By Terry S. Ross
Chapter 3 – Who and What Is the Church?
As we continue our study on the subject of Prophetic Parallels, let us pause for just a moment of silent prayer. Will you ask just now, as I have done so many times, for the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Please ask the True and Faithful Witness of Revelation (see Revelation 1: 1,5 – 3: 14) for the eyesalve (spiritual discernment) He offers in Revelation 3: 18. Will you take just a moment to do that before we continue our study?
Now let us ask the Lord for HIS definition of HIS church, and who are those who really are His church. We cannot afford to guess or as many of us are painfully becoming aware of, we dare not leave it in the hands of the majority of the leadership to guide us into the truth on this matter. Especially in the atmosphere of these last days of “political correctness,” “the new morality,” situation ethics, “if it feels good do it” generation which now wields much power in conference churches, it is imperative that we go to the word of the Lord to establish who and what the church is. And that is just what we are going to do.
It is alarming to find so many people who profess to be Christians tossing aside inspiration, the true word of God, for the opinions of men. Dozens of times I have asked dear folks in different congregations and of different persuasions the reasons they do things certain ways. I have been almost overwhelmed at times to hear the same response repeatedly from the majority I have spoken with in this fashion. The response which alarms me is “Well, my pastor says…”
In the book of Acts we will discover the plain, simple truth about who and what the church is. We will better see if people are throwing out only the word of God to exchange it for the popular opinions of leading men. Actually, this will prove that those who do not want to accept the truth will throw it aside no matter where it is found.
The good news is that this little study in Acts is amazingly clear and the honest Christian searching for truth and direction from the Lord will praise His name! Now remember that one of the reasons this study is so valuable to us today is that Cathy’s and my investigation over the last several years has uncovered what has now become “open season” on fundamental or historic Christianity.
There is a planned agenda (now in full operation) from WITHIN THE CHURCH to lower all the standards of TRUE Christianity and bring all churches under one roof —a global church. This is the reason for the big push for “Unity.” This is why many of you who are reading this book are becoming alarmed and distressed as you see your belove d church change (away from God) right before your eyes!! This is also the reason you are starting to witness the persecution of those who challenge this agenda. The bad news is that it is going to get really ugly before it gets eternally better. The good news is that God and everyone who invests themselves, body, mind and soul, will win!!
If you are anything like Cathy and me, a few years ago you may have looked upon home schooling or even private schools with a skeptical eye, or perhaps open disapproval. But not so anymore! Even many non-Christians are screaming at what the public education systems are doing to the young people in this country.
A similar phenomena is taking place as it pertains to the way many of us used to view home churches, independent churches, independent ministries, and independent ministers. But what is happening, although new and alarming to us, is paralleled in the days of Christ. So let us continue our study.
You know the story of Stephen. Now, was Stephen a conference man or an independent man? Well, of course, Stephen had been chosen by the disciples (independent preachers). The conference did not recognize these men and told them they had no authority to preach. They forbade them to preach in the name of Christ.
The independent preachers (including Stephen) preached anyway because they did not get their orders from the conference, but from the Lord. Stephen was “called in” by the “conference committee” and as he was explaining to them the prophecies concerning Christ, the conference men became very angry. In fact, Acts 7: 54 says, they “gnashed on him with their teeth.” Let’s pick up the story in verse 55.
Acts 7: 55- 60: “But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord [UNITY], And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
Now we know that those who stoned Stephen were conference leaders. And we know that Stephen was an independent preacher who was being murdered by the conference leaders for preaching for the cause of Jesus.
Who was Saul? Was he a conference man or an independent? Saul, of course, was a conference man in whom the conference put a lot of confidence. His future with the conference looked bright indeed. Saul was gifted in the ability of argumentation and he was bold.
One important lesson we surely do not want to miss is the spirit Stephen possessed as the conference was literally stoning him for taking a stand for Jesus. Stephen rather than being bitter, rather than being vengeful, asked the Lord not to lay this sin against their charge. This is the same spirit that Jesus Himself demonstrated as He was being martyred by the same conference people. Neither one of these men shunned the duty of exposing the true character of this apostate conference and neither took on the spirit of hate while doing it. Both Jesus and Stephen truly were “not blind, nor bitter,” but let’s read on.
Acts 8: 1- 4: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against THE CHURCH which was at Jerusalem;” STOP!
Let’s look at this closely because in these few words is a great truth and revelation! “And at that time there was a great persecution against…” whom? Yes! The church! Now who was persecuting whom in Jerusalem? Were the Romans persecuting the conference men? No. The conference men were persecuting the independents and here the Bible, God’s word, plainly says that this was THE church. Not A church but THE church. Brothers and sisters, can it be any plainer than this? Here it is right in the word of God, and to dismiss these plain words you will have to throw away your Bibles! But let’s read on. There’s more.
“And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, EXCEPT THE APOSTLES.” STOP!
Do you see it? The Bible plainly states that THE church being persecuted which was scattered abroad had the Apostles in it. This proves beyond any doubt whatsoever that THE church in Christ’s day was NOT the conference but those who followed Jesus or whom the conference would have called the independents at that time. The conference hated the Apostles and the other independent leaders who had been chosen. This is why they were persecuting them and this is why Saul was persecuting them. But hate them or not, recognize their authority to preach Christ or not, the conference plainly did not have the say. God did! God said they were THE CHURCH! But we are not done yet!
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of THE CHURCH…” STOP!
Saul made havoc of whom? Yes! THE church. Now just whom was Saul making havoc of? Was Saul making havoc of the ancient conference leaders? Of course not, for he was employed by the ancient conference, he being an ancient conference man. You know, Saul was making havoc of the independents and those who supported them for taking a stand for Jesus. Going on…
“And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havoc of THE church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
Folks, it just doesn’t get any more simple than this. Here we see clearly that although the ancient conference had originally been raised by Christ Himself and was claiming, “The church is going through, the church is going through,” it was NOT THE CHURCH THAT WAS GOING THROUGH.
Most Christians (modern day Jews) have fallen into the same trap that the Jews of Christ’s day (ancient Christians) fell into. Their pride influenced them to trust wholly in the conference which had been raised by Christ. But when the conference became corrupt the people which did not adhere to principle became corrupt with them and with blind loyalty followed after these men. That is why Jesus had so much trouble while He was here. That is why Jesus was rejected by the conference while He was here. That is why Jesus rejected and brought to an end the conference HE HAD RAISED (they had not raised themselves) while He was here. That’s why Jesus chose independent leaders and told them to move on with the work while He was here. AND THAT IS EXACTLY THE REASON HE IS DOING THE SAME THING TODAY.
Later in the same story of Saul, what happened to him? He was on his way to Damascus continuing his persecution of THE church. He was on his way there to find those who were following the independents and to throw them in jail. We read about it in Acts 9: 1- 2: “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”
So what Saul was doing was securing the authority from the conference to go down to the local churches to disfellowship people in the strongest way. He was going to take care of these troublers of Israel who followed Jesus Christ, those whom the conference rejected. But Saul never got the job done. Something happened out of the ordinary and we read about it in the very next verses.
Acts 9: 3- 5: “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined around about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest:…”
And so on the road to Damascus Saul literally sees the light and realizes that although he may have thought he was doing the proper work, he was actually persecuting the wrong people. The story goes on, as you know, and because of this experience on the Damascus road, Saul is blinded and spends a few days in Damascus. While there the Lord sends a disciple, Ananias, to him who gave him back his sight and he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Acts 9: 17- 18: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
This is where the story of Saul’s intended work takes a drastic change and also where the prior claims which the Bible sets forth regarding who was THE CHURCH is verified once again.
Acts 9: 19- 21: “And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that DESTROYED THEM WHICH CALLED ON THIS NAME IN JERUSALEM, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?”
Can there be any doubt about what the Bible is clearly saying here? I think not. God’s word is expressing in Acts 9 exactly what it did in Acts 7 & 8. God’s church was being persecuted in Jerusalem and that church was NOT the conference.
Understandably, the church in Damascus (the followers of Jesus) was very apprehensive of Saul. They rightly stated that this was the same man who was persecuting the church in Jerusalem and they were nervous about trusting this conference man. They were concerned that his intent was to drag them off to the conference committee that had already killed Jesus and stoned Stephen. It is true that this was
Saul’s original intent but the Lord had other plans, praise His name!
Acts 9: 22: “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.”
So, I think Saul understood the situation and was willing to take up his new duties immediately to prove his new loyalty. You might want to ponder the point that Jesus, through His Holy Spirit, lead Saul to preach in His name rather than send him back to some literary institution. What happens next is very interesting and proves that the apostate conference will, in the end, even turn on its own men rather than listen to plain words of truth.
Act 9: 23: “And after that many days were fulfilled, the JEWS TOOK COUNSEL TO KILL HIM.”
The story goes on, of course, and Saul tries to work with the disciples in Jerusalem but they are nervous about his intentions. The Lord eventually works out the details and Saul becomes Paul — one of our heroes.
In this story we can learn many things and I want to ask a few questions which will give opportunity for you to reflect upon some important points. Why did the Jews now want to kill Paul, (Saul)? When he saw the truth as it is in Jesus, what was his course of action? Did Saul, who became Paul, continue to persecute THE church or did he support it and which church after his conversion was it that he supported? Did Saul remain a conference leader or did he become an independent leader? Did the ancient professed “Christian” conference support his decision? Will Saul, who became
Paul, who became an independent leader for Jesus, be in heaven or will the ancient conference leaders?
I cannot place enough emphasis on the above scriptures and the vital lessons that are clearly in them. What a glorious God we serve Who has made provision for our every need. Most will end up like the ancient conference Leaders and their supporters— the popular majority within the “church”— did, unfortunately. God’s word tells us this and we who love the truth as it is in Jesus, seek the truth as hidden treasure, need not be deceived. Now let’s continue our study in prophetic parallels.
Speaking of treasure, perhaps this is an ideal time to unveil another parallel. Both in Timothy and Titus (there are other places we could add), God’s word reveals a definite concern about “filthy lucre.” Some may wonder what filthy lucre is. It’s money or goods gained in a dishonest, shameful or greedy manner.
By the time of Christ’s visitation to His own church, filthy lucre had become a real problem within the Levite Tribe— the clergy. This is why Paul (who knew all about it, first hand) warned of and openly rebuked the practice as well as those pastors who were guilty of it. Now nothing like pastors squandering millions of dollars for themselves while preaching sacrificial giving to the laity is happening today, right? (Wrong.)
There was one other concern spoken of, that ranks right along with stealing God’s money. In fact it is one of the primary reasons that the chosen people of the ancient church became the rejected church. We read Christ’s own words from Matthew 7: 3- 14:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the problem we are facing today is exactly what it was when Christ was here the first time and it boils down to two words — power and money.
Jesus who is the Founder and Finisher of the Real Christian Church will reject apostate leaders who are preaching the popular messages of “peace and safety.” Who are purposely distorting “love” preaching it from the “Dr. Spock Bible” instead of God’s holy word. Who have an agenda which removes the discipline (disciple) out of love and makes an open mockery of mercy and justice which is sorely demonstrated in churches and our society. Christ continues to reject and tells His followers also to reject apostate leaders who are turning God’s churches into unsanctified businesses for the love of personal gain or glory.
Christ came to save His people but ended up in an open confrontation with apostate leadership who had seized power (human) in it. They stole His church and as a direct result of their preaching, they turned the people aside from the saving knowledge which God’s word provides. Today NOTHING HAS CHANGED!
Did you know that although most of us have been caught sleeping on these matters (just as did the Lord’s disciples) that Jesus said we should expect it? Let’s read Matthew 10: 16,17,21- 25. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;… And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house
Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?”
If we plan to fair well in the judgment soon to come we had better be spending some valuable time preparing for the testing time just around future’s corner. We know that many of you (as we once did) have felt that the most painful persecution would come from the world. But not so! It was not the world that killed Christ but His church! Allow me to slip in a little supposed secret that is directly tied to this topic. A “secret” that was a part of the agenda of the largest religious system during the dark ages. A “secret” which many churches are purposely withholding from you!! The “secret” that was believed, proved from God’s word, preached in every Protestant church in this nation 150 years ago, is the very reason for the Protestant Reformation, and the very essence of its total existence!
For the last several decades, Christians have been taught from the pulpits of their churches that the books of Daniel and Revelation can’t be understood by anyone other than preachers or theologians. This is exactly what Christians were told during the Dark Ages and this lie is the very reason that Protestant churches came into being.
My heart aches every time I hear another soul (who represents millions with the same problem) is scared out of his wits because something out in the world ends up with the numbers 666 on it. The reason many are so scared is because first they believe the pastors who tell them that laymen cannot understand the books of Daniel and Revelation. I will admit that the last book of the Bible takes some work, like geometry or physics, etc. But the name of the book itself speaks against those who wish to keep it hidden. Open your Bible and look at the name — REVELATION — now ask the Lord to help you to understand and believe the name of His last book means just what it says.
The second reason may be more painful but nonetheless true. Most people in churches claiming to be followers of God’s word are too indolent to find out for themselves what matters to Him and what He warns us about. Here is the painful part. Do you know what the word “indolent” means? L- A- Z- Y. It’s incredible but folks around the globe will spend years studying to ensure themselves a better life, a temporary life. While comparatively speaking almost nobody is spending any real time much less years of hard study to ensure THE better life, eternal life! At the judgment bar, many will blame an apostate pastor for leading them astray, rightfully so, but it will not save them. If we expect to reap the rewards of God’s true children, then we must act as God’s true children act. We will ‘study to show ourselves approved. ’
Are you still waiting for that secret? All right, without any further delay here it is:
If you are looking for the number of the beast, 666, in the world (meaning from a worldly source) you are searching outside the REVEALED word of God and in vain. The number of the beast, 666, is plainly revealed in Revelation 13: 18. I am purposely not placing the verse here so you will go look it up. I will not be at all offended. Now lay down this book and open your Bible to Revelation 13: 18.
To what does God’s word plainly, in full view, say the number 666 belongs? “For it is the number of a .”
What else does it say in that same verse? That you have to be a scholar or theologian to understand this verse? No! It does not say that at all. You do have to be a student to figure out the entire equation but all subjects are like that. As a matter of fact, Revelation starts out in chapter one, verse three, by saying “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and KEEP those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
Well at least for those of you who will choose belief over unbelief, part of the equation has now been unraveled and you don’t have to worry about taking the Mark of the Beast on some license plate, or in some bar code, or by some monster computer called the beast in Europe.
Satan laughs as he tosses us around like spiritual rag dolls when we through neglect or laziness allow it. But it does not have to be that way! The reason the gospel of Jesus is Good News is because it reveals to us that God loves us so much that He has left us with enough revealed truth to save us from the deceptions of Satan, IF we choose to do our part.
Now I want to give you another piece of the prophetic puzzle. Jeremiah, in chapter six, verse two of his book reveals that God likens His church to a comely woman. Isaiah also speaks of God’s church being as a woman, better still, a virgin, meaning a pure church (see Isaiah 62: 1- 5).
Paul following Divine representation, speaking to the Corinthian church says “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11: 2). Jesus Himself says, speaking of His redeemed church in (guess where?) Revelation 14: 4 “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins…” Now don’t leave Revelation just yet. We will come back to it in just a moment.
Now you can easily see that God, in slightly different ways has used a pure woman in many different parts of His word, both Old and New Testaments. We have given you only a very few verses, but if you have ever wondered why Jesus uses ten virgins in His parable about His coming, now you know. He is talking about those who get ready and those who say they are Christians but do not get ready. All the other stories He tells along the same lines, such as the marriage feast parable, and that a husband should love his wife as Christ loves the church, all dovetail with God’s representation of a woman and His church.
Well, guess what? A woman representing God’s church does not stop there! I want to ask you a question that will demonstrate to you — with some study on your part, an honest seeking for truth, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit — that God loves you just as much as He ever loved any pastor (and I am one), and that His revealed word is for you just as much as for the rest of us. If you can ask the Lord, who loves you enough to give His life for you, to help you to believe He wants you to understand His revealed word, then get ready to answer a very important question. Remember, we are still talking about a woman representing a church.
Through the prophet Isaiah (in chapter fourteen, verses twelve through fourteen), God reveals what plans Lucifer has made. We are told that he wants to build a kingdom of his own and raise it higher than God’s and his goal is to have every human being bow down to him and pay him homage. As a matter of fact the continued implementation of this plan is further revealed in the New Testament and shows how far Satan would really go if possible.
Just after Jesus was baptized by His cousin John and the beginning of His ministry, He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to remain there forty days and be tempted by Satan. In this contest between the Son of God and Lucifer where your salvation and mine hung in the balance, Satan is unmasked and the magnitude of his plans laid bare.
The second temptation in my opinion makes the point most clearly. Satan takes Jesus to a high mountain and shows Him the glories of the earth. Then he tells Jesus “All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me” (Matthew 4: 9). Satan, if possible, would not stop with the worship of human beings, he wants God to pay him homage as well! The whole battle over the souls of men has to do with worship.
Whom do you worship? God has a specific way of acceptable worship which is His proscribed SIGN of allegiance or SEAL of approval between God and His people. (Remember the story of Cain and Abel?) Satan has a counterfeit system that is his sign or MARK of allegiance. This is exactly what Revelation is speaking of when it refers to the people of God being sealed in their foreheads. They have made their decision, once and for eternity, to stand under the sign or banner of God’s seal of approval, the only thing written by their Creator, Lord, Master and Saviour, by His own finger.
Like Cain, the majority who claim to be a part of God’s family and even come to the altar of worship, insist on doing it their way and, knowingly or unknowingly, they are worshiping the same god that Cain worshiped. ONLY those who realize, respect, and reverence the truth that GOD makes the standards of how, when, why and where our worship to Him is acceptable — NOT MAN — can be or will be safe to be trusted with the awesome privilege and responsibility of eternal life. So back to our question.
If the entire controversy between Christ and Satan revolves around worship and God has chosen to use a pure woman, a chaste virgin to represent his true church, then what would be represented as just the opposite of this virtuous woman that would appropriately represent a system of worship that, like Cain, makes “family” claims but in fact worships Satan? Do we find any such counterfeit in God’s word?
The answer is YES! And what is the express opposite of a virgin? Of course, a whore! In the book of Revelation (I told you the name of that book means just what it says), just where you found God’s true church, His virgin, and the sign of allegiance, the seal of God’s approval, you also find the counterfeit religious system, the great whore, the place where people, like Cain, come to the altar of worship, but not the altar of their Creator, but a place of Lucifer’s MARK, the counterfeit, where he has signed his name, has the number 666, and where most will receive the mark of the beast.
As a matter of fact this whore has many daughters which represent churches who, like the mother, are prostituting the truth of God’s word. (See Revelation 17: 4- 5.)
I hope that you will check me out by following along in Revelation to find out these truths for yourself. I believe in the very short time we have left in the history of this present world, the Bible reveals that our very lives are at stake and our eternal destiny one way or another hangs in the balance. That is why the Bible commands us to study for ourselves and why God’s champions such as Paul, commended those who checked his messages against God’s holy word. Although it is almost unbelievable even as I write it, most “Christians” will never gain eternal life or heaven for the simple and pitiful reason that they were just too lazy to take the time to make the truths of God’s word their own. Many of you reading this book are probably in this condition. Now before you consign the rest of the forthcoming pages to flames, please allow me to quickly say that overwhelmingly, most of us either are or have been under this self imposed curse at one time or another. The sweet news of turning the hope of better things into a reality is to give God’s word the priority it deserves. The fact that you are searching is proof positive that the Lord loves you, He wants you to know His will for you and He still very much wants you with Him forever. But we must be willing to set our jaw and face some of truth’s harsh realities, work through them with a sanctified motive of “whatever it takes with God’s help” and then steadfastly move forward!! For without resolve that brings decisive action, hope is mere fantasy —without meaning. That may work wonders at Disney World but it will only work ruin in the very real realm of God’s Kingdom!
What makes the present day ignorance of whom the whore of Revelation represents, the number 666, the beast power, and the image of the beast and his mark so deplorable is the fact that ALL Protestant churches both in Europe and America preached the truth right out of Daniel and
Revelation during the last century. Just as the name Revelation means just that, so does the name Protestant. To the fearful credit of Satan’s power to deceive and to the discredit and shame of those in the Protestant family the question is raised:
Why do you call yourself a Protestant? What does the name signify? Where did it come from? What is its history? What are you protesting?
The horrible truth is that most Protestants don’t have a clue to any of the answers (at least not to any significant measure) to the above questions. And if there is anything more horrible it is this: all the answers in essence are the very things that determine whether or not we will be saved!
Revelation chapter three tells us about the most deplorable condition those claiming to be God’s church could find themselves in, and it says the last church WOULD BE IN THAT CONDITION. It is a condition of thinking itself to be all right when in fact it is all wrong. Then Jesus says what He would do to all those who do not take His counsel that follows. Please read about this in Revelation 3: 14 – 22.
If you would like further study on all these issues, just write us and we will gladly send you one of our most precious and powerful books that deals with and gives the biblical answers to all the questions I have just raised. I have nothing to gain or lose if you chose not to pursue, but you may have everything to gain or lose based on your choice. Our motives do not include compulsion but they do include invitation and so we offer an open one with no strings attached.
Today, right at the very time when many are witnessing what they believe to be a great revival of Christianity, are actually in one of the greatest perils of this earth’s history. I know that is a pretty strong claim and it may seem that I’m really going out on a limb here but I am really not. God has been so good to us in giving us His word which contains all of this information. That is why He wants us to study it. He is not just giving us some arbitrary assignment because He is bigger than us. Far too many people think that way. Our God is the Heavenly Father who loves His children so much that He wants to make sure we are protected from the deceptions of His and our arch enemy — Satan. This is the reason He has taken all the time to write, compile and protect His word to us and why He yearns for us to study it. Those who come to this understanding and take full advantage of our Father’s gracious generosity and loving protection will survive the deceptions and horrors of the last days we have already entered.
In the first part of this chapter we discovered who and what is God’s church. God’s church is people who follow God’s plan — not man made plans with God’s name attached!
We discovered that Saul, a conference preacher who became Paul an independent preacher, really didn’t belong to God’s church at all (although he really thought he did) until he was willing to follow what God said even when (and it did!) it went directly contrary to how he was raised, what he thought, and what was “politically correct” with leaders calling themselves God’s true church.
Because Paul made the right choice and continued to do so, God made Paul one of the greatest examples of living faith expressed in flesh and blood that this world has ever seen. Because Paul gave himself totally to Jesus, he was entrusted with many valuable treasures from God’s storehouse of knowledge. Did you know that Paul knew about the deceptions and counterfeits of our day? Do you realize that although Paul lived during the days of Jesus and the disciples, 2000 years ago, he speaks of what we’ve been discovering in Revelation? Did you know that if Paul were alive today, he would say exactly what you have been reading about the beast and that the number belongs to a man? Paul could (and would) tell you who that man is! I can (and will if you asked for the book) tell you who the man is!
Let us read what Paul says about the times in which we are living. Please take a few moments and read all the verses in Second Thessalonians, chapter two. Paul is speaking here about the time of Christ’s second coming.
Okay, I hope you took the time to look carefully and prayerfully at the entire chapter. But now let us take another look at verses three and four. Please study them carefully! If you do, you will see that Paul knew just what we have been discovering, that the controversy between Christ and Stan is over worship. Paul knew Satan’s plan and agrees exactly with what Isaiah said Satan’s plan is.
Paul warned that just before Christ’s second coming many claiming to be Christians would leave the true faith — there would be a “falling away.” Paul warned about men who would deceive many about this, and he would tell you just as we have shown you that the number 666 does belong to a man who Satan is using in a mighty way — a man who claims to have the powers of God.
Paul says that all these things would happen just before Jesus came back. Paul also said that before Jesus comes back “… that MAN of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” and he continues on to say in verse three that this religious man would be worshiped by other men, and that people would actually bow down to him!! (Revelation 13: 3,4)
If we are living in the time of the end; if we are living in the time just before Jesus is to come back and the destiny of every man, woman and child will be fixed for eternity, then such a man should exist and he should be gaining power as Revelation 13 says he would and many should be worshiping him as Revelation 13: 8 says they will.
Does such a man exist on earth? Are all the things concerning this man existent today which were spoken of by Isaiah, Daniel, Matthew, Paul, and Jesus, through John the Revelator, among the many other Bible writers?
Brothers and sisters, the somber answer to these questions is definitely yes! And the only two reasons that most people do not know all about this is, first of all, people do not study God’s word for themselves. Secondly, almost every Protestant church in the world has quit preaching this lifesaving, vital message. The Trojan Horse came among us decades ago and we did not even know it! But by God’s grace, we can know it now and like Noah save those in our spiritual families who wish to climb aboard God’s ark of safety before the flood of destruction that is just upon us, hits!
Share this book with many others. Get copies and plead with them to read it, then be praying privately that they will.
Give a copy to your pastor. Most will reject it, and it may even get you into trouble but SOME will study and accept its messages, diving deeper into God’s word. And for the faithful who have their loved ones with them in God’s Kingdom, I can assure you it will then be worth any “trouble” anyone has had to suffer. If you write for and read the book I told you was much more important than this one, the one which deals with last day events and the book of Revelation in much greater detail you will certainly want to share that one with others as well.
I hope you have found this chapter as exciting and provocative as I did as I wrote it. I pray that if you have, through it the Holy Spirit will stimulate you spiritually to dig deeper and continue to discover God’s vast treasure chest of truth. Now on to Chapter Four in our study of prophetic parallels in Christ’s Church Then and Christ’s Church Now.
Copyright © 1999 Servants of the Saviour
Terry & Cathy Ross