Whose Label Do You Wear?

As the Kingdom of God unfolds, the form of the church we have known continues toward obsolescence, having been replaced by a heavenly church that has no official membership role and which cannot be categorized by its organizational hierarchy. To this church all the members of Christ’s body belong, and none are excluded on the basis of doctrinal standing or because they refuse obedience to the foolishness of human hierarchies. Membership in this heavenly church cannot be attained by swearing obedience to an organization or by attesting to doctrinal creeds, which do nothing more than divide the body of Christ on the basis of worthless philosophies conceived in the minds of men; membership in this church is achieved first in the heart, attested to by the Spirit, and affirmed by faith. This heavenly church is (and has always been) the intention of God, and it now stands in opposition to those useless forms of human government that refer to themselves as churches of God on one hand, while on the other hand they are rife with hypocrisy. Regardless of form, the churches of men have failed to measure up to the standard raised by the Kingdom. The evil that exists in the hearts of men takes root in their churches, and those churches will not partake of the Kingdom, nor can they ever be reformed.

Corruptible religious organizations enjoy success because few people have the faith required to walk with God without the artificial confines of religious doctrine and religious hierarchy that offers them something concrete to lean on. People devote themselves to religious organizations, and to religious leaders, in exchange for a sense of eternal security, for comfort and consolation, for reassurance that their lives have some divine purpose, and for social acceptance. People are willing to overlook the corruption and hypocrisy so evident in every religious group because they believe in their hearts that they are exercising a divinely inspired choice. Unfortunately, the modern Christian believer is in many respects like those misguided temple worshippers who offered devotion to a form of religion that was passing away even though Jesus, the very embodiment of everything the temple and its worship had promised, was in their midst. It requires great faith to abandon a comfortable and acceptable form of religion, even though it has become obsolete and worthless. Instead of abandoning the comfortable confines of the religion with which they are familiar, people hang on, hoping that God will somehow salvage it (even though He has abandoned it). They hope against hope (believing that is what God wants them to do) that their church will somehow mutate into something better. People affiliate with religious organizations that have sponsored theft, murder and immorality; organizations with corrupt, greedy and sexually perverse priesthoods; organizations with leaders they do not even trust – all because at one time in antiquity God made His hand known. People do this because the familiar practice of popular religion requires no faith. It takes no faith to agree to a set of doctrines and covenants, and live in conformity with the expectations of religion. On the other hand, it takes a lot of faith to live each day in the hands of God without the security of the confining walls of religious practice that offer shelter and a sense of belonging.

It is people like that, ones who have walked away from the comfortable confines of religion to which the writer of Hebrews refers, when He wrote,

… They went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith …

Hebrews 11:37-39 (NASB)

These are those who rejected the familiar practice of the traditions of Judaism while searching for something greater. How difficult it must have been for those first Jewish Christians to accept that all of their traditions and practices had become useless once faith in Christ Jesus had been revealed. It was so difficult in fact, that many Christian Jews refused to abandon the traditions, which were passing away, and they were so devoted to them that they even attempted to impose them upon the Gentiles. Yet Paul swore to them in Galatians 5:2, that “if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” This man Paul wrote in Philippians 3:8 of the very practices to which he had formerly devoted himself, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ …” Thus, those who continued the practice of the traditions of Moses had become the enemy of Christ. Nor does this passage merely refer to those who practice circumcision. Whether it is the practice of Judaism or the practice of Christianity, people always seem intent on transforming spiritual principles that are intended to liberate into rules and regulations that imprison. Whenever that occurs those who practice a religion that imprisons run the risk of rejecting the God who liberates.

For this reason, Christians who continue in the practice of the traditions of Christianity may reject the liberty of the Kingdom just as the Jew who practiced the traditions of Moses rejected Christ. Just as the Gentiles who never knew Moses became the progenitors of a new gospel, the progenitors of the Kingdom may turn out to be men and women who have never been a part of any Christian religion. The difficulties that the Christian will face as the Kingdom unfolds will be very similar to the dilemma that the Jews faced when Christ was revealed. Christ did not quite fit into the Jewish mold. He refused to submit to the traditions of accepted religious practice, and for that reason He was in opposition to the temple leadership. Yet it was not the Law of Moses that Christ was opposed to, it was the foolishness of the traditions that men had built up around the Law to which Christ was opposed: traditions that often nullified the very purposes of God in giving the Law.

The same issues will arise among Christians who will perceive that the Kingdom of God is altering or discarding the traditions they consider sacred. Like the Pharisee who accused Christ of rebellion because He healed on the Sabbath, the leaders of the Christian religion will accuse the messengers of the Kingdom of rebellion because they will not embrace all of the traditional forms of worship and doctrine that have become such an integral component of organized religion. In this respect Moses, the Pharisee and Christ have become an allegory with respect to Christ, the Christian and the Kingdom. That is to say that the Pharisee who embraced Moses rejected Christ just as the Christian who embraces Christ may reject the Kingdom. The Pharisee could not accept Christ because in Christ there is no need for Pharisees. The Christian will discover that in the Kingdom of God there is no need for much of the foolishness of Christian order, what some have labeled “divine-order,” and those leaders whose office is guaranteed by the practice of that so-called “divine-order” will discover, like the Pharisees, that their office is no longer necessary in the Kingdom of God.

So the Pharisee and the religion he practiced became obsolete in Christ. In a similar fashion, the religion of the Christian and the Church order we have known must also end. Just as the covenant of commandments, decrees and blood sacrifices ended in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, the Kingdom has made the practice of Church order obsolete. The covenant of the Law, given by Moses, was only a foreshadowing of a better covenant yet to come, a new covenant in the blood of Christ, a covenant that became the salvation of all those who believe, both Jew and Gentile. Yet in the offering of a new covenant, the first was declared obsolete, having been replaced by something better. Thus the Law in the form of commandments spoken by the mouth of Moses became the forerunner of Christ, and it is Christ Jesus of whom the Law speaks. Yet the Law itself was not Christ, it merely testified of Him. In like fashion, the church that we have known merely foreshadows the Kingdom of Heaven. Like the Law, it is an imperfect copy of the divine intent, and will soon pass away, having also been replaced by something better.

Jesus Himself, spoke little of the church, using that term only twice in all of the gospels. Instead, Christ declared that the “Kingdom of Heaven is upon you,” announcing the intention of God. Much of the New Testament describes both the form and function of that Church of which Christ spoke so little. Yet even in it purest form, the church and its administrations are merely crude human copies of a divine intent, an intent that cannot be forged by human hands. All churches are subject to the corruption that is a part of every human attempt at government: indeed churches are really just another form of human government. Although men and women aspire to great ideals, the mechanisms they contrive to put those ideals into motion have all fallen short. Carnal men and despots have corrupted all human kingdoms and all human religions. But the Kingdom of Heaven must of necessity be unlike any corruptible form of human government, for if it were not so, Christ would have no reason to distinguish one from the other. So the Kingdom of Heaven does not refer to the church, or any other human kingdom, it is something yet to be revealed, something that is not the product of any human endeavor.

The Kingdom of Heaven is described by Daniel, who testified that a stone cut out without hands would grind all human kingdoms into chaff to be blown away with the wind until there is no trace left, and then that stone will become a mountain that fills the whole earth. That stone does not refer to churches or of Christian believers, both of which are the products of human culture, for the stone was cut from the mountain without hands. God said, “If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it” (Exodus 20:25) specifying that His altar was to be made up entirely of untouched stones. Now we know that God has no interest in an altar constructed of rocks, for the scriptures testify that He is building a temple of lively stones: that is of believers. So when He says, “you shall not build it of cut stones” He is not referring to quarry stones, but to people. However, leaving believers untouched is not the way of religion, for religion endeavors to build an altar of believers carved into the image of doctrines and theology. Religion is determined to mold men and women into conformity with a canon of belief; and its members are willingly shaped by the culture of religion. It is the influence of religion of which God is saying, “If you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.” So God is not looking for an altar that has been shaped by religion.

So it is foolishness to claim that religious doctrine is God’s holy message, and nonsense to assert that the followers of doctrine are divine messengers. Religious practice and the Word of God are in conflict because religion by its nature mandates the practice of traditions related to human interpretation that corrupt the intent of God. It is the traditions of religion that ultimately bring its practitioners into conflict with God’s true messengers because the former are in bondage to liturgy and seek to enslave others also, while the latter seek only to set men free. Although Jesus was not opposed to the Law, those who were the keepers of the Law opposed Him, even though their Law testified of Him, because He would not be subject Himself to their traditions. In a similar fashion, all Christian religions impose a form of traditional practice upon the believer, mandating such foolishness as: what to eat, what to wear, what to pray, and what to say – all of these things are of no profit with respect to salvation and they serve only to enslave the believer. Yet the Gospel has come to liberate men and women from the foolishness of religion – but there are always those who lie in wait for the unsuspecting and will attempt to snare the weak ones with slick words. What greater enemies of the Gospel were there other than the cult of the Circumcision, who opposed Paul, and fought to enslave the Gentiles in a bondage to their Law? Did they not oppose the purposes of God by perverting the Word of God, distorting the Gospel of freedom and turning it into a gospel of slavery?

Now the Law did not enslave Jesus, although Moses who spoke those things God told him to speak gave the Law to the Jews. Rather Christ fulfilled the intent of the Law by manifesting its precepts in His body without subjecting Himself to the rituals and traditions of His countrymen. On the other hand, the Pharisees who kept the letter of the Law utterly failed to please God because their hearts were wrong. Nevertheless, Christ and the apostles fulfilled the spirit of the Law, keeping it in the inner-man.

In doing so, they condemned the religion of the Pharisee, who kept the Law outwardly while they were inwardly full of darkness. Nevertheless, the Pharisees believed they were the defenders of the Law because they were the descendants of Moses entrusted by God with the keys of salvation. Yet there was no salvation in the religion of the Pharisee, nor did God acknowledge them. The Pharisees became the enemies of God by seeking to destroy the works of God using the Law of God as a weapon. In the same way all religions have become guilty of the blood of Christ because they all seek to defend themselves from the will of God by using the Word of God as a shield.

Thus the example of the Pharisee is a warning to the believer, for the believer has been entrusted with the keys to salvation just as the Jew was entrusted with the Law. Christ did not oppose the Law, but those who kept the Law opposed Him. In like fashion, the Kingdom of Heaven is not in opposition to the church, but the keepers of the church should beware lest they, like the Pharisees, end up opposing the Kingdom of God in the name of God. Yet it is certain that there are many with positions and titles granted by a church, who like the Pharisee, will be unable to surrender those places of honor to the messengers of the Kingdom who will arise without credentials and without religious standing. In this regard, the greatest jeopardy of all will be among the leaders and ministries of the dying church age who are committed to a form of religion that is obsolete, and which will soon fade away. These leaders and ministries are forever trumpeting the mandates of doctrine that keep them in places of power, yet they have no divine authority. They seek to brand their followers like cattle, locking them inside corrals encircled by fences of religious form and religious doctrine.

That religious brand is the mark of the beast written about in Revelation chapter 13, a chapter that few have understood. The mark of the beast is a mark of religious affiliation. Baptists behave like Baptists; Catholics behave like Catholics; Jews like Jews; Mormons like Mormons – each group allows itself to be branded like cattle with the traditions and beliefs of whatever doctrine they embrace. Every religious organization, Christian or otherwise, brands its members with a spiritual mark, one that can be seen by both angels and men. Sadly, that spiritual brand locks its bearer into a form of belief from which escape is difficult. The religious judge themselves and others by the brand they wear or by the brand they fail to wear. If a person leaves a religious organization, they become outcasts – cut off from all social contact – because they have rejected the brand that formerly granted them approval.  The beast is really the system of religion, which has dominated the entire world, yet we know that the beast will be destroyed, just as it is written:

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name.”

Revelation 14:9-10 (NASB)

Christian religion is about to undergo a tremendous transformation, much of which is decreed in Revelations 17: 16-17 where the prophet writes that “… the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.” This passage reads of a time when the great financial resources of religion will be stripped away. It is the property and the financial and political resources that grant religion an illusion of divinity when inwardly the entire system is corrupt. Those false indicators are the barometers by which people inside and outside of a religion gauge divine acceptance. People have a difficult time perceiving a treasure hidden in the field when there is no great religious edifice built on it, and they mistakenly believe that if there is are outward signs of success then there must be a treasure somewhere. How many religions own buildings and property and possess great financial resources? Nearly all of them and those that have none aspire to acquire these things as quickly as possible. Once a religion acquires finance, social acceptance soon follows and people are attracted to that outward expression of success. Unfortunately, spiritual standing cannot be measured with a financial measuring stick. The first Christian church possessed no property. They did not collect money for building programs and their offerings were directed to the poor among them. The first church had very little acceptance among its contemporaries. It was not until the church began to acquire property, and with it, political influence, that Christianity became acceptable. Yet the inevitable consequence of the accumulation of religious wealth is religious corruption.

When God begins to deal with that corruption, it will be a difficult time for people who are committed to their organizations because much of what they have given their time and energy to is worthless and about to pass away. The dilemma that the Christian will face is much like the dilemma that the Jews encountered as they witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70AD. There was no greater representation of the presence of God to the Jew than Jerusalem. The temple that was built there was, in the mind of the Jew, a testimony to God’s commitment to them as a people and of His covenant with them. Yet, when Titus was finished, not even a single stone of the temple remained atop another. The destruction was absolute. When people believe all of their lives that God is with them because of the splendor of their temples, and then watch the destruction of every outward symbol, it is very difficult to reconcile. Yet what God through Titus was trying to accomplish was not merely the destruction of a building, it was in reality the destruction of a system that had become corrupt. In the same manner, as God begins stripping away the property of that religious beast His target is not just the property, it is the organizations and religious forms that have given rise to corruption in the name of Christ. Just as the Jews fashioned a corrupt religious form around the godly teachings of Moses, so the Christians have erected a corrupt religious form around the teachings of Christ. These corruptible forms of religion must give way to something better. The age of religion must give way to the age of the Kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit is speaking again of this very thing: the passing of one age, and the beginning of another. Just as the covenant of Laws and blood sacrifices gave way to a covenant of faith with an eternal sacrifice, so too must the age of the church give way to the age of the Kingdom. Yet who rejected Christ? Was it not His countrymen, who by heritage in the Law should have accepted Him, whereas, the Gentiles, who were without hope embraced Him whom they should have rejected. This is in keeping with the word that Jesus spoke when He said, “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.” Many are likewise in danger of rejecting the Kingdom and its messengers because those messengers fail to measure up to the expectations of doctrine. Now the Pharisees rejected Christ because He failed to submit to them and their traditions. Is it not on that basis that all messengers of God are rejected – that is, they fail to submit? Why did the Catholics reject Luther? They rejected him because he would not submit to the Pope or to the decrees of the Pope. Yet when they demand submission when God instructs otherwise do they not witness against themselves that they are the enemies of God?

Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, “Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”” But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?” And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.”

Matthew 22:1-14 (NASB)

So we see that God has rejected those leaders of religion that abused their heritage and He has removed them from places of authority. Now because the ones for whom the feast was prepared rejected God’s gracious invitation, God has opened the doors of the Kingdom to anyone who will attend, both “good and evil,” inviting both believers and unbelievers alike. Thus, participation in the Kingdom does not require church membership and many who have failed to measure up to even the least of the requirements of the church are invited along with the others. Just as the Gentiles became the beneficiaries of Christ’s gracious gift, even though Christ was sent to the Jews; so too, others will inherit the Kingdom along with the believer, even though it was prepared for those who name the name of Christ. Does this mean that the believer is excluded, while the unbeliever is included? By no means, for the invitation is open to anyone. The first believers added to the Church were among the Jews present for the Feast of Pentecost and witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Thus, God has not rejected the Jews or the Christian believer, but He has expanded the circle so that no one is excluded.

What shall we say then about the unbelievers who have no heritage in the church? Has Jesus become obsolete? By no means, for the King threw out the man who wore no wedding clothes and the clothes refer to Christ. Nevertheless, whereas salvation has been linked with church membership up to this time, God has been saying all along that the form of the church we have known was never His intent, any more than the Pharisees expressed His intention by their faulty pursuit of the Law. Nonetheless, Christ has been maligned among the unbelievers because the church has failed to express the character of Christ and the church itself has become as guilty of the blood of the prophets and saints as are the worst of the heathen. And what of those who claim they follow the scriptural pattern more closely than do others; what does the scripture say about them?

THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”

Romans 3: 10-12 (NASB)

Therefore there is no advantage by way of liturgy, and those who claim to possess a greater divine light than the rest only witness against themselves, for if they had such great light why then have they failed so miserably?

Indeed the true form of Christ’s Church has yet to be revealed, for the Church is neither an organization, nor a building, nor a set of common creeds; rather its membership encompasses all of those who are called out from this present age. So while the churches of men have become the exclusive playgrounds for those who mutually submit to the same bondage of liturgy, the Kingdom of God includes all people who confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and who have been baptized in His name. Thus while the Catholic declares that salvation is the result of acts of Charity or by Sacrament, and the Baptist embraces the New Testament without interpretation, what God is saying is that neither Catholic or Baptist or any other name under heaven means anything; it is all foolishness.

To what then does the believer belong; and into what is the unbeliever baptized? In former times men were baptized into churches, and thus swore allegiance to those organizations; yet it has not been so from the beginning. Indeed, Phillip did not baptize the Ethiopian eunuch into anything other than into Christ Jesus, and then the Holy Spirit took Phillip, leaving that Ethiopian behind. Or did Paul rebuke the Corinthians for no reason when he wrote, “I thank [my] God that I baptized none of you so that no one would say you were baptized in my name?” For the Corinthians had already begun making distinctions among themselves just as all believers have since that time, and these distinctions are meaningless to God, for Christ cannot be divided. And on what basis are these distinctions made? Is it not over theories and supposition about the shape of things that cannot be discerned by mortal eyes, things that can only be spiritually discerned? Distinctions and disputes over doctrines and creeds are nothing but the foolishness of blind men arguing over the colors of a world that they cannot see. Now Christ made no effort with the Pharisees to argue points of doctrine, rather He demonstrated by deeds that God was with Him by giving sight to the blind and reason to the dumb, delivering men from demons and from the power of death. Thus Christ demonstrated by deeds that He knew the things of which He spoke, and that His words were able to save men from the power of sin.

Nevertheless, foolish men seek out those who offer hope without substance, believing that the confident assertions they make about spiritual matters has the power to save, taking comfort among the multitudes, and confusing popularity with godliness. Yet the popularity of religion has no bearing on the choice of God who could take stones and raise up believers, rather the popularity of religion only demonstrates how hopeless the plight of man is without God, yet God’s message to the world has not been delivered by the religions of the world, rather the message of religion is a message that benefits the organizations of religion. In this respect then there are apostles sent by men to do the bidding of man, and there are apostles sent by Christ in who is resident the authority of Christ and who share kinship with the first apostles. Now these apostles of Christ do not acquire their authority or message from man or religion having been appointed to their ministry by the One in whom all authority resides, yet we see that in the church religious authority is delegated to men by men in rites of succession. Now although men respect and honor those whom religion so designates, God recognizes only those whom Christ designates.

Thus the messengers of the Kingdom are not distinguished because they offer credentials granted by the organizations of men, but because they “manifest” the authority of Christ to whom the Kingdom belongs. Now the Scribes were experts at the dissertation of matters related to the Law, some of whom had committed the Pentateuch to memory, yet the people marveled at the words of Jesus, whose message was proclaimed with authority. So the knowledge of the Scribe was of no benefit, yet the words of Jesus profited all who listened. The Apostle Paul was criticized because his speech was contemptible, yet he demonstrated great authority.

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (NASB)

So then the preaching of the church age is of little benefit because it lacks authority. Nor is the teaching of the church age sound merely because of its heritage since it has become little more than dissertations of theory, which lack any practical earthly application. Did not the Gospel of Jesus benefit the sick? Did He not heal, raise the dead and cast out demons? Did not the first apostles do the same? Why is it then has the believer become so content with a contemporary gospel that proclaims wonderful things to come at some indeterminate future time, while lacking any present earthly benefit? How is it that some regard the message of salvation as some sort of spiritual insurance policy because their religions fail to make them the beneficiaries of the unfathomable riches of Christ? This is not the heritage in Christ that was meant for the believer; nor is it the promise that the Gospel of Christ extends to the unbeliever who opens their heart. Or what was the Apostle making reference to when he wrote in Hebrews 6 of the powers of the age to come? It is these very powers of which the believer should be so familiar, yet few ever experience them because of bondage to a form of religion that denies power.

For this reason we do not respect the credentials of men granted by the organizations of religion, nor do we honor the grandeur of the pulpits from which they preach, nor are we impressed by the exuberance of their preaching, nor are we distracted by the reason behind their doctrines, rather we look to Christ to establish His messengers whose authority is evident by their deeds, and in the power of their Gospel. Now the Gospel of Christ was not an empty promise of what was to come at some future time, but a demonstration of the power of Kingdom and its authority by those whom He healed. So too, the words of the first apostles were not merely the proclamations of religious doctrine or the dissertations of religious theory, the words of the first apostles were a demonstration of Christ’s authority: an authority that was resident in them as well. These are the apostles we seek out, for the rest have no divine calling, and merely claim the ministry in order to justify their false dominion. It is this false dominion that God has sworn will come to an end, for His people are not to be forever subject to the dominion of religion, just as the prophet Isaiah swears, “O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.” (Isaiah 26:13-14 KJV)

The religion and the churches we have known are destined to pass into oblivion and even their memory is to be blotted out. What then shall become of the believer? Has God abandoned the believer? By no means, for God’s intention has always been to relate to the believer without the intermediaries of religion. Just as He wrote in Jeremiah 31:34 (KJV) “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” So there is no longer any need for those false representatives of Christ who forever claim that the believer is confined to eternal infancy and thereby in need of the spiritual food only they can provide. Indeed, what form would a church take when there is no longer any need for the preaching of the men who love to bottle feed those whom they have imprisoned? Would it not be more like that first church of whom Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 14:31, “For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted”? Yet that Church shall continue to be merely a promise without fulfillment as long as the believer is content to submit the corruption of those who dominate it for personal gain. The believer shall not forever remain in bondage to organizations whose wealth and influence is channeled to the pockets of a few. Since the corruption of the apostolic church, organizations have collected fabulous sums in the name of the Kingdom. Yet all of the accumulated property, all of the salaries that have been paid, all of the tape and publication ministries and charitable causes have done nothing to further the Gospel of the Kingdom; those things have done a great deal to enrich a few men and women who have become the beneficiaries of the wealth of their congregations.

Nor is it merely the pursuit of monetary gain that corrupt churches, for men are corrupted by power and influence as surely as they are corrupted by wealth. The regality of religious position corrupted the apostolic church, transforming the power of salvation into a faint echo of a great promise. Any person who has become accustomed to the prestige of leadership will become subject to the temptation of Lucifer, who fell because of pride. Therefore, no person should hold an official position of leadership for a long period of time, nor should a religious title be conferred, for that is an invitation to sin. Instead, every person should be content to serve without official distinctions, and those who have led in the past should endeavor to follow those who have not. The Kingdom Church cannot founded on doctrines that entrench men in positions of religion with titles like “Apostle,”  “Prophet,” or “Pastor,”  “Pope,”  “Cardinal” or “Father.” It has been the foolishness of religion that has conferred upon men and women titles. The titles of religion always imply that one has been granted divine authority over another in a fashion that is reminiscent of the “divine right of Kings,” a legal doctrine that formerly granted a king the right to rule his subjects with impunity. Yet there is no conveyance of divine authority in a title. Only God Himself may convey authority, and Christ chooses His apostles by personally appointing them.

It is the true apostles, appointed by Christ, to whom the believer is obligated, not those counterfeit apostles who demand obedience on the basis of the doctrines and traditions of an obsolete religion that fails to measure up to the standard of God’s Kingdom. Those phony apostles assert that they have been appointed by God to do Christ’s bidding, yet Christ did not appoint them, and the believer is under no obligation to follow them. Should not all men who claim to be apostles be tested — just as the Lord declares in Revelation 2:2 that “you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false?” For if they are indeed false, then on what basis should the believer submit to them? If they are not false, then would they not demonstrate the power and character of Christ Himself — whose power was resident in the first Twelve and in Paul? Moreover, if you submit to one who is false, do you not share his guilt, and will not Christ hold you accountable?

For this reason, we are abandoning the comfortable confines of religions like that in order to earnestly seek the Kingdom of God that Daniel described, one that is not rooted in any religious form that we have known. All of those worthless forms of religious expression are about to be destroyed. God is calling to the believer just as He declares in Revelation 18: 4, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues.” May God grant ears to hear.

2011 Copyright

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One Response to Whose Label Do You Wear?

  1. Carmela Gallardo says:

    Please note that my prior comment was with regard to “Whose Label Do You Wear?”, not “confirmation…”. I posted my comment at the wrong location.
    Thanks.

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