Gen. 50:20 π Amos 3:7 π Mt. 4:8-10 π Mt. 7:21 π Mt. 16:5-12 π Mt. 24:9 π Lk. 16:8 π Rom. 8:9 π Rom. 14:17; 2nd π Rom. 16:17 π 1 Cor. 3:3 π 1 Cor. 11:19 π Gal. 4:4 π Gal. 5:4 π Gal. 5:20-21; 2nd π Col. 2:14 π 2 Ths. 2:11-12 π 2 Tim. 2:13 π 2 Tim. 3:1-6 π 2 Tim. 3:5 π Heb. 12:26-28 π 2 Pet. 2:1 π 1 Jn. 5:19 π Rev. 12:7-12 π Rev. 13:1-18 π Rev. 13:11 π Rev. 13:11-18 π Rev. 13:14 π Rev. 17:9-11
There are those who defend the "church," particularly the American "church," by referring to how it has been used by God to accomplish certain things. And there is merit to some of the arguments, to be sure. As but one example, to the first Puritans who colonized America, "the institutional church was much more than a social gathering place. Without the church and an educated clergy, the colonies would not have existed." (Gary DeMar, America's Christian History: The Untold Story) It is true that the Puritans, without their unifying notions of a central meeting house, would not have had the same cohesive sense of community for which they are famous. And it is true that, in a time of widespread ignorance, having someone around who was knowledgeable in the Scriptures and in the ways of God was of great benefit (why do you think so many liberals and globalists of today don't want young people to be able to read for themselves?) even though the very notion of a clergy is completely foreign to the New Testament. But saying "God had some purpose for using the 'church' system and a clergy to preserve the life of the Puritans" is not nearly the same as saying that the American "church," even as it was practiced by the Puritans, is the pattern which we are to follow and imitate. God has already left such a pattern in the Scriptures - we follow anything else at our own risk.
But, most often, these arguments in defense of "church" are made by those who seem unwilling or unable to admit that "church," on the whole and as contrasted with the New Testament pattern of "ekklesia," is the work of the spirit of antichrist and not the work of God.
Let's take a moment of two, before getting to the real point of this writing, to define a few terms as they will be used throughout. "Church" refers to those methods, ideas and practices which are based on demonic principles or paganistic practices that are completely unfounded or even condemned within the plain meanings of the Scriptures. "Ekklesia," the Greek word that was most often rendered "church" in the King James Bible, refers to the people of Christ who are called upon by God to forsake the world and attend to the matters pertaining to God's kingdom. God's kingdom is not based on any method or system which is derived from this world - rather, it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. ( Rom. 14:17 ) The world's systems - political, legal, medicinal, educational, etc. - are all under the control of the devil. ( 1 Jn. 5:19 ; Mt. 4:8-10 ) All nations will hate true believers ( Mt. 24:9; top ) and therefore, in the end, no nation will be a "Christian nation," using that phrase to refer to a nation-state that is under the influence of Christian morality since no nation, but only individuals, can be truly Christian, that is, surrendered to the will and Person of Christ. Religion, when applied to Christian notions, is that false practice of rituals whereby one somehow supposedly gives something of value to God. A true believer in Christ lives in constant relationship with God through the Spirit of Christ and seeks to obey Him and Him alone. America, though a "Christian nation" (that is, under the influence of Christian morality and which historically, albeit only on occasion, was somewhat concerned with the will of God in matters of state), is more a product of religion than it is a product of men's relationship with God (though readily identifying which influence was greater in any given event will always be difficult to discern).
How can there be this simultaneous work of God and of the spirit of antichrist, you ask? It's really rather simple. While the spirit of antichrist uses religion to lure people into any form of counterfeit practices and wrong thinking about God - and men perpetuate false religion by making them into time-honored traditions - God still continually draws men and women into intimate, personal relationship with Himself. When men and women have been unwittingly drawn into false religious practices, God does not simply abandon those people because they have some errors in their life. That would be the human way of handling it - but it is not the way of the God of mercy and grace who, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful." ( 2 Tim. 2:13 ) God even uses the very "church" schemes of the devil and the "church" traditions of men to draw people to Himself. As Joseph said of his brothers' actions against him ( Gen. 50:20; top ), what Satan intends for evil, God works for good - what He considers, with His all-knowing, all-seeing, all-loving heart to be good for those whom He has chosen to be His sons and heirs.
There is yet another element that adds some complexity to this discussion - the element of time. In the grand scheme of things, God waits until just the right moment to act. In the fullness of time, as but one example, Christ came. ( Gal. 4:4; top ) When Christ came, the Roman government had already gone to great trouble to provide the world with a good set of roads (making travel possible), to bring a forced peace to the world (making travel safe), and to promote the usage of the Greek language on a world-wide scale (making inter-cultural and inter-racial communication very effective). At that time, there were also a great number of God-fearing Gentiles who hung around the synagogues looking very carefully at the Jewish religion but not quite convinced about being proselytized fully into it. All of these things were extremely instrumental in the rapid, world-wide spread of the Gospel in the first centuries after Christ.
In a similar way, God's prophetic words are given in their due season. There are often many years of waiting before what God has said that He will do is actually accomplished. But God has promised, "Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets." ( Amos 3:7; top ) In the end, those men and/or women who have correctly heard and spoken what God is saying He will do are proven to be the true prophets of God. But in the interim period, that time between what God has spoken and the time He acts, these true prophets are most often derided, slandered and persecuted. It is only when their words are fulfilled that they are then followed and, whether voluntarily or involuntarily and quite often posthumously, they become the leader of the next denominational sect. That is, people who were not around to deride, slander and persecute them in the interim period now see that they did truly hear God and, since it is too risky for them to have to listen for the next word of God for themselves, they set up shop, make camp, build an altar (or whatever other euphemism you wish to insert here to describe their religious practices centered around an outdated or isolated word from God). Look at any denomination, even the non-denominational ones, and you will find that they are centered around previous, isolated words of God which, like yesterday's manna, have begun to stink and breed worms.
In this current season, God has revealed, to an extent never before revealed, the vast and lethal differences we have been speaking of here - the diametrically opposed natures of "church" and "ekklesia," of religion and relationship with God, of merely being influenced by "Christian morality" rather than being surrendered and committed to the will of God. God is showing to any and all who will listen what is truly of Him and what is truly a scheme of the devil or merely a misguided tradition of man. Men have been building the "church" for so long that few, if any, really know what it means to be the body of Christ, the ekklesia, the called-out people of Christ. Anyone who hears God saying that the spirit of antichrist is the author of "church" is going to be ridiculed, slandered and persecuted by the most well-meaning of "church" folk. But when God raises up the body of Christ in maturity - something the world has never really seen though there have been glimpses throughout Christian history - those men and women who are speaking the truth now will finally be recognized as the prophets of God. And may God be merciful and grant that there will be no one foolhardy enough to start the next denomination after these precious saints brave enough to incur the wrath of men - though it must be recognized that some who have spoken of these truths decades ago, like George Warnock as but one example, are now considered the founders of movements even though they spoke most clearly against making a movement out of what they were saying. Will we ever learn?
On occasion, I run across some quote that touches on all of these massive issues simultaneously - and my spirit is stirred to use that quote to discuss all the various aspects that are so touched. I found such a quote from Alexis de Tocqueville. De Tocqueville was a French social philosopher who came to America in 1831 and set about to observe the social fabric and customs of America. His work, Democracy in America, was published in two volumes in 1835 and 1840 and has been called "the most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of the relationship between character and society in America that has ever been written." (Robert Bellah, Habits of the Heart) Let us hear, with full spiritual discernment, what de Tocqueville is saying. He wrote:
The sects that exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God... Moreover, all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.
It may fairly be believed that a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship from habit more than from conviction. In the United States the sovereign authority [the President] is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America. (Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1835)
Wow! What an indictment against America! But to understand this as an indictment requires that we have a fuller understanding of the ways of God than will ever be imparted to us at "church."
First, there is the matter of sects. Sectarianism is profoundly and clearly condemned in the Scriptures. Paul warned that those who are in sects ("heresies" in some versions) cannot inherit the kingdom of God. ( Gal. 5:20-21 ) Paul rebuked the Corinthians for dividing into sects for the purpose of showing who was really listening to God. ( 1 Cor. 11:19 ) And Peter warned that the end times teachers would secretly introduce sectarianism to all who would be deceived. ( 2 Pet. 2:1; top ) This latter is precisely what we have seen occurring as "church" tradition teaches us that, if we disagree with our brother, we are perfectly within our rights to "agree to disagree agreeably" and go off and start our own denomination with any and all we can find who will agree with our own notions. This is sectarianism at its worst!
Paul uses a similar word, "divisions" ("dichostasia" in Greek), that has a very specific definition and a very few explicit usages - and it strikes at the roots of modern denominationalism with astonishing precision. "Dichostasia" is the act of setting up some artificial standard (that is, something other than Christ Himself as He leads and guides) by which we feel justified in separating ourselves from other believers in Christ in our locale. "Dichostasia," is found in the same list as "sects" or "heresies" and it is a work of the flesh that will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God - a kingdom characterized by righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit ( Gal. 5:20-21 ; Rom. 14:17 ), it is a sin that will keep us from maturing spiritually ( 1 Cor. 3:3 ) and it makes us someone to be avoided. ( Rom. 16:17; top ) Divisions and sects are not part of Christ's kingdom - they are an element of the world produced only by the spirit of antichrist and the short sightedness of men.
But for de Tocqueville to recognize that there are innumerable sects, even as long as a century and a half ago, is one of the worst of indictments against American "churchianity." Is it any wonder that this nation is devolving into greater wickedness and lawlessness? Everyone is pursuing his own notions of what is right and wrong and ignoring the only One who gives life. Doesn't anyone remember the two trees of the garden of Eden?
De Tocqueville goes on to say, "They all differ in respect to the worship which is due to the Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner, but all sects preach the same moral law in the name of God..." Do you see the deification of man and the man-centeredness of American religion? Whereas it's appropriate to treat man uniformly, when it comes to the worship of the one true God, any way you think is right is appropriate. Oh really? Did anybody ask God how He should be worshiped? This is the root of the marketing approach to "growing a church." Seek out that market niche, those who think and act like we do, and, by appealing to their soulish desires, we can draw them into regular attendance and, more importantly, into financial bondage to our institution. All this does is produce "worship of God" that is done "my" or "our" way - but never will it produce anything that is done God's way or by His leading. Simply put, worshiping God in the way we see fit without consulting, relying on and obeying only Him can only produce a form of godliness that is devoid of the power of God. ( 2 Tim. 3:5; top )
De Tocqueville points to the "similar moral law" that is taught in all the various sects. But who was really obeying God as He was leading? God did not give the Christian believer any law to obey - He fulfilled the law in Christ, taking away the legal requirements. ( Col. 2:14 ) He gave us a Spirit by which we are to live. We are under grace - that is, we live Christ's life because the power of His Spirit resides within us so that we are enabled to become what He foreknows we are to be in Christ. And if anyone does not have this Spirit? Then, Paul says, we do not even belong to Christ. ( Rom. 8:9 ) Let us never overlook the deadly consequences of placing ourselves under law. It removes us from the grace, that is, the power, of God to redeem us. (see Gal. 5:4; top ) because we are quite content with our own powers of "self-improvement."
To de Tocqueville, an outside observer (remember, he's a social philosopher), all these sects look like any other sect of Christianity. So what's the difference? None. Religion is religion. And religion will always hinder whatever relationship we do have with the one true God from becoming full and mature.
And even de Tocqueville, a philosopher, could recognize spiritual hypocrisy. He writes that "a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship from habit more than from conviction. ...and...hypocrisy must be common." Even his phraseology shouts about the true nature of what he is observing. A "form of worship"? Is this not the "form of godliness" of which Paul warned us? ( 2 Tim. 3:1-6 ) Is this not the dead rituals and empty, lifeless formalities which Jesus warned against in the Pharisees? ( Mt. 16:5-12; top ) Wherever habits and rituals and formalities take precedence over careful obedience to the Spirit of Christ, there you have religion, an appearance of godliness which has no life or life-giving power.
This quote concludes with "there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America." What a very true statement. Nearly everyone in America is religious. But very few actually live by the Spirit of Christ. Being under the influence of Christian religion is far different from being a true believer. In fact, it is most likely to make you the very worst sort of hypocrite - the kind that goes to "church" every time the doors are open but who also turns a blind eye and deaf ear to the needs of Christ's brothers, the kind who walk on the far side of the road to avoid helping a battered and bruised "inferior breed," the kind who will ridicule, slander, even persecute and crucify those who speak what God is saying in this season and in this hour.
Jesus said it well when He said, "The sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light." ( Lk. 16:8; top ) De Tocqueville, though he did not have the revelation to understand what was Scripturally and spiritually wrong with what he saw, saw how things really were more clearly than do most people today. May God grant us to have eyes that see and ears that hear what He is saying to His people.
America, far from being the hope of the free world, is going to be one of the agents which ushers in the rule of Satan. While this is a controversial topic that far exceeds the scope of this writing, let me offer enough for any diligent reader to pursue what I think the Scriptures are saying. The rule of Satan over the earth at the end of the ages is described as a seven-headed beast with ten horns and ten crowns - and this rule is ushered in by what is referred to as a two-horned beast. (see Rev. 13:1-18; top ) In Scripture, heads of beasts are said to be the kings and/or the kingdom which the head represents. Thus when the Scripture says that one head of this beast is killed, it is not necessarily clear which, the man or the kingdom, is in view, though, as we will see from other clues, it is the nation and not a man who is killed and resurrected..
The heads of the seven-headed beast are clearly identified when an angel tells John, "The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition." ( Rev. 17:9-11; top ) Five empires, five kings and their kingdoms, "have fallen" - that is, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece have all been world-wide empires. The world government that was in existence at the time the angel spoke to John was Rome. Since that time there has only been one world empire: Britain.
Britain was virtually dead at the end of World War II (fulfilling the prophecy that the head would be killed by a great sword and yet live - Rev. 13:14; top ) Yet today, British money is involved in most international dealings at one level or another. This places the British empire as the seventh head which will also, in some permutation, become the eighth head, the kingdom of Satan himself when he is cast to the earth. ( Rev. 12:7-12; top )
But we see the nation of Britain in another place. John wrote, "Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666." ( Rev. 13:11-18; top )
This second beast, the two-headed beast, exercises all the authority of the first beast, the rule of Satan himself over the whole world, and causes the whole world to worship the rule of Satan over the earth. This second beast, a two-nation conglomerate (the two-horns) has the ability to rain fire from heaven, make a likeness of the first beast which must be worshiped, and institute a mandatory cashless society. We have seen the precursor of each of these already. Bringing fire from heaven is no real miracle - all you need is laser-guided "smart" missiles. The likeness (Greek "icon") of the first beast is already among us - you've probably watched it for at least an hour today if you're an average American - the television. And the number system is already in place. The UPC code is divided by three sixes. These precursors tell us what the second beast, this two-nation confederacy, will do. But the Scriptures give us a very specific tag by which to identify these two nations.
"He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon." ( Rev. 13:11; top ) The horns, the nations, the kings, look like a lamb - that is, they have the appearance of being Christian. They are nations and kings under the Christian influence. But they speak like a dragon - that is, they have the words of the devil. They appeal to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life and they will promote the idea of individualism to such an extent that the man of lawlessness will come into the picture and he will be given reign over the whole world.
These two nations are Great Britain and the United States. To realize this requires a history lesson that is also far beyond the scope of this essay. But again, I will give you enough so you can go start your own research. From its inception, the East India Company of the British Empire has been a tool for much evil - widespread slavery and the Opium War in China are two of their worst offenses. Some of the leaders of the East India Company, in cooperation with some of Britain's banking industry families, formed a group called the Round Table (RT). This think tank has had many well-known philosophers associated with it including Cecil Rhodes, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx and Charles Darwin and was a strong influence on the abortive League of Nations. About the time of World War II, the Round Table formulated an American arm called the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Shortly before Carter's administration, the CFR formed an executive arm called the Trilateral Commission (TC). During Carter's presidency, there were about 125 members of the TC. About 80 of those members were in the very top levels of the American federal government. Since that time, nearly every president and top elected official in the federal government has been a member of the TC, CFR or some other similar organization. In addition, the media, that tool which shapes the opinions and thoughts of the vast majority of Americans, is also virtually owned, controlled and staffed by members of one of these organizations. I'm not making any of this up. Go to any law library that has international documents. You can find writings by the people who are members of the RT, CFR and TC. Their plans and agenda for a one-world government are by no means secret.
And, by the way, the prophecy industry, which makes great profit by quoting prophetic Scriptures and then prognosticating about what they might mean based on what technology is available to man today, will almost certainly disagree with my statements. But I am willing to let any reader with true spiritual discernment read this and draw their own conclusions. I too see but through a glass dimly - I am only saying what I believe God has shown me.
The point of all this is that America, as a political system and entity, is not the answer to the world's problems. Rather, America is going to be one of the worst problems ever to be seen. Why? Because it is only a "Christian nation," a political entity under the influence of Christian morality but not surrendered to accomplishing the will and purposes of God. And this is simply because most Americans are religious, wonderful at going to "church" and playing the religious game, but they have no substance in their relationship with God. It is these to whom Jesus will have to say, "Depart from Me; I never knew you." ( Mt. 7:21; top )
Let the rest of the world take note of America's obsession with religion - and flee from all traces of it in terror. Forsake the notion that America has produced a godly pattern which ought to be followed. Oh, it is true that there have been godly American men and women who have been used mightily by God - mightily used in spite of the fact that they labored under the "church" paradigm, not yet possessing the revelations God has reserved for this time and season. But these men and women lived in a different historical context. We do not have that luxury. We cannot plead ignorance if we willfully reject God's truth.
The bride of Christ will be spotless and without blemish when He returns. Our option is to submit to the Spirit's work of removing from us all that can be shaken and of being drawn into the kingdom of light where nothing can be shaken. (see Heb. 12:26-28 ) Or we can hold on to our unrighteous traditions of men, practice these "church" lies and ultimately be given over to a deceiving spirit so that we may be condemned with all those who do such things. (see 2 Ths. 2:11-12; top ) The choice is ours now. But soon there will be a day when all choices are made, past tense, and we will act out the remaining consequences and results of the choices we must make now.
May God grant that now we would choose life, that is, Him who fills all in all, and that we might truly worship Him in Spirit and in Truth.
I'd love to hear comments and/or questions from you! Email me!