Jdgs. 21:25; 2nd π Mt. 3:2 π Mt. 3:7-10 π Mt. 4:17 π Mt. 6:10; 2nd π Mt. 13:29 π Mt. 13:40-42 π Mt. 15:24 π Mt. 16:18 π Mt. 18:17 π Mt. 20:25-26 π Mt. 23:10 π Mt. 24:10 π Mt. 24:12; 2nd π Mt. 24:13 π Mk. 6:31 π Jn. 7:15 π Acts 7:48 π Rom. 8:14 π 1 Cor. 3:16-17 π 1 Cor. 5:10-11 π 2 Cor. 6:17 π 2 Cor. 6:17-7:1 π Gal. 5:22-23 π Eph. 5:27 π Col. 1:13 π 2 Ths. 2:3 π 2 Ths. 2:10-12 π 2 Tim. 4:3-4; 2nd π Heb. 10:24 π Jas. 1:27 π 1 Pet. 5:8 π 2 Pet. 2:1-3 π Rev. 3:17 π Rev. 14:4 π Rev. 17:5 π Rev. 18:4; 2nd π Rev. 22:11-12
Assembly, “Church” (KJV) – ekklesia –  π 2nd
It is difficult for many people to wrap their mind around even the possibility that “church” is a deception. God met them there. They met some beautiful people there whom God used to touch them. Sure, there were inconsistencies and imperfections, but God was there – no doubt about it. These are the stumbling blocks that stand between many people and the truth about the “church” as it is modernly and almost uniformly practiced now.
It is not enough to answer these objections logically. Logic and reason alone will not overcome these objections – even though logic and reason do stand up against these quite well. God will meet someone wherever they are at – a bar, a concert, even in the midst of the worst places of sin and debauchery – but that does not mean that God designed or approves of what is done in those places. God has His people every where He knows there is need or desire for Him – even in the midst of the worst places of sin and debauchery – but that does not mean that God is behind every action committed in that place. The inconsistencies that routinely become visible in a “church” go far beyond inconsistency and, when we can see things as God sees them, stand out as stark examples of deeply laid deceptions designed to ensnare unwary believers. The systemic imperfections in the “church” design and authority structure stand as proof that it was not architected by an infallible, all-knowing, all-wise Being but rather it was crafted by a deceiver and usurper. But the “church”-ite who reads or hears these logical answers will not be convinced by mere words because he or she simply does not believe them to be true. It requires spiritually mature discernment to recognize these things – and the “church” does not teach or instill such in its members.
Consider a person who smokes tobacco. This person most often knows, deep in their heart, that smoking cigarettes wastes much of their resources, causes harm to their body and to those around them and that it is really an expression of self-will practiced in unbelief (that God will liberate them from their addiction) and defiance (self-will preferred and insisted upon rather than God’s will). But they will continue to smoke even when they know it is wrong to do so. Yet even in this, because they know it to be wrong, they do struggle to smoke less, to surrender it to God more and they know, if they wish to continue deeper into God, that their smoking days are numbered. So often quitting becomes a drawn out process rather than an instantaneous emancipation.
But the “church” is different because few recognize how unScriptural the thing is. The “pastor” (who as a CEO over a modern corporation styled after the organizations of this world cannot be legitimately found in the New Testament) stands in his pulpit (which also cannot be found in the New Testament but can be found in the pagan temples and practices of Rome and Greece) and lures people to sit at his feet (in spite of Christ’s emphatic “It shall not be so among you!” – Mt. 20:25-26 , 23:10 , etc.) in a building (which God will never inhabit – Acts 7:48 ) that steals the resources of those who attend (contrary to God’s definition of acceptable religious practices – Jas. 1:27 ) and lulls those who so seat themselves into a false sense of eternal security (in direct fulfillment of the New Testament’s warnings about the end time. – 2 Tim. 4:3-4 , 2 Pet. 2:1-3 , etc.; top) The “pastor” will certainly not tell you these truths and may even have some rational-sounding deceptive spins to answer these things. And those carnal and even apostate “church”-ites who use the “church” as a means of attaining social standing or power will certainly not tell you these truths. Only the Holy Spirit – who most often speaks only in still, small whispers to those who hunger and thirst after truth and righteousness – will tell you these things. The “church” most often doesn’t even tell you that you need to hear Him for yourself – and they certainly won’t confirm the things He says that are bad for “church” business.
The “church” deception can perhaps be best seen by simply looking at the meaning of the word “church” as found in any worthwhile dictionary:
- a building;
- the clergy;
- the “Christian” religion; and
- the people who follow Christ.
The English word “church” is used to translate the Greek word ekklesia [ 1577 ], a word which refers only to people, specifically those people called out of the darkness of this world in order to attend to Christ’s kingdom of light. The contrast between “church” and ekklesia is presented very well in this – three parts deception with one part truth.
Yet the average pew-ster does not often contemplate what might be wrong with “going to church.” Often, it is not until there is a conflict within a “church” that anyone even thinks of such things. Then the heavy-handed “damage control” and back-stabbing, slanderous deceit that comes bubbling forth from even “church” leadership causes some genuine saints to think about such things. But the mind-bending conditioning they have been subjected to over the years kicks in and they settle back down (either in the original “church” or in some other “better” “church” down the road) in the comfortable knowledge that “this is the way it’s supposed to be.”
But this is not the way it is supposed to be! This lie alone holds more people under the deceptive power of the demonic than perhaps any of the other demonic lies perpetrated against the people of Christ.
Paul warned, “For this reason [because they refused to love the truth and so be saved] God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth, but have delighted in wickedness.” ( 2 Ths. 2:10-12 ) The love of the truth – no matter how unpleasant, costly or painful the truth might actually be – is a factor and element of true salvation. That so many “church”-ites reject the truth, especially truth about their “church” and “church” in general, is only evidence that the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith that happens before the return of Christ ( 2 Ths. 2:3 , Mt. 24:10; top ), is upon us.
The time upon us now requires that we “consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” ( Heb. 10:24 ) because lawlessness (doing that which is right only in our own eyes – see Jdgs. 21:25 ) abounds and the love, the ultimate pinnacle of spiritual maturity, has been vanquished and laid low in the dust of the busy-ness and self-centeredness of modern life. (see Mt. 24:12; top )
It should also be noticed that a person will be accepted as a brother in Christ and welcome at any “church” until he or she begins to speak against the “church” deceptions. Then that one must be shunned and ostracized and even driven off. Though one believes in Jesus Christ, acknowledges and affirms all the central teachings of the New Testament and even shows evidence (perhaps even abundant, exemplary evidence!) of the work of the Spirit of God in their life (see especially Gal. 5:22-23; top ), as soon as one begins to denounce the “church” deceptions, that one could not possibly be a brother in Christ. He must be a deceiver and a stealer of sheep! This is how deeply conditioned the “pastor” and the “church”-ites are. Such depth of mental and spiritual predisposition cannot possibly be an accident and can only be the work of a master mind of deception.
And yet here again, we will stumble upon another element of “church” conditioning – the devil is absolutely harmless, just a toothless old tiger who couldn’t hurt anyone even if he tried because Christ already defeated him. While it is true that the genuine follower of Christ need not fear the devil, we are enjoined to be alert and wary regarding him ( 1 Pet. 5:8 ) – it is a foolish one indeed who simply ignores him and the very real danger he presents to our souls. What is most often overlooked is that the devil and the demonic begins to gain power over us when we blindly participate in their deceptions – and “church” is a deception designed to lull us into spiritual blindness and lethargy. The more one participates in “church,” the more susceptible to deception one becomes. This is the power of the “church” deceptions. Only when we heed Paul’s admonition to “Come out” from among the “Christian” idolaters will we truly be God’s children and purify ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. ( 2 Cor. 6:17-7:1 , 1 Cor. 5:10-11; top )
The warnings of John the Baptist to the Jewish leaders is equally applicable to today’s “church”:
“Brood of vipers! Who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [Was it the Holy Spirit – then continue to listen to Him and] bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We [go to ‘church’ and listen to our ‘pastor’ and we try to be better people].’ For I say to you that God is [not pleased with the works of your hands because your hands are filthy and defiled because you refuse to wash them in the blood of Christ!] Even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees [your “church” and your “pastor”]. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (compare Mt. 3:7-10; top )
When we stand before Christ and God on judgment day, “But my pastor said it was okay!” will not be an acceptable excuse!
The remedy for all these evils is also the same as when John the Baptist and Jesus preached – “Repent – the kingdom of God is here.” ( Mt. 3:2 , 4:17; top ) But this remedy requires faith and obedience and these characteristics are in short supply in today’s apostate environment.
Because the “church” has been so dominated by the fiefdoms of mere men, few recognize exactly what the kingdom of God is. A kingdom, as can be discovered in any worthwhile dictionary, is a realm ruled over by a king. The kingdom of God, during this so-called “church” age, is that realm where Christ and God are obeyed. When Jesus instructed His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come – Your will be done” ( Mt. 6:10; top ), He laid these two side by side. When the will of the King, Christ and God, is obeyed, the kingdom of God is brought into our midst. When some other’s will – whether that be of the “pastor,” the most powerful “church”-ite, the devil or the demonic – is obeyed, God’s kingdom is pushed away from us and we participate in some other fiefdom that is in rebellion and antagonism against the One True King. This is the true nature of the “church” deceptions.
When Jesus came, He did not discuss the “church.” In the first place, “church” is an English word that did not come into existence until some 1500 years after He was gone! But even the word that is poorly translated as “church” (Greek ekklesia [ 1577 ]) is not likely to have been used by Jesus. Consider that the Greek word ekklesia is found in only one gospel, occurring only three times in two verses ( Mt. 16:18 , 18:17 ) and on this scant basis, some “theologians” have made ridiculous statements that “the church” is therefore a dominant theme in Matthew’s gospel! But the reality is that there is no evidence anywhere that Jesus ever spoke any Greek. Perhaps He knew a few simple words and phrases but as one sent only “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” ( Mt. 15:24 ), Greek studies would not likely have been very high in His priorities. (also see Jn. 7:15 ) When Jesus said these two sayings as recorded in Matthew, He almost certainly spoke them in Aramaic and probably used a word that would be more accurately translated as “temple,” a picture Paul later used as well. ( 1 Cor. 3:16-17 , etc.; top)
But it is Matthew (unless we want to assign it to some very early copyist, a theory for which there is no proof) who inserted ekklesia into Christ’s teachings here – just as it is Paul, Luke, the writer of Hebrews, James and John – in their letters (“epistles”) and not in their gospels – who made moderate, even limited usage of the word ekklesia, a word which appears only some 112 times in the Greek New Testament from Acts to Revelation. We do not, however, need to presume or invent any sinister or conspiratorial motive behind this insertion. Ekklesia indeed contains many parallel insights and is a beautiful, although incomplete, picture of what Christ is building in His people. And because “ekklesia” (which would devolve into “church”) was a word which would be subject to change and thus deception, perhaps Christ simply avoided it entirely, leaving it to His followers to bring the word into usage. However it came into usage, the ekklesia is the people called out of this world’s darkness, transferred or conveyed into the kingdom of light so as to attend to the affairs and needs of Christ’s kingdom ( Col. 1:13 ) and the kingdom of God is that realm where Christ is actually and literally obeyed as King, Lord and Master. From these two definitions it is easy to see how they overlap, consisting of the same people and yet having very distinct emphases. And we are also able to see how our obedience to God is the very means by which the kingdom of God comes into our lives. (again see Mt. 6:10; top )
It is this simplicity of the gospel of the kingdom of God that has been lost because the “church,” instead of the kingdom, came into being and took the prominence and preeminence that did not belong to it. The “church” as we know it today is simply the latest expression of the Great Prostitute, Mystery Babylon or one of her prostitute daughters. The “pastor” and all the pagan Greek customs that infiltrated into Christianity in the 2nd and 3rd centuries and that are still routinely practiced today is simply the abominations that attend these “women.” (see Rev. 17:5; top )
Christ is returning for a bride who is “a glorious ekklesia, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, holy and without blemish.” ( Eph. 5:27 ) He is not coming for a prostitute who is disgusting in her filth and abominations. Anyone who is immersed in and involved with the latter can expect to receive the judgments of God. ( Rev. 18:4; top )
The admonition at the end of The Revelation stands as perhaps the most relevant warning for the people of the end time before Christ’s return: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” ( Rev. 22:11-12 ) No amount of instruction, logic or reason will cause anyone to come out of the “church” and forsake its abominations. The prostitute will not submit herself to the reforms necessary to become the bride of Christ. Only those who are truly born again and led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God ( Rom. 8:14 ) and these can never be content in a carnal or demonic “church” and are most likely already gone from the “church.” Only those who persist on having their ears scratched and tickled by their preferred spiritual guru (see 2 Tim. 4:3-4 ) and those who insist on having a “God” whom they can control with their own “theology” are the vast majority of those who yet remain within the “church.” Christ’s sheep still hear His call to come out and come away with Him. ( 2 Cor. 6:17 , Rev. 18:4 , Mk. 6:31 ) The wheat is becoming heavy with its true grain and is bowing down in humility while the tares, being a weed of no worth or substance, is standing proud and erect, boasting of its greatness and self-sufficiency. ( Mt. 13:29 , 40-42 , also see Rev. 3:17; top ) The time of the removal of the tares is very near – the wise one will seek God to be certain not to be included in that category.
The people in “church” are almost entirely secluded and protected (mostly by the bottleneck of the “pastor’s” stranglehold on the pulpit) from true exhortations and are not likely to hear the truth. Those few who stumble upon some truth on some website or in some written work are most likely to dismiss it, especially if they share it with their “pastor” and seek his opinion. Any truth that contradicts the preconceived notions and preferred “theologies” of the individual “church”-ite will be ridiculed and scoffed at. It is the time of lawlessness – each one doing what is right in their own eyes because Christ is not their king – and the love of most has grown cold (again see Jdgs. 21:25 , Mt. 24:12 ) and only those who persevere until the end are those who will be saved ( Mt. 24:13 ) It will take great effort and perseverance, in direct proportion to the time one has spent in a deceptive “church,” to overcome what has been perpetrated against them and few will be able to do so. It is those who have never been exposed to “church” who will find it easiest to follow the Lamb wherever He leads them. ( Rev. 14:4; top ) This is the exhortation that the genuine followers of Christ know deep in their hearts to be the truth and word of God for this time and season.
Let he who has ears hear.
- But I Met God There - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) The fact that God has met many a soul within the walls of a “church” building should not be a source of confusion as to who the real architect of the “church” is.
- Pastor, Bishop or Nicolaitan Overlord? - Neil Girrard Is the “pastor” a real New Testament office or a 1st century religious construct?
- On the Basis of Scripture - Neil Girrard A brief look at the many “church” notions and practices which have no place in Scripture.
- Many Deceptions and The Lie - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) How do we reconcile the difference between the many New Testament prophecies that speak of a plurality, even a multiplicity, of deceptions with Paul’s reference to a single lie that carries severe, eternal consequences for those who come under its power?
- A Defeated Devil - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) Many who claim to follow Christ hold to the idea of a defeated devil, ridiculing his schemes and devices as just the foolish floppings of a “toothless old tiger” too stupid and inept to be of any harm or threat to their eternal security in Christ. But is this an accurate portrayal?
- Come Out From Among Them - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) Why, at the end of His explanation of the parable of the wheat and the tares, did Jesus say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear”?
- The Kingdom of God Is at Hand - Neil Girrard - ( in Adobe/pdf format ) With the proclamation that the kingdom of God was at hand, Jesus ushered in a new phase in the work of redemption that God had purposed before the creation of the world.
- Reform Is Not an Option - Neil Girrard The “church” needs changed but will it submit to what is really needed?
- 1. The Wheat and the Tares; The Sons of the Devil - Neil Girrard Jesus’ analogy about the kingdom of heaven with some special emphasis on how it will be at the end of the age.
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