Religious Denominations and Organizations:
Does God approve of them or abhor them?
A History of the Religious "Structure"Lorraine Day, M.D.
IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve. He was their God, they were His people. Each one of them communicated with Him directly. Eve did not have to go through Adam to communicate with God, and man lived an agrarian existence.
Then sin entered, but God still communicated with mankind directly - a one on one communication. There was no human hierarchy. Then came the story of Cain and Abel. Abel brought the correct offering prescribed by God, but Cain chose to do things his own way. God honored Abel's offering, but not Cain's.
Yet God still talked directly to Cain. Gen 5:5-15. God did NOT speak only to Abel (the righteous one) and have HIM tell Cain. Even after Cain murdered Abel, God still spoke directly to Cain.
After Cain murdered Abel, he "went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. . . and he built a city. . . " (Gen 4:16,17)
So the first city was built by a murderer. Cities, by their very nature, require a hierarchy - - men ruling over men. Was that God's original intention, or Satan's plan?
Up until the time of the flood, mankind apparently still continued to mainly live an agrarian lifestyle, where each family provided their own food and clothing, by growing their own food and by raising their own sheep to provide both wool to make yarn and the animal hides to be used for making clothing and shoes.
After the flood, the first attempt at a One World Government was made by building a city with a tower in the land of Shinar, the tower of Babel: Man ruling man!
What was God's response? He confounded their language so they couldn't understand one another. He ruined their plans.
In the next major story in the Bible, God tells Abram to leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to a "land I will show thee" to live a nomadic life, with no one but God ruling over him.
When God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and brought them through the wilderness into the Land of Promise, He took them out of bondage (Man ruling over man) and God became their ONLY leader, although He did this through His messenger, Moses.
When the Israelites were in the wilderness, God wanted to talk directly to Moses, within the hearing and sight of the people. Ex: 19:7-9
"And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp TO MEET WITH GOD; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. . . and Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice." Ex 19: 17-19
"And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die. " In essence they were saying, "We don't want God to talk directly to us, we want to go through a human intermediary!"
So the Lord obliged them their request and, in Exodus 25, set up the whole Sanctuary service where God would speak to and deal directly with the High Priest and the High Priest would give God's message to the people.
This was the beginning of "religious organizations" and it was NOT God's choice. It was done because the people DID NOT want God to talk to them directly! THEY preferred to talk to MAN rather than to GOD!
ISRAEL ASKS FOR A KING
"And it came to pass, when Samuel was old...all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, 'Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; NOW MAKE US A KING TO JUDGE US LIKE ALL THE NATIONS. . . And the Lord said unto Samuel, 'Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, BUT THEY HAVE REJECTED ME, THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM." 1 Sam 8:4-7
GOD WARNS ISRAEL ABOUT ASKING FOR A KING
"And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. Samuel told the people that a king would take their sons to fight wars and their sons would be killed. He would take their daughters to be cooks and bakers. He would take their best fields, their best vineyards and their best oliveyards, he would take their best servants and the king would tax them. "And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY."
"Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said 'Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we may be like all the nations;" 1 Sam 8: 10-22
MOSES FORMS AN ORGANIZATION
WHO tells him to do that? Read Ex 18:8-26 Is there any mention in the Scriptures that that was God's idea, or that He approved?
Who did GOD call to lead Israel through the wilderness? Who did GOD call to be His representative? Did Moses have any right to choose others to do the work that God had chosen HIM to do?
From where did God choose to call His messengers - like Isaiah and Jeremiah? Were they from the Priestly order - - - from the Church Structure of their time? Or were they just plain folk?
1) When Jesus was born, which of the leaders of the Religious Structure of God's "Chosen People of the Day" were notified by the angels? Answer: None! Lowly shepherds in the field were told.
2) The Synagogue leaders were so sure that THEY would be told of the Messiah's birth, that when He actually was born, they wouldn't believe it. In fact, they wouldn't even travel 5-7 miles (From Jerusalem to Bethlehem) to find out.
3) When Jesus was baptized, which of the leaders of the Religious Structure of God's "Chosen People of the Day" were called to perform His baptism? Answer: None! A Loner who had been home-schooled by his mother, was called to do the job.
4) What kind of an organization did Jesus have when He was on earth? Where were His General Conference Headquarters? Matt 8:20
5) What were the disciples constantly arguing about - - right up until Jesus' crucifixion? Luke 22:24 They obviously had a completely wrong concept of Jesus' "Kingdom."
6) Of the twelve disciples that Jesus had chosen, only one actually had an informal job and that was treasurer? Who was that? And what eventually became of him?
7) Jesus was murdered by the Religious Leaders of God's "Chosen People" of the day. That happened to show us that EXACTLY the same thing will happen in the end. Jesus' TRUE followers will be murdered by the Religious Leaders of God's "Chosen People" of the Christian faith in the end - - - the Religious Leaders of the "Structure!"
8) What was the REAL reason the Church leaders killed Jesus?
Answer: Because He claimed to be the Messiah and yet He refused to destroy their enemies, the Romans. They were looking for a "Killer Messiah," "A Killer God," and when He did not match up with their preconceived theological ideas, they KILLED HIM, and called, instead, for the release of Barabbas, a wicked and corrupt barbarian who symbolizes Satan.
That's exactly what will happen when Jesus comes again. Jesus' followers will extol the loving character of a God who obeys His own Commandments, a God who obeys the commandments He tells US to obey, a God who DOESN'T kill, a God whose "judgment turns a sinner back to righteousness" (Ps 94:15)
And God's "Chosen" people, the Christians of the Day, will want these followers of Jesus destroyed!
9) Right before Jesus was crucified, what kind of a religious organization did He tell His disciples to form? Luke 22:35,36
Answer: Right before Jesus' arrest and crucifixion, He told His disciples individually to go and tell what they knew about Christ, but NO mention was made of forming ANY type of church organization.
10) After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, to which high official in the Religious hierarchical structure did Jesus first appear?
Answer: NONE! Jesus did NOT appear to anyone in the religious hierarchical structure and He did not even appear (first) to His disciples. Instead, He appeared to a lowly woman, Mary Magdalene, a woman of no stature in the world, a woman from whom Jesus had cast 7 demons.
11) After Jesus' resurrection and ascension to heaven, Peter and the others stayed in Jerusalem as Jesus had told them to do, studying and praying.
What did Peter do? Acts 1:15-26
Answer: Peter, of his own accord, decided to take over what Jesus had done - and was still going to do - and Peter chose the 12th disciple to replace Judas Iscariot.
Who told Peter to do that?
Answer: NO ONE! Certainly Peter got NO authority from Jesus to do it. Peter took the job upon himself and decided to do Christ's work for Christ. (Note: Jesus Christ is perfectly capable of making HIs OWN plans and picking His OWN people. He doesn't need Peter's help!)
What perverse method was used to pick Matthias?
Answer: They gambled! They cast lots.
Who picked the first twelve disciples?
Answer: Jesus, Himself.
Who picked the REAL replacement for Judas?
Answer: Jesus Christ, Himself
Who was it? (It was NOT Matthias?)
Answer: It was Saul of Tarsus, who later became Paul. Jesus personally picked Saul/Paul while Paul was on the Road to Damascus.
This shows that Jesus Christ did NOT authorize Peter to take over Christ's job of choosing people. Jesus Christ is the ONLY one qualified to pick His people. Neither Peter nor ANY man-made church or religious authority has the right to do the choosing. Only Christ is capable of choosing His "Called Ones."
12) After Jesus ascended to heaven, the disciples decided to set up a church hierarchical structure. Did Jesus ordain or even endorse this? Who did they put in as President of the church structure? On what basis was he chosen? Was he chosen by Jesus for this job?
"The absence of the apostles from the leadership of the saints in the holy city and the elevation of James, the step brother of the Lord, to the place of authority show how the apostasy had progressed amongst them. The Lord's commission to the twelve was practically ignored, while the physical relationship of James made him their chief. James already seemed to have a high place at Paul's first visit (Gal 1:19).
"At the conference concerning circumcision Peter was quite overshadowed by James, who proposes the decrees and carries his point (Acts 15:13-21), Paul gives him a higher place than John or Peter, when he says that James, Cephas and John seemed to be the pillars at Jerusalem (Gal 2:9). Soon afterward this becomes evident in Cephas' conduct at Antioch. He acted in accord with the decrees until some came from James: then he was afraid of the circumcisionists (Gal 2:12).
"James was at the head of those believers who led the Galatians astray and were the source of much of the trouble in Corinth. James means "heel", or circumventer. . .
"The myriad believers in Jerusalem were still zealous for the law and circumcision and the traditional observances. Their belief did not hinder them from hating the apostle Paul and sending emissaries to undo his work among the nations. . .
"That Paul's real danger lay in the circumcisionists is evident not only from the warning of the elders and the precautionary measures they proposed, but from his own prayer to be rescued from the stubborn (NOT the unbelievers) in Judea (Romans 15:21). Those who submitted to James' leadership could not tolerate Paul." Concordant Commentary pg 213,214.
13) After Paul (formerly Saul) was called by Jesus, Himself, when Paul was on the road to Damascus, did Paul go to Jerusalem to have his "calling" and ministry endorsed by the "Structure"? Gal 1:15-20
Answer: "Now when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and CALLED me by His grace (Jesus did the "calling") to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the unbelievers; immediately I conferred NOT with flesh and blood:
Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; (Paul did NOT seek approval from the "church" leaders in Jerusalem
"But I went into Arabia (into the desert to learn directly from God - - - NOT man) and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter and abode with him fifteen days."
"Apparently Paul remained in the desert, learning from God, for three years. He NEVER sought approval of the supposed "church" leaders in Jerusalem."
14) Who picked the replacement for Judas? And who was it?
Answer: Jesus, Himself. It was Paul.
15) Throughout Paul's ministry, who constantly harassed him and tried to have him killed? The pagans? Or the Religious Leaders of God's "Chosen People" of the Day?
Answer: It was the Jewish Christians from Jerusalem, those who were in the "church" led by James, the step-brother of Christ who was NEVER called by Christ when He was on earth. James was elected by "man" and NOT God!
16) How was Paul's eventual death by decapitation CAUSED by his acquiescence to the Church "Structure"? Acts 21:15-40, Acts 22-28
Answer: When Paul visited Jerusalem, James told Paul:
"Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are that believe; and they are all zealous of the law: and they are informed of you, that you teach all the Jews that are among the Gentiles (unbelievers) to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs (traditions.)
"What is it therefore? The multitude must certainly come together; for they will hear that you are come.
"Do therefore this that WE say to you. . ." Acts 21:20-23
Notice that the directive did NOT come from God, it came from "man" - James and his "church" group. This episode, ordered by James, the head of the man-made "church" organization eventually led to Paul's death by beheading. (See Acts 22-28)
17) What is the true meaning of the Greek word "ecclesia"? (It does NOT mean "church.")
Answer: It means "the Called Ones." Those "Called" by Jesus, Himself - - - NOT by humans in a man-made "church" organization.
18) What is a 50l C-3 Corporation? And what does that have to do with the doctrines taught in a church or religious organization?
Answer: A 501 C-3 Corporation is a non-profit Corporation, an entity of the state, whereby the state allows the Corporation to accept donations and give tax-deductible receipts. However, in return, the non-profit Corporation must teach and preach ONLY what the State tells it to. If it does not, it will lose it's tax-exempt status.
19) After a National Sunday Law is passed, how will ANY organized church (denomination) go "through to the end" if they REFUSE to honor Sunday as the Biblical Sabbath?
20) Who are the "ecclesia"? Rev 14:12 Does this verse reveal that they are an organized denomination?
"Here is the endurance (patience) of the saints: (just a group of people with NO organizational structure). Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Revelation 14:12
21) Who is Your Teacher?
Answer: Jesus Christ, Himself, - - - NOT church leaders nor Bible "scholars.
"These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which you have received of HIm abideth in you, and you need not that ANY MAN teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of ALL things, and is TRUTH, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in Him." 1 John 2:26,27
"And it is written in the prophets, and they shall be ALL taught of God. . ." John 6:45
"And ALL your children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of your children." Isaiah 54:13
22) What did Jesus say about learning from the great Bible scholars of the time?
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees (church leaders and Bible scholars), hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees (church leaders and Bible scholars), hypocrites! for you devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees (church leaders and Bible scholars), hypocrites! for you travel sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
"Woe unto you, you blind guides. . . you fools and blind! Matthew 23:13-17
1) Jesus NEVER established an organized church when He was on earth, even though His disciples were constantly trying to persuade Him to do so. The disciples were regularly arguing about who would be the greatest in Jesus' kingdom.
Jesus said, "Follow ME!" "Do as I do!"
2) Jesus NEVER instructed His followers to establish an organized church.
3) When Peter chose the 12th apostle to replace Judas Iscariot, Peter was usurping the place of Jesus Christ, Who ignored Peter's choice and, when the time was right, picked His OWN 12th apostle, Saul of Tarsus who later became Paul.
4) Before Jesus came to earth the first time, the common people could only approach God THROUGH the High Priest, the only one who could enter the Most Holy Place where God's presence resided. At the time of Jesus death on the Cross, the curtain in front of the Most Holy Place, hiding God's presence from the people, was rent in two. This symbolized that "man" no longer was to approach God through a human intermediary, such as a priest, minister, or church leader. Instead, "man" was to approach God DIRECTLY - - - with NO human being in between!
5) Jesus Christ is HEAD of the Body - the Body of Christ. "Man," by organizing the "church" has again usurped the place of Christ as "head" of the Body.
6) Jesus Christ, Himself, is the Head of His "Called Ones" (ecclesia), NOT the organized "church" leaders.
7) The Greek word ecclesia, in NO way means, nor even implies, a man-made corporate organization with human leaders and man-made buildings. The word ecclesia merely means "the Called Ones" - - - called and nurtured by Jesus Christ, Himself.
8) The word "church" NEVER appears in the New Testament. The word "church" is a mistranslation of the Greek word ecclesia, which means "the Called Ones."
© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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