IF YOU KEEP ONE LAW YOU ARE BOUND TO KEEP THEM ALL!
REEDEMED FROM THE CURSE
Christ has “redeemed us from the curse of the law!” The Greek word for “redeem” is an especially beautiful term. The concept is of one going into the slave market and purchasing the slave and then taking him out of the market, setting him free. Redeemed from the law! Redeemed to be no longer a slave, serving under rules, regulations, and commandments that govern the flesh. Redeemed that we might “receive the adoption of sons!”
“As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14).
Hallelujah! We have received placement as sons of God who fulfil the nature of the Father by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus! Jesus does not drive people with the lash of the law, but He draws them with the cords of love! The law is bondage and therefore stands in opposition to our walk in the spirit and by the spirit! Law keeping is one of the cardinal doctrines of the synagogue of Satan!
AND KNOW THIS. All who minister condemnation are preaching from the pulpit of the synagogue of Satan. How many of us were raised on this doctrine of the synagogue of Satan! As young believers we were told in church that God so hated sin, that God could not look upon sin, could not excuse sin; so if we fell, if we slipped into sin, if we made a mistake, if we disobeyed the Lord, if we cussed or lusted or cheated or told a lie, and didn’t confess our sin to God and get it “under the blood” before we went to bed, should we die in our sleep before the sun rose we would certainly burst hell wide open!
Now, someone may think that this gospel of grace is going to give you the liberty to sin, for your flesh to go wild. People say that God cannot excuse sin. This is true! But do not fail to share also that scripture is clear, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them! God has forgiven us all our trespasses! But He has also quickened us and made us alive in Christ.
We will not come to perfection, maturity, the image of Christ, and sonship by trying to make our Adamic life live more godly. Adam can’t do it! But there is a Life, even Christ, flowing from the very essence of our being that has absolutely nothing to do with my natural character, the Adamic life. It is a power greater than all! It is Christ who must be raised up in us, to be our life, our righteousness, our reality. Christ isn’t formed in us in one day, one month, or one year. But Christ is growing up in all the elect who have received the call to sonship! Our Father does not condemn us while we are going from victory to victory, but still fall short of His holiness. All our sins are covered until we have FULLY OVERCOME! No license to sin here, just grace, mercy, love, and great faithfulness UNTIL WE REACH PERFECTION. Be glad and believe!
Measuring the Depths
“But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine and which have not known the DEPTHS of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden” (Rev. 2:24).
“But as it is written, ‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him’--these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the DEPTHS of God” (I Cor. 2:10).
So here we are at these two verses again. And just what have we learnt about the legalism of the LAW THAT KILLS and the religious spirit that condemns us and burdens us as slaves to sin? They are DEEPLY imbedded into the foundations of Christian doctrine. They are the very depths of ANTI CHRIST – they are of course found in one place only - the church!
And just what is, “the DEPTHS of Satan” and “the DEPTHS of God?” There are two main issues found in both the depths of Satan and the depths of God:
1. What is the true nature and character of God?
2. What is the purpose and destiny of the human race? The depths of Satan and the depths of God both answer these two questions.
The DEPTHS of Satan - teaches that what God does mostly, is HATE! He is a God of eternal hatred and vengeance. He is pictured as the chief of hypocrites. He tells mankind to love their enemies, but shows His perverted love toward mankind by torturing most of our loved-ones in fire for all eternity. God’s weak wish of saving all humanity is thwarted by the sovereign power of man’s supposed free will, and thus most of the human race will eternally hate and despise and curse their Creator for ever making them. This teaching of Satan has absolutely no redeeming value to it. God will be remembered eternally for being the greatest failure in the history of the universe. This doctrine is both the most evil and the most insane teaching ever conceived.
The DEPTHS of God - teaches that what God does and is, is LOVE! He is a God fully capable of bringing the whole human race to repentance through judgments that cause man to learn righteousness. The purpose for man’s creation is to teach him obedience and love, so that he can be moulded into the very Image of God Himself and thus be manifested as the Eternal Sons and Daughters of God in the Family of God. God’s plan brings unspeakable happiness to and pleasure to every creature in heaven and earth. God’s plan will be totally successful down to God’s very last wish and desire. Possessing the very character of God and His love for all His creatures is the most marvellous plan ever conceived by our all-wise and Loving God.
Ironically, The Christian Church writes books about, teaches in her seminaries, and preaches from her pulpits, in a most vigorous manner,The DEPTHS of Satan. Contrariwise, she avoids teaching The DEPTHS of God, and accuses those who do, of being false prophets and of the devil.
Seminary professors and theologians, religious writers and movie makers, clergymen and teachers, the world over, attribute to Satan powers and victories that he does not deserve or possess, and they likewise attribute to God weaknesses and failures that He does not deserve or possess! Their theology is turned backward, upside down, and inside out! Satan will not be victorious over the human race by bringing the majority of mankind down into a living eternal hellhole of torture, nor will God be a disgraceful failure in saving the world! It is time now for God to reveal some startling truths to those who have ears to hear.
IN THE CHURCH
Little wonder that the Church worldwide does not acknowledge the whereabouts of the depths of Satan. Yet, this is no secret for those who have eyes to see it. The DEPTHS of Satan is found IN THE CHURCH itself. Satan does not attack the Church from without, but from within:
Where do we find them who “say they are apostles [of Jesus Christ] and are not?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:2).
Where do we find them who have “left their first love?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:4).
Where do we find them which “say they are [spiritual] Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9).
Where do we find “Satan’s seat [throne]?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:13).
Where do we find “where Satan dwells?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:13).
Where do we find “the doctrine of Balaam?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:14).
Where do we find “them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I [Jesus] hate?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:15).
Where do we find “that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 2:19).
Where do we find them that “have a name that you live, and are dead?” Why, IN THE CHURCH
Where do we find them that “are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked?” Why, IN THE CHURCH (Rev. 3:17).
And where do we find “the DEPTHS of Satan?” Why, IN THE CHURCH, of course (Rev. 2:24).
Is it possible that the “depths of God” can co-exist alongside of the “depths of Satan” in the same church? Are not both taught in the Church? No, they are not. However, let’s be clear on this matter. We are not suggesting that nothing but the depths of Satan is taught in the Christian Church. That is certainly not true. There are numerous truths of God that are taught in the Church, and there are doctrines and practices of demons that are not taught in the Church. But, therein lies the reason why there is much confusion and contradiction among the different denominations. Error mixed with some truth can be more deceptive than error alone.
The Greatest Evils
THE GREATEST DEPTH OF EVIL IS FOUND ONLY IN THE CHURCH
Of course there is no greater evil taught in the Church today that the doctrine of “eternal torment.” If we know our history – it is shown to be what it is - A doctrine that has no validity in the Scriptures. Even though this doctrine has its origin in paganism, most pagan and heathen nations have long forsaken this hideous teaching. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that can be conceived by the mind of man or demon, that is more deplorable, detestable, and disgusting than the thought of being physically, mentally, and spiritually tortured for all eternity.
The thought is inconceivable. The thought of eternal torture is far beyond all known evil, immoral, corrupt, damnable, deprived, heinous, hideous, loathsome, nefarious, obscene, repugnant, reprobate, vile and wicked sins of all the universe combined. There just aren’t enough adjectives to describe this doctrine. It can be compared to nothing. The very thought, the teaching, the doctrine, of eternal torment, is the greatest evil than can ever be conceived.
Eternity has NO END! When totally reprobate men want to commit the ultimate evil, they torture. Torture is outlawed in international warfare. Even the vilest despotic leaders in the world agree in principle (if not always in practice) that torture should be a forbidden practice. All humans who torture others are considered the lowest form of humanity.
Infamously, Saddam Hussein’s two sons were inventors of new forms of human torture. Yet their joy of putting people through tree shredders was child’s play compared to the evils envisioned by the great theologians of Christendom. Theologians picture men, women, and children, being engulfed in real fire while being forced to drink molten hot lead! You would take the tree shredder any day! At least that quickly comes to an end. But the theologians’ vision of torture by fire in hell, never, ever, ever comes to an end. And they call it "FAIR"! And they call it "JUSTICE"!
NO, ETERNAL TORTURE IS NOT JUSTICE AND NO, IT IS NOT FAIR. It is insane rank demonism - it is The DEPTHS of Satan!! IT IS INORDINATELY EVIL: IT IS THE ULTIMATE SIN: IT IS THE BLASPHEMY OF ALL BLASPHEMIES! It is a doctrine that demeans and debases the very character of God Almighty below that of the vilest humans who have ever lived.
it is one thing to reluctantly accept this doctrine because one has been deceived into believing that it is in the Bible, but it is quite another to meditate on this theme and come to embrace in into one’s heart, mind, and soul, as something that is "JUSTICE AND FAIR!" Remember – King David said that he preferred the judgment of God over that of men. What do we know of the afterlife that David seemed to miss in his assessment?
Yes, this doctrine says that God is evil and unjust beyond any sane comprehension. This doctrine says that the God, who saved the worst sinner that ever lived in a flash of light, cannot save most mediocre sinners in a trillion centuries. This doctrine says that God is a trillion trillion trillion times more evil than He is loving. This doctrine makes God out to be less caring and merciful and the worst of sinners. This doctrine contradicts hundreds of Scriptures. This doctrine makes God out to be a hypocrite when He tells us to love our enemies, but does not following His own teaching. Will the same God Who says to us, “Love your enemies” be the one that will ultimately torture OUR friends, neighbours, and loved ones? Is this the reward we get for loving our enemies - God will torture our loved ones? What kind of an incentive is that? What kind of double-talking, unscriptural nonsense is that?
It would make more sense to hate our enemies and love our loved one, wouldn’t it? Do you hate your loved ones, when they die not knowing Jesus as their Saviour? Do you attend their funerals and curse their name, so as to be in harmony and keeping with the God that you believe is also cursing them in hell at that very moment? You see, this doctrine is so evil that even carnal human nature rebels at there being any reality to this damnable heresy. No, here is the reality: God wants us to love our loved ones and love our enemies, because we are growing into His image, and God loves our loved ones and He also loves His and our enemies. You cannot show your love to your enemies by torturing them, and neither can God!
Is this INHUMAN TORTURE at any way acceptable? Many Christians love the idea of their enemies being punished forever. What do the scriptures say to such carnal believers?
“And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins and hearts[one cannot have the mind and spirit of Christ and yet think it a fair and just thing to torture people for all eternity]: and I give unto every one of you according to your works, But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as HAVE NOT this doctrine, and which HAVE NOT known the depths of Satan, as they [the teachers and preachers] speak; I will put upon you NONE other burden” (Rev. 2:23-24).
And so the modern Church is filled with the depths of Satan and his evil doctrines, but of the “depths of God,” precious little is taught. The doctrines that are Scriptural, such as the fact that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the whole world, and that God will save the whole world, and all that God has created is here for the express purpose of training humanity to becomes sons and daughters of God, in the very image of God, are not taught in most churches.
Jesus Christ will not judge the Church for all the good things that they do, but for their INIQUITY!
“Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven. MANY will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils [demons]? And in Thy name done MANY WONDERFUL WORKS? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye [ye means ‘ALL of you’] that work INIQUITY [lawlessness]” (Matt. 7:21-23).
What is more “lawless” than the teaching of “free will?” It contradicts all the laws of physics in the universe. Nothing happens without a cause. The cause of all is God. But the wisdom of men says that man can make uncaused choices. Therefore man can choose to save himself or he can choose to send himself to eternity in hell. The decision is his and not God’s.
Human free will sovereignty is the ultimate example of lawlessness. Plus, it contradicts God and His Word in hundreds of places. We don’t choose Christ; Christ chooses us. We can’t come to God unless and until He draws [drags] us to Christ. We have no faith of our own - it is a gift of God. No man seeks after God. No man is good. Without Christ we can do nothing. It is God Who even causes us to will in the first place. And yet, the Christian Church has a doctrine of “free” will which contradicts all of these plain teachings of the Bible.
Regarding the Synagogues
Now, do not think for one moment that we are not on some anti-semitic rant here regarding the synagogue and its function as a spiritual “type.” Jesus himself taught in the local synagogues. He also upset a few pious religious people (in such establishments) in his time – angering them to the point of threatening violence and death! Such was the zealousness of the theologians of the day, they had all but forgotten their humanity in favour of ceremony, regulation and tradition. Ironic that it would take their own God to appear in the flesh in order to show their lack of humanity! Not that they would have the eyes to see it of course. Oh yes, they were ALL offended.
“And when He [Jesus] was departed thence, He went into their synagogue… Then said He [Jesus] stretch forth your hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole… Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him [Jesus] how they might destroy Him” (Matt. 12:9, 13, & 14).
“And when He [Jesus] was come into His own country, He taught them in the synagogue… And they were offended in Him” (Matt. 13:54 & 57).
“…and He [Jesus] went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up for to read… And ALL they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath [rage], And rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill, whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong [over the cliff]…” (Luke 4:16b, 28-29).
Does anyone believe that Jesus enjoyed Sabbath services in the Synagogues? Jesus didn’t go to the synagogues to worship God: Jesus worshiped God twenty-four hours a day, every day. Jesus didn’t go to the synagogues to have a good time. Jesus when to the synagogues to teach the truths of God! And many hated Him for it.
STEPHEN AND THE SYNAGOGUE
“Then there arose certain of the synagogue… And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he[Stephen] spake. Then they suborned [bribed] men which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God” (Acts 6:9-11).
PAUL AND THE SYNAGOGUES
“And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews… And when there was an assault [violent attempt] made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them” (Acts 14:1 & 5).
“…they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures… But the Jews which believed not. Moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd [evil] fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company [mob], and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted [attacked] the house of Jason…” (Acts 17:1 & 5).
“And he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks… Paul was pressed [compelled] in the spirit and testified to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads, I am clean: from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles” (Acts 18:4-6).
“And he [Paul] went in to the synagogue, and spoke boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spoke evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them…” (Acts 19:8-9).
CHRIST PROPHESIES REGARDING THE SYNAGOGUES
“But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge [severely beat] you in their synagogues” (Matt. 10:17).
Jesus repeats this unbelievable prophecy:
“Wherefore, behold I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues…” (Matt. 23:34).
“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time comes that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service” (John 16:2).
From the above Scriptures it would appear that the synagogues housed some rather dubious and evil men. And these people were zealots for God! - for sure that is true. However, there were also those who did listen to Jesus, the Apostles, and Paul in the synagogues, and turned to God. In some cities such as Thessalonica, there were large numbers both of men and women, Jews, Hellenists, and Gentiles. And so it was good for those whom God called that they were in the synagogues to hear the Truths of God preached. And just as the synagogues served a purpose historically, the churches of Jesus Christ have served a purpose down through the centuries, continue doing so today, as well as into the future.
THE FUNCTION OF THE SYNAGOGUE
Anyway, was there actually an overall purpose carried out in all of those many ancient synagogues in Judea and other parts of the Roman Empire? Yes, there was.
“For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him [Moses], being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day” (Acts 15:21).
By “Moses” is meant the “books of Moses,” the “Law of Moses,” and the “Religion of Moses.” And one other purpose for the synagogue and temple,
“My house shall be called of all nations the House of Prayer…” (Mark 11:17).
But the truth of the matter was, that they had already “…made it a den of thieves.” Remember, this “den of thieves” continues on in the Church today.
Now then, is “Moses” still taught in the churches of God, today? Yes, of course he is. The Law of Moses is virtually worshiped by many in the Church. Many believe that observing the seventh day Sabbath is the identifying sign that sets them apart as the only true believers and followers of God. They even make granite idols of the Ten Commandments and bow themselves down to them. Today’s Church teaches Moses and Christ. Nearly every person on earth that has ever heard of Christ has heard of Him through the Church. Can a deceived Church, “teach Christ?” Well, they can, and they do. Is this a good thing? Yes, it is, even if their motives are not always perfect. Notice what Paul said regarding this:
“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence or in truth, CHRIST IS PREACHED; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” (Phil. 1:15-18).
But do they teach the truth regarding the gospel, grace, faith, resurrection, judgment, and a dozen other paramount doctrines? Well, not too well. One of the most simple and profound proofs that the Church is not teaching consistently and Scripturally on these subjects is conclusively proved by the very fact that there are so many hundreds of disagreeing denominations in Christendom. How are individual untrained truth-seekers supposed to believe all that a particular church denomination teaches when the educated trained leaders of these denominations cannot even agree among themselves as to what is Truth?
Regardless of what our particular denominational bent might be, I hope that we can all agree that Paul and the Apostles had the Truth. Did new converts to Christ continue to attend synagogues to be edified in their new-found-faith? NO! They were persecuted in the synagogues! They left the synagogues. They left the mother Church. Remember our lesson where Jesus said, “I will build My church...” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus didn’t say that He would purify or purge the existing Church. No, Jesus built a New Church - His Church, “MY Church” Jesus called it.
And so it was in the religion of Judaism that the people learned of God and the Law of Moses. But when they learned of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they were forced to “COME OUT OF HER…”
When we read the history of the Apostles in the book of Acts, they and their new converts to Jesus did not continue to worship Jesus in the synagogues. They now began to meet among themselves and in private homes. Paul’s habit was to go to the synagogues of whatever city he was evangelizing to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul did not go to these synagogues to worship Jesus Christ, but rather to teach that Jesus was the Christ. And those who were truly called of God left the synagogues and met with believers of like mind in private homes.
It is true that the Apostles continued for a time to go up to the Temple (not the local synagogues), but they were warned under threat of death that they should discontinue teaching in the Temple. But Peter, who denied Christ three times just weeks earlier, now spoke fearlessly:
“And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to TEACH AND PREACH Jesus Christ” (Acts 5:42).
THE CHURCH OF GOD IN PRIVATE HOUSES
So there was a transition period where the disciples still went up to the temple, but God’s intimate dealings would now be found in more humble surroundings. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on the first Saints of Jesus, it was not in a synagogue, but in a house:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all THE HOUSE where they were sitting” (Acts 2:1-2).
Yes - church services were held in houses:
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house” (Rom. 16:5).
“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (I Cor. 16:19).
“Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house” (Col., 4:15).
“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in your house” (Philemon 1-2).
When we come to the famous Jerusalem Conference in the fifteenth chapter of Acts, we read that Paul and Barnabas were “…being brought on their way by the CHURCH…” (Acts 15:3). This is the Church of Jesus Christ, not the church of the synagogue system. Notice that in this conference their determination was to not force the Law of Moses on new Gentile converts:
“Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with THE WHOLE CHURCH…” (Acts 15:22).
This was the first ‘ecumenical council,’ if you will, of the Church of Jesus Christ, consisting of only those who believed, who formulated policy which would be binding on the whole church. The Jews had “synagogues” - church buildings. The newly converted Christians came out of those synagogue church buildings and their doctrines, and met in homes. Why? Mostly because Christ was not taught or tolerated in these synagogues. In order to worship and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, it became necessary to “come out of her”- the synagogue system of religion.
Naturally - Jesus Christ, the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the followers of Jesus Christ were hated and despised by most leaders of most synagogues. Do we think that anything has changed regarding this in today’s churches? If Jesus Christ returned to virtually any Christian church in the world today, unrecognized in a business suit, and began teaching His own Gospel, the leaders of the churches would throw Him out!
The New Covenant Church
And so it is, that the “DEPTHS of God” in Christ Jesus are not tolerated in the Church today. They may teach the name of Jesus. They may teach that Jesus died for you. They may teach that there is forgiveness of sins in Jesus. They may teach that Jesus ONLY is your Saviour. But is the teaching of “Christ crucified” the “DEPTHS of God?” No, it is not. Paul did teach the Corinthians about “Christ crucified” (I Cor. 1:23). Paul also admitted that this was merely the “milk and not meat [solid food]” (I Cor. 3:2). The Corinthians had the “milk of God’s word,” but this did not make them spiritual. Notice what Paul says:
“For ye [Gk: ‘ye’ means, all of you] are yet CARNAL” (Verse 3).
And what does it mean to be “carnal?” Answer:
“For to be CARNALLY MINDED IS DEATH” (Rom. 8:6)!
Paul DID NOT; Paul COULD NOT, teach the Corinthians (and others) the “meat” of God’s word, because, “ye are yet carnal.” The Church as a whole has never understood the deep and spiritual things of God! Only “the FEW” -the “called” and “chosen” – “the ELECT.”
The Galatian congregation was equally carnal to those of the Corinthian congregation. Paul asks them:
“Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect [mature] by the FLESH? “ (Gal. 3:3).
DOES JESUS RESIDE AND DWELL IN THE CHURCH?
We have mentioned before that Christ “walks” in the midst of even the most carnal of churches. This should bring us some comfort – that it is Christ Himself that oversees all that goes on there – even in this realm of carnal babes. Yet this statement poses a serious question. Does Jesus actually “dwell” and “reside” in the Seven Churches of God mentioned in the Book of Revelation? Let’s read it:
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things says He that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who WALKS in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks” (Rev. 2:1).
Yes, Jesus Christ “walks” in the midst of the churches, yet the scriptures say something extremely profound regarding who ACTUALLY DWELLS there! Jesus does not dwell there; He does not reside there; He does not have His throne there. But someone else does: SATAN! What.....really?...YES REALLY!
SATAN has his “seat [Greek: ‘throne’]” in the Churches (Rev. 2:13)
SATAN “dwells” in the Churches (Rev. 2:13).
SATAN still has his “synagogue” in the Churches (Rev. 2:9 & 3:9).
SATAN’S “depths” of doctrinal evils are in the Churches (Rev. 2:24).
It is Satan who has his “throne” in the Churches - the Throne of Jesus Christ is in Heaven with His Father (Rev. 3:21), not in the church. He is not enthroned in the Church; He merely “walks” in the Churches. These are uneasy scriptures are they not? These scriptures are not for the faint hearted, yet we must at all cost BELIEVE them!
CALLED OUT OF THE SYNAGOGUES
Apart from Christ’s prophetic utterance that the early believers would be “thrown out of the synagogues” (John 16:2,) it is a given fact that the early Christians met in any place they could assemble – especially each-others homes. As we know, some of these early congregations were spied out and often assaulted.
“Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you is Christ. And some of them, believed… But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy… and assaulted the house of Jason…” (Acts 17:1-5).
No, the synagogues were no place for early believers - that’s for sure! When Paul later writes to these saints in Thessalonica, does he address them as “The synagogue of the Thessalonians?” Hardly:
“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto The Church of the Thessalonians, which is IN GOD the Father and IN the Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 1:1).
Were the saints in Judea gathering to worship in the synagogues?
“For you, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are IN Christ Jesus…” (I Thes. 2:14).
Remember: "Synagogue" [Greek: sunagoge means "an assemblage of people, a gathering place for the Jews"
“Church” [Greek: ekklesia] means "a calling out."
“Called” [Greek: kletos] means "invited." Actually, the word called is found over six hundred times in Scripture, but the word kletos appears only about a dozen times in Scriptures and always refers to those whom God has invited.
Also, the word “Chosen” [Greek: eklektos] means "select, chosen out; by implication favourite."Translated "chosen" sixteen times and "elect" seven times.
There’s something interesting here. Can we not easily see the progression in how God uses these words? God first GATHERS all His people - there was a synagogue in every city. He then CALLS OUT a people (a church) from that huge gathering, and many others from among the Gentiles. He then INVITES many of the called out ones (from the Church) to be His True Followers. But in the end only those whom God SELECTS OUT of the INVITED, of the CALLED OUT, from the gathering of the whole ASSEMBLY will be in the First Resurrection to reign with Christ in the Kingdom of God. And thus we start with a huge number and end up with but a “FEW.” “For MANY are called [‘invited’ from the ‘called out’ church], but FEW are chosen” to reign with Christ as Judges, Priests, Lords, and Kings. (Matt. 22:14).
What is this saying then? Well, we should be chosen from among the invited ones in the called out church.
TO WHICH CHURCH DO I BELONG THEN?
Which church do we attend then, what denomination do we belong to? We are not a member of, neither do we attend any institutionalized church of men and that includes all the Churches of Christendom. We are simply members of: “The Body of Christ -The Church of the Living God.”
The Church is an assembly of “called out” people. Within the Church there are then, the “called” and the “chosen” - the “invited” and the “selected.” It’s like screen test - many are called to try out, but only the few are chosen to actually perform.
The giant difference between the physically called of God and the spiritually Chosen of God is that the first are immature babes, and the second are spiritually mature sons - having the mind of Christ. The physical Church knows Christ only “after the flesh.” The carnal believe that Jesus Christ was “crucified” for them - which is true. But the mature know by experience that, “I am crucified WITH Christ.” The carnal-minded Christians “will be saved,” but they will not be in the first resurrection, nor will they reign with Jesus Christ as the manifest sons and daughters of God in the Kingdom of God throughout the oncoming ages.
The Apostle Paul did not teach in vain that,
“For if we would JUDGE OURSELVES, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (I Cor. 11:31-32).
This is the reality of the “overcomer.” Anyone going through very severe trials, problems, tribulation, judgment, chastening, and scourging is considered by the Church to be a gross sinner under a curse. Yet what does God’s Word tell us:
“For whom the Lord loves He CHASTENS, and SCOURGES every son whom He receives” (Heb. 12:6).
Do we think this Scripture lies? If God calls you to be a son, then He will SCOURGE you. There are absolutely no exceptions and there is absolutely no way around these Scriptures. There exist many self professing Christians that confess that they never suffered persecution a day in their life. One remarked how lucky we are to live at this time and in this country where people no longer persecute Christians. Unbelievable.
“Yea, and all that will live godly [devoutly] in Christ Jesus SHALL suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12).
These verses of Scripture do not conveniently go away or disappear just because we have already read them ten or twenty years ago. But you say, “I do live godly in Christ Jesus, but I am not persecuted.” Oh really? Perhaps you have overlooked a thing or two. Do you love your enemies? Or do you love your army whom you applaud for killing your enemies? Do you turn the other cheek when someone does your wrong, or do you call your attorney and have him sued? Do you believe and teach that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world, or do you believe and teach that most of the world is going to hell? Do you no longer have a ‘lust of the flesh, and lust of the eyes, and a pride of life,” or are these the very things that dominate most of your time? It is futile to profess Christ without living godly in Christ!
Christ After the Flesh vs Christ After the Spirit
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after [according to] the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, YET NOW HENCEFORTH KNOW WE HIM NO MORE [after the flesh]” (II Cor. 5:1).
“Therefore if any man be IN Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW” (II Cor. 5:17)!
The scriptures can be cutting. How many Christians believe that “IN Christ” we are a NEW creation and that ALL the old things have passed away and that ALL things are become NEW? How many pastors teach the NEW Covenant?
Christians sing: “Give me that OLD TIME religion—it’s good enough for me.”
There was an OLD covenant, and now there is a NEW covenant. Do you know what the NEW COVENANT is? Theologians teach that the New covenant is keeping the OLD covenant, BETTER! That is unscriptural nonsense! They teach that we are to keep the law of Moses, BETTER, and we will fulfil the NEW testament.
Is the New Covenant patterned according to the Old Covenant? Let’s read it:
“For finding fault with them, He says, Behold, the days come says the Lord, when I will make a NEW covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah [he is a JEW who is circumcised in his heart and spirit, Rom. 2:29]: NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT that I made with their fathers…” (Heb. 8:8-9).
So then, is the NEW covenant “according” or “NOT according” to the Old covenant? Then why does the Church continue making the Old Covenant binding on Christians?
Christendom is attempting to believe in the New Covenant, while at the same time trying to live in the Old Covenant. This can’t be done. In fact, Jesus sternly warned against attempting to do such a contradictory and damaging endeavour:
“And He [Jesus] spoke also a parable unto them [the Pharisees]: No man puts a piece of new garment upon an old: if otherwise, then both the new makes a rent [tear], and the piece that was taken out of the new agrees not with the old[‘NOT according with the covenant which I made with their fathers (the OLD Covenant, Heb. 8:9)]. And no man puts new wine into old bottles [wineskins]; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish [be RUINED]. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine straightway desires new; for he says, The OLD is better” (Luke 5:36-39).
This of course is a parable! Jesus is speaking of the Old and New Covenants. We cannot, we dare not, try to put the old with the new. BOTH WILL BE RUINED! Why don’t we believe Jesus? We can’t put the Old and the New together. And true to Jesus’ words, when people come into a knowledge of the New Covenant, they PREFER THE OLD BETTER!
Did you also notice that when we put these two covenants in their proper places (the Old is for babes to bring them to Christ, while the new is for those maturing into Sonship), that they are BOTH PRESERVED? Yes, both are preserved, but only if we don’t MIX THEM. Could anything be clearer?
The “Chosen” live by the New Covenant: The “Called” try to live by the New and the Old Covenants. They have never learned this simple lesson: “No servant can serve TWO masters…” (Luke 16:13). The two covenants are not even in “according” with one another - they are not to be “unequally yoked together,” seeing that they are not equal. If you want to be a New Testament Christian, then you need to learn and know what the New Testament is all about.
THE OLD COVENANT VERSUS THE NEW COVENANT
Regard the following descriptions of the Old and New Testament:
“For the Law was given by Moses [that would be the OLD Covenant], but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ [that would be the NEW Covenant]” (John 1:17).
Law is good, but grace and truth is better. Grace and truth is a much more demanding and much higher calling. If you aspire to be among the “chosen” you must learn what the New Covenant really is. Here is a chart on The Law, which shows some of the many differences between the Old and the New Covenants between Moses and Jesus:
Old Mosaic Covenant
New Spiritual Covenant
OLD Covenant…II Cor. 3:14
NEW Covenant…II Cor. 3:6
FIRST Covenant…Heb. 8:7,9:1
SECOND Covenant…Heb. 8:7,10:1-9
Came by Moses…John 1:17
Came by Christ…Heb. 8:6,9:15
Law of God in STONE…II Cor. 3:3
Law of God in HEART…Heb. 10:16
Law of MOSES…Acts 13:38-39
Law of CHRIST…Gal. 6:2
Law of the flesh…Rom. 7:5-6
Law of the SPIRIT…Rom. 8:2
NOT of faith…Gal. 3:2
Law of FAITH…Rom. 3:27
Yoke of BONDAGE…Gal. 5:1
Law of LIBERTY…James 1:25
Law of SIN…Rom. 7:5-6
Law of RIGHTEOUSNESS…Rom. 9:30-31
Law of DEATH…II Cor. 3:7
Law of LIFE…Gal. 3:11, 6:8
Christ removes OLD…Heb. 10:9
Christ enacted the NEW…Heb.10:9
A SHADOW…Col. 2:14-17
The REALITY…Heb. 10:1-18
NOW IN FORCE…Heb. 8:6,10:9
Priesthood CHANGED…Heb. 7:12
UNCHANGEABLE Priesthood…Heb. 7:24
MANY sacrifices…Heb. 9:12-13
ONE sacrifice for sin…Heb. 10:12
Blood of ANIMALS…Heb. 9:19
Blood of CHRIST…Matt. 26:28
WORKS of law…Gal. 3:10
NOT of works but GRACE…Eph. 2:8
REMEMBERS sins…Heb. 10:3
FORGETS sins…Heb. 10:17
YEARLY atonement…Heb. 10:3
PERMANENT atonement…Heb. 10:4
SINFUL priests…Heb. 5:3
SINLESS priest…Heb. 7:26
AARONIC priesthood…Heb. 7:11
MELCHISEDEC priest…Heb. 5:5-10
MANMADE tabernacle…Heb. 8:5
HEAVENLY tabernacle…Heb. 8:2,11
Out of LEVI…Heb. 7:11
Out of JUDAH…Heb. 7:14
WEAK, UNPROFITABLE…Heb. 7:18
POWER of ENDLESS LIFE…Heb. 7:16
NO inheritance…Rom. 4:13
ETERNAL inheritance…Heb. 9:15
Sacrifice of ANIMALS…Heb. 9:13
Sacrifice of CHRIST…Heb. 9:28
Purified the FLESH…Heb. 8:13
Purged the CONSCIENCE…Heb. 8:14
PRODUCES wrath…Rom. 4:15
SAVES from wrath…Rom. 5:9
Perfected NOTHING…Heb. 7:19
Perfects BELIEVERS…Heb. 10:14
NO MERCY…Heb. 10:28
COMPLETE MERCY…Heb. 8:12
NO justification…Acts 13:39
BELIEVERS justified…Acts 13:39
BRINGS a curse…Gal. 3:10
REDEEMS from curse…Acts 3:13
ABOLISHED…II Cor. 3:13
CONTINUES IN GLORY…II Cor. 3:11
Brought DEATH…II Cor. 3:7
Brought RECONCILIATION…II Cor. 5:18
ISRAEL ONLY…Deut. 4:7-8,5:3
ALL MANKIND…Mark 14:24, II Cor. 5:14-19
This chart by no means exhausts all the differences between the Old and New Covenants. But can we not see how totally different the New is from the Old? As God’s Word says, the New Covenant is, “NOT ACCORDING to the covenant that I made with their fathers…” (Heb. 8:9). When will we believe God instead of the traditions of men?
If you believe in Jesus Christ, you are in the Church. But if you are in Christ Jesus, then you are no longer in the physical carnal church, but in God’s spiritual Church - the very Body of Christ. Carnal [enmity filled hatred] minded Christians are not members of the spiritual body of Christ. Jesus Christ is preparing a “bride”- a VIRGIN bride. Our Lord will not marry a whore or prostitute.
A TALE OF TWO JERUSALEM'S
“Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is NEW JERUSALEM…” (Rev. 3:12).
Now we are all starting to familiarise ourselves with some of the symbolic meanings and types strewn throughout Revelation, let’s look at the church as referenced by the term “Jerusalem.” Indeed what is this “New Jerusalem?” It is in fact as we shall see - a “Mother.” Mothers are women who have given birth to children. We have all been birthed by a physical woman - a mother. However, in order to be “born again,” we must be birthed by a spiritual mother. And just who is that spiritual mother?
“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage [through the DEPTHS of Satan] with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is THE MOTHER OF US ALL” (Gal. 4:25-26).
And our spiritual mother is Jerusalem above. Don’t be deceived by the phrase, “…of us ALL,” seeing that Paul himself puts a disclaimer at the end of chapter 5 showing specifically who the “all” includes here:
“For IN Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a NEW CREATURE [creation]. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the [spiritual] Israel of God” (Gal. 5:15-16).
And what is this “rule” that Paul is speaking of? Why those who are living by the spirit, and not the flesh and letter of the Law of Moses. Those who live by the “Law of the SPIRIT” which is what the New Covenant is all about.
“LOVE your enemies!”
“Love NOT the world, neither the things that are in the world”
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life!
“I am crucified WITH Christ!”
These are the spiritual laws of the New Covenant. They are far superior to the laws of Moses under the Old Covenant.
MOUNT SINAI AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE BONDAGE
And continuing on this theme, Paul tells us how Abraham had two sons - one was born of a bondwoman after the flesh, and the other born of a freewoman by promise. Paul says,
“which things are an allegory: for these ARE THE TWO COVENANTS; the one from the Mount Sinai [Mt Sinai is where the Ten Commandments and Laws of Moses were given. What is Gods attitude toward the Laws of Moses, the ten commandments, the Old Covenant—‘Mt. Sinai’?] which genders [gives birth] to BONDAGE, which is Agar” (Gal. 4:24).
Notice how this whole Mosaic, Ten Commandment, Old Covenant, Mt. Sinai system is categorized:
“For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answers to Jerusalem which now is, and is in BONDAGE with her children” (Verse 25).
“But Jerusalem which is above [spiritual Jerusalem] is FREE, which is the mother of us all… Nevertheless what says the scripture? CAST OUT the bondwoman AND her son [her children, Ver. 25]: for THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALLNOT BE HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREEWOMAN” (Gal. 4:26 & 30).
And we all understand that what being “heir” to, is the Kingdom of God.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR THE MOSAIC LAW?
Can boys become men on their mother’s milk? Neither can men become spiritually mature on things of childhood. Paul said when he was a child, he thought and acted as a child, but when he became a man, he said he put away childish things. The Christian Church today refuses to put away childish things. Here is the purpose for the Law of Moses in the Church:
“Wherefore the law was [it was not past tense for Paul because he had matured] our schoolmaster [Gk: tutor or guardian] to BRING US UNTO CHRIST, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come [faith HAS now come] we are NO LONGER under a schoolmaster [the law of Moses]” (Gal. 3:24-25).
How is it, that all the educated theologians with all their PhD’s can’t understand this simple analogy. The law—the law of Moses, was our “schoolmaster.” It WAS, it isn’t any more. Why not? Because mature adults are no longer children. We have all had schoolmaster in our youth. We were under them, subject to them, disciplined by them, taught by them. Are any of us adults under our grade school teachers? Of course not. Do we however, try to remember the things I learned from our teachers? Why yes, of course. But as adults, we are now subject to higher authorities. A person will never acquire a college degree if he never gets out of grade school.
What happens to those who are so foolish as to think that they should remain forever in grade school under a tutor/schoolmaster?
“Now I say, That the heir [the potential, prospective, heir to the kingdom of God in the first resurrection], as long as he is A CHILD [wants to remain a minor under the Old Covenant Law of Moses] differs NOTHING FROM A SERVANT, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors UNTIL the time appointed of the father” (Gal. 4:1-2).
Are we following this? An heir to the Kingdom of God, as long as he does not mature, will never inherit his Father’s Kingdom, but is in no better position that a “servant” who will never be heir to his master’s household! Let them who have ears to hear, HEAR. You cannot mature on mother’s milk. The Church furnishes mother’s milk to children and corrupts their minds with “the DEPTHS of Satan.” We must “come out of her” if we are to be God’s people.
Not Forsaking the Assembling
Of course, nowhere is scripture are we called to be lone wolves, to hide ourselves away from the world - though “coming out” certainly requires us to separate ourselves from our former estate. Though we must pass through the wilderness, we must not conclude that this nomadic lifestyle is our end. In fact in Hebrews, we are admonished as follows:
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” Heb 10:25)
That this is speaking of believers congregating together to worship and study God’s Word, there can be no doubt. However, there is a much deeper meaning to this “assembling.”
The actual Greek word for “assembling” is EPISUNAGOGE. The word, literally, is a verb meaning to synagogue. It is a compound of the Greek prefix EPI with the word SUNAGOGE from which we get our transliterated English word Synagogue. EPI means super – imposition – that which is above, higher than, highest, upon. SUNAGOGE means a meeting, assembly, or gathering. Putting these two words together, EPI-SUNAGOGE means THE ABOVE SYNAGOGUE, THE HIGHER MEETING, THE HIGHEST ASSEMBLY, THE HIGHER-THAN-ALL-GATHERINGS!
Wow! This bespeaks of something far greater than merely collecting so many breathing bodies together in one place. It is in fact a meeting in a higher realm, on a higher plane, in the high places of the Spirit, and in the heights of Truth. It is a gathering together in a dimension above. It indicates an assembling IN THE SPIRI T!
This Greek word episunagoge is used only one other time in Scripture, and that is in II Thes. 2:1:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together [Gk:episunagoge] unto Him.”
In Hebrews 10 we are admonished to “assemble” in an high meeting, a meeting in the SPIRIT! In II Thes. 2 this meeting in the Spirit will become a literal meeting with our Lord.
So again - Which denomination should we join? Where should we go to Church? Where should we “forsake not the assembling of ourselves together?” In a physical building of some physical denomination? No. WE are to episunagoge (assemble) on a higher plane, in a higher realm, in a spiritual assembly, IN THE SPIRIT!
This is not something new. This is exactly what Jesus Christ taught regarding where and how we are to (go to church) worship God.
“The woman said unto Him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye [all the Jews] say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said unto her, Woman, believe Me, the hour comes, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the TRUE worshippers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is Spirit: and they that worship Him MUST worship in SPIRIT AND TRUTH” (John 4:19:24).
We have got to get out of the depths of Satan if we are to worship God in Spirit and Truth. The Church is filled with the depths of Satan. That is not the place to go to worship God in spirit and truth. Did Jesus go to the synagogues to worship His God?
“And when He [Jesus] had sent the multitudes away, He went up into a mountain apart [Gk: ‘by Himself’] to pray: and when the evening was come, He was there alone” (Matt. 14:23).
Amazing, isn’t it. Jesus “assembled [Gk: episunagoge]” with His Father BY HIMSELF, ALONE. We can do the same. Not just on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening, with a crowd, in a building, but on every day of the week, and we can do it while we are ALONE. Of course, we should be looking for every opportunity to meet with like minded believers – if possible. If anything, it is good for the soul to meet face to face, to share in each-others lives. However, this is not the be all and end all. After all, how often are church buildings and temples are referred to as “The House of God?” This is absolute nonsense. God does NOT dwell in houses, buildings, churches, or temples made with hands.
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth, dwells NOT in temples made with hands.”
“Howbeit the Most High dwells NOT in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24 & 7:48).
Furthermore - how often is Jerusalem called, “The Holy City?” People want to visit Jerusalem because they think it is HOLY GROUND. There is nothing holy about it. Constantly Satan’s ministers refer to Jerusalem as the Holy City, and how we should pray for “the peace of Jerusalem.” Let me assure you that all of those prayers are going to go unanswered because, “…for the son of the bondwoman [Jerusalem that now is--under bondage] shall not be heir with the son of the free woman [Jerusalem which is above and free]” (Gal. 4:30b).
Where the Devil Dwells!
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).
And there is even more we can discern here regarding that city. That city wherein our Lord was crucified was of course JERUSALEM!
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev. 14:8).
Now there is an intriguing spiritual truth here that we MUST understand. As we now know, at the time when Revelation was written, historically, ROME was the new enemy of both Jews and Christians. “Babylon” was a term frequently used for ROME - political code by apocalyptic writers. Yet when it comes to spiritually discerning “Babylon” as a type in Revelation – the enemy is not physical Rome, it is spiritual Babylon. And guess what? This great Babylonian city refers to JERUSALEM, not Rome!
When Peter referred to “the church that is at Babylon” he was referring to Jerusalem, not the ancient demolished city on the Euphrates River. The Mother Church of Judaism (called, “the Mother of Harlots”) was headquartered at Jerusalem, NOT the ancient city of Babylon, neither Rome. When Peter wrote his epistles from Jerusalem, he knew he was living in the city Babylon.
Jerusalem personifies, Egypt, Sodom, and Babylon. It is from Jerusalem that the depths of Satan entered the Church. Satan’s throne “is, was, and will be” in Jerusalem. And here’s the final proof.
WHO IS ANTIPAS?
“I know your works and where you DWELL, even where SATAN’S SEAT [throne] is: and you hold fast My name, and have not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr [Gk: ‘witness’], who was slain among you, WHERE SATAN DWELLS” (Rev. 2:13).
How do we know that this is Jerusalem, and not the literal city of Pergamos to whom this message is addressed? Because God gives us the same proof as when He tells us that,
“their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, WHERE also our Lord was crucified” (Re. 11:8).
And “where” was that? Jerusalem. Have you ever seen that before?
Where ever “Antipas” was martyred, is where Satan dwells and has his throne. But just who is Antipas? “Antipas” is not translated. It is the same word in the Greek Manuscripts. It is a compound word: “antee” and “pas.” Antee carries the meaning of being ‘in place of another,’ and pas is from pater meaning “father.” And so Antipas is speaking of one who is here in the place of his father. Who might that be?
“I came forth FROM the Father…” (John 16:28).
“Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come FROM God, and went to God” (John 13:3).
“But now I go My way to Him that SENT ME...” (John 16;5).
“No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is IN THE BOSOM of the Father, he has declared[unfolded or revealed] Him” (John 1:18).
“Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, you would love Me; for I PROCEEDED FORTH AND CAME FROM God; neither came I of Myself, but He sent Me” (John 8:42).
“God… has in these last days SPOKEN UNTO US BY HIS SON…” (Heb. 1-1-2).
It is absolutely Scripturally clear that it is Jesus Christ who came “in the place of” His Father to reveal His Father to us. Jesus Christ is the Antipas.
The phrase “faithful martyr” is a proper translation, however the word translated “martyr” is from the Greek martus and is translated martyr only three times, but is translated “witness” twenty-nine times, for that is what its meaning is - a witness.
So Antipas, has come in the place of the Father. And Antipas is God’s faithful witness. And Who does the Scripture tell us is the “faithful witness” of God? Answer:
“And from JESUS CHRIST, Who IS THE FAITHFUL WITNESS…” (Rev. 1:5).
And Antipas, Jesus Christ, was martyred IN JERUSALEM. Satan’s throne and dwelling place is in JERUSALEM!
IN THE MIDST OF THE SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS
It is no coincidence that Jesus tells us in the first message to the first church that,
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things says He that holds the SEVEN stars in His right hand, Who walks in the MIDST of the SEVEN golden candlesticks” (Rev. 2:1).
And remember, whatever Jesus does, says, approves, condemns, admonishes, rewards, etc., to any ONE of the seven churches, He does to ALL Seven.
“And I will kill her children with death; and ALL the [seven] churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins[minds] and hearts [of ALL the seven churches]: and I will give unto every one [ALL seven churches] of you according to your works” (Rev. 2:23).
Can anything be clearer? These seven churches personify the strengths and weaknesses of ALL THE CHURCH, that “are, was, and will be.”
Whatever Jesus speaks to any one church, He speaks to all the Churches through all generations of the Church of God. Notice, the seven lamps which picture the seven churches of Revelation are all made of ONE piece of pure gold. Again, the Seven Churches are ONE. Now, candlesticks do not give very much light. For sure they do give light, but it is not very bright. They teach the candlelight of the gospel, but not the full sunlight, and certainly not full radiance of “The Father of Lights” (James 1:17), which can only be found in the holy of holies.
And although the Church has the milk of the word, they also have “the DEPTHS of Satan” in their “minds and hearts.” It is but the remainder, the few, “the rest in Thyratira,” and therefore, the rest in the seven churches, “which HAVE NOT this doctrine, and which HAVE NOT known [in their ‘minds and hearts’] THE DEPTHS OF SATAN.”
Virtually all Christian Churches worldwide have within their doctrines, the depths of Satan. And that is why the cry goes out from God Almighty:
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying ‘COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).
Come out of… who? Who is the “her?” Her is a WOMAN. A woman in Scripture is a symbol for a CHURCH.
Who is to “come out?” Answer: “MY people.” Where are they? In her, in the CHURCH. What Church? The MOTHER CHURCH. Who is the MOTHER CHURCH? The church that appears to be so good, with good doctrines, and good teachings and spiritual appearing good works and righteousness, which in reality are abominations:
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto you the judgment of the GREAT WHORE that sits upon many waters [many nations of people]: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication [intimate religious/political/economic relationships], and the inhabitants of the earth have been made [spiritually] DRUNK with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of ABOMINATIONS and FILTHINESS of her FORNICATION: And upon her forehead [where WE should have the name of God our Father, Rev. 14:1, but this mother church has instead…] …a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON, THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:1-5).
So here is the worldwide mother church with her many catholic and protestant daughters, that sits upon many nations of people, holding a spiritual looking gold cup that when one partakes of it and drinks it down inside, it is really filled with, “abominations and filthiness” - instead of being the marvelous spiritual “DEPTHS of God” it is rather, “the DEPTHS of Satan.”
We are not asked by God to “leave His Church,” but rather to move from the carnal Jerusalem church under bondage to the spiritual Jerusalem church which is free. We certainly make every effort to fellowship with believers of like mind, but let us never forget where our true fellowship is.
“That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ” (I John 1:3).
And we fellowship with God by assembling ourselves in the HIGHEST assembly, in a spiritual, heavenly assembly:
“But we are come unto [heavenly] mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and CHURCH OF THE FIRSTBORN, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect and to Jesus the mediator of the NEW COVENANT, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24).
SATAN”S Role in Salvation
It’s almost unthinkable isn’t it? That the Church is the very realm, in which Satan instructs, teaches and deceives. Yet this is SCRIPTURE! This is the realm of deep carnality, where the flesh revels and is satiated. Yet there is a precious truth that needs to be learnt here. Satan is not his own master – oh no! He has and continues to operate within the perimeters of God’s sovereign plan for the ages. Yes, Satan does play a role in the salvation of the human race. Satan is just one more “evil” that God uses in bringing many sons into glory. The very reason that the above heading might turn some heads is not because it isn’t true or completely Scriptural, but rather because the world has been deceived about most of these spiritual things. God “created evil” (Isa. 45:7.) He says so plain as day – but to what end? God does not create things that do not serve a good purpose. Remember way back at the beginning of our studies, that the word translated into “evil” in Isa. 45:7 is the Hebrew word ra, and it is the very same word translated hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times as “evil” throughout the Old Testament.
Now the word ra does not have a conscience and therefore has no moral bias. Evil is not “SIN.” God created evil; but God Himself is not evil. And strictly speaking, God did not create sin, nor has God Himself ever sinned. What God has done is created humanity in a spiritually weakened state that is totally incapable of even understanding spiritual laws and principle, let alone being capable of obeying them. And this was not a sin or mistake on God’s part; this was weakness by design. Therefore, God is responsible (certainly not accountable,) but responsible for all sin. And God has already taken responsibility for all sin by sacrificing His Son, Jesus Christ:
“Behold the Lamb of God, which TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD” (John 1:29);
“And He [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for THE SINS OF THE WHOLE WORLD” (I John 2:2.)
Some have tried to show that Isa. 45:7 is speaking of “calamity” and not “evil.” Of the nineteen times that the word “calamity” appears in the Scriptures, it is never translated from the Hebrew Word ra, but usually is translated from the Hebrew word, ade.
Adam and Eve did not sin because they wanted to sin. No, they sinned because they were too spiritually weak to resist sin. True, they did volunteer to sin, but again, that was because they were too weak to resist the temptation to sin. God designed us this way. We were made to have to “overcome!”
It is an incredible thing how many people fault our first parents for sinning. They believe that all the problems of this world and all of the problems that we individually suffer would have never come about if our first parents, Adam and Eve, had not been so stupid and had not sinned. How utterly foolish and unscriptural is such a thought. God never intended for our first parents to live perfectly in such a weakened spiritual state. It’s all part of the plan!
THE REQUIREMENT FOR PERFECTION
To quickly re-cap - the church teaches that God created Adam and Eve as perfect spiritual specimens of the human race. They were PERFECT in spiritual character, we are told, until Satan deceived Eve and she and Adam then both sinned.
And just where do you suppose they discovered such profound wisdom and knowledge regarding our first parents? Not from the Bible, that’s for sure. It is but more stupid wisdom from the carnal-minded leaders of the Church. How pray tell, were Adam and Eve perfect specimens of God’s spiritual character? They were NO SUCH THING!
Here’s the proof: Were our first parents a thousands times more holy, perfect, and righteous in character than our own Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ? Read all the accolades that the Father lavishes upon His Son Jesus in the first chapter of Hebrews. Jesus is very GOD! And yet … and YET, we read this:
“For it became [was fitting for…] Him [Jesus], for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation PERFECT through suffering” (Heb. 2:10.)
“Though He [Jesus] were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He SUFFERED. And being MADE perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him” (Heb. 5:8-9.)
Jesus was, MADE perfect through suffering, LEARNED obedience through suffering, and was MADE perfect, but theologians would have us believe that Adam and Eve were ALREADY PERFECT FROM THEIR CREATION AND DIDN’T NEED TO SUFFER ANYTHING!!
Humans cannot be spiritually perfected instantaneously, or by magic. Even the Son of God was required to be perfected [made spiritually mature] through “suffering.” This requires time and circumstances - God, therefore, creates time and circumstances.
God did not overlook the fact that humans require clothing. God created Adam and Eve naked and then left them naked in the Garden. Why didn’t God just leave them naked after they sinned? Because nakedness is a parable of our SPIRITUAL CONDITION. Adam and Eve thought that they were okay by their own powers. They were NOT. They were in the very same spiritual condition as the Church of Laodicea (which is a picture of the whole Church today, except for a precious few):
“Because you say that I am rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing [Did not Adam and Eve feel that they were rich and in need of nothing?]; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and NAKED” (Rev. 3:17.)
Are we to believe that our first parents, God’s VERY FIRST attempt at creating Sons and Daughters in His very own Image, FAILED? Do we think that Adam and Eve’s creation was FINISHED before they even drew breath? That they started out, PERFECT, IN GOD’S OWN IMAGE, WITH GOD’S SPIRIT, TOTALLY MATURE, AND THEN MALFUNCTIONED AND FAILED? And God did not see it coming? Was God shocked at this unforeseen bungled attempt at creating obedient children? Did He figure out what went wrong? Did He have a plan to “fix” the malfunctioning humans? Or would He just try over and over and over again billions of times until He got it right? Are these the kind of blasphemous insults we should level against your own CREATOR?
NOTHING HAS EVER MALFUNCTIONED ACCORDING TO GOD’S PLAN!
If anything in the universe has ever malfunctioned contrary to the intention of the Creator and Designer God, then the flaw is in the Inventor, not the invention! GOD IS THE POTTER: WE ARE THE CLAY!
“Has not the Potter [God] power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto DISHONOUR?” (Rom. 9:21.)
Only theologians believe that vessels of “dishonour” malfunction, when in reality they were designed by their Creator for the very PURPOSE of malfunctioning. A malfunctioning, carnal-minded, God-hating, immoral, human slob is of great value to God. Paul was just such a person before God called him out of Babylon the Great. And now, PAUL IS GREAT! Marvel of marvels, the things that God can do with dung.
And so, if you or I or any other human who has ever lived or ever will live (save Jesus) would have the same opportunity as Adam and Eve had in the garden, we too, every one of us, would have also sinned just as they did. Any person who would argue otherwise is either deceived or a liar. Adam and Eve were not weaker than most people who have ever lived. If anything, they were stronger, but not strong enough to resist the temptation of sin. This garden scene is not a drama over whether or not free will, will, or will not make the right choice.
The theory of “free will” is not only totally unscriptural; it is a physiological impossibility. With the same set of circumstances as Adam and Eve faced, every single person who has ever lived would have done the very same thing and sinned. Now then, if free will were a reality, surely at least ONE person would have resisted and willed NOT TO SIN. Do we have proof of what I am saying?
If any man or woman who has ever lived possessed this thing called “free moral agency” (the ability to make uncaused choices,) then surely somewhere at some time at some place on this big broad earth, there would have had to be at least ONE out of the billions and billions of people who have ever lived who would have used his or her “free will” to choose and will to not sin. There has never been such a person save one, Jesus Christ.
“For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23.)
What is even more startling is the fact that every person who fights for the right of his “uncaused choices” must still admit that after knowing the truth, having then chosen to stop sinning, nevertheless, continues to sin, day after day after day. Does no one think seriously about the total impossibility of these stupid, stupid, God-defying theories that we call “wisdom?”
“If we say that we have NO sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8.)
We can come to the place where sin no longer controls us, motivates us, or makes us its slave, but we are still not totally free from all and every sin.
THE PHANTOM OF ‘FREE’ WILL REVISITED
Is there anyone who doesn’t understand that last verse? Is there anyone who doesn’t believe it? Then how is it possible that man has “free will?” If humankind has just as much of a “free will” to choose GOOD as they have a “free will” to choose BAD, then why oh why has not one of the fifty billion, in the history of the world, used his free will to choose good and to not sin? What earthly or heavenly good is it to claim that mankind has free moral agency if not one in fifty billion people has ever been able to successfully use his free will in choosing not to sin? Therefore, God is obligated to have a better solution to the “all have sinned” reality than to burn most of them in a lake of fire for all eternity. Am I going too fast for anyone? Am I making sense to anyone? Is there someone who wishes to counter these facts by continuing to cling to this idol of the heart and still insist that we really do have free will, but it’s just that it malfunctions in 100% of the people who possess it? There are no arguments that favour the phantom illusion of “free will.” None. And the Scriptures totally disprove any such folly. We have a “will” but it is anything but “free” to make UNcaused choices.
And when the human “will” does choose what is right and good, there is a God-given cause behind it:
“For it is GOD which works in you both TO WILL and TO DO of HIS good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13.)
Indeed, there is no Scripture in the Bible that states or endorses the message that is parroted millions and millions of times around the world throughout all generations of Christendom, that:
“For it is YOUR OWN FREE WILL (FREE MORAL AGENCY) which works in you both TO WILL and TO DO of HIS good pleasure.” (Sorry, but no scriptural reference can be found for this anti-scriptural statement.)
Now then, the above statement regarding “free will” is taught by the Christian community throughout the world; but it is not, I repeat, not, found anywhere in the Bible. However, the statement above it, which says that it is “GOD which works in you both TO WILL and TO DO of His good pleasure” IS found in all Bibles in (Phil. 2:13!) Believe what you will - The statement that is taught to the world by the church, but, is not found in the Bible, or the statement that is not taught to the world by the church, but is found in the Bible?
How many alter calls dictate that that every individual has to make the decision for Christ on their own – like they are choosing God – like they have willed themselves to making that decision!. What unscriptural foolishness. No, we sure wouldn’t want God to help us make the most important decision of our lifetime. No, we should want to trust in ourselves for such an important decision! Do not even these words grate on your spirit when we state the obvious this clearly? Man must be MADE to come to Christ and to seek God and live righteously and godly. It is the function of God’s grace that teaches us and chastens us to live godly, not our own supposed “free” wills.
“As it is written There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands. There is none that seeks after God… There is none that does good, no, NOT ONE” (Rom. 3:10, 11, 12b.)
“…there is NONE GOOD BUT ONE, THAT IS GOD” (Matt. 19:17.)
Well, okay, maybe we do lack the power of “free” will to actually do good and be righteous, but surely we possess enough “free” will, of our own, independent of God’s causal forces, to at least “come to Christ” and “choose Christ” so that He can then help our “free” will to do a little better job? Wrong again!
“No man CAN [by his own phantom ‘free’ will] come to Me, except the FATHER which has sent Me draw him [Greek: ‘drag him’]: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44 & 65.)
“You have not [by your own phantom ‘free’ will] chosen me, but I have CHOSEN YOU…” (John 15:16.)
The carnal mind of Christendom HATES these scriptures! And know this, only “the few” whom God is calling to be “overcomers” of such rebellion will at last see the Truth with new spiritual eyes.
God uses EVIL for GOOD
The Scriptures assure us that God did not create things that had no purpose for existence in the first place. All that God created was “very good.” God “created evil,” how can evil be good? That sounds like something God Himself said that we should not say: “Woe unto them that call evil good…” (Isa. 5:20.) It is God Who says to US not to do this. In Gen. 1:31 it is God Who says:
“And God saw everything that He had made [‘I make peace, and create evil’ Isa. 45:7] , and, behold, it was very good…”
Is this a contradiction? No, but it takes a bit of wisdom beyond childhood to properly understand it. God makes things that are “good,” even “very good,” that are not inherently good. That is, they are not good in and by themselves, but they are very good, in fact, PERFECT, for the purpose for which they were created.
Here are a few that existed before our distant parents sinned:
· The spiritual weakness of Adam and Eve
· Satan the serpent devil
· No protection from the serpent devil
· The Tree of the knowledge of good and EVIL
· Night time and darkness
· Human emotions of greed, lust, and vanity
God created all of these things, and yet not one of them is “good” in and by its self. Yet they are all perfectly good for the purpose for which they were created. But since they are not inherently good, they will all be changed or discarded after they have fulfilled their purpose. In the kingdom of God there will be no weakness, no insecurity, no devils, no night, no emotions of lust and vanity, and nothing ugly. All of the things that I listed are TEMPORARY tools that will be discarded when the human race is perfected.
Next, let’s see a few of the evils that God Himself has used after Adam sinned:
“I create EVIL” (Isa. 45:7)
Out of God’s mouth “proceeds…EVIL” (Lam. 3:38.)
“…an experience of EVIL has God given to the sons of man…” (Ecc. 1:13, Concordant Liter Old Testament.)
“…I [God] will raise up EVIL against thee…” (II Sam. 12:11.)
“…has not the Potter [God] the right… to make… one [vessel] for DISHONOR?” (Rom. 9:19-25.)
“I [God] created the waster to DESTROY” (Isa. 54:16.)
“The Lord has made…the WICKED for the day of EVIL” (Prov. 16:4.)
“…I [God] will bring EVIL from the north, and a great DESTRUCTION” (Jer. 4:6.)
“…Hear, O earth: behold, I [God] will bring EVIL upon this people…” (Jer. 6:19.)
God told a “lying spirit” to “…go forth, and do so [lie]” (I Kings 22:22.)
“He [God] turned their heart to HATE His people…” (Psalm 105:25.)
“Behold I [God] frame EVIL against you…” (Jer. 18:11.)
“For God locks up all together in STUBBORNNESS [that’s an evil]…” (Rom. 11:32.)
“O Lord, why have You MADE us TO ERR from your ways…” (Isa. 63:17.)
“…so shall the Lord bring upon you ALL EVIL THINGS…” (Josh. 23:15.)
“…shall there be EVIL in a city, and the Lord has not done it?” (Amos 3:6.)
“Yet He [God] is SCOURGING [severely beating] every son to whom He is receiving” (Heb. 12:5.)
“What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive EVIL” (Job 2:10.)
“Thus saith the Lord of hosts… go and SMITE Amalek… DESTROY… SLAY both man and woman, infant and suckling…” (I Sam. 15:2-3.)
“…God shall send them strong DELUSION, that they should believe A LIE” (II Thes. 2:11.)
These are hard sayings, for sure, but they are the truth; they are Scriptural; and they are all done by God; and they are “very good” in accomplishing the desired end result that God has planned from the beginning. God is justified in all that He does. All is out of love and for the advancement of turning every human creature into the very “Image of God.”
Christian theology will not allow or tolerate the Scriptural teaching that God Himself created evil and uses evil continuously down through history and out into the prophetic future to accomplish His will.
DEFENDING GOD AGAINST EVIL
Billy Graham once delivered a message televised to the entire world, from the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. shortly after September 11th, wherein he stated that, God is not the Creator of evil. He like most teachers of God’s Word denied that God is the Creator of evil. He is known to have quoted Habakkuk 1:13 as proof of his statement.
“Thou [God] art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?” (KJV We’ve left in all the archaic English and italics to show added words not found in the manuscripts.)
First of all, one is immediately struck by the fact that Habakkuk unwittingly charges God with a contradiction of character - if we are to accept this Scripture as translated by the KJV and many others. We can paraphrase Habakkuk: Since your eyes, O Lord, are too pure to behold evil and you can’t look at iniquity, why do you then do it?
Interestingly, of the nearly three hundred times the word “iniquity” is found in the Bible, Habakkuk 1:13 is the only time it is the translation of the word amal which means “wearisome toil” and not “iniquity” at all.
Let’s notice a more literal translation of this verse:
“Thou art of cleaner eyes than to see evil, And to look at toil Thou art not able” (Concordant Literal Old Testament.)
Even this translation does not help a great deal in our understanding of the verse. Is the meaning of this verse that God absolutely cannot (is unable) with His clean eyes, to “see evil” or “look at toil?” Sometimes it is necessary to translate the meaning rather than just the words.
The translation nearest to the implied meaning of this verse is surprisingly The Living Bible, which is not necessarily among the most precise or accurate translations in many areas. However, sometimes they really do nail the obvious intention of the verse. Take a look at their rendition of this verse:
“We are wicked, but they far more! Will you [God], Who cannot allow sin in any form, stand idly by while they swallow us up? Should You be silent while the wicked destroy those who are better than they?” (Habakkuk 1:13, The Living Bible.)
Now we can make sense of Habakkuk’s cry for a more just judgment from God. Notice verse two in this same chapter with our new understanding: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear! Even cry out unto Thee of violence, and you will not save!” And so, this verse says nothing with regards to God being or not being the Creator of evil. But the verses prior to verse 13 clearly show what evils are to come upon the people by means of the Chaldeans:
“They are TERRIBLE and DREADFUL… more FIERCE than the evening WOLVES… They shall come all for VIOLENCE… they shall deride [laugh at] every strong hold… Then shall his mind change, and he shall pass over, and offend, IMPUTING THIS HIS POWER UNTO HIS [the Chaldean] god” (Habakkuk 1:7-11.)
Notice very carefully that the Chaldeans are “imputing” this fierce and evil power that they possessed, to their god. We can only guess that Billy Graham would say, Amen to that. However, what saith the Scriptures? Who is, admittedly, the source and Creator of this evil Chaldean slaughtering-machine? Habakkuk 1:5-6 answers:
“Behold you among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously; for I [GOD] will work a work in your days, which you will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldean, that bitter and hasty [Heb: ‘fierce and impetuous’] which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not their’s.”
And there is the plain truth of this Scripture! It was God Himself Who was responsible for “raising up the fierce and impetuous Chaldean.” And they were a great evil against those whom they slaughtered! And so the very verse that Mr. Graham used to prove his doctrine turns out to prove just the opposite. How many renowned men of God fail to see the truth? Billy Graham is not alone!
So the Scriptures are quite clear on this subject. And the twenty some verses we quoted above should be sufficient proof to even the most stubborn reader, that God is both the Creator and user of many forms of evil, and yet is without sin and not evil Himself. God uses evil for good. And this is a prerogative that only God uses righteously 100% of the time.
Why are spending so much time on this subject of evil’s authorship? Because it is one of the most important truths in the whole world! It is the answer to maybe the most colossal enigma in all creation – No theologian who believes that Satan is the author of evil, can ever explain why God put evil in the “tree of the knowledge of GOOD!” They might attempt a feeble explanation if God had put evil in its own tree, but not when God put it in the same tree with good! God is responsible for not only all the evil in the world, but God is responsible for EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE, and God is the most responsible Being in the universe. Just Who’s responsible for this mess? God is! And just Who’s going to clean up this mess? God is!
“SATAN” and GOD’S Plan or Intentions!
So, no thing, and no body, in the entirety of the universe has ever gone against God’s “intention” or His preordained “plan,” even when God Himself has caused many to go against His stated “will.” God’s will is going to be completely realized at the consummation of all His intentions and plan (will and intention are not one and the same.) It is God’s intention that men go against His will. So what may appear to be a failure in God’s dealing with mankind is nothing of the kind. All that happens was intended to happen, and all that does not happen was not intended to happen. Here is wisdom.
We have seen that not even Satan can go against God’s intentions. Satan needs permission from God to do his dirty work. Since God is responsible (but not accountable - seeing that nothing He does is without a great and beneficial purpose,) God takes responsibility for His whole creation, and that is why everything will turn out perfectly for every one of God’s creatures.
SATAN WAS CAST OUT INTO THE EARTH
Just to note, we will be going to delve into the scriptural facts about Satan in our next paper, but for now it is suffice to recognize Satan as a carnal-minded spirit. That may sound like a contradiction of terms, but it is not. Carnal means fleshly, material, temporal. Satan deals with the flesh, material things, and temporal gratification. Satan is a spirit who thinks like a carnal-minded man. Although spirit by nature, Satan eats “dust.”
Why do you suppose we read this in Matt. 16:23:
“But He turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, SATAN!?”
Because Satan was looking for lunch! And Peter was going to be Satan’s lunch! Satan dines on the “dust” of man’s carnality (which is enmity against God.) In Luke 22:31 we read this:
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you [laid claim on you], that he may sift you as wheat.”
Satan was sifting Simon out of the chaff as a morsel of fine food to make a meal of him! Only Jesus could have seen it coming and prevented it. How often has Satan made a fine dinner of your carnal mind?
Satan’s domain is the carnal mind, the flesh, the “dust” of this earth:
“Now the serpent [Satan, that old serpent, Rev. 5:9] was more subtle than any beast of the field…” (Gen. 3:1.)
“And Satan stood up against [physical] Israel in the land of Israel”… (I Chron. 21:1.)
“And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and froin the earth…” (Job 1:7.)
“And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth your hand now, and touch his bone and HIS FLESH, and he will curse you to your face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown” (Job 2:4-7.)
“Then entered Satan into Judas [flesh, earth]…” (Luke 22:3.)
“But Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie…” (Acts 5:3.)
“And behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years… And ought not this woman… whom Satan has bound…” (Luke 13:11 & 16.)
“And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet…” (Rom. 16:20.)
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour[Gk: swallow down]” (I Pet. 5:8.)
“And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of of Satan to buffet me…” (II Cor. 12:7.)
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not” (Rev. 3:99.)
“…who was slain among you, where Satan dwells” (Rev. 2:13b.)
“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth” (Rev. 20:7-8.)
“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom [their flesh] I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Tim. 1:20.)
“To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh…” (I Cor. 5:5.)
For now, that should be enough to make it abundantly clear as to where Satan’s domain is - in the flesh of man, on the earth.
SATAN—DESTROYER OF FLESH
Notice particularly the last two references. Paul used Satan to teach Hymenaeus and Alexander “not to blaspheme,” and the man in the Corinthian congregation who was fornicating with his father’s wife, “for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Paul used Satan for the “destruction of the flesh” of the fornicator in Corinth, just as God Himself used Satan for the “destruction of the flesh” in the book of Job.
Were these not beneficial purposes for which Paul used Satan? Is not Satan still alive and well on planet Earth? Do you doubt that God’s True Servants can yet turn blasphemers over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh?
SATAN DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD
“And the GREAT DRAGON was cast out, that OLD SERPENT, called THE DEVIL, and SATAN [Heb: Adversary], whichDECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD and he was cast out into THE EARTH, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:9.)
Hardly a person alive would admit to being deceived by Satan the devil, and yet God tells us that Satan, “deceives the WHOLE WORLD.” The “whole world.” Isn’t that just about everybody? Well, who pray tell, are NOT deceived? Answer: “The very elect” (Matt. 24:24.) And how many is that? Answer: “Few” (Matt. 20:16.) Who are the “Few?” Answer: “He that overcomes” (Rev. 3:21.) Overcomes what? Answer: The same thing that Jesus overcame – “the world” (John 16:33.) “The World?” Could we be a little more specific? Answer:
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is NOT in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is NOT of the Father, but is of the world” (I John 2:15:16.)
And so it is that Satan always shows up when it’s dinnertime. But Satan is like a voracious lion who seem to never get enough to eat. When Satan is not walking to and fro up and down in the earth, does he have a home, a throne of power, a seat, a workshop, a business address, a dwelling place? As a matter of fact, he does.
Satan’s sphere of influence is not that different than say the president of a great nation such as the United States. Our president’s ‘throne,’ if you will, is located in Washington D.C., although he is at home anywhere in America. But his influence doesn’t stop with Americans - he uses the power of our nation anywhere it is needed, as he has recognition, power, and influence all over the world. The same is true of Satan. Satan’s throne is at a specific location. From there he resides in a much larger arena of control and domain. And from that grant system of power, he influences the powers of the whole world.
For Mature Readers Only
Satan has his part in the spiritual salvation of mankind. When God created our first parents in the Garden of Eden - Satan was there. When God called out the nation of Israel - Satan was there. When God wanted to test Job, one of the most perfect and righteous men who has ever lived - Satan was there. Whenever God chose to show mercy rather than condemnation on His people - Satan was there. When our Lord was being tested in the wilderness in preparation for His ministry - Satan was there.
How about the New Testament?
When Jesus chose Peter to possess the keys to the kingdom of God - Satan was there. Wherever God’s true gospel has been preached in the world - Satan was there. Whenever God first shines the light of His Truth in man’s heaven - Satan was there. When God wanted to Sacrifice His Son for the sins of the world - Satan was there. When Ananias and Sapphira lied to God’s Holy Spirit - Satan was there. When Paul needed assistance in correcting a fornicator and a blasphemer - Satan was there. Whenever saints have been tempted to disobey - Satan was there. When Paul himself was in danger of being lifted up because of transcendent spiritual revelations - Satan was there. Whenever, even the saints are fooled by great power and lying signs and wonders - Satan is there. When we look for the source of all the lying deception of the whole world - again, Satan is there. Is this not a profound truth then – that Satan is a tool of design? NO. He is not his own boss!
THE THRONE AND SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN LOCATED
We have proven that although the Seven Churches of Asia had specific characteristics, nonetheless, all of these characteristics are representative of ALL the churches down through the centuries. It is stated that Ephesus “left her first love.” Did not Sardis also “leave her first love?” How could the Sardis church be “dead” except that they too, left their first love? And so, they all left their first love, and they ALL committed ALL of the sins that all the rest of the seven churches committed. Likewise, Ephesus was promised the “tree of life” for those who repented and “overcame.” ALL OF THE CHURCHES ARE PROMISED THE “TREE OF LIFE” if they repent and overcome. What applies to one church applies TO ALL! What is true for one and two is also true for all. They all had this spiritual sin in their congregations. Let’s notice what spiritual sin IS, and also WAS in the Church at the time John wrote this prophecy, and which therefore is yet TO COME in future generations of the Church. Here it us again:
SMYRNA: “…I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN” (Rev. 2:9.)
PHILADELPHIA: “Behold, I will make them of THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN, which say they are Jews and are not” (Rev. 3:9.)
The Book of Revelation is spiritual and symbolic. This is not speaking of literal people claiming to be literal Jews of the literal tribe of Judah. Besides, what “spiritual” lesson would there be in such a statement in the first place? No, these are people who claim that they are Jews, but what kind of “Jews?” Why, “spiritual Jews,” of course! Who is a “spiritual Jew?” Let the Scriptures answer:
“But he is a Jew [who is born of the Tribe of Judah? Who practices the religion of Judaism?…], which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men but of God” (Rom. 2:29.)
Well, if according to the Scriptures, a real Jew is one who is a Jew “inwardly,” then who is a person who practices Judaism and is literally of the Tribe of Judah? Again, let’s have the Scriptures tell us:
‘For he is NOT a Jew, which is one outwardly [one who is physically circumcised the eighth day, one who physically practices Judaism, and one who is physically from the tribe of Judah, and who may even physically live in Jerusalem, Israel], neither is that circumcision, which is outward [made by the cutting off of physical flesh with a physical knife] in the flesh” (Rom. 2:28.)
Remember, it is only by matching spiritual with spiritual that we can understand God’s Word? God’s “WORD!” Jesus Christ is “The Word” of God (John 1:1.) And Jesus Christ said that the WORDS that He spoke were “spirit.” The book of Revelation is the “Testimony of Jesus Christ.” The book of Revelation is, therefore, also spiritual. These people in the Church of Smyrna and Philadelphia claimed to be spiritual Jews, who are - spiritually converted. Anyone and everyone who is spiritually converted to Jesus Christ is a spiritual Jew. Paul tells the Gentile Galatians that they are the children of the promise made for the Jews through Abraham. Even Jesus tells us that the children of the kingdom (the literal line of physical Israel) will be cast out and the Gentiles from the east and the west will sit in their place in the kingdom of God (Matt. 8:10-11.)
These people in the Churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia lied. They claimed to be spiritually converted (for that is what God’s definition of “a Jew” really is.) And a natural man or woman from the natural physical tribe of Judah is not a real Jew at all. The derivation of the name “Jew” comes from yadah and it means, “to give thanks, laud, praise.” But the natural [carnal] Jew CANNOT give thanks, laud, or praise to God because,
“Because the carnal mind [the natural physical mind of every Jew from birth, and certainly Gentiles as well] is enmity [hatred]against God: for it is not subject to the [spiritual] law of God, neither indeed can be [or is able]” (Rom. 8:7.)
When will we begin to understand that the teachings of the New Testament are not carnal, not physical of the flesh? We are to come out of carnality and be converted, and become spiritual Jews, a people who truly worship (give thanks, laud, and praise) God IN SPIRIT.
So if one has religion, but is not converted, what is he? The Scriptures plainly tell us that he is a member of “THE SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN.”
Is, Was and Is To Come!
As usual, there’s a lot of information to process – but before we close out here, there is one more major spiritual principle that we need to come to terms with regarding our perception of our great journey towards freedom. One of the most profound keys to understanding Revelation or indeed the principles behind every story in the Bible, is the fact that it pertains to all generations of Christians. It is not a linear history, rather a spiritual principle of divine order. And when God wants to emphasis something profound like this, He repeats it. When He really wants to emphasize something, He repeats it again. When He really, really, really wants to emphasize something, He repeats it multiple times. Let’s count the times God uses this peculiar phrase:
“Him which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME” (Rev. 1:4.)
“I AM alpha and Omega, the BEGINNING and the ENDING, which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME” (Re. 1:8.)
Alpha and Omega, the FIRST and the LAST” (Rev. 1:11.)
am the FIRST and the LAST” (Rev. 1:17.)
“I am He that LIVES, and WAS
DEAD; and, behold, I AM ALIVE” (Rev. 1:18.)
FIRST and the LAST, which was DEAD, and is ALIVE” (Rev. 2:8.)
Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, which WAS, and IS, and IS TO COME” (Rev. 4:8.)
Lord God Almighty, which ART, and WAS, and ARE TO COME” (Rev. 11:17.)
art righteous, O Lord, which ARE, and WAS, and SHALL BE” (Rev. 16:5.)
“I am Alpha and Omega, the BEGINNING and the END”
Jesus Christ is the BEGINNING and the END; He IS, WAS, and WILL BE. The book of Revelation is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; therefore, the book of Revelation tells us what “IS [or ARE], WAS, and WILL BE.” Everything spoken to the churches therefore is, was, and will be. But not everything that “is, and was,” “will be” eternally. Because, virtually everything in the Bible pertains to the ages [Greek: aions]. All of these ages will come to an end, as will some things that are only used during eonian times or the times contained in the ages.
One of the prime examples of something that is only used during the ages, is JUDGMENT. When judgment brings about righteousness among all mankind, judgment will become a thing of the past, never to be used in the Kingdom of God again. No, some thing's “will be” NO MORE. Not until later in the book of Revelation are we told of NEW things to come and OLD things that “will be” no more. Thank and praise God that one day the most dreaded and painful things in the universe will be NO MORE:
“And God shall wipe away ALL TEARS from their eyes [no, there will be NO ONE in a fabled Christian hellhole of terror with tears running down their fire-scorched face for all eternity]; and there shall be NO MORE DEATH [not a first death, nor a second death, nor a spiritual death, nor any ‘death’ whatsoever, ‘the last enemy being ABOLISHED is DEATH,’ (I Cor. 15:26)],neither SORROW, nor CRYING, neither shall there be a ANY MORE PAIN: for the former things ARE PASSED AWAY” (Rev. 21:4)!
How many times must this verse be quoted before we actually believe it?
“And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘BEHOLD! I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW” (Verse 5)!
These are truly the most profound promises by God Almighty in the entirety of Scripture!
Let’s try reading a few verses together with this spiritual understanding of what is “spiritual,” and what still, “is, was, and will be”:
“The [spiritual] Revelation [that is, was, and will be] of [spiritual] Jesus Christ [who is, was, and will be], which God gave unto Him, to show unto His [spiritual] servants [which are were and will be] [spiritual] things [which are, were, and will be] which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and [spiritually] signified [what is, was, and will be] by His [spiritual] angel [which is, was, and will be] unto His [spiritual] servant [which is, was, and will be] John.
Who bare [spiritual] record of [what is, was, and will be] of the [spiritual] word [which is, was, and will be] of [spiritual] God[who is, was, and will be], and of the [spiritual] testimony [which is, was, and will be] of [spiritual] Jesus Christ [Who lives, was dead, and am alive; Who is, was, and will be; the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end; Who is, was, and is to come], and of all [spiritual] things [which are, were, and will be], that he [spiritually] saw [things that are, and were, and will be].
[Spiritually] Blessed is he [who is, was, and will be] that [spiritually] reads [what is, was, and will be], and they that [spiritually]hear [what is, was, and will be] the [spiritual] words of this [spiritual] prophecy [which is, was, and will be], and [spiritually]keep those things [which are, were, and will be] which are [spiritually] written therein: for the [spiritual] time [that is, was, and will be] is [spiritually] at hand’ (Rev. 1:1-3.)
Once one thoroughly understands this spiritual truth of what is, was, and will be, it is not necessary to read the entire Book in the way we have stated it above. However, that is the truth of how this book must be understood. Now what on earth does this MEAN?!
HE WHO IS, AND WAS, AND IS TO COME
The astounding spiritual message of Revelation has been going forth to the church for two thousand years now! Not only has it been going forth, but it has been working, accomplishing and fulfilling itself within a people gathered out of every age. This revelation is not an ancient history, nor is it something to take place in the future - it has been happening ever since the time that God gave it! The book is a prophecy, and this fact is stated again at the end of the book (Rev. 22:19). Prophecy for the church, the called out, is for edification, exhortation, and comfort (I Cor. 14:3).
Although there are many references in Revelation to the book of Daniel, the book of Daniel, was but an Old Testament prophecy. It was a book prophesying of literal, physical, outward, earthly events transpiring in the world of literal, physical, natural peoples and nations, the chief of which was God’s own nation of Israel. Under the Old Covenant God’s people were a natural people, with natural, physical, outward, earthly laws, rituals, ceremonies, customs, priesthood, temple, and government. They fought physical wars with material weapons against natural armies.
Under the New Testament, however, God’s people are a spiritual people, born from above, walking after the Spirit and living in the Spirit. The law of God is an internal law, written in the heart and inscribed upon the mind by the Spirit of the living God. The book of Revelation was not sent to God’s natural people, Israel after the flesh. It was sent to God’s spiritual people, His called out who are born from above, citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem!
It’s a spiritual book sent to a spiritual people, involving spiritual events and experiences in the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ! The book of Daniel ended when Jesus Christ came into the world proclaiming the kingdom of God. It reached its final consummation at the end of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, when the Lord turned from the natural Israel nation to build His spiritual house and temple made of living stones. Jesus brought a new order into the earth, the spiritual order of the kingdom of God! Therefore, the battles, upheavals, judgments, dealings, and everything else written in the book of Revelation are spiritual, for under the new order of the kingdom of God;
“the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:4-5).
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Rev. 1:4).
In the realm of the Spirit our perfect and omniscient God “changes not.” The principles in the past, present, and future co-exist. It is high and lifted up in the throne realm that we are given the ability to see the past, the present, and the future all at once. Again and again in the book of Revelation, where our Lord is mentioned, He is spoken of as He who is, He who was, and He who is to come - meaning that when we leave the earth realm we transcend time as we know it. Planet earth is but a tiny speck in the eye of God’s infinite greatness. We live out our natural lives on a virtual reality machine called Earth. The five senses manipulate us into believing that what we see, hear, feel, taste, and touch are real - but what you see and touch and feel are not real, they are not objective, they are not abiding realities at all! They are merely a passing phenomenon. In fact on an atomic level, nothing is solid at all!
Indeed in our journey from the natural to the spiritual realm we learn, that were it not for a power beyond the things we see, none of them would exist.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:1-3).
That which we perceive as reality is temporary and passing and has been established out of something eternal that your eye cannot see! If we want to walk with God we must be willing to jump out of the boat of the five senses and learn how to let our spirit gravitate into what God is, and then bring it back down into this earth until it takes on manifestation.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).
That is awesome! And here’s the clincher. You see, every time Jesus is mentioned in this book He is NEVER mentioned in the past, or just the present, or in the future. Every time we meet Jesus in the book of Revelation it is the Jesus who is, and who was, and who is to come. The reason is that the book of Revelation gives us a view of the kingdom of God from the divine perspective - as God views it - and the past, the present, and the future encompass the outworking of God’s purpose in the earth through His wonderful plan of the ages. That is what is so powerful - in the Spirit you can see the whole plan of God from beginning to end! The purposes of God in the earth embrace past history, present awareness, and future consummation.
Everything in the universe, and everything in your life, exists in the past, the present, and the future. Jesus was doing something two thousand years ago, Jesus was doing something five hundred years ago, Jesus was doing something fifty years ago, Jesus was doing something yesterday, Jesus is doing something right now, and He will be working His great work in all of our tomorrows!
The Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come is God expressed in the dimension of time. This is not talking about the eternal Lord who is without beginning or end. Certainly God is the eternal One! But the verb “to be” relates to time. Was, is, and is to come are all time expressions. You will not find this Lord who is, and was, and is to come, in eternity! This is the God of the ages revealed in a unique Lordship within those ages. A concept we must immediately grasp in order to understand God’s plan of the ages is that time is a created phenomenon consisting of past, present, and future just as man is a created phenomenon having youth, middle age, and old age. In short, time is only one thing among countless other things that are part of the entire created universe. This Lord who is, and who was, and who is to come, is the Lord we meet in time, in His purpose of the ages!
That’s where God meets us, in our present day and age. God is not restricted by this of course. It puts this next verse into perspective. Profoundly, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn. 5:58) - not “Before Abraham was, I WAS.”
The great revelation of the scriptures is that this universe and this world is governed by a throne, and that throne is not in London, it’s not in Rome, it’s not in Washington - it’s in heaven, the spiritual dimension. God works all His purposes in all things, but HE changes not! Yet — God in Christ became a man. Our God is one INHABITING THE AGES, involved in His creation, working tirelessly and unceasingly and unfailingly until His wonderful plan is brought to a successful conclusion and HE becomes gloriously ALL IN ALL!
What is great about the dimensional perspective of Revelation, is that God it intricately interested in His Church, whether it is way back then, or far into the future. What Christians for centuries have called “eternal life” is in the Greek “life aionios” - the life of the ages! No, we are not eternal and our present state of being is not eternal! It takes time for the new man in us to change, grow, increase and mature unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ! Some entertain the notion that once they have received Christ within them they have the whole Christ in all His fullness and that’s all there is. But in the scriptures there is the growth and the formation of Christ in us, and the increase of God!
This highlights the great fallacy of modern church thinking! That once we are “saved” that’s it – nothing more need be done or said. To those in whom the Christ life is but a babe within them, Peter writes, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Pet. 2:2).
But to those pressing on to maturity Paul wrote, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Most Christians would rather ignore this growing, changing, increasing life of the ages, somehow projecting themselves into that life which is eternal, claiming “by faith” the finished product, while by-passing the tedious processing that develops and matures that life. It doesn’t work that way! Christ is being formed in us and it will take “the ages,” to unfold it all. As long as there is need for growth, change, and advancement, there is need for time. Until redemption is complete its work will proceed in time, but the finished work of redemption stands at time’s end. Thank God! There is an end - then the never ending ages to come - God all-in-all!
As God’s plan of the ages has progressed there has been a level of life, a spiritual vitality, for each age. Each age has been different. Men in antediluvian times knew God in a certain way and received life of a particular order. Israel, under the law, and the ministry of the prophets, entered into another degree of spiritual life. There is a difference between “fetus” life, “baby” life, “child” life, “adolescent’ life, and “mature” life. There is a difference between “youthful” life, “middle age” life, and “old age” life. Can we not see by this that there is a continuing development of God’s life within us, until HIS FULLNESS is attained, and there shall be a continuing development of His life in the whole human family throughout the age and the ages to come until God becomes all-in-all!
THE LORD THAT WAS AND IS
Now let us consider for a moment the Lord which IS. Who is this Lord which IS? In what way does He differ from the Lord which was, or the Lord which is to come? Someone says, “There is no difference - it is all the same Lord!” Ah, yes, it is the same Lord, but there is a difference in His administration and manifestation! As startling as it may seem, this Lord which is — is YOU! Huh? Just read on.
If He is not you, who are you? The Lord which is, is the same Lord which was, but with a difference. Let us look at the Lord who was!
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16).
Let us look closely at what Paul is saying! Great is the mystery of godliness or God-like-ness. God was...God was...God was...MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH! Who is it that was God manifested in the flesh? Why, Jesus, of course! This is the great mystery of God-like-ness! Was Jesus like God? “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.” Why was Jesus like God? Because He was God! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1).
Who is the God that was? You couldn’t answer it any better than that if you tried! And scripture could be piled upon scripture to show that God manifested in the flesh of Jesus is the Lord which was! “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” Great is the mystery of God-like-ness...Jesus was God manifested in the flesh! Hallelujah!
Yet the Lord which WAS is also the Lord which is! The present tense of God’s manifestation in Christ is expressed by the apostle Paul when he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Gal. 2:20).
Jesus Himself prophesied of this manifestation of God in His people, saying, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with (in) him” (Jn. 14:23).
“God is in you.” “God dwelleth in you.” When we think of God manifested in the flesh we think of the man walking by the shores of blue Galilee, walking among humanity, in His humanity, demonstrating what humanity was intended to be. But God has raised our vision beyond He who was and is causing us to see Him who is! “Now ye are the body of Christ.” See – this isn’t blasphemy. Christ is no longer walking in that body that tread the sands of Galilee! He is walking in another body today, in your body, in my body, in all those sons whom He is bringing to His glory! In the realm of Him who is we find a glory beyond the was which enables us to press into and participate in the is. While many still look for the coming of the was in the clouds, we have now experienced the One who IS COMING TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS! Wow!
The ANTICHRIST Revealed!
“Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I Jn. 2:22-23).
Of all the speculative end-time nonsense regarding “antichrist,” here we see its real application. Now what does John mean when he speaks of denying the Father and the Son? Let us make no mistake about this! A little further on John enlarges on this statement so that we need not be left in the dark.
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: EVERY SPIRIT THAT CONFESSETH THAT JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH IS OF GOD: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and now already is in the worlda” (I Jn. 4:1-3).
Now let us get these statements clear in our minds! We have heard many wild speculations about who the antichrist will be, but John declares the antichrist to be one who denies that Jesus is the Christ, which is denying the Father and the Son. But how does he do this? BY NOT CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST HAVING COME IN THE FLESH! But what does this mean? It states that we know the Spirit of God by His confessing Jesus Christ having come in the flesh.
These verses have a deeper meaning! They are not speaking of the fact of Jesus Christ having lived on earth as a man. Almost anyone will admit that! But the profound truth which all of popular religion has missed, is the fact of the Christ actually coming into this flesh, my flesh, your flesh, and becoming an eternal and inseparable part of us! Millions confess Him who was, but very few in this dark age confess Him who is!
“And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ IS (NOW) COME in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist...ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (the antichrists): because GREATER IS HE THAT I-S IN YOU (your flesh), THAN HE THAT I-S IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:3-4).
Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ IS come in your flesh and in my flesh, beloved, - is antichrist! Why? Because Greater is He (Jesus Christ) that IS IN YOUR FLESH than he (the spirit of antichrist) that IS IN THE ADAMIC FLESH OF THE WORLD! Our very own natural, human consciousness would deny that the Almighty God of the universe dwells, and lives, and in all things triumphs in us! So don’t worry about poor old Mussolini or Henry Kissinger being the antichrist - truly he is enthroned in our own carnal minds! How simple are the scriptures to the spiritually minded!
He that is in you will never leave you nor forsake you! You get that? This is the Christ from whose love no power nor creature in heaven or earth can separate us! Paul preached not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. After stating this himself, he follows on to say, “But this treasure (Christ) we have in earthen vessels” (II Cor. 4:7). Christ is now being formed in our earthen vessels! Just as God was formed in Jesus within the womb of Mary, so is Christ being formed in the womb of our mortal flesh! Only the complete, mature formation of Christ within us will bring us to manifestation as sons of God. Sonship is the actual quickening of the Christ life who has become the new man within. Great is the mystery of God-like-ness! Christ in us is both ageless and deathless, the actual Son of the God of heaven. He is being formed in all His nature, wisdom, glory and power in this human frame, even as He was formed in the firstborn Son, Jesus, to perform His mighty works.
Oh, that men might believe it! Truly, Christ in us is our only hope of glory! HE IS the glory! But antichrist in us will hear of no such hope of glory. His hope does not rest wholly in the Christ within, but in his own ability and works, his own faithfulness or endurance. He is cluttered about with laws, regulations, creeds, ordinances, observances, rituals, ceremonies, programs, traditions, and religious exercises of this order and that, all of which are designed to assure his right standing with God. He is thus denying the Father and the Son, for the living Christ alone is not his life! Anything that adds something to the Christ life within, to fill some place or function in our lives that is not filled by THE LIFE OF CHRIST ALONE, — is antichrist!
The word “antichrist” is made up of the Greek preposition anti and the word for Christ. Anti bears the meaning of that which is “opposed to” by “supplanting” or being “instead of.” During the Middle Ages, a man who was considered a hostile, self-substituted, usurping Pope - one occupying the Pope’s place and receiving his honours and exercising his functions - was called an “antipope.” This term is commonly used in history in this connection. Such a “Pope” was not merely a person who was against the Pope. Martin Luther was against the Pope, but he was not an antipope because he never went to Rome and usurped the Pope’s seat, making himself the Pope! An antipope was a person who was against the Pope by attempting to take the Pope’s place. This happened on occasion in previous centuries. In like manner, the antichrist is that spirit, mind, nature, personality, consciousness, activity, enterprise, work, function, method, program or any other thing that comes TO TAKE THE PLACE OF CHRIST in our lives - and by so doing opposes Christ!
The very moment the love of God, the truth of God, the glory of God, and the power of God wanes from the spirits of the Lord’s people, flying out the windows of their souls, a whole host of attitudes, ideas, beliefs, doctrines, rules, regulations, rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, ordinances, forms, methods, organization, and traditions stalk boldly through the door to take the place of reality and life in the Spirit. Any little form of substitution that supplants the ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE INDWELLING CHRIST LIFE - is ANTICHRIST!
Those who have truly received the call to sonship have now learned, and learned well, that there is no need for these or myriad other religious trappings in the walk of sonship, for CHRIST WITHIN abundantly supplies everything they can possibly ever need! In order for Christ to be “all in all” He must first become ALL! God was in Christ, and God in Christ is in us! From the moment that the Father declared Christ’s sonship the spirit of sonship moved in and through Him and His whole life became the revelation of His Father. The nature, mind, will and power of His Father manifested through Him, and it was the same power of the Father in Him that raised Him from the dead! And now a vast family of His “many brethren” have received that same spirit of sonship, even the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within us and shall also quicken our mortal bodies by that spirit that dwells in us!
THE LORD THAT IS TO COME
Finally then, we are left with one final glorious designation attributed to Christ. What, then, does it mean when it says, “...and the Lord which is to come?” The expression “which is to come” is from the Greek erchomai, meaning “the coming one.” Now, how is the Lord which was, and the Lord which is, also the coming One? What does it mean? It means that in our consciousness, in our experience, He is yet coming to be all that He is! That’s what the processing is all about!
“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven...when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that Day” (II Thes. 1:7,10).
In the New Testament it was a great revelation that Christ was a many-membered body and that Christ was in them in mighty spirit power. This great truth became a glorious reality as each member of the Christ body found his or her place within that corporate expression of the Lord. But they also spoke of the coming Day of Christ and the coming and revelation of the Lord in a surpassing glory. They anticipated a full-orbed manifestation of this Lord in the glory of manifested sonship.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-19).
Jesus Christ is coming again, and He is coming to be glorified in His saints and to be admired in all those holy sons of God who by His grace have come into His image through the ages. This is the fullness of the Christ! Not for the world nor all that is in it would I for one moment miss the glory which is yet to come! To reign with Christ and with Him usher all creation into the glory of God, which has been the vision of the prophets, the dream of the sages, the cry of the sons, the unrelenting purpose of God, and the longing and expectation of all creation is a prize of far vaster worth than all the power and glory and wealth of all the nations of earth combined.
Though Christ is one, it will take the ages to come to reveal His manifold beauties and graces. He is the one Christ, yet His body is made up of many redeemed souls. He is the true Vine, yet there are many branches. He is the uniquely begotten Son of God, yet He is leading many sons to His own glory. He is the only Saviour, yet He is bringing a whole company of saviours up on mount Zion.
YOU ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST — not the “mystical body” as the theologians of Babylon are wont to define it, but you are THE BODY of Christ, making you the Lord which is to come! We are becoming CHRIST WITHIN US! Christ is in you of a truth, to manifest the fullness of Himself. Christ is your life. Christ is being formed in you, and you are being conformed to His image. THIS IS WHAT GOD IS DOING IN US! Something is happening to us! We do not understand all about it, but we know that there is a change going on in our innermost beings. It is God permeating us with Himself! God is impregnating us with Himself! God is taking over, filling even our very cells with all He is. This change is taking place in our inner selves, in our spirits, in our minds, and ultimately in our bodies. This process shall continue until we arrive at the condition of being saturated with God. God shall so fill us, so overwhelm us, so change us that we take on the very characteristics of God!
The highest privilege that scripture puts before us is surely that Christ will be glorified in us - that He will be admired in us. So completely has the image of the earthly passed away - so completely is the image of the heavenly gained that CHRIST is seen, CHRIST is admired in us! It is not the believer that is admired, glorified though he be. It is Christ who is admired in him! All that the saints are radiates HIS glory. It is in HIS beauty they are arrayed - in HIS glory they shine. The image they bear is HIS - HIS blood has bought them, HIS spirit has transformed them, HIS hand has formed them. They shine as the sun in that heavenly glory, but only as HIS light, and for HIS praise. This is not the hour for any self-exaltation, nor for the promotion of “my ministry,” nor for the building of “my kingdom,” for it is HE who is coming to be GLORIFIED IN US! Many think that the call to sonship is for their glorification - but it is not so. Little wonder that He is purging, pruning, breaking, sifting, melting, bringing us to such absolute nothingness, so that the only one left to be revealed is THE CHRIST. It is Christ glorified in us who is HE WHICH IS TO COME!
It puts the Scriptures in a whole new light now doesn’t it? These teachings are virtually unknown in the synagogues of Babylon, yet these precious spiritual truths transcend times, generations, cultures and the physical here and now. The Bible really is a giant parable, but, all creation also is a giant parable. Is it not real? Oh, it is real all right. But what we see, hear, and feel, in this physical universe, is not the lasting spiritual reality of God’s purpose for creation. In parables, the literalness of the words is but a symbol that stands for something spiritual and grand. The physical words of all parables will pass away; however, the spiritual fulfilment of those physical words will never pass away. This is another marvellous spiritual principle of understanding and wisdom. I have covered this before, but it certain warrants repeating. Paul presents us with this grand parable of creation, life, and the final destiny of the entire universe:
“There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differs from another star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in INCORRUPTION.
It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in GLORY: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in POWER.
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a NATURAL BODY, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made A QUICKENING[vivifying, living, immortal] SPIRIT
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is SPIRITUAL.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from HEAVEN [the realm of spirit].
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are HEAVENLY.
And as we [all humanity born of physical Adam] have born the image of the earthy, we [all humanity born of spiritual Jesus, the Christ] shall also bear the image of the HEAVENLY [Christ]” (I Cor. 15:41-49.)
Can we even begin to comprehend what we have just read? But we are not there as yet. The physical part of this parable is still being played out on this physical stage of the universe. The final curtain of this heavenly play will not come down until all of the Acts have first been performed. And the drama is building as we near the climax.
John tells us that Satan has a “synagogue.” Synagogue means “a gathering together, an assembly, a congregation.” This should not sound strange to our ears, seeing that we have already learned from Paul’s writings:
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed as into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the minister of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their work.”
And so Satan has “false apostles,” and “ministers of righteousness.” Where then would we expect these false apostles and ministers of righteousness that belong to Satan, to reside? Why in “The synagogue of Satan,” of course! And what do Satan’s ministers do that enables them to “deceive the whole world?” Paul again tells us:
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”
And just where might we find such a “synagogue of Satan, with false apostles, and false ministers of righteousness, witnessing to the world with power, and signs and lying wonders?”
Certainly not in some macabre-looking, haunted-house structure with a giant marquee out front reading: “COME AND WORSHIP WITH SATAN AND HIS DEMONS!”
Yes, the synagogue of Satan is located in the churches - in The Church!
“…you have tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars” (Rev. 2:2.)
Where did the Ephesians try those false, lying, apostles? In some pagan temple or church down the street, or across town, or in some foreign land? Or maybe in the pagan religion of the Roman occupation? No, in the Church. Jesus Christ says:
“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write… thou have tried them which say they are apostles [in the church of Ephesus], and are not” (Rev. 2:1a & 2b.)
Where did Jesus know these lying apostles? Why, in the Church, of course. Of what consequence would “lying apostles” of some pagan religion be to the churches of God in Asia?
And where did Jesus say the synagogue of Satan is located? Same place—in the Church:
“And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write… I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews [in the Smyrna church], and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan… And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write… I will make them of the synagogue of Satan [in the Philadelphia church], and are not but do lie…” (Rev. 2:8 & 9; 3:7 & 9.)
All seven of the churches were well aware of many pagan gods and pagan religions. These seven cities in Asia were filled with MANY PAGAN GODS.
The non-believing Ephesians worshipped Diana, who was associated with Artemis. Smyrna had temples to Apollo, Asclepia, Aphrodite,Cybele, Emperor Tiberius, and Zeus, and maybe most important of all, the Temple of Athena. Pergamum worshiped Zeus, Olympus,Athena, Dionysus, Asclepius ("The Saviour",) and also the God-Serpent and the God-Bull. Thyatira worshiped the Emperor, Thyatiran,Tyrimnos, and Pallas Athena. Sardis worshiped the goddess Artemis, and both goddesses Artemis and Cybele were commemorated on their local coinage. Philadelphia worshiped the sun god and serpent gods, although Dionysis was their major god. Laodicea worshiped Zeus Azeus and Men Karou.
Were these the false apostles and lying Jews of the synagogue of Satan. Was it the priests of these pagan gods and religions of the seven cities in Asia that God was warning the churches about?
Since when are the priests of paganism called APOSTLES? Since when are the followers of pagan religions and pagan gods called LYINGJEWS? Since when are the temples of Zeus and Athena and Diana called SYNAGOGUES? No, these false apostles and lying Jews of the synagogue of Satan are in the churches of God.
And isn’t it ironic that in the two congregations that religious chart-makers tell us had NO spiritual flaws whatsoever, we find those residing who are specifically called lying Jews? No, Smyrna and Philadelphia, down through the centuries, have exactly the same spiritual flaws and heresies as did all of the other five churches of Asia.
Now then, as the false apostles, and lying Jews, and synagogue of Satan are all located in the Church, where do you suppose we would find Satan’s throne, and Satan’s dwelling place to be located? Yes, that’s right: In the Church. Here is the Scriptural proof found in the messages to the church at Smyrna and Pergamos:
“Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison…” (Rev. 2:10.)
“I know your works and where you dwell, even where [the same place where] Satan’s seat [Greek: throne] is… were Satan[also] dwells” (Rev. 2:13.)
Satan cannot imprison members of the Church unless Satan is in the Church. His throne is in the Church. His dwelling place is in the Church. His synagogue is in the Church.
And think not that Satan merely makes an occasional visit to the Church. No, Satan is permanently in the Church until God removes him. The Greek word from which the translators give us “dwelleth” in the KJV is kataoideo, and its meaning is: "To house permanently"(Strong’s Greek Dictionary, page 136.)
Satan not only has his false apostles in the Church, and his congregation of unconverted lying Jews in the Church, and his synagogue in the Church, and his very throne in the Church, but Satan himself dwells permanently in the Church.
Why would God choose the church of Pergamos/Pergamum as a physical type of the spiritual city where Satan really dwells and has his throne? We read this historical account of Pergamum:
“Pergamum, founded no later than 399 BC, became the capital city of the Roman province in Asia giving the traveler the impression of a royal city, the home of authority. Located about 60 miles north of Smyrna and 15 miles from the Aegean Sea, Pergamum was a center of learning, medicine, and religious books. The library, rivaling the Alexandrian library, drew many princes, priests, and scholars. Noted for marble carving, it excelled the other six cities in architectural beauty.”
A royal city of authority with maybe the greatest library in the world. A city of learning, medicine, and religion. More excellent than all of the other Six Church Cities. Clearly, this city had all of the physical attributes that would make it suitable for the “throne and dwelling place of Satan.”
But remember: Revelation is a signified book of symbols that stand for spiritual things. The physical city of Pergamus was only a symbolic representation of something higher, something more profound, something of grand proportions. Satan does not reside or dwell or have his throne and his synagogue in West Asia in a demolished old city name Pergamus. Pergamus mean fortified. It comes from the word purgos (Strong’s #4444, which means "burgh; a tower or castle" page 219.) Satan dwells (permanently resides) in the Church.
Satan’s final and grandest achievement is his place of honour in The Church - the very “DEPTH of Satan.” Yet something more evil and vile than anything ever conceived of by man or demon lurks within! But not to worry - for if you have been chosen to understand these things, then you will, “Come OUT of her My people…” and “He that overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he shall be My SON” (Rev. 18:4, & 21:7.)
SATAN the accuser of the brethren as insidious as he is - is NOT God’s enemy. Indeed how can God so powerful have an enemy? No - The enemy of God lies within each one of us. It is an untamed beast that wars against the heavens. It is apocalyptic in scale and know this - it requires a supernatural handler to exterminate it. We will venture further down that rabbit hole next!