Stephen was accused of speaking blasphemy against the temple and the law – specifically that he preached Jesus of Nazareth would destroy the temple and change the customs and institutions which Moses gave the children of Israel.
As part of his defense, Stephen said, “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?’”
From there Stephen rebuked the council for being stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart who always resisted the work of the Holy Spirit. Stephen, according to the best histories, was martyred around 35
Paul, some 15 years later, echoed this same idea to the men of Athens, saying, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” Apparently this concept was taught as a core part of the gospel of Christ’s kingdom because history and archeology place the first “church” building around 200
In modern “Christianity,” every division, sect and sub-sect (commonly called “denominations”) has to have its own local “church” building. And these buildings are routinely and commonly called “the house of God.” Since this common practice clearly steps away from the written word of God in the New Testament, we are left with the question, “Whose house is it then?”
There are many ways to get to the real answer to that question but perhaps the clearest way is to look to the builder of the “church” buildings. The “church” building is and always has been erected wherever some sponsor or the congregation has enough money to build it. The “church” building has always had an element of opulence and wealth incorporated into it. And the construction of this building is where the vast majority of the people’s “tithes and offerings” go. In some cases, the clergy who construct such a building claim that the opulence and extravagance teaches some important aspect about God. In most cases, the building fund and the “pastor’s” salary get higher percentages of the take than does the service to the orphans, widows and the least of Christ’s brothers! Whose house is it again?
Many “pastors” insist that God led them into their current position and that God is the one who blessed them with the finances to build this building (which cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament except to be excluded) with all its furnishings (pulpit, pew, altar, baptismal, etc. – which cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament either). Yet here is a question which many “pastors” and their sycophant (yes-men) followers are too spiritually immature to even consider as existing: Did God really provide this extravagance or did Satan resist them just enough to make them think that (since what they were receiving matched their preconceived notions of what they thought God was about) this extravagant abundance of mammon must be from God?
Think about that one for a while.
Modern “churchianity” is replete with evidence that one needs to teach only a little error or heresy and one can have as large a following as one can draw in, even an international television “ministry”! Is it so hard to see that “church” buildings are built only with the aid of a false god – one the New Testament says the worship of negates the worship of the one true God? Whose house is it really?
The real house of God is His people in which His Spirit dwells (as is evidenced by first the fruit and second the gifts of His Spirit). The real test of our religion is how well we take care of the orphans, the widows, the least of Christ’s brothers and the hundredth sheep. If our hearts (as is evidenced by where our money goes) are diverted from them, our religion is defiled, putrid and counterfeit. Only our genuine, self-sacrificing love for these brothers makes us very different from the world and makes us a fit habitat for the Spirit of God who is love.
Let he who has ears hear.
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