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Is the ‘church’ The Body of Christ?

 

Renette Vermeulen

 

   the-evolution-of-worship.jpg

 

     [Acknowledgement to “Testeverything.net”]

 

Please note:  I have not “tested,” according to 1 Ths. 5:21 and 1 Jn. 4:1-4, the teachings of the ministry in the image above and cannot vouch for them as sound Biblical teachers.  However, this image states in a nutshell what “the church” really is. 

 

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THE CHURCH’ IS A PHYSICAL, RELIGIOUS BUILDING OR SHRINE; THE SO-CALLED ‘HOUSE OF GOD,’ OPPOSED TO THE SPIRITUAL BODY OF CHRIST, “THE FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY” (Hebrews 7:44-50; Acts 9:2.) 

Under the Old Testament Covenant, the physical nation of God, the Old Hebrews, gathered together in the physical Old Temple.  Such a building was never God’s idea for the Old Israelites.  “But Solomon built Him a house.  However, the Most High does not dwell in temples [or churches] made with hands…” (Acts 7:44-50.)  There, in the Old Testament Temple, the physical, hierarchical, Levitical priesthood did animal sacrifices on a literal altar.  Then, they sprinkled the blood around the altar to cover the sins of the Old Hebrews as symbols of the Ultimate and Final blood sacrifice that was to come: the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Lev. 17:11; Heb. 9:22; Jn. 1:29.) 

With Jesus’ full atonement in the place of all humanity, (Jn. 3:16,) He utterly “fulfilled and thereby  annulled” the entire Old Testament Covenant with the nation of Old Israel to inaugurate His eternal, spiritual New Covenant with all sincere believers from “every tribe, tongue, and nation” —  personally believing Hebrews included, (Jn. 18:36; 19:28-30; Heb. 8:13; chapters 7-9; Rev. 5:9.)  “The Holy Spirit made it clear that The  Way into the Holiest of All [God’s presence, Kingdom, and heaven,] was not yet made manifest while the first tabernacle [the Old Testament temple and everything pertaining to it,] was still standing.  It was symbolic of the present time but both [human ministries and sacraments concerned with literal atonement in and of the temple,] could not make perfect those, who drew near to God…“ (Heb. 9:1, 8:7-15!) 

The [ceremonial temple laws, sacrifices, feasts, ceremonies, etcetera,] made nothing perfect, (Heb. 7:18-19; 10:1-4.)  [So, the Lord Jesus Christ] brought in a better hope through which we draw near to God.”   This is why the Lord Jesus became God’s Only, Eternal High Priest at His fulfilment of every single precept of the ceremonial temple law and the Moral Law at the cross, (Jn. 19:28-30!)  While all the precepts of the inward Moral law stands forever, all the literal Old Testament temple laws, feasts, ministries, and structures disintegrated before the Lord Jesus’ establishment of His everlasting, spiritual, New Testament Covenant and Kingdom “within” every sincere disciple, (Luke 17:21-22 KJV! Heb. 9:8-10! Jn. 3:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:16-17.)  They themselves are God’s spiritual New Testament Covenant nation and Holy-Spirit indwelt temple, and everything that refers to it.  This  living temple and its inward, Moral-Law precepts will last forever as it contains His unending New Testament Spiritual Kingdom inside all true believers globally, (Jn. 3:3-18.) 

What’s more, only the Lord Jesus Christ Himself works all of this through His indwelling Holy Spirit, (1 Cor. 3:16-17.)  Because there was also “no perfection through the hierarchical, Levitical priesthood [who ministered in the literal temple under its ceremonial laws,] there was no further need for them… [Thus,] the priesthood was changed [from the physical to the spiritual priesthood of the High Priest Melchizedek, Who Is also the Only Head and Mediator of His body of believers, (1 Tim. 2:5.)  All Jesus’ believer-disciples become spiritual kings, priests, part of His holy nation, etcetera, at their spiritual rebirth through faith in, and acceptance of Jesus Christ, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; Jn. 1:12-13; 3:3-18.)  The Melchizedekian priests are  all on equal footing before the throne of God, but they minister to the other members of the body of Christ with different gifts and callings under the Headship of their High Priest, Jesus Christ, (Heb. 7:11-19! 1 Cor. 12:4-12; 27-28!) 

All of the above began after the cross, resurrection, Jesus’ ascension into heaven, and at Pentecost, where He first baptized His true disciples with the constantly indwelling Holy Spirit, just as John the Baptist prophesied He would do, (1 Jn. 2:20,27; Mt. 3:11!)  This was God’s fulfilment of His Old Testament promise to all New Covenant believers in Christ that He “will pour out His [indwelling] Spirit on all [sincerely believing people worldwide,]” (Acts 2:14-21.)  Additionally, Pentecost was the inauguration of His eternal Spiritual Kingdom “within” His born again temple of believers, where spiritually, no race, status, or gender exists, because all are “one [body] in Christ Jesus,” (Lu. 17:21-22; Gal. 3:28-29, KJV.) 

· Thus, the entire New Testament Covenant stands on the fact that Jesus’ body of true believers are no longer spiritually contained by or bound to any institution or physical religious practice in this world, (1 Jn. 5:18-19.)  The members of His body were all entirelycalled out of darkness into His [Spiritual Kingdom of] Light, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.)  At the moment of their spiritual rebirth or sincere acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, all true believers are “sealed and possessed” by the Holy Spirit, (Eph. 1:7, 12-14.)  They are holy and spiritually “complete in Christ,” (Eph. 1:13-14; Col. 2:9-10!)  As His holy temple, the body of Christ is also His holy bride, for whom He will “return with a shout [like] the voice of an archangel…  to take her to the marriage feast in heaven, (1 Ths. 4:16; Rev. 19:6-9.)  

· Everything under the New Covenant became spiritual: a spiritual nation of global, personal believers, (Jn. 1:11-14; 1 Pt. 2:9-10.)  A spiritual temple of true believers, all indwelt by the Holy Spirit once and for all since Pentecost, (1 Cor. 3:16; Mt. 28:18-20.)  And the Lord Jesus gave only one, spiritual, everlasting ‘heart’-law to govern this priesthood, the members of His everlasting spiritual body: all the precepts of His inward, Moral Law, (Jn. 13:34; 1 Cor. 12:12-14.) 

There is not the slightest inkling in the entire context of New Testament truth that Jesus will return to the Old Testament Covenant structure of a physical temple.  Since the cross and Pentecost, Jesus’ body of sincere believers would be the only temple of the fully indwelling Holy Spirit. Their gathering together, congregation, or assembly would be informal in homes, in the veldt as Jesus demonstrated, or in caves, homes, etcetera, and they were first known as the ecclesia, (Heb. Chapter 11.)  They still remain Jesus disciples and members of His own spiritual body, (Acts 9:2; 19:23; 22:4; 24:14.) 

All this is in stark contrast to the “church,” which exists only in membership of the religious Christian system.  Opposed to Jesus’ living temple and body of believers, the church system is a manmade institution of all the divisions, denominations, and schisms of Catholic/Protestant Christianity: Acts 11:26.  That entire system is a lame replica of the ousted Old Testament temple with it’s ousted, hierarchical priesthood, which flourish on the extortion of ousted temple taxes or tithes, and its many worthless but controlling, ceremonial laws and false church dogmas, (Heb. 8:13; chapters 7-9.) 

 

TERRIBLE THINGS HAPPENED TO THE BODY OF CHRIST OR FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY  AFTER JESUS’ ASCENSION 

The Old Testament Covenant with the Hebrews did not end when Jesus was born, but when Jesus died and rose from the grave, (Heb. 8:13; chapters 7-9.) Jesus ministered His miracles to the Hebrew nation under the Old Testament Covenant before they could be cleansed by His blood and indwelt by His Spirit, (Jn. 7:38-39; Heb. 8:13; Rom. 8:9; Mt. 28:18-20.)

Ţ Jesus commanded in John 4:21-24, “[After the cross and Pentecost,] you will neither on this mountain, [temple, church or denomination,] nor in Jerusalem, [Messianic Judaism with its Israeli Timeline is a hoax,] worship the Father…  True worshipers will worship… in spirit and in truth…  God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”  John 4:14; 7:38-39, "Whoever believes in Me… streams of living water will flow from within him... He was speaking about the [indwelling] Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were later to receive, [after the cross and resurrection.] For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified," (Lu. 17:21-22.)

Consequently, the first believers of Acts were called the ‘ecclesia or 'assembly' after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, when He came after Jesus’ full atonement on the cross to constantly indwell all Jesus’ blood-cleansed believers, as seen above.  Soon after Pentecost, because of the Hebrews’ final rejection of Jesus, Jesus’ believers were radically ostracized from the temple and synagogues. This was the fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy in Jn. 16:2, "...They will put you out of the synagogues… the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God." They had no 'holy' buildings where they could preach, fellowship, and minister the gifts of the Spirit. They themselves were, just as all true believers are now, the “building” or spiritual temple of the fully indwelling Holy Spirit, (1 Jn. 2:20; Acts 7:44-50.) 

As a result, indescribable persecution came upon Jesus’ Followers of The Way, (Heb. 11.) During that time, it could cost you your physical life to become a Follower of The Way.  Yet, Jesus' ecclesias or assemblies grew like wildfire.  As Satan chased them from their homes and cities, they carried the true Gospel and power of the Spirit wherever they went to make more disciples for the Kingdom of Christ.  Thus, they effectively evangelized the known world of that time,  (Jn. 18:36.)

 

BECAUSE PHYSICAL PERSECUTION COULD NOT QUENCH THEIR COMMITMENT TO GOD, THE FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY FELL INTO CHURCH APOSTASY AND CONVERTED TO ROMAN CATHOLIC CHRISTIANITY: ACTS 11:26

The physical persecution of The Followers of The Way was not the worst that happened to them.  Through the  secret infiltration of false teachers, The Followers willingly began to forsake “The Way,” (2 Pt. 2:1-4.)  They converted to the stagnant church system; housed in a so-called ‘sacred’ building, “the house of God,” which does not exist! (Acts 7:44-50.)  Their humble servant-leaders were replaced by fake hierarchical clergies.  Acts 11:26 KJV describes how the Followers of The Way were “first called Christians in Antioch.”  There, they began to exchange Jesus, The Word of Truth, The Way, and The Life, for church dogma.  They rejected His freedom to accept pagan/Christianized church forms and norms, and gave their fruitful lives in Christ for the so-called “safe” pews of magnificent church buildings, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.) 

Fourteen years after his salvation on the road to Damascus, Paul again went to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus, (Gal. 2:1-21.)  That was when he discovered that Barnabas, who seemed to have become the big shot among them, was herding The Followers of The Way into apostasy by “compelling them to be [physically] circumcised.  Even Titus, who was a Greek, was circumcised, (Acts 9:2; Heb. 7:18.)  “And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in, [to convert the Followers of The Way to the rising church system of Roman Catholicism…]”  At first, [“the elderly servant leaders, not so-called ‘ordained’ church ‘elders,’] did not submit to them even for an hour, that the truth of the Gospel might continue in all of them…” But Barnabas and Titus, going back into Old Testament temple legalism, continued to preach the so-called “necessity” of the literal Hebrew circumcision. 

Acts 11:25-26 tells of the first mass falling away from the Truth, which flowed from their return to the ousted, ceremonial law of physical, Hebrew circumcision: Heb. 7:18-19!  “Barnabas, [still firmly under control of secret agents, gathered all the ecclesias together at Antioch.]  He then went and sought Paul, and brought him to Antioch [to help set up the first church in history.]  Peter came there too. [Under Barnabas’ influence] he was bringing even Gentile believers back under [the ceremonial Hebrew law that was annulled,] by teaching them [it is necessary] to be [physically] circumcised:” Heb. 7:18-19.  So, Paul confronted Peter in front of everyone, saying, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the [ousted ceremonial temple] law, but by faith in Jesus Christ, we [all] have believed in [Him,] that we might be justified by faith and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the [ousted ceremonial] law no flesh will be justified:” Gal. 2:11-21. 

It seems that no one concerned themselves with Paul’s admonitions.  “So it was that for a whole year they assembled in great numbers with ‘the church.’ And prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch… and they taught a great many people [in that first mega Roman Catholic church.]”  And the Followers of The Way, Jesus’ disciples, [who converted to Catholicism in that church during that disastrous year of that mass gathering,] were first called “Christians” in Antioch:” Acts 11:26.  It was disastrous that Jesus’ sincere disciples were henceforward called ‘Christians,’ [meaning little church christs and gods;] a completely different spiritual species from the humble, sincere body of Christ; the Followers of The Way.  It is just as alarming that they probably gathered in a mega church building; although they all knew, “God does not live in temples made by hands...  What house will you build for Him…?” 

· Before or while that stealthy falling away from God’s Truth manifested at Antioch, the apostles were expecting Jesus to still return in their day: 2 Pt. 21-3.  That is why they referred to “That Day when Jesus appears” as if it would happen at any moment.  Some time before or during the establishment of the church in Antioch, (Acts 11:26,) Paul quelled distress about Jesus’ imminent return by saying: “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, [note that these are all singular terms; the false two-fold rapture and Israeli timeline did not exist anywhere in their minds or in Scripture,] do not be shaken in mind or troubled… as though The Day of Christ [singular] had already come: 2 Ths. 2:1-4.

“Let no man deceive you…. That Day will not come before the falling away from [God’s real] truth occurred first;” not in our ‘last of the end times,’ because the religious Christian world already lives in church darkness since Antioch, but in Paul’s ‘last of the end times,’ with the manifestation of the great apostasy: Acts 11:26. Yet, the blind adherents of the Israeli Timeline hoax are still waiting for the apostasy to occur; as if the church system is not corrupt enough from the very beginning, when Satan brought The Followers of The Way to a great fall at Antioch: Acts 11:26.  There cannot be a ‘greater’ apostasy.  The entire church system was growing in apostasy since Antioch.  Openly proclaiming they are ‘christs and gods,’ clergies are now fulfilling all Jesus prophesies concerning the last days: Mt. 24:4-5,11,22-24.  They hardly have any Scriptural truth to reject anymore. 

· In the context of church history and New Covenant Scripture, it is certain that the great Antioch apostasy established the church system, and “the man of sin was revealed; the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God and is worshiped, so that he sits as god in the temple of God, [the New Covenant temple of the Spirit,] showing himself that he is god…” 2 Ths. 2:1-4.  Since the latter part of 1 A.D.,, it is a reality that the pope stands over everyone that is called “Christian” in the whole world, (Protestants too,) pretending to be christ and god on earth.  Yet, Christians are waiting for a “one man antichrist” to sit in a ‘rebuilt temple in Jerusalem’ some day, as the false Israeli Timeline teaches, because clergies conveniently ignore church history and the truth of the New Covenant. 

The Lord Jesus Christ annulled and destroyed the physical temple at the cross: Jn. 19:28-30; Heb. 9:8-9; 10:11-12.  It was literally flattened in 70 A.D.  The Lord will never cancel His spiritual New Testament Covenant temple, which was established through His full atonement at the cross and filled with the Holy-Spirit, to return to a literal temple: Acts 7:44-50.  Jesus prophesied, taught, and ministered from the context of His New Covenant.  Where He referred to the examples of the old covenant, it was because He was fulfilling it to utterly do away with it: 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:15-20; Heb. 8:13.

The Lord Jesus taught on this apostasy, when Satan, the antichrist theologian, stands in the Holy-Spirit temple as if he is god.  He said, “When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place…’ [the antichrist Satan himself and his demons disguised as church clergies…] flee to the mountains [or higher spiritual ground with such haste that you take nothing with you.]”  For that is Satan, the abomination of desolation, who controls the fallen members of the temple of the Holy Spirit through demonic clergies: 2 Ths. 2:3-4; Mt. 24:15-16; 2 Pt. 2:3.  “Abominable desolation” manifested “in the holy place” when the Followers of the Way fell from God’s glory into church apostasy.  The ‘desolate abomination’ or ‘the son of perdition’ is undoubtedly a life of deception without the True God and His genuine Word.  Satan cannot live in Jesus’ Word-filled, Holy-Spirit temple of blood cleansed believers: Col. 3:16.  But he can stand in their “holy place” or presence; feeding them church lies to control them, and to bring them further down into deeper “desolation.” 

 

The above and the following are synopsises from my book, “Secret Societies Control the Rise and Fall of Religions and Christian Denominations”  and the free e-book, Relationship Versus Religion

During the Protestant Reformation that began in the 16th century, church fathers John Calvin, Martin Luther, Melanchthon, etcetera, (all daughters of Roman Catholic Church Christianity,) imposed most of Roman Catholic Christianity’s dogmas, church norms, and forms on the members of their Protestant churches.  All the divisions or denominations that sprang from them did exactly the same. And so, modified Catholicism still flourish in her church denominations to this day.

Ţ Where the Bible speaks of "church," we must know that this is still the forms and norms of  Roman Catholic invention, which they substituted for "The Followers of The Way" and the original assemblies; the Holy Spirit’s ecclesia.  Neither the word nor the concept of “church,” nor the word or concept of “Christian,” (meaning ‘little christs,’) existed in the body of Christ and their assemblies. Christians are members of the ‘Mother Church’s Roman Catholicism, her Protestant daughters, and her many other divisions or denominations.  Christians are, therefore, not the original Followers of The Way, the true body of Christ, (Rev. 17 & 18.) Everything those early infiltrators of the ecclesia touched was Christianized to form a deadly religious potion made from Bible verses and pagan dogma and practices

Ţ Mac Culloch wrote in ‘Religion of the Ancient Celts and Druids,’ (paraphrased,) “The Druid word ‘circle’ means ‘a ring.’ The circle is all-important in fairy culture, and portrays endless friendship, [as a ring is round and has no end.]” Thus, [in Christianity too,] the circle of friends, holding hands, dancing, singing and praying together, actually depicts a fairy ring, which is demonic fellowship. The body of Christ resembles a real body, not a ring...

“Circle, the root word of ‘church,’ is also the root word of ‘circus.’ The hierarchical way in which the Fairy (god-mother) goddess,  (Christianized as ‘mother’ Mary in Roman Catholicism,) structured her temple worship, mimics a circus ring. There, in the centre of the ring, you have the high priestess and high priest, surrounded by the rest of their hierarchical priesthood. Together, they perform perverse ceremonies in the “inner” ring, while the majority of inconspicuous spectator-workers or religious slaves in the “outer” ring look on.

“The spectators in the outer ring (in church terms the 'laity') of the circus have no other role than to cheer, chant, obey - and slavishly offer up their ‘bodies and souls,’ (Rev. 18:13,) lives, possessions, money, and time to the dictates of their ungodly hierarchy of priests. Comparing those religious meetings to a modern circus ring, one could easily mistake the performances of hierarchical rulers in the “church” as secular entertainment, were it not for their religious doctrines and Christianized rituals or ceremonies,” and the strong demonic charge in the atmosphere, mostly mistaken for the “anointing” of the Holy Spirit,” (2 Cor. 11:3-4.) 

Ţ However, God did not structure His ecclesia or assembly in the form of a fairy or circus ring, but in the form of a human body - Jesus’ body.  Additionally, all believers are necessary, active parts of His body, (1 Cor. 12:4-31.)

All true church historians conclude that the word and concept of "church" was never in the Bible until the Roman Catholic Vatican placed it there.  The Protestant Pope of Geneva, John Calvin, and his co-church-conspirators, inherited it from them. Since then, all the many divisions or denominations of Roman Catholic Church Christianity, which was established at Antioch, were patterned on the blueprint of the Catholic/Protestant, circus/fairy church ring, (Acts 11:25-26.) 

 

CONCLUSION 

To understand New Testament Covenant Bible Scripture where Jesus’ body of believers is concerned, one have to: 

Ţ Know the true origin of “Christians” or “little christs” - the great replica of the body of Christ; The Followers of The Way.

Ţ Understand true church history, and it’s Protestant and other church routes - the huge substitute for the gathering together of The Followers of The Way, the ecclesia.

Ţ And realize that church clergies, (the satanic impersonation of Jesus’ servant-leaders,) had nearly two millennia to tamper with the Scriptures. 

►► Nevertheless, those corrupt church leaders could not alter or annihilate Jesus’ Truth, as “heaven [the atmosphere or sky] and earth will pass away, but His Word will not pass away.”  The Lord already addressed that blasphemous sin among the Old Hebrew Pharisees in Mark 7:13, saying, “You make of no effect the Word of God through your tradition [and false church doctrines in the New Testament,] which you have handed down.  And many such things you do,” (Mt. 15:5-9.) 

So, we will benefit much more from the Truth of Scripture if, wherever we find those strange words and concepts in a passage, we correct them as follows.  As ‘Christians’ are not The Followers of the Way but church members, we may replace ‘Christians’ with “believers.”  “The Church” is not the spiritual body of Christ.  We may read phrases like, “to the church at…” as, “to the believers or ecclesia at…”  In terms of ‘attending church,’ ‘the church in your home,’ etcetera, we should read it as “the ecclesia,” congregation, or gathering of the saintsChurch posts and ranks such as “bishop” do not exist among the ecclesia.  Those church ‘offices’ were inherited from Roman Catholicism.  We will do well to read it as servant-leaders,” or “the elderly,” not the ‘important church post of elders.’ 

Additionally, to really understand God’s Word we have to read the whole Bible from the perspective of the New Testament Covenant in Christ.  The Bible was compiled in Two Different Testaments or Covenants for a very good reason.  The ousted Old Testament pertained only to the Old Hebrew nation, but was “done away with” when Jesus died on the cross, (Heb. 8:13; chapters 7-9.)  So, the things that happened to the Old Hebrews in the Old Testament “was written as examples for us…” to show us how God deals with His New Testament believers according to His Moral Law, and the true teachings of Jesus,  (1 Cor. 10:11 KJV.) 

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