You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free
Is the ‘Church’ The Body of Christ?
[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 can therefore not vouch for them as sound biblical teachers. However, this image states in a nutshell what “the church” really is.
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Under the Old Testament Covenant dispensation, the physical nation of God, the Old Hebrews, gathered together in the physical Old Temple. There, the physical old Levitical priesthood, consisting of priests and a high priest, did physical sacrifices on a physical altar and sprinkled the physical blood around the altar, etcetera, to cover the sins of the Old Hebrews as symbols of the Ultimate and Final blood sacrifice that was to come: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Then, with Jesus’ full atonement in the place of all humanity, (Jn. 3:16,) He did away or “annulled” the entire Old Testament Covenant to inaugurate His eternal, spiritual Covenant, (Heb. 8:13.) Jesus God Himself constituted this Everlasting, New Covenant in, through, and on Himself by “becoming” the eternal sacrifice, the spotless Lamb of God, to Whom the entire sin and cursed state of all humanity was imputed or charged at Golgotha, (Col. 2:9; Rom. 3:9-18; 21-31; Jn. 1:29; Gal. 3:10-18; Rev. 5:9.) There, at the cross, Jesus the Perfect Sacrifice also forever fulfilled the entire Law, (both the old temple, sacrificial laws and the Moral law,) in the place of everyone who would sincerely and personally accept Him as the Lord, God, Savior, Redeemer, and Blessor — and follow Him as His disciple, (Mt. 5:17; Jn. 3:16; 1:11-13; 3:3-5; Jn. 8:12.)
From that day on, everything under the New Covenant became spiritual: a spiritual nation of personal believers from “every tribe, tongue and nation — sincerely believing Hebrews included, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.) A spiritual temple of true believers, indwelt by the Holy Spirit once and for all at Pentecost, (1 Cor. 3:16.) He also brought into being a completely different spiritual priesthood, consisting of all true believer-disciples, of whom He Alone is the Eternal High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek, (Heb. 7:17.) And He gave only one, spiritual, everlasting law to govern this spiritual priesthood, who are all members of His spiritual body: all the precepts of His inward, Moral Law of Love, (Jn. 13:34; 1 Cor. 12:12-14.)
One certainty the entire New Testament stands on, is that Jesus’ body of believers are no longer spiritually bound by any physical thing or person in this world. They were all called “out of” darkness “into” His Spiritual Kingdom, (1 Pt. 2:9-10.) All His true believers are “possessed” by the Holy Spirit as Jesus’ “purchased possessions,” (Eph. 1:13-14.) As His holy temple, they are also His holy bride, for whom He will “return from heaven with a shout [like] the voice of an archangel… ” (1 Ths. 4:16.)
This is in stark contrast to the “church,” which is supposedly “made up” by membership of a religious Christian system of some sort — contained by a lame replica of the Old Testament temple with it’s ousted hierarchical priesthood, which flourishes on ousted temple taxes (or tithes,) and its many worthless but controlling, ceremonial laws.
With the outpouring of the indwelling Holy Spirit at Pentecost, God literally fulfilled His Old Testament promise to all New Testament Covenant believers in Christ. He declared, “[Contrary to what God actually gave the Old Israelites in the wilderness…] Solomon built Him a house. However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with [human] hands [like the so-called gods of paganism do...]” (Acts 7:44-50; 17:24-26.)
SOMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENED TO THE BODY OF CHRIST AFTER JESUS’ ASCENTION
The first believers of Acts [called the ‘ecclesia or 'assembly''] after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, when He first came to constantly indwell blood-cleansed believers, 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 temple of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus said in Jn. 7:39, "Whoever believes in Me… 'Streams of living water will flow from within [or from inside] him.'” He was speaking about the [constant indwelling Holy] Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were later to receive, [after His cross and resurrection.] For the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet been glorified."
The Old Testament Covenant did not end when Jesus was born, but when Jesus died and rose from the grave, (Heb. 8:13.) Jesus ministered His miracles to the Hebrew nation under the Old Covenant before they could be cleansed by His blood and indwelt by His Spirit, (Rom. 8:9; Acts Chapter 2; Heb.8:13; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Mt. 28:19-20.)
The first believers of Acts or the temple of the Holy Spirit were only known as "Followers of The Way." [Jesus is The Way.] They did not worship in temples but assembled in their homes. Instead of people going to temple, God now sent His temple to people to make them part of the temple by preaching His true Gospel of salvation to them. God does not, and never again, will live in "temples made by [human] hands, [not even in the so-called ‘rebuilt temple in Jerusalem...’]” (Acts 7:48; 17:24; 9:2; 22:4; 24:14; 19:23.)
Some verses in Acts say these believers went to the temple and synagogues, but in the context of Jesus’ New Covenant, that could only have been to preach Jesus to the people there. No true believer, not even from among the Jews, could never again participate in the ousted Old Covenant, ceremonial temple, and its many outward laws, (Heb. 8:13; chapter 7-9.)
Then, through the Jews’ rejection of Jesus, His believers were ostracized from the 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." Jesus was not, and will never be welcome in the Jewish synagogue of temple worship.
Because of dreadful persecution on the Followers of The Way, they had to hide in caves, etc, (Heb. 11.) It probably would cost you your life to become a Follower of The Way during that time after Jesus’ ascension. Yet, Jesus' ecclesias or assemblies grew like wildfire. As Satan chased the Followers from their homes, they carried the true Gospel and power of the Holy Spirit wherever they went to make more disciples for the spiritual Kingdom of Christ, (Jn. 18:36.)
THE FOLLOWERS BECAME ROMAN CATHOLIC (AND OTHER) CHURCH CHRISTIANS
Sadly, through the infiltration of false Roman Catholic teachers, the Followers began to forsake "The Way" and converted to “the [stagnant] church," housed in a ‘sacred’ building, and ruled by a hierarchical clergy. Acts 11:26 describes how the Followers of The Way "were first called Christians in Antioch," as they forsook the truth of Jesus, The Way, to accept Roman Catholic dogma, its church norms and forms, and false hierarchical priesthood, (1 Pt. 2:9-10; Heb. 7:17.)
During the Protestant Reformation that began in the 16th century, church fathers John Calvin, Martin Luther, Melanchthon, etc., took most of Roman Catholic Church Christianity and its doctrines to impose it on the members of their Protestant churches. All the divisions or denominations that sprang from them did exactly the same and continue in these fallacies to this day.
That is why, where the Bible speaks of "church," we must know that this was a Roman Catholic invention and substitute for "The Followers of The Way," and their assemblies or the ecclesia. Neither the word nor the concept of “church,” nor the word “Christian” existed in the original words and concept of the assemblies of Christ and the body of Christ. Everything the Vatican touched was Christianized as a deadly concoction of Bible verses and paganism.
Mac Culloch wrote in ‘Religion of the Ancient Celts and Druids,’ “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 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 is the root word in ‘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 religious 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. 18:13b,) lives, possessions, money, and time to the dictates of their ungodly hierarchy. Comparing these 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 rituals, and the strong demonic charge in the atmosphere, mistaken for the “anointing of the Holy Spirit.
God, however, did not structure His ecclesia or assembly in the form of a fairy circus ring, but in the form of a human body - Jesus’ body. In addition, every one of His members is a necessary, active part of His body, (1 Cor. 12:4-31.)
The word and concept of "church," all researchers of this subject conclude, was never in the Bible until the Roman Catholic Vatican placed it there and 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 Christianity were patterned on this Roman Catholic circus/fairy church ring.
Relating articles: “Come Out of Her, My People!”